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

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 "Be the change that you want to see in the world." - Mohandas Gandi
The other evening at about eight o' clock I decided to take my coloured friend, who is also a mechanic, from my home where he had been working on my car, into Harare, to save him some money which would otherwise have been gobbled up on commuter fares.  Now, I haven't been into the city at night for a very long time, as I am not (and never was) the "night - clubbing" type.
Still, I expected to see the usual lowered traffic, the relatively empty sidewalks, and general air of relaxation that used to pervade the city well after the business closing hour.
What I did see at once amazed, horrified and yes, frightened me.  My friend's only comment, delivered in a low sepulchral tones was "The Transport Blues".  People piled in four-deep lines on the pavements, just standing, waiting, waiting, waiting for transport. Not a smile on any face, just a sort of sullen despair.  Many, bored with waiting, drinking and becoming more sullen.  As we progressed down Chinhoyi Street, from Samora Machel Avenue, the crowds became thicker, and I realised that this was not merely hundreds, but several thousand individuals that wavered in the exhaust smoke of dozens of commuter omni-buses.  There could not have been nearly a tenth of the required vehicles to move this vast mass of humanity to their homes.  It was brought home to me very clearly that Harare, and Zimbabwe were a city and a country under siege, not from any external force, but from its own government.
Another thing that I have been contemplating for a very long time, but feel must now be expressed, is the strong awareness that over the last year in particular, the polarisation of Zimbabwean society has become more and more evident and strong.  Just a few blocks away from the unhappy transport queues, many of the affluent sector of the community, of all ethnic backgrounds, are sitting down to enjoy ten thousand dollar plates of food at the several plush hotels in the area.  Many are not even aware of the misery unfolding just a few streets away.  Unfortunately many are, but choose to ignore it, hoping it will just go away.  Even more unfortunately, some are very aware, and are even gaining from it.
So what has been done and what can be done?
First, let us look at what has and hasn't worked.  Quiet diplomacy.  This has been the method of the British Government ever since independence.  I recently read the full text of a debate on Zimbabwe in the House of Lords, and was amazed to see the intimate knowledge of every little detail of every occurrence here.  But it was a debate and nothing more.  It offered up all sorts of things like more food aid, pleas to the current regime to stop the torture, mentioned Flower and Olonga's stand several times, etc. etc., but it offered no lasting or final solution to the crisis.  Quiet diplomacy.  This is the method used by the U.N. and the E.U.  Again no final solution, because they keep coming up against the term "sovereignty".  How can you use this term when referring to an ILLEGALLY elected government that is systematically destroying its own people, its natural reserves, its economy, and its food base?  A sovereign nation is a nation that looks after its people and can be proud of its standing in the international community.  Negotiation.  Internally this has been tried by the C.F.U., and it has got them precisely nowhere.  In fact it has led to them being no longer trusted by the very people whose interests they were supposed to be looking after - the commercial farmers.  The attitude towards them is that they are just trying to feather their own nests.  That attitude is very likely correct.  The MDC have refused this route as well because they know it will not get them anywhere.  Mbeki's quiet diplomacy is starting to backfire upon him seriously.  The attitude is that if he is not going to DO something positive, he must stop talking and keep his nose out of the situation altogether.
Megaphone diplomacy.  This only works if backed up with an action and is timed impeccably.  George Bush's sanctions and  other restrictions imposed the other day have had an enthusiastic response from the thinking public precisely because they came when we are at our most desperate.  All the other shouting across the  waters similarly either has no effect, or gives Mugabe the excuse to begin one of his vitriolic tirades and thereby gain internal and external support.
Protests.  At the World Cup Cricket and other occasions recently.  Sorry, it doesn't work if conducted in a small group.  The police are just too ready to deal out swift retribution and cause injury and humiliation.  Brave individual acts of defiance such as Olonga and Flower.  Better, and not only that but impeccably timed, these have really set the cat amongst the pidgeons.  But not healthy for the individuals, whose careers are now ended, and they will not be returning to their  homeland, at least until things change.  Another benefit has been the exposure of the Z.C.U. for what they really are; money grabbing hypocrites of the lowest order.
Suppression of individual expression and the media.  Here is the irony.  This has possibly  been the single biggest mistake that the regime has made.  Take away these rights from people, and they become more determined to get the word out.  For example, without these disgusting regulations, SW Radio Africa would not have been neccessary.  Now its station manager and presenters are, amongst the thinking people of Zimbabwe, national heroes even while being exiled from their own beloved land.
False Normalcy.  Just trying to ignore the situation and "get on with their lives"  while continuing, of course, to make as much money as possible.  Reading the Twin Arts newsletter, one would never think that there was anything wrong in Harare.  Scottish dancing, drama, chamber music recitals...its all there.  The National Institute of Allied Arts has just begun its Music Festival with the...wait for it...John Bredenkamp Computer and Music Centre as its venue.  There has been no indication that any of this will be at least postponed in the face of what may be a turning point in our history, not to mention the fact that it may be dangerous for the participants as they make their way through an as yet ungauged climate in Harare tomorrow and Wednesday.  The Harare International Festival of the Arts will soon begin and the organisers do not want it "politicised".  Wake up!  Politics affect every human endeavour, even in a politically stable country.  Ours is not.  Haven't you people learnt anything from the cricket (and I am not talking about the definition of a maiden over!)?
Zimbabwe Action sent out an E-Mail the other day asking businesses to give their workers space and not to dock their wages if their were going to express their views through mass action.  One factory owner's response in part was "This is all well and good, but try running a factory without people.  It is ridiculous to contemplate rewarding absenteeism with full pay.  Eventually there will be no business for the workers to NOT turn up to because the
business would have closed thanks to paying wages to absent employees.  You have got to be mature and realistic..."  Well, my friend, if the situation is allowed to on like this, you will lose your factory anyway as the whole economy collapses.  Look at the big picture won't you?  Lose a couple of days' money and you might gain it back tenfold if success is achieved.  Fortunately, their are strong indications that this man's small-mindedness is very much in the minority as I write.
All of the above have not worked individually but together they have resulted in getting the word out that Zimbabweans are not happy.  The principle of Cause and Effect has moved us to a certain point.  To something that would not have come about without all of the above.  And it is the only viable solution,the only thing that will work.
Mass Action, carefully calculated and  timed.  To all those of you with a genuine love for this country, and who are going to do something to set it back on the right path in the next days, I salute you!
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The Herald

Witness asked to identify plot meeting chairperson

Court Reporters
THE treason trial of the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and two other senior
party officials continued yesterday with the defence asking a witness to
identify a photograph of the man who chaired the plot meeting to assassinate
President Mugabe.

State witness Miss Tara Thomas yesterday examined the photograph alleged to
be of Mr Edward Simms.

It was alleged during the cross-examination of key State witness Mr Ari
Ben-Menashe that Mr Simms was a US intelligence agent.

The exhibit is part of the still pictures taken from the videotape of the
meeting discussing the assassination of President Mugabe in Canada.

