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Cape Times

      Mugabe MP's in revolt
      June 25, 2004

      By Basildon Peta

      Johannesburg: In an unprecedented move, dozens of ruling Zanu-PF
Members of Parliament (MPs) walked out of parliament in protest against a
bill that empowers police to detain corruption suspects for up to a month
without trial.

      In an unusual departure from tradition, opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) MPs remained in their seats as Zanu-PF legislator
Shuvai Mahofa led the walkout late on Tuesday evening.

      The Zanu-PF parliamentarians also stayed away on Wednesday. This
effectively thwarted plans to bulldoze the Criminal Procedure and Evidence
Amendment Bill through

      Zanu-PF MPs normally rubber stamp President Robert Mugabe's proposed
legislation. But the proposed law has been referred back to the ministry of
justice, legal and parliamentary affairs after it could not pass the first

      The provisions of the proposed law were brought into effect in
February through Mugabe's extraordinary powers, which allow him to bypass
parliament and decree laws during emergencies.

      However, they have to be ratified or approved by parliament within six

      Zanu-PF businessman James Makamba and Finance Minister Chris Kuruneri
have been the most high-profile victims of the regulations.

      Zanu-PF MPs fear that, if they allow the regulations to become
permanent law, many would be targeted as Mugabe seeks to win the hearts and
minds of the urban electorate through his much-vaunted anti-corruption

      The regulations allow the police to detain a suspect charged with
economic crimes for seven days for investigation. They can also disqualify
the courts from granting bail if they invoke the regulations at the first
court appearance. This allows the police to detain suspects for another 21
days. An accused person can thus be detained for up to 28 days.

      The provisions currently in use through the presidential powers are
due to lapse in August. The police would then have to resort to the old
rules under which they can only detain suspects for two days.

      MDC MP Job Sikhala, who witnessed both the walkout and the stayaway by
the Zanu-PF MPs, said: "They have shot down their own bill. We did not even
debate it because they did not allow it to reach the debating stage. This is
the most bizarre incident since I came to parliament in 2000."

      Sikhala added: "Most of (them) are the key culprits in these economic
crimes. They know that if the police enforce the law, they will be the main
victims because they have externalised lots of money.

      "It's not like they are motivated by any desire for Zimbabwe to have
good laws."

      Sikhala said the decision by MDC MPs to remain seated did not mean
they supported the bill. Welshman Ncube, the MDC MP who chairs the
parliamentary legal committee, has already declared the bill illegal and

      "It was a Zanu-PF circus ... We only watched as the Zanu-PF circus
unfolded. They started squabbling on their own after (justice minister)
Patrick Chinamasa had presented it before they walked out," said Sikhala.

      Two Zanu-PF legislators who refused to be named said the bill was "a
witch hunt against those who are not wanted ... particularly in relation to
the succession struggles".

      The proposed law could be easily used to settle political scores as
the party is enmeshed in serious in-fighting over Mugabe's successor, they

      The Zanu-PF MPs planned their protest against the bill at a special
caucus before they walked out of parliament.
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The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe

Monday June 14th – Sunday June 20th 2004

Media Weekly Update 2004-24










1. General comment


THE government media provided more evidence of its compulsive disinformation campaign to discredit government’s perceived enemies when the Chronicle refused to correct what were reported to be severe distortions in its coverage of some of the deliberations at the recently held Southern African Editors Forum (SAEF) meeting. In its initial report (10/6), the paper’s editor, Stephen Ndlovu, claimed that one of the guest speakers at the meeting, Gugulethu Moyo, had proposed war as a solution to the Zimbabwean crisis. However, Moyo denied ever making such statements and described the story as “either fictitious or inaccurate” (The Standard 13/6).

Her denial was reinforced during the week by an SAEF statement published in the Zimbabwe Independent (18/6) and The Standard (20/6). It castigated Ndlovu for distorting the truth and conducting himself in a manner “unworthy of a journalist and editor”.

Said the regional editors’ body: “The articles appearing in the Chronicle… are part of a blatant disinformation campaign which runs counter to any hint at truth or professionalism”.


But despite this, the Chronicle (17/6) insisted that its report was factual.

In its lead article ironically headlined, Press freedom under threat, the paper alleged that the sponsor for the editors’ meeting, the Institute for Democracy in Southern Africa (IDASA), had exerted “immense pressure” on SAEF “to discredit an article exposing the double standards and insincerity of…Moyo”, adding that “like a dog pandering to its master at the expense of media freedom, … SAEF communications co-ordinator…immediately sent e-mails rebutting Chronicle revelations.” The paper then repeated its allegations against Moyo adding that, “the Chronicle sticks to its story”.

