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

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to: with subject line "For: Open Letter Forum".


Thought of the Day:

"Bearing witness to lies: it's the closest we can come to truth in
an age of suspicion"

"The Hamilton Case" by
Michelle De Kretser.


- MF: Follow-up so far - Keith Clubb
- MF: Reply and Tunnel Vision - Canaan
- Re: New Mf-Imtco Tractors And Arda Estates - Financially Bankrupt but
Morally Not


LETTER 1: MF: FOLLOW-UP SO FAR, received 16.2.2005

by Keith Clubb

Dear JAG

Regrettably, I have had no response from Mr Wright regarding his quoted
comments. The next step has been to bring his comments to the attention of
the ethics committee of Agco which is the holding company of Massey
Ferguson. A copy of my submission is set out below - a copy has also been
sent to the Chairman of the Massey Ferguson Dealers Association which is
currently meeting in South Africa At the same time, I will raise the matter
with the editors of the farming publications in South Africa. If anybody
wants to help, do drop me a line.

Keith Clubb

----- Original Message -----

From: Diana Clubb
Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2005 9:32 AM
Subject: Fw: Public Statement by a Massey Ferguson Employee

Dear Sir/Madame

1. I farm in South Africa and Zambia and I have been a Massey Ferguson
owner for thirty years.

2. On January 25 2005, Mr Nick Wright who is Sales Director - Africa for
Massey Ferguson made the following statement which was published in the
Zimbabwe media following his meeting with the Minister of Agriculture of
Zimbabwe :

"Our discussions have been extremely fruitful and the Minister has put
across a strong case. We can safely say that Zimbabwe's agriculture is in
safe hands".

3. Since 2'000, over 4'000 out of a total of 4'500 commercial Zimbabwe
farmers have been thrown off their farms without compensation. Their
tractors and equipment have been stolen; their crops have been grabbed
without payment; they and their wives and children have been harassed and
often beaten, sometimes raped and sixteen of them have now been murdered by
President Mugabe's terrorists masquerading as war veterans. These
terrorists were under the direct direction of Zimbabwe's Minister of
Agriculture in the implementation of his Governments so-called land reform
programme and who was responsible for the subsequent reallocation of these
stolen farms to himself, his fellow cabinet members and Politicos.

4. As a clear and intentional result of the actions taken by the Minister
of Agriculture and his fellow cabinet members, the agricultural sector lies
in ruins. Agricultural production has been reduced to less than 20% of its
2000 levels and Zimbabwe has gone from one of the most highly mechanised
countries in Africa to the present situation where a working tractor or
combine is a rarity. So there is a significant potential market for Massey
Ferguson equipment. But the underlying problem remains political: all this
has happened to keep an old African dictator in power until he dies. As a
separate issue, democracy in Zimbabwe has been eliminated and you will be
aware that the Secretary of State for the United States of America has
included Zimbabwe in her 'axis of evil' listing and declaring it "an
outpost of tyrrany".

5. I cannot describe to you how offensive, insulting and just plain wrong
Mr Wright's description "We can safely say that Zimbabwe's agriculture is
in safe hands" has been to those of us who have witnessed the creation of
the disaster that is now Zimbabwe. I appreciate that the job of Massey
Ferguson is to help feed people. I am equally sure that the job of Massey
Ferguson is not to lend moral public support to racist dictators, murderers
and thieves who have created famine in their own country, just because
these people might buy a few tractors.

6. I wish to register a formal complaint with your committee that the
comments of your Sales Director - Africa for Massey Ferguson are factually
wrong; totally inappropriate and contravene your corporate governance
policy - particularly your standards of ethical behaviour and appropriate
business conduct. I would appreciate seeing your public commitment to doing
the right things for the right reasons.

7.I therefore request that a public retraction of Mr Wright's statement
should be published by Massey Ferguson and that Mr Wright should be
instructed by Agco to be more careful and thoughtful in future. I am
prepared to accept that Mr Wright made an error of judgement. I am not
prepared to accept that his error of judgement is condoned by Agco.

Yours Faithfully

Keith Clubb


The Chairman, Massey Ferguson Dealers Association, South Africa
The Chairman, Justice for Agriculture, Zimbabwe


LETTER 2: RE: MF REPLY and TUNNEL VISION, received 16.2.2005

by Canaan

Dear JAG,

I see that the response from Massey Ferguson's Chief executive has annoyed
a few. Not unexpected, given the tunnel vision. The best solution is take
this response into consideration when buying machinery in the future.
Notwithstanding that, I suggest that a campaign is launched to STOP BUYING
MASSEY FERGUSON in the SADC region. I'm quite sure that other machinery
companies will jump for joy and support this initiative by providing
incentives. Whether Massey Ferguson likes it or not, the big agricultural
developments currently underway across Africa are being driven largely by
our Zimbabwean disaffected compatriots. I say, that unless Massey Ferguson
publicly repudiates what has been quoted in the newspapers, they can go to
hell !!

One more thing. a "Don't Buy Massey Ferguson" campaign could surely be
extended across the globe. Farmer organisations in countries like Canada,
USA, Australia, New Zealand and the UK (to mention a few) are in touch with
what has happened to our farming community. They are aware of this massive
land theft and are sympathetic to our plight. It is something that must
never be underestimated or overlooked. They know that if you lose your
farm, you lose your home, your business and your life-long dreams. They
also know that the land was legally acquired by our farmers and it was
illegally and violently stolen by this rogue detestable regime. I have no
doubt that farmers across the globe will actively rally to any call made,
as a matter of principle.

This issue is not going to go away unless Massey Ferguson do the right

Massey Ferguson, if you have ears, I suggest you listen. It is in your
shareholders' interests to do so.




by Financially Bankrupt but Morally Not

Dear JAG

Is Massey Ferguson just supporting Zimbabwe's Land Reform Programme or is
it also indirectly supporting ZANU PF's 2005 election campaign?

At least one of the many ARDA estates throughout the country received a
consignment of approximately 20 brand spanking new IMTCO (the Iranian
manufactured MF) tractors at the start of the 2004/2005 summer cropping
season. these same tractors have been hard at work since their arrival and,
judging by the lack of summer crops on the ARDA estate, one would assume
that the main workload has been carried out on the neighoburing A2
privately "owned" farming land.

Reliable souces have it that such landprep is being done at give-away
prices and certainly well below currently recognized landprep charges.

The continued generosity of ARDA is astounding!

Financially Bankrupt but Morally not.


JAG Hotlines:
+263 (011) 205 374 If you are in trouble or need advice,
please don't hesitate to contact us -
we're here to help!
+263 (04) 799 410 Office Lines
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AU backs report on Zim abuse
News 24, 16/02/2005 22:24 - (SA)

Addis Ababa - The African Union has endorsed a report that concludes
political violence, arbitrary arrests and police torture occurred in the run
up to the 2002 Zimbabwe presidential elections, the union's spokesperson
said on Wednesday.
The comments come as Zimbabwe's main opposition movement and foreign
observers accuse the Zimbabwean government of using similar tactics in the
run-up to parliamentary elections scheduled next month.
The report - compiled by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
during a fact-finding mission in 2002 - marks a departure from the
traditional code of silence once maintained by African leaders on abuses by
their peers.
The African Union will publish the report, spokesperson Adam Thiam said
without saying when.
The report's ratification had been delayed at an AU summit in Ethiopia in
July 2004 to give the government of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe time
to respond.
Diplomats said Zimbabwe's reaction was to be added. The report was endorsed
in December.
Calls by The Associated Press to Zimbabwe's AU envoy went unanswered on
"There was enough evidence placed before the mission to suggest that, at the
very least during the period under review, human rights violations occurred
in Zimbabwe," according to a summary of the original report obtained by The
Associated Press.
"The mission was presented with testimony from witnesses who were victims of
political violence and others victims of torture while in police custody."
"There was evidence that the system of arbitrary arrests took place,"
according to the summary.
"The mission is prepared and able to rule that the government cannot wash
its hands from responsibility for all these happenings."
Mugabe narrowly won in 2002 over Movement for Democratic Change candidate
Morgan Tsvangirai.
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Zim Online

Group attacks Zimbabwe for failing to open up public media
Thur 17 February 2005

HARARE - The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ), a local
non-governmental organisation that fights for media freedom, says Zimbabwe
has failed to open up public media to all political parties in line with
regional requirements governing the running of elections.

In a report titled, Media and the 2005 parliamentary election, the
MMPZ criticises the public media's election coverage in the run-up to next
month's election saying it is still heavily tilted in favour of the ruling
ZANU PF party and government.

The coverage flouts Southern African Development Community (SADC)
regulations agreed by the regional bloc last August, says the media group.

