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Bennett's wife to stand for Chimanimani
By Valentine Maponga

THE nomination court in Mutar e on Friday rejected the nomination papers for
the incarcerated MP for Chimanimani (MDC), Roy Bennett, in a move described
by the opposition party as "very unfortunate".

Eileen, his wife, who will represent the constituency on an MDC ticket, will
now square up with Samuel Undenge, of the ruling Zanu PF.
Welshman Ncube, the MDC's secretary general said Bennett's case was very
unfortunate and the worst incident of injustice they came across during
Friday's nomination exercise.

"We have managed to field candidates in all the constituencies but we had
some problems during the nomination exercise. The worst experience was that
of Roy Bennett and we think that was unfortunate. He has now been replaced
by his wife, Eileen," Ncube said.

In Bulawayo South MDC secretary for legal affairs, David Coltart, nearly
failed to file his papers after his mother was alleged to be South African.

"David Coltart had some problems at first after he was told that his mother
was a South African citizen but he was, however, finally accepted," Ncube

In Masvingo South, Zacharia Rioga was disqualified on the basis that his
father was from Malawi and was replaced by the party's district chairperson,
Green Gwatinyanya.

At least four MDC candidates who stood as independents across the country
have been expelled from the opposition party.

These are sitting MP Silas Mangono, who will contest as an independent in
Masvingo Central and Dunmore Makuvaza, formerly of Mbare West, who filed his
papers to contest the newly constituted Mbare constituency.

Peter Nyoni (Hwange East) and Tendekai Mswata (St Mary's) in Chitungwiza
have also been expelled.

"These guys know the party's constitution says that if anyone stands as an
independent candidate in any election he or she is automatically expelled
from the party," Ncube said.
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Mugabe misinformed: Dairibord boss says
By Rangarirai Mberi

DAIRIBORD Zimbabwe Limited CEO Anthony Mandiwanza says President Robert
Mugabe might have been misinformed in his recent threats to roll back
privatisation, which he says has benefited only a few management figures.

Mugabe told supporters at his Zanu PF party election campaign launch
recently that he regretted ever having privatised State enterprises, saying
privatisation had not brought empowerment to the ordinary public, but had
instead handed wealth only to a minority few.
However, in reaction, Mandiwanza says the President might have been given
faulty advice on how companies such as his - the former Dairy Marketing
Board - are being run and what contribution they make to the fiscus.

"I don't think the people who have advised the President on this are being
sincere. If we had not been playing our role in the economy, we wouldn't
have been here right now," Mandiwanza said.

"We have contributed $31 billion in tax (in the 2004 financial year)
directly into the fiscus, while there are (parastatals) that are actually
draining the fiscus."

On Mugabe's criticism that management have exploited privatisation for
personal benefit, Mandiwanza conceded to holding over seven million shares
in Dairibord, but said this was a regular arrangement.

"Besides, what message would I be giving to the market, if I myself did not
hold shares in the company? It would imply that management itself has no
confidence in the company."

Management and workers are the majority shareholders in Dairibord, owning
27,4% of the company, which went public in 1997.

Mugabe said his government was looking to "buy back" the privatised firms,
saying they were "national assets" that were key to land reform, the heart
of his administration's economic policy.

"When we privatised, we created opportunities for one or two individuals. We
have created monopolies for one or two people. Now, our thinking is that
those companies must go back to the people. We must try to buy them back
from the people who are running them," Mugabe said.

The President's remarks immediately added to fears that government is
seriously considering a return to the command economy of the 1980s. The
speculation first rose on a State plan to establish an Agricultural
Marketing Authority (AMA) that would take control of the marketing of all
agricultural products.

The speculation was then stoked by the sale of $67,3 billion worth of
Dairibord stock by Commonwealth Africa Investments Limited (Comafin). Rumour
pointed to government as the buyer, although there was no official word on
the matter.

Zanu PF is sponsoring an AMA Bill, which provides for what the party says
will be the "fair pricing" of agricultural products to cut costs for the
mostly poor resettled farmers. Experts fear the Bill will be the latest
turn-off for investment in agriculture, the decaying pillar of Zimbabwe's

Although Dairibord has its roots in dairy products, it has derived much of
its earnings from a diversified product range in recent years. On Thursday,
the company reported that overall volumes sagged 6% last year, weighed down
by a 17% slump in milk intake. Earnings per share, at $219, came in higher
than 2004's $107 and ahead of most market forecasts. Dairibord stock fell 6%
to $1400 after its report.

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RBZ puts on brave face as inflation climbs
By Rangarirai Mberi

CENTRAL bank is putting a brave face to the first rise in inflation in
twelve months, amid growing concern that RBZ's splurging on the public
sector will halt its recent successes against rising prices.

Research by two economists made available to StandardBusiness shows that in
addition to a larger civil service wage bill, spending from central bank on
parastatals, councils, cheap productive sector support, subsidies to
exporters and other costs could swell expenditure by up to $26 trillion.
This far exceeds acting Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa's estimates of $19
Latest inflation numbers from the Central Statistical Office showed annual
inflation up 0,9 basis points to 133,6% in January, a largely unexpected
rise that is the first perk since January 2004. However, a senior official
in the bank's economic research division told StandardBusiness Wednesday
that the RBZ was "not rattled" by the rise.

"I don't think it (the rise) was entirely unexpected. You've got to account
for seasonal price adjustments and wages at year end, and we did just that,"
the RBZ official said. "We are not rattled. We have little reason to worry
too much about this - the outlook (for inflation) still remains positive."

The official was defiant in the face of criticism over the impact that RBZ's
"salvation money" will likely have on its own money supply targets. The bank
official said he had great confidence in the competence of RBZ's liquidity
management, which is underpinned by a cocktail of instruments that include
RBZ Bills, RBZ Financial Bills, Special TBs and open market operations

But researchers are sceptical that these instruments will have the capacity
to consistently manage the excess cash that Gono's plan will pour into the

The rise in inflation may have been marginal, but economist Dave Mupamhadzi
warns that the January figure is evidence that inflation remains a threat.

"This shows that we are not yet out of the woods. A lot still needs to be
done to keep inflation coming down," Mupamhadzi said, urging measures to
stabilise the exchange rate and food prices, which he says will be the two
key concerns for authorities going forward.

One economist gave an analogy of a football team, leading a league table by
only two points. "If you lose, and the number two team wins, you are behind
by a point. That's how inflation has the pressure on us right now."

RBZ chief Gono says he will ensure that money supply aggregates only grow
"at levels that are consistent with real economic activity".

But critics will point to his public spending as a strong source of
precisely that: money supply growth that is not linked to real economic
activity. Gono will spend $10 trillion trying to save State utilities and
local governments over the next 24 months.

Gono believes that, despite his splurging on the public sector, he will be
able to restrict broad money supply growth to 60% by the end of 2005, and
14% by mid-2006.

RBZ has set a bullish tone on inflation, cutting the overnight rate - the
key policy rate - and preparing a plan to make further cuts on the rate over
the next five months. The rate policy, according to Gono, reflects the
"resounding success on the inflation-reduction front".

The earliest sign that the fight against inflation was getting progressively
tougher came in December, when the annual rate recorded its narrowest fall
since the January peak of 622%. December's inflation rate fell from
November's 149% to 133%, the 16 basis points difference a far cry from the
63 percentage point fall in September which encouraged central bank to raise
its inflation targets.

Although the December figure fell well inside RBZ's revised inflation target
of below 150%, it gave reason to worry that monetary authorities would not
find inflation as easy a problem to defeat as they seemed to believe.
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Zanu PF forces schools to bankroll Mujuru bash
By Savious Kwinika

BULAWAYO - Zanu PF provincial leadership in Matabeleland South allegedly
forced school children, teachers and parents to donate money towards Vice
President Joyce Mujuru's victory celebrations scheduled for yesterday at
Pelandaba Stadium, The Standard was told.

Several parents, teachers and pupils in the province confirmed that they
were forced to donate money towards the celebrations. School children were
ordered to pay $2 000 each, while parents and teachers were required to pay
$10 000 a household.
Some parents who failed to raise the required amount were ordered to
contribute $5 000 cash and some maize meal or chicken.

Teachers at Gwanda High School, Senondo and Jahunda primary schools said
they "donated" despite the fact that Mujuru's celebrations were not a State
function but purely the ruling party's event.

"Right now parents are battling to raise school fees for their children and
here is a party that claims to have the interests of the people at heart,
forcing the same poor people to raise funds for their political leaders to
feast, get sloshed and be merry from our hard-earned cash," said one teacher
at Gwanda High School.

He confirmed that he had already paid $10 000.

A parent from Jahunda area, who preferred to be identified only as Khumalo,
said he had bought a blanket apart from paying $5 000 towards Mujuru's

"I don't really know whether these funds will reach the intended destination
or not. All I did was to pay up in order to avoid victimization by the
ruling Zanu PF party provincial leadership.

