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

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Courageous letter
Harare, Zimbabwe

February 16th 2002

Dear Mr. President

As a church leader in Zimbabwe, I believe I have a moral obligation to
address you and I choose an open letter, since what I say is obvious
to anyone who cares to look.

Mr. President, I am horrified that I find the person who holds the
most honoured position in our country condoning:

the trampling upon our constitution

the suppressing of fundamental freedoms and human rights

the violence that supports Zanu PF interests

the lies and deception in the State media

the recently enacted oppressive legislation

the selective enforcement of the rule of law

the spread of injustice and corruption

the hypocrisy with respect to property rights

the violent attacks upon opposition Members of Parliament

the threatening of our judges

the fuelling of racial hatred

the widespread intimidation of the electorate

No democratic country can tolerate any of these evils and remain a
democracy and no country, with a sense of morality, can ignore such
abuses without violating its conscience (Jeremiah 6:13-15).

I believe, Mr. President, that you have polluted your commission by
abusing the authority entrusted to you by God and the Zimbabwean
people (Deuteronomy 16:18-20; 2 Chronicles 19:5-7; Psalm 82:1-5;
Proverbs 24:23-25; Isaiah 10:1-3; Romans 13:3).

I believe that, as a Christian minister, ordained by God, I have an
ethical duty to denounce any of our national leaders who embrace a
path that  is immoral and oppressive (Exodus 5:1,2; 2 Samuel 12:7;
Esther 7:6; Matthew 23:14; Mark 6:17,18; Luke 13:31,32).

I believe this prophetic responsibility necessitates rebuking
wickedness without fear or compromise and I pray that the true
church will not only refuse to tolerate such behaviour from you, but
from any future President of our country.

Therefore, just as Nathan the prophet said to king David, "Thou art
the man" (2 Samuel 12:7), and as Elijah told king Ahab that it was his
sin that had brought trouble upon Israel (1 Kings 18:18), so I say to
you, Mr. President, that you are fundamentally to blame for the
destruction of and oppression in our nation. The Zimbabwean people are
being crushed and I choose to identify myself with them and say in
God's holy name, "Enough!" My prayer is for God to be merciful and
deliver us from your oppressive hand and  that once delivered, He
would make us vigilant so we never again allow the framework for such
oppression to be erected.

Finally, I am moved by God's grace and a clear conscience, knowing
that it is far better to die while seeking to uphold truth and
justice, than to live as a compromised coward under an oppressive
ruler (Matthew 16:25). Here I stand, I can do no other. May God help
us all. Amen!

Rev. Dr. Derek Carlsen, L.Th, M.Miss, D.Miss.

P.O. Box 3348, Paulington, Mutare, Zimbabwe


Scripture verses as quoted on previous page:

Jeremiah 6:13-15

13 "Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them,
Everyone is given to covetousness;

And from the prophet even to the priest, Everyone deals falsely. 14
They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, Saying, 'Peace,
peace!' When there is no peace. 15 Were they ashamed when they had
committed  abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; Nor did they
know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At
the time I punish them, They shall be cast down," says the Lord.

Deuteronomy 16:18-20

18 "You shall appoint judges and officers in all your gates, which the
Lord your God gives you, according to your tribes, and they shall
judge the people with just judgment.19 "You shall not pervert justice;
you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds
the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.20 "You
shall follow what is  altogether just, that you may live and inherit
the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

2 Chronicles 19:5-7

5 Then he set judges in the land throughout all the fortified cities
of Judah, city by city,6 and said to the judges, "Take heed to what
you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the Lord, who is
with you in the judgment.7 "Now therefore, let the fear of the Lord be
upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord
our God, no partiality,  nor taking of bribes."

Psalm 82:1-5

1 God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the
gods. 2 How long will you judge unjustly, And show partiality to the
wicked?  Selah 3 Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the
afflicted  and needy. 4 Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the
hand of  the wicked. 5 They do not know, nor do they understand; They
walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable.

Proverbs 24:23-25

23 These things also belong to the wise: It is not good to show
partiality in judgment. 24 He who says to the wicked, "You are
righteous," Him the people will curse; Nations will abhor him.25 But
those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, And a good blessing
will come upon them.

Isaiah 10:1-3

"Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees, Who write misfortune,
Which they have prescribed 2 To rob the needy of justice, And to take
what is right from the poor of My people, That widows may be their
prey, And that they may rob the fatherless. 3 What will you do in the
day of punishment, And in the desolation which will come from afar? To
whom will you flee for help?

And where will you leave your glory?

Romans 13:3

3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want
to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have
praise from the same.

Exodus 5:1,2

Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, "Thus says the
Lord God of Israel: 'Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to
Me in the wilderness.' "2 And Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I
should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor
will I let Israel go."

2 Samuel 12:7

7 Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the Lord God
of Israel: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from
the hand of Saul.

Esther 7:6

6 And Esther said, "The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman!" So
Haman was terrified before the king and queen.

Matthew 23:14

14 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour
widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you
will receive greater condemnation.

Mark 6:17,18

17 For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in
prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; for he had
married her. 18 For John had said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you
to have your brother's wife."

Luke 13:31,32

31 On that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him, "Get out and
depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You."32 And He said to them,
"Go, tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today
and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.'

1 Kings 18:18

18 And he answered, "I have not troubled Israel, but you and your
father's house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the
Lord and have followed the Baals".

Matthew 16:25

25 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever
loses his life for My sake will find it".

Scripture quotes taken from the NKJV, Thomas Nelson Inc., 1990
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Daunting Task for Next Government

Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)
February 24, 2002
Posted to the web February 26, 2002

