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Exiled officer tells how Mugabe's thugs took over police force

Andrew Meldrum meets refugees who say force has become a partisan gang

Friday July 4, 2003
The Guardian

Shame and sorrow are evident in the furrowed brow of Taurai Maganda as he
describes a murder he witnessed. "One man was picked up because he was
wearing an MDC T-shirt. That was all. He was handcuffed and several police
kicked with their heavy boots and they beat his head with a rifle butt,"
said Mr Maganda. "He fell unconscious and died. They said he jumped from a
The murder of the supporter of Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), was one of five deaths in custody in just one
police district, Mr Maganda said.

Such an account of crimes committed by police would be commonplace in the
twilight days of Robert Mugabe's hold over Zimbabwe - except that Mr Maganda
was a policeman himself. After being accused of being an opposition
supporter, he fled to the UK and was granted asylum. "We were ordered to do
terrible things," Mr Maganda, aged 29, told the Guardian. "Even here in
England, I am still troubled by what I saw and what I had to do."

Mr Maganda - whose name has been changed to protect his family in Zimbabwe -
said he was forced to beat people on the soles of their feet and "all over"
their bodies. When asked what else he was ordered to do, he hangs his head
and shakes it as if trying to rid it of some troubling image. Clearly it
will be a long time before he recovers from the trauma. "I don't like to
think about those experiences, but I feel better if I talk about them and
get them off my chest," he said.

He said police were ordered to ignore crimes committed against supporters of
the opposition party. Police in his area of ten planted marijuana and other
illegal substances on people in order to arrest them and beat them, he said.
Mr Maganda said many other ranking officers had left the force and been
replaced by untrained, uneducated, violent loyalists of the ruling Zanu-PF
party, transforming the force from upholders of the rule of law into a
partisan gang of brutal henchmen.

The police have killed, maimed and beaten scores of Zimbabweans suspected of
no crime except supporting the legal opposition party, according to
interviews with police who have recently left the force and some still in
service. "They don't take the exams for promotions, as we used to do," he
said. "They don't care about crime, all they care about is stamping out the

Mr Maganda was harassed by the new loyalists on the force, who accused him
of supporting the MDC. Soon after cabinet minister Elliott Manyika publicly
denounced Mr Maganda, his commanding officer seized his gun. "I could see
they were going to frame me for something and arrest me, so I went into
hiding," he said. Eventually he made it to Britain and was granted asylum.


Mr Maganda's chilling testimony is endorsed by George Chipato, aged 41, an
assistant inspector who was in the force for 20 years. "I was forced out
because they said I supported the MDC," said Mr Chipato, whose name has also
been changed. "More than 200 others of my rank have been forced out. They
were replaced by people without qualifications. Officers in charge of
stations have low educations. They tell the police not to investigate crimes
against MDC supporters."

Mr Chipato said that "police in the law and order section at Harare central
charge office are torturing people with terrible beatings and electric
shocks. This has been going on for some time."

During May's five-day national strike the heavily armed police cooperated
with gangs of thugs to thwart peaceful protest marches. Police who object to
inflicting violence on innocent civilians are hounded from the force by
threats of violence and trumped-up charges against them.

In the presidential elections last year, police were forced to cast their
ballots for Mr Mugabe while watched by high-ranking officers, according to
accounts from insiders. They say many were ordered to vote more than once.
The police have become so thoroughly corrupted and aligned to the Mugabe
regime that considerable rehabilitation efforts will be needed to return the
force to its role of even-handedly upholding the rule of law.

The police are so inextricably bound to the ruling party that they would be
a serious impediment to free and fair elections, according to political
analysts. But increasingly brutal work and poor conditions are creating
dissension in the ranks, and some police may refuse to fire on crowds should
the population mass in opposition to Mr Mugabe.

