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

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Daily News online edition

      US blasts Mugabe for intimidating journalists

      Date: 23-Feb, 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - The United States has accused Zimbabwe of adopting a
"pattern of intimidation" against journalists in the country.

      It was reacting to news that four journalists working for foreign news
organisations have fled the country in the past week after being threatened
by Zimbabwe's secret police. They were accused of transmitting "material
prejudicial to the state".

      State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said "an open environment
for journalists and opposition" was needed.

      "The administration noted a pattern in Zimbabwe where the opposition
fears for its safety, where restrictions were being placed on civil society
and where newspapers were being shut down," he said.

      The US has described Zimbabwe as an "outpost of tyranny", although
this has been criticised by neighbour South Africa as "an exaggeration".

      Angus Shaw who wrote for AP news agency, Brian Latham who contributed
to the Bloomberg financial wire service, Jaan Raath of the UK newspaper, The
Times, and Zimbabwean freelance television producer Cornelius Nduna, fled
the country after raids on their offices.

      Andrew Moyse from the Media Monitoring Network Zimbabwe said
accusations of anti-state activity against the four journalists were
absolute rubbish and an attempt to silence the international media in the
run up to parliamentary polls on 31 March.

      "It could only have been an attempt to intimidate them. My only regret
is that it was successful."

      The US has imposed targeted sanctions on the Zimbabwean leadership -
banning President Mugabe and his associates from traveling to the US, and
freezing assets.

      The European Union - which has accused Mugabe of using violence
against the political opposition and perpetrating human rights abuses - has
also renewed its sanctions against the country.

      Mugabe accuses the US and the EU of opposing black rule, citing
criticism of his policy of seizing the land of white farmers for
redistribution to blacks. - BBC

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Daily News online edition

      Full text of European Union sanctions against Mugabe

      Date: 23-Feb, 2005

      Full text of the Council of the European Union agreement renewing
sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and 96 others

      COUNCIL DECISION of 17 February 2005 extending the period of
application of the measures provided for by Decision 2002/148/EC, concluding
consultations held with Zimbabwe under Article 96 of the ACP-EC Partnership
Agreement (2005/139/EC)


      Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and
in particular the second subparagraph of Article 300(2) thereof,

      Having regard to the Internal Agreement on measures to be taken and
procedures to be followed for the implementation of the ACP-EC

      Partnership Agreement signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000 (1),
hereinafter referred to as the 'ACP-EC Agreement', and in particular Article
3 thereof,

      Having regard to the proposal from the Commission,


      (1) By Decision 2002/148/EC (2), the consultations held with the
Republic of Zimbabwe under Article 96(2)(c) of the ACP-EC Agreement were
concluded and the appropriate measures specified in the letter attached to
that Decision were taken.

      (2) The period of application of the said measures was extended until
20 February 2004 by Decision 2003/112/EC (3) and until 20 February 2005 by
Decision 2004/157/EC (4).

      (3) The essential elements cited in Article 9 of the ACP-EC Agreement
continue to be violated by the Government of Zimbabwe and the current
conditions in Zimbabwe do not ensure respect for human rights, democratic
principles and the rule of law.

      (4) The period of application of the measures referred to in Article 2
of Decision 2002/148/EC should therefore be extended,


      Article 1

      The application of the measures referred to in Article 2 of Decision
2002/148/EC shall be extended until 20 February 2006. These measures shall
be reviewed on the basis of an in-depth assessment of the situation in the
light of the parliamentary election scheduled to take place in Zimbabwe in
March 2005.

      The letter attached to this Decision shall be addressed to the
President of Zimbabwe.

      Article 2

      This Decision shall enter into force on the day of its publication in
the Official Journal of the European Union.

      Done at Brussels, 17 February 2005.

      For the Council The President J.-C. JUNCKER EN L 48/28 Official
Journal of the European Union 19.2.2005 Brussels, . LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT
OF ZIMBABWE The European Union attaches the utmost importance to the
provisions of Article 9 of the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement. As essential
elements of the Partnership Agreement, respect for human rights, democratic
institutions and the rule of law are the basis of our relations. By letter
of 19 February 2002, the European Union informed you of its decision to
conclude the consultations held under Article 96 of the ACP-EC Partnership
Agreement and to take certain 'appropriate measures' within the meaning of
Article 96(2)(c) of that Agreement. By letters of 19 February 2003 and 19
February 2004, the European Union informed you of its decisions not to
revoke the application of the 'appropriate measures' and to extend the
period of application of such measures until 20 February 2004 and 20
February 2005 respectively. Today, at the end of a new 12-month period, the
European Union considers that democratic principles are still not upheld in
Zimbabwe and that no significant progress has been achieved by your country's
Government in the five fields cited in the Council Decision of 18 February
2002 (end of politically motivated violence, free and fair elections,
freedom of the media, independence of the judiciary and end of illegal
occupations of farms). Bearing in mind the above, the European Union
considers that there is no question of the appropriate measures being
revoked and it has decided to extend the period of their application until
20 February 2006. These measures will be reviewed on the basis of an
in-depth assessment of the situation in the light of the parliamentary
election scheduled to take place in Zimbabwe in March 2005. The European
Union would like to emphasise that it attaches paramount importance to the
holding of free and fair parliamentary elections and, to this effect, it
hopes that you and your Government will do everything you can to ensure that
the political and electoral environment is conducive to the holding of free
and fair parliamentary elections. This would enable a dialogue to be
conducted on the basis of the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement, which could lead
to the lifting of the suspension of the signing of the 9th EDF National
Indicative Programme for Zimbabwe thereby making possible the resumption of
full cooperation instruments in the near future. Yours faithfully, For the
Commission For the Council EN 19.2.2005 Official Journal of the European
Union L 48/29

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Daily News online edition

      Botswana government critic faces deportation

      Date: 23-Feb, 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - An outcry has broken out in Botswana over plans by the
government to deport an outspoken university academic who last week accused
President Festus Mogae of practising "silent diplomacy" in his relations
with the Zimbabwean government.

      Professor Kenneth Good was declared a prohibited immigrant and given
48 hours to leave the country last Friday. Following an urgent appeal lodged
the following day, Prof Good was granted an extension by the High Court.

      Botswana is regarded as a model of democracy in Southern Africa and
the government's intolerant move has surprised many in the country.

      Prof Good's paper entitled "Presidential Succession in Botswana: No
model for Africa" was scheduled to be presented yesterday.

      Prof Good made headlines last week when he joined a Botswana member of
parliament, Paul Rantao, in criticising the government's handling of the
immigration problem with Zimbabwe.