As in previous cases where the government media has been accused of grossly unprofessional conduct, the Media and Information Commission was conspicuous by its silence, once again suggesting that the harsh criminal penalties contained in the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) are only intended for the privately owned media.


More worrying however is news of the government’s intention to extend these unacceptably harsh penalties for what amounts to trivial administrative regulatory offences. According to The Herald, (19/6) government intends to amend section 83 of the Act – which prohibits unaccredited journalists from practising – so as to provide a penalty provision, which is currently absent. Said the paper: “Persons who contravene this section will be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both.”

MMPZ condemns this offensive provision that clearly gives the MIC the unconstitutional authority to deny a journalist his right to work, and this fresh attempt to criminalize and incarcerate “unlicensed” journalists.

The government was also reported to be planning to amend section 40 of the Act, which stipulates that some members of the MIC should be nominated by both associations of journalists and media houses. But since an association of “media houses does not yet exist”, reported the paper, “the Bill proposes that nominations should be received from either or both of such types of associations”. The paper did not question the underlying implications of such changes, news of which were buried on page 11.



2. Alternative sources of information threatened


THE government’s intolerance of critical viewpoints and its efforts to stifle the few remaining alternative sources of information accessible to Zimbabweans assumed greater momentum during the week. Having succeeded in closing down yet another locally based privately owned newspaper, The Tribune, under controversial circumstances, the government appeared to have turned its sights on the South African-based weekly, The Mail and Guardian and the privately owned radio station, Studio 7, which it accuses of disseminating anti-Zimbabwe propaganda from Botswana.

The Voice of America (VoA) runs Studio 7 under its Africa service programme while Zimbabwean publisher Trevor Ncube owns The Mail and Guardian.


ZBC (14/6, main news bulletins), The Herald and Chronicle (15/6) reported Information Minister Jonathan Moyo as having officially objected to his Botswana counterpart, Boyce Sebetela, to the hosting of the radio station through that country’s medium wave frequency (909.000kHz). The two government dailies quoted Moyo as saying government would not have been bothered had the station been broadcasting from “the moon or United States” since VoA is an extension of US propaganda. Said Moyo: “What is an issue is that there is a specific broadcasting material content branded as Studio 7 which can be received on short-wave and that material is found on a frequency allocated to Botswana.”

Moyo was not asked whether VoA’s use of a Botswana frequency constituted a crime.


However, Studio 7 (15/6) did shed some light on the legal status of the station. It noted: “The International Broadcasting Bureau has a longstanding agreement for a transmission site in Botswana which allows VoA to broadcast on short-wave and medium wave to all of Southern Africa. People around the world including Southern Africa have long relied on VoA as a trusted source of news.


In another related matter, The Sunday Mail (20/6) used unnamed sources to build a case against The Mail and Guardian, which it warned, could soon “find itself in trouble with Zimbabwe authorities” for allegedly using “unregistered” local journalists as correspondents and planning to publish the paper clandestinely in the country without registration as stipulated under Zimbabwe’s repressive media laws. No evidence was provided to substantiate the claims. Rather, the paper tried to dignify its specious claims by roping in the Media and Information Commission (MIC) head, Tafataona Mahoso, who said that if the allegations against the paper were true his commission would seek answers on the matter from the relevant authorities and even from “those who regulate the media in South Africa”.


And on the home front, the government media continued with its one-sided coverage of the closure of The Tribune, designed to perpetuate MIC’s justification of the shutdown. For example, The Herald and the Chronicle (18/6) based their coverage of the alleged “mystery” surrounding the ownership structure of the weekly paper almost exclusively on the MIC’s interpretation of the matter and drowned the explanation from the paper’s owner, Kindness Paradza.

In fact, while the two papers quoted the MIC querying the “real owners” of The Tribune because its five directors “hold only 100 shares of the 20 000 authorised shares” they did nothing to verify Paradza’s claims that only 100 of the 20,000 shares had been issued while the rest remained unissued so as to accommodate future shareholders as per corporate practice.

Sadly, the private media did not clarify the matter either, forcing The Tribune directors to do this via an advertisement they inserted in The Standard.


To add to Zimbabweans’ information woes, Studio 7 (18/6) Radio Zimbabwe and ZTV (18/6, 8pm) reported that the Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Communications had accused Moyo of meddling in the affairs of ZBC, thereby eroding its independence and threatening its viability. In fact, this further confirmed the long held suspicion that Moyo was behind the broadcaster’s partisan editorial content. However, the government media downplayed this revelation by suffocating it with Moyo’s denial.


