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

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Patrick Ashton 16.01,02
I, Patrick Ashton of Landfall Farm, Mutorashanga, Zimbabwe, have this to say:
I bought Landfall after independence 20 years ago, wishing to be a part of the new Zimbabwe.  I am a full Zimbabwean by registration and choice.  I have four sons, two actively in agriculture and two at school.
I have developed the farm over the years to grow 80 ha of tobacco)+-300 tonnes), +- 40 ha of maize and 30 ha of export mangoes.  I have developed a farm village of 105 brick under corrugated iron houses for my staff and employ +-300 permanent and contract workers under normal circumstances.
The farm is fully developed for extensive cropping and a programme to intensify horticulture is in place.  The farm is not listed in any way, which fact is conceded by the authorities (DA and Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement).  The criteria are:
The farm is not near communal land The farm is the sole farm owned by me The farm is not foreign owned The farm is not listed Since August 2001 the farm has been illegally invaded by 150 settlers.
After thirteen or more visits to and from the DA Zvimba and/or his staff, I was able to plant 45 ha of tobacco and tend my mangoes.
During this period I had 124 irrigation pipes axed and 46 kms of drip tape either slashed or burnt and many other provocations.
Tobacco was planted three times in one land where settlers (Sgt Makiwa of ZRP) disputed the Lands Committee's decision to allow me to plant in my prepared land.
This same Sgt Makiwa attempted to panga me on December 9 2001 when I was photographing the malicious damage he had caused.  This has all been reported to ZRP Mutorashanga.
On Thursday 11 and Friday 12 January 2002, youths were collected from farms in my farming area at the orders of the local Zanu PF supposedly for training in national service!  They encamped at the local primary school and over the weekend set up illegal roadblocks, harassing motorists and pedestrians along the Mutorashang/Van Ad Road.  In the evenings they destroyed the local MDC leaders home in the village and three young MDC men were beaten and hospitalised.
Customers for my mangoes were beaten and thrashed when they came across this roadblock.  In addition this group searched for and beat up three more MDC youths on Sunday.
On Monday the 14 January at 08.45 my son Phillip radioed saying these people, led by one Mr.  Mbamba (Zanu PF councilor), had invaded my house and garden.
They pulled Adam, my son and Sandy, who is Phillip's girlfriend and a South African national, out of the house.  Phillip was promptly accosted and had the farm radio and his cell phone stolen from him.
I said I would come in from the tobacco lands immediately.
On arrival at the house I was unable to get through the gates as Phillip's pick-up had been parked deliberately to close off the entrance to me.
I was immediately surrounded by a frenzied rabble armed with axes and sticks.  They shouted demands for my radio and cell phone but would not otherwise converse with me.  They began beating the car and poking me through the side window.  One blow shattered my front windscreen and I decided the situation was out of hand and I would be no help to my children dead.
I started the engine and, hooting my horn for warning, reversed to give me room to swing away from the gate.  In doing so I hit an overhanging branch of a tree and dented the cab of my pick up.
The thugs then bashed in the remaining side windows as I drew away from them across some open ground and I was able to leave the area.
I warned my staff of the violence and told them to disperse to the bush and went for help at my neighbours.
My neighbour collected four policemen and the member-in-charge and dropped them near my house at approximately 09.00.  My sons and Sandy were held captive for 10 hours before their release.  They were subjected to all sorts of trauma.  Adam was whipped when he complained they should not beat the dogs.  They said it was him or the dogs.  He bravely took the whipping.  They threatened to bury Phillip and brought shovels to do so.
They slaughtered two cows and four sheep to eat.  They also beat up my gardener and the farm manager.
Adam and Phillip had their shirts removed to "check for bugging equipment".
They were forced to go through to the house to cook for the intruders who drank all my beer.  While this was going on the intruders went through the rest of the house and systematically looted electrical equipment, clothes and bedding.
All this took place in front of the police or while the police wandered around watching the cattle shot and the sheep being slaughtered.  Drums were beaten and songs were chanted whilst the meat was distributed.
Towards 17.00 hours, my children were told to pack their bags and get out, threatened with death if they returned.  They were then released at _+
18.30 and I met up with them and guided them to a safe house.
The following day, Tuesday we heard the intruders had left the house so we returned to get our lives together.  After half and hour we were warned by telephone the group was returning so we evacuated and came to Harare, leaving two policemen to guard the house.
I have been actively canvassing help to continue farming.  Since August
2001 I have enlisted the help of Ministry of Housing, diplomats, CFU, ZTA and mainly DA Zvimba.
All to no avail despite the farm not being listed.  I have been subjected to outrageous demands for compensation from the settlers when the settlers have herded my cattle deliberately into their maize to graze.  My fencing has been stolen and gates left open.
I transparently support the democratic process.  I believe tolerance of different ideas and the rule of law is a prerequisite to "one man-one vote" of his choice.
The wonderful young people of the country I have met deserve a better future of their own choice.  Someone has to do something.
I believe all the provocation is a result of my open support of the democratic process.  The ambush and invasion of my house was obviously an orchestrated and deliberate act of terrorism and clearly has, at least, the tacit approval of the authorities.
In support of this I point out:

1 Telephone cut
2 Vehicle deliberately set in the driveway to block my path
3 Stop groups set up by the intruders
4 The attack was timed for the breakfast period when I would be expected to be at home.
5 All means of on farm communication were either stolen or disabled
6 My property was systematically looted despite a police presence on the farm At this moment the Zimbabwe National SPCA are bravely attempting to rescue our pets from the encamped youth brigade, which is still in situ in my garden.  I am very grateful to the people involved in this rescue operation.
Finally I would like to thank all those who have helped my family and me these last few days.  May all those with goodwill towards Zimbabwe and her people pray for this madness to end and that peace and tolerance return.
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Reinventing “free” and “fair”

A recent SADC conference saw Robert Mugabe saying he would “like to have free and fair elections” in six weeks time and boasting that “the whole meeting supported our position.”

So believing was the South African government of this latest platitude that they sprang to Mugabe’s support by simultaneously announcing that a special committee had been set up in anticipation of a “meltdown” in Zimbabwe, comprising South African government, intelligence, police and defence officials – who were charged with immediately setting up a refugee camp at Artonvilla, an old SA National Defence Force complex near Messina. 