"We were told that they have a list of parents whom they intend to visit at
night towards the height of election campaigns, so to avoid taking risks,
you have to pay," said a disgruntled Khumalo.

Another parent said: "I have already paid $10 000 for my five children, who
are studying at Senondo primary and Gwanda High School."

Gwanda executive mayor, Thandeko-Zinti Mkandla of MDC said Zanu PF was
threatening people with violence if they failed to make the "donations".

"Parents here are not happy at all with the way they are being forced by
both Zanu PF and the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture to raise cash
for donations towards Vice President Mujuru's celebrations.

"It's rubbish. If it is a State function then the government must provide
the cash towards the celebration but if it is a private event then the money
should come from Zanu PF coffers. Some of us don't subscribe to the ruling
party," Mkandla said.

Matabeleland South Provincial Governor and Resident Minister, Angeline
Masuku, professed ignorance over the forced donations.

"I don't really know what you are talking about.

"Please, leave me alone. Phone Gwanda regional education office for your
information, otherwise I know nothing," said Masuku during a telephone

Efforts to get comment from Gwanda district education officer (DEO), Samuel
Silume, who is allegedly working with Zanu PF provincial leadership, in
raising the funds proved fruitless as he was said to be out of office.
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Chitungwiza council ordered to give stands to Zanu PF
By Kumbirai Mafunda

CHITUNGWIZA - THE government has ordered Chitungwiza Municipality to
surrender more that 1 000 housing stands to Christopher Chigumba, the Zanu
PF candidate for Zengeza, ahead of next month's crucial general elections,
The Standard can reveal.

Chigumba, who will square up with Goodrich Chimbaira of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has already set up a housing scheme,
Zanoremba Housing Co-operative, where he is allocating stands to supporters
of the ruling party.
The move has been interpretated as a vote buying ploy by Zanu PF ahead of
the 31 March elections.

In a letter dated 27 January 2005 to Chitungwiza executive mayor Misheck
Shoko, Harare Resident Minister, Witness Mangwende, ordered the council to
allow Chigumba's cooperative to construct houses on council land.

Mangwende said council should exempt the Zanu PF-aligned cooperative from
submitting their plans for approval by the council.

The Standard understands that the council had already allocated the land
that Zanu PF wants to other prospective homeowners."If the cooperative
utilise land which had been planned or sold to individual developers by the
Municipality, that land should be replaced by another," wrote Mangwende in a
letter a copy of which is in the possession of The Standard.

Chitungwiza Municipality as the local authority had allocated and developed
1 000 residential stands at Seke South, Unit L to deserving residents of
Chitungwiza. The development was part of council's planned reduction of its
deficit through charging $17,5 million a stand.

"This development is causing confusion and disorder in the Town and is
creating serious problems for the future," wrote Conrad Mutubuki, the former
acting Town Clerk in a letter to the Provincial Administrator.

Sources said the development has created confusion in Chitungwiza as
Chigumba's cooperative continues to build houses over sewer and water
reticulation pipes.

The prospective homeowners, mainly Zanu PF sympathisers and supporters have
set up camp at the site and are paying $200 000 in monthly instalments for
the small stands.

Sources said to access the stands one has to prove his allegiance to the
ruling party by producing the ruling party's membership card.

Council's efforts to demolish the structures have been resisted by
Mangwende's office.

Harare Metropolitan Province Administrator, identified as G Tanyanyiwa
ordered the council to reverse its decision to knock down the structures.

"We have noted with concern that your council has ordered the demolition of
housing structures which are being developed by Housing Cooperatives under
the guidance and leadership of the Hounourable MP Comrade Chigumba," wrote
Tanyanyiwa in a letter to the Chitungwiza Town Clerk. "This is quite

Shoko said council attorneys were last week considering approaching the
courts over Chigumba's project.

Chitungwiza's residents said Chigumba's project was a poll sweetener meant
to sway the electorate ahead of the crucial general elections. Chigumba, who
was elected into parliament after trouncing the MDC's James Makore in a
by-election last March, lured voters by providing free medical services in
the constituency.

But soon after the by-election the clinic was turned into a campaign office.

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Zimbabwe's IMF arrears rise to US$306m
By Kumbirai Mafunda

ZIMBABWE'S arrears to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), erstwhile
backers of the country's economic reforms in the mid 90's have swelled to a
whopping US$306 million but the international lender's Executive Board has
once again left the axe hovering over Harare's head.

At a meeting held in Washington last week, the 184-member fund not quite
impressed with the economic turnaround efforts being fronted by the
country's central bank gave the crisis-torn southern African country a
temporary amnesty to cure its haemorrhaging economy.
Prior to the surge in the debt, which is an affront to an undertaking to
nominal quarterly payments of US$5 million Zimbabwe's debt stood at US$295

But central bank Governor Gideon Gono, pledged to knock it down by
increasing quarterly payments to US$5 million. Prior to the pledge Harare
was paying US$1,5 million.

The IMF said although it appreciates Harare's token payments of US$16.5
million since July 2004 they still fell short of stabilising its arrears to
the Bretton Woods institution.

The 184-member fund implored Zimbabwe to promptly honour its overdue
financial obligations to the IMF if it was anxious for a stay of execution.

A crunching foreign currency crisis blamed on the demise of the agricultural
sector is slowing Harare's economy with some manufacturers and exporters
opting out of production.

Because of the accumulating arrears Harare risks expulsion from the IMF's
ranks when its Executive Board consider again the managing director's
complaint regarding Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal from the fund in August
or at the time of the executive board's discussion of the 2005 Article IV
consultation with Zimbabwe.

Other international lenders are widely expected to take the IMF's lead in
effecting similar measures.

Tapiwa Mashakada, the opposition MDC's shadow treasury secretary foresees an
upsurge in Harare's debt in the six months to June.

"Interest rates will compound our indebtedness. We still have a big hole on
our balance of payments position," said Mashakada, "Our capacity to generate
foreign currency is severely constrained because of the sluggish growth

The global lender has already ostracised Zimbabwe from its ranks by closing
down its representative office in the capital.

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Election manifestoes: An overview
By our own staff

ON 18 April 2005, exactly 18 days after the 31 March 2005 parliamentary
elections, Zanu PF says it is convinced its government will lead the people
of this country in celebrating people's power and independence.

That is a measure of its confidence in the outcome of next month's poll. But
there is a proverb that says pride goes before a fall and Zanu PF's bold
declaration of victory could be held up as an example of how a once popular
and revolutionary party underestimated the sentiments of the voting public.
Zanu PF says it is poised for "another landslide electoral victory", which
will translate into yet another dominance in parliament.

Accordingly, this year's celebration of 25 years of independence will
celebrate the gains which independence yielded and brought to all
Zimbabweans: freedom; sovereignty; a non-racial democracy; the land;
improved social conditions; education for all; health for all; and economic
opportunities for empowerment, among many other benefits.

"These are the gains Zimbabweans are not about to let slip by wrongly
reposing the governing mandate in dubious, sell-out parties typified by the
MDC, parties which will not hesitate to wreck and trample upon this hard-won
and precious legacy, in favour of foreign white interests. (Tony) Blair and
his allies will never be allowed to win over us!" President Robert Mugabe
says in introductory remarks to the ruling party's 2005 election manifesto.

The opposition MDC is in Masvingo today to launch its own election manifesto
and the choice of Masvingo is significant in several ways.

Once described as a "one-party province" until 2000, Masvingo was a bastion
of the ruling party's support and revolutionary spirit. But non-governmental
organizations were prevented from providing assistance to families in
several districts in this drought prone region.

Two key development projects, which would turn around the fortunes of the
province - the massive Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam lies abandoned and interest in it
is no doubt intended to rally support around the government and the ruling
party. The other, the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA)
Mwenezi project, which was being spearheaded by the Chinese, seems to have
quietly moved off the development radar screen.

In 2000, Masvingo urban constituency fell to the MDC in a dramatic blow that
demonstrated a shift in the power grip in the province. A second loss was
the loss in local authority elections of the town of Masvingo to the
opposition. Bulawayo, Chegutu, Chitungwiza and Harare were soon to follow
Masvingo in their rejection of the ruling party.

But Zanu PF is reminding the electorate that it is the party that "brought
back the land". It also says that it is committed to building the national
economy; national development; literacy and education for all; indigenous
empowerment; gender empowerment and advancement; national culture; and
consciousness and that it staunchly opposes exploitation and corruption.

Zanu PF sees next month's parliamentary elections in the context of what it
alleges are attempts by the British government at effecting "regime change"
in Zimbabwe in order to restore land to "white settler kith and kin".

