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

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from VOA news
Zimbabwe Police Disrupt Church, Try to Arrest Opposition Members
Martin Rushmere
7 Jul 2001 18:14 UTC

Police in Zimbabwe tried Saturday to arrest members of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change at a church service. But worshippers refused
to allow them in. Police have stepped up action against the opposition party
in recent days.

The church service was in memory of Patrick Nabanyama, a party worker for
the Movement for Democratic Change who was kidnapped in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's
second largest city, in the campaign before last year's parliamentary

The MDC has accused the ruling party of President Robert Mugabe of being
behind Mr. Nabanyama's disappearance.

A member of parliament for the MDC, David Coltart, was among those at the
church service. "Some eight members of the police arrived at the church and
tried to gain entry to the church," he said. "I believe they tried to come
in and arrest certain members of the MDC during the ceremony. They were
however prevented by members of the congregation who saw they were members
of the police who were involved in detaining MDC members in the course of
the last week or so and they prevented them from gaining access to the

On Friday, police raided the Bulawayo office of the opposition party, saying
they were looking for weapons. A party official was arrested but no weapons
were found.

On Thursday, 33 party workers were arrested when police stormed an office of
the MDC in Harare. The party workers have been charged with inciting
violence against the ruling ZANU-PF party.

The MDC secretary general, Welshman Ncube, says the police are acting on
orders from the ruling party. Mr. Ncube says the police raids are an
indication of what he calls "confusion and panic" among the ruling party
ahead of presidential elections next year.

Meanwhile, there are renewed concerns about food shortages in Zimbabwe, with
the government admitting for the first time that wheat and the staple food,
maize, will have to be imported. Finance Minister Simba Makoni says donors
are being asked to help.

Food production on commercial farms has declined sharply because of illegal
occupations by militant groups supporting President Robert Mugabe. At least
a dozen farmers and workers have been killed in the ensuing violence.

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Zimbabwe veterans corner, threaten white farmers
07/07/01 19:21
HARARE (Reuters) - A mob of Zimbabwean war veterans is holding four white farmers hostage and threatening to kill them after beating up some of their workers, according to a neighbouring farmer.

Lindsey Campbell told Reuters on Saturday that 60 veterans invaded Iain Kay's Chipesa Farm, 50 miles east of the capital, on Friday. They chased away his 120 workers and forced Kay and his son David to lock themselves in the farmhouse.

President Robert Mugabe wants to seize thousands of farms owned by whites for redistribution to landless blacks. His government has encouraged its supporters to invade hundreds of farms in the past 18 months.

Lindsey said Iain and David Kay were joined later on Friday in the farmhouse by two neighbouring farmers, Kim Nilson and Trevor Steel, who had come to try to help.

"Since yesterday, these four farmers have been hostages. They are being prohibited from coming out and they are being threatened with death," she told Reuters by telephone from her farm in the nearby town of Marondera.

"The situation is quite tense because some of these people have broken down some doors, and are behaving in very violent manner," she said.

A police official said some police were on the scene investigating the incident.

"I don't have any details but we have some men on the ground there, and they should be able to care of the situation," he told Reuters.

A police constable was shot dead at Iain Kay's farm in April last year when it was first invaded by militant supporters of Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF, led by veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war.

Iain Kay was severely assaulted at the time and left for dead. The invaders moved out of the property months later, but have been coming back now and then, threatening to occupy the farm.

The late Jock Kay, Iain Kay's father, served as a deputy minister for agriculture in Mugabe's government in the 1980s.

Eight farmers have been killed in violence associated with the invasions.

Mugabe plans to confiscate five million hectares (11 million acres) of the 12 million hectares held by white farmers and has earmarked over 5,000 farms for redistribution to landless blacks.

The president, who has ruled since independence in 1980, says 4,500 white farmers have 70 percent of Zimbabwe's best land. Those whose farms are seized are compensated for improvements only, not the land, which Mugabe says was "stolen" from blacks during colonialism.

The farmers say they support the principle of land redistribution but oppose land seizures.

