The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
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Zimbabwe Independent

EU withdrawal leaves dangerous gap
Blessing Zulu/Godfrey Marawanyika

THE withdrawal of European Union observers has left a gaping void in the
electoral monitoring process which could have serious consequences for next
month's poll, it was learnt this week.

Other observer groups now claim they are too thin on the ground to do a
satisfactory job.

The sudden withdrawal of the EU team, which was due to total 150 observers,
has left a gaping hole. Of all the observer teams, only the EU had the
capacity to manage a comprehensive exercise. And it was also providing
logistical support to other teams such as that from the Southern African
Development Community.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has expressed concern over the
probability of human rights violations in the country.

"It is alarming that the largest contingent of international observers will
not be on the ground during these crucial days leading up to the election,"
Amnesty International said in a statement.

"By their very presence they (EU) acted as a check to state-sponsored
violence and intimidation occurring on a daily basis."

In the run-up to next month's poll, policing has been undermined by
political intervention.

Government has increased the number of polling stations from 4 000 in 2000
to 5 400, the majority being mobile units operating in the new resettlement
areas. Commentators said this increased the possibility of rigging.

A new provision that the "absence of election agents, polling agents,
monitors and observers at the opening and closing of ballot boxes shall not
prevent the electoral officer concerned from proceeding in the absence of
such a person", has also been put in place.

Dr Pandlelani Math-ma, chief deputy director in South Africa's Department of
Foreign Affairs responsible for southern Africa, admitted they would be
fully stretched due to the withdrawal of the EU team.

"We will not be able to cover the whole country. Zimbabwe is a very big
country. It is regrettable that the EU have pulled out. They could have
helped us to cover the breadth of the country," he said.

Deputy head of the South African Observer Mission, Brigalia Hlope, confirmed
they lacked capacity.

"We do not have the capacity to cover the whole area. At present we do not
even know the number of villages in Zimbabwe."

South Africa is providing the second largest team after the Commonwealth
with at least 50 observers drawn from all sectors of society.
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Zimbabwe Independent

Abubakar could pay millions for rights abuses
Dumisani Muleya

HEAD of the Commonwealth election observer mission in Zimbabwe and former
Nigerian military ruler General Abdulsalami Abubakar could be required to
pay millions of dollars in damages after he refused to appear in court to
answer allegations of human rights abuses.

Abubakar, who was last week found liable for rights violations between 1993
and 1999 by United States district court judge Bernard Friedman, was sued by
a group of Nigerians for US$100 million for alleged torture and killings.

However, the former dictator - whose wealth is estimated at US$2 billion -
snubbed the court prompting Friedman to enter a default judgement against

Hafsat Abiola, the late Nigerian tycoon Chief Moshood Abiola's daughter,
Chief Anthony Enahoro, a former MP, and Dr Arthur Nwankwo, a renowned
author, filed the suit in February 2001 under a federal law which allows
foreigners to seek damages in the US for crimes committed in their own

Enahoro and Nwankwo said they were arrested, beaten up, denied medical
treatment and held incommunicado after they protested against the military
regime's decision to annul the outcome of the 1993 presidential election
believed to have been won by Chief Abiola.

Hafsat said her father languished in solitary confinement for four years
after General Sani Abacha arrested him in 1995 for declaring himself the
1993 poll winner. She said Abiola was tortured and denied medical attention
before he died in 1999 under controversial circumstances.

Nigeria's last military ruler was served with papers last year when he made
a public appearance at Chicago University. Although Abubakar only ruled for
a short stint from June 1998 to May 1999, the plaintiffs argued that he was
a powerful general who, as a member of the military council, served under
three past dictators.

The plaintiffs' attorneys, Kayode Oladele and Austin Agomouh, have slammed
Abubakar, who succeeded Abacha after his sudden death in 1998, for his
failure to appear in court.

"This man thinks he is above the law," Oladele said. Agomouh added: "He has
thumbed his nose at the Nigerian courts and has tried to do the same thing
here. In Nigeria, the courts won't do anything about it but in this country
no one is above the law."

However, Abubakar's lawyer, Kevin Duckworth of Chicago, dismissed the

"They haven't produced one scintilla of evidence that Abubakar violated
their rights or commanded anyone to violate their rights," Duckworth said,
noting an appeal.

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Zimbabwe Independent

Zanu PF targets commuter bus drivers
Blessing Zulu

COMMUTER omnibus drivers are the latest targets of President Robert Mugabe's
campaign of electoral intimidation.

Zanu PF's youth militias are demanding that commuter omnibus drivers wear
ruling party T-shirts and display Mugabe's campaign posters on their
vehicles to demonstrate their loyalty.

The threats have prompted some commuter omnibus drivers to contemplate going
on an indefinite strike in protest. The youths are now targeting bus drivers
in Harare, Mutare and Marondera, having carried out a similar intimidation
campaign in the rural areas.

Zanu PF youths are moving around termini in Harare handing out ruling party
T-shirts to rank marshals and drivers.

"They came and addressed us and told us to vote for Zanu PF in the coming
presidential poll," said Tom Mataka, a driver.

"Their leader said we should not vote for the Movement for Democratic Change
for it will only lead to war in the country and they cited the statement
made by (army general Vitalis) Zvinavashe as clear testimony that they meant

The militias also threatened to take over the running of the commuter
omnibuses if the drivers and conductors failed to heed their call.

"We were all given the ruling party T-shirts and badges with Mugabe's
portrait. We were told these were 'new uniforms' which must be worn at all
times," said one rank marshal who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The party militia has also swooped on rural areas-bound buses which have to
carry Mugabe's campaign posters.

In Marondera, virtually all commuter omnibus drivers are displaying Mugabe's
campaign posters after being told their permits would be cancelled if they
removed the posters.

Said one driver: "The youths said nothing will be done to them since the
police were on their side and they feared no one."

During last year's parliamentary election a bus belonging to Tauya Bus
Company was burnt and several drivers attacked by Zanu PF supporters who
were not happy with support messages for the MDC pasted on their windows.

Tauya buses plying the Muzarabani route this year have been forced to
display Mugabe's campaign posters for them to be allowed into the Zanu PF
stronghold of Mashonaland Central.