According to my Oxford Dictionary the word “free” means “not in bondage to another, having personal rights and social and political liberty”.  Similarly “fair” means “according to the rules”. 

What sort of “free” are we talking about when a so called democratically elected government neighbouring another so called democratically elected government prepares for thousands of refugees who are expected to shortly flee their country in terror, simply because citizens wish to exercise their right to freedom of choice in deciding whom they wish to govern them?

What too is “fair” about knowing that those holding a strong position of influence who bleat about an African Renaissance in a “love thy neighbour” sense, are actually hypocritically aiding your demise by spinelessly rendering assistance to defaulting governments rather than taking firm steps to censure their leadership and bring them to heel?

Over the years Africa’s leaders have organised, sponsored and attended countless congresses, conferences, and hosts of other similarly fancy named meetings where they are then photographed cheerfully signing even more countless agreements, charters and even constitutions; all supposedly formulated to reinforce the rights and freedoms of those who elected and pay them handsomely to serve them.  Yet, here we are, in the year 2002, literally drowning in human rights paperwork, but reading about a despotic leader who is holding his country to ransom, hijacking democracy and all but bringing his country and its citizenry to its knees. 

When interviewed about this unfolding drama, the South African Department of Home Affairs spokesperson, Leslie Mashokwe, could not say how his government had budgeted for the possible influx because, he claimed, “we don’t know what the magnitude of the problem might be”.  That no problem should be allowed to exist at all simply doesn’t come into the African reinvention of “free" and "fair”.

L Mylie / New Zealand

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Daily News - Leader Page

Government has sentenced nation to mass starvation

1/23/02 8:31:37 AM (GMT +2)

NO matter how strenuously Minister Joseph Made, the government's
agricultural spokesman, may try to deny it, the truth is that Zimbabwe faces
a staple food shortage crisis which is both unprecedented in magnitude and
potentially unmanageable in scope.

By September last year, alarm bells had already started ringing, warning of
impending mass starvation with reports that people in parts of Zvishavane
and Chivi districts, in the Midlands and Masvingo provinces, respectively,
had run out of food completely and some villagers were surviving on roots of
wild plants.

Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots in those areas had run dry.

Food monitors reported that food security in the two provinces, as well as
in the two Matabeleland provinces, had reached critically low levels, a
situation endorsed by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network expert who
warned that the country needed to import at least 200 000 tonnes of maize
immediately, or there would be no food at all the following month.

The experts made it clear that the ideal imports to take the country to the
end of the year were 600 000 tonnes of maize.

But Made, who all along had lulled the government into a false sense of
national food security by insisting there were sufficient maize stocks and
that the experts were being unduly alarmist, was adamant that the country
needed to import 100 000 tonnes only.

However, before the year 2001 had ended, newspapers were already carrying
stories of people starving to death in some provinces in the southern half
of the country.

Now we have pitiful reports, as carried in the Press at the weekend, that
serious food shortages have also started to affect the northern half of the

So serious is the shortage of maize, in fact, that some villagers in Omay
communal lands have resorted to boiling, in salted water, a potentially
poisonous wild grass called kakora, which they then proceed to eat as food.

This is something which should never happen in a country which only a few
years ago carried the proud label of "the breadbasket of the Southern
African Development Community". And it wouldn't be happening if the
government had not been made so criminally complacent, courtesy of Made.

And now, in a move which is practically an open admission that Made had all
along been misleading the nation that the country's maize reserves were
healthy, the government is having to resort to extremely desperate and
arbitrary measures whose cumulative effect can only worsen, not ameliorate,
Zimbabwe's food shortage crisis in the medium to relatively long term.

One such measure was the putting in place of a statutory instrument making
the GMB the sole marketer of grain.

The instrument also empowers the government, through the GMB, to
compulsorily take away from producers grain they have retained for their own

Because of that grain-grab exercise, which in fact is unconstitutional,
stockfeed manufacturers are being forced to close down, thereby widening the
food crisis scope as this is having a catastrophic effect on beef, poultry
and pig production industries.

But the move which, by far, looks set to exacerbate maize shortage – thereby
spreading hunger - on an unprecedented scale is the government's decision to
stop fertiliser manufacturers from selling their products on the open
market, but to deliver them all to the government through the GMB instead.

The effect of that tragically short-sighted order, obviously given with a
view to short-term political gains as it is mistakenly hoped it will boost
Zanu PF's popularity during the 9 and 10 March election, is to deprive of
fertilisers most commercial and part-time farmers whose crops are now
already tasselling.

That is the maize which would benefit the nation most through enhanced
yields were fertiliser applied to it at this crucial stage.

But it is now as good as a lost crop because farmers can't get fertiliser
for it.

Since those for whom government is hoarding the fertiliser are mostly yet to
plant, they are unlikely to harvest anything, unless the rainy season gets
unusually long.

Mass starvation is, therefore, almost guaranteed unless government orders
manufacturers to immediately redirect their products back to the open

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Daily News

Troubled Zimbabwe forges unholy alliance with Libya

1/23/02 8:29:05 AM (GMT +2)

By John Gambanga

The striking similarity between the Libyan connection to Zimbabwe and the
Libyan connection to Liberia raises the question of how far the Arabs intend
to spread their influence in Africa - nearly five centuries after they
bought Africans for resale as slaves in the United States.

Zimbabwe is among the four key countries within the sub-region that will
offer the world's largest mineral resources which can be used to produce
fuel cells, the power of the next decade. The others are the Democratic
Republic of Congo, South Africa and Zambia.

Is the Libyan link to Zimbabwe a new form of al Qaeda in Africa ?
President Mugabe has visited Libya several times during the last 12 months
to cement ties between Harare and Tripoli that date back to the struggle for
Zimbabwe's independence in the 1970s when hundreds of young Zanla cadres,
the military wing of Mugabe's Zanu PF, were trained in many military
disciplines by the Libyans.

Last August, Libya gave Zimbabwe an economic lifeline in the form of a
US$360 million (Z$19,8 billion) oil facility for which Harare pays part in
local currency.

Unconfirmed reports say the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, has received
about 12 large-scale commercial farms, mainly in Mashonaland West, from his
friend Mugabe. That perhaps explains why he came to Zimbabwe by road last
year from the Lusaka summit of the Organisation of African Unity that he had
partly bankrolled.

