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FinGaz

Mawere to be specified

Hama Saburi
7/1/2004 7:30:01 AM (GMT +2)

.Govt to take over tycoon's assets

THE government, whose financial support for the businesses owned by
the now much-maligned Mutumwa Mawere has sparked off controversy, is mulling
plans to specify the beleaguered business mogul as a precursor to taking
over some of his assets.

Highly placed government sources this week revealed that "the highest
office", which is reportedly ruing backing Mawere during his empire's
formative years, has since okayed the imminent specification. The mercurial
Mawere, an astute if controversial businessman, is based in South Africa
from where the government wants him extradited for allegedly violating the
country's exchange control regulations.

They said the Justice Ministry would be going through the requisite
formalities anytime soon which could culminate in the publication of a
notice in the government gazette. A specified person is only allowed to use
a limited amount of money per day.

Apart from having restricted movements, the affected person can only
access such limited resources if granted permission by the person authorised
to grant such permission according to the law.

Mawere's specification could bring to six the number of high profile
Zimbabwean business executives who have been specified in recent months for
various economic crimes. In May this year, an extraordinary government
gazette announced the specification of ZANU PF central committee member,
James Makamba, Cecil Muderede, Gilbert Muponda, Nyasha Watyoka and Jabulani
Manyanga.

Muponda is believed to have skipped the country together with his
lawyer, Oscar Ziweni.

Although the sources would not say which of the Mawere-owned companies
were targeted for takeover by the government, inside sources at Africa
Resources Limited (ARL) who spoke on condition of anonymity said the
government was aggressively pushing to take over the struggling Shabanie &
Mashaba Mines (SMM). ARL is Mawere's investment vehicle through which he
owns the asbestos mines.

The idea to take over the mines was mooted after the outspoken Mawere
fell out with influential ruling ZANU PF officials. According to the
sources, it was tabled before Cabinet some three weeks ago.

They said the government would advance the asbestos producer,
currently saddled with a crippling cash crunch, with $60 billion. This would
bring the total amount SMM owes government to about $80 billion, paving the
way for a government takeover through a debt-equity swap.

A senior ZANU PF official is said to have already communicated the
government's intention to members of the workers' committee when he
addressed them at the mine a couple of weeks.

The mines are some of Mawere's investments that had previously
benefited directly from government financial support. Mawere's ARL, which is
said to be registered in the Virgin Islands, United States, got a US$60
million government guarantee in 1998 when it acquired SMM.

In December 2000, SMM was also granted a US$60 million five-year
pre-export finance facility supported by a Memorandum of Deposit arrangement
through the Reserve Bank, which will expire on January 31 2007.

This support, which of late has aroused even greater controversy, is
now a subject of police investigations. While government has occasionally
doled out large chunks of public funds to troubled state-owned companies, it
is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for privately owned companies to
get financial backing from the government.

In addition to the unusual government financial support, Mawere was
subsequently granted a seven-year privilege to market the lucrative asbestos
fibre without going through the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe.
The privilege was, however, later cancelled in March this year under unclear
circumstances.

The targeted mines are the ones that Mawere, who until his brush with
the law had assumed an unrivalled profile, acquired in 1996 without
immediately paying a single dime under what was called financial
engineering. While his deal-making dexterity was hailed in some circles,
sceptics did not give him credit for the acquisition of the mines from their
previous owners, T and N.

This was during the time when some politically well-connected
businessmen would literally hold guns to company owners' heads to force them
to sell their businesses under the guise of black economic empowerment.

Instead, the sceptics attributed Mawere's perceived business success
to sufficient political backing from a key member of the ruling ZANU PF to
whom he is said to be related maternally. They have since fallen out with
the politician.

Mawere is facing possible extradition to Zimbabwe on allegations of
fraud involving $300 billion and for contravening some sections under the
Exchange Control Act. He was due to appear before a Randburg magistrates
court yesterday for his extradition hearing.

Through his ARL, Mawere has invested into UKI Limited, African
Associated Mines, SMM, Steelnet, Turnall, General Beltings, FSI Holdings,
First Banking Corporation and ZimRe Holdings among others.

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FinGaz

Anti-graft Bill hits another brick wall

Staff Reporters
7/1/2004 7:30:24 AM (GMT +2)

EFFORTS to parachute the watered down anti-graft legislation into law
could come to another screeching halt as the Parliamentary Legal Committee,
which is yet to make an opinion on the controversial Bill, is likely to
refer the Bill back for further amendments.

Sources told The Financial Gazette yesterday that the committee
chaired by Welshman Ncube and also comprising Innocent Gonese (Mutare
Central) and Kumbirai Kangai (Buhera South), could refer the Bill back to
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa for further amendments.

Ncube, a constitutional lawyer, said he only heard of the amendments
effected by Chinamasa after the Bill had encountered resistance from both
ZANU PF and opposition party legislators, but the committee needed time to
look at the legislation before coming up with an opinion.

"I do not know what happened today, I was not in Parliament. I was in
the privileges committee attending the hearing of David Coltart," Ncube
said.

Coltart, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) legislator for
Bulawayo South, appeared before a Parliamentary and Immunities Committee to
shed more light on allegations he made that a number of senior government
officials were multiple farm owners.

After the amendments, Chinamasa retained the pre-trial mandatory
21days in custody for those suspected of corruption, but changed a few
aspects of the Bill.

The amendments also stipulate that it is only officers above the rank
of assistant inspector who can now authorise the arrest and detention of
those suspected to be involved in corruption.

Yesterday, Chinamasa told The Financial Gazette that it was now up to
the Attorney General's Office to determine the gravity of the crime when
considering detention and refusal for remand.

"The AG's office has the prerogative to issue a certificate for
pre-trial detention in complex matters," Chinamasa said: "But if the AG's
office considers that the matter is trivial, it will have to go through the
normal court procedures and the certificate will not be issued."

But constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku was quick to say that the
amendments were superfluous in that the AG's office acted practically as
lawyers for the police.

"They are trying to pretend that they are giving back powers to the
AG's office, but in essence, nothing has really changed. The AG's office is
under heavy political pressure and if the police are determined to keep
someone in detention, the AG's office is bound to comply. The amount of
unreasonableness displayed so far by that office is the same with the
police. The amendments are just technical and nothing more. The AG's office
will go by what the police say."

An attempt has also been made to clip the wings of whistle-blowers.
Police will now record details, date, time and nature of complaint if the
offence is disclosed by an anonymous complaint.

The AG now has powers to make an opinion on whether the offence
committed warrants further detention for the period of up to 21 days.

Before the amendments, a judge or magistrate had no powers to decline
a police request for further detention of a person accused of corruption.

What it meant therefore, was that an accused person could be brought
before the courts and detained for seven days as police attempt to establish
grounds for reasonable suspicion that a crime could have indeed been
committed.

After the seven days have elapsed the police would then instruct the
prosecutors that preliminary investigations point to a possible crime and
request for a further detention of 21 days.

The Bill had suffered stiff resistance from both the MDC and ZANU PF
legislators, who allege its abuse by senior government officials, the police
and officers from the AG's Office.

In an unprecedented move the legislators, known to rubber stamp
anything, walked out of Parliament last week in protest against the Bill.

