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

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      'Zanu-PF sent envoys to discuss Mugabe'

            January 16 2003 at 05:31AM

      By Brian Latham

      Harare - The leader of the opposition in Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai
of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), confirmed on Wednesday that he
had discussed President Robert Mugabe's departure with a go-between sent to
him by the ruling Zanu-PF party.

      In a statement issued in Harare, Tsvangirai contradicted denials made
by Zanu-PF leaders claiming Mugabe's resignation was a British hoax aimed at
installing an MDC government in the troubled country.

      Tsvangirai's statement said: "For the record, Zimbabweans and the
international community need to know that early last month Colonel Lionel
Dyck came to see me at my home purporting to be carrying a message from
Emmerson Mnangagwa and General (Vitalis) Zvinavashe.

      "I gave him an ear and he stated that he was a messenger of the two
senior Zanu-PF politburo members.

      "The two wanted to hear my views on the way forward, now that Mugabe
had, in Dyck's words, long indicated that he wanted to retire but was being
restrained by Mnangagwa and Zvinavashe, and could only be allowed to do so
at a time deemed appropriate by the two and many others in Zanu-PF."

      The statement backs up Tsvangirai's claims to the Foreign Service on
Monday. The MDC leader, in a weekend interview, said the message from
Mnangagwa and Zvinavashe was that Mugabe would have long since retired if he
had been able to do so.

      The two implied they were keeping him in power, Tsvangirai claimed.

      He added that Dyck was not the first envoy sent by Zanu-PF. - Foreign

        a.. This article was originally published on page 2 of The Cape
Times on 16 January 2003

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Thursday, 16 January, 2003, 15:22 GMT
Cricket protests planned in Zimbabwe
Riot police in Harare
The police will be waiting for any protesters
Civil society groups in Zimbabwe will hold a series of demonstrations to coincide with the staging of World Cup Cricket matches in the country next month, they say.

Opposition groups are unhappy that Zimbabwe is being allowed to host the matches because of the human rights record of President Robert Mugabe's government.

Zimbabwe cannot be classified as part of the civilised international community

Lovemore Madhuku
Political activist
Meanwhile, a judge has overturned the victory of two candidates from Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party in June 2000 parliamentary elections because of violence and intimidation.

South Africa is hosting the Cricket World Cup but some matches will also be played in both Zimbabwe and Kenya.

The government has accused the opposition of planning to disrupt the World Cup Cricket matches.

On Wednesday, opposition MP Job Sikhala was arrested in connection with an arson attack on a bus earlier this week.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) also says that another of its MPs, Paul Madzore, was beaten up by policemen after being arrested in connection with riots in his Harare constituency.


Lovemore Madhuku from the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) said the protest marches were not aimed at cricket, "but the focus is to expose to the international community the excesses of the Zimbabwean regime".

Properties were destroyed and burnt as part of the intimidation

Judge Rita Makarau
"You cannot treat Zimbabwe as a venue for international gatherings because Zimbabwe cannot be classified as part of the civilised international community," he said.

The NCA has organised several protests against government policy in recent years but they are generally easily dispersed by riot police.

Earlier this week, the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed that England would travel to Zimbabwe despite pressure from the UK Government to boycott the fixture.

However, if the security situation worsens, the England team might still pull out.

'Corrupt practices'

Overturning the election results in the constituencies of Gokwe North and Gokwe South, judge Rita Makarau said:

"Properties were destroyed and burnt as part of the intimidation. In my view, the evidence before me can only lead to the conclusion that free franchise was affected in the constituency and therefore corrupt practices were committed in the election of the respondent."

Zimbabwean women
Zimbabweans are facing famine

Following the elections, the MDC filed legal challenges in 37 constituencies because of violence and intimidation their members allegedly suffered.

The courts have ruled on 10 cases, overturning seven Zanu-PF victories and dismissing three MDC challenges.

The MDC has also asked the courts to overturn Mr Mugabe's controversial victory in presidential elections in March 2002.

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17:53 2003-01-16

Mugabe: The End of the Road

Robert Gabriel Mugabe, the tyrannical dictator of Zimbabwe, whose murderous
regime has destroyed the economic fabric of the country, has reached the
point of no return. Having destroyed the country's agricultural system with
his land reform programme, those people who knew how to create wealth for
Zimbabwe have fled (or have been killed) and now the country is destitute.

With starvation looming in the coming months, Zimbabwe is no longer a
producer of food on a large scale. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, has long claimed that only
ZANU-PF cardholders are allowed the food aid supplies which has kept
thousands of people from starving to death. Now he states that there is only
enough fuel to last until the end of January, after which there is no money
left to buy any more.

He stated that close friends of Mugabe have said that the 78-year-old
President has warned his family to prepare for the day when he is not in
power, although he claimed recently that he will "never" go into exile.
Morgan Tsvangirai issued a public statement yesterday in which he claimed
that two leading ZANU-PF members had offered him the resignation of the
president, presumably in a scenario of a government of national
reconciliation, formed by ZANU-PF, the MDC and with the army playing an
important role.

The two men are believed to be Emmerson Mnagagwa, third in the ZANU-PF party
ranks and General Vitalis Zvinavashe, Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe
Armed Forces. As with all dictatorships, the machinery that keeps the man in
power shows its patience so long as the status quo does not shift too

When the toll on the daily lives of the average citizens becomes too heavy,
something has to give. The machinery shifts, the leader falls, along with
his closest aides and those who can, either lie low in retirement or
negotiate their entry into the new regime.

The legacy of Robert Mugabe is a pitiful reminder of the arrogance,
ignorance and butchery which is so blatantly evident when one reads the map
of sub-Saharan Africa. He will go down in history as one of Africa's worst
leaders. His 23 years in power have been a disgrace to his country, to his
continent and to his people.


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Lifeline Rejected

by Alison Swersky - Jan 17

A proposal from the mayor of Ashkelon to help Zimbabwean Jews resettle in
the Israeli coastal city has been rejected due to a lack of interest.

Benny Vaknin offered to help bring some of the country's Jews to the city
after a Passover trip to South Africa last year.

But so far just eight families out of 550 Jewish people remaining in the
troubled country have signed up for the project, which would provide cheap
accommodation and a community network to make the transition process less

Michael Mensky, head of South Africa's Israel centre, told TJ he was "very
disappointed" with the response.

He said: "People are leaving all the time, but they are choosing to go to
other countries apart from Israel, like Australia and South Africa, or even
staying and refusing to accept the reality of what's happening.

"Providing a community project in Ashkelon would only be viable if there
were at least 30 olim going at the same time. It would have to be a communal

Explaining the rationale for the lack of interest at a time when basic food
necessities such as bread, salt and cooking oil cannot be found in
Zimbabwean shops, Mensky said: "The community is very cautious of dangerous

"They are looking for a secure location and Israel doesn't appeal. To me it
is very sad and disappointing to see a Jewish community move from one
Diaspora to another."

Meanwhile Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, the spiritual leader of the African
National Congress, fears that when the acute food shortages reach President
Mugabe's own henchman, the dictator will give them leave to raid white

Silberhaft has offered to bring the elderly community to South Africa for
six months to avoid potentially the worst excesses of the dictator's

He said: "We have had little response. They have excellent facilities in
Bulawayo and Harare and are well enough and happy enough to want to stay. As
they are not young they are only looking at the short term."

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Business Report

Zimbabwe tobacco production to fall by 50 percent
January 16 2003 at 01:44PM
Harare - Production of Zimbabwe's key foreign currency earner, tobacco, is
expected to decline by around half in comparison with the quantity produced
last year, according to a crop report received by AFP Thursday.

The report by the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA) estimates this year's
tobacco crop is unlikely to exceed 85 million
kilograms, compared to 165 million kilograms in 2002.

The ZTA attributes the drop in production to a range of factors that include
critical shortages of items such as chemicals and fertilizer, as well as
shortages of coal and diesel needed for curing and transporting the crop.

The association said the uncertainty in the farming community caused by the
government's "continuing acquisition of large-scale farms" under its land
reform programme, was another inhibiting factor.

"Prevailing conditions at the moment are not conducive to continued
large-scale tobacco cropping," said the report.

According to the ZTA, tobacco usually earns 31 percent of the country's
foreign currency. - Sapa-AFP

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Bodyguards ruled out for cricket tour
 Jan 16 2003

      By Richard Gibson, The Journal

      England will not be accompanied by their own security team for their
controversial World Cup match in Zimbabwe.

      The England and Wales Cricket Board chairman David Morgan discussed
the possibility with chief executive Tim Lamb in the build-up to Tuesday's
management board meeting at Lord's.

      They considered deploying bodyguards as they did last winter when two
former military personnel travelled with the squad on the tour of India.

      But the International Cricket Council insist it is safe to play the
February 13 fixture in Harare following a visit by their specially appointed
commission. So local security and that of the tournament organisers will be
relied upon. Said Morgan: "It would seem to be inappropriate for us to send
people with our squad because safety and security in this case is being
looked after by accompanying experts in all three host countries as a
responsibility taken on by South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

      "Having raised the point with Tim Lamb, I am certain that aspect has
been covered and will be covered as well as it is possible to be."

      Fears have been raised over unease in Zimbabwe escalating in the
build-up to Africa's first World Cup. Hungry mobs have rampaged in Harare
and Bulawayo and the civil unrest under Robert Mugabe's repressive regime
has been well documented.

      The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have advised British subjects not
to go to Zimbabwe - but they have made no specific recommendations to the
ECB. "Provided there is no further deterioration in the safety and security
issue then we can fully expect to be playing in Zimbabwe," said Morgan.

      "If the Foreign and Commonwealth advice is that is is unsafe for the
England team and management to go we would have to pay due attention to

      "But I have talked with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union over the past 24
hours and they informed me that there have been no changes in safety and and
security to that which the commission had observed." Concerns have been
raised by the ECB, most notably in the form of a letter from Lamb to the ICC
yesterday, while Morgan has been involved in regular dialogue with ICC
president Malcolm Gray in Australia over the past fortnight.

      The ICC's response last weekend was to form a four-man standing
committee, including Gray and chief executive Malcolm Speed, to monitor the

      The players have stood shoulder to shoulder with their governing body
and the Professional Cricketers' Association, who have also been engaged in
talks with the ECB and government.

      Morgan added: "The decision yesterday was one that I had - along with
Tim Lamb and (ECB vice-chairman) Mike Soper - recommended to the management

      "And they were unanimous in their support and reaction.

      "That we should continue to attempt to fulfil commitments to the World
Cup by playing in Harare.

      "The players have made it very clear, as have the management, that
they are prepared to follow ECB instructions, as their employer, in this

      Morgan added: "Ongoing discussions between the ECB and Government
continue on a week-to-week if not day-to-day basis."

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Daily News

      Tsvangirai says no pact agreed to with Zanu PF

      1/16/2003 11:34:16 AM (GMT +2)

      By Luke Tamborinyoka Political Editor

      MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday confirmed meeting the
alleged Zanu PF emissary, Colonel Lionel Dyke, in December, but did not
agree to any transitional arrangement in which his party would join Zanu PF
in a government of national unity.

      Tsvangirai's comments come in the wake of President Mugabe's reported
exit plan, which has dominated both the local and international news in the
past five days. The exit plan is said to have been hatched with the help of
the British and South African governments.

      Zanu PF has dismissed the plan as non-existent, while Mugabe told
journalists in Lusaka on Monday that he would not retire before the expiry
of his term in 2008.

      Tsvangirai yesterday said though he had talked to Dyke, who said he
had been sent by Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe
Defence Forces Commander, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, he had made it clear
that the MDC would not be in a secret deal with Zanu PF.

      "When I told Dyke that we were prepared to assist with transitional
arrangements, I made it categorically clear that this does not mean
participating in the formation of a government of national unity or some
underhand pact with Zanu PF," he said.

      "We will never be party to any political arrangement that seeks to
sanitise Mugabe's violent illegitimacy, and that includes Mugabe's
retirement plans and the so-called government of national unity. We will
never institutionalise and expand illegitimacy."

      Tsvangirai said Dyke came to his home early in December, purporting to
be carrying a message from Mnangagwa, who is the Zanu PF secretary for
administration, and Zvinavashe.

      He said Dyke told him that the two wanted to hear his views on the way
forward since Mugabe had indicated he wanted to retire. He said he had only
told Dyke that Mugabe's departure was long overdue and that the MDC was
prepared to assist in the necessary transitional arrangements to enable the
country to move forward.

      "There can be no resolution to the Zimbabwean crisis without a return
to legitimacy through a rerun of the stolen election under free and fair
electoral conditions guaranteed and supervised by the international
community," Tsvangirai said.

      "This regime cannot be expected or trusted to superintend a process
towards the restoration of the people's sovereign will."

      He said the MDC had never approached Zanu PF, but the ruling party had
sent envoys to strike political deals with the opposition party, including
church leaders.

      "Dyke was not the only one sent to fly a kite." Tsvangirai said the
MDC was not in the business of arranging succession strategies for an
illegitimate regime that survived on the subversion of democracy.

      He said on 18 December 2002, he issued a statement condemning the plan
to legitimise Mugabe through underhand dealings.

      The Daily News of 19 December 2002, broke the story of Dyke and his
involvement in an Mugabe's supposed exit plan. In the same issue, Dyke
confirmed that Mnangagwa and Zvinavashe had sent him to meet Tsvangirai.

      The MDC leader said Mugabe had created the economic problems he had
failed to solve.

      "He cannot rig it, he cannot shoot it, he cannot intimidate it, and
although he raped it, the economy continues to deliver and land fatal blows
that Mugabe cannot block," Tsvangirai said.

      On Mugabe's reported exit plan, Tsvangirai said: "In the spin of
denials, Zanu PF propaganda and vitriol, the onus is on Dyke and his
principals to explain."
      He said Mugabe's world was collapsing around him and those close to
his regime were seeking guidance from the MDC whose victory was denied
through theft in March 2002.

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Succession story, imagination of coup plotter- Minister Moyo

17 January 2003
THE Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the Office of the
President and Cabinet, Professor Jonathan Moyo says attempts to bring back
the issue of presidential succession outside constitutional provisions are
efforts by political opportunists to subvert and overthrow the will of the

Professor Moyo pointed out that those sponsoring the issue have sinister
motives and will use the process to put in place instruments of dictatorship
after the three-month transitional phase.

"Zimbabweans are preoccupied with bread and butter issues and the story of
succession is the imagination of coup plotters," he said.

