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Sent: Monday, June 27, 2005 9:03 PM
Subject: Re: Mbare Report 12

Mbare Report, No 12, 27 June 2005,




“Patsika” seems a rubbish dump. Piles of rubbish are burning, and a thick cloud of acrid smoke hangs over the area. But this is where people from “Joburg lines” in Mbare live, camping out during these cold nights. Among them is a terminally ill woman. She put up a few bits of plastic and cardboard to protect herself from the cold wind. She used to live with her two small children at her sister’s place until the little cottage she was allowed to use was demolished. Her sister’s husband, unlike many other homeowners who have received displaced relatives in their houses, refuses to let her or her children stay in his house so his wife could look after them.


Three little children, a boy of eight and his two younger sisters of five and three, were brought by concerned members of our parish to the church. They had been staying in the open at a very dirty place in the middle of puddles of sewage. Their mother abandoned them for reasons we don’t quite know, the father, a Mozambiquan, was picked up by police and taken to the holding camp at Caledonia Farm. He escaped and came back, only to be taken forcibly to that place a second time.


Mr and Mrs Chibango are both unemployed, but they managed to earn a living by being self-employed traders and caterers. All this has been destroyed. They ask for food relief  to feed their family of three.

We are trying to feed the displaced people staying in the open and give them blankets and plastic sheeting. Are we to feed all the others rendered destitute as well? How long can we do this? What is going to be the outcome?

What has to happen for the African Union and the rest of the world to sit up and take notice of how a government is torturing the common people?


This week we start to transport people to their rural homes. Only those who really want to go. Some people say we should not do this, we were doing the dirty work for government. I think we have to do what the people ask us to do. Those who have no longer strong roots at home should not attempt to go. They might be turned back, different arms of government playing football with them. Many others, aliens and children of aliens, have no rural home anyway. They have been written off as no longer deserving a place in this country. They are told to go away, vanish into nothingness. Discarded people, no longer wanted. Do they now need government permission to exist, to breathe the air God gives for free to all humans, to move and go about their business? Is this government almighty and its people powerless?

Those who do go home may at least find shelter with parents or brothers and sisters. But how will they make a living? The rural areas are drought-stricken and without sufficient food. Many children will have their education interrupted.


I was chatting to a mechanic on a repair job at my place, apparently quite a smart young man. “Oh, he is being misled by bad advisers surrounding him,” he said. Propaganda is having its effect on the people. How can intelligent people be content with such stupidities?  I think the old women who whisper something about the high and mighty being obsessed by an evil spirit are closer to the truth.

Oskar Wermter SJ



Fr Oskar Wermter SJ
P O Box ST 194 Southerton Harare Zimbabwe
office: 1 Churchill Avenue Alexandra Park Harare
Tel. : 263-4-744571, 744288, 011-419453
Fax : 263-4-744284
home: St Peter Claver Catholic Church, Mbare, Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel & Fax: 263-4-661117 (756096)
----- Original Message -----
From: oskar wermter
Sent: Tuesday, June 21, 2005 3:49 PM
Subject: Mbare Report 11

Mbare Report, No 11, 21 June 2005,




Police are prodding the “discarded people” of Mbare into moving out. Whereto? No one knows. Council  officials make people pay huge fines for not removing the rubble left after razing their houses to the ground or for leaving the slabs intact. (Nobody fines council officials for not providing refuse collection in the area).

Forget the idea that you can make the people ‘up top’ see sense so they control their “overenthusiastic” staff on the ground. There is no sense in all this. It is profoundly immoral and irrational, it is evil and perverse.


Two women stood at my doorsteps early in the morning. They had missed the distribution of food stuffs yesterday afternoon when over ninety families benefitted. One was an expecting mother. She too had slept in the open in this very freezing night when even those of us who have cosy beds felt the cold. Helping with food and blankets is comparatively easy. This morning I had a number of very kind offers from various people wishing to help which was very encouraging.

The problem I cannot solve is that people just do not know where to go and find proper shelter. A woman who stays with her children in our garage found a room somewhere for $ 1 million. “To buy?” someone asked. “No, to rent, per month”.  Even if I found this money now, what about the future? The destruction of a large percentage of low-cost housing in Mbare and elsewhere was an enormous economic folly. Or was it deliberate and is there something more sinister behind it? Is this how they try to subjugate the common people to the party and its total power? At any rate, the rents have gone through the roof and  are unaffordable to unemployed people deprived of their self-employment.


Many hard-working people, especially women looking after families, have been turned overnight into beggars. Even if we could throw a lot of money at them we cannot support an entire population. We hear so much about “national sovereignty”. Is our beggardom what they mean by sovereignty?


Freedom, especially freedom of expression, is not a luxury developing countries cannot afford as has been suggested. It is a vital necessity for our survival. If this project of “Murambatsvina- removal of dirt (or is it people?)” had been debated in public even bright school children could have told us that it is foolish to tear down “informal” houses before building proper houses for people to move into. But leave it all to one single brain and the result is as you can see.


I would like to give shelter to even more people. But I can never take all. Some will remain outside in the cold. They may become jealous. Some will not want to leave their furniture and household goods unguarded.  There are no easy answers to an impossible question.

Oskar Wermter SJ

Fr Oskar Wermter SJ
P O Box ST 194 Southerton Harare Zimbabwe
office: 1 Churchill Avenue Alexandra Park Harare
Tel. : 263-4-744571, 744288, 011-419453
Fax : 263-4-744284
home: St Peter Claver Catholic Church, Mbare, Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel & Fax: 263-4-661117 (756096)
----- Original Message -----
From: oskar wermter
Sent: Monday, June 20, 2005 12:36 PM
Subject: Mbare Report 10

Mbare Report No 10, 20 June 2005,

On Sunday Archbishop Robert Ndlovu came to give Confirmation to 160 members of our parish. His homily was a comfort (and a challenge) to me. He said, speaking in Shona, “Christ is not far from us. He is present in the person made homeless when his/her house or shack was destroyed. He is present in everyone shivering through these cold nights, sleeping out in the open. He is present in all who are hungry and destitute.” – Addressing later the parish leaders he added, “Don’t think that God does not see what is going on here. When Pharao oppressed the people of Israel in Egypt, he heard their cry.”

Our archbishop speaks in a quiet tone, without much rhetoric or drama. But his words, mostly in biblical language,  are clear and  understood.

In the meantime our Bishops have spoken a second time condemning the war on the poor waged by the regime on the poor and powerless:

“Any claim to justify this operation in view of a desired orderly end becomes totally groundless in view of the cruel and inhumane means that have been used. People have a right to shelter and that has been deliberately destroyed in this operation without much warning.”


A widow with three children who earns her living by sewing and selling things comes with a demand from the City of Harare to pay  $ 500 000 for changing ownership of her property from her late mother to her; unless this is done soon she may lose her home.

Another one must raise $ 700 000 to install a new water meter and pay more than 2 million for backdated rates and especially for “penalties” ( unexplained what for).

A woman who made a living out of selling paraffin lost all her supplies when the police raided her house. She is left destitute. She  used to be even able to give some of her time to voluntary work for an AIDS charity. Now she is in need of charity herself.

