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From The Star (SA), 25 January

UN shakes gavel at Zimbabwean judges' bullies

Geneva - A United Nations expert criticised the Zimbabwe government on Thursday for alleged intimidation of judges in the ongoing debate about land reforms in the southern African country. Zimbabwe "has an obligation to extend protection to those judges who have been intimidated and threatened", Dato'Param Cumaraswamy, a special UN envoy for the independence of judges and lawyers, said in a statement. "The deterioration in the rule of law and the undermining of the independence of the judiciary is a matter of grave concern to the international community," Cumaraswamy said. The judges have come under mounting pressure since November, when the Supreme Court ruled that the government's land reform program was unconstitutional, he said.

Zimbabwe's longstanding program to correct gross disparities in land ownership dating from the days of white rule last year went into high gear - dubbed the "fast track" - after thousands of liberation war veterans and their supporters took over white-owned farms. "Government ministers have publicly attacked judges accusing them of favouring whites over the black population. ... The government has also ignored the decision of the court declaring the fast-track land program illegal," the statement said. The United Nations has established basic principles assuring the independence of the judiciary to allow it to act "without any restrictions, improper influences, inducements, pressures, threats or interferences, direct or indirect, from any quarter for any reason," Cumaraswamy said.

From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 25 January

Zimbabwe's judiciary on collision course with executive

The government accuses the judiciary of bias while, but is accused of lawlessness in turn

After issuing verdicts in favour of white commercial farmers, the judiciary in Zimbabwe has incurred the wrath of politicians and war veterans who want judges out of office for alleged racism. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said the judiciary has placed itself on a collision course with other arms of government and earned itself the "notoriety that it constitutes the main opposition to the ruling party." Following a series of verdicts last year against the government's controversial land reforms, the judiciary has come under persistent fire and even threats of physical harm from war veterans who have told them to resign or be forced out of office.

Composed of two white judges, two black judges and one Asiatic judge, the Supreme Court has been accused of racism and bias. The accusations over the past year have degenerated into anger, leading to war veterans invading and disrupting a Supreme Court session and issuing threats of violence to the judges if they do not resign. "We must begin to exorcise from all our institutions the racist ghost of (former Rhodesian leader) Ian Smith and we do so by phasing out his disciples and sympathisers," said the justice minister. The judiciary, however, enjoys the backing of the legal community, which says courts simply interpret the country's laws made by the same politicians who are now heaping blame on them. "The Law Society has not seen any evidence of bias or predisposition on the part of our courts," said the Law Society of Zimbabwe.

A ruling Zanu PF party lawmaker, Phillip Chiyangwa, said he was planning to introduce a motion in parliament next month to impeach chief justice Anthony Gubbay of the Supreme Court. But the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a non-governmental organisation pushing to create a more democratic constitution, says it finds it absurd that the government is now crying foul over its own laws. "It is parliament itself, dominated by Zanu-PF, that made the laws regarding the procedure for land acquisition. Yet the same government is not following its laws in acquiring land," said NCA representative Douglas Mwonzora.

The storming of the Supreme Court by some 200 war veterans in November shows "there is little or no evidence left that the rule of law will be upheld by some political and other groups enjoying power at the moment," said the Law Society. Despite the mounting pressure on the judiciary, analysts say it is not easy for the judges to be removed from office. Greg Limmington, a University of Zimbabwe political scientist on constitutional law says it is "very difficult for judges to be removed" and this is to protect them from undue influence. Judges are appointed by the president and can only resign or retire. They can be removed from office on grounds of physical of mental infirmity that incapacitate them from discharging their duties.

Fearing for their lives following threats of violence from war veterans, Supreme Court judges this week met with the Vice President Simon Muzenda to seek protection. The president's office said the meeting discussed a "range of issues about the welfare of the judiciary and the administration of justice in the country." President Robert Mugabe has repeatedly vowed that no court ruling would stop the government from implementing the controversial land reforms because the issue was political and would only be solved by political means.

From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 26 January

Mbeki pledge to support Zimbabwe

Johannesburg - South Africa will continue to support the Mugabe government in Zimbabwe, President Thabo Mbeki said yesterday. His remarks, made as he accepted the diplomatic credentials of the new Zimbabwean high commissioner to South Africa, appeared to be a direct snub to Britain after Peter Hain, then a Foreign Office minister, criticised Pretoria's policy towards Zimbabwe. Relations between Britain and South Africa came under strain this week after Pretoria took angry exception to criticism made by Mr Hain over South Africa's policy of "constructive engagement".

Mr Mbeki said that his government was committed to working with Zimbabwe on issues such as land reform, the situation in the DRC and economic development in the region. "We are committed to working together to find solutions," he told Simon Khaya Moyo, the new high commissioner. "We have to move forward vigorously." During a holiday in South Africa earlier this year, Mr Hain said in several newspaper and radio interviews that he thought South Africa's policy of "constructive engagement" with the Mugabe government had proved to be a failure. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa's foreign minister, fired off an angry letter to Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, complaining about Mr Hain's comments.

From The Star (SA), 25 January

Zanu-PF stopped us, say state's own strikers

Harare - A strike by government employees failed to take hold on Thursday, with strike leaders blaming intimidation and threats by ruling party militants that had cowed their followers. Though many schools were closed across the country, most government departments were functioning at near full strength. Some civil servants reported for work but were staging a go-slow. The Public Service Association, representing government workers, called the strike to protest against a pay increase of 15 percent offered to its members. The organisation was demanding a scale of raises between 60 and 80 percent to match inflation.

Givemore Masongorere, head of the PSA, said ruling party militants and veterans of the bush war that led to independence in 1980 mounted a campaign of intimidation and threatened violence against strikers. Government officials were also threatening to arbitrarily fire strikers under the guise of reforming the nation's bloated and unwieldy bureaucracy. "The most disturbing feature is the intimidation which has become serious," Masongorere said. As Zimbabwe faces its worse economic crisis since independence, the government has said it cannot afford paying out raises of more than 15 percent to the nation's 170 000 government employees.

Police confirmed three striking teachers were assaulted by war veterans in the southern town of Masvingo on Wednesday, the first day of the strike. >Veterans and ruling party militants alleged the teachers were chanting slogans of the opposition MDC and accused them of teaching "opposition politics" in class. Riot police and ruling party militants staked out a strikers meeting on Wednesday, outnumbering the strikers and forcing them to call off a march to government offices in downtown Harare. "Civil servants who opt to go out are being labelled as opposition ... Some of our public servants now fear to exercise their right" to strike, Masongorere said.