Sources say some of the farms could be used for army training by a
government with militaristic tendencies and for bartering oil in the
purchase of military hardware.

There are reports that at least 15 000 Libyans have been issued with
Zimbabwean passports and are likely to take part in the March presidential
poll in support of Zanu PF. Although the Libyan authorities in Harare have
denied the reports, many people claim there is a disturbingly high number of
Libyans in the country.

Speculation is very high over their mission.

That they could be here to train Mugabe's young militia to be used in the
ongoing election violence cannot be ruled out.

Liberia, the tiny West African country founded in 1847 by freed slaves
repatriated from America, has been under the rule of President Charles
Taylor since 2 August 1997 and will hold presidential and parliamentary
elections in July next year.

Taylor's National Patriotic Party (NPP), which came to power with the
assistance of Libya after seven years of civil strife that culminated in
free presidential and parliamentary polls in which it won 75,3 percent of
the vote, is going out of its way to make sure that the political playing
field is skewed in its favour for next year's poll.

The NPP will not allow the United Party, which secured 9,6 percent of the
vote in the last election, and the All Liberia Coalition Party, which won 4
percent, or any of the smaller parties that shared the remaining 11 percent
of the vote, to unseat it.

In his bid to stamp authority on the estimated 3,2 million Liberians, Taylor
has introduced the same repressive Press laws as those planned by Zimbabwe
for the presidential poll in March.

Taylor has declared he will not allow international monitors during next
year's elections although he has said observers from the international
community would be allowed in.

Taylor has threatened to arrest all with dual citizenship who vote in the

Like Zimbabwe, where President Mugabe's Zanu PF, in power since 1980, now
feels it must rule for eternity, the Liberian government is bending rules
and introducing repressive laws to ensure it retains power at all cost.

Is this similarity coincidental or are the leaders of the two countries
reading the same book authored by the same terrorist maestro?

Liberia, still recovering from the years of bloody strife, is very much like
Zimbabwe in that most businesses have closed down, destroying the economy.

Corruption, repression, rampant abuse of power, poverty among the majority
and the Tripoli link pair the two countries as twins. The United States'
Central Intelligence Agency's World Fact book reports that an unsettled
domestic security situation has slowed the process of rebuilding the social
and economic structure of Liberia, a country richly endowed with mineral
resources, forests and an ideal climate for agriculture. Libyan assistance
to Zimbabwe prior to independence was very welcome, coming at a crucial
moment in the country's political development.

But can the same be said of Libyan aid today, when the political goal posts
have moved more than two decades later?

Will Zimbabweans mortgage their country to the Arabs to retain a political
administration whose actions have been questioned even by some of its own
friends - Desmond Tutu of South Africa and former Zambian leader Kenneth

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Daily News

Only three weeks supply of maize left

1/23/02 8:22:27 AM (GMT +2)

By Takaitei Bote

While Grain Marketing Board (GMB) chairman Enock Kamushinda says the country
should not panic about the maize supply situation, it has emerged that
Zimbabwe has enough supplies to last for the next three weeks only.

Sources close to the GMB said yesterday the maize situation was critical
while no imports had been made as of Monday this week.

However there were reports yesterday that maize imports from South Africa
would start arriving in the country today through Beitbridge.

The sources said it would be impossible to import the required maize
shortfall in three weeks because of logistical problems. Victoria Foods
(Private) Limited managing director, Rob Webster said on Monday that the
company was still milling but had supplies for two days and "we are feeding
from hand to mouth".

The country has been hit by a shortage of maize-meal for the past three
weeks. Kamushinda is alleged to have awarded tenders to a number of
indigenous businesses to import about 150 000 tonnes of maize from South

The companies, which were first given a deadline to deliver maize at
Beitbridge by 20 January, 2002, have since been told to deliver the product
by 15 February.

Sources said the GMB had drawn up the second tender inviting commodity
dealers to import maize fixed at US$156 (Z$8 580) per tonne delivered at

The second tender has however been reviewed, with the GMB agreeing to pay
commodity brokers about US$166 (Z$9 130) a tonne delivered at Beitbridge.

Two indigenous companies were yesterday alleged to have signed contracts and
agreed to source the maize at US$166 (Z$9 130) a tonne.

Out of the 18 companies that had originally tendered only six were alleged
to have been awarded the tenders but most of them had not signed because of
payment disagreements.

Last week, the GMB was reported to have been calling some of the companies
that had not been considered for the tenders to renegotiate payment terms.

Many are alleged to have turned down the GMB's new offer of US$166 a tonne.
"A price of US$156 a tonne was good if the maize was to be delivered by
December 2001 but prices in South Africa have increased to about US$158 (Z$8
690) a tonne and if we are to include transport costs, it will now cost
about US$209 (Z$11 495) to deliver a tonne of maize to Beitbridge from South
Africa," one commodity broker said.

The sources said the GMB had cost the country close to $4 billion by not
awarding tenders as prices of maize were increasing on a regular basis in
South Africa due to a huge demand for the product in southern Africa.

Chris Sturgess of the South Africa Futures Exchange (SAFEX) said the price
of white maize had increased from R1584 (Z$7 920) last week to R1835 (Z$9
175) as at Monday 21 January.

Sources said even if the GMB was to offer the brokers to source maize at
more than US$200 (Z$11 000) per tonne, not much maize would be delivered in
the country by 15 February because of logistical constraints.

A commodity broker said: "It will take the country about six months to
import the required 150 000 tonnes because there are shortages of rail
wagons in South Africa.

"The country is going to starve because the GMB waited until the last minute
to import." Contacted, Kamushinda said: "Please do not panic. We have
supplies sufficient to take care of our needs for the next three weeks.

"If the situation changes, we will let you know. There is maize available
and we are also bringing in maize. All the logistics for importing are in

Kamushinda said a lot of figures had been bandied about in newspapers and by
different people "for their own motives but if you add up these figures you
will find they do not tally".

"Maize is also being used as one of the campaign tools," he said. While
Kamushinda admitted there was a maize shortage in the country, GMB
operations manager Justine Mutasa, whose department was seizing maize from
commercial farmers, was quoted in The Herald issue of Monday as saying:
"There is so much maize in the country and we may not even need to import if
we manage to impound all maize from commercial farmers."