Tsvangirai together with MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube and Gweru
rural MP Renson Gasela are facing treason charges arising from the plot to
kill President Mugabe ahead of last year's presidential election.

The three deny the charges, which carry a possible death penalty if

They claim that Government set them up to undermine their political
activities in the country as opposition to the ruling party.

"The photograph almost resembles Mr Simms," said Miss Thomas, as she made a
comparison of the exhibit given to her and the still picture shown in the

Ms Thomas positively identified the colour of the hair as that of Mr Simms.

She, however, said the cheeks of Mr Simms in the photograph appeared to be
more pronounced than in the videotape.

In his testimony in court, Mr Ari Ben Menashe was reluctant to disclose the
name of Mr Simms until he was directed to do so by the court.

The evidence of Ms Thomas, an aid to Mr Ben Menashe, was inconsistent with
that of her boss.

She told the court that during the London meeting she left the meeting 15
minutes after it started to check if her dictaphone was recording.

She contradicted Mr Ben-Menashe's testimony that she came in the meeting
late as she took a rest before attending the meeting.

"I had gone out to check the batteries of my dictaphone," said Ms Thomas
responding to Advocate Chris Anderson asking why she missed to record the
crucial point of the meeting where the words "elimination and assassination"
are alleged to have been used.

Ms Thomas said Mr Ben-Menashe had listened to the audiotape and read the
transcript before they were sent to the Government of Zimbabwe.

But in his evidence Mr Menashe categorically denied ever listening to the
tape and read the transcript.

He testified that the tape was inaudible and the transcript was
unintelligible, as it was riddled with inaccuracies and omissions.

Adv Andersen said the two, after realising that the words "elimination and
assassination" had not been captured during the first part of the meeting
fabricated the reasons.

"The two of you have to dream up why the two words were not captured for
your convenience," said Adv Andersen.

At the meeting, Adv Andersen said Tsvangirai was expecting to meet senior
people from America who failed to attend the meeting because of the
Afghanistan crisis.

Ms Thomas was asked why she failed to report Tsvangirai's conspiracy to
murder President Mugabe to the British police or Zimbabwe High Commission in

She said she could not have done that on her personal capacity, as she was
merely acting on instructions from her boss.

The defence gave the witness an audio tape of the London meeting

After listening to it, Ms Thomas conceded that she could not make out
anything about the conversation.

Earlier on when asked to tell the court the purpose of the meeting, Ms
Thomas said she was required to tape the proceedings.

"I was briefed on the contents of the first meeting when he (Mr Ben-Menashe)
said he was asked by Tsvangirai and others to arrange for the assassination
of President Mugabe," she said.

Further asked why she did not mention that in her statement to the police
when she came to Zimbabwe, she said she was jet lagged.

Adv Andersen said the evidence of Ms Thomas and Mr Ben-Menashe was
irreconcilable because they were not telling the truth.

The trial continues before Judge President Paddington Garwe and assessors
Major Misheck Nyandoro and Mr Dangarembizi.

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Mugabe's youth militias 'raping women held captive in camps '

Victims across Zimbabwe accuse ruling party of sex crime and torture by

Andrew Meldrum in Harare
Tuesday March 18, 2003
The Guardian

Rape is being used as a political weapon by the youth militia and other
groups allied to Zimbabwe's ruling party, according to human rights workers
and church groups. Investigations by the Guardian reveal allegations of
politically motivated rape against opposition supporters.
According to victims' testimony, President Robert Mugabe's militia are also
forcing young women to be their concubines with impunity.

Zimbabwe's human rights forum reports seven cases of politically motivated
rape in 2002, alongside 58 murders and 1,061 cases of torture. But the
reported rapes, verified by medical examinations and interviews, are just
the tip of the iceberg, human rights workers say.

"There is a serious problem of political rape in Zimbabwe. The documented
cases are low, but there is considerable stigma and fear about reporting
rape," said Tony Reeler, human rights defender for the Institute for
Democratic Alternatives for Southern Africa. "From enormous anecdotal
evidence we know the number is much higher.

"The victims are mostly young females, relatively uneducated, poor, rural,
the most vulnerable members of society. Many urgently require
anti-retrovirals for HIV infection."


The trauma of rape is evident in the dull gaze of Sithulisiwe, 21. For eight
months she was held captive at a "youth camp" for President Mugabe's ruling
Zanu-PF party, where, she says, she was repeatedly gang raped and tortured.
She said she was abducted in December 2001 and marched to a camp in a
Bulawayo suburb.

"It was surrounded by security guards so we could not get out," she said.
"There were hundreds of us. We were fed horse meat and rotten food. They
woke us up at 3am and we had to run 20 kilometres. Then we had to do 200
press ups and other exercises. If anyone failed to do so, they were beaten.
We had to chant slogans and sing Zanu-PF songs.

"They taught us the history of our country, starting from colonial slavery,
and they told us we should hate whites. We slept in large rooms, the men and
women together. We were raped by the boys. I can't even count how many times
by how many different men. If we complained to the camp commander, we were
beaten and they would call us sell-outs to the MDC [the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change]."

Sithulisiwe says she felt sorry for the young girls, of just 12 and 13,
picked out, by the camp commander and taken to a nearby hotel to be raped.
Her voice is flat and only when she talks to her five-month-old child does
her face light up. "I have named her Nokthula, which means peace. I want her
to find peace - imagine, I do not even know who her father is."

Sithulisiwe and others were caught trying to escape. She says they were
buried up to their necks. "We were beaten and thought we'd be killed, but
the camp commander rescued us. They made us roll in mud, then would not let
us take a bath."

The camp closed in July 2002. Many of the youths went to government training
camps, and Sithulisiwe was sent away. Aided by a church group, she and other
women then reported the rapes at Hillside police station near Bulawayo.

"Then the doctor gave me a blood test. He told me I was HIV positive."


Sithulisiwe's story has been independently verified. This month she
testified at a service led by Archbishop Pius Ncube at the Bulawayo Catholic
cathedral. People across Zimbabwe told of rape and torture at the hands of

"We have several reports of gang rapes and beatings at the youth militia
camps," said a human rights worker. "The camps have become centres of
torture and sexual abuse. Reports are made to police but they take virtually
no action."

Zimbabwe's police deny this. "Irrespective of whether they are political
cases or not, if they are true rape cases then we will investigate them,"
said Wayne Bvudzijena, an assistant commissioner. "If it proves to be a
serious charge, then the culprits will go to court." He was not aware of
reports of rape at the Bulawayo militia camps.

But investigations have revealed other accounts of politically motivated
sexual violence. Rebecca, 36, says she was dragged from her home in eastern
Zimbabwe by youth militia. "They beat me, saying I wanted to give the
country back to whites. Six guys raped me. These people threatened to kill
me and my family. I am afraid I may be infected with HIV, but this has made
me stronger. I feel we are in a war and I must be prepared to die."

