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Mugabe told: stand again and you will lose

The Telegraph

By Stephen Bevan in Pretoria and Michael Gwaridzo in Harare, Sunday
Last Updated: 12:06am BST 10/06/2007

Robert Mugabe has been told by his own intelligence chiefs that he
will lose if he sticks to his insistence on standing again in Zimbabwe's
presidential elections next year.

The 83-year-old, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980,
was given the warning last month. He is said to have been livid.

Happyton Bonyongwe, Mugabe's intelligence chief, told the president
that voters were so disenchanted with his government that he faced "grave

"President Mugabe was told blatantly that an election defeat was
looming if he runs for office next year," one person who attended the
meeting told The Sunday Telegraph.

"Bonyongwe presented a report compiled by the intelligence services
warning Mugabe to find an alternative candidate to represent the ruling
Zanu-PF party, as he would be defeated and gravely embarrass himself because
of levels of social discontent that have reached boiling point."

The report was presented to a meeting of the joint operations command,
its chairman is Mugabe, which brings together senior representatives of the
police, army, prison service and the Central Intelligence Organisation.

It said support for the president was at rock bottom because of severe
economic crisis, with ordinary Zimbabweans struggling to survive in the face
of inflation of more than 3,700 per cent, unemployment at 80 per cent and
shortages of basic foodstuffs and fuel.

Mugabe is said to have sat through the presentation with a "frowning,
cold face". Yet he seems to be stepping up measures to secure victory for
his party.

Last week, he ordered its youth militia, the "green bombers", to turn
villages into no-go areas for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party.

"Mugabe said he was not giving up on next year's polls as this would
be a victory to our colonisers [Britain], who want to rule us using their
puppets in the MDC," said one of those who attended the meeting.

The question of Mugabe's candidacy has divided his party, with a
powerful faction led by Vice-President Joyce Mujuru and her husband,
Solomon, a retired army general, pushing for his retirement at the end of
his term.

Mr and Mrs Mujuru are each seen as contenders to take over from Mugabe
if Zanu-PF can arrange a smooth transfer of power.

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Digging a Grave for Zimbabwe

Clinging to the reins of power, Robert Mugabe is driving the opposition, and his nation, into the ground.
Life Is Short: A graveyard near Harare; mortality rates are among the worst anywhere
Life Is Short: A graveyard near Harare; mortality rates are among the worst anywhere

By Scott Johnson

June 18, 2007 issue - Last Maingehama was on his way to a memorial service when he was kidnapped. A little after 2 p.m. on March 20, in the middle of an upscale Harare neighborhood, government thugs dragged Last out of his car, tied a blindfold around his eyes and drove him into the Zimbabwean savanna. For the next five hours they beat the 33-year-old businessman and opposition activist relentlessly with hard wooden "battlesticks." They pounded the soles of his feet, he says, in an account verified by two independent human-rights researchers. They broke his left leg just below the kneecap. And then, when he was bruised and bloody and unconscious, the men left Last for dead and disappeared into the night. When Last finally crawled back to the road, half naked and petrified, he flagged down a passing tractor. But it is a sign of how pervasive the climate of fear has grown in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe that even to his rescuer, Last lied about what had happened in the bush that night. "I told [him] I was robbed," Last recalled recently. "I was afraid even of that farmer."

To the outside world, the 83-year-old Mugabe has looked more conciliatory recently. Last week his ruling ZANU-PF party announced that it would compensate thousands of white farmers whose land the government began seizing seven years ago. Just days earlier, Mugabe sent a high-level team to South Africa to negotiate with Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in meetings engineered by South African President Thabo Mbeki; the talks are meant to lay the groundwork for free and fair presidential elections next March. Behind closed doors, African leaders recently chastised Mugabe harshly. "My understanding is that they took him to the woodshed," says Christopher Dell, U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe. According to several sources, including one in the room at the time who refused to be identified speaking about a private meeting, Mugabe seemed "sort of defeated" and expressed contrition to his fellow leaders.

Inside his country, however, Mugabe's rule is increasingly taking on the outlines of the worst dictatorships—another Burma, or even North Korea. On a rare journey into Zimbabwe, NEWSWEEK found a nation dominated by fear and the ever-present secret police, where a suspicious population is gradually turning on itself. Since early March, when police violently dispersed an MDC rally and arrested the party's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, some 500 opposition foot soldiers have been abducted, beaten and dumped miles from their homes. Neighbors are enlisted to spy on neighbors. Speaking out, even on the most mundane issue, is often met with a harsh response. If he cannot rig the March election, Mugabe seems intent on making sure no one will dare support his challengers. Tsvangirai, who suffered severe head wounds while in detention, says: "We're under siege."

Sleep Tight: The country's already crowded urban slums are swelling in size
Sleep Tight: The country’s already crowded urban slums are swelling in size

So is Zimbabwe. The lush green country once boasted Africa's highest literacy rate. Now, statistically, a Zimbabwean woman can expect to live only to the age of 38. The government says inflation is running at 3,700 percent, but experts say the actual figure is closer to 19,000 percent. Last week two separate U.N. bodies estimated that by early next year some 4 million Zimbabweans—one third of the population—could go hungry. An additional 3 million are living abroad now, and as many as 2,000 more flee each week. South Africa, worried about stability as it prepares to host the 2010 World Cup, has stepped up deportations of Zimbabwean migrants back across the border.

Mugabe came to power in 1980 as a hero, having led a brutal war of liberation against the white-rule government of Ian Smith. For more than a decade he was feted as a reformer who educated his countrymen. Among other African leaders, that reputation silenced any criticism of his brutal treatment of rivals, just as it has in the past few years as his forces set about intimidating opposition leaders, beating prominent activists and cracking down on the press.

But such tactics have drawn fierce and unwelcome attention abroad; a British Foreign Office minister recently warned that Mugabe was opening himself up to war-crimes charges. So now Mugabe is going after the "nuts and bolts" of the opposition, says Roy Bennett, a former parliamentarian who fled Zimbabwe last year. Authorities are focusing on drivers, accountants, secretaries—the anonymous workers who keep the movement afloat. "What [the government] has done is move away from the high-profile people," says Dell. "Now they're hollowing out the opposition at the grass-roots level."

In Harare, NEWSWEEK spoke to one of the new targets—a woman who holds a midlevel administrative position in the MDC. A week earlier, Harare police hauled her into the central police station's notorious "law and order" section. There officers from the Central Intelligence Division—one of several different spy departments—forced her to drink several liters of water until she vomited repeatedly and urinated on herself. She was kept for two days and then released without explanation. Since then, the cops have called her several times a day to check in. "Why aren't you at your desk?" they taunt when she leaves work. "We can see you now." They called again just before she met a NEWSWEEK reporter. "I'm scared all the time," says the woman, who asked that her real name not be used for the sake of her family's security. "I don't know how much longer I can go on like this."

Victim: This man on the outskirts of Harare says he has been tortured by the police
Victim: This man on the outskirts of Harare says he has been tortured by the police

Indeed, the intense scrutiny can be crippling. An independent human-rights researcher who supplied NEWSWEEK with documents detailing the recent attacks and abductions against opposition workers spoke of how the police monitor her house and her movements throughout the day. "You have no idea what's going to happen next," the researcher says, looking around nervously at the other customers in a café. "Every day now has become about just surviving to the next day."

Mugabe's goons see enemies everywhere, not just in the opposition ranks. The slums that ring Harare have been devastated by 80 percent unemployment and crippling fuel and electricity shortages. There, government spies and young militiamen—indoctrinated and trained in special camps—lurk in the muddy lanes. When NEWSWEEK visited 53-year-old "Patience" K. in a modest shack with a corrugated-tin roof and bare concrete floors, an older woman posted herself by the window, pulling aside a frayed yellow curtain to watch for unfamiliar faces.

Patience, a mother of six and member of a local women's organization, was arrested on April 24 along with 55 other women and children when they staged a sit-in to call attention to the massive power outages that strike Harare daily. She says the protesters, including five children under the age of 4, were held for two days in a single room where enraged police beat and trampled on them repeatedly, threatening at one point to "feed them to the crocodiles." The cops broke Patience's wrist. A 3-month-old boy, whose mother was caught in the flurry of blows, suffered a broken leg. "But what they did to us—it worked," says Patience. "We haven't done anything since then."

Most insidious is the impact all this is having on ordinary Zimbabweans, many of whom now eye each other with deep suspicion. Cell-phone conversations are kept brief. Fake names are used with strangers. A persistent rumor in Harare has it that the Chinese recently built Mugabe a sophisticated listening post outside the capital from which to monitor e-mail and phone calls. "No one trusts anyone else anymore," says Moses Mzila, an opposition parliamentarian from the southern town of Plumtree. In his district, traditional chiefs have been pressured to name which of their followers sympathize with the opposition; MDC supporters are then denied food aid. Two weeks ago the government began requiring that school principals supply detailed personal information about teachers to state investigators.

The opposition has itself been riven by paranoia and personality clashes. A bitter policy dispute caused the movement to split in October 2005, and the two sides spend as much time sniping at each other now as at Mugabe. "Their strategy is to keep on dividing us until there is no opposition left," says Arthur Mutambara, a rival to Tsvangirai who is also participating in the South Africa talks. Still, Mugabe is taking no chances. He recently gerrymandered Zimbabwe's districts to add more than 84 seats to his parliamentary majority. He's also "reactivated" the war veterans he used to usurp white-owned farms. "What are they doing that for except as in preparation for violence?" warns Mzila.

In his 27 years in power, this isn't the first time Mugabe has struck out hard. He brought treason charges against Tsvangirai in 2005 and then jailed him, only to release him later when the case proved baseless. Prominent MDC activists and agitators have been murdered in the past several years. Even as far back as the early 1980s, when Mugabe was being hailed as a cold-war hero in the West, he cracked down on rivals in Matabeleland, in the south of Zimbabwe, leaving an estimated 30,000 dead and no obstacles to one-party rule.

The question now is whether his death grip on power will break Zimbabwe. At current production levels, the country will face a million-ton shortage of maize this year. Hyperinflation continues to increase, and may soon require the nation to switch to the more stable South African rand. Mugabe has acknowledged to some how serious the problems in his country are. "He knows there is a crisis," Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete told NEWSWEEK last week. So far, a massive uprising doesn't seem imminent. But there isn't much holding back outright confrontation, either. At this point, Mugabe might, in fact, welcome one.

With Karen MacGregor in Durban

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Zimbabwe weighs electoral changes that critics say are aimed at tightening Mugabe's grip

Santa Barbara News Press

ANGUS SHAW, Associated Press Writer

June 9, 2007 6:47 PM

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Zimbabwe's government has proposed constitutional
amendments on electoral policy and the creation of a human rights
commission, steps critics say are designed to mask abuses and strengthen
President Robert Mugabe's hold on power.

