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

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An article from SA Farmers' Weekly - a scanned image which you can read HERE
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Mail and Guardian

Zimbabwe's migrants just want to feed their families

      Jerome Cartillier | Johannesburg

      19 June 2004 09:13

Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans who have left their
economically-ravaged homeland for neighbouring countries, either legally or
illegally, are not seeking refugee status but only a means to earn a

The migration is voluminous and hard to ascertain, but according to official
figures in Harare, more than three-million Zimbabweans live overseas.

Meanwhile, every day illegal Zimbabwean immigrants are expelled from
neighbouring South Africa, Botswana or Mozambique where they had gone to
seek a chance to feed themselves and their families.

Many return only to be re-expelled.

Zimbabwe, led by President Robert Mugabe since its 1980 independence from
Britain, is facing the worst crisis in its history.

It has in recent years been in the throes of political, economic and social
instability with sky-high inflation, recurring food shortages and an
unemployment rate of nearly 70%.

South Africa, Zimbabwe's southern neighbour and the economic powerhouse of
the continent, has, since the end of apartheid in 1994, attracted immigrants
in hordes, including people from its northern neighbour.

Last year, 55 000 Zimbabweans living illegally in South Africa were expelled
to their country.

"Those people who claim asylum among all the Zimbabweans that come into the
country are a small minority. Most of the people say they have come to make
some money to go back to feed their family," said Melita Sunjic from the UN
High Commissioner for Refugees.

The refugee status is also hard to obtain.

Uptil September last year, only nine Zimbabweans had been granted refugee
status. There have been a total of about 1 500 applications seeking asylum
and these are being examined.

Similarly in Mozambique the number of Zimbabweans with refugee status is
next to nothing.

According to some observers, the low numbers of those seeking asylum or
refugee status could be linked to the perception that many of the
neighbouring countries would be unwilling to grant Zimbabweans refugee
status as it might be construed as their disapproval of Mugabe's
authoritarian regime.

"The South African government has been unwilling to consider [Zimbabwe] as
presenting the conditions that would warrant refugee status being granted to
its nationals," Graeme Gotz and Loren Landau said in a study published on
Thursday on "Forced Migrants in the New Johannesburg."

"Nationals from Zimbabwe have, therefore, almost always been regarded as
economic migrants and ineligible for asylum, even when they have been
victims of systematic rape, torture and economic deprivation," they said.

The economic migrations have sparked tensions in countries such as
impoverished and sparsely-populated Botswana, where according to estimates
some 125 000 Zimbabweans have been arriving every month to escape economic
problems at home.

They have been blamed by authorities for an upswing in crime.

Zimbabwe in May condemned the "barbaric" use of corporal punishment by
Botswana against Zimbabweans caught on the wrong side of the law following
reports that Zimbabweans are harassed, flogged or attacked.

But Harare, knowing that it can do little to stem the tide of nationals
leaving the country, has tried to put the situation to its advantage,
overtly asking "economic migrants" to send money to their families through
the official channel.

Zimbabwe sorely lacks foreign currency reserves and there is a huge gap
between the official and black market exchange rates. - Sapa-AFP
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Arab News - Saudi Arabia

      Editorial: Zimbabwe's Tragedy
      19 June 2004

      President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe runs a classic 1970s-style African
dictatorship: Brutal, corrupt, incompetent and driven by the delusions of
one man. His people emerged from white rule full of hope. Except for the
relatively few supporters who have benefited from government patronage, the
hopes of everyone else have been dashed. Inflation is running at 400
percent, which means that for all practical purposes the currency is
worthless. Unemployment is in excess of 70 percent. Agriculture has
collapsed and with it the country's once-vibrant foreign currency exports.
Zimbabwe is broke and can no longer even feed itself.

      If Mugabe and his ministers had taken first-class degrees in how not
to run a country, they could not have done better. Among their bungles was
the way in which they seized the best farmland from white farmers and so
destroyed a large part of Zimbabwe's economy. A significant part of these
vast productive holdings had been created in colonial days by grabbing
tribal lands. It was right that black Zimbabweans be restored an interest in
this territory, but there were other ways to do it. Farms could for instance
have been incorporated, with shares given to former owners while the white
farmers maintained a stake and got on with the job of managing them.

