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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Times

            Despotism cracks
            Plans to oust Mugabe raise the pressure on him

            Reports from Zimbabwe that two of the top people in the ruling
party have recently discussed the removal of President Mugabe from office
are the first real signs that the catastrophe now engulfing the country is
beginning to undermine its leadership. The proposal by the commander of the
armed forces that the 78-year-old President should resign has apparently
been discussed not only with the Speaker of parliament but also with Morgan
Tsvangirai, the embattled leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change. Only a year ago this would have been unthinkable. But with
widespread starvation only months away, even those who have had the greatest
stake in perpetuating the Mugabe tyranny now realise that his rule must be
            The details of this extraordinary plot are vague, and it is not
clear whether Mr Mugabe faces the kind of palace putsch that has ended the
rule of so many other African strongmen or a dignified retirement that he
himself may now be seeking. Mr Tsvangirai is the only person to have
confirmed that these talks took place, and he has always said that Mr Mugabe
would never leave office peacefully or voluntarily. The fact that Mr
Tsvangirai, who has seen his supporters murdered and his party cheated of
election victory, is now offering Mr Mugabe immunity from prosecution
suggests that not only the opposition believes that the President has
criminally abused his office but so also do his own party lieutenants.

            Until recently Mr Mugabe seemed to thrive on the hatred that his
despotic rule has provoked. The more he was denounced, especially abroad,
the more he was able to portray himself as a struggling African patriot
surrounded by enemies. This was the tactic in his plan to steal the
election. This was the way he cemented the loyalty of the young thugs
designated war "veterans" and the Zanu (PF) officials, by playing on tribal
and racial divisions to create an embattled group of supporters who knew
they had everything to lose if they abandoned him.

            With the entire infrastructure of Zimbabwe falling apart,
however, the tactic is also failing; too many loyalists have neighbours,
families and fellow tribesmen who are suffering. They can see that, unless
Mr Mugabe goes, even their own privileged positions will be threatened once
the food and fuel runs out and the electricity fails. As with Ceausescu's
Romania, there comes a point in national suffering when even the military
and security apparatus turn against the despot in order to save themselves.

            That point has not yet been reached in Zimbabwe. The Government
is still harassing its critics, arresting Harare's opposition mayor and 21
others yesterday for not getting permission for a public rally. The
"retirement" plotters seem to have got cold feet. And Mr Mugabe has been
bolstered by the ill-timed and ill-judged endorsement of South Africa's
Labour Minister, who last week called for closer relations with Zimbabwe and
suggested that South Africa should copy its seizure of white-owned farms.

            South Africa should know better. President Mbeki's Government
now has an unusual chance to remove the threat of chaos on its northern
border without being seen to act under Western pressure. All Zimbabwe's
anxious neighbours should encourage the Zanu (PF) leadership to press for
the resignation of Mr Mugabe. A dignified departure, though undeserved,
would be far better than violence, and neighbouring countries have shown
that founding Presidents can resign with honour. The West, meanwhile, should
keep a wary distance to avoid any accusations of encouraging a coup. But it
need make no secret of its hopes that Mr Mugabe's own associates will at
last recognise their country's plight and turn out the man who has led them
to this disaster.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Times

            Zimbabwe chiefs in plot to exile Mugabe
            by Jan Raath in Harare

            TWO of the most senior figures in Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu (PF)
party have offered to deliver President Mugabe's resignation to secure a
negotiated settlement of the country's deepening crisis, The Times has
            The secret deal put to Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), would also give Mr Mugabe,
78, immunity from prosecution and allow him to go into exile abroad. A
government of national unity would run Zimbabwe until new elections were
held in about two years' time.

            Sources connected to the Zanu (PF) leadership said they believed
Mr Mugabe had agreed. Whether the deal will go ahead is unclear.