The international policing agency Interpol maintains a close relationship
with the Zimbabwe police. Interpol is currently building its southern
African regional offices in Harare. The Zimbabwean police commissioner
Augustine Chihuri has served as Interpol's regional vice-president for
several years and was recently awarded a lifetime vice-presidency of the

But last month Interpol forced Mr Chihuri to resign the honorary post after
it objected to public boasting by police spokesmen that Interpol endorsed
the work of Zimbabwean police. That was a first step but much more
international pressure is needed to isolate the Zimbabwean force, say civic
leaders. "That could be a turning point for the police. It is time the
international community distances itself from the Zimbabwean force," said
Iden Wetherell, editor of the Zimbabwe Independent. "The police have become
in creasingly partisan and unprofessional in the execution of their duties."

Kate Allen, Amnesty's UK director, said: "Zimbabwean authorities should
immediately end the political misuse of the police and ensure that police
officers abide by the highest standards of professionalism and respect for
human rights. The government should immediately cease all intimidation,
arbitrary arrests and torture of political opponents, independent media and
human rights activists."

Zimbabwean church leaders have also identified the police as a threat. In
March Christian ministers marched through Harare, carrying large wooden
crosses, to urge the police to stop inflicting violence on the people. They
tried to deliver a petition to the police commissioner, but the police
responded in characteristic fashion - by throwing the pastors in jail.

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Daily News

      NCA to defy police over Mugabe rally

        A CLASH is looming between the

      National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and the police, who have barred
the non-governmental organisation from holding its political parties’
convention in Masvingo because of a rally to be addressed in Chivi by
President Robert Mugabe tomorrow.

      The police have also barred the NCA from holding its regional
convention, which is supposed to be held in Masvingo at the end of this

      NCA spokesman Douglas Mwonzora yesterday vowed that his organisation,
which has been pressing the government to agree to a new constitution for

      Zimbabwe, would go ahead with

      tomorrow’s meeting.

      Mwonzora said he received a phone call from the police advising him
that it was impossible for the organisation to go ahead with its political
parties’ convention which begins today because

      Mugabe would be visiting Masvingo province to address a rally in Chivi


      Chivi is about 70 kilometres west of Masvingo town.

      The NCA spokesman told the Daily News: “I was advised that even if our
convention was not a public gathering, it was just impossible to go ahead
with it because the President is coming.”

      Under the controversial Public Order and Security Act (POSA),
organisers of political gatherings must seek permission from the police for
their meetings.

      However, non-political civil society groups say the legislation, which
was introduced last year and has been used against opposition political
parties, has also affected their operations.

      Mwonzora said: “They (police) also said they were not happy with the
speakers at the convention, who include Lovemore Madhuku, Ray Muzenda,
Ernest Mudzengi, Nelson Chamisa, myself, and other political party leaders.”

      Madhuku is the NCA chairman, while Chamisa is a legislator for the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the country’s main opposition party.
Both have been arrested under POSA in the past.

      Mwonzora said the NCA was not deterred by threats that the police
would come down hard on the organisation if it went ahead with today’s

      Riot police have in the past forcibly broken up meetings that were
held without permission. Last month, several

      students were injured when the police broke up a schools’ debate
contest in


      The NCA spokesman said: “We are not shaken and we are not moved at
all. The convention is going ahead. It’s up to the police, Mugabe and his
government to come and confront us, but we are going ahead as planned.”

      He said delegates to the convention had already started converging at
the Great Zimbabwe Hotel, where the meeting will be held.

      He added: “We are expecting about 300 delegates from as far as
Victoria Falls, Bulawayo, Harare, Mutare and other towns to come for the
convention and we will not succumb to this old-fashioned intimidation by the
police. What is so important about Mugabe’s rally?”

      About six political parties that are members of the NCA are expected

      attend the two-day convention. They are the MDC, the United Parties,
ZANU Ndonga, the National Association for Good Governance and Zapu.

      The NCA spokesman said the parties would discuss governance issues and
proposed talks between the MDC and the ruling ZANU PF. Pressure has mounted
this year for Zimbabwe’s two main political parties to resume dialogue to
end a political stalemate that has contributed to the crisis gripping the

      Talks between the two parties were stalled last year when the MDC
filed a High Court application challenging Mugabe’s re-election in March

      The NCA parties’ convention is also expected to discuss Mugabe’s
legitimacy and a proposed new constitution.