Meanwhile, mystery continued to shroud the exact role of Transmedia Corporation Private Limited, which the Business section of The Herald (17/6) reported as having been licensed by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) “in terms of the Broadcasting Services Act no CAP.2:06 …to exclusively utilize the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) for the provision of data casting and web casting.” The report said Transmedia, whose core business was signal transmission, could use the UHF platform “to provide Internet and email access to corporate bodies, cyber cafes, small offices, home offices and residential users”.

However, besides drowning its readers in technical jargon over the use of the UHF platform, the paper did not give any background to the communications company or spell out exactly how it was going to use the UHF frequency.

ZTV (15/6, 8pm) and Power FM (16/6, 6am) reports on this development were equally hazy thereby leaving their audiences no wiser on the exact role of Transmedia. Interestingly, The Herald (15/6) fleetingly revealed that it was through investigations by Transmedia that had established that “the Voice of America propaganda station was being transmitted” from Botswana.



3. Agriculture and food security


THE government media continued to parrot the authorities’ claims that Zimbabwe would this year have a bumper harvest due to the success of the government’s agrarian reforms, which the official media have repeatedly presented as receiving adequate financial and technical support. But such a glowing picture of the agricultural sector was dampened by private media reports on the new farmers’ concerns over government’s failure to meet their input demands, poor harvest projections for the current winter wheat crop and the confusion over government’s exact policy on nationalisation of land.


The government media glossed over such problems besetting the agricultural sector in an effort to portray government’s fast-track land reforms as the panacea to the country’s grain deficit. Their stories were thus premised on abstract projections calculated to inspire confidence amongst their audiences. For example, the Chronicle (14/6) reported approvingly of the disbursement of “more than $25 billion” to cereal growers by Agribank “in the past two weeks” to boost winter wheat cropping but did not question the wisdom of distributing the money about a month late considering that “cereal production starts in late April”.

Neither did it give a breakdown of how the funds were distributed among the farmers or how many of them had benefited from the bank, which the paper reported, had been given the mandate by government “to act as key financier to farming activities under the land reforms”.

Similarly, the paper unquestioningly reported that the parastatal Agriculture and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) was poised to produce “a total of 3 345 tonnes of seed maize” from 5,810 hectares. There was no elaboration on how many tonnes of grain the country would realise from the seed.


ZTV (15/6, 6pm, 8pm) and Power FM (14/6, 1pm) also carried similar “feel-good” news pieces. For example, they quoted the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) acting chief executive officer, Samuel Muvhuti, as saying that as a result of the country’s projected bumper harvest, his board would now allow individuals to transport five bags of maize from one place to another compared to last year’s two bags. However, Muvhuti was not challenged to explain why such restrictions should still exist if the country has produced enough grain this season.

Rather, Radio Zimbabwe (16/6, 1pm, 8pm) allowed him to cobble up a conspiracy theory saying the law was meant to prevent “those who want to export our grain” from doing so and “some sectors like NGOs who want to stock grain in secluded places without distributing it to the people”.


To reinforce its positive picture of the country’s agricultural sector, ZTV (16/6, 6pm and 17/6, 8pm) announced the arrival of “40 percent” of the heavy-duty agricultural equipment from Malaysia without explaining what the percentage figure represented in real terms.

Not to be outdone, The Herald (15/6) relied entirely on Agriculture Minister Joseph Made’s hopefulness that nearly 20,000 hectares of land would be cleared this year at the Nuanetsi Irrigation Project in Masvingo despite the paper’s own revelations that government had not yet even procured the machinery to open up the area for farming.


The private media did not express such optimism.

The Financial Gazette (20/6) argued in its comment that the fact that government was still talking about inputs for winter crops at “this late hour should be cause for concern” and “should be blamed squarely on the government mistakes …mismanagement and lack of forward planning”. The paper also noted that the “teething problems” plaguing land reform were neither improving the economic welfare of most of the ‘beneficiaries’ nor adding value to the national economy and therefore were likely to “spawn worse socio-economic difficulties than those experienced in the past”. The paper contended that “given the government’s upside-down priorities where resources are not being channelled where they are needed most” then “detractors could just be vindicated if Zimbabwe once again fails to feed itself” despite the good rains it has received.


The Sunday Mirror (20/6) quoted resettled farmers and the leadership of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union (ZCFU) expressing their concerns over government’s “moves in buying tractors and other farming equipment, particularly for ARDA, when (newly resettled) commercial farmers do not have the facilities”. ZCFU president Davison Mugabe told the paper that although ARDA hired its equipment to farmers, it worked on its own farms first before hiring out the equipment and therefore had always tilled the farmers’ lands late. Said Mugabe: “This prejudices the farmer as (s)/ he does not achieve intended crop targets and usually loses out financially…”


Despite such revelations, which have negative underlying implications on the country’s food security, the authorities seemed unwilling to engage food aid agencies to stave off possible starvation. Studio 7 (15/6), SW Radio Africa (16/6) and The Daily Mirror (16/6), for example, reported that a meeting between government and UN humanitarian affairs envoy and World Food Programme chief James Morris had been called off after being told that no government official would be available to meet him.

