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

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Dear Family and Friends,
American President George Bush came, apparently believed his South African counterpart when told that talks were in progress here, said the situation in Zimbabwe was "sad", and then left. Of course we don't know what went on behind closed doors but it all ended up like a circus and I'm still not really sure who  looked more like the company clown at the end of the performance. Before George Bush had even left, both political parties in Zimbabwe immediately  and categorically denied that there are in fact any talks going on between them. The Zimbabwe propaganda machinery went into overdrive and made President Mugabe  the victor who had sent the most powerful nation on earth packing. If either George Bush or Thabo Mbeki want to hear about how sad things are in Zimbabwe, perhaps they should stop, just for a few minutes, and read this letter.
This week President Mugabe awarded himself a 600% pay rise and now earns two million dollars a month. That's pretty sad when a Labour Official told me this week that the minimum wage for a house worker in Zimbabwe is still just three thousand four hundred and fifty seven dollars a month (that is less than five British pence a day). Its pretty sad too that in Zimbabwe it is against the law to criticise our president or make a gesture as he passes in a convoy of security vehicles. This week a new Bill was enacted which makes it an offence for members of parliament to leave whilst President Mugabe speaks; the penalty for doing so is to have 6 months pay docked. It's pretty sad when we learned last night that the main Kidney Unit in Harare has run out of drugs with which to treat renal patients. It's particularly sad to hear of this latest collapse when we remember that President Mugabe's first wife Sally, was kept alive by dialysis machines at the Renal Unit in Harare. It's also quite sad to have to tell you that on Monday the price of an ordinary loaf of bread went from 300 to 1000 dollars. It's pretty sad to think that an ordinary house worker can now only afford 3 loaves of bread and four eggs on her entire monthly wage.
It's also pretty sad to hear that the government of Zimbabwe have still not put in a request to the World Food Programme for assistance for 5 or 6 or 7 million people here when the current supplies run out at the end of August. The request, which has to be accompanied by crop forecasts should have been made two months ago but our government continues to stall despite the fact that less than half of the winter wheat crop was grown this year and the summer maize crop was down by over two thirds of normal. Our governments' delay in making the request for Food Aid is unbelievable. Can it really just be pride that silences them or is there something more sinister to it? Undoubtedly when crop forecasts are produced it will become blatantly and disgustingly obvious that the land reform programme has not been an agricultural revolution benefiting millions of landless peasants but has led to more than half our population starving and helpless. It's sad that we should even have to ask for world food aid when just three years ago we fed ourselves completely and sold surplus to Zambia and Mocambique.
What is even sadder is that there does not seem to be anyone out there with the guts to condemn torture, murder, oppression and rape. Speaking at the Maputu AU summit, UN Secretary General Kofi Anan said that democracy was not just about winning elections. He said it was about abiding by the rule of law, obeying your own courts and not oppressing and abusing your own people. Strong words  from Kofi Anan but they are just words because he and the UN have still not found the courage to actually name names and should be utterly ashamed. People are dying in Zimbabwe, because of incompetent governance, at the hands of common criminals who hide behind their political affiliations, from no chemicals with which to treat water and from just plain and simple empty bellies. Yes, Mr Bush and Mr Mbeki, what's happening here in our little country which has no oil or weapons of mass destruction, is pretty sad. But not to worry, Zimbabweans will resolve their own problems, once we get past the water cannons, tear gas, riot police, truncheons, prison cells, legislation, youth militia and war veterans. I apologise for such an angry, sarcastic and cynical letter this week. A candle had been lit on the far horizon but a couple of men just blew it out. It's not as if we wanted guns, bombs and tanks, all we wanted was a few honest words. Obviously too much to ask for. Until next week, with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle 12th July 2003.
"African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available in the US, Canada, the UK and Europe from: ; in Australia and New Zealand from: and worldwide and in Africa from: and
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Following is the transcript of Secretary Powell's interview with the BBC:

(begin transcript)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release July
9, 2003 2003/737


Secretary of State Colin L. Powell On BBC World News with Matt Fry (As

July 9, 2003 Pretoria, South Africa

(Aired 4:18 p.m. EDT)

MR. FINNEGAN: The U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is traveling with Mr.
Bush in Africa. He's been speaking exclusively to our correspondent, Matt
Fry. Matt began by asking Mr. Powell why Mr. Bush was in Africa at a time of
international problems in Iraq, Iran and North Korea, and after he'd said
during his election campaign that Africa wasn't exactly a priority.

