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

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This is Essex

Southend: Stalin accused on radio
A Zimbabwean businessman who now lives in Southend will be accused of land
and farm invasions in a BBC radio broadcast on Sunday.

Stalin Mau Mau, who runs the Zim-Link shop, in Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff,
will be one of two Zimbabwean nationals now living in Britain investigated
in the programme for BBC Radio Five Live.

Controversy has followed Mr Mau Mau since he stood as an MP for Mugabe's
Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front party. He denies the

Published Friday June 18, 2004

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17 June 2004


For Further Information Please Contact:

Nkanyiso Maqeda, MDC Director of Information: 00263 11 765 574

James Littleton: 00 27 727 310 554 or 0027 21 447 9587





“I am happy to inform the nation that as the MDC we are happy to report that we have united the entire nation against tyranny. Tribalism has never been and is not an issue in our party. Our concern is democracy and space. This was amply demonstrated at the last two meetings I had with the people in Matabeleland. They all spoke about democratic change and unity to remove Zanu PF from power”, said President Morgan Tsvangirai (15 June 2004)



“The decision by the government controlled Media and Information Commission to close down the Tribune newspaper is not only a politically motivated strike it also signifies yet another attack on citizens’ constitutional right to receive and impart information of their choice”, said Paul Themba Nyathi (11 June 2004)







In yet another politically motivated attack, Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo recently suspended 13 MDC Harare City councillors following a meeting in which MDC councillor Dr Christopher Mushonga was popularly elected to replace the discredited Sekesai Makwavarara as Deputy Mayor. This latest move by Chombo against the MDC dominated Harare council demonstrates once again that the interests of the people are subordinate to Zanu PF’s political agenda. By suspending the councillors Chombo has effectively stopped the council from operating.


“The suspension of legitimately election Harare councillors by [Minister of Local Government] Ignatius Chombo further exposes the regime’s disregard of the citizens who voted them into office”, said Paul Themba Nyathi (2 June 2004)


Last week two MDC councillors, Voice Chinake and Sipho Gumede were blocked by a Zanu PF mob from attending a council meeting in the town of Norton. This was the second consecutive meeting from which they had been prevented from attending.


Following the forced removal of the popular MDC Mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri, the Zanu PF government proceeded to dismiss the MDC Mayor of Chegutu, Francis Dhlakama. Dhlakama was elected by an overwhelming majority in 2001. Following the Urban Council Elections in August 2003 the MDC controlled all 12 major cities and towns in Zimbabwe. The concerted attempt by the Zanu PF government to remove popularly elected mayors and councillors on spurious grounds represents a clear violation of the sovereign wishes of the people. 


Political Violence Report[1]


Cumulative Totals: 1 Jan 2004 – 30 April 2004


Abduction/Kidnapping – 23

Assault – 191

Attempted Murder – 7

Freedom of Expression/Association/movt – 195

Political Discrimination/Intim/Vict – 333

Murder – 3

Torture – 115

Unlawful Arrest – 42


At least 30 MDC supporters and their families recently had to flee their homes in Chipinge after they were attacked by a marauding gang of Zanu PF supporters. The attack left two people seriously injured whilst another 20 were treated for minor injuries. No arrests were made.


In yet another assault on freedom of speech, and in an attempt to further curtail the flow of information, the government has announced plans to compel all Internet Service Providers in Zimbabwe to sign a contract requiring them to divulge the source or block individual email messages deemed politically sensitive, objectionable, unauthorised or obscene.


This politically orchestrated move is clearly aimed at limiting the amount of objective and alternative information that voters are able to access ahead of the parliamentary elections, leaving them increasingly at the mercy of government propaganda.


Twice in the past three weeks emails sent out by the MDC Information Department have been blocked on the spurious grounds that they contain sensitive content, such as the announcement of a press conference (see below)


**************** eManager Notification *****************

The following mail was blocked since it contains sensitive      content.

Source mailbox: <>

Destination mailbox(es): <>

Policy: Anti-Spam

Action: Delete

Recipient, Content filter has detected a sensitive e-mail.

******************* End of message *********************

Message-ID: <000001c44a17$3609c650$b05858d1@chinja>

From: " information" <>

To: <>

Subject: Invitation to Press Conference

Date: Fri, 4 Jun 2004 11:29:28 +0200





Election Petition Verdict

On 10 June 2004, Justice Ben Hlatwayo dismissed the first part of Morgan Tsvangirai’s Presidential election petition.


Background and Comment

On 12 April 2002, President Tsvangirai launched an election petition in the Zimbabwe High court to set aside the results of the March 2002 Presidential Elections. The hearing of this election petition was seriously delayed and only heard on 3-4 November 2003, that is some 19 months after the election petition was filed in the High Court.


At this hearing, detailed and weighty legal arguments were advanced by President Tsvangirai’s legal team, headed by Advocate Jeremy Gauntlett S.C from South Africa, that the conduct of the presidential election was fatally flawed.


One of the main legal arguments concerned the considerable powers vested in Robert Mugabe, as the incumbent President, in terms of the Electoral Act, to alter the Electoral Act as he sees fit.


Prior to the Presidential Election, Mr Mugabe used these considerable powers in many material ways with the object of promoting himself as a Presidential candidate and placing at a severe disadvantage Mr Tsvangirai as a presidential candidate. It was strongly argued, on behalf of Mr Tsvangirai, that these powers, apart from being blatantly unfair, were against the Constitution of Zimbabwe.


There was further delay from 3-4 November 2003 until 10 June 2004, that is some seven months, before an order was given by the High Court. In terms of this order, the High Court has dismissed Mr Tsvangirai’s legal arguments. No reasons have as yet been produced by the Court.


The next phase of the Election Petition will be to lead factual evidence of the serious and sustainable abuses committed by or on behalf of Mr Mugabe to have himself elected as President of Zimbabwe in March 2002.


Mr Tsvangirai remains adamant that the Presidential election held in March 2002 was neither free nor fair and intends to persist with his election petition in order to prove this.



“We are producing it[food] this year, definitely. Our estimates are there and they are showing us we will have enough food for the country and with a surplus…we are not hungry…Why foist food upon us? We don’t want to be choked, we have enough’, Robert Mugabe (Sky Interview, 24 May 2004)





MDC Shadow Agriculture Minister, Renson Gasela, has produced a detailed assessment of crop forecasts for the next 12 months. Hon Gasela estimates that Zimbabwe will have a shortfall of at least 600,000 tones of grain, perhaps as much as 900,000.


Research commissioned by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation, estimates that eight million Zimbabweans face severe food shortages this year due to the dramatic drop in grain production. The report pointed out that the food deficit is being made deliberately worse by the policies pursued by the Zimbabwe government and its statutory monopoly, the Grain Marketing Board.


Despite claims by Robert Mugabe that Zimbabwe has sufficient food and no longer requires food aid, 38 people in Bulawayo have died from malnutrition in the past two months. These deaths were contained in a report by the Bulawayo City Council’s health department.


In its latest food security emergency report, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) has warned that access to food will be a major challenge for ordinary Zimbabweans in the 2004/05 consumption year.


“Zimbabwe continues to face a severe food security crisis, characterised by high levels of unemployment and inflation, poor agricultural production over the last four years, drought, and poor government policies, exacerbated by crippling levels of HIV/AIDS,” said FEWSNET


A recent study conducted by UNICEF, examining nutrition in Southern Africa, revealed that malnutrition levels in Harare had doubled over the past four years and had significantly worsened in Bulawayo. The report also stated that at least one-quarter of districts in Zimbabwe had high levels of severe acute malnutrition in children under five whilst in one-third of all districts the mortality rates were approaching ‘emergency’ levels.








Price as at 25/09/03

Price as at 13/05/04

Price as at 17/06/04

Jade bath soap


2 300.00

3 100.00

3 500.00



4 700.00

5 800.00

5 800.00



1 250.00

2 800.00

2 950.00

Brown sugar


2 480.00

3 450.00

4 600.00

Fresh Milk



1 664.00

Not in stock

Stock Margarine


9 015.00

Not in Stock

Not in stock

Cooking oil

2 litres

8 500.00

23 000.00

26 340.00

Premier fine salt


3 105.00

3 670.00

3 670.00

Roller Meal


Not in Stock

12 000.00

20 680.00

Bargain Beef


5 400.00

12 500.00

12 900.00





Health Crisis

According to a recent report published by the Food Security Network (FOSENET), only half of the health clinics in three Zimbabwean provinces (Mashonaland West, Midlands and Masvingo) have access to safe water and that the majority of districts face shortages of essential drugs. FOSENET also found that the availability of antibiotics had also dropped with currently 58% of districts having access, compared to two-thirds in March. The research carried out by FOSENET further revealed that provinces such as Matabeleland North did not have adequate medical staff and that only half of its clinics had a nurse.


Foreign Debt Continues to Rise

According to recent newspaper reports, Zimbabwe’s external debt has soured to a record US$4billion. In 2002 the debt stood at US$3.3 billion. The failure by the government to service its principle debt means that arrears are estimated at US$1.8 billion.






[1] Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1:

Is there any hope at all for wildlife in Zimbabwe? I remember herds of
buffalo at Mana Pools numbering into the many hundreds, having to cull
Impala & Zebra in the same area only 30 years ago.

When will this insanity and the slaughter of the innocents end?

Alan Paton would surely lament and "Cry the Beloved Country" on the
devastation of Zim's economy, agricultural infrastructure, loss of
employment for millions of farm workers, rape, terrorism, beatings and
murder [by the Green Bombers]; starvation and AIDS; lack of Primary Health
Care; closure and censure of Private Schools because their fees have had to
increase to try and keep up with rampant inflation caused in the main by a
Government of Desperation... desperate to cling to power and enjoy luxury,
fabulous homes, 4X4's and all that money can buy while the electorate is
beaten into abject poverty and starvation and forced to vote a megalomaniac
back into power by the Party Faithful [living in the lap of luxury & stolen
farms] & local Chiefs [bought by ZANU PF] who will instruct their people
who to vote for.

CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY for the harm and damage done by the Government to
its people, National Heritage and Agricultural breadbasket.



Letter 2: Dorothy Nicely

Perhaps you should have a place on your site in which international persons
could contribute to your cause.  Something easy to use and secure like

My heart goes out to the farmers and families who's land and lives are
being destroyed.


Letter 3:

I am an American who visited Zimbabwe back in 1995 and met and stayed with
the Edgar Family on their farm in Tengwe.  I am wondering if they are still
in Zimbabwe or if they went to England.  I also wonder if there is a way to
get in touch with them.


Jeff Kraft
San Francisco, CA


Letter 4:

I am trying to find the address of Mrs. Jean Rimmer, husband of the late
John Rimmer and father of Clive Rimmer who is my godson.

Many thanks for any help you can give me.

