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

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Expelled election observer warns of Zimbabwe sanctions

Europe's top election observer has arrived in Britain after he was expelled from Zimbabwe by Robert Mugabe's regime.

Pierre Schori, who was heading an EU mission to observe next month's presidential elections, denied the Zimbabwean governments claims he was guilty of "political arrogance".

Mr Schori insisted he had been "bipartisan and professional".

He dismissed the Government's claims as "fabrications" and said he was "surprised" when his visa was revoked yesterday in the capital, Harare.

But he also warned imposing sanctions against Mr Mugabe - widely expected at tomorrow's European Union meeting of foreign affairs ministers - was a "worst case scenario".

British MEP Glenys Kinnock said Mr Schori's expulsion would "almost certainly" lead to EU sanctions against Zimbabwe, which could include freezing the financial assets of Mr Mugabe and his supporters.

Mrs Kinnock, co-president of the EU-African Caribbean Pacific joint assembly, said: "In my view it's time to draw a line under our efforts to work with the Mugabe regime. It seems that we will have to trigger sanctions on Monday.

"It is very regrettable because I think we will see even more of a despotic regime ... If we put on sanctions on Monday then all of them (the observers) will be kicked out."

The election campaign has already been marred by serious violence.

More than 20 people - all but three of whom were opposition supporters - are believed to have been killed since the beginning of the year.

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I have just received a report that four priests/pastors and some others have been arrested following a Prayer Walk between four churches within Bulawayo this morning.
Like, the Chinhoyi incident, it seems those who have tried to help the priests/pastors have been arrested too.  The wives of these men are in a position where they do not know what is happening to their husbands, but have told clearly to steer clear of the police station.
Please, anybody out there who receives this mail today - can you pass it on and get people praying.  I have no doubt in my mind that God will be victorious in this situation, but we must all join in prayer.
I thank you all for your time,
God Bless
Angie Ross

16th February 2002 

Dear Praying Friends, The "Joint Walk and Pray for Zimbabwe" held by the combined Hillside Churches in Bulawayo was interrupted by the police to-day.  A letter had been sent to the organisers saying that the (walking)procession would be too inflammatory in the volatile situation.
However, the services at the various churches continued as arranged, in 4 of the Hillside Churches.  The participants, who came from at least 10 churches in the area, drove from church to church for the shared prayer and worship.
At the Anglican Church of the Ascension, the police came in to speak to Fr Noel Scott during the service, while he was standing up in the pulpit.  At the end of the service they came and said that they wished to detain him for questioning.  The pastors and leading laymen of the participating churches argued that it was a joint responsibility, and 11 of the organizers went down to the Hillside Police Station with the officers.
After a short while, only Fr Noel was kept inside for questioning, and the other men were sent to sit outside.  After about an hour they were told to go, as Noel was being taken to the Central Police Station Bulawayo, for further questioning.  He was taken in a blue police truck.
The other men have chosen to go to Central too, in their own vehicles, and Noel's lawyer is also there.  Significant people have been alerted to the situation, as well as his physician.  His medicines have also been taken to him.
At present all we are all praying for Noel's peace of mind, and that he will be treated with respect.  As far as we know, the officers were very respectful towards him.  We all pray that he will be released soon.  We have been told that they will probably take time to release him, however.
Rosemary Drayton 
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From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 16 February

Thousands left starving by Mugabe land grabs

For the first time in more than 100 years the vast stone edifice of St Francis Xavier Catholic Church, deep in the bush of Matabeleland, Zimbabwe's most arid region, can no longer offer sanctuary to pilgrims. "We have nothing left, no food, nothing," Fr Thomas Tshabalala said from the cool of Empandeni mission station's cloistered corridors. "If people arrive we have nothing for them. Starvation is the main problem for all the people from this community and many are on the point of dying." The people of Matabeleland have often suffered food shortages but, in most years, the fertile areas of Zimbabwe have grown more than enough maize to tide them over. The country often did even better and exported food to the rest of southern Africa. The invasion of white-owned farms by militant supporters of President Mugabe and their wholesale seizure by his government has ended all this. For the first time since a devastating drought 10 years ago, Zimbabwe has been forced to seek help from the World Food Programme, which estimates that the country has a maize deficit of around 500,000 tons and more than 550,000 people need emergency supplies.

St Francis Xavier, Zimbabwe's oldest Catholic church, towers like a beacon in the bush, and can be reached only by a dusty, rutted track reaching 18 miles from the nearest tarred road. Before he began his career, Mr Mugabe taught at Empandeni mission school in the 1950s, and it still attracts 1,100 immaculately turned-out pupils, who trudge for miles through the bush to receive an education begun by the first Jesuit missionaries in 1887. But the mission's brick-built bakery, powered by rusty, riveted boilers, has been forced to cut production. The mission's farm manager said the water in the nearby reservoir was a fraction of what was needed to stop maize fields from turning into arid wastelands. "Our livestock is dying and so will we soon," the manager said. At a nearby hamlet Anton, a toothless shepherd sat outside two shops where the shelves were empty. "We are hungry, we are hungry," he lamented, seeking solace in a plastic container of strong African beer. Back at Empandeni, some of the schoolchildren, wearing green, starched uniforms, sat in puddles of shade yesterday singing harmonies to while away the scorching midday hours. Other schools in the area have had to cancel afternoon sport because children have begun fainting through lack of food. "In the surrounding area, I would say that 90 per cent of families have been left by at least one family member going to look for work or money in Botswana or South Africa," Fr Thomas said. "They have nothing to keep them here and they know that if they stay they will die."

In the run-up to next month's presidential election, Fr Thomas's beloved Church is all too aware that, under famine conditions, food has become a sensitive political issue. Catholic aid agencies have agreed to pay for food to be distributed but Mr Mugabe's regime has attacked them for being "lackeys of the white" and "agents of MI6". Despite being educated by the Jesuits and spending years as a teacher in mission schools, Mr Mugabe has fallen out with the Church. This week, the Jesuits accused the president of acting as brutally as Hitler. "We do not have enough food for everyone and in those circumstances we cannot deliver food where we would have to say 'yes' to some people and 'no' to others," Fr Thomas said. His predecessor fled for his life from Empandeni before the 2000 general election when Mr Mugabe's militant supporters stormed the church. They accused him of supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change after he pinned up posters advising local people on election procedure. "So far they have left me alone but it is only a matter of time," the priest said.

The scale of the food crisis in Zimbabwe can be seen all over the country. At the Grain Marketing Board depot in the second city, Bulawayo, where the socialist planners of Mr Mugabe's government try to control the meagre flow of maize meal, hundreds of woman have begun a daily picket. They sit hour after hour, day after day, hoping to somehow glean a bag of maize from the lorries that now deliver only a fraction of the city's daily requirement. One local black farmer said he had been advised not to send a lorry to pick up a supply of stock-feed maize from the plant because of the danger of a riot. But as millions go hungry, Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party has launched a risky political strategy, rationing maize shipments only to those villages and headmen who promise to vote for him in the election. "This a high-risk strategy because in a time of hunger do you really want to be seen to be denying food to some and giving it to others?" one observer said. At a recent campaign rally, a wizened, elderly tribal chief who had sat through a long tirade from Mr Mugabe dared to stand up and ask him where the food was coming from. "If you do not come here with food then we are not interested in anything else you have to say," the tribal chief said. Outside the Empandeni mission station there was a sign proudly recognising the community for giving more blood donations than any other in south Matabeleland in 1999. With the threat of starvation and political violence hanging over the area, there is a risk that in 2002 the area may see blood spilled less innocently.

