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

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The Times

July 24, 2002

Mugabe embraces famine on behalf of his people
From Jan Raath in Harare

THE danger of widespread famine and death in Zimbabwe increased
yesterday as President Mugabe rejected appeals by the United Nations to
reverse his Government's disastrous policies on land redistribution.

Speaking at the annual State Opening of Parliament, Mr Mugabe
hailed the scheme "an unparalleled success", saying that almost half of
about 5,000 white-owned commercial farms had been transferred to blacks.

The Government would ensure that "no one takes advantage of our
stomachs to get to the soul of our sovereignty", he said. "Yes, we need food
assistance from governments of goodwill, but we certainly abhor sinister
interests which seek surreptitiously to advance themselves under cover of
humanitarian assistance.

"We reject any attempt to use the present drought relief effort
to smuggle in failed and inappropriate International Monetary Fund policies
. . . as neo-colonial manipulation under the guise of globalisation."

His remarks were seen as a direct attack on a UN appeal launched
last Friday to raise 180 million, mostly for 1.5 million tonnes of food, to
avert what experts say may be one of Africa's worst disasters.

The UN said that Mr Mugabe's campaign to seize white-owned land
had "seriously affected one of the most productive sectors of the economy
and is a leading cause of the current crisis". It urged the restoration of
the rule of law on white-owned farms and the removal of illegal squatters.

Mr Mugabe maintains that the farm seizures are the only way to
ensure that landless blacks have access to land, but the programme has
brought commercial farming to a halt and left the country with a
two-million-tonne grain deficit this year.

The UN cited the state-run Grain Marketing Board's rigid
monopoly of grain imports and trade inside the country, and price controls
on basic commodities that force farmers and traders to sell their produce
well below market prices.

Measures to cut inflation, now at 114 per cent, had to be taken.
The currency, officially fixed at 1 to Z$85 but trading on the parallel
market at 1 to Z$1,000, had to be liberalised.

Mr Mugabe responded: "Devaluation can only be advocated by
saboteurs and enemies."

The remark was an attack on Simba Makoni, his Finance Minister
and the only member of his Cabinet bold enough to criticise him. Mr Makoni
recommended devaluation this month.

Six million people, half of Zimbabwe's population, are at risk
of starvation and death and the UN appeal said: "There is a serious risk of
famine and loss of life in the coming months."

The Zimbabwean crisis was not a traditional emergency, it said.
Drought and the HIV/Aids epidemic had contributed, but "policy choices are
at the heart of the problem".

Mr Mugabe denied blame, saying that the country's problems had
been caused by "continual British machinations and the consequences of the

Within minutes of the start of his speech, the Movement for
Democratic Change, which holds 57 of the 120 seats in Parliament, walked
out. Its MPs refuse to recognise Mr Mugabe's right to address Parliament
after presidential elections in March that were rejected by most of the
world as fraudulent and violent.

Outside, a cavalry and infantry parade became a grim affair as
Zimbabwean Air Force helicopters hovered, watching for a promised
demonstration by a pro-democracy group, and hundreds of police blocked the
streets. The crowd of spectators, mostly supporters of his ruling Zanu (PF)
party, was among the smallest since independence 22 years ago.
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Financial Times

Mugabe rejects aid in return for reform
By Our Harare Correspondent
Published: July 23 2002 20:09 | Last Updated: July 23 2002 20:09

President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday rejected donor calls for economic
and human rights reforms in Zimbabwe as conditions for food aid, blaming
"British machinations" and drought for the country's worsening economic

Opposition MPs walked out of the debating chamber as Mr Mugabe
delivered his speech at the opening of a new session of parliament, during
which he described his land resettlement programme as "an unparalleled
success story". The president's remarks are seen as a reply to last week's
UN appeal to donors for $285m (181m), mostly in food aid, to avert famine
in Zimbabwe. The UN report said Zimbabwe needed to import at least 1.3m
tonnes of food and warned of "a serious risk of famine and loss of life in
coming months".

The UN said drought and the Aids epidemic had contributed to the
crisis, but "policy choices are at the heart of the problem". Zimbabwe has
the world's second highest rate of Aids infections, estimated at 33.7 per
cent of the adult population. "Macroeconomic instability" was one of the
fundamental causes of the crisis, according to the UN.

It called on the Mugabe government to abolish the state monopoly on
grain imports, lift price controls, devalue the official exchange rate,
raise interest rates and tackle inflation, averaging 116 per cent so far
this year.

It also called for the restoration of the rule of law in rural areas
and the removal of illegal squatters from commercial farms.

But on Monday Mr Mugabe rejected what he called "any attempts to use
the present drought relief effort to smuggle in failed and inappropriate
International Monetary Fund policies which we know have exacerbated our

In a thinly veiled attack on his own finance minister and central bank
governor, both of whom have advocated devaluing the Zimbabwe dollar, the
president said: "Devaluation is dead and can only be advocated by saboteurs
and enemies."
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ABC Australia

Zimbabwe Opposition walks out as Mugabe blames west
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has vowed to defend his Government
against what he has termed Western bullies, saying Zimbabwe's economic
recovery hinges on land redistribution.

President Mugabe has made the comments in a speech to open the new
parliamentary session.

Observers note he made no direct mention of tighter EU sanctions; his media
crackdown; or any plans for his ZANU-PF party to resume talks with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

He has also ignored a boycott of his speech by MDC legislators, who make up
more than a third of the assembly, and strongly defended his Government's
right to take possession of white farmers' land.

The country's economy is in its fourth year of recession, with record high
inflation and unemployment, and is also facing a severe food shortage and
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Focus On Farm Workers Call for Inclusion in Land Reform

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

July 23, 2002
Posted to the web July 23, 2002

This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations

After a history of neglect, Zimbabwe's commercial farm labourers risk losing
out yet again, this time in the form of the government's land redistribution

The land reform process has so-far failed to effectively address the plight
of the 350,000 farm workers and the estimated 200,000 to 300,000 casual
labourers whose jobs are threatened by the "fast-track" programme, analysts
warn. As next month's deadline approaches for 2,900 white farmers to vacate
their estates, commercial farm workers have urged the government to include
them in the land redistribution scheme.

"We would like to see farm workers also resettled," Gertrude Hambira, deputy
secretary-general of the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers' Union
of Zimbabwe, told IRIN. "Farm workers have been denied an income and also
need to be included in [the government's drought-related] food distribution

Land expert Sam Moyo, who helped draft the government's original framework
for land reform, said that only two percent of farm workers had been
allocated land under the fast-track scheme.

Government policy has called on the farm workers to remain on the estates.
But Hambira said that had not been uniformally applied, with tension in some
districts where the new settlers had forcibly evicted labourers.

Even where the workers have remained and been employed by the new resettled
farmers, she said they could not afford to pay the monthly minimum wage of
Zim $4,300 (US $78 at the official rate). Hambira alleged that in some cases
children of farm workers were being exploited as labour.

"The policy is not very clear. What is needed is a public statement from the
government to say what should be done," an analyst with the Farm Community
Trust of Zimbabwe (FCTZ), an NGO working with farm labourers, told IRIN. "We
have been pushing for the inclusion of farm labourers in the land reform
programme. At least they need security of tenure."

He added: "The assumption the new settlers will provide jobs is just an
assumption. In reality it will take a long time ... Nothing has really
changed [in terms of improving labourers' historically marginalised status]
or benefited them in this process of land reform".

The situation is complicated by the limited links that many farm labourers
have to the communal lands, the impoverished "reserves" that colonial
legislation assigned the majority of black people to live in, and the
government's reforms seek to address.

Historically, many farm labourers originated from neighbouring countries.
But the failure of commercial farmers to register children born on their
farms has denied them birth certificates and access to identity documents.
"Only a small percentage of farm labourers can go to their communal homes,"
Hambira said.

According to Moyo, "many commercial farmers kept them as serf labour and
didn't bother for 20 years to make sure that these people were registered.
But by definition [as they were born in Zimbabwe], most of them are

A study in eastern and central Mashonaland found that 40 percent of farm
labourers "maintained some links" with the communal areas, the FCTZ analyst
said. "However, it's not saying they actually have communal homes," he
added, and pointed out that women in particular do not traditionally have
access to land.

If the purpose of land reform was to decongest the communal areas, then
forcing farm labourers to return runs counter to that stated aim, the
analyst said. "The reason people moved to the farms in the first place was
because of the overcrowding," he commented.

Meanwhile, media reports this week have focused on the closure of more than
500 schools on formerly white-owned farms that has robbed an estimated
250,000 children of an education.

The FCTZ official said this was one of the many "ironies" surrounding the
land reform debate. Human rights groups have for years lobbied commercial
farmers to set up proper registered schools on their estates, but in the
majority of cases they had been rebuffed.

What was provided was sub-standard education, and in the cases where the
children did not have birth certificates, they could not graduate to
government-run secondary schools. Inadequate education led to early
pregnancy among girls, and for boys "early labour", the analyst said.

But, he added, regardless of whether the schools provided by the commercial
farmers were up to scratch, their closure has meant that "the children are
going to be the losers".
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MDC Welcomes EU Decision To Extend Targeted Sanctions

Movement for Democratic Change (Harare)

July 23, 2002
Posted to the web July 23, 2002


The MDC welcomes today's decision by the EU General Affairs Council to
significantly extend targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe to include an
additional 52 individuals closely associated with the illegitimate Mugabe

"Today's decision underlines that the eyes of the international community
are still firmly fixed on Mugabe and his illegitimate regime. If Mugabe and
his cohorts believed that it was 'business as usual' after the fraudulent
outcome of the presidential election, then today's decision will provide
them with the stark reminder that their violent and corrupt agenda is being
documented and reacted to by the wider international community. Mugabe
cannot hide, the world is fully aware of his draconian policy agenda, which
has at its heart the violent subjugation of his own people", said MDC Shadow
Foreign Minister, Tendai Biti, in response to the EU decision.?xml:namespace
prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Biti added that the EU must not hesitate to introduce additional punitive
measures if the situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate, "The
targeted sanctions list must continue to be expanded if the illegitimate
Mugabe regime fails to take steps to end the political violence in Zimbabwe
and fails to take steps to restore the rule of law and pave the way for the
introduction of a democratically elected government."

"Today's decision should act as a warning to all powerful and influential
figures linked to Mugabe that they are not immune from international censure
and that they too will face similar punitive measures if they continue to
play an integral part in sustaining a regime which no longer rules according
to the will of the people".

Biti also appealed to the EU to significantly increase the amount of
humanitarian aid being sent to southern Africa: "The threat of mass famine
is no longer a vague possibility but a reality, in countries like Zimbabwe,
Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia hundreds of thousands are now facing
starvation. In Zimbabwe, where we have traditionally been a mass exporter of
food, we now find ourselves in the most ridiculous situation whereby the
ruling authorities have forbidden our commercial farmers from planting or
farming their crops. This has simply exacerbated the food supply problems
caused by the drought and mercilessly put thousands of lives at risk in
order to achieve a political objective".

