The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Mugabe lures Russians to invest in troubled energy sector

Zim Online

Mon 17 July 2006

      HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's government will this week meet
Russian energy officials in Harare to discuss investment in the power sector
by the east European country, barely a month after concluding a US$1.3
billion electricity generation deal with China.

      Authoritative sources told ZimOnline that officials from Russia's
TurboEngineering firm were expected to arrive in Harare last night and would
remain in the country until July 22. During their stay, the Russians are
scheduled to hold talks with officials from the Ministries of Energy,
Finance and Foreign Affairs.

      The East Europeans, who are said to be keen to invest in the
development of Condo hydro-electricity plant, Gairezi power plant and the
Batoka Hydro-project on the might Zambezi river, will also meet officials
from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

      In a letter to the state-owned Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(ZESA) dated June 30, 2006 TurboEngeneering managing director Alexey
Semenkov said Russian and international banks - which he did not disclose in
the letter - had agreed in principle to finance Zimbabwean power projects.

      "Since the date of your information receipt we held some preliminary
discussion with Russian and international banks regarding the possibility of
the projects finance in Zimbabwe and had their principal agreement to
continue the discussions on this subject," reads Semenkov's letter, a copy
of which was shown to ZimOnline.

      The three projects estimated to cost hundreds of millions of United
States dollars to develop would yield close to 1 000 megawatts once in full
production and would see an end to Zimbabwe's crippling power shortages.

      Zimbabwean industry and homes suffer from hours of power cuts every
day, with ZESA officials at the weekend warning that the power shortages
would worsen in coming days after a breakdown at the country's main
hydro-power plant at Kariba dam.

      Energy experts say Zimbabwe looks set to be the worst affected by a
power crisis expected to hit southern Africa by 2008 because of failure by
the cash-strapped ZESA to expand generation capacity at existing power
stations or to build new ones.

      Southern Africa is expected to face an acute energy deficit in about
two years time that will see neighbouring countries that have provided 35
percent of Zimbabwe's power requirements unable to do so because of rising
demand in their domestic markets.

      But the power shortage is only a symptom of a wider economic crisis
that has spawned shortages of food, fuel, essential medicines and foreign
currency while inflation has shot beyond 1 000 percent.

      Mugabe, shunned by the West since 2002 over accusations of repression
and human rights violations, has turned to China and Russia in search of
help to resuscitate Zimbabwe's comatose economy.

      For example, in the power deal signed with China, Beijing will help
build new coal mines and three thermal power stations in the Zambezi valley
along the border with Zambia. In exchange, Zimbabwe will provide China with

      Chinese companies are also to rebuild Zimbabwe's rail network, supply
trains, buses and farm equipment under several other economic co-operation
deals between the two countries. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe opposition official's passport seized

Zim Online

Mon 17 July 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe immigration officials on Sunday seized the passport
of a senior official of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party and stopped him from leaving the country for Britain.

      Elias Mudzuri, who is also a former mayor of Harare and belongs to the
larger faction of the splintered MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai, told
ZimOnline that immigration officials bundled him out of a London-bound
British Airways plane and seized his travel documents, saying they were
acting on instructions from the Ministry of Home Affiars.

      The incident occurred at Harare International airport.

      "The immigration officer said he was acting on the instructions of the
Ministry of Home Affairs. He said the government urgently needed my passport
to verify certain information," said Mudzuri, who was in 2004 removed by the
government as Harare's first opposition mayor following incessant clashes
with Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo over control of the city.

      Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi confirmed the seizure of Mudzuri's
passport but refused to take more questions on the matter or to explain
under what law immigration took the opposition official's travel document.

      "I have just heard about that (passport seizure) but I have no
details. I am not at work," was all Mohadi would say when contacted by

      The government last amended the constitution to allow it to seize
passports and other travel documents of its critics, in a move criticised by
human rights groups as not only unjust but also a breach of the Bill of
Rights that guarantees freedom of movement.

      The government did not follow up the constitutional amendment with an
enabling Act of Parliament and was last year forced to return the passports
of another MDC official, Paul Themba Nyathi, trade unionist Raymond Majongwe
and private newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube.

