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

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            MDC sectretary general arrested by Zimbabwean police
            June 09, 2003, 21:15

            Zimbabwe police arrested a second key opposition leader today on
fresh treason charges in connection with protests against President Robert
Mugabe last week, police said.

            Welshman Ncube, a Secretary General of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), was picked up by police earlier today, said Andrew
Phiri, a police spokesperson.

            "We can confirm that we arrested him this morning. We are
holding him on two counts. One of contempt of court and the other of
treason," Phiri told Reuters.

            "It is possible that he might spend the night in jail and will
appear at the Magistrate's Court tomorrow," he added.

            Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC president, was arrested on the same
charges last Friday. Tsvangirai, Gibson Sibanda, the MDC vice-president and
Ncube are all also currently on trial for treason for allegedly plotting to
kill Mugabe in 2001, and could face the death penalty if convicted. -
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Zimbabwe judge rejects bid to muzzle oppo leader

HARARE, June 9 — A Zimbabwe judge rejected a state application to tighten
bail conditions on opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday, throwing
out what the defence said was a bid to muzzle him during anti-government
       State lawyers had accused Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), of making inflammatory public statements against
President Robert Mugabe before five days of protests and strike action last
       ''I do not believe that the procedure followed is the correct one,
and I am, and only on that basis, dismissing the application,'' High Court
Judge Paddington Garwe said.
       Tsvangirai and two senior MDC colleagues are on trial for treason in
connection with an alleged plot on Mugabe's life. State lawyers had asked
the court to formally bar the MDC leaders from ''inciting the public to
engage in unlawful activities and illegal demonstrations'' during their
       After Garwe's ruling, Deputy Attorney General Bharat Patel applied to
the court to adjourn the trial to allow Tsvangirai to appear in Harare's
Magistrates Court to face new treason charges connected to last week's
       Garwe said he would rule on the state's request for an adjournment at
2:30 pm (1230 GMT).
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US slams Zim intimidation
09/06/2003 20:34  - (SA)

Washington - The United States on Monday accused Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe of escalating a campaign of "intimidation and suppression" against
the opposition and demanded that his government respect the rights of the

The State Department, which on Friday expressed deep concern at the arrest
on treason charges of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, said it was
equally troubled by the arrest on Monday of one of his top deputies,
Welshman Ncube.

"Every citizen of every nation has the right of peaceful assembly," said
Lynn Cassel, a department spokesperson. "The government of Zimbabwe has an
obligation to respect that right and not to use force against its own

"We remain extremely concerned by last Friday's arrest and continued
detention of Morgan Tsvangirai on charges of treason as well as the
detention of Welshman Ncube," she said.

"These arrests show that the government continues to escalate its
intimidation and suppression of those who would raise their voices in
concern over the Mugabe government's catastrophic economic policies, human
rights abuses and disregard for the rule the law," Cassel said.

Earlier on Monday in Harare, Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), appeared in court on the treason charges as
authorities arrested Ncube for similar reasons.

Tsvangirai was detained on Friday, the final day of a series of
anti-government protests called by the MDC in the crisis-wracked southern
African country.

Hundreds of opposition supporters and activists, including lawmakers, were
reported to have been arrested or assaulted during week-long "mass action"
which saw Zimbabwe's major cities shut down despite a government creackdown
on the protests.

Tsvangirai has been charged with treason for organizing the rallies and
allegedly urging his supporters to overthrow the increasingly authoritarian

Ncube is charged with inciting MDC supporters to rise up against the

Both Tsvangirai and Ncube are already on trial for treason for allegedly
plotting to "eliminate" Mugabe ahead of last year's presidential elections,
which Mugabe won.

The two men deny the charges, which carry the death penalty on conviction.
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            Zimbabwe crisis deepening
            June 09, 2003, 06:45

            In Zimbabwe, the crisis appears to be deepening. While Morgan
Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, remains locked up, the police are now hot on the
tail of Welshman Ncube, the MDC general secretary. The MDC has threatened to
keep up the action as long as Tsvangirai is locked up.