Opposition MDC leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai recently announced that he was
approached on a plot to oust President Robert Mugabe before the expiry of
his term in 2008.

According to the plot, Tsvangirai would participate in a power sharing
arrangement as part of transitional government before holding fresh

However all people named in the plot have distanced themselves from the
arrangement described as nothing short of the work of the British

President Mugabe has since made it clear that stepping down would be
disrespectful to the people of Zimbabwe who gave him a fresh mandate to
complete the agrarian reform.

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Daily News

      World Vision doubles efforts to secure food

      1/16/2003 11:43:07 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

      WORLD Vision has doubled its efforts to secure more food aid for
distribution to stave off starvation which threatens about six million
people in Zimbabwe.

      An official with the non-governmental organisation, which runs a
partnership with the United States Agency for International Development,
said World Vision had intensified efforts to procure more food for the
country's starving masses.

      Vongai Makamure, World Vision's information officer, said in an
interview, her organisation was working out logistics on how to spread food
distribution country-wide.

      "We began distribution of food in February last year, and through that
programme, we are aiming to distribute food to 1 383 888 individuals this
year," she said.

      The donations come in the form of the staple maize-meal, beans,
cooking oil and, in some cases, maize seed.

      "The food required for our existing programme has been procured, and
more is arriving on schedule.

      "Through co-operation and co-ordination among our various donors, we
are able to ensure smooth distribution in our operational areas," she said.

      Makamure said the crippling food shortage was a cause of great concern
to the donor community, and World Vision was making frantic efforts to
alleviate starvation.

      About six million people face starvation as the drought, compounded by
the disruption of farming activities under the government's controversial
land reform policies, takes its toll.

      The organisation has also intensified its child supplementary feeding
      "Children are given corn-soya blend porridge once a day. All children
under the age of six in our operational areas benefit," said Makamure.

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Daily News

      Moyo's actions rapped

      1/16/2003 11:44:15 AM (GMT +2)

      By Margaret Chinowaita

      MEMBERS of the public and civic organisations have roundly condemned
Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of Information and Publicity, for his spending
spree in South Africa while the nation is scavenging for basic commodities.

      The Sunday Times of South Africa reported that while in South Africa
Moyo bought large quantities of basic commodities which are in short supply
in the country.

      Lovemore Madhuku, the National Constitutional Assembly chairperson,
said Moyo's spending spree in South Africa shows his insensitivity to the
problems besetting the nation.

      Madhuku said: "We are not surprised. They do it every time: they seek
good life for themselves and leave misery for the rest of us."

      Madhuku said it was unbelievable why Moyo decided to go on holiday in
South Africa, where there is good governance and basic commodities are
available, a situation he could help create for Zimbabwe.

      Madhuku said Moyo's actions showed that he did not deserve to be in
the government.

      "Zimbabweans should know that every time Moyo appears on television or
speaks on radio he would be having a full stomach. We are happy with this
exposure, it will assist us mobilise people. People must feel inspired to go
against these people," said Madhuku.

      Sibongile Ali, 27, of Harare said it was unfair that Moyo would go on
a shopping spree in South Africa while the rest of the people were
      Ali said: "We wonder where he got all that foreign currency to buy the
basic commodities.

      "We also wonder how he managed to get into the country with all those
things when everyone is denied that chance. Or is it because he is a

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Daily News

      Students fail to get transport to school

      1/16/2003 11:37:32 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      MANY students bound for boarding schools outside Harare returned to
their homes on Monday after failing to find transport to their destinations
because of the deteriorating fuel situation.

      Students were seen sauntering at various pick-up points in Harare as
there were no buses to take them to school.

      Vimbai Munatsi, a parent said: "My son Abel failed to travel to Gutu
because of serious transport problems. I believe the few buses able to
operate chose shorter distances because most of them are no longer

      Tawanda Marize, 16, of Mandedza High School said: "Transport to town
from Dzivaresekwa was hard to find and by the time I reached our pick-up
point in Rezende Street, the school bus had already left."

      Parents complained that in some cases the transport costs had shot to
alarming levels.

      It now costs $550 compared with $300 last year to travel from Harare
to Marondera.

      A bus driver, David Ruza said: "Diesel was in abundance but the
problem is that spare parts are now expensive. Many buses are off the road
as a result."

      Headmasters contacted for comment at boarding schools outside Harare
said they were busy with preparations for the new term and could not comment
on whether any students had failed to turn up because of the fuel crisis.

      But secretaries at some schools said that students were still coming
in by yesterday after failing to get transport on Monday.

      The fuel crisis had persisted since December 1999. Despite assurances
by the government, the fuel crisis, spawned by a critical shortage of
foreign currency has seen commuters arriving for work late and having to
wait hours on end for transport home after work.

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The Spectator

         18 January 2003

Comment on Living in a state of terror by Peter Oborne (11/01/2003)

Congratulations on your report on Zimbabwe which highlighted the problems

I work for a British NGO, Hope for Children. We help disadvantaged children
in the UK and developing countries. We have a number of projects in Africa,
including Zimbabwe.

I have been aware of the problems of food supply and famine for some time
and it affects the projects we support. One example is a street children's
home 40km south of Harare where there are 80 children. It has been
increasingly difficult to obtain food, and any that is available is
extremely expensive. I am sure you are aware that although the official rate
is approx 80Zim$: £1 the Parallel rate now stands at between 1500 and
2000Zim$: £1. Inflation is at over 200%. To give it some perspective,
toothpaste is over £15 a tube, a new car tyre, £350, and an ink jet
cartridge £250.

We are still able to distribute aid, most of which is not food. We are not
high profile and work with local NGO's. We do not have HOPE offices and rely
on local contacts. We have a Brit Volunteer, Mark Frain, who chooses to live
in Zimbabwe and bravely helps the children at the centre concerned. In
recent weeks it has become much more difficult for him to operate.

I have to add one more group of villains to your list of those who have
chosen to turn their backs on Zimbabwe, and that is the British press. Yes,
there has been reporting of the troubles there, but it has been minimal.
This is also the case for the famine in Southern Africa. We know one news
station that had reported live the famine for five days from Zambia and
Malawi. They decided that this was enough coverage. Very little has been
shown since this - some months ago. Isn't Pop Idol and Big Brother, or
scandal more important?

Maybe Blair should have the operation. It might stop all those knee jerks.
You are quite correct to say that in many places a humanitarian disaster
could still be averted, if we stepped in now. However, time is fast running
out, especially in Zimbabwe. At least in Zambia there have some rains and in
certain areas crops are growing for the first time in over two years.
However, even the rains have made the situation worse in places since there
has been too much rain and crops have been completely washed away! Can the
people ever win!

So why are we talking about Zimbabwe now? Well it's because of the Cricket.
The cricket has enabled us to get some column inches back in the newspapers
and on the radio. In my opinion, although it sounds disgusting, all the
countries should go and play in Zimbabwe as this will give some more
coverage to the problems there. Sport is also the lifeblood of many young
Zimbabweans and during the last England visit they visited this project.
During the England Cricket Team's last visit, some of them visited this
street children's project outside of Harare. This was a great boost to the
children and to our work and provided good publicity for the plight of
street children and the vital work being done to help them.

If we go to war against Iraq, the papers will have even less room for
stories of the famine in Africa or about the 8 thousand people that die each
day from Aids in Southern Africa. This spring will see the unfolding of this
humanitarian disaster unless we do something now - and the press have a
heavy responsibility to part of the fight for these people too!
Simon Jackman
Projects Manager

Being a South African I always watch news from the region with interest. In
terms of Zimbabwe I feel there are issues that are being avoided up to
government level. I essence it was the British government which forced
Mugabe onto the people of Zimbabwe in refusing to recognise the interim
government of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia on the grounds it did not include the
Chinese trained communist guerrilla leaders Mugabe and Nkomo. The only issue
concerning Rhodesia and it's transformation into a one-man-one-vote state
which concerned the government of the UK at that time was the fact Ian
Smiths government had put the British nose out of joint. It was simply the
desire to avenge that which drove the British perspective utterly
irrespective of any long-term consequences to the peoples of Zimbabwe. Also
forgotten are the free Hawk jets given to Mugabe as an inaugural gift by the
British government and seemingly endless personal checks totalling millions
upon millions of pounds.

One point I'd really like to take issue with is the comment in the broadcast
version of this piece is the suggestion that Prime Minister Vorster
willingly cut off Rhodesia and killed them off. The truth is that South
Africa was warned by the same British government that if one South African
soldier set foot in Rhodesia their oil supply would be cut off.

These are very important points because the present tragedy in Zimbabwe
should be seen as a British problem indeed, and should now be done about it.

They're quick to go into Iraq aren't they? Why? I can tell you as an ex
South African soldier that going into Iraq is the military equivalent of a
few days at the shooting range that's why. Too busy with that to do anything
about Zimbabwe eh?

I think it's important to deal with Mugabe before his ANC counterparts in
South Africa get similar ideas, because South Africa is the entire regions
only hope in history, and that's a long time sir.

As a final word I'd like to say I admire the guts of your correspondent.
Michael Bruin

Peter Oborne's report was excellent. I was fortunate to spend a fortnight in
Zimbabwe in Oct 2001.

Since that time I have been writing to government ministers and my own MP,
Parmjit Dhanda, pressing them to take action now, before it is too late. The
economy has collapsed and I was able to purchase Zim dollars on the street
at 6 times the official rate. I was told that Mugabe had set price controls
on bread that were lower than production costs. Bakers refused to bake for a
loss. I was told that Mugabe had insisted that no business could go bankrupt
without presidential authority. I have since been told by other Zimbabweans
that they hold the belief that South Africa will not come to Zimbabwe's aid
because they are benefiting so much from the collapse of Zimbabwean
industry. So much then for the winds of change from the ANC.

I ask, what can I do? Yes, I write letters but this feels wholly inadequate.
Especially when the response is so limited.

Mr Blair, please, send a few of your Hercules to Zimbabwe with a platoon or
two of troops and several hundred tons of maize. Such a small number of
troops and resources will not affect your plans to go and play war where
no-one wants it with Bush but it may well save millions of people from
starving to death; kind, warm, gentle people. They may not be able to vote
here but they have a lot of friends that do. The troops need not be
aggressive but only defend when attacked. I'd lay my last pound that they
never were. When the maize the troops take runs out help the NGOs with fair
distribution based on need rather than political allegiance.

Now that really would be an ethical foreign policy.
Danny Wingrove

I have just watched and now read, Peter Oborne rather worrying report on
Zimbabwe. The picture painted is rather arid and desolate if you sit on the
wrong side of the fence. It is a hellish situation that appears to be
worsening and would, in my opinion, only receive aid or assistance if their
where suspected weapons of mass destruction or massive oil reserves residing
in that country.
Mike Munday

The tragedy in Zimbabwe's politics is that the opposition MDC didn't seem to
have an Option B. To them, the Presidential elections of 2002 were going to
usher in a new political dispensation, minus Mugabe. They should have known
better that Mugabe was going to steal the elections as he did the
parliamentary elections in 2000.Surely they should have prepared for that
eventuality, the Yugoslavia way. But from the look of things they didn't.

In Zimbabwe, we have an opposition that is afraid to be jailed, maimed or
killed for freedom, good governance and the rule of law. We have an
opposition which is naive to think that Mugabe will give up power easily. He
is a terrorist and his gambit has always been violence. He proudly says he
has degrees in violence.

Zimbos should realise that it is only them that can get rid of Mugabe.
Britain, US or South Africa cannot remove Mugabe for them. The opposition
should take a lead and be prepared for sacrifices. Just as much as Mugabe
and his cronies spent more than a decade in jail so should Tsvangirai...only
then can we have a new political dispensation in Zimbabwe.
Bhobho Chari

Having just watched Peter Oborne's documentary on C4, it seems incredible to
me that a World Cup can be staged in South Africa and Zimbabwe - more so
than just England playing there. If ever there was a political statement of
acceptance of a country's actions then this is it. While we heard in the
programme that some economic sanctions were put in place we allow an
internationally televised sporting event to raise direct revenue for
Mugabe's cause. Finally if all it takes to stop Mugabe's regime is for South
Africa to turn off the lights in Zimbabwe the British Government should be
putting immense pressure on these friends of ours in South Africa to flick
the switch. The British government and the European union should then be on
hand to help in the rebuilding of a democratic state. Is there an active
campaign group for which one can register support?
Jonathan Poole

At a time when Blair is demonstrating quite a high degree of political will
with regard to Iraq, the hypocrisy and inaction that is being displayed
towards Zimbabwe is breathtaking. It seems patently obvious that if Britain
and the US leaned on S Africa, Zimbabwe could be brought to heel pretty
quickly and this odious little man Mugabe could be isolated, if not brought
to account for his actions... I won't hold my breath but excuse me for
gagging the next time I hear Tony or his friends talking about their moral
foreign policy.
Mike Gore

As a frequent visitor to Zimbabwe, I have been sickened by the unfolding
events of the past couple of years. I have sent letters of protest to Jack
Straw about his government's total lack of interest in the plight of
Zimbabwe and his response has been to reassure me that, "everything that can
be done is being done". As far as I can see, 'the most that can be done' was
the Abuja Agreement. So, along with that pivotal piece of diplomacy and our
lobbying for Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth, this appears to be
the sum total of what Baroness Amos calls "this government's lead" in the
international fight against ZANU PF's reign of terror. Well let's break out
the cigars for all concerned shall we?..........Mugabe must be laughing his
socks off! This government's response to the crisis in Zimbabwe is an utter
disgrace and I'm sure that Clare Short's repeated insistence that she is
"deeply worried" by the situation in Zimbabwe will prove to be a great
comfort to the millions of people who are facing an agonising and
humiliating death at the hands of Mugabe's war 'veterans' and youth militia.

Still, why should Tony Blair bother to get his hands dirty in a tin pot
little African backwater like Zimbabwe if there's no international kudos at
Paul Bush
Finedon, Northants

I have no doubt that there is a great deal of truth in this article, but I
suspect that Peter Oborne would not have conceived the idea of going to
Zimbabwe to report on the situation, if there had not been a white minority
population living there. I can think of several African dictators in recent
history, who have committed greater crimes than Robert Mugabe, against their
compatriots, e.g. Idi Amin of Uganda, Bokassa of the Central African
Republic, Sekou-Touré of Guinea, Mobutu of Zaire (none of these countries
has a white minority population of course), but there seemed little
condemnation of these individuals from certain sections of the news media in

In my view, criticism of Zimbabwe, without condemnation of other equally
obnoxious regimes around the world, smacks of double standards against a
black state.

