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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Sunday Times (SA)

Mugabe declares 'economic revival'

Tuesday July 20, 2004 14:43 - (SA)

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday declared that Zimbabwe was
undergoing an economic "revival" as he addressed the opening of the last
session of parliament before key elections next year.

Mugabe arrived at the parliament building in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce
under heavy police and army escort, and accompanied by his smartly dressed
wife Grace.

"We have money to reap a good harvest... to ensure we meet our needs and
food requirements. What enhances this... is the evident revival of our
economy," Mugabe told parliament.

His statement stood in stark contrast to assessments by non-governmental
organisations and UN food agencies who say millions of citizens, especially
in rural areas, need urgent food aid.

The southern African country has been hit by consecutive drought seasons but
the situation has been exacerbated by Mugabe's controversial land reform
programme that saw most white farmers forcibly evicted from their land.

Mugabe however said the land programme would continue.

"A number of issues related to land reform remain outstanding," he said.

"The demand for land remains and ongoing land acquisition should be able to
meet it. Government policy remains... Whatever irregularities have occurred
in the process of land reform are now being attended to,"
Mugabe said.

At a state dinner on Monday night, Mugabe called on parliament to be
"patriotic" and guard against outside interference, the state-owned Herald
newspaper reported Tuesday.

"Never shall we allow foreigners to interfere in our domestic affairs and
the charter of the United Nations prohibits interference in the affairs of
another country.

"Parliament should be inspired by the patriotism that bids us to stand up
and say we will not accept this interference," Mugabe said.

AFP
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MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE
BRIEFING NOTE
20 July 2004

For Further Information Please Contact:
Nkanyiso Maqeda, MDC Director of Information: 00263 11 765 574
James Littleton: 00 27 727 310 554 or 0027 21 447 9587
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"There is no greater wisdom and no clearer mark of statesmanship than
knowing when to pass the torch to a new generation. And no government should
manipulate or amend the constitution to hold office beyond prescribed term
limits.Let us pledge that the days of indefinite one-man or one-party
governments are behind us," said United Nations Secretary General, Kofi
Annan at the opening session of the Africa Union Summit (6 July).

"The MDC supports our traditional institutions out of the realisation that
nearly 70% of all Zimbabweans still value their role in society. Traditional
leaders maintain stability and social harmony in their communities. They
attend to the spiritual needs of their people, regardless of their political
or religious affiliation," said MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai (13 July)

"The MDC is deeply disappointed that leaders at the AU Summit.failed to
discuss a report on human rights abuses in Zimbabwe..the bureaucratic and
procedural pretext that has been used to justify postponing discussion of an
important document.is perplexing and contradictory given that the AU, since
its inauguration, has built up an impressive reputation as a force for good
in Africa," said Paul Themba Nyathi, MDC Secretary for Information and
Publicity (9 July)

POLITICAL VIOLENCE/INTIMIDATION

AU Report Provides No Succour to Mugabe and Zanu PF
A report compiled by the African Union's Commission on Human and Peoples'
Rights, which sent a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe from June 24 to 28
2002, is strongly critical of the Zimbabwe government's failure to uphold
the rule of law, its curtailment of people's basic freedoms and expresses
deep concern about the prevalence of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The
report highlights the arrest and torture of MDC MPs and civil society
activists and calls for the statutes that infringe upon basic freedoms (POSA
and AIPPA) to be amended so that they conform to international standards
pertaining to freedoms and civil rights.

"By its statements and political rhetoric, and by its failure at critical
moments to uphold the rule of law, the government failed to chart a path
that signalled a commitment to the rule of law", the report said

Thugs Attack Morgan Tsvangirai
At an MDC rally held in Mvurwi, a town north of Harare, on 2 July, a group
of over 200 Zanu PF thugs armed with stones, knobkerries and axes attempted
to attack MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai and other MDC leaders who were
present. Several people, including women and children, were seriously hurt
in the attacks. The police made no arrests.

Zanu PF Extortion Rackets
According to a recent article in the Zimbabwe Standard, members of Zanu PF
have been forcing local businessmen in Mutare to provide contributions
towards the hosting of a 'victory party' for the only Zanu PF councillor in
the city. In the Urban Council elections held last August the MDC won 17 out
of the 18 wards that were contested in Mutare.

