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

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Times of India

I have been gagged, says Olonga

AFP[ MONDAY, MARCH 10, 2003 10:14:40 PM ]

BLOEMFONTEIN: Zimbabwe's fast bowler Henry Olonga claimed on Monday
that he had been banned from talking about his anti-Robert Mugabe protest on
orders from the very top of the regime.

"I would love to talk to you guys but I am not allowed to," Olonga
said at Goodyear Park here where Zimbabwe play their next Super Six match
against Kenya on Wednesday. "You can guess who has got the power to prevent
me from speaking to you."

Olonga hasn't played in Zimbabwe's World Cup campaign since the
opening group match against Namibia in Harare on February 10 although he has
carried out 12th man duties. The bowler and leading batsman Andy Flower won
worldwide praise for their decision to wear black armbands and issue a
statement condemning what they called the "death of democracy" in Zimbabwe.

They pledged to carry on their protest throughout the World Cup
despite coming under severe pressure to abandon the gesture with both men
threatened with having their international careers terminated.

Olonga has already been sacked by his domestic club while Flower was
on the verge of being dropped from the national team only to be reprieved
when other senior players refused to take part if he wasn't chosen.

"It's very difficult to assess your form when you are carrying drinks
all the time," added Olonga who is likely to sit out the game against Kenya
which Zimbabwe must win to qualify to the semi-finals.

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10 Mar 2004
Zimbabwe Beyond Mugabe: Danger and Opportunity
Maria Sanchez

International Crisis Group (ICG) - Belgium
Regions: Africa, Zimbabwe

Harare/Brussels, 10 March 2003: Behind the scenes in Zimbabwe, a
succession battle appears to have begun following indications that senior
ZANU-PF officials are exploring possible retirement scenarios for President
Robert Mugabe. A new report from the International Crisis Group, Zimbabwe:
Danger and Opportunity, details the splits in the ruling party and the
dangers and opportunities involved in a post-Mugabe transition. In this
context ICG urges the African Union to create a new mediation effort that
involves all relevant Zimbabwean stakeholders and aims to restore legitimacy
to the Harare government.

Ever since President Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party rigged the
presidential election last year, the country has been heading ominously
towards potential state collapse. The economy is imploding, a
government-created food crisis is turning Zimbabwe into a beggar nation and
deepening state sponsored violence could degenerate into unstructured
conflict across the country.

However, in the face of this dangerous crisis and the
possibility of real political change, the international community has become
even more divided. In the Commonwealth, South Africa and Nigeria are arguing
against all the evidence that Zimbabwe's suspension should be lifted. The
Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU)
have yet to engage in a sustained fashion. The European Union is rent by
division, with France's invitation to Mugabe to participate in a pan-African
summit in Paris almost putting an end to the targeted sanctions regime
imposed shortly after the election. The U.S. remains a weak actor,
implementing a promised asset freeze almost a year after it promised because
of its own mid-level policy disagreements.

ICG Africa Program Co-Director John Prendergast said: "As long
as the international community is split, President Mugabe will win the
public relations and political battle. A fresh effort is urgently needed to
try to resolve Zimbabwe's political crisis, in particular by restarting
negotiations between ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC)."

Similar talks under the leadership of Nigeria and South Africa
were abandoned last year when the ruling party walked out of the process.
New talks should preferably take place under the leadership of either the
African Union or the Commonwealth. They should build on the efforts of
Nigeria and South Africa, but also involve a country like Senegal, Ghana or
Kenya, which have all made the transition from post-liberation leadership to
government by the former opposition. The focus of the process should be on
creating a transitional administration, restoring the rule of law, finding
an electoral compromise, reforming economic policies, ensuring a more
orderly land reform program, and creating an exit strategy for President

Katy Cronin (London) +44-(0)20 7981 0330 - email:
Francesca Lawe-Davies (Brussels) +32-(0)2-536.00.65
Jennifer Leonard (Washington) +1-202-785 1601
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Harare opposition arrests

There have been more opposition arrests in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare,
over the weekend.

The state-run Herald newspaper said 21 members of the main opposition party,
the Movement for Democratic Change, were detained for allegedly holding an
illegal meeting.

Police told the newspaper that the group had not sought official clearance
for their gathering.

Political tensions are reported to be running high in the capital ahead of
two key by-elections due to take place in opposition strongholds at the end
of the month.


Police representative Bothwell Mugariri told The Herald that police officers
who came to break up the meeting were stoned leaving four officers injured
and two vehicles damaged.

"The group was violent and as a result the police called for reinforcements
before they managed to arrest 21 people," Mr Mugariri told the paper.

Six other MDC members were detained in a separate incident after allegedly
attacking ruling party supporters.

The MDC has accused Zimbabwe's ruling party of orchestrating the repeated
police harassment of its members.

Police have cracked down sharply in recent weeks against political protests
during Zimbabwe's hosting of the cricket World Cup.

Twenty clergymen were arrested two weeks ago in a protest at alleged police
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Cyclone Japhet continues to wreck havoc

One woman is feared drowned while 26 others were rescued from two islands in
Siakobvu communal lands in the Zambezi valley.

Combined rescue operations are underway with an airforce of Zimbabwe
helicopter carrying out mercy flights over the area which has since been
affected by floods.

The 26 victims were marooned at Gache Gache and Musambakaruma islands on
Lake Kariba when rising water levels cut them off the mainland.

The majority of the victims were rescued from rooftops and trees.

Police Superintendent, Ernest Muchenjekwa told Newsnet that a search team is
looking for the missing woman.

Some rivers in Siakobvu have burst their banks as cyclone Japhet induced
rains continue to pound the area.

Seven people have since been drowned in Masvingo and hundred others have
been left homeless owing to the incessant rains caused by cyclone Japhet.
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Commonwealth's McKinnon believes "quiet diplomacy" answer to Zimbabwe's woes

March 10, 2003 9:37am

Text of commentary by John Dludlu entitled "Hope springs eternal - instead
of beating up Zimbabwe, Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon believes
a solution is possible" as published by South African newspaper Sowetan on
10 March

Eternal optimist is a phrase that comes close to accurately describing the
character of Don McKinnon in his job as secretary-general of the
Commonwealth, the club of mainly former British colonies and Britain.

This is particularly the case when it comes to dealing with the worsening
crisis in Zimbabwe, the suspended member of the 54-nation club. The crisis,
which has been worsened by drought, is the subject of many forums.

