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

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      Too much fear breeds misery in the land

      1/8/2003 2:54:58 PM (GMT +2)

      BY Farai Kotezi

      I have wondered for many a time how the situation in Zimbabwe can be
changed, but I have seen no light at the end of the tunnel.

      I am sorry to say that all our problems are a result of our own
shortcomings. Africa as a whole has the potential to dominate the world at
every level that affects our day-to-day lives, but the challenges facing
Africans seem too great for the majority and we have been reduced to the
point where we look at people of other continents green with envy.

      If you could just take some time off, I could try to explain to you my
understanding of the way things are and try also to show you the way they
could be.

      The so-called First World countries have their economies based on
manufacturing, which accounts for over 60 percent of their respective gross
domestic products which has given rise to the need for international trade.
      In theory international trade should uplift everyone's living standard
in the medium to long term, but the skewed rules which are applied
particularly against the peoples of Africa have resulted in the benefits
that in theory are supposed to flow as a result of this trade not being
realised by the majority of the people.

      This alone has been the single most powerful tool used by the West,
especially against the people of Africa, in this post-colonial period where
brute force is no longer an option. Economies of Europe and the United
States are at the level where growth is no longer possible unless new
inventions are made and/or there is a significant increase in consumption
both at domestic and international level, whereas in Africa or the Third
World, there exists a range of opportunities that can provide the
springboard from which we as Africans can elevate ourselves to our rightful
place as equals in a world in which economic emancipation is the only way in
which a people can demand to be treated as equals.

      Maybe it is the biblical Noah's curse on his black son Shem that is
constantly keeping us on our knees with a begging bowl in front. I, however,
do not believe in curses - not to take anything from the biblical story as
Shakespeare put it in his book Julius Caesar, the fault lies not in the
stars - but men are masters of their own fate.

      As a philosopher Shakespeare made an interesting insight, but I would
finish it like this: "Other men determine other men's fate."

      Our respectable elders have been given this role and I would have to
be naive to say they are doing a great job. The thing is, should we set our
priorities right we have no need for aid, but this inability of us to do
this will keep us in this situation for a longer time to come and Africa
will remain the dark continent.

      In Zimbabwe as we speak we have problems emanating from these problems
of good governance. We have an economy shrinking at the fastest rate in the
world and starvation is imminent.

      These problems are a direct result of poor management of the economy
caused by a few old men refusing to call it quits in a war of the government
versus the people. In this process of repression a number of very foolish
decisions have been made which are necessary for those in power to remain

      Let's take for example the Joy TV saga. In a country with unemployment
as high as 60 percent stopping or standing in the way of enterprises that
will result in employment should be taboo, but not in Zimbabwe where the
freeing of the airwaves will result in the voices of the masses being heard.
      Too much fear breeds misery in the land, so says Ngugi wa Thiongo in
the book Matigari. This is the situation in Zimbabwe today, too much fear
has brought us to our knees.

      I only hope that we as a people will somehow gather the courage that
is needed to stand up so that our voices can be heard.

      To my fellow brothers and sisters I say maybe docility was
indoctrinated into us by the colonialist regime, but let us not be like
Somalia and realise when it is too late that we must stand up for our

      It happened in Ivory Coast and Yugoslavia. People power can do
miracles. Even the mighty US bowed out of Vietnam when the people showed
that they did not support the war. It can happen here as well. Let us strike
the iron while it is still hot.

      I will end with a line from one of Bob Marley's songs: "Get up, stand
up, stand up for your rights."
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Daily News

      Beatrice farmer evicted

      1/8/2003 2:44:57 PM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      JOHAN Muller, a commercial farmer in Beatrice, was on Friday forced
off his farm by a group of people claiming they were allocated land on the
      Muller, who owns Silver Oak Farm, said he stopped farming last month,
after continued disruption by suspected war veterans who accused him of
defying a government order to vacate the farm.

      Muller said he identified his attackers as Richard Kapamba, Patrick
Mushangwe and Cuthbert Mutamba.

      He suspected they were paving the way for a prominent person to take
over the farm.

      "I am not sure of the person who might move in," he said. "If the
police had come to the farm I could not have left my $60 million investment
go down the drain."

      Muller yesterday said he surrendered to the war veterans' demands
after they threatened to harm him.

      The farmer's eviction came barely two weeks after the war veterans
evicted the farm workers, allegedly for supporting Muller.

      Muller said he had a good working relationship with his workers, which
could have led to their eviction.

      "There are more people who have been evicted than those who have been
resettled on Silver Oak farm," said Muller.

      He said a few of the farm workers had homes in Mhondoro communal lands
while some were descendants of migrant workers from Malawi and Zambia.
      "The farm workers had planted 25 hectares of maize," he said. "The war
veterans have taken over the maize fields and have threatened to harm those
who return to the farm."