      The MP complained that Botswana was wasting resources in deporting
illegal Zimbabwean immigrants, only for them to return to the country
immediately afterwards. Rantao warned that war could break out between the
neighbouring countries as a result of frequent clashes between Botswana and
Zimbabwean nationals, who are often accused of raising the country's crime

      Prof Good urged President Mogae to confront Mugabe directly over the
immigration issue, and he accused Mogae, Vice President Ian Seretse Khama
and the Defence Minister of practicing "silent diplomacy".

      This was in apparent reference to the "quiet diplomacy" of South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, which has earned him a lot of flak.

      The University of Botswana Academic and Senior Support Staff Union
(UBASSSU) issued a statement expressing outrage at the action taken against
Prof Good. It described his deportation as an "assault on academic freedom
and an affront on the fundamental values of democracy".

      UBASSSU chairman Dr. Alfred Tsheboeng said in the statement to
Mmegi/The Reporter that members of the union had also expressed concern at
the growing tendency towards authoritarianism by the government.

      "Prof. Good is an eminent scholar with outstanding academic
credentials. He has demonstrated unparalleled, sound and intellectual
appreciation of national and international issues."

      Prof Good's colleagues vowed to support him to the "very end" and
announced a programme of action that includes a march to the Office of the
President to present a petition demanding the lifting of the deportation

      They would enlist the support of universities around the world on the
matter and ensure that Prof Good's paper entitled "Presidential Succession
in Botswana: No model for Africa" would be presented as scheduled

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Bennett sues wife

Clemence Manyukwe
issue date :2005-Feb-24

JAILED MDC Chimanimani legislator Roy Bennett has taken his wife Heather,
Zanu PF candidate for the constituency Samuel Undenge and two others to the
Electoral Court seeking the nullification of the result of last Friday's
nomination, ahead of next month's parliamentary elections. Bennett is
contending that the decision by the nomination court to disqualify him from
the March 31 parliamentary race had no basis at law because incarceration is
not cited in the Electoral Act as one of the reasons to disqualify would-be
In papers filed with the newly created Electoral Court on Monday, the
constituency electoral officer and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
were cited first and second respondents.
Undenge, and Heather - who subsequently replaced her husband as the MDC
candidate - are third and fourth respondents.
Bennett is urging the court to compel first respondent to convene another
nomination court on March 18.
The fiery legislator doing time in Mutoko Prison after he was jailed for one
year by Parliament for contempt of the  House, is also seeking the court to
declare the appointment of one constituency election officer for Manicaland
as unconstitutional.
He argued that regulations published in the extraordinary Government Gazette
of February 17 2005 appointing one election officer for the eastern province
was unconstitutional.
In the interim, the legislator is seeking that: ". any further proceeding
under Section 49 of the Electoral Act in relation to the election of a
Member of Parliament for the Chimanimani constitueny should be suspended
pending determination of this appeal."
The court is yet to set a hearing date for the matter.
Besides the application filed in the Electoral Court, Bennet filed another
urgent chamber application in the High Court seeking his release from prison
when the Fifth Parliament of Zimbabwe is dissolved on March 30.
"In terms of Section 63(8) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, upon the
dissolution of Parliament all its proceedings are terminated and any other
business should lapse.
"I contend that this applies to the sentence I am serving which can be
counted up to the 30th March 2005 at which it would lapse by operation of
law," said Bennett in his affidavit.
He further argued that provisions of the Privileges, Immunities and Powers
of Parliament Act were also clear that his jail term must only cover the
House's term.
Bennett claimed Section 109 of the Prisons Act branded him an 'exemplary'
model prisoner, displaying good behaviour and had "employed" his skills to
benefit fellow inmates.
The matter has been set down for Friday before Justice Bharat Patel.
Harare law firm Kantor and Immerman is representing Bennett in both cases.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Soldiers beat up MDC candidates

Takunda Maodza
issue date :2005-Feb-24

A GROUP of soldiers last Sunday allegedly beat up three MDC parliamentary
candidates and other party officials in Manicaland as they returned from the
launch of their party's election manifesto in Masvingo.
Manicaland police confirmed receiving a report on the matter, but the
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) in Mutare and Harare could neither confirm nor
deny the incident.
MDC spokesperson and Gwanda North legislator, Paul Themba Nyathi alleged the
attack took place at around 6pm at Wengezi Business Centre in Chimanimani.
"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 members.
"Among the MDC officials  were three candidates for the 2005 general
elections, namely Pishai Muchauraya the candidate for Makoni East, Edwin
Maupa candidate for Mutasa South and Gabriel Chiwara the candidate for
Makoni West," claimed Nyathi.
He added that the soldiers assaulted and injured Chiwara and his election
agent Joseph  Munhumumwe accusing the two of selling the country to the
Chiwara and Munhumumwe, Nyathi alleged, were treated and discharged at
Mutare General Hospital before they reported the matter to Mutare Rural
Police Station. The case number is RRB0412126.
He said the MDC was seriously concerned about the incident as it came hardly
a week after another group of soldiers assaulted opposition supporters in
"The MDC believes that these attacks are being carried out by members of the
Zanu PF youth militia who have been drafted into the army in recent months.
Only brainwashed 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," said Nyathi.
Joshua Tigere, police provincial spokesperson for Manicaland, confirmed that
one Gabriel Chiwara had reported an assault to Mutare Rural Police.
"The position is that I checked with Mutare Rural Police. They have
confirmed that they received such a report from Gabriel Chiwara, case number
RRB O412126. That is the information I have. It is unfortunate that I was
unable to get the circumstances surrounding the assaults, like who assaulted
Chiwara and why," explained Tigere.
The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Press relations office in Harare referred
The Daily Mirror to 3 Brigade in Mutare for comment.
"It's news to me, contact our Brigade major in Mutare," said a deputy
director for press relations who only identified himself as Masuku.
A major at 3 Brigade in Mutare would not comment on the issue: "We do not
talk to you (the Press). Those in Harare should speak to you."
The ZNA Harare office then referred this newspaper to a Colonel Ushe, who
could not be reached at the time of going to press last night.
During the countdown to the 2000 and 2002 parliamentary and presidential
elections, the MDC claimed that members of the army assaulted and maimed its
supporters in both rural and urban areas.
The government reacted by arresting a number of people it claimed were army
deserters for allegedly perpetrating the violence to tarnish the image of
the State.
Although the arrests were made public, the fate of the "deserters" was kept
under wraps.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Govt, overhaul electoral observation process: ZESN