"Clearly, even by mid-February, conditions for fair and equitable
access to the state media by all political parties still do not exist . . .
these media organisations (state-controlled) continue to favour the ruling
party while suppressing the activities of
the main political opposition.

"Neither the ESC (Electoral Supervisory Commission) nor the ZEC
(Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) have set minimum standards for direct access
and mechanisms for monitoring and enforcing these standards," it says.

The two electoral bodies, whose members were appointed by Mugabe, will
run the March election. The MDC says the two electoral bodies lack
sufficient clout to make independent decisions.

MMPZ said there are no legal instruments in place to ensure balanced
coverage of political parties in the run-up to the poll. It says this state
of affairs represents a clear violation of the spirit of the SADC

The opposition party accuses the government, which has kept a tight
grip on the media, of dragging its feet in opening up the public media to
divergent voices in line with the SADC demands.

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings, the country's sole broadcasting
station, has refused to flight adverts from the MDC saying they were "too

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo last year said the government would
not open up the media to the MDC as it was not a "loyal opposition".

The government accuses the main opposition MDC party of being a front
for whites out to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Supreme Court to hear postal votes challenge
Thur 17 February 2005

HARARE - The Supreme Court will next week hear an urgent application
by some Zimbabweans living outside the country seeking the court to overturn
a decision by the government not to allow postal votes in next month's

The eight foreign-based Zimbabweans want exiled citizens to be
declared eligible voters and the government ordered to put in place
mechanisms to enable them to register on the voters' roll so that they can
vote in the March election.

Beatrice Mtetwa, who is representing the applicants said: "The case
will be heard on 23 February. We want all voters resident outside Zimbabwe
to be declared eligible voters in all parliamentary and presidential

The eight applicants are, Jefta Madzingo, Farayi Maruzani, Emily
Madamombe, Matthew Nyashanu, Makusha Mugabe, Brian Mukuzva and Lincoln
Makotore. The Registrar General, Attorney General, Electoral Supervisory
Commission and Ministry of Justice are cited as respondents in the case.
They have already filed opposing papers with the court.

Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa has also been quoted by state
media insisting the government will not allow the exiled Zimbabweans, most
of who are believed to back the opposition, to vote.

More than three million Zimbabweans or about a quarter of the
country's population live in foreign countries mostly in South Africa,
Britain, United States and Botswana after fleeing home because of hunger,
economic hardship and political violence.

In their court application, the eight exiled Zimbabweans said it was
unreasonable for the government to ask Zimbabweans in the diaspora to
contribute to the country's economic revival while at the same time refusing
them the right to determine the
political direction of the country.

The government has since last year encouraged Zimbabweans living and
working abroad to send hard cash home to help end an acute foreign currency
crisis gripping the country. - ZimOnline
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The Herald

Low-income family cost of living rises

Business Reporter
THE consumer basket for a low-income urban family of six has risen
marginally to $1,8 million from $1,6 million per month.

According to a Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) survey, the monthly basket
for basic commodities for a family of six in January this year is now pegged
at $1 774 686.

Notable increases were recorded in bread and meat prices, which has forced
the consumer watchdog to raise the issue with the relevant ministries to
take appropriate action against anyone found guilty of charging prices above
those gazetted by the Government.

"We have raised concern over the price of bread. Traditional retail outlets
are selling bread at the controlled price, but tuckshops are selling above
the gazetted price. Legal action will be taken against anyone found guilty
of overcharging consumers.

"We have notified the Ministry of Industry and International Trade, which
will take appropriate action against anyone found guilty since they have an
established monitoring division," said CCZ public relations manager Mr
Tonderai Mukeredzi yesterday.

Mr Mukeredzi also said the cost of rented accommodation had increased
significantly during the period under review, adding that some of the
increases were not justified.

CCZ last month urged Government to take a closer look at the costing
structures and pricing policies of companies, particularly public
enterprises such as Zesa Holdings, Zimpost and TelOne whose tariffs are
burning huge holes in consumers' pockets.

According to the CCZ, the price of beef has gone up by about 250 percent in
the last six months. Many families were now left to drool at the prospect of
eating meat at long intervals as the price of beef had skyrocketed beyond
the reach of many, said the consumer watchdog.

"Beef has gone up by about 250 percent in the last six months to December
2004. In June 2004, a kilogramme of economy beef was costing about $10 000,
but the same quantity and brand is fetching anything above $37 000 per
kilogramme. Alternatives to beef, such as pork and chicken, are equally
unaffordable," said CCZ in a statement.

CCZ said abattoirs, butcheries and retailers attributed the spate of price
increases to a shortage of slaughter cattle and escalating ancillary costs
such as fuel, transport, postal and telephone rates, labour and packaging.

"Whilst the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe understands butchers and retailers
resolve to operate viably, it does not see the justification behind some of
the exorbitant prices on the market.

"If the wholesale price of economy beef is averaging $23 000 per kilogramme,
what is the basis upon which some retailers are charging as much as $35 000
per kilogramme or more? It is our understanding that profit margins
(mark-ups) should not exceed 20 percent of the wholesale price," said CCZ.
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International Monetary Fund

IMF Executive Board Considers the Complaint
Regarding Zimbabwe's Compulsory Withdrawal
from the IMF
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reviewed
Zimbabwe's overdue financial obligations to the Fund and considered the
Managing Director's complaint regarding Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal
from the IMF (see Press Release No. 03/210). Recognizing the severity of the
decision at hand, the increases in payments from Zimbabwe since the last
review in July 2004, and some improvement in economic policies, the
Executive Board decided to postpone a recommendation with respect to
compulsory withdrawal, providing Zimbabwe with another chance to strengthen
its cooperation with the Fund in terms of economic policies and payments.
The Executive Board will consider again the Managing Director's complaint
regarding Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal from the Fund within six months
or at the time of the Executive Board's discussion of the 2005 Article IV
consultation with Zimbabwe, whichever is earlier.

The Board's decision provides the country with an opportunity to
significantly strengthen its cooperation with the IMF, with the aim of
addressing its economic decline and resolving its overdue financial
obligations, prior to the Executive Board's next consideration of the
Managing Director's complaint.

The Executive Board noted that Zimbabwe has taken some initial policy steps
to arrest the economic decline, but concluded that these efforts remain
insufficient to decisively turn around the economic situation. The Board
called on Zimbabwe to adopt and implement a comprehensive adjustment program
as a matter of urgency, in the areas of fiscal, monetary, and exchange rate
policies and structural reforms.

The Executive Board also noted Zimbabwe's payments of US$16.5 million to the
IMF since the last review, which, however, fell short of stabilizing its
arrears to the IMF. The Board noted the authorities' intention to further
increase payments to the IMF from the second quarter of 2005, and urged
Zimbabwe to make every effort to increase payments and resolve its overdue
financial obligations to the IMF.

Zimbabwe has been in continuous arrears to the IMF since February 2001. As
of February 15, 2005, Zimbabwe's arrears to the IMF amounted to SDR 202
million (US$306 million), or about 57 percent of its quota in the IMF.
Compulsory withdrawal is the last step in a series of escalating measures
that the IMF applies to members that fail to meet their obligations under
the Articles of Agreement.

Public Affairs: 202-623-7300 - Fax: 202-623-6278
Media Relations: 202-623-7100 - Fax: 202-623-6772
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Zimbabwe Holds SADC at Arm's Length By Delia Robertson
16 February 2005

The Zimbabwean government has not issued invitations to the Southern African
Development Community to monitor whether it is complying with the
Community's election guidelines. VOA's Delia Robertson reports on the
difficulties in the relationship between Zimbabwe and its neighbors.

Southern Africa Development Community election guidelines stipulate that
invitations to monitor elections must be issued 90 days before the
election - meaning that Zimbabwe is more than 45 days late in inviting
representatives from the region to monitor the elections.

South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that regional
representatives need to be in Zimbabwe to monitor the elections and that it
would cause concern if they were not invited. And President Thabo Mbeki told
national television that the role of regional representatives in Zimbabwe
should also involve intervention.

"I've discussed the matter with President Mugabe, I am quite sure that the
SADC delegation can go to Zimbabwe," he said. "I think that we should send
in SADC delegation as quickly as is possible - not to go there and observe,
but to be able to intervene to help to create the situation for free and
fair elections."

The SADC protocol was adopted last year, including by Zimbabwe, and includes
provisions relating to freedom of association, freedom to campaign and to
vote, and equal access to state media such as national broadcasters. But
Chris Moroleng of the independent Institute for Security Studies says
Zimbabwe's security and media legislation continues to severely curtail the
rights of both organizations and individuals."

"Unfortunately it seems that the Zimbabwean government has been able to a
large extent to meet the provisions of the SADC electoral guidelines, which
relate to freedom of expression, of political parties to campaign, free
access to information by all political parties. And more importantly that
the environment must allow the electorate free from let or fear to express
their will," he said.

