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From ZWNEWS, 19 March

As I was going up the stair
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today,
I wish, I wish he'd stay away

"There is no such report, and whatever report there is, is merely an
invention of the enemies of the State. It was an act of mischief on your
part to have reproduced that story, for there was definitely no report to
leak since it does not exist" - senior government official quoted in The
Sunday Mirror. "We don't know anything about that report. We only read about
it in the newspapers" - Rural Resettlement director Edward Samuriwo quoted
in The Tribune.
Selling of land allocations, Zanu PF infighting over who gets what, 'hired
thug' wars over disputed properties, forced ousting of resettled farmers,
gazetting of hotels as farmland, multiple land grabbing: all detailed in the
addendum to the national land audit interim report, commissioned by the
government itself. No crimes, of course; merely "anomalies" and "policy



1.                 Introduction

This addendum covers the following provinces which were the subject of my
audit. Midlands, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East,
Manicaland, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South. The audit was carried
out to identify anomalies and policy violations in the implementation of the
Land Reform and Resettlement Programme with a view to realigning the
programme implementation to the policy and legislative provisions.

The addendum will therefore highlight policy violations and will give
specific information related to the Provinces so far visited.

2.                   Land Acquisition

2.1                Certificates of No Present Interest

It is disturbing to note that Certificates of No Present Interest have been
issued to some indigenous people authorising them to purchase farms that are
already resettled resulting in the displacement of resettled people. When
the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, and Rural Resettlement was questioned on
this development, the Permanent Secretary Cde Masoka promised to furnish the
Hon Vice President Cde Msika with a list of farms under this category whose
Certificates of No Interest had since been rescinded and the farms
regazetted but up to now we have not received this list inspite of concerted
efforts by my office to obtain it from the relevant office. Cde Tzvakwi
whose section is responsible for this information could not make it
available to my officer.

The following farms are reported as having been acquired after some people
had already been officially resettled:

Mazowe District

i)                     Oldbury (915.8700 ha) purchased by O Gumbo
ii)                   Howick Vale 8 and Howick Vale 9 (Howick Vale Estate)
1478.8554 ha
iii)                  Rockwood Estate
iv)                 Bedford Estate

Bindura District

i)                     Benridge (81.1830 ha)
ii)                   Dimitra Farm (1317.1163)
iii)                  Balcombe (472.5730 ha)

Makonde District

i)                     Chaosina (577.7828 ha)
ii)                   Dalston (1223.3000 ha)
iii)                  Kashwao (1337.9233 ha)

              (All allegedly bought by Alex Jongwe of Barclays Bank)

·         FSI a company owned by Cde Matumwa Mawere is also alleged to have
acquired a number of farms or the buildings and equipment on those farm
thereby prejudicing the resettled families. Cases were reported in
Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East.
Bubi District

i)                     Subdivision 1 of Graves End (905.45 ha)
ii)                   19 of Robert Block (646.64 ha)
iii)                  20 of Robert Block (6046.7 ha)
iv)                 Muckleneuk (2452.1287 ha)
v)                   Induba (2544.57 ha)

All the above-mentioned properties were allegedly purchased by Dr Ibo
Mandaza who has since taken the settled families to court in an attempt to
evict them from the properties. The situation on these farms is potentially
volatile and requires a speedy resolution.

Hwange District

i)                     Dete Dahlia (3165.156 ha) allegedly sold to ZDB

Umguza District

i)                     Redbank A

NB. Other properties in this category could not be ascertained due to the
non-availability of information from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and
Rural Settlement as indicated above.

2.2         Gazetting

There are allegations that the Hon Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Cde A.
Ncube and the Chairman of the Gwanda Rural District Council Cde O. Mlilo
have an over bearing effect on the Gwanda District Land Committee to the
extent that they have directed the DLC to gazette Tod's Guest House and the
Jesse Hall Hotel (both hotels) for compulsory acquisition which is both a
violation of the National Land Policy and the Land Acquisition Act.

3.                   Settler Emplacement

3.1         Replanning A1 Farms to A2 Model Farms

The following farms which were originally settled under the A1 model have
been replanned toA2 model farms thereby displacing the A1 settlers.

i)                     Mayfield in Mazowe District (2126.9700 ha) where Cdes
Chris Pasipamire and Mike Moyo are violently evicting 36 settlers who are
recognised by the province which has recommended the withdrawal of the
latter's offer letters. Some of the 36 settlers have been assaulted and
reports have been made to the ZRP Marlborough.

ii)                   Problems also exist at Fariview.

iii)                  Maryvale in Mazowe (671.3533 ha) where Cde J Makamba
has removed settlers.

iv)                 Calgary in Mazowe (1500 ha) where the Hon
Chindori-Chininga MP moved in.

v)                   Harmony in Mazowe (500 ha) allocated to Cde S.

vi)                 Oldbury in Mazowe (915.8700 ha) taken by Cde O. Gumbo

vii)                Whitfield in the same district (202.6600 ha)  involving
Councillor Nyakudya

viii)              Louisrust, Tsatse and Kwayedza farms in Mazowe are also

ix)                  Eirin Farm in Marondera allocated to Air Marshall P
Shiri at the expense of 96 families.

x)                    Ulva Farm in Marondera allocated to the Hon S.
Sekeramayi MP moving 21 families.

NB All A2 Model allocations of more than 350 ha in Mashonaland Central are
made with the blessing of the Hon Governor Cde E Manyika. All the
Mashonaland Central mentioned above are above 350 ha meaning that the Hon
Governor is aware of the existing problem caused by these allocations.

3.2        Dr R Ngwenya is reported to be causing havoc in the Goromonzi
area where he was allocated land under the A2 model. He is alleged to be
encroaching onto other beneficiaries plots e.g. Prof Chetsanga and is
uprooting irrigation equipment from these plots for use on his allocated

3.3          A2 Allocations

3.3.1 Gwebi/Hunyani ICA

         The Gwebi/Hunyani ICA in the Nyabira area of Mashonaland West with
almost 90 farms has remained unallocated for almost two years now because
the Hon Governor and Resident Minister Cde P Chanetsa and the Ruling Party
Zanu (PF) Provincial Leadership including the provincial Chairman Cde P
Chiyangwa and the Hon Minister of Local Government Public Works and National
Housing Dr I. Chombo have failed to come to an agreement of the prospective

It is imperative for the province to resolve this impasse urgently as the
area in question is traditionally a highly productive area which normally
contributes to our food security. Moreover, Mashonaland West is lagging
behind other provinces in in terms of A2 allocations.

3.3.2 Contentious Allocations

i)       Fountain Farm, Insiza District

The Insiza District Land Committee reported that it had recommended that
Fountain Farm which has highly developed infrastructure and produces
poultry, citrus and livestock, be allocated to youths from the Ministry from
Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation's National Service
training programme as an agricultural skills training centre for the

However, the District Land Committee was surprised when the Hom Minister for
Small and Medium Enterprises Development Cde S. Nyoni MP was allocated the
farm under the A2 Model directly from Harare. When the District Land
Committee queried this, it is alleged that the Hon Minister of Lands,
Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Dr J Made MP promised to withdraw the Hom
Mrs Nyoni's offer letter but to date this has not been done.

It is disturbing to note that violence is the order of the day on this farm
with 'hired thugs' allegedly driven in from Bulawayo by the Hon Minister.
The violence has not spared the  members of the District Land Committee who
threatened to resign if the relevant authorities did not intervene. These
cases have been reported to both the ZRP in Gwanda and the President's
Department in Gwanda and arrests were effected at the time of my audit

ii)      Holderness Farm in Makonde District was recommended for allocation
to 7 A2 beneficiaries by the Provincial Land Committee and offer letters
were duly written by Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement.
However, a Mr A Mawere from the same ministry is alleged to have sent an
AREX team from Harare to replan the farm and made an allocation to 11 other
people without the knowledge of the province.

iii)    Cde Munetsi the Hurungwe DA who is suspended pending investigations
of allegations of impropriety is alleged to have held back the delivery of
504 offer letters to A2 beneficiaries and instead substituted some of these
with letters of his own allocating plots to illegal beneficiaries on Buffalo
Downs and Buttervent Farms. It is suspected that outright corruption might
have occurred as money is alleged to have changed hands in exchange for plot
allocations. ZRP is investigating.

iv)    The District Land Committee in Muzarabani allocated themselves A2
plots on Lot 1 of Mutorazeni and Carse Farms outside the National Land

4.                   Multiple Farm Ownership

The following have been identified as owning more than one farm which is a
violation of the one man one farm policy of our Land Reform Programme.