Clive Hayter


Letter 5:

Lift required for 100 blankets from Byo to Mutare, for dispossessed of
their belongings farm workers in the Chimanimani area. May I say more?
Donations for more blankets would be appreciated. People in Chipinge have
also had their homes burnt to the ground and left with nothing.

Regards in hope of response

Mike and Fiona

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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JAG Urgent Legal Communiqué 18th June 2004



Today's Herald of Friday 18 June 2004 contains LOT 147 of Preliminary
Notice of Intention to Compulsory Acquire Land under the Land Acquisition
Act (Chapter 20:10).  Lot 147 lists 408 properties for acquisition.  This
will be sent out on Monday 21 June's Communiqué.  Any farmer requiring
immediate confirmation or otherwise before then as to his property being
listed should contact the JAG office on 799410 or email us giving details
of property and owner.

Property owners are reminded that the amended act obviates the need to
serve these notices or any Section 8 order on either the owners or any
registered real right holders over the property.  Property owners still
have thirty days within which to register a letter of objection and we
recommend that all farmers should continue to do so as a matter of course
to prevent conceding the property by default.

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Zim Independent

Paradza sues Mahoso, MIC
Vincent Kahiya
BELEAGUERED politician and publisher Kindness Paradza yesterday filed an
urgent court application to get his newspaper, the Tribune, back on the

The Tribune was closed last week by the Media and Information Commission
(MIC) on the grounds that there had been irregularities in the change of
ownership of the paper.

The closure came after a series of attacks on Paradza, a former journalist
and now Zanu PF MP for Makonde, in the state media accusing him of
collaborating with directors of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe,
publishers of the currently banned Daily News, and criticising government's
media laws in his maiden speech to parliament.

Paradza is the major shareholder in Mayzone Investments which bought Africa
Tribune Newspapers (ATN) - publishers of the Tribune - from UKI Investments
in March. He is viewed as having fallen victim to the current power struggle
in the upper echelons of Zanu PF which has seen unprecedented attacks on
senior Zanu PF officials in the pages of the official press.

Paradza yesterday filed an urgent High Court application seeking interim
relief to be allowed to publish.

Last night it was not clear when the case would be heard. The paper's group
operations director Nevanji Madanhire said the paper would be published as
soon as the interim relief had been granted.

Paradza, together with four co-directors, filed the suit against the MIC and
its chairman, Tafataona Mahoso.

In his founding affidavit, Paradza averred that the cancellation of the
paper's licence was ultra vires provisions of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act and was biased.

"This application will show the cancellation of the applicants' lice-nce was
manifestly unlawful, unjust, excessive, irrational, grossly unreasonable and
irregular on account of self-evident bias," he said.

He said the paper employed 60 permanent staff who had been immediately
affected by the closure of the paper. He said as of Friday last week the
paper had debts amounting to $1,73 billion.

Explaining the shareholding structure, Paradza said at the time UKI decided
to sell its shareholding in ATN the publishing company had a share capital
of 20 000 shares of which only 100 had been issued. He said the new
shareholders then bought the available 100 shares "which translate to 100%
control of ATN".

"The (other) 19 900 shares remained and remain unissued as was the case when
UKI (Pvt) Ltd owned the controlling interest," he said.

In a statement yesterday, the MIC said the new directors owned just 0,5 % of
the company by virtue of the 100 issued shares.

"Therefore, failure to produce board resolutions on the fate of the 19 900
shares was one among the several reasons for the cancellation of the
licence," the MIC said.

Paradza said problems for the papers started after an article in the Sunday
Mail on April 25 which stated that he wanted to bring back the Daily News
clandestinely by seeking funding from ANZ major shareholder Strive Masiyiwa.

"I respectfully believe that the chairman of the commission, Dr Mahoso, was
excited by this false and defamatory article into confusing himself with its

"It is from there that problems started," Paradza said in the affidavit.

Paradza said the MIC had expressed its intention to cancel the Tribune
licence, saying the paper had violated Section 71 of Aippa. The section
deals with change of ownership.

"The commission was grossly in error on both the facts and more so the law
in its approach to the issues which supposedly were of concern to it.

"The commission was mistaken because a failure to notify the commission of
any changes is not a contravention which qualifies for a cancellation or
suspension of a licence," he said.

Meanwhile, the Southern Africa Editors Forum (SAEF) has blasted Chronicle
editor, Stephen Ndlovu, for "distorting the truth" and "conducting himself
in a manner unworthy of a journalist and editor".

In a statement issued yesterday, SAEF sharply criticised an article authored
by Ndlovu that appeared in the Chronicle last week purporting to report
presentations at a forum jointly hosted by SAEF and the Institute for
Democracy in South Africa (Idasa) in Windhoek, Namibia, recently.

In the article, Ndlovu alleged that Gugulethu Moyo, who was one of the
panellists, had proposed war as a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis.

Moyo, formerly a legal representative for the banned Daily News, is now a
media law and policy programme manager at the Media Institute for Southern
Africa (Misa) in Windhoek.

"SAEF has noted with dismay that the article written by Ndlovu and carried
in the Bulawayo Chronicle ... is in fact riddled with blatant fabrications,
distortions and mischief," the statement said.

"SAEF does not intend to address each of the false and malicious
fabrications by the Bulawayo Chronicle, except to state for the record that
the articles are a total distortion of the truth, contain substantial and
obvious fabrications and therefore an unprofessional act unworthy of any
journalist and editor."
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Zim Independent

Council paves Mugabe's Way
Staff Writer
THE Harare City Council has embarked on a multi-billion-dollar project to
widen two roads which form a link to President Robert Mugabe's mansion in

Major civil works have already started to widen Carrick Creagh and
Borrowdale Brook roads which link the mansion to Crow-hill Road.

It is understood the project has not been discussed in council. Councillors
who spoke to the Zim-babwe Independent were surprised that there was such a
project taking place.

"I am hearing this for this first time," said suspended Ward 32 councillor
Last Maengehama. "I do not remember coming across that project."

Suspended Ward 17 councillor Chris Mushonga, who was a me-mber of the
executive committee, said council had no capital project on its books as
government had not given it borrowing powers.

Councillor for the area Xavier Vengesayi last Wednesday said the decision to
construct the road was not the product of a council resolution.

"I think funding could have come from government through the Road Fund," he
said. Town clerk Nomutsa Chideya referred all questions to the Ministry of
Transport and Communications before switching off his cellphone. Council PR
manager Leslie Gwindi did not respond to written questions sent to his
office last week.

Engineers this week said the road could cost anything from $1,5 billion to
$3 billion depending on the finish, the amount needed to repair private
driveways affected by the construction work and relocating water pipes and
underground cables. Construction of a tarmac road costs at least $80 000 per
square metre.

Council has been struggling to raise money for water treatment chemicals and
to repair damaged equipment. The precarious posi-tion at Town House has
resulted in more than half of the city going without water in some periods.

The road works, covering a five-kilometre stretch, begin at the intersection
of Crowhill and Carrick Creagh and then turn left into Borrowdale Brook Road
where the mansion is located. The works appear to end at the intersection on
Borrowdale Brook Road and Daimpre Road, about 150 metres from Mugabe's gate.

The Independent visited the area last Wednesday where council earthmoving
equipment and com-pacters were at work. Council has subcontracted
earthmoving to a private company with blue trucks.

Mugabe's oriental-style mansion has been under construction for over five
years. It recently saw controversy when Mugabe said in an interview with Sky
News that Malaysia had donated timber used in the construction. The
opposition in the Malaysian parliament hascalled for a probe into the

The area around Mugabe's home was recently gazetted as a security zone.
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Zim Independent

Zanu PF ropes church into poll campaign
Dumisani Muleya
THE ruling Zanu PF has resolved to use church leaders, mostly pastors from
pentecostal denominations, to spearhead its campaign in next year's general

A confidential report presented to the politburo by the Zanu PF commissariat
said the ruling party - which is desperate to win the critical election -
will use church leaders to mobilise voters.

"As part of our campaign effort towards the 2005 parliamentary election, the
commissariat is identifying and meeting with various interest groups which
are helpful in mobilising their following to support the party," the report

"The church in Zimbabwe is one of the sectors that have been identified to
be quite helpful in this respect. To date the commissariat has identified
and is already networking with over 600 pastors from pentecostal churches
and over 200 church leaders from African apostolic sects."

In the past Zanu PF has used traditional leaders to mobilise voters in
communal areas. Already chiefs and headmen have been given massive
incentives in the form of allowances and a scheme to purchase vehicles as
part of luring them to the ruling party's side.

Many chiefs have also had their homes electrified under President Robert
Mugabe's rural electrification programme.

The report said Zanu PF's mobilisation through the churches was going on

"The response of the church to our programmes is massive," it said. "The
commissariat is set to strengthen its contacts with the church and use it as
an important campaign vehicle."

The report said the ruling party commissariat had designed an "outreach
programme" for a "massive campaign" trail at provincial and district levels
to recapture seats lost to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in

"In order to drum up general awareness and readiness for a massive campaign
programme, the commissariat has designed an outreach programme," the report
said, "to visit all the provinces in order to meet with the provincial,
district coordinating committees and district leadership in their respective
administrative areas.

"The programme shall start with the national secretary visiting all
constituencies where we lost to the opposition during the 2000 parliamentary

Zanu PF national political commissar Elliot Manyika was scheduled to tour
Manicaland province from June 3-6 to meet the local political leadership in
Chipinge, Chimanimani, Nyanga, Mutare, and Zimunya-Marange.

"After Manicaland, the programme will continue with other provinces in the
following order: Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Midlands,
Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Masvingo, and Mashonaland Central," the
report said. "It will then end with the urban provinces of Harare and

Zanu PF will also use "political orientation workshops as a campaign tool".

"After the national workshop held for provincial commissars in Rowa National
Training Centre in Mutare in March, the department has requested all
provinces to organise similar commissariat workshops," the report said.

"To date, Manicaland and Mashonaland East provinces have already done their
workshops. The commissariat is liaising with the rest of other provinces to
ensure all provinces get the same political orientation and training."

The report said Zanu PF, currently entangled in confusion over primary
elections, would accelerate the restructuring of its provinces to strengthen
its structures to win next year's crucial poll.
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Zim Independent

Chihuri ordered to enforce eviction
Munyaradzi Wasosa
THE High Court has ordered Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri to enforce
an earlier High Court ruling to evict Zanu PF militia who are illegally
occupying offices of the opposition MDC in Chimanimani.

High Court judge Justice Yunus Omerjee issued the order on Tuesday following
the filing of an application by Birgit and Shane Kidd, the owners of the
building that houses the MDC district offices, to have the invaders removed.

Cited as respondents are New Ziana chairman Munacho Mutezo, Chihuri and a
Misheck Beta who is said to be leading the invaders.

Mutezo has been actively campaigning to represent Zanu PF in Chimanimani in
next year's parliamentary election.

About a month ago, militant ruling party supporters attacked and occupied
the MDC offices in response to an incident in parliament involving local MP
Roy Bennett.