            Meanwhile, the relations between Zimbabwe and the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) have also reached a new low. The IMF has decided to
suspend Zimbabwe's membership rights. It said the country can no longer
appoint a Governor, or Alternate Governor to the IMF, participate in the
election of an Executive Director for its Board, or cast its vote in
decisions on IMF policy or country matters.

            The IMF painted a grim picture of Zimbabwe's economic climate
over the past four years, noting a one-third drop in output, and inflation
of 270%. It said Zimbabwe has been in continuous arrears to the fund since
February 2001. These have amounted to about $233 million, as of end of May,
which is about 47% of Zimbabwe's membership quota at the IMF.

            The IMF will review its decision in six months.

            MDC accuses Zanu-PF minister of flouting Commonwealth ban
            Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) has accused a Zanu-PF minister of flouting a Commonwealth ban on

            The MDC is questioning the invitation of Olivia Muchena,
Zimbabwe's Science and Technology Development Minister, to a Commonwealth
Science Council meeting currently underway in Sandton. The South African
government says the invitation is justified.

            Rob Adam, DG of the Department of Science and Technology, said:
"The meetings that the Zimbabwean minister is attending are not official
commonwealth meetings. There's a structure over the next three days where
the first two days are really for ministerial meetings." He did agree
however that the invitation is questionable.

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The Scotsman

Mugabe under fire for treason charge against main rival


WASHINGTON yesterday condemned the Zimbabwe government’s decision to charge
the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai with treason.

A spokesman for the US State Department accused the government of president
Robert Mugabe of "continued intimidation and repression" and urged it to
begin a dialogue with opponents.

Commenting on Tsvangirai’s arrest on Friday on charges of treason, State
Department spokesman Richard Boucher said: "We strongly condemn this arrest.
The heightened climate of confrontation and violence in Zimbabwe this week
we think heightens the urgent need for dialogue between the government and

Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), spent Friday
night in a police cell. He had been due to appear in court yesterday but the
hearing was postponed until tomorrow.

Tsvangirai’s latest arrest came on the final day of a week of
anti-government protests. He had challenged the president’s 2002 re-election
victory, which many independent observers also denounced as fraudulent.

Last week government forces in Harare, the capital, beat protesters, fired
warning shots in the air and used water-cannon and tear-gas to break up
demonstrations. The strikes have ground the battered economy to a halt in
the biggest opposition challenge to Mugabe’s 23-year authoritarian rule.

Boucher said the government’s continued intimidation and repression of the
opposition and its violent suppression of peaceful public protests were not
conducive to beginning a dialogue.

"We call on the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front party
and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to commence talks to seek
solutions to Zimbabwe’s worsening political and economic crisis," he said.

Boucher said the United States continued to urge the international
community, and African countries in particular, to help foster such a

"Countries in the region must facilitate this dialogue between Mugabe and
the opposition. The people of Zimbabwe and the stability and prosperity of
the region cannot afford further delays."

He declined to name which countries he had in mind, saying only that action
was needed "because the situation is getting worse and worse".

The European Union, the United States and the Commonwealth have all imposed
sanctions against Zimbabwe over alleged vote-rigging by the ruling party in
last year’s presidential elections.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suspended Zimbabwe’s
membership rights. The fund said it was taking action because of Zimbabwe’s
growing arrears, now $233m (£140m), and its failure to adopt policies to
tackle its serious economic problems.

But Mugabe remains defiant. Commenting on Tsvangirai, he told a rally on
Friday: "We were expected to quake and shake with fear at this threat from
this pathetic puppet who regards the British as his masters and God."

He added: "It is very stupid and naive to think that we would just stand by
and watch."
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      I'm fit for a fight, says defiant Mugabe

Robert Mugabe says he will not resign and has dismissed a week-long
opposition strike against his rule as a failure.

He was speaking during an interview recorded earlier this week, and
televised yesterday today by the national broadcaster.

Mugabe, 79, told the South African Press Association: "I am fit for a fight.
I am getting younger as I told you, and I still can punch."

He criticised the opposition Movement for Democratic Change's "final push"
to topple his government.

Mugabe responded with brutal force during the protests, with militia and
police out in full force to quell demonstrations.