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-24

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN) has called on the government
to overhaul the electoral observation process to improve transparency in
conducting elections in the country.
ZESN information officer, Ellen Kandororo, noted that the status quo
hindered observers from contributing meaningfully to the electoral process.
"At the moment we are not allowed to say anything at the polling stations
and if we notice any anomalies we just have to note them down and include
them in our reports," she said.
Addressing a
 one-day training seminar for provincial election co-ordinators  convened by
the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) in Harare on Tuesday, Kandororo
emphasised the need to notify authorities of the anomalies as and when they
Observers, she said, should deliver their reports to the ESC 14 days after
election, but the supervisory body was not obliged to adopt their
"The reports we produce after elections are supposed to be handed over to
the ESC 14 days after elections and  the ESC are under no obligations to
consider our recommendations. This has resulted in instances where the same
recommendations are repeated after every election," she said.
Kandororo said ZESN's objectives were being compromised by government
accusations of supping with the opposition every time they produced an
adverse report on the conduct of elections.
As a result, some of the reports tended to be watered down for fear ZESN
might be denied accreditation in subsequent elections, she added.
ESC chairperson, Theophilus Gambe, however, said state of affairs did not
provide for other monitors or bodies to run elections.
"The running of the elections has been bestowed on two bodies, essentially
ourselves, a creature
of the constitution, whose independence is enshrined therein, that is the
ESC on the one hand. On the other hand is our brother the Independent
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission,' he said.
Gambe said a perception by observers locally and especially from the West
that free and fair elections only occur when the opposition wins, compounded
the present scenario.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

MDC candidate, supporters arrested

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-24

MDC candidate for Shamva in next month's parliamentary election, Godfrey
Chimombe and five supporters were arrested on Tuesday while putting campaign
posters at Madziva Market in Shamva - Mashonaland Central.
Provincial police spokesperson
Assistant Michael Munyikwa confirmed
 the arrests saying the suspects would be charged for contravening
provisions of the Public Order and Security Act.
He said the six putting up campaign posters at Madziva Market, a property of
the council, without notifying the police or the local authority
"They did not notify the police that
they wanted to put up their campaign
materials and will be charged under POSA," Munyikwa said.
The six accused persons were still
in police custody yesterday awaiting arraignment in court.
Chimombe would fight it out with Zanu PF candidate and also state security
minister Nicholas Goche for the ticket to represent Shamva constituency in
The MDC's Mashonaland Central chairman Tapera Macheka said their candidate
and supporters were denied access to food in police custody.
"The police have arrested our
candidate for putting up his campaign posters.
The candidate and other five youths are
 still being held in police custody
where I understand they are being denied access to food.
"We are going to consult our lawyer to intervene because our followers are
now afraid of intimidation," Macheka said.
The opposition recently expressed
concern over the way its supporters were
 being treated in the province. The party claimed that it was being denied
the right to campaign freely.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

poaching threatens future of conservancy

Pamenus Tuso
issue date :2005-Feb-24

RAMPANT poaching of wildlife is reportedly rife in the Midlands Black Rhino
Conservancy in Kwekwe, threatening the future viability of the vast
protectorate and the government has been called upon to intervene quickly to
stop the rot. Members of the Sebakwe Black Rhino Conservancy Trust, the main
financiers of the conservancy, told The Daily Mirror that the conservancy
had been engulfed by a spate of wildlife and firewood poaching in the past
two months and that some game species risked becoming extinct as a result.
"We are really concerned by the rampant poaching in the conservancy. The
situation on the ground needs government intervention to stop the extinction
of wildlife which is the core of the conservancy," said a member of the
Trust on condition he is not named.
The Trust's chairman, John Cripper, in a recent meeting with members,
expressed uncertainty over the future of the conservancy due to widespread
The Trust was also planning to establish a conservancy education centre amid
reports that several farms making up the sanctuary have already been
designated after being served with section 8 notices.
Following discussions with Midlands Governor Cephas Msipa, the government
reportedly offered 37 hectares of State land to Sebakwe Country Club in 2002
to construct the conservancy education centre at a cost of $100 million.
Because of high inflation, the cost of the project has now ballooned to $200
million, a situation that inside sources said had forced the Trust to put
all development plans on hold till government assurance that the sanctuary
would remain intact.
The proposed multi-million dollar fully equipped state-of-the-art centre
comprises an education and interpretation centre, the conservancy
headquarters and resource centre, home for conservators, accommodation for
visitors, staff and guards and a kitchen, a canteen, storerooms and   a
Msipa could not be reached for comment yesterday as the governor was said to
be in Harare attending a meeting.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Farmer fined for granting hunting concession

Court Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-24

A BEATRICE farmer was yesterday fined $300 000 for illegally granting a
hunting concession to four German tourists in 2003 - prejudicing the
government of US$5 700.
Trevor Jack Greaves (65) of Goeie Hoop Farm was convicted on his plea of
guilty to two counts of contravening the Parks and Wild life Act and the
Tourism Act and was ordered to pay the fine or spend one month in prison by
provincial magistrate Omega Mugumbate.
Passing sentence, Mugumbate said although Greaves had contravened the law;
she took into consideration the trauma that the farmer had endured after
being placed on remand for over a year.
In mitigation, Greaves' lawyer Chris Mhike pleaded with the court to caution
and discharge his client because he had committed the offences believing
animals killed were on his private property.
Mhike dismissed the State's view that the Germans were tourists, saying they
were Greaves' visitors and he was only being hospitable, adding that his
client did not benefit from the offence as the meat was given to his farm
He also said the skins and trophies of the animals were retained at the farm
where they were recovered by the police upon Greaves' arrest.
Prosecutor Barbara Mufawaenda told the court that some time in 2003, Greaves
received some visitors from Germany, Wilfred Luchmunn, Wolfgang Schuchard,
Gerhard Siekmunn and Florian Wegehaupt at his farm.
The four intended to hunt in Greaves' game park.
Greaves and the four Germans killed eight impalas, three wildebeests, three
tsessebes, one eland, two kudus, one reedbuck and one steenbuck all valued
at $670 000 at the material time.
Before allowing the Germans to hunt, Greaves did not ascertain whether they
had complied with provisions of the Parks and Wildlife Act.
Following investigations by the police, skins and heads of the beasts were
recovered from Bromley Gameskins Tannery where they had been sent for
taxidermy by Greaves.
On the second count, when the German tourists arrived at Greaves' farm they
put up a guest room in the farmer's house and paid US$5 700 for the services
Mufawaenda said Greaves was not licenced to operate a tourist facility or a
safari and therefore breached the Tourism Act.
He also did not declare the foreign currency he earned to the government

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

UK Zimbos' case: judgment reserved

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-24

THE Supreme Court yesterday reserved judgment in an application in which
seven Zimbabweans resident in the United Kingdom are seeking an order
compelling the government to grant them the right to vote in next month's
parliamentary elections . During the hearing conducted by the full bench,
the applicants represented by Happius Zhou - instructed by Kantor and
Immerman - sought and were granted the right to amend the order to restrict
the case to them only.
The original order had sought the inclusion of every Zimbabwean who is
outside the country to be allowed to vote in the general election and all
future polls and referendums.
The application by Jefta Madzingo and six others cited the Minister of
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa and the
Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede as the first and second respondents
The Electoral Supervisory Commission and the Attorney General, Sobuza-Gula
Ndebele were cited as the third and fourth respondents.
Ernest Jena of the Civil Division of the AG's office appeared for the

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Doubt over extent of electoral reform ahead of poll

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

HARARE, 23 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - Even before the ballots are cast in Zimbabwe's
legislative elections next month, controversy has surfaced over the fairness
of the poll.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has argued that recent
reform of the country's electoral laws has been too little and too late.
They contend that repressive legislation governing public assembly and free
speech remain on the statute books, and together with growing political
violence, will serve to undermine the poll's legitimacy.

