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

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            Commonwealth won't give up on Zimbabwe
            January 23, 2004, 05:11 PM

            Olusegen Obasanjo, the Nigerian President, has pledged that the
Commonwealth will continue with its bid to resolve Zimbabwe's problems,
despite the fact the troubled country quit the group after last month's
stormy meeting in which the Zimbabwe's suspension was extended.

            During a visit to the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, the
new Commonwealth chairperson also welcomed the prospect of talks between the
government and opposition. "Then we have left. We will have left the realms
of conjecture and promises and come back to what I call the realms of action
and reality," Obasanjo said.

            Obasanjo was at the Commonwealth's London headquarters to
discuss his two-year chairpersonship, but his press conference with Don
McKinnon, the secretary-general, was dominated by Zimbabwe. McKinnon said
any such talks would be necessary for Zimbabwe to be welcomed again in the
commonwealth family.

            While Zimbabwe remains out in the cold, Obasanjo said the
commonwealth would continue to remain engaged with the country. He also
weighed in on a current controversy in Britain, where the England Cricket
Board is debating whether to tour Zimbabwe later this year. Cricket
authorities in London have indicated they have moral objections to such a
visit. "I don't believe that anyone will do anything to punish, as such, the
ordinary people of Zimbabwe," Obasanjo said.

            After the divisions caused by the Commonwealth's statement on
Zimbabwe in Abuja last month, Obasanjo admitted part of his role as new
chairperson would be to play the role of peacemaker.
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      Pressure grows for Zimbabwe talks

      One of the key mediators in Zimbabwe's political impasse has said that
the government and opposition have agreed to hold formal talks.
      Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo echoed comments made on Thursday
by his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki.

      However, the opposition MDC say they are not aware of any change in
President Robert Mugabe's position.

      Mr Mugabe has always insisted that the MDC must accept his 2002
re-election, which they have challenged in court.

      "I believe that when they get to talking together formally it should
not be too difficult for them to arrive at some agreement," Mr Obasanjo said
in London.

      Human rights

      Don McKinnon, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth said the
organisation required "substantive talks" between the MDC and Mr Mugabe's
government before Zimbabwe could be readmitted.

      Zimbabwe pulled out of the grouping of former British colonies last
December after the Commonwealth extended its suspension due to human rights

      Mr Mbeki and Mr Obasanjo have been leading attempts to solve
Zimbabwe's political deadlock

      But Zanu-PF external affairs secretary Didymus Mutasa on Thursday told
BBC News Online: "The only contact we have had is at parliament, where we
shout at each other."

      MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube said they had not dropped their
legal challenge. About the prospect of talks, he said: "If it is true, we
would welcome it."

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Sunday Times (SA)

Zimbabwe urged to release food stockpile

Friday January 23, 2004 15:14 - (SA)

The U.N. food agency has urged President Robert Mugabe's government to
release 240,000 tons of maize it has reportedly stockpiled to help feed
millions of hungry Zimbabweans.

"There is currently a big shortage of food," said Kevin Farrell, the World
Food Programme's country director in Zimbabwe.

WFP is feeding about 3.5 million of the most vulnerable in the
drought-stricken country, which is also in the throws of political and
economic turmoil.

But the agency expects the number of people requiring food aid to climb to
more than 5.5 million as the country enters its traditional "lean season",
in which rural granaries become depleted ahead of March and April harvests.

While the agency has secured commitments from donors for 85 percent of the
450,000 tons of commodities it asked for in April, it still fears more than
1 million hungry Zimbabweans could go without assistance, WFP spokesman Mike
Huggins said in Johannesburg.

The state-run Herald newspaper reported Dec. 30 that the government's Grain
Marketing Board, which has a monopoly over local sales of most staple foods,
has collected 240,000 tons of maize this season.

The United Nations has written to the government in the past week to ask
that it release this food into the marketplace to help alleviate acute
shortages, Farrell said in Johannesburg.

While most food items are available on the black market, prices are
increasing even faster than the nearly 600 percent official inflation rate,
putting many basics out of the reach of many Zimbabweans, he said.

Zimbabwe officials have not yet responded to the WFP request and could not
immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

Zimbabwe is facing its worst political and economic crisis since
independence from Britain in 1980, with record unemployment, rampant
inflation and acute shortages of food, gasoline and other essentials.

The often violent seizure of thousands of white owned farms for
redistribution to blacks, coupled with erratic rains, have crippled the
agriculture of a nation that was once a regional bread basket.

Foreign loans, development aid and investment have dried up in protest
against human rights and civil liberties abuses.

WFP was forced to cut its maize meal rations by half at the end of last year
because of insufficient donations.

While those rations are back to size, the agency has now run out of oil and
pulses for Zimbabwe.


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Sunday Times (SA)

Americans urged to consider leaving Zimbabwe

Friday January 23, 2004 11:56 - (SA)

WASHINGTON - The United States has urged Americans to consider leaving
Zimbabwe, warning that the ongoing political, economic and humanitarian
crises could have a serious impact on security there.

"Zimbabwe is in the midst of political, economic, and humanitarian crises
with serious implications for the security situation in the country," the
State Department said in a statement.

"All US citizens in Zimbabwe are urged to take those measures they deem
appropriate to ensure their wellbeing, including consideration of departure
from the country," it added.

Crime has surged because of the nation's economic collapse, with extremely
high rates of unemployment and inflation, while about half the country's
population faces food shortages and possibly famine, the statement said.

"The humanitarian crisis is expected to worsen in coming months and may lead
to unrest and possible large-scale migration of Zimbabweans to urban or
border areas, with further disruption and an increase in crime and
instability," it said.

