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

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Tories call for sanctions on Mugabe Jan 10 2002

 SHADOW foreign secretary Michael Ancram yesterday called for sanctions on
Zimbabwe if its government forces through laws allowing President Robert
Mugabe to bar international observers from monitoring upcoming elections.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told the House of Commons on Tuesday he would
push for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the Commonwealth if the situation in
the central African country deteriorated.

But Mr Ancram said this threat would hold little menace for Mr Mugabe.
Action must be directly targeted at the president and his associates, he

He told BBC Radio 4's World at One, "I don't think it is an enormously heavy
threat to wave at all. Fiji and Pakistan are suspended and I don't think in
either of those places it has been regarded as an enormous sanction."

Zimbabwe's parliament was yesterday considering three bills which critics
say are designed to give Mr Mugabe an unfair advantage in presidential
elections in March.

If passed, they would ban independent election monitors, make it an of-fence
to criticise the president and require journalists to obtain government

Mr Ancram called for an international coalition including the UK, US, EU and
African neighbours of Zimbabwe to prepare "smart sanctions" to freeze Mr
Mugabe's funds and bar him and his colleagues from travel abroad.

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Congo's Kabila to hold talks with Zimbabwe leader

HARARE, Jan. 10 — Congolese President Joseph Kabila was due in Zimbabwe on
Thursday for a day of talks with his counterpart Robert Mugabe, a key ally
in his country's three-year war, state news agency ZIANA reported on
Mugabe in 1998 deployed a quarter of Zimbabwe's 40,000-strong army in the
Democratic Republic of Congo to help prop up the government, then led by
Kabila's father Laurent, against a rebellion backed by Uganda and Rwanda.
       Monday's visit will be Kabila's fourth to Zimbabwe since assuming
leadership of the vast, war-torn former Zaire after the assassination of his
father in January 2001.
       ''President Joseph Kabila is expected to arrive in Harare today for a
one-day official visit. President Kabila is expected to hold consultative
talks with President Mugabe,'' the agency said, quoting a statement from
Zimbabwe's Information Ministry.
       On Wednesday, a South African foreign affairs spokesman said southern
African presidents meeting in Malawi next Monday would focus on regional
conflict, including the war in the Congo and the political strife in
       South Africa is due to host talks later this month aimed at
restarting negotiations to bring peace to the Congo.

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ABC News Australia

Thu, Jan 10 2002 6:31 PM AEDT

Controversial laws fail to get though Zimbabwe's Parliament

The Zimbabwean Government has failed to pass a package of controversial
security measures during an all night sitting of Parliament.

The debate continued throughout the night and finished just after 4am local

But the Zimbabwean Government was unable to secure passage for its
controversial Public Order and Security Bill.

The session is expected to continue later today.

Under the proposed law, opponents of the government could be sentenced to
death for acts of insurgency and sabotage.

The reforms come as Zimbabwe prepares for its presidential election.

Government officials have announced the poll will be held on March 9 and 10.

The military has declared its support for President Mugabe, regardless of
whether he wins the vote.
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Daily News

Maize-meal shortage hits Bulawayo

1/10/02 7:35:40 AM (GMT +2)

From Sandra Mujokoro in Bulawayo

MAIZE-MEAL supplies in Bulawayo remain critical with all leading
supermarkets going without stocks for several days. Regular suppliers,
including Induna and Eagle, are failing to cope with the demand which has
forced consumers to buy the refined and more expensive Pearlenta.

A 20kg packet of Pearlenta costs $715, while a similar size packet of the
coarser roller meal is $419. A salesperson at an OK Stores branch said
despite the high cost of the more refined maize-meal, it was running out as
soon as it hit the shelves.

A Daily News survey yesterday revealed that all major supermarkets were
without maize-meal with no definite date for the next deliveries. The Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) in Bulawayo has run out of stocks despite persistent
claims by the government and some GMB officials that they still had

The government is trying to acquire 936 000 tonnes, 500 000 tonnes in stock
and the remainder in cash.
But with the current foreign currency shortage, it might not be able to
raise the US$32 million (Z$1,76 billion) needed to import the maize. The
city normally consumes about 700 tonnes of maize-meal every day. Gwanda,
Beitbridge and Victoria Falls have reported critical shortages of the staple

In August last year the Famine Early Warning System Network (Fewsnet)
reported that Zimbabwe needed to import about 200 000 tonnes of maize for
the 2001/2002 marketing season to avoid food shortages as opposed to Lands,
Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Joseph Made’s insistence that
the country needed to import 100 000 tonnes only. The 200 000 tonnes of
maize imports were expected to last the country up to March, according to
the Fewsnet report. Zimbabwe also faces a deficit of other grains to the
tune of another 200 000 tonnes. Made had adamantly denied that the country
faced food shortages.

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Daily News

Zambia should serve as a lesson for Zimbabwe

1/10/02 7:55:27 AM (GMT +2)

THE recent elections in Zambia, which catapulted the Movement for
Multi-Party Democracy’s Levy Mwanawasa into Lusaka’s State House, should
serve as a lesson to Zimbabwe.

Zambians passionately voted for their preferred candidate out of 11 who
contested. We did not hear anything about inter-party clashes or kidnapping
of anyone by rival political gangs. There could very well have been some
violence at some places, but if the way the mass media reported the entire
event was anything to go by, such violence was very, very insignificant

That is as it should be, unlike in Zimbabwe where some candidates’ election
to municipal councils or Parliament is littered with dead bodies. It is most
ironic that at the end of such bloody election campaigns, some of the
victorious culprits organise parties to celebrate. While they celebrate,
some families would be mourning their loved ones. One is surely justified to
describe such politics as lacking the human touch.

It is so much out of place for us in Africa to spend vast amounts of money
on celebrating political events while our hospitals are critically short of
vital medical supplies and equipment.
Our roads are by and large in a very deplorable condition, so are most of
our schools and public housing. Again, one would certainly be forgiven for
referring to such political behaviour as lacking a human face.

Unfortunately, that is the general pattern of political behaviour throughout
the African continent. Talking about Africa brings us to what the new year
might be having in store for the economically impoverished continent. Are we
going to experience continued slaughter in Algeria, Somalia, Nigeria,
Rwanda, Burundi, Angola, the Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and
government-sponsored violence against opposition parties in Zimbabwe?

Or will African leaders realise that their most important responsibility is
not to struggle to maintain themselves in power at any and all cost, but
rather to do everything humanly possible to improve the standard of living
of their nations?
Africa, reflecting a human heart, needs political leadership with a human
face. The continent is groaning under serious economic hardships because of
the rapid socio-economic decline most African economies experienced between
1980 and 1985.

Factors that caused that decline were rapid population growth, world
recession, unfavourable weather conditions characterised by debilitating
droughts, political instability resulting in civil wars for some countries,
and burdensome indebtedness to overseas creditors such as the World Bank and
the International Monetary Fund.
The Aids pandemic is worsening the situation, especially in Sub-Saharan
Africa where the incidence of the incurable disease is reported by the World
Health Organisation to be as alarmingly high as 35 percent in some states.

The future is quite bleak for many African nations, including Zimbabwe where
the rate of inflation currently stands at 104 percent, and that of
unemployment at 70 percent, with high prospects of getting worse as the
labour market is about to be flooded with thousands of high school leavers.
That is the scenario before Zimbabwe as the nation moves towards the
presidential election in March. It would be so much better, so highly
patriotic, so greatly responsible for all those political parties fielding
candidates to design practicable economic revival programmes to pull the
country out of this mess.