·         Hon Dr I.M.C. Chombo MP     Allan Grange (300 ha) and Oldham in
·         Hon J. Gumbo MP - Lot 12A od Nuanetsi Ranch A in Mwenezi and
Wolewehoek (1299 ha) in Makonde
·         Hamadziripi  M.K. - Bailineety in Nyabira (3147 ha) and Wolwehoek
(1299 ha) in Makonde
·         Hon J. Hungwe MP - Lot 21 A of Nuanetsi Ranch in Mwenenzi (14713
ha) and Bryn Chegutu
·         Kangachepa Kufaingano - Mafuta (1300 ha) and R/E of Mvurachena
Estate (711 ha) both in Makonde district
·         Brig E.W. Kanhanga - Stella (425 ha) and Stcokwill (2443 ha) both
in Mazowe district
·         S. Kasukuwere MP - Pimento Farm, Bamboo Creek and Harmony
·         J. Macheka - Cairnsmore (300 ha) in Mazowe and Doornfontein (864
ha) in Masvingo
·         E. Madzongwe - Bourne and Corburn 13 both in Chegutu
·         Hon S. Mahofa MP - Lothain in Gutu, Lochnivar, Eyrie, Spring SP
·         N. Makura - Brecknin and Laung Glen in Seke district
·         Hon E. Manyika MP - Duiker Flats and Sub Division  of Caledon
·         M. Mawere - Sanga (1137 ha) Goromonzi and Chigori (871 ha in
·         Hon K. Mohadi MP - Bothasrus and Bea Ranch allocated to Mrs
Mohadi - both in Beitbridge
·         Hon Prof J. Moyo MP - Little Connemara 1 - Nyanga, Patterson,
Mazowe, and Lot 3A of Dete Valley in Lupane
·         Hon O. Mpofu - Auchenburg in Nyamndlovu, Umguza Block in Umguza
and one other farm he is understood to have purchased
·         S. Mugabe - R/E of Mlembwe (1037 ha) Longwood (924 ha) and Gowrie
·         F. Mukunowengwe - Watakai and Nan Terra in Mazowe district
·         L. Mutemeri - Carlton Curlieu of Trelawney Estate (570 ha) Makonde
and Corburn 33 (234.30 ha) Chegutu
·         V. Mashwita and spouse - Dendere/Harmony and Watakai in Mazowe
·         Boniface Shamu - Meando and Vilendy in Marondera
·         Air Marshal P. Shiri - Eirin (1460 ha) Marondera Maple Leaf and
R/E of Audrey Farm
·         C. Shumba - Maine Farm Chegutu Chinomw Estate Makonde and Lot 1
Orange Grove in Chegutu
·         W. Bvudzijena - Templeton Ranch and Koodoo Hill
·         Hon P. Chanetsa MP - R/E of Riverside E, Greensleaves of Biri,
Gabaro Farm in Hurungwe, Romsey Farm in Makonde
Spouse - Erewhon Farm
·         C. Chingoso - Makarara, Showers B, Solitude, Retreat of Sanzara,
Chigori, Rapids all in Marondera and Lot 6 of Mkwasine Central in Chiredzi
·         M.M. Chinomona - Plot 14 of Rathmines and and R/E of Redbuck Kop
in Goromonzi
·         E. Chauke - Farm 748 Ngwindi Sugar Estate n Chiredzi and Sikato 10
in Masvingo District
·         J. Chibizhe - Sabi Dog and S/D 9 of Lot 6 Essanby
·         N. Machwori - Morning Star and another farm he bought on his own

NB The list is not exhaustive as the people interviewed were scared to
reveal any information least they might be victimised by the multiple farm
owners who seem to have their loyalist within the various land committees.

It is very urgent to take urgent corrective measures particularly where the
leadership is the perpetrator of anomalies as the general public is restive
where such cases exist and a multitude of people are still on the waiting

5.        Recommendation

It is recommended that the information supplied by this audit be utilised to
take corrective measures immediately so that the Land Reform and
Resettlement can be brought back in tandem with the policy. Perpetrators of
all cited anomalies should be censured and institutional arrangements
strengthened so that all land committees can operate freely within the
policy guidelines.
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From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 19 March

Dozens of activists jailed in Zimbabwe

Dozens of opposition supporters were arrested across Zimbabwe on Tuesday as the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) launched its most widely followed protest against President Robert Mugabe's government for years, the opposition said. At least 63 people, including two MDC lawmakers, were arrested, according to police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena, who said there had been "stoning of passing motor vehicles and barricading of roads, besides petrol-bombing targets". Buses were stoned in several poor suburbs of the capital Harare, and shops and businesses remained closed in the city and several other towns as MDC supporters heeded the party's call for a nationwide strike. Bvudzijena maintained the mass action, which police had declared illegal, had been a "total failure". The state Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) concurred, saying it had been "business as usual" around the country.

But the claims were contradicted by MDC representative Paul Themba Nyathi, who said "thousands" of Zimbabweans had heeded his party's call and stayed away from work. By late on Tuesday afternoon, central Harare's streets were nearly empty, with the few businesses that had opened in the morning closing early for the day. The MDC said the mass action had also been widely followed in the country's second city of Bulawayo and in the eastern border town of Mutare. Two MDC legislators were arrested in central and southern Zimbabwe, Nyathi said. He also alleged that four MDC activists had been abducted in the northern farming town of Bindura. An AFP correspondent in Bulawayo reported seeing police disperse groups of commuters waiting for public transport in the Renkini bus terminal. Most businesses in the city, including banks, remained closed. Previous mass anti-government movements organised by civic groups in the southern African country have failed to get off the ground, but Tuesday's stay-away appeared to have been widely followed.

As tensions flared, a bus from a parastatal firm was petrol-bombed near the slum township of Epworth on the outskirts of Harare. Two policemen were reportedly injured in the attack. A Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) van was stoned in the Harare suburb of Glen View and rocks were also hurled at at least three mini-buses in the working class suburb of Mabvuku, east of the capital, an eyewitness said. Police had to fire teargas in Rugare township to disperse youths who were setting up barricades on the main roads leading out of the suburb. The MDC had called for peaceful mass "action for national survival" to protest at Zimbabwe's deepening socio-political and economic crisis. The action was to start on Tuesday and end on Wednesday. "The majority of Zimbabweans are wallowing in poverty. More than eight million people ... are staring death in the eyes," the MDC said in press advertisements at the weekend. "When people lose their dignity through despair, injustice, hunger and oppression, they have to resort to desperate measures to survive," it added.

Mugabe's government has linked the stayaway to the extension of Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth. "The planned opposition mass action has been calculated to coincide with Wednesday's Commonwealth report on Zimbabwe's suspension from the councils of the 54-member grouping and America's push to have Zimbabwe condemned for alleged human rights abuses," the state-run Herald newspaper said. Pro-government commentators have blamed former colonial power Britain for being behind the mass protests, in a bid to increase hardship for Zimbabweans.

From The Christian Science Monitor, 19 March

Zimbabwe pressured by youth bulge

Young people lent ardent support to Tuesday's demonstrations in Harare

By Nicole Itano

Bulawayo - Heeding a call from Zimbabwe's beleaguered opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), protesters shut down much of Harare Tuesday in the largest expression of public discontent since tumultuous presidential elections one year ago this week. Opposition supporters in the capital city threw up makeshift barricades, burned at least one bus, and shut down shops and factories. At the same time, police helicopters swooped overhead, and heavily armed riot police tear-gassed crowds in at least six places around Harare. The demonstrations against the government of President Robert Mugabe, who denies MDC charges that he stole last year's election, are a sign of new life for the opposition, which has faced increasing criticism for failing to take strong action. They also highlight the urgency many Zimbabweans feel for change. With more than half the country under the age of 18 and employment opportunities bleak, young people often dream of a better future outside Zimbabwe. But the size of yesterday's demonstrations indicate that many here are willing to try to change things from the inside. "People have heeded this call because 70 percent of the population is unemployed. They have heeded this call because of the heightened oppression...." says MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi. "We decided that it was time for the people of Zimbabwe to make their voices heard." Mr. Nyathi estimates that 80 percent of businesses in Harare have been closed due to the strike and that at least 100 people have been arrested and 20 injured. Many of the strike's most ardent supporters are people like Moses Chamanga, an unemployed former student who handed out fliers in Harare today in support of the mass action.

Many in Mr. Chamanga's generation, known as the "born-frees" because they were born after Zimbabwe's independence, blame the government for the country's current economic troubles, and place less value on the freedom-fighting credentials of the current leadership. They are more Western, urban, and better-educated than their parents. And because they now comprise well over half the country's population, largely due to the decimation of older generations from AIDS, their voices are becoming an increasingly important force. "This is a generation that says, 'Don't teach us about the struggle, talk to us about the present and where we are going,' " explains Masipula Sithole, director of the University of Zimbabwe's Mass Public Opinion Institute. "I look to the young people rather than the generation past. They're already beginning to change things." Zimbabwe is one of the youngest countries on the world's youngest continent. This seismic demographic shift is most evident in cities like Bulawayo and Harare, to which many young people have flocked in recent years in search of work. Young people tend to bear the brunt of Zimbabwe's high unemployment and deteriorating economy. Economists say that annual inflation hovers around 220 percent and could top 350 percent by year's end. Surges in youth populations have overwhelmed schools and other public services, taxing already overstretched government budgets. And when young people begin to flood the job market, as they have here, the economy is simply not large enough to accommodate them all. Although economists say the decline here began as long ago as a decade, Zimbabwe's economy has been in a two-year-long tailspin brought on by the government's chaotic land reform program and strict economic controls. Instead of the ABCs, people here are talking about the "Three Fs:" no food, no fuel, no foreign currency.

The urge to leave is pervasive among the country's more educated youth. Many dream of going to school in America or finding jobs in England. "The whole situation for young people in Zimbabwe doesn't give you much hope," says a 25-year-old architecture graduate named Lesley, who can count only a handful of college friends who have stayed. "If you have the money, then the first thing you think of is how to leave." A recent study of Zimbabwe's youth conducted by Professor Sithole and the Mass Public Opinion Institute indicates that 75 percent of young Zimbabweans, from primary school age to 25, would like to leave. The results cut across gender and education levels and hold true for both urban and rural youth. The government is aware of the strength young Zimbabweans wield and has pressed many into National Youth Service, pro-ruling party militias nicknamed the "green bombers" for the uniforms they wear. The bombers, who receive food, clothing, and housing from the government, are said to commit rape and torture against urban communities believed to be pro-opposition, a claim they deny. The government has vowed to crack down on today's MDC demonstrations, which they call illegal. Protests were expected to continue today. Professor Sithole says many young people will stay to fight or return if they see the possibility for change. "We were less willing in the beginning to become involved," he says of his generation and the liberation struggle. "But eventually we became involved. The born-frees will come back."

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Poverty And Neglect in Informal Settlements

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

March 19, 2003
Posted to the web March 19, 2003


Porta Farm, a 30-minute drive from the Harare city centre, is home to among
some of Zimbabwe's poorest and most vulnerable citizens.

It was meant to have been a temporary settlement, to accommodate the
homeless cleared out of the capital by the image-conscious authorities when
Queen Elizabeth II visited Harare to open the Commonwealth Heads of State
and Government Meeting in 1991.

