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Jonathan Moyo hits back
Mon 21 February 2005

      HARARE - Former government information minister and propaganda chief
Jonathan Moyo yesterday hit back at President Robert Mugabe saying he had
saved the Zimbabwean leader when his ruling ZANU PF party was sinking while
his lieutenants had deserted him.

      Down but certainly not mellowed, Moyo accused Mugabe of sacrificing
him on the altar of expediency to please the same lieutenants who were
deserting him when ZANU PF was running aground in 2000.

      "I want them to know that I did not join a ZANU PF gravy train in 2000
but that I jumped onto a sinking ship that was heading for the ground after
its captain was left alone by his crew," Moyo said in a statement, hours
after being dismissed by Mugabe.
      "That ship is now floating and those who had deserted it are all back
and are pushing out all those who helped save the ship from sinking," he

      Moyo spoke as senior ZANU PF leaders, who had openly but
unsuccessfully called on Mugabe to fire him from the government, celebrated
his departure and accused him of having had a hidden agenda to split the

      ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira told ZimOnline last night that
Moyo's contribution to both the party and government since joining in 1999
had been largely negative.

      He said: "His (Moyo) contribution to the party was largely negative as
he was working with a hidden agenda. So his departure from the party is good
for the party."

      But Shamuyarira hinted Moyo's departure, the first high profile victim
of a still unresolved and vicious silent struggle over Mugabe's succession,
could dent ZANU PF's performance in a key general election next month.

      "We want a united team but Moyo was not united with others because of
his hidden agenda. But we hope that our people will have a full
understanding of the matter and vote for the party in the March poll,"
Shamuyarira said.

      Not much of a good team player but still crude and ruthlessly
efficient, Moyo was the mastermind of ZANU PF's political survival strategy.
With ZANU PF and Mugabe under severe pressure from the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) party, Moyo crafted a crude campaign plan that
saw the party and Mugabe controversially win tough elections in 2000 and

      Moyo researched and wrote the party's election manifesto in the 2000
parliamentary election and Mugabe's re-election campaign manifesto in 2002.
He followed his success on the political platform with draconian media laws
that smothered the independent media and other critical voices to ensure
that ZANU PF and the government remained the only voices heard in

      But ZANU PF and state first Vice-President Joseph Msika was last night
adamant that the party and the government will not miss Moyo.

      He said: "Jonathan Moyo was never part of us during the days of the
liberation struggle and we will never ever shed tears about his departure,
neither shall we beg him back to the ruling party.

      "He should be reminded that ZANU PF has always been winning elections
since 1980 and we shall continue registering resounding victories (after
Moyo's departure)."

      Dismissing Moyo, Mugabe said he had taken the step after Moyo chose to
stand as an independent in the March 31 election. Under ZANU PF's rules,
members who contest elections as independents are automatically expelled
from the party.

      But Moyo in his statement said he had opted to stand as an independent
because he was no longer wanted in ZANU PF.

      "In a constitutional democracy such as ours, nobody should be expected
to remain within institutions and processes where they are clearly not
wanted," Moyo said.

      Moyo was brought into the ZANU PF government by Mugabe after
impressing the Zimbabwean leader during a government exercise to write a new
constitution for Zimbabwe for which Moyo worked as spokesman.

      Although the government's draft constitution was rejected by
Zimbabweans in 2000, Mugabe however noticed Moyo's immense capabilities and
promptly appointed him to Parliament under a clause allowing him to pick 30
members to the 150-seat House.

      Mugabe also appointed Moyo deputy information secretary of ZANU PF's
inner politburo cabinet as well as government information minister.

      Although Moyo had publicly clashed with most of Mugabe's old guard,
the President had continued to back him.

      The two however bitterly fell out late last year when Moyo secretly
attempted to block the appointment of Joyce Mujuru as second vice president
of ZANU PF and subsequently of Zimbabwe.

      Mugabe had openly backed Mujuru for the vice-presidency, a position
seen as a key stepping stone to the top job. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Government coughs up Z$24m to tortured journalists
Mon 21 February 2005

      HARARE - The Zimbabwe government has paid Z$24 million in an out of
court settlement to two journalists illegally arrested and tortured by the
army after publishing a story alleging that some senior military officers
had plotted a coup.

      According to documents shown to ZimOnline last night, the money was
paid out on a state cheque number 0370305. Of the total sum, $4 166 730 was
paid to the estate of the late Mark Chavunduka who was editor of The
Standard weekly newspaper which published the story in its 10-16 January
1999 issue.