The African Union has a committee dealing with it. So does the Southern
African Development Community (SADC).

The Commonwealth leaders asked South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki,
Nigeria's Gen Olusegun Obasanjo and John Howard of Australia, the
Commonwealth chair, to deal with Zimbabwe. Informally, Mbeki and Obasanjo
have respected envoys deployed there.

Still, three years down the line, the crisis is far from easing. At the
weekend, US President George Bush took time off his war preparations and
slapped economic sanctions on Zimbabwe. Bush's sanctions are an addition to
a set of measures aimed at inspiring behavioural change in Zimbabwe.

For a year now, western powers have watched President Robert Mugabe and his
ministers carrying on in their business-as-usual style while their "smart
sanctions" fail to prompt the Harare strong man to flinch.

During the year Mugabe's wife Grace, has been able to pursue her other
love - shopping - in Paris. That was after her husband was invited by the
French authorities for dialogue - a move that angered other western powers.

Bush's new sanctions - which, like the smart ones, do not have Africa's
support - reflect his growing frustration with the events in Zimbabwe.

While McKinnon, formerly New Zealand's respected foreign minister, would
share Bush's perspective that very little progress has been achieved in
getting Zimbabwe out of self-destruction, he would differ on the approach
and would not share's Bush's pessimism.

Unlike Bush, he still believes in quiet diplomacy. The time has not come for
"megaphone" diplomacy publicly scolding the Zimbabwean authorities for
intransigence. "Sometimes, megaphone diplomacy is an exasperation of the end
of the line. If you're not achieving anything, you lash out in the media.
It's the last thing you do. We have not reached that stage with Zimbabwe,"
he said in an interview with Sowetan during a brief stop-over in South

In the past year he has worked, with little success, alongside the troika on
efforts to ease the crisis in Zimbabwe. "When Zimbabwe wasn't suspended, we
endeavoured to engage with them. We were not successful. Now they've been
suspended, we endeavoured to engage with them and we've not been successful.
So, either way, (it has not succeeded)... [ellipses as published]

Last December, the group left Zimbabwe when the United Nations Development
Programme washed its hands off Zimbabwe, saying the situation was too
chaotic to continue.

That Mugabe has been uncooperative with the Commonwealth secretariat has
meant that McKinnon spends more time "thinking about solutions rather than
trying them out on Zimbabwe". Still, together with the African element of
the Commonwealth troika, he remains hopeful that a solution may yet be found
to help Zimbabwe from imploding.

While the Africans have openly clashed with Howard, McKinnon has been
quietly talking to other Commonwealth leaders about Zimbabwe. A week ago, he
spoke with some on the fringes of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in
Malaysia. He says he has been "pleasantly surprised" at the number of those
who think a solution is possible in Zimbabwe. He is due to report to the
troika in days when Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth councils - a
less punitive form of suspension - is due for review.

Not surprisingly, the African pair in the troika is opposed to the
continuation of Zimbabwe's suspension, leaving Howard isolated. But in days,
Zimbabwe's fate has to be decided.

Complicating the Zimbabwean issue has been the deterioration of Zimbabwe's
relationship with Britain. McKinnon's job is to ensure this does not
interfere with the wider intra-Commonwealth relationship.

As his first term draws to a close and the next leaders' summit in Nigeria
approaches, McKinnon looks back on a hectic three years.

The bulk of his term has been spent on efforts to promote good governance
within the Commonwealth: a military regime in Pakistan, a bad election in
Zanzibar, a new election in Lesotho, crisis in Fiji and Solomon Islands,
Swaziland and, of course, Zimbabwe's controversial elections last year.

The promotion of good governance is a fresh mandate that Commonwealth
governments gave to McKinnon when he took over. Ironically, the principles
of good governance are contained in a document agreed to in Harare,
Zimbabwe's capital, in the 1990s. "Everyone these days wants us to observe
their elections," he says.

He feels that there is more democracy now in the Commonwealth than a decade
ago, though the World Bank feels democracy has receded. "Our slogan is, the
more democracy you have, the more development you get."

The focus on good governance has meant that the Commonwealth's traditional
business -technical assistance, health and education -are taking the back
burner. McKinnon acknowledges this danger. But he has a plan.

The plan is to strike joint ventures with partner organizations working in
this area - such as the World Bank, UN and IMF.

"I have no desire of presiding over a Commonwealth secretariat that sees the
demise of education," he says. He is particularly concerned at getting more
children to primary schools than tertiary education. "If you miss out on
primary education, you can't get a PhD."

Apart from putting out political fires in the Commonwealth area, McKinnon
has spent his term trying to reorganize and modernize the organization. The
change has been staggering and painful.

Few things are recognizable. The traditions that have been kept include:
having the Queen of England as the body's ceremonial head and holding the
once-in-two-years meetings of leaders.

The organization is slimmer. McKinnon slashed one post of deputy
secretary-general and five divisional directors.

New features include a much stronger ministerial action group, CMAG, and a
new position of the Commonwealth chair-in-office inaugurated by Mbeki.

"I have found Mbeki useful, very candid. His advice gave me a comfort zone,"
he says of the AU leader.

Source: Sowetan, Johannesburg, in English 10 Mar 03 p 13

/ BBC Monitoring
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Low turnout mars economic summit
10/03/2003 09:43 - (SA)

Abuja - Less than a third of invited African presidents on Sunday attended a
summit to advance a new economic rescue plan for Africa and the meeting
wound up with no decision on reviewing each other's performance and

The peer review scheme is key to winning Western support and billions of
dollars in private investment for the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (Nepad).

Only seven of an expected 23 heads of state turned up for the meeting which
had aimed at kicking the review plan into action. They were the presidents
of Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal and Algeria - Nepad's architects - and of
Ethiopia, Angola, Republic of Congo and Mozambique.

Nepad aims to tap Western aid for rapid development of the world's poorest
continent in return for a commitment by its leaders to good governance and

Twelve African states agreed in November to subject their governments to
monitoring of performance and democracy.

Sunday's meeting, chaired by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, issued a
communique mandating Obasanjo to carry out further consultations. He said
the process would be concluded by the end of March ahead of the start of the
peer review scheme scheduled for April.

Both the United States and Britain and the Group of Eight (G8) comprising
the world's industrial powers and Russia have pledged support for Nepad.