The proposed rights commission would have 16 members drawn from names
compiled by Mugabe and the ruling party-dominated parliament, according to
an official notice available on Saturday.

Human rights groups and Mugabe critics have called the proposed commission a
likely smoke screen for his democratic and human rights abuses. However the
government says it was designed following U.N. recommendations.

Mugabe's government has been clamping down on the opposition, fearing a
worsening economic crisis could spark an uprising. Annual inflation is
running at 3,714 percent - the highest in the world - and there are acute
shortages of hard currency, gasoline, food and most other basic goods.

The amendments bill also has provisions for holding parliamentary and
presidential elections at the same time in March, and for increasing the
number of seats in the House of Assembly from 150 to 210 and in the Senate
from 66 to 84.

To hold the elections simultaneously, the bill proposes shortening the terms
of the president and parliament from six years to five.

Mugabe has said holding legislative and presidential elections together
would minimize ballot costs. Critics have called it a tactic to entrench the
ruling party's hold over the legislature by shortening the existing
assembly's term by two years.

The current House of Assembly, in which the opposition holds 40 seats, was
elected amid allegations of violence, intimidation and vote rigging.

The bill, scheduled to be debated by parliament next month, also proposes
carving up several constituencies to form new voting districts.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has accused the government of
changing district boundaries to undermine opposition strongholds. The
government insists constituencies are too large for incumbent lawmakers to
manage their affairs.

The amendments also would reduce the number of lawmakers appointed by Mugabe
to the enlarged lower house from 30 to 10. But it increases the number of
senators he would name from 16 to 34.

If Mugabe defeats the fractured opposition in presidential elections next
year, he would hold on to power until 2013 when he will be nearly 90. The
83-year-old has been Zimbabwe's only ruler since independence from Britain
in 1980.

AP-WS-06-09-07 2138EDT

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Woza leaders Mahlangu and Williams Released

By Violet Gonda
9 June 2007-06-09

Woza rights campaigners Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu who had been
arrested early this week have been released today on $100 000 bail each and
remanded to the 18th of June. They were arrested after they handed
themselves in at Bulawayo Central Police station, in solidarity with their
colleagues who had also been arrested while demonstrating for their
inclusion in the SADDC initiative peace talks between government and
opposition parties.

Five of their fellow activists released on Friday were beaten during their
detention since Wednesday. Rosemary Siziba and Angeline Karuru received
particularly vicious attacks. Annie Sibanda, WOZA spokesperson told SWRA
that, Alice Banda, one of the activists who was also assaulted by the police
but had not been arrested, was hospitalized after being kicked in the
abdomen, and was due for emergency exploratory surgery on Saturday.

The US State Department condemned the violent suppression of WOZA
demonstrations and had called for the immediate release of the activists.
Jenni Williams is a recipient of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's 2007
International Women of Courage Award for Africa.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwe in Darkness


Most towns and cities face power cuts

Nelson G. Katsande

      Published 2007-06-10 10:58 (KST)

Most towns in Zimbabwe now resemble ghost towns as a result of the
regular power cuts introduced by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(ZESA). Many industries have ceased operations owing to the continual power
cuts, with thousands of workers likely to lose jobs. The Zimbabwe
government, which used to finance the cash strapped authority, has failed to
help resulting in most towns and cities going for days without electricity.

Retailers last week reported massive losses as frozen foodstuffs
defrosted. A Midlands province-based retailer specializing in the supply of
poultry and other perishable foodstuffs reported losses running into
millions of dollars. The proprietor, who refused to be named for fear of
reprisals, blamed the government for its failure in running the economy.

ZESA, which earlier this month warned consumers to brace for more
prolonged power cuts, is at the verge of collapse. It is reported to owe its
creditors billions of dollars. A ZESA Engineer based in Zvimba, Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe's home area, said the situation is pathetic: "If
Mugabe's home area has been without electricity for days, do you think other
areas will have supplies restored anytime soon?"

With most industries operating below capacity, the inflation rate is
likely to shoot up, as are the prices of basic commodities. The monthly cost
of renting a room in Chitungwiza is now equivalent to the monthly salary of
most civil servants. Taking a warm bath is now a luxury. Power supplies are
normally cut as early as 3 a.m. and restored at nine in the evening.

Most households have been severely hit by the power cuts, which go on
for 2 days before being temporarily restored. Schoolchildren have to go to
school without breakfast due to the power cuts. Angry residents in Harare
were last Friday reported to be planning a march in protest of the power
cuts. But their cause has been dealt a hard blow by ruling party supporters
who accused them of sympathizing with the opposition.

In Zimbabwe today, those who demonstrate against the government are
labeled opposition supporters and are dealt with by the militia and security

Nomsa Chimbango, a ZESA technician, told OhmyNews she was
contemplating leaving in search of greener pastures in neighboring South
Africa. She said, "ZESA is now as hopeless as ZANU-PF [the ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriotic Front]. Both have let the people down and
must be replaced."

Despite reports of beatings by the police, most disgruntled consumers
openly voiced their concerns and said the 2008 general elections will prove
difficult for the ruling party. The majority of suffering people now want
Mugabe out of power. But until then, it remains to be seen how Mugabe will
run the economy.
©2007 OhmyNews

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Public outrage at ZESA power cuts

Zim Standard


THE cash-strapped Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has
unofficially introduced up to 20-hour daily power cuts, virtually turning
cities into villages.

Zesa last month announced the blackouts for households across the
country to allow supplies to be shifted to the winter wheat crop in order to
beat the current food shortages.

The parastatal was quick to make a u-turn after protests from

But over the past week, there has been clear evidence that the almost
insolvent national power utility has been switching off electricity in most
parts of the country as early 4AM, restoring it only around 9PM.

At times, power supplies were disconnected for more than 24 hours.

Angry urban dwellers said the long, unannounced power cuts had
severely affected their lives.

The vice-president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC)
for Matabeleland region, Charles Chiponda, said industry was in a "state of
dilemma" because of the power cuts.

He said they had approached Zesa to see if the parastatal could
guarantee electricity to companies in Matabeleland during the night, when
national power consumption would be low.

"We asked Zesa if they can also guarantee us electricity as they did
with the wheat farmers, but they said it's not possible," said Chiponda. "So
we are in a dilemma."

He estimated industry to be operating at between 20% and 30% capacity
because of the power crisis.

"Unless something is done urgently, industry will continue to suffer
and people will continue to lose their jobs," he said.

But the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Callisto
Jokonya said the power cuts had only affected manufacturing industries in
the smaller towns.

Jokonya said the most affected towns were Chegutu, Kadoma and Kwekwe.

Reports say other towns such as Zvishavane, Chinhoyi, Marondera and
Nyanga have been equally hard hit.

"Manufacturing industries in major towns such as Harare and Bulawayo
have not been affected by the recent technical problems at Hwange," said
Jokonya. "Zesa has not been switching us off that much but industries in
smaller towns have been seriously affected."

Hardest hit are urban dwellers.

They said they could no longer buy perishable goods in bulk because of
load-shedding. Children often go to school without breakfast.

"It's as if we live in the rural areas," said Mrs Delight Rukweza of

Primrose Kusena of Mufakose said Zesa had turned all urban centres
into villages.

"We would be better off living at a growth point than here because one
is assured of getting cheaper firewood. Here, we don't have electricity and
firewood is expensive," she said.

Small-scale businesses in residential areas such as shops, butcheries
and hammer mills have been seriously crippled by the power cuts.

But some enterprising residents have developed survival strategies.
Most millers in residential areas are now milling at night when power has
been restored.

"We close for the whole day and starting grinding around 9 PM when is
power is restored," said Sekuru Samutoko of Kambuzuma in Harare.

The power cuts have seriously hit mines and factories, leading to a
serious decline in production.

Zesa Holdings chairman, Professor Christopher Chetsanga, denied they
had introduced the 20-hour load-shedding scheme it announced last month.

He attributed the current blackouts to a technical problem at Hwange
power station last weekend.

"Because of that," he said, "Zesa has not been operating at its usual

Chetsanga said Zesa was working on rectifying the problem.

In January, he said regional power firms that had previously
contributed 35% of Zimbabwe's total consumption had only guaranteed 150
megawatts of power to Zesa.

He said they were negotiating for more supplies.

MDC anti-senate faction spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the blackouts
were a mockery of the government's efforts to turn around the economy.

He said many householders were losing their electrical gadgets due to
power cuts, while industrial production was at a stand-still in some areas.

"There is no better evidence of the failure of a government than the
inability to provide basic services. This situation makes a mockery of talks
about turning around the economy," Chamisa said.

Zesa has failed to refurbish aging power stations, most of them
crumbling due to under-funding, non-existent planning and downright neglect
as the country grapples a severe economic meltdown, triggered by the 2000
farm invasions.

Smaller thermal power stations at Munyati, Hwange and Bulawayo have
not been working for some time now.

"We had a meeting with Zesa officials here last week and they told us
that it's not going to be better," said Chiponda from Bulawayo. "He said
Munyati and Harare stations were down while the Bulawayo station was
generating a little bit."

Last week, Zesa hiked tariffs by 50% in an effort to raise enough
revenue to import power.

It is estimated that up to US$2-billion is required to install new
equipment and expand production at Hwange and Kariba power stations to meet
increased industrial and domestic demand.

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Schools fall apart as education system crumbles

Zim Standard


A visitor might think it's a farm garage.

There is a broken down tractor, old, rusty stoves. An ancient deep
freezer lies nearby.

A closer look would compel the visitor to think twice.

There are piles and piles of  decrepit school furniture - chairs,desks
and drawers.

You don't expect to find broken-down chairs at a farm where
productivity is in full swing.

Forget the guesswork.Welcome to Cranborne Boys High in Harare.

Years ago, the school was the pride of both administrators and

Now it's a microcosm of the decay and disaster that has befallen our

One teacher said: "Cranborne is in an advanced state of decay."

The classroom walls are dirty, the desks and chairs broken, the floor
tiles have peeled off.

Most worrying, all locks, bulbs and sockets in the classrooms in the
secondary block are missing - stolen?

There was once a giant swimming pool, full of clean, sparkling water.
Now, it's half-filled with dirty water. Only frogs and mosquitoes find
pleasure here.

The Standard has established it's not just this former group A school
that is collapsing.

From classrooms, sporting facilities and grounds, there is evidence
most public schools in Harare are at various stages of decay as the economy
continues its free fall. It's the fate of most government institutions

Raymond Majongwe, secretary general of the Progressive Teachers' Union
of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), taught History and Commerce at Cranborne High in

Last week, he said "It was a wonderful school, with top-of-the-range
facilities. Now the infrastructure is run down."

