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

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New York Times

South Africa Faces Test as Zimbabwe Deteriorates

OHANNESBURG, June 25 — Each day brings a fresh sign of misery in Zimbabwe.
Yet South Africa, Zimbabwe's prosperous and stable neighbor to the south,
has done little to defuse the situation despite having the most to lose if
Zimbabwe descends into chaos.

Last week President Robert Mugabe's government decreed it a crime to carry
large wads of cash — a bid to control the hoarding of money in a country
where the inflation rate has reached 300 percent. This week the government
outlawed carrying gasoline in containers as the supply of fuel dwindles.


Mr. Mugabe's violent program of land reform has taken a toll on the
country's ability to feed itself. This month the World Food Program
announced that 5.5 million people in Zimbabwe will need extra food in order
to avoid starvation. Opposition leaders who just last year ran for office
are now being jailed.

In an Op-Ed article published on Tuesday in The New York Times condemning
Mr. Mugabe's increasingly autocratic rule, Secretary of State Colin L.
Powell urged South Africa to take a more active role in brokering a deal to
end Mr. Mugabe's 23-year rule of Zimbabwe. But if its recent actions toward
Zimbabwe — or lack thereof — are any guide, Pretoria is unlikely to
intervene in any significant way in the looming crisis.

South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, has staked his legacy on bringing
Africa fully into the global community, seeking to build prosperity across
the continent through free market democracy with a distinctly African
flavor. Yet he has done little to press Mr. Mugabe — one Africa's
longest-serving heads of state — to follow those policies. Since a visit to
Harare in May failed to produce a solution, Mr. Mbeki has been largely
silent, engaging in quiet and polite diplomacy, predicting a solution to the
crisis will somehow emerge within a year.

A complex array of domestic and foreign concerns explain Mr. Mbeki's relucta
nce to confront a man much of the rest of the world condemns as a tyrant,
political experts here and in Zimbabwe said. Fundamentally, Mr. Mbeki seems
unable to decide just what South Africa's role in the region should be.

"Our policy makers need to decide if our role is to be hegemonic in order to
stabilize the region, or if we want to be just one player," said Adam Habib,
a professor of politics at the University of Natal. "I think Mbeki swings
from one pole to the other, hence his unwillingness to confront Mugabe head

At home, Mr. Mbeki faces his own land reform issues — much of the nation's
best land is still owned by a tiny, wealthy white minority, and Mr. Mbeki
has pledged to come up with a plan to distribute land more equitably. As an
ardent advocate of free markets, Mr. Mbeki would never condone Mr. Mugabe's
radical and violent land reform program, but he is under considerable
pressure from his own party, the African National Congress, to take action.
His refusal to bow to Western pressure and condemn Mr. Mugabe, who many here
still consider a hero, plays well with that crowd, Mr. Habib said.

A spokesman for South Africa's Foreign Ministry said that Mr. Mbeki is doing
precisely what Mr. Powell asks: trying to help Zimbabwe find a solution.

"The solution to the current challenge in Zimbabwe lies with the people of
Zimbabwe," said Ronnie Mamoepa, the spokesman. "There are well-known,
ongoing efforts by the regional leadership to assist the people of Zimbabwe
to begin to address the challenges that face them with a view to national

Among Zimbabwe's governing party, reaction to Mr. Powell's statements was
swift and blunt.

"It is quite inadvisable for Powell to tell us who will rule Zimbabwe," said
George Charamba, Mr. Mugabe's chief spokesman. "It is not his business."

He said that Mr. Powell's comments "told all oppressed people of the African
continent that whatever their aspirations they will be criminalized by the
American administration."

This has been Mr. Mugabe's message all along, and his ultimate weapon
against Mr. Mbeki: anyone who questions his legitimacy is an imperialist who
would give Zimbabwe back to its colonial masters. John Stremlau, a professor
of international relations at University of the Witwatersrand in
Johannesburg, said Mr. Mbeki, mindful of the power of such claims, has
quietly sought a solution to the crisis that would both preserve Mr.
Mugabe's dignity and legacy while effecting a change in leadership.

"One thing Thabo Mbeki does not want to do is let this crisis divide his own
country," Mr. Stremlau said. "He has managed this crisis with an eye to his
own constituency. It is very easy to carp about it from Washington, but it
is very different when you are dealing with a powerful and important
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Cape Times

      Government sidesteps Powell's Mugabe challenge
      June 26, 2003

      By John Battersby

      President Thabo Mbeki and US President George Bush are expected to
discuss the situation in Zimbabwe when they meet in Pretoria on July 9, but
the government dodged responding to US Secretary of State Colin Powell's
warning that it was time for South Africa to play a "stronger and more
sustained" role in resolving the crisis.

      Government officials said that, while the two leaders were likely to
discuss the Zimbabwean issue in the context of conflict resolution on the
continent, there was no need to respond to Powell's opinion article
published in the New York Times this week, which called for an end to
Mugabe's "violent misrule".