Twelve-years later, the 6,000 residents remain officially unrecognised as a
community, compounding the squalor and their despair.

Porta Farm is still designated a "temporary holding camp", and retains an
air of impermanence. Narrow, dirt lanes run between homes made from mud
brick and plastic sheeting. The population is served by three NGO-run
pre-schools, and a log-built primary and secondary school. There are no
health facilities and there's no electricity.

What money there is in the community comes mainly from illegal fishing in a
nearby reservoir and the sale of firewood. Some of the residents used to
find occasional work on the commercial farms in the area. But those
opportunities have dwindled with land redistribution, where a new class of
resettled farmers are themselves struggling to make a success of their

Former farm workers who have lost their jobs through land reform are the
latest additions to Porta Farm's growing population. Many of them, as with
the original residents, do not have identification documents or proof of
Zimbabwean citizenship, compounding their marginalisation.

According to an assessment survey of Harare's unofficial settlements
conducted last year, the Porta Farm community ranked its concerns in order
of priority as: "hunger/shortages of food; health/HIV/AIDS; water and
sanitation, and housing".

"In Porta Farm hunger is the problem," Felistas Chinuku, a community leader,
told IRIN. "Food is expensive and you can't find it. Hunger can kill you
even with money in your pocket."

Roadside stalls run by traders from Harare sell tiny amounts of basic
commodities at prices far higher than charged on the capital's black market.
Because it is an informal settlement, there are no licensed shops selling
price-controlled goods. There are also no deliveries of Grain Marketing
Board maize.

The Porta Farm survey, conducted by a team of development consultants,
noted: "The biggest threat to livelihoods is currently hunger, a direct
result of drought-related nationwide food shortages and poverty. Many
families do not have plots to till and hence rely on food purchases on the

A local NGO, Inter-Country People's AID (ICPA), was helping with a
supplementary feeding programme for children aged under nine, comprising one
meal a day of sadza (maize meal) and dried fish. For children aged under
five attending pre-school, ICPA provided a highly nutritious corn soya blend
drink known as "mahewu".

A funding shortfall recently ended the initiative, but the World Food
Programme is expected to step in with assistance to revive the project.
However, the impact of the break in the scheme has been immediate, with
"children collapsing in class and some not coming to the crèches", community
chairman Matthew Chadambuka told IRIN.

Education is not necessarily a path out of poverty. The government provides
teachers to the primary and secondary school, but standards are low as is
attendance. In the primary school the pupil teacher ratio is 1:60, and there
are shortages of books and equipment, the survey found.

"Because of poverty, some kids are given away by their parents for lobola
[bride price]. Some of the kids don't want to go to school and indulge in
sex at any chance they get, especially those from child-headed households,"
one aid worker explained.

"Early marriages or non-formalised unions between youths aged 11-16 are
common, while child sex work and rape of children are all prevalent in the
settlements. Many of these children enter into these unions or become
involved in child sex work with the knowledge and acceptance of their
parents, who, in the latter case, often benefit financially themselves," the
survey noted.

Humanitarian official believe that the HIV/AIDS rate is extremely high.
Those living with HIV/AIDS do receive counselling and extra food rations
from NGOs working in Porta Farm, but that has not always led to behaviour

"Sex is like entertainment, and although people know about condoms, they
don't always worry about protected sex," an aid worker noted.
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Daily News

      Even the dead can't escape from shortages

      3/19/2003 2:13:18 PM (GMT +2)

      By Obert Matahwa

      EVEN the dead are bearing the brunt of the shortages in Zimbabwe. The
Harare City Council says it might suspend the provision of graves at its
municipal cemeteries because there is no cement to build berms. Berms are
cement-made columns used to demarcate graves.

      Cuthbert Rwazemba, the council's chief public relations officer, said:
"We cannot dig graves without building berms and berms are made of cement."
Last week, the municipality warned of a looming shortage of graves because
of the scarcity of cement. More than 2 000 people die every week in Zimbabwe
from HIV/Aids-related illnesses. The council said in a statement: "The acute
shortage of cement for berms at Granville Cemetery might soon affect the
availability of graves. We appeal to all stakeholders to bear with us during
these difficult times." Major cement producers, among them Circle Cement,
Sino-Zimbabwe Cement and Portland Holdings, had stopped production citing an
acute shortage of coal. The coal is used to blast cement furnaces. Hwange
Colliery was failing to deliver due to the fuel crisis.

      Although cement was difficult to acquire on the open market, it is
sold at exorbitant prices on the black market where a 50kg bag costs between
$2 000 and $3 500.The gazetted price for cement is $588 for a 50kg bag.
Since the onset of the Cyclone Japhet-induced rains, graves at Granville,
Warren Hills and Greendale cemeteries had caved in.
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 Olonga lies low after threats
            March 19, 2003, 19:45

            For Henry Olonga, Zimbabwean cricketer, a simple act of
conscience may have led to a life in exile. Olonga is keeping a low profile
at the moment, after receiving threats via e-mail.

            Olonga doesn't want anyone to know where he is and he is not
taking the threats he has received lightly. Olonga and teammate Andy Flower
wore black armbands during the World Cup to protest the violation of human
rights in Zimbabwe.

            "I knew the worst case scenario...the people we are dealing with
are ruthless...I knew the possibility was exile...I was prepared for that."

            Olonga says the reports alleging that Zimbabwean secret police
came to East London to escort him home after Zimbabwe's final match didn't
come from him. "What I have said is that I received three e-mails, and I'm
not prepared to take the chance so I'm not taking them lightly."

            Olonga is uncertain about what path his life is going to take.
Going home to Harare isn't one of them. "I'm a cricketer at heart. If things
change in Zim, and the human rights violation stop, then I'll consider going

            The focus on Zimbabwe that came from their actions, and
England's forfeit of their Harare game, makes his decision worthwhile for
Olonga. But for now, he is lying low.
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Daily News


      Mugabe sees students as real threat to his political survival

      3/19/2003 2:01:19 PM (GMT +2)

      Education as a socio-economic right, is one of the most important
rights any student, child or youth can claim from the government. However,
the illegitimate President Mugabe-led government is arguing that students
should not claim State funding as it is a privilege.

      This attitude has seen the eradication of student grants from the
government, to the current system, in which the oppressed student has to
apply for an insufficient bank loan to cater for the whole year. But the
government should not be able to advance that argument since the right to
education is constitutionally protected in the Bill of Rights. It is clearly
evident that the right to education involves the right to State sponsorship.
Without such sponsorship, the right becomes meaningless. It should be
pointed out that investment in sectors like education and health by the
government is not recurrent expenditure, but investment in human resources,
a prerequisite for the development of our nation.

      The right to academic freedom is the right which students and teachers
as scholars have to discover and disseminate knowledge without any
hindrance. Scholarship is anything which, in content, can be recognised as a
serious and systematic attempt to discover the truth. But Mugabe's
government has monopolised the only available scholarships for the sons and
daughters of Cabinet ministers and other advocates of Zanu PF policy. The
moving spirit behind the emergence of universities and tertiary institutions
of learning is the need to advance scholarly and scientific interests and
the desire to learn and know. Historically, a university is
      a universitas (community) of teachers and students who join to acquire
and expand frontiers of knowledge.

      Universities and academic freedom are essential to the legitimacy of
the political process and to answer the needs of society. It is also the
only agency capable of channelling political ideas to society in a rational
manner because political sanity supposedly prevails at such institutions.
Mugabe, complete with his wailing motorcade, has and continues to blatantly
victimise student activists simply because of their divergent ideological
orientation. The President wants students to be silent and docile under his
dictatorship as they are a real threat to his political survival. Students
should know that when they are engaging in reasoned scholarly discourse in
their various institutions, they will be exercising their right to academic
freedom as provided for in the Lima Declaration on Academic Freedom and
Autonomy of Institutions of Learning. They should resist persecution by
anyone for any reason, for having engaged in this academic enterprise, even
if the results may not be pleasing to the authorities.

      The rights to freedom of expression and assembly serve the truth by
creating a market place of ideas, protecting democracy, maintaining social
stability and protecting social fulfilment, which in turn encourages
autonomy and identity. As far as the rights of freedom of expression and
assembly are concerned, they are not absolute. There are derogations which
have been imposed in our Constitution which are so wide that they amount to
a total negation of the right in question - the right is accorded with a
left hand and taken away with the right hand. A very good example is the
draconian Public Order and Security Act which has suppressed, left, right
and centre all rights to freedom of assembly and expression. In the case of
the right to academic freedom, the government suppresses this by enactments
which directly gives them power to control institutions of higher learning.
Students and lecturers have been targets of repression by government.

      Attempts to air independent thoughts have been thwarted. Student
demonstrations have been met with acute and violent reprisals, often
resulting in the loss of life. I sadly remember the death of Batanai
Hadzidzi, a University of Zimbabwe student who perished in cold blood after
an extremely brutal assault by the riot police. The intellectual climate
necessary for a fruitful academic discourse has been curtailed by the
Council for Higher Education Act (1990) and the Universities Amendment Act
(1990). The latter effectively reduces universities into departments of the
Ministry of Higher Education. This piece of legislation gives the President
of Zimbabwe the right to appoint a vice-chancellor through the Minister of
Higher Education. The President also appoints 65 percent of the members of
the university council, which is the supreme decision-making organ of most

      No wonder any student who expresses dissension is barred from his/her
institution of learning. The intention is simply to protect the interest of
one Mugabe, whose political survival is currently in dire peril. Such a
state of affairs is an affront to academic freedom. A university is supposed
to be politically neutral and autonomous. Its chief executive , the
vice-chancellor, is not supposed to be a political appointee. I hope that
through massive and systematic campaigns, unity and dedication, we the
students of this country, shall overcome State tyranny.

      Jabusile M Shumba
      Avondale West
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      No respite from Zanu PF plutocracy

      3/19/2003 2:00:16 PM (GMT +2)

      By Vote Muza

      Zimbabwe is currently in the grip of a terminal economic ailment
invented and cemented by our current leaders.