Britain, however, says that during the Lancaster House agreement in 1979, at
which discussions on land reform were held, the United Kingdom (UK)
understood the need for a land resettlement programme and agreed to
contribute to the costs and to rally the support of the international donor

Lord Carrington, the chairman of the Lancaster House talks, in explaining
the UK position said on 11 October 1979 in a statement: "We recognize that
the future government of Zimbabwe, whatever its political complexion, will
wish to extend land ownership. The government can, of course, purchase land
for agricultural settlement, as we have all seen.

"The Independence Constitution will make it possible to acquire
under-utilized land compulsorily, provided that adequate compensation is
paid. Any resettlement scheme would clearly have to be carefully prepared
and implemented to avoid adverse effects on production."

Between 1980 and 1985, the UK says it provided 47 million pounds for land
reform. The UK land grant finally closed in 1996 with three million pounds
still unspent.

Britain says it sought proposals from Zimbabwe on spending the remaining
balance. As a result, in September 1998, Zimbabwe with encouragement from
the UK hosted a land conference in Harare, which involved all the major
international donors and multi-lateral institutions.

In May 1999, Britain says, consultants began work to identify ways in which
the UK could provide further support for land reform in Zimbabwe. However,
the work on support for the land reform in Zimbabwe was interrupted by farm
invasions and occupations and the subsequent violence in the run up to the
2000 parliamentary.

According to the British Embassy in Harare: "The UK remains willing to
support a land reform programme that is carried out in accordance with the
principles agreed by donors and the Zimbabwe government in 1998. This is
also the position of the broad donor community. We are not imposing any new

Outlining its achievements, Zanu PF says that nearly 6 000 farms measuring
7.8 million hectares of land were acquired for resettlement and that so far
a total of slightly more than 155 000 families have been resettled under the
A1 and A2 schemes on just over 4 900 farms measuring 6.6million hectares of

It points out to the reduction in the inflation rate and the stabilization
of the exchange rate, a reduction in interest rates, which will allow
borrowing for production and expansion of economic activity, while
concessionary loans continue to be made available to strategic sectors.

Zanu PF says it is also stepping up investment in infrastructure, with more
resources being released towards small-to-medium scale enterprises.

Critical sectors of mining and manufacturing, says Zanu PF, are inching
towards greater capacity utilization, while tourism is again recovering.

Its "look East" policy, Zanu PF says, is beginning to bear fruit, with new
investment beginning to flow in from that region, especially from China,
Malaysia, Indonesia and Iran.

During the next five years, Zanu PF is pledging to fight poverty and improve
the standards of living of Zimbabweans. These will be tackled through the
land reform programme, where robust funding of all categories of the
agricultural sector should create greater employment opportunities.

Zanu PF envisages the establishment of agro- processing schemes in villages
and districts, while there is commitment to developing the Matabeleland
Zambezi Water Project, for which a further $25 billion has been earmarked.

While pledging support for distressed companies, Zanu PF says that the next
five years should address issues of full capacity utilization while
enlarging the stake of indigenous people in the manufacturing sector.

The whole of the mining sector, according to Zanu PF, will receive close
attention to ensure claims are not held for speculative purposes, but are
worked on to ensure greater mining capacity.

In the next five years, Zanu PF says the government will align its air
transport policy to the tourism recovery and promotion master plan, which
will put accent on cultivating visitors from the Far and Middle East.

Arguing that pro-people policies are SME-focused, Zanu PF says it will seek
to upgrade this sector, placing it at the core of national investment.

Zanu PF says it aims at providing 1 250 000 housing stands by 2008, with
$2.286 trillion allocated for housing and infrastructure development in
urban areas this year.

The MDC's election manifesto, which will be unveiled today, is going to draw
largely on its economic blueprint, Reconstruction, Stabilisation, Recovery
and Transformation (Restart).

The opposition says it promises to increase real incomes and employment,
empowering previously disadvantaged groups by providing them with access to
resources and opportunities to increase incomes.

It seeks to ensure that Zimbabweans have equitable access to high-quality,
affordable health, education and social services, which are essential for
economic development.
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Zim Standard

Harassment of lawyers slammed
By Nqobani Ndlovu

BULAWAYO - The wanton harassment of judicial officials by State security
agents compromises the justice delivery system in the country, a leading
human rights watchdog organisation has said.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) says it is concerned at the
increasing incidences of intimidation of the justice administration
officials by State security agents because it affects the country's justice
delivery system.
ZLHR said most of the victims were prosecutors, lawyers and judges handling
human rights-related cases or those deemed politically sensitive.

It urged the government to guarantee the independence of the judiciary and
to ensure that adequate protection is provided to members of the legal

"The conduct goes to the root of the independence of the judiciary. In
particular, such conduct seriously erodes the public's confidence in the
Courts and has grave consequences of the rule of law," ZLHR said.

This follows recent media reports that Justice Lawrence Kamocha' s clerk was
grilled by security agents over circumstances surrounding the release from
remand prison of businessman, James Makamba.

ZLHR said it had become extremely difficult for judicial officials to
execute their duties in a professional and transparent manner "with the
constant threat of State security reprisals precariously dangling over their

State security agents harassed several members of the legal fraternity in
the recent past. These include well-known human rights lawyer, Beatrice
Mtetwa, Gabriel Shumba and Gugulethu Moyo, who were harrassed and at times
denied access to clients.

Other lawyers who have been victims include Mpokiseng Dube of Victoria
Falls, and Perpetual Ncube of Bulawayo.

ZLHR called on Chief Justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku and the Minister of
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, to do "all that
is in their power" to protect officers in the legal fraternity.

The human rights organisation drew the government's attention to the
recommendations of the African NGO' s Forum at the African Commission's 33rd
session in Niger, which calls for the officers in the judiciary to be

"The participants at the NGO forum on Human and People' s Rights recommend
that the government of Zimbabwe - take all necessary measures to ensure
protection of lawyers, public prosecutors, magistrates, judges and to
respect the independence of the judiciary".

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Health services in limbo as council fails to pay staff
By our own staff

THE Harare City Health Department is failing to pay its workers in time -
including doctors and nurses - amid reports that the local authority could
be forced to cut down its labour force to reduce its bloated wage bill.

Investigations by The Standard also revealed that some nurses and doctors in
the city health department have gone for more than three months without any
Health workers who spoke to this newspaper on condition of anonymity said
they were told that the local authority had no money and that they would
only receive their outstanding salaries as soon as the government bails them

"We have been told quite clearly that there is no money and that we have to
be patient until Chombo (Minister of Local Government Ignatious Chombo)
gives us money. They promised they will give us all the money they owe us in
bulk," said one worker.

"This is a really difficult time for us because we need to pay rent, and
have other bills to settle. It's really not motivating at all. Tave
kungoenda kubasa sekuti hapana chekuita asi mwoyo yedu haisisiri pano."

The worst affected workers are part time or "Locum" nurses, most of whom
have not been paid for over five months.

The Department of Health Services relies mostly on these part time nurses
and doctors because of the acute shortage of health professionals in the
city council.

The part time nurses are paid about $14 000 an hour compared to more than
$25 000 an hour paid to nurses in the private sector.

Harare residents have blamed "cheap politicking" at Town House for most of
the city's problems.

The city council this week announced plans to lay off some workers to reduce
its bloated wage bill. However, Its director of health services, Dr Lovemore
Mbengeranwa, could not reached for comment.

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Zim Standard


Zanu PF's skewed priorities

THE launch of the Zanu PF election manifesto in Harare 10 days ago was an
opportunity squandered.

For a political party seeking a further term in office, the launch should
have been the moment to highlight achievements accomplished since 2000, the
obstacles encountered in living up to its promises and how it intends to
deal with the hardships and living conditions that continue to worsen for a
majority of Zimbabweans.
Top among the list of issues that should exercise the mind of any political
party would be concern for three million economically active Zimbabweans,
who are in exile because they no longer believe there are opportunities for
them at home; the school drop out rate and the strategies to get children
back into the classroom. Explaining support for the unemployed, not just
through the food-for-work programme, which may provide relief in rural areas
but may not be replicated successfully in urban areas, would be another

Zanu PF would do well not to take people for granted. It could try telling
voters what plans it has for dealing with the growing crisis of child-headed
families, vulnerable people and the growing population of street children
and families.

Voters need to know why government hospitals have been run down and have no
drugs, while an increasing number of Zimbabweans are unable to afford health
services. If there is a decline in the number of people visiting public
health institutions, it is not because we suddenly have a healthier
population. The reason is that the majority can no longer afford the cost of
consultations and treatment. Consequently many have resorted to alternative
or traditional methods or are simply soldiering on, allowing their condition
to worsen and thus courting premature demise.

The closure of many factories and companies , which threw thousands of
people onto the streets with no immediate prospects of how they will feed
their families, are issues that a party that takes voters seriously would be
anxious to address the electorate on. Perhaps Zanu PF is aware it created
these problems in the first place.