      The paper's then chief writer, Ray Choto, who wrote the coup story,
received $3 206 730.

      The remaining $16 626 540 is the equivalent of 1 558.29 pounds
converted at an exchange rate of $10 765 per pound as at January 10, 2005.
The money was paid to cover medical expenses incurred by the two journalists
when they went for treatment mostly in Britain for injuries suffered during
torture sessions.

      A Ministry of Defence senior official K. K Chivinge wrote to the civil
division of the Attorney General's office on February 7 this year advising
the office of the payment to the journalists who had filed for damages
against the state for torture by its agents.

      Chivinge did not give reasons why the Defence Ministry, which has
maintained that the two journalists were never tortured, was opting for an
out of court settlement.

      But sources said the state was unwilling to have the matter argued in
an open court for fear more information potentially compromising to state
security could be revealed in such a court.

      "The state was not willing to have the publicity that may characterise
the court session," said one government official, who did not want to be
named for fear of victimisation.

      In the story titled "Senior army officers arrested", The Standard
claimed that 23 senior officers of the Zimbabwe National Army had been
arrested for plotting to topple President Robert Mugabe and his government.

      The paper, which quoted unnamed military sources, said the army
officers had wanted to overthrow the government because they were unhappy
with the mismanagement of Zimbabwe's economy and Mugabe's 1998 decision to
send the army to fight in the Democratic of the Congo in support of that
country's government against an armed rebellion.

      Chavunduka was arrested by army details on 12 January 1999 and kept in
the army's custody until 21 January, despite several court orders to release
him. Under the law, Zimbabwe's army does not arrest or detain civilians.
Torture is also outlawed in Zimbabwe.

      Choto handed himself over to the police on 19 January but was promptly
handed over to the army which also detained him against court orders.

      The two journalists, who had to receive special treatment after being
tortured by the army, were later charged by the state with breaching Section
50 (2) (a) of the old Law and Order (Maintenance) Act.

      Under the law, inherited from white supremacist Ian Smith's repressive
Rhodesian (Zimbabwe's name before independence) government, it was an
offence to publish false information that could cause public fear, alarm or
despondency. Offenders could be jailed for up to seven years.

      But the then Supreme Court Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay and his bench
threw out the state's case in September 2000 saying the legislation under
which the journalists were being charged contravened Section 20 of Zimbabwe's
Constitution guaranteeing freedom of expression. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Tsvangirai pledges to end ZANU PF 'tyranny'
Mon 21 February 2005

      MASVINGO - Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday launched his party's election campaign in
Masvingo town, vowing to restore the rule of law and end ZANU PF tyranny.

      A buoyant Tsvangirai told about 20 000 supporters who thronged Mucheke
stadium in Masvingo, 300 km south of Harare, that the ruling ZANU PF party
had run out of ideas and it was time people elected an MDC government to end
the country's political and economic woes.

      "The current administration is badly positioned to turn around the
damage it has caused. We are tired of a regime that blames imaginary foreign
enemies for its mistakes. Whether the regime looks in any direction, it no
longer has the capacity and respect to stop the rot," Tsvangirai said to
thunderous applause from the delegates.

      President Robert Mugabe launched ZANU PF's campaign for the crunch
March 31 poll two weeks ago.

      Tsvangirai said it was now time to start afresh and rebuild the
country under an MDC government.

      "The time has come for us to declare that enough is enough. The time
has come for us to start afresh. We pledge to make that possible. We swear
to honour our promise to the people and to deliver a new Zimbabwe,"
Tsvangirai said.

      The MDC leader also took the occasion to introduce the party's 120
candidates for next month's election.

      Tsvangirai said the key issues for the MDC were the restoration of the
rule of law in the country, better health and education delivery systems, a
new Constitution, national healing, food security and job creation.

      He said an MDC government will repeal all repressive legislation such
as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which the party says have been used
by Mugabe to shrink democratic space in the country.

      "We shall be on the roll. We shall see the change we desire and Robert
Mugabe will have limited choices. He has to negotiate a way out," Tsvangirai

      "We shall bring to the people a government accountable to Parliament,
an independent judiciary and equality for all," said Tsvangirai.