            Colonel Lionel Dyck, a respected white former Zimbabwean Army
officer who has acted as go-between, put the proposals to Mr Tsvangirai
before Christmas. The Zanu leaders pulled back after he initially condemned
the plan, apparently fearing a trap.

            Mr Tsvangirai told The Times that Emmerson Mnangagwa, the
Speaker of parliament and number three in the Zanu (PF) hierarchy, and
General Vitalis Zvinavashe, commander of the armed forces, had assured him
that Mr Mugabe would stand down as the first step.

            "Part of the deal would, of course, include Mugabe resigning,"
said Mr Tsvangirai. "It is the critical element. As far as Mnangagwa and
Zvinavashe are concerned, it's part of the deal."

            Sources said Mr Mnangagwa and General Zvinavashe have already
secured assurances from Mr Mugabe. "He wants to go," said one.

            Mr Tsvangirai said the MDC was ready to offer Mr Mugabe immunity
for crimes committed in pursuit of his lawless, violent campaign of
repression of his opponents and the seizure of nearly all white-owned farms
in the country.

            "That would be the leadership we would give if people are
prepared to say 'forget the past, let's move forward'," the MDC leader said.
"We have to give dialogue a chance."

            The sources say the British Government had been made aware of
this plan, and had offered its support. The Malaysian Government is believed
tentatively to have agreed to offer Mr Mugabe asylum.

            The disclosure of the secret talks comes as England's cricket
authorities are about to meet to decide whether to participate in next month
's World Cup game in Harare.

            Until now it was believed that Mr Mugabe would cling to power no
matter what the cost to his strife-torn country. But the economic meltdown
since the President was returned to power in rigged elections last March,
and drastic food shortages that have left tens of thousands facing
starvation, have forced Zanu (PF)'s power-brokers to stage what appears to
be a gradual coup.

            Mr Tsvangirai said Mr Mugabe had been sustained in office by Mr
Mnangagwa and General Zvinavashe, and their offer showed "they are the ones
calling the shots". Sources in Harare say that once it becomes known Mr
Mugabe has accepted he must go, it will be impossible for him to cling to
power for much longer.

            Sources said the initiative was started about five months ago
when Colonel Dyck, who is regarded as "an honest broker" with no ties to
either of the main parties, made an approach to General Zvinavashe, his
former commander.

            After a series of wide-ranging consultations, he presented a set
of principles drafted by Mr Mnangagwa and General Zvinavashe to Mr
Tsvangirai shortly before Christmas.

            It proposed Mr Mugabe's resignation, a transitional period of
about two years in which both parties would administer the country, and then
elections. It was not decided who Zimbabwe's interim leader should be.

            The sources said Mr Tsvangirai agreed to the proposals, to the
delight of the two ZANU(PF) leaders. However, two days later,he denounced
the initiative as a "dirty plan" in which Colonel Dyck was "being used to
promote an agenda that seeks to legitimise the rogue regime"' Soon after
ZANU(PF) pulled back and Colonel Dyck withdrew as go-between. Mr Tsvangirai
explained that he feared he was being used in a succession struggle inside
Zanu (PF). He now believes the halt in negotiations is only temporary. "The
pot is boiling," he said.

            "The nation is really suffering. We have to find a solution to
the current crisis, and that is a burden on the MDC, on ZANU(PF) to consider
seriously. This is the only way we can break the impasse."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Times

            January 13, 2003

            Mugabe 'sees he is at the end of road'
            From Jan Raath in Harare

            TRAPPED by a disaster of his own making, President Mugabe of
Zimbabwe appears finally to have accepted that he has reached the end of his
22-year rule of violence, corruption, lawlessness and abuse of power.
            "Never has he been so vulnerable," Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, said in an interview with The
Times at the weekend. "I think given the chance he would take the first
opportunity to get away from all of this."

            Citing Mr Mugabe's age, his family and his security
considerations, coupled with the departure of President Moi of Kenya, Mr
Tsvangirai continued: "The isolation is now intense ... It's very obvious
all over the country that Mugabe has become a liability to his own party."