Mugabe says his government is willing to enter into discussions with the
opposition, "but it must be meaningful dialogue".

He earlier stalled negotiations, demanding the opposition first acknowledge
his election last year was legitimate.

International observers say the elections were unfair with cases of
intimidation by Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested on Friday on treason
charges after calling a week of strikes and protests that shut down much of
the economy. He is still being held at Borrowdale police station in Harare.

© Associated Press

Story filed: 07:21 Monday 9th June 2003
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            Zimbabwean Minister flouts Commonwealth's suspension
            June 09, 2003, 19:15

          Olivia Muchena, Zimbabwe's Science and Technology Minister, has
flouted the Commonwealth's suspension of President Robert Mugabe's
government, by attending today's high-level forum of the Commonwealth
Science Council in Johannesburg.

            She says the Commonwealth suspension is null and void, because
her country does not recognise it. However, Olivia Muchena appears to be in
trouble with both the war veterans and their rivals, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC). She has also been implicated in electoral fraud by
the Zimbabwe High Court. The war veterans and the MDC accuse her of
allocating herself a commercial farm, during the so-called land grab.

            Muchena said: "I got a farm and perhaps was one of the last few
leaders to get a one." Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth comes
under review in October. However, Muchena is in Sandton, for the
Commonwealth Science Council Meeting at the invitation of the South African

            "It's not like I'm gate-crashing, I came on an invitation.
Secondly Zimbabwe has taken a position that the suspension ended on the 19th
of March," she said. The MDC is angry about, what they call, "the arrogance
of the Zimbabwean government."

            Paul Themba-Nyati, a spokesperson for MDC, said, "Its a mockery
of the Commonwealth." What upset the MDC, is that the Commonwealth paid for
Muchena's trip to South Africa. Pakistan, another suspended Commonwealth
member is not attending the science meeting.

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Mail and Guardian

'PW' Mugabe's total onslaught

      Mail & Guardian reporters, Zimbabwe Independent reporters and David
Masunda | Johannesburg, Harare

      06 June 2003 09:30

In the dying days of his reign PW Botha became increasingly defiant of world
opinion. But the more brutal he became, the more militant and defiant did
the people become. And the more brutal he became, the more the world saw of
his dementia.

He lost friends left, right and centre. In the end only Margaret Thatcher,
Ronald Reagan and a handful of tinpot dictators dared be seen shaking hands
with South African officialdom.

This week Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe was very much the apartheid
despot he so despised in the 1980s.

By emulating Botha's total onslaught or kragdadigheid tactics in crushing
this week's protests, Mugabe extended a long middle finger to the
international community.

Trapped in the military edifice he has created around himself, he had no
friends this week as his neighbours voiced concern about the deteriorating
situation in his country. But all they could do in the face of blatant
brutality was to meekly call for dialogue.

Like Botha's South Africa at the height of the State of Emergency, Zimbabwe
this week crossed a point of no return. The brutality was the worst the
country had witnessed since the early 1980s Matabeleland massacres.

As an eyewitness to this week's events related: "I have just returned from
the Avenues Clinic [in Harare] where I saw with my own eyes the horrendous
evidence of the use of brutal force that the Zanu-PF government, military,
police and militia forces have employed in mostly unprovoked situations.

"The Avenues Clinic's outpatients ward is full of victims of Mugabe's
retribution. MDC activists, young women, young men, older men and women are
either walking in the foyer of the admission ward, sleeping or seated on the
benches of the outpatients department of the hospital in severe pain owing
to severe injuries sustained as a result of beatings, toture and harassment
committed by these government forces," the Harare resident said.

As opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) organisers geared up for
D-Day in the week of protest, two people had been confirmed by police chief
Wyne Bvudzijena to have been killed in the clashes. More than 400 were said
to have been arrested while hundreds of injured were packing clinics and

One of the dead was Amon Nyadongo (41) of Mbare, who was stoned to death
near Gwanzura stadium in Highfield as police and army clashed with people
attempting to march into the city centre on Monday morning.

An MDC official, Tichaona Kaguru, also of Mbare township, died after being
allegedly abducted and tortured by government security agents. Kaguru is
alleged to have been abducted together with Sydney Mazaranhanga, a Harare
City councillor.

