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

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6/23/2003 8:32:07 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter
SOME senior ruling ZANU PF party officials attempted to lure opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leaders to agree to dialogue and
possibly a power-sharing pact between the two parties while MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai was in jail last week.
The plan, if it had succeeded, would have seen Tsvangirai and other MDC
hard-liners sidelined while leaders of the opposition party considered to be
moderate would have been given positions in a government of national unity
in exchange for their backing for constitutional amendments to create an
executive prime minister and a ceremonial president in a power-sharing

The deal would also have smoothened President Robert Mugabe’s exit from
politics, a source privy to the clandestine moves said yesterday.

ZANU PF national chairman John Nkomo refused to take questions on the
matter, instead referring this paper to the ruling party’s spokesman Nathan

Shamuyarira could not be reached for comment on the issue by the time of
going to print last night.

MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube confirmed that there had been moves to
push for dialogue between the country’s two biggest political parties while
Tsvangirai was away in prison but Ncube said his party had rejected
negotiations when its leader was in jail.

Ncube said: “We were aware of those desperate moves from senior ZANU PF
officials to push for dialogue in the past two weeks. The MDC would not
engage in any form of dialogue while its leadership was incarcerated.
Prisoners don’t negotiate.

“If anybody thought that imprisoning Tsvangirai would soften the ground to
initiate and expedite dialogue then that was misplaced hope. The jailed
cannot negotiate with their jailers.”

Tsvangirai was released on bail last Friday after spending two weeks in
remand prison on fresh charges of treason for allegedly calling for Mugabe’s
unlawful removal from office. He denies the charge.

Talks between the MDC and ZANU PF to break Zimbabwe’s political impasse
collapsed last year when the ruling party refused further dialogue unless
Tsvangirai withdrew a court application challenging Mugabe’s re-election in
a controversial and violence-marred presidential ballot last year.

ZANU PF also wants Tsvangirai to recognise Mugabe as the legitimate leader
of Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai and his MDC have refused to accept Mugabe’s presidency and insist
they will not withdraw their court application challenging his re-election.

The well-placed sources said rival camps in ZANU PF battling to position
themselves to take over once and if the ageing Mugabe retired had pushed for
Tsvangirai’s detention with the hope of taking advantage of his absence to
entice some of the senior but moderate officials in the MDC into hammering a
secret power-sharing agreement.

A former trade unionist-turned-opposition politician, Tsvangirai is viewed
by power brokers in ZANU PF as the stumbling block to resumption of dialogue
that could lead to a power-sharing pact between ZANU PF and the MDC in which
the latter would be a junior partner.

According to the sources, a delegation of church leaders had intensified
moves to initiate dialogue between ZANU PF and the MDC after allegedly
holding a meeting with Nkomo and Shamuyarira.

While the church delegation had in the past been trying to bring Zimbabwe’s
political leaders to the table and may have sought genuine dialogue between
ZANU PF and the MDC, ruling party officials are said to have attempted to
use the opportunity to clinch a quick deal skewed in ZANU PF’s favour while
Tsvangirai was in detention.

MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda directed the churchmen to talk to the
opposition party’s national chairman Isaac Matongo and deputy
secretary-general Gift Chimanikire over the resumption of dialogue.

Matongo is said to have told the clergymen that the MDC was committed to
dialogue but would would not negotiate while Tsvangirai was behind bars.

Ncube is said to have followed up by writing to the clergymen the MDC’s
refusal to engage ZANU PF in talks while its leader was not a free man.

Ncube, who himself was also arrested together with Tsvangirai but was later
released, said: “The MDC is ready anytime, anywhere to engage in an
unconditional dialogue to resolve Zimbabwe’s deepening economic and
political crisis.

“Any mediator or emissary is free to bring ZANU PF to the negotiating table
as long as they understand and are clear that the MDC accepts unconditional

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Judge grants postponement of Gwindi hearing

6/23/2003 8:17:36 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter
Justice Susan Mavangira last week postponed to next month the hearing of an
application by the City of Harare to recover a Nissan Hardbody truck, a
cellphone and office keys from former city public relations manager Leslie

The postponement was at the request of Honey and Blanckenberg, the council’s

One of the council’s lawyers Lewis Uriri said the date of the hearing would
be set when Tendai Biti, the lawyer who is supposed to argue the case on the
council’s behalf, returned from a trip outside the country.

