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

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ABC Australia

Mugabe accused of using dead people's votes
The Roman Catholic archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube says he has evidence
of massive electoral fraud in Zimbabwe.

He has called for the creation of an independent electoral commission to
oversee the parliamentary elections next year.

Archbishop Ncube, who is a prominent critic of President Robert Mugabe, says
the electoral roll used in the previous poll in 2000 contained the names of
800,000 dead people.

"We are aware there are 800,000 people on the voters roll who died, and they
used those dead people still to vote," he said.

"And then 600,000 duplicate voters, that is people who have registered more
than once in different constituencies and they sometimes do this - some
people are voting more than once."
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SABC

Zimbabwe archbishop raps Blair, Mbeki for inaction

July 21, 2004, 16:05

A prominent Zimbabwean churchman chided Britain and South Africa today for
not taking a tougher line against the "evils" of president Robert Mugabe.
Pius Ncube, Catholic archbishop of Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo, also
said political repression and economic hardship had become so critical there
was a risk of civil conflict.

"I'm for a peaceful transformation. (But) people get so desperate they will
say 'I am as good as dead now' and they engage in something that is not
going to benefit them," he said.

"There's so much fear that people are quiet, but they suffer and there's a
lot of anger. It would be a tragedy if all of a sudden people went violent
because Mugabe's last card is to call the army 'come over here, shoot
them'".

Mugabe (80) is accused by domestic and Western critics of rigging his 2002
re-election, intimidating opposition supporters and running down one of
Africa's most promising economies. He says former colonial ruler Britain and
others want to punish him for giving white-owned farms to landless blacks.

Ncube, who has long spoken out against Mugabe, said that argument was
helping stifle outside criticism. "He uses this as an excuse for all his
evils ... We shouldn't allow him to hoodwink everyone," he said. South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki "has been a disappointment," he added at a
London news conference.

"He has been backing Mugabe, saying things will be all right ... But
possibly he is aware that if he takes a negative attitude he will have less
space to assist Mugabe. There is still that hope that Mugabe becomes
reasonable."

"Starvation and Oppression"
Mbeki, who has been trying to broker a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis on
behalf of African nations eager for a locally led solution, recently
acknowledged his policy of quiet diplomacy was failing but said there was no
alternative.

The Bulawayo archbishop said he was also disappointed by Britain, which has
toned down its anti-Mugabe rhetoric of late. Britain should not be
embarrassed by accusations of "neo-colonial" meddling, but step up pressure
on Zimbabwe in international forums and channel aid to rights groups and
other non-government organisations, Ncube said.

"Unfortunately Mugabe has got Britain where he wants them ... blaming
everything on (Prime Minister) Tony Blair," he added. "Britain should
continue to apply pressure on Mugabe to be accountable for his own people's
suffering."

In Britain to seek backing for a new organisation to support rights abuse
victims in Zimbabwe, Ncube gave a litany of familiar allegations against
Mugabe. Aids patients are neglected, businessmen are leaving en masse,
prices are soaring, opposition activists are harassed, tortured and jailed,
and food aid is being used as a political tool ahead of next year's
parliamentary elections, he said. "There's a starvation plan ... There is so
much oppression in Zimbabwe you can't move an inch," he said.

On a personal note, Ncube said his church services were constantly monitored
by state intelligence agents. Criticised by some, including fellow Catholic
churchmen, for being too politicised, Ncube said he would not be muzzled. "I
have decided to get loud because Mugabe is silencing everyone," he said. "I
have one task: to rebuke the evils done by Mugabe until there is change." -
Reuters
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Trial of suspected mercenaries postponed

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]HARARE, 21 Jul 2004 (IRIN) - The trial in Zimbabwe of 70 suspected
mercenaries accused of plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea has been
postponed to Wednesday.

Lawrence Phiri, the state prosecutor, said the defence lawyers had asked for
a postponement in the trial, being held in a makeshift court in Chikurubi
Maximum Security Prison in the capital, Harare. There were no objections.

The men were detained after arriving at Harare International Airport on 7
March from South Africa, and charged with conspiring to carry out a coup in
oil-rich Equatorial Guinea with weapons bought in Zimbabwe. They were also
charged with violating Zimbabwe's immigration, firearms and security laws.