Instead of attacking British Premier Tony Blair and US President George W
Bush, Zanu PF would do well to tell voters how it intends to bring down the
cost of living, improve rural schools some of which suffer general neglect,
as well as sprucing up institutions such as the University of Zimbabwe, the
oldest institution of higher learning in the country.

The cost of sending children to pre-schools has ballooned to the extent it
exceeds the cost of putting a child through primary school, yet during
colonial times local authorities ran affordable facilities. In these days of
increasing hardships people want to know what the government will offer them
in exchange for their votes.

One dilemma that confronts the majority of Zimbabwean young couples is the
shortage of accommodation, particularly in the main urban areas. During the
past decade, several blocks of flats were built in the major cities but
these were never meant for young couples. As a result they have been
condemned to "cottages and flats", for which they are paying the bulk of
their earnings with little prospect of saving for a house of their own.

Zanu PF cannot expect "a landslide" victory, when at every turn it
demonstrates its obsession with fear of Whitehall and Washington and their
alleged regime change agenda. No attempts at regime change will succeed if a
government cares for, is responsive to the plight of its citizens and works
for the greater good of society. Zanu PF works for and looks after the
interests of a select few. It is aware of this and that is why it tends to
panic and tries to play Father Christmas whenever there is an election.

Zanu PF also needs to demonstrate that holding different views from those of
the ruling party does not render one less of a patriot. The ruling party and
the government also need to demonstrate their willingness and capacity to
deal decisively with law enforcement officers who conduct themselves in an
unprofessional manner. The impetus for any clampdown on those who behave
like rogue elements must not be fear of further targeted sanctions, but it
should be from a desire to establish a just society, where citizens,
regardless of their status, are treated equally before the law.

The people of Mabvuku and Tafara are less interested in condemnation of
Blair and Bush, because what concerns them most is how long they will
continue to be condemned to one week of every month without water, a problem
they have suffered with increasing frequency since April last year.

If Zanu PF has nothing to promise the electorate, it could do well to listen
to the views of the people. It would be far better than making promises it
cannot fulfill.

Areas such as Gokwe, Muzarabani and Sanyati are among the main cotton
producing regions in the country, but the government has done little to
support economic activity in these areas by improving infrastructure such as
the road network.

Zanu PF is so out of touch with the majority of the people and not the
majority of its hangers-on and it is for this reason that it resorts to
violence in order to intimidate everyone into voting for it.

The fact that the launch of the Zanu PF manifesto chose to focus on other
things just goes to show the contempt the ruling party has for the people of
this country. But Zimbabweans deserve what they get.

The truth of the matter is that Zanu PF is the party that brought freedom
and independence, but it is equally true that Zanu PF is also the party that
has thrown nearly 80 percent of the working population of this country out
of their jobs.

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Zim Standard

What's in a name? - quite a lot ...
overthetop By Brian Latham

THAT horrid Mr William Gates, a source of constant irritation to millions of
computer users, has one redeeming feature: the spellcheck thingy that so
very often suggests more appropriate spellings for Zimbabwean words and

Mugabe, for instance, becomes "mutate," which is something most people would
like to see happen to him. It also suggests megabit, whatever that is, but
interestingly not mugger.
Meanwhile, Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo becomes Flashgun Basenji - and
if Mr Gates were a Zimbabwean, no doubt, Obasanjo would translate to mbanje,
a substance some believe he is partial to.

In the meantime, the country's curious police commissioner Agustine Chihuri
interestingly turns into the English county of Cheshire, but again a Shona
dictionary might suggest a more appropriate alternative. The computer also
suggests chirurgic, an archaic word pertaining to surgery, no doubt, of the

Rather amusingly, poor old "Trousers Down" Mpofu becomes "pouf" which is an
interesting variation on spelling, but the general meaning is clear enough.

Down south, Thabo Mbeki becomes Taboo Meeker, and you'd be hard pressed to
find a better description of the continent's most craven leader.

Nkomo turns into nomad or Naomi, while Muzenda becomes mused or pudenda, but
one should'nt speak ill of the dead.

Meanwhile justice, or is it injustice minister Patrick Chinamasa can thank
his parents for sticking with Patrick, because his suggested surname of
Chainmesh is altogether more sinister - not to say fitting.

Meanwhile, Peter Chanetsa could be Chinese, a chalet or even a chanteuse.
The latter seems unlikely, while size and weight might suggest a chalet
could be too small for a man who requires such impressive space.

But what of their opponents, Morgan Tsvangirai, my computer says, is really
called Morgan Sangria, which is perhaps why he leads the More Drink Coming
Party. And Welshman Ncube becomes Cubed or Cuban, which is something no one
would welcome.

David Coltart becomes David Coltrate, which means sharp or knife edged,
which is perhaps why he is pitted against Mr Chainmesh.

On the periphery there is of course Swanepoel, which becomes swinepoxes and
is entirely self- explanatory.

The hyperactive head of the Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono, also provides some
amusement, with Goon, Gonzo, Gong and Gone being offered as suitable.Most
Zimbabweans would opt for the last choice, but it seems unlikely to happen

And security minister, Nicholas Goche becomes Gauche, Gopher or Gnocchi.
It's hard to find a connection with an Italian food, and it's not my place
to suggest that the man who controls the goons is gauche or anyone's gopher.

Meanwhile, Justice Paddington Garwe becomes Gore or Grace, both of which
might seem mildly offensive, so we'll avoid comparisons.

Presidential spin doctor George Charamba is, according to my laptop,
actually Charabanc, but that can't be right because a charabanc is useful.

The unlamented Enos Chikowore should be called Chokebore, says Mr Gates. But
that can't be right either because a chokebore is a shotgun with a muzzle
that narrows at the end - not something that can truly be said of Mr

And while there are sadly no amusing suggestions for Jonathan Moyo, his
alter ego Nathaniel Manheru is, appropriately enough, given masher as an

Of course, all these suggested names were selected randomly and the fact
that some point to certain characteristics is purely coincidental. Any
similarity to persons living or dead is entirely in your imagination and
does not exist in reality, whatever your computer says. Computers lie, just
as Mr William Gates does when he tells us how well these contraptions work
with his products.

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Zim Standard

Coal shortage hits firms
By Kumbirai Mafunda

ZIMBABWE'S manufacturing sector was last week plunged into limbo after an
erratic shortage of coal hit the whole industry, StandardBusiness has

Engines and turbines at most firms were knocked down due to the scarcity of
the fuel, a major raw material in the production process. Most heavily
industrialised companies were reported to have terminated production due to
the erratic supplies.
Chiredzi-based sugarcane grower Hippo Valley, Modzone, Saybrooke and
fertiliser manufacturer Windmill were some of the companies forced to
approach the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) to intervene on
their behalf to get coal supplies normalised. CZI boss Farai Zizhou told
Standard Business that the apex industrial body took its members' concerns
to management at Hwange Colliery Company (HCC), the country's largest
producer of coal.

In Harare most foundry companies halted production last week as the
shortages worsened. The CZI swiftly moved to assist members fearing that if
sustained, the shortages of fuel would have had a serious bearing on the
manufacturing sector.

"If your company has not been able to get enough supplies of coal, could you
please advise the undersigned so that arrangements for assistance can be
made. Please indicate the tonnages required," read a CZI circular
distributed to members.

Fears ran high last week that the coal shortage could hit hospitals, most of
which use coal to heat boilers for steam to sterilise instruments used in
theatre and labour wards.

Although at one time HCC failed to meet the high demand for coal for the
local market, industrialists blame the limited supply of railway wagons as
the major impediment. Hwange MD Godfrey Dzinomwa echoed the same sentiments,
blaming the coal shortages on distribution bottlenecks.

"Those facing shortages are people who have been trying to go through coal
merchants and not directly to us," he said.

Dzinomwa said Hwange has since increased its monthly output to 300 000
tonnes from 200 000 in 2004. He said the opening of an underground mine
would boost production levels to 150 000 tonnes more per month.

About 85 to 95% of HCC's coal production is obtained from the open cast
mine, which depends on the dragline. The failure to service and maintain the
dragline owing to a foreign currency squeeze has reduced capacity output in
the past few years.
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Zim Standard

Bad words about the good Sister Rice uncalled for
Americanotes by Ken Mufuka

WHETHER we agree with her Iraq policy or not, Sister Condoleezza Rice is a
brilliant African American, and the first black woman ever to become US
Secretary of State.

It came as a shock to us therefore to find that President Robert Mugabe's
opinion of her was being publicized all over the world. He is reported to
have called her Ms Lies and that the "white man is the slave master to her".
In fact, Sister Rice and Brother Collin Powell were the first black leaders
in the US to take a stand against black oppressors in Africa. Powell called
for actions and sanctions against the Sudan for its slavery practices in
Darfur region and its extermination of blacks in the equatorial region of
the Sudan.