Morris was reportedly expected in the country for discussions with government about the country’s food and humanitarian assistance.

The Daily Mirror quoted permanent secretary in the Information Ministry George Charamba saying, “there was no likelihood of another meeting being held soon.” Other unnamed sources quoted in the story revealed that government had little interest in meeting Morris as they feel “the issue he intends to bring up for discussion – food aid – is a dead letter.”


However, not all ZANU PF members agreed with government’s bumper harvest forecasts.

The Standard (20/6) quoted ZANU PF Central Committee member Titus Mukungulushi Chauke describing recent claims by President Mugabe and his government that Zimbabwe would have surplus food as “irresponsible and utter rubbish”. According to Chauke, hundreds of thousands of people in areas like Chiredzi, Chivi, Mwenezi and Zaka were still buying food because they did not grow enough for their needs.


Meanwhile, the public remained confused about government’s exact land nationalisation policy after The Herald (15/6) and Power FM (15/6, 1pm) reported Information Minister Jonathan Moyo as reversing a recent proclamation by Lands Minister John Nkomo that government intended nationalising all productive farmland. Moyo’s announcement alleged that, “there has not been any change of government policy or law in respect of land tenure and ownership”, adding that only “…land acquired under the fast-track and current phase of the land reforms automatically reverts to the State”.

But The Financial Gazette viewed Moyo’s statement as a major retreat by government after a “flurry” of criticism on the constitutionality of the land nationalization plan. Constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku told the paper that government’s “latest flip-flop is a sign of confusion and carelessness”. SW Radio Africa (15/6) quoted Justice for Agriculture official John Worsely-Worsick offering similar views. 



The MEDIA UPDATE was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail:


Feel free to write to MMPZ. We may not able to respond to everything but we will look at each message.  For previous MMPZ reports, and more information about the Project, please visit our website at

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The Herald

12 000 kids living on streets: Unicef

From Michael Padera in KARIBA.
A RECENT study by the United Nations Children's Education Fund (UNICEF)
estimates that there are 12 000 street kids in Zimbabwe with over 80 percent
of them in Harare and Bulawayo.

This was revealed by the director of social services in the Ministry of
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Mr Sydney Mhishi yesterday during
the ongoing Urban Councils Association annual conference being held here.

"Greater Harare, including Mbare, accounts for 67 percent of the national
total. The proportion of children becoming street kids has continued to
increase with girls becoming more visible, thereby posing a big challenge to
urban councils," he said.

He challenged local authorities to take advantage of facilities put in place
by Government to alleviate the plight of the children such as the Children
in Difficult Circumstances (CDC) fund.

Mr Mhishi said the fund was not being used by the local authorities.

He said the problem of abandoned children needed urgent attention.

Mr Mhishi said there were a number of abandoned children in the country's
welfare centres with some having stayed in such institutions for as long as
10 years.

He said local authorities should identify child headed families in their
areas and forward the names to his ministry to facilitate the processing of
financial assistance.

"We have a facility that is not being utilised. Once we are able to locate
some of the houses, we pay. You, as local authorities should designate some
of your houses as orphanages where we can come in and help," he said.

However, he said, non-Governme-ntal organisations wishing to assist local
authorities should do so with the express authority of the same authorities.

"You should sign memorandums of understanding detailing the roles and
parameters under which the NGOs would assist," he said.

In a related issue, Mr Mhishi said because of high burial costs, a number of
people were abandoning the bodies of their relatives leaving Government
without an option but to offer pauper's burials.

He blasted some local authorities for refusing to provide burial space for
some of the unclaimed bodies.

Mr Mhishi said his department was willing to enter into grave digging
contracts with local authorities and pay them for the services.
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The Herald

'Back off Zim polls'

From Innocent Gore in MAPUTO, Mozambique
ZIMBABWE will only allow developing and friendly countries to observe its
elections and will not permit former colonial masters and imperialists to do
so, President Mugabe said yesterday.

In a speech that drew roaring applause from delegates from the 79-member
African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries at a summit of heads of state
and government here, President Mugabe said Zimbabweans had to fight for
their liberty and that he had to spend 11 years in prison fighting for
freedom from colonial rule.

Britain would not give Zimbabweans freedom willingly and Zimbabweans had to
wage an armed struggle in order to achieve independence, democracy and
freedom, thanks to support from organisations such as the then Frontline
States, Organisation of African Unit and other organisations and countries
which provided political, moral and material support.