With regard to the land issue in Zimbabwe, we have to ask ourselves how did
the wealthy white farmers acquire the land they claim belongs to them, in
the first place. Secondly, those who are opposed to the English Cricket
team's tour of Zimbabwe, must surely oppose the holding of the Olympic Games
in China, which is one of the world's most repressive dictatorships, both in
China and occupied Tibet.

It seems to me that Zimbabwe, along with Iraq and Israel, are continually
being demonised for entirely different reasons, by certain sections of the
news media. If Peter Oborne's article had been written by Morgan Tsvangirai
of the MDC, then that would seem more acceptable, but such severe criticism
of a former colony, with a sizeable white minority, by a white journalist
belonging to a right wing journal like the 'Spectator', is rather suspect.
Susan Fox

By chance I saw the report on famine threat in Zimbabwe. During your
interview the minister repeated that the 'international community' has to
react as the UK alone cannot do anything and force Mugabe to stop this
atrocity. Please let me tell you that the international community is NOT
INFORMED about the dreadful situation in Zimbabwe. Only very few
international magazines or newspapers are writing about it, so the problem
is really ignored on an international basis. Your report should be broadcast
in other European countries. However, in my opinion, unless the population
is informed, it is easy for governments to keep quiet and pretend not to
know anything, whereas if it is made more public, at least some people will
cry out.
Ulrike Winter

A broader analysis would endeavour to answer why Mugabe is suddenly so angry
at Britain and particularly the Blair government since 1998. What stalled
the Lancaster talks? What happened to Britain,s promise to assist land
reform? Oborne, with all his good intentions, offers a partial analysis
(typical of most UK commentary on Zimbabwe), which has served only to breed
silence from African governments and participated in prolonging Mugabe,s
brutal regime, by giving credibility to his description of white farmers as
a 'well connected ethnic minority'.
Name removed

I am a Zimbabwean living in the UK with my family as we had lost everything
under Mugabe's evil "policies."

Having ancestral roots in the UK has allowed us to live and become a part of
the British way of life. I am extremely grateful for that and have readily
adopted Her Majesty as my head of Sate.

I cannot understand however, as Mr Oborne so often points out, why the
government has failed to act. Yes there have been many many white farmers
murdered, tortured and intimidated (my best friends father was murdered) but
why has nothing been done to help the MILLIONS of people being forced into
starvation? I cannot understand how countries can sit back and watch this
unfold, knowing it is going to unfold?? Is this postcolonial guilt? Is it
because Mr Blair is worried about being called a "gay racist" (which no
doubt Mugabe will do)?

Why, why, why? I beg the world to step in. Under Ian Smiths government the
world readily condemned and imposed sanctions (I hasten to add no people
black or white ever starved under his government even with sanctions) South
Africa, a country tarnished by Apartheid does nothing....

Our only hope lies in brave people like Peter Oborne (and I salute him) and
Peter Tatchell. Long may that type of British spirit continue.

The Spectator now has me as a regular reader.
Stuart Beattie

Comment on Book Review of EMPIRE by Jonathan Sumption (11/01/2003)

"Britain surrendered her colonies at precisely the time when it became clear
that their retention would involve not just expenditure at historically
intolerable levels..."?

Mr Sumption, where did you get this from? Certainly in the case of India,
the reason that the English abandoned the Empire was mass defeatism and
nothing else.

When the British left India, there had been no mass movement or
revolutionary movement worth the name for the previous 17 years (the 1942
Quit India movement was a fleabite) - certainly not in comparison to the
Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. There were plenty of collaborators - in the elite, the
civil services, the army, the dispossessed, the minorities who did not
participate in the "freedom struggle". Hear the pre-independence Dr B R
Ambedkar (the Untouchable leader) speak, the architect of the present Indian
Constitution - "the Fight for Freedom led by the governing class, is from
the point of view of the servile classes, a selfish, if not a sham,
struggle". A wise, courageous and skilful governing class could and should
have exploited these elements to continue the Raj, just as they had done for
the previous 100 years. The collapse of the Empire diminished both Britain
and India, just as it has led to the prominence of the United States.

The utilitarian economic advantages to India from the Empire may or may not
be supported by statistical evidence. What is indubitable is the brief
efflorescence of modern Indian culture, in fine arts and literature, in
science and the humanities - in Indian languages with an Indian idiom - was
cut short by the end of the Empire. The tawdry imitation of Americana
peddled by the current generation can, perhaps, only be matched in its
puerility by the obscurantism of the present dominant Indian fundamentalist
political culture. The pax Britannica that allowed us Indians to develop
culturally is something that every Briton should know about and be proud of.

But the current (and previous) generation of British leaders cannot get out
of the responsibility of having let themselves and the future generations of
their peoples in India and Britain down!
Dr Manish M Ghosh
Howrah, India

Comment on Thoughts on thuggery by Taki (11/01/2003)

Taki you hypocrite,

Are you incapable of discerning a link between your own consumption of
prohibited substances and the inevitable impact this will have on the supply
and demand curve. To place a distinction between crack and its subtle
sibling is a technical not moral distinction.
Nicholas Pollock

Comment on The extreme centre by Tim Luckhurst (11/01/2003)

I read Tim Luckhurst's article on the BBC with interest. I too feel strongly
that the BBC is manipulating public opinion to agree with government policy.
In particular I noted Mr Luckhurst's views on the Scottish Parliament. I
have hated this institution from its formation, considering it a hotbed of
political chancers and incompetents. As a Scotsman I would sooner put my
trust in a lawyer than a Scottish politician (this includes the exported

I originally started the website to comment on the
incompetence and corruption of Scotland's political elite before moving
abroad and turning the attention to the UK as a whole. Never before in my
life have I had the feeling that I am no longer master of my own destiny. I
do now; such is the influence of government today.
Garry Sutherland

Tim Luckhurst (The Extreme Centre) makes a persuasive case against the BBC
for its middle-of-the-road, hear-no-dissent, see-no-dissent, and
speak-no-dissent presentation of critical issues. Lately, I too have missed
in its broadcasts a more honest~-and less politically correct- reporting of
facts and opinions, particularly now in the religiously and culturally
charged environment of major world events. There is clearly a process of
sanitization taking place by, for instance, ignoring certain specialist
commentators, who had been in favour prior to September 11, but are now
being avoided for holding "extreme views" on touchy subjects like Islam.

On the other hand, one could also understand this non-confrontational
approach by the BBC. Had the BBC catered primarily to a Western audience,
debates of the kind Luckhurst refers to would have been perfectly
acceptable. However, its viewers and listeners now include a global mix of
nations and cultures, most of who depend on it more for unbiased news,
comments, and analyses than for rational debates. Not all cultures tolerate
debates or divergent positions on matters of religion, customs, or politics.
Therefore, broadcasting opinions that might appear to be critical of their
system could easily inflame emotions, and lead to riots and attacks on
British and Western interests, placing even the lives of the correspondents
that Luckhurst admires in jeopardy. As such, however much I regret the
absence of stimulating debate and journalistic freedom that Luckhurst
espouses, I can also understand, and even grudgingly applaud, BBC,s
cross-cultural sensitivity in deciding not to offend.
Pradip Nath
Hong Kong

Comment on Can America be serious? by Mark Steyn (11/01/2003)

Mr Steyn would do well to spend some time in the Middle East doing some
research before his next scathing critique of the region. Mr Steyn's
description of Saddam Hussein as 'the Big Swinging Dong of Araby' is an
inaccurate generalization. Mr Steyn should read Thomas Freidman's article in
the New York Times 12/01/03, where he says "- Saddam is no longer viewed as
any kind of folk hero, and most people, it seems, would welcome his demise.
(The bad news is that George Bush and U.S. policy are disliked even more.)"
It is minds like Mr Steyn's that create hatred in the Middle East towards
countries like America - who Mr Steyn certainly does not represent.
Rida Said

For the most part, Kim would be selling his cut-price Dongs to groups who
are anxious to use them. The moment they do, and the provenance is traced,
North Korea's role as quartermaster to the world's wackos will be over

I wish he had given some reason for his certitude. Kim HAS been selling
missile technology; at least our government claims so. What will be
different? If technology sales aren't enough, why the bright line when it is
a complete missile? How will you prove it was a complete missile? How will
you prove that the nuclear warhead was made in Korea? You won't be able to -
or need to - but why wait so long. Kim sells a missile, with warhead, to
whomever, who uses it, and we vaporize North Korea. That really solves the
problem of missiles out in the hands of unfriendly folk, doesn't it?
J L Johnston

I think the answer to Mark's question is "no", America just can't be
serious. And long may it continue! Just when the whole corporate accounting
(you had to work in the markets to really get the joke) routine had worn a
bit thin, the US administration came up with the joke Iraq crisis. "The UN
should not become another League of Nations" - which, of course, failed due
to American isolationism. Who writes their material?
Jon Jones

Comment on JAIL IS NOT THE ANSWER (11/01/2003)

Jail is not the answer to what? It depends on the question you want to ask.
It is certainly the answer to this particular question: What is the most
effective way of protecting the law-abiding majority from the criminal
activities of a large defiant minority that has no respect whatever for mere
Terence Power

The prisons would be less "grotesquely full" if they didn't contain
non-violent criminals: dope merchants/smokers; BBC license tax evaders;
thieves, e.g.

They would be even less grotesquely full if the rump of violent offenders
and thieves was divided into addicts and non-addicts. The addicts could then
be treated, sanely, for their addictions (heroin and alcohol primarily) and
the sober violent or crooked criminals (plus recidivist addicts) could rot
in an expansive hell at the Queen's expense and pleasure.
James R. Hannay
Dallas, TX, USA

Comment on Just who are They, and what are They up to? by Matthew Parris

It is precisely that involvement in decision making that converts "us" to
one of "them". This fact was brought home explicitly to me at the start of
Staff College when the Commandant told us all that we were now one of
"them". A small remark that caused me to ponder exactly the thought
processes Mr Parris outlined. Perhaps the President of Colombia was thinking
the same thing when, during the grim years of battling the Medellin Cartel
he grumbled, "I have no president to complain to". I enjoyed the piece
although I think it was always thus, and always will be.

So, if you call us to war, I for one will be thinking in the first person
plural. On the subject of learning, my Grandfather went to his grave in
France. If I could go back in time, would I tell him to stay at home? No. We
have our eyes open but remain resolute and would be worthless otherwise.
Sorry about the rhetoric there, your sentiment is appreciated.
Jerry Wright

Matthew Parris asks "Do other language-groups use the third-person plural in
this way?" Interestingly enough, Farsi, that geographically, though not
perhaps grammatically, distant Indo-European language does just that. As
A.K.S. Lambton put it in her splendid Persian Grammar: "The Passive voice
can in some cases be expressed by the 3rd person plural of the Active voice.
Certain verbs take this construction in preference to the Passive
construction ... e.g.

ura zadand, He was hit (they hit him)

goftand, It was said (they said)"

Whether this is a mere grammatical oddity or a means of disguising
responsibility for acts of violence or the origins of rumour of course
remains open to question.
Jim Roberts

Comment on Banned Wagon by Ross Clark (11/01/2003)

NZ farming was desubsidized by a Labour government. It implemented right of
Thatcher policies, known as Rogernomics. It had policies like "level playing
fields" so the sheep could do their thing without social welfare. Then we
had ten years of a brilliant conservative government, headed by Mr Jim
Bolger, oddly enough, a farmer! And now the invincible Helen Clark rules New
Middle-Earth with an iron skirt and very sensible shoes.
Nicholas Alexander

Buy New Zealand goods to show support for abolishing agricultural subsidies
- very good. How about attacking art subsidies as well? I don't hate art,
but I'm not a regular gallery-goer or concert-goer, and I think art, like
farming, would be much healthier - and reflect what people actually want -
without subsidies. And let's abolish the license fee and privatise the BBC,
but I guess that goes without saying.
Graham Asher

Jonathan Mirsky (04/01/2003)

I liked Jonathan Mirsky's review of Susan Brison's book, however, I felt
that Jonathan's last paragraph with its in invidious and unwarranted
comparison of Ms. Brison's book to Anne Frank's diary was a disgrace:

"I think this is a great book - I use those words sparingly - deeply
revealing and fundamentally pessimistic. It is more painful and far less
sentimental than Anne Frank's diary...."

Anne Frank didn't write a conscious essay on her condition. Her book and
amazing display of preciosity for a fourteen year old documented the
thoughts and feelings of a teenager during a barbarous time.

We read it not because we want to learn about the meaning of the Holocaust.
We read it a testimony of ordinariness in a time of extremity. We also read
it because in spite of itself the diary is documentary evidence of the
innocuousness of the kind of person the Nazis took to be their mortal enemy
and made war on.

Surely this diary is out of place as a comparison to a book about the nature
of violence written by a mature philosophy professor.

It's time for Jonathan Mirsky to go back to writing school.
Jackson Dyer

Comment on Diary by Simon Heffer (11/01/2003)

I see that racist jibes continue all the go in your columns, so long as the
race is Australian. I gave up reading Simon Heffer's piece halfway through,
but the parts I saw were notable for citing as Australian jokes that I first
heard in the United States, about what was presented as the backward rural
South: of course, if you want real South, Australia seems more fitted than

Heffer's simply wrong about why you're entreated not to throw cigarette
butts and other rubbish in the gutter. It's because they get into the storm
water channels in a nation whose cities are predominantly coastal, and wash
out to sea. It seems a good idea to point this out.

Your guest writer was right about the ABC's buying some of the good BBC
programmes. Did he notice that none of them attracts large audiences Down

But at least your guest writer didn't miss the customary insulting reference
to why Australia was settled. Customary, certainly; but is it obligatory?
Paul Kunino Lynch

Congratulations to Mr Heffer for his most perspicacious piece. His comments
about our obsession with safety were most apposite

In the days of my youth there was a general acceptance that if something bad
happened then often it was just an act of God, or the person's fault for
being careless or foolish. Sadly, in today's safety obsessed Australia
nothing bad is allowed to happen, and if it does, it is someone else's
fault. The concepts of bad luck and personal responsibility are now regarded
as anachronisms, the twin fruits of this pernicious belief are the
multiplication of freedom destroying laws intended to keep us safe, and
lawsuits so outrageous as to invite derision.

Hardly a month goes by without some new assault on our freedom all in the
name of safety, if I drive I must wear a seatbelt, if I ride a bike I must
were a helmet. I'm not allowed to let off fireworks and if a live in a block
of flats, the flats must comply with onerous OHS regulations, at work
hapless employers must ensure that procedures in place to cope with
workplace harassment, safety and discrimination.