      The immigration department returned the passports after advice from
Attorney General Sobuza Gula-Ndebele that the constitutional amendment did
not empower the department to withdraw a citizen's travel documents without
a specific Act of Parliament stipulating the exact conditions and offences
for which such documents can be seized by the state.

      Mudzuri, who said he was travelling to London on party as well as
private business, said he was working with his lawyers to have his passport
released to him.

      Despite splitting last year into two relatively weaker political
parties, the MDC remains a potent challenge to President Robert Mugabe's
government with the larger Tsvangirai-led  wing of the opposition party
threatening to call mass anti-government protests this winter to force
Mugabe to accept sweeping political reforms. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabweans still to muster enough courage to confront Mugabe on the streets

Zim Online

Mon 17 July 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's labour movement and the opposition appear to be
turning the heat on President Robert Mugabe, announcing worker protests at
the month-end and calling for civil uprising but analysts say it will
require more to convince Zimbabweans to confront state security forces on
the streets.

      Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general Wellington
Chibebe last week said the umbrella union will call nationwide street
protests by workers for better pay in the last week of July, putting the
labour group on a collision course with the government.

      Chibebe - who for strategic reasons refused to disclose the exact
dates of the protests - spoke as main Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party leader Morgan Tsvangirai also last week ordered provincial leaders of
his party to hasten mobilising support for mass protests to force Mugabe to
accept sweeping political reforms.

      The new-found energy appeared to have been set in motion after Mugabe
last month deftly avoided international censure when United Nations
Secretary General Kofi Annan cancelled a trip to Harare after being told by
Mugabe that former Tanzanian leader Benjamin Mkapa was mediating between
Zimbabwe and Britain.

      Annan was expected to use the Harare trip to pressure Mugabe to agree
to step down in return for substantial international aid for crisis-weary
Zimbabwe and immunity for the veteran President from prosecution for human
rights crimes committed while in office.

      The analysts said Chibebe and Tsvangirai's calls last week rallying
workers and MDC supporters for mass action was a sign the opposition
movement could be slowly mustering the courage to confront the government
after months of hesitation.

      "Definitely the time appears right for demonstrations against the
regime because there is a lot of anger and pain among the people," said John
Makumbe, a University of Zimbabwe (UZ) political analyst and Mugabe critic.

      He added: "And I think Zimbabweans are beginning to realise that they
need to do something in the form of civil disobedience because this
government is going downhill and it might well take all of us with it."

      Chibebe said the labour union had resolved to go on strike after the
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe, grouping employers in the country,
refused to adjust wages in line with the country's galloping inflation,
which is the highest in the world at 1 184.6 percent.

      Zimbabweans have grappled with foreign currency, food and fuel
shortages, while poverty has deepened and services have crumbled as the
country's economy implodes from what critics say is a result of bad policies
by Mugabe's government.

      The crisis has fanned anger among ordinary people, most of whom are
without jobs and have to do with a single meal a day. The government's
Central Statistical Office last week said an average family of five would
now require Z$68 million for basic goods and services per month, this
against an average salary of $15 to $20 million a month for most workers.

      The analysts said the recent moves proved that the opposition forces
could be starting to converge on the need for a stronger anti-government
alliance but warned that despite a litany of economic problems fuelling
public anger against the government many Zimbabweans appeared reluctant "to
lose life or limb" by taking to the streets to confront Mugabe's army and

      "I should think the action by the opposition and the ZCTU is meant to
test the waters. Their problem is that they have not yet secured the
critical mass. They have a broad mass of passive supporters who I think have
not reached that threshold of anger," leading UZ political commentator
Eldred Masunungure told ZimOnline.

      "Until they reach that stage when they can transform anger into public
action, we will continue to see these sporadic protests and threats of
winters of discontent," Masunungure added, referring to threats by
Tsvangirai earlier this year to mobilise mass protests this winter to force
Mugabe to give up power to a transitional government.