But there is growing pessimism among Africans over what many see as the slow
pace of the transition from planning to action.

The diversion of the attention of the United States and Britain to Iraq and
the fight against terrorism could also be at the expense of Nepad, some
African diplomats say.

More critically, many analysts fear backing by South Africa and Nigeria for
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe whose rule is challenged by some Western
nations, could cost Nepad support.

Last month, Mbeki and Obasanjo who are members of a Commonwealth troika,
blocked further sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Although Obasanjo spoke of dealing with violence on the continent, African
nations appear helpless as violence ravages Ivory Coast, one of Africa's
most promising economies.

Ivory Coast has been split along ethnic lines between the largely Muslim
north and mainly Christian south. Thousands of people have died and a
million driven from their homes.

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New York Post

March 10, 2003 --

I SPENT last month in Africa, pausing for a respectful visit to Robben
Island, the former prison that confined Nelson Mandela for two decades. It
was a physically beautiful setting spoiled by humankind's past intolerance
and by the crocodile tears of European tourists.

Young and old, the German, French and Dutch visitors deplored what had been
done to one of the great men of the last century - who remains a powerful,
if aging and erratic, voice in the cause of freedom. I certainly shared
their regret at the suffering imposed on Mr. Mandela and his comrades.

But I wanted to smack the lot of them and yell, "What about the Iraqis?
Don't they matter, you smug, little hypocrites?"

As deplorable as conditions were on Robben Island during the imprisonment of
South Africa's champions of freedom, they were civilized compared to the
treatment of uncounted thousands of Iraqis at the hands of Saddam and his

I do not underestimate the crimes of the apartheid regime. Yet, despicable
though that government was, it didn't use nerve gas on thousands of men,
women and children, torture children in front of their parents, rape wives
in front of their husbands, exterminate entire families and clans on a whim,
or slaughter minority populations.

Those Euro-trash tourists were right to mourn what had been done. But why on
earth didn't they care about the present sufferings of their fellow human

The sorry truth is that Europeans love to cry over corpses, but won't lift a
finger to prevent the killing in the first place. They shake their heads
over the Holocaust, though their parents were happy enough to pack the local
Jews off to Auschwitz.

The French grudgingly accept that their intellectuals defended Stalin long
after evidence of his crimes came to light, but they avoid the issue of how
many of their thinkers and artists admired Hitler and profited from the
Occupation (French cafes and cabarets boomed under the Nazis).

Was there ever an African dictator the French didn't adore? The Dutch
criticize America's military as trigger-happy, but their own troops didn't
fire a shot in defense of the Muslims of Srebrenica, who they had been
tasked to protect and whose slaughter was the worst single massacre on
European soil since the end of the Second World War.

When I served in Europe in the '70s, Chairman Mao prefigured Viagra in his
effect upon the European Left. Of course, the Soviet Union remained noble
and virtuous until the end, its failure to construct heaven on earth
explained away by American scheming and malevolence. Today, Europeans
dismiss their historical guilt toward Jews by insisting that Israel is as
bad as Nazi Germany - a Big Lie worthy of Hitler and Goebbels - while
cheering on Israel's genocidal enemies.

What can we do in the face of such a profound lack of honesty, morality or
even decency? How can we work constructively with those for whom evidence
only matters when it supports their prejudices?

What shall we make of those who would let millions die at the hands of
tyrants while accusing America of aggression for opposing the killers?

The short answer is: Not much. In the longer term, though, we must accept
the fact that states such as France and Germany have declined to the
mentality of yesteryear's Mexico, blaming the United States for all their
failures and defining themselves not in positive terms, but merely as the

We must accept, from today onward, that America shall often need to act
alone or with a handful of courageous allies. Increasingly, we will need to
do that which we recognize as strategically and morally necessary,
disregarding those states, in Europe and elsewhere, that weep so readily for
the dead while caring so little for the living.

We must accept the world's jealousy as a given and must not become
distracted by attempts to placate European racists who refuse to set high
standards for governance in developing states. Indeed, nothing so abets
tyranny and oppression today as French and German condescension toward
black, brown or yellow populations - and their unspoken conviction that
nonwhites remain inferior.

When Robert Mugabe, the Stalin of Zimbabwe, is welcome in Paris, while the
French government takes pains to insult Colin Powell, you have a very clear
illustration of the ethics of French diplomacy. The current wave of jokes
about the French are ill-judged only in the sense that the French impulse
toward racial totalitarianism is no laughing matter. Ask the populations of
Ivory Coast or Rwanda. Or Algeria. Or of the brown and black suburbs of

Of course, sincere allies will always be welcome in this new century of
struggle between post-modern freedoms and the bankrupt sur-realpolitik of
Paris and Berlin. And we must distinguish, of course, between Europe's
freedom-loving frontier states, either on the Atlantic periphery or in the
east, and the twilight states of "Old Europe."

Our natural allies are those who either have pioneered democracy, such as
Britain, or who have struggled long and hard for their freedom - Poland,
Hungary, Spain and so many others who suffered under Communism or fascism.

Saddam looks very different to a Romanian or Latvian than he does to a
German or a Frenchman. The Frenchman sees a tantalizing business
proposition, while, as a friend of mine serving in the Gulf remarked, "The
Germans can't help loving Saddam. He's a dictator with a mustache . . ."

Beyond Europe, America's efforts to face down tyrants are resisted by -
surprise! - tyrants. The United Nations never had the strategic relevance
its partisans insist Washington's liberation of Iraq will destroy. We should
not seek to harm the U.N., but we cannot prevent it from slashing its own

We Americans can expect neither gratitude, understanding nor support from
the baroque regimes of France, Germany and their fellow travelers.
Chancellor Schroeder? Bill Clinton without the moral fiber. President
Chirac? The mouth of de Gaulle, the soul of Petain, and the morals of a
pimp. Humanitarian Belgium? Yeah, just ask the Congolese. The European
anti-war movement? Necrophiliacs licking the corpse of Josef Stalin.

Europeans will always be willing to weep over the dead. The United States
must take a stand for the living. In Iraq. And beyond.

Ralph Peters just returned from a monthlong trip to South Africa and
Zimbabwe. He is the author of "Beyond Terror: Strategy in a Changing World."
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Boycott Call Hailed

The Daily News (Harare)

March 8, 2003
Posted to the web March 10, 2003

Precious Shumba

Harare residents yesterday said they welcomed the call by the MDC to boycott
businesses and banks run by people linked to ruling Zanu PF and urged the
man opposition party to publish a list of such enterprises.