As a result of all this public discourse has taken on a very hectoring and
censorious tone. We are constantly being importuned about all kinds of
things, not to drink and drive, don,t take drugs, not to smoke, to make sure
we wear sunscreen, each passing year brings more.

The Australia of my youth had a carefree stoicism about it, but the
Australia I'm now living in is a foreign country, and regrettably most
Australians are quite happy to surrender their freedoms for supposed
security. As history and long experience show, living in a society where the
government has total power grants you the security of a slave, you're
guaranteed work, means of sustenance, and shelter, but hold all these things
at the pleasure of your master, which is no security at all.

Personal responsibility and freedom are intimately linked, if the person
does not take responsibility for their own lives, including their mistakes
or bad luck, then they aren't ready for freedom, and in today's Australia
there are only too many people willing to take that freedom away.
Geoffrey Stewart
Wollongong, N.S.W, Australia

© 2003 The

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      Gweru hires casuals to remove garbage pile-up as strike continues

      1/16/2003 11:38:58 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Gweru

      THE Gweru City Council has hired casual workers to clean up the city
after garbage piled up with striking council employees vowing not to return
to work until their grievances are addressed.

      The workers went on strike last Friday after negotiations for a 110
percent salary increase collapsed.

      The council said it could only afford a 70 percent pay rise. James
Bwerazuva, the executive mayor, said about 20 casual workers were engaged on
Thursday to clean up the streets which had become clogged with uncollected
garbage for more than a week.

      He said the army had also offered trucks and additional manpower to
clean up the streets as part of its community service.

      Bwerazuva could not say for how long the casual workers would be
engaged. Wage negotiations collapsed last month after the council's treasury
department said the wage demands would worsen the council's bank overdraft.

      The workers are demanding a 110 percent pay rise immediately, while
the council has offered 70 percent staggered between January and July this
year. The council proposed to pay 40 percent this month and the remaining 30
percent in July.

      Only a skeleton staff manning critical services such as fire and
ambulances, clinics and the water reticulation system has been reporting for
      The Gweru Residents and Ratepayers' Association last week urged
municipal officials and the workers to bury their differences and restore
efficient services in the city.

      "We feel short-changed because service delivery has been grossly
compromised due to the wrangle," said association chairman Willie Muringani.

      "Sick people are being turned away from council clinics because there
is no staff and the ambulance service has been grounded due to the strike."

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      Passive acceptance of chaotic state of affairs does defy logic

      1/16/2003 11:18:26 AM (GMT +2)

      So we had a lot of visitors for the Miss Malaika pageant, just as we
had plenty of foreigners viewing the eclipse from our side of the border not
too long ago, despite the unprecedented amount of negative publicity even
from our perceived friends down South! A very commendable achievement,
wouldn't you all agree with me?

      But at what cost to our own battered economy? What have we got to show
for all the supposedly highly-successful hosting of these two events?

      We allowed foreigners to invade our beautiful country, allowed them to
go wherever they so desired unimpeded. But are we so sure that all these
visitors took the right message back to their countries of origin?

      Did they carefully fail to see the anguish on the faces of so many
brave Zimbabweans? Were they blind to the havoc wrought on our once
productive land by our so-called successful land redistribution exercise?

      Or to the unavailability of so many basic commodities; the
ever-increasing queues for the scarce basics available? And did they
ultimately, too, fail to talk to some of those who have lost their farms to
ill-prepared settlers? Or those who have lost relatives in the lawlessness
that has been allowed to grip the country to prevent Zanu PF losing power?

      I just hope they did this and more, for if they are to carry a
different picture to what our government mouthpieces have so unsuccessfully
tried to portray, then Lord help those who are now holding the reins of
power, for instead of being feted as winners, they will have egg all over
their faces. The truth shall set you free, someone once told me, but why are
we so fearful of the truth?

      We have heard contradictory explanations of the same issue on ZBC and
ZTV and The Herald (check the fuel issue and the funds which Odisappeared'),
and we have been bombarded with useless adverts that are nauseating, to say
the least. Are we really free?

      Our passive acceptance of the present state of affairs defies logic,
yet I would like to urge the external community not to judge us. Many people
suffered during the war against Ian Smith; untold horrors were perpetrated
by both sides on innocent civilians. And even more recently, the
Matabeleland campaign bears testimony of the scourge of war; many people
have still not fully recovered from their experiences, just as some houses
are still smarting from the effects of the war of liberation.

      Experience has taught us that only those who have not experienced war
can actually boast about it. Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Chinamasa et al have
never had a bullet fired at them, and for that they should be eternally

      In war, that which you hold dear is what you normally lose, and to
reverse the madness of war, once started, is usually a very costly exercise,
which is why at this point in time I would like to commend the MDC for not
agitating for war right now. The civilian losses would be massive!

      I am beginning to wonder if some of the people in Zanu PF are not
using the president to feather their own nests. Yes, using our dear
president! There are times when I feel that he is being lied to, cheated by
a handful of once-loyal but now highly questionable characters, as evidenced
by some of the statements he reads out at certain fora.

      I hope he will not be remembered as the man who single-handedly
destroyed a once vibrant economy in pursuit of personal fame and fortune.

      Timothy Moyo
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      Tickets sold out

      1/16/2003 11:57:54 AM (GMT +2)

      By Tendai Madinah

      TICKETS for Zimbabwe's Cricket World Cup matches against England and
India, selling at $ 1000 each, were sold out within hours of their release

      But the number of tickets made available was kept a secret by the
Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), for unexplained reasons.

      Many cricket fans who intended to purchase tickets were left
disappointed amid reports that at most, only about 2 000 tickets were put on
the market, with the remainder for the 7 000-seater Harare Sports Club,
being reserved for the stakeholders.

      The controversial match between Zimbabwe and England, scheduled for 13
February, was the first to be sold out in the morning, with the India match
following suit by mid-afternoon. The ZCU said 600 tickets were still
available for the Namibia match.

      The union yesterday apologised to the fans who were unable to secure
tickets. It said it was looking at the possibility of making more available
on the market from those allocated by contractual agreement to the World Cup

      Tickets were being sold at the Harare Sports Club and Takashinga
Cricket Club in Highfields.

      Fans are said to have started queuing for the tickets as early as 5am.
Those who managed to get the tickets were not too happy either, as they were
allowed to buy only a maximum of two per person. This means that those who
want to go and watch the matches with their families cannot do so.

      Few fans though were interested in tickets for the match between
Zimbabwe and Namibia, possibly because it was no high profile match given
the status of the latter.

      They said they were mostly interested in the England and India matches
because the two countries were major powers in the game and they have world
class players in their squads.

      They said it was almost certain that Zimbabwe would roll past Namibia.
      India have star players such as Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly
while England have captain Nasser Hussein as the main attraction.

      Shingirai Ururu, who failed to get the precious England versus
Zimbabwe ticket at Harare Sports Club rushed to Takashinga Sports Club and
was able to land one.

      He said he wanted to watch the match because there has been a lot of
controversy on whether the Hussein-led side would make the trip after the
British government's accusations that there is no rule of law in Zimbabwe.
      Ururu said: "We want to watch them and know whether we could have had
lost anything if they had failed to come. This match would be like a grudge

      While ZCU refused to disclose the number of tickets on sale, they
revealed that 2 000 would be taken up by the International Cricket Council.

      The ZCU is also obliged to give complimentary tickets to their
sponsors, cricket clubs in the country and the host city and some foreign
dignitaries based in Zimbabwe.

      Lovemore Banda, the ZCU communications manager, said one problem
associated with limited tickets was the seating capacity which has been
worsened by the new security arrangements which have resulted in reduced
sitting capacity.

      Tickets for the other three matches to be played at Queens Sports Club
will go on sale today in Bulawayo at Haddon and Sly.

      Meanwhile, Geoff Marsh, the coach of the Zimbabwe cricket team, said
preparations for the World Cup were going well. Marsh said: "The boys are
doing well. They have returned from the Christmas and New Year's holidays
and l'm trying to tune them into a unit."

      He said he was confident that they would perform well despite being
paired against the aristocrats of the game Pakistan, Australia and India.

      The other teams in the group are Holland and Namibia. Marsh said the
encouraging development was that captain Heath Streak, who had been out of
action since September last year after sustaining a shoulder injury in a car
accident in Kolombo, Sri Lanka, was back at training.

      Marsh said: "What Streak needs now is match fitness." He will be
tested next week when Zimbabwe takes on South Africa A in three one-day
warm-up matches.
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      2002 remembered as year Mugabe became a full-fledged dictator

      1/16/2003 12:10:57 PM (GMT +2)

      By Luke Tamborinyoka Political Editor

      THE temporary darkness during December's solar eclipse could be
symbolic of a dark political year in which the Zimbabwean government made
tremendous and permanent strides into becoming a full-fledged dictatorship.

      The eclipse, which some said was a bad omen, capped a year whose
prominence was that President Mugabe, supposedly a people's President,
following his "resounding" victory in March, went to lofty yet somewhat
ridiculous levels to shut himself off from his own people.

      In November, the government gazetted Statutory Instrument 299 of 2002,
which makes it an offence to gesture at the President's long motorcade,
adding to two repressive pieces of legislation passed earlier in the year
which make it criminal to criticise the person and office of the President.

      While the nation continued to wallow in abject poverty, with more than
half the population facing starvation and millions going for days without a
square meal, Mugabe joined, if not surpassed, some of Africa's deceased and
living dictators when he ordered an expensive top-of-the-range, bulletproof
limousine with tinted windows.

      As governance and the economy went into a coma, Mugabe made a
startling admission of failure last year when he said he had developed
"headaches" and "stomach aches" because of the fuel problems.

      "Twenty-two years in government, 22 years of playing this tomfoolery.
They (fuel companies) don't suffer from the headaches I suffer from," Mugabe
reportedly told a gathering in Gweru.

      But stomach aches and headaches are not really the ailments associated
with amadoda sibili (real men).
      As Zimbabwe's madness reached alarming levels, the 54-member
Commonwealth group announced the country's suspension for 12 months, a
decision which made the notorious spin-doctors in Harare froth at the mouth.

      In August, Mugabe assembled what he called a "War Cabinet" in which he
axed the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Simba Makoni, who had
earlier called for the devaluation of the dollar.

      Makoni's dismissal had become inevitable when Mugabe referred to all
proponents of devaluation as "saboteurs" and "enemies of the State".

      But apparently, the only war his Cabinet and government has waged
successfully was to bring the economy to its knees, while galloping
inflation hit an all-time high of 175,5 percent.

      But probably the highlight of the year was in March, when Mugabe was
announced as the winner of the presidential election following a stern
challenge from MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. The election and its outcome
were widely condemned by many local and international observers as not
having been free and fair.
      The MDC, which is challenging the result in the High Court, referred
to Mugabe's disputed win as the "biggest electoral fraud in history".

      The European Union and the United States banned Mugabe and his
lieutenants from visiting their countries after the election.

      Mugabe made a feeble and embarrassing response several months later by
imposing travel sanctions against British Premier Tony Blair and his
ministers. Interestingly, Blair had never visited Zimbabwe since he assumed

      The list included seven Zimbabweans working for foreign-based radio
stations, whom the government accused of denigrating the country.

      The service chiefs, led by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander,
General Vitalis Zvinavashe, had set the stage for Mugabe's victory when they
sent a tremor of fear in the whole country by announcing a few days before
the presidential election that they would not salute a victor without
liberation war credentials.

      Over the same polling days, two MDC executive mayors were voted into
office in Harare and Chitungwiza, bringing to five the number of opposition
mayors in the country.

      But the Executive Mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri, was immediately
embroiled in a war with the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and
National Housing, Ignatius Chombo, who has meddled in the Harare City
Council affairs since Mudzuri's day one in office.

      The new council made an impressive beginning by cleaning the city,
improving refuse collection and resurfacing the roads, a development which
apparently left the minister green with envy.

      But the MDC was not so lucky in Kadoma, where their woman candidate
for mayor, Editor Matamisa, lost to Zanu PF after the ruling party deployed
its Green Bombers and the party's machinery into the city.
      God knows what happened there!

      The MDC lost its Insiza seat to Zanu PF in a by-election punctuated by
allegations of rigging and voter intimidation. In the run-up to the
by-election, rowdy Zanu PF youths seized three metric tonnes of maize
belonging to the World Food Programme and distributed it to their

      MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and two senior officials were accused of
plotting to assassinate Mugabe. The allegations were made by discredited Ari
Ben-Menashe of the Canadian-based political consultancy firm, Dickens and
Madson. Menashe turned out to have prior close links to Zanu PF and Mugabe.

      The MDC leader has denied the allegations and the case is due to be
heard in the High Court next month.
      It was a year in which two repressive and retrogressive laws, the
Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and
Protection of
      Privacy Act (AIPPA), were passed as the political, economic and
humanitarian crisis worsened.

      In a move that must have surprised many, the new Minister of Finance
and Economic Development, Herbert Murerwa, asked God to come to Zimbabwe's
rescue. Observers were surprised that after presiding over a brutal regime,
a Zanu PF member could actually acknowledge the existence of a God of peace.
      In his Budget speech where he painted a gloomy picture of the economy
and announced the closure of foreign currency bureaus and the failure of
price controls, Murerwa quoted several verses from the Book of Jeremiah, in
a clear appeal for Divine Intervention.

      But AIPPA and POSA are two obnoxious pieces of legislation which
violate basic freedoms of speech, assembly and association definitely
antithetic to God's ways.

      The year began with a pitched battle between the independent Press and
the government over AIPPA, which seeks to curtail the independent media by
having media houses and journalists licensed by the partisan Media and
Information Commission hand-picked by Professor Jonathan Moyo, the
Information and Publicity Minister who, in turn, was hand-picked by Mugabe.

      The battle has spilled into this year as many journalists are yet to
register with the commission as they eagerly await a Supreme Court verdict
on the constitutionality of the registration stipulation.

      Moyo was humbled early last year when he received a battering from the
media, his colleagues in Zanu PF and the Parliamentary Legal Committee,
which ruled most of the clauses in the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Bill unconstitutional.

      In a famous speech, which is probably in the drawer of every
independent journalist, veteran politician and chairman of the Parliamentary
Legal Committee, Eddison Zvobgo, said of Moyo's original draft:
      "The Bill, in its original form, was vague, overbroad in scope,
ill-conceived and dangerous. Why would the Minister, or any Minister, seek
such overwhelming powers from this Parliament?"

