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

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Blair talks with South Africa leader over Zimbabwe
Prime Minister Tony Blair has spoken to South African leader Thabo Mbeki about the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe.
The talks come amid concerns that Britain is deporting Zimbabwean asylum seekers back to their country to face death or torture at the hands of President Robert Mugabe's secret police.
Mr Blair insists that anyone with a legitimate claim for asylum would stay - but those without would be sent back.
Downing Street says the situation will be monitored closely but each case will be tested on its merits.
Reports claim members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change are being arrested or attacked on their return to Zimbabwe.
The Refugee Council says people's lives were at risk because of Government policy, while shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin has called for an all-party meeting on the claims.
During their telephone call, the Prime Minister and President Mbeki agreed the situation in Zimbabwe was very serious.
"It is clearly deteriorating in a way that is giving everyone cause for concern," Mr Blair's spokesman said.
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South Africa Urges Quiet Diplomacy Over Zimbabwe
By Cris Chinaka
BLANTYRE, Malawi (Reuters) - Regional powerhouse South Africa ruled out sanctions and called for quiet diplomacy Sunday to solve the deepening Zimbabwe crisis as Southern African leaders gathered for a summit.
Western governments want Monday's meeting of the 14-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) to rein in Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, whom they accuse of muzzling opposition politicians and independent media as he seeks to extend his 22-year grip on power at elections in March.
"We've been working at this for a long time, trying to convince (people) that what is called (for is) quiet diplomacy. There is no alternative to that," South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad was quoted as telling reporters in Pretoria.
The South African Press Association said Pahad dismissed some Western suggestions that "smart sanctions" should be slapped on Zimbabwe -- freezing all foreign assets and banning foreign travel for Mugabe and his government ministers.
"The European Union has all the banks (in Zimbabwe). If they want to impose sanctions, it's their decision," Pahad said.
Britain, the former colonial power in Zimbabwe, has sought to ratchet up international pressure on Mugabe, who has led his country since independence in 1980. The West has also been alarmed at a two-year wave of violence that has accompanied Mugabe's land reforms to transfer white-owned farms to blacks.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair held telephone talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki Saturday on Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis, British officials said.
"Both leaders take it seriously. It is clearly deteriorating in a way giving everyone cause for concern," a spokesman for Blair said.
Analysts doubted whether the SADC would get as tough with Mugabe as the West would like.
"The crisis in Zimbabwe has worsened to the level where SADC should have no problem in finding a strong voice, but somehow I think...we might still be treated to the same mealy-mouthed statements we've been hearing for months," Zimbabwean political analyst Brian Raftopoulos told Reuters.
The violent seizures of white farms by black Zimbabwean war veterans -- backed by Mugabe -- has hit the economy hard.
Nine white farmers have been killed, scores of black farm workers assaulted and thousands displaced in the land invasions. Aid organizations have warned of severe food shortages in rural areas.
Last week, Zimbabwe's parliament passed legislation granting Mugabe sweeping security powers ahead of the March 9-10 presidential elections.
Defense Forces chief General Vitalis Zvinavashe said on Wednesday that heads of the country's security services would not accept a president who did not fight in the country's 1970s liberation war against white minority rule.
That was seen as a blow to the hopes of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The MDC urged the SADC to take a stand against Mugabe. "The very least that we expect is an unequivocal condemnation that what Mugabe is doing in Zimbabwe is unacceptable, and since it's unacceptable he should bring it to an end," MDC Secretary-General Welshman Ncube told Reuters in Johannesburg.
Mugabe, 77, arrived in Malawi Saturday in combative mood, accusing Britain of trying to help the MDC win power.
His spokesman George Charamba said the Zimbabwean government would not be treated as if it was on trial at the summit.
"This is not going to be a court in which Zimbabwe will be in the dock. All that is going to happen is that the summit will get an update on political developments in Zimbabwe on the land issue and on how Zimbabwe is fighting to retain its rights as a sovereign state," Charamba told Reuters.
SADC chairman, Malawi President Bakili Muluzi, originally called the summit to discuss the Congo, but analysts say it is likely to be dominated by the Zimbabwe issue.
"On the face of it, Zimbabwe might be a peripheral matter, but in effect it is the most pressing issue for SADC at the moment," said a senior African diplomat, who declined to be identified.
SADC comprises South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Mauritius, Swaziland, Seychelles and Zambia.
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Letter to The Times
Zimbabwe's press
Sir, This Institute welcomes the news (report, January 9; see also letters, January 10) that the British Government is seeking the expulsion of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth. For a considerable time we have been concerned with the Mugabe regime’s persistent attacks on press freedom.
We recently announced the presentation of the Institute’s Gold Medal to “the independent press of Zimbabwe”. Further, we have called repeatedly on Commonwealth governments to demand that the Mugabe regime honour its commitments to human rights and freedom of the press.
