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

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In an attempt to smear the name and discredit the political campaign of the
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Robert Mugabe's government will stop at

According to the MDC leader, the Zimbabwean government contracted a murky
Canadian consultant who managed to get a video shown on Australian
Television a few days ago, allegedly showing Tsvangirai discussing the
assassination of Mugabe.

The London Telegraph said that the footage is of such poor quality that no
one at the meeting can be identified. (In this day and technological age?)

The London Guardian quotes Time magazine as saying Menashe (the consultant)
was "a veteran spinner of stunning-if-true-but yarns". The paper says he has
in the past been ruthlessly attacked in Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal
and New Republic, all of the US.

While this war of words continues let us not forget the millions of ordinary
people with 'cross hairs' trained on them by a regime that is out of
control. This is not fiction as hundreds of graves can testify.

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Failing Harare

Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)

February 15, 2002
Posted to the web February 14, 2002

If deputy foreign minister Aziz Pahad really believes there will be credible
elections in Zimbabwe, why is he also begging the developed world not to
back off the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) if things go

Pahad repeatedly argued this week that there should be no collective
sanctions imposed on Africa for Zimbabwe's misdeeds. Defence Minister
Mosiuoa Lekota voiced similar anxieties, warning that Western enthusiasm for
Nepad would inevitably wane if Africa failed to deliver on its pledges of
democratic practice.

To the dismay of many ordinary Zimbabweans, South Africa's "policy" has been
to make stiff formal calls for electoral propriety, express confidence in
President Robert Mugabe's bona fides and send an observer team. Anything
more than this - even the mild step of declaring that the region will reject
an irregular poll - would be "premature", the government argues. South
Africa's 1994 vote is trotted out to show that high levels of pre-election
violence do not preclude a credible process. The most obvious difference
between 1994 and now is that by polling day all South African party leaders
were committed to a violence-free, properly supervised election in which all
adults would freely participate.

Mugabe, by contrast, continues to harass journalists and play cat and mouse
with international monitoring teams. More importantly, he shows no sign of
dismantling the machinery of violent intimidation, involving state agencies,
set up to ensure his political survival.

Writing in Business Day, the respected Zimbabwean political scientist
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro describes a shadowy civil-military body called the
National Command Centre, based at the Zanu-PF head office, which links top
party officials, public servants, the security forces and "war veterans". It
is this, he argues, that lies behind the violence that has racked Zimbabwe
this year. Mukonoweshuro points to other sinister moves to subvert the
popular will. These include moves to have constituency results decide the
outcome, rather than total votes cast, and regulations preventing monitors
and election agents from accompanying ballot boxes in transit.

This raises the question of how observers, spread thinly over a large
country, can certify the election. How can they keep tabs on intimidation if
it is abetted by law enforcement agencies? How will they determine whether
voters have stayed home out of fear?

Every effort should be made in the remaining three weeks to create conducive
electoral conditions and bolster voter confidence. It is not too late for
South Africa to protect its own interests, and those of the continent, by
toughening its stance.

Reversing Verwoerd

Not since Verwoerdian social engineering led to the birth of Bantu education
has the tertiary sector been asked to accept change as radical as now.

Education Minister Kader Asmal, like apartheid architect Hendrik Verwoerd,
is a man of grand vision. Verwoerd's jaundiced view of society led him to
sick solutions. The grandiosity of these solutions ensured maximum damage: a
society deeply scarred. The effects of Bantu education - a citizenry whose
access to opportunity remains racially skewed and an education system
mismatched to the demands of a modern economy - represent among the ugliest
of those scars.

Enter Asmal. Acting on his understanding of the problems facing education,
and working with experts such as the ministerial national working group that
reported this week, Asmal has been designing a grand solution. And this
solution demands massive change and sacrifice in higher education. Whole
institutions will disappear or be swallowed by others. Identity, autonomy -
and cushy jobs - will be lost.

Predictably, there has been a chorus of protest. Fort Hare and Rhodes
universities, for example, are balking at their planned merger. One has a
proud anti-apartheid record, the other a proud academic record.

But opposition will come not only for reasons of institutional interest.
Asmal has already had to run a gauntlet of criticism and a lawsuit from
elements within Unisa, another university affected by the changes. Here
council head McCaps Motimele and new vice-chancellor Barney Pityana led the
charge - arguably out of personal interest.

Another level of opposition may well come from within Asmal's own party, and
for sentimental reasons. For surely there will be many in the African
National Congress who will resist the loss or partial loss of identity of
anti-apartheid bastions like Fort Hare, the University of Durban-Westville
and the University of the Western Cape - while Rand Afrikaans University,
Pretoria University and Stellenbosch University, arguably former pillars of
apartheid, will be left unscathed.

Asmal's plans are not above criticism. Any grandiose plan for change has to
be carefully scrutinised, and if necessary resisted, because of the
potentially far-reaching consequences of such change. But let Asmal's
opponents also remember that transformation - which many of them endorse in
principle - cuts both ways. It is intellectually dishonest to oppose Asmal's
plans out of personal or sentimental interest.

The only criterion must be whether Asmal's grand vision will help heal the
scars left by Verwoerd's.

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We Will Not Forget, Mbeki

Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)

February 15, 2002
Posted to the web February 14, 2002

Andrew Tsiga

President Thabo Mbeki should just keep his mouth shut, leave Zimbabwe alone
and divert his energy towards saving the rand.

Mbeki is so pompous he is now acting god to the suffering Zimbabweans and we
should pray to him until we run out of prayers before he can whisper
something to Mugabe. After all, it's called quiet diplomacy. His attitude is
that we should be thankful for being neighbours of South Africa and we
should behave ourselves lest that privilege be taken away.