      The year left its own tragic mark in the opposition MDC, where the
party's spokesman and MP for Kuwadzana, Learnmore Jongwe, fatally stabbed
his wife, Rutendo, for alleged infidelity. The story dominated the media for
several months and took a further tragic twist when Jongwe died in
mysterious circumstances in remand prison while awaiting trial for murder.
      Jongwe's death shocked many people, who held the State responsible as
the 28-year-old MP died while in the hands of the government. Postmortems
carried out by both the State and an independent pathologist hired by the
MDC showed the MP died of excessive amounts of chloroquine, but debate still
rages on how the poison found its way into his prison cell. Jongwe's came
after the mysterious death of another MDC MP, George Ndlovu of Insiza
constituency, after he was given an apple at a bipartisan workshop for MPs.

      In November, the MDC dismissed its controversial Highfield MP,
Munyaradzi Gwisai, after he walked out of a disciplinary hearing, after
making statements at variance with MDC policies.

      A splinter trade union, the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe,
led by its firebrand leader, Raymond Majongwe, made headlines when it
spearheaded a strike by teachers pressing for better pay and conditions.
Majongwe himself was severely beaten up and arrested by State agents but
eventually, in a tacit admission that teachers were underpaid, the
government buckled and struck a new pay and conditions deal with teachers.

      As the year came to an end, there were stunning revelations of looting
by senior government and army officials during Zimbabwe's four-year sojourn
into the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Mugabe dismissed
the United Nations report linking his top officials to the plunder.

      Ironically, his DRC counterpart, Joseph Kabila, took the report
seriously and recalled his envoy to Harare and some of the ministers
implicated in the looting.
      Mugabe left the nation astonished when he failed to live up to the
government's promise that the human and financial cost of the DRC adventure
would be announced at parade welcoming home the troops. To date, no one
knows how much the nation lost in that war, which sucked in six African

      By December, it was clear Mugabe
      and his whimpering "War Cabinet" had waged a successful war against
the people of Zimbabwe, the international community and the economy.

      The results are there for all to see: an unprecedented inflation rate,
over six million facing starvation, almost zero-farming activity by Joseph
Made's peasant farmers, a negative economic growth rate, a high unemployment
rate and a battery of repressive

      Remember, this is the former land of milk and honey, which until
recently, was the envy of many countries because of a stable economy, peace,
a government which appeared to care for its citizens and where queues were
to be found at sports stadiums and banks.

      Indeed, no one could have done a better job than Mugabe of destroying
the economy and turning Zimbabwe into a pariah state.

      Chave Chimurenga!

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Zim Independent

Mugabe exit plot thickens
Dumisani Muleya
DESPITE energetic denials from President Mugabe this week, speculation
surrounding the future of his presidency intensified as more details emerged
of an exit deal put together by his closest associates.

The latest initiative has placed Mugabe in a vulnerable position as his
government openly admits its failure to cope with food and fuel shortages.

Sources said this week Zanu PF secretary for administration Emmerson
Mnangagwa and Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe,
implicated in the attempted palace coup against Mugabe, were keen to exploit
widening fault lines within the ruling party to advance their interests. The
deteriorating economic situation may have spurred their latest initiative.

Mnangagwa and Zvinavashe were named by opposition MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai as behind the mission by retired army officer, Colonel Lionel
Dyck, to market their power-sharing plans which involve a comfortable exit
package for Mugabe.

Dyck is understood to have been in contact with key stakeholders in the plan
including the British government. British foreign secretary Jack Straw was
said to have been aware of the plan, hence his recent statement that London
would support any local initiative to resolve the current crisis.

"Dyck has been working tirelessly behind-the-scenes to establish some
consensus on the issues at stake - and appeared to have made some headway
until mid-December when Tsvangirai denounced his overtures," a source
following the initiative said.

In terms of Dyck's plan, Mugabe and his family would be allowed free passage
to live wherever they wanted, targeted sanctions would be lifted, and an
interim government formed with Mnangagwa, Mugabe's perceived heir apparent,
as president and Tsvangirai as deputy. A fresh presidential election would
be held in two years.

Dyck initially claimed he was Mnangagwa and Zvinavashe's emissary when he
met Tsvangirai on December 13, the MDC leader says. He said Dyck reported
back to his principals after the meeting.

But he now appears under pressure to amend his story because Mugabe is on
the warpath. Dyck's remarks in a pro-government paper yesterday - where he
said he was his own man on the mission to Tsvangirai - were seen as

Tsvangirai said yesterday in an interview he had no reason to doubt Dyck's
initial claim. He said the ball was now in Mnangagwa and Zvinavashe's court
to explain the issue.

"I have no reason to doubt him," he said. "There have been a lot of fishing
expeditions by Zanu PF prior to that. The burden to clarify whether or not
they sent Dyck is theirs. Dyck actually phoned me after the meeting and said
they (Mnangagwa and Zvinavashe) were happy with our position (the need for a
transitional arrangement and a fresh election)."

Despite a flurry of official denials, including Mugabe's own in Lusaka on
Tuesday, Mnangagwa and Zvinavashe have not yet directly refuted the claim
that Dyck was their envoy although they have denied any knowledge of the
exit plan.

Sources said Mnangagwa's alleged manoeuvres - which the CIO is said to be
probing - could unleash an open succession battle in Zanu PF.

A rival faction, which consists of potential movers and shakers, retired
General Solomon Mujuru, Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi and former
cabinet minister and PF Zapu supremo, Dumiso Dabengwa, was said to be
jockeying against Mnangagwa's bid for power.

Mujuru is understood to have fallen out with Mugabe before last year's
disputed March presidential election after he reportedly told him to retire.

Sources say Ibbo Mandaza, the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Daily
Mirror and Sunday Mirror - which revived the story last weekend - played a
role. Sources said Mandaza planted the story to test the succession waters
on Mnangagwa and Zvinavashe's behalf.

Mnangagwa's perceived ally, Mutumwa Mawere, who controls a business empire,
was involved in sounding out Tsvangirai on the deal.

But Mawere denied this. "I don't get involved in such political deals," he
said this week. "I have no standing in politics to be a factor in this

While it is agreed Mugabe was unaware of the manoeuvring by his closest
associates, intelligence sources have said he has privately informed members
of his family of his desire to retire by the end of the year.

The latest disclosures, sources say, are likely to convey the impression of
a besieged and vulnerable presidency.
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Zim Independent

As treason trial looms Tsvangirai tapes inaudible
Vincent Kahiya
THE out-of-court drama in the Morgan Tsvangirai treason case has taken a new
twist after revelations that audio tapes purportedly containing
incriminating evidence are inaudible.

The Zimbabwe Independent heard last week that voices on the tapes, which the
state says contain key evidence that Tsvangirai and his co-accused, Welshman
Ncube and Renson Gasela were plotting to assassinate President Mugabe, could
not be made out.

The state's evidence-in-chief is contained in the audio and video tapes
provided by former Israeli secret agent Ari Ben-Menashe of Canadian lobbyist
firm, Dickens & Madson, who it transpired was under contract to the Zimbabwe

The case is scheduled to open at the High Court on February 3. The case
failed to take off in November after Tsvangirai's lawyer, Innocent Chagonda
of Atherstone & Cook, filed an urgent application seeking a postponement of
the case as the State had not supplied the defence team with tapes and
papers spelling out the charge.

Chagonda last week confirmed the tapes were completely inaudible.

"We can't hear a thing on them," he said.

The State intends to call as witnesses Ben-Menashe and his associates Tara
Thomas and Alexander Legault. It is still not clear whether

Ben-Menashe will take the stand to give evidence. Chagonda said they were
preparing their defence outline on the assumption the trio were coming to

The three MDC leaders were implicated by Ben-Menashe last February in the
run-up to the controversial March presidential election.

Ben-Menashe, who undertook political consultancy work for the government,
has admitted being an admirer of Mugabe well before the alleged plot by
Tsvangirai and his colleagues.

The State alleges that a video shot secretly by Ben-Menashe shows Tsvangirai
agreeing with the consultant that Mugabe should be killed before the
presidential election. Tsvangirai and his team are alleged to have met
Ben-Menashe in Montreal and London.

Tsvangirai's defence team, which is being co-ordinated by Chagonda, includes
one of South Africa's most distinguished advocates, George Bizos SC, and
advocates Eric Matinenga and Chris Andersen.
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Zim Independent

EU urged to tighten sanctions
Mthulisi Mathuthu
A MONTH before it reviews its February 2002 sanctions regime, pressure is
already mounting on the European Union (EU) to tighten the screws on
President Mugabe.

The EU, which slapped President Mugabe and his circle with a travel ban
early last year, is expected to release its new sanctions list and
conditions on February 19.

A source at the Greek Embassy in Harare this week said despite reports that
some EU states were beginning to waver on the sanctions issue, pressure -
both from within and outside the EU - was mounting on Brussels to be more
firm with Mugabe, a development which could further influence the
Commonwealth troika which reviews Zimbabwe's suspension in March.

The Zimbabwe Independent heard this week that the MDC was lobbying the EU to
widen the sanctions net to further incapacitate Mugabe's government which,
despite public displays of defiance, is already feeling the pinch.

MDC representative in Brussels, Grace Kwinjeh, this week said her party was
pushing hard to have the EU tighten the sanctions regime and include the
children and spouses of banned government officials.

"The list has to be expanded to include the children and spouses of the
others. Only Grace Mugabe is listed at the moment," she said in an interview
from Brussels on Tuesday.

"They must also tighten some of the loopholes Zanu PF officials have
exploited to travel all over the world."

The British are also looking at ways of netting business people used as
fronts by Mugabe's government to undrtake missions in Europe, reports from
London suggest.

The MDC is keen to see the EU ban Mugabe's emissaries from attending any
future EU gatherings on European soil.

Sanctions activists have questioned the EU's sincerity in permitting banned
Zanu PF officials like Paul Mangwana and Chris Kuruneri to attend an EU/ACP
meeting in November last year.

Kwinjeh said Mugabe, who has remained intransigent since last February,
could only be pushed into abandoning his retributive politics and
gamesmanship through "a tighter and more-biting" sanctions regime.

She said Mugabe was openly flouting the Cotonou Agreement which spells out
good governance and human rights observance as the basis for EU/ACP

"The MDC is saying that they (EU) must maintain a hard line until Mugabe
agrees to the conditions spelt out in the Cotonou Agreement, essential
elements such as the rule of law, human rights and good governance. He has
to reform," she said.

"As you can see, it is a year since sanctions were imposed but Mugabe has
not changed his ways at all."

Kwinjeh said her party was also pushing the EU to increase its humanitarian
assistance to Zimbabwe where more than half of the population is faced with
starvation stemming largely from Mugabe's chaotic agrarian programme which
has destroyed commercial agriculture and displaced farm workers.

The EU has of late been discussing the dispatch of a fact-finding mission to
Zimbabwe to investigate Mugabe's abuse of human rights while the ACP
countries are pushing for dialogue between Harare and the EU.
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Zim Independent

Food aid recipients set to increase
Augustine Mukaro
THE United Nations Humanitarian Situation Report on Zimbabwe this week said
62% of the country's population, up from 58% in 2002, would be in need of
food aid through to March when the harvest is expected to arrive on the

This means 7,2 million people will go hungry, rising from the 6,7 million
already surviving from food hand-outs either from the donor community or
government since last year.

The report said 850 000 urban dwellers, 929 000 current and former
commercial farm workers and 5,4 million rural people would require food

The report said the fast-deteriorating food situation could only be
rectified through streamlining the process of the issuance of import permits
for relief food.

Food security in Zimbabwe was not likely to improve even after the 2003
season's harvest because the area put under crop was way below the national
requirements, the report said.

"Government estimates the area put under crop as of December 2002 to be 1
548 730 hectares.

"The figure represents only 65% of the area planted in the 2001/2 season,"
the report said.

"Prospects for the 2002/03 agricultural season appear poor, moderate El Niño
events suggest that the current weather pattern may extend well into 2004,
peaking in the first quarter of next year, making expected rain-fed maize
yields to be very low," the report said.
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Zim Independent

Zimbabweans forced to go vegetarian
Blessing Zulu
ZIMBABWE could shortly become a vegetarian society following the gazetting
of the price of pork, the only meat product still available on supermarket

Since the government announced the populist price freeze, the shortages of
basic commodities has worsened resulting in unavailability of gazetted
products - notably beef and chicken. The only meat product that was not
controlled was pork which has now fallen victim to government's obsession
with controls.

Statutory Instrument (SI) 346 of 2002, Control of goods (price freeze)
issued last December has also put rice on the controlled list, which is
being eaten as a substitute for mealie-meal.

The price of 2kg Mahtma rice has been reduced from $1 900 to the gazetted $1
667,50. The other products that will be affected by the price freeze include
powdered milk brands Lactogen, Cremora, Teacup, Nestlé and Everyday.

Doug Fraser, chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Butchers, said
shortages of pork were now inevitable.

"This may result in shortages for the consumer when the producer, wholesaler
and retailer fail to supply pork for sale at the legislated prices," said

"The supply of both pork and chicken is erratic due to a number of factors
and the consumer is battling to find the once-popular meat products in most
butcheries in the country," he said.

Fraser said controlled prices were not viable for the industry.

"When the price control on beef was legislated butcheries had beef stocks at
market-related prices and then had to sell at the controlled prices, where
in most cases this led to losses being made in all outlets," he said.

"Selling at the legislated prices meant a loss of $74 000 per carcass was
being made," Fraser said.

Fraser said his association was holding marathon meetings with the concerned

"The latest meeting was attended by the Permanent Secretary of Trade and
Commerce, Ronald Madamombe, and the mood was one of co-operation to ensure
that a way forward was charted to get beef back into butcheries for the
consumer to buy," he said.

"The beef producers, abattoir operators and retailers have been tasked to
urgently submit costing to the ministry for consideration reflecting current
costs and proposed prices so that the industry is viable. These will be with
the ministry during the course of this week."

Lesley Mallett, chairman of the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council, said
the document was now complete.

"We are now waiting to have a meeting with the minister (Herbert Murerwa)
who is said to be away at the moment and hand him the document with our
proposals," said Mallett.

Meanwhile, Murombo Mudhumo, Bakers Inn managing director, said they too had
asked the Ministry of Industry and International Trade to revise the price
of bread upwards.

"Negotiations have been under way with the concerned ministry," said

"If we continue to sell bread for $65 our businesses will collapse. The cost
of importing flour is prohibitive. We are proposing that a loaf of bread be
sold for $145," he said.

