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

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From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 23 January

Propaganda chief who turned Zimbabwe into 'Planet Moyo'

By David Blair, Foreign Staff

Any Zimbabwean who knows Jonathan Moyo, President Robert Mugabe's faithful
propaganda supremo, will have laughed wearily when he branded South Africans
"filthy and recklessly uncouth". South Africa may be Mr Mugabe's key ally,
yet this feckless outburst was typical of a man who has built his career on
vituperation and acquired a record of abusing President Thabo Mbeki. Why Mr
Moyo chose to attack Zimbabwe's most powerful neighbour again can be simply
explained. Anyone who crosses Mr Moyo is, in his mind, "filthy". He was
incensed by South African press reports of his two-week shopping spree in
Johannesburg, when he filled three luxury vehicles with expensive foodstuffs
while six million Zimbabweans faced starvation. Mr Moyo believes that
anything in the South African press is under Mr Mbeki's control and
responded in his customary fashion with an abusive tirade and the bizarre
charge that "British intelligence" had masterminded his embarrassment. This
time the Zimbabwean Foreign Ministry had to issue a statement disowning Mr
Moyo and calming troubled waters with South Africa.

This episode showed again how Mr Moyo's erratic career has pushed out the
frontiers of absurdity. Mr Mugabe is often accused of being delusional yet
his information minister has raised delusion to the point where Zimbabweans
talk of "Planet Moyo". When the guerrilla war against white Rhodesia was at
its height the 17-year-old Moyo went to one of Mr Mugabe's training camps in
Tanzania. He fled after six weeks and the camp commander called him the
"first successful deserter of the struggle." Mr Moyo preferred the comforts
of academia and secured a remarkable array of scholarships. He studied at
San Francisco University, the University of Southern California and
Stanford. At this stage, and later, he was a fierce critic of Mr Mugabe.
While teaching politics at the University of Zimbabwe in May 1999 he
described the president as a "national problem which needs urgent

Yet in late 1999 Mr Moyo turned full circle and became his president's most
ardent defender. What explains this somersault? Former friends of Mr Moyo
believe the answer lies in his murky dealings with his employers. The Ford
Foundation gave Mr Moyo a job in Kenya and then sued him over the mysterious
disappearance of £67,500. He spent two years at Witwatersrand University in
South Africa, which then pursued him over generous research grants that had
been paid but never yielded any research. Under these pressures Mr Moyo
threw in his lot with Mr Mugabe, becoming information minister in July 2000.
Zimbabwean cabinet ministers are, in effect, above the law, so Mr Moyo was
conveniently shielded from his pursuers. Mr Moyo has recently begun to
fashion a personality cult around himself. A report in The Chronicle, an
official daily, of a visit he paid to Bulawayo praised his "mesmerising
glamour" and said: "A youth recited a poem dedicated to Prof Moyo. 'Jonathan
Moyo why didn't you come before John the Baptist? Jonathan we love you.
Jonathan you are great, great, great'."
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From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 22 January

MDC under fire ahead of Cricket Cup

Harare - A lawmaker from Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party was arrested this week by police on unspecified charges,
the party announced on Wednesday. Pauline Mpariwa was arrested at her home
on Monday and is being held at a prison in Harare, the party said in a
statement. She is the fourth MDC deputy to be arrested this month in what
the party claims is a deliberate clampdown on opposition supporters and
officials. Police could not immediately confirm Mpariwa's arrest. Paul
Madzore, another MDC lawmaker from the low-income Harare suburb of Glen
View, was arrested two weeks ago for protesting over the arrest of the MDC
mayor of the capital. Harare Mayor Elias Mudzuri was arrested in mid-January
along with 20 other councillors, municipal workers and residents while
addressing a meeting with city taxpayers. Job Sikhala, another opposition
deputy, was arrested last week for being in possession of "subversive
documents." He was allegedly tortured while in police custody. Earlier this
month, Abednico Bhebhe, an MDC deputy from western Zimbabwe, was arrested
for sticking up a protest poster that read "Hoot enough is enough".

The government has vowed to crack down on people suspected to be involved in
or planning to disrupt the 2003 World Cup Cricket matches to be held here in
February and March. "There has been a sudden increase of violence and
arrests of MDC MPs and official and leaders of civic organisations since the
beginning of the month as preparations for the Cricket World Cup reach
advanced stages," MDC representative Paul Temba Nyathi said. He said he
disapproved of the decision taken by the International Cricket Council (ICC)
to proceed with the matches in Zimbabwe "in light of these sad
developments". "The decision callously underlines the point that the leading
figures in world cricket are simply guided by profit rather than principle,"
said Nyathi. Another opposition lawmaker, Tafadzwa Musekiwa, who was in
Britain last week, decided to stay in that country and seek asylum after
hearing about the arrest and alleged torture of fellow parliamentarian,
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      France confirms Mugabe invitation
      Thursday, January 23, 2003 Posted: 1736 GMT

      PARIS, France (Reuters) -- France confirmed on Thursday it had invited
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to an African summit next month but said
the Paris visit would not contravene a European Union travel ban on the
African leader.

      The summit invitation has played badly in Britain, which has attacked
his government for its policy of seizing white-owned farms to distribute
among landless blacks.

      Mugabe was re-elected to a four-year term last March, in a poll
condemned as fraudulent by many Western powers, including Britain and the
United States.

      The 15-nation European Union imposed sanctions on Harare after the
election, accusing Mugabe of rigging the vote after he refused to allow
European observers to work freely.

      But if British Prime Minister Tony Blair objects to Mugabe's Paris
visit, he risks scuppering broader sanctions against the African leader.

      Paris said provisions in the travel ban allowed for trips to conduct a
political dialogue aimed at promoting democracy, the rule of law and human
rights in Zimbabwe.

      "We are in accord with the spirit of this common European position,"
French Foreign Ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau told a news briefing.

      "We respect the appropriate European procedures and it is in this
context that we wanted to invite President Mugabe to take part in the
France-Africa summit."

      Britain said it would formulate a response before European Union
foreign ministers meet on Monday, when the travel ban will be discussed but
appeared to be in no mood for a fight.

      The EU slapped travel bans on Mugabe and his senior officials last
year. But the restrictions will expire a day before the Paris conference.

      Blair's official spokesman signalled that Britain would not stand in
the way of Mugabe's visit if it risked threatening the extension of the
overall sanctions regime for another year.

      "We do have to bear in mind the importance of getting the sanctions
rolled over," the spokesman told reporters. "We want to get the sanctions
rolled over."

      All 15 EU foreign ministers have to agree to that, giving France a
potential veto if it wished to use it.

      The 22nd Conference of the Heads of State of Africa and France is to
take place in Paris from February 19-21. The broad forum allows France and
African countries to nurture ties.

      Mugabe's office declined comment on the Paris summit on Thursday but
Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change said it would be
"like inviting (Iraqi leader) Saddam Hussein to the G8 summit" of top
industrialised nations.

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Zimbabwean Immigrants Swamp Botswana

Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

January 24, 2003
Posted to the web January 23, 2003

Prof Malema

The Chief Immigration Officer, Roy Sekgororwane Wednesday expressed worry
that Zimbabwean illegal immigrants fleeing from their collapsing economy are
swamping the country.

"We are seriously losing out on our battle to deal with this (Zimbabwean)
problem. Immigration and government cannot afford to deal with this problem
alone. We need some support to deal with the situation," Sekgororwane said.

His comments come at a when the country is faced with the worst immigrant
problem in history as thousands of Zimbabweans flee from their country.

According to the immigration department, 125,000 Zimbabweans cross into
Botswana per month - mostly at Ramokgwebana border-post -- but a great
number of them chose no to go back home. There has also been a surge in the
number of illegal immigrants who cross into the country through ungazetted

"We really need support to deal with this because the strategies that we
have used in the past seems to be not working. We are now repatriating two
truckloads of illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe every day, and this cost
government a lot of money," Sekgororwane said.

The immigration department has stepped-up its "mopping exercise" which is
aimed at rooting out illegal immigrants in the country. But he said the
system seems not to be working.

"We are now thinking of some other approaches which will involve the
department, prosecutors and magistrates to come together and brain-storm
over this issue, given the fact that the swift repatriation system we
adopted does not work.

"The courts would not work either and, it is practically impossible to
implement charge them because we might have 10,000 of them in one month and
the country does not have the capacity to try so many cases within a short
space of time," he added. "It is not that we are targeting the Zimbabweans.
The Zimbabwean illegal immigrants is a nagging issue because they are high
in numbers compared to people from other countries.

The labour movement is expected to take a strong stance regarding the
Zimbabwean crisis in the week ahead of the budget speech due on February 3.

Both Botswana Federation of Trade Union and manual workers union will urge
government to take a position regarding the Harare administration which they
believe is responsible for the chaotic economic conditions.

"It is disheartening to see people fleeing their country in such great
numbers. However, we have to stand together as citizens of this country to
make sure that we do not get swamped by Zimbabweans," national organising
secretary of manual workers union, Johnson Motshwarakgole said.