      It was not possible to secure comment on the matter from police
spokesmen Oliver Mandipaka and Andrew Phiri, who were unreachable on their
mobile phones.

      Senior police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday said he could not
comment on the issue because he was on leave.

      By Angela Makamure

      Staff Reporter
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Daily News

      ZUPCO sues ANZ

        A STATE-OWNED firm and two individuals have named Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), publisher of The Daily News, as co-respondent
in lawsuits in which they are claiming $142 million for damages allegedly
incurred during work stayaways held earlier this year.

      The suits have been brought by the government-controlled Zimbabwe
United Passenger Company (ZUPCO), a Harare businessman and a ruling ZANU PF
supporter based in Kwekwe.

      They were separately filed in the High Court last month by Harare
lawyers Muzangaza, Mandaza and Tomana.

      In an unprecedented move, ANZ is named together with the country’s
labour watchdog, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and Zimbabwe’s
main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

      The MDC and ZCTU respectively called for work stayaways in March and
April this year. Other respondents in the matter are MDC president Morgan
Tsvangirai and ZCTU head Wellington Chibhebhe.

      ZUPCO is claiming $119 million for a bus burnt during mass action by
unidentified youths in Epworth, while Clarissa Muchengeti, a ZANU PF
supporter in Kwekwe, is demanding $5.5 million for a car that she says was
petrol-bombed during a stayaway.

      David Bello, a Harare businessman, wants $17 million for the loss of
his minibus.

      Bello says his bus was petrol-bombed while carrying pre-school
children during a mass stayaway that was called by the ZCTU to press the
government to reverse a more than 300 percent fuel price increase.

      The three litigants accused ANZ of encouraging and supporting the
stayaways through The Daily News.

      The newspaper carried articles on the stayaways.

      However, in its exception to the claims, ANZ said it did not plead any
basis which would make the company liable for the illegal actions of “a gang
of youths” who allegedly caused

      damage to the plaintiffs.

      The company said in its exception: “In law, even if the fifth
defendant (ANZ) encouraged and supported an illegal demonstration organised
and called by the first and second defendants (MDC and Tsvangirai), such
does not give rise to any liability for the criminal acts by the gang of
youths alleged in the declaration.

      “Wherefore, the fifth defendant prays that the exception be allowed
with costs and that the claim by the plaintiff accordingly be dismissed.”

      ANZ legal adviser Gugulethu Moyo on Wednesday told The Daily News: “If
these claims succeed, that would be devastating to the journalism     profession.”

      Court Reporter

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Daily News

      Ipi Tombi makes short shrift of rivals

        Most news today in Zimbabwe is bad news. So, here is a piece of good
news, one which has gone unreported in every single newspaper in the land,
either through sheer ignorance, total apathy on the part of the papers and
their editorial staff, or perhaps their preoccupation with solving the
insoluble problems of Zimbabwe.

      Last Saturday afternoon,

      in the town of Louisville, Kentucky, United States, history was made
by a Zimbabwean athlete.

      Not the two-legged variety, but a four-legged heroine. Her name? Ipi
Tombi (translation from Zulu – where are the girls?), the mighty
Zimbabwean-bred thoroughbred filly. Starting for the first time in her
adopted land, this phenomenal equine star made short shrift of her five
rivals to win the US $165 000 (Z$39.6 million)

      Locust Grove Handicap at the famed Churchill Downs track, home of the
Kentucky Derby.

      It was her eighth consecutive victory, a winning streak which started
in April 2002 in South Africa and continued on through Dubai and, now, in

      Ipi Tombi has won 12 of 14 lifetime races in Zimbabwe, South Africa,
Dubai and America for total career earnings of US $1.5 million (Z$1.23

      She was born and raised at Golden Acres Farm, Marondera, by Peter J
Moor and sold for a paltry Z$50 000 at the 2000 Harare national yearling

      There is always a flip side to good news, however, especially in a
country such as ours which is, simply put, in the process of unravelling.

