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

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The Fight for Democracy in Zimbabwe.

Thank you to all those who responded to our call for help for the democratic
process in Zimbabwe. We have raised so far about Z$200 million - a small
fraction of what is actually needed. Some of these funds have already been
employed in the fight for democracy here.

We have appointed a point person in each constituency in the country and
these people are now quietly supporting the struggle on the ground for a
free and fair election. People have said that if we want our rights and
freedoms we have to do it ourselves and that is just what is now happening.
We are supporting candidates who need resources, candidates who are working
hard in their constituencies and we are also working to prevent and expose
any forms of ballot rigging and fraud in the election itself.

We expect between 20 and 100 poling stations in each constituency and must
select, train and deploy up to 6 Polling Agents at every Polling Station -
no matter how remote. These courageous people - many of them simple peasant
farmers from local villages, will watch the poll, report any discrepancies
and ensure that people can vote in peace and without intimidation. This is
where the bulk of our effort is going.

We need everything - paper, cell phones, maps, fuel, vehicles and drivers,
volunteers to man control centers and to run errands. We are printing
millions of leaflets and these require distribution and management.

But if you cannot help us physically then just send money. It has come in so
far in small and large doses. One person in the States sent several thousand
dollars, a widow in New Zealand sent a 100 dollars. Let me tell you -
whatever you send we are getting the most bang for your buck that is

Many are saying that this election is already lost - do not believe that,
our own research says that Zanu do not have a safe seat in the country. If
we can back the democrats on the ground - and they are coming forward in
numbers right now, so that they do not feel isolated and alone, then they
will have the courage to fight for a better life. Perhaps this way we can
overthrow a tyranny without violence or bloodshed.

A reminder - if you want to send us local donations then you can do it by
sending a cheque or money order to ZIMFUND at P O Box 9127 Hillside
Bulawayo. E-mail me if you want the electronic banking address in Zimbabwe.

If you are outside the country then the Bank details are as follows: -



Brown Street Branch


South Africa

Account Number 1589406079

Branch Code 158952


Zimbabweans living in SA and who hold valid voting rights should plan to
come home and vote. Stay and help with the effort in your home constituency.
If you want to do this e-mail us for further information. Any persons
wishing to help on the ground in any area of the country should also e mail
us or call - 091 227 144.

Eddie Cross

22 February 2005

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Zim Online

Zim gvt gets more arms from China
Tues 22 February 2005
      HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's government has taken delivery of a
new consignment of arms from China, six weeks before the crunch March 31
parliamentary elections.

      The Mugage government has resorted to China and other Asian and Middle
Eastern countries for arms after the European Union slapped it with an arms
embargo in 2000 over human rights abuses.

      ZimOnline is authoritatively informed that a new consignment which
includes assault rifles, military vehicles and other support material, has
been secretly shipped into Harare via the Mozambican port of Beira.

      Army sources said the government was due to receive more than one
hundred Dongfeng vehicles before the election. The Dongfeng vehicle is a
Chinese innovation on sale in Europe as well. Army drivers have been taking
lessons on a few trial Dongfeng vehicles already in Harare.

      "Our army has received the equipment as part of a deal to fully equip
it ahead of the March parliamentary elections," said a source within the
army's procurement unit at the defence headquarters in Harare. He said
Mugabe was not taking any chances and would want the army to be fully
equipped ahead of the parliamentary elections just in case he needs it to
keep him in power.

      Zimababwe Defence Forces commanders have repeatedly vowed not to allow
anyone who did not fight in Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war to take power.
They have virtually implied that they would stage a coup if Morgan
Tsvangirai, who did not fight in the liberation war, wins elections.

      Most of the army's equipment had become worn down after it was used in
the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The government could
not properly restore it after the EU imposed arms sanctions. The government
is now replacing it with new Chinese equipment.

      To keep the army on his side, President Mugabe has awarded soldiers
substantial salary and allowance increases. Officers in the army have also
been given a larger slice of seized white farmlands.

      The exact amount spend on the latest arms consignment could not be
established but it is believed to run into several billions of Zimbabwe

      The Zimbabwe National Army's public relations directorate refused to
confirm nor deny the latest shipment saying such information was
confidential. Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi declined to comment. Also
asked for comment, Defence minister, Sydney Sekeremayi, said he did not
discuss military issues with the media.
      "I'm sorry I do not discuss military issues with the media and over
the phone," he said, before slamming his phone. ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Charles Taylor cronies seek Harare asylum
Tues 22 February 2005

      HARARE - About 100 Liberians, all kinsmen of ousted former strongman,
Charles Taylor, have found a new home in Zimbabwe.
      They are living lavishly in Harare's Avenues area and in uptown
suburbs stoking speculation that Taylor and his close associates and family
members looted Liberia's wealth before leaving their impoverished country.

      The Liberians left their motherland after Taylor was forced out of
Monrovia to pave way for peace in the West African country. While Taylor was
offered sanctuary in neighbouring Nigeria as part of the peace deal, his
kinsmen left for various destinations. Most have now found their way to
Zimbabwe where they are now seeking political asylum.

      The international community forced Taylor to step down and settle in
exile to facilitate a peace deal between government forces and armed rebels
known as the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD).

      Taylor was also indicted by a United Nations backed International War
Crimes' Tribunal for atrocities that were perpetrated in Sierra Leone in the
early 1990's by the late Fodday Sankoh's notorious rebel group which enjoyed
support from Monrovia.

      He remains a free man because conditions of the Liberian peace deal
signed to end the civil war do not permit anyone to arrest or harass him as
long as he is in Nigeria and has not interfered in the internal politics of
the country he ruled since 1991.

      The peace deal appears to be holding a year since it was signed.
Taylor's close family members were also allowed free passage from Liberia as
part of the deal. The lavish lifestyles of Taylor's kinsmen in Harare have
raised eyebrows.

      Several of them have suddenly started flourishing business enterprises
around Harare and are often seen driving posh vehicles even before many of
them have been granted refugees' status by authorities. Many have not yet
appeared before the refugees' vetting committee, which comprises officials
from the security organs, social welfare department and the United Nations
High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). "What surprises me is that these
Liberians can afford to buy posh cars even though they have not yet been
given refugees' status," said one refugee close to one of Taylor's relatives
seeking asylum in Zimbabwe. "They are staying in expensive flats and living

      The Liberians reportedly refused to stay at the Waterfalls Transit
Centre where asylum seekers awaiting refugees' status normally stay
preferring to stay on their own in upmarket places around the Avenues area.

      Asylum seekers normally prefer to stay at the transit centre where
they are given basics such as accommodation, food, medical help, clothing,
blankets and security.

      Officials at the Harare offices of the UNHCR said they did not wish
anybody to write about the presence of Taylor's kinsmen in Zimbabwe as this
could endanger them Isaac Mukaro, the Zimbabwean government commissioner for
refugees in Harare, was said to be on leave and could not be reached for

      However, a senior official from his office confirmed the presence of
the Liberians saying: "Some of them have appeared before the vetting
committee but the majority have not. Those who have appeared before the
committee have been given refuge status." The official added: "Very few
asylum seekers, including from other countries, have been denied status."

      He declined to give figures of those who have been granted status and
those turned down. "We do not give away these figures just like that, he
said. Zimbabwe is also home to former Ethiopian dictator, Mengistu Haile
Mariam, who fled Addis Ababa as rebels led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
closed in on Addis Abbaba in 1991.