THE next Zimbabwe government faces the daunting task of bringing the economy back on track because of its advanced state of decline characterised by deepening poverty and shortage of basic commodities, analysts said last week.
Economists told Standard Business that problems which needed urgent attention include the escalating inflation, currently pegged at 116%, depleted foreign reserves, reducing the budget deficit, solving the foreign currency debacle, as well as reducing government's domestic debt, which stood at about $210 billion as at the beginning of February.
African Banking Corporation (ABC) economist, David Mupamhadzi, said for whoever won the election, "fundamentally, the first step in turning around the fortunes of the economy is restoring macroeconomic stability". Above all that, the new government would be faced with the challenge of regaining investor confidence.
"If we look at our foreign currency problems, they are largely emanating from the fact that no one is interested in investing in the country because of the political situation. If investment comes into the country we will generate enough foreign currency," he said.
Mupamhadzi said he hoped that the elected government would re-focus its priorities to concentrate on economic issues. "At the moment politics is dominating all. They are more worried about winning the election."
Employers' Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) president, Kenzias Chibota, said generating adequate foreign currency, stabilising the exchange rate and sorting out inflation should be the priority areas for the new government.
"The whole economy is in turmoil. All these important issues should take centre stage to resuscitate the economy. But the government must as well create an environment conducive for doing business. We cannot do this all by our ourselves, it is therefore imperative that the balance of payment of support is resumed with our donors," he said.
The country's exchange rate has remained unchanged at the official rate of Z$55 to one US dollar, despite persistent calls for government to devalue the local unit to put it more in line with current trends. It is now anticipated to be adjusted after the election to about $160 to the greenback.
Chibota's sentiments for revitalised donor support were supported by Mupamhadzi, who said, assuming that the present government comes into power again, it must cultivate cordial relationships with the outside community, in order to ameliorate the foreign currency shortage currently plaguing the economy. He hoped that concerted efforts would be put by all stakeholders in the economy to create and enabling environment for investment.
Run-away inflation remains the bugbear of the economy. The rate of inflation is deemed a crucial economic variable because of its grave effects on the poor. Analysts say that the continued increase in broad money supply against a background of falling economic activity has been fuelling inflationary pressures in the economy.
During the last quarter of 2001, the increase in inflation was underpinned by significant increases in both food and non-food inflation.
The current inflation crisis is a testimony of the evils of economic mismanagement and comes at a time when inflation in the country's major trading partners, notably Sadc, is declining. This has adversely affected investment opportunities and increased the risk of doing business in Zimbabwe.
According to Mupamhadzi, inflation was expected to remain unsustainably high in 2002, mainly driven by excessive monetary growth, continued weakening of the Zimbabwe dollar in the parallel market, and the wage bill inflation spiral.
He said the country's budget deficit anticipated to reach $138 billion in 2002 and to be financed from the domestic market will put upward pressure on money supply this year.
Chibota said he personally thought that the measures introduced by finance and economic development minister, Simba Makoni, last year to prop up the economy had generally not been as effective as they were intended to because of the static exchange rate system. This system was hurting most businesses, especially exporters.
Zimbabweans go to the polls on 9 and 10 March to choose a new president. Incumbent President, Robert Mugabe, faces a stiff challenge for the post from the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai.
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Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 21:53 GMT
Zimbabwe's business climate "impossible"
Dr Nkosana Moyo
Dr Moyo resigned after attacks on businesses
Zimbabwe's former industry minister has said the conditions for foreign corporations are "impossible" because they cannot invest in a "meaningful" way.

"I would agree they are impossible, at the moment things are very difficult," Dr Nkosana Moyo told the BBC's World Business Report.

Ordinary Zimbabweans are already living through very hard times and that state of the economy will stay the same as that is not what's targeted (by sanctions)

Nkosana Moyo
"When you are sitting outside looking in, there wouldn't be the security that you need to commit capital or resources over any meaningful time frame, and that predictability is required in private sector operations."

Mr Moyo was appointed in July 2000 but resigned in May 2001 after publicly speaking out against attacks on businesses and factories by war veterans.

His assessment comes as Australia warned it could impose similar sanctions on Zimbabwe as the US and European Union, if opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is barred from taking part in the presidential election on 9-10 March.

On Monday Mr Tsvangirai was charged with treason by plotting to kill President Robert Mugabe.

Sanctions ineffective

Mr Moyo does not think the sanctions will hurt the population or the economy.

Dr Nkosana Moyo
Dr Moyo now works for the World Bank
"Ordinary Zimbabweans are already living through very hard times and that state of the economy will stay the same as that is not what's targeted," he said.

Nor does the former cabinet insiders believe the sanctions targeting Mr Mugabe and some of his government ministers will change their policies because they see themselves as victims.

"I'm not in their position but all I can say is that they probably feel the world has not empathised with their point of view," he said.

The US and the EU imposed the targeted sanctions in a row over observation of the election.

Technocrat involvement

After Mr Moyo resigned in May last year he took up a position at the World Bank's International Finance Corporation.

The former banker with Standard Chartered was not a member of the ruling Zanu-PF party, but was brought into the government as a technocrat to lend its economic policies some credibility with the International Monetary Fund.

Mr Mugabe had urged Mr Moyo not to resign.

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No Briton Should Own Land in Zimbabwe
Xinhuanet 2002-02-27 04:45:46
   HARARE, February 26 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe said here Tuesday that his country should impose sanctions
on Britain and ensure that no one from that country owns land in
the southern African country.
   Mugabe made the remarks while addressing thousands of Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) supporters in
Dzivarasekwa High density suburb in Harare in his ongoing campaign
program for the March presidential election.
   He said some European countries, particularly Britain have
imposed targeted sanctions against him, his family and members of
his government because the former colonial power was opposed to
the land resettlement program.
   "Who went to whose country, it's the British who came here, why
should I go to Britain? There it's cold everyday, is that a
country?" said Mugabe.
   He said the whites were giving the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) money so that they could fight against
other blacks.
   "Zimbabwe should totally belong to the blacks. The whites want
to destroy the country's history," said Mugabe.
   Mugabe said the government has done almost everything for the
nation but has not yet finished giving land to the people.
   Zimbabweans are expected to vote in a crucial presidential
election on March 9 and 10, which pits Mugabe and Morgan
Tsvangirai of the MDC as the major contestants.
  Other candidates are Shakespear Maya of the National Alliance
for Good Governance as well as independent candidates Wilson
Khumbula and Paul Siwela.  Enditem
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ABC Australia
Wed, Feb 27 2002 9:23 AM AEDT

US accused of interfering in Zimbabwe elections
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has accused the United States of interfering in the country's presidential election scheduled for early next month.
President Mugabe also claims the US is trying to defend opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai against charges of treason.
President Mugabe criticised the United States and accused it of interfering in the presidential poll, during a rally in the Zimbabwean capital Harare.
Mr Mugabe made the remarks after US officials condemned the laying of treason charges against opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mr Tsvsangirai, along with opposition secretary general Welshman Ncube and Shadow Lands Minister Renson Gasela have been accused of plotting to kill President Mugabe.
All three men say the allegations are a part of an attempt to smear the opposition in the lead up to next month's presidential election
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U.S. Doubts Zimbabwe Treason Claim
Tuesday February 26, 2002 9:20 PM

