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

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Independent (UK)

Zimbabwe faces food riots after massive rise in price of maize
By Angus Shaw in Harare
12 July 2003

Zimbabwe braced itself for an increase of at least a 500 per cent in the
price of maize meal yesterday after the government appeared to abandon its
price freeze.

In 1998 a 25 per cent rise in maize meal - the staple diet for Zimbabweans -
sparked food riots and led the government to impose price controls backed by

Milling company and food store executives said the price would rise from
Z$100 (7p) a kilogram to Z$630.

The state-run Grain Marketing Board, which has a monopoly on grain sales,
announced massive increases in the price of cereals on 3 July. The price of
maize rose from Z$9,600 a ton to Z$211,756. Similar increases for wheat led
to a fourfold increase in the price of a loaf of bread this week.

Official inflation has soared to more than 300 per cent, unemployment is
estimated at 70 per cent and a black market in food and fuel, where
inflation is 600 per cent, is thriving.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper said the Grain Marketing Board had no
alternative to the increases. "It would be impossible to keep the retail
prices of maize meal, flour and bread at prices affordable by the majority
of ordinary people," it said in an editorial. Past price-fixing of goods led
to shortages in shops and intense black market trading in the scarce foods,
it added.
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Tehran Times

Annan Urges End to Africa Violence

MAPUTO, Mozambique -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told Africa's
leaders it was up to them to end the devastating armed conflicts raging
across their continent, Associated Press reported. "The UN and the rest of
the international community can appoint envoys, urge negotiations and spend
billions of dollars on peacekeeping missions, but none of this will solve
conflicts, if the political will and capacity do not exist here, in Africa,"
he told African heads of state gathered in Mozambique for the African
Union's annual summit.

Annan, a Ghanaian, pointed to Mozambique's peaceful transition after 16
years of civil war as one of the great African success stories. But
"heartbreaking" conflicts continue in Liberia and Congo, he said, and the
African Union needs to come up with a strategy for resolving them. The
second annual summit of the continental body coincides with U.S. President
George W. Bush visit to Africa. Bush, who was in Botswana on Thursday, has
said the United States was committed to helping end conflicts in Liberia and
chaos in Zimbabwe. However, discussion of Zimbabwe was muted at the heads of
state summit here. South African President Thabo Mbeki, outgoing head of the
African Union, conspicuously left his neighboring country off a list of
troubled nations that included Sudan, Madagascar and Ivory Coast.

Zimbabwe has been plunged into economic and political chaos, with inflation
at over 300 percent, unemployment at 70 percent and severe food and fuel
shortages. In a speech to his fellow leaders, Mbeki said conflict resolution
was a top priority for the union. "Since the union came into being, it has
been seized with efforts to resolve a number of conflicts and cases of
instability across the continent," he said. Mbeki came under fire Wednesday
for saying Zimbabwe's opposition was negotiating with President Robert
Mugabe's ruling party, which opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai immediately
denied. A South African official later said the two sides were not holding
talks, but were working to find common points for discussion. Meanwhile,
Mbeki welcomed Madagascar's president, Marc Ravalomanana, to the summit. He
had previously been excluded from the union amid a controversy over his
ascent to power.

Though the nation's courts said he won 2001 elections, Ravalomanana's
predecessor refused to leave office, leading to a low-level civil war that
Ravalomanana eventually won. Mbeki said a year after the union's creation,
the organization's goal of a peaceful and stable continent could only be
achieved with the signing, ratification and creation of several continental
bodies, including a Pan African Parliament, a court and a security council.
Mbeki warned his colleagues that they must make a greater effort to include
ordinary citizens and civic organizations in the body, the successor to the
slow moving Organization of African Unity.
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Environment News Service

                  Marauding War Veterans Wipe Out Zimbabwe's Wildlife

                  SAVE VALLEY, Zimbabwe, July 11, 2003 (ENS) - The message
fixed to a tree in the game reserve is stark: "Farm No 3. Dealers in Death."
                  It was put there by Zimbabwe's so-called war veterans to
intimidate white landowners on the 850,000 acre Save Valley Conservancy near
the border with Mozambique.

                  The war veterans, unleashed by President Robert Mugabe to
seize farms owned by whites, are not only killing people, they are
slaughtering animals on an unprecedented scale.

                  Already, they have forced out the owners and poached every
animal on at least three of the 22 huge ranches that make up the
conservancy. Now, they are pouring onto neighboring ranches and repeating
the process.