      Mengistu and his family are living luxuriously in Harare's upmarket
Gunhill area at the expense of Zimbabwean taxpayers. ZimOnline
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Zim Online

MDC abandons electoral petitions
Tue 22 February 2005

      HARARE - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has abandoned its
2000 electoral petitions because it has no other option.

      The opposition party went to court to challenge ZANU PF victories in
37 of 120 contested seats alleging that President Mugabe had used violence
to win them. The MDC won 10 of the 14 petitions that were adjudicated upon
meaning it won the popular vote in the 2000 parliamentary elections, subject
to appeals lodged by ZANU PF in the supreme court.

      This was before the government started its campaign of harassment
against the judiciary and subsequently stuffed it with new loyalist judges
who sat on all the remaining applications. Five years later and with barely
six weeks to go before the next elections, these remaining applications have
not been heard, a development widely seen as a monumental miscarriage of

      This means these petitions have all become academic and the MDC would
probably gain nothing out of pursuing them.
      "We have decided not to pursue the issue of court petitions of the
2000 parliamentary election. We have realized that the judiciary is not
accommodating and therefore the best way would be to win with a wide
majority in the forthcoming elections.

      We will however still  have to get a legal opinion on the issue," MDC
spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said. Nyathi said it seemed pointless to pursue
the court petitions when candidates and dates for another election to
replace the current parliament had already been set.

      Zanu PF managed to scrap 63 seats in the 2000 poll, of which 37 were
disputed by the MDC which won 57.  Zanu PF disputed results in only one
constituency won by the MDC. ZimOnline.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Tsvangirai blames Blair

Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-23

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has, for the first time, publicly admitted that
some of Zimbabwe's problems emanated from the 1979 Lancaster House
constitution, which brought about the country's independence.

However, he also wants to see President Mugabe negotiate a way out of
politics and says he is ready to work with Zanu PF to achieve that goal.
Launching the MDC election manifesto in Masvingo on Sunday, Tsvangirai
admitted that British premier Tony Blair's government's refusal to abide by
the obligations of the constitutional agreement that gave birth to Zimbabwe
was central to the southern African nation's problems.
Among some of its most controversial provisions, the agreement preserved the
commercial farmers' rights to their land and barred compulsory acquisition
of land by the State, yet the landless black majority, most of whom until
their recent resettlement by the government, were crammed on unproductive
Said Tsvangirai: "For years, Zimbabweans have been forced to use a Lancaster
House power-transfer document as a constitution, hence the numerous
political and economic problems in our midst. We shall correct this anomaly.
The people shall produce their own constitution."
He also promised to do away with some laws such as the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), crafted by sacked Minister of State
for Information and Publicity in the Office of the President and Cabinet,
Jonathan Moyo, and the Public Order and Security Act (Posa).
 "We shall be on the roll. We shall see the change we desire. (President)
Robert Mugabe will have limited choices. He has to negotiate a way out. We
are ready to work with Zanu PF to realise this important transitional task.
"We shall take our seat in Parliament and undo all the repressive
legislation at the instant. Posa shall go. Aippa shall go. The NGO Act shall
go. We promise to fight corruption. The Lancaster House Constitution shall
go," promised Tsvangirai.
The MDC leader also pledged to "clean up Zimbabwe's damaged international
image and enter into bilateral relations with all nations and international
organisations that share our values as driven by the interests of
He, however, accused the government of experimenting with different economic
and political policies, hence the collapse of the economy.
"The experiments with socialism, the experiments with Esap, the experiments
with this or that policy - whether home-grown or imported - have had their
time. We must reclaim our rights. We must do it now. We must retrieve and
recover our sovereignty," Tsvangirai added.
He said the government was badly positioned to turn around "the damage it
has already caused", adding, "We are tired of a regime that blames
imaginary foreign enemies for its own mistakes."
Tsvangirai, who described the current economic environment that has left
many jobless, as unacceptable and criminal, said if the MDC won a
parliamentary majority, the party's legislators would vote for the
abolishing of the bearer's cheques and re-introduction of coins.
"For 25 years, we have seen Zanu PF publish five different manifestos. Where
are we today? For 25 years, we have heard Zanu PF post and promise all kinds
of undertakings. Where are they today? Five years ago, we could still use
our coins. What happened to them? We shall use those coins again. We pledge
to bring them back. We shall abolish the so-called bearer cheques, many of
which have already expired. We shall work with real money in this country,"
he said.
The opposition leader vowed that notwithstanding the hostile electoral
environment, the MDC was confident of victory.
He said: "We are confident that we shall win the popular vote, as we did in
2000 and 2002."
An MDC government, Tsvangirai noted, faced the following challenges: food
security, economic recovery, job creation and national healing.
On food security, the MDC pledged the restoration of agriculture as key a
He also promised to restore local and international confidence in Zimbabwe
as an investment and tourist destination.
"We must come to terms with the past. Zimbabweans must never turn against
each other," said Tsvangirai on the MDC's national healing goal.
Commenting on Tsvangirai's  statement yesterday, which was also highly
critical of the government's track record over the past 25 years, Dydimus
Mutasa, the Zanu PF Politburo secretary for administration, said the MDC was
just showing its true colours which emphasised its anti-Zimbabwe stance.
"It then boggles the mind as to how that party will ever be able to govern
this country when it is so anti-us, when it is so critical of everything we
have done for the development  imaginary foreign enemies for its own
Tsvangirai, who described the current economic environment that has left
many jobless, as unacceptable and criminal, said if the MDC won a
parliamentary majority, the party's legislators would vote for the
abolishing of the bearer's cheques and re-introduction of coins.
"For 25 years, we have seen Zanu PF publish five different manifestos. Where
are we today? For 25 years, we have heard Zanu PF post and promise all kinds
of undertakings. Where are they today? Five years ago, we could still use
our coins. What happened to them? We shall use those coins again. We pledge
to bring them back. We shall abolish the so-called bearer cheques, many of
which have already expired. We shall work with real money in this country,"
he said.
The opposition leader vowed that notwithstanding the hostile electoral
environment, the MDC was confident of victory.
He said: "We are confident that we shall win the popular vote, as we did in
2000 and 2002."
An MDC government, Tsvangirai noted, faced the following challenges-food
security, economic recovery, job creation and national healing.
On food security, the MDC pledged the restoration of agriculture as key
He also promised to restore local and international confidence in Zimbabwe
as an investment and tourist destination.
"We must come to terms with the past. Zimbabweans must never turn against
each other," said Tsvangirai on the MDC's national healing goal.
Commenting on Tsvangirai's  statement yesterday, which was also highly
critical of the government's track record over the past 25 years, Dydimus
Mutasa, the Zanu PF Politburo secretary for administration, said the MDC was
just showing its true colours which emphasised its anti-Zimbabwe stance.
"It then boggles the mind as to how that party will ever be able to govern
this country when it is so anti-us, when it is so critical of everything we
have done for the development of this nation," Mutasa said.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