Fuel shortages have hindered travel within the country, and the State
Department said commercial farms should be avoided entirely because of the
threat of violence by settlers or self-styled war veterans, "who are
typically young government supporters acting with impunity outside the law".


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Mail and Guardian

Zimbabwe govt moves to gag Daily News


      23 January 2004 07:53

Zimbabwe's popular independent Daily News -- a fierce critic of President
Robert Mugabe's government -- hit the stands on Thursday four months after
it was shut down by authorities but the government moved swiftly to close it

The Daily News paper published 100 000 copies of a thin eight-page edition
that was quickly snapped up by curious and excited readers.

Some, unsure of the consequences of being seen reading a paper that has
attracted the wrath of the government, were seen reading the issue hidden
inside the bigger state-run Herald newspaper.

"The majority of people are happy. (The paper) was bought like fresh meat
versus rotten meat," said a woman who gave her name only as Zvaitwa, not
wanting to be identified.

"I saw police and army (military) officers, many of them, buying the paper,
folding it and quickly hiding it in their stockings because they dare not be
seen reading that paper," she said.

But the government on Thursday filed urgent applications in the High Court
seeking to stop the paper from continuing to publish, according to the
paper's legal advisor.

Gugulethu Moyo said the media commission, which is responsible for licensing
journalists and their papers, filed "an urgent interdict ... to stop our

In addition, she said the minister of information, Jonathan Moyo, had filed
a separate application in the High Court to have the Daily News and its
sister Sunday paper declared illegal.

"The main basis of his argument is that the ANZ (parent company Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe) is using unaccredited journalists," she told AFP.

The paper, which had been operating since early 1999, was forcibly closed by
the authorities last September because it had failed to register with a
state-appointed media commission set up by Mugabe after he was re-elected in
controversial polls in March 2002.

The paper had battled since September to get permission to resume
publishing. Five court rulings have been issued in favour of the paper since

The orders were largely ignored with the police vacating the premises
briefly before returning.

The latest uninterrupted occupation of the paper's printing works by the
police started on December 19 until Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the High Court in Harare again ordered police out of the
paper's printing works, the third such order issued in just over a month.

That time, the police complied with the order, leaving the way open for the
newspaper's presses to start rolling.

Observers had earlier Thursday expressed scepticism at the resumption of the
operations and how long they could last.

Law lecturer and rights activist Lovemore Madhuku said it would be a
"welcome surprise" if the authorities allowed it to continue operating.

"My own suspicions are that something will happen. I think they are still
planning, and I don't think they will let go just like that," said Madhuku.

"It would be uncharacteristic of the regime."

Thursday's issue was only the second of the Daily News to appear since
September 12, when police raided the paper's premises and shut it down.

The previous issue was published on October 24 after the country's
administrative court ordered that the media commission allow the paper to
register and resume publishing.

None of the state-run media mentioned the Daily News's return to newsstands
on Thursday.

On whether the paper planned to publish on Friday in the light of the
pending litigation, the legal advisor said: "They (government) don't have
any orders yet", suggesting they would proceed to publish.

The applications are set to be heard Friday.

The tabloid was Zimbabwe's best-selling daily with a readership of 900 000
prior to its forced closure.

The government has accused the paper of being a mouthpiece of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Its journalists were frequently
arrested over their stories, and its printing press was bombed in 2001. -

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The Guardian

Zimbabwe situation 'bleak', warns Straw

Press Association
Friday January 23, 2004

The Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has warned the English Cricket Board that
the political situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated since England refused


play a World Cup match in Harare last year in protest at Robert Mugabe's
regime and through safety fears.
In a letter sent to the ECB, Mr Straw claims "the situation in Zimbabwe is
bleak, and is deteriorating", and adds that "hunger is widespread, largely
as a result of the disastrous policies of the Zimbabwe regime."

Straw advises that "it is the Government's view that the overall situation
in Zimbabwe is worse today than it was during the cricket World Cup last

"The EU, the US and others maintain targeted restrictive measures against
leading members of the Zimbabwean regime, and the UK has taken a leading
role on this issue.

"You may wish to consider whether a high profile England cricket tour at
this time is consistent with that approach," he concludes.

That advice has prompted the ECB to postpone any decision about the proposed
tour and it will instead debate a report by board member Des Wilson, which
sets out a "framework for decision-making" on whether to tour troubled

That debate will take place at next week's management board meeting, after
which the ECB will instruct its executive committee to analyse the financial
and cricketing implications of a possible postponement of the tour.

The ICC have already warned England this week after the contents of Wilson's
report were leaked that they could face sanctions if the tour is postponed
for anything other than "security and safety reasons".
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The Australian

England delay Zimbabwe decision
From correspondents in London
January 24, 2004
ENGLAND cricket officials today said they had delayed making a decision on
whether to tour Zimbabwe later this year because they want to study the
advice of the British government.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had set a deadline of next
Thursday to decide whether to go ahead with the November tour or bow to
pressure to pull out because of international concerns over the regime of
President Robert Mugabe.

But in the light of a report published by senior ECB official Des Wilson
earlier this week concluding that England would be justified in withdrawing
from the tour on moral grounds, the ECB announced it needed more time to
make its decision.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has urged English cricket chiefs to
reconsider the tour.

In a letter to the ECB, Straw drew attention to the "appalling human rights
situation" in Zimbabwe and added: "The situation in Zimbabwe is worse today
than it was during the World Cup last year."

England promised to tour Zimbabwe in exchange for the Zimbabweans visiting
England in 2003. That tour had been in doubt after England pulled out of a
World Cup match in Harare in February.

