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

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Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2005 5:46 PM
Subject: Good enough reasons

Dear Family and Friends,
A small bent over piece of brown cardboard tied onto a post on the side of
the road was all the sign I needed to tell me I was headed in the right
direction this Friday. The Stop sign at the junction of the intersection
has gone. The road markings warning me to stop have long since worn off
the tar. The road is littered with potholes and the grass on the verges is
uncut and about five foot high, making it almost impossible to see
oncoming traffic. I stopped at the intersection and across the road one
piece of white string held a poster to a street light whose bulb hasn't
worked for months. The wind had folded the poster in half so I couldn't
read it but this too made me believe I was going the right way. When I got
to the gates of the school I slowed down, pulled over and looked at the
line of yobs sitting on the wall in front of the school hall. They were
men and women in their late teens and early twenties and clearly had no
reason to be in a junior school where the oldest pupil is 12. Some of the
yobs were wearing T shirts with slogans advertising the ruling party and
then I knew for sure I had arrived at the right place to check if my name
was on the voters roll.

I was absolutely determined not to be intimidated by a bunch of bored
bullies. I had read the reports by the opposition that in some areas their
supporters had been physically assaulted after checking if their names
were on the voters roll. It would have been very comforting to see the
friendly face or colourful vest of an independent election observer but of
course that's just a pipe dream. As I walked past the yobs sprawled on the
wall, someone hissed and someone else passed a comment which set them all
to laughing but it was water off a ducks back compared to what I'd had to
endure in the last two Zimbabwean elections. Inside the junior school hall
there was a singing lesson in progress and a teacher was trying to get a
class of seven year olds to sit up straight, stop pushing each other and
pay attention and sing. The sound of the children singing was wonderful
and their innocence such a stark contrast to the bullies on the wall
outside.  I was the only person checking if my name was on the voters
roll. There was no one ahead of me or behind me, no queue outside, no one
waiting in the car park and with just a week left for voters roll
inspection, this is not a good sign.

The opposition MDC have still not announced if they are going to take part
in the March poll so basically, just weeks away from an election, there is
apathy, confusion and a tired resignation by many ordinary people who just
say they couldn't be bothered anymore.

I sit at my desk on a Saturday morning writing this letter and it is a
glorious day. The sky is blue, rain clouds are gathering on the horizon
and birds flit backwards and forwards past the open window in an endless
fashion parade. Paradise fly catchers with long orange tails, migrant bee
eaters, red bishop birds, yellow weavers and so many others with their
spectacular breeding tails and exotic colours. Over the road from me a
woman and two little children live in a wooden shack on a building site.
They always smile, laugh and wave and clap with cupped hands if I stop to
give even a single sweetie. I know people who have been tortured,
murdered, abused, raped and imprisoned in Zimbabwe's fight for democratic
governance since February 2000. All of these reasons are good enough ones
for me to go and check if my name is on the voters roll and then to endure
whatever is necessary to cast a ballot in the March elections. Until next
week, with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle 22 January 2005.

My books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are
available in Europe from: ; ;  in Australia and New Zealand: ;  Africa:
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The Enforcer

He is the former captain of Zimbabwe who became a successful businessman -
but it is as England's most successful coach that Duncan Fletcher has gained
a towering reputation, says Vic Marks

Sunday January 23, 2005
The Observer

'So will England play positively at Centurion?' Duncan Fletcher was asked at
a midweek press conference in Johannesburg. 'I'll tell you after the Test,'
he replied.
This seemed an unnecessarily defensive answer to an innocuous question, but
it surprised nobody. Fletcher is famously guarded in front of the media,
taciturn almost to the point of obstruction. He remains an enigma to those
on the outside.

Fletcher is, by a substantial margin, the most successful coach of England's
cricket team, albeit against scanty opposition: Micky Stewart, Keith
Fletcher, Ray Illingworth and David Lloyd. The scribes can probe all they
like, their tape recorders can keep rolling, but there will be no
indiscretions. In the case of Illingworth and Lloyd, they were bound to come
along eventually.

I asked Fletcher afterwards about that response. 'Why should I divulge how
we're going to play? I'm not going to give anything away.' That's half the
story. It needles him that in the wake of a thrilling victory the focus
could still be on the negatives - Geraint Jones's keeping, Steve Harmison's
bowling, Andrew Flintoff's fitness and batting form. 'Some players perform,
some don't and we can still win. In the past, we lost if our key men didn't
produce. You should concentrate on the whole picture. I get disappointed
when I hear a stream of negative comments.' This is clearly aimed at
Geoffrey Boycott.

Fletcher has no reason to be negative himself. He has never failed, as a
player for Zimbabwe, in his previous career in the computers business, and
more recently as a coach.

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At Western Province, where he took charge in 1993, with the youthful Jacques
Kallis and Herschelle Gibbs under his wing, the side were consistently
successful. Under his guidance, Glamorgan suddenly won the County
Championship in 1998 and since his appointment as England coach in 1999 the
team have steadily improved. They are legitimately second in the table of
Test nations. Even when he captained Zimbabwe back in the early 1980s,
Fletcher oversaw the odd astonishing result. In 1983, Zimbabwe, then an
official minnow, beat Australia at Trent Bridge in the World Cup (Fletcher
69 not out and four for 42). It is clearly no coincidence that Fletcher, 56,
is associated with successful teams.

Why he is so good? Fletcher tries to help me out. But there are obstacles.
He is not minded to blow his own trumpet - he genuinely does not need public
adulation. The thrill of seeing a player develop under his guidance is
sufficient. And he says: 'I don't analyse how I operate too much. Do that
and you can try to become too clever. I'm naturally positive. Even when I
was with Zimbabwe I would not give up if six wickets were needed in six
balls. It's going to happen one day. But ask the others.'

There are plenty of them willing to speak up for the coach. Nasser Hussain
singles out Fletcher as the crucial influence on his career. 'He's a
brilliant analyst of the game. Loyalty and trust are key factors with
Duncan. He'll never make you look an idiot in public.'

Marcus Trescothick speaks of Fletcher's flexible cricket brain and his
ability to think laterally. Michael Vaughan regularly summons him to the
nets when his game requires some intensive care. It is not just the batsmen
who acknowledge his prowess as a coach. Andrew Caddick says: 'Duncan
understands what's required as a bowler and treats us as individuals.'
Darren Gough reckons: 'No other coach has challenged me to do better as
consistently as Fletcher.' Ashley Giles was prepared to remodel his action
last winter at Fletcher's suggestion.

