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

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Zim Online

Tues 8 February 2005
  HARARE - Defiant Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has refused to drop a
defamation lawsuit against ruling ZANU PF party chairman John Nkomo and
another senior party leader insisting the two should pay for lying to
President Robert Mugabe about him.

      ZANU PF sources told ZimOnline yesterday that emissaries had been sent
to Moyo by party leaders from his Matabeleland home region urging him to
withdraw a Z$2 billion suit against party national chairman John Nkomo and a
senior member of the party's inner politburo cabinet, Dumiso Dabengwa.

      The decision to approach Moyo was taken in a bid to avoid splitting
the ZANU PF vote in Tsholotsho constituency where the acerbic state
propaganda chief is immensely popular but has been barred from representing
the party.

      Tsholotsho, which is also Moyo's home area, is presently held by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change party.

      "The guy is defiant. He is refusing to drop the lawsuit," said one
ZANU PF official who did not want to be named.

      According to the official, Moyo appeared to have adopted a more
defiant stance against the ZANU PF leadership in Matabeleland after Vice
President Joseph Msika blocked a delegation of chiefs from Tsholotsho from
meeting Mugabe to ask him to let Moyo contest the March election.

      Moves in the last two weeks by some members of the party politburo,
most of them from Matabeleland, to have Moyo dismissed from the party and
government also appear to have made the embattled propaganda chief more
unco-operative, the source said.

      Moyo could not be reached for comment on the matter yesterday but
lawyers acting on his behalf said he was pressing on with the suit against
Nkomo and Dabengwa.

      "We have not received any instructions from our client to discontinue
with the case. In fact, the two respondents have lodged appearance to defend
papers. We now await their detailed responses," said Bulawayo lawyer, Cosamu
Ncube, who is representing Moyo in the matter.

      Msika said he had blocked the Tsholotsho chiefs from meeting Mugabe
because there was "no reason for the chiefs to see the President over the
Tsholotsho issue. It is a closed issue."

      In papers filed at the Bulawayo High Court last month, Moyo accuses
Nkomo and Dabengwa of lying when they told a public gathering that a meeting
of ZANU PF provincial chairmen he called in Tsholotsho last November was to
plot a coup against Mugabe and the entire ZANU PF top leadership. The two
deny the charge.

      Once one of Mugabe's closest and most powerful lieutenants, Moyo's
career in ZANU PF has hung by the thread since falling out with the
President after allegedly attempting to scuttle the appointment of Joyce
Mujuru as second vice president of ZANU PF and Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Back ZANU PF or starve, chiefs tell villagers
Tues 8 February 2005
  MATABELELAND SOUTH - Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
officials here yesterday accused traditional chiefs of forcing their
subjects to back the ruling ZANU PF party threatening to deny
government-supplied maize to those who refuse.

      To be allowed to buy cheaper-priced maize from the government's Grain
Marketing Board, starving villagers must be on a food assistance register
kept by the chief. Chiefs also issue letters authorising the GMB to sell
maize to their subjects.

      The GMB is the only company permitted to trade in maize and is the
only institution supplying subsidized maize to the majority of hungry
Zimbabweans after the government barred international food agencies from
doing so.

      According to opposition officials, chiefs in Tsholotsho, Umzingwane,
Insiza and other constituencies in the province have told their subjects to
attend ZANU PF campaign rallies only, with those who defy the order or
attend MDC rallies being removed from the food register.

      "ZANU PF wants to take advantage of the food crisis it created to earn
votes," said the opposition party's provincial spokesman, Edward Mkhosi.

      MDC Member of Parliament for Tsholotsho Mtoliki Sibanda said villagers
had little option except to abide by the chiefs' orders or they starve.

      He said: "The chiefs and headmen are alleged to have issued public
warnings against attendance of MDC rallies. The threatened penalty is
removal from the food aid registers. People are starving, they have no
choice but to oblige."

      But acting ZANU PF chairman for Matabeleland South Rido Mpofu
dismissed as "mere election time propaganda" suggestions that chiefs were
using food to blackmail their subjects to support the ruling party.

      Mpofu said his party had instructed all its candidates in the March
election to wage a "clean campaign" for office. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

ZANU PF spies to be sentenced today
Tues 8 February 2005
  HARARE - Two senior ruling ZANU PF party officials and another man accused
of selling intelligence information to South African spies will be sentenced
today after state and defence lawyers wrapped up their final submissions

      State prosecutor Morgan Nemadire told reporters after yesterday's
court session: "Both the defence and the state have ultimately finished
their pre-sentencing addresses. It is now up to the court to consider the
submissions and settle on a sentence."