Daily reports of state violence, killings and abductions of innocent people
are becoming an irritation to you, Mbeki, rather than a reason for action.
All you say is: "I have talked to him and he seems not to listen."

Thank you very much, Mr President. I wish we had said the same to you during
your days of struggle. We are tired of your quiet and non-effective
diplomacy. We urge you to call it off because we shall not beg you any more.

We have been on our knees for two years, but you are more preoccupied with
repatriation of farm labourers back to Zimbabwe (a petty issue) than solving
a problem befitting your stature. It is time as a nation we stopped looking
for assistance from the the other side of the Limpopo.

It was rather myopic on our part for poor, ordinary, defenceless and
brutalised Zimbabweans to call on the might of your country to help us fight
a dictator of our own creation.

After an event of equal magnitude in Lesotho, your government did not have
time for any diplomacy, loud or quiet, as South African tanks rumbled
through the streets of Maseru to restore order and democracy. Today
democracy and all its institutions are under severe threat in Zimbabwe but
you selectively choose to stand aside.

Perhaps we have not suffered enough or perhaps the number of political
deaths so far is still "manageable", as you once said of the situation in
Zimbabwe. Is this what the African Renaissance is about - minding one's own
business and lending moral support to a corrupt government which has
succeeded in suppressing all known freedoms and basic human rights?

Maybe you are inspired and amused by President Robert Mugabe's antics and
taking lessons on how much punishment people can take before they reach the
threshold level and hoping to apply the same prescription to your people at
a time convenient to you.

Your non-action has spurred us to realise that it's none but ourselves who
will set us free. We painfully draw some encouragement from your response as
we bury our loved ones being killed daily by an inhuman government which has
turned against its own people.

With or without your assistance we will fight our own struggle and one day
when we have triumphed (and that is inevitable) we will take count of those
who fought with us and those who fought against us.

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The Independent  (UK)

Free and fair elections are not possible in Zimbabwe
16 February 2002

Free and democratic elections require a free and democratic press, and with
the flight from Zimbabwe of Basildon Peta, this newspaper's correspondent
there, this condition seems less and less likely to be fulfilled in next
month's vote.

When European Union foreign ministers meet on Monday, they should invoke the
sanctions that they have threatened to impose if a free and fair election is
not possible. The argument over the Zimbabwean government's refusal to issue
a visa to Pierre Schori, the head of the EU's election observers, may
provide an excuse, but EU ministers should not need an excuse.

It should be apparent by now that next month's ballot will be a travesty of
democracy. The Zimbabwe Media Monitoring Project, an independent body,
publishes a dossier today detailing the Mugabe regime's campaign of
intimidation against journalists who do not conform to the government line.
And it rightly calls on the international press to desist from publishing
smears against independent journalists such as Mr Peta without establishing
the facts first.

Mr Peta's attempt to protect his jailers, who showed him some kindness, has
been seized on by the state media in Zimbabwe, which have accused him of
exaggerating the privation he suffered when he was detained last week. He
was accused on national television news of being responsible for a fall in
tourist bookings, a claim that briefly eclipsed the equally implausible
allegation that the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was plotting to
kill Mr Mugabe.

With the state media thus enslaved, freedom depends on the private-sector
press. Mr Peta, who has received death threats and whose name featured at
the top of a security service hit list, has shown extraordinary courage. We
salute him, and welcome his decision finally to put his personal safety

The proposed EU sanctions do not go far enough. They amount essentially to a
ban on Mr Mugabe and his closest associates travelling to Europe – the
withdrawal of the right to go shopping at Harrods.

However, the ministers owe it not just to Mr Peta but to all the brave
independent journalists still working in Zimbabwe to send the strongest
possible signal to the Mugabe regime. Activating the sanctions they have
threatened is an essential first step, and it must be taken now.

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Friday, 15 February, 2002, 15:22 GMT
Why Zimbabwe's top journalist left
Basildon Peta, Zimbabwean journalist
Basildon fled to South Africa after death threats
Top Zimbabwean journalist Basildon Peta tells the BBC why he fled Zimbabwe for South Africa

My life was in a big danger.

It started in February 2000 when President Robert Mugabe unleashed his supporters on the commercial farms.

Enough is enough you do not want to be a dead hero

Basildon Peta
Zimbabwean journalist
But the situation deteriorated in the past week after I wrote a piece about my detention.

A report was written in the West about how I had fabricated or exaggerated my arrest and then admitted it.

The Times in London published a report, and then dropped it.

The government then started their campaign of vilification against me, saying that they were using a credible report in the Times.

President Robert Mugabe
Mugabe has imposed new media restrictions

Now they were making all kinds of claims, for example that I had caused a fall in the value of the South African rand.

And that I have caused a drastic fall in tourist arrivals in the country.

They were inflaming public opinion against me.

Death threats

For several months packets of envelopes with live ammunition were being left on my door step, with letters threatening that I will be dead before the general elections.

Newspaper billboards
The media is not now allowed to criticise the government

The fact that I was a black journalist writing for the Independent newspaper in London really discomforted the government.

They did not want the truth to be told. I was called all these kinds of things, like a terrorist.

I had tried to withstand all these pressures.

But there comes a time when you have to say, enough is enough you do not want to be a dead hero.

It is better to be a living coward.

I will just lie low for a while and continue to tell the Zimbabwe story from wherever I will be.

I hope he (Mr Mugabe) allows the people of Zimbabwe to choose their leader in a free and fair election.

Independent (UK)

Basildon Peta: 'It's better to be a live coward than a dead hero'
16 February 2002

As I prepared to flee my native land on Thursday night, genuinely fearing
for my life, an ill-judged joke by a South African Airways official at
Harare airport stopped me in my tracks.