      Foreign affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said South Africa had
consistently maintained that only the Zimbabwean people could find a
solution to Zimbabwe's problems. He said South Africa would continue to
resist efforts to impose a solution on Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe heads toward famine crisis


HARARE, Zimbabwe, June 25 — Almost half of all Zimbabweans will need food
aid at least until the next harvest in April, the U.N. food relief agency
said Wednesday.
       The crisis comes with Zimbabwe's once impressive agricultural
production deteriorating because of erratic rains and the state's seizure of
most white-owned commercial farms.
       Crop assessments by the World Food Program and the U.N. Food and
Agriculture Organization indicated Zimbabwe will have to import more than
half of its staple food.
       U.N. officials said the dire forecasts raised concerns about whether
the country's crumbling economy could pay for vital imports even if renewed
international humanitarian aid shouldered much of the burden.
       Zimbabwe will need to import an estimated 1.27 million tons of
cereals — corn, the staple, and wheat — to feed 5.5 million people, or 47
percent of the population.
       Zimbabwe is facing its worst economic and political crisis since
independence in 1980. Some humanitarian groups already have accused the
embattled government of President Robert Mugabe of using food as a political
weapon against its opponents.
       After the farm seizures, many of the largest were given to ruling
party elite and favored supporters and are lying fallow. Others have been
carved into subsistence plots.
       Recent anti-government strikes called by the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change shut down much of the economy but street protests
demanding democratic reform were thwarted by a massive show of force by
police, troops and ruling party militia backed by armored cars, water
cannons and helicopters.
       WFP Country Director Kevin Farrell said shortages of hard currency in
Zimbabwe already have led to food, fuel and transportation shortages, record
inflation and unemployment, and a burgeoning black market that has taken
staple foods off the shelves of most regular stores.
       ''The availability of foreign currency for the coming season for the
importation of food is going to be the big concern for the year,'' said
       International aid was likely to provide just under half the imports,
leaving it to the government to buy the rest at a cost of at least $150
million, Farrell said.
       Mass famine was avoided this year only by foreign humanitarian aid.
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International Herald Tribune

      How the West fails Africa
        David Malone IHT  Thursday, June 26, 2003

ALGIERS Algeria has long served as a mediator on African issues, with
successes that most recently include the agreement between Ethiopia and
Eritrea. It is also a prime mover within the New Partnership for Africa's
Development, or NEPAD, one of the more hopeful initiatives that has emerged
from this troubled continent.
The view from Algiers should therefore be important to those who claim to
have Africa's interests at heart. Unfortunately, none of the Western powers
with major stakes in Africa seem to be listening.
With its painful colonial past, Algeria does not much like or trust the
return of the former colonial powers to Africa in military interventions,
such as the French-led operation to protect civilians in Bunia, in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Meanwhile, the United States, to which many African governments look for
leadership, has engaged with African security problems only gingerly since
the Somalia debacle in 1993. The much-hyped AIDS initiative (still not fully
funded by Congress) and the slightly increased economic aid program (ditto)
fail to dispel the impression that Washington prefers to leave both
leadership and risks in Africa to London and Paris.
The small but well-equipped French-led "coalition of the willing" in Bunia -
where the UN's under-powered peacekeeping operation, MONUC, had been
overwhelmed by ethnic violence that broke out in the wake of Uganda's
military withdrawal from the area - has provoked much self-congratulation
among participating countries. But the lamentable fate of Bunia raises two
serious questions.
First, how is it that after years of effort to end the civil war in the
Congo, most of the parties to the war have been engaged in continuous
mischief while paying lip service to South Africa's diplomatic efforts to
end the killing? Ultimately, if the many parties to this conflict remain
more interested in plunder and personal vendettas than in the plight of
civilian populations, there will be little the outside world can do to help.
The second key question is why the countries of the industrialized world
failed to participate meaningfully in MONUC when it deployed in 1999. That
France and others should fly to its rescue only days before the Group of
Eight summit meeting in Evian, France, surprises few in Africa. Nobody here
believes that a three-month deployment (the coalition is scheduled to
withdraw in early September) will do more than induce the killers to wait
out this faint-hearted Western effort before the slaughter resumes.
Leading NEPAD countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria and Senegal
have been trying to promote more effective African institutions and
decisions, including on democracy and the rule of law, amid evidence that
the African Union, successor to the Organization of African Unity, remains
pitifully weak and prey to cynical accommodations among its member states.
However, murderous conflicts continue to afflict the continent. The
embattled Liberian president and indicted war criminal, Charles Taylor,
serves to remind that West Africa, from the Ivory Coast to Guinea-Bissau, is
now a theater for continuous, interlocking fighting. France's military
intervention in the Ivory Coast has helped freeze military skirmishing
there, but has done little to resolve the tensions stoked by irresponsible
and self-interested Ivorian politicians. President Robert Mugabe's fierce
repression of Zimbabwe's opposition - unimpeded by neighboring states -
shames Africa as a whole.
NEPAD rests on an exchange of increased Western assistance for improved
governance in African countries. Progress on the latter, while clear, is
slow and uneven. But Western countries, while announcing increased aid and
providing the occasional military Band-Aid, are holding up more significant
engagement until the Africans do more to help themselves.
African leaders, particularly NEPAD's core proponents, need to intensify
their efforts to tackle African wars and challenges to democracy. Western
capitals need to move beyond mediagenic interventions and diplomatic
gestures to support UN and African conflict-resolution efforts. Their
performance to date can only inspire deep skepticism among Africans.
The writer, a former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, is president
of the International Peace Academy in New York.
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Mugabe foes seek help of neighbor states

