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

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Mugabe invites foreign observers, but not British

 HARARE, Jan. 28 — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has invited foreign
observers to monitor presidential elections but will not allow in observers
from Britain, which he accuses of backing the opposition, state radio said
on Monday.
Mugabe's decision was announced as the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) said on Monday five of its members had been killed
in the last 10 days as political violence picked up ahead of March
presidential elections.
       The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp (ZBC) said Mugabe told journalists
Harare would welcome observers from the European Union (EU), the
Commonwealth, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and the Southern
African Development Community (SADC).
       ZBC said Mugabe had also invited regional African bodies, the
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the National Association of Coloured People
(NACP) from the United States.
       But the Zimbabwean leader -- who faces his greatest electoral
challenge in 22 years of power on March 9-10 -- said the EU and Commonwealth
teams should not include Britain.
       Mugabe repeatedly accuses former colonial power Britain of being
behind Zimbabwe's political crisis which has been driven by a disupte over
the takeover of white-owned land.
       Mugabe did not give a timetable of when the observers could come,
except for those from Nigeria and SADC whom he said could take up their
invitations immediately.

       ''Comrade Mugabe said these organisations had been invited... But
Britain would not be included in both the EU and the Commonwealth team,''
ZBC said after Mugabe's meeting with reporters from state-owned media.
       Zimbabwe's state news agency (ZIANA) quoted Mugabe as saying: ''We
are also inviting the Commonwealth -- excluding the United Kingdom -- and
the joint ACP/EU delegation, again excluding the United Kingdom.''
       ZIANA said Mugabe had asked Nigeria -- which has been trying to help
end Zimbabwe's land seizure crisis -- and the 14-member SADC to send their
observers immediately.
       The agency said Mugabe had said that foreign journalists -- who have
largely been barred from the country in the last eight months -- would have
to apply to cover the elections ''on the basis of the country's laws and
       Mugabe's government has brought before parliament a controversial
media bill banning foreigners from working in Zimbabwe as reporters and
requiring journalists and media houses to operate only with a licence issued
by state-appointed body.
       Britain said on Monday Mugabe had made life ''wretched'' in Zimbabwe
and should be punished with tough sanctions if he refused to allow in
observers or halt his crackdown on free speech.
       Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said he would urge a meeting of EU
foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday to back ''targeted'' sanctions
against Mugabe and his inner circle, such as travel bans and freezes on
assets held abroad.
       But the foreign ministers were expected to stop short of approving
full economic sanctions such as suspending development aid, for fear of
harming Zimbabwe's poor.
       On Wednesday, Commonwealth foreign ministers will gather in London
for talks on Zimbabwe's suspension from the 54-nation group, which is mainly
made up of former British colonies.
       The opposition MDC said the presence of foreign observers would not
help much unless Mugabe also abandoned laws restricting its ability to
campaign freely.
       ''In the last 10 days, (ruling) ZANU-PF militia have murdered five
MDC supporters and yet not even one of them has been arrested,'' MDC
spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said in a statement.
       He told Reuters that 98 MDC supporters had been killed in the
violence that began before June 2000 parliamentary polls which were narrowly
won by Mugabe's ruling party. Police were not immediately available for
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Compulsory 'patriotism' camps for Zim youth

Harare - Zimbabwe's embattled government on Monday announced plans to make
youth service training and indoctrination compulsory, a move the opposition
said was an effort to create a private army.

State radio said all high school graduates would be required to undergo
youth training in government centres to instill them with "patriotism" and
what it described as an unbiased understanding of the country's history.

Because of high unemployment there have been many youth volunteering to join
the national youth service where they are paid, fed and clothed.

After almost 22 years in power, President Robert Mugabe (77) is making every
effort to stay in office ahead of upcoming presidential elections.

His brutal crackdown on the opposition which has included tacit government
approval of violence against opposition activists and legislation aimed at
silencing any dissent in the southern African country has been criticised by
the international community.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change called on the government
to disband youth militias who have already graduated from a state training
camp in northeastern Zimbabwe.

Militias disrupting meetings, rallies

The opposition blames the militias, many dressed in green denim uniforms, of
disrupting its meetings and rallies ahead of upcoming presidential

It said ruling party militants including youth militias disrupted two of its
weekend campaign rallies in Harare.

Under sweeping new security laws passed earlier this month, police must be
informed of arrangements for rallies four days in advance.

Opposition spokesperson Learnmore Jongwe said the party believed
collaboration between police and official youth service members gave
militants enough time to plan disruptions and intimidate residents in areas
around rally venues.

"It is meant to stop our campaign. Cancelling rallies is an option we could
have to consider," Jongwe said, citing the safety of opposition supporters.

Youth militia camped out in a stadium in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest
city, to prevent an opposition rally there last week.

At least 18 people were injured in clashes between rival supporters and the
opposition said one of its followers had died on Saturday of injuries
sustained at the rally the week before.

The death brought to eight the official tally by police of politically
related killings this month. Independent human rights groups have blamed
most of the violence on militants from the ruling Zanu-PF.

Zim suffering its worst ever economic crisis

At least 100 people died in political violence last year and thousands have
been left homeless from the unrest.

State radio said on Monday high school graduates would require youth service
training to qualify for jobs in government.

Zimbabwe is suffering its worst ever economic crisis, with unemployment at a
record 60% and inflation at an all time high of 112%.

Elliot Manyika, the country's youth minister, said the youth training
programme was needed because teachers and parents had not properly
emphasised the importance of patriotism and the country's liberation
struggle to Zimbabwe's young people, the state-run radio reported.

Manyika said young people were leaving Zimbabwe because they had not been
trained to fully appreciate their country and stand by it in times of

Manyika's remarks echoed a recent vow by military commanders that they would
only support former leaders of the nation's liberation war that led to
independence from white rule in 1980.

Presidential opposition challenger Morgan Tsvangirai did not participate in
the war and has been described by Mugabe as a traitor to the nation's
revolutionary ideals.

The new youth training centre near Mount Darwin, 160km northeast of Harare
has deployed hundreds of uniformed youths across the country on what Manyika
describes as "community service". - Sapa-AP

Mugabe moves to indoctrinate Zimbabwe's youth

Zimbabwe is to make youth service training and indoctrination compulsory.

The opposition claims it is an attempt to create a private army.

State radio says all high school graduates will have to undergo youth training in government centres to instill them with "patriotism" and what it described as an unbiased understanding of the country's history.

Because of high unemployment, many youngsters have volunteered to join the national youth service where they are paid, fed, and clothed.

After almost 22 years in power, President Robert Mugabe, 77, is making every effort to stay in office ahead of forthcoming presidential elections.

His brutal crackdown on the opposition which has included tacit government approval of violence against opposition activists and legislation aimed at silencing any dissent in the southern African country has been criticised by the international community.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change called on the government to disband youth militias who have already graduated from a state training camp.

The opposition blames the militias, many dressed in green denim uniforms, of disrupting its meetings and rallies ahead of forthcoming presidential elections.

It says ruling party militants including youth militias disrupted two of its weekend campaign rallies in Harare.

Under sweeping new security laws passed earlier this month, police must be informed of arrangements for rallies four days in advance.

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Insight: Why African states implode

George Ayittey

"Government", as most people understand it, does not exist in many African
countries. "Government" has been turned into a criminal enterprise, operated
by gangsters to fleece, not to serve, the people.

What exists in most African countries is "vampire state" - a government
captured by crooks and bandits, who use the instruments of the state (or
government machinery) to enrich themselves, their cronies and tribesmen,
excluding everybody else (the politics of exclusion). The richest persons in
Africa are the heads of state and their ministers. Quite often, the chief
bandit is the head of state himself. To them, "development" means developing
their pockets and "foreign investment" means investing their booty in a
foreign country.