                  The poaching is indiscriminate, and no animal is spared.
The main targets are antelope, wildebeests and zebras, but lions, elephants,
rhinos, leopards, buffalos and giraffes have all been killed by the poachers
and their snares.

                  Wildlife experts say that unless urgent action is taken to
stop the slaughter, the conservancy's entire stock of wildlife will be
destroyed within three years.

                  The pattern is being repeated on game reserves across the
country with wildlife losses of more than 70 percent reported in many areas.
In the neighboring Bubiana conservancy, four of the 10 ranches have been
seized and cleared of wildlife. Barberton Lodge has lost more than 400
animals to poachers in the past three years, including 71 zebras, 63 kudu
antelope and four giraffes. Fourteen black rhinos, a critically endangered
species, have been caught in snares, each requiring extensive surgery to
save their lives.

                  The state owned national parks have also been targeted by
poachers. Four rhinos have been killed in Hwange National Park. Nationally
over the past three years, an estimated 100 black rhinos have been
slaughtered for their horns, which can fetch up to $90,000.

                  One ranch displayed row after row of skeletons, kept for
research purposes, that belonged to animals killed by the poachers' snares.

                  The privately owned commercial reserves are being hit
hardest. Invaders seize the land, which is largely unsuitable for farming.
Desperate for food, the veterans lay metal traps to catch animals to eat or
to sell to others.

                  "A couple of years ago, this area was teeming with
wildlife. Now you can walk around all day and not see a single animal," said
Mike Clark, chairman of the Commercial Farmers Union in Masvingo province.

                  A ranch owner, who declined to be identified, said, "They
see wildlife as meat on legs. We know there are food shortages, but they are
using the land reform program as an excuse for out-and-out theft, and they
won't leave until there is nothing left."

                  The penalty for killing wildlife is usually a fine of
5,000 Zimbabwe dollars (less than $6) or "community service," which can mean
weeding the court's garden or washing the magistrate's car.

                  {This report on Zimbabwe wildlife is published in
cooperation with Save the Rhino.}
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AIDS Activists To Bush: Don't Forget Zimbabwe
Joe De Capua
11 Jul 2003, 12:21 UTC

UNAIDS estimates two point three million people in Zimbabwe are infected
with HIV, the AIDS virus. Of that, 240-thousand are orphans. In addition,
UNAIDS says 500 people a day in Zimbabwe are dying of the disease.

President Bush’s tour of Africa does not include Zimbabwe, which has brought
reaction from AIDS activists in that country. They are calling on President
Bush not to ignore their country because of the current political problems.

The group, Zimbabwe Activists on HIV & AIDS, praises Mr. Bush’s 15-billion
dollar Aids initiative. But Zimbabwe is not listed as being one of the
beneficiaries, despite ad adult HIV infection rate of 34-percent.
Tapiwanashe Kujinga is spokesperson for the group. From Harare, he spoke to
English to Africa Joe De Capua about his group, issued a statement on
president bush’s AIDS policy.

Mr. Kujinga says Mr. Bush’s emphasis on Zimbabwe is political because of the
policies of President Mugabe. He says Mr. Bush “left out the most important
issue which is the HIV/AIDS pandemic that is wreaking havoc in Zimbabwe.” He
asks, “Why are we being left out? We cannot be punished on the HIV/AIDS
issue at the same time as a political issue.” He says the Clinton
Foundation, founded by former US President Clinton, is also “not focusing on

He says those infected and affected by the disease “have borne the brunt of
the current economic and political challenges.” He says during difficult
times, stigma and discrimination against those who are HIV positive worsen.
He describes the situation as “hostile.”

Mr. Kujinga says the health infrastructure needs to be restored and
antiretroviral drugs be made readily available
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The Herald

‘Cloete playing cheap politics’

Herald Reporter
The Presidential Land Review Committee has expressed concern over Commercial
Farmers Union president Mr Colin Cloete for "playing cheap politics" on the
land reform.

The committee was responding to a report in yesterday’s Daily News quoting
Mr Cloete as castigating the land reform programme.

"Any land reform on the scale and urgency that the Government of Zimbabwe
found itself embarking upon could not take place without upsetting the
status quo," the committee said.

Mr Cloete was quoted as saying the eviction of white farmers would
effectively kill commercial farming in the country.

He was allegedly speaking at a meeting with the committee.

"The Chairman of the Presidential Land Review Committee wishes to make it
clear that the meeting with Mr Cloete had been held at the persistent
request of Mr Cloete," the committee said.