The ECB management board now plan a full debate on Wilson's report at next
Thursday's meeting before passing on their views to the Executive Board,
which will analyse the possible implications for English cricket should they
decide to withdraw from the tour.

"The decision the Management Board will have to take is a very difficult one
and involves balancing a whole range of factors," said Tim Lamb, the ECB's
chief executive.

"We must do this decision justice and the management board feel they need a
little more time to make a thoroughly informed decision.

"Obviously, the Government's explicit view on the tour will be carefully
considered and we're pleased to have it."

England's decision to reconsider the tour brought an angry reaction from the
game's governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), which has
warned that England could face legal action and possible compensation
payments if they pull out on political grounds. There is however a precedent
set by India, who have in recent years been unable to tour Pakistan because
of orders from their government.

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"Green Bombers" deserting poor conditions in camps

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

HARARE, 23 Jan 2004 (IRIN) - Some volunteers to the Zimbabwe government's
controversial youth service programme are deserting because of the poor
conditions and allegations of brutality, according to former recruits and
human rights NGOs.

Twenty-year old Brighton Mukunga says he is a bitter man. He finished his
A-Level studies two years ago and although he passed well, he could not
obtain a place in college to do journalism, the career he had always wanted
to pursue.

Six months ago he met an old schoolmate, now attending college, who said he
had only managed to secure a place after undergoing a national youth service

"Even though I had heard about the youth training centres, I never wanted to
join them because I had been told so many negative things about them.
However, because I was desperate to get into college, I joined one of the
training camps, since it had become difficult to get a place without a
certificate from the youth service programme," Mukunga told IRIN.

But he had ran away after only two weeks of training. "The situation at that
camp was terrible - so much so that I resolved I would rather roam the
streets than be in that hell."

Despite the youth brigade training centres experiencing a host of problems,
the government has indicated its intention to establish more camps, while
analysts say the centres are not sustainable because they were not properly
planned for.

The first centre, the Border Gezi training camp in Mount Darwin, about 90 km
north of Harare, was set up in 2001 and was quickly followed by four more in
Matebeleland North, Mutare in Manicaland, Kamativi in Mashonaland West and
Zvishavane in the Midlands province.

The youth brigade camps have churned out several thousand graduates, who
have come to be popularly known as "Green Bombers", because of the colour of
their uniform. Many youths join because some colleges apparently give
preference to those who have undergone training. The civil service also
prefers graduates.

But the centres have reportedly been plagued by desertions, acute food
shortages and squalid living conditions.

The government has argued that the training programme, for those aged
between 10 and 30 years, is meant to instill national pride, while equipping
the youth with vocational skills.

Instead, according to testimonies from graduates and human rights groups,
the training courses emphasise military drill and the doctrines of the
ruling ZANU-PF party.

David Chimhini, a human rights proponent and chairman of the Zimbabwe Civic
Education Trust (Zimcet), charges that the "quasi-military camps ... were
set up, not to promote patriotism as the government claims, but to ensure
the survival of ZANU-PF. In the frenzy to churn out militias, whose main
purpose is to terrorise perceived enemies and members of the political
opposition, the government forgot to set up proper structures to ensure
permanence and durability of the programme."

Graduates from the training centres have often been accused of mounting
terror campaigns against opponents of the ruling party.


Mukunga described the conditions he experienced at Mushagashe training
centre in Zvishavane.

"One night, I silently packed my bag, threw it over a fence and fled from
the training centre. I knew that if I got caught, I would be in trouble with
the instructors, but I could not take any more of it. We had gone for a
whole week surviving on porridge, which was extremely rationed. When I
arrived, senior trainees told me that they used to receive two meals a day,
but supplies had run out because there was no money to buy more supplies,"
he said.

"I was told that the ministry (of youth, gender and employment creation) had
exhausted its budget and it was proving difficult to get an additional vote
because the government did not have the money. It had become a daily thing
to see recruits fainting on parade due to hunger."

Three days before he decided to run away, he was rushed to a local clinic,
suffering from dizziness and general exhaustion. He said several trainees
had to be sent home after falling seriously ill because the camp did not
have drugs or money to cover the medical expenses of those affected by

Mukunga said the shortage of food at Kamativi training centre was made worse
by the grueling military routines the trainees were made to undergo. "The
instructors would make us run for more than 10 km on empty stomachs, saying
that was to test our endurance. When we finished the road runs, we could
hardly lift our feet. I thought it was inhuman, considering that military
exercises [made up] most of the curriculum."

The pro-government newspaper, the Daily Mirror, recently reported that
hunger at Mushagashe was forcing recruits to steal and slaughter cattle from
neighbouring farms. The paper quoted an unnamed police officer confirming
that they had opened several dockets against some of the youths for
reportedly stealing foodstuffs from the farms, or raiding nearby shops and
coercing the owners to give them food.

The barracks they were living in were rundown. "When it rained, the roofs
leaked and we were forced to huddle in a corner," said Mukunga.

But a senior instructor at Mushagashe, who identified himself as Comrade
Sam, said the situation at his training camp was normal. "It is only those
who would have proved to be too weak who spread lies about our training
programme," he said. "We test the recruits for endurance, and anyone who
thinks he is coming here for a picnic should forget it."

He denied that trainees were being taught terror tactics.

Chimhini said Zimcet was obtaining testimony from a significant number of
former trainees, including girls who had faced systematic sexual abuse in
the camps.

"I have received harrowing accounts from girls who were forced to have
sexual relations with officials at the centres. The girls say they are
promised food, and preferential treatment and jobs after finishing
training," he told IRIN.