Omerjee instructed Chihuri to evict the invaders in the event that they
ignore the order to vacate the premises immediately.

"Respondents and all persons acting in concert with them shall restore
forthwith possession or occupation of applicants' (the Kidds) building in
Chimanimani village, failing which the 17th respondent (Chihuri) is hereby
ordered to evict them and restore possession to applicants," Omerjee said.

Omerjee also ordered Mutezo and 15 other respondents not to harass, assault
or threaten the Kidds and to meet the costs of the High Court application.

In a High Court affidavit Birgit Kidd, a Finnish citizen, said she was
abducted and assaulted on Monday allegedly by Zanu PF supporters.

"On May 28, respondents and Zanu PF supporters numbering about 2 000 forced
their way to our house chanting slogans against me and my husband as well as
denouncing Bennett," Birgit Kidd (60) said.

"The group said they did not want us in Chimanimani anymore because our
building houses the offices of the MDC."

Kidd added that the mob said it was exacting revenge for Bennett's alleged
attack on Patrick Chinamasa and Didymas Mutasa in parliament.

Kidd said she was then force-marched to their building, which was
extensively damaged.

In an interview yesterday, Kidd said she was going to the occupied MDC
offices with her husband when war veterans and Zanu PF youths launched a
fresh attack on Monday.

"Men claiming to be war veterans and Zanu PF youths claiming to be working
on instructions from Joseph Mwale, a CIO operative, attacked us,'' Kidd

"Three people beat me up with sticks and 'smashed' my head with a rock,
while six people attacked my husband."

Kidd claimed that she sustained a dislocated shoulder and has 16 head

MDC Manicaland provincial information secretary Pishai Muchauraya confirmed
the attack claiming soldiers illegally camped at Bennett's Charleswood farm
spearheaded it.
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Zim Independent

40 women activists arrested in Bulawayo
Loughty Dube
POLICE in Bulawayo have arrested 40 members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise
(Woza) for holding a meeting in the high-density suburb of Matshobane in the

Woza spokesperson, Jenni Williams, confirmed the arrest of the 40 women but
said they were arrested before the start of the meeting.

"The women were arrested on Wednesday while they were still preparing tea
before the start of the meeting at Matshobane Community Hall in the western
suburbs," said Williams.

"They were bundled into several trucks before being taken to Western
Commonage police station where they were detained."

Some of the women were released later on Wednesday evening and ordered to
report back to the police station yesterday while the rest were still
detained at the time of going to press.

A police spokesperson confirmed the arrest of the 40 women and said they
will be charged with contravening Section 24 of the Public Order and
Security Act (Posa) that requires organisers of public gatherings to seek
police clearance first.

"The women are being charged under Section 24 of Posa and are expected to
appear in court as soon as all the paper work on their case has been done,"
said the police spokesman.

This is not the first time that police have swooped on the militant women
group. Last year police arrested and beat up several women who were
congregated to celebrate International Women's day on May 3.
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Zim Independent

Sweden deplores worsening crisis in Zimbabwe
Itai Dzamara recently in Sweden
SWEDISH state secretary Annika Soder last week said her country was deeply
concerned about the deteriorating political, social and economic situation
in Zimbabwe.

After she was asked to explain her country's position regarding the
situation in Zimbabwe, Soder said as a member of the European Union (EU)
Sweden subscribed to the position adopted by the economic bloc.

The EU has imposed targeted sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his
close allies. It has also castigated Mugabe's policies and condemned human
rights abuses in the Southern African country.

"There is a European Union position to which we subscribe. We are deeply
concerned with the situation in Zimbabwe," said Soder. "As an old friend of
the Zimbabwean people, we believe that Zimbabweans should sort out their
problems without violence and through debate."

She denied charges that Sweden had not been forthright about its
condemnation of the Zimbabwean crisis compared to other EU members such as

"There is agreement about the position on Zimbabwe in both our government
and parliament. The sanctions imposed by the EU should be implemented on the
listed individuals effectively. There should be an end to political
repression, media restriction and the subsequent economic meltdown in
Zimbabwe," she said.

It was regrettable from Sweden's point of view that immense investment
contributed to Zimbabwe's liberation is going up in smoke under the Zanu PF
government, she said.

"There is disappointment on the part of Sweden. If we look back to the 1970s
and the 80s a lot of political investment was done through Zanu and other
parties. But now the situation is discouraging. This investment has failed
to help the people of Zimbabwe. It has gone to waste. We think as a result
of that, we are obliged to actively respond to the situation in Zimbabwe."

Soder said her government has in the past several months been putting
pressure on Sadc leaders to seek solutions to the Zimbabwe crisis through
initiating dialogue.

Anna Brandt, the head of the Africa Department in the Swedish Foreign
Affairs ministry, noted the worsening situation in Zimbabwe was discouraging
people from her country from investing or visiting Zimbabwe as tourists.

"Our relationships have deteriorated drastically due to the situation in
Zimbabwe," Brandt said. "We don't have Swedish companies willing to invest
in Zimbabwe as was the case before. Even visits to Zimbabwe by Swedes have
become very few."

She added: "We are trying to work with non-governmental organisations on
matters that can improve democratisation. Unfortunately, we are not seeing
improvements regarding the situation in Zimbabwe.

"We are very concerned about the possibility of violence ahead of general
elections. We were discouraged by the decision to kick out a UN crop
assessment team. We are trying to advocate for the UN to be able to monitor
the elections, from the campaigning period up to the announcement of results
in order to ensure a level playing field."

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Zim Independent

Veteran writer urges Mugabe to go
Itai Dzamara
WORLD renowned Swedish writer and journalist Per Wastberg, a former family
friend of President Robert Mugabe, believes the Zimbabwean leader lost
direction after the death of his first wife, Sally.

Mugabe also became jealous of the rise to power and popularity of former
South African President Nelson Mandela in 1994, Wastberg said during a
wide-ranging interview in Stockholm last week.

"The Mugabe I had known for more than 20 years was a simple, honest and
straight-forward man," said Wastberg. "He had Sally as a good adviser. I was
surprised to read later in the 1990s that he had developed a penchant for
power and a luxurious lifestyle."

Wastberg first met Mugabe in 1959 when he came to the University College of
Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

"I became interested in the struggle for Independence as soon as I arrived
at the university in 1959. That is how I quickly came to know Joshua Nkomo,
George Nyandoro and other Zapu leaders who were subsequently detained. Later
on I met Robert Mugabe and we became very close friends. I used to smuggle
books and newspapers to him when he was in detention and helped him study
for his degrees," said Wastberg.

The 73-year-old author and journalist - who has published 55 books - had
close contacts with several nationalist leaders in the region. These
included Julius Nyerere, Samora Machel and Sam Nujoma.

Wastberg said he helped Sally move to Sweden where she stayed at his home
for three years in the early 1970s whilst teaching in elementary schools.
Mugabe also visited Sweden several times after his release in 1974 and would
visit Wastberg's home.

"My last meeting with Mugabe was in 1994 when I visited him at State House
in Harare. I expressed my concern over his policies, particularly in the
field of edcuation and in relation to Matabeleland, which I made clear to
him were destroying the country," said Wastberg, who had been invited by
Mugabe to the Lancaster House Conference in 1979 and the subsequent
Independence celebrations in Harare.

"I reminded him that he should have stepped down after serving at most two
terms. A deeply worried Mugabe opened up and told me that he felt anxious
about the rise of Mandela, particularly the popularity he had gained," he
said. He was clearly uncomfortable with the direction Mandela was taking.

"This meeting was my last with Mugabe. We parted in a stiffly cool and
polite way. I told him that our friendship of over 30 years was over since
we no longer had any common views and approaches. He said 'Is that so?' and
gave me a cool handshake. He told me he had to proceed without me. Since
then the Christmas cards and messages of solidarity that had been a
consistent thing have ended."

Wastberg noted differences in the personalities of Mugabe and Mandela.

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Zim Independent

Zimbabwe joins Sadc arms race
Dumisani Muleya
ZIMBABWE'S current order of US$200 million worth of advanced fighter jets
from China to bolster its national armoury is part of an arms race currently
under way in southern Africa.

Despite an economy in a deep crisis, shortages of foreign currency, power,
fuel, food and basic commodities, Zimbabwe has ordered 12 fighter jets and
military vehicles to strengthen its arsenal.

The country is understood to be waiting to take delivery of the FC-1s from
Chengdu Aircraft Corporation developed to replace the Chengdu F-7 supersonic
jets. The cost of each plane is estimated at US$20 million.

The FC-1 is a lightweight multipurpose fighter based on the design of the

The Defence ministry has traditionally had one of the largest budget
allocations in Zimbabwe. The country has now resorted to buying arms from
China because its fleet has been badly depleted by Western sanctions.

The European Union, Switzerland, the United States and Canada have imposed
an arms embargo on Zimbabwe.

The army is currently phasing out vehicles, planes, guns and other arms
manufactured mostly in Europe and North America as a result.

In a bid to enhance military capabilities and outdo countries in the region,
Zimbabwe over the past few years has been rearming aggressively.

Military sources said it had bought Russian-made MiG 23 Floggers, supersonic
multi-role fighters, currently the most advanced planes in its armoury.

"The MiG-23 is a highly manoeuvrable, principal attack fighter capable of
flying faster and higher than any planes currently flown in the region," a
source said.

"It can operate in different weather conditions, day and night."

The MiG-23s replaced the 1960s era British-made Hunter FGA Mk-9s retired and
put on sale last year. They are flown from Thornhill Airbase in Gweru,
together with the Chengdu F-7 and BAe Hawk-60 fighter/trainers.

Zimbabwe has also acquired Mi-35 'Hinds', a massively built and heavily
armed helicopter gunship.

The Mi-35 - which experts say is a flying tank due to its heavy armour - is
deemed one of the most effective attack helicopters flying in the region.

It is said to be only comparable to South Africa's Atlas CSH-2 Rooivalk in
sophistication and efficiency.

The helicopter is part of a fleet that includes the Aloutte IIIs, Augusta
AB-412s, and Eurocopter AS-532 Cougars, at Manyame airbase in Harare.

South Africa has also been massively rearming. It has ordered 28 Saab JAS-39
Gripen multi-role fighters from Sweden to replace 120 ageing Mirage and
Cheetah fighters.

The single-engine JAS-39 Gripen - whose operational capability is very
high - competes aggressively against the US-made F-16, the most lethal
fighter in the world.

The plane costs between US$35 million to US$40 million, a price slightly
more than the F-16 but less than the French Mirage 2000. SA has also bought
24 advanced BAe Hawk-200 fighter/trainers from Britain and 30 Augusta A109
light utility helicopters from Italy.

"Once these fighters have all been taken delivery of and put into operation,
South Africa will become the undisputed lord of the skies in the region," a
military source said.