Sarah, 22, from central Zimbabwe, tells how Zanu-PF youth attacked the
homestead where she farmed. "They burned our house and destroyed everything
we owned. They beat me, even though I had our baby on my back. They took my
baby away. They called me Tsvangirai's whore [a reference to opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai], and they beat the soles of my feet. Then, they
raped me."
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It is over to everyone now.

 Subject: Call to Mass Action Update

 My fellow Zimbabweans
 Further to the message that was sent out last week, the call to mass
 action has now been received.
 Tuesday and Wednesday, the 18th and 19th March 2003, have been set
aside as  the days on which this is to take place. The call is to close
businesses for these days, stay away from employment places and to release
employees to participate in demonstrations and marches which have been
in the High Density suburbs.

I was reminded the other day of my geography lessons about Zimbabwe. I
was told that the easiest way to recognize Zimbabwe is that it is shaped
very much like a tea-pot or kettle. This is appropriate because a few weeks
ago, I was boiling water in a large kettle on my stove and I forgot to keep
an eye on it and got on with other things. Over a period of time, the water
in the kettle got hot and began to boil and steam. It was a large kettle,
but over the hours of my neglect, eventually all the water boiled away and
the kettle began to take all the heat. When the strange smell in the house
brought to remembrance my carelessness, I rushed to the kitchen to see
what I could do to retrieve the situation. The kettle was so hot in places,
that it was starting to melt, the lid and the base no longer aligned and the
shape of the kettle had become distorted. The plastic handle had
disappeared and it was the smell of it melting onto the red hot plate that
me to the damage I had done.
 The kettle is of no use to me now. I have had to throw it away. The hot
 plate of the stove has also never been the same.

 The purpose of the story is this: Zimbabwe has been treated with
neglect. The people of this nation have been ignored and neglected by a
leadership concerned with its own interests and not those of the people it
meant to serve. Zimbabwe has gone beyond boiling point. The water is almost
spent. The capacity that exists in this nation to "keep things going" is at
end. Unless action is taken to change the present circumstances, damage will
be done to the structure of this country that will not allow it to recover
or be of use. If that point is reached, the effects to this nation, and ALL
those in it, will be catastrophic. The call has gone out now to act as you
see fit, peacefully and
properly, to express your discontent and call for a change that will lead to
meaningful progress. It is up to you now. Silence is complicity. Either you
are for
the process of change and rebuilding, or you are silent and continue as if
 "everything is all right", which means at you support the status quo and
 are a supporter of all that is wrong in Zimbabwe today.

 My thanks to all those who have offered support, moral and otherwise,
since the last message went out. It has been overwhelming and I do not have
the capacity to answer you all.

 Jerome O'Brien
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Daily News

      Troika stings Mugabe

      3/18/2003 8:50:11 AM (GMT +2)

      By Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter

      IN ANOTHER surprise U-turn, the Commonwealth Troika, whose two African
members vigorously advocated for the readmission of Zimbabwe to the
54-member organisation, on Sunday stung their long-standing ally, President
Mugabe, when they extended Zimbabwe's suspension for a further nine months.

      In a statement, Don McKinnon, the Secretary-General of the
Commonwealth, said the decision was arrived at in consultation with other
members of the organisation. "The members of the Troika have now concluded
that the most appropriate approach in the circumstances is for Zimbabwe's
suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth to remain in place until
the Commonwealth Heads of Government decide upon a way forward at the
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in December 2003,'' McKinnon said.
"Some member governments take the view that it is time to lift Zimbabwe's
suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth when the one-year period
expires on 19 March 2003. Others feel that there is no justification for
such a step. There is reason, in fact, to impose stronger measures."

      Earlier, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo had advocated for the
readmission of Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth, but sprung a surprise when -
last week- he reportedly told a London-based newspaper, The Sunday Times,
that Mugabe must go and pave way for a successor. Obasanjo was quoted as
saying: "It's entirely up to him, but obviously he knows he has to work a
succession. I don't need to tell him, but if I say I am thinking about my
succession, that's an indication that he should think of his. In my part of
the world, there are so many ways you can tell a man to go to hell." The
Commonwealth agreed Zimbabwe should remain suspended from the group until
the end of the year when the Commonwealth Heads of Government are expected
to meet.

      The move is aimed at giving Mugabe and his government time to repent
and adequately address the worsening economic and political crisis in the
country. The latest development has thrown into disarray frantic and
relentless efforts by Obasanjo and South African President Thabo Mbeki, the
majority in the Troika, to readmit Zimbabwe into the bloc, who had argued
Mugabe had made progress in addressing gross human rights abuses and the
muzzling of the Press - against the sole dissenting voice of Australian
Prime Minister John Howard, who completes the Troika. During his state visit
to Botswana last week, Mbeki criticised Mugabe over the chaotic land reform

      Reuters quoted Mbeki as saying: "We have seen for some time now that
the matter is not being handled correctly. President Festus Mogae (of
Botswana) and myself have said directly to the government of Zimbabwe that
it needs to be handled in a way that addresses the land needs of both black
and white Zimbabweans."
      Paul Themba Nyathi, the opposition MDC's spokesman, commented:
"Zimbabwe had it coming. There is no way Mugabe and Zanu PF can Please, turn
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      continue to punish a nation and expect the international community not
to react, especially where human lives are concerned." Both the South
African and Nigerian High Commissioners could not be reached for comment

      Zanu PF spokesman, Jonathan Moyo, was said to be out of office. Last
year, the troika - Australia, Nigeria and South Africa - mandated to deal
with the Zimbabwean crisis, suspended the country from the councils of the
54-member Commonwealth. But in a surprise U-turn, Obasanjo and Mbeki called
for the readmission of Zimbabwe despite continued arrests of opposition
legislators, innocent civilians, journalists, members of the diplomatic
missions in Harare and the recent arrest of High Court Judge Benjamin
Paradza, who was dragged out of his chambers by the police as he was about
to attend to court matters. Australian Prime Minister and head of the
Troika, John Howard, was opposed to the view of lifting Zimbabwe's
suspension saying Mugabe and his government had done little or nothing to
warrant its readmission. Zimbabwe's suspension came after Commonwealth and
international observers reported massive human rights violations during the
March 2002 presidential election fiercely contested by Morgan Tsvangirai and
controversially won by Mugabe.

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Invitation to Comment on Broadcasting Services in Zimbabwe

As part of the steps the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe has to take before inviting broadcasting licence applications, the Authority is inviting the public to forward their views on:

  1. whether there is a need for the provision of additional broadcasting services in their areas and if so, the type of services required.
  2. the priorities, as between particular areas in Zimbabwe and as between the different parts of the broadcasting services bands.

Submissions required before March 30, 2003

The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe will be visiting all the provincial centres throughout the country to consult the public on the above issues. The detailed programme will be published in due course.

