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

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22 February 2005

We launched our election manifesto and our election campaign in Masvingo on
Sunday. I took the opportunity at the time to introduce our winning team of
120 candidates to the nation, at a moving ceremony attended by almost all
senior MDC leaders at various levels, war veterans, diplomats, community
leaders, heads of religious denominations and workers.

Notwithstanding the hostile electoral environment, all signs show that we
are back to the spirit of 1999. The difference though is that we enter the
race from a point of strength. We now have a consolidated party supported by
solid structures and an organized campaign machinery.

We are confident of victory because our promise and our concerns resonate
with the people. Our manifesto is a result of intense consultations with the
people. We are aware of the immense challenges that we shall face as an MDC
government after winning the election in March. Despite the odds, the people
are keen to re-organize their lives and to start afresh. They are determined
to see a new beginning and a new Zimbabwe.

Food security tops the list of issues affecting Zimbabwean families. We have
to move fast to restore sanity in agriculture in order to stabilize food
supply and food availability. Contrary to claims that we have sufficient
stocks of food, most households - particularly in the south and western
parts of the country - have erratic food supplies.

We take March 31 as an opportunity to put to rest a multitude of anxieties
about the future, about peace and security, on investment and the economy,
on governance and the Constitution and about our international relations.

Zimbabweans live with the crude fact that the past five years have turned
our entire national resource base into dead capital. Land no longer has any
economic value. Labour, despite its high quality, impressive literacy levels
and agility, lies untapped, dead.

Agricultural recovery shall be rooted on a non-negotiable return to the rule
of law, the restoration of private property rights and a strict adherence to
the fundamental rights enshrined in a people-driven Constitution.

We believe agriculture shall once again assume its economic leadership
position, with new opportunities for the revival of industry, food security,
increased exports, new jobs and foreign exchange for essential imports.

As I have always cautioned, for an economy largely dependant on agriculture,
what happened here in the past five years is unfortunate. If you tamper with
the land, you destroy your revenue base. You blow life out of all essential
services: health, education, taxation, public services and employment. We
must restore sanity in agriculture to use that industry in order to revive
education, to repair our health services, to restart the economy and to
create jobs.

Food security is a basic human right. But can the human right to adequate
food be fulfilled by a dictatorship? Is it possible for a failed regime to
fulfil the nutritional needs of the people through authoritarian measures?
The answer is obviously a negative one.

The MDC policies and programmes seek to observe the fundamental right to
food security as a social and legal obligation, on the part of the state, to
ensure that all Zimbabwean citizens get sufficient food. Because of our
abundant resources, full employment can be a reality within a short space of

We wish to make it clear that our victory in March means that Zimbabwe will
never experience food shortages again, given the lessons confirmed by the
current wave of carelessness. Zimbabwe has enough agriculture resources to
steer us from starvation, economic deprivation and poverty. We have all it
takes to reassert our previous position as a net exporter of food.

We value our dignity as a people. In the short term, we have limited
choices. We shall have to depend on international support. We wish to do
away with this dependence syndrome on food. Zimbabweans yearn for
self-sufficiency in food. Surviving on handouts either from the state or
from international donors diminishes the people's dignity and their
influence and choices over what and how they are being fed.

The situation gets worse when the little that is available is distributed
along partisan lines.

Access to food and food availability affect the protection and promotion of
human rights and human dignity.

The enthusiasm throughout Zimbabwe is based on a correct assumption that if
we get the right poll and political results, if we get a legitimate
government in March, Zimbabwe could be poised for immense opportunities for
freedom and advancement.

The persistent structural issues of inequality and bias in growth and
redistribution could be resolved as the people enjoy sufficient breathing
space to undo 24 years of damage and decay.

Peace and legitimacy hold the key to our efforts to rebuild Zimbabwe. The
MDC commits itself to restoring law and order and to allow Zimbabweans with
diverse political opinions to re-unite and co-exist in an environment of
peace. Peace is the basis upon which our economic stabilisation and recovery
plan rests.

With vast lands lying fallow and an 85 percent unemployment rate, land and
labour have indeed become dead economic resources. Highly mechanised farms,
expensive farm machinery, first class hotels, lodges and holiday facilities,
developed conservancies and wildlife sanctuaries, well-equipped hospitals
and a once sophisticated mining, manufacturing and service infrastructure
stands idle. We all know that our base is wasting away; plenty of dead
capital in our midst. We promise to bring the entire country back to life.

Our objective is to see a secure society with full employment, a society
that enjoys universal benefits and rights. Our objective is to place solid
safeguards for job security as a first step towards total empowerment.

To absorb the shocks of the current damage to our economy, our initial
stabilisation challenge shall be to tackle the nexus of inflation, interest
rates and exchange rates in order to steady prices, encourage savings and
restore sanity on the market.

We must make a fresh start. Zimbabwe needs a new beginning. Food and jobs
shall be our top priorities. With this in mind, our winning team is raring
to go. As of Sunday, we are all over Zimbabwe.

Together, we shall win.

Morgan Tsvangirai

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SADC still awaiting invite from Zimbabwe

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 21 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - The Southern African Development
Community (SADC) is awaiting an invitation from the Zimbabwean government to
monitor the 31 March elections, "but there is no crisis, we still have
enough time," a senior official told IRIN.

"We are expecting an invitation any day now and it is not too late. I have
been part of observer missions which have arrived [in countries going to
polls] three weeks before the elections," said Jesse Duarte, director of
multilateral affairs at the South African Department of Foreign Affairs.
Duarte was speaking to IRIN from Mauritius, where an SADC ministerial
meeting begins this week.