This vampire African state cannot and will not endure. It eventually
implodes. Its extractive and exploitative ethic is morally, philosophically
indefensible. Africans fought against the relatively less rapacious form of
exploitation under colonialism. So too will they fight against mafia African
regimes - or black neo-colonialists. Nor can that "state vehicle" be used to
take Africans on the "development" journey. Only a few live the charmed,
opulent life. The rest of the population is excluded. But those excluded
will take the abuse and the rape for only so long. They would eventually
resort to one of the following three options:


Rise up and overthrow the ruling elites. That leads to a rebel insurgency
and destruction of the country: Angola, Burundi, Ethiopia, Liberia, Rwanda,
Somalia, Sudan, Zaire, etc.

Secede, which the Biafrans tried to do in 1967 - from Nigeria. Currently,
residents of Cabinda, the northern part of Angola are up in arms and
threatening to secede. They sit atop huge reserves of oil and, yet, have no
schools or good drinking water. Their oil is instead tapped to fight a
senseless civil war. Secessionist threats are also being heard from the
Yorubas, Ijaws and other ethnic groups in Nigeria's delta region.

Flee and become refugees elsewhere in Africa. The continent's refugee
population has exploded in recent years, with the number reaching 12

Forms of resistance

However, before recourse to any of these options, angry peasants may mount
various forms of resistance against the marauding pirate state. They may
withdraw from the formal economy, limiting their exposure to rape and
plunder by the state, thereby taking with them potential tax revenues. They
may also fight back, sabotaging the property of the predatory state and
attacking its officials. Fed up with incessant power interruptions, they
wreaked vengeance on "NEPA equipment in protest against power failures
starting around the time of the World Cup televised from the United States.
They also allegedly vandalised property worth about 212 000 naira - about
$2,500 - at the water treatment plant in the area to protest the perennial
water shortage" (African News Weekly, November 4, 1994, 12). Government
officials may denounce these as "acts of sabotage" and unleash security
forces against the perpetrators. But that would only compound the problem.

In every society, there must be an avenue for people to vent their
frustrations and release excess pressure. In civilized societies, when
people are angry at their government, they may protest, hold demonstrations,
lambaste the government in the newspapers, on the radio, or toss out the
errant regime at the ballot box. But in most African countries, the mafia
government has blocked each of these avenues.

Brutalities and blockage

In Ghana there has been a pattern of brutalities and blockage. On March 22,
1993, university students at Legon began a boycott of classes to press their
demands for an increase in student loans. They were attacked and beaten up
mercilessly by thugs hired by the ruling NDC regime. Libel suits were
another weapon. When newspapers tried to expose corruption and wrongdoing by
NDC government officials, they were slapped with criminal libel suits. "At
least 30 libel suits have been filed against the independent press by
leading members of the government in what is seen largely as an attempt to
stifle freedom of statement," said Kwesi Pratt, Jnr President of the Private
Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) (Free Press, December
20 - January 2, 1997, 8). By 1998, libel suits filed by government officials
had reached 350.

In August 1998, Kwaku Baako Jnr, editor of The Guide newspaper, and Abdul
Harruna Atta, editor of the Statesman, were jailed one month each for
contempt by the Court of Appeal in criminal libel suits against them. The
court also fined their publishers, Western Publications for the Guide and
Kinesic Publications for the Statesman, 10 million cedis each for the same

'We will write'

Immediately, a group of journalists, media practitioners, academicians,
Members of Parliament and other media sympathisers bearing placards and
singing staged a three-hour march to the Supreme Court buildings in Accra to
protest against what they said was growing threats to press freedom in the
country. Some of the placards read "Prison or no prison we will write", "we
are not afraid of prison", "we will not surrender", and "How fair is press
freedom in Ghana".

Kwame Karikari, the Acting Director of the School of Communications Studies,
University of Ghana, leader of the demonstrators presented a 5-page petition
to the Deputy Judicial Secretary, George Afflah Aryeetey. In the petition,
the Friends of Freedom of statement said since the return of constitutional
rule, there has been an emerging trend from the decisions and sentences,
which show that the courts are using the law to cripple the media.

The petition said the spate of sentences and orders for arrest and detention
of journalists increasingly serve to cow courageous journalists and a threat
to others. It said the "courts are now becoming an institution to subvert
press freedom," adding that the fines being slapped on journalists and
publishers over the months point to a weakening of the media. The group said
the overwhelming majority of the sentences, decisions, fines and damages are
from cases involving high public officials or top functionaries of the
ruling government or people very close to them. They pointed out that they
are not against the courts performing their normal functions of interpreting
the law and upholding justice nor do they intend to defend any act of
irresponsibility by any journalist if and when that occurs. The group said
it is concerned with developments, which are tending to weaken the judicial
system and the democratic process.

Attacked by thugs

On December 4, 1994 police raided the premises of Charles Wereko-Brobbey,
seized the transmission equipment of Radio Eye, and arrested five persons,
including two Britons. When supporters of the radio station marched to
parliament on December 8 they were attacked by thugs and beaten up. On May
12, 1995 over 80 000 Ghanaians marched through the streets of Accra to
protest the unbearable cost of living and demand the withdrawal of the VAT.
ACDR thugs opened fire, killing four of them. On December 28, 1995 when Vice
President Arkaah went to a cabinet meeting, he was beaten up. On June 1,
1996 the National Union of Ghanaian Students held a demonstration to protest
deplorable conditions at the country's universities. They were attacked and
beaten up government-hired thugs. It happened again on Tuesday, August 25,
1998 when unarmed university students marched peacefully to the Ministry of
Education to protest exorbitant fees being heaped upon them. They were
confronted by hundreds of riot policemen armed to the teeth, who charged
with naked violence, simultaneously spraying hot water on the students,
mercilessly beating them with truncheons and opening fire on them.

In all these provocations, Ghanaians were counseled to be patient and that
they would get their chance to throw out the vampire elites out of power at
the December7, 1996 polls. They turned out in massive numbers - about 80% of
the registered voters - to vote. But the elections were rigged. As a result,
a significant number of Ghanaians have lost faith in the ballot box (or the
electoral process).

"They have vowed not to vote in any future elections if the voting pattern
of Ghanaians remain the same. After all, they know that even if the right
man is there, he will not be chosen.

'Truth does not matter in Ghana politics'

Madam Ama Mensah, a trader of Obuasi Central Market, and a host of other
tomato sellers in the market emphatically said in their remarks that they
would never vote again in their lives because they had come to realise that
truth does not matter in Ghana politics" (Free Press, December 13-19, 1996,

If people lose faith in the ballot box, they may decide not to vote again or
may seek alternate ways of removing a hated government from power. Several
such options are available. People may decide to cheat the government, since
the government cheated them of their vote. They may cheat on their taxes,
refuse to recognize the regime or attend its functions. They may embezzle or
sabotage government operations, generally make life miserable for the
government, or render the country "ungovernable." Any of these methods would
raise government expenditures and subsequently the deficit. They may also
withdraw their services and refuse to deal with a government they regard as
"illegitimate." Or they may resort to violence. Predictably on December 10,
1996 supporters of the ruling NDC reveled in the streets of Bimbilla,
celebrating their "victory" in the election. They taunted opposition
members, who went home to fetch machetes and butchered several of the NDC

People will not tolerate injustice, brutality and abuse indefinitely: "K A
Britwum, the Ashanti Regional Secretary of the New Patriotic Party 'Ghana's
main opposition party', says it will not sit down for the ruling NDC to
molest, intimidate and brutalise its supporters and members. Referring to
the brutalities meted out by certain military and NDC machomen to NPP
supporters during the Afigya-Sekyere parliamentary by-election, Britwum
warned that the NPP will in any future elections match the NDC boot for boot
in all aspects of the game of brutalities and intimidation, if need be,
adding that 'After all, violence is not the monopoly of any one group or
group of persons'" (Free Press, June 25 ? July 1, 1997, 3).