Commercial farmers have since denied that they have excess maize left on
their farms, saying the little they have is for livestock and their workers.

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Daily News

34 MDC supporters reported missing

1/23/02 8:28:27 AM (GMT +2)

From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

ABOUT 34 Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters went missing when
Zanu PF militants and the police tried to stop an MDC rally at White City
Stadium on Sunday, the party said yesterday.

Welshman Ncube, the party's secretary-general, said it was established by
Sunday evening that 14 MDC supporters were abducted from the stadium while
another 20 were taken away from their homes by people suspected to be State

Police said 39 people, all of them MDC supporters, were arrested and were
expected to appear in court yesterday.

Said Ncube: "We are getting reports at our offices from parents and spouses
who say their children and spouses are still missing. We don't know where
they are."

The disturbances occurred after hundreds of Zanu PF militants occupied White
City Stadium on Saturday night to bar the MDC from holding a rally there the
next day.

Police prevented MDC supporters from getting into the stadium despite the
fact that the venue had been booked earlier.

The Mpopoma home of Milton Gwetu, the MP for Mpopoma, was tear gassed by the

It has since been established that most of the Zanu PF supporters who caused
the disturbances came from Harare, Marondera and Buhera. Two trucks full of
Zanu PF supporters from Buhera led by a war vet called Chapirwa Munyire, was
seen in the city on Saturday.

Another group of ruling party supporters bussed into the city to cause the
disturbances was identified by eyewitnesses as comprising members of the
Vapostori sect who were led by one Lawrence Katsiru.

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Daily News

Farm invaders steal cattle worth $25m from Beatrice

1/23/02 8:27:19 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

ZANU PF supporters and war veterans in Beatrice yesterday stole 520 cattle
worth over $25 million at a farm they occupied during the farm invasions.

Steve Terbblans, the owner of Gwaliya Farm along the Beatrice-Mhondoro road
yesterday confirmed the incident.

Terbblans, who was chased away by the invaders, said he was informed by
witnesses that his cattle had been stolen and the war veterans had looted
property from his house on the farm.

He said he needed time to quantify the value of stolen property before he
could issue a statement on the looting and his stolen cattle.
Terbblans said the farm was listed by the government for resettlement.
A farmer in the area who declined to be named yesterday called The Daily
News and said the war veterans who had initially tried to auction the cattle
at $8 000 each could not do so after the police in Beatrice intervened.

Beatrice police yesterday refused to comment on the matter.

The farmer said after the auction was stopped, the Zanu PF supporters and
war veterans drove the cattle to Joyce Mine where they operate from.

Neighbouring farmers were threatened with death if they reported the
stocktheft and looting of property to any news organisation.

"The 520 cattle were driven past the Beatrice Police Station. No one was
arrested. I heard that the war veterans would auction the cattle from that
base," the farmer said.

He said if the war veterans had only chased Terbblans away, it would have
been enough, rather than stealing and destroying his property as well.

"We have a terrible situation of daylight robbery," said the farmer. "It is
a clear case of stocktheft. This is unbelievable.'"

The farmer said the auction is led by a war veteran identified only as

Joseph Chinotimba, the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War
Veterans' Association for Harare under which Beatrice falls, said he had not
been informed about the incident.

Chinotimba said: "I know nothing about that issue. I am hearing about it
from you, so I cannot comment on something that I am not informed about."

The incident comes just three days after Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo visited Zimbabwe and urged all the interested parties in the land
reform programme to make sure that the Abuja agreement, which calls for the
restoration of the rule of law and a halt to further land seizures in the
country, is respected.

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We wish to share with you Carlene Huck 's (A Zim Teenager) poem after she received the news of a vicious attack on their neighbour on Monday 14th January 2002.

Our Zimbabwe
This upheaval, this unrest,
This time that has been sent to test,
My faith, my love, my rational thought,
If I let go, will sink to naught.
So Father, I ask by me you'll stand,
 As I stand proud for my land.
Let not race nor class nor colour decide,
Let me stand in the gap of this divide.
Help me to stand strong, when others fall,
Let me stand firm, let me stand tall.
Let no man question my will,
Even when provoked, let me be still.
Give me calm and peace of mind,
Uncover my eyes, remove the blind.
Father place your mighty hand,
To cover the wounds of this broken land.
Wash away the blood of war,
Open the locked, closed door.
Father stand by those who weep,
And show us that colour is only skin deep.
Let us stand for what is right,
But not with anger nor with fight.
Be with those brave enough to stand,
For what they believe for this land.
Be with those who fear,
Show them your presence ever near.
And even in our darkest hour,
Remind us of your ultimate power.
Zimbabwe will be a shining light,
Not through power, nor through might,
But with forgiveness, and without greed,
Lord raise strong people to lead.
A new Zimbabwe will rise again,
Without the anguish and the pain.
And united, together we will stand,
Upon the ground of this our land.
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ABC News

Four Killed in Zimbabwe Political Violence

HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - Zimbabwe police said on Tuesday they were
investigating the deaths of four people in political violence over the past
week as President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party and the main
opposition party traded accusations on the murder of their supporters.
State television reported that police had arrested 29 people in the past two
days over the violence which has flared up between the two main political
parties in the run up to presidential elections set for March 9-10.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said on Tuesday
four of its supporters were murdered by ruling ZANU-PF militants in the past
week -- three of them in the southern Masvingo province.

But the ruling party rejected the charge, claiming the three dead men found
in Masvingo were ZANU-PF supporters murdered by MDC activists.

"I don't know about our people being involved in any murder. What I know is
that the MDC killed three of our people last week," said ZANU-PF Masvingo
province chairman Samuel Mumbengegwi.

A police spokesman said they were investigating the deaths.

"We are looking at these cases, and until we complete our investigations we
are not apportioning any blame to any party," the spokesman said.

MDC Information Secretary Learnmore Jongwe said in a statement the three
men -- named as Richard Chatunga, Amos Mapingure and Isaac Munikwa -- were
murdered by "ZANU-PF thugs."

Jongwe said another man, Moffat Soko Chiwaura, 59, was allegedly abducted by
ZANU-PF youths in December and was found dead on a farm in northeastern
Zimbabwe last week.

The MDC has accused ZANU-PF of training a private militia under the guise of
a national youth service to lead a violent campaign against the opposition
in the run-up to the elections, in which President Robert Mugabe faces a
tough challenge from MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

"We call upon Mugabe's regime to disband the ZANU-PF militia," Jongwe said.