"The Zimbabwean government has made a commitment to inviting the team, and
we respect that," she said. The team will be a "statutory" one that includes
legal experts from the region. South Africa chairs the SADC organ on
politics, defence and security.

Zimbabwe's foreign minister, Stan Mudenge, revealed a list of countries
invited to observe the elections, including SADC members, during the
weekend. "I am not in a position to comment on that as we have not received
any notification from Mr Mudenge," Duarte told IRIN.

According to the SADC's electoral guidelines, invitations to observer
missions should be extended 90 days before elections.

"The timing of the invitation is not in accordance with international norms
and practice. A smaller SADC team should have visited the country at least
two or three months ahead of the elections, at least to verify the electoral
roll," said Anne Hammerstad, an SADC expert with South Africa's Institute
for Security Studies.

SADC would be unable to pronounce a "credible" verdict on the elections, as
it had failed to monitor the run-up to the ballot, she pointed out.

"It is already too late to send an observer mission now," the Africa
Institute's SADC expert, Sehlare Makgetlaneng, told IRIN. "SADC should have
been more pro-active", and pressured the government, he said.

Russia is the only European country among the 32 nations invited by
Zimbabwe: 23 are from Africa, five from Asia and three from the Americas.
Regional and international organisations to which invitations have been
extended include the African Union, the Common Market for Eastern and
Southern Africa (COMESA), the Non-Aligned Movement and the UN.

The last legislative elections in Zimbabwe in 2000 were marred by violence
and intimidation, and the government has been under pressure to ensure that
the March ballot is seen to be free and fair.

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      Europe renews Zimbabwe sanctions
      European Union foreign ministers have renewed sanctions against Robert
Mugabe's Zimbabwe for another year.
      However, they said the measures - a response to the political and
human rights situation - could be re-examined after next month's
parliamentary poll.

      The extension, which came on the day Mr Mugabe celebrated his 81st
birthday, was passed unanimously without debate.

      The sanctions include a ban on Mr Mugabe and other government
officials from travelling to EU countries.

      They were first implemented three years ago.

      Mugabe defiant

      Foreign critics have said President Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF rigged
parliamentary elections in 2000 and the 2002 presidential poll, and accuse
the government of widespread human rights abuses.

      The sanctions apply to all senior Zimbabwean officials "who commit
human rights violations and restrict freedom of opinion, association and
peaceful protest", according to an EU resolution. Last year, the ban was
extended from 79 to 95 people.

      Other sanctions include a ban on arms sales and the freezing of
Zimbabwean assets in European banks.

      Mr Mugabe said on Sunday that he wanted the 31 March parliamentary
elections to be a peaceful victory that would be a lesson for his critics at
home and abroad.

      He said he hoped his Zanu-PF party would win a massive victory over
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that would undercut
criticism from the MDC and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who he says
sponsors the opposition.

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      Weak Message from EU to Mugabe, says MEP

      Amid worsening oppression in Zimbabwe, EU Ministers last night renewed
targeted sanctions against the Mugabe regime. While the Council agreed that
sanctions should be reviewed after Zimbabwe's general election on 31 March,
it failed to threaten tougher action should the elections not be free and

      Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, Conservative Spokesman on Human Rights, said:

      "With elections in Zimbabwe fast approaching, simply renewing existing
EU sanctions will not send a clear message to the regime that it must change
for the better or face the consequences. Why has the EU failed to take this
opportunity to threaten further specific sanctions should next month's
elections be marred by violence, oppression and intimidation? The British
Government has missed yet another opportunity to exert influence in the EU

      Conditions in Zimbabwe are appalling. The opposition MDC has no access
to the State-controlled media, its meetings are disrupted and there are over
400 court cases pending against MDC candidates. It is critical that the
international community intervenes quickly to ensure that the general
election is held in accordance with accepted democratic standards and in the
presence of a robust international monitoring mission.

      The EU has missed an opportunity to exert pressure on the Mugabe
regime. It is now essential that Zimbabwe's neighbours, led by South Africa,
take action to ensure that Zimbabwe does not spiral further into disaster."
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Sunday Times (SA)

Zimbabwe's top soldier in South Africa

Monday February 21, 2005 15:36 - (SA)

The commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Constantine Chiwenga,
has been welcomed with a 21-gun salute in Pretoria.

Smoke from the cannons merged with mist at a welcoming parade at the offices
of Armscor in eastern Pretoria.

The flags of South Africa and Zimbabwe flew as Chiwenga inspected the
President's Guard under cover from intermittent rain.

The parade marked the beginning of a five-day visit by the head of
Zimbabwe's armed forces as a guest of the chief of the SA National Defence
Force, General Siphiwe Nyanda.

Zimbabwe is scheduled to go to the polls next months in controversial
elections. Chiwenga said last August that the Zimbabwe army will never allow
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to take over the
country, even if it wins an election, according to a report on the Zim
Observer website.

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Cape Argus

      Mugabe, 81, renews attack on Tony Blair
      February 21, 2005

      President Robert Mugabe prepared to celebrate his 81st birthday today
by launching a fresh attack on British Prime Minister Tony Blair and hitting
out at his sacked information minister, Jonathan Moyo.

      Mugabe described the relationship between the main opposition 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, it's treasonous,
condemnable. You can't eat with the enemy," he said.

      "You can never ever convince an Englishman that you are equal to him
... 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

      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.

      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

      "Democracy is rules, you cannot operate without rules, you must
recognise how people together can share power," Mugabe 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."

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

      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. -

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Cape Argus

      'How I fled Zim after tip-off over Mugabe swoop on journalists'
      February 21, 2005

      "At 11.30am on Wednesday I fled from Zimbabwe. In 24 hours I had
abandoned my life of 30 years in Harare and stepped into an unknown one. I
feel naked."