The President said it would, therefore, be folly for the country to now ask
the former colonisers to come and observe its elections.

"And now you hear a voice in London, you hear a man, narrow-minded little
(British Prime Minister Tony) Blair, saying there is no freedom in Zimbabwe.
So, when we have this fight with the British, it's because they were our
oppressors . . . we will not allow them to judge us. We ask our friends to
judge us. When you hear that there is no rule of law in Zimbabwe on CNN,
that is nonsense.

"Our neighbours know us. That is why we say our elections should be observed
by people of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, the Third World. We will
not allow the erstwhile imperialists to judge our elections," he said.

The President's comments come in the wake of an admission by Mr Blair that
he is working with the opposition MDC and some people in South Africa and
southern Africa to effect a change of government in Zimbabwe.

Mr Blair told the House of Commons last week that he had joined forces with
the MDC on measures and sanctions to bring about regime change in Zimbabwe.

Election observers from the Commonwealth, mostly of British or Australian
origin and some European countries which are anti-Zimbabwe and pro-MDC,
criticised the 2002 presidential election, saying it was not free and fair.

But observers from the Third World, the Southern African Development
Community and from countries such as Russia and China declared the polls
free and fair and a true representation of the will of the Zimbabwean

Cde Mugabe said Mr Blair and United States President George W. Bush were
like schoolyard bullies. He said the two had lied to the world "using
language of mass deception" that ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had
weapons of mass destruction.

"Look at what's happening today. This I say: Can't we raise our voice even
at the United Nations? Must these men be allowed to get away with horrific
action? Daily, they are bombing women and children. Must we be quiet?" the
President told the summit.

Cde Mugabe, who earlier on held talks with Cuban Vice-President Cde Carlos
Lage Davila, criticised further sanctions being imposed on the Latin
American country by the US.

He called on ACP countries to support Cuba, which was doing a lot for other
Third World countries, such as providing them with medical doctors. More
than 20 000 Cuban practitioners are working in most developing countries,
with Zimbabwe having more than 200.

"Surely we must say something. Sometimes, because of poverty, we can't say
things we believe in. We are afraid that if we say this we will be denied
money," he said, adding that founding Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah
repeatedly pointed out that one cannot sacrifice principle on the altar of

President Mugabe said while developing nations needed friends, those friends
must recognise them as equal partners.

"This idea of lesser friends or friends of lesser dignity, that relationship
is not what we seek. Our historical relations with the European Union must
be on terms of recognising each other as equal friends and that way we go a
long way. Let us move along the path we have charted with those who identify
with us, those who are true friends with us. Let us march together in
shaping our future."

Cde Mugabe said there was need for increased intra-ACP co-operation among
Third World countries in their fight against poverty, hunger and disease.

Giving the example of Zambia which is rich in copper, President Mugabe
expressed concern that some developing countries were sourcing supplies from
far away yet their neighbours might be having the same resources.

But the President said co-operation among developing countries would only
succeed in an environment where there is no conflict.

Zimbabwe, he said, had to send troops to Mozambique to help the government
of that country create an environment of peace and prosperity in the 1980s.

In 1998, Zimbabwe, together with Angola and Namibia, had to deploy troops to
the Democratic Republic of Congo to create peace and an environment
conducive to economic development.

A Kenyan delegate spoke strongly in support of President Mugabe's views. He
said the ACP grouping's relations with the EU was colonial and was hindering
intra-ACP co-operation as every developing country would be focusing on
trade with the EU instead of trade among developing countries.

He proposed an intra-ACP summit to discuss the unipolar world, saying
failure to do so would result in developing countries debating in a world
defined by Europe.

Quoting the legendary Bob Marley and black consciousness movement activist
Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican delegate said Third World countries must
emancipate themselves from mental slavery.

"None but ourselves can free our minds," he said.
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The Telegraph

Mugabe's harvest boasts exposed
By David Blair in Johannesburg
(Filed: 25/06/2004)

President Robert Mugabe's rosy forecast of a bumper harvest in Zimbabwe was
contradicted by his own government yesterday, when an official report said
2.3 million people needed immediate international food aid.

The seizure of white-owned farms has combined with drought to cripple
agriculture in Zimbabwe. But Mr Mugabe's official message is that his land
grab has markedly increased production and made Zimbabwe self-sufficient.
Last month, he refused help from the United Nations World Food Programme,
saying: "Why foist this food upon us? We don't want to be choked."

He brushed aside the fact that Zimbabwe has lived on food aid since 2001 and
that 6.5 million people, more than half the population, depended on
international help last year. By contrast, his office forecast a maize crop
for this year of 2.4 million tons, more than enough to meet domestic needs.