      The opposition party, which had threatened to boycott the March poll,
says it is taking part in the election under protest as Mugabe had failed to
implement reforms to level the electoral playing field in line with regional
election standards. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Minister seeks regional endorsement of poll
Mon 21 February 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe Special Affairs Minister John Nkomo is touring
key African capitals to seek endorsement of the country's election next
month and also to canvass support for former finance minister, Simba Makoni's,
bid for the African Development Bank (ADB) presidency.

      Nkomo, who is the chairman of Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party, has so
far been to Namibia and Botswana on a mission that will take him to all
Southern African Development Community countries.

      In Windhoek, Nkomo met senior government officials while in Gaborone,
he held talks with President Festus Mogae both to explain progress on
implementing SADC guidelines for democratic elections as well as soliciting
support for Makoni's candidature for the ADB top job.

      Nkomo could not be reached on his mobile phone at the weekend while an
official at his office said she was not clear when he will be returning from
his tour.

      Makoni told ZimOnline that Nkomo's lobby tour was one of several
initiatives by Harare to garner support for him for the ADB post that
becomes vacant in May.

      "I can confirm that this is one of the strategies which we are using
to lobby. A number of people have gone out into the continent lobbying for
my support," said Makoni.

      SADC states have put forward Makoni, a former chief executive of the
regional body's Gaborone-based secretariat, as their nominee for the ADB

      Widely respected in Zimbabwe both in the political and corporate
spheres, Makoni resigned from President Robert Mugabe's Cabinet in 2002
after differing with the Zimbabwean leader on the direction of the economy.

      Analysts say his chances of clinching the bank job could however be
undermined by controversy associated with Mugabe's government which is
sponsoring him. - ZimOnline
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The Times

            Mugabe asks old allies for help before national poll
            From Jonathan Clayton in Johannesburg

            PRESIDENT MUGABE has begun a diplomatic offensive to persuade
neighbouring African states to allow him to bend the rules during
parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe next month.
            Mr Mugabe is also erecting more obstacles to outside scrutiny of
those elections and is clamping down on any sign of internal dissent.

            On Saturday he dismissed Jonathan Moyo, his controversial
Information Minister, who is the architect of the country's repressive media
laws, after he defected from the ruling Zanu (PF) party to run as an

            Mr Mugabe, who celebrates his 81st birthday today, has sent
envoys to Namibia and Botswana, key members of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), to seek their acquiescence in his failure to
follow SADC's own rules governing elections in the region.

            Zimbabwe has refused to allow a legal delegation into the
country to inspect electoral reforms, so it would not be possible for the
SADC to have election monitors in the country.

            Diplomats said that to avoid a backlash Mr Mugabe has sent two
of his most loyal followers - Didymus Mutasa, the Anti-Corruption Minister,
and John Nkomo, the Social Affairs Minister - to meet President Nujoma of
Namibia and President Mogae of Botswana, old allies from his "freedom
struggle" days and sympathetic to his argument that he is a victim of racist

            A diplomat said: "He is calling in old favours again, he wants
their approval in advance of the result." The diplomat added that Mr Mugabe
would probably invite monitors from those countries to come in an individual
capacity. "That will emasculate any potential SADC threat."

            Zimbabwe has excluded already election observers from the
European Union and the United States. Stan Mudenge, the Foreign Minister,
said that they had not been invited because they had a "preconceived
negative perception" of how Zimbabwe's elections would be conducted.

            Last week, three of the last foreign correspondents in the
country - including Jan Raath, of The Times - fled the country after
tip-offs that they would be arrested.

            Zimbabwean police also arrested leading opposition figures for
convening or attending an alleged illegal meeting called to demand a free

            George Charamba, the official government spokesman, said that Mr
Moyo, once dubbed the most-hated man in Zimbabwe, had been stripped of party
membership, legislative seat and Cabinet post.

            Mr Moyo fell out with Mr Mugabe initially after refusing to
support his appointment of Joyce Mujuru, a veteran ally from the
independence movement, as Vice-President.

            Mr Mugabe retaliated by ensuring that he was not reselected by
his constituency party. Mr Moyo said yesterday that as an independent
election candidate he was no longer "hostage to the whims and caprices of
the politics of patronage". He said that the move had come as no surprise.

            He added: "I had come to accept that it was sunset . . . I had
also come to understand and appreciate that it is far better to be with the
people and to work for them."
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Institute of War and Peace Reporting

Mugabe Birthday: No Cause for Celebration

Veteran nationalists formerly close to Mugabe recall how it all went wrong
for a man once seen as a saviour of Zimbabwe.