      There were three people when I walked into the Plumtree border post to
Botswana. The immigration officer rifled the pages of my passport without
raising his eyebrows in any recognition, stamped it forcefully and smiled
back at my frozen grin.

      He sent me to a door marked "CID" to present my police vehicle
clearance certificate. Gulp. The young officer asked me where my name came
from, and I said my Dutch ancestors had settled at the Cape 300 years ago.

      "You are an African," he said, welcomingly. President Mugabe for the
last five years has been telling me and anyone else white to "go back to
Britain". I drove out slowly, and said thank you three times to the security
guard who took my gate pass.

      Twenty-four hours earlier, a colleague who talks to tame operatives in
the Central Intelligence Organisation, Mr Mugabe's secret police, had asked
me to meet her urgently. In my car, she said she had been told that they
were "gunning for you". This time "they are going to be rough", she said.
"You must get out now." She was crying.

      Shortly after, my lawyer, the indomitable Beatrice Mtetwa, telephoned
to say she had information they wanted to lock up all three of us - me,
Angus Shaw and Brian Latham. They said they appeared to be considering using
provisions to detain suspects for 28 days without being brought to court.

      Three raids by the "Law and Order" section of the CID since Monday had
made me begin to turn over the vague emergency plans we had all discussed in
the last five years of the Mugabe onslaught.

      The latest warnings brought giddiness and shortened breath.

      Officials at the South African embassy promptly processed a visa for
my passport, which is Zimbabwean. Since Monday I had not slept at home and
was talking in code over the telephone. The ring of the phone jarred, and at
the sight of a strange car passing slowly you watch from behind the curtain.

      Now I parked my car at a friend's home, and borrowed his. I slipped
home in the borrowed car, and in 15 minutes had packed clothing for a week,
toiletries, personal documents, my laptop, shortwave radio, binoculars,
camera, penknife - most of which would be pounced on by zealous CIOs as a
standard espionage outfit - and Z$1.5 million which I won't be able to use
anywhere else in the world. I told my plans only to my closest friends, and
drove through the night toward the border, exhausted and in a state of acute

      The intimidation started on Monday 2.30am with a lot of banging and
hooting at the locked gate to my home. Two men demanded to be allowed in and
tried to force it open. I kept my light off and waited. The alarm was
switched on and the car drove off.

      Mid-morning the same day, two young plainclothes policemen appeared at
the office and identified themselves.

      They said they were investigating "a tip-off" that there were spies at
No 20 Birdcage Walk, our run-down office in central Harare. Beatrice laughed
when she heard this, and told the young detective constable, "My friend, if
you are looking for spies, you should go to Zanu (PF) headquarters."

      He guffawed and gave her a high-five. They left.

      An hour later, three more detectives arrived in a large white Toyota
with no numberplates, and parked it with the nose sticking out into the road
(for a getaway, according to the CIO manual). They left a child inside, like
my father did with me when he went on life insurance rounds.

      They refused to identify themselves and tried to chase Beatrice off.
They said we were working illegally as journalists. The offence carries a
maximum penalty of two years in prison. We have applied for accreditation,
but the state Media Commission has sat on our applications for the last
three years. In these circumstances, the law allows us to work, but the
detectives were not having any of it.

      Then a tall young police computer hacker turned up and examined our
office's third-world electronic systems. She became excited over a satellite
dish and said it appeared to be illegal.

      None of us was there on Tuesday when a gang of 10 policemen arrived
for an intensive search. The young hacker was digging into Angus's hard
drive when Beatrice arrived. She was told to go to hell when she asked if
they had a warrant. The office telephone rang and the hacker answered. "This
is the new receptionist," she said.

      She appeared to have found correspondence of foreign currency
transfers ordered by Angus. "Now we've got him!" she shouted. It is illegal
to deal in foreign currency except through the central bank.

      However, it would be highly unlikely that she had found anything real
at all, because Angus is one of Africa's best known foreign correspondents,
has covered enough wars around the continent and written two respected books
that have earned him enough money to run a bank account outside Zimbabwe.

      In three days they poked around our office and tried out four possible
offences. It was evident they were looking for anything they could stick on

      On the third visit, they were led by the officer commanding Law and
Order nationally, which gives an indication of how high the orders to raid
us must have come from.

      The affair is not unrelated to the fact that there are elections at
the end of next month. Mr Mugabe is determined to prove to the world that he
runs clean elections in the midst of violence and an awesomely repressive
legal apparatus. Key to that is the absence of all critical eyes.

      In Zimbabwe, it is as if the government has put up "no parking" all
over the city, banning parking everywhere. But everyone ignores the signs,
and parks just as they used to. The government is the worst offender, but
police take no action.

      But let anyone annoy the government, and they will be arrested for
parking in a no-parking zone.

      The last three years has seen a wave of new laws that regulate every
aspect of life, but they are used almost exclusively against those who fall
foul of the regime. Chris Kuruneri, the former finance minister who
embarrassed the government with allegedly monstrous foreign currency
dealings, has been awaiting trial since April last year. Phillip Chiyangwa,
flamboyant ruling party MP, was accused of "spying" when he gave briefings
on Zanu (PF) party inside politics to a South African. He was illegally
arrested by the CIO who held him for two weeks in pitch dark and solitary

      If they can do that to party heavies, the three of us at
      20 Birdcage Walk have little expectation of a fair hearing from anyone
or anything, from those arresting details to the chief justice. Mr Mugabe
could have got rid of us illegally by refusing us accreditation.

      When Mr Mugabe was elected in 1980, he was unlike any African leader.
He spoke with a plummy accent and won my heart by his policy of
reconciliation between whites and blacks and the enemies of the seven-year
guerrilla war.