ESC still in charge of elections

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-23

DESPITE the creation of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) last year,
the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) is still overally in charge of
the country's electoral process, senior officers in the ESC said yesterday.
The MDC, Zimbabwe's main opposition party has already raised its
reservations over the continued involvement of the ESC in elections saying
it jeopardised the independence of ZEC.
"The ESC is the overall authority of supervision of elections by virtue of
constitutional provisions. We have the final say on whether they had been
run properly. The ESC is the overall constitutional authority and takes
precedence over the bodies that run elections," said Joice Kazembe, ESC
Elections in Zimbabwe are now being run by three separate bodies - the
Delimitation Commission that demarcates constituency boundaries, ZEC and the
Dominic Chidakuza, the legal advisor and secretary to the supervisory
commission also reiterated that the ESC was the supreme body in the
conduction of elections.
 "ESC was established by the constitution of Zimbabwe. It's made from the
supreme law of the country. It therefore tells you who is to supervise who
(between ESC and ZEC). The other commission is created by the supreme law
and the other by an act of parliament," Chidakuza said.
He added: "ZEC will continue to function as in the previous dispensation
(that is before the new electoral laws)."
Theophilus Gambe, the new chairman of the ESC who took over from attorney
general, Sobhuza-Gula Ndebele said they would be no duplication between the
two bodies.
"Our brother, the Independent Zimbabwe Electoral Commission runs the
elections, and we supervise the running and monitor the same. There is no
duplication, but complimentarity and to some extent checks and balances," he
Gambe added that their aim was to see the running of free and fair
This year's elections will be held in one day at over 9 000 polling stations
throughout the country.
The government had already invited observers from over 32 countries,
including the SADC region. Russia being was the only European country

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

MDC holds workshop

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Feb-23

THE MDC yesterday held a workshop in Bulawayo to enlighten the opposition
candidates for the March 31 parliamentary election on its new manifesto,
unveiled by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Party spokesperson, Paul Themba Nyathi told The Daily Mirror yesterday that
the participants to the workshop were taken through the manifesto, to make
them conversant with it before taking it to the electorate.
"We saw it important to take the aspiring legislators through the manifesto
so that they understand it first before they take it to the people.  This
was a very important exercise that was conducted at a crucial time when we
are heading for the election," said Nyathi.
He added: "We want to avoid situations where the candidate appears not
conversant with the manifesto of the party yet they are the people that are
supposed to be selling the manifesto to the electorate."
According to Nyathi, all the party's candidates to next month's
parliamentary election in Matabeleland North, South, and Bulawayo attended
the workshop.
"The party's manifesto, as the people would know, has a new format that made
it incumbent upon the party's leadership to call for such a workshop,"
Nyathi said.
The MDC's 2005 election manifesto, Nyathi said, was based on bread and
butter issues, such as employment creation, caring for the elderly, youths,
and children's education, among other things.
"Zanu PF's campaign is always anti-Blair and nothing else.  We are focusing
on bread and butter issues and we are confident that if given the mandate,
we will be able as a party to tackle the issues head on," Nyathi said
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

We can do without Moyo: Zanu PF

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Feb-23

ZANU PF says it will not miss, in any way, the services of fired Information
and Publicity Minister, Jonathan Moyo and will prove that it can win
elections without him.
Speaking at celebrations to mark the elevation of Joyce Mujuru to vice
president at the weekend, Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo said Moyo had
become a liability to both the party and government.
President Robert Mugabe fired Moyo from cabinet last Saturday after filing
his nomination to stand as an independent candidate for Tsholotsho in the
March 31 parliamentary elections the previous day.
Nkomo said: "We say to you, go well wherever you want to go and be reminded
that we will not miss you or your services. Zanu PF is a people's party that
is now geared and focused on fundamental issues than the personalities that
you were bent on destroying and vilifying.
"We have to remind you, however, that we knew that you were a traitor, who
was going to chicken out at the last minute. We even knew that you were
going to go back to your old ways and that is what exactly happened."
Moyo was a fierce critic of President Mugabe's government during his
lectureship at the University of Zimbabwe in the early 1990s.
President Mugabe catapulted him into cabinet and the ruling party's
politburo in 2000 after vigorously campaigning on behalf of the government
and Zanu PF for the adoption of a draft constitution and general elections
Nkomo said the departure of Moyo should result in unity in the party.
"This is good riddance as we are able to focus on the issues that affect our
people and the nation as a whole and not the situation that you (Moyo) had
created where we were pre-occupied by trading insults in the media," Nkomo
He said the decision by Moyo, among others, to stand as independent
candidate was a clear testimony of indiscipline.
Moyo took a pot shot at senior
Zanu PF officials, among them Nkomo, vice president Joseph Msika, retired
 General Solomon Mujuru and Obert Mpofu, after President Mugabe sacked him,
accusing them of fighting for his downfall.
Speaking at the same function, Mujuru said Zanu PF must conduct a
self-introspection to weed out all pretenders within its structures.
"There are some amongst us who are like wolves dressed in a sheep skin. We
have to inspect ourselves and know who are our friends and who are our foes
as this will help us weed out impostors in the party."We know they are here
with us and they will always be with us, but I say that let us be cautious
in our affairs as they will pretend that they are with us yet they want to
get information they will use to destroy us," Mujuru said.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Banned cosmetics, soaps flood market

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Feb-23

IMPORTED skin lightening cosmetics and soaps from China, some of which were
banned in Zimbabwe soon after independence - have flooded shops in Bulawayo.
Some of the banned skin lightening cosmetics such as Diproson, a hair
chemical, Bu-tone, Ambi and Movate were being sold by informal traders and
some flea markets in the city.
Some of the specified products which are written in the Chinese language and
are proving to be popular to light skin crazy ladies are selling like hot
A 100ml tube of Diproson costs between $5 000 and $10 000.
A lot of women have encountered skin problems after using these lethal
cosmetics.  During the 1970s, lots of women sustained severe burns on their
faces due to the application of the products.
"The cosmetics are selling like hot cakes, we get most of our orders from
Harare," said Jane Lunga, a flea market operator in the city.
Despite the cosmetics' abundance in flea markets, the Consumer Council of
Zimbabwe (CCZ) is greatly concerned about the situation.
"We are aware that these products were banned in the country and consumers
should shun these products because they have serious side effects," warned
Comfort Muchekeza, the council's regional manager for Bulawayo province.
He said his office would soon investigate the issue.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Storm brewing in Harare council

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-23

A STORM is brewing between Harare municipal workers and the city fathers
over the role of Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) in the provision
of water to residents, with the Harare Municipal Workers Union (HMWU)
claiming that it was being sidelined in the whole process.
In a letter dated February 14 2005 addressed to town clerk Nomutsa Chideya
and also copied to the Minister of Local Government Public Works and
National Housing, Ignatius Chombo and governor Witness Mangwende, the
chairman of HMWU Cosmus Bungu said the union was not privy to the
deliberations between the City and Zinwa.
"Once again the HMWU reiterates the fact that it is not privy to the ongoing
deliberations between the City of Harare and the Ministry of Local
Government National Housing and Public Works including ZINWA as regards the
intended (as per newspaper reports) takeover of the provisions of water
services to residents of the City.
"In terms of the Labour Act Chapter 28:01 (section 2A (1) we quote "The
purpose of this Act is to advance social justice and democracy in the work
place by the promotion of the participation by employees affecting their
interest in the work place," said Bungu.
Bungu added that in the present scenario his union had not been provided
with the relevant information on the pros and cons of the intended take over
by ZINWA. He wrote: ".taking into consideration our history in this regard
some utilities have almost collapsed due to haphazard decisions which were
made by council administration previously such as the Rufaro Marketing and
Zesa debacle where the city ended up having to fork millions of dollars to
sustain operations which were ill conceived instead of gaining  income
thereby relieving the residents of unnecessary and unjustified increases in
service provision charges."
Efforts to reach either Chideya or Chombo were fruitless yesterday while
Leslie Gwindi, the city's spokesperson professed ignorance over the matter.
Gwindi said: "We can only take a position if we see the letter. At the
moment we haven't."