...this personal update was posted earlier today ....
Ian has now been released (by the police) from the workshop/office where
he's been held all night, and is reunited with his 22 year old son David,
and neighbour Trevor who have been held separately in the house all night.
They are still being held hostage, and the demand is that Ian should be
handed over to them (Cathy's got it slightly wrong in her letter, it's Ian
they want not a worker) as they wish to deal with him for his political
beliefs - which is what they did last year when he was beaten to within an
inch of his life, and only escaped by diving into a farm reservoir, and
there were no keen swimmers amongst his attackers! (David rescued him) He spent a few days in hospital, where I visited him, and a few months first
out of the country, and then off his farm. But his spirit and courage are
enormous, and a book will surely be written about that family one day.
Right now the Provincial police, the ruling party chiefs, the Governor, and all who should know what is happening, know, and about 20 farmers are on the farm next door, ready and prepared to react in whatever way is necessary, if the situation gets out of control. I sit at the end of a phone - and we wait. Three workers have been badly assaulted overnight, and the police have evidently taken them off to hospital.
From the Daily News : .......
War vets besiege Marondera farm

7/7/01 9:21:41 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

A GROUP of war veterans and Zanu PF supporters yesterday invaded Chipesa Farm in Marondera forcing the owner, Iain Kay, his son, two neighbours and about 120 workers to flee and lock themselves in the farmhouse.

Iain’s son, David, and two neighbouring farmers, Kim Nilson and Trevor Steel, locked themselves in the main house at Chipesa Farm, while Iain and about 120 workers took refuge inside the security fencing around the house.
In a telephone interview last night, David said he and the workers on the farm were burning grass just before noon when the war veterans arrived and began chasing them with sticks and other weapons.
"We all ran towards the house and locked ourselves in. The war veterans have lit fires outside the security fencing and are demanding my father’s head.
My two neighbours and I went into the main house and locked ourselves in. I telephoned the police in Marondera but when they arrived at the house, they confiscated my camera and took out my used film and went away," David said.
One of the workers, identified last night only as Douglas, who arrived at the farm after the invasion, was beaten by the war veterans and later taken away.
Ray Kaukonde, the Zanu PF provincial chairman for Mashonaland East, under which the farm falls, professed ignorance of the incident when contacted last night.
He said he had telephoned Marondera police who also said they knew nothing about the invasion of the farm.
In April last year, a police officer, Constable Tinashe Chakwenya, was shot dead at Chipesa Farm after war veterans invaded it and severely assaulted Iain Kay for failing to meet a deadline to reconstruct shacks housing the invaders.
Kay was admitted to a private hospital in Marondera, Borradaile, where he was discharged after several days.
Kay is the son of the late Jock Kay, a former Deputy Minister of Agriculture in post-independence Zimbabwe

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From The Economist [UK]
Africa's plan to save itself
Jul 6th 2001

From The Economist Global Agenda

Gathering for the summit of the Organisation of African Unity, the continent's leaders are promising reform, and asking the rest of the world to back a recovery plan


TRYING to construct a set of goals and policies for Africa that both George Bush and Robert Mugabe, the obstreperous president of Zimbabwe, would sign up to is nearly impossible. But last week a team of drafters was closeted in a hotel in South Africa, attempting to incorporate some last-minute comments from African governments in order to make the Millennium Action Plan (MAP) for African recovery acceptable to as many African leaders as possible. Many of them will now discuss it at this week's summit in Lusaka, Zambia, of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Their task is to make the plan look credible enough to attract financial support. If it looks like no more than an African begging-bowl held out to the rest of the world, it will be ignored.

The plan is the brainchild of Thabo Mbeki, who wanted a way of bringing to life his vision of an “African renaissance”. Working with the presidents of Nigeria and Algeria, Olusegun Obasanjo and Abdelaziz Bouteflika, South Africa’s president set up a team to write a plan that would inspire Africa to create a better future for itself—and persuade others to take it seriously. The hope is that if African leaders commit themselves to democracy and human rights, to tackle disease and reform their economies, and generally to get their act together, the rest of the world will start investing in Africa again.

The mood of the UN millennium summit last year suggested that the world might be ready to help. Later, Tony Blair let it be known that he wanted some big scheme for Africa to feature in his second term as Britain’s prime minister, but that he also wanted the initiative for this scheme to come from Africa, and that he would then respond.


Mbeki fights for his brainchild

This is what is happening. After a bit of fiddling with the text in Lusaka, the MAP, an African initiative, will be endorsed by the OAU, and individual African rulers will sign up to it. Mr Mbeki will then, with the help of Mr Blair, present the plan to the G8 summit in Genoa the following week.