      The other side of this coin reveals that Golden Acres Farm in
Marondera is no longer

      inhabited by civilised beings. It is one of thousands of agricultural
properties in Zimbabwe now at the mercy of people incapable of producing
even an ear of corn, let alone an elite racehorse of Ipi Tombi’s
international acclaim.

      C’est la vie! (That’s life!)

      Peter Lovemore


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Daily News

      ZANU PF has stripped people of their dignity

        Please allow me the opportunity to respond to R D Tafirenyika, who
wrote ZANU PF’s fight for human dignity cannot be denied (Daily News 2 July
2003). I feel this individual cannot go unanswered.

      What he speaks of is history and the last time I checked, history
never fed anyone. In the early days, ZANU PF may have given us that human

      but now it is gone or, at the very least, is being eroded rapidly by
the very same group of people that supposedly gave it to us.

      Yes, it is undeniable that some things like women’s rights and
education for all have been upheld, but others such as racial discrimination
have taken a new twist, with white-on-black being transformed into
black-on-white bigotry.

      Certain members of the ZANU leadership have attempted to elevate

      to demi-god status whilst trampling on the rights and dignity of the
very people who elected them in office.

      Yes, there was primary health care which, before the age of madness
descended on our beautiful country, we could afford. Now we can’t afford to
access it properly, if at all.

      My friend, wake up. Do you think a building called a clinic which has
no resources at its disposal, from drugs through to staffing, is really a

      Because people’s right to look after their families with some dignity
are being trampled on, through bad government policy, over 700 000 educated
and young Zimbabweans have emigrated to various countries.

      I do not know of a single person in our country who does not have at
least one or two relatives overseas sending money home to look after the

      Do you really have rights when the government tells you that if three
or more of you are waiting for a commuter omnibus to go home after work, you
are holding an illegal gathering or political rally? You are stripped of
your dignity when the riot squad turns up and beats the living daylights out
of you.

      Like you, my friend, ZANU PF has always used the past to justify the
present. Don’t be fooled, your dignity will stand for nothing if ZANU PF
feels it is in their best interests to chastise you, simply because you don’
t agree with their point of view.



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Daily News

      Is Mbeki buying time for Mugabe’s embattled regime?

        THE international community this week piled fresh pressure on
President Robert Mugabe to step down, but analysts yesterday warned that
regional powerhouse South Africa had emerged as the obstacle to efforts to
make Mugabe relinquish power and pave way for a negotiated solution to the
country’s deepening crisis.

      By refusing this week to use his immense economic influence to
pressurise Mugabe to hand over power to a transitional government which
would be tasked with organising a fresh and democratic election in the
country, South African President Thabo was virtually attempting to buy more
time for Mugabe’s embattled administration, the analysts said.

      Harare human rights lawyer and political commentator Brian Kagoro said
Pretoria, which in the past has led an African initiative to end Zimbabwe’s
crisis, had virtually assumed a new role as Mugabe’s advocate.

      Kagoro, who is also the national co-ordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe, a
group seeking a negotiated solution to the political crisis gripping the
Southern African nation, said: “The

      actions of South Africa have become a stumbling block to the
resolution of Zimbabwe’s crisis.”

      Echoing the view of most political analysts and observers, Kagoro
added: “Its (South Africa’s) role as an honest broker is now being
questioned. Instead, it is shielding Mugabe at any given turn. It has become
part of the problem.”

      Kagoro spoke as sharp differences this week emerged between the United
States and South Africa over demands by Washington that Pretoria play a
leading role in ensuring the formation

      of a transitional government in Zimbabwe ahead of fresh and
transparent elections.

      Senior American government officials and US President George Bush, who
meets Mbeki in Pretoria on 9 July, have publicly called for a regime change
in Harare and said they wanted Mbeki to play a leading role in ensuring the
transition to democracy in his northern neighbour.

      South Africa, whose economic support has kept Mugabe’s government
afloat in the face of punitive sanctions by the US and the European Union,
says it will not abandon its quiet diplomacy under which Pretoria has
refused to condemn or publicly take a tougher stance against Harare.