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LOOKING AHEAD TO PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN 2005

The MDC has published a document entitled 'RESTORE' which contains the party
's list of minimum standards that need to be met in order for genuine,
democratic, elections to take place in Zimbabwe. These minimum standards are
based around the following 5 principles:

Restore The Rule of Law
Restore Basic Freedoms and Rights
Establish an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)
Restore Public Confidence in the Electoral Process
Restore Secrecy of the Ballot

For the full version of 'RESTORE' please visit the MDC website
(www.mdczimbabwe.org)

ؠ South African Council of Churches (SACC)
At a meeting held last week the SACC slammed human rights abuses in Zimbabwe
and said it was extremely doubtful that next year's parliamentary elections
in Zimbabwe would be free and fair.

ؠ Militia Camps Being Expanded Ahead of Polls
According to an article published in the Zimbabwe Independent on 9 July, the
Mugabe regime is busy expanding and renovating its youth training camps
ahead of next year's polls. The paper alleges that the camps are expected to
churn out more than 6,000 youths. Youth from these camps have been at the
vanguard of political violence since the camps were first established in
2001. Human rights organisations have documented hundreds of cases of human
rights abuses perpetrated by members of the youth militia. They have become
a scar on Zimbabwe's political landscape.

ؠ Political Machinations Behind Proposals to Alter Constituency
Boundaries
Proposed plans by the Zanu PF government to re-draw many constituency
boundaries in order to merge many urban constituencies with rural
constituencies is a flagrant attempt to subvert the MDC's electoral strength
in urban areas.

"It shows contradictions with Zanu PF on the one hand telling the world that
it is prepared to democratise electoral laws and create an environment
conducive to free and fair elections while at the same time gerrymandering
with urban boundaries so that these are diluted by rural constituencies
where violence has enslaved the electorate to Zanu PF," said Paul Themba
Nyathi

ؠ Voter Registration
The process of voter registration in Zimbabwe remains a discriminatory
process and illustrates the extent to which the ruling party is prepared to
manipulate the electoral process. At present voter registration is
supervised by the Registrar General, a man who is fiercely loyal to Robert
Mugabe. The current registration exercise that is underway is being
deliberately focused on Zanu PF strongholds with very little effort being
made in urban areas which are traditionally perceived as being bastions of
MDC support. In a recent letter to the Electoral Supervisory Commission, MDC
Secretary General, Professor Welshman Ncube wrote:

"There have been complaints, which we have ascertained to be genuine from
some areas, that the exercise is selective.The MDC notes with regret that
the mobile voter registration programme currently underway is seriously
flawed and may well impede the rights of the people of Zimbabwe to freely
participate in the democratic process".

ؠ Exiles Protest
Over 400 Zimbabweans, who have been forced into exile in South Africa, last
week staged a demonstration outside the offices of the Zimbabwe Embassy in
Pretoria demanding that, as Zimbabwe citizens, Mugabe should allow them to
vote in next year's parliamentary elections.

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HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

Ox-Drawn Ambulances
The chronic neglect and consequent decline of Zimbabwe's healthcare sector
has been illustrated by the introduction of ox-drawn ambulances to take
people to health centres in rural areas.

"Zimbabwe is being dragged back to the stone age. As long as we have Mugabe
and his gang around, we will not only end at ox-drawn ambulances, but we
will see further deterioration in all aspects of life," said Paul Themba
Nyathi

UN Warning
The UN has warned that Zimbabwe's harvest will not meet the country's food
needs this year and that the country is facing a shortfall of 325,000 tonnes
of cereals. The UN forecast yet again casts serious doubt on the claims by
the Mugabe regime that Zimbabwe will produce a record breaking harvest this
year.

Life Expectancy Falls in Zimbabwe
According to a report published by UN AIDS, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in
Zimbabwe is set to reduce the life expectancy to below 35 for people born
over the next decade.

Number of Orphaned Children Set To Double
A joint report published by UNICEF, USAID and UNAIDS entitled 'Children on
the Brink' has warned that the number of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in
Zimbabwe is set to increase by 53.5% from 761,000, as of last year, to 1.4
million in 2010.

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GENERAL

IMF
The International Monetary Fund has announced that it has given Zimbabwe a
six-month reprieve before making a decision on whether or not to expel it
due to huge arrears. Zimbabwe has been in arrears with the IMF since
February 2001 and its arrears are estimated to be currently standing at
US$295 million.

Zimbabwe NGOs Under Renewed Threat
A new bill, entitled The Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) and Churches
Bill, that the Zimbabwe government is planning to table during the next
parliamentary session, contains provisions that will impose severe
constraints on NGOs and provide the government with more control over their
activities. Under such stringent regulations it will be virtually impossible
for civic organisations to operate; this latest move by the government
represents yet another dimension of their strategy to emasculate civil
society and close down the democratic space in Zimbabwe.