Majongwe said the problem was not confined to his former school, but
to public schools all over the country.

"Our members all over the country tell us how schools are collapsing.
The level of vandalism is shocking. It's happening and nobody seems to
care," said Majongwe.

"When the ministry was functioning properly you never expected people
who vandalised school property to get away with it. Now, it's different."

Most headmasters said their "hearts bleed" as they continue to preside
over collapsing schools, once the envy of the region.

They said the rot started around 2001 when President Robert Mugabe's
government cut back the schools' budgets after the farm invasions and a
crisis spawned by the violent 2000 elections.

In a populist move, the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture,
Aeneas Chigwedere, imposed such low fees most schools could not raise enough
money to operate as in the past.

Primary schools still charge $1 500 a term for a child, not enough to
buy a marker. Schools are forced to rely on levies.

Headmasters say the levies have been politicised by a government
determined to make education affordable to people suffering under the worst
economic crisis since independence.

Parents now decide the fees they can afford. Their proposals are
forwarded to the ministry for approval.

"This is not different from a customer deciding the price of something
they want to buy," said a member of the Queensdale, Harare, SDA. "A few
vociferous parents with limited incomes can push for a $20 000 levy for a
term. Parents know it cannot buy anything, but might be forced to approve
it. That money is enough to buy one exercise book."

Until last week, Cranborne charged $30 000 - enough to buy two loaves
of bread. After a recent parents' meeting, the ministry set the levy at $200
000, still far short of what is needed.

A Harare headmaster said approving these unrealistic levies was not
easy. "It can be termed a Chigwedere circus," he said. "The ministry needs
to know the parents at the meetings, the minutes, their signatures and how
many voted for and against. Then he would determine whether or not to
approve it. The process can even take over a month."

The Standard was told ministerial approval could be secured when the
cost of whatever was needed had quadrupled or when the commodities were no
longer available.

"In that case, how are you expected to run a school?" asked a
headmaster. "Our hands are tied. We are bystanders as schools collapse."

Rural schools are the worst affected, as most parents have no incomes
to fund the day-to-day expenses of their schools.

"At our school, chalk is now rationed," said a Gutu teacher. "One
teacher, one chalk, for days. When supplies run out, we teachers have to
improvise: write with our fingers in the ground, the sad reality these

At new schools set up in former commercial farms, ballpoint pens, pins
and "sticky stuff" for sticking charts to the walls, and exercise books are

Underpaid teachers spend most of their time scrounging for money to
survive. District education officers are bogged down by transport problems,
compounded by the fuel crisis. They long ceased their regular rounds.

Is there any hope?

School administrators predict the decline will continue. They allege
they are "saddled" with a minister who concentrates on peripheral, rather
than fundamental matters.

Chigwedere is a historian. He has in the past stirred controversy over
a national dress and one uniform for all schools.

Stephen Mahere, Chigwedere's permanent secretary, said they could not
be blamed for everything.

"Public buildings, their maintenance and so on, are the responsibility
of the Ministry of Local Government. As a ministry, we are there for the
development of education and uplifting standards,"

There is not much evidence of that!

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Canada ready to help, if there's change, - envoy

Zim Standard

  By Vusumuzi Sifile

THE Canadian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Roxanne Dube, says there is much
Western capital ready to fund Zimbabwean projects, but the money could not
be released unless there "are some changes domestically", on the political
and economic front.

Among other conditions, the new policies should provide for
transparency in implementation of projects to assist vulnerable groups.

According to Dube, most Western countries, including Canada, have
funds that could be handy for community development initiatives,
particularly for rural communities.

But the countries are holding on to their money because of the current
economic and political uncertainty.

Dube said the West was eagerly waiting for the outcome of the ongoing
Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) mediation by South African
President Thabo Mbeki to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis, now a threat to the
entire SADC.

Dube was speaking after launching Munemo rural health centre and
another project aimed at eradicating gender-based violence in Nyanga North,

Both projects are valued at CN$145 000, about Z$37 million at the
official exchange rate and over Z$8 billion at the parallel rate.

Funding for both projects, and another donation of Z$220m to Mazarura
Secondary School, were sourced by the Nyanga North Natural Resources and
Development Watch Board, which comprises a number of executives from the

Munemo health services centre is set to benefit close to 30 000
families in the area, as well as clients from neighbouring Mozambican

"If there is a change of policies, we will respond even more. There is
a lot of Western capital ready for Zimbabwe, but it cannot be released
because of uncertainty over the current economic policies and the ongoing
repression, political violence, rampant corruption and inflation," Dube

She said her government, and other Western countries fully supported
the Mbeki initiative, and its outcome would have a strong bearing on the
availability of funds for Zimbabwean projects.

"There is need for some changes domestically that will create room for
a conducive environment for the implementation of policies that will benefit
all Zimbabweans. Canada is determined to support programmes that help
improve communities in Zimbabwe, particularly the conditions of vulnerable

"At the moment it is difficult to think how effective the funds would
be used because of the problems I mentioned."

Dube spoke a few days after the publication of an interview President
Mugabe gave to Baffour Ankomah, editor of The New African.

Asked if his party had not found a successor now that he was seeking
another term of office, Mugabe was quoted as saying:

"Well, for as long as I can go on and for as long as the party wishes
me to go. That's the combination. And if the party says stand, it means the
party has not found a successor. We will find a successor in due course."

Western donors were the major contributors towards the completion of
community projects in the early years of independence. But a major fallout
with the government in 2000 resulted in many western countries reducing
their support.

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Zanu PF MP's campaign message gets cold shoulder

Zim Standard

  By Vusumuzi Sifile

ZANU PF Member of Parliament for Nyanga, Paul Kadzima, on Thursday
called for "divine mercy" to help him deliver his Zanu PF campaign message,
as his constituents seemed to reject it.

Kadzima took advantage of two functions organised by the Canadian
embassy in his constituency to campaign for President Robert Mugabe.

At Munemo rural health centre, and later at a church near Elim
Mission, Kadzima struggled to excite the villagers with his political
message: some said openly they felt this was not the right place or time for

At Munemo, Kadzima was assigned to present a speech on behalf of
Manicaland governor, Tinaye Chigudu, who could not attend the function.

After reading the speech in English, Kadzima then switched to Shona
and told the villagers that "he had a few things to say".

Then he reminded the villagers there were crucial elections next year,
and that Zanu PF had endorsed Mugabe as the sole candidate. He said he did
not expect anyone to question this decision.

He told them those who did not register as voters would not receive
food aid. The area had a poor harvest in the last season.

Many attempts to get the villagers to ululate, as they often do at
political rallies, failed. Then Kadzima said in Shona: "I know there are
people who are not happy with my message. I beg you in the name of Jesus,
let us set aside our differences, so we can all be happy. Only Jesus can
make this message acceptable to all; as humans we cannot say things that
will make everybody happy . . . I beg you in the name of Jesus Christ . . ."

But the villagers appeared unmoved. Only two, introduced as members of
the Zanu PF district co-ordinating committee, responded with a loud "Amen!"

Kadzima was not pleased, and then threatened that the villagers could
find themselves in neighbouring Mutoko constituency after the forthcoming
delimitation exercise.

The MP did the same at a church near Elim Mission, where the Canadians
were launching a project against gender abuse, but the response from the
crowd of mostly women and schoolgirls was worse.

Kadzima had been asked to give a vote of thanks, but started to talk
Zanu PF politics.

Earlier, during introductions at Munemo, a number of traditional
leaders appeared uncomfortable with the "Pamberi neZanu PF!" slogan. It was
so serious that one village head chanted "Pamberi nesimbe!" Like a number of
others, he did not clench his fist.

The Standard later established that Kadzima was not a regular visitor
to that part of Nyanga North. He also admitted to the Canadian Ambassador,
Roxanne Dube, that he had never mobilised such a large crowd in Ruangwe. He
told Dube to "tell your (Canadian) government that the community of Nyanga
North is in dire need of your assistance".

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Petrol bombers: State case crumbles

Zim Standard


SEVEN Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials and activists
suspected of petrol bombing public places around the country, were freed
last week after spending 62 days in remand prison.

But five others remained in custody, facing charges relating to
training insurgents, terrorists and saboteurs in South Africa

The case is to be heard tomorrow at the Harare Magistrates' Courts.

The case was removed from further remand after lawyers representing
the MDC activists challenged the slow pace of police investigations into the

Harare Magistrate Gloria Takundwa ordered the release of the 12
activists after the State conceded all the accused could be removed from
further remand.

The matter will now proceed by way of summons.

Another MDC activist Piniel Denga, facing charges of illegally
possessing explosives was again granted a $50 million bail with stringent
reporting conditions at the Harare central police's law and order section.

Among those set free on Thursday were journalist Luke Tamborinyoka and
other employees of the MDC arrested on 28 March after a police raid at
Harvest House, the party's headquarters in Harare.

The defence team led by Charles Kwaramba of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and
Makoni, had argued the police had failed to come up with enough evidence to
link the accused to the alleged petrol bombings.

"The evidence before this court clearly shows that police are not yet
ready to put this matter on trial," he said. "Previously, the applicants
have been denied bail on the basis that the police needed enough time to
investigate. Sufficient time has elapsed and nothing seems to be happening."

Kwaramba said the police were asking for more time to investigate the
case since the arrests on March 28 at the expense of the defendants'
liberty. He challenged affidavits by one Peter Chindodana, which formed the
basis of the State case. Kwaramba argued that Chindodana's signature on the
affidavit in one case differed from the other two affidavits used in two
similar cases.

"Therefore, the said Peter Chindodana does not exist and is a
fictional character. The character has been created to find a basis for
remanding the accused persons. Even if he existed his averment in the
affidavit still does not link the accused person to the offences. We had
hoped that the case would go beyond this Chindodana."

State prosecutor Tawanda Zvekare tried to have an investigating
officer testify on the progress of the investigation but the magistrate
insisted he should make the submissions on behalf of the police.

After consulting with the investigating officer, Zvekare conceded that
the accused could be removed from further remand and the State would only
proceed by way of summons.

MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa yesterday said the release was a
confirmation that the opposition party had nothing to do with the petrol
bombings. "All those who have been arrested are political victims and they
have served 62 days in custody for no crime. It's not by accident that all
those arrested are key members in the structures of the party. It was
designed to cripple all our activities," Chamisa said.

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Prosecutors flee low pay at AG's office

Zim Standard


BULAWAYO - There is a flight of prosecutors from the judiciary
service, and the job is now being left to ill-trained police officers, The
Standard's in-depth investigations have established.