Lawyers for the men are seeking to have the trial moved to South Africa, as
most of the suspects carry South African passports. They are concerned that
if the trial proceeds in Zimbabwe, they could face extradition to Equatorial
Guinea, a tiny West African country ranked by human rights groups as one of
the world's most repressive.

Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea have been working out the details of an
extradition treaty between the two countries. If the men are tried in
Equatorial Guinea, they could face execution, while the death penalty is not
on South Africa's statute books.

The hearing had been delayed to allow relatives to appeal to South Africa's
highest court to have the men extradited back home to face trial. A
judgement is still awaited in that case.

The prosecution has alleged that Equatorial Guinea's Spanish-based
opposition leader, Severo Moto, hired the men, many of whom were former
members of elite South African military units, to overthrow President
Theodoro Obiang Nguema. The government of Equatorial Guinea has detained 15
men at Malabo on the island of Bioco, claiming they were part of an advance
team preparing for the coup.

The suspected mercenaries held in Zimbabwe have denied plotting to overthrow
Obiang, saying they were en route to the eastern Democratic Republic of
Congo to take up security jobs at mining operations.[ENDS]
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Court dismisses newspaper appeal

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]HARARE, 21 Jul 2004 (IRIN) - The Zimbabwean High Court on Wednesday
dismissed an urgent chamber application by The Tribune newspaper to resume
publishing, following its closure in June under tough media laws.

Africa Tribune Newspapers (ATN), publishers of The Tribune, had lodged an
urgent application after the government-appointed Media and Information
Commission (MIC) ordered it closed for not adhering to media regulations -
the third newspaper in under a year to be shut by the commission.

The MIC suspended the ATN's publishing license for one year in June after
accusing its new owners of failing to report ownership changes as required
under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The MIC also complained that the new owners had not informed them that, due
to high input costs, the newspaper had merged its two titles, The Business
Tribune and The Weekend Tribune, to form The Tribune.

"The commission's view is that this contravention deserves the penalty of a
cancellation, and that this is a lawful response as set out under the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act," said MIC lawyer Johannes
Tomana.

Mathew Takaona, president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, said the
continued closure of The Tribune was another blow to press freedom and media
pluralism.

"We have close to 20 journalists who have been forced onto the streets
because of the unfriendly media laws in Zimbabwe. It is a very cruel and
diabolical law, which has only managed to bring anguish to the media
fraternity," he said.

One of the newspaper's shareholders, Nevanji Madanhire, speaking after the
court dismissed the application, said they would make a decision on the way
forward on Thursday. "We still have to meet as shareholders and decide what
to do next."

The Tribune's demise follows the forced closure of Zimbabwe's leading daily
newspaper, the anti-government Daily News, on charges of publishing without
a license as required by the media laws. The privately owned Daily News and
its sister publication, The Daily News on Sunday, have been closed since
September 2003, pending a final determination on its legal status by
Zimbabwe's Supreme Court.

The Zimbabwean government has accused the privately owned press of
spearheading an anti-Zimbabwe agenda sponsored by Western powers.
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'Government Working Towards Democratic Local Governance'The Herald (Harare)

July 21, 2004
Posted to the web July 21, 2004

Harare

GOVERNMENT is working towards the formulation of a democratic and
representative local government system that responds to the needs of the
people, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing,
Cde Ignatius Chombo, has said.

He said the Government was engaged in fundamental reforms that are intended
to ensure effective and efficient management of local authorities and the
equitable distribution of natural resources.

Cde Chombo made the remarks when he officially opened a two-day Africa
Mayors' Course Design and Planning Workshop in Harare yesterday.

The 10 participating mayors were drawn from Eastern and Southern African
countries, namely Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and
Zimbabwe.

"We believe that local government is about the people. In essence, local
government refers fundamentally to the people drawn from all walks of life,
together to determine the path that their destiny should take," said Cde
Chombo.

Cde Chombo commended the Municipal Development Partnership for Eastern and
Southern Africa for organising the workshop.

The mayors are expected to design a course that will enhance their capacity
to effectively manage the affairs of cities for the benefit of citizens.