On Tuesday this week, the ZANU PF legislators proved yet again that
they have what it takes to resist attempts to whip them into line when they
boycotted a caucus meeting called to enlist their backing for the
legislation.
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FinGaz
The Unity Agreement in full


7/1/2004 7:32:40 AM (GMT +2)

Preamble

Conscious of the historical links between ZANU PF and PF ZAPU in the struggle for national independence and democracy through the strategy of the armed struggle and their alliance under the banner of the Patriotic Front;

Cognisant of the fact that the two parties jointly command the support of the overwhelming majority of the people of Zimbabwe as evidenced by the general election results of 1980 and 1985 respectively;

Notwithstanding that ZANU PF commands a greater percentage of the said overwhelming majority of the people of Zimbabwe;

Desirous to unite our nation, establish peace, law and order and to guarantee social and economic development and political stability;

Determined to eliminate and end the insecurity and violence caused by dissidents in Matabeleland;

Convinced that national unity, political stability, peace, law and order, social and economic development can only be achieved to their fullest under conditions of peace and the unity primarily of ZANU PF and PF ZAPU;

We, the two leaders of ZANU PF and PF ZAPU, that is to say Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe, First Secretary and President of ZANU PF, and Comrade Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, President of PF ZAPU, assisted by a sub-committee of equal members of ZANU PF and PF ZAPU, held ten meetings to discuss the possible unity of our two parties as follows:

  • 1st Meeting: 2nd October 1985, Parliament Buildings.
  • 2nd Meeting: 28th November 1985, Parliament Buildings.
  • 3rd Meeting: 4th April 1986, Parliament Buildings.
  • 4th Meeting: 22nd July 1986, Parliament Buildings.
  • 5th Meeting: 29th December 1986, Parliament Buildings.
  • 6th Meeting: 25th February 1987, Parliament Buildings.
  • 7th Meeting: 3rd August 1987, Parliament Buildings.
  • 8th Meeting: 10th August 1987, Parliament Buildings.
  • 9th Meeting: 23rd October 1987, Parliament Buildings.
  • 10th Meeting: 10th December 1987, Parliament Buildings.


Consequent upon these meetings, and paying due regard to all the principal issues raised thereat, we have agreed as follows:

The agreement

  • That ZANU PF and PF ZAPU have irrevocably committed themselves to unite under one political party;
  • That the unity of the two political parties shall be achieved under the name Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) - in short, ZANU PF;
  • That Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe shall be the First Secretary and President of ZANU PF;
  • that ZANU PF shall have two Second Secretaries and Vice Presidents who shall be appointed by the First Secretary and President of the party;
  • that ZANU PF shall seek to establish a socialist society in Zimbabwe on the guidance of Marxist-Leninist principles;
  • that ZANU PF shall seek to establish a one-party state in Zimbabwe;
  • that the leadership of ZANU PF shall abide by the Leadership Code;
  • that the existing structures of ZANU PF and PF ZAPU shall be merged in accordance with the letter and spirit of this agreement;
  • that both parties shall, in the interim, take immediate vigorous steps to eliminate and end the insecurity and violence prevalent in Matabeleland;
  • that ZANU PF and PF ZAPU shall convene their respective congresses to give effect to this agreement within the shortest possible time; and
  • that, in the interim, Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe is vested with full powers to prepare for the implementation of this agreement and to act in the name and authority of ZANU PF.
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FinGaz

With enemies like these, who needs friends?

Nelson Banya
7/1/2004 7:33:41 AM (GMT +2)

RELATIONS between Britain and its erstwhile colony Zimbabwe have, in
the past five years, hit their lowest ebb, even lower than that time when
Ian Douglas Smith led his Rhodesian renegades to the infamous and
politically suicidal (treasonous, to the royalists) Unilateral Declaration
of Independence.

British premier Tony Blair has made no effort to disguise his
antipathy towards Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who he accuses of
human rights abuses, undemocratic tendencies and destruction of the once
prosperous southern African state's economy.

President Mugabe, in turn, has been accused of taking his anti-Blair
diatribe to obsessive levels, blaming the Western power and its allies -
real and perceived - of sabotaging Zimbabwe's economy as a means to
undermine the country's controversial land reforms that saw up to 3 000
white commercial farmers losing their prime farmland since 2000.

What is more, President Mugabe accuses Britain's Labour government of
sponsoring the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwe's biggest
opposition party, which has given the ruling ZANU PF a run for its money
since its inception in 1999.

For years, President Mugabe has justified his shoddy treatment and
blatant disregard for the MDC, which won 47.5 percent of the vote in the
2000 parliamentary election, saying the opposition party is a creation of
foreign powers - led by Britain - bent on effecting regime change in
Zimbabwe.

These charges have been dismissed by both the British government and
the MDC as a deception meant to mask ZANU PF's undemocratic tendencies and
its disdain for pluralism.

It is in this context that last week's statements by Blair in the
House of Commons, to the effect that his government was working together
with the MDC, constitutes an uncharacteristic blunder by the shrewd British
premier.

The statement served to further complicate the already treacherous
terrain which the MDC has to navigate on its way to power.

The MDC has had to contend with electoral legislation that gives the
ruling ZANU PF an unfair advantage at the polls as well as public
information machinery that has been commandeered to propagate the ruling
party's propaganda, largely directed against the MDC and its perceived
Western backers - the United States and Britain.

But analysts this week were in agreement that while the statements had
complicated issues for the MDC, particularly coming as they did when the
groundwork was being laid for next year's parliamentary elections, there was
nothing new in the revelation.

"It was a godsend for the ruling party, but it is nothing new. The
issue has been blown out of all proportion by the state media and officials
with an eye on March 2005.

"I do not think it is a revelation to anyone, even one who is remotely
acquainted with our politics. The MDC has crafted alliances with various
parties and there is nothing wrong with that," University of Zimbabwe (UZ)
political scientist Eldred Masunungure said.

Joseph Kurebwa, also of the UZ, said what Blair said was "nothing out
of the ordinary", but indicated that the statements tended to vindicate the
government's charges that the MDC was an appendage of foreign powers
frustrated by the ZANU PF government and which sought to effect regime
change.

"In my view, Blair wanted to be categorical about his government's
relations with the opposition in Zimbabwe, particularly the MDC.

"If that interpretation is correct, then it (the statement) has great
implications for our politics, given the relations between the two
governments. Essentially, they tended to vindicate the government and I don'
t think Blair did the MDC any good.

"ZANU PF has already seized the opportunity to go after the MDC,"
Kurebwa said.

Masunungure, however, said there was nothing wrong with the opposition
forging alliances with other political organisations.

"In politics, you make alliances and dissolve alliances. What's so
satanic about this party forging alliances with this or that party or
government? It's all part of common sense politics. There is no big deal and
nothing scandalous about that.

"I was surprised by the onslaught unleashed in the state media over
this, but of course it was an opportunity to throw mud at the country's only
credible opposition, which is projected as sellout puppets, while
embellishing the image of the ruling party as patriotic custodians of our
country," Masunungure said.

The ruling party has, in recent months, exuded a confidence that had
been battered at the last two elections, in which the MDC put up a strong
showing in spite of severe constraints.

ZANU PF's confidence, emanating from a string of victories in recent
parliamentary by-elections, last week resulted in the government's moves to
institute far-reaching changes to the country's electoral laws, which all
along steeped the playing field heavily in favour of the ruling party.

ZANU PF has a newfound spring in its step, which, as any close
observation will reveal, is not down to any virtue springing from within the
party, but largely due to the errors of its adversaries.

With enemies like these, who needs friends?

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FinGaz

Nkomo gala and the elections

Charles Rukuni
7/1/2004 7:32:08 AM (GMT +2)

BULAWAYO - TO ZANU PF, the Umdhala Wethu gala, to be held in Gweru
this weekend to commemorate the death of former Vice-President Joshua Nkomo
five years ago, is not just an event. It is a rallying point at which the
party can sell itself ahead of the 2005 elections.

But to the old guard in the former ZAPU, the gala is a sad reminder of
how the grand old man of Zimbabwe politics, the late Vice-President, "sold
out".

According to sources, some still harbour the idea that they could
revive ZAPU, which was literally swallowed by President Robert Mugabe's ZANU
PF at the height of political disturbances in Matabeleland back in 1987.

The gala, which will feature the country's top entertainers, has
received so much hype on national television that some sceptics believe that
"Father Zimbabwe", as Nkomo was known, is being exploited to lure the
Matabeleland electorate, which has shunned ZANU PF since independence in
1980.

Adverts for the gala have been running on national television for over
a month.