"We understand the problem of the ordinary Zimbabwean but they have to
understand that we as Batswana have to be patriotic as well. As far as we
are concerned SADC) leaders have failed the Zimbabweans by not attacking the
Harare administration for its policies which have landed the majority of
innocent people in this situation," he added.

Ronald Baipidi, spokesperson for Botswana Trade Unions said if the
Zimbabwean crisis is left unchecked it will scuttle attempts by government
to try to alleviate poverty in the country.

"We have to come out very clear on this issue because Zimbabwean are
flooding the job market at the expense of the citizens of the country.

The situation is out of order, we have Zimbabwean maids, herd-boys and farm
workers and I think the budget should factor this in and address the
problems faced by the Batswana who can not get employment because of
Zimbabweans," Baipidi added.

"We are going to have an executive committee meeting over the weekend and
one of the issues on the agenda will be the Zimbabwean issue which
negatively impact on Botswana's economy," Motshwaraakgole said. He added
that, "our problem is that cheap labour from that country contradicts what
we have been fighting for. They are taking jobs form our people and they do
not observe the minimum wage which we even strongly feel that it is too
low," he said.

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The Guardian

Cook: France must uphold Mugabe ban

Martin Nicholls and agencies
Thursday January 23, 2003

The travel ban on Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, and his associates
must be upheld by all the countries which voted for it - including France,
the government insisted today.
The leader of the Commons, Robin Cook, also confirmed that Britain would
seek to extend the ban when European foreign ministers meet in Brussels on

However, the prime minister yesterday refused to promise Britain would block
a French move to invite Mr Mugabe to a Franco-African summit in Paris next

Mr Cook's statement follows a report in the Guardian today that the
government had struck a deal with France to allow President Mugabe to defy
the ban in exchange for an unopposed renewal of sanctions against Zimbabwe.

The government has denied being guilty of "double-standards" over the ban.

The meeting is due to take place on February 19, the day after an EU travel
ban on members of his regime will expire.

All 15 member states must agree to any decision to renew the sanctions or
grant an exemption for Mr Mugabe to attend the summit.

During questions on coming parliamentary business, the Conservatives' Andrew
Mackay urged the government to veto the French President's "extremely unwise

He also asked about the possibility of imposing "tougher and tighter"
sanctions against the regime and the businessmen funding it.

Mr Cook said the travel ban must be upheld by all 15 countries who voted for
it, including France.

"I understand that at Monday's meeting of the general affairs council there
will be a debate on taking forward the extension of that ban which will
expire next month unless such a decision is taken," he advised.

"We will of course, at present, be seeking to make sure that ban is extended
and I certainly want to see that ban fully upheld by all members states of
the European Union.

"We will continue to review what possible sanctions we can take against
Zimbabwe that will bring home to the regime our total condemnation of the
way in which they are behaving."

Mr Cook expressed "particular abhorrence" for the regime's interference in
food distribution with "political motivation".

"No civilised person could possibly uphold the idea that food should be
denied to people because of the particular way in which they have voted in
he past," he told MPs.

He added: "We are also very sensitive to the fact that any decision we take
must not increase the hardship and the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe.

"We want to show that Britain is on their side and our enemy is not the
people of Zimbabwe. Our concern is with the regime of Zimbabwe."
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Invitation to a press conference
Amnesty, Thu 23 Jan 2003Print this story

Media Advisory

AI Index: AFR 46/002/2003 (Public)
News Service No: 015
23 January 2003
Zimbabwe: Invitation to a press conferenceAmnesty International invites journalists to a press conference on the preliminary findings of its latest mission to Zimbabwe. The conference shall be held in Johannesburg, South Africa tomorrow.

During its visit, members of the Amnesty International delegation met Zimbabwean human rights activists and gathered evidence of growing harassment, arrest and torture of those who peacefully oppose the government. They discovered a level of fear among human rights activists that has rarely been seen before.

Further Conference Details
DATE: 24 January 2003
TIME: 12h00 Johannesburg Time (10:00GMT)
VENUE: Melville Mini Conference Centre
99 4th Avenue


Musa Gassama: Africa Human Rights Defenders Coordinator, Amnesty International Africa Regional Office, Kampala, Uganda.
Sharmala Naidoo: Researcher, Amnesty International Secretariat, London.
Samkelo Mokhine: Press Officer, Amnesty International, South Africa.

For further information, please contact:
Samkelo Mokhine: Press Officer, Amnesty International, South Africa
Tel : 27 83 2612656

George Ngwa
Press Office, International Secretariat, London
Tel: 44 20 7413 5564.

Public Document
For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web:
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'No comment'

ICC chief Speed non-committal after Zimbabwe visit
Posted: Thursday January 23, 2003 10:53 AM

HARARE (Reuters) -- ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said Thursday Zimbabwe
had provided "useful information" on security preparations for next month's
World Cup matches, but declined to say if he would recommend that the games
go ahead.

After two days of talks in Harare, Speed said he would make a full report to
the ICC executive board which meets Friday in a teleconference to discuss
various World Cup issues.

"We have gathered information which is very useful," Speed told reporters at
an airport news conference.

"There are a number of concerns about safety and security in this country
that we are well aware of... but we have taken them on board and that will
form part of the report to the board tomorrow," Speed said.

England and Australia have both resisted calls from their governments to
boycott matches in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe faces criticism
over policies which opponents say have led to economic crisis and political

Speed declined to say what he would recommend to the ICC board and remained
non-committal on whether Zimbabwe's six World Cup games would go ahead as

"I'm not making any comment about that," Speed said. "It was very
productive. We had a lot of meetings and a lot of frank and honest answers
from a lot of people with whom we met."

World Cup chief organizer Ali Bacher, who accompanied Speed on his visit,
felt encouraged by assurances from Zimbabwean police officials that security
preparations were well underway for the games.

Security information
"I was pretty heartened by their desire that it should go off in Zimbabwe
without any problems," Bacher said. "We are very reassured by the manner in
which they want to handle this security operation during the World Cup."

The tournament has been plagued by doubts over plans to hold matches in both
Zimbabwe and Kenya, where security fears sharpened in December after suicide
bombers killed 12 people in an attack on an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa.

Forty six of the 54 World Cup matches are being held in South Africa where
the tournament starts on February 9.

Speed and Bacher said that Zimbabwe had repeated assurances that all
international journalists accredited to cover World Cup matches would be
permitted to enter the country which has recently tightened restrictions on
foreign reporters.

Several international media organizations were this week denied visas to
travel to Zimbabwe with a World Food Programme mission to survey critical
food shortages now faced by more than half of the country's 14 million

"We understand from the government that international journalists accredited
for the event will be able to come here to cover the cricket... freely,"
Speed told reporters.

Bacher added that Zimbabwean police had promised that opposition
supporters -- several of whom have recently been arrested in what they
describe as a pre-cricket clampdown by Mugabe's government -- would be
allowed to stage protests during the competition.

"We've got the assurance from the (police) commissioner today that provided
the process is proper... then they will permit peaceful protest
demonstration," Bacher said.

Zimbabwe cricket officials felt confident they had met all security
requirements for the ICC. "We're very happy with the plan that was
presented," Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) chief executive Vince Hogg said.

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Zim Independent

Mugabe on warpath
Dumisani Muleya
PRESIDENT Mugabe is reported to be on the warpath against senior officials
who he suspects are involved in a power-sharing plot with the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to dislodge him from office.

Official sources said Mugabe has ordered a thorough-going investigation into
the matter which Information minister Jonathan Moyo has described as a "coup

Mugabe's perceived heir-apparent and Speaker of Parliament Emmerson
Mnangagwa and Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Vitalis Zvinavashe have been
linked in press reports to an approach made in December by retired Col
Lionel Dyck to Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai about
arrangements for Mugabe's early retirement and a transitional government
leading to elections. They have both denied any involvement.

The Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) is playing a leading role in the
probe under the direction of Internal Branch director Mernard Muzariri, the
Zimbabwe Independent understands.

Seasoned officers have been deployed to investigate the unprecedented
political moves which have led to fulminations by Moyo whose career would be
the first casualty of Mugabe's exit.

Mugabe is also understood to have assembled a crack Zanu PF taskforce
comprising party inquisitors with an intelligence background.

The team is believed to include Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, State
Security minister Nicholas Goche, former PF-Zapu military intelligence chief
and Home Affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa, and former State Security and now
Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi.

The Police Internal Security Intelligence unit could be involved too.

Airforce of Zimbabwe commander, Air Marshall Perence Shiri, a fierce Mugabe
adherent, would act as a technical adviser, sources said.

It is understood Mugabe met the team on Monday and they are expected to meet
again today.

"Those involved are in deep trouble because Mugabe is livid," a source said.
"They trod on a political mine and it went off."

However, several of those cited as taskforce members were quick to deny any
connection to an investigation when contacted by the Independent.