Avenue for redress blocked in Nigeria

Similarly in Nigeria, the military rulers have blocked every avenue for
redress of political and social grievances and brutalities have been heaped
on activists, who therefore resorted to violence. A group calling itself the
United Front for Nigeria's Liberation (UFNL) claimed responsibility for
January 18, 1996 plane crash in which head of state General Sani Abacha's
first son and 14 others were killed" (The African Observer, February
1-14,1996, 2). The next day, January 19, 1996, two bombs went off at two
locations connected to Abacha: the Kaduna Hotel, which he allegedly owned
and Kano Airport, which was the major transit point for people attending his
son's funeral. Since then, bombs went off intermittently in 1996, causing
the US State Department to issue an alert to Americans traveling to Nigeria.

Resentment has steadily built up against northern Nigerians who have
dominated the government and the military for 28 out of Nigeria's 38 years
of sovereign existence. The sudden death of Chief Moshood Abiola, the
apparent winner of the June 12, 1993 elections, sparked riots in Lagos,
Abeokuta and Ibadan, in which Hausa and other northern Nigerians were
targeted. At least 60 people were killed. "We are fed up in the South," said
Christopher Abiodun. "I believe 50% of us want war. I believe it, because we
cannot send our children to school anymore. No food. No shelter. We cannot
continue" (The Washington Post, July 15, 1998, A20).

Discontent brewing in six other countries

In several other African countries, such as Cameroon, Gabon, Kenya, Libya,
Sudan and Zimbabwe, political strife and discontent are brewing. As noted
earlier, on July 7, 1997 church leaders, opposition politicians, student
groups, and civic organisations demonstrated in Nairobi, demanding
constitutional reform to level the political playing field before elections
scheduled for later that year. The opposition claimed that free and fair
elections could not be held unless changes were made. President Moi, who had
been in power for 19 years, controlled all the levers of power: the
parliament, security forces, judiciary, and electoral commission. His police
shot, clubbed and tear-gased the demonstrators, including Reverend Timothy
Njoya of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. Eleven people were killed.
"On April 8th, 1998 Amnesty International described Kenya as a 'powder-keg
waiting to explode' and blamed the government for its divide-and-rule
tactics in encouraging ethnic conflict" (The Economist, April 18, 1998, 42).

The politics of exclusion has been the basic cause of turmoil in Africa.
Eventually, those excluded from the political spoils eventually will rise up
and set out to either overthrow the system or secede. The Biafran War of
1967 is an example. Another is the island of Anjouan, in the Indian Ocean
archipelago of the Comoros. It broke away from the Comoran Islamic
Federation in August 1997. In December 1998, clashes between rival militias
left 60 people killed (The Washington Times, December 13, 1998, A10).

Secession degenerates into violence

Regardless, secession or insurgency degenerates into violence, chaos, and
destruction. The Liberian civil war started in 1989 when the excluded group
(Americo-Liberians, Mandingos and Muslims) set out to remove Samuel Doe and
his Krahnmen from power. Two years later (1991), the Revolutionary United
Front (RUF) started a war that eventually led to the complete destruction of
Sierra Leone. As The Washington Times (June 10, 1999) explained: "In the
beginning, it was simply an insurgency under the control of the political
party long out of power because the ruling party had set up a one-party
dictatorship and governed the country for three decades" (p.A16) The 1994
Rwandan massacre began when Tutsi rebels set off from Uganda to remove the
Hutu from power. The disintegration of Zaire began with rebellion led by
Laurent Kabila in 1996 with easterners excluded from power by Mobutu. Civil
war and strife, together with famine, have claimed the lives of at least 5
million Africans since independence in the 1960s and have driven millions
more into exile.

But Africa's mafia governments have learned nothing from all these civil
wars and carnage. They repeat the same foolish mistakes again and again in
country after country. - George Ayittey, President of the Free Africa

News24 does not necessarily agree with the opinions stated by Free Africa
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EU agrees on Zimbabwe sanctions
(Filed: 28/01/2002)

FOREIGN Secretary Jack Straw tonight warned Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe
to "call off the thugs or pay the price".

Mr Straw was speaking after EU foreign ministers agreed sanctions against
the Mugabe regime from next Sunday unless European observers are given
unfettered access to monitor presidential elections in March.

The EU is also insisting that human rights abuses must end, that the
international media must be given free access to cover the elections to
ensure that polling is "free and fair".

Mr Straw said three months of talks in a bid to persuade President Mugabe to
alter his regime of oppression had failed. "Mr Mugabe now has a choice:
either he calls of the thugs, allows the media to operate freely, and lets
the population of Zimbabwe make a democratic choice, or he and his key
ministers will pay the price."

Mr Straw, who had pushed for decisive action from the EU in the face of
storming tactics from the Mugabe regime, said tonight's decision was "clear,
unambiguous and unanimous".

It reflected concern felt right across the European Union that Mr Mugabe and
the entire leadership of his Zanu PF Party were out to "steal" the
forthcoming election.

Mr Straw said the threat of sanctions left the Mugabe regime no option but
to accept effective international observers in time to carry out an
unfettered assessment of the election process.

The sanctions threatened tonight are tightly targeted on Mr Mugabe and 20
top individuals in his inner circle and their families.

They will be banned from travel to the European Union member states and
their assets in the EU will be frozen. In addition the sanctions include a
ban on the export to Zimbabwe of arms and equipment which could be used for
"internal repression".


EU gives Mugabe's inner circle last chance on poll

BRUSSELS, Jan. 28 — The European Union gave Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe one last chance to ensure free and fair elections on Monday, vowing
to slap sanctions on the country's ruling elite if he failed to comply by
next week.

        The bloc's foreign ministers agreed that if Zimbabwe prevented the
deployment of EU election observers by February 3, a travel ban would be
imposed on the top 20 individuals in Mugabe's inner circle and their
       The foreign assets of these decision-makers would be frozen and a ban
would be imposed on the export to Zimbabwe of arms and other equipment which
could be used for internal repression.
       ''The decision which we've taken gives President Mugabe no option but
to accept effective international election observers or to face
international sanctions,'' British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told a news
       ''He has until a week tomorrow to make up his mind. Either he calls
off the thugs, allows the media to ooperate freely and let the people of
Zimbabwe make a democratic choice or he and his key ministers will pay the
       Mugabe, facing his greatest challenge in 22 years, has been accused
by the international community of trying to rig the southern African
country's March 9-10 presidential election.
       Zimbabwean state radio said on Monday that Mugabe had invited EU
observers but would not allow in observers from Britain, which he accuses of
backing the opposition.
       European External Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten said the EU
envisaged a team of 150 observers, including a core team which would go out
early to prepare the ground, which should have assurances on accreditation,
security and access.
       ''We want to ensure that the job is done properly and that we are not
just stooges,'' he told a news conference.
       Mugabe repeatedly accuses his country's former colonial power of
being behind Zimbabwe's political crisis, which has been driven by a dispute
over the takeover of white-owned land.
       His decision was announced as the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change said five of its members had been killed in the last 10

       The EU said in a statement that even if its observers were deployed
by February 3, sanctions would still be imposed if:

the government prevented them from operating effectively
the government prevented the international media from having free access to
cover the election
there is a serious deterioration in terms of the human rights situation or
attacks on the opposition
the election is ultimately assessed as not free and fair.
       Straw, asked whether a monitoring mission which did not include
British nationals would satisfy the EU, said: ''We're not going to get
involved in playing games.''
       ''What we're interested in is an effective team of EU observers which
are not only able to go in by the date which has been set but also are able
to do their job properly and are not subject to tricks and subterfuges of
the kind that may have operated in the past,'' he said.
       The sanctions envisaged -- similar to those imposed in the past on
Liberian President Charles Taylor and the military leaders of Haiti -- would
fall well short of full economic sanctions such as suspending development
aid, and so leave the country's poor unscathed.
       The decision to threaten personal sanctions was unanimous despite the
reservations of several EU members, including France, which argued that the
move would give Mugabe an excuse to exclude foreign election monitors

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Poll violence claims MDC life

Harare - Another man has died in Zimbabwe's worsening political violence,
one week after being injured when ruling party militants blocked a rally by
the Movement for Democratic Change, says an MDC spokesperson.

Mthokozisi Ncube died on Saturday from inuries he received during clashes at
White City Stadium in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's said MDC spokesman Learnmore
Jongwe on Monday.

