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Daily News

      Another Zanu PF stalwart grabs farm

      1/17/2003 10:43:11 AM (GMT +2)

      By Takaitei Bote Farming Editor

      ZANU PF stalwart Chester Nhamo Mhende has allegedly chased away Joe
Whaley, owner of a Norton farm, and is using the equipment on the farm
without having paid for it.

      The government last week admitted that the land reform programme was
chaotic resulting in haphazard allocations. Top Zanu PF and government
officials have helped themselves to prime farms in the process.

      Mhende participated in the Zanu PF primary elections for the 2000
parliamentary election for the Harare North Constituency and lost to Nyasha
Chikwinya, who was subsequently defeated by Trudy Stevenson of the MDC.

      Whaley said in an interview: "My farm is 119 hectares and does not
fall in the government criteria of acquisition. It is my only farm. It has
been my only home since 1980."

      According to the government's maximum size criteria for compulsory
land acquisition, a farm measuring less than 400 ha should not be acquired.
Whaley, who is now living in Harare, alleged that Mhende had paid him
nothing, but he was using his equipment, living in his farmhouse as well as
harvesting his crops.

      Whaley said he was allegedly threatened with death by war veterans
hired by Mhende when he tried to retrieve his movable property on the farm.
      Whaley was issued with an eviction order which expired in October last
      He is challenging the eviction in the courts. Whaley said: "No
inventory was done on my property and I have no offers for compensation. I
left 20ha of tobacco, 30ha of burley and 70 head of cattle,but have received
nothing from Mhende.

      "Mhende claims he has paid me, but that is a complete fabrication. He
has pulled out my flowers worth US$125 000 (Z$6,875 million) and I have lost
production capacity of 900 000 broiler chickens."

      He is claiming $400 million from Mhende for his immovable property
only. Mhende said he had applied for the land and the government offered him
Whaley's Crebilly Farm.

      He said in a telephone interview: "I paid US$100 000 to Whaley for the
roses and the farm implements. I do not understand why he continues to
harass me."

      He said in a Magistrates' Court affidavit where he claimed to have
paid Whaley: "In mid-October I paid US$100 000 to the Governor for
Mashonaland West Province, Mr Peter Chanetsa, in the presence of the
Respondent (Whaley).

      "The amount represented the purchase of the farm, farm implements and
vehicles and payment was made on a walk-in walk-out basis." Chanetsa refused
to comment on the grounds that the issue was now subject to court

      When this reporter insisted on having a comment, Chanetsa said: "The
Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement is the authority which
gives land. The land issue is a sensitive issue. Call my secretary and make
an appointment to see me." When contacted on Tuesday, Chanetsa's secretary
was not in the office.

      Mhende said he has been requesting to meet Whaley to discuss
outstanding issues especially on payment for the tobacco crop and chickens,
but Whaley had refused to talk to him.

      Whaley said he now preferred speaking to Mhende only through his
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Daily News

      MDC Manicaland chairman warns police

      1/17/2003 10:44:57 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Mutare

      TIMOTHY Mubhawu, the MDC's chairman in Manicaland, yesterday warned
the police of unspecified action if they continued to arrest MDC leaders on
what he said were "trumped-up charges".

      Mubhawu said: "I warn the police and the youths from the Border Gezi
training programme to refrain from interfering with our leaders and members,
otherwise the repercussions will be terrible.

      "Their actions will be met with equal strength. "The police and Zanu
PF youths should not underestimate the strength of the people at this point
in time.
      "Methods of actions may take different forms . . . " His warning
follows the arrest last Saturday of Elias Mudzuri, the Executive Mayor of
Harare, and 20 others during a consultative meeting with residents of
Mabvuku suburb.
      Justice Benjamin Paradza of the High Court ordered the immediate
release of those arrested, saying the police had abused their powers.

      Four days later, Job Sikhala, the MP (MDC) for St Mary's, was arrested
by the police in Chitungwiza on allegations of being part of a gang that set
on fire a Zimbabwe United Passenger Company bus in the Willowvale industrial
sites, together with other MDC members.

      Earlier, the police arrested yet another MP from the opposition party,
Paul Madzore (Glen View), for allegedly assaulting two policemen in his

      Madzore was taken to court where he was remanded out of custody to 14
February on $20 000 bail.

      Throughout Manicaland, over 1 000 MDC members, including Roy Bennet,
the MP for Chimanimani, and other senior officials in the province, have
been arrested and charged with various alleged politically motivated crimes
since the bloody campaigns for the June 2000 parliamentary election.

      Most of those arrested were released without being charged, while
others who appeared before the courts were acquitted for lack of sufficient
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Daily News

      Cases of politicised food aid growing, says MDC

      1/17/2003 10:36:53 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Masvingo

      The MDC says cases of suspected opposition members being denied food
aid and agricultural inputs are on the increase, as hunger and starvation
take their toll on Zimbabwe.

      Despite claims by the government that food aid was being distributed
to all the starving people irrespective of their political affiliation,
thousands of villagers in the Chief Shumba and Murinye areas of Masvingo
said they were being denied food because they supported the opposition.

      Silas Mangono, the MDC Member of Parliament for Masvingo Central,
yesterday said cases of people being denied food aid on political grounds
were on the increase.

      Said Mangono: "I have received reports from people in Murinye and
Muchakata areas complaining that they are not benefiting from relief aid
sourced by both the government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

      "It is true that food aid is being politicised and the situation seems
to be getting out of hand. "It is a sad situation as some families are going
for days without food. We are surprised because what we know is that the
government should not discriminate against people on political grounds."

      Mangono said he would soon meet representatives of NGOs and Zanu PF
officials in Masvingo over the issue.

      He said well-known politicians were allegedly taking advantage of
their positions to acquire maize grain from the Grain Marketing Board for
resale at high prices to starving people.

      Nicholas Muchetu, a spokesperson for the villagers said thousands of
suspected MDC supporters could starve to death if Zanu PF activists
continued to deny them food aid.

      Muchetu said: "If you go and register for food you are asked which
party you belong to.

      "In most cases they demand a Zanu PF card. We have been denied food
aid and agricultural inputs. We have also been excluded from the public
works programme and we are surviving on wild fruits and edible insects."
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Daily News

      Water woes to dog Harare for next four years: Mudzuri

      1/17/2003 10:42:26 AM (GMT +2)

      Municipal Reporter

      HARARE'S water supply problems are expected to continue for the next
four years, Elias Mudzuri, the Executive Mayor, has warned.

      Mudzuri, addressing journalists at the mayoral mansion's guest house
on Tuesday, said the water problems would continue because demand now
out-stripped supply.

      In fact, he said, it was determined in 1997 that the demand for water
would outstrip supply by 2002.

      Mudzuri said there was need for the government to facilitate the
speedy construction of an alternative water source.

      The mayor said the proposed Kunzwi Dam in Chikwaka to augment the
capital's water supplies, had been on the cards since 1998 when the
government took over the project.

      Mudzuri said: "Without a new water source there will be no water in

      "But even if a dam is to be constructed by the end of this year, the
city will still experience supply problems for the next four years. "There
is also need to construct a water treatment plant and wait for the dam to
fill up with water."

      The government, he said, took over the Kunzwi Dam project and floated
      Mudzuri said Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing, told him the Government Tender Board had
rejected bids for the dam's construction.

      The ministry has not yet responded to questions faxed last week on
what was delaying construction of the dam.

      Mudzuri said while the quality of tap water in the city was still
good, this could change if the Harare City Council did not acquire enough
water purification chemicals by the end of this month.