"I'm not aware of any investigation," Mnangagwa said.

Dabengwa claimed it was "news" to him and Sekeramayi said he did not want to
talk about it.

Mohadi said: "We are not doing anything like that."

Mnangagwa was reportedly in South Africa on Monday, clearing a vehicle.

He had been due to meet Mugabe on Monday in what sources said was likely to
be an uncomfortable exchange.

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Zim Independent

$2b Byo health centre lies idle
Loughty Dube

A $2 BILLION specialist hospital in Bulawayo whose construction was
initiated by the late nationalist Joshua Nkomo is lying idle 12 months after
completion amid allegations of squabbles among stakeholders on how it should
be run, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.

The hospital, Ekusileni Medical Centre, whose construction began in early
2000, was scheduled to be officially opened in April last year but has now
become a white elephant due to reported squabbles among shareholders on how
it should be run.Before his death, Nkomo was the board chairman of the
hospital's trustees but handed over the chairmanship to Zanu PF politburo
member Sikhanyiso Ndlovu who acted in that capacity up to the end of last

President Mugabe is now the patron of the hospital that is expected to,
among other things, specialise in physiotherapy. It has a pathology
laboratory and has also ordered sophisticated X-ray machinery from
overseas.The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) funded the
construction of the hospital after Nkomo approached them.

Contacted for comment on the delays, Ndlovu said he was in the dark.
"This is a very important specialist hospital and I am perturbed by the
delays and I sincerely hope it will open soon," Ndlovu said.He asked the
Independent to seek further details from Daud Dube who he said was now
running the affairs of the hospital.

Sources said shareholders were at loggerheads over the pricing structure of
services with one camp wanting to turn the hospital into an elite
institution that would charge competitive costs and the other keen to see
the centre reflecting Nkomo's ideals for a community centre.

The government has promised to construct monuments and buildings to honour
the veteran nationalist but so far, save for naming the Bulawayo Airport
after him and the former Airport Road in Harare, nothing has materialised.
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Zim Independent

Govt moves to control weather forecasts as drought bites
Blessing Zulu

THE government has extended its controls to include weather forecasts amid
revelations that prospects for normal rainfall in the 2003/2004 season are
very slim, it has been learnt.

Prospects for the current year are also poor. "Prospects for the 2002/2003
agriculture season appear poor," said a World Food Programme Vulnerability
Assessment and Monitoring (VAM) Unit report.

As the country faces the prospects of yet another drought, Met Office
sources this week said the department was under instruction not to reveal
information on long-range forecasts without prior clearance from the Office
of the President.

"The government does not want any information on the weather to be leaked,"
said the source.

"All our (long-range) forecasts are first sent to the President's Office and
only then can they be released."

The source said government has justified the strict information clamp-down
on weather reports saying it impacted on investment in the agro-industrial
sector. However, despite these measures the government has failed to
adequately prepare for the eventuality of a drought. The WFP weather
monitoring unit said production of rain-fed maize would be low this and next

"The WFP VAM Unit reported that moderate El Niño events suggest that the
current weather patterns may extend well into 2004, peaking in the first
quarter of next year. For the remainder of the 2002/2003 growing season,
with a few exceptions rain-fed maize can be expected to be low," the report

The report urged the government and the donor community, which have been
struggling to meet food requirements, to brace for another major shortage
next year.

"Given carry-over effects on people's coping capacities from the current
crisis, anticipated below-normal harvests for the coming season, and the
rapid economic decline, the government of Zimbabwe and humanitarian agencies
need to begin preparing for serious and widespread food insecurity for the
coming marketing year of 2003/2004," the report said.

The weather experts painted a gloomy picture of the 2002/2003 season in the
Southern African region.

"There is a chance of rainfall sliding into the below-normal category over
the southern part of the region - Botswana, southern Zambia, central and
southern Mozambique, much of Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, southern
Angola, northern Tanzania, Lesotho and Swaziland," said the Southern African
Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) held in Zimbabwe late last year. The
meeting was convened to update the January to March 2003 rainfall forecast
issued in September last year.

The El Niño phenomenon caused a catastrophe in 1999 and is set to hit the
region again, said the South African Weather Service (SWS).

"A moderate El Niño is expected to persist throughout the remainder of the
southern African summer rainfall season," it said.

"El Niño events decrease the likelihood of a favourable summer rainfall
season over most of Southern Africa. There is 40% to 45% probability for
below-normal rainfall from January to March 2003 and from March to May there
is a 40% probability for below normal conditions over the entire forecast
region. The temperature outlook from January to April 2003 is far above
normal temperatures over the forecast region," said SWS.

The WFP said the Zimbabwean situation would be exacerbated by the confusion
in the farming community resulting in a below-normal area being put under
crop this year.

"Government estimates the area put under crops at 1,5 million hectares as of
December 31. The figure represents only 65% of the area planted in the
2001/2 season," said the WFP report.

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Zim Independent

Lawlessness scaring away investors - Royce
Blessing Zulu
THE breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe has continued to sabotage
investment in the sub-region, a United States Congressman has said.

Addressing delegates attending an African Growth and Opportunities Act
(Agoa) meeting in Mauritius last week, Ed Royce who chairs the Africa
sub-committee of the US Congress' International Relations Committee, said
southern Africa was paying heavily as investors shunned the region.

"Investors in the US and Europe are nervous about the implosion of the rule
of law in Zimbabwe," said Royce.

"There is very real reticence about the region as a result of what has
happened there, and the reports of what is happening in Zimbabwe are
disconcerting to investors."

Bill Thomas, the chairman of the US Congress' powerful Ways and Means
Committee, said the time limits put on Agoa were identified by the South
African government as one of the main concerns regarding the export
promotion strategy.

Thomas concurred with Royce that the Zimbabwean crisis was wasting the
opportunities offered by Agoa.

"The fact is the Zimbabwean problem is eating up the one thing that we don't
have and that is time - the longer it goes on the more difficult it will be
to respond to the problems," Thomas said.

Royce called on all concerned parties in the Zimbabwean conflict to deal
decisively with President Mugabe.

"Within all civil society, even within the party in power and opposition
parties, there is going to be the realisation that Mugabe needs to go and
the rule of law needs to return," Royce said.

He urged countries in the region that had been affected by the crisis to
take on the responsibility of leveraging Zimbabwe from the brink and putting
it on the course to democracy.

Royce said the international community was hoping that South Africa and
other governments would engage with Zimbabwe and bring back the rule of law.

Royce cited the controversial election won by Mugabe and the crackdown on
members of the opposition as a cause for concern. He cited the murder of
Movement for Democratic Change activist Tichaona Chiminya, the
politicisation of food handouts and Information minister Jonathan Moyo's
buying food "by the trailer-load" in South Africa as close to seven million
Zimbabweans face starvation, as evidence of a crisis.

The High Court ruling by Rita Makarau that led to the nullification of two
Zanu PF parliamentary seats on grounds of electoral intimidation was also
noted as evidence of the breakdown of the rule of law.

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Zim Independent

No equipment deal sealed with government - CFU
Dumisani Muleya
AFTER spending the last two years battling to remove commercial farmers from
their properties through land seizures, government is now appealing to the
dispossessed farmers for resources to support its stalled land reform

In an interview this week, Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president Colin
Cloete said government was desperately looking for equipment and machinery
to help abandoned resettled peasants till vast tracts of land currently
lying derelict.

"What happened is that I got a call from the Agriculture minister (Joseph
Made) on Monday asking for a meeting with us," Cloete said.

"We met him on Tuesday and he asked for equipment and machinery. He wanted
to know if we could sell the equipment or allow it to be hired. But we told
him we don't actually have the equipment as a union because it belongs to
our members."

Cloete, who attended the meeting with his vice-president Doug Taylor-Freeme,
said the CFU did not pledge to give government any equipment as reported in
the state media, but only promised to consult its members on the issue and
report back to Made.

He also said contrary to reports that the farmers had undertaken to release
$30 billion worth of equipment to government, the CFU officials and Made did
not discuss the value of the equipment or the figure touted in the Herald.

"We certainly didn't talk about that figure ($30 billion) but perhaps the
minister made his own calculations," he said. "But we didn't discuss that at

The government media claimed "a major breakthrough" had been reached between
Made and the CFU leadership over the equipment issue.

However, Cloete said there was no agreement that his organisation would
provide the equipment because "it does not own equipment in the first

The equipment on the farms and in warehouses is owned by individual CFU
members and not the organisation, he said.

Asked if the CFU was now cosying up to government in a bid to avert fresh
clashes, Cloete said he did not wish to discuss politics.

"I wouldn't want to be embroiled in politics but as you will know, we have
always tried to work with government but the political situation made it
difficult," he said.

Most of the land government grabbed is lying idle as resettled people have
no resources to work it. Government's recent efforts to raise $64 billion
through an Agri-bond failed dismally as only $10 billion was raised.