Ncube's death brings to 13 the number killed since political violence flared
on December 24.

Violence has escalated since the two main parties held their national
congresses last month, when they officially named their candidates for the
March 9-10 presidential election.

But, the MDC says that more than 90 of its supporters have been killed since
pro-government militants began their attacks almost two years ago, in the
wake of President Robert Mugabe's loss in a constitutional referendum.

The March vote will pit Mugabe of the ruling Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front party against MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai, in what is
expected to be the hottest race since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980. -
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Daily News

War vets take over farmhouse before 90-day deadline

1/28/02 8:30:17 AM (GMT +2)

From Sandra Mujokoro in Bulawayo

WAR veterans who have occupied Redwood Park Farm in Nyamandlovu, have turned
the farmer's house into a school for the local villagers and resettled
people before the expiry of the 90-day deadline for the farmer to vacate.

The farm fell under a recent government stipulation giving farmers three
months to leave as part of the fast-track land redistribution plan. Farmers
face two years in prison if they fail to comply.

Problems at Redwood Park started early last year when the war veterans'
leader, Moses Siphuma, led his group onto the farm to peg land and stands.

The farm, owned by Peter Goosen who is now out of the country, was
classified under section 8 which gave him until the end of March to vacate
the property for the settlers.

But the war veterans have moved into the farmhouse and removed all the
valuables, including a digital incubator for ostrich eggs.

A caretaker looking after the farm for Goosen said the war veterans said the
District Administrator's Office would provide the teachers for the school.

He said the government had initially indicated they would use the old house
for voting for ward nine.

"The war vets said after this they are moving into the main house which they
want to turn into a clinic. The house is locked and if they break in they
could be breaking the law," said the caretaker.

"Since the farm was occupied in October 2000, there has been a lot of
damage, with some of the permanent hydrants that carry water underground in
the fields broken," he said.

He said the war veterans had ripped out the drip tap laid out on the land,
destroying the tap and emitters.

Expensive drip tap connectors have been crushed.

Crops ready for harvesting last year were left to die and young planted
crops were left to wilt.

Ostrich production carried out with the help of local villagers was halted,
depriving the community of millions of dollars in revenue.

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Daily News

Maize wilts beyond recovery as dry spell persists

1/28/02 8:31:40 AM (GMT +2)

Farming Editor

THE Zimbabwe Farmers' Union (ZFU) says it is worried by the current
persistent dry spell, which has affected most parts of the country since
December, as it will affect crop yields this farming season.

The Department of Agricultural and Extension Services said this week that
most areas of the south-west and extreme south-east were now less than 100
percent of the long-term mean rainfall since the beginning of October to

ZFU director, Sylvester Tsikisayi, said last week the maize crop in some
parts of Matabeleland South, mainly in Gwanda, had reached a permanent
wilting stage due to the poor rains. If the rainfall situation does not
improve, the maize crop in this area will not recover.

"In Masvingo, there were good rains earlier in the season, but if the
current dry spell is to continue into the coming week, the tasselling maize
there will be negatively affected," Tsikisayi said.

Other areas whose maize crop was reported to be wilting include some parts
of Matabeleland North, some districts of Kariba, Buhera, Guruve and Chivi.

The southern half of the country has been virtually dry for much of January
except for showers on the 8 and around 14 and 15 January when a westerly
cloud system gave some moderate falls.

The northern areas have been relatively wetter though the rains were

The Department of Meteorological Services said last week almost
three-quarters of the country had been under some dry conditions from mid-
January and these conditions were expected to continue with the advent of
Tropical Cyclone Dina from the Indian Ocean.

In a statement released last Tuesday, the department said: "The anticipated
trajectory of the cyclone, which is expected to touch the eastern coast of
Madagascar before it moves deeper into the Indian Ocean from next Monday 28
January, is expected to facilitate subsidence airflow thereby drying out
much of the southern half of Zimbabwe."

The department said pressure rises expected from Friday should introduce
some moisture over the southern districts of Masvingo, the Lowveld, Gwanda
and parts of the Midlands.

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Daily News - Leader Page

Early arrival of observers could end loss of more lives

1/28/02 8:35:24 AM (GMT +2)

THE government has declared itself against violence and committed itself to
allowing international observers during the presidential election.

However, if it is sincere, it should invite these observers at least a month
before the 9 and 10 March voting days for them to make an informed opinion
of the poll and to understand the context in which it will be taking place.

An early arrival of international observers will either see a sudden
de-escalation of violence, largely by the ruling party supporters and
militias, or if this does not happen, the international community will then
have a balanced appreciation of what will have determined the outcome of the

It is a monumental tragedy that the Electoral Supervisory Commission has not
called in all the parties intending to take part in the presidential
election and demanded a pledge for zero tolerance to violence before, during
and after the outcome of the election.

It is unrealistic for the Commission to assume that whatever message it has
about exhorting voters to go and exercise their right to elect a candidate
of their choice, will have an impact when people are being daily terrorised
and threatened with dire consequences should they not vote for a particular

Even at this hour, it is not too late for the Electoral Supervisory
Commission to call in all prospective candidates and their parties, and
extract total commitment that they will not tolerate violence by their

If the government is genuinely committed to allowing international
observers, and if it is not behind the current wave of violence, then it
should have no problems in inviting them to come into the country much
earlier so they can see what is really happening.

And if it is assured of winning, the more reason it should be concerned
about its victory not being tainted by charges of intimidation, violence and

But the government has developed a capacity at doublespeak: the President,
the Minister of State for Security, the minister in charge of the Youth
Brigade and the police commissioner are shown repeatedly condemning
violence, and in fact, one confessed to being tired of paying bail for party
youths, but the violence continues unabated.

The government has said, while it will seal off the rural areas to the
opposition because these are its constituency, the opposition can confine
itself to urban centres.

However, for the second time in as many weeks, the law enforcement agents
have moved to prevent the opposition from holding rallies even in areas
where it claims majority support.

This is a conspiracy to prevent the voters from hearing what the opposition
has to offer, while the ruling party has unfettered access to the public

When the opposition turns to the independent media in order to reach the
electorate, Zanu PF supporters and militias ban the independent newspapers
from circulating in some areas of the country.

And this is despite the Minister of Home Affairs informing Parliament last
week that independent newspapers such as The Daily News, The Financial
Gazette, The Independent and The Standard are not banned publications.

There is a precedent: people have been arrested for confiscating copies of
the State-controlled Herald and Sunday Mail.

It is because of this doublespeak and duplicity that international observers
must come in much earlier.

In the meantime, it is hoped that diplomatic missions accredited to Zimbabwe
will endeavour to travel around the country to gauge the mood and the
conditions to which voters in this country are being subjected, so that
their capitals are not hoodwinked by the government.

It is also imperative that the observers do not fly out of the country
immediately the results of the election are announced. Past experience has
shown the intensity of violence that follows an election result.

International election observers should be here at least for two months -
one month before, and another after the results.

This is critical because it will save the loss of more lives.

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Daily News

Tsvangirai says Mugabe should disband militias

1/28/02 8:29:02 AM (GMT +2)

By Conrad Nyamutata Chief Reporter

MORGAN Tsvangirai, the president of the MDC, has called upon President
Mugabe to disband his militia, particularly the youths from the Border Gezi
training camp, accused of violence and demanding Zanu PF membership cards
from the public.

Tsvangirai said there was no legal basis upon which the militias were
constituted. He said there was no Act of Parliament or Statutory instrument
which formed the basis of their existence and operations.

"It is sad that the Zanu PF government has come up with an unlawful
programme producing unlawful products whose sole aim is to perpetrate
violence sanctioned by the State," he said.

Youthful militias from the Border Gezi training camp, together with hundreds
of Zanu PF supporters, have embarked on an orgy of violence.

They are moving around all over the country beating up people they suspect
to be members of the MDC.

The militias have been moving from door-to-door demanding Zanu PF membership
cards. The youths also mount illegal roadblocks where they force the public
to buy Zanu PF cards before letting them through.