All these people and many more come to the priest in the hope he can somehow solve their problems. But he can’t. Even if he dished out all the cash he can lay his hands on, what about next month and the one after? Almost everybody has been ruined. Industrious people who looked after themselves are now in need of hand-outs. This is degrading and dehumanising.


A man’s home, however small and miserable, is his outer shell, it is part of himself. A woman’s home (housewife, homemaker) is her life. If you destroy a home, you are assaulting the owner, his/her very person. This has happened thousands of times in the last few weeks, is still happening daily, hourly.


Many young families found shelter in rented cottages, now destroyed. They all have to run back to their parents and ask to be accommodated, most humiliating for young people who have just set out in life on their own. Small family houses become overcrowded with two generations; the ensuing stress and strain does great harm to married and family life.

And there is talk that another campaign will soon be started “Murivangani?/How many are you?” when “superfluous” people w ill be thrown out, like rubbish on the rubbish dump.

Why? Why? Why? People are asking. Why this insanity?

Oskar Wermter SJ

Fr Oskar Wermter SJ
P O Box ST 194 Southerton Harare Zimbabwe
office: 1 Churchill Avenue Alexandra Park Harare
Tel. : 263-4-744571, 744288, 011-419453
Fax : 263-4-744284
home: St Peter Claver Catholic Church, Mbare, Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel & Fax: 263-4-661117 (756096)
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 3:41 PM

Mbare Report No 6, 8 June 2005


Mbare Parish is distributing food, donated by a concerned organisation,  to the homeless, still sleeping on the streets, but huge crowds are overwhelming the priest  and his helper, the assistant for social and charitable work in the parish.


A woman rendered homeless by “Murambatsvina” ('doing away with the dirt' campaign) has taken refuge with a relation in Rugare, her very sick husband – you guess what disease! -  is in Epworth, her three children are staying with other relations in Dzivaresekwa, but they should be in school in Mbare. This madness is not just destroying houses, it is destroying homes and families.


Three women with between them eleven children, all of them of Malawian origin, are still sleeping in the open, next to Stoddard Hall. They have absolutely nowhere to go. I told them they could come to the Church to use the toilets and shower facilities and fetch water. They were in the crowd queuing for food at Old St Peter’s.

Could we get tents and give people some shelter that way? All people in Mbare I mentioned this idea to were unanimous: the police will not allow it.


A children’s home in the suburbs was visited this morning: we are going to come and  destroy your chicken run and green house (part of a thriving self-help scheme). The director is now frantrically trying to mobilize support against the destruction.


I visited an old couple. He is sickly and frail. They used to pay their electricity bill, water, rates etc from the income they got from renting out a couple of rooms to lodgers. These rooms are no longer there. They have been flattened. There is only the rubble left. It is sickening.

Oskar Wermter SJ


Fr Oskar Wermter SJ
P O Box ST 194 Southerton Harare Zimbabwe
office: 1 Churchill Avenue Alexandra Park Harare
Tel. : 263-4-744571, 744288, 011-419453
Fax : 263-4-744284
home: St Peter Claver Catholic Church, Mbare, Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel & Fax: 263-4-661117 (756096)
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Zim Online
Mugabe's housing project to knock down economy
Tue 28 June 2005

HARARE – An unbudgeted $3 trillion (about US$300 million) housing project announced at the weekend by Harare, desperate to quell international outrage against its urban clean-up campaign, will plunge Zimbabwe’s economy deeper into crisis, according to analysts.

Harare, roundly condemned by the United Nations, European Union, United States, Zimbabwean and international human rights groups for violating the rights of poor families evicted en masse during the clean-up drive, announced at the weekend that it was immediately unrolling a massive housing programme.

Under the ambitious programme, announced as UN special envoy Anna Tibaijuka began touring Zimbabwe to assess the impact of the mass evictions, thousands of houses will be built before August this year to ensure shelter for evicted families before the onset of the rainy season.

A WOMAN watches as the police demolish her house in Harare. The government says it will use Z$3 trillion to build new houses for the evicted families, a figure analysts say will wreak the economy.

Millions more houses are planned to have been constructed by 2010 in order to wipe out a national housing backlog of about 2 million, government officials told state newspapers and television.

But economic analysts told ZimOnline that President Robert Mugabe and his government - already squeezed for cash to import fuel and food - do not have funds to carry through the new programme and must have to set the money-printer on overdrive to meet their housing target, a move sure to push inflation through the roof.

“Basically they will have to print it (money),” said head of the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Graduate School of Management, Tony Hawkins. He added: “The inflationary impact will be pretty dire . . . this whole thing is a tactically clever attempt to divert attention from the government’s policy (but it will backfire).”

Inflation, declared Zimbabwe’s number one enemy by Mugabe, retreated from an all time high of 622.8 percent in January 2004 to the current 144.4 percent but remains one of the highest such rates in the world.

The government could simply borrow money on the domestic market to pay local property developers and housing brigades it says it is rounding up to construct houses across the country.

But that also would push up further the government’s domestic debt now totalling Z$10 trillion with an interest bill of Z$3.8 trillion. The state’s domestic debt was already seen ballooning fuelled by yet more unbudgeted expenditure after Mugabe expanded his Cabinet by adding four new ministries.

Some analysts said the government might choose to raid statutory reserves which attract near zero interest rates, a tempting option that however would increase money supply and inflation.

An economic consultant with a leading Harare financial firm said: “The government may also just get statutory reserves from banks very cheaply but this is depositors’ money, they will not be borrowing they will simply take the money and depositors will not earn any interest … the end effect is an upwards push on inflation, much more inflation is on the way and I reckon inflation will reach 350 by year-end.”

And to add more hurdles for the government housing project, officials at the Harare City Council’s town planning department said even if the project was to go ahead, the capital did not have adequate infrastructure such as water and sewer systems to support such a massive housing programme.

Announcing the housing project to a central committee meeting of his ruling ZANU PF party, Mugabe vowed to ensure the project was carried through to the finish because Zimbabweans “deserved better accommodation” than the shacks his government was being criticised for destroying.

But UZ political scientist Eldred Masunungure dismissed the housing project as mere political gimmickry meant to hoodwink the visiting Tibaijuka and the international community that Harare was sorting the mess created by the evictions.

“One has to believe in miracles to believe what the government is saying. We have a disaster in the making,” Masunungure said. “All the things appear to be fire fighting, it (housing project) is a political gimmick to hoodwink the international community,” added the respected Masunungure.

Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst economic crisis in years, which is blamed on Mugabe’s policies and has already left thousands jobless after companies were forced to shut down as a result of the worsening economic climate.

Thousands others, who had gone into informal trading that contributed a third of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, have in one single swoop lost critical income after their businesses were closed by the police. Close to a million people have been left without shelter after their shanty homes in and around cities were destroyed during the controversial exercise. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

FEATURE: Church responds to cry of afflicted flock
Tue 28 June 2005
  BULAWAYO - The City Presbyterian Church in Zimbabwe's second biggest city
of Bulawayo, is teeming with life looking more like a refugee camp than a
house of prayer.