The plan’s central thesis is that Africa’s development depends on its full involvement in the global economy, and that this requires a mixture of reform in Africa and assistance from other countries. The most important reforms are:

• establishing peace, and more democratic government;

• respecting human rights;

• investing in people by giving them better health and education;

• diversifying economies, and encouraging trade both within Africa and with the outside world;

• combating disease and boosting new technologies.

In return for the promised reforms, the plan asks the developed world for more debt relief, the removal of trade barriers and the ending of its farm subsidies. Aid is low on the agenda, being mentioned only in the last few pages.

Plans and promises of reform in Africa have been two a penny in recent years; getting them implemented is the hard bit. The MAP puts its faith in peer pressure, and monitoring performance with timetables and targets. Not unnaturally, African leaders want matching commitments from donors, demanding that help should be open, clearly aimed and co-ordinated.

The plan’s hopes and ideas are not new but that is probably a good thing. Up until now they have been propounded by western countries and widely ignored or disputed in Africa. The MAP appears to be Africa’s acceptance that the donors were roughly right, and that their conditions for aid were not so much neo-colonial bullying as the rules of a globalised economy. But not all African leaders will go that far. Some Africans—not Mr Mbeki—strongly believe that it is their right to claim aid from the developed world in compensation for past exploitation.

The plan’s delicately balanced structure remains shaky. At a meeting in Cairo last week, African ministers tried to hook several of their own pet ideas on to it. Senegal’s president, Abdoulaye Wade, has drawn up his own plan, which is basically a call for more aid, and wants it incorporated. The Nigerians have begun to talk about debt relief for middle-income countries, such as themselves. But this is something that no donor country will look at.


Mugabe blames the West

The drafters in Pretoria, surrounded by African ministers and ambassadors, know that some leaders, above all Mr Mugabe, will still insist on blaming the past or “neo-colonialism” for their ills, and will certainly not approve a document that wants dictators isolated or property rights respected. The battle is for the middle ground. The difficulty is to find a formula that enough Africans can accept but that will still convince world leaders that Africa is serious about reform

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The empire that Mandaza built

7/7/01 8:40:26 AM (GMT +2)

Conrad Nyamutata, Chief Reporter

DR Ibbo Mandaza is a man of substance judging by the number of expensive properties he owns in and out of Harare.

Humble beginnings ­ the Mandaza residence in Mt Pleasant.

The embattled editor-in-chief of the Southern African Printing and Publishing House (Sappho) this week refused to shed light on the circumstances surrounding his acquisition, upgrading or construction of a number of upmarket properties.
Mandaza is the proud owner of a large farm in the Mazowe area, the centrepiece of which is a well-appointed mansion. He also owns a house ­ his first acquisition ­ along Coull Drive in Mt Pleasant.
Mandaza purchased Passaford Farm in Mazowe in 1985. At a later stage he razed the farmhouse to the ground, built an imposing structure in its place, and renamed it Panhowe Farm.
He then moved out of a property in Mt Pleasant and took up residence in Mazowe.

A bird's-eye-view of the Mandaza luxury mansion on Panhowe Farm in the Mazowe area.

The property in Coull Drive, Mt Pleasant was, as of yesterday, registered in the name of one I.D.J. Mandaza. Ibbotson Day Joseph Mandaza is the full name of the editor-in-chief of The Zimbabwe Mirror.
In due course, Mandaza acquired a luxury holiday cottage, Sakarombe Lodge, in the Juliasdale area. His neighbour high up in the mountains of the Eastern Highlands is Dr Yemi Katerere, former chief executive of the Forestry Commission. Yesterday Katerere confirmed he was Mandaza's neighbour. He said about 10 years ago the two of them had bought cottages in John Gault Village, a property development near the Brondesbury Park Hotel. The cottages stand on two-and-half hectares of land.
Mandaza was yesterday granted an opportunity but refused to explain how he financed the acquisitions and construction project in Mazowe.
He only said: "Go and hang," before questions had been put to him in full and slammed the phone down.
Mandaza has recently been in the news as the subject of a barrage of articles in The Independent. The newspaper alleged that Mandaza was diverting funds from Southern African Political and Economic Series (Sapes), an independent research organisation where he is executive chairman, to fund his paper, The Zimbabwe Mirror and a proposed daily newspaper, which has been on the drawing board for some time now.
The Daily Mirror was originally scheduled for launch on 1 May 2001. That week Mandaza announced that the launch had been postponed to June.
"We are expecting it to be out in mid-June," he said. "At the moment a team is still working on the dummy, funding and staffing issues."
Last week it was reported in The Mirror that Sappho had launched a private placement initiative aimed at raising $349 million to finance the company's proposed daily paper. The private placement was expected to open this week and close next week on Friday, 13 July.
Among companies that were reported to have expressed an interest in the project were TA Holdings, Old Mutual, Margolis Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, Time Bank, National Social Security Authority (NSSA), Shabanie and Mashaba Minesa (Pvt) Ltd and Kingdom Holdings Limited.