Nkomo is still being regarded as the symbol of unity between the
Ndebeles and the Shonas and even as he braved ill-health that later claimed
his life, the old man of Zimbabwean politics was never retired until his
death.

The hype surrounding his memorial galas still speaks volumes of
Nkomo's influence. It also raises the suspicion that the united ZANU PF
could still be using the late Vice-President as an adhesive to keep the
fractious Shona and Ndebele tribes together.

A former senior ZAPU official told The Financial Gazette that some of
the old guard in ZAPU believed the unity accord, signed on December 22 1987,
was responsible for the present political crisis in the country, especially
ZANU PF's intolerance of the opposition.

While the accord was heralded for bringing about peace in
Matabeleland, where thousands of civilians were massacred during the
five-year internal civil strife, item six of the 11-point agreement strictly
said the new party, ZANU PF, "shall seek to establish a one-party state in
Zimbabwe".

Though this was before the days of perestroika, which saw the collapse
of the communist bloc, the former official, who had a copy of the agreement,
said ZANU PF had never really abandoned its quest for a one-party state.

The agreement clearly stated that "national unity, political
stability, peace, law and order, social and economic development could only
be achieved to their fullest under conditions of peace and the unity
primarily of ZANU PF and PF ZAPU".

The agreement was also specific about who was calling the shots. It
said although the two parties jointly commanded the support of the
overwhelming majority of the people of Zimbabwe, ZANU PF commanded a greater
percentage of that overwhelming majority.

It was hammered out after 10 meetings of the two rival parties
spanning over two years.

According to the former official, the old guard who believed that they
lost out because of the unity accord were still convinced they could revive
ZAPU.

Their hopes of rescuing the party had been rekindled by the
performance of the Movement for Democratic Change in the 2000 elections.

"They (some of the old guard) tend to associate themselves with
Agrippa Madhlela rather than with Paul Siwela," the former official said.

"But as far as I am concerned, this is a non-starter because the young
people of today have no close sentimental value to ZAPU that the old folks
have. To these youths, both ZAPU and ZANU PF are failures."

Madhlela is leader of the revived ZAPU. Siwela broke away from that
party to form what is today known as ZAPU-FP, which advocates a federal
system.
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FinGaz

Parly walkout prompted by fear

Nelson Banya
7/1/2004 7:33:11 AM (GMT +2)

THE little act of defiance by ZANU PF's rubber-stamping legislators in
Parliament last week might have come as a surprise to some, but to sceptics,
the rebuff was simply a desperate move driven by self-interest.

"It is difficult to say whether ZANU PF MPs have come of age because
their action last week was more to do with fear than noble motives," said an
observer.

Some ZANU PF Members of Parliament last week walked out of the House,
effectively stifling the passing into law of the new Criminal Procedure and
Evidence regulations, which have been in force since February, but by virtue
of a presidential decree under the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures)
Act.

After the initial setback ZANU PF, determined to push through what
experts have described as bad law, convened a caucus meeting for Tuesday
this week. But the ruling party's legislators proved yet again that they
would resist attempts to whip them into line when they boycotted the caucus
meeting, which was meant to enlist their backing for the draconian
anti-graft legislation.

Fearing they could be coerced into rubber-stamping the amended
Criminal Procedure and Evidence Bill, the MPs this time chose to stay away
from the proceedings altogether.

Only less that 10 MPs attended the meeting, forcing the ZANU PF chief
whip Joram Gumbo to call off the meeting.

Sources said the MPs were likely to be ambushed during Parliamentary
proceedings that were to be adjourned mid-way to enable them to attend
another hurriedly called caucus to discuss the same issue.

The draconian Bill, due to expire in August, is being used to fight
deep-seated graft in the country.

The new measures have, in the past four months, seen several
luminaries in Zimbabwe's social, political and corporate life suffering the
ignominy of spending inordinately long periods in jail for various charges
relating to economic crimes as the government cracks down on corruption with
new-found zeal.

Under the regulations, which the government is eager to pass into law,
the police can hold suspects in corruption cases for up to 30 days without
trial, with no option of bail.

To date, Finance Minister Christopher Kuruneri and ZANU PF central
committee member and former legislator James Makamba have been high-profile
victims of the crackdown. Both are accused of contravening the country's
foreign exchange control regulations.

Makamba, a prominent businessman, has been in remand prison since
February while Kuruneri, who is also the MP for Mazowe in Mashonaland
Central, was taken in at the end of April. Both have made numerous
unsuccessful bail applications.

Small wonder, then, that ZANU PF legislators have developed cold feet
over passing the regulations into law.

Although leader of the House and Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
Minister Patrick Chinamasa has admitted that some sections of the proposed
legislation infringed on the rights of people facing charges, the real worry
within the ranks of ZANU PF has been the danger of the law being used to
settle political scores, particularly at this volatile time when the issue
of President Mugabe's successor has spawned internecine conflict in the
ruling party.

It is worth noting that the band of ZANU PF MPs who led the
mini-mutiny in Parliament last week is made up of personalities with
business interests.

Shuvai Mahofa, Philip Chiyangwa, Victor Chitongo and Pearson Mbalekwa
all have known business interests ranging from commercial farming entities,
security firms, entertainment ventures and manufacturing companies.

Chiyangwa was earlier this year dragged into the ENG saga, over which
he still has a case before the courts, where he has been charged with
perjury and attempting to defeat the course of justice. The Chinhoyi
legislator spent a fortnight in the cells.

"Everybody has seen how the regulations have been applied in the past
few months and, in the ZANU PF scheme of things, quite a number of people
have a lot to be jittery about should this Bill be enacted into law in its
present form.

"Of course there are real concerns about the powers granted to the
investigating agents, who can lock you up and then investigate later, but
that is not the major concern here.

"Yes, self-preservation is the major motive behind the defiance, but
we will see how it all ends. MPs have almost always emerged from ZANU PF
caucuses cowered," said a political analyst who preferred anonymity.

However, political commentator Heneri Dzinotyiweyi said whatever
reason was behind the resistance by the legislators, it all came down to
some undesirable provisions in the proposed legislation.

"I would be surprised if this was about the whole Bill and not
specific points therein. In any case, the reasons could be subjective, but
whether or not the MPs have businesses and interests to protect is neither
here nor there.

"Under normal circumstances, one does not expect people to be detained
before investigations are conducted . . . that would be chaotic,"
Dzinotyiwei said.

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FinGaz

Dawn for a new Zimbabwe

Brian Mangwende
7/1/2004 7:34:15 AM (GMT +2)

IN Zimbabwe's poisoned political atmosphere, where successive
elections have had the dubious distinction of being tainted by unfair
campaigning, systematic bullying and intimidation for the opposition, the
question all week has been whether this is a dawn for a new country. Or is
it just another cosmetic change?

This was after the government, under mounting political and moral
pressure to bring about electoral reforms, knuckled down to the intense
lobbying and announced the long-awaited changes.

The belated electoral reforms, however, seem to have done little to
appease an extremely sceptical but expectant nation.

Commentators sampled from a wide cross-section of the Zimbabwean
community said that while the changes were significant, they were not
comprehensive. They charged that the government, increasingly being
ostracised by the international community amid allegations of stifling
democratic space, was now desperate to create a pseudo democracy.

The consensus was that the suggested electoral changes should instead
address the "broader picture".

"The move is definitely one in the right direction, but it is very
limited. The suggested changes are not far-reaching. They are significant
but not comprehensive enough. The President still has an upper hand in that
he chooses critical members of the commission.

"Other hindrances are POSA and AIPPA. If one doesn't reach the
electorate through the public media funded by the public, then the changes
shortchange opposition parties," said political analyst Eldred Masunungure.

The poll reform proposals include setting up an independent electoral
commission - the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission - as the government of
President Robert Mugabe, precariously balancing on a political knife-edge,
embarks on an eleventh-hour attempt to conform to regional and international
electoral standards.