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Newsmen face jail for Mugabe stories

Andrew Meldrum
Sunday July 21, 2002
The Observer

The battle for press freedom in Zimbabwe promises to be long and bitter. Two
more journalists go to court tomorrow, and major news agencies may pull out
of the country because of the draconian media regime imposed by President
Robert Mugabe's government.
In my own case, having been arrested and jailed in miserable conditions for
33 hours, I was acquitted after being found to be a 'reasonable journalist'.
After attempts to deport me, I won a reprieve last week from courts that
ruled I have the right to live and work in Zimbabwe.

Tomorrow it is the turn of Geoffrey Nyarota, editor of the Daily News , and
his able reporter Lloyd Mudiwa, to face the same charge I did - of 'abusing
journalistic privilege by publishing a falsehood'. It carries a maximum
sentence of two years in jail.

The Daily News is the country's largest-selling newspaper. With its crusades
against state-sponsored violence, vote rigging, corruption and economic
mismanagement, it has been a thorn in the flesh of Mugabe's government.

A bomb has gone off in its offices, and a massive explosion destroyed its
printing plant. No arrests have been made.

Nyarota, winner of international press freedom awards, will put up a
compelling defence against the charges and the notorious Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Not only have journalists been arrested under the law's catch-all clauses,
it also forces all journalists, papers and news agencies to get licences to
practise journalism.

The major agencies, Reuters, Associated Press and Agence France Presse, are
considering whether or not to accept regulations requiring them to pay a
US$12,000 registration fee, open their accounts to government officials and
pay 0.5 per cent of their turnover to a media commission.

The fees will fund the very commission - manned by slavish supporters of
Mugabe - responsible for revoking such licences.
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Comment from ZWNEWS, 24 July

Government by contempt

By Michael Hartnack

With only 50 minutes to spare before his notice to quit Zimbabwe expired, journalist Andrew Meldrum last week won a High Court order allowing him to remain at least until the Supreme Court has determined his rights. The question now is whether Robert Mugabe's regime will circumvent or ignore the judge, as has happened so often in the past 22 years. The omens are not promising. An order issued on the same day by Judge Fergus Blackie against Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa underlined the complete contempt with which the executive has treated the judiciary, particularly since state-sponsored self-styled "war veterans" began invading farms and terrorising opponents in February 2000. Blackie noted that Chinamasa had responded with public abuse and threats to every attempt to summon him to court. Chinamasa was charged with contempt after impugning the integrity of the judiciary over the sentencing of three American missionaries on weapons charges. The sentences were light because the three were savagely tortured following their arrest at Harare airport in 1999. Blackie imposed a three-month jail sentence on Chinamasa but noted police had done nothing to enforce a previous warrant of arrest. In response to what may prove no more than a gesture, Blackie received another torrent of abuse from the state media, and a Justice Ministry official took it on himself to announce that Blackie's sentence had "no force and effect.''

Yet, despite all this, leaders of Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmers Union last week split their 5 000 members by distancing themselves from "confrontational" resistance to mass eviction by August 9 under the deadline set by the Mugabe's regime. In a statement, CFU president Colin Cloete pleaded for an audience with Mugabe to clarify their plight as famine sweeps over the land. Cloete said elements with "divisive agendas" were at work, adding he believed "goodwill" still existed on Mugabe's side. Cloete refused to answer when asked how he could still talk of goodwill after 11 CFU members have been murdered with state complicity since invasions of farms began in February 2000. The CFU's courageous spokeswoman, Jenni Williams, quit after Cloete's statement. The thanks Cloete got for this supreme act of faith was a sneering speech by Mugabe in Havana, Cuba. Mugabe said "white farmers are not super-human beings" so should talk to Vice President Joseph Msika (whose assurances have counted for nothing in the past two years). "They are not satisfied with that level of authority. They think by virtue of their being British and white they are more divine than anyone else," he jeered.

Meldrum, an American national who is the correspondent for Britain's Guardian newspaper, risked being dragged away by police and immigration officers and spending another night in a stinking, overcrowded, vermin-ridden prison cell - as happened when he was arrested in May under Mugabe's newly passed draconian press bill, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The judge's ruling was a victory, Meldrum noted, no so much for himself but for tens of thousands of others who hold permanent resident status. Since the enforcement this year of stringent new citizenship laws, permanent residents include many people who were born in Zimbabwe, and who had parents and grandparents born here, but were unable to remove suspicion they secretly held another citizenship. "What the court has said is that our rights cannot be taken away by the stroke of a pen," said Meldrum. "The Supreme Court will make the final judgment." It is expected to be several months before Meldrum's case is heard by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, a former government minister and Mugabe supporter hastily appointed after his predecessor, Anthony Gubbay, was forced by death threats to take early retirement.

Early last week, Magistrate Godfrey Macheyo had acquitted Meldrum in the first trial held under the new press law. Meldrum faced a possible two-year jail term for "abuse of journalistic privilege by publishing a false report.'' There were audible sighs of relief from reputable journalists when Macheyo held that Meldrum did everything reasonable to check a report he had received of an opposition supporter being murdered by state militia, and the police had failed to cooperate. As we were congratulating Meldrum, immigration officers served him with an order signed 12 days earlier by Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo, revoking his permanent residence status and giving him 24 hours to leave. Meldrum, who has lived in Zimbabwe since 1981, hurriedly sought an interdict against expulsion, and the right to appeal to the Supreme Court. And now he waits. "So far no one has come to slap me with a new order," he said nervously.

The treatment of Meldrum, of Blackie, of Cloete, was stunningly reminiscent of that recently described to me by a South African academic, Professor Michael Whisson who in 1976 he wrote to the then Justice Minister, Jimmy Kruger, to plead for a colleague given a banning order. "To my surprise, I received a reply," recalled Wisson: "'In response to your arrogant and impertinent letter, I wish to advise you that I am under no obligation to explain my actions to anybody.'" Thus was South Africa in a mess before the De Klerk-Mandela Era, and thus is Zimbabwe in a mess now. Famines don't happen where those in power have to account for their actions.

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Declaration of State of Disaster Extended By Three Months

The Herald (Harare) - Government mouthpiece

July 23, 2002
Posted to the web July 23, 2002

PRESIDENT Mugabe has extended by three months the declaration of state of
disaster in communal lands, resettlement and urban areas of Zimbabwe.

The extension was announced in the government gazette published last Friday.

Early this year, President Mugabe declared the 2001/2002 farming season a
national disaster.

The period of the national disaster was extended for a further period of
three months with effect from April 3.

Millions of people in Zimbabwe were in need of food aid because of last
season's drought, which saw most crops being a right off.

The Government is importing maize and getting assistance from the
international community to stave off starvation.

Last month, the United Nations said it was mobilising 400 000 tonnes of
maize in food aid to Zimbabwe.

As of May, the country's food consumption stood at 150 000 tonnes of maize
per month with 120 000 tonnes of this meant for humanitarian aid while 30
000 tonnes was for livestock and commercial purpose.

The Government estimates that about 600 000 tonnes of maize are needed to
get the nation to the next harvest season in April next year.

The director of the Civil Protection Unit, Mr Madzudzo Pawadyira, said the
extension was occasioned by the legal provision in the Civil Protection Act
which stipulates that a declaration by the President would only last for
three months subject to extension as and when it was necessary. - Ziana.

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Two Press Statements from the MDC

1. Zanu PF continues Vote-Rigging Tradition in run-up to Kadoma Mayoral
Election - 24 July, 2002
2. MDC Parliamentarians walked out as Mugabe opens the third session of the
fifth Parliament of Zimbabwe - 23 July, 2002

Zanu PF continues Vote-Rigging Tradition in run-up to Kadoma Mayoral
Election - 24 July, 2002

The MDC's mayoral campaign in Kadoma has been severly jeopardised by
orchestrated attempts by Zanu PF to frustrate the campaigners and limit MDC
candidate Editor Matamisa's campaign space.  A few of the shameless tactics
being employed by Zanu PF thugs and sycophants follow:

1. Ms Matamisa's posters have been systematically taken down or pasted over
across Kadoma Town
2. Meetings and rallies with the candidate, her campaign team, or other MDC
officials have been interfered with-either the venue has been closed off
point blank, or Zanu PF youths have packed the venue, decapacitating the MDC
campaign.  The most blatant example of this is the frustrated womens' rally
on Sunday 22 July.
3. Zanu PF militia bases have been established by Mabanana, Rimuka Hall,
Munyaradzi Primary School and Cam and Motor Women's Club, all of which are
near proposed polling stations.  In addition, many councillors are hosting
Zanu PF militia members on their property.
4. Officials in Kadoma have noticed a startling increase in the number of
lodgers in town-some residences are currently housing over 30 adults.  This
adds to previously held suspicions that additional voters have been added to
the roll and will be bussed in prior to the polling days.
5. Campaign vehicles have been followed, and the passengers and campaign
team have been systematically harassed.  This has led to near-skirmishes on
several occasions.
6. Despite repeated requests, the MDC campaign team has not yet been given
the final voter's roll.  This means that their efforts to verify the number
of registered voters and investigate suspicions of excessive registered
voters or "voter flooding" in certain wards have been dampened.

These efforts at frustrating the democratic process persist, despite
repeated appeals to the relevant authorities at municipal and national
level, including the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Electoral Supervisory
Commission.  The MDC warns that any attempt to manufacture the final result
of this coming weekend's mayoral contest will simply give further evidence
of the mounting desperation of the illegitimate regime of Robert Mugabe.

Paul Themba Nyathi
Director of Elections

MDC Parliamentarians walked out as Mugabe opens the third session of the
fifth Parliament of Zimbabwe - 23 July, 2002

On Tuesday MDC Parliamentarians walked out as Mugabe was about to address
Parliament. The vice President Hon Gibson Sibanda who is the leader of MDC
in parliament led the walk out. He stated MDC's position in which he said:
'The MDC does not accept the validity of the March 2002 Presidential
Election for the same reasons mentioned in many international and local
election observation reports including the SADC Parliamentary Forum. It
follows that the MDC does not view Robert Mugabe as the legitimate President
of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Accordingly the MDC does not believe that Robert Mugabe has the right to
open the Parliament or to perform any executive functions.

For this reason, the MDC resolved on the 22nd July 2002 that its
Parliamentary caucus should express the party's position unequivocally by
refusing to recognise that Robert Mugabe has any lawful right to open and
speak at Parliament. The only peaceful, non-violent and lawful way of
expressing that position was by walking out of Parliament for the duration
of Robert Mugabe's attendance in Parliament.