The council filed its application for the recovery of the property in
October last year alleging that Gwindi refused to surrender the car,
cellphone and office keys when he was dismissed last year.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party-led council last
year summarily dismissed Gwindi saying his appointment by the
government-appointed Elijah Chanakira Commission previously in charge of the
city was irregular.

Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo later ordered Gwindi’s
reinstatement but the council refused. Chombo, who has clashed publicly
several times with Harare Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri suspended the mayor.

Chombo accused Mudzuri, who won the Harare mayorship on an MDC ticket, of
among other things failing to implement ministerial orders. The High Court
is still to rule on an application by Chombo to bar Mudzuri from working as
executive mayor of the capital.

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      ZCTU blasts government

      6/23/2003 8:18:12 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) last week castigated the
government’s alleged repression against workers in a report to the just
ended 91st conference of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in
Geneva, Switzerland.

      ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo told the conference that the
government had gone against the ILO recommendations and instead embarked “on
a path of intimidation, demonisation and crippling of the ZCTU.”

      The trade unionist said workers had been arrested, beaten and tortured
while pro-government and ruling ZANU PF party militias had created “no-go”
areas for the trade union movement.

      Trade union leaders, including ZCTU secretary-general Wellington
Chibhebhe, were late last year arrested for attending a union meeting that
the government considered to be political, Matombo told delegates to the
international labour conference that ended last week.

      He said: “These were arrested while attending a ZCTU strategic meeting
in December last year. They were harassed by the police and detained in
filthy cells. They were later released after intervention by ZCTU lawyers.”
Chibhebhe was allegedly beaten up by the police for organising “illegal”
trade union meetings.

      Matombo chronicled how government security agents swooped on a union
leaders’ meeting, arresting several of them following a mass three-day work
boycott that shut down the country in April this year. The arrested ZCTU
officials and activists were released on bail.

      The ZCTU called the three-day job stayaway to pressure the government
to reverse a sharp fuel price hike imposed by the state to cushion its
cash-strapped National Oil Company of Zimbabwe. The government has refused
to bow to the ZCTU’s demand.

      Matombo told the ILO that the police had disrupted several meetings of
the ZCTU including international labour days despite orders by the country’s
High Court barring the police from interfering with meetings of the labour

      Under Zimbabwe’s draconian Public Order and Security Act, Zimbabweans
must seek approval from the police before holding public meetings.

      But professional and social groups such as the ZCTU are not required
to apply for permission from the police before organising meetings of their

      Matombo said: “Despite a High Court order barring the police from
attending ZCTU meetings, the police have deliberately ignored the resistance
from the ZCTU.

      “Unfortunately, even the Ministry of Labour has argued that since the
police are acting under the Public Order and Security Act there is no way
that the ministry can stop them from treating the ZCTU in the manner they
are doing.” Labour Minister July Moyo, who also attended the ILO conference,
told the international labour group that Harare had not addressed concerns
raised by last year by ILO about Zimbabwe’s labour environment in a new
Labour Relations Amendment Act (LRAA) enacted by Parliament in December last

      Moyo said the government had declined a request last year by the ILO
to send a mission to Zimbabwe because it was already addressing the concerns
of the labour group through the LRAA.

      The government official said Harare had benefited from comments and
suggestions made by the ILO Committee of Experts but urged the committee not
to politicise labour discussions on Zimbabwe.

      Zimbabwean business, represented at the conference by Mike Bimha, said
employers felt the new Labour Act favoured workers more than the old Labour
Relations Act and this was at the expense of potential new investment.

      Bimha expressed concern over the powers of the minister to set maximum
pay levels.

      He said that while business appreciated the need to narrow income
disparities, he believed that the market should be the standard upon which
upon which wages and salaries were determined.
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      Brick-making firm loses property worth millions

      6/23/2003 8:19:57 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      SUSPECTED ruling ZANU PF party activists who earlier this month
illegally occupied a Harare brick-making firm, Atlanta Bricks, are alleged
to have looted the company of millions of dollars worth of property before
police intervened this week.