"We also understand that the peace-loving people of Zimbabwe are now in
panic-buying of different party cards for fear of being victimised if they
do not have such cards," Tsvangirai said.

"We as the MDC wish to unequivocally state that we will never force people
to produce MDC cards now or in the future. We wish to make it clear in no
uncertain terms that it is the democratic right of all
Zimbabweans to belong to any political party of their choice."

Tsvangirai called on the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) heads
of state and the international community to tell Mugabe to stop operating
torture bases throughout the country.

He said the MDC mourned all victims of political violence, murder, torture
and rape at the hands of the "outgoing Zanu PF government".

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Daily News

MP accused of leading war vets in torturing researchers

1/28/02 8:26:14 AM (GMT +2)

By Guthrie Munyuki

LAZARUS Dangwa Dokora, the MP for Rushinga (Zanu PF), is alleged to have led
a group of war veterans and party supporters to torture researchers visiting
his constituency last week.

But Dokora, approached for a comment at Parliament last Wednesday, said:
"What story are you talking about? Try some other time. I need to go and
debate the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill in

Researchers from the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPO), visited Rushinga
to sample opinion on the presidential election on 9-10 March.

Charles Mangongera, 26, an MPO researcher, alleged Dokora demanded to know
why they were in his constituency. He ordered them to stop the exercise.

He said: "Dokora held discussions with the war veterans and took us to
chambers where our teams were assaulted."

Mangongera led a team of seven men and three women, in the constituency
which ranks among the least developed in Mashonaland Central, a stronghold
of Zanu PF.

He claimed Dokora branded them MDC supporters.

Zanu PF youths and war veterans then bayed for their blood.
Mangongera said: "We told them we were not MDC supporters, but a uniformed
soldier and war veteran continued beat us."

He and the others had lacerations on their backs and swollen buttocks,
caused by the brutal force of the sticks used to beat them.

Mangongera said their problem started when they came across a Zanu PF rally
at Rushinga business centre.

He said war veterans and youths demanded their particulars and party cards,
but were furious when they did not produce them.

He said: "They besieged our car and took us to the MP's office, where we
were interrogated before being handed over to the war veterans, who
assaulted us."

Mangongera said they stripped him of his trousers and demanded money for
food before brutally assaulting him.

He alleged the war veterans took $20 000 intended for fuel and allowances
for his team.

"We were saved by one war veteran who ordered us to go to the police
station. We were followed by our assailants," Mangongera said.
"They ordered us not to tell the police we had been beaten but the police
could see this from our state."

Rushinga police last week declined to comment on the incident. Professor
Masipula Sithole, the MPO director condemned the attacks.
He said: "This is a total violation of the Abuja agreement and the EU

"Either President Mugabe is fooling us and the rest of the world that his
government is committed to a free and fair election and respect of human
rights, or he has unleashed a Frankenstein monster he can no longer

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Daily News

War vets' leader accused of robbery and extortion

1/28/02 8:24:16 AM (GMT +2)

Court Reporter

WAR veterans' leader and Zanu PF secretary for security, Mike Moyo, appeared
in court on Friday on armed robbery, attempted extortion, public violence
and assault charges.

He was remanded on $10 000 bail to 15 March.

Moyo was represented by Aston Musunga of Musunga and Associates. Prosecutor
Stephen Musona, of the Attorney-General's Office, said on 10 January, Moyo,
40, went to Engen Service Station in Fourth Street, Harare, and demanded
fuel on Zanu PF's account with the outlet.

An attendant at the garage allegedly refused to give him fuel on the account
as he did not have clearance from Joseph Chinotimba, Zanu PF's political
commissar for Harare province.

Angered by the fuel attendant's explanation, Moyo allegedly threatened to
assault him.

He allegedly had a pistol strapped to his waist.

The attendant, fearing for his life, allegedly gave Moyo fuel worth $4 900.

A reportedly remorseful Moyo turned up at the garage the following day and
paid for the fuel.

In the other charges, Moyo is alleged to have gone with Christopher
Pasipamire, the Zanu PF deputy chairman for Harare province, to Mayfield
Farm in Mazowe and demanded 50 percent of the profits realised from all the
farm produce or $15 million from the farmer, Duncan Parkes.

The farm had been allocated to Pasipamire, they claimed.

They allegedly grabbed Parkes by the collar, shook him violently and
threatened him with unspecific action if he failed to pay up by 18 January.

Pasipamire was arrested at a hotel where he had allegedly gone to collect
the money.

On Christmas Day last year, the pair allegedly drove to the farm with 12
youths and indiscriminately beat up farm workers and occupiers on the farm.

In the confusion, the youths allegedly stole eight chickens and ducks from
the farm workers and occupiers.

They allegedly returned to the farm on 18 January and beat up everyone in si

The farm workers and occupiers fled into the bush. Some of them returned to
their homes two days later after the police assured them of their safety.
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Republic of Botswana

Mugabe will only go after losing elections
28 January, 2002

The Zimbabwean High Commissioner to Botswana Zenzo Nsimbi says members of
the Crisis in Zimbabwe Co-ordinating Committee are members of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) hiding under the guise of civil society.
Nsimbi said President Robert Mugabe was democratically elected and will go
only if he loses the March Presidential Elections.

He denied accusations that he was serving the interest of the ruling party,
saying he is representing the government and not the party.

He also assured the meeting, which was addressed by members of the crisis
co-ordinating committee, that as diplomats they serve the government and
that if Morgan Tsvangirai wins they will serve and work under him.

He argued that because Mugabe has been democratically elected he should not
be pushed out before the coming march elections, a view that is shared by
the President of MELS Movement, Themba Joina. Joina complained about the
foul language used by committee members against Mugabe, which he said
vindicates their believe that the committee is made of MDC members
masquerading as civil society.

"Why should you be so biased? Maybe you are the ones who have instigated the
army into saying that. I wonder if you would accept Mugabe if he wins," he

However, the stance of the high commissioner and Joina drew sharp criticism
from some people with reverend Dumi Mmualefe accusing the high commissioner
of representing the ruling party instead of the government of Zimbabwe.

"We have been under the impression that diplomats are representing
governments and not parties," said Mmualefe. Reverend Mpho Moruakgomo also
supported his clergy, adding that the fact that somebody had mistaken Zenzo
for a ZANU-PF representative is enough evidence, and that he should not be
seen to be partisan. Mmualefe said the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) is showing double standards by refusing to intervene in
Zimbabwe when it was quick to do so in Lesotho and in the Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC).

But John Makumbe said Zimbabwe is militarily powerful and no SADC country
could intervene militarily without the blessing of Mugabe. Mugabe's troops
were in Mozambique for about eight years where they stopped the rebels from
defeating the ruling party and are now on their third year in the DRC, said

"If South Africa tries, they will come out running," he said but added that
Mugabe should be suspended from SADC.

Wilfred Mhanda said Mugabe has no tolerance for different viewpoints and
that opposing some of his policies is viewed as supporting the opposition,
but argued that people could still hold divergent views even if they are not

"There is room for civil society, many people are being killed, it is not
flies that are killed," he said, adding that 20 000 people have been
tortured since 2000, but added that if Mugabe runs and wins free and fair
elections they will accept him.

The executive director of Transparency International, Botswana Chapter,
Quill Hermans said the deteriorating political and economic situation in
Zimbabwe has serious economic implications for the SADC region.

Hermans said that although Zimbabwe has a diversified economy with an
educated and committed work force the real per capita income is lower than
when she attained independence in 1980.

"Can you blame the whites or Zimbabweans?" he asked. Everybody agrees there
is serious mismanagement and the reality is that it is hurting us," he said.

Hermans argued that the depreciation of the South African Rand has to do
with the world perception on Zimbabwe and that the region is suffering from
dis-investment and the tourism industry is declining.

"Under these circumstances, we do have the right to speak; we should stand
up and say; you are hurting us- stop it," he stressed.

Former Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leader, Michael Dingake echoed the same
sentiments, saying that if the Botswana government is not interested in the
welfare of Zimbabweans, it should at least be interested in that of Batswana
who are suffering as a result of the situation in that country.