      Regional magistrate Peter Kumbawa, who briefly opened the court to the
public so that relatives and friends could get a glimpse of the accused,
said: "Technically, we have just called you in because I know there are
families who want to see their relatives. We will meet again tomorrow
(today) to work out sentence."

      The hearing has been conducted under tight security and in camera with
the Press as well as close relatives barred from court. The defence
andprosecution were also officially barred from divulging any information
about the trial.

      The accused three men, ZANU PF external affairs director Itai Marchi,
Zimbabwe's ambassador-designate to Mozambique Godfrey Dzvairo, and bank
executive Tendai Matambanadzo, pleaded guilty to the charge but later
unsuccessfully tried to alter plea to not guilty.

      Two other ZANU PF officials, the party's chairman for Mashonaland West
province Philip Chiyangwa and its deputy security chief Kenny Karidza are
also accused of selling intelligence information to the South Africans. The
two who deny the charge against them face trial at a later date.

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

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Zim Online

South Africa grills Zimbabwe's state security agents
Tues 8 February 2005
  MUSINA - South Africa's police questioned and freed three members of
Zimbabwe's feared secret state security agency and a civilian who were on a
mission to spy on a meeting between the countries' two trade union leaders.

      South Africa's Limpopo province spokesperson Ronel Otto confirmed the
incident saying the four Zimbabweans were allowed to go back home after

      The four, three of whom are members of the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO), were picked up after they tried to enter the lodge where
the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), were meeting a
delegation from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to discuss
whether conditions in South Africa's northern neighbour were conducive for
the holding of free and fair elections in March.

      Zimbabwe holds the crucial election on March 31 with President Robert
Mugabe's ZANU PF party squaring off with the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party.

      The Zimbabwe authorities reacted angrily to the COSATU visit,
deporting the delegation as soon as it set foot at the Harare international
airport. A similar visit by COSATU last August also ended in acrimony when
the delegation was unceremoniously bundled out of the country.

      In the latest stand-off with the government, the ZCTU leaders were
forced to drive to Musina to meet the deported COSATU team amid fears that
Zimbabwe's CIO agents were trailing the trade unionists.

      COSATU secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi threatened to blockade the
border in retaliation if the ZCTU leaders were harmed. - ZimOnline
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Tripartite alliance meet to discuss Cosatu saga

February 08, 2005, 05:30

Tripartite alliance partners are meeting today to discuss last week's
expulsion of Cosatu from Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe's government
turned away a 20-member Cosatu delegation at Harare airport, on the grounds
that they did not follow proper channels to enter the country.

Cosatu was on a fact-finding mission to probe alleged human rights abuses
ahead of the March 31 poll.

Today's meeting between the African National Congress, South African
Communist Party and Congress of South African Trade Union will set
time-frames regarding Cosatu's proposals of embarking on protests outside
Zimbabwean embassies in Southern African Development Communities, as well as
blockades at border gates.

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Zimbabwe moves to fast-track farm seizures
          February 08 2005 at 07:03AM

      By Peta Thornycroft

      Harare - A Zimbabwean court began a new phase to fast-track
confiscation of white-owned land on Monday, including scores of farms owned
by South Africans and other foreigners.

      Five years after President Robert Mugabe ordered his supporters to
dispossess white landowners only about 450 farms have been processed.

      That is to change. The first targets are ranches about 300km south of
Harare. About 15 South African farmers' names are on the February roll for
the recently expanded Administrative Court, which has new judges and new
laws to slash the backlog.

            'The reality is that the government wants a veneer of legality'
      Zimbabwe's legal fraternity say an amendment to land laws last year
gives them only five working days to prepare a case for the defence.

      "We are overwhelmed," said a senior lawyer on Sunday. "With so many
cases coming at us all at once there is no way that the affected farmers
have a chance. The reality is that the government wants a veneer of
legality, that's all."

      Up to 5 000 title deeds for about 11 million hectares have to be
processed through the Administrative Court. Since the Land Acquisition Act
was changed last year all the government has to do to take a farm is publish
a notice of "acquisition". If farmers are not able to oppose the acquisition
of their property it is forfeited to the state.