By David R. Sands

    Zimbabwe's harsh repression of strikes and street protests shows the
desperation of the regime of longtime President Robert Mugabe, but South
Africa and other African powers must do more to help drive him from power, a
leading opposition figure said.
    "South Africa could be doing much more to help our cause," said Moses
Mzila Ndlovu, the chief foreign policy spokesman for the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), which has organized massive public protests against
Mr. Mugabe's increasingly authoritarian rule.
    "If South Africa feels a close identification with the current
government, it should be the first to answer for the regime's misdeeds," Mr.
Ndlovu said in an interview during a visit to Washington this week.
    With Zimbabwe's economy in tatters and political repression on the rise,
the MDC organized nationwide strikes and protests earlier this month,
calling them off only after Mr. Mugabe sent army units into the streets of
the capital, Harare, Bulawayo and other major cities.
    MDC party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who narrowly lost to Mr. Mugabe last
year in a widely disputed presidential vote, has been charged with treason
by the government and many other MDC figures, including Mr. Ndlovu, have
been harassed, jailed and beaten.
    The United States and the European Union have stepped up their
criticisms of the Mugabe government since the 2002 elections, condemning
repressive new curbs on the press and civil liberties and a
land-redistribution program that has driven some of the country's most
efficient white farmers off their land and sent food production plummeting.
    Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, in a New York Times opinion piece
Tuesday, said Mr. Mugabe's "time has come and gone" and urged the country's
neighbors to play a more active role in pressing the president to leave.
    "If leaders on the continent do not do more to convince President Mugabe
to respect the rule of law and enter into a dialogue with the political
opposition, he and his cronies will drag Zimbabwe down until there is
nothing left to ruin," Mr. Powell warned.
    Mr. Ndlovu said the MDC has been disappointed by South Africa's low-key
approach to the crisis next door. He said many African countries are
reluctant to interfere in Zimbabwe's domestic crisis and worry about the
precedent of ousting a figure like Mr. Mugabe, who has ruled his country
since its independence from Britain in 1980.
    Like Zimbabwe, South Africa and many African states are governed largely
by a single party closely associated with the nationalist struggle for
    "Real political change in Zimbabwe could have profound effects across
Africa," Mr. Ndlovu said.
    South Africa's ruling African National Congress, which has had testy
relations with Zimbabwe's opposition, has pursued quiet diplomacy in the
crisis on its doorstep, rejecting U.S. and EU efforts to isolate Mr. Mugabe
and his top aides internationally.
    "We are not there to throw people over the precipice," South African
Foreign Minister Nkosazana Diaminini Zuma told reporters earlier this year.
    The MDC has been criticized for provoking the street demonstrations of
recent weeks, which failed to shake Mr. Mugabe's control.
    But Mr. Ndlovu said the decision to call off the work stoppages and
protests was merely a "tactical withdrawal."
    That the government had to call out the army to prevent bigger protests
"just shows the level of desperation on Mugabe's part," he said. "He's used
the maximum force he has against us. His intimidation tactics are exhausted.
If we go back into the streets, what more can he do to us?"
    The MDC official said the political crisis is growing more acute, as the
president's ruling ZANU-PF party debates how to break the political impasse
and retain power as the international pressure on Mr. Mugabe grows.
    "Because of his age, because of his crimes, Mugabe has got to go," Mr.
Ndlovu insisted. "But when he goes, we do not know what will happen with
ZANU-PF. It is in our interest to work out a transition with ZANU-PF, but we
can't hold their party together for them."
    Mr. Mugabe, he said, "is buying time to try to solve an insoluble

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Cape Times

      Mugabe leans heavily on rural strongholds to hang on to power
      June 26, 2003

      By Cris Chinaka

      Shurugwi, Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe usually appears stiff and
combative in public, his ramrod posture ever more pronounced in the face of
a deepening political and economic crisis.

      But the 79-year-old leader relaxed a little at a rally of his ruling
Zanu-PF party this month - cracking jokes, and diving into a crowd of
cheering supporters for handshakes.

      The bunting, political posters and party songs all carried one
message: Mugabe is counting on his rural power base to head off a rising
opposition challenge from the urban areas.