Meanwhile, we welcome Jack Straw’s recognition that harassment of journalists provides a clear example of Zimbabwe’s serious and persistent violation of Commonwealth principles.
Yours faithfully,
General Secretary,
Chartered Institute of Journalists,
2 Dock Offices,
Surrey Quays Road, SE16 2XU.
January 10.
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Mugabe launches new salvo at Britain
Chris McGreal, and Andrew Meldrum in Harare
Monday January 14, 2002
The Guardian
Robert Mugabe has accused Britain of declaring war on his country ahead of a meeting today of southern African leaders today to discuss the escalating crisis in Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, the opposition in Harare accused Mr Mugabe of unleashing a new wave of terror in the run-up to the presidential election in March. The Movement for Democratic Change said the ruling Zanu-PF's youth militia had burned homes, offices and vehicles in a campaign of intimidation while the police watched impassively.
After arriving in Malawi, Mr Mugabe portrayed Zimbabwe as a victim of neo-colonial aggression by Tony Blair.
"Britain has a war with us. Blair wants his own version of colonialism in Zimbabwe and we will resist that," he said.
The EU's call last week for open press access to the election was dismissed as a "mad request especially in this age of terrorism when governments are coming together to fight terrorism", according to a senior government official quoted anonymously in the state press.
Southern African leaders are not expected to threaten to impose sanctions but they are increasingly exacerbated at the economic damage Zimbabwe is causing to their region.
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BA halts Zimbabwe deportation
Hint at ban on expulsions as risks grow for Mugabe foes
Alan Travis and John Ezard
Monday January 14, 2002
The Guardian
British Airways has refused outright to accept a Home Office directive to fly a deportee from Gatwick to Zimbabwe, it was disclosed yesterday, as ministers gave their first hint that they are preparing to halt the expulsion of that country's failed asylum seekers.
The hint comes amid rising fears that deportees face arrest by President Robert Mugabe's secret police.
It also emerged yesterday that Home Office officials have suspended the expulsion from Heathrow of another Zimbabwean asylum seeker.
Although the department said: "There is not going to be a suspension of removals at this point", the official statement stressed that ministers acknowledge that the situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated and are monitoring the situation very closely.
The shift represents a significant softening in tone compared with the line taken last week when the two planned deportations were being finalised.
Ministers have the power to halt the deportation of rejected asylum seekers - some with links to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change - if they officially declare Zimbabwe to be a "country in upheaval". The power was used twice by former home secretary Jack Straw.
Many of those sent back to the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, from Britain have had their asylum applications rejected on the basis of an outdated country assessment. There have been claims that some have been arrested or attacked on their return to Zimbabwe, while others have gone into hiding.
Mr Mugabe's central intelligence organisation now controls Harare airport.
Yesterday the Home Office said: "We do recognise that genuine Movement for Democratic Change activists may well merit asylum."
BA's refusal was in defiance of a directive to put a deportee on the 9.15pm Harare flight on Friday. The airline invoked its power to refuse if it sees "reasonable grounds" under the 1971 Immigration Act.
Yesterday a BA spokesman said: "We felt there were reasonable grounds and so the man did not board."
It was claimed that the planned Heathrow deportation, on the same day, was suspended because the Home Office received new evidence from the asylum seeker's lawyers.
Over the weekend the UN refugee agency lent its support to those urging the British government to suspend deportations to Zimbabwe.
"The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is gravely concerned about the serious human rights violations in Zimbabwe,"said Anne Dawson-Shepherd, the agency's UK representative.
"Those who have sought asylum in the UK should be offered a safe haven and all deportations stopped. Their return to Zimbabwe under current circumstances could seriously jeopardise their physical safety, their liberty and their life."
The UNHCR said the Mugabe government had sanctioned extra-judicial executions, hostage-taking, torture, and targeted violence in the run-up to the presidential elections in March.
Its plea has been endorsed by Amnesty International, which complained that immigration officers had ignored the recent intensification of attacks on opposition supporters, and the daily deterioration in the situation, when rejecting applications from Zimbabwean refugees.
The Refugee Council has also called for the home secretary, David Blunkett, to take immediate and urgent action and the shadow home secretary, Oliver Letwin, is pressing him for an all-party meeting this week to discuss the issue.
In a further statement, a Home Office spokesman said: "We are aware of the concerns expressed internationally about events in that country. We will grant asylum to those who have well-founded fear of persecution."
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The Times
UK deportations to continue
BRITAIN said yesterday that it will continue to detain and deport Zimbabwean asylum-seekers arriving in the country, despite a growing outcry from refugee groups, human rights organisations and opposition parties demanding that the policy be suspended.