From The Independent (UK), 26 January

Rebellion in Congo feared as inauguration delayed

Kinshasa - Officials in Kinshasa blamed "logistical problems" yesterday for the delay in the inauguration of Joseph Kabila, chosen by military and political insiders to succeed his assassinated father, Laurent-Desire Kabila, as president of the DRC. But the time lag prompted speculation of a power struggle among the main three strongmen in the DRC: the late president's aide and chief of staff, Eddy Kapend, the Interior Minister, Gaetan Kakudji, and the Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mwenze Kongolo. The ceremony is expected today or tomorrow at the Palace of the Nation.

Sources say the new president is expected to appoint a prime minister or "government co-ordinator", a departure from his father's solo style and a move likely to give a strong indication of his government's policies and its attitude towards ending the six-country war in the DRC that began in 1998. Kabila, 62, who came to power by the gun in May 1997, was shot in his sitting room in Kinshasa 10 days ago, allegedly by a bodyguard who was later killed.

The president's aides immediately named his son, Major-General Joseph Kabila, as his successor. Though the new president, said to be aged 30 to 32, is little-known by his subjects, diplomats say they see hints that he will heed pressure from his allies, Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia, and make peace with armed rebels supported by Rwanda and Uganda. But the widely flouted Lusaka peace accords, brokered by southern Africa, will have to be rethought. Diplomats say plans are already being laid for a meeting in the Mozambican capital, Maputo.

The war in the DRC, which started when Kabila turned on his erstwhile supporters, Rwanda and Uganda, has left half of the resource-rich DRC under occupation. Thousands have died and more than two million people are homeless. A diplomatic source said Angola did not want to remain in the DRC and face the possibility of being blamed for continuing the war. Zimbabwe appeared less categorical about wanting to pull out its 12,000 troops. But the Angolan President, Eduardo dos Santos, calls the shots.

After Kabila's funeral on Tuesday, the Belgian Foreign Minister, Louis Michel, influential not least because DRC is its former colony, began touring the capitals of the warring nations. After meetings in the Angolan capital, Luanda, and Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, Mr Michel has gone to Uganda and Rwanda. On Wednesday, DRC's parliament met at the Palace of the People in Kinshasa to rubberstamp the appointment as the country's fourth president since independence in 1960 and to declare his late father a national hero.

Joseph Kabila is unknown to most of his people. Military sources say he is a ruthless leader but few people know personal details, other than that he grew up in Tanzania and was trained in China. African diplomatic sources widely rejected rumours that his mother is a Rwandan Tutsi. Some people say he does not speak Lingala, the main language of Kinshasa. But he does speak KiSwahili, one of four official languages. And Kamel Morjane, the UN representative in Kinshasa, who is Tunisian, says he speaks French, the principal national language, "rather well". So far, Joseph Kabila has made a good impression among foreign diplomats. One said: "Despite the difficult circumstances, he has gone out of his way to meet diplomats and to express his desire for peace."

From The Namibian, 25 January

More Namibian Troops Sent To Congo Kinshasa

Windhoek - Namibia has reinforced its troops in the DRC as part of an effort to shore up new ruler Joseph Kabila who succeeded his assassinated father Laurent Desire Kabila. Defence Minister Erkki Nghimtina confirmed yesterday that a group of Namibia Defence Force soldiers left Namibia on Monday "to provide security to heads of states who attended Kabila's funeral". The Presidents of Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia - Congo's allies in its war against rebel groups - attended Tuesday's funeral.

International news agencies reported that Joseph Kabila and other top DRC officials, apparently fearing their own security forces, were guarded by soldiers from the three allied nations at the funeral. Nghimtina said the new Namibian troops "will help reinforce the allied forces to provide security cover to Kinshasa and Lubumbashi". He was unwilling to reveal the number of troops that left on Monday, saying "what is important is the security of the Congolese people. The figure of the soldiers is not important. He also could not say for how long the new troops would be deployed in the DRC.

Regional military sources told Reuters that as many as 6 200 fresh allied troops had arrived in the Congo to reinforce the capital Kinshasa, the copper and cobalt city of Lubumbashi and the diamond centre of Mbuji-Maji in response to the vacuum created by Kabila's death. The new arrivals, said to be mostly Angolans, would bring the number of allied troops to nearly 20 000, the sources said. The troops are accompanied by medium-to-light field armour, fighter planes and attack helicopters.

Opposition parties and human right activists yesterday criticised Namibia's decision to reinforce its troops in the DRC. Said Katuutire Kaura of the DTA-UDF coalition: "I thought we are a democratic country, but what we are seeing in the Congo is that we are protecting a monarchy. How do we justify it to ourselves as a democracy? Our position stands that our troops must come back from Congo. As it is, right now our budget is escalating. We have a lot of development projects but in the meantime we are wasting millions in the Congo." Congress of Democrats President Ben Ulenga said: "We have been dreading this because it will mean getting further stuck in the DRC morass."

Ulenga said sending more troops to the DRC called into question the commitment of the belligerents to the Lusaka peace agreement signed in 1999. "There will be negative ramifications for the country. The Government does not have the resources. Already the Government does not pump money into the regions. Any money that gets into the DRC is a loss to our regions or other sectors in the Namibian economy. But the Government doesn't seem capable of listening any more." Phil ya Nangoloh of the National Society for Human Rights said reports of troop reinforcement pointed to a continued state of insecurity in the DRC. He expressed concern over a report that 300 Congolese people were executed following Kabila's death. Namibia is believed to maintain between 2 000 and 3 000 troops in the Congo.

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Letter to the Editor, published in the Daily News 26 January, 2001

Dear Sir,

These days being the MDC's Director of Elections is not a pleasant task.
The columns of your paper and those of other independent newspapers are
littered with articles expressing disappointment, dismay and seeming anger
of what the public perceives as the MDC's inertia and loss of direction.
I can see how these perceptions could arise, but I urge your readers, and
the rest of Zimbabwe, to look beyond the disappointments and rally around
this country with hope.