      John Worsley-Worswick, a spokesperson for pressure group Justice for
Agriculture, said on Sunday: "We are advised to expect a rash of deferred
judgments from the Administrative Court which obviously means there will be
no right of appeal to the Supreme Court.

      "The state will then quickly issue farmers waiting for judgment with
notices ordering their immediate eviction. This is particularly aimed at the
few hundred farmers still on the land, including a large group of South
African ranchers. If they don't obey the eviction notice they can be
prosecuted and sent to prison for up to two years. So they will leave."

      A "Bilateral Protection and Promotion Agreement" to protect South
African assets in Zimbabwe has still not been signed and the next proposed
date for its adoption is Wednesday, according to diplomatic sources.
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Cape Times

      Zanu-PF will lose in free polls

      Every aspect of election flawed, says mdc
      February 8, 2005

      By Eddie Cross

      Bulawayp: The Zimbabwe government recently announced that the
parliamentary elections would be held on March 31. That gives the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) eight weeks to campaign and do all the things we
have to do to compete effectively in the electoral process. Not long.

      Fortunately we have been hard at work on preparations for elections
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 February 12 we will launch our campaign in Masvingo together with
our party manifesto and introduction of our candidates. They will then be
submitted to the Nomination Courts on February 18 for approval. In the
meantime most of our candidates 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 imprisonment by parliament.

      Ian Kay, a 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 a two-thirds majority. Threatened with death if he
campaigned in the high-density townships of Marondera, Kay 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 for four years, more
than 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 principles 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 the police, on one pretext or another, bans most.

      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 Southern African
Development Community 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 and the actual voting procedures and
the administration of the poll itself. Huge responsibilities in an election
with millions of voters and 12 000 polling stations. It is a sick joke.

      Zanu-PF has been planning the election for two years. It thinks it has
it sown up - the opposition cowed, the people confused and the process
totally in their hands. It was so confident six months ago that, according
to information from inside Zanu-PF, it was 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% 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. It is 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-PF patronage - are disaffected.

      MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the election would 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. The 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 12 000 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 Simon 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 happen.

      The 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 also 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 five polling stations and then
co-ordinate the results from counting that night for relay to national

      We must make sure that, this time, the result is not stolen from the

      .. Cross is the economic spokesman of Zimbabwe's Movement for
Demo-cratic Change
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The Mercury

      Strange Days
      February 8, 2005

      by the Editor

      Events in Zimbabwe grow stranger by the day. Instead of concentrating
on the very real problems and issues that beset that country - like
desperate hunger, widespread poverty and the need to rehabilitate the
economy - an inordinate amount of official time is absorbed in sideshows.

      The latest storm in a teacup concerns whether the recent blocked visit
by the Congress of SA Trade Unions was in fact funded by the International
Confederation of Free Trade Unions, as claimed by one of the Zimbabwean
government's mouthpieces - the Sunday Mail.

      While Cosatu has rejected the claim "with contempt" one has to ask
whether it really matters at all. The fact is that labour union members
should have an inalienable right to co-operate with other unionists across
borders and to look after the cause of their fellow workers.

      Cosatu is a member of the International Confederation of Free Trade
Unions, which in turn has affiliations from bodies representing more than
150 million workers all over the world... workers who could hardly be called
stooges of the West.

      However, this is just one more red herring, an example of the siege
mentality gripping the Mugabe government.

      Another could well be the allegations of a spy ring operating on
behalf of South Africa, a claim which conveniently has led to the expulsion
of a wealthy politician, Philip Chiyangwa, from a leadership role in the
ruling party.

      While the full facts have yet to emerge, and we may be mistaken,
people will need to be convinced that serious allegations of "espionage" are
justified. So far little has been disclosed beyond the fact that information
gathered was of a political nature - the sort of analytical reports that
embassies around the world assemble as a matter of course.