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Daily News

SA observers blast Zanu PF

2/21/02 9:03:31 AM (GMT +2)

By Sandra Nyaira

THE South African election observer mission yesterday said it was highly
disturbed by reports of violent clashes in Epworth outside Harare over the
weekend when Zanu PF supporters blocked an MDC rally at Domboramwari.

In addition, the mission said it was very concerned about the attack by
thousands of Zanu PF supporters on the MDC headquarters in Harare three days
ago, the declaration of no-go areas for some political parties and the
refusal by the government to accredit South African journalists.

Former Ambassador Sam Motsuenyane, the head of the mission, said: “We have
been able to attend rallies of the ruling Zanu PF and the MDC. We were,
however, very disturbed about the clashes and the violence in Epworth and in
the city, that took place a few days ago, where windows of the offices of
the MDC were broken and some people were injured.

“It is alleged that the police were present and did not act to prevent the
incidents. This is a matter of great concern. We will look into the matter
with the relevant authorities.”

The MDC has been unable to penetrate most rural areas where Zanu PF
supporters and war veterans have kept the opposition party out. The MDC has
been prevented from staging over 50 of its rallies countrywide.

Thirteen more South African observers arrived yesterday, bringing the number
to 50. “Critical at this stage is the accreditation of the South African
media, in particular. We believe that the media should be given free access
to the electoral process.

Our experience in South Africa tells us that it is vital for the success of
building democracy, to inform the public and the world at large without

Motsuenyane said he would talk to government officials over the need for
accreditation of the journalists. While a blanket ban had originally been
placed by the Ministry of Information on all South African newspapers, as of
yesterday the ban remained effective on Cyril Ramaphosa’s Sunday Times and
The Star and other newspapers in Tony O’Riley’s Independent Group.

Motsuenyane said his mission’s main focus was the so-called no-go areas
where violence and intimidation reports had been recorded. “We have received
reports of the existence of no-go areas for some parties and we are taking
up the matter too,” said Motsuenyane.

“We have already deployed our observers to some of these areas. We will
intensify our presence accordingly in order to ensure that an environment
that negates intimidation and violence is created.”

He said his mission’s mandate was to assist “as much as we can in supporting
the people of Zimbabwe to have free, credible and legitimate elections”.

Motsuenyane said the withdrawal of the European Union mission was
unfortunate and regrettable. “We would like to urge the international
community to assist the people of Zimbabwe in a most constructive way to
determine their best destiny,” he said.

“Zimbabwe will need a stable political and economic environment after the
elections, irrespective of who wins. “A stable Zimbabwe is in the best
interests of all the people of Zimbabwe, the region and indeed the world at
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Zimbabwe Independent

Baptist church protests against GMB maize seizure
Loughty Dube

A BULAWAYO church, whose maize grain was impounded by the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB) from the premises of a local company where it was stored, last
week threatened to halt its feeding programmes in the province amid
revelations of harassment of its officials by state security agents.

The GMB and police in January seized Baptist church maize from the warehouse
of heavy engineering company Hubert Davis where the grain was stored before
distribution to starving villagers.

After the maize seizure the state alleged that the church, working in
cahoots with Hubert Davies, was hoarding the maize in a bid to sabotage the

"We are contemplating stopping the food distribution exercise until after
the election but such a move will disadvantage ordinary people who are
already starving," said Raymond Motsi, a pastor at the church responsible
for food distribution.

The church however has sourced mealie-meal as an alternative to the
impounded maize.

Motsi told the Independent that members of the Central Intelligence
Organisation were phoning him and church officials enquiring about the
source of the mealie-meal, pretending they were phoning from Victoria Falls.

"No amount of intimidation can stop us from saving the lives of these
people. Even if they arrest or harrass me I would never tell them where we
are getting our mealie-meal from," he said.

Police seized the maize consignment from the local company despite
explanations from the company's management that the maize was for
humanitarian purposes.

The Zanu PF government, which is seeing enemies at every turn, has now
included religious groupings on its list. This follows the arrest of 11
pastors for organising a prayer meeting in Bulawayo last weekend. The
clergymen were charged under the Public Order and Security Act on trumped up
charges that they had staged an illegal demonstration.

Matabeleland and the Midlands are faced with famine as a result of poor
rains coupled with disruptions to farming operations by President Mugabe's
fast track land programme.

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ABC News

African Election Observers Due in Zimbabwe

Feb. 21
By Cris Chinaka and Stella Mapenzauswa

HARARE (Reuters) - African election observers fly into Zimbabwe on Friday
for the troubled country's March 9-10 presidential election when President
Robert Mugabe faces the biggest challenge to his 22-year rule.

Mugabe, 78, is running against former trade union leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for the right
to run the country for the next five years.

The run-up to the poll has been marred by opposition accusations of
state-sponsored violence and intimidation amid signs of growing food

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) said on Thursday it had started
handing out emergency food aid to 40,000 poverty stricken Zimbabweans.

Zimbabwe is facing a severe food crisis partly due to the major disruption
to farming caused by the controversial seizure of white-owned farmlands by
government supporters. Drought and a sharp economic downturn have added to
the country's misery and food shortages.

Mugabe has blamed the perilous food situation on drought and insists the
government will not let people starve. He has repeatedly accused white
farmers of worsening the crisis by hoarding grain.

The European Union has slapped sanctions on Mugabe and his inner circle
after Mugabe's government refused to accredit the head of a proposed EU
election observer team.

Washington is also considering sanctions against Zimbabwe's political

The EU pulled its team out of the southern African country earlier this week
in protest at Harare's actions, leaving the monitoring of next month's
elections to mainly African and Commonwealth countries.

An election observer team from southern Africa's main regional political and
economic bloc are due to send observers on Friday.

The 14-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) has maintained
public support for Mugabe in the face of growing international criticism,
but regional analysts say SADC leaders have been tough with him behind
closed doors.

But at a rally earlier this week, Zimbabwe's main opposition leader accused
the group of endorsing Mugabe and ignoring a flawed electoral system.

"We call upon the SADC observer team and all the other international
monitors in the country to persuade ZANU-PF even at this late hour to
abandon its violent agenda," the MDC said in a statement.

A 20-member multi-party parliamentary delegation from South Africa is also
expected in the country.

