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

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From The Sunday Times (UK), 29 June

Police sent white farmer to his death

Christina Lamb

A Zimbabwean policeman who witnessed the murder of the first white farmer to
die in President Robert Mugabe's land seizure campaign has admitted that
police could have saved the man's life - but were ordered by their superiors
to stand by and let a gang of so-called war veterans abduct and kill him. In
the first inside account of how Mugabe has turned the police force into an
instrument of repression, Lovemore Magombedze disclosed that he and others
investigating the killing of David Stevens were instructed by superiors in
Harare to present it as a case of killing in self-defence. The former
detective has been granted asylum in Britain. He fled from Zimbabwe in fear
of his life after a colleague who tried to reveal the truth about Stevens's
death was killed by a lorry driven by a leading war veteran. Magombedze was
warned: "You will be next." "I used to love my job, I got a lot of respect
from people, but Mugabe turned the police into his number one weapon," said
the 31-year-old father of two who is now working as a night guard in an
Essex hotel. "The system was so topsy-turvy that instead of war vets being
arrested they were manning roadblocks with us - and I was ordered to pervert
the course of justice," he said.

The killing of Stevens, 48, in April 2000 marked the start of a campaign
aimed at keeping Mugabe in power, using the war veterans and thugs from the
ruling Zanu PF party. Stevens was abducted from his farm in Macheke, 60
miles southeast of Harare, by war veterans while his wife was collecting one
of their four children from a school hockey trip, He was driven to Murehwa
where he was tortured, then shot less than three minutes' walk from a police
station. One of his murderers drank his blood. Twelve other white farmers
have since been killed and all but 600 of an original 4,500 have been driven
off their farms. Most farms have been taken over by politicians, generals,
police chiefs, judges and relatives of Mugabe. Commercial food production
has collapsed, leaving 150,000 labourers unemployed and an estimated 7m
people facing starvation. The detective's chilling account of the Stevens
murder confirms accusations by human rights and opposition groups that
Mugabe has transformed the police into a political tool. It is also an
embarrassment for Interpol, which recently offered Zimbabwe's police chief,
Augustine Chihuri, the post of honorary vice-president. Stevens's widow
Maria, who now lives in Oxfordshire, said she was not surprised by
Magombedze's revelations. "I know the police killed my husband," she said.
"They are no longer there to protect people. I hope he doesn't expect me to
forgive him but I am glad that one of those police has finally decided to
come clean. It is time more people spoke out."

Magombedze was one of a small group of men on duty at Murehwa police station
on the Saturday morning when Stevens was killed. "Suddenly this procession
of vehicles arrived at the police station," he said. "It was like a movie:
high-speed cars, clouds of dust, shooting, brakes squealing, people opening
car doors and running out. Five white farmers were running away from the war
vets, pleading, 'Help us! They are shooting at us and want to kill us.'
There were between 30 and 50 war vets singing and chanting Zanu PF slogans
and they had vehicles belonging to the party and the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO). But we told them to stop and didn't allow them in. They
only had sticks and two or three small guns so we didn't think they could
overpower us." Then the officer in charge arrived. "This was strange," said
Magombedze. "Normally they don't work on Saturdays and nobody from the
station had called him. "This officer invited the war vets and CIO men into
his office. To our astonishment, he then allowed them to abduct the farmers
from the police station and take them to a compound in the township. The
farmers were screaming, 'These guys were shooting at us and you are letting
them take us? They are going to kill us!' " Shaking his head, Magombedze
said: "The police had the chance to save Stevens's life - we knew where he
was and could easily have got him out, but we didn't. I followed for a while
with a colleague in an unmarked car but we were pulled off so didn't witness
the final moments. I know what happened next from our subsequent
investigation. The farmers were separated in groups and taken to different
places, including the cemetery for heroes of independence. They were beaten
up severely. At one point Stevens said 'Why don't you just kill us? I can't
take this any more'. One of the war vets put the barrel of his rifle inside
Stevens's mouth and fired. But he didn't get a proper grip, probably because
they were all high on marijuana. So the bullet just cut through the skin and
came out of the mouth. Then one of them started screaming, 'Are you crazy?
Don't you know how to kill a man?' He took out his shotgun, placed it
against Stevens's chest and fired. The other farmers were severely beaten up
and left for dead though they had not been killed."