      Mbeki, who argues Zimbabweans must be left to solve their own
problems, publicly criticised Bush and his officials for demanding that he
push for a transitional government in Zimbabwe, saying the Americans would
themselves never countenance anyone from outside setting policy in their

      South Africa’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Aziz Pahad, weighed in
with a demand that Washington should come out with specific figures of money
and aid it promised Zimbabwe if Mugabe stepped down in favour of a new
transitional government and fresh elections.

      Analysts said Mbeki’s pleas that Mugabe, whose ruling ZANU PF party is
accused of unleashing violence on opponents, be left to resolve his problems
with Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party,
were a sign that the South African leader was unwilling to act against

      They said demands by Pahad that Washington come out clean on aid
promised to Harare without any corresponding demand on Mugabe to act in
order to win international support only helped underscore the South Africans
’ preparedness to protect the Zimbabwean leader with whom they fought
side-by-side in the anti-colonial struggle.

      The analysts pointed out that Mbeki and his ruling African

      National Congress (ANC) party were always quick to publicly castigate
the international

      community on any hardline

      approach against Harare, but had never done the same to Mugabe,
despite Harare’s failure to deliver on promises made to the international
community and South Africa itself that it would improve on human rights and

      They said Mugabe had in the past promised Mbeki that he would
institute political reforms and amend repressive media and law and order
legislation, but he had to date not lived up to his word.

      University of Zimbabwe (UZ) political analyst Eldred Masungure said
South Africans had adopted an ambiguous policy on Zimbabwe but one that
generally was supportive of the Harare administration.

      He said: “The African National Congress lies in the same liberation
mould as ZANU PF. There is a commonality of interests between the two

      “The ANC could not be seen to be condemning a fellow liberation
movement. They want to develop common positions and forge a Pan-African
response to everything.’’

      Another UZ political analyst, John Makumbe, said Mbeki did not want to
see a regime change in Zimbabwe in which a labour-backed MDC opposition
party overthrew a former liberation movement for fear that might send the
wrong signals to his own constituency at home.

      Makumbe said: “They fear that what is happening in Zimbabwe, where a
civilian opposition party can take over power, can happen in South Africa.
They think that what might happen to a fellow liberation party might happen
to them.

      “In this respect, the South Africans are a conveyor belt for Mugabe.
They are doing this not because they genuinely support Mugabe, but they fear
that they might meet the same fate in the future.”

      Pedzisai Ruhanya

      Deputy News Editor

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Daily News

      Food crisis looms in Binga

        A POTENTIAL humanitarian disaster is looming in Binga and areas
around the Zambezi valley, where villagers have harvested enough to sustain
them for only eight weeks, according to United Kingdom-based
non-governmental organisation Save the Children.

      Save the Children country director Chris McIvor said desperate
villagers had resorted to selling off valuable assets such as cattle, goats
and sheep to earn money to buy food.

      He told The Daily News: “We have discovered that there has been a
slight increase in levels of malnutrition. However, what is more worrying is
that people are becoming more vulnerable because they are selling off all
their remaining traditional assets. Children are coming out of school, there
is increasingly less money for health and food.

      “The people in the southern Zambezi valley and Binga district only
managed to harvest enough food that will see them through for between six
weeks to two months.”

      He said the villagers had begun harvesting in April.

      United Nations agencies say about 5.5 million Zimbabweans need
emergency food aid because of food shortages caused by drought and a
controversial government land reform programme that has slashed food
production by half.

      In Bulawayo, 43 people are said to have died in April alone because of

      McIvor said the sale of assets by desperate people in the country’s
food insecure areas would further worsen the problems faced by villagers who
are under threat of starvation.

      He said in the Nyaminyami area, food insecurity was likely to worsen
around November and December.

      “We are continuing with our feeding programme for about 12 000
desperate cases under the social welfare programme in the area,” he said.

      He said feeding programmes for about 7 000 destitute people in the
Mutorashanga area in Zvimba would continue until April next year, when the
number of people in need of food assistance will be increased to cover
chrome miners, who have large families.

      Beneficiaries will include female and child-headed households.

      Mclvor said his organisation was carrying out investigations into the
potential for recovery of most of the affected families in the event that it
pulled out of food-insecure areas.