We recommend that you send a copy of your correspondence to:
P.O. Box HR8113, Harare, Zimbabwe

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Daily News

      Official a fraud suspect

      3/18/2003 9:11:31 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Mutare

      JACOB Matereke, an official with the Ministry of Youth Development,
Gender and Employment Creation in Mutare, facing a charge of theft by
conversion involving $120 000, has been granted $15 000 bail by Mutare
provincial magistrate, Hosiah Mujaya.

      The State, led by Zachariah Goneso, alleged that Matereke, 31,
converted $170 000, which he was given by his employer to pay youths from
the national youth training centre for the public work they had done. Goneso
said the offence came to light after the Ministry's accounts were audited
and Matereke was arrested on 10 March. Goneso alleged Matereke used $50 000
to pay the youths and converted $120 000 to his own use. Matereke was not
asked to plead. He was remanded to 25 March. Goneso said Matereke has since
paid $28 700 as restitution. Matereke was ordered to report to Marange
police post once a week and not to interfere with witnesses. Last Friday
Elimon Tsoriyo, a Zanu PF activist, who allegedly converted over $400 000
meant to finance President Mugabe's 2002 re-election campaign to his own
use, was granted $5 000 bail by Mutare magistrate, Walter Chikwanha.

      Chikwanha remanded Tsoriyo to 28 April. Tsoriyo was ordered to report
to Rusape Police Station once a week. He was ordered to pay $450 000 as
restitution to the Ministry of Youth Development, Gender and Employment
Creation. The money was meant to pay Zanu PF youths involved in the
presidential campaign. Tsoriyo did not pay the youths but converted $404 300
to his own use.
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Daily News

      Judge orders Nkala defence to supply key information

      3/18/2003 9:11:57 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      Harare High Court judge Justice Sandra Mungwira yesterday ordered the
defence to supply all the information requested by the prosecution
pertaining to the allegations of torture against four of the six men accused
of murdering Bulawayo war veteran leader Cain Nkala.

      Mungwira made the order after hearing both sides' arguments in an
application for a trial within a trial by prosecutor Charles Kandemiri at
the resumption of the trial after a five-week adjournment. Kandemiri said
the State needed the names of those who allegedly tortured the suspects,
where they were tortured and the circumstances under which they were
tortured. The defence, led by Advocate Eric Morris, however objected to the
State's request, saying there was nothing in the statutes that allowed the
State to request further particulars from the defence in order to prepare
its case. Morris said: "There have been most remarkable omissions by the
State, with witnesses not being recalled, statements we know were recorded
not being produced." He said the defence was "frightened" that the State
could tailor the evidence if the defence revealed more of its evidence.
After issuing the order, Mungwira granted the defence's request for a
postponement of the trial until
      tomorrow to consider her ruling.

      Nkala was allegedly abducted from his Magwegwe, Bulawayo, home on 5
November 2001 and his body was exhumed near Solusi University on 13 November
2001. Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, the Member of Parliament for
Lobengula-Magwegwe, Sonny Masera, the MDC director of security, Army Zulu,
Kethani Sibanda, Remember Moyo, and Sazini Mpofu, are on trial for his
murder. In his testimony last month, Dr Salvator Alex Mapunda, the
government pathologist who conducted the post-mortem, said he was strangled
to death with shoe laces.

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Daily News

      Police arrest Daily News vendor over headline in paper

      3/18/2003 9:13:13 AM (GMT +2)

      From Kelvin Jakachira in Mutare

      POLICE in Chipinge last week arrested a Daily News vendor because the
newspaper carried a story with an "offending" headline. Stanley Mabuyaye,
19, was arrested by the police for selling copies of The Daily News which
led with a story headlined "Mugabe must be tried." He was detained for about
six hours and released without any charge after the intervention of Langton
Mhungu, a Chipinge-based lawyer.

      The police confiscated 150 copies of the newspaper. Mhungu was not
immediately available for comment yesterday. Edmund Maingire, the police
spokesman in Manicaland yesterday said: "I do not have any record of
Mabuyaye's arrest." But Martin Zimudyi, The Daily News circulation manager
in Mutare said: "The police confiscated 150 copies of The Daily News over a
headline 'Mugabe must be tried'. They detained him and later released him
with all his papers after the intervention of lawyers." Interviewed
yesterday, Mabuyaye said he was approached by a police officer identified
only as inspector Muchikwa and two armed soldiers who took him to the police
station. "They told me that the paper was not wanted because of the
headline," Mabuyaye said. The story quoted the International Bar Association
urging the International Criminal Court to prosecute President Mugabe for
serious human rights violations.
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Daily News

      Manager in court

      3/18/2003 9:17:48 AM (GMT +2)

      From Sydney Saize in Mutare

      MARTIN Mubhawu, the acting administration manager at National Foods'
Mutare branch, last Friday appeared before a Mutare magistrate for allegedly
receiving $62 500 as a kickback from a baker to whom he had supplied flour.
Mubhawu, 39, is facing a charge of contravening a section of the Prevention
of Corruption Act.

      Regional magistrate, Herbert Mandeya, remanded him out of custody to
28 March on $5 000 bail. He was not asked to plead. The State, led by
Zachariah Goneso, alleged that Mubhawu, of Chikanga, Mutare, on 13 March
asked Kennedy Kuhudzewe, to grease his palm for favouring him with 15 50kg
bags of flour. Goneso alleged Mubhawu asked the baker to pay him $37 500 as
a reward for allocating him the scarce commodity. He also allegedly demanded
to be paid $25 000 for a previous consignment of flour he had allocated the
baker, which he had not paid.

      Kuhudzewe then alerted the police before paying the money, leading to
Mubhawu's arrest. Goneso alleged the money was recovered from Mubhawu. He
was ordered not to interfere with witnesses and to remain at his known
address as his bail conditions.
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Daily News

      Lawyer queries Thomas' evidence

      3/18/2003 9:19:31 AM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      A PROSECUTION witness in the treason trial of three top MDC officials
battled yesterday to account for "inconsistencies" between her evidence and
that of key witness Ari Ben-Menashe of events at a meeting in London with
Morgan Tsvangirai, one of the accused persons. Defence lawyer, Chris
Andersen, yesterday said Ben-Menashe's personal assistant, Tara Thomas, and
her boss gave different versions of events at the Royal Automobile Club in
London. This is where Tsvangirai held a meeting with Ben-Menashe, the
president of the Canadian-based political consultancy, Dickens and Madson,
his deputy Alexander Legault, Rupert Johnson and Thomas in November 2001.

      Andersen cited the example of Ben-Menashe's claim in court that he had
not listened to the audio-tape of the meeting which was secretly recorded by
Thomas. This clashed with Thomas' evidence yesterday that she gave the tape
and recorder to Ben-Menashe who listened to the tape overnight and returned
it to her the following morning. "They told me it was not audible so I didn'
t listen to it," Ben-Menashe told the High Court three weeks ago. He was
referring to Thomas and Elizabeth Boutin, a receptionist at Dickens and
Madson who attempted to compile a transcript of the tape. Ben-Menashe also
alleged Tara Thomas turned up late for the meeting because she was resting
in her hotel room as she was not feeling well.