Zimbabwean police arrest 10 at peace prayer meeting
HARARE, Feb 16 DPA|Published: Sunday February 17, 7:43 AM

Police arrested 10 people, including four clergymen, at meeting today to pray for peace in the run-up to Zimbabwe's presidential elections next month in the western city of Bulawayo, a lawyer said.

All were detained at Bulawayo central police station, said David Coltart, an MP in the city who represents the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Coltart is also a human-rights lawyer.

Among those arrested at the Presbyterian church in the affluent suburb of Hillside was Anglican priest Noel Scott, Coltart said. Scott has been charged under draconian security laws with "disobeying the command of a police officer," which carries a maximum penalty of five years' in jail.

The other nine were arrested after they followed police to the station and began praying outside, Coltart said. They were said to have been "forcibly disturbing the peace" and were likely to spend the weekend in jail, he said.

Among those arrested were two Catholic priests, Father David Maroleng and Father Kevin O'Doherty, a Methodist minister, the Reverend Graham Shaw, and a Presbyterian elder, Ron Marillier.

Coltart said he had telephoned police when a mob of of about 30 youths of President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU(PF) party had gone around beating people up during the day at a nearby shopping centre but the police did nothing.

"ZANU(PF) thugs can rampage and terrorise people, but nine people praying outside a police station get locked up," he said.

The country's mainstream churches have been outspoken in their criticism of repression by Mugabe's regime in the run-up to the presidential elections on March 9-10. Over the past month there has seen a string of arrests of opposition MPs while hundreds of people have been detained, often for days without charge. Frequently they are assaulted.

More than 20 people have been murdered in political violence since the beginning of the year, at least 17 of them supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Urgent news for prayer
 Date: Saturday, February 16, 2002 7:59 PM 
11 Christians were detained in Bulawayo this afternoon, and charged under the new Public Order and Security Act.
Their names are:
Graham Shaw (Methodist)
Peter Botwright (Methodist)
Ron Marillier (Presbyterian)
Trevor Leonard (Anglican)
Palany Rajah (Pentecostal)
David Maroleng (Anglican)
Barry Dickinson (Roman Catholic)
John and Joan Stakesby Lewis (Methodist)
Father Kevin O'Doherty (Roman Catholic)
Noel Scott (Anglican)

There was a prayer march this morning (Saturday 16-02) to various churches in the suburb of Hillside.  The police refused permission for us to march, so we drove instead.  Afterwards, they arrested Noel Scott, who had organized the march.  The other 10 people went to the Central Police Station to give him support.  As they arrived, they gathered outside the Police Station to pray.  They were immediately arrested, and charged with obstruction, an offence that carries a penalty of 2 years in prison or a fine of $50 000.  So all they did was gather on the pavement for a moment's prayer!
I went with some other pastors to visit them this afternoon.  We had no difficulty in gaining access to them, and they had been well treated and were in good heart.  They are proud of going to prison for the name of Jesus Christ.  They have been detained until Monday, when they will apply for bail.
Please keep them continually in your prayers - and especially Joan, the only woman.
Yours in Jesus Christ Chris (Hingley)

Dear all, Just a little added note from me: apparently the first ten people are all held at the Central Police Station, but the whereabouts of Noel Scott, the priest of the Church of Ascension, are not known at this moment in time.
He was taken to Sauerstown Police Station, and seems to have been taken to Entumbane afterwards, but he was not there this morning.
A group of people went to Central today, Sunday, and managed to stand in the courtyard of the station, where they could be seen by their relatives from their cells.  They were able to pass some food, clean clothes and toilettries (loo paper!) on to their loved ones through a helpful policeman.  They were still in very good spirits.  The men are all in one or two cells together, but Joan Stakesby-Lewis is in another cell, together with some more women.
In the list of people arrested their church affiliation is mentioned, which I didn't think necessary, as we are all Christians, and according to my spokesperson, all this has brought the four churches together in a very special way.  God is at work!

Please feel free to forward this message, there is no copyright on it!

Proverbs 29 Mt.  10:28 Ineke  God is good, all the time!
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From Business Day (SA), 16 February

UN slams Zim land reform

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said Zimbabwe's controversial land reform programme was the cause of much of the economic, political and social instability in the country, UN news agency IRIN reported on Friday. "In the medium term, however, as greater equality takes root, there could be less political grievances over past injustices and less reason for conflict over land and economic control," a UNDP report released earlier this week said. The report, based on a UNDP mission to Zimbabwe from November 13 to December 5, was called for in the Abuja Agreement on land reform signed by the Zimbabwean government in September last year. Under the agreement, brokered by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Zimbabwe agreed to uphold the rule of law and end violence on farms and government-backed farm occupations.

The overall assessment of the UNDP team was that the political philosophy and socio-economic rationale of the fast-track land reform and resettlement programme remained sound. But the current scope was not sustainable and represented an over-reach of the original objectives that was not the consequence of debated and clear government policy "but rather the aggregation of a series of once-off executive actions". The report mentioned that under the original land reform programme, five million hectares of land were ear-marked for resettlement. This, however, increased to about 9.2-million, under the government's accelerated reform programme. The report noted that since the inception of the fast-track programme in June 2000, up to 6,481 farms were listed for acquisition. Of these, 918 were deleted because they were counted twice and 689 were de-listed. This reduced the total number of farms to 4874.

The UNDP mission found that the scale of the land acquisition programme was "staggering, as were the difficulties that it has had to confront in the past year". It also noted that most resettled farmers were not well-prepared for farming because the infrastructure development in most cases were totally inadequate. Since social and agricultural support services were weak, it was extremely difficult for new farmers to address fundamental problems of successfully settling into a new environment. The report said the gross domestic product (GDP) was expected to achieve a negative growth of 5.3% this year, with tobacco exports falling by an estimated 10%. Tobacco is the country's largest source of foreign exchange. "The inevitable conclusion is that the land reform programme has not contributed to increasing GDP from agriculture or to an increase in the export of agricultural commodities," it said.

The team noted that the fast-track programme had created disadvantaged communities and that humanitarian interventions might be required to support those adversely affected. It said an estimated 30000 families were displaced. The report said many farm workers were suffering from "heightened levels of depression" because of the high levels of violence they were exposed to since early 2000.

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Zimbabwe monitor's expulsion 'absurd'
Pierre Schori at Harare International Airport
Schori: Mugabe is "tightening the screws"
The head of the EU's election observer mission to Zimbabwe has described his expulsion as "absurd" - but appeared to play down the prospect of immediate sanctions against President Mugabe's government.

Pierre Schori, who flew into London on Sunday after his visa was cancelled, said he had been ejected on "false grounds".

I don't know what they want to hide but evidently they don't like some of us to be there

Pierre Schori

He leaves behind him a team of 30 EU monitors planning to cover the Zimbabwean presidential election on 9-10 March, amid reports of violence and intimidation against Mr Mugabe's political opponents.