SECRETARY POWELL: Because Africa is a priority, and he has said that ever
since he became President. Early on in the administration, he made it clear
that he wanted us to devote a lot of attention to Africa, and we've got a
number of very important programs that benefit Africa and Africans.

Whether it's the expanded AGOA program which allows African products to have
easier access to American markets -- and it's made a significant difference
in the South African economy, as well as where we were yesterday in Senegal;
or the President's initiative with respect to what we call the Millennium
Challenge Account, which will provide billions of dollars of new aid for
developing countries that are on the right path for democracy and the free
enterprise system; or it's what the President is doing with respect to the
greatest pandemic, the greatest weapon of mass destruction on the face of
the earth today, HIV/AIDS, with his new $15 billion program.

I think all of these initiatives, and many other initiatives that he has,
show that he cares deeply about Africa, as he should. It is a large part of
the world, of course; it's an important part of the world.

MR. FRY: But one of the big gripes in Africa are the farm subsidies, the
domestic farm subsidies in the U.S., which have made it virtually impossible
for Africa to export its cheap agricultural products to the U.S.

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, they have an even bigger gripe against the farm
subsidies that come out of Europe. The whole issue of farm subsidies is a
very difficult, complex and controversial one, both as it affects the United
States and Europe. The President has taken action to eventually eliminate
all of these subsidies over a period of time. We understand that market
distortions are created by these kinds of subsidies and we have to find a
way where the developed world can find a solution that protects our
industries, our agricultural industries -- and they are industries -- in
Europe and the United States, but do it in a way that allows African
producers and other producers in other parts of the world to have access to
our markets.

MR. FRY: Let's talk about Liberia. The President, again today, called on
Charles Taylor to quit. Charles Taylor doesn't seem to be listening any
more. He said last week that he might take up a Nigerian invitation for
exile. Now, every time he talks about that, he seems to be adding other

Where do we stand on Liberia?

SECRETARY POWELL: He said he will step down. He said it publicly. He has
said it to interlocutors privately. And we are expecting him to step down,
as he said he would.

MR. FRY: But what about the timing of this?

SECRETARY POWELL: The timing is something to be determined. What we don't
want to see is a sudden vacuum, which causes even more instability in that
very troubled country. We believe that the presence of peacekeepers should
be coincident with his departure, and that's why we have sent assessment
teams. We have an assessment team in Monrovia right now looking at the
humanitarian situation, and I expect to have a report from them in the next
day or so.

MR. FRY: But he's got to leave Liberia first before your troops go in?

SECRETARY POWELL: He -- I didn't say our troops are going in. It's a
judgment we have to make. The President is considering all of his options.
But we believe it is important for him not to be there when a transitional
government is formed and when peacekeepers are present to make sure that the
situation doesn't descend into more chaos at that moment.

MR. FRY: What about Zimbabwe? You, yourself, I believe, in an article in the
New York Times, called on Robert Mugabe to quit. You said it was time for
him to go. The President has said the same. But this call was not repeated
today and the Zimbabwe opposition is rather frustrated about that.

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, they shouldn't be frustrated. Our position is
consistent. We believe that something has to change in Zimbabwe, that under
President Mugabe's leadership the economy has been driven into the ground.
The political system is being devastated. The financial system is

And this is a problem that Zimbabweans have to solve. And it is important
for President Mugabe to work in an open manner with the opposition to find a
political solution to move forward.

MR. FRY: But are you meeting with the opposition here, because there is a
delegation in town at the moment that wants to meet with you or other
members of the U.S. delegation?

SECRETARY POWELL: We're not meeting with them here. We came here to meet
with the South African leadership, although my Assistant Secretary of State,
Mr. Kansteiner, has been in telephonic communications with the leader of the
opposition this afternoon.

MR. FRY: Two more brief ones, if I may, Niger and the issue of the
allegations of the uranium exports to Iraq. You, yourself, if I am correct
in thinking, thought that that was not a truthful allegation at the time it
was made; is that right?

SECRETARY POWELL: The question is not truthfulness. The question is
credibility at a moment in time.