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The Brains Trust


As the last EU observers are expelled from the country, Zimbabwe's President, Robert Mugabe, has appealed to the EU to lift the sanctions which it has recently imposed, promising that forthcoming elections will be "free and fair" but also "uniquely Zimbabwean" in tone.

Democracy personified? I should co-co
Speaking to the world's media as they were "gently but carefully frogmarched" onto their flights home, Mugabe delivered a "democratic pledge" in which he promised that in the run-up to the election, and for the first time, all parties will be able to campaign openly through all forms of media. He also assured western leaders that voting and counting would be conducted openly and fairly. However, The Brains Trust has learned that certain words in his statement require special definition to be properly understood - especially including "parties", "campaign", "openly" and "voting".

Firstly, a controversial new Bill submitted to the Zimbabwean Parliament -consisting of Mr Robert Mugabe and several dieseased gnats - requires any political party contesting the election to be "accredited" by the sitting Government. This "accreditation" requires that all would-be politicians must (a) be Zimbabwean nationals, (b) sign sworn statements that they will not impugn the good name of the government, (c) pay an "administration fee" of Z$1,000,000 (£13,000) and (d)have at least four year's experience of running an African nation (or nearest equivalent, Lesotho notwithstanding.) Once accredited, they are then banned from speaking to any form of media whatsoever as "this could tend to bias the outcome in their favour."

"polling booths"
Any "campaigning" must therefore be conducted covertly, as Mugabe believes that the electors should be free to make their own decisions without being influenced by the media, politicians - or indeed each other as public discussion of the election is now a crime carrying a 20 year sentence. "My people can work out who they should vote for," proclaimed the Zanu-PF leader "without having their minds cluttered by such details as policies, the names of the other candidates, or where the polling booths are."

All parties which survive the accreditation process will find themselves on the ballot papers, and here again Mugabe is keen to demonstrate that the spirit of fairness runs through every aspect of the election process. To this end, all ballot papers will be printed in extra large type for the benefit of partially-sighted voters. Mugabe regrets that if the number of parties contesting a particular seat should be very high (more than one) there may be insufficient room on the paper to print the name of more than one party, but he is committed to equal opportunities and will not let this problem deter him.

He also notes that tampering with ballot papers is a very serious crime, which will be punishable by death, and to this end, armed guards will stand over each voter as the ballot paper is filled in, in order to protect them and give them a necessary sense of security. The count, likewise will take place under heavy security, with highly trained squads surrounding each counter and making sure he feels completely protected by pointing automatic weapons at his head and idly toying with the safety catch.

"public flogging"
Every citizen of Zimbabwe is eligible to vote, simply by travelling to the polling card processing centre at Harare, producing a valid Zanu-PF membership card, making a "courtesy payment" of Z$50,000 (£650) and completing a 14 page general knowledge test. Rumours are denied, but persist, that failure to pass the test is an offence punishable by public flogging which, Mugabe regrets, has deterred some citizens from applying. "We too have to combat this voter apathy," he mused.

"In this way," proclaimed Mugabe, as he picked out new wallpaper for the Presidential Palace, "Zimbabwe will have the freest, fairest elections in the world. Now piss off out of the country before I set the dogs on you."

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This item is from the Government mouthpiece

Tobacco Industry's Growth Lies in Smallholder Sector

The Herald (Harare)

February 21, 2002
Posted to the web February 21, 2002

THE past week has quite been a refreshing one, with the captains of the
tobacco industry allaying fears that had been raised by opponents of land
reform about this season's crop size.

The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association, unhappy that some of its members had their
farms acquired by the Government for resettlement, went all out to rubbish
the land programme, saying that it was hopeless and would only result in a
drastic fall in production.

At one time, the association and its union, the Commercial Farmers' Union,
projected a crop as low as 100 million kg, which they said would affect
Zimbabwe's position, as one of the leading tobacco producers.

True, such a production level would have had serious implications on the
country's ability to attract international buyers, for Zimbabwe is known to
produce above 180 million kg of flue-cured tobacco every year.

But before reaping of much of the early irrigated crop is nowhere near
completion, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board tells the nation that a
crop size of more than 168 million kg is expected, with the bulk of the crop
coming from white commercial growers.

The irony of the matter is that these are the same farmers who were
complaining that their farming activities were being disrupted.

We now wonder what happened to that disruption since we all now know that a
normal crop size is forecast.

The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association cited the parcelling out of land to the
majority of the people and the imagined "disturbances" on the farms as the
reasons for the reduction in flue-cured tobacco output.

While the TIMB was forecasting a production of over 168 million kg, the
Farmers' Development Trust, an organisation mandated to provide training and
extension in tobacco production and marketing, projected a crop size of
about 200 million kg of flue-cured.

Of this, 30 million kg will come from smallholder farmers, the majority of
whom are the beneficiaries of agrarian reforms.

Large-scale commercial farmers - comprising black and white farmers - will
account for 170 million kg, giving a total national crop of 200 million kg,
which is slightly lower than last season's 202 million kg.

Land reform has had a massive impact on smallholder tobacco production, with
the number of registered growers doubling from 5 000 to 10 000 in the last
two years.

There were only 800 registered smallholder tobacco growers in 1995, a figure
which has now shot up to 10 000.

As more land is opened up, with the allocation to the majority of the
people, tobacco output and the production of other crops will certainly
increase in the coming seasons.

Of course, there has been a decline in the number of large-scale commercial
growers for various reasons not directly related to land reform. There are
now 1 450 commercial growers. down from 1 700 a few years ago.

Some farmers abandoned tobacco, opting to diversify into other commodities.
This really had nothing to do with land reform and resettlement but was a
purely business decision.

It should, therefore, be made clear that the growth of the tobacco industry
lies squarely in the smallholder sector just like is the case with Brazil,
Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania.

There is no way that Zimbabwe can go another route.

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Thursday February 21, 08:30 PM

 Yahoo! News

Zimbabwe's Mugabe blasts Britain
By Cris Chinaka

Click to enlarge photo

HARARE (Reuters) - President Robert Mugabe has blasted former colonial power
Britain and the rest of the European Union over sanctions they imposed
because of his limits on monitoring of Zimbabwe's election next month.