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Rebels remain in the cold

Cricinfo staff

February 22, 2005

Hopes that Zimbabwe's remaining striking players might soon return to the
fold appear to be stalling, according to a report in the local Independent

The stumbling block appears to be the rebels' demands over the selection
process, although other sticking points are said to include their demands
for three-year contracts. Few countries give such long-term commitments and
it is hard to see Zimbabwe Cricket doing so if that is what it is being
asked to do.

At the moment the rebel players are in ongoing talks with a committee under
the leadership of Addington Chinake. Only when this committee presents its
findings will the full board discuss the matter.

But one of the rebels told The Independent that some of the reported
conditions had never been raised. "It's mischievous for anyone to claim that
we have demanded tax-free salaries and three-year contracts," he said. "So
far our discussions with the committee have been promising, though I'm bound
not to say much."

What appears to be factual is the stalemate over the choice of selectors.
The rebels have demanded all along that the national selection panel should
be made up of people with first-class cricket experience, or at least a good
level coaching qualification. Crucially, that would rule out Max Ebrahim,
currently the senior selector, as he has no such background.

"All we want are selectors with a cricketing background like in any other
country," the player told the newspaper. "We're hopeful everything will work
out well because we hear [Peter] Chingoka has been really good and has
already tasked a constitutional committee to review the whole selection
policy. If Zimbabwe Cricket does not accede to our proposals, that's it. No
rebel will return."

© Cricinfo

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Reporters without Borders

"All I did was drop everything and run"
The personal account of Jan Raath

Jan Raath, a correspondent for the German news agency Deutsche
Presse-Agentur (DPA) and the British daily The Times, Angus Shaw, a
correspondent with the US news agency The Associated Press (AP), and Brian
Latham, a reporter for the US press group Bloomberg News, decided to flee
Zimbabwe have been harassed for several days by the police.


"All I did was drop everything and run"

With my heart in my mouth, I watched the immigration officer's face for any
sign of reaction. If there was an alert put out for me at Zimbabwe's border
posts, this was point at which I would be stopped. Nothing. He briefly
looked at my passport, banged a stamp in it, and handed it back with a

Ten minutes later, I was over the border and in Botswana, beyond the reach
of President Robert Mugabe's secret police. In the space of 24 hours, I had
left behind 30 years of living as a journalist in Zimbabwe and, at 11.30
a.m. on Thursday, I entered a new one with a pickup truck and three bags of

During the last five years of Mugabe's onslaught against any voices of
dissent in Zimbabwe, the shrinking group of independent journalists
occasionally would talk about plans for emergency evacuation in case the
government decided to arrest us. When it happened, I was nowhere near ready
for it. Not even my illegal two-month expulsion from Zimbabwe in 1986 over
the headlines, which I did not write, to one of my stories in The Times of
London did not prepare me.

I reacted with panic, fear and acute anxiety. All I did was drop everything
and run.

It began at 2.30 a.m. on Monday with violent banging on the locked gate to
my home in Harare. The security guard said two men in a foreign-registered
car were demanding to be let in. Thieves don't usually announce themselves.
We switched on the alarm, and they drove off. At about 10 a.m. that day, two
plainclothes policemen arrived at the office in a shabby apartment block in
central Harare that I shared with Angus Shaw of Associated Press and Brian
Latham of Bloomberg News.

They said they were investigating reports that we were involved in "spying".
Our lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, came soon after and burst out laughing when one
of them told her the reason for their visit. "My friend," she told him, "if
you are looking for spies, you must go to ZANU(PF) (Mugabe's ruling party)

The policeman hooted with laughter, and they left. Five senior figures in
the ZANU(PF) establishment have been in detention for over two months on
charges under the Official Secrets Act.

An hour passed. Three more officers from the "Law and Order section of the
CID arrived. They refused to identify themselves and accused us of working
as journalists illegally. New laws passed in January make it a crime to be a
journalist without certified approval from the state-controlled Media
Commission, and carries a penalty of up to two years in prison. Mtetwa
explained that for the last three years, we had applied to the commission
for accreditation, but the body simply had sat on our applications. The
media law provided that until the commission officially denied applications,
we could not be stopped from working, she said. The policemen took no

Then they brought in a police computer hacker. She examined the office's
rudimentary switchboard (that the three policemen believed was secret
monitoring equipment) and the computer system, and pronounced that the large
satellite dish in the yard outside which receives the AP news service, was
probably illegal.

None of us was in the office on Tuesday when 10 officers them came in
without a search warrant and conducted a minute examination of the computers
there, our desks and files.

The telephone rang and was answered by the tall young hacker. "This is the
new receptionist," she said. Mtetwa watched as she hacked into the computer
hard drive and shouted "we've got him" when she claimed to have found copies
of foreign currency transfers. None of this would stand up in court, Mtetwa
said later. All of us have worked extensively outside Zimbabwe and are fully
justified in maintaining foreign currency accounts outside Zimbabwe.

But what the law says is of little consequence in Zimbabwe. In searches and
half-hearted interrogations over about nine hours in three days, 15
policemen, had, at best, no more than the slim possibility of administrative
infringements by any of us. However, it was evident they were looking for
something to hold against us. It was considered important enough for the the
national head of the "law and order" section to supervise the operation.

Parliamentary elections are due on March 31 and in the last three weeks, the
government had been cracking down on the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, human rights groups and other journalists. We half expected
something like this.

On Wednesday Mtetwa telephoned. "I am told they intend to pick you up," she
said. Her sources had said police were planning to use laws that allow them
to hold suspects for 28 days without bringing them to court. The detention
period can be extended indefinitely.

A senior official of a human rights organisation was asked why the
government didn't use its powers under the media law and silence us simply
by denying us accreditation. "You don't understand," he said. "You defied
them for a long time. They want to punish you first, and then they will kick
you out."

Mtetwa's telephone call made up my mind. I parked my vehicle at a friend's
home, and borrowed his car. The police who came to our office knew our
vehicle registration numbers by rote. For the last three days I had been
talking in code over the telephone and using other telephones to avoid being
bugged. I slept away from home.

I went on a series of hurried errands, collecting a visa from the South
African embassy and to the small cottage I rent, and packed a few
necessities in 15 minutes.

I couldn't find Samson, my cat, to say goodbye. I told no one except two of
my closest friends. I drove 550 kilometres through the night to Plumtree on
Zimbabwe's western border with Botswana. Later, in Francistown - the
Botswana city 80 kilometres from the border post, I telephoned my
girlfriend, Sarah, and told her where I was. She burst into sobs of relief.
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Political violence could keep voters away, say rights groups

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

JOHANNESBURG, 22 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - An escalation in political violence and
attempts to influence opposition supporters in rural Zimbabwe could result
in a low turnout in next month's election, civic voter education groups have

Gorden Moyo, the chairman of Bulawayo Agenda, a civic education group based
in Zimbabwe's second city, alleged that political violence, intimidation and
the use of food aid to coerce voters was increasing ahead of the 31 March

The group also operates provincial monitoring offices at Gwanda in
Matabeleland South and Hwange in Matabeleland North. In separate interviews,
the groups said they had been notified that greater use was being made of
traditional chiefs to allegedly influence their subjects. People were also
being told that the use of translucent ballot boxes would enable the
authorities to trace each vote cast.