"It will have by far the most sophisticated and biggest airforce in Southern
Africa, if not in Africa."

Sources say Botswana and Namibia are also in the rearmament race. The two
countries are said to have recently bought Nanchang F-8 fighter/trainers
from China.

Botswana has also bought a dozen CF-5 fighter-bombers from Canada.

Other countries in the region, in particular Angola and DRC, are said to be
also enhancing their military capabilities.

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Zim Independent

Delegates in security sweep
Gift Phiri
SIGNS of what appear to be growing concerns about President Robert Mugabe's
security were dramatically illustrated on Wednesday when more than 700
delegates attending a three-day national HIV/Aids conference at the Sheraton
Hotel were subjected to intrusive body searches before the arrival of Mugabe
and his wife Grace.

Mugabe officially opened the conference which ended yesterday.

Visiting South African Health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msi-mang and Angolan
deputy Health minister, José Van-Dunem, were among those searched.

Cabinet ministers, members ofthe diplomatic corps, heads of international
organisations, invi-ted guests and delegates were thoroughly frisked by
state security personnel in an unprecedented security sweep.

Some 200 law-enforcement agents were deployed to the conference venue on
Wednesday, in addition to special support and response teams.

Chemical and biological sensors were strategically positioned at all
entrances to the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) where Mugabe
delivered his keynote address. The sensors were complemented by detection
equipment, including radiation pagers on the belts of some law enforcement

The CIO is understood to have provided intelligence support while Zimbabwe
National Army bomb disposal teams, including sniffer dogs, were part of the
security set up.

It was not possible to obtain comment from the CIO and the army. Police
spokesperson, Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka, said: "Sorry, I cannot say
anything about that."

Delegates who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent complained of the
unprecedented security at an Aids conference.

"It's as if there was some terror threat from somewhere yet it was just a
head of state supposed to address an Aids conference," said a member of the
organising committee who declined to be named.

The Independent was told that last week all agencies with an operational
role in security participated in an hour-by-hour run-through of the event.

According to a security official, all vehicles leading to the conference
were swept for explosives.

Sources in the ruling party confirmed heightened security fears surrounding
Mugabe adding that they were now subjected to searches before entering
cabinet meetings.

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Zim Independent

Three youth camps closed
Shakeman Mugari
GOVERNMENT has shut down three of the country's six national youth training
camps due to acute food shortages, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.

The three camps, Kamativi in Matabeleland North, Vumba in Manicaland and
Mushagashi in Masvingo, closed last month due to poor food supplies.

The Independent was told this week that the camps were closed because
government had run out of money for food, uniforms and other basics.

Government is also unable to pay the support staff employed at the camps.

The camps reportedly gobble millions of dollars in the upkeep of recruits
and salaries for the trainers.

Kamativi is one of the country's biggest camps set up to drill the youths in
various martial skills and Zanu PF ideology.

Youth director in the Ministry of Youth Development, Itai Muguza, confirmed
on Wednesday the closure of the three camps but denied that this had
anything to do with food shortages.

"Those are allegations made by jealous people who don't want to see us
succeed," said Muguza.

"Those camps were closed for renovations, otherwise there was enough food.
There was no shortage," he said.

The Independent however under-stands the closures followed a damning report
by the Parliamentary Portfolio Commit-tee on Youth and Gender and Employment
Creation produced after a tour of the camps.

The committee slammed the living conditions and poor sanitary facilities at
the camps.

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Zim Independent

Chihuri appointment stirs hornet's nest
Gift Phiri
THE British Foreign Office has ordered a full probe into how Zimbabwe's
police chief Augustine Chihuri was appointed Interpol vice-president.

Chihuri's appointment to the honorary position of Interpol vice-president by
the executive committee stirred a hornet's nest in the House of Commons last
week with Michael Ancram, the shadow foreign secretary, calling on Foreign
Secretary Jack Straw to give a statement to parliament explaining "why
Chihuri was rewarded in this way".

"It is an insult to the people who have suffered at the hands of the
Zimbabwean police and other state security apparatus in that country," said

However, Straw said there was no British representation on the committee
that installed Chihuri.

"His appointment to the honorary position of vice-president was made by
Interpol's existing executive committee," said Straw.

"There is no British representation on this committee and we were not
involved in the appointment. However, I believe that the decision to reward
Chihuri in this way was wrong."

Chihuri, who was educated at Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex, has
earned the mistrust of Zimbabwe's opposition and civic society in his 13
years as commissioner.

Under his leadership the police have ignored court decisions and his
officers have been accused of torture of suspects.

At the height of farm invasions between 2000/2 police often refused to help
people under threat from Zanu PF gangs on the grounds that it was a
political matter.

Although the mobs operated from a network of well-known base camps across
Zimbabwe, the police failed to act against them, critics say.

Straw said Britain was very worried about the reported partisanship and
continued brutality of the Zimbabwean police

"The UK continues to protest at the violations of human rights there and we
were at the forefront of preparing the resolution on Zimbabwe at this year's
UN Commission on Human Rights," said Straw.

"This resolution condemned the climate of impunity, incidents of arbitrary
arrest and violations of key freedoms, and called upon the government of
Zimbabwe to put an end to impunity and to fulfill its responsibility to
ensure that those responsible for human rights violations are brought to

The British Foreign Office has now ordered an enquiry into Chihuri's
appointment and indicated that it will seek an explanation from Interpol
president Jesus Espigares Mira and Interpol secretary-general Ronald K

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Zim Independent

NRZ hands upkeep of wagons to clients
Roadwin Chirara
THE financially troubled National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has ceded the
maintenance and refurbishment of its wagons and locomotives to its clients,
the Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.

The companies, which include Zimbabwe Sugar Sales, Zimasco, Bindura, Nickel
Mine, Hippo Valley and Triangle Sugar Estates, have accepted the deal to
rescue the ailing parastatal.

The NRZ last month failed to pay its workers their May salaries citing
cashflow problems. The company last month also deferred effecting salary
increments agreed with the workers' representatives.

The companies, which require rail for the bulk movement of inputs and
products, have entered the partnership with the NRZ to ensure the usability
of wagons.

Some of NRZ's clients in the sugar industry have made available foreign
currency to the parastatal for the refurbishment exercise.

Contacted for comment, the NRZ's corporate affairs manager, Misheck
Matanhire, said the company had invited local customers to become partners
as part of its turnaround strategy. He confirmed that foreign currency had
been availed to the parastatal to enable it to meet customers' requirements.

"The NRZ as part of its turnaround strategy has invited local customers to
become partners, by funding the refurbishment of NRZ locomotives," said

He said the parastatal had begun to refurbish locomotives and wagons under
the self-finance scheme for companies that have made funds available to the

"We confirm that Zimbabwe Sugar Sales financed the refurbishment of 135
wagons and two locomotives in a partnership arrangement that will improve
the wagon supply, as well as improve the movement of sugar to the export
markets" said Matanhire.

He said this was necessary because the company lacked the funds, but was
willing to form strategic alliances with customers.

He confirmed that the country's largest sugar producer, Hippo Valley and
Triangle Sugar Milling, had provided funds to the company for that purpose.

"Hippo Valley and Triangle Sugar Milling have also financed the
refurbishment for 235 cane wagons in order to expedite the movement of cane
from the estates and processed sugar for distribution," said Matanhire.
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Zim Independent

      Mugabe's shadow dogs Gono in diaspora

      Vincent Kahiya

      AS Zimbabwe stumbles on without balance-of-payments support, the
government and the central bank are banking on Zimbabweans in the diaspora
to bring in hard currency to supplement flagging export earnings.

      A Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe team currently on an international drive to
woo the exiles to remit their forex back home has been up-beat about the
prospects of the initiative which has helped other countries to save their
economies from collapse.

      RBZ governor Gideon Gono believes exported labour can be the tonic
needed for the country's economic revival.

      "The country's foreign currency reserves would improve significantly
if more people went to work abroad," Gono was recently quoted as saying.
"The exportation of labour has helped many countries in earning foreign
currency as citizens use official channels to send money back to their
families at home. I encourage Zimbabweans to seek jobs outside the country,"
he said.

      The benefits Zimbabwe has derived from the diaspora have generally
been in the form of individual remittances and concomitant spin-offs into
the informal sector. In other countries communities in the diaspora
represent a significant source of investment capital.

      For example, financial transfers from Lebanese expatriates to their
country average about US$1,6 billion a year, making Lebanon the eighth
largest recipient of workers' remittances in the world relative to the size
of its gross domestic product. Remittances from Lebanese expatriates have
become a pillar of the national economy, growing at a faster rate than any
other source of foreign exchange revenues such as exports, foreign direct
investments or tourism receipts.

      Countries such as India, Ghana and Egypt have also tapped into such
financial transfers.

      In 2000 Ghanaians in the diaspora, whose remittances contribute about
US$400 million to the national economy a year, constituted the country's
fourth highest foreign exchange source.

      Remittances by overseas Indian IT professionals, doctors and students
making a beeline to Western and Gulf countries in pursuit of career
advancement, have helped in the sustenance of their communities in the
Punjab, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. In 2000 the
20-million strong Indian diaspora remitted US$160 billion back home - that
is an average US$8 000 per person.

      If each of the estimated 3,4 million Zimbabweans abroad were to bring
in US$8 000 a year, there would be no need for balance-of-payments support
from multilateral lenders such as the International Monetary Fund or the
World Bank. But Zimbabweans abroad cannot manage that since most of them eke
out a living as general hands or other low paid jobs.

      RBZ team leader Herbert Nkala in London last week said Zimbabwe could
earn between US$600 million and US$1 billion from the diaspora this year
alone. That is on average US$295 per Zimbabwean per annum. Evidently
exported labour cannot at the moment substitute for other exports as the
chief forex earner.

      Government policies over the past five years have seen a marked
decline in export receipts from US$1,9 billion in 1999 to US$1,5 billion
last year due to the decimation of the agricultural sector and the near
collapse of downstream manufacturing industries which rely on farming.
Zimbabwe's annual foreign currency requirements total US$2,4 billion.
Tourism arrivals and earnings from mining have also taken a plunge largely
in response to imprudent macro-economic policies and government's disregard
for the rule of law.

      The official excuse for the demise of the country's industrial base
has been that the country has been losing foreign currency through the
parallel market. There is therefore the belief that the economy can be
resurrected if all the foreign currency remittances are channelled through
official lines, hence the birth of the Homelink concept.

      In May the Homelink scheme brought into the country US$30 million,
which is enough to meet the country's fuel import needs for a month. The
foreign currency auction system is currently trading about US$76 million a

      But analysts have cautioned that the optimism should be watered down
with the reality that there are adverse factors, which will militate against
the success of the Homelink concept.

      They say the biggest threat to the concept will always be how those in
the diaspora view the country and its leadership. The majority of
Zimbabweans abroad left because they saw no future for themselves under the
current order. Many fled the repression of President Robert Mugabe's regime.
Some had to sell their key assets like houses and cars to get money for
airfares and sustenance.