      The socio-political and economic policies previously pursued and those
currently in operation have failed and are still dismally failing to achieve
accelerated development across the board. Instead, these errant policies
have trapped the nation in a pervasively lugubrious mood. The foundation
laid by Zanu PF is akin to the biblical house built on sand. This foundation
is weak and is just about to be washed away by the floods of an economic
downslide and general decadence.

      Our country will never be able to assert its status as an economic
force. Only if radical corrective measures are put in place will this be
possible. The future looks bleak and our country is inevitably destined for
immense suffering. The wholesale decay our country is experiencing did not
occur of its own accord. No foreigners with ulterior motives orchestrated
it, as Zanu PF propagandists would like the nation to believe. This mess was
deliberately brought about over the years by a dull and obstinate Zanu PF
leadership. Since 1980 leaders have been masquerading as if they have the
interests of the nation at heart, whereas in reality they have been arrogant
crooks out to loot the national coffers. For the entire period of
independence they have blundered and, like Babylonian heathens, disregarding
warnings of an economic Armageddon in the near future. The list of failures
is inexhaustible, but the following stand out as the most notable:

      n The pursuit of untenable socialist-communist dogma that had no
practical effect and had hopelessly failed in other parts of the world;
      n The hysteria of forming co-operatives early into independence.
Millions of dollars were invested in this futile venture which failed
miserably because of poor planning and implementation methods; n The
propensity to expand the civil service through the setting up of irrelevant
ministerial portfolios. This was done to accommodate President Mugabe's
cronies who, otherwise, had no role to play in real terms of governance; The
creation of a plethora of parastatals managed and
      directed only by government appointees who were corrupt to the core
and could not discharge their duties competently; The siphoning of billions
of dollars from Treasury and donating it to war veterans; The outrageous
decision to interfere in the Democratic Republic of Congo conflict; The
morbid fear of all forms of opposition.

      These and many other factors steepened the gradient facilitating our
rapid downslide. A quarter of a century is a long time for a country to
still be searching for excuses for its persistent non-accomplishment. Our
leaders lack commitment, are unpatriotic and are only guided by a desire to
line their pockets, at the expense of the downtrodden majority.

      The success of the bourgeois countries Zanu PF so much despises - but
envies - has come about because of a combination of many factors. The main
reason is that these countries were blessed with an unselfish, focused and
patriotic leadership. The prosperity and political tolerance enjoyed by
these countries was bolstered by a well-orchestrated culture of
accountability, tolerance of opposition, and wide public consultation on
matters of common interest, reinforced by zero tolerance of corruption.

      However, our leaders in Zimbabwe are a rare breed - a direct contrast
to the leaders of the bourgeois countries. Zanu PF is infested with
ignoramuses, ultra-selfish leaders who seek positions of power to facilitate
their illicit personal aggrandisement. Corruption is now rampant in all
spheres of our society because it is part of Zanu PF's grand agenda. These
leaders are power-drunk and pretentious when it comes to addressing the
problems besetting the majority. An example is the way land acquisition has
benefited Zanu PF's fat cats, at the expense of the land-hungry poor.

      Useless, uncreative leaders have sat in Cabinet, unconcerned about the
rot they were causing. Some of these have been recycled - all in a perverse
culture of ensuring the survival of the ruling party at all costs. Due to
lack of political clout, integrity and courage, they all play "Follow the
Leader" like infants at kindergarten, in their gutless desire to please and
be rewarded by their "esteemed" leader. Patriotic leaders like Simba Makoni
have been jettisoned because they are seen to be
      incompatible with Zanu PF's passionate desire to consolidate its
immoral plutocracy. The ruling party has no nation builders. Its leaders are
guilty of polarising the nation along racial, political and tribal lines.
The few whites remaining after the outflow at independence the outflow at
independence have been targets of unimaginable vitriol by the ruling party's

      These who worked so tirelessly and contributed to what Zimbabwe is
today are now considered outcasts and stripped of their citizenship.
Systematically, they have been physically abused, murdered, their property
misappropriated, their entrepreneurship incapacitated, thereby dealing a
lasting blow to our agro-based economy.
      Due to Zanu PF's intransigence and despotic habits, the political
atmosphere is charged with hatred of the opposition. Members of the
opposition and any other voices of dissent are targets of vicious violence
by a partisan State security apparatus, ex-combatants, "Green Bombers", Zanu
PF youths and other misguided hoodlums. This is despite the fact that the
opposition is made up of men and women genuinely wanting to bring forth
transparency and transformation.

      The obnoxious virulence against the whites and the opposition we read,
hear and watch is highly destructive, fascist and typical of a leadership in
a fit of paranoia. This scenario retards general progress. The opposition
must be tolerated because it fulfils its constitutional mandate to oppose
and fight to form the next government.
      Opposition-bashing becomes immoral if it degenerates to the point
where opposition members are viciously persecuted and vigorously prosecuted
on various trumped-up charges. The demonisation of progressive entrepreneurs
like Strive Masiyiwa, Nigel Chanakira and Trevor Ncube because they are
anti-Zanu PF is naïve, unpatriotic and satanic. These bright citizens of
Zimbabwe are pioneers who are facilitating the recognition of our country on
the global stage.

      These role models must be applauded and held up as examples for other
ambitious Zimbabweans to emulate. A leadership that promotes the verbal
abuse and harassment of such forceful, innovative citizens is insensitive
and devoid of vision. It boggles the mind to think why such men with immense
input into the sustainability of our economy must be cursed and labelled

      A media under the directive of a panicky Zanu PF leadership is
promoting this political lunacy. The same has justified its transient
policies by misusing the word "sovereignty". Sovereignty does not permit a
government to force its citizens to live in fear of State-sanctioned terror
at the hand of a heavily politicised police force and the Central
Intelligence Organisation. It is wrong to circumvent the Constitution and
create a de facto police force in form of the war veterans, former
detainees, former war collaborators other groups of malcontents and their
kith and kin.

      Sovereignty is a word that had meaning in anachronistic Victorian
politics. In the current progressive global political arena, states are
abandoning this moribund
      concept and amalgamating into economic military and political blocs.
With the ongoing globalisation the world is almost turning into a one big
country. The practicalities of politics now dictate that a country must be
at par with others in terms of politics and other aspects of civilisation.
In a vain attempt to cover their failures, our leaders have wandered in
search of scapegoats. Typical of every incompetent and unpopular regime they
have tried to make scapegoats of the MDC and anyone.

      Even though the current economic debacle can be traced to the pre-MDC
era, in its twisted logic Zanu PF through the publicity-drunk Jonathan Moyo,
blames the opposition. Britain is not spared the blame either. This is
despite the fact that it never saw the inside of Zanu PF headquarters to
assist in the formulation of these disastrous policies that have
incapacitated our once vibrant country.

      Our leaders exist in dreamland. In their misguided wisdom, they think
they have a divine right to rule until eternity. This is despite their
continuous blundering and outright incompetence. To shield themselves, they
have muzzled the Press through promulgation of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act. They arrest, detain and torture opponents to
stifle criticism. A fascist propaganda machine has been put into place by
transforming all public media into Zanu PF mouthpieces.

      The cosmetic picture painted by the public media has been consolidated
by outright lies, manipulation of facts, false statistics and shifting of
blame to innocent entities. The nauseating propaganda has rendered radio
unlistenable, TV unwatchable and public newspapers unreadable. The
opposition is not allowed any airtime or space respectively, is demonised,
falsely labelled imperialist, insulted and cursed like a person with

      Fortunately history has numerous examples of regimes that sank despite
their desperate attempts to whip people into line through repression. The
shortcomings of the Zanu PF leaders can fill an encyclopedia. Today our
country needs leaders who are real patriots who must admit their failures
and allow people with new ideas to take over. Continued diatribe and
vandalism of our democracy are fatal viruses that can send our nation into
oblivion. Our country is stuck in a self-made quagmire, unable to extricate
itself because of a recalcitrant tendency to abhor opposition and insist on
a vainglorious culture of arrogance and populism. While our country is
staggering, unable to rise and gallop, the neighbouring countries are racing
ahead of us. South Africa stands like a Goliath while we insignificantly
follow, perhaps to never match or surpass it. While we are under siege from
this economic pandemic Botswana and Mozambique are busy putting in place
infrastructure to ensure their future prosperity.

      At independence our country inherited an economy with all the relevant
infrastructure in place. Zanu PF was therefore in a strategic position to
set the pace for Zimbabwe's economic dominance of the sub-region. Today the
ruling party blames economic sanctions for its failure to salvage the
economy. This tired excuse is invalid because Ian Smith, under a much
tighter sanctions regime, managed to keep his economy on course. Today Zanu
PF fails primarily because it is incompetent. Zimbabwe's citizens are a
pathetic lot traversing all corners of the globe in search of the better
life our leaders have failed to provide. Others willing to emigrate fail to
do so because the poor government cannot even provide them with passports.

      Instead of devising ways to accelerate delivery our leaders preoccupy
themselves with oppressing their citizens through the passage of tyrannical
laws like the notorious Public Order and Security Act. These cruel fascist
laws have helped the ruling party to unleash unmitigated terror on citizens
to silence those seeking to bring normalcy to our country. The common
denominator in our economic and political puzzle is our myopic President. If
this Zanu PF leader does not want to entrap himself in eternal ignominy, he
must immediately put in place a framework to launch authentic democracy.
Soon Zanu PF is going to follow the path of its fellow liberation movements
like UNIP, MCP, and Kanu. This tired party only survives on a thread,
sustained by the cruel gimmicks of President Mugabe. Upon Mugabe's demise
his party will follow him to the grave.

      Zimbabweans must put the needs of their country ahead of their
personal greed. Apartheid South Africa did it with the ANC and other
organisations without the interference of former dictators like Obasanjo.
Diatribe and virulence are unholy methods of finding solutions to political
paradoxes. If Zanu PF's arrogance and heavy-handedness persist, harmony in
our country shall elude us till eternity.