The Zimbabwean government has countered that by the standards of the region,
its electoral process is above board.

"It is now again the time to demonstrate to the world that it is we who
established democracy in Zimbabwe," President Robert Mugabe told ZANU-PF
delegates at the launch this month of the ruling party's campaign, a
reference to the nationalist struggle that ended white minority rule in

The fears of the opposition and pro-democracy groups are based on the
experience of the legislative election in 2000 and the presidential poll in
2002 - both won by President Mugabe and ZANU-PF - but marred by serious
irregularities, according to observers.

The MDC, formed only a year earlier, challenged the 2000 results in a number
of constituencies, and its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is still contesting
the presidential election results in the courts.

The party pointed to problems with the voters' roll and accused
government-instituted electoral bodies, such as the Electoral Supervisory
Commission, the Registrar-General's office and the polling personnel, of

International monitoring bodies, including the European Union (EU) and the
Commonwealth, also voiced their reservations.

In August last year Zimbabwe adopted Southern African Development Community
(SADC) guidelines governing democratic elections and subsequently modified
its electoral laws, but the government has rejected calls from the MDC and
pro-democracy groups for a still more level playing field.

The South African government - under pressure to mediate in Zimbabwe's
political crisis since 2000 - recently expressed the hope that its
neighbour's 31 March poll would be credible.

"There are some positive developments, which give us hope that Zimbabwe
should come as close as possible to the protocols that have been agreed by
SADC," Joel Netshitenzhe, a South African government spokesman, told
Zimbabwe's official Herald newspaper recently.


Among the changes to the electoral process are that voting will be conducted
on a single day, instead of on two or three days as was previously the case,
in order to minimise the possibility of irregularities.

Translucent ballot boxes will now be used; the number of polling stations
will be increased; and verification of ballots will take place at the
stations, again to avert rigging.

In accordance with the SADC principles, the new legislation specifies that
an electoral court will deal with disputes among individuals or political
parties arising from the conduct of polls.

Another new law, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act, also passed
recently, provides for an independent electoral body - the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) - to be responsible for preparing and conducting
elections and referendums.

President Mugabe has announced the members of the ZEC, headed by George
Chiweshe, a High Court Judge and former army major.

Chiweshe claims the commission is geared for the work ahead, and has opted
for a senior civil servant, Lovemore Sekeramai, to be his chief election
officer for the March poll. ZEC agents will be drawn entirely from the civil

Prior to the establishment of the ZEC, elections were conducted by the
Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) and the Registrar-General.

The ESC will supervise the ZEC, with justice minister Patrick Chinamasa
saying that Zimbabwe was following models in countries like Mauritius, where
the electoral body is monitored by another institution.

Despite these reforms, politicians and commentators feel much more needs to
be done to ensure democratic elections in March and beyond.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN), a coalition of NGOs formed to
co-ordinate electoral activities, said in a recent report, 'The SADC
Electoral Principles and Guidelines and Zimbabwe's New Electoral
Legislation', that the country was not ready for free and fair polls.

"There is little in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act or the Electoral
Act to ensure an environment in which human and civil rights are fully
enjoyed ... The freedoms specifically mentioned in the SADC principles -
freedom of assembly, association and expression and political tolerance -
are not respected in Zimbabwe," ZESN alleged.

The biggest attack on the reforms has centred on the independence of the

David Chimhini, director of the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (Zimcet),
said the positive electoral changes were being overshadowed by "lack of
clarity [regarding the] independence" of the ZEC.

"From last year, when government began to make changes, many people were
optimistic that good things were coming. However, the latest developments,
particularly regarding the setting up of an independent electoral body, have
dampened that optimism," Chimhini told IRIN.

"The ZEC will not be independent at all, considering that it will have to be
monitored by yet another body - the Electoral Supervisory Commission - whose
members are elected by government. It is confusing - why there has to be
another body above the ZEC - and one might be tempted to believe that there
are fears that the ZEC might become too influential, considering that it
also consists of top figures from the MDC and [the] ZANU (Ndonga)
[opposition party]," he added.

People were bound to be sceptical of the electoral bodies, Chimhini said,
because the ESC and the Registrar-General's office had been tainted by
alleged irregularities in previous polls.

"[The ESC supervision of the ZEC] takes away the independence of the ZEC,
and it would be safe to say the government has failed one of the most
important tests of SADC because, in the absence of an independent body, free
and fair elections cannot be guaranteed," he commented.

Also, given that the Registrar-General presided over the much-maligned
voters' roll, the ZEC will have to rely on a document it had no hand in

As a former military figure, Chiweshe is viewed by the opposition as too
pro-government to be an impartial head of the ZEC. ZESN noted its concern
over the Electoral Act provision allowing civil servants, including soldiers
and policemen, to be seconded to the staff of the ZEC and ESC.

Chinamasa has defended Chiweshe, saying the new chair of the commission had
vast knowledge of electoral issues, having been a member of the constituency
delimitation commission, as well as a judge. In an interview with the Herald
shortly after the names of the ZEC members were announced, Chinamasa
described Chiweshe as an objective and impartial person.


Legal experts and civil society groups have bitterly complained that some of
Zimbabwe's laws are too restrictive to ensure free and fair elections, and
run contrary to SADC guidelines on democratic polls.

They often cite the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which can restrict
freedom of assembly, the right to make an informed choice of a candidate and
the freedom of expression required for credible elections.

"For as long as POSA and AIPPA exist in their current form, we can just as
well forget about democratic elections. They run contrary to the tenets of
free and fair elections, and something should have been done long back to
amend them," James Mutizwa, a member of the Law Society of Zimbabwe told

POSA, which purports to "make provision for the maintenance of public order
and security", became law in January 2002, about two months before the
presidential elections, replacing the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act (LOMA)
promulgated by Ian Smith's Rhodesia to deal with nationalists fighting for
the independence of the country.

Even though POSA replaced LOMA, experts say it has retained most of the
repressive provisions in the Rhodesian legislation.

Under sections 17 and 19, the law defines a political gathering as a group
of two or more people and requires those intending to hold meetings in a
public place to notify the police four days in advance at the latest,
failing which the police might restrict or prohibit the meeting (sections 25
and 26), and are entitled to shoot to kill if there is resistance (section

In Part II, sections 12, 15 and 16, POSA says it is illegal to engage in
activities that might cause disaffection for police officers or members of
the defence force; or communicating a statement that promotes disrespect for
the president or institutions of government.