"This is quite an innovative approach to capacity building. Its
innovativeness lies not only in its attempt to give opportunity to
prospective learners to identify their training needs but also to allow them
to determine how the training should be delivered and financed," he said.

Cde Chombo noted the approach helps to foster ownership of the course and
commitment and ensure its success. He urged MDP-ESA to apply the approach in
all its training programmes.

"In that regard, my ministry views this workshop as quite significant since
it is the first of its kind to bring mayors together to design and plan
their own capacity enhancement programme," said Cde Chombo.

The workshop is expected to help mayors in the region share ideas and
experiences on how to respond to the emerging challenges that come with
rapid urbanisation, decentralisation and globalisation.

The challenges include the prevention and management of HIV/Aids, increasing
urban poverty and other social vices like prostitution, drug abuse, juvenile
delinquency and the pervasive problem of street kids and street families, he
said.

Cde Chombo said most cities in the region were characterised by run down
infrastructure, services, sprawling slums, overcrowded and unplanned
settlements, overcrowded and unregulated informal activities such as
vending, brewing of illicit beers and taxi touting.

Most of the problems were often blamed on corruption, poor governance and
high degree of centralisation of power and resources in the hands of central
government.

Cde Chombo said successful responses to such challenges depended upon the
quality and capacity of local government leaders to lead with determination
and foresight.

"While capacity building of human resources is critical, ensuring that
trained leaders have the requisite knowledge for discharging their
responsibilities is equally vital, thus the pertinence of this workshop," he
said.

The secretary-general of the African Local Authorities Association, Mr
Charles Katiza, said mayors should be able to create best practices by
providing leadership in building bridges usable beyond local and national
networks and partnerships.

"Our mayors should appreciate the new focus towards eradication of poverty,
mitigating HIV and Aids and developing mechanisms to facilitate local
economic development, and to develop strategies capable of helping their
city contribute towards peace and security," he said.

MDP regional director Mr George Matovu said mayors needed to be educated on
how to attract investors, engage residents in consultations and preparing
strategic plans.
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Wood Poachers Fuelling Menace of DeforestationThe Herald (Harare)

July 21, 2004
Posted to the web July 21, 2004

Tawanda Kanhema And Nelson Chenga
Harare

SATELLITE images showing expansive green stretches of forest and woodlands
from the 90s have turned to yellow patches of deforested plains as poachers
of indigenous hardwoods continue to stump the life out of Zimbabwes
centuries-old woods.

At the turn of the century, the country was losing an average of 70 000
hectares of trees per year, an area equal in size to Harare and Chitungwiza
put together. But, according to the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe (FCZ),
the figure has soared in the past four years.

Hardest hit are the peri-urban areas, as urban dwellers continue to stuff
their hearths with firewood in response to the ever-increasing electricity
tariffs, providing a ready market for wood poachers and fuelling the menace
of deforestation.

"Power tariffs have become restrictive for most people, resulting in them
turning to fuelwood," said FCZ general manager Dr Enos Shumba adding,
"indiscriminate tree cutting has led to massive deforestation."

Fuelwood meets 51 percent of Zimbabwes total household and industrial energy
demand, and newly resettled farmers get 90 percent of their energy for
domestic and agricultural purposes from wood.

The shortage of coal and high cost of paraffin and electricity have seen
wood emerging as the cheapest and most easily accessible source of energy,
igniting massive deforestation around cities and resettled areas.

Dr Shumba said FCZ was working with farmers organisations in resettled areas
on ways to curb the indiscriminate cutting of trees and had initiated
projects like beekeeping and the growing of energy woodlots to preserve
forests and reduce pressure on indigenous woods.

He said FCZ, in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Association of Tobacco
Growers, had identified at least 15 farmers who will help in establishing
energy woodlots that are expected to significantly cut tobacco farmers
dependence on indigenous woods for tobacco curing.

The Forestry Commission hopes to raise 10 million tree seedlings throughout
the country every year, with an estimated survival rate of 65 percent. This
is expected to boost its reforestation and conservation effort, which has
begun to meet with success, despite the menace of wood poachers and veld
fires.