WASHINGTON (AP)- The State Department said Tuesday it is not aware of any evidence that Zimbabwean opposition presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai and two senior aides may have engaged in treasonous activities, as the government has alleged.
Tsvangirai was charged with treason on Monday for allegedly plotting to assassinate Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. He has not been arrested.
Noting that the two aides may face similar charges, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said government officials have yet to provide any substantiation of the allegations.
``This appears to be another blatant example of President Mugabe's increasingly authoritarian rule and his government's apparent determination to discredit, intimidate and repress the opposition in the approach to the presidential election,'' Boucher said.
The elections are set for March 9-10. Mugabe is seeking re-election.
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The Age, Melbourne
Mugabe defies age and opponents on a boiled egg a day
AFP|Published: Wednesday February 27, 3:51 PM
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Robert Mugabe has not accepted an invitation to join other leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (GHOGM) in Queensland this week-end. With an election due the following weekend, he has bigger domestic fish to fry.
HARARE, AFP/AP/AAP - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, a former revolutionary hero accused of waging an increasingly autocratic campaign against opponents, faces the fiercest battle of his two-decade rule in showdown presidential elections next month.
Despite an international outcry over his rights record, an economy on the brink of collapse and widespread violence in the countryside, Mugabe is resolved to hang on to power.
In December the 78-year-old vowed to wage a "total war" against the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai, in the presidential vote on March 9-10.
This week he delivered on that promise in the most unexpected way - Tsvangirai was arrested over an alleged plot to kill Mugabe.
Party secretary-general Welshman Ncube and lawmaker Renson Gasela were also charged, according to their lawyer, Innocent Chagonda.
Tsvangirai was held for two hours and then released. The two others also were released after being charged.
US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher described the move as: "Another blatant example of President Mugabe's increasingly authoritarian rule and his government's apparent determination to discredit, intimidate and repress the opposition in the approach to the presidential election."
The charges against Tsvangirai stemmed from several viedeotaped meetings he had with a Canadian consulting firm that was secretly working for the government.
In one of them, repeatedly broadcast on Zimbabwean state television, Tsvangirai and the consultants discussed Mugabe's "elimination."
Tsvangirai's party won nearly half the contested 120 seats in June 2000 parliamentary polls and is a favourite among urban voters.
"This is war. This is not a game," Mugabe told his ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) when it endorsed his presidential candidacy in December.
Mugabe, once hailed as a liberator from white Rhodesian rule, has pinned his political hopes on a program to hand over 10 million hectares of white-owned farmland to impoverished black farmers.
The plan and his crackdowns on opposition members, judges, and journalists have triggered an uproar and sanctions from the European Union, the United States and the Commonwealth.
Even before this week's arrests, Mugabe had attacked his opponents as traitors, polarising opinion among his countrymen as never before.
The land reforms, which aim to address colonial-era injustices, have been marred by violent invasions of white farms by pro-government militants, openly supported by the president.
Police have rarely moved in to halt the violence, which has left at least 66 people dead in the last two years and displaced another 42,000, according to rights groups.
Last month Mugabe was again on the political warpath as his party tried to push through draconian security and media legislation the opposition claims would entrench the president's powers.
The ZANU-PF also vowed to circumvent parliamentary procedures and ram through an electoral law that would ban independent election monitors from the March vote.
An intellectual who initially embraced Marxism, Mugabe was praised when he won the elections which ended white-minority rule in 1980, a few weeks after Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain.
Born on February 21, 1924, at Kutama Mission northwest of the capital Harare, he qualified as a teacher at the age of 17.
He took his first steps in politics when he enrolled at Fort Hare University in South Africa, where he met many of southern Africa's future black nationalist leaders.
He then resumed teaching, moving to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Ghana before returning to Zimbabwe in 1960.
As a member of various nationalist parties which were banned by the white-minority government, he was detained with other nationalist leaders in 1964 and spent the next 10 years in prison camps or jail.
He used those years to consolidate his position in the Zimbabwe African National Union and emerged from prison in November 1974 as ZANU leader. He then left for Mozambique from where his banned party was launching guerrilla attacks on Rhodesia.
Economic sanctions and war forced Rhodesian leader Ian Smith to negotiate.
Mugabe's renamed ZANU-Patriotic Front, which drew most of its support from the ethnic Shona majority, swept to power in elections which ended white-minority rule in 1980, a few weeks after Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain.
The former guerrilla leader announced a policy of reconciliation with the country's white minority. But most left and there are now only 70,000 to 80,000 whites -- less than one per cent of the population -- left.
In his early years Mugabe was widely credited with improving health and education for the black majority but social services later declined.
In 1990 he tried to establish a one-party state along Chinese lines but was opposed by a majority of his own party and backed down.
In October 2001, with inflation at 85 per cent, unemployment over 50 per cent and foreign reserves exhausted, Mugabe declared an end to market reforms and a return to socialism.
The decision was criticised as an electoral ploy that "had no relevance to the problems economy is facing".
Notwithstanding the country's economic woes, Mugabe had already awarded himself 25 per cent pay rise, and backdated to the start of 2001.
It took his pay and allowances to 1.6 million Zimbabwe dollars (about $A60,000) a year, tax-free. The average income of ordinary Zimbabweans has declined in recent years to about 15,000 Zimbabwe dollars ($A540) a year.
About 70 per cent of Zimbabwe's 12.5 million people live below the international poverty line.
Mugabe lives in an official state-owned residence but has commissioned the building of a private mansion in northern Harare at a cost of more than 50 million Zimbabwe dollars ($A2 million).
In a recent tribute for his 78th birthday, the state-run Herald newspaper 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 am 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."
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Mugabe accuses 2 more of treason
Commonwealth leaders expected to fudge their decision on Zimbabwe's suspension
Ewen MacAskill, and Andrew Meldrum in Harare
Wednesday February 27, 2002
The Guardian
The Commonwealth is preparing to fudge the issue of Zimbabwe's suspension this weekend, in spite of Robert Mugabe's government yesterday filing fresh treason charges against the country's opposition party.
The new charges were filed against two deputies of the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, who was charged on Monday for allegedly plotting to assassinate Mr Mugabe.
Welshman Ncube, secretary general of the MDC, and the shadow agriculture minister, Renson Gasela, were charged with being part of the plot.
Britain and other countries have dismissed the treason charges as a last-ditch attempt by Mr Mugabe to stay in power.
But although Zimbabwe is top of the agenda for the Commonwealth heads of government biennial meeting in Brisbane, diplomatic sources said yesterday they were shying away from punitive action.
Commonwealth rules at present allow for suspension only of countries where there has been a coup, such as Pakistan. The sources said the Commonwealth, which has 54 members, will agree to a change of rules that will widen the criteria for suspension to include attempts to interfere in elections, including intimidation of voters.
But the organisation is expected to fudge the issue of Zimbabwe by delaying a decision on implementing suspension until after the election, due to take place on March 9-10. A source said: "If Commonwealth election observers report after the election there had been intimidation, that could trigger Zimbabwe being thrown out."
The election takes place only days after the Commonwealth conference ends. There has been speculation that Mr Mugabe chose the date in the hope that the Commonwealth would not act against him so close to the election.
The compromise formula is likely to lead to accusations of the Commonwealth being too soft in dealing with Mr Mugabe. It puts a lot of store by working by consensus and many African leaders are uneasy about suspending Zimbabwe.
Britain, which will be represented at the Brisbane talks by the prime minister, Tony Blair, and the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, will push for suspension.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "There is no place in the Commonwealth for a country that is prepared to inflict such suffering on its own people."
A team of 10 Commonwealth ministers set up two years ago to investigate reforms to the rules is to present a report to the heads of government recommending widening the scope for suspension.
The review was proposed by Mr Blair at the last heads of government meeting in Durban, South Africa.
The Commonwealth could in theory enforce the new rules within 24 hours of adopting them. But the diplomatic sources said there is an unwillingness to suspend Zimbabwe, especially while Commonwealth election observers are in the country.
Although Mr Mugabe barred British election observers and European Union observers have pulled out, there are 45 Commonwealth observers in Zimbabwe. They will take up their posts across the country today.
Mr Mugabe has not yet ruled out attending the Commonwealth meeting, though it seems unlikely that he would leave Zimbabwe so close to the election. If he does not attend, Zimbabwe is likely to be represented by its foreign minister, Stan Mudenge.
The treason charges against Mr Tsvangirai and his deputies provide Mr Mugabe with a chance to cling to power if he were to lose the election. Polls show that Mr Tsvangirai has up to 70 % support in the presidential contest.
Mr Tsvangirai yesterday claimed to be relaxed about the charges: "I have neither been affected by the treason charges nor have the people of Zimbabwe been confused by these charges. The people are more concerned about the hunger in the country, the collapsing economy and the lack of jobs than they are about these fanciful tales.
"I am being persecuted by a desperate man who has run out of ideas to manage the country's economy."
The treason charges follow a meeting Mr Tsvangirai had with Canadian political consultants in December. The allegation is that he tried to hire them to assassinate Mr Mugabe.
Yesterday he rebuffed the charges: "These are contrived charges to try to implicate me in the eyes of the Zimbabwean public. We were set up by people we hired to be our lobby group. If these treason charges are serious, why am I scot free and able to travel around?"
Mr Tsvangirai said he is determined to carry on with his campaign. "The people of Zimbabwe will not be cowed and neither will I," he said.
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Wednesday February 27, 12:51 AM
 Yahoo! News
Mugabe heads to powerbase
By Stella Mapenzauswa
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe returns to his rural powerbase today as the opposition mounts a legal challenge to a police ban on planned weekend rallies in Harare and Bulawayo ahead of March elections.