Other changes include reducing the voting period from two days to a
day, the appointment of the chief electoral officer and five members by the
President, the use of invisible indelible ink, replacement of wooden boxes
with translucent ones and that verification be done at polling stations.

The office of Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede, previously dismissed
as a partisan organiser of elections, would no longer have anything to do
with polls.

The commentators, however, remained largely convinced that the playing
field would still remain uneven as long as repressive laws such as the
draconian Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) were not repealed. They argued that
these laws clearly violated basic human rights and that any electoral
changes without addressing POSA and AIPPA were meaningless.

Political gatherings have been practically impossible under POSA as
organisers have to seek prior clearance from the police, while freedom of
expression and the right to disseminate and receive information have been
hindered under AIPPA.

Said Janah Ncube, the director of Women in Politics Support Unit: "To
give people an independent commission alone doesn't change anything as long
as POSA and AIPPA, which take away basic human rights, are in existence. If
we still have violence, POSA barring people from meeting and AIPPA refusing
the people the right to be heard and speak, then nothing has really changed.

"The proposals seek to give ZANU PF the justification that they have
really tried to give the people what they want, but that's not true."

"They should repeal POSA, AIPPA an the Broadcasting Services Act.
Creating an independent commission doesn't help opposition political parties
meet the citizenry. If they (citizens) can't have access to information
about their parties and intentions, then we are still a long way from what
people really want to see happen in elections," she added.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) seemed to adopt a
conciliatory approach to the reforms despite earlier pronouncements by its
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who had said that Zimbabweans would "turn down
half a loaf just as they did with the draft constitution in February 2000".

The opposition party has, however, expressed reservations about
selection of the so-called independent electoral commission.

MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube said: "For the last two years,
the MDC has been campaigning for the electoral changes which Zanu PF has
finally accepted. The MDC, in its document which contains 15 demands, has
long called for an independent electoral commission, for polls to be
conducted in one day, counting be done at the polling stations, the use of
visible indelible ink and the use of translucent boxes."

He said the MDC did not accept the Zanu PF notion of an independent
electoral commission that is appointed by President Mugabe.

"The MDC believes that, in order to achieve its independence, the
method of appointment must be a subject of negotiation by all stakeholders -
including civil society, the MDC and Zanu PF," he said.

"Consequently, the MDC is opposed to the appointment system, which
might lead to a commission that is completely subservient to Zanu PF like
the media commission led by Tafataona Mahoso.

"We do not accept the idea that the chief electoral officer be done
(appointed) by Robert Mugabe. We believe that the method of appointment of
all members of the commission cannot be unilaterally declared by Zanu PF
without consulting other stakeholders, in particular the MDC, as this is a
constitutional matter."

President Mugabe, 80, has been under immense pressure from the West,
particularly Britain, which he accuses of trying to clandestinely effect
regime change through the MDC, to step down and allow for a new political
dispensation.

Earlier, ZANU PF, through Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, tried to
amend the electoral laws, but met stiff resistance from opposition parties
and civic society groups, which said the proposed changes were cosmetic and
meant to appease the MDC, which had threatened to boycott next year's
parliamentary polls unless the playing field was levelled.

In fact, last year, four Supreme Court judges nullified suggested
changes to the electoral laws after Chinamasa tried to push them through the
back door. The Bill was then brought back to Parliament, but ailing ZANU PF
firebrand and Member of Parliament for Masvingo South Eddison Zvobgo failed
to scrutinise and ratify the Bill.

Another political analyst, Alois Masepe, had this to say: "The
President, who is a major player in politics, still harbours enormous power
in that he selects some key members of the commission. He (President Mugabe)
is a contestant, so how can he preside over the commission directly or
indirectly?

"All stakeholders should sit down together and come up with a common
strategy instead of leaving everything in ZANU PF's hands. It's time for
political good will to prevail."

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FinGaz

Comment

Sickening greed

7/1/2004 8:12:24 AM (GMT +2)

THE mystery and mayhem surrounding the deplorable multiple farm
ownership under the scandal-tainted land reform programme once again grabbed
the headlines over the weekend.

The voracious acquirers of this finite national resource in the form
of influential politicians are reportedly digging in their heels, with
impunity if we might add, over directives that they hand back the excess
farms they have illegally acquired in direct violation of the government's
one-man-one-farm policy.

To add to the chaos which should partly be blamed on government
mistakes, some of these selfish politicians are despicably helping
themselves to farm equipment acquired by the state under the land reform
programme - again in direct conflict with a government directive, issued
through Minister Didymus Mutasa, that they desist from doing so.

We express our dismay and disgust here not because we are surprised
that this coterie of corrupt, uncouth and insensitive ruling class
politicians are the ones behind this senseless and wanton usurping of land
when well-deserving cases - those who bore the brunt of the brutal war of
liberation - remain confined to dust-bowls dotted around the country. Far
from it.

Given the cancer of corruption that has been eating at the very fabric
of the nation, that the politicians would stoop to such depths is as
mysterious to us as a blocked toilet would be to a plumber! Over the years,
we have been presented with a diet of scandals and corruption involving
senior government officials and their cronies who have been feeding on the
country's deeply-rooted political patronage system. If anything, what we
have learnt over the years is that Zimbabwe's ruling class politicians, who
do not seem to know how to use power with sufficient caution, can stoop to
anything.

Mindful of the fact that we risk raising the ire of the government and
being dismissed as being too impetuous, we have to state that what we cannot
understand though, is the government's seeming reluctance, failure or is it
fear to decisively deal with these self-centred politicians, who have
reduced what was ostensibly meant to be an equitable redistribution of the
country's key resource to correct an historical injustice, into a senseless
land grab orgy. Their prosecution has been long overdue which is why
government action has been eagerly awaited by an increasingly impatient
public which, unfortunately, no longer has any high hopes for it because the
longer they waited, the less they hoped.

Little wonder people are thoroughly disenchanted with the government.
It is pertinent to point out here that it is the failure to expeditiously
deal with such critical and sensitive issues that have a bearing on national
interests that has spawned the deepening alienation between government and
the generality of the people whose existence the authorities continue to
deny despite tangible evidence to the contrary.

Our considered view is that the culprits, who should know better as
most of them are part of the government, have violated a stated government
policy of one farm per individual. They are therefore legally liable for the
decisions they made when they acquired those farms, their greed and
reproachable actions. They are not above the law. Not only that, but like we
said in our editorial of September 11 2003, these politicians should not
remain faceless. They should be unmasked - Zimbabweans should be told who
these land grabbers are. The people demand full disclosure and they should
get it. Or are we being too optimistic?

The mind indeed boggles as to why then, is government seemingly at sea
as to how to deal with the deeply embarrassing debacle. As the custodians of
national assets, government has fiduciary obligations to the citizens whose
frustration and disillusionment over the high incidence of official
corruption can be literally cut with a knife. The government, therefore,
owes it to Zimbabweans to prosecute the culprits. Sadly, despite what now
increasingly looks like hollow pledges to take the anti-graft crusade to its
full expression, it seems there are red lines which the government will not
dare cross - ignoring moral principles and negative later effects for
political convenience. And to think that some of these people in government
are among those that endured torture and accepted death in the darkest of
our historical periods just for the sake of Zimbabwe. What ever happened to
their moral conviction? Shame!

Instead of being decisive about the rot that has set in, the
government seems to be frozen with fear. Yet it is supposed to have
rolled-out an armoury of anti-corruption measures. Shouldn't this provide
the authorities with a perfect window of opportunity to deal with the land
grabbers because what they did is corruption by any definition? Are we
missing something here? Indeed the fact that what they did should have
landed the politicians in the dock and that their deserved prosecution has
been postponed and delayed, has given Zimbabweans not only food for thought
but cause for concern too.