"Dr Utete asked why, if Mr Cloete’s intentions were to reach accommodation
with Government, his organisation was in the courts over the land

The committee said the CFU had, upon invitation, appeared before it on June
11 where Mr Cloete and his colleagues gave evidence on the land reform.

But Mr Cloete later came alone to make further submissions saying he had
preferred not to make the submissions in the open forum of the committee for
fear of being misconstrued politically.

"Mr Cloete castigated the implementation of the land reform as ‘bad business
’ and asserted that the land beneficiaries ‘lacked skills’ and would need 15
to 20 years to develop the necessary expertise," said the committee.

"He said the land acquisition was not over ‘by any means’ and might ‘take
years’ because of the compensation and litigation issues.

"Mr Cloete said some $700 billion was going to be needed to get agriculture
back on the 2001 levels. In addition, he had met with the British and the
European Union and was certain that no money would be made available to
Zimbabwe until practical solutions were found."

Dr Utete asked Mr Cloete how he could profess that he had no political
agenda and yet had pronounced himself so much vehemently politically.

"Dr Utete drew Mr Cloete’s attention to the contradiction over his stated
desire to seek an accommodation with the Government on the land issue whilst
he had only recently stated on national television that his organisation had
accepted an alleged offer of vast amounts of money from the United Nations
Develop-ment Programme and other donors to finance white commercial farmers
taking up farming in neighbouring countries," said the committee.

"Dr Utete concluded by reiterating the committee’s mandate and directing Mr
Cloete to take his concerns to Government for their possible consideration.

"It is against this background that the Chairman of the Presidential Land
Review Committee was revulsed by Mr Cloete’s effort at playing cheap
politics as reflected in the newspaper referred to above."
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The Herald

Dabengwa throws hat into the ring

By Nomsa Nkala
A FORCE to reckon with in the country’s politics, silent-giant Cde Dumiso
Dabengwa might just make a major comeback to frontline politics.

He is among ruling party heavyweights whose names are being proffered for
the presidential seat.

But he says he would only consider succeeding President Mugabe, if

"I will consider that (presidential succession) when it comes. . If I’m
approached on the matter I will consider it. I’m still in the politburo of
the party so I have not totally left politics."

The 64-year-old former Home Affairs Minister left mainstream politics in
2000 after losing his parliamentary seat to MDC.

Once a powerful public servant for over a decade, Cde Dabengwa has gone back
to farming and running his businesses.

Modest in many ways, those not aware of his immense contribution to the
liberation of Zimbabwe might not detect the resilience that pulled him
through the Herculean days of the struggle.

His time is now divided between farming and business, which mainly involves
working on the Matebelaland Zambezi Water Project.

Clad in Khaki smart casual, Cde Dabengwa exhibited a sense of
self-contentment during this interview.

His office is humbly-decorated with nothing resembling his previous status.

"I enjoy very much what I do now . . . I’m very happy," he said.

Whatever his destiny in politics, Cde Dabengwa will forever remain a
recognised figure in the history of this country.

His upbringing was fairly stable.

He was born in Tsholotsho where his father was an agricultural instructor at
the then Tsholotsho School of Agriculture.

When the family moved to Mzingwane, he began his education at Matshetshe
Primary School before proceeding to Ngwenya Mission.

He completed his primary education at Cyrene Mission, junior certificate at
Ngwenya School and in 1957 graduated with matrics at Tegwane Mission.

In 1957 he taught at Cyrene and one of the prominent students in his class
was the late Lookout Masuku.

"He was among the very few in that class who were younger than me, the
majority of the students I taught were older."

The following year, he left teaching to join the Bulawayo City Council as a
clerk in the welfare department.

"My job entailed giving permits to relatives of the ANC political detainees
who were at Khami Maximum Prison. That is when I noticed that the regime had
to be dealt with.

"This was the regime that stopped people from expressing their political
ideas. At the time ANC was non-violent, they were holding meetings and
expressing their opinion on how they were being governed."

In 1960 Cde Dabengwa left council to join Barclays Bank as a clerk.

"It was during this year that the NDP (National Democratic Party) was
formed. I was among the first youths to join the party and form a youth

"The following year when we had riots in Bulawayo I addressed a meeting at
which I attacked the police for having instigated the riots by banning our
meetings and then using teargas to break the meetings.

"I then said the people were justified to stone the police in retaliation
for their actions.