      The transitional authority would be tasked to write a new and
democratic constitution for Zimbabwe and to organise fresh elections under
international supervision, Tsvangirai said.

      Mugabe, who has in the past sent armed soldiers and police onto the
streets to crush dissent, has repeatedly vowed to be ruthless with the
opposition-led mass protests and has warned Tsvangirai that such protests
would be a "dice with death".

      But opinion is divided on whether security forces, which Mugabe has
relied on to keep the opposition in check, would this time round use force
to break any protests - especially if they were huge and well organised.

      Zimbabwe's police and army have not been spared from the economic rot
and despite salary increments earlier in the year, economic analysts say
their earnings have been whittled by raging inflation.

      "There is a very strong possibility that the government will respond
(to the demonstrations) as usual but the law enforcement agents might not be
too keen to prolong the departure of this regime. There could be a lukewarm
response in discouraging members of the public to take to the streets,"
Makumbe said.

      But Masunungure said: "The government has made it clear it will defend
itself against these protests and I am sure it will use all the force at its

      Zimbabwe has remained on knife edge since the MDC first threatened
mass anti-government protests last March while worsening economic hardships
and food shortages continue stoking up tensions in the troubled southern
African country.

      Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since the country's 1980 independence
from Britain, denies mismanaging the country and says its problems are
because of economic sabotage by Western governments opposed to his seizure
of white land.

      The analysts however seem to agree that effective planning and
organisation or failure to do so by the MDC, labour and civic society could
be all the difference between a Zimbabwe without Mugabe in charge or more
years at the helm for one of Africa's last remaining 'Big Men' rulers.

      "The co-ordination of their (opposition groups) activities leaves a
lot to be desired and their fragmentation is still a very serious
liability . they will have to be more co-ordinated to focus on a specific
period and action to be taken by the people," said Makumbe, echoing the
views of most analysts. - ZimOnline

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Business leaders threaten to sue electricity firm over power cuts

Zim Online

Mon 17 July 2006

      BULAWAYO - Business leaders in Zimbabwe's second largest city of
Bulawayo say they are considering suing the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority for compensation for lost revenue after the state power company
switched off electricity to the city for most of the last three days.

      Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce deputy national president, Obert
Sibanda, said chamber members in Bulawayo had lost billions of dollars in
lost production due to the power cuts, adding his organisation was compiling
a dossier detailing the firms concerned and specific losses incurred.

      "We are not ruling out legal action over our losses but first we would
have to get ZESA's story before taking legal action as some of our members
supply international markets and they work on targets," Sibanda said.

      Bulawayo city centre was without power from as early as 8 o'clock in
the morning last Friday until 5.30pm. On Saturday, the central business
district was again switched off at about 9 o'clock in the morning and only
reconnected at 12.30 pm when most businesses in the area were already
closing for the weekend.

      The city centre was again switched off power as early as 7 o'clock on
Sunday morning and reconnected after lunch hour.

      ZESA corporate affairs and communication manager James Maridadi told
ZimOnline that the power cuts to Bulawayo were because of a transformer
fault at one of the city's sub-stations, adding the power company was
working to ensure power supplies to the city were restored.

      Maridadi said: "The station that has a fault feeds half the city
centre and the entire industrial areas and we are working flat out to
rectify the problem and the duration of the current problem will depend on
the amount of damage to the transformers."

      Zimbabwean industry and homes suffer from hours of power cuts every
day, because of breaking down equipment at ZESA's ageing power stations and
also because of under-capacity with power stations only able to supply  - at
full throttle - up to 65 percent of the country's electricity requirements.

      The remainder is filled in with imports from neighbouring countries.

      If the Bulawayo firms eventually sue ZESA, it would be the first that
the mismanaged state power company would be facing action from consumers for
its shoddy service. - ZimOnline

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Masenda elected ZOC president

Zim Online

Mon 17 July 2006

      HARARE - Long serving sports administrator Admire Masenda is the new
president of the powerful Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC).

      Masenda who in the past has run basketball at national level beat
rival Custom Kachambwa during elections that were held in Harare yesterday.

      Masenda polled 25 votes way ahead of Kachambwa who could only manage a
paltry eight votes.