Chimhini, the director of Zimcet, said the police often misapplied the law
when dealing with public gatherings.

"There is confusion among police officers regarding the handling of public
gatherings. The law directs that those wishing to hold meetings should
merely notify the police of their intention but, since the law came into
force, they have been insisting that the law enforcers should authorise the
meetings," he noted.

"In most cases, where the opposition is concerned the notifications have
been declined, with the police giving one excuse or another; where meetings
have gone ahead, they have often been violently disrupted," Chimhini told

"The obvious effect is that citizens are denied the right to fully
participate in the political process, as stipulated under Section 2.2 of the
SADC guidelines," he pointed out.

The police have often been accused of applying POSA selectively. "One gets
the impression that POSA was created for the MDC, civic society and the
opposition. I am yet to come across an instance of ZANU-PF supporters being
arrested for holding an unsanctioned rally, yet we know they have been
organising so many of them," Chimhini alleged.

The police have also been accused of raiding meetings in non-public places,
such as the recent arrest of an MDC campaign manager during a meeting with
candidates in a hotel room.

According to analysts, AIPPA also denies the electorate the freedom to make
informed decisions regarding their votes because of the restrictions it
places on the media.

Journalists must adhere to stringent requirements in order to be registered
by the government, and the act also criminalises the publication of
falsehoods, which law experts and media analysts say has not been clearly

Since AIPPA's enactment in 2001, numerous journalists - all from the private
media - have been arrested for allegedly publishing falsehoods, but none
have been convicted.

The MDC, a broadbased party formed in 1999, is the main political challenge
to President Mugabe and ZANU-PF's hold on power. In 2000 the party clinched
57 parliamentary seats against the ruling party's 62 elected seats - a
result whittled away in successive by-elections.

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With xenephobia rising, electrified border fence hailed

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

CHANGATE, 23 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - The word "Zimbabwean" gets Motswana
traditional leader Jackson Ofentse hot under the collar.

"Please don't ever mention to me the criminals from across the border," he
told IRIN. His village of Changate in northern Botswana is only 5 km from
the frontier, and he has nothing good to say about his neighbours.

"Our women can no longer gather firewood in the bush for fear of being
raped; our houses are not safe any more, and even our livestock find their
way across the border," he complained.

Ofentse is looking forward to the day when the Botswana government flicks
the switch on a four-metre high electrified border fence that snakes across
the scrubland, ostensibly to control the spread of foot-and-mouth disease
(FMD) from Zimbabwe.

Two outbreaks of FMD in two years, which hit Botswana's lucrative beef
exports to the European Union, were sourced to Zimbabwe. Jobs were lost and
thousands of cattle slaughtered.

While the 500-km long fence officially aims to block the mixing of herds on
common pasture, Ofentse and many other Batswana hope it will also keep out
the thousands of Zimbabweans escaping poverty at home, who sneak cross the
border looking for work in more prosperous Botswana.

An estimated 36,000 illegal migrants were deported last year alone and, with
xenophobia now firmly on the rise, Zimbabweans have become the target of a
growing vigilante movement.

The solar-powered fence, which will deliver a nasty but not fatal 220-volt
shock, is due to become operational in June, and will be patrolled 24 hours
a day by the security forces. A survey by the Southern African Migration
Project found that a majority of Batswana supported its construction.

The villagers of Changate, 140 km northeast of Botswana's second city
Francistown, may feel more secure behind the new barrier, but they have lost
the perks of proximity to Zimbabwe. Gone are the cheap shopping trips across
the border, and easy access to relatives on the Zimbabwean side.

"We had relied on labour from Zimbabwe for a long time. It was also nearer
to travel to Plumtree in Zimbabwe to do your shopping than travel to
Francistown," explained local journalist Khumbulani Kholi.

Residents in the border villages used to buy cheap Zimbabwean livestock, and
enjoyed an easy supply of fruit and vegetables. "When I was growing up, my
brothers even went across the border to have a drink in the Nswazi village
[in Zimbabwe]," said Kholi.

Now, getting to Zimbabwe entails a two-hour walk to the nearest border post
at Maitengwe, and for those who don't have passports, a 140-km journey to
the immigration office in Tutume.

"We don't hate Zimbabweans here," said Kholi. "We are only tired of elements
that come to steal from us."

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Committee To Protect Journalists Accuses Zimbabwe Government of Harassment
And Intimidation
      By Joe De Capua
      23 February 2005

The Committee to Protect Journalists has sent a letter to Zimbabwe's
president Robert Mugabe, saying it is "outraged at the government's
harassment and intimidation of three Zimbabwean journalists."

It says freelance reporters Angus Shaw, Brian Latham and Jan Raath were
forced to leave the country, while a fourth journalist, Cornelius Nduna, has
been forced into hiding.  Julia Crawford is the spokesperson for the
Committee to Protect Journalists.  From New York, she spoke with English to
Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the latest developments in Zimbabwe.

She says Shaw, Latham and Raath are now in exile and have no plans to return
to Zimbabwe for the March 31st elections.  As for Cornelius Nduna, she says
he faces accusations of having a tape of government youth camps where
militia are allegedly being trained.  Militia have been blamed for attacks
on members of the opposition MDC Party.

Ms. Crawford says, "Well, it seems very disturbing, not entirely unexpected.
There seems to be again a clampdown, a systematic campaign, of harassment
and intimidation of independent voices in Zimbabwe in the run-up to the
March 31st elections. At least that is what we're hearing from the ground.
And that seems to be why police last week paid repeated visits to the
offices of three freelance journalists."

The CPJ letter to President Mugabe, signed by Executive Director Ann Cooper,
says, "We urge you to ensure that police harassment of journalists stops
immediately and that our Zimbabwean colleagues who have been driven into
exile can return to cover elections in their country without fear of arrest
or intimidation."
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Police investigating claims of assault by soldiers

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

JOHANNESBURG, 23 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - Zimbabwean authorities are investigating
claims by the opposition that a group of soldiers attacked their officials
at the weekend, a police spokesman told IRIN.

According to Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Paul Themba
Nyathi, the officials were at a rural business centre in Manicaland in
eastern Zimbabwe - traditionally MDC territory - when soldiers disembarked
from two army trucks and started assaulting them.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said the authorities were "still verifying
the incident", and added that not only supporters from the MDC but also the
ruling ZANU-PF had been victims of assault in other incidents reported
across the country, but he was unable to provide details on Wednesday.