"Do you honestly think they will allow you to leave? It seems like you did
not read the paper today," said an official, referring to my picture and a
story in a state-owned broadsheet and the hourly state-media broadcasts
branding me a liar.

It was a moment of truth. Although I had always vowed to remain part of the
struggle against tyranny and dictatorship in Zimbabwe, circumstances had
certainly changed. A smear campaign – begun in, of all places, The Times in
London, but picked up with a vengeance by the propaganda machinery of
President Robert Mugabe – went into overdrive.

For months, packets of envelopes with live ammunition were being left on my
doorstep, with letters threatening that I would be dead before the general
elections, and the secret service had leaked a hit-list with my name at the

The fact that I was a black journalist writing for The Independent in London
really discomforted the government. They did not want the truth to be told.
I was called all kinds of things, including a terrorist.

I had tried to withstand all these pressures. But there comes a time when
you have to say enough is enough. You do not want to be a dead hero. It is
better to be a living coward. Nothing would have been more dangerous than to
remain in a place where there is no rule of law and where the government
expends most of its energies in trying to convince its supporters that I was
a major source of the country's problems of high-spiralling inflation, acute
food shortages and widening poverty, among the many ills that affect my

Although I had long resisted the pressures on me to leave Zimbabwe, the
harsh reality had dawned. Unfortunately, the last flight to Johannesburg was
only three hours away. Not enough time to clear my office, hand in my
resignation, get the flight tickets, bid farewell to my parents, pay all
outstanding bills and leave everything in order. What followed amounted to
abandoning everything I had worked for all my life.

The time constraints meant I could pick up only the most essential
belongings, a few clothes to change into and my diaries of key sources so I
can continue telling the story of Zimbabwe from the relative safety of

Last week, at the height of the controversy, my wife Florence and daughter
Kudzi, who is five, and our son Alistair, who is two, managed to sneak back
into Zimbabwe to support me. They were terribly worried about all the things
being said about me. The lies were becoming unbearable and I needed their
support. They had taken a long bus ride from Johannesburg to Harare and were
exhausted and fearful. In the airport lobby, as we headed back to
Johannesburg, I could not help but feel out of place. The controversy over
the precise length of time I had spent in police custody while illegally
under arrest two weeks ago was at fever pitch.

It seemed as though everyone in the airport lobby had read the papers,
listened to the news or watched all the state television bulletins and
someone was bound to put a face to the demonised name. But everyone who
spoke to me was friendly. This was not the treatment I would have had from
youth brigade militias and other government militants who mete out "instant
justice" to government "opponents".

In Harare airport, tough questioning by immigration officials about my
destination, my date of return and the purpose of my visit to South Africa
discomforted me a bit. Twenty minutes later, I heaved a sigh of relief as I
walked up the stairs of the small, 50-seater plane and took my seat in the
back. I felt an even greater relief when we landed in Johannesburg.

I am not a great fan of flying. But this was probably the most comfortable
flight of my life, because I did not see the take-off, the one hour and 20
minutes of flight, or the landing. I slept, because of the stress draining
away and because I had not slept properly for four nights. The man next to
me joked that he had enjoyed the honour of sharing a seat with a "rock star"
but unfortunately had not had the opportunity to have an autograph signed
nor share a discussion.

Now, though reunited with my family, we feel for those we have left behind
in Zimbabwe. My parents and sister are still there. I am worried for them,
and my fellow Zimbabweans. I hope things will improve.

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Friday, 15 February, 2002, 13:26 GMT
Zimbabwe's economic tailspin
Land seizures are just a part of Zimbabwe's economic trials
Self-sufficiency is a source of some pride in Zimbabwe.

The multinational brands common throughout the world for staple foods are much less in evidence in Harare or the second city, Bulawayo, than elsewhere in Africa.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
Mugabe faces elections amid economic collapse and food shortages
The years of sanctions following Ian Smith's Unilateral Declaration of Independence - the vain attempt to sustain rule by a tiny white minority while the rest of the continent embraced independence - were ironically responsible for substantial domestic industries.

Of course, an uncomfortably large proportion are still owned by whites.

But whoever holds the purse-strings, the brand-names are no longer in evidence: whether domestic or foreign, the shelves of most foodstores are worringly bare.

Prices up, supply down

The landmark presidential election is only weeks away, but Zimbabwe's economy continues to worsen.

Prices more than doubled in 2001 - inflation was 112% - and the price controls instituted by the government on a widening range of products have taken retail prices to below the cost of production.

Thus the shortages - and the thriving black market for everything from laundry soap to the maize-based staple, mealie meal.

Meanwhile, what produce there is continues to leak across the border.

The official exchange rate is 55 Zimbabwe dollars to one US dollar.

But traders from Zambia, Mozambique and elsewhere use the "parallel market" rate of Z$300 to the greenback to buy low in Zimbabwe and sell high at home.

A success story...

The situation is quite a turnaround.

Once the economic success story of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe was the regional breadbasket, the only southern African country to export food to Ethiopia during the drought in the 1980s.

Election posters in Harare
Both sides claim they hold the answers to rebuilding the economy

Its economy was doing well, its people were well educated and richer than many of their regional peers.

Foreign investment was by African standards plentiful.

And it was - relatively - free of the endemic and high-profile corruption which caused huge problems for many other African countries.

...Now a basket case?

But over the past five years things have got harder as urban areas ceased to create jobs and rural areas felt the pressure too.

International Monetary Fund rules meant public investment was starved - although the growing default on loans meant Zimbabwe was cut off from further funding in 2000.

Cronyism by political elites increased, and the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the focus on land reform has been used to try to divert attention from domestic tribulations.

Now, according to one Southern African economist, the country is "a financial basket case".