Mazaranhanga alleges that a group of 40 armed soldiers and police officers
descended on his Mbare home, where he was with Kaguru, on Tuesday. The
security agents accused the two of leading MDC demonstrations in Mbare and
began assaulting them with sjamboks and batons. They then bundled them into
an army truck, where the beatings continued.

Prominent legislators such as Job Sikhala, Bulawayo mayor Japhet Ncube and
Tendai Biti were among those arrested for allegedly trying to participate in
planned marches in Harare and other cities from Monday.

After four days of defiant action by the MDC, the party was gearing to make
Friday a showcase day in its action.

The MDC said said that given the army's brutal reaction to its marches, it
was now revising its strategy and would modify the protests to culminate
with bigger and better planned demonstrations throughout the country on

The party, in an apparent bid to organise smaller demonstrations that might
prove difficult for the army and police to trace, told supporters living in
the capital city to congregate at Harare's Africa Unity Square, while those
in the nearby dormitory town of Chitungwiza were to assemble at three
shopping centres.

"Rise up in your millions to demonstrate publicly your utmost disapproval of
this violent dictatorship," the MDC said in statement on Thursday.

In anticipation of this the authorities supplemented the large security
force presence with an estimated 2 500 Zanu-PF militiamen, who were brought
into Harare from other parts of the country.

They have joined the Central Intelligence Organisation in threatening
businessmen with withdrawal of their licences if they do not reopen their
premises. They have also been tearing up independent newspapers, often in
full view of the police.
The security forces are also reported to have moved into Harare's nightclubs
and bars from Monday night beating up revellers whom they accused of
supporting the MDC action.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), an umbrella group, says it has
received reports of arbitrary detentions, assaults and torture by the state

"Detainees are being held in squalid conditions where there is generally
poor sanitation, ventilation and hygiene," it said.

Harare's Avenues Clinic, where at least 30 badly injured opposition party
supporters were receiving treatment, was on Wednesday closed to the media,
and both local and foreign journalists were chased away by soldiers guarding
the premises.

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) said in a
statement on Thursday it condemned the invasion of the hospital premises by
policemen. The organisation said a patient had been abducted by uniformed
police from a Harare hospital while receving medical attention.

"We are concerned that the heavy presence of and intimidating behaviour of
the uniformed forces in hospital premises will prevent patients from
accessing treatement," the ZADHR said.

Despite the ruthless crackdown and attempts by the government to undermine
the strike through the state media, the strike has crippled the Zimbabwean
Some businesses in the smaller towns reported that they had been forced to
open by the army and the police, while the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange said it
had not conducted business for the whole week for the first time in its

The bourse said it was likely to register losses amounting to about
R50-million because of loss of business.

The Zimbabwean government tried to force companies and shops in Harare to
open by threatening that it would revise their commercial licences if they
failed to operate from Tuesday but the threat was widely ignored as most
firms, excluding some commercial banks, remained shut throughout the week.

In the two largest cities, Harare and Bulawayo, almost 90% of shops and
factories were closed, including smaller corner grocery shops that had
opened to the public during previous stayaways organised by the MDC and the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who was expected to lead street protests in
Harare early Monday morning, was briefly detained by state security agents
on Sunday morning and released later on Monday.

He was expected to appear in court facing contempt of court charges for
publicly saying he was pressing ahead with protests that the state had
declared illegal.
Meanwhile, the government this week tried to stop Tsvangirai from making
comments on the political and economic crisis in the country by appealing to
Harare High Court Judge Paddington Garwe to gag him.

Garwe is presiding over the opposition leader's current treason trial during
which Tsvangirai and two senior members of his party are being accused of
trying to assassinate Mugabe ahead of last year's bitterly contested
presidential election won controversially by Mugabe.

The ZLHR says it has received reports of arbitrary detentions, assaults and
torture by the state machinery.

"Detainees are being held in squalid conditions where there is generally
poor sanitation, ventilation and hygiene," it said.

Most towns were deserted on Monday and Tuesday with shops, banks and
factories closed. There was a slight increase in activity on Wednesday but
most workers heeded the MDC's stayaway call.

MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube and MDC member Giles Mutsekwa had their
homes besieged by uniformed forces.

While the government media has declared the stayaway a "flop", the jury is
still out.

An impression has been given of a regime clinging to power by the use of
brute force, selective application of the law, and partisan behaviour by the

Like Botha, Mugabe is increasingly becoming a prisoner of events, bereft of
solutions to the chronic problems facing the country. He has resorted to
anti-colonialist language and the securocrat rhetoric of "defending our
sovereignty" to justify his brutality.

In the end Botha suffered a stroke and gave way to a younger man. Meanwhile,
Jaspreet Kindra reports, the South African government continued to emphasise
initiating talks between the Zanu-PF and the MDC, as Zimbabweans faced the
last day of the stayaway.

Foreign affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said: "There is no substitute
for dialogue between the Zanu-PF and the MDC."

He said the South African government would continue to push for "national
reconciliation" in Zimbabwe through a regional initiative.

The South African stance tied in with that of United Nations Secretary
General Kofi Annan earlier in the week, who also stressed dialogue but
significantly offered for the first time to contribute "to the search for a
negotiated solution to the serious difficulties facing the government".

South African foreign affairs insiders believe that Mugabe and Tsvangirai
are caught up in egotistical fights.

"It is time they set aside those issues for the sake of ordinary Zimbabweans
to sit down and negotiate," said one insider.
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Zim human rights sliding
09/06/2003 20:07  - (SA)

New York - Zimbabwe's ruling party, youth militias and military have pushed
human rights below international standards, Human Rights Watch said on

"Not only have the army and police personnel failed to protect people from
human rights abuses, but they are now carrying out abuses themselves," said
Peter Takirambudde, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Africa

"In addition, recent legislation has drastically curtailed citizens' rights
to freedom of expression, assembly and association."

The report was issued as secretary general of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), Welshman Ncube, was arrested on Monday in

Ncube was arrested as he made his way to the High Court, where MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai appeared to answer treason charges brought in connection
with a series of anti-government protests held last week, police spokesman
Wayne Bvudzijena said.

"The political violence prevalent in rural areas since 2000 has now become
common in urban centers, and non-political actors such as civic
organisations and church leaders are increasingly targeted," according to
the report, the briefing paper, "Under a Shadow: Civil and Political Rights
in Zimbabwe."

"The majority of the violence in recent months has been committed by state
security forces and youth militias."

The MDC led a June 2 to 6 strike against President Robert Mugabe's economic
and political conditions. Public demonstrations and protests were banned
under a 2002 public order, the New York-based watchdog reported.

"Systematic arbitrary arrests and other abuses of dissidents' human rights
violates Zimbabwe's obligations under international law," Takirambudde said.

Human Rights Watch called for a return of the rule of law, the disbanding of
youth militias and the removal of the military from residential areas as
well as changing laws that are not in step with international human rights

"The government must end the culture of impunity before human rights
conditions decline further," the report said.

"The direct involvement of ranking government officials and state security
forces marks a new and worrisome trend in Zimbabwe's ongoing political
crisis." - Sapa-AFP
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Zim minister slams DA road map
09/06/2003 20:07  - (SA)

Cape Town - Zimbabwe's information minister Jonathan Moyo has rejected what
he labelled a "racist" proposal by the Democratic Alliance for a road map
for peace in his country.

Quoted in the pro-government newspaper The Herald in Harare at the weekend,
he also said the plan was an insult to ordinary black South Africans.

"We do not want a white man from south of the Limpopo, who benefited from
apartheid, to pose as a champion of salvation.

"We do not need a racist road map. We have our own land map and that is what
we are following," the minister said.

Leon proposed the "road map" during a meeting with Deputy President Jacob
Zuma last week, as the Zimbabwean government cracked down on a new round of
protests by opposition supporters.

He said that under this approach, the Zanu-PF government and the Movement
for Democratic Change would commit themselves to a series of goals that
included the formation of an interim government.

