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

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The Sun
Mugabe mob beat farmer
Mob victim ... farmer Michael Caine
on stretcher yesterday in Harare
Picture: REUTERS

THIS shocking picture shows why England’s cricketers yesterday begged NOT to be forced to play in Zimbabwe.

A white farmer is taken to hospital after being beaten to within an inch of his life.

Bloodied Michael Caine was set upon by a racist mob who took over his land armed with bicycle chains, axe handles and vicious clubs called knobkerries.

Mr Caine, in his 40s, was lucky to survive. He is just the latest victim of Zimbabwe tyrant Robert Mugabe’s “land reform” policy.

Whites have been ousted from thousands of once-prosperous farms by marauding thugs.

Twelve have been murdered. And the nation — now ruled by fear and torture — faces famine.

Reign of terror ... Mugabe

England cricket captain Nasser Hussain and his team-mates yesterday pleaded for their February 13 World Cup clash with Zimbabwe to be switched to South Africa.

A statement from the team, who will today jet from Australia to Johannesburg, read: “We’re all greatly concerned about the moral, political and safety issues.”

The revolt is a massive blow to the England and Wales Cricket Board which wants the game to go ahead.

But minutes from a Foreign Office meeting are said to have revealed the cricketers’ lives could be in danger.

An arms cache found by Zimbabwean police was allegedly “for use by Mugabe’s opponents against the England team”.

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ABC News Australia

Zimbabwe likely to deport suspected journalists

Five foreigners arrested last week on suspicion of being undercover
journalists who had breached the country's stiff media laws, are likely to
be deported, state television reports.

The five - two Germans, a Finn, an American and a Kenyan - were picked up by
police Friday along with a local journalist in Zvishavane, a mining town in
the drought-hit south of the country.

The group was on a field trip organised by the Lutheran World Federation, a
church-based aid agency.

At least one of the delegates claims they were merely reporting on relief
efforts for church publications, but police say their passports prove they
are journalists who entered the country on holiday visas.

Foreign journalists can only operate in Zimbabwe for short periods, and have
to obtain a government permit before arriving.

"Police investigations have confirmed that the five foreign journalists
arrested at the weekend in Zvishavane had been working in the country
illegally and without accreditation," the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
(ZBC) said.

"Investigations indicate that all five breached their visa conditions and
are likely to be deported."

The television said that police investigating the case had found evidence
the five wanted to report on Zimbabwe's controversial land redistribution
issue, and not just church relief efforts.

Earlier reports had suggested the five would be charged under the country's
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) which sets out a
penalty of up to 100,000 Zimbabwe dollars ($US1,800) fine or two years in
jail for working without permission.

But by late Monday (local time) the five had not been officially charged and
had not appeared in court.

If charged, local reporter Fanuel Jongwe of the independent Daily News will
be the first Zimbabwean journalist to appear in court for working without
accreditation since a government deadline for all journalists to be
accredited ran out at the end of December.

Mr Jongwe is reported to have submitted his application for accreditation
with the media commission before the deadline expired, but his application
had not yet been processed.

The Zimbabwe Government, international and local aid agencies are currently
distributing emergency food aid to some of the estimated eight million of
Zimbabwe's 11.6 million people threatened by famine.

Since the press law came into effect last year, at least 12 journalists have
been arrested and two foreign correspondents told to leave the country.

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ICC chief rejects England fears
Tuesday 28 January 2003, 10:30AM

A plea by England's players to move their World Cup match in Zimbabwe to
South Africa because of security fears was rejected by cricket's global
governing body, the International Cricket Council.

ICC's Australian chief executive Malcolm Speed, responding to the England
players' statement, said he understood their concerns but insisted it was
still currently safe for all six World Cup matches scheduled to take place
in the famine-threatened nation to proceed.

Speed said: "As recently as last Friday, the ICC board, including the
chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), David Morgan, met to
consider this issue and no member sought to present any argument to the
board to move the game."

He insisted that calls for the ICC to pull out of Zimbabwe on moral grounds
in protest at the human rights abuses of President Robert Mugabe were

"The ICC is an international sporting organisation with 84 members with a
variety of cultures, beliefs and political systems," said Speed.

"Its members are in place to make judgments on cricket administration and
not to take a political stance on foreign policy issues. This is the role
and responsibility of governments."

And he insisted that the ICC was doing all it could to ensure player safety.

"We are committed to monitoring the safety and security of players and
officials in Zimbabwe and this is being done on a daily basis.

"There is in place a properly resourced and highly skilled security
directorate that is responsible for the safety of all teams.

"The directorate has put in place a thorough system to identify, assess and
manage any safety and security issues and the tournament will see
unprecedented levels of security for all games," explained Speed, who added
the ICC had now made "several visits" to Zimbabwe.

Speed's comments came ahead of Friday's scheduled ICC executive board
meeting where Zimbabwe will again be discussed by world cricket chiefs.

The ICC has taken advice from a "range of well-qualified safety experts" and
nothing they had heard had shifted the ICC's position, Speed maintained.

"As it currently stands, based on this expert advice the ICC board continues
to see no reason to move the games," said Speed.

"Should the situation change there is in place the system to alert the ICC
to this and a proper decision making process to deal with any need to
relocate games," he added.

Last week Speed confirmed that the Zimbabwe matches could be moved to South
Africa, where the bulk of the February 8 to March 23 World Cup's 54 fixtures
are taking place, as late as four days in advance.

©2003 AFP

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Safety factor England players' only hope
By Derek Pringle  (Filed: 28/01/2003)

In a spectacularly bold move by a national team, England's cricketers have
made it plain they do not want to play their World Cup match against
Zimbabwe in Harare and want it moved to the relatively safer pastures of
South Africa.

The issue has been sizzling away like a steak on a barbie, generously
marinated by fact, fiction and opinion to the point where their appetite for
cricket has been replaced by something bordering on despair.

Popular opinion, at least in the United Kingdom, is behind them, but theirs
is a lone voice in the cricket world since Australia and their press
digested the facts of competing there (for all of about 48 hours) and went
quiet. There was nary a peep from the other four Pool A sides - India,
Pakistan, Holland and Namibia - due to compete in Zimbabwe.

Unless Australia show a renewed interest in shifting their game, Nasser
Hussain's men may find that the mountain will not move even for Mohammed.

As the stance defies the wishes of their employers - the England and Wales
Cricket Board, and the game's world ruling body, the International Cricket
Council, who have stated that the tie will be played as scheduled on Feb
13 - it might be seen as brave, moral even.