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Zim Independent

Libya puts beef deal on ice
Augustine Mukaro
LIBYA has frozen a deal to buy beef from Zimbabwe after the livestock
industry failed to satisfy supply terms as agreed due to a shortage of
slaughter stock.

The mothballing of the 5,1 million kg annual quota comes at a time when the
Libyans are understood to be keen to relinquish control over farms mortgaged
to service the US$360 million fuel deal between the two countries.

John Mapondera, whose company Farirai Quality Foods clinched the supply
deal, this week said his consortium would resume exports of beef in the next
two weeks.

"There will be some feedback on the deal by next week," Mapondera said. "In
fact, in about two weeks we should be sending our first consignment of the
year to Libya."

Exports kicked off in November with Farirai Quality Foods sending its first
consignment to Libya since 2001 when the deal was mooted.

But diplomatic sources said the deal was doomed as Zimbabwe no longer had
the capacity to meet demand.

Sources said Zimbabwe's capacity to meet the export quota and even the local
market have been greatly hampered by disturbances in the commercial farming
sector, which saw the mass slaughter of breeding stock between 2000 and

Government price controls on beef, introduced last year, have resulted in
serious shortages on the local market.

The Cattle Producers Association (CPA) said with 95% of commercial farms
having been listed for acquisition and over 60% of them having received
Section 8 Orders, there was a lot of uncertainty in the industry.

"Many farmers were forced to destock because of grazing restrictions imposed
by settlers and, as a result, the commercial herd has been severely
reduced," the CPA said.

The CPA said although all recognised beef exports were currently suspended
as a result of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in 2001, the market
required the higher-quality grades of beef supplied by the commercial

"As the commercial beef herd shrinks in Zimbabwe, so does the ability to
meet export market commitments," the CPA said.

The CPA said apart from the quality factor, the actual supply of beef to the
market was quickly diminishing because the small-scale sector, which has a
traditional off-take of less than 5% compared to 20% or more in the
commercial sector.

Sources in the industry said the country's capacity has been further
undermined by the loss of over 15 000 cattle over the past three months due
to the drought.

"The national breeding herd has dwindled by over 67%, falling from over 1,2
million to 400 000," sources said.
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Zim Independent

Mbeki's silent diplomacy slammed
Blessing Zulu

ZIMBABWE's appalling record of human rights abuses has again become the
centre of international attention, this time drawing into its vortex South
Africa which has been rapped for not doing enough about the
increasingly-oppressive Mugabe regime.

In its annual report, Human Rights Watch said President Thabo Mbeki's silent
diplomacy on Mugabe was not working and was only exacerbating the situation.

"South African President Thabo Mbeki offered only muted criticism of
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe despite his persistent violations of
civil and political liberties and disturbing reports of
politically-motivated diversion of food in time of famine," the report said.

African leaders who still feel it is taboo to criticise their colleagues
were also castigated.

"Meanwhile, oppressive governments continued to deny basic freedoms and new
or renewed conflicts led to greater repression, increased human rights abuse
and large numbers of refugees and displaced persons without any effective
African response," the report said.

The New Economic Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) which has a
mechanism for peer review, was not being used effectively, it said.

"In the context of the strong Nepad and African Union commitments to
promoting and protecting human rights, African leaders' customary silence
was all the more discouraging," the report said.

With reference to Zimbabwe's presidential poll, it said: "African leaders,
including Mbeki and Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo, two of Nepad's
architects and champions, failed to speak out against the violence inflicted
on MDC supporters."
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Zim Independent

CIO in disarray without director-general
Dumisani Muleya
THE Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) is gripped with uncertainty as
President Robert Mugabe drags his heels on the appointment of a new
director-general to reform the run-down spy outfit.

Official sources said frustration and disgruntlement are running high in the
state security agency because officers are anxious to know their fate.

Relations between CIO bosses and officers are said to have chilled by a few
degrees of late due to the growing uncertainty. Some officers are still
expecting Zimbabwe's representative to the United Nations, Tichaona Jokonya,
to come and lead the organisation while the current number two wants to take
over permanently.

Jokonya, who is based in New York, was however said to have recently
jeopardised his chances of appointment after making remarks about Zimbabwe
at a diplomatic briefing which were seen as negative in Harare.

Details of his diplomatic gaffe were not immediately available.

While CIO deputy-director general Brigadier Happyton Bonyongwe was said to
be eager to take charge of the CIO, Mugabe seems not to be in a hurry to
replace former director-general Brigadier Elisha Muzonzini, who was recently
posted to Kenya as High Commissioner. He left for Nairobi on December 1.

No one has been appointed to act either.

Bonyongwe - who together with Muzonzini were appointed to the CIO in 1998 -
was said to have been disillusioned because he expected to act as DG and
then take over at the helm.

Sources said this could have led him to go on leave earlier this month to
ponder his future. He is expected back in office on February 1. Currently
Internal Branch director Mernard Muzariri is acting as CIO chief.

Muzariri, who is State Security minister Nicholas Goche's blue-eyed boy, is
expected to be Jokonya's deputy if the veteran diplomat eventually comes
home. Close Se-curity Unit (CSU) head, Simbi To-nde, has also been linked to
the post.

Speculation within the CIO over a pending restructuring exercise was
contributing to the pervasive aura of uncertainty, insiders said.

Mugabe is expected to make changes designed to enhance CIO operations and
efficiency. There could in the process be a reshuffling of directors at
divisional levels as well as purges of officers described as incompetent,
mediocre and corrupt.

Key CIO departments such as the CSU counter-intelligence division, external
branch, economics, administration, and the director-general's pool could be
revamped in the shake-up.

Former Economics di-rector Justin Mupamhanga was recently shifted to the
Ministry of Energy and Power Development as permanent secretary. Other
prominent divisional directors who include John Andrew Maringa, Thomas John
Meke, Tobias Chaunoita, and Godfrey Madzorera, are still in office but could
be reshuffled.
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Zim Independent

Govt intensifies repression
Augustine Mukaro

POLITICAL repression is rising in Zim-babwe as government intensifies
itscrackdown on opposition members and dissenting civic groups.

Barely 48 hours after the release frompolice custody of opposition
Movementfor Democratic Change (MDC) mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri and 23
others who were arrested over the weekend for attending a residents' meeting
in the capital, police picked up another MDC official and civic activists
for unspecified reasons.

Job Sikhala, MP for St Mary's, and Gabriel Shumba, NGO Human Rights Forum
research lawyer, were held at Harare Central and Matapi police stations

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he was not sure why the two were

Civic group, Crisis in Zimbabwe, said it was "deeply concerned about the
current acts of suppression".

On Tuesday night police arrested Combi-ned Harare Residents Association
CEOBarnabas Mangodza and three otherCHRA officials for holding
consultativemeetings with Kuwadzana residents. Thethree said they were
assaulted by Zanu PF militias before being handed over to the police.

Another MDC MP, Paul Madzore, who was arrested over the weekend for
allegedly organising a protest march against Mudzuri's arrest, was also
reportedly beaten up while in police custody.

MDC spokesman, Paul ThembaNyathi said the crackdown sho-wed the government
was beco-ming increasingly repressive as the economic crisis deepens.

"Mugabe's regime is deter-mined to suffocate the oppo-sition and muzzle
voices of democracy," he said.

A number of MDC officials,including leader Morgan Tsva-ngirai, have been
arraigned on charges ranging from treason to insulting Mugabe and his

Nyathi said in the past 18 months, 42 senior members of the opposition party
have been arrested and appeared in court.

"Of all the cases that have been finalised in the courts, our officials have
eitherbeen acquitted or the cases have been thrown out for lack of
evidence," Nyathi said.

"We are well aware that the police now takeorders from Zanu PF on who to
arrest amongst our members," he said

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa could
not be reached for comment.

High Court president Justice Garwe this week warned police against abuse of
their powers by arresting people without grounds for prosecution. He said
police should investigate their cases before arresting people instead of
arresting in order to investigate as that was against civilised notions of
the criminal justice system.

Meanwhile, police this week quiz-zed Willy Muponda, publisher of the
Gweru-based Sun newspaper, over registration of his company and journalists.

"The police officers harassed me and asked whether I had registered," he
said. "They demanded the receipt of the $500 000 registration fee that
should have been paid to the Media and Information Commission."

He said police accused him of being anti-government and warned they would
"deal with him". Under the new media law, unregistered media groups and
journalists are not allowed to operate in Zimbabwe.

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Zim Independent

Building society in dire straits
Staff Writer

THERE was panic on the money market yesterday after news leaked that First
National Building Society (FNBS) was in dire straits, the Zimbabwe
Independent has heard.

Market sources said FNBS managing director Sam Ruturi and his financial
director have been suspended after questions arose over apparent
mismanagement of $3 billion in depositors' funds at the institution.

A member of the Loans Review Committee, Morgan Moyo, is understood to have
taken over the society as acting managing director in the meantime. Efforts
to get comment from Moyo or other senior members of the institution were
unsuccessful. But insiders said there was "a big problem at the building

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was said to have intervened with a $2 billion
bail-out package. - Staff Writer.
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Zim Independent

Assault on mayors exposes control-freaks in Zanu PF
Blessing Zulu/Augustine Mukaro

ATTEMPTS by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo to throw spanners in
the works of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) mayors
represents a bid by the government to divert public attention from its own
poor record.

Chombo has been digging trenches across MDC mayors' courses of policy
implementation through directives leading to constant collisions.

Mayors' failure to adhere to the directives has resulted in them being
labelled arrogant and has seen government appointing committees to "help in
the running" of the cities.

In the firing line have been the executive mayor of Harare, Engineer Elias
Mudzuri, and Chegutu's Francis Dhlakama.

Over the past month Chombo has appointed committees to help run the City of
Harare and Chegutu.

The Harare committee is billed to start work in February. He has also turned
down Harare and Bulawayo's applications for borrowing powers to access the
billions needed on the open market for development of the city's

The well-orchestrated move to make life difficult for Mudzuri has also been
played out in the government-controlled Herald, the Sunday Mail and ZBC.

The relationship between Mudzuri and the public media was perhaps succinctly
captured in his letter to the Herald recently, warning of possible legal
action against the paper if it did not withdraw allegations of failure to
run the city it had carried in its pages.

"Instead of giving the public the facts as they stand, you chose to play to
the gallery by attempting to whip up public outrage and outcry and openly
invited minister Chombo to enter the fray with a hatchet," Mudzuri said.

Co-ordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe and human rights activist Brian Kagoro
said the impasse between Chombo and Mudzuri demonstrated the policy
flip-flops in Zanu PF.

"In the mid '80s the country was misled into a one-party state and this
called for the centralisation of power," said Kagoro.

"Consistent with this trait, the person of the president and local
governance was also designed around the same concept, the minister wielded a
lot of power. The 1990s economic failures exposed the weaknesses of a
centralised system.

"The policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank brought
about the concept of participatory decision-making and this forced the
government to decentralise power and introduce executive mayors," he said.

Kagoro said the spirit of participation was however not pursued by the

"Harare City Council progressively slid into frightening debt primarily
because Zanu PF-appointed mayors and commissioners felt obligated to defer
to party positions on crucial issues and this was evidenced in the party
preference in awarding of tenders to Zanu PF-linked individuals," he said.

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) said government's constant
intervention in the affairs of local authorities, particularly those being
run by opposition mayors, were desperate attempts to usurp power.

"When Zanu PF introduced the executive mayorship in 1996 it was a move to
tighten their control on local governance, bringing in their top
functionaries" the CHRA said.

It said executive mayors were given sweeping powers with government never
anticipating mayoral positions would be won by the opposition.

The coming in of MDC saw the scales being tilted in the opposition's favour
thereby threatening the power base of the ruling party.

"Government would not just let go of its power and is now resorting to dirty
tricks to justify its desire to regain control of cities through the back
door," CHRA said.

Analysts said government had realised the erosion of its power base as the
opposition took over the running of urban councils, hence the move to
appoint governors to check the powers of mayors.

Civic organisations have condemned the idea arguing the appointment of
governors would result in serious duplication of duties.

The introduction of governors would either mean that they would be
completely useless or would make the work of the mayors as top authorities
of cities impossible.

Governors Peter Chanetsa of Mashonaland West and Elliot Manyika of
Mashonaland Central have over-shadowed mayors or provincial administrators
in their respective constituencies because of interference.

NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku said Chombo's meddling in the city councils
shows that Zanu PF was an anti-democratic force that is not prepared to
uphold multi-party democracy.

"They want to destroy the opposition so that in an election at whatever
political level, they would win it," Madhuku said.

From Independence in 1980, ceremonial mayors ran cities with the
government-appointed town clerks holding more power and being administrative

Solomon Tawengwa, President Robert Mugabe's blue-eyed boy, was the first
executive mayor of Harare in 1996 after the amendment of the Urban Councils
Act. This trend was to be followed by other major cities but the problem
remained that the ruling party wanted to impose its own candidates.

This was amply demonstrated in Mutare where Zanu PF tried to impose its
candidate Shadreck Beta who was trounced by the incumbent Lawrence Mudewe
who won the election as an independent.

The inception of the executive mayors strengthened the resolve to establish
residents' associations, notably in Harare and Chitungwiza.

The residents' associations challenged the authority of some of the
decisions made by the executive mayors.

The Tawengwa executive was accused by the CHRA of engaging in under-hand
deals such as the awarding of tenders to Zanu PF cronies. The
less-than-transparent allocation of land for the construction of garages and
the redundant Machipisa Bus Terminus in Highfield exposed the rot in the
executive mayorship.

Though the government was reluctant to fire the Tawengwa executive
initially, they were forced to take this drastic measure when the situation
went out of control.

Tawengwa, a model product of the Zanu PF system of governance, observers
say, was sacrificed to save the face of the executive which stood accused of
fostering inefficiency in the capital.

There was a three-week-long water crisis which crippled operations in some
parts of Harare and its environs. Business operations, clinics and schools
were badly affected.

Evidence that the government never wanted to lose its stranglehold on the
running of the capital could be found when Tawengwa was in 1999 replaced by
a pliant commission which derived its power from the Local Government

The commission, led by Elijah Chanakira, gave the government absolute
control since the commissioners were not answerable or did not try to engage
the residents in the day-to-day running of the city.

The Chanakira Commission has also been accused of providing "jobs for the
boys" and of rewarding Zanu PF functionaries by giving them tenders. The
companies have been failing to deliver and this has led to the further
deterioration of services in the metropolis.