"What do I have to go to Britain for? A wretched country, dreadful. There is
no country in Europe as nice as Zimbabwe. Why do whites refuse to leave this
country if Britain is so nice? Let them go," Mugabe told supporters on

The EU sanctions, imposed after the head of the EU election observer mission
was expelled from Zimbabwe on Saturday, ban travel to the 15 EU countries by
Mugabe's inner circle and freeze assets held in the EU by Zimbabwe's ruling

The Zimbabwean president, who turned 78 on Thursday, fought a 1970s bush war
against white-ruled Rhodesia and led Zimbabwe to independence from Britain
in 1980.

Facing his toughest election on March 9-10 in 22 years of power, Mugabe told
a rally in Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North that "sanctions mean nothing to

Mugabe said he would celebrate his birthday after the poll.

"We shall have won the election and it shall be a combination of two
celebrations," Mugabe told state radio.

He campaigned in rural Zimbabwe where half a million people are going hungry
due to severe drought, a sagging economy and the often violent seizure of
white-owned lands by government supporters.

The U.N. food agency said on Thursday it began emergency food deliveries to
40,000 people in Matabeleland North, the first shipments in a programme to
feed 100,000 people in the country over the next fortnight.


"As food supplies grow scarcer and scarcer, hunger is becoming a grim
day-to-day reality for hundreds of thousands of people," Pierre Saillez,
Zimbabwe representative of the World Food Programme, said.

Mugabe has blamed the perilous food situation on drought and insists the
government will not let people starve. He has repeatedly accused white
farmers of worsening the crisis by hoarding grain.

The lead-up to the election has been marred by opposition accusations of
state-sponsored violence and intimidation.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change said two of its activists were
abducted in Mugabe's home province of Mashonaland West by suspected ruling
party supporters on Wednesday.

Another activist was allegedly kidnapped in the Midlands province and
several of its supporters had been assaulted also in Mashonaland West, the
Movement for Democratic Change said in a statement.

Police were not immediately available for comment on the report.

Invoking a new tough law and order bill, police on Wednesday banned
researchers from releasing details of an election survey that indicated
Mugabe was trailing Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic

The United States, like the European Union, has been strongly critical of
Mugabe's restrictions on the media barring free access to report on the
election and of intimidation of the opposition by his supporters.

The largest foreign observer team left is South Africa's.

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Zim overturns SA media ban

Tisha Steyn

Related Articles
Foreign journalists banned

Cape Town - Media24 Africa editor Deon Lamprecht and photographer Siddique
Davids are packing their bags to leave for Zimbabwe in a few days' time.

They have received accreditation to travel to Zimbabwe to cover the
presidential elections that will take place on March 9 and 10.

"The accreditation was lying on my desk when I walked into the office this
morning," an excited Lamprecht told News24. "I didn't believe that we would
be allowed into Zimbabwe until I held the letter it in my hands."

The South African government late on Wednesday managed to persuade the
Zimbabwean government to allow members of the South African media to cover
the elections, Foreign Affairs deputy minister Aziz Pahad announced.

Journalists from Beeld, Sunday Times and the Independent Newspapers group
were on Monday informed that their applications to cover the elections had
been turned down.

South African high commissioner to Zimbabwe, Jeremiah Ndou, and the South
African Observer Mission (SAOM) to the presidential elections met with
George Charamba, Zimbabwean permanent secretary at the Ministry of
Information and Publicity on Wednesday to discuss the Zimbabwean
government's ban on foreign media.

The meeting agreed that the Zimbabwean government would "consider
favourably" applications for accreditation by South African journalists to
cover the presidential elections, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ronnie
Mamoepe said.

Both parties said they believed the SA media should be given access to the
electoral process in a free way, as "it is vital for the success of building
democracy and informing the public and the world at large without
hindrance", Mamoepe said.

The South African Government welcomed the decision by the Zimbabwean
government, saying it added to the momentum of "creating a climate for free
and fair elections", he added.

Safety, fuel problems

Each news group will be allowed to send a reporter and photographer. Each
media member had to pay an accreditation fee of US$200 (R2280), Lamprecht

"Our safety cannot be guaranteed. We can only hope on protection by the
Zimbabwean police. But mostly we will have to rely on common sense and take
care of ourselves," he said.

He and Davids will be based in a hotel in Harare and travel to hotspots to
cover as much as possible of the action before and shortly after the
election, which is expected to be hotly contested between incumbent
President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

"We expect fuel shortages will be problem, but we will stock up as often as
we can," he said.

SA observers in position

The South African observer team arrived in Zimbabwe late on Wednesday, and
was already travelling in the country on Thursday to investigate alleged
violence and intimidation in so-called rural "no-go areas".

A step in the right direction

Henry Jeffreys, deputy editor at Beeld and chairperson of the SA National
Editors' Forum's media freedom committee, on Monday said the forum had asked
the government to intervene on behalf of the South African media and use its
influence to reverse that decision.

"We are informed by the government that they will do everything in their
power to achieve that. We are also looking at the possibility of speaking
directly to the Zimbabwean authorities ourselves," Jeffreys said.

"We regard the Zimbabwe government's agreement to provide accreditation to
South African media personnel who apply to cover the elections, as a step in
the right direction," Jeffreys told News24 on Thursday on behalf of Sanef.

"It is important that South African media have full access to cover the
extent of the freeness and fairness of the elections, and the SA media can
contribute in a big way to help make that judgement, not only here, but also

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21 Feb 2002
NGOs fear food crisis may cost lives in Zimbabwe
By Busani Bafana
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe speaks at an election rally.

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Feb 21 (AlertNet) - The start of emergency food aid deliveries provided by the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) this month is the tangible sign of a crisis denied by the government but which NGOs fear may become life-threatening.

Stocks are low as a result of floods two years ago, combined with a long dry spell and patchy rains that have led to revised yields expected this year.

Norbert Dube, spokesman for six NGOs working in Zimbabwe, told AlertNet: "The food situation we are facing is an open secret. The situation is bad, there is no funding and the food has run out in some areas. We are likely to record some deaths of children in some of the areas."

Zimbabwe said last week that the country had received more than 4,280 tonnes of maize by road and rail from South Africa out of 200,000 tonnes it was importing from its neighbour to offset a shortage of the staple grain.