      It is because the West led by Britain, the former colonial power, has
chosen to make an issue of the violent ouster of white farmers that other
black African states - most importantly South Africa - have stood back from
open criticism of Mugabe. Unfortunately, their private pressure on this
maverick leader has done nothing to stop him plunging his country deeper
into the economic mire.

      Now Mugabe has concluded a $200 million weapons deal with China for 12
aircraft and 100 military vehicles. Why China has chosen to ignore the
international arms embargo on Zimbabwe at this time is of the greatest
concern. Beijing is likely to come under considerable pressure to cancel the

      Zimbabwe's neighbors, however, will be asking themselves why this
impoverished country is spending money it does not have on armaments. If it
is to resume its intervention in the troubled waters of the Congo, where
Zimbabwean leaders have in the past looted diamonds, then the loudest
protest is called for. If this weaponry is to be used to reinforce the
emerging police state and the oppression of the majority of Zimbabweans,
then the protests should be every bit as strident.

      Africa's economic failure in the last 40 years can be explained to a
significant degree by the activities of venal and economically illiterate
dictators like Mugabe. The rest of the world played its part by driving down
the price of the primary goods Africa produced and fighting out its
ideological conflicts on African soil. But the world has changed. Africa has
a chance. Forgiving crippling historic debts is on the cards. Africa has
transformed its politics and South Africa is a shining example to the rest
of the continent. Mugabe is a hindrance to progress.

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'Police Not Being Misused'

The Herald (Harare)

June 19, 2004
Posted to the web June 18, 2004


POLICE yesterday denied that some senior Government officials were abusing
the force.

A report presented in Parliament last week by the chairman of the
Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Home Affairs Cde Saviour Kasukuwere
alleged that some senior Government officials were abusing police officers
by having them guard their farms.

But police spokesman Superinte-ndent Oliver Mandipaka said this was not
accurate and that no verification was sought from the police before the
report was presented in Parliament.

Supt Mandipaka said the police does not supply farm guards to Government

"Of late it has to be appreciated that some members of the disbanded Police
Constabulary took up employment as guards where upon they performed these
duties in police uniform," Supt Mandipaka said.

He said Government officials who employ these people meet their salary.

"There is also nothing sinister for those other Government officials who
have employed members of the Neighbourhood Watch Committee to guard their
properties for as long as there is consultation and police authorities have
sanctioned such arrangements," he said.

Supt Mandipaka said when the police constabularies provide guard duties, it
complements police efforts and enhances the community policing philosophy
recently adopted by the police.

Cde Kasukuwere had also said the police force must avoid creating
departments whose functions were a duplication of existing ones.

He said that departments such as Police Internal Security Intelligence
(PISI), Commercial Crime Unit (CCU) and Criminal Investigations Unit played
the same role. Supt Mandipaka said when they form a new department it is
done in a very formal way.

"Thorough research by our planning and development department is conducted
in line with various police instruments like Strategic Planning, Focus 2000,
Tactical Plans and the recently commissioned Strategic Plan vision 2008."

He said the Criminal Investigations Department is a fully-fledged department
which deals in serious crimes such as murder, armed robbery and carjackings.

"The Commercial Crime Unit deals with industrial related crimes only while
the Police Internal Security Intelligence deals with issues pertaining to

Supt Mandipaka said the Criminal Investigations Unit is responsible for
collecting information about all known and wanted criminals and their
methods of operation.

"There is no duplication of these units although we appreciate the
honourable MP's observations."
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Sent: Saturday, June 19, 2004 3:19 PM
Subject: Paralyzed