      Samples of Harare's water were being regularly tested at the city, the
government and the Standards Association of Zimbabwe's laboratories.
      He said: "But the issue of water treatment chemicals is an issue of
foreign currency shortages, not of me abusing council funds, because I do
not get hold of the money. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe pays money directly
to the suppliers."

      The mayor said there was also need to upgrade equipment at the city's
water treatment plant to ensure the efficient use of water supplies. This
also required foreign currency, he said.

      Mudzuri said: "I cannot tell whether or not the Reserve Bank has
sufficient foreign currency reserves.

      "But I think priority must be given to water and then food. No matter
how much maize you import, without water you cannot cook it."
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Daily News - The Mole

      This is a harass-and-embarrass campaign

      1/17/2003 9:41:43 AM (GMT +2)

      In its insidious, thoroughly unpatriotic and selfish agenda of wanting
to destroy the MDC by any means and at any cost, the government appears to
have totally taken leave of its senses, and is doing things so shamefully
diabolical even Satan would be ashamed to do them in the dead of night.

      Its obsession with the attainment of that single, apparently
all-important goal has rendered the government oblivious to public opinion
and absolutely devoid of shame.

      In its determination to completely obliterate the MDC from the face of
Zimbabwe, both in Parliament and outside the House, the government has, on
behalf of Zanu PF of course, embarked on what The Mole can only describe as
a relentless harass-and-embarrass campaign.

      I have absolutely nothing against Zanu PF as a political party, but I
have everything against its anti-people and anti-democracy culture of
violence which is unashamedly employed for the sole purpose of denying
people their freedom and right to put in power leaders of their choice.

      Here are some of the things the government has done, in just one week,
which even the most apolitical observer will see for what it is: a sustained
campaign to harass and embarrass prominent MDC figures with the forlorn hope
that they might abandon the opposition party. These are actions clearly
illustrate the government's appalling abuse of power that even the most
repressive regimes elsewhere in the world would be ashamed of.

      * Last Friday but one, Nkayi MP Abednico Bhebhe (MDC), together with
another MDC activist, Ferdinand Dropper, was arrested for something as
mundane and innocent as putting up, in Bulawayo, posters that read: "Hoot,
enough is enough". Of course, the arrest would have been fully justified if
his posters had read something like: "Take up arms! Enough is enough!"

      Bhebhe and Dropper were only freed the following Monday after senior
prosecutor Mary Zimba-Dube refused to place them on remand as the two
obviously had no case to answer. And, unless, of course, they were
imbeciles, even the police officers who arrested them knew perfectly well
they had not committed any crime. But they, no doubt, had a political brief
and had to see to it the two spent the entire weekend in the cooler.

      * Then, last Saturday, the Executive Mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri,
who has a duty and an obligation to go around Harare to meet and listen to
whatever the city's residents have to tell him, was arrested together with
20 of his aides for carrying out exactly that duty.

      And the stupid excuse given for the arrest: The mayor had addressed
the residents without seeking permission from the police in terms of the
obnoxious Public Order and Security Act! Good heavens! And, as if that was
not bad enough, in spite of a court order to that effect, the police
arrogantly refused to release Mudzuri and his colleagues until Monday. They
were obviously on a mission to humiliate him.

      Where on earth have you ever heard of mayors needing police clearance
to meet their residents? On Mars, perhaps, but certainly not on this planet.
And just who do the police think they are, anyway? Some kind of demi-gods,
perhaps? Their wings will certainly have to be ruthlessly clipped as soon as
possible after sanity is restored in this now God-forsaken land.

      * The following day, Sunday, the MP for Glen View, Paul Madzore (MDC)
whose arrest, like that of his fellow party MP, Job Sikhala, seems to give
the police a special thrill judging by the frequency with which they have
arrested him was arrested, allegedly for beating up "two policemen" in his
constituency. Anyone who believes this kind of cock-and-bull story will
believe anything!

      But if it is true that two cops, who are supposed to be fit, tough and
strong, were beaten up by an MP who, unlike President Mugabe, has no known
reputation for being a fitness fanatic, then those two chaps have no
business at all being in the police force and should be discharged
forthwith. They are clearly an embarrassment to the Zimbabwe Republic Police
(ZRP). But then, of course, an excuse, no matter how implausible, simply had
to be found for arresting and tormenting a prominent MDC member.

      Following his arrest, Madzore was taken to Glen View Police Station
before being moved to Hatfield Police Station that same day and then to
Harare Central on Monday where he was being kept until he was granted bail
by magistrate Caroline-Ann Chigumira on Wednesday.

      * Then came the icing on the cake, if you will excuse my making light
such a serious matter of mostly innocent citizens being systematically
arrested, harassed and arbitrarily deprived of their liberty, albeit
temporarily, for no other reason than that they belong to the opposition MDC

      On Wednesday, the MP for St Mary's, Job Sikhala, whom the police seem
to take a special delight in arresting, was arrested. The day before, it had
been reported in the Press that the intrepid and highly resourceful MP, who
is also much loved by his constituents, had gone into hiding following a
raid on his home by 12 armed policemen in riot gear.

      And, as has come to be expected each time the police arrest MDC
members in their overzealous desire to be seen to be enthusiastically
executing the government's harass-embarrasshumiliate MDC leaders campaign,
the grounds for Sikhala's latest arrest are not only flimsy, but are also so
ridiculously far-fetched no self-respecting policeman would have dared move
to apprehend him.

      But then, of course, self-respect is one quality the automatons in the
ZRP never seem to give the slightest regard to when they are out on a
mission to please Zanu PF. They would rather gladly make braying asses of
themselves in the course of doing their duty to the party, to use an
Orwellian expression. Because, being of limited brain power, they sincerely
believe Big Brother is always watching them! So they had to accuse Sikhala
of something to justify arresting him: the burning of the Zupco bus.

      How anyone, let alone trained police officers, could connect Sikhala
to the burning of the Zupco bus in Willowvale when, at the time of its
torching, he was 30 kilometres away in St Mary's, scratching his hair thin
trying to figure out how he might secure the release of his arrested father
and relatives, defies all logic. He would need to be ubiquitous, a power
which no known human being apart from Christ after He had risen from the
dead has ever been known to possess.

      What this whole campaign is saying loud and clear is that Zimbabwe has
become a police state. The Mole would like to challenge the President to
demonstrate that he still has a conscience by ordering an end to this silly
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Daily News - Leader Page

      For how long can we stomach Zanu PF tyranny?

      1/17/2003 10:10:21 AM (GMT +2)

      By Marko Phiri

      The guiding principles in African politics have never been known to
include respect for people's sensibilities, though there are some isolated
examples that seek to dispel that notion. As Zimbabweans rack their brains
in search of relief for the misery forced on them by the ruling party, a
stern test has been presented on how the people will deal with the arrogance
epitomised by Zanu PF.

      While everybody else here and elsewhere is in agreement that the
country would do better with a new political dispensation, the ruling party
has not yet shown any signs of fatigue as far as insulting people's common
sense and intelligence is concerned. But the question that is most pressing
right now is this: how far will the people of this country take the punches
lying down?

      After all, the very fact that Zimbabweans have never before, as least
post-1980, shown any signs that they will not take any nonsense from any
government, it has meant that the ruling party goes about its dictatorial
proclivities knowing that no one will stand up to its bullying. Are
Zimbabweans then a bunch of stoics or mere suckers for punishment that they
will complain privately only in the streets, but not effectively make known
to government their sentiments? What is it that is needed as proof that
things have gone to far thus the need to act?