In September last year the Solidarity Peace Trust observed that girls who
had joined the training camps were being victimised.

"Female youth militia have reported rape on a systematic basis in some
camps, involving girls as young as 11 years of age. Youth militia
pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, have been
reported as resulting from youth militia training experiences. Camp
instructors are commonly implicated as among the rapists. Some youth militia
show signs of severe depression and guilt as a result of what they have seen
and done," the NGO said in a statement.

Chimhini said some graduates who approached Zimcet were also concerned they
were also not being readily accepted by their communities, because of the
Green Bombers' reputation for brutality in the service of ZANU-PF.

ZANU-PF has also acknowledged that trainees face social reintegration
problems. At the party's annual conference in the city of Masvingo in
December last year, the ZANU-PF central committee admitted that some
graduates faced ridicule.

"In view of the [challenges they face] it is requested that the party and
government double their efforts to assist this category of graduates," said
a central committee report presented at the conference.

The committee reported that it was sponsoring student representative
councils at universities and colleges, so as to counter the party's


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Police Arrest Senior Agribank Officials

The Herald (Harare)

January 23, 2004
Posted to the web January 23, 2004


POLICE in Chinhoyi have arrested two senior Agricultural Development Bank of
Zimbabwe (Agribank) employees on allegations of stealing over $200 million
from a Government loan scheme meant to cushion farmers.

One of the employees whose name was supplied is believed to be an operations
manager and his deputy based at the Nelson Mandela branch was nabbed in
Chinhoyi on Monday.

Police also arrested a Chinhoyi teller of the same bank accused of tampering
with clients' accounts and fraudulently withdrawing money from individual
account holders.

At least six account holders were known to have made reports to the police.

They complained about "mysterious disappearance" of money from their

It is however, believed the three bank employees were abusing the soft loan
facility the Government extended through the bank.

They are understood to have faked application letters, processed and
approved the same and disbursed cash.

Police yesterday said they suspected more senior employees at Head Office
could be implicated in the scam -- the first involving money used to boost
the land reforms.

The bank's executives are expected to inspect the forms before loans are
approved. It is suspected they could have connived to defraud the bank and
the scheme.

The acting chief executive officer, Mr Levy Sithole yesterday denied there
were any fraud cases happening at his bank.

"The manager at that particular bank is on normal leave, but since you
mentioned there are such allegations, we will have to investigate the
cases," Mr Sithole said.

Police spokesman Inspector Andrew Phiri, however, said the three employees
are facing fraud charges and are expected in court soon.

"We are appealing to account holders to go and check their money at the
banks and report at their nearest police stations if they notice anything
amiss," Insp Phiri said.

It is believed on Monday, a police officer went to one Agribank branch
intending to withdraw his money amounting to $6 million.

All hell broke lose when the officer discovered there was no money in his

After the bank officials failed to explain what could have happened, the
officer reported the case to the police.

Five other account holders this month made similar reports after they found
their accounts empty.

Investigations carried out by the police serious fraud department have
revealed the money was stolen bet-ween September 2003 and January this year.

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Zifa Delegation to Gobble $356 Million

The Herald (Harare)

January 23, 2004
Posted to the web January 23, 2004

Fanuel Viriri

A HIGH-POWERED delegation of 35 Zifa councillors, including some ghost
councillors who are being paid back for their loyalty, is set to chew $356
million in hotel and airfare bills at the African Cup of Nations finals in

Reports yesterday indicated that eight councillors believed to have been
sympathetic to ousted chairman Vincent Pamire had been sidelined and a
number of ghost councillors brought in for the trip.

Women's football boss Susan Chibizhe, Aaron Munautsi, Nerius Chete, Ephraim
Hungwe, Benedict Moyo, Nelson Matongorere, Gladmore Muzambi and Tendai
Bwanya were sidelined.

Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association vice-president Eddie
Nyatanga will have to pay for his seat on the plane while the leader of the
other faction Simeon Jamanda is going for free in a shadowy role as
co-ordinator of the Nations Cup.

Jamanda has been one of the fiercest supporters of the new Zifa leadership.

Harare lawyer Misheck Hogwe, one of the most loyal supporters of the
Warriors who travelled to Mali, Malawi and Mauritania during the qualifying
campaign, has also been sidelined.

Women's football official Pauline Matute has been included on the list as a
Zifa councillor although she did not vote in the Council elections that
ushered Khan into power.

The sidelined councillors yesterday raised their complaint with the
Warriors' Trust who promised to investigate the matter.

The Zimbabwe delegation is scheduled to leave tonight.

If the delegation opts to stay in the cheapest hotels in the resort towns of
Sousse and Monastir they will gobble $155 million in hotel accommodation and
airfares, minus the cost of the meals.

Investigations have revealed that the football association will spend $87,5
million in airfares on economy class for the councillors.

The economy class to Tunisia is pegged at $2,5 million while the executive
class will cost $3 million and the business class is pegged at $4 million,
according to the new rates.

The councillors will be booked in hotels for a period of nine days - 26
January - 3 February, covering all the Warriors campaign matches.

The hotel rates in Sousse are pegged between US$50 ($192 000) to US$200 and
the Zifa delegation will be booked for five days in the town gobbling $134
million exclusive of the meals at the rate of US$200 ($768 000) per night.

The cheapest rooms cost $33,6 million for the same number of days.

There are five, four-star hotels in the resort town of Sousse - Coralia Club
Sousse, Occidental Allegro Abou Sofiane, Coralia Palm Beach and Chams El

The delegation will then travel to Monastir where they will stay for five
days before watching the Warriors match against Algeria on 3 February and
the rates for the hotels are the same as in Sousse and the councillors will
chew over $134,4 million.