      Then the story changed, and gradually it appeared a corrupt
authoritarian system had been established. In 2000, he was challenged for
the first time, and very nearly beaten. Up to the presidential elections in
2002, we were recording historical change before our eyes. Since then it has
been replaced by a fully tyrannical regime determined to stay forever.
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Morpeth Today

Church joins fight to save woman from deportation
A MORPETH church has joined a woman's desperate fight against deportation to
her native Zimbabwe after it was alleged thugs with connections to Robert
Mugabe murdered her husband and young daughter.
The St James's United Reformed Church (URC) has collected over a hundred
signatures as part of the campaign to keep Edneth Gotora in the UK and
prevent her falling into the hands of Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF Party.

The Government has so far refused Mrs Gotora's asylum bid.

But URC leaders in the North East are determined to overturn the decision
and are delighted with the Morpeth support.

Mrs Gotora, who currently lives in Stockton, fled to Britain in October 2002
and lives in constant fear of going back to her homeland.

Her husband was a prominent figure in Zimbabwe's MDC Youth Organisation. He
spoke regularly at meetings and rallies and distributed literature against
Mugabe's regime.

In early 2002, the couple's home was subjected to a series of brutal attacks
and in February that year both Mrs Gotora and her husband were beaten up by
Zanu PF youths.

The following month Zanu PF members came to the house and subjected the
family to an unspeakable ordeal.

Mrs Gotora's husband was taken away and murdered and their four year-old
daughter later died from her injuries.

The crimes were reported to her local MP by Mrs Gotora and the Police
promised to investigate.

A senior officer apprehended the suspects and planned to put them on trial.

But they were released on bail and came to Mrs Gotora's house and threatened

After one visit she was abducted and taken to a Zimbabwean 'rehabilitation
camp' where officials tortured her and while there she was raped.

She became so unwell she was taken to hospital from where she escaped.

In November last year the British Government revoked an order stating
Zimbabweans were not to be deported from the UK.

Joy Wight, the Morpeth Church Group's Refugee Support Group Co-ordinator,
said: "It's a harrowing case and one we felt we couldn't ignore, so we were
happy to hand around the petition and we got a good response.

"The bottom line is that Edneth shouldn't be deported and the argument that
her life won't be in any danger doesn't stand up at all.

"The regime in Zimbabwe is terrible and it doesn't bear thinking about what
would happen to Edneth if she was be sent back there."
21 February 2005
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Chinese the New Economic Imperialists in Africa

Business Day (Johannesburg)

February 21, 2005
Posted to the web February 21, 2005

Dianna Games

ANYONE travelling around Africa cannot have failed to notice the growing
presence of Chinese business and companies. This invasion from the east
represents something of a double-edged sword for Africans.

Concerns have been raised that African governments are so busy looking over
their shoulders for signs of renewed "colonial peril" from the likes of the
US and UK that they have missed the onrushing Sino train and its economic
imperialist momentum. Indeed, many African countries have welcomed the
Chinese, seeing them as a means of lessening dependence on the hoary old
enemies in the west.

All over Africa, Chinese companies are doing lucrative deals with
governments, many of them with major "sweeteners" thrown in - designed to
clinch not just the contract being negotiated, but others down the line.

For example, in Kenya last month, China's largest listed telecoms
manufacturer, ZTE Communications, made a "gift" of equipment worth
144-million Kenyan shillings to Telkom Kenya. ZTE said the company would
"continue to play a positive role in Kenya's telecommunications industry".
After a gesture like that, it's certain to get a role.

Investment company China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation plans to
invest $7bn in Nigeria, China's third-largest African trading partner after
SA and Egypt, to fund projects in a range of sectors, including oil.

China is slowly widening its African oil footprint, with big contracts in
Sudan and Angola. But it has sold itself to the Nigerian government by
agreeing to invest large sums in nonoil sectors in what analysts see as
leverage to secure the oil stake.

Zimbabwe is all but owned by China, say many Africa watchers. When President
Robert Mugabe saw his biggest critics were also his biggest trading partners
and tourism markets, he defensively turned to the east, lauding countries
such as China as the true partners of Zimbabwe. In return for a rare hand of
friendship in an increasingly hostile world, Mugabe has offered Chinese
companies almost anything they want, regardless of the payback.

And payback there will be. Chinese telecoms supplier Huawei Investments last
year demanded it be guaranteed a portion of Zimbabwe's profits from minerals
and tobacco - in addition to a hard cash payment - before it would supply
$160m worth of telecommunications equipment for the second fixed-line
telephone network.

The streets of Harare are awash with cheap Chinese goods, and Mozambique and
Tanzania are increasingly in the grip of the Chinese economic expansion.

For Africa, it is not only the Chinese ability to undermine local economies
through cheap goods - produced mostly without regard to international
standards on labour - that presents an insidious problem, but the fact that
most of the labour-intensive contracts Chinese companies sign include
stipulations that Chinese labour be used.

There is nothing essentially wrong with China making inroads into global
markets. Everybody tries to do it. What is different here is that some
African governments seem to believe it's not strictly a hard-nosed
relationship, but one that is altruistically motivated. This is partly the
result of China's support for Africa's independence struggles.

The Chinese practice of offering "gifts" to smooth the way for later
ventures often serves to bolster this perception of magnanimous comradeship.

Trade volumes between China and Africa rose 53,9% year on year to $20,5bn in
the first nine months of last year, according to the Chinese government.
This includes a 33,2% increase in exports to Africa and a 78% increase in
exports from Africa to China.