      John Worswick, the vice-chairperson of Justice for Agriculture, said
the eviction was illegal because Muller's farm was delisted in April last
      "His farm was delisted and at no point did he receive section 5 or 8
orders from the government. His farm is not being acquired for resettlement
at all," he said.
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Don't go to Zimbabwe Blair tells England team

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Tony Blair has heaped pressure on cricket
authorities to stop the England team playing in Zimbabwe but insists he has
no power to prevent them going.
Ministers will meet officials from the England and Wales Cricket Board (CEB)
on Thursday to discuss their dilemma over World Cup matches being staged in
Zimbabwe but the government's wishes are already crystal clear.

"We have expressed our view very clearly that they should not go but as with
the decision over the 1980 Olympics, it is not within our power or ability
to order people not to go," Blair told parliament on Wednesday.

"We have made it quite clear to the cricket authorities that we believe that
it is wrong that they should go. I hope they take account of that advice."

Former prime minister Margaret Thatcher urged British athletes to boycott
the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.
Her plea fell largely on deaf ears.

Zimbabwe is scheduled to host six of the 54 matches in the World Cup
tournament being staged mainly in South Africa from February 9 to March 23.
The Australian government has also raised concerns about playing there.

The ECB has been put under increasing pressure to boycott the match England
are due to play in Harare on February 13 following President Robert Mugabe's
controversial land reform programme, which opponents blame for the country's
deepening economic crisis and food shortages.

Several England players, including captain Nasser Hussain, and ECB chiefs
have said that if the decision to boycott the Zimbabwe game is a political
one then it should be taken by the government, not a sporting body.

The government will be represented by Sports Minister Tessa Jowell and
Foreign Office Minister Baroness Amos at Thursday's meeting.

Officials said another ECB wish, for compensation should they agree to pull
out, is unlikely to be agreed to.
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Fuel Supply Situation in Harare Tight

The Herald (Harare)

January 8, 2003
Posted to the web January 8, 2003


THE fuel supply situation was tight yesterday with only a few service
stations selling petrol in Harare.

Most service stations throughout the city were without the commodity,
leaving only a few battling with long queues.

Almost all the service stations owned by Mobil Oil Zimbabwe, for instance,
were without the commodity, with attendants saying they were not sure when
they would receive the next deliveries.

The service stations that were serving petrol included Caltex in Kaguvi
Street, Houghton Park and Graniteside; BP in Budiriro; and those owned by
Total in Chinhoyi Street and Glen Norah B.

There were long queues at some of the filling stations that had petrol.

There was a short queue at BP Budiriro and petrol was being served without
hassles that have characterised queues since the shortages re-surfaced last

But there was a long queue and confusion at Engen Service Station in Fourth
Street in the city.

Expectations were that the petrol situation would improve after the festive
season as many motorists returned to work.

The facts regarding the shortages of petrol became complicated in recent
weeks, with the blame being squarely laid upon the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe (Noczim), the sole fuel procurement institution in the country.

Botched deals involving billions of dollars entered into between Noczim and
some banks were also to blame for the shortages.

Some workers at filling stations are also being accused of hiding the
commodity to sell it on the black market at prices as high as $1 000 per
litre, compared to $74,40 per litre at the pump.

The Minister of Energy and Power Development, Cde Amos Midzi, has pledged to
ease the fuel shortage in the new year.

Many people failed to travel during the Christmas and New Year holidays as
they spent most of their time in queues, waiting to get petrol, whose
supplies had become erratic throughout the country.

The shortages of foreign currency being experienced have also impacted
heavily on the country's buying power to order the commodity.

The fuel shortages surfaced in late 1999, almost at the same time the
country started experiencing foreign currency shortages.

The shortages eased after fuel agreements were signed with the Libyan
government to purchase fuel in local currency in return for investment
opportunities and the purchase of some basic commodities.

But the shortages resurfaced recently amid reports that Noczim was planning
to ditch the Libyan deals in favour of other deals that did not guarantee
the importation of fuel into the country.
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Daily News

      Fuel shortage hits the dead

      1/8/2003 2:35:58 PM (GMT +2)

      By Fanuel Jongwe and Sam Munyavi

      The acute fuel shortage is now affecting even the dead: relatives
cannot fulfil the wishes of their dear departed ones to be cremated.

      Bodies awaiting cremation at the Harare City Council's crematorium at
Warren Hills Cemetery are piling up at major funeral parlours because there
is no petroleum gas to fire the furnaces. By yesterday, there were at least
20 bodies lying in funeral parlours in the capital.

      The council's crematorium becomes one of the latest casualties of the
foreign currency shortage which has resulted in long queues of motorists at
filling stations all over the country in a tiring search for scant fuel.

      Cuthbert Rwazemba, the council's spokesman, said: "Our supplier,
Mobil, cannot get the petroleum gas because they do not have the foreign
currency to import it from South Africa.

      "They have asked the council to help source the US$13 500 (Z$742 500
at the official exchange rate) needed and we have written to our parent
ministry, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National
Housing, to assist by persuading the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to grant them
the foreign currency."

      No comment could be obtained from Mobil yesterday. Rwazemba said all
the equipment at the crematorium was in working condition and the council
had the money to buy the foreign currency.