They said the MDC needed to publicly identify the banks and businesses
bankrolling the Zanu PF machinery because the party derived its dictatorship
and authority from those institutions whose funds were being used to abuse

In a snap survey carried out in the streets of Harare, most people said they
believed in the MDC's new strategy to cripple Zanu PF financially.

The boycott call was first made by Tendai Biti, the MDC shadow minister of
Home Affairs and the party's secretary for economic affairs, at a rally in

Joel Maronda, 39, of Marondera, said the MDC's call for business boycotts
was the best idea that Zimbabweans, fed up with "the illegitimate regime of
President Mugabe", could effectively implement without bothering themselves
with street protests which potentially could result in the death of

"Mass protests will only succeed once the government and its sidekicks have
been reduced to paupers," he said. "It's the money that is financing this
regime. The MDC should now help desperate Zimbabweans by compiling a
comprehensive list of businesses to be targeted. The people are ready to
silence Zanu PF as long as the MDC carries this campaign to the masses."

He said any business needed money to function properly and Zanu PF remained
in authority simply because its financial base had not been confronted.

Frank Moyo, 29, a correspondent for the independent Short Wave Radio Africa,
said if the government could make its people suffer economically, then
Zimbabweans should retaliate.

Chimuti Tongoona, 56, from Gokwe, said the effectiveness of that strategy
depended on the MDC's information dissemination and Zimbabweans'
seriousness. "There are people who are getting rich through dubious means,"
he said. "This idea has come out as a result of the prevailing economic
hardships. Out of that suffering, people are desperate for ideas that can
save them."

Shadreck Maruma, 32, of Hatcliffe, said the MDC's call was dangerous as it
sought to destroy other people's lives.

He said the only solution to Zimbabwe's economic hardships was through
dialogue between the MDC and Zanu PF. "The economic hardships we face are
complex," he said. "The best way to get out of the crisis is through
peaceful discussions where differences are resolved. "You can't punish your
children by refusing them the right to buy things they want from some
businesses because they are run by Zanu PF supporters."

But David Hawkins, 62, a businessman from Borrowdale, said boycotting
businesses and withdrawing money from banks run by Zanu PF officials was the
best the MDC could have thought of, given the readiness of the police and
army when dealing with demonstrators.

"That boycott call is one thing that can counter the current Zanu PF
strength," he said. "I appreciate the MDC's new approach because the
government has a tradition of using force to cow people into submission. But
Zanu PF and its diehard businessmen will have no control over people
withdrawing their money from their banks. Those banks will collapse within
months if people just make the sacrifice."

Stephen Mazorodze, 26, of Gutu in Masvingo, said it was useless for
Zimbabweans to continue supporting institutions that oiled human rights
abuses, dictatorship, rape, torture and starvation of opposition supporters.

He said it was better for Zimbabweans to suffer once and for all and enjoy
the rest of their economic life.

"At least the boycott will bring the much-needed change. Some of these
people are getting richer and richer through our suffering. We put our money
in their banks and they take that money to support Zanu PF projects which
have not benefited us."
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Shamu Raps Government's Inconsistent Housing Policy

The Daily News (Harare)

March 8, 2003
Posted to the web March 10, 2003

Staff Reporter

THE Zanu PF MP for Chegutu, Webster Shamu last Wednesday criticised the
government for a lack of a consistent housing policy to reduce the number of
home-seekers, now estimated at one million.

Shamu was contributing to the sixth order of the motion on the first report
of the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National

"We have to be more serious in our approach to housing provision," he said.
"In the past, housing has only been viewed as a social service, when in fact
it's part and parcel of economic development. Housing should be treated as a
basic human right. We have to place emphasis on providing housing for the
lower income brackets."

Shamu said the government's housing strategy and the provision of decent
accommodation should be rated as a high priority.

He said housing provision was an economic activity which helped to stimulate
economic growth and created employment for people engaged in housing

"My worry, Mr Speaker, is that Zimbabwe does not seem to have a consistent
housing policy," he said. "Housing projects and programmes have not been
consistently implemented, thereby jeopardising our efforts to reduce the
national backlog which is estimated at over one million. This is only a
conservative figure which does not reflect the actual demand for housing."

Shamu said in urban centres such as Harare, houses were being turned into
offices when people were desperately in need of accommodation. He said many
flats along Samora Machel Avenue had been converted into offices, all the
way to Eastlea.

"The local authority is just approving these conversions willy-nilly without
regard to the plight of the people," he said. "There is no real thrust for
the provision of housing for the people. The current scenario whereby
residential properties are converted into offices neglects the people and
serves the bourgeoisie."

Shamu said in the end there would be no houses for the people within the
vicinity of the central business district. He cited how Trafalgar Court was
converted from a residential property into offices.

Shamu said Parliament needed to revisit the laws governing the conversion of
residential properties or land into business properties to safeguard the
suffering people.

As a solution to the housing crisis, Shamu proposed the establishment of a
bank to finance housing development by providing loans to home-seekers at
low interest rates.
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East London Dispatch

Welcome to Mugabe's paperless society

IT'S tough on Zimbabwean pensioners, who had to find out that their pension
cheques from Harare had been dishonoured by Standard Bank due to a lack of

But I think there is a more serious problem than merely an overdrawn

Robert Mugabe's own personal mouthpiece, the state-controlled Herald
newspaper, has admitted that even the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has run out
of foreign currency.

The central bank has failed to print desperately-needed Z$500 notes (worth
about R70). Judging by Grace Mugabe's recent shopping spree in Paris, the
Mugabes probably have their own printing press in their backyard.

Because of the Mickey Mouse value of the currency, Zim businesses complain
that cash is either not available or too bulky to move.

With official inflation at about 208percent (economists say it is in fact
between 300 and 400percent), Z$500 bills have become the standard
denomination for most transactions.

Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank imports special "security paper" for printing
currency but has failed to pay debts to the paper's suppliers. (Why call it
security paper, when nobody wants it?).

Seems the saying "not worth the paper it's written on" originated in

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24-Hour Supermarket Launched

The Herald (Harare)

March 10, 2003
Posted to the web March 10, 2003


A fast-growing retail operator, the Food Chain Group, has launched a
twenty-four-hour supermarket in Harare.