This is not the time to point fingers at rival candidates, accusing them of
being agents of this or that racial community.
It is high time candidates put their fingers on socio-economic action
programmes that will breathe some new life into the national economy. We
have not as yet heard how Zanu PF intends to undo what it has been doing to
plunge the national economy into this state, which has turned Zimbabwe into
a regional laughing stock.

Instead of using sjamboks, batons, axes, clubs and rocks to recruit
membership, it can improve its own electoral prospects by spelling out how
it intends to create employment and generate more wealth for this
economically devastated nation.
The MDC too, has a duty to state how it will make Zimbabwe’s socio-economic
conditions practically better.

The mere removal of Zanu PF from governmental power is certainly not what we
would like to hear. No. We want the MDC to tell us what it would do with
that power to remove our misery if it were to win the election. As for the
voters, it is high time we all understood that one’s vote is one’s
authority. It is indeed power that the voter gives to a preferred candidate
to hold and use until the next election when that power, that authority,
reverts to the voter to be given once more to a preferred candidate.

The vote is one’s inalienable right. No one has the right to deprive any
Zimbabwean citizen or bona fide resident of his or her vote. Any attempt to
do so is an offence under the Constitution of Zimbabwe. We should also
understand that some candidates will use brutal force to make people vote
for them.

In Zimbabwe, this has been going on now for a long time, and many people
have been murdered in cold blood by political thugs sent by people with
“degrees in violence”. They terrorise, maim and rape, assault and insult,
humiliate and intimidate helpless people in the name of their party. It
would appear that the main objective of those who dispatch such thugs is to
get voters to elect them so that they remain in power forever. We must
understand that elective political positions are neither permanent nor

Should voters feel dissatisfied with the performance of those they elected
into office, they have the right to withdraw their authority and give it to
someone else.
This withdrawal of authority cannot be denied the voters. No. It should not
be tampered with because it is the basis of human equality among all the
adult people of Zimbabwe.
We should draw relevant lessons from the Zambian elections, and prepare
ourselves to vote wisely and without fear.
The future and freedom of this country is in our hands.

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On 28th December, 2001, Statutory Instrument 387 of 2001, was gazetted
compelling all producers of controlled products to deliver the maize stocks
in their possession to the GMB, no later than 14 days (after harvest, or
publication of the S.I. 387 of 2001).

Producers should be aware that the Statutory Instrument makes no provision
to seize that which is exempted in the Grain Marketing Act.  Section 35C of
the Act, declares that producers of a controlled product are exempted from
the Act, if the controlled product is consumed by himself, his household,
his employees or his livestock.

In this regard, ALL PRODUCERS IN POSSESION OF MAIZE should submit the
following letter before Friday 11th January, 2002.

1.    Address the letter to the GMB Loss Control Manager, Mr S.B. Ngazimbi

2.    The content of the letter should read as follows:

        I,........................., of ........................ (farm name
and district), hereby make an application to stay the siezure of maize in my
possession, as required of me in terms of Statutory Instrument 387 of 2001,
dated 28th December, 2001. The maize in my possession is exempted from
delivery to the GMB under the Grain Marketing Act, Section 35 C, which
exempts me, as a producer of a controlled product and using such controlled
product for consumption by myself, my employees and my livestock.

3.    This application letter should be delivered to GMB Head Office,
Harare, to the Loss Control Department, or faxed to GMB fax number 251294,
or ZGPA'S offices on fax number 309849, or CFU 309874, before Friday 11th
January, 2002.  (zgpa will then hand deliver the faxes, and have them signed

This deadline applies to the Statutory Instrument 387, of 2001, dated 28th
December, 2001, which gives a 14 day period within which anyone holding a
controlled product to deliver.

4.    It is very important that farmers retain a form of fax transmission
slip, or any record of a submission as evidence that he acted within the 14
day period.

5.    Farmers should not deliver any maize in his possession while awaiting
GMB's response to their letter stating their exempted status as per the
Grain Marketing Act.


Visit the CFU Website

The opinions in this message do not necessarily reflect those of the
Commercial Farmers' Union which does not accept any legal responsibility for
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Forex cover sinks to four days

By Joseph Ngwawi Business News Editor
1/10/02 2:14:34 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWE’S usable foreign currency reserves are now equivalent to only four
days of imports at a time when the country has amassed arrears of more than
US$700 million on its external debt, according to the International Monetary
Fund (IMF).

The Bretton Woods institution, which was the main backer of Zimbabwe’s
economic reforms until it pulled the plug on the country in the late 1990s,
said the Harare authorities have fallen behind by about US$722 million in
their commitments to international multilateral financial institutions due
to the acute shortage of hard cash.

The arrears include US$81 million owed to the World Bank, US$53.7 million to
the IMF and US$102 million to the African Development Bank.

"The continued shortage of foreign exchange — usable reserves are currently
equivalent to only about four days of imports of goods and services and
non-factor services — and limited access to foreign financing have also led
to widespread import scarcities that are crippling economic activity," the
IMF said in a staff report presented last month at the end of its annual
Article IV consultations.

Zimbabwe has faced severe foreign currency shortages since 1999, prompting
the government to introduce a series of measures to plug leakages of the
scarce commodity from the economy.

The Harare authorities last year introduced measures aimed at boosting
exports and the collection of foreign currency while limiting the growth of
the parallel market, where the bulk of the hard cash is traded.

Some of the measures included a requirement that exporters surrender at
least 40 percent of their earnings to the central Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) to finance fuel and electricity imports as well as the tightening of
reporting requirements.

But the IMF said the new measures were acting as disincentives to trade,
arguing that Zimbabwe’s recorded international trade has contracted by about
30 percent since the 1996/97 fiscal year.

"The main disincentive for exports is the unrealistic official exchange
rate, pegged at 55 Zimbabwe dollars to US$1 while the parallel market rate
has been as high as 350 Zimbabwe dollars to one US dollar in 2001," the
Bretton Woods institution added.

The government has also introduced measures to rein in the parallel market
in hard currency.

These include increased capital requirements for bureaux de change, more
stringent reporting requirements, limits on the foreign exchange positions
of banks and bureaux de change and enhanced supervision by the RBZ.

The report said the IMF team that came to Harare in September for the
Article IV consultations had recommended that Zimbabwean authorities devalue
the exchange rate to a more realistic level, supported by tighter monetary
and fiscal policies, and thereafter to adjust the value of the local dollar
on the basis of expected inflation differentials with major trading

"The large gap between the official and the parallel market exchange rates
gives rise to opportunities for corruption to anyone with access to foreign
exchange at the official rate," the report noted.

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War on terrorism: US probes Zim generals

Basildon Peta Special Projects Editor
1/10/02 2:45:06 AM (GMT +2)

THE United States government and its European allies have begun
investigating Zimbabwean and Congolese army generals who are accused of
exploiting Congo’s mineral resources and selling them to radical Islamic
organisations and terrorist groups, it was learnt this week.

The influential Washington Post reported recently that representatives of
the Lebanon-based Hezbollah and men identified by the US as key operatives
of fugitive Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden were buying minerals from
Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at a fraction of
their market value.

These minerals were then re-sold at a profit to fund the activities of
terrorist organisations, it said.

The Financial Gazette’s own diplomatic sources this week said the activities
of Zimbabwean army generals linked to mining activities in the DRC were a
key component of these investigations.

The activities of two prominent Zimbabwean businessmen with vast mining
concessions in the DRC were also being probed.