Moreover, Moyo said, they had received credible reports that interparty
political violence was on the rise in Gwanda and Beitbridge constituencies.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said they had not received any reports
citing incidents of violence or intimidation. "We are surprised to hear
that. But I can assure you that the campaign remains peaceful," he

"We must see this as a general, nationwide intimidation campaign - seeing as
it comes just as violence and arbitrary arrests of opposition and civil
society members rise in the urban areas," Moyo remarked.

Dr Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network
(ZESN) told IRIN that fear of of political violence could affect turnout
among opposition supporters.

"They would rather not go to vote than vote and face the recriminations.
Past experience has taught them that such threats are eventually carried
out, and they fear a repeat of 2000/2002 [legislative and presidential
elections]," said Matchaba-Hove. "The penalty for voting for the opposition
can be an expulsion from the village, physical violence, withdrawal from the
local food aid registers, or all of them combined."

The rural areas have traditionally been ZANU-PF, with the chiefs, who
maintain the food aid registers, being loyal supporters.

According to the US-funded Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET),
an estimated five million people in Zimbabwe are in need of food aid.

Home affairs minister Kembo Mohadi countered claims of violence and use of
influence, and described the organisations raising the allegations of human
rights abuses as "Western-funded", with subversive leanings. He said the
police were monitoring the election campaigns to ensure that no threats were
made against members of the public.

"Ours is a peaceful party. Just like the government, our people hold their
chiefs in high regard and, naturally, get worried when such accusations are
made against them," Mohadi told IRIN. "We cannot deny our people the right
to choose their own leaders, when we fought so hard to bring them human
rights, freedom and social justice; we cannot undo those noble values of the
liberation struggle."

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Electoral court set up ahead of Zimbabwe polls
Tue Feb 22, 2005 04:34 PM GMT

By Stella Mapenzauswa
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government has set
up an electoral court to handle legal matters arising from a general
election due next month, according to the official Herald newspaper.

In a sign of rising tension ahead of the poll, the main opposition Movement
for Democratic Change said soldiers attacked a group of its members on their
way back to the capital from the party's election campaign launch at the

The government has made reforms it says will ensure a free poll on March 31,
but the MDC says the rules are still skewed in favour of Mugabe's ruling
ZANU-PF party, and that state security agents have sought to hamper its
campaign activities.

Zimbabwe's top judge, Godfrey Chidyausiku, appointed High Court judges
Tendayi Uchena, Maphios Cheda and Nicholas Ndou to the new court to hear
election petitions, the Herald reported on Tuesday.

"The Electoral Court is now in place and the administrative machinery is
also in place. We are now ready to deal with election matters," the paper
quoted the court's registrar as saying.

Court officials were not immediately reachable for comment.

The MDC, running in this year's polls under protest, has complained that
courts dragged their feet over most legal challenges it launched against
ZANU-PF victories in 2000 parliamentary elections and a presidential vote
two years later. The ruling party insists it won fairly.

The MDC said on Tuesday a group of soldiers had attacked party officials on
their way back to Harare at the weekend after attending the party's campaign
launch in the southern town of Masvingo.

"The matter was reported to police but to date no arrests have been made,"
the party said in a statement.

Police and army officials were not immediately reachable for comment, but
both departments have in the past denied allegations of bias levelled by the

The MDC said a member of its youth wing sustained a suspected fractured leg
during a confrontation with a group of ZANU-PF supporters in southwestern
Zimbabwe while he was putting up MDC campaign posters.

The police rushed to the scene and detained two ZANU-PF members including
the brother of the ZANU-PF candidate for the area, the party said.

Critics say Mugabe has failed to deliver on international demands for
wide-ranging democratic electoral reforms and he has put in place a set of
cosmetic measures designed to extend his ZANU-PF party's 25-year grip on

Mugabe dismisses the charges, and says the West, led by former colonial
ruler Britain, is bent on forcing him from power over his controversial
seizure of white-owned farms for landless blacks.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

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Zimbabwe's Ruling Party Election Manifesto Published
By  Peta Thornycroft
      22 February 2005

Zimbabwe's ruling party election manifesto concentrates heavily on its role
in ending colonial rule 25-years ago and its policy of confiscating
white-owned land for redistribution to new black farmers. The Zanu PF
manifesto says that the economy is recovering and that the party's victory
at the March 31 poll will ensure Zimbabwe is never a colony again.

Zanu PF's election manifesto is published in a 54-page booklet and is a
mixture of history and future goals.

It has a section devoted to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, saying he
wants regime change in Zimbabwe and created the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change. It blames Mr. Blair, and to a lesser extent President
Bush, for Zimbabwe's economic problems and its isolation from the western

The manifesto says that the land-reform program is now complete, and that
many Zimbabweans have become millionaires since President Robert Mugabe
launched a campaign in 2000 to evict most white farmers.

It claims that reduced annual inflation from more than 600 percent a year
ago to 132 percent is a clear indication that the economy is turning around.
Interest rates are falling, and the value of the Zimbabwe dollar against
major currencies has stabilized, according to Zanu PF.

Zanu PF appointed a woman as vice president in December, and the manifesto
says that it is going to promote many more women into top positions. It has
a record number of women standing for 120 seats in parliament. The ruling
party says it has revitalized and reformed its internal structures.

Zanu PF says its program will primarily be to fight poverty and improve
living standards. It says this will be achieved by improved agricultural
production, increased levels of manufacturing, and encouraging establishment
of more small to medium enterprises.

It focuses attention on new electoral laws which went through parliament in

As a result of the new laws three judges were appointed to head up
Zimbabwe's first ever electoral court to adjudicate disputes arising out of
the campaign and on voting day.

The manifesto was written by former information minister Jonathan Moyo who
was expelled from Zanu PF on Saturday because he is standing as an
independent candidate in the election.

Zanu PF faced its first serious political challenge when the MDC fought its
first election in 2000 and won nearly half the seats.

Mr. Mugabe says Zanu PF is set to retake the lost seats, and has pledged the
party will win a two-thirds majority, which would allow it to change the
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Sunday Times (SA)

'Soldiers attacked MDC officials'

Tuesday February 22, 2005 15:34 - (SA)

Zimbabwe's official opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says
that a group of soldiers have attacked MDC officials who were coming from
Masvingo where the MDC had launched its election campaign for the 2005
general elections.

The parliamentary elections are to be held on March 31.

Spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said: "The MDC officials were at Wengezi
business centre in Manicaland when a group of about 50 soldiers disembarked
from two army trucks and about 20 of the soldiers started assaulting the MDC

"Among the MDC officials were three candidates for the 2005 general election
namely Pishai Muchauraya the candidate for Makoni East, Edwin Maupa
candidate for Mutasa South and Gabriel Chiwara the candidate for Makoni

Nyathi said: "The soldiers assaulted Chiwara and his election agent Josphat
Munhumumwe accusing the two of selling the country to the British.

"Chiwara and Munhumumwe sustained injuries all over their bodies as they
were kicked and beaten with booted feet and fists by the furious members of
the army. Chiwara also sustained a deep cut above the eye," he said.

The two were taken to Mutare General Hospital where they received treatment
and were later released. The matter was reported to Mutare rural police
station and docket number RRB 0412126 was opened but to date no arrests had
been made, Nyathi reported.

"The MDC is seriously concerned about this incident as it comes hardly a
week after another group of members of the army assaulted and injured
several MDC members in Nyanga. Both attacks were completely unprovoked.

"The MDC believes that these attacks are being carried out by members of the
(ruling) Zanu PF youth militia who have been drafted into the army in recent
months. Only brain- washed young people would carry out these barbaric acts
with such passion.