      Children, innocently play on swings in the church courtyard while some
jump up and down among the old and torn beds, wardrobes and utensils
salvaged when bulldozers rammed through their homes in the ongoing "clean
 up" campaign dubbed "Operation Murambatsvina".

      But behind this artificial tranquility, are people who suddenly were
rendered refugees in their own country. With absolutely nowhere to go, the
church responded to the call of the afflicted by providing something more
than just prayers.

      Sixty desperate families, representing the poorest of the poor, are
being housed here at the church. The majority are from Killarney squatter
camp, on the outskirts of the city which was razed down as part of the
government's "clean-up" exercise.

      Father Kevin Thompson, a minister with the City Presbyterian Church
said: "The church is at the moment speaking to the government about the
possibilities of relocating these families.

      "We certainly realise this is not an ideal situation. The church has
become a mediator to try and find a long-term solution," he said. Besides
the Presbyterian Church, nine other churches in Bulawayo have also become
virtual refugee centres helping provide food and other basic necessities for
evicted families.

      "As churches, we had to move in with food, blankets, clothing and
shelter to help the displaced persons," said Reverend Amos Muzondiwa of the
Hillside Methodist Church.

      Reverend Muzondiwa's church alone has taken in 120 people. But more
than 1 000 homeless families are being fed and sheltered at churches across
Zimbabwe's second biggest city. Several more families whom the churches are
unable to take in because of space shortages are given donations of blankets
and food.

      At least 46 000 people have been arrested and a million people
rendered homeless countrywide after their homes were demolished in a
campaign the government says is necessary to restore the beauty of cities
and towns.

      The government says the clean up campaign which has been condemned by
the United States, Britain, Amnesty International, church and human rights
groups as a violation of the rights of the poor, is also necessary to smash
the illegal foreign currency parallel market blamed for Zimbabwe's economic

      A United Nations special envoy is already in the country to probe the
mass evictions.

      The church, regarded as the moral voice of society, has been at the
forefront in criticising President Robert Mugabe's human rights abuses.

      Mugabe rejects charges of human rights abuses and in turn accuses the
West, unhappy with his land seizures from the minority whites for
redistribution to landless blacks, of 'making up' the charges in a bid to
oust him from power.

      In Bulawayo, the government says it will soon move these evicted
families to Hellensvale Farm on the outskirts of the city. A similar holding
camp already exists at Caledonia Farm in Harare.

      However, Rev Muzondiwa said the church leaders will soon visit the
farm first to assess conditions there.

      "We have been talking to the department of social welfare to ensure
that those housed in churches would be the first to be moved.

      "As church leaders, we want to see where they are going so that we
don't end up dumping people," he said.

      While preoccupied with matters of saving the flesh, the church has not
forgotten its primary role - interceding on behalf of the faithful. Two
interdenominational services were held last weekend "to cry out to the Lord"
for an end to the suffering.

      "We are crying out for mercy for those perpetrating these injustices.
We are praying for those being tortured and getting a raw deal from the
authorities. We are crying for an end to the wickedness and political
madness going on in this country," said Catholic priest, Father Barnabas

      Father Nqindi's counterpart, Archbishop Pius Ncube, who has proved to
be a thorn in the government's flesh, earlier this week called for Mugabe's
arrest for human rights violations.

      Elizabeth Nkala, a victim of the Murambatsvina campaign, says she is
very grateful for the assistance she has received from the churches so far.

      "We appreciate the assistance we have received from the church and
hope that the government will give us somewhere to stay, preferably close to
town so that our children can go back to school," she said. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Army grabs five tonnes of staple maize-meal
Tue 28 June 2005
  KAROI - Residents of this small farming town about 210 kilometres
north-west of Harare were at the weekend left without maize-meal after
soldiers of the army's 23 Infantry Battalion grabbed five tonnes of the
staple meant for distribution in the town.

      The maize-meal, a staple for more than 90 percent of Zimbabweans but
in short supply in the country, had been delivered at the Karoi depot of the
state-run Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and was the week's allocation for the

      But local retailers, who were at the depot to collect supplies for
resell to residents, were left dumbfounded as a huge army truck pulled up at
the depot and GMB managers ordered workers to load all the maize onto the

      "The allocation was meant for the town but we were told to load all
the maize-meal onto the army truck much to our surprise," said a worker at
the depot, who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation.

      The maize was taken to Magunje barracks, 35 km west of Karoi.

      GMB manager for Mashonaland West province under which Karoi falls,
John Mafa, said there was nothing improper about the soldiers making away
with all the maize-meal because the "army bought its maize-meal supplies in

      Zimbabwe is grappling a severe food shortage analysts blame on erratic
rains as well as President Robert Mugabe's programme to seize land from
white farmers for redistribution to landless blacks.

      The country requires 1.2 million tonnes in food aid or four million
people out of a population of about 12 million will starve.

      Food production has fallen by about 60 percent since the farm seizures
five years ago chiefly because Mugabe did not give black peasants resettled
on former white farms skills training, financial and other inputs to
maintain production. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Cholera breaks out in Zimbabwe
Tue 28 June 2005
  HARARE - Zimbabwe has sent an SOS to the World Health Organisation (WHO)
for help to fight a cholera outbreak ravaging its eastern Nyanga district, a
senior government official said.

      More than 210 cases of cholera have been reported with 15 deaths
recorded in the past few months in Gaerezi, Nyamaropa, Nyakomba and Katerere
areas of Nyanga district, which lies along Zimbabwe's border with

      Deputy Health Minister Edwin Muguti told ZimOnline his ministry had
battled unsuccessfully to control the disease which he said was spreading
from Mozambique. Harare had now appealed for help from the WHO to control
the disease at the source in Mozambique, he said.

      He said: "The disease is not contained yet and we are seeking
assistance from WHO to help in controlling the outbreak from its source ..we
will not control it until it is controlled at its source."

      A waterborne disease, cholera spreads easily under unhygienic
conditions where there is no clean water or food.

      Zimbabwe has in the past been able to contain several outbreaks of the
disease along its borders with Mozambique and Zambia. But a shortage of
drugs and fuel for health personnel to regularly travel to infected areas to
monitor disease control efforts have hampered the country's capacity to deal
with the latest outbreak.

      An acute food shortage gripping the country after poor harvests last
farming season has only helped exacerbate the situation with standards of
hygiene compromised as people eat whatever is available.

      Some health officials from Nyanga said they suspected locals to have
contracted cholera from fish smuggled into Nyanga town and surrounding areas
by villagers from across the border in Mozambique.

      The increased movement of people because of ongoing displacements
caused by mass evictions of homeless families from urban areas by the
government might see the disease easily spreading beyond Nyanga. - ZimOnline

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The Times

            June 28, 2005

            UN envoy fails to halt bulldozer assault on Zimbabwe's poorest
            From Jan Raath in Harare

            THE arrival in Zimbabwe of a United Nations special envoy to
investigate the State's demolition of the "illegal" homes of up to a million
people did little to interrupt President Mugabe's bulldozers.
            Around the time that Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, the executive
director of Habitat, the UN's agency for shelter, landed in Harare on
Sunday, government machines were wrecking the home of Goodrich Chimbaira,
the MP of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, in a large township
constituency just south of the capital.