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      MP says he was brutally assaulted by riot police

      3/19/2003 2:12:47 PM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      Bennie Mutasa-Tumbare, the MP for Seke (MDC), on Monday alleged that
he was severely assaulted by the police after his vehicle was attacked by a
Zanu PF mob in Kuwadzana, Harare.

      Mutasa-Tumbare said his white Nissan twin-cab truck was shot at during
an attack by the mob at the Bulawayo Road and the Kuwadzana Extension
turn-off on Sunday afternoon. He said he had not seen the woman who was said
to have been run over by his car as reported by the State media.
Tumbare-Mutasa said his driver lost control of the vehicle.

      When the vehicle finally stopped, all the occupants scrambled out and
fled. The mob was part of a Zanu PF group which disrupted an MDC campaign
rally for the 29-30 March by-election in Kuwadzana Extension. Tumbare-Mutasa
said: "People who witnessed the attack said there was a man in a cream Mazda
truck with red stripes who shot at us. I was in the back seat. The shot
missed the driver by a whisker. Other shots caused punctures in the left
front wheel and the right rear wheel."

      He said: "About 20 riot policemen arrived immediately afterwards and
started assaulting me." Tumbare-Mutasa said he was detained at Kuwadzana
Police Station but was released three hours later without charge, after the
intervention of his lawyer, Charles Selemani. Doctors' reports from
Parirenyatwa Hospital and the Avenues Clinic indicate that Tumbare-Mutasa
sustained, among other injuries, abrasions and multiple bruises inflicted by
batons, rifle butts and booted feet.
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      Thomas accused of lying

      3/19/2003 2:14:42 PM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      DEFENCE lawyers in the treason trial of three top MDC officials
yesterday accused Tara Thomas, a prosecution witness, of lying in court and
professing loss of memory in order to defend her boss's reputation.

      Thomas is a personal assistant to political lobbyist, Ari Ben-Menashe
and his deputy Alexander Legault. Ben-Menashe was the State's key witness.
Thomas said, under cross-examination by Advocate Chris Andersen, she had no
knowledge of fraud allegations in the United States against Ben-Menashe and
Legault, at the political consultancy Dickens and Madson. But she made a
U-turn when Andersen produced an article from The Montreal Gazette,
cataloguing a series of civil lawsuits against Legault and Ben-Menashe. "I
asked him about it when I read it and he said it was his former partner who
was involved in the scam,'' Thomas said.
      "He also said he was already in Canada when these events were supposed
to have taken place." She was referring to allegations that Legault was
charged with swindling more than 300 pensioners in Texas, in the United
States, out of a total of US$13 million (Z$715 million) in life savings.
Most of the victims were over 75.
      "He said his lawyers were taking care of things," Thomas said.

      But she said she was not aware of any complaints by Legault to the
publishers of The Montreal Gazette or other newspapers which subsequently
ran the story. "I put it to you, you have been very economical with the
truth because you said earlier you knew nothing about these allegations,"
Andersen said. "I don't know the truth about those allegations, Sir," Thomas
retorted. Andersen said Legault absconded from justice and sought asylum in
Canada claiming he was a former agent of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC president; Welshman Ncube, the party's secretary
general and Renson Gasela, the shadow minister of agriculture, have pleaded
not guilty to conspiring to assassinate President Mugabe and overthrow his
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      Mombeshora dies

      3/19/2003 2:09:52 PM (GMT +2)

      By Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter

      DR SWITHUN Mombeshora, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education,
died at his Borrowdale home on Monday night. Mombeshora, 58, reportedly
suffered a stroke, collapsed and died.

      Although Nathan Shamuyarira, Zanu PF's spokesman could not be reached
for comment, another party official said before he died, Mombeshora's
brother, also a medical doctor, had attended to him. Mombeshora was one of
the longest serving Cabinet ministers in Mugabe's government. He was
appointed deputy minister of Agriculture in 1981 and later moved to the
Ministry of Health in the same capacity. He was then appointed deputy
minister of Local Government and briefly served as the Governor of
Mashonaland West before taking up a position in government as Minister for
State Planning in the President's Office. Mombeshora then became the
Minister of Mines before being appointed Minister of Transport and
Communications in 2000. He was appointed to his last Cabinet position
following the March 2002 presidential elections.

      Mombeshora who attended school at Fletcher High School in 1965, was
also the chairman of the Red Cross Society of Zimbabwe. Paul Mangwana, Zanu
PF's deputy secretary for administration in Mashonaland West, said
Mombeshora fought against colonialism which led to his arrest and conviction
in 1965. Two years later, Mangwana said, Mombeshora enrolled at the
University of Rhodesia where he continued his studies while fighting against
colonialism. After graduating as a medical doctor, Mombeshora worked at
Mpilo Central Hospital between 1974 and 1976. He later moved to Marondera
Hospital as that institution's medical doctor. During his tenure at
Marondera Hospital, Mombeshora continued his fight against colonialism by
assisting injured freedom fighters, said Mangwana. Three years later,
Mombeshora opened a surgery in the then Harare township of Salisbury. At
independence in 1980, Mombeshora won the Makonde North parliamentary seat on
a Zanu PF ticket, becoming that constituency's MP - a seat he held until his

      Emma Kundishora, Red Cross' programmes officer in Matebeleland South,
said: "Dr Mombeshora was an exemplary leader and a dedicated volunteer, who
served the Red Cross both at national and international levels." Mombeshora
joined the Red Cross in 1988 as a volunteer and was elected the provincial
chairperson for Mashonaland West the same year. Ten years later, Mombeshora
became the national president of the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society after he was
unanimously elected by all provinces. In 2001, he was re-elected to the same
post. He held the position until his death. Mombeshora also served in the
International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies'
Disaster Commission. He was also appointed the chairman of the HIV/Aids
Scaling up Committee in the International Federation of the Red Cross and
Red Scaling Societies in the Southern African Region. Funeral arrangements
were yet to be announced but mourners are gathered at 67 Kingsmead Road,
Borrowdale, Harare.
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      MDC gives Mugabe two-week ultimatum

      By Sydney Masamvu Assistant Editor
      3/20/03 2:45:13 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s mass action will resume in
two weeks with marches to President Robert Mugabe's Munhumu-tapa building
offices and his official residence, State House, if the opposition party's
demands for a negotiated political settlement are not met, it was learnt
      MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai told the Financial Gazette that his
party's national executive would meet on Sunday to review the mass action
and decide how to proceed.

      The protests, called to pressure Mugabe to recognise and tackle
Zimbabwe's worsening political and economic crisis, this week took the form
of a national job stayaway on Tuesday and yesterday.
      Most businesses remained closed during the two days, with many
employees staying away from work.
      Tsvangirai said a letter containing several demands to be met by the
government by March 31 would be presented to Mugabe tomorrow. Failure to
meet the demands within the next two weeks would result in the escalation of
mass protests, the MDC leader said.
      He told the Financial Gazette: "The initial phase has been completed
and the next stage will proceed on another level, which will be decided by
the executive over the weekend and in line with responses on demands which
we want addressed as a party."
      Issues that will be raised in the letter include the legitimacy of
Mugabe's government, which the opposition party says is only in power
because the ruling ZANU PF rigged last March's presidential election.
      The MDC's demands also include the restoration of the rule of law, the
depoliticisation of the police force and the army, which are accused of
serving ruling party instead of national interests.
      The opposition party also wants the disbanding of militias that
critics say are being trained by the government under the guise of the
national service programme and being used against MDC supporters and members
of the public.
      Repeal of the Public Order and Security Act, legalising demonstrations
and political gatherings presently outlawed by the legislation, are also
among the MDC's demands, which also include an end to political violence.
      Tsvangirai would not say what form the next stage of the mass action
would take if Mugabe did not accede to his party's demands.
      However, senior officials within the MDC said this week's mass action,
during which workers were asked to stay away from work, was a "test run" to
gauge the mood of the nation.
      They said the mass action would take a different form if the party's
demands were not met.
      The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the next
phase of the action would see street protests and marches around the
      Participants in the protests would be organised to march to Mugabe's
Munhumutapa building offices and his official residence at State House, the
officials told the
      Financial Gazette.
      "We have our demands and are ready to move a gear up and the message
will, without any doubt, be put across forcefully to Mugabe on his own
doorstep if nothing is done to address our concerns," a senior MDC official
      "What we were doing in the first two days was a test run, it was a
stayaway, but we are moving into phase two of the action, which will see us
at Munhumutapa building and State House," he added.
      A team involved in working out the logistics of the mass action was
already in the process of mobilising party supporters for the marches, the
official said.
      Political commentators said Mugabe was unlikely to bow down to the
MDC, the strongest opposition he has faced since he came to power in 1980.
      Mugabe has dismissed the MDC as "puppets" of Zimbabwe's former
colonial master Britain and as unfit to run the country.
      The commentators said the government might increase its crackdown
against the MDC in the next two weeks to pre-empt street protests, which
they said were likely to be hampered by heavy police presence.
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      Unions push for $46 000 poverty datum line

      By Cyril Zenda Senior Reporter
      3/20/03 2:25:52 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWEAN union representatives are pushing for the poverty datum
line used to set minimum wages to be hiked to at least $46 000, but analysts
say this is only a temporary solution for the country's low-income earners
and white-collar workers who are increasingly living in "genteel poverty".