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Zim Independent

Dairy farm converted into herb plantation
Augustine Mukaro
CONTROVERSIAL Aids therapist Dr Richard Ngwenya wants to turn a profitable
dairy farm he has acquired under the fast-track resettlement scheme into a
herb plantation, the Zimbabwe Independent established this week.

Collingwood Farm, situated in the rich Concession farming area, used to
produce about 6 000 litres of milk a day and Ngwenya, an ex-Zipra commander,
wants to turn it into an anti- HIV/Aids herb-producing project.

Ngwenya runs an immune-enhancement surgery along Josiah Chinamano Avenue in

Sources at Collingwood said milk production is fast diminishing at the farm
since the take-over by Ngwenya.

Ngwenya last week confirmed to the Independent that he has taken over the
operations at the farm and would like to transform it into a herbal project
for the treatment of HIV/Aids.

"I have already planted nurseries of the herbs and they will be ready for
transplanting shortly," Ngwenya said.

"In fact, the 309-hectare Collingwood Farm is not big enough for my project.
I need at least 1 890 hectares for full-scale production of the herbs."

Ngwenya said he offered the previous farm owners, the Gaisfords, a cheque
for $100 million as compensation for improvements and equipment on the farm
but they turned down the offer.

Sources, however, said the cheque allegedly offered to the Gaisfords was a

"The Gaisfords would not accept the alleged cheque because it was not a
valid cheque but only a photocopy of the original," the sources said.

The Gaisfords could not be reached for comment as they are understood to
have left the country.

Collingwood used to be a Dorking Dairy out-grower, delivering all its milk
for processing.

Dorking is Harare's major milk provider, delivering around seven tonnes of
milk to the capital every day. Other than milk, Dorking also produces
yoghurt and cream for both local and export markets.

Sources said Dorking would be hard-pressed to maintain the same levels of
milk production as most of its out-growers had ceased production.

Milk production has been in sharp decline over the last three years with
nearly half the producers being forced to stop production and vacate their
properties as government implements its land reform programme.

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Zim Independent

MDC to challenge registration process
Staff writer

THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s legal team is compiling evidence
on irregularities in the voter registration exercise in Kuwadzana for use in
a Supreme Court challenge to the role of the Registrar-General in the voter
registration process, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

The legal team has over the past few weeks been recording irregularities in
the voter registration exercise ahead of a by-election due in the
constituency on a still-to-be-announced date.

The opposition party recently revealed that over 10 000 new voters had been
added to the voters' roll since the March 2002 presidential election.

MDC legal secretary David Coltart confirmed his party was compiling the
evidence to challenge the registration process under Section 61 of the
Electoral Act.

"Section 61.3 of the Electoral Act stipulates that the Electoral Supervisory
Commission (ESC) has the sole responsibility of registering voters but in
Kuwadzana, the Registrar-General has usurped the powers of the ESC and is
doing the registration of voters himself which is unconstitutional," Coltart
said. - Staff Writer.

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Zim Independent

Tsvangirai attacks Mbeki, Obasanjo as deceitful
Vincent Kahiya

MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has fired a
broadside at Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo and his South African
counterpart Thabo Mbeki for plotting to legitimise President Mugabe's rule
ahead of the crucial Commonwealth Troika meeting in Pretoria in March.

The Troika, which consists of Mbeki and Obasanjo together with Australia's
premier John Howard, will decide on whether to continue Zimbabwe's
suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth.

Addressing diplomats yesterday, Tsvangirai, in a demonstration of growing
irritation at Mbeki and Obasanjo's failure to outrightly censure Mugabe,
described the two presidents' action as a "cynical and cruel act of

"Tragically," he said, "supposedly leading countries in Africa, such as
South Africa and Nigeria are now in the forefront, chiding the international
community for its condemnation of the brutal Mugabe regime, denying the
existence of the tragic circumstances in which Zimbabweans find themselves,
cheering Mugabe in the name of a dubious African brotherhood to go on
perpetrating the outrage and waiting for the policies of the regime to
produce mass graves which they regard as an adequate and sufficient
definition of the existence of a crisis in Zimbabwe.

"Let me say this clearly to Nigeria and South Africa," said Tsvangirai:
"They are simply deluding themselves and Mugabe, their ally, against the
people of Zimbabwe. The people of Zimbabwe will never, never accept this
little strategy of repackaging and sanitising the Mugabe tyranny."

Tsvangirai said Nigerian Foreign minister Sule Lamido this week delivered a
message from Obasanjo meant to assure Mugabe that "Nigeria would continue to
buttress him in his quest to maintain tyrannical rule over Zimbabweans".

He also attacked South Africa's Foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who
also paid a visit this week saying she was on a similar mission.

Tsvangirai said the real intention of Mbeki and Obasanjo was to give
Zimbabweans a false sense of hope and thereby buy time for Mugabe "to make
good his bloody electoral fraud and consolidate his dictatorship".

"It is this kind of behaviour and arrogance that points to the existence of
a sinister and active plot on the part of Nigeria and South Africa to lead
the way in legitimising a murderous and brutal illegitimate regime,"
Tsvangirai said.

Mbeki and Obasanjo last year led the initiative to have inter-party talks
between the MDC and Zanu PF but these collapsed after the MDC challenged
Mugabe's victory in the courts.

"In pursuit of this desperate strategy, presidents Obasanjo and Mbeki have
now come out openly in support of the Mugabe dictatorship against the people
and forces of democracy in Zimbabwe," he said.

He said the position taken by the two leaders would influence the decision
by the Troika.

"As a result, the forthcoming Commonwealth Troika meeting in South Africa is
now a cruel gimmick and serious opinion in the international community must
totally ignore the incoherent rants that will emanate from it," he said.

He said Nigeria continued to misread the Zimbabwean crisis by portraying it
as a racial issue between black and white.

"The people being starved to death are not white; the majority of those
killed by the regime's killing machine are not white; those who languish in
jail as I speak to you and are subjected to incessant torture and sub-human
conditions are not white; those in the rural areas who are daily subjected
to brutal treatment are not white.

"It is therefore despicable and cheap for anyone to reduce such a tragedy to
an issue of race for the sake of a fake African brotherhood and political
expediency," he said.

He said the MDC was a national political party that articulated and
expressed the national interests of all Zimbabweans.

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Zim Independent

Envoy to grill govt on food imports
Augustine Mukaro

UNITED Nations Special Envoy James Morris is expected to grill government on
its failure to engage private players in food imports or reverse its
controls on pricing and exchange rate policy to staunch the deteriorating
food security in the country.

Diplomatic sources said in his first visit last September, Morris agreed
with President Mugabe that there was a need to increase implementing
capacity, resolve the genetically-modified organism (GMO) issue, engage
private players in food importation and end the Grain Marketing Board's
(GMB) monopoly on grain trading.

"Only less critical issues such as the increase of implementation partners
and distribution of GM food in a milled state were completely resolved," a
UNDP diplomat said

World Food Programme implementation partners have increased from seven to 12
over the past four months and donated GM grain is being milled largely in
South Africa before distribution.

Aid agency sources said government, through the GMB, retained a choke-hold
on the trade in maize and wheat.

"Previous attempts by Morris and other UN officials to persuade Mugabe to
agree to the creation of a US$85 million fund supported by donors and from
which private sector companies could borrow money to import grain has died a
natural death," sources said.

Other than focussing on the humanitarian crisis, Morris is also understood
to be on a mission to press Mugabe into reversing controls in the pricing of
maize and exchange rates.

Morris' visit comes at a time when the portion of Zimbabwe's population in
need of food aid through to March has risen to 62%, up from 58%.

The figure means that 7,2 million people would go hungry in a country whose
population is estimated at 11,6 million. An estimated 6,7 million people are
surviving from food handouts either from the donor community or government
since last year.

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Zim Independent

A growing convergence on Mugabe's future

Dumisani Muleya

BEING a hostage is a "crucifying isolation", Irish teacher and hostage in
Lebanon, Brian Keenan, wrote in the London Independent in 1990 after a
four-year ordeal as a captive.

French semiologist Jean Baudrillard had this to say about hostages:

"Neither dead nor alive, the hostage is suspended and terrified by an
incalculable outcome. It is not his destiny that awaits him, nor his own
death, but anonymous chance, which can only seem to him something absolutely

This description illustrates Pre-sident Robert Mugabe's current political
predicament, beset by insecurity following last week's reports that his key
lieutenants were planning to ease him out of power in alliance with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as part of a plan to restore
stability and international recognition.

Zanu PF secretary for administra-tion, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zimbabwe
Defence Forces comma-nder Vitalis Zvinavashe were implicated in what
government spin-doctor Jonathan Moyo claimed was a "coup plot" to dislodge
Mugabe through a power-sharing arrangement.

A former Zimbabwe National Army officer, Colonel Lionel Dyck, was named as
the honest broker in the plan. The forces around the issue included Britain
and South Africa who are keen to find a negotiated settlement to the
Zimbabwean crisis.