If they opt for the cheapest hotels they will fork out $33,6 million in
hotel accommodation alone for five days.

There are five hotels in Monastir, Hotel les Palmiers, Coralia Club
Monastir, Hostel Houda Golf Beach Club, Skane Gardens and Iberodstar Shahara
Beach Hotel.

The Warriors are pencilled to lock horns with the Pharaohs of Egypt on
Sunday before engaging the defending champions Cameroon on 29 January and
wind up their campaign against the Desert Foxes of Algeria on 3 February in

Lazarus Mhurushomana, the acting Zifa chief executive, confirmed yesterday
that the football association would foot the expenses of the 35 councillors
to Tunisia.

Airfares have been subsidised by the Warriors Trust and they could have
forked out more money for the trip.

"I can confirm that 35 councillors are going to the Nations Cup. They are
leaving tomorrow (today) on a chartered flight," said Mhurushomana.

Mhurushomana quashed reports that some councillors who were sympathetic to
acting former chairman, Vincent Pamire were being sidelined for the trip.
The former Premiership chairman, Khan pipped Pamire 16-14 in the hotly
contested elections that split the councillors into two warring parties.

"I am not aware of those reports. I have not heard anything about some
councillors being discriminated.

"All the councillors are going according to the list that I have here," said

He could not comment on reports that the 35 councillors would receive some
daily allowances during their stay for the Nations Cup.

The chairman, Khan, his deputy Wyatt Mpofu, the Zifa chief executive
officer, Edgar Rogers, are travelling to the Nations Cup on a Confederation
of African Football ticket.

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Anguish, Anxiety Struck ANZ Staff

The Daily News (Harare)

January 23, 2004
Posted to the web January 23, 2004

Foster Dongozi

THE last four months at the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ),
publishers of the Daily News and its sister paper the Daily News on Sunday,
have been characterised by anguish and despair.

But a glimmer of hope still remained despite the government's initial
defiance of the Administrative Court and High Court rulings that the
country's most popular newspaper should resume publication.

Some time in November, I visited the Midlands capital of Gweru and met a
newspaper vendor who is living positively with HIV.

He poured out his heart to me, lamenting that his sole source of income was
selling copies of the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday.

"When is our newspaper coming back, my brother? I am HIV-positive and I have
a family to support. Do you think our own government wants us to suffer the
way we are doing?"

I could only shudder and told him that the courts had effectively given us
permission to publish and that we could only pray that the powers-that-be
would allow us to resume publishing.

"The Daily News has been sustaining many vulnerable families including
widows, widowers and orphans. But I know that God will not allow evil to
prevail," the income-less vendor said as he walked away.

Although staff of the ANZ remained on full salary during the four-month
closure of the nation's most popular newspaper, frustrations had begun to
creep in.

Exactly a month after the newspaper was shut down, I was judged News
Reporter of the Year and was rewarded with a return ticket to any of Air
Zimbabwe's international destinations.

I was also voted the Best Writer on Children and People with Disadvantages,
an award sponsored by the Premier Service Medical Aid Society.

I could only watch from the sidelines as other publications congratulated
their staffers who had won awards in other categories but did not mention my

Even when I attended an African Union of Journalists training programme for
journalists from the continent in Cairo, Egypt, I could only watch in envy
as other journalists excitedly filed stories to their newspapers following
the capture of former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein.

Daily News Editor Nqobile Nyathi said although she received a lot of support
from family and friends, being idle frustrated her.

"Just sitting around and doing nothing was very frustrating. You could surf
the Internet but after doing that for a while, reality would hit you that we
were not being allowed to publish."

Her sentiments were echoed by Deputy Editor John Gambanga, who said other
than the January 2001 bombing of the Daily News printing press, the
four-month closure was one of the saddest moments for Press freedom in

"I naturally felt restless and dejected during this period and even more so
by the fact that we were being denied the right to publish although the
courts had ruled in our favour. High Court rulings cannot be ignored unless
this is to confirm that we live in a lawless society.

"The independent press is very crucial for the government because it points
out areas in which the government is lacking while the government media will
continue to sing praises even if things are not well," he said.

Gambanga said the Daily News was an integral part of the Zimbabwean economy
and was employing hundreds of people at a time when unemployment figures in
the country stood at 70 percent.

Gambanga travelled to Paris, France, in December to receive the Reporters
Sans Frontiers (Reporters Without Borders) prize for 2003 which was won by
this newspaper.

"I was so touched and overwhelmed by the sympathy for our newspaper," he

Conway Tutani, the Chief Reader at the Daily News, described the period of
forced closure as most depressing.

"The four months of forced inactivity were a most testing and gloomy time,
but at the back of my mind I knew that one day we would be back," Tutani

Precious Shumba, a senior reporter, said the last four months were "pure

"The last few months were most painful and embarrassing as many
sympathisers, friends and family could not understand why the newspaper had
been closed.

"But at the back of my mind, I had a strong belief that good was going to
triumph over evil," said Shumba.

Bester Ndoro, a photographer at the newspaper, said he simply put his
tribulations before God.

"I was praying to God to intervene on our behalf so that we could earn an
honest living. I believe that God is the most powerful force and that He has
prevailed over evil.

Stanley Gama, the Sports Editor of the Daily News on Sunday, said history
had always recorded that the innocent would prevail over evil.