While a proportion of this is made up of manufactured goods from SA, it
includes crude oil and unprocessed agricultural goods from other African
countries - which simply replicates the traditional trading relationships
with western countries that are so often criticised by Africa.

While some Africans point fingers at SA's "recolonisation" of Africa and
attack Europeans and Americans for dominating their economies, quite another
dependency relationship is developing under their noses, with the possible
exception of SA.

There are many benefits to the relationship - China is funding peacekeeping
and other such efforts and could be an important champion for Africa in
important forums. But the economic and trade relationship needs to be
managed properly now to ensure that China's economic strength does not end
up ruining the potential for a true partnership in global affairs down the

- Games is director of Africa @ Work, a company focusing on research,
publishing and events in Africa.

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Age fails to tame Mugabe
21/02/2005 11:10  - (SA)

Harare - One of Africa's longest-serving leaders, Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe, turns 81 on Monday, 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 on Zimbabwe's state broadcaster ZBC, Mugabe says that if he
were to come face-to-face with Blair he would not mince words.

"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, Moammar Gaddafi 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.

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Food aid meeting critical needs

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 21 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - The availability of early crops and aid
interventions has ameliorated food insecurity during the 'lean season' in
parts of Southern Africa.

The period before the year's first harvest is traditionally the peak of
hunger in the region, when aid agencies must reach a larger number of
vulnerable people than at any other time of the year.

"Overall, the food security situation in the region varies considerably ...
current food security conditions are most concerning in the countries that
experienced a poor production season in 2003/04. Surplus-producing
countries, such as South Africa, Zambia ... have a satisfactory food
security situation, with food insecurity reported only in selected areas," a
Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) report noted.

However, the World Food Programme (WFP) warned in its latest situation
report that the regional Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO),
aimed at assisting up to 4.3 million people vulnerable to food insecurity
and the impact of HIV/AIDS in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia
and Zimbabwe, had received just $37.5 million of the $216 million required
for 2005.

FEWS NET noted the critical importance of aid interventions in helping to
reduce food insecurity in the affected areas of Southern Africa.

In Malawi "food aid distribution has ensured food access to vulnerable
households, while active trade has helped stabilise maize retail prices,
keeping them at levels that are affordable to most households. Current maize
prices throughout the country are much less than those recorded in 2002 at
the height of the 2001-03 food crisis," FEWS NET pointed out.

WFP distributed food aid to 1.2 million Malawians in January. "Subject to
resources being available, it is planned to increase this distribution to
more than 17,000 mt to 1.3 million beneficiaries in February and March," WFP

Nevertheless, "FEWS NET Malawi reports that by the end of January, all food
security indicators pointed to an improving situation."

In Zimbabwe there was ongoing concern about poor households' access to food.

"Availability of most staples remains tight in the grain deficit areas of
the country. This has resulted in high price levels that are beyond the
reach of many of the poorer and most vulnerable households in both rural and
urban areas. The most affected provinces include Manicaland, Masvingo and
Matabeleland (North and South)," FEWS NET observed.

Last month, WFP distributed food to 970,000 people in Zimbabwe, which was
hardest hit during the Southern African food crisis of 2001-03.

Seasonal rain in January facilitated increased agricultural activities,
however, and "opened up casual employment opportunities, thus improving food
access for those able to engage in this type of work," FEWS NET noted.

Zambia seems set to produce a maize "crop similar to the good one in 2004",
WFP reported.

However, "there are isolated areas that are reported to have run out of food
stocks as a result of poor harvests brought on by flooding (western Zambia)
and prolonged dry spells (eastern Zambia)," FEWS NET commented. A field
verification exercise has estimated that around 5,100 mt of food will be
required to assist 176,388 beneficiaries until the next harvest.

WFP pointed out that "resources are urgently needed to meet the increased
needs of people living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses. The
Nutrition Programme for Vulnerable Groups (NPVG) beneficiaries increased by
over four times since last year". The aid agency needs 3,000 mt of maize,
pulses, vegetable oil, and high-energy protein supplements to cover
requirements until June 2005.

In Mozambique "current mitigation measures (such as food aid distributions)
in targeted areas ... continue to contain levels of food insecurity,
especially in the drought-prone southern areas, where production levels did
not meet consumption requirements.

In addition, low average staple food prices (the lowest in four years) have
enabled an increased number of poorer households to access food through
purchases," FEWS NET said.

The Mozambican ministry of agriculture is reviewing the impact on national
crop production of recent heavy rains in the north and inadequate and
erratic rains in the southern parts of Gaza and Inhambane provinces, WFP

WFP's Support to Return and Resettlement programme in Angola urgently
required about $40 million, equivalent to 60,000 mt of food, for
distribution to returnees through 2005. "Immediate new contributions will
help avoid distribution cuts beginning in April," the agency said.

Anecdotal information pointed to an improving food security situation in the
central Planalto region of Angola.

"Markets continue to be well supplied with the main staple foods, and prices
of beans and maize are reported to have dropped from the high levels
recorded in December following the lowland harvest in January 2005," FEWS
NET said. "This year's harvest is reportedly better than last year, and many
farmers are selling some of their crop to market traders."

Food insecure people in Lesotho and Swaziland - two of the countries with
production shortfalls since the 2001/02 drought - have continued to benefit
from food aid interventions by WFP and other humanitarian agencies. A
growing concern in both countries is the realisation that the number of food
insecure households may increase now that the closure of uncompetetive
textile factories has left thousands of people jobless.

"Although the impact of such job losses on food security has not yet been
assessed, the VACs [Vulnerability Assessment Committees] are planning to
look into it in the next round of assessments," FEWS NET said.