"There was a time when the countryside was literally on fire," said Dr
Shumba, referring to the veld fires that swept across the countryside in
recent years, destroying thousands of hectares of forest and wildlife
species in their wake.

There has been a notable decrease in veld fires. On average, a farmer with
2,2 tonnes of tobacco requires half a hectare of forest to cure his crop and
without access to alternative energy sources like coal or energy woodlots,
entire forests could be wiped out in a few years.

Farmers have been encouraged to create energy woodlots of eucalyptus, among
other inflammable and fast growing exotic trees, in order to conserve
indigenous trees, whose lifespan can stretch up to at least 200 years.

FCZ has also embarked on an agro-forestry programme aimed at marrying trees
to agriculture, thus increasing their chances of survival by persuading
farmers to give them the same attention they would give to their crops.

Fruit-bearing trees have also been given high priority in the conservation
effort.

At least 250 000 families have been resettled on 11 million hectares of land
under the land reform programme in the past four years and the Forestry
Commission has launched an intensive awareness campaigns to minimise
indiscriminate tree cutting and veld fires among newly resettled farmers.

Truckloads of fuelwood find their way into Harare everyday as enterprising
merchants ferry tonnes of illegally harvested wood from farms surrounding
the city.

Almost half of Chegutus population of about 45 000 residents depends
entirely on firewood for cooking and heating (the thick pall of smoke that
hangs over the small town at dusk bears sufficient testimony). The same is
true of most small towns where low income earners opt for wood.

Imposing giraffes gazing into the air, lions, elephants and other wild
animals at a curio market at Sam Levys Village represent what has become a
systematic subversion of the Forestry Act as poachers fell indigenous trees
ranging between 120 and 200 years old without FCZ approval for sale to wood
carvers.

The felling of indigenous hardwoods for sale to the woodcraft industry,
laudable as it might be for tourism and self-employment, continues to rob
the custodians of the countrys vital woodlands, putting the axe to what had
been one of the best managed hardwoods in the region.

Zimbabwe remains one of the last sources of good indigenous hardwoods like
mukwa and mopani, which are exported to the lucrative European market and
used for commercial purposes, mostly furniture making.

Most countries have banned the export of hardwoods. The exportation of raw
timber has also been banned in Zimbabwe, following the realisation that it
deprives the country of a potential source of employment and FCZ now
inspects all timber to ensure that it is processed and certified before
exportation.

Nkayi Rural District Council recently impounded timber worth $100 million
and harvesting equipment valued at $120 million from Culman Investments, a
company alleged to have illegally harvested timber worth hundreds of
millions of dollars in the district.

The fortunes made by the company, which paid locals to harvest hardwoods
apparently meant for export, are infinitely more than what the Rural
District Council, custodians of the indigenous hardwoods for decades, have
made out of them.

"The Government has invested a lot in the management of hardwoods and we
continue to protect and process them locally so as to create employment and
benefit the country," Dr Shumba said.

However, taking advantage of the countrys land reform programme, timber and
wood poachers are condemning to extinction the protected trees in some of th
e countrys most fragile State-run hardwood forests of Bembesi, Gwayi,
Gwampa, Lake Alice and Mzola in Matabeleland North.

Playing cat and mouse with law enforcement agents, some of the poachers
display huge stacks of firewood along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway
for sale to firewood merchants or passing motorists out to warm themselves
or prepare for the weekend braai.

Driving along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road one is lulled into a false
sense of conservation by the forested landscape running alongside the
highway, which is an artificial cover for the reckless cutting down of trees
taking place deep inside the forests.

Huge chunks of forest cover are being turned into barren dust bowls that
could soon be transformed into gullies.

"No matter what we try and do, we are failing to control timber and wood
poaching," confessed Mr Odreck Sibanda, the FCZ deputy general manager
responsible for conservation and extension.

While the Government has indicated that it is not its intention to settle
people in long-established game parks and State forests, many villagers in
the Matabeleland region continue to resettle themselves in these areas.

Although the areas are located on fragile Kalahari sandy soils that are
unfit for agriculture, the settlers are busy tilling the land and planting
crops such as maize and sorghum to feed their families.

"I came here last year from Kezi because there are better soils here than in
Kezi where the land is rocky and rains are poor," said one woman who only
gave her name as uMaKhumalo.