The obvious question is varikutyei? (What are they afraid of?) Is it
because the looters are closely linked to the ruling ZANU PF which means
that the powers-that-be are afraid of the fissures that are likely to erupt
if they were to deal with this emotive issue and the implications thereof?
Granted, politics is fluid and acting on the culprits could have
far-reaching consequences for ZANU PF, which is now clutching at straws in
the face of a severe crisis of public confidence. But despite the fact that
everything seems to be done for political expedience in Zimbabwe, isn't it
important to consider what would the failure to act on the shocking level of
greed exhibited by these uncouth looters who own more than one farm, be
doing to the semblance of credence that the government's anti-corruption
claims were slowly beginning to gain among an understandably very sceptical
public? What about the continued plunder of national wealth? Or do they
care?
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FinGaz

...and now to the Notebook

7/1/2004 8:01:14 AM (GMT +2)

After the alleged happenings at the Harare International Airport
recently, our London-based Africa Strategy friend, Dr David
Nyekorach-Matsanga (Dr Nyek), is a really bitter man. Bitter to hell and
back.

He is blaming his alleged, but well-deserved, torture and robbery at
the hands of state security details on one of the not-so-popular government
officials whom he says is gay and derives his rather strange behaviour from
the gay strains in his body.

Remember the Great Uncle describing homosexuals as being worse than
pigs and dogs?

In a seven-page document made available to whoever cares to read it,
the rather eccentric Dr Nyek makes juicy allegations about our official,
whom he swears is gay 94 percent!

Because CZ does not have a good lawyer yet, he will not dare name
names, but will rather address the alleged gay gangster as "the official".
But those interested can easily find out.

Throughout the document, dated June 23 2004, Dr Nyek uses such
disparaging terms as "puny headed creature", "gay Mafia", "homosexual cult
leader", "salty and immoral minister", "dual sexual charlatan" and many
others of that nature.

Dr Nyek - who says he has no problem whatsoever with the Great Uncle
and does not intend to say or publish anything that may hurt him or his
family - swears he has conducted clinical tests on the official's hair
samples which have proved that the fellow is nothing but gay.

"(The official) has the mannerism and actions that all gay people use
when it comes to denial of what happened yesterday and what will happen
tomorrow . . . that is why I undertook a scientific task of collecting
specimen for laboratory checks in (a) London hospital," said Dr Nyek.

"On several occasions (he) does things in an abnormal way and this
abnormality has forced me to investigate his behaviour. Some abnormalities
include going to the barbers in Sheraton Kris-International on Sunday, which
is odd, and at exactly 11pm or by dying (sic) his hair, which is only done
by women or those with extra sexual strength or desires."

The ZANU PF international publicist said after obtaining samples of
the official's hair and cloth (sic), he took them to his friends at a London
hospital, whereupon, being matched with those of already confirmed
homosexuals, they matched 94 percent! This alleged test further showed that
the official was a female gay who had a desire for a normal man.

"The biological strata in (him) hate women naturally and that explains
the beating and cruel punishment to his plastered housewife," Dr Nyek
charged.

"Then six percent genes of his cells matched those who marry but have
no love for a woman and (this) is common with a group of gay rants which
hates all people who have beautiful wives or girlfriends."

Other allegations are that this official met his first gay date at a
university overseas, had a similar relationship with a former ZBC staffer
and has externalised foreign currency while trying to bribe some magistrates
in a country where he was wanted for fraud.

Dr Nyek, a Ugandan "scholar" who claims to be "a true African friend
of the people of Zimbabwe", charged that from his past dealings with the
official, he had since established that the official not only used
witchcraft to keep his Cabinet post, but also had vaulting presidential
ambitions.

He challenged the official in question to deny all these allegations
so that he could adduce evidence!

There you are. Don't ask CZ for more!

Anyway, no one can say whether these claims are indeed true or it is
just a question of sour grapes . . . but what CZ is dead sure about is that
Dr Nyek can only be trusted at one's own risk!

Anyway, none of the two men deserve CZ's sympathies!

As Zimbabwe's shameless for tune seekers, who have since
commercialised death, finally hold the Umdala Wethu gala at the weekend
after boring people with their pretentious adverts for more than a month, we
wonder what is coming next.

But there is something that CZ cannot understand. From the look of
things, most, if not all, musical groups in Zimbabwe - both big and small -
have been invited to perform at this "historical" event. But the event will
run for 12 hours at most.

So how much time will be given to each group, if all of them are going
to justify their presence there? Maybe five minutes each, unless some are
just coming to decorate the place!

This is how some people in this country think!

During last weekend's re-run of PSL elections, it was good that Leslie
Gwindi was put where he rightly belongs - junk-pile. We hope Tendai
Madzorera, who humiliated Gwindi by a convincing margin of 11to five votes,
will be able to do his duties without some men in dark glasses following
him!

This week it was curious to see that Rebecca Chisamba of the once
popular Mai Chisamba Show had joined Tambaoga to do PR work for ZESA, that
cash-strapped national power utility owned by our national brother-in-law.

Zimbabweans who still care to watch ZTV were shocked to see Mai
Chisamba abandoning her advertised social topics just to squeeze in two
gentlemen who wanted to sell the staid power utility for free.

We wonder how much she made from this deal, but for as long as the
company remains synonymous with power cuts, inflated statements and general
inefficiency, the people will always see it for what it is, no matter what
the two gentlemen may want the nation to believe!

And also this week, taking a leaf from Sidney Gata's party, ZANU PF,
ZESA introduced its own jingles, which are accompanied by a sexy kongonya
dance. And the vocalist is none other than our own Tambaoga.

One really wonders where this country is going to. What this year will
see really wears a hat!

We don't use kongonya to light our houses and run companies, but
power, so we need more power and less of kongonya. Thank you!

And we are already threatened with another jingle . . . this time one
to please the angry Nyaminyami spirits which nearly caused a national
disaster!

Recently, Defence permanent secretary Trust Maphosa told Parliament
that his ministry had purchased some fighter jets and other military
hardware from our Chinese friends in order to fulfil its role of defending
this country.

But the Chinese have been denying it all round. They swear that they
have not sold, and have no intention of selling, any military equipment to
Zimbabwe.

So what is the truth here?

Was the perm sec lying to the august House or is it the Chinese who
are getting ashamed about their continued relationship with Harare?

Or the truth is that nothing was indeed bought from the Chinese, but
the perm sec just wanted to scare off our perceived enemies so that they
keep their distance? And if indeed nothing was bought, so what happened to
the money?

Last week, a state-controlled daily broke a story about dud cheques
being issued by the mismanaged GMB. And since the story was coming from the
official mouthpiece of the regime, we took the story to be true . . . as it
is in fact true. But suddenly the way the story is being denied, one would
be tempted to think that it was published by one of the several
British-controlled private newspapers "peddling lies" in the country.

We wonder what will happen to the person who cleared that
"unpatriotic" story, which has since angered the sprits!

cznotebook@yahoo.co.uk

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FinGaz

Get ready for summer, farmers told Tsitsi Shonhiwa

Staff Reporter
7/1/2004 7:49:23 AM (GMT +2)

THE Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) has urged its members, currently
grappling with severe shortages of inputs and equipment, to start preparing
for the summer cropping season.

The union says early preparation will give the farmers ample time to
source the required inputs.

ZFU executive director Dzarira Kwenda told The Financial Gazette this
week that the delays in accessing inputs posed a major threat to the
agricultural sector.

"We have the responsibility to advance and promote agricultural
production through the development of viable and sustainable interests, so
we are trying to teach farmers how to plant different crops in different
seasons, and also how to identify different types of soil suitable for
different crops.

"One of our long-term plans is to get into growing fruits and we are
networking with farmers right now," he said.

Wheat output is expected to be below expectations because most farmers
planted their crops late, while others failed completely to access the
required inputs.

Kwenda said the union was encouraging farmers to form groups and work
as a team to enable them to share implements and machinery.

"We are doing our best to educate farmers, and making sure that the
farmer is not short of information, but with the constant advancement in
technology like biotechnology, you find that the learning is endless.