If any evidence is found against the suspected people, the US would take
swift and tough measures, the sources said, without elaborating.

The measures taken would be in addition to the usual freezing of assets
wherever these are held by the affected people as well as imposing travel
sanctions on the offenders.

The sources said the two Zimbabwean businessmen would suffer most in the
event of sanctions as they had vast business interests in Europe, a key
partner in President George Bush’s anti-terrorism campaign.

Sanctions would also be imposed on any politicians found assisting in the
exploitation of the DRC’s resources in collaboration with terrorist groups.

Travel sanctions to the US have already been slapped on Zimbabwe government
officials under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act signed into
law by Bush last month.

The sources said the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) believed
that Africa was a haven for profitable terrorist enterprises because of its
vast mineral resources, especially in countries torn by war.

It was very easy for terrorist organisations to exploit the confusion and
corruption endemic in these war-hit African states to buy cheap minerals for
resale at huge profits.

"In fact, most of the soldiers who get illicit diamonds and emeralds in the
DRC just want a quick buck and will sell them to anyone with instant cash,"
a South African-based diplomatic source said.

"They cannot themselves export and sell these minerals on legitimate
international markets, hence their reliance on middlemen. Radical militants
have exploited this situation to make huge profits to oil their terrorist
networks," the source said.

Authorities in Antwerp, the Belgian diamond market where more than 90
percent of the world’s diamonds are traded, estimate that US$600 million
worth of diamonds are exported annually from the Congo but only US$180
million worth of the gems are exported legally.

A report written for the United Nations Security Council by a panel of
experts which was released in April said "exploitation of the natural
resources of the DRC by foreign armies has become systematic".

It added: "Plundering, looting and racketeering and the constitution of
criminal cartels are becoming commonplace. The criminal cartels have
ramifications and connections worldwide and they represent a serious
security problem in the region."

The Congolese government has conceded that it does not have the capacity to
halt illegal mineral sales in the vast country nor to detect the activities
of terrorists.

"We know Congo is a very fertile territory for terrorist activities. We have
a huge country with a huge jungle where people can do anything and we don’t
know anything about it," Congo’s Information Minister Kikaya Bin Karubi

"So many people bring dirty money to Congo, and Congo being in its current
state of affairs, we are very concerned."

The sources emphasised that the CIA’s investigations were not solely focused
on the activities of army generals from Zimbabwe and the DRC but would also
cover the mineral sales of rebels who have laid claim to Congo’s riches.

But the probe on the Zimbabwean and Congolese army chiefs was a major
component of the investigation because they were in control of some of the
richest mineral fields in the Congo, they said.

Bush says he is determined to cut off all channels of funding for terrorist

The Post said a man who used the code name Alpha Zulu was a key middleman in
the purchase of DRC diamonds which were then passed over to Hezbollah, which
has bombed US targets in Europe in the past, and bin Laden’s Al Qaeda

It said several Lebanese diamond dealers were stationed in the DRC.

The newspaper said most of the DRC diamonds bought by Hezbollah and other
radical terrorist groups were sold in less regulated diamond markets in
countries where the organisations operated freely such as Dubai, Mauritius
and India.

It said there were now direct flights to Dubai from some of Congo’s richest
diamond and gold areas and said these planes filed no flight plans and gave
no cargo manifests.

The sources said any direct or indirect evidence of conspiracy between army
generals in the DRC and terrorist organisations or their middlemen would
severely hurt Zimbabwe, whose government is already under virtual Western
sanctions because of its gross human rights abuses.

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ZANU PF, Taliban ranked worst enemies of Press freedom

1/10/02 2:50:51 AM (GMT +2)

GENEVA — The Zimbabwe government and the ousted Taliban regime of
Afghanistan were ranked as the worst enemies of Press freedom in 2001 at an
international conference on "Media in Times of Crisis" held here.

The conference, which discussed the media in many troubled parts of the
world, drew participants from all the five continents of the world and was
sponsored by various European organisations. It focused on the role of the
media in repor-ting terrorism, war and disaster.

The conference noted that the freedom of the media, expression and
information worldwide had come under renewed threat in the name of "war
against terrorism".

"Autocratic regimes strangle the little freedoms in their countries even
further under the pretence of fighting terrorism, in order to seal
themselves from scrutiny by independent media. Governments in transitional
countries are tempted to put the process of democratisation on hold," says
part of a resolution passed by the conference.

The conference also chided some democratically elected govern-ments for
introducing draconian security legislation which betrayed the very values of
democracy they claim to protect. These democracies were thus increasingly
losing credibility in their efforts to promote these values in emerging

The conference dwelt at length on the problems in Zimbabwe and the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Bill which the government was due to
pass yesterday.

It noted that it would become virtually impossible for journalists to
operate if the law was passed. The conference implored the United Nations,
the Commonwealth and the European Union to act speedily to avert attacks on
the media in Zimbabwe, which recorded the highest number of arrests of
journalists and attacks on scribes by government militias in 2001.

"In future, international media freedom organisations are called upon to be
more pro-active and make interventions before the suppression of media
freedom reaches crisis point," the conference resolved.

"They should closely monitor and highlight developments in countries such as
Afghanistan and Zimbabwe to make sure that the freedom of expression and of
the media are upheld in a meaningful way and not curtailed for clumsy
security reasons."

— Staff Reporter

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  Democracy: where has Zim gone wrong?

1/10/02 3:01:13 AM (GMT +2)

IT goes without saying that democracy in Zimbabwe is in comatose and that
the growth of truly representative institutions have been halted.

We are now living in a society where democracy is proving to be elusive and
authoritarianism rules supreme. Zimbabwe as a nation is in a deep crisis of
 ‘My people’

 Democracy rests upon the principle that government exists to serve the
people, the people do not exist to serve the government. There are no "my
people" in a democratic setup.

The government in Zimbabwe is not serving its people. It is embodied in its
own realm of political egocentrism being centered on the person of Robert
Mugabe where only a few qualify as first class citizens of Zimbabwe.

 Brutal pace

 Of late Mugabe has bequeathed to Zimbabwe a legacy of tension and troubles;
the ZANU PF government has shot down every democratic principle in sight.
Its zeal for privatisation has not spared the judiciary and the police
force. These sacred public institutions have been privatised at a brutal
pace by a government seemingly in love with regulation for its own sake.

 Human rights

 All these developments have been an affront to democracy. Zimbabwe is
faltering at every avenue — the media, the government, the judiciary and
basic human rights.

Jay Rosen wrote that democracy requires a free press and free expression is
a truth of that kind. So let us be clear: the government should not control
what is written or broadcast and it cannot throw people in jail for their

The most obvious signs of an undemocratic regime is the violation of these
fundamental rights. The arrests and torture of Standard journalists Ray
and Mark Chavhunduka and those of The Daily News’ Geoff Nyarota, Mduduzi
Mathuthu and others are evidence of this gross violation of the rights to
freedom and free press.

Freedom of the press in democratic societies is an unchangeable dogma — it
is essential. There is manipulation of the public media by the state,
especially the electronic media, which is now being controlled by
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo who is slowly turning into Zimbabwe’s own
Joseph Goebbels.

 Youth brigade

 Remember Goebbels, the man tasked by Hitler for the spiritual direction of
the German nation. He was perhaps the cleverest and most unscrupulous
manipulator of the mass media in history.

Likewise Jonathan Moyo has been tasked with
the responsibility of the spiritual direction of the nation. If you avoid
ZANU PF in the electronic media and elsewhere, you will find them in the
streets in the form of the green-clad youth brigades and their parades.