Yet a report from the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee provides a
strong antidote to the president's optimism. It concludes that 2.3 million
people in rural Zimbabwe "will not be able to meet their minimum cereal
needs during the 2004/05 season".

The report adds that food aid "for the most vulnerable people" should be
sought immediately. The UN, aid agencies and Zimbabwean government
departments compiled the assessment based on a survey completed in April. Mr
Mugabe's officials appear not to share his optimism.

The report did not cover the food needs of Zimbabwe's cities, where
shortages last year were at least as serious as those in the countryside.
Figures for December suggested that 2.5 million urban Zimbabweans were going
hungry, bringing the total needing food aid to 4.8 million.

But Mr Mugabe's regime has effectively ended co-operation with the UN. James
Morris, the UN envoy for humanitarian affairs in southern Africa, is
conducting a tour of the region. The Zimbabwean government declined to
receive him, saying that officials in Harare had no time for a meeting.

Zimbabwe will hold parliamentary elections next March. Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF
party has been accused of channelling food to its supporters and denying
help to anyone suspected of backing the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change. By keeping the UN and aid agencies out of Zimbabwe, Mr Mugabe can
ensure that his regime controls all food aid. Critics suspect that this is
his real objective.

But if Zimbabwe needs international help to avoid widespread starvation, Mr
Mugabe's refusal to co-operate with the UN could have disastrous
consequences. In Johannesburg, Mr Morris said: "If we were called upon to be
helpful and respond, this is not something you can do on 24-hour notice."
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The Guardian

5 Million Still Need Food Aid in Zimbabwe

Friday June 25, 2004 3:01 AM


Associated Press Writer

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Nearly 5 million people will need food aid over the
next year despite government claims Zimbabweans won't need such relief, a
U.N.-led group said Thursday.

At least 2.3 million rural people won't have enough food either because they
don't grow enough or couldn't afford to purchase enough, Zimbabwe
Vulnerability Assessment Committee said in a report.

The panel, composed of U.N. agencies and aid groups, said earlier that about
2.5 million urban people will need food aid because of deepening poverty.

Officials of aid and humanitarian groups said the two assessments meant a
total of about 5 million of the 12.5 million population will have to be
given food help during the next several months.

The government has forecast record harvests this year of 2.4 million tons of
cereals. But U.N. crop forecasters estimate Zimbabwe will produce only half
its food needs of about 2 million tons this year.

Zimbabwe was once a regional breadbasket. The often-violent seizure of
thousands of white-owned farms for redistribution to black Zimbabweans,
combined with erratic rains, have crippled the nation's agriculture-based
economy since 2000.

Opposition leaders accuse the government of lying about corn production and
secretly importing food to use as a political weapon in the run-up to key
parliamentary elections next year.

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The Herald

Daggers drawn over water pricing

From Michael Padera in Kariba
Delegates attending the 63rd Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ)
conference here have roundly attacked the Zimbabwe National Water Authority
(Zinwa) for not taking into consideration the plight of the people in its
water pricing system.

However, the Government said local authorities were the major culprits in
the matter as the surcharges they levied on water were outrageous.

The Secretary of Water Resources and Infrastructural Development, Mr Partson
Mbiriri, said some local authorities draw up their annual budgets with huge
surcharges on water in mind.

"Water has been seen as a golden goose. That cannot continue. Water is a
basic commodity. There should be a marginal mark-up," he said.

UCAZ president Mr Fani Phiri said Zinwa increases its tariffs at least three
or four times a year whereas councils could not effect similar increases
because of legal constraints.

He said as a result, there was need to re-examine the Urban Councils Act and
make it responsive to the changes in the present economic environment.

Bindura mayor Advocate Martin Dinha said the National Water Act should be
revisited to amend or delete clauses that permit the commercialisation of
water provision.

He said instead of serving water consumers' needs, Zinwa had "actually
become a monster".

"We must look at the commercialisation of water. When Zinwa came into being
we thought it was going to benefit the people.

"We created an animal that is eating all the children in the village. Let us
relook at the whole question of the Water Act."

Zinwa was established by an Act of Parliament in 1998.

Adv Dinha was supported by other delegates who also attacked Zinwa's way of

But Mr Mbiriri lambasted the behaviour of local authorities which default on
payment of their water bills to Zinwa.

He said Zinwa was owed $1,764 billion by defaulting local authorities and
this huge debt was crippling operations.

Mr Mbiriri announced that new farmers could now get temporary water permits
for irrigation purposes.

He said the farmers would pay Zinwa through stop orders once they sell their

Mr Mbiriri denied allegations that Zinwa was abusing the funds it collects
from local authorities by purchasing luxury vehicles.