      Two people have since been arrested by police in connection with theft
from the company that is located near the high-density suburb of
Dzivaresekwa. The property and goods stolen from Atlanta included diesel
worth about $130 000 on the official market, equipment and some batteries
meant for running the company’s machinery.

      The group, which was led by a woman known as Pazvakarambwa who claims
to be the war veterans commander for the area, forcibly occupied Atlanta
Bricks during the week-long mass protest called for by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) at the beginning of this month.

      The Zanu PF supporters accused the workers and management of taking
part in the mass protest that the MDC said were meant to force President
Robert Mugabe to resign or negotiate with the opposition party a solution to
Zimbabwe’s deepening crisis. An official at the company said the group then
announced that they had taken over the company and barred the workers and
management from entering the premises.

      The official said everything at the company was now normal but they
were having operational problems due to vandalism of the property by the
group. “Most of the stolen equipment was necessary for our day-to-day needs
and this has really affected our operations as we have to find new
equipment,” the official said declining to be named for fear of further

      He said the company had stopped operations during the mass action week
as a result of fuel and cement shortages. Both fuel and diesel are in short
supply. Police refused to comment on whether the suspects would be brought
to court .

      Pro-government and ZANU PF party militants have in the past three
years invaded farms and private companies.
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      Four die after drinking contaminated water

      6/23/2003 8:20:45 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      FOUR people died last week in Chinhoyi town in Mashonaland West
province and 500 others had to be treated for severe diarrhoea which health
officials said was caused by contaminated drinking water.

      Wenceslas Nyamayaro, the provincial medical director, said the
outbreak of the disease in the farming town was caused by contamination in
the Hunyani River which supplies the town.

      Nyamayaro, who blamed Chinhoyi Town Council for not sufficiently
treating water before pumping it out to homes, told The Daily News: “There
were leakages upstream the Hunyani River, resulting in the water having a
number of bacteria. Our investigations have also shown that the water in the
town had unacceptable low levels of chlorine.

      “This situation saw a stable increase in the number of people, mostly
children, being treated for illnesses related to the diarrhoea.”

      He said the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and the Chinhoyi Town
Council had now brought the situation under control but he said the
monitoring of the quality of water supplied to residents was continuing to
ensure that another outbreak did not occur.

      Chinhoyi town officials also said the diarrhoea might have been caused
by heaps of garbage accumulating in the town because municipal refuse
collection operations had been crippled by the shortage of diesel affecting
the country.

      “For the past four weeks, we have been failing to collect refuse in
the residential areas due to the shortage of diesel.

      “And this situation is very unhygienic for the residents as the
garbage is piling up,” the official said.

      Most urban areas in Zimbabwe have been unable to collect refuse due to
the serious shortage of fuel in the country.
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      ZESA board sacked

      6/23/2003 8:21:47 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has approved the dissolution of the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) board by the end of this week allegedly
for failing to expeditiously implement the rural electrification programme,
it was learnt yesterday.

      Highly placed sources told The Daily News yesterday that Mugabe had
expressed his displeasure at the slow pace with which ZESA was implementing
rural electrification which the 79-year-old leader is believed to regard as
a lucrative vote-catcher for his ruling ZANU PF.

      The term of the ZESA board will prematurely expire at the end of this
month after Mugabe sanctioned Energy Minister Amos Midzi to dissolve it. The
board was appointed in August last year and was expected to see through the
privatisation of ZESA.

      The ZESA board is chaired by Sydney Gata, Mugabe’s brother-in-law. It
was not immediately clear whether Gata, who as executive chairman of the
state power company ran ZESA, would be retained in the new set-up.

      Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba could not be reached for comment on
the matter yesterday.

      Midzi confirmed that the ZESA board was being dissolved but would not
give the reasons why the board was being dismissed. He said he would be
prepared to give details on the issue today.

      The state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation announced
yesterday afternoon that the ZESA board would be dissolved this week and
another one appointed soon.

      A source privy to the goings-on at ZESA yesterday said: “Mugabe thinks
that the ZESA board has to go because he feels it has thoroughly failed. He
was particularly irked by the boardroom squabbles and that the rural
electrification programme had failed to move at a faster pace.”

      Mugabe used the rural electrification programme as an election tool
last year when he was campaigning for the presidential election in March and
the rural district council elections that were held in September last year.