The accusations come after at least 20 people were hurt in street battles
between ZANU-PF and MDC supporters in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo on

The MDC says nearly 100 of its supporters have been killed in political
violence since February 2000 when militants led by veterans of the 1970s war
against white rule began often violent seizures of white-owned farms with
government backing.

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The Age, Melbourne

Mugabe eases slightly Zimbabwe's proposed press limits

HARARE, Jan 22 AFP|Published: Wednesday January 23, 10:27 AM

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe eased, ever so slightly, proposed curbs
to press freedom today, amid fears that foreign journalists and observers
would be barred from crucial March presidential elections.

The press bill originally proposed by Mugabe's government banned all foreign
journalists from Zimbabwe and imposed stiff penalties for criticising the

The revised bill would allow "permanent residents" to work as journalists.

Foreigners could be accredited to cover "a specific event over a limited
period of time," if they obey other still-restrictive clauses in the bill,
according to a draft obtained by AFP.

The new version also removed a clause that criminalised criticism of
Mugabe - though a tough security law approved earlier this month already
outlawed statements "causing hatred, contempt or ridicule" of the president.

Journalists and news organisations would still have to seek accreditation
every one or two years from a panel hand-picked by the information minister.

Foreigners would be unable to work full-time in Zimbabwe. No news
organisation would be able to seek foreign funding, a clause that could
hinder operations at the Daily News, Zimbabwe's only private daily

The bill also limits the ability of journalists to report, for example by
making it an offence to report on cabinet proceedings.

Violations of the law would still be punished by stiff fines and up to two
years in prison.

The unexpected revisions to the law came after a caucus meeting of MPs from
the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), as
well as a separate politburo meeting of the party's top brass earlier today.

Parliament had been expected to debate the bill today, but when the house
opened, ZANU-PF lawmakers immediately adjourned it until tomorrow without

Sources at parliament said the delay came after a committee produced a
report that said the original bill was a serious setback to the
constitutionally protected right to freedom of expression.

Despite some loosening, the revised bill retained many restrictions
denounced by press rights groups in Zimbabwe and abroad.

"This does not amount to any real change," said Rashweat Mukundu, a research
and information officer at the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA).

He called the changes nothing more than "legal jargon" and "a trick to
camouflage the same draconian clauses they're proposing in the bill."

Journalists from a cross-section of Zimbabwean media yesterday petitioned
parliament against the bill, vowing to challenge the law in court if it

The proposed press curbs were among the issues that drew sanctions threats
from the European Union, which has insisted that Mugabe's government accept
international observers and news media before and during the March 9-10

Mugabe also faces sanctions from Britain and the United States, as well as
possible suspension from the Commonwealth, over his ongoing efforts to crack
down on dissent and his failure to end two years of political violence.

The United States today welcomed changes to the press law but warned Mugabe
that "smart sanctions" were still an option.

"We think it's another tragic example of President Mugabe's increasingly
authoritarian rule, his government's apparent determination to repress
freedom of speech and dissent," said State Department spokesman Richard

"We're still talking to other countries. We're still considering what we can
do, and we're still watching very closely developments in Zimbabwe."

Mugabe has tightened the screws on opposition to his 22-year rule, as he
faces the toughest-ever challenge to his presidency from Morgan Tsvangirai,
leader of the two-year-old Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The MDC says more than 90 of its supporters have died in political violence
blamed on pro-government militants.

Hundreds of thousands of people have suffered beatings and other forms of
torture, including rape, according to the MDC and rights groups.

By Griffin Shea

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Daily News

Bill splits Zanu PF

1/23/02 7:57:15 AM (GMT +2)

By Sandra Nyaira Political Editor

WHAT has been called "Moyo's Bill", the controversial Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Bill, had Zanu PF developing cold feet for the
second time in one week after major disagreements over the proposed law in
the party's parliamentary caucus yesterday.

The Bill intends to ban foreign journalists from working permanently in the
country, muzzle the independent media and make it impossible for the Press
to access public information.

In an unprecedented move, the Leader of the House, Patrick Chinamasa,
yesterday adjourned Parliament after a record short five minutes soon after
the Deputy Speaker, Edna Madzongwe, had led MPs in prayer.

Chinamasa did not mention the Bill which has been described by the media as
draconian and fascist. Instead, he announced his intention to suspend
Standing Rules and Orders today to allow the free passage of the benign
Rural Electrification Bill today, amid howls of disapproval from opposition

Sources in Zanu PF said earlier, Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of State for
Information and Publicity, had been repeatedly denounced by fellow Zanu PF
MPs during the caucus for trying to settle personal scores with individual
journalists through the Bill.

It is believed the Bill was put aside in order to avoid imminent sanctions
by the European Union (EU), which has given the government a deadline to
commit itself to Press freedom. The postponement of the Bill, sources said,
was a silent capitulation to that particular demand from the EU.

A Zanu PF insider said: "Normally a Bill is supposed to have at least five
amendments, but this one has 36 amendments and this has never happened
before in the history of this House."

The Bill, meant to unfairly boost President Mugabe's re-election chances,
has received worldwide condemnation, with most Zanu PF MPs
refusing to endorse it.

Eddison Zvobgo, a Zanu PF MP and chairman of the parliamentary legal
committee, is said to have advised Moyo and Chinamasa not to ram the Bill
down the MPs' throats.

Zvobgo is said to have advised his colleagues to buy time through the Rural
Electrification Bill to give MPs and the parliamentary legal committee time
to study proposed amendments to the Bill.

Zvobgo is said to have led the Zanu PF MPs in shooting down the Bill in the
face of a visibly angry Moyo, who was only supported by Kadoma MP Paul

Mangwana, who was standing in for Chinamasa during the Zanu PF caucus
meeting, is the Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

Moyo was told the Bill would not increase Zanu PF's chances in the
presidential election. Despite the amendments, the Bill has retained some of
its original clauses which curtail freedom of the Press.

Criticising President Mugabe, outlawed under the original Bill, has now been
removed. But it remains an offence because a similar clause is enshrined in
the Public Order and Security Bill, which Parliament passed last week.

Foreign media houses will be allowed to establish offices in Zimbabwe, but
they will be required to employ locals or permanent residents.