The University of Zimbabwe's Institute for Development Studies analyst,
Professor Brian Raftopoulos, said Mugabe appears boxed-in by the crisis.

"Mugabe seems confined now," Raftopoulos said. "He appears to be looking for
some exit but clearly his alternatives are limited. There is a great deal of
anxiety within his party and the army."

According to the Dyck package, Mugabe and his family would have free passage
to a destination of their choice (Malaysia has been widely touted); targeted
sanctions would be lifted; a transitional government installed with
Mnangagwa - Mugabe's perceived heir apparent - as president and MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai as deputy for a period of two years. Fresh elections would
be held in 2005.

The transitional authority would ensure it introduced a new legislative
framework to support free and fair elections supervised by international
monitors, amend the constitution to facilitate the succession plan, offer
Mugabe immunity from prosecution for human rights abuses and improve the
environment for free political activity.

State security institutions would be de-politicised and the army would back
the interim government. All political trials would be abandoned and amnesty
granted to offenders.

The land reform programme, which has caused Zimbabwe's current isolation,
would be revisited and put on an orderly footing. The British government
would provide funding for this.

Although Mnangagwa and Zvinavashe have denied any involvement in the deal,
Dyck insisted they were involved despite his later efforts at damage

Moyo suggested the "coup plotters" were guilty of treason.

The minister, who often reflects Mugabe's mind, slammed Dyck's iniative.

"This whole saga is nothing but an ill-conceived media event that will
ultimately serve to expose the coup plotters, electoral cowards and
unfriendly foreign enemies behind it," he said.

"The people of Zimbabwe, whose constitution and laws on the matter are very
clear, will not entertain coup plotters under the false cover of democracy
or economic salvation and the same goes for the international community
which has noplace for coup plotters."

In remarks which observers said were clearly directed at Mnangagwa and
Zvinava- she, Moyo insisted "coup plotters" should be arraigned.

"A coup isa coup no matter how it is plotted or presented," he said.

"If there is anyone who has hatched a plot to force the president to step
down, then they should face the full wrath of the law in the courts."

Analysts say the manoeuvres by Mugabe's closest assoc-iates keen toexploit
wide-ning politic-al, ideologi- cal and ethnicfault lines within Zanu PF as
government openly admits failure to deal with food and fuel shortages, were
destabilising the regime and have placed the president in a precarious

With economic implosion deepening and repression rising, Mugabe - now a
political liability and virtual hermit - is finding himself having to
grapple with his own succession crisis.

This is not surprising, analysts note, because Mugabe is simply hoist by his
own petard. Authoritarian regimes are generally considered fragile because
they are unable to cope with economic adversity, resolve internal conflicts,
respond to interests and demands of the populace, and, above all, ensure a
smooth succession of leadership - in other words, unable to democratically
institutionalise themselves.

These sort of regimes often collapse when confronted with military
discontent, political instability or civil disobedience. Once in a state of
flux their leadership easily loses grip on power.

Analysts say the current shifts and changes in Zanu PF were bound to happen.
It was only a matter of time, they say. This was because Mugabe had for a
long time suppressed internal debate, on his succession. But now economic
decay seems to be spurring his adherents into trying to challenge him.

The economy, which Mugabe has managed to successfully sabotage through
scorched-earth policies, has become his greatest nemesis. Inflation is
currently scaling stratospheric levels at 198,9%. It is expected to surge to
500% this year. Agriculture - the mainstay of the economy - is in ruins.

People are now scrounging for food, fuel, foreign currency, basic
commodities and fighting for limited access to run-down social services such
as health facilities.

Analysts say this, coupled with the fast-moving story of Mnangagwa and
Zvinavashe, has permeated intense political heat in the corridors of power.
Despite a barrage of clumsy official denials including Moyo's
self-interested threats, it appears the situation can only get worse as
Mugabe's disciples scramble to extinguish the succession bush fires.

Analysts say after the palace coup episode, Mugabe is hanging on to power by
his fingernails in the face of a mounting challenge to his faltering rule
within and outside his party and at home and abroad.

Panicky repression and hysterical outbursts - which manifest themselves in
anti-imperialist rhetoric - have become ossified as permanent features of
his threadbare stewardship.

Whatever the true story about the Dyck overture, it seems Zimbabwe has
reached a turning point as far as Mugabe's rule is concerned.

As South African foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma prepares to hawk
President Thabo Mbeki's government-of-national-unity plan in Harare any day
now, Mugabe will discover a worrying convergence between the ANC's attempt
to modernise Zanu PF and various internal initiatives that all have one
thing in common - his removal as the agency of Zimbabwe's headlong decline.
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Zim Independent - Comment

Zim's 'friends' agree to look the other way

South African and Nigerian ministers are preparing the ground for a
smoke-and-mirrors act that will see President Thabo Mbeki trying to convince
Tony Blair and the Commonwealth that the situation in Zimbabwe has
materially improved and that a power-sharing plan will see a platform for

France and Portugal, as our story reveals today, are already turning a blind
eye to the deteriorating situation on the ground in Zimbabwe in order to
fulfil their pretensions as Africa's patrons. Both have made President
Mugabe's attendance at summits in February and April a condition for their
agreement to renew EU sanctions against Zimbabwe next month.

Despite the Byzantine intrigues of the past month when Morgan Tsvangirai
first blew the whistle on the importunities of key figures claiming to be
carrying the head of their leader, Mbeki is no further forward than he was
last March in his attempts to produce a reformed leadership in Harare
capable of addressing the myriad problems Zimbabwe faces.

While South African diplomacy may have inspired the flash of unsheathed
daggers in Harare's corridors of power, it has not succeeded in turning
around the Zimbabwe situation.

That is partly because the ANC has been unable or unwilling to articulate a
democratic agenda, instead indulging Zimbabwe's arthritic leadership with
well-worn gestures of solidarity. Mbeki's obsession with the politics of
race in South Africa, his deep dislike for Tony Leon's party and growing
resentment of Cosatu have produced a policy in Pretoria largely hostile to
the MDC despite ongoing contacts.

In order to resist further sanctions against Zimbabwe, South Africa wants to
believe that progress has been made north of the border on a range of
issues. And it is once again prepared to buy into a number of hollow
assurances that were touted ahead of a visit by Foreign minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma to Harare on Wednesday.

These include the fiction that "land reform" is complete and law and order
has been restored on the farms, that farm labourers of Malawian, Mozambican,
South African and Zambian descent will have citizenship restored to them,
that proposed changes to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act will make it less arbitrary, and the withdrawal of Zimbabwean forces
from the Congo will remove an obstacle to regional peace. The cricket World
Cup is already being held up as evidence of a return to normality.

The government will seek to show that its victory in recent by-elections
confirms not its capacity to bludgeon the opposition but genuine popular
support for the ruling party despite the fact that it hasn't a single
solution to the current crisis.

Dlamini-Zuma made gullible comments about the situation in Zimbabwe during
her last visit in October, just as Membathisi Mdladlana did this month. It
is significant that Pretoria would never think of despatching Mosiuoa Lekota
or Tito Mboweni up here!

Nigeria will join in this programme of deception designed to let President
Mugabe off the political hook for another year. France and Portugal -
probably with the support of Italy and Greece - will at the same time
indulge Mugabe in Paris and Lisbon on the spurious grounds that this will
expose him to the views of other leaders who favour reform in Zimbabwe.
While Britain appears to be opposed to letting Mugabe into Europe via the
revolving door of summitry, it is reportedly prepared to accept his presence
on condition France and Portugal drop their opposition to a renewal of EU
sanctions. The MDC will meanwhile be urged to drop its court applications on
electoral malpractice.

This would be an error. Last week's High Court findings in two Gokwe
constituencies in the 2000 poll show the MDC has a strong case. There would
certainly be no willingness on Zanu PF's part to drop repression or improve
its record.

Indeed, repression has if anything intensified since last March. It is
virtually impossible under Posa for the opposition to campaign anywhere. The
mayor of Harare was arrested merely for reporting back to his constituents.
A civic protest in his support was crushed by ruling-party militias who
spent two hours assaulting Harare civic activists. The police charged the
victims with a "breach of the peace". MPs and lawyers have been arrested and
tortured according to evidence produced in court last week.

As a result of the politically-driven sabotage of commercial agriculture the
country faces starvation. And political favouritism in food distribution
will ensure most of the victims are opposition supporters.

This is what the South Africans and Nigerians are agreeing not to notice.
And we must ask what sort of information is being dispatched from the French
embassy in Harare to the Quai d'Orsay that leads President Chirac to believe
he can so contemptuously disregard the views of ordinary Zimbabweans who are
being beaten, tortured and starved by Mugabe's officials.

At the end of the day there has been no breakthrough in Zimbabwe's political
logjam and certainly no restoration of the rule of law.Mbeki knows that.

If South Africa wants to see a transition to democracy through independently
and internationally supervised elections ahead of 2008, then it should say
so. That would engender the trust of the majority of Zimbabweans who had an
election stolen from them last March and are bitter about South Africa's
cynical endorsement of that blatant theft.