By Trevor Grundy in London (Africa Reports: Zimbabwe Elections No 08,

Robert Gabriel Mugabe turns 81 on February 21 and if, as almost universally
predicted, his party wins Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections at the end of
March, he will still be president at 86 - by which time he will have held
power for 30 years.

Whether the octogenarian will then want to continue the onerous task of
running a country in economic free-fall and international isolation is a
matter of conjecture. But one of the President's closest associates,
anti-corruption minister Didymus Mutasa, has said, "In our culture kings are
only replaced when they die, and Mugabe is our king."

Mugabe himself has threatened that the country's only significant opposition
party, the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, will never enjoy power while
he lives. Issuing a "declaration of war" at a public rally, he said, "The
MDC will never form the government of this country, never ever, not in my
lifetime or even after I die."

He then broke into his indigenous Shona to warn: "Ndinya kupikirei ndinomu
lachidhoma [I swear my ghost will come after you]."

And yet Mugabe, who nowadays habitually indulges in the brutal political
rhetoric of an archetypal dictator, boasting "I have degrees in violence,"
was some two decades ago given an honorary knighthood by Britain's Queen
Elizabeth and strongly tipped to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Readers of the London-based magazine New African voted him the most popular
African leader of the 1980s.

Somewhere it all went wrong. Exactly where is hard to pinpoint. Lawrence
Vambe, the distinguished Zimbabwean historian and journalist now lives in
self-imposed exile in Britain with 400,000 of his countrymen. He has known
Mugabe since the 1930s, when they were educated together at Kutama Roman
Catholic mission, where Robert was born on February, 21, 1924.

"Robert was a terrible loner," said Vambe from his home in the English
Midlands. "He was a brilliant student and his dear mother, Abuya Bona
Mugabe, desperately wanted her son to become a priest."

When Robert was ten, his Gabriel left Kutama to seek work in Bulawayo. He
never returned, deserting his wife and six children for another woman, with
whom he had three children. "Mugabe never forgave him for that," said James
Chikerema, now aged 80, also educated at Kutama, who is Mugabe's nephew and
a veteran nationalist who founded the guerrilla wing of the Zimbabwe African
Peoples Union,ZAPU.

Mugabe greatly admired Kutama's Irish Jesuit supervisor, Father Jerome O'Hea,
who was a strong believer in education as the key to emancipation and who
was frequently attacked by the then Rhodesia's British administrators for
"educating the natives above their station".

To this day Mugabe lucidly recalls a conversation in 1933 between Father O'Hea
and the British governor, Cecil Rodwell. When O'Hea pleaded for funds to
build a hospital at Kutama, Rodwell retorted, "Why do you worry about a
hospital? After all, there are too many natives in the country already."
Mugabe never forgot nor forgave Rodwell's remarks.

Mugabe trained as a teacher at Fort Hare University in South Africa. He
taught at schools in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and then at Takoradi
Teacher Training College in Ghana, the first black African colony to gain
independence, under its socialist leader Kwame Nkrumah. There he met and
became enamoured with fellow teacher Sally Heyfron, an intelligent and
cultured woman who injected tenderness into the life of the reserved and
austere Mugabe. They married in a Roman Catholic ceremony in 1961.

"Sally Heyfron was the best thing that ever happened to Robert," said
Chikerema from his home in Harare. "She was warm and cared about people. It
rubbed off on Robert who could often be as cold as ice."

At independence in 1980, hundreds of thousands of people flocked into
football stadiums around the country to celebrate the man Sally had
encouraged to become a revolutionary and who was now the leader of free
Zimbabwe. "Yes, he was worshipped," remembered Vambe. "We all felt in those
days that he was some sort of saviour."

Vambe wept tears of joy at the independence ceremonies as his fellow
schoolboy from Kutama became the first black prime minister of Zimbabwe. "I
believed then that Robert was a storehouse of all that was best in our
culture," he said.

The world, and most of Zimbabwe's whites, agreed. David Smith, born in
Scotland, became finance minister. And when Mugabe appointed Englishman
Denis Norman as his first agriculture minister, Jim Sinclair, president of
the 4,500-strong Commercial Farmers' Union, said, "He's the best leader we've
ever had."

The farmers, whose produce was the bedrock of the Zimbabwe economy,
chorused, "Good old Bob."