MR. FRY: But you had your doubts about it, didn't you?

SECRETARY POWELL: I did not use it in the formal presentation I made on the
5th of February because by then there was such controversy about it, and as
we looked at all that we knew about it, it did not seem to be the kind of
claim that I should take into the UN.

But here is the more important point. There should be no doubt in anyone's
mind, no matter what you might think about one piece of intelligence or
another piece of intelligence, that Saddam Hussein was trying to develop
nuclear weapons in the past. And, if freed of sanctions and allowed to
continue unabated without sanctions, without the international community
intervening, he would have continued to pursue weapons of mass destruction.

MR. FRY: So no credibility problem?

SECRETARY POWELL: No credibility problem in my judgment. This was a dictator
who had gassed people in the past, and, if we had not intervened, would have
been developing the capability to gas people in the future, or to use
biological weapons against them, or at least to threaten the world with
those kinds of weapons. And yes, nuclear weapons.

MR. FRY: Secretary of State, thank you very much indeed.

(end transcript)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site:
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This is a genuine appeal for help

Tish is the widow of Ron Vass, who was ex RAF and in the RhaF. Ron
served in Air Traffic Control for a number of years. Ron died a number
of years ago now, quite young from cancer.

Please can I ask you to pass on this appeal to any who remember both Ron
and Tish who are not on this means, many thanks.

Tish went into hospital early June to have a fairly major op to remove part
of her one kidney, but this in fact ended up being major, major surgery and
Tish was on the operating table twice for a total of 10 hours in one day.
She had the one kidney removed, her spleen, and part of her bladder, which
necessitated her having a reversible colostomy, all tests were clear for
which we are very thankful. The medical bills are staggering as Tish is
currently back in hospital for the third time, second time having pneumonia
and fluid on her lungs, and she had to have a drain, now for the third time
as per below.

The Air Forces Association's are sending out this VERY urgent appeal to you
all to help us raise funds to help with the absolutely astronomical medical
bills being encountered, which must be running at well over 8/9/10 million
(Zim) dollars currently, of which medical aid will only pay a fraction. The
anaesthetist' bill was 3/4 of a million. The one Specialist was at least 3
million, and he called in another Specialist when they took Tish back to
theatre for a second time on the same day.

  Donations by cheque can be sent direct and made payable to
  Highlands Presbyterian Church,
  P O Box HG 19,

  BUT please NOTE mark clearly that your donation is for the Tish Vass Fund.
  We have decided to route funds direct to them to avoid any additional
  costs, or bank charges etc by opening a separate account for Tish. Tish is
  working for the Church when well.

Your prayers, love and support and any help will help Tish tremendously to
recover, and so that she will not be worried about the mounting bills. With
the current black market rates One Pound = +/- Z$s 3,500 and One US$ +/-
Z$s 2,800, and One Rand = +/- Z$s 250, so no matter how small your
contribution, every cent will help us to help Tish.

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            African Union Backs Peace Efforts, Ignores Zimbabwe
            Sat July 12, 2003 01:56 PM ET

            By Manoah Esipisu
            MAPUTO (Reuters) - Africa's leaders threw their weight behind
regional peace efforts on Saturday but avoided the prickly question of
economic and political meltdown in Zimbabwe.

            Meeting in neighboring Mozambique, the continent's most powerful
men agreed to hold a special summit to resolve policy differences on
establishing a joint peacekeeping force and planned to work together more
closely to fight AIDS and poverty.

            "My priority is that we will fight for peace and security on the
continent, better manage our resources, improve governance and food
security, and help Africa build infrastructure," Mali's former president,
Alpha Oumar Konare, said after being sworn in to head the new African Union

            Delays deploying United Nations forces in Africa and problems
recruiting troops for them have put pressure on the African Union (AU) to
take a lead in peacekeeping on the continent, where at least half a dozen
states are wracked by conflict and many more are deprived of foreign
investment as a result.

            A final communique from the three-day meeting urged more support
for regional peacekeeping efforts but made no mention of Zimbabwe's crisis.
Officials say it is too divisive with heavyweight South Africa committed to
using "quiet diplomacy."

            "We talked about conflicts and the conflicts we talked about are
not of the nature of the one in Zimbabwe. We do think that Zimbabwe should
be dealt with at a regional forum, and that is the way to go for the time
being," summit host and chair Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano told a
news conference.