Dear Family and Friends,

I have been trying to think of a word that most accurately describes life
in the small Zimbabwean town in which I live. Lots of words come to mind,
many of which are unrepeatable but I think the most appropriate ones are
paralyzed and exhausted. Taking my soon to be 12 year old son shopping for
a pair of long trousers for his birthday, we stopped in the middle of the
road along with all the other pedestrians and cars and stared at a little
parade of school children passing to commemorate what was World
Environment Day. It was a very cold and windy morning and empty packets,
bags and other litter swirled and accumulated on the kerbs. Some who
stopped to watch were the men who push great hand carts piled with
firewood they have cut from trees on the newly liberated farms. Others who
stopped were the women who carry 20 litres buckets filled with little fish
they have caught in nearby dams, again from newly liberated farms. There
was one thing all of us who watched the parade had in common - we had all
just survived a month of drinking the most foul water that both looked and
smelled like sewage. For weeks we had been complaining to the
Municipality. The water is green, we cried, it smells, we shouted, it has
"things" floating in it.  None of us had dared to walk through the streets
carrying posters saying "we demand clean water" or "we refuse to pay to
drink sewage" so we did nothing, boiled the water twice and prayed that
diarrhoea would not paralyze our children. For over a month the entire
town had suffered and now we stood staring at a parade commemorating
"Environment Day". The irony was staggering.

As we stood on that street corner I looked at scores of people and I
suppose the most common expression on their faces was exhaustion. There
were no smiles and there was no chatter, just a sort of paralysis. Having
lived here all my life I suppose the most striking thing about my home
town is the silence. You seldom hear people laughing, seldom hear people
talking in the street. The most dominant feeling is one of suspicion and
of people looking over their shoulders to see who is listening.

When the parade had passed my son and I crossed the road and went into a
big clothing shop. It was mid morning and we were the only customers in
the entire shop. Eager sales staff, desperate for a buyer surrounded us.
One escorted us to the rack of trousers, another hovered and held the coat
hangers, another accompanied us to the fitting room and waited outside and
two more sat at tills empty of customers. "How's business?" I asked. "It
is paralyzed," came the response.

We are a town and a country paralyzed and exhausted. We listen to the
incessant propaganda on State radio and then to the horrors reported on
Short Wave Radio Africa and it is like living in two different countries
at the same time. We hear that the Governor of the Reserve Bank is in
America, England and South Africa urging Zimbabweans to send their money
home through his new systems, but we know those same people will not be
allowed to vote when it comes to election time. We hear of new fighter
jets being ordered and wonder if it is the Zimbabweans in exile whose
money will pay for them. We hear that inflation has apparently gone down
to 450% and yet the price of bread, maize and milk continue to go up. We
hear of a bumper harvest and yet we see the empty fields and we are tired,
so tired of it all. Until next time, with love, cathy.

Copyright cathy buckle  19th June 2004
My books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are
available outside Africa  from: ; ; ;  in Australia and New Zealand: ;  Africa:
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From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 17 June

Bizos, Ummeli omkhulu

George Bizos is wending his way through street peddlers and lunchtime
pedestrians when heads start to turn on the crowded downtown sidewalk.
Quickly come shouts of "Umeli Omkhulu" - the Big Lawyer. The gawkers aren't
referring to Bizos' limited height, or the thick torso of the Greek-born
attorney. Nelson Mandela may be the international face of South Africa's
transformation from oppressive white rule to a multiracial democracy, but
75-year-old Bizos is honoured as an important combatant in the struggle to
topple apartheid. "We've never met, but I want to shake your hand," a young
man tells him. "When others were sitting pretty, you stood up for justice."
For four decades, Bizos was involved in almost every legal aspect of the
anti-apartheid movement, representing an honour roll of its leaders -
Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and many others, along
with the families of slain activists such as Steve Biko and Chris Hani. At a
time when opposing apartheid meant harassment or even death, his court
challenges against torture and assassinations by state security officers
helped publicise government abuses. He was known for relentless questioning
of police and military officers that could reduce hardened killers to
stammering and even sobbing in the witness chair.

Once apartheid ended and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)
probed apartheid-era crimes and considered amnesty applications, Bizos
provided much-needed legitimacy by opposing a blanket amnesty and
challenging claims from known security force killers. "No South African
lawyer did more to challenge the abuse of power by the security forces under
apartheid," Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson of South Africa's new
Constitutional Court wrote in 1998. Bizos also helped draft the movement's
major historical documents, including the Freedom Charter of 1955 that
established principles for a future non-racial society and South Africa's
post-apartheid constitution a decade ago. The fight against apartheid was
won, but the graying Bizos hasn't slowed down. He still tackles tough cases,
such as representing opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in neighboring
Zimbabwe against treason charges widely perceived as an attempt by the
black-led government to quash its foes. Asked if the Tsvangirai case
differed from the anti-apartheid fight, Bizos says: "It was substantially
similar, except that in Zimbabwe, the judiciary is under such tremendous
stress that in its way, it is much worse than it ever was in South Africa."
That doesn't dim his resolve. "For as long as people ask us to do these
cases, or we're asked by their loved ones to take the cases when they are
incommunicado, we will not stop," Bizos says.