The government had to be prodded by the residents to hold the overdue
council elections. The Supreme Court ordered the Registrar-General's Office
in early December 2001 to hold mayoral and council elections for Harare on
or before February 11 2002.

The ruling was made after an urgent application by CHRA compelling the
government to hold the elections that had been thrice postponed.

The government's refusal to hold the elections became clear when after the
Supreme Court ruling government Information tsar Jonathan Moyo said the
government would explore other legal options "to ensure that the right thing
is done".

Dr Reginald Matchaba-Hove, a human rights activist and chairman of the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network, said the onslaught on Mudzuri was
calculated to demoralise voters ahead of the by-elections in two Harare

"These developments are certainly not healthy in a democracy," said

"This is an attempt to circumvent the democratic process. It may be designed
to demoralise voters in Highfield and Kuwadzana by giving them the
impression that irrespective of their vote, their will could be changed by a
presidential or ministerial decree. This is timed to create apathy and this
is why it is timed to coincide with the by-elections," he said.

The reasons why the executive mayors were appointed was also to reverse the
trend of inadequacies of central planning and to ensure local participation
in local governance and the need to make towns self-sufficient.

Analysts said these were good principles but corruption by Zanu PF-appointed
individuals in awarding tenders to people with no capacity to deliver
undermined the whole process.

"The whole process was reduced to the appointment of fat-cats who
concentrated on building mansions and ignoring what concerned the
residents," said Kagoro.

He castigated Chombo for abusing his ministerial powers.

"Chombo not only misappreciates his power in terms of the Urban Councils
Act, but also misappreciates the fundamental and constitutional democracy of
a participatory decision-making process. Chombo is acting like a feudal
monarch who claims to know what is good for the people and Mudzuri on the
other hand is representing the wishes of the electorate. The question now is
whether the monarch or the electorate will win," said Kagoro.
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Zim Independent - Comment

Succession reports shake Mugabe's citadel

DENIALS were flying thick and fast this week as President Robert Mugabe and
his spokesmen responded to stories about his possible retirement. The
denials are predictably worthless but the truth may be more difficult to

What we do know is that retired Lt-Col Lionel Dyck, whose services in
suppressing insurgency the regime found indispensable in Matabeleland and
Mozambique, approached Morgan Tsvangirai last month purporting to be
carrying a message from Emmerson Mnangagwa and General Vitalis Zvinavashe.
They were keen, the MDC leader said, to ascertain his views on the way
forward in the event of Mugabe stepping down. Despite the president's
apparent wish to go, the two were anxious that this should only happen at a
time deemed appropriate by them and other Zanu PF luminaries.

Tsvangirai made it clear that while he was happy to participate in
transitional arrangements he was not prepared to do any opaque deals that
would see a handful of MDC members join a government of national unity.

This has been the MDC's position since the presidential election. There were
reports before the election that certain generals wanted to obtain
assurances about Mugabe's immunity from prosecution in the event of
Tsvangirai taking over. And South African diplomacy has since last March
been aimed at getting Zanu PF and the MDC to sit around a table together,
although Pretoria has said the Dyck overture is not a product of its current
efforts. The British have also said they are not a part of the initiative as
Tsvangirai at first suggested.

But despite Mugabe's claim in Zambia this week that it would be
"counter-revolutionary" of
him to go when he had just been re-elected, he is rapidly becoming as
redundant as his terminology. It is clear to even the thickest heads in Zanu
PF that their leader has absolutely no clue how to tackle the formidable
problems the country now faces as a result of sustained economic sabotage by
the president himself and his inner circle.

Blaming imaginary enemies for the country's problems during an election
campaign may garner votes but it doesn't put sadza on the table. Statements
about the fuel and food supply situation emanating from Mugabe and his
ministers in recent weeks confirm they have run out of ideas. Promises of an
agricultural bonanza from resettled farmers or vast commodity deals with Far
Eastern countries have proved a chimera.

Without the means to procure food or fuel, Mugabe has become a liability to
those around him. That is the telling evidence that emerges from the Dyck
mission. We can understand Mnangagwa's need to dismiss the growing number of
reports about plans for life without Mugabe. He is dangerously exposed.
While there may be nothing new in the latest batch - Tsavangirai referred to
the Dyck mission in a statement on December 18 - they add to the sense of
vulnerability now swirling around the Mugabe presidency.

Cracks in the wall of the Zvimba fortress are matched only by the cracks in
Mugabe's voice as his emotions got the better of him when he spoke this week
of his eventual burial in Zimbabwe at a ceremony to honour Kenneth Kaunda in
Lusaka. It was not intimations of mortality that moved him so much as the
persistent reports of his impending political demise!

While some of the speculation around arrangements being made for asylum in
Malaysia and elsewhere may be part of the "wishful thinking" Nathan
Shamuyarira referred to, it is at the same time enormously destabilising to
the regime as it enters its endgame.

Whatever claims Mugabe makes about being the legitimate president, the fact
is he secured his return by electoral manipulation and intimidation.
Nobody - inside Zimbabwe or beyond - doubts that. Simply repeating the
mantra that he heads a legitimate government doesn't of itself confer
legitimacy. Nor do the dishonest echoes of those leaders fearing
their own democratic opposition.

Nearly one year on from the poll, Zimbabwe is poorer, more dependent upon
the generosity of donors, and less able to make its way in the world than it
was before. The "prize" of land acquisition, for which all rational policy
was sacrificed, has turned into a desert. Half the population is in danger
of starvation.

The only people capable of rescuing the president from himself have been
forced out of office. He is now surrounded by opportunists and political
vultures feeding on the nation's carcass.

Mugabe today cuts a lonely and rather pathetic figure. Railing against his
enemies at the ceremony to honour Kaunda on Tuesday, he found himself being
told to concentrate on present-day concerns.

"Yesterday it was the fight against colonialism," Kaunda said. "Today it is
HIV/Aids, not white or black."

When even his closest friends and supporters believe it is time for him to
make way for new blood and fresh thinking, he should seriously ponder their
advice. Otherwise every passing week will reveal new schemes to ease him out
by those he trusts most.
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Zim Independent - Eric Bloch Column

Proactivity essential for economic recovery

 GOVERNMENT apparently remains oblivious to the fact that when an economy is
sinking into a quagmire, piecemeal and reactive measures targeted at
selected elements of the economic morass, without concurrently addressing
other contributors to the economic mire, cannot restore the economy to good

The reverse is usually the case, for actions embarked upon in isolation from
other equally necessary actions will invariably prove to be
counter-productive. Any positives which can result from those steps which
are taken are negated by the consequences of not taking others that are
equally or even more necessary. Even the soundest of measures to achieve
transformation of the economy cannot succeed if undermined by the absence of
others that are required.

Yet government pursues reversal of symptoms instead of causes, and even that
only very selectively. This is very evident with the near panic reactions to
the prevailing hyperinflation. Instead of evaluating what are the underlying
reasons fuelling that spiralling rise in the cost of living, government
blandly makes assumptions, and then prescribes draconian measures without
considering whether they will be effective, whether they will have any
negative repercussions, and whether or not they should be accompanied by any
other actions to assure their success or to negate possible adverse

Prime examples of the foolhardiness of this approach within the last two
months are the mishandling of the foreign exchange circumstances that
afflict Zimbabwe, and the associated ineffective attempts to bring inflation
under control. Government continues to ignore calls for currency devaluation
in order to restore viability to exporters, which would bring about greater
exports and resultant greater inflows of the desperately needed foreign

Instead, government has very willingly and readily duped itself that there
would not be a significant scarcity of foreign exchange if it closed down
the parallel market and the bureaux de change, whilst making a token gesture
to exporters of inadequate increase in mal-administered export incentives.
The expected inflows to the Reserve Bank by destroying bureaux de change
have not materialised. Similarly, increasing the mandatory surrender of
export earnings to the Reserve Bank from 40% to 50%, and intensified
regulation of usage of the remaining 50%, have not resulted in greater
availability of foreign currency.

Instead, many enterprises have been brought to the threshold of collapse,
for being denied access to foreign exchange has removed from them the
wherewithal for continued operation. Unemployment has been intensified, and
much downstream economic benefits destroyed. Moreover, many affected
businesses have been driven to funding imports at higher cost than
previously by recourse to a much reduced parallel market, or to reduced
levels of operations, forcing massive price escalations in order to recover
increased unit costs. The intensified regulations have not eased the
availability of foreign exchange. They have done naught but worsen it, and
increased inflation.

A major contributor to the soaring inflation (alongside excessive state
borrowings, massive corruption and declining productivity) has been, and is,
the high cost of foreign exchange necessarily sourced by importers in
unofficial markets due to inability to obtain it within the regulated
system. The ill-considered new regime of intensified governance of foreign
exchange has rendered its inflows much reduced, and has fuelled inflation.
And, with vastly increasing shortages of numerous commodities, the black
market is thriving, reinforced also by goods which producers cannot viably
sell at controlled prices, and hence the inflation rises and rises.

The control of some prices has been in effect for approximately 15 months.
Since then many basic products have been in almost continuous short supply.
The populace has been unable to obtain bread, sugar, soap, beef, poultry and
much else, other than at highly-inflated prices and, therefore, real
inflation (as distinct from the officially computed rate) has surged

Government has become increasingly conscious of the growing disquiet of the
distressed masses. Unable or unwilling to acknowledge the actual causes of
the rampant inflation, let alone to do anything constructive to reverse it,
government resorted yet again to failed policies, announcing a near total
price freeze. Whilst enforceable in the formal economy, it cannot be within
the informal sector, so the consequence of this repeated folly has merely
increased shortages, and caused the black market to raise prices on the
limited quantities available.

Understandably, commerce and industry have been extraordinarily concerned at
its subjugation to near destruction and has urged government to consider the
error of its ways and to divert those ways to more constructive paths.
Government's response, made known in the state-controlled media, was a
freeze of salaries and wages. But that is yet again a negative economic
policy, it not being introduced as an element of a comprehensive programme.

Insofar as employers are concerned, the stabilisation of their labour costs
does not restore viability to their operations, for it occurs after many had
already agreed and implemented salary and wage increases which they cannot
lawfully recover as prices have been frozen. Insofar as the employees are
concerned, the measure is equally disastrous, for the price freeze does not
protect them from cost escalations within the only market in which
necessities are available, being the black market.

For several years there has been talk of a social contract to bring
inflation down to acceptable levels. A social contract has much to commend
it. It successfully restored the German economy to good health after its
collapse in 1922. It was a key element to the New Deal recovery of the US
economy engineered by President Roosevelt in 1932. It brought about economic
normality and growth to Bolivia in 1981. Such a contract is one entered into
between government, commerce and industry, and labour, for a simultaneous
freeze or controlled rise of salaries and wages, prices and government

However, it cannot succeed if it is applied by some of the parties, and not
by others. It must be all embracing. And it cannot succeed if it is not
negotiated and implemented within a conducive economic environment, brought
about by requisite interactive economic policies in respect of all facets of
the economy.

Regrettably, instead of a willingly concluded social contract by all the
required parties, government seeks to impose those conditions, as would be
in such an agreement, upon some of the parties. It strives to prevent
commerce and industry from increasing prices, although the frozen price
levels are, for most commodities, already below break-even levels and
therefore many enterprises must die.

It also strives to preclude labour from receiving any increase in
remuneration, notwithstanding that labour continues to suffer inflation. And
it does not bind itself or its parastatals to freeze their charges. During
the period of price controls, and of subsequent price freeze, Zimpost, Air
Zimbabwe, CAAZ and other parastatals have increased their charges. From
January 1 government has increased some taxes, such as its substantial
increase in the taxable deemed value of employee usage of employer-owned
motor vehicles, and the tax threshold and bands for individuals have not
been adjusted in alignment with inflation, but only to a lesser extent.

Clearly, that which is sauce for the goose (the private sector) is not sauce
for the gander (the public sector). Concurrently, government has taken none
of the other actions necessary to contain inflation. It has not facilitated
a stabilisation of exchange rates at realistic levels, nor has it
meaningfully facilitated exports. It does nothing of substance to curb its
own expenditure.

It is doing nothing to protect Zimbabwe from food shortages caused by a
destroyed agricultural sector, thereby ensuring ongoing rising costs of
food. And it is doing nothing meaningful to contain corruption. If the
economy is to recover, government must implement a dynamic, innovative,
proactive economic programme which addresses all facets of the economy,
instead of piecemeal, reactive measures to those economic elements most
pronouncedly politically sensitive.

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Zim Independent - Muckraker

Incident, fracas, or misunderstanding?

 The Sunday Times last weekend carried a story which claimed there was an
incident on New Year's Eve at the Hotel Mercure in Johannesburg when a
security guard was called to the room of Information minister Jonathan Moyo'
s wife Betty after one of their children reported a fight taking place.

Betty Moyo subsequently called in the police who gave the party a warning,
according to the report. Police quoted a receptionist as saying they should
"rush to Room 806 (one of two the Moyos were hiring) because of the fighting
which might damage hotel property". The Daily News reproduced the story
under the heading "Moyo beats up wife".

Betty Moyo has described the report as "false and malicious". She admits
there was a "misunderstanding" among some of the guests who were partying
with them in Room 806. But it was not true that she sought police protection
or that the "fracas" involved her husband beating her up, as reported in the
Daily News.

"In fact, at no time was my husband in Room 806 during the party or the
entire period of our stay at the hotel," Mrs Moyo said.

The Sunday Times, whose reporters were booked into a room across the
corridor, said they uncovered a trail of debris in the Moyos' suite
including uneaten food and empty beer bottles. Two trolleys were needed to
remove the garbage, we were told.

The Moyos meanwhile had allegedly loaded up a Pajero, a Merc and a bakkie
with goodies to take back to famine-plagued Zimbabwe.

What interested us in the reporting of this episode was the way in which the
Herald spun the episode to make it look as if the minister was the victim of
a plot. Having conceded that the Sunday Times is owned by Cyril Ramaphosa's
Johnnic, the Herald still insisted Moyo was a target of the "apartheid

A "prominent journalist" - but not so prominent that he could be named - was
quoted as saying the stakeout at the Mercure would only have been warranted
if the minister was having an affair, pushing drugs, holding clandestine
meetings or was a fugitive from the law. Only in a subsequent report did the
Herald mention the incident in the hotel room that alerted staff - and
thereby presumably the press - to the presence of a controversial Zimbabwean
minister who appeared to be partying while his country starved.