      The top ZOC post has been vacant for the past 15 months when then
president Paul Chingoka, was forced to step aside as he was being probed for
alleged theft of funds when he was Tennis Zimbabwe (TZ) president.

      Although Chingoka was recently cleared, he did not seek re-election
paving the way for a duel between Masenda and  Kachambwa.

      Masenda, who was co-vice president, has been acting as ZOC president
since Chingoka stepped aside.

      Masenda has been involved in sports administration since 1989 in
various positions in the Mashonaland Basketball Association and the
Basketball Union of Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline

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'In Zim, nothing goes down except the country'

Mail and Guardian

      Godfrey Marawanyika | Harare, Zimbabwe

      16 July 2006 08:35

            Becoming a millionaire in Zimbabwe is easy these days, but
wallets and purses have given way to car boots and suitcases as the crucial
accessory for carrying wads of nearly worthless cash.

            As the Southern African country battles hyper-inflation and
grinding fuel and foreign exchange shortages amid a seven-year economic
slump, ordinary citizens have resignined themselves to wry humour to deal
with the situation.

            "In Zimbabwe, nothing goes down except the country," is a saying
often heard on the streets of the capital as inflation hovers around 1 200%,
pushing basic commodities beyond the reach of many.

            Despite a dip in inflation from 1 193% to 1 184%, a figure
experts say is the highest in the world outside of a war zone, consumer
prices continue to climb.

            Zimbabwe's largest financial note is the green Zim$100 000
bearer cheque, but at the equivalent value of about one US dollar or 78 euro
cents it's not enough to buy a loaf of bread, let alone a shopping basket.

            Basic foodstuffs and essential drugs are in short supply, and
electricity and water have also joined the long queue of hard-to-find items.

            The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) said recently that living
costs for a family of five surged to Zim$68-million ($671, ?527) in June
from the May figure of Zim$49,1-million.

            The economic and financial crisis has slashed consumer spending
owing to the lack of disposable income, the CCZ said.

            "Consumer spending and patterns have been on the decline due to
economic conditions," CCZ said in its monthly economic update.

            "Therefore, employers are called upon to give their workers
salaries that take into cognisance the cost of living."

            Economists are increasingly vocal in their criticism of the
government's handling of the economy.

            "For the greater part of Zimbabwe's 26 years of independence,
the government has demonstrated remarkably great skill of distancing itself
from realities," wrote independent economist Erich Bloch in a recent
newspaper column.

            "Anything and everything that may be negative in the economy is
either due to the whims of nature, or evil machinations of the international
community, the political opposition and those of other races," he said in
reference to explanations given by
            government for the current crunch.

            Analysts wondered whether any forward planning was possible in
an economy that has contracted by more than a third over the past seven

            "Who plans in such an environment?" asked Fungai Tarira, an
investment analyst with the Harare-based Imara Asset management.

            "It's a very difficult environment to operate in, we just wake
up and go to work. There is no long-term planning and with a bit of luck on
our hands we are surviving," he told Agence France-Presse.

            President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since Zimbabwe's
independence from Britain in 1980, has blamed the country's recession on
target sanctions imposed on himself and his inner circle by Western powers.

            He has ruled out any outside intervention to help solve the

            Benard Mufute, an economist with Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries said: "The way forward for the country is for greater political
commitment, but right now we don't see it.

            "Others would want to say we are being sabotaged, but far from
it we have to live within our own means and liberalise the exchange rate to
get everything moving forward."

            Zimbabwe has pegged its dollar at 101 196 to the US dollar since
April, but on the thriving underground market the latter currency readily
changes hands at the rate of 450 000 to one. - Sapa-AFP

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Succession debate nonsensical - Mugabe


          July 16 2006 at 11:57AM

      Harare - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has poured cold water over
a debate regarding his succession, calling the issue a "nonsensical thing",
a newspaper report said Sunday.

      "The things we hear about succession, succession, succession... if I
were to write books, I would write volumes and volumes of (this) nonsensical
thing," the state-owned Sunday Mail quoted Mugabe as saying.