It must be stressed that the MDC Parliamentary caucus will participate in
all other Parliamentary sessions and activities, because MDC Members of
Parliament have been lawfully elected and have an obligation to the millions
of Zimbabweans who desire change to articulate their concerns in Parliament.
Furthermore, until a fresh, lawful election and is held we recognise that
there is a de facto, albeit illegitimate administration which we have to
live with in order to ensure that total anarchy does not prevail in
Zimbabwe. For that reason alone, we must continue to be in Parliament to
hold the regime accountable for its actions.

Gibson Sibanda
MDC Vice President

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Mugabe bites the hand of donors feeding the starving

Sydney Morning Herald: July 25 2002

Denouncing what he called "Western bullies" interfering in his country's
affairs, President Robert Mugabe has rejected warnings that Zimbabwe faces
famine as early as September and said economic recovery depends on land
With riot police encircling the capital on Tuesday, Mr Mugabe opened
parliament by denouncing the countries supplying aid to Zimbabwe's starving

At the first sitting since his disputed election victory in March, Mr Mugabe
said donors were trying to impose "sinister" political and economic agendas
"under cover of humanitarian aid".
"No-one takes advantage of our stomachs to get to the soul of our
sovereignty," he said.
More than 6 million people, half of Zimbabwe's population, are close to
starvation, according to the United Nations, which says Mr Mugabe's land
redistribution policies are partly to blame.

Britain and the United States, the strongest critics of Mr Mugabe's policy
of forcing white farmers off the land and handing the properties to black
war veterans, are also the largest donors.
Roger Winter, an assistant administrator at the US Agency for International
Development, said on Tuesday that helping hungry Zimbabweans was being made
more difficult by the Government's reluctance to accept genetically modified
In June, the US gave Zimbabwe 8500 tonnes of maize but a further 10,000
tonnes was rejected because it did not have a certificate saying it had not
been genetically modified.
Other aid groups did not have the capacity to fill the gap that would be
left by a rejection of US food supplies.
"We do not have products other than GMO in the volumes and within the time
frames that are necessary to keep the food pipeline full," Mr Winter said.
"Famine and food-related deaths are not pretty. ... In all likelihood you
are going to start seeing serious impacts of at least a localised nature as
soon as September."
Zimbabwe, facing its worst political and economic crisis in 22 years of
independence, is at the centre of a devastating food shortage sweeping
across southern Africa, including Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland and
The Telegraph, London, and agencies
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From Associated Press, 23 July

Congo peace agreement may involve UN

Kigali - Congo and Rwanda have made a giant stride toward ending the four-year Congo war with a new peace deal -- if it unfolds as planned. Disarming 12,000 desperate men and moving tens of thousands of troops back to Rwanda within four months poses an enormous challenge. The task is especially daunting in a country the size of Western Europe with almost no roads, no communications and terrain ranging from dense jungles to wide-open savanna. In another complication, an international force will be needed to oversee implementation, according to a copy of the deal obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday. That could require the United Nations to change the mission of observers already in Congo and increase their numbers. The plan details how Congo and Rwanda will carry out a peace agreement signed two years ago and goes to the root cause of the central African nation's war, which has left more than 2.5 million people dead from fighting, disease and hunger.

Under the deal, announced Monday, the Congolese government agreed to round up and disarm Hutu Interahamwe militia, many of whom took part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Tens of thousands of Interahamwe fled to what was then called Zaire when Tutsi rebels took control of Rwanda and stopped the genocide, which left more than 500,000 Tutsis and Hutu moderates dead. The Interahamwe continued to attack Rwanda from Congo, even after then President Laurent Kabila took power in 1997, so Rwanda threw its support behind Congolese rebels in 1998 to overthrow Kabila and destroy the Interahamwe. Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia threw their support behind Kabila, while Uganda sponsored another rebel group to help the Rwandans overthrow him. Under a peace accord signed in 2000, Rwanda agreed to withdraw its troops -- estimated to number 30,000 -- from Congo if the government agreed to disarm the Interahamwe and other Rwandan rebels. Monday's agreement sets out a firm, but ambitious, timetable, for that to happen.

Diplomatic efforts are still underway to persuade the Rwandan-backed rebels to put down their weapons and join a transitional government. "The agreement is definitely a good thing because it addresses issues of security and disarmament,'' Francois Grignon, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, said. "Without resolution of this issue, there will be no peace in Congo.'' The agreement provides for a staged implementation, beginning with Congolese President Joseph Kabila and Rwandan President Paul Kagame signing the deal. Mediators hope that will take place within two weeks. Rwanda will then have 10 days to submit a detailed plan for its withdrawal. At the same time, both sides will also give all their information about the location of Interahamwe fighters to the United Nations and South Africa.

The tracking down, disarming and dismantling of the Hutu militia will begin 10 days after the deal is signed, with repatriation beginning 30 days after the signing. Rwanda's withdrawal will begin 45 days after the deal is signed. All sides are expected to have completed their parts of the deal within 90 days of the signing ceremony. The United Nations and South African President Thabo Mbeki, who mediated the talks, will oversee and verify both nations stick to the deal. The deal also calls for an international force to secure the border between Congo and Rwanda. That force would most likely be the U.N. observer mission currently in Congo -- a force that already has the mandate to supervise the dismantling of the Interahamwe. Peter Swarbrick, the head of the U.N. Congo mission's disarmament program, said the international community still hasn't provided the 1,500 additional men needed by the force and that the Security Council has not committed itself to a full-scale peacekeeping mission.

Complicating the effort will be Congo's infrastructure, or lack of it. Roads are little more than dirt paths in most of the country and there are no long distance telephones between towns, where there is rarely running water or electricity. There are also plenty of places for the Interahamwe to hide, in dense tropical forests or rugged mountains that make aerial surveillance almost useless. Few think the Interahamwe fighters will willingly return to Rwanda, where they will almost certainly face genocide charges and prison time. And while the deal could solve the main reason for Congo's war, Rwandan-backed rebels have still refused to lay down their arms. Ugandan-backed rebels reached a peace deal in April, but the Congolese Rally for Democracy, which controls eastern Congo, rejected it. Adolphe Onusumba, chairman of the Rwandan-backed rebels, said he approves of Monday's agreement, but cautioned that Kabila's government has "made so many promises before, but did nothing on the ground.'' "The government must now negotiate with all Congolese parties to find a comprehensive solution for the crisis in the country,'' Onusumba said. Onusumba said his rebels would meet Mbeki on Thursday to discuss the possibility of a compromise. A deal between the rebels and the government could pave the way for Congo's first democratic elections since independence from Belgium in 1960.

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From Reuters, 23 July

Zimbabwe faces famine if food aid stalled agency

Harare - Zimbabwe could have a famine on its hands by September if President Robert Mugabe's government delays a decision on whether to accept genetically modified food aid, a senior American aid official said Tuesday. Roger Winter, an assistant administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development, said Zimbabwe had "expressed concerns" over genetically modified foods, limiting the amount of food the agency can bring in to help feed thousands of needy people. "We do not have other products ... in the volumes and within the time frames that are necessary to keep the food pipeline full," Winter told journalists in Harare. "Famine and food-related deaths are not pretty. I argue that they are certain in this case if there is not an adequate food pipeline. You are going to start in all likelihood seeing serious impacts of at least a localized nature as soon as September," he said.

Zimbabwe, facing its worst political and economic crisis in 22 years of independence, is at the center of a devastating food shortage sweeping across southern Africa, including Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique. In June the United States said it gave Zimbabwe 8,500 tons of maize but a further 10,000 tons was rejected because it did not have a certificate saying it had not been genetically modified. A senior agricultural official said it was standard government procedure. Winter said other aid groups did not have the capacity to fill the gap that would be left by a rejection of U.S. food supplies, which he said accounted for 50 percent of the total international aid effort. "The volumes that the U.S. is offering to supply cannot be made up for by any other country or group. As of right now, most traditional humanitarian donors for this kind of emergency have yet to step up to the plate," Winter said.

The United States, through the U.N. World Food Program, has to date distributed 42,930 tons of food aid mainly in the southern parts of the country mostly hit by shortages. Aid agencies say 4 million to 6 million Zimbabweans need food aid this year, part of a wider food crisis threatening nearly 13 million people in the six southern African countries. Once the bread basket of the southern African region, Zimbabwe now needs food aid after drought and the invasion of white-owned farms since February 2000 slashed staple maize output. The government says the shortage of maize, the country's staple crop, is due solely to a drought that has hit small-scale black farmers who produce 70 percent of national output. The government has also blamed dwindling food supplies on its political opponents and foreign interests, who it says want to punish Mugabe for seizing white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to landless blacks. The government, following up the invasion of hundreds of white-owned farms in the past two years, has ordered nearly 3,000 farmers to stop farming and in June gave them a 45-day deadline which expires in mid-August to quit their farmhouses.

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From News24 (SA), 23 July

Harare holds its breath

Harare - Military helicopters hovered over the capital and police in riot gear patrolled the streets on Tuesday, as Zimbabwean authorities tried to stave off anti-government protests ahead of the opening of parliament. Police blocked the main roads into Harare and the government called for people to stay away from the protests, organised to accompany the first parliamentary sitting since March's disputed presidential election. The increasingly authoritarian government of President Robert Mugabe launched a campaign to squash dissent in the run-up to the election. He was declared the victor, but the opposition said the vote was rigged and many international and domestic observers said it was deeply flawed.

The main organiser of the protests, Lovemore Madhuku, was arrested on Monday and held overnight by the police before being released. Madhuku heads the National Constitutional Assembly, an umbrella group of trades unions, churches and human rights groups who have demanded a sweeping overhaul of laws that have helped sustaining Mugabe's 22 year rule. The group said in a statement the demonstration would proceed as planned and that efforts to block it violated constitutional rights of free expression and assembly. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which rejects Mugabe's victory, plans to boycott the ceremonial procession that traditionally precedes 78-year-old Mugabe's policy speech. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has warned legislators their pay may be withheld for staying away from the ceremony.

Streets in downtown Harare were blocked off early on Tuesday to all traffic and police conducted searches of vehicles coming into the city in a bid to deter protesters. Police said they had refused requested permission for the demonstration. Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena told state media permits were not granted because the planned protests would "occasion public disorder" during Mugabe's scheduled drive to parliament in a ceremonial procession. According to tradition, Mugabe will drive in a vintage Rolls Royce accompanied by soldiers on horseback and will be saluted by a fly-by of jet fighters. Government officials said legislation that proposes giving Mugabe the power to ban trade unions deemed hostile to the government would be debated in the new session. The ruling Zanu PF party has stymied opposition attempts to impeach Mugabe for a state-sanctioned campaign of violence by ruling party militants targeted at opposition activists and white farmers.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo on Tuesday dismissed as "trivial and irrelevant" Monday's decision by the European Union to widen its travel ban on senior Zimbabwean officials to punish Mugabe's government for its human rights abuses and economic policies. In the last two years, Mugabe's policies have pushed the country toward famine and economic and political chaos. In another development on Tuesday, one of Zimbabwe's most distinguished novelists and poets, Chenjerai Hove, told the independent Daily News he had fled to Paris after being harassed by the authorities. "You live for 24 hours in fear," said the award-winning author. "The threats were becoming unbearable. People were phoning my house saying I would disappear."

