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

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Cricketers opposed to Zimbabwe match

LONDON (Reuters) - England's cricketers are to issue a statement saying they
are opposed to playing their opening World Cup match in Zimbabwe, according
to newspaper reports.
A Sunday Telegraph report says that the England players have deep-seated
concerns about the behaviour of Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe's
government which has attracted worldwide criticism for its controversial
land reform policies.
The statement is expected to underline that the players feel they have been
given no choice but to play the match as employees of the England and Wales
Cricket Board (ECB).
The International Cricket Council (ICC), of which the ECB is a member, said
on Friday there were "no safety and security reasons to relocate matches
scheduled to be played in Zimbabwe" although it would continue to monitor
the situation before the start of the tournament on February 9.
The ICC has stressed that it does not feel qualified to make a political
judgement about Zimbabwe, although the British government has called for the
ECB to boycott fixtures in Zimbabwe.
England's players are said to be concerned about their personal safety --
particularly after receiving anonymous letters at their Sydney hotel earlier
this week threatening violence if they travel to Zimbabwe for the World Cup.
In a report in the Sunday Times, ECB chairman David Morgan said the players
have been placed in a moral dilemma.
"The players are sympathetic to the plight of the Zimbabwean people," he
said. "In the last week the pressure has built on them and they are
examining their consciences.
"They are uncertain about playing cricket in Zimbabwe in the current
environment, but I would be surprised if anyone refuses to go."
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Sunday Times (SA)

Sacked Harare editor gets top fellowship


Geoffrey Nyarota, an award-winning Zimbabwean journalist and former editor
of the independent Daily News, has been awarded the Nieman Fellowship at
Harvard University in the US.

The Nieman Fellowship, which seeks to elevate and promote journalism, runs
from August to June. Nyarota required a special dispensation to enter now.

Nyarota, 52, expressed delight at receiving the fellowship. He is set to
leave for the US next week.

"I am happy, especially as it comes at a time when I have been forsaken by
my own people," he said. Nyarota was sacked as editor of the Daily News late
last month for allegedly siding with workers, who had embarked on a strike
that paralysed operations and led to the paper not being printed for 10

He had been at the helm of the paper since its establishment in 1999. During
his stint as editor , Nyarota gained a reputation as an outspoken and
fearless critic of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF government.

The government accused the paper of being an opposition mouthpiece and
threatened to shut it down. Nyarota remained defiant, although he and his
reporters were arrested numerous times and the paper's printing press and
offices were bombed.
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Sunday Times (SA)

Zimbabwe 'six months from collapse'

Sechaba Ka'Nkosi

A leading policy think-tank in South Africa has warned of violence and the
potential collapse of the Zimbabwean economy in six months if nothing is
done to resolve the political situation in that country.

A report by the South African Institute of International Affairs says
Zimbabwe is facing its worst problems in decades, leading to the economy
being carried by unsustainable factors.

The report says government interventions have created many distortions in
the economy - including a burgeoning foreign exchange market and a black
market with nine different exchange rates.

The report was compiled by the institute last month, after conducting a
study on Zimbabwe for nearly three months.

The report says while the population suffers abject poverty and food
shortages, President Robert Mugabe's government ministers, officials and
members of the ruling party are getting even richer.

The report warns that if Mugabe fails to act to get the economy back on
course soon there is an increasing risk of massive unrest that could spill
over into the whole Southern African Development Community region.

South Africa and President Thabo Mbeki in particular take a pounding for
their quiet-diplomacy approach to normalising the situation.
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Sunday Times (SA)

Mbeki backs Mugabe, says Zimbabwe MP


A prominent Zimbabwean opposition politician who went into exile this week
has voiced his anger at the South African government's apparent support for
President Robert Mugabe.

Speaking in Britain, where he is in hiding, Tafadzwa Musekiwa, the Movement
for Democratic Change MP for the Harare constituency of Zengeza, says he is
dismayed by President Thabo Mbeki's move from "quiet diplomacy" to support
for Mugabe.

MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube has also criticised the ANC for not
being "an honest and neutral broker" on Zimbabwe.

Musekiwa, a former students' representative council president of the
University of Zimbabwe, shot to prominence after being elected as an
opposition MP in 2000. Since then he has been the subject of police

He was accused of making death threats to Information Minister Jonathan Moyo
over the phone, and last year he was denied permission to attend his
father's funeral.

While on holiday in Britain this month he was warned that he was on a hit
list of MDC activists - and, on advice, decided to stay.

Speaking near London this week, Musekiwa said that Zimbabweans were
disillusioned with Mbeki. "They thought they had a brother down south, but
now they have an enemy, they have two enemies - Thabo and Robert.

"That is what people are saying in the bars and in the streets."

He accuses the South African government of making a sudden U-turn to support

"In a blatant manner the 'quiet diplomacy' has turned into a megaphone of
support for the regime which everyone views as illegitimate. It was a strong
shift from an arbiter to a conspirator.

"I am really shocked that Thabo Mbeki is behaving as if he is the
vice-president of Zimbabwe.

"I am not calling for sanctions, but I believe that South Africa can pull
the plug on Zimbabwe. As far as I am concerned, Mbeki is aiding the crisis
in Zimbabwe."

Musekiwa hopes that his exile will be temporary, because in his opinion
Mugabe will be out of power within months.

"The last kicks of a dying horse," he says. "You never know which one he
will kick, but as we move to a new Zimbabwe we have to minimise casualties
and make maximum gains."

His friend and fellow MP, Job Sikhala, was detained last week and claimed
that he had been tortured while in detention.

Opposition leaders are intimidated, Musekiwa says, because of the
politicisation of the police, the Central Intelligence Organisation, the
army and even the judiciary in Zimbabwe.