      Analysts have said such people will send money to support relatives
left back home but will not invest in any key sector of the economy as along
as they do not agree with Mugabe's policies.

      Zimbabweans who left because they had had enough of Mugabe's regime
are willing to take up any job - mostly menial work - whose income is barely
enough to make them survive. They cannot therefore remit much back to

      An informal survey by banks last month said Zimbabweans abroad were
prepared to channel more funds into the country if Mugabe was to leave
office. Mugabe also stands accused of disenfranchising millions of
Zimbabweans in the diaspora in the last presidential election.

      Anti-Mugabe demonstrations have greeted the teams currently selling
the Homelink concept in the United States and in the United Kingdom as
Mugabe's ghost has shadowed them at every turn. The air has been poisoned
for Gono's emissaries who are confronted with political questions such as:
"Why should we fund the cleaning up of the mess which forced us to leave

      But economic commentator and chairman of the RBZ taskforce set up to
harness foreign currency from locals in the diaspora, Eric Bloch, said
political considerations would have a limited impact on the overall success
of Homelink.

      "The ghost (Mugabe's) is a very pale one," said Bloch. "There has been
a very, very good response. There were demonstrations here and there but
there were more people in support of the Homelink than those against."

      He however said forex remittances from the diaspora could never
substitute for earnings from exports.

      "It can only complement current exports.  Even tobacco exports at
current levels are much larger. There are also inflows from mining,
manufacturing and a little from tourism," he said.

      RBZ teams on roadshows in the United Kingdom and the United States
have been imploring Zimbabweans abroad to invest in key sectors of the
economy such as agriculture, manufacturing and the money market. Economic
commentators have said there will be no takers for this offer as long as
there is no internal political settlement on the country. The country's two
main political parties, Zanu PF and the MDC, have failed to come to the
negotiating table over the past 18 months and they are most unlikely to do
so as they have now trained their attention on the general election next

      In the absence of dialogue, political tension has remained high, which
together with the air of uncertainty wrought largely by the flawed agrarian
reform process, has scared away new investors and forced industrialists to
close shop or scale down. Inflation, which is slowly creeping south but
still on the high side of 448%, and astronomical interest rates, won't
attract meaningful investment.

      While Gono has loomed large and is regarded with Messianic fervour in
official circles, his policies - including the quest to draw funds from the
diaspora - face myriad hurdles. Zimbabweans in the diaspora need a sweetener
of a political nature to play ball. There are many who are bitter that they
were forced to leave home and there are no prospects of the situation
improving any time soon, especially ahead of an election next March.

      The view of many economists is that confidence needs to be generated
at home first, then word will spread into the diaspora. That's not happening
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Zim Independent


Gono faces tough call over demands

RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono is due in Johannesburg this weekend at the
conclusion of his roadshow which took him to the United Kingdom this week.

He flew into London last Saturday after four days in Washington on what
would appear to be a less-than-fruitful visit to the International Monetary
Fund. While he has managed to keep open a door there, there has been no
progress in terms of balance-of-payments support which the country needs
more than anything else.

We don't know what the final figure will be for the Homelink scheme but Gono
's estimation that US$60 million a month is already flowing from the
diaspora, of which he hoped to capture 40%, cannot represent a sustainable
long-term substitute for exports in terms of forex inflows.

Zimbabweans obviously wanted to know to what ends their hard-earned funds
would be put. Gono may have been able to offer reassurance as to the
attractiveness and security of the scheme.

But with the government boasting of an economic turnaround, without much
evidence of one, it is already apparent that Gono is being used as grist to
Zanu PF's propaganda mill.

However impressive the revenues from Homelink, they are hardly likely to pay
for more than a limited supply of food, fuel and power.

Gono will be the first to appreciate the limited nature of the RBZ's British
foray. Hence his excursion to Washington last week.

The IMF reflects the view of all key donors that there will be no money on
the table until there is a domestic consensus in Zimbabwe on economic
priorities. That in turn will require a political settlement that President
Mugabe has turned his face against.

Despite some of the more preposterous claims being made by the Homelink team
in London, Gono at least takes a sober view of the economy.

Gross domestic product, which one state paper insisted last weekend was
"surging" (on the basis of IMF predictions), would continue to fall this
year, the RBZ governor told the Financial Times.

The only silver lining to this particular cloud is that the decline would
fall to between three and four percent. The rate would be closer to zero
next year, he thinks, with real growth returning in 2006.

Many economists would regard this as a tad optimistic. So is the hope of
bringing inflation down to 200% by December. But both estimates are
distinctly conservative when placed alongside the sort of claims of an
African miracle modelled on China being peddled at his roadshow.

Gono refused during his UK visit to be drawn on issues of democracy and
human rights. But he did say he had taken on board IMF concerns about
economic distortions caused by government's dual foreign exchange and
interest rate systems.

This is where things become a bit unstuck. President Mugabe's view of the
IMF is a matter of public record.

How can Gono guarantee stability in monetary policy when fiscal policy is
susceptible to populist pressures as an election approaches? And how can he
deliver the economic consensus donors require when the main opposition party
is excluded from all consultative processes? Even the business community is
not listened to.

As the election looms it is probable Gono will be asked to assume a more
prominent role on Zanu PF's election platform. That would be a fatal blow to
his credibility.

This week's visit to Britain has revealed the enormous scepticism
surrounding any deals that involve the government. If Gono is to do his job
effectively he must keep his distance from the desperate opportunists who
sought to make political capital of his trip.

That is going to be a tough call.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Land nationalisation another disaster

 LAST week Minister of Special Affairs in the Office of the President and
Cabinet responsible for Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement John Nkomo told
the state-controlled media that the government intends to nationalise all
productive farmland, from crop fields to conservancies, wherever that land
exists in Zimbabwe.

In effecting that nationalisation, all title deeds are to be abolished and
replaced with leases. In the case of leases of land used for farming, the
leases would have a 99-year tenure, while land utilised for wildlife and
conservancies would have a tenure of 25 years only.

The minister stated that 99-year leases would, in all material respects, be
"leases in perpetuity" - which tenants may well believe at the inception of
the leases, but will their descendants feel likewise 90 years hence?

The relevant legislation has yet to be placed before parliament and, in
fact, has not yet even been issued as a Bill for consideration and comment
by the appropriate parliamentary portfolio committee, the community at large
and, in particular - as they will be the most affected - the farmers.

The government said this week that it was not contemplating any changes in
land tenure.

But already large swathes of farmland have been taken into state ownership.
And more are bound to follow.

The government has consistently sought to justify its land policies on a
spurious contention that the entirety of the land that is Zimbabwe was
"stolen" by the colonialists of the 1890s. It has repeated that so often
that by now it believes its own lie.

The hard facts, no matter how much the government may dispute them and
contend otherwise, are that most of the land in the country was unoccupied
and unutilised. At that time, the total population of Zimbabwe was between
250 000 and 400 000, with the greatest numbers living in proximity to what
are now the cities of Harare and Bulawayo.

With a total area of 390 245 square kilometres, if all the land were
possessed by the then residents of the country, each of those residents -
whether man, woman or child - would have been occupying at least a square
kilometre. The mind boggles at the thought of one man, one woman, or one
child being able to own and use productively such an area - and that without

The government also conveniently disregards that almost all lands, other
than in the commercial areas and established state lands, were purchased by
those in occupation when the government embarked upon its draconian,
catastrophically harmful land policies.

Howsoever the lands were acquired in the late 19th century and the first
decades of the 20th century, most lands passed into new ownership over the
following 70 or 80 years through negotiation of sale and purchase on a
commercial basis. The new owners utilised their lawfully acquired capital to
buy the land, or committed themselves to borrowings which they serviced and
repaid through decades of sweat, tears and hard labour.

But the government being devoid of resources, mainly because it had
frittered away much of the largesse forthcoming from the international
community after Independence, had to fabricate a justification not to pay
for the land it intended to steal - and steal it was and is, no matter how
much the government may prevaricate to the contrary.

Because the government is determined to displace whites, and motivate as
many as possible to leave Zimbabwe, and because it is even more determined
to use land as the tool to assure support from the populace and continue its
authoritarian domination of the country, but does not have the resources to
pay for land, it seeks to justify non-payment and to transfer liability to
Britain, which was the colonising power more than a 100 years ago.

But now, with the government's reported intent to nationalise all land, it
is not only depriving whites of that which they had developed, admittedly
for their own good, but also for the benefit of the economy and, therefore,
of all who live - or lived - in Zimbabwe, many of the non-white population
are to be so deprived.

There are numerous who, since Independence, acquired farmlands - including
almost all of the hierarchy of Zanu PF - some paying for them from
hard-earned income. And, in the last few years, since the government
actively started to pursue its land reform, redistribution and resettlement
programme, many were allocated farms as A2 beneficiaries.

Having been told they would own the land, now the government is about to go
back on its own word, with a makeshift "consolation" of a lease to replace

Over four years the government has successfully brought most of agriculture
to its knees, and in the process, has reduced the entire economy to a like
circumstance. It has been the catalyst of mass poverty, misery, malnutrition
and death.

The president disputes any contentions of death by malnutrition, and
especially if voiced by Archbishop Pius Ncube in his distress at witnessing
widespread suffering, and yet the city of Bulawayo had to bury 38 last month
whose cause of death was malnutrition. Extrapolate that number across all
Zimbabwe's urban and rural areas, and the conclusion is horrifying in the

It is nought but the government's actions that have reduced the tobacco crop
by 75% in three years, that has resulted in maize production being, at best,
one-third of the national need, no matter how extensively the government may
pretend a sufficiency of food production, and that has decimated the
national herd by two-thirds.

But the government's task is not complete. There is still some agricultural
production, so further measures are needed, if total destruction is to be
wrought, and hence recourse to land nationalisation. Compounding all the
state's political motivation for further dogmatic ruination of agriculture
and the economy, the government misguidedly also perceives land
nationalisation as a further source of revenues, for the lessees of the
farms will be required to pay rent to the fiscus.

This latest imminent blunder by the government will have other disastrous
economic effects. Nkomo enunciated an outright contradiction when he said
that "99-year leases will act as good enough collateral", but thereafter
said that land may not be sold or leased to third parties.

If leases are not freely transferable, capable of being ceded and assigned
to third parties, how can they constitute valid collateral to provide
lenders with security that their loans will be fully and timeously serviced
and repaid?

Yet another adverse economic consequence of the intended nationalisation of
land is that even the very few intending investors into the economy as still
existed, both foreign and domestic, are already seriously re-evaluating the
desirability of investment in Zimbabwe. The government's recurrent
endeavours to deprive many of their ownership of land have long had negative
impacts upon investor confidence, but the latest pronouncement has shaken
the limited remaining confidence.