Waiting for transport along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road to ferry eight
bags of maize back to her former home in Kezi, uMaKhumalo acknowledged that
the soils in Bembesi Forest were so bad that without fertiliser it was
difficult to harvest anything.

Another villager from Plumtrees Thekwane area said she had also relocated to
the Bembesi Forest to escape hunger and chronic droughts back home.

"In Thekwane, you wont harvest anything because of the poor soils and
rainfall pattern," she said.

Uncontrolled settlements and rampant poaching of timber and wood have seen
such forests as Lake Alice and Gwampa, once renowned as some of the countrys
most unique bird sanctuaries, turned into patchy lands on the verge of
becoming deserts.

In Mzola Forest, some villagers who have been grazing their cattle there for
years have decided to settle there permanently, exposing the area to soil
erosion as land degradation and overgrazing take their toll.Rural electrification could compel more people to lay their axes down and
plug into the national grid in the communal and newly resettled areas and
effects have started manifesting themselves in the recently electrified
Ntabazinduna, near Bulawayo, where FCZ reports a steady decline in demand
for fuelwood.

Although FCZ has not tried to quantify the impact of rural electrification
on deforestation, Dr Shumba believes there could be a gradual fall in wood
consumption depending on the costs and distribution of electricity.

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Zimbabwe players agree to arbitration

Wisden Cricinfo staff

July 21, 2004Zimbabwe's rebel cricketers today agreed to arbitrate with the Zimbabwe
Cricket Union (ZCU) over their ongoing internal dispute. The ICC gave the
players a deadline of today to agree to their offer, and, as expected, they
did.

The ZCU, for their part, agreed last week to take part in the tribunal,
which will consist of a representative from each side, along with a third
person, who will act as an independent chairman.

The majority of the rebel players are currently on tour in England with the
Red Lions, a charity side. From Stowe School, in Buckinghamshire, where they
are currently playing their third game of the six-match tour, Clive Field,
the players' manager, said: "We had a meeting yesterday and we sent an
e-mail to ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed, who is in India, saying we
accepted the plan."

He added, "From the players' point of view we want this resolved as quickly
as possible. We don't know when the arbitration will start, but we hope the
composition of the panel and their terms of reference can be decided
quickly."

Field's comments were backed up by Chris Venturas, the players' laywer, who
told the BBC: "The players are now feeling very confident because they know
they have a very good case." Wisden Cricinfo Ltd
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Wednesday July 21, 2004

Dr. Montgomery released in Zimbabwe, charges dropped

By EMILY BURTON
Staff Writer

A local doctor arrested this month in Zimbabwe on charges of practicing
without a license during a mission trip was released this week, say
officials. Dr. Ed Montgomery and his wife, Sara Jane, a nurse, have both
been given back their passports, confirmed Senator Mitch McConnell's office
Tuesday.The pair had been relieved of their passports approximately two weeks ago
while on a medical mission trip in the African country. According to his
friends, Dr. Montgomery had been looking forward to the trip with friends. A
retired urologist, Dr. Montgomery and his wife had participated in several
other medical missions around the world.According to Dr. Montgomery's former partner, Dr. Scott Scutchfield, after
Dr. Montgomery's charges were dropped he headed with his wife to South
Africa.Julie Adams, deputy press secretary for McConnell's office, said the doctor
had worked with the embassy and Zimbabwe officials to obtain a license to
practice in that country and hence the charges were dropped. It was
definitely a happy ending, said Adams.For the friends and family waiting at home for the Montgomerys, the couple's
release comes after days of prayer and concern. "I'm thankful to God," said
Scutchfield, after many prayers and well wishes were sent their way from the
medical community. "Everyone will be relieved."Family friend Dr. Chris Jackson also applauded the good news, and those who
had helped to bring it about. "We're very pleased for all the efforts made
for us," said Jackson, including the help of the newspapers and politicians.
The recent news was "wonderful," said Jackson. "I can't wait to get him
home."