"I was later arrested and charged with three counts under the Law and Order
Maintenance Act for making what were seen as subversive statements.

"After I was charged, the deputy commissioner of police told me that if I
resigned from my post in the NDP executive and only remained as a mere
member, then the charges against me would be withdrawn.

"He also told me that my bank manager was very disturbed by my arrest
because the bank was planning to send me to the United Kingdom and on my
return I was to become the first black manager of Barclays Bank. So I was
told to resign so that I didn't miss on this opportunity.

"I refused his advice absolutely and preferred to go to court."

Cde Dabengwa subsequently went to trial, was convicted and sentenced to six
months imprisonment for each charge.

However, the sentence was ordered to run concurrently and he was to serve a
third of it.

"While in prison I organised a demonstration in protest against the food
which was being given to black inmates. The following day the prison
superintendent forcibly moved me to cells where white prisoners were being
held at Grey Street Prison. That is where I met Cde Enos Nkala who was
staying in those cells."

Cde Dabengwa served an effective four months after being given a two-month
remission for good conduct.

"While in prison NDP was banned and Zapu formed. So on my release I found
that I had been elected to my same position as secretary of youth wing in

"When Zapu was banned we decided to go underground. I was amongst the youths
who were instructed to go underground and avoid restrictions so as to be
able to mobilise more youths for the resistance against the regime.

"However, towards the end of the restriction period I was arrested and
restricted at Gwatemba Native Purchase area where my parents were farming.
My restriction covered a radius of two kilometres from our homestead.

"During this period I used to cycle out to meet other youths outside my
restriction area and one day on my return I found the police at my

"They asked me where I had been and I told them that I spent the day at a
nearby river fishing. Fortunately a few weeks later our restrictions were

In 1963 a caretaker council in Bulawayo was formed.

"Under that we started seriously considering going outside the country for
training. Dr Joshua Nkomo (who was the leader of Zapu) had formed a special
affairs department headed by Cde James Chikerema.

"Under that department we were the first youths recruited to go out for
training. I went for training in 1963, spent the rest of the year in Zambia
then Soviet Union. We returned in 1965 and then formed ourselves into the
military wing of Zapu under the leadership of Chikerema.

"Our first operations were in 1965 and the military developed then on up to
1969 when we had a split.''

After Independence Cde Dabengwa became the Zipra chief of Intelligence and
later secretary of the war council.

"I participated in all the negotiations with the British in Geneva, Cyprus
and finally Lancaster House. I led the Zipra army at the Cease-fire

"I thereafter participated in the integration of all armed forces in the
country to form the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

"At the end of this exercise in 1981 I retired and went into a business
joint venture with other colleagues. We formed a company called Limpopo
Undertakings which was to be involved in establishing a transport company
and then import and export trading.

"But in 1982 I was among those who were arrested for treason after arms
caches were said to have been discovered in two Zipra farms.

"We went through trial and were found not guilty. But I was kept in
detention and only released in 1986 after spending four years and 10 months
in prison.

"On my release I found that the unity talks were on and I was asked to
assist in the unity campaign which I did until the Unity Accord was signed
in December 1987.

"After the Unity Accord I formed my own company Duze Enterprises and later
established Mat Tools and Forging on a joint venture with a Swedish Company.

"In 1990 there were parliamentary elections and I won the Nkulumane
parliamentary seat. That same year I was appointed deputy minister of Home
Affairs, became Minister in 1992 until my retirement in 2000.

"I retired because I lost my seat to MDC. I was not bitter when I lost my
seat because the people had made their choice. I wanted to be in Government
only with the consent of the people.''

Cde Dabengwa is now a farmer and spends half of his time working on the
Matebelaland Zambezi Water Project.

"I spend 50 percent of my time on this project. It was started by the people
of this region after they realised that they would never develop under the
threat of constant drought. In 1991 I was appointed to be the project's
chairman and work on its implementation.

"After the project was approved by Government in 1997 I had the challenge to
fund raise for it and that is what I have been involved with to this

His views on Zimbabwe opposition party: "MDC was formed under very
unfortunate circumstances and therefore it is an unfortunate organisation. I
say so because it is formed by people who in the first place felt frustrated
and merely seized the opportunity of an economic crisis to elevate
themselves into positions of power. They are backed by foreign forces who
reneged on assisting Zimbabwe to resolve its land problem.

"We need a home-grown indigenous political party which would play an
objective role in the development of the country not a negative role to ruin
the country that they later want to govern.