            Morale in the ruling Zanu (PF) party plumbed new depths in early
December when Mr Mugabe addressed the party's annual conference and failed
to mention the famine that has brought seven million people to starvation,
national fuel shortages and inflation of about 200 per cent. "Mugabe lost it
there," Mr Tsvangirai said. "Zanu (PF) was more disillusioned than at any

            Mr Tsvangirai said that in December Lionel Dyck, a former
Zimbabwe army officer, communicated to him the offer of the 78-year-old
dictator's resignation, which was made by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the ruling
party's third-in-line, and General Vitalis Zvinavashe, commander of the
defence forces. Mr Tsvangirai said that he was told that the two men were
"the ones who are keeping Mugabe (in office), otherwise he would have
resigned long back".

            The two ruling party officials make a formidable combination. Mr
Mnangagwa, the secretary for administration in the ruling party's politburo,
is nicknamed "the son of God" for the widely-held assumption that he is Mr
Mugabe's natural successor. He is held in awe because of his former position
as State Security Minister, and is regarded as still holding influence in
the service.

            General Zvinavashe is commander of the army and airforce, and
whoever he allies himself with can be regarded as unassailable. Military
sources say that his relationship with Mr Mugabe is uneasy. They also say
that shortly before the presidential elections in March last year, a group
of senior military officers advised Mr Mugabe to retire while he could still
do so honourably. He refused.

            Observers said that the offer to remove Mr Mugabe demonstrated
his rapid loss of influence, and the evaporation of confidence in him, that
came with his inept handling of the country's economic collapse.His record
of remorseless consolidation of power suggests that the result of the
resignation offer would have been arrests, possibly on charges of treason,
had it been made without his consent and if he were fully in control. "It
explains they are the ones calling the tune," Mr Tsvangirai said.

            He expressed reluctance to negotiate with either General
Zvinavashe or Mr Mnangagwa. "There are certain individuals who, even if you
use the most effective detergent, they will not come clean."

            Mr Mnangagwa led the Central Intelligence Organisation, Mr
Mugabe's secret police, when it helped the army's notorious Five Brigade to
carry out genocide in the western provinces of Matabeleland in the

            Both men were named in a United Nations report last year as
major beneficiaries of the illegal diamond trade in the Democratic Republic
of Congo.

            Two years ago Mr Mnangagwa was found by a High Court judge
illegally to have ordered the release from prison of the son of his former
mistress, who was serving a sentence for armed robbery. The judge's orders
for further investigations were ignored.

            Mr Tsvangirai said, however, that if Mr Mnangagwa were appointed
by Zanu (PF) to be its negotiator, the opposition party would deal with him.
"Everyone is desperate for a solution," he said.

            He is open-minded on Mr Mugabe's future. "He is too insecure to
retire in Zimbabwe. Whatever way the political outcome goes I think for a
certain duration he would go outside the country.

            "If a negotiated settlement would be achieved, part of the deal
would include his guarantees," he said. "We have reached a stage where if
Mugabe is a stumbling block to the solution, and for us to move forward, if
people are asked to make the sacrifice of giving him immunity, let it be."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Australian

Refugees recall a different Zimbabwe
By Penny Brown
January 13, 2003
``WHAT I want people to see is that what is happening in Zimbabwe is
bordering on genocide - not only with Mugabe killing the white farmers but
also with him killing all the black people who will not support him," says
actor Chloe Traicos.

To set the record straight, Traicos has produced a one-hour documentary,
Stranger in My Homeland, which will screen at the Perth International Arts
Festival from January 31. It is comprised of interviews with seven
Zimbabweans - white and black - now living in Perth after recently fleeing
their homes.

Through their personal stories the documentary reveals "just how bad things
are" in Zimbabwe, says Traicos.