As the EU prepares to discuss what action to take against Zimbabwe on Monday, Mr Mugabe is set to defend his position at talks with other African leaders.

Policeman arrests opposition supporter in Harare, 15 February
Mugabe is accused of using his power to suppress opposition

Mr Schori said he had been accused by the Zimbabwean authorities of political bias and of abusing his status as a tourist despite stating all along that he was in the country as part of the EU observer mission.

"I think they are trying to fabricate a bad case on semi-legal grounds but the whole thing is absurd," he said.

With the EU due to meet on Monday to discuss its reaction, its mission chief said he was "not in the sanctions business" although it was up to the EU's ministers to decide.

Possible EU sanctions
Travel ban on Mr Mugabe and about 20 close associates
Freeze on any assets they hold in EU states

"At the very far end there might be sanctions or there might be agreements or whatever," he said.

"But the election observation stands on its own feet and it's up to the ministers to see whether these tracks go together or not."

The spokesman for the EU observer team, Stefan Amer, confirmed that preparations for covering the election were still under way.

Mugabe in talks

Mr Mugabe himself is expected to discuss the Schori expulsion on Sunday during a visit to Mozambique, a Zimbabwean government official told Reuters news agency.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
Mugabe has enlisted SADC support in the past

As well as President Joaquim Chissano, the Zimbabwean leader will meet President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi, who chairs the South African Development Community (SADC).

The Zimbabwean official quoted by Reuters said he was sure Mr Mugabe would raise "the problems the EU has been trying to create with Schori" at the talks.

The SADC is on Monday expected to start sending election observers but analysts say the organisation lacks the political will to enforce Mr Mugabe's assertions that the poll will be free and fair.

Zimbabwe's Government says it will not be bullied into accepting observers from countries deemed hostile to Mr Mugabe.

The government has already said that six European countries are not allowed to send observers.

The government accuses Britain, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden of supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is set to pose the toughest challenge yet to Mr Mugabe's 22-year hold on power in the March election.

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Zimbabwe seeks Africa support in standoff with EU

HARARE, Feb. 17 — Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe arrived in Mozambique on Sunday to brief African leaders on the political crisis in his country, a day after expelling the head of an EU mission sent to monitor next month's election.
 Mugabe is meeting Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano and the current chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Malawian President Bakili Muluzi, in the coastal town of Beira.
       ''It was a scheduled meeting, planned well before the latest problem with the EU observer mission, for His Excellency to brief his colleagues on developments here as we move closer to the presidential elections,'' a senior Zimbabwe government official said.
       A standoff between Zimbabwe and the European Union deepened on Saturday after Harare, risking EU sanctions, ordered out Swedish diplomat Pierre Schori, who was leading a 30-strong team sent to observe the presidential poll.
       Chissano told reporters before the meeting that Mugabe had been invited to clarify the current situation in his country.
       ''What is important is to know what's really happening. That's why we have invited him: to be clear about the situation,'' Radio Mozambique reported.
       Mugabe, facing the toughest electoral challenge in his 22 years of power, is looking to his neighbours for support in the row that comes just three weeks before the March 9-10 elections.
       In public, the SADC has stood with Mugabe in the face of foreign criticism, but regional analysts say the group has been trying to persuade him privately to end a violent drive against opponents and a controversial land seizure programme involving white farmers.
       In Zimbabwe's dispute with the EU over Schori's accreditation, regional powerhouse South Africa urged the EU not to press the point but to concentrate on observing the election process.

       The SADC opposes any sanctions against Mugabe, Zimbabwe's sole ruler since the former Rhodesia gained independence from Britain in 1980.
       Foreign ministers of the EU, which has threatened to impose sanctions on Mugabe if its observer mission is hampered, will discuss Zimbabwe when they meet in Brussels on Monday.
       Despite the warnings, Zimbabwe expelled Swedish Schori late on Saturday because he started his political work after entering the country on a tourist visa.
       A Zimbabwean official said Schori had breached his visa conditions. ''He is guilty of political arrogance and insulting behaviour.''
       At least three Swedish journalists were informed on Sunday that their application to cover the elections had been turned down. No reason for the refusal was given even though SADC leaders said last month that Mugabe had told them he would allow international media to cover the elections.
       Mugabe has rejected European criticism of his human rights record and accusations of dirty tricks and intimidation in the election campaign.
       Sweden and former colonial power Britain are among six EU countries Zimbabwe has pointedly refused to invite to observe an election which is being held against a backdrop of deepening economic crisis and political violence.

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'SA Must Help to Topple Mugabe'

Moneyweb (Johannesburg)

February 15, 2002
Posted to the web February 16, 2002

Jackie Cameron

Expect the rand to plummet to R15 to the US dollar if Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is not ousted in that country's general elections next month.

That's the prediction of visiting US economist David Hale, who told finance professionals and institutional investors in Cape Town today that Zimbabwe's political situation could have "profound" implications for the South African financial markets.

Mugabe is the biggest factor threatening the economies of the Southern African Development Countries region. Until he goes ? whether it's through peaceful or violent means ? South Africa is going to struggle to attract foreign direct investment, Hale said today.

More worrying than the rand's devaluation against the US dollar is its decline in relation to the Australian dollar. This, said Hale, is a clear sign that the rand's woes are closely linked to the troubles in neighbouring Zimbabwe.

Hale said that even though South African president Thabo Mbeki had been more "vocal" of late about problems in Zimbabwe, this was not enough for foreign investors. "He's been more vocal now than 12 months ago but he's still reluctant to be decisive."

Other countries have been outspoken about Zimbabwe and are threatening sanctions, but there's a limit to what they can do. Mbeki, on the other hand, has the ability to cut power supplies to Zimbabwe and bring that country to a grinding halt within a few days, Hale said.

The US government wants Mbeki to include specific details to tackle the problem of Zimbabwe in his plans to revive the African continent (New Partnership for Africa's Development ? also called Nepad), but Mbeki has told the US government "he wants to keep Zimbabwe separate from Nepad". "It's hard to take Mbeki's millennium plans seriously if he's not willing to tackle the Zimbabwean problem directly."

Zimbabwe over the last 12 to 18 months has "cast a very, very dark shadow" over the region, sparking fears that the "theft of property" and other similar problems would be emulated in neighbouring countries.

If Mugabe stays in power, either through rigging the votes or with military back up, the consequences will be dire for South Africa. The rand will come under "severe selling pressure", said Hale.

Mugabe is a "festering sore" and a "cancer" in the region. "It's essential for Mugabe to go, whether it's peaceful or violent."

South Africa, on the whole, has enjoyed good macro-economic and good micro-economic policies over the last six years.

But without it's fair share of foreign direct investment, it will struggle to improve economic growth and boost employment rates, Hale said. Currently South Africa has attracted about US$17 billion in foreign direct investment, but this should be closer to US$100 billion, he pointed out.

"If we can get rid of Mugabe, there's no reason why South Africa can't change its image," Hale added.

* Hale, the winner of prestigious economics awards, is chief economist for the Zurich Kemper Group in Chicago. He's also an adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank (Chicago), the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and a number of other government and private sector economic policy research groups around the world.

He was invited to speak at an ipac breakfast.