From beyond the England set-up, Bob Woolmer, currently in charge of
Pakistan, is another admirer. Woolmer was preferred to Fletcher by South
Africa in 1993.

'It was right to give it to Woolmer,' says Fletcher. 'I had only had four
games with Western Province at that time, though we had won all of them.'
Woolmer says: 'He's probably the best of the current international coaches.'
Maybe with a hint of envy, Woolmer adds: 'I wish I could keep in the
background like he does.'

Lord MacLaurin was quite keen to appoint Woolmer to the England job in 1999,
when he was chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, but he was
impressed by Fletcher's 'strong character and good business background' and
the fact that he was unflappable. 'We had no doubt after interviewing that
Duncan was the one. He handled Nasser Hussain extraordinarily well and he's
obviously got a very good relationship with Michael Vaughan.'

Up to the age of 45, Fletcher worked in computers in South Africa. When he
was given the England job, he used a business analogy to define his role.
The coach, he said, was the consultant; the captain the managing director.
In other words, he was anxious to establish the primacy of the captain.

Fletcher once told me how he came to this conclusion. 'When I was first made
captain in Zimbabwe, I thought I needed a coach to run everything. I was an
all-rounder and I wanted time to concentrate on my own game. So I had Peter
Carlstein installed as an omnipotent coach. It took me two practice sessions
to establish that this was not working. The players can't have two bosses;
the captain must be in charge.'

The same principle still applies although the lines of demarcation are more
blurred after more than four years in the job. Fletcher's authority is now
massive; any newcomer will automatically defer to him, if he knows what is
good for him.

And on tour his influence on policy and selection is decisive. Only when
politics intervenes - usually involving Zimbabwe - does he take a back seat.
Discipline is his province and he runs the practices. But on the field there
is no question that Vaughan is in control. This structure helps to explain
the evolving character of the England side. The team have tended to mirror
the captain rather than the coach. Under Hussain, they were tenacious, tense
and bloody-minded; under Vaughan, they are more relaxed, more eager to
express themselves, more aggressive. In 2004 no side scored as quickly as

Fletcher the consultant is a source of valuable information. He will study
videos of the opposition, although he has not spent too much time in front
of the screen this winter since the personnel of the South Africa side has
not changed much since the last series. Then he will pass on the relevant
data to the team. I wanted specific examples of his assessments. He was too
cagey to oblige.

What of Graeme Smith, so prolific on the recent tour of England? 'We had our
plans in England but there is always the problem of execution,' says
Fletcher. Those plans have not changed significantly here. It is fairly
plain that Smith is prone to be lbw to the ball swinging into him - usually
when delivered by Matthew Hoggard. His head falls over to the off-side, an
obvious flaw. Fletcher has also identified strategies for Gibbs and the
classical Kallis, whom he knows so well but whose flaws are not so easy to
pinpoint. He will not tell me what they are.

But his research has paid dividends often enough to gain the confidence of
his players. Hussain can recall one striking example. 'I remember the World
Cup game against Pakistan at Newlands. Fletcher had pointed out how Yousuf
Youhana shuffles on the back foot at the start of his innings and that he
was unusually susceptible to the yorker. The next day [James] Anderson bowls
him first ball with a yorker and the boys suddenly realise, "Duncan said
that last night". That's why they listen to him. There will already be a
dossier in the files - or the laptops - on all the Australian players.'

Fletcher also studies his own players intimately. One-to-one sessions are a
key element of his coaching regime, but he is loath to dive in with
suggested amendments of technique, especially if they are still scoring
runs. 'I like them to ask themselves three times whether any change is
justified and then it must be their decision.' This ties in with his
insistence that players must take responsibility for their own games. But
the longer the player is in the set-up, the more they trust his judgment and
under Fletcher's regime there are some long-servers. He sees stability and
consistency of selection as key ingredients to success.

Fletcher wishes he could devote more time to these one-to-one sessions. 'It
is particularly difficult on tour to give attention to those not in the Test
team, but players respond if you give them individual attention.' It
confirms that the coach cares.

The limited time for preparation is a common theme of Fletcher's. 'I've
always said that there should be four days between back-to-back Tests. I'm
not a knocker of county cricket. [Fletcher has often been portrayed as
disdainful of the county game.] There are some good players out there, but I
think we play too much domestic cricket.' He recalls his time at Western
Province. 'I remember spending an hour and a half bowling off-breaks at a
young Kallis in a net -just the two of us - because he had a slight flaw
against them, and going down every few deliveries to discuss how he was
playing. There is no time for that in England.'

So much for the clinical analyst with the capacity to articulate simply what
he sees. So much for the attention to detail (although Fletcher told me that
the stationing of England's reserve fieldsmen as ball boys around the
boundary at the Wanderers on the final afternoon of the fourth Test, a ploy
to save a few minutes, was Vaughan's idea, not his). What was so striking
about the England victory at the Wanderers last Monday was the passion of
the side.

Where does that come from? Fletcher is probably too level-headed to deliver
the Churchillian oration. (I have, though, always enjoyed the closing call
to arms of his first team talk to the Glamorgan side: 'Let's get this road
on the show.') His explanation is prosaic.

'It all stems from hard work, which creates confidence. That can lead to
victories, which brings enjoyment to the players. When you have invested all
that hard work, you don't give up easily.'

That work ethic is vital and he likes it to pervade the entire touring
party. He tells me how he insisted that the current media liaison officer,
David Clarke, should join everyone else in a gym session. Clarke was
obviously proud of his presence there. But this little episode reinforced
the notion that everyone was part of the team and that everyone has to
strive for improvement.

'You win more games in the changing room than you do on the field,' he says.

At the start of the 1994-95 tour to South Africa, Ray Illingworth and John
Edrich, England's coach and batting specialist, pottered over to the
Wanderers Golf Club for a few holes while the team were doing their physical
jerks under the supervision of skipper Mike Atherton. England have moved on
since then.

Nor would Fletcher dream of publicly criticising his players as Illingworth
was prone to do. By and large, they respond with their loyalty. 'There are
always a few niggles,' says Fletcher, 'but it would be boring if there
weren't.' He is conscious of the character of a player when contemplating

My impression has always been that he is black and white in his estimation
of cricketers and their personalities, that he will never change his mind on
someone. He denies that. 'Sometimes you have to make sacrifices with those
with exceptional talent.' But he has been reluctant to stick with the
wayward maverick unless the results are immediate. Under Fletcher, it did
not take long for Phil Tufnell to be replaced by the dependable Giles.
Tufnell, for all his talent, let his hair down - and maybe the side - too
often to be of service.