Sources in the Attorney-General's office said prosecutors were leaving
because of poor pay and working conditions. Before the government reviewed
all civil servants' salaries, prosecutors and magistrates were paid between
$650 000 and $1.4 million a month.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Patrick Chinamasa
and Attorney General Sobusa Gula Ndebele could not be reached for comment

But insiders said the AG's office had been heavily compromised
following the departure of experienced prosecutors.

Prosecutors are supposed to undergo a two-year training course at the
Judiciary College, or four years and five years at the University of
Zimbabwe and the Midlands State University (MSU) respectively.

But due to the shortages, The Standard was told, police officers were
being recruited to fill the void.

"They train at the Staff College, yet prosecutors should go through
the two-year course for solid grounding," said a Bulawayo magistrate.

"This is why some of the state cases always collapse, while others are
not handled properly by some of the police officers."

Judicial sources said what was exacerbating the crisis was the
shortage of stationery and related materials needed for the smooth flow of
the justice system.

At the Bulawayo magistrates' courts, for example, all the photocopying
machines were broken down, forcing the staff to sometimes use their own
money for photocopying.

In Tsholotsho, the photocopying machine has never been repaired after
it broke down in 2003.

The rural court has no computer or typewriter, which delays the
dispatch of records to Bulawayo for review and appeal.

"This is one reason for the low morale among prosecutors," said a
prosecutor based in Bulawayo. "Records have to be sent within seven days,
but how do you do that when you don't have stationery?"

At the official opening of the 2007 High Court Judicial year, Judge
President Justice Rita Makarau lamented that the justice delivery system was
in shambles and needed urgent funding to bring it back on track.

Justice Makarau said over the years the funds allocated to the
judiciary had dwindled, against an increasing workload.

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Newspaper owners urge Mbeki to act on Zimbabwe media repression

Zim Standard

  By Davison

AFRICA had its moment of glory last week when for the first time it
hosted the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) congress in Cape Town. But
it was also reminded of its duty to Zimbabwe.

Gavin O'Reilly, WAN's president, seized on the occasion to talk of the
tragedy in Zimbabwe.

"Though conscious that it is a sovereign state," O'Reilly told
President Thabo Mbeki, "we hope - Mr President - that you will bring your
considerable influence and abiding sense of justice to do all in your power
to help rectify the flagrant abuses of freedom that exist in that country.

"We readily recognise that the Mugabe regime sees fit to discount any
legitimate commentary from the international community, but we hope that a
fellow African nation like South Africa can actively encourage real progress
and bring normalcy and true liberty to that country."

Mbeki has already been mandated to mediate in talks between President
Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF and the opposition MDC with a view to bring finality
to the seven-year-old Zimbabwe crisis, sparked by the chaotic land invasions
that in part explains the current food shortages in Zimbabwe.

Addressing more than 1 600 delegates at the opening of the 60th WAN
Congress and 14th WEF, O'Reilly said the daily persecution and harassment of
the free press must cease and that Press freedom ought to be much higher on
the agenda of African development proposals.

"In the Declaration of Table Mountain, approved in Cape Town by our
representative boards this weekend," O'Reilly said, "we have called on all
African states to recognise the indivisibility of Press freedom and to
respect their commitments to international and African protocols upholding
this freedom and independence."

WAN was particularly grieved that the African Union in instituting its
Peer Review Mechanism under Nepad had excluded the fostering of a free and
independent press as a key requirement in the assessment of good governance
in the countries on the continent.

"We would very much hope, Mr President, that you will take a
leadership role in trying to convince your colleague Heads of State to put
this vital question back on the development agenda," O'Reilly said.

The strong free press that has emerged in South Africa since the end
of apartheid, O'Reilly said, can and should be an inspiration.

"Perhaps the greatest durable scourge of Press freedom in Africa is
the continued implementation of insult laws which outlaw criticism of
politicians and those in authority, and criminal defamation legislation,
both of which are used indiscriminately in the vast majority of nations that
maintain them in order to silence a critical press. These, O'Reilly said,
"should be abolished".

When it was his turn to address the congress Mbeki said the omission
from the African Peer Review Mechanism of a key component fostering a free
and independent press in the assessment of good governance in African
countries was an "oversight". He made an undertaking to raise the matter at
the African Union.

"I was surprised to hear that. It's not deliberate that it's not
there. It's an oversight," Mbeki said to applause from the delegates.

"We should all of us be sensitive to this problem and act on it and
not merely make good speeches."

There were some countries where journalists were in prison and this,
Mbeki said, was "worrying". African media workers had complained about this,
as had the African Union Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression in her

"There is particular anger around what is seen as impunity enjoyed by
some governments in their perceived or actual actions against journalists
and editors," Mbeki said. "I am also aware of the feeling among African
editors that libel and similar laws are used to deal with a media that is
seen as uncomplimentary to the authorities.

"The problem of media freedom around the continent is an important one
as the media's role in informing and thereby empowering the people of Africa
cannot be disputed. We note with appreciation the efforts underway between
the African Union and the African Editors' Forum to declare a year of
African media freedom so as to mobilise public opinion around the important
role media plays in development.

"There are also plans for an annual day for media freedom as well as
opening lines of communication between political leadership and editors.
This may culminate in the first debate between five presidents and five

Mbeki said this kind of dialogue was new and holds out the hope for
breaking new ground in extending freedoms and understanding between
political leaders and leaders of the media community. "For our part here at
home, we are meeting with our editors in two weeks' time to share ideas . .

On the eve of the congress, former president Nelson Mandela welcomed
the delegates saying South Africa believed in expanding the frontiers of
freedom for every human being. ". . . But as I have always said, newspapers
allow us to hold a mirror up to ourselves, and we must be brave enough to
look squarely at the reflection."

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ZUJ chief elected to IFJ committee

Zim Standard

  By our Staff

MOSCOW - The secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists,
Foster Dongozi, was elected to the executive committee of the International
Federation of Journalists at its World Congress in Moscow, Russia last

Dongozi, the president of the Southern Africa Journalists Association
(SAJA), was elected alongside two other Africans to the executive committee.

Jim Boumelha of the National Union of Journalists in the United
Kingdom was elected president of the IFJ while Osvaldo Urriolabeitia from
Argentina was elected senior vice-president.

Mjahed Younous (Morocco) and Khady Cissay (Senegal) were elected as
the two vice-presidents while Uli Remel (Germany) was elected treasurer.

Other members of the IFJ executive committee include Naim Toubassi
(Palestine), Eva Stabell (Norway), Christopher Warren (Australia), Linda
Foley (USA) and Sabina Inderjit (India).

Dongozi said he hoped to use his position to help improve the
operating environment of journalists in Zimbabwe who are reeling from
hardships after the government shut down four newspapers, rendering most of
them unemployed.

"We lobbied for the setting up of a distress fund for colleagues in
Africa with a special emphasis on Zimbabwe and now what we need to do is to
organise distressed journalists to see what form of assistance we can extend
to them," he said.

The IFJ which was founded in 1926 is a global confederation of
journalists operating in 162 countries and representing more than one
million journalists.

Although it's headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, it has regional
offices on all continents.

Meanwhile, last week's congress condemned the continued crackdown
against Zimbabwean journalists by the government.

Journalists have been experiencing state repression since March when
former ZBC cameraman and producer, Edward Chikomba was abducted and murdered
by suspected government hitmen.

He was reportedly suspected of having leaked video footage of
opposition and civic society leaders tortured while in police custody.

The IFJ congress urged the Zimbabwean government to reopen the four
newspapers it shut down since 2003.

In Cape Town, the World Association of Newspapers meeting also
released a statement, calling on the government of President Mugabe to stop
harassing journalists.

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Zimbabwe excludes HIV/Aids from Global Fund application

Zim Standard

  By Bertha Shoko

ZIMBABWE will this year not be applying for HIV and Aids funding in
the Round 7 call for proposals by the Global Fund, but will instead submit a
proposal for funding on malaria and tuberculosis (TB).

The Global Fund to fight malaria, tuberculosis and HIV and Aids was
established in 2002 to provide funding to the developing world in an effort
to stamp out three killer diseases: malaria, TB and HIV and Aids.

As the deadline for Round 7 proposals to the Global Fund draws near,
Zimbabwe's Country Co-ordinating Mechanism (CCM) to the Global Fund is
reportedly working "flat out" to finalise this proposal for TB and malaria

The CCM is made up of representatives from both the public and private
sectors including governments, non-governmental organisations, academic
institutions, private businesses and, where HIV and Aids is concerned,
people living with the disease.
The CCM is tasked with drawing up a proposal based on priority needs
at a national level and after wide consultations with various relevant

Standardhealth understands that almost one year after the Global Fund
approved Zimbabwe's Round 5 application the organisation has not yet
disbursed a single cent of the grant to the National Aids Council, which is
listed as the principal recipient of the money.

In this Round 5 application, Zimbabwe had requested funding for HIV
and Aids, TB and malaria of about US$62 million but only US$32 million was
approved. This is the money the country is yet to receive to start
implementing various interventions for these three diseases.

In a telephone interview last Wednesday, the Minister of Health and
Child Welfare, David Parirenyatwa, confirmed that Zimbabwe would be applying
for funds in Round 7 for malaria and TB only. He said the CCM will
"definitely" meet the July 4 deadline.

Parirenyatwa, chairman of the CCM, explained that the country would
not be applying again for HIV and Aids funds because the Global Fund still
owed Zimbabwe the Round 5 grant. "We have an outstanding Round 5 grant which
we have not even started implementing although we have long signed for it.
This is why we are not applying again for Aids funding. We are waiting for
our Round 5 grant but we will submit for TB and malaria only this time," he

In Round 5 Zimbabwe had proposed to introduce and scale up
Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) in 22 districts and also applied for TB and
malaria funding.

There is growing concern among Aids activists that the delay in the
disbursement of this grant by the Global Fund could see many people in
urgent need of ART missing out since the Zimbabwean government has openly
admitted it has no resources to provide ART to everyone who needs it.

There are more than 1.8 million people living with HIV and Aids in the
country, according to the health ministry. Of this figure only 60 000 people
are accessing life-prolonging Anti Retroviral Drugs (ARVs) from State-run
programmes and in the private sector, compared with the more than 600 000
who are in need of the drugs.

Global Fund communications executive Jon Liden had not responded to
questions emailed to him on Tuesday morning by the time of going to press.

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Social contract: 'wish list of fibs' By Jennifer Dube

Zim Standard


THE recent signing of three Social Contract protocols by the three
parties to the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) was mostly a "wish list",
economists said last week.

In separate interviews, they dismissed the recent development as a
non-event, saying it had an appeal only as a concept but could not yield the
envisaged results.