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Zimbabwe to resume beef exports to EU next year
7/2/2005 16:49

Zimbabwe will resume beef exports to the European Union (EU) early next year
following four years of inactivity on the market, the local newspaper The
Herald reported on Monday.
The Cold Storage Company board member Abdul Nyathi was quoted as saying that
the company was initially scheduled to resume trade with the EU this year
but failed to meet the minimum standards set by the EU.
The company was still vaccinating cattle in foot-and-mouth disease stricken
areas and hoped to complete the exercise by the end of the year.
Zimbabwe's beef exports were suspended in 2000 following an outbreak of the
foot-and-mouth disease, which adversely affected the national herd.
Before the foot-and-mouth outbreak compounded by successive droughts, the
country had no problems meeting its annual beef quota of 9,100 tons to the
EU, generating more than US$86 million per year.
Meanwhile, the Cold Storage Company has applied for a 17- million-US dollar
loan from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to supplement its livestock finance
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The World is Watching

Sunday Times (Johannesburg)

February 7, 2005
Posted to the web February 7, 2005


ZIMBABWE is counting down to an election that will be as much a test of the
commitment to democracy in South and Southern Africa as in our benighted
northern neighbour.

The opposition MDC's brave decision to participate demands a reciprocal
effort from everyone who wishes the country well to ensure the poll is as
free and fair as possible at this late stage.

With the international community largely excluded from any monitoring role,
the SADC and South Africa must ensure they become watchdogs for the world.

It is a responsibility much larger than that of solidarity with an old
liberation ally. It is an obligation to the future, rather than a debt to
the past.

It is therefore encouraging to hear the ANC emphasising that the MDC should
be allowed to hold public meetings if elections are to be declared free and

Key deadlines for the SADC's ratification of the March 31 poll have already
passed and Cosatu's ouster from Zimbabwe suggests Zanu-PF has little concern
for regional opinion.

The SADC set the conditions for validation in Mauritius last year. Now the
community - and South Africa as the dominant member - must evaluate the
entire electoral process against that standard and deliver a verdict that
will command international respect.

Anything less will undermine the current global goodwill towards Africa,
which is our best chance to break the shackles of conflict, poverty and
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New Zimbabwe

MDC: a better deal for Zimbabwe women

By Priscilla Misihairabwi and Grace Kwinjeh
Last updated: 02/08/2005 06:16:46

Writing for New today, MDC MP and Shadow Minister for foreign
affairs Priscilla Misihairabwi and the party's European Union representative
Grace Kwinjeh outline the struggle for women's rights. In the light of the
Joyce Mujuru affair, and the equally forceful voices from the MDC, do you
think the struggle for women's advancement has taken a frightening dimension
in Zimbabwe? Let's hear your views, e-mail:, and
please state where you are writing from. We will publish your e-mails
Tuesday evening.

HAVING thoroughly messed up the land distribution process, Zanu PF has a new
target -- women.
In a desperate bid to deal with the twin problems of succession and growing
national unpopularity, the ruling party has found a scapegoat: women.

Women have become the latest cover for the regime to implement and complete
its insidious agenda of retaining power at all costs.

During its 24 years in power, and many more years as a party, Zanu PF has
routinely neglected and marginalised the women in its ranks and Zimbabwean
women as a whole. However, desperate to retain its stranglehold on power,
the ruling party is now making a cynical attempt to hoodwink the public into
believing it cares for the welfare of women. Recent developments within the
ruling party concerning the fate and status of women cannot go unchallenged.

The recent history of Zimbabwe is rich with examples of Zanu PF trying to
repackage itself to gain national support and international acceptance. In
2000, a popular movement rejected the government-sponsored draft
Constitution on principle - because the people knew that the process was
flawed, and that no worthy document could emerge from such a process. Just
as many pro-democracy activists saw through that deceit, we must rise to the
challenge and see the recent development within Zanu PF in the same light.

Many women such as ourselves, first became activists in the women's movement
in Zimbabwe having realised that Zanu PF had failed the generality of
Zimbabwean women. The liberation struggle did not result in our
emancipation. In fact as a liberation party that went through an armed
struggle, its structure and system are based on male superiority ideology:

From the onset we need to demystify the appointment of Joyce Mujuru as
Second Vice-President and the status of Zanu PF women as a whole. The
patriarchal nature of Zanu PF has ensured that no strong woman in her own
right has emerged out of the Zanu PF system before now. This is also why the
question of gender equality, both nationally and within the party, remains

It must first be understood that Mujuru is only acceptable to Mugabe as his
Vice President because she does not threaten his hold on power, either
nationally or within the ruling party. She has been propelled to the party's
top most position precisely because she poses no threat to any of the
distinct factions engaged in a bitter power struggle within Zanu PF. These
include the Zapu faction; Mnangagwa faction and of course the Mujuru faction
led by her husband Solomon.