Cast in stone - the Mandaza luxury holiday cottage up in the mountains in Juliasdale

The Independent has alleged that donors funding Sapes Trust and its research and training arm, the Southern African Regional Institute for Policy Studies (Sarips) were threatening to cut their funding of the two organisations, allegedly due to Mandaza's improper use of such funds.
It was alleged that Mandaza was in trouble with the Dutch over the issue of accountability of donor funds with one Dutch donor agency, Hivos, said to have been unhappy over alleged lack of auditing.
Mandaza dismissed these allegations and said donor funds were still flowing into his projects.
A spokesman for Hivos said yesterday: "Yes, we have raised some concerns pertaining to the administration of Sapes and Sarips. We understand they are addressing the concerns."
In a more recent development Mandaza allegedly misrepresented details of his status to the Indian High Commissioner in Harare when he sought assistance for his company to purchase a printing press.
An online enquiry for a commercial printing press posted to India by the High Commission on 29 March on behalf of Mandaza does not refer to Sappho, Mandaza's publishing company, but lists Sapes Trust, a not-for-profit non-governmental organisation, as the organisation seeking assistance.
"Sapes Trust is a publishing company in Harare, Zimbabwe that brings out a 32-page weekly newspaper called Mirror," the communication states. "They presently bring out 35 000 copies each week. This company is looking for commercial printing machines to print 18 000 copies of daily as well as weekly magazines.
"They would like to establish a joint venture partnership with any reputed Indian company who can provide technology and expertise. The details of the joint venture can be directly worked out with them. Members interested may contact the Zimbabwean company."
But it is Sappho ­ and not Sapes Trust ­ as claimed by Mandaza, which publishes The Zimbabwe Mirror. The actual print order of The Zimbabwe Mirror averages 11 500, nowhere near the 35 000 claimed.
A spokesman said yesterday that the Indian High Commission had merely forwarded the enquiry to the Indian Export Promotion Council in India. The council had, in turn, posted it on the internet.
The spokesman said the High Commission forwarded the request on the assumption that all details supplied by Mandaza were factual.
Sapes Trust enjoys a semi-diplomatic status, through which it can import goods into Zimbabwe without paying import duty.
It has been alleged in the past that Mandaza has abused this status of Sapes for personal gain. Vehicles registered under Mandaza's organisations have in the past carried semi-diplomatic TCE number plates. Such plates were quickly removed when The Daily News reported on this anomaly and were replaced with regular Zimbabwean plates.

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Axe-wielding war veterans bring Plumtree to a standstill

7/7/01 9:26:25 AM (GMT +2)

Mduduzi Mathuthu, Bulawayo

MOBS of axe-wielding war veterans brought Plumtree to a standstill on Thursday as they swooped on companies they alleged took part in the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) mass stayaway on Tuesday and Wednesday to protest against the recent 70 percent fuel price increases.

Riot police had to intervene to stop the war veterans from harassing workers after they temporarily stopped business at a number of companies.
Among the companies forced to close by the war veterans were the Central Africa Building Society, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority and the Posts and Telecommunications Corporation.
An urgent meeting, attended by the police, war veterans and managers of affected companies was later convened.
The war veterans are understood to have threatened to take over the administration of the companies and demanded the transfer of all their managers.
The Officer-in-Charge of Plumtree Police Station, Inspector Henry Mhlanga, said yesterday the police were maintaining a heavy presence in the streets of the border town, about 100km south-west of Bulawayo. At least two million workers countrywide took part in the stayaway, according to ZCTU officials.
The forced closure of companies followed stern warnings by the war veterans' secretary for projects, former dissident Andrew Ndlovu, and Harare provincial chairman, Joseph Chinotimba, who is also vice-president of the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions, on national television this week that the war veterans had taken note of all the companies which closed and would track down their managers or seize the companies.

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MDC offices raided

7/7/01 9:20:27 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

THE police in Bulawayo yesterday raided the MDC offices in the city and arrested a driver, Khethani Sibanda, and quizzed Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, the Member of Parliament for Lobengula-Magwegwe.