"The signing of the papers is not a development at all," said John
Robertson, an independent economic consultant. "It is just a statement of a
wish, a wish list of fibs that one day things might be better,"

The three partners to the TNF - the government, business and labour -
signed three protocols, including the Incomes and Pricing Stabilisation
Protocol in what the state media described rather sensationally as a
"landmark demonstration of unity of purpose in stabilising the economy".

The largest labour grouping, Zimbabwe Confederation of Trade Unions,
declined to sign the other two protocols - on Restoration of Productivity
Viability and on Mobilisation, Pricing and Management of Foreign Currency.

The ZCTU cited the need to consult their constituency first, before
putting pen to paper on the other protocols.

The protocols' anticipated results include reducing inflation from its
current level of 3 713.9% to 25% by the end of the year, and trimming
government expenditure to 10% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). "With the
current state of affairs, we will need a miracle for inflation to be brought
down to that figure," Robertson said.

"Among other things, prices will have to fall by 80 percent and there
is no way we can hope for that, unless by imagining that we have so much
competition in the market and everybody has so much to sell and they all
want to get into the market."

The economists said the partners' commitment to the concept remained a

"The social contract in itself is a noble concept," Interfin
economist, Farai Dyirakumunda said. "Unfortunately, there is a challenge in
the actual implementation. Is there a buy-in on the part of everyone who
signs? It is one thing to sign and another to implement,"

He said conflicting interests would remain the biggest challenge. "It
will be difficult to harmonise the divergent requirements; for example,
labour wants salary hikes and incomes to be aligned to the Poverty Datum
Line (PDL) while business has to cut costs," Dyirakumunda said.

Added Robertson: "I don't see the government keeping its side of the
bargain because they need to spend so much money but cannot hope to collect
all of it from taxes. The fact is they have to continue printing money and
this in itself fuels the inflation they are trying to prevent."

The economists said "the envisaged social contract deliverables
remained a bit of a tall order", given the prevailing inflationary pressures
driven by the thriving parallel market.

They advocated for more external funding and the boosting of activity
in the productive sector. They also projected the inflation rate would hit
the 10 000% mark by the end of the year if the current trend continued.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono, was the first to
propose the social contract, in January this year.

The proposal was received with mixed feelings and saw business
engaging in a spate of speculative activities ahead of Gono's proposed
kick-off date three months ago.

Among others, businesses hiked prices of goods and services in
anticipation of a price freeze in March - which did not materialise.

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G8 agrees on US$60bn package, focus on Africa

Zim Standard

  HEILIGENDAMM, Germany, -
World leaders agreed on Friday a US$60 billion pledge to fight Aids and
other killer diseases ravaging Africa and restated broader promises to
double development spending.

"We are aware of our responsibilities and will fulfil our
obligations," German Chancellor Angela Merkel, (pictured) hosting Group of
Eight leaders, told reporters on the final day of the summit.

Campaigners complain that rich nations have fallen behind on
commitments made to double development aid at a summit in 2005 in
Gleneagles, Scotland. Many were unimpressed with the deal.

Leaders agreed to earmark $60 billion to fight Aids, malaria and
tuberculosis, global diseases that have devastated African peoples and their

But the declaration set out no specific timetable, saying the money
would flow "over the coming years". Neither did it break down individual
countries' contributions.

Campaigners for Africa say the pledge is made up largely of money
which has already been announced, including US$30 billion from the United

"While lives will be saved with more money for Aids, this represents a
cap on ambition that will ultimately cost millions more lives," said Steve
Cockburn of the Stop Aids Campaign.

He said the pledge falls short of UN targets which oblige G8 nations
to spend US$15 billion per year to combat Aids alone through to 2010. In
comparison, the deal looks like committing them to about $12 billion per
year for all three diseases.

Leaders also reiterated an overall pledge made in 2005 to raise annual
aid levels by $50 billion by 2010, $25 billion of which is for Africa.

"The important thing is that we have recommitted ourselves to all the
commitments we made a couple of years ago," said British Prime Minister Tony
Blair who hosted the 2005 meeting.

Campaigners were not convinced.

"Despite last minute face saving measures, the G8 has failed its
credibility test on Africa," said Collins Magalasi, ActionAids's country
director for South Africa.

Blair and Merkel stressed they expect African leaders to fight
corruption and boost transparency so donors can track aid as leaders of six
African nations joined the G8 heads on Friday for their discussion on aid. -


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Level electoral playing field, give up poll gimmicks

Zim Standard


THE 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections are less than nine
months away, yet the electorate has still to be thoroughly informed of the
state of the playing field.

There has been no attempt to level the odds which have been staked
against all opposition parties since independence.

There is still no word on whether or not Zimbabweans in the Diaspora
will be allowed to vote. The government is aware of the devastating impact
on its electoral chances if these disaffected citizens were allowed to vote.

Most fled the economic and political misery visited upon the country
by this government, particularly since 2000. There are millions of them in
the United Kingdom, the United States and South Africa, among other

Almost all would love to return to help shape the destiny of their
country which is facing its worst-ever economic and political crisis. It
would be unconscionable for Zanu PF to be so wrapped up in its selfish
desire to hang on to power that it would again deny millions of citizens
this inalienable democratic right.

There is not even any clear indication yet whether the government will
amend the electoral laws to allow for a truly independent electoral
commission. So far, Zanu PF is still not willing to put its alleged superior
popularity to the ultimate test by allowing anyone other than its president
to decide who should head the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

The elections should be supervised by a commission beholden only to
Parliament and the people, and not a politician with a huge stake in the

In short, there is as yet no sign of the government overhauling the
electoral laws so that the conduct of the polls can satisfy the grievous
concerns of those Zimbabweans disadvantaged by the present biased process.

Their general grievance concerns the unfairness of the conduct of the
elections. There is a built-in mechanism, Zimbabweans believe, which has
made it  virtually impossible for any party other than Zanu PF to win a
parliamentary or presidential election.

Opposition parties have won urban and rural elections since 2002, but
the ruling party has used parliamentary by-elections to regain lost seats.
It has done this by drawing on State's resources unlike the opposition and
by cordoning off constituencies, threatening or bribing voters.

It would seem that Zanu PF is comfortable with electoral losses in the
local government elections. When it comes to Parliament, the ruling party
seems determined not to take any chances of the people actually choosing
another party to run the country.

When will Zanu PF ever accept that the goal of the liberation struggle
was to free the people from a political and economic system that reduced
them to virtual serfs, with no right to choose their own leaders, let alone
to enjoy the same privileges as other people in the world living in a
democratic system?

Most of the world is anguished by the denial of human rights of the
people of Zimbabwe. Even in South Africa, where President Thabo Mbeki seems
immobilised by his seeming awe of Mugabe's liberation war exploits, there is
rising alarm that Zimbabwe could blow up, with some of the pieces falling
straight into Mbeki's lap.

Instead of engaging in political gimmicks, such as the Social Contract
and pretending that British companies are falling all over themselves to
invest in Zimbabwe, Zanu PF should heed the warnings of many leaders around
the world, calling for unconditional dialogue with the opposition.

The political posturing must end, the gimmicks abandoned and an
earnest effort made to save the country from certain political and economic

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Racism and the future of humankind

Zim Standard

  sunday opinion by Bill Saidi

IN a column I wrote for a paper years ago, I noted, with sadness, the
death of Peggy Lee, the American singer whose 1950s Mr Wonderful had
completely bowled me over with its soft, warm voice and lyrics.

I heard it many times on the old federal broadcasting network.

A reader, touched by my tearful tribute, offered me an album of Lee's
music, including Fever, The Folks Who Live On The Hill and, of course, Mr

To this day, I am not sure why I didn't go for it. If I had, I would
have discovered that a line I always thought was One more thing, this is
true, was actually, One more thing, then I'm through . . . .

As it was, I didn't confront this truth until, in 2004, I went to
Tower Records in New York and bought myself two Lee CDs which included her
interpretations of a number of Latin songs, such as Manana Is Soon Enough
For Me.

It humbled me to discover my mistake, but perhaps not as humbled or
miffed as a South African woman once head over heels with the velvet voice
of Nat King Cole.

Now, I knew the very pretty Miss Lee was white. But this woman, living
in the racist vortex that was apartheid South Africa, didn't know Nat Cole
was black.

What she did, upon this startling discovery, has been the subject of
much speculation: did she burn all his albums, or did she break them into
little pieces, before incinerating them in a bonfire outside her upmarket
mansion as she danced around wildly, chanting with evil relish "Me Your Mona
Lisa? Grow Up, Man, You (something or other) You!"?

The notes on the CD with Mr Wonderful had this detail: while it was a
big hit with British women, it wasn't with the women of the United States,
Miss Lee's sisters. I wondered about this, but realised that British women,
once the pioneer suffragettes, had mellowed.

The destruction of apartheid was a glorious victory for all black
people who had ever been colonised by white people. Yet there are always
vignettes of exceptional warmth in the midst of the dirty stories of how
white people loved to rub black faces into the mud.

I have always told of how, during the memorable show at the old
Showgrounds (Glamis Stadium) of Louis Satchmo Armstrong, the white couple
sitting next to me lent me their binoculars, so I too could take a closer
look at this African-American legend.

Years later, in London, I was sitting in a West End theatre for a live
performance of My Fair Lady; again, someone lent me their binoculars.

All this to a man who had once been called to his face "this monkey"
by a European woman in Salisbury (they were not always called white). Yet to
my defence came the gruff voice of a white man with the rough edges of a

Racism, rather than religious fanaticism, may yet destroy Humankind,
if we refuse to accept that it is music which levels all racist barriers,
not verbal or physical bashing.

It was heart-warming to hear that the Spanish government had recently
called for talks with the government of Senegal over the problem of
Senegalese crossing into Spain from the Canary Islands, to escape the
economic and political nightmare of their own country. Spain is a very
musical country, as is Senegal.

The French should be involved, as the former colonisers of Senegal.
France itself has a large, mostly poor immigrant population from Africa,
involved in a series of violent skirmishes a few months ago, in which there
was death and destruction.

Yet the French too are musical, as are the many Africans living there.

Britain, with its sizable population of African immigrants (including
Zimbabweans fleeing bashing by their own government), may not now be sitting
on a powder keg, as they probably were when Enoch Powell warned of "rivers
of blood" if immigration was not curbed.

But the National Front and other extreme rightwing groups may still
trigger a race conflict of frightening proportions. As for music, the
British will always have The Beatles.

Climate change is a danger to the survival of this Earth, yet perhaps
far more potent as a threat is Humankind's own intolerance of Humankind,
which some people, even those said to be tone deaf, believe can be tamed by
the sweet, soothing sound of music, even the mysteriously named sungura.