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Mail and Guardian

      African leaders air their views in new report

      Matebello Motloung | Johannesburg, South Africa

      21 February 2005 03:44

            The process of democratic governance is rooting itself all
across the African continent.

            This is the view of 13 African leaders as contained in a report
released on Monday at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in

            Speaking at the launch of the report, titled African Leaders:
State of Africa Report 2004, Wits' head of international relations, Prof
John Stremlau, said proof of this can be found in President Thabo Mbeki's
recent State of the Nation address.

            "When you look at the president's speech when talking about
progress in the African continent, you will see how he starts by mentioning
the success stories first, then Zimbabwe and other countries.

            "This is revolutionary to get an African head of state
criticising others. That would have never happened before," said Stremlau.

            The report was launched in conjunction with the Boston-based
African Presidential Archives and Research Centre in the United States,
headed by a former American ambassador to Tanzania, Charles R Stith.

            The centre conducted the research with the universities of
Ghana, Wits and Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania.

            Stith said the report provides an insight into the aspirations
and issues that are important to African leaders.

            He said the participating countries were chosen according to
"the significant strides made in terms of democratic governance and the
development of their economies along free-market lines".

            In the report, each of the 13 leaders assesses the contemporary
trends and developments in their own countries.

            The report quotes Mbeki highlighting the redistribution of 444
000ha of land in the five years leading to the end of 1998 as among the
South African government's successes.

            "In three years since then, the number has increased by 600
000ha ... while the number of houses built or under contraction currently
[2003] stands at 1,2-million," Mbeki said in his assessment.

            In April, 11 of Africa's former African heads of state will meet
at Wits to discuss how to bring back intellectual property to Africa.

            Wits spokesperson Shiroma Hassima said the former presidents,
who all belong to the African Presidential Roundtable club, will attend a
one-day conference also focusing on how to change Western media coverage
about Africa.

            She said these will be leaders from Botswana, Ghana, Kenya,
Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia.

            Cape Verde and Mauritius will be represented by two of their
former heads of state.

            "Once presidents are out of the office, it doesn't mean their
contribution to the development of the continent should stop," said the
former ambassador. -- Sapa

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Business Day

SA wants monitors in Zimbabwe soon


South Africa wants foreign election observers invited by Zimbabwe to monitor
next month's key parliamentary vote as soon as possible.

"The quicker the various observer missions go in now, the better they will
be able to help contribute to making sure that the guidelines are
implemented," Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad told journalists in

"We still have 40 days or more to ensure that we can make a contribution,
with all Zimbabweans, to ensure that the climate is there for free and fair
elections to take place," he said.

Zimbabwe has invited 32 observer missions for the March 31 ballot, which
will be closely watched as a test of Harare's commitment to hold free and
fair polls after elections in 2000 and 2002 which were marred by allegations
of violence and fraud.

Twenty-three of the teams are from African nations, five are from Asia,
three from the Americas and Russia is the only nation from Europe to be
invited by the government of President Mugabe, who has ruled the southern
African state for nearly 25 years.

The African Union (AU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC),
the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Non-Aligned
Movement and the United Nations are among the regional and international
organisations to which invitations have been extended.

Mugabe did not allow an observer mission from the European Union for the
2002 presidential election which was slammed as fraudulent and
violence-marred by the opposition and observers from the Commonwealth.

EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels Monday agreed to extend sanctions,
including an arms embargo, against Zimbabwe for another year.

However, the ministers are to review the decision - which marks the fourth
year in a row of EU sanctions against Harare - after the legislative

The measures consist of an arms embargo as well as a travel ban and freeze
on funds of people suspected of having committed human rights violations in
the country.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe


Takunda Maodza
issue date :2005-Feb-22

TRADITIONAL bedfellows of the MDC among them, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU) and National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), last Sunday
snubbed the opposition party's launch of its manifesto arguing the party did
not heed their call not to participate in next month's polls.

The MDC launched its manifesto on the day at Masvingo's Mucheke Stadium.
The Broad Alliance - a grouping of civic organisations including ZCTU, NCA,
the Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu), Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe
and some executive members of the MDC - advised the MDC last year against
contesting the March 31 elections, citing an uneven playing field.
The grouping had been tasked by the opposition party to assess the political
playing field ahead of the parliamentary elections and then advise on the
way forward.
The civic organisations did exactly that and advised the MDC, which had
since suspended participation in all elections in the country, not to
participate in the general elections.
However, after serious consideration of the matter, MDC announced this month
its participation in the polls saying it was doing so under protest.
NCA chairperson and Broad Alliance coordinator Lovemore Madhuku said no
invitation had been extended to them, while sources said the alliance did
not attend because they were against the party's participation as had been
earlier advised.
"We were not invited," Madhuku, who has attended and addressed many MDC
gatherings, said.
Jessie Majome, NCA's spokesperson, said: "The NCA did not attend the launch.
It's, however, unfortunate that I cannot comment any further about the
issue. I can only refer you back to Madhuku."
ZCTU spokesperson Mlamleli Sibanda, yesterday confirmed that the country's
biggest labour union did not attend the MDC function.
"We did not attend the launch," Sibanda said. "The ZCTU has never worked
hand in glove with the MDC as we are merely a labour union. The only
occasion we participated in was when the party was launched some five years
ago that was when formal relations ended. There is no formal link between
the MDC and us," Sibanda said.
Sibanda noted that while the playing field was heavily tilted in favour of
the ruling Zanu PF, it was solely the duty of the MDC to decide whether or
not to participate.
He said the absence of the labour union at the launch was no signal that the
ZCTU was disappointed by the MDC's decision to contest in next month's
Asked if the MDC had not sought the ZCTU's advice on whether to participate
in the elections or not, Sibanda refused comment.
He said: "I wouldn't comment on that. Why don't you contact (ZCTU president
Lovemore) Matombo?"
Efforts to reach Matombo were fruitless.
The Daily Mirror is reliably informed that the NCA was invited, but
deliberately did not attend.
Said a source within the NCA: "The NCA was officially invited for the launch
of the MDC election manifesto in Masvingo, but did not go because of the
differences between the two. The NCA advised the MDC against participating
in the polls because the playing field is not level. The absence of the NCA
in Masvingo was indication that it does not want to associate itself with
anyone taking part in the polls. It would appear as if we are encouraging
people to participate."
MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi refuted claims that the Broad Alliance
snubbed the opposition party's function.
Instead he said Nyathi said: "We have active members of the MDC that are
also in the national executive who are part of the alliance. We had people
from the ZCTU, the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform and many others at the
occasion. You can tell them (some members of the Broad Alliance) that it's
no use to fight in the press. If we have any differences with those people,
we have structures through which we can resolve matters. Our relationship
with them is privileged and we will maintain it like that. "
At the launch in Zimbabwe's oldest town, the MDC paraded its candidates for
next month's polls, where it is contesting in all the 120 constituencies.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

