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

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Zim Online

MDC activists arrested for 'insulting' deputy minister
Sat 5 February 2005
  GWANDA - Thirteen opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
activists were this week arrested and fined Z$25 000 each by the police for
allegedly insulting deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Abednico Ncube.

      MDC publicity secretary for Matabeleland South province, in which
Gwanda lies, Edward Mkhosi told ZimOnline that the activists were in the
area on Wednesday campaigning when they met Ncube who was also canvassing
for support. Ncube is the ruling ZANU PF candidate for Gwanda in next
month's general election.

      The MDC activists waved their open palms at Ncube, which the deputy
minister claimed was insulting to him because the open palm is a symbol of
the opposition party.

      "Our youths flashed MDC signs (open palms) at Ncube's entourage and we
are surprised that doing so is a chargeable offence. We see this as part of
a common pattern of intimidation that is gradually returning to the province
and country at large," said Mkhosi.

      Ncube could not be reached for comment on the matter while the police
in Gwanda refused to comment on the matter and referred all questions to
national police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena, who could not be reached last
night. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

State prosecutors wrap up final submissions in spy trial
Sat 5 February 2005
  HARARE - State prosecutors yesterday concluded final submissions in the
trial of two ruling ZANU PF senior officials and another man accused of
selling intelligence information to foreign agents.

      Defence lawyers, who presented final submissions in mitigation earlier
this week, will on Monday respond to some points raised in the state's final

      The three men, ZANU PF external affairs director Itai Marchi,
Zimbabwe's ambassador-designate to Mozambique Godfrey Dzvairo, and bank
executive Tendai Matambanadzo - who have pleaded guilty - are accused of
selling state security information to a South African agent.

      ZANU PF chairman for Mashonaland West province Philip Chiyangwa and
the party's deputy security director Kenny Karidza are also accused of the
same alleged offence. The two are scheduled to appear in court separately at
a later date.

      The five men face up to 20 years in jail if found guilty of selling
intelligence information to foreign agents. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Learn from Jonathan Moyo's fall or face wrath of God, cleric warns Mugabe
Sat 5 February 2005
  BULAWAYO - Outspoken cleric Pius Ncube has called on President Robert
Mugabe to learn from his propaganda chief Jonathan Moyo's fall from grace
and abandon repression before God visits the same fate on him.

      "God works in mysterious ways. The current political crisis Jonathan
Moyo is going through is one of God's answers to the nation's prayers,"
Ncube, who is Roman Catholic archbishop for Bulawayo, told ZimOnline in an
interview earlier this week.

      Once one of Mugabe's closest and most powerful lieutenants, Moyo fell
out with the ruling ZANU PF party after attempting last year to scuttle the
appointment of Joyce Mujuru as ZANU PF's and Zimbabwe's second

      Moyo was dismissed by Mugabe from ZANU PF's key politburo and central
committee, barred from contesting in a general election next month and
nowsenior leaders in the ruling party are openly calling  for his dismissal
from the party and government altogether.

      Ncube said: "Moyo caused a lot of untold suffering to the people.
Several newspapers were forced to shut down leaving hundreds of workers
jobless. God has finally spoken."

      Hundreds of journalists were arrested and three newspapers including
Zimbabwe's largest and only non-government-owned daily, the Daily News, were
shut down under tough media laws crafted by Moyo.

      Mugabe could meet with the same wrath of God as Moyo for causing
untold suffering on Zimbabweans through his failed economic and land reform
policies, Ncube said.

      "Mugabe must repent in 2005 and change his ways, I mean wrong-doings.
Mugabe is bound to fail dismally. He must repent from his evil deeds and
start working towards the uplifting of the people," Ncube said. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Sat 5 February 2005
  BULAWAYO - At least 14 people, most of them children aged between three
and four years died of malnutrition-related illnesses in January compared to
four such deaths recorded the previous months, according to a health report
released by Bulawayo city council this week.

      The worst affected was the city's ward 10 which recorded seven deaths,
up from three last December. Health experts blame the deaths on poor diet
because of food shortages in the city which is located in one of the
country's most arid regions.

      Bulawayo Executive Mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, who has been threatened
with dismissal by the government for disclosing malnutrition-related deaths
in the past, refused to comment on the matter yesterday.

      But one senior medical officer with the city's health services
department, who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation, said
more children and older people in Bulawayo could die of hunger-related
illnesses in coming months if the government or food agencies do not provide
emergency food aid to the city.

      The United States-based Famine Early Warning Network last month said
that it expected hunger to peak across Zimbabwe during the first quarter of
the year.

      The Bulawayo medical officer said: "Families are battling to make ends
meet and as a result they find it difficult to adequately cater for
themselves in terms of food provision. It is therefore a fact that most
children are dying of malnutrition, and it is
      high time the government did something to stop this situation."

      The government last year ordered international food relief agencies to
take their help elsewhere saying  the country had harvested enough to feed
itself, a claim later proven false by an inquiry ordered by Parliament. -

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African Politics of Sit-Tightism

Daily Champion (Lagos)

February 4, 2005
Posted to the web February 4, 2005

Ifeanyi Ubabukoh

One cardinal reason why Nigerians are not truly convinced that President
Olusegun Obasanjo will not stay put in power after May, 2007 is that
political sit-tightism is the heart of Africa's traditional make-believe

Moreso, since the restoration of democracy to Nigeria, the ruling Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP) has striven to retain power by all means, fair or
foul. And as if in fulfillment of the boast of Chief Audu Ogbeh, who shortly
after he became the party's chairman in 2002, warned the PDP would remain in
power for 50 years.