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Challenges facing African newspapers

Zim Standard

  sunday opinion  by Trevor Ncube

I wish to extend a proudly South African welcome to all of you and
wish you engaging and fruitful deliberations over the next three days.

For us at the Newspaper Association of South Africa (NASA) the events
of the next few days are the product of two years of planning and we are
delighted that things have turned out so well. I need not remind you that
this is the first ever World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and World
Editors' Forum (WEF) gathering to take place on our continent. The response
from our newspaper colleagues has been phenomenal and we are grateful for
your support.

We are proud and excited that this 60th WAN gathering is the second
largest after Moscow last year. And the World Editors Forum (WEF) is the
largest ever gathering of editors since these meetings started 14 years ago.
There are 1 600 participants from 109 countries and a record number of
participants from African countries. Thus we have achieved one of our goals
of giving this gathering a strong African flavour. All in all this is the
biggest gathering of editors and newspaper executives ever to take place on
the African soil.

This gathering of opinion makers in our country and continent is a
fitting curtain raiser to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. South Africa and the
continent are ready for the next World Cup. Preparations are well and truly
underway and Africa awaits its moment of glory. We are aware of the
purveyors of doom and gloom regarding the 2010 World Cup but I want to
assure you that South Africa is ready to showcase the beautiful game on the
African stage.

Part of the dynamism of the next three days will be the interaction of
the participants from outside this continent, and especially the developed
countries, on the one hand, with those from the African continent on the
other. We have much to share and learn from one another.

It is safe to say that many of our delegates here today are blessed by
being able to work in environments that enable you to be more mindful about
economic rather than political viability. And for you, the economic race is
well and truly on.

* fortunately this is not the case with many publishers and newspaper
editors in the developing countries particularly Africa. It is of course
logical that the all-consuming issues facing newspapers in most developed
countries today are related to a context of technological change and
competition levels that few people ever anticipated. But I also would like
to ask those of you who do hail from such environs, to spare a thought for
your colleagues whose contexts are just as challenging - but in a different

Here I refer to those newspaper editors and owners in the developing
world, and especially Africa. Many of us face not only economic
sustainability issues, but sheer political survival. Of course, there are
developing countries which are democracies and thus where political
pressures are not that extreme. But especially in Africa, many editors and
publishers face very severe constraints from political rulers whose hands
are much less-tied than those of their counterparts who operate under
conditions of universal franchise, respect for human rights and the rule of

To take one example, cited by the Commonwealth Journalists
Association, the Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who amongst other things
claims that he can cure Aids, was recorded in October last year as saying:
"The whole world can go to hell. If I want to ban any newspaper, I will,
with good reason." There are Gambian editors here in Cape Town today, forced
into exile, who can indeed attest to the hell they have been put through by
this despot who rules their home country.

Totalitarian regimes are the worst, but there is also a general
authoritarianism in many less despotic countries. This ethos arises from a
mindset whereby media is not respected as an autonomous institution and a
business sector in its own right. Instead, it is seen as a social instrument
that can and should be wielded for particular purposes. The thinking of too
many African governments is that media is a tool to be deployed for
political or other objectives. And too many governments mistakenly believe
that if they do not do so, someone else will.

This kind of outlook denies newspapers any independence to decide upon
their own objectives. It disrespects our professionalism, and its default
position is to disbelieve us even when we show non-partisanship as regards
political power interests. Sadly, some African newspapers have indeed ended
up publishing puffery about politicians' words - as if canonising speech in
print was sufficient to convert rhetoric into reality. There are also
newspapers that play politics on behalf of one political faction or another,
and where their partisanship is part of a power plot . . . rather than a
product of an independent and cogent editorial preference.

However, it is easy to stand aside and issue ethical condemnations
about those editors who compromise with politicians or those who work for
Africa's many state-owned newspapers. It is also easy to moralise about
owners who have to tread cautiously because they depend on adverts in an
environment of political patronage. To be in such shoes, and to try and make
a difference, is the real challenge. It takes enormous talents of
persuasion, reserves of fairness and integrity, and deep pools of
professional performance.

In the face of the odds, there are those practitioners who have given
up any aspiration towards an identity of journalistic self-respect. But
equally, we have heroes who have kept up the good fight - even in some
cases, walking off the job rather than kowtowing.

And let us also remember those who have paid, and those who in future
will continue to pay, the ultimate price for their independence.
Fortunately, between the defeatists and the dead, there are those who
survive. These are the many press men and women around Africa, who pick
their battles carefully, who strive to cultivate tolerance, and who
construct successful alliances for press freedom. Many of them are here in
Cape Town at this congress, and as they can testify, it is no small feat to
do this. Each person here can learn from their courage, tactical sense and

* an inadvertent Africanisation of an old proverb, the International
Federation of Journalists recently criticised agents of the state and
non-state actors who, it said, "have an ox to grind with journalists". (IFJ
Africa NewsLetter, September-December 2006).

One may chuckle at the vision this conjures up, but the sentiment is
spot on. And in challenging the many regimes who place the African press in
a grinder, or who seek to castrate the creature at minimum, we need to be
sure to hold African governments to the fine-sounding commitments they make
but which are too often left to wither on the vine.

We need to publicise stories such as when, on 30 January this year,
the assembly of the African Union adopted a charter on Democracy, Elections
and Governance. This document states: "In order to advance political,
economic and social governance, State Parties shall commit themselves to." -
and in the list of actions that follows is point 8.: "(p)romoting freedom of
expression, in particular freedom of the press and fostering a professional
media." Such fine-sounding sentiments should be popularised, and the world's
press should regularly audit government performance in relation to them.

As part of building momentum against press repression, the global
newspaper community is a critical component. The old trade union slogan of
"an injury to one is an injury to all" applies in this regard. Unchecked
violations of press freedom in one part of the world serve to chip away,
bit-by-bit, the same right that is too often wrongly considered as
irreversible in a different location. Violations and abuses embolden those
elements everywhere who hold our institution in contempt - the people who
seek to control, manipulate and even suppress the press.

Our challenges in Africa are not just political, but also economic.
Our markets are small, our Diaspora is hard to monetise, and our advertising
industry is handicapped by an absence of reliable media consumption data.
Securing newsprint is often a problem.

Another exhibit of what African journalists encounter is recounted by
the Commonwealth Journalists Association in their March newsletter. In
Swaziland, it is reported that one Pastor Justice Dlamini recently used a
church gathering to pray for the death of two Times of Swaziland journalists
in order "to teach the media a lesson". The cause of his wrath was an
article about a church squabble. A few years earlier, the same man had
prayed unsuccessfully for the deceased editor of the paper to be brought
back to life, so at least he's even-handed in a sense! But such
semi-light-hearted issues aside, the coverage of religion - such as around
the infamous Amina Lawal issue and the Danish cartoons - is a hot topic in a
continent with a sizeable Muslim population. Just ask some of the African
editors, not least our Nigerian colleagues, present. Promoting civil and
religious tolerance is a major task for African newspapers.

And yet, despite (or perhaps because of) all these minefields -
political, economic and religious - independent newspapers in Africa are
resilient. The case studies are here alive and kicking amongst us, and I
urge you to tap their rich and inspiring stories in this regard.

Worldwide, the newspaper industry is in good shape. As WAN data show,
we are thriving across many indicators. In Africa, too, newspapers are
growing. Therefore, in this positive vein, and in the spirit of the African
press survivors, let us engage with optimism as we debate the future of our

My appeal is that in so doing we should keep sight of the issues
facing us as a whole: the economic, and the political, and also not
forgetting the religious. Collectively, newspapers are an institution which
has singularly helped propel human progress over the past few centuries.
Collectively, therefore, there is no doubt that we can stand together and
share our thoughts to ensure the continuation of our contribution across the

For Africa to claim its rightful place in the community of nation's
African politicians need to begin to understand that vibrant newspapers are
partners and not enemies in the task of creating democratic societies.
Vibrant newspapers free from political control are a vital ingredient to
creating a market place of ideas to propel Africa's growth and development.
Societies which live in perpetual fear of their politicians can never be
creative and robust nations particularly in the knowledge based times we
live in. Africa desperately needs to let loose the creative energies of her
people by allowing them to think and express themselves freely. Indeed, only
by setting her people free does Africa stand a chance of catching up with
the rest of the world.

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Re-living those first days in independent Zimbabwe . . .

Zim Standard

  sunday view by
Judith Todd

There were, of course, moments of sadness and regret, remembering
those who deserved to be there but were not.

When Josiah Tungamirai, the ZANLA High Command's political commissar
saw me, he took me aside and walked me round the garden, mournfully relating
details of Josiah Tongogara's death in Mozambique on the night of 26
December 1979.

Tongogara, chief of defence in the Zanla High Command, had introduced
me to Tungamirai during the Lancaster House talks in London, where the two
of them shared a house with Dzingai Mutumbuka and other Zanu PF delegates.

Tungamirai told me he had been so shattered by the tragedy of
Tongogara's death that he believed his sanity had been saved only by the
intervention of veteran Zanu PF leader Simon Muzenda, who arranged for
Tungamirai's mother to come and stay with her son while he grieved.

He told me that on the night of the fatality, he and Tongogara had
been travelling with others in two vehicles from Maputo to Chimoio.
Tungamirai said he was in the front vehicle. It was dark and the roads were
bad. Tungamirai's car passed a military vehicle that had been carelessly
abandoned, with no warning signs at the side of the road. After that, he
could no longer see the headlights of the following car in his rear view

Eventually he turned back, and, as he had feared, they found Tongogara's
car had struck the abandoned vehicle. Tongogara was sitting in the front
passenger seat. Tungamirai told me that he had struggled to lift Tongogara
out of the wrecked car. He said that as he was doing so, Tongogara heaved a
huge sigh and died in his arms.

I didn't mention to Tungamirai that many people believed Tongogara had
been murdered.

April 1980 vanished fast, but before the first May Day celebrated in
Zimbabwe, Finance Minister Enos Nkala announced that the new government had
abolished sales tax on sugar, tea, cooking oil and margarine, important
supplements to the diet of the poorest citizens and that thousands of
prisoners were being released.

The police and the army kept a low profile, vastly different to their
provocative air before and during the election, and, at least on the
surface, the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe seemed to be going
reasonably smoothly. This was despite many Zanla guerrillas having remained
outside the APs (Assembly Points) and the continued easy access to arms
cached across the country, resulting in continuing crime and banditry.

There were some social hiccups, such as the brief arrest of Rex
Nhongo, Commander of the Zanla forces, at a Salisbury hotel. He was accused
of creating a disturbance when told he couldn't eat in the restaurant as he
wasn't wearing a jacket and tie. Nathan Shamuyarira, Minister of Information
and Tourism, then announced that jackets and ties would no longer be
required for entrance to hotel facilities.