      He said: "Corpses are obviously piling up, but there is really nothing
the council can do unless the foreign currency for the gas is made
      Reverend Noel Alfon, a manager at Funeral and Cremation Services, said
their mortuary in Herbert Chitepo Avenue was full and they were having to
refer bodies to the Doves Funeral Parlour in Harare Street. Three bodies
were transferred to Doves yesterday.

      "We have a capacity for 14 bodies and we are filled up," Alfon said.
"We wrote to the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) on 14 December,
but we haven't received a response up to now."

      An angry Julie Atkinson of Avondale said yesterday the body of her
father, who died at home on 23 December, was still lying in the mortuary at
Funeral and Cremation Services awaiting cremation.

      "I think something has to be said and done about this," Atkinson said.
"I have phoned Noczim for an explanation, but they say the managing director
is busy all the time. The other option is to transport the body to Bulawayo
where the crematorium uses diesel, but I don't want my father's body to be
taken all the way to Bulawayo when we have a perfectly working crematorium
in Harare."

      No comment could be obtained from State-owned Noczim, the main fuel
supplier and distributor in the country.
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'Britain Yet to Fulfil Decolonising Agenda'

The Herald (Harare)

January 8, 2003
Posted to the web January 8, 2003


RELATIONS between Zimbabwe and Britain have over the years soured especially
with the coming into power of the Labour government led by Mr Anthony Blair.
The two countries have traded a accusations with Britain justifying its
interference in the affairs of its former colony by citing alleged lack of
democracy, human rights abuses and the absence of rule of law. To get an
insight into the current relations between the Zanu-PF government and the
Labour government, our Political Reporter Lovemore Mataire yesterday spoke
to the Senior Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cde Willard

Q: Relations between Zimbabwe and Britain are at their lowest ebb with no
solution seemingly in sight. In your view, what is the real root of this
unsound relationship?

A: The fundamental problem behind the current stand-off between Zimbabwe and
Britain is to a large extent to do with the character of the Blair

That is the fundamental problem. Of course the land issue is also central
but there was dialogue, consultation, joint work between the Zanu-PF
government led by Cde Mugabe and the Conservative government led by John

So I think it is basically a personality clash.

Q: But is it that simple? Can one really reduce the whole scope of
differences between the two countries to a mere personality clash?

A: Not really, but the nature of the standoff is new. The nature it has
taken is quite new especially taking into account the character of the Blair
government. I don't think we have major ideological differences with the
British. The major problem we face today is that Britain is yet to fulfil
the decolonising agenda, it has to complete the decolonising of Zimbabwe by
way of assisting substantially the white commercial farmers whose land was
acquired and distributed to the landless black majority.

But the British are not owning up, they are refusing to own up. But now they
have realised that they have no justification for refusing to honour the
Lancaster House Agreement and have decided to internationalise a bilateral
problem between itself and Zimbabwe.

Q: How has this standoff affected the international standing of both
Zimbabwe and Britain including the two countries' social, political and
economic spheres?

A: The decision by Britain to internationalise the land issue has affected
Zimbabwe's international standing and the UK's international image as well.

But Britain has been able to inflict more damage on us because it enjoys
membership of the largest number of multinational organisations than any
other country in the world. You find the British in Nato, in EU, in United
Nations agencies - you will always find a British in the corner.

She has used this diplomatic outreach to demonise Zimbabwe and this has
resulted in the EU for example, imposing sanctions on us.

So Britain is solely responsible for the current problems we have - trying
to manipulate national opinion using her membership to these multinational

Q: But some would argue that some of the problems are of Zimbabwe's own
making. Can we therefore blame Britain for all the various problems the
country is enmeshed in?

A: Is the creation of a surrogate puppet party the creation of President
Mugabe? Why did we not have the same problems in the past? President Mugabe
even fought a closely contested election with Edgar Tekere in 1990.

Of course we have the issue of commodity shortages - fuel and some consumer
goods but who is controlling the strings? The strings are being pulled in
the imperial planning of Britain.

So the problems we are facing are reactions to our principled stance over
the land issue. Had we decided to be a banana republic, these problems would
not have come to us.

So if it is because of our fight to safeguard our sovereignty that we are
being blamed for the current problems - then that question is a metaphysical
one. Zanu-PF is wanting to serve the people and the people want to own their
land and it has not failed them.

Q: So one can say that the fundamental differences between Zimbabwe and
Britain has to do with the land issue?

A: The fundamental cause is the personality and character of the Tony Blair

They appear timid in their foreign affairs when it comes to dealing with
past historical issues concerning Zimbabwe.

They seem like a group of youngsters charged with the responsibility of
looking after the property of their elders. They even become more jittery
when it comes to issues of safety of the property of their masters - who are
the imperial aristocracy, the landed gentry, property gentry whose tentacles
encompasses the entire group.

More than any other party, one feels that Zimbabwe should have the closest
relations with the Labour Party because of its background.

They are afraid that if they mismanage the land issue they would be held
accountable by this class of imperial aristocracy. That's why I said that
there is no ideological quarrel between Zimbabwe and Britain.