Under the amendments, journalists and media houses will not be required to
get licences from Moyo. Journalists will only be accredited by a Media
Commission, while media houses will only need registration.

Outside Parliament, some Zanu PF MPs yesterday blasted Moyo for trying to
abuse Parliament by bringing before it legislation meant to settle his
personal vendettas against some sections of the media. The disgruntled MPs
were discussing openly with journalists outside Parliament soon after the
House adjourned yesterday.

"We told him this morning that his Bill contained dangerous intentions to
discredit the government and our party. It is not a piece of law that can be
passed by any humane government. We refused to be part of his war against
some sections of the media. This is Moyo's Bill," a Zanu PF MP said.

Before the adjournment, another Zanu PF MP spoke to journalists before
entering the House, saying: "This Bill will affect your livelihood. Come in
and witness the demise of your careers. You are going to lose jobs, but we
have tried by all means to ensure that it does not happen."

A dejected Moyo left Parliament in a huff and was trailed by four
journalists from the State-controlled Ziana, The Sunday Mail and The Herald
with The Sunday Mail political editor Munyaradzi Huni leading the pack.

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Daily News

Anthrax ruled out, mystery powder unknown

1/23/02 8:27:52 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

THE Ministry of Health and Child Welfare is still to name the bacteria found
on some envelopes at the Causeway Post Office two weeks ago.

Tests have now proved that the envelopes, one of which was addressed to
Jonathan Moyo, the junior Minister in the Department of Information and
Publicity, did not contain anthrax spores as earlier speculated by The
Herald and the ZBC.

Dr Stanley Midzi, the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare's deputy director
of Disease Prevention and Control, said they were still to identify the

"There is no joy from the laboratory," he said. "We might have to look for
another type of carpet lith so that we can find out which bacteria it is."

Two postal workers fell ill after handling the white powder in the
envelopes, intercepted at the post office.

John Nkomo, the Minister of Home Affairs, later claimed that the suspected
anthrax attack was perpetrated by MDC and ex-Rhodesian activists opposed to
the controversial land reform programme.

The MDC dismissed Nkomo's claim as baseless

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The Australian

Downer to urge Zimbabwe expulsion
By Ian Henderson, Political correspondent
January 23, 2002

ALEXANDER Downer will be a key player at a London meeting next week that
will consider the expulsion of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth.

The Foreign Minister will join his counterparts from seven other member
nations to set the scene for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on
the Sunshine Coast in early March.

Mr Downer has called for decisive Commonwealth action in response to the
draconian security and electoral laws imposed by Zimbabwean President Robert

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, chaired by Botswana's Foreign
Minister, Mompati Merafhe, will consider whether Zimbabwe is living up to
the 1991 Harare Declaration, which requires Commonwealth members to uphold
the rule of law, respect for human rights, democracy and freedom of the

CMAG is likely to suspend Zimbabwe's membership of the Commonwealth or
recommend that CHOGM suspend it.

Australia, Britain and Canada believe Zimbabwe's situation falls well short
of the standards set by the declaration.

If CMAG opts for a hard line, amid violent clashes between militant
followers of Mr Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
Zimbabwe will not be invited to CHOGM.

Leaders of the 54-member Commonwealth had been scheduled to meet in Brisbane
late last year but that gather ing was postponed after several prime
ministers, notably Britain's Tony Blair, decided to remain at home as the
war against terrorism began.

Just how significant the issue of Zimbabwe is at the Coolum gathering will
depend on the decisions of CMAG.

But Mr Mugabe's responses to any CMAG decisions could raise or lower the
temperature surrounding his country's future. On one hand, he might try to
defy any expulsion move and turn up at Coolum, to the potential
embarrassment of other participants. On the other, given that voting in
Zimbabwe's election takes place within days of CHOGM, Mr Mugabe might opt to
stay at home.

Zimbabwe is virtually certain to dominate public and private discussions in
Coolum, but global terrorism will also be high on the agenda.

While in London Mr Downer will chair the meeting of a second small group of
Commonwealth foreign ministers, aiming to finalise a plan of action to
combat international terrorism.

CHOGM members will be encouraged to strengthen Commonwealth activities
against terrorism.

In the informal atmosphere that pervades much of the biennial CHOGM,
Commonwealth leaders will, as usual, ponder the future of the organisation
itself, its structure and its potential role in international affairs.

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Party rebel puts Mugabe media curb on hold
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 17/01/2002)

A MEDIA Bill intended by President Robert Mugabe to silence his critics was
put on hold yesterday after a revolt in parliament from within the ranks of
his own Zanu-PF party.

Dr Edison Zvobgo, a Zanu-PF founder who heads the parliamentary legal
committee, delayed the second reading of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Bill by being "unavailable" to present a report on the
Bill to parliament.

The block appeared to have forced the government to consider amending the
Bill, which has been widely criticised for its threat to jail journalists if
they breach a "code of conduct", before it comes before the house again next

It was the second time in two days that Dr Zvobgo, a key member of
parliament, had obstructed the will of his leader. Under the constitution,
Dr Zvobgo's committee must vet Bills before they are put to a second vote.

On Tuesday his committee said an amendment to labour legislation, which
would have outlawed strikes and trade unions if they were seen to hurt the
economy, was in conflict with freedom of association provisions in the

Yesterday, the media Bill, which would have outlawed independent and foreign
journalists not approved by the government, did not appear on the order
paper as expected.

Political sources in Harare said that Dr Zvobgo and his committee would have
found many clauses within the media Bill unconstitutional.

Speaking in parliament, Patrick Chinamasa, Mr Mugabe's justice minister,
said: "After some lengthy consultations with objective-minded media
organisations and the deliberation with honourable members on my side, I
have suggested some amendments to the Access to Information and Privacy
Bill." Parliament was adjourned until Tuesday.

Zanu-PF lobbyists are expected to try to strike a deal with Dr Zvobgo to
submit his report if some of the Bill's more robust clauses are withdrawn.

Dr John Makumbe, a political analyst, said: "They are in a bind but,
remember, the president can rule by decree and that Bill, and the amendments
to labour legislation, can still be put into law, and Zanu-PF needs them
ahead of the elections."

President Mugabe faces the strongest challenge yet to his 22-year rule from
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
in March's presidential elections.