The players know on which their bread is buttered, and should a satisfactory
resolution not be found they will abide by the ECB's final decision,
provided personal safety can be guaranteed. It is this safety, the only
factor the ICC will accept with regard to moving the fixture, that the
players feel confident will be breached, a fairly safe bet in a country said
to be crumbling under President Robert Mugabe's tribal and racial prejudices
against the Ndebele people and white farmers. But people here must not be
fooled into thinking his policies are unpopular with everyone, for they are

A persuasive lever for having the fixture moved may come on Thursday when
the ICC must decide whether to move the two matches in Kenya as a result of
the hotel bomb there late last year which killed 14 people.

If those matches are shifted, a precedent will be set. As World Cup
organisers, South Africa have some allegiance to Zimbabwe - the ANC were
allowed to operate from their territory during apartheid - which is a great
deal stronger than their relationship with Kenya.

The ICC, who have commissioned an independent security firm from the United
States to assess safety ahead of that meeting, may yet seek a compromise
that keeps some games in Zimbabwe and Kenya, while shifting the most
sensitive ones to South Africa.

The Foreign Office advise the risk against Asian countries is minimal, so
their matches there could remain in place. That way, minimal compensation is
paid while some games are retained.

The issue has become a clumsy and emotive game of poker, with players
showing their ace, the evidence of an arms cache to be used against them,
early on. With the game in Harare able to be moved to South Africa as late
as Feb 9, perhaps others are being kept back in case the current
intransigence remains.

Yet there is much that does not add up, such as the pamphlets and letters of
propaganda delivered to England's dressing-room in Sydney last week.

Though no threats were directly issued against the players, has anyone
wondered why Australia, scheduled to play Zimbabwe in Bulawayo, did not get
them? Or why players from Holland, India and Pakistan, the other teams
outside Africa scheduled to play there, have not had mail shots?

Though most professional cricketers are motivated by self-interest, Hussain
and his team have been placed in a difficult situation. The lead shown by
Tony Blair's government has been limp-wristed.

Saddam Hussein is clearly a more pressing case, but the way the issue
(cricket was never a vote-winner for Labour) has been treated is shameful.
Perhaps if England win the cup (unlikely), Hussain, having already indicated
he will refuse to co-operate with any of Mugabe's public relations stunts,
will refuse to shake Blair's hand as well when the Prime Minister tries to
make his own capital.

The stance taken by the ICC, while more considered, has been deliberately
hard-nosed. Since Malcolm Speed became their chief executive, cricket's
ruling body have been run by lawyers. To them, contracts are sacred, and
they will try to hold England to the participating nations agreement signed
by the ECB last August with its binding clauses to select "a full-strength
side" and fulfil all World Cup fixtures.

By taking this hard line, the ICC are covering their back with regard to
India's board, whose president, Jagmohan Dalmiya, has been making life hard
for Speed over the rights contract binding India's players, many of whom
have rival sponsors to those signed up for the tournament.

If the ICC are seen to tear up one contract, Dalmiya will want the other to
go as well. The dilution of India's commercial interest could have
potentially devastating financial results for the World Cup.

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Rift grows over Zimbabwe
By Mihir Bose  (Filed: 28/01/2003)

The future of the World Cup matches in Zimbabwe could rest with Kroll, a New
York-based security firm after England's cricketers yesterday made a plea
for their match to be moved to South Africa.

      Moving plea: PCA representative Richard Bevan gives the players' view
The American firm have been called in to carry out an independent security
assessment, which will be presented to cricket's world governing body on
Thursday morning when they discuss the situation there.

England's cricketers want their World Cup match in Harare on Feb 13 to be
switched and are hoping that the International Cricket Council will sanction
such a move.

A switch of venue would remove the "moral, political and contractual
aspects" of playing in Zimbabwe which, says the players' statement, have
been "weighing heavily" on their minds.

But unless Kroll find the security inadequate, contradicting the opinion of
the South African security experts, an ICC vote sanctioning a move seems
unlikely, requiring at least seven of the 10 Test-playing countries in

But whatever happens, the Zimbabwe issue has caused a deep split between the
England players and the England and Wales Cricket Board, as was evident at
an extraordinary press conference in London yesterday.

While Tim Lamb, chief executive of the ECB, shared a platform with Richard
Bevan, managing director of the Professional Cricketers' Association, they
parried each other's thrust and counter-thrust like two fencers, never
drawing blood, but indicating the bad blood this affair has caused. In an
extraordinary moment Bevan, while praising Lamb, criticised the ICC for
allowing David Morgan, chairman of the ECB - and Lamb's boss - to represent
England at ICC meetings. This forced Lamb to thank Bevan for the compliment
and then defend his chairman's honour.

Although England's players have been uneasy about playing in Zimbabwe for
some time, the fuse was lit when Morgan was reported to have said England
players had received death threats.

Bevan denied there had been death threats, but the media highlighting of
this led to his public attack on Morgan on Sunday before spending many hours
speaking with his players.

Normally a PCA press release might take an hour to compose, but this one
took so long that Bevan's phone bill last Friday alone came to £432.64. The
players' remarkably hard-edged statement contained astonishing details of
Foreign Office minutes.

On Jan 23 there had been a meeting between players' representatives, the ECB
and the Foreign Office. Bevan disclosed that the Foreign Office minutes
mentioned fire- bombing of a ZANU (PF) office, the statement from the mayor
of Harare that he could not guarantee security and "reports of Zimbabwean
police finding an arms cache, allegedly for use by Mugabe's opponents
against England's cricketers".

The minutes mentioned that the Movement for Democratic Change, the main
opposition party, had said they would not publicly call for protests, but
were looking for ways to use the match to demonstrate popular
dissatisfaction with the regime. The minutes went on: "It has also been
reported that others might have similar intentions. It is very hard to judge
how this would play out on the day of the England match. There might be big
opposition demonstrations, met with a violent police response, leading to
the loss of control.

"In terms of managing a demonstration, we have been advised that the
Zimbabwean police could contain small to medium disorder, but would probably
do so in a pretty brutal fashion. If there was serious disorder, the army
might be called in."

John Read, ECB director of corporate affairs, who was at the Foreign Office
meeting, contradicted Bevan, saying: "There was no explicit reference to a
cache or arms being used against the England cricket team, but against the
World Cup in a wider sense."

Bevan immediately retorted: "They did put it in the minutes and there were
2,000 rounds of ammunition there." Lamb waded in by saying: "The mayor of
Harare is not responsible for security in Harare."

There was no hiding the divide. Lamb consoled himself by saying: "What the
players have not said today is that they are refusing to play the match. "
Bevan's hope is that something will turn up. He said: "World Cup organisers
have indicated that the fixture can be moved as late as Sunday, Feb 9, and
therefore we are keen to take as much time as necessary to ensure the right
decision is made."