      According to a working document submitted to the
government-business-labour Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) this month,
the average monthly minimum wage in Zimbabwe stood at $16 478.81 in January,
but an urban family of five needs at least $44 697.31 to survive every
      Workers' representatives, whose proposals will be debated by the TNF,
say the nationally accepted wage needed by an urban family to meet its needs
should be set at $46 000 and used to determine future minimum wages.
      But analysts this week pointed out that with inflation rising
unchecked every month, setting the poverty datum line at $46 000 was a
stop-gap measure that would not resolve the problems faced by workers, whose
wages have not kept pace with rising prices in the past three years.
      According to figures released by the Central Statistical Office early
this week, Zimbabwe's annual inflation scaled another record high in
February, rising 12.8 points from 208.1 percent in January to 220.9 percent.
      Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa has pledged to slash inflation to 96
percent by the end of 2003, but analysts say his forecasts are over
optimistic given the government's loose monetary policy, which has
encouraged consumptive borrowing.
      Local economists said with the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar this
month and the parallel market for foodstuffs expected to strengthen in 2003
because of price controls and worsening food shortages, inflation would
reach 350 percent before the end of the year.
      Price controls imposed by the government in October 2001 have lead to
a parallel market in most goods, which are available at prices significantly
higher than those set by the Industry and International Ministry.
      Drought and a controversial government land reform programme that has
cut agricultural output have also resulted in severe food shortages, with
most basic foodstuffs also now available on the expensive black market.
      The International Monetary Fund has forecast that pressure on prices
could lead to inflation topping 500 percent by this year-end.
      "The prices of fuel and electricity have gone up and with the exchange
rate officially devalued, this will feed into inflation," said First Mutual
Life fund manager Nyasha Chasakara.
      Economic consultant John Robertson added: "In March, there is going to
be a big jump in inflation and there is no doubt about that because the
latest figures did not factor in (last month's) fuel price increase.
      "Since there is going to be another (fuel) increase in the middle of
the year, we will be lucky to finish the year with inflation at 200 percent,
let alone below 100 percent."
      The analysts said this meant that companies' production and input
costs would continue to rise in the next few months, putting pressure on the
cost of commodities, despite the price and wage freeze agreed by the TNF
last month.
      They said with employers' unable to raise wages and with most
commodities only available on the black market, where the cost of goods
rises unchecked, workers would continue to face soaring prices while their
purchasing power declined.
      Commentators said this would worsen a situation where low-income
earners were becoming poorer and middle-income, white-collar workers were
increasingly facing deteriorating living standards, forcing them into
"genteel poverty".
      "This is because salary increases are not in tandem with inflation,"
said Kingdom Financial Holdings economist Witness Chinyama. "You realise
that your salary will increasingly be unable to buy what you want and this
situation worsens when most basic commodities are found on the parallel
      The analysts said because of this, many middle-income families were
parking their private cars at home due to prohibitive maintenance costs and
opting for public transport to travel to work.
      Several families have transferred children from expensive boarding
schools, shelved plans to build or buy their own homes, forcing them to
remain in rented accommodation whose cost is also becoming unaffordable.
      The analysts said to escape soaring residential rentals, many
Zimbabweans were moving away from expensive properties near the central
business district and in low and middle-density areas to cheaper
high-density suburbs.
      "Disposable incomes are falling and many families are moving from
higher and middle classes to the lower class," Chasakara observed.
      "Many families are changing their consumption patterns and
concentrating on basics only as inflation pushes prices beyond the reach of
many," he added.
      Robertson told the Financial Gazette: "Standards of living are
dropping and most families have to forego a number of basics and even change
their diets because their incomes are being eroded by inflation."
      Declining living standards and disposable incomes have serious social
and economic implications, economists said.
      "In the long-term, this could lead to a higher percentage of people
suffering from malnutrition and social stress," Robertson said.
      "It could also result in less productivity, more sickness and school
children will not be able to study properly."
      Commentators said declining disposable incomes meant that a large
number of Zimbabweans were unable to save money, further reducing the
country's national savings and affecting investment.
      "If there are no savings and investment at micro level, that will
cause problems at the national level because if people do not save, there
will be no money for investment at the national level," Chinyama said.
      An economist with a Harare commercial bank added: "The government has
to come up with an anti-inflationary strategy otherwise the situation will
get worse. The new economic recovery programme prioritises low interest
rates and that can only feed into inflation.
      "Murerwa needs to think seriously about the problem of inflation
otherwise there will be no economic recovery to speak of."
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      Stayaway further sours govt, industry ties

      By MacDonald Dzirutwe Business News Editor
      3/20/03 2:27:45 AM (GMT +2)

      BUSINESS and industry's overwhelming response to this week's
opposition mass protests could sour already strained relations with the
government and will be devastating to Zimbabwe's struggling economy,
analysts said this week.

      Most factories, shops and companies in Zimbabwe's main urban centres
closed down on Tuesday and Wednesday in response to a stayaway called by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to protest government
policies that are blamed for the country's worsening economic crisis.
      A snap survey over the past two days showed that Harare's major
industrial areas of Willowvale, Graniteside, Workington, Msasa and
Southerton were closed during the two-day stay away.
      Almost all retail shops in central Harare did not open on Tuesday and
Wednesday, while some banks opened for a few hours before shutting down when
it became apparent that most businesses were closed.
      In Bulawayo, the heavy industrial areas of Donnington and Belmont,
once the city's vibrant textile and manufacturing hubs - referred to as the
Manchester of Rhodesia before independence - were deserted.
      Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries chief economist and acting chief
executive Farai Zizhou said it was too early to say how many companies had
closed during the stayaway.
      "We try not to make guesses where we have not made a scientific
survey," Zizhou told the Financial Gazette.
      But an executive member of the Matabeleland Chamber of Industries said
about 95 percent of companies in Bulawayo had not opened their businesses
yesterday, up from 70 percent the day before.
      "More are closed today (Wednesday) than yesterday," he said. "We put
it at about 95 percent today compared to about 70 percent yesterday."
      "Most employers were afraid to be seen closing on the first day
because they were certain to be targeted by the ruling party politicians,
but it looks like today the fear has subsided and they have decided to
close," he added.
      Analysts and representatives of industry yesterday said it was too
early to quantify the economic cost of the closures, only saying that the
mass action had cost the economy "millions of dollars" in lost production.
      But the analysts said the impact on the Zimbabwean economy, which is
in its fourth year of recession, would have been devastating if the mass
action continued beyond this week and most of industry and business remained
closed as they had done on Tuesday and Wednesday.
      "Contributions of industry to the economy runs into millions of
dollars a day and if people do not go to work that is what we are losing,"
economic consultant John Robertson told the Financial Gazette.
      "It is difficult to measure, but the economy is going backwards and a
stayaway only speeds up the process of going backwards. These are things
that damage the economy," he said.
      Zimbabwe's economy has been hard hit by severe foreign currency, raw
material and fuel shortages, rampant inflation, which rose 220.9 percent in
the year to February, and government-imposed price controls that have forced
most companies to cut back on output.
      Industrial output fell by 13 percent last year, analysts say, and is
expected to plunge further in 2003.
      The analysts said the prolonged closure of industry and business would
lead to output falling even further than expected this year, forcing more
companies to downsize or close down, laying off workers.
      But commentators said the potential impact of work stayaways was what
made them an effective tool for the opposition and ultimately for business
and labour, which had also been pressing for more sustainable solutions to
Zimbabwe's economic crisis.
      However, the private sector's decision to heed the MDC's call for mass
action could adversely affect business' already strained relations with the
government, which in the past has accused the private sector of conniving
with the opposition party to bring down President Robert Mugabe's
      The private sector has denied the charge and has in the past few
months been working through the government-business-labour Tripartite
Negotiating Forum (TNF) to influence economic policies.
      The TNF's discussions have touched on fuel procurement and pricing,
the exchange rate as well as price controls, resulting in fuel price
increases and a devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar.
      The devaluation is a concession the government has been reluctant to
make in the past and which business has been pressing for, saying it was
necessary for the survival of local companies.
      But analysts and representatives of industry said the private sector's
warmer relations with the government could be jeopardised by companies'
response to this week's protests.
      Zizhou said the government, which has always been suspicious of
industry, might not be happy with its participation in this week's stayaway.
      "Government is less likely to listen with enthusiasm when we want to
discuss different issues," he told the Financial Gazette.
      "The government will say we are not sure where you (industry) stand
and this could scuttle the negotiations under the TNF. It prejudices our
      Company executives pointed out that the closure of some businesses
might not have been the result of support of the MDC's mass action but of
fear of loss of property because of violence.
      "In a time like this, you do not want to take a costly gamble that you
will regret tomorrow," said an executive with a Harare-based manufacturing
firm that remained closed during the stayaway.
      "So you will find out that every company that has closed is doing it
for different reasons."
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      Region could be forced to re-think on Mugabe

      By Abel Mutsakani Deputy Editor-in-Chief
      3/20/03 2:30:34 AM (GMT +2)

      OPPOSITION mass protests that shut down business and industry early
this week could embolden the international community to further tighten the
screws against Harare and nudge regional allies to reconsider their support
of President Robert Mugabe, according to analysts.