His influence on South African history was extensive. Even Mandela's most
famous speech, delivered 40 years ago in a Pretoria courtroom where he and
other anti-apartheid leaders faced an expected death sentence, bore the
Bizos touch. "I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in
which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities,"
Mandela told the hushed court. "It is an ideal which I hope to live for and
to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
Bizos persuaded Mandela to insert the three words "if needs be" before
declaring his willingness to face execution. "I said, 'Nelson, you may be
accused of seeking martyrdom,"' Bizos recalls. "'You don't want to die. You
want to live and see this accomplished.'" Mandela did live, serving 27 years
in prison to become South Africa's first black president and a revered
statesman. To another defendant in the trial, Bizos was a logical choice to
represent the activists of the then-banned African National Congress. "We
had to get lawyers who were reliable, who were, if I may call it, our men,"
says Ahmed Kathrada, a close associate of Mandela. Bizos was definitely an
ANC man, but through words rather than deeds. He never joined the party or
played an obvious political role, focusing his efforts on the legal aspects
of fighting apartheid. That helped prevent his arrest, or worse, during the
decades he represented victims of the increasingly oppressive white
government. He was harassed, denied citizenship for 31 years and followed
around town, but he acknowledges now he "got off lightly". "They were
convinced that I was part of the underground movement, but I was very
careful that there would be no evidence," he says. Still, Bizos visibly
challenged the power structure, once illegally sharing law chambers with
black lawyer Duma Nokwe, an ANC secretary-general who later died in exile.
The government chose not to interfere, and the office became a meeting place
for ANC leaders.

Seeds of activism sprouted early for Bizos, when his father was ousted as
mayor of his Greek village of Vasilitsi, near Kalamata, in the fascist tide
that swept Europe in the 1930s. In 1941, his father helped New Zealand
soldiers escape by boat from German-occupied territory, an act punishable by
death. Then 13, Bizos refused to stay behind with his mother and siblings.
"I threatened I would swim behind the boat if he didn't take me. I thought
it would be great adventure," Bizos says. They ended up in Egypt, where his
father was held in a refugee camp and Bizos went to a Greek orphanage, and
then on to South Africa. In 1948, at age 19, he entered the University of
the Witwatersrand, meeting Mandela and other students. He already had a
reputation as a liberal activist when he became a lawyer in 1954. Glasses
perched on the end of his nose, the soft-spoken Bizos has an unpretentious
air. His attire is modest - a dark, pinstripe suit jacket, dark trousers,
blue and white striped shirt and blue pattern tie, frayed along the edge.
His watch has a worn brown leather strap. He's considered the archetypal
South African political lawyer, the influence for Marlon Brando's
Oscar-nominated portrayal of a shrewd, sarcastic attorney battling a stacked
legal system in the film version of Andre Brink's "A Dry White Season".
Asked about that, Bizos' responds: "My wife says that I'm more handsome and
speak more clearly than Brando."
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serious about news - Luton

Mugabe banker throws political party

ZIMBABWEANS in Luton thought they were going to a party in a pub last week
only to come face to face with President Mugabe's former personal banker
Gideon Gono.

The controversial head of the Zimbabwean central bank was in Britain last
week to raise funds for the state's depleted coffers - and he came to Luton
which has a growing community of Zimbabwean nationals.

Although Mugabe and other leading African officials are banned from visiting
Europe, Mr Gono is free to travel.

Mr Gono was in the country to encourage exiled Zimbabweans to send money
back to their families through government channels at meetings in Birmingham
Glasgow, London and Luton.

In Luton angry activists disrupted the meeting after finding that it was not
a party at all but a bid to get them to join the 'Homelink' scheme.

EU sanctions prevent President Mugabe and 98 named officials from travelling
to or holding financial assets in any EU country.

One of those at last Friday's meeting said: "Most people who attended the
meeting had been led to believe they were invited to a party to celebrate
the opening of a pub owned by a Zimbabwean."