Dingake said the situation is bound to cause instability here with serious
repercussions because of the problem of refugees and increased crime.

He said the position of the Zimbabwe army not to accept a president without
liberation war credentials could signal a possible coup de tat.

And if that were to happen, Batswana will be in the firing line as was the
case during the time of Ian Smith.
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Daily News

MPs flee militia

1/28/02 8:34:47 AM (GMT +2)

By Luke Tamborinyoka

TWO MDC Members of Parliament on Saturday fled the Chitungwiza town centre
when 150 armed Zanu PF youths prevented an MDC rally scheduled for the

Two other MDC members from Harare East are in critical condition in hospital
after they were allegedly assaulted by officers from the police Support
Unit, also on Saturday.

Job Sikhala (St Mary's) and Tafadzwa Musekiwa (Zengeza) drove away with the
Zanu PF youths in hot pursuit.

Their supporters, who had turned up for the rally, scurried for safety in
nearby houses in Unit D, but the militia later beat up people, accusing them
of providing refuge to the fleeing MDC supporters.

The MDC rally was scheduled for the afternoon, but by 6am, drum-beating Zanu
PF youths had camped at the venue, with two truckloads of armed riot police
on standby.

John Nkomo, the Minister of Home Affairs, could not be reached for comment
yesterday, but the last time he commented on the behaviour of police who
stood by while violence erupted in Kuwadzana Extension, he told The Daily
News: "Those beaten up should report to the police".

When told the police were not taking any action to protect residents who had
their houses stoned, Nkomo said:
"Write what you saw."

Inspector Mutanhiri, the member-in-charge of the police post at the
Chitungwiza town centre, was unavailable for comment yesterday.

This is the second time the police have allegedly helped Zanu PF youths
prevent an MDC rally from being held.

Last week, Zanu PF youths disrupted an MDC rally at White City Stadium in
Bulawayo, despite the police pledges for security.

A victim of Zanu PF violence last weekend at the stadium, Mthokozisi Ncube,
died on Saturday morning.

Yesterday, Musekiwa said he notified the police about the rally in advance,
but they stood by and allowed Zanu PF youths to take over the venue and do
as they liked.

"It is an unholy alliance between the militia from the Border Gezi training
centre and the police to impinge on the people's right to assemble, which is
enshrined in the Constitution. The police have clearly taken sides,"
Musekiwa said.

The Zanu PF youths, clad in white T-shirts some of them emblazoned with the
words Rima Tikunde (Till the land and prosper), almost attacked a car they
had mistaken for Musekiwa's.

When Sikhala mobilised the MDC supporters to go ahead with the rally since
they had permission, the armed militia chased the two MPs and their

The Zanu PF youths were allegedly bussed in from outside Chitungwiza early
in the morning and were provided with food an drinks by Zanu PF officials in
the area.

Yesterday, Sikhala lashed out at the police for not acting against the

He said: "It confirms what we have always said before - that police officers
are conniving with Zanu PF hooligans to unofficially ban MDC rallies.

"But with or without the unofficial bans, the people's verdict is clear:
this regime will go after the next election."

On Friday, the police raided Musekiwa's house and arrested six youths,
including his brother, Herbert, who earlier drove around the constituencies
distributing pamphlets calling on people to attend the rally.

The police accused them of violating the Public Order and Security Act,
signed by President Mugabe last week.

The six are expected to appear in court today.

In Harare East constituency on Saturday, armed members of the police Support
Unit allegedly fired six shots in the air and brutally assaulted supporters
of the opposition MDC in Greendale, disrupting a scheduled presidential
campaign rally.

An MDC driver, Jonathan Banda, and Noah Zhuwawo were seriously injured
during the disturbances.

They are under police guard at Parirenyatwa Hospital.

An affidavit prepared by Dr T Dhobbie says Banda had "severe multiple
haematoma, swollen testicles and an occipital scalp", caused by blunt
objects such as truncheons and batons.

Zhuwawo is in the neurosurgical ward, where he is on drip and cannot speak.

On Saturday, the police accused the MDC of holding the rally without police
permission, citing the repressive Public Order and Security Act.
But Tendai Biti, the Member of Parliament for Harare East (MDC), said under
the Public Order and Security Act, the police would only be notified in
advance of rallies and no permission needed to be sought from them.

Biti, a lawyer, said: "The police were notified on Wednesday by my chairman,
Alex Maphosa. Nowhere in the Act is it written that we should seek
permission. Giving notice is different from seeking permission."
Biti said the MDC was well aware that the government would use fascist laws
to prevent their gatherings.

"But no amount of violence will stop the overwhelming winds of change," he

George Ferezhi and Stewart Kaireka, both MDC youths who escaped the
beatings, said armed police from Rhodesville police station descended on the
rally to assault people indiscriminately.
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Republic of Botswana

Zim NGOs criticise SADC solidarity with Mugabe
28 January, 2002

As political violence and human rights abuses continue unabated in the
run-up to the March presidential elections in Zimbabwe, SADC leaders are
finding themselves at the receiving end for their soft stance on president
Robert Mugabe.
The continued British government's condemnation of Mugabe's crackdown on
political opposition is fast gaining momentum and this week prime minister
Tony Blair vowed to push for Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth at
the London a meeting next week.

The British stand, which is also gaining sympathy, has been backed by the
Crisis In Zimbabwe Co-ordinating Committee, which was in Botswana to drum up
support from government and civic organisations.

Some civic organisations, including the Methodist Church of Southern
African, are also calling on SADC leaders to adopt a tougher stance while
others are calling for sanctions to be imposed on Zimbabwe.

However, the Crisis Committee, a coalition of civic organisations in
Zimbabwe, says sanctions would hurt Zimbabwe and the rest of the region and
are calling for smart sanctions, which include travel restrictions on
Mugabe, his immediate family, cabinet members and senior government

They say Mugabe's promise of a free and fair election at the recent SADC
extra-ordinary Summit in Blantrye, Malawi, was but an illusion as political
violence and human rights abuses are still rampant.

SADC leaders were accused of hypocrisy by shielding Mugabe and acting in the
spirit of African brotherhood.

A member of the Crisis Committee, Professor John Makombe told a meeting of
civic organisations in Gaborone that SADC leaders know that they too have
skeletons in their own cupboards.

"They do not want to rock the boat because they are birds of the same
feather," Makombe told the meeting, organised by Ditshwanelo, the Botswana
Centre for Human Rights. He emphasised that "Mugabe does not want to lose
the elections because he fears that he would be tried for corruption and
human rights abuses in the country". he said and further called for the SADC
Mission to Zimbabwe for the election to include government and civic society

Another member, Wilfred Mhanda, said the presidential election would not be
free and fair given the continuing violence and human rights abuses. Mhanda,
who is also chairman of the Liberator's Platform, said the recent stringent
bills introduced by Mugabe's government only formalised the ongoing violence
in the country.

"Even without bills, the violence disqualifies the elections from being free
and fair," he said emphasising that the laws were aimed at ensuring that
Mugabe retains power, at all cost.

The Public Order and Security Bill would make it illegal to criticise Mugabe
and hold public rallies without police sanction while the labour bill bans
strikes, stay-aways or the mentioning of a strike which carries prison
sentences of up to 20 years.

Mhanda added that Zimbabwe has no independent electoral commission and that
the registrar general was a civil servant vulnerable to manipulation by the

He stressed that the controversial media bill was aimed at monopolising and
dictating what the people should hear and added that government was already
making it impossible for people to access news other than from the
state-owned publications, radio and television.

He said Mugabe's militia and war veterans terrorised people in the rural
areas and deprive them access to independent newspapers.

Director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe chapter
Sarah Gumboh emphasised that there can be no different standards for
democracy or human rights.Gumboh warned that what is happening in Zimbabwe
could also happen in Botswana or to any other SADC country and therefore all
must be concerned about the turmoil in Harare.