David Coltart, the shadow justice minister, said yesterday: "Zanu PF want
these Bills pushed through, that's why they have adjourned until Tuesday,
presumably so they can work on Zvobgo."

Dr Zvobgo was one of the founders of Zanu-PF, and its main legal negotiator
at the Lancaster House talks in 1979 which led to Zimbabwe's independence.

In recent years he fell out with Mr Mugabe because he criticised the way the
party was run, particularly in his province, Masvingo, south of Harare. He
was dropped from the cabinet and from the politburo but is on record as
saying he would never leave Zanu-PF.

Several key members of Zanu-PF were absent from parliament on key voting
days in the past few weeks, including Simba Makoni, the finance minister who
chose to spend time on his farm instead.

Meanwhile, there are shortages of maize meal, the staple food, for a second
week, with most rural shops having run out.

Political sources said Mr Mugabe's cabinet is panicking as it realises that
there is no way maize meal can be brought into Zimbabwe from South Africa
within three weeks.

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Mugabe press bill invites sanctions

Chris McGreal and Andrew Meldrum in Harare
Wednesday January 23, 2002
The Guardian

Robert Mugabe has virtually guaranteed that international sanctions will be
imposed on Zimbabwe by pressing ahead with draconian legislation allowing
his government to ban newspapers and stop journalists reporting.
The government party, Zanu-PF, resubmitted its press bill to parliament
yesterday with only minor changes, five days after it said it would revise
it following a storm of foreign and domestic criticism.

At the time Mr Mugabe assured southern African leaders that Zimbabwe's
lively independent press would be allowed to continue to publish. But the
revised bill gives the information minister the power to decide who may work
as a reporter and which newspapers may publish.

A clause which made it an offence to spread "fear and despondency has been
dropped, but the bill retains the offence of spreading "rumours or
falsehoods under the guise of authentic reports".

Foreigners with residence permits will be allowed to work as reporters, but
only with the information minister's approval.

The decision to press ahead with this bill, on the heals of tough new
security and election laws which are widely seen as part of the govern
ment's strategy to steal the presidential election in March, will reinforce
demands for the EU and Commonwealth to impose selected sanctions on
Zimbabwe's leaders.

The two organisations meet separately next week.

But the president's more immediate concern is to force the legislation
through parliament today.

Mr Mugabe is so concerned about the unrest in Zanu-PF provoked by the bill
and the other new laws - one effectively bans the right to strike - that he
dispatched party whips to harangue MPs yesterday.

The government was forced to withdraw its original press bill after a revolt
in parliament last week led by Eddison Zvobgo, once one of Mr Mugabe's
closest allies, now a key obstacle to his re-election.

Fifteen years ago Mr Zvobgo, a Harvard-trained lawyer, rewrote the
constitution to give sweeping new powers to the president. For a long time
he was seen as likely to succeed Mr Mugabe, but his undisguised ambition led
to a rift.

In September 2000 Mr Zvobgo attacked the government's seizure of white-owned
farms, saying: "We have tainted what was a glorious revolution, reducing it
to some agrarian racist enterprise. We have behaved as if the world owes us
a living. It does not."

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Business Day

Media bill delay may be warning to Mugabe

Flawed' bill inspires virtually unheard of dissent from Zanu (PF)
Harare Correspondent

DISSENT is growing within President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF) party
over Draconian media laws designed to muzzle the press and suppress
information ahead of the presidential election in March.

In the first sign of cracks in Mugabe's own party as the presidential
election approaches, the government failed again yesterday for the second
time in a week to introduce in parliament the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Bill in the face of mounting resistance in cabinet and

The bill, along with several other pieces of repressive legislation, has
been severely criticised internationally since it was first publicised. An
amended bill, which eases proposed curbs to press freedom ever so slightly,
was released yesterday.

In the short term, yesterday's delay hinders efforts by Jonathan Moyo,
Mugabe's information minister and staunch ally, to gag the media. But in the
medium term the delay, caused by opposition from Zanu (PF) MPs to the media
laws, shows Mugabe's grip is loosening and that he faces a tough campaign
for re-election.

Moyo is an unelected MP appointed by Mugabe.

Leader of the House Patrick Chinamasa was forced to delay debate on the bill
for the second time yesterday because of heightening opposition within Zanu
(PF) an unheard of occurrence in Zimbabwean politics to the legislation that
even party members described as Draconian and "fundamentally flawed".

In a key setback to Mugabe's efforts to suppress challenges to his rule
ahead of the election, official sources said the bill was held back after a
Zanu (PF) caucus meeting yesterday morning at which MPs refused to be
whipped into line by Moyo.

The move to frustrate Moyo's legislative efforts is seen as a rare act of
defiance against Mugabe.

The caucus refusal to endorse the law shows the extent of the dissent within
Zanu (PF) over Mugabe's rule. This first emerged with opposition to the
Labour Relations Amendment Bill, which sought to outlaw strikes, by
parliament's legal affairs committee, chaired by Eddison Zvobgo, Mugabe's
fiercest rival.

But this week, in a confidential document, the parliamentary communications
committee also came out against the media bill. Though chaired by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the committee is dominated,
like all others, by Zanu (PF) MPs. It not clear when the amended bill will
be introduced. Sources said it contained 39 amendments.

Zvobgo's legal affairs committee will examine it before another attempt is
made to squeeze it through the House.

Zvobgo is said to have indicated it would be futile for government to push
the bill through in its current form because ruling party legislators would
not support it. Sources said there were internal dynamics in Zanu (PF)
causing the ruction.

Sources said another problem was the bad blood between Zvobgo, and allies
Moyo and Mugabe. The rivalry got worse two years ago during the abortive
government-sponsored Constitutional Commission of Inquiry. Moyo clashed with
Zvobgo over the reform exercise and their relations have since been

Moyo is Mugabe's adherent while Zvobgo has literally become the president's

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Delay sparks speculation over Zanu-PF split

Owen Gibson
Tuesday January 22, 2002

Zimbabwe's government has postponed a parliamentary debate on President
Mugabe's controversial media bill, prompting speculation that his own party
is divided over whether the legislation should be forced through.

Debate on the bill, which would bar foreign correspondents, including the
Guardian's Andrew Meldrum, from the country and impose new penalties for
reporting that would cause "alarm and despondency", was due to begin today.