With 10 days to go to the presidential elections, Mugabe will hit the campaign trail in Mashonaland Central in the far north of the country as he seeks to harness the rural vote and extend his 22 years in power by a further six years.

Mugabe has embarked on a controversial land reform programme to redistribute farmland from the white-owned minority to the majority black population, and polls show he draws most support from rural areas.

But polls also show many people are reluctant to indicate how they will vote in the March 9-10 elections.

Tension is mounting ahead of the elections and international pressure rising. The deteriorating situation in the country, where Mugabe has been accused of trying to rig the elections, is expected to dominate a Commonwealth summit next week.

Mugabe's opponent Morgan Tsvangirai was charged with high treason on Monday, a crime that carries the death penalty in Zimbabwe, over an alleged plot to assassinate Mugabe.

Tsvangirai said on Tuesday police had also banned his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party from holding planned weekend rallies in Harare and Bulawayo, MDC strongholds.

"We went to court to seek an interdict to allow us to continue with the Bulawayo rally. I understand that the latest position is that the rally has been cancelled and so is a pre-authorised rally here in Harare on Sunday," he said after a meeting with international observers.


Zimbabwean police charged two more senior opposition figures with treason on Tuesday. MDC Secretary-General Welshman Ncube and MDC member of parliament Renson Gasela were accused of conspiring with Tsvangirai to oust 78-year-old Mugabe.

Mugabe has not yet commented on the charges or accusations that his ruling ZANU-PF is persecuting the MDC leadership ahead of the election.

Like Tsvangirai, Ncube and Gasela denied any guilt and were released on bail after they were charged.

Tsvangirai, who presents the stiffest challenge to Mugabe's 22-year rule, says he believes the government will not try to stop him from contesting the election.

The MDC hopes to turn public anger over a crumbling economy, now in its fourth straight year of recession, and severe food shortages into victory at the polls.

The United States and Britain have accused Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980, of trying to fix the election. The U.S. and the European Union have already clamped sanctions on Mugabe and his inner circle.
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CFU Sitrep Mon 25 Feb 2002
Farm Invasions And Security Report    
Monday 25 February 2002

This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas.  Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens.  Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.


Very quiet at the moment.
Old Mutare – Zanu (PF) activist Christopher Tsakatsa, Mr. Mandigo and Zanu (PF) Youths disrupted and caused the cancellation of a dispersal sale held at Premier Estate Mr. Tsakatsa claimed the owner refused to reserve 100 irrigation pipes for the community on the farm. The owner previously advised Mr. Tsakaktsa equipment left for the community on the farm would only be as a result of meeting with the owner, the DA and himself so arrangements for payment could be made. Mr. Tsakatsa had not followed up on the matter. Mr. Tsakatsa also stated the owner (without income at present) had not given back pay to his workers.  This had been satisfactorily concluded in the presence of OIC Penhalonga, ZRP and the workers’ committee the day before the sale. Minister Simba Makoni, a prospective buyer at the sale, was unable or unwilling to prevent the interruption in spite of the fact that ZRP were present. He was not prepared to agree the action taken by Tsakatsa was illegal, stating he was not a lawman.  On approaching the disrupted sale, the OIC Penhalonga Inspector Mwaita, turned his vehicle around, saying he would go to the Old Mutare Base to phone for support 5 km distant. He did not return but ZRP members in a mounted unit vehicle arrived 2.5 hours later. The sale was well attended by Zimbabweans of all races and the first few bids later cancelled were strong. The owner was prevented from returning to town with some valuable items vulnerable to theft from the sheds by the activist who felt these would not be returned for the next Auction sale.
Rusape – on Masori Ranch, the foreman and other labourers were beaten up on 20.02.02, which the foreman reported to the police. The following day a pedigree Brahman bull was slaughtered.  On 22.02.02, the perpetrators returned to punish the foreman for his report to the police, but could not find him. Masori Ranch was gazetted 22.02.02.  The labour on Manda Farm is still taken at night to various farms and made to chant slogans and march.