 Civic society

 Everytime people assemble in peaceful protest either as students or civic
society they are ruthlessly dispersed and suppressed.

Students at colleges have risked (and some lost) their lives for the love of
the freedom of expression. Recently the National Constitutional Assembly
wanted to have a peaceful march against the proposed electoral amendments
but they were arrested and these wanton arrests also netted innocent people
who were doing their shopping.

 Life blood

 It should be noted that freedom of expression and free speech is the life
blood of any democracy. Coming together for debate voting, protest, worship
and to fight injustice — all rely upon the unfettered flow of speech and

The Mugabe government is quite aware that a crisis can result in the
downfall of any government. They have learnt well from history.

They know quite well of the protests in Iran which ousted a regime a
thousand times stronger than ZANU PF. This fall from grace of the Shah of
Iran and that of Surharto in Indonesia and recently that of the regime in
Argentina make them feel uneasy at any type of demonstration, peaceful or

 Vile acid

 So they cannot tolerate any avenue of protest. Freedom of expression to
them is a vile acid which can handicap their rule.

In Zimbabwe, peaceful protests and demonstrations will remain an avenue for
showing discontent which will only be made irrelevant by the presence of
and justice.

 Rule of law

 On the issue of elections and rule of law, Zimbabwe has been found wanting.
Elections are an indispensable institution of a democratic society because
in a democracy the authority of the government derives solely from the
consent of the governed.

Opposition candidates should enjoy freedom of speech and assembly and the
movement necessary to voice their criticisms of the government openly and to
bring alternative policies. In Zimbabwe the political highway to power has
few entry lanes for the opposition. The man in the opposition has been
denied a base on which to build influence and attain leverage.


 Elections which are characterised by the barring of the opposition from the
airwaves, and where the opposition’s rallies are disrupted are not

In a democracy the government should not take advantage of unemployed and
vulnerable youths to put them in uniform and turn them into marauding bands
of gangsters who maim, kill and harass the opposition.

 Free and fair

 An election held under such conditions is far from being free and fair but
will be a "flee and fear" election since only the resolute will have the
courage to go and vote. An election won under such conditions is an election
claimed through armed robbery and is clearly a fraud.

 Enforced misery

 In matters of the rule of law Zimbabwe is a disappointing case study. There
is enforced misery and poverty. The right to equality before the law is
fundamental to any just and democratic society. The way in which the state
enforces its laws must be public and unequivocally clear, not secret,
arbitrary or subject to political manipulation  by  the state.


 In Zimbabwe there is a break down of the rule of law. In the name of the
state, individuals have been persecuted, tortured without any legal basis—
no  democratic society can tolerate such abuses. Democracy deficient of the
rule of law is quite unthinkable.

The farm invasions and the subsequent political violence which followed were
a dangerous development towards the annihilation of the rule of law. The law
has been pushed aside and "mobocracy" has become the order of the day. The
mob from the national service has become a law unto themselves, harassing
civilians and the opposition alike. The police have become disinterested
spectators of this anarchy.

 Darkest hours

 We are now living in one of Zimbabwe’s darkest hours. There is now rule by
law and not rule of law — the proposed media bill and the public order and
security bill (POSB) are cases in point. These draconian laws are a
humiliating capitulation of a government that is trying to halt its demise.

 Better future

 The way they have transformed the game of politics in Zimbabwe is quite
unfortunate. Politics, I suppose, is essentially about creating hope for a
better future which implies creating a substantively better present.

To realise this involves dispelling many illusions about the purposes and
capacities of political power. For instance notions that violence is an
effective means of political self-preservation have to be undermined and
discredited. Political power does not explode out of the barrel of a gun nor
does it flow from the dripping blade of a knife but rather it comes into
being when citizens of a country, acting together, go to the polls to
express their aspirations and possibilities.

 Battle cries

 Last March I remember going to the National Constitutional Assembly’s All
Stakeholders Conference under the auspices of the Zimbabwe National Students

At this conference there were widespread battle cries for a constitution
that sponsors the rule of law and guards jealously against detractors of the
rule of law.

Such a constitution would be the supreme law of the land, unlike the present
constitution which has been so repeatedly amended that the amendments nearly
outnumber the original clauses.

 Colonial era

 The law and its exercise has fallen to such a low ebb in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe
is now showing scenarios reminiscent of the colonial era. This is a
troubling phenomenon. For without the rule of law Zimbabwe becomes a
wasteland where power roams freely and caprice becomes the name of the game.

Now we are left with no democratic life, no democratic learning, no
democratic heritage.

Tinashe Mundawarara is a student at the University of Zimbabwe and is the
features editor of Campus magazine

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FinGaz - Comment

End violence or face bloodbath

1/10/02 2:33:28 AM (GMT +2)

VIRTUALLY every day since last month, Zimbabweans are being subjected to
open and increasing terror by President Robert Mugabe’s militia and its
allied warlords who somehow hope that they can cow the entire nation into

Six opposition supporters have been killed and many injured in the orgy of
violence, unleashed on the land in the faint hope that Mugabe will be
re-elected come March.

Zimbabweans cannot and must not tolerate this organised anarchy, which is
clearly meant to intimidate them and perpetuate Mugabe’s tyranny of two

Mugabe, for all his contemptuous attitude towards long-suffering but patient
Zimbabweans, must come down from his high pedestal now and order his mobs to
rapidly end the violence or risk a bloodbath from an anguished and inflamed

No country anywhere in the world should be treated like a personal property
or fiefdom, as Mugabe is doing to Zimbabwe, and be subjected to these
dastardly and base criminal acts on a daily basis without a response.

If Zimbabweans no longer want Mugabe as president, let them be allowed to
evict him from power in the March election and do so without any
compunction, let alone the terror that is being waged on them by hired
forces of evil and darkness.

If Zimbabweans still support Mugabe as he claims, why are they being
tortured, raped and murdered in the name of ZANU PF?

Why is Mugabe’s militia sealing off rural areas from the opposition,
mounting blatantly illegal roadblocks and assaulting and murdering
Zimbabweans whose only crime is not to carry a ZANU PF party card?

This clearly explains not only Mugabe’s growing fear of losing power, which
is inevitable if the ballot is not a fraud, but his ban on international
observers from scrutinising the conditions which exist on the ground before
the presidential ballot.

We must ask, although we know better: where are the forces of law and order
at this testing moment in the nation’s life and what action — visible
action — are they taking to stop the outrage?

It is not acceptable for police commissioner Augustine Chihuri to merely
threaten that his forces will take action against the perpetrators of

We demand real and tough action now and no more words and pleas. After all,
it is hard-pressed Zimbabweans who are paying the police and the government
while they themselves can hardly afford a decent meal because of Mugabe’s
unworkable policies which have killed one of Africa’s most prosperous

The authors of the terror are known to the police because many of them are
in military uniform, products of the so-called Border Gezi National Youth
Service College. Let us not have any more pretence, any more double
standards in the application of the law.

We simply cannot allow this chaos to go on. Either Mugabe and the police
immediately stop the violence or the nation will do so. The time for kid
gloves is over and Zimbabweans must protect themselves in whatever way they

For the hesitant leaders of the Southern Africa Development Community
(SADC), time has passed that they took note of the sharply deteriorating
events in Zimbabwe and acted with deeds to rein in a wayward colleague.