"This must be a phase; this must be the last time Zimbabweans experience
anything of this sort."
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Mugabe's grip tightens on eve of cricket tour

Zimbabwe's opposition face arrest and torture as the World Cup draws closer

Paul Harris in Harare
Sunday January 26, 2003
The Observer

They came in the dead of night. Job Sikhala was woken by a phone call from a
neighbour warning that vehicles were approaching his home shortly before
4am. Sikhala knew he was in danger: as an opposition MP with Zimbabwe's
Movement for Democratic Change, he was a prime target for Robert Mugabe's
secret police.
Yet the politician had made precautions. Snatching up a few possessions from
his room, Sikhala hurried to the cellar and the secret tunnel he had built
under his home. He escaped. But Mugabe's spies are everywhere in Zimbabwe
today. Sikhala was picked up by police at a hotel later that day. His
nightmare was about to begin.
He was taken to Harare Central Police station before being put on an
unmarked minibus and driven for an hour. Blindfolded and terrified, Sikhala
was led down three flights of stairs by his police guards. He could see
nothing and his interrogators would not tell him where he was. But Sikhala
knew what awaited him. In Zimbabwe, those arrested in the middle of the
night always expect the worst. 'I knew it was a torture chamber. I knew
something terrible was about to happen,' he said.
The secret police beat him on the soles of his feet with wooden sticks. His
torturers took it in turns as they demanded details of how the MDC works and
what plans it had for the coming months. Then they tied an electric wire
around a toe on each foot and electrocuted him, burning his flesh. 'They did
that for 10 minutes and one of them said "You haven't even started
talking",' Sikhala said.
Wires were attached to his penis and testicles. The current was turned on.
Another wire was clipped to his tongue. They shouted the same questions,
over and over. What was the MDC doing? Who were its supporters? Why was he
with them?
He tried to answer them, but could barely speak. Another wire was attached
to his left ear and more shocks sent down the cables. Then one of the
torturers urinated on him. 'At that moment I urinated myself also. Then they
made me wriggle in it and said I had to pretend to swim,' Sikhala said.
'I had given up life. Whatever the outcome, I had given my life to God at
that point. I cried about never seeing my two kids again. Would they know
that their father had been killed by these people? That I had died in this
He was vaguely aware of his torturers talking about drowning him in a nearby
reservoir. They drove him back to Harare police station, where he was
charged with plotting against the state. As soon as he was released,
supporters took him away to a secret location for hospital treatment.
Sikhala's arrest and torture was only one of dozens in recent weeks. A huge
and brutal crack down is underway, aimed at crushing any form of opposition
to the regime of President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party.
The reason is simple: in a few weeks' time Zimbabwe will host six
international matches of the Cricket World Cup. The event will provide a
perfect opportunity for Mugabe to present a sanitised view of Zimbabwean
life to the world.
But the event will also attract scores of foreign journalists, who are
currently banned from entering Zimbabwe. Mugabe is determined that by the
time they get here the opposition will be in no condition to create trouble.
The main focus of the crackdown is the MDC, whose leader, Morgan Tsvangirai,
goes on trial for treason next month. In the past three weeks MDC activists,
councillors, MPs and sympathisers have been arrested and jailed. Some, like
youth leader Fanuel Tsvangirai, are missing. One MP, Tafadzwa Musekiwa, has
fled abroad. BUT IT IS not just the MDC. So desperate is the ruling party to
ensure that the cricket matches pass off peacefully that any form of
opposition is ruthlessly crushed.
Zanu-PF's youth wing, the so-called Green Bombers, have been sent into
opposition areas to terrorise and intimidate the locals. They have set up
camps and any whiff of dissent is dealt with brutally. Journalists have been
beaten and the sight of a white face - especially that of a foreign
journalist - is an invitation to arrest and torture.
Even as police were preparing Sikhala's arrest on 14 January, four activists
for the Combined Harare Residents Association were being tortured by the
Green Bombers, named for the green uniforms they wear. The four were touring
the crowded township of Kuwadzana on a 'familiarisation' trip ahead of a
by-election there, which the CHRA wants to ensure is fair and open. But
their presence was too much for the Green Bombers. They were frogmarched
into a militia base, one of four that have been set up in Kuwadzana.
'There was no lighting and it was getting dark. I heard one of them call the
police and he told the others that the cops had said they could "work" on us
first and they would come over later,' Barnabas Mangodza, one of the
victims, said.
The 'work' soon began. Some of the youths scrolled through the address books
on the group's mobile phones and found numbers for MDC activists. One of the
militia said: 'Now we are going to beat you. Who is going to be first?'
Mangodza stood up. Eight people held him while six others hit him with
whips, sticks and their fists. Similar treatment was meted out to the other
three: Jameson Gazirayi, Joseph Rose and Richard Mudehwe. The ordeal lasted
two hours. Finally, the police came and the Green Bombers left. Despite
their wounds, Mangodza and the others were arrested and fined Z$5,000 (55).
Their crime was 'behaviour likely to disturb the peace'.
Zimbabwe is a country gone mad. A stolen election last March and the
disastrous confiscation of the country's white-owned commercial farms have
triggered complete economic collapse.
Starved of foreign currency and in the grip of 500 per cent hyper-inflation,
all basic commodities have run out. In the cities people queue for entire
days to get fuel, bread, salt and cooking oil.
The countryside is the worst off. Drought has gripped the land, withering
crops and killing cattle. An estimated seven million people are facing
starvation in a country that used to be an exporter of food. But the ruling
elite still prosper. Inflation has created two economies. Those with foreign
currency can afford anything. Those without can afford nothing.
Both Mugabe and his reviled Information Minister Jonathan Moyo recently
travelled abroad to buy their own supplies. Mugabe flew first class to
Singapore, returning with 15 boxes of goods. Moyo travelled to South Africa
by convoy, where he loaded up with canned food, rice, sugar and bread. The
hypocrisy has shocked many. 'Don't send us cricketers, send us food,'
Wilfrid Mhanda, head of the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform and a former black
liberation fighter who now opposes the government, said. 'When the English
cricketers come here they will do just as Mugabe does. They will eat and
drink well, while we are starving.'
For most Zimbabweans - 70 per cent of whom are unemployed - life is spent in
a desperate search for enough to eat. Yet even in buying food, Mugabe's grip
on power is tight. Zanu politicians are given food to distribute. Party
cards must be shown to receive it. The Green Bombers loot shops of food,
which they sell for a profit. In Chitungwiza, their actions sparked ugly
riots two weeks ago. There are now 1,500 of the militia in the township,
which has an MDC mayor. More are coming. The son of one local councillor was
injured so badly he was taken to hospital - because he wore an MDC T-shirt.
'The Green Bombers made him try and eat his own shirt,' the councillor, who
was afraid to give his name, said.
The MDC is reeling under the pressure, but plans are still being drawn up
for protests inside and outside the six matches to be played. The Government
is gearing up too. It has set up a special police taskforce to crush any
dissent near the games. 'We will be in full force,' police commissioner
Augustine Chihuri said last week.
But amid the chaos and violence there are signs of hope. Zimbabweans can
turn the tide. One such is Chitungwiza shopkeeper Lloyd Moyo, 28. The Green
Bombers had stolen so much bread that he stopped selling it. But local
people begged him to carry on. They promised to protect him from the
militia. So far, they have. Standing in front of his ramshackle grocery
store, Moyo raised a brave voice of challenge. 'I am not afraid,' he said.
Behind him, stapled to a wall, was a photograph of him taken on the day his
shop opened. Above it was a proud handwritten message. 'Life is full of
problems,' it read. 'But we shall have victory in the end.'
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Zim Standard