The committee members, who were earlier this month arrested and deported in
Malawi during the SADC heads of state summit, also called on the SADC to
have an army on alert for the post election period in Zimbabwe.

They argued that Mugabe is not prepared to lose and hell would break lose if
it were to happen. The army says it will not accept Morgan Tsvangirai, the
leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), who is seen as a threat.

"The army would go to the bush and the people, too, would go to the bush and
nobody has the monopoly over the bush. If the army fights the Zimbabweans,
they will lose," said Makombe.

"We do not know what will happen after the elections, SADC should have put a
deadline," said Makombe and urged the regional body to send election
observers now.

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Straw gets tough in week of reckoning for Mugabe

Jackie Ashley
Monday January 28, 2002
The Guardian

Britain has lost patience with Robert Mugabe and is to begin a week of
concerted action against Zimbabwe's president, including freezing his assets
in Europe, banning him from travelling here and suspending Zimbabwe from the
Commonwealth, the foreign secretary Jack Straw says today.

In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Straw says he has decided to "put
Mugabe on the spot" after spiralling human rights abuses and anti-
democratic thuggery in the run-up to Zimbabwe's presidental elections.

"The tragedy unfolding in Zimbabwe is driven by one man's ruthless campaign
to hang on to power whatever the cost to others in the process. He's
destroying his country's economy, damaging the rest of southern Africa and
making wretched the lives of his people," Mr Straw says in his most
outspoken attack yet on Mr Mugabe.

Mr Straw's stance has hardened over the weekend. The Foreign Office was last
week backing away from sanctions because it feared it would prevent
international observers being allowed into Zimbabwe. Mr Mugabe's
determination to ignore pleas for change has convinced the foreign secretary
that tough action is needed.

He has spent the weekend garnering support for an agreement on stringent
sanctions against Zimbawe at today's EU meeting of foreign ministers in

They will mean the freezing of the assets Mr Mugabe holds in European banks
and a ban on travel for Mr Mugabe and his fellow ministers. It may also
include threatening to cut aid by £78.5m over five years. If Mr Straw has
his way, the sanctions will begin next month.

He had told the Commons that, if the situation continued to deteriorate,
Britain would recommend suspending Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth at a heads
of government meeting in March. Mr Straw will now tell the Commonwealth
Ministers' Action Group on Wednesday that he wants Zimbabwe suspended.

"He [Mr Mugabe] will say that it's all down to Britain being revanchist, the
former colonial power manipulating the world media, but the pressure is
already having an effect on the politics here leading to the very early
stages of public arguments by people inside Zanu-PF," the foreign secretary

Downing Street yesterday confirmed that Mr Straw had the prime minister's
backing. Mr Blair's official spokesman said: "We believe it is time to focus
President Mugabe's mind more sharply on the consequences of his repression."

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Saints and sinners in Mugabe's Zimbabwe

Monday January 28, 2002
The Guardian

As a black Zimbabwean working in London, I was astounded at George Shire's
shameless blaming of whites for the current crisis in Zimbabwe (The struggle
for our land, January 24). Much like Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF, he uses land
reformto justify political and economic upheaval.
To suggest that the Commercial Farmers Union is responsible for inaction in
the redistribution of land is ludicrous. Mugabe's government knew the
importance of the commercial farmers and realised that to replace them would
take huge financial resources. Instead, he put the issue on the backburner,
only distributing land to his cronies and party faithful. When he was
challenged in 2000 he used land as an issue both politically and murder
ously. What Mr Shire fails to realise is that a black government has been in
power for 21 years and has fallen at every hurdle - it is a cop out to blame
a minority that now numbers only around 50,000 (and falling rapidly).

Everyone has the right to join a political party of their choice. Mr Shire
suggests the Movement for Democratic Change does not have the right to run
the country because it includes Rhodesian whites - so what? He suggests the
only future for Zimbabwe is in the hands of Zanu-PF. Only a free and fair
election will prove him wrong.
Dominic Moyo

· George Shire's account of political violence, blaming it on Selous Scouts
remnants in the MDC leadership, echoes the daily propaganda of the
government media in Harare. Independent human rights monitors have noted
that more than 90% of violent acts are carried out by the ruling party, war
veterans or police against MDC supporters, farm workers and other members of
the public.

Shire's attacks on the MDC MPs David Coltart and Mike Auret are off the
mark. Coltart was not "a prominent member of the Rhodesian police". He was a
police constable and 22 at the time of independence. It was not this role
that caused government displeasure, but his representation of black
political detainees and the families of Matabeleland massacre victims in the

Mike Auret was a junior army officer before UDI, not a senior police officer
at any stage. He spent most of the 1970s as a senior official of the
Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, documenting abuses by the Selous
Scouts and other Rhodesian security forces.
Richard Carver
Oxford Media Research

· George Shire cites a good many real Zanu-PF achievements. No one doubts
that Zanu achieved a great deal in its first 15 years: the problem is that
Mugabe's regime is now irretrievably corrupt, self-seeking and power-crazed.
The MDC and all its supporters are not saints: but they are the best hope
Zimbabwe has of continuing the work Zanu began before the whole "house of
stone" falls.
Martin Tripp
Sevenoaks, Kent

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Australia seeks Zimbabwe Commonwealth suspension
LONDON, Jan. 28 — Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer called on Monday for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the Commonwealth but said action was unlikely before a summit meeting in early March.
In an interview with Reuters, Downer said President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party had violated the democratic principles of the organisation, made up of mainly former British colonies, and was intent on rigging Zimbabwe's presidential elections in six weeks' time.
       ''The political harrassment and violence and restrictions on freedoms of speech cause us enormous concern and as far as we are concerned are clearly in breach of the Harare Declaration,'' he said in reference to a 1991 Commonwealth commitment to good governance.
       Downer will attend a meeting in London on Wednesday of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), the organisation's democracy watchdog, which will discuss suspending Zimbabwe.
       The eight ministers have the power to suspend Mugabe's government immediately from the 54-nation Commonwealth's decision-making bodies. But British sources have said it is more likely to leave the decision to a March 2-5 summit.
       Downer, whose country will host the Commonwealth summit, declined to say if he would push for earlier action. ''But we would like to feel that either CMAG itself suspends Zimbabwe from the councils of the Commonwealth, or that it recommends that the heads of government do the suspension,'' he said.
       Mugabe will seek to extend his 22-year hold on power in March 9-10 presidential elections. Britain has condemned his pre-election crackdown -- which caps an often violent two-year campaign to occupy hundreds of white-owned farms -- as a disgrace to his country.
       Britain urged its European Union partners on Monday to back ''targeted'' sanctions against Mugabe, but EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels looked more likely to give Mugabe one last chance to ensure the deployment of EU election observers.
       Zimbabwean state radio said on Monday Mugabe had invited foreign observers but would not allow monitors from Britain.
       Downer said Mugabe appeared deaf to criticism, both the ''implicit and quiet criticism'' of his southern African neighbours and the ''overt aggressive criticism from other parts of the world.''
       ''Enormous efforts have been made to try to persuade President Mugabe to try to desist from what has been going on in Zimbabwe,'' he said.
       Mugabe's government also appeared unmoved by the economic crisis facing the country, he added.
       ''The economy is in freefall, the country is confronting really very serious food shortages now (and) possible refugee movements out of Zimbabwe because of food shortages.''
       ''The situation could not be more dire for Zimbabwe but still President Mugabe is intent on maintaining the same policy,'' he said. ''...The thing he cares the most about is winning the presidential election. And that is clearly what he is determined to do, regardless of the consequences for Zimbabwe of how that election is conducted.''
Copyright 2002 Reuters Limited.
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Caterpillar pest plagues Zimbabwe's dwindling food crops
January 29 2002 at 12:08AM

Harare - An army worm outbreak in several parts of Zimbabwe had put more than 20 000ha of newly planted food crops and pasture under threat, the official Herald newspaper reported yesterday.

An official of the state agricultural technical and extensions services told the paper that the department was battling to contain the outbreak, which had caused damage to many crops.

Other officials of the service were not available for comment yesterday.