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'Africa's mining could collapse if Mugabe stays'
Sherilee Bridge
February 17 2002 at 07:54AM

Cape Town - Never before has the link between politics and economics been so clear as this week's warning by the foreign investment community that Africa's mining industry could collapse in the wake of another Robert Mugabe regime.

"Mugabe's presence is like a shadow over the African continent," said David Hale, the global chief economist of the Zurich Insurance Group.

He warned that the African mining industry, which already carried a phenomenally high risk profile, would be among the sectors hardest hit by international sanctions and the withdrawal of investment.

"There has been a definite trend towards cutting exploration and development spending on the African continent," Hale said.

With less money being put into new mines and depressed commodity prices threatening to close existing operations, Africa's mining industry was already suffering from foreign direct investment (FDI) blues.

A recent study by Goldman Sachs revealed that Africa's $17 billion FDI was at the same level in 2000 as in 1980.

Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president for more than two decades, is seeking to retain power but reports of human rights abuses against his political opponents have scared outsiders, who fear the country's March election will be far from free and fair.

"The financial capitals of the world understand what Mugabe is up to and will not tolerate it. What is crucial is what South Africa will do," Hale stressed.

South Africa has been pivotal in the quest to promote development of the African continent and has received the credit for being the birthplace of the New Partnership for African Development (Nepad).

Nepad is a wish list drawn up by African leaders for the continent's recovery and is being used to persuade the world's richer nations to invest on the continent.

But the unfolding political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe threatened to "erode confidence in Nepad's power to bring peace to a strife-torn Africa and in Mbeki, the face behind the initiative.

"Mbeki's silence on Zimbabwe is similar to his silence on HIV/Aids. [It] erodes confidence in what he has to say about Nepad," said Ross Herbert, a senior researcher at the SA Institute of International Affairs.

James Bond, the World Bank's director of global mining, said it was becoming harder for Africa to compete for capital.

Already there were warnings from the Group of Eight (G8) industrialised countries that the $64 billion Africa hoped to attract through Nepad was overambitious.

G8 representatives, who were in Cape Town last week to meet Nepad's implementation committee, said African countries would have to be willing to exert a type of "peer pressure" on their continental fellows before they would consider spending a cent.

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Mugabe sees conspiracy all around

Zimbabwe countdown » As the presidential election nears, the ruling party flails at enemies real - and imagined - on all sides

Karen MacGregor in Durban

17 February 2002

This was the week that the topsy-turvy world of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe was finally turned on its head.

Three weeks before the presidential poll, the respected leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, was accused on a reputable Australian TV programme of plotting to "eliminate" his rival. The Independent's correspondent in Harare, Basildon Peta, was hounded out of the country, having been denounced on state television for causing a fall in the South African rand and the collapse of tourism in Zimbabwe after The Times accused him of admitting to lying about details of his arrest. And the head of the EU election observer mission, Pierre Shori, was told he was only a "tourist" and should leave Zimbabwe after being refused accreditation.

But for ordinary Zimbabweans, fighting to preserve their tattered democracy, day-to-day reality is even more grim. Take the Spicer family of Harare, for example. Over five days, the home of film-maker Edwina Spicer was searched by police, her 17-year-old opposition-activist son, Tom, was arrested, and her husband, Newton, was detained for 32 hours in a police cell without access to lawyers.

"We are fortunate – four of my son's friends are dead. We are being harassed, but lots of other stories end in horror and tragedy. The only difference between my husband's story and that of others in the police cell is the colour of his skin, and that he was not beaten up. Some of my son's black friends are still locked up."

The Spicers have suffered greatly from intimidation and smear campaigns which the ruling Zanu-PF has intensified ahead of an election that Mr Mugabe, in power for 21 years, has vowed to win. Violence is also rapidly on the rise.

The documentary that alleged that Mr Tsvangirai was plotting with a discredited shadowy former Israeli intelligence agent to murder Mr Mugabe was a major distraction for the MDC leader at a crucial point in his campaign. Police are investigating the claims, which Mr Tsvangirai vehemently denies. He may yet be arrested, even though it has emerged that the documentary was part of a dirty-tricks campaign orchestrated by a Canadian political consultancy linked to Zanu-PF.

Zimbabwe's state media also seized on misreporting in Britain about the number of hours that Mr Peta was held in Harare Central Police Station on 4 and 5 February after taking part in a protest against new draconian media laws. The state-controlled media used the controversy to attack Zimbabwe's leading independent journalist and he fled his country last Thursday night, fearing for his life.

A Harare journalist who has been arrested and harassed over the past year and did not want to be named said that smear campaigns were perilous for Zimbabwe and especially their targets: "They sow fear and confusion, which is the desired effect of the propaganda being poured out by an increasingly desperate ruling party. They also give the government the opportunity to act against its opponents. I wouldn't be surprised if Mr Tsvangirai is arrested on the basis of what we have shown to be a Zanu-PF set-up – but such an event would spark civil strife across the land."

Opposition offices were trashed (again) last week and more opposition supporters were assaulted. Two Irish tourists were arrested at Lake Kariba after two Zimbabweans they were with waved at children – open-handed waves are read by the police as support for the MDC – and yelling "Chinja!" (change).

On Friday, riot police sealed off the offices of the National Constitutional Assembly in Harare to thwart a protest amid news that Mr Shori would not be accredited.

The respected Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe called on journalists to think of the consequences of rushing into print. They should stop making "unsubstantiated allegations and restore to their newsrooms internationally accepted standards of ethical journalistic practice", the watchdog said, in remarks pointed as much at foreign correspondents as locals.

Every day, Zimbabweans – most of whom have access only to the state media on radio and television – are fed a horrendously biased menu of news and "analysis". On TV news recently, Zanu-PF's John Nkomo used a studio interview to launch a lengthy vitriolic attack on the MDC and its leaders.

The flurry of conspiracy stories in the state-owned media continued all week. The Herald alleged that the MDC had sought British military intervention if it lost the March poll; another in the Sunday Mail claimed that thousands of Zimbabweans were receiving secret military training in the UK and hordes of British spies disguised as "tourists and arts promoters" were luring Zimbabweans into the British Army; and the Chronicle blamed Britain for maize shortages because "she wants to remove the present government and impose a puppet one".

At the Spicers' home, police arrived to search for "arms of war, security-force uniforms, and subversive films and materials". They found and removed only a few movies and documentaries. On Monday, Tom and four friends were arrested while pasting up MDC election posters. They were held for 48 hours and taken to court, where a charge of having dangerous weapons was dismissed. Newton Spicer was arrested that day in Marondera and put in a tiny cell crammed with 25 people. He witnessed police assaulting detainees. Mr Spicer and two of five companions arrested with him were released next day, but the three others are still inside.

This is the story of one week. There are three more to go before Zimbabweans choose their next president. People hope, but not with great conviction, that life will return to normality after that.