      Herald lied 100%, says UN envoy
      By Henry Makiwa

      JAMES Morris, the UN special envoy for Humanitarian Needs in Southern
Africa, yesterday dressed down the state-controlled daily, The Herald saying
it had peddled "100% lies", in yesterday's front-page lead story.

      Morris who says his deep-seated concern for the humanitarian crisis in
Zimbabwe should be accurately reflected, told journalists, diplomats and
government officials at a press conference, that he was shocked to see The
Herald publish a story purporting that he had accepted the irreversibility
of the land reform exercise. Morris, a special envoy of UN secretary general
Koffi Annan, is visiting Zimbabwe to assess the humanitarian situation as
part of his tour of Africa.

      Morris said The Herald's lead story entitled: 'Help New Farmers: UN
Special Envoy', constituted a gross misrepresentation of what he had said
when addressing journalists on Friday afternoon.

      According to The Herald report, Tim (sic) Morris, had accepted the
irreversibility of the land reform exercise and had urged humanitarian
agencies working in Zimbabwe to provide farmers with water and inputs.

      Said Morris yesterday: "The comments in The Herald were 100% lies. I
did not comment as The Herald purportedly reports in its front page story
today (yesterday). I did not accept that the land reform process was
irreversible as they (The Herald), quote me as saying. It was gross
misrepresentation of the worst form. "What I did say was that the future of
Zimbabwe depended on the success of a robust agro-based economy.

      It is also embarrassing that The Herald repeatedly quoted me as 'Tim
Morris' when my real name is James Morris. Ironically, I have a 36-year-old
son called Tim who will probably be attributed to The Herald's utterances,
not myself!" Morris said, drawing roaring laughter from the audience.

      Disappointed with this kind of gutter reporting, Morris said he had
since written a letter to the editor of The Herald, a copy of which is in
the possession of The Standard, stressing his concern over the humanitarian
crisis in Zimbabwe.

      Reads part of the letter: " I am writing to correct the
misrepresentation in the 25 January edition of The Herald of the substance
of my meetings with the government of ZimbabweSI particularly stressed the
importance of reaching former commercial farm workers, as well as vulnerable
populations in resettlement lands, and those living in urban areas. This
takes into account serious concerns on the deteriorating food security
throughout the country."

      Zimbabwe is in the throes of a crippling food shortage which threatens
over seven million of the country's 11,6 million people. Mugabe's chaotic
land reforms are being held responsible for the hardships being experienced
in the country.

      Morris' visit to Zimbabwe is part of a tour of Africa to reassess the
humanitarian situation. Already, he has been to Ethiopia and is expected to
visit three other drought-hit countries: Lesotho, Malawi and Zambia.

      On Friday, he met Mugabe at State House to review the current
responses to the Zimbabwean crisis and follow up on the findings of his
first mission in September last year.

      Said Morris: "I have discussed with Mugabe and the foreign minister
(Stan Mudenge) on six occasions over the issue of political interference in
the distribution of food, and they have both accepted that there is need for
change to boost international confidence.

      "The UN will soon start working with the government to monitor the
distribution of food," Morris said.
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Zim Standard

      Gvt keeps lid on damning land report
      By Chengetai Zvauya

      THE ministry of state responsible for Land Reform has produced a
damning land audit report which highlights the systematic looting of prime
farms by senior government officials and Zanu PF cronies, The Standard has

      The explosive report is a culmination of a land audit exercise carried
out by the ministry to assess the status and ownership of farms acquired
under the controversial land reform programme.

      Highly placed government sources told The Standard yesterday that
Flora Buka, the minister of state for Land Reform, was sitting on the
damning report, which should have been presented to President Mugabe by now.

      They said senior government officials and politburo members were among
several influential people implicated in the looting of prime farms by Zanu
PF cronies, at the expense of the landless people.

      "The report authenticates reports that government officials and Zanu
PF cronies have corruptly awarded themselves more than one farm in various
provinces. Names of several top government officials, army, police and CIO
officers and many others are appearing in several provinces. In short, the
report paints a classic picture of looting that has characterised the
affairs of the party over the years," said the source.

      The ministry started auditing farms in October last year and completed
the exercise in early December after touring all the provinces.

      Contacted for comment, Buka admitted that there were problems
associated with the talked about land reform exercise which saw thousands of
white farmers being driven off their land.

      "We are in the finalisation phase of the report and we are going to
publish it soon. It has some problems but we are not at liberty to discuss
them with the press now,'' she said.

      So far, government claims to have resettled over 300 000 families
under the A1 model scheme as well as about 51 000 others under the A2 model
scheme. Most of these A2 model farmers did not take up their pieces of land.

      Meanwhile, the parliamentary portfolio committee on land and
agriculture has also started making field visits to resettled farms to
assess the ownership status and level of production on the farms in the wake
of reports that most of the new farmers have deserted their plots.
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Zim Standard

      Truly there are none so blind...
      americannotes By Ken Mufuka

      I FEAR for my country. It is not that the Zimbabwean leadership is
ignorant of history. It is that they think they are immune to history. The
end game seems to be finally closing in on Brother Gabriel Mugabe.

      My e-mail is buzzing with Zimbabwean news. A friend bought two pick-up
truck tyres for Z$42 000 in December 2000. This week, he wrote me to say
that he went back for two more and they were priced at Z$175 000 each. When
beef cattle prices have jumped from Z$37 000 last December to Z$ 200 000,
those of us who have read our history know that the end is near for the
regime. It means that the money has effectively been killed. I can
confidently tell you what will happen to us; we are ripe for recolonisation.