      Gata, who was appointed ZESA board chairman in 2000, also allegedly
told villagers during the same campaigns that they would not benefit from
rural electrification if they voted for opposition Movement Democratic
Change candidates .

      Sources indicated that the squabbles involving Gata and his fellow
board members over the hiring of an Australian consultancy firm to spearhead
the privatisation of the power utility had also infuriated Mugabe.

      The board was split after Gata attempted to seek an exemption from
formal tender procedures to appoint Marketforce Business Solutions, an
Australian consultancy firm, to do consultancy work on the unbundling of
ZESA into various business entities that would report to a holding company.

      ZESA workers have also been pressing for Gata’s removal from ZESA,
accusing him of corruption.
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Leader Page

      The guilty are always afraid

      6/23/2003 8:29:15 AM (GMT +2)

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his government have invested so much in
the army and police and now the national youth training service and many
Zimbabweans would argue chiefly to protect their stranglehold on power.

      Indeed the deployment of heavily armed soldiers and police supported
by modern anti-riot water tanks and well-drilled youth militias from the
national service programme to crush opposition mass anti-Mugabe protests
earlier this month was instructive of why the government’s security forces
have for the last 23 years always received the biggest vote out of the
national budget than any other state department.

      Yet despite having at its disposal this awesome and fiercely loyal
military force the government is far from having peace of mind.

      The knowledge that only sheer brute force can keep it in power appears
to have only worsened anxiety and paranoia within the government.

      The storming by armed police last Friday of an innocent school
debating event in Bulawayo is virtually a confession by Mugabe and his
lieutenants that fear of the unknown has turned them into prisoners in a
country that they preside over.

      About 40 armed policemen and Central Intelligence Organisation agents
swooped on the Bulawayo Theatre on Friday morning where some 300 pupils were
gathered to discuss HIV/AIDS and the role of the youths in combating the

      Several children were injured as they scrambled out of the theatre
hall to safety as police officers rounded up some of the organisers of the

      Far from being the isolated action of an overzealous police commander
and his officers this autocratic and high-handed behaviour by the police and
other state security arms has sadly become routine as Zimbabweans’ freedoms
of assembly and association guaranteed in the country’s Constitution are
trampled upon every day.

      Under the government’s repressive Public Order and Security Act
Zimbabweans must seek police approval before they can hold political

      But how a mere high school debate meeting becomes a political meeting
or worse still becomes a threat to national security only Police
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and his officers know.

      Needless to say that this particular schools debating competition has
since 2000 been held every year in Bulawayo.

      And with this kind of performance by the police who needs the British
Broadcasting Corporation or America’s Cable News Network to tarnish Zimbabwe
’s image as claimed by the government?

      But more importantly the unfortunate incident in Bulawayo confirms
what many Zimbabweans now know and that is that: in their hearts of hearts
Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party know that their ruinous policies that
have brought this once prosperous country to its knees have lost them
popular legitimacy to rule this country.

      Only through the force of arms does the government continue to hold
back rising public anger against it.

      The Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum, the biggest coalition of human and
civic rights groups in the country, reports that human rights abuses
escalated in the first six months of this year with state security forces
allegedly taking a leading role in perpetrating human rights violations
against Zimbabweans most of them supporters of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change.

      But unfortunately for Zimbabwe’s rulers there is a limit to the extent
to which a government, however militarily strong, can control the lives of
its people. As to how long can the guns enforce the uneasy peace and keep
under check swelling public discontent against the government’s rule is a
question for Mugabe and ZANU PF to answer.

      We, the lesser mortals, can only observe that: uneasy lies the head
that wears Zimbabwe’s crown
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      If you need cheering up, try ZBC, The Herald

      6/23/2003 8:30:27 AM (GMT +2)

      Cathy Buckle

      WHAT is there to laugh about in Zimbabwe anymore?

      It’s frightening to know that we live in a country where eight out of
every 10 people we pass on the street are unemployed.

      It’s a nightmare trying to find petrol and most days we can’t afford
to put a decent meal on the table for our families.

      Most of us spend our days shrouded in a thick fog of questions which
have no answers and depression so bad that we are a country on the verge of
a national mental breakdown.

      Every now and again though, some hilarity surfaces and if you are in
need of cheering up, may I suggest either ZBC TV or The Herald?