      Thomas, however, said under cross-examination by Andersen, she was
late for the meeting because she had gone out to buy a battery for the tape
recorder. Challenged by Andersen to account for the inconsistencies, Thomas
said: "I don't know, sir. I can't speak for Mr Ben-Menashe. I was not there
when he gave his evidence." Thomas said she was instructed by Ben-Menashe to
tape the meeting at which Ben-Menashe allegedly said Tsvangirai would
outline a plot to assassinate President Mugabe and topple his Zanu PF
government. "He also briefed me about the contents of the first meeting
wherein he said he was asked by Mr Tsvangirai and others to arrange for the
assassination of President Mugabe," Thomas said.

      "He also said I was not to look surprised at what was to be
 discussed." Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube, the party's secretary-general and
Renson Gasela, the shadow minister of agriculture, have pleaded not guilty.
The trial continues today.
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      Mudede opposes request

      3/18/2003 9:19:56 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      TOBAIWA Mudede, the Registrar General (RG), has filed papers in the
High Court, opposing the request by Nelson Chamisa, the opposition MDC
candidate for Kuwadzana, for a copy of the updated voters' roll ahead of the
29-30 March by-election.

      The RG has refused to release a copy of the voters' roll but there are
reports that David Mutasa, the ruling Zanu PF candidate for Kuwadzana, was
given a copy which he is using in his door-to-door campaign. In court papers
filed last Friday, Mudede, the first respondent, said the MDC, the second
applicant, could not be envisaged as a person in terms of Section 18 (2) of
the Electoral Act. Mudede said: "The MDC may be a legal persona, but is not
capable of inspecting a voters' roll as the Electoral Act is specific. It
alludes to a voter and, as such, it should be withdrawn from the court

      Mudede said Chamisa was relying on hearsay by stating that members of
the public were not permitted to inspect the voters' roll. He said the MDC
candidate could not bring an action on behalf of those prospective voters
who were allegedly not allowed to inspect the voters' rolls. "Chamisa has
had the opportunity to inspect the voters' roll in his constituency and his
name is still on the roll," Mudede said.
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      Nzira supporters run amok

      3/18/2003 9:20:59 AM (GMT +2)

      By Angela Makamure and Brian Mangwende

      ANGERED by the conviction of their leader, Godfrey Nzira, for rape,
about 2 000 members of the Johanne Masowe Apostolic Sect went haywire
yesterday, beating up court officials, policemen on duty and smashing the
entry doors at the Harare Magistrates' Court. Betty Chidziva, the trial
magistrate, reportedly escaped death by a whisker when some of the members
pounced on her soon after she delivered judgment.

      A court official, who refused to be named, said Chidziva and other
court officials had to flee for their lives as the church members, with
women in the majority, ran amok inside the courtroom. Zimbabwe Prison
Services warders had to fire several shots into the air to disperse the
incensed and rowdy church members. Some of the women members exposed their
bodies by lifting their white garb in protest soon after judgment was
passed. For hours, Chidziva and her colleagues locked themselves in the
safety of the court building from the menacing group, whose tempers were
only cooled after they were addressed by Joseph Chinotimba, a war veteran
leader and ruling Zanu PF zealot.

      It was not clear in what capacity Chinotimba addressed the church
members. Nzira was whisked from the court building in a truck by Harare
Remand Prison officers. "The situation was chaotic," a court official said.
"All hell broke loose here today when the magistrate convicted Nzira. People
ran for safety after the members descended on them. One magistrate lost her
shoes as she ran for dear life." A court interpreter said Chidziva, who is
expected to pass sentence today, was unlikely to do so until her security
was guaranteed. Nzira, the Chitungwiza-based faith healer, was convicted on
seven counts of rape and one charge of indecent assault.

      He was facing nine counts of rape after he allegedly raped two women
who went to his shrine in Chitungwiza in 2002 for spiritual healing. Nzira,
who was out on bail, was remanded in custody pending sentence today.
Delivering her judgment, Chidziva said the State witnesses had given their
evidence clearly and profoundly and were not shaken during
cross -examination. Chidziva said the defence witnesses had tried to protect
him by fabricating evidence. She noted that the two complainants had
received spiritual healing from Nzira and there was no way they could have
turned against him claiming they had been raped. She said the two were also
married, and could not have risked being divorced by their husbands by
falsely testifying against Nzira.

      The magistrate said on all the occasions the complainants testified in
court, they broke down. This showed that they were being traumatised by what
they had experienced. Said Chidziva: "Honestly, they could not have done
that when nothing happened. They delayed to tell their husbands because they
said they were not sure of their husbands' reactions considering that Nzira
was a much respected man," Chidziva said. One of the victims suffered a
stroke after she was allegedly raped five times by Nzira. She only recovered
from the stroke after being treated at Chitungwiza General Hospital. Wisdom
Gandanzara prosecuted
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      Zanu PF politburo suspends Sibanda

      3/18/2003 9:17:17 AM (GMT +2)

      By Foster Dongozi

      Jabulani Sibanda, the controversial Zanu PF provincial chairman for
Bulawayo, was suspended by the party's politburo last week. Sibanda
allegedly led demonstrations against senior party leaders implicated in the
unfair distribution of maize grain in the city.

      Relations between Sibanda and senior politicians from Matabeleland
soured last year after they accused him of belonging to what they said was
an "Emmerson Mnangagwa camp" in the race to succeed President Mugabe. The
Matabeleland old guard is reportedly aligned to another camp gunning for the
presidency, which
      includes Retired General Solomon Mujuru, John Nkomo, Sydney
Sekeramayi, Dumiso Dabengwa and Simba Makoni. Contacted for comment, a
senior official in the Bulawayo Zanu PF province said: "As far as we are
concerned, Jabulani Sibanda is now part of our history.

      "Silas Dlomo, who was his deputy, is now acting chairman. We have
municipal elections in August and we want to start our campaign as soon as
possible." Sibanda's suspension was decided at a politburo meeting in Harare
on Wednesday last week. Sibanda who could not be reached for comment
yesterday, had in an earlier interview said: "I don't belong to any camp.
The only camp that I belonged to was the liberation struggle." John Nkomo,
the Zanu PF national chairman, who chairs the disciplinary body, would
neither confirm nor deny that Sibanda had been suspended. "Look, I am not in
the office. I am in the bush and I cannot say anything," said Nkomo.

      Sources close to the politburo said after the suspension, a
four-member team was set up to investigate allegations against Sibanda and
his executive. The team consists of Angeline Masuku, Nicholas Goche, Patrick
Chinamasa and Elliot Manyika. The Zanu PF secretary for publicity and
information, Nathan Shamuyarira, said the politburo had decided that some
members of the Bulawayo provincial executive, accused of indiscipline,
should be punished. "The national chairman, John Nkomo, was tasked with
leading a committee comprising Goche, Masuku, Chinamasa, Manyika and Muchena
to go and investigate and find out who the culprits are before they can be
punished," said Shamuyarira.
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Leader Page

      Extension of suspension is a victory for sanity

      3/18/2003 8:52:34 AM (GMT +2)

      The entire civilised world must have heaved a collective sigh of
relief at the news that Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth councils
will now remain in place until the next Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting in Nigeria in December.