Copyright The Advocate-Messenger 2004
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VOA

Power Struggle Brews in Zimbabwe Ruling Party
Tendai Maphosa
Harare
21 Jul 2004, 16:56 UTC

Wrangling within the leadership of Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party is coming
out into the open, a clear sign, analysts say, of a power struggle for
succession to President Robert Mugabe.
Central to the infighting is Zimbabwe's Information Minister Jonathan Moyo
who has publicly clashed with some senior cabinet ministers. These included
vice president Joseph Msika with whom Mr. Moyo disagreed over the
expropriation of a farm. Mr. Moyo, who controls the state media, recently
also accused his cabinet colleague, Land and Resettlement Minister John
Nkomo, of trying to take back land from resettled farmers for whites.

Those are some of the signs there are cracks in the leadership of ZANU- PF.
University of Zimbabwe's Professor Brian Raftopolous says for this party,
this is business as usual.

"There have always been fissures within ZANU-PF," he said. "I think now they
are being somewhat exacerbated because a number of things. One is clearly
the succession problem, but also allied to the succession problem is the
accumulation struggle within the elite in this country, those who have land,
who have other forms of property who are now fighting to control that
property and to use it as a basis for future political struggles."

A ZANU-PF legislator, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the party is
in the midst of a generational struggle. He said Mr. Moyo represents the
new, younger membership of the party, while Mr. Msika and the resettlement
minister stand for the party's old guard.

A weekly independent newspaper, The Standard, quotes sources as saying the
succession struggle has spilled into the newsrooms of the state owned media
and the ZANU-PF weekly The Voice where Resettlement Minister John Nkomo
holds sway. The Standard editors and other papers under Mr. Nkomo's control
have been instructed on to portray members of the old guard negatively.

While Mr. Moyo appears to be winning the struggle for media coverage,
Lovemore Madhuku, from the University of Zimbabwe, says this may not
necessarily mean he will rise to the top. He says ZANU-PF has clearly laid
out rules of succession and Mr. Moyo faces faces many more hurdles on the
way up.

Meanwhile, analysts say President Mugabe, who is not expected to bow out of
politics before his term expires in 2008, is taking advantage of the
internal squabbling to consolidate his own position. And the ruling party
itself, says Mr. Raftopolous, is not expected to suffer any long-lasting
damage from the infighting.

"It's become almost inherent in the history and structure of ZANU-PF that
you have these contradictions and fissures; the issue is how they will be
controlled and contained," he said.

Still, he said, the continued challenge for Mr. Mugabe and any future leader
will be to keep the party together.
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Reuters

ANALYSIS-Mugabe opponents wary of traps in electoral reforms
21 Jul 2004 14:53:23 GMT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, July 21 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has bowed to
opposition and regional pressure to adopt sweeping electoral reforms ahead
of parliamentary polls next year, but analysts say he has done so because he
is confident of victory.

"I think the reason that Mugabe is adopting these reforms is that he
realises that he can do so without losing any ground," said a senior Western
diplomat based in Harare.

"In effect, he actually gains, appears like a reasonable man in the
international community, especially among his colleagues in SADC (Southern
African Development Community), and then he does so without losing
anything," he added.

Mugabe opened a new session of parliament on Tuesday saying Zimbabwe would
implement wide-ranging electoral reforms before parliamentary polls next
March, giving in to some key demands from the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

The reforms, which must be approved by parliament, would include setting up
an independent election commission, a single day of voting instead of two,
and the counting of votes at polling centres.

It was Mugabe's first public comment on electoral changes promised by his
ruling ZANU-PF party last month and largely welcomed by the MDC as paving
the way for free and fair polls.

Analysts say he conceded to electoral reforms to retain key regional
support. While others saw it as a deft move by the veteran leader to ease
pressure on his embattled government while, in practice, further entrenching
his party's rule.

"Mugabe has this ability to pick the right moment to move, and in this case
he is again doing so without threatening his position," said Professor
Heneri Dzinotyiwei of the University of Zimbabwe.

Mugabe is under international pressure over his disputed re-election win in
2002 and ZANU-PF's equally controversial victory in parliamentary polls four
years ago.

He has strengthened his grip on power through tough security and media laws
that have largely stifled opposition, and a political patronage system that
rewards loyalty, critics say.