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Thousands in desperate flight to South Africa
By Caroline Hooper-Box in Johannesburg
17 February 2002
The number of Zimbabweans feeling economic collapse and Robert Mugabe's repression is soaring. South Africa has arrested some 7,000 illegal migrants attempting to slip into the country from Zimbabwe in the past six weeks. The number attempting to flee poverty, hunger and repression in the whole of last year totalled about 20,000. Many more get through undetected.
Silungisani Sibanda, 28, who was captured at the Beit Bridge border post, told The Independent on Sunday: "We're starving. We don't have mealie [maize]. We're trying to find jobs."
She sat disconsolately waiting for her paperwork to be processed before she is repatriated. The previous night she had tried to swim across the Limpopo, but the water was too high. She spent the night on the bank and then tried to cross the Beit Bridge in the morning.
She had been living on bread and tea, she said. She had left her 10-year-old son with her mother and hoped to find work so she could educate him. "But now I don't know what I will do with him."
Victor Tshuma, 20, his sad eyes staring across the rocky scrub towards the border line, said he too wanted a job.
"Political parties are fighting each other. That's why I decided to come to Johannesburg. In Bulawayo I saw war veterans beating people, taking everything.
"Food prices are going up daily. Right now there is no mealie in Zimbabwe. I don't think I'm going to have a future in Zimbabwe."
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Swedish journalists say turned down by Zimbabwe

JOHANNESBURG, Feb. 17 — Zimbabwe has turned down applications from three Swedish journalists based in South Africa to cover next month's election, one of the reporters said on Sunday.
The letter refusing to accredit the journalists arrived less than 24 hours after Zimbabwe expelled the Swedish head of a European Union mission sent to observe the March 9-10 presidential poll. The letter gave no reason for the decision.
       Gorrel Espelund, a South Africa-based correspondent for the Sydsvenska Dagbladet newspaper, said she received a faxed letter from Zimbabwe's Department of Information on Sunday morning informing her that her application had been turned down.
       ''Two other journalists working for different papers also received the same letter,'' Espelund told Reuters.
       Sweden and former colonial power Britain are among six EU countries that Zimbabwe has pointedly refused to invite to observe the election, which approaches against the backdrop of a deepening economic crisis and political violence.
       Scores of journalists applying for accreditation to cover events in Zimbabwe have been turned down by authorities in the past six months. The BBC has been banned from the country for the past year for alleged bias.
       Zimbabwe's parliament passed a tough new media bill two weeks ago that restricts access for foreign reporters and imposes tight controls on the local media in the run-up to the poll.
       Basildon Peta, a reporter for Britain's Independent newspaper said on Friday he had fled Zimbabwe to South Africa in fear for his life. Peta had organised a demonstration against the media bill and was briefly detained by police earlier this month.
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Sunday Times Book Review,,188-207770,00.html

February 17, 2002

Review: Cover book: Mugabe by Martin Meredith

MUGABE: Power and Plunder in Zimbabwe by Martin Meredith (Public Affairs
£15.99 pp248)

At Zimbabwean independence in 1980, President Nyerere of Tanzania famously
advised Robert Mugabe, “You have inherited a jewel. Keep it that way.” The
reality was the opposite. Mugabe’s long reign could hardly have begun
better, with racial reconciliation and 24% growth in two years, but it is
now ending not just badly but dreadfully: not only have living standards
been brought way below the 1980 starting point, but millions now face a
government-induced famine. Zimbabwe, which began with zero foreign
borrowings, now has a vast and unpayable debt. Worst of all, its
well-educated and articulate people have suffered horribly at the hands of
the man in whom they placed their confidence: political oppression, mass
beatings, organised tortures and rapes, and murders without number. In the
Matabeleland massacres of the mid-1980s, at least

10,000 died at Mugabe’s express behest and today those who dare oppose him
continue to suffer a toll of beatings, torture and murder.

Martin Meredith’s book is not so much a biography as a brief gallop through
the unfolding moral fable of independent Zimbabwe to the present day. As
such it is a useful short guide, if bereft of necessary dates and
footnotes — when he quotes someone we have to take his word, because he
never mentions his source. This is a little worrying when one finds he hasn’
t got his facts right. Thus, as he tells it, when in 1998 seven men invaded
the 10th-storey office of Mugabe’s leading opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, they
beat him senseless. Shortly after that event, I sat in that office and
Tsvangirai told me how his attackers had tried to throw him out of the
window: they did not beat him senseless, though not long after, a similar
group, using iron bars, did just that to his deputy, Gibson Sibanda.

But Meredith is quite right in insisting that Mugabe’s political thuggery
has been consistent. In 1980 there was no doubt that his supporters were
guilty of the lion’s share of electoral violence and intimidation, and that
this took place because Mugabe wanted it to. In effect, Governor Christopher
Soames decided to look hard the other way and declare him the free and fair
winner simply because Britain was desperate to end the Rhodesian imbroglio.
As Meredith shows, Mugabe has used similar violence against anyone who dared
to oppose him. At each stage it has suited the world to overlook the matter,
so that after each new bout of savagery he has been welcomed to the
Commonwealth conference, applauded at the UN and so on. No wonder he
believes he can get away with it again now. After all, the last Commonwealth
conference had no difficulty about accepting him, despite the fact that he
had, by then, taken openly to boasting that he had “a degree in violence”.

What Meredith should also have pointed out is that the IMF, World Bank and
above all the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have been just as
bad, slapping Mugabe on the wrist when he tears up his agreements with them,
but happily turning the aid tap back on again soon after. In January 2000,
Carlos Lopez, the head of the UNDP in Harare, openly campaigned for a yes
vote in Mugabe’s referendum to give the president absolute power. Happily, a
large majority of Zimbabweans said no, but this hasn’t stopped Mugabe, South
Africa’s Thabo Mbeki and Tony Blair all insisting that the UNDP must be the
key referee of land reform and conduit of aid in Zimbabwe — despite the
anguished protests of locals who regard the UNDP as part of the Zanu-PF

How did Mugabe manage to ruin what began so well? The one-word answer is
paranoia. In 1980, foreign investors stood poised to pour money into
Zimbabwe: it had more or less everything (gold mines, chrome, booming
agriculture, wonderful tourist potential, good human resources, no debts)
and now peace. But Mugabe was suspicious, erected an investment code as a
barrier, made slighting references to whites (and, later, to gays and Jews),
made no secret of his wish to have a one-party state — and generally
frightened away investors. So there were no jobs for all the educated young
Zimbabweans who began to pour out of schools and universities and the
direction of change was soon downwards. As discontent grew so did Mugabe’s

Meredith is quite right, however, to emphasise that a large, corrupt elite
stands behind Mugabe and, in that sense, one can’t just blame one man.
Unfortunately, Meredith never asks how Mugabe fits into a wider pattern of
African leadership — and let there be no doubt, when donors talk
despairingly about “problems of governance” in Africa, what they really mean
is its appalling leadership. Meredith shows how, in the run-up to
independence, Mugabe was endlessly chivvied not just by Nyerere but by
Zambia’s Kenneth Kaunda and Mozambique’s Samora Machel. It might have been
pointed out that, while Mugabe has ruined his country, so did all of these
other three — and that only Machel seems to have woken up to the enormity of
his errors by the end, begging Mugabe, whatever else he did, not to provoke
a white exodus.