      He said Save the Children UK was seeking more funds from the
international donor community for agricultural recovery in the areas where
the organisation operates.

      The agency has responded to emergency situations in Muzarabani,
Tsholotsho, Porta Farm in Harare and Mberengwa, but operates in three
districts, that is, Binga, Nyaminyami and Mutorashanga.

      He said the organisation would spend £6 million ( about Z$18 billion
at the official market rate) from April until the end of March 2004

      on humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe. The money will be used to buy
books for disadvantaged schools, to purchase agricultural inputs and fund
training programmes.

      UN launches US$308 m food appeal for disease-hit Africa

      GENEVA – The United Nations food agency appealed for US$308-million
(Z$253.7 billion) on Wednesday to prevent millions of people starving in
Southern Africa where farmers are often struck down by Aids before they are
able to plant their crops.

      The Aids epidemic threatens to wipe out the bulk of southern Africa’s
economically active population, with life expectancy expected to fall below
30 years by 2010

      if current trends in the disease continue.

      James Morris, executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP),
said 6.5 million people could starve next year in Southern Africa due to
Aids stifling

      agriculture. “If we don’t act now, it will be too late to save
millions of people – we won’t get a second chance at this,” he said. Morris
also said it was important Aids victims were well fed so that
anti-retroviral drugs, which slow the pace of the disease, could work

      “Food is the most important drug in the fight against Aids,” Morris
said, adding that general

      health issues needed attention too to avoid “catastrophic
 consequences” for the region.

      The appeal aims to fund 540 000 tonnes of food for six countries –
Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland.

      The US$308-million Morris wants is less than the US$507 million
(Z$417.7 billion) the WFP asked for last year to feed almost 13 million

      “There has not been massive starvation. What could have been one of
the great human catastrophes of all times has been averted,” Morris told a
news conference.

      He said Zambia and Malawi had produced significantly better harvests
this year and could even export corn and maize to their less fortunate

      But he remained “very concerned” about Zimbabwe which, facing a severe
economic and agricultural crisis which critics blame on government
mismanagement, is due to get two-thirds of the food.

      Mozambique, hit by natural disasters, will get one million tonnes.

      Morris said the WFP would accept food donations, but preferred cash to
buy surplus grain from African neighbours, boosting their economies. –
Independent Online

      ‘Children dropping out of school, people selling off assets’

      Staff Reporter

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Daily News

      Judgment reserved in Tsvangirai’s presidential poll petition

        HIGH Court judge Ben Hlatshwayo yesterday reserved judgment on an
urgent application by Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai for the High Court to set a date for his party’s challenge of
President Robert Mugabe’s 2002 re-election.

      The MDC filed a petition 15 months ago challenging Mugabe’s victory,
citing what it termed “massive electoral irregularities and pre-election
violence”. No date has been set for the hearing.

      South African senior counsel Jeremy Gauntlet, representing Tsvangirai,
said his client had requested a preliminary five-day sitting for a hearing
to deal with legal and constitutional issues relating to the MDC’s election
challenge, but Jacob Manzunzu, the Registrar of the High Court, had not set
a date despite a directive by Judge President Paddington Garwe. The second
phase of the hearing would deal with issues relating to allegations of
violence in the run-up to and during the 9-11 March 2002 election, the MDC’s
lawyers said.

      Gauntlet said delaying the hearing was tantamount to denying his
client his right to justice.

      “An election is something which should be heard urgently,” Gauntlet

      “Elections are fundamental for the operations of society. Your ruling
today is so important. It’s a chance for the courts to establish their

      In his response to Tsvangirai’s application, Manzunzu said there had
been “too many applications made by the applicant relating to the election

      “Some interlocutory matters have not been finalised,” he said. “As
soon as as all the interlocutory matters are dealt with and disposed of can
I then set the matter down.”

      Manzunzu said Justice Garwe, who is presiding over the treason trial
of Tsvangirai and two other top MDC officials, would hear the election
petition. He also said it was not possible to set down dates for the
presidential election hearing “because there are issues relating to the
general election in the year 2000 which have not been resolved”.