The remaining labourers on Rungudzi Farm have been forced to leave. On Taipoo Farm, allocated for A2 resettlement, unknown people have started to build houses on the farm. On Wona and Amajuba Farms the settlers are using the owners’ barns.
The rest of the area is unusually quiet.

Adlams Rest 20 people moved into a land of mature maize.  The owner and 40 workers reacted to try and  remove them. The police say they will be reacting.  At Brakveld a tanker coming to collect milk was turned back by Zanu (PF) youth. The OIC Beatrice police was called but refused to give an RRB number, as this was political. DISPOL was eventually phoned and said they would sort the problem.
Featherstone Area is quiet.
Harare South Men in a pick up looking for a farm arrived at Broad Acres, a smallholding with a preschool.  The leader of the group was pleasant but there was an aggressive person among them who beat up a worker.  There have been several fires on Dunolly this week. A pungwe was held outside the manager’s house, lasting an hour.  The participants then went to the farm village and kept the workers awake until 4 am.  On Carolina a white Mazda pick up, with 6 occupants, arrived, who asked for meat and donations for the party.  Denby reported a Volvo car arrived, with polite occupants who were looking for A2 farms.  On Brechin Zanu (PF) youth held a meeting and set up a roadblock.
Marondera North The roadblock is still up outside the farm security fence at Nyagambi   Numerous political meetings are being held in the area.
Enterprise/Bromley/Ruwa numerous meetings are being held in the farming area.
Macheke/Virginia – on 21/2/02, Medlar Farm had a work stoppage, which was later resolved.  The farm is allowed to continue work, except for land preparation.   Spez Bona Farm had a cow slaughtered report no: 030604.   Chikumbakwe Farm reports seven cattle missing over the weekend - OB No. 101/02. One labourer at the chemical shed in Macheke was taken away by "war vets", accusing him of spreading MDC literature. This was reported to the police on RRB 030606.  Morning Star was pegged for A2 resettlement on 20.02.02. The continued problems at Craigielea Farm now include a road block set up by Zanu (PF) youths, which was reported to police at Macheke on LP 20/02/2002.  The police reacted and dispersed mob.   At Royal Visit Farm and B and K Estates –settlers demand all labour hand in ID numbers to them.  B and K Estates labour said it was settlers from Klipspringer Kop Farm and told the owner that when they queried the process, they were told the DA Murewa wanted ID numbers for those who need food rationing later.  The settlers accused those who had no ID's of being MDC supporters.   Marylands Farm reports police have still not responded to the previous day's report of a slaughtered cow. 500 m of shade cloth was stolen.  The foreman and cattle foreman were threatened by "war vets", with the latter having his bicycle taken away by the "war vets". This was reported to Police Macheke on CRN 030607.   A farmer was stopped on Barrymore Farm, at a boom across the road.  When the "war vets" and Zanu (PF) youths told him to get out of his vehicle for them to search it, he refused and drove on.  He reported to Macheke Police Cnst. Chanakira, and the police reacted and dismantled the roadblock. Hazeldene Farm reported another road block with rocks across the road, set up by Zanu (PF) youths at the farm store, and that the labour had their ID's taken from them by "war vets".  Another road block was reported on the settlers’ road near Morning Star Farm, manned by Zanu (PF) youths, who demanded a motorist get out of her car for them to search for MDC propaganda. She refused and drove on.  Nyadora Farm had Agritex arrive and look around with a view to A2 resettlement. The farm lorry was stopped at a roadblock by Virginia Store and one worker was assaulted and a jack stolen. When the driver asked for the return of the jack, he was told to pay $300 to get it back. Reported to police Macheke on RN 21/2/02.
Wedza – At about 1000 hrs on 21.02.02 the owner of Torre called over the radio network he was stopped at a "war vet" roadblock on the Liliefontein Road, and he expected to be held by them. He was carting wood in his lorry from his farm. The "war vets" tried to get into the cab via the passenger door, which was fortunately locked.  A second farm lorry had also been stopped. Police Marondera were contacted, and the OIC stated details would be sent to the scene from Mahusekwa.  A farmer, who was observing the road from Mahusekwa, saw a police vehicle coming from the opposite direction, Marondera. The police had driven past the site of the roadblock.  The hostage had been taken to a base camp at the homestead on Chudleigh Farm and the roadblock had been lifted, so this farmer redirected the police to the base camp.  According to the hostage, the relationship between his captors and the policemen was clearly familiar and amicable; the police details instructed the wood on the lorry be offloaded at the base camp, which was done.  The hostage was not released by the time the police left Chudleigh. As a result of this, as well as concern for his diabetic condition if he were not released before nightfall, the OIC Marondera was again approached. The OIC was not prepared to take further action before the details who attended Chudleigh returned, but gave an assurance the release would be secured before nightfall. DISPOL was then contacted who undertook to instruct Marondera to get Support Unit involved.  Four hours after abduction, the hostage was released with his empty lorry by the "war vets".  He reported the captors repeatedly said he was going to be buried the hole was nearly ready and it would be one less vote for MDC. He was not physically harmed.  Two police details, accompanied by three men in civilian clothes, arrived in a police vehicle at Boisserain  demanding to search the homestead, refusing to answer any questions or produce a search warrant. The policemen involved were those who attended the scene at Chudleigh. One civilian with them was "war vet" Kujeke, who was also at the Chudleigh base camp earlier. On the night of 20.02.02 at Rapako fourteen senior workers were taken to the Zanu (PF) youth base camp in Hwedza village and beaten up. The owner was away. "war vet” Chigwedere insisted  that if he reported the incident to anyone, there would be repercussions.  At Mbima the owner’s daughter and son-in-law returned home at night on 21.02.02 and came across an unmanned roadblock on the farm road. The following morning it was established there were three roadblocks near the homesteads. Police attended, cleared the roadblocks and spoke to the youth on the farm, who expressed shock and had no idea who was responsible.  At Imire the head game scout was assaulted, as he is perceived to be an opposition supporter.  "War vet" Chigwedere arrived at Chirume with 30/40 followers and allocated plots around the homestead and farm village. He said he would send Agritex to peg more. Labour was initially told they would be chased out of any houses within the marked plots, and later informed they would be evicted from the farm.  On 20.02.02, "war vet" Mhundu and 15 Zanu (PF) youths held a meeting at Bristol at which the names of four MDC supporters were called out, taken aside and told to vote Zanu (PF).  48 workers were taken to Eldoret base, drilled and exercised until midnight, and arrived home at 3 am, a number of whom had been beaten up. The following day, Mhundu held another meeting, demanding to know why the workers were accepting free meals from the MDC.  The meals in question were supplied by the owner.  Mhundu also wanted to know why the owner had photocopied the labour’s Ids, a false allegation. Labour was threatened with “suffering consequences” if they did not attend any meetings called. At Skoonvelt "war vets" Kujeke and Murewa demanded a tractor for transport to a meeting, threatening to destroy tobacco if refused.  Labour in the roses at Rapoka was stopped working and told to go to a youth camp for re education on how to vote. Labour was told if Zanu (PF) were beaten in the elections they would go back to a bush war.
Marondera South – the owner’s wife was returning in the evening to Wenimbe on 23.02.02 and came across a mob of youths, who blocked the road. As there was no time to turn vehicle around, she got clear by reversing away, with the mob giving chase.  At Chipesa Zanu (PF) youths came to the farm on 23.02.02, to arrest a guard for previously arresting one of their group. The guard was not on the farm. The youths advised the police had given them permission to arrest the guard themselves.  The following afternoon, the owner’s wife was arrested. Two vehicles arrived at Chipesa, a light blue Mazda p/up with canopy, registration 627917S, and a white Mazda p/up 507-158H, with about six plain clothed and armed men, purporting to be CID officers. The owner’s son followed the vehicles after the arrest with another two more vehicles following behind. The captors’ vehicles took all the back roads, which was felt to be very suspicious. The owner’s wife was taken to the CID Offices in Marondera, where she was accused of harbouring opposition fugitives and making petrol bombs. Lawyers from Harare and two election Observers were sent to the scene. After being interrogated for possible terrorist activities and manufacturing of petrol bombs, she was released at approximately 1700 hrs. That night, visiting Zanu (PF) youths beat up people in the farm village and set fire to two houses. Sticks were used in the attack. There were no serious injuries. When the Ruzawi reaction team arrived, the youths took off into the bush. Support Unit reacted but no arrests were made.  A trailer was taken from Carolina Farm on 24.02.02. In the owner’s absence, and used to transport people at Wenimbi base. The foreman was advised the owner could go and fetch it himself if he wanted it returned.