"There are no excesses in Zinwa," he said.

He said the money was legitimately used to maintain the existing water
sources and to explore new projects.
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From The Star (SA), 25 June

Equatorial Guinea leader 'linked to R50m property spree'

By Joe Sinclair

The Democratic Alliance has called for a probe into allegedly suspicious
property deals by the family of the Equatorial Guinea president. President
Teodoro Obiang Nguema's family are alleged to have purchased properties in
Cape Town for about R50-million. This comes at a time that a United States
federal grand jury is investigating a corporate bank account, allegedly
under Nguema's control, into which oil companies are said to have poured
millions. Critics of the president accuse him of profiteering from the
country's oil reserves while ignoring human rights issues. Domestic workers
at a spectacular Bishops Court house said they had heard that the son of
Equatorial Guinea's president was scheduled to move in. The house is
reported to have been sold for R26-million. This is the second house linked
to Nguema. In parliament yesterday, Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon
said he had received information from councillors that Nguema's family was
buying a property in Clifton worth R23,5-million. Finance spokesperson Cobus
Grobler was not prepared to supply information on the rates clearance
certificate reported to have been lodged with the Cape Town council, which
showed the transfer of the house to Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the president's
34-year-old son. Grobler said it was the policy of the council to protect
the identity of the buyer. But councillor Belinda Walker yesterday confirmed
that she had told the Democratic Alliance about the sale. Raenette Taljaard,
Democratic Alliance spokesperson on finance, yesterday urged the Financial
Intelligence Centre (FIC) to investigate the sale of the two Cape Town
properties. Under the FIC Act, all estate agents must report suspicious
transactions or when they are about to receive the proceeds of unlawful
activities. "The family is believed to have spent close on R50-million on
property in and around the city while the family's finances are being
investigated by the US senate and the FBI," Taljaard said.

US oil companies have invested heavily in the tiny West African state, which
is expected to provide up to 5% of US oil within the next few years.
However, the bulk of the country's people have seen little benefit, with 60%
of the population surviving on less than R6 a day. In Zimbabwe, which has
closed many embassies around the world citing foreign-currency problems, has
agreed to exchange ambassadors with Equatorial Guinea and establish full
diplomatic relations with the West African country. The move is most
probably aimed at facilitating the extradition of the 70 South Africans
arrested in Zimbabwe on charges of plotting to overthrow Nguema's
government. Zimbabwe is also trying to get oil from Equatorial Guinea in
exchange for the alleged mercenaries. The two countries, which did not have
any diplomatic contacts prior to the arrests of the suspected mercenaries,
have warmed to each other as they seek to make political capital out of the
detained South Africans. Nguema, supported by Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe, has alleged that the coup plot was backed by powerful states bent on
destabilising smaller African nations. Mugabe's government rushed to approve
regulations allowing the extradition of suspects to Equatorial Guinea in
April. If extradited, the men will face summary execution in Equatorial
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      Zimbabwean president asked to mediate Eritrea-Ethiopia border row 2004-06-26 01:54:46

          HARARE, June 25 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
on Friday received Eritrean President Issaias Afewerki's special envoy, who
delivered a message requesting him to intervene in resolving a long-standing
border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

          Speaking to reporters after delivering the message, Eritrean
Energy and Mines Minister Tesfai Gebreselassie said that his country wanted
Mugabe to exert his influence on the African Union (AU) to take action
against Ethiopia for reneging on the verdict of a United Nations Commission
established to resolve the dispute.

          Territorial disputes between the two Horn of Africa neighbors led
to a war in 1998. The Zimbabwean president was part of the high level
delegation mandated by the AU to see to a peaceful resolution of the dispute
soon after it erupted in 1998.

          After two years of bitter fighting that left thousands of soldiers
from both sides dead, a peace agreement was reached in December 2000.

          Under the agreement, the parties agreed that a neutral
BoundaryCommission be established with a mandate to delimit and demarcate
the boundary that divides the two countries.

          A former Italian colony, Eritrea was occupied by the British
in1941. In 1952, the United Nations resolved to establish it as an
autonomous entity federated with Ethiopia. It split with Ethiopia in 1993.

          A United Nations peacekeeping force patrols a 25 km wide
bufferzone along the unmarked 1,000 km border between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Demarcation of the disputed border was indefinitely postponed after Ethiopia
refused to back off.

          Eritrea has called for sanctions to force Ethiopia to accept the
ruling, which was supposed to be "final and binding" under theterms of a
peace deal.