If they fail or refuse to act — the difference is really the same — they
make themselves irrelevant to Zimbabweans, if not that they become their

South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki particularly bears the gravest
responsibility to stand up and be counted as the region’s leader who, at a
defining moment, refused to be bullied by a man long used to resorting to
violence to gain support.

The SADC cannot hope to prosper with Zimbabwe on fire. Indeed most SADC
economies have already been sapped by the Zimbabwe crisis and, if their
leaders do not act now, they will be partly responsible for the tragedy that
may yet unfold.

Indeed the entire international community is duty-bound to intervene for the
sake of sanity so that a semblance of a free and fair election can be held,
otherwise these daily acts of terror and madness are a sure recipe for
bloody civil strife.

God forbid that this comes to pass.

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EU to speed up Mugabe sanctions

Abel Mutsakani Acting News Editor
1/10/02 2:43:25 AM (GMT +2)

THE European Union (EU) will tell the Zimbabwe government in talks in
Brussels tomorrow to let in international observers for the upcoming
presidential election and uphold human rights and the rule of law or face
tough sanctions, Western diplomats based in Harare said yesterday.

The diplomats, speaking on condition of not being named, said the EU looked
certain it would scrap the 60-day period it must allow for dialogue to take
place before acting.

It was now likely that it would bring forward punitive sanctions against
President Robert Mugabe and his top officials blamed for worsening
lawlessness in Zimbabwe if no progress was achieved at tomorrow’s talks at
the headquarters of the 15-nation EU.

The diplomats spoke as an unprecedented international storm mounted on
Mugabe and his administration, with the British and Canadian governments
signalling a possible suspension of the country from the Commonwealth if
Mugabe does not end surging political violence and gross human rights

An eight-member Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group has already put
Zimbabwe on its agenda for action which, according to the organisation’s
procedures, is the first formal step to the possible suspension of the
southern African country.

"Everyone is losing patience with Mugabe and the EU will tell Zimbabwe that
it must live by the Cotonou agreement or face sanctions," one senior
diplomat told the Financial Gazette.

Under the Cotonou agreement governing relations between the EU and African,
Caribbean and Pacific countries, Zimbabwe must uphold democracy, human
rights and the rule of law, which Mugabe refuses to do.

Instead Mugabe, worried about losing the March presidential ballot, has
vowed he will not allow the EU to observe the polls and has launched the
biggest crackdown against the opposition, the independent media and the
judiciary in efforts analysts say are meant to stifle criticism and steal
the ballot.

Although aware of tomorrow’s crucial meeting, Mugabe’s government yesterday
proceeded to bulldoze through Parliament tough new legislation which will
make it impossible for journalists in the country to operate, setting his
administration on a collision course with the EU.

The diplomats said the Cotonou pact actually demanded that Zimbabwe allows
the EU observers to check on the validity of the ballot, which pits Mugabe
against Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC).

Mugabe has also refused to allow independent Zimbabwean election monitors
except government officials, some of them members of the spy secret police,
and has issued new rules which bar many voters from registering and has
totally banned at least four million Zimbabweans abroad — a third of the
population — from voting.

Javier Sandomingo, ambassador of the current EU president Spain, yesterday
confirmed the organisation would demand that Zimbabwe abides by Cotonou,
including allowing EU poll observers but denied the powerful union would
impose immediate sanctions.

"Obviously we will transmit to the Zimbabwe government that we really think
it will be good for everybody if the election observers are allowed into the
country," he said.

"We do not want to run the presidential election for them, but what we want
is that the government must abide by the terms of the Cotonou agreement to
which it is a signatory."

Noting that the EU was at the moment committed to continuing dialogue with
Harare, Sandomingo however pointed out that in special cases where it was
observed that there were flagrant violations of human rights and dignity,
the EU could halt dialogue and take tougher measures immediately.

"Yes, where there is serious and flagrant violations of human rights,
democracy and the rule of law, consultations cannot continue because quick
action would need to be taken," he noted.

Zimbabwe has been plunged into chaos by government-trained militias who have
launched a violent campaign nationwide to ensure Mugabe’s re-election at
whatever cost.

The militias, which the government claim are on national service, have in
the past two weeks killed seven MDC supporters to bring to over 100 the
number of opposition members murdered in the past two years.

The violence started in February 2000 when militants of Mugabe’s ruling ZANU
PF seized hundreds of private commercial farms ahead of the parliamentary
election in June that year, which was narrowly won by ZANU PF, sealing off
farms and rural areas from the MDC.

The militants then briefly raided and attacked companies and factories and
now have taken the violence into urban areas, the powerbase of the MDC.

An emergency summit meeting of the 14-nation Southern Africa Development
Community in Malawi next week is also expected to discuss the Zimbabwean
crisis, whose negative impact is already crippling the economies of the

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ZANU PF campaigners force Mat villagers to buy party cards

Staff Reporter
1/10/02 2:52:26 AM (GMT +2)

BULAWAYO — Supporters of the ruling ZANU PF party in Matabeleland North have
launched a vicious campaign to force villagers to buy party cards and vote
for President Robert Mugabe in the March presidential election, villagers
said yesterday.

They said Mugabe’s storm troopers were also force-marching villagers to
attend ZANU PF campaign rallies.

"We were forced to attend a day-long rally by war veterans at Lutsha Primary
School," said Thenji Ndlovu, a villager from Nkayi district.

"About 5 000 of us were force-marched to the school by the war veterans. We
were forced to chant ZANU PF slogans and to denounce our local MP (Abednigo
Bhebhe) and the MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai," she said.

"But there were rumblings from most of the villagers who made it clear they
will vote the opposition in March."

Youths in Nkayi were reportedly being forced to attend re-education classes.

Bhebhe, the MDC legislator for Nkayi who also doubles up as the party’s
deputy chairman for Matabeleland North, described the unfolding events in
the province as most disturbing.

"ZANU PF’s violence is increasing in the area and it is only a matter of
time before somebody is killed," he said. "Police are not being helpful as
they don’t act against the war veterans and other militia who are causing

Bhebhe, who was assaulted by the veterans while on a visit to his
constituency last year, said: "Our known activists are being hunted down and
have fled the area.

"Villagers are being harassed and forced to attend rallies. Buses are being
stopped at random and passengers asked to produce ZANU PF cards."

The veterans are said to be using the rallies to de-campaign the MDC,
Zimbabwe’s main opposition which swept all contested seats in the province
in the June 2000 parliamentary vote.

This week this newspaper was inundated with calls and visits from villagers
from Matabeleland North complaining about the violence of the veterans and
other ZANU PF supporters who have declared several districts of the province
"no-go" areas.

"It is risky out there to go around without the ZANU PF card," said Oscar
Ngwenya, a Bulawayo-based worker who returned from his rural home of Lupane,
not far away from Nkayi, this week.

"I am looking for the card to save my skin because people are being beaten
up for not possessing it. Most of us in my area support the opposition but
we don’t want to be harmed," he said.

Ngwenya said most rural dwellers in his district were looking for the cards
just to avoid being terrorised.

"It was the same thing during the Gukurahundi," he said, referring to the
1980s conflict that rocked Matabeleland and the Midlands as the army
massacred innocent villagers in a campaign aimed at fighting anti-government
rebels in the two provinces.

"History is revisiting us again but this time round we don’t want to be
caught napping," Ngwenya added.

Nkayi was reported to be very tense yesterday, with reports that the
veterans had rounded up youths and thrown them into "re-education" camps
that have been established at most schools there.