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Daily News

      Mugabe in veiled attack on Makoni

      7/24/02 10:32:32 AM (GMT +2)

      By Luke Tamborinyoka

      PRESIDENT Mugabe, in a veiled attack on Finance Minister Simba Makoni
and Reserve Bank Governor Leonard Tsumba, yesterday branded those advocating
for the devaluation of the Zimdollar as enemies of the State.

      Officially opening the third session of the fifth Parliament
yesterday, Mugabe ruled out devaluation, describing as "sinister" any
attempts to do so.

      "Devaluation is sinister and can only be advocated by our saboteurs
and enemies of this government.

      Support for productive sectors, especially in agriculture, mining and
tourism, coupled with effective management and control of our financial
resources, will be the priority of my government. Devaluation is thus dead!"

      There was thunderous applause from Zanu PF MP's, while Makoni himself
sat stone-faced throughout.

      Mugabe's attack was an apparent reference to Makoni and Tsumba, who
have tried in vain to persuade the government to devalue the dollar.

      Efforts to obtain Makoni's comment were unsuccessful, but he was
quoted in a weekly newspaper last week as saying there was no political will
to tackle Zimbabwe's economic crisis.

      Makoni was quoted as accepting he had differences with his Cabinet
colleagues, especially over the exchange rate.

      "I do not give up after only one attempt. I will go back again and
again until I am able to convince my colleagues that this is the right way
to go, or alternatively until my colleagues can offer me a better
alternative," Makoni was quoted as saying.

      Two weeks ago, the Cabinet Action Committee on Financial and Economic
Affairs reportedly rejected Makoni and Tsumba's proposals to devalue the
dollar, saying that this would trigger a rise in inflation.

      Inflation was then reported to be 122,5 percent but the Central
Statistics Office reported it was now down to 114 percent.

      Economists have urged Makoni to resign if his colleagues continue to
ignore his advice.

      Mugabe said while the parallel market had to be brought under control,
a "run-away" exchange rate was not the answer to the country's economic

      "The crux of the matter is that foreign exchange is in short supply
and this is precisely because of price slumps on the international markets
and the contraction, through closures and other restraints, affecting
enterprises in our export oriented sectors."
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Daily News

      Heavily armed police quash planned NCA demonstration

      7/24/02 10:37:29 AM (GMT +2)

      By Collin Chiwanza

      Heavily armed riot police yesterday sealed off Parliament building and
its immediate environs effectively quashing a planned demonstration by the
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) on a new democratic constitution.

      Air Force of Zimbabwe helicopters hovered above until President Mugabe
finished his address, officially opening the third session of the fifth

      On Monday the police arrested Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA national
chairperson, in connection with the planned demonstration which they had
deemed illegal.

      The police warned Madhuku if he ignored the order, the law would take
its course, before releasing him.

      Hundreds of youths who had gathered in the city centre to stage the
peaceful protest clashed with the police. Running battles ensued.

      The youths, numbering up to 2 000, defied a police ban and grouped in
the central business district despite a security cordon thrown around the
city by the riot police for the greater part of yesterday.

      There was no comment from NCA officials as they were said to have gone
underground after the police arrested Madhuku, and threatened to arrest the
rest of the leadership for masterminding the protest.

      The police sealed off the MDC head office in central Harare alleging
that some NCA youths had taken refuge inside Harvest House building.

      People going about their normal business were harassed after being
accused of being NCA members.

      An irate member of the public said: ''We are now sick and tired of
this illegitimate regime, whose partisan police have been harassing innocent
people in the streets. People are now tired of police brutality, it is just

      In a statement, Phillip Pasirayi, the Zimbabwe National Students'
Union secretary for information and publicity, said: "It must be known that
no amount of intimidation and not even the force of a hurricane can stop the
winds of change that are blowing across the country.''
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Daily News

      Zimbabwe needs $200bn to avert crisis

      7/24/02 10:40:47 AM (GMT +2)

      By Lloyd Mudiwa

      ABOUT US$285 million (approximately Z$200 billion at the parallel
market rate), is required to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis in
Zimbabwe between July and June next year, the United Nations Office for the
Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said.

      OCHA, in a report published on 18 July, says Zimbabwe requires US$285
112 870 to resolve the problems in nine sectors, emanating from skewed
government policies and unfavourable economic conditions.

      The sectors requiring urgent attention, according to the UN
Consolidated Inter-Agency are agriculture, food, economic recovery and
infrastructure, education, health, protection/human rights, water and
sanitation, multi-sector and co-ordination and support services.

      OCHA said 2002 saw an exhaustion of the traditional coping mechanisms
and an increasing reliance on dangerous or damaging survival strategies such
as prostitution, poaching and theft.

      "These strategies if allowed to form the basis of survival for
vulnerable populations, will have severe medium-term effects on the
population, the natural resource base and the environment," the report

      "Additionally, it is clear that even these desperate measures will not
be enough to ensure the survival of affected Zimbabweans."

      Other survival strategies are gold panning, reducing the number of
meals to one per day, while some poor families are resorting to child labour
while others have begun to exchange young girls for food.

      Following appeals by the government for funding to the tune of US$83
600 000, only US$41 752 872 was pledged, leaving a deficit of US$41 847 128.

      "This is the difficult position in which Zimbabwe currently finds
itself," reads the report. "However, this is not a traditional complex

      The causes are multi-faceted and inter-connected, primarily the result
of policy choices and economic conditions, natural phenomena such as drought
and Cyclone Eline and the HIV/Aids pandemic.

      "All of these factors compound each other, with the worsening food
crisis acting as a multiplier effect on previously existing problems such as
chronic malnutrition and HIV/Aids. There are significant policy issues
affecting the crisis."

      The report attributes the macro-economic instability to among other
factors, inappropriate price and foreign exchange controls.

      The chaotic and often bloody fast-track land resettlement programme
has seriously affected one of the most productive sectors and is a leading
cause of the decline of the economy, OCHA said.

      The report states that the Grain Marketing Board (GMB)'s monopoly over
grain and maize-meal trading was worsening the situation.

      "The government lacks the capacity to deal with the problem," reads
the report. "There is no incentive to producers because they must sell their
products to the GMB at a predetermined price.

      That price is far below the appropriate market price. "In the past,
those with money could simply go to the market to buy maize-meal when their
stocks ran out.

      That is no longer possible." Primarily because of policies hindering
private sector involvement, there is insufficient maize-meal on the market
to satisfy demand while other food commodities such as rice had become
expensive, said the agency.

      Over six million Zimbabweans - half the population - are facing
starvation due to the food shortage.

      The report painted a bleak picture of Zimbabwe, saying at least 2, 2
million people, about 30 percent of the adult population, are living with
HIV/Aids which has orphaned 600 000 children.
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Daily News

      Aspiring Manicaland MDC poll candidate abducted

      7/24/02 10:48:58 AM (GMT +2)

      From Brian Mangwende in Mutare

      MEYNARD Mashapa, an aspiring MDC candidate in the September rural
district council election in Tanganda, Manicaland, was on Sunday allegedly
abducted by a group of Zanu PF youths.

      As of Monday, according to MDC provincial officials, Mashapa's
whereabouts were still unknown. He is the MDC's chairman for Ward 1 in

      Mashapa, 30, was allegedly approached by the Zanu PF vigilantes while
playing draughts at Tanganda shopping centre. They questioned him about his
electoral ambitions.

      He confirmed he would contest the rural council election but only
after his party had endorsed his candidature.

      Apparently, this answer did not please the Zanu PF cadres who
reportedly attacked him on the spot and left him for dead.

      Mashapa was escorted to his house by other MDC members at the scene.

      On Sunday, the same group was spotted in the area, reportedly
travelling in a truck belonging to the Agricultural and Rural Development
Authority (ARDA) in Middle Sabi.

      Efforts to get a comment from Arda officials in Middle Sabi were
fruitless on Monday as their telephones went unanswered.

      Pishai Muchauraya, MDC's spokesman in Manicaland, said on Monday:
"After the attack on Thursday, we reported the case to the Chipinge police
and were given the case number as E701624. They promised to investigate.

      "On Sunday after the abduction, we informed both the Chipinge and
Chipangayi police, but this time they did not take down our report.

      Instead, we were asked questions such as: 'What did he say for them to
abduct him? Why does he want to run for councillor?' Then they said since it
was a political issue, we should resolve it politically."

      Meanwhile, Zanu PF youths from various Border Gezi training centres
have been dispatched throughout Manicaland in the run-up to the rural
district council elections.

      Most observers predict a violent campaign in which the youths will
feature as heavily as they did in the presidential election campaign last
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Daily News

      Goods worth millions seized as security forces raid wholesalers

      7/24/02 10:51:15 AM (GMT +2)

      From Brian Mangwende in Mutare

      UNIFORMED officers on Friday raided major wholesalers in Mutare and
Odzi in combined operations and seized basic commodities such as cooking
oil, salt, sugar and mealie-meal worth millions of dollars.

      This is the second time in a month the uniformed forces have raided
wholesalers accusing them of selling basic commodities to illegal traders at
a profit for re-sale at the expense of local customers.

      Wholesalers in the province then held several meetings with the police
in an effort to immediately retrieve their goods but were not successful.

      The businessmen said the seizures were unwarranted and blamed the
police and soldiers for being overzealous and ignorant of how wholesalers

      Those raided in the ongoing operation are Bhadella Wholesalers,
Olivine Industries, Gulch Wholesalers, Mupfumi Investments, Wholesale Centre
and various other wholesalers in Odzi.

      The goods were taken to the main police camp in Mutare. Mohammed Arif
Bhadella, of Bhadella Wholesalers, said four uniformed teams approached him
at his business premises and accused him of hoarding before they seized 12
tonnes of brown sugar worth $570 000.

      "I was actually dispatching my sugar when they arrived," Bhadella
said. "They said they were sent to seize it because they had reasonable
grounds to believe that I was hoarding basic commodities.

      I took them to the warehouse where my other stocks were. I explained
that I did not have enough space in the wholesale outlet and as a wholesaler
I keep excess stock in the warehouse.

      "Nevertheless, they seized my stock. After consultations with them,
they promised to release my goods today."

      Isau Mupfumi, the president of the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) in
Manicaland, fumed over the seizures. He said: "This is outrageous. They raid
ed my private property. What is this?"

      He then referred all questions to Philip Chiyangwa, the AAG national

      Chiyangwa said: "The police should continue raiding all those they
suspect to be hoarding basic commodities. The exercise should not be

      I encourage the police and soldiers to continue with the raids because
we as the AAG have got nothing to hide."

      A senior official at Olive Industries who refused to be named said
their goods were seized but later returned.

