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

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From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 31 December

'We'll die soon . . . we're too tired to queue for bread'

Harare - From the wide city street running close to the pitch where England
is due to meet Zimbabwe for a World Cup cricket match in six weeks, the only
sound yesterday was the swish of water flicking on to the well-tended field.
The fuel crisis has stopped the traffic along the avenue south of the pitch
at the Dutch-gabled Harare Sports Club and just round the corner from
President Robert Mugabe's state mansion. Mr Mugabe, the patron of the
Zimbabwe Cricket Union, sees nothing of the fuel shortage. Naturally, he
does not queue for food and nor will the international cricketers due to
play in Harare and the second city, Bulawayo. To the thin men and women
walking to and from work or between queues, cricket means little. "I don't
know cricket," said a man who had just come off a 12-hour shift with a
Harare security company. "I just want to go to a place far from here where
there is cheaper food. My wife waited for six hours for bread yesterday. She
had the baby with her and she got one loaf."

Zimbabwe is in the grip of its worst food and economic crisis, caused by Mr
Mugabe's chaotic and often violent seizures of 90 per cent of white-owned
farms, which for decades produced most of the agricultural output and
exports. A man who survives on the occasional job as a packer at a city
centre warehouse said his mother was feeding beer to his younger siblings.
Sorghum-based chibuku, known as "scud" on the streets, sells for less than
22p a litre and is the cheapest source of protein. "My mother boils it to
get rid of the alcohol and feeds it to the kids with white cabbage," he
said. The two major supermarket chains have stopped stocking beef as
government price controls forced them to sell at below cost. A retail
executive said: "We had six packs of meat left on Christmas Eve at one
store. Inspectors came in and charged us - then asked if they could buy the
meat at the price we were selling it at. It's crazy."

Yesterday more price controls were imposed on pork, toothpaste, rice and
baby food among many other products. "We will die soon," said a young woman
queueing for bread. "We are too tired to queue. I have to walk a long way to
get here early." She can afford to buy bread only at the controlled price of
4p and that means being in the queue by 6.30am. Next month, for the first
time in Zimbabwe's history, the World Food Programme will start feeding
children under six in Harare in addition to nearly three million in rural
areas. Life grows harder by the day for the people of Zimbabwe. Even those
with money cannot find what they want. It will be different, of course, for
the World Cup cricketers in their five-star accommodation. Steaks will be
served with chilled drinks and South African wine. From their
air-conditioned bus along the route to the luxurious sports club, they will
see no fuel queues.

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Zimbabwe daily paper back on sale
Tuesday, December 31, 2002 Posted: 12:56 PM EST (1756 GMT)

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper is back on
sale for the first time in 10 days after firing its award-winning editor
during a strike.

The Daily News returned to the streets on Tuesday as government officials
pressed ahead with a licensing scheme for journalists under stringent new
media laws that critics say aim to muzzle opponents of President Robert

Production at the Daily News was halted before Christmas when staff went on
strike demanding a pay rise of 150 percent.

But the paper reappeared a day after its parent company said it had fired
editor-in-chief Geoffrey Nyarota, an award-winning editor who has been
charged several times under the new laws.

Nyarota, feted around the world for his tireless criticism of Mugabe's
government and awarded the World Press Freedom prize by the United Nations
cultural arm UNESCO, insisted he had quite voluntarily over the management's
failure to resolve the strike.

Nyarota is among a dozen local and foreign journalists charged under the new
legislation, signed into law days after Mugabe won re-election in March in
polls dismissed as fraudulent by his opposition and some Western

The legislation requires every media organisation and journalist to register
with a government commission by a Tuesday deadline in order to be allowed to
continue operating.

Tafataona Mahoso, the commission's chairman, told Reuters registration was

"Some of the cards are now ready for collection, although we know most
people are on holiday, and we are also still handling some applications
which were incomplete," Mahoso said.

The government says the act aims to introduce "ethical behaviour" in the
private media, which Mugabe accuses of driving a Western propaganda campaign
against him over his seizure of white-owned farmers for landless blacks.

Under the act, which bars foreigners from working as correspondents in
Zimbabwe, Mugabe's government has already refused to renew the work permit
of an American and a Frenchman working for French news agency Agence

Independent journalists have challenged the law on constitutional grounds,
but the Supreme Court is yet to rule.
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Comment from The Daily Telegraph (UK), 31 December

Politics has no place in sport - so boycott the World Cup

By David Coltart

The decision of the International Cricket Council (ICC) on December 19 to
allow Zimbabwe to host World Cup matches has aroused fierce debate in
Britain. A similar debate has raged within Zimbabwe for several months, and
has threatened to split the cricketing fraternity. As a passionate supporter
of Zimbabwean cricket, I have agonised over what stance I should take.