Sibanda was arrested during the raid at Number 145 Herbert Chitepo Street.
Dulini-Ncube was asked to report to the police today.
Learnmore Jongwe, the MDC spokesman, said no reasons were given for asking Dulini-Ncube to report for questioning. But it is understood Sibanda is accused of having used an MDC truck to carry out violent campaigns.
The raid on MDC offices in Bulawayo yesterday followed a similar swoop on the party offices in Harare.
On Thursday, a group of policemen armed with AK rifles stormed the MDC offices in Robinson House along Union Avenue in Harare.
The crackdown came a day after the two-day mass job stayaway called for by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and which the union estimates as having been 95 percent successful.
The officers immediately barricaded the main entrance to the building, and rushed upstairs to the MDC offices on the sixth floor.
About 25 MDC officials and members were locked inside.
People coming in and out of the building were searched and asked to produce identity cards.
Tafadzwa Musekiwa, the MDC MP for Zengeza, was in the building at the time of the raid.
He said the police told them they were looking for weapons and some youths allegedly held hostage at the offices.
Musekiwa said: "I was surprised to see my office locked up when I arrived at the office. I asked them if they had a search warrant and they said they didn’t have. They said they were looking for weapons of mass destruction. We are not in a war situation and we do not need those weapons, which we would never keep at our offices."
Tendai Jambani, the provincial co-ordinator of the MDC, said: "They stormed into our offices and immediately began searching without saying anything. The offices were empty."
Welshman Ncube, the secretary-general of the MDC, described the raid as an unlawful adventure by law enforcement agents acting on the instructions of Zanu PF.
He said: "This clearly demonstrates that there is confusion and panic in the Zanu PF camp."
He said Zanu PF was bitter because the two-day stayaway called by the ZCTU had been successful.
Jongwe said: "These two incidents symbolise the intensification of Zanu PF’s routine harassment of MDC leaders as we move towards the historic presidential election," said Jongwe.
"This routine harassment has already seen several MDC parliamentarians and members being attacked by Zanu PF’s deacons of violence."

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Why Hunzvi, and not Jairos Jiri, was declared hero

7/7/01 9:11:12 AM (GMT +2)

Pius Wakatama on Saturday

THE other day I went to get a get-together in my somewhat aged Nissan 1400 truck.