I suspect Fletcher can let his own hair down occasionally as well, but
outside the cocoon of the England team we shall never know. BBC Wales's
cricket correspondent can recall being rugby-tackled in a hotel corridor by
Glamorgan's beaming coach after some post-match celebrations of a victory in
Yorkshire. Fletcher possesses an impish grin and a waspish sense of humour,
but it is not for public consumption.

He insists that all the sides that he has ever been involved with -
Zimbabwe, Western Province, Glamorgan and England - have been happy ones.
There is a simple reason for that. They have tended to win.
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Business Report

      Mugabe must be engaged robustly
      January 23, 2005

      President Robert Mugabe is an erudite man.

      He is a man of letters whose consummate skill at negotiations was
dealt out in spades when he, together with Joshua Nkomo, entered the
hallowed portals of Lancaster House in the UK and agreed to implement the
political route to end Zimbabwe's second chimurenga.

      The war was about universal franchise, access to and ownership of
land, and Mugabe led a national liberation movement that advocated these

      Today, 24 years down the drag, the man is still in charge, and this
weekend Cosatu is scheduled to meet its counterpart, the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions, in Harare.

      The government of Zimbabwe has made it painfully clear the South
African labour federation is not welcome and has accused it of interfering
in that country's "internal affairs". This is fantastically rich coming from
a movement that relied on extensive international solidarity and support to
topple the fascist regime of Ian Smith.

      Cosatu, for its part, has made it abundantly clear that it will not
shirk its international responsibility as a working class movement. It is
determined to gather factual information - from those directly affected -
about conditions of employment, workers' rights, human rights violations and
political freedoms.

      But the man of letters will have no truck with this information
gathering exercise. It is, according to him, an attempt to undermine
Zimbabwe's sovereignty and a direct challenge to his authority as a
democratically elected leader.

      When Mugabe was elected to the top job over two decades ago, his
strategy was one of reconciliation. His commitment to education and training
made Zimbabwe the most literate of the continent's nations.

      The Thatcherite UK government defaulted on its commitments to
compensate commercial farmers for land that was supposed to be awarded to
small-scale and peasant farmers. Combined with Mugabe's own brand of radical
nationalism and cronyism, this heralded the start of the decline.

      Historical ties and loyalties can no longer be used to cover up his
excessive abuses of power. The Zimbabwean state must be engaged robustly,
even when the learned man goes into hysterical fits. Cosatu has a job on its

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Washington Post

Democracy Isn't Built on One Election Alone

By Samuel Issacharoff
Sunday, January 23, 2005; Page B01

Despite the deteriorating security situation that has left dozens dead in
Iraq during the past few days alone, many Iraqis will feel justifiably proud
to take the first step toward democracy when they cast their votes for a
transitional national assembly a week from now. By itself, the election is a
milestone. But it is not the key to their country's democratic legitimacy.
The lasting success of democracies lies not in seeing that the will of the
majority is expressed through the ballot box, but by two more long-standing
factors: first, a commitment by a nation's elites that a victorious
electoral coalition will not use its hold on power to exact revenge on the
losers; and second, proof that the people can vote their leaders out as well
as vote them in.

The history of the 20th century is littered with the remains of elections
that augured neither democracy nor the rule of law. The entire Soviet empire
was enamored of show elections in which every citizen was given the
privilege of voting for the winner -- and only the winner. Fascist and
corporatist regimes would routinely invoke the plebiscite to crown the
claimed rule of the people, a tool used by Hitler to consolidate power in
the 1930s. Post-colonial regimes in countries such as the Central African
Republic or more recently Zimbabwe would hold elections only to see the
victors proclaim themselves rulers for life -- what the British
ex-colonialists would sneeringly call "one man, one vote, one time." What's
more, all these oppressive regimes would hold their elections pursuant to
constitutions that stood as paeans to human dignity.

For most Iraqis, the act of voting alone is understandably a major event, as
their country has not had a meaningful election since 1953. Assuming that
the elections are held across most of the country, that they are not
fraudulent and that the majority prevails, most would conclude that
democracy, at least in some rudimentary fashion, has been established. While
elections may be necessary to a democracy, though, they are by no means

The dirty secret about democratic processes is that they come into being in
a decidedly undemocratic fashion. Before any election can be held, there
must be ground rules that determine what the elections are for, and formal
institutional structures that will be filled by the elections. But what
justifies those rules? The answer can only be given retrospectively, based
on the success of the democratic experiment itself.

All democracies enter this world with this so-called democratic deficit -- a
system preordained by no particular democratic process. In Iraq, for
example, over 100 parties appear on the ballot, but no candidates do, even
though there are more than 7,000 candidates running for the 275 seats in the
National Assembly.

Each party has named a slate, and its delegation to the constituent assembly
will be determined by the overall party votes that entitle a set number of
slate members to assume office. Each party is obligated to name a woman to
every third slot on its list in order to ensure that 25 percent of the
Assembly be women. There are no districts, as in the United States or
Britain, there is no second chamber of the Parliament, as in many countries,
and the Assembly will select the president and the two deputy presidents, as
well as serving as the drafting body for a new Constitution.

All of this is the result of negotiations conducted under the auspices of
the United Nations and implemented under the authority of the recently
created Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq.

This lack of democratic pedigree puts Iraq in excellent company. No one
authorized the Americans gathered in Philadelphia at our founding to
jettison the Articles of Confederation and craft a new constitutional order.
No one selected the South African negotiators who decided the terms of a new
democratic era, complete with an embryonic constitutional plan. No
democratic election preceded the gathering of the loya jirga in Afghanistan,
which met to decree a new election code and plan the transition to
democracy. In fact, with the possible exception of the French Fourth
Republic, no constitutional democratic order has emerged from anything that
would pass muster as a genuine democratic process. And the Fourth Republic,
a duly authorized constitutional overhaul by the French Parliament after
World War II, collapsed in only a few years -- a victim of the paralysis
built into it by parliamentary self-interest.

Which brings us back to the two critical elements to a democracy's success.
Prevailing political thought prior to the 20th century doubted that it would
ever be possible to gain a credible commitment from a nation's elites to
prevent a victorious electoral coalition from misusing its hold on power to
settle old scores. British philosopher John Stuart Mill, for instance, wrote
that political liberalism was impossible in a country with ethnic or
national divisions: "Among a people without fellow-feeling, especially if
they read and speak different languages, the united public opinion,
necessary to the working of representative government, cannot exist."