In the Executive Summary of its report on human rights abuses in Zimbabwe,
the AU Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights stated that civil society 'is
essential for the upholding of a responsible society and for holding
government accountable".

"The bill is part of a total strategy to close the last crevices of
democratic opinion. This is an assault on NGOs under the guise of protecting
national sovereignty," said Brian Kagoro - Chairman, Crisis In Zimbabwe
Coalition
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END

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SABC

Concourt judges concerned over lack of facts

July 20, 2004, 17:00

The Constitutional Court was concerned today about the few facts in the case
of 69 alleged mercenaries held in Zimbabwe and facing possible extradition
to Equatorial Guinea where they might be executed.

Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson told counsel for the State, Ismael Semenya,
that "lots had happened" but few material facts had been placed before the
court.

"We don't really know what the facts are. It would help us in some ways if
we knew," Chaskalson said. Judge Albie Sachs added: "It is very
disconcerting to watch television and note that the general public is better
informed than this court."

Judge Johann van der Westhuizen said there was every chance that while the
case would be of help to future litigants it might be of no use to the men
currently in Chikurubi prison in Harare.

Semenya conceded that the facts before the judges were "less than
satisfactory" but he maintained that the government had no duty under the
Constitution to assist the men to avoid the death penalty or extradition to
Equatorial Guinea, or even to ensure that they had a fair trial in that
country.

Semenya was not moved in his argument by several remarks from the judges
that the United Nations Rapporteur for Human Rights, the International Bar
Association and Amnesty International had repeatedly found that the
judiciary in Equatorial Guinea was not sufficiently independent of the
executive to guarantee fair trials.

Reports of torture and other behaviour in apparent contravention of
international conventions were also notorious. Yesterday lawyers for the 69
as well as others appearing as friends of the court argued the state had a
duty to assist the men.

Semenya conceded that the state, under the Constitution, sometimes had a
duty to protect its citizens abroad. But this was only in cases where it was
actually in control of them, for example at its embassy in London. That was
clearly not the case here.

Semenya said there was no customary international law obligation on South
Africa to afford citizens abroad diplomatic protection.

Sachs countered by asking if that meant neighbouring states could, for
example, torture South Africans at will without Pretoria intervening, even
diplomatically.

Semenya answered that states normally acted towards each other with
deference because of each state's sovereignty. South Africa's diplomatic
position in Africa was the same as that of Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe.
Claiming a superior position would be seen as arrogance.

Sachs commented that human rights convention now often super cedes
sovereignty, as in cases of genocide.

Rights fly out the window
Semenya agreed but qualified that this was a result of international
tribunals and diplomatic treaties. He also contended, citing a Canadian
court case, that South Africans left their constitutional rights behind when
they left the country and they had to submit themselves to the laws and
punishments of the jurisdiction where they found themselves after departure.

In addition, orders sought by the applicants would have a destabilising
effect on the constitutional balance, predicated on the principle of
separation of power, Semenya said in written argument.

"Those orders will require this court to intervene in matters which repose
in the executive branch of government, when there is no evidence to show
that executive functionaries have failed to discharge constitutional or
statutory duties imposed on them...," he said.

There was no evidence to show that such functionaries had engaged in any
conduct which was inconsistent with the Constitution.

In the absence of such evidence, Semenya said the application must be
rejected. The men's lawyer, Advocate Francois Joubert, argued yesterday that
if Pretoria did not step forward to help the men they could be dead and
buried by the time representations made to spare their lives reach the
Equatorial Guinea's capital, Malabo.

He said there was no guarantee their would be sufficient time between
sentence and execution for the Department of Foreign Affairs to make its
usual representations through diplomatic channels.

There was also no guarantee they would receive a fair trial in Malabo where
they were likely to be accused of conspiring to overthrow the government and
kill President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

Malabo was in the process of requesting the men's extradition, he added.
There was also every possibility the men could be deported to the west
African state, a procedure that would short-circuit the more lengthy
extradition process.

Joubert and Advocate Wim Trengove argued that Pretoria did have a duty -
derived from the Constitution to help the men.

They argued the mere prospect of a death penalty, let alone its infliction,
was already a gross violation of the men's rights to life and dignity -
which the government was duty bound to protect everywhere - including
abroad. Judgement was reserved. - Sapa
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IOL

Elderly SA couple robbed twice on Zim's roads
July 20 2004 at 10:21AM

By Norman Joseph and Saskia Bruinders

A Cape Town woman has warned motorists travelling to Zimbabwe to be
vigilant after her elderly parents were viciously attacked, then had their
car ransacked while they tried to recover from the first attack.