The economy contracted 4% in 2001. "The crop has been lost this year, production has been lost, earnings are gone," he said.


The desperate push by the core of the ruling Zanu-PF party to ensure victory for President Mugabe on 9-10 March has taken its toll.

Black workers packing up
Many farm workers have been left homeless

For the outside world, most of the attention has been on the seizures of white-owned farms.

The effect on export earnings has been severe. But it has also displaced thousands of black farmworkers, and what little activity continues on the farms is limited to inefficient subsistence farming.

And much of the choicest land has gone either to party supporters, or to Libyan and South African backers to pay for scarce fuel and power.

The disruptions caused by Zanu-PF's internal divisions and increasing paranoia have hit industry just as hard as agriculture.

The price controls introduced in October last year mean many factories never reopened following the long Christmas-New Year break.

Harare skyline
The factories on Harare's outskirts are having trouble surviving

That made the unemployment rate even worse. On the government's own count, about two in every three Zimbabweans is out of a job.

Closures happen for non-economic reasons too. In the past few months a number of businesses have been attacked by Zanu-PF supporters if their employees or owners are not party members.

And exacerbating the whole situation are periodic fuel shortages, which since 1998 have largely been caused by the need to supply the military's hugely unpopular involvement in the war in Congo.

Beggar your neighbour?

The side-effects are hitting its neighbours.

South African president Thabo Mbeki's reluctance to go beyond quiet diplomacy in encouraging better governance from the coterie surrounding Mr Mugabe has won him few friends.

South African President Thabo Mbeki
Zimbabwe could threaten Mbeki's 'African renaissance'

Although between them Mozambique and South Africa supply three quarters of South Africa's energy needs, neither will act to pull the plug.

Within South Africa, the rand continues to weaken, partly through fears that the troubles to the north could spill over.

Thousands of Zimbabweans try to cross the border illegally every month.

And further afield, the ambitious plans for the "New African Partnership for Development" (NEPAD), of which Mr Mbeki is the main proponent, call for massive inward investment.

But the turmoil in Zimbabwe threatens to stifle the inflows before they begin.

Even Mr Mbeki's brother Moeletsi is complaining his sibling is letting Mr Mugabe off too easily.

No easy answers

But what to do? Europe and the US are planning "smart sanctions" to penalise the upper echelons of Zanu-PF.

But if they are imposed before the election, any chance of monitoring the poll will disappear.

Even if they were, it will be months before they bite.

And assuming a Zanu-PF victory, it is only a matter of time before the economy melts down altogether.

If the opposition Movement for Democratic Change can somehow win despite violent repression - as the majority of Zimbabweans probably hope - the IMF will be back.

Donors and investors may follow - but at a cautious distance.

Either way, it will be a long time before Zimbabwe can pick up the pieces again.

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Friday, 15 February, 2002, 20:23 GMT
Zimbabwe denies revoking visa
Opposition MDC rally
The opposition says intimidation will stop them winning
Zimbabwe has denied reports that it had withdrawn the tourist visa it granted to Pierre Schori, head of the European Union team sent to monitor next month's presidential election.

"His visa has not been revoked but what happened is that our immigration officers went to warn Mr Schori to comply with the conditions of his tourist visa which he got when he came into the country," Zimbabwe's Home Minister, John Nkomo, told the Reuters news agency.

Pierre Schori
Mr Schori says he is trying to behave pragmatically
Earlier reports said that Zimbabwe had revoked Mr Schori's visa for making political statements.

Zimbabwe has granted accreditation to about 30 EU monitors, but has told Mr Schori, a Swedish diplomat, that he will not be approved.

It accuses Sweden - and a number of other EU members - of bias.

Mr Schori, however, has said that he believes the EU can monitor the elections effectively despite the conditions set by Zimbabwe.

Earlier Sweden's Foreign Minister, Anna Lindh, said Zimbabwe had revoked Mr Schori's visa because he had made political statements.

Key condition

The EU had told the Zimbabwean Government that it would face targeted sanctions against its leading members unless it accepted EU election observers.

Countries accused of bias
The Netherlands

The EU members have also said they will impose sanctions if they believe that voting is not free and fair, or if media coverage is restricted.

If implemented, the sanctions would include a travel ban on Mr Mugabe, his family and close associates, a freeze on any assets they hold in EU member states, and a suspension of long-term development aid.

A report is being prepared for a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels next Monday, and it is thought a decision could be taken then.

Mr Mugabe is expected to face his toughest challenge in 22 years in power in the 9-10 March poll.

International pressure on Zimbabwe to allow observers has grown as human rights groups have warned of a "climate of fear and terror" in the run-up to the elections.

On Wednesday evening, dozens were reported injured when self-styled war veterans and ruling party supporters rampaged through Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo.

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Friend-turned-foe, Mugabe may expel Sweden's Schori

STOCKHOLM, Feb. 15 — Thirty years ago Robert Mugabe was an African freedom
fighter admired by idealistic Swedish youths, among them Pierre Schori, an
up-and-coming Social Democratic Party activist.
       Mugabe and Schori -- who later described Sweden as a ''moral
superpower'' -- became friends.