Upon observing my car, a so-called friend said to me: "Wakatama, that car does not fit you at all.
It is not in keeping with your status in society. As a well-known businessman and writer you should be driving a decent Mercedes or Peugeot.
Unotinyadzisa mhani, shaaz." (You are an embarrassment to me your friend).
Unfazed, I said to him: "This truck is very reliable. It takes me from point A to point B and is very conservative on petrol. You see, unlike some people who do not have much education and have achieved nothing in life, I do not derive status from pieces of tin like cans but from being who I am."
I left the man smiling rather foolishly and joined others.
Afterwards, I thought seriously about our values as Zimbabweans. I concluded that Zimbabwe is being destroyed politically and economically by our distorted values.
We have lost our own cultural values and espoused bankrupt values based on materialism. Success in life is now measured in terms of how much money and junk one has accumulated, and not on one’s contribution to society.
This is why people like Jairos Jiri were not declared national heroes, but characters like Chenjerai Hunzvi and Border Gezi now lie at Heroes' Acre.
The tragic thing about human beings is not that we are destined for the grave. The tragedy is that we live this life as though we are going to be here forever.
We forget that each day brings us closer to joining Hunzvi and Gezi in that great farm upstairs which was designated for us.
If we were really aware that life on earth is temporary we would live differently. We would not regard material things as important enough to torture and kill other human beings for.
The Bible says of ill-gotten riches: "As the partridge that sitteth on eggs which she hath not laid, so is he that getteth riches, and not by right, in the midst of his days they shall leave him, and at his end he shall be a fool." (Jeremiah 17:11)
Haven’t we seen enough such fools as Kamuzu Banda, Mobutu Sese Seko and Idi Amin, to name just a few?
Do we need any more added to the rather long list of fools who refuse to learn from history and The Good Book?
Our pursuit of individual accumulation of material wealth has now surpassed that of our former colonial oppressors.
Materialism has fostered in our leaders greed which has put us on the uppermost rungs of corrupt regimes in Africa, if not in the world.
Zimbabwe is now like a rudderless ship tossing on the high seas whose passengers are held hostage by a power-drunk captain and crew who have rebelled against their own paying passengers.
In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire describes the mindset and attitude of materialistic oppressors.
He says: "The oppressors do not perceive their monopoly of having more as a privilege which dehumanises others and themselves. They cannot see that in the egoist pursuit of having as a possessing class, they suffocate in their own possession and no longer are: they merely have. For them having more is an alienable right, a right they acquired through their own ‘effort’, with their courage to take risks."
The Zanu PF elite class do, therefore, see their clinging to power and privilege as a right because they "fought for the country".
The materialist’s doctrine that individual physical well-being and worldly possessions constitute the greatest good and highest value in life is a Western fallacy which militates against the Zimbabwean African ethos of communalism based on hunhu/ ubuntu (humaneness).
I stand amazed at the number of people who still have faith in our oppressive rulers. They have been thoroughly hoodwinked by the false generosity of the oppressor.
Said Freire: "In their unrestrained eagerness to possess, the oppressors develop the conviction that it is possible for them to transform everything into objects of their purchasing power, hence their strictly materialistic concept of existence.
"Money is the measure of all things and profit the primary goal. For the oppressors, what is worthwhile is to have more, always more, even at the cost of the oppressed having less or having nothing.
"As beneficiaries of a situation of oppression, the oppressors cannot perceive that if having is a condition of being, it is a necessary condition for all men. This is why their generosity is false."
In Zimbabwe we see this false generosity at work. Is the government genuine in its fast-track resettlement exercise? Is it not a ploy to garner votes for the coming presidential election?
Gezi and Shuvai Mahofa dished out millions of dollars to the poor for projects which were neither researched nor planned. How have these self-help projects fared? Has there been any follow-up? Is this not the false generosity, which regards people as objects to be purchased, which Freire is talking about?
On 21 June, 2001 The Herald reported on a meeting between President Mugabe and President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya regarding the committee of Commonwealth foreign ministers formed to help put discussions over the land issue between Zimbabwe and Britain into perspective. I quote: "Zimbabwean government sources said President Mugabe told the meeting that the new initiative was aimed at distracting attention from a campaign by Britain which had seen the land issue being viewed in terms of democracy, the rule of law, political violence and good governance instead of an effort to correct imbalances in ownership of resources created by colonialism.
"What Zimbabwe does not want to see is a fixation of peripheral matters such as the rule of law, democracy, good governance and political violence when the core issue is land."
One feels sorry for the spiritual poverty of our President.
His priorities are so skewed and bankrupt as to make it impossible for this country to ever experience peace and prosperity as long as he is in power.
History has repeatedly shown that only leaders with strong moral and ethical values are able to bring real development to their countries, not morally bankrupt materialistic dictators who regard the rule of law, democracy and good governance as peripheral issues.

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The rule of law in the stayaway’s aftermath

7/7/01 9:10:03 AM (GMT +2)

THE most pathetic response to the two-day Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions-sponsored stayaway was from ZBC-TV. On Thursday evening, their eight o’clock news bulletin began with three interviews.