"However," said Vambe, "first, power went to his head. Secondly, the whites
he thought he could trust turned on him and started funding opposition

But Vambe, like many Zimbabwean analysts, points to the death of Sally in
1992, after kidney failure, as the point where something in Robert snapped
and Zimbabwe began a precipitous decline towards bankruptcy, threatened by
total economic collapse and catastrophic food shortages.

"He turned away from all his old friends and embraced a collection of crooks
and conmen who have brought to its knees a country the late [Tanzanian
president] Julius Nyerere called The Jewel of Africa," he said.

However, Mugabe's ruthless and murderous streak had already made itself
apparent much earlier, when in 1983 he asked North Korean military
instructors to train a special Fifth Army Brigade, made up entirely of his
fellow ethnic Shonas and directly answerable to him.

He believed that ZAPU, the old rival to his ZANU PF in the liberation
struggle, still had weapons secretly buried around Bulawayo, the country's
second city, which could be used in an uprising against his government.
Numerous massacres occurred and as many as 35,000 people, mainly peasants
from the minority Ndebele tribe, were murdered by the Fifth Brigade.

The scale of the violence was far worse than anything that had occurred
during the independence war. Most whites looked the other way. "Better he
turns on his own than on us," said a leader of the powerful Zimbabwe Tobacco
Association, who had been a general in the old Rhodesian Army

In 1993, white farmers and businessmen helped finance a new, anti-Mugabe
party called The Forum. Led by Enoch Dumbutshena, Zimbabwe's first black
chief justice, the party enjoyed support from the black urban middle class.

"Mugabe was livid," said Chikerema, who joined The Forum. "Blacks had
announced their opposition to Mugabe's economic policies. But when Mugabe
threatened their white backers, black support drained away and those of us
who stuck with The Forum were left stranded."

The MDC was launched in 1999, with similar financing but a much bigger
support base and with Morgan Tsvangirai, the popular secretary-general of
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, as its leader.

Mugabe's response, starting on February 26, 2000, was to launch a carefully
coordinated invasion of white-owned farms across the country by
government-supported gangs armed with axes and pangas. Government and army
trucks were used to transport them to the farms and to keep them supplied
with rations.

They were dubbed 'veterans', but the majority were too young to have
participated in the war of liberation 20 years earlier. The land invasions
had a devastating impact on the white farming community.

By the beginning of this year white commercial agriculture had been
destroyed, but so had the country's economy. Hardly noticed, black critics
of Mugabe also lost their land, including Chikerema, whose 800 acre farm was
taken from him by his uncle Robert.

"It is tragic," said Vambe, "that the world looked the other way when Mugabe's
Fifth Brigade killed anything between 25,000 and 30,000 black men, women and
children in Matabeleland, but went wild with anger when white-owned farms
were invaded by Robert's hooligans, leading to the death of 13 farmers. This
was British and white man's hypocrisy at its very worst."

Looking back on it all, Vambe said, "Robert Mugabe wanted love and affection
from his people and still believes he has given them what they most wanted,
the return of the land taken by the whites in the 1890s.

"But in that process he has destroyed the economy; alienated all the best
people and made enemies of the young who are pawing the ground waiting for
change or leaving Zimbabwe for countries that offer them some hope."

Asked to pinpoint the key moment of change from Mugabe the liberator to
Mugabe the oppressor, 88-year-old Vambe replied, "Not one, but two. The
first was when the whites took sides against him after he offered the hand
of reconciliation in 1980.

"The second was the death of Sally. Something closed down in him. He
returned to being a lonely isolated little boy in an old man's body. I no
longer recognise the man I once knew well and greatly admired. He has
disgraced the name of Zimbabwe and I, for one, will not be celebrating his
81st birthday."

Trevor Grundy worked as a foreign correspondent in Zimbabwe for Time
magazine, Deutsche Welle Radio and The Scotsman from 1976 to 1996.
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SADC 'must take stand on Zim'
20/02/2005 21:17  - (SA)

Johannesburg - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) should say
whether Zimbabwe is complying with its protocol on democratic elections, the
South African Communist Party said on Sunday.

"SADC... should as soon as possible, and transparently, indicate the extent
to which its own protocol on free, fair and democratic elections is being
observed and implemented in Zimbabwe," spokesperson Mazibuko Kanyiso Jara

Jara said the SACP had discussed Zimbabwe's elections, scheduled for March
31, at a central committee meeting in Johannesburg on Friday and Saturday.