      That the ruling party knows it is no longer the people's favourite is
a fact well known in its corridors, but what it has yet to occur is for them
to feel the heat, then they will know the people here have had it. Pity
parents right now who have to explain to their children why they cannot have
bread for their breakfast.

      Now, schools have just opened for the new year and new term, so how do
parents explain to their grade one child that they cannot carry a lunch box
to school much like their other siblings a few years ago? Would the
unknowing child not imagine the parents are playing a game of favourites,
after having seen their brothers and sisters getting packed lunch but not
them? So much for the innocence of the children not aware of the genesis of
these woes they have inherited.

      But for the elders, the parents, it would not be a big surprise
knowing that some of them close their bedroom doors and shed a few tears
wondering what they will give to the little ones. And for the first time
ever in the history of this country, we have been told by some
non-governmental organisations that feeding schemes traditionally associated
with the impoverished rural areas have been taken to urban centres where
young children have also fainted from hunger.

      Then amid all this, we also get reports about a government minister
going on a binge just across our borders while his government is busy
telling anybody who will listen that his government is busy feeding the
nation. So why does he not get himself fed in his own country like everybody
else here? But then he had the misfortune of being exposed, or caught in the
act, for it is obvious for many here that this is the life led by all in the
ruling party with political clout that makes them above the law such that
they are not to be told to behave themselves by mere security guards.

      The question crops up again: for how long are parents with no idea
with what or how they will feed their children take such insults from the
ruling party? And at a time when everybody else would be happy to see the
man who stole the Presidency take a well-deserved rest, we get assurances
that he will be here for a long time to come, after all we voted for him!

      An interesting development about African politics is that new
governments are somewhat ever willing to look the other side when founding
fathers make their exit, usually through the ballot. Many will recall how
Kenneth Kaunda was called all sorts of names for presiding over the ruin of
the Zambian economy, but he lost an election to Frederick Chiluba when he
was convinced he was still relevant to Zambian political space. The very
idea that he, unlike Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, did not cede power voluntarily
could well have placed him somewhere between Kamuzu Banda and any other
despot one can think of who wanted to rule till the Second Coming. But was
he not honoured recently by the Zambian government for his contribution in
the country's fight for self-rule? Is he not today referred as a revered
African statesman?

      Last year, Malawian president Bakili Muluzi was busy giving kudos to
the late Hastings Kamuzu Banda as one who every Malawian owed their freedom
today. Never mind the tyranny that underlined his rule. Hypocrisy? Perhaps,
but the idea here is that our dear leader still has it within himself to go
down in the annals of the history of this country as a fellow who admitted
he had committed many wrongs and gave the baton to somebody else.

      Thus, one has to imagine the respect Robert Mugabe would be accorded
considering the applause Kaunda gets wherever he shows his face, or does he
want somebody else, much like Muluzi, to be accused of being economic with
the truth when they speak about him many years after his crossover to the
other life? Perhaps Mugabe is aware that he cannot undo the damage he has
already done, not only to the nation as some would argue for many would like
to believe we can indeed rise from the Zanu PF ashes but to his very person,
thus, the obstinacy to continue. It is now some perverse ego trip, but at a
very costly expense to the people of this nation. Yet, as the woes here
continue to gallop, this government persists in that very bad reverie that
it is the best thing that ever happened to the people of Zimbabwe.

      With the attitude of people like the Information Minister, it is great
wonder really how the people here have not braved in their millions the
tear-gas and the batons of the riot police and marched to State House for
regime change as has been seen in other countries. For us, it is small
consolation that the politics that have an option of bullets over the
capital after the ballot has failed have been confined to the 1970s. But
with developments here in the past three years, one gets to understand the
psychology of Africa's rebel groups, what motivates them, what
justifications they have for fighting those brutal wars.

      The worst that will bring this government down is the gnawing hunger,
which somewhat fortunately, knows no political hue as some staunch
supporters of the ruling party have painfully found out. These men have
already authored their own fate. After all, they tempted it a long time ago.
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Daily News

      Dual monetary policy fails to stir money market

      1/17/2003 10:56:44 AM (GMT +2)

      By Colleen Gwari Business Reporter

      THE much-talked-about dual monetary policy adopted late last year by
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has failed to woo investors back onto the money
market despite high expectations.

      A survey by The Daily News showed that interest rates on the money
market were starting to rise gradually.

      However, most investors were shunning the money market, pointing out
that interest rates were far below the inflation levels.

      Investors have, therefore, remained hooked on the properties market
and the stock exchange whose returns are much higher in view of the
galloping inflation now officially pegged at 175 percent.

      The majority of banks and building societies had with effect from this
month revised lending rates by an average of 1 percent.Kingdom Bank Limited
now charges 39,6 percent interest, up from 38,6 percent last year, while the
Central African Building Society (CABS)'s mortgage loan interest rates now
vary between 25 and 45 percent.

      Economic analysts said as long as inflation continued to rise,
investors would shun the money market. The stock exchange, which soon after
the announcement of the 2003 National Budget went on a downward trend, was
on the rise, surpassing the 100 000 point.

      Stockbrokers and dealers on the local bourse said share prices of most
companies were not reflective of the performance of the same. Sentiments
were awash that most counters were overvalued, a move likely to mislead
potential investors.

      While Herbert Murerwa, the Finance and Economic Development Minister,
forecast the decline of inflation to 96 percent, the projection was
dismissed as the shortage of basic commodities and foreign currency remained
      The dual monetary policy was aimed at keeping interest rates on
productive and export borrowing low, ranging between 5 and 15 percent, while
consumption borrowing attracted market-determined rates.

      The government justified the policy change saying it was aimed at
boosting production and revive the export sector.

      However, the shortage of foreign currency has adversely affected
manufacturing companies as they are failing to import spare parts and
critical raw materials.
      Owing to the uncertainties associated with the money market and stock
exchange, the properties market has remained the safest destination for
investors seeking better returns.

      One economic commentator said: "Obviously, those seeking a hedge
against inflation would stick to the properties market. After all, it
remains the safest investment destination."

      However, the properties market started the year on a low note as
buyers adopted a wait-and-see attitude. Most Zimbabweans abroad are
reportedly finding it increasingly difficult to send foreign currency back
home due to the stringent exchange control regulations and closure of
bureaux de change.

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Daily News - Leader Page

      Why State should stop meddling in parastatals

      1/17/2003 10:09:24 AM (GMT +2)

      The belated decision by the Secretary for Transport and
Communications, Christian Katsande, to order the State-run Air Zimbabwe to
reinstate the 140 engineers, though commendable, is not the panacea to the
parastatal's age-old woes.

      The engineers were on strike for four months, after being suspended
for demanding hefty salary increases.

      The decision this week to reinstate them came after the engineers had
appealed to Parliament to intervene .

      The engineers, whose salaries ranged from $61 000 to $97 000 a month,
were demanding at least $200 000 a month, which management said the airline
could not afford.

      Management at Air Zimbabwe failed to appreciate the vital role that
engineers play in aircraft maintenance. After all, an engineer is not just
another skilled worker. He is a specialised worker whose work is critical in
any airline. It takes years to train an engineer. It is imperative that
their work be sufficiently rewarded and their welfare well taken care of.