Lomagundi High School
– on 24.02.02, a taxi drove into the school.  The occupants held the bursar at gunpoint, demanding money, which had just been drawn to pay weekly wages et cetera.  She handed over $700 000 and they drove out.  After a couple of kilometres, the taxi driver demanded his money for transport and when no payment was forthcoming dropped off the thieves, who were then collected by a commuter omnibus!  The operation was very quietly done, not even the children doing fatigue 2 metres away noticed anything.  The headmaster gave chase but to no avail. No one was hurt in the incident.

On Merton Park a further $1.8 million worth of irrigation equipment was taken.
Selous – Zanu (PF) have been visiting many  farms in the area.  There was an assault on Mount Carmel Farm of a labourer perceived to be MDC.  On a number of farms labour are told Zanu (PF) will know what they have voted, either through cameras or through counting who votes for who from a particular box concerned.
Chegutu On Lot 1A of The Grove the owner and his family are still unable to return to the farm.  ZW$ 120 000-00 in cash was stolen, in addition to six weapons, ammunition, a full deep freeze of meat, a VCR, a camera, binoculars and various household effects.  A hole was also put into a 2000 litres tank full of diesel, which drained on to the ground.  The farm was currently exporting EU 25 000-00 worth of flowers a week, which equates to approximately ZW$ 1 million per day. The police recovered the six weapons stolen, but not before one farmer had his vehicle tyre shot out, and another vehicle had its tailgate shot at close range. A Zanu (PF) youth base has been set up outside the owners homestead, and a roadblock on the Lawrence Kop road has meant other farmers have been unable to get home. Subsequent to the evictions on 22.02.02, a tractor was commandeered and 42 bags of maize stolen.  Gilbert Moyo, the "war vet" concerned, is still at large and has continued to create further problems in the area.  He went to Ponderosa Farm and various things from the workshop were stolen, but have since been returned. He also entered the owner’s homestead in his absence.  The labour has not been able to start work again and Tobacco needs to be reaped.  On De Rus Farm where Gilbert Moyo's men forced their way into the homestead garden, torches from the cars were stolen and radios in the vehicles damaged.  A tractor was commandeered. On Faun Farm the same ten workers were taken off for re-education again, and a tractor commandeered.  On Torphin Farm the Zanu (PF) youth from Kutawa (Resettlement) want to move their base next to where the polling station is to be sited.   On Tiverton 70 kg of paprika was stolen.
Chakari On Merchiston ZW$ 300 000-00 worth of irrigation equipment was stolen.  On Nebraska there was a break-in at the house. 

Masvingo East and Central
Officials from the Ministry of Lands arrived at Fomax Dairy  on 23.02.02, enquiring if the owner had moved off the property. The Section 8 has already matured. Two knapsack sprayers were stolen during the evening on 24.02.02, with the security fence cut to gain entry.  The Riverdene Farm owner was also approached over the weekend and enquiries made as to when they would be vacating their home, as the officials wanted to place a caretaker within the homestead.  Last week two small school children were beaten up by youth while on their way back from school at Shallock Park The children live in the owner’s staff quarters.  At Bon Air Zanu (PF) Youth allegedly camped at Masari Rural District Council, assaulted a labourer. Another labourer was threatened and demands made for mealie meal.
Chiredzi – the Wasarasara Ranch owner was taking six Zanu (PF) youths (sitting in the back of his vehicle) and their chairman, Paul (sitting in front), to a meeting where Support Unit was to address them. On nearing the venue, approximately a kilometre away, the youths spotted a white land rover ahead and began to jump out of the truck. As a result, two were injured, one of whom subsequently died in hospital. Police reaction was good and this was filed in the report as “negligent passengers”.
General comments It has been reported members of the public waiting for maize at GMB Chiredzi are being turned away if they cannot produce a Zanu (PF) membership card. Another report received states a prominent businessman in Chiredzi received three truckloads of maize from the GMB.  Within the area harassment over cattle, demands for compensation, theft and movement of people continue. Support Unit is within the area and the army has been moved in, near a youth base camp.
Mwenezi Continued theft, building, flora and fauna destruction, fires caused through irresponsibility of illegal settlers, snaring, poaching and maiming of cattle, compensation demands and movement of people.  At Quagga Pan B five cattle were removed from snares this weekend. Some meat was taken but most left untouched. The settlers assisted farm guards in the arrest of nine suspects.  La Pache reports two cows missing and another four had their hindquarters hacked and are hamstrung.  On Lumbergia Ranch, three head of were cattle paralysed after being hit on the back with three heavy poles.  On Nkumi Ranch, six cattle were removed from snares still alive. Labour attempted to get maize from the makeshift depot and was told they had to liase with the "war vet" leaders from Nkumi for allocation.  On Rutenga Ranch the owner is leasing Nuanetsi Ranch where one cow was slaughtered.  Alko Ranch reports one steer missing, while Oerwoud Ranch  reports one calf missing.
Gutu/Chatsworth – at Wragley Farm two labourers on their way to report for work, were beaten up on the morning of 25.02.02 by Zanu (PF) youths. The youths state no one must report for work. Other labour was threatened and has congregated at the owner’s home, threatening to resign. A report has been made to Chatsworth Police Station.