      The strike called by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) in its first major challenge to Mugabe since his controversial
re-election last March would refocus the spotlight on Zimbabwe and give
impetus for tougher reaction by the international community to Mugabe's
iron-fisted rule, they said.
      Businesses and factories remained shut across crisis-hit Zimbabwe on
Tuesday and yesterday as thousands of workers stayed at home in response to
a call by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to register their anger against
Mugabe's government by not reporting for work.
      South African Institute of International Affairs analyst Neuma
Grobbelaar told the Financial Gazette that the response to the mass action
was a clear signal that discontent and domestic pressure was intensifying
against Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party.
      This would make it easier for key world leaders to convince their own
constituencies that there was need for a more vigorous and concerted action
by the international community against the Harare administration, she said.
      "A more concerted and stronger effort by the international community
will follow if there is a clear, focused and peaceful guideline from
domestic forces," Grobbelaar said by telephone from her Pretoria base.
      Grobbelaar spoke as the United States of America this week brought
fresh pressure on Mugabe and his government by leading a campaign at the
ongoing 59th session of the United Nations' Commission on Human Rights in
Geneva for a resolution condemning human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
      Also this week, the Commonwealth extended until December Harare's
suspension from the councils of the 54-nation club of mainly former British
      The respected International Bar Association chipped in last week with
calls for Mugabe to be hauled before the International Criminal Court to
face charges of violating international humanitarian law.
      The Commonwealth suspended Harare after Mugabe's re-election last
March, which the group and the MDC say the Zimbabwean leader won through
violence and blatant fraud.
      The United States, the European Union, Switzerland, Australia and New
Zealand have already slapped travel and financial sanctions against Mugabe
and his top officials over their bloated human rights and democracy record.
      The Western nations also want Mugabe to reverse his controversial
seizure of farmland from whites without compensation, for redistribution to
landless blacks.
      University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Institute of Development Studies analyst
Brian Raftopoulos said besides availing stronger moral ground for the rest
of the world to act, the successful mass protests by the opposition were a
clear signal that despite regional solidarity for Mugabe, internal pressures
were swelling against the embattled leader.
      Analysts say the Mugabe administration has remained on its feet mostly
because of support from continental powerhouses South Africa and Nigeria as
well as other Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries.
      But Abuja, Pretoria and SADC will not immediately withdraw their
critical backing of Mugabe just because of the successful protests by the
MDC, Raftopoulos said.
      But, said the respected political analyst, the nationwide anti-Mugabe
protests were irrefutable evidence that despite a severe government
onslaught against the MDC, the opposition party had survived as an intact
and potent political force of reckon in Zimbabwe.
      Raftopoulos said: "Mugabe must now demonstrate that he has a workable
strategy of national survival beyond repression against the opposition or
otherwise even the regional and continental support will begin to roll
      Zimbabwe is in the midst of its worst political and economic crisis
since winning independence from Britain 23 years ago.
      The economy is in a free fall with record high unemployment, inflation
and severe shortages of hard cash and fuel.
      Figures released this week show that the country's annual inflation
rate jumped 12.8 points to 220.9 percent in February, with economists
predicting it could spiral beyond 300 percent before December due to
skyrocketing prices of food.
      More than half of the country's 11.6 million people face starvation
because of poor rains last season and disruptions in farming caused by
Mugabe's land reforms.
      In addition, a burgeoning HIV/AIDS scourge is claiming at least 2 000
Zimbabweans every week to complete the menacing array of disasters
confronting the southern African nation.
      UZ maths lecturer and political commentator Heneri Dinotyiwei said the
MDC-organised mass job stayaway could only help hasten Zimbabwe's hurtle
towards disaster.
      Political analysts agree a failed Zimbabwean state at the heart of
SADC would destabilise the entire region, sending thousands of refugees into
South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique and other regional destinations.
      But Raftopoulos said analysts should not read too much into recent
comments by Mbeki and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo indicating that
they were not in full agreement with some of Mugabe's policies and methods.
      He however noted that the public admissions were a sign of Pretoria
and Abuja's frustration with the Zimbabwean leader.
      Mbeki last week told journalists in Botswana that he and other SADC
leaders had told Mugabe they did not agree with how he had handled the land
dispute in Zimbabwe, while Obasanjo reportedly told British journalists that
Mugabe must start considering his exit from power.
      With renewed pressure from within Zimbabwe, Mugabe and his
administration could expect to see stronger and even louder demands by their
regional allies to clean up their act or risk losing vital support, said
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      130 arrested on second day of mass action

      Staff Reporter
      3/20/03 2:31:06 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) arrested 130 more protesters on the
second day of opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) mass protests,
with police sources saying they had been instructed to use minimal force so
as not to provoke uncontrollable public violence.

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said most of the arrests yesterday
were carried out in high-density suburbs around the country, where
protesters burnt vehicles.
      Another 63 protesters was arrested on Tuesday, the first day of the
stayaway, during which most businesses remained closed and workers stayed at
home in response to the MDC's call for mass action to press for a resolution
of Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis.
      Bvudzijena said 12 vehicles, including cars and buses, were attacked
or petrol-bombed by members of the public yesterday in Mutare, Kadoma,
Bulawayo and Harare.
      Tensions were high in Mutare's Sakubva suburb, where several cars,
including delivery vehicles, were stoned in the early hours of yesterday
      Skirmishes were also reported during the afternoon in Mutare, while
the Harare-Mutare passenger train was delayed after several people blocked
the railway line at the Feruka-Cadec rail crossing with heavy stones.
      Heavily armed soldiers and anti-riot police yesterday maintained a
heavy presence in the high-density areas of the country's major cities, most
of whose citizens spent Tuesday and Wednesday at home.
      There were no serious clashes reported between the police and members
of the public during the two days of the mass action.
      The police had early this week vowed to deal ruthlessly with any
violence sparked by the protests, the MDC's first serious challenge to the
government since President Robert Mugabe's controversial re-election last
      But police sources told the Financial Gazette that they had been
instructed not to use "too much force" that could provoke protesters because
of fears that this could incite the public into an uncontrollable violent
      Meanwhile, many teachers and other civil servants, whose payday was on
Tuesday, were unable to withdraw their salaries from commercial banks and
building societies because several financial institutions did not open
during the stayaway.
      Although some banks opened for business on Tuesday, most financial
institutions remained closed yesterday.
      Many Harare residents were also unable to use automated teller
machines (ATMs), which had run out of cash by yesterday.
      "I had anticipated that the mass stayaway would have subsided by
today, but it seems things just got worse," a Harare teacher said yesterday.
      "Now I am not sure how I will get back home because I had thought I
would withdraw my salary. I have tried all the ATMs and they are not
working," the civil servant added.
      Despite assurances by the government that its offices would remain
open during the mass action, there was little activity at most state
facilities visited by the Financial Gazette this week.
      There were few people at the Registrar-General's Office in Harare,
where long queues for passports, birth certificates, identity cards and
other document are a daily sight.
      However, the High Court, where three senior MDC officials are on trial
for treason, appeared to be operating normally.
      "The people have spoken in a fashion that only a fool can ignore,"
said Peter Bazuzi of Mutare about the response to the mass action.
      "This should be one of the steps in a protracted battle to remove the
shackles of political oppression and economic mayhem at the hands of ZANU
PF. A revolution at this moment is in the making," he added.
      Most members of the public interviewed by this newspaper said they
were ready for a more serious confrontation that would force Mugabe's
government out of power.
      "I am ready for anything now. I was afraid that people would not
listen to the call for action but they did, and I am now confident the
people are ready for any action that would remove Mugabe," said Frank Matapi
of Kuwadzana.
      He added: "We have nothing to lose now. Even though I go to work, the
money I earn at the end of the month is not enough to sustain me for a week.
So it's better to confront the evil that has caused our misery now and then
we can start rebuilding."
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      Mozambique threatens to cut off power supplies

      By MacDonald Dzirutwe Business News Editor
      3/20/03 2:46:25 AM (GMT +2)

      MOZAMBICAN power utility Hydro Cahora Bassa (HCB), the country's major
regional power supplier, is believed to have given the Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority (ZESA) until Saturday to pay debt arrears of more than US$6
million or face termination of supplies, according to senior ZESA officials.

      It was not possible to ascertain this week how much ZESA owed the
Mozambican power supplier, but officials said Zimbabwe's electricity utility
was trying to raise foreign currency to pay the arrears and avert the
impending power cut.
      They said the parastatal had approached the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
for foreign currency but without success.
      ZESA benefits from the 50 percent of exporters' proceeds that is
remitted to the central bank, but hard cash inflows have been low since the
introduction of tough new exchange control measures last November.
      Foreign exchange dealers say the introduction of new export incentives
last month has not improved inflows.
      "We have been given until the weekend to pay the US$6 million and as
we speak, we are running around to see where we can get the money," a senior
official at ZESA told the Financial Gazette.
      "They (HCB) have said they will cut electricity to Zimbabwe and we are
under no illusion that they won't do this, but we hope it will not happen,"
he added.
      It was not possible this week to secure comment from HCB on the
      ZESA management services officer Daniel Maviva this week would neither
confirm nor deny that the power utility had received an ultimatum from HCB.
      Instead, he said the parastatal was meeting with various stakeholders
to mobilise assistance in raising foreign currency.
      "ZESA is currently meeting with various stakeholders to mobilise their
support in raising foreign currency to meet its critical obligations such as
 power import arrears," he said.
      Zimbabwe, which imports about 34.6 percent of its electricity needs
from regional suppliers, receives most of its power imports from HCB, which
supplies the country with 3 198.89 gigawatts of electricity an hour.
      The Mozambican power supplier accounts for more than 26 percent of
imported electricity, with the rest coming from ESKOM of South Africa, SNEL
of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and ZESCO of Zambia.
      Officials who are part of a technical committee of the
government-business-labour Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) said they had
been made aware of ZESA's problem two weeks ago and industry had pledged to
lobby the government to come to ZESA's rescue.
      The officials also urged the government to support ZESA in concluding
a bilateral agreement it is negotiating with SNEL, which would give the
Zimbabwean power company the right of first access to DRC electricity.
      Electricity from the DRC is the cheapest in southern Africa, while HCB
's supplies are the most expensive.
      "ZESA has, through the TNF, notified industry that they have been
given until March 22 to pay up the outstanding arrears and the impact of
such a failure," a member of the TNF technical committee said.
      "The problem is that there are no foreign currency resources but we
believe that the government should actively support ZESA to sign a bilateral
agreement with SNEL, under which we will have the first right of access to
DRC power, which is cheaper than HCB," the TNF technical committee member
      Industrialists said the suspension of supplies by HCB might result in
ZESA failing to meet domestic demand and resorting to load-shedding to
conserve its reserves.
      They said the power utility might be forced to reduce power to
household consumers during the day and industries during off-peak hours,
although this would have to be done without affecting companies with 24-hour
      The industrialists said household consumers, already hard hit by
shortages of food, fuel and other commodities, were likely to be the most
affected by any load-shedding.
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      US blasts Zim rights abuses

      3/20/03 2:47:17 AM (GMT +2)

      THE United States of America, which is pressing for a resolution
condemning rights abuses in Zimbabwe, will tell the United Nations' Human
Rights Commission (UNHRC) that President Robert Mugabe and his ruling elite
have resorted to mob tactics, murder and torture to exert their will on
their fellow countrymen.