      The suspension and subsequent dismissal of so many of them at one go
was a rash, imprudent management decision. It was understandable when the
Zimbabwe Aircraft Maintenance Engineers' Association threw their weight
behind the engineers and blamed the chaos on Air Zimbabwe's poor management

      The strike was just one of the many problems that have dogged Air
Zimbabwe since 1980.

      Apart from having a high turnover of senior executives, including the
government-appointed chief executive officer, the airline's operations have
been plagued by interference from the government.

      Many a time President Mugabe has taken an aircraft on his many foreign
trips, at times leaving paying passengers stranded or greatly
inconvenienced. Despite increasing its air fares by more than 530 percent
during the last 10 months, the airline has failed to make a profit.

      The strike nearly paralysed the operations of Air Zimbabwe, forcing
management to hire 31 engineers from South Africa at a very high cost of
US$55 (Z$3 025) an hour.

      In addition, the airline paid for the engineers' expensive
accommodation at a Harare hotel. By mid-December, Air Zimbabwe had spent $14
million on this accommodation and another $9,1 million on their labour.

      This raised the question: If Air Zimbabwe could spend so much on
foreign engineers, why couldn't it put its house in order and pay the
striking engineers reasonable salaries ?

      And to make things worse, the hired South African engineers failed to
deliver, leaving the Air Zimbabwe management poorer and with egg all over
their face.

      During the four-month strike, the national airline's operations were
adversely affected as some of the aircraft did not receive the prerequisite
technical attention before and after every flight.

      This situation put at risk the lives of the many passengers. Yet
nobody seemed to care.

      In November, scores of passengers were stranded in London, when a
Harare-bound Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767 aircraft developed a serious mechanical
fault. A month later another Air Zimbabwe aircraft, a Boeing 737, was
grounded and delayed in Mauritius after it had developed a technical fault.

      Other key parastatals that have failed to perform because of
mismanagement or government interference include Ziscosteel in Kwekwe, the
steel giant which, until a few years ago, was the biggest employer in
industry. Today, it has been reduced to a mismanaged co-operative at best,
and at worst, a Boy Scout jamboree.

      The other such parastatal is the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe,
which has paralysed not only industry and commerce, but even the civil
service itself. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority and the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company are
other parastatals which have failed to offer an efficient service because of
government bungling.

      Clearly, the government has to lay its hands off critical parastatals
such as the national airline because it has failed to put in place efficient
management systems to enable the parastatals to operate profitably.

      It is time the privatisation programme embraced these sick,
money-guzzling parastatals.
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Yahoo News

Zimbabwe MP accuses police of torture
By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - A Zimbabwean opposition politician says he was tortured
by police after his arrest this week in possession of what state media
called "subversive documents", a newspaper has reported.

A police spokesman declined to comment on the torture allegations made in a
Harare court on Thursday by Job Sikhala, a member of parliament for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Sikhala was arrested on Wednesday after he was allegedly found with
documents linked to the burning earlier this week of a bus owned by a
state-owned transport company.

Police have accused the MDC of planning to cause civil unrest ahead of World
Cup Cricket matches scheduled to be played in Zimbabwe next month in order
to force a change of venue.

The MDC, which poses the strongest challenge to President Robert Mugabe's
rule since he led the country to independence from Britain in 1980, has
dismissed the charge.

The privately-owned Daily News said Sikhala told Harare's Magistrate Court
that while in police custody he was clubbed under his feet and tortured on
his genitals by electric wires.

He said he was also forced to sign a document saying the MDC was planning an
uprising against the government.

"I cried and asked why God had forsaken me," said Sikhala, who was released
on bail on Thursday. Sikhala and his lawyer were not immediately available
for comment on Friday.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said on Tuesday the England team would
play its February 13 match against Zimbabwe, rejecting government pressure
to boycott the match in protest at Mugabe's policies and Zimbabwe's human
rights record.

The MDC sharply criticised the decision.

"It's a shame that there are people that believe Zimbabwe is a safe country
in which to play World Cup cricket," the MDC said in a statement condemning
Sikhala's incarceration.

"The World Cup authorities must know that they bear the responsibility for
the current terrorisation of Zimbabweans by the Mugabe regime in a
last-ditch effort to silence its critics before the start of the World Cup,"
it said.


Sikhala told the court that he passed out because the torture was so severe.
"When I regained consciousness one of the officers urinated on me and I also
urinated," he recalled.

"Then I was ordered to roll on the urine until it dried up".

Police Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena told Reuters: "We are not
commenting on the matter because it's still in the court and the court has
not said anything on these allegations."

The MDC says Sikhala's arrest, which the state Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation said was in connection with his possession of subversive
documents, is part of an ongoing government crackdown on its opponents.

Mugabe defeated MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in March elections condemned as
fraudulent by several Western nations.

Mugabe dismisses the MDC as a puppet of the West, led by Britain, which he
accuses of seeking to oust him for seizing white-owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks.
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Mail and Guardian

Zimbabwe's new farmers not getting their hands dirty


      17 January 2003 12:24

Less than half the land the Zimbabwe government has seized from white
farmers to redistribute to landless blacks has been taken up by its new
owners in at least one prime farming region, reports said on Friday.

"Vast tracks of land acquired by government for the fast-track resettlement
programme and allocated to new farmers under the commercial farming model
... in Mashonaland West (province) are lying idle," the privately-owned
Daily Mirror newspaper said.

Beneficiaries of the land reform programme were given until August last year
to take up their land, but a commercial farming scheme in the province had a
low uptake rate of between 35% and 50% of allocated land.

But all the land allocated to small-scale communal farmers under the
programme has been taken up, the paper said. The government has threatened
to repossess all unoccupied land allocated to black farmers under the
commercial farm resettlement scheme.

The government-run Herald newspaper cited Lands Minister Joseph Made as
saying the state will repossess all land not taken up and use it for food

Two-thirds of Zimbabwe's population is currently threatened by famine. The
main reason given for prospective farmers failing to take up their land was
that most of it was undeveloped and required lots of work.

"Some were expecting to be given plots on good soils, others didn't want to
clear the land and expected already cleared ones," Mashonaland West
Provincial Governor Peter Chanetsa said in a report to a parliamentary
committee probing the land uptake throughout the country.

Zimbabwe embarked on a controversial and sometimes violent land reform
programme in early 2000. The exercise saw white landowners being
dispossessed of their land to make way for landless blacks. To date, the
government claims to have re-settled 374 000 small-scale black farmers on
14-million hectares of formerly white-owned land. Aid agencies say land
reform is partly responsible for the hunger threatening close to eight
million Zimbabweans, along with a drought that has hit five other southern
African countries. - Sapa-AFP
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Artist flees Zimbabwe terror for life of peace
by Nigel Freedman

An artist who fled torture and killings in her native Zimbabwe has started a
new life in Sussex.

Phati Siphatisiwe's friends were murdered by followers of president Robert

They and her family belong to the Matabele tribe which has been persecuted
for its opposition to his despotic regime.

The Zanu PF party was also behind the killings of white farmers as so-called
war veterans loyal to Mr Mugabe drove them from their land during last
year's elections.

Phati, 31, feared her paintings, which reflect the troubles in Zimbabwe,
would lead to her being persecuted.

She decided to make a new life for her family but was forced to leave her
children behind with her mother in Bulawayo while she established herself

Phati set up home in the Poets Corner area of Hove after the troubles in
Zimbabwe began five years ago.

Her children Gavin, 12, and Victoria, ten, followed a year later and are now
happily settled into local schools and are part of the growing community of
Zimbabwean refugees.