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ABC News
Mugabe Seeks Rural Vote, Rivals Challenge Rally Ban
Feb. 26
By Stella Mapenzauswa
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe returns to his rural powerbase on Wednesday as the opposition mounts a legal challenge to a police ban on planned weekend rallies in Harare and Bulawayo ahead of March elections.
With 10 days to go to the presidential elections, Mugabe will hit the campaign trail in Mashonaland Central in the far north of the country as he seeks to harness the rural vote and extend his 22 years in power by a further six years.
Mugabe has embarked on a controversial land reform program to redistribute farmland from the white-owned minority to the majority black population, and polls show he draws most support from rural areas.
But polls also show many people are reluctant to indicate how they will vote in the March 9-10 elections.
Tension is mounting ahead of the elections and international pressure rising. The deteriorating situation in the country, where Mugabe has been accused of trying to rig the elections, is expected to dominate a Commonwealth summit next week.
Mugabe's opponent Morgan Tsvangirai was charged with high treason on Monday, a crime that carries the death penalty in Zimbabwe, over an alleged plot to assassinate Mugabe.
Tsvangirai said on Tuesday police had also banned his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party from holding planned weekend rallies in Harare and Bulawayo, MDC strongholds.
"We went to court to seek an interdict to allow us to continue with the Bulawayo rally. I understand that the latest position is that the rally has been canceled and so is a pre-authorized rally here in Harare on Sunday," he said after a meeting with international observers.

Zimbabwean police charged two more senior opposition figures with treason on Tuesday. MDC Secretary-General Welshman Ncube and MDC member of parliament Renson Gasela were accused of conspiring with Tsvangirai to oust 78-year-old Mugabe.
Mugabe has not yet commented on the charges or accusations that his ruling ZANU-PF is persecuting the MDC leadership ahead of the election.
Like Tsvangirai, Ncube and Gasela denied any guilt and were released on bail after they were charged.
Tsvangirai, who presents the stiffest challenge to Mugabe's 22-year rule, says he believes the government will not try to stop him from contesting the election.
The MDC hopes to turn public anger over a crumbling economy, now in its fourth straight year of recession, and severe food shortages into victory at the polls.
The United States and Britain have accused Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980, of trying to fix the election. The U.S. and the European Union have already clamped sanctions on Mugabe and his inner circle.
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Mugabe 'death plot film was doctored'
By David Blair
(Filed: 27/02/2002)

THE covertly shot video footage that is at the heart of the treason charges against Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's opposition leader, has been doctored, experts said yesterday.

Mr Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, has been charged with treason, an offence punishable by death, following the broadcast of film purporting to show him discussing the assassination of President Mugabe.
Mr Mugabe's official media seized on the footage, first shown by an Australian current affairs programme a fortnight ago.
They have used it as "evidence" to support the regime's theory that Mr Tsvangirai and a shadowy array of British supporters are planning a violent takeover.
The film has been a propaganda gift for Mr Mugabe and a six-minute clip was shown repeatedly on state television. The film was secretly shot by Dickens and Madson, a political consultancy hired by the regime.
Experts from the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe have analysed the state television clip and the transcript of the original programme, Dateline, which was shown on the SBS channel on Feb 13.
Andrew Moyse, head of MMPZ, said that a key section from Dateline, in which Mr Tsvangirai uses the word "eliminated" in connection with the president, had been "doctored".
The announcer says that Mr Tsvangirai plotted to "seize power with sections of the military, override parliament [and] suspend the elections" under a state of emergency that would follow the supposed murder of Mr Mugabe.
The programme then cuts to covertly shot footage showing Ari Ben Menashe, the head of Dickens and Madson, asking Mr Tsvangirai: "Who's going to call the emergency? Who is going to call the suspension of the constitution and the emergency?`"
Mr Tsvangirai replies: "No, they don't have to. All they need to do is tell the acting vice-president, 'Look we have got a crisis, we cannot proceed immediately after the head of state has been eliminated'.
To me, that is the fundamental issue. That plus how the two forces, the MDC on the one hand and the army on the other, can work together to ensure a smooth transition towards democracy through an election process."
In fact, after Mr Tsvangirai said the word "eliminated", 15 minutes passed before he talked, in a completely different context, of the MDC and the army working together. The final quote on the video was an amalgamation of two separate statements.
Mr Tsvangirai seemed to reject any idea of assassination in a statement that was not included in the Australian documentary: "We cannot move into a free and fair election under circumstances when the country is unstable because the head of state has gone."
The footage shown on state television was cut and re-arranged so that the effect was more damning.
Mr Moyse found that the timing given on the film, originally shot by surveillance camera, jumped from 9.45am to 9.25am to 9.43am and back to 9.27am before leaping forward to 9.52am and then to 9.44am.
He said: "Nowhere is there evidence of Tsvangirai initiating a conversation or seeking help about assassinating the president. There is nothing that would incriminate him."
Dickens and Madson said a meeting with Mr Tsvangirai in Montreal on Dec 4 was arranged and filmed "in order to obtain conclusive proof" of his intention to murder the president
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Journalist defends Mugabe plot story