I share the frustrations of your readers and those elsewhere in Zimbabwe
who feel disappointed that the MDC's electoral showing has not yielded
positive change in Zimbabwe.  If anything, ZANU PF has severely punished
the country and the people of Zimbabwe for daring to express their
democratic and constitutional rights.  It is this punishment in its
various forms that the MDC is being exhorted to respond to.  It is not my
intention to defend the MDC, because indeed, I agree that we in the party
have made a number of mistakes that have frustrated those who look to us
for leadership.  We have underestimated ZANU-PF's capacity to want to
retain power at whatever cost.  Above all, we have sincerely believed that
the people of Zimbabwe understand the nature of the beast we are

It upsets me immensely when people legitimise and glorify beastly violence
and the violation of the Electoral laws of this country by suggesting that
the MDC "lost" both the Marondera West and Bikita West by-elections.  ZANU
PF is banking on the fact that in relation to elections in Africa
generally, devalued standards are used to measure the conduct of such
election. Only eight short months after the MDC fought a bloody election
in which more than thirty of its innocent members were killed, I am
distressed to read sentiments that ZANU PF could ever become a possible
alternative to the MDC.  ZANU PF is a party of evil that hates democracy,
despises pluralism, will peddle racism and other obnoxious notions to
cling to power.  How are we in the MDC expected, in all honesty, to
respond to a party whose electoral strategy blatantly unleashes violence
on the electorate?  Press gangs, traditional leaders - in violation of the
Electoral Act - to herd their people to the polls to vote if at the threat
of loss of life and privilege.  Should we go in there and physically block
those traditional leaders from carrying out these illegal orders?

Where vote buying accompanied by threats and intimidation has been done in
full view of the press, do we go in to offer more money which we do not
have, or more threats that our moral standing and convictions find
repugnant?  These are endless violations of the electoral act attributable
to ZANU PF that should be common knowledge to all Zimbabweans.  The court
challenges that the MDC has instituted are well known so too is the
government's response to those challenges.

It is often alleged that the MDC has no land policy and therefore has no
answer to ZANU PF's land policy.  Indeed, it is difficult for sane people
to respond to insanity by dishing more of the same.   What passes for ZANU
PF's land policy is a violent, illegal, disorderly and racist act whose
sole purpose is to obliterate in people's memories  ZANU PF's twenty years
of failure.  How are we expected to counter the macho invasion of a white
farm by thugs who then subject the owner to the most abhorrent experience
that a law abiding country would immediately deal with, but which in ZANU
PF's rule is deliberately condoned? 

Should the MDC organise citizens to enforce the rule of law and risk a
civil war in the process?  Or should it count on the maturity of the
country's citizens to respond to the MDC's message to the effect that
their collective vote in the year 2002 will remove this aberration and
introduce sanity in the country?  Judging by ZANU PF's conduct in the June
elections and subsequently in the recent two by-elections there will be
blood-shed in the 2002 presidential elections.  What should be the MDC's
response?  Meet violence with violence?  Contrary to Jonathan Moyo's crude
propaganda, the MDC is a non- violent party.  It is so out of choice,
because it seeks to effect a change so deep that it cannot be achieved
through violence.  An attempt has been made to misconstrue some statements
from the MDC leaders as suggesting that violence à la ZANU PF might be an
option for MDC, no such option exists for the MDC.  I can understand the
frustration and the anger that at times leads to the making of these angry
statements, they are just that, angry statements in response to immense
provocation and pressure from a shameless party that is willing to destroy
this country to retain power.

If one is looking for angels, one will not find them in the MDC.  If
however, one is looking for hard working, honest Zimbabweans, who care for
their country, the MDC has such people.  They work under great
disadvantage.  ZANU PF has deliberately denied the MDC access to funds
that it is entitled to by law.  Meanwhile, ZANU PF uses state funds and
state institutions to demoralise Zimbabweans into losing hope in change.
If the MDC had received such funds, it would be communicating its message
better to the people of Zimbabwe.

I shudder to think that Zimbabweans would succumb to pressure exerted on
them by the Hunzvis and Chinotimbas of this world.  Despite the MDC's
difficulties, can we afford a lawless state where the judiciary is
expected to earn appointment on the basis of producing a fully paid ZANU
PF membership card?

Since I was elected a Member of Parliament, I have come to understand the
enormity of the task ahead.  I know for certain that we in the leadership
of the MDC cannot achieve much without the sacrifices of all Zimbabweans
who resent seeing their country abused and destroyed by a few rabid self

It costs $10 000 each time a Member of Parliament visits a rural
constituency.  Members of Parliament take home $27 000 a month - a lot
better than many poor Zimbabweans who have no job at all - however, still
not enough to effectively service an expectant constituency.  Despite
these obstacles, many MDC Parliamentarians visit their constituencies
twice a month.

The cry from 56 MDC constituencies is what are you going to do for us MP?
I look at the abject poverty in my constituency, observe the looming
drought and watch a violent decadent party seeking to subdue people in my
constituency by sheer brute force, bribery and intimidation and I despair.
We in the MDC need all the support we can get in these trying times.  We
need your prayers.  Do not let your despair deny us the strength to resist
evil.  We are constantly thinking new strategies to save this country from
destruction.  Above all we are consulting extensively to come up with an
appropriate response to the introduction of a culture of violence that
seeks to enslave our people.  ZANU PF should never be allowed to continue
ruining this country.  We must all stand firm, and refuse to swallow cheap
propaganda about the MDC's agenda.  We seek to return the country to the
gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who fought for justice, equity and
freedom from fear.  Above all we are resolute in our belief that Zimbabwe
can only be stronger if the cultural and ethnic diversity of its people is
celebrated and not used to incite one group against the other.  A few
weeks from now we will demonstrate that the MDC has not been sleeping.
The people of Zimbabwe will not allow us to fall asleep.  There is work
out there and we are doing it.