"You find that with most A1 farms, the people are organised, and with
A2 farms the people are resource-rich, with access to television, satellite
and the Internet," he said.

Kwenda said farmers with irrigation equipment were at an advantage
because they could start planting earlier.

He said new farmers were now diversifying into cash crops such as
cotton and tobacco, adding that major challenge they faced lay in securing
loans from the banks to buy chemicals.

He urged the government to channel loans to farmers through farmer
representative bodies in the country.

"If the money were given to farmers' organisations, it would be more
organised because with contract farming, farmers are not given the full
parcel," Kwenda said.

The ZFU boss said the number of women venturing into farming was
increasing.

"Lately, the farming sector has been gender-oriented . . . women are
very active and they are the main mobilisers and organisers in the sector.

The HIV/Aids scourge, which is causing havoc in the country, has not
spared the agricultural sector.

Kwenda said female labour was being compromised by the pandemic
because women spent most of their time looking after those affected by the
disease.

Productivity was also being affected as financial resources were being
used to buy treatment.

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FinGaz

No money for tobacco crop

Zhean Gwaze
7/1/2004 7:50:06 AM (GMT +2)

THE Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) is making frantic
efforts to source funding for the next tobacco crop, The Financial Gazette
has learnt.

According to the board, loans will be disbursed through its
established Tobacco Input Credit Scheme (TICS) to farmers as soon as a
facility is in place.

The TIMB said although the loan repayment facility was encouraging,
farmers should make payments by July 31 to boost the loan scheme, failure of
which would attract an interest rate of 50 percent and additional
administrative costs.

"Once new funding is available, TICS will only entertain applications
from those growers who will have fully repaid their loans on time. Depending
on the amount of funds available, consideration will also be given to extend
loans to deserving new growers," the TIMB said.

Zimbabwe had exported more than 32 500 tonnes of the golden leaf worth
over US$111.6 million to more than 30 destinations around the world as of
the end of May despite projections of a small crop volume this season.

Tobacco output is this year expected to go down by 32 percent from
last year's 82 million kgs because of a shortage of inputs and the
unavailability of finance due to lack of collateral from the new farmers.

The government's land reform, which kicked off in 2000, has seen the
country's tobacco output falling drastically compared to other world giants
such as the United States of America and Brazil.

Zimbabwe also lost its position as one of the world's top five
producers of the golden leaf due to the sharp decline in output from an
estimated peak of 237million kgs in 2000 to a paltry 66 million kgs this
year.

The European Union is still the leading importer of Zimbabwean
tobacco, followed by the Far East, recording seasonal volumes of 12 000
tonnes and 11 000 tonnes respectively.

"Due to the smaller crop available this year, merchants have not yet
begun processing at full steam and therefore monthly export volumes remain
low for the moment," the TIMB said.

The value of tobacco sold to date is US$61.5 million. The wastage rate
(rejection) was nine percent, much the same as in 2003.

The major reasons for rejection were price consideration, which
accounted for 3.5 percent, mixed tobacco, two percent, and mouldy tobacco,
1.8 percent.

World production in 2004 is projected at 3 743.3 million kgs, a four
percent increase over the 2003 estimated production of 3 598.2 million kgs.

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FinGaz

Election time is surprise time

7/1/2004 8:11:29 AM (GMT +2)

WHO would have thought that ZANU PF would win the last election?
Indeed, who would have wildly imagined that the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) would lose the last election?

Most of these surprises are unpleasant and are calculated to
manipulate our confusion to make the ruling party win at any price. No
matter how the opposition may campaign, the ruling party will still win; it
has to win. It will win through urban voter apathy, rural electorate
intimidation and rigging or through any other crooked ways.

I can bet you my last dollar, ZANU PF is thinking along the lines of
pulling another surprise election package now that the land that landed it
the last election victory might not be able to do so in the forthcoming
elections because someone said the land is going to be nationalised.

What a liability that utterance has been to the ruling party! It means
that no one is going to be interested in investing in something one does not
own and that, in effect, dumps the whole land redistribution exercise into
the trashcan.

The inside politics of it is that land will no longer be used as a
trump card for winning next year's election, so what monster are we to
encounter this time.

Beware the ides of March Zimbabweans!

Assassinations that could bring vividly before us the horror of
Tichaona Chiminya's death in a petrol inferno or violence so brutal as to
remind us of that opposition fanatic who was branded with a a tattoo
abbreviating his party's name using a makeshift knife, could soon revisit us
in our midst.

What kind of a manifesto can we expect from the ruling party this time
now that the fertile land is in the hands of the affluent ZANU PF
sympathisers, some of whom do not care a hoot whether their party wins or
loses this coming March?

As they feed fat on their ill-gotten wealth, they forget the ides of
March much as Julius Caesar's ambition got him slain in that complacent
Roman Empire.

We are heading for an election in which the ruling party is set to
shoot in the dark.

The people are cleverer now. The people know that the best
confrontation is passivity. The golden silence of the people is beginning to
sparkle as the ruling party begins to eat its own children.

The confusion in this party is further mounted by the opposition's
subtle observation of the inherent weaknesses ZANU PF has exposed itself to.

We have come to a time when the usually reliable Central Intelligence
Organisation has been eluded by the knowledge of predicting what the people
have in the bag for Uncle Bob and his waning party.

If it is not going to pull a useful diversion from under its sleeve,
the ruling party could very well be in for a rude shake-up come next year.

I do not foresee the MDC being reckless this time around by holding
costly rallies in suicidal territories.

The squabbles in ZANU PF have a cumulative effect that will culminate
in its members voting against each other and ultimately contributing to the
downfall of a thick-skinned rooster that refused to stop crowing after its
time was up.

It is evident that the Makonde seat will attract a massive protest
vote after its incumbent got the red card from his own party.

ZANU PF has exposed itself so glaringly, so come the ides of March,
ZANU PF will vote against ZANU PF and the people will carry the day.

The ruling party will however have nothing to fear from the ides of
March if the politics of boycott and voter apathy sadly engulfs the entire
thinking process of the abused citizens of this country.

The politics of boycott can only be tolerated in the run-up to the
election but as soon as the ballot boxes beckon they must be filled with a
message so loud and clear that the mad man of Ngomahuru will descend from
the hills in haste and pass the baton stick to others in the race.

In the meantime, we should stay clear of politics, mind our own
business and dig the garden in our backyard until the period surrounding the
ides of March.

Election time is surprise time. The election dates could be shifted
any day to present some confusion, which should however, not bother all
those who have since made up their minds.

There could be other unpleasant surprises of unofficial curfews,
forced rallies, fresh land grabs, a constitutional reform, another monetary
policy, another homelink, another imprisonment, another opposition leader
but that should not deter those who made up their minds five years ago.

The ruling party's election manifesto will not offer anything new this
time and because they have always won using the same manifesto they will,
albeit stubbornly, stupidly and foolishly stick to it at their great peril
next year.

As the ides of March approaches, the ruling party must not expect mass
action or tertiary college demonstrations or anyone blowing red whistles or
waving open palms, for those who have often been tormented by the seemingly
metaphysical question of ZANU PF's invincibility have since learned that the
best confrontation is indifference up until the fateful election date.

Beware the ides of March, for it will give to Caesar what belongs to
him.