      First, let me refer to the end game. I have said that for the last 20
years, in the African context, it is not the opposition that needs
watching-it is the economy, stupid! Within the economy one needs to watch
two things; the value of money and unemployment.

      I was at the University of Jamaica (1971-73) when Prime Minister,
Michael Manley, partly nationalised the sugar cane fields belonging to Tate
and Lyle. Water channels continued to flow through the lush green cane
fields except that the new brother farmers were seen standing by the
roadside selling two pieces of cane sugar. Behind them were empty
uncultivated former cane fields. Even dyed-in-the- wool nationalists like
myself began to wonder whether the brother farmers would not have been
better off working for Tate and Lyle.

      Manley, an economics graduate of the London School of Economics,
raised the taxes of the four American bauxite companies from an annual U$55
million to U$250 million. Huge numbers of NP (National Party) supporters
were employed as street cleaners and it seemed that money was flowing
everywhere. The imperialists reacted quickly by killing the Jamaican dollar,
which went from par with the U$ to 45:1US$ dollar.

      All prices of imported goods jumped by that percentage and by the end
of three years, of the 11 professors in my department, nine had left for the
US. Over half a million Jamaicans fled the island's economic ruin in those
three years.

      This tragedy is now being replayed in Zimbabwe. The denial by Brother
Mugabe of his impending exile does not surprise me. General Mobutu and
General Kongolo (his deputy) swore they would never leave the Congo while in
fact as Kongolo spoke, his wife almost fell into the Congo River in an
attempt to catch an escape boat.

      As for Mobutu, the Americans were frantic after France and Belgium had
refused him asylum even though his U$40 billion was there. Colonel Mengistu,
too, said he was going to Kenya to consult President Arap Moi when in fact
the Americans had arranged a safe haven for him in Zimbabwe.

      There are plenty of examples of what will happen to us after Brother
Mugabe's exile. The brother is not paranoid in suspecting that the British
are plotting his imminent demise. The British foreign secretary has admitted
some knowledge of it. Former US national security advisor, Anthony Lake, has
admitted that the US has a division at the CIA whose job is to eliminate
foreign leaders. A 'kill Saddam plan' went wrong in 1995.

      Zimbabwe, like Iraq, will be paying for the stupidities of its leaders
for a long time. In 1991, United Nations Resolution 661 set aside 30 cents
from each dollar of sold oil so it could go into a secret compensation fund.
Only five percent goes to humanitarian aid. Nearly 200 nations have some
claim for compensation. The compensation fund employs 240 highly paid and
high flying staff members and is housed in Geneva. There are several
companies seeking compensation. Any money due for payment, if delayed,
accrues interest.

      One can imagine 4 200 white settlers in Zimbabwe putting forward their
claims to the new compensation fund under the United Nations. All loans from
the International fund and World Bank will be disbursed on condition that
compensation is paid out first to former settlers. Interest will accrue as
from the day of confiscation of property. These claims will be secretly
handled. Our country will be mortgaged for at least 100 years.This is what
happened to Uganda.

      There will also be a right for settlers to return and reclaim their
former properties. This has already happened in Mozambique. In Iraq, of the
U$10 billion oil sales per year, $5,9 goes back to that country, but the 661
committee must approve all purchases. The remainder of the money goes to
Committee 661 for disbursement to secret claimants.
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Zim Standard

      MDC mayors vow to stay put
      By Henry Makiwa

      DESPITE the incessant attacks and open hostility displayed by Ignatius
Chombo, the minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing,
towards opposition-led town councils, MDC mayors say no amount of
intimidation or threats from the Zanu PF government will force them out of

      The mayors, who have been turned into objects of ridicule in the
state-controlled media, this week urged the Zanu PF government to come to
terms with the reality that they had been chosen by the people and therefore
noone else had the power to remove them.

      Speaking in separate interviews with The Standard, the mayors of
Bulawayo, Chitungwiza and Chegutu who have been vilified by government, said
no amount of intimidation would deter them from the democratic mandate they
were given to serve the residents of their respective towns.

      Since last year, Chombo has been on the warpath against the MDC mayors
in an attempt to kick them out of office. He has, for example, handpicked
his own committees to "assist" the mayors-who are already backed by their
elected councillors-to run the affairs of their cities and has issued
countless directives to reverse decisions by the opposition councils.

      Only two weeks ago, Harare mayor, Elias Mudzuri, was arrested while
addressing residents of Mabvuku on the water crisis. Mudzuri spent the
weekend in a cell at the Harare Central police station.

      Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, the executive mayor of Bulawayo, slammed the
police for detaining Mudzuri saying the arrest epitomised the impunity with
which the government dealt with opposition-led councils.

      He said: "We (mayors) do not need to seek the authority of anybody,
not even the police, when addressing our residents on issues that are
genuinely in their interest. We believe that Mudzuri was lawfully justified
in holding a civic meeting with his residents and did not need to inform the

      "It is a shame that the police see political connotations in all
gatherings and treat everything concerning the MDC in a heavy-handed manner.
We, however, refuse to be cowed, and will continue serving the people who
chose us, in the best possible manner."

      Ndabeni-Ncube said it was disturbing that since he and three of his
counterparts had been elected into office, the government had hatched
multiple plots to curtail their operations.

      "It raises eyebrows that Chombo has now seen it necessary to appoint
governors and committees to preside over our operations when things have
been otherwise for the past 22 years. He should realise that for us to
thrive, there should be no interference and the government should follow the
constitutional guidelines that already exist," he said.

      Misheck Shoko, the mayor of Chitungwiza, said Chombo's crackdown on
the opposition mayors through the appointment of commissions and governors,
and his loud and crude heckling in the state-controlled media, were proof of
his sinister motives.

      He said: "Chombo's disregard for us is not even veiled; it is clear
for all to see. He wants to shift our attention from the welfare of the
residents we serve.

      "We believe the arrest of Mudzuri had Zanu PF blessing, but they
should know that proper governance and transparency call for constant
consultation with the people. Mudzuri was justified in meeting with his
residents to discuss their grievances.

      Chegutu mayor, Blessing Dhlakama, who last year survived two attempts
on his life, accused Chombo of fomenting confusion and corruption within his
town council.

      He said: "The town council has been running for quite some time
without adequate representation as only six councillors out of the mandatory
11 are participating in the running of affairs.