Janine MacDonald, 41, of Edgemead told this week of how her parents
Ronnie, 71, and Patricia Fitzmaurice, 70, of Humewood, Port Elizabeth,
survived the serious violent attacks.

The couple were travelling from Port Elizabeth to Harare to visit
their son Steven Fitzmaurice, 44, who was recovering after a serious car
accident.

On Friday, July 9, shortly after 8pm they were approaching Harare when
they had a puncture.

Ronnie Fitzmaurice noticed that they had driven through a pile of
sharp spikes placed on the road.

Fitzmaurice said from Harare on Monday that as he was about to change
their vehicle's flat wheel, two men appeared and pistol-whipped him,
flinging him to the ground.

One of the attackers punched him in the stomach, while the other man
assaulted his wife.

She sustained a head wound "which bled profusely".

He said: "They ordered us to lie down on the ground, but we refused. I
feared that they could shoot us both in the head while we lay on the ground.

"The men took some of our belongings in the vehicle, and planned to
then shoot us."

But the man's firearm jammed, although he squeezed the trigger
repeatedly. The two men then fled the scene.

As Fitzmaurice prepared to attend to his bleeding wife's head, another
car pulled up.

He was under the impression that a motorist had arrived to lend
support.

But three men emerged from the vehicle, merely glanced at the dazed
couple and proceeded to ransack their car.

After the men had left, Fitzmaurice said: "I got up, felt dazed but
managed to change the wheel."
They then drove to a hospital in Chivu, where they were treated. He
suffered severe concussion, while his wife had bleeding on the brain.

Medical staff at the Chivu Hospital told the couple that two
businessmen travelling to Harare had the same experience earlier that week.

Fitzmaurice said: "For 15 years we have been travelling to Harare to
visit our son, and this was the first time we've experienced such serious
crime."

MacDonald told the Cape Argus that she was "very concerned" about her
parents because they "are elderly".

.. This article was originally published on page 13 of Cape Argus
on July 20, 2004

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SABC

SADC to intervene in Zimbabwe elections

July 20, 2004, 16:05

The Southern African Development Community, (SADC) is to assist Zimbabwe to
create a climate for free and fair elections, ahead of its polls in March
next year. Aziz Pahad, the deputy minister of foreign affairs, has disclosed
this after talks with the South African Council of Churches (SACC) on the
Zimbabwean issue.

Pahad says Zimbabwe is already party to the SADC Draft Principles and
Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections. He says according to this draft,
members states must adhere to principles of human rights, democracy and the
rule of law.

The deputy minister says SADC's ministerial committee will meet at the end
of this week to consider the draft. According to the Minister Zimbabwe's
amendment of its electoral law is based on this draft.

Pahad says talks between Zimbabwe's political parties have slowed down,
especially now since parties are concentrating on next year's elections.

The deputy minister says that talks have taken place but that it has always
taken place informally. He says recent discussions centred around the MDC's
proposals to create a climate for Free and Fair elections.

Both the SACC and the deputy minister agree that Zimbabwe's electoral law
should create a climate to hold free and fair elections.
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Las Vegas Sun

Zimbabwe Plans Clampdown on Charities
By ANGUS SHAW
ASSOCIATED PRESS

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -

President Robert Mugabe castigated private charities, religious groups and
other aid organizations Tuesday for interfering in Zimbabwe's domestic
politics and said legislators would be asked to pass a law allowing
authorities to close some groups and arrest officials.

Mugabe said a new bill to tighten controls on such organizations will soon
be introduced in the 150-member parliament dominated by his ruling party.

"Non-governmental organizations must work for the betterment of our country.
We cannot allow them to be used as conduits and instruments of foreign
interference," Mugabe said in an address at the opening of parliament.

Mugabe has repeatedly accused Western-funded charities, trusts and church
and human rights groups of siding with his opponents and Britain, the former
colonial power.

"We remain patently opposed to mutant strains" of colonial era domination,
Mugabe told lawmakers. "Colonizers for decades trampled on us. What have
they to teach us about human rights?"

The proposed "Non-governmental Organizations and Churches Bill" calls for
the registration of all groups and trusts involved in charity work and
educational and research programs.

Failure to register and acquire a government license would make it illegal
for a group to operate. Staff members of groups that violated the law would
face arrest. The bill also requires disclosure of the origins and use of all
funds and the identity of foreign donors.