      But there was a showdown at Gulch Wholesalers when one of the managers
refused to give up his commodities.
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Daily News

      New federation of greed, graft and God-awfulness

      7/24/02 11:48:20 AM (GMT +2)

      Bill Saidi on Wednesday

      THE three of them are in a real stew of their own making, spurred by
an insatiable lust for everlasting power.

      Robert Mugabe went to Cuba last week, apparently to find out from
Fidel Castro how he has managed to rule for so long with only the occasional
foreign and home-based threat to his 43-year reign of the small island just
a few kilometres from Miami, Florida, the rich people's playground of his
long-time nemesis, Uncle Sam, or The Great Satan - if the diehard communist
has now taken to quoting another revolutionary, Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah

      Bakili Muluzi, the Muslim who now leads Malawi, was back home from the
African Union summit in Durban, where his presence was so low-key he was
almost invisible.

      This was perfectly understandable: the Parliament in Lilongwe had told
him he couldn't do to his compatriots what Sam Nujoma of Namibia did to his
people, and the little would-be dictator of Zambia, Frederick Chiluba,
failed to do - bulldoze the people into accepting his greedy, graft-ridden
and God-awful reign for a third term.

      At the of time of writing, Chiluba was holed up in his house in
Lusaka, surrounded by men bristling with all sorts of weapons to prevent him
from sneaking out of the country to escape his fate with the Unknown.

      Muluzi did go to Durban, but he must have felt so depressed after
Parliament said Iyayi (No) he spent most of his time on the beach, trying to
be as anonymous as any balding, hefty beach bum can be.

      I can imagine someone asking him: "Are you not Muluzi, that Malawian
president who failed to get Parliament to give him a third term of office?"

      "No, I am not. I'm actually the ghost of Kamuzu Banda, only a little
taller and fatter."

      Chiluba's successor, once pilloried as The Cabbage, turned into one
hell of a tabasco (piripiri, pepper).

      He publicly denounced his predecessor as a thief and wanted Parliament
to strip him of his immunity from prosecution, so the courts could treat him
the way they treat most people who come before them - a suspected felon.

      But Levy Mwanawasa himself was not entirely off the hook. Some thought
he was trying to bolster his own legitimacy as the ruler of all Zambia.

      After all, he won election - as Chiluba's anointed successor - by a
whisker and the same tomfoolery Mugabe was accused of using in his victory
against Morgan Tsvangirai in March.

      Then there was the stigma of being something of a vegetable because of
that terrible accident years ago which apparently did something to his
marbles: he had to show everybody he was not a ninny.

      So, the three men who today lead the countries which from 1953 to 1963
formed the ill-fated Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland are probably as
unpopular as the one man who personified that beleaguered British-sponsored
union of its one colony and two territories - Godfrey Huggins, later Lord
Malvern, the first Federal Prime Minister.

      Mugabe ought to have left office in disgrace in 2000. After the
people, by a respectable majority, rejected the draft constitution he wanted
to foist on them, he must have known the "No" vote was not necessarily
against that piece of paper, but against him and Zanu PF.

      If he needed confirmation, they hurled it into his face with the force
of a pile-driver - they threw out many of his former MPs in the 2000
parliamentary election, including such revolutionary stalwarts as Emmerson

      Others, including Sydney Sekeremayi, escaped defeat by the skin of
their teeth.

      By some calculations, if it hadn't been for a man who admired a short,
moustachioed dictator who killed himself and his girlfriend in a bunker in
Berlin in 1945, Mugabe and Zanu PF might have ended up as the new opposition

      But over the deaths of many, many people, the party won the election
and earned the opprobrium of a world disgusted with the methods with which
it achieved its victory.

      Today, after the presidential election which cost many lives as well
and which most of the world will not recognise, he is barred officially from
travelling to Europe and the United States, unless there is a conference of
the United Nations, which may soon tire of being used as a convenience by a
man whose democratic credentials have long lost their shine.

      Muluzi came to power after defeating a man who some believe was the
most implacable enemy of the Federation, Kamuzu Banda. But The Ngwazi turned
out to be the most implacable enemy of democracy in the region, long before
the likes of Idi Amin won that dubious accolade in other parts of Africa.

      Muluzi started off well, riding on the coat-tails of a euphoria
brought about by the end of Banda's despotic, murderous reign.

      But rumours of graft within his inner circle started circulating and
soon his own name was being dragged in the mud, with this or that scandal.

      Why he thought he could swing Parliament, with its strong opposition
representation, to endorse his ambitious plan to run for a third term when
Chiluba, the man who toppled another anti-Federation stalwart, Kenneth
Kaunda, had failed ignominiously, is difficult to imagine - unless he
thought simply belonging to the majority ethnic group, the Yao, would be

      Mugabe used to believe that too, until his Shona and Zezuru
compatriots showed him it took more than having the same mutupo for his
mabhururu to vote for him.

      Now, in the twilight of his political career, people speak of him, not
as their saviour, but their oppressor. To some he is no better than the
people who invented the partnership to sell Federation to the Africans.

      Wisely, they did not buy this propaganda, some of them declaring the
partnership was that between a horse and its rider - the horse being the
African and the rider being you-know-who.

      With Mugabe, they go further. The rider, wearing sharp spurs, has them
permanently embedded into the horse's side, so that it's constantly neighing
for mercy, calling on the Patron Saint of Horses to strike down this cruel
man and release it from his torture.

      I bet the horse also prays to have the strength and trickery of
Trigger, the cowboy horse, to throw off the rider and ride off into the
sunset - alone.

      Mugabe must feel an affinity with Castro. But it can't be because he
believes they suckled from the same revolutionary breast.

      Mugabe did not march from the mountains to claim independence as
Castro did from the Sierra Maestra mountains in 1959. In fact, some people
might identify Mugabe with Fulgencio Batista, the man Castro overthrew.

      Now, there was a man who loved the good life and didn't give a hoot
about the people. Sounds familiar?
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Daily News

Students defy call for national service

      7/24/02 11:51:51 AM (GMT +2)

      From Energy Bara in Masvingo

      Students at Masvingo Technical College have defied an order by Samuel
Mumbengegwi, the Minister of Higher Education and Technology, that they
undergo national service.

      Mumbengegwi last week directed that all college students be deployed
to the Lowveld to help clear about 10 000 hectares of land for a maize crop
in the Nuanetsi ranch.

      This would be part of the students' national service, he said.

      Mumbengegwi's directive would entail the students being deployed
together with Zanu PF youths, now undergoing national service training.

      Mumbengegwi said: "As Minister of Higher Education I would want all
tudents on rural attachment to go for national service in the Lowveld and
would use their knowledge to help clear the land and assist where

      Following the directive, the students last Friday boycotted lectures
in protest.

      Pedius Sikisa, the Student Representative Council president, confirmed
they had defied the directive.

      The directive was issued in the form of a circular addressed to the
college authorities.

      Sikisa said students should not be used by individuals who want to
score political points.

      Sikisa said: "We are saying no to national service. The minister said
our college would be used as a pilot project to introduce national service
and other institutions of higher learning countrywide would also introduce
the programme later.

      "The minister is confused and should not expect us to comply with his

      "We are not going for the national service programme because the
project has been politicised."

      The students were supposed have been deployed to the Lowveld anytime
this week.

      The Zanu PF Masvingo political leadership led by Mumbengegwi, Foreign
Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge, and governor Josaya Hungwe acquired 100 000
hectares of land in the Lowveld where the country's strategic food reserves
would be grown.

      Mumbengegwi, who addressed the students on Friday, could not be
reached for comment on Monday. Barnabas Taderera, the college principal,
speaking through his secretary, said he was busy when he was phoned by The
Daily News on a number of occasions.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Cry, the beloved nation of Zimbabwe

      7/24/02 11:08:53 AM (GMT +2)

      By Japhet Ncube

      THE atmosphere on the South African side of the Beitbridge border
post, across the mighty Limpopo River, is ecstatic.

      I wade through a sea of people going through immigration - a veritable
crush of humanity, all with a destination in mind.

      Some are coming to South Africa on holiday, others are going home to
Zimbabwe after months - even years - in South Africa.

      Those on the South African side look relieved, while those on the
other side have fear and uncertainty on their faces.

      It's clear they're in a hurry to leave everything behind them, in the
often desperate hope of greener pastures.

      Nothing in this world beats the feeling of going home to your loved
ones, especially after months in a foreign, busy city like Johannesburg.

      So it was with joy that I packed my bags and headed home in June. But
as the bus took off from the Zimbabwean side of the border on my journey
inland, the nostalgia that had been building up in me for days quickly
turned into a feeling of immense trepidation.

      No sooner had the bus hit town than I felt I wanted to flee the
country of my birth - forever.

      My recent visit to Zimbabwe, a country I love so much, was a tragic
journey. It filled me with anger and disbelief.

      I had read every single newspaper report on Zimbabwe with deep
interest, and I wished at least half of the stories were false.

      Sadly, they were not. Zimbabwe is nothing short of a war zone, a
country torn apart by political violence and general lawlessness.

      The country is teetering on the brink of a major famine, with many
families going hungry and facing a bleak future.

      With memories of the bloody election violence I survived in Harare two
years ago still fresh in my mind, I kept praying a repeat of the situation
would not occur this time round.

      What I saw filled me with anger. Just a few days after I arrived I
wanted out. I had had enough. I just couldn't believe what had happened to
this once great country.

      Like Zambia during the time of Kenneth Kaunda, or Malawi during Kamuzu
Banda's reign, Zimbabwe's currency doesn't buy anything.

      An egg costs $18, $2 up just two weeks after I arrived. A few years
ago you could buy a crate of eggs for $18!

      This may sound like nothing to the average South African, but
Zimbabweans simply don't have the money.

      A pint of beer will set you back $300! Only two years ago this was
enough to buy beer for your clan for an entire evening. But this is the new
Zimbabwe . . .

      Widespread starvation is sweeping the country, but the official word
is that Zimbabwe is fine, that all people need is land.

      It is said the opposition and the international groups are "creating
artificial shortages'' of food and other basic needs.

      The official Zimbabwe picture painted is one of bliss - no one is
starving and the country has a bright future. But I saw it with my own eyes,
and went out to find the real facts about the state of the economy.

      In the real Zimbabwe the situation is shocking. The United Nations
says six million of the estimated 13 million people are starving.

      There are two million children, and a third of those under five need
nutritional supplements. Only two of the country's 57 districts are said to
contain less than 10 000 people requiring food aid.

      The rest have more than 50 000 people each in desperate need of help.
      My visit clearly showed Zimbabwe has now been reduced from the
breadbasket of Africa to a begging bowl.

      But Zimbabweans' patriotism never ceases to amaze. Driving through
Harare is a harrowing experience, especially if you've lived in South Africa
all your adult life. You can literally smell the poverty, and many of the
faces you see are either hungry or angry - or both.

      It is clear the demise of what was once one of Africa's jewel
economies is taking its toll on the increasingly restless populace.