Phati, a nursing assistant at a hospital in the city, said: "I have lost
friends who were murdered by Zanu PF. Even here I have to be careful what I

"I would describe myself as an artist for peace in Zimbabwe and there is a
message in my paintings about that.

"If I had remained there I feel that I would have been persecuted as my work
became better known."

Phati believes the England cricket team is wrong to play against Zimbabwe in
the world cup next month.

She also thinks Mr Mugabe's offer to step down as president in exchange for
immunity from prosecution for his crimes will make little difference.

She said: "I hope if he goes it will be the start of a change for the better
in Zimbabwe but I don't think it will be.

"The regime there is so corrupt that it would need all his followers to go
as well before there was any real difference.

"If he does go, I think it will only be to pay lip service to world opinion.

"If the England cricket team refused to play in the world cup it would send
a message to the whole world.

"The fact that they will refuse to shake his hand in public will make no
difference at all as their presence in Zimbabwe will be seen as approval by
Mugabe and his supporters."

Phati said that many of the white farmers whose ranches were seized were
born in Zimbabwe and the land had been theirs for generations.

She said many black Zimbabwean farmers had also had their land taken.

She splits her time between her family, her job and her painting. Her work
is exhibited at the QEH Theatre in Bristol.

One striking painting consists entirely of black, white, yellow and red palm
prints which Phati created as a statement that all races and creeds can
exist in harmony.

A paint and acrylic canvas of a group sitting in quiet contemplation
symbolises her belief in hope and unity.

Phati is trying to find a gallery in Brighton and Hove where she can show
her work when the exhibition in Bristol ends next month.
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The Australian

Church split over links to Mugabe
By Jan Raath, The Times, and agencies
January 18, 2003
SENIOR members of one of Zimbabwe's biggest Catholic dioceses delivered a
scathing attack against the church hierarchy yesterday for appeasing
President Robert Mugabe, and demanded it confront his "evil regime".

The move came as a judge stripped two MPs from the ruling Zanu-PF party of
their seats, ruling their victories in 2000 had been won through
"intimidation and violence", and as the country's army chief acknowledged
there was a need to tackle the country's deepening economic crisis.

The country's High Court nullified results for Zanu-PF's Eleck Mkandla and
Jaison Machaya as members of parliament for Gokwe North and Gokwe South,
respectively, saying violence prevented a free and fair poll.

Six Zanu-PF victories have been nullified out of 41 being challenged by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

General Vitalis Zvinavashe, Zimbabwe's influential army chief, denied any
involvement in the alleged exit plan for Mr Mugabe but acknowledged: "First
we must admit there is a crisis. Everyone can see that . . . so we must do
something about it," he said in a rare interview published in the privately
owned Business Tribune newspaper.

"In my view it is not right to keep quiet and let nature take its course."

Meanwhile the 260 priests, deacons, sisters and brothers of the archdiocese
of Bulawayo said: "There is no place for neutrality in the face of the evil
which is destroying our nation. Time has run out for compromise with an evil
regime. Attempts to use personal influence and persuasion have only allowed
a corrupt system to consolidate its power."

The western Matabeleland provinces have probably suffered far more brutality
at Mr Mugabe's hands than any other part of the country.

Dissent among the Ndebele-speaking people could provoke an even greater
threat of schism in the country.

The clergy demanded the Catholic Bishops Conference, the church's executive
body, "come out publicly with a clear and honest voice, on behalf of the
voiceless, as their predecessors did during the liberation struggle (against
the former white minority Rhodesian government)".

This is the first time the general clergy of Zimbabwe's most powerful church
has spoken out against the silence of their bishops over the past three
years of repression and lawlessness under Mr Mugabe.

Mr Mugabe has successfully courted the leadership of most churches in
Zimbabwe and counts the heads of both the Catholic and Anglican churches as
personal allies. The exception has been Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo,
who has condemned Mr Mugabe and helped focus international attention on
Zanu-PF's strategy of denying food aid to starving opposition supporters. He
is kept under permanent state surveillance.

Meanwhile, Nqobile Nyathi, the editor of the independent Financial Gazette,
said yesterday she had been detained by police for allegedly publishing
false information about Mr Mugabe.
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Speculation Continues Over Future of Zimbabwe's ZANU PF
Peta Thornycroft
17 Jan 2003, 16:35 UTC

Speculation about the future of Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party increased
Friday, with publication in a local newspaper of an interview with the head
of the security forces, who acknowledged Zimbabwe is in an economic crisis.

General Vitalis Zvinavashe is quoted in a local, usually pro-government,
weekly newspaper as saying Zimbabwe's crisis needs urgent attention. He says
a task force needs to be established directly under the president's control,
as a first step toward bringing some resolution to the deepening crisis. He
says the task force should be free of any interference from members of the

Political analysts say the general, head of Zimbabwe's armed forces, is a
key member of the political elite and has influence with President Robert

His statement comes during a wave of leaks from ruling party sources
indicating there is of a growing feeling that the country will sink even
further, unless Mr. Mugabe makes way, either for a successor, or for a
transitional authority leading to new presidential elections.

Reports early this week of a plan by senior ruling party members to remove
Mr. Mugabe have been denied. But the reports have unleashed a wave of
comments from ruling party officials indicating that they might actually be
interested in such a plan.

Meanwhile, repression of the government's opponents is alleged to be

Opposition Member of Parliament Job Sikhala wept in court Thursday when he
told how he had been tortured while in police custody earlier in the week.
Mr. Sikhala said he was subjected to electric shock torture, with wires
attached to his feet and genitalia. He said guards also clubbed his feet,
urinated on him and forced him to sign a false confession. He was accused of
involvement in torching a new public bus last week. The police declined to
comment on his allegations of mistreatment.

Another member of parliament and several opposition activists were also
arrested during the past week.

In addition, about a dozen top tobacco farmers received eviction notices
this week. The government's land reform program has already evicted most
white commercial farmers from their land, destroying, at least for this
year, Zimbabwe's once flourishing commercial agriculture industry.
Commercially grown tobacco was Zimbawe's top foreign currency earner. This
year's crop has not yet been processed.

The land reform has reduced overall crop size by two-thirds, and now experts
say all of that is not likely to be harvested.
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World Cup Fever Grips Nation

The Daily News (Harare)

January 17, 2003
Posted to the web January 17, 2003

Ntungamili Nkomo in Bulawayo

THE Cricket World Cup fever has gripped Zimbabwe.

Tickets for the controversy-ridden match between Zimbabwe and Australia at
Queens Sports Club were sold out by midday in Bulawayo yesterday.

The same situation was witnessed in Harare on Wednesday when tickets for
Zimbabwe's fixtures against England and India were snapped up within hours
of hitting the market.

Zimbabwe co-hosts the games with Kenya and South Africa.

Holland, Pakistan and Australia are scheduled to play in Bulawayo while
England, Namibia and India will be based in the capital. Many cricket fans
in the City of Kings yesterday said they went to the tickets venue as early
as 5am in anticipation of long queues.

Sure enough, there were many people waiting to purchase the $1 000 tickets,
with the favourite game being the Zimbabwe versus world champions Australia.
Australia and England had been threatening not to fulfil the fixture,
claiming that Zimbabwe was not a safe destination.

Robert Whilley, who was in charge, said only 100 tickets for the Pakistan
game had remained by the end of the day while 1 000 tickets for Holland were
still available.

Whilley said the total number of tickets for the Bulawayo games were 7 200.
Each game was allocated 2 400 tickets.