There are some compelling arguments why the matches should go ahead. The
situation in Zimbabwe is not analogous to that which prevailed during
apartheid in South Africa in certain important respects. Unlike in South
Africa, where boycotts of sporting events hurt the people supporting the
apartheid regime, namely white spectators and players, the vast majority of
Zimbabwean players and supporters detest the Zanu PF regime just as much, if
not more, than Britons. Robert Mugabe and his cronies do not care much for
the game. Aside from losing the political capital they could have made out
of the matches, they would not be hurt by a boycott. Paradoxically, holding
the matches in Zimbabwe opens up a tiny piece of democratic space for those
fighting tyranny. The mere prospect of the matches and the eventual presence
of several hundred reporters, albeit cricket reporters, in Zimbabwe for a
very short time, has restrained the human rights excesses of the regime. If
no matches take place, there will be no further reason for the regime to
behave better. Against this is the fact that the Zanu PF regime itself is
desperate for the World Cup to be held in Zimbabwe because it is a wonderful
opportunity to present to the world a facade of normality without having
troublesome journalists in the country too long to scratch beneath the
surface. If the situation in Zimbabwe were improving - or at least
stabilising - this would not be too bad. Tragically, however, the situation
is worsening, and Zimbabwe is in the throes of a catastrophe largely the
fault of the regime.

The ICC faced this dilemma in making its decision. The Zimbabwe Cricket
Union (ZCU) pressed to be allowed to host the World Cup for entirely
sporting reasons. Both the ICC and the ZCU made the mistake of believing
that sport could be separated from politics and, in making that mistake,
played into Mr Mugabe's hands. They must have known that their decision
would be unpalatable to the governments and sporting publics of Australia,
England and Holland. Having made that decision, there is now a real danger
that only these "white" cricket-playing nations (although that is a
misnomer, as virtually the entire Namibian team is white) will be forced to
boycott. If that happens, it will be a godsend to Mr Mugabe, who will
proclaim it as further proof that his is a just battle against racists who
are concerned only about the plight of white farmers. The struggle in
Zimbabwe is not about race, but about tyranny, which is why it would be
wrong for Australia, England and Holland to act alone. A white boycott would
offer Mugabe a double victory: he would be relieved of prying British
journalists, and would still be able to present an appearance of normality
to the hundreds of millions of Commonwealth cricket lovers who will watch
the Indian and Pakistani matches just weeks before the Commonwealth Heads of
Government meeting in March.

The only way out of this mess is for the ICC to revisit its original
decision and consider the following. First, while it is entirely correct to
keep sport out of politics, this works both ways. In other words, the ICC
should seek an assurance that the regime will not be allowed to make any
direct political capital out of hosting the matches. It should demand, for
example, that Mr Mugabe does not open the matches and is not introduced to
any of the players. Tony Blair did not open the last World Cup, so such an
undertaking should not be too onerous. If this assurance cannot be given, it
must be clear that the matches are going to be used for political purposes
and, in accordance with the ICC's commitment to an apolitical World Cup, the
matches should be moved to South Africa.

Second, the ICC has said that it based its decision entirely on whether the
safety of players could be guaranteed. What it has not apparently considered
is whether it can guarantee the safety of the thousands of cricket
supporters of all the nations playing in Zimbabwe. Just days before the ICC
made its decision, Mugabe said: "The more they [European governments] work
against us, the more negative we will become to their kith and kin here." In
the same week, a white Canadian woman was charged in Victoria Falls for
refusing to pay a bill using Mugabe's rate of foreign exchange. In view of
these racist hate speeches and policies directed randomly against whites in
Zimbabwe, how can the ICC - or the ZCU - possibly guarantee the safety of
thousands of the "Barmy Army" from attacks by war veterans and the youth
militia? Unless the regime gives an undertaking that such racist hate speech
will end immediately and that steps will be taken to protect spectators, I
do not see how their safety can be guaranteed.

Third, if the ICC is committed to politics being kept out of sport, why did
it agree to political conditions being imposed on the press corps? Only
registered sporting journalists will be allowed into the country, and only
to visit Harare and Bulawayo. There are cricketers (all of whom have views
on cricket and other matters) living throughout Zimbabwe who would treasure
the opportunity to speak to the press. Surely by colluding in such an act of
censorship the ICC has itself acted in a political manner. Unless the regime
can give an undertaking that there will be unfettered access to the entire
country by all bona fide journalists for the duration of the World Cup, the
ICC should not be party to a political gagging of the media. If no such
undertakings are given, it is not too late to move Zimbabwe's matches to
South Africa. While such a move would prevent many cricket lovers, including
me, from watching matches that we have longed for, there is no doubt that
this decision would be in the interests of both cricket and democracy.
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Times of India

      Botham slams govt over Zimbabwe boycott issue

      AFP[ WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 01, 2003 02:00:52 AM ]

      LONDON: English cricket legend Ian Botham has whacked the British
government for six, accusing it of "hanging England's players out to dry" by
prevaricating on whether World Cup matches should be played in Zimbabwe.