The ace in Bevan's pack may be the Australian players, who are also said to
be restive.

A similar statement by them could add to ICC pressure but, with India and
Pakistan saying nothing, such action would reveal a racial divide on this
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The Australian

US citizens get Zimbabwe warning

January 28, 2003
THE United States has warned US citizens of the risk of travelling to
Zimbabwe amid ongoing political, economic and humanitarian crises and said
Americans in the country now should consider leaving.

"Zimbabwe is in the midst of political, economic and humanitarian crises
with serious implications for the security situation in the country," the
State Department said.

"All US citizens in Zimbabwe are urged to take those measures they deem
appropriate to ensure their well-being, including consideration of departure
from the country," it said.

The statement noted increased crime and lawlessness due to a "precipitous
decline" in Zimbabwe's economy that had sent the unemployment and inflation
rates soaring.

In addition, it said existing food shortages could result in famine that
would, in turn, lead to general unrest and a further deterioration of the
security situation.

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EU fails to renew Zimbabwe sanctions

afrol News, 27 January - The European Union's council of Foreign Ministers
today failed to reach an agreement on a renewal of the targeted sanctions,
including a travel ban, in place against the Zimbabwean authorities, which
expire on 18 February. President Robert Mugabe will attend a Franco-African
summit in Paris the very next day.

According to the current Greek Presidency of the EU, the Council today "had
an exchange of views on the common position concerning some restricted
measures against Zimbabwe," indicating the discussions had been rough. No
conclusion was reached, but the Council was to "further discuss the issue in
the light of that exchange of views."

Most EU states, in particular Britain and the Netherlands, had urged the
Council to renew the EU sanctions that prevent senior Zimbabwean officials -
including President Mugabe - from travelling to Europe. The sanctions were
put in place by the EU on 18 February 2002, "following the organisation of
elections considered as not free and fair, political violence used notably
against the opposition, serious violations of human rights and restrictions
on the media," the Greek EU Presidency recalls.

These EU sanctions also include an embargo on the sale, supply or transfer
of arms and technical advice, assistance or training related to military
activities and an embargo on the sale or supply of equipment that could be
used for internal repression, as well as a travel ban on certain members of
the government of Zimbabwe and others "bearing a particular responsibility
for the observed violations."

Following an official French invitation to President Mugabe to attend the
February Franco-African summit, the renewal of the sanctions had however
been disputed. French President Jacques Chirac - himself under pressure from
most African Heads of State to invite Mr Mugabe - has called for "dialogue"
on human rights with the Zimbabwean President. It is assumed that the
renewal of sanctions failed over French protests.

Also the Portuguese government is reported to have supported the French
point of view of lifting the travel ban. Portugal is also under pressure
from its Lusophone ex-colonies to invite the Zimbabwean government to a
Europe-Africa summit due to take place in Lisbon in April. Portugal wants to
avoid the embarrassment experienced by the Danish government last year, when
a Europe-Africa summit had to be moved from Copenhagen to Maputo
(Mozambique) after a controversy over whether to invite Mr Mugabe.

The new French and Portuguese policies towards Zimbabwe - especially
inviting Mr Mugabe to Paris - has angered several European countries and the
Zimbabwean opposition. The British government recalled that sanctions had
only been put in place after several attempts to discuss human rights with
President Mugabe had proven a failure. French Foreign Minister, Dominique de
Villepin, however yesterday repeated: "We invited Mr Mugabe to Paris and we
hope he comes. We should apply flexible sanctions."

The Zimbabwean opposition, led by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
has called for continued international pressure against the Mugabe regime,
which it holds responsible for "rising cases of torture" and other human
rights violations. Pressure against Zimbabwe - and the ongoing economic
collapse - had led to speculations that the ruling ZANU-PF party was
considering a coalition with the MDC, sending President Mugabe into exile.

The Harare opposition newspaper 'Daily News' also was disappointed after it
found Mr Chirac joining a "conspiracy against Zimbabwe." It was not
difficult to see "the hand of the South Africans and the Nigerians in this
plot to weaken even further the EU stance against the Mugabe government,"
the Harare daily noted. South Africa and Nigeria had been key African
countries in preventing even further isolation of Zimbabwe's regime.
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ABC Australia

Tue, Jan 28 2003 3:33 PM AEDT

ICC chief Malcom Speed insists it is still safe to play in Zimbabwe. [Getty Images]

Aussie team to debate Zimbabwe issue

The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) says it has "increased concerns" about Australia playing in Zimbabwe during next month's World Cup and will talk to the players after tonight's Allan Border Medal ceremony in Melbourne.

The English team left Adelaide airport en route to South Africa this morning after urging the International Cricket Council (ICC) to abandon plans to play in Zimbabwe.

English players' spokesman Richard Bevan says the squad is concerned about the "moral, political and safety issues" surrounding the matches.

"The players urge all parties to move the fixture to South Africa and pay the Zimbabwe Cricket Union appropriate compensation," Mr Bevan said.

There are also concerns over the reported discovery of an arms cache, allegedly for use by opponents of President Robert Mugabe against England's cricketers.

Last weekend it emerged that England players, on their recently concluded tour of Australia, had received anonymous letters at their Sydney hotel warning them of violence if they go ahead with their match in Zimbabwe.

The ACA says it is in daily contact with the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) and the Department of Foreign Affairs about the issue.

Another regular meeting between players and representatives of the ACB and ACA will be held tomorrow (Wednesday).

So far the ICC has insisted that, despite political pressure, it will not move matches from Zimbabwe in protest at the regime of President Robert Mugabe.

It is due to reconsider Zimbabwe's host status at an executive board meeting on Friday.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed says nothing has changed, and has rejected the England players' plea.

Speed insists the ICC's independent security experts say it is still safe to play in Zimbabwe.

"As it currently stands, based on this expert advice the ICC board continues to see no reason to move the games," Mr Speed said.

"Should the situation change there is in place the system to alert the ICC to this and a proper decision-making process to deal with any need to relocate games," he added.

On Friday, Mr Speed confirmed the Zimbabwe matches could be moved to South Africa, where the bulk of the February 8 to March 23 World Cup's 54 fixtures are taking place, as late as four days in advance.


English cricket chiefs may ask the ICC for a special exemption to allow their World Cup match in Zimbabwe to be moved to South Africa.

They will argue their tournament-opening match against Zimbabwe in Harare on February 13 is especially sensitive because of the "historical ties between the two countries".

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tim Lamb said: "We might be able to argue that there is a special case and request having the fixture against Zimbabwe moved to South Africa."

Mr Lamb says cricket cannot afford a situation where the games in Zimbabwe are also the scenes for anti-Mugabe protests, which could be "ruthlessly suppressed with a possible loss of life".