MDC furious over observers

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-22

THE MDC is furious over the list of observers the government has invited to
monitor the March 31 parliamentary polls, arguing that if the State had
nothing to hide, then it should not be selective and described the list as
ridiculous. MDC spokesperson and Gwanda North legislator, Paul Themba Nyathi
said yesterday: "The whole list is ridiculous. If the government had nothing
to hide it should have allowed everyone who wanted to come and observe the
elections to do so.
"On what basis did the government compile that list? We are not surprised;
we know that they are avoiding individuals that would have thrown a typical
eye into the manner the election would have been conducted - people that
tell the truth."
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Stan Mudenge, last Saturday announced a list
of 45 regional and international organisations that are going to observe the
These included countries from Sadc, the African Union (AU), Asia and South
Mudenge was quoted in the public media as saying countries from the European
Union such as Britain and others had not been invited because of their
negative perception of Zimbabwean
"The laws of Zimbabwe and the constitution do not provide for foreigners to
participate in the monitoring of our elections.
"The Sadc principles and guidelines on conducting elections only provide for
the observation of elections and as Zimbabwe, which is a sovereign country,
we will monitor our own elections," Mudenge was quoted in state run
newspapers as saying.
Zimbabwe barred the EU and other European nations from observing the 2000
parliamentary elections and in turn the EU
and its allies later declared the polls not free and fair citing political
violence and intimidation by the ruling party against opposition supporters.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Court messenger defies order

Clemence Manyukwe
issue date :2005-Feb-22

THE Messenger of Court, Smart Moyo, has defied a court order to evict people
residing at Eskbank Farm in Mazowe despite a warrant to evict the occupants
issued by Bindura Magistrates Court under case no c196/05 last month. The
State won litigation against defendants Freehold Investment Private (Ltd),
but the occupants are still unexplainably on the farm with Moyo said to be
folding his hands.
It's still not clear to whom the State wanted to allocate the farm.
Last week, Moyo said he knew about the case, but referred all questions to
the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for clarification
and comment saying he had no authority to talk to the Press.
"I am not authorised to comment over the issue, talk to the ministry," said
Moyo curtly.
The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa
yesterday refused to shed any light on the matter under the pretext that he
was busy with preparations for the forthcoming elections.
"We are under pressure with the elections. There is nothing else on my mind
except the elections, so look for some other people to answer you,"
Chinamasa said.
Efforts to get comment from the ministry's permanent secretary, David
Mangota were fruitless as his phone went unanswered.
However, part of the warrant of ejectment issued by the court on January 6
2005 reads in part: "Now therefore you the Messenger of Court with the
assistance of the ZRP are required to eject the said Freehold Investment
(Pvt) Ltd and all persons claiming through him their goods and possessions
from and out of all occupation and possession whatsoever of the said claim
and to leave the same, to that end that the said, The State, the applicant
may peaceably (sic) possess the same, and for so doing this shall be your
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Lack of funding cripples alternative political parties