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Zanu PF heavies gun for Sibanda's ouster

Daily Mirror (Zimb)
Thu 1-Jul-2004

The party, upon underground investigations, discovered that the vehicle that
Sibanda drove at the time, had been purchased for him by a high-ranking
government official who also financed his activities in the city centre

Daily Mirror reporter

As the ruling Zanu PF moves to clean its house ahead of next year's general
election, calls have emerged from some of its Bulawayo heavies for the
expulsion of the party's former provincial chairman, Jabulani Sibanda. The
latter, who is also the current national chairman of the Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), stands accused of bringing
confusion into the party. According to the heavies (names supplied), Sibanda
had thrown the party into turmoil through his actions and activities in the
province where he is alleged to be calling the shots at the expense of other
senior party officials. They also contend that Sibanda had mobilised groups
of youths that went around the city terrorising all those he viewed as his
enemies and opponents. "As pointed out earlier on, this young man lacks
direction and he is bound to throw the party into a very dangerous situation
such that we might fail to make any meaningful impact in next year's
election. It is an open secret the party is fighting tooth and nail to
retain the seats that we lost in 2000, and this can only be achieved if
there is order within the party," said one senior official and central
committee member. He added that with the confusion and problems that have
rocked the party, all the plans might not be achieved as the electorate
would not support a party engulfed in confusion. The senior party official
also told this paper that according to the provincial leadership, Sibanda
had ceased to be a party member as he was suspended last year for gross
insurbodination and lack of respect for the party's top brass.

According to the official, the provincial leadership wrote to the central
committee last year where it recommended that Sibanda be expelled from the
party as he had been found to be a cancer that the province had failed to
effectively deal with. "We wrote (to the central committee) and recommended
that they expel the young man (Sibanda) because he had proved to be the one
bringing confusion into the party. There was no way that we could let him
continue to be with us as he had proved that he is not one of us," the
official said. The Daily Mirror was told that at one time, Sibanda organised
a demonstration in Bulawayo where party stalwarts Dumiso Dabengwa (former
home affairs minister), Sikhanyiso Ndlovu (former higher education deputy
minister), Vice President Joseph Msika, and politburo and women's league
member, Thenjiwe Lesabe were denigrated by Sibanda's supporters. The
supporters are alleged to have also sung songs that were against a food task
force led by Sikhanyiso Ndlovu in Bulawayo, set up by the president to
monitor food prices at the height of the food shortages that visited the
country last year. Sibanda also stood accused of abusing the party's
vehicles in the province. He is alleged to have used the party's vehicles
for his own personal business, a situation that resulted in one of the
vehicles being damaged in an accident. A lot of other allegations were
heaped on Sibanda at the time, leading the provincial leadership to write to
the central committee and the politburo recommending Sibanda's expulsion
from the party.

Another senior official from the party's Bulawayo province said there was
worry in the party that Sibanda's expulsion had taken longer than expected
when other errant party members before him had received swift dismissals. He
made mention of Kindness Paradza, Zanu PF's legislator for Makonde and
another pending case of Walter Mzembi, who are all accused of bringing chaos
into the ruling party. "This shows that the problems that have accumulated
in Bulawayo are not created by Sibanda alone, but that he is being used by
some other influential people out to further their own political agenda.
They know that once Sibanda is ejected from the party, they do not have the
Matabeleland vote in the succession issue. But we are aware of all this and
I can assure you that nothing of that sort is going to happen, as we will
not rest until he is thrown out. If it means that we are to approach the
President, then let it be," the official said. It was also alleged that
after Sibanda had been suspended, the provincial leadership impounded the
vehicle that he was using, only for him to be seen thereafter, driving a new
spacious four-wheel drive vehicle. The official said that the party, upon
underground investigations, discovered that the vehicle that Sibanda drove
at the time, had been purchased for him by a high-ranking government
official who also financed his activities in the city centre. "This
concretised our concern that Sibanda was not alone in his disturbances of
the activities in the party and that we were fighting a battle that we are
bound to lose. It also dawned upon us that the man who bought the car that
Sibanda was using could be behind the delay in the execution of the
necessary justice the party always talks about." Sibanda was not accessible
for comment last night.
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New Zimbabwe

LETTER FROM KUTAMA: MTHULISI MATHUTHU

Victoria Falls, the epitome of tyranny

01/07/04
(READ MTHULISI'S PREVIOUS ARTICLES)
IN winter the mighty Victoria Falls are most spectacular with rising
columns of spray covering a considerable distance from the bedrock and the
cataracts into the mainland.

The spectacle-an array of crisscrossing rainbows and a delicate spread
of falling water resembling a long unfolding white sheet-is enough to draw
tourists from any part of the world.

Thanks to the acts of the ruling elite who are malevolently bleeding
our country this god-send resembles a boycotted flea market. Nobody goes
there these days.

Victoria Falls these days resembles a Ghost Town and it doesn't matter
that its winter when the falls are more spectacular and attractive to draw
tourists from all the corners of the world.

For us the evidence was there from the beginning. We had arrived at
the Harare International Airport on time to allow us smooth checking in only
to be greeted by sad faces on the departure lounge. The plane was going to
delay by about an hour because it was the same aircraft which we could see
through glasswork being worked on soon after off-loading passengers from
Bulawayo.

Moreover it was due to get to the Victoria Falls by of Bulawayo. Never
mind that your ticket promises a direct flight to Mosiatunya. At the Joshua
Mqabuko International Airport the plane off-loads nearly all the passengers
except me and my colleagues. In come three people to join us to Victoria
Falls.

The aircraft was very nearly empty and one could have easily slept
across the entire row of seats or rest their feet anywhere without ado.

Hotels are generally suffocating experiencing unimaginable losses
owing to inactivity. The staff at our hotel were frank enough to tell us
that they had been forced to reduce charges by more than 50% to attract
customers but still there only four occupied rooms and were going to push
the number to seven.

So how happy they were to receive us.

Once the numbers are that low food says it all. Staffers go around
asking what food you want to eat during lunch and dinner totally limiting
choice usually associated with our hotels in that part of the country.

You order sitshwala and that's it no room to add anything. The hotels
have to be economical because they can't prepare food to throw away when
they have forgotten already what profit is. Place an order for a glass of
water and you get two bottles of mineral water because they must make utmost
profit from a customer. Once you order a brand just to keep yourself warm
you get doubles without questions and warnings. Only one kind of soup is
served throughout the entire week.

The entertaining traditional groups perform before five or so people
and when I asked one of the young performers what it meant he said they were
already used to playing before few people. At times, he said, they play
before a couple. I was sorry when he told me that one day they entertained a
less friendly man from China who didn't seem to care about what they did for
him as he kept eating and sipping without smiling at all.

The situation got more pathetic on the last day. We were just about to
begin our breakfast when suddenly a baboon appeared from behind the swimming
pool. A waitress dismissed it with a flick of had but it charged forward to
loot confectionery. It soon disappeared behind our rooms into the thick
forest. The guards gave chase as it disappeared at a run. But the baboon
turned back making fools out of them as they threw stones and everything at
it. The manager came out to lament the loss of new stock which had just been
delivered.

It was all drama and I saw what it meant for them to have lost their
stock under such difficult times. No sooner had they left for their work
that a monkey came through to pounce on a big lob of buttercup. The story
went around that there had been looting at the hotel. We soon got the story
that the hotel staff had been unpaid for three weeks and the reason was that
the accountant was dead!

On the Zambian side a different story obtains. Hotels serve all kinds
of food from pasta to our local traditional meals at one go. The choice is
yours.

During a sunset cruise along the Zambezi we were only four in the boat
while those boats from the Zambian side were full with some tourists
standing.

I saw crowds of tourists from that side viewing game from the
riverbank and it was evident that things were working that side of the river
while they were stagnant in Zimbabwe. I thought of Herbert Nkala telling the
nation that our tourism industry was booming as the pathetic Rainbow Tourism
Group vessel cruised back to the mainland with only four passengers.

This is the evidence that tyranny can really push the nation down.
Choice is expensive for despotism. Just as there is no choice in the hotels
there is no political choice in Zimbabwe. It's the same old story of
political intolerance and same bankrupt politicians with frozen minds. The
television and the radio serve the same ultra-nationalist diet. No other
views are allowed.