      "We have faith in you," he told about 20 000 supporters, made up
largely of poor peasant farmers in Shurugwi, 350km south of Harare.

      In the last month Mugabe has returned repeatedly to his rural
strongholds to display his muscle as the opposition piles pressure in urban
areas with strikes and street protests to drive him from power.

      It is not an unexpected political strategy for a politician who cut
his teeth as a guerrilla leader.

      "Zanu-PF planted its roots in the rural areas during the liberation
struggle and it has maintained very strong ties with the rural people ever
since," said political analyst Heneri Dzinotyiwei, a professor at the
University of Harare.

      "These are difficult times for Zanu-PF which is naturally going back
to fight from its strong bases," he said of rural Zimbabwe, where at least
60% of the population live.

      The Shurugwi rally provided a glimpse of how Mugabe intends to play
the game. The gathering included hundreds of members of the youth brigades,
generally called "Green Bombers" and seen by Mugabe's critics as his party's
eyes, ears - and fists - in the countryside.

      Accused of repression by his political opponents, Mugabe was careful
to urge his young supporters to end violence in their campaign for Zanu-PF,
saying the ruling party was the custodian of the law and its activists had
to be disciplined.

      But there was no doubt here about how the party is organised - with a
mixture of military and civilian structures deeply rooted in Zimbabwe's
1970s independence war.
      For many party loyalists, the rally was a call to arms. Mugabe urged
resourcefulness in tackling Zimbabwe's mounting problems, including food and
fuel shortages, runaway inflation and one of the highest rates of HIV/Aids
in the world.

      He also took a sharp swipe at Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), who stands accused on two
counts of treason, for allegedly seeking to assassinate Mugabe and
organising his party's predominantly urban supporters in protests and
strikes against the government.

      "Tsvangirai is trying to live his wild dream of marching to State
House at the urging of his British sponsors. That will not be allowed,"
Mugabe said.

      Mugabe blames his country's political and economic problems on
sabotage by Western and domestic opponents opposed to his controversial
seizures of white-owned farms for redistribution to blacks.

      While participants in the rally sang cheerfully along in the Shona
language to such Zanu-PF anthems as Mugabe is the Man and We are Ready to
Die for Zimbabwe, outside the rural parade grounds the atmosphere was a
little less upbeat.

      Villagers said privately that life had become harder in the past year
as the foreign currency shortages afflicting the country had left medicine
cupboards bare in rural clinics, among other scarcities.

      Along the road to Shurugwi, through Zimbabwe's gold- and chrome-mining
belt, villagers battling with a crisis that has seen inflation soar to
300% - one of the highest in the world - are resorting to gold panning and
selling the results through both legal and illegal routes.

      Traditional chiefs told Mugabe that they were still assessing the
district's farming output this year, but were sure that some families would
need food aid.

      Nearly half of Zimbabwe's population has been surviving on donated
food over the past year after a collapse in the farming sector blamed on
drought and the seizures of commercial farms by the government.

      But there was little overt criticism. "We know things could be better
but we also know that they are going to get better if we work harder and
remain united," said a 55-year-old villager, repeating almost verbatim the
official government line on Zimbabwe's problems and prospects.

      "I don't belong to the MDC and so I don't believe that Mugabe and
Zanu-PF are the causes of our problems," he said before walking away.

      The MDC - which has challenged Mugabe's re-election in 2002 polls that
were criticised as rigged by several Western governments - learned the hard
way what happens to those who do blame the veteran leader for the country's

      The party's attempt to organise a "final push" of street protests
against Mugabe ended with hundreds of arrests as Zanu-PF bussed in thousands
of youth brigades and its rural supporters into towns to help the army and
police to snuff out anti-government marches.

      Mugabe ended the rally with promises that he has made at half a dozen
other gatherings across the country in the past month - vowing to boost
social welfare and address local woes.

      Then he boarded a helicopter and headed back to town, leaving the
rural people to ponder their increasingly desperate lives.
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Daily News

      No objections to unity government: ZANU PF

      6/26/2003 9:42:39 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE ruling ZANU PF party yesterday said it had no objections to a
government of national unity with the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) as the United States of America (USA) this week mounted fresh
pressure on the government to negotiate with the MDC a solution to Zimbabwe’
s crisis.

      In an apparent climb-down, ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira told
The Daily News that his party was ready for a government of national unity
with the MDC.

      Shamuyarira said: “We have had such governments in the 1970s and in
1987 with ZAPU. It is a tradition that we have always had and we are ready
for that (with the MDC).”

      But Shamuyarira, who also sits in the ruling party’s powerful
Politburo, vehemently rejected demands by Washington for a transitional
government that would be tasked to prepare for free and fair elections
before American aid could be given to Harare.

      He said: “We have never been opposed to a government of national
unity. We have also never objected to American investment. They have
invested money in the past and they have supported the government in the
past. But such support should not be conditional.”