Zimbabwean justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, adjourned parliament until
tomorrow and did not say when the media bill would be brought back before
the house.

The proposed access to information and protection of privacy bill has
provoked furious criticism from media groups both in Zimbabwe and abroad.

Some of the government's supporters also feel that forcing the bill through
would reduce Mugabe's chances of victory in the upcoming election.

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The Independent (UK)

Mugabe's allies revolt over press freedom law
By Basildon Peta in Harare
23 January 2002
The Zimbabwean President faced a rebellion by some of his closest allies
yesterday when they refused to endorse a media law that seeks to stifle
criticism of Robert Mugabe and shut down the free press.

The unexpected revolt in the ruling party's caucus, which could be a turning
point for Mr Mugabe, forced the government to postpone the adoption of the
Bill for the second time in less than a week.

The delay came after many MPs in the Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), the ruling party, broke ranks by saying
they were opposed to Mr Mugabe's Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Bill, whose restrictive clauses have sparked worldwide protests.

The Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, had promised that the Bill would be
approved, but yesterday he suddenly adjourned parliament without indicating
when the measures would be considered next.

There was immediate speculation that Mr Mugabe might bow to international
pressure, and that the Bill might be permanently shelved. But analysts
cautioned that the recalcitrant MPs might yet be brought into line by Mr
Mugabe and forced to push through the Bill or face serious consequences.

Even among the President's cronies, the Bill is viewed as the worst of the
repressive legislation passed by Zimbabwe's parliament before the
presidential election this March.

A Zanu-PF legislator who attended the caucus meeting said: "We are sick and
tired of being used to pass repressive laws aimed at entrenching Mugabe's
hold on power while the masses are suffering. We would rather spend time
campaigning for Mugabe in our constituencies so that he wins a free and fair
election, instead of being used to rubber-stamp laws that violate
constitutional rights."

The proposed law would impose stiff jail sentences on Zimbabwean journalists
criticising President Mugabe, and require them to apply for annual licences.
It would also ban foreign journalists from working in the country or
publishing stories that cause "fear, alarm and despondency".

The parliamentary committee responsible for scrutinising Bills and making
recommendations to parliament rejected the media law as unconstitutional
last week, forcing the Justice Minister to postpone consideration while
amendments were drafted.

Yesterday the MPs said that despite some 36 amendments the Bill was still too
restrictive, and differed little from the one they had rejected.

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14:33 2002-01-16

Robert Gabriel Mugabe, the 77-year-old incumbent President of Zimbabwe, epitomises everything which has gone wrong in Africa over the past five decades.
Using a Fascist and dictatorial style, he is an anachronism in the 21st Century. His manic and senseless policies have systematically led what was once a rich country to ruin and now his agrarian policy is set to become a lasting disaster, as the one remaining staple of Zimbabwe s economy is destroyed.
With an election looming, there have been numerous reports of suppression of political opponents, including beatings and threats, while Mugabe himself declares that the members of opposition parties are terrorists.
Now, arriving at Blantyre, the capital of Malawi, for the Southern African Development Community summit, he declared that Britain s Prime Minister Tony Blair wants his own version of colonialism but we will resist this .
The only reason why Mugabe will allow international observers at the elections on 10th March is because so much pressure was put on him by the European Union, the Commonwealth and the United States of America.
The President of neighbouring Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano, declares that he is worried by the fact that the heads of Zimbabwe’s armed forces have expressed their total support for Mugabe remaining in power, because this hints that they would be opposed to the democratic election of the main opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai.
Draconian measures taken against the Media have done nothing to alleviate the suspicion that Mugabe will do whatever he can to rig the elections and thereafter proceed with a brutal clampdown on the opposition party members.
Mugabe is not needed by his people or by Africa. It is hoped that the international observers will be allowed to carry out their work unhindered while his people vote him swiftly out of office, before this fascist is tried for his crimes and sentenced.

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Journalists unite as threat to freedom grows

In the first of a series of regular columns, Andrew Meldrum, the Guardian's Zimbabwe correspondent, reports on Robert Mugabe's attempts to pass draconian laws restricting the media

Wednesday January 23, 2002

Andrew Meldrum
Andrew Meldrum

7am: Start the day with a sense of dread. The state radio and television broadcast announcements calling for all Zanu-PF members of parliament to go to a caucus meeting in the morning and attend parliament in the afternoon. Also today, President Mugabe is addressing the Zanu-PF politburo.

Clearly Mugabe is trying to galvanize support for the access to information and protection of privacy bill. If it is passed the country's lively independent press will be forced to close down. Most likely, I will be forced to leave the country.

10am: Inflation rises to 112%. The government's central statistical office releases figures that confirm what everybody feels - prices are going sky high. And even with such inflation, staple foods are hard to get. Supermarkets do not have maize meal, cooking oil or sugar, which are staples in the average Zimbabwean's diet. No control of the press can hide that.

11am: Talk with other journalists at news agencies and from local papers. The only good thing to come out of the threat of this press bill is the solidarity forged among Zimbabwean and foreign journalists. We all see the bill as unacceptable. We stood together in a vigil at parliament until police dispersed us. And we worked together on a protest petition, which we presented to parliament. We say we will challenge the bill in court as unconstitutional and we will defy the law by continuing to work as usual.

2.15pm: Members of parliament, journalists, diplomats and interested members of public file into the house of assembly. Within five minutes parliament is adjourned. I mill about and find some MPs, who tell me the press bill has 36 amendments and the legal committee must study them before it can be submitted to parliament on Wednesday.

2.45pm: No one has a list of the amendments but I find an MP, who is on the legal committee, and he lends me his to make a copy. Soon three Zimbabwean journalists and I are scanning the amendments and getting copies made. We find the bill essentially the same, with a few minor changes. One of the biggest changes is that foreign journalists with permanent residence status are eligible to be accredited. It means I may be able to stay and work in Zimbabwe.

5pm-7pm: Work on story for the Guardian about the amendments. It really seems the thrust of the bill remains unchanged. It puts heavy restrictions on journalists and newspapers and it gives the minister of information and his media commission sweeping powers to give accreditation and to take it away. In other words, they have the authority to determine which journalists can work and which newspapers can print. It is clearly against Zimbabwe's constitution and it will be interesting to see what the parliamentary legal committee decides to say about the revised bill.

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