Phillip Chidavaenzi
issue date :2005-Feb-22

FUNDING a political campaign in Zimbabwe calls for an extensive budget .  It
is against this background that lightweight political parties including
Zanu, Zapu Federal Party and the Democratic Party (DP) have condemned the
Political Parties' (Finance) Act, which they said worked ostensibly towards
"outlawing" them.
Recently, the government disbursed a total of $6,5 billion to Zanu-PF and
the opposition MDC under the Act (Chapter 2:11) ahead
 of next month's parliamentary election. Zanu PF received $3,380 billion
while MDC got $3,120 billion.
The two political parties are the only ones that qualify for state funding.
According to the Act - which came into effect on May 11, 2001 - a political
party whose candidates receive at least six seats in the most recent general
election is entitled to state funding proportional to the number of
constituencies won.
In the 2000 parliamentary election, Zanu PF won 52 percent of the vote while
MDC won 48 percent.
This leaves fringe players in the political arena in a crisis, as they would
not be able to field a full complement of 120 contestants.
DP President Wurayayi Zembe said the Act "cripples members of other
political parties" as they were not entitled to public funds
and were also barred from seeking foreign funding.
Legal experts say the piece of legislation was crafted after the emergence
of the MDC on the political scene in a
 bid to curb foreign funding of political parties, which the government
feared would give outsiders a leeway to interfere in the internal politics
of the country.
Looked at in that context, according to political analysts, other
parties, which did not pose a threat to the status quo, were viewed as
"This is a very undemocratic law. It subjects political parties to the
domination of Zanu PF, which is the party in government, and it outlaws the
existence of parties that do not meet the criteria (of parliamentary
representation). So the parties will not be able to finance their programmes
and sustain themselves."
 It is against this backdrop that a new pattern has
emerged where a significant number of hitherto unknown parties suddenly
crowd the political space during election time, much to the amusement of
But political commentator, Eldred Masunungure, had no kind words for such
parties. He said: "If they are serious politicians who sincerely want to do
something for their country, why don't they join established political
movements? We do not celebrate the fact that we have two-party systems on a
global scale but it is the inescapable reality."
The other party in Parliament, Zanu, has only one seat and does not qualify
for state funding, a move that the party's Information and Publicity
secretary, Reketayi Semwayo, described as unfair.
He called for a new criterion in the disbursement of the funds, saying a
party has to be given money from the state coffers depending on the number
of constituencies in which they want to contest.
The other parties' woes have also been compounded by the fee increases for
candidates who are going to stand in the election by about 2000 percent.
In statutory instrument 14 of 2005, the government pegged the registration
fee for parliamentary nominees at $2 million per candidate from the previous
$100 000.
The price to secure a copy of the voters' roll has been
increased to $5 million from the previous $200 000, a whopping 2 500 percent
Parties intending to contest all the 120 parliamentary seats would have to
fork out $240 million for their candidates, while acquiring the national
voters' roll would leave a $600 million hole in their pockets.
Zanu leader Wilson Khumbula, recently said: "We don't
have any meaningful funding like Zanu PF. With the latest developments, we
might be forced to cut our participation in some constituencies. Two million
dollars is a lot of money for opposition parties considering that there are
120 seats. We need money for campaigning and for use during the elections
and the actual counting."
Paul Siwela, leader of Zapu Federal Party, said his party, which had
intended fielding candidates in all the constituencies, was reviewing its
initial decision to participate in the election.
"This is unacceptable, we might pull out of the race
because the figures being mentioned are too expensive for small opposition
parties like ours that are not getting any funding from the state or foreign
Zembe castigated the MDC for accepting the money,
and accused it of colluding with Zanu PF in rubber-stamping
the Political Parties' (Finance) Act, which he said hindered multiparty
He said the money could have been put to better use if it was channeled to
service delivery in the cities rather than be given to the political parties
that have failed to provide an effective political and socio-economic
blueprint for the country.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Dismissed Net*One workers storm offices

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-22

SCORES of Net*One employees fired last year for taking part in an industrial
action, yesterday stormed the company's offices in the capital demanding
their salaries and benefits awarded by the Labour Court about a fortnight
ago. The disgruntled workers only left the offices after police
The Labour Court ordered Net*One to reinstate the workers with full benefits
on February 10, 2005.
"They (Net*One) have lost a number of court cases, but they continue
disobeying the orders and making appeals after appeals to fix us. Our
families are starving and we have accumulated debts. The management is just
being insensitive," said one of the employees who asked for anonymity.
Another worker added: "Even if they call the police, we will continue coming
until they pay us. The government should investigate the company because all
our competitors are making profits and declaring dividends yet they say they
do not have money and continue borrowing from the RBZ."
The workers claimed that managing director, Reward Kangai declined to
address them on a number of occasions to resolve the impasse.
"We have sought audience with him on a number of occasions but he had
refused to talk to us saying he has no mandate to do so. We however, do not
know who else could have that mandate besides him," the workers said.
Contacted for comment, Kangai asked for questions in writing, but had not
responded at the time of going to press.
However, the mobile telephone operator has already appealed against the
labour court's decision.
In a notice of appeal filed at the Supreme Court on February 11, Net*One
said the Labour Court had erred in their judgment.
"The Labour Court erred in holding that it was proper for the Arbitrator to
hold an arbitration en masse notwithstanding the fact that individual
hearing had been conducted for the said employees," reads the notice of
On the second ground of appeal, Net One said: "The labour Court erred in
holding that the Post and Telecommunications Code of Conduct was applicable
to the appellant taking into account the fact that the appellant was not a
member of the National Employment Council. In any event the necessary
structure as laid down in the code of conduct is no longer applicable to the
organisational structure of the appellant. No evidence was led to the
applicability of the said Code of Conduct before the Labour Court.
The company also said the Labour court had not dealt with the lawfulness of
the job action.
"The Labour court erred in upholding that the arbitrary award, in as far as
it only directed the employer to reinstate the said employees without giving
the employer an option to pay damages in lieu reinstatement," Net*One said.

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Fox Sports

Zimbabwe rebel back with team
From correspondents in Harare
February 22, 2005

ZIMBABWEAN rebel cricketer Andy Blignaut has rejoined his country's cricket
squad and signed a contract, following his axing last year over a row about
racial bias in selection, Zimbabwe Cricket said today.

Blignaut is one of 15 mainly senior players who were sacked after they
demanded the reinstatement of former captain Heath Streak, who was dismissed
in April for objecting to certain members of the country's national
selection panel.

"Former Zimbabwe all-rounder Andy Blignaut today (Monday) signed a contract
to play again for Zimbabwe," the country's cricket union said in a

"I am coming back unconditionally to play," Blignaut was quoted as saying in
the statement. "I would like to play the game for Zimbabwe at international
level and prove to myself that I can move up the rankings."

The 26-year-old left-handed batsman and right arm medium fast bowler last
played for Zimbabwe during the February-March tour against Bangladesh last

Back from Tasmania where he unsuccessfully tried to forge a career, Blignaut
could be rushed back into action later this week in the third and final
A-team Test against Bangladesh.

But he is unlikely to join the squad currently touring South Africa.

Agence France-Presse

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