            Charity officials reported that riot police, crews of demolition
workers and bulldozers were active in other parts of Harare, as the
operation entered its sixth week.

            Mrs Tibaijuka said that the UN wanted to "see the impact of the
operation called Murambatsvina (clear out the rubbish) and how we can assist
the affected".

            Mr Mugabe, more in the habit of telling international figures to
"go to hell", welcomed Mrs Tibaijuka, asserting that he wanted the UN "to
understand and appreciate what we are trying to do for our people, who
deserve much better than the shacks that are now being romanticised as
fitting habitats for them".

            He says that the campaign is to clear slums that have become
havens for criminals. Witnesses say that the operation was launched with
almost no warning and no provision of shelter or sustenance, and has forced
tens of thousands to sleep out in the open in midwinter.

            Mrs Tibaijuka's visit has assumed critical international
importance. Tony Blair said yesterday that he hoped her report on the crisis
in Zimbabwe would be strong enough to bring the issue to the UN Security
Council to censure Mr Mugabe formally. Such a move would lay the 81-year-old
leader and his regime open to more substantive international action.

            Mr Mugabe is working hard to create a favourable impression. In
the past few days an announcement was made of a "national housing scheme" in
which an unbudgeted three trillion Zimbabwean dollars (£170 million) would
be allocated to build two million houses in the next five years.

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The Times

            June 28, 2005

            Britain agrees to second chance for Mugabe refugees
            By Richard Ford, Philip Webster and Daniel McGrory

            IMMIGRATION officers were ordered last night to halt
deportations to Zimbabwe despite Tony Blair's insistence that there would be
no official suspension of forced removals.
            The Times has learnt that more than 100 failed asylum-seekers
who claimed that they were at risk from President Mugabe's regime will be
allowed to stay in Britain until new appeals are examined.

            Three claimants were deported in secret at the weekend despite
mounting international pressure to stop the mass expulsions. Lawyers for the
three say that they do not know what happened to them on their arrival in

            Human rights groups and MPs will increase the pressure on the
Government today when they present Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, with
new evidence for all 114 detainees facing expulsion. Last night officials
stopped the deportation of a young woman due to be flown back to Harare.

            The woman, who has been sheltering in Britain for three years,
was arrested a week ago. She was savagely beaten by Zimbabwean police after
her father, a known opponent of Mr Mugabe's regime, disappeared after being
abducted from their home in 2002.

            The Home Secretary agreed in an emergency statement to the
Commons yesterday to study any new evidence on behalf of detainees held at
removal centres around Britain. However, human rights groups believe that
the Government is trying to defuse the row over deportations until after it
hosts the G8 summit next month. As hunger strikes by detainees entered their
second week, Mr Clarke promised to examine each individual case, offering
the Government the opportunity to stop deportations without changing its
hardline policy on refusing to allow all Zimbabwean asylum-seekers to stay.

            Lawyers for the detainees are expected to apply for them to be
given bail this week.

            The Prime Minister said at his monthly press conference that
stopping the return of failed claimants could undermine the Government's
attempts to crack down on abuse of the asylum system. "The worry from our
point of view as policymakers is that you will send a signal right across
the system that Britain is again open to business on asylum claims that are
not genuine."

            In a further concession to his critics Mr Clarke told the
Commons that he was willing to meet a deputation from the United Nations,
Amnesty International and the Refugee Council on how to deal with this
crisis. In the 15 months to March this year, asylum or discretion to remain
was granted to 270 Zimbabweans with "no substantiated reports of
mistreatment" for those returned.

            One deportee, who is too frightened to be named, and who was
sent home in the past fortnight revealed how he was twice picked up by
Zimbabwean police and beaten during hours of interrogation. Police
threatened other members of his family with arrest and torture and the man
has now fled to neighbouring South Africa. He said that no effort had been
made by British diplomats to check what had happened to him since his

            Crespen Kulingi, a leading MDC activist, whose deportation was
deferred at the weekend, said at Campsfield House detention centre, Oxford,
last night that the mass hunger strike would continue.

            He said "Protesters are getting very weak and sick but we are
not going to stop our campaign until we are sure we will not be forced out.
We have no doubt that we will be tortured and some of us killed if we are
sent home."

            Maeve Sherlock, the chief executive of the Refugee Council,
said: "We are extremely disappointed that the Government has failed to take
this opportunity to recognise the real dangers faced by people forced to
return to Zimbabwe."

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Passengers go hungry on Air Zim

Constantine Chimakure
issue date :2005-Jun-28

FINANCIALLY unstable national passenger airline, Air Zimbabwe, last Friday
flew passengers from London to Harare on empty stomachs after a catering
company withdrew services because of payment problems.
Impeccable sources told this newspaper that the company, based in the United
Kingdom, confiscated Air Zimbabwe's food warmers, demanding payment before
it could release them.
It could not be immediately established how much Air Zimbabwe owed the
catering company.
The sources said the airline only served beverages during the
nine-and-a-half hour flight.
"The plane left London on Thursday and arrived in Harare on Friday morning.
Passengers were not given food during the trip after a catering company
declined to offer services because it is owed a lot of money by Air
Zimbabwe," the source said.
The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications,
Karikoga Kaseke, promised to find out what transpired.
"I will find out from the airline," Kaseke said, while Air Zimbabwe
spokesperson David Mwenga yesterday said the airline had problems with the
catering company in London just before take-off, but insisted that
passengers were served with some cold
"We had a misunderstanding with our business partner in the UK just before
take-off. The misunderstanding was related to payment for catering
 services," Mwenga said.
"We pay cash upfront and on the day in question, we differed on the bills to
be  paid because some of them  were not correct."
He said as a result of the dispute, the catering firm temporarily withdrew
its services, but had thereafter supplied a bit of cold food.
Mwenga added: "Our partners took warmers as they normally do, and when we
had that misunderstanding they decided to withdraw their services.
"We were also under a tight schedule to leave London. We told our clients of
the catering situation and resolved to fly out. The problems between us and
our partner have been resolved and there was no problem with this morning's
(yesterday) flight. "We served some food, a limited amount. It was beverages
and some cold food."
However, Mwenga kept the figures and the name of the company close to his
Early this month, the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) cancelled
its contract with Air Zimbabwe after the airline allegedly failed to remit
passenger service charges to the authority.
The passenger service charges are for maintaining airport facilities.
Domestic and international passengers pay $50 000 and $300 000 respectively
for using airport facilities.
Last May, Air Zimbabwe shattered aviation records by cruising more than 6
000 km, between Dubai and Harare, with one passenger. This courted the ire
of senior government officials who questioned the logic of the trip and
subsequently the introduction of new routes without having aggressively
marketed the initiatives.
The 205-seater Boeing 737 airliner that took off from Harare International
Airport on its inaugural flight to Dubai, needed 60 percent of passenger
capacity to break
The plane took off from Harare with only 49 passengers on board.
As a result of the trip, the airline failed even to recover 10 percent of
the cost of the trip.
 Petroleum procurer BP and Shell Marketing Services in May threatened to
block fuel supplies to the airline.
A number of other debts have either been taken over by government or remain
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Law Society charges prisoners being abused