PRESSURE BUILDS

But Mugabe has been under increasing diplomatic and financial pressure for
change, including from other African leaders.

Mugabe suffered some embarrassment at the African Union summit in Addis
Ababa earlier this month when a report was unofficially circulated
condemning his human rights record.

Dzinotyiwei said pressure from Mugabe's colleagues in the 14-nation SADC,
especially from South African President Thabo Mbeki who has helped shield
him from foreign pressure, had also partly forced him to adopt the electoral
reforms.

Mugabe hinted as much on Tuesday, telling parliament that his proposed
reforms were partly driven by "ongoing regional consultations" on developing
uniform electoral rules in SADC.

The International Monetary Fund has also stepped in this month by
establishing a six-month grace period before considering Zimbabwe's
expulsion from the fund due to arrears amounting to $295 million, or about
56 percent of its quota, as of June 2004.

Zimbabwe has been without IMF aid since 1999, and several Western donors
suspended help following Mugabe's re-election in 2002 -- which the MDC has
challenged as rigged.

Mugabe has been in the hot seat before and has not made the relatively bold
gesture he unveiled on Tuesday. Analysts say the reason he did now is he
feels secure in his party's strength.

"He has the media, he has (independence) war veterans and youth brigades and
there are security and media laws...and he has the political machinery to
ensure that ZANU-PF's dominance continues," said Lovemore Madhuku, chairman
of political pressure group National Constitutional Assembly (NCA).

Still those who have waited for reform in Zimbabwe are not dismissing the
move as empty.

"We should not be too pessimistic because this is a process and if we really
get an independent election commission we will be making a good," said
Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman of the civic coalition group Zimbabwe
Election Support Network.
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Zimbabwe Farmers Aid Zambia Farming RevivalThe Times of Zambia (Ndola)

ANALYSIS
July 21, 2004
Posted to the web July 21, 2004

Shapi ShacindaAFTER a decade of ruin in the 1990s, Zambia's agriculture sector is enjoying
a renaissance - due partly to an influx of white farmers from neighbouring
Zimbabwe.

From Zambia's point of view, the timing could hardly have been better.

Its policy of providing land to local and foreign farmers - part of a
strategy to broaden the country's economic base - coincided with a
controversial land reform programme in Zimbabwe that put many Zimbabwean
commercial farmers out of business.

"They have come to live here as equals .... the new farmers have come to
jump-start agriculture ... they have boosted tobacco production in a short
time," said Agriculture Minister Mundia Sikatana.

Ejected from Zimbabwe, 56-year-old Chris Thorne is one of several such
farmers helping to lead Zambia's agricultural recovery. In 2003, the Zambia
Investment Centre said 125 farmers had settled in the country, with
investments totalling $107 million.

The Tobacco Association of Zambia estimates that around 75 Zimbabwe tobacco
farmers and their managers have settled in southern and central parts of
Zambia.

"Everything is pointing towards Zambia's success (in agriculture) due to
good Government policies," said Thorne at Kayanje farm, 50 km northeast of
the capital Lusaka.

"This farm is a huge expansion project ... this coming season we will
produce half a million kgs of tobacco. This year we are going to sell 220
tonnes of tobacco and we will also grow 40 hectares (100 acres) of wheat
next year."

TOBACCO EXPANSION, JOB CREATION

Under a 10-year project pioneered by Barclays Bank Zambia, a unit of
London-based Barclays, and Africa Leaf Tobacco (Zambia), a subsidiary of
Universal Leaf Tobacco, farmers like Thorne get money to grow their
businesses and pass on their skills to locals as part of the deal.

The scheme is expected to spur a big jump in production.

Chimwemwe Mtonga, Barclays Bank Zambia head of agriculture, said the
country's total tobacco output is estimated at 16-18 million kg (35-40
million lb) this year of which 10 million kg would be contributed by the new
farmers. Zambia's tobacco output in 2003 was around 7.2 million kg and 3.0
million kg the previous year.

The expansion also means an increase in much needed agricultural jobs and
investment. On Kayanje alone, the current staff compliment of 400 will rise
to 600 in the 2004/05 season.