Although the party supported President Thabo Mbeki's efforts to bring
together Zimbabwe's major political parties (Zanu-PF and the Movement for
Democratic Change) it believed the efforts had been undermined.

"... the provisional agreements were never formally endorsed... Zanu-PF was
always a half-hearted participant in the process".

"The unilateral declaration by the Zanu-PF government of a March election
date, outside of any agreement in the Mbeki-facilitated process has,
effectively, undermined the process for the moment," Jara said.

The SACP wanted to ensure that the elections would be as democratic as

"... the immediate strategic objective of all of our interventions in the
coming weeks must be to encourage, impel and insist upon an opening up of as
much democratic space as possible in Zimbabwe".

Jara said the democracy achieved in the elections should then be used to
transform the Zimbabwean political situation.

"It is critical that whatever space is conceded remains open as a base upon
which to help to stabilise, normalise and progressively transform the
Zimbabwean reality after March 31."

Jara said this was important as there was too little time for Zimbabwe to
comply with the SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic

For instance, the Zimbabwean independent electoral commission did not have
offices, the voters' roll was finalised before the IEC was formed, and
police had disrupted meetings of opposition political parties.

"Even the SADC delegation, which according to the guidelines and principles
should be in the country 90 days before an election, has yet to be invited.

"It is, therefore, already too late for an effective and substantive
compliance with the SADC protocols.

We should also bear in mind that clause 7.1 of that agreement (signed
solemnly by all SADC heads of state, including the Zimbabwean president)
commits all our governments to implement the protocols 'scrupulously'," Jara

Jara said the SACP supported the Congress of SA Trade Unions' initiatives.

"The SACP agrees with Cosatu that all solidarity actions in the coming weeks
should keep the spot-light firmly focused on the crisis in Zimbabwe."

The SACP would support solidarity demonstrations against human rights abuses
and anti-democratic measures in Zimbabwe in the coming weeks, Jara said.
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Cape Times

      Window on Africa - Mugabe may succeed in pulling the wool over
selected election observers' eyes
      February 21, 2005

      By Peter Fabricius

      Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's plan seems to be coming together.
As predicted, with just over five weeks to go to the March 31 parliamentary
elections, he is starting to make concessions to international demands for a
fair contest.

      Just enough, he hopes, to win him international approval without
really threatening the outcome.

      In January the Southern African Development Community (SADC) decided
to send a legal team to Zimbabwe to assess, in good time, whether its
electoral laws were consistent with the electoral guidelines SADC leaders
adopted last year.

      Mugabe stalled, refusing to invite the team in, while the SADC
secretariat in Gaborone and the SA government - tasked with organising the
mission - passed the buck between each other about why it was not happening.
SADC grumbled it couldn't understand the fuss, as the guidelines weren't
legally binding.

      Then President Thabo Mbeki told the SABC last week it was probably now
too late for the legal mission. Its aim had been to go in January to assess
whether electoral laws then passing through parliament were consistent with
SADC guidelines. As those laws had now been enacted, the moment had passed.

      Meanwhile Mugabe's government seemed to be using the time to complete
harassing the opposition and clear the decks of almost the last of the
independent journalists. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) election
manager was jailed for holding a meeting of its candidates, and spurious
legal charges were slapped on three journalists, forcing them to flee the

      Mugabe had already, of course, hounded scores of other independent
journalists out and forced the only independent daily newspaper, the Daily
News, to close. He and his thugs had also already physically and legally
beaten, intimidated and harassed the MDC almost to death.

      Then, last week he announced new media regulations to ostensibly give
the opposition increased access to the public broadcaster - though in
practice probably not.

      He also announced this weekend that Zimbabwe was inviting election
observers from SADC, the AU, the UN and individual countries - but not from
any country or organisation critical of past elections.

      An enormous responsibility now rests on the observers who will be
allowed in, to avoid legitimising what may well be an illegitimate election.
By denying the SADC legal team entry, Mugabe has prevented them from
exerting influence on his new electoral laws which are fundamentally flawed.
Mainly because he has created an ostensibly independent electoral

      By preventing the team going in in January, Mugabe has also
forestalled it from passing critical judgment about the unequal
electioneering climate in the country.

      By the time the observers do go in, a few weeks before the elections,
the crime scene will no doubt have been cleaned up, the obvious evidence of
violence, intimidation and manipulation will have been removed and the
election itself may look, to the superficial observer, like a real contest.