      The latest advert being aired on ZBC TV screams out in huge letters:
“Use the LAW to get paid for your losses.”

      It announces that we, the citizens of Zimbabwe, must insist on the
rule of law to protect our rights and property.

      As it has been for three years and four months, this advert doesn’t
apply to the likes of 4 000 farmers who had their land, homes, crops, jobs
and infrastructure seized by the government. Neither does this advert apply
to the likes of 300 000 farm workers who lost their homes, jobs and pensions
when they too were evicted from the country’s commercial farms.

      Insisting on the rule of law to protect life and property doesn’t
apply either to the thousands of people beaten, tortured, arrested,
tear-gassed and harassed for daring to ask for democratic governance and
observance of human rights.

      The real hilarity of the “use the law” advert, however, must be the
fact that just last week a High Court judge invaded a farm in Banket and
took it over.

      The farm is owned by the man who gave us all bread for breakfast for
the last 50 years.

      It was beside the point that a court had already ruled that this same
judge was barred from entering the premises of the farm.

      The judge waited until the owner was out of the country and then came
in his Mercedes, snatched the keys from a domestic worker and made up his
own laws as he took over.

      It seems there is a lot of truth to the old adage that “possession is
nine-tenths of the law”, especially if you are a High Court judge in
Zimbabwe. Frankly, if you don’t laugh at the latest ZBC advert, that mental
breakdown just gets one day closer.

      Even more hilarity came last week from ZBC when on the nightly news
bulletin on 17 June, Zimbabweans were told that plans were well underway for
a bumper wheat crop this year.

      The government gentleman being interviewed said that as he spoke, many
new farmers were being given the wheat seed and other inputs necessary for
the crop and that he knew it was a “bit late” but was sure the crop would be
an enormous success.

      Already half way through the growing season, surely planting wheat now
is about as nonsensical as pulling up at a petrol station, handing your keys
to the attendant and saying: “Fill it up please.” If you don’t laugh, you
may as well check yourself in at the nearest mental hospital.

      An article in The Herald of 18 June really gave me a lift but I must
admit that I needed a dictionary and thesaurus at my side to try and make
sense of it.

      Apparently it was all about an “accomplished speculative reporter”
from The Daily News who was being accused of writing an “elaborate and
hollow fib”.

      In The Herald, a newspaper which supposedly caters for the masses of
Zimbabwe, there were words and phrases which most of us could never have a
hope of understanding, let alone pronouncing. There was an “ignominy
 arising”, something else that was “commonsensical” and talk of “bravado by
the quisling”.

      I must admit to thinking at first that this had something to do with
male libido, but my thoughts were dashed as the report went on to talk about
a “terminally dwindling” and “irrecoverable nadir of despair”.

      Everything began to become clear though when I got to the sentence
which said that this was all a matter of “neo-colonial thuggery” and then I
realised that this must be coming from the Ministry of Information.

      The final sentence of The Herald story really ensured laughter: “The
final push, it would appear, has finally become a pull to fibs and fables of
a paper utterly unreliable on every minor point. That is why nobody believes
anything published by The Daily News these days.”

      Until I read that, it had been a pretty dismal week in Marondera
because, you see, there was a big electrical fire in our telephone exchange
which cut us off from the world for two days and nights. To make things
worse, we don’t get The Daily News here anymore because the youngsters who
do their masters’ bidding seize the papers, tear them up, burn them, or make
you eat them.

      I’m not sure why they bother because as they told us in The Herald,
nobody believes a single word published in The Daily News anymore – that
must explain why it’s been banned from our provincial capital.

      Ingutsheni, here I come. If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.

      Cathy Buckle writes on social issues
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      ESKOM to slap ZESA with a penalty for default

      6/23/2003 8:33:22 AM (GMT +2)

      MacDonald Dzirutwe

      SOUTH African power company ESKOM will levy the Zimbabwe Electricity
Authority (ZESA) a 12 percent penalty charge every month for defaults by the
cash-strapped Zimbabwean power utility on payments of money owed to Eskom
for previous electricity supplies.

      ZESA’s arrears to ESKOM as of last week amounted to US$11 million as
the parastatal battles foreign currency shortages,which has resulted in it
defaulting on its payments.