Putting Mujuru in the Vice Presidency does not change the fact that Zanu PF
remains the same dictatorial regime with nothing to offer the people of
Zimbabwe. It is still the source of our misery. Women and children form the
majority of the 3 million people in need of food aid. They are the victims
of the collapsed education system and those experiencing the effects of the
crumbling heath sector. They continue to suffer as a result of Zanu PF's
bankrupt policies, and the party's sole interest in retaining power at all

Reform of a corrupt political party or system does not come with appointing
a woman. Mujuru's appointment does nothing to address the real questions of
governance and democracy. The crisis confronting Zimbabwe is not about the
biology of those in the governing hierarchy, but their ability to deal with
critical national issues.

If one examines the way the new quotas for "women's empowerment" are being
handled, it becomes clear that Robert Mugabe is in control. There was no
democratic process of nominating or selecting constituencies for women. The
women being put in the so called constituencies set for them are simply
replacing Mugabe's enemies. The absurdity of the whole process becomes
evident when we see that women form the majority of those protesting against
the imposition of "women's constituencies."

Even those women who have been in parliament in the past 24 years, it is
clear that they have operated within the framework defined by the men. Thus
their failure to push the women's agenda at a broader national level.

If this is the behaviour of Zanu PF, what is the lesson for us as women in
the alternative movement? We are fighting the same beast, patriarchy, which
transcends every aspect of our lives - at home, in church and even in the
political system we belong to.

Overcoming patriarchy is not just about numbers or biology, but equality and
social justice.

As we struggle within the MDC, we are clear that patriarchy is an enemy we
will fight within and outside as we refuse to play junior partner to our
male counterparts. It is important that our colleagues understand that the
issue of gender power relationships cannot be separated from the whole fight
for human rights and democracy.

Therefore, we remain cognisant of the fact that in the alternative movement
we have a twin struggle. We must remain vigilant in transforming our
national political system into a people centred one. Internally we must
ensure that our party lives up to its promises and moves towards a better
life for all women in Zimbabwe, regardless of their political affiliation.

This commitment is made at many levels. Within the MDC, there is a
grassroots women's agenda. Our National Women's Assembly, held in Masvingo
in October 2003, passed a resolution stating that one third of all MDC posts
throughout all MDC party structures will be reserved for the nomination of
women candidates. This was adopted unanimously by the National Executive and
National Council. On top of this we have mainstreamed gender in all party

Nationally, as MDC women we will continue to fight for democracy and human
rights for all Zimbabweans. We will carry the burden of arrests, torture and
rape from an illegitimate and evil regime. Likewise, we will continue to
insist that our own system does not do to even one woman what Zanu PF has
done to Zimbabwean women.

To achieve that we call upon our allies in civil society, the region and the
international community to stand with us as we push the MDC women's agenda
Priscilla Misihairabwi and Grace Kwinjeh are activists