      While urging England cricket chiefs not to go ahead with a match
against Zimbabwe scheduled for February 13 in Harare, Prime Minister Tony
Blair has refused to order the England team to pull out of their match.

      The government has also ruled out compensating English cricket for any
financial penalties incurred as a result of a boycott.

      "The situation in Zimbabwe is an area where the government should pull
their fingers out and make a stand instead of hanging England's cricketers
out to dry," Botham told the Daily Mirror, echoing the sentiments of England
captain Nasser Hussain.

      "I don't think it should be left to the players to make decisions when
the consequences go far beyond the boundaries of sport."

      The government has argued that playing matches in Zimbabwe would be
tantamount to endorsing the regime of President Robert Mugabe, who stands
accused of myriad human rights abuses and rigging the presidential election
earlier this year.

      Botham added: "We are well aware of what is going on in Zimbabwe - the
country is being systematically raped and pillaged - and it's wrong to turn
a blind eye to a humanitarian crisis.

      "It's no good burying our heads in the sand and hoping it will all go
away, because it won't.

      "But you can't decide whether we play in Zimbabwe on a show of hands
among 15 England players in the dressing room.

      "The government needs to get off the fence, spell out its position to
the England and Wales Cricket Board, and hopefully common sense will

      "Why on earth they have waited so long to bat an eyelid when Zimbabwe
has been crumbling in front of their eyes is beyond me.

      "There are 40,000 British passport holders out there who have been
ignored for too long already. The way they have been disowned is shameful."
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           No money for Zimbabwe pullout, says Britain
            December 31, 2002, 16:30

            Britain all but ruled out today compensating its cricket
authorities if they instruct the England team not to play a World Cup match
in Zimbabwe early next year. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will
meet ministers next week, hoping for a lead on whether to boycott the match
and has said it will press for recompense if it meets the government's wish
that it should not be played in Zimbabwe.

            It says the costs could run into millions of pounds. However,
Mike O'Brien, the Foreign Office minister, poured cold water on that demand
while continuing to shirk a decision on the game.

            "It would be very odd for British taxpayers to be asked to foot
the bill for a decision taken by an independent sporting organisation," he
told BBC Radio.

            "I would need an awful lot of convincing."

            The British and Australian governments do not want their teams
to play in Zimbabwe because of the deteriorating political and economic
situation. However, both have said they have no power to order the teams to
stay away. The World Cup tournament in which 14 nations are taking part is
based in South Africa from February 9 to March 23. Six of the 54 games are
scheduled to be played in Zimbabwe.

            President Robert Mugabe has received wide spread criticism for
his controversial land reform programme and for pushing his country close to

            "This is a decision that can only be taken by the cricketing
authorities," O'Brien said, before reiterating the government position that
Nasser Hussain's team should not go.

            "We will not issue orders to the cricketing authorities."

            'Soft target'
            Tim Lamb, the ECB chief executive, speaking to reporters in
Australia where England are on tour, said the team would not disobey a
government order not to play in Zimbabwe. Lamb, however, said that if
England did play the match against Zimbabwe in Harare on February 13 and
Mugabe was present he would not rule out Hussain shaking hands with the
president, who is patron of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, before the match.

            "I would like to discuss it with Nasser because I won't be the
person there who would be expected to shake the hand of the president of
Zimbabwe," Lamb was quoted as saying by the London Evening Standard.

            Lamb added that he believed cricket was being used as a "soft
target" for a larger political issue. Any financial losses the ECB faced
from breaking contracts should be met by the government, Lamb said. "We want
to make sure that we will be fully indemnified for going along with the
government's wishes," he said.

            Malcolm Gray, the International Cricket Council President, said
England could face a one million pound ($1,6 million) bill if they did not
play the fixture on February 13. Those costs could mount if the ECB tells
its team not to play and the Zimbabwean authorities pull their side out of a
planned tour of England next year in response.

            O'Brien said, in his personal opinion, he would be "reluctant"
to see the Zimbabwe team on British shores. Steve Waugh and Hussain, the
Australian and English team captains respectively, have called for
politicians, rather than players or administrators, to make the final

            John Howard, the Australian Prime, said he is trying to rally
international support for a boycott of all six World Cup cricket matches in
Zimbabwe. India, Pakistan, Namibia and the Netherlands are also scheduled to
play World Cup matches in Zimbabwe. - Reuters
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HOOT ! Enough is Enough

Dear All,

Thank you for the feedback regarding fuel queues. Herewith some comments.

Please print out a few sheets of "HOOT ! Enough is Enough" and distribute
them to people in the queues. Most of us sleepwalk in order to cope with
current conditions. Hooting is guaranteed to wake up the sleepwalkers and
ensure those serving us do so with haste and courtesy. (being in a positive
frame of mind)

The idea is that you HOOT the slogan on the half hour, daylight hours only!!