Up to now both South Africa and other regional neighbors have adopted an
approach of quiet diplomacy toward Zimbabwe; attempting to influence change
through persuasion. Mr. Mbeki has been at the center of this strategy - one
some analysts say he adopted at least in part because Mr. Mugabe led his
country to liberation and Mr. Mbeki believed that he could therefore be
persuaded toward the greater good of his people.

But Zimbabwean Trevor Ncube, an independent newspaper publisher in both
Zimbabwe and South Africa, says that the policy could also have been
informed by ignorance of both the ruling ZANU-PF and of the recently formed
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). He says the MDC made a
fundamental and immature error of judgment when, after its inception, it
ignored African countries in favor of western nations when seeking
international support.

"Because this crises in Zimbabwe unfortunately is not understood by our
African brothers because we have not been across to the African brothers to
explain what is taking place," he said. "The crises in Zimbabwe has been
sold by Robert Mugabe as a white, racist thing - we are going after these
white people - when it is not that. And trying to tell our African brothers
that those who are suffering in Zimbabwe are not the whites, the people that
are suffering are black Zimbabweans."

Mr. Ncube says that in particular the MDC disregarded the important role
South Africa and its ruling party could play in helping to end the crises in
Zimbabwe. But, he says, party leader Morgan Tsvangerai's recent visits to
South Africa and other African countries are an attempt to rectify the
situation. He says ongoing contacts between Mr. Mbeki and Mr. Tsvangerai
have already had a beneficial effect.

"I think that has added another dimension in terms of sources of
information - not just relying on what ZANU-PF is saying and what Robert
Mugabe is saying, but realizing that the Zimbabwean story has at least two
sides and that the MDC does have that other side of the story," he said.
"And I suspect that emanating from that was president Thabo Mbeki [being]
much more informed as to what the opposition's gripes and problems were all

Evidence of a shift in South Africa's strategy is in a change of approach by
the South African government toward both the MDC and toward its own alliance
partner, the Congress of South African Trade Unions or COSATU in the
latter's efforts to intervene in Zimbabwe.

In the past six months, COSATU delegations have twice been deported from
Zimbabwe - mostly recently last month. Now the congress says it will step up
its campaign against the Zimbabwe government, including using its extensive
union muscle to effectively blockade that country's borders.

The independent Institute for Security Studies' Chris Moroleng says a
COSATU-led blockage or even the threat of one, could add to the pressure on
Zimbabwe and strengthen Mr. Mbeki's hand in his talks with Mr. Mugabe.

"It certainly could be a strategy by the ANC and the government - as if the
government and the ANC are not one and the same thing. So in one way they
are trying to maintain and open and cordial relationship between - at a
government to government level, while at a party and alliance level they are
creating space for dialogue and debate," said Chris Moroleng.

This kind of double-handed approach to negotiations is not new to Mr. Mbeki.
He was part of the ANC negotiating team, which, while negotiating with the
former apartheid government, used mass protests to both underpin its demands
in talks and to speed up the negotiations process.

Zimbabwe has promised it will issue the invitations, and SADC
Secretary-General Kasuka Mutukwa told VOA that even at this late date,
monitors may be helpful in ensuring next month's poll freely reflects the
will of Zimbabweans. But Mr. Moroleng and Mr. Ncube both say it might
already be too late.

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SA 'scraps' Zim poll monitors
16/02/2005 23:26 - (SA)

Waldimar Pelser

Johannesburg - South Africa feels that an official fact-finding mission by a
team of legal experts to Zimbabwe for the parliamentary election there is
"unnecessary" and should be scrapped.

The Southern African Development Community's secretariat in Gaborone,
Botswana, received a letter on Tuesday from the department of foreign
affairs, which apparently stated that "the issue of the legal experts' visit
should not be followed up".

The team would have been made up of South African, Lesotho and Namibian
legal experts.

They were to have been sent to Zimbabwe by the SADC's directorate of
politics, defence and security.

Earlier in the week, SADC deputy executive secretary Albert Muchanga said
the legal team was to have investigated Zimbabwe's compliance with the
SADC's regulations on democratic elections - accepted in August in

"Zimbabwe invited the SADC to deploy legal experts to see how they
(Zimbabwe) have incorporated the (SADC) regulations.

Advocate was to lead SA team

"This process will not help only the SADC, but also other interested parties
with their perception and formulation of their decision concerning the

The (South African) director-general of foreign affairs, Ayanda Ntasaluba,
said recently the team was preparing for a visit. Kgomotso Moroka, an
advocate, was to have led the South African delegation.

The government was initially holding back its views on whether a fair and
just election was possible until after the visit.

But, on Tuesday it said the circumstances were in place for a free election.

The legal team was to have left on March 16. However, Zimbabwe has not
issued an invitation.

SADC spokesperson Esther Kanaimba said from Gaborone that they had received
the South African notification from Dr Jessie Duarte's office.

She is the director for multilateral affairs in the department of foreign

Kanaimba said she couldn't comment on the contents of the letter.

However, it is believed the letter states that the issue was discussed "at
the highest level" in South Africa and that it was felt "it is unnecessary
to follow it up", reports Beeld.

Kanaimba said the SADC secretariat "has no power" to send in a legal team to
Zimbabwe and were now waiting for orders from South Africa - which chairs
the directorate of politics, defence and security, reports Mandy Rossouw.

"We throw the ball in their (South Africa's) court and they throw it back.
We can't do anything without their go-ahead," said Kanaimba.

'SADC job to organise team'

Duarte, meanwhile, referred all questions to departmental spokesperson
Ronnie Mamoepa.

According to Mamoepa, Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said
South Africa had asked the SADC to organise a legal team.

"This is what they had to do. We have nothing further to do with it," he

Mamoepa also added that correspondence between the SADC and the government
was confidential and he refused to comment on the letter.

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Land mines kill farmer
16/02/2005 22:24 - (SA)

Harare - A villager in northeastern Zimbabwe was killed when five land mines
he dug up to use against marauding elephants exploded in his arms, news
reports said on Wednesday.

Christian Munetsi had planned to use the mines to protect his corn field
from elephants that roam the remote Rushinga district, local police official
Michael Munyikwa told state-run media.

Anti-personnel and vehicle mines were strewn along Zimbabwe's northeastern
border with Mozambique during the seven-year bush war that led to
independence from Britain in 1980.

Some have since been exposed by seasonal rains, making the area "extremely
dangerous", Munyikwa said.

Earlier this month, police reported two other people injured by land mines
in the region.

Zimbabwe's former white rulers placed mine fields along the borders with
Mozambique and Zambia in a bid to prevent black guerrilla fighters from
infiltrating their homeland.

Attempts to clear the fields have met with little success because of
shifting soil along river banks and a shortage of money and equipment to
sweep remote areas.

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Dealing With Mugabe's Zimbabwe
Many concerns, but little agreement on how to proceed
Canada should use its political clout in Africa and convince regional
leaders to exert pressure on Zimbabwe to respect the rule of law, according
to human rights observers appearing before a Commons subcommittee on Feb. 9.

At the bilateral level, Canada has limited sway with Robert Mugabe's
government, which is highly sensitive to anything it perceives as Western
interference. However, greater engagement by continental actors could
facilitate a stronger response to the political and economic crisis in the
country, according to Alex Neve, Canadian Secretary General of Amnesty

A special envoy could lead the initiative, a recommendation developed from a
fact-finding mission conducted in June,2004. This representative would be
similar to the Liberal MPs recently appointed to liaise with Haiti and
Grenada. Using "shuttle diplomacy", the goodwill ambassador could use the
leverage of solid relationships with partners in the NEPAD Secretariat, the
African Union, the Commonwealth and the South African Development Community
(SADC). The underlying idea is that some of the organizations' member
countries have greater influence on Zimbabwe's oppressive regime, such as
neighbouring South Africa, which provides a vital economic link.

"There is no sector of society in the country that is immune or safe," said
Mr. Neve, who participated in the Zimbabwean mission. The urgency for
stepped up action comes amid reports of intensifying state-run violence in
the lead-up to a March 31 parliamentary election. Moreover, a severe food
shortage and sharp decline in quality of living standards over the past few
years are causing grave concern. The Mugabe government has received
international condemnation for its heavy handed and restrictive policies,
and the country was labeled an 'outpost of tyranny' by the United States
this month.

In Ottawa, an official at Foreign Affairs avoided such strong language, but
said his department "condemns" all Zimbabweans who use "violence and
intimidation." He said the department is particularly concerned about food
shortages. "The Zimbabwean government's own policies in this regard have
considerable human rights implications," said Perry Calderwood, director of
the Eastern and Southern Africa Division at FAC.