Zimbabwean farmers said earlier this month that the region faced a food disaster and the country's stretched financial resources and limited infrastructure meant a quick solution was unlikely.

"The situation is bad. We are likely to record some deaths of children"

"As food supplies grow scarcer and scarcer, hunger is becoming a grim day-to-day reality for hundreds of thousands of people," said Pierre Saillez, officer-in-charge of WFP's Zimbabwe country office.

The WFP has announced plans to feed some 558,000 hungry Zimbabweans.

It made its initial delivery of maize meal, the staple food in Zimbabwe, on February 20.

Anna Shotton, WPF spokeswoman in Zimbabwe, told the media that deliveries of groundnuts, beans and vegetable oil would also be arriving from South Africa.


The cash-strapped government is grappling with a food shortage before a presidential election on March 9 and 10, when President Robert Mugabe's 20-year grip on power faces its first real challenge from opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai

The European Union (EU) froze assets held in its countries by Zimbabwe's ruling elite on Monday, two days after the head of the EU election observer mission was expelled. The sanctions also ban travel to EU countries by Mugabe's inner circle.

The emergency food aid follows an international appeal by the government last October under the Humanitarian Assistance for Drought Recovery Programmes.

The two-phase emergency food operation is expected to benefit 558 000 people, mostly in Manicaland, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Mashonaland West and Central, Masvingo and the Midlands provinces.

According to the Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Lance Museka, food supplied under the WFP programme would be distributed to 19 districts.

The aid programme is expected to continue until November and the WPF has allocated U.S.$36 million of the total aid package of $60 million for non-food expenses such as import and distribution costs.

The government has denied reports of a looming food shortage and starvation.

"Queues of people registering for food aid, dwindling grain stocks and a booming black market are signs of growing desperation"
However, queues of people registering for food aid, dwindling grain stocks and a booming black market in maize grain and other basic commodities are signs of growing desperation.


With the imposition of government controls on the prices of basic foodstuffs such as cooking oil, sugar, milled maize, flour, soap and milk, shortages have become the norm.

In late January, a 10kg bag of mealie (maize) meal was selling at Z$550 (just over U.S. $9) on the black-market, compared with the official price of Z$248.05 (about U.S. $5). Consumers have had to buy at the black market price or starve.

The first WFP distribution was carried out by the Zimbabwe-based Organization of Rural Associations for Progress (ORAP).

The WFP is also working with CARE Canada, World Vision and Christian CARE. It said in a statement: "Through a process of public meetings and lengthy beneficiary registration exercises, the partners have been working closely with community-based organisations to ensure that food aid will be targeted to the most... vulnerable people."

Norbert Dube, spokesman for a consortium of six NGOs working in Zimbabwe -- ORAP, the Red Cross, World Vision, Christian Care, the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Development Commission -- confirmed that NGOs were now focusing on facilitating the distribution of the emergency food aid to desperate areas of the country.

Two of the consortium's six members -- ORAP and World Vision -- were implementing partners. Orap was set to move 1,515 tonnes of food aid mainly to Umzingwane, Hwange and Tsholotsho districts of Matabeleland.

"Most of our own programmes are on hold mainly due to lack of funding but we have continued with the feeding of under fives, for whom corn soya blend has been imported. We are involved in the WFP food distribution effort," Dube told AlertNet.


"We hope to be able to distribute the food as quickly as and when it comes to distribution points in the provinces."

"Our partners have been working closely with community-based organisations to ensure that food aid will be targeted to the most vulnerable people"

Dube said the consortium of NGOs was unlikely to realise anything close to the Z$100 million (U.S. $1.8 million) needed for food aid and humanitarian assistance programmes in the country.

The consortium expected to raise the money through its international partners but little had been received so far.

Government representatives quote official figures that they say show Zimbabwe will only need to import between 100,000 and 200,000 tonnes of grain, a far cry from independent figures that indicate it will need up to 600,000 tonnes of grain.

Zimbabwe is one of 10 countries in southern Africa set to benefit from a U.S.$13 million humanitarian programme global appeal made by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Geneva last December.

The IFRC's regional delegation in Harare said the organisation had budgeted U.S.$1.9 million to enable it to respond to disasters in the region.

Zimbabwe, formerly a regional breadbasket, has been reduced to poverty blamed by the government on poor rains but by the opposition on seizures of white-owned commercial farms, an economic downturn and political instability.

Saillez said: "Food is now arriving at a steady pace, but without quick food and cash distributions, we will soon face a rupture in food supplies."

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Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 12:19 GMT
Zimbabwe gang robs millionaire
Football club owner and businessman Sir Seton Wills and his wife Gillian are recovering after armed robbers broke into their Zimbabwe holiday home and threatened to kill them.

Sir Seton, tobacco magnate and owner of Second Division Swindon Town, was robbed at the house in Harare on Sunday.

The gang demanded one million Zimbabwe dollars (£12,500) and threatened Lady Wills with rape before the couple were forced to hand over travellers cheques, cash and valuables.

The house had played host to a dinner party attended by senior figures from British American Tobacco.

The robbers threatened to rape the women and kill me. Their language was very bad

Sir Seton Wills
Sir Seton said he took the men to an office and handed over 1,000 US dollars (£700), 8,000 Zimbabwe dollars (£100) and 2,000 dollars (£1,400) in US travellers cheques, as well as a bank card.

Members of the Harare Multilink security force eventually arrived at the house to help Sir Seton and his guests.

'On the boil'

Sir Seton, of East Ridge House, Ramsbury, Wiltshire, said: "The robbers threatened to rape the women and kill me.

"Their language was very bad and they were very frightened themselves."

He told the Swindon Evening Advertiser: "It is the first time anything like this has happened to us, but obviously there is an election on 9 and 10 March and things are on the boil a bit.

"It hasn't shaken our confidence in staying in Zimbabwe as this was an aberration."

Sir Seton said his attackers were from President Mugabe's Zanu PF party

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Mugabe Ridicules EU Sanctions

Thursday February 21, 2002 3:40 PM

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - President Robert Mugabe, fighting for his political
survival in elections next month, has ridiculed European sanctions against
him and ruling party leaders, state radio reported Thursday.