Leon also suggested after the meeting that a sum of R15bn - which he said
was what the Zimbabwe crisis had cost South Africa over the last three
years - might be put up by the international community to kick-start the
Zimbabwean economy if a road map was adopted.

Leon's R15bn appeared to be based on a figure devised last month by Tradek
economist Mike Schussler who calculated the combined effect of a loss of
trade and tourists and an increase in interest rates and consumer inflation
due to the turmoil in Zimbabwe.


According to the Herald, Moyo said rational people would find it ironic, "if
not just mad", that Leon was "purporting to be offering Zimbabwe R15bn" when
at the same time he was claiming Zimbabwe had cost South Africa R15bn.

"What is going on here? In any event, Tony Leon's talk about R15bn for
Zimbabwe is racist and must be insulting to ordinary black South Africans in
places like Soweto, Alexandra and Khayelits[h]a, who surely must have need
for that kind of money if Tony Leon has it.

"We would rather he gave it to them and stop posturing through lies and

Moyo said Leon's statement - quoting the Zimbabwe Research Initiative - that
South Africa had lost between 30 000 and 40 000 jobs and R15bn as a result
of the crisis in Zimbabwe, was fiction.

Leon told Sapa on Monday that Moyo had twisted his words and distorted his

"He's a combination between Goebbels and Lord Haw-Haw," he said. "He's an
appalling apologist for an increasingly rogue regime.

"The truth is, it's his own government's policies that have led to the
impoverishment of Zimbabwe."
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ZIMBABWE: Concern over Manicaland grain reserves
      IRINnews Africa, Mon 9 Jun 2003

      Many communities in Manicaland will depend on relief food following
poor harvests

      JOHANNESBURG, - Most households in Zimbabwe's province of Manicaland
are expected to exhaust their grain reserves by July, the latest World Food
Programme (WFP) situation report has warned.

      In March, WFP provided relief food for over 830,000 people in the
province which borders Mozambique but, instead of recovering at harvest
time, severe drought and an invasion of army worms left many communities
still vulnerable.

      "Parts of Manicaland have suffered from almost total crop failure,"
WFP spokeswoman Makena Walker told IRIN on Monday. "Some families have only
harvested one month's food."

      The areas most affected are Chimanimani, Mutasa, Buhera and Chipinge,
she said.

      The WFP report added that households were worried about inputs for the
coming season and farmers were concerned that large increases in the price
of seed and other agricultural inputs would severely constrain productivity.

      It said the lack of food availability was exacerbated by "an almost
total absence" of Grain Marketing Board cereals for sale.

      In Chimanimani district people were crossing the border into
Mozambique to sell goods and clothes. Foot-and-mouth disease had also
reduced livestock in the district, with average herd sizes falling from 15
in normal years, to five.

      Walker said while distribution of food aid had been scaled down at the
beginning of the harvest as some households had managed to raise some crops,
distribution was being scaled up again in response to the current situation.

      The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee and a national
nutrition survey, which will provide details on the food security condition
throughout the country, is expected to be released this week.

      © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2003
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Dark times ahead for Zimbabwe

By Barnaby Phillips
BBC southern Africa correspondent

Robert Mugabe
Mugabe still appears determined to crush the opposition

Zimbabweans are caught in the middle of a stalemate.

Their president, Robert Mugabe, is approaching his 80th birthday, but he remains as cunning and brutal a politician as ever.

And he scorns talk that he might be contemplating retirement.

"It would be nonsensical for me, a year after my election, to resign," he told South African television.

"As long as there is that fight, I am for a fight. I can still punch."

Heavy-handed tactics

Last week the president showed just how determined he is, sending policemen, soldiers and militiamen onto the streets to crush demonstrations by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

We have not yet reached the stage where the people's anger with the regime is equal to their fear of it
Opposition leader
The heavy-handed tactics worked.

Hundreds of MDC supporters were arrested, dozens are recovering in hospital from their injuries, and the mass protests promised by the MDC did not materialise.

As one opposition leader ruefully admitted: "We have not yet reached the stage where the people's anger with the regime is equal to their fear of it."

But the MDC can also draw heart from the events of last week.