Paul Themba Nyathi
Director of Elections

MDC Support (Southern Region), Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Phone: +26391241156 / 7 or +26391244699
E-mail : OR
Fundraising Details:~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
MDC SUPPORT (Southern Region) FUND - Make cheques payable to Matilda Trust, and send to P.O. Box 9400, Hillside, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (clearly endorsed "Support ") or deposit into Barclays Bank, Main Street Branch (2307), Bulawayo - account number 1996379.
For transparency and accountability, please advise this office of deposits to enable us to receipt accordingly.
VICTIMS OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE FUND - as above, but clearly endorse cheques for "Victims Fund"
SOUTH AFRICA - One of the Party’s approved Fundraisers is Laurel Zurnamer, who is contactable on +27214473570 or on cellphone +27832921407.
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MDC Bulawayo South
Forthcoming Report Back Meetings, by area.
Note: There has been a lot of criticism of the MDC recently, most of it quite unjustified. More than likely, it is because the average person does not know what is going on particularly in regard to the hard work that the party is undertaking on your behalf and often with great personal sacrifice.
The critics are mostly those who do not attend our regular meetings at which everyone is updated on the positive progress being made in bringing true democracy to our country. It is this specific detail that needs to be shared amongst the community of this constituency in order that we, in turn, inform others and extend the message through the network to outlying areas. It is an opportunity for each and everyone to air his views and ask questions which is a most important aspect of these regular meetings - the interaction between the MP and his constituents.
Forthcoming Meetings
We bring, through the voice of David Coltart, the MDC at Work for You !!
Date               Time                  Venue                   Speakers
28.01.01        1300 hrs            Esihlahleni,         The Hon. David Coltart MP/
                         (1 pm)               Emganwini           A.Gumbo
28.01.01        1530 hrs            Esingeni               The Hon. David Coltart MP/
                        (3.30 pm)          Nkulumane           A Gumbo                          
29.01.01         1730 hrs            Ascot                     The Hon. David Coltart MP/
                         (5.30 pm)          Racecourse           A Gumbo
Please Note:  These meetings are held on a rotational basis and will include other venues, such as the Church of Ascension Hall, which will be advertised in the near future.
If you feel that you are in the dark, then come along and  bring your friends and anyone you think who could benefit from hearing that facts from the horse's mouth.        
                                                       See you there! 
"Never give up for that is the time and place that the tide will turn"
- Harriet Beecher Stowe
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A Desperate Party in Desperate Actions

24 January 2001

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) condemns in the strongest of
terms the antics by the misdirected hooligan section of the so-called "war
vets" and other misguided ZANU (PF) elements bused in from outside the
capital. The continued disregard for the rule of law the continued use of
terror tactics by ZANU (Poor Finish) and its ailing and aging leadership
cannot be tolerated.

ZANU (PF) is abusing the trust of the people by using the "Jonathan Moyo"
rented crowds to attack any dissenting voices, including now the
independent press, which is merely providing alternative views. The
barbaric act brings back the horror of a similar attack by a group of war
vets in November 2000 when they raided the Supreme Court and trapped the
judges there.

Similarly, ZANU (PF) is misusing the people's appointed traditional
leaders. The chiefs are now protesting that the judiciary is preventing
the fast track land resettlement programme when a more thoughtful approach
would have expected them to resist fast track, as subverting their
authority as local leadership. Traditionally, the chiefs are responsible
for the distribution of land within their local community. The fast track
programme as envisioned by the reeling party, removes this responsibility
and channels land redistribution through ZANU (PF) structures. Traditional
chiefs should be above these partisan politics and be mindful of their

The MDC further regrets the partisan role the police continue to display.
Innocent reporters need protection and not witnesses. To further imagine
that the ZANU Broadcasting Corporation could not be left out either
completes the jigsaw puzzle that the desperate party is determined to
bring its terror campaign in urban areas ahead of the Presidential

Unless ZANU (PF) changes its dirty tactics and saves Zimbabwe from total
anarchy, the nation will relish the opportunity to relegate its leaders to
the dustbins of history come 2002.

MDC Support (Southern Region), Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
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MDC Policy Forums in Mutare


Date:             Friday 26 January
Time:            17h30
Venue:          Holiday Inn  Mutare

Tendai Biti (MP Harare East) - MDC Secretary for Lands and Agriculture
                      Renson Gasela (MP Gweru Rural) - MDC Shadow Minister for Lands and Agriculture


Date:              Saturday 27 January
Time:             17h30
           Holiday Inn Mutare

Speakers:      Eddie Cross - MDC Secretary for Economic Affairs
                     Tapiwa Mashakada (MP Hatfield) - MDC Shadow Minister for Economic Affairs

Chairperson: Trudy Stevenson (MP Harare North) - Secretary for Policy and Research

This is a continuation of our series of discussions to articulate the MDC
position, and to discuss alternatives on national issues.

The land policy forum will reveal the Zanu PF Fast Track Resettlement Plan
for what it is-a fast track to poverty, and will detail the MDC

The Economic Policy Forum will analyse Simba Makoni's "bicycle and beer"
budget, and outline the MDC's proposals for a sustainable, prosperous

These forums are open to all interested parties and members of the public,
at no cost.
MDC Support (Southern Region), Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
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Byo GMB has no maize

Godfrey Marawanyika
THE southern part of the country — which encompasses Matabeleland North and South, Beitbridge and parts of Mwenezi — is bracing itself for a potentially devastating mealie-meal shortage after its main supply source, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) Bulawayo depot, has run out of stocks.
The fears have been compounded by market speculation that the country’s grain reserve, the GMB, was rationing maize supplies in anticipation of a drought.

The shortage had since forced the Bulawayo GMB to acquire maize from the northern part of the country, mainly from Mashonaland.

Milling industry sour-ces said 15 000 tonnes of maize was being ship-ped from Chegutu to Bulawa-yo to alleviate an antici- pated drought.

“There are no maize stocks at Bulawayo and this has since forced the depot to acquire maize from Lion’s Den, who are going to give them 1 000 tonnes a week,” said the source.

“We also expect the Chegutu depot to deliver some 15 000 tones of maize stocks to the province.”

Not only has the Bula-wayo GMB depot been hit by the shortage of stocks, but it also finds itself harbouring poor-quality maize which was said to be unsuitable for human consumption. When milled, the poor quality maize produced mealie-meal which was “darkish” in colour.

The Bulawayo-based national secretary general of the 120-member Grain Millers Association, Tumelo Molife, said they had received several complaints of poor- quality maize being delivered to their members.

“We are not sure of the inconsistencies at the depots concerned,” Molife said.

“There is a possibility that we are being given old grade maize.

“In some cases we have returned some of the maize because of poor quality. We need good quality stocks suitable for human consumption, not bad maize which can only be used as stock-feeds.”

Sources said the problem was caused by a poor maize storage which resulted in stack-burn — the absorbing of extra moisture content — and the maize not having sufficient airation.

GMB chairman Canaan Dube dismissed reports that the parastatal was rationing maize supplies or that some of the reserve stocks were unfit for consumption.

“We are not aware of any maize rationing in the country. People are free to buy maize from anywhere. We do not see any reason why maize should be rationed at this juncture and no such decision has in fact been taken,” said Dube.

Dube said presently the board had over 600 000 metric tonnes of maize stocks.