The issue before us is that in the past black Americans have been afraid to
speak out against black oppressors in Africa. There is a powerful psychology
among all blacks in general, embedded in history that the white man is the
eternal enemy.

Those white men who have stood for black rights are therefore regarded as
unusual or exceptional. Recently, there has been a movement to tar these and
their sacrifices (the neo-liberals) as treacherous and intended in the long
run to defend the very interests they were publicly opposed to.

Black Americans, like their brothers in Africa, were slow to realize the
untenable evil committed by General Idi Amin. When the great son of Africa,
Professor Ali Mazrui fled from Uganda in 1973, no black university extended
its hand of friendship to him in his hour of need. He found safety in white
universities, including Havard University.

The butchers of Africa were themselves much acclaimed here in black
universities. Paul Biya of Cameroon was honoured at the University of
Maryland's African Studies Center (Eastern Shore). In the month that he was
honoured, April 1991 students in his home city Yaounde demonstrated against
his oppressive policy.

Fifty-eight were shot dead for their efforts and 200 were thrown in jail
without trial. Thousands fled the country to France. Perhaps the researchers
at Eastern Shore did not do their homework about Biya's bloody history. The
philosophy here is that see no evil, hear no evil and refuse to hear the
white man's lies about black government.

People who should know better have been sucked in by this philosophy. The
Reverend Jesse Jackson went to Nigeria as a VIP guest of dictator Sani
Abacha. He was provided with a Nigerian airline plane and feted and wined
like a king. Because black Americans are often ignored in the corridors of
power in their own country, they welcome this treatment by their brothers in
Africa. Jackson gave a good report about that son of Abacha.

Black Americans are slowly turning around (as indeed are Africans, including
this author) to the view that oppression is not an especial embedment of the
white race. It is embedded in the human race, thus the need for special
checks and balances.

George Ayyiteyi, who fled from Ghana's Jerry Rawlings and has provoked this
debate in the US even as we speak, sees the black American emphasis on
racism as mistaken. Racism, to black Americans is the sin of the century and
whites are regarded as instruments of this dastardly practice.

They are blinded to the fact that in most African countries, tribalism can
be worse than racism, and that in Nigeria and in the Sudan, there are many
blacks who have never seen a white man. The fact that for the first time,
Sister Rice is calling a spade a spade and Archbishop Tutu is seeing
"e-veeel" (his pronunciation) in black brothers is a sign of maturity.

The Bush administration, for which Ms Rice works, is to be congratulated for
breaking up Arab nationalism in the Middle East. The treacherous Arab
nationalists for half a century looked the other way as Saddam Hussein
murdered his own people for fear of giving comfort to the imperialists.

There is a hot debate here as to whether Bush may have done the Arabs (for
the wrong reasons) a favour by breaking up that makudo mamwe theory. For the
first time in fifty years, Arabs are discussing whether Hussein was God's
gift or the devil messenger to Iraqi, without the masquerade of Arab
nationalism. Like African nationalism, Arab nationalism said: see no evil in
an Arab brother, look the other way when he murders and rapes Arab sisters,
lest you comfort and confirm the Eurocentric view that Arabs are unfit to
govern themselves.

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Zim Standard

Zimbabwe health crisis runs deeper
sundayopinion By Dr Hutano

LAST week Dr Hutano bemoaned the quality of health care in government
hospitals and the attitude of health workers in Zimbabwe in general, which
he likened to that of mercernaries.

This week, he argues that health workers have an obligation to fulfil their
role as professionals in the provision of health care, show up for work and
promote quality patient care...

WHEN patients come back from Central hospitals you have to guess what was
done to them. Most of the doctors at central hospitals know what they are
doing is wrong and that is why they do not sign their name to the discharge
card or write a proper discharge summary.

Writing your name on the patient's card is a requirement and is the right
thing to do, but no one in Ministry of Health and Child Welfare or hospital
administrations are insisting on this being done. The attitude at government
hospitals is that "I pretend to work and you pretend to pay me."

Many patients that are referred to Harare and Parirenyatwa Hospitals are
seen by junior doctors. These junior doctors do not treat patients properly,
partly because of lack of experience and partly because they want to rush
for locums (which is illegal).

It is a fact that junior doctors are not seen on duty because they are doing
locums. This locum spirit will never go away because fourth and fifth year
medical students are doing locums in private surgeries.

In fact, you as the public may be unaware that the "doctor" you are paying
large amounts of money to see in private surgeries are not even qualified
and has not finished training and is operating illegally.

The Health Professions council can raid any surgery at random and they will
find these unqualified medical students and junior doctors openly working
and charging high fees to unknowing patients.

Imagine being involved in a road traffic accident around 12 pm in Harare.
You get transported to Harare/Parirenyatwa Hospital by ambulance and if you
are lucky you reach the hospital around 12:30 pm you will wait in the
casualty officer's queue. If you are lucky, the casualty officer will see
you after 30 minutes and will order X-rays.

If you have a fracture the casualty officer will write on your card for "the
ortho to see". The orthopaedic person who is supposed to see you is not a
qualified orthopaedic consultant but, in fact, is a junior doctor (who is in
fact junior in experience to the casualty officer - a senior referring to a
junior. Isn't this a paradox?)

The junior doctor who is supposed to see you has disappeared. He is doing a
locum in Chitungwiza or Mufakose and he will only be back after 8PM to see
you. Meanwhile you are lying on a stretcher bleeding internally (without any
pain medication given because you need a doctor to order it) and slowly but
surely dying.

If you die before he arrives he is happy because he has one less patient to
see and the attitude is who cares? People die every day; you are not the
first or last one! You just become another statistic. No one will
investigate why you died, why you were not seen in time, why there was no
doctor on duty, and the doctors name, in fact, doesn't appear on the chart
because you died when he hadn't arrived yet from his locum.

The casualty nurses do not bother to call the registrar (middle level
doctor) because he will not come from his private practice and lose money.
He will just tell them to call the junior doctor. If the nurses do report
the junior doctor to the consultant nothing is done to him (junior doctor),
so why bother? This becomes hard for the nurses to deal with day in day out.

Many leave because of this attitude and not just because they want more
money in a foreign country. They just watch the patient writhing in pain on
the stretcher, without taking any vital signs, offering a urinal or hanging
on IV line, until the patient dies, because there was no doctor's order.

How can nurses who care for patients tolerate this day in and day out
without eventually giving up on a system they are powerless to change?

During the 1980's and 1990's if you as a junior doctor did what is
acceptable practice today, you would have been asked to repeat your
rotation, or you could be terminated or risked not being registered as a
doctor by the Health Professions Council. You could be arrested for
practicing medicine without a licence while working at a private surgery.

Government hospitals are supposed to care for patients who are poor and
underprivileged, but in fact the government doctors openly tell their
patients they can only help them if they come to their private surgery and
become their private patients.

The newspapers in this country are littered with adverts of people asking
for money to be operated on for such and such condition at Harare and
Parireranyatwa hospitals. This is an insult to our health delivery system.

Why should someone ask for millions of dollars to be operated on at a
government (Public) hospital? What is the use of having a government
hospital, with government doctors (being paid with your tax money) if
patients are going to pay millions of dollars to get any kind of surgical
help? Just call yourself a private hospital that can only provide care for
patients who have money-not a public hospital that is there to serve the
needs of all people in Zimbabwe.

Another serious consequence of all this is a lack of medical training for
students and junior doctors who have no one teaching them procedures in
government hospitals, and no one holding them accountable to attend to their
duties. This makes our degrees as doctors useless and soon we will not have
to be worried about losing doctors to others countries, they definitely
won't want us!

This should be embarrassing to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to
acknowledge that our government hospitals are not there to help poor people.
A careful look at the whole scenario will reveal that such patients are
being coerced to become private patients of doctors looking for money in
their private practices. You only get operated on or are seen by a
consultant when you pay "big bucks." At this rate we will be asked to bribe
doctors to see us at government hospitals.

In conclusion, I am not saying that private doctors are bad people for
charging fair prices for their services. What I am saying is that if you
choose to also be a government doctor you have an obligation to fulfill your
services that you have agreed to and show up for work. You have no right to
entice patients to see you privately to get anything done. The Ministry of
Health also has an obligation to pay government doctors a decent salary not
a salary that results in poverty if you work in a proper way.

The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education also has an obligation to
support medical students with grants and loans so that they are not enticed
to do illegal locums and they don't have to drop out of school because they
can not survive. When the health ministry agreed that government doctors
could also have private surgeries because they did not want to raise their
salaries, the health system in Zimbabwe began collapse!

Pumping in billions of dollars into a "dead system" is not the solution to
the health problems in our country. Let us solve the problems in the system
in totality starting with attitudes that promote quality patient care no
matter what your social standing in life is.