"We will (slightly) raise the area for maize production from 240 hectares in
the 2003/04 season to just about 250 hectares the coming season ... this
farm was not utilised for more than 25 years," Thorne said. In the previous
three years, only 50 hectares was farmed on Kayanje.

It is not all plain sailing. High inflation and continuous fluctuation of
the Kwacha currency worry the farmers.

"Our profit margins are being reduced by high inflation as a result of a
re-valued rand," said Thorne in a reference to South Africa's currency.
Farmers buy the bulk of their raw materials from South Africa.

GROWTH POTENTIAL

Despite these concerns, Zambia is confident that agriculture will soon be a
major economic driver for the country as it diversifies away from copper and
cobalt mining.

Thousands of hectares of virgin land are being offered free to local and
foreign investors for agricultural activities.

"There is no doubt agriculture is the future of Zambia and land will be
given to anyone interested in growing cash crops," Lands Minister Judith
Kangoma-Kapijimpanga told Reuters.

As well as boosting its tobacco industry, Zambia plans to launch year-round
maize growing in the country's vast wetlands and aims to increase output by
around 40 per cent to two million tonnes in the 2004/05 season.

Mr Sikatana has said preliminary indications suggest this year's maize
harvest would exceed 1.4 million tonnes from 1.2 million tonnes in the
previous season.

"Our aim is to increase maize production to two million tonnes in the coming
season (2004/2005) and thereafter we will be increasing our output by one
million tonnes every other season," he said.

The contrast with Zimbabwe's fortunes is striking.

Once the bread basket of the region, Zimbabwe is battling one of the world's
highest inflation rates and widespread unemployment, a situation that many
critics blame on government mismanagement, including its land reform
programme.

Although Zimbabwe told international donors in May it would not need
emergency food aid on predictions of a bumper harvest, many analysts and
Zimbabwe commercial farming groups have said the country could face a
shortfall.

Zambia, on the other hand, has bounced back from severe food shortages that
affected more than 14 million people at their peak early last year.

The author is a Reuters correspondent based in Lusaka
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Sunday Times (SA)

Couple's Zimbabwe roadside ambush horrorWednesday July 21, 2004 10:10 - (SA)

An elderly Port Elizabeth couple has been seriously injured in a roadside
ambush while on their way to visit their son in Zimbabwe.

Ronnie, 71, and Patricia Fitzmaurice, 70, of Humewood, were viciously
attacked and then had their car ransacked while they changing a wheel on
their Ford Mondeo, 16km south of Ivuma, Zimbabwe.

The couple were travelling from Port Elizabeth to Harare to visit their
farmer son Steven Fitzmaurice, 44, a well-known former Eastern Cape
showjumper, who was recovering after a serious car accident.

On Friday, July 9, shortly after 8pm they were approaching Harare when they
had a puncture. Fitzmaurice noticed that they had driven through a pile of
sharp spikes placed on the road.

Fitzmaurice said from Harare last night that as he was about to change their
vehicle's flat tyre, 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.

Fitzmaurice sustained a head wound "which bled profusely".

Fitzmaurice 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 thug's firearm jammed, although he squeezed the trigger repeatedly.
The two men then fled.

"There is now a new meaning for us to the phrase 'looking down the barrel of
a gun'," said Fitzmaurice.

But the terror was not over. As he 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.

"Two of our cellphones, suitcases, a briefcase, my wife's handbag, R1 600
and $2 000 (R12 000) were stolen," he said.

After the men had left, Fitzmaurice continued to change the wheel, but could
only fasten the nuts with his hands as the wheel spanner went missing during
the attack.

The couple then drove to a hospital in Chivhu at 80km/h, where they were
treated. He suffered severe concussion, while his wife had bleeding on the
brain.

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

Fitzmaurice said: "For 50 years we have been travelling to Harare and
Malawi, where my other son stays, and this was the first time we've
experienced such serious crime."

It took the couple 2 days to reach their destination.

They are determined to travel back to South Africa in their car. They are
expected to arrive in Port Elizabeth within two weeks.

"We are slowly coming right. My wife is a lot better. The doctor wanted to
evacuate me to Johannesburg, but the concussion is much better now. We will
return home possibly within two weeks, but it depends on the progress we
make," he said.

Eastern Province Herald
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