In a way, the most telling anecdote in this book is not about Mugabe but his
alter ego, Joshua Nkomo. When the 1980 election results came in, giving
Nkomo only 20 seats, he was close to tears: “I am the Father of Zimbabwe;
what have they done to me? You give them one-man one-vote and look what they
do with it! It has all come apart. It has all finished.” Thus the authentic
spirit of African leadership: the leader has “given” the people their rights
and they have an obligation, no less, to bestow on him complete power.
Nobody need feel sorry for Nkomo, who became famously rich and corrupt, sold
his Ndebele people down the river and ended up accusing whites of
deliberately inventing Aids to kill Africans. As one looks at that career it
is difficult to believe Nkomo would have been a much better president than
Mugabe — and Mugabe has certainly been worse than Ian Smith. This, indeed,
is the true challenge that men such as Tsvangirai face. Tsvangirai has been
hugely courageous in the face of Mugabe’s tyranny — but then so was Mugabe
in the face of Smith’s.

What Africa wants and needs is leaders who pass the tests of peacetime, men
who don’t lead their nations into the heart of darkness (such as Mobutu or
Mugabe), don’t try singlehandedly to defy medical science (such as Mbeki or
Nujoma) or to be philosopher kings (such as Nyerere or Kaunda). All such men
have inflicted enormous harm on their countries in their royal folly, in
their desire to be Louis XIV or Churchill. What Africa actually needs is
Clement Attlees: incorruptible men who work hard, do their best and go
uncomplainingly when voted out. Funny that Attlee was thought so boring and
ordinary in his time. In Africa he sounds like a paragon.
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Business Report

Mugabe sets up grain task forces as Zimbabwe faces food crisis
February 14 2002 at 03:38PM
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe Thursday announced the
establishment of "task forces" in all districts "to ensure grain reached
every needy family in the rural areas", in response to a serious food crisis
and reports of famine.

Agriculture Ministry officials, local government chiefs and members of the
Central Intelligence Organization would make up the task forces, state radio

Relief organizations say 560,000 people are already starving with children
dying of malnutrition in the western Matabeleland region. Those distributing
grain were reported to be demanding party cards proving membership of
Mugabe's ruling ZANU(PF).

Zimbabwe is facing the worst food crisis in its modern history. Sylvester
Tsikisayi, head of a union representing 200,000 farming families in the
communal areas farmed by peasant farmers, said 60

per cent of their maize crop had been destroyed by a four-week dry spell and
the remainder would only revive if good rain fell in the next few days.

On Thursday, Mugabe told a campaign rally at Mataga, 450
kilometres southeast of Harare, distribution of maize would take priority,
with some development work being suspended as a result, according to state

"We are going to hold some projects, such as building of roads, dams and so
forth and feed our people first," he said.

Riot police have repeatedly had to control mobs fighting for limited
supplies of maize meal, the staple diet for most of the population.

Justin Mutasa, manager of the state-run Grain Marketing Board, this week
indicated current imports by road and rail from South Africa should reach
30,000 to 40,000 tonnes a month. National monthly consumption is 150,000

A week ago, Mutasa said Zimbabwe might not need any imports if grain
secretly hoarded by white commercial farmers was impounded.

The largely white Commercial Farmers Union on Thursday accused the
government of "careless disregard for national food security" and ignoring
warnings of the need to begin imports last September.

The country's 5,000 commercial farmers, who are the focus of two years of
politically inspired violence, were forced to cut back early plantings due
to invasion of their land.

In the latest incident, Clive Thomas, a seed maize producer at Mhangura, 150
kilometres north of Harare, was told on Wednesday his farm was being seized
with immediate effect because he had burnt 60,000 tons of maize "in order to
worsten the food shortage".

The CFU said in fact Thomas had been forced to destroy three to four tons of
seed left over from last season to comply with stringent crop hygiene
regulations. Squatters had prevented planting of the maize.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made accused Thomas of "a clear case of
sabotage", adding the incident indicated the need to redistribute
white-owned land.

In December Made predicted a three million ton bumper maize harvest would
start being reaped in February by newly resettled land recipients. -

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 Zimbabwe-EU Standoff Deepens; Mugabe Seeks Support

February 16, 2002 06:33 PM ET

HARARE (Reuters) - A standoff between Zimbabwe and the European Union
deepened at the weekend after Harare, risking EU sanctions, threw out the
head of an EU mission sent to observe next month's presidential poll.

President Robert Mugabe, facing the toughest electoral challenge in his 22
years of power, is looking to his neighbors for support in the row with the
EU and travels to Mozambique on Sunday for talks on the March 9-10 election.

Foreign ministers of the EU, which has threatened to impose sanctions on
Mugabe if its monitoring mission is hampered, will discuss Zimbabwe when
they meet in Brussels on Monday.

Despite the warnings, Zimbabwe expelled Swedish diplomat Pierre Schori late
on Saturday after he started his political work after entering the country
on a tourist visa.

"Leaving Harare today my feelings are more of sorrow than of anger," he said
before boarding his flight out of the country.

A Zimbabwean official said Schori had breached his visa conditions. "He is
guilty of political arrogance and insulting behavior."

Mugabe has rejected European criticism of his human rights record and
accusations of dirty tricks and intimidation in the campaign for next
month's voting.

Sweden and former colonial power Britain are among six EU countries Zimbabwe
has pointedly refused to invite to observe the presidential election, which
approaches against a backdrop of deepening economic crisis and political

State television reported late on Saturday that Mugabe would meet Malawian
President Bakili Muluzi, chairman of the 14-nation Southern African
Development Community (SADC), and Mozambican leader Joaquim Chissano on

The three would discuss the elections and "the situation in the country,"
state TV said.

But analysts say the SADC, which did not consider calls for sanctions
against Zimbabwe at its January summit, lacks the collective political will
to enforce commitments from Mugabe that the elections will be free and fair.

They say a tradition of solidarity in the face of Western criticism has
undermined the bloc's influence.

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OAU Chief Fires Salvo at Western Monitors

Xinhuanet 2002-02-17 03:58:32

   LUSAKA, February 16 (Xinhuanet) -- Secretary General of the
Organization of African Unity (OAU) Amara Essy fired salvo at
western monitors on Saturday, saying that they should stop
monitoring elections in African countries.
   "African elections are an internal African affair," said Essy
when referring to a dispute between Zimbabwe and the European
Union (EU) over election monitors.
   "It is shameful that foreigners should come to Africa to check
on elections," he told journalists after ending a two-day visit in
   Essy arrived here Friday morning from Madagascar where he had
gone to intervene in the political controversy where the
opposition were claiming to have won an election held recently.
   He was in Zambia to brief President Levy Mwanawasa, who holds
the rotating OAU chairmanship, on the progress made on the
widespread internal conflicts on the continent and on strides made
on the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).
   "I am not happy to see foreigners come to look at what we are
doing. They do not ask us to go to Europe and the United States to
monitor elections," Essy said.
   "We need not have foreign observers for the time being," he
   The OAU secretary general said the current situation undermined
the sovereign law of the African countries.
   "It took 200 years for democracy to be attained in Europe. Why
Africa should achieve it in less than 40 years?" he asked.
   Meanwhile, Zimbabwe sternly warned the head of the EU team to
monitor the March 9-10 presidential poll in Zimbabwe to refrain
from making political statements or risk ejection from the country.
   The Zimbabwean government refused to accredit Swedish diplomat
Pierre Schori as an election observer on grounds his country is
among six EU states Harare has barred from taking part in the poll
because of their alleged bias in favor of opposition parties.
   But the EU is insisting on the official's accreditation,
resulting in a week-long diplomatic standoff between the two sides
over the issue.
   The Zimbabwean government accused Schori, Sweden's ambassador
to the U.N., of issuing political statements to the media about
Zimbabwe's electoral process in breach of the tourist visa he was
granted, and threatened to ask him out of the country.
   The Zimbabwean government has banned Britain, Sweden, Germany,
Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands from sending election
observers to scrutinize the poll because of their alleged bias
against President Robert Mugabe.
   The EU has said it will impose sanctions against the Zimbabwean
government if its monitors are not allowed to observe the

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White activist, 17, draws ire of Mugabe regime

'He's one of us': Shuns privileged life for the fight to topple Zimbabwe's
long-time autocracy

Corinna Schuler
National Post

Howard Burditt, National Post

Tom "Tawanda" Spicer

JOHANNESBURG - At age 17, Tom Spicer has faced many nights in decrepit
Zimbabwe jails, endured police harassment and suffered a 14-hour ordeal that
left his shirt soaked with blood.