Mr Lamb says there are specific reasons for moving England's match in particular.

"Given the historical ties between the two countries, since the founding of the country and through the southern Rhodesia and independence periods, and in the light of the relationship between the two governments, as well as the fact that England players have been singled out to receive the propaganda leaflet, we might be able to argue that there is a special case and request having the fixture against Zimbabwe moved to South Africa."

Lamb added: "I am not going to say definitely that we will play that card, but I have already dropped a pebble into that pond."

Britain, once the ruling colonial power in Zimbabwe, has enjoyed an often difficult relationship with the troubled southern African state ever since white minority Prime Minister Ian Smith issued a unilateral declaration of independence in what was then Rhodesia in 1965.

After the lengthy civil war which soon ensued, Britain played a key role in facilitating peace talks which led to Mugabe winning power in a multi-racial election in 1980.

But in recent years British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has called for England to pull out of their match in Zimbabwe, has been one of Mugabe's strongest critics.

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England team revolt on Harare

Hussain and his men raise the possibility of a boycott

Paul Kelso and David Hopps in Adelaide
Tuesday January 28, 2003
The Guardian

English cricket was plunged into its deepest crisis since the rebel tours of
South Africa yesterday when Nasser Hussain and his players called for their
controversial World Cup match in Zimbabwe to be rescheduled.
In a statement that raises the possibility of a boycott by the 15-man squad
and places them in conflict with the England and Wales Cricket Board, the
players called on the International Cricket Council to relocate the game to
South Africa.

In marked contrast with the ECB, which has repeatedly said it can consider
only financial, security and "cricketing" issues, the players said moral and
political doubts over the match had informed their decision.

"The England players urgently request the Zimbabwe match on February 13 be
moved to South Africa," the statement said. "Without doubt the issues have
been weighing heavily on the players' minds, taking into account the moral,
political and contractual aspects."

In the statement the players cited increasing unrest in Zimbabwe and
concerns that the match could be a focus for protests against Robert
Mugabe's government.

"The players are greatly concerned for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe
and especially for opposition supporters, who may be targeted by the police
using brute force as indicated by the FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office].
It is very important that no Zimbabwean, or any individual, comes to any
harm because of a cricket match in Harare."

The players' opposition to the game, decided at a team meeting in Melbourne
on Saturday, is far more entrenched than the ECB anticipated and leaves the
squad in direct conflict with their employer.

The ECB has refused to countenance a unilateral boy cott of Zimbabwe on
anything other than security grounds. Yesterday the ECB chief executive Tim
Lamb reiterated his view that the game should go ahead and questioned the
FCO advice cited by the players.

"I have heard nothing in the FCO advice that conflicts with the ICC's
position," he said. "There will be a further meeting of the ICC board on
Thursday but at this moment we back the ICC line. The players have not said
they are going to refuse to play the match."

However, Richard Bevan, managing director of the Professional Cricketers'
Association, declined to rule out the possibility of a boycott. It leaves
the ECB with little choice but to seek a compromise or face a possible

When the ICC board met by teleconference last week to review security in
Zimbabwe the ECB chairman David Morgan made no attempt to have the match
moved, much to the irritation of Bevan and the players. A similar approach
on Thursday is now unthinkable.

Lamb gave an indication of the arguments the ECB will employ as he attempted
to reconcile the players' stance with the ICC's insistence that the game
should go ahead.

"One thing cricket cannot afford is for the image of an outstanding sporting
event to be marred by scenes of mass demonstrations and protests ruthlessly
suppressed with possible loss of life," he said. "The ICC would find it very
difficult to cope with that. It is very important that nothing should
diminish the World Cup."

If the ICC continues to heed its own security advisors, however, there is
little chance of the match being called off. A confidential independent
report, commissioned in secret this month, has concluded that Zimbabwe is
safe for World Cup matches, despite widespread violence, famine and
political unrest.

There is a strong suggestion, however, that the matches due to be played in
Kenya will be switched to South Africa because safety cannot be guaranteed.
This may be used as a precedent if England push for their match to be

There were signs last night that Ali Bacher, the World Cup committee's chief
executive, was open to the possibility. "I'm sure the ECB and the ICC will
give [the players'] sentiments every consideration. If a request came from
the ICC [to move the match], we would be easily able to accommodate that

Meanwhile the first indications that the Australian players share the
misgivings of their English counterparts emerged. Their captain Ricky
Ponting said: "There's a little bit [of concern]. I think there always will
be. I don't know what to expect until we get there, if we're going. That
decision is probably up in the air a little bit."

In Britain, a campaign to raise £1m to pay the compensation the ECB would
have to pay for pulling out of the match in Harare has been launched by the
Aegis Trust and backed by Bob Geldof.

"On a day in which perhaps thousands will die of state-sponsored famine, the
English nation as represented by its cricket team will be guests of its
perpetrator Mugabe," Geldof said. "Against these facts a game of cricket is
wholly absurd."
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      Financial Times

      Call for UN force to check food distribution in Zimbabwe
      By Nicol degli Innocenti and Judy Dempsey

      Published: January 28 2003 4:00 | Last Updated: January 28 2003 4:00

      Zanu-PF membership cards have been in such demand over the past few
weeks in Harare they have run out. There is no mystery behind the sudden
popularity of the ruling party in Zimbabwe's capital, notoriously an
opposition stronghold.

      The "Green Bombers", a new Zanu-PF youth militia that has taken to
presiding over the long queues for food, now demand to see people's party
cards. Those without them are given a simple choice: they can enrol on the
spot and keep their place in the queue, along with their hope of being able
to buy enough to feed their families; or they can refuse and be beaten up
for their defiance. At most, they can hope to be allowed to leave the queue

      Small wonder the Green Bombers' unorthodox enrolment campaign has been
such a success. People are vulnerable. The food shortages, until recently
confined to the rural areas, have spread to the cities. The World Food
Programme (WFP), which has been co- ordinating relief efforts for nearly a
year, is now starting urban feeding schemes.

      Until now, the WFP has endeavoured not to be drawn into Zimbabwe's
increasingly bitter political crisis. It has engaged with the government of
President Robert Mugabe, accepting the decline of the rule of law in
exchange for being allowed to operate unhindered.

      "We have no option but to deal with the government," says one WFP
official. "By not openly antagonising Mr Mugabe, we have succeeded in
setting up a countrywide relief operation free of political interference. We
co-operate with 12 local non-governmental organisations and in December
alone we fed 2m people."

      But now even the tolerant WFP has had enough. In his meeting with Mr
Mugabe last weekend in Harare, James Morris, WFP director, suggested
bringing a United Nations taskforce in to monitor the government's food
distribution to verify its impartiality.