"We urge all members of the professional army to encourage the unruly
elements among them to desist from their activities as they continue to
tarnish the name of the professional force. "In a related incident of
violence, an MDC youth activist Thembekile Moyo 29, was badly injured in the
leg last night (Monday night) after being struck by a stone while putting up
posters for the MDC Insiza candidate Siyabonga Malandu Ncube", he said.

Moyo - who was with Malandu and a group of MDC youths - was struck after
having been waylaid by the Zanu-PF group in the dark. Moyo was struck in the
leg and sustained a suspected fractured leg.

The MDC claims that the Zanu-PF group was led by Spare Sithole who is the
election agent for the Zanu-PF candidate for Insiza, Andrew Langa.

The incident was reported to police officer-in-charge, Inspector Edmund
Shoko, who quickly deployed a group of police officers to the scene.

On arrival at Filabusi centre, they found Langa's brothers Ben and Sindiso
with a group of Zanu-PF supporters allegedly pulling down the MDC posters.

The group ran away but Sindiso Langa and one member of the militia were
apprehended, Nyathi reported.
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Court still in favour of Mugabe - MDC
          February 22 2005 at 02:04PM

      Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government has set up an
electoral court to handle legal matters arising from a general election due
next month, the official Herald newspaper said on Tuesday.

      The government has made reforms it says will ensure a free poll on
March 31, but critics - including the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) - say the rules are still skewed in favour of
Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party.

      Zimbabwe's top judge, Godfrey Chidyausiku, appointed High Court judges
Tendayi Uchena, Maphios Cheda and Nicholas Ndou to the new court to hear
election petitions, the Herald reported.

      "The Electoral Court is now in place and the administrative machinery
is also in place. We are now ready to deal with election matters," the paper
quoted the court's registrar as saying.

      Court officials were not immediately reachable for comment.

      The MDC, running in this year's polls under protest, has complained
that courts dragged their feet over most legal challenges it launched
against Zanu-PF victories in 2000 parliamentary elections and a presidential
vote two years later. The ruling party insists it won fairly.

      Critics say Mugabe has failed to deliver on international demands for
wide-ranging democratic electoral reforms, and has put in place a set of
cosmetic measures designed to extend his Zanu-PF party's 25-year grip on

      Mugabe dismisses the charges, and says the West, led by former
colonial ruler Britain, is bent on forcing him from power over his
controversial seizure of white-owned farms for landless blacks.
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Ecumenical News International

Mugabe turns 81 with few but clerics daring to criticise him

Trevor Grundy
London (ENI). Robert Gabriel Mugabe turned 81 on Monday. At an age most men
would be playing with their great-grandchildren, the president of Zimbabwe
is leading his country into a general election on 31 March.
He has promised to use every resource at his disposal to wipe out the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) political party. Human
rights organizations note that Zimbabwe has cracked down on a free press and
it has stopped non-governmental organizations distributing food aid. But
some opponents say Mugabe knows he can never wipe out the opposition he most
fears - the Christian Church.

His peers say that when Robert Mugabe was 10, his mother, Mbuya Bona Mugabe,
boasted that her brilliant son, who was brought up a Roman Catholic and was
educated by the Jesuit order, would one day be a priest.

In his 11th year, young Robert lost his elder brother Michael (who died
after eating poisoned maize) and his father Gabriel Mugabe left the family
home for South Africa, never to return.

"Those were terrible blows to this sensitive, precociously intelligent,
child," says Mugabe's nephew, James Chikerema, one of the founders of
nationalism in Rhodesia as Zimbabwe was called before independence, and who
will turn 80 in April.

"He stopped wanting to become a priest and told his mother he would become a
teacher," Chikerema told Ecumenical News International by telephone from

Mugabe graduated in 1951 from South Africa's Fort Hare University and taught
at schools in then Northern Rhodesia, which later became Zambia, and in
Ghana where he met his first wife, Sally. In the early 1960s, the Mugabes
returned to Salisbury, capital of Rhodesia, and joined Joshua Nkomo's
Zimbabwe African People's Union (Zapu).

"If Robert had gone into the Catholic Church he would probably today be a
cardinal," jokes Lawrence Vambe, 87, who like Mugabe and Chikerema attended
Kutama Mission school, near Salisbury.

When the Zimbabwean war of independence broke out, Mugabe was placed in
prison for 10 years, from 1964 to 1974. Those who knew him during those
stormy days said his faith in Catholicism never wavered.

But those close to him say it did after his release from prison in 1974 when
ferocious fighting broke out between guerrillas of his Zimbabwe African
National Union (Zanu) based in Mozambique and the army of Rhodesia's white
settlers, many of whom were farmers.

The bitter war gave way to freedom and independence for Zimbabwe in April
1980 with the country embarking on an era of relative prosperity.

Initially Mugabe was widely respected by church leaders. But after a
clampdown on dissent in the Matabeleland province between 1982 and 1987,
which saw as many as 25 000 men, women and children killed, Mugabe invoked
the wrath of church leaders, especially the powerful Catholic Church.

As he turns 81, Robert Mugabe hears Christian condemnation every day of the
week. "We are at fault because we put evil people in power," said Catholic
Bishop Patrick Mutume at the start of a Christian prayer week recently.

And Bishop Trevor Manhango, president of the Evangelical Fellowship of
Zimbabwe, noted, "We have had enough fighting in Zimbabwe."

The Methodist Church also has had its say, with Bishop Cephas Mukandi
reminding members of the government that nearly all of them have a Christian
background and that they should respect the opposition party.

One of Mugabe's staunchest critics has been Bulawayo's Catholic Bishop Pius
Ncube, whom Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party has called a traitor.

The UN World Food Programme, World Vision, Christian Care, Lutheran
Development Services and other donors have cut back on their work after the
introduction of new legislation curtailing their operations following a
campaign started by Mugabe in 2004 to have international food donors leave

"They want to control the food and politicise it," said Ncube, who is
archbishop in Zimbabwe's second-largest city. "They'd rather kill people for
the sake of power."

Last year a public row broke out between Mugabe and the retired South
African Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu. In a media interview Mugabe called
Tutu "an angry, evil and embittered little bishop" after Tutu had been
quoted saying that Mugabe resembled the caricature of an African dictator.

"Robert used to be a very religious man," says his nephew Chikerema.

Kenya's Nation newspaper editorialised on 15 February: "Archbishop Tutu is
speaking out of his concern for his people, and his continent, as he has
always done. Africa had better heed his word."
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Excerpt from a longer transcript from The Financial Times (UK), 22 February

Interview: Thabo Mbeki

Andrew Gowers, David White, and John Reed

FT: A country that is not so far away, Zimbabwe: you made great efforts to
take it upon yourself to try to get the two sides talking. Has that now
irretrievably broken down?

Mbeki: No, it hasn't. . You see, you are quite correct, this is what we've
been insisting upon all the time, that it's really the Zimbabweans who must
find a solution to their own problem, and what was critically important was
that they should get together with none of the two saying (any) particular
matter is excluded from the agenda..And that's how we've proceeded since
2002 after the presidential elections..They have been very reluctant to
explain to the world what they have been doing.

FT: How close do you think they are, in these elections coming up, to
fulfilling the minimum criteria agreed by SADC?

Mbeki: The one complaint I have had has to do with the register of voters,
that it is defective. With regard to the rest, what we've said, what I've
said, is that we should send in a SADC team there as quickly as possible
before the elections.

FT: But that's not even happening, Mr President, is it?