       But in an ironic twist Zimbabwe, the nation Mugabe has led since its
independence in 1980, on Friday withdrew a visa for Schori, now a top
diplomat, to lead an international mission to observe next month's
presidential election.
       Representing the ZANU-PF movement struggling against white rule in
what was then Rhodesia, Mugabe was a frequent visitor to Stockholm in the
early 1970s when Sweden under Prime Minister Olof Palme vocally criticised
injustices around the world.
       ''Mugabe spent a lot of time in Sweden. He came here often. He got to
know many Swedish politicians, Schori and others,'' said Sverker Astrom, a
retired veteran Swedish diplomat who served as state secretary at the
foreign ministry in 1972-77.
       ''Mugabe was well liked and respected by many Swedish top-level
politicians at that time when he was still a decent and admired freedom
fighter,'' Astrom told Reuters.
       Schori, now Sweden's ambassador to the United Nations, was appointed
by the European Commission as leader of its 150-strong team of observers
sent to Zimbabwe to monitor the March 9-10 election.
       Schori was also leader of the EU observer delegation which monitored
Zimbabwe's parliamentary election in 2000.
       But this time Zimbabwe invited election observers from only nine EU
countries. Sweden and five others that have linked human rights concerns to
development aid were not among them.
       Human rights groups say Mugabe is increasingly dictatorial and his
soldiers are allegedly killing, torturing, raping and intimidating
opposition supporters in other ways.
       Schori nevertheless travelled to Zimbabwe last weekend and was able
to enter the country on a tourist visa, but on Friday Swedish Foreign
Minister Anna Lindh said the Harare authorities had withdrawn his visa,
suggesting he could be expelled.
       ''If this doesn't change it means he will have to leave the country
(later on Friday) and we will face a very serious situation,'' Lindh told a
news conference during a visit to Oslo.
       Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson said earlier this week that
Zimbabwe's government was running the risk of losing its legitimacy and that
the situation there was a tragedy for that part of Africa.
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Daily News - The Mole

If a man proposes love to a woman and she refuses . . .

2/15/02 3:47:49 PM (GMT +2)

It is absolutely impossible, even in these extremely grim times we are going
through, to suppress a chuckle every now and then at some of the incredibly
silly and idiotic things Zanu PF has been doing ever since its leader
pressed all the panic buttons to signal its imminent demise.

And the number one problem now seems to be that he is like someone who has
fallen asleep with his fingers firmly pressed on those buttons and so they
can't stop ringing.

The result has been that the party's foot-soldiers and fire-fighters have
continued to react to those alarm bells with understandably -corresponding
panic, running around like headless chickens trying all the seemingly
correct, but wrong responses except the right ones.

The disastrous fast-track land redistribution programme - with its spin-off
of farm occupations which is set to see us experiencing the worst famine
since 1947 - has been one.

And so has been the concerted efforts to silence the independent Press
through, for example, the bombing of The Daily News printing press and
offices, banning it in some parts of the country, tearing it up in towns and
persecuting its staffers.

Then there has been the enacting of a law making it virtually criminal to
publish anything unfavourable to President Mugabe, his government and the
police and the laughable attempts to make Morgan Tsvangirai and the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) look like puppets of the West and enemies of the
people of Zimbabwe.

But the mother of all blunders has been Zanu PF's adoption of violence and
raw terror as its main method of choice for literally killing the opposition
MDC and mobilising and building support for itself and its ageing leader.

It is clear the party failed to identify the problem correctly.
It is not a figment of The Mole's imagination to say that, at independence,
nearly 80 percent of the population belonged to Zanu PF and dearly
loved -and I mean truly loving -Robert Mugabe.

All that the party needed to do when they detected the first signs of
disaffection was to identify where the party and its government were going
wrong and proceed to correct it as swiftly as possible.

That way there would never have been any need to force people to like the
party and its leader.

By employing violence to force people to "support" Zanu PF and Mugabe, the
party has only managed to make people - almost everybody, in fact - more
determined to reject it and hate it with a passion only matched by their
love for it in 1980.

How, despite the fact that its leader boasts having degrees in violence, a
party with so many doctors in its Cabinet can fail to do something as simple
as realising how counter-productive its campaign of terror is to its desire
to win support is totally beyond The Mole's comprehension.

Which is why the surprise enlightened view taken by two of Zanu PF's
not-so-high-up leaders at a gathering in Rusape last week is worth

It was a complete departure from the conspiracy of self-destruction so
characteristic of Zanu PF in this regard.

And it came at a most unlikely forum, and spearheaded by a man I have always
associated with sickeningly blind support for Robert

The event was the renaming of John Cowie Primary School to Maurice Nyagumbo
Primary School, a ceremony attended by about 5 000 people.

As the relevant minister, Aeneas Chigwedere's presence there was no surprise
at all.

What came as a surprise and a big one at that - was what he said which was
completely unrelated to the occasion.

Showing that, as Minister of Education, he cannot afford the label "slow
learner", Chigwedere startled everybody when, telling it like it is for
once, he warned the gathering that Mugabe risks losing the presidential
election if Zanu PF supporters and war veterans continue with the orgy of
violence they have unleashed throughout the country.

And The Mole was very impressed by the analogy he used to drive his point

Said Chigwedere, matter-of-factly: "When a man proposes love to a woman and
she refuses, do you think by beating her up she will give in to his demands?

I do not think so.

"But we have leaders within Zanu PF who are forcing people to buy our cards
and to attend Zanu PF rallies by using all kinds of intimidatory methods.

"You can burn MDC T-shirts, but that does not mean they will vote for us.
People will not vote for you if you beat them up. By beating up people you
are only worsening the situation. That is wrong if that is happening here."

Chigwedere had a ready and willing supporter in Manicaland Provincial
governor, Oppah Muchinguri.

Muchinguri, who when she addressed a meeting at Murambinda a few months ago,
warned Zanu PF activists given to violence that if they killed somebody in
the name of the party the ngozi (avenging spirit) will come to haunt the
killers and their relatives and not the party or its leaders, had another
sobering thought for the party's merchants of terror.

Said Muchinguri: "Chigwedere's statement was very straightforward and
correct. I have been preaching against violence for a long time. What
President Mugabe needs at this crucial stage is support from the people, not

There can be no denying the fact that Muchinguri meant every word she said,
especially given her now well-known firm stand against violence committed in
the name of her party, Zanu PF.