      Gauntlet said Manzunzu had given a judicial function to himself when
his duty was to set down hearing dates without venturing into the merits or
demerits of a case whose hearing is pending.

      Mugabe’s lawyer, Terrence Hussein, said the judge president’s
directive that Manzunzu liaise with a judge to set a date for the hearing
did not have the force of law. “The Registrar is saying this matter is not
complete,” Hussein said. “Therefore, the court hearing cannot be set down.”

      Loice Matanda-Moyo, the director of the civil division in the
Attorney-General’s Office, said outstanding issues needed to be finalised
before the matter could be set down.

      Court Reporter

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The Star

      AU faces a stern test
      July 4, 2003

      By the Editor

      Today marks the beginning of the second summit of the African Union,
which was launched in Durban last July. It is to be held in Mozambique and
will attract various leaders from the continent.

      During the inaugural conference, African leaders committed themselves
and their countries to a better Africa. The question is whether we are
moving towards that dream of a peaceful and prosperous continent.

      Of course, a year is too short a period for such an assessment.
However, as the leaders converge on Maputo, we hope that the wars in
countries such as Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia,
Burundi and Uganda will top the agenda.

      But more importantly, the AU should look at mechanisms to prevent the
outbreak of armed conflicts by devising strategies for economic growth and
development. In this regard, the AU should take a keen interest in
developments in countries like Zimbabwe and Swaziland.

      The erosion of democracy in Zimbabwe and the continued abuse of power
by the Swazi monarch breed political instability that can explode into armed
conflict. And once a war breaks out, it becomes very difficult to stop.

      We have to acknowledge that certain aspects of the AU such as Nepad
seem to be gaining momentum. But there is little movement with regard to
isolating rogue states that undermine democratic principles.

      For Africa to get out of its morass of under-development, good
governance has to be the rule rather than the exception. Corruption and
other malpractices have to be eradicated.

      This requires bold leadership which would be prepared to earn some
enemies. Failure to do this can render the AU a club of beggars just like
its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity.

      There is clearly a desire on the part of some leaders to move Africa
onto the path of development. Countries like Botswana, South Africa and even
Mozambique have shown the lead. The success of the summit should be judged
on how committed states are to peace and development, and therefore a
willingness to move away from war, ignorance and disease.

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Don't be cowed by Bush's visit, says Mugabe

      July 04 2003 at 01:51AM

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Thursday told his supporters not to be
cowed by a visit by US President George Bush next week to neighbouring South
Africa and Botswana, state television reported.

The Zimbabwe government has stepped up criticism of the US government ahead
of Bush's visit, accusing it of working with the main opposition party in
Zimbabwe to organise a "regime change" in the southern African country.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell has called for Mugabe to leave office,
and has said that Zimbabwe will feature prominently in Bush's talks with
South African President Thabo Mbeki on July 8-9.

"When Bush visits (the region) it shouldn't send tremors to your spines. I
understand there are shivers in some of our circles," Mugabe told a central
committee meeting of his Zimbabwe African National Union -Patriotic Front
(Zanu-PF) party.

      'Would he (Bush) dare to do to us what he did in Iraq?'
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) showed Mugabe telling the
meeting that Zimbabwe had neither oil nor weapons of mass destruction to
warrant US intervention in the country.

"Would he (Bush) dare to do to us what he did in Iraq?" Mugabe said in a
humourous tone. "Of course not. He knows that the situations are different,"
the 79-year-old leader told senior party officials.

"And anyway we don't have the oil that Iraq does, nor have we the weapons of
mass destruction. But we host here close on to 100 000 whites," he said,
referring to the white minority.

The Zimbabwe government often accuses Western governments of putting the
interests of their white "kith and kin" in the country ahead of the black

The US government does not recognise Mugabe's victory in presidential
elections last year, in which he beat opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai by
more than 400 000 votes.

At the Zanu-PF meeting, Mugabe accused both Bush and British Prime Minister
Tony Blair of being "conspirators against this country". - Sapa-AFP

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