Jacob Thabane, the MDC MP for Bubi-Umguza, also said violence was worsening
in his constituency, with villagers constantly being intimidated by the

"I am also a wanted man," he noted. "The war veterans are on the rampage but
people have already made up their minds, they want ZANU PF out."

Thabane’s homestead was razed down and property worthy $500 000 destroyed by
the veterans in the run-up to the June 2000 ballot.

But he vowed yesterday: "We will not be intimidated. We want to complete the
change that we started in June 2000 parliamentary elections."

The terror by the veterans in Matabeleland North comes amid a heavy presence
of armed soldiers in and around the region, especially in Lupane and

The troops were deployed by Mugabe late last year after the deaths of two
ZANU PF members which the ruling party blamed on the MDC. The opposition
party rejects the accusation.

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Mugabe’s costly mistakes: Chikerema

Staff Reporter
1/10/02 2:47:35 AM (GMT +2)

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is a bitter man who has refused to change with the
times and is prepared to pull Zimbabwe’s economy down with him, his close
friend and relative said this week.

Veteran nationalist James Chikerema, who grew up with Mugabe and is one of
the pioneers of the country’s 1970s independence war, said the 77-year-old
leader feels betrayed by his people and is prepared to cling to power at
whatever cost to the country.

Chikerema said Mugabe is behaving the way he has done since 2000 because he
thinks Zimbabweans are not grateful for the role he played in liberating the
country but blamed the septuagenarian and his ZANU PF party for Zimbabwe’s
deepening economic crisis.

He said Mugabe’s anger was fuelled by the fact that he could not believe
that people he helped liberate from the racist Ian Smith regime in 1980
could desert him at a time the rest of the world has also isolated him.

"That kind of fear has brought the kind of reaction we are seeing in Mugabe
in which he thinks that after all he has done for the country, the people
have now decided to kick him out," Chikerema told the Financial Gazette.

ZANU PF supporters have since last year unleashed violence on members of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and its sympathisers.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai poses the stiffest challenge to Mugabe’s
21-year reign in the 2002 presidential election set for March.

The campaign by ZANU PF supporters, which has killed more than 40 people
since 2000, has spawned the collapse of Zimbabwe’s industry, fuelled foreign
currency shortages and dented investor confidence.

Chikerema said Mugabe was being haunted by the monster he created when he
decided to make himself an executive president, a move seen by analysts as
an attempt by the ruling party to retain the 1980s policy of a one-party
state in Zimbabwe after a 1987 unity accord with the then opposition ZAPU
party of black nationalist icon Joshua Nkomo.

Mugabe and former foe Nkomo joined forces in 1987 after signing a pact that
ended nearly a decade of insurgency in southern Matabeleland and its
neighbouring Midlands province.

"Where he went wrong was when he decided to have a de facto one-party state
in Zimbabwe because it was then that he connived with his colleagues to rule
forever," Chikerema said.

"In fact, the MDC came from the wings of ZANU PF because at that time the
workers were all members of the ruling party, including Morgan Tsvangirai,"
he said.

Another close ally of Mugabe, George Kahari, said one of the main mistakes
made by the Zimbabwean leader was that he had tried to use the land issue as
a selling point ahead of the crucial election while neglecting other
bread-and-butter issues.

"This is probably where he is failing to appreciate that times have changed
and that it is nearly 30 years after the war of liberation started," Kahari

"To expect the young people of today to appreciate that his arguments are
still as valid today as 30 years ago is one of the greatest mistakes he has
made," he said.

He said Mugabe was failing to understand that Zimbabwe’s young people were
well-educated, which allowed them to think independently.

He said one of the main causes of the slump in Mugabe’s popularity has been
the attitude of some of his officials who have hijacked his ideas in order
to peddle personal agendas.

"Because his followers know his ideas about land, they have been
misinterpreting how the land should be distributed," he said.

On the March ballot, Chikerema said whoever wins the volatile southern
Masvingo and Midlands provinces will become Zimbabwe’s next president.

At present, ZANU PF has solid support only in the three provinces of
Mashonaland West, East and Central.

"Whoever takes Masvingo and the Midlands wins the election," Chikerema said.

He dismissed as cheap politics attempts by ZANU PF to make rural areas no-go
areas for the opposition and said this would not win Mugabe the election.

ZANU PF has sealed off areas such as Bindura from the rest of the country to
prevent outsiders from influencing residents there.

"Quarantining the rural areas will not work because these areas are not all
that insular because the people there have relatives in the towns and will
from time to time have to communicate with them."

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Terror plot exposed

Sydney Masamvu Political Editor

1/10/02 3:01:26 AM (GMT +2)

THE ruling ZANU PF party, working in conjunction with state security agents,
has launched a plan to intensify the intimidation of voters by waging a
violent campaign that cows the entire country to back President Robert
Mugabe in the coming presidential election, the Financial Gazette
established this week.

Official sources said apart from youths who are being trained under the
guise of a national service at the Border Gezi Centre in Mouth Darwin, ZANU
PF had launched a fast-track training programme under which an average 1 000
youths are being recruited and trained in each constituency to spearhead
violence in their areas.

Training centres are being opened countrywide in the next four weeks where
the youth will be trained. The target, according to the sources privy to the
plan, is to ensure that 80 000 youths are trained nationwide by the end of

"We are going to open training centres and we will be training youths in
their constituencies as part of the national service programme," a member of
ZANU PF’s commissariat department told the Financial Gazette.

 The youths are being recruited with a promise that they will be given jobs
in the army and the police force in the event that ZANU PF wins the

Youth Development Minister and ZANU PF political commissar Elliot Manyika
denies that the youths are being trained to wage violence and that they are
trained in military activities in the run-up to the presidential election.

But graduates from the Border Gezi Centre have in the past two weeks been
unleashed into urban areas and some rural areas where they have terrorised
supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and
members of the public.

The sources said kraal heads and headmen are being given weekly allowances
of $500 while district administrators (DAs) are being ordered to address
traditional chiefs to tell them that they should pass on the message that th
e MDC has been banned.

Villagers are being forced to buy ZANU PF cards by the youths graduating
from the training centres.

The chaos and violence is rampant in Manicaland, especially in Chimanimani
districts where one headman told this newspaper this week he had been
ordered to spread the message that the MDC had been banned.

The same message is being spread in the Midlands province.

ZANU PF’s all-night pungwes or meetings and allied re-education meetings,
where each headman is ordered to "bring" his subjects carrying ZANU PF
cards, will be carried out in rural areas countrywide by ZANU PF youths who
are graduates from the national service and the so-called war veterans.

DAs and council chairmen in rural areas have been also ordered not to give
the MDC facilities to stage rallies, a plan which the sources said is meant
to seal off these areas from the MDC countrywide.

The ZANU PF election plan, directed by a task force of military personnel
and members of the government’s spy Central Intelligence Organisation, is
focusing on cowing voters generally, how to frustrate urban voters from
casting their ballots and enticing at least one presidential candidate from
Matabeleland and Manicaland provinces.

The sources said officials involved in the plan had ordered a reduction of
polling stations in urban areas and those perceived to be the strongholds of
the MDC in rural areas while every primary and secondary school in the ZANU
PF strongholds of Mashonaland Central, East and West would be turned into a
polling station.

The sources said ZANU PF is concentrating its efforts in the three provinces
and trying to boost the voting numbers there in order to influence the
outcome of an election which opinion polls and analysts indicated Mugabe
will lose.

By reducing the number of polling stations in urban areas, this means that
fewer people will be able to vote in the two-day election scheduled for the
end of March.