            Officials said the 53-member Union's broader drive for peace had
also revealed differences on how a proposed security and peace council and a
rapid deployment force would operate, but Chissano said the differences were
largely procedural.

            "We needed to be flexible within the laws of each country but we
expect that all countries will ratify it," he said, adding a special summit
would hammer out agreement on a common defense and security policy around a
joint peacekeeping force.


            The AU called for international backing for West African
regional bloc ECOWAS's peace efforts in Liberia.

            "The summit calls on the international community to support the
efforts of ECOWAS to deploy an international stabilization force for the
purpose of securing the cease-fire and facilitating the restoration of peace
and security in Liberia," it said.

            African leaders have urged U.S. President George Bush to
contribute troops, funding and logistical support but Bush ended a five-day
African tour on Saturday with no decision on Liberia.

            The AU leaders also tried to improve coordination in the war on
AIDS, which has hit poor Africans harder than anyone else, and advance the
economic revival plan known as the New Partnership for Africa's Development.

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Zim facing famine 'deaths'
12/07/2003 12:44  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition on Saturday warned that there will be
"deaths" in the country if the government does not appeal to aid agencies to
supply relief food.

Zimbabwe has been in the grip of severe food shortages since last year. The
UN's World Food Programme estimates that 5.5 million Zimbabweans will be in
need of food aid this year.

"What is required now is government to appeal" for food aid from the WFP,
Renson Gasela, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) shadow agriculture
minister told a press conference.

"If they don't do that, we are actually going to have deaths," he warned.

The WFP has said it needs the government to make a formal appeal for food
aid before donors will commit resources to fund the exercise.

There have been unconfirmed media reports that 43 people, mostly children,
have died in the country's second city of Bulawayo due to malnutrition in
the first few months of this year.

The WFP estimates that out of the total amount of people who will be in need
of food aid, more than one million of them are in urban areas.

"Until they (the government) actually formally request, the donors will not
come and supply food," Gasela added.

The MDC official, who is also an opposition legislator, criticised the
government for what he said was a callous disregard for the consequences of
its delay.

"What other rationale is there other than the desire to hurt your own
citizens," he said.

The WFP says that as of May this year it had, together with partner
organisations, distributed 346 000 tons of food aid to 4.7 million people.

Aid organisations say a controversial government land reform programme that
has seen white-owned commercial farms seized for blacks has contributed to
the current food crisis.

MDC's Gasela claimed that new black farmers resettled on formerly
white-owned land had not yet produced any food.

He said the bulk of this year's maize harvest was expected to come from
growers in the country's traditional communal lands
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Zimbabweans Dream of Hitting National Lottery Jackpot
Tendai Maphosa
12 Jul 2003, 18:52 UTC

Living with shortages of food, fuel and cash, Zimbabweans are accustomed to
standing in long lines for many hours, only to find stocks are exhausted
before their turn comes. But as Tendai Maphosa reports from Harare, they can
line up for one commodity that never runs out.

Zimbabweans line up by the thousands for the chance to become instant
millionaires. The national lottery - the Lotto - lets them invest as little
as 15 U.S. cents for a chance to hit the jackpot by choosing six correct
numbers out of 45. Those who come close, and get five, or four numbers
right, also get smaller cash prizes.

Should somebody guess the right six numbers in the Saturday draw, the
jackpot is $73 million Zimbabwe dollars, equal to more than 36,000 U.S.
dollars. There are not many winners, but there are a lot of Zimbabweans with
dreams of how they would handle the jackpot.

One says he will try to look for a farm to invest in farming. Another says
she has no idea but will will decide when he wins. A third one would buy a

The chances of winning the jackpot are pretty slim, but there are weekly
winners in this lottery. Lotto Chairman Mick Davis says a minimum of 20
percent of ticket sales - between $80 and $100 million Zimbabwean
dollars -goes to various charities every three months.

He says due to hard times in Zimbabwe, his committee is swamped by requests
for charity.

And because of increased costs, he has been forced to increase ticket
prices. But that has not made the lottery lines any shorter. Zimbabweans
still have that dream that one day they will hit the jackpot.