Clemence Manyukwe
issue date :2005-Jun-28

THE Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) is alleging rampant physical and verbal
abuse of prisoners by prison wardens and fellow inmates in Zimbabwe's
A report prepared by the LSZ - the regulating authority of all legal
practitioners in the country - after an assessment of jail conditions at
Chikurubi and Khami Maximum Security Prisons in Bulawayo, and Harare Remand
Prison, claimed that prisoners were being demeaned and subjected to abuse by
the guards.
The report was made on December 10 last year, which is World Human Rights
"In prison, inmates are subjected to physical and verbal abuse from both
prison officers and other prisoners. In many cases, to talk to a prison
officer, prisoners have to kneel down or show humility or else they are
subjected to violent attacks.
"Reports of prison violence, though, tend to come only from ex-prisoners, as
current prisoners seem to fear victimisation. Section 29 of the Prisons Act
prohibits a person from punishing a prisoner unless lawfully ordered to do
so by the commissioner or by any officer-in-charge," the report said.
"This is constantly contravened, but interviewed prison officers have
claimed that prisoners preferred to receive an instant beating for any
misdemeanours than to have the matter referred to the officer-in-charge.
Thus, there is a fear-based relationship between prisoners and wardens as
this is resulting in violations to prisoners' rights," it added.
The report blamed the inmates' problems largely on overcrowding.  Some
Harare Remand Prison officers interviewed by the lawyers admitted that from
time to time they beat up inmates as the only way of maintaining discipline
in cells.
At the juvenile section of the same complex, former minister Chris Kuruneri
was also interviewed and reportedly said so many things needed to be
Reports say Kuruneri acknowledged that conditions at the prison were
unsatisfactory due to budgetary constrains.
He is said to have jokingly suggested that if he were in authority he would
increase the penal system's budgetary allocation.
The report, which commended the government for certain improvements since
last year, said another assessment was done at Goromonzi Police Station's
holding cells last September. Reports of violence in prisons though tended
to come only from ex-prisoners as those currently doing time seem to fear
victimisation by guards.
A woman who allegedly murdered an infant complained that she petitioned
President Robert Mugabe for a pardon in 2001 but to date has not been
She also said she had accessed no doctor as well as her minor children since
2002, purportedly due to the stringent prison rules.
Rosemary Khumalo (64), who is on death row, complained that she was unfairly
convicted.  She said this was despite the fact she did not know the
deceased.  Her appeal has been pending since 2000, she added.
The lawyers also assessed Harare Remand prisoners who complained of
overcrowding. The inmates said 70 people shared one cell measuring 60 square
They also complained that they were leg-ironed, the cells were heavily
infested with lice, while interchanging uniforms generally caused the
spreading of skin and other diseases.  Other prisoners said they found
themselves behind bars because of the areas they lived, such as Mbare and
Epworth, generally believed to be crime havens.
The report found that overcrowding at Goromonzi Police Station was so
serious, with 40 inmates sharing a single cell designed for six people.
Some sewers were blocked and urine, water and human waste had found their
way into cells where the inmates also complained of shortage of blankets.
Efforts to get comment from prison authorities on the lawyers' report were
fruitless yesterday, while Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa referred all
questions pertaining to the matter to his subordinate, David Mangota, the
permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Mangota, whose Ministry is said to have authorised the assessments, could
not be reached for comment by the time of going to print.
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Obasanjo, Mbeki Tasked On Zimbabwe's Crisis

This Day (Lagos)

June 26, 2005
Posted to the web June 27, 2005

Gboyega Akinsanmi

President Olusegun Obasanjo and his counterpart in South Africa, Thabo
Mbeki, have been called upon to address without any further delay the
incidents of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe under the leadership of
President Robbert Mugabe.

Human and civic rights groups in Africa including Legal Defence and
Assistance Project (LEDAP), Amnesty International, Centre on Housing Rights
and Eviction (COHRE), Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and other 150 human
and civic rights groups made this appeal in Lagos, calling on Mugabe to
desist from evicting traders, families and farmers residing in informal
settlements of the African country.

In a statement by the groups, African leaders should address the increasing
spate of human rights abuses, infringements and violations urgently and
promptly at the forthcoming AU Assembly in Libya.

Director, Africa Programme of Amnesty International, Dr. Kolawole Olaniyan
said United Nations (UN), Africa Union and other regional and international
organisations should not remain silent while tens of thousands of
Zimbabweans are facing forced eviction, properties, widespread human
violation and appalling human misery.

He said "complete and wholesale destruction of people's homes and livelihood
estimated to have affected some 200,000 people so far constitutes a grave
violation of international human rights law, and a disturbing affront to
human dignity. There can no justification for the government of Zimbabwe's
actions which have carried out without prior notice.

"We condemn it in the strongest terms because due process of the law or
assurance of adequate alternative accommodation is not observed in the
process of forced eviction.," Olaniyan said.

A Zimbabwean lawyer representing Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Mrs.
Fungayi Jessie Majome, said well above 200,000 people have been arrested,
detained and made to pay fines for contravening town and council bye-laws,
adding that failure by government to provide evicted families with
alternative accommodation has been of great concern.

According to her, AU is acting as a trade union interested in protecting its
member-states alone rather than its citizenry. AU under the leadership of
President Obasanjo has a responsibility to come and condemn human rights
violation in the cou ntry without further procrastination.

She said AU should organize an extra-ordinary session to deliberate on how
to resolve Zimbabwe's human and civic rights infringement, stating that "AU
and UN can no longer abdicate responsibility for the lives of people in
Zimbabwe. President Obasanjo and other African leaders are hereby urged to
address the situation in the country as urgent at the forthcoming AU
Assembly in Libya starting from 4 to 5."

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The Scotsman

Home Office 'Freezing Zimbabwe Removals in Summit Ploy'

By Vivienne Morgan and Joe Churcher, PA Political Staff

A Labour former minister tonight accused the Home Office of ordering a
temporary freeze on deportations to Zimbabwe to avoid embarrassment at the
G8 summit.

Kate Hoey said immigration officials had been ordered to suspend the
removals until after next week's gathering at Gleneagles of the leaders of
the major industrialised nations.

 Ms Hoey, who has long been an outspoken critic of President Mugabe's
regime, also warned that the Government risked losing all credibility over
Africa if it forcibly returned failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe.

She appealed to Live 8 organisers to demand G8 leaders "get their head out
of the sand" and put Zimbabwe at the top of the agenda.

Opening a short Commons debate, Ms Hoey, who has just visited Zimbabwe,
said: "Since my last visit the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans which was
pretty dreadful then has become much worse and the actions of the regime
far, far more shocking.

"Unless resolute action is taken, I fear the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe
will move on to a new and even more sinister phase."

Ms Hoey spoke of seeing first-hand President Mugabe's "brutal and systematic
mission to destroy the homes and livelihoods of some of the poorest people
in Africa".

Mugabe's regime is currently demolishing what it deems illegal structures in
townships, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and without livelihoods.

Ms Hoey (Vauxhall) dismissed initial UN estimates that 250,000 people had
been displaced, insisting the real figure was between 750,000 and one

She said that during a meeting with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai he
had likened the destruction to "Pol Pot in slow motion".