He said the Australian tickets sold out faster because Australia was "big
team and no one would want to miss the encounter.

"Australians are the champions, and that I think is the reason why the
tickets sold out so early."

Australia will be the first to play Zimbabwe in Bulawayo on 24 February,
followed by Holland four days later and then Pakistan on 4 March. Meanwhile,
some cricket enthusiasts said they were interested in the Australia match
because of its controversy.

Traditionally, cricket is not a favourite sport for many Zimbabweans most of
whom prefer soccer.

Edward Williams, 34, said he wanted to watch all the three games but was
most interested in the Aussies clash.

Williams said: "Bearing in mind that there is a huff between Australia and
Zimbabwe, I find it interesting to watch the game and see the attitude
between the players."

Asked what was his position on Australia's earlier plans to boycott their
match in Zimbabwe, Williams said he did not encourage the boycott threat
though it was a "genuine" call.

He said: "Common sense has it that the rule of law has become a scarce
component in the country and no one can be chided for not coming to
Zimbabwe." Mandlenkosi Sibindi, who claimed he was up as early as 4.30am to
make his way into the city, said he was not a cricket fan but the Australian
game had generated interest in him.

Another fan, Duduzile Dube, said: "I'm buying tickets for all the games
because I'm a patriot who prides in seeing Zimbabwe play."
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Firms Tell International Debtors to Hold Payments

Financial Gazette (Harare)

January 16, 2003
Posted to the web January 17, 2003

Staff Reporter

SOME Zimbabwean exporters have instructed international clients to
temporarily cease settling their accounts in anticipation of a devaluation
of the Zimbabwe dollar, worsening the country's already desperate foreign
currency situation.

Statistics from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe show that the country's hard
cash squeeze has become so severe that forex inflows for the week ending
January 7 2003 amounted to a mere US$1.6 million, against outflows of US$1.8

This was compared to inflows of US$1.7 million in the week ending December
31 2002 and outflows of US$1.3 million.

Executives in the export sector said there had been no improvement in
foreign exchange inflows in the past few weeks because some exporters had
resolved to instruct their clients not to settle accounts.

They said the exporters were anticipating that the government would adjust
the exchange rate for 50 percent of the foreign earnings they are required
to surrender to the central bank.

Exporters have to remit 50 percent of their proceedings to the Reserve Bank
for electricity and fuel imports by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (ZESA) and the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM).

The remaining half also has to be lodged with the central bank for use by
companies within 60 days.

Industrialists have submitted proposals to the government calling for a
devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar that would result in exporters being paid
for the 50 percent held on their behalf by the central bank at a rate of
$800 against the United States greenback, compared to the $55 to US$1 they
receive now.

"Some companies are actually instructing their international debtors not to
settle their accounts in anticipation of a devaluation," an industry
executive told the Financial Gazette.

"They are saying don't pay us, hold on to the money. They are afraid to lose
out when the dollar is devalued because there is strong speculation on

Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa ruled out devaluation of the local currency
at the weekend, saying Zimbabwe had to concentrate on generating enough
forex to meet its needs.

Analysts said if the government did not allow the Zimbabwe dollar to
depreciate, the Finance Ministry might introduce some incentives to protect
exporters, whose viability is threatened by tough exchange control measures
introduced in November.

Before the central bank introduced measures requiring exporters to surrender
100 percent of their earnings, companies had to remit 40 percent of proceeds
and could exchange the remainder at the more lucrative parallel market.

An analyst with Kingdom Stockbrokers said: "Whilst we are not anticipating
an official back down by the authorities, we do expect that a blind eye will
be turned in order to allow exporters to realise real exchange rate related
returns on the 50 percent proceeds not related to NOCZIM and ZESA."

A Harare-based economist added: "We would not be surprised if a significant
incentive is introduced to exporters in the form of yet another specific
exchange rate."

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Small Retailers Quietly Close Shop, More Head for Disaster

Financial Gazette (Harare)

January 16, 2003
Posted to the web January 17, 2003

Macdonald Dzirutwe Business News Editor

WITH the severe viability problems affecting manufacturers taking centre
stage in Zimbabwe in the last few months, small retailers are quietly
closing shop because of persistent commodity shortages and a harsh operating
environment that could also bring large retail chains to the verge of
collapse in 2003.

Retailers this week said several small outlets had folded last year because
they were unable to cope with the shortage of basic commodities, price
controls and an unstable economic climate.

It was not possible to ascertain from the Retailers' Association of Zimbabwe
how many companies had shut down in 2002, but executives in the retail
sector said most of the closures were of smaller outlets that did not belong
to retail chains or were located outside major towns and cities.

They said retail outlets had been hard hit by the problems affecting the
agriculture and manufacturing sectors, where production output has fallen
significantly in the past year.

Drought and controversial government agrarian reforms combined to slash food
production by over 60 percent last year, resulting in food shortages that
have left at least eight million Zimbabweans in need of emergency food aid.

The food shortages have also taken a severe toll on retail outlets, from
whose shelves basic commodities have slowly disappeared in the past few

Price controls introduced in October 2001 to protect consumers from high
prices have led to serious viability problems in the manufacturing sector,
forcing manufacturers to cut back on production, worsening shortages.

Analysts said retailers relied on the manufacturing sector for their
survival and the viability crisis faced by manufacturers could have
disastrous consequences for the retail sector.

"Retailers do not incur any production costs like manufacturers but in light
of the shortages of basic commodities, it is going to be very difficult for
them to survive this time," Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries chief
executive Farai Zizhou told the Financial Gazette.

Analysts said with shortages caused by declining output in agriculture and
manufacturing expected to worsen this year, large independent retailers and
retail chains, which had been able to implement survival strategies last
year, would now begin to feel the pinch.

TM Supermarkets deputy managing director Dave Mills said: "Price controls
affect most food products in our business and as a consequence of this,
together with substantially reduced agriculture output, we are increasingly
finding it difficult to source merchandise."

Retail sector executives said groups like OK Zimbabwe, TM Supermarket, SPAR,
Food Chain Group and Town and Country had last year managed to minimise the
impact of commodity shortages by purchasing stocks well in advance.

But they pointed out that as shortages worsened this year, retail chains
would be unable to rely on stocking large quantities of goods because the
products would not be available from manufacturers.

They said even if there were supplies of basic commodities on the market,
some retailers did not have sufficient warehouse space to store enough goods
to prevent stock outs in the course of the year.

Retailers with large stocks have also been accused of hoarding basic
commodities and subjected to police raids, which commentators said might
also discourage them from keeping stocks.

Retail executives said their ability to plan for all eventualities had also
contributed to their companies surviving 2002 with minimum damage. But with
manufacturers now unable to guarantee supplies of certain products, they
said planning ahead was almost impossible.

"The shortages are affecting the chain stores and there are no longer any
long term plans because the supply chain is under threat," said SPAR Eastern
Regions retail operations director Fred Appel.

"How do you survive when you cannot get supplies?"

He said some manufacturers had already notified retailers that they would
not be able to continue supplying them because they were ceasing operations,
which would further dent retailers' profit margins.

Retail sector executives said a significant number of closures in the
manufacturing sector and further declines in profits would force more
retailers to scale back their operations or shut down completely.

"This will unfortunately see workers being laid off, but we do not want to
come to that," Appel told the Financial Gazette.

But analysts said with consumer spending also expected to decline this year,
retailers might have no choice but to take painful measures to ensure their
continued survival.

Several workers are expected to lose their jobs this year while wages will
lag behind escalating inflation, forcing consumers to limit their spending
to the bare essentials they need to survive.