Appearing before the committee, Mr. Calderwood responded to the request for
Canada to exert more pressure by saying some African nations have been clear
in stating that outside help isn't needed. "We found in various forums, such
as the Human Rights Commission and the UN, that initiatives from the West,
from the northern countries, are well-intentioned but frustrated by Africa's
view that Africa should be taking the leading role in addressing Zimbabwe's
problems and helping Zimbabwe. We have to exercise some caution in the way
that we approach it."

Mr. Calderwood said that Foreign Affairs has already considered, and
outright dismissed, the possibility of naming a special envoy. "Our
assessment is that there would not be value in it. If you look at Zimbabwe's
history over the last three or four years, and how effective Mugabe has been
in using well-intentioned initiatives and turning them on their head. The
optics of a Canadian special envoy traveling around Africa trying to solve
Africa's problems it's not clear to us that that would in fact advance our
interests," he said.

Sam Landon, first secretary and head of aid at the Canadian Embassy in
Harare, said that Canada and Zimbabwe enjoy "cordial relations." When asked
if his office keeps in regular contact with the ruling ZANU-PF officials, he
replied: "Only when we need to."

Since the 2002 presidential elections which Canada deemed "flawed" the
federal government has cut off direct funding to the Mugabe government. A
$5.5 million development budget is dispersed to non-governmental
organizations working on the ground. However, the future of that fund is
unclear because the Mugabe government is considering new legislation that
could cut off NGO funding from abroad. "The NGO bill might cause us some
difficulties to continue on with some of the things that we are doing,"
acknowledged Michel Lemelin, director general of CIDA's Africa and Middle
East Branch.

In an interview after the session, Mr. Landon said the economic crisis is as
pervasive as the political one. He says out-of-control inflation has
reversed the economic improvements being experienced in the country just a
few years ago.

It's in this context that Canada could be doing much more, said Professor
Linda Freeman, of Carleton University's political science department.
Getting ready to deploy food aid quickly, empowering civil society,
developing a refugee strategy and intensifying human rights monitoring done
by embassies are some of the additional measures Canada should be taking,
according to NGO officials who testified.

"Any belief that additional bilateral pressure will bring influence is
illusory," said Ms. Freeman. "There is no sign the Mugabe government has
responded to pressure from close allies like South Africa, let alone Canada,
a country they regard as being part of a Western conspiracy to bring down
its government." Ms. Freeman highlighted Ghana and Nigeria as possible
African allies, and used Malawi and Zambia as examples of nations that could
spread a "democratic culture."

On the most basic level, Canada should be in the international vanguard,
calling on Zimbabwe to create the democratic conditions for free and fair
elections. "The current government of Zimbabwe should not be able to claim a
free and fair election... when the conditions for such an election have
already rigged the outcome," said Ms. Freeman.

Canada has maintained diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe since its
independence in 1980. The embassy in Harare, led by Ambassador John Schram,
represents Canada in Zimbabwe, Angola and Botswana.
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Moyo at crossroads

Njabulo Ncube
2/17/2005 7:22:09 AM (GMT +2)

Propaganda chief faces defining moment tomorrow

EMBATTLED Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, one of the dominant
forces in the country's body politic in the past five years, faces a
defining moment when the nomination court for the March 31 parliamentary
poll sits tomorrow.

Moyo, an academic turned ZANU PF spin-doctor who has been battling for
his political survival after a wicked twist of fate in the aftermath of a
controversial meeting in his Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North home area, has
long coveted that constituency but was precluded by the ruling party from
running for it on its ticket.
The controversial 48-year-old government propagandist, who has since
been dropped from the ZANU PF supreme decision-making body - the politburo -
and central committee had his dream of standing on a ruling party ticket in
the March polls shattered by the Matabeleland North provincial executive,
which settled for a woman candidate.
Moyo, who joined President Robert Mugabe's Cabinet in July 2000 as a
non-constituency Member of Parliament, recently dropped strong hints of
standing as an independent with the most poignant being his "many tickets to
heaven" outburst targeted at ruling party chiefs.
All is however to be revealed to the anxious public when the
nomination court sits at the magistrates court at Tredgold Building in
Bulawayo tomorrow.
Mtoliki Sibanda of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is
currently the legislator for Tsholotsho.
It is understood that ZANU PF structures in Tsholotsho, who have not
forgiven the party for blocking Moyo's candidature by virtually imposing a
female candidate through a controversial affirmative action policy, were
against the candidature of Musa Ncube, who polled just over 200 votes in the
party's primaries.
Ncube, the wife of Bulawayo governor Cain Mathema, shrugged off flimsy
challenges from four other female parliamentary hopefuls to win the ticket
to represent ZANU PF in next month's polls.
But it is understood Ncube is presently not enjoying unified support
from ZANU PF leaders and supporters in the politically restive and volatile
province of Matabeleland North.
It understood that traditional leaders and war veterans -
beneficiaries of Moyo's three-year benevolence marathon - were openly
rooting for the minister, much to the chagrin of senior ZANU PF officials
from the region.
Sources close to Moyo revealed that he has been agonising over whether
to stand as an independent or, as was less likely, take the party's decision
lying down.
Standing on an independent ticket will pit the tongue-lashing minister
who has publicly clashed with ZANU PF heavyweights in Vice-President Joseph
Msika, national chairman John Nkomo and information chief Nathan Shamuyarira
against the ruling party machinery. ZANU PF has a history of dealing
ruthlessly with members within its ranks who stand as independents; a
situation insiders said had presented Moyo with his present political
According to the ZANU PF standing rules, any member who stands as an
independent candidate in any election is automatically dismissed from the
In the past, political firebrands such as Margaret Dongo, Dzikamai
Mavhaire, Lazarus Nzarayebani, Moses Mvenge and Richard Shambambeva-Nyandoro
have run afoul of the party after standing as independents.
ZANU PF sitting MPs dislodged from their positions in the January
primaries had initially looked set to stand as independents but chickened
out in fear of reprisals.
"He looks set to stand as an independent, unless something happens
between now and the nomination court. People want him and he has indicated
he won't let the people of Tsholotsho and Matebeleland down," said a source.
"He made his mind long back about Tsholotsho. What can stop him now as most
of the structures on the ground identify with him?" she asked. "We now await
the nomination court."
Moyo and a coterie of hangers-on have in the past few weeks increased
their presence in Tsholotsho to maintain contact with people on the ground,
the sources added.
Other insiders in ZANU PF suspected Moyo, careful not to show
disrespect to President Mugabe, on whose whim the minister's government
career hinged, might opt for a proxy candidate for Tsholotsho, while
considering his options.
Insiders mentioned Believe Gaule, the former chairman of the ZANU PF
Tsholotsho district co-ordinating committee and a Moyo loyalist suspended
from ZANU PF for attending the now infamous Tsholotsho meeting, as a
possible proxy candidate should Moyo decide against standing as an
Gaule delivered Moyo's curriculum vitae to the provincial coordinating
committee in December last year. He was chased out of the meeting while
Moyo's CV was disregarded on the grounds the party had reserved Tsholotsho
for an all-female primary election.
"The Gaule option is Plan B, meant to ensure the constituency remains
in his pocket, anyone with Moyo's influence can win Tsholotsho," said
another source, adding that Moyo's continued and frequent forays into
Tsholotsho despite Ncube's nomination as the ZANU PF candidate, gave
credence to suspicions he had something up his sleeves.
Gaule could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Moyo, who has kept his options open, is reported to have confided in
his close political associates to look forward to the nomination court
tomorrow to see if his romance with Tsholotsho, one of the poorest districts
in Zimbabwe where the hyperactive minister has worked feverishly to bring
infrastructural development, would cease.
Most of the ZANU PF insiders in Matebeleland who spoke to The
Financial Gazette yesterday were agreed Moyo had the popular support of the
majority of the poor electorate in Tsholotsho despite his fall-out with
senior ZANU PF officials from Matebeleland.
They also revealed that the combative government-spin doctor had
intimated to them his desire to take the ruling party head-on after senior
ZANU PF stalwarts in Matebeleland allegedly pressed for his dismissal from
the ruling party after the now infamous Tsholotsho indaba- one of the most
mysterious yet significant political developments in the country in recent
By going independent, the sources added, Moyo wanted to prove to
President Mugabe, who personally appointed him to the cabinet, politburo and
central committee, that he had grassroots support compared to several former
PF ZAPU heavyweights he claims are jealous of his growing stature in the
Vice President Msika, Nkomo and Dumiso Dabengwa, the three most senior
former PF ZAPU political heavyweights, have all declined to test their
popularity by contesting in the elections.
"He is willing to stand as an independent but what he is not sure of
is the intensity of the retribution from ZANU PF," added another source
close to him. "What he has said is that let's wait for the nomination day.
What has come clear and even to the President is that it is the top people
that don't want him, not the grassroots," added the source.
A politiburo member in Matebeleland who spoke anonymously said ZANU PF
gurus had been taken aback by President Mugabe's deafening silence over
Moyo's political machinations, especially his outburst and massive lawsuit
against Nkomo and Dabengwa.
"He has a point to prove, he might cross back to ZANU PF after winning
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New buses plunge ZUPCO into fresh controversy

Chris Muronzi
2/17/2005 7:23:14 AM (GMT +2)

PUBLIC transport operator, the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company
(ZUPCO), has plunged into yet another controversy - this time over the
recent acquisition of 40 refurbished conventional buses valued at about $23
billion at the ruling exchange rate.