      "Mr Mugabe assured me there is no political interference in food dis-
tribution," says Mr Morris. "But I told him there is a credibility issue
with the rest of the world. There is enough suspicion to warrant UN
monitoring. He said he would discuss it with the cabinet."

      By the WFP's cautious standards this is a strong stance. "We do not
believe Mr Mugabe will accept the UN proposal," says one WFP official, "but
we will keep the pressure on."

      The government strongly denies food is being used as a political

      "The only politicisation of food is in the imagination of those who
want to demonise the government," says July Moyo, minister of labour and
social welfare. "The police patrol the queues just to maintain law and
order, and the national service youths lend a hand. It is normal they should
mobilise in times of need."

      The WFP insists it cannot put an end to the emergency without
liberalisation, scrapping the price controls the government has imposed and,
most urgently, ending the monopoly the state Grain Marketing Board (GMB)

      The GMB is the only legal importer and exporter of wheat and maize,
the staple food. It buys maize at a fixed price of Z$116 (US$2) for 10
kilograms, 18 times lower than the current black market price of Z$2,000.

      "I have told Mr Mugabe he must let the free market work," says Mr
Morris. "With the price of maize fixed well below world and regional market
prices, there is no incentive for the private sector to import."

      But Mr Mugabe maintains food is too important to be left in the hands
of "greedy profiteers". The government blames the shortage of maize
exclusively on the drought. Economists say the collapse in farm output is
because of a combination of factors, including the weather, price controls,
lack of commercial imports and the consequences of the "fast-track" land
reform programme.

      "There is less acreage under cultivation and communal farms do not
have the same yield as large commercial farms," says Mr Morris, "These are
facts. I do not accept the irreversibility of land reform."

      International donors are more worried about the future and the
apparent absence of plans to kick-start agricultural production. "Ask the
government about their policies and you draw a blank," says a western
diplomat. "Even the resettled subsistence farmers are not given the
implements, access to water, seeds or fertiliser they need."

      "We are extending our emergency operation by three months," says Mr
Morris. "But the world will not regard this as a humanitarian emergency
forever. The government must put good policies in place."

      Prospects are bleak. Rainfall is 40 per cent below normal. If it does
not rain in the next couple of weeks, this year's harvest is likely to be
poor. And weather forecasts for the next two agricultural seasons are

      As the forecasts are creating despondency, Zimbabwe's metereological
office has been ordered not to release them until cleared by the president's
office. So the government has intervened, albeit not quite as Mr Morris

      Sanctions dispute threatens summit

      A summit between the European Union and African states was last night
thrown into jeopardy after foreign ministers disagreed over extending
sanctions against Zimbabwe and inviting its president, Robert Mugabe, to
attend the April summit, Judy Dempsey reports from Brussels.

      Britain won wide support for extending the sanctions that expire on
February 18, just before President Jacques Chirac of France hosts his own
Africa summit in Paris to which Mr Mugabe has been invited.

      The UK, however, failed to have the sanctions regime extended as it
became embroiled in the EU-Africa summit Portugal will host in Lisbon. The
sanctions, introduced last year by the EU, entail a travel and visa ban for
Zimbabwe's top leadership. The Portuguese are seeking an exception.
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ABC Australia

Tuesday January 28, 2003 1:04 PM AEDT

England considering Zimbabwe opt-out

English cricket chiefs are considering asking the International Cricket
Council (ICC) for a special exemption to allow their World Cup match in
Zimbabwe to be moved to South Africa.

England's cricket chiefs will argue that their tournament-opening match
against Zimbabwe in Harare on February 13 is especially sensitive because of
the "historical ties between the two countries."

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tim Lamb said Monday:
"We might be able to argue that there is a special case and request having
the fixture against Zimbabwe moved to South Africa."

His comments came after a statement issued on behalf of the England team
asked that the match against Zimbabwe be moved to South Africa, which is
hosting the majority of the World Cup matches.

England players' spokesman Richard Bevan said: "The players urge all parties
to move the fixture to South Africa and pay the Zimbabwe Cricket Union
appropriate compensation."

Bevan also said the England players were "greatly concerned by the moral,
political and safety issues that the fixture in Zimbabwe has raised."

So far the ICC has insisted that, despite political pressure, it will not
move matches from Zimbabwe in protest at the regime of President Robert

It is due to reconsider Zimbabwe's host status at an executive board meeting
on Friday.

Last weekend it emerged that England players, on their recently concluded
tour of Australia, had received anonymous letters at their Sydney hotel
warning them of violence if they go ahead with their match in Zimbabwe.


Lamb, sitting alongside Bevan on Monday, said cricket could not afford a
situation where the games in Zimbabwe were also the scenes for anti-Mugabe
protests which could be "ruthlessly supressed with a possible loss of life".

And, after the conference finished, Lamb added that there were specific
reasons for moving England's match in particular.

"Given the historical ties between the two countries, since the founding of
the country and through the southern Rhodesia and independence periods, and
in the light of the relationship between the two governments, as well as the
fact that England players have been singled out to receive the propaganda
leaflet, we might be able to argue that there is a special case and request
having the fixture against Zimbabwe moved to South Africa."

Lamb added: "I am not going to say definitely that we will play that card,
but I have already dropped a pebble into that pond."

Britain, once the ruling colonial power in Zimbabwe, has enjoyed an often
difficult relationship with the troubled southern African state ever since
white minority Prime Minister Ian Smith issued a unilateral declaration of
independence in what was then Rhodesia in 1965.

After the lengthy civil war which soon ensued, Britain played a key role in
facilitating peace talks which led to Mugabe winning power in a multi-racial
election in 1980.

But in recent years British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has called for
England to pull out of their match in Zimbabwe, has been one of Mugabe's
strongest critics.

On Monday, ICC's Australian chief executive Malcolm Speed rejected the
England players' plea.

He said nothing had changed following a previous ICC executive board meeting
Friday when there was unanimous agreement, including that of ECB chairman
David Morgan, to go ahead with the Zimbabwe matches.

Speed insisted the ICC's independent security experts had said it was still
safe to play in Zimbabwe.

"As it currently stands, based on this expert advice the ICC board continues
to see no reason to move the games," said Speed.

"Should the situation change there is in place the system to alert the ICC
to this and a proper decision-making process to deal with any need to
relocate games," he added.

On Friday, Speed confirmed that the Zimbabwe matches could be moved to South
Africa, where the bulk of the February 8 to March 23 World Cup's 54 fixtures
are taking place, as late as four days in advance.