      Shamuyarira’s softer line yesterday was in sharp contrast to ZANU PF
and President Robert Mugabe’s official position that they would never form a
government of national unity with the MDC which they label a puppet of
Britain and the West.

      Writing in the New York Times newspaper this week, USA Secretary of
State Colin Powell said Mugabe and his government must negotiate with the
MDC a transitional government that would then prepare for free and
democratic elections.

      Powell, who was writing ahead of talks next month between South Africa
’s President Thabo Mbeki and USA President George W Bush in which Zimbabwe
is expected to be topical, said American aid could be given to Harare once
the transition process was in motion.

      Bush is expected to urge Mbeki, the region’s power broker, to press
Mugabe to negotiate with the MDC a solution to Zimbabwe’s crisis.

      Shamuyarira said Zimbabwe’s two main political parties, who broke
dialogue last year, had not discussed the possibility of a transitional
government in Zimbabwe.

      He said: “I can say that so far there has been no such discussions
with the MDC for such an arrangement (to set up a transitional government).
Now why don’t you go and ask the MDC whether they are interested in genuine
national governments? You should also get their view on that one.”

      MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube said a transitional government
could only be possible after exhaustive and unconditional dialogue between
the two parties.

      Ncube said: “But we also need unconditional dialogue to chart the way
forward and return to legitimacy. That is what we have always been saying in
the MDC. There should be dialogue so that we can find a way to restore
legitimacy and this could be through a transitional government or any other

      Dialogue between the two parties collapsed last year after ZANU PF
pulled out of the talks to protest the decision by the MDC to challenge at
the High Court Mugabe’s re-election.
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Daily News

      State silence on food aid quantities cripples plans

      6/26/2003 9:50:12 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE government has written to international donor groups requesting
for food relief but has not spelt out how much aid it actually required, a
situation food relief organisations yesterday told The Daily News was
hampering efforts to mobilise food aid for the country.

      The government had, for example, written in May to the World Food
Programme (WFP) asking the world food agency to continue supplying food to
starving Zimbabweans but it did not say how many tonnes the WFP had to
provide and feed how many people and over what period of time.

      WFP spokesman in Harare Louis Clemens said: “There has been a request
for continued food assistance,” he said. “But that request is not specific.
It does not specify as yet how much is needed.

      “It has to be understood that the harvest figures are still being
finalised. Once those figures are finalised, we presume the government will
let us know how they propose to fill the gap and how much food they will be

      The WFP has in the last year helped mobilise from the international
community more than 300 000 tonnes of maize and other key cereals to feed
about eight million Zimbabweans, or about half the country’s population, who
faced starvation after poor rains and disruptive government farm reforms
combined to cut down food production by about 60 percent.

      Social Welfare Minister July Moyo, under whose portfolio food relief
falls, yesterday said he was not aware that the government had written
requesting the WFP to continue food relief operations in the country.

      Moyo said: “I am not aware of that request. My ministry does not
mobilise resources for external assistance but the Ministry of Finance and
Economic Development does the mobilisation.”

      Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa could however not be reached for
comment on the matter yesterday.

      But senior officials with international food aid organisations in
Harare said the government’s silence on the quantities of food it needed had
crippled planning for relief operations in the country.

      “The government has to share its harvest figures so that the
international community can react in time,” said a diplomat with one foreign
non-governmental food aid group.

      Only the quick intervention by the WFP, the Food and Agricultural
Organisation (FAO) and other international food aid agencies saved Zimbabwe
from famine because the government had delayed in appealing for food.

      Out of the three countries in southern Africa worst hit by food
shortages last year, Zimbabwe is the only one needing further food support
while Zambia and Malawi – formerly dependent on Zimbabwe for food aid – have
recorded surplus harvests.

      A FAO report on Zimbabwe released this month said the economic crisis
gripping the country had further worsened food security in the southern
African nation.

      The organisation, which compiled the report together with the WFP,
says about 221 000 tonnes of maize were needed to feed 5 422 634 Zimbabweans
between January this year and March next year.

      Meanwhile reports carried by the Zambian Press say about 38 white
farmers who fled violent land reforms in Zimbabwe had secured lease
agreements to settle in southern Zambia.

      According to the reports, the farmers had secured 10-year leases to
grow maize and tobacco in Zimbabwe’s northern neighbour
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Daily News

      Ben-Menashe’s tape inaudible, valueless – state transcriber

      6/26/2003 9:50:52 AM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      A GOVERNMENT transcriber told the High Court yesterday that video and
audio tape recordings produced as evidence by the state in the treason trial
of three opposition leaders was inaudible and valueless and that he had
transcribed it only because the police had insisted he did so.

      Recording supervisor at the Harare magistrates court Constantine
Musango said he told the police who had asked him to produce transcripts of
the tapes that huge parts of the tapes were not audible and that the audio
tape was “valueless”.