Q: From what you are saying I get the impression that Britain has
successfully managed to demonise the Government on the international arena
and that is the reason why we are having all these problems we are facing.
Can we say the British have really been successful in their demonisation and
if so, to what extent have they succeeded?

A: The campaign has been partly successful but it has only succeeded in
powerful countries.

It has succeeded in the EU, which has slapped sanctions on us. It has
succeeded in the US, Australia and Canada but it has failed in other

It has not succeeded in India, Japan, China, the Pacific and Caribbean. The
large humanity has seen justice in our case but unfortunately these
countries do not have equal resources because it is only a smaller section
of the humanity that controls the larger share of wealth that God bequeathed
to us.

It is this small section that is pushing and seeking to isolate us.

But we are happy that even in the so-called developed world there are
flickers of genuine humanity coming out to support our cause not only from
non-governmental point of view but also in the form of governments' support.
Other developed nations are now distancing themselves, respecting our
history while others still want us to remain British subjects.

Q; Our Foreign Affairs Ministry has been criticised for lacking a systematic
approach to the negative campaign launched by the British when the
Government embarked on the land reform programme. The Ministry has been
criticised for not being aggressive enough in countering the international
demonisation of the Government largely instigated by the British. Do you
feel that to a certain extent the ministry is also partly to blame for
international damage inflicted on the country?

A: That criticism is unfair, the reality of the matter is like I have said,
that Britain has a wide network of friendship - associations. In addition to
this it has a wide control over its media which is spread the world over.
That array of power quite obviously reduces the Foreign Affairs gains. We
don't have much control over the media, which in our case is characterised
by the private media, which is in essence the opposition media.

But we have tried our best, our ambassadors are doing their best even
appearing on CNN but for how many times they will continue to appear might
be the question. But I believe that we have done our best and if we have
done so little, I don't think we would have been where we are today. The
reception to President Mugabe's speech at the World Summit for Sustainable
Development in South Africa and even at the UN and in the AU shows that we
have now entered another flip and many countries are beginning to appreciate
our side of the Zimbabwean story.

Q: But one would ask where the Government was when the British were
interfering in our domestic affairs? Were there no laws that prohibit the
direct funding of political parties by foreign governments because one of
the problems like you said was the creation of a surrogate opposition?

A: I would answer that by giving a brief history. In 2000, I was the
secretary for information in the then Ministry of Information, Posts and
Telecommunication. I did organise a workshop and this is the time I blew up
the alarm whistle when I said that Zimbabwe was under siege. Our
institutions were ill prepared for this onslaught.

That is the reason why I commend the Government for disbanding that Ministry
and creating the Department of Information and Publicity in the Office of
the President because that ministry was overburdened with a lot of work. The
Zimbabwean government also responded by investing heavily in this ministry
and I think together with Foreign Affairs that Department has done a
tremendous job in trying to sanitise the image of Zimbabwe and highlighting
the wishes of our people.

Q: Now that the land issue is complete yet you mention it as one of the
fundamental cause of the rift between Zimbabwe and Britain, can we say that
the relations between the two countries are to mend since the land issue is

A: We took so long to realise that no foreign power can give us back our
land. Only black Zimbabweans have the eternal right to reclaim our
entitlement to our birthright. However, the delay in embarking on the land
reform programme was not of our own making. There were other pressing
matters soon after independence needing urgent attention, like the threat of
destabilisation from apartheid South Africa. So we had to do one thing at a

Q: So what next in terms of Zim/Britain relations?

A: As for Zimbabwe there are two agendas. Now that the land is in our hands,
lets make it productive, re-organise the farming sector in such a manner
that we would be able to produce not only for our own subsistence but for
export as well. We need a lot of resources into agriculture.

On the part of the people instead of celebrating in song and dance, we now
have to celebrate through hard work so that we can at least feed ourselves
and produce. On the part of the international area, there is need for the
realisation that the land reform programme is now irreversible and that
should be respected.

The test case has to do with humanitarian assistance to support agriculture
and other social sectors including the health sector.

The international sector also need to recommend to Britain that it is the
act of colonisation that transferred land from blacks to whites. So the
compensation has to come from the British.

As for Britain, we say if they had difficulties in assisting us in acquiring
land, they should no longer worry because we now have that land.

They themselves have said that land redistribution is inevitable and

Since we have now finished the business of acquiring and distributing the
land, there is no basis for animosity but there is a new agenda for the new
farmers and compensation for the white farmers.

We call upon the British to mobilise support for the programme through the
provision of social and agrarian assistance.

Q: But you talk as if the relations between the two countries are now
normal. Do you think Britain has given up because after the land was
acquired, their campaign shifted from the issue of land to issues of
governance, democracy and the rule of law. In essence their agenda is now to
remove President Mugabe through their regime change advocacy?

A: We are getting certain messages from the British government. Really, I
don't see the basis for hostility between the two countries.

The issue of compensation is the only remaining issue and it is the British
who need to fulfil their historical obligation.

I think a stage has now been created where it possible to talk about the
rule of just laws and not just the rule of law.