In a new twist to the much-celebrated acquisition, a local transport
operator has raised its protest against the mega deal with the State
Procurement Board (SPB), formerly the Government Tender Board.
Pioneer Development Company, which previously supplied ZUPCO with 40
Marcopolo Torino F94 buses, has asked the tender board to reconsider the
supply of Isuzu units to ZUPCO by Gift Investments, owned by influential
businessman Jayesh Shah.
"Gift Investments P/L and Isuzu vehicles have no track record on the
roads of Zimbabwe, today there is not even a single Isuzu unit of this
specification traveling the roads of Zimbabwe," said Pioneer
group managing director Hamish Rudland in a letter dated November 22
"I urge the tender board to make a formal request to Gift Investments
to supply and operate as a demonstration unit an Isuzu bus for a period of
at least six months to gauge its hardiness and suitability for Zimbabwean
operational conditions," added Rudland in a letter copied to the office of
the President.
Gift Investments won the right to supply ZUPCO, which operated a fleet
of over 1200 buses at its peak in the early 1980s, with 40 Isuzu MV123TC
buses that were commissioned by Vice President Mujuru last month. Each unit
was going for US$91 500.
Other suppliers, Scania South Africa, Pioneer and W. Dahmer also
secured contracts to supply coaches in the split tender as the parastatal,
now geared to reclaim its former glory, moved to increase its fleet by 150
Pioneer is however alleging that the Isuzu buses, which are US$1250
more expensive than the fashionable Marcopolo Torino F94 models supplied by
Scania and Pioneer, could be of a sub-standard quality.
The company contends that the Isuzu units had been condemned from the
South African market by the South African Bureau of Standards due to
rollover safety and environmental pollution.
Shah vehemently denied the allegations when contacted for comment this
week. The businessman said his Isuzu vehicles have never plied South
Africa's roads as alleged by his detractors.
He said: "I am not the Isuzu dealer in South Africa. How can I sell in
South Africa? I have not sold or attempted to sell an Isuzu bus there. The
issue was brought buy people who do no want to work for this country."
Pioneer is however, adamant that the buses do not meet the required
vehicle specifications attached to the tender document.
"As a request, we would like to have the Gift Investments unit tested
by standards of Zimbabwe in conjunction with the Vehicle Inspection
Department to verify the specifications as well as the safety of the vehicle
for Zimbabwean operations.
"It is urged that the tender board take these allegations seriously as
the vehicles are carrying Zimbabwean citizens whose safety cannot be
compromised under any circumstances," said Pioneer.
Shah alleged yesterday that his detractors were busy throwing
accusations while keeping buses, which could be used to ease the transport
problem, in their warehouses.
"I am appealing to other suppliers to bring in buses and not to keep
them in their bonded warehouses. Act in the interest of the nation I say to
them," he said adding that withholding the buses amounted to economic
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Govt keeps observers guessing

Staff Reporter
2/17/2005 7:25:55 AM (GMT +2)

THE government, under pressure to level the electoral playing field
ahead of next month's parliamentary poll, has kept a tight lid on the list
of foreign observer missions it prefers in the crucial election.

It emerged this week that the Foreign Affairs Ministry, headed by
veteran diplomat Stan Mudenge, is still vetting a cluster of observer
missions keen on passing their opinions about the election.
The government, whose human rights record is a subject of intense
debate, intends to reduce the number of election monitors and bar observer
teams from "hostile countries" and continue with what is widely seen as a
veil of secrecy on what its critics allege to be its election rigging
Officials from the Foreign Affairs Ministry were mum on the list of
foreign observers being invited to monitor and observe the March 31
"The government will invite international election observers. It is in
the process of preparing the list of foreign election observers," said a
Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson in a terse response to inquiries by
The Financial Gazette.
Sources in the ministry, however, said the bulk of the observers would
come from "friendly" African Union, Southern African Development Community,
Pacific and some Asian countries.
Analysts warned that reducing the number of foreign observers could
heighten concerns about Zimbabwe's electoral process.
The ruling ZANU PF, facing a stiff challenge from the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), is still to convince the international community
that it can win free and fair elections.
The MDC has emerged as the biggest challenge to President Robert
Mugabe's 25-year grip on power amid a severe economic crunch blamed squarely
on government mismanagement.
Observers barred from observing previous elections in the past have
accused the Zimbabwe government of hiding irregularities in its electoral
The exclusion of independent election observers comes amid protests
from opposition parties and civic organisations that preparations for the
election are being done under grossly unfair laws.
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Zim's political maturity on trial

Charles Rukuni
2/17/2005 7:26:47 AM (GMT +2)

How many of the disgruntled will stand as independent candidates?
BULAWAYO - The political maturity of Zimbabwe's aspiring legislators
will be put to test tomorrow when candidates submit their nominations for
the March 31 parliamentary elections.

After the squabbles that rocked the ruling ZANU PF and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) during the parties' primary elections,
observers will be watching how many of the disgruntled candidates will have
the guts to stand as independents.
The leadership of both parties was accused of imposing candidates,
with some sitting MPs in the MDC vowing to stand against the selected
candidates, while the ruling party purged all the Young Turks associated
with the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration which allegedly opposed the
nomination of Joyce Mujuru as Vice-President.
Six ZANU PF provincial chairmen, some of whom had indicated that they
intended to contest the polls and had poured millions of dollars into their
campaigns, were suspended from the party and seem to have accepted the
decision to bar them.
But there has been speculation that some of the candidates, including
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, who had campaigned heavily and put
almost everything at stake in their bid to enter into the august House,
might decide to stand as independents.
Observers say Moyo hinted on this during his scathing attack on ZANU
PF politburo members Dumiso Dabengwa and John Nkomo, whom he accused of
masterminding his ouster from Tsholotsho constituency.
"As to Cdes Nkomo and Dabengwa's self-indulgent declaration that they
will not allow me to contest in Tsholotsho on a ZANU PF ticket, I wish to
respectfully remind them that ZANU PF is larger than any two or three
individuals and any attempts to personalise the party are ultimately bound
to fail," Moyo was quoted by the official The Chronicle daily newspaper as
He added: "In any event, Cdes Nkomo and Dabengwa should know that
there is no one ticket to heaven. There are many such tickets and that is
why there are many churches and many religions and all with tickets to
Political observers are watching closely how many aspiring candidates
will seek these alternative routes to "heaven" because they believe very few
politicians, especially from the ruling party, have the guts to stand their
ground, preferring to back the party as they have been drilled for years to
believe that there is no political life outside ZANU PF.
This was amply demonstrated, the oservers say, by the late
Vice-President Simon Muzenda during the run-up to the 2000 elections when he
told voters in Chivi: "Even if we put a baboon in Chivi, if you are ZANU PF,
you vote for that baboon."
The observers say the same thinking seems to have crept into MDC
strongholds, where the calibre of the candidate does not matter as long as
one is MDC.
Yet studies indicate that more than 60 percent of Zimbabwean voters do
not support either the ruling or opposition parties. Besides, there is a
very thin line between the importance of a candidate and that of the party.
According to a study carried out by Afrobarometer last year, 60
percent of Zimbabweans polled declared themselves to be "independent,
undecided or apolitical".
"In an election, their allegiance would be up for grabs by either of
the main political parties," the study said.
Another study carried out by the Mass Public Opinion Institute in
February 2002 showed that 34.7 percent of those polled felt that a candidate
was more important than the party, while 35.9 percent felt the party was
more important than the candidate. Almost a quarter thought the two were
equally important.
A survey which will show the current trends will be released in a week
or two, but this will be too late to sway the thinking of aspiring
candidates sitting on the fence.
With the political stalemate that has bogged down ZANU-PF and the MDC
over the last five years, the observers believe that independent Members of
Parliament could play a crucial role in keeping both the ruling party and
the main opposition on track as they could swing the vote either way.
"There is a feeling that those who have been sidelined should stand as
independent candidates because if 20 candidates or more win as independents,
this would force the winners to form a government of national unity as the
independents can sway the vote either way, by ganging with the ruling party
or siding with the opposition," one of the suspended ZANU PF politicians
A political researcher, however, said Zimbabwe had a chequered history
about people standing as independents. Though the trend had started picking
up in the 1990s with those who had been kicked out of the ruling party
successfully challenging and winning elections - the notable ones being
Margaret Dongo and Mutare mayor Lawrence Mudehwe - it had been dealt a
severe blow after the formation of the MDC as it provided a strong
alternative to ZANU PF, the researcher said.
But the change that the once vibrant party promised does not seem to
have materialised. Even though it was not given any opportunity to sell its
programmes to the people, analysts say some of its legislators have done
very little during their five-year tenure and are virtually unknown in their
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'Anti-Blair' vs 'Better Zimbabwe'

Njabulo Ncube
2/17/2005 7:27:28 AM (GMT +2)

2005 election roars to life

ZIMBABWE'S political protagonists, the ruling ZANU PF and the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), have set the ball rolling
for what promises to be yet another bruising parliamentary election next
month, with aspiring candidates from both camps this week on campaign trails
across the country's designated 120 constituencies.