      “I indicated to the police that it was going to be very difficult to
produce a transcript,” Musango said in response to a question by defence
lawyers on the accuracy of the transcript he made from the video-tape.

      The video-tape was recorded during a meeting in Montreal, Canada, at
which opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader Morgan
Tsvangirai allegedly requested Canadian-based consultant Ari Ben-Menashe’s
Dickens and Madson company to help assasinate President Robert Mugabe ahead
of last year’s presidential election.

      Tsvangirai and his co-accused, MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube
and legislator Renson Gasela, deny plotting to murder Mugabe.

      Musango yesterday told the court: “I had difficulty hearing what was
being said because of the noise which was coming from the tape. I could have
been mistaken on the speakers. It was not clear who was saying what because
of the accents.”

      The state’s star witness in the trial Ben-Menashe himself had problems
making out what was being discussed in some parts of the video-tape which
forms the basis of the state’s case.

      Musango said he pointed out to the police the difficulties he had
trying to transcribe the audio-tape but the police “insisted that I should
transcribe what I could hear”.

      The court transcriber said he was given an ordinary video-casette to
transcribe contrary to claims by Ben-Menashe that he had supplied a special
mini-cassette for the transcribers.

      Musango said he had informed officials at the Attorney-General (AG)’s
office to explain the difficulties he was having in transcribing the tape.

      He said: “I just wanted to explain to them (officials at the AG’s
office) that the tapes were not good enough and wanted to play them in their

      A director of a Harare electronic equipment hiring company, Tineyi
Nyawasha, also told the court that some parts of the audio tape were

      The state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation television and
broadcasting manager Edward Chinhoyi, summoned to testify in court, said
there was no evidence on the tape to show that it had been tampered with.

      The ZBC official demonstrated various editing techniques and said
there was nothing that any of the techniques had been used in the video-tape
produced by Ben-Menashe.

      Defence lawyers objected when the state wanted to screen part of a
documentary produced by a Harare video production company to demonstrate an
editing technique.

      Advocate Chris Andersen said the documentary, titled Inside the Plot
to Kill Mugabe in bold red print, would be prejudicial to the on-going case.

      Joseph Musakwa, the director of public prosecution, said the screening
was meant “to demonstrate how editing was done”.

      The trial continues today with Chinhoyi testifying.

      the video-tape which forms the basis of the state’s case.

      Musango said he pointed out to the police the difficulties he had
trying to transcribe the audio-tape but the police “insisted that I should
transcribe what I could hear”.

      The court transcriber said he was given an ordinary video-casette to
transcribe contrary to claims by Ben-Menashe that he had supplied a special
mini-cassette for the transcribers.

      Musango said he had informed officials at the Attorney-General (AG)’s
office to explain the difficulties he was having in transcribing the tape.

      He said: “I just wanted to explain to them (officials at the AG’s
office) that the tapes were not good enough and wanted to play them in their

      A director of a Harare electronic equipment hiring company, Tineyi
Nyawasha, also told the court that some parts of the audio tape were

      The state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation television and
broadcasting manager Edward Chinhoyi, summoned to testify in court, said
there was no evidence on the tape to show that it had been tampered with.

      The ZBC official demonstrated various editing techniques and said
there was nothing that any of the techniques had been used in the video-tape
produced by Ben-Menashe.

      Defence lawyers objected when the state wanted to screen part of a
documentary produced by a Harare video production company to demonstrate an
editing technique.

      Advocate Chris Andersen said the documentary, titled Inside the Plot
to Kill Mugabe in bold red print, would be prejudicial to the on-going case.

      Joseph Musakwa, the director of public prosecution, said the screening
was meant “to demonstrate how editing was done”.

      The trial continues today with Chinhoyi testifying.
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Leader Page

      Ball in your court

      6/26/2003 9:43:37 AM (GMT +2)

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party have in the last
few years spurned countless opportunities to pull this once prosperous
country out of economic and political crisis.

      The Abuja agreement early last year could have provided a platform to
turn around Zimbabwe’s fortunes if only Mugabe had lived up to his word by
restoring the rule of law, upholding democracy and implementing just and
transparent land reforms, in return for vital financial and material support
from Britain and other donor countries.

      Likewise, African-initiated dialogue between ZANU PF and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party could have in the end
proved the panacea to Zimbabwe’s political impasse, had Mugabe and his party
not torpedoed the exercise by pulling out of the talks because the MDC had
dared challenge Mugabe’s re-election in court.

      But Zimbabweans, for far too long the silent victims of the government
’s ill-thought-out policies, must not allow Mugabe and ZANU PF to sacrifice
on the alter of ego the latest opportunity offered by America to pull
Zimbabwe out of crisis.

      United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, writing in the New York
Times newspaper this week, vouched generous economic aid for Zimbabwe if
ZANU PF and the MDC seriously engaged in dialogue that would lead to
peaceful, transparent and democratic elections to choose a new government.