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The Times

            January 28, 2003

            Letters that forced players to think again
            By Owen Slot

            THE England players received letters from an opposition party in
Zimbabwe that were long, detailed and carefully presented in order to sow
doubt in their minds as to their safety when they are in Zimbabwe. It was to
these letters that Nasser Hussain referred on Friday when he told David
Morgan, the ECB chairman, that his team were unhappy about playing in
            The letters, sent by a political opposition group named
Organised Resistance, say that the policies of President Robert Mugabe are
strangling the growth of cricket in Zimbabwe. They also detail the
oppression employed by Mugabe to rule his country.

            Most cleverly, though, they put under the microscope the
security report prepared by the ICC in December and pick holes in it, thus
suggesting that the players will not be as secure as the ICC would have them

            "The report fails, either by choice or incompetence, to deal
with the internal history of terrorism," the letter says. It then lists a
number of websites where the facts can be found. And where the report says
that "no foreign tourist has been killed in Zimbabwe for political motives",
the letter again lists internet addresses where this is shown not to be the

            Where the report states that a one-day international between
Pakistan and Zimbabwe last November was trouble-free, the letter counters:
"Activists managed to achieve material breaches of security during this
game. We will not divulge the full nature of these breaches at this stage as
this would compromise our initiatives should the games not be moved from
Zimbabwe. We must stress that our initiatives would take the form of
nonviolent civil disobedience. However, we cannot speak on behalf of the
more radical groups in Zimbabwe."

            The letter concludes with an appeal to the consciences of the
England players. If they played, it says, "you would be letting down the
next generation of cricketers and the millions of Zimbabweans who are
attempting to turn their country into a place where there is freedom,
democracy and the release from hunger and poverty".
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From The Cape Times, 28 January

'War veterans' order attack on Zim farmer

By Basildon Peta

A Zimbabwean farmer has been seriously injured in an attack by suspected
Zanu PF members. Michael Caine, 34, was taken to a Harare hospital in a
serious condition on Monday. His father, Richard Caine, said the family was
awaiting a specialist's report on the extent of his injuries. He said his
son had been beaten by young men "being used by people who claim to be war
veterans" who wanted to grab the farm. "I am not 100 percent sure whether
these youths are the green bombers (Zanu PF youth militias), but they were
sent by people who claim to be war veterans." His son had been ambushed as
he switched on the electricity on the farm, near Harare, early on Monday,
Caine sen said. "I chased the attackers away... If I had not been there,
something worse could have happened." Although the government claims it has
completed its land reform programme, there have been reports of renewed
violence against farmers in the past week.
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Fuel Crisis Cripples Courts' Operations

The Herald (Harare)

January 28, 2003
Posted to the web January 28, 2003


THE on-going fuel shortage yesterday hit operations of the Harare
Magistrate's courts after the Zimbabwe Prison Services failed to bring
suspects for hearings.

The ZPS usually brings between 150 and 200 suspects remanded in custody for
hearings in a day.

But yesterday only a few suspects on fast-track trials from the Harare
Remand Prison were brought to the courts.

Prison officers indicated that few suspects had been brought to court due to
the dwindling fuel supplies allocated to the ZPS.

Lawyers and relatives of the accused were not amused with the situation as
most of the suspects were remanded in absentia.

Among those affected were convicted housebreaker Tendai Faku and notorious
armed robber Ronald Chirara.

Faku was last year jailed for 10 years and is still to be tried on several
other charges of robbery.

Long winding queues have become the order of the day at filling stations in
Harare and surrounding areas with no immediate solution to the fuel shortage
that has gripped the country since the end of last year.

The shortage has resulted in some people selling petrol at exorbitant prices
of $1 000 per litre.

In some parts of Harare, the black market is now thriving with unscrupulous
dealers selling fuel from their homes, work places and even from the
back-door at filling stations.

Some commuter omnibus operators are capitalising on the crisis and
overcharging commuters.

For instance, commuters are being charged $100 for a trip from the city to
Mabelreign while the stipulated fare is $70

During peak hours some operators are increasing fares to as high as $150.
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Mail and Guardian

France scuppers EU Zimbabwe sanctions

      28 January 2003 10:15

The European Union's policy on Zimbabwe was in disarray last night as
foreign ministers failed to agree on a new package of sanctions because of a
row over France's controversial invitation to Robert Mugabe to attend a
summit in Paris.

In Zimbabwe, the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said more than 1 000 of
his supporters had been tortured in the past year by the Mugabe regime, and
called for an investigation by the UN, Commonwealth and Interpol.

His Movement for Democratic Change said it was "frustrated and
disappointed", by the EU's failure to agree further sanctions.

The EU's visa ban, assets freeze and other punitive measures imposed on
Zimbabwe's president and his top aides last year are due to expire next
month, but have become embroiled in angry disagreements and recriminations.

George Papandreou, foreign minister of Greece, the current holder of the
EU's presidency, said after what diplomats called a "difficult" meeting in
Brussels that another attempt would have to be made to forge consensus. EU
ambassadors are expected to meet on the issue later this week.

He warned that an EU-Africa summit, scheduled for Lisbon in April, might not
go ahead.

Britain and five other member states warned that they will not send their
heads of government to Lisbon if Mugabe is invited. Several African
countries have said they will not attend if the Zimbabwean leader is absent.

The crisis over the EU's so-called "smart" sanctions has come to a head over
France's decision to invite Mugabe to a Franco-African summit in Paris on
February 19, a day after the measures are due to expire.

France came under fire for breaking ranks with its partners, but if any of
its critics had objected, Paris would have blocked the renewal of the
sanctions, which must be agreed unanimously.

"The important thing is to ensure that we have the sanctions and continue to
make clear our disapproval about the way the Mugabe regime works," one
diplomat said.

Officials said a possible compromise was for future sanctions to be governed
by majority voting if a country sought an exemption.

France says it wants to discuss democracy and human rights with the
Zimbabwean leader. Dominique de Villepin, the French foreign minister, said
the measures should be interpreted "flexibly".

The sanctions were imposed last year in protest against elections that the
EU and the US branded unfair and illegitimate. They were also in response to
the confiscation of white-owned farms and the crackdown on the independent
press, the judiciary and the opposition.

Anna Lindh, Sweden's foreign minister, said: "It gives a very strange signal
if the EU is having sanctions against Zimbabwe and at the same time is
inviting Mugabe, even if it is one country inviting him to a special

Glenys Kinnock, the British Labour MEP, said: "The future of EU sanctions
has now been thrown into a melting pot which threatens the very survival of
those sanctions."

The whole episode has shown the EU at its most ineffective, conducting
laborious negotiations to agree a common policy only to have individual
member states seek exceptions.