Amid increasing fears of a crackdown by President Mugabe’s regime on political opponents ahead of the presidential elections in March, the Home Office came under pressure at the weekend to suspend its asylum rules, described by one Zimbabwean in London as “living in denial”.
Despite the criticism, the Home Office insisted yesterday that it was not prepared to soften its policy. “At the present time there is no change in the policy with regard to removals,” a spokesman said. “We will only grant asylum to those who have a well founded fear of persecution.”
The tough Home Office stand seemed at odds with the Foreign Office, which is supposed to advise other government departments on foreign policy issues.
Tony Blair spoke by telephone to President Mbeki of South Africa yesterday about the worsening situation in Zimbabwe. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The situation is clearly deteriorating in a way that is giving everyone cause for concern.
“We are obviously having to keep a close eye in terms of the situation there and what other measures can be put in place.”
He said that asylum-seekers from Zimbabwe would continue to be judged on the individual merits of their case. But he added: “Clearly, the fact that the situation has deteriorated means it will be having an effect in relation to people’s asylum claims.”
Earlier, Baroness Amos, the Foreign Office Minister responsible for Africa, predicted that, because of repressive legislation passed in Harare, Zimbabweans would be unlikely to have free and fair elections on March 9. Britain is pressing for the Commonwealth to suspend Zimbabwe’s membership because of the human rights abuses, and is pushing for the European Union to impose sanctions against Mr Mugabe and his ruling elite.
The only person willing to defend Zimbabwe’s human rights record is Mr Mugabe, who accused Mr Blair of being a liar for criticising his methods and said that he condemned violence and wanted only to live in peace.
But his own countrymen have not been convinced. Yesterday Dingilizwe Ntuli, a Zimbabwean journalist working for a South African paper, fled the country after he was denounced as a “terrorist” on television by Jonathan Moyo, the Information Minister.
Hundreds of Zimbabweans facing similar threats have sought refuge in Britain since politically inspired violence erupted nearly two years ago, aimed at members of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, white farmers, journalists or anyone seen as a threat to Mr Mugabe. Less than 10 per cent have been permitted to stay, but about 10 to 15 new refugees are arriving each week and there are fears of “an avalanche” as the violence worsens.
Alan Wilkinson, a director of the Zimbabwe Association, which offers support to 180 Zimbabwean asylum-seekers in Britain, described the Home Office system of detention and deportation as “brutal”. He said that those deported were at risk of their lives.
“We have had cases of people dragged off the plane at Harare and beaten by the Zimbabwean secret police,” he said. “We have had seven cases of Zimbabweans deported from London who promised to get in touch with us on their return but have disappeared without a trace.”
Those concerns have been taken up by a broad group of sympathisers, including the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, the Refugee Council, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Amnesty International.
Oliver Letwin, the Shadow Home Secretary, accused the Government of a “massive bureaucratic muddle” in its handling of Zimbabwean asylum-seekers and called on David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, to halt all deportations. “The whole purpose of our asylum system is to protect people in this position,” he said.
Nick Hardwick, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: “There is a real possibility that people’s lives are at risk now . The Home Office needs to take immediate and urgent action.”
The UNHCR said Britain should halt all deportations to Zimbabwe for six months. “Those who have sought asylum in the UK should be offered safe haven,” a spokeswoman said. “Their return to Zimbabwe . . . could seriously jeopardise their physical safety, their liberty and their lives.”
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South Africa urged to use sanctions against Mugabe
By Tim Butcher in Johannesburg
(Filed: 14/01/2002)

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, leader of the Zimbabwean opposition, pleaded yesterday for sanctions to be imposed on his country before the presidential election in March.
His call came as police arrested 22 members of his party, the Movement for Democratic Change, in Kwe Kwe, following violent clashes with supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF party who had burned down an MDC office.
Mr Tsvangirai said that after two years of "softly-softly" diplomacy by Zimbabwe's neighbours, which had failed to stop President Mugabe's abuse of the rule of law, it was time for genuine sanctions.
President Mugabe
Targeted measures should be imposed immediately to freeze money and assets held overseas by Mr Mugabe and his associates, while South Africa should impose a fuel, transport and electricity blockade.
Mr Tsvangirai told BBC Television: "We are aware that smart sanctions, if they are immediately implemented will have the personal effect on the leadership of Zanu-PF."
He encouraged South Africa, the regional superpower, to use its economic muscle against the Mugabe regime.
"I think SA will have to go it alone and do something effective on the ground," he said. "The threat to undermine the elections by the military and the president himself should send shockwaves to South Africa.
"And South Africa should say, 'OK, under those circumstances we are going to cut fuel, we are going to cut transport links'."
Tony Blair telephoned South Africa's President Mbeki on Saturday night to discuss the deepening political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.
A spokesman for Mr Blair said: "Both leaders take it seriously. It is clearly deteriorating in a way giving everyone cause for concern."