This becomes the first round-the-clock supermarket to be opened in the
capital, and the second in the country after another in Mutare that has been
operating for the past six years.

The supermarket, operating as Muchira Makoni Trading, has created at least
129 jobs and operates 12 hours more than most of the retail shops across

"We decided to embark on that kind of service because of what we see in our
existing outlets, people trying to do shopping in a hurry and shopping under
pressure to catch up with the normal business closing time.

"FCG is aiming at introducing new shopping trends that have never existed
before," managing director Mr Teddy Makoni said.

FCG, which started with only15 supermarkets two years ago, has grown to 26
this year.

The group intends to expand to other towns countrywide.

However, Mr Makoni expressed concern over the shortage of basic commodities,
and the existing black market, which hampered smooth business operations.

"Our country is going through economic hardships and as an organisation we
are forging ahead, creating employment and introducing innovative shopping
ideas," he said.

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Aids Affects Agricultural Production

The Herald (Harare)

March 10, 2003
Posted to the web March 10, 2003


AIDS has killed close to seven million agricultural workers in 25 of the
hardest hit countries in the world since 1985, the Food and Agriculture
Organisation has said.

The United Nations agency said in a report for 2002 that the countries
included Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda,
Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

The epidemic, FAO said, had undone decades of socio-economic development and
rural development.

These African countries could lose 26 percent of their agricultural labour
force within two decades, the agency said.

Zimbabwe, like other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, relies on agriculture
as its engine for rural development, but rural communities have been plagued
by recurring droughts and floods.

The pandemic had only worsened the situation.

The pandemic has a negative impact on households' ability to produce food
because of labour shortages and the loss of knowledgeable farmers as they
die before passing on knowledge to their children.

FAO said Aids was affecting a family's ability to buy food owing to the loss
of productive family members bearing in mind that statistics had shown that
HIV/Aids was attacking mostly those in the 15 to 50 age range.

The ability of communities to produce and buy food was being affected as
every home was becoming overburdened to help each other with food, loans, or
as labour in the fields.

Medical bills and funeral expenses being incurred by rural households were
rising as the number of productive family members declined while the number
of dependents increased, resulting in the growth of child headed families.

Food donations from Non-Governmental Organisations had helped in fighting
against food insecurity in Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa.

The Government said the World Food Programme had so far assisted a total of
2,5 million people in drought affected areas.

More than 13 million people in southern Africa were in need of food aid and
7,8 million of them were from Zimbabwe where 5,9 people live in the rural

A National Aids Council official said Zimbabwe had more than 2,2 million
people living with HIV/Aids and that more than 300 000 had full-blown Aids.

The official said more than 600 000 deaths were being recorded every year
and that there were 700 000 Aids orphans including those that have lost a
single parent.

It was being projected that by the year 2010 there would be 40 million
orphans living in Africa.
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Financial Times

Dossier says repression is continuing in Zimbabwe
By Tony Hawkins in Harare
Published: March 10 2003 4:00 | Last Updated: March 10 2003 4:00

Claims that the Zimbabwe government is relaxing some of its more
repressive measures have been dismissed in a detailed dossier by the
country's main opposition party.

The 15-page dossier by the Movement for Democratic Change challenges
recent statements by Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's president, who said Harare
was revising laws that had provoked international outcry.

The MDC accuses the government and police of continuing to harass its
members, including members of parliament and Morgan Tsvangirai, party

According to the document one MP, Job Sikhala, has been arrested 15
times since being elected in June 2000. On all but two of these occasions
charges were dropped. Another, Roy Bennett, has been arrested eight times
without any attempt at prosecution.

Some 63 MDC activists have been arrested on 260 occasions. Only 22 of
the 260 arrests - just over 8 per cent - resulted in attempted prosecutions.

The party also cites recent detentions of members of the clergy, women
in a Valentine's day peace march, dozens of spectators at a World Cup
cricket match in Bulawayo last week and party supporters canvassing votes
for two Harare by-elections due in late March.

Political analysts attribute the intensified police action to a number
of factors, one being the need to prevent embarrassing demonstrations at the
World Cup while another is to hamstring MDC electioneering efforts.

There is little doubt, too, that the government is concerned by the
prospect of street unrest arising from food and fuel shortages and the
impact of inflation.

Consumer prices rose 208 per cent in the year to January.

Following a 93 per cent devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar from last
week, and the near-doubling of fuel prices, inflation is set to accelerate
in the months ahead. The IMF has forecast 522 per cent inflation for 2003.

Even some ministers admit privately that the mood on the streets is
becoming increasingly ugly.

Analysts also say the government is convinced it has a licence to do
as it likes. With the leading powers focused on the Middle East and North
Korea, ministers are confident Zimbabwe is no longer being watched so

Opposition politicians believe regional neighbours, especially South
Africa, have abandoned any attempt to mediate in the crisis.

A 12-month suspension from the 54-member Commonwealth, imposed after
Robert Mugabe's controversial re-election as president last year, is due to
expire on March 19.

Both Mr Mbeki and Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo, his African
partner in the Commonwealth "troika" charged with monitoring the Zimbabwe
situation, appear to have accepted the claim by Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe
information minister, that "normalcy has returned to Zimbabwe" and Mr
Mugabe's assertion that the land resettlement programme is over.

However, Justice for Agriculture, representing the 500 or so white
farmers who have remained on their land, reports that at least 25 new
acquisition and eviction orders were issued during February alone. The
Commercial Farmers' Union says 314 farms have been listed for compulsory
acquisition since August.

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Embargo Date: 10 March 2003 00:01 GMT
Zimbabwe: Appeal to Commonwealth leaders on Commonwealth Day.

On the occasion of Commonwealth Day on 10 March, Amnesty International is
calling on the Commonwealth to take rigorous action in response to
escalating state repression of human rights defenders, opposition officials
and the independent media in Zimbabwe.
Supporters and officials of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), the independent media, church leaders and human rights defenders
continue to be subjected to harassment, arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment
by the Zimbabwean authorities," Amnesty International said.

Since the start of 2003, politically motivated violence has intensified
largely linked to state efforts to silence dissent prior to scheduled World
Cup cricket matches and in the run up to parliamentary by-elections in
Kuwadzana and Highfield, two high density suburbs outside of Harare. As
parliamentary by-elections scheduled to take place on 29-30 March approach,
MDC members of parliament, opposition officials and supporters are being
subjected to intimidation, arbitrary arrest and torture by government
authorities and militia.