"We need a party that will tell us 'this is where you are making a mistake
and lets do it this way', not one that says in order for us to get into
power we need to first destroy the country.''

Cde Dabengwa is married with five children. He met his wife towards the end
of the liberation struggle and were married at Independence.

His ambition: "Right now it's fulfilling the implementation of the (Zambezi
Water) project.''
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The Washington Times

The times get tough, and it's time to punt

By Wesley Pruden
Published July 11, 2003

    There must be something in the water in Texas that makes great punters.
    The Washington Redskins' Sammy Baugh, who learned to punt at TCU, still holds the record for career average (45.3 yards) in the National Football League. Sammy can be glad George W. Bush, a Texan despite his soft years at Yale, does not compete in the NFL. His punting is spectacular: booming yardage, great hang time.
    George W. punted first to the Supreme Court. He watered down his solicitor general's brief defending the 14th Amendment's guarantee of racial equality in the law, and then, after Sandra Day O'Connor suspended the Constitution for 25 years to accommodate affirmative action, he punted again, praising the decision, which slapped down even the watered brief, as a victory for his administration.
    "Today's decision seek a careful balance between the goal of campus diversity and the fundamental principle of equal treatment under the law," he said of Grutter v. Bollinger. (Jeb Bush, the governor of Florida and more linebacker than punter, said what his brother should have: "The Supreme Court ... acknowledges that race-conscious college-admissions policies are ultimately at odds with the guarantee of equal protection under the law. Instead of striking down these policies on this basis, the court allowed their limited use, but suggested their eventual demise. ... We remain committed to diversity in Florida, but believe it must be achieved in ways that comply with the Constitution's purpose. ... ")
    A few days later, when someone asked George W. what he thought about marriage and whether to preserve it in the form that has served civilization fairly well for thousands of years, he boomed another one downfield, this time to the lawyers. Marriage means what most Americans think it means, a union of a man and woman, he said, but he wouldn't do anything to promote his convictions, such as putting protection of marriage in the Constitution. "Let's let the lawyers look at it," he said. (Finding a way to avoid responsibility is what lawyers are paid to do, after all.)
    When someone asked him whether he intended to follow through on proposals to overturn Bill Clinton's dispatch of women to the front line of battle, the prez got off a punt that would have turned Sammy Baugh's maroon jersey bright green with envy. "I will take guidance from the United States military," he said. "Our commanders will make those decisions. The configuration of our force and who ought to be fighting where, that's going to be up to the generals. That's how we run our business here in the White House. We set the strategy and we rely upon our military to make the judgments necessary to achieve the strategy." (The Founding Fathers were so 18th century, putting the commander in chief in charge of policy.)
    Now the president is in Africa, a trip the snide, the cynical and the skeptical are saying was designed by Karl Rove to cast George W. as the Great White Father on the eve of Campaign '04. The president made noises about nation building, or at least regime change, for Liberia just before leaving Washington, and when he got amongst the regimes that need changing, it was time to punt again. What's good for Liberia is not necessarily good for Zimbabwe, though his own secretary of state has been describing Robert Mugabe as "ruthless and violent."
    Writing in the New York Times, Colin Powell accused Mr. Mugabe of political violence, vote rigging, economic mismanagement, unchecked corruption and the seizure of farmland to give to his cronies: "In the long run, President Mugabe and his minions will lose, dragging their soiled record behind them into obscurity. But how long will it take? How many good Zimbabweans will have to lose their jobs, their homes or even their lives before President Mugabe's violent misrule runs its course?"
    But to the dismay of the brutally repressed opposition in Zimbabwe (and black folk nearly all), the master of Prairie Chapel Ranch punted, this time to President Thabo Mbeki, who is missing more than a vowel in his surname. Mr. Bush said President Mbeki, who cheerfully fronts for the apologists for the regime in Zimbabwe, is "the point man" for reform. "He believes he's making good progress," George W. said of his host. "I don't have any intention of second-guessing his tactics. We want the same outcome."
    We can only hope that this was the excess of good manners for which the Bushes, father and son, are well-known. There is no evidence at all that President Mbeki wants anything but to allow Robert Mugabe to continue his rapacious regime of murder, massacre and mismanagement. A man who arrived in Africa with a gift of $15 billion to fight the AIDS pandemic shouldn't be bashful about telling his hosts to shape up if they want to share the booty. If you're going to punt with field position like that, you might as well play soccer.
    Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Times. 
Copyright © 2003 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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