It may not be able to bring people out onto the streets in significant numbers, but it can shut down Zimbabwe's economy.

The strikes and stayaways in Harare and Bulawayo were successful.

No amount of government threats, propaganda and force could induce significant amounts of Zimbabweans to turn up for work in the major cities.

Demoralising opposition

So neither side emerged as a clear winner.

Morgan Tsvangirai
It would suit Mugabe to remove Tsvangirai from the political arena

And predicting where Zimbabwe's crisis goes from here is not easy.

President Mugabe's contempt and even hatred for the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is obvious.

The two treason charges against Mr Tsvangirai are an attempt to distract and demoralise the opposition leader.

If convicted, Mr Tsvangirai will face a long spell in prison, or even the death sentence.

It would suit President Mugabe to remove Mr Tsvangirai from the political arena, but he will have to weigh up the danger that a harsh sentence would turn the opposition leader into a hero, or even a martyr.

'Mass action'

For the MDC, the road ahead also has many potential pitfalls.

Zimbabwean man shows wounds inflicted by soldiers in Harare
The people of Zimbabwe are still suffering

In a tacit admission that its tactics during last week's stayaway could have been more effective, the MDC is now saying that future protests will not be advertised in advance.

Instead, "rolling mass action" will take place across the country, with demonstrations being planned in secret, so that the security forces do not have time to prepare.

Regional governments, and in particular, the South Africans, continue to pin their hope on negotiations between Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF Party and the MDC.

But it is hard to see how these can get off the ground in the current climate.

President Mugabe's condition for going into talks, that the MDC recognise his victory in last year's disputed presidential election, is unacceptable to the opposition.

And all the time, Zimbabwe's economic slide continues, and the hardships suffered by its impoverished people are increasing.

"It is always darkest before the dawn," goes the old saying.

Zimbabweans will be wondering how much darker it can get.

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Govt Reacts Angrily Over Neighbouring Critics

African Church Information Service

June 9, 2003
Posted to the web June 9, 2003

Kholwani Nyathi

Beleaguered Zimbabwean government recently sent a strong-worded protest
letter to South African authorities, accusing the media in that country of
"continuing with a relentless campaign to demonise and ridicule President
Robert Mugabe and his government". Kholwani Nyathi, reports.

The letter is probably one of the few times in the region, that a government
has protested against the media in another country over unfair publicity.

Written by Zimbabwe's information minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo, and
addressed to the South African Minister in the Office of the President,
Essop Pahad, the letter brings to the fore strained relations between the
two neighbouring countries over media issues.

The Zimbabwe government accuses South African media of colluding with local
and international opposition forces to try to topple President Mugabe and
reverse his agrarian reform programme.

Most media houses in South Africa, particularly The Citizen and Sunday
Times, have come out strongly against Zimbabwe's land reform programme and
President Mugabe's controversial re-election last March, raising the Harare
government's ire.

Last year, the Sunday Times created a special page in each edition to report
on political developments in Zimbabwe. The page mostly featured efforts by
the opposition and civic society to oust President Mugabe.

Earlier this year, Sunday Times attracted the wrath of Prof Moyo, after it
published pictures claiming he had gone on a lavish shopping spree in
Johannesburg, while most Zimbabweans languished in queues for basic
commodities, currently in short supply.

The newspaper's crew had spent several nights spying on the goings-on in
Prof Moyo's hotel in December last year, and later, upon his departure,
combed through the hotel room.

The Zimbabwean minister reacted angrily to the report, and accused the South
African press of misusing their privileges to unfairly spy and misreport on
his personal affairs. This sparked off a diplomatic tiff, eventually calmed
by the two countries' foreign affairs ministries.

The latest incident was trigerred by a Sunday Times column called Hogarth,
which the Zimbabwean government claims, "disrespectfully attacked and
attempted to ridicule a recent ceremony held to celebrate the return of the
lower part of the historical Zimbabwe Bird from Germany.

The Zimbabwean Bird, the country's national symbol, was originally situated
at Great Zimbabwe, outside the southern town of Masvingo.

Eight soapstone birds, created by an ancient Shona tribe, were stolen by
white settlers during the colonial era. The columnist allegedly said,
"Mugabe's head too should be reunited with his body".