Analysts said the absence of basic commodities would also discourage
cash-rich consumers still able to afford products that have become luxuries
for some Zimbabweans from visiting retail outlets.

First Mutual Life fund manager Nyasha Chasakara said: "The behaviour of the
consumers is that they buy on impulse. Consumers are drawn to retail shops
by the basic stuff that they sell. For example, if one buys bread, they then
need to buy margarine or jam to complement the bread and so on.

"The problems they (retailers) face are proven by their interim results,
which failed to match inflation. These guys are headed for tougher times
even by their own admission."

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Zim's Madonna, Gwanzura Fears for Her Life

Financial Gazette (Harare)

January 16, 2003
Posted to the web January 17, 2003


THERE are few clues to the former glory of Portia Gwanzura.

She struggles to make ends meet in a gloomy Coronation Street-style terrace
on the outskirts of Wigan, far from the mansion with servants she occupied
as head of a musical empire in Zimbabwe.

Instead of cruising in her fleet of chauffeur-driven Mercedes befitting
Zimbabwe's foremost female singer, she sits on an old stained sofa and
cannot do much except watch the rain outside.

This outspoken woman, dubbed the "Madonna of Zimbabwe" for being the most
powerful businesswoman in her country's music industry, has abandoned her
life's work to seek political asylum in Britain.

She inspired awe in imitators, alarm in rivals, and named her band Hohodza
(or "woodpecker") because she relishes the challenge of cracking the hardest
opposition. What could make a woman like Portia Gwanzura so afraid?

"Before I say anything, I just want you to know that if you hear I've died
in an accident, it wasn't an accident, it was the Zimbabwean government,"
she says. "People who speak out in Zimbabwe get silenced, one way or
another. The ones who leave are the only ones with a chance to tell the

Gwanzura never meant to get her music mixed up in politics. She was born 35
years ago in a rural mud hut, and would amuse her friends with songs as they
walked several miles to school across the plains.

As soon as she could, she moved to the capital, Harare, where she realised
she would never make it in the male-dominated music industry without some
serious financial clout.

So began years of setting up businesses, from beauty salons to car
dealerships, also fitting in two children, before she had the money to set
up Hohodza. She hand-picked the 12 band members by auditioning young
school-leavers, believing them to be easier to train to her vision of a
blend of traditional folk songs and modern pop.

"My aim was to be one of the best groups in the world, but I knew I was
starting something very new and difficult," she says. "If you are a female
musician in Zimbabwe you are seen as a kind of loose woman. I just had to
stop caring about that."

These were the golden years for her and Zimbabwe, and her band, which draws
strongly on national pride, went from strength to strength. They had 10 hit
albums in as many years.

Hohodza picked and mixed different musical traditions from across Zimbabwe,
using the mbira - a thumb piano - and xylophone as well as drums and
guitars. They toured Europe twice, building up a respectable following, and
their latest album, Zvinoda Kushinga (Strength is Needed), was edited in

"We were free," says Gwanzura. "Zimbabwe was one of the most visited
countries in the world, we had lots of food, lots of hope."

It is a sign, she says, of how confident people were then that when the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) - President Mugabe's opposition - asked
her to play at their launch in September 1999, she agreed.

"I didn't think twice. We were asked because we were one of the biggest
bands, and I felt Mugabe was making a lot of mistakes. I didn't think there
would be a problem."

As a household figure she wasn't surprised to be approached by two men in
suits after a gig the night before the MDC concert. "They said, 'Portia, are
you playing for the MDC?' I said, 'Yes, I'm looking forward to it'." She
smiles at her own naivety.

She says that they then showed her their passes from the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO), the feared government security agency, and
warned that her life would be in danger if she went ahead.

"The band was shocked. We sat down to talk about what to do, and we could
only think about stories we had heard of people being made to disappear by
the government. We thought we could be next."

They stayed away from the launch, but it was the last time that she wanted
to be cowed by Mugabe's regime. Guilty about letting the MDC down and
disturbed by her unpleasant brush with the government, Gwanzura was
converted to the opposition overnight.

Hohodza did everything they could to support the MDC, wearing T-shirts on
stage, flashing MDC membership cards as they sang, and ending concerts with
open-handed waves - the symbol of the MDC - and chanting "chinga" or

As if Gwanzura could not be in more trouble, she married a white Zimbabwean
mechanic called Sean, just as Mugabe stepped up his campaign to blame whites
for the country's growing problems.

After the government's failure to win a referendum in February 2000,
Gwanzura began to believe that the MDC could win in the elections in June
that year.

She wrote a highly provocative song, Zvinhu Zvaoma, which has an
irrepressible, danceable beat but means "things are tough". The lyrics are
an angry indictment of the Zanu (PF) regime: "People cannot afford to buy
food, they are walking miles to find work, children are fainting in schools,
when is it going to end?"

The song was quickly removed from the playlist at the government-run
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and a DJ who played the song was sacked.
"People wanted to hear it, but if they played it at home it had to be done
quietly, because you wouldn't know if your neighbours were ZANU PF and would
get you beaten up," she said. "The only safe place to put the song on was in
your car, with the windows rolled up."

Even before the government won the election, Gwanzura felt isolated and
doomed. Thomas Mapfumo, the country's best-known and most politically
engaged musician, is now in virtual exile in the United States.

While pro-government musicians such as Tambaoga thrived with songs likening
Tony Blair to an outdoor toilet, ZANU PF supporters were demanding to be
paid off in beer to avoid violence at Gwanzura's concerts.

"Sometimes it was a relief to turn up at the venue and find ZANU PF guys had
cleared everyone away. It meant no one would be hurt," she says.

But soon the beer didn't work any more. Last year, one of her singers was
ambushed after a concert and given a fatal beating. Gwanzura is convinced
that the killing was political.

At a concert last March thugs grabbed the microphone before she went on
stage and shouted, "Down with Portia, don't let the white puppet live!" The
crowd erupted into violence and Gwanzura fled, chased by cars full of ZANU
PF supporters.

"Enough is enough, I thought I'd die," she says. She sold her businesses so
she could fly to Britain with her husband, leaving her two children in
Harare with her father as the couple sought asylum. Weeks later her
11-year-old daughter was killed in a road accident.

"I will never forgive myself," Gwanzura says. "I left Zimbabwe to save
myself and she got killed. I am responsible."

She is not allowed to work in Britain while she waits for news on her
application from the Home Office, and does not have the heart to sing
anyway. She sits at home grieving for all she has lost.

Very quietly, her husband plays her music in an upstairs room. Right now, it
is the only hopeful thing about Gwanzura.
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Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Johnny Rodriques
13th January 2002
I've just had confirmation that 3 black rhino have been shot and de-horned in Sinamatella Camp at Hwange Game Reserve. I will forward photos as soon as I receive them.
I'm really worried because I also heard that the 40 black rhino on Gourlays Ranch, which are now at the mercy of the war vets because the owner of the ranch, Richard Pascall was evicted from there in April 2002, are going to be moved to Hwange where it is presumed they will be protected from poachers ! It seems that they will be taken out of the frying pan and thrown into the fire !
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Rainbow Alliance Emerges in Zanu PF

Financial Gazette (Harare)

January 16, 2003
Posted to the web January 17, 2003

Sydney Masamvu

IT SEEMS a little bug affectionately dubbed the "Kenya syndrome" has made
its way to Zimbabwe, where the ruling ZANU PF, in true Kenya style, has
split itself into two camps humorously referred to as the "Uhuru Kenyatta
faction" and the "Rainbow Alliance".