This, in turn, led to further problems. John Callinicos and his wife,
Aelda, aunt of my husband Richard Acton, were running the popular Park Lane
Hotel and wondered just how they would cope with unhappy and sometimes
violent malcontents if they could no longer seek refuge in a dress code.

Aelda said that while some young blacks were sometimes drunk and
scruffy, they were seldom a problem, as they were generally happy and
friendly. Some young whites could be a different matter, especially on
Friday nights at the Park Lane, a favourite haunt of ex-troopies, where they
had been known to threaten people and in some cases, had even taken to
exposing themselves.

I saw what they meant late one evening in the main lounge at the plush
Meikles Hotel. Some young men in hats and skimpy clothes started sauntering
around drinking beer from bottles and loudly hectoring foreign guests. But
before long these displays of trauma disappeared. On the whole whites had
been bowled over by Robert Mugabe's address to the nation on the eve of

"Let us deepen our sense of belonging and engender a common interest
that knows no race, colour or creed," he'd said. "Let us truly become
Zimbabweans with a single loyalty. Long live our freedom." Many heaved a
sigh of relief - Hasn't he changed? - and stopped packing.

The most disaffected were leaving anyway, if they could. One day my
father gave a lift to a couple of young whites who didn't recognise him.
They told him candidly that they had been in one of the undercover groups of
the Rhodesian Defence Force and were soon leaving for South Africa with
their unit and equipment intact.

From early on there were signs of a trend towards a one-party state.
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation started sedulously referring to "the
prime minister, Comrade Robert Mugabe" and "the president, Comrade Canaan
Banana" and statements broadcast by the Ministry of Information announced in
one breath "the government and the party", although Mugabe had initially
formed a post-war government of national unity.

Frederique Winter, mother of film star Dana Wynter, cautiously
protested in one of the last of her many letters to the main national
newspaper, the Herald: "The use of the word Comrade by ZBC/TV is rather
confusing: this appellation was introduced by the Russian communists after
the 1917 revolution.To call our respected president or prime minister
Comrade is rather presumptuous."

One of the best things for me in the new Zimbabwe was being able to
meet again many old friends, such as Justin Nyoka, now being groomed for a
post in the Ministry of Information. In the early 1960s we were
contemporaries at university, where Justin was on a scholarship from the
Rhodesia Printing and Publishing Company.

This was an extension of South Africa's Argus Group, which ran our
newspapers and was beginning to train blacks for the future. The fact that
Justin had made it to university, let alone that he also had a scholarship,
made people jealous.

Rumours were spread that he was a spy for the Rhodesians, and play was
made on his surname, which means snake in English. When Peter Niesewand was
deported from Rhodesia in 1973, the BBC lost a valuable stringer, as well as
the London Guardian losing their correspondent. George Bennett at the BBC
Africa Service, where I had freelanced, asked if I had any ideas on whom
they could now use in Rhodesia, and I suggested Justin.

He was an assiduous reporter, which meant that he almost inevitably
made enemies. Eventually he disappeared from his farm in Mashonaland and it
was rumoured that he had been abducted by ZANLA.

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Zim Standard Letters

Let's take a stand against racialism and injustice

IT has appeared to me
for some time that the anti-white racialism from the government of Zimbabwe
needs to be exposed more than it is.

When we heard recently of Obert Mpofu stating that he wants all
"white" farmers out of his constituency we are hearing the words of neo-Nazi
apartheid. They are words that are relentlessly being applied as government
policy throughout Zimbabwe. What has happened in the last seven years on the
farms is quite simply a policy of ethnic cleansing on racial lines.

There is little difference between this phenomenon now and this
phenomenon under Adolf Hitler or Hendrick Verwoerd. The most tragic part of
Zimbabwe's racialist policies though, is not what has happened to the
whites. The most tragic part is the effect that it has had on the poor and
the weak of all races. When I see the old white people fighting back the
tears in the supermarket as they try to buy food; or the young black
children walking to school shoeless and in rags, then I see the consequences
of the governments racial policy on the land.

Sadly, other African leaders admire and applaud Zimbabwe's racialism.
Zimbabwe stands out for them as the champion of the black nationalist
movement. "Pan-African" jingoism has based its misguided psyche on the
racial championing of the world's black people over the world's white
people. A white man cannot be an African in the world of black African
brotherhood leaders.

A fortnight ago Africa put Zimbabwe forward to chair the UN Commission
on Sustainable Development. Zimbabwe, since it began its racialist land
policy seven years ago, has had the fastest regressing economy in the world.

When President Thabo Mbeki stood up in defence of Zimbabwe (and its
anti-white policies) at the latest SADC meeting he said: "The fight against
Zimbabwe is a fight against us all. Today it is Zimbabwe; tomorrow it will
be South Africa, it will be Mozambique, it will be Angola, it will be any
other African country. And any government that is perceived to be strong and
to be resistant to the imperialists would be made a target and would be
undermined. So let us not allow any point of weakness in the solidarity of
SADC, because that weakness will also be transferred to the rest of Africa."

And that is the sickness. The sickness is encapsulated in the lie that
"I am not the one. I am not responsible for my own actions. I cannot be
blamed for the corruption and mismanagement and hunger and suffering in my
nation; in my constituency; in my sphere of influence . . . The blame is all
on the white imperialists . . ."

The sickness brews in the stubborn resistance of Africa to shoulder
the moral responsibilities that come with freedoms. God, in giving us
choice, also gave us laws. When we step outside the bounds of these laws we
are sowing the wind; and in most of Africa the whirlwind continues to be

The woes of Africa rest with our lack of moral courage to take our
responsibilities seriously and make the right choices to do what is morally
right in God's sight.

The whites have mostly vanished like the wind, out of Africa, sadly,
but with minimum fuss. In Zimbabwe it has been no different. The Commercial
Farmers' Union has dialogued its members into obscurity until Zimbabwe has
taken its place beside the rest of the African nations that cannot feed

The CFU continues, like the band on the Titanic, to play their sad,
sick "dialogue with dictators tune" while their ship slips silently beneath
the waves. Its leaders, all whites, lack the moral courage to stand up
against the injustice that unfolds so predictably; and so injustice, and all
the baggage that goes with injustice, takes its place.

If, collectively as blacks and whites, we do not take a stand against
the injustice of racialism and everything with it on the farms, we shall
only have ourselves to blame for the moral wasteland that continues to roll
out across the land in the future. The continued injustices that Zimbabweans
of all races have to endure will be our fault.

Ben Freeth


 Teachers must stop being used by other civil servants

THE civil
service represents all government workers. But when it comes to industrial
action, it is only the teaching profession that participates while the rest
of all the other civil servants continue to go to work.

      Who do these civil servants that do not participate in any
industrial action expect to fight for them? Let us remember that when salary
increments are given, it is not only teachers who benefit but all civil
servants. But when staff action is taken against the striking teachers, it
is only the teachers who suffer.

      So please, teachers, as long as all other civil servants do not
participate in any industrial action together with the teachers, you should
stop being used on behalf of the rest of the cowards in the civil service.
After all, it is not only the teachers who are poorly paid in the civil

      Those teachers with ears to hear let then hear and stop
forthwith taking part in any future industrial action that leaves out other
civil servants.

      PJ Madondo



       Errant rulers face the wrath of God

ANY student of rulers in
history will know that power corrupts and breeds folly, and often causes
inability to think and act rationally.

            It is the responsibility of those in power to govern as
reasonably as possible, in the interests of all their citizens, not only
those that support them.

            It is their duty to be well-informed to heed information
and criticism, and to keep an open mind. Intelligent and wise leaders resist
the foolishness of believing that only their view is always right.

            Wise rulers recognize when a policy is not serving their
nation's best interests, and if they are brave enough, will change it.

            Common sense and courage should over-rule the mindless
pursuit of obviously failed policies.

            Misgovernment and abuse of power may strengthen a regime
temporarily, but it is foolish and stupid when persistence in policy
continually worsens corruption, shortages and inflation to the world record
degree we see in Zimbabwe.

            Infatuation with power and money robs men of reason,
making them incapable of rational choices. Even worse, it makes them blind
to distinctions between morality and expediency.

            No regime is permanent. Those who cling to power while
ruining their country and the lives of the majority of their citizens, must
eventually answer to God.

            The fires of hell will be their ultimate end, unless they
repent and correct things while they still have the power to do so.

            EP Whyte



             Scrap ties rule for impoverished teachers

I am a senior
teacher with 16 years of experience under my belt. Recently I visited a
Clicks shop along Angwa Street in Harare where I intended to buy a neck tie.

                  When I got there, I got the shock of my life. The
tie was going for $469 000. My take home salary is $489 000. It's not as if
I have that many deductions going towards paying debts, not at all. My
deductions are the necessary ones going towards Medical Aid for seven
people, Professional Union, Aids Levy, Pension and a mere $20 000 towards my
Housing Co-operative.

                   I was astounded and left the shop filled with shame.
Surely I could not stomach a situation where my salary is equivalent to the
cost of a tie. But then the dress code of my job decrees that I put on a
neck tie from Monday to Friday. What about a suit? Will a teacher ever buy a
suit? Why should the authorities insist on a dress code which is now
ridiculous for a teacher. Do they still have a human face?

                  My feeling is that our parent ministry should now
scrap this "archaic" policy. Where on earth do I get the money to buy a
decent jacket, shoes and shirt?

                  Let's be real comrades. We are human beings like
you. Can I teach with devotion when the collar of my shirt has been turned
for mending four times? The toes protruding from my socks? It's pathetic.
And then we are told, we are the custodians of the human resource!




                   Nhema wrong man for the job

I am a beneficiary of
the Land Reform Programme and I make no apologies about that. I have every
right to own a piece of land in my country. I love the countryside. It
brings me very close to nature. You enjoy the sounds of birds from all
directions, you tread with caution in bushy areas that are laden with a
variety of reptile species. Wild fruits are in abundance, the air you
breathe feels good.

                        It's indescribable really, especially if you
love natural vegetation. Coming from an area that has been decimated of its
natural fauna, I just enjoy being on my A1 piece of land.

                        However, each time I travel from my bus stop
towards my village my heart bleeds. It hurts to see the once densely
forested areas gradually being deforested. It's painful. It leaves you with
a lump in your throat. You ask yourself. "Can't we do something to protect
our land, vegetation and roads?" I feel sad. I have harsh words for the
Minister of Environment and Tourism, Francis Nhema.