In his first response to sanctions imposed Monday by the European Union,
Mugabe said he would not yield to international pressure to abandon his land
seizure program.

``We must be prepared to withstand all these actions by Britain and its
allies. The moment we start crying, then we are yielding,'' Mugabe told a
campaign rally in western Zimbabwe on Wednesday, the radio reported. Britain
is the former colonial power.

It said Mugabe was to address two rallies Thursday, his 78th birthday, in
the western province of Matabeleland. Provincial Gov. Obert Mpofu said
birthday celebrations will be part of the day's activities.

Frustrated by Zimbabwe's refusal to let EU observers freely monitor the
March 9-10 elections, the EU imposed ``smart sanctions'' Monday and ordered
its observer team home.

The sanctions will deny to Mugabe and other senior officials visas to visit
Europe and will freeze their assets there.

``What is Europe? What have I been wanting in Europe? I think it is not a
real punishment to us. We can visit other countries in Asia and Africa,''
Mugabe said. ``Why should my money go to Britain? I don't have goats there.
I have goats and pigs here.''

Mugabe, often clad in British-tailored suits, has denied keeping money
abroad but was a regular visitor to Britain - sometimes for vacations and
shopping trips - until relations soured amid two years of political violence
and illegal land occupations here.

Mugabe has also undergone medical treatment in Britain, France and Spain
after showing visible signs of weakening and disorientation at state

Other top officials are known to have property and bank accounts in Europe
and the United States.

At least a dozen have children studying in Britain while Zimbabwe's own
education services decline sharply in the worst economic crisis since
independence in 1980.

The state-run Herald on Thursday ran a 16-page birthday supplement, crammed
with ruling party campaign advertisements and birthday wishes, mostly from
state-owned enterprises.

One article said Mugabe ``continues to defy age.''

It quoted him saying: ``I work very long days. I wake up at about 4:30 a.m.
and brush my teeth and exercise for (up to) one and a half hours.''

``I survive on one meal a day, just one good meal. There is no time for two
meals ... but one needs a good breakfast. I have porridge and an egg in the
morning. The egg is boiled for just a minute to ensure that its nutritive
value is not reduced by overcooking.''

In the March vote, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the Movement
for Democratic Change, is the biggest threat to Mugabe's 22-years of
authoritarian rule.

Tsvangirai turns 50 on March 10, the second day of the election.

Advertisements in The Herald supplement urged Zimbabweans to vote for
``maturity, experience and wisdom.''
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OAU says sanctions on Zimbabwe could hurt elections

ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 21 — The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) said on
Thursday the targeted European Union sanctions against Zimbabwe and
withdrawal of its election observers could hurt hopes of holding credible
elections in the country.

       OAU Secretary General Amara Essy said in a statement the EU action
could have serious negative implications for the political and economic
situation within Zimbabwe itself, and in the neighbouring states of southern
       The EU on Monday imposed targeted military, travel and economic
sanctions on Zimbabwe. It issued a visa ban on President Robert Mugabe and
19 of his top officials because of the way the country treated observers
sent to monitor presidential elections on March 9-10.
       The Europeans also froze the overseas assets of the 20 Zimbabwean
leaders and withdrew the observer mission.
       The United States has also expressed its support of the targeted
sanctions and said it is working on similar measures.
       ''While understanding the circumstances that led to this decision,
the Secretary General deeply regrets this development as it could serve as a
distraction from the desire to ensure the holding of credible elections in
Zimbabwe,'' said the statement from the OAU headquarters in Ethiopia's
capital Addis Ababa.
       ''The Secretary General appeals to all political leaders in Zimbabwe
to remain calm and to conduct the ongoing campaign and preparations for the
elections with dignity and in a spirit of tolerance and accommodation and to
avoid taking any action that could exacerbate tension in the country in the
run-up to the elections.''
       The OAU said it would send a strong multidisciplinary observer team
for the election, mandated to ensure that the people of Zimbabwe are
afforded the opportunity to elect the leaders of their choice in a
transparent and peaceful manner.
       The EU, like the United States, has been strongly critical of Mugabe'
s restrictions on the media and of intimidation of the opposition by his
supporters in the runup to the toughest electoral challenge he has faced in
22 years in power.
       South Africa said on Monday the decision to impose sanctions was
mistaken and could compound the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.
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From AFP, 20 February

Militants stage new attack on Zimbabwe opposition in Chinhoyi

Harare - Pro-government militants attacked a provincial office of Zimbabwe's
main opposition party Wednesday as violence continued in the run-up to next
month's presidential elections, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
said. "The Chinhoyi provincial office was attacked by members of the ZANU-PF
militia, who disrupted a polling agent training programme that was being
conducted there at the time," MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said in a
statement. "The militia, who came in two busloads, assaulted passersby and
stoned the office, damaging windows, furniture and cars in the area," he
said. "The magnitude of the damage has yet to be assessed." The militants
then took an MDC truck, and police arrested 33 MDC supporters in the area,
but they have not been formally charged, Jongwe said. MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai poses the toughest-ever challenge to President Robert Mugabe's
22-year grip on power in the March 9-10 elections.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told AFP that fighting had broken out in
Chinhoyi between members of the MDC and the ruling Zanu PF who were putting
up posters for their own party and tearing down those of rivals. "In the
process we have arrested 30 people, and one of them has been charged with
robbery," he said. The others were still being screened by police, he added.
Bvudzijena said he had no information about the attack on the MDC office.
Meanwhile, Jongwe said the farm belonging to MDC lawmaker Roy Bennet was
besieged by the army and ZANU-PF youth militias on Wednesday. The army said
they were searching the farm for weapons and had arrested the farm manager
and two guards, Jongwe said.

The attack on the MDC's office in Chinhoyi came two days after
pro-government militants attacked the party's offices in Harare, after a
protest degenerated into a violent rampage through the capital. South
African observers on Wednesday said they were "disturbed" by reports of
political violence around Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has suffered widespread
political violence for two years, but attacks - mainly targetting the
opposition -- have escalated in the run-up to the presidential election. At
least 19 people have died in politically motivated attacks since December
24, most of them MDC supporters, according to an AFP tally. The MDC says
more than 90 of its supporters have been killed during the last two years.