In the ballot, Mugabe is facing the biggest challenge of his political
career from MDC president and former trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai.

Shakespear Maya, a head of an unknown National Alliance for Good Governance,
has indicated his intention to stand in the election as well Wilson
Khumbula, the only ZANU (Ndonga) Member of Parliament.

ZANU (Ndoga) is however divided into three factions, with the other two
throwing their weight behind Tsvangirai.

ZAPU president Agrippa Madlela says he will not stand in the election but
back the MDC candidate so as not to split Matabeleland’s vote.

But his secretary-general Paul Siwela, long suspected of being a ZANU PF
supporter, is struggling to push his candidature to stand for the election.
Angry Bulawayo soccer lovers nearly lynched Siwela at the Barbourfields
stadium last week, accusing him of being a traitor. He had to flee for his

Tsvangirai said this week he was aware of ZANU PF’s machinations to
frustrate voters and his party from campaigning but said Mugabe will be
thrown out from power by the voters.

"People want to vote but Mugabe is busy putting up obstacles and creating
conditions for people not do so," he said.

"He can put up all sorts of roadblocks aimed at hijacking the election but
in the final analysis he will go because the people of Zimbabwe are more
than ready to reclaim their sovereignty."

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Mugabe launches media blitz

1/10/02 2:34:26 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWE’S ruling party has launched a media blitz for President Robert
Mugabe’s re-election bid ahead of the country’s presidential election in

The drive also coincides with reports that militants from Mugabe’s ZANU PF
party have stepped up a violent campaign against the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

ZANU PF has been splashing a series of advertisements in both private and
state-owned newspapers, projecting the embattled former guerrilla leader as
a nationalist threatened by a Western-backed rival.

The adverts as well as dozens of articles in the government media praise
Mugabe’s social, agricultural and economic policies and attack his critics
and rivals — mainly MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai who is expected to give the
77-year-old President the toughest contest of his career.

In its media blitz, ZANU PF mixes attack and defence almost in equal
measure, calling its black opponents puppets of former colonial power
Britain and Zimbabwe’s former white rulers.

The white opponents are portrayed as racists who hanker for white rule under
the former Rhodesia — Zimbabwe’s colonial name.

In one full-page advertisement entitled "Rhodesians Never Learn", ZANU PF
attacks John Robertson, one of Zimbabwe’s top economists, for criticising
Mugabe’s land seizure policy in a recent newspaper article.

ZANU PF charges that Robertson is "a public supporter of the treacherous
British-sponsored MDC" who is working with former Rhodesian war veterans to
undermine black majority rule, alleging that "his views are Rhodesian and

"What we reject is the persistence of vestigial attitudes from the Rhodesian
yesteryears, attitudes of a master race, master colour, master owner and
master employer. Our whole struggle was a rejection of such imperious
attitudes and claims to privilege," the advert says.

Robertson dismissed the charges as a measure of desperation.

"I think people will see this kind of propaganda for what it is — a sign of
desperation," he said.

Zimbabwe’s ruling party has also stepped up its propaganda on radio and
television, taking up more slots on the state-owned broadcasting service to
defend Mugabe’s controversial seizures of white-owned farms.

In the past, the MDC has accused Mugabe and ZANU PF of relying on slogans
and insults to avoid focusing on policy issues and their record in office.

The MDC at the weekend accused youths loyal to Mugabe of attacking one of
its offices and the home of a legislator as violence rises ahead of the
presidential elections.

The MDC says five of its supporters have been killed in the last two weeks,
and MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube says at least 100 people have been
murdered in the last two years.

ZANU PF narrowly beat the MDC in general parliamentary elections in June
2000 after a violent campaign that left at least 31 people dead. — Reuter

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Mugabe to Face MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai in March Presidential Elections
Martin Rushmere
VOA: 10 Jan 2002 00:30 UTC

President Robert Mugabe has announced presidential elections will be held in Zimbabwe on March 9 and 10. He made the announcement Wednesday night. His main opponent will be Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change.
Political analysts say the challenge from Mr. Tsvangirai is the strongest the 77-year-old president has faced in the 21 years he has been in power.
Mr. Mugabe was appointed executive prime minister under a ceremonial president when Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, gained independence from Britain in April 1980, after a bush war against the white-dominated government.
Mr. Mugabe became executive president in 1987 when the post of prime minister was abolished.
Human and political rights groups say they are extremely worried by the increasing political violence and lawlessness throughout Zimbabwe in the last 18 months.
Among the chief concerns voiced by activists are the invasions and seizures of mostly white-owned commercial farms. At least a dozen farmers and workers have been killed in the ensuing violence and 70,000 workers have been made destitute. The government ignored a Supreme Court ruling to stop the seizures and invasions.
In the run-up to parliamentary elections last year, narrowly won by Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, at least 40 people were killed, almost all of them opposition supporters.
A Zimbabwe-based coalition of human rights organizations, the Human Rights Forum, says that another 45 people have been killed in the past year.
The government blames the MDC for the violence, calling the party a "terrorist organization" and is forcing a law through parliament that provides for extremely tough measures, including the death penalty, for anti-government acts.
Critics say the law will severely limit individual and political freedom.
Meanwhile a joint statement issued Wednesday by the army and police says they will not support any attempt to change what they call "the gains of the revolution of 1980" and will not support what they term "anyone with a different agenda that threatens the sovereignty of the country."
The police and army statement called on everyone in Zimbabwe to campaign peacefully in the presidential elections.
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ABC news

Zimbabwe MPs Adjourn Controversial Security Debate


By Stella Mapenzauswa
HARARE (Reuters) - Weary Zimbabwean MPs finished a marathon session early on
Thursday on a controversial security bill that critics say is designed to
stifle opposition as President Robert Mugabe seeks re-election.

The debate came as Zimbabwe's military brass signaled they would not
tolerate an opposition victory in the crucial poll, which was set on
Wednesday for March 9 and 10.

MPs took more than 12-hours to discuss all 46 clauses of the controversial
bill that has been fast-tracked by the ruling ZANU-PF party.

Parliament adjourned until 1230 GMT on Thursday when MPs are set to vote on
the bill after a third reading. The bill, which can criminalize criticism of
Mugabe, will likely be passed, as ZANU-PF holds 93 of the 150 seats in

Discipline is seen being enforced by party whips after ZANU-PF failed to
pass a section of legislation on Tuesday when its members did not turn up in
sufficient numbers.

"You will pass this law I have no doubt, you have the numbers but we will
resist it," said opposition MP Paul Thema Nyathi.

Mugabe, aged 77 and in power since 1980, faces the toughest battle of his
political career in the poll against the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), headed by former trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai.

The president has seen his popularity slide amid a collapsing economy,
growing international criticism of his human rights record, and the violent
seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.


The legislation under debate gives the government sweeping powers to
"protect public order and security and to deal with acts of insurgency,
banditry, sabotage, terrorism, treason and subversion."

Penalties for these offences -- which analysts say can be broadly defined to
include any suspicion a person is plotting against the state -- are life
imprisonment or death.

The bill outlaws publishing or communicating "false statements prejudicial
to the state or that incite public disorder, violence, affect defense and
economic interests of the country or undermine confidence in security

It also bars public gatherings "to conduct riots, disorder or intolerance"
and makes it an offence "to undermine the authority of the president by
making statements or publishing statements that provoke hostility."

These measures will be enforced by the southern African country's security
forces, who pledged their support for Mugabe.