I think we have to find ways to depersonalise the matter, which is purely a
bilateral one and leave it in the diplomatic domain. Let's go back to the
rules that underwrite bilateral relations. We expect our ambassador in
Britain to act as a bridge between our country and the UK and likewise we
expect Mr Donnelly to be the bridge between his country and our Government.
It may take time but that should be the case.

Q: So what is the way forward? What does the future hold for Zim/UK

A: There are very deep cultural links between Britain and Zimbabwe and we
rate ourselves as one of the leading members practising British culture in
the region. Our education system is modelled along the British system and so
is our concept of democracy.

That's not an act of weakness but a historical reality that came with
colonisation. We need to build on that strong foundation, mutual respect of
each other including our constitutional responsibility and involve in each
other's domestic affairs only through invitation.

Britain should unwind its hate campaign in Europe, the Commonwealth and US.
It is very fundamental that our future relations are based on the British
acceptance to deal with us as a sovereign state. I think that symbiosis can
build our relations.
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Daily News

      Chamisa warns of mass protests if poll is rigged

      1/8/2003 2:48:15 PM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      NELSON Chamisa, the MDC candidate for Kuwadzana constituency,
yesterday warned of mass protests if Zanu PF cheated its way to victory in
the by-election whose dates are still to be announced.

      Chamisa said: "People must never allow Zanu PF to buy their conscience
with a bag of maize-meal.

      "They should know that Zanu PF always waits to manipulate empty
stomachs when there is an election, as it did in Insiza."

      He was reacting to reports that Zanu PF was distributing maize grain
in the constituency, a tactic it employed when it clinched the Insiza seat
from the MDC in a by-election last September.

      Chamisa said the government had impounded maize grain which the MDC
imported from South Africa to feed starving villagers in the Masvingo and
Matabeleland provinces last September.
      "Zanu PF has privatised food distribution and the MDC does not have
the capacity to overturn that," he said. "However, an election must not be
fought on a food crisis such as we are facing."

      Chamisa said the people in Kuwadzana should realise that Zanu PF was
on its way out of power, making way for the MDC.

      "The MDC will introduce a durable programme that lasts beyond the
election," Chamisa said. "We are not like Zanu PF which believes in feeding
people at election time only to dump them afterwards."

      Asked how the opposition party planned to reverse the winning trend
set by Zanu PF in all the by-elections held after the 2000 parliamentary
election, Chamisa said it was clear the MDC had never lost the elections.
      "Those elections were rigged and now is the time for the people of
Kuwadzana to stop the subversion of their will," he said.

      Zanu PF has yet to name its candidate for the Kuwadzana by-election.
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Daily News - letter

      UK-based armchair critics will not help solve our crisis

      1/8/2003 2:59:06 PM (GMT +2)

      Allow me to take this opportunity to dismiss misguided elements who
say a lot of nothings after running away from their country because of other
men who are just like them. While I admit that we need contributions from
outside Zimbabwe, I have problems with people like Shelton Nhamoinesu who
think that it's impossible to fight the struggle the way we see it.

      How does someone in the United Kingdom, probably running away from the
present situation in the country, turn around and condemn the whole nation
for being passive? Nhamoinesu is typical of the MDC leadership style of
being passive and whining on behalf of the poor. I am glad that Nhamoinesu
declares publicly that he was a former MDC branch chairman at the University
of Zimbabwe (UZ). Fortunately, that time I was also the treasurer of the UZ
Students' Union and I know how passive the branch was in terms of practical
solutions and the "chairman" is now in the UK making statement through
newspapers when he never stood for the rights of the same people during the
time he purports to have led the MDC at UZ.

      If MDC is not careful of mercenaries like Nhamoinesu who claims to
know the struggle and is fighting it in UK, then the MDC will perish. The
situation is clear: people are angry and need action - indeed they want mass
      But because of the calibre of MDC leaders represented by the likes of
Nhamoinesu, who after running away from the country, start telling us what
is possible and what is not, we will go nowhere except, perhaps, to
so-called peace talks or taking Zanu PF to its own courts of law in the hope
of winning the presidential election case.

      There is a serious need for Nhamoinesu to consider the places where he
utters his misleading statements from because genuine people do not speak
from UK, especially when they do not have anything better to offer. We can
understand that he might have joined the band of his masters who value donor
funds more than the struggle they claim to lead and it's only noble for him
to defend the opposition leadership hierarchy that could have played a role
in his going to the UK.

      I can understand where he is coming from, especially when he writes an
article responding to certain issues I have raised before, but fails to
articulate what he considers the way forward. If he thinks our solutions too
radical, then it is only sensible for him to propose other methods rather
      just being dismissive of other people's proposals without telling them
what other options they have.

      We now all know how brutal Zanu PF is and the sort of dirty tricks it
resorts to, but we now need real leaders with a solutions, not theories like
the ones chanted by MDC apologists like Nhamoinesu who are after personal
gains from the MDC top hierarchy.

      Madock Tafara Chivasa
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Daily News

      War veteran jailed for stealing from farm

      1/8/2003 2:50:55 PM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Mutare

      A WAR veteran resettled on Whitgift Farm in Odzi was jailed for two
and half years after a Mutare magistrate convicted and sentenced him for
stealing two power electric motors worth over $1 million from the property.