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Mugabe petitioned

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-08

THE National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango) has
petitioned President Robert Mugabe not to assent to the NGO Bill in its
present form, arguing it will have devastating effects on ordinary citizens,
the economy and the image of the country at large.
Nango is a representative body of more than 1 000 NGOs.  It handed over the
petition to the President's Office on January 28 through emissaries.
"In terms of its legal and moral mandate to represent the interests of
non-governmental organisations in Zimbabwe, Nango has resolved to petition
Your Excellency over the Non-Governmental Organisations Bill.
"Nango, being cognisant of the desire to create a law to regulate the NGOs,
has been engaged in a process of discussion with the Ministry of Public
Service, Labour and Social Welfare since 2002," read part of the petition.
The grouping said it noted with concern that the ministry gazetted the Bill
in August 2004, which bore little of what had been discussed and agreed on
between the ministry and the NGOs through Nango.
Nango said it had made its objections to the ministry through formal
meetings with minister Paul Mangwana and his officials.
Despite its objections and recommendations made through the Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, the Bill
was placed before parliament without any meaningful changes, Nango added.
"Having been invited by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public
Service, Labour and Social Welfare to comment on the Bill, Nango commends
the bipartisan approach adopted by the committee.  However, it is
unfortunate that the committee's recommendations to Parliament fell victim
to the divisions in the house and were in the main rejected," said read the
The NGOs then appealed to President Mugabe not to assent to the Bill.
"Your Excellency, we appeal to you not to give assent to the
Non-Governmental Organisations Bill because of its devastating effects on
ordinary citizens, the economy and the image of the country.
"Our concerns, raised herein, which have already been discussed with the
Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and Parliament of
Zimbabwe, have not been reflected in the amendments made so far," the NGOs
The clauses on governance of NGOs, registration, definition of terms,
banning of foreign funding and issues of governance were also raised in the
The Bill proposes an NGO Council to be appointed by the minister of labour,
with six NGO representatives, 10 government representatives and the
registrar of NGOs as ex-officio member.
"The composition of the council goes against the concepts of participatory
development and the principle of self-regulation that had been proposed by
NGOs," the petition added.
On registration, the NGOs said the requirements set out in section 10 of the
Bill made it difficult for NGOs to be registered.
"The NGO Bill fails to guarantee efficient registration of NGOs, which has
been the perennial problem leading to NGOs failing to be registered all
along. Furthermore, the new stringent requirements spelt out in section 10
of the Bill, such as annual registration certificates, request for
three-year activity plans, requirement to disclose sources of funding
(considering the fact that the NGO has not yet started operating) make it so
difficult for NGOs to be registered."
The NGOs also said the ban on foreign funding for those dealing in issues of
governance and human rights was an indirect ban on general funding for all
Section 17 of the NGO Bill states that no local NGO shall receive any
foreign funding or donation to carry out activities involving or including
issues of governance and the promotion and protection of human rights and
political governance.
 "All the work that NGOs do is human rights work, whether it's access to
water, land, information, education, treatment or promoting the rights of
people with disabilities or living with HIV and Aids," the NGOs said. "A ban
on foreign funding for human rights work is an indirect ban on general
funding for NGOs." The petition added: "The Bill will unfortunately serve to
confirm perceptions held by Sadc, AU and the broader international community
on Zimbabwe's human rights record, said to be in shambles. This perception
further tarnishes the image of Zimbabwe at a time when the nation is trying
to rebuild its
The NGOs also argued that the enactment of
the Bill would be detrimental to the country's development.
"It is our conviction, as NGOs, that given the country socioeconomic
situation in the country where 70-80 percent of the population is surviving
below the poverty datum line and unemployment is hovering between 60 and 80
percent; where over one million children are orphans and where 25 percent of
the population is infected by HIV and Aids, the NGO sector is a safety net.
"We therefore appeal to you, Your Excellency, to consider our objections to
this Bill, before giving it your assent," the NGOs said.
President Mugabe is on record labelling some NGOs as enemies of the State
seeking to effect regime change with the help of some Western powers.
The government decided to come up with more stringent registration rules for
NGOs as a result.
Nango director Jonah Mudehwe confirmed that they had petitioned the
President over the NGO Bill.
"We submitted our petition to the President's Office through our special
envoy a week-and-a-half ago and we have not received any response now,
although we appreciate that the President has been busy in the past week,"
he said, refusing to disclose the identity of the special envoy.
Contacted for comment, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said the
Bill had passed the lobbying stage.
"The stage of debating is at Parliament and that is when they should have
done their lobbying. There are a number of parties in Parliament and they
should have done enough to have their views in the Bill before it passed
that stage," Charamba said.
He said it was also wrong for Nango to lobby the President while at the same
time threatening legal action if he assented to the Bill in its present
NGOs have not ruled out making constitutional challenges to the law if it is
passed as it is now.
Meanwhile, Parliament resumes sitting today before it is dissolved on March
30, a day to the general  elections.
According to the Parliament's papers office, as at February 4, the Labour
Amendment Bill and the Emergency Preparedness and Disaster
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