Magombedze was put on the investigation under the supervision of officers
from Harare. "We were given clear orders on the 'facts' the government
wanted to come out. The official version was to be that Stevens's death was
caused by self-defence. "We were not allowed to arrest the war vets even
though they were trespassing on property, abducting and beating people and
committing all sorts of atrocities. Murehwa is not a big area and I knew
quite well who they were. But this was a political case and the forms where
we normally write the grounds of the case were left blank. The statements of
the other white farmers were left out and some witnesses were forced to say
Stevens was shooting at them." A policeman since 1991, Magombedze felt "torn
apart" by the case and was unable to sleep, tormented by nightmares. Last
year he and his colleague on the Stevens case decided to approach foreign
election observers to tell them the truth. They were spotted by Mugabe's
intelligence agents. Shortly afterwards his friend was killed. "Then a CIO
guy warned me, 'You know what happened to your colleague? We are after you
next.'" The Stevens case was not the only time Magombedze was ordered to
ignore evidence. Investigating the murder of a father and son in Nyamhanga
village, he found that a local Zanu PF MP had ordered party thugs to kill
them. "We even had taped confessions," he said, "but I was told to change
the evidence to let the killers free." When Magombedze arrested a well-known
war veteran who had burnt down a restaurant his station chief was furious
and the arsonist was freed. Magombedze decided to flee and sought leave,
claiming his mother was seriously ill. He flew to London with his wife and
children - and heard later that his younger brother had been beaten and his
mother's house had been set on fire. Four men were tried last October for
the murder of Stevens, but were freed. From the safety of his new home in
Britain Magombedze said with sadness: "I miss my country but it has become a
land of fear."
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            MDC still willing to talk to Mugabe
            June 29, 2003, 17:45

            Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), which has launched a court challenge to President Robert Mugabe's
2002 victory in presidential polls, says the MDC is still willing to talk to
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party.

            Tsvangirai, responding to a recent mass action in the country,
says: "The final push, some people misinterpreted it as an attempt to
overthrow the government. I think that was a figment of peoples imagination.
We were very clear about what we wanted. We wanted to raise the tempo on the
government to come to the negotiating table and that to us, that is one of
the most effective demonstrations by Zimbabweans and not just by staying at
home, but by actually going on the streets."

            Mugabe insists that he won the election fairly in 2002 and says
the MDC is a puppet of former colonial power Britain which will only rule in
Zimbabwe 'over our dead bodies'. However, Tsvangirai, who faces two trials
on separate counts of treason, still hopes that dialogue between the MDC and
the government can have a positive result. "Our approach should be that the
two parties must come to the negotiating table and put their cards on the
table, that is how you proceed," he said.

            "But you see this business of insisting that the MDC must do
this, must do that, must do that, we have already done more than a fair
share of bending over backwards, without necessarily being pushed to
capitulation. What we are talking about is not a win, win situation, it's a
compromise and we are prepared for that compromise," said Tsvangirai.

            The veteran trade union leader, who was jailed for two weeks
this month after MDC supporters staged huge anti-Mugabe protests, said the
country's political turmoil would likely continue until Mugabe goes, because
he was the stumbling block. "We don't mean any harm to Mugabe, we believe in
reality that Mugabe is a national liability, it's a fact and he is the
stumbling block. If he cannot even appreciate the fact that we have half of
the seats in parliament, does not even appreciate the fact that the MDC won
the presidential elections, and rather than tolerate the existence of an
opposition. Then you start finding, 'Why is this man not tolerant enough to
accept that multi-party is actually helpful?," he said.

            Tsvangirai said that he had never put his treason trial as a
condition for anything, adding that he wanted to face the full wrath of the
law. he said that if he was wrong then he should be punished by the law. He
said that he did not want to negotiate with personal considerations. "We are
just saying that, look, the crisis needs the two parties to sit down and
talk. Lets sit down. After all, in April last year an agenda had been
agreed," he said.

            Tsvangirai said Mugabe had thwarted a regional initiative
mounted by South Africa, Nigeria and Malawi to resolve Zimbabwe's crisis,
which has driven the country's economy close to collapse.