Mr Tsvangerai's remarks won the backing of South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance. Its leader, Tony Leon, said South Africa should withdraw its representatives at the conference of SADC, the grouping of southern African states, to protest at the body's powerlessness on Zimbabwe.
Mr Tsvangirai said that SADC, which meets today in Malawi, was too incoherent and divided to have any genuine effect on the Zimbabwean situation.
The summit was given a circus air as Mr Mugabe arrived claiming "God is on our side" before launching a personal attack on Mr Blair, accusing him of being a liar.
Meanwhile Mr Mugabe was attacked by the veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The South African Nobel Prize winner said: "Mugabe seems to have gone bonkers in a big way.
"It is very dangerous when you subvert the rule of law in your country, when you don't even respect the judgments of your judges.
"It is a great sadness what has happened to President Mugabe. He was one of Africa's best leaders, a bright spark, a debonair, well-spoken and well-read person."
The Commercial Farmers' Union said that another 23 white farmers had been forced off their land since Jan 1 in another wave of land seizures by mobs loyal to Mr Mugabe.
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Business Day
SADC feels heat over Mugabe
Both international community and opposition call for tough action

THE international community and Zimbabwe's opposition stepped up pressure on African leaders last night to take tough action today against President Robert Mugabe to stop him from turning his country into an economic and political ruin.
Ahead of today's Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Malawi, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair held telephone talks on Saturday with President Thabo Mbeki on the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe.
"Both leaders take it seriously. It is clearly deteriorating in a way giving everyone cause for concern," Blair's spokesman said.
London has threatened to toughen its stance by pushing for Harare's suspension from the Commonwealth if politically repressive laws are enacted.
Just hours before 22 of his members were arrested following violent clashes with ruling Zanu (PF) party supporters, Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), urged the SADC leaders to "retrieve their credibility" by acting against Mugabe.
Tsvangirai, who supports selected sanctions against Harare's leadership, wants the SADC to unequivocally demand that Zimbabweans be allowed to freely choose their leader in March. If this does not happen , the SADC must make clear that the outcome would not be binding.
Drastic action had to be taken by the SADC should this happen, he said days after an army general signalled that the army would not support his victory.
Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon urged Pretoria to recall its diplomatic staff in Harare if two bills to muzzle the opposition were not rescinded.
These calls come just a day after the European Union gave Mugabe until Friday to assure Brussels that he would invite observers to the election and allow the media to cover it. They also follow renewed threats for sanctions against Harare.
Violence and a statement by the army that it will only support a Mugabe victory strengthened calls for action. Joining Mbeki's condemnation of remarks by Gen Vitalis Zvinavashe, Zimbabwe's army chief, Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, chairman of the SADC organ for defence, politics and security, promised a probe of the statement.
Though the summit's agenda is too general, it is understood that SA intends pushing for a thorough discussion of the situation in Zimbabwe. With Sapa-AFP and Reuters
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The Farmer

What a catastrophe

FARMERS will be hoping that 2002 will bring respite to their shattered lives. After very nearly two years of terror and turmoil, Zimbabweans are desperate to end the insanity that has plunged their country headlong into anarchy. During the last 23 months, supporters of the ruling party have murdered farmers in cold blood. Women have been raped, while farmers and workers alike have been captured and beaten brutally, often resulting in terrible mutilation. Farming families have been driven from their homes by chanting, threatening gangs of state-sponsored militants while the police looked on dispassionately. Hundreds of thousands of farm workers face an uncertain future, even as they contemplate two years of terror at the hands of farm invaders who have beaten them, gang raped their wives and daughters and burnt their homes to the ground. Thousands have been evicted and forced to live in the wild, all in the name of reform.

It is an obscenity and Zimbabwe has become a depraved nation, scorned by the free world. Meanwhile the next three months are likely to offer no relief because Mr Robert Mugabe, who turns 78 next month, is determined to win a presidential election even though the numbers are stacked against him. Between now and the election, the pressure is likely to escalate while Mr Mugabe's curious ally, Professor Jonathan Moyo, piles on his creepy propaganda and demonizes everyone who doesn't want to be associated with the ruling party - which rather pits him against the majority of Zimbabweans.

Hindsight provides huge benefit and it is now glaringly obvious that the troubles that began shortly after the February 2000 referendum were intended to last until the 2002 election. In fact, the Zimbabwe Crisis was planned very carefully, before the referendum was even held. We know this is true because the late Dr Hitler Hunzvi's war veterans' organisation wrote a menacing letter to the British government promising bloodshed. That the British chose to do nothing with the letter - and did not even bother to warn farmers of the threats made against them - was unfortunate but unchangeable.