      Zimbabwe's longtime leader made the comments at a national
consultative meeting of his ruling Zimbabwe African National Union -
Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), which has been in power since independence from
Britain in 1980.

      The 82-year-old strongman, who in the past indicated a desire to step
down before his current term expires in 2008, also warned that "the people
of Zimbabwe, not witchdoctors" would decide the issue of succession.

      "We hear lots of unbelievable stories about succession, we hear some
people are consulting witchdoctors ... but the biggest witchdoctor is the
people of Zimbabwe and there is no need to consult witchdoctors," Mugabe

      Some politicians in Zimbabwe were known for consulting witchdoctors
which they believed could help predict the future or help them be

      "If you do your job well, the people will recognise you. If you do
your work and work with the people well, the people will recognise you,"
Mugabe said.

      Zimbabwe is in the iron grip of a spiralling economic crisis,
characterised by an inflation rate hovering just below 1 200 percent,
compounded by a fuel and foreign currency crunch and a high unemployment

      Mugabe and his ruling party have blamed the current situation on
selective sanctions imposed by the West, but critics point to the country's
controversial land redistribution programme, which saw white-owned
commercial farms taken and given to landless blacks.

      Around 4 000 white farmers have lost their land since Mugabe launched
his fast-track land reform program in 2000 to redress the imbalances in land
ownership from the colonial era.

      Fewer than 600 commercial farmers remain on their properties in
Zimbabwe, once called the breadbasket of southern Africa. - Sapa-AFP

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Sazini Mpofu interview - continued from yesterday...

From PBS Frontline/World (US), 27 June

Why were they so keen to tarnish the image of the MDC?

At the station, the investigating officer told us that they had been given
the task of getting the MDC banned from political grounds. I think they were
trying to get the MDC to be unpopular.

What was it like to be a member of the MDC?

At that point, it was quite difficult because people didn't believe that
there could be a party that could challenge Zanu PF. We had to get to the
ground level and convince people that this is the right opportunity for us
to kick out Zanu PF once and for all. It wasn't easy because there are still
people who believe in Zanu PF. But we managed to pull through and really get
the MDC on its feet.

What was it like in terms of pressures that you faced?

At first it was not that bad. It was easy. But as we went on, Zanu PF
realized we were gaining ground and then began sending in its people to
start arresting us. That's when we started facing the difficulties.

And today?

Today no one really says he's a member of the opposition, except for those
known as members of the opposition, like me. Once people get to know, the
police will pay you frequent visits, uttering threats that if you continue
with your behavior, this might happen to you or that might happen to you.

And what happened to you?

When my place was burned down, I was already arrested. The police officer
just told me, "We have been to your place, and your place has burned down.
But your young brothers and sisters are OK. They ran away before your place
was burned down." That really did have an impact on me because I was already
arrested and there was nothing I could have done. My mother and father
passed away, so I was looking after my young brothers and sisters. So by
then I knew that they had no place to go, so they had to seek refuge
somewhere. At that point, I didn't know where they were and I was in police

Where did they end up?

They ended up going to our relatives. They went to different relatives. When
I came from prison, I had to raise some funds to try and get help from
people and different organizations to try to build up my place. That is the
only place that I have and can live. And I have young brothers and sisters
that also need a place to stay, so that was really a major setback. As we
speak, I am still working hard trying to get my place finished, but I am
halfway through and at least I am glad that I have managed this far.

When will you be able to live there again?

At the present moment, I am staying there because I have to look after a few
things. I might finish the place, but they might come back and burn it down
again. So I am still trying to see if it is safe for everyone to come back
home. If it is not, I will have to stay with relatives. And we will have to
abandon the place.

You were briefly out of the country, then you came back. Somebody said to me
that you were brave to come back. Tell me about that decision.