Let us not waste time putting more money into the system to "fix" the
physical plant. No one in Zimbabwe can be proud of the current medical
situation in this country. As past and future patients we need to stand up
and say it is time for a change of attitude and it needs to start with all
medical practitioners in the country.

And don't destroy the little life that is alive in those of us trying to
survive in this dead system all around us! Let's stand up and be counted!
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Mugabe hits out at UK before his birthday
          February 21 2005 at 07:20AM

      Harare - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on Sunday prepared to
celebrate his 81st birthday, launching a fresh attack on British Prime
Minister Tony Blair and hitting out at his sacked information minister
Jonathan Moyo.

      Mugabe, who turns 81 on Monday, also described the relationship
between the main opposition the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and
former colonial ruler Britain as "treasonous", in a 90-minute interview on
state television.

      "That's the worst betrayal there can ever be, its treasonous,
condemnable. You can't eat with the enemy," he said.

      "You can never ever convince an Englishman that you are equal to him,
never, never. He is always superior, it doesn't matter what circumstances,
it doesn't matter what education, it doesn't matter what power, you are
always inferior.

      Without mentioning him by name, Mugabe inferred that Moyo, whom he
fired from the information ministry at the weekend, was overly ambitious for
trying to "arbitrarily" uproot the old guard in the ruling Zanu-PF and

      Moyo, Mugabe's chief propagandist over the past five years, got the
sack after he decided to run in parliamentary elections next month as an
independent candidate.

      "Democracy is rules, you cannot operate without rules, you must
recognise how people together can share power," he said in an interview
recorded before he sacked Moyo.

      Asked what he would do if he was to meet Blair, Mugabe said he would
accuse him of being a liar.

      "I would tell him that he, Tony Blair, is a liar, straightforwardly,
that on Zimbabwe he has lied, on Iraq he has lied.

      "At least those are the two principal lies, there are other small
insignificant lies he has told I wouldn't know."

      Mugabe accused Blair of falsely claiming that Zimbabwe is
undemocratic, lacks transparency and the rule of law.

      "That's a lie and he knows he is telling a lie, it's a deliberate lie,
it's damnable."

      Asked if he was not running away from issues at home by adopting an
"anti-Blair" theme for his party's electoral campaign, Mugabe said Blair had
interfered with Zimbabwe's domestic affairs through his "agent" the MDC.

      "We are saying Blair has interfered with our economy, Blair has
intefered with our system of government, Blair has interfered with our right
of sovereignty... by projecting lies about Zimbabwe."

      Mugabe charged that Blair has used the difference between his London
and Harare over Zimbabwe's controversial land reforms "to try and ruin our
relations with the rest of Europe".

      He accused Blair of interfering "with the progress in our economy by
urging those countries not only to impose personal sanctions, but privately
not to invest in Zimbabwe, not to assist Zimbabwe technically and

      The European Union has since 2002 imposed travel bans on Mugabe and
his inner circle, leading Harare to bar the EU and the United States from
observing next month's elections.

      "I am Robert Mugabe with my own beliefs, my own likes and dislikes,
but I espouse definite political principles, the principle of sovereignty,
that the people of Zimbabwe must be free... that we must be respected as an
African people," was the president's final message to the Western media. -

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Sent: Monday, February 21, 2005 7:00 PM
Subject: Zimbabwe Solidarity Newsletter - Plain Texst





Issue 1, Friday 18  February, 2005






We need your help! Standing strong together, as Africans, in unity, means spreading this newsletter as widely as possible! Whether in Zimbabwe, or abroad, whether by e-mail or as a printed copy. Don’t hang onto it! Pass it on!

But please remember: any-one that wants to receive this newsletter directly from must subscribe through e-mail in person!! This is to avoid problems with local and international Spam laws and regulations. (More info at the end of this letter)




“An injury to one, is an injury to all!”






1.      Disenfranchisement in perspective

2.      News Flash 1

3.      Disenfranchisement Today

4.      News Flash 2,3,4

5.      SADC protocol explained

6.      News Flash 5,6

7.      A liberators perspective

8.      Human rights since 2000

9.      Human Rights Today

10.  Zimbabwe reports 1 and 2

11.  News Flash 7 and 8

12.  About this initiative

13.  Agenda

14.  Distribution and Contact information





In all the concern over Zimbabwe’s implementation of the SADC Principles and Guidelines, one small fact seems to have been forgotten. Elections are about finding consensus, which is not determined by the way in which voting is conducted. The main point of elections is to gather the consensus of the citizens over which political party should be given the right to govern the nation, and the way in which that consensus can best be judged is by the number of people that vote. A government elected by a minority of the voters may be able to govern legally, but rarely will have the moral authority to govern. Thus, the ANC, with the gift of massive consensus, has clear moral authority to govern.


It was exactly this situation that led to the War of Liberation in Zimbabwe. The various white governments never had moral authority, especially after the Second World War. The white minority maintained its power by refusing to allow universal suffrage. The denial of the vote to the vast black majority led to the demands for “one man, one vote”, and, directly after UDI, to the armed struggle. So it is disconcerting in the extreme to see, 25 years on, that the politics of exclusion have returned to Zimbabwe. In the Westminster, constituency-based electoral system that is Zimbabwe, more than 2 million voters will be prevented from exercising their choice: they are encouraged to send their money home, but denied their vote!


When a country is in severe crisis, and deeply polarized, it is the politics of inclusion that can solve the problems. As it was in 1980, so should it be in 2005. Proportional representation, and the opportunity for all Zimbabweans, both inside and outside Zimbabwe, to have their vote, will be the way out of the crisis. The winner in such an inclusive process will govern because it will be the “legitimate expression of the peoples’ will”.



NEWS FLASH 1                     Mugabe bars SADC pre-election monitoring and Troika: Sunday Mirror (14/02) and Zim Online (11/02)


The Zimbabwean government has indicated that it will not allow a visit to the country by a SADC pre-election observer team. Originally, the team was supposed to visit the country ahead of the election to assess whether SADC electoral guidelines have been properly implemented. However, the government has now indicated that the delegation will only be welcomed if it forms part of the normal election observer team. The South African government has begun to express concern over the fact that they have still not received an official invitation from the Zimbabwe government to send an observer mission. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the South African Foreign Minister said that the invitation had been expected last week. “We are still hoping it will materialize,” she said.

On the same note it is alleged that the Mugabe regime has denied the SADC troika consisting of South African President Thabo Mbeki, Lesotho Prime Minister Phakalitha Mosisili and departing Namibian President Sam Nujoma access to Zimbabwe. They were set to visit the country in order to see for themselves whether the Zimbabwe government was intent on implementing the SADC principles and guidelines on free and fair elections.





As indicated in our editorial, disenfranchisement is the greatest problem in the forthcoming Zimbabwe elections. It is not a new problem, and was widely seen in the 2000 elections, with a number of methods being reported in the election petitions mounted by the MDC after that election, as well as in the 2002 Presidential election.


- Inability to register – through displacement, removal of citizenship, inability to prove residence;

- Confiscating IDs so that you cannot prove your identity on polling day;

- Threats about the ways in which your vote could be detected;

- Intimidation so that you are “forced” to vote for Zanu-PF;

- Violence against opposition members;

- Coercion of rural people by chiefs and headmen;

- Denial of the postal vote to citizens outside the country;

- Limiting the number of polling stations in areas of high opposition support.


All of these were alleged to have taken place during 2000 and 2002. Which will apply in 2005?


Inability to register will be a fact for many Zimbabweans, and mostly the youth and displaced people such as the former commercial farm workers. Unable to provide proof of residence, they will not have been able to confirm their place on the voters’ roll. Of course, millions of Zimbabweans outside the country will be denied a vote due to there being no postal vote. The feeble argument offered by the Minister of Justice to a court challenge to this decision, that Zanu-PF cannot campaign outside the country due to selective sanctions, does not apply to South

Africa where most exiled and migrant Zimbabweans live and work.


Violence and intimidation may well frighten other voters away, but current signs are that violence may be diminishing. However, intimidation and coercion are still present, and take two forms. The first lies again in the creation of “no go” areas, policed by the militia and traditional leaders, who may well force people to vote for Zanu-PF. The second lies in the controlled access to food, and all indications suggest that food is short and getting shorter. Access to food has and will probably be used again as a form of compulsion against the rural voters.


We are still to see what the layout of polling stations might be, but this may well be used again to prevent many people in urban areas from casting their votes. This could be more serious now that voting is only on a single day. Finally, there is always the sticky problem of the voters’ roll itself, and here the presence of perhaps hundreds of thousands of “ghost” voters may negate any possibility that a citizen’s real vote has any impact.