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH played on your hooter goes BEEP-BEEP BEEP BEEP-BEEP. Common
join in unless of course you enjoy being a silent sufferer!!!!


Debbie - Bulawayo
I am particularly sensitive today as I have just returned home after my
third day in the petrol queue. I hope that the tanker will arrive at seven
in the morning, and that I will be home by lunch time. My house is now
almost covered in dirty washing waiting for me to put it in the
machine. There is hardly a morsel to eat or drink as I leave the house at
five thirty, before the shops open, and return at about nine at night, after
the shops have closed. Fortunately my son is home from University for his
vac., or my eleven year-old daughter would have had to join me in the queue
every day, (and night - because how would I have got backwards and forwards
to the queue if there was only one car in the family?)

Betsy - Bulawayo
As I live on Cecil Avenue more or less halfway between two petrol stations,
my main complaints are these:  time and again drivers park their cars across
my driveway - extremely annoying to visitors and highly upsetting for my
dogs!  The second - and major - complaint is that people are making an awful
mess of Cecil Avenue.  What an example for children as they deposit their
litter all over the road.  We've been having lovely breezes lately so guess
where all the rubbish is ending up?  You guessed it - my front garden, and
those of my neighbours.  So, not only are we a nation of infinite patience
(or stupidity, depending on one's point of view!) we are also a nation of

Murray - Harare
Spent 6 hrs in a petrol queue on Saturday in the old grey Merc, heading for
Dixon's opposite the Parkade on Mandela (formerly Baker Ave, near J Nyerere
=Kingsway). 2:35 pm   Joined behind the 6 cars in K Nkrumah (Union) making
the queue 180 degrees round the block. Moved steadily into Takawira (Moffat)
and was three cars along by 2:58. 4:48 Finally turned the corner into
Mandela, where it was becoming apparent that the taxis had jammed the
entrance into the forecourt, enabling people to buy in cans (with probable
kick-backs to the garage staff). A big joker snatched the fag from my
fingers as he walked past my car window - so I jumped out shouting " Give me
back my fag - you big shit".  He did - with a leer - so I went back and
fetched the dog - and he disappeared into the scrummage at the station
looking pretty foolish.. but one's temper
degenerates with time spent.. Decided to call the police at 5:55 - Central
being only 3 blocks away - having only progressed another 6 car lengths in
an hour, and two more queue lines had formed on our right, and were moving
at the same slow speed as us.

Cops finally arrived at about 7:50 carrying sjamboks, and cleared the
"extra" queues off the street, and the can carriers scarpered, but the taxis
put up some fierce arguments, although avoided getting hit. I was about 7th
in line at that point, but the juice ran out when filling my
car at 8:35... but I got 40L ($3000) which seemed very cheap after buying at
$900/litre on the street to get to friends at Christmas. My new friend in
the car behind me said: "The trouble is there is no leader here except you -
people just do nothing in this country... they always wait for someone
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The Times

            December 31, 2002

            Zimbabwe dispute splitting world of cricket
            By Owen Slot, Chief Sports Reporter

            THE corrupt dictatorship of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe is not an
ethical issue that should split intelligent opinion, yet somehow, after
hours of intense buck-passing and denial of responsibility yesterday, the
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Government managed to
manoeuvre themselves into opposing positions.
            Zimbabwe's hosting of six matches in the World Cup is also a
controversy that is fast splitting the cricket world along lines of colour.
John Howard, the Australian Prime Minister, and Tony Blair have urged a
boycott of the Zimbabwe portion of the tournament, while the administrators
of India and Pakistan have insisted that they will play their fixtures

            Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe's Minister of State for Information and
Publicity, intensified the stand-off by saying: "If the British and the
Australians want to keep cricket as a white and colonial sport, then they
should do so alone because we are not interested in their rubbish."

            Whether England will play their opening World Cup game against
Zimbabwe in Harare on February 13 remains the immediate issue. Tim Lamb, the
chief executive of the ECB, repeated his line that a political decision such
as this ought to be made by politicians. "The Government have made no
communication with us whatsoever," he said. "We are a cork bobbing on a
political sea."

            Last night, however, the Government issued a statement which
said that Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport,
and Baroness Amos, a Foreign Office Minister, had agreed to a request from
the ECB for a meeting when Lamb returns from Australia.

            "We expect them to discuss their views and those of ministers
about the England team playing in Zimbabwe," the statement read. "Whilst
recognising the ECB will seek advice and information from the Government,
the decision on whether or not to participate is ultimately for the ECB. The
meeting will also consider the options the ECB has before it makes its final

            Someone will have to put up their hand to make a decision soon
and it seems possible that this will fall to Nasser Hussain, the England
captain, who will meet his ECB employers before the fifth Ashes Test begins
in Sydney on Thursday.