      Herbert Mandeya on Monday sentenced Simon Nyamungonda to five years
but suspended half the term on condition of good behaviour.

      Nyamungonda, 50, was allocated Stand No 3 at Village One on the farm.
      The State alleged that on 26 December 2002, Nyamungonda went to a
water pump engine house on Whitgift Farm and stole a two-horsepower electric
motor and a fan belt.

      Prosecutor Mike Tembo said the former fighter then sneaked into the
workshop and stole another electric motor and fan belt.

      Following the thefts, a group of youths and other settlers on the farm
conducted a search at Nyamungonda's home and recovered the stolen property.

      Nyamungonda pleaded guilty.He said he wanted to use the equipment for
his borehole.Passing sentence, Mandeya said the crime was of a serious
nature and deserved a custodial sentence.

      Meanwhile, in the High Court in Harare, Justice Moses Chinhengo
granted bail of $10 000 each to five touts allegedly hired by Ernest
Mungwari, of Tenda Transport Private Ltd based in Mutare to attack a rival
bus company, Pioneer Transport Private Ltd.

      The five suspects, all believed to be employed by Tenda, face charges
of malicious injury to property after they allegedly attacked the bus,
causing damage valued at $1,5 million.

      Police in Mutare said 30 people were injured in the attack.
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Stop the ICC cricket in Zimbabwe
Newsletter 8
8th January 2003

We had a good meeting with friends opposed to the Cricket tour to
Zimbabwe (and much else) this evening at the House of Commons; I would
about 25-30 turned up including a visiting MP from Zimbabwe (details next

We agreed the following:


We would try and obtain the constitutions of both the ICC and the
ECB to see if we can challenge their aims and objectives in court. Neither
the ICC or the ECB have been forthcoming in providing them so if you have
friendly cricketer or bishop (I see David Sheppard the former Bishop of
Liverpool and England cricketer has come out against the tour tonight) or
contact or want to try yourselves - I need it to see if we can mount a
challenge by issuing a writ.


Everyone has been most helpful and I think this is it:

ICC games - Pepsi & LG are global sponsors and SAA and Honda Hero
(scooters) are the under sponsors

England - probably just Vodafone but still need some work on this

As soon a spossible we will have lists of directors and non
executives for each company that is based in UK; Pepsi and LG may have
from either Oz or UK as Ian Frykberg is an Ozzie.

Broadcasters: we need to find out who is taking the cricket signal
per country; the actual company who owns the broadcaster is what I am
including radio

The cricketers themselves

We would write to each and every England crickter (I will provide
details asap)

Other points raised:

Picketing the team when it arrives back at Heathrow (date might be
either Monday or Tuesday next)
Picketing Lord's at some stage
Where does the MCC stand on this - the ECB and ICC rent office space
from Lord's from them?
Why don't NGOs speak out?
A public and or private meeting with Tim Lamb and Nasser Hussain at
the House of Commons
Archbishop Tutu (any one an email address of his?)
Archbishop of Canterbury (still trying)
27th January 2003 is the anniversary of EU sanctions against
Zimbabwe - what will happen?

Thanks everyone for coming; don't lose faith

As Sam Ramsamy used to say when he was exiled here from SA:

No normal sport in an abnormal society (or something close to that!)

No doubt someone will remind me of the exact quote!


Expect another meeting in the House the week after next
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Comment from ZWNEWS

Zimbabwe in danger of reverting to medieval-style feudal state in 2003

By Michael Hartnack (written 31 December)

As Zimbabwe enters 2003, the entire formal business sector is being driven underground and the elite of Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party are acquiring revered names on the company register at fire-sale prices; several hundred, perhaps several thousand, evicted white farmers surreptitiously try to keep some production going, risking jail terms; independent journalists live in a nebulous state; and the only daily newspaper not controlled by the state is in trouble. In short, Zimbabwe is in danger of returning in 2003 to some form of mediaeval feudal system in which is it impossible to work any piece of ground, operate any enterprise, or pursue any livelihood except with this implicit clause: "You will be faithful in thought, word and deed to the ruling party and their claim to hold on to power at any cost."

The dire plight of many urban businesses is due to orders by the state to sell products at fixed prices despite hyper-inflation above 175 percent. The maximum prices in many instances exceed cost of procurement, particularly where there is some imported content. Some businesses, whether under the new or the old owners, survive by hastily re-packaging their product. Margarine, for example, is labelled "spread", as if it were beef or yeast extract, which is not yet embraced by controls. Other businesses trade out of the back door. Some managers who are caught simply carry on, adding the fines to their under-the-counter prices as an extra charge on the customer. Among the commercial farmers whose land has been seized, several hundred are simply waiting, hoping they will, somehow or other, be able to return and revive production on properties from which they were forcibly evicted although they received no formal "Section 8" seizure orders under the Land Acquisition Act. Some were thrown out at a few hours' or even a few minutes' notice by violent mobs or by prominent members of the political elite who simply announced "We're taking over. If you don't go right away we'll kill your family." Many of these properties are now derelict, the homesteads looted and vandalised, machinery and irrigation equipment stolen along with harvested crops in the barns. Some farmers who did receive Section 8 orders are secretly trying to keep at least a bit of production going -risking jail sentences of up to seven years. In theory, their land now belongs to the state, although whether any fair-minded court of law would uphold this is open to question. They have based themselves in nearby towns and cities or on their neighbours' properties. They sneak out to plant or tend crops, both for themselves and for groups of squatters with whom they have reached a modus vivendi, and to look after livestock and infrastructure. They hope the political clouds will break, perhaps as a result of food shortages and the threat of famine hanging over 8 million Zimbabweans - 70 percent of the 11,6m population.