"Those may sound strong words but certainly from what I saw they are

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Scoop, New Zealand

      Australia's Churches Disturbed By Zimbabwe Events
      Tuesday, 28 June 2005, 9:42 am
      Press Release: National Council of Churches in Australia

Church Leaders React To Events In Zimbabwe
Recent news of the effects of the so called 'Operation Restore Order',
(Operation Murambatsvina) currently being conducted by the government of
Zimbabwe, has caused consternation among Australian Church leaders.

At last week's Executive meeting of the National Council of Churches in
Australia (NCCA), leaders heard reports from Zimbabwe of the misery being
brought about by this operation, in which whole urban settlements are being
bulldozed. Sometimes this is happening while children are still inside the
houses, and some have been killed.

"According to our sources, a lot of trauma could have been avoided had the
government gone about this differently," said the Revd John Henderson,
General Secretary of the NCCA. "Children have watched the demolition of
their homes, housing co-operatives have lost their whole investment, and
many people are being left exposed to the winter weather. While we
appreciate the need for governments to regulate the affairs of their county,
this suffering seems to be unnecessary."

"In consultation and solidarity with the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the
NCCA hopes and prays the government of Zimbabwe will uphold the rule of law
in all its activities, facilitate the quick and humane relocation of people
displaced by this 'clean up', and provide for their basic needs in a
permanent and sustainable manner," said Mr Henderson.

On behalf of Australian churches, the NCCA, through Christian World Service,
works with local churches through its on ground partner the Zimbabwe Council
of Churches to do local development work. The funds to do this are provided
through public donations (
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New Zealand Herald

      Cricketers say they will tour Zimbabwe despite worries

      28.06.05 4.00pm

      By Colin Marshall

      New Zealand's cricketers remain certain they will be touring
trouble-plagued Zimbabwe in August but say they will be discussing ways to
stop themselves being used as pawns of the Robert Mugabe-led regime.

      Concerns are growing internationally about the state of human rights
in Zimbabwe with reports of thousands of people's homes being bulldozed.

      With the Black Caps contractually bound to tour Zimbabwe under
International Cricket Council (ICC) rules, the New Zealand Cricket Players'
Association executive manager Heath Mills says the team will be taking steps
to protect itself.

      "We expect the tour to go ahead," he told NZPA.

      "In an ironic way I think that the New Zealand cricket team touring
Zimbabwe has actually highlighted the issues in Zimbabwe for New Zealanders.

      "When the players get to their pre-tour camp they will be discussing
ways in which they will not be seen to be supporting the Mugabe regime or
the political system in Zimbabwe -- very similar to what the English cricket
team and the Australian cricket team have done in the last few months."

      Minister of Foreign Affairs Phil Goff had asked the players to do

      Mills said the biggest concern was the security situation -- the one
reason that could stop the tour going ahead.

      "The players are very used to going to parts of the world where there
are security issues, where there are cultures, ways of life and political
systems that are vastly different to New Zealand and ones they find hard to

      No New Zealand players had contacted the players' association with
concerns about touring.

      "If a player had concerns about going to Zimbabwe, they are all well
aware that they can bring those concerns to the players' association. Then
we will go to New Zealand Cricket with those concerns and attempt to get
them addressed," Mills said.

      Despite no formal approaches, the Zimbabwe situation was on players'

      "Clearly the players are talking about it -- they're talking to their
friends and families."

      The players had been given information about the situation in Zimbabwe
but "ultimately they are contracted to New Zealand Cricket and they are
international cricketers -- that's how they earn their money," Mills said.

      "They are used to going to parts of the world that have human rights
issues. They are certainly not accepting of those issues in those countries.

      "When they go to Pakistan, none of the players would agree with the
fact that the army runs the country as the result of a coup a few years ago.

      "When they go to India they are used to walking outside the hotel room
and there are people living on the streets with no housing simply because of
who they are born to because of a caste system."

      Mills said the players were contracted to New Zealand Cricket, and in
turn the ICC, and the financial penalties were "massive" for breaking the

      Mills would be talking with New Zealand Cricket chief executive Martin
Snedden when he returned from an ICC meeting in London.

      The Government has already signalled it will stop Zimbabwe's return
tour to New Zealand in December by denying visas.

      Mills said that represented a significant loss to the Black Caps'
summer programme.

      - NZPA
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NZ: Mugabe rule akin to Pol Pot

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 Posted: 0423 GMT (1223 HKT)

Mugabe has been likened to Pol Pot by New Zealand.

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- New Zealand's foreign minister has compared
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's administration to the genocidal regime of
Cambodia's Pol Pot.
Phil Goff made the remarks on Tuesday while pushing for his country's
cricket team to call off a planned tour of the southern African nation.

In Zimbabwe today, "for the first time since the ... days of Pol Pot you're
seeing people shifted out of town and into the countryside, left to suffer
from exposure, deprived of all of the rights and dignities that we would say
(are) the birthright of every human being," Goff said.

Mugabe's regime is involved in what he portrays as a campaign to fight
crime, maintain health standards and restore order in cities.

But the opposition, whose strongholds are among the urban poor, says the
blitz is intended to punish those who voted against the government in recent
parliamentary elections.

Since the May 19, police have torched and bulldozed tens of thousands of
shacks, street stalls and -- amid acute food shortages -- vegetable gardens
planted by the urban poor.

Independent estimates of the number affected range from 300,000 to 1.5
million. Police acknowledge 120,000.

Goff, campaigning to stop New Zealand's Black Caps cricket team from touring
Zimbabwe in August, said the International Cricket Council should not ignore
the "massive human rights abuses" in Zimbabwe.

"You can't simply play a game of cricket and ignore those things happening
around you," Goff said on National Radio.

The New Zealand team could be fined US$2 million by the International
Cricket Council if it fails to tour Zimbabwe. It would also have to pay
fines and costs to Zimbabwe cricket officials.

"There's no way New Zealand Cricket or the New Zealand taxpayer would want
to ... pay money to Zimbabwe and Mugabe himself, or the ICC, because they're
too bloody-minded, in the case of the ICC, to recognize what is happening,"
Goff said.

Goff plans to write to the ICC, recommending that obligations on sports
teams to tour should be waived in the event of a severe human rights crisis.

"It's not appropriate to play cricket as if nothing was happening," he said.
"Somewhere you have to draw a line in the sand."

New Zealand is seeking support for its stance from British Foreign Secretary
Jack Straw and Australian Foreign Minster Alexander Downer.

He said the ICC is "dominated" by nations that seem unprepared to take a
stand on the issue, "whether you're talking South Africa and Zimbabwe,
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc."

"How can you move ahead when the African countries are prepared to tolerate
such outrageous behavior from one of their own? They need to do a lot of
soul searching," he said.
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New Zealand want Zimbabwe banned from world cricket
Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:20 AM BST

By Julian Linden

WELLINGTON, June 28 (Reuters) - The New Zealand government is leading a push
to have Zimbabwe banned from international cricket after saying it would not
welcome a team representing the troubled African nation.