Still… Mr Mugabe's intricate plan to win through chaos, fear and famine may yet unravel before his eyes. He is no longer in a position of strength and could well lose, even if he wins. Should the election proceed without adequate monitors and observers, should the violence be unrelenting and should the results be obviously skewed, Mr Mugabe's government is unlikely to be recognised by those countries that are important. It may well be that history repeats itself and, just as the United States and Dr Henry Kissinger grew weary of Mr Ian Smith's government, Zimbabwe will find the taps are closed and the country faces genuine isolation. It is all very well for Mr Mugabe to rely on his fence sitting friends in SADC, but the final word generally belongs to the US and the Bush administration which, contrary to the beliefs of many, is taking Zimbabwe very seriously.
Public predictions are always akin to tempting fate and very dangerous. Despite that, it seems more than likely the Zimbabweans will find themselves coming to terms with a new government during the course of this year. If it is not as a result of the March presidential poll, then it will be when overwhelming pressure from outside forces the current regime to capitulate.
Either way, it would be a little previous to give in now when the sensible thing to do would be to work - and work hard - for a free and fair election. ZANU - PF is right about one thing: the western world is opposed to it and opposed to its leader. For once in the history of Africa, the west's desire for change is motivated largely by good rather than by greed. That means that a change of government will bring about a return to normality. But it will do more, because already the Americans have promised a renewal of aid programmes, debt relief and help with putting the country back on its feet.

It would not take long for Zimbabwe to prosper again. Professional doom merchants predict that it will take decades, but that is nonsense. The economy is small, but strategically important. That means wealthy nations would like to see it recover quickly because Zimbabwe is the fulcrum on which the rest of the region balances. A relatively small injection of capital would see the country regain its place and even boom. The doom merchants also promise that organised agriculture is dead. Again they are wrong. Farming will never be the same, but that could well be a good thing, but it does not mean that the farms will always be swamped by thousands of squatters. Many, perhaps even most, of the so-called new owners of Zimbabwe's commercial farms will move off or be moved off if there is a return to the rule of law in the country. It would take no great effort to achieve this if the laws of the land were followed.
Sadly, what ZANU -PF set out to achieve is being achieved in some sectors of the economy and in some population groups. The ruling party wanted a population so utterly demoralised that it simply gives in and accepts the status quo - and they wanted that giving in to happen before the presidential election. If Zimbabweans, and especially Zimbabweans with influence lie on their backs like puppies waiting for the stomachs to be tickled, then the country is doomed to the government it deserves. But if there is a resurgence of will, of tenacity and courage, the election will go the way all sensible, right thinking people want it to go. The madness will end and the world will once again smile on the country. In other words, it is now the time to fight for what is right, to make demands knowing full well that they will not be honoured and to stand up to tyranny. It is not right that individuals can have no effect on matters, for every small act of brave commitment will help. Nor is it right to say that there is no point in standing up to the terror because the election will be rigged. It may well be, but whether it can be rigged sufficiently is a debatable point - especially after the ruling party failed to take Chegutu. ??????????

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The Farmer
Africa's biggest economies slowing, Zimbabwe recession
ZIMBABWE'S economy is set to shrink 6 percent next year as government-led farm occupations and a foreign currency shortage slash production, the International Monetary Fund said.
Zimbabwe is on course for the biggest contraction among 42 developing countries profiled by the IMF in its World Economic Outlook report. Growth in South Africa, the continent's biggest economy, will slow to 2.2 percent this year and 2.3 percent in 2002, from 3.1 percent last year.
African economies are suffering amid falling commodity prices as a slowing world economy has cut demand. South Africa is the world's biggest producer of platinum, which fell 21 percent six months, and the No. 2 producer of palladium, which more than halved in value this year.
``The ongoing turmoil in Zimbabwe continues to undermine economic activity'' while falling commodity prices ``have weakened the outlook for many of the poorest countries -- mainly in Africa -- whose exports are often closely tied to export earnings from a small range of non-fuel commodities,'' the IMF said.
Growth in Nigeria, the No. 2 economy in Africa and the seventh largest oil exporter in OPEC, will fall to 1.8 percent in 2002, from 3.8 percent in 2000 and 4.2 percent this year.
Nigeria's economy is set to slow after oil lost a third of its value his year, while falling prices for coffee, cotton and copper impacted other economies.
In Zimbabwe, a shortage of foreign exchange prevents businesses buying production materials while farm invasions cut agricultural output.
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ABC Australia
Zimbabwe's opposition calls on South Africa to impose sanctions
The main opposition leader in Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, has called on the South African Government to impose direct sanctions on Zimbabwe to encourage President Robert Mugabe not to undermine presidential elections due in March.
He has made the call as regional leaders prepare for a summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The BBC reports Morgan Tsvangirai described the organisation of southern African nations as being useless and said he believes nothing will come out of the meeting involving 14 countries.