With President Robert Mugabe having officially launched his party's
"anti-Blair" election campaign at the Harare International Conference Centre
(HICC) last Friday, the MDC on Sunday uses Mucheke stadium, in Masvingo, as
the launch pad for the party's "Better Zimbabwe" campaign.
While ZANU PF saunters towards the March 31 elections brimming with
confidence, the MDC trudges to the decisive polls "with a heavy heart,"
alleging a grossly uneven political playing field.
The MDC says ZANU PF, which in recent months implemented a set of
electoral reforms critics describe as cosmetic and piecemeal, is still in
violation of the Southern African Development Community's Mauritius protocol
on staging elections in a democracy despite procuring translucent boxes on
Monday this week.
Analysts are unanimous the loud calls for a peaceful election from
both camps point to a race where violent incidents might be reduced compared
to the orgy of brutality that characterised the 2000 parliamentary and 2002
presidential elections.
ZANU PF officials are adamant the time has finally arrived to "bury"
the MDC, which nearly pulled the rug from under the ruling party's feet when
it grabbed 57 of the 120 contested seats in 2000. The MDC has been a
constant thorn in ZANU PF's side since its formation on September 11 1999.
Apart from the usual and predictable anti-Blair and anti-West
rhetoric, President Mugabe, addressing over 3 000 delegates at the HICC,
focused on the issues of land and "economic turnaround".
The party also released a book entitled Traitors, in which it attacks
the "evils" of colonialism and the MDC.
In its manifesto, entitled The People's Manifesto, Sovereignty over
our National Resources, the ruling party praises itself for its
controversial land reform programme, saying it had acquired 5 890 farms
measuring 7.8 million hectares from whites for redistribution to landless
The party says it envisages "a brighter and more hopeful era where all
the sacrifices, strains and pressures associated with the preceding half
decade have to give way to a brighter future of rich rewards and
much-improved living standards of our people".
"The next five years will witness more robust funding for all
categories of the agricultural sector. Agriculture will reassert its pride
of place as a leading contributor to the Gross Domestic Product," reads part
of the manifesto.
ZANU PF insiders this week revealed that President Mugabe would be
visiting all the party's 10 political provinces as its election campaign
machinery shifts into top gear.
President Mugabe has in the past year been doling out computers to
schools around Zimbabwe, a move analysts have described as a political
gimmick to coax youths to throw in their lot with ZANU PF.
The insiders said the party's other strategy would be to visit rural
areas captured by the MDC in 2000 in desperate attempts to win over the
hearts and souls of the villagers.
ZANU PF also reveals in the manifesto that the government has pumped
in $25 billion to develop the long-stalled Matabeleland Zambezi Water
Project - a major sticking issue among the electorate there.
According to the manifesto, the ZANU PF government has earmarked more
funds for the project, first mooted in 1912, but which has not been
implemented by successive governments because of prohibitive costs of
rolling out the project envisaged to turn perennially dry Matabeleland into
a greenbelt.
Meanwhile, the MDC, which only a fortnight ago called off its boycott
of all elections, has refused to throw in the towel.
Its leader Morgan Tsvangirai warned ZANU PF of a bruising encounter at
the polls as preparations were underway for the party to officially launch
its campaign and manifesto in the political hotbed of Masvingo province,
where the party's sitting legislator Silas Mangono, aggrieved at having lost
the party's nomination, is leading a splinter faction.
Tsvangirai told rural voters at a rally the party had for the past
two-and-a-half years been on the ground putting up support structures.
"We are more organised than we were in 2000," said Tsvangirai, in
reference to the historic polls where his then eight-month-old party took 57
seats off ZANU PF.
MDC insiders were confident that, barring rigging, the main opposition
party would retain most of the urban seats, especially in Harare and
Bulawayo, and grab additional ones in perceived ZANU PF rural strongholds.
Playing down the alleged bickering within the MDC - a coalition of
pro-democracy organisations, intellectuals and labour unions - party
activists said a peaceful campaign would guarantee a stronger showing than
that registered in 2000.
A perusal of the MDC's manifesto, which is yet to be made public,
indicates the party will fight this election on four key issues - freedom,
human rights, education and jobs. The party, which concluded the selection
of its parliamentary hopefuls on Monday this week, will use the Mucheke
gathering to also bring to an end discord in the politically volatile
Masvingo province.
All the 120 candidates are expected to be officially introduced,
according to Esaph Mdlongwa, the MDC's organising secretary. Information
kits containing profiles of candidates and the manifesto would be
distributed as the MDC attempts to wrest power from ZANU PF in an election
regional and international observers doubt will be free and fair.
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Attention-shy Zim draws iron curtain

Njabulo Ncube
2/17/2005 7:27:56 AM (GMT +2)

SEE no evil, hear no evil, and say no evil has increasingly become the
Zimbabwe government's mantra not only to the country's citizens, but also to
the rest of the world as it decisively clamps down on any perceived critics
of the political situation in the crisis-ridden southern African state.

Following the barring of a Congress of South African Trade Unions
(COSATU) delegation a fortnight ago, Harare also deported two South
Africa-based trade unionists - Bobby Marie and Vihemina Prout - after
immigration officers demanded "security" clearance letters from Labour
Minister Paul Mangwana.
The two had reportedly come to Harare on a Southern African Trade
Unions Coordinating Council (SATUCC) mission to discuss issues pertaining to
the proposed establishment of a trade union school with the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
ZCTU secretary-general Wellington Chibhebhe, whose union led the most
spirited public demonstrations against the government in the late 1990s,
said his organisation felt the government was bearing down on the country's
largest workers' representative group.
"The immigration officials said they had specific instructions that
anyone who comes to see the ZCTU should have a clearance letter from (the
ministry of) Labour," said Chibhebhe. "Since they had no such letter, they
were sent back on the same flight," he added.
Added to this, the ZANU PF government, which faces a stern credibility
test in next month's parliamentary elections, has reiterated its position
that only selected observers - international and local-- would be accredited
for the March 31 poll.
Non-resident Zimbabweans, believed to number 3.5 million and most of
them in the United Kingdom, United States and South Africa cannot vote, the
government contends.
After the barring of a second COSATU fact-finding mission two weeks,
analysts that spoke to The Financial Gazette said indications of the
government's paranoia bordering on the absurd would increase as March 31,
election day, drew closer.
The analysts noted that in the face of a seemingly stubborn Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) barely showing signs of a party in disarray or
visible political fatigue, ZANU PF was now jittery hence its determination
to ignore or disregard implementing some of the minimum standards on
democratic elections agreed by the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) at the Mauritius summit last August.
They also pointed at the dilly-dallying by the government in timeously
issuing out invitations to local and regional poll observers as signs of a
desire to effectively shut out any international scrutiny.
President Robert Mugabe, whose party needs to triumph in an undisputed
election to attain some measure of credibility and respectability in the
international community, has ruled out inviting observers from the European
Union, which has been among Harare's most strident critics over its
political crisis and alleged human rights violations.
"This is the behaviour of a desperate regime that wants to hide
something," said ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo.
"We know Zimbabwe is not a province of South Africa but we are living
in a global village. As ZCTU we are allowed without hassles in and around
the world to visit our counterparts but not in Zimbabwe. This is all because
of the elections otherwise these visits are harmless," said Matombo.
The MDC said ZANU PF was shutting out trade unionists to prevent SADC
leaders from confirming that the ruling party had put huge obstacles in the
opposition's way to winning the polls.
The MDC is adamant the government has failed to meet demands for
wide-ranging democratic electoral reforms but has cobbled up cosmetic
changes to hoodwink SADC and other international stakeholders with a keen
interest in the polls.
Chibhebhe added: "The latest deportation confirms that we are under
siege. Our friends cannot have access to us and so are we."
COSATU, incensed by its failure to visit Harare, is mulling plans to
block entry points into Zimbabwe, but the African national Congress
government, which last week expressed satisfaction with conditions for
elections in Zimbabwe, has given indications it will discourage such action.