Yes, sit-tightism is the staple of African democracy. In the post-colonial
Africa, political power is based on either of two pillars: weaponry or
popular consent. But in the almost two decades of the post-cold-war world
that seeks decency and common standards- democracy or multi-party elections,
market economy and observation of human rights, etc. - African politics have
doggedly glided to a preponderance of sit-tightism, a cloak for despotism.

A self-proclaimed messiah in khaki captures power by force of arms, and when
his people and the international community begin to howl dictator, he
hurriedly transforms himself, through a make-believe election, into a
civilian leader in agbada and constitutionally awards himself unlimited
presidential tenure. This is the case with the current rulers of Burkina
Faso, The Gambia, The Sudan, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Like his allies who rule Rwanda, Ethiopia and Eritrea, President Yoweri
Museveni, at the head of guerillas, sacked President Milton Obote's
government at Kampala 19 years ago and has since remained in power and
committed to "no-party" system, through which he has continued to win bogus
elections for indefinite tenure. Museveni's Uganda, like the likes
aforementioned, is a masked dictatorship.

In a modern democratic state, parties are in fact both necessary and
inevitable, since public opinion has to be consulted about policies which
the government is to follow. If politicians are not organised into parties,
it is an incoherent mass since in some way or another the electorate must be
presented with alternatives from which to choose. The competing parties
provide these alternatives. They offer the electorate a choice of policies
which are associated with particular political leaders who promise to carry
them out when they are voted to power. The primary function of a party,
then, is to define and to clarify issues for the electorate. It is not
surprising that Ugandan guerillas, excluded from power by the zero-party,
are fighting it out with Museveni.

With the end of the cold war in 1989, popular pressure for change began to
sweep the African continent. Strikes and demonstrations obliged many
autocrats to meet their critics in "national conferences". Multi-party
elections were held in hitherto one-party states of Benin (thrice), the Cape
Verde Islands, Cote d'Ivoire (twice), Gabon, Guinea, Namibia, Zambia
(thrice), Senegal (thrice), Botswana, Ghana (four times) and Congo

In the 1992 Congo Brazaville presidential election, President Paschal
Lissouba had defeated Gen. Dennis Sassou Nguesso, who had ruled the country
from 1979 to 1992. But in June, 1997, Gen. Nguesso backed by his "Cobra"
militia began fighting President Lissouba and eventually sacked the latter's
government in October, the same year. So, the ex-military ruler Nguesso has
defeated and driven away the elected President Lissouba by force of arms,
accusing him of perpetuating himself in power by manipulating electoral
process of the presidential election initially fixed for July 27, 1997 but
later shifted to no date. Subsequently, Nguesso arbitrarily approved the
country's constitution, and with it, sits tight in power indefinitely, or as
long as he retains his Cobra militia.

Sit-tightism is not, however, an exclusive preserve of ex-military rulers
who transformed themselves into civilian leaders. Once elected in
multi-party states, the civilian leaders have manipulated the constitution
to grant themselves perpetual tenures in office. The African tyrants,
soldiers and civilians alike, through manipulation of boundaries, the media,
the economy and the voters' roll that guarantees them control of the voting
and squashing of their opponents, have foisted on the people a make -believe
democracy, now commonly known as "donor democracy," just enough to keep the
aid-givers and the rest of the international community happy. Because
military rulers or repentant military dictators are smarter in this game,
"elected" soldiers are ruling half of the countries of West and Central

Even then, a number of African leaders, whose countries were never ruled by
the military, appear indifferent to the demands of the post-cold-war world.
President Paul Biya had ruled Cameroun for 15 years on three five-year
terms. In October that year and last year, Biya won kangaroo presidential
elections. That of 1997 was boycotted, and that of 2004 disputed, by the

It took opposition master-minded widespread bloody riots on the streets of
Kenya in 1997 to compel President Daniel Arap Moi, who had ruled Kenya since
1978, to accept a constitutional amendment limiting the president's tenure.
And when President Frederick Chiluba of Zambia, who had promised to vacate
the presidency at the expiry of his second and final term by the end of
2001, started taking dodgy steps to abridge the constitution (just as he did
in 1996 to stop ex-president from contesting the presidential election) to
extend his term of office ad infinitum, it took similar intensified
opposition to stop him.

But President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, is
yet to be persuaded to accommodate constitutional amendments similar to
Kenya's, which will really keep dictators in check. Since 1987 when he
metamorphosed from ceremonial presidency into executive presidency, Mugabe
has become very powerful. For example, he nominates 30 of the 150 seats in
parliament, of which the opposition won 57 seats (and later lost one in a
by-election) and the ruling Zanu-PF 62 seats in the June 24, 2000
parliamentary elections.

In Togo, President Gnasingbe Eyadema has remained in power for 38 years,
since 1967, after overthrowing and assassinating President Sylvanus Olympio
in 1963, the first recorded coup d'etat in Africa South of the Sahara. In
1991, Togo attempted to defang its dictator but it witnessed three coups in
the first week of October of that year, each designed to restore the
dictatorship of Eyadema. Today, Eyadema sits tight in power, conceding only
to appoint his own prime minister.

In addition are still African dictators clinging on to power, some of whom
have been in office since their countries became independent. El Hadj Omar
(formerly Albert Bernard) Bongo has been the president and
commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Gabon since 1967. AL Muammar
Gaddafi has remained the ruler of Libya since 1969.