Over the past half century the need to secure democratic order in countries
fractured by racial, ethnic or religious cleavages has robbed us of the easy
assumption that democracy simply cannot take hold in riven societies. From
the Asiatic steppes of the former Soviet Union to South Africa to the Iraqi
cauldron, stabilizing democratic tolerance is the most vital issue to face
the geopolitical order.

Much as we may associate democracy with the will of the majority, the
success of constitutional democracies, in fact, turns on the ability to
constrain the majority by limiting the powers of government, while allowing
minorities and oppositions to exist and flourish. Constitutions by their
nature impose obstacles on the ability of the majority to claim its
immediate objectives. The U.S. Constitution creates a formidable hurdle
through the amendment process. Most Western European constitutions build in
delay to temper the momentary zeal of an electoral majority, as with the
Finnish and French requirements that two successive parliaments must approve
any constitutional change. Germany goes even further and declares critical
portions of its constitution unamendable.

In South Africa, the most successful transition from authoritarian to
democratic rule of the late 20th century, negotiations between Nelson
Mandela's African National Congress and the apartheid National Party focused
extensively on the interim principles that would form the basis of the new
constitutional order. It was this embryonic constitution that provided
protection against the country's white minority trying to hold out in a
fratricidal civil war. The promise of limits on the political power of the
majority was the precondition for the new democratic order.

The second requirement is even more difficult to assess. The key to
democracy turns out not to be the capacity to elect rulers, because
elections can also provide tyrants-in-waiting with the ability to marshal
their partisans and use the veneer of democracy to consolidate their
treachery. Whether in the form of pure evil, as with Adolf Hitler, or simple
venality, as with Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, or just demagoguery, as with
Argentina's Juan Peron, the partisan zeal unleashed in electoral combat may
prove the first step to a power grab immune from any form of further

Democracy, then, is ultimately not about the ability to elect rulers; it is
about the ability to send them packing. The political tragedy of
post-colonial Africa was not the absence of elections. It was the inability
to ever vote rulers out of office.

This is why the election of 1800 in the United States continues to fascinate
historians: Amid tremendous rancor and charges of foreign intrigue, the
fledgling republic faced its ultimate challenge: Could elections dislodge a
chief executive (John Adams) and bring to office his bitter rival (Thomas

Democracies aspire to ennoble their citizens, to allow them to reach beyond
the most basic concerns for security and survival. The first elections in a
divided nation such as Iraq will no doubt revolve around group identities.
The hope, however, is that the process of governing will diminish those
concerns and allow politics to focus on governance and statecraft. The
ability to vote out of office the initial governors is critical to the
democratic enterprise.

Whether an election is indeed a harbinger of democracy is best addressed in
hindsight once the security of the minorities can be assessed and once the
first elected rulers face retrospective accountability before the

It may well be, as Harvard professor Samuel Huntington once famously wrote,
that "Elections, open, free, and fair, are the essence of democracy, the
inescapable sine qua non." Iraq will have made great strides if it is able
to hold elections across most of the country and if a governing coalition
can be forged. But we should also be aware that elections alone are not


Samuel Issacharoff is a professor at Columbia Law School and an author of
"The Law of Democracy: Legal Structure of the Political Process" (Foundation
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Sikhala supporters to sue MDC leaders

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jan-22

Confusion in St Mary's deepens

JOB Sikhala's troubled St Mary's constituency yesterday threatened to take
the MDC leadership to court, as the confusion surrounding the holding of
primary elections in one of the opposition party's hottest spots deepens.
Sikhala, the MDC problem child, told The Daily Mirror last night that he
would abide by the decision of his constituency to take the party to court.
"Those are my masters and I am their servant," Sikhala said.
Hundreds of party supporters who gathered at Sikhala's house yesterday
unanimously resolved to institute litigation against the MDC over the way it
was handling the primary elections issue, accusing the party of oscillating
and avoiding the real problem in that political hot bed.
St Mary's district secretary, Unganai Tarusenga told the supporters that:
"We the people of St Mary's declare today that after a torrid and protracted
struggle for democracy in our party since last year, resolve that we have
withdrawn our mandate to bless a treacherous, bogus, mitigated and
bastardised primitive rigging of a process which must give us a candidate of
our popular choice.
"Our party has been at pains to find a clean route to impose a candidate on
us since last year to represent us on the forthcoming parliamentary
The MDC had been vacillating on how to handle primary elections in St Mary's,
amid charges that the opposition party intended to ditch Sikhala because of
his outspokenness against party policies.
Sikhala recently wrote to party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, demanding to know
his fate.
The MDC is under fire from the people of St Mary's who alleged that party
deputy secretary general, Gift Chimanikire yesterday allegedly conducted a
verification exercise at Harvest House, the MDC headquarters, yesterday
without the constituency's participation.
"Today as we address this meeting Chimanikire is engaged in an astonishing
circus at Harvest House, bussing people who are not St Mary's residents to
confirm them as such to achieve the dream of the hallucinations," Tarusenga
In a petition to Chimanikire, the people of St Mary's recused themselves
from participating in the "fraudulent" verification of structures in the
constituency, citing irregularities.
"As the St Mary's district executive representatives, we have sat down and
come up with a resolute stance that for the moment we are withdrawing from
further participating in the ongoing verification processes for the
following reasons:
"We were invited by your high office to verify structures for St Mary's
district executive. What surprised us was that a number of people whom we
know are not St Mary's residents were bussed from different provinces and
districts in and around Harare and were locked up in different toilets and
kitchens within Harvest House building to form fake structures. The scenario
is very disturbing and we feel that our continued participation is not
worth-while," read the petition.
MDC organising secretary, Esaph Mdlongwa, who is responsible for running the
party's primaries,  yesterday professed ignorance on the goings on in St
"I am in Bulawayo and as such I am not aware of what is happening in the
constituency. Chimanikire is the man in charge of that province and should
handle things properly," Mdlongwa said.
But MDC director of education, a Rusike, who claimed to be Chimanikire's
assistant in handling the party's primaries, said the St Mary's verification
exercise was postponed to today after the constituency complained.
Efforts to get a comment from Chimanikire were in vain at the time of going
to press last night. MDC national chairman Isaac Matongo did not answer his
phone last night.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Farmers reeling from seed, fertiliser shortage

From Pamenus Tuso in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Jan-22

Farmers in Zimbabwe are facing a major setback as the shortage of seed maize
and fertiliser continues in Matabeleland.