"The things that people tell you, you don't read about it anywhere; it's not
on the Internet or anything. They actually give you graphic details of how
horrific things are . . . One of the people was an eyewitness to the
Matabele massacres of the early 1980s."

Another person interviewed by Traicos describes the climate of fear in
Zimbabwe: "Here [in Australia] if someone threatens to kill you, you at
least know that they may be afraid of the law and not do it because they
don't want to go to jail. There, the law is against you, so if someone
threatens to kill you, you just pray that they are kind enough to have mercy
and not do it."

Traicos grew up in Zimbabwe but fled to Perth with her family - in 1998,
following Robert Mugabe's edict on the seizure of white-owned farms.
Although not a farming family, her parents were alarmed by Mugabe's stance -
alarmed enough to leave their home and emigrate to Australia.

The land seizures started in March 2000, after Mugabe lost a referendum on
changing the constitution to allow for the compulsory acquisition of land
from commercial farmers. Since then, the socioeconomic situation has
deteriorated rapidly as the hundreds of thousands of rural workers who were
forced to relocate also face drought and famine.

Although Traicos says the Zimbabwean community in Perth is growing, she says
many, newly arrived and still traumatised by their experiences, were
reluctant or afraid to speak with her.

The documentary has been 12 months in the making, and carries the same name
as her first play, which was staged at Perth's Blue Room in 2000 and told
the story of a white farming family in Zimbabwe who are run off their land.

In this work, Traicos draws parallels between the situation in Zimbabwe and
Nazi Germany. "Hitler used the Jews, a wealthy minority group, as a
scapegoat in the same way Mugabe has used the whites. Hitler told the
starving Germans that it was the Jews' fault they were all starving. In
exactly the same way, Mugabe has blamed the starvation of the blacks on the

Traicos finds it hard to reconcile the reality of Zimbabwe today with the
images of her childhood: "It was an ideal place to grow up. There never was
any racial tension there when I was growing up. It was newly independent."

The documentary, she hopes, will show Australians that "these people are
refugees - a lot of them can't go back, they don't have a home".

Back to the Top
Back to Index

International Herald Tribune

      Deal readied to urge Mugabe to resign
         The Associated Press The Associated Press  Monday, January 13, 2003

HARARE, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe would resign and a new
power-sharing government would be formed under a deal that has been
discussed by Zimbabwe's governing party and opposition officials, mediators
said Sunday.
The offer was made by two of the governing party's most powerful figures -
the Parliament speaker, Emmerson Mnangagwa and the armed forces chief of
staff, General Vitalis Zvinavashe - in an effort to help Zimbabwe regain
international legitimacy, renewed aid and investment during a period of
transitional rule, the mediators said.
The mediators, fearing allegations of treason if the deal collapses, said
assurances Mugabe would step down were conveyed to the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change, or MDC.
Mugabe, who led the nation to independence in 1980, won a new six-year term
in elections last March that independent observers said were deeply flawed.
The MDC, along with Britain, the European Union and the United States, has
refused to accept results, saying voting was rigged and influenced by
violence and intimidation.
The early retirement of Mugabe has long seemed inconceivable.
The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, confirmed receiving the offer and, in a
departure from recent opposition policy, said his party's lawmakers were
ready to vote with the governing party for a constitutional amendment
allowing the creation of a caretaker government once Mugabe stepped down.
Any agreement would include guarantees of immunity for Mugabe, 78, from
prosecution over alleged misrule and human rights violations during his 23
years in power, Tsvangirai said.
Officials of the governing party were unavailable for comment Sunday.
There has been no word on an offer from Mugabe himself, who was scheduled to
head home from a two-week vacation that included a trip to Thailand. He is
expected to return to his office Monday.
His absence as the nation faced food and gasoline shortages has fanned harsh
criticism at home.
The MDC has repeatedly called for Mugabe to go on trial.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

      Tanzanian maize furore
      By Henry Makiwa

      AS the Zanu PF government ponders what to do with the donated maize
from Tanzania which has been condemned by the Grain Marketing Board, fears
abound that the consignment may have brought into the country, the deadly
Larger grain borer pest which is notorious for the damage it has wreaked to
grain reserves in East Africa.