On 2 March, up to 72 MDC supporters were arrested on their way back from a
rally addressed by MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai, in Harare. They were
taken to several police stations where they were assaulted and beaten by
police before they were later released.

On the same day, Nelson Chamisa, the MDC candidate for Kuwadzana, was
arrested by the police along with 10 MDC supporters, while distributing
pamphlets ahead of the parliamentary by-elections in Kuwadzana. All were
released on the same day but were prevented by police from carrying out
door-to- door canvassing.

On 28 February, 23 church leaders were arrested by the police when they
tried to deliver a petition to the police calling for an end to police
violations of human rights. The church leaders were detained for several
hours and then released without charge.

"The Commonwealth should clearly signal to the Government of Zimbabwe that
these acts are in clear violation of the human rights principles enshrined
in the 1991 Harare Commonwealth Declaration," the organization said.

Amnesty International urges Commonwealth governments to use all possible
influence to encourage the Zimbabwe authorities to bring an immediate end to
human rights violations perpetrated by the government. The disparity between
the principles enshrined in the 1991 Harare Commonwealth Declaration, and
the reality of human rights violations in Zimbabwe creates an urgent need
for renewed action by the Commonwealth.

"The Commonwealth should send a strong and clear message that the worsening
situation in Zimbabwe can not be ignored and that the Zimbabwean authorities
should not allow human rights to be violated with impunity. The Commonwealth
should take all necessary steps to ensure that the Zimbabwean authorities
live up to their responsibilities under the Harare Commonwealth
Declaration," Amnesty International said.

"On a day when the 54 member countries of the Commonwealth celebrate their
links with one another, the citizens of Zimbabwe should not stand alone in
the face of escalating state repression and violence," the organization


Commonwealth Day is an annual event during which all the fifty-four member
countries of the Commonwealth celebrate their links with one another. The
day is celebrated around the world on the second Monday in March.

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Daily News


Mugabe's headaches over fuel crisis persist

3/10/2003 10:42:36 PM (GMT +2)

By Chris Mhike Business Reporter

PRESIDENT Mugabe's groans and moans of "headaches and stomach aches"
over petrol and diesel shortages, will be with him for a long time to come
as the gravity of the crisis deepens.

The more significant piece of memory from the crisis could, however,
be the disastrous effects that the shortages have had on the social,
economic and political landscape in the country.

The country's fuel supplies have been erratic for the past five years
due to a crippling shortage of foreign currency.

The forex crunch worsened in February 2000 due to depressed export
performance, a decline in tourist arrivals as violence gripped the country
in the period preceding the parliamentary election in June 2000. Violence,
intimidation and general lawlessness worsened before and after the March
2002 presidential election which the international community declined to

The MDC said Mugabe won the election through violence, massive rigging
and intimidation which prevailed in the country then. The opposition party
has since taken the ruling Zanu PF to court contesting the outcome.

The international community responded by imposing sanctions on Mugabe,
his spouse, his entire Cabinet and people closely associated with Zanu PF.

The move compounded the country's forex shortages, leading to the now
familiar fuel crisis. The government does not have enough forex to purchase
the precious fluid.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank withdrew
balance-of-payments support four years ago after the government continually
failed to adhere to macro-economic targets, presaging the current problems.
The present phase of fuel shortages commenced in September last year.

In a speech delivered last October at Zanu PF's national conference,
Mugabe angrily complained that he suffered sleepless nights, headaches and
stomach aches over the fuel supply and distribution crunch.

Many party cadres were saddened that the health of their President was
under attack.
But greater multitudes of citizens have been angry for the past four
years, particularly the past four months, over the perennial failure by
Mugabe and his government to solve the fuel crisis once and for all.

Last year's Christmas, which fell just about two months after the
"headaches and stomach aches" speech, was described as the saddest festive
season in living memory. Motorists spent the 24 hours of 25 December 2002 in
fuel queues. Commuters resigned from attempting to travel to rural homes
after failing for five days, to catch a bus to their respective

It was a sad Christmas; graver than the headaches and stomach aches at
the leafy State House.

Public transport has ever since remained awful. Urban commuters have
had to wait from 4pm when they finish work, until around 10pm for transport
to go home.

In the morning they have to work up between 3 and 4am, to be in time
for work at 8am.
The crisis has resulted in various personal tragedies.

The death of a woman in Harare in January, while queuing up for fuel
was described by many readers as "really sad".

In another incident, a Kuwadzana man stored 40 litres of fuel in his
house, to minimise the amount of time spent in fuel queues. Fire broke out
one fateful day, reducing the entire house to ashes. The man died from burns
sustained in the fire.

But so widespread has been the fuel crisis that even the dead have
also been affected.
Since the onset of the crisis, the operations of funeral parlours have
been severely hampered, resulting in burial delays. Crematoria in various
parts of the country have failed to cremate bodies for lack of petroleum
gas, used to fire up the cremation furnaces.

The wheels of justice could not turn at the beginning of the year due
to lack of the precious liquid. The Harare Magistrates Courts' operations
were slowed down as the Zimbabwe Prison Services failed to bring dozens of
remand prisoners to court for trial.
The wheels of industry and commerce have not been spared either.

In the company's financial report several months ago, Delta
Corporation Limited said the shortage of paraffin had had a knock-on effect
on businesses dependent on the product.
A Ruwa businessman said: "Business is quiet because there is no
paraffin available. We aren't doing anything and that is terrible. But with
the fuel shortages, what can we do?"

Even the realm of the government's campaign motif - "the land is the
economy, the land is the economy", that is agriculture - has been severely
affected by the fuel crisis.

In economic highlights published at the end of last year, the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe said the performance of the agricultural sector had been
crippled by the fuel crisis. In agriculture fuel is used on tractors,
generators, harvesters, and other mechanised farming equipment.

The negative effects of the crisis on the sector was particularly
catastrophic in that agriculture remained, to the end of last year, the
largest contributor to the national economy. It accounted for 15,9 percent
of gross domestic product (GDP), and 26,3 percent of formal employment.

Performance in the manufacturing sector also dwindled, partly as the
result of fuel shortages. Several cement manufacturers such as Zim-Cement,
Circle Cement, Sino-Zimbabwe and Pretoria Portland Cement were in the past
seven months, forced to either suspend operations or totally wind up due to
input shortages, including fuel.