      And so - as before - the SADC observers and others may well again
declare a "fair fight."

      Oh for an Alpha Konare or an Ecowas in Southern Africa! The military
powers in the West African country of Togo flouted the rules of the African
Union and the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) by
installing the son of the late President Eyadema as president, instead of
calling for new presidential elections.

      Both Konare and Ecowas bluntly called this manoeuvre a military coup
and started piling on the pressure, including travel bans, withdrawal of
ambassadors and an arms embargo. Togo's generals starting backing off,
promising elections with 60 days and there are now signs that Eyadema's son
may resign before that.

      Our government is always complaining to critics of its Zimbabwe
policy: "But what do you expect us to do, invade?" No, but look to the AU
and Ecowas for some creative but forceful alternatives.
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Mugabe wants peaceful election
Sun Feb 20, 2005 10:53 PM GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says he would like
parliamentary elections next month to be a peaceful victory that will be a
lesson for his critics at home and abroad.

Mugabe said on Sunday he was hoping for a massive victory over the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that will undercut criticism
from the MDC and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whom he says sponsors
the opposition.

Political analysts say, that although Mugabe's ZANU-PF party is almost
certain to retain power in the March 31 vote, he faces a credibility problem
over the election. Some rivals have dismissed the upcoming poll as a "total
farce" because of electoral rules which they say are skewed in his favour.

"We are going to win. That's very obvious because we have the support of the
people, but what we are asking for is that we want it demonstrated through a
massive vote," Mugabe said in an interview on Zimbabwe state television to
marking his 81st birthday on Monday.

"We want to teach Mr Blair a lesson, his puppets will lose and lose."

Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980,
denies charges by the MDC and many Western powers that he rigged the 2000
parliamentary polls, and his own re-election in 2002 after a violent
campaign many blamed on his ZANU-PF party.

The veteran Zimbabwean leader said he wants this year's elections to be held
in peace.

"We are asking for it to be very peaceful. Having acts of violence doesn't
reward anyone. It just sends wrong messages to those outside the country
because it gets blown out of proportion as if there is violence throughout
the country," he added.

In a long-winded 70-minute interview in which he was not pressed on
Zimbabwe's severe political and economic crisis, Mugabe, who routinely
attacks Blair in his public speeches, denied he was using rhetoric to mask
the country's problems.

"No, I am not doing that," he said before accusing Britain again of
sabotaging Zimbabwe's economy and mobilising Western sanctions against his
government for seizing white-owned farms to give to landless blacks.

Asked what he would tell Blair if they were to meet, Mugabe said: "I would
tell him he is a liar. On Zimbabwe he has lied, on Iraq, he has lied."
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Sunday Times (SA)

Mugabe, at 81, ever more defiant

Monday February 21, 2005 07:33 - (SA)

By Susan Njanji

HARARE - One of Africa's longest-serving leaders, Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe, turns 81 today, having grown more and more defiant of Western
powers that have branded him a tyrant.

Once hailed by foreign leaders as the leader of a peaceful and prosperous
nation, Mugabe has of late vehemently defied criticism of his rule with
stinging attacks on British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice.

As his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party heads
into parliamentary elections on March 31, Mugabe is hammering away against
Blair in a theme designed to discredit the opposition, accused of being
"stooges" of the West.

Blair has been a target for Mugabe's barbs since Zimbabwe was suspended from
the Commonwealth in 2002 after its observers reported problems with his
re-election to a fifth term in office, due to end in 2008.

In an interview to be aired on Sunday on Zimbabwe's state broadcaster ZBC,
Mugabe is to again seize the opportunity to show that he is continuing, 25
years after Zimbabwe won independence, to defend his country from foreign

In the interview, excerpts of which have been aired over the weekend, Mugabe
says that if he were to come face-to-face with Blair he would not mince

"I would tell him that he, Tony Blair, is a liar, straightforwardly," he

Last week Mugabe launched a diatribe against Rice, the most prominent
African American in President George W. Bush's administration, saying she
was a "slave" to white masters in Washington for branding Zimbabwe an
"outpost of tyranny".

While he advances into his 80s, Mugabe nevertheless displays youthful
stamina and energy levels as well as sharp mental alertness.

He still travels abroad, accompanied by his wife Grace, despite travel bans
slapped on him and his associates by the European Union and the United
States, and can remain standing for several hours at a time to deliver his
fiery speeches.