The sit-tightism of African dictators did not start today. Tubman's Liberia,
Nkrumah's Ghana, Banda's Malawi and Siaka Steven's Sierra Leone are there
for all to see. By a series of amendments to the 1847 Liberian constitution,
President William Tubman was able to rule Liberia for 28 years, from 1943 to
1971, when he died in office. Tubman's stretching dictatorship provided the
background to the 1980 coup of Master-Sergeant Samuel Doe's Army Redemption
Council of enlisted men that killed Tubman's successor, President William

The subsequent civil war, which has not really ended, was somehow traceable
to the dominance of Tubman's Whig Party, which was continually in power for
90 years. Instructively, Doe came a dictator in Khaki and when he insisted
on remaining so in agbada by re-writing the constitution and manipulating
election results, the guerillas devoured him. This is why Nigerians must
become jittery that the ruling PDP is toeing the dangerous line of Tubman's
True Whig Party and Siaka Steven's APC - particularly in view of Ogbeh's

The sit-tight African dictators and those aspiring to be counted among them
on the continent may begin to express the jitters that the guerilla-infested
Africa may handle them in the same manner as Doe, Mobutu, Idi-Amin, Mengistu
Mariam and their likes.
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From: "Trudy Stevenson"
Sent: Saturday, February 05, 2005 4:09 PM
Subject: We're going to WIN!

I have received a few negative responses since our announcement that
we will participate in the forthcoming Parliamentary Election, mostly on the
lines of "You're going to lose."

Apart from the fact that the prospect of losing should never deter anyone
from fighting for a matter of principle,  I believe MDC has every
possibility of WINNING this election.  If not, I would have been reluctant
to join the consensus.

Look at ZanuPF - look at the SECOND POSTPONEMENT of their campaign launch!
For a party supposedly calling the shots, this is extremely difficult to
spin into a positive message.  Shamu or whoever had a good try with "
confident we even decided to postpone our launch.." but it doesn't pack
the punch of a Jono-spun response.

I remind everyone - the Tsholotsho rebellion was backed by 6 out of 10
provinces, plus the ZanuPF War Veterans' leader.  That is a big majority, in
numeric terms - and elections are to do with numbers.  Have we seen any
attempts at reconciliation in that party?  Not publicly, at any rate - so
perhaps it is more arm-twisting than reconciliation?  Will the arms remain
twisted - or will they soon revert to their natural state?

Is the Zimdollar strenthening - or weakening?  Are prices falling - or
rising?  Are people immigrating to Zimbabwe - or emigrating?  Is SADC
rallying round to endorse Mugabe, or keeping an embarrassed distance?

Now look at Iraq - a situation with many negative positions concerning their
election.  Did the majority boycott - or vote despite all the odds?  If you
were an Iraqi right now, would you be crying - or celebrating?

I believe that the people are stronger than their reporters think, and that
MDC is
the people's party.  The people always win - in the end!  So come on, folks,
have a bit of FAITH in People Power - and join that power!

Together, we can complete the change to A NEW ZIMBABWE and A NEW BEGINNING
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The Game is on!

Last week the government announced that the Parliamentary elections would be
held on the 31st March 2005. That gives us 8 weeks to campaign and do all
the things we have to do to compete effectively in the electoral process.
Not long. Fortunately we have in fact been hard at work on election
preparedness for several months and we were able to convene the National
Executive and the Council of the MDC within 48 hours and to decide - after
several hours of debate, to run in the election and then the following day,
to confirm 110 candidates out of a required 120 while ordering the re-run of
10 primaries where we were not satisfied with the procedures followed.

On the 12th February we will launch our campaign in Masvingo and on the same
day release our Party Manifesto and introduce our candidates. They will then
be submitted to the Nomination Courts on the 18th February for approval. In
the meantime our candidates - most of them, have already been in the field
for some weeks campaigning quietly under the noses of the powers that be!

There were some moving testimonies - three white farmers have been selected
by their districts to run as candidates - Roy Bennett has been confirmed
despite his incarceration by Parliament. Ian Kay - well known Marondera
farmer who was nearly beaten to death in the last campaign and whose great
friend Dave Stevens was in fact killed, won his primary by two thirds
majority. Threatened with death if he campaigned in the high-density
townships of Marondera, Ian went straight in and has been campaigning on the
ground for some time. Alan McCormack has gone back into Garuve and was
elected overwhelmingly by his District.

In the Mount Darwin district - a so called "no go area" for the MDC where we
have not been able to hold a meeting or canvas our structures for 4 years,
over 180 delegates from the district ward committees walked out of the bush
to attend the primaries - ordinary peasant farmers. They were supporting the
opposition on principle and voting with their lives on the line.

Who said that Africans do not care about principle or democracy? If you want
to see solid evidence of just that - attend any MDC function and watch the
disciplined, non-violent, commitment to democratic principles and human
rights. We are not a Party of intellectuals or the rich - you will see few
vehicles at our rallies, just thousands or ordinary, hard working people who
live simple lives. For me this is one of the most inspiring aspects of the

Will the elections be free and fair? Of course not - we have not had any
time on any of the State media for nearly three years, only hostile
propaganda against us poured out 24 hours a day. All our meetings are
monitored and most are banned by the Police on one pretext or another. In
the Honde valley our candidate - a single mother, has had 10 out of 11
meetings banned in the past few days. She reported that the regional
governor has told local traditional leaders that the MDC will not be allowed
to campaign in that District.