Newspapers and periodicals were in the last batch of products to have their prices frozen, a move that threatens to bankrupt all privately owned media. (The regime might subsidise the titles controlled by its Mass Media Trust.) We, as Zimbabwean journalists, exist in an even more nebulous state, having applied two months ago for accreditation for 2003 in terms of the newly-passed Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. We have neither received accreditation nor been categorically refused. Anyone working without accreditation after December 31 may be sentenced to up to two years' imprisonment. On December 31, the state-appointed Media and Information Commission said that some time during the week beginning January 6 it would start issuing certificates to journalists, publications and publishing houses stating they had permission to operate in the coming year. It did not say when, or how, those refused permission would be notified.

The Commission chairman Tafataona Mahoso is a Marxist ideologue who lectures on politics at Harare polytechnic. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on a petition brought by journalists to have the act ruled unconstitutional as a violation of entrenched rights of free expression. Mahoso said his Commission was still processing additional information it had sought from some applicants, and compiling a list of "delinquent companies" which had not applied for registration. Sources at the Commission say the group of correspondents for foreign media to which I belong is being "confrontational" because we submitted our US $50 application fees in Zimbabwe dollars, converted at the official rate, instead of in US dollar bills. In a letter to the commission, our lawyers pointed out that it is illegal for Zimbabwean citizens and permanent residents (which we all are) to pay a Zimbabwean entity, such as the Commission, in foreign exchange. At the official rate, US$50 is Z$2 750. On the streets, the only place where most Zimbabwe residents can buy foreign exchange, the 50 American notes would cost Z$85 000. If accreditation is granted, correspondents for foreign media have to pay a further fee of US$1 000 - Z$55 000 at the official rate, a cool Z$1,7 million on the black market. Mahoso responded mid-December demanding copies of our contracts with our foreign media clients. We presume the Commission wanted to calculate a rake-off on our earnings. We replied that most of us don't have contracts - foreign or features editors simply phone and request contributions. Then Mahoso demanded attested copies of professional qualifications certificates, or articles published under our by-lines.

Independent journalists join so many Zimbabweans whose practice of an honest livelihood is sinking into illegality, while those who have committed robbery and murder have been shielded by the state and allowed to continue with impunity. Zimbabwe’s sole independent daily newspaper has been the most high-profile casualty so far. The Daily News, launched in 1999 under founder-editor Geoff Nyarota, survived the January 2001 bombing of its presses immediately after Moyo declared it to be "an enemy of the state" that would be silenced. It managed to sustain publication, using contract printers, then imported new presses enabling it to resume an aggressive sales drive. Despite violent intimidation of vendors in many rural centres, where ruling party militants declared The Daily News "banned", the rival Herald's circulation has dropped from more than 130 000 to 70 000 a day as it lost credibility. The week before Christmas - as the price controls on publications were gazetted - the Daily News failed to appear because of a strike by workers demanding 150 percent pay rises that approached the rate of inflation. Nyarota has reportedly been at loggerheads with new executive chairman Sam Nkomo. Management accused Nyarota of fomenting industrial action by advancing the strikers their month-end salaries and on December 30 announced his dismissal. Nyarota’s deputy, Davison Maruziva, resigned in sympathy. If the Daily News is forced to change its stance it will be a major blow for civil society. But the threat, now, is to the entire formal sector economy.

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From The Guardian (UK), 8 January

U.S. weighs sanctions against Zimbabwe

Washington (AP) - The Bush administration is leaning toward imposing additional sanctions against Zimbabwe in response to alleged fraud in last year's presidential elections and continued human rights violations, a senior official said Tuesday. The official, briefing reporters on the condition that he not be identified, said a final decision could come this month. He said any new sanctions would be financial in nature but he provided no details. Last spring, the administration denied visas for certain Zimbabwean political leaders and froze their U.S. assets. It also imposed a ban on the transfer of U.S. defense articles. An inter-agency group is studying the possibility of additional sanctions, the official said. President Bush will make the final decision. The United States has refused to recognize President Robert Mugabe's claim that he won the presidential election last March. Suggesting that Mugabe lost the election to opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, Secretary of State Colin Powell said last March the outcome did not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people. Besides the alleged electoral fraud, the official said Zimbabwean authorities are denying food to the country's neediest citizens. He added that there also has been a breakdown in law and order. Another source of concern, the official said, are growing ties between Mugabe and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The official did not elaborate. According to the official, Mugabe's policies, coupled with a prolonged drought, have devastated the economy, with half the country in need of emergency food relief. Of six southern African countries facing a food crisis, the official said Zimbabwe's situation is the most difficult. Many destitute Zimbabweans are fleeing across the border into South Africa, he said.