      Powell promised that aid would even start flowing to Zimbabwe even
before fresh elections were held, as long as the transition to democracy was
irreversibly set in motion.

      He said: “There is a way out of the crisis. ZANU PF and the opposition
party can together legislate constitutional changes to allow for a
transition . . . if this happened, the US would be quick to pledge
assistance to the restoration of Zimbabwe’s political and economic
institutions even before the election.”

      We will be the first to argue for Zimbabwean solutions to Zimbabwean

      But we are equally cognisant that it requires more than just
sovereignty or a proud sense of nationalism to pull this country out of the
political and economic quagmire into which it has been driven by the ruinous
policies of Mugabe and his administration.

      The failure of much-lauded home-grown initiatives to end the fast
deteriorating crisis must surely be ample evidence to all that Zimbabwe
cannot, in this global village, go it alone.

      The government’s chaotic land reform – or so-called Third Chimurenga –
has dismally failed to end hunger and this year Zimbabwe must go cap-in-hand
to Zambia and Malawi, of all places, to beg for food or millions of people
will starve to death in this country.

      The home-grown National Economic Recovery Programme is not working
because neither the government nor local private business has the kind of
money required to fund any meaningful recovery programme for the economy.

      Meanwhile, hundreds of companies continue folding because of the harsh
operating environment, in the process throwing more workers onto the

      The countless sessions of negotiations between the government and its
friends in Libya and other places have still not yielded enough oil for
Zimbabwe and the vital commodity remains in critical short supply.

      In short, the government’s ideas have not worked.

      And the time has now come for Zimbabweans to rise and demand that
Mugabe and ZANU PF stop experimenting with theirs and their children’s

      It would be a terrible betrayal to posterity if Zimbabweans allowed a
government, whose time has – as Powell correctly puts it – come and long
gone, to once more sabotage the future of this country by letting the offer
of help being extended by the US with the backing of the rest of the
international community, slip away.

      The ball is in your court, Zimbabweans.

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       A nation of cowards

      6/26/2003 9:45:16 AM (GMT +2)

      I have really been wondering about our docility. At first I thought
things were not yet that bad but as events unfolded in our beloved country,
I realised that we cannot afford the “quiet diplomacy” advocated by
President Thabo Mbeki of neighbouring South Africa.

      Zimbabwe is engulfed in flames and when it has been burnt beyond
recognition, I think that is when we will rise from our deep slumber, only
to find nothing left!

      We are so well-educated that we regard toyi-toying, protest marches
and even stone-throwing as being for the illiterate, not for we white-collar

      We can’t see ourselves marching to State House; we are not fit for
such a barbaric act of hooliganism.

      So, who do we want to be our sacrificial lamb? Who will liberate us
from President Mugabe’s tyranny?

      Maybe we are all devoted Christians, who speak no politics, preach no
evil, hear no evil and see no evil. The word “politics” doesn’t exist in
Christian vocabulary, does it?

      Humbwende chaihwo, varume. (It’s really cowardice, people.) Mugabe
will rule until madhongi amera nyanga! (the cows come home!)

      We betrayed our legitimate president, Morgan Tsvangirai, because of
our cowardice.

      Change demands action. Tsvangirai acted heroically, but we betrayed
him. He was detained and later released.

      My fellow Zimbabweans, we are not as smart as we may think. We will be
cursed by generations to come for having let Mugabe plunge this country,
once the jewel of Africa, into a pariah state while we stood by.

      In the 1970s, Mugabe played a revolutionary role when he led the
liberation struggle. Now it’s our turn to act bravely.

      We must arise and claim our God-given dignity. Power is not
relinquished easily. For one to assume the highest office in the land, one
has to toil and sweat.

      David had to fight it out with Saul, even though he was anointed by

      To Tsvangirai I say: it’s a matter of time before you occupy your
rightful place at Munhumutapa Building. Rambai makashinga! (Be resolute!)

      To Baba vaChatunga (Chatunga’s father): you played your part in the
70s through to the 90s, but you have failed to adapt to the challenges of
the new millennium. You are now
      just a liability to the nation.

      You are expendable, as is everyone else; office-bearers should be
changed regularly.

      Vanhu havanzwarwo. Vakomana muchamhanya! (You can’t treat people like
      doing. You and your cronies will one day face our wrath!)

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      Plan is to confiscate all the fuel

      6/26/2003 9:45:57 AM (GMT +2)

      I am writing this letter in response to an article which appeared in
The Herald of 24 June outlawing the carrying of fuel in containers.

      I actually resent paying more than five times the pump price for
diesel but since both of
      my vehicles run on it and all the available diesel goes to commuter
omnibuses – who then sell the scarce commodity to the public at inflated
prices – I have no alternative.

      I use the limited amounts of diesel that I can get to ferry my
children to school and to conduct my daily business.

      If it were not for resourceful “entrepreneurs”, my vehicles would have
been grounded months ago.