Our security agencies and the military will run the election - the new
Election Commission (brought into being in response to the SADC pressure!)
has yet to be given an office or staff - our letters to them are hand
delivered to their homes. Yet they are on paper, responsible for the voter's
roll (closed yesterday) and the actual voting procedures and the
administration of the poll itself. Huge responsibilities in an election with
millions of voters and 12000 polling stations. It is a sick joke.

Zanu has been planning the election for two years. They think they have it
sown up - the opposition cowed, the people confused and the process totally
in their hands. They were so confident 6 months ago that we had information
from inside Zanu PF that they were actually debating how many seats to allow
the MDC and which ones!

Now the battle is on. MDC is in fact better prepared for these elections
than Zanu PF - we already have a manifesto which is coherent and well
thought through on all issues, we have over 90 per cent of our candidates
appointed and running. We have been campaigning quietly on the ground
throughout the country for some time. We do not have any money - but we have
no debt and what we get in now will go to the coalface. Zanu PF on the other
hand has no candidates in many districts and is heavily in debt. They are
deeply divided on many issues and the bruising primaries have sapped
support. Thousands of traditional Zanu PF supporters - including many who
have become wealthy on the back of Zanu patronage, are disaffected.

Morgan Tsvangirai said this week "this election will be won or lost on
technical issues". He is right - if we had a free and fair election in which
people were free to make up their own minds and could vote freely for the
party of their choice, it would be no contest. MDC would win. But it is not
going to be like that and every aspect of this election is flawed. Even the
modifications introduced in response to the SADC protocols make this
election flawed - for example, no mobile voting stations - instead we have
12000 polling stations - how on earth do we supervise that vast spread and
remember the vote is counted at the polling stations this time. Fine, if we
have observers and polling agents - but we have no assurance that they will
be allowed and on past experience, they will be barred from the process.

In 2000 Vice President Muzenda (since deceased) said, "If we (Zanu PF) put
up a baboon as a candidate, you must vote for them". Well we will see if
this is the case this time! We have done all we can to ensure that the
people have a choice. I think we have a chance - but we need help to make it

MDC needs - a great deal of money to campaign, to catch up in the media when
we finally are allowed space, to organise on the ground so that every
polling station is covered by trained and dedicated polling agents. We need
volunteers to man our campaign offices, to run errands and to do the million
and one things that must be done. In addition we are asking specifically for
volunteers to provide vehicles, drivers and fuel and food for polling day.
These will be used to deploy polling agents on the day before polling, to
then supervise the poll at up to 5 polling stations and then co-ordinate the
results from counting that night for relay to national headquarters. Why not
take three days leave and come and have some fun on the ground with us - and
in the process make sure that this time, the result is not stolen from the

E G Cross

Bulawayo, 5th February 2005

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Workers persuaded MDC to join poll
          February 05 2005 at 01:50PM

      By Peta Thornycroft

      Harare - The working-class supporters of the Movement for Democratic
Change persuaded the party leadership not to oppose participation in
Zimbabwe's general election next month.

      Until a few weeks ago, some of the MDC's most influential and
thoughtful leaders were adamant that the party should not take part.

      Over the Christmas holidays those "morally" committed to a boycott of
the poll - their fundamental objection being the inflated voters' roll -
came under intense pressure from supporters to change their minds.

      This emerged at the MDC's national executive meeting on Wednesday and
at a session of its national council on Thursday morning.

       Tendai Biti, MDC's finance secretary, said: "I hope it is clear that
the MDC has reserved its rights about participating.

      "It should be understood we are participating under extreme protest.
We know the voters' roll is fraudulent but the pressure from the working
class was intense and overwhelming."

      On Wednesday the MDC leadership completed investigations into several
complaints from disappointed aspiring candidates. If MDC candidates lacked
the support of two-thirds of the party officials in their constituencies,
they had to submit themselves for election.

      Most, but not all, of the opposition's sitting MPs have won the right
to stand again.

      Imprisoned MP Roy Bennett was the only one whose name was put forward
by his constituency in eastern Zimbabwe, weeks before his November
sentencing for having shoved justice minister Patrick Chinamasa in

      Bennett's wife, Heather, said this week she was not sure whether her
husband would be willing to stand again. He is not excluded from standing
because his prison conviction was decided by parliament, not the courts, so
technically he has committed no crime.

      The MDC will have five white candidates, one more than in the 2000
parliamentary poll. Ian Kay - a former dispossessed farmer beaten so badly
when the programme of evicting white farmers began in 2000 that he nearly
died - is standing in Marondera constituency 90km south-east of Harare.

      He is standing in the constituency in which he lived before the ethnic
purge and will be up against defence minister Sidney Sekeremayi, who won his
seat by only 38 votes in 2000.

      On the inflated roll of 5,6-million voters, fewer than 10 000 white
voters probably remain.

      MDC justice secretary David Coltart said the members of his "audit"
team who began to look at the voters' roll in his Bulawayo constituency
yesterday were all arrested.

      "These youngsters had a letter signed by me asking residents to fill
in their details but saying that they were under no obligation to

      "We want to find out who is registered, who has been left out, who has
moved away from the constituency, because we know the voters' roll is

      "The police have taken the forms and my laminated letter and told the
youths that I needed official permission for this audit, which is not so."

      The six team members were released late yesterday without charge.

      Police spokespersons at national headquarters in Harare were not
answering their cellphones yesterday.

      The biggest surprise for political observers in Zimbabwe may be that
the MDC has survived to fight another election at all.