            On the one side, Hussain will have advice from the Government
that was finally given weight on Sunday night in a letter from the Prime
Minister to Iain Duncan Smith, the leader of the Conservative Party. "There
are no legal powers available to the Government to ban a sporting team from
participation," Blair said. "However, in the light of the deteriorating
political and humanitarian situation in the country, ministers have made it
clear that if the decision were for them, England should not play in

            On the other side, Hussain will have the ECB, which is worried
about the financial implications of the boycott. The board will face paying
compensation of around £1 million if it fails to fulfil the fixture in
Harare and the financial recriminations will be even worse if the Zimbabwe
Cricket Union takes tit-for-tat action and reneges on the two Tests it is
due to play in England next summer. The ECB said that could cost it in the
region of £10 million and, given that it is the ECB that pays Hussain and
his team, this could be reflected in their own wages.

            Lamb said yesterday that cricketers disapproved of what was
happening in Zimbabwe "as much as the next man", yet he remained unmoved by
the toughening of the Government's position. "I am not prepared to
jeopardise the financial health of the sport for political reasons," he

            Lamb did concede that it would be "difficult to go against the
wishes of the Government, especially since we receive public funds from the
lottery and Exchequer funding". However, he is clearly not keen to follow a
government directive. "We believe cricket has been singled out as a soft
target, especially as there are no official economic or sporting sanctions
against Zimbabwe," he said. "We are being unfairly penalised, in marked
contrast to the 300 (British) companies that trade with or within Zimbabwe
with no penalties whatsoever."

            Hussain said yesterday that "we certainly can't bury our heads
in the sand". He will therefore bear in mind Blair's comment on "the
likelihood that conditions in Zimbabwe will deteriorate further in the next
six weeks". This was a point that was made by Clare Short, the International
Development Secretary, on Saturday, when she said that "this crisis will be
so terrible in the next couple of months that it'll probably be the end for

            Further pressure for a boycott was also directed yesterday by
the political opposition in Zimbabwe. Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change, said: "If the English captain is aware of
the situation in Zimbabwe, I don't think he would find it appropriate to
come to this country. If he comes here, he will be endorsing the
illegitimate Mugabe regime."

            The stand-off appears to be even more acute in Australia, where
Howard called on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to review its
backing for Zimbabwe as hosts. "You have appalling human rights abuses
occurring in that country," he said. "You have a completely illegitimate,
undemocratic, stolen government in Zimbabwe. What I'm saying to the ICC is:
'Please look at this again'."

            Malcolm Gray, the ICC President, has refused to accept Howard's
advice. "The ICC and, in general, sports administrators are not equipped or
experienced or competent, nor have the mandate, to make political
 decisions," he said.

            As if the World Cup was not already blighted by enough
uncertainty, it was also announced yesterday that safety and security are
being assessed in Kenya, where two other matches will be played.

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Fellow Zimbabweans and friends,

2003 is the year Zimbabweans must come of age and take stock of the quantity
and quality of their democratic freedoms.

There is an expression that goes. 'Don't fix something that ain't broke' -
the reverse is patently true. Zimbabwe is 'broke', our democracy 'is broken'
and in desperate need of fixing!

The January and February that will follow will possibly be the hardest we
have had to bear. A parallel being the Gukurahundi era of early 1983 when
over 20000 Zimbabweans, mostly of Matabele origin disappeared. Many died and
are still to be officially buried - their cries still linger. Still more
patriots die, victims of political violence and starvation. The cries of
these victims have amassed in the shadows of injustice and our continued
inactivity in righting the wrongs only serves to amplify their tormented
pleas, now clearly audible to peace-loving Zimbabweans.

We must return to the moral high ground and recognised human rights
practice. There must be full accountability for perpetrators of abuses and
all forms of genocide. To safeguard this ethical stand we must have a
homegrown constitution. Until this can be put into effect, the formation of
a transitional authority is necessary. This authority will act as a
caretaker government, and it major role will be to guide us to clean, free
and fair presidential elections.

Some Zimbabweans fear political involvement. It is time for them to realize
that they have a responsibility to cater for their own survival and that of
their kith and kin. We have much to overcome and must give strength to each
other. It is time to 'believe' that sovereignty and patriotism are above
politics - we can and must unite around our patriotism.

Our country is diseased. We need to find the prescription to cure the ailing
and hemorrhaging Zimbabwe and the souls therein. The country must enter a
period of healing and all stakeholders across the political, racial and
cultural divides must step forward and play their part in the recovery. It
could start with the 'townies' helping to adopt a starving rural family.
Email for more info on this.