      Zimbabwe is not only in an economic quagmire - it's also stuck in a
political crisis very few foreigners can understand.

      I don't believe you have to be a Zimbabwean to understand the
Zimbabwean crisis.

      But it is only Zimbabweans who know how it feels to be expected to be
patriotic towards a country which is taking everything away and giving
nothing back.

      A former colleague, who now works as a freelance business journalist,
sums it up aptly when he says Zimbabwe is a cow that has already been
"over-milked''. "If you try to milk it any further, it bleeds,'' he says.

      I am a Zimbabwean to the last drop of blood. So I understand what he

      Economists say Zimbabwe is a political and economic time bomb waiting
to explode. And when it does, its devastating effects will be heard
throughout the region.

      But to most of us, Zimbabwe has already exploded. Things can't get any

      My friends and I drove around the townships, and my heart ached at how
much this country has gone to the dogs. It's all gone now, blown away in
over two decades of hell at the hands of Robert Mugabe, the man who 22 years
ago we entrusted our lives and futures with.

      The streets, once clean and safe, smell of uncollected refuse and are
now a haven for muggers and robbers. Poverty and desperation are driving
people to crime, restlessness and anarchy.
      Some of the buildings are rapidly crumbling. Some abandoned building
sites, a sign of the tough times facing the country's construction sector,
stand out like sore thumbs.

      This is definitely not the Harare I knew and loved when I lived there
for nearly a decade as a journalist and international correspondent.

      Save for the few new buildings still going up, there is nothing to
signal that this was once one of the continent's fastest growing cities.

      Harare used to be the Sunshine City. But now Zimbabwe's capital is a
monumental slum. It could pass for some ruined town in some poor, war-torn
African country. Perhaps the Sudan.

      I lived and worked in Harare for over a decade. Those days when you
complained of malfunctioning traffic lights or frequent water and power
cuts, they were restored within minutes.

      But leave the country for a while - just a while - and when you come
back, everything has crumbled - even life itself.

      I know patriotism is still the buzzword in Africa, but I also know
that I can't eat patriotism.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      We simply can't keep on prentending much longer

      7/24/02 1:04:54 PM (GMT +2)

      THE boycott yesterday of the official opening of the second session of
the Fifth Parliament of Zimbabwe by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
Members of Parliament could not have come entirely as a surprise to anyone,
least of all to Zimbabweans of whatever political persuasion.

      To say it couldn't have come as a surprise is not in any way to imply
that this was so because the MDC had given ample forewarning of its
intentions, although that, of course, is true.

      It is merely being realistic in that it would have been extremely
naive for anyone, including the most self-deceiving leaders in Zanu PF, to
expect MDC legislators to attend the official opening.

      For, to do so would have seriously compromised the stance that the MDC
has maintained ever since the presidential poll was staged in March, which
is that the official opposition does not recognise Robert Mugabe as the

      Not only that. If the MPs had attended the opening, the party would
have also betrayed those among its friends in the international community
who have steadfastly maintained that Zanu PF, with the aid of the the
so-called war veterans and, even more so, the Registrar-General, stole the
presidential victory from Morgan Tsvangirai and gave it to President Mugabe.

      More than anything else, the boycott has served to emphasise the
political polarisation between the two main parties in Zimbabwe.

      Whatever anyone might want to make people believe to be the actual
state of affairs according to their subjective and self-delusionary
interpretation, the truth is that things are just not what they ought to be.

      And we simply cannot go on pretending ours is a normal political
situation. No one, not even an insane person, will take a bet against
someone saying that Mugabe can soldier on regardless.

      Those being paid to knowingly fool Mugabe into thinking all is well
and that the nation is fully behind him - destroying this country in the
process - will, as everyone has now come to expect, no doubt pour much scorn
and vitriol on the MDC for being "unpatriotic".

      But that will not change the fact that what happened in March was far
from being regular. The results which were announced by Registrar-General
Tobaiwa Mudede were, for all we know, not exactly reflective of the will of
the people.

      And what that means, in short, is that the people's will may have been
subverted - and on a grand scale for that matter.

      It has been suggested that if the people had felt so strongly about
the results - that they were cheated - they ought to have shown their anger
in one way or another.
      That the people have gone about their daily business normally - that
is, of course, if one is is supposed to accept as "normal" queueing daily
for one or the other of what are essentially basic commodities, which would
be absolutely absurd, to put it mildly - should not be taken out of context.

      What those who think that the people have accepted the results without
rancour need to be told is that this country has virtually become a police

      Some actually say the country is now under a de facto military
government since the army, the police, the Central Intelligence
      Organisation, the "Green Bombers" and the so-called war veterans are
using force to silence any form of protest against the government and Zanu

      People cannot express dissatisfaction with their government openly any

      To do so would be to invite the most brutal assault from the police
and military, whether you are members of the opposition, or you are
students, church members, trade unionists or even belonging to harmless
civic organisations such as the National Constitutional Assembly.

      The government's spin doctors may want Mugabe to believe otherwise,
but the truth is that a significant percentage of the population does not
accept his presidency as legitimate any longer.

      What they want is for him to confirm that he is the choice of the
majority of the people by re-submitting himself to them in a fresh election
supervised by the United Nations.

      Refusing to do so can only be interpreted as meaning one thing: that
he knows that people no longer want him to continue as President. No one can
enjoy being President with that kind of knowledge.

      It is in his and the country's best interests that Mugabe swallows his
pride and re-submit himself - and whoever else might want to challenge him -
to the electorate.
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Daily News

      Prize-winning Mundenguma says he is a successful farmer with no land

      7/24/02 11:56:40 AM (GMT +2)

      By Takaitei Bote Farming Editor

      FOUR-TIME winner of the Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company Burley Tobacco
Grower of the Year competition, Hosiya Mundenguma says he is a successful
farmer with "no land".

      Mundenguma also faces the challenge of remaining viable in an industry
almost collapsing due to poor government policies as well as low burley
tobacco prices.

      Mundenguma, who was announced winner of the 2001 Burley Tobacco Grower
of the Year, also scooped the prize in 2000 and was runner up for the same
award in 1998.

      He also beat thousands of farmers and was announced winner of the
competition in 1997.

      The Mapinga Village 2, Mt Darwin farmer has come out tops in these
four years in the competition for producing the best quality tobacco out of
more than 8 000 competitors.

      While the government has in the past two years resettled thousands of
landless people and war veterans, most of them not trained farmers,
Mundenguma says he has failed to expand his business because he has a small
piece of land to work on.

      War veterans have demanded an audit of the land reform programme
saying there is growing evidence that the majority of people including
ex-combatants, detainees and collaborators, have now been marginalised from
the land because "political heavyweights have hijacked the programme".

      "I appeal to the government to resettle me on a larger piece of land
as I am unable to increase production because I occupy 12 hectares. I do not
grow crops on all the land available because I use the crop rotation
 system," he said.

      On the 12ha farm, Mundenguma grows burley tobacco on between four to
4,5 acres every year and leaves another four acres fallow for a year in
preparation for planting the following year.

      "I expect to produce about 3 500kg of burley tobacco this year
compared to last year's 6 000 kg. If I get more land of between 15 to 20ha,
I would produce about 25 000kg and will be able to earn more foreign
currency for the country."
      In 2000 when farmers received normal rains, he produced about 6 000
kg, which is more or less the 2001 production because he has been growing
the crop on the same size of land.

      The bulk of the burley tobacco crop in the country is grown by
small-scale and communal farmers. Tobacco earns about 30 percent of the
country's foreign currency.

      He said he has over the years approached authorities in Mt Darwin
asking for more land but has not been successful.

      "I applied to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement to be resettled under the Commercial Farm Resettlement Scheme
in March but I have not received a response to date," he said.

      Mundenguma, who moved to Mapinga Village in 1992 after having grown
tobacco in Dotito, Mt Darwin, holds a Master Farmer Training Certificate and
a Master Farmer Cadec.

      Thousands of trained farmers like Mundenguma, find themselves working
in agro-companies because they fail to get land to farm or funds to begin
farming operations.

      Mashonaland West governor, Peter Chanetsa said during the graduation
ceremony of Farmers' Development Trust of 30 tobacco students last month
that agricultural graduates would not receive preferential treatment in
getting land.

      He said they should apply and queue just "like anybody else". The land
redistribution programme however is expected to end in August this year and
Mundenguma fears he may not have been resettled by then.

      He is married to Banesi and they have six children.
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Devaluation is Dead

The Herald (Harare)

July 24, 2002
Posted to the web July 24, 2002

DEVALUATION of the dollar is sinister and can only be advocated by the
country's saboteurs and enemies of the Government, President Mugabe said in
Harare yesterday.

"Fortunately, we have got to a stage where everyone, including the
productive sector, is convinced that a runaway exchange rate cannot be the
way to the recovery of the economy," Cde Mugabe said when he opened the
Third Session of the Fifth Parliament of Zimbabwe.

"The crux of the matter is that foreign exchange is in short supply and this
is precisely because of price slumps on the international markets and the
contraction, through closures and other restraints, affecting enterprises in
our export oriented sectors."

The President said there was need for greater production of exports,
especially major foreign currency earners for traditional and new markets
through various export promotion schemes and incentives.

"Support for productive sectors, especially in agriculture, mining and
tourism, coupled with effective management and control of our financial
resources will be the priority of my Government.

"Devaluation is thus dead!" President Mugabe said, to the applause and
thumping of benches by the mostly Zanu-PF legislators in the House.

He took a swipe at the financial and banking sector for "rampant
indiscipline" and said the much-anticipated agrarian-led economic revival
cannot take place as long as this sector continues "to be completely

"The parallel market of our financial, or is it money market, has to be
brought under immediate control," he said.

Cde Mugabe said the Third Session of Parliament was opening at a time when
the country is facing challenges from a combination of British machinations
and effects of the drought, which had not only affected Zimbabwe, but had
also hit Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia.

Efforts to marshal resources towards drought alleviation were in full swing
and orders for grain had been secured in a number of source markets,
including Brazil, China, Kenya and South Africa.

Cde Mugabe said no effort would be spared in ensuring that enough food was
secured as the Government was no stranger to mechanisms and strategies for
containing the effects of droughts.

The President said while Zimbabwe accepted drought-related assistance from
the international community, it remained wary of countries and
organisations, which sought to take advantage of its hour of need to
attenuate its sovereignty or even reverse vital policies which it had

"Yes, we need food assistance from organisations and nations of goodwill but
we certainly abhor sinister interests which seek surreptitiously to advance
themselves under cover of humanitarian involvement."

He said the Government rejects any attempts to use the present drought
relief effort to smuggle in failed and inappropriate IMF policies which had
exacerbated the country's vulnerability to the vagaries of nature and
neo-colonial manipulation disguised as globalisation.

The Government believed that the Grain Marketing Board had a vital role to
play in achieving food security for the country - both as the dominant
purchaser of grain and as the custodian of strategic grain reserves.