To anyone who knows Zimbabwe it comes as no surprise. Tom Spicer is just the
sort of person Robert Mugabe hates: a young white man born into the kind of
privilege of which most blacks can only dream, one of those colonials who is
actively campaigning to oust the President from power in next month's
crucial election.

Mr. Spicer's mother is a British filmmaker, his father an environmentalist.
His home is nestled in the country's most affluent suburb. His family has so
much history in this town there is even a street in the Spicer name

He could leave Zimbabwe's chaos for a comfortable life in Britain any time
he wanted. At the very least, he could ignore the political turmoil tearing
at the country, finish his final year of high school and continue partying
at hip-hop dance clubs with his friends.

But instead he has become a high-profile member of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), the official opposition, and Mr. Mugabe's regime is
doing all it can to paint him as a demon -- including charging him with
murder and denouncing him in the state press.

The smear campaign is not working. Instead, Mr. Spicer has attracted
increasing attention and support in the black townships of Harare.

Called "Tawanda" by his friends, he speaks fluent Shona and has delivered
impassioned speeches at MDC rallies. Crowds of up to 45,000 people have
cheered him on.

"He defies the perception Mugabe has tried to create, that whites are all
arrogant, unpatriotic, racist parasites," said Tendai Biti, a black
opposition MP and lawyer who has represented the teenager in court. "He's
one of us."

Mr. Spicer first became politically active in the prelude to parliamentary
elections in June, 2000. He attended a neighbourhood rally where
ruling-party supporters chanted "Down with whites" and, as his father Newton
recalled, "Tom became incensed in the way that only a teenager can."

At 15, he joined the MDC and later became the only white to be elected into
the party's youth wing. Despite his colour, Mr. Spicer strikes a chord with
the impoverished black masses who have suffered most under Mr. Mugabe's
shambolic rule.

"People give him huge ovations, not because of the colour of his skin, but
because of what he is saying," Mr. Tendai said. "He is a genuine
revolutionary. Because of that, [people in power] hate his guts. And they
are going for him with all they've got."

The worst moment came on Jan. 18, when Mr. Spicer was electioneering with
other MDC youth in a government stronghold 75 kilometres outside Harare.

His car broke down. Then a dozen ruling-party militiamen appeared on the
horizon. Mr. Spicer told his comrades to run, choosing to face the men
alone. He thought he could pass himself off as a hapless farmer's son, but
the plan flopped.

The gang dragged him to a base for the ruling Zimbabwean African National
Unity -- Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), handcuffed him to window bars and then
spent 14 hours hurling abuse.

"At one point, there were 30 of them," he recalled. "I was tied up all night
and beaten. Someone stabbed me with something metallic in the face. There
was a lot of blood. My shirt was soaked.... I really thought I was going to
die. I had accepted it."

But he survived and in the morning the attackers hauled Mr. Spicer on to the
street at knifepoint, demanding he chant ZANU-PF slogans. "I refused."

Word of the public spectacle soon made its way to police and officers
arrived on the scene. But, rather than charging his attackers, the police
charged Mr. Spicer with kidnapping and locked him up for six nights.

It was just one in a string of trumped-up charges against Mr. Spicer --
accusations that make his lawyer laugh.

Last year, Mr. Spicer was accused of assaulting a police officer, but the
charge was thrown out by a magistrate, who said police had blatantly
fabricated evidence.

More recently, the police charged him with attempted murder. Stories in the
state press accuse him of fuel-bombing houses, but the case has yet to make
its way to trial.

Last weekend, Mr. Spicer was arrested yet again, this time for possession of
a dangerous weapon. He had been distributing MDC posters when police stopped
his car and found a stick beneath the car seat.

He spent another two nights in decrepit cells at Central Harare Police

"There were 35 of us in a six-man cell," he said following his release.
"There is only one window, and it gets very hot.... Some of the cells have a
lot of vermin. Cockroaches, that kind of thing. The food is inedible."

In all, he has spent 17 nights in detention. He talks of beatings and
imprisonment in very adult, matter-of-fact tones, like a hardened veteran of
war. There is no doubt he is brave. Once, he came out of prison and went to
an MDC rally three hours later.

But, when pushed, the teenager reluctantly conceded: "I have been scared,
very scared."

Edwina and Newton Spicer, his parents, are often sick with worry. In
December, they forbade him from camping out with MDC activists who were
engaged in a running battle with ZANU-PF youth. "He didn't talk to us for
three weeks," said his father.

In January, the Spicers became so fearful they whisked their son away to
England for five weeks. They considered tearing up his return ticket but
then decided he would have found his own way back.

"He feels it is what he has to do and I admire his strength in the face of
this onslaught," Newton Spicer said.

These days, Mr. and Mrs. Spicer are also targets of the authorities. Earlier
this week police barged into their home to conduct an unsuccessful search
for weapons and, on Wednesday, Mr. Spicer was taken into police custody just
moments before he was set to appear in court on his son's behalf. No charges
have been laid.

"It's just all part of the harassment," said his exasperated wife.

Still, both Tom and his parents insist they will not be intimidated.

"I've caught attention because of my skin colour," Tom said. "But much worse
has happened to others. Four of my friends have been killed. I saw a guy [in
jail] who had 19 stitches in his head.... I have to fight, because what is
happening to me is in no way unique."
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Zimbabwe exiles in Britain urge end to Mugabe rule

LONDON, Feb. 16 — Several hundred exiled Zimbabweans demonstrated outside
their embassy in central London on Saturday, accusing President Robert
Mugabe of mass murder and urging his defeat in elections just three weeks