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From The People’s Daily (China), 8 January

Zimbabwe releases 5,500 prisoners

Prison Services spokesman Frankie Meki said in Harare on Tuesday that a total of 5,500 prisoners have so far been released from the country's 42 prisons under the general amnesty proclaimed by President Robert Mugabe last week. At least 3,600 prisoners were released over two days soon after the gazetting of the proclamation. Meki said that of those released to date, 5,212 were males and 288 were females. By the end of the exercise, nearly 6,000 prisoners will have been released as the government battles to reduce overcrowding in the prisons. Prisoners who qualified for the general amnesty fall into several categories, including prisoners aged 60 and above serving determinate sentences and those serving life sentences on or before Dec. 31, 1985. Zimbabwe's prisons were overcrowded and held close to 25,000 prisoners, yet the existing structures have the capacity to hold a maximum of 16,000.

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From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 8 January

Congo sentences 26 to death for Kabila's murder

The Democratic Republic of Congo sought to end speculation about one of Africa's greatest mysteries yesterday by sentencing 26 people to death for the murder of President Laurent Kabila two years ago. Kabila was shot by a teenage bodyguard in his marble palace as he was seeking treatment for an ailment. His death removed the main obstacle to ending the four-year war in the region, which involved nine national armies and is thought to have cost at least three million lives. With Kabila's allies as well as his enemies rumoured to have been behind his murder, yesterday's sentences suggested a hasty effort to end what had become an affair damaging to his son and successor President Joseph Kabila. After a year-long military trial, 135 defendants were called to the bench yesterday to hear their verdicts and sentences. The death sentences drew gasps and sobs from the packed courtroom. Sixty-four men and women were given prison sentences ranging from six months to life.

Eddy Kapend, the late president's cousin and a close adviser, was the most senior official sentenced to death. He is alleged to have killed Kabila's assassin in an effort to cover up an attempted palace coup. He appeared on state television shortly after the murder, appealing for calm. He also organised the execution of 11 Lebanese diamond dealers he claimed were responsible. The condemned men have no right of appeal, but Kapend's lawyer said she would seek presidential mercy. Amnesty International denounced the sentences, saying the defendants were denied access to legal advice, and calling the military judges incompetent. It urged President Kabila to overturn the death sentences, and added: "Executing people will simply serve to further brutalise an already deeply traumatised society."

But since Kabila is keen to put an end to the mystery, observers in Kinshasa expect at least some of the executions to be carried out. Journalists were barred from the court several months ago after reports of bizarre proceedings: the murder weapon was lost, the only witnesses to the murder were dead or on trial, during adjournments guards and prisoners danced together to the Congolese rumba. Among the accused was the 19-year-old wife of Kabila's killer. Another young woman, when asked why she was on trial, said it was because she had rejected the advances of one of the investigators. "The trial was a sham which shed absolutely no light on the assassination and was becoming a political liability," said Francois Grignon of the International Crisis Group, a think-tank focusing on the region. "Now they're trying to sweep it under the carpet."

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From The Natal Mercury (SA), 7 January

Zim food rioters walk free - for now

Bulawayo - A Zimbabwe magistrate on Monday released 37 people who were arrested for besieging a state-run grain distribution depot over what they called unfair distribution of the scarce staple, maize meal. The 37, who will return to court on January 20, were arrested on Friday after battles with riot police outside a depot of the state-managed Grain Marketing Board. Three of the suspects - John Sibanda, Henry Sibanda and Solomon Hlatshwayo - were said to be in the leadership of the ruling Zanu PF in the western Matabeleland province. They will be charged under new security laws for failing to notify the police of their intention to hold a demonstration, while the rest will be charged with public violence. The three alleged riot leaders were made to pay Z$5 000 (R756) each as part of their bail conditions with the other 34 paying Z$1 500 (R227) each. Earlier, heavily armed riot police sealed off the courthouse where the hearing was taking place after a group of about 60 war veterans tried to stage a protest outside the court building. About two thirds of Zimbabwe's 11,6 million people are threatened by food shortages - blamed mainly by officials on a drought which has hit several countries of the region hard.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe's main opposition and analysts attacked President Robert Mugabe's plan to appoint governors in the two main opposition ruled cities as yet another direct assault on the little democratic space left for the people of Zimbabwe, reports Basildon Peta. A spokesperson for the MDC, Paul Themba Nyathi, said his party was not taking it lying down and had started consultations to find the best suitable option of challenging Mugabe over his latest draconian decision. Mugabe has approved a proclamation empowering him to appoint governors in the capital, Harare, and Bulawayo, the two major cities won by MDC candidates in executive mayoral elections. The appointment of the powerful governors would immediately render the two executive mayors useless as the governors would assume most of their powers.

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