            Once an African economic star, Zimbabwe now battles chronic food
and fuel shortages and inflation riding at 300%, one of the highest rates in
the world. - Reuters

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Mugabe makes it difficult for Zim to pray

      June 29 2003 at 12:11PM

      By Basildon Peta

The Zimbabwean government has turned on religious groups and clergy members
as it seeks to clamp down on what it perceives as "anti-government prayers".

Zimbabweans who have long lost hope in their government's ability to
extricate them from abject poverty and see their only salvation in praying
hard for their country, now find themselves with little space to do this.

Various prayer groups have been dispersed over the past few months by police
suspecting them of being undercover political meetings convened without
their permission and in violation of strict security laws.

Sony Chimbuya, a reverend in the Church of Christ in Masvingo Province and
former senior official of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, was summoned by
plainclothes police this week.

      'I was ordered not to say prayers which are political'
The Criminal Investigations Department's law and order section wanted to
know why he was fanning "anti-government prayers".

Chimbuya told the Daily News: "I was ordered not to say prayers which are

"They even told me that I should write down my prayers for them to

"They took my curriculum vitae and warned me to be careful with my prayers."

He was released without being charged.

Police in Masvingo confirmed that they questioned Chimbuya but declined to
give details.

Chimbuya said he was not a political activist but a preacher.

"I just believe in peace and unity in the country," he said.

"Our church is full of both MDC and Zanu-PF supporters and we do not talk
about that in the church."

The Daily News said the police seem to have been concerned that Chimbuya was
invited to pray before a rally which was addressed by opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) officials.

The clergy member had also been invited to pray at functions organised by
the militant Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

Chimbuya said his mere presence at such functions did not mean that he was
an MDC activist.

"I am just shocked. I have been invited to lead prayers even at Zanu-PF
functions but that does not mean that I support that party," he said.

In the second largest city of Bulawayo, Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube
has been repeatedly intimidated and harassed by the police for leading
"anti-government prayers".

a.. Meanwhile, Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai urged the
United States not to over-reach as it pressures President Robert Mugabe to
step down.

"There must be a balance in how outside pressure can be applied in order to
bring results," Tsvangirai told The New York Times in an interview published
on Saturday.
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South Africa: Official hopes to reach "common understanding" with US on

June 29, 2003 2:18pm

Pretoria, 29 June: South Africa has expressed the hope to reach a common
understanding with the United States on Zimbabwe during US President George
W Bush's upcoming visit to Pretoria.

"We hope - we can get a common approach," Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister
Aziz Pahad told reporters in Pretoria on Sunday.

"I hope this visit will give us an opportunity to frankly discuss Zimbabwe
and to discuss what we are supposed to do."

Bush is scheduled to arrive in South Africa on the evening of 8 July and is
expected to meet President Thabo Mbeki in Pretoria the following day.

His brief African tour will then see Bush heading off for Botswana, Uganda,
Nigeria and Senegal.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell was critical of South Africa's approach
to Zimbabwe in a US newspaper article last week.

He said South Africa, along with other countries on the continent, "should
play a stronger role that fully reflects the urgency of Zimbabwe's crisis".

African leaders should do more to convince Zimbabwean president Robert
Mugabe to respect the rule of law and enter into dialogue with the
opposition, Powell added.

Pahad reiterated South Africa's stance that it could not impose a solution
on Zimbabwe. Only the Zimbabweans themselves could solve their problems.
Outsiders could merely assist.

He did not appear to be perturbed by Powell's statement, saying it also
contained positive elements.

"I think all of us accept that we have to do something quickly to assist the
Zimbabweans to move forward," Pahad said.

"If there are technical differences, we have to discuss them and indicate
what our approach is to solve the problems. I hope - they (the US) will get
a better understanding that there is only that route to go."

If the US had another way it should be put on the table and be discussed.
Pahad said visits to South Africa by the foreign ministers of the United
Kingdom and France both ended in a common approach on Zimbabwe. The US visit
would hopefully have the same outcome.[Passage omitted].