There is now a wide-ranging fear that the nationalisation of farmlands will
prove to be the precursor of future nationalisation of mines, of tourism
resorts, of manufacturing industries, of financial sector and other
enterprises, and of urban lands. The precedent being set by farmland
nationalisation can well suggest to the government future avenues of trying
to conjure up national electorate support by promises of great wealth

This latest governmental move must discourage existing enterprise from
expansion, and investors from investing. So new jobs will not be created,
exports will not increase, economic activity will not be stimulated and the
fiscus will not enjoy increased revenue flows.

Instead, the economy will decline further, hardships for the majority will
intensify, more will face starvation, and Zimbabwe will soon become Africa's
poorest state, if not the poorest worldwide.
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Zim Independent


Zanu PF's grand inquisition on the roll

 KINDNESS Paradza seems to have learnt the hard way that there is no room
for freedom of expression in Zanu PF. In his maiden address to parliament he
committed the unpardonable crime of criticising the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act and the Broadcasting Services Act. Now he is
paying the price.

Zanu PF's Mashonaland West provincial disciplinary committee has recommended
he be expelled from the party for undermining government policies. He is
accused of "serving foreign interests" by, among other things, giving an
interview to the VoA's Studio 7, "a critical radio station that broadcasts
negatively against the party and government of Zimbabwe".

His allegiance could not be confirmed, it was reported, because he could not
produce a party card.

It obviously did not occur to anybody in Zanu PF to ask to see his party
card before he stood as MP for Makonde! And is the Mash West inquisition not
aware that senior ministers have been interviewed by the same foreign radio
stations that Paradza is accused of having spoken to?

Do they not recall the "Yes, I kicked him very hard" interview between
Didymus Mutasa and the VoA not so long ago?

But the most serious of the charges levelled against Paradza, it would seem,
is that he showed "disrespect for the party and president". He did this "by
attacking the person of the provincial chairman, Cde Philip Chiyangwa, and
the Zanu PF deputy secretary for information and publicity, Professor
Jonathan Moyo, who are senior members of the ruling party".

And it doesn't end there.

"It is known when he served as deputy editor of the Financial Gazette he had
a feast on most political figures including the First Lady Cde Grace Mugabe
whose Borrowdale house he nicknamed 'Gracelands'."

Actually it was the Zimbabwe Independent which did that in 1996 when it
exposed the VIP housing scheme.

Those charging Paradza are evidently not too fussy about getting their facts
right. And are Chiyangwa and Moyo so "senior" that they cannot be
criticised? How long has Moyo been a party member?

We are surprised Chiyangwa has allowed himself to be associated with such
pomposity. A party that does not permit its members to criticise measures
that damage the nation's reputation and investment prospects, such as Aippa
and the Broadcasting Services Act, is a party with no future.

Zanu PF is doing to itself what it is doing to the country: chasing off its
best and brightest.

 Who exactly are the "bankers, industrialists, war veterans and lecturers"
who are threatening to set up a radio station to counter what they claim is
anti-Zimbabwe propaganda beamed from Botswana?

Because we would hate to think this story was invented by the Disinformation
and Propaganda department to intimidate a visiting Botswana minister!

The consortium of local businessmen, we were told, have been "pestering" the
government for a licence to set up a station that will "tell the true
Zimbabwean story to the outside world".

This, we can safely assume, will reflect the view expressed by UZ economist
Dr Clever Mumbengegwi last weekend that negative GDP growth rates "were a
result of some negative factors beyond the country's control".

It's all to do with drought you see. But who are the so-called bankers and
industrialists behind this radio scheme? Strangely not one of them was
identified. Don't we have enough deceitful radio stations churning out
delusional messages already?

"Studio 7," one of these anonymous businessman was quoted as telling the
Sunday Mail, "has made us suffer for too long and it's time to speak the
same language."

So it's Studio 7 that's making us suffer? Glad we're clear on that!

We thought government would latch on to such a patriotic initiative to tell
its story until we realised that if those patriots pushing it can't come out
of the shadows, why should they be entrusted with such a task?

Why would bankers, industrialists and war veterans be afraid to be
identified with such a noble undertaking if Joseph Chinotimba can so easily
be roped in by Newsnet to publicly attack the party's national chairman John
Nkomo over the land issue? Sounds like a cabal trying to promote some
inflated egos in Zanu PF.

Anyway, what is this Zimbabwean story that cannot be told on national radio
with all four radio stations singing the same "local content" 24 hours a

And what genuine banker would be so naïve as to think that Studio 7 is
responsible for Zimbabwe's economic decline in the past four years and
believes setting up a propaganda station targeting Botswana listeners will
be the solution to the country's problems?

 The government media has had a field day with Tony Blair's electoral
setbacks in the local government and European parliamentary elections. There
has also been much satisfaction over the alleged tampering with postal

Blair has been an outspoken critic of electoral conduct in Zimbabwe, it is
pointed out.

Perhaps he needs to learn a thing or two from Zanu PF if he is to avoid
defeat in future. Banning newspapers, unleashing local militias, and
preventing opposition meetings might do the trick!

It is understandable that there should be some official elation when there
are reports of torture in Iraq or vote-tampering in Britain. The difference
is of course that shortcomings or wrong-doing are exposed and dealt with in
Britain and the US. They become issues, thanks to media exposure, which
governments cannot ignore. Can the same be said of Zimbabwe where electoral
manipulation is routine and human rights abuses persist despite court

 Lands minister John Nkomo appears to have stirred a hornet's nest with one
apoplectic and familiar-sounding media agent Lowani Ndlovu by announcing
that government would nationalise all farmland and conservancies. He is now
accused of scaring away potential investors, as if we have seen any of those
since the likes of Ndlovu embarked on a crusade to abolish property rights
four years ago!

"What made Minister Nkomo's statement on nationalisation vulnerable to the
vultures in the anti-Zimbabwe lobby," opined Ndlovu sagely just a few days
before the Information department announced there would be no change of
policy, "is that it was a mere political pronouncement, that is empty talk,
not supported by any administrative instrument or administrative action, let
alone by law."

So Nkomo is now given to idle talk and opening up opportunities for the
anti-Zimbabwe lobby, whoever that is? And Ndlovu wants us to believe the
contentious land reform issue has been carried out according to the law.

Does he not know how many orders MDC MP for Chimanimani Roy Bennett received
from the courts against the seizure of his Charleswood Estate? Eight, by our
last reckoning. All of them were studiously ignored by the government and
party that are giving Ndlovu a licence to fight his seniors.

Kondozi Farm was also seized against a lawfully issued court order and it
was "immoral little boys" of Lowani's ilk who went to town crowing that
there would be "no going back on Kondozi".

But it is now convenient to talk about the law because it suits Ndlovu to
kick the chairman of the party from behind, Mutasa-style.

This is part of the rottenness which has been eating away at the ruling
party in the recent past. But more telling is the metaphor of "vultures in
the anti-Zimbabwe lobby". Perhaps Ndlovu can already picture himself
feasting on Nkomo's carcass even before the party's congress in December
when new leaders will be chosen! Because we are not aware of any
anti-Zimbabwe lobby, apart from that invented by the party's propaganda
professors. So we are not sure how the image of vultures crept into Nkomo's
pronouncement if not because Ndlovu thinks Nkomo is dead politically.

Talk of insubordination and a party riven to the core by political rivalry
and vaulting ambitions!

 With this in mind, a reader called in to ask if the ban on Kindness Paradza
criticising his seniors applied to Chiyangwa and Moyo.

"Is this the same Jonathan Moyo who has reportedly been attacking John
Nkomo, Nathan Shamuyarira over the Sky News interview, and Vice-President
Joseph Msika over Kondozi Farm and other 'coup plotters' in the party?" our
reader wanted to know?

"Are they not all his seniors in the party? And why is that not gross

A good question. It does look like certain definitions belong to those who
control the media and can deploy them like missiles against perceived

 Alongside the Paradza indictment, the Herald last Saturday ran a story on
President Mugabe's mansion: "Nothing wrong with giving president timber:

This followed revelations by Mugabe in an interview with Sky News that he
had received building materials from China and Malaysia. He said former
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had donated some timber, which
provoked calls for an inquiry by the opposition in that country.

"What's wrong with that?" Mahathir was quoted as saying. Giving gifts of
timber was "usual practice".

The opposition is far from satisfied by Mahathir's latest explanation.

But are we not missing an issue here? What about local content: does it only
apply to ZBC?

Malaysia is said to have donated timber while China gave Mugabe marble for
his villa. Have the first family's tastes so changed in the course of their
sojourn at State House that Zimbabwe can no longer satisfy their needs? What
kind of timber was it? What kind of flooring that Zimbabwe cannot produce?
And what of all the other accessories that were sourced abroad?

It is not just a land audit that we need!

 Finally, we were sorry Supa had to go running to a London "bobby" to get
his camera back last Saturday when Zimbabwe House was invaded by MDC

The policeman, instead of rushing to Supa's rescue, should have just said he
couldn't help because it was "a political matter".
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Youths should shape up or shut up

MANY youths have approached me alleging that we the war veterans are to
blame for the current chaotic state of virtually everything in the country.

They claim that we are guilty of propping up a crumbling autocratic system.

The youths should understand that each generation has a right to shape its
future. I left school to join the war after being politicised and convinced
that the system in place was oppressive.

The major issues that drove most of us were inequality and failure to
exercise one-man one-vote among others. Many people were comfortable under
that system. They were paid very little but they survived. The heavens were
always generous with the rains. The little joy that we experienced until
around 1985, before the moments of "madness", was in actual fact left-overs
from the previous system.

The bottom line is that things have gone wrong, very wrong indeed. In one
meeting addressed by our late commander, he stressed that our enemies were
not people but the system.

He stressed that the system had to be changed to be all-accommodating.

It is a known fact that power corrupts. As much as I hate to admit, the core
values that drove both Zanu PF and PF-Zapu have been laid aside as
individuals rush to enrich themselves. Look at the land reform programme.

The official claim is that more than 300 000 people have been resettled yet
the records indicate that slightly above 100 000 have been resettled and on
the ground only close to 60 000 have been resettled. Nearly 30% of these are
senior politicians, their families, girlfriends and their children.

Now the youths should understand that their future is being designed by
people who will not be in the future, people who have nothing to lose,
people who have politicised every national institution, people who will do
anything to stay in power, people who will take every profitable farm, mine
or company just to leave it in the names of their children.

When the dust settles Zimbabweans will not have anything and the politicians
will have everything. This is a country that is isolated, a country where
greed has destroyed whatever national pride there ever was.

The youths should realise that over 80% of the current leadership will be at
the Heroes' Acre 20 years from now, but their problems will be in their

At 54 years, all I can say is that it is the youths' future that is getting
messed up - not ours. Whites could have been our enemies but they do not
have to be their enemies.

The ANC chose to forgive and forget but we have chosen to revenge and not to
forget, that is why one day youths will beg to be a South African province.
With close to two million Zimbabweans already resident there including our
key industrialists, there is no going back.