"I was getting a lot of pressure from friends who were advising me to seek
employment elsewhere, but I told them I would stand by my principles," said

Godwin Mangudya, a senior reporter with the Daily News on Sunday, said his
biggest crisis was explaining to his friends and relatives what exactly was
going on.

"People were confused. They did not know if I was working or not. At the
same time they were too uncomfortable to approach me directly to get the
full details."

But for Munyaradzi Mutebuka, a librarian at the newspaper, the publication
could not have been closed at a worse time.

"The Daily News was closed at about the same time that my first son was
born. I did not know what the future held for him. I worried that I had
brought an innocent soul so that he could be condemned to suffering. I only
thank God that with the resilience of staff at ANZ, the people's newspaper
is back."

Luke Tamborinyoka, the Chief News Editor of the Daily News, said the
resumption of the newspaper's right to publish was a slap in the face of
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, who had openly shown hostility and
disdain at having the newspaper on the streets.

"It is gratifying that, once again, the minister has been shown to be a
major predator of Press freedom. We only hope that nothing is brewing in the
background to stop the people of Zimbabwe from enjoying their right to read
newspapers of their choice," he said.

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.


Letter 1:


Allow me to make a comment on the statement made on radio 702 today, by the
"director"(?) of the Commercial Farmers Union - Hendrik Olivier ... Mr
Olivier, do you actually live in Zimbabwe??, or are you an ostrich on your
farm - that sees no reality as your head is allways in the sand. You
glorified the Mugabe regime and its police when commenting on the 70 year
old farmer that was murdered outside KweKwe. With the statement you made on
radio 702 today, if I didn't know better, I would have thought that this
was just something that had happened by accident... AND NOT A DEFENCELESS
Mr Olivier, ask Mugabe for Jonathan Moyo's job as you paint a better
picture of whats happening in Zimbabwe than Moyo himself does. Maybe the
next farmer that is murdered, will be you - how will your family react?? My
personal opinion is that YOU are a coward, and deserve what you get. How
you were elected as "director" (as they caled you on radio 702) of the CFU,
only God will know. You are really a "papbroek", Mr Olivier... hang your
head in shame.

Charlie Warren

Letter 2

Dear JAG

Please, I beg of you, explain to me WHY you insist on staying in a land of
people that HATE you, murder and torture you? How can you conduct a "legal
battle" where the Law is barely more than someone's whim...Is it to

My heart goes out to all "non-indigenous" Zimbabweans, particularly the
White/"Europeans" [who've likely been in country for generations!]


Patrice Stanton

Letter 3

Dear Sir,

Please could you put my reply to Doug Taylor Freeme's letter addressed
"Dear Matabeleland Farmer"

Dear Mr Taylor Freeme,

In response to your letter addressed "Dear Matabele Farmer"

I read this letter several times to try and understand what you were

Let us get a few facts straight

You say you want to meet with small groups of farmers, well you did that
when you and Stoff Hawgood, came here in August 2003.  You both came and
talked to the farmers, and you gave your facts and the Matabele farmers
told Stoff in particular, exactly what they thought of him. Stoff made a
fatal mistakes by asking Orbert Mpofu to the Dairy Field Day after he had
white farmers murdered in the Nyamandhlovu district plus countless people
tortured, beaten and killed. He should have thought through the whole
situation before going down that road. His excuse did not ring true with
us. Secondly he told us that he farms by the grace of a War Vet plus he
said that he would not be confrontational if farmers asked him to as he
would lose his farm, well that also went down like a lead balloon.

You had the CEO of Cattle and Dairy come to Matabeleland to chat to farmers
one on one and that got you nowhere.

You stated that you asked Richard Winkfield and John Meikle along with Stan
Parsons to come and mediate, well blame yourselves for that fiasco as Gavin
and Mac were never informed and it was me who told them when Stan asked if
he could stay with Ceddy and I. You also said that a derogatory email had
been sent, well, funny you couldn't even produce it at a Council meeting
after being requested to do so. You also stated that several emails had
been sent but none of those could be produced either!

My husband Cedric Wilde, has sat on Council for 10 years along with Mac
Crawford. I have been on Matabeleland Executive for 22 years, along with
Mac and NEVER EVER have I heard them or any other Matabeleland Councilor
misrepresent the facts. I would like you to publicly apologize for those
remarks as you are running dangerously close to a libel suit I have known
Ceddy for 40 years and in all that time he has NEVER lied or misinformed
any one, and I am not just saying that because he is my husband, you can
ask any person you like about his integrity. I have known Gavin Conolly for
44 years and Mac for 22 years and the same goes for both of them.

I have been very angry with CFU for 4 years now, due to their total
inability to deal with this whole situation. I have watched CFU go the
dialogue and non-confrontational route and I see very few success stories
compared to the number of farmers who are no longer farming. I saw the
Legal Challenge that CFU had in hand and then dropped due to appeasement.
Maybe one day CFU will wake up when there are no farmers and structures
left to rebuild but by then it will be too late.

God forbid that you or Stoff should lose your farms, before you realize the
calibre of people you are dealing with.

Letter 4
Dear JAG,

It seems like ZANU likes the masses to believe history started in 1896.
Perhaps we should all start our history from further back.  For example the
Ndebele - classified as indigenous - only arrived in what is now a country
in 1840, only 56 years before and perhaps only 5 years before the first
whites. Indeed Lobengula installed a white man, by the name of Lee to be
his 'border' representative near Mangwe pass.  The Ndebele did not pay
compensation for the land they took by force. Besides which, estimates of
population at this time put the population well below 400 000, and this
population was sparsely dotted around.  Later Selous wrote that he could
travel for days on horseback and not see even a sign of human habitation.
My point there was that there was no land problem.