But there are some who would say she had found a perfect opportunity to hit
back at old Didymus Mutasa, Zanu PF's secretary for external affairs, who
was among the party heavyweights present and is reputed to be the chief
war-monger in the area.

The man is alleged to have incited party youths in his hometown to unleash
violence against anyone not supporting Zanu PF in Rusape, which he is said
to have declared as a no-go area for the MDC and at one time allegedly
ordered the town's youth to ban The Daily News from the town.

The Mole understands there is no love lost between Mutasa and Muchinguri.

Mutasa is said to hold the female governor in absolute contempt.
Apparently irked by being overlooked by Mugabe for the post of governor of
Manicaland in favour of Muchinguri, he has absolutely nothing kind to say
about Oppah.

Be that as it may, that psychological defence mechanism which Sigmund Freud
called "sour grapes" or whatever else, there is no doubt that Mutasa is a
grumpy old man, good and proper, in the same miserable league as his boss.

And the whole geriatric gang of political and chronological dinosaurs are
sailing through choppy waters that spell for them nothing else but doom.

You are free to believe it or not, but most of us have, summarily and
arbitrarily, had our birthright Zimbabwean citizenship cancelled, literally
at the stroke of the pen.

And a pen which does not belong in any way to someone, such as Mugabe, for
example, who at least has some powers bestowed on him - to declare some
people "un-Zimbabwean" as George Orwell would probably have put it if he
were here alive today.

I am referring here to a story which appeared in The Herald on Tuesday this
week headlined: "MDC is a foreign party operating in the country".
In that story, a certain Dr Davison Gomo, whom most of us have never heard
of, is reported as having said that "the problem with the MDC is that it is
a foreign party operating in the country".

How the good doctor managed to arrive at that preposterous conclusion
unaided by Satan himself, who is said to be the father of all lies, must
make for a subject for serious scholarly research.

It is a feat even Albert Einstein, immortalised for his Law of Relativity,
would have hailed as breathtaking if he were alive.

In the parliamentary election of 2000, roughly 63 percent of all the votes
cast were for the MDC.

Which means even then the infant party was supported by more Zimbabweans
than Zanu PF.

But here we are in 2002 with the MDC riding the crest of a wave of
popularity, much stronger than what it was in June 2000, only nine months
after it was formed, and some fellow calling himself a "mountain" thinks
those voters were foreigners!

Sick jokes are made of such stuff.

So, just because Morgan Tsvangirai, Gibson Sibanda and all the more than 75
percent registered voters who support them are anti-Zanu PF they have
automatically become foreigners?

All 12 million of us have become foreigners?

Buddy, be real!

It is people like Dr Gomo, Dr Joseph Made and Professor Jonathan Moyo who
make me despair about our so-called academics.

They give The Mole good reason to believe 78-year-old Mr Ndlovu, who told
Moyo's draft constitution salesmen, headed by Ben Hlatshwayo, at a meeting
in Bulawayo's City Hall in 1999 that "the more educated our children become
the less wise they get".
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Daily News

MDC activist abducted, tortured

2/15/02 3:34:56 PM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

LISTEN Zhou, an MDC activist, was on Monday abducted and tortured by Zanu PF
supporters and alleged Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) officers.

Last month, Zhou appeared in this newspaper when he fled Gweru after
suspected Zanu PF supporters attempted to abduct him for writing a letter to
The Daily News letters column of 5 September, 2001, accusing Zanu PF
supporters of terrorising Mberengwa villagers.

Zhou was campaigning for the MDC on farms in Ruwa when a green army vehicle
stopped near him. He was suddenly bundled inside. He showed the scars, burns
and lacerations on his chest and back, which he claims were sustained from
the beatings and torture.

He said about 30 Zanu PF supporters confiscated all the MDC documents on him
before they drove him to a war veterans’ base camp in Goromonzi.
Zhou said: “They interrogated me the whole night and beat me up with sticks.

They burnt me on the chest and hands with a copy of The Daily News and said
I should never read the paper or report anything to the newspaper again.
“The following day, a white vehicle drove up and I was taken to Marondera by
three men who claimed to be CIO officers.”

He said his assailants forced him into a small room. Later in the evening,
they took him to the police station where he spent the night.
He said the same men came back the following morning and took him to their
offices where they warned him not to go to the hospital or to report his
ordeal to The Daily News.

“They said I was under surveillance, and I believed them because they had a
copy of The Daily News which carried my picture when I fled from Gweru in
January,” Zhou said.

He said the CIO agents only released him around 3pm on Wednesday and drove
him to the bus terminus. Zhou said one of them gave him $300 and ordered him
to leave for Harare.

The Marondera police refused to comment on the incident. Zhou said he would
not be returning to his home in Ruwa, but would seek sanctuary elsewhere.
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Daily News

London demo to mourn deaths in election run-up

2/15/02 3:34:18 PM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

THE London-based Freedom for Zimbabwe Campaign, in conjunction with Friends
of Zimbabwe, has organised a protest demonstration outside the Zimbabwe High
Commission in London tomorrow from 11am to
12 noon.

A statement issued in London this week says the participants will gather to
mourn the loss of life and other human rights abuses in the run-up to the
presidential election on 9-10 March.

The demonstration is supported by a wide cross-section of exiled Zimbabweans
and others concerned with the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe as
President Mugabe tramples underfoot the fundamental principles of democracy
in a reign of terror against anyone opposing him.

Demonstrators will wear black in tribute to the victims of the political
violence. The Zimbabwean Human Rights Forum, an alliance of church and
non-governmental organisations, reports that, despite government denials,
violence is still increasing at an alarming rate, much of it against the

The Freedom for Zimbabwe Campaign warned in the statement of the threat of
mass starvation and social breakdown that will be the inevitable result of a
rigged election.