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MIC's axe hovers over Weekly Times

Staff Reporter
2/17/2005 7:28:20 AM (GMT +2)

PRESSURE is mounting on The Weekly Times, the latest publication to
come under the government's onslaught, as it emerged that the Media and
Information Commission (MIC) is planning to scrutinise the weekly's bank
accounts to check on its source of funding.

Sources said the MIC planned to use its powers provided for in the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) to probe the
accounts of Mthwakazi Publishing House, publishers of The Weekly Times, held
at the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe.
The MIC, which has threatened to cancel the paper's licence, is
desperately looking for a legal conduit to justify such action. The sources
said the MIC is highly suspicious that the paper is foreign-funded and is
heavily linked to the Mthwakazi United Kingdom and South Africa, a highly
tribalistic organisation whose motives are viewed as anti-Zimbabwean by the
incumbent government.
"MIC says it suspects the paper is foreign-funded but the matter
really is they are just trying to find an excuse to cancel the licence. The
licence is going to be cancelled anyway with or without establishing where
the money is coming from," the sources said.
AIPPA gives the MIC unlimited access to all publishing houses'
financial accounts including bank accounts.
MIC chairman Tafataona Mahoso, a reputable academic turned ZANU PF
apologist, refused to comment saying he did not want to comment on matters
that are still under consideration.
"It is like a court case, we will wait until the case is finished," he
The MIC, apparently not happy with the product delivered by the
publication, has notified The Weekly Times of the commission's intention to
suspend or cancel the registration certificate.
Bulawayo lawyer Kucaca Pulu of Coghlan and Welsh, who is representing
the publishers, said the MIC had indicated that it would advise on the
paper's status in due course.
The publishers also met the MIC where they were requested to furnish
minutes of the meeting of the shareholders when they decided to form the
paper and when they decided to register in terms of AIPPA and their
financial statements.
The newspaper would become the fourth paper to close shop inside 16
months under the draconian AIPPA should the MIC cancel its licence.
In September 2003, The Daily News, which had become Zimbabwe's largest
circulating daily and its sister publication, The Daily News on Sunday, were
forced to close down after the High Court ruled they were operating without
a licence as required by AIPPA.
A few months later, the government-appointed MIC shut down The
Tribune, owned by the embattled Makonde Member of Parliament Kindness
Paradza, who is now battling for political survival, for failing to report
material changes to the newspaper's shareholding.

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Parliamentary seats are no meal tickets

2/17/2005 8:12:33 AM (GMT +2)

IT my honest and heartfelt belief that the people of Harare Central
constituency have only one choice in the upcoming elections. That choice has
to be Margaret Dongo.

Let me make a few points clear from the outset: I have never met Dongo
in my entire life, nor have I ever communicated with her. And, despite the
recent speculation that I would be among the group of independents she is
trying to put together to contest the elections in March, I have no
intention of becoming an MP
. This, I point out in order to demonstrate that my belief in Dongo is
not in any way informed by personal objectives.
Dongo is right when she says that the current political atmosphere in
our parliament is characterised purely by power politics. The MDC and ZANU
PF have become so focused on winning complete control of the country that
they have forgotten that there are people who live in the country they want
to control. These people have needs. They are grappling with the most basic
issues on a daily basis. Yet parliament seems to be completely unconcerned
with bread and butter issues.
Instead, when our MPs are not doing their best Mike Tyson impressions
in the revered House, they are busy nodding off, or simply presenting
themselves to be marked present and then disappearing to run their private
Specifically, I call the attention of the electorate to the fact that
virtually all sitting MPs for Greater Harare are MDC members. These MPs have
watched in almost complete silence as ignoble Ignatius Chombo has hacked
away at every last vestige of civilisation this city had. He has installed a
political hobo, a political tramp of no fixed (political) abode as "mayor".
Subsequent to this, service delivery in Harare (and Bulawayo, also
controlled by the MDC), has plumbed the depths of mediocrity. Raw sewage is
actually flowing in the streets (something you would not have found even in
the city of Rome 3000 years ago).
Through all this, MDC MPs have been largely silent. I can recall only
one occasion when an opposition MP asked questions of Chombo in the House.
Chombo's response was hogwash and all indications are that the MP never then
followed through. Which is where I think Dongo comes in.
We know from experience that this woman does not go into parliament to
make up the numbers or to warm the seats. Dongo is stubborn, in the good
sense of the word. She pursues real issues relentlessly.
With her representing me in parliament, I know that, if need be, she
will ask the same questions every single day until the minister responsible
is embarrassed into action. But the MDC MPs we have now just put up a show.
There seems to be no drive in them.
ZANU PF, on the other hand, is obviously a non-starter because any
ZANU PF member elected to represent our urban constituencies will be more
concerned with his farms(s) than with the problems of the city. If the city's
problems were their priority, we would certainly have seen an improvement
now that Chombo is now playing the part of mayor, ruling the city by proxy,
through Sekesai Makwavarara.
Under these circumstances, I would rather have an independent, even if
that MP is a lone Helen Suzmansque voice in a sea of power-hungry and
politically selfish partisan MPs.
The problem, in my view is pretty straightforward: both ZANU PF and
the MDC have made the mistake of choosing candidates who treat their
parliamentary seats as meal tickets.
They see a seat in parliament as an end in itself, not a means to a
more noble end i.e. standing up for the people who put them into the House.
No wonder all manner of creatures are emerging from political hibernation
now, dishing out presents and gifts to the people in the hope of being given
a meal ticket in the form of a seat in the House.
These people, once in, will treat their constituents with contempt.
They will use the seats for personal enrichment and advancement, paying
little regard to the plight of the people who elected them.
As can be expected, this column is not going to treat these people
with any deference at all, since they have shown the people no deference.
Facts and the truth should be what guides the voters as they cast their
votes and they certainly deserve to know the true colours of the people who
are seeking to represent them.
Closer to the election, therefore, I am urging this paper to publish a
full list of ALL current MPs and to also note next to their names how many
contributions they made in the house in the last session and what that
contribution was. MDC MPs, with their councillors silenced by the marauding
Chombo, should have taken the battle to the House, pursuing the minister
relentlessly, asking him to justify his actions and demanding a
parliamentary probe into how the minister is usurping the powers of local
By the same token, ZANU PF should also stop the behaviour of jumping
to act only when President Robert Mugabe shouts (sometimes, even then, he
gets ignored, as was the case with the multiple farms saga). They do not owe
their positions to President Mugabe, but to the people and if they satisfy
the people, even the President himself would not dare touch them.
But, as Dongo once said, they prefer to be Mugabe's wives, obedient
almost to a fault, so that the House on the ZANU PF side resembles an
assembly of robots, controlled by remote control and unable to take
initiatives of their own unless programmed to do so by the Presidium.
This behaviour, more than anything else, is single biggest threat to
ZANU PF, despite the belief in the ruling party its biggest threat is
British Premier Tony Blair.
The only way, therefore, that an educated electorate can get the most
out of its representatives is to make sure that they are never comfortable.
Instead of voting for a party, we should start looking at the characters of
the people in those parties. If you have not heard anything from your MPs in
the last five years, what hope is there that he or she even knows what
problems you face?
So, before one votes, one should ask themselves what, in the last five
years, their sitting MP has done to make their lives better. Then one should
ask oneself if there is another individual standing, either for a rival
party or as an independent who is likely to be passionate about the same
things you are passionate about, who will speak for those without a voice,
those who cannot ask direct questions of Ignatius Chombo.
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Dishonest and insincere MPs

2/17/2005 7:45:55 AM (GMT +2)

"BE sincere and honest", President Robert Mugabe implored aspiring
Members of Parliament for his ruling ZANU PF when he launched the party's
campaign and manifesto for the watershed March 2005 Parliamentary poll.