The suggestion that the Moyos were self-catering in an unprete-ntious
hotel - part of RTG in Zimbabwe - was interesting given the volume of the
goods reportedly shipped back home, as was the allegation that what would be
regarded anywhere else as routine investigative reporting was part of a
British espionage plot aimed at embarrassing the minister.

There is another factor here. Moyo has made disparaging remarks about South
Africa and South Africans. This is a case of "the biter bit". His reference
to the Mandela squatter camps was tactless and undiplomatic. He should not
be surprised when these things come back to haunt him. As for the claim that
the Sunday Times report was "an abuse of journalistic privilege", does Aippa
now have extra-territorial reach?

Despite hotel-room misadventures allegedly involving their boss, Moyo's
office, as one would expect, is replete with pretension and self-importance.
A foreign correspondent calling on Monday asked whether the minister would
have any comment on reports in the foreign press of an exit plan for "Mr

"It's Comrade Mugabe," he was pompously informed.

"Okay, well could I speak to Mr Moyo about it?" he naively enquired.

"Mr Moyo is the Minister of Labour," he was told.

"Oh sorry, could I speak to Professor Moyo."

"No, he's on leave."

Meanwhile, could we please have Betty Moyo's number. She claims she was not
consulted before the hotel story was published. We would like the number so
we can speak to her about how to obtain forex.

The Daily Mirror, following its exposure of a rather imaginative "plot" by
the Americans to destabilise Zimbabwe by altering its weather pattern, is
now claiming that several MDC MPs have worked in London to earn extra cash.
Tafadzwa Musekiwa was reportedly selling curios in the British capital.

A number of other MPs such as Giles Mutsekwa, Fidelis Mashu and Munyaradzi
Gwisai had worked in London last year, Musekiwa admitted when he called the
Mirror from outside the country. He declined to say where he was, but Job
Sikhala said the Zengeza MP was in Malaysia, not London. The Mirror carried
a Sunday Mail-type cartoon of Musekiwa selling curios on the streets of

The revelation that the MPs had "at one time done some work in London" came
as the Zimbabwe Independent disclosed that President Mugabe had spent two
weeks on holiday in Thailand. He was said to be promoting Zimbabwean trade
and tourism. A retinue of hangers-on accompanied him on his Far Eastern

This raises a useful point. Why is it okay for Mugabe to sell curios in
Thailand and not for MDC MPs to do the same in London? The difference is of
course that MDC MPs had to find the funds for their trips abroad while the
country paid for Mugabe's and his parasitic party. And are MDC MPs the only
ones to visit the UK? Do Zanu PF MPs not go there? Don't we recall Kumbirai
Kangai and Olivia Muchena popping over for a visit before restrictions
became a little tighter?

Despite ranting and raving against Tony Blair's government by Zanu PF,
Britain remains the destination of choice for many of its MPs not
blacklisted. A cursory check by the Mirror would have soon established that

Members of the public have called Muckraker to confirm our report last week
of poor service at garages belonging to lobbyists claiming that the oil
distribution sector needs to be transformed - meaning into their hands. A
lady lining up at FSI Highlands said there was a procession of vehicles in a
parallel lane being given privileged treatment at the pumps. When she
complained to management she was told to be careful. They were connected to
"people in high places", they boasted.

Another motorist called to say this was the pattern across the city at
certain petrol stations linked to the "crisis committee" set up by Saviour
Kasukuwere to direct business his way!

The Herald carried a report last Saturday saying "Tanzanian citizens" had
sent Christmas and New Year's greetings to Zimbabweans wishing them success
in the land reform programme. They commended President Mugabe for the "just
economic war he is leading and for being an illuminating son of our Mother

The illuminating son was at the time lying on a beach under the illuminating
sun of Thailand when the message was received 11 days late. The Herald didn'
t say why the Zimbabwe High Commissioner in Dar-es-Salaam, Chipo Zindoga,
who embarrassed speakers at a World Bank meeting in the Tanzanian capital
last year with her excitable and silly interventions, should wait all this
time before sending on the best wishes of Tanzanian citizens. Nor were
we told which Tanzanian citizens sent the message. Was it the whole country
or just a group of them? Or was it just two or three as we suspect?

They referred to "Africans taking charge of the commanding heights of their
economies in order to raise the standards of living of all the indigenous
people". Evidently they had never been to Zimbabwe. The last time Tanzanians
sent us something, it proved inedible!

This story reminds us of the aborigines in Australia who expressed their
unwavering support for President Mugabe ahead of the Commonwealth summit in
Coolum last year. They were never identified and we never heard from them

Columnist Chinondidyachii Mararike appears to have forgotten something. In
his latest diatribe he asks the following questions: "What do you call
leaders who take their country to war without the approval of parliament?
What do you call leaders who act on their own dictates rather than the
express will of the electorate? What do you call governments that send their
troops to far-flung locations for the sake of their leaders' kudos?"

He supplies the answer to his rhetorical question: "Dictators."

Exactly Chino. The Congo, August 1998.

We were interested to learn that the individual who police have apprehended
in connection with the murder of an Australian tourist was not in any way
linked to politics, according to police commissioner Augustine Chihuri.

This contradicts reports appearing in the state media, invariably eager to
expose a plot against the government, suggesting the killing could have been
the work of people keen to tarnish Zimbabwe's image ahead of the World Cup
Cricket matches. Minister of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi even referred to
these reports on ZTV although he was careful not to subscribe to them.

Would the government media not be better advised to hold their over-active
tongues when there is next a murder inquiry? At least they wouldn't look
quite so stupid as they do now!

Jonathan Moyo said last Sunday that "some liberals" were trying to "fool us
again claiming that sport and politics do not mix as if there is anyone who
still does not know that sport is politics".

There is one person apparently. Speaking in Zambia on Tuesday President
Mugabe said there should be no such mixing. "They should not mix sport and
politics," he said.

"For sport, people come from different backgrounds and so you can't bring in

Different hymn sheets?

Finally we will be bringing you a series of movie posters with a difference.
The one below this week has a topical feel. But which one's the Dummy - or
is it Mummy?

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Zim Independent

Sandawana Column - In search of fuel

AFTER much battling in Harare's queues to obtain the increasingly scarce
fuel, Sandawana has decided he might just leave the capital and settle in
one of the country's border towns. He could live with shortages of upfu,
chingwa, etc but fuel? Mmm. The point to consider is whether to move north,
east, west or south. Needless to say, exploratory missions have been held in
all directions.

We start with the most unlikely, south. Apart from Sandawana's natural
dislike for the Seth Efricans, the Beitbridge heat is a big disincentive.

While petrol is not badly priced in comparison with other destinations (R4,
or about 600 Zimkwacha a litre), the hassles one receives from the Seth
Efricans and Gershom's boys (more about this later) makes it even more of an
unlikely choice.

To the west is the more lacklustre town of Plumtree. Sandawana did not go
that far but established from his Bulawayo friends, who regularly go to
Francistown for fuel when the situation gets more desperate, that petrol
there is about P2 (about 400 or so Zimkwacha).

Proceeding clockwise, the next option is north and this offers three
possible stations, Victoria Falls, Kariba and Chirundu. Eeni mini money
more, literally - Zambian petrol costs the equivalent of 1 000 Zimkwacha.

Sandawana forgets how much it costs in the original kwacha but at that
price, one may as well stay in Harare and source it at the same price from
the zvigubhu boys.

Sandawana's exploratory missions lastly took him east to Mutare. This is
where the fuel arrives in Zimbabwe and surely there should be plenty of it?
Wrong. Apparently the big fish of Mutare make regular trips to Chimoio just
across the Mozambican border to import fuel.

Petrol there costs 11 500 meticais or 11,5 mille, what should be about 600
Zimkwacha. But because the Mozambicans have wised up to this, when you do
finally change your Zimkwacha to meticais, the price can be anything up to 1
200 Zimkwacha per litre.

So whit whither wilt? Sandawana invites some advice. But didn't all these
neighbours once upon a time strive to obtain their fuel from Zimbabwe?

They did and that's because fuel was heavily subsidised and still remains
so, if you can get it. Some corridors that Sandawana has walked in are abuzz
with word that government might have finally seen the light and will
accordingly adjust prices in line with reality. What's holding them back of
course is the reality that this will send inflation ablaze.

Pasi naPasi

Hats off to Gershom Pasi for extricating himself from one of those two
gormless buildings along Fourth Street. Sandawana forgets whether he was in
Kaguvi or Mukwati but it doesn't matter because both are so dull and
uninspiring. Perhaps it explains why most of our ministries' policies are
similarly unimaginative.

Unfortunately it seems Pasi was just desperate to get himself and some of
the big tax chefs out of the two columns and into the more exciting CBD. For
the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority is no different from the old Department of
Customs and Excise, if the Beitbridge border post is anything to go by. It
seems this was just one of those regular name and uniform changing exercises
that we have become accustomed to.

It took Sandawana seven hours to be cleared through the Beitbridge post
recently. The Department of Immigration was much more efficient than Zimra,
and they have not publicly claimed to be a newly re-organised,
ultra-efficient entity.

As a fairly literate being, Sandawana proceeded to where returning residents
where supposed to go. A security guard tells you to go and join the queue
outside. An hour later, Sandawana finally reached a Zimra officer who looked
at his declaration forms and told him to go to the same desk from where he
had been turned away. Apparently, this was a queue to tell you which queue
you should stand in. That's the new Zimra efficiency for you.

Another three hours passed and upon finally getting to an officer, a sigh of
relief. After fiddling around with the computer and looking confused, the
officer hands over a printout stating how much duty is to be paid. But
before he can pay a cent, Sandawana is told that the officer only assesses
declared goods for duty purposes and that is all. Payment is to be done at a
different counter. Another queue of course.

You would think there would be more zeal in receiving the payment, which all
has to be in cash by the way. But no, another two hours. Then you've got to
go back to your car or bus, which you have also left in a queue, to wait for
your goods to be inspected. Another hour.

At last the inspector arrives and doesn't even check your goods! Only asks
if you will not leave him money for a drink. So much for Zimra. Pasi naPasi.

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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

Officials duck and dive
Iden Wetherell

LAST Friday the Zimbabwe Independent carried as its lead story news that
President Mugabe was holidaying in Thailand while Zimbabwe was going through
its worst economic crisis ever.

There are shortages of basic foodstuffs, some withdrawn from shop shelves
because producers can't afford to go on selling at a loss under the
government's damaging price-controls regime, others because commercial farms
are no longer able to supply the cities.

Then there are shortages of imported items such as fuel. Even emergency food
aid in rural areas is well below what is needed to prevent widespread
starvation this year.

Generally, the country is experiencing an economic meltdown as the
government's foolish experiments with Kampuchean socialism take their toll
on all sectors of the economy. Over 300 000 jobs in the formal sector could
go this year with a similar number of farm workers finding themselves on the
redundant list.

As Mugabe concluded his tropical retreat, Information minister Jonathan Moyo
penned a piece for the Sunday Mail reflecting what psychologists would
describe as symptomatic of a bad case of denial.

"What country is without an economic crisis today?" Moyo asked. The fuel
queues, company closures, shortages of basic goods, growing unemployment and
skyrocketing prices "are facts which, taken on their own, do not at all
constitute the worst economic crisis ever faced by our country and they are
not symptoms we are experiencing for the first time since Independence", he

Moyo attributed the shortages of maize meal to the 2002 drought. The reasons
for this were known "only to God", he disingenuously suggested. Nobody
blamed Tony Blair for mad cow disease or floods in the UK, he claimed.

In fact the British government was widely blamed for not reacting
sufficiently swiftly to the mad cow crisis. But the difference is of course
that Britain's healthy and well-managed economy was able to take the strain
of tourism cancellations and flood damage. Zimbabwe's economy, battered and
bruised by the depredations of the political elite Moyo represents, was
unable to withstand the 2002 drought and is wholly unprepared for its likely
successor this year.

Zimbabwe withstood the 1992/3 drought reasonably well. While there were food
imports, there were also sufficient reserves and continuity of production to
carry the country through. The national transportation infrastructure was
also in better shape.

As we contemplate the 2003 drought, agricultural production is down 50%
and - unlike 1992 - the country is not earning the forex needed to import
food and fuel. The situation in fact couldn't be more different.

In revealing remarks, Moyo referred to "the emergence of a cadre across the
professions and in politics which seems to believe in the foolishness that
it's okay to destroy one's country in order to save it". He also referred to
civil servants who are in a position to act by using their know-how but "are
folding their arms and watching, if not benefiting from it all. A weak state
is a breeding ground for inefficiency and corruption," he pointed out.

This all looks suspiciously like an admission that things are not going as
swimmingly well as we have been led to believe. Indeed, Moyo's call for
"sacrifice" and his warning that "we must be prepared to experience some
hardships and to even suffer some serious setbacks" is not indicative of a
government confident of its prospects.

As we prepared our report on Mugabe's holiday last week we sought the
comment of the Office of the President. The president's movements, even when
he is on holiday, are a matter of legitimate public interest. After all, he
doesn't stop spending taxpayers' money just because he's on leave.

Moyo had a lot to say last month when the Daily News carried a report
suggesting Mugabe had arrived in Stellenbosch for the ANC's conference. The
newspaper was accused of not verifying its information. But we found last
Thursday that officials in the President's Office were not only unwilling to
cooperate in confirming the information we had - most of it accurate as it
turned out - they were also unwilling to be professional. No sooner had they
got wind of our story than they rushed to plant a statement in the
government press in order to anticipate ours.

This is not the first time an enquiry from this paper, fulfilling a
professional obligation to seek comment from the officials responsible, has
sent alarm bells ringing in Munhumutapa Building as staff scramble to plant
a suitably-spun message in the Herald!

These officials, let us remind ourselves, are paid from public funds to be
professional and helpful in keeping the public informed. That is a duty they
manifestly fail to fulfil while not hesitating to lecture the press on
ethics and obligations. Let's remember that next time one of them opens his

Which reminds me, George Charamba claimed in a statement last Friday that
the president, "in view of the costs of travel" (since when has that ever
been a concern?), had decided while on holiday to pursue "the useful
contacts" he made on his last visit to Bangkok. He was expected to "pass
through Singapore and Malaysia" on his way home, also following up on
business contacts, we were told.

Why have the results of those meetings not been made known if they were of
national - as distinct from private - significance? And what happened to the
stop-offs in Singapore and Malaysia? Did they take place and what were the

Charamba doesn't seem as anxious to tell us the outcome of these talks as he
was to occupy space in the Herald last Friday to assure us that the
president was aware of the costs of travel!
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