THE Australian journalist who broke the story of the alleged plot to assassinate Robert Mugabe has accused the international community and media of turning a blind eye to the report because they were politically biased in favour of the Zimbabwean leader's rival, Morgan Tsvangirai. SBS Dateline reporter Mark Davis said that despite the existence of "clear evidence", no one wanted to believe Mr Tsvangirai -- a man many regard as the saviour of Zimbabwean democracy -- could be involved in the murder of a political rival.
"These latest developments in Zimbabwe don't surprise me in the least," Davis said in Sydney yesterday.
"What has surprised me is the head-in-the-sand attitude of the international community, and most of the media, in pretending the assassination plot hasn't happened.
"No one likes Mugabe and that's fair enough, but should that colour your journalism and your diplomacy so much you simply ignore the consequences?
"The consequences of this half-arsed assassination plan were always insane. It would have led to thousands of deaths, unquestionably thousands of deaths."
Davis, a winner of five Walkley awards for journalism, said he stood by the accuracy of his Dateline report, broadcast two weeks ago.
In particular, he remained convinced of the veracity of film taken by a hidden camera, which allegedly shows Mr Tsvangirai discussing the "elimination" of Mr Mugabe during a meeting in Montreal last December.
One of those at the meeting was Ari Ben-Menashe, a former Israeli secret agent who later told The Australian that his Canadian-based political consultancy firm, Dickens and Madson, had been hired by Mr Tsvangirai to organise Mr Mugabe's assassination.
"He (Mr Tsvangirai) tried to hire us to kill Mugabe," Mr Ben-Menashe said at the time.
He said the contract was worth $US500,000 ($980,000), of which a $US97,000 downpayment had been forwarded by a London-based public relations firm.
But Mr Ben-Menashe said that because the proposed assassination was an "illegal matter", he informed the Zimbabwean authorities, who then paid Dickens and Madson to swap sides and gather information about Mr Tsvangirai's plans.
That had involved persuading Mr Tsvangirai to come to Montreal last December, when the meeting was secretly filmed.
At the meeting, Mr Tsvangirai discussed the possibilities of sharing power with the armed forces once Mr Mugabe had been removed, delaying the election scheduled for next month and suspending the constitution.
Davis said he had been annoyed by suggestions the film from the hidden camera was a hoax, especially as Mr Tsvangirai had since confirmed his presence at the meeting.
But most annoying, he said, was the lack of international follow-up to the report.
"This was a very important story, and we made it very clear the Zimbabwean authorities also had this material and that it was going to have consequences," Davis said.
"What should have happened was the international community should have instantly engaged Mugabe to try to save the election process.
"Instead, everyone just pretended it wasn't happening."
Davis said the situation in Zimbabwe was now "very dangerous", and would remain so until the international community brokered a deal to ensure the election could proceed freely.
But the country's key democratic institutions, such as the parliament and the judiciary, would be at risk no matter who won the election.
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Australian Daily Telegraph

Mugabe's revenge

A DOCUMENTARY shown on Australia's SBS will be cited as the main evidence
for a high treason charge laid yesterday against the Zimbabwean Opposition
Leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, angry expatriate leaders said last night.
Supporters in Zimbabwe and overseas said Mr Tsvangirai had been set up by a
shadowy fringe figure, Ari Ben-Menashe, an Iranian-born Jew who claims links
with Israel's secret service, Mossad, hired by President Robert Mugabe.
The SBS film, screened on Dateline on February 13, was made by Australian
reporter Mark Davis.

Tsvangirai supporters claim it was heavily doctored before being shown and
it is certain to become a key factor in the nation's future, even if Mr
Mugabe loses the March 9-10 elections.

On British TV last night, Mr Ben-Menashe said of what appears to have been a
sting operation against Mr Tsvangirai: "The guy is not very smart." Asked if
he meant he was naive, Mr Ben-Menashe said: "I think he's stupid. Sorry."

Since the SBS program, it has been learned that Mr Ben-Menashe's Canadian
company Dickens & Madson, was working as "consultants" for the Zimbabwean

The grainy black-and-white film seems to show Mr Tsvangirai talking of a
coup against Mr Mugabe and the President's "elimination".

SBS was seen by expatriates here as having played an unwitting role in
leaving the road open for Mr Mugabe to cling to power. They thought it
unlikely he would detain Mr Tsvangirai before the elections, but diplomats
in Harare said last night that if he lost, Mr Mugabe technically would
remain in power for three weeks.

It was feared both in Harare and London, where there is the one of the most
active expatriate anti-Mugabe movements, Mr Mugabe could then move swiftly
to arrest Mr Tsvangirai on the high treason charges that carry the death

Mr Brighton Chlreka, at a London rally for Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change, said the charge was "far too convenient".

Mr Graham Crouch, a white Zimbabwean, said: "This will strengthen our
support. Zimbabweans aren't stupid." But the question remained: are they

The treason charge came a day after it was revealed that Mr Mugabe had
already plotted an escape route if he loses the election. Last night there
was speculation he was prepared to risk civil war by jailing, or even
executing, Mr Tsvangirai, if the election went against him.

In Harare, Mr Tsvangirai dismissed the charges as contrived. "This is all
part of the strategy to eliminate me," he said.

The choice of the word "eliminate" seemed a deliberate reference to the film
shown by SBS.

Zimbabwean state-controlled TV devoted 35 minutes to the charges against Mr
Tsvangirai and 15 seconds to his reply.

It also called Mr Ben-Menashe "a man of indisputable credibility" an opinion
previously shared, from his record, only by his mother.

He claims to have been "a friend" of Mr Mugabe's for "a long time"

A British intelligence source close to Zimbabwean affairs said: "That is
rubbish. This is a classic set-up."
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MPs twin with Zimbabwean candidates
By DENNIS BUECKERT-- Canadian Press
OTTAWA (CP) -- Canadian MPs are twinning with opposition politicians in Zimbabwe in hope of deterring attacks on them during that country's tense election campaign.
Fourteen Canadian parliamentarians have volunteered to stay in close touch with Zimbabwean MPs who have been attacked or are considered at risk in pre-electoral violence by government thugs.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe should know the whole world is watching the election, Liberal MP Irwin Cotler said Tuesday.
"This is to put the Zimbabwe government and Mugabe on notice that the kind of intimidation and violence he's been engaged in, he will be accountable for," said Cotler.
He said his "twin," Blessing Chebundo, has had his house destroyed, received death threats and narrowly avoided being set on fire after attackers doused him with gasoline.
New Democrat Bill Blaikie, another participant in the twinning program, said it can't guarantee candidates will be safe but should help deter attacks.
"We're doing what we can at this end."
Prime Minister Jean Chretien said the Zimbabwean elections will be the main topic at the meeting of Commonwealth leaders on the weekend in Australia.
With less than two weeks go until the March 9 election, two leading opposition politicians have been charged with treason for allegedly plotting to assassinate Mugabe.
There has been talk of suspending Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth but Canada has withheld its decision pending further developments.
"The situation in Zimbabwe is deteriorating every day," Chretien said after a cabinet meeting. "The situation is complicated, Canada will be in the avant garde to protect democracy in Zimbabwe."
Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham said he was checking into reports from Zimbabwe that all Canadian journalists will be refused permission to cover the elections.
Graham said he would be horrified if the reports in a Zimbabwean state-run newspaper prove accurate.

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