It is about time President Mbeki declared a commitment to the restoration of
democratic rule in Zimbabwe. He should stop looking over his shoulder to see
what the DA or PAC might be saying and instead do the right thing.

As for the French, let it not be forgotten that they were giving assurances
of solidarity to the Sani Abacha regime in Nigeria, encouraging it to ignore
Commonwealth protests, right up to its very end. They must not for one
minute think that sort of diplomacy is acceptable here. President Chirac is
tarnishing his much-vaunted Franco-African summit by entertaining
individuals who are responsible for serious and ongoing human rights
violations. How does Europe's guardian of liberté justify that?
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch

Rumours reveal a craving for change

ZIMBABWE is renowned for the magnitude of its rumours. Almost all are stated
by those who disseminate them to be absolute fact, the information allegedly
having been obtained from impeccable sources. And once started, the rumours
spread throughout Zimbabwe like wildfire, gaining ever greater
embellishments. However, the supposedly authoritative information invariably
proves to be without foundation or, at very best, to have an insignificant
grain of truth, distorted by the vast embroidery as it passes from one to
another. Almost all of the rumours are created by misunderstandings coated
by wishful thinking.

The major consequence of those rumours, over and above possibly undesirable
policy decisions by many, reached on the basis of the rumours and therefore
at variance with the policies that should be pursued, is that the
proliferation of the rumours often has economic impacts. This became very
evident at the beginning of last week. Over the weekend of January 11-12,
the first vague rumours began to circulate that negotiations were in
progress for President Robert Mugabe's retirement and the creation of a
government of national unity. The initial source of the rumours was from
beyond Zimbabwe's borders, being stories published in certain South African
newspapers. People who heard of those stories did not at first give them
much credence, for such stories have circulated on previous occasions and
have proved to be without any element of fact. Nevertheless, with the
Internet access to the print media, and e-mail facilitated speedy
communication, within hours more and more became aware of the stories.

Then, on January 13, BBC World Service carried programmes which markedly
expanded upon suggestions that a presidential retirement was imminent.
Within hours all Zimbabwe was a-buzz with the news that the president would
be retiring, and took it even further by suggesting that he was already in
exile in the Far East. That contention was based upon the fact that he was
in Thailand (where he spent some of his annual leave), but it was actually
baseless, he having already returned to Zimbabwe, although he was still on
leave. His retirement, whether actual or anticipated, and the expectation of
a national unity government coming into being, was on the lips of almost
everyone, and constant repetition by one after another after another made
even the sceptical begin to assume that what they were hearing was fact, not
rumour. That belief was strongly reinforced when, with undue haste,
presidential sycophants hastily made strong denials, for many have come to
believe that there is no compatibility between government statements and
fact. This was particularly so when it became clear that certain of the
details of the various versions of the rumours in circulation were founded
on fact.

At the same time, a second array of rumours spread fast on the heels of the
first. These were that government (motivated to do so by a combination of
comprehensive recommendations of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries
(CZI) and of an economy sinking into ever-deeper distress, which potentially
could be the catalyst of the downfall of government), would belatedly now
implement very necessary economic measures, including a long overdue,
substantial devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar, reversal or revision of
price controls, implementation of meaningful export incentives, and other
much needed actions.

The extent to which the populace is craving for change to responsible
government and to constructive economic policies was strongly signalled by
the immediate, and almost spontaneous, reactions throughout Zimbabwe. The
first was one of doubt as to whether there was any substance to the reports
of impending political and economic change, that doubt tinged with anxiety
that they should rapidly prove to be well-founded. As the rumour-machine
gathered momentum, the hopes became stronger, and within hours belief began
to replace doubt in the minds of many.

In turn, that triggered some significant economic developments. The first
was the impact of the expectations upon trading in the parallel market.
Although the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Herbert Murerwa,
had announced in his Budget Statement on November 14, 2002 that the Reserve
Bank would be prescribing new regulations to result in a discontinuance of
the parallel market, and such regulations were announced on the next
following day, in practice the abused and mismanaged money market, and the
inadequacy of foreign exchange generation, has resulted in continuing
parallel market dealings. But, under the impetus of the rumours, the
exchange rates in the parallel market fell fairly sharply in a matter of
only a few hours of trading. On the preceding Friday the prevailing rates
ranged from $1 680 to $1 700 for one US dollar, but by Monday evening the
rates had fallen to a range of $1 625 to $1 640, and by Wednesday had fallen
further to approximately $1 600, representing a reduction in exchange rate
of almost 5%.

Reportedly, the street vendors engaged in currency dealings reduced rates to
an even greater extent, trading the United States dollar at about $1 250,
after selling at $1 500 a week or so earlier. The logical interpretation of
the sudden downward movement in those exchange rates must be that sellers
anticipated that the chronic scarcities of foreign exchange that have long
afflicted Zimbabwe would be progressively alleviated under a new political
and economic regime. Such a conclusion is reinforced by prior expectations
that a rise in rates would occur following upon the end of the annual
industrial recess, most factories resuming operations on January 13 and yet
the rates fell.

The second reactive development to the sudden expectations of change was a
firming in prices of many shares listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
Admittedly, most of the securities have been subjected to upward price
movement for some considerable time. This has been due to a variety of
factors, including increasing investor interest in the stockmarket as a
hedge against rampant hyperinflation, for money market yields have long been
manipulated by government at rates unrealistically low in relation to
inflation, and few other lawful inflation hedges exist, other than
properties. Nevertheless, it is almost traditional for quoted securities to
be subject to reduced demand in December and January, when there is usually
markedly lesser volumes being traded.

Concurrently with the intensifying rumours at the beginning of last week,
the stockmarket rose, with some counters increasing in value by as much as
5% in a matter of days. It would be absurd to suggest that suddenly business
confidence has had such a shot in the arm that it is fully restored. That is
far from the realities. Overall, confidence is still at a low ebb. There
have been too many previous occasions when Zimbabweans have had their hopes
raised, only to have them dashed again. Some are grasping for any inkling of
hope, believing there is substance to the saying that "there's no smoke
without fire". Others have become grossly disillusioned with never-ending
expectations of change failing to materialise so that they have become
cynical in the extreme, doubt any positive news or any possible signs for
the good.

However, the extent to which the Zimbabwean populace spread last week's
rumours, and the extent to which many allowed the rumours to influence them,
demonstrates how very greatly the majority desire both political and
economic change. Most have an almost unsatiable hunger for change, for they
dread continuance of decline in law and order, democracy, and the economy
from their already record all-time lows.

Whether there is substance to the rumours or not, and there are pronounced
signs of some substance, the reception of the rumours demonstrates the
craving for change. That reception should be seen by the president and by
government as a very strong message and signal of how desperately so many
now anxiously crave the changes that are necessary for Zimbabwe to uplift
itself from the chasms of economic and humanitarian destruction.
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Zim Independent


Gay gangsters get Matsanga's goat

QUEER things are going on in the world of journalism, according to the
Herald's increasingly deranged commentator, "Dr" David Nyekorach-Matsanga.

The Ugandan refugee who is based in London is a wanted man back home. The
Ugandan authorities are anxious to interview him about his role as a
spokesman for the terrorist outfit, the Lord's Resistance Army. But safe in
his British citadel, he hurls abuse at newspapers that dare to suggest
Zimbabwe's equally deranged tyrant might be exiting the political scene
before he planned to.

Nyekorach-Matsanga, who heads a one-man organisation called Africa Strategy,
first appeared as an "observer" during the presidential poll in March. His
report, needless to say, was a poorly-argued attempt to whitewash President
Mugabe's flawed reelection. Now the Ugandan commentator, whose doctorate
would be a source of interest to other academics, has assumed the role of
fully-fledged apologist. The latest story about Mugabe's retirement "was
nothing but a faked story by gay gangsters about the most loyal men in Zanu
PF and founders of the struggle going against the founder father of the
nation of Zimbabwe," he fumed.

That led in turn to a tirade about the failure of the Zimbabwe High
Commission in London to sell the president's policies sufficiently
vigorously, the subject of another rave on Monday following a sub-editorial
intervention last Friday that cut the Ugandan off mid-stream just as his
frothing at the mouth had reached fever pitch.

Nyekorach-Matsanga's central contention was that "gays who hate President
Mugabe" were sneaking into the country under the pretext of playing golf,
"supported by the dirty malcontents of the MDC".

He seemed particularly incensed by a report appearing in the Daily Telegraph
about Grace Mugabe grabbing a farm and another headed "Murderous Mugabe
should be treated like bin Laden". A Channel 4 documentary also got his

The writer of the first story, Peta Thornycroft, twice married, the mother
of three children and grandmother of two, was described as "a gay
journalist", the second, Alice Thomson, was called "a lesbian", and Peter
Oborne who produced the Channel 4 documentary was branded a "yellow gay

"We have received evidence and information that those who appear on these
so-called documentaries are paid huge amounts of money." Nyekorach-Matsanga

"It has also been revealed that most of the opposition members are being
sexually abused by these high-flying under-cover journalists who are paying
up to £500 per night for sexual therapy that they can't have in Britain."