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Annan Concludes African Unity Summit With Aids Meeting, Visit
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today wrapped up his mission to
the African Unity Summit in Mozambique with a working breakfast to review
the progress in the fight against AIDS in Africa and a visit to an AIDS
clinic for those affected by the disease.

During the breakfast, hosted by President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria,
delegates also touched on other issues critical to Africa. In addition,
leaders discussed a work plan for the coming year.

"We have had a very good meeting here and very, very useful and constructive
discussions, not just on the issue of AIDS and the fight against that
pandemic and its impact on this continent, but also about conflict
resolution, about economic and social development, about empowerment of
women," Mr. Annan told reporters after the meeting.

In the afternoon, he visited an AIDS clinic at Matola, on the outskirts of
the capital Maputo, which has done a remarkable job of preventing the
transmission of the HIV virus from pregnant women to their babies. Only
three of the 151 babies born at the clinic have been diagnosed as
HIV-positive. The clinic provides anti-retroviral drugs to some 300
HIV-positive mothers.

"This is our fight, and let's all move ahead and win this fight," Mr. Annan
told the workers at the clinic.

AIDS was also the subject of some of the bilateral meetings the
Secretary-General held in the margins of the Summit. He met Peter Piot the
Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), to discuss
tighter coordination between the world body and the Global Fund against
AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.

He also met with Supachai Panitchpakdi, the Director General of the World
Trade Organization (WTO), with whom he discussed efforts by multinational
pharmaceutical firms to make AIDS medication available to developing
countries at low cost. He invited Mr. Panitchpakdi to join him at a meeting
with pharmaceutical executives that he is planning for later this year.

Mr. Annan had arrived in Mozambique ahead of the opening of the African
Union's annual summit and had attended a prayer breakfast where he had met
with the Union's Heads of State in which he said that, sadly, "so-called men
of religion sometimes invoke the name of God to justify violence against
their fellow human beings."

"But I believe," Mr. Annan had continued, "we have a duty to love those of
our own faiths, those of other faiths, and those of no faith. As leaders, we
must summon the moral courage to stand against those who encourage violence
and hatred. Instead, we must point the way to tolerance, understanding and
the peaceful resolution of conflict."

Mr Annan also had a series of meetings in the margins of the Summit.

During talks with Antoine Ghonda, the Foreign Minister of the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mr. Annan said he was disappointed that
President Joseph Kabila did not come to Maputo, where he had hoped to have a
summit on the DRC. The next opportunity for such a summit could be at the
General Assembly in September, Mr. Annan said. He congratulated Mr. Ghonda,
who was accompanied by representatives of two former parties to the
conflict, as well as by a political counsellor to President Kabila, on the
formation of a transitional national government, but emphasized that the
fighting in the DRC has to stop.

The Secretary-General also met with Tunisian Foreign Minister Habib Ben
Yahia, with whom he discussed regional issues, as well as the importance of
support for the Middle East Road Map; they also touched on Iraq.

After that, he met with the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth
Secretariat, Don McKinnon, talking with him about Zimbabwe, including the
land reform plan which the Secretary-General and the UN Development
Programme (UNDP) had proposed. MR. Annan then had a tête-à-tête meeting with
President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone.

The Secretary-General also discussed the situation in Zimbabwe with
Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.

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Mugabe: Africa 'admires' Zim
12/07/2003 22:11  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said on Saturday African leaders
had greater admiration for his country than ever before, as he returned from
an African Union (AU) summit in Maputo, state television said.

Mugabe said his election as regional vice chair of the AU was "an honour to
us and it also serves paid to those in the hostile circles who think that
Zimbabwe is being isolated."

"There is greater admiration now for Zimbabwe than there ever was, and we
are very happy about that," he added.

The Zimbabwean leader has been in Maputo, in neighbouring Mozambique for the
second AU summit since its inauguration last year. At the summit Mugabe was
elected as one of five regional vice chair of the body.

Although Zimbabwe, with its political tensions and economic hardships has
been in the international spotlight, it was not on the agenda of the summit.

The AU summit took place at the same time as US President George W Bush
embarked on his first tour of the continent.

During his visit Bush, who does not recognise Mugabe as legitimate
president, said the United States would "continue to speak out for democracy
in Zimbabwe".

Zimbabwe is politically deeply divided between supporters of Mugabe and
those of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai is currently on trial for treason.
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