“Our modest demand is simple and just. We demand ONE PERSON ONE VOTE in a free election where international observers will oversee.” Comrade Josiah Magama Tongogara (1978)




NEWS FLASH 2         MDC Candidate’s Meeting Raided by Police                                       MDC Press Office


A strategic planning meeting and training session at the Sheraton Hotel in Harare for the 120 MDC candidates for the upcoming election was disrupted by three plain clothes policemen on the 16th of February. The policemen demanded to attend the meeting, then declared that the meeting was illegal under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and that all participants would face arrest if they did not leave immediately. The policemen arrested MDC Director of Elections, Ian Makone, who is being held at Harare Central Police Station, but has not yet been told what charges he faces.


NEWS FLASH 3         Dispossession of Farm Settlers Continues                                        Daily Mirror (14/02)


Farmers who say they occupied Shuri Shuri Farm in Chegutu, Mashonaland West during the land occupations in 2000 have been ordered to leave the farm by officers from the Air Force of Zimbabwe. Nelson Samkange, the provincial governor of Mashonaland West, said that settlers who refused to leave the farm would be “acting against government policy.” Defending the Air Force’s claim to the land, Samkange also said, “If war veterans liberated the country, they cannot say it is their land. They took it for all Zimbabweans.”


This follows similar recent actions chasing settlers away from other farms in Mashonaland East and West, Matabeleland North and Manicaland, including Little England Farm and Inkomo Farm.


NEWS FLASH 4         Church Leaders Criticize Robert Mugabe                                          Zim Online (14/02)


Zimbabwean church leaders at an interdenominational prayer meeting held on the 13th of February sharply criticized ZANU (PF). Bishop Cephas Mukandi of the Methodist Church said, “The majority of our MPs, Cabinet Ministers and politburo members of the ruling party claim to be Christian. But then if that is the case, then who is involved in beating up people the destruction of property and life. It would be foolhardy for any politician to think that the whole country could belong to one political party.” Similarly strong criticism came from Bishop Patrick Mutume of the Roman Catholic Church, who said, “Zimbabweans everywhere are living in fear because they are threatened and intimidated into submission. We are yet to enjoy the gains of liberation.”





The conduct of a transparent and open election process in accordance with established legislation is fundamental to a democratic society.  An open election process not only serves to ensure the right of political participation, it also presupposes adherence to other basic human rights such as the right to freedom of expression, movement, peaceful assembly and association.   


In recognition of the important role that an open election process plays in consolidating citizens’ participation in the decision making processes, SADC has made significant progress, in recent years, in consolidating democratic practices and institutions in the region and the individual member countries. 


Regrettably, the level of commitment to political liberalisation and democratisation still varies greatly from country to country and this has opened the door to external and internal criticism of the electoral processes and results in several member states.           


In an effort to address this ambiguity and uncertainty and to respond proactively to the “AU Principles Governing Democratic Elections”, the member states of the SADC during August 2004 adopted the “SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections”.  These Principles and Guidelines not only provide a set of general criteria against which the impartiality of elections can be measured; they also serve as a public expression of the SADC’s commitment to the consolidation of democracy in the region.                   

As a practical tool, the Principles and Guidelines provide a solid yet non-specific framework through which the concepts of “freeness” and “fairness” within the electoral process can be measured.  In general, the term “freedom” refers to those elements of the electoral process that impact on a voter’s opportunity to participate in the electoral process without being exposed to coercion or restrictions, whilst “fairness” refers to those aspects that impact on impartial or equitable access to the process for all qualified individuals.  The obvious difficulty

with using the SADC Principles and Guidelines to measure “freeness” and “fairness” is the fact that most of the principles and guidelines are open to interpretation, and at present it still remains to be seen how these two concepts will be practically defined and applied by the SADC members.  All of the criteria for a strict interpretation of “free and fair” are present, but it is still up to the leadership and citizens of the region to determine the level of latitude and interpretation that will be allowed.   


The adoption of the “SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections” is undoubtedly a positive step on the road toward long-term sustainable democracy in the SADC region, but it is not yet a fully functional instrument.  Apart from the problem of interpretation, as discussed above, there is also the dilemma of enforcing the Principles and Guidelines when no provision has been made for sanctions against governments or leaders who do not comply.  The enforcement of the principles and guidelines, therefore, depends greatly on the resolve of regional leaders to hold themselves and their brethren accountable.  As yet this resolve has not been adequately tested.     


Within the above context, it is important for the citizens of the SADC region to view the “SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections” as a work in progress.  The practical application and enforcement of the principles and guidelines will depend as much on the content of the document, as the will of the people.  Consequently, it is imperative that the citizens of the SADC region ensure their participation in the evolution of this process by demanding that their leaders implement and enforce the Principles and Guidelines in accordance with the democratic ideals of the people.            




“The people shall govern!”

- the Freedom Charter Congress of the People, Kliptown, South Africa, 1955




NEWS FLASH 5         Losers in ZANU (PF) Primaries rule out standing as independents    Fin. Gaz. (10/02)


Longstanding ZANU (PF) members who did not get their party’s nomination to stand as a candidate in the March 31st election have ruled out standing as independent candidates in the election. Many of the ruling party members had been troubled by what they saw as the imposition of candidates by the governing bodies of the party.

            Margaret Dongo, a former ZANU (PF) Member of Parliament who is running as an independent in the Harare Central constituency in the upcoming election, confirmed that overtures had been made to her by some ruling party candidates to form a “loose coalition” of independent candidates. Dongo suggested, however, that such a coalition was unlikely to emerge because the candidates feared reprisals by the ruling party.


NEWS FLASH 6         SA Government Opposes COSATU Blockade                   SABC (15/02) & Business Day (16/02)


The South African Foreign Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has said that an attempt by the South African trade union organisation COSATU to block roads on the border with Zimbabwe as part of protests against the human rights situation in Zimbabwe would be illegal. Dlamini-Zuma said that South Africa would react to such action according to its laws. This contradicts the stance indicated by the South African ruling Tripartite Alliance over the weekend that they would not oppose actions undertaken by COSATU and regional trade union bodies.      But COSATU has now stated that they will go ahead with their planned blockades and protests. This follows the recent deportation of a 20 person COSATU delegation to Zimbabwe that was supposed to complete consultations with their Zimbabwean counterpart, the ZCTU, and conduct fact-finding ahead of the March 31 election in Zimbabwe.





The black people of Zimbabwe were prompted by a myriad of grievances to join the ranks of the struggle for their liberation. At the core of the oppressive system in Rhodesia was the political domination of the blacks backed by an arsenal of repressive legislation and the complete denial of their political rights. The blacks were not free and had no say in the running of their country. No wonder then that freedom and ‘one man one vote’ became the rallying cry of the nationalist movement. The people wanted freedom above everything else and consistent with this, the guerrilla fighters were affectionately known as “freedom fighters’ or in the Shona language “varwiri ve rusunguko”.  However twenty five years later, a most systematic, calculated and determined assault on those fundamental freedoms has turned Zimbabwe into a nightmare.


The overwhelming majority of the people are struggling to make ends meet whilst the ZANU PF elite are liberally helping themselves to the country’s resources. This elite that benefited from the generous lease of state farms acquired with the help of British funds are again the principal beneficiaries of the so called ‘land reform’ that has destroyed the country’s agriculture and crippled the economy. The majority of the population is now largely dependent on western donors for food aid in a country that used to boast of surpluses.


An array of repressive legislation reminiscent of the Rhodesian era has been crafted to suppress voices of dissent. State institutions such as the police, the armed forces and the intelligence services have been thoroughly corrupted to become pliant tools of the ruling party.


Millions have fled the country and become economic refugees within the region and further a field. Tragically, they have not only lost the hope of economic survival back home but their inalienable right to vote as well.  Reminiscent of the qualified franchise for blacks in the Rhodesian era, numerous obstacles are placed to the registration of voters with the youth being the most affected and having to seek ‘endorsement’  from the  landlords to qualify as voters in their constituencies. Turning majority age has become a legal nicety devoid of significance in terms of citizen rights.


To dream of ‘free and fair’ elections in the present political landscape is to indulge in wishful thinking and stretching one’s imagination too far beyond any political relevance given the ruling party’s determination to cling to power at all costs. Talk about anything else but losing the election is absolutely out of question and beyond the realm of the practicable for them. From the delimitation of constituencies, the registration of voters, the compilation of the voters roll (largely inflated with ghost voters), the management of the election itself by trusted military intelligence officials, access to the electorate and the media, to Mugabe’s right to appoint an additional one quarter of the total number of elected parliamentarians,  the battle is won for ZANU PF before the formal contest has even begun.


Talk about the so-called SADC Principles and Guidelines; in present day Zimbabwe, ZANU PF determines political and electoral reality. What a far cry from the forsaken aspirations of freedom, democracy and social justice that those who sacrificed their lives for liberation yearned for.




“All National Groups Shall have Equal Rights!”