"Above all, Mr Speaker, we fight the present drought with our eyes clearly
set out in the future of the agriculture sector which is the mainstay of our

"We dare not endanger its future through misplaced decisions based on acts
of either desperation or expediency."

To date, the Government has gazetted for the acquisition of 5 153 farms with
a total area of 9,8 million hectares.

Of these, 6,2 million hectares had been put under A1 resettlement model
where 210 520 households have been resettled under the fast-track programme.

This figure includes an additional 46 000 people who had applied under the
model A2 scheme.

Between 1980 and 1998, 71 000 households were resettled under the A1 model,
bringing the total number of beneficiaries under the scheme to 281 520.

The Government has allocated 3,6 million hectares to new commercial farmers
under the A2 model and 54 592 applicants had qualified for small, medium and
large-scale commercial farming under this scheme.

"We need to put all this land to productive agricultural use, covering all
the possible areas of endeavour, principally those of grain production,
horticulture and animal production.

"This indeed is the best insurance against drought-related food pressures,
while it is also our way of ensuring that no one takes advantage of our
stomachs to get to the soul of our sovereignty," said President Mugabe.

The Government last week agreed to release $8,5 billion for tillage, crop
and livestock input support for the newly-resettled farmers for the coming
agricultural season.

The Government was now working on a scheme to support the development of
irrigation and agro-mechanisation.

President Mugabe later attended the traditional lunch hosted by the Ministry
of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to mark the opening
of Parliament.

He told guests, who included Vice President Msika, Cabinet ministers,
parliamentarians, the mayor of Harare, Engineer Elias Mudzuri, traditional
chiefs, business executives, war veterans and civic leaders, that while the
Government had made strides in education, things had not been well in the
health sector owing to a number of factors, especially the Aids pandemic.

Roads had not been receiving attention despite the availability of funds
from the road levy.

Referring to the Masvingo bus disaster in which 37 students perished, Cde
Mugabe said poor roads were responsible for the high death toll on the
country's roads.

He said roads should be repaired as the Government cannot continue to be the
indirect cause of accidents.

"We remember today the death of those many young people . . . we will be
having a memorial service on Friday in Masvingo.

"So we need to do quite a lot. I have talked to the minister about dual
carriages on our roads. We cannot continue to cry about lack of money, I
think its lack of will.

"If we have the will we will still have the money. I have often said hapana
nyika yakambonzi yakafa nezvikwereti (no country collapsed due to debts) and
if you borrow for a purpose, you are strengthening your capacity to improve
your economy," he said.

President Mugabe said Zimbabwe was having problems with the rest of the
world because of its land reform programme.

"That has offended, gone against the grain of Mr Blair --- that young man at
number 10 Downing Street.

"He thinks by ganging together countries of Europe, pressure can be brought
to bear on us sufficient enough to make us desist from the programme.

"But he has also learnt that here in Zimbabwe we have the people and
leadership committed to principles, especially principles that have to do
with the sovereignty of the people of Zimbabwe. We are Zimbabweans, the soil
we tread is ours, the land belongs to us, we fought for it, we died for it,
we shall continue to fight for it and die for it.

"But somehow this young fellow thinks no, if he piles up sanctions on us we
will surrender. Nobody has taught him that we don't know the word surrender
in relation to our rights. That word we can't spell, its not in our
dictionary either."

Zimbabweans could work their own resources and there was no need to cry
about British sanctions and being denied entry into the United Kingdom.

Cde Mugabe said British nationals in Zimbabwe could go back to their country
if they were not good citizens.

"Ko ivo vakauya kuno wani? (But they came to live here) But let the lot of
them go back. We are not chasing them . . . but sure if they are not good
citizens here, we will kick them out of our country. That's an area we need
to watch," he said.

He said it was unfortunate that history had taught Zimbabweans a dependency

"Kana tisina kupiwa basa nevarungu taparara. Ivo vaMugabe zvavarikutora
mapurazi evarungu. Evarungu? munhu mutema achiri kutaura kudaro vakomana
munyika yedu? Tichazogona kurima iyesu tichafa nenzara. (If we do not get a
job from the whiteman, we will die of hunger, especially so when Mr Mugabe
is taking farms for the whites. Are there still any blacks out there who
still think like this in their own country?)."

Cde Mugabe said blacks were the ones who were producing on the white
commercial farms and were equally capable of producing the same on their

"So brace yourselves for the hard times, especially this year. After this
year I am sure there is much more light at the end of that dark tunnel.
Let's work," he said.

The President said he sometimes wonders why people preferred office jobs
instead of working on the land.

He said he did not agree with "this British system", adding that there was
need for a new work culture in the country.

He once again warned companies that were closing down for political reasons
and those that were hoarding basic commodities to create artificial

These companies were in "illegitimate hands" and the Government would take
them over and give them to "legitimate hands".

The President, however, acknowledged that there were some companies, which
were closing down due to pure economic factors.

There was need to support the informal sector and setting up factory shells
in urban areas, he said.

Local authorities should come up with programmes aimed at reducing housing
backlogs in urban areas and legalise urban agriculture.

Cde Mugabe reiterated the promises he made to chiefs aimed at uplifting
their status. Chiefs needed better remuneration, he said.

The president of the Chiefs Council, Chief Jonathan Mangwende, said some of
the promises, such as the provision of electricity, piped water,
telecommunications and better roads to chiefs' homes, were already being

Cde Mugabe took a swipe at domestic violence and said the practice has to be

"That issue of domestic violence has been featuring in almost all meetings a
ttended by First Ladies. Domestic violence and HIV. Perhaps there is little
we can do about HIV but domestic violence, imiwe?

"Most of the time it is men delivering it to women, but kune domestic
violence yemadzimai vanodira varume mvura inopisa. Naiyoyo hatiyidewo
idomestic violence. Unenge wopisa mwana wevanhu anenge adii? (some women
also pour boiling water on husbands. That is also domestic violence and we
also do not want it).

"But zvekubayawo mwana wevanhu kwete hatidi. (We say no to the stabbing of
somebody's child). No, no that's going too far. We can't have that culture
in our midst and for MPs you should all hang down your heads in shame.

"Manyadziswa hazvina kunaka kuti tiite zvakadaro munyika. Inga zvinonzi
vanhu vanorambana. (You have been embarassed. Such things are not nice in a
country such as ours. People can divorce) That's why there are divorce
courts, anyway, zvakaitika. (It happened). We hope this is the first and
last occurrence of that nature," he said.

The opening of the Parliament coincided with the birthday of the First Lady,
Cde Grace Mugabe.

She was given a surprise birthday cake by the Ministry of Environment and
Tourism and staff at the Sheraton Hotel.
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'Iran Committed to Strengthening Economic Relations With Zim'

The Herald (Harare)

July 24, 2002
Posted to the web July 24, 2002

THE outgoing Iranian ambassador, Mr Behrooz Kama-lvandi, yesterday
reaffirmed his country's commitment to strengthening existing political and
economic relations with Zimbabwe.

In an interview after paying a courtesy call on the Minister of State for
Information and Publicity, Professor Jonathan Moyo, Mr Kamalvandi said that
he hoped that the excellent relations between Zimbabwe and Iran would be
strengthened in the coming years.

"Zimbabwe and Iran currently share the most cordial relations in several
aspects ranging from trade and in the political spheres. We have also
co-operated in several international groups such as the G-15, which
comprises developing countries. We will continue with the policy of
co-operation to enable the development of our two nations," said Mr

He said that his country had also produced a documentary film depicting the
true Zimbabwean scenario to counter the negative images being portrayed by
the Western media.

Iran has invited officials from the Department of Information and Publicity
and the Zimbabwe Broad-casting Corporation to learn about film production in


Iran is one of the tenth largest film producers in the world and is believed
to be producing 1 000 films every month.

The country is also well-known for encouraging local content in all its

Another interesting factor is that Iran is against multi-media products from
the United States and the Western world, which encourage sex and violence.

"We hope that the visit by the officials from the Department of Information
and Publicity and the ZBC to Iran would be an eye- opener to the
Government's thrust to ensure that all films shown on television reflect our
culture and national aspirations," said an official who attended the
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The Guardian

Journalists Challenge Zimbabwe Law

Wednesday July 24, 2002 8:10 PM

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Two independent journalists charged with writing and
publishing an inaccurate story can challenge that law's constitutionality
before their trial begins, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Geoff Nyarota, editor of Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper - The
Daily News, and reporter Lloyd Mudiwa were charged after the newspaper
published a report saying an opposition supporter had been beheaded.

Police and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change said the
beheading did not happen. The newspaper printed an apology, saying its staff
may have been misled.
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Daily Telegraph

Sanctions 'won't stop' Zimbabwe land seizures
(Filed: 24/07/2002)

The government of Zimbabwe has vowed that extended sanctions imposed by the
European Union against President Robert Mugabe's officials will not stop its
seizure of white-owned farms.

Mugabe said he would never back down on the issue and Jonathan Moyo, the
information minister, said the tightening of the sanctions would not alter
the government's plans. He described the EU handling of the situation as

The EU earlier in the week agreed to add 52 more names to a list of 20
Zimbabwean leaders and officials banned from travelling to the EU.

Mr Moyo said: "Instead of paying attention to issues concerning the welfare
of the majority of Zimbabweans, they are using the most uncivilised and
crude way to support their kith and kin who are the white commercial farmers
claiming to be Zimbabweans.

"It is obvious that the EU is trying to do everything possible to derail the
land redistribution programme which we have to finalise by August 31.

"It is clear that the Western media is trying to fool the world about the
situation in Zimbabwe."

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      'We will never surrender' vows defiant Mugabe

            July 24 2002 at 12:52PM

      Harare - Zimbabwe's government has condemned the European Union for
extending sanctions against President Robert Mugabe's officials, but vowed
the move would not stop its controversial seizures of white-owned farms.

      In statements quoted by the official Herald newspaper on Wednesday,
Mugabe said he would never surrender on the issue, while his information
minister Jonathan Moyo branded as a waste of time the sanctions slapped on
by the EU earlier this week.

      Moyo described as "crude" the EU's decision to add 52 more names to a
list of 20 Zimbabwean leaders and officials banned from travelling to the

      He said the visa and asset freezes against Zimbabwe's ruling elite and
some prominent supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF party was part of a drive by
former colonial power Britain to derail the redistribution of white-owned
farms to landless blacks.

      "Instead of paying attention to issues concerning the welfare of the
majority of Zimbabweans, they are using the most uncivilised and crude way
to support their kith and kin who are the white commercial farmers claiming
to be Zimbabweans," he said.

      "It is obvious that the EU is trying to do everything possible to
derail the land redistribution programme which we have to finalise by August
31," he added.

      Moyo also accused the Western media of siding with the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and lying to the world about the
situation in Zimbabwe over human rights abuses and political violence.