United Parties to boycott elections

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-08

WHILE other political parties such as the MDC and Zanu have announced that
they would battle it out with the ruling Zanu PF in next month's
parliamentary elections, forgotten Abel Muzorewa's United Parties (UP) says
it is not going to contest, until the current constitution is replaced.
In an interview with The Daily Mirror on Friday last week, UP
secretary-general Aaron Mandla Hove claimed that the country's constitution
was "a British one" and as such the party would only participate if a
homegrown supreme law is crafted and enacted.
"We are not going to take part in any election until we have a homegrown
constitution. The current one is British," Hove said.
UP last took part in national elections in 1996, when Muzorewa and the late
Zanu leader Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole dismally lost presidential elections
to President Robert Mugabe.
The UP lamented that the playing field was heavily tilted in favour of Zanu
PF, adding that opposition parties were being denied the right to hold
rallies in rural areas, the stronghold of the ruling party.
"We were recently denied the right to hold rallies in Gokwe after the police
refused to give us clearance," he said.
Hove also alleged that chiefs were coercing the electorate in the rural
areas to vote for Zanu PF. He further alleged that the delimitation exercise
that was conducted by the commission led by High Court Judge Justice George
Chiweshe robbed opposition parties when it merged constituencies in their
strongholds. Some of the constituencies that were merged by the delimitation
commission include Mbare East and West into just Mbare and Pelandaba-Mpopoma
into Bulawayo.
Three more constituencies were created - Manyame in Mashonaland West, Mudzi
West in Mashonaland East and Mutasa North in Manicaland province.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

MDC poll candidate arrested

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-08

MDC's aspiring legislator for Zengeza, Goodrich Chimbaira was arrested on
Sunday on allegations of holding an illegal meeting at his house in the
constituency, his lawyer said yesterday.
National police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the arrest but could
not say much as the police were still awaiting full details of the case.
The arrest comes just over a week after Chimbaira won the MDC primaries for
Zengeza beating two contestants, James Makore and former student leader,
Charleton Hwende.
Chimbaira's lawyer Alec Muchadehama of Harare law firm Mbizo, Makoni and
Muchadehama said yesterday: "He was summoned to the police station on the
pretext that some MDC youths had been involved in violence, which was not
the case.
On arrival he was told that he had held an illegal meeting at his house. He
is being held at Chitungwiza Police Station. The police details there said
they are waiting for officers from the (Harare's) Law and Order Maintenance
section to deal with the case."
Chimbaira, who is also a councillor in Zengeza, becomes the second reported
aspiring MDC candidate arrested in six months, after Ian Kay who is
reportedly eyeing Marondera East. Kay, the son of the late former deputy
agriculture minister Jock, was arrested for possessing "subversive material"
late last year.
So far, two incumbent MDC members of parliament Thokozani Khupe and Nelson
Chamisa of Makokoba and Kuwadzana have been arrested, and charged with
violating the Public Order and Security Act (Posa).
MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi described Chimbaira's arrest, among
others, as a tactic to disadvantage the opposition party's campaign process
ahead of the March 31 polls.
"How does one hold an illegal meeting at his house. Are you not allowed to
have visitors? Are you not allowed to hold celebrations for a son who is
turning 21 years old? Posa is being used to disadvantage the opposition,"
said Nyathi.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Journalist threatens suicide if deported

From Admore Tshuma in London
issue date :2005-Feb-08

ZIMBABWEAN journalist Adolf Mukandi has threatened to take his life if
British immigration authorities push him out of the country following his
failure to be granted political asylum.
Human Right lawyers have moved in to try and block the former Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation producer's pending deportation.
Addressing hundreds of Zimbabweans, a spokesman for the Zimbabwean Community
Campaign to Defend Asylum Seekers (ZCCDS), said Mukandi was contemplating
suicide and urged Human rights organisations to move in and save his life.
"Some asylum seekers, like the journalist Adolf Mukandi, are now
contemplating suicide rather than being sent back home," the spokesman said.
The threat has been given massive coverage by the British media, triggering
speculation that Mukandi's application might soon be reviewed.
The issue came to light when hundreds of Zimbabwean protesters gathered in
central London last Saturday to urge ministers to stop deportations of
failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe.
The protesters were joined by trade union officials, MPs and the high
profile former Labour MP Tony Benn as they marched to the British Home
Office. Campaigners say the government is putting lives at risk after it
reversed its policy of not sending people back to the country.
The Home Office says it has resumed deportations to Zimbabwe to tackle a
rise in unfounded applications.
In November last year, immigration minister Des Browne ended a two-year
suspension on removals, put in place because of the security situation in
the country.
Large numbers of Zimbabwean opposition activists have fled the country,
saying their lives are in danger.
Some 14 000 Zimbabweans have claimed asylum since 2000. The most recent
figures show that only 55 of 650 cases were considered genuine, although a
further 110 won the right to stay on appeal.
The Home Office will not confirm any figures but community sources estimate
up to 100 failed asylum seekers and those who had outstayed their visas may
have already been put on planes out of the UK.
Zimbabwean campaigners are fighting the deportations, saying people are
being sent back to an uncertain fate amid growing tension ahead of elections
next month.
Brighton Chireka, spokesman for the Zimbabwean campaign, said removals were
contradicting the government's own statements on the situation in the
"The Foreign Office says there is a crisis in Zimbabwe and that there has
been no change (in the risks to opposition) activists, so the question we
ask is why has the Home Office changed its policy to send people back?"
asked Chireka. "We believe they are removing Zimbabweans by any means
possible so they can meet their removal targets, yet you cannot hand these
people over to the Zimbabwean authorities."
A spokesman for the Home
Office said the returns were
justified because of the increased proportion of unfounded claims from the
The suspension of removals had become a "pull factor" for fraudulent
applicants posing as Zimbabweans, said the spokesman.
"This change in asylum policy is entirely about operating a firm and fair
asylum system. It does not reflect any change in the Government's
categorical opposition to human rights abuses in Zimbabwe," she said.
"Genuine refugees, including members of opposition parties, will continue to
be protected.
"We will also continue to push the government of Zimbabwe to end human
rights abuses, and restore democracy so that all Zimbabweans can in time
return safely to
builda prosperous and stable country."
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