I can't say I was very confident. I can say that I came back because I felt
I had to come back to look after my younger sisters and brothers. And I felt
that if I were to stay out of the country, it would be like abandoning them.
I thought it would be good for me to come back and face everything - face
the police, Zanu PF, the whole government. There are police that are asking
about my whereabouts, asking about what I am doing, how I am surviving since
I don't go to work. All the time I am telling myself that I have to be alert
24/7. I have to see if there is anything strange around me and to
investigate it. I am always ready to run, and I am always ready to hide. If
my younger brothers and sisters have a place of their own, then I can go out
of the country and never come back. As it is, I am staying under fear.

Do you think there will come a time when you are not living under such fear?

I believe there will come a time when the Zanu PF will no longer be in
power. Regardless of which party is in power, if Zanu PF is no longer in
power and if Robert Mugabe is no longer in power, it will be safe - not only
for me, but for every other Zimbabwean that's in this country.

What is going on in the MDC today? Some people are taking one side and some
people are taking another side.

The split between the MDC members has already affected my relationship with
other guys that are here in Zimbabwe that I was close to. I am against going
for the senate elections because it doesn't change anything. We go for the
elections and we win, but still Mugabe will take the people who lost and
make them into senators. We haven't achieved anything. It is OK to boycott
and to say it is OK if we take a stand. But I don't think we should get to
that point because we all want the same thing - to get rid of the Zanu PF
regime. It is unfortunate, but I think that Tsvangirai and Gibson Sibanda
would sit down and talk as people older than us and show us how it is done.
If they don't show us at this stage, I don't believe that we as the youth
can manage.

How did you and Khethani [the co-accused in the murder] first work together?

Khethani was a driver for the MDC. I was a youth chairperson at district
level for my constituency. So every time a rally was to be organized,
Khethani would approach me and ask for youth to do jobs that would need to
be done. I would provide him with youth and a PA system so he could go
around in his car announcing where the rally would be. I worked a lot with

So what was it like then? Were you guys filled with optimism?

I felt really good because at that point I felt I was making a difference in
Zimbabwe. I was an example of what youth my age should be into. Mainly guys
my age are into drinking beer. We wanted to show them that instead of
dealing with our problems by smoking and drinking, we could do it another
way - by getting rid of the party that was hurting us. Most of the guys did
come around.

How do you feel about all the people who have left Zimbabwe and moved to
South Africa?

They are trying to save themselves. I am in Zimbabwe because I am trying to
help my family, but after that I am leaving. I am definitely going to try
and stay there [in South Africa] because in Zimbabwe, people don't have
jobs. I am not saying that in South Africa people have jobs, but here in
Zimbabwe if you try to sell tomatoes, they take them and they arrest you and
you have to pay a fine for that. So people don't have any choice except to
leave for South Africa. It is quite difficult in this country to try and

How are South Africans responding to the large numbers of Zimbabweans who
want to live there?

The South Africans are definitely not making it easy for Zimbabweans to live
there because we are not treated as if we are human beings. South Africans
should bear with us and try to help our government. If we had a better
government, we wouldn't want to move to South Africa. I am not saying they
are against foreigners, I am just saying they should try to understand us. I
just pray, I just want a place where we belong. As Zimbabweans, we want to
belong to Zimbabwe. But Zimbabwe is rejecting us, so we are forced to seek
refuge in other countries. We are just trying to make it.

What gives you faith that Zanu PF will go?

I have faith that Zimbabwe will regain its status and return to the country
it was once before. It is the matter of having the right government. With
Zanu PF, I don't see us as a country surviving that long. What is happening
today is very difficult for me to talk about. It really hurts me to think
that someone somewhere has the money but can't get food, that someone is not
getting paid, that someone is getting arrested for being in the MDC. I wish
the government would be done with it - get a new government, get in new
brains and work from there. We need people that will appreciate other
countries coming in to help, other NGOs coming in to help. The current
government doesn't want anything to do with NGOs or people from other

Someone like Pius Nube [Archbishop of Bulawayo] is very outspoken.

Yes. Pius Nube has really felt the heat because he talks to the people and
sees what is on the ground. He helps the people and tries to get them food;
he even helped me with my place. He knows what he is talking about and
really wants change for this country. Some people in this country don't
really care about what is happening on the ground; they only care about
themselves. But with someone like Pius Nube, this place could be a better
place for everyone.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say?