In a pre-closure statement last month, Portland Holdings Limited said:
"The company wishes to advise all valued customers that our stocks of coal
and diesel fuel are critically low and that we have no choice but to stop
production at Colleen Bawn with immediate effect."

Most other major companies in the manufacturing or mining sectors also
rely heavily on the availability of fuel for operations.

Companies in the clothing industry have failed to deliver orders
timeously to clients. Certain Bulawayo firms have resorted to asking
customers to collect finished orders from their factories, an unlikely
occurrence in a normal economy.

Wankie Colliery Mine in Hwange, Ziscosteel in Kwekwe, the Zimphos
concerns dotted in different parts of the country, Triangle Limited and
Hippo Valley Estates in the Lowveld, and other strategic companies have all
acknowledged the importance of fuel to industrial productivity.

They employ significant percentages of the country's population.
Operational disturbances as occasioned by fuel shortages would, therefore,
leave thousands of families stranded - and sad.

Many Zimbabweans do not sympathise with Mugabe on his headaches and
stomach aches over the fuel crisis.

Industry and commerce has suffered from more than "headaches and
stomach aches", due to the fuel crisis. Companies have been paralysed and
liquidated as a result.

The government is yet to come up with credible policies to halt the
crisis. It is does not even admit failure to resolve the crisis.

For now citizens have to make do with headaches, stomach aches,
walking to and from work, or waiting for hours on end for transport as
business and the economy continue to ail.

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Daily News

Mbeki urged to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe

3/10/2003 10:39:35 PM (GMT +2)

By Ray Matikinye Features Editor

TWO renowned South African academics have called on that country's
president, Thabo Mbeki, to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe by closing the
border between the two countries, saying his "quiet diplomacy" had failed as
a policy.

South African parliamentary researcher, Tim Hughes, and South African
Institute for International Affairs director, Dr Gregg Mills, said in a
joint statement on Friday silent diplomacy hardly qualified as a policy.
"Silent diplomacy hardly qualifies as policy. It has no clear aims as a
benchmark for progress nor can local and international communities
understand it. It is a totally inadequate reaction to a catastrophe," Hughes
and Mills said.

Calling for smart sanctions both said: "In extraordinary circumstances
it should result in drastic action, including closing the border for exports
and imports and suspending Zimbabwe from international bodies. These
measures should include a resignation clause for Mugabe and possibly
leadership amnesty," they said.

Mbeki has been widely condemned for his "quiet diplomacy" on the
Zimbabwean crisis.
Mills and Hughes' call comes in the wake of revelations that South
African utility companies are owed more than R140,5 billion (Z$983,5 billion
at the official rate and Z$22 400 billion at the parallel market rate) as a
result of the political crisis in Zimbabwe.

The International Crisis Group has estimated investment losses in
southern Africa as a direct result of the Zimbabwean disaster at R305,5

Zimbabwe owes Eskom, Sasol, Telkom and Transnet millions of rands
since it cannot pay for electricity, fuel, telecommunications and transport
services in southern Africa.

Zimbabwe owes Eskom R80m (Z$560 million at the official rate and
Z$1,24 billion at the parallel market rate).

Paul Kruger, Sasol chairman, said in his annual report to
shareholders: "The South African government's silent diplomacy has no effect
on devastating events in Zimbabwe."

The former Posts and Telecommunications Corporation owes Telkom R60m
($9,3 billion at the parallel market rate).

The South African Reserve Bank has imposed an overdraft limit of R75
million on its Zimbabwean counterpart, but its northern neighbour had
already exceeded it.

South African Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma,
told parliament two years ago: "Our foreign policy is based on the
responsibility that South Africa offers hope to all of humanity.
Internationally we are to continue the struggle for a better world by
offering the following values: democracy, good governance, people-centred
development, peace, stability and safety, promoting co-operation,
partnerships and good neighbourliness."

Hughes and Mills say it is "simply impossible" to reconcile the
above-mentioned policy statement with the current approach to Zimbabwe.

Last week Mbeki said South Africa was not prepared to push Zimbabwe
over the precipice.

Meanwhile United States President George Bush on Saturday issued an
executive order blocking President Mugabe's assets and those of his
colleagues for their continued human rights abuse.

Bush banned American companies from dealing with Zimbabwe. He called
for similar sanctions by the United Nations, the Southern African
Development Community, European Union, the African Union and the

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Daily News

Leader Page

Nothing for Mugabe to show but poverty

3/10/2003 10:44:31 PM (GMT +2)

In an effort to please his shallow-minded supporters and hangers-on,
President Mugabe always finds it worthwhile to throw vitriol on his
arch-rival Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC at every opportunity.

Recently he repeated his customary tirade against the opposition
leader at Harare International Airport, saying Tsvangirai was not educated
enough to rule Zimbabwe.

Mugabe called Tsvangirai a ghost who lacked proper education to lead
the country. He repeated his now tired trivia while attacking Tsvangirai for
allegedly betraying Zimbabwe and being a British puppet who thrived on

"Desist from violence, Tsvangirai. Who the hell are you anyway to want
to rule this country? Chikoro hauna, unongovawo chipoko zvako (You are not
educated, you are just a spook)," Mugabe said. How ironical when none other
than Mugabe himself has boasted that he has degrees in violence.

Mugabe thinks and has been misled by his supporters into thinking that
he has a God-given right to rule this country "until donkeys have grown
horns" like his deputy, Simon Muzenda, once said.

Mugabe and all his degrees - whether of the academic or violence
variety - does not have a right to mess up this country and its economy
because he was in the liberation struggle.
He thinks his liberation war credentials, if we are to call them that,
give him the right to order his supporters to descend on anyone perceived to
belong to the main opposition party and cause them untold suffering.

Even the Press has not been spared that violence and intimidation.
Members of the independent Press have been called British-sponsored puppets
for daring to point out this government's political mistakes, misdemeanours
and corruption of the highest order.

He thinks he has a God-sent right to starve people of this country for
supporting the MDC.

Ironically, Mugabe, with most of his degrees gained while in
detention, might be the most educated president in this region, but he has
still failed to rule this country.

He has created one economic disaster after another despite boasting a
Master's Degree in Economics. Mugabe, with his degrees, has failed to rein
in his faltering deputies and party supporters. They have bled the fiscus
dry as they blundered from one economic plan to another.