      The pest which was accidentally introduced into Tanzania in the early
80s, has since proved dangerous to grain reserves and has the potential to
cause tremendous storage losses.

      Agricultural experts say the Larger grain borer, which feeds on dried
maize can cause up to 40% of loss in a period ranging from three to six
months, making it an undesirable addition to any agro-based economy.

      In separate interviews with The Standard, agricultural experts said
the Zanu PF government had become so desperate for a solution to the food
crisis that it had willingly accepted maize even from poor Tanzania without
making all the necessary safety checks.

      "Everyone with agricultural know-how is aware that the larger grain
borer causes havoc in Tanzania and Togo and it beats me why the Zanu PF
government was prepared to accept maize so easily from that country," said
an agricultural and extension worker.

      Renson Gasela, the shadow minister for Lands and Agriculture in the
Movement for Democratic Change, yesterday expressed outrage at the way Zanu
PF had handled the issue of the Tanzania donation.

      "The government should have queried the standards of the donation
before accepting it and because it has now imported a deadly pest-we are
headed for a serious problem. The pest is known throughout East Africa and
is a perennial headache for farmers in that region," he said.

      Made, who could not be reached for a comment yesterday had officiated
at a colourful ceremony in Victoria Falls last week to mark the arrival of
the grain.

      Tanzanian officials could not be reached for comment either.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


The illegitimate regime of Robert Gabriel Mugabe continues to tighten
its death grip on the country and the people of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is
currently suspended from the Commonwealth due to the massive rigging
of the 2002 elections.

The greatest enemy of a regime, which has institutionalised human
rights abuses as an instrument of state policy and means to cling on
to power, is a free press and a free flow of information.

The attempts of the illegitimate Mugabe regime restrict the free flow
of information are well documented and the publishers and journalists
who continue to attempt to publish the truth about the situation in
Zimbabwe are brave people and true heroes who will be acknowledged for
their courage once the people of Zimbabwe have been freed from the
state sponsored terror inflicted upon them by this murderous Mugabe

The free flow of information within Zimbabwe is now at greater risk
than ever before. First, the fixing of the price of newspapers in a
hyperinflationary climate will soon lead to the closure of the
independent and opposition publications. Secondly, it is noted that
the regime is buying controlling interests in these independent
publications as a means to controlling the flow of news. The above two
factors together with the banning of foreign correspondents and the
forced state registration of local journalists presents a clear and
present danger to the free flow of information both in and out of
Zimbabwe and between Zimbabweans at home.

It is vital that an alternative means of keeping Zimbabweans informed
both at home and in diaspora about what is happening in the Zimbabwe.
This information flow will complement the short-wave radio broadcasts
from overseas.

This information flow will be achieved through mass email and fax
transmissions of news bulletins. The bulletins can then be Xeroxed
(photocopied) and distributed on the streets.

It is important that recipients of these bulletins are not targeted by
Mugabe's CIO thugs and as such the mailing list must be as
comprehensive as possible and certainly include Zanu-PF members and
supporters and all government departments. No bulletins will be
transmitted until the list is large enough and the recipients diverse
enough so as to not allow individuals to be targeted for victimisation
by agents of the state.

So as to compile a large list of email and fax recipients you are
asked to submit as many as possible, including those friendly to the
regime, to the following address:

Email is free but faxes are not. Once established an appeal will go
out to those residing in a safe location that have access to a fax and
the means to meet the cost of as many faxes as they can afford. Your
country needs you.

This is an initiative by Zimbabweans for Zimbabweans towards a new and
finally free Zimbabwe --  free at last from the psychological
strangleholds of the Mugabe and Smith regimes.

Aluta continua
Back to the Top
Back to Index