Opponents of the bill have likened it to sweeping media laws passed in 2002
that gave the government the power to close independent media, stifle
criticism of its policies and arrest 31 independent journalists.

The only independent daily newspaper, which had become a platform for
dissent, was shut down last year after being refused registration.

The National Association of Non-governmental Organizations, voicing its
concerns on the bill earlier this month, said it feared for the autonomy and
independence of its 50 members if aspects of their work were criminalized.

It has lobbied against the bill, calling instead for the formation of a
self-regulatory body to enforce a code of ethics.

Non-governmental groups have produced regular reports on alleged human
rights violations that have left more than 200 people dead in political
violence and driven tens of thousands from their homes since 2000.

Much of the violence has been blamed on ruling party militants, police and
troops since the government launched a program to seize thousands of
white-owned farms in 2000. Independent human rights groups say most of the
victims have been opposition supporters.

Charities have also accused the government of using food as a political
weapon in recent parliamentary by-elections won by the ruling party.

Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980,
with soaring prices and unemployment and acute shortages of food, gasoline
and essential imports.

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Washington Times

U.S. accuses Zimbabwe of hindering aid

Washington, United States, Jul. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department
Tuesday accused Zimbabwe's government of trying to curtail donor activity in
the country.

"We've been deeply concerned the Mugabe government is using its monopoly on
food distribution to manipulate food availability for political ends, and
... there needs to be another track of food distribution available to
people," department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

He said the U.S. Agency for International development, the World Food
Program and the international community were prepared for a rapid and
effective response.

Some 5 million Zimbabweans needed food aid last year and Boucher said a
similar number may need assistance in 2004.

"We'll continue to try to establish proper mechanisms for distribution of
food to the people who need it, despite the government's efforts to
manipulate and to hamper those efforts," he said.

The Zimbabwe government's crop estimate of 2.4 million metric tons of corn
is significantly higher than the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's
estimate of 950 metric tons.
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VOA

Private Zimbabwe Schools Face Closure
Tendai Maphosa
Harare
20 Jul 2004, 13:23 UTC

Some private schools in Zimbabwe could close if the government maintains its
tough line on the increase of school fees.
The schools might not re-open for the third term in September if the fees
issue remains unresolved.

Earlier this year, Zimbabwe's minister of education stopped more than 40
schools from starting the current term, saying they were charging exorbitant
fees in a bid to exclude black pupils.

Schools opened after they agreed to lower fees set by the ministry, which
does allow parents to make donations to the schools.

School officials say they were merely charging fees that would ensure the
children get quality education in difficult economic times.

A spokesperson for the Association of Trust Schools, a body representing 60
schools, says the crisis point is the end of this term, in less than a
month.

Speaking on condition of anonymity he said unless meaningful discussions are
held most of the schools may be forced not to re-open for the third term.
The ministry has set the fees until the end of the year and they can only be
reviewed in 2005.

The Association official said the majority of parents are actually paying
the fees asked for by the schools, but this is not enough. He added that
fees are agreed with the parents who are involved in the drawing of the
school budget.

He dismissed the allegation that schools are trying to exclude black pupils,
saying the majority of the more than 20-thousand students are black. He said
because of the Zimbabwe education ministry's fee cap most of the schools are
heavily in debt.

One school not threatened with immediate closure is the Catholic St. Georges
High School in Harare. Headmaster Brendan Tiernan says about 87 percent of
the parents at the school have paid what the school is asking. He says
because of inflation fees cannot remain at the same level.

"The board is trying to keep the fees static for the third term, but that
will have to be looked at," said Mr. Tiernan. "Essentially we have two
options; we either have to go to the parents and ask them if there is the
need for a fee increase, to donate more alternatively there is the
possibility of trying to seek legal redress through the courts, but that is
a long and involved situation and in the Zimbabwe of 2004 getting an
objective judgment urgently from the courts might be quite difficult."

Mr. Tiernan said there has not been an exodus of teachers, but the
uncertainty over whether they are going to receive competitive salaries on
time could drive some out of the country where he says there is a great
demand for teachers.

An editorial in the government-controlled daily newspaper The Herald said
myths, some accepted at official level about divisions among parents on
racial lines, have now disappeared as the parents combine to preserve what
they have chosen to give their children.

But the paper says schools should not demand the donations. This follows
allegations that some children were being victimized at some schools because
their parents had not paid the donations.