He said the organisation has no cohesion and is full of double standards and hypocrisy.
He has called on South Africa to go it alone and impose direct sanctions.
"It is within the capacity of South Africa to cut fuel, to cut transport links, those kind of measures, even if they're implemented at a lowly level, send the right signals," he said.
He said he was disappointed in the international community's softly softly approach but said smart sanctions could still have an impact and implored it to put more pressure on the Government to ensure the elections in March are free and fair.
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Daily News
Zanu PF goes on the rampage 
1/14/02 8:40:27 AM (GMT +2)
Staff Reporters
SEVEN MDC supporters were in a critical condition at Murambinda Hospital in the Buhera district of Manicaland province yesterday after they were attacked with axes and other sharp instruments by alleged Zanu PF supporters and war veterans on Saturday.
In Harare the homes of two MDC MPs were stoned on Saturday in escalating violence by Zanu PF supporters.
Tichaona Munyanyi, the MP for Mbare East, and Gabriel Chaibva, the Harare South MP, were the latest high-profile MDC members to be attacked by Zanu youths.
Innocent Gonese, who is the MP for Mutare Central and the MDC chief whip, yesterday said 32 party supporters were arrested and detained at Murambinda Police Station.
Gonese said: "I went to the police station to represent them, but the police refused me access to them, which is illegal because as a lawyer I am allowed by the law to see my clients."
He said the police told him they could not allow him to see the victims until officers from the Criminal Investigation Department from Mutare put forward charges against the 32.
Pashayi Muchauraya, the MDC spokesperson for Manicaland, and Roy Bennett, the MP for Chimanimani, yesterday said they were making frantic efforts to transfer the seven victims to the Avenues Clinic in Harare.
They were expected in the capital last night. The seven are: Asaniel Magaya, 32, Daniel Machinga, 29, Bigai Nyika, 24, Zivai Menyani, 22, Tonderai Muchongwe, 27, Rosemary Muveregwi, 29, and Stella Makwarimba, 42.
Muchauraya said the MDC supporters were attacked when Zanu PF supporters raided the MDC offices at Murambinda Growth Point accusing the opposition party of organising meetings in the province.
He said the seven sustained several stab wounds over their bodies as a result of the attack. Muchauraya said Wilbert Marimbere, an MDC activist, was arrested by the police when he went to report the incident. He said Muchongwe, a manager at a shop at the growth point, was caught in the crossfire.
An officer at Murambinda Police Station yesterday confirmed the incident but would not give details of the alleged attack.
He said: "The information about that event can only be divulged by the Officer-in-Charge who is currently out of office on business."
Muchauraya said that Zanu PF supporters and the war veterans went ahead and disrupted some of the 10 rallies the party had lined up for Buhera South and North, saying opposition rallies were now illegal in Zimbabwe.
Bennett said at Masasa business centre in Buhera the police on Saturday tear-gassed about 5 000 MDC supporters who had gathered for a rally.
"When we arrived to address the rally, our supporters had fled and gathered in the bush where we managed to address about 2 000 people. The police told me that MDC rallies were now illegal, but I insisted that the position was unconstitutional," Bennett said.

He said one of the policeman told him that he should go to Britain and address the whites there. "But I said I am a Zimbabwean and a legally elected MP with a mandate to carry out my duties without any hindrance," he said.
Bennett said Zanu PF supporters failed to disrupt MDC rallies at Nyanyadzi and Chikova business centres when more than 500 villagers at each of the rallies last Friday stood their ground.
He alleged that the Zanu PF supporters then went to an irrigation scheme and canal he constructed for more than 800 families, disrupted the work and chased away some of the residents.
"Zanu PF rallies are poorly attended in Manicaland. As a result they move around disrupting our meetings," he said.
Didymus Masenda, 23, Chaibva's aide, said: "We were set upon at about 4.30pm on Saturday and the attack lasted about 20 minutes. The Zanu PF supporters, who had been at a meeting at the nearby football ground about 100 metres from here, stoned us when they dispersed."
Munyanyi's flat at the Shawasha hostels was stoned by Zanu PF supporters on Saturday night. Yesterday, two MDC supporters were severely assaulted in Mbare by Zanu PF supporters for belonging to the party.
Maxwell Kanyandu, 26, and Blessing Muwani, 24, said they were kidnapped from their homes and severely beaten up by Zanu PF supporters.
Fortune Mabika of Epworth was severely beaten up by Zanu PF youths yesterday morning for not belonging to any political party.
Mabika, 21, said he was attacked by a group of about 60 youths who were chanting Zanu PF slogans.
The youths forced Mabika to toyi-toyi with them carrying the Zanu PF flag and then beat him up at their base at Chiremba shopping centre.
The Harare violence seems to be part of a calculated nationwide campaign to instill fear into the hearts of voters ahead of the presidential election on 9 and10 March.