      Not only has the decision pulled back the Commonwealth from the brink
of a debilitating polarisation, or even disintegration, which the adoption
of Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo's recommendation was almost
certainly going to cause. But it is also a victory of sanity over the
tragically misguided African solidarity which had influenced the
recommendation in the first place. There was much alarm and despondency, not
just in this country but in every other country where democracy, the rule of
law and respect for human rights are cherished, after Obasanjo's submission
to Australian Prime Minister John Howard that it was both his view and that
of South African President Thabo Mbeki, that the suspension be lifted when
it expires tomorrow.

      In a letter to Howard, the chairman of the Commonwealth troika on
Zimbabwe, Obasanjo had baffled everyone - except, perhaps, Mbeki, his
co-conspirator - and turned himself into Zimbabweans' worst enemy when he
argued that the situation in Zimbabwe had improved enough to justify the
lifting of the suspension. He was at pains to sell - most unsuccessfully as
it has turned out - to Howard the naked lie that President Mugabe was
actively working on the Commonwealth's two major concerns - the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and his clamp-down on the
opposition. According to Obasanjo, steps were being taken to amend AIPPA and
the government was trying to ensure the opposition could operate without
undue restrictions. Everybody aware of the true situation must have wondered
whether Obasanjo was talking about the Zimbabwe we all know or some other
Zimbabwe in outer space. We all know there are no plans to amend AIPPA to be

      As for putting in place mechanisms to allow the opposition to operate
without restrictions, nothing could be farther from the truth. As recent
events have shown, if
      anything, the authorities are creating conditions in which the
opposition is finding it even more difficult to operate. Not only are
ordinary supporters of the main opposition, the MDC, being constantly
harassed, beaten up, tortured and maimed, but even the party's MPs, who in
every normal country ought to be treated with the utmost respect, are
finding themselves at the receiving end of police brutality and
State-sponsored terrorism. It was only days after Obasanjo had made his
submissions to Howard, for example, that Job Sikhala (St Mary's MP) was
taken into police custody where he was tortured and humiliated.

      Sikhala's arrest and torture, which made international headlines, no
doubt left Obasanjo with a lot of egg on his face and the troika's
credibility in tatters. This would
      probably explain why he was making all those strangely sensible noises
in his interview with The Sunday Times in London last week, which
contradicted the solid support that he had previously given Mugabe. Instead
of recommending the lifting of the suspension, Obasanjo and Mbeki ought to
have, in the most diplomatic way possible, hinted at the need to impose
tougher sanctions against Mugabe and senior members of his government and
party. They ought to have stated the obvious fact that the situation in
Zimbabwe had seriously deteriorated since last year. Obasanjo and Mbeki owed
it to the long-suffering people of this country to report back truthfully to
the Commonwealth that while the people of Zimbabwe still had some semblance
of freedom left at the time of the country's suspension last year, now they
have no freedom whatsoever to talk about, courtesy of the draconian Public
Order and Security Act.

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Leader Page

      Pledge of "one-farmer, one-farm" is a lie

      3/18/2003 8:53:20 AM (GMT +2)

      By Cathy Buckle

      "One-Farmer, one-farm" has been the repeated declaration by the
government at every turn for the last three years. These four little words
have been quoted ad nauseum by everyone from the country's President down to
the 20-year-old men who called themselves war veterans. These men used
violence and extreme physical harassment to evict hundreds of single-farm
owners from highly productive multi-million-dollar concerns. There is
documentary evidence to substantiate this fact.

      Speaking at the Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa in
2002, President Mugabe banged his fist on the podium as he shouted to the
world that in Zimbabwe: "One-farmer, one-farm" was to be the only policy for
the country, which he described as "his" Zimbabwe. At this same summit
Mugabe slammed white farmers who he said owned "2, 3, 4 even 35 farms".

      All Zimbabweans knew that the pledge of "one-farmer, one-farm" was
nothing more than propaganda. When news was leaked last week of the results
of the so-called land audit, it showed that several high-ranking government
officials were now multiple-farm owners. While speaking to students at the
Zimbabwe Staff College last week, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo,
according to Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation radio and television news,
referred to the recent land audit report.

      He dismissed the revelations of multiple-farm ownership by "chefs" as
being "irrelevant". The minister said that this was "a waste of our time"
and that the "real audit" needs to show that "every inch of the 11 million
hectares is ours." Zimbabweans must be asking themselves just exactly who
Minister Moyo is referring to.

      If it is "irrelevant" who owns Zimbabwe's farms now, then why was it
necessary to evict 4 500 white Zimbabwean farmers and bring the country to a
state of famine? Was it simply because they were white Zimbabweans or was it
because they were seen to be opposition supporters? Moyo also said that now
that the land acquisition was concluded it was important to work on the
"legal, equitable and constitutional" aspects. Frankly, I am very confused!

      The government changed the Constitution in order to seize the farm
land. They amended the Land Acquisition Act to enable them to seize
everything without paying for it. They repeatedly screamed to the world that
all the mayhem that followed on the confiscated farms was all being done
according to the laws of Zimbabwe.

      Exactly what "legal aspects" is Moyo now referring to? Could it
possibly have anything to do with those little pieces of paper called title
deeds? Is the next "legality" going to be the cancellation of all existing
title deeds? If this crazy notion of mine is indeed possible then every
Zimbabwean should be quaking in their boots, because if they could do it to
farmers - and they have - will it be businesses and even private residences
next? In the same address to students at the Staff College, The Herald said
that Moyo dismissed reports of torture in the country by the International
Bar Association as "nonsensical".

      Moyo claimed that reports of torture in Zimbabwe were "anecdotal".
Anecdotal means that allegations of torture cannot be proved. Many thousands
of Zimbabweans have already testified under oath that they have been
tortured, often in front of numerous witnesses. The minister also said that
any torture that had taken place was "certainly not systematic and on a
large scale".

      Torture, according to the dictionary is defined as "the infliction of
mental and physical suffering as a means of persuasion". What we have seen
on almost every single one of Zimbabwe's commercial farms is both systematic
and large-scale torture of both farmers and their workers.

      One-farmer one-farm was, and still is a lie; equitable land
redistribution was, and still is, a lie. Moyo's propaganda cannot change the
truth that the land policy has been a total disaster. He may have finally
taken Chave Chimurenga off the airwaves but it does not change the fact that
there is still no food in our stomachs or growing in our soil. This is the
only fact that is now relevant in Zimbabwe.
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      Nelson Chamisa - young and outspoken

      3/18/2003 8:48:35 AM (GMT +2)

      By Foster Dongozi Features Writer

      "Robert Mugabe is 79 years old but is he running the country any
better?" That was the response given by Nelson Chamisa, 25, the MDC national
youth chairman and the candidate for the 29-30 March Kuwadzana by-election.