The majority of Zimbabwe's elite, including government ministers, send their
children to the private schools.
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News24

Zim: Free elections 'possible'
20/07/2004 21:32 - (SA)

Print article email story

Related Articles
a.. Mugabe declares Zim 'revival'

a.. Zim targets aid groups

Pretoria - Zimbabwe has accepted in principle a draft Southern African
Development Community (SADC) document governing democratic elections, South
Africa's deputy foreign affairs minister Aziz Pahad said on Tuesday.

The document was due to be considered at a two-day ministerial meeting of
SADC's organ on politics, defence and security co-operation later this week.

If accepted, Zimbabwe would be party to the protocol, Pahad told reporters
in Pretoria.

The document deals with the principles of elections, guidelines for election
observing and monitoring, a code of conduct for observers, and the
responsibilities of member states holding elections.

It was aimed at enhancing transparency and credibility of elections and
democratic governance, as well as ensuring the acceptance of election
results by all parties.

According to Pahad, Zimbabwe claims to have amended its electoral law on the
basis of the draft SADC protocol. Any criticism of that country's electoral
system for failing to meet democratic principles was, therefore, premature.

Regarding ongoing informal talks between Zimbabwe's government and political
opposition, he said the pace of the discussions was slower than one would
have liked.

But with parliamentary elections due next year, it was understandable that
the focus would be on preparations for the poll.

Need help in finding a solution

Pahad reiterated the importance of resolving the political and economic
problems of Zimbabwe in the interests of the people of that country and of
the region.

"We must do everything possible to help them find a solution," he said.

Such assistance would not be in the form of interference, but rather
influencing the direction the country takes.

Pahad was speaking after meeting SA Council of Churches general secretary
Rev Molefe Tsele to discuss issues of regional, continental and world peace
and security - including Zimbabwe, Burundi, the Sudan, and the Middle-East.

Tsele said the current priority in Zimbabwe was to create a climate
conducive to free and fair elections.

"The electoral law needs to create that climate," he said. "There is a need
for a legal framework to ensure confidence in election results."

Tsele said Tuesday's talks was the first step in ensuring ongoing dialogue
between the SACC and the government on issues affecting the southern African
region.

Pahad is to attend the SADC politics, defence and security organ's sixth
ministerial meeting at Sun City in the North West on Thursday and Friday -
during which South Africa would assume chairmanship of the organ.

Apart from the draft election protocol, other issues on the agenda would
include a review of the regional political situation, the
"operationalisation" of the African Union Peace and Security Council, the
African Standby Force, the SADC Standby Force, and the envisaged regional
conflict early-warning system.
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Guardian

Caine prize winner announced

Michelle Pauli
Tuesday July 20, 2004

This year's 'African Booker' has been won by Brian Chikwava from Zimbabwe,
it was announced today. He is the first writer from the country to receive
the award.
The Caine Prize for African Writing, which is worth $15,000 (9,000), is
awarded to a short story published in English by an African writer whose
work has reflected African sensibilities.

Chikwava's story, Seventh Street Alchemy, was praised by the judges'
chairman, Alvaro Ribeiro, as "a triumph for the long tradition of Zimbabwean
writing in the face of Zimbabwe's uncertain future."

He added that the story was marked out by "a very strong narrative in which
Brian Chikwava of Zimbabwe claims the English language as his own."

The 32-year-old writer and musician was born in Bulawayo but grew up in
Harare, where he performed regularly at the Book Cafe's poetry evenings and
discussions. He studied at Bristol University and currently lives in south
London.

Chikwava said he was very pleased but also surprised at his win. "I'm in
shock," he said. "A few months ago it was not something I had in my blood at
all. My head is spinning - it's very exciting." He added that he is planning
to consolidate on his Caine success and is working on a novella, Bubble
Wrapping Artificial Shit, and a blues album, Jacaranda Skits.

The other writers on the shortlist were Doreen Baingana (Uganda) for Hunger,
Parselelo Kantai (Kenya) for The Story of Comrade Lemma and the Black
Jerusalem Boys Band, Monica Arac de Nyeko (Uganda) for Strange Fruit and
Chika Unigwe (Nigeria) for The Secret.

The prize judges included Nigerian playwright Biyi Bandele and
Booker-winning novelist Bernice Rubens. The four African winners of the
Nobel prize for literature - Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer, Naguib Mahfouz
and JM Coetzee - are patrons of the prize.
Last year's Caine prize winner was Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor from Kenya. Her
winning story was published in Kwani?, Kenya's only literary magazine, which
was set up by Binyavanga Wainaina, winner of the Caine prize in 2002.
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