      "One councillor, ele-cted on the MDC ticket, has been suspended for
unclear reasons and barred from council business even though the High Court
had ruled in his favour. I have alerted Chombo but he seems unfazed by the
deteriorating situation. It is surprising that the government has taken so
long to arrange by-elections to fill the vacant posts."

      Dhlakama said Chombo's "deafening silence" on the Chegutu council's
woes were promoting confusion and corruption.

      "Because Chombo has remained silent on what the Zanu PF councillors
are doing in Chegutu, he is equally guilty, " he said.

      "We are not afraid to say the truth and to advocate for justice. I am
confident that the Chegutu residents are supportive of us and are aware of
the people who are causing the rot in their town."

      Alois Chaimiti, the mayor of Masvingo who has not had problems with
Zanu PF after being accepted by Vice President Simon Muzenda, said for the
sake of progress, Zanu PF and the MDC had to work together.

      He said: "We should all look beyond political lines and work together
for the people who chose us. We need to improve communication between
ourselves and be considerate of the people."
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Zim Standard

      Chinotimba wants Highfield
      By Henry Makiwa

      WAR veterans leader, Joseph Chinotimba, who last week donated three
tonnes of maize meal to some disadvantaged Highfield residents, has all but
confirmed his desire to stand as the candidate for the ruling party in the
forthcoming parliamentary by-election.

      The self proclaimed commander-in-chief of the farm invasions, admitted
in an interview with The Standard that he had a "vested interest" in the
constituency which became vacant following the expulsion of Munyaradzi
Gwisai from the MDC.

      Asked why he was suddenly so concerned about the welfare of the
residents of Highfield, Chinotimba said: "Wouldn't you want me to be an MP
yourself? After all, any black Pan Africanist would support me. I am free to
contest in the Highfield poll if the residents want me to do so. I even have
a more legitimate reason to run in the race because I own properties in the

      While making his donation, Chinotimba claimed to have harvested the
maize at his Hwatakayi Farm in Mazowe.

      Many people, however, questioned how he was able to have any
meaningful harvest at this time.

      Said one GMB official who refused to be named for fear of
victimisation: "Under the new regulations designed by government last year,
every farmer has to declare his or her produce within two weeks of the
harvest. We have not heard anything concerning Chinotimba's harvest and as a
matter of fact, there are very few farmers who have had any harvests this

      Paul Themba-Nyathi, the MDC spokesman, said: "It boggles the mind how
Chinotimba could have acquired such a harvest at this time of the year when
the whole country is facing starvation. It is not only criminal but it
demonstrates the extent to which Zanu PF is steeped in lawlessness and
unscrupulous activity. However, the people of Zimbabwe and Highfield in
particular, are not fools and Chinotimba is set for a rude awakening come
election time."

      While Chinotimba is making forays into Highfield with food and sewing
machines, his colleague David Mutasa, who is the official Zanu PF candidate
for Kuwadzana, is continuing to sell mealie meal at concessionary prices to

      Thousands of Kuwadzana residents swarm Mutasa's Tassa supermarket at
Kuwadzana 5's "Home Industries" to purchase mealie meal which is being sold
at $500 per 10kg pack and comes with a loaf of bread and a cabbage. A
similar bag of mealie meal costs $3 500 on the black market.

      Every Friday and Saturday, in anticipation of food, hungry residents
form a kilometre long queue that snakes through Kuwadzana 4 and Kuwadzana 5
high density suburbs.

      Said Albert Mutembo, who had lined up for the scarce commodity on
Friday: "This is a clear strategy by Zanu PF to use food to win the hearts
of the urban voters. We have no choice but to queue at Mutasa's shop because
our families are staring starvation in the face. We are, however, aware that
once the elections are over, this honeymoon will also be over."

      Mutasa will square up with Nelson Chamisa of the MDC in the
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Zim Standard

      Bulawayo Council may abandon capital projects
      By Cynthia Mahwite

      BULAWAYO-The Bulawayo City Council may be forced abandon its capital
projects after government's failure to respond to its request to grant it
powers to borrow $2,6 billion from the corporate market.

      Bulawayo executive mayor Japhet Ndabeni Ncube confirmed to The
Standard that the ministry of Local Government had still not responded to
their budget proposals presented last December.

      Said Ncube: "Local Government has not responded to our capital budget
proposals presented to them last December," said Ncube.

      "We would have expected them to have responded by now so we could
start to effect the capital budget for the year. The lack of response from
Local Government means as council, we don't have powers to borrow and our
proposed plans remain proposals unless we are granted borrowing powers."

      Ncube said government's failure to respond to their request to grant
council borrowing powers would lead to the collapse of sectors essential to
the city's up-keep.

      "We are faced with a situation where our clinics, fire section and
council sectors are on the verge of collapse due to lack of resources, but
we are doing our best to keep them intact with the little that we have."

      "The government has to review our proposal hastily and grant us the
powers we seek or we will have to operate without the capital budget like we
did last year."

      He said Council was currently banking on the tax budget in which
current taxes and rates had been hiked in the hope that these would assist
in the fight against the imminent collapse of the city.

      "With past experience in budget drafts, we have created a budget that
is not apologetic to Bulawayo citizens, but one that is hard and
corrective," the mayor said.

      Bulawayo citizens will this year have to battle with increased tariff
costs due to the 145% increment stipulated by Council in this year's budget.

      Tariff hikes came last year, after Council failed to borrow money on
the parallel market due to government's failure to grant the Bulawayo City
Council borrowing powers, a move that saw the deterioration of the health,
welfare and housing sectors in the city.

      The executive mayor said the 2002 capital budget had never been
effected due to government's failure to respond to their proposal.

      "The 2002 capital budget was never effected because government sat on
our proposal. All we need is the government's approval and then we can
borrow on the corporate market," he said.

      The mayor's call has been for government to review Council proposals
with immediate effect to enable the inflow of funds to boost the deficit
currently being faced by the Council in the administration of the city's
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Zim Standard

      Mudzuri treads where Tsvangirai fears
      newsfocus By Walter Marwizi

      A VISIBLY troubled old man almost fell down on his knees when a
vicious policeman grabbed his tiny hairy hand as he tried to get past the
entrance of Mabvuku police station in Harare, two weeks ago.