"The security organizations will only stand in support of those political
leaders that will pursue Zimbabwean values, traditions and beliefs for
thousands of lives lost in pursuit of Zimbabwe's hard-won independence,"
defense forces commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe said in a statement on

He was referring to Zimbabwe's liberation war in the 1970s against
white-minority rule. Veterans of that struggle have led the invasions of
white farms and are staunch Mugabe loyalists.

Mugabe has derided the MDC as a puppet of former colonial power Britain and
white Zimbabweans, who he says are enemies of the "liberation struggle"
because of their opposition to his land policies, which he says are needed
to rectify the legacy of colonialism.

Mugabe faces growing international pressure, with Britain pressing for
Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth at the group's heads of
government meeting in Australia early in March.

Critics say another bill likely to be pushed through soon targets the media
and will bar foreign correspondents from working in the crisis-stricken

Zvinavashe also took aim at the press in his Wednesday statement, saying the
media should "not generate profits out of false reports that discredit the
leadership and membership of security organizations."

Zimbabwe's woes have been cited as a factor behind the 37 percent decline in
the value of neighboring South Africa's rand against the dollar last year.

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Mugabe takes a stride into tyranny

Repressive laws mean Zimbabwe poll can have just one outcome

Andrew Meldrum in Harare and Chris McGreal
Thursday January 10, 2002
The Guardian

Robert Mugabe last night called a presidential election for early March as
his government illegally began to force through parliament the most
repressive legislation of his 22 years in power, including draconian new
security laws and curbs on the press.
Just hours before the election date of March 9 and 10 was announced,
Zimbabwe's military chief added to the opposition's woes by warning that the
army would not accept a president who "reverses the gains of the
revolution", a reference to the fact that Zimbabwe's modern-day army was
formed from the ruling party's guerrilla wing

But prospects of any "reverse" grew more distant yesterday as the government
rode roughshod over the law to begin ramming through a basket of legislation
designed to ensure that Mr Mugabe extends his rule by whatever means.

The move came after the opposition Movement for Democratic Change won a rare
victory in parliament on Tuesday when too few government MPs turned out to
pass election legislation that would have stripped hundreds of thousands of
people of the right to vote.

Under Zimbabwe's constitution, once parliament fails to pass legislation, it
cannot be reintroduced in the same session. But the justice minister,
Patrick Chinamasa, told parliament that it would be forced through anyway.

The MDC's shadow minister of justice, David Coltart, said the government's
move was in breach of the law.

"It's illegal. Our law is quite clear. Once it has been defeated it cannot
be introduced to parliament in the same session," he said. "It is a clear
indication that we are a democracy in name only."

The election legislation is part of a package that includes new security
laws, which give the government and police even greater powers than the
colonial-era laws used by Ian Smith's white minority regime and Mr Mugabe
until now.

The proposed Public Order and Security bill carries the death penalty for
acts of "insurgency, banditry, sabotage and terrorism", as well as the
threat of jail and fines for anyone who "undermines the authority of the
president" or "engenders hostility" towards him. Since the September 11
attacks, Mr Mugabe has taken to labelling his opponents as terrorists.

Parliament is also considering a bill aimed at silencing the opposition
press by licensing journalists and barring foreign reporters from working in

The government will be forcing through amendments to labour legislation
designed to curb strikes and other protests by the unions at what is widely
expected to be a rigged election.

After Tuesday's defeat, the government rounded up elected MPs and
non-elected members, including chiefs, to push through what the opposition
alleged were illegal changes to parliamentary procedure so that the security
legislation could be passed in one day's sitting.

The press bill is expected to be forced through in much the same way.

"These are the actions of an absolutely desperate regime," Mr Coltart said.
"Mugabe loves the pretence of legality. They are still determined to have at
least the facade of legality so they can turn around and say whatever they
do is all legal."

The few opinion polls available suggest Mr Mugabe would lose heavily in a
free election. His party barely won a majority in last June's parliamentary
ballot and the government has grown more unpopular amid surging inflation,
unemployment, and the growing threat of food shortages.

But the new laws, and the unleashing of a wave of violent intimidation
against government opponents, suggest the ballot will be anything but fair.
Yesterday, the commander of Zimbabwe's military, General Vitalis Zvinavashe,
gave an ambiguous warning that the army would not accept a government that
it did not like.

"The highest office in the land is a straitjacket whose occupant is expected
to observe the objectives of the liberation. Any change to reverse the gains
of this revolution will not be supported," he said.

The government defended the new security legislation yesterday by accusing
the MDC and whites of being behind an alleged anthrax attack at Harare's
main post office. On Tuesday, the health ministry claimed to have found
envelopes containing a suspicious white powder after two postal workers fell
ill. One of the envelopes was allegedly addressed to a senior government

The state-run Herald newspaper quoted the home affairs minister, John Nkomo,
as blaming whites. "Those responsible for these terrorist attacks are people
who formed the MDC and supported it. It is obvious that former Rhodesians
are involved in these dastardly acts," he said. But the minister presented
no evidence.

The country's information minister, Jonathan Moyo, condemned the warning by
the British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, on Tuesday that the UK would
press for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the Commonwealth if political
violence continued.

"They are going farther from funding the opposition. They have never treated
Zimbabwe as a sovereign country," he said.

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Glasgow Herald

Demand for coalition to freeze Mugabe funds

THE shadow foreign secretary yesterday called for sanctions on Zimbabwe as
its government prepared to force through draconian new laws which would
"dismantle democracy" in favour of Robert Mugabe, the president, ahead of
the country's March elections.
Michael Ancram said the threat by Jack Straw, foreign secretary, to suspend
the central African country from the Commonwealth was insufficient.
Mr Ancram called for an international coalition including the UK, US, EU and
African neighbours of Zimbabwe to prepare "smart sanctions" to freeze Mr
Mugabe's funds and bar him and his colleagues from travel abroad.
Mr Ancram made the call as election dates were announced for March 9 and 10,
and the country's opposition party, Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), had its biggest blow so far with the Zimbabwe
military signalling it would not support the former trade unionist if he
Mr Mugabe, 77, who has been in power since 1980, faces the toughest battle
of his political career amid a collapsing economy and growing international
criticism of his human rights record and the violent seizure of white-owned
Mr Ancram said suspension from the Commonwealth would hold little menace for
Mr Mugabe.
The shadow minister said: "I don't think it is an enormously heavy threat to
wave at all. Fiji and Pakistan are suspended and I don't think in either of
those places it has been regarded as an enormous sanction.
"We need something much more powerful here if we are to persuade Mr Mugabe
and his henchmen that the route they are on is a route to destruction and
they must come off it."
Mr Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF has suspended regular parliamentary procedures to
pave the way for an extended sitting to push through the public order and
security bill that would give the government wide ranging powers against its
It bans independent election monitors and allows the government to evict
white farmers as soon as they receive warning their farm is among the
thousands targeted for redistribution.
Two other controversial bills were also to be discussed. One would make it
an offence to criticise the president, which the MDC said would make their
election campaign impossible.
The other bars foreign journalists from the country and would require local
journalists to obtain government accreditation.
Critics have described the laws as worse than any media controls under
apartheid South Africa.
Jonathon Moyo, Zimbabwe's information minister, said it would stop "lies"
being told about the country.
Mr Moyo also again accused London of supporting the MDC in an attempt to
overthrow Mr Mugabe's government.
He said: "The legislation going through will dismantle the whole system of
"It is unacceptable to the wider coalition which I hope will bring effective
pressure to bear."
-Jan 10th
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