This pertains of course to the ZANU PF succession issue, which has raised
its head yet again, with the local and international media reporting at the
weekend that South Africa and Britain are cobbling up an exit plan for
President Robert Mugabe.

The plan is said to involve a ZANU PF-Movement for Democratic Change
government that would rule the country for a two-year transition period to
be followed by legislative and presidential elections.

Some media reports even suggest that South Africa and Britain are
negotiating with Malaysia for a retirement home for Mugabe and that the
United Kingdom has pledged 500 million pounds for Zimbabwe's economic
recovery if the plan is successfully implemented.

The ruling party of course denies everything.

However, at the weekend I enjoyed an hour's conversation with two veteran
ZANU PF politburo members that left me with the impression that there is no
smoke without fire.

Contrary to what most ZANU PF mafikizolos seem to believe, I enjoy good
relations with seasoned ruling party politicians who see the Zimbabwean
reality for what it is, even though they seem to have no idea what to do
about it.

Or to put it differently, they know what needs to be done but do not have
the guts to publicly participate in the national debate.

Anyway, the two gentlemen I met at the weekend were willing to discuss
nearly every contentious issue relating to Zimbabwean politics, including
patriotism, the liberation struggle, land invasions, opposition parties and
Zimbabwe's presidential elections.

They also talked freely about the issue of attacking the person of the
president, so-called falsehoods in the independent Press, food shortages,
fuel and last but not least, the elections in Kenya.

I also deliberately introduced the issue of Mugabe's succession, which is
topical, especially in ZANU PF structures.

Our discussion gave me some insight into the goings-on in the corridors of

Contrary to what Zimbabweans are made to believe, there are deep-seated
divisions within ZANU PF about how to handle the succession issue.

For starters, I was told that Parliament Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, widely
believed to be Mugabe's favoured choice for successor, has been christened
"Uhuru Kenyatta" in ZANU PF circles.

ZANU PF politicians are convinced the groundwork is being laid for
Mnangagwa's takeover, just as preparations were made for the takeover by
Uhuru Kenyatta of the leadership of Kenya's ruling KANU party and the
country's presidency.

Just as the Rainbow Alliance emerged to oppose Kenyatta's leadership in
Kenya before the presidential elections last year, so an alliance of ZANU PF
stalwarts is said to be working to block Mnangagwa's elevation.

This group of ruling party politicians is said to favour a transparent
election and not the appointment of a successor.

The alliance includes politicians from Masvingo, Mashonaland East,
Matabeleland and Manicaland provinces and some who are said to be "in the
political wilderness".

This group is calling itself the "ZANU PF Rainbow Alliance" and is eagerly
waiting to thwart the imposition of Mugabe's successor.

During my conversation with the two politburo members, an interesting
scenario was painted for me.

The two politicians pointed out that Mnangagwa, for all his political clout,
had in the past three years not won any contested position within ZANU PF.
They said he had been appointed by Mugabe to the highest positions he had
assumed in the party and the government.

The question they posed to me was: will he be able to win a national
election for ZANU PF?

The two members of the so-called ZANU PF Rainbow Alliance further suggested
that Zimbabwe had not seen the last of former Finance Minister Simba Makoni,
who they said might feature in the succession race in future.

The ZANU PF Rainbow Alliance apparently believes that with Makoni at its
head, the group will cream any opposition party in a fair poll.

ZANU PF has always enjoyed strong support in the rural areas and the
alliance believes Makoni's perceived popularity with middle and upper class
urban professionals would make the ruling party unbeatable.

In addition, the alliance believes Makoni would win over more liberal MDC

If the worst comes to the worst, retired army general Solomon Mujuru is
being suggested as a possible rival to an imposed successor. Mujuru is
widely respected in ZANU PF and is viewed as being decisive and principled.

How ever the succession issue will eventually play out is anyone's guess,
but watch this space for more developments!
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From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 17 January

Mugabe's bungling leaves only prayers for Zimbabweans

At the Catholic mission where Robert Mugabe once prayed, the congregation is
gaunt and weary through lack of food. At Mass a torpor hangs over the
worshippers created by more than just the summer heat. It is born of the
relentless hunger that has dragged on for months, gnawing the vigour from
singers' voices and priests' prayers. Even the usually uplifting African
beat from the church's drummers seems a little muffled and the pious
exhortations of Father Thomas Makuleke Tshabalala weakened. "I don't know
how they carry on out there at Empandeni," Pius Ncube, Archbishop of
Bulawayo, said from his city centre office 60 miles away. "They have run out
of money for rice, potatoes are unthinkably expensive and the supply of
mealie meal has disappeared completely." Shaking his head as if
contemplating a miracle, the archbishop kept repeating the words: "I don't
know how they are surviving."

The food crisis now stalking Zimbabwe is not typical of Africa. There are no
dramatic television pictures of stick-legged mothers carrying infants with
bloated stomachs or scenes of drought-stricken vastnesses. Instead the
country looks pretty normal. Poor rains have made it a little parched in
places but few of the reservoirs are empty and the scrubby bush remains as
green and leafy as ever. But, while Zimbabweans are not dying of starvation
by the legion, they are suffering from food shortages that are almost
entirely man-made, created by President Mugabe's bungling of a once-vibrant
agricultural economy, and his limiting of food supplies to his political
supporters. Empandeni, a long and dusty journey west of Bulawayo, is where
Mr Mugabe once studied and then taught. It is next to a reservoir filled
with water from the source that first drew Jesuit missionaries to the area
more than 100 years ago. The congregation of St Francis Xavier church all
have a story to tell of sapping hunger. "It's not just that we do not have
any food in our homes or in our fields," Loveness Mangete, a teenager
attending Mass, said. "But even if we have money we cannot buy any food
because the shops do not have anything, so what can we do? Perhaps the only
thing is to pray." Another worshipper added: "Things are bad round here now,
there is suffering man, plenty of suffering," A trickle of food is getting
through, largely provided by donor nations and aid groups but supporters of
Mr Mugabe's ruling party, Zanu PF, are quick to claim credit whenever it is

Mr Mugabe was baptised a Catholic and taught and studied at Empandeni
mission school at the end of the Second World War but there is little
evidence of his showing any warmth towards his alma mater. A Catholic human
rights groups has blamed Mr Mugabe for thousands of political killings
during his 23-year rule of Zimbabwe. In the eyes of Archbishop Ncube, the
Zimbabwean president has long since lost any right to call himself Catholic.
"Love your neighbour as yourself is one of the fundamental tenets but I do
not see Mr Mugabe practising that principle as he inflicts suffering on an
entire nation," the archbishop said. "He claims to be a Catholic but what he
has done to this country shows his Catholicity is meaningless, quite bogus."
Aid groups are trying to ship in food aid to places such as Empandeni but
its remoteness does not make it easy and so-called war veterans, the bully
boys responsible for Mr Mugabe's political dirty work, have been active in
the area dumping villagers on to former white-owned commercial farms and
ordering them on pain of death to stay to enjoy the "fruits of Mr Mugabe's
land-reform process." The doors of the primary and secondary schools at
Empandeni were due to be opened this week to more than 800 pupils but the
teachers do not know how many children will be able to attend this year,
with their families facing such acute shortages of food and money. Founded
by the Jesuits in 1887 and nurtured by British colonialists, Empandeni
mission is in danger of being done away with by Mr Mugabe's mismanagement.
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