      "You can't get into the police station; not until our superiors are
through with the mayor. The police station is out of bounds to anyone,
whatever the case, until our superiors have finished dealing with Mudzuri,"
said the policeman as he blocked the old man who pleaded to be allowed in.

      Shaking his head in disbelief, the old man who sensed danger, turned
his back on the police station, heading back home without reporting that
thieves had ransacked his home, stealing all his belongings a few hours

      He wondered what was special about the Mudzuri case that a whole
police station had to be closed to the public. And he was not the only one
to be denied access to the police station that day.

      Several people of various ages, including our reporter, were
disappointed when told that as long as Harare mayor, Elias Mudzuri, was
still at the station, they would never be allowed inside.

      The ZRP feared Mudzuri's supporters would besiege the station and
cause a riot. Earlier on, scores of anti-riot policemen had stormed into
Mabvuku Hall where they savagely manhandled the mayor who had been
addressing the residents. They tore his shirt as they tried to bundle him
into a Defender truck, in full view of over 500 residents who had also been
placed under arrest.

      Such was the heavy- handedness with which the Zanu PF regime dealt
with Harare's first citizen, who, it now appears, is now the prime target of
Zanu PF's hate campaign.

      As MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, spends most of his time at
Harvest House giving interviews mainly to the international press and
meeting diplomats these days, the Zanu PF repressive machinery has shifted
its guns away from him to Mudzuri.

      Zanu PF insiders say since the MDC leader, who is facing a treason
charge arising from a discredited plot exposed by former Israeli secret
agent, Ari Ben Menashe, is no longer considered the threat he was before the
March presidential elections, which leaves the mayor in the firing line.

      The mayor, who got into office less than a year ago, is now a towering
figure in the struggle against Zanu PF repression and is fast emerging as
the major symbol of resistance against an increasingly dictatorial regime.

      Unlike Tsvangirai who seems unwilling to burn his fingers while
confronting the government, Mudzuri has shown a clear determination to take
the government head on, fully aware of the existence of draconian pieces of
legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), which make it
illegal for meetings to be held without police approval.

      Despite being ham-strung by official shackles put in place by Ignatius
Chombo, the minister of local government and national housing, which include
a committee appointed to "assist" him to run council affairs and countless
ministerial directives that threaten to make his council ineffective,
Mudzuri has not thrown in the towel.

      Against all odds, he has warded off Chombo's undue interference,
whipped into line untouchable workers such as war vets leader, Joseph
Chinotimba, launched investigations into corruption and at the same time,
improved the city's crumbling infrastructure.

      This has not endeared him to the ruling party which had all but run
down the city in the past two decades.

      The arrest of Mudzuri came about three months after government had
embarked on a sustained propaganda campaign spearheaded by the state media,
which sought to rubbish Mudzuri as a corrupt and incompetent administrator.
Acres of space and prime television time have been dedicated to discrediting
the mayor who was elected through a popular vote.

      Undeterred by this, Mudzuri has ventured out of the comfort of his
multi-million dollar mayor's parlour to counter Zanu PF propaganda in the
high density suburbs.

      And it was one of these excursions which earned the mayor a weekend in
a filthy cell at the Harare Central police station.

      He told The Standard last week: "The experience was an eye-opener for
me. If anything, it made me more resolute. "Residents don't expect me to
just sit in the office, they elected me to address issues that affect
them...I know the state machinery is working against me. This includes the
police, ZBC, The Herald, The Sunday Mail and minister Chombo and his
officials, but I am not deterred."

      While Mudzuri is increasingly becoming a pain in the neck of the
repressive Zanu PF regime, Tsvangirai, who is yet to take any bold step to
mobilise people against the government, is slowly losing respect among many
people who feel the time has come to throw off the yoke of Zanu PF

      One of them is Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National
Constitutional Assembly, who has organised several unsuccessful mass actions
to topple the regime.

      On Wednesday, Tsvangirai described his efforts as reckless.

      Said Madhuku: "I feel let down by Tsvangirai. Since March last year,
we have been waiting for him to call for mass action. He has not lived up to
our expectations. Now, when we try to do something to help the situation, he
describes our actions as reckless. It is himself who is being reckless and
irresponsible. In fact I am beginning to misunderstand him."

      William Bango, Tsvangirai's spokesman, however says: "Not short of
turning the president into another Savimbi, Tsvangirai is doing the best he
can under the circumstances. He holds several meetings with diplomats and
business leaders. He reports twice to the police-every Monday and
Wednesday-and at the same time, has a tight schedule. In the past week
alone, he travelled to Chipinge, Mutare, Masvingo and Kwekwe, among other
towns, and was back in Harare on Monday to report to the police. The kind of
mass action Madhuku is talking about is fine but it needs to be well
organised. If people are not organised they are bound to fail."
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Zim Standard

      IMF Harare meeting postponed
      By Kumbirai Mafunda

      GOVERNMENT is trying to arm twist the International Monetary Fund into
deferring a surveillance meeting on Zimbabwe because its house is not in
order, Standard Business understands.

      A high-powered IMF delegation headed by Doris Ross which was scheduled
to arrive in Harare on Tuesday for the routine Article IV consultations in
early February, could now jet into the country in late February.

      "The IMF resident director had a meeting this morning (Friday) with
officers of the finance ministry. These guys are not ready with the figures
and policies," said a source close to the arrangements of the meeting.

      At the beginning of the month, finance and economic development
minister, Herbert Murerwa, told Standard Business that the IMF would visit
Zimbabwe in early February for the scheduled consultative talks.

      Article IV consultations are held yearly between the IMF and its
member countries, their purpose being to review policies of fiscal prudence.

      When the meetings take place, the IMF team will hold meetings with
officials from government, the ministry of finance, the Reserve Bank and
civil society so as to scrutinise the country's macroeconomic policies.

      The scrutiny will last about two weeks and will cover a wide range of
issues including aid flows and debt.

      Upon return, the team will be required to compile a report for
presentation to the IMF board which will then produce a report of the
mission's findings, a report which will be expected to help in the decision
about whether or not Zimbabwe's voting rights should be suspended given that
it has defaulted on its financial obligations to the financial institution.

      Analysts observe that the government is slowly realising that it can't
exist without international aid thus it could be trying to paint a good
picture of itself following the adoption of a declaration of non-cooperation
and the suspension of technical assistance.