- the Freedom Charter Congress of the People, Kliptown, South Africa, 1955







The popular rejection of the government-inspired constitutional proposal in February 2000- the first electoral defeat suffered by the ruling party ZANU(PF) since taking power in 1980- indicated eroding support for the ruling party among the electorate.  The political opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and civil society, both who had campaigned against the government’s draft constitution now presented a credible and present threat to ZANU(PF)’s monopoly on political power.  Historically averse to political opposition, and fearing the imminent loss of legislative power in the then upcoming parliamentary election, the ruling party sought to reconsolidate and ensure its political primacy through a systematic campaign of repression, violence and intimidation aimed at stamping out dissent of any kind. It is this response that has consequently spawned the human rights crisis that has been developing unabated in Zimbabwe over the past few years.


The government’s campaign to stamp out political dissent was framed as a re-launch of the liberation war. The political opposition was now cast as nefarious agents of colonialism. State sponsored violence began under the guise of a land redistribution exercise, ostensibly aimed at redressing outstanding historical imbalances in land ownership between whites and blacks. The reality however, was that this exercise was used to obscure and legitimate the perpetration of gross human rights abuses by portraying these abuses as an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of much needed and morally justified social justice reforms. Despite this characterization, documented evidence has indicated that peaks in violence were neither confined to commercial farmland, nor necessarily a result of land invasions. Rather, violence intensified during periods of elections and those targeted were perceived as or actual members of the opposition in every community, both rural and urban. The government’s use of violence was not only meant to punish the opposition but also to inflict psychological harm on those victims’ families and communities who bore witness. It is evident that the much broader aim was to relay a message to the electorate at large: support and vote for the ruling party or face retribution.


The partisan nature of violence and human rights violations in this period has been well documented. Violence has been largely attributed to ruling party supporters and functionaries, and includes summary executions, torture, extra-judicial killings, kidnapping, rape, disappearances, unlawful detention, illegal arrest, arson and beatings. The perpetration of these abuses has been significantly aided both by the introduction of restrictive laws designed to erode basic constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, and by the state’s aggressive drive to re-structure the state apparatus aimed at ensuring the subservience of the police, judiciary, army, and civil service to party dictate. Through the politicization of law enforcement agencies- often themselves perpetrators of violence- not only were victims effectively unable to access legal relief or remedy, but more importantly, the perpetration of violations could occur with almost absolute impunity creating the impression that the ruling party was not only the law, but they were above the law.





The government’s sustained campaign against political dissent over the past few years has so undermined the electoral and democratic environment that a free and fair election in the upcoming March 2005 parliamentary elections seems unlikely. Despite introducing a few superficial- and largely technical- reforms in certain procedural aspects of elections, the government persists in curtailing political opposition through violence or repression.


Laws still remain in place, which substantively restrict a citizen’s ability to exercise basic freedoms of assembly, expression and association. Political opponents continue to be arrested, detained and tortured. Despite recent government exhortations condemning the use of violence, violence is still perpetrated against the populace by ruling party supporters or by adjunct groups, such as the youth militia.


Even if levels of violence remain lower than in past elections, the cumulative effect of state-sanctioned violence over the past few years has effectively entrenched the belief within the electorate that to vote against the ruling party will necessarily incur brutal reprisals. To persuade them otherwise now, will be a long and difficult process.


In order to have a free and fair election in March therefore, a fundamental restoration of democratic rights needs to be undertaken. This can neither be done under the current shadow of state-sponsored violence, nor under palpably unconstitutional and repressive pieces of legislation that continue to restrict democratic space.




“All Shall be Equal Before the Law!”

- the Freedom Charter Congress of the People, Kliptown, South Africa, 1955




ZIMBABWE REPORTS        AU Commission Condemns Human Rights                        primarily


The African Union’s human rights monitoring body, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, has formally adopted a report that is highly critical of the Zimbabwean government’s human rights record. The report was the result of investigations done by the Commission three years ago. The report now forms part of the official record of the African Union, and is being circulated by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.


In particular, the report recommends that the Zimbabwean government take steps to restore the impartiality of the judiciary and the police force, and to end arbitrary arrest of political opponents. It also recommended that repressive legislation be re-examined and recommended the creation of a truly independent electoral oversight body.


When the report was first circulated at the African Union a year ago, its adoption was delayed because the Zimbabwean government claimed they had not seen the report and had not been given a chance to respond to the allegation, despite the fact that the report had been in circulation for some months before.


ZIMBABWE REPORTS        Zimbabwe Not Submitting AU Human Rights Reports


The Zimbabwean government is late in submitting four reports on human rights to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. Countries that have signed on to the Commission are supposed to submit periodic reports to the Commission. Zimbabwe has only submitted two reports since ratifying the African Charter. A fifth report is due on 30th May 2005.


Secretary to the African Commission, Germain Baricako, said that the secretariat of the African Commission reminds states of their reporting obligations four times a year, and has adopted Guidelines on State Reporting indicating the minimum reporting obligations of signatory states. The Commission does not however have any punitive powers against states that do not comply with their reporting duties.


NEWS FLASH 7         Candidates Barred from Campaigning in Barracks         Sunday Mirror (14/02) & Zim Online (11/02)


Independent and opposition parliamentary candidates have been barred from canvassing, campaigning or distributing campaign literature in military camps and police barracks within their constituencies. Independent candidate Margaret Dongo has applied for permission to enter Tomlinson Depot in Harare Central constituency where she is running for election, but was refused. ZANU (PF) candidates however can freely visit the camps to canvass for support.


NEWS FLASH 8         MISA-Zambia Appeals to AU over Zim Press Laws                             Misa Website


The Zambian chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa has appealed to the African Union to put pressure on the Zimbabwean government to repeal media laws. The appeal follows the passage of new regulations that permit the imprisonment of journalists who freelance for international publications for up to two years. The head of MISA-Zambia said in a statement that the laws were meant to intimidate journalists and shackle the independent press.





Over the past decades numerous South African progressive civil society organizations have emerged that work on issues that form an integral part of the current crisis in Zimbabwe. These range from humanitarian issues such as food relief, to issues such as human rights and civil liberties, from democracy to trade union work. But ever since the intensification of the Zimbabwe crisis in 2000, Zimbabweans have rightly been complaining that their fellow Africans, and first and foremost their South African neighbors, have hardly done enough to aid the plight of the people of Zimbabwe. However, over the past year several South African civil society organizations of all walks of life have committed themselves to working together in order to maximize their out-pout with regards to the crisis, as well as show solidarity in practical sense as well as on a moral level. COSATU’s courageous attempted fact-finding missions to Zimbabwe are only one example of practical solidarity for the people of that country. 

Recently the Zimbabwe Solidarity and Consultation Forum has been created as a result of this solidarity process that has been developing in South Africa and the SADC region. This forum consists of organizations from all walks of life: student movements, trade-unions, churches, and specialist NGOs. This newsletter is one of their several projects.   




“There Shall be Peace and Friendship!”

 - the Freedom Charter Congress of the People, Kliptown, South Africa, 1955






12 March 2005                                    All are invited for the ZIMBABWE SOLIDARITY RALLY

                                                Where? Musina, Limpopo Province, South Africa

CIVICUS, Amnesty International South Africa (AISA) and SANGOCO are organising a Zimbabwe Solidarity Rally/Concert (ZSR), which is scheduled to take place on the 12th of March 2005. The ZSR is a regionally coordinated event, which will involve civil society activists, representatives of faith based associations, trade unionists and other citizens from Zimbabwe’s neighbouring countries, peacefully marching to their respective common borders with Zimbabwe, on the same day and time, as a demonstration of their concern over the abuse of human rights and the closure of civic space in that country. The four countries involved are Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa. This rally, which is also intended to coincide with the Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace (8 March), will culminate into a cultural/musical concert where musicians and other cultural performers/artists will proclaim messages of peace and respect for human rights.  


In South Africa, the proposed program will include a placard demonstration at Beit Bridge followed by a concert and all night vigil. This action is to show solidarity with our fellow Zimbabweans and raise our concerns on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe including the closure of civic space, the possible use of food as a political tool and our concerns regarding a free and fair elections due to be held on 31st of March 2005. This will be a free concert to express solidarity with our fellow Zimbabweans. For further information or to make arrangements to join the demonstration please contact Emily on (011) 833 5959 or email at


24, 25 February 2005              Zimbabwe Solidarity Conference


“The importance of this conference is that it will provide civil society representatives from South Africa and some observers from the SADC region with the opportunity to meet to discuss strategies to strengthen solidarity with our Zimbabwean counterparts one month before the Parliamentary Elections take place. It presents a final chance for South African civil society to collectively voice their concerns around the forthcoming election in Zimbabwe, and draw up a common programme of action.” – Bishop Rubin Philip, Conference Chair

If you would like to receive more information about this event please contact





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