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New anti-corruption legislation "unconstitutional"

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

JOHANNESBURG, 25 Jun 2004 (IRIN) - New anti-corruption legislation,
effective from this week, which formalises regulations allowing Zimbabwean
police to hold suspects accused of economic crimes for up to four weeks
without bail is "unconstitutional", human rights activists alleged on

The Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill went through parliament
this week, despite opposition from some ruling ZANU-PF MPs. President Robert
Mugabe had already used his extraordinary powers to decree the provisions of
the bill in February.

The amendment enables the police to detain people suspected of committing
economic crimes, including corruption, money laundering and illegal dealing
in foreign exchange and gold, for up to a week. The police can also hold
suspects for a further 21 days if prima facie evidence of their involvement
is produced, without giving them the option of applying for bail or paying a

"The legislation violates the Bill of Rights enshrined in the Zimbabwean
constitution. Even the parliamentary legal committee had given an adverse
report on the legislation, despite which it has gone through parliament,"
said John Makumbe, a political science lecturer at the University of
Zimbabwe and chairman of Transparency International in Zimbabwe.

The regulations were introduced as part of Mugabe's attempts to clamp down
on corruption after a senior ZANU-PF central committee member, James
Makamba, was arrested in February. Makamba, the chairman of Telecel,
Zimbabwe's third largest cellular telephone company, last week pleaded
guilty to six counts of illegally dealing in foreign currency in his trial
at the Harare magistrate's court.

ZANU-PF MP for Chinhoyi, Phillip Chiyangwa, and Jane Mutasa, another Telecel
director, have also been arrested on charges of sabotaging the economy.

Zimbabwe's attorney-general, Bharat Patel, denied that the new legislation
was "unconstitutional", and said it was to be used in "specific cases", the
merits of which would be assessed by at least two authorities: the court and
his office. "The courts have the right to apply their minds" to decide
whether the police have the grounds to continue the detention of the
suspect, as does the attorney-general to ensure that there is no abuse of
powers by the police.

"The legislation is still being hotly debated - and rightly so - for the
inclusion of more safeguards," Patel told IRIN.

"Corruption cannot be fought in isolation, without the protection of the
rights of individuals, especially fundamental rights such as the presumption
of innocence, which is the supporting tenet of our criminal justice delivery
system," said Otto Saki, a projects lawyer with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human

"You don't have to be a lawyer to ascertain that the regulations are
patently and overtly unconstitutional. Section 13(1)(e) of the Constitution
of Zimbabwe provides that one may be deprived of the right to liberty upon
reasonable suspicion of having committed, or being about to commit, a
criminal offence. However, there must be prima facie grounds for arresting
that person," he said.

According to Saki, the legislation legalises the "heretical theory" of
"arrest first and investigate later", which he alleged had already become
characteristic of the police.

He argued that the legislation would make room for more corruption. "The
police have effectively been given wide powers to arrest without reasonable
suspicion and to detain suspects in custody until they have completed their
investigations," Saki said.

"The police will effectively be the arresting detail; the prosecution will
be rendered useless; the magistrate and the judge will not have a say in the
bail application; the accused, to buy his freedom, will have to bribe his
way out."
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Nidderdale today

Fri June 25 2004

Wetherby News

A family facing threat of terror

A FORMER Zimbabwean MP who fled Robert Mugabe's regime to live in Wetherby
has voiced his fears for his friends and family living in South Africa.

Charles Duke, who left Zimbabwe shortly after being beaten around the head
with lead piping by a gang of men, says he is
concerned his brother and children will be in trouble if the regime spreads
through South Africa.
"I asked my brother to leave but he said no. I think he is being more
hopeful than me," said Mr Duke, who was born in Southern Rhodesia and came
to Wetherby with his wife Jill five years ago.
He says his family and friends enjoy a comfortable life in South Africa and
would find it difficult to move to Britain, especially as some have young
When he lived in Zimbabwe, Mr Duke was a millionaire
geologist who owned two gold mines and three houses. He
fled the country with almost nothing.
Mr Duke has written a book about his experiences in Zimbabwe where he served
as an MP under both former Prime Minister Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe before
coming to Wetherby.
He joined Mugabe's Zanu PF government in 1987 but he says later on he found
himself spied on by Mugabe's secret police and the subject of a brutal
attack which he believed was government-backed. He still bears the scars of
the beating - a two-inch wide dent in his head.
"I can't go back there. Look what happened to me and I was a minister in the
Zanu PF," he said.
Mr Duke says the problems in Zimbabwe lie deeper than just Mugabe and the
people who surround him are just as much to blame. "I don't personally blame
him. I think if you put anyone else in that regime it would be the same,"
said Mr Duke.
He added he and his wife had settled well in Wetherby and were pleased to be
in the town. "I think Wetherby is a terrific little town and the people here
are super," said Mr Duke.
"I've toured most of England and there's no place I would rather be," he
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