      As a result of defaulting by the cash strapped ZESA, ESKOM has also
now demanded that Zimbabwe pays cash in advance for electricity supplies to

      “ESKOM is now charging 12 percent penalty per month for defaulting on
payments and now demands advance payment for their power,” a report of ZESA’
s operational status read in part.

      ZESA, whose electricity arrears to regional power suppliers amount to
US$109.7 million, imports 150 megawatt (MW) of electricity from ESKOM and
has an option to import more if there is higher demand for power.

      But this is on condition that ZESA pays the South African utility in

      The government-run parastatal needs US$5 million every month for debt
servicing and has since last month forced exporters to pay at least 50
percent of their electricity bills in hard cash.

      The hard cash payment by exporters has helped ZESA to be connected
again by ESKOM and other regional suppliers like SNEL of the Democratic
Republic of Congo and Electrica Hydro Cahorra Bassa (HCB) of Mozambique, on
a limited scale though.

      HCB, which used to supply 400 MW of electricity to Zimbabwe is now
only supplying 250 MW to ZESA because of payment problems by the parastatal.

      According to the report, HCB has given ZESA notice to terminate
electricity supplies if the parastatal does not come up with a credible
payment plan.

      ZESA is still to come up with a plan but the power corporation has
however paid up part of its debt to the Mozambican power company to avoid
being completely switched off. Its unlikely that the Mozambicans would
increase their supplies to Zimbabwe because HCB has already secured
alternative markets for its electricity.

      Another Mozambican-based power utility Electrica De Mocambique, which
is owned by Portuguese investors has also switched off ZESA for non-payment
of arrears which amount to US$5 million.

      “HCB have given notice to terminate (power) supply contract unless a
payment plan is put in place,” the report said.

      “HCB have already secured alternative markets for the power and have
asked ZESA to wheel the power.”

      The Zimbabwe government has also been invited to take a 25 percent
stake in HCB but will have to raise US$500 million for the shareholding at a
time the country is experiencing its worst foreign currency crisis since
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Conflicts, poverty low on AU agenda

By Anthony Stoppard

JOHANNESBURG: The second summit of the African Union is likely to be marked
by political wrangling as the continent's leaders try to reach agreement on
the functioning and final structures of the pan-African body.

The Second Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) - the
first was held in South Africa last year - will take place in Maputo,
Mozambique, on July 4-12.

"The focus of this meeting will very much be on the structures of the AU and
getting them to work," says Jakkie Cilliers, the head of the Institute for
Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria, South Africa.

This is likely to disappoint many people who would like to see the African
Union concentrating on achieving greater and faster success in ending
conflicts, improving governance and kick-starting social and economic
development on the continent.

More than 350 million people - over 50 per cent of Africa's population -
live below the poverty line of one US dollar a day, according to the World
Bank.The situation is more appalling in strife-torn Liberia, the Democratic
Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Cote d'Ivoire.

While these concerns will undoubtedly be raised at the meeting, the election
of the AU commission, which will play a central role in the day-to-day
management of the Union, will be one of the main events of the gathering.

The Maputo summit will elect the chairperson, the deputy chairperson and
appoint eight commissioners. The commission will prepare strategic plans and
studies for the consideration of the AU executive council.

The finalization of the details of the African Standby Force (ASF) which
will undertake peacekeeping missions on behalf of the African Union will
also be discussed, as will the formation of the Pan-African Parliament.

The parliament will act as "an organ to ensure the full participation of
African peoples in governance, development and economic integration of the

The protocol relating to the composition, powers, functions and organization
of the Pan-African Parliament has been signed by member states and it is in
the process of being ratified.

So far, Libya - which has no functioning democracy - and South Africa have
shown interests in hosting the parliament.Another delicate issue is likely
to be the funding of the African Union, which will have to be supported with
contributions from mainly poor African countries, many of which can hardly
afford the expense. African countries are likely to be expected to
contribute to the Union in proportion to their means.

Member countries owe the pan-African body a staggering $54.5 million. Out of
the 53 members of the African Union only nine have reportedly fully paid
their dues.

In the meantime, South African President and AU chairperson, Thabo Mbeki,
who is often accused of spending too much of his time on the Union and the
New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) - a programme to kick-start
the social and economic development of the continent - has defended his
government's African commitment.