Mbeki: It'll happen..I would expect that actually we could have a SADC
delegation in Zimbabwe this coming week. Not observers, in the sense of "We'll
come there and observe and we'll see bad things being done, we'll write them
in our notebook so that at the end of the process we can then say, uh-uh,
this election was not free and fair because the following bad things
happened," it's not that. Because our interest indeed is to have free and
fair elections in Zimbabwe and therefore to go there with a view to
assisting, to ensure that we have those free and fair be able
to be around the country as much is as possible, so that we'll be able to
intervene in instances where there is violence and intimidation and so
on..That team would have to be there, ready to receive any complaint in the
event that (access to state media) has not been granted, I'm saying, not in
order to record that it's not been granted but in order to intervene to make
sure that it is granted. So that's the approach that we want to take to
this. My view is that we can do it.

FT: To inervene in cases of intimidation suggests some kind of policing

Mbeki: No, it doesn't, we did this last time, in the presidential elections.

FT: I suppose the underlying question that we've been trying to get at is at
what point do you, as the outside actor with the most potential to influence
the situation, say, well, this quiet approach hasn't worked and we really
need to take a more forthright, critical approach. One of the things that
people far away are struggling to understand is that you've played it so
quietly, and there are commentaries that this reflects ill on the
credibility of Africa putting its own house in order.

Mbeki: Yes, I know. The point really about all of this from our perspective
has been that the critical role we should play is to assist the Zimbabweans
to find one another, really to agree among themselves about the political,
economic, social, other solutions that their country needs. We could have
stepped aside from that task and then shouted, and that would be the end of
our contribution.. They would shout back at us, and that would be the end of
the story. .I'm actually the only head of government that I know anywhere in
the world who has actually gone to Zimbabwe and spoken publicly very
critically of the things that they're doing. We agree that there must be
land redistribution but the manner in which it is being handled is
incorrect, and the way the conflict has arisen between black Zimbabweans and
white Zimbabweans is not what we want.But, you see, to take a posture which
would say - which I think could be quite easy - we would sit here and say we
are gong to shout at the Zimbabweans, that's the beginning and the end of
any contribution we would make.It was a choice for us. The easier route was
to sit in Pretoria and say whaever we like.

FT: How would you characterise your feelings about, or your relations with,
Robert Mugabe?

Mbeki: I think they're very good.

FT: Do you see him often.How often are you in contact with him?

Mbeki: As regularly as I want to.

FT: When did you last see him?

Mbeki: The last time I saw him was when we were in Maputo for the
installation of the new president (in early February).

FT: Do you respect him?

Mbeki:.The relationship is very good, there's no problem about it. There are
certain thing which have gone wrong in Zimbabwe, which we've said
publicly.They've run a budget deficit of 10 per cent for 20 years.You end up
with the economic crisis that you have now. It derives from an economic
policy that had good intentions in the sense of raising standards of living
of the people, educational levels, improving health and so on and so on. But
it produced particular consequences, economic consequences which then also
had political consequences.Part of what then happened was that when
opposition emerged, essentially emerging out of the economic crisis.they
responded to it in a wrong way..When I was in Harare I said to them publicly
this business of using the war veterans is incorrect. You can't solve these
problems by beating up people. So there were things that went wrong there.
Do you respect Bob Mugabe? Of course, yes. That doesn't mean do you approve
of the policies that were implemented.

FT: Do you see the US putting Zimbabwe on a list of "outposts of tyranny",
does that make any difference?

Mbeki: No, I think that's a bit of an exaggeration.

FT: Do you think they're going after Zimbabwe unfairly, and if so why?

Mbeki: No, I think that it's an exaggeration and I think that whatever your
government wants to do with regard to that list of six countries, or however
many, I think it's really somewhat discredited.

FT: A discredit to whom?

Mbeki: The concept, the US concept.

FT: Lumping them all together.

Mbeki: Yes, to put all these countries together and say Zimbabwe's one of
these outposts of tyranny, how do you justify that? It doesn't mean that
there's nothing that's gone wrong in Zimbabwe, but to describe it as an
outpost of tyranny.

FT: You don't think they belong in the same category as Burma?

Mbeki: Of course not

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Mail and Guardian

      The rise and fall of Jonathan Moyo

      Angus Shaw | Lusaka

      22 February 2005 01:51

            As Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo made his reputation as
the architect of the government's campaign to silence criticism, and still
had time to get his own revolutionary jingles aired on state television.

            Though he quickly fell from grace after challenging the
president's authority, he left behind his legacy of laws that effectively
deny government critics a means of disseminating information.

            Moyo, a former academic, had evolved from a sharp critic of
President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party to driving force in Mugabe's
government. But he was fired over the weekend after he defied Zanu-PF rules
by putting himself forward as an independent candidate in parliamentary
elections scheduled for March 31.

            Zanu-PF disqualified Moyo and other dissenters within the party
from contesting the election and they were forbidden from standing as
independents after they became involved in an internal power struggle in

            Moyo may be gone, but Zimbabwe remains what the Committee to
Protect Journalists, an international press freedom watchdog, calls one of
the 10 worst countries for a journalist.

            Moyo's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
passed in 2002, was used to shut down the country's only independent daily
newspaper, The Daily News. The laws also were used to jail independent
Zimbabwean journalists and expel or bar foreign journalists.

            Moyo also shut down two independent radio stations.

            Moyo controlled the government's television and radio
broadcaster. He cancelled its contracts for news supplied by the British
Broadcasting Corporation and the United States CNN network.

            He fired several broadcast presenters and largely banished
Western music and movies from the airwaves. An amateur musician, he ordered
the broadcaster to run jingles he composed and revolutionary songs praising
the often-violent seizures of thousands of white-owned farms.

            Human rights groups and the independent Mass Media Monitoring
Project of Zimbabwe said much of the propaganda broadcast on Moyo's orders
and carried in the state press incited hatred and prejudice against
government critics, the main opposition party, the 30 000-member white
community and other minorities in the nation's population of 12,5-million.

            The media monitoring group likened the "hate" messages to
incitement by Hutu militants ahead of the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

            A day after Moyo described The Daily News as a threat to
national security, the paper's printing presses in southern Harare were
destroyed in a bomb attack.

            Military explosives were used. There have been no arrests in
that attack. Reporters at state newspapers said Moyo frequently personally
supervised the selection of material for publication and wrote outspoken
pro-government columns himself or assigned loyalists to write them.

            As minister, he arranged virtually round-the-clock monitoring of
the internet and satellite television to amass files on journalists
reporting on the country for foreign media.

            Before joining the government, Moyo taught at the main
University of Zimbabwe in Harare in the 1980s. Then, he contributed highly
critical articles to independent newspapers and magazines, accusing Mugabe's
party of being authoritarian, outdated in its avowed Marxist policies and
misguided in its alliances with China, the Soviet Union and bankrupt East
bloc nations.

            But he joined the government in 2000 as the chief spokesperson
for the state-appointed Constitutional Commission ahead of a referendum on
constitutional reforms that would have entrenched Mugabe's powers. In
Mugabe's biggest polling defeat since he led the nation to independence in
1980, referendum voters rejected the reforms.

            Moyo, however, made himself a fiery and sometimes eloquent
defender of Mugabe and his policies and was appointed Information Minister a
few months later.

            Moyo's downfall began in November when he convened a meeting to
oppose Mugabe's choice of Joyce Mujuru as the first woman Vice-President
after the death in 2003 of Mugabe's longtime aide and ally, Vice-President
Simon Muzenda at age 80.