       ''Our country has been robbed from us. Our leader is killing our
people. It is up to us to stand up for our rights and force him out,''
demonstration organiser Washington Ali told the crowd of about 300
Zimbabweans, both black and white.
       The crowd sang freedom songs in front of banners reading, ''Wake up
world, Zimbabwe is dying,'' and a poster of Mugabe above a list of 94 names
of opposition supporters killed in the past two years with the simple
slogan, ''Wanted...for Murder.''
       ''Mugabe could not win a free and fair election,'' exiled opposition
activist Taurayi Chamboko told Reuters. ''If he wins there is going to be
chaos. There will be an uprising.''
       At least 100 supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) have been killed in two years of political violence
accompanying the state-sponsored invasion of hundreds of white-owned
commercial farms.
       Mugabe, seeking to extend his 22-year grip on power in the former
Rhodesia, and his ruling ZANU-PF party have justified the land grab as a
belated righting of the wrongs of a century of British colonial misrule.
       But the backbone of the agrarian-based economy has snapped in the
process with inflation at 112 percent and rising, unemployment
conservatively put at more than 60 percent and widespread famine predicted.
       The international community has tried ineffectually several times to
rein in Mugabe but each time he has made vague promises and immediately
broken them.
       He has outlawed criticism of his rule, imposed major restrictions on
foreign reporters and thrown up serious barriers to international election
observers. At the same time the violent land grab continues unabated.
       The European Union has threatened targeted sanctions against Mugabe
and his inner circle, but most observers see any action now as too little,
far too late.
       The 54-nation Commonwealth discussed sanctions last month but settled
instead for a mild verbal rebuke, given that even Mugabe's neighbours could
not agree a course of action despite their economic suffering because of the
Zimbabwe crisis.
       Zimbabwe is likely to be on the agenda for the Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting in Brisbane just days before the elections on March 9 and
10, but little is expected to emerge.
       British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, who made citizens arrests
on Mugabe in London in October 1999 and in Brussels in March 2001, told
Saturday's demonstration the Australian government should arrest Mugabe for
murder at the Brisbane meeting.
       Tatchell told Reuters he would not be attempting a third citizen's
arrest because he had been barred from entering Australia on the grounds he
was a threat to civil law and order.

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Zimbabwe opposition says convoy hit by militants

HARARE, Feb. 16 — Zimbabwe's main opposition said a convoy of its top
officials was attacked by militants from President Robert Mugabe's ruling
party on Saturday on its way to a campaign rally.

       Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Learnmore Jongwe told
Reuters that dozens of youths from the governing ZANU-PF had failed to block
the convoy of five vehicles but had smashed the windows of four trucks with
clubs and stones and injured some MDC supporters.
       Jongwe said senior officials in the convoy, including MDC
Secretary-General Welshman Ncube and three members of parliament, were not
injured in the attack which occurred around 1:30 pm (1130 GMT) in Binga
district, northwestern Zimbabwe.
       ''If they had not been speeding many people would have been hurt,''
Jongwe said.
       Police said they had not yet received a report from the MDC, but a
spokesman said they would still investigate the issue.
       The MDC says more than 100 of its supporters have been killed in
political violence in the past two years, which many blame largely on
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.
       ZANU-PF denies the charges or that it is trying to win Mugabe, who
will 78 next week, another six years in office through political violence.
Zimbabwe holds presidential polls on March 9-10.
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US and UK name targeted leaders

By Mark Chavunduka in Washington
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe heads an initial list of 20 Zimbabwean leaders—three of whom have since died—whose assets the United Kingdom and the United States are seeking to identify and seize under a process of targeted sanctions, The Standard has confirmed.

Investigators in the United Kingdom, southern Africa and the United States have begun working to track down assets held by the leaders as part of plans to introduce ‘smart sanctions’ targeted at individuals and their immediate families, rather than impose blanket punitive measures which would be hurtful to ordinary Zimbabweans.

The US House of Representatives recently passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, which enables the sanctions to be applied specifically to targeted leaders. The punitive measures will also affect their children in colleges or schools overseas.

Topping the list of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) issued in the Anti Money Laundering Guidance Update, Issue 3, of the Joint Financial Crimes Unit, is Robert Gabriel Mugabe, followed by his two vice-presidents, Simon V Muzenda and Joseph Msika.

Others are John Nkomo; Patrick Chinamasa; Stan Mudenge; Simba Makoni; Sydney Sekeramayi; Swithun Mombeshora; Joseph Made; Ignatius Chombo;
Timothy Stamps; Herbert Murerwa; Samuel Mumbengegwi; Francis Nhema; Joyce Mujuru; July Moyo; Nicholas Goche; Jonathan Moyo; Grace Marufu Mugabe; and one W Chikukwa (listed as assistant defence adviser—Zimbabwe).

Conspicuous by his absence from the list is youth, gender and employment creation minister, Elliot Manyika, who is in charge of the training of the youth militias currently terrorising innocent citizens. Shuvai Mahofa, his deputy, was also not included and neither were the country’s 10 provincial governors.

Although nothing can be done about the three deceased government officials listed, the punitive measures to be taken will still affect their assets and families as they are listed as PEPs. These are former defence minister, Moven Mahachi; former youth development minister Border Gezi and Chenjerai Hunzvi—listed simply as ‘ally of President Mugabe’. The former minister of industry and international trade, Dr Nkosana Moyo, is also on the list.

Says the JFSC: “Regulated institutions in both Britain and the United States are being asked to review their files to determine whether or not they have any connection with any of the named individuals. They will then wish to satisfy themselves that they know the customers concerned, including proper knowledge of the source of funds, and have taken any appropriate action to address any reputational risks that may arise.

“Should any checks give rise to any suspicion as to the legitimacy of the funds, the institution should review its relationship with that customer and make any such suspicious transaction reports to the Joint Financial Crimes Unit as necessary.”

A senior US government official told The Standard on Friday that although he had no personal knowledge of assets already identified, there were indications that substantial investments were held by Zimbabwean officials. Observers say proof of ownership could be difficult to establish as assets could be hidden several layers beneath ‘shell’ companies.

Independent investigations by The Standard have also revealed that several of Mugabe’s cabinet ministers have children studying overseas and who are therefore bound to be affected if smart sanctions are imposed by the US and the European Union.

Those with children overseas include: Sekeramayi—UK; Chombo—UK; Mombeshora—UK; Mudenge—UK; Mumbengegwi—UK; Edward Chind-ori-Chininga—USA; Mujuru—Switzerland and UK; Manyika—UK; Murerwa—UK; Peter Chanetsa—UK; Josaya Hungwe—UK; Shuvai Mahofa—UK; Cephas Msipa—USA and David Parirenyatwa—USA.

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Zanu PF targets Harare’s low density suburbs

By Chengetai Zvauya
ZANU PF has booked hundreds of war veterans into Harare hotels in preparation for a blitz on the city’s low density suburbs, from tomorrow, The Standard has learnt.

Investigations by The Standard have revealed that the war veterans were last week booked into four city hotels in the avenues area.

War veterans secretary-general Andy Mhlanga confirmed that war veterans were occupying hotels where “they are holding seminars”.

“This is not the first time that war veterans are staying in hotels. We have been booked into hotels on many occasions for seminars and workshops. We are getting ready for the elections and we need to educate our members on how to campaign peacefully, we also need to give them political lessons,” said Mhlanga.

This latest move by Zanu PF is bound to alarm low density residents who were last week warned of a door to door blitz by war veterans and government-trained youth militias. Since last month, the terror campaign by Zanu PF militants has been confined to rural areas and peripheral high density suburbs, but word is that the campaign is to spread to the low density suburbs this week.

Zanu PF sources last week informed The Standard that they would start raiding the conservative low density areas from tomorrow, starting with Marlborough and Mt Pleasant.

Reports also say that Eastlea residents were last week terrorised by ruling party hooligans who also beat up anyone they found outdoor after 6.30pm.

During their blitz on the low density suburbs, as they have done elsewhere, the militia and war veterans plan to ask people to produce Zanu PF party cards and to force them to attend political rallies to be organised in the respective suburbs.

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