                        I feel he is not suitable for the environment
portfolio of his ministry. He is eloquent on tourism issues and very
effective on that but the man is not up to scratch about the environment. To
me, he doesn't sound like an environmentalist. Why sit and oversee the
destruction of our heritage? Growing under colonialism we used to fear the
Police when felling trees - not now. Cart-loads are ferried every day in
Chakari full of firewood. Nobody gives a hoot! The President should remove
the environment portfolio from Nhema.

                        Odrix Mhiji



                         Jonathan Moyo's perfect clone clone

READING in The Herald, George Charamba's virulent reaction to the World Association
of Newspapers report on media repression in Zimbabwe, one can see what a
perfect clone of the former Minister of Information and Publicity, Jonathan
Moyo, he has turned out to be. It is exactly this sort of acerbic language
Moyo became infamous for.

                          And of course, we expected no less a
reaction from a regime that is violently opposed to any form of criticism,
constructive or otherwise.



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Sidelining Zim counterproductive: Merkel


June 09, 2007, 18:15

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, says calls by some European Union (EU)
members to ban Zimbabwe from a planned summit of the European and African
unions is not helpful in building relations between the two blocs. Merkel
held talks with President Thabo Mbeki on the sidelines of the G8 summit,
which ended in Germany yesterday.

With little achieved within the G8 summit itself, the numerous side
bi-laterals seemed to have offered more. Here, one of the issues discussed
was the upcoming EU/AU summit, which was postponed several times due to
disagreements over Zimbabwe's attendance.

Mbeki says: "She (Merkel) told me that. the relationship between the EU and
Africa is very important and ought not to be blocked by a view about a
particular country, and I think that's quite correct. Hopefully, that summit
will take place without any obstacles being created."

As for the G8's handling of Africa this time around, activists called it a
farce. Africa says very little progress was made. Mbeki says: "We said to
them that we haven't asked for additional assistance, we've come to say
'let's implement what was agreed.' There's no point saying there's
additional support, and it's just words. So essentially, what were are
saying is that not enough progress is being made with regard to honoring the
undertakings that were made."

Renewed efforts to deliver on promises to Africa
A joint team will be re-established to follow up on promises made. Tony
Blair, the outgoing British prime minister - credited with having pushed the
African agenda under his G8 chairmanship - left Germany trying to convince
the media about the success of this summit. But he leaves office in three
weeks with his Commission for Africa now left to Gordon Brown, his

G8 2007 has come and gone, but for many will be remembered for the power
struggles within the G8 itself - Russia versus the West, over what is now
being called the new arms race; the US versus the rest over climate change,
and a free for all over the future of Kosovo.

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New ICC chief pledges support for Zimbabwe


Sat Jun 9, 2007 8:04 PM IST

CHENNAI, India (Reuters) - The International Cricket Council (ICC) will
provide help to revive Zimbabwe cricket, its acting president Ray Mali said
on Saturday.

"We all know there is lot of talent in Zimbabwe cricket," he told a news
conference. "It needs to be nurtured.

"The ICC will have to assist the players by exposing them to quality

The Zimbabwe team has been weakened by the departure of many senior players
due to disputes with the cricket board. The government withdrew the team
from test cricket last year although they still take part in one-day

Last month, the Australian government ordered the world champions to cancel
a planned tour of Zimbabwe in protest against the policies of President
Robert Mugabe.

The ICC cricket committee recommended last week that Zimbabwe should not
return to the test arena until it showed it could perform at the required

"It is Zimbabwe which opted out of test cricket," Mali said. "They will come
back in November and say whether they are ready for test cricket."

The ICC chief executives' committee will meet later this month in London to
consider the cricket panel's recommendation on Zimbabwe as well as on other

Mali took over as acting chief of the ICC this week to complete the term of
his South African counterpart Percy Sonn, who died last month.

He urged players to back the Twenty20 format, demanding aggressive batting,
after Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene expressed concern it would bring
extra pressure on bowlers.

South Africa are due to stage the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in September.

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Confusion surrounds Mugabe's patronage

Steven Price in London

June 9, 2007

There is growing confusion inside Zimbabwe over reports that Robert Mugabe
has been removed as the official patron of the country's cricket board.

Mugabe has been patron for a number of years, and while he plays no active
role in Zimbabwe Cricket, his association with the board has been used by
opponents as an indication of his government's influence over the game.

Last month, Brigadier Gibson Mashingaidze, who is the head of the Sports &
Recreation Commission (SRC), the body that intervened to break up the
in-fighting inside Zimbabwe cricket in January 2006, told a group of
journalists in Kwekwe that Mugabe was no longer patron.

In the course of some stinging criticism of Peter Chingoka, the ZC chairman,
Mashingaidze said: "We battled [against the sports ministry] to remove his
excellency from the patronancy of Zimbabwe Cricket." He said much the same
thing about Mugabe's wife, Grace, who is/was a patron of the country's
tennis association, where Chingoka's brother Paul has also been the subject
of much controversy and in 2005 was suspended from all tennis-related
activities. The parallels do not end there. In 2006 he was cleared after an
independent audit requested by the SRC.

One source close to Mashingaidze said that the reason for Mugabe's
withdrawal was that he feared that his image was being tarnished by the rows
blighting the game. He added: "Mashingaidze is known to be a bit sensational
and on the loose cannon side, and his statement cannot be taken as

The board refuses to have any dealings with Cricinfo, so it is unwilling to
clear the issue up. Stakeholders reacted with suspicion and doubt when told,
with one senior administrator saying: "It's interesting as I am sure nobody
would be brave or stupid enough to carry out such an act."

Steven Price is a freelance journalist based in Harare

© Cricinfo

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Mann endures prison, Thatcher plays golf


    June 09 2007 at 12:53PM

By Raymond Whitaker and Raymond Joseph

It's the tale of two men who once were friends and neighbours - but
now their friendship is over and each faces differing fortunes at opposite
ends of the world.

One man is battling to prevent his deportation to one of the most
notorious prisons in Africa, where he faces the prospect of ending his days
in chains in a tiny prison cell.

The other spends his time flitting between tax-efficient,
British-ruled Gibraltar, and enjoying games on the golf links of the nearby
Spanish costas, and London - with the odd visit to South Africa, all the
while trying to hang on to as much of his estimated R850-million fortune as

Simon Mann and Sir Mark Thatcher have a lot in common: Both are 54,
both had mansions in Cape Town, where they were friends, and both have been
convicted for their parts in what is alleged to have been a botched 2004
plot to overthrow Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

But their fates since have been very different. Mann, an Old Etonian
and SAS veteran accused of drawing up the coup plans, has spent more than
three years in prison in Zimbabwe. He was arrested with a plane-full of men
recruited in South Africa when they landed at Harare airport in March 2004
to load a shipment of arms.

In May, he failed to prevent a court in Harare from granting
Equatorial Guinea's request for his extradition. He has appealed, but
Equatorial Guinea has promised President Robert Mugabe foreign exchange and
oil supplies. So Mann is expected to be sent to Obiang's Black Beach jail
without delay.

There, he will join Nick du Toit, a former South African special
forces soldier sentenced in 2004 to 34 years' imprisonment. Du Toit's
confession that he was in charge of an advance guard in the coup plot is
said to have been extracted by torture.

Equatorial Guinea has promised that it will not execute Mann, but his
eventual sentence could hardly be shorter than Du Toit's.

If evidence at Du Toit's trial is any guide, Mann can expect to be
shackled day and night in a prison that is said to flood at high tide; he
will be kept on a near-starvation diet, and de-prived of medical treatment.

Thatcher, by contrast, has not spent a day in jail, despite investing
in a helicopter the plotters are alleged to have intended to use in the coup

In January 2005, he pleaded guilty to breaking South Africa's laws on
mercenaries, was fined R3m and given an 18-month sentence, suspended for
four years.

His mother, former British Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher,
was said to have paid his fine.

Remarkably, his permanent residency - granted to Thatcher and his
family soon after they moved to Cape Town in 1995 - was never revoked.

At the time of his arrival in the Cape, a year into South Africa's new
democracy, it was suggested that his mother had used her influence to help
smooth the way for Thatcher to get residency. And, over the years, the
former prime minister and her late husband, Denis, spent every Christmas
with her son and his family in Cape Town.

During his time in South Africa, Thatcher emerged unscathed from
several scandals, including two that were investigated by the SA police.

The first investigation came soon after he settled in Cape Town, when
he set up a private security business using off-duty policemen, dressed in
full uniform and armed with their official weapons, to guard his home and
those of his neighbours (who paid him handsomely for the service).

The second investigation followed revelations that he was operating as
a loan shark, lending money - and charging exorbitant interest rates - to
police, government officials and members of the SA Defence Force.

This week, a well-placed official source in Cape Town confirmed that
there were no restrictions on Thatcher visiting or, if he chooses, settling
in South Africa again. He is, however, barred from entering the United
States where his former wife and two children now live, because of his
criminal record.

As a British citizen he is not barred from Gibraltar, al-though
Switzerland, Monaco and France reportedly made it clear he was not welcome
after he made inquiries about the possibility of setting up house.

Soon after Thatcher pleaded guilty in the Cape High Court in
connection with the failed coup, Thatcher's American wife - a deeply
religious Baptist - left South Africa and returned to Texas in the US with
their two children. She initiated divorce proceedings soon afterwards.

But Thatcher stayed on to sell off his various South African
properties, including his mansion in Constantia and a luxury home on the
nearby upmarket Steenberg golf estate.

Thatcher spends most of his time in the British colony or with his
mother, Baroness Margaret Thatcher, in her central London home.

He is reported to have two South African bodyguards accompanying him
wherever he goes, apparently for fear of his fellow coup plotters trying to
harm him.

But, as recently as Christmas last year Thatcher flew to Cape Town
amidst reports that he had spent two weeks in the city, catching up with

According to the London Daily Mail he also went house- hunting with a
view to buying a new home in Cape Town, although he apparently does not plan
to settle permanently.

Lord Bell, a close friend of Lady Thatcher, recently told the Daily
Mail that the idea that Mark is persona non grata in South Africa was a
misconception. "Why shouldn't Mark go to Cape Town?" he said.

"There is nothing stopping him. He can go back whenever he likes."

Meanwhile, while it is not known how far he has been able to resume
his international deal-making, mainly in oil and fuels, he remains a very
rich man.

As for Mann, a friend says his plight is because of a failed gamble:
he refused an offer to return to South Africa after his conviction in
Zimbabwe as he feared he would be jailed for a long time and be financially
ruined, the source said.

Earlier this year, Mann gave up his South African citizenship, hoping
he could complete his term in Zimbabwe and be allowed to leave for Britain.

"Instead," said his friend, "he is stuck between two of Africa's worst
tyrants, and hasn't got a hope in hell."

This article was originally published on page 14 of Cape Argus on June
09, 2007

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