If these had been of economists, captains of industry or trade union leaders, they would have made sense. But these were of three war veterans’ leaders - Andrew Ndlovu, Joseph Chinotimba and Cain Nkala. These confirmed rabble-rousing anarchists had little that was constructive to say about the stayaway or about the cause of the mass action.
Their diatribes consisted of naked threats against union leaders and company executives and the tired old rhetoric of people who owe their public image to the promotion of lawlessness.
ZBC-TV has sunk to such depths of sycophancy and depravity it is difficult to imagine any self-respecting professional spending their time working for it, in any capacity whatsoever.
But perhaps this is a strategy forged by the government’s public relations apparatchiks - to be so distastefully intimidating most people will be frightened of challenging the government. For instance, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Simba Makoni, in his briefing with journalists this week, sounded as if he was addressing a Zanu PF rally. It was so totally uncharacteristic of him that he lacked any subtlety at all.
His comments on the stayaway consisted mostly of an attack on the ZCTU leadership on its ultimatum to the government over the 70 percent fuel price increase.
But the obvious success of the stayaway should indicate to the government that most workers are disgusted with this latest assault on their amazingly shrinking disposable incomes.
What is even more infuriating to them is that the increase was made partly to sustain a corrupt parastatal, the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim). There is still no evidence that anybody held responsible for the massive graft at that government-owned company has been made to pay or is about to pay the price of their perfidy.
All this, added to the general stench of corruption wafting through every government ministry, must make the average worker wonder what his taxes are being used for. There is no longer any guarantee that they are being used to build new hospitals, clinics, roads, schools and other public amenities.
The cost of the stayaway could not have done the economy any good. Even if it was a mere $500 million, it is money this country cannot afford to lose in two days or even in one week. If it was $6 billion, as some estimates have it, then it was an even more terrible loss. But the main cause of this confrontation between an arrogant and corrupt government and a workers’ union fed up with this arrogance and corruption is accountability.
The government must account for its actions.
It cannot raise the price of fuel by 70 percent at one stroke and then fail to explain why it is doing so. The people being forced to make the sacrifice of lowering their standards of living bear no responsibility whatsoever for the corruption at Noczim, except perhaps not being able to vote out of power the government which condones the corruption.
The people, moreover, cannot be held responsible for the widespread lawlessness which has cost the government economic and political allies and is the cause of the present economic crisis - unless they can be blamed for returning this government to power in the 2000 election.
Makoni spoke forcefully of the measures the government intends to take to right the economic wrongs of the past, which it inflicted upon itself with its open support for lawlessness since February last year. There is a feeling among many analysts that all these grand plans will come to nothing as long as the government does not address the fundamental problem of returning the country to the rule of law. Many of its former trading partners are today wary of resuming open business with Zimbabwe because of this one crucial issue - the return of the rule of law.
When innocent, unarmed civilians are bashed by men in army or police uniforms for no apparent reason and the assailants are not arrested, let alone punished, the rule of law does not exist.
When people calling themselves war veterans set up roadblocks in any part of the country and begin to control the movement of people without the authority of the police, then the rule of law does not exist.
Those who insist that the rule of law is alive and well in this country, and that the foreign countries holding off trade are being "racist" should take another peek at our own foreign policy and foreign currency reserves.
That will reveal to them who is telling the truth.

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Four more people killed in Epworth

7/7/01 9:24:35 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

FOUR people in Epworth have died as a result of political violence in the last week, bringing the total number of casualties to six in 10 days.

The violence was waged by suspected war veterans and Zanu PF supporters against members of the MDC.
Two people suspected to be war veterans died and six others were seriously injured when about 80 of their colleagues petrol-bombed residents of New Gada in Epworth last Saturday.
Tapiwa Mashakada, the MP for Hatfield which covers Epworth, said yesterday four MDC supporters were killed after being assaulted by the war veterans at their base at McDonalds Farm on Monday.
The MP said he was housing some of the survivors at a secret location.
He alleged the war veterans threw petrol bombs indiscriminately, hitting their own supporters in the process, and then blamed the MDC for the violence.
"The group moves around with AK-47 and .303 rifles and several pistols," Mashakada said. "They are accusing MDC members of failing to pay a protection fee. They abduct them at night, strip them of clothing, torture and dump them out in the cold."
He alleged that instead of arresting assailants who would have been positively identified, the police at Dombo police post and Epworth police station threw the victims into cells and sometimes assaulted them.
The police have said they arrested 18 people and are investigating.
Edson Karavhina, the MDC branch chairman, a survivor among 18 abducted from their homes on Monday and assaulted by suspected Zanu PF supporters at the base, said four people died as a result.
Karavhina was assaulted together with MDC supporters, the Meza brothers Dagi, 26, Funny, 24, and Tichaona, 21.
The brothers said one of their colleagues died at the war veterans' base when they were released on Tuesday morning.
They said the other three, including James Nyika, died at the Harare Central Hospital.
The brothers did not know the names of the three who died.
Tichanakira, Nyika’s wife, said her husband would be buried at his rural home at Chimhavi village in Chirumanzu. He is survived by Tichanakira and five children.

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Another Zim editor sacked

Harare - Zimbabwe's state-controlled newspaper group has had another of its editors sacked. But unlike the last five fired on state orders in the last year, this one went after he censored criticism of President Robert Mugabe and his repressive regime.

The unexpected "retirement" of Steve Mpofu, editor of the daily Chronicle of the western city of Bulawayo for the last 12 years, was announced in the newspaper on Thursday.

Mpofu, said the independent Daily News, "has been fired".

Behind his abrupt departure lies the extraordinary decision by Mugabe's propaganda czars to serialise in the Chronicle and in Harare's daily Herald, the ghosted autobiography of the late vice- president Joshua Nkomo, symbolic leader of Zimbabwe's minority Ndebele people.