“The figure is 100 000 tonnes more than the stipulated minimum stock level for the Strategic Grain Reserve of 500 000 tonnes. If the current off-take figures are anything to go by, the current maize stocks will take us through to the next harvest thus making rationing unnecessary,” he said.

Dube said the allegations that some of the maize in the GMB reserve stocks was not fit for consumption were untrue.

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Chombo plots to oust judges

Dumisani Muleya
CHAIR of the ministerial taskforce on the fast-track land resettlement progra-mme, Ignatius Chombo, is working to enlist the support of traditional chiefs and other accomplices for Zanu PF’s assault on the judiciary, official sources said yesterday.

Government sources said Chombo, who is also the Local Government minister, was deeply involved in a campaign to co-opt chiefs in order to make them willing tools of the state’s current land agenda.

Repeated efforts to get comment from Chombo were not successful at the time of going to press. His secretary said he was attending a meeting.
Zanu PF and its supporters, particularly the war veterans, are current-ly on the warpath against the judiciary. They want President Mugabe to dismiss some judges — although it would be clearly unconstitutional — who are resisting Zanu PF blandishments and political interference in the administration of justice.

Sources said Chombo this week directed senior officers in his ministry, before he met chiefs on Tuesday in the capital, to put together information to assist the chiefs in challenging judges.

A well-placed source in the ministry confir-med being asked to compile information for chiefs before they met Chombo on Tuesday. The chiefs are apparently not acquainted with the legal complexities surrou- nding the land issue and thus needed briefings to make contributions in line with the Zanu PF campaign to turn up the heat on the judiciary.

Chombo appeared on state television, flanked by his deputy Kembo Mohadi and officers from his ministry, listening to the chiefs’ apparently stage-managed attacks on the judges. But the chiefs said nothing new or original. Instead, they merely regurgitated official pronouncements as well as dark threats against judges and commercial farmers.

After meeting Chombo, chiefs said next week they would issue summons to commercial farmers to attend their traditional courts for trial over land.
Council of Chiefs presi- dent Jonathan Mangwe-nde said the courts shou- ld stop hearing cases on land as that was the domain of chiefs.

“The land was under the jurisdiction of chiefs and we now want to adjudicate cases on the land ourselves,” Mangwende said this week.

The chiefs also claimed — as Zanu PF has done -—that the judges were favouring commercial far- mers on the land issue. They did not provide any evidence to support their claims.

The chiefs said they wanted compensation from the farmers for the colonial confiscation of land. The traditional leaders have also threatened to sue farmers in the International Court of Justice over colonial iniquities. Sources said chiefs were merely implementing a Zanu PF agenda to blackmail stakehold-ers in the land issue.

The ruling party is understood to have mulled a plan to mobilise its supporters to force the judges out by physical harassment.

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War vets, police mobilise against MDC mass action

Vincent Kahiya
WAR veterans who have been spoiling for a fight with the opposition are limbering up to reinforce the Zimbabwe Republic Police in crushing the proposed mass protest being mooted by the Movement for Democratic Change.

Reports reaching the Zimbabwe Independent this week suggest that hundreds of militiamen are undergoing crash courses in crowd control and use of tear gas.

The self-styled war veterans and other Zanu PF hoodlums have of late refined techniques in violent suppression of opposing views, including assaults on rural voters. They now appear to be transferring these
“skills” to the cities.

Our Bulawayo bureau reports that war vets yesterday stormed and closed the Victoria Falls council offices in the town centre and Chinotimba township in protest at their failure to win a tender for the running of a lodge.

Two companies, Shear- water and Kandah Hire Canoeing, which are housed in the council offices, were also forced to close.

The war veterans have taken it upon themselves to bar rural people from accessing certain newspapers which they feel run articles too critical of the ruling Zanu PF and government.

Reports from Mutoko yesterday said the war veterans were stopping vehicles along the Harare-Nyamapanda highway searching travellers for copies of the Zimbabwe Independent, the Daily News and the Financial Gazette. The war veterans have “banned” the papers from the district.

The war veterans are preparing to take their brand of anarchy into the urban areas, which are expected to be centres of conflict if plans for the mass action proceed.

The war veterans’ leadership headed by Chenjerai Hunzvi has called for a special meeting tomorrow at the party’s headquarters to agree on a strategy to deal with the proposed protest. A source said tomorrow’s meeting would be a formality as the veterans had been talking to law enforcement agents to formulate a plan that would accommodate the militias in government’s policy of suppressing peaceful protest.

Training of militiamen is believed to be taking place as part of the police’s regular training of recruits and Support Unit personnel.

MDC secretary for legal affairs David Coltart yesterday said the war veterans’ plans were misguided, as there were no real plans for mass action.

“As vice-president Gibson Sibanda said, mass action has never gone off the MDC agenda and we are constantly reviewing the situation,” said Coltart.
“There are no real plans to engage in mass action and those plans by the war veterans are misguided,” he said.

Coltart said the police had a duty to uphold the constitution instead of conniving with a group that had clearly demonstrated allegiance to one political party.

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ZRP wrecks 300 Defenders

Godfrey Marawanyika
THE ZRP has wrecked 300 Land Rover Defenders — a quarter of the entire fleet — in the space of two years since they were acquired as part of a British aid package, the Zimbabwe Independent has established. Another 500 have been involved in accidents although they are still on the road.
A Harare-based car dealer said a Defender tdi 110 last year cost $2,2 million.

Because of Zimbabwe’s pariah-state reputation, the possibilities of getting replacement vehicles or new supplies are remote.

Sources within the police force said the major cause of Defender crashes were tyre bursts and speeding. The problem had been exacerbated by the police finance department’s refusal to part with funds to purchase suitable steel-belted tyres for the vehicles.

Police sources said the tyres on the Defender fleet were unsuitable for Zimbabwe’s bumpy roads and climate — a claim Land Rover is likely to dispute.

The issue has raised tempers in the police, with officers questioning why the top brass was not purchasing tyres which were resistant to bursts.
Police spokesman Inspector Tarwi-rei Tirivavi confirmed vehicles in the department had been involved in accidents.

“There are 756 Defenders which have been involved in accidents, with some involved in more than one accident,” he said.

He said the accidents were a result of different problems, both mechanical and human.

“Most accidents were caused by over-speeding, whilst others were mechanical problems on the suspension,” Tirivavi said.

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IMF/WB offer help on restructuring

Dumisani Ndlela
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have offered to take the lead in the areas of civil service and public sector restructuring, land reform, trade liberalisation and export promotion should the government decide to embark on an acceptable economic reform programme, the Zimbabwe Independent learnt this week.