      Insiders say there are some constituencies in Zanu-PF's rural
strongholds, particularly in Mashonaland West province, where no party
structures remain.
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      Zimbabwe issues cholera alert 2005-02-05 21:08:09

          HARARE, Feb. 5 (Xinhuanet) -- The Zimbabwean Ministry of Health
and Child Welfare has issued a cholera alert in Manicaland following the
outbreak of the disease, which killed four people in the province last

          The ministry said in a statement released on Saturday that people
intending to visit the affected areas should take preventative measures to
avoid contracting the disease and spreading it to other areas.

          "Since January 26, 20 cases have been treated while four people
have died," said the ministry.

          Any suspected cholera cases must be reported to health workers,
said the ministry. People in affected areas should drink safe water, cook
and eat their food.

          Cholera is a severe, diarrheal disease that kills in a short
period. People affected by the disease lose body fluids through diarrhea and
vomiting. The patient becomes weak and dies if the fluids are not quickly
replaced. Enditem
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to: with subject line "For: Open Letter Forum".

Thought of the Day:

"Democracy is when you're not closed for being open."

Vlada Bulatovitch.


- Seeking - Major Andrew Fuller - Peter Bellingham


Letter 1: SEEKING - MAJOR ANDREW FULLER, received 4 February 2005

by Peter Bellingham

Can you assist me please.  I have been asked by a friend in the United
Kingdom if I can assist in advising what has happened to her friend, Major
Andrew Fuller, who used to farm in the Bromley/Melfort/Ruwa area.  She has
lost contact with him.  Can you assist please.

Peter Bellingham
Ex Assistant Commissioner BSAP


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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Zimbabwe says citizens abroad can only vote at home

February 05, 2005, 11:45

Zimbabwe's government has opposed a court bid by a group of Zimbabweans
living abroad who want to vote in the March elections, saying they can only
take part if they come back home, state media reported today.

The six Zimbabweans, based in Britain, filed an urgent application in
Zimbabwe's Supreme Court on Monday challenging laws that bar them from
voting in the March 31 parliamentary poll.

Under existing electoral laws only Zimbabweans outside their home
constituencies on national duty can cast postal votes - a requirement
critics say has disenfranchised more than 3 million people living abroad.

Zimbabwe's voters roll has 5.6 million names on it, but it is not clear how
many of those people live outside the country.

Opposing the application, the attorney general's office said President
Robert Mugabe's government would only be in breach of the constitution if it
barred its citizens living abroad from returning home to vote in their

No date has been set for the hearing.

Critics say Mugabe's government wants to block Zimbabweans abroad from
voting because it fears they will support the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

The MDC this week lifted a boycott threat to take part in the polls but said
the political climate was still tilted in favour of Mugabe's ZANU-PF, which
it accuses of rigging parliamentary polls in 2000 and a presidential vote
won by Mugabe two years later.

Mugabe insists he won fairly and has declared that next month's elections
will bury the MDC, a party he says is a puppet of former colonial power
Britain. - Reuters

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

MDC probes Tsvangirai?

Takunda Maodza
issue date :2005-Feb-05

THE opposition MDC has ordered an investigation into the Masvingo Central
parliamentary primary elections reportedly conducted by party leader Morgan
Tsvangirai last month, which saw incumbent legislator Silas Mangono lose to
lawyer, Tongai Matutu.

The MDC national council threw out other appeals from incumbent legislators
who lost the right to represent the opposition in the March parliamentary
In an interview with The Daily Mirror yesterday, party secretary general
Welshman Ncube said: "On Masvingo Central the national council referred the
matter for investigations by the management committee of the party."
Asked why the president of the MDC is said to have personally conducted the
primary election, Ncube referred this newspaper to Tsvangirai. "I can't
answer that. Why don't you ask him?"
Contacted for comment yesterday Tsvangirai said "You have got it all wrong.
Go to your source,  he or she must tell you the correct story. You can not
come to me to confirm lies."
His spokesperson William Bango said on Sunday, the MDC will be holding a
constituency committee meeting in Masvingo Central.
Said Bango: "Every elected official from wards up to districts executives
will be there to deal with the campaign and disputes arising from the non
confirmation of Mangono."
In a document leaked to The Daily Mirror and allegedly written by Mangono,
the legislator blamed the MDC leadership for the intra-party crisis in
 "I and the people of Masvingo Central constituency feel greatly betrayed
and let down by the top leadership of the party who preach democracy, good
governance and peaceful free and fair elections yet in the conduct of party
affairs allow dictatorship, bad administration of primary elections and
violence unchecked," read the document.
The document went on: "The classical fraud occurred on16 January 2005 when
the national party president (Tsvangirai) came to conduct a primary election
in Masvingo Central. The organising department, through Mr Mdlongwa and Mr
Mukashi had communicated to everyone that the primary elections had been
postponed so I and many district and ward executives committee members were
absent. These have since petitioned the party.
"We knew the president (Tsvangirai) was coming to Masvingo to meet the
provincial executive so we were waiting for him at the Flamboyant Hotel when
we heard he was addressing a primary election."
The document alleged that Matutu hired Masvingo Central district youth
executive to terrorise officials and members perceived to be his supporters.
Efforts to contact Matutu proved fruitless.
Of the violence, Mangono according to the document said: "Evidence is there
in the form of photographs, video, hospital cards and numerous reports
written by the victims. On 26 December  2004, I brought one badly injured
victim to the president's house and he had to fork $300 000 for medical
It was further alleged that Mangono was attacked by youths he aligned to
Matutu on October 9 2004 who poured battery acid on his head.
"It is clear to me that many people in Masvingo Central that there is an
attempt by one section of the top leadership to impose a candidate of their
choice. This section has refused to solve the problems in Masvingo Central
because they knew that if fairness and justice prevailed their candidate
would lose, so they have promoted violence and fraud," lamented the
Contacted for comment on the authenticity of the material, Mangono said:
"The issue is under investigation, therefore the only person who is
competent to comment is party spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi."
Nyathi referred all issues relating to appeals and petitions to organising
secretary, Esaph Mdlongwa who was unreachable.
Turning to the intra-party woes in Harare, Ncube said the MDC dismissed an
appeal for the nullification of results in Mabvuku by incumbent legislator,
Justin Mutendadzamera and confirmed Timothy Mubhawu as the official
On Budiriro, Ncube said the appeal was rejected while in Mbare there were no
MDC supporters in Budiriro had called for a  re-run of the confirmation
exercise won by Gilbert Shoko claiming it was flawed.
The grievances were forwarded to the national council whose decision fell in
favour of Shoko.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