An SOS is a the last distress signal sent out from a sinking ship or
aircraft  - a final call for help in the hopes that someone will come to
their aid. Zimbabwe is a sinking ship - much like the Titanic was. The
icebergs are there, in fact we seem to have designed and positioned them,
but we are beyond thinking clearly and instead steer our course for a direct

It is time to issue this SOS and I do so on my own behalf and on behalf of
those to overcome to issue it themselves. Add your voices to this call. Wake
your family, friends, acquaintances and workmates up from their
sleepwalking. We must raise the state of consciousness collectively,
culturally and socially if we are to shake away the fear.

There are many reasons to call SOS, take a look at the state of the economy.
Our economy is sinking fast. Further devastation exists in the high levels
of polarisation where racism and tribalism have become so prevalent.

This national suicide is demonstrated by the insistent queues, as abundant
as the empty promises for an end to them. Half the population face hunger on
a daily basis. Those strong enough, join the humanitarian aid queues to
live. Must the others, who are deemed politically incorrect, now queue to

In the urban centres, we queue as if inhuman and those who serve us have
also forgotten that they have a soul and are human too. I ask that our women
emulate Molly Brown and bring a human touch (life) to those in the queues.

Molly Brown survived one of the world's worst disasters. She was a passenger
on the Titanic. She survived and helped others to survive through sheer
determination and a strong personality. Many passengers had lost everything
but Molly helped them to escape with their lives. She comforted them and
shared amusing stories with them while they were crowded into the lifeboat
awaiting rescue on a bitterly cold night. She has gone down in history as
the Unsinkable Molly Brown!

Our lives depend on the re-establishing of the following: Respect across the
culture, political, social and religious divides; honour, principles and
human rights; equal opportunity, fair access and a promising future; a
decent disposable income; due attention to bread and butter issues and jobs
for our children. Become a Zimbabwean Molly Brown and help us to save our
social fabric from ruin.

The current regime is holding our very souls to ransom and they need to be
told that we want our SOULS back. The situation is now URGENT and life
threatening - we must try to save as much of the wreck as possible. We must
reclaim our souls and therefore the SOUL of Zimbabwe.

2002 has been a challenging year for me but the load was made manageable by
your support and the many words of encouragement received. Thank you! I hope
one and all had a restful holiday and will join me in FIXING  'what is broke
' in 2003.

Jenni Williams, a Zimbabwean wife, mother and communicator
Bulawayo 1st January 2003
Contact Jenni Williams on Mobile (+263) 91 300456 or 11213 885 Or on email
A member of the International Association of Business Communicators. Visit
the IABC website
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The Times

            Should England go to Zimbabwe?
            From Mr Tony Purton

            Sir, On what possible moral basis does this Government call on
England's cricketers not to play in Zimbabwe (letters, December 31, etc)?

            Did not Foreign Office ministers Robin Cook and Peter Hain claim
just two years ago (report, February 16, 2000) that the Government was
obliged to honour commercial contractual commitments to supply spares for
Zimbabwe's Hawk aircraft, despite the fact that it had the legal power to
refuse the necessary export licence? I suspect that that short-sighted act
may have encouraged Mugabe to the excesses the Government now condemns.

            There are many who would claim that sporting contacts make
bridges where politics make war.

            Yours faithfully,
            TONY PURTON,
            48 Kent Avenue, Ealing W13 8BH.
            December 31.

            From Dr Leofranc Holford-Strevens

            Sir, When supporters of the sporting boycott on South Africa
were accused of selective indignation they distinguished apartheid from
communism and other forms of dictatorship by pointing out that only in South
Africa did the political system openly invade the organisation of sport
itself, and even, in the D'Oliveira affair, the selection of visiting teams.

            So far President Mugabe's crimes do not include requiring the
national side, let alone England's, to consist of Zanu members; he is to be
boycotted as a vile despot. On that basis the Soviet Union, Franco's Spain
and the colonels' Greece would have been candidates for boycott.

            Zimbabwe may be an extreme case, but how vile must a regime be
for a boycott to be appropriate? And who should make that judgment?

            Yours faithfully,
            St Bernard's Road,
            Oxford OX2 6EJ.
            December 31.

            From Mr Robin Kempster

            Sir, It seems odd that a Government which can order troops into
battle at a moment's notice is at the same time powerless to stop the
England cricket team from playing in Zimbabwe.

            Yours faithfully,
            ROBIN KEMPSTER,
            1 Vine Court, Clifton,
            Brighouse, West Yorkshire HD6 4JT.
            December 31.

            From Mr Geoff Ledden

            Sir, "Going to Zimbabwe is a moral issue . . . and it is not up
to cricketers but to government politicians to make the decision," says
Nasser Hussain (report, December 30). If it is a moral issue, politicians
are the last people who should judge it.

            Yours faithfully,
            GEOFF LEDDEN,
            74 Lincolns Mead,
            Lingfield, Surrey RH7 6TA.
            December 30.