You know, Zimbabwe is a very beautiful country. We all love Zimbabwe. And
those who are not living in Zimbabwe do so not because it is unbearable, no.
It is because of the government. [Zimbabweans] should not totally forget
about Zimbabwe. They should try and do something for their country wherever
they are. They can be in Kenya, the United States, but it doesn't matter
because they will be fighting for their fellow Zimbabweans. I wish people
could see things my way and be brave and do something for their country. If
we Zimbabweans don't do anything for the country, no one is going to do
anything from another country. Outsiders can only help us if we try to help

This interview between Alexis Bloom and Sazini Mpofu took place in February
2006 in Harare. It has been edited for clarity.

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 15th July 2006

A wonderful summer day - one that makes us feel a little guilty at being
away from home.  When the weather is awful at least we think we are making a
sacrifice.  It was no sacrifice today: we were swept by waves of people in
their summery clothes who had come to see a one mile charity run along the
Thames.  Twenty-thousand took part.  The area was brought to a standstill
for hours.  An extra vibrancy was added by Patson who sang non-stop for two
hours.  And this was before going on stage for the last night of a
successful run of the Zimbabwean theatrical production, "Qabuka".

Our young supporters from Brighton, Alois and Wellington, have on their own
energetic initiative got permission to hold a demonstration opposite 10
Downing Street and submit a petition to the Prime Minister on 28th July.
They explained their plans at the Vigil and are reaching out to all
Zimbabweans to help support them in this endeavour.

Also with us were Immanuel Hlabangana, a Zimbabwean human rights lawyer from
the Hague, and Obert Matahwa, formerly of the Daily News. Another Zimbabwean
journalist, an old friend of the Vigil, presented us with a guide to
dangerous snakes in Zimbabwe which caused much amusement, eg African adder -
local name Herbert Murerwa keeps adding zeros to the Zimbabwean currency.

We are appreciative when people make great efforts to be with us - Gordon
joined us all the way from Glasgow.  It was also lovely to have some very
young people with us - they made excellent flag bearers during the national
anthem and the younger one very nearly mastered the art of blowing a

For this week's Vigil pictures:

FOR THE RECORD: 56 signed the register.

FOR YOUR DIARY: Zimbabwe Forum, Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog pub, 28
John Adam Street, London WC2 (cross the Strand from the Zimbabwe Embassy, go
down a passageway to John Adam Street, turn right and you will see the pub).
Our last forum did not take place because of a last minute loss of our
venue.  Monday, 17th July, 7.30 pm, an action forum - what can we do here in
the diaspora to make sure Zimbabwean issues are kept alive? Some of the
ideas from recent talks will be taken forward into direct action eg focusing
on how to put pressure on South Africa and surrounding states to do more to
support the campaign for change in Zimbabwe.

Before the Forum there will be a meeting to discuss the protest outside 10
Downing Street on Friday, 28th July.  Time: 6 - 7 pm, Venue: the Refugee
Council, 240 - 250 Ferndale Road, Brixton, SW9 8BB.

Vigil co-ordinator

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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Mabvuku attack - Trial of some accused

From: Trudy Stevenson
Sent: Monday, July 17, 2006 3:54 AM
Subject: Mabvuku attack - Trial of some accused

The trial of some of the accused in the Mabvuku attack will now begin this
Thursday, 20 July, at 8.30 am in Magistrates Court Number 4, Rotten Row.
Accused in this case so far are Pension Gomo, Nhamo Brown, Kudakwashe
Kaparamura, Pardon Munengani, Wector Zambezi and Charles Maruma .  Witnesses
are the victims including myself, and possibly others.  The Public
Prosecutor (lawyer for the State) is Mr Grey, and the Magistrate is Mr

The Mubawu-Kuramakwaramba case is being heard separately, so far, as they
are accused of organising the thing rather than actual violence.

The court is open to all members of the public, the only provisos being
"decent" dress, no cameras and cellphones switched off in court.  You can
come in and out at will, provided there is room for everyone.

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