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Daily News

Suspected Zanu PF youths in gang-rape

2/15/02 3:32:58 PM (GMT +2)

From Our Correspondent

THREE youths suspected to be part of a gang of Zanu PF youths camped at
Nketa 8 hall in Bulawayo, gang-raped a 40-year old woman in Bellevue suburb
over the weekend.

The police at Donnington confirmed they received the report but declined to
give details. The rape victim’s family said the alleged rape took place
after the toyi-toying youths had smashed the window panes of the family’s
house with stones.

Three of them forced their way into one of the bedrooms in which the victim
was sleeping. The woman said: “They looked menacing and were carrying
batons, so I acceded to their demands. One of them ordered me to get back
onto the bed and raped me once.

“The other two, who had condoms, took turns to rape me.” The traumatised
woman said the police promised to investigate. The family now sleeps in the
lounge for fear of another attack by the youths.

Hundreds of Zanu PF youths, mostly deployed from Ntabazinduna training camp
near Bulawayo, are now terrorising residents in the high-density suburbs of
the city.

They have intimidated and assaulted residents as part of the Zanu PF
election campaign for the presidential election. In a related incident, a
Nketa 6 resident was abducted from his home by suspected Zanu PF youths.

Eyewitnesses said the youths bundled him into a pick-up truck, blindfolded
him and tied his hands behind his back before driving off.
The police confirmed the incident.

Another resident was force-marched to Nketa hall, where the Zanu PF youths
have set up their base. The man, who sustained a deep cut on his forehead
after he was assaulted by the youths, was taken to Mpilo hospital.
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Daily News

Health crisis looms as parts of Harare run dry

2/15/02 3:31:03 PM (GMT +2)

By Columbus Mavhunga

A health crisis looms in the eastern suburbs of Harare and Ruwa which have
been without water since Sunday, as a result of a poor pumping system at
Lake Chivero.

Epworth, Ruwa, Harare and Chitungwiza draw water from Lake Chivero.
Yesterday, students from Mabvuku High School were sent home by school
authorities to avert a health crisis.

The residents of Greendale, Amby, Chisipite, Epworth, Mabvuku, Tafara and
Highlands complained the council did not tell them why there was a water
shortage and when the supplies would be restored.

Leonard Munemo, the chairman of the Mabvuku and Ratepayers’ Association said
the water supply was cut off on Sunday night. “People are using water from
shallow wells and this can be dangerous. On Monday, a delegation from our
association went to Town House but we were told we could not see the City
Engineer, whose department is in charge of water.

This is grossly unfair,” said an angry Munemo yesterday. Leslie Gwindi, the
newly appointed Harare city council spokesman attributed the crisis to the
prevailing dry spell. “The water levels are okay but its quality has
deteriorated,” said Gwindi.

“Filters at the Morton Jaffray water works are being constantly blocked as
more nutrients and algae pass through. “As a result we are engaged in more
backflash than purifying water, hence the output has been reduced.”
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Zimbabwe police disperse peaceful protest

Zimbabwean riot police have broken up a peaceful demonstration in downtown Harare.

Authorities say the protest against repressive laws and political violence was an illegal gathering under new security laws.

At least 10 marchers were arrested.

The National Constitutional Assembly called the march to protest about continuing political violence and repressive new laws.

But police had banned the march, saying it risked fanning public violence, and a judge had refused to hear an application asking him to revoke the ban.

Nearly 1,000 marchers were headed off by armed police on a main downtown street and other police units blocked streets along the proposed route.

Marchers were dispersed without tear gas being fired. It was the first major police action under the new security law that went into effect last month.

The new security laws impose penalties for insulting President Robert Mugabe, require police clearance for political meetings and related gatherings and give police sweeping powers of search and arrest.

The laws have been criticised as a ploy to muzzle opposition to Mugabe's ruling party ahead of sharply contested presidential elections on March 9-10.

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Independent (UK)

Media watchdog issues warning after reporter flees Zimbabwe
By Karen McGregor in Durban
16 February 2002

Zimbabwe's independent media monitoring watchdog warned yesterday of the
dangers of newspapers playing into the hands of Robert Mugabe's
state-controlled press after The Independent's Harare correspondent,
Basildon Peta, had to flee the country fearing for his life.

The warning from the respected Media Monitoring Project came as riot police
used draconian new security laws to crack down violently on a peaceful
protest in Harare. The government was also on a collision course with the
European Union after threatening to expel the Swedish head of the EU's
monitoring mission for presidential elections next month. Harassment of
international media representatives and the rejection of the chief monitor,
who has been told he is only a "tourist", may trigger EU sanctions at a
ministerial meeting on Monday.

The Media Monitoring Project said gloating in relentless state media attacks
about "alleged exaggeration" by Mr Peta of his imprisonment was misplaced.
"The magnitude of their own fabricated stories and persistently systematic
manipulation of the news is an intolerable abuse."

Such behaviour by President Mugabe's state-controlled print, radio and
television media "poses a far greater threat to the nation's access to
information than the relatively trivial offences committed by the privately
owned press". It called on "all media organisations to desist ... from
publishing or broadcasting unsub- stantiated allegations".

Zimbabwe television led bulletins with an attack based on an erroneous
front-page article in The Times in London, which said Mr Peta, secretary
general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, had admitted he fabricated an
account of his stay in police custody. At issue was Mr Peta's account in The
Independent, which omitted saying that he was allowed to pick up medicine in
the middle of the night. He was denounced as a liar as a result.