’Mugabe’s armed killers’

Nkomo: The Story of My Life begins with a frightening description of how Zimbabwe's most respected black nationalist leader was driven out of the country by "Mugabe's armed killers" in 1983 during the regime's notorious pogrom against the Ndebele people soon after independence in 1980, and in which up to 8 000 civilians were massacred.

The first serial was published on last week and continued daily. But on Wednesday, the Daily News revealed that the Chronicle had removed a 1 385-word chunk out of the shocking opening section of Nkomo's book. The Herald ran it without tampering with it.

Mpofu, interviewed on state television, said the piece had been left out "because of lack of space".

George Charamba, the permanent secretary in Mugabe's information office, said it was "an unintended clerical omission".

Retribution for Mpofu's embarrassing gaffe came swiftly. Within hours he was ejected. "He is not here," his office in Bulawayo said the day his "retirement" was announced. "Yesterday was his last day."

Nkomo ‘a cobra in the house’

The contentious section begins with a quotation from Mugabe: "Dr Joshua Nkomo and ZAPU (his former opposition party) are like a cobra in the house. The only way to deal effectively with a snake is to strike and destroy its head."

It goes on to describe his last terrifying day in Bulawayo, his home town, before he fled into neighbouring Botswana. It included the murder by Mugabe's soldiers of three members of his staff in his home.

"Robert Mugabe had decided to have me out of the way and he evidently did not care what method was used. It was the bitterest moment of my life," Nkomo wrote.

The next four years were an ordeal for the man known as "the father of Zimbabwe". Mugabe pursued his relentless persecution of Nkomo's party, ZAPU, until 1987 when it was drafted into Mugabe's Zanu- PF in an unequal "unity agreement”.

He became one of two national vice-presidents in what was effectively a symbolic role. He died in 1999, shrunken and senile, amid belated panegyrics from his former persecutor, Mugabe.

Astonishment has greeted the appearance in Mugabe's principal propaganda organ of so humiliating an indictment of his record by the country's best-loved veteran freedom fighter.

Never banned, never sold

The book was never formally banned, but somehow never went on sale here. After the first chapter, the book continues with copious detail about how Mugabe cheated, bullied and subjected Nkomo and ZAPU to a vengeful campaign of brutality, eventually forcing him to capitulate.

But the decision to serialise the book was not made by the Herald alone. On Monday last week, says Geoff Nyarota, editor of the Daily News, he instructed company officials to obtain permission from Methuen, the British publishers, to serialise it.

It was to run as soon as the paper had finished running George Orwell's satire of authoritarianism, Animal Farm. It was illustrated with cartoons of a bespectacled Napoleon, the evil pig that turned a glorious liberation from slavery into a nightmare of tyranny, bearing a surprising resemblance to Mugabe.

Five days later Nkomo's autobiography began - but in The Herald. On the surface, an adroit counter to the Daily News' serialisation of Orwell's classic.

’A mole among us’

"It was either a case of great minds thinking alike, or industrial espionage," said Nyarota. "We can only suspect that there is a mole among us who alerted the Herald."

But why, nine months before he faces a critical presidential election, flood the country with a document that portrays the president as a conniving, malevolent despot?

"This was obviously an error of judgement," said Nyarota. "It undermines everything they are trying to do. There must be gnashing of teeth in that camp right now.

"I could be wrong, but I can only think they didn't read the book before serialising it," he said.

’Temporarily suspended’

On Saturday the government received a temporary reprieve from the pain of Nkomo's further revelations of what he saw as Mugabe's cunning betrayal of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle.

Editor Pikirayi Deketeke told readers in a front page note that due to "certain legal formalities," further serials were "temporarily suspended".

Nkomo's family had served notice on the Herald that it was serialising the book without authorisation and had demanded that it stop publication forthwith, Thandiwe Nkomo, his daughter, confirmed.

"We were never consulted on the whole thing," she said. "The copyright belongs to the family and we are working on the rights to publish the book" in Zimbabwe, for the first time.

And the fate of Mpofu? Doubtless much the same as the five editors before him, all of whom were summarily dismissed when they began to show signs of being less than zealous over the cause of the 77-year-old Mugabe's re-election.

All five have been either kept in semi-permanent suspension on full pay by the ailing at the cost of the company's shareholders, or granted a fulsome pay-out. - Sapa-DPA

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