            From the Reverend Tony Whipp

            Sir, Nasser Hussain suggests that his team is too close to the
game for ethical decisions about where and when it might be correct for them
to play. The England and Wales Cricket Board appears to believe that
expensive contracts and avoiding financial penalties take precedence over
moral nicety. And the Government's position is that it has no legal
authority to constrain a team playing in the name of England.

            It would seem that Dr Rowan Williams was absolutely correct to
suggest that the nation-state is being replaced by a market-state in
pressing need of a moral dimension.

            I am, yours faithfully,
            TONY WHIPP,
            St Aidan's Vicarage,
            St Aidan's Street,
            Hartlepool TS25 1SN.
            December 31.
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Botched Deals Likely to Blame for Fuel Crisis

The Herald (Harare)

December 31, 2002
Posted to the web December 31, 2002


The transfer of close to $22,5 billion by Noczim to two local commercial
banks which under separate deals pledged to help broker fuel deals worth
US$210 million might have triggered the current spate of fuel shortages in
the country, it emerged yesterday.

Noczim paid National Merchant Bank $20 billion and Royal Bank $2,5 billion
under separate deals in which the two banks were expected to help broker
fuel deals to the tune of US$180 million and US$30 million respectively.

The deals failed to get off the ground and were a complete failure.

It is now believed that the two banks could have used the money for
capitalisation, prejudicing the country of resources for the importation of

About two weeks ago, Energy and Power Development Minister Amos Midzi said
the two banks had paid back the amounts and negotiations were underway to
determine the level of interest which should be paid to Noczim.

Noczim is said to have sidelined the Jewel Bank of Zimbabwe which helped
broker a fuel deal between Zimbabwe and Libya last year at a time when other
banks were so keen to help Noczim pull the country out of the fuel crisis.

The country's sole fuel procurement agent is said to have withdrawn $15
billion from the Jewel Bank and deposited it with two other local commercial

The move was carried out on the understanding that the two financial
institutions would help source foreign currency to import fuel.

However, NMB chief executive Mr Julius Makoni denied that his bank received
the money.

"I'm not aware of any such deal. I hope this is not for publication," he

"There was never such a deal. Frankly, I'm not aware of anything of that
sort. You should ask the minister (Midzi)."

Royal Bank chief executive, Mr Jeffrey Mzwimbi confirmed that they had
entered into a deal with Noczim, but the latter failed to meet the
conditions set by some financiers who had wanted to extend a fuel import

"We are not to blame for fuel woes," he said. Noczim failed to meet the
conditions set by some finance institutions . . . I don't want this to be

"I will give you the details tomorrow (today). "

Meanwhile, scores of Zimbabweans who work in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia
and other regional countries are stranded in the country owing to the
erratic fuel supplies to most filling stations in the country.

Some of the people told The Herald that if they don't get fuel in the next
few days they would report for work late in the coming new year.

"I've been in the queue for five days at this garage," said an angry

"We just hear in the paper that Noczim has distributed one or two million
litres . . . but where is the petrol?"

A number of vehicles with foreign registration numbers could be seen at
several filling stations in queues.

Fuel supplies continue to be erratic countrywide with most filling stations
receiving fuel stocks which were below normal.

"We are now receiving fuel but this is still below what we used to get in
normal periods," said a petrol attendant at a city garage.

"At times we get 9 000 or 12 000 litres which is nothing given the huge

Several filling stations had fuel in the capital and at least motorists were
guaranteed of getting something.

Over the weekend, Noczim pumped close to one million litres of petrol
throughout the country.

The shortage of fuel has affected industrial operations, service delivery
and the transport sector and has put a dent on the country's image.

Commuting to and from work is now a nightmare for most people.

Fears are also growing that the fuel crisis is likely to affect the movement
of students from their homes to schools when schools open in the coming few
weeks. Commuter operators are taking advantage of the crisis by charging
fares which are above the gazetted ones on most urban routes.

During peak periods, commuter crews are charging $200 for a single trip to
Mufakose and up to $150 for a trip to Mabvuku and Tafara.

Some commuters even complained that the crews are no longer ferrying them to
the usual dropping points as they rush back to carry other passengers.
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Game Scouts Shoot, Injure 17 Villagers

The Herald (Harare)

December 31, 2002
Posted to the web December 31, 2002

Tsitsi Matope

FOUR game scouts on Sunday opened fire in Chipinge and injured 17 villagers,
five of them seriously after the villagers protested against the arrest of a
woman whose husband had been accused of poaching in Bikita.

It is reported that there were screams as the villagers who were taken by
surprise ran for dear life.

Some who had attempted to run where shot on their legs before they fell onto
the ground.

The 17 were rushed to Chipinge Hospital by some villagers who had come to
investigate after they heard the shots.

Five of the injured are reported to be in a critical condition.

Twelve villagers from Chikomba and Ndunduma villages sustained injuries on
both legs and arms while the other five who are serious, were shot on the
head, chest and stomach.