      Perhaps Energy Minister Amos Midzi could advise us of the alternative
plan he has put in place for the national fleet to obtain sufficient fuel,
without resorting to the containers he has outlawed.

      It’s all well and good to ban something, but to do so in this instance
is creating a situation where most of the cars in this country will have to
be taken off the road.

      Perhaps one solution to the problem would be to stop giving preference
to commuter omnibuses.

      The black market would then dry up overnight.

      In the meantime, I will regrettably have to continue shelling out
large amounts of money since my car is a necessity rather than a luxury.

      I believe there may be an ulterior motive and that is simply to
confiscate fuel, which would then be used to keep the government fleet

      Joe Smith
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      The longer the crisis continues, the more the damage

      6/26/2003 9:36:34 AM (GMT +2)

      When President Robert Mugabe was at a Nyamandlovu farm about a
fortnight ago, he asked some of that area’s traditional leaders what they
thought the government should do about or to a Bulawayo businessman, Manilal
Naran, who had allegedly been involved in black market foreign currency

      Mugabe was reported by a Bulawayo government-controlled daily
newspaper as saying that Naran easily paid fines imposed by the law courts
because they were meagre.

      Should we deport him? He was reported to have asked.

      I was honestly surprised by that story because the black market
foreign currency activities in Bulawayo have been going on for several
years; in fact I should say for many years in spite of sporadic police

      The city’s sector where those involved in the activity is jokingly
referred to as the IMF (after International Monetary Fund) and is publicly
known to the vast majority of Bulawayo residents.

      Whatever the fine is for dealing illicitly in foreign currency, the
dealers are still there and can be seen by anyone with the faintest sight.

      When they are arrested, they are fined as little as $5 000. That is
what the law of the land stipulates.

      These days $5 000 is peanuts because of the roaring inflation
presently hovering at 300 percent.

      It was a matter of much curiosity to me that the High Court judge who
heard Morgan Tsvangirai’s bail application a week ago, charged a hefty $10
million plus $100 million surety, quoting the soaring inflation to justify
those hefty amounts.

      It would be advisable for the country’s Members of Parliament to amend
some of the country’s laws to meet the current socio-economic situation.

      As for the law dealing with foreign exchange, the lawmakers should be
guided by the principle expounded and propagated by that great British
scholar, Jeremy Bentham, that a good law is that which promotes and protects
the interests of most of the people most of the time.

      Can we truly say that the Zimbabwean law on foreign currency
procurement, disposal and usage is based on that undoubtedly democratic
Benthamic theory?

      On Mugabe’s observations on Naran, it was surprising that having been
informed about the man’s alleged infringement of foreign currency
regulations, a resource on which the national economy stands or falls, he
found it prudent to pass the remarks he was reported to have made.

      The matter deserved a much more serious reception by the head of the
state of Zimbabwe than those frivolous remarks which, if anything, could
have led to the concealment of material evidence by the suspect if the
police tried to investigate the matter.

      In any case the foreign currency goings-on in Bulawayo are so much a
part of the city’s business life that they have become normal.

      That is the problem with crime if it is not nipped in the bud: it
becomes normal as is the case with murder and rape in South Africa.

      In Chicago during the days of gangsterism, when the feared Al Capone
ruled the under-world and businesses paid his gang protection fees, crime
was regarded as normal.

      In Zimbabwe today, it is normal to see vehicles queuing for fuel, and
people jostling for bread or sugar or cooking oil or maize or paraffin or
whatever may be in short supply at that particular time.

      The situation has been left to drift along for so long that it has
become normal.

      It has also become normal to see women on the pavements of some
Bulawayo streets and to hear them ask: “Usiphatheleni?” (What have you
brought us?)

      The Zimbabwe Republic Police is without much doubt more interested in
implementing the Public Order and Security Act than in apprehending black
market operatives or in diligently following up cases of theft from

      The country has reached a situation where some people no longer bother
to report crime, particularly thefts, to the police. Why?

      Because it is virtually normal for the police not to act timeously on
such reports. That abnormal behaviour is fast becoming normal practice in
Zimbabwe today.

      It is also normal Zimbabwean practice for political leaders to
threaten voters with all sorts of punishment, revenge and retribution if
they do not vote for those leaders’ parties!

      It may sound absurd, but it is actually true that some people,
especially in the rural areas, are effectively influenced by such threats
and regard it as normal to vote for those undemocratic political

      Did Mugabe find it normal to ask traditional leaders and some
well-meaning struggling indigenous business persons what the government
should do with Naran?

      One would have thought that the appropriate people to be consulted
about such a serious allegation should have been the police. Why was the
foreign currency black market still thriving in Bulawayo?

      That should have been Mugabe’s question directed at the most senior
police officers in the city.

      At the rate crime and corruption are spreading throughout Zimbabwe’s
urban communities, we should expect a Zimbabwean type of Mafia gang to
emerge and take control of the foreign currency and fuel market sooner than
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