      Zimbabwe's outstanding arrears to the lending institution surged to
US$190 million in December against the backdrop of an initiation of a
procedure on the suspension of the country's voting and related rights in
the fund, by the Bretton Woods institution.

      On Thursday, Murerwa told Standard Business that the talks would not
be held in early February as there were a number of issues which had to be
sorted out. "We are talking to the IMF on an ideal date which will be around
the end of February. It is always by mutual agreement that we meet. So we
are working on agreeing on a mutually acceptable time when we can be
flexible enough to engage the IMF fully," Murerwa said.

      Gerry Johnson, the IMF's resident director at first maintained that
the delegation would arrive on Tuesday in preparation for meetings in early
February but the following day, he was not so sure: "We had a telephone
conversation with officials from the ministry on a possible change of
mission dates and have a bit more time to prepare for discussions," he told
Standard Business .

      Zimbabwe is gripped by a deepening economic meltdown dramatised by a
flawed exchange rate, food deficits and severe foreign currency shortages
since attaining independence 23 years ago. In protest at government's
ceaseless appetite for keeping loose strings on the public purse and its
gross human rights violations, the IMF and the World Bank severed balance of
payments support in 1999 thus aggravating the country's hard currency

      THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will outline and sell its
alternative economic recovery plan to the visiting IMF delegation whenever
it arrives.

      Said Tendai Biti, the party's secretary for economic affairs: "We will
be meeting the IMF so we can give them an update and balance sheet on the
status quo, our own views of an immediate short term stabilisation programme
and our alternatives to the current chaos being made by Robert Mugabe," said

      Apart from meeting Harare authorities and opposition officials, the
Bretton Woods delegation is also expected to meet representatives of
business and labour.

      It however remains unclear when the meetings will actually take place.
All efforts to obtain a firm response from IMF headquarters in Washington,
were fruitless.
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Zim Standard

      Wankie Colliery sings the blues
      By Ephias Masanga

      WANKIE Colliery Company has failed to meet the demand for coal due to
the lack of foreign currency needed for repairs and maintenance of mining
equipment. This has led to a fall in production to about 50% of mining and
delivery capacity.

      In a statement, the company confirmed most of its mine equipment and
machinery was down and in need of extensive repair. This could be done in
three to four months if foreign currency is available. The heavy equipment
includes front-end loaders, coal haulers, haul trucks, drills and various
support machinery.

      Eighty-five to 95% of Wankie's coal is extracted from the open cast
mine using the dragline that is currently in need of repair and requires
spares and special lubricants obtainable externally outside the country.

      Foreign currency unavailability has also affected the acquisition of
explosives, conveyor belting and tyres. "Maintenance of static plant to
deliver coal to the processing department and the Hwange power station has
also been affected", reads part of the statement.

      "The HPS plant, which is operated by the Zimbabwe Power Services, has
suffered and this has led to nationwide domestic power cuts."

      The company also continues to suffer from transport and delivery
problems. The National Railways of Zimbabwe, which is supposed to supply 150
rail wagons daily, is undersupplying at 55% of the agreed figure. The
company has had to resort to costly road transport which can only transport
peas grade coal. Currently, 45% of the coal product is carried by road.

      Industry has felt the impact of the colliery's problems with companies
such as the Zimbabwe Sugar Refinery intermittently ceasing production,
citing the unavailability of coal which is required for the refinery's
furnaces .

      However the colliery says it is set to get its operations back on
track as it is has made progress towards accessing cheap foreign currency
with the help of unnamed institutions. It hopes to begin its rehabilitation
programme that will see production targets and demand being met, according
to the statement.
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Zim Standard

      MDC overhauls economic blueprint
      mbirai Mafunda

      THE MDC is overhauling its economic blueprint in response to the
further dislocation of the country's economy since the formulation of its
economic recovery and stabilisation plan crafted two years ago, Tapiwa
Mashakada, the MDC shadow finance minister, told Standard Business that his
party has since the beginning of this month started amending and realigning
its programme, factoring in the further derailment of economic fundamentals.

      In 2001, the MDC crafted its Bold Realistic Innovative Development
Growth and Employment Strategy, commonly known as BRIDGE, which has not been
implemented following Mugabe's contested election victory last year.

      Despite the applause the document received from economic analysts as a
panacea to the country's economic crisis, government has ignored it and has
instead crafted and flirted with economic programmes which analysts contend
are not even worth the paper they are written on.

      "Since the beginning of January, we have been revising BRIDGE to
capture the fast deterioration of the economy. We are also amending our
macroeconomic models to take into account this accelerating economic decay
which we had underestimated," said Mashakada.

      The principal objectives of the MDC's economic plan are creating jobs,
eliminating poverty, stabilising prices, stabilise the exchange rate by
adopting a managed float of the dollar and bringing back the international
support required to deal with the debt crisis and foreign exchange

      Since the formulation of BRIDGE, the country's foreign currency
earning capacity has deteriorated with exports falling from US$1,7 billion
in 2001 to US$1,4 billion last year, as the country continues on an economic
free fall coupled with shortages of basic commodities and essential

      Inflation has soared to 198,9% amidst deteriorating public finances
and an overvalued exchange rate.
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Zim Standard

      MDC leadership cowardly and aloof

      STime to look south for lessons in liberation

      IT has always been hard for Zimbabweans to admit that they can learn
anything from South Africa because there is little love lost between the two
countries. But now is not the time to put pride (if we still have any)
before pragmatism.

      The lessons we need to learn come from Soweto and the countless
impoverished and oppressed South African townships that brought the
apartheid regime to a shuddering halt in 1994. Those are the sort of
struggles that are relevant to Zimbabwe today.

      Zanu PF believes it can retain its stranglehold on power by using 70s
style tactics. The old guard, incapable of anything resembling progressive
thought and devoid of imagination, believes that what won the liberation war
will work against the opposition. This, of course, is absurd.

      The key point that needs to be made is that the tables have turned.
The situation is now very different. Gaining power by using legitimate
violence is one thing, using violence to maintain power quite another. And
if Zanu PF does not believe that, it simply needs to knock on Ian Smith's
door and ask how successful he was when he used oppression and strong-arm
tactics to lock people out. In short, Zanu PF is using reverse logic and
that means it will fail.