It is alleged after the shooting incident, the 12 men who included four
armed game scouts and eight other men in plain clothes drove away in their
Land-Rover vehicle.

The injured were left lying helplessly while the five who had been seriously
wounded were unconscious.

Police Spokesman Inspector Andrew Phiri said they had not yet arrested the
four scouts and their accomplices.

"The gang is likely to face several charges including attempted murder,"
Insp Phiri said.

He said police have however started their investigations into circumstances
surrounding the shooting.

"We have since established that four game scouts who were wearing green
uniforms and armed with rifles are employed by Human Ranch, which is based
in Bikita. Police in Chipinge are still probing the whereabouts and
backgrounds of the other eight accomplices who were in plain clothes,"
Inspector Phiri said.

Police said on Sunday, the game scouts went to Gudo Makuyana's homestead in
Ndunduma village after being told that he was involved in a poaching
expedition that took place in Bikita last week.

Upon arrival, they could not locate Makuyana but instead found his wife at
home and quizzed her about the whereabouts of her husband.

After Makuyana's wife had indicated that her husband was not at home, she
was ordered out of the house which they searched.

During the search, the game scouts discovered some meat and informed a crowd
that was watching with interest at the home that they were arresting
Makuyana's wife as they had found evidence that the meat was brought home
and cooked by her.

Two of the game scouts allegedly handcuffed Makuyana's wife, a move that
angered some villagers who threatened to assault the scouts before they
opened fire.
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UK Independent

Minister plays down talk of payout over Zimbabwe cricket match

By Marie Woolf and Stephen Brenkley in Sydney

01 January 2003

The furore over England's participation in a cricket World Cup game in Zimbabwe deepened yesterday when a Foreign Office minister hinted that the Government would not pay compensation if the team abandoned the fixture.

Mike O'Brien said he did not think taxpayers would be willing to "stump up the money" if England's cricket authorities boycotted the Zimbabwe vs England one-day match in Harare on 13 February.

His remarks came as Tim Lamb, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, refused to rule out the prospect of Nasser Hussain, England's captain, shaking hands with President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. He made clear he would seek compensation of up to £1m if the cricketers pulled out and were sued for breach of contract.

Mr O'Brien said the cricket authorities should reconsider their invitation to the African state, which has been torn apart by famine and the policies of Mr Mugabe. The minister said he was giving a personal and not "a government view".

He indicated that Britain would support the campaign by John Howard, the Australian Prime Minister, to have the matches in Zimbabwe switched to South Africa, which is a co-host of the World Cup.

His call was backed by the Tories, who said there should be "collective action by a number of countries" to bring pressure on the Mugabe regime.

Michael Ancram, shadow Foreign Secretary, who has consistently argued for the England cricketers to withdraw from Zimbabwe, criticised the Government for acting slowly and for refusing to compensate the cricketing authorities if they pulled out.

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Zimbabwe: Praying for rain and democracy

Andrew Meldrum, Seke
Wednesday January 1, 2003
The Guardian

The Seke communal area is just two hours' drive from the metropolitan buzz of Zimbabwe's capital, but it is at the heart of the famine that is sweeping across southern Africa.

Misheck Ngazana, 52, the head of a household of seven, spent New Year's Eve as he spends every day, worrying about how to feed his family. "We are down to one meal a day and our mealie meal [maize meal, Zimbabwe's staple food] is running out. We are able to buy mealie meal from the government, but they have not come here for a month."

Mr Ngazana's family has been reliant upon the government supplies of maize for five months, but he says the government's food relief has been erratic. "Sometimes they refuse to sell maize to people here, saying that we voted for the MDC [Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change]. That kind of politics makes us worry."

The Ngazana family is better off than some of their neighbours. "I see children who have not eaten, sometimes for three days," he sighs. "I want to share our food, but I know that we won't have enough. It is a terrible situation."

Fifteen million people are threatened with starvation across six countries in southern Africa, according to the United Nations. Zimbabwe holds more than half of those in danger, with seven million people affected by the famine out of the country's total population of 13 million.

Many people in Seke travel by donkey cart and bicycle. Many more walk along the dusty roads, often with large bundles balanced on their heads. Everybody is wiry and thin.

An enterprising man, Mr Ngazana is out in the hot sun, tending his maize crop. "Look at these plants," he says. "We have not had any rain for nearly a week now and they are starting to wilt and burn. We need more rain soon if we are going to have enough food to eat next year. Maybe Mother Nature is grumbling and telling us she is not happy with what is going on here. Some people say that a drought is sanctions from God."

Mr Ngazana says that he remembers the famines that affected Ethiopia and Somalia. "I remember reading about them, but I never expected that our country and all of southern Africa would suffer like that, too."

Looking ahead to the coming year, Mr Ngazana says he hopes for "a stable political situation that will see the economical situation improve".

"If we can have a truly democratic situation in Africa, it would help us all. And, of course, good rains would help us, too."

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