      Britain was working to protect the interests of minority whites in
Zimbabwe and not the welfare of both blacks and whites, he charged. "It is
clear that the Western media is trying to fool the world about the situation
in Zimbabwe," he said.

      The Herald also quoted Mugabe as telling his officials at a party to
mark the official opening of parliament on Tuesday that he would never yield
ground on the land issue.

      It quoted the 78-year-old, who has regularly attacked British Prime
Minister Tony Blair over the past two years, as saying "that young man" was
wasting his time with sanctions against his government over its land

      "The land belongs to us. We fought for it, we died for it and we shall
continue to fight and die for it," he said.

      "But somehow this young fellow thinks no, if he piles sanctions on we
will surrender. Nobody has taught him that we don't know the word surrender
in relation to our rights. That word we can't spell. It's not in our
dictionary," Mugabe said.

      British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on Monday that sanctions
against Mugabe and his top aides were working to isolate them on the world

      The EU imposed so-called "smart sanctions" against Mugabe's government
in February ahead of a March presidential poll he went on to win amid
widespread allegations of election malpractice.

      The sanctions included a ban on the sale and supply of arms and of
equipment which could be used for internal repression.

      The extension of the EU sanctions came as nearly 2 900 white farmers
in Zimbabwe face a government deadline to leave their land by mid August.

      The opposition MDC welcomed the sanctions, saying the move showed the
international community was determined to hold Mugabe to book on issues of
democracy and human rights abuses.
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ZAMBIA-ZIMBABWE: Contrasting impact of food crisis

      IRINnews Africa, Wed 24 Jul 2002

      JOHANNESBURG, - Zambia's current food security crisis, though serious,
is localised and "ultimately more manageable" than neighbouring Zimbabwe,
the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) said in a new report.

      "Zambia's food security problems this year are serious in the southern
part of the country and are mostly the result of multiple years of drought,
rather than policy and governance issues. Still, these issues are compounded
by the already high poverty levels making it increasingly difficult for
affected households to respond to the current food problems without external
assistance," the report said.

      Zambia has a projected maize deficit of around 626,000 mt until April
next year. According to the World Food Programme and Food and Agriculture
Organisation figures, commercial imports are projected at 351,000 mt, with
the remaining shortfall of 275,000 mt to be covered by the government and
donor aid. Over 2.3 million people are in need of food aid.

      The level of this year's food production was around 24 percent lower
than last year's below-average production - and well below average
production - primarily as a result of prolonged dry spells in some parts of
the country. Heavy crop losses in the west, south, east and parts of central
Zambia have left around 20 percent of the population in need of assistance,
said the USAID-funded FEWS NET.

      "Food access is a potentially more serious problem than food
availability. As in all countries bordering Zimbabwe, prices are
      abnormally high and successive poor harvests in parts of the country
have reduced poor households' ability to purchase food,"
      the report said.

      Food availability problems this year are serious, but well within the
ability of the government and donors to manage. Zambia, has informal trade
links with Mozambique and Tanzania, which should reduce the amount of maize
that needs to be formally imported into the country, either by the
government's Food Reserve Agency or commercial traders, FEWS NET noted.

      "One aspect to monitor is whether or not the government provides a
clear signal to commercial traders about its import
      intentions and potential support for commercial imports (last year the
government subsidised commercial imports). If this
      signal is made early and clear it would encourage the commercial
sector to import. If not, then commercial traders could
      delay importing maize, resulting in a serious food shortfall as was
the case in the middle of the 2001/02 marketing season," added the report.

      Meanwhile, the situation in Zimbabwe, where six million are at risk -
half of the population - is far worse. FEWS NET warned in a separate report
that the crisis could degenerate into famine unless the government reversed
its policies on farm acquisitions, lifted restrictions on the role of the
private sector, and shelved a ban on importing genetically modified grain
(mainly provided by the United States).

      "In Zimbabwe, the combination of poor policies and governance failure
has set the stage for this year's drought to have a much larger effect than
it normally would have. The continuing economic decline due to a combination
of factors - including a coercive and ill-advised land distribution
programme - has put a large portion of the population at risk of food
shortages, and hence food access," the organisation said.

      It was difficult to see how conditions could improve over the coming
year, FEWS NET predicted. "Unless numerous policy changes are made, it is
unlikely that the next harvest will be any better than this year, even if
normal rains return," the report forecasted.

      "Not only does the poor production constrain food access, but
Zimbabwe's current financial and food crises are certain to deepen, and will
further erode the purchasing power of households in both the rural and urban
areas. Large numbers of unemployed commercial farm workers purchased most of
their food in past years, but now have limited resources to do so. In
addition, poorer segments of the communal small holder population normally
buy a significant portion of their food, even in good years," the report

      The decrease in productivity in rural areas and the increasing cost of
living in urban areas (worsened by high rates of unemployment) are
contributing to the rapidly declining purchasing power of households and
mounting food access problems.

      "There are early indications that the emergency response will be
complicated by several factors, including the large number of households,
reduced stocks partially because of cereal shortages in the previous
marketing year, Zimbabwe's refusal to accept genetically modified cereals,
the politicisation of food aid and major distribution and logistical
challenges. All of these issues could severely hamper the emergency response
and increase the probability that the situation in Zimbabwe could
deteriorate into a famine," FEWS NET said.

      For the full Zimbabwe report:

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'Zim must drop food ban'

Harare - An American food relief expert urged the Zimbabwean government to
drop restrictions on the import of maize that could not be certified free of
genetically modified material, saying the food was the only way to avert
starvation in the country.

The US maize was safe, Roger Winter, a senior USAid official who visited
food relief distribution centres in northeastern Zimbabwe, said on Tuesday.

"It is the same food that Americans eat every day. It is the same food that
has been approved by our Environmental Protection Agency," he said. "We want
to help in this food emergency but we don't have a substitute (for the
maize) and the volumes are not available anywhere else."

Aid agencies have warned that almost half the country faces starvation as
famine looms, caused in part by President Robert Mugabe's controversial land
redistribution programme to transfer the country's white-owned farms to
landless blacks. The violence and chaos accompanying the seizures has
brought commercial agriculture to a standstill.

Erratic rainfall has also contributed to the food shortage.

The US government has been outspoken in its criticism of the land seizures.

'No famine on my watch'

On Tuesday, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe accused western nations of
using aid to try and pressurise the government to change its policies.

"We certainly abhor sinister interests, which seek surreptitiously to
advance themselves under cover of humanitarian assistance," Mugabe said.

Winter declined to respond, saying the United States was only interested in
preventing famine.

"If there is inadequate action to prevent famine, people will die because
there is nobody to make up for the role the US is prepared to play," he
said. "President Bush ... has told us he does not want famine on his watch."

There was no immediate government response to Winter's appeal.

In May the government rejected a 10 000 ton donation of maize from the
United States because it could not be certified that it was not genetically

Zimbabwean officials have not said specifically why they object to
genetically modified food. But some scientists have been concerned that
genes from modified field crops would so thoroughly invade nearby fields
that no field crops could ever be completely free of the effects of the new
gene manipulation techniques.

Zimbabwe has to date bought 500 000 tons of maize from South Africa, Brazil,
China and Kenya without questioning whether it was genetically modified.
Much of the maize is still in transit due to logistical problems.

Zimbabwe had accepted all other food shipments to the country without
reservation, a spokesperson for the US Embassy in South Africa said. No
other countries in southern Africa receiving US aid expressed concern that
shipments may contain genetically modified food, the spokesperson said. -
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U N I T E D  N A T I O N S
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)

SWAZILAND-ZIMBABWE: Journalists awarded for bravery

JOHANNESBURG, 24 July (IRIN) - Three Southern African journalists on Tuesday received international recognition for their courage in the face of alleged persecution.

The two Zimbabweans and a Swazi were part of a group of 37 writers from 19 countries awarded the Hellman/Hammett Grant.

Each year, Human Rights Watch (HRW), the international human rights NGO, presents the grants worth US $175,000 to writers in financial need as a result of state harassment.

Zimbabwean journalists, Geoffrey Nyarota and Wilfred Mbanga, have repeatedly been "harassed" by the government. On several  occasions Nyarota - editor of the country's largest independent newspaper the Daily News - has been charged with defamation and filing false reports.

Mbanga, one of the founders of the newspaper, was arrested with Nyarota in November 2001 and held for 32 hours on a false charge of fraud. A regional magistrate subsequently dismissed the allegation.

"This is an important recognition of the kind of work journalists do. I have been fighting for the freedom of the press all my life and am humbled by this grant. I hope it provides some kind of inspiration for other journalists working in these trying times. I hope for the day when we can once again write without fear of repression," Mbanga told IRIN.

On Tuesday, Zimbabwe's press laws, widely described as draconian, were referred to the country's supreme court by a magistrate who questioned their constitutionality, the news agency AFP reported.

Harare magistrate Sandra Nhau refused to let the latest trial of Nyarota - accused of "publishing falsehoods" - proceed. Instead, she granted a motion from defence lawyers to have the case heard by the country's highest court.

The charges against Nyarota arose from a story run by the Daily News in April, which subsequently proved false. It had alleged that a woman had been beheaded in front of her children by ruling ZANU-PF party militia.

The paper later retracted the story and offered an apology to ZANU-PF when it was established that the source of the story, a man claiming to be the dead woman's husband, fabricated the incident.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

Sarah Mkhonza, an outspoken advocate of women rights in Swaziland, also received a grant for her weekly column which has been highly critical of the monarchy in the tiny kingdom. Mkhonza, a regular contributor to the country's only local independent newspaper had became a political target, alleged HRW.

"In many countries, governments use military and presidential decrees, criminal libel, and sedition laws to silence critics, often on trumped up charges. Writers and journalists are threatened, harassed, assaulted, indicted, jailed, or tortured merely for providing information from non-governmental sources.  In addition to those who are directly targeted, many others are forced to practice self-censorship," said HRW.


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Hoovers -  Source: ZNBC Radio 2, Lusaka, in English 0500 gmt 12 Jun 02

Zimbabwean president reportedly denies rejecting US food aid

July 24, 2002 12:52pm


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has conceded that the food shortage in
his country is critical, and needs the immediate intervention of the
international community.

President Mugabe has also denied international media reports indicating that
he has rejected food aid from the United States of America, USA, saying this
was mere propaganda by the West.

Mr Mugabe told (?ZNBC's) Cecilia Banda in an exclusive interview at the FAO
headquarters in Rime, Italy, yesterday that while accepting the food aid,
his country will be careful not to accept grain that is genetically
modified, because it is dangerous to human beings.

Mr Mugabe says he is happy with the assessment report by the World Food
Programme, WFP, on the hunger situation in the six southern African
countries, including Zambia, because it has brought out the actual figures.

Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Malawi, and Swaziland are facing a
critical food shortage, where 13 million are starving daily, with Zimbabwe
recording half the figure.

Mr Mugabe has, however, denied Western media reports that the food shortage
in his country is as a result of government's land reform programme.

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