What we read as the import of the President's message to the MPs, some
of whom are known for their bloated self-interest was: don't waste people's
time if you are not up to the task, which demands a commitment of service to
others - a placing of the needs of others above your own. He was telling
them that they have to have vision and act as if it is impossible to fail
the people. In other words, the days of self-centredness and parochial
political interests are over! We couldn't agree more with President Mugabe
even though this would be asking for far too much from some of the MPs if
their track record is anything to go by.
Just as well, because other than being a menace to ordered social life
and social thought when they fan violence during campaigning, most of these
politicians, who by a strange streak of fortune ended up being MPs, had not
known how to tell the truth. By and large, they have not been able to
deliver on electoral promises - they have usually promised more than they
could deliver. They did not pay regard to any moral obligation nor did they
give a damn about the people they purported to represent.
It was said of former American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that
". . . he is a disaster. His priorities are one Kissinger, two president,
three USA." And so it is with most of Zimbabwe's piscatorial politicians who
have been persistent fishermen in the country's political waters. Most of
them have been a dishonest lot which makes us and indeed many Zimbabweans
wonder how it ever occurred to anyone that they should be people's
representatives in the august House.
We do not care how it is explained because in the court of public
opinion, it defies all common sense to have had some of these hypocrites who
are chock-full of self-importance and self-concern, as MPs for close to
three decades in the case of some. They are the kind who would cut down a
tree species threatened with extinction, and then mount the stump to make a
speech for conservation!
That is why we were not surprised that some of the sitting MPs from
both sides of the political divide - ZANU PF and the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) - were emphatically rejected by the people during the two
political parties' controversial primaries. Instead of throwing the MPs who
were literally clutching at straws a lifeline, the people, tired of being
taken for granted, sickening hypocrisy and dishonesty, threw the politicians
both ends of the rope such that they deservedly sink right down to the
bottom of the political deep blue sea.
First of all, even though their campaigns, violent in some instances,
jet from place to place in their various constituencies, no real issues show
up on the radar screen. It is all cheap politicking as they are only good at
attacking personalities or in the habit of speaking about patriotism is such
a way that the very word becomes impure. There is no iota of sincerity in
what they say. Bread and butter issues only come up as after-thoughts that
could go unthought of! It is a pity that Zimbabweans have in the past
helplessly been forced to vote for these MPs, more for the parties they
would be representing than on the basis of the individual's suitability as
an MP.
Secondly, when in Parliament some of these individuals have said or
done nothing worth a serious person taking the trouble of remembering. Some
of them probably sleep more than any legislator in the world whether by day
or night. Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome was engulfed in a ball of fire but
they are worse - they actually snore in the august House of all places! Such
is our surprise and shame.
As for those who have said or done something, they are mostly
remembered for the wrong reasons. It is either for their lack of respect for
Parliament, disdain and contempt for the people and the sacrifices they have
made for Zimbabwe. A case in point is the gaffe by none other than Isaiah
Mushayamwando Shumba on whom it seems lost that the salvation of this great
nation depends very much on the scholastic development of the country's
In what could have left those of the few Parliamentarians with
conscience frozen in time, wondering whether they were hearing right, the
deputy Minister of Education, Sport and Culture blamed, of all things, the
drought for the delay in registering candidates for last year's "O" and "A"
level examinations. Now if this is not too specious and spurious as to be
tangible bordering on the absurd and ludicrous, then we don't know what is!
As we asked in our comment of 10 June 2004 headlined Temple On A Sewer, what
in God's name is the link between drought and the delayed registration of
candidates for the secondary school examinations?
Thirdly, there is this breed of politicians that wants to play it
safe. These MPs, probably for fear of ruffling political feathers, have
hardly said anything meaningful about the country's socio-economic and
political problems. A case in point is a former Marondera West MP whose
contribution to that august House never went beyond thanking the President
for the State of the Nation Address! Like we have said before, a ship in the
harbour is safe but that is not what ships were built for, so to speak.
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...and now to the Notebook

2/17/2005 7:51:10 AM (GMT +2)

Last week the owners of the country launched their election campaign
amid pomp and fanfare. Bandanas, propaganda music albums, books and, on top
of all this, a high-sounding nothing of an election manifesto.

All the projects that have been put on ice over and over again
purportedly because there was no money are suddenly brought to the voters as
new projects, or projects that can only be implemented because ZANU PF is in
The Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, on the drawing board for over
nine decades, suddenly gets some funds to kick it off, the long stalled
Harare-Masvingo, Harare-Gweru highway projects are resuscitated, you name
it. All because some people want to retain the right to rule!
As we get to the "Anti-Blair" elections, CZ cannot help but imagine
how it would have been like if ZANU PF still had within its ranks the likes
of the late Chenjerai Hunzvi, Border Gezi and such other characters, in
addition to our Manyikas!
We are told day and night that Zimbabwe is a free country. Whether
this is fact, mere propaganda or just fantasy is beside the point, but the
truth is that as far as an ordinary Zimbo is concerned, nothing is - and
should be - free in this country. Do we agree?
However, from the look of things, some Zimbos do not want to learn to
do things for themselves. They expect the state or someone else somewhere to
give them everything free.
A story by CZ's sister in one of the state-owned weeklies at the
weekend seemed to take umbrage at the fact that our perennially lossmaking
power utility ZESA had decided to disconnect all defaulters who owed it
hundreds of billions in unpaid electricity bills.
Isn't it the best way of getting notorious defaulters to cough up?
Although the parastatal is not sparing anyone, the story was written
in such a curious way as to give the impression that the killjoy behemoth
was out to sabotage the "endangered" special crop of farmers, some of whom
have been on the land for five years but remain "new".
With the author being a "new" farmer herself, would it be imagining
too much if one were to smell something here? Something called agenda
journalism . . . or is it called cadre journalism?
All things being equal, the good sister - with all due respect -
should otherwise have allowed another much more sober colleague - we mean a
colleague without direct interest in the story concerned - to do the story
for her. She could still have fitted perfectly well in the story being
quoted as one of the affected farmers, which we strongly suspect she is!
And by the way, at which stage of the tobacco curing process do
farmers use electricity?
Can CZ be dismissed as unpatriotic if he dares doubt the veracity of
the claim that some of the outstanding electricity bills in question were
left by the former commercial farmers? Remember, some of them were kicked
out about five years ago!
We know that quite a number of these so-called new farmers have done
extremely well, way above what some of the old white commercial farmers used
to do on their multiple farms - but it is only the disciplined ones, who
appreciate that farming is a business, not a honeymoon. And this type of
farmers cannot fail to pay electricity bills as paltry as $6 million.
Most of those whingeing are curiously the same people who spend more
time queueing for free money and inputs than they actually spend on the
farms, and it is therefore not surprising that they also want to get free
power as well.
Yes, they want the land for free, inputs for free, power for free,
money for free, (prison) labour for free, transport to the market for free,
everything for free?! Isn't this taking our freedom too far?
Last word
A statement issued by the authorities - please don't ask which
authorities - to mark St Valentine's Day this week read as follows:
"All married men have been placed under curatorship for externalising
love. All externalised love should be repatriated back home by June 30 2005.
All small houses are forthwith declared illegal and will therefore be closed
down by law enforcement agents by July 1 2005. The prevalence of small
houses has had a negative effect on the authorities' efforts to stabilise
incomes and prices and thereby reduce inflation."
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Ministry intervenes in diamond mine wrangle

Felix Njini
2/17/2005 7:31:01 AM (GMT +2)

THE Ministry of Mines and Mining Development has intervened in the
River Ranch Diamond Mine ownership wrangle, in which deposed owners of
Zimbabwe's first ever diamond mine have launched a legal battle to reclaim
its ownership.

It has been established that the mines ministry, which has been
investigating the circumstances surrounding the takeover of the mine by a
consortium headed by retired army General Solomon Mujuru, had concluded its
investigations and would soon make a ruling on the matter.
Although the report is still under lock and key, sources in the
ministry said the mines ministry had been annoyed by the method used to take
over the mine.
The former owners of the diamond mine, Bubye Minerals, who are facing
a court challenge to release crucial mine documents, are accusing the new
owners of employing unorthodox means to wrest control of the mine.
"The government has reacted and the sentiments are that people who
forcibly take over mines are hampering foreign direct investment," said a
ministry official.
"But the matter is very sensitive because of the high profile figures
involved and that could be the reason why legal matters are taking very
long," said the source.
The former owners also accuse Anti-Corruption Minister Didymus Mutasa
of dragging his feet over the investigations.
Bubye Minerals, which took control of River Ranch in 1999, accuses
Mujuru's consortium - comprising of Rani International, Aujan Southern
African Development and Kupikile - of "unlawfully and forcibly" taking over
control of the diamond mine, situated in Beitbridge.
Bubye Minerals is accusing the new shareholders of grabbing the
company using political connections.
In a High Court application filed on September 7 2004, Adel Aujan,
chairman of the new board of River Ranch, demanded that the ousted directors
account for their dealings and assets of the mine from October 1999 to date.
"They will also have to surrender all documents, including the share
register, asset register, maps, working papers, core drilling results,
original of the Special Grant No.1278 and any geological reports in their
possession," the new shareholders said in their court application.
The new owners are also alleging that Bubye is indebted to the Aujan
group of companies as well as Rani to the tune of US$1.16 million.
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