The United States has already called the French invitation regrettable and
urged the EU to enforce the travel ban against Mugabe and his close

In Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai said the spate of regime-led violence had resulted
in some 30 political murders in the country between January and November

"Our leaders are arrested, often on trumped-up charges, in order to torture
them," he told a news conference. "A number of MDC party functionaries have
been tortured and subsequently died as a result."

Amnesty Interational and Zimbabwe's Human Rights Forum have also reported an
alarming rise in cases of torture in Zimbabwe. They said police stepped up
torture of opposition members, including four members of parliament, in an
effort to crush dissent ahead of the cricket World Cup matches to be played
in Zimbabwe, and forthcoming diplomatic efforts to resolve Zimbabwe's
political and economic crisis.

The calls follow the torture allegations by an opposition MP, Job Sikhala,
and his lawyer, Gabriel Shumba. - Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers
Limited 2001
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Business Report

Zimbabwe farmers get R400m loan
January 28 2003 at 08:08AM

Harare - Standard Bank Group's Zimbabwe unit would lend Z$2.5 billion (about
R400 million) to black farmers taking over white-owned farms, the
state-controlled Herald newspaper said, citing an accord the bank had signed
with the government.

Farmers undertaking livestock production, dairy farming, horticulture and
wildlife programmes would qualify
for loans.

The newly settled farmers would soon receive leases of at least 35 years on
the land given to them by the government. Standard Bank would finance the
purchase of tractors, irrigation and other farm equipment.

Other companies that had pledged support included Delta, 23 percent owned by
SABMiller, which said it would spend US$18.2 million.

President Robert Mugabe's government has seized about 95 percent of
white-owned commercial farms, refusing to pay compensation. The farms are
for resettlement by blacks who were dispossessed during colonial rule, which
ended in 1980.

This strategy has contributed to a food shortage that has left more than 6
million Zimbabweans facing starvation, according to the UN. - Bloomberg
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Peace prize for Zimbabwean students' union

afrol News, 28 January - The Zimbabwe National Student Union (ZINASU) today
was awarded a Norwegian students' peace prize for its "efforts to promote
democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe." The prestigious Student Peace
Prize, which is awarded every second year, includes an award of Norwegian
kroner 50,000 (US$ 7,250).

ZINASU was awarded the prize for its fight for students' rights, the
Oslo-based committee today announced. The nine-member committee includes
Norway's ex-Foreign Minister Thorvald Stoltenberg and representatives of the
country's leading student organisations.

The committee's decision was based on ZINASU's active protests against
"forced education in patriotic issues that were obliged by the regime."
ZINASU also had protested privatisation of student quarters and canteens and
government's "dramatic increase of university fees by 3000 percent."

The committee further emphasised that ZINASU had fought for the right of
ordinary students to still be able to access higher grade education and
"that the universities still be an arena of free discussion and
opinion-making." Zimbabwean student also had led the fight for freedom of
expression and the fight against AIDS.

Thus, "ZINASU has been noted as a very important player in the fight against
the repressive regime of President [Robert] Mugabe," the official reasoning
for awarding the prize said. "They have demonstrated that student politics
hardly can be divided from national political challenges, and have done
their work on this reasoning."

According to the Norwegian students' committee, Zimbabwean student have been
victims of increasingly harsh government persecution, "but have continued
their struggle risking the own lives and health." The award was to
appreciate their "admirable" dedication for fellow students and "the
population at large."

Tinashe Chimedza, ZINASU Secretary-General, agrees there is a common
struggle for Zimbabwean students and society at large. "As members of a
society, we have a direct responsibility to take care of society at large;
not only of our selves," he told the Norwegian committee. "Taking on this
responsibility involves several serious consequences for the activists of
the organisation," the student leader however adds.

ZINASU remains one of the few civil society organisations of size managing
to curb undermining efforts by the Harare regime. During increased
government repression, the students' union has taken a clearer focus on
human rights issues. "ZINASU is a dynamic organisation that may play an
important part in the further struggle for democracy," Norwegian students

The Norwegian committee said it believed the award would "be an
encouragement and a challenge to [Zimbabwean] student to continue this
struggle, and at the same time being an appreciation of the work that has
already been done."

Although the union's fight for general human rights in Zimbabwe has been
given much attention, ZINASU also has to defend its members against enhanced
government control of the universities. "Robert Mugabe is both headmaster of
all our universities and President of our country," explains Itai Zimunya,
the union's Vice-President. "He controls everything, and we want to push for
his departure."

According to Mr Zimunya, Zimbabwean barely can afford to study nowadays,
students not being even able to afford one meal a day. He fears that
government will push even harder to crush ZINASU's resistance. "Government
has embarked on a new strategy to crush us," he says. "If we are
demonstrating or protesting something, they send in 'war veterans' and mobs
to beat us up."

The Norwegian Student Peace Prize is awarded every second year and "goes to
a student or a student organisation that has done a particular effort for
democracy and human rights." With this award, Norwegian students wish to
give support and attention to students that have done a particular effort
for these important rights, and highlight the role of students in peace
processes worldwide.

The prize-winner receives kroner 50,000, and is invited to Norway to receive
the prize, the committee informs. "But equally important," Zimbabwean
students were to visit Norwegian colleagues in several university and
college towns. "This way, he will get a chance to present [their] case to
Norwegian students, and draw attention to the conflict in question."

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Daily News

      Bid to oust war vet leader widens rift in Zanu PF

      1/28/2003 12:05:44 PM (GMT +2)

      From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

      Cracks have widened in the Zanu PF camp in Bulawayo after a vote of no
confidence was passed in Jabulani Sibanda, the provincial chairman, by the
party's central committee members in the city.

      The development follows the arrest of provincial political commissar,
Mazwine Gumpo, for allegedly organising a demonstration against
Vice-President Joseph Msika.

      Msika, who was in the city last week, was heckled by a group of Zanu
PF supporters when he attended a meeting where the ouster of Sibanda was

      Dumiso Dabengwa, one of the central committee members who attended the
meeting on Thursday where the vote of no confidence was passed, on Sunday
said a report would be lodged with the politburo, the party's supreme
decision-making organ on the issue.

      "We have sent a report to the Vice-President Joseph Msika," he said.
      Sibanda, apparently basking in the support he enjoys among party
supporters, appeared unshaken by the move which he described as "nonsense".

      He said: "I was not elected by the central committee, neither was I
elected by the central committee member who wrote the damning report.
      "I was elected with them and not by them. I was elected by the people
and it is the people who will decide."

      The development has further weakened Zanu PF's waning support base in
      Zanu PF supporters interviewed on Sunday said they were fully behind
Sibanda and threatened to take action if he was ousted.

      The supporters who staged a demonstration against Msika and other
politburo members carried placards some of which read: "Down with Joseph
Msika" and, "Long Live Comrade Jabulani Sibanda".