      He was responding to theories peddled by the State media and aging
Zanu PF politicians that politics is the preserve of grey-haired and
doddering politicians. "Modern political trends are that an individual
should be elected into office, not because of their age but because of their
character and capacity to serve the people. We want to usher in a new era
where the young generation and women have to be regarded as stakeholders in
matters of governance and the administration of the country.

      "What is not important is how young they are but the age of their
ideas," said the young politician. While most of his peers have wall posters
of sportspersons and musicians adorning their homes and their offices, the
decorations on Chamisa's walls show that he has matured as a politician. On
one wall is a poster of Mahatma Gandhi. One of Gandhi's messages reads: "A
customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent
on us. We are dependent on him." According to Chamisa, Gandhi's message also
applies to politics. "A politician who chooses to make himself available for
public duty and to serve the community, should be aware that his continued
presence on the political stage depends on the electorate, who in this case
are like customers." He said while it was a difficult feat to achieve,
politicians should always have an ear for problems affecting their
constituents, especially disadvantaged groups like the elderly, the
disabled, orphans, the youth and widows.

      Another poster that adorns Chamisa's walls at his Harvest House
offices is that of Martin Luther King Jnr, the US civil rights hero. "This
will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new
meaning, 'tis of the sweet land of liberty . . . land where my fathers died,
land of the pilgrims' pride. From every mountainside, let freedom ring."
Chamisa describes King's speech as very inspiring. "The speech is
inspirational and moving

      because it was given by the leader of a people who were oppressed.
When I read King's speech, it seems to apply to Zimbabweans suffering under
the yoke
      of political bondage implemented by the Zanu PF government." Another
poster is about the role God plays when people are facing problems. "I
cherish the work of the Lord in my life and I believe He will guide and
protect me in all the hardships that I will encounter." But how did he find
himself participating in politics, a calling that has seen him a treason
charge hanging over his head? "I was born in Masvingo town and at the time I
was attended high school at Alheit Mission and Victoria High, I was actively
involved in debating and quiz clubs. This was the lowest manifestation of
activism. "At Alheit Mission, I led protests against the poor food and as a
result of the protest, the school authorities improved the diet."

      Responsibilities such as those of school prefect were soon to follow.
"Being made a school prefect was my grounding in politics. When you are a
prefect, you serve many constituencies. You have to be the eye and ear of
school authorities, but at the same time you have to ensure that the
interests of your fellow students are represented. On another level, you
have to serve your interests of wanting to pass the examinations. That
helped a lot in my growth as a leader." In 1997, the young Chamisa taught
briefly while he looked for a place at a tertiary institution. "The
following year, I was at the Harare Polytechnic where I was a marketing
student in the Department of Business Studies and that is where my career in
student activism and politics blossomed." In September of that year, he was
overwhelmingly voted the polytechnic Students' Representative Council

      He had replaced Charlton Hwende, now his election campaign manager.
The following month, Chamisa threw his hat in the ring for the post of
secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National Students' Union (Zinasu), a
coalition of all higher learning institutions. He won overwhelmingly. It was
during his days in student politics that he rubbed shoulders with other
student leaders, later to be the first generation of post-independence
politicians to storm into Parliament. Among them were Job Sikhala, Tafadzwa
Musekiwa and the late Learnmore Jongwe. Jongwe, who was the Kuwadzana MP,
died in remand prison last year in mysterious circumstances and it is his
seat that Chamisa is expecting to fill.

      By 1999, when the Ministry of Higher Education was privatising
services at colleges, which would make education unaffordable to many,
Chamisa was prepared to challenge the authorities. "When the then minister,
Ignatius Chombo, came to address us during a graduation ceremony, I told him
that it was not proper for him to talk to us.

      "I told him that students were supposed to be the ones talking to him
and not the other way round." As Chombo was about to address the gathering,
a fiery Chamisa grabbed and flung the microphone away and left the
apoplectic minister talking to himself. He was suspended because by then, he
had begun to be actively involved in the formation of the MDC. "I took the
opportunity to resign from my posts as a student leader because my
effectiveness was being compromised by my involvement in national politics."
At the launch of the MDC in September 1999, he was elected interim
secretary-general of the youth while Jongwe landed the post of interim
chairman. At their party's congress in February 2000 Chamisa was elected
youth chairman while Jongwe was elevated to the post of party spokesman.
      "In the MDC, we are proud of the fact that we have a genuine youth
policy in which the young are actively involved in the operations of the
party. I pity the youth in Zanu PF, whose interests are represented by
grey-haired men and women who do not appreciate the problems of young

      Other than having participated in student politics together, Chamisa
and Jongwe's fate seemed tied together. Why? "To me, Jongwe was like a
brother; when I was expelled from college, he looked after me and because we
were together in student and national politics we became very close." But
what is in it for the people of Kuwadzana if they elect him into power? "I
have a 15-point development plan for Kuwadzana constituency. Although I
intend to bring development to the constituency through various programmes,
I believe Zimbabweans need to heal. Intolerance, murder, rape and torture by
ruling party thugs have left many people devastated. There is need to embark
on a political orientation programme to cultivate a culture of tolerance."
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      Zimbabwe arrests 63 after protest

      By Cris Chinaka and Stella Mapenzauswa
      HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean police, backed by army helicopters and
armoured cars, have arrested 63 protesters after the biggest opposition
protest in three years against President Robert Mugabe turned violent.

      Mobs burned a bus and stoned motorists overnight at the start of a
national strike called by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), which blames Mugabe's 23-year rule for the country's deepest crisis
since independence.

      The strike shut down factories and shops in Harare, raising the
pressure on Mugabe's embattled administration two days after the 54-nation
Commonwealth extended its suspension of Zimbabwe over alleged vote rigging
and human rights abuses.

      The government says the strike is illegal and police had warned they
would deal ruthlessly with any violence.

      Police said they arrested 63 protesters countrywide in connection with
the violence, including 12 people suspected of torching the state-owned bus
in Harare.

      "The illegal MDC mass action, which has been marked by thuggish and
criminal behaviour..., has been a total failure as most of the shops,
factories and other public institutions were operating normally," said
police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena.

      Some government offices and banks were still open in downtown Harare,
but witnesses in the southern city of Bulawayo, an opposition stronghold,
reported most businesses were closed.

      State radio called the strike a flop, saying it affected only
companies owned by the white minority.

      The two-day strike is the first major challenge to Mugabe since he won
re-election a year ago in polls that his opponents and the West said were
rigged. It is also the biggest mass action since parliamentary polls in

      MDC officials said the protest would help to turn international
attention to Mugabe's "repressive rule" at a time when the world was
preoccupied with Iraq.