Spokesman for the Foreign Office, Christian Sharples, said: "He did come
over here but I don't know any details of the Luton meeting. He is not on
the list of people who are banned from coming to the EU or UK and he has got
a valid visa.

"There was a request that he met Government officials and ministers, but we
turned that down because we didn't think it was appropriate."
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Sent: Sunday, June 20, 2004 3:40 AM

Dear All,
This is to inform you that Jenni Williams and 73 WoZA women demonstrating peacefully in Bulawayo today were arrested and are being held in Donnington Police.   They will most probably not be released until after the weekend.  They will be held in inhumane conditions, over-crowded and in the middle of winter with no blankets - sleeping on concrete floors.   Reports have it that toilets are non existent - save for a bucket in the cell where there is absolutely no privacy.  They are also not allowed to wear shoes and may only have one article of clothing.
Their crime? Demonstrating their democratic right to protest at the undemocratic way this country is being run.   They are also holding 43 other WoZA women and 7 babies since Tuesday. 
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New Zimbabwe

Police shed light on visa scam arrests

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 06/20/2004 05:56:18
FRESH details have emerged of last week's massive London police swoop on
criminal gangs involved in forging passports, student visas and related
immigration material.

We revealed last week how police arrested over 20 suspects, including a
Zimbabwe mastermind whom we can today name as Harry Wilson.

It emerged Saturday that the operation was heavily assisted by South African
crime intelligence police officers who worked for over nine months with
British police in London.

During "Operation Maxim", SA police infiltrated the syndicate, which
allegedly owned a sophisticated industrial printing press with watermarks
capability that produced documents that looked genuine. Blank birth
certificates were found when police raided the premises. The machine was
able to reproduce thousands of IDs, visas and passports.

South African police crime intelligence head, Commissioner Mulingani Mphego,
told City Press that 20 people (12 men and eight women) were arrested during
the operation.

Wilson, the chief target of the operation is a Zimbabwean-born naturalised
UK citizen who is reputed to be a billionaire. Wilson is described by police
as "well acquainted with South Africa", has travelled widely there and in
other parts of the world and owns many properties in South Africa and in the

Also arrested with him was another Zimbabwean, Martin Slater, who was
allegedly the passport carrier. Other arrests have been made in Malaysia and
Indonesia, Mphego said. The syndicate allegedly also had South African
operatives, and the arrest of at least another five people is imminent.

Mphego said South African documents were targeted because travel with SA
documents is easier through many centres of the world, especially the UK and
US, which have clamped down on the passports of many countries since
September 11, 2001. The documents were allegedly not produced for South
Africans but for anyone who might have needed them including Zimbabwean
students trying to beat the restrictive visa regime.

Money generated through the scheme was allegedly laundered through
properties in the UK, but South Africa was the key channel, where a number
of old-age homes were bought. The bulk was used to buy heavy-duty and
earth-moving vehicles from South Africa, which were then taken to Zimbabwe.

The syndicate allegedly also operated other businesses as fronts. "These
businesses may not even be profitable in themselves but would show a profit
through the money laundered through them," Mphego said.

The asset forfeiture units in both the UK and South Africa are doing audits
of the properties in the two countries , Mphego said. The aim was to seize
the properties.

Mphego said customers who approached the syndicate for documents were vetted
through "professional counter-intelligence methods of being followed and
monitored for a long period.

"The operation was a very difficult one. It took us almost a year of hard
work. We had to get our people in there. If someone went in saying they were
an Afrikaner South African needing documents, he had to be Afrikaner and
speak with the right accent.

"It was dangerous work but we got our people right in there . It started
because of concern by both our country and the UK over the abuse of travel

"The key thing is that these documents were not produced with the collusion
of any South African government official. This was not corruption of home
affairs staff. These were independent professional people who were producing
these documents on their own from their own machines.

"South African documents are considered gold in that market. The people who
would need them therefore do not need to be heading for South Africa but
just needing travel documents that would lead to the least number of
questions and least suspicion when they travelled to wherever they may be

"People would also need the South African documents for naturalisation in
places such as the UK because of the relationship between South Africa and
the UK, which translates into easy access to permanent resident status,"
Mphego said.
Additional reporting City Press

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