Foreign Minister Phil Goff said New Zealand would ask the International
Cricket Council (ICC) to suspend Zimbabwe because of widespread concerns
about human rights abuses under President Robert Mugabe.

New Zealand's push comes after Western countries and organisations including
Britain, the United States, the Commonwealth and the European Union
condemned a new housing programme in Zimbabwe, which has claimed the lives
of at least two children crushed to death in demolished houses.

Goff said New Zealand was trying to enlist the support of other cricketing
nations before presenting their case to the sport's world governing body.

"But if we have to go to the ICC alone, we will," Goff said.

The British government has already pledged tacit support to New Zealand's
stand while Australia said it was holding emergency talks with its national
cricket board.

"Given the level of human rights abuses that are now taking place in
Zimbabwe it's not appropriate for cricket matches to be played against
Zimbabwe," Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told the Australian
Broadcasting Corp. late on Monday.

"But before we make any approach to the International Cricket Council, as a
government, we'll be consulting with the Australian Cricket Board.

"After consulting with the Australian Cricket Board we will make a decision
about whether we will join with the British and the New Zealanders to lobby
the International Cricket Council to stop cricket matches against Zimbabwe
for the time being."

The cricket world's leading administrators have all been meeting at Lord's
in London over the past three days for the ICC's annual chief executives'


Zimbabwean cricket has been in crisis for the past few years. At the 2003
World Cup, held mostly in South Africa but with a few games in Zimbabwe,
players Andy Flower and Henry Olonga wore black armbands to "mourn the death
of democracy".

Last year, most of the country's top players walked out on the national team
over a race row, leading to calls for international teams to boycott

The ICC threatened to fine countries who refused to tour, but Australian
leg-spinner Stuart MacGill lodged a personal protest, refusing to take part
in his team's tour and telling selectors he could not "tour Zimbabwe and
maintain a clear conscience".

Shortly after his announcement, Australia's tour was cancelled and no fines
were issued. Later that year, England's planned tour of the country was also
postponed after the ICC took away Zimbabwe's test status, which has since
been returned.

The issue has resurfaced in New Zealand because the Kiwis are due to play a
home-and-away series against Zimbabwe this year.

Goff has already said the New Zealand leg of the series would not go ahead
in December because the government would refuse to issue visas to the
Zimbabwe team, but there is mounting concern over the Black Caps' scheduled
visit to Zimbabwe in August.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said there was a groundswell of
opposition against the tour proceeding.

She said the government would not pay the $2 million fine New Zealand
Cricket faces for cancelling the tour, although Goff has asked the ICC to
waive the penalty.

New Zealand Cricket has yet to comment on the latest developments. It has
previously said the tour would go ahead but no action would be taken against
individual players who refused to go.

Mugabe, who is also patron of Zimbabwe cricket, was re-elected as president
earlier this year but opposition parties and many Western governments claim
the election was rigged.
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The Scotsman

Excerpt from:
In Parliament Last Night:


Home Secretary Charles Clarke refused to change policy on deportation of
failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. He said cases would continue to be looked
at on their individual merits. Those in need of protection or likely to face
persecution by the Mugabe regime will continue to be granted asylum. But
"blanket suspension" of removals would only encourage those "seeking to get
round our controls".

 Mr Clarke confirmed 57 Zimbabweans in detention awaiting deportation were
on hunger strike, with officials keeping them carefully monitored. Shadow
home secretary David Davis condemned the Government's policy on Zimbabwe as
a "miserable failure".

Later Labour ex-minister Kate Hoey accused the Home Office of ordering a
temporary freeze on deportations to Zimbabwe to avoid embarrassment at the
G8 summit. She said officials had been ordered to suspend the removals until
after next week's gathering at Gleneagles. She also warned that the
Government risked losing all credibility over Africa if it forcibly returned
failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe.
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Mail and Guardian

      Blair must 'be man enough' to visit Zim


      28 June 2005 07:26

            Zimbabwe on Monday challenged British Prime Minister Tony Blair
to be "man enough" to visit the Southern African country to get firsthand
understanding of the current government-driven blitz on illegal structures
and meet President Robert Mugabe.

            "The most important thing, the most logical thing for Mr Blair
is to come over to Zimbabwe ... and have dialogue so that he understands
what is happening on the ground, so that he feels the real Zimbabwe," said
Deputy Minister of Information Bright Matonga.

            "He has never been to Zimbabwe before ... he's got to be man
enough and meet our president, meet Zimbabweans so that he understands," he
told state-controlled television.

            For the last five weeks the government has been implementing a
programme to destroy unauthorised dwellings that has left hundreds of
thousands homeless.
            Blair earlier on Monday implored Zimbabwe's neighbours to do
something about the operation which authorities here said was winding down
to give way to a new re-construction exercise.

            "I feel very frustrated about the situation in Zimbabwe. I
desperately want to do more but I know that the only salvation for Zimbabwe
will come from the countries surrounding Zimbabwe and inside Zimbabwe
itself," Blair said.

            "I urge the countries surrounding Zimbabwe to recognise that
what is happening in Zimbabwe is a disgrace," said the British leader who
will host a Group of Eight (G8) summit in Scotland next month, where the
plight of Africa is scheduled to be high on the agenda.

            Matonga made his remarks as a UN special envoy began a
fact-finding mission on the humanitarian impact of the drive.

            "We are not surprised by his [Blair's] reaction. We feel being
racially discriminated by the British government because they are our former
colonial masters," he said.
            "It does not want to see the country that they had oppressed for
more than 100 years, doing well, being organised, building houses for its
people, prospering for that matter," Matonga said.

            IMF warns Zimbabwe
            Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund on Monday urged
Mugabe's authoritarian government to change policy tack and come in from the
international cold to avert economic disaster.

            An IMF team, during a June 13-25 visit to the country, had found
much of concern despite "cordial meetings" with Finance Minister Herbert
Murerwa and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) leadership.

            The IMF stressed that given the scale of problems facing
Mugabe's isolated regime, Zimbabwe needs "decisive action" to lower its
fiscal deficit, tighten monetary policy and set up a market-based currency

            "A rebuilding of relations with the international community is a
critical part of the effort to reverse the economic decline," the mission
said in a statement on its return from Harare.

            It added: "We hope the authorities will work more closely with
us to formulate and implement such a policy package, which would help
stabilise the economy and improve the welfare of the Zimbabwean people."

            The IMF closed its offices in Zimbabwe late last year as
relations worsened with the Mugabe government, which blames US, British and
European Union sanctions for its economic plight.

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Financial Times

Mugabe in new moves to gain UN approval
By Tony Hawkins in Harare
Published: June 28 2005 03:00 | Last updated: June 28 2005 03:00

Zimbabwe yesterday stepped up its campaign to convince the visiting UN
special envoy, Anna Tibaijuka, that its internationally condemned Operation
Murambatsvina (Drive Out Trash) is part of a serious urban regeneration

At the weekend, President Robert Mugabe announced plans to spend Z$3,000bn
(US$300m, ?247m, £164m) over three years to provide housing and business
premises for the estimated 250,000 to 300,000 people who lost their homes
and workplaces over the last month during the government's clean-up

Mr Mugabe described the clean-up operation as "positive and corrective",
adding that except for "a few negative people", it had been "well-received
by the majority of our people". The government would provide 1.2m homes and
residential plots by 2008. Yesterday, his officials went further, promising
to eliminate a countrywide national housing backlog of 2m homes by 2010.