Source: SAPA news agency web site, Johannesburg, in English 1250 gmt 29 Jun
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Egyptian, Zimbabwean presidents discuss peace process, African issues

June 29, 2003 12:18pm

Cairo, 29 June: President Husni Mubarak and President Robert Mugabe of
Zimbabwe discussed Sunday [29 June] the Mideast situation and Egypt's
efforts to overcome obstacles to the implementation of the road map peace
plan, the Egyptian foreign minister said.

In statements to reporters, Ahmad Mahir said Mubarak and Mugabe also
reviewed Africa's supportive stances of the Arab rights and current efforts
to achieve peace. The two presidents agreed to step up bilateral cooperation
and to pursue cooperation through the African Union, Mahir said.

Mubarak-Mugabe talks also covered the overall African situation ahead of the
next African summit in Maputo, Mozambique, next week. They expressed hope
Africa would overcome the current difficult conditions in Liberia, Congo and
the Great Lakes region. The two leaders also agreed to intensify African
cooperation efforts to ensure security and prosperity for all African
peoples. They stressed the need to fight diseases in the continent and
provide medicines at affordable prices, Mahir said.

Source: MENA news agency, Cairo, in English 1425 gmt 29 Jun 03
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International Herald Tribune

      Lecturing Africa: How quickly the West forgets
         Michael Holman IHT  Saturday, June 28, 2003

LONDON Secretary of State Colin Powell seems to have forgotten the legacy of
Western misrule when criticizing South Africa's response to the crisis in
neighboring Zimbabwe (IHT, June 24).
Patronage of tyranny and tolerance of corruption have long been at the heart
of Western policy across Africa, from Kenya under Daniel arap Moi, to Zaire
under Mobutu Seke Seso and Liberia under Samuel Doe. For all the
protestations to the contrary, commercial interests or strategic concerns
continue to take precedence over principles: West Africa is expected to
provide 20 per cent of U.S. oil imports in 10 years, a forecast that buys
tolerance for some of Africa's most venal and mismanaged governments.
It was ever thus. "He may be a son of a bitch," President Lyndon Johnson
famously observed in defense of Washington's alliance with a South
Vietnamese leader, "but he is our son of a bitch."
The United States and Britain should not be surprised when this doctrine
proves to be a two-edged sword, and provokes what they see as a perverse and
irrational solidarity among the weak, as when Arab states rally around
Saddam Hussein, or when African states fall short of outright condemnation
of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
Britain at least should know better. It has more experience after all. Yet
far from recognizing that the past still shapes current events, the
government believes that it can start afresh, without the baggage of
history. For those in Britain who determine policy, it seems that Africa's
history begins when Labour won office.
Life is too short, and we are too busy, one minister told me, to become
bogged down in the shortcomings of colonialism.
But Britain's record in Africa in general, and in southern Africa in
particular, is no better than its record in the Middle East, even if it does
receive less attention.
Just about wherever Britain and the West has been involved, from the Horn of
Africa to the Cape of Good Hope, Africa bears the scars. The legacy lives
Nowhere are the consequences of Western misjudgment more evident than
southern Africa, where the denial of responsibility is at its loudest.
Britain was as complicit in the consolidation of white power in Rhodesia in
the early 1960s, as surely as it helped create Iraq's fearsome armory.
From the petty to the profound, Britain has got it wrong.
British rule in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, lasted six decades - yet when
the country became independent, it had barely a dozen university graduates.
It was Britain that imposed the Central African Federation of the Rhodesias
and Nyasaland on the voteless African majority. And it was Britain that
presided over its dissolution, on terms that gave the bulk of the armed
forces to white-ruled Rhodesia, soon to declare illegal independence,
triggering a war that scarred the region. It was Britain that jailed the
leaders of African nationalism in nearly every one of the colonies. Britain
and the United States are not driven by malice, nor is Prime Minister Tony
Blair pursuing a sinister neocolonialist strategy. He genuinely believes
that the colonial past belongs to the history books. He, like Colin Powell,
just fails to understand that, as in the Middle East, Africa's history still
shapes events, still molds values, and still influences policies.
It is not so much the West's lectures about human rights abuses that
irritate Africa. It is that they are delivered selectively. All too often
the admonitions smack of hypocrisy, coming as they so often do on behalf of
powerful men who may wield big sticks, but are moral dwarfs.
The writer, brought up in Zimbabwe, was Africa editor of the Financial Times
from 1984 to 2002.
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