      Sibanda is the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association
chairman for the province.

      He has been very vocal against the alleged looting of maize grain from
the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) by senior Zanu PF officials who allegedly
re-sold the scarce commodity at exorbitant prices.

      Sibanda has also been accused of organising a demonstration at the GMB
depot early this month.

      Gumpo and two other Zanu PF activists, Jackson Thebe, and Collen
Dziba, appeared in court last week charged under the Public Order and
Security Act for failing to notify the police of the demonstration.

      They were remanded on free bail to 7 February.

      The arrest last week of the provincial political commissar and his
colleagues brings to 37 the number of Zanu PF supporters and war veterans
perceived to be Sibanda's supporters.

      The other 34 members were arrested during the GMB demonstrations.

      They are out on $2 000 bail each.

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Daily News

      Defence lawyers accuse witness in Nkala case of lying

      1/28/2003 11:59:38 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      LAWYERS representing six suspects in the Cain Nkala murder trial, said
yesterday Bryne Bonda, 20, a nephew to one of the accused persons, had
either been bribed by the police or was unduly influenced by the political
nature of the case.

      On Friday Bonda said a pair of shoes and their laces recovered by the
police were the ones which he gave to his uncle, Sazini Mpofu, one of the

      Advocate Erick Morris, while cross-examining Bonda, however, said
although the pair of shoes recovered by the police were worn out, Bonda had
told the court that he had given his uncle relatively new shoes only two and
a half weeks earlier.

      Morris said Bonda, despite his evidence, did not hesitate to say the
old shoes were the same pair which had been recovered by the police.

      Bonda is a nephew of Sazini Mpofu, charged along with Khethani
Sibanda, Remember Moyo, the MP for Lobengula-Magwegwe, Fletcher
Dulini-Ncube, the MDC national director of security, Sonny Nicholas Masera,
and Army Zulu, with the murder of Bulawayo war veteran leader Nkala in
November 2001.

      Morris said: "The shoes now had holes in the heels of the sole, marks
on the uppers probably caused by oil paint and amateurish repairs, and
despite these differences you had no hesitation to say they were the same.

      "When did you write-off the $2 400 that Mpofu owed you for an earlier
pair of shoes you bought for him? Was it in return for the 30 pieces of
silver that the police gave you?"

      Testifying earlier, Bonda gave evidence which might have incriminated
      He said a pair of shoes and their laces recovered by the police where
the ones which he gave to Sazini Mpofu, his uncle.

      But under cross-examination yesterday, he agreed the shoe-laces
produced in court could just have been similar to the ones on the shoes he
gave Mpofu. But, he maintained the shoes were the same.

      It has not yet been revealed in court where the shoes and laces were
      Advocate Happias Zhou, another defence lawyer, said Bonda was aware of
the politically-charged environment while he was at Nkulumane Police
      Station and this might have influenced him to incriminate his uncle.

      Advocate Edith Mushore said Bonda knew of his uncle's
widely-publicised arrest and told the police what they wanted to hear so
they could quickly release him.

      She pointed out Bonda's failure to inform the police that the shoes
they had recovered were not the ones he had given to Mpofu as they were worn

      The police, she said, failed to conduct a proper identification parade
since they had showed Bonda only one pair of shoes.

      The trial before Justice Sandra Mungwira, continues today with the
State calling its fourth witness.
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Daily News

      None so blind as Makombe not to see the genocide

      1/28/2003 12:03:17 PM (GMT +2)

      By R C J Bezuidenhout

      The leader page article by L Makombe on 20 January 2003 was not only
embarrassingly poor writing, but also full of pathetic arguments and
homophobic statements.

      Who is this Makombe, and what gives him the right to decide whom the
majority of Zimbabweans will vote for? Does he honestly believe that there's
rule of law in the country because MDC supporters are given bail? Why, in
the first place, are they

      Is having a different view from the ruling party really a crime in a
      Makombe, if you do not believe there is genocide taking place in this
country, why don't you take a trip to Bulilima and talk to Bambadzi Ncube,
and try eating worms to survive? You must be very naive if you think this
mass starvation is due to drought.

      In a well-managed economy people are not allowed to die of hunger,
especially in a country (that was) so rich in farming expertise, resources
and production. The MDC cannot be blamed for this.

      We all know who has been ruling this land for the past 22 years. Yes,
Makombe, there is systematic genocide in this country, through starvation of
the masses who are being punished for not voting for Zanu PF. We all know
the last two elections were rigged.

      Since the government has not yet made the census statistics public, we
do not know how many Zimbabweans have left, or are dead or are "greedy
economic refugees outside the country".

      The next census, hopefully under a new government, will reveal the
extent of President Mugabe's slow, but certain, genocide. Not only Peter
Tatchell, but the whole world, will recognise the extent of this

      The reason the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai who, it must be stated
plainly, is the elected President of this country is out on bail in the face
of trumped-up treason charges, is that he is not guilty and the government
is ensuring a subverted judiciary before bringing him to court for this
blatantly fabricated charge.

      As for Tsvangirai demonising Robert Mugabe, you seem to be attempting
to do exactly that to Tsvangirai. Have you not heard of POSA, the so-called
Public Order and Security Act?

      Anyone demonising Mugabe or any of his cohorts is arrested immediately
and beaten up and probably poisoned while in detention too. Ask MPs Job
Sikhala and Tafadzwa Musekiwa.

      Certainly Shonas and Ndebeles co-exist and inter-marry, but have you
forgotten what happened in Matabeleland in the early 80s? The Matabeles who
lost 20 000 relatives have not forgotten.

      It amazes me that you actually admit "that the situation is not good
in the country, especially economically", and you are one of the lucky 30
percent employed.

      It further amazes me that you try to lay the blame on the MDC for
advocating change, be it through sanctions or peaceful protest and have the
gall to talk about "the political party trying to uplift the well-being of
the people".

      Which party? Zanu PF? They have been spending money freely on
themselves and on globe-trotting for the past 22 years and not given a damn
for the people. Haven't you heard that Mugabe's sister, his nephews and all
party heavyweights are helping themselves to land allocated to war veterans
and poor landless peasants? I know because my farm is one of them.

      The most amazing statement of all is "Why are the racists and
imperialists saying Mugabe must go?" I am sure that, whatever your true
identity is, Makombe, if you took time to get out on the streets and talk to
ordinary folk, they would tell you exactly why.

      Because, contrary to what you think, it is not the imperialists who
are saying that Mugabe must go, it is all the citizens of Zimbabwe who have
grown so weary of that man.

      I could go on tearing that whole article to shreds; it was utter
garbage and, quite frankly, if I had been the editor, I would not have
allowed it to go to print.
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