Needless to say, no evidence was provided. This strikingly inventive piece
of yellow - as distinct from pink - prose was appropriately headed "Travesty
of journalism". We would be interested to know if this is the sort of thing
we can expect in terms of ethical standards under Professor Tafataona Mahoso
's media regime. Or can we safely assume he has no jurisdiction over the

"Where will it end?" Nyekorach-Matsanga laments about the stories appearing
in the UK press. "Is the end of the world nearing? What has become of this
world of the Queen?"

Alas, it was not entirely clear which one he had in mind!

We were delighted to hear that the government of Zimbabwe has cleared up the
little misunderstanding that arose as a result of Information minister
Jonathan Moyo reportedly calling South Africans "filthy" and "uncouth". This
followed articles in the Sunday Times under the heading "Hey, Big Spender -
Mugabe's spin doctor stocks up on food in SA as millions starve at home".

South Africa had asked for an explanation of the comments attributed to
Moyo, a serious step in diplomatic protocol indicating displeasure. The
Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement published in Zimbabwe on
Saturday explaining that Moyo's remarks about the African Renaissance were
not directed at the South African people or President Thabo Mbeki. The
government said it regretted the inference made by Business Day that Moyo's
remarks on his personal experience reflected the views of the government and
people of Zimbabwe. The minister's remarks were his own, "on the basis of
his embarrassing experience during his holiday stay in South Africa", the
ministry said.

Having thus distanced the government from Moyo's outburst, the ministry
nevertheless attempted to soothe his ruffled feathers following the Sunday
Times' exposé.

"If indeed the Sunday Times journalists concerned had due regard for the
status of the honourable Professor Jonathan Moyo as a government minister,
then their invasion of his privacy could be construed to have been the
result of their intention to embarrass not only the minister but the
government of Zimbabwe."

This is partly true. It is the function of the press to shame governments
that indulge in double standards and hypocrisy. Moyo has been in the
forefront of Zimbabwean ministers blaming this country's problems on
external forces. They are in denial about their own role in mismanaging the
economy, wasting public resources and presiding over unprecedented

Where newspapers can show that Mugabe and his ministers have access to
scarce foreign currency and spend that money stocking up on supplies that
are unavailable to the majority of Zimbabweans, such exposure is a valid
role for the media - indeed its public duty. The 15 trolley-loads of goods
South African newspapers reported the Mugabe party as taking aboard a
Singapore Airlines' flight from Changi to Johannesburg on Sunday, January 12
confirmed the impression of gross self-indulgence by Zimbabwe's elite.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' pompous remarks about Moyo's "status" is
typical of the self-importance in which Zanu PF ministers hold themselves.
It is completely at variance with how the Zimbabwean public actually feels
about these inflated individuals.

Sunday Times editor Mathatha Tsedu had no hesitation in rejecting Moyo's

"A minister who claims there is no food shortage in his country is caught on
camera stocking up on food in South Africa. Instead of owning up he tries to
obfuscate the issue by labelling the Sunday Times a paper in cahoots with
some imaginary British military intelligence agency. We reject this," Tsedu
said. "This newspaper is within its rights to subject a public official to
scrutiny if he is acting contrary to his public pronouncements and

Tsedu said, unlike the Herald which the minister bossed around, the Sunday
Times was an independent paper committed to cutting-edge journalism.

"We are not in the bended-knee journalism business that he enforces in
Zimbabwe," Tsedu said. "The Sunday Times will continue to expose, fairly and
factually, the abuse of government power and the human misery that is
unfolding in Zimbabwe. The tragedy is that a whole nation's information
needs are in the hands of this man, in a country where the state controls so
many information outlets. That alone is tragic."

Apart from the tragedy there was at least an element of comedy in all this.
The funniest press comment on this whole affair came from the Sunday Mail's
Munyaradzi Huni who claimed the story had made people sympathise with the
minister and his children.

"Many Zimbabweans did not fall for the Sunday Times trick," Huni proclaimed.
"Instead they were concerned about the security of the Moyo family,
especially the innocent children."

Sure Munyaradzi, sure!

We were intrigued by Moyo's comments on "coup plotters" and "electoral
cowards" relating to the succession story that dominated the news last week.
Why should he denounce with such vitriol an initiative which Emmerson
Mnangagwa and Vitalis Zvinavashe have denied being part of? Unless of course
those in Mugabe's inner circle believe the initiative to have been real
enough and their own positions as chief bootlickers suddenly jeopardised -
just when they thought they were safe until 2008!

This may explain the vigour of Moyo's attack on Col Lionel Dyck, who was
certainly not acting alone.

It would be suicidal, Moyo said, for any Zanu PF nationalist leader who
served in the Second Chimurenga to use a former Rhodesian like Dyck to shape
the future of the country.

So who was it who used Dyck in the mid-1980s to suppress insurgency in
Matabeleland? Who used him in the late 1980s to crush Renamo in Mozambique?

Moyo was more entertaining on the subject of tourism.

"The idea of maintaining our tourist attractions as Tarzan zones for the
amusement of Americans and Europeans who want to come to primitive and
jungle Africa has no future.," he told the Sunday Mail.

And Moyo's solution to the woes currently besetting the country? "For the
economic situation to improve in our country President Mugabe's policy
manifesto must be implemented."

This sounds suspiciously like one of Stalin's minions mindlessly extolling
the virtues of the five-year plan. Fortunately, nobody is going to give
Commissar Moyo or his Stalin another five years.

Muckraker was unimpressed by MDC MP Tafadzwa Musekiwa's claims that he had
been forced into temporary exile in Britain to avoid "elimination" at home.
What about his constituents in Zengeza, where can they run to? MPs are
expected to lead from the front, to stand up against the brutality and
repression that are now a feature of everyday life in Zimbabwe.

Musekiwa claimed he was the victim of harassment and demonisation by
Jonathan Moyo.

Now he says there is a plot to eliminate him. He cited the ordeal of Job
Sikhala as justification for running away.

He should grow up. Opposition and civil society leaders are threatened all
the time by Zanu PF's bully boys. We have one civil society leader running
around in South Africa and refusing to come home because a colleague told
him he might be arrested and tortured if he returned.

Where threats of that sort are made they must be publicised and documented.
But more than anything else leaders must lead and not abandon their

Musekiwa should get back home and show us he is a mature individual capable
of sharing the trials and tribulations of his constituents, not to mention
other MPs. Going into exile in Britain, however temporary, is a victory for
the very forces of evil his party has pledged to resist. If he can't see
that, he should contemplate a less risky career - such as selling curios.
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Zim Independent

Exporters feel pinch of punitive measures
Ndamu Sandu
Exporters are feeling the pinch of the punitive foreign currency remittance
measures introduced by the Finance and Economic Development minister Herbert
Murerwa in his annual budget last year, which they say are inhibitive to

The measures require exporters to remit 50% of their forex to the central
bank - up from the previous 40% - with the remaining 50% being surrendered
to the central bank for distribution from a common forex pool.

Usage would be on a priority list specified by the central bank.

Exporters this week said the move was fraught with anomalies and was open to
abuse with certain individuals being able to access forex while others were
marginalised. Mining houses umbrella body, the Chamber of Mines said the
measure was taking a toll on the viability of the sector.

"The foreign currency available to producers for their business is limited,"
the Chamber said.

"It used to be 40% to government and 60% to producers. reducing the figure
to 50% for producers reduces their viability." To date, three mining houses,
Bindura Nickel, Rio Tinto and Falcon Gold have warned of possible closures
if there is no change in policy soon. Mining houses used to access their
forex requirements from the parallel market, which has gone underground
following the cessation of bureaux de change operations end of November.

The Chamber said while at the moment there have been no mine closures, these
might manifest themselves in the medium to long-term if the measures were
not adjusted.

Murerwa's measures were necessitated by what he termed "rampant abuse" of
the country's foreign exchange earnings.

As a result critical foreign exchange payments had not been met at a time
when non-essential imports had continued to flood the market. The increases
in the retention rate were aimed at cushioning imports.

The hospitality industry, reeling from a nosedive in business due to the
harsh political climate, said the measure signalled a death knell for the
ailing sector.

Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (Haz) president Shingi Munyeza said tour
operators were feeling the pinch of the measure.

"Our industry is negatively impacted," Munyeza said.

The Haz boss bemoaned the shortage of foreign currency saying the central
bank has been slow in allocating them forex for use in the industry.

Munyeza said if the move continued for longer, some tour operators would
close shop.

He said industry was seeking permission to trade foreign currency earnings
on the parallel market to realise better returns than those obtaining in the
interbank market.

The country is facing severe foreign currency shortages to import
electricity and fuel after the poor performance of top foreign currency
earners, tobacco and tourism industries.