I think my biggest gripe about this ridiculous situation is this. Our
borders are a colonial legacy.  Mr Thabo Mbeki, Sir, could you please
explain why you have border controls which prevent the Ndebele people from
freely travelling to there original place of origin? Surely these are
vestiges of a by gone era, and nothing more than a legacy of the same
colonialisation you claim to have defeated. No, but these remains from
colonization give the means to empower the people at the top.  Surely the
Ndebele, who did not emigrate under current law, have the right to claim
the land that was theirs in South Africa, if that is where they came from.
What selective hypocrisy we have to endure.  My point here being - What is
the legal definition of "Indigenous" and how long does it take to become
indigenous, lets face it it must have a finite time limit, for we all know
that when Dinosaurs roamed Africa there were no people here.

So we do not mean indigenous, do we, we mean Black.

I cannot believe that any country could argue for this land program if it
were shown to be a direct issue based on reverse racism. Forget fair or not
fair that some people own more than others. Why is it a Black/White issue
at all, surely it is not politically correct to refer to us as Whites. We
should be Zimbabweans. What makes us different in the eyes of the world.
There are such stark facts showing that especially the Ndebele are
settlers, as are the Mashona, as are the Whites. Why is Colin Powell an
African American, because his ancestors, whether by choice or not, went to
America.  Why are we not Euro Africans then, would that not be politically
correct? Colin Powell should be a Euro African American, possibly even a
Euro Asian African American. If the "politically correct" world was to just
say we are the same, and not do the 'some more than others' there would be
no justification for this issue. Who owns most of the land in, say,
Argentina? Is it South Americans, Argentineans, why not call them White
Settlers, which I am sure is the case. After all, the land issue in
Zimbabwe is portrayed as an internal, sovereignty issue. Was Hitlers
extermination of the Jews, not also just an internal issue, whilst he was
protecting his country from past imbalances and trying to remove the
richer. Remember too that they are never referred to as Germans, only as
Jews, enemies of the state.  There is no difference.

Zambezi Blonde
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Enough is Enough



We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!

Sokwanele reporter
22 January 2004
The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) has bemoaned the current economic situation that has pushed up the school fees and the price of uniforms as the long term disturbance to pupils and students as parents empty their meagre saving to ensure their children access education.
While we have not done an investigation to ascertain how many children have failed to go to school as a result of the school fees and uniforms hikes, we believe several students have changed schools a situation which affects their studies, ZIMTA President Erison Huruva said yesterday. If several cases of children failing to go to school as aresult of these increases, we will try and intervene on behalf of the disadvantages. We believe that education is a right for all.
Although school uniforms are compulsory in most Zimbabwean school, there are not enforceable by law. Debate has continued on whether Zimbabwe should enforce the wearing of uniforms or leave this to theschools, especially private institutions. With the rise in inflation and other production costs, schools uniforms have become a costly asset ranging from $80 000 to more than $1,2 million depending on the set ofthe uniform and the school. In addition, school fees have gone haywire. Some schools charge as much as $4 million, enough to buy a lounge suite or small plot.  The pegging of school fees have been a thorn in the flesh for government that has sought to put a ceiling on how much schools can charge. The Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture this week announced that it had deployed officers to monitor schools charging exorbitant fees without government approval. Huruva said there was danger that students have been forced to change schools to accommodate what their parents can afford in that their performance will be affected. The ZIMTA president said his organisation did not have statistics on the current enrolment figures in Zimbabwes schools. Efforts to get a comment from the line ministry and the CentralStatistics Office in Harare were fruitless.
At independence, Zimbabwe which is envied regionally and internationally for its literacy rate, embarked on a programme to enrol every child into primary school. Government grants paid for the buying of teaching materials in addition to money raised by parents association for school development. Over the years, the grants have become a drop in the ocean as costs of teaching materials have soared. Besides, teachers have left government service for greener pastures. Those who have stayed are unhappy about the working conditions. The salaries are not competitive and allowances are inadequate if any.
We have tried to conscientise our structures on BEAM and have held meetings with the Parliamentary Education Portfolio to highlight the problems faced by students.  We have to make written submissions to them because we believe BEAM should also help secondary schools wherewe believe there are needy cases,said Huruva, who was elected President last April.
ZIMTA has 54 000 members in the country and is working boost membership in an effort to be the voice of teachers. The Association is currently in a deadlock with government over teachers salaries. Government indicated it will award a review of 250% but the association is requesting over 700% in light of rising inflation.  We are pursuing arbitration on the salary issue because at the time we made our recommendations in September last year we thought the 600% will beadequate but now that is not the case, he said.
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Dear Friends

Kay continues to make slow but steady progress. Most encouraging of all is that she has regained the Conolly determination to survive and succeed, and has stated her firm intention to be out of hospital by the end of this week.  Sadly, that probably will not happen, but she is recovering and will be out soon.


Our fund-raising target is Z$300 million or the equivalent at parallel rates.   In the first three weeks of this appeal we have exceeded expectations and have so far raised almost $123 million. We have the Conolly determination to stand together and to stand firm, and we know we can rely on our community and on our camaraderie when the going gets tough. Indeed, we would not survive if we had to stand alone.


There is no-one more deserving of our support in his time of need than Dave Conolly.   Here is a man who had devoted everything in the past few years towards JAG – towards our farmers and towards our whole community, such as driving from Bulawayo to Harare and beyond. He never claimed a cent. Two tanks of petrol every week for two years – that’s a lot. Could we not all give just one tank of petrol back - $200,000 might sound a lot of money, but it’s only one tank of petrolOr a hindquarter, or a sheep, or a bottle of whisky which we could auction.  Come on guys…. if you haven’t sent anything yet, please do so.