The issues have been left to the government in previous reform efforts, resulting in the government missing or completely ignoring targets.

In their communication with the government, the Bretton Woods’ institutions highlighted that all major indices of poverty prevalence and debt had increased in recent years and new vulnerabilities emerged due to the HIV/Aids pandemic and land invasions.

“The poor have been particularly hit by the rising cost of foodstuffs and public utilities, deteriorating public service provisions, shortages of imported drugs and medicines, increasing numbers of layoffs in the private sector and the threatened displacement of thousands of farm workers on commercial farms scheduled for compulsory acquisition and resettlement,” the IMF and World Bank said in a report submitted to government last month.

“Moreover, personal violence is increasing in rural and urban areas.”
The two institutions said their response to the problems would be to work together to monitor the situation in Zimbabwe and prepare appropriate measures to mitigate the impact of necessary fiscal adjustments in the future as well as to deal with current problems associated with HIV/Aids and land reform.

“Looking forward, and assuming that the authorities decide to embark
on a comprehensive adjustment and reform programme along the lines outlined... the (World) Bank will take the lead in the areas of civil service and public sector restructuring, land reform, social protection, and trade liberalisation and export promotion,” the World Bank report to the government said.

The IMF suspended its programme with Zimbabwe which expired last October over missed fiscal targets and concerns over the land reform programme.

The World Bank and other international donors followed the IMF. The
situation was exacerbated by the country falling into arrears in its debt repayments to the World Bank.

The country’s external obligations are understood to have run into accumulated arrears amounting to just over US$500 million by the beginning of this month, with the threat of the country completely failing to meet all crucial external obligations.

The government, th-rough the Ministry of Finance, is understood to be laying the ground for the initial stage of reconciliation with the Bretton Woods twins by preparing a memorandum of economic policies to revive a relationship which went sour as a result of the government’s skewed economic policies and the invasion of white-owned farms.

Subsequent re-engagement would depend on progress on governance, land reform and macro-economic stability, the IMF has made clear.

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R100 000 for SA lawyer

Brian Hungwe
THE government has forked out R100 000 for a South African lawyer, Advocate Nazeer Cassim, who arrived in the country last week to represent government in its legal battle with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The MDC is challenging a statutory instrument invoked by President Mugabe in December to invalidate a challenge to election results in 39 constituencies.

Cassim’s fee, obtained from a reliable government source, could not be immediately verified as the responsible authorities within the Justice ministry were reported to be out of the country or on leave.

Government sources told the Independent that Terrence Hussein, of Hussein & Ranchod, who is also Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo’s lawyer, recruited Cassim from South Africa where he is a prominent member of the Johannesburg bar.

Hussein’s law firm was tasked with representing the state in the matter and instructing the advocate.

Government sources said that Hussein flew to South Africa to discuss with Cassim and another unnamed lawyer their terms of reference.
Last month the state applied for a postponement of the hearing in the Supreme Court as it sought a lawyer from the Johannesburg bar. The case has now been postponed to March 5.

The expenses for Hussein’s stay in South Africa were met by the state.

Sources said that Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and Attorney-General Andrew Chigovera had no hand in the appointment of Cassim, who was recommended by Hussein after having been approved by Moyo.

Sources within the government felt it was more prudent for the AG’s office to hire a foreign advocate to represent it without necessarily going through another law firm.

“It is a complete vote of no-confidence in the AG’s office,” the source said.

“Actually, Chigovera’s office has been condemned.”

Government sources said that Cassim, who is the chairman of the prestigious Johannesburg bar that has about 600 advocates, was highly regarded in that country.

Cassim was appointed on several occasions to the position of acting judge by South African president Thabo Mbeki.

When the proceedings kicked off in the Supreme Court last week, the AG’s lawyers were relegated to the periphery as Hussein took control of the situation instructing Cassim.

The factor prompting the state’s decision to hire Cassim according to Hussein was that both the country’s two senior counsels, Advocate Chris Anderson and Advocate Adrian de Bourbon, had been contracted by the MDC in representing its electoral cases.

Hussein said that it was the AG’s and the President’s Office that recommended his law firm to deal with the matter since the president had been cited in his individual capacity.

Hussein defended his firm’s engagement in the matter saying that private law firms were best positioned to hire foreign lawyers on behalf of the state.

“If you were to ask the Minister of Justice to get for you a foreign advocate, he would not know where to start but I could do it in a few hours because I deal with them,” Hussein said.

Hussein said that it was the norm that highly-competent people shou- ld be tasked with representing the state in the superior court not necessarily to “defend” but “to guide the judiciary in making a fair decision”.

According to Hussein, the last time the state hired private lawyers was in the 1980s when British Queen’s Counsels were brought in to represent it against alleged spies accused of sabotaging planes and destabilising the country. The state lost.

Asked how much Cassim cost, Hussein said that it was highly improper for a lawyer or the state to disclose the costs for representing the state.
“I could be struck off the register by the Law Society,” Hussein said.

Chinamasa was reported to be on leave when the Independent made inquiries on the matter, with the AG, Andrew Chigovera, having gone to Zambia.

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“IN life Laurent Kabila was every bit the archetypal banana-republic despot: pot-bellied, buffoonish and swimming in wealth amid a sea of poverty. He behaved like the kind of leader every African should shun.”

So declared the Joha-nnesburg Sunday Times in its editorial of January 21. It neatly encapsulates what most people outside Zanu PF — and probably many within — think about the man on whose behalf our president has sacrificed billions of dollars and many lives.

Kabila leaves behind, the Sunday Times pointed out, “a country that is in worse shape than it was during the rule of his equally objectionable predecessor, Mobutu Sese Seko”.

Kabila had learnt a great deal from the man he overthrew, it said. He saw no difference between the nation’s assets and his own. Which, together with the redundant nationalist rhetoric and spurious claims to patriotism, explains the affinity between his bankrupt regime and our own.

But nothing more vividly illustrates the collusion between the two delinquent regimes as the conspiracy of deceit and dishonesty they entered into over the circumstances surrounding Kabila’s death.

Leading the way was the Congolese ambassador who, on Wednesday, January 17, claimed on ZTV’s 8pm Newshour that as he spoke his leader was being attended to by a team of Congolese doctors in Harare. Actually, Kabila’s body was lying in the mortuary where it had been since its arrival in Harare at 8.00 that morning.