The father of three does not however hide the fact that he is looking
forward to retirement, and a tumultuous party congress in December set the
stage for what is widely expected to be his exit from the presidency in
three years.

With the backing of his party, Mugabe installed Joyce Mujuru, 49, the wife
of a former army commander and prominent veteran of the independence
struggle Solomon Mujuru, as vice president while a faction of his party
pushed for a rival candidate.

Mugabe, a former teacher who joined the struggle for independence in the
1960s, swept to power in elections in 1980, initially holding the post of
prime minister which was later changed to executive president in 1987.

The octogenarian is the fifth longest-serving African leader after Omar
Bongo of Gabon, in power since 1967, Moamer Kadhafi of Libya, who has ruled
since 1969, and Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema and Angolan
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, in office since 1979.

Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born in Kutama Mission, 80 kilometres (50 miles)
northwest of Harare, and was educated in Catholic missionary schools,
qualifying as a teacher at the age of 17.

He took his first steps in politics when he enrolled at Fort Hare University
in South Africa, where he met many of southern Africa's future black
nationalist leaders.

He then moved to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Ghana before returning
home to what was then Southern Rhodesia in 1960.

As a member of various nationalist parties which were banned by the
white-minority government, he was detained with other nationalist leaders in
1964 and spent the next 10 years in prison camps or jail.

He used those years to consolidate his position in the Zimbabwe African
National Union and emerged from prison in
November 1974 as Zanu leader.

He then left for Mozambique, from where his banned party was launching
guerrilla attacks on Rhodesia.

The former guerrilla leader announced a policy of reconciliation with the
country's white minority at independence, a policy which Mugabe says has
been spurned by many whites.

In his early years Mugabe was widely credited with improving health and
education for the black majority. But social services later declined, and
the AIDS epidemic, drug shortages and a severe brain drain have shattered
gains in health care.

The economy has continued to deteriorate, with 70% unemployment. Around 80%
of the country's 11.6 million people live in poverty.

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New Zimbabwe

Canada bans Sekeramayi's son from medical practise

By Mduduzi Mathuthu
Last updated: 02/21/2005 02:33:10
THE disgraced son of Zimbabwe's Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi has been
banned from practising medicine in Canada following a string of sexual
assault allegations involving nursing staff at a Canadian hospital.

Dr Floyd Sekeramayi, 34, has also been told his visa will not be renewed
when it expires later this year, despite the collapse of his trial on six
charges of "groping" nursing staff at the Royal Columbian Hospital between
July and November 2003.

The British Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons which agreed to a
request by police to back-off its investigation pending the court case
against Dr Sekeramayi revived its probe after the collapse of his trial.

Dr. Morris Van Andel the college registrar said based on their own evidence,
Dr Sekeramayi was unsuitable to practise.

Staff Sergeant Casey Dehaas of the British Columbia Police told New last week that Dr Sekeramayi's trial collapsed after his
alleged victims declined to testify.

However, the authorities were convinced that the orthopaedic fellow who
arrived in Canada in 1999 under an education visa had committed the crimes,
prompting the College of Physicians and Surgeons to ban him from practising

Dehaas said: "Our Crown Counsel has entered a "Stay of Proceedings" into all
the charges against Dr Sekeramayi. It appears that the victims in this case
where not ready nor willing to give evidence against Dr Sekeramayi.

"Dr Sekeramayi has been banned from practicing medicine here in British
Columbia due to these and other complaints received by the College of
Physicians & Surgeons."

Dehaas said the rogue doctor's family had already returned to Zimbabwe.

Dr Sekeramayi's friends from his high school days at St Ignatius College
have described a "quiet boy" who never used his father's lofty position in
President Robert Mugabe's administration to make his presence felt.

"He also got very involved with student activism at the University of
Zimbabwe where he graduated in 1995. He really doesn't approve of the way
the country is run at the moment," one of his friends told The Zimbabwean.

Dr Sekeramayi, the minister's son from his first marriage, was placed on
indefinite paid leave by the hospital after an initial three hospital
employees, including a nurse with nearly 20 years' experience, alleged that
Sekeramayi had "groped" their breasts at work.

Three more nurses came forward to say they were also Dr Sekeremayi's
victims. Police later said the sexual assaults involved "fondling, touching
and groping".
The Canadian ban on Dr Sekeramayi from medical practise effectively ensures
he will probably never practise medicine in any of the Western countries,
although he may still be allowed to practise in Zimbabwe.
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