Those degrees have not stopped the massive corruption and plunder of
the country's wealth by Zanu PF leaders, its supporters and hangers-on. To
them, ruling Zimbabwe is one endless ride on the gravy train without anyone
lifting a finger.

Zanu PF and its leaders have the mistaken belief that they can do as
they please with this country - starve, rape, intimidate, kill and maim.

People in this country have woken up and realised that Zanu PF has no
divine right to rule this country until kingdom come.

They have long realised that educated as he might claim to be, Mugabe
has messed up their lives for the past 23 years with impunity.

Mugabe and his cronies have used all State apparatus at their disposal
to maintain a firm political grip on this country.

Those degrees have been used for nothing other than spreading fear,
alarm and despondency among the country's poor people who continue to sink
into unprecedented poverty despite having a President with about seven
degrees. Zimbabwe would be flowing of milk and honey if our dear President
used his degrees wisely for the country's benefit.

It is not only Mugabe who is highly educated in his party. Zanu PF
boasts one of the most learned leaderships, but all that knowledge seems to
be failing to deliver Zimbabwe from its economic quagmire.

It seems the more educated they are, the greedier, more corrupt,
violent and power-hungry they become. Those degrees are being used to
further their own nests, not for Zimbabwe's political, social and economic
prosperity as they would like us to believe.
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Daily News

NCA members in court

3/10/2003 10:50:17 PM (GMT +2)

Court Reporter

THIRTEEN National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) members appeared
before Maxwell Manyanhaire, a Harare magistrate, on Saturday for allegedly
breaching the notorious Public Order and Security Act.

The group, which was represented by Alec Muchadehama, was not asked to
plead and was remanded to 28 March on $10 000 bail each.

Prosecutor Mehluli Tshuma alleged the group gathered and marched,
thereby disturbing peace and induced people to riot and cause disorder.
The court heard that on 6 March this year, the group gathered at the
NCA offices along Herbert Chitepo Avenue, where they were addressed by
Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA national chairman.

It is alleged during the address, Madhuku urged them to revolt against
the Zimbabwe government by staging a demonstration denouncing President
Mugabe and his cronies.

Madhuku allegedly distributed some banners and T-shirts during the
demonstration and ordered the demonstrators to regroup later at Africa Unity

On the same day, the court heard that the group, which had swelled to
more than 200 in the afternoon, met at Africa Unity Square and marched into
the city centre while chanting anti-government slogans and displaying
placards demanding a new constitution.

Tshuma alleged the demonstrators blocked the smooth flow of traffic
and obstructed road users. The police caught up with them in town and four
members were arrested. Nine more were arrested in police follow-up

In an interview on Saturday, Madhuku said he would not tire in his
fight for a new constitution.
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Daily News

Police bar MDC rally in Mutare

3/10/2003 10:52:58 PM (GMT +2)

From Sydney Saize and Farai Makotsi in Mutare

POLICE in Mutare on Saturday barred the MDC from holding a rally in
Sakubva, questioning why the opposition party had Harare East Member of
Parliament, Tendai Biti, as the main speaker, a party official said
yesterday Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC spokesperson in Manicaland, said Chief
Superintendent Emilia Moyo, the officer commanding police in Mutare
district, told party officials around 5pm on Friday to call off the rally
scheduled for the Oval Grounds in the sprawling Sakubva suburb.

Muchauraya said Moyo, in the company of two other senior police
officers, refused to state in writing reasons for denying permission for the
rally, as is required under a provision of the repressive Public Order and
Security Act (POSA).

Said Muchauraya: "Chief Superintendent Moyo and her colleagues
questioned us why we had 'the sensational Tendai Biti from Harare' among our

Biti, the shadow minister of home affairs in the MDC, last week called
for the boycott of ruling Zanu PF-linked businesses, saying funds from these
institutions were being used to prop up President Mugabe's regime and
oppress Zimbabweans.

On Thursday, Muchauraya said Moyo told the MDC officials to seek
clearance for the rally from Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
officers, despite initially promising to grant such permission.

Oddly, Zanu PF is not being subjected to the POSA requirements.
On Saturday, the MDC held a public meeting on the pending mayoral
election at Beit Hall in Dangamvura, unhindered by the police and the CIO.

According to Muchauraya, the police said there was a likelihood Biti's
presence in Sakubva would incite violence at the rally.

"They said we could go ahead with the rally but at our own peril," he
Several police officers milled around the empty Oval Grounds for most
of Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, at about 7.30pm on Friday at least 30 police officers in
three Defender vehicles descended on the Greenside home of James Mukwaya,
the MDC's provincial organising secretary, and thoroughly searched the

The police contingent left almost an hour later after confiscating a
firearm and its licence from Mukwaya, Muchauraya said.

He added: "The police said they were searching for explosives and
petrol that could be used to make petrol bombs. They did not find any of
these things."
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Daily News

Women march for peace

3/10/2003 10:51:46 PM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

DESPITE the heavy rains that fell in Harare on Saturday, more than 1
000 women braved the chilly weather and marched through the streets of
Harare calling for their rights and peace as they marked the United Nations
International Women's Day.

Led by MPs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (Glen Norah) and Eveline
Masaiti (Mutasa), the women who called themselves, "The Peace Pathfinders",
danced, prayed, marched and distributed white roses to men who were passing
by, as a sign of their quest for peace.

They were holding banners with "Respect Women," "Women of Zimbabwe Say
No to Violence," "Contraceptives are Now Expensive," "Our Daughters are not
Sex Slaves," and "Disband the Militia now," among others.

The march was organised by the Women's Coalition Organisation.
Addressing the women, Jabu Mudzuri, the Harare mayoress said: "This is
a very important day for women as it is the only day we can freely voice our
concerns and reflect on our needs, without fear. Since this day is aimed at
asserting our rights and our entitlements, we hope we will get all the
necessary support.

"Women's basic health needs regarding family planning, HIV/Aids and
even sanitary ware are chronically inadequate. We appeal to the responsible
authorities to look into women's issues and make it a better world for all
of us to celebrate our contribution to society," she said.

Mudzuri urged women to be firm in their quest to restore their dignity
and reclaim their rightful place as daughters, mothers, wives and leaders.

Meanwhile, Misihairabwi-Mushonga, commended the Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority for imposing a lower custom duty on tampons and sanitary towels to
make them affordable to women.
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