While the cut-off point for planting is almost over, some farmers in
Matabeleland are still looking for seed, especially short season varieties.
Maize and fertiliser have been in short supply since the onset of the
While seed companies claim that they have released enough seed on the market
in the 2004/2005 farming season, the supply of the commodity remained
erratic countrywide.
A critical shortage of foreign currency has resulted in fertiliser companies
producing quantities well below normal requirements of farmers countrywide.
An official from Seed-Co Limited depot in Bulawayo this week said they were
currently turning away farmers because they had no maize seed in stock. The
official said they had suspended operations and only expected more seed
consignments next season.
"The cut-off period of supplying seed is almost over now. Right now we are
busy stocking seed for winter cropping," he said.
There is low activity in most newly resettled commercial farms in
Matabelelnad due to the shortage of seed, fertiliser, tillage equipment and
The government has resettled thousands of mainly black farmers since 2000 to
spearhead its land reform programme.  A poor rainfall pattern this season is
also threatening the country, with crops in some parts of the country
showing signs ofstress.
In some parts of Matabeleland, crops have reportedly wilted as the dry spell
has prevailed for a long time.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Undenge wins Chimanimani primary

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jan-22

Economist, Samuel Udenge has won the right to represent Chimanimani
constituency on a Zanu PF ticket after beating Hwange Colliery boss, Munacho
Mutezo by just 60 votes, in the ruling party primary elections that took
place on Thursday.
According to results released by the ruling party's national election
directorate chaired by Elliot Manyika, Undenge polled
4 130 votes against Mutezo's 4 074 in primaries where the other contestant,
Beta got 1631.
In another election in the province, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs
Shadreck Chipanga clinched the Makoni East constituency after beating Mandi
Chimene by 3 432 to 827 votes.
Results for Bulawayo province's seven constituencies were also made
available last night, with Zanu PF secretary for youths, Absolom Sikhosana
winning the Nkulumane seat ahead of David Ndlovu. Sikhosana polled 398
against the latter's 312.
In Bulawayo East, former city mayor Joshua Malinga polled 235 votes against
Rachel Matshazi's 7 to clinch the ticket to represent the constituency. Two
other contestants, Themba Sibanda and Rona Moyo withdrew from the race.
In Makokoba, the seat went to Dickson Basuthu, while Ntombikhaise Mpofu was
unopposed in Lobengula-Magwegwe constituency.
Former cabinet minister and also Zanu PF deputy political commissair
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu beat two other contestants, Edison Ncube and Judith Ncube
to win in Mpopoma.
Ndlovu polled 534, while the other two got 220 and 23 votes respectively.
Godfrey Malaba won in Pumula Luveve in a poll he was facing two other
In Bulawayo South, minister of small enterprises Sithembiso Nyoni won the
seat after defeating Liso Masuku who had 67 votes. Nyoni garnered 135 votes.
In Mashonaland West, former Chinhoyi mayor, Faber Chidarikire beat central
committee member Robert Sikanyika, and a woman candidate Prisca Mupfumira.
Chidarikire polled 3 514 votes against 652 and 251 secured by Sikanyika and
Mupfumira respectively
Results for two other constituencies, Makonde and Kariba, were not available
at the time of going to press last night. The same case applied to two
constituencies in the Midlands - Gokwe Central and Gokwe North (Chireya).
In Gokwe Central there was a rerun, while in Chireya there were logistical
problems that affected voting last weekend.
In Matabeleland North, Tsholotsho went to Musa Mathema, the wife of Bulawayo
governor Cain Mathema, who polled 533 in a five-woman race.
In Binga, Samuel Mugande won the ticket to represent Zanu after defeating
George Nyathi, the only other person who was contesting. Mugande polled 880
votes against Nyathi's 667.
In Matabelelend South, Gwanda's seating MP and  foreign affairs deputy
minister Abednico Ncube retained the seat after amassing 4 603 votes, after
battling it out with four other aspiring parliamentarians.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

ZBH workers face eviction

Kuda Keche
issue date :2005-Jan-22

FIFTY Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) employees and ex-workers residing
at the company's flat in Harare's Avenues area face eviction after failing
to pay rent for the past 12 months.

ZBH has since enlisted the services of a debt collector to recover the
overdue rentals, or evict the employees.
The debt collector's spokesperson, Tendai Kanengoni, confirmed to The Daily
Mirror that his firm had been hired to recover the overdue rentals, but did
not say how much was owed to the national broadcaster.
"The employees were served with final notices on January 14  2005
instructing them to pay their dues. Failure to comply with the notices will
result in eviction," Kanengoni said.
Loveness Chikozho, ZBH public
relations executive, could neither confirm nor deny that the employees and
ex-workers would be evicted from the flat. She also declined to reveal how
much the company was owed in rentals.
"This is a matter involving our
own staff members who are occupants of Hatley House and as such you will
 that this is an internal matter and we need not involve outsiders," she
said in
response to written questions from The Daily Mirror.
Chikozho added: "As for the questions regarding how much we are owed, for
how long tenants have been defaulting, and the course of action we are
taking, as well as the composition of our tenants, please note that if The
Daily Mirror were to be asked about
these questions, it would say it's an internal process."
However, some of the tenants told this newspaper that they were bitter that
ZBH wanted them evicted when it was partly to blame for their failure to pay
The tenants said ZBH had of late
failed to pay wages and salaries on time, resulting in them prioritising
bread and butter issues first.
"Where does ZBH expect me to get the $350 000 rent when in fact they are
failing to pay my salary? I have not been paid for the past two months,"
said an angry tenant.
Another tenant said it was strange for ZBH to engage a debt collector to
deal with its employees, as the matter could have been resolved internally.
"It's strange that an employer
takes his employees to debt collectors. This is
an internal issue. ZBH could have instructed the salaries department to
deduct the money from the workers' salaries. The problem is
that we are not being paid on time. Where
will they deduct it from?" asked the employee.
The tenants also complained that since last Friday, they had been without
water after the Harare City Council disconnected supplies for non-payment.
Chikozho said she was not aware that the council had disconnected water
supplies to the flat.
She said: "It's surprising. It's news to me that there is no water at the
flat. I am yet to find out."
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Stop using national youth graduates in public works: Chaibva