Among the MDC officials allegedly attacked were three candidates standing in
the 2005 general elections - Pishai Muchauraya, Edwin Maupa and Gabriel
Chiwara. Themba Nyathi claimed the soldiers had assaulted Chiwara and his
election agent, Josphat Munhumumwe, and accused them 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," Nyathi said, noting that
his party was "seriously concerned", as only last week members of the army
allegedly assaulted and injured several MDC members in Nyanga, also in

Meanwhile, four Zimbabwean journalists who were reportedly threatened with
arrest during police raids have fled the country.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has written a
letter to President Robert Mugabe expressing its "outrage" at the
government's alleged "harassment" and "intimidation" of the journalists.

Last week, the CPJ said, police repeatedly searched the office shared by
Angus Shaw, a freelancer who contributes to The Associated Press, Jaan
Raath, who contributes to the Times of London, and Brian Latham, who
contributes to the Bloomberg news agency. The police were also investigating
espionage allegations against Cornelius Nduna, a freelance television
producer, who has since also left the country.

Bvudzijena confirmed that the police was investigating the journalists.

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ANC on A-list of Zim poll guests    Beauregard Tromp
          February 23 2005 at 10:27AM

      Getting an invitation to attend the Zimbabwean parliamentary elections
seems to be more difficult than cracking the nod for a Nelson Mandela
birthday party.

      And when Zimbabwe finally put up the "A-list" to attend the latest
showcase for democracy on Tuesday, it was clear that everyone had to have
their struggle credentials up to date.

      With parliamentary elections on March 31, Zimbabwe has handpicked
countries to be allowed to attend the proceedings.

      Invited are parties who fought for liberation in their countries, with
President Robert Mugabe inviting former Namibian president Sam Nujoma's
Swapo party to attend.

      The election party will be joined by the likes of the ANC, Frelimo
from Mozambique and the Sudan People's Liberation Army.

      As the guest list became available, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Aziz Pahad said he hoped observers would enjoy unfettered movement. "The
quicker the various observer missions go in, the better they will be able to
help contribute to making sure that the guidelines are implemented."

      None of the "governments of gay gangsters" or "imperialists" - as
Mugabe affectionately refers to Western governments - have been invited this
time around.

      As expected, the African Union, Southern African Development Community
and Common Market for East and Southern Africa, along with the United
Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Caribbean Community, will send

      One organisation from the United States - the December 12 Movement -
has been invited.

      Other than SADC countries, African countries invited include Algeria,
Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda.

      From Asia, where Mugabe has forged strong ties as his country has
become increasingly isolated, China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia have
received invitations. Also invited is Iran.

      The only European country invited is Russia, with four South American
countries making the list.

      Pahad said the recent arrest of 40 Zanu-PF youths was an indication of
a reduction in violence in Zimbabwe.

      "That kind of action helps towards an atmosphere conducive to free and
fair elections," he said.

      He also referred to the EU-SADC troika meetings, which were "on
stream" now after numerous "technical problems" earlier.

      Since the EU imposed targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe, which include
travel bans on government officials, it has created an impasse between the
two organisations regarding representation from Zimbabwean government

      "I don't think that we have overcome the whole thing. I think
everybody is waiting for the election," said Pahad.

      On Tuesday, the EU renewed sanctions against Zimbabwe but agreed to
review the situation after the parliamentary elections.

      Meanwhile, SADC will meet in Lesotho at the end of the month to
discuss, among others, democracy, governance and election guidelines.

      Ministers will also discuss the African peer review mechanism, a
comprehensive "report card" of a country done by eminent Africans to
encourage foreign investment.
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      US anger over Zimbabwe reporters

      The United States has accused Zimbabwe of adopting a "pattern of
intimidation" against journalists in the country.
      Four journalist working for foreign news organisations have fled the
country in the past week after being threatened by Zimbabwe's secret police.

      They were accused of transmitting "material prejudicial to the state".

      State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said "an open environment
for journalists and opposition" was needed.

      "The administration noted a pattern in Zimbabwe where the opposition
fears for its safety, where restrictions were being placed on civil society
and where newspapers were being shut down," he said.


      The US has described Zimbabwe as an "outpost of tyranny", although
this has been criticised by neighbour South Africa as "an exaggeration".

      Three reporters fled last week: Angus Shaw who wrote for AP news
agency, Brian Latham who contributed to the Bloomberg financial wire service
and Jaan Raath of the UK newspaper, The Times.

      It has now emerged that Zimbabwean freelance television producer
Cornelius Nduna, who police were looking for, has also left after a raid on
his office.

      Andrew Moyse from the Media Monitoring Network Zimbabwe said
accusations of anti-state activity against the four journalists were
absolute rubbish and an attempt to silence the international media in the
run up to parliamentary polls on 31 March.

      "It could only have been an attempt to intimidate them. My only regret
is that it was successful."

      The US has imposed targeted sanctions on the Zimbabwean leadership -
banning President Mugabe and his associates from travelling to the US, and
freezing assets.

      The European Union - which has accused Mr Mugabe of using violence
against the political opposition and perpetrating human rights abuses - has
also renewed its sanctions against the country.

      Mr Mugabe accuses the US and the EU of opposing black rule, citing
criticism of his policy of seizing the land of white farmers for
redistribution to blacks.

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The Herald

'Be patient with RBZ policies'

Business Reporter
ZIMBABWEANS should be patient with the economic policies being implemented
by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe because the benefits are not immediate.

Instead, they should roll up their sleeves and be ready to execute the
central bank's collective turnaround programme to its logical conclusion.

"If you want honey, you must be prepared to be stung by the bees," said Dr
Gideon Gono when he addressed the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Joint Command
and Staff Course Number 18 on management of change on Monday at the ZNA's
staff college.

Zimbabweans should be ready for the gritty and narrow path leading to
success since the journey attracts critical vultures which would "tirelessly
circle and hover around to strike our heads and prey on the collective
efforts for their own selfish desires".

Dr Gono said despite threats by some quarters to derail the turnaround
programme, the central bank would forge ahead to ensure the completion of
Vision 2007 even if it meant ending up with "no friends except a battalion
from the ZNA"."We shall never allow them the comfort to build their thorny
nests on our heads,"he said.

However, the governor said lack of execution was the missing link between
strategy and reality.

"It is not good enough just to have a vision, but implementation and action
transform the vision into reality; at the central bank we have decided to
implement," he said.

Change managers were easy targets for abuse in every form and manner
possible because all eyes are focused on them. He said one of the
prerequisites of change was to have a credible vision with excitement and
clear deliverables, which he said was the central bank's aspiration for the

Dr Gono said another critical pillar of change management was the need for
strict discipline and unreserved conformity with the turnaround vision.

"As key guardians and custodians of the security, as well as sovereignty of
our great nation, it is indispensable that discipline becomes an
inextricable part of our everyday life, so as to lead by example," Dr Gono

He said with discipline, communication lines, strategy execution and command
structures become impenetrable.

The governor said at the onset of his term of office the nation was faced
with a number of challenges, among them high unemployment levels, the
HIV/Aids pandemic, deteriorating and over-burdened urban and rural
infrastructure and unpredictable weather patterns and related droughts.