The state media this week also seized on an Australian "documentary" that
purported to show the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai arranging to have
Mr Mugabe "eliminated" in an assassination.
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Independent (UK)

Stephen Glover: Eagerness to blacken Peta's name is petty and cruel
16 February 2002

Basildon Peta, The Independent's correspondent in Zimbabwe, is at the centre
of a rather unedifying controversy. Mr Peta is one of six journalists
recently described by President Robert Mugabe as a "terrorist". Nearly two
weeks ago his house was ransacked by police. On Monday of last week he was
arrested at Harare central police station. None of this is in dispute. All
that is at issue is the number of hours Mr Peta was kept in custody.

In his account in The Independent of 6 February, Mr Peta described being
kept overnight in a "tiny VIP cell" next to "a stinking blocked toilet". His
version of events was challenged by the Media Institute of Southern Africa,
which issued a statement on 8 February that Mr Peta had been held for only
five hours, and not overnight. Mr Peta denied this, but he did admit he had
left the police station in the middle of the night for several hours – a
disclosure not vouchsafed in his original account. All the British
broadsheets took up the story in a competitive spirit, implying Mr Peta had
unduly elaborated his story.

The first edition of Tuesday's Times claimed Mr Peta had admitted the tale
of his incarceration had been "fabricated", though in later editions this
was changed to "exaggerated". Mr Peta strongly denied to me that he made
either admission. He pointed to a statement issued by the Media Institute of
Southern Africa on Monday evening which conceded that its earlier statement
was incorrect and apparently accepted Mr Peta's word that he had been held
for "about 15 hours".

But he admits, as he wrote in Wednesday's edition of The Independent, that
he did leave his cell for several hours in the middle of the night.
Detectives had agreed to accompany him to his home in search of medication
he needed for an ulcer and he had not mentioned this nocturnal excursion, to
protect the detectives.

Most journalists are inclined to over-egg their accounts of being shot at or
imprisoned, and it may well be that Mr Peta is part of that tradition. But
there is no doubt he was held for many hours, or that his house was

The explanation for his not mentioning leaving prison in the middle of the
night rings true to me.

This man is being persecuted by Mr Mugabe's thugs. The eagerness of rival
newspapers, particularly The Times, to blacken his name seems petty and

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The Times

Truth in Zimbabwe
The Times, The Independent and a Mugabe casualty

President Mugabe’s dismantling of democracy and his contempt for the rule of
law in Zimbabwe has brought condemnation from the press around the world, in
few places more fiercely than in these columns. His vicious assaults on
press freedom in Zimbabwe, where journalists have been beaten up and
arrested, seen their newspapers censored, their editors harassed and their
printing presses blown up, have been vigorously reported here. We have
properly praised the courage and resourcefulness of reporters who have held
out, against official intimidation and police brutality, for the public’s
right to be informed. Newspapers who tell the truth about Zimbabwe and
journalists who are liable to criminal prosecution for giving their readers
the truth have our wholehearted support. Their battle is crucial to the
survival of democracy there.
But truth is a tough taskmaster whose disciplines are tightened not relaxed
by the demands of events. When the law affords scant protection, the support
of the public is the ultimate defence on which a beleaguered press must
rely. That support is contingent on trust. Accuracy becomes more than ever
important. Exaggeration or half-truth becomes the excuse for a hostile
authority, directly or through its control of state media, to discredit all
independent reporting. As The Times and other newspapers have reported this
week, just such an attempt to discredit all journalism through the faults of
a single piece of journalism has now occurred.

The report in question appeared in Britain on the front page of The
Independent on February 6 under the byline of Basildon Peta, the
secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists who also writes for
the Financial Gazette in Zimbabwe and The Star in South Africa. It described
“my night in Harare Central, the notorious headquarters of President Mugabe’
s state security agents” where he had been “arrested” and dumped in a
“wretched cell”. The police had no business calling Mr Peta in to Harare’s
Central Police Station for questioning: that much is not in dispute. The
demonstration he had organised against the new press law was entirely
lawful. It is the accuracy of his report of his “detention” — far less
highly coloured versions of which appeared in the Gazette and the Star —
that is in question.

The respected Media Institute of Southern Africa promptly challenged the
veracity of his report. It pointed out that he was not held overnight until
“dawn came”. He was allowed to go home that night and return — accounts
differ as to when — the next morning. He was not locked in a cell; he was,
as he himself wrote in the Gazette, assigned to “a dimly lit office”. He was
there by appointment, made by his lawyer who left him only to make telephone
calls. He was not “out of touch with the outside world” but able to
telephone his wife.

The Times takes its place in this story because, after interviewing Mr Peta,
who admitted that he had been allowed to go home that night, we reported on
February 12 that he had “fabricated” parts of his story. After angry
protests from the Independent’s foreign editor we agreed to write in later
editions only that he had “exaggerated”. This he most certainly did, even if
his motive was, as he now says, to “protect” the detectives assigned to him.

The more we have subsequently learnt, the more justified our first
assessment has become. It is not Mr Peta’s fault that his story in The
Independent was such a destructive error. He is working under pressure that
should not be upon him. But that pressure has now increased on him and all
his colleagues because of the many inconsistencies in his own reports that
the Zimbabwean Government was quick to seize upon.

In a report yesterday which is comprehensible only as an attempt to divert
attention from its own failings, The Independent forcefully accused The
Times of allowing the Zimbabwe Government to make damaging claims against
the press. The Times is highly attentive to its responsibilities in Africa,
whose governments attach particular importance to its reports. It has
defended many brave individuals and groups fighting repression there. We do
so by reporting the facts to the best of our ability. Yesterday The Gazette
announced that Mr Peta had resigned so that the paper, according to the AFP
agency report, “does not suffer any possible contagion from the controversy
emanating from a story he wrote for a London newspaper”. We share this hope
that the damage is contained.

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