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jan-22

THE MDC shadow minister for local government, Gabriel Chaibva, has described
as "irrational", moves by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and
National Housing to force local authorities to enlist national youth service
graduates in their public works programmes.
Harare has already enlisted the services of national youth service graduates
in flushing out street vendors who have invaded the capital's central
business district due to the prevailing harsh economic conditions, with
Mutare being the latest recipient of a directive to absorb the graduates.
"I know that the system of patronage
is part and parcel of the political agenda of Zanu PF. How can a party
running a council and has its own policies be forced to employ
people whose political allegiance is obvious
 and have a history of violence against us (MDC)?"
Chaibva added that the government was usurping the powers of councillors by
continuing to give orders, saying this had also led to the paralysis of the
Harare City Council.
 "Harare is now totally bankrupt because of this gross interference. Nearly
every district office in Harare is now being manned by these youths,"
Chaibva alleged.
Most local authorities have public works programmes that are meant to
benefit disadvantaged and unemployed youths.
Councillors normally identify such people in their respective wards.
Contacted for comment, the Minister, Ignatius Chombo, denied that they
had directed the councils to engage the youths.
He said: "There is nothing like that (the directive) and besides such
matters, are dealt with by officials in the ministry since they are purely
service issues," he said.
The vice president of the Urban
 Councils Association, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, who is also the executive
mayor of Bulawayo, said he could not comment on the matter since provincial
governors and resident ministers were
now handling issues of public works programmes.
"The governor is now handling all public works programme matters and his
is now responsible for all the recruitments," he said.
Since the establishment of the national youth service programme in 2000,
government has made it a policy that all public institutions give
preferential treatment to graduates from the programme when recruiting
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Daily News online edition

      Pemhenayi to represent Zanu PF in Mutare central

      Date: 23-Jan, 2005

      CHARLES Pemhenayi, a tobacco farmer and businessman, has won the right
to represent Zanu PF in Mutare Central after his opponent Esau Mupfumi,
withdrew from the race at the last minute.

      Pemhenayi, 44, was declared the Zanu PF candidate for the crucial
March poll by the ruling party politburo member, Retired General Solomon

      Although it was not immediately clear why Mupfumi, a transport
operator, withdrew from the race, sources said he indicated he would not
want to challenge Pemhenayi.

      Shadreck Beta, whose weekend victory against Mupfumi was annulled amid
charges he had manipulated the voting system, attempted to stand again but
was barred from doing so by Mujuru.

      Beta's supporters had thronged polling stations vowing to vote or
disrupt the voting process if their candidate was not allowed to
participate. But there was no incident since polling was called off because
Pemhenayi was unopposed.

      Sources said after Mujuru had made it clear Beta would not be allowed
to participate in the fresh primaries, Mupfumi immediately withdrew from the

      "After Mujuru ordered Beta off the race Mupfumi said he was unwilling
to contest Pemhenayi," said one source.

      "So Mujuru immediately declared Pemhenayi the winner."

      Pemhenayi will now meet Innocent Gonese, the opposition MDC chief whip
in the fight for Mutare Central. Pemhenayi was not immediately available for

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Daily News online edition

      Video on plight of Zimbabwean refugees well received, says Trust

      Date: 23-Jan, 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - The Zimbabwe Solidarity Peace Trust says its report and
video on the persecution of Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa titled "No
War in Zimbabwe," has played a crucial role in raising awareness about the
plight of the refugees on the continent.

      A representative of the trust, Selvan Chetty told Daily News Online
that since the launch of the report two months ago, several Africa embassies
in South Africa had welcomed and accepted it saying they would use it to
lobby their governments to help resolve the crisis.

      "Although the South African government has dismissed the report, we
are pleased that several African countries such as Nigeria and Kenya have
acknowledged it and promised to take the matter to their presidents," said

      He said the purpose of the report and video was to highlight the
plight and suffering of the Zimbabwean refugees and so far, the response
from the region was positive.

      Chetty said although the South African government had not acknowledged
the report, it was making efforts quietly to rectify the problems faced by
refugees, especially Zimbabweans.

      "The situation has not really improved but we understand that the
Department of Home Affairs is doing something to resolve the crisis," said

      The Zimbabwe Solidarity Peace Trust is a church-related organisation
advocating for a peaceful resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis.

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SA labour union heading to Harare once more
          January 23 2005 at 01:16PM

      Cape Town - The Congress of South African Trade Unions intends sending
a second fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe in the first week of February, the
trade union federation said on Sunday.

      A similar fact-finding delegation was deported in October last year by
the Zimbabwean government.

      The announcement followed a three-hour meeting between Cosatu general
secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and his Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
counterpart Wellington Chibebe in Cape Town on Saturday.

      Zimbabwe's labour minister, Paul Mangwana, warned last week that
Cosatu would not be welcome in his country, and that it should confine its
"labour politics" to South Africa. - Sapa

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      Fertilizer shortage in Zimbabwe may affect cotton output 2005-01-24 02:53:17

          HARARE, Jan. 23 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwe is facing a shortage of
ammonium nitrate, which might reduce cotton production this year, an
official said on Sunday.

          A cotton specialist with Cottrade Private (Ltd), Obert Jiri said
cotton yield might drop to around 280,000 tons from the expected 350,000
tons if farmers don't get the commodity in time.

          "The major problem that is likely to reduce cotton yield is
theshortage of ammonium nitrate," Jiri said.

          "The shortage of the fertilizer is quite critical at the
moment.Seed houses like Seedco are getting 60,000 tons of ammonium nitrate
fertilizer per week instead of 100,000 tons."

          Jiri said representations about the shortage of the commodity had
been made to the government, which has since announced that imports were
being made from South Africa to augment local stocks.

          The cotton specialist said yields could still reach the projected
350,000 tons if the commodity was made available within the next two to
three months.

          Zimbabwe has been facing shortages of seed and fertilizer in the
last few years due to low production capacity.

          The country produced 340,000 tons of cotton worth close to 160
million US dollars last year.

          The crop has emerged as one of the country's major foreign
currency earners in recent years. Enditem

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Tanzanian leader aligns himself with Mugabe
          January 23 2005 at 01:19PM

      Harare - Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa on Saturday predicted
"handsome victories" for both his party and Zimbabwe's governing Zanu-PF in
upcoming general elections in the two countries.

      Mkapa, who jetted in to Harare for talks with Mugabe, told reporters
after the meeting that Zimbabwe "has elections in March, I have elections in
October - and we both expect we will win very handsomely".

      The Tanzanian leader said he was "very satisfied" with his talks with
Mugabe in which "we exchanged views on the situations in both our countries"
and underscored that his CCM (Chama Cha Mapinduzi -Revolutionary Party) and
the Zanu-PF were "partner parties".