Identifying these challenges enabled the central bank to come up with a
clear statement of the vision of the turnaround programme and that it was a
matter of time before the country regained its glitter of yesteryear.
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Soldier fined $300 after blunder
23/02/2005 20:44  - (SA)

Harare - A Zimbabwean army commander has been fined just over $300 after one
of his subordinates accidentally shot 14 spectators during a mock battle at
a fair last September.

In addition to the fine, court martial president Rodney Munyanduki sent
lieutenant Stanley Mugombe, who pleaded guilty, for re-training.

Munyanduki said Mugombe would not be promoted for the next three years, but
did not give details of the judgment.

Three people were seriously injured while the others have since recovered
from shrapnel wounds in what the prosecution said was the first accident of
its kind in Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.

The accident happened at an agricultural show in Marondera, 65km east of
Harare, when live ammunition was used during a mock battle, but details of
the incident remain sketchy.

Another soldier who also pleaded guilty will be sentenced this week, while
the other five have pleaded not guilty and will be tried later.

Mugombe, 29, who was in charge of the group, pleaded guilty to charges of
breaching the defence law by "failing to carry out necessary safety

Pleading with the court for a lenient sentence, Mugombe's lawyer said he was
leading soldiers handpicked from various camps and had "very little control
over the soldier who fired live shots".

"The young lieutenant (Mugombe) is a victim of circumstances who had no
control over the situation that prevailed at the time," the lawyer said.

"He had no control over the movement of live ammunition where it was not
required," he added.

The lawyer said the soldier who opened fire "was ill-trained", adding that
it was the responsibility of the army to ensure that "soldiers should be
trained to be on their guard every time".
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From Business Day (SA), 23 February

SA can play key role in pressurising Zimbabwe, US insists

International Affairs Editor

The US stood its ground yesterday over its criticism of Zimbabwe, urging SA
to exert more pressure on Harare to ensure that it adheres to the region's
electoral guidelines. The implicit criticism of President Thabo Mbeki's
"quiet diplomacy" approach to Zimbabwe follows a stinging attack by the
South African president on US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice labelling
Zimbabwe as one of the world's six "outposts of tyranny". The US statement
follows a meeting yesterday between US ambassador to SA, Jendayi Frazer, and
Mbeki yesterday, although the embassy said the meeting had been scheduled
well before Mbeki's remarks, made in an interview with the Financial Times.
"As a regional leader and as a democratic nation, SA can play a key role in
putting pressure on the Mugabe regime to adhere to the spirit as well as the
letter of the electoral principles established unanimously last August by
the Southern African Development Community (SADC)," an embassy official said
last night. US embassy spokeswoman Judy Moon said that the Financial Times
interview had been discussed briefly, however. Mbeki had said in the
interview that putting Zimbabwe alongside Burma, Cuba, North Korea, Iran and
Belarus as an "outpost of tyranny" was "an exaggeration", and that SA's
government would continue with its current strategy.

The US statement indicated a degree of frustration over SA's policy of
restraint towards Zimbabwe and the lack of progress towards resolving the
crisis in that country. It also amounts to a warning of strong expectations
that the region uphold the SADC principles and guidelines governing
democratic elections. "We welcome SA's engagement on Zimbabwe and we believe
that President Mbeki shares our hope to see Zimbabwe restore democratic
principles and practice," said Moon. The statement comes after signs that SA
played a major role in persuading a legal SADC task team not to visit
Zimbabwe ahead of the March 31 polls to examine whether SADC's guidelines
were in fact being followed. Following that move, SADC's intentions in
respect of Zimbabwe should become clearer towards the end of the week when a
number of SADC foreign ministers meet in Mauritius. Further clarification of
how SADC intends to uphold its guidelines is expected at the weekend when
electoral experts from the region meet to discuss the guidelines in Maseru,
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From Business Day (SA), 23 February

Agriculture doctorate for Mugabe, 81, as Zimbabwe's farms go to seed

Harare Correspondent

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who turned 81 on Monday, has received a
rare birthday present - an honorary doctorate in agriculture. This came at a
time when Mugabe, the oldest sitting president in Africa, is being accused
of ruining the country's once-vibrant agriculture through a haphazard land
reform programme. Mugabe was conferred the doctorate by the Zimbabwe Open
University. He already has seven studied-for degrees and about a dozen
honorary ones. The university said it honoured him for his "outstanding
contribution to the land reform programme". Mugabe has been accused of
destroying Zimbabwe's agriculture, the mainstay of the economy, through his
chaotic land reform redistribution exercise, which began in 2000. Thousands
of white-owned farms were seized, worsening the country's economic crisis.
The country's grain deficit, attributed to the land reform programme and
droughts, has caused widespread starvation. Relief organisations say up to
6-million Zimbabweans, about half the country's population, would need food
aid this year. However, Mugabe also got an unwelcome present from the
European Union, which extended targeted sanctions imposed on him and his
cronies in 2002.
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'Observers to Submit Reports Before Poll Results'

The Herald (Harare)

February 23, 2005
Posted to the web February 23, 2005


LOCAL observers accredited for the forthcoming parliamentary elections will
be required to submit a preliminary report on the election before results
are announced, the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) chairman, Mr
Theophilus Pharaoh Gambe, said yesterday.

Mr Gambe, who was addressing provincial election co-ordinators during a
one-day workshop in Harare, said the submission of the reports had been made
obligatory in order to prevent or deal effectively with dissatisfaction or
conflicts that might arise after the announcement of results and to further
ensure the acceptability of the outcome to all parties.

"It is common for local observers to declare that elections have been
conducted in a free and fair manner before the announcement of election
results and to change their stance once the results go against their
expectations," he said.

Under the Electoral Act, local observers are required to submit their
reports to the ESC soon after the conclusion of an election.

Speaking at the same occasion, ESC commissioner Mrs Joyce Kazembe said the
role of observers was to follow and study the voting process with a view to
coming up with recommendations or reports that would assist local election
agents to improve the way elections are conducted in the country. She said
the role of the ESC was to facilitate the movement of the observers through
accreditation and she urged the co-ordinators to be vigilant if challenged
by unaccredited persons.

She said observers were allowed to gather information by carrying out
on-site fact-finding missions to assess whether elections are credible and
transparent without intervening in the process, as was the case with
election monitors.

However, Mr Gambe said in the case that observers discover irregularities
during the course of an election, they should point these out to the
monitors, who would then take up the issue with the presiding officer,
rather than wait to raise the issue in their report.

Only civil servants that fall under the Public Service Commission, which
excludes members of the prison services, police and army, would be
considered for the role of monitors.

The issue of whether observers could point out irregularities was raised by
an official with the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) when she was
narrating how her organisation had been incapacitated when it was relegated
to an observer function as opposed to its former role as a monitor.