The diplomatic corps based in the capital needs to assure Zimbabweans that dishonesty of this sort is not part of its collective job description. A little dissembling here or there, maybe. Outright whoppers designed to mislead the public, no!

The Congo’s chargé d’affaires in London told the BBC on Thursday afternoon, January 18, that Kabila died in Harare at 5pm the day before. Even when the authorities in Kinshasa finally got around to making an official statement on Thursday night, January 18, they still couldn’t bring themselves to tell the truth. Kabila died that morning at 10.00 in Harare, the Information minister said.

In fact he died the previous Tuesday afternoon in Kinshasa.
Attempting to excuse the Zimbabwean government’s complicity in this web of deceit, “a government spokesman” was quoted in the Sunday Mail as saying that it was “unAfrican for another country to announce the death of a neighbour”.

The announcement was deferred for cultural reasons, said the “spokesman” who seve-ral paragraphs further down was accidentally revealed as “Prof Moyo”.

“The reason why we decided not to announce the death,” he disingenuously pronounced, was “because we cherish African values, tra- ditions, beliefs and customs.”

No government would announce someone’s death before their next of kin had been informed, he declared.

So where does that leave Moven Mahachi? Is he not an authentic government spokesman? Is he not African? He made it clear to Ziana last Wednesday where and how Kabila died. Then, when the BBC subsequently asked him if his claim that Kabila was dead on arrival in Harare was not in conflict with official claims that the dictator was still alive, he responded in that familiar shrill voice: “No, he died in Kinshasa.”

As Kabila’s family were on the plane that brought his body to Harare, informing the next-of-kin was evidently not the obstacle to telling the truth that Moyo claimed it was.

The fact of the matter is the Zimbabwean public, as we reported last Friday, were deliberately deceived by their government in order to give the new regime in Kinshasa time to manoeuvre in relation to other possible contenders for power.

The son of the dead king in this supposed “democratic republic” would thus be given time to establish himself on the throne.

Moyo proceeded to tell the Sunday Mail that special editions of the Herald and the Daily News saying Kabila was dead proved that the government had not interfered with the news.

Yes, but at what point did the Information department tell the truth? It said there were “conflicting reports regarding the fate of President Kabila” when it knew full well his body lay in a military mortuary.

There were indeed “conflicting reports” regarding Kabila’s fate. But the government declined to disclose the truth about the demise of the late dictator for reasons that had more to do with the power game in the Congo than cultural sensitivities. That might serve Zimbabwe’s strategic interest. But it still exposed the government departme-nt responsible for media relations as deceitful and untrustworthy.

Meanwhile, ZTV host-ed panel discussions with individuals whose job it was to know what had happened. Professor Mwesiga Baregu of the Southern African Regional Institute for Policy Studies (Sarips) said: “I hope President Kabila recovers.”

That would have been rather difficult. At 8.15pm on Wednesday, January 17, when Baregu made that statement Kabila had been dead for over 24 hours. What sort of research does Baregu do?

At least this whole episode has afforded the public an opportunity to assess those organisations which reported what to the best of their knowledge had actually happened and those that tried to create a smokescreen around the issue in line with government policy. The Herald, to its credit, gave its readers as much information as it could. But others, especially ZBC, were a disgrace.

Patrick Chinamasa has stepped up his campaign to force white judges off the bench.

“The elements on the present bench associated with the Smith regime must know and must be told their continued stay on the bench is no longer at our invitation. Their continued stay is now an albatross around the necks of our population,” he told officers at the Zimbabwe Staff College.

Chinamasa surely knows that when the people of Zimbabwe speak about an albatross around the nation’s neck they are not usually referring to the judiciary. They are referring to his master. And if he insists on removing what he sees as the residue of the old regime, we shall certainly have to be consistent and do the same to those appointed under this regime.

That of course will include the individual who has been pathetically advertising his candidacy for the top job while appearing to have little grasp of the legal fundamentals the post requires.

Which people, by the way, does Chinamasa claim to speak for? He has never received a popular mandate. And in the last election a majority of people voted against his party.

Jonathan Moyo might bear that point in mind when claiming the Biki-ta West outcome means “the people have spoken”. The last time the people spoke — in fact the last two times — he didn’t take any notice because his employer did- n’t like what they said!

Anyway, we are pleased to have Chinamasa’s admission that Zanu PF “sedated, drugged and intoxicated” the people in the 1980s. That’s one for the record.

Who is the “correspondent” who contributed a funny little piece to the Herald on Monday? Headed “Actual election substa- ntially free and fair”, it claimed that the Electoral Supervisory Com- mission had issued a report saying the June election had been substantially free and fair. It then proceeded to claim that the Commonwealth observer team had said democracy had taken a major step forward.

It may have done. It also said a lot more about intimidation and an uneven playing field. But the contributor’s point soon became clear. He appears to be a state advocate in the forthcoming case where the MDC is questioning the validity of the president’s attempt to nullify its challenge to electoral outcomes.

The article was for instance infused with such false assumptions as “the constitution’s clear intention of keeping the supervision of elections out of the courts and in the hands of an independent body such as the ESC...”

Since when has anybody pretended that the ESC is independent? And who has had sight of its report on the 2000 election?

The state advocate was adamant that the courts don’t have jurisdiction in matters that fall within the ambit of the president and parliament.

“If the Supreme Court were to make a ruling in this matter, it would be interfering with parliament’s sole and exclusive right to make law in such a manner as it sees fit.”

Now who is likely to be arguing along these lines? And will the Herald give equal space to the advocates for the other side?

Meanwhile, we can’t wait to see the outcome of Phillip Chiyangwa’s attempt to “overhaul” the laws governing the Law Society which he will bring before the House when it convenes early next month.
Chi-yangwa’s case is driven by the need to see where the society’s president, Sternford Moyo, derives his power to “attack the government willy-nilly”.

Moyo had taken it upon himself to demonise the government and ruling party MPs in the name of democracy, Chiyangwa claimed.

“But our experience is that democracy is what the masses believe is right and the populist view, and not opinion from the opposition always.”

Er, okay Phillip, we get the idea. Let’s just hope you express it better on the day!

Muckraker would like to endorse the policy of Shakespeare Maya’s National Alliance for Good Governance which proposes to repossess the land of all those who used their positions in Zanu PF to obtain it.