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ZIMBABWE: Mugabe dismisses sanctions

JOHANNESBURG, 21 February (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has dismissed European Union (EU) sanctions imposed on him and his inner circle, as the United States edged closer to applying its own restrictions on the country's political leadership.

"They are saying that they are placing sanctions on leaders so that they don't come to Europe? What is Europe?" Mugabe was quoted as saying by the official daily the Herald on Thursday.

"We must be prepared to withstand these actions by Britain and its allies. The moment we start crying, then we are yielding and we begin giving up," Mugabe told an election rally in the district of Nkayi, 600 km west of the capital. 

The EU applied "smart sanctions" on Monday, which include a freeze on the overseas assets of Mugabe and 19 senior officials, as well as a ban on travel to the 15-nation bloc. The move was in reaction to setbacks over accreditation for EU election observers ahead of the 9-10 March presidential poll.

In Washington, US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Wednesday that the United States intended to move ahead with travel restrictions, but had not made "the final decisions as to precisely which officials would be covered".

The EU travel ban affects families of the leadership, including children studying in European schools. The sanctions also include an embargo on the supply of arms and technical advice and of equipment which could be used for internal repression in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's Deputy High Commissioner to South Africa, Danson Mudekunye, rejected any suggestion that Mugabe or his close colleagues had any significant foreign assets that the EU could freeze. "It's a political game they are playing, it's all symbolic for their own credibility but will have no effect," he told IRIN.

Meanwhile, the South African election observer mission in Harare reportedly expressed concern over political violence in the run-up to the poll. Sam Motsuenyane said his delegation, which is planning to deploy 50 observers, had received reports "about the existence of 'no-go areas' for some parties" and would be taking up the matter with the authorities.

He also said it was "a matter of great concern" that police had allegedly stood by while government supporters stoned the Harare offices of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Monday.

Following a South African media outcry over delays in accreditation, the South African government said on Wednesday Harare would consider their applications "favourably". The vast majority of the South African media, with the exception of SABC and etv television companies, were denied press accreditation on Monday, news reports said.

Earlier on Wednesday, South African high commissioner to Zimbabwe Jeremiah Ndou, representatives of the South African observer mission and South African National Editors Forum chairperson Mathatha Tsedu met the Zimbabwean ministry of information permanent secretary George Charamba, South African media reported.

"The meeting agreed that the Zimbabwean government will consider favourably applications for accreditation by South African journalists to cover the presidential elections," said South Africa's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad.

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Email received


A 'Walk for Peace' had been planned by the Hillside Churches in Bulawayo for
many weeks.  The day was Saturday the 16 February 2001.  We were to start at
Christ the King the Catholic Church at 8.30 am and then walk in procession
to the Presbyterian Church for another short service and then on to the
Methodist Church and finally walk to The Church of the Ascension - Anglican
where the last short service for peace would be held.

Inspite of the fact that between 5 000 and 6 000 young Zanu PF militants
have been deployed all around Bulawayo over the past few days, and a number
of people have been very badly beaten, many hundreds turned up at Christ the
King at 8.30 am for the first service.  Father Noel Scott, from the Anglican
Church, at the end of the service read out a letter from the Officer
Commanding the Police for Matabeland, he stated that a procession would lead
to trouble and refused to give permission for this Walk for Peace.  Father
Noel said that as we could not walk in a procession, we would go as in a
funeral procession, with him leading in his truck and the rest of the
congregation following at a very slow pace with their lights on.  This we
did and proceeded to the Presbyterian Church.

It was a wonderful time with fellowship, beautiful hymns and choruses and
prayers for peace in our Beloved Country - Zimbabwe.  There were Police
posted at each church but they did not disturb any of the congregation,
until we had reached The Church of the Ascension - during the very last hymn
a Policeman carrying a walkie talkie walked down the aisle and approached
Father Noel who was in the pulpit and whispered something to him.

He was arrested as he came out of the church.  The other ministers said that
they had all been instrumental in planning these services and went with him
to the Police Station.  They were all told that they could go, as it had
been Father Noel who applied for permission to hold the services, had read
the letter from the Police to the congregation, so he was the one
responsible for the procession.  They maintain that although no-one walked
it was a procession of cars, and was in violation of the Law under the new
Security Laws.

He has been detained in goal.  He is not a well man, having had a 5-way Bye
Pass Heart operation 14 months ago.  He has been the priest at The Church of
Ascension for the past 35 years and has done a great deal for the community
of Bulawayo.

I hope that you manage to send this report out to as many people as you can.
This is what the overseas monitors should be made aware of.

Another interesting development this week was that thousands of whites
received letters depriving them of the right to a vote in the Presidential
elections, the first batch were sent out to anyone who had been born outside
the country.  They were sent out in Registered envelopes with $82 postage of
them.  We all had to fill in our appeal and go down with $50 and lodge our
appeal as to why we felt we should be re-instated on the voters roll.  This
is another ploy to get us all upset and also deprive us of the vote.

The other method has been to set up road blocks all over the country -
demand Identity cards which are then taken away - again depriving the person
concerned of their ability to vote at the elections.

Please pray for all of us - that is all we have left now.

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The Times

Zimbabwe election observers beaten up
From Jan Raath and Michael Hartnack in Harare

TWO South African election observers were beaten up yesterday and Zimbabwe’s
opposition leader was subjected to a teargas attack in another round of
apparently politically motivated violence.
Morgan Tsvangirai, presidential candidate for the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), escaped unhurt when shots and teargas were fired by police at
his motorcade on the main Harare- Johannesburg highway.

The beating of the two accredited election observers happened at Kweke, in
the Zimbabwe midlands, when a mob of 200 Mugabe supporters attacked the MDC
offices there. South African diplomats said that they were investigating the

The two incidents followed violence in Harare this week. Duke Lefhoko, the
Botswana leader of the mission from the Southern African Development
Community, said that members of his delegation had seen “the destruction of
the MDC offices and the attack on their security personnel” by a mob of
people supporting the ruling Zanu (PF) party. “Political violence continues
to rear its head,” Mr Lefhoko said.

The Commercial Farmers’ Union, which represents 5,000 white landowners,
appealed for observers to be sent to the Chegutu area, 100 miles west of
Harare, in the hope that they would deter political violence against them
and their workers.