      He left for Tanzania after attending a special lunch hosted for him.

      Mugabe and Mkapa enjoy warm ties.

      Earlier this month, Mugabe was the sole foreign leader to attend the
anniversary of the bloody 1964 revolution in Zanzibar which led to the
ouster of the island's Arab oligarchy and its union with Tanganyika to form

      Zimbabwe's March elections are seen as a litmus test to its commitment
to fall in line with southern African regional standards. The last two
elections in 2000 and 2002 were marred by allegations of violence and

      Mkapa, who is due to retire at the end of his second and final
five-year term in November, a month after the East African nation hold its
third multi-party general elections, has pledged to hold free and fair
polls. - Sapa-AFP
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The Australian

Arrested agent exposes Mbeki plot on Mugabe
Gavin Du Venage, Cape Town
January 24, 2005
IT sounds like something the CIA might have tried back in the days of the
Cold War: send an agent to bribe the cronies of an errant dictator, get them
on board and slowly gain control of the regime while pulling the strings
from afar. And if the spy gets caught, hope his torturers don't learn
anything that can't be denied in public.

It is not yet clear how much the 48-year-old white man now in the custody of
Zimbabwe's feared Central Intelligence Organisation has told his
interrogators. Since the news broke last week of his capture 10 days before
Christmas, the man has confessed to working for South Africa's National
Intelligence Agency.

His job, according to the Zimbabwean state media, was to hire top officials
of the ruling ZANU-PF party, paying them up to $US10,000 ($13,000) a month
in return for their allegiance and a steady flow of information about the
inner workings of President Robert Mugabe's regime.

Five senior members of Mr Mugabe's party have been arrested since the man
was questioned. An MP, an ambassador, two senior office-bearers and one of
the country's wealthiest businessmen have all been arrested on treason
charges, crimes for which they could be hanged.

Two cabinet ministers are also awaiting a late-night knock on the door,
according to reports in some South African newspapers.

That the plot was hatched in Pretoria - and not White Hall or Washington or
even Canberra, which Mr Mugabe has constantly warned his followers to guard
against - is what caught observers off-guard. South African President Thabo
Mbeki has steadfastly defended Mr Mugabe. He has consistently opposed
sanctions, fought for the Zimbabwean leader in the Commonwealth, and laid
out the red carpet when he and his officials visit the country.

But now it appears Mr Mbeki was planning for a future without Mr Mugabe.

"He (Mbeki) was quietly studying the inner workings of ZANU-PF, its policies
and politics," says Zimbabwean constitutional law lecturer Lovemore Madhuku.

"It has always been Mbeki's intention to replace Mugabe without replacing
ZANU-PF," Dr Madhuku said.

The foiled plot comes as a huge embarrassment to South Africa's intelligence
service, not to mention the Government. The NIA is still basking in its
spectacular success in destroying the plot to overthrow the Government of
Equatorial Guinea, led by wealthy Britons Mark Thatcher and Simon Mann.

Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils, a former communist guerilla who spent
years on the run from the apartheid regime, has refused to comment on the
Zimbabwe arrest. So has Mr Mbeki.

In the meantime, local reports say the luckless agent is still being
interrogated and subjected to torture in Harare. Once the CIO has finished
with him, he will no doubt be put on trial, along with the men he recruited.
And like his Cold War forebears, he will be able to count on little help
from the agency that set up his assignment.

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Zim can't get 'secrets' right
23/01/2005 15:58  - (SA)

Harare - State documents produced in court and obtained on Sunday make the
disturbing charge that the director-general of the South African secret
service (Sass) paid a top Zimbabwean Zanu-PF MP for state secrets.

The intelligence boss is named as "Madikiza". However, according to Sass its
director-general is Hilton Dennis and sources in agency said they had never
heard of "Madikiza".

Police documents in a high court hearing claimed that Phillip Chiyangwa, a
Zanu-PF MP, had been paid $10 000 a month for supplying "political and
economic information" to Sass agents.

No official explanation could be obtained for the Zimbabweans' case of
mistaken identity.

However, legal observers said the error now casts doubt on the entire case
against him and four other Zanu-PF officials, who say they were abducted by
agents of the Central Intelligence Organation (CIO).

Chiyangwa was arrested in December with Zimbabwe ambassador-designate to
Mozambique Godfrey Dzvairo, Zanu-PF director of external affairs Itai
Marchi, ruling party deputy director of security Kenny Karidza and Tendai
Mutambanadzo, company secretary for a bank owned by a Zanu-PF tycoon.

All have been charged under the Official Secrets Act with selling
information to South Africa.

State lawyers have confirmed in court that authorities are holding an
unnamed alleged South African agent.

There is no indication under what legislation or conditions he is being held
under, whether he has been brought to court or if he has been granted
diplomatic access.

The police charge sheet against Chiyangwa states that he was "recruited by
Jack", a Sass agent.

The court papers also detail severe abuse of power by authorities.

He claims that he was kidnapped at Harare's Holiday Inn on December 15 by
CIO agents.

They threw a hood over his head as they drove him away, and then kept him in
solitary confinement for two weeks.

He was subjected to "extensive and unconventional interrogation", he said.

He has high blood pressure and during his detention, he said, he suffered a
mild stroke.

He was denied access to his lawyers until the end of his detention, and was
then transferred to a regular prison.

Peter Kumbawa, the magistrate who dismissed Chiyangwa's first application
for bail on December 31 when he was first moved to legal custody, "invented
allegations" and found him "guilty without hearing any evidence" against
him, the affidavit claims.

Kumbawa said in his ruling: "Here we have a man who has access to all
national information but who is also capable of selling the same away with
no qualms.

"a few American dollars placed surreptitiously in his pocket", Chiyangwa had
decided to "peddle its (Zimbabwe's) economic interests or political
strategies like cheap oriental goods in bazaars".
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From The Sunday Times (SA), 23 January

Zimbabwe spy story hits home for TV presenter

Rowan Philp

The scale of the nightmare he was caught up in struck Tich Mataz in a
Zimbabwean prison this week when he was ordered to taste the food he had
brought for his brother. The radio and TV presenter had to prove that the
Chinese takeaway he had taken to Harare's Remand Prison was not poisoned.
Reeling, Mataz walked to a double-chicken-wire fence and stared in disbelief
at his wealthy older brother, shackled to another prisoner: an unshaven man
in khaki overalls, accused of betraying his country. This week, the
"relatives and friends" of he and two others accused of spying on Zimbabwe
for the SA government wrote to the Sunday Times declaring: "The
constitutional rights of the accused are being sacrificed [for politics]."
No individual family member would make statements critical of the espionage
trial for fear of intimidation. However, Mataz, a former 5FM DJ and
presenter of SABC's Woza Weekend TV show, said yesterday that his brother
had nothing to gain from spying. Mataz whose christened name is Tichafe
Matambanadzo - claimed that brother Tendai Matambanadzo, a former executive
with the Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe, had grown wealthy from his
profession and didn't need "any espionage money".