GMB manager has case to answer

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-05

THE Grain Marketing Board's (GMB) Midlands Regional Manager, Goodwill Shiri,
will soon be hauled before the parastatal's disciplinary committee after a
probe into allegations of abusing the quasi-government institution's maize
and vehicles, to win votes in the recent Zanu PF primaries, revealed that he
had a case to answer.
Trouble for Shiri started when he stood against the Minister of State for
State Enterprises and Parastatals, Rugare Gumbo, in Mberengwa East and lost,
amid allegations that he had illegally moved grain to the constituency to
woo supporters.
He initially sprang a surprise against the minister, but his victory was
short-lived after Gumbo appealed against the outcome on the grounds that
counting had not been done at two polling stations, Urasha and Mbuya
The appeal was successful, and when results from the two centres were
included, Gumbo emerged the victor.
In an interview yesterday, GMB's acting chief executive officer, Samuel
Muvuti said a team that was dispatched to investigate the allegations found
that Shiri had a case to answer.
" We now have our facts, and he will appear before a disciplinary committee
soon. Apparently what we heard was true," Muvuti said.
He refused to say much on the issue, saying it would be subjudice, as Shiri
had not yet appeared before the committee.
In Makoni West, where incumbent Zanu PF MP, Gibson Munyoro attributed the
Minister of Agriculture, Joseph Made's victory to the distribution of GMB
inputs, Muvuti said the allegations were not true.
 The parastatal's acting boss added that a team that was sent to investigate
Shiri is also the one, which was sent to Makoni west to probe allegations
against Made.
No comment could be obtained from Shiri yesterday as he was unreachable.
Last Sunday he told The Daily Mirror that he was being framed."I am not
aware of anything. There is nothing amiss, " Shiri said.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Opposition party a home of total confusion: Tekere

From Netsai Kembo in Mutare
issue date :2005-Feb-05

FORMER Zanu PF secretary general and veteran nationalist Edgar Tekere has
lashed out at the MDC for "dilly dallying" in announcing its decision to
take party in the March parliamentary elections and described the opposition
as a home of "total confusion."
Tekere said by dragging its feet on whether to contest in the polls, the MDC
had shot itself in the foot since it was now late for the opposition to
effectively communicate its participation to its rural structures.
The MDC on Thursday announced that it would take part in the parliamentary
elections, ending five months of a poll boycott.
They had cited an uneven political playing field, which they continue to say
tilts heavily  in favour of Zanu PF.
The opposition, among other things, accused government of denying access to
the public media, use of draconian laws like POSA and AIPPA to baselessly
prosecute as well as harass the opposition members and scuttle free flow of
It also demanded full implementation by government of the Sadc  protocol on
democratic elections.
Tekere-who fell out of favour with the ruling Zanu PF in 1989, said the move
to contest in the parliamentary election by the MDC would confuse the
"The party has lots of mix-ups.  They never seem to know what exactly to do.
One time they say this, and the next say that but all to their
 disadvantage," Tekere said. "What a pity that they are now saying they will
contest the general elections in protest and yet word had already spread
like veld-fire that they would not participate? Who would ever take them
seriously even if they declared to participate in protest? That's a
non-starter in Zimbabwe. Participation would remain participation."
Tekere reiterated that the worthiness of any party was determined by its
performance in national elections and for the MDC to boycott was rendering
itself totally insignificant and a betrayal of supporters.
"Inyadzi chete. Vanoziva kuti havahwini.  Vaitika vanoda kugadziridza
hupfumi.  Saka vapinde, vahwineka vagadzirise (They are ashamed. They know
they will never win. They said they would like to rebuild the country's
economy.  Now they should participate and win and fulfil their promise),"
added Tekere.
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ABC Radio, Australia


      Mugabe government criminalises aid organisations
      Correspondents Report - Sunday, 6 February , 2005
      Reporter: Rochelle Mutton
      HAMISH ROBERTSON: One African country where poverty is unlikely to be
halved by the year 2015 is Zimbabwe, whose once flourishing economy is in a
state of near collapse.

      Millions of Zimbabweans now face starvation in a country whose farming
sector used to be one of the most efficient in Africa.

      Critics of President Robert Mugabe's regime say government policies
are largely to blame. But despite widespread international condemnation,
Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF government remains defiant, and is even taking control of
all humanitarian relief.