It is the youths who should sit down, strategise and organise their future
objectives. All I can say in this matter is that during our time we had
challenges and we stood up against them.

Going to Britain or South Africa is not a solution; it is like being afraid
to take an Aids test when you have lived your life in multiple
relationships. It is true that the current leadership has failed but if the
youths cannot stand up then they should keep quiet.

Retired Army Captain,

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We stand in solidarity with Tutu/Ncube

WE are an ecumenical group of church leaders based in Bulawayo and
representing a wide diversity of Christian traditions.

We have a common concern for the kingdom values of truth, justice and peace
and are committed to working together and supporting one another to this end
in Christian solidarity.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, is a respected and
valued member of our group.

We note with deep concern the recent personal attacks by President Mugabe
upon Archbishop Ncube and other church leaders.

When interviewed on Sky News he made a scathing attack on Archbishop
Emeritus of Cape Town and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu, labeling
him "an angry, evil and embittered little bishop".

He proceeded to belittle the enormous contribution Tutu had made towards the
ending of apartheid in South Africa. Later in the interview he linked him to
Archbishop Ncube with these words: "That's another Tutu, the bishop, an
unholy man. He thinks he is holy and telling lies all the day, every day."

We have to say that we find these words so offensive and insulting that we
cannot think any true national leader would ever utter them. Moreover, it
goes beyond a personal attack upon the revered church leaders concerned
because within the church, the body of Christ, "if one part suffers, every
part suffers with it" (1 Corinthians 12/26).

We therefore take President Mugabe's words as a direct attack upon the
church itself. We feel the pain and share the offence of these harsh words
directed at both Archbishops Tutu and Ncube. If they are "angry", "evil" and
"telling lies" then, in Christian solidarity, so are we.

In reality what we are witnessing here is a serious attack upon the church
itself - or rather upon that part of the body of Christ which the ruling
elite has not been able either to cow into silence through fear or to
neutralise through the promise of patronage. It is an attack upon what we
might call the "Confessing Church" in Zimbabwe, alluding to the group of
Christian leaders of that name who would not be cowed into silence or
"bought" by the Nazi regime in Germany, but who bravely resisted that evil
tyranny at great personal cost.

If we are attacked or threatened then so be it. We are proud to take our
stand alongside Archbishops Tutu and Ncube. Our mandate as church leaders in
resisting an evil tyranny and in witnessing to the truth, justice and peace
of the gospel is derived from the scriptures themselves.

Specifically here we might quote the divine word given through the prophet

"This is what the Sovereign Lord says: 'Woe to the shepherds of Israel who
only take care of themselves! . As surely as I live . because my flock lacks
a shepherd and so has become plundered and has become food for all the wild
animals .I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my
flock. I will remove them from tending the flock . I will rescue my flock
from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them" (Ezekiel 34/2, 8,

Let the Church of Christ stand together against all slanders and threats. We
have a divine mandate to challenge and confront sin, especially the sin of
the rulers which causes untold suffering to the children of God. Our
allegiance is not to any human ruler but to the King of kings and Lord of

Fr Barnabas Nquindi,

Christians Together

for Justice and Peace,

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Zim Independent

Homelink a lie!

LET me alert all Zimbabweans who wish to send and receive money through
Homelink that the scheme is a lie.

I have received money twice through Homelink. On both ocassions it took more
than three days to arrive and I was charged £10. They refused to give me
forex. Therefore let all Zimbabweans beware!

Mwana Wevhu,

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Zim Independent

Mourning the death of Mazowe Valley

ON May 22, a wake took place to mark the death of the Mazowe Valley.

Ostensibly the gathering was organised to record the hundredth annual
general meeting of the Glendale Farmers' Association which was inaugurated
at the Mazowe Hotel in 1903.

All the trimmings for a wake however were evident - scores of mourners
comprising evicted valley farmers were present with their families, amusing
and historical stories were told about incidents which took place during the
long life of the dearly departed and there was a bountiful supply of good
food and drink.

After three years of agrarian reform the following conditions now prevail in
the valley: a few sparks of profitable production still shine where the
original holders of horticultural and dairy enterprises hold on tenuously
against the rapacity of the ruling hierarchy.

It must also be recorded that a small number of A2 "new farmers" with the
necessary skills and capital are showing signs of success and some have even
made payments for part of the seized assets.

In general however the valley is becoming unproductive and derelict. The
unfortunate A1 "new farmers" are the worst off. They were allocated, very
approximately, six hectares of arable land plus communal grazing rights.

Many of these settlers have other full-time jobs, commute from their
holdings in communal lands, attempt to operate multiple plots located on
different farms, or live and work in towns leaving relatives to hold the

In many cases these plots are regarded as a place to make a quick buck while
owners carry on their old activities. Most A1s cannot afford to pay the
trade union wages for labour nor can they afford to buy the extremely
expensive herbicides with the result that weed growth on their holdings is
uncontrolled and spectacular and many hectares lie fallow.

Without annual subsidies these holdings are totally unsustainable and are
being subjected to dreary degradation caused by axes, dogs, snares,
uncontrolled fires and grazing. This situation signals the end of
bio-diversity and the end of profitable production from A1 settlements.

The A2 "new farmers" are the elite of the land-hungry. Many of them are in
full-time employment in parastatals or are ministers and politicians or
people in big business.

There are no six-hectare plots here for they have been allocated what are
considered to be the plums of agricultural enterprises.

Since agricultural expertise and training was not a requirement for
qualification, these would-be farmers need large unsecured state loans while
poor management and low yields drag them into insolvency. They are also
subsidised by virtue of all the farm improvements which have been acquired
free of charge including equipment and inputs such as fertilisers, chemicals
and full fuel tanks left by evictees.

Many A2s have discovered that their allocations are beyond their financial
and agricultural capabilities to manage and have contracted big businesses
to run their estates for them. Such arrangements may achieve reasonable
production but constitute the most capitalistic system of land-use and the
contractors have only a cursory regard for the long-term care of the natural

Between the years 1960 and 2000 every commercial farmer in the valley, with
the help of the donor-funded and revolving Farm Irrigation Fund, had
contrived to develop a viable scheme for summer supplementary irrigation,
winter cropping and horticultural projects as an insurance against the
fickle rainfall.

Water supplies from rivers and dams were carefully metered and responsibly
allocated to urban and agricultural users at minimum cost. Due to lack of
finance and expertise together with the theft and vandalisation of equipment
most of the schemes, particularly on A1 settlements, are no longer
operational. In addition, most of this valuable equipment has been
commandeered and not paid for.

Farm workers, many of whom were evicted, returned to their rural homes but
others have clung on and been excluded from the land reform programme. They
now rely on the World Food Programme for their food supplies. They have
little chance of employment and have no cash for school fees and other

While they were in employment with commercial farmers their national
security contributions were paid half and half by them and their employers.

When their employment ceased their contributions were no longer paid.

NSSA holds billions of their dollars but so far has made no effort to help
its unemployed members.

The health worker scheme and farm clinics paid for by commercial farmers no
longer operate, which means that both settlers and the remaining farm
workers have long distances to travel to gain any sort of health care.

Many of the boreholes which supplied clean water to the workers no longer
function so both settlers and farm workers are forced to resort to open
water for domestic supplies. In addition, settlers on A1 allocations are not
showing much enthusiasm for building proper toilets.

All the improvements comprising dams, irrigation equipment, dwelling houses,
worker housing, storage sheds, tobacco processing facilities, green houses,
orchards, fencing, woodlots, telephone lines etc, essential for modern
farming are becoming derelict and they have not been paid for.

All the stud animal breeding enterprises have ceased and the animals have
perforce ended up in abattoirs. The lack of security of land tenure is
surely the weakest aspect of the reform exercise. Neither the A1s nor the
A2s have secure land tenure but hold land on a lease basis and therefore
have no collateral for borrowing purposes.

Can the valley and Zimbabwean agriculture be resurrected? Yes, in the
following way:

All seized farms to revert back to the title holders or fair compensation
paid to those who no longer wish to farm in Zimbabwe;

Land-use should be left to trained and dedicated individuals regardless of
race, colour or creed on holdings which are economic and appropriate in size
to each ecological region;

Sustainable land-use is only feasible if it is kept free of the fleeting
interests of politicians. It should be based on sound, long-term, scientific
experimentation and low-interest short and long-term loan finance;

The narrow, embittered, racist xenophobic outbursts in the state media
should cease; and

The state should be obligated to provide its exiled citizens with postal
votes for the 2005 general election as is the practice of democratic

Ex-Valley Farmer,


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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

Iden Wetherell
THE Media and Information Commission put out a statement this week
concerning "patterns of misrepresentation" that it claimed had emerged in
the media regarding the cancellation of Africa Tribune Newspapers' licence
to publish.

There was an assumption that mass media services were "sacred cows" that
should be allowed to operate outside the law, the MIC said. The nation had
been subjected by the same media to "an endless song about accountability,
transparency and the rule of law", it said.

Since 2002 when Aippa was passed government had given the mass media every
opportunity to demonstrate that they really believe that everyone in
Zimbabwe must be subject to the same requirements, it claimed. But when they
are challenged to show that they are accountable and law-abiding, they
"resort to an entirely different song": that they should not be required to
obey the same rules as other citizens because they happen to be special
watchdogs of press freedom.

"It is the commission's view that there is no self-respecting society
anywhere in the world which allows the two sets of values to be kept and
used as mutually exclusive."

The MIC also deplored "the tendency to personalise the enforcement of media
laws in order to make it possible to demonise and stigmatise particular
individuals". The enforcement of Aippa was a statutory, professional and
institutional responsibility, the MIC said.

"Journalists must therefore desist from the immoral habit of
sensationalising national laws as expressions of personal whims and even
vendettas of particular ministers."

I accept that the MIC must sing for its supper by putting out disingenuous
statements of this sort that appear to be shielding ministers from

But instructing the media on how it should report on the political and
legislative process is well beyond the regulatory body's competence.

Where a particular minister has identified himself indelibly with Aippa, has
 conducted it through its various readings and amendments in parliament,
used it to threaten newspapers, and attempted to justify it to the country
and the world, it is unsurprising that he should be held responsible for its

There is a widely-held view, expressed in the Daily News case last year,
that the MIC is biased and that it is the instrument of an intolerant and
increasingly repressive regime. Its chairman, who should be exercising his
duties in an impartial and professional manner, has referred to this
newspaper in abusive terms (Sunday Mail, April 18) and described one of our
advertising clients as "illegal" when it is acting entirely within the law.

The MIC claims it is concerned with issues of media professionalism and
ethics. In which case it should be an independent and even-handed body.

But there is no sign that it is tackling the lack of professionalism in the
state sector, giving rise to the obvious charge that it is not permitted to
interfere with certain "sacred cows".