Army worm is a migrant caterpillar pest that attacks pasture grasses, cereal crops and sugar cane.

Drought, floods and economic problems have reduced Zimbabwe's agricultural output this year while a controversial, often violent land reform programme, has made it difficult for thousands of people to access food.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said last week that the first shipment of food aid for 330 000 Zimbabweans had crossed the border from South Africa.

The WFP spent $1.8 million to buy 6 160 tons of maize, beans, peanuts and oil from South Africa to be trucked into southern Zimbabwe to feed 330 000 people over the next month, a regional spokesperson said.

Industry officials said Zimbabwe might need to import up to 600 000 tons of maize to supplement domestic output, which fell sharply to 1.476 million tons in the 2000/01 season from 2.04 million tons previously.

Earlier this month Zimbabwe state television said the government had bought 150 000 tons of maize from South Africa.

The government has also seized 36 000 tons of maize from commercial farmers accused of hoarding the staple grain. - Reuters

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Blantyre, Harare Trade Imbalance Still Growing

Daily Times (Blantyre)

January 28, 2002
Posted to the web January 28, 2002

Thomas Chafunya

TRADE imbalance between Malawi and Zimbabwe estimated at K2.5 billion last year is shooting up and has reached a critical stage for both governments, trade officials have said.

Zimbabwe which remains the second biggest regional economy after South Africa despite of the land-triggered economic curfew in that country is Malawi's long trading partner.

According to official figures, Zimbabwe towers over Malawian trade by over ZIM$3.08 billion (K3.5bn) as opposed to Malawi's ZIM$292.34 million (K300million).

Government trade officials said despite growth in business transactions between the two in the wake of a renewed bilateral trade agreement two years ago, the increase has been skewed in favour of Zimbabwe.

Geoff Mkandawire, Director of Commerce in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said joint efforts were on course to upset the current trade transaction trend.

"One of the best measures is to enable our private sector to increase their exports to Zimbabwe mainly in the items that the Zimbabweans do not produce," he said.

Dr. Hubert Murerwa, Zimbabwe's Minister of Industry and International Trade told Daily Times in Blantyre recently, the Zimbabwe government was equally concerned with the increasing trade imbalance and through the existing joint bilateral trade commission, the problem is bound to be checked.

"Clearly what we need to put in place measures that would iron out constraints that Malawi traders are facing," he said.

Murerwa also said Zimbabwe government was putting in place a trade policy that will enable to stimulate Malawi's manufacturing and export sectors growth.

"At the end of it all we will need to have a win-win situation. No any country among us should be indebted to the other," he said.

Figures by Zimbabwe government indicate that the volume of trade between Zimbabwe and Malawi had climbed up 170 percent between 1997 and 1999 and exports to Malawi floating around 192 percent during the same period.

Malawi on other hand, her exports to Zimbabwe have only grown by 56 percent hence still nursing a increasing trade imbalance.

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Monitors, not sanctions
Jan 28th 2002
From The Economist Global Agenda

Outsiders can help, but in the end it is up to Zimbabweans to shake off their awful government


Mugabe holds on

ON MONDAY, January 28th, European Union foreign ministers threatened to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe’s ruling clique. But not immediately. Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, has until February 3rd to allow EU election monitors into the country. If he refuses, or obstructs them once they are in Zimbabwe, or continues to harass the independent press, Mr Mugabe and his cronies will face a ban on travelling to Europe. They will also have their overseas assets frozen, if European investigators can find them.

The aim of these “smart sanctions” is to ensure that Zimbabwe's presidential election, scheduled for March 9th-10th, is free and fair. Fat chance. Mr Mugabe's regime is impoverishing Zimbabwe with the speed and ruthlessness of a pack of hyenas stripping the flesh off a buffalo, which has not made the 78 year-old despot popular. Faced with the certainty that he would lose a free and fair ballot, Mr Mugabe is using all the machinery of state to make it unfree and unfair.

Europe's warnings to Mr Mugabe have been criticised as too gentle and too late. But there is no easy way to influence events in Zimbabwe. A full-scale trade embargo is out of the question: it would hurt the poor and the productive, not the wealthy parasites who rule them. And his past record suggests that Mr Mugabe cares more about the survival of his regime than the well-being of his subjects. In the past two years, donors cut most aid to Zimbabwe’s government, which accelerated the country’s economic collapse, but appears to have had no effect on Mr Mugabe’s behaviour.

The “smart sanctions” that the EU is now threatening to impose are similar to those that American lawmakers have already authorised, but not yet implemented. Though desirable, they will probably not be enough to persuade Mr Mugabe to allow a free and fair election. He fears that if he loses his job, he may lose his liberty, or even his life.

After 22 years of corrupt and occasionally murderous government, many Zimbabweans are hungry for justice. Mr Mugabe does not wish to share the fate of Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean dictator who was arrested in Britain, or worse, Nicolae Ceausescu, the Romanian tyrant who was toppled and executed. So he may feel that he has no choice but to persevere in his war against democracy. Every day, his militia subjects more Zimbabwean peasants to tortures involving sticks, barbed wire or molten plastic. After each beating or hut-burning, potential voters are warned that their ballots will not be secret, and that if they vote against Mr Mugabe, they will be killed along with their families. Meanwhile, police break up opposition rallies before they can start, and arrest opposition leaders for trifling or imaginary offences.

Smart sanctions might be useful if they could persuade dissenters within ZANU to undermine Mr Mugabe. In the past, Mr Mugabe has shown great skill at sidelining his rivals within the party or, when that fails, using thugs with clubs to prevent them from voting at party congresses. But in recent weeks, some ruling-party politicians have shown that they are tiring of their leader. Eddison Zvobgo, one of ZANU’s most senior cadres, has challenged a bill aimed at muzzling the press, and succeeded in delaying its passage through parliament and watering down some of its more tyrannical clauses.

But it is doubtful that ZANU can really reform. Though the party has some moderate members, it has been in power for 22 years, so long that all but a handful have been corrupted. In any case, power in Zimbabwe is overconcentrated in the presidency, so the best hope for better governance is a new president.

Mr Mugabe’s hired thugs are stopping buses and pedestrians on rural roads and breaking the noses and teeth of those who cannot produce ZANU membership cards

Mr Mugabe’s opponent in March is Morgan Tsvangirai, a former union leader. Although he has no experience in high office, he is popular simply because he is not Mr Mugabe. But he is finding it difficult to campaign. A law passed earlier this month made it a criminal offence to “undermine the authority of the president”, which could allow the police to arrest Mr Tsvangirai for making a normal campaign speech. The government controls the broadcast media, which portray Mr Tsvangirai as a front for white racists who plot to bring back colonialism and forced labour. And Mr Mugabe’s hired thugs are stopping buses and pedestrians on rural roads and breaking the noses and teeth of those who cannot produce ZANU membership cards.

Mr Mugabe’s terror campaign against white commercial farmers has caused the output of some cereals to fall to a quarter of what it was two years ago. An estimated 500,000 Zimbabweans are on the verge of starvation, but the delivery of food aid has been delayed by the government's initial insistence that all aid should be distributed through official channels. Donors were worried that the grain would be presented as a gift from the government, and withheld from suspected opposition supporters. The World Food Programme finally won permission to oversee the operation itself, using locally-hired workers, and aid is now trickling in. Whether it will reach all those who need it without political interference remains to be seen.

If Mr Mugabe “wins” in March, the outlook for Zimbabwe is bleak indeed. But if he rigs the election too blatantly, cities such as Harare and Bulawayo, where he has almost no support, may explode. Mr Mugabe could even be toppled by street protests, as happened to Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia.

If Mr Tsvangirai wins, donors will rush to help him undo the damage Mr Mugabe has wrought. But the military may not allow him to take office. Most of the top brass owe their position, and their recent opportunity to loot the Congo, to Mr Mugabe. One senior general hinted this month that he would not recognise Mr Tsvangirai as president. But Mr Mugabe is far less popular among the rank and file, despite a recent 100% pay hike. If ordered to open fire on unarmed protestors, would they obey? No one knows.

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