Speaking in parliament on June 19, Mbeki said: "We will continue to be
preoccupied with issues that are hundreds of miles away from home. We have
no choice in this matter, unless we decide to extricate ourselves from the
process of globalization, to lose interest in the development of the rest of
our continent".

"South Africa is linked to the rest of Africa," he said. "We are not a small
village stuck away in the middle of nowhere, which the world passes by.""We
do not support the notion that our country can develop and emerge as a
winning nation on the basis of its isolation from the rest of the world,"
Mbeki warned. "The 'issues that are hundreds of miles away from home' are
very directly relevant to whether we succeed in the effort to transform
ourselves into a winning nation."

"It would be uncharacteristic of us as a people that are very conscious of
the concept of 'Ubuntu' - the oneness of all humanity. At the same time, we
can best contribute to a successful African Renaissance if we succeed and
are succeeding in the task of the reconstruction and development of our own
country," he said.

Mbeki will hand over the chair of the African Union to President Joaquin
Chissano of Mozambique.The African Union has replaced the Organization of
African Union (OAU), which wound up two years ago.-Dawn/The InterPress News

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Business Day

Bruised MDC weighs new round of protests


International Affairs Editor

UNCOWED by two weeks behind bars on a second treason charge, Zimbabwean
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has already warned of renewed pressure
from the streets, amid indications that the opposition movement is
considering new strategies to force President Robert Mugabe from power.

An assessment of the round of protests and stayaways made by Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition, a grouping of about 350 civil society organisations, has
warned that "the road to the negotiating table will not be smooth or easy".

The coalition estimates that the ruling Zanu (PF) party spent in excess of
$2bn in "the largest internal military campaign Zimbabwe has experienced".
It said the MDC had "dangerously oversimplified the problems in its mass
communications" and conceded that the mass demonstrations were "largely a
victim of state repression".

The coalition said the opposition would have to put forward more realistic
expectations while continuing to provide hope to the nation. Although
Tsvangirai was given a warning to refrain from calling for Mugabe's downfall
when he was released on bail of Z10m at the weekend, the MDC has indicated
that it will soon embark on another campaign of mass action to follow-up its
five day action earlier this month.

Further mass action would be a demonstration that the party will not cower
after its leader spent a fortnight in prison trying to get bail after a
second set of treason charges were brought against him.

While the MDC is not saying when it will launch its follow-up campaign,
strikes and demonstrations against Zanu (PF) rule could embarrass Mugabe if
they were to occur the second week of next month, at the same time as the
African Union meeting in Maputo.

Over the weekend Tsvangirai hit back at SA Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota's
statement last week that the party had undermined talks on a settlement with
mass action.

In a statement yesterday the Democratic Alliance's spokesman on Africa,
Graham McIntosh called Lekota "grossly hypocritical" for criticising the MDC
for engaging in mass action." McIntosh said Lekota had been a prominent
member of the United Democratic Front which used mass action against the
apartheid government.

In addition, he said the African National Congress withdrew from the
negotiations in June 1992 to embark on mass action in support its demands
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Business Report

      Local supplies of grain to double, says UN report
      June 23, 2003

      By Nicky Smith

      Johannesburg - South Africa had a carry-over stock from last season of
about 1.5 million tons, which was expected to grow to 3 million tons by the
end of next year's harvest, according to a report on regional crop
expectations released late last week by the UN World Food Programme (WFP)
and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

      The general manager of Grain SA, Steve Shone, said while food aid
agencies would prefer to source their grain from South Africa, they were
usually prohibited from doing so.

      "I was speaking to the guys at the WFP and they would be much happier
buying from us," Shone said, adding that South African grain was known for
its quality.

      It was unfortunate that countries usually provided aid on the
condition the recipient only buy from the donor nation concerned.

      Shone said that South Africa had given R170 million worth of food aid
to Zimbabwe on the condition that the food be bought in South Africa.

      The WFP-FAO report said Zimbabwe would need to import 370 000 tons and
Mozambique would be the second-biggest recipient of food aid over the next

      Mozambique needs to import 144 000 tons of maize.

      Zimbabwe's disastrous land reform programme had cut the country's
production to 10 percent of what it used to produce.