One very recent example can be cited. A report in the Chronicle last
Thursday said "divisions" had "rocked" the Southern African Editors Forum
(SAEF) ahead of a meeting of African editors in Kinshasa.

The report followed Chronicle editor Stephen Ndlovu's exclusion from a SAEF
meeting in Windhoek. He had attempted to have the state-aligned Zimbabwe
Association of Editors (ZAE) recognised as representative of Zimbabwean

The report, carried alongside Ndlovu's byline on another story from
Windhoek, contained the following: "The move (to exclude the ZAE), strongly
opposed by three countries, was initiated by the US-bound editor of Beeld,
Henry Jeffreys, a South African, at the behest of Zimbabwe Independent
editor Iden Wetherell. The two have strong Boer links, said sources."

The same article stated that: "All editors in Zimbabwe were invited and only
a few from the private media did not attend. One editor who was eager to
attend the meeting disclosed that he had been stopped by Wetherell.

"Sources said Wetherell was in direct communication with Jeffreys who
promised him that he would ensure that Zimbabwe would be thrown out."

In fact I have never met or communicated with Henry Jeffreys in any way at
all. I was not invited to the SAEF meeting and I did not discourage anybody
from attending the meeting.

When the Chronicle called me ahead of the meeting I made it clear I had not
been invited. I was not asked if I had been in touch with Jeffreys or what
my view was on the ZAE. But fictitious quotes from me were included in the

Deliberate falsehoods of this sort persist at every level of the state

Idasa this week denied claims made by Ndlovu in his other front-page report
from Windhoek that Misa's media law and policy programme manager Gugulethu
Moyo, who was one of three speakers at a SAEF discussion forum, had proposed
"taking the Saddam route" in dealing with Zimbabwe's errant regime.

"The article in the Chronicle contains factual errors about Ms Moyo's
presentation and misrepresents her responses to questions from the floor
during discussion time," Idasa said.

"Neither she nor Richard Calland of Idasa promoted war as a solution for the
challenges facing the people in Zimbabwe."

It is clear from this that the Chronicle's report on Ms Moyo's comments were
as inventive as its account of my own.

Contrary to the MIC's claim that there cannot be two sets of media values in
any socie-ty, we have clear evidence from this episode that there already
are. The state media is allowed to fabricate stories with impunity.

So long as these "patterns of misrepresentation" persist without censure
while the independent press is under constant siege, the MIC will have
difficulty getting its statements taken seriously.

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From SW Radio Africa, 17 June

Women arrested, activist shot

Four activists from Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) who were arrested and
detained overnight by the police in Bulawayo have been released without
charge. The four, Magodonga Mahlangu, Patricia Khanye, Siphiwe Maseko and
Emily Mpofu were arrested together with forty other WOZA women during a
meeting at Machobane community Hall in the Western suburbs of the city
Wednesday. The other forty were released Wednesday but the remaining four
were charged with contravening section 24 of the Public Order and Security
Act (POSA). National co-ordinator of WOZA, Jenni Williams said the four
appeared in court this afternoon and were released after the state
prosecutor conceded that they lacked evidence to convict the activists. The
police in the Rhodesville suburb of Harare have been accused of shooting an
MDC activist who was relaxing at home in the garden with some friends last
Saturday afternoon. Ringson Mutandagai opened the gate for 2 policemen who
had knocked. Without provocation, one of the policeman, a constable
Mufurutsa, allegedly pulled out his gun and shot the 51 year-old MDC ward
member and activist in the abdomen. Shocked witnesses in the garden phoned
an ambulance and report that the police continued talking to their friends
about personal matters on their mobile phones while the victim lay there
bleeding. The police version is of course very different. They allege that
the victim attempted to escape while in police custody for an unspecified
incident. The other policemen who were present are not even mentioned in the
report. Ringson Mutandagai is now at Parirenyatwa hospital recovering from a
very serious operation on his stomach.

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AIDS activists complain conference ignored them

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

HARARE, 18 Jun 2004 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's first national AIDS conference ended
in acrimony on Friday, with AIDS activists complaining that they had been
sidelined from the high-profile event.

In a statement circulated among delegates at the three-day conference,
People Living with AIDS (PWAs) accused the National AIDS Council (NAC) and
the Ministry of Health, the co-organisers of the event, of ignoring their
inputs while giving medical experts and dignitaries the opportunity to air
their views uninterrupted.

"We have long said that HIV and AIDS is not a health issue, but a
developmental issue. We are tired of panellists ... [and] doctors telling us
acronyms - "scientific" evidence that has nothing to do with the reality we
are living under," said the statement.

"Without the positive voice, without the women and men living with the
virus, where would they get the specimens for their laboratories, their
so-called evidence?", it added.

Activist Felix Dzotizeyi, who managed to bulldoze his way into the
conference after being denied entry, said those who were supposed to have
been at the forefront of the event had been marginalised by the organisers.

"What we want are ways in which we can live positively with the scourge, and
not what we have experienced here," said Dzotizeyi.

Activist Softain Moyo of the Pan-African Access to Treatment Campaign
Movement said the real work on prevention and care was being done at the
grassroots level. "There was a need to mobilise community groups to say what
they are doing," she argued. "Programmes can only be sustainable if they are

However, health minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said the conference
represented all stakeholders, and was not aware that PWAs had not been given
a platform to speak.

The conference ended with recommendations urging government and civil
society to build on and intensify prevention efforts. It was important to
involve PWAs in all aspects of the response, and improve access to
antiretroviral therapy. The conference also acknowledged that training and
skills development in all aspects of the AIDS response needed to be
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Action plan set to help orphans

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

HARARE, 18 Jun 2004 (IRIN) - In an effort to respond to the ballooning
orphan crisis, the Zimbabwean government is set to launch a national plan of
action for orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs), officials told a national
conference on HIV and AIDS this week.

As the growing number of children losing parents to AIDS undermines already
overstretched communities and extended families, the plan aims to provide a
framework for interventions for OVCs to ensure that laws protecting children
are enforced.

The main areas of focus are education for OVCs, support to child-headed
households and issues around foster care.

Presenting the findings of a UNAIDS-sponsored rapid assessment on OVCs to
the conference, Joyce Makufa said one of the major realisations was that the
national response had so far been inadequate in addressing "the scale and
level of needs and rights of vulnerable children. Even at government level,
the data on orphans and vulnerable children is inadequate to make informed
decisions." Government figures of over a million orphans are believed to
under-estimate the extent of the crisis.

AIDS orphans face huge problems of poverty and stigma, and are often
deprived of school fees, food, clothing and sometimes shelter by their
"guardians". Children who have lost parents to AIDS also suffer
psychological scarring, and are vulnerable to physical, psychological and
sexual abuse, experts say.

Ron Pouwels, a paediatrician working with the Ministry of Health and Child
Welfare, welcomed the government's action plan. "Programmes on orphans and
vulnerable children in Zimbabwe have been largely uncoordinated and chaotic,
and at last we are seeing government efforts to respond to the crisis," he

Makufa pointed out that the government's initiative should be anchored
within the community as a more sustainable way of caring for orphans. With
over 98 percent of orphans in the country looked after by the extended
family, she said the national response should strengthen community efforts.

"The national plan of action should provide a mechanism to channel small
amounts of funding to formal and informal community groups working with
orphans," Makufa suggested.

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Union Network International

ILO tells Mugabe to stop arresting union leaders

The Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation has backed a
call to the Zimbabwe government to stop arresting or detaining trade union
The ILO also called on the Zimbabwe government not to interfere in the
legitimate trade union activities of the Zimbabwe trade union centre, the
UNI submitted a complaint to the ILO following the dismissal by Zimpost of
ZCTU President Lovemore Matombo along with the dismissal and suspension of
his colleagues in UNI communications affiliate CASWUZ.
The Governing Body approved the report from its Committee on Freedom of
Association, which has been studying no fewer than 108 complaints in a
number of countries.
The Committee has dealt with complaints about the Mugabe regime in the past.
This time the Harare government told the ILO that union action over the
economic crisis in the country last October and November was "motivated by
political elements within the ZCTU".
The ILO Committee on Freedom of Association decisively rejected this
Its findings, endorsed by the governing Body, say that: "trade union
activities cannot be restricted solely to occupational maters since
government policies and choices are generally bound to have an impact on
workers. This was particularly true in this case as the demonstrations were
on issues related to the high cost of living and trade union rights."
Inflation in Zimbabwe recently peaked at over 600% and unemployment is
rampant as a result of the regime's economic policies.
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The Guardian - extract

Yesterday in parliament

Press Association
Friday June 18, 2004

Britain should lead the way in extending sanctions over Zimbabwe, Labour
former sports minister Kate Hoey urged. Welcoming a debate to be opened by
the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, next month, she demanded: "Will he be
bringing to the house some extra sanctions that this country might be able
to go ahead with in terms of Zimbabwe rather than waiting for the European

Mr Hain responded: "I am with you all the way in my opposition to Mugabe's
regime. "I know the foreign secretary is extremely concerned to make sure
that events change in Zimbabwe for the better for the people of Zimbabwe."
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Zim 70 clutch ConCourt straw
18/06/2004 16:50  - (SA)

Pretoria - The 70 men being held in Zimababwe as suspected mercenaries are
to apply on Monday for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court after a
Pretoria judge refused to order their extradition home.

Their lawyer Alwyn Griebenow said on Friday the men would contest Transvaal
Judge-President Bernard Ngoepe's ruling on the grounds that a South
African's constitutionally-entrenched rights had to be enforceable in a
foreign country.

The application would be lodged on an urgent basis on Monday, after which
the South African government would have seven days to file an opposing

"We are hoping for our case to be heard within three weeks," said Griebenow.

Ngoepe turned down an application last Wednesday for an order compelling the
South African government to seek the men's extradition. They are suspected
of plotting a coup d'etat in Equatorial Guinea.

Have denied being mercenaries

Ngoepe found South African authorities did not have adequate evidence to
prosecute the men at home, and dismissed the application with costs.

The men want to be extradited to South African to stand trial at home for
contravening the Foreign Military Assistance Act, which outlaws mercenary
activities. But, they have denied being mercenaries.

The men claimed they would not have a fair trial in Zimbabwe or Equatorial
Guinea and feared being put to death if deported to the west African

They sought to compel their government to make submissions to Zimbabwe and
Equatorial Guinea for the protection of the constitutional rights they
enjoyed in South Africa to a fair trial, and not to be sentenced to death.

Arrested when their plane landed

But, Ngoepe said the men failed to make out a case for court intervention.

The men were arrested at Harare International Airport more than two months
ago when they apparently landed to refuel and pick up military equipment.

Authorities believed they were on their way to join 15 suspected
mercenaries - among them eight South Africans - arrested in Equatorial
Guinea for allegedly plotting to overthrow the west African country's
leader, Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

The men held in Zimbabwe claimed they were on their way to the Democratic
Republic of Congo to do mine security duties.
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