      This, of course, does not translate into the fact that the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) and the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
are using logic either. Sadly, they are not. Lovemore Madhuku's plucky
attempts to keep people at home are praiseworthy, but misguided. So is the
MDC's deafening silence.

      Zimbabweans need focused leadership and they need heroes. They have
neither, for heroes are buried and no doubt muttering disapprovingly with
our ancestors as they watch the tragedy unfold. They see the MDC squandering
a golden opportunity in the face of disastrous misgovernance in the country
at the moment.

      Which brings us back to South Africa's struggle. The old ANC learnt
fast that the struggle needed to be kept in the townships where it had
overwhelming support, unsurpassed local knowledge and a tactical edge. It
did not try and demonstrate in the Pretoria city centre and much less did it
riot in the middle of Cape Town.

      The old ANC put in a tremendous effort and took its struggle abroad,
to Africa, Europe and the United States in the form of a propaganda war
against the Afrikaner regime. The ANC harnessed public opinion and gained
the world's sympathy.

      The MDC has tried do this but half-heartedly, and in a most
amateurish, incoherent and embarrassing way. Little wonder then that Robert
Mugabe and his courtiers continue to beat the MDC in much of Africa.

      We know that the playing field is uneven, but the point must be made
that Morgan Tsvangirai and his lieutenants have totally failed to take Zanu
PF head on. It is in this context that we have to at least admire and salute
Lovemore Madhuku and Elias Mudzuri. They are not giving up. It is a huge
mountain to climb but they are not standing by and watching Zimbabwe going
over the cliff without doing anything.

      Madhuku's spirited fight in the face of constant failure makes him
heads taller than the strange and currently silent MDC leadership. At least
he tries, which is something noone can accuse Morgan Tsvangirai of doing
right now.

      It would appear that the MDC are sitting back and watching events
unfold because they believe the struggle for justice and 'the second coming'
will be won when the economy collapses. It is true but it does not make it
right, and certainly does not inspire and fill the electorate with hope for
better leadership.

      In fact, it makes Zimbabweans conclude that the MDC leadership is
either lazy, cowardly or both. And they are right. The MDC is a big let down
at the moment. We hold no candle for the MDC at this point in time.

      During the South African struggle, leaders of the ANC's surrogate
movements were themselves on the streets facing the brutality of the regime.
They provided both leadership and, yes, they asked the povo to face the
bullets-which the people did willingly because the leaders faced those
bullets too. They did not mumble excuses, but instead used every
opportunity, every funeral, every incident of abuse and oppression to get on
their soap boxes and tell the entire world, including South Africans, about
their struggle against a brutal and racist regime.

      Strange then that Zimbabweans facing their own brutal and illegitimate
regime are not doing the same. There is little difference, other than
colour, between oppressive leaders the world over. And it is a cruel mistake
to excuse oppression because it happens in Africa against Africans.

      Most Zimbabweans are saddened by the deep silence from the opposition.
More than anything else, Zimbabwe is looking for heroes to inspire them, for
people prepared to suffer alongside them and for leaders willing to face the
constant state terror waged against them.

      If none of that happens, the MDC may win, but it will win by default
when Zanu PF finally implodes-and it will undeservedly win a disillusioned
electorate that sees its new leaders as cowardly and aloof.

      Put bluntly, the MDC needs to consider very seriously not just
offering up a hero or two, but a martyr too. Until that happens, Zimbabweans
will shake their heads and say what they are saying now of the MDC: "They
are afraid".
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Zim Standard

      Crazy cricket clowns
      overthetop By Brian Latham

      CRICKET matches scheduled for next month in a troubled central African
country will go ahead because the world body governing the sport says it
will be safe, Over The Top is amused to report.

      The decision comes after the troubled central African nation's top cop
assured the governing body that peaceful protests would be allowed to go
ahead "if conducted properly."

      OTT believes there has never been a peaceful protest in the troubled
central African country. OTT also believes that "properly conducted"
demonstrations require police permission, something granted only to
supporters of the ruling Zany party.

      Furthermore, OTT predicts this will be the farce of the decade and
that many people will lose lots of money, but that's OK because they deserve
to. Rather less amusing is the fact that cricketers from around the globe
have been assured that they will have plenty of food and petrol supplied to
them during their stay in some of the troubled central African nation's top

      The fact that such an assurance had to be given indicates a certain
callous hypocrisy on the part of the sport's governing body. It means that
cricketers and their administrators will be sprawling in their five-star
hotels, supping cold beer and eating imported food (there's no other kind)
while the rest of the population sits hungrily in fuel queues wondering how
they're going to feed their families, pay school fees, get to work tomorrow
or avoid arrest and torture-delete inapplicable, if there are any.

      Still, two of the sport's governing body's top chefs, one Mr Slow and
another Levantine gent by the name of Ali Baba (who no longer needs his 40
thieves because he manages quite well enough on his own, thank you), were
last week pleased to announce that they were happy with security
arrangements in the troubled central African country.

      The security arrangements include the aforementioned right people have
to engage in proper peaceful protest.

      Of course they do.

      Under the troubled central African nation's vengeful laws, "peaceful
protest" is rather vaguely defined. While a Zany party protest might be
allowed to peacefully draw blood with traditional weapons like pick axes,
crow bars and large chunks of pavement, it is most certainly not peaceful
for government's opponents to distribute bits of paper.

      Still, this seemed to please the South African goblin who, grinning
like a monkey at the troubled central African country's airport last week,
informed bewildered journalists that he'd been reassured by arrangements
made by police.

      A quick survey by OTT in the streets of the capital failed to find a
single person who shared the goblin's faith in the police. Comments were
generally too robust for inclusion in a respectable family newspaper, but
someone did point out that the same grinning South African goblin managed to
play both sides against the middle during the apartheid era in his own
country. Extraordinarily, he managed to both oppose the apartheid government
and support the breaking of sporting sanctions against the same regime.

      Still, OTT can immediately dismiss a rumour running wild through the
troubled central African country. It is cruel and especially unkind to
suggest that a picture carried on the front page of the state-controlled
Horrid newspaper showed not Mr Ali Baba, but an extra from that wonderful
cinematic phenomenon The Lord of the Rings.

      OTT must assure his readers that those who thought it was the creature
Golum are mistaken. Golum was bald. The man in the picture is hirsute,
therefore they are either mistaken or being mischievous.
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