      "The major causes of the much-lower-than-normal production of cereals
this year include erratic rainfall, limited availability of seed and
fertiliser, and the newly settled farmers not being able to use all the land
because of a lack of adequate capital and inputs, or collateral to procure
them," the FAO/WFP said.

      Namibia will need to import 71 400 tons of maize. South Africa
generally supplies yellow maize to Namibia for cattle feed.

      "[In Swaziland] an extremely targeted approach to food aid is
required, focused primarily on mitigating the effect of HIV/Aids and also
including direct support to households unable to access available food and
agricultural inputs."
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Cape Times

      Window on Africa - Perhaps the antidote for Afro-pessimism isn't
Afro-optimism, but a shot of Afro-realism
      June 23, 2003

      By Peter Fabricius

      At the World Economic Forum Africa Summit last week there was the
usual anguished debate about Afro-pessimism versus Afro-optimism. What
emerged was that many Africans seem to be oscillating between the two in a
rather unhealthy way.

      One African delegate said that Africans swing wildly between
self-flagellation and self-adulation - becoming schizophrenic along the way,
another said.

      Yet another said that Africans veered between exaggerating the sorry
lot of the continent in order to persuade the world to help us and then
exaggerating our achievements - to compensate and to reassure ourselves we
are okay.

      These confessions were very revealing of Africa's current psyche.
Perhaps a psychologist listening to this dialogue would have suggested;
let's do away both with Afro-pessimism and Afro-optimism and take a big,
healthy dose of Afro-realism.

      To confront and objectively describe your own condition is never easy
but it is at least something to strive for. Psychologically it must surely
be better than the roller-coaster of emotions that the delegates were
describing at the forum.

      Some observers detected symptoms of this condition in President
Mbeki's closing remarks to the summit, when he put his head on a block and
firmly predicted that peace would break out in the Democratic Republic of
Congo, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Liberia and Sudan within a year.

      Mbeki is of course privy to information that we do not have, and so
his predictions carry a lot more weight than most. But many suspect his
predictions were based not so much on privy information as on a desire to
talk up the continent's position, and in so doing give Afro-optimism a shot
in the arm.

      The danger is that if in a year's time these predictions do not
materialise, this is going to cause the pendulum to swing wildly back
towards Afro-pessimism. Which will require another dose of Afro-optimism to
correct. And so on.

      Apart from the dangers to the health of the collective African psyche,
there are also physical risks to life and limb in making peace processes
hostage to this form of what one could call political psycho-therapy.

      It is well to tackle the conflicts on the continent with a sense of
urgency - but one must also respect the reality on the ground. For example,
South Africa, which is driving the DRC peace process, has obliged the
Ugandan and Rwandan troops occupying the eastern DRC to leave over the last
year in accordance with their signed commitment.

      South Africa bundled them out of the DRC to demonstrate progress in
the peace process. And so the Rwandan and Ugandan forces withdrew before any
sort of stabilising force had been inserted to replace them. That created a
power vacuum which has been filled by undisciplined ethnic militias who have
been on an orgy of raping, pillaging and killing worse than we have seen
before, especially in the province of Ituri.

      In its optimistic - some might say, manic - phase, Africa too often
sets ambitious targets - and thereby sets itself up for failure - and a
swing back to its depressive phase. This was apparent at a conference this
week organised by the US embassy on globalisation and its impact on Africa.
Three American economists gave thoughtful and useful presentations on what
Africa should do to get the most out of globalisation. But the almost
unanimous response from South African delegates was to whine about all the
global forces conspiring to undermine Africa.

      Catherine Mann of the Institute for International Economics presented
a very useful paper on how developing countries could harness information
technology for development. It was based on her experiences in 15 developed
countries. Mann offered several examples of ingenious ways that these
countries are using IT. But one South African delegate involved in a $300
million Nepad project to bring computers to 570 000 primary schools across
the continent, was deaf to such inspiration. He could only complain that
global corporations were refusing to provide the fibre-optic cables for his
project at a cheap enough price. "The corporations must come to the party,"
he insisted.

      One does not compel global corporations to invest. And to keep bashing
your head against a brick wall by demanding investment in a gigantic
project - instead of seeking another route - is to set yourself up for
failure - and another heavy bout of Afro-pessimism.
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