State controls Chitungwiza's treasury, health departments

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-08

IN an unprecedented move interpreted by critics as aimed at stifling the
operations of the opposition MDC-controlled local authorities, the
government is set to takeover the running of Chitungwiza Town Council's
health and treasury departments, The Daily Mirror has established.
Yesterday, the sprawling dormitory town's executive Mayor Misheck Shoko
confirmed the  development, which comes in the midst of election euphoria
after President Robert Mugabe decreed March 31 as the date for the crucial
general polls.
Some observers have expressed concern over the timing of the government's
intended commandeering of amenities delivery in Zimbabwe's third largest
urban settlement, arguing it was cheap propaganda designed to woo the
supposedly gullible electorate ahead of next month's polls.
Shoko said the government's decision to usurp the provision of these
essential services was made following a directive from the Ministry of Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing that rentals and tariffs
should be increased by 70 percent, far below the council's previous
proposals for this year's budget.
Shoko said his council had already presented its budget proposals and was
just awaiting government approval.
Contacted for comment yesterday, local government, public works and national
housing Deputy Minister, Chief Fortune Charumbira referred all questions to
Harare metropolitan province governor Witness Mangwende who also confirmed
the new developments. Said Governor Mangwende:"They (Chitungwiza)have
presented their problems to us and we are still discussing their budget. We
have already indicated that government should now be involved in a big way
in major roles of the council such as the health department. The department
of public works is also going to initiate some projects there in order to
assist Chitungwiza."
Mangwende, however, was economic with details on the issue only saying that
discussions were still in progress.
The responsible Minister Ignatius Chombo  could not be reached for comment
as his mobile phone went unanswered for long periods yesterday.
Chitungwiza Municipality had proposed to hike rates and tariffs by a
staggering 3000 percent - a move that could see residents parting with at
least $300 000 in rentals per month.
In view of the financially troubled council's predicament, the government
then decided to take over the treasury and health departments, the worst
affected in the council.
"Heads of departments were called to the ministry after the monetary policy
statement and were told that the government was taking over the health
department. They were also told that the City Council will be provided with
$300 million every month for employees' salaries," Mayor Shoko said.
He said government's decision to increase the dormitory town's rates by 70
percent was unfair since it was not enough to run other council concerns
including refuse collection, sewer problems and buying workers protective
Currently, Chitungwiza residents are paying monthly rentals of $8 900 while
the new astronomical proposals would see cash-strapped inhabitants parting
with at least $15 000 per household.
 "The new proposals fall far short of what we expected," said Shoko.
Chitungwiza has been experiencing financial problems since last year
resulting in deterioration of essential health and sewage reticulation
It has also become a norm that employees go for weeks without their salaries
well after payday.
Chombo  has been accused of unnecessarily meddling in the affairs of local
authorities especially those run by the ruling Zanu PF's nemesis, MDC.
His arm-twisting tactics have already seen him elbowing out "intransigent"
ex-Harare executive mayor Elias Mudzuri while the opposition party's mayors
in Mutare, Chegutu, Kariba and to a lesser extent Bulawayo's Japhet
Ntabeni-Ncube have had no respite during the course of their tenure.
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