      Under a proposed new law, the Non-Governmental Organisations Bill,
charity will become a crime, with aid workers facing jail terms.

      Because foreign reporters are also banned from operating in Zimbabwe,
Rochelle Mutton visited the country secretly to compile this report.

      (Sound of children laughing and playing)

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: These kids are on a special outing, organised by a
local church in Zimbabwe. To hear them squeal with this much excitement is
rare. But today they've been filled with food and love. Most are orphans
with little to laugh about.

      I spoke to one of the girls, Julia, who's 14.

      JULIA: I feel better because.

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: She's watching the others play games as she tells me
her tragic story. Her mum died eight years ago, dad two years later, both
from AIDS. Julia and her two brothers survive on help from an international
NGO that pays for their food, education and clothing.

      In a country where one in four adults are HIV positive, Zimbabwe has
one million orphans. People are desperate. A new law is about to make it a
whole lot worse.

      GRAEME SHAW: You can be sure a significant number of people are
already dying of starvation and the numbers will increase as we go forward.

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: Graeme Shaw is a Methodist Minister in Bulawayo.
Because his church runs a feeding program he could go to prison. The ruling
Zanu-PF Party has just passed a bill that makes humanitarian aid illegal.

      GRAEME SHAW: Zanu-PF is seeking now to take total control of the food
supply and distribution in the country. They no longer welcome those who are
effectively feeding the people. You could say that charitable work has been

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: This young pastor knows the orphans' needs. He's from
Gokwe north, where there's a bad drought.

      PASTOR: As we are getting to a period that there is a drought or
there's not enough food it becomes serious. yeah, like some doesn't want to
go to school because there's no food.

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: It was getting help from the Swiss Medair Charity
that fed 90,000 school children. Because he's been helping the orphans, this
pastor hadn't heard the bad news from home.

      PASTOR: So they've been recently kicked out?

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: They've been denied registration, they've been denied
worker's permits and they've left the country.

      KERRY KAY: It's absolute insanity. It's the breakdown of everything
and anything that would assist communities and uphold service organisations
from the Swiss, the Dutch, that have assisted in orphan programs, in income
generating projects, in water, boreholes, education.

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: Kerry Kay was running a national HIV AIDS program
that the Government closed down. She condemns it for its NGO Bill.

      KERRY KAY: They want total and absolute control. So anything that's
got any influence on the people of Zimbabwe and especially to do with
feeding or caring is a threat now. It's absolute madness. I've tried for a
week to get millimeal, staple diet of the people, and it's today is the
first day I've managed to get ten KGs here.

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: What happens to the children who were on those
feeding programs, now?

      KERRY KAY: Only God knows. Really, I think it's horrendous.

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: David Coltart is Shadow Minister for Justice in the
Zimbabwe Parliament. He says the NGO Bill is designed to use food as a
political weapon and hush up severely embarrassing reports about the Mugabe
Government's human rights abuses.

      DAVID COLTART: They fear that they will face prosecution if they lose
power. And so the NGO Bill has now been necessary, in their view, because
they are convinced that the NGOs have supplemented the flow of information
out of the country.

      I think it's designed to have a chilling effect so that NGOs will
constantly be looking over their shoulder, wondering whether they'll fall
foul of the law and locked up in cells. The victims will be the hundreds of
thousands if not millions of poor Zimbabweans who've benefited from NGOs.

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: Even at the threat of being thrown in a Zimbabwe
prison, some, like Reverend Shaw, are willing to defy the Mugabe regime.

      GRAEME SHAW: Our mandate to feed the starving comes from God himself.
That is all the mandate that we need. We do not need the State's permission
to do this work.

      HAMISH ROBERTSON: Graeme Shaw, who's a Methodist Minister in Bulawayo,
talking to Rochelle Mutton about the implications of the NGO Bill which has
now been passed Zimbabwe's parliament.
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Honesty With the Debt Question

This Day (Lagos)

February 5, 2005
Posted to the web February 5, 2005

Basil Enwegbara

I have always asked myself, why should anyone forgive you what you owe him
or her if you are not living like a debtor, if your lifestyle remains
extravagant and reckless. I have always wondered why our creditors should
just unilaterally forgive our debts simply because we are crying out loud
for their forgiveness. I have always wondered why should they loud given
their businesslike intentions?

There two important reasons why I always ask myself these questions, and I
would like you also to be fair to yourself and ask the same questions. One
is: did he or she lend with the intention to forego his or her money later?
The second question is: if he or she foregoes his money, will he or she be
ready to lend you next time? These bring us to another obvious question: why
did he or she lend you money in the first place, as a "Father Christmas"?

If a wealthy family lends money to a neighbouring poor family, and comes to
discover that this poor family is reckless in spending, and that the parents
of this poor family are more extravagant than them, shouldn't the children
of the lending parents demand their parents not to forgive the borrower?
Since nations are not quite different from families, aren't leaders
accountable to their citizens, who elected them to protect their national
interests? Are these leaders and their fellow citizens not reading our daily
newspapers? How one scandal of massive public corruption leads to another in
Nigeria? Just like the rich parents, what will these curious leaders have as
reasons to forgive us our debt?

Why should a money-lender who lives off the proceeds of his/her business,
willingly lets go this bonanza? Put differently: why should a wealthy nation
like Nigeria, at least as far as oil is concerned, expect debt forgiveness?
What are we expecting the importers of our oil to use in paying for the oil?
Or will we give it to them free of charge? In other words, isn't keeping us
indebted one way to keep the oil flowing uninterrupted? On this basis, it is
understandable why the money-lenders are playing with words, why they don't
want to tell us the painful truth --that is, that they will never forgive
our debts or let us off the trap, notwithstanding our noisy outcry. But if
we are fair enough, or realistic enough we can easily see where they are
coming from. Of what benefits are forgiving our debts to them? Not any.