Mrs Tibaijuka's visit coincided with sharp criticism of Harare by Tony
Blair, the British prime minister, who expressed his "frustration" over the

"The only salvation for Zimbabwe will come from the countries surrounding
Zimbabwe and inside Zimbabwe itself. I urge the countries surrounding
Zimbabwe to recognise that what is happening in Zimbabwe is a disgrace,"
said Mr Blair, who made it clear that Britain hoped Mrs Tibaijuka's report
would result in Zimbabwe being discussed by the Security Council.

The UN office in Harare says that in addition to meeting President Mugabe
and government officials, the UN team will listen to the views of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, diplomats, non-governmental
organisations and civil society.

Eddie Cross, an opposition political activist, estimates that 1m small
businesses were closed down in the operation, while 1.5m people have lost
their livelihood. Two teachers' unions estimate that as many as 300,000
children may have dropped out of school.

There is no official estimate of the size of Zimbabwe's informal economy,
but in 2002 a World Bank study estimated the informal sector accounted for
about 60 per cent of its gross domestic product.

Independent economists believe this to be an exaggeration, putting the
figure at around 30 to 40 per cent, valued at around US$1.5bn. They estimate
that if one-third of the informal economy has been closed down by the
clean-up campaign, it will reduce GDP by about 7 per cent over the next

There is deep scepticism over the government's capacity to finance and build
the envisaged housing programme. Economists say the budgetary situation is
dire, noting that the Z$3 trillion mentioned by President Mugabe is not in
the national budget and will be added to a long and growing list of
government spending plans.
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Mother says she was told to flee or be killed

Eric Allison
Tuesday June 28, 2005
The Guardian

Ann, who preferred to withhold her surname, has been in the UK for three and
a half years and was released from two months' detention two weeks ago.
She is staying in the south of England with her sister, who has just
graduated from university. Aged 33, she was a personal assistant to the head
of a large timber company in Zimbabwe.

She said her troubles began when the Mugabe government started to take over
some of the five estates owned by her employer.

Ann was a member of the opposition MDC. This and the fact that she attended
meetings between her employer and the government made her a target for Mr
Mugabe's Zanu-PF, she said.

"I was at home after dark, with my maid and my baby. The door crashed in and
a mob of men, around six or seven strong, burst in," she said. "They called
me a traitor for working for a white employer. One of the men grabbed my
daughter, saying she must leave immediately. He said, 'The next time we
come, she will be killed'.

"My mother thought that I would be safer without my daughter" and offered to
mind the child, she said. "But, since I have been here, my mother's house
has been bulldozed and now I do not know where they both are."

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What they said about ...

... deportations to Zimbabwe

William Cederwell
Tuesday June 28, 2005
The Guardian

Given everything that has been going on recently in the Zimbabwe of Robert Mugabe - dodgy elections, the repression of opposition activists and general "human misery" all round - "it defies belief" that the British government appears to have no qualms "deporting failed asylum seekers to that country", argued the Independent in an editorial yesterday.

Forty Zimbabweans, on hunger strike in British detention centres, want the Home Office to lift its ban on involuntary deportations to Zimbabwe, but there is unlikely to be a "change of heart", the paper said. Yet "it is hard to conceive of a country where opposition sympathisers have more compelling grounds for ... fear."

British ministers deny they have put the lives of deportees at risk, "but these are weasel words", argued the Daily Mail 's Melanie Phillips. "Dozens of people who have been returned have simply disappeared - which means by definition there cannot be any 'substantiated reports of abuse'" concerning those Zimbabweans sent home by Britain, she argued.

The Observer compared "this Home Office obduracy" to the Zimbabwean president's own recent campaign forcing "shantytown dwellers back to inhospitable and often dangerous areas. By ignoring the parallels, we lose all credibility in our justified condemnation of Mr Mugabe's increasing tyranny," said the paper.

Dumisani Muleya, writing in the Zimbabwe Independent , was not convinced by Mr Mugabe's claim that the clearances were an attempt to boost the Zimbabwean economy by cracking down on illegal settlements. Instead, the "nationwide demolition blitz" that has claimed more than 200,000 shantytown homes was further evidence of "the rise of a police state and a breakdown of social order", Muleya argued.

Obediah Mazombwe, in Zimbabwe's Sunday Mail , countered that the clearances were necessary because "chaotic urbanisation" had placed an "unbearable strain" on Harare. "Zimbabwe has only destroyed illegal structures and has plans to put in place legal and better housing." But for the Zimbabwe Sunday Mirror , that was an old promise that "has not been delivered in the past 25 years".

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To return is death, says asylum seeker

Eric Allison
Tuesday June 28, 2005
The Guardian

Rodrick Chipezeze, one of the Zimbabweans seeking asylum in Britain, said
yesterday he would face "certain death" if he were forced to return to
"I returned to Zimbabwe in March 2003 and was immediately arrested," he
said. "I was tortured. They put electrodes on my testicles and they made me
sit in an electric chair. They also set police dogs on me."

Mr Chipezeze, 29, first fled to the UK in 2001 after his house was attacked
by members of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. He had left a job in
journalism for the ministry of information and publicity, but quickly became

"In Buhera, there was much violence during the elections. Zanu-PF were
openly attacking MDC [the opposition Movement for Democratic Change]
supporters in the streets and in their homes," he said. "The ministry asked
us to say that the violence was coming from the MDC supporters. We did as we
were told, but I kept tapes that showed the true picture."

He said that because he was constantly challenging his superiors, his
position became intolerable, his house was attacked and he and his family
received death threats. After a tip-off from a sympathiser that he was to be
arrested, he travelled to the UK.

He then received news that his mother and father had been arrested, and
claimed that his young sister had been murdered in front of the family. His
family were told that they would remain in custody until he returned with
the tapes he had taken.

That resulted in his return to Zimbabwe and his torture. He said he gave
some of the tapes back to the police and was released. His family fled the
area and he returned to the UK with his wife and child in June 2003.

"When I arrived, I was coughing blood, my head was bruised and swollen and
my body covered in dog bites," he said. He was treated in London, at Guys
and St Thomas' hospitals.

Mr Chipezeze reports to the Home Office every day. Each time, he said, he
fears arrest and removal.

"I am a Zimbabwean," he said. "I love my country and want to return there.
But not to a certain death."

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'Zimbabwe Blues'

Cut off the power, monitor our telephones,
Silenced the reporters; lost great art in stone,
Burned all the farms and with muffled drum
Brought out the coffins, come you mourners come!
Let Mugabe's helicopter circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message "Zimbabwe is Dead!"
Put yellow bows round the arms of the public doves,
Let traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
Zimbabwe was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my indaba, my song;
I thought that we would last forever: boy was I wrong.
The people are not wanted now; burn them all out,
Pack up the markets and dismantle the hut,
Pour away the petrol and cut up the woods;
Oh God! Can anything now come to any good?
Brigitte Theuma
With apologies to W.H. Auden
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