There have also been reports of violence in Mt Darwin, Kuwadzana, Chitungwiza and Ruwa, where suspected MDC supporters have been beaten up by Zanu PF youths. Efforts to get comment from the police were fruitless.
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Daily News
Presidential Guard allegedly beats up postmen 
1/14/02 8:46:39 AM (GMT +2)
Staff Reporter
THREE postmen, Farai Mutero, 25, Gabriel Guzha, 32, and Vengesa Muyangwa, 30, were allegedly beaten up by soldiers outside the State House on Friday after they had stopped for one of them to retrieve an article that had dropped from his bicycle.
Mutero said: "I stopped to pick up the article and my colleagues stopped too. That is when a soldier shouted to warn us that this was a no-stopping area. We were about to move on when about five or six other soldiers summoned us."
Guzha said the soldiers misinterpreted his gesture when he raised his hands and apologised for stopping. They accused him of waving the MDC open palm symbol at them.
Guzha said: "They accused us of being members of the MDC and took us to a secluded area. They ordered me to hang by my hands from an iron bar across two trees while pedalling on an imaginary bicycle. I was severely whipped on the back and buttocks. Muyangwa and Mutero were also beaten up, particularly Muyangwa."
Another postman was reportedly beaten up in the same area by soldiers last Wednesday. They allegedly accused him of delivering anthrax-contaminated mail."
Asked for comment, Mbonisi Gatsheni, the spokesman for the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said: "They should go to the police. We don't deal with such cases."
Lovemore Matombo, the president of the Posts and Telecommunications Workers' Union, said: "We condemn this attack unreservedly. Our members were doing their normal duty and have always passed through those areas delivering mail. We have now instructed management to make sure that the postmen do not go to that area for their safety."
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Daily News
Dragging Zimbabwe into the dark past 
1/14/02 8:15:27 AM (GMT +2)

THE passage of two odious pieces of legislation into law by Parliament last week and this week marks a dark period in the history of Zimbabwe.
The only parallels closer to home are South Africa's apartheid era and Rhodesia just before the dawn of independence in 1980.
The Public Order and Security Bill was passed into law last week and this week the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill will become law. Both legislations seek to conspire to deprive Zimbabweans of their freedoms. They can only be justified if Zimbabwe is in a state of war.
The silence of the churches which have a record of fighting injustices is unsettling. These laws are not defensible even before God.
All the MPs who last week sat in the House and who will this week do the same to allow passage of the Bills, must be reminded that they are accomplices in the suppression and subjugation of the very people whose trust put them in Parliament. The two laws are being enacted primarily to deal with the opposition and the privately owned Press in this country.
Since last year, The Daily News and the other independent newspapers have combined to drown the shrill propaganda from the State-controlled media. Now more readers read the independent Press than they do the government-churned insults to their intelligence.
In fashioning the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill, the government is showing its determined intolerance at anything that contradicts its lies. But more profoundly, this Bill, in short, is an admission by the government that it is fast losing the battle of continuing to mislead the nation about its record, its failures and the bankruptcy of ideas on how to lift Zimbabwe from the abyss into which the Zanu PF government has plunged it.
As a result of the realisation that it is fighting a losing battle for the minds of the voters, the government and the ruling party are combining to bar independent newspapers such as The Daily News from being widely distributed throughout the country, while readers who are seen reading the independent publications are beaten up and the newspapers torn up or burnt.
In order to shore up the fortunes of State-controlled newspapers, the government is hoodwinking the public by urging them to see who has been given farms and where.
But after the presidential election on 9-10 March, those so naive as to believe the government will remain largely where they are - landless, unemployed and facing more hardships.
What can so frighten the government and the ruling party, to the extent that they are uncomfortable with people hearing alternative views if the record of success of the government and Zanu PF is so self-evident?
The truth is that with record-high unemployment, Zimbabwe contributing one of the largest flight of economic refugees to the world, a foreign currency crisis, inflation at 103 percent, the flight of capital and a collapse in health services, the government is aware it has no success story with which to approach the electorate.
That is why it is resorting to these crude measures in order to overstay its welcome.
After Rwanda in 1994, the belief was that the international community would not stand by while governments brutalised their citizens.
Evidently, the international community is more preoccupied with appearing politically correct than with the concerns and liberties of ordinary Zimbabweans.
Meanwhile the lives of innocent Zimbabweans continue to be lost, because someone wants to remain in power at all cost and by any means necessary.
How much more Zimbabwean blood must be shed before the world abandons its ambivalence towards the government in Zimbabwe? What is the difference between the terror of the Taliban regime against the people of Afghanistan and the nightmare of Zanu PF terrorism that is transforming the country into one huge concentration camp?
It is time the international community acted. Decisively.