Mataz flew to Harare from England two weeks ago in a panic, believing his
brother had been kidnapped by criminals. Matambanadzo was seized by security
police outside his home in Harare's luxury suburb of Chisipite on December
13, and held without charge for 11 days. Like four high-profile members of
the ruling Zanu PF, he has been accused of selling "state secrets" to a SA
spy-master. His wife, also named Tendai, described the family nightmare:
"The day before his birthday, someone came and threatened the guard at our
home. By the time I arrived home, Tendai was gone without a trace. I filed a
missing persons report. I went to every hospital and every mortuary in this
town; I did not believe real policeman had taken him away." Mataz said: "I
thought it was a robbery or kidnapping. But after I arrived [in Zimbabwe],
he phoned [his wife] to say, 'I'm fine. It's not what you think; it's these
security guys - they're doing an investigation. But I can't say where I am.'"
Matambanadzo signed a confession and pleaded guilty to espionage on December
24, along with Godfrey Dzvairo, former Zimbabwean consul-general to South
Africa, and Zanu - PF director Itai Marchi - having been denied access to a

However, the three, newly represented by attorney Selby Hwacha, have applied
to change their plea to "not guilty" on the grounds that their confessions
were won through intimidation. A final appeal to the Supreme Court will be
filed this week. On Friday, Hwacha did not deny that some of his clients
gave or sold information to SA government employees. However, he said such
information was not a state secret and "therefore no offence has been
committed". He said that even the defence team had no idea of the identity
of the SA agent who fingered their clients to Zimbabwean police, and that
the court had agreed it would be kept secret. Zanu PF central committee
member Phillip Chiyangwa and party strong-man Kenneth Karidza, also charged
with selling secrets, will make separate, belated appearances in court after
suffering mental and physical abuse in detention.
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From The Sunday Independent (SA), 23 January

Confusion over who is to run Zim's next poll

Harare - South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission would be perplexed
and perhaps even infuriated trying to discover who is supposed to run
Zimbabwe's next general election, expected in March. There is no similarity,
apart from the jargon, between polls in South Africa and those held by its
turbulent northern neighbour. Zimbabwe's constitution says a five-man
Election Supervisory Commission, plus a chairperson, shall "supervise
registration of voters and the conduct of elections". It is appointed by
President Robert Mugabe and has run all elections since independence in
1980. Its budget dwindled over the years and it lost its ability to manage
the voters' roll, surrendering it to Mugabe's close associate Tobaiwa
Mudede, the registrar-general. At present, as in the presidential poll of
2002, the commission is two commissioners short and its new chairperson was
announced only on Thursday. After the Southern African Development
Community's electoral principles were adopted last August, the words
"independent electoral commission" heaved their way into Zimbabwe's
political lexicon. So Patrick Chinamasa, the justice minister, formulated a
new law, finally signed by Mugabe last week, called the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission Act. On Thursday Chinamasa announced the names of four members of
the Zimbabwe Election Commission who were "agreed to" in a Zanu PF-dominated
parliamentary committee this month. Mugabe alone appointed the chairperson,
high court judge George Chiweshe, who came to the bench via the army.
Chiweshe made legal history when he denied a critically ill opposition MP
bail saying the state did not have to provide prima facie evidence to
support his continued detention. He was also recently appointed by Mugabe to
chair the Delimitation Commission that delivered its map before Christmas
and excised three constituencies in urban strongholds of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), the official opposition, and added three to
traditional Zanu PF rural areas.

Mudede set the election ball rolling by opening the voters' roll on Monday
for inspection for 14 days. But few turned up to check if they were
registered, at least in urban areas, because Mudede only advertised the
exercise in two state newspapers that only a minority in towns can afford to
buy. No postal votes are allowed except for security services on election
duty, and permanent residents have been deprived of their constitutionally
guaranteed right to vote. Priscilla Misihairabwi, an MDC MP, laughed in
exasperation this week recalling her eight-day slog to get a copy of the
voters' roll for her constituency in Harare. Welshman Ncube, the MDC
secretary-general, a Bulawayo MP, and Paul Themba Nyathi, the party
spokesperson and MP for Gwanda, asked her to pick up voters' rolls for their
constituencies but she was told they had to personally collect. Thoko Khupe,
MDC MP for Zimbabwe's oldest township, Makakoba, in Bulawayo, who has seen
much of her constituency erased from the map this election, lamented that
she no longer knows who her constituents are because she was told she can't
buy a voters' roll in Bulawayo. The voters' roll exists on two CDs but
Mudede won't let opposition parties have copies. He says the national roll
is available only on printouts that would fill a small shed and cost R12 000
per copy or the equivalent of the annual salary of an MP.

So what will the new Zimbabwe Election Commission do? Well, it is supposed
to supervise the voters' roll but that has already been done by the
registrar-general. It has powers to design ballot papers and boxes, and
conduct voter education. It only has 32 days left before nomination courts
if elections are going to be held before the end of March, as expected, and
it has neither offices nor staff. It can "supervise" elections, but that
role is already assigned to the Electoral Supervisory Commission. The new
commission will have no powers over observers or monitors as they will be
selected by the Electoral Supervisory Commission, and invitations to foreign
observers will be made by a committee appointed by Mugabe and a small
cabinet committee. Which of the commissions - if either - will prevail? In
theory the original one - the Electoral Supervisory Commission - as it is
protected by the constitution, but the constitution is regularly ignored.
However, Chinamasa said on Thursday the old commission will "monitor" the
new one. A new Electoral Act emerged in the frenzy of new legislation late
last year that was also signed into law by Mugabe last week. A significant
difference from the previous Act is that the military can now legally do
what it did covertly in the presidential election three years ago - run the
elections. The new Act allows military, police and prison officers, and
thousands of youth militia at present being inducted into the security
services to run both voting and counting at 6 000 polling stations which,
for financial reasons, will largely be unattended by opposition parties. The
military recruited to run the elections will be answerable to the original
Electoral Supervisory Commission, not the new one. And voting will now take
place on one day instead of two.
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