In his letter of complaint, Prof Moyo said the Sunday Times was at the
forefront of demonising President Mugabe's government, and sought to divide
Zimbabweans and South Africans.

He called on the South African authorities to intervene and stop the
newspaper from writing material offensive to the person of President Mugabe
or unfairly critical of his government.

"What makes the items particularly objectionable is that they are found in
the editorial pages of a self-important newspaper, whose editors purport to
be the champions of not only good ethics and professional media standards,
but also of common decency among Africans.

"In the circumstances, to have President Mugabe... ridiculed and insulted by
a newspaper such as the Sunday Times, which arrogantly claims to be
officially connected and to represent South Africans, especially when it is
attacked for its own misdeeds, is mind boggling to say the least," reads
part of the letter.

Prof Moyo said he had not directed the letter to the Sunday Times editors
because they would, "run away from the issue in question through the usual
distortions, misrepresentations and outright lies."

Although the editorial of the newspaper is yet to respond to the latest
incident, the paper has in the past claimed that the Zimbabwean government
was attempting to muzzle its efforts to report factually on the situation in
that country.

This week, analysts said the protest letter by the Zimbabwean government
betrayed its intolerance towards media opposed to its policies, particularly
on the land issue, press freedom and the political situation in the country.

Zimbabwe is at loggerheads with western countries, including its former
colonial power (Britain) over the land issue and alleged human rights

"If there was a way, the Zimbabwean government could have attempted to
censure the Sunday Times in the way it has dealt with its own private press,
they would have," says Denis Moyo, a local media expert, adding: "The
draconian media laws being used in the country to rein the private press,
cannot be applied to the media outside the country, and this does not go
down well with the Harare government."

According to Denis, the letter of protest is expected to have little impact
in South Africa, "as the government there is more tolerant of divergent
views, and has policies on media freedom".

South African president, Thabo Mbeki, is part of the African Union troika
that recently visited President Mugabe, reportedly to persuade him to relax
tough media and state security laws that have allegedly been used to punish
political opponents.

However, other analysts say the protest letter was long overdue, as the
South African press, led by the Sunday Times had long demonstrated a planned
campaign of contempt and ridicule towards the Zimbabwean government, and
President Mugabe in particular.

"The Sunday Times has even set up a special page on Zimbabwe where various
writers take pot-shots at President Mugabe, [his] government, the public
press, and anyone who does not openly support the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), says a media student in Bulawayo.

He continues: "Even if the South African government ignores the letter, it
should have the effect of formally notifying that country of Zimbabwe's

In the newspaper's Zimbabwe Section recently, President Mugabe was accused
of living in a South African hotel, hoarding food supplies, and revelling
around South Africa at the Zimbabwean taxpayers cost.

The president was then in South Africa to attend the funeral of the late
Africa National Congress leader, Walter Sisulu.
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Professor Moyo reaffirmes government's position on MDC's failed march

10 June 2003
The Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the Office of the
President and Cabinet, Professor Jonathan Moyo has reaffirmed the
government's position that the MDC's planned march to the State House was
illegal as ruled by the High Court.

In an interview with Newsnet, Professor Moyo said by filing a court
application against the MDC 's planned match, the police went an extra mile
in practicing tolerance and were being very accommodative.

Professor Moyo said it was clear from the public utterances made by the MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai and from media advertisements that the intended
failed push aimed at the removal of president Robert Mugabe was a violation
of the rule of law and the constitution of the country.

"According to the laws and constitution of Zimbabwe and other African
countries, it is undemocratic and illegal to remove a democratically elected
head of state," he said.

Professor Moyo added that the MDC acted against the very principles of the
rule of law and democracy that it has been preaching in the last three years
of existence by defying the High Court ruling interdicting the opposition
party from the planned march to State House.

He also said that in defying the court ruling, the MDC was dancing to the
international gala of sponsors and masters who are bent on tarnishing the
image of the country and the government.

According to the High Court ruling, while every Zimbabwean has the right to
freedom of expression, gathering and other freedoms, their exercise should
not infringe the rights of others.
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