Maya announced the policy two weeks ago. Other parties need to take this up so there is a consensus. And farmers around the country can supply the names of chefs who have helped themselves to land.
Independent papers can publish lists of those who have benefited from lawlessness and improper awards. It is important that those involved are exposed — and that when Mugabe goes they do.

While we are still on the land issue, somebody should tell the preposterous Joseph Made to stop imitating Jonathan Moyo in threatening the CFU for exercising its right to publish bulletins on illegal land invasions and accompanying violence.

If ministers don’t like the truth that’s too bad. There is nothing they can do and they should shut-up.

Moyo, Made and Ignatious Chombo went to the Supreme Court last Friday but missed the hearing on the MDC petitions. So they stood around outside the court in a clump of three with their hands on their hips trying to look important.

“It was a very funny scene,” reporters atte-nding the hearing said. “They just looked silly.” But don’t they always?

Two weeks ago Sikhanyiso Ndlovu was boasting that he would stay as chair of the newly-formed Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority despite pressure for him to stand down because as a member of the politburo he was barred from the post under the authority’s own rules.

“I was appointed on professional grounds and I don’t see how the latest developments should hinder me from doing my job,” he told the Zimbabwe Mirror on January 12. No amount of pressure would force him to go, he told the paper. But the next week he was gone, not so much with a bang as a whimper. So what happened to change his mind?

Madeleine Albright said goodbye to colleagues at the State Department last Friday.

One of her most uplifting moments, she said, was watching the Yugoslav people “toss Slobodan Milosevic out on his ear”.

That thought recei-ved a round of applause from her listeners. Zimbabweans regret Madeleine won’t be around for the next tyrant-tossing ceremony.

Seen on a Moyo-made placard during the Zanu PF demo outside Mugabe’s office day: “Kabila’s dream leaves on.” And interviewed by ZTV Chenjerai Hunzvi said he was committed to the ideals of “African Panism.

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Peter Lovemore
FORTY years ago, on the night of January 17, 1961, a Congolese politician was brutally executed by firing squad in the thick bush of Katanga, the mineral-rich province which, at the time, was fighting a bloody war of secession against a Congolese army backed by former coloniser Belgium.

The slain politician was not just any man, no ordinary politician. He was Patrice Lumumba, deposed prime minister of the newly-independent Congolese state which, having been raped by the colonial power for well over a century, was born in hideous conflict and has never recovered.

Forty years
On the night of January 16, 2001, forty years later give a day, yet another Congolese leader has died at the hands of an assassin. Laurent Kabila, military usurper of Mobutu Sese Seko’s corrupt, decrepit and dysfunctional Zairean Republic, has perished at the hands of one of his own bodyguards.

Once more, this ill-fated Central African giant is leaderless and the sound of knives being sharpened is clear. It is, of course, already in turmoil following nearly three years of a disastrous civil war, one which has become characterised as the DRC conflict by concerned statesmen and would-be peacemakers everywhere.

The Belgian Congo, Zaire, Democratic Republic of Congo, call it what you will, is a land with a single, horrible defect. It is rich. It is rich beyond the wildest dreams of almost any other country on the African continent.

Its mineral wealth, in particular, is the stuff of avaricious mankind’s dreams. Beyond that it has jungles, rivers and soils reminiscent of Eden before man walked on two legs. Alas, like the beautiful and innocent woman who walks the mean streets of the concrete jungle, this Congo has almost always attracted the wrong sort of attention.

Its Belgian colonisers, epitomised by the vicious monarch King Leopold 11, raped it for over a century. Then they fled. The fiery but articulate aesthete, Patrice Lumumba, its first indigenous leader, had a vision for his beloved land but the greedy ones were already baying for his blood, and it was not long before they had spilled it.

Deposed after barely six months as head of the new nation’s parliament, his subsequent murder was the work of many sinister forces, primarily, it must be said, extraneous to the African continent.

His threat to call in Kruschev’s Soviet forces to help in the restoration of law and order did not go down well in Eisenhower’s post-McCarthyite America. Nor in the corridors of power in Belgium, either, which, despite its dishonourable exit, continued to stir the pot after Lumumba was popularly elected.

We will never know whether Patrice Lumu-mba would have been the panacea his country so desperately required.

We do know, with certainty, that the military strongman who seized his opportunity in the chaos that accompanied the birth of Congolese independence, Colonel Joseph Mobutu, was not the solution, although more than 30 years elapsed before this despot could be dislodged.

In that protracted era in which the warriors of the Cold War ran the world from their dark dungeons in Moscow, East Berlin, Washington and London, Mobutu was a “client” of the West, London and Washington’s favourite African leader, their wedge against communist aspirations on the world’s least-known continent.

Taking advantage of his special status, Mobutu Sese Seko became the definitive caricature of the corrupt, greedy African leader, stealing his nation’s wealth on a scale that might even have made King Leopold blush. However, not even Mobutu could steal everything, although he certainly gave it his best shot, and even after the demise of his kleptocracy, men still lusted after his ravaged country’s wealth.

Jovial soldier
Then along came this pudgy, jovial-looking soldier, at the head of a rag-tag army of rebels from the east, and for a while, only the briefest of whiles mind you, hope flickered in ordinary African breasts that Laurent Desire Kabila would succeed where all before him had so conspicuously failed.

Having immediately rechristened his “new” land the Democratic Republic of Congo, as if the mere use of the word democratic would automatically render it so, Kabila’s only other legacy has been a war which threatens to engulf and impoverish many of the nations in the surrounding region, not least among those our own Zimbabwe.

New colonisers
And once more it has been the irresistible attraction of untapped wealth which has drawn in the latest band of hard-eyed would-be exploiters, this time, though, of African origin.

Zimbabwe’s ruling cli-que is at the very forefront of this extra-territorial adventurism. Forget all the guff about regional solidarity, the protestations of altruism and the hypocritical expressions of grief which have accompanied the DRC’s latest political assassination, this is about one thing, and one thing only — mineral wealth.

It is not for the people of Congo, or Namibia, or Rwanda, or Uganda and it certainly is not for the people of Zimbabwe who, since that fatal decision was taken in August 1998 to “assist” a so-called ally, have seen their own country set upon on the dangerous journey into poverty and economic deprivation.

This is what most people in Zimbabwe will remember Laurent Kabila for — their own country’s disastrous and detrimental involvement in his country’s affairs, so it is little wonder then that news of his death was received in many insta- nces with unrestrained jubilation.

His Congo has become our Vietnam. And whilst millions around the
world wept for Patrice Lumumba, few will do the same for Laurent Kabila.

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