We thank those who have responded to our request and for all the messages of supportFor those emailing deposit slips please persevere, this is not a scam.  Our email lines are so unreliable at the moment.
Donations will be kindly administered by Ernst and Young.   Cheques to be made payable to Ernst and Young (Bulawayo) - Gerry House, 6th Avenue, Bulawayo or P O Box 437, Bulawayo, and clearly marked ' for Kay Conolly Appeal' attention Mr Dave Power.  Due to our erratic postal service, if possible please could you drop us an email to say that there is a cheque in the post, so if it doesn't arrive we can follow it through.  Alternatively Rand Cheques can be deposited into this account:
Name of Account: Sunninghill Park Clinic - Kay Conolly's reference number T144550.
Bank:                    Nedbank - Riviona - RSA
Branch Nr:            196905
Swife code:           NEDSZAJJ
Account Nr:          1969101466
We now have a collection point in the UK, and when a sufficient amount is collected it will be passed onto the Beresford Trust in Jersey.
David Lushington
DNL Management Services
166 Oxford Road
OX14 2AF
Tel : +44 (0)1235 533 165    Fax : +44 (0)1235 521 963
Email : - please enter NOTJUNK in the subject heading.

Appeal Administrator - Peter Ward - Tel:  091 277 991 - Fax: 263-9-471459.  Email:-
Please forward this appeal to as many people as you can.
Kind regards
Wendy Greaves
Appeal co-ordinator
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Animal News Centre

Zimbabwe Animals Rescued After Farmers Flee

by Patricia Collier

Posted on January 23, 2004
During the past three years in Zimbabwe, many animals found themselves
plunged into peril when they were left behind in the chaos that ensued when
the white-owned farms they lived on were seized by the Zimbabwe government
on the orders of President Robert Mugabe.

As the ruling party's militants swept through the areas, many of the animals
living on the land were reportedly abused, tortured or even slaughtered.

Volunteers have since been working feverishly to evacuate over 3,000 animals
from the area, including dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, geese, swans, horses
and cows.

British Airways has been flying the rescued animals to South Africa at no
charge. Many of the animals were slaughtered during farm seizures, before
help could get to them, but workers said more than half the rescued animals
have now been reunited with their owners. The rest have found new homes in
South Africa.

"Many of the farmers and their families have lost everything, so it means a
lot to be reunited with their pets,' said Fiona Manuel, a volunteer at
Wetnose Animal Rescue in Pretoria, one of the South African shelters that
has been providing vaccinations and spaying and neutering services for the
abandoned animals.

According to Manuel, the number of animals arriving at the rescue is now
declining since most of the white farmers have now fled the country.

                  Reproduce this Article on a Web Site or in Print

Rescuers are shocked at the abuse heaped on the abandoned animals by those
who seized the land. One rescued dog had acid poured over his coat by
militants. In another case, a Labrador mix puppy named Batty was left behind
when militants chased his family away. After Batty's family had gone, the
militants turned on the puppy and gouged out his eyes, leaving him to wander
helplessly in the bush for several days before volunteers found him and
airlifted him to safety in South Africa.

Batty never found his family, but was adopted by Pippa Nairn of Cape Town,
who says the blind pup has become inseparably attached to Fudge, her
two-year-old Alsation mix, but, nine months after his ordeal, is still wary
of strangers and agitated by noise.

"I don't understand how there can be this cruelty," Manuel said. "Perhaps it
is to spite the owners, knowing how much they love their animals."

"Cruelty to animals shows a person has no heart, no soul," she said.

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Surplus Conditions Short-Lived: Experts

The Herald (Harare)

January 23, 2004
Posted to the web January 23, 2004


SURPLUS conditions prevailing on the money market are temporary and interest
rates will firm once the surplus liquidity has been wiped out, economic
analysts have predicted.

Liquidity positions have suddenly changed on the market, which had been
virtually crippled by the liquidity crisis with the market recording daily
surpluses of over $700 billion last week.

"This is based on the Reserve Bank's undertaking to limit financial
institutions' recourse for more funding.

"It is believed that the recent move by the Reserve Bank was a temporary
measure aimed at assisting troubled banks which are then expected to manage
their liquidity more effectively.

"Interest rates are, however, expected continue to fluctuate depending on
money market conditions throughout the year but the magnitude of the
fluctuations should be reduced as financial institutions manage their
liquidity more efficiently," said an investment analyst with a commercial

Investment rates on the money market, which had reached unsustainable levels
of as high as 1 000 percent for interbank overnight accommodation, 700
percent for call rates, have recently taken a major knock to levels of as
low as three percent and 15 percent respectively as of Wednesday.

This was attributed to the injection of funds to the productive sector as
well as the release of temporary liquidity support to troubled financial
institutions by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Civil servants' January salaries also enhanced liquidity.

The improved liquidity conditions provided relief to banks that had been
suffering from significant shortages in the past weeks and were, thus,
offering higher deposit rates in a bid to attract funds from the market.

Meanwhile, the market continued to be in surplus this week with 90-day
negotiable certificates of deposits (NCD) rates indicated in the 30 to 60
percent range.

Call rates were in the 15 to 50 percent range and interbank overnight rates
were between three and 20 percent on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the central bank held a Treasury bill auction for 181 days and
$50 billion was on offer.

The full amount was allotted at an average rate of 63,5 percent (yield 92,69

On Wednesday, another Treasury bill auction was held for 364 days where $75
billion was on offer and all bids were rejected.

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