She said that her organisation also faced the challenges of being accused of
working and sympathising with the opposition because of the content of their

However, Mr Gambe said the key reason why ZESN was being labelled as such
was because of the long-seen inclination within both local and foreign
observers to believe that elections are free and fair if the opposition
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Chaotic Land Reform Created Phone Farmers

The Daily News (Harare)

February 23, 2005
Posted to the web February 23, 2005

NO Zimbabwean, genuinely interested in the political and economic
advancement of their country, could have harboured any doubts about the need
for an equitable redistribution of the land.

That a few thousand white commercial farmers owned most of the prime land
was not only unjust, but patently immoral. The land redistribution had to be
on the basis of the population of the country.

What made the implementation of the programme in 2000 as unjust and immoral
as the status quo was the manner in which it was transformed into a
political pawn.

Today, the government can boast that there was a blueprint showing in
meticulous detail how this was to be done. We suspect there was no such
blueprint. Political expediency became the most potent force driving the

How else can one explain the emergence of the cellphone farmers President
Mugabe complained of last Monday at a graduation ceremony of the Open
University in Harare? These fly-by-night fat cats were not the original
intended beneficiaries of the reform programme. They managed to sneak in
only because the programme had become political.

They were not the landless peasants condemned to a few hectares of infertile
soil in the remotest parts of the country. They were not the victims of
successive colonial legislation depriving the Africans of their land - the
Land Apportionment Act, the Land Husbandry Act and the Land Tenure Act. They
were "city slickers" with connections in high places which, in Zimbabwe,
invariably translates into Zanu PF.

In moaning about the cellphone farmers, President Mugabe came the nearest he
has ever been to admitting that the land reform programme was a disaster.

Five years after the war veterans killed a number of white farmers and their
black workers, the land reform programme has not produced the "dream
harvests" that were predicted by its proponents.

Instead, there is chaos: corruption in the ownership of farms, some of it
featuring some of Mugabe's closest political allies, a shortage of
fertiliser and other vital inputs, including draught power and many others.

Nobody speaks of a bumper harvest of any crop any more, unless they believe
Zimbabweans are still as naive as they were when they swallowed every lie
forced down their throats by Zanu PF. Nature has intervened, unfortunately.

But President Mugabe knows the task before him: to remove the cellphone
farmers from the land, and to give the land to people who know how to make
it yield the results that made Zimbabwe the breadbasket of the region so
many years ago. The allocation of the land this time must not be political,
or we will reap the whirlwind again.
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New Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe shifts the goal posts, literally

By Steve Vickers
Last updated: 02/23/2005 23:08:13
AN inspection team in Zimbabwe has discovered that the goalposts at most of
the country's football stadiums have incorrect dimensions.

With the new season starting next month, some grounds risk bans after
officials unearthed some alarming errors.

At Maglas stadium in the town of Zvishavane, the crossbar at the southern
end was found to be 10 centimetres too low.

The posts at that end had sunk further into the ground each rainy season.

All five stadiums visited so far by referees and officials from the Premier
Soccer League (PSL) have been declared unfit for top-flight football.

The grounds all have wrong-sized goalposts, and some of them also require
building renovations.

"We're trying to bring professionalism to football and we need to take some
bold decisions," said PSL secretary Chris Sambo.

When the posts were measured at Barbourfields stadium in Bulawayo, one goal
was found to be 10cm too wide and the other too big by a gaping 14cm.

In other words, if a goal is scored there with the ball going in off the
post, it really shouldn't count at all.

"We measured the posts at Barbourfields towards the end of last year and
decided to allow them to continue up to the end of the season," said
Zimbabwe Soccer Referees Association chairman Gladmore Muzambi.

"But they must be adjusted before the start of this season."

Stadiums in Harare will be checked this coming weekend, but there has
already been one extremely disturbing error in the capital.

The crossbar at the National Sports Stadium, the venue of most of the
national team's matches, was 10cm too low ever since the stadium's
construction in the early 1980s.

The error was discovered after a World Cup qualifier last June, when the
visiting Algerians queried the dimensions, and has now been corrected.

"The distance was wrongly measured from the outside of the bar to the
ground, rather than the inside," explained Muzambi.

If the bar had been the correct height, some international matches would
certainly have had different results.

According to Fifa regulations, goalposts should be 7.32 metres wide and 2.44
metres high.

When the league gets underway next month, the goalposts will quite literally
have been shifted in Zimbabwean football - BBC

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- For South African Zimbabwe Investors - by Crawford von Abo


by Crawford von Abo

21 February 2005


Dear Sir

During the past 12 months it has become possible for lawyers, acting on
behalf of clients to be directly remunerated for their services by
accepting a percentage of any settlement if and when such a settlement is
achieved, either by way of a court judgement or through negotiation.  The
advantage for the clients is quite obvious in that they are not exposed to
open ended legal bills, without any certainty that they may succeed in
getting satisfaction at the end of the process.  It is at the same time a
motivating factor for legal representatives to give their very best, since
there is no remuneration should they fail in achieving a settlement.

The Concerned Investors in Zimbabwe was formed as a group about 2 years ago
in order to investigate all possible avenues of redress for South African
Investors who has been dispossessed through land invasion in Zimbabwe.  As
convener of this group I now invite you to participate in a class action
against the South African government for failing to offer any effective
diplomatic protection as required by the South African constitution and as
undertaken in Parliament by government Ministers.

We were all along entitled to this protection, but the cost implication and
financial risk attached to enforcing these rights had until now been

Some lawyers have now accepted to act for us under the new dispensation
under which the only monies involved would be direct costs such as travel,
accommodation, etc.  No direct legal fees will be charged except in the
event of a successful settlement and then only a percentage of the

The more individuals involved, the smaller will be the direct costs to each
and the smaller also will be the percentage, which can be negotiated with
the legal team.  It is important also to note that any compensation to us
will be in SA Rand and not in Zim dollars.

I strongly advise that you join in this action and therefore request you to
fill in the form attached and post it back to Concerned Investors, Box 81,
Bloemfontein, 9300 and fax it to (051) 430-8338.

Friendly Greetings


Full name

Identity number

Zimbabwe resident number

Name of farm


Size of farm

(Converted to Rand at time of valuation)

Income per year X years (lost)
(Converted to Rand)

Total value of claim in Rand

Contact details
Postal address
Phone number
Fax number

Provisional agreement to participate in this action is required to enable
an estimation of direct costs to individual participants as well as to
negotiate a percentage of the total value of the claim involved.Only after
such a process is completed will a final agreement to participation be
requested from all involved.



JAG Hotlines:
+263 (011) 205 374 If you are in trouble or need advice,
                                  please don't hesitate to contact us -
                                  we're here to help!
+263 (04) 799 410 Office Lines

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