As we refuse to be responsible for our problems, it is quite understandable
why those who benefit from our irresponsibility will never let's off the
hook. Human nature is what it has always been--the strongest and most
intelligent animal is better equipped in taking advantage of the weakest and
least intelligent animal. It is a historical truism that the weakest species
as an endangered species in animal kingdom must always remain prey for the
survival of the strongest, even if that means its gradual extinction.

Our money-lenders are no different. They have exploited every opportunity
our weakness presents. As borrowers without anyway out, without any way of
demonstrating an ability to pay back, the lender has to increase his
benefits to offset the high risk our money-lenders have always seen
opportunity coming. Our story today no different from today's American
credit card debtors who are trapped in Credit Union. Once in the trap of the
Credit Unions, these poor American debtors are followed wherever they go.
They are only left with a meagre percentage of their income just to keep
alive in order to continue paying. And any slight failure to meet the date
forces them start over again. Because the creditors are in a union, any
efforts to escape from the trap are frustrated. To leave one for another,
one is asked to go and clear one's debt first before contemplating the

The agonies of poor Americans are the same Nigeria's agonies. Like the poor
Americans indebted for life, Nigeria is in the trap of its life too. Little
wonder our creditors now decide how we spend the fraction that comes to us
after paying the huge interest on interests that we owe to them. Little
wonder the money-lenders never lend us money for capital projects, products
critical to our economic and industrial take-off. Little wonder our
money-lenders have, rightly in their own interest, made us perpetual
borrower and debtor. Little wonder these money-lenders have allowed us to
borrow to finance consumption rather than production. Little wonder they
have allowed us to borrow to run and maintain big government, large defence,
and to maintain expensive diplomatic missions wherever they too have. In
short, little wonder they have allowed us to borrow not for economic and
industrial development reasons but for the consumption of their products.

We are now trapped. Just like the poor American trapped inside the credit
union, we are inside the briefcase of the global financial institutions. And
no amount of our outrage can let us off the hook. Or are they stupid to let
us go? No, they are not. This is because who else will take our current
place? Just think about it; a prey held as meal by a hungry lion is crying
out for help. Help from whom, from the same lion, the king of the forest?
From where will the next meal come if it let loose the prey?

To make sure we are not secretly planning to put our creditor out of
business, they have ways kept a close watch on us. That includes sitting on
the boards of all our critical development initiatives so that they can make
sure they are in control, and that there are no surprises. Certainly
determining what comes out of our every development initiative requires
first controlling what goes into the initiative in the first place. This is
where Alexander the Great's art of strategy has been well applied. Alexander
the Great taught his followers that their ability to defeat opponents would
depend on their ability to constantly master opponents' strengths and
weaknesses, and if possible, be in charge of their critical affairs, watch
them so closely, and make them friends. This is the same reason why our
lenders are interested in who is elected President, who are the cabinet
ministers, who are responsible for formulating and sharpening economic and
development policies for Nigeria, and what are the next budgets focusing on?

It is for this same reason that they will never allow us to invest in
revenue generating projects because having positive returns on our
investment, and accumulating capital have the likelihood of making us repay
our debts in full. It is for this same reason that they won't allow us
invest massively in health care infrastructure, in agriculture, in building
and expanding our transportation network, and in improving energy sector and
water supply. Most importantly, it is because of this reason that our
money-lenders disapprove of our investing in technological advances and
research driven education and training. It is the same reason that they use
some of us to disrupt any genuine efforts that are geared towards real
change, by coming up with a parallel project which has to be abandoned as
soon as it is able to achieve the objective of disruption. But is there
anything wrong with the activities of the money-lender? I will always say

But why should we always blame only the money-lenders? What about their
Nigerian connivers who help to frustrate our development efforts? Or have we
forgotten that there are Nigerians, who, today make wealth off our debt,
simply because each time we pay interest on interests, they too get paid
their own percent commission for helping facilitate the payments? Of course,
are these, too are Nigerians demanding debt forgiveness?

I will argue--if we are serious about this debt problem thing, that we begin
with the examination of what we really want to achieve in pursuing debt
forgiveness. This is where I commend President Obasanjo's recent efforts,
his seeing the debt issue as a serious cancer that is devouring the entire
body, which must be stopped. I would like the president to go further and
present a bill to the National Assembly that would make it illegal for any
government in Nigeria, federal or state to seek or obtain foreign or
domestic loan without first seeking the approval of the people, on whose
interest the money is being borrowed. The law should also make any foreign
or domestic lender as co-conspirator should the lender go ahead to lend
money without the approval of the people.

Finally, I strongly believe that notwithstanding our president's smart move,
Nigeria cannot go it alone. African governments should come together to tell
the world of money-lenders that the debt burden has bankrupted and destroyed
Africa that that should no longer be allowed to continue, if continent
expect a future for next generations. Our leaders should declare these debts
null and void, and appeal to the friends of Africa to help us lead a debt
cancellation campaign. But African leaders should also recognise that
without funding this campaign and hiring powerful lobbyists, the campaigns
won't get anywhere. So, rather than continuing to pay out billions annually
to meet interest on interests, our leaders should fund these efforts.
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