      "People are sick and tired of this regime and this is their message,"
said MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi, who estimated 80 percent of
businesses were affected by the strike.

      Police said one policeman was injured after mobs took to the streets
of Harare after midnight, blocking roads into the city centre and hurling
stones at passing motorists.

      Police beat up and detained a photographer from the privately owned
Daily News, colleagues said. Local police were not immediately available to
confirm the incident.


      Zimbabwe is grappling with its worst political and economic crisis
since independence from Britain in 1980. The economy is in its fourth year
of recession with record unemployment and inflation, and acute shortages of
fuel and foreign currency.

      Nearly half the drought-hit country's 14 million people face food
shortages. Mugabe's critics blame the shortages partly on the government's
seizure of white-owned land for redistribution among the landless black

      Mugabe accuses his enemies abroad of sabotaging the economy and says
the land reforms only aim to redress an injustice of colonial rule that left
most of the country's best agricultural land in the hands of whites.

      Mugabe has been at the centre of a political storm since February 2000
when militants from his ruling ZANU-PF party invaded white-owned farms.

      The crisis deepened when ZANU-PF won parliamentary elections in June
2000 after a violent campaign, and again when Mugabe was re-elected last
March. The West has imposed travel and other sanctions on the government,
which dismisses them as "racist".

      The Commonwealth was split along racial lines over Mugabe. A one-year
suspension over alleged vote fraud and the land seizures was due to expire
on Wednesday, but was extended on Sunday until a heads of government meeting
in December.

      Nigeria and South Africa, members of a troika created to discuss
Zimbabwe, favoured lifting the suspension, but the third member, Australia,
wanted it extended.

      Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon said he secured reluctant
agreement from South Africa and Nigeria to extend the suspension from the
group of mainly former British colonies.
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MDC Claims Success Over Stay - Away

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

March 18, 2003
Posted to the web March 18, 2003


The Zimbabwe government has condemned a stay-away protest called by the
opposition on Tuesday. It said mass action undermined recent efforts to
revive the economy.

But the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) argued that it was
the government's own policies that were responsible for the parlous state of
the Zimbabwean economy, and a two-day stay-away would not hamper recovery.

On Tuesday the MDC said the first day of the stay-away action was "deeply

"The MDC is very proud and impressed by the bravery and resilience shown by
hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans in the face of state oppression.
Reports so far indicate that our call to workers not to go to work has
resulted in an 80 percent shutdown of business across Zimbabwe," the MDC
said in a statement.

However, Steyn Berejena, a senior press secretary in the Department of
Information told IRIN the strike was a flop. "People have reported to work,
commuter operators are providing transport, shops are open. People are going
about their normal activity," he said.

MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said the response to the stay-away call was
demonstrative of the desire for change among Zimbabweans. "We hope that the
positive response [on Tuesday] encourages other workers to pursue a similar
course of action [on Wednesday]."

Berejena conceded that "maybe the MDC and its supporters have stayed away
from work" but insisted that the majority of Zimbabweans were at work,
"right now, I'm at work", he pointed out.

A Harare-based journalist told IRIN that while the stay-away action was not
a flop, it was not a resounding success either.

"In the morning transport was a problem as kombi's [mini-bus taxis], which
are the main mode of transport, were few. It was not business as usual. Most
of the people had to walk to their workplaces and some found that the
factories and banks they worked at were closed. So they had to go back
home," he said.

"To a large extent, and from one point of view, the stay-away has succeeded
largely because the workplaces were closed," the journalist added.

There were also reports of protestors clashing with police in suburbs
outside Harare.

Berejena criticised the timing of the protest, saying Zimbabwe's failing
economy did not need the added knock.

"This year we had a very good start, the tripartite negotiating forum
composed of labour, business and government, came up with a cocktail of
measures to revive the economy. The call by the MDC to stay away from work
is uncalled for. It shows that the MDC is not keeping abreast with
developments, while serious stakeholders are saying lets move together to
revive the economy, they have called this stay-away which is against the
interests of Zimbabwe. The MDC would want to see a situation where there are
[food and fuel] shortages prevailing," he said.

Berejena added that "serious stakeholders in Zimbabwe" did not support the
protest action. "Labour is supporting the economic [revival] measures, so we
are surprised to see the MDC going in a different direction instead of
working together with other people to revive the economy," he told IRIN.

The MDC's Nyathi responded that "no amount of patchwork will revive the
economy if you have a lawless society or environment, who is going to come
in and invest in that environment?" he asked, in reference to the tripartite
negotiating forum's National Economic Revival Programme.

"It's our right as a people to take action if we feel aggrieved ... the
economy will not be any worse off as a result of our [stay-away] action, the
economy is hurting mostly from governments failure to discharge its own
responsibility as a government. The responsibility for the state of the
economy lies with government, not the opposition," he told IRIN.

The MDC's ultimate aim was to use mass action to bring "so much pressure to
bare until there's a realisation that this regime is not sustainable", he

According to a statement by the International Monetary Fund this week,
Zimbabwe's economy had experienced a progressive and sharp deterioration
over the past four years.

"Real GDP [gross domestic product] has declined by about 30 percent, and is
still contracting. Inflation has doubled in each of the last two years to
reach 200 percent at the end of 2002 and could well rise further. There are
widespread shortages, poverty and unemployment have risen, and the HIV/AIDS
pandemic is worsening," the IMF said.
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Zimbabwe says UK should pay ''racism'' cash

GENEVA, March 18 - Zimbabwe on Tuesday lashed out at former colonial power
Britain, saying it should pay the country money to redress what it termed
past racism and inequities in land ownership.
       Patrick Chinamasa, minister of justice, legal and parliamentary
affairs, also accused Western media, especially in Britain, of supporting
Zimbabwe's opposition in an attempt to destabilise the government of
President Robert Mugabe.
       His speech to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which is holding
its annual six-week session, coincided with the first day of a national
strike in Zimbabwe called by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
       Mobs burned a bus, blocked roads and stoned motorists in the capital
       Zimbabwe is grappling with its worst political and economic crisis
since independence from Britain in 1980. Nearly half of its 14 million
people face food shortages blamed on drought and the impact of Mugabe's
drive to seize white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.
       Chinamasa said that land redistribution aimed at redressing
''colonialist, racially-induced gross inequalities in land ownership'' had
been completed, with more than 350,000 families resettled.
       ''The least we expect is that those responsible for colonialism in
Zimbabwe will financially support land reform as the best means of
delivering justice to poor Zimbabweans and offering some recompense for
their past role as racist and oppressive colonisers,'' he told the 53-member
state forum.
       ''You would never know from the way Zimbabwean politics is usually
reported, caricatured and falsified in Britain, that the Zimbabwe government
supports a broad, social, democratic programme, focused on the empowerment
of the landless and the poor,'' Chinamasa added.
       The Commonwealth group of mainly former British colonies decided on
Sunday to extend a one-year suspension of Zimbabwe at least until December
over disputed polls and the land policy.
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