We have let the baboons and monkeys to run away with our national
patrimony before our eyes. As if all the accountants are dead nobody is paid
on time these days and let alone sufficiently. Literall everything needs
mending like that old Air Zimbabwe aircraft. - thuthuma@yahoo.com
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Centre for Public Opinion and Democracy, Canada

Africans Review Corruption, Zimbabwe Last

(CPOD) Jul. 1, 2004 African adults in seven countries are divided over the incidence of unlawful practices, according to a poll by GlobeScan released by the Program on International Policy Attitudes. 56 per cent of respondents say there is less corruption in their respective countries than a year ago, while 38 per cent disagree.

Residents of Kenya illustrated the highest degree of confidence in fairness with 84 per cent. Conversely, only 15 per cent of respondents in Zimbabwe agreed with the statement.

Polling Data

Please tell me if you agree or disagree with this statement: There is less corruption in my country now than there was one year ago.

Agree

Disagree

Average

38%

56%

Kenya

84%

12%

Ghana

59%

37%

Ivory Coast

33%

61%

Tanzania

32%

43%

South Africa

31%

63%

Nigeria

31%

67%

Zimbabwe

15%

80%

Source: GlobeScan / Program on International Policy Attitudes
Methodology: Interviews to 6,451 African adults in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, conducted from Nov. 21, 2003 to Feb. 12, 2004. Interviews were conducted face-to-face in all countries except South Africa, where telephone sampling was used. No margin of error was provided.

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Progress?

The past week has been a very encouraging one for those of us who are
fighting to get Zimbabwe back on track as a progressive democracy. In the
past few days we have seen the following: -

- A number of significant electoral reforms agreed by the Zanu PF.
- Clear, key statements on the nature of the crisis here in the New York
Times (Havel), the Economist, the US Senate (hearings on the appointment of
a new Ambassador), the UN (Morris), the UK Parliament (Blair).
- Open political conflict in the ranks of Zanu PF.
- Firm repudiation by southern African print media editors of the situation
in Zimbabwe.
- Clear statements of principle by the EU - first on the Lupane bi-election
and then on the closure of the Tribune.

The media spotlight has been fixed on Zimbabwe also all week - partly thanks
to the courage of one BBC correspondent who took his life and liberty in his
hands and came to the country for a week under cover. This was helped by the
UN who, for the first time, appear to be determined that the lie about food
supplies is not whitewashed.

It is the issue of the first public acceptance of electoral reform that is
the most significant of these developments. The rest amounts to pressure on
the region and the country to get on with the process of putting our house
in order so that we can get back to ordinary business again. The issue I
want to examine is why has Zanu decided at this stage to make some
concessions and exactly what do they mean?

We had heard some weeks ago that these reforms were being considered in the
politburo so they came as no surprise to us in the MDC. The question we
asked is why? Then came the disclosure in the Herald where the reforms were
first published, that the SADC was to consider the norms to be applied to
all elections within the region at a summit of Heads of Government in
August.

The Herald stated that what had been regarded as the SADC norms were only
draft ideas - the actual norms to be adopted would have to go through the
SADC Heads of State meeting before being adopted. The assumption they gave
was that Zanu was acting in advance of that summit to ensure that Zimbabwe
conformed to the "norms" and would be able to avoid censure.

So what are they going to do (so far all we have are promises)? They said in
the Herald that they are going to allow: -

- The appointment of an independent electoral commission which would run the
whole electoral process in Zimbabwe.
- The holding of the election in one day.
- The use of translucent boxes and the counting the votes at the polling
stations.
- The use of visible ink to prevent people from voting twice.
- Automatic registration of voters who turn 18 and obtain their
identification documents.

In the first instance we already have an "Independent Electoral Commission"
and the government appoints that as well - so what is new about this
proposal? In fact very little except that the new Commission will have wider
powers and responsibilities (we are waiting for the details) and will have
their own funds. But the President (Mugabe) will still appoint the whole
caboodle. In the first report we heard (from sources in you know where), we
understood the recommendation was that the MDC and Zanu would have equal
representation. That clearly did not survive the process of internal Zanu
scrutiny.

An Electoral Commission appointed by Mugabe will simply serve its masters
will - as does the present body. To be acceptable to us and to meet the SADC
norms in spirit as well as on paper - the IESC must be totally independent
of the State. Its membership drawn from the body politic (in proportion to
membership of Parliament - excluding the appointed seats) and from civic
society and respected members of society.

The other reforms are all very helpful and will contribute to the holding of
free and fair elections. But on their own and in isolation, they still do
not represent democratic practice and norms as recognised by the global
community. What about the rule of law, what about freedom of expression,
freedom of association? What about free and unfetted access to basic needs
such as food and shelter? We are a million miles from those essential
ingredients.

We live under the jackboot of a military dictatorship that pays scant
attention to democratic ideals and norms. We live in a country where even
the most elementary freedoms - taken for granted in most other countries,
are denied us. Until these are restored and enforced we are not living in a
democracy and anyone who thinks so is deluding himself or herself. Tinkering
at the edge of the process in an effort to garner support from your
neighbors might work in Africa but it will not persuade the rest of the
world that Zimbabwe is back on the road to becoming a "normal" society.

Just this past week I went to the local courts to support 73 women arrested
when they attempted to hold a march in the city in support of World Refugee
Day. They were held without charge in dirty, crowded, cold cells. Without
food or blankets and only allowed two items of clothing each. They were
threatened and their leaders beaten physically and then when no adequate
charge was found they were either forced to pay "admission of guilt fines"
or face a remand hearing followed by punitive bail conditions and months of
legal process at the cost of millions of dollars.

Democracy? They do not even understand the word. I think they will have to
do a lot more before we would grace the process that is currently underway
here with the word. As for Gono's statement that "we have bottomed out". Our
GDP will decline another 10 per cent this year, inflation is again rising,
and tobacco sales will be below 50 000 tonnes for the first time in over 50
years, winter wheat plantings are the lowest for years. Incomes have halved
and life expectancies are down to 35 years, from over 60 in the early 90's.
Industry is now declining rapidly. But then, as the Economist put it so
well - that is exactly what they want. Poor people are dependent and can be
bullied.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 28th June 2004

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News24

ConCourt 'special' for Zim 70
30/06/2004 22:46 - (SA)

Philip de Bruin

Johannesburg - Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson ordered a special sitting of
the Constitutional Court on July 19 to hear the application of the 70 men
being held in Zimbabwe as suspected mercenaries.

In the application for leave to appeal, the 70 men, who are being held on
charges of planning a coup in Equatorial Guinea, are asking the South
African government to intervene and have them return to the Republic.

A similar application to Pretoria High Court has been denied.

Judge Chaskalson's decision to convene the 11 judges of his court in the
middle the recess was widely welcomed on Wednesday.

The attorney representing the 70, Alwyn Griebenow of Port Elizabeth, said,
"I am in the clouds.

"I can assure everybody that we, as the legal team of these 70 men, will
grab this opportunity with both hands because we are convinced that the men
won't get a fair trial in Zimbabwe or Equatorial Guinea.

Ministers file affidavits against hearing

"Fair and reasonable trials are the cornerstone of our Human Rights
Charter's stipulations about court battles.

"Seen in the light of how my clients are treated in Zimbabwe and the fact
that the other seven men in Equatorial Guinea have not even seen a court yet
after four months, it's beyond me how anybody can argue that fair trials
await the men."

Chaskalson's decision comes despite a strong plea in affidavits on behalf of
the ministers of justice, safety and security, intelligence, home affairs,
foreign affairs, the president and the national prosecuting authority that
the 70's application to appeal should not be heard in the Constitutional
Court.

Theresia Bezuidenhout, director of law enforcement in the justice
department, said in a sworn statement: "Even if the issue the 70 men have
brought up is of a constitutional nature, it's not important enough to
demand the Constitutional Court's immediate and direct attention," .

Chaskalson has ordered the 70 men to submit their written appeal by July 7
and the ministers by July 13. Verbal appeal will be heard on July 19 and, if
necessary, on July 20.

Send e-mail to pdebruin@beeld.com
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