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Zim Independent

Sandawana Column - Deeper into fuel debt we sink
ZIIMBABWE has more or less exhausted the patience of the international
banking fraternity to an extent that more doors are being closed in our
faces than can be opened.

Our indebtedness to international banks is common knowledge, and most will
not touch Zimbabwe with the proverbial 10-foot pole. But what is little
known is our forays into the Middle East to court Arab banks for assistance.

By their very nature, Arab banks are more comfortable doing business among
themselves and in the region. Although we have benefited from that
generosity from a distance, we have reneged on repayments to friendly banks,
and only two, I repeat - two banks - are still willing to do business with

The first is the Egypt-based Africa Export/Import Bank (Afreximbank) which
still recognises the government of Zimbabwe, illegitimate though it is. We
owe Afreximbank outstanding Letters of Credit to the tune of US$40,2 million
as of December 2002. Afreximbank has availed facilities for fuel and grain
imports worth US$25 million each. Repayments should be from the 50% of
receipts lodged with the central bank by exporters. By June 30, Afreximbank
had recovered US$20 million under this arrangement. There is a US$10 million
Letter of Credit established by the Jewel Bank, which was guaranteed by the
Reserve Bank for fuel imports which is still to be paid.

But monthly inflows from the then 40% exporters allocation only averaged
US$10 million before Finance minister Herbert Murerwa's faux pas of November
8 directing all exporters to remit 50% of foreign currency earnings to the
central bank, and 50% to an RBZ-controlled pool. This has seen inflows fall
to US$6 million in November, and down to US$2,3 million in the week to
December 6.

The second benefactor, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa
(Badea), this week extended a US$10 million fuel facility to the country -
or 10 days' supply of the commodity. The facility comes with very high
interest rates and a 90-day repayment period. If we fail to meet the terms -
that is if government agrees to them although it is being advised not to, as
if it has a choice - then we only have one international bank to turn to.

For the record, we owe Badea US$1,5 million (as of June 14, 2002) for funds
borrowed to fund the telecommunications sector. Still on the subject of
debts, we owe the Kuwait Fund US$0,5 million for roads improvements; China
US$2,6 million for DDF/IDC/Defence projects; and IFAD US$2,2 million for
agriculture-related projects.

As for fuel, we have been taking delivery and failing to meet agreed terms.
We owe BP South Africa US$17,8 million, a debt which has been outstanding
since 1999. Engen South Africa is owed US$12 million (from 1999); Mobil
Africa US$1,1 million (from 1999); and Caltex US$7,8 million (since 1999).

From 2000 we owed the Independent Petroleum Group (IPG) of Kuwait US$17,8
million - which has since ballooned to over US$60 million as of December
2002 - for fuel delivered or taken by ginya. IPG by the way, has now stopped
supplying Zimbabwe with fuel, preferring cash upfront rather than the
use-now, pay-later arrangement. The government of Botswana is owed US$4,4
million for fuel "donated" in 2000; Libya Arab Foreign Bank US$63 million as
of December 2002 for fuel procurement from Tamoil; Mozambique rail company
CFM US$1,4 million which was due by June 30, 2002; and BP Mozambique US$1
million in port charges which was also due by June 30, 2002.

The RBZ has also been borrowing foreign currency from local banks to finance
fuel, electricity, drugs and grain and other essential requirements, at the
expense of the private sector. The swap arrangements have been a major
source of foreign exchange outside the tobacco season. These swaps were done
in anticipation of repaying from mainly tobacco proceeds. However, all
tobacco foreign exchange earnings are now being channelled towards grain
imports, fuel and electricity. The overdue amount is US$97,3 million as of
June 30, 2002. Of the banks: ABC advanced US$9,8 million for grain imports
and the due date was January 2002, Interfin, is owed US$11,4 million for
grain imports (due July 2002), NMB, fuel and electricity payments, US$9
million (due April 2002); Renaissance, fuel and electricity, US$32,3 million
(due April 2002); Trust Bank, fuel and electricity imports, US$33,8 million
(due March 2002) and Stanbic, fuel and electricity imports, US$1 million and
due date March 2002.

So, even if the price of fuel is increased today that does not mean foreign
currency will immediately become available does it? We are stuck with, and
in, the fuel queues for a while. And this has nothing to do with the
Breetish, the Movement for Democratic Change - as Jonathan Moyo fulminated
in the Sunday Mail - or pirates on the high seas for that matter.
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Zim Independent - Editor's Memo

Torture routine
Iden Wetherell
THREE months ago I raised in this column allegations of torture of
individuals held by the police and contrasted what appeared to be a growing
practice with the lofty claims of the common code of conduct drawn up last
year by the region's police chiefs.

"In the performance of their duties police officers shall respect and
protect human dignity and maintain and uphold all human rights for all
persons," the code says.

"No police officer shall inflict, instigate or tolerate any act or other
cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment to any person... Police
officers shall treat all persons fairly and equally and avoid any form of

Generally, it can be said, the ZRP has discriminated against the opposition
and in favour of the ruling party in permitting marches, rallies and other
political activities to take place. During farm invasions it very often
sided with farm invaders against farmers and their families who were under
attack. The Chinhoyi case comes to mind.

More seriously, it appears to have adopted a policy of torturing members of
the opposition in its custody.

The New York-based Lawyers Committee for Human Rights this week issued a
statement expressing serious concern about what it calls "ongoing attacks on
human rights and civil society activists as well as the political opposition
in Zimbabwe".

It refers in particular to claims of serious physical mistreatment while in
custody of MP Job Sikhala and lawyer Gabriel Shumba, a member of the NGO
Human Rights Forum.

Sikhala and Shumba, together with Shumba's brother Bishop, were arrested in
St Mary's, Chitungwiza, on the night of January 14.

Sikhala said in court last week that he was moved first to Matapi police
station in Mbare and then to Harare Central. He was denied access to legal
representation until a court order was issued on the night of January 15.
The following day he appeared before a magistrate and gave details of being
beaten, electrocuted, urinated on and forced to swallow a noxious liquid
while being interrogated about an arson attack on a bus and alleged plans
for an MDC uprising.

Shumba complained of similar torture in custody. The two are charged under

Senior Public Prosecutor Thabani Mpofu was reported as saying he would
forward a medical report confirming Sikhala's injuries to the commissioner
of police and the attorney-general.

In a separate incident on January 14, Farai Barnabas Mangodza, Jameson
Gadzirayi, Joseph Rose and Richard Mubekwe, members of the Combined Harare
Ratepayers Association (CHRA), were detained in Kuwadzana. The four reported
that they were held by members of a youth militia and severely beaten for
approximately two hours.

They were then removed from the control of the militia by police and further
detained until agreeing to sign admissions of guilt to a charge of
"behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace". It was only after signing
these admissions and the payment of $5 000 each that they were able to get
medical attention.

"The detention of and acts of violence against civil society and opposition
representatives is a common occurrence in Zimbabwe," the Lawyers Committee
for Human Rights says.

In the midst of an economic crisis, it points out, "rather than encourage
and support the work of independent civil society groups like the Human
Rights NGO Forum and the CHRA, the Zimbabwean government instead subjects
such groups to constant persecution in total disregard for basic rights and
the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,

The Legal Resources Foundation this week condemned the police for "engaging
in extra-legal methods in their investigation of the charges preferred
against Shumba and his co-accused". It called for the investigation and
prosecution of perpetrators of torture against them, pointing out that a
government doctor had confirmed their claims.

Four men accused of the murder of Cain Nkala were tortured during
interrogation by police in Bulawayo and forced to make confessions dictated
to them by their interrogators, their lawyers told the High Court in
Bulawayo on Monday.

Last Friday the Herald reported that regional police chiefs had expressed
solidarity with Zimbabwe by refusing Norway's offer of training in
peacekeeping if Zimbabwe was excluded. Norway had raised concerns about
human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

South Africa's police commissioner Jackie Selebi was quoted as rejecting the
Norwegian offer in a story describing the move as "another diplomatic
victory" for Zimbabwe.

ZRP commissioner Augustine Chihuri was reported as telling police chiefs
that land reform had gone a long way to "stabilising the policing
environment". He dismissed claims by "detractors" that Zimbabwe was
witnessing a deteriorating situation.

It is quite clear from this that Sarpcco, the organisation that groups
police chiefs from 12 countries, is being used as an instrument of state
propaganda. Chihuri is chair of Sarpcco and a vice-president of Interpol to
which Sarpcco is affiliated.

Both Sarpcco and Interpol are clearly turning a blind eye to reports of
police torture and other human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Sarpcco in fact
appears to be shielding Zimbabwe's police from charges of abuses that make a
complete mockery of the code it adopted with such fanfare last September.

Interpol should be tackled on this. Why is it ignoring well-documented cases
of torture by an affiliate force and why are regional police forces prepared
to cover for a wayward member in the interests of political solidarity? This
is about as unprofessional as it gets.

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