            Moyo was reprimanded by the ruling party and dropped from the
50-member politburo, its top policy-making body, and its 250 member central

            Six of the party's 10 provincial chairmen invited to the meeting
by Moyo were suspended from the party for five years for favouring
Parliament speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa for the vice-presidency, a post that
could put him in line to succeed Mugabe, 81.

            The power wrangle over the vice-presidency, fueled by Moyo, was
the biggest split in the party since 1980. - Sapa-AP
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Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 21 February

Many more Moyos out there

Wallace Chuma

It is understandable that the independent media should celebrate Jonathan
Moyo's political slide for he epitomised probably the worst form of abuse of
power to settle both personal and state scores in recent times. As a
Zimbabwean weekly noted, the information minister "personalised his crusade
against media freedom". His litany of media sins notwithstanding, Moyo was
operating within a system that allows him the power to treat the media in
the way he has done. It's a system that was carefully crafted by the
colonial Rhodesian Front, and cosmetically modified by Zanu PF in 1980.
Zimbabwe's Constitution makes no explicit reference to press or media
freedom. It only provides, rather economically, for freedom of expression.
This freedom is eroded by a lengthy list of qualifications, including
interests of "public morality", "public safety", defence and "economic
interests of the state". While in principle there's nothing wrong with any
of these qualifications per se, the same have been invoked to silence a
critical press. Since independence, Zimbabwe's media have had to contend
with a situation where an institutional support system for editorial and
programming autonomy is non-existent.

I have read articles that suggested a kind of nostalgic yearning for the
"good old days" of the pre-2000 Ministry of Information. But, while not as
vicious as Moyo's office, the yawning bureaucracy President Robert Mugabe
disbanded at the launch of the controversial land reform programme cannot be
associated with a progressive media policy. It will perhaps be most
remembered for issuing press cards, firing editors from the state media, and
running a near-obsolete fleet of Rhodesian-style mobile cinema vans showing
"developmental" films to rural people. As they rub their palms with glee at
Moyo's slouch to perdition, the media should not entertain the illusion of
an automatically happier era in Zimbabwe. It was not out of magnanimity that
previous information ministers - Nathan Shamuyarira, Chen Chimutengwende,
Witness Mangwende and Victoria Chitepo - harassed or arrested fewer
journalists during their terms than those arrested and tortured under Moyo.

The reason is that Zanu PF was not subjected to the kind of political
competition that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change brought. Had
any of them assumed the information portfolio in turbulent, post-1999
Zimbabwe, it's highly likely they would have behaved no differently. The
launch of The Daily News newspaper - which provided a platform for both the
opposition and dissenting cliques within the ruling party who were shut out
of the public media - raised the stakes in the new "struggle for Zimbabwe".
With the support of a pliant judiciary and police force, a huge budget and
the personal blessing of the president, Zimbabwe's information and media
policy under Moyo became a kind of "shock and awe". In a letter to the Zanu
PF politburo in the aftermath of Tsholotsho, Moyo wrote: "Today The Daily
News is off the streets as a result of violation of laws that we have
collectively enacted yet the truth is that some comrades here have
conveniently distanced themselves from those laws and now I am personally
held liable for the demise of The Daily News."

What distinguished Moyo from his predecessors was his profound zealotry;
otherwise the structures never changed, and will certainly not change simply
because he is gone. Under Moyo the media have taken a tragic battering. In
the most difficult circumstances, the media have struggled courageously to
narrate the unfolding Zimbabwean story. However, the struggle for media
freedom should not end with the fall of Moyo. It is a struggle that preceded
him; and a struggle that should challenge authoritarian state institutions,
of which Moyo, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and
Public Order Security Act are sad products. The media would be naive to
believe that their current romance with senior Zanu PF officials fighting
Moyo is more than just a dance. The intra-elite fallout in Zanu PF can never
be expected to deliver media freedom.

Wallace Chuma teaches at the University of Cape Town's centre for film and
media studies

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Cape Times

      Debate Zimbabwe
      February 22, 2005

      The African renaissance can only gain momentum if every country
accepts the fact that the first step must be taken at home. Only practical
and honest steps - not theory - will put food on the table.

      Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma embraces Zimbabwe, a
country with a government that can only be described as an oppressive,
pseudo-representative regime.

      President Thabo Mbeki holds Robert Mugabe's hand because somewhere in
the past they shared views in a liberation struggle.

      The fact is that the day in February 2000, when the people of Zimbabwe
rejected Mugabe's draft constitution, the man changed.
      He became the oppressive leader of a regime that allowed unarmed and
innocent men, women and children to be killed. A regime that unleashed
terror on every sector of the community.

      His so-called war veterans terrorised commercial farmers and their
workers and ultimately the crude and illegal seizure of farms, racially
justified and motivated according to a government determined to retain power
at all cost.

      Mbeki is adamant that South Africa is a democratic country. In a
democracy the domestic politics and foreign policy are closely related.
Dlamini-Zuma in this case should lead an open debate in parliament regarding
Zimbabwe before making any far-reaching statement.

      This would enable the public, through their representatives, to
discuss and make a contribution on the Zimbabwe crisis to put a balanced and
informed policy on the table.

      Foreign policy-making is not of great interest to the general public,
but the horrifying events that have taken place on our doorstep have
constantly been front-page news.

      This brings into focus the underlying perception that the ANC
government's domestic political intent will be reflected in its foreign
policy actions and statements.

      Johann Vosloo

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The Herald

      Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 February 2005
      RBZ out to raise $500bn

      Business Reporter
      THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe yesterday entered the market with a new
form of bonds aimed at raising $500 billion to resuscitate the country's
ailing parastatals and local authorities.

      Appropriately named the Parastatals and Local Authorities
Re-Orientation Programme Bond, the first batch opened yesterday and closes
on Monday next week.

      When RBZ governor Dr Gideon Gono announced his Fourth Quarter Monetary
Policy Review Statement and 2005 Roadmap last month, he told the nation the
RBZ was putting in place a $10 trillion facility to rejuvenate the
operations of parastatals and local autho- rities.

      Yesterday's opening of the Parastatals and Local Authorities
Re-Orientation Programme was the first step in that direction.

      The bonds are modelled along the same lines as the already highly
popular open market operations (OMO) instruments and tobacco bills which are
issued on a regular basis.

      Some of the salient features include a five-year tenure compared to 90
days for the open market operations bills.

      Interest is paid half yearly while the bonds have been granted a
prescribed and liquid asset status by the Ministry of Finance and Economic

      The bonds are also acceptable as collateral for repo and overnight
accommodation purposes by RBZ.

      In January, the central bank unveiled an 18-24 month Parastatals and
Local Authorities Reorientation Programme under which the RBZ will issue
medium to long-term stocks to raise seed funds amounting to $10 trillion for
the implementation of the programme.

      This new development is likely to see Government rolling back its
frontiers in terms of fiscal allocations to local authorities or parastatals
and start to service the principal amount of the utilised level of the
facility beginning fiscal year 2006.

      While this is a positive and long overdue move by the central bank, it
has also been highlighted that more measures would need to be put in place
to ensure that sure that parastatals become profit-making organisations.

      An extensive restructuring of the management structures at some of the
parastatals in order to eliminate managerial inefficiencies, which have
often led to under-performance in the past, should also be implemented

      As part of the reforms, both parastatals and local authorities should
be allowed to charge economic prices and tariffs for the goods and services
they provide.

      However, it should be noted that parastatals play a key social role in
the economy, which means that some of their goods and services should be
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