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Mugabe pawns nation's assets in deal with Libya
By Daniel McGrory

ROBERT MUGABE is believed to have mortgaged most of his country’s most
valuable assets to Colonel Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, in exchange for
hundreds of millions of pounds in loans to keep Zimbabwe from complete
Desperate to cling to power in next month’s elections, President Mugabe is
said to have handed over state-owned farms, hotels and oil refineries in a
secret deal with Colonel Gaddafi. As part of the exchange, the Libyan
dictator is funding Mr Mugabe’s security forces.

The partnership began last year when Colonel Gaddafi gave Zimbabwe a loan of
about £70 million to ease the country’s fuel shortage.

Since then the Libyan leader has extended another £400 million of credit so
that Zimbabwe’s fuel supply does not run dry, which could have provoked
violent unrest during the run-up to the crucial elections.

Mr Mugabe began by surrendering a majority stake in Noczim, the state-owned
energy company. Colonel Gaddafi was also given a controlling interest in the
oil pipeline that runs from Beira in Mozambique to Zimbabwe, along with two
of Zimbabwe’s biggest oil refineries, and shares in the country’s railways.

The Libyan leader is also believed to have asked for a share in state-owned
hotels at Victoria Falls, the country’s main tourist attraction, and the
Sheraton Hotel in the capital, Harare. There are reports that the Colonel
also gave a £1.3 million “gift” last year to Zanu (PF) despite a law banning
parties from taking foreign donations.

As the debt grew, Colonel Gaddafi visited Zimbabwe with a huge entourage in
a 150-vehicle motorcade in July last year to barter for more. He was handed
the deeds to several of Zimbabwe’s most profitable tobacco farms that had
been seized from their white owners in the Karoi region in the northwest of
the country, and at least twenty houses in Harare, including the pink marble
palace that Mr Mugabe was building for his second wife, Grace.

Disparaging locals call it “Graceland” and there are suggestions that the
property, in the residential neighbourhood of Borrowdale, will become Libya’
s Embassy.

Senior aides of Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), say that they will challenge these loan deals in
court if necessary.

One source said: “Nobody knows what Mugabe has given away but our contention
is that it is not his to give. We will do all we can to get back what is
Zimbabwe’s right, no matter what private arrangement he made.”

Mr Mugabe keeps his spending habits a secret, particularly the money that
goes to his security apparatus. It is known that he has recently increased
spending on the Armed Forces, from 9 per cent of the national budget to 12
per cent. Much of that went on pay rises for senior officers.

This does not include the money used to fund his feared secret service, the
CIO, the so-called war veterans who have led the takeover of white-owned
farms, and the recently formed youth militias.

Libyan officers are reported to be in Zimbabwe helping to train these youth
groups at some of the farms that have been handed to Colonel Gaddafi, whose
generosity is said to have extended to delivering 29 Cherokee Jeeps for
these militias.

Mr Mugabe is also alleged to have given 10,000 Zimbabwean passports to
Libyan nationals, making it easier for them to travel abroad. And up to
1,500 Libyans are said to have been given homes, work permits and jobs in

Many observers admit that Mr Mugabe’s obsessive secrecy makes it impossible
to get an accurate picture of Zimbabwe’s economy. The World Bank and
International Monetary Fund pulled out in 1999. The foreign debt, however,
is estimated to be £560 million.

The World Market Research Centre estimates that Zimbabwe’s total debt in
2001 was 125 per cent of the country’s GDP. Inflation has risen to 116 per
cent, the value of the currency has fallen by 85 per cent, unemployment is
above 60 per cent and food has become scarce.

The national railway announced this week that it had no money to pay
pensions, the electricity authority is six months behind in payments owed to
South Africa and the sole steelmaker has stopped operating.

The Zimbabwean leader has also turned for loans to China, which in July 2001
gave him about £2.5 million. Chinese engineers helped to build his mansion
at Kutama, which is about 50 miles from Harare and reached by the Robert
Mugabe Highway

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W.House imposes U.S. travel ban on Mugabe, aides

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 — The United States on Friday imposed a ban on U.S.
travel by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle to protest
an election campaign it called ''marred by political violence and

       Tension is rising in Zimbabwe ahead of March 9-10 elections with
Mugabe, 78, facing the biggest challenge to his 22-year rule from opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Zimbabwe police fired on Tsvangirai's convoy on
Friday, the opposition party said.
       President George W. Bush suspended entry into the United States of
Mugabe and senior members of his government and their families, and people
who through their business dealings benefit from the policies of the current
Zimbabwe government.
       ''In light of the current situation, the United States is imposing
targeted sanctions on senior Zimbabwean officials because conditions for a
transparent election process in Zimbabwe have eroded,'' said White House
spokesman Ari Fleischer.
       Washington followed the lead of the European Union, which on Monday
imposed a visa ban on Mugabe and 19 of his top officials because of the way
Zimbabwe treated observers sent to monitor the upcoming presidential
elections. The Europeans also froze the overseas assets of the 20 Zimbabwean
leaders and withdrew the observer mission.
       The United States, like the European Union, has been strongly
critical of Mugabe's restrictions on the media and of intimidation of the
opposition by his supporters.
       Fleischer said the expulsion of Pierre Schori, head of the EU
election observer mission, was another indication that ''conditions for a
free and fair election are being undermined by the Zimbabwe government.''
       Southern African election observers have said a wave of political
violence in Zimbabwe threatened chances for a free and fair election.
       ''President Bush is concerned about the credibility of the upcoming
election in Zimbabwe and believes that the campaign is being marred by
political violence and intimidation and is taking place under restrictive
election and media laws,'' Fleischer said.
       The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says more than 100 of
its supporters have been killed in political violence since February, 2000,
when militants loyal to Mugabe began invading white-owned farms.
       The State Department has warned that the conduct of the elections
would have a major impact on whether Washington adds financial sanctions.
       ''There is still time for the Zimbabwe government to reverse this
process before March 9 to allow for a legitimate vote,'' Fleischer said.
       Fleischer stopped short of calling on Zimbabweans to vote against
       ''The United States extends our friendship and support to the people
of Zimbabwe. President Bush hopes that soon the people of Zimbabwe again
will enjoy political and economic freedoms,'' he said.

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