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Daily News
Are IMF goals for Africa realistic? 
1/14/02 8:16:35 AM (GMT +2)
By Cyrus Rustomjee
THERE is a scene in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland in which Alice and the Red Queen find themselves stuck in one place despite all their efforts to move forward.
"I do believe we've been under this tree the whole time," Alice says despairingly. "Everything's just as it was."
Perhaps this is an apt analogy for Africa's experience in the international economic and financial system over the past 40 years. Sub-Saharan Africa ranks as the poorest, least developed part of the world even as other regions have surged ahead, exiting from profound poverty and improving the lives of their citizenry. Many lessons of the past 50 years of economic and social development seem to have bypassed Africa.
It is not as if the continent hasn't tried. In recent years, African policy makers have been setting a new and better standard of performance on the job. Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia, for example, are all achieving high levels of sustainable economic growth and have begun to significantly improve their social indicators of development. Many others have been pursuing strong and stable macroeconomic policies for several years.
But as fast as Africa tries to run, she still seems to be left standing in one place. Clearly the major responsibility rests with Africans ourselves.
But what of Africa's partners in development - in particular the International Monetary Fund (IMF)? Have appropriate steps been taken to ensure real African ownership of international assistance, especially IMF-supported programmes?
An important step in this direction has been taken with the recent efforts by the Fund and the World Bank to promote a central role for African governments and civil society in defining their poverty reduction policies - the programme known as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP). This approach is the focus of a four-day conference be ing held this week in Washington that allows all the parties in the PRSP process to give voice to their views and suggest ways in which it can be improved.
But much more needs to be done if Africa's ownership of assistance
programmes is to be strengthened and poverty defeated. There are seven key steps that should be addressed:
First, member countries with IMF-supported programmes should be offered more leeway in the timing and choice of structural reforms. National authorities should have the freedom to align their reform efforts with their administrative and institutional capacity.
Second, IMF loan disbursements should not be at pre-set intervals. Rather, they should be determined by each country's ability to meet the conditions attached to Fund programmes. That would offer elected governments a more reasonable basis for planning, and it would underline their responsibility for achieving progress. It also would remove the sense of all-or-nothing that too often hangs over Fund programmes.
Third, international aid - including IMF programmes - needs to be defined in terms of the Millennium Development Goals, internationally agreed objectives designed to address African, and indeed global poverty, systematically. Will these goals be a chimera, or will they be the path to a permanent exit from poverty for Africa?
Much will hinge on how the international community reacts to the challenge, which is significant, of providing the necessary financial resources to help African countries achieve these goals. If it does, ownership and the elimination of poverty will be achievable. If not, the promise which ownership offers will be dashed.
Fourth, the IMF should strengthen and expand technical assistance programmes in monetary, fiscal and exchange rate policy; sound budget practices and expenditure management; development and supervision of financial institutions; and the building of statistical database capacity. Africa's acute capacity constraints require more international resources as well as improved co-ordination of existing programmes and better use of the continent's own expertise.
Fifth, debt relief, through the Enhanced Highly Indebted Poor Countries framework, needs to be accelerated. This is a shared international responsibility. All remaining eligible countries not yet in the system should have access to debt relief by the end of the year, and those
currently in the programme should have completed the process and received debt relief.
Given Africa's vulnerability to the current global economic downturn, the debt relief targets for all countries need to be regularly re-evaluated and updated. Without this, countries face the potential of continuing to bear unsustainable debt burdens despite creditors' best intentions.
Sixth, specific internal and external steps can be taken to promote domestic ownership, including devolving decision-making authority to the sub-regional level, where Africa's institutional and administrative capacity constraints and its unique social, economic and political circumstances are best understood; upgrading the role of IMF representatives in member countries; and strengthening the representation of African members in the Fund, especially in terms of increasing Africa's quotas and its voices in the IMF Executive Board. The Fund itself should promote its ongoing process of introspection and reform to improve the way in which it serves its low-income members.
Finally, the IMF's financing facilities should be continually re-evaluated and modified to make them more effective for low-income African members.
True national ownership of economic and social programmes will prevail when a member country exits a long-term financing relationship with the IMF and is able to stand on its own feet.
This may be achievable in the medium term if member countries that are making progress with economic and social reforms continue to advance, and if the IMF helps members identify the measures needed for successful African countries to achieve access to international capital markets.
Central to this process will be a close working relationship between the IMF and the architects of the New Partnership for African Development, to ensure common strategies and objectives. But African countries must also promote domestic ownership. Indeed, we in Africa must redouble our efforts to strengthen our own macroeconomic and structural policies, building upon the successes revealed by our own strong performers.
Fortunately, there is growing and compelling evidence that this is precisely what is taking place. But to rest on our laurels will simply mean that too many countries will be left standing still.
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