      In a document entitled "Zimbabwe's man-made crisis" to be presented at
the ongoing 59th session of the UNHRC in Geneva, the United States details
alleged human rights abuses including the massacre in the 1980s of over 20
000 people belonging to the opposition-supporting Ndebele ethnic group in
southern Zimbabwe.
      Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa could not be reached for comment on
the matter yesterday.
      The government has however denied that state security agents are
responsible for torture and violence against opposition party members.
      The state-controlled Herald newspaper earlier this week quoted
Chinamasa criticising the US move as an attempt by Washington to impose its
will on Zimbabwe.
      The US document, which repeats accusations of human rights abuses
levelled at Harare before, contains graphic details and pictures of specific
incidents of alleged abuse and torture.
      The document, prepared by the United State's State Department, accuses
Mugabe, his family and associates of profiteering from the misery of their
compatriots and says the Zimbabwean leader is using arbitrary and brutal
force to retain power.
      "Mugabe, his family and his inner circle have prospered while seven
million of their compatriots have reached the brink of starvation," part of
the report reads.
      "The rule of law has been replaced by the arbitrary and brutal rule of
a self-appointed elite. Zimbabwe is governed by the whim of its leaders who
use the mob to impose their authority."
      The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, the independent
Press and ordinary Zimbabweans have resisted and attempted to demand their
rights, according to the document.
      "The government responded to the challenge of opposition by unleashing
a wave of political violence unseen in Zimbabwe since the brutal repression
in Matabeleland in the early 1980s, when North Korean-trained troops killed
some 20 000 people and tortured thousands more," the US report said.
      Washington accuses Mugabe and his ZANU PF elite of manipulating the
genuine need for land reform in Zimbabwe to enrich themselves and to unleash
violence against the opposition.
      "A campaign of personal plunder masquerading as "land reform" became
the tool for the government of Zimbabwe to steal, murder, abuse and rape its
people into submission," according to the document.
      Food shortages gripping the country have also been manipulated with
starving supporters of the opposition being denied food as punishment, the
report added.
      It was not clear by the time of going to print last night whether US
officials had already presented the document before the UNHRC or whether
Washington was succeeding in winning critical African backing for a
resolution condemning rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
      There are 15 African countries, including Zimbabwe itself and
continental giants South Africa and Nigeria, in the UNHRC.
      A resolution almost similar to the one sought by Washington was thrown
out last year after Nigeria marshalled African opposition to the move.
      South African Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is
representing her country at the UNHRC meeting in Switzerland, said only a
few weeks ago that Pretoria would not censure Harare over accusations of
human rights abuses. - Staff Reporter
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      SA rightists in alleged plot to kill Mandela

      3/20/03 2:48:21 AM (GMT +2)

      JOHANNESBURG - A group of South African white rightwingers are accused
of plotting to assassinate former President and African icon Nelson Mandela,
a prosecution lawyer said yesterday.

      Details of the alleged plot, confirmed by prosecution lawyer Paul
Fick, were broadcast by the South African Broadcasting Corp (SABC) based on
the indictment of 23 members of the rightwing Boeremag group facing trial in
May for treason and terrorism.
      Last week, police said the Boeremag was still active and intent on
renewing its efforts to overthrow the black-led government through a wave of
bombings and assassinations.
      The shadowy group is already blamed for planting a number of bombs in
Soweto township near Johannesburg last year which killed one person and
raised fears of renewed racial violence.
      "The SABC has in its possession an official document alleging that a
group of Boeremag members built a bomb last October hoping to kill former
President Nelson Mandela. Mandela's vehicle was apparently to be targeted on
a road in Limpopo province," the radio report said.
      Fick confirmed that the allegations were included in the indictment
papers. "It was all part of the same project," he said, giving no further
      Mandela's office said it was not aware of the alleged plot against the
84-year-old Nobel peace laureate, respected the world over for his fight
against apartheid discrimination.
      "We cannot be distracted by plots or allegations of plots by splinter
groups...Clearly these are people with no foresight and their plans lack
intelligence," Mandela's office said in a statement.
      The Soweto bombings last year raised fears of a rightwing backlash in
the "Rainbow Nation" forged by Mandela after his African National Congress
swept to power in South Africa's first free elections in 1994, ending
decades of apartheid white rule.
      The shadowy Boeremag is believed to be a small group of white
Afrikaners, descendants of Dutch and French settlers.
      A lawyer for 13 of the accused told reporters yesterday that his
clients' human rights had been "grossly violated" by the South African
      Paul Kruger said the allegations made by his clients against police
included torture, death threats, threats of sodomy, assault and the bugging
of their cells.
      "I'm calling on the police to investigate all of these allegations,"
he said. -Reuter
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      Read the signs, Mr President

      3/20/03 2:13:29 AM (GMT +2)

      PRESSURE is ratcheting up for President Robert Mugabe to step back
from ruinous policies that have brought a once promising country to the
verge of economic and social collapse, or call it a day in the interests of
the nation.

      First one of his staunchest allies, Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo, has
made it clear that it is time for the Zimbabwean president to prepare his
departure from office and make way for a successor.
      Then the duo of Thabo Mbeki and Festus Mogae, leaders of regional
economic powerhouses South Africa and Botswana, castigated Mugabe's
controversial land reform programme, which is partly blamed for the severe
food shortages facing close to eight million Zimbabweans.
      While clearly not deserting his comrade, Mbeki nevertheless took the
kid gloves off his soft diplomacy towards Harare and publicly made the point
that the haphazard seizure of farms, which has slashed food production by at
least 60 percent, was unacceptable.
      "We have seen for some time now that the matter is not being handled
correctly," Mbeki said during a state visit to Botswana last week. "We must
establish what remains to be done so we can come to a situation of normalcy
in that country as soon as possible."
      The blunt message could not have been pressed home better than by the
Commonwealth's decision on Sunday to extend a one-year suspension of
Zimbabwe until December.
      Then the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) kicked off
mass action on Tuesday to protest Zimbabwe's economic crisis and growing
state repression.
      At the time of writing this comment on Tuesday, several businesses and
factories had chosen to shut down because of the mass action, while the
already struggling public transport system nearly ground to a halt in some
areas, preventing workers from reporting for duty.
      Whether the response by companies and public transporters was an
indication of support for the opposition's action or was prompted by fear of
damage to property in case of violence, it is a sign that the MDC has not
lost its potency, despite failure to carry off the presidency last March.
      The government has predictably responded to the latest developments by
threatening to deal ruthlessly with this week's anti-Mugabe protests while
loudly proclaiming the solidarity of its African neighbours.
      But it must be clear even to Mugabe that he can continue to resist the
inevitable at his own peril.
      Given this week's profound demonstration of the MDC's continuing
relevance to national politics, the President would be better served
re-opening dialogue with the opposition party to seek a peaceful resolution
to Zimbabwe's political impasse.
      Clearly, the country cannot afford the descent into chaos and violence
that the failure to fully explore a calm transition would inevitably mean.
      It is also in Mugabe's and the nation's best interests that his
government spends the nine months before December's Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting putting its house in order.
      This means addressing the often-cited issues of human rights, the rule
of law and property rights. This would not only avoid tougher action from
the Commonwealth but also show the rest of the international community that
Zimbabwe has resolved to seriously tackle its problems.
      Otherwise local companies and ordinary Zimbabweans can look forward to
tougher times ahead and the government must brace itself for escalating
      Figures released early this week show that year-on-year inflation has
reached 220.9 percent.
      This, together with worsening foreign currency and fuel shortages as
well as rising interest rates mean a harsher operating environment for
Zimbabwean businesses that could ultimately cause further company closures
and rising unemployment, which brings with it a whole set of social
      In the interests of the nation, the President must stem Zimbabwe's
economic and social haemorrhaging, even if it means falling on his own sword
to pave the way for a government with the domestic and international
goodwill to stave off the country's collapse.
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      The struggle must continue

      3/20/03 2:36:08 AM (GMT +2)

      EDITOR - The struggle for freedom has come a long way and it is
encouraging that finally we seem to be heading to its substantive

      The call by the Movement for Democratic Change for a national job
stayaway this week should be seen as a positive step towards this direction.
Withdrawal of our labour from fuelling an unaccountable, illegal government
is a fundamental weapon for fighting runaway regimes.
      The economy of the country is not benefiting us and we should not be
obliged to serve it. Every day and in every way, President Robert Mugabe is
ruining our lives and future.
      The economy is bleeding to death under a tyranny that presides over
public money as if it were the spoils of war. Food, jobs, education, health
and transport are no longer within the reach of millions of our people.
      Racial and political differences are being exploited in order to keep
us fighting against each other and blinkering us from the real issues.
      Today, Zimbabwe's finest sons and daughters are fleeing the country to
be subjects of humiliation and objects of pity in other countries. Mugabe
and his thugs are driving lawyers, scientists, journalists, academics and
ordinary Zimbabweans into exile due to persecution.
      We must not allow our misery to fatten these "man-tigers". For too
long have we allowed Mugabe to brutalise our psyche in the name of a "third
chimurenga", which has brought nothing but shame and hopelessness to the
entire nation.
      For almost seven years now, Mugabe and his gang have made our lives
miserable. We have been humiliated, jailed and tortured, with some murdered.
      This geriatric has reduced the entire population to the economic
status of beggars and political level of convicts. We are now a people
deprived of everything, even dignity itself.
      My fellow citizens, this is not a time to surrender to despair nor sit
idly waiting for others to rid the country of this tyrant. Let's remember
that it was with our collective will and strength that we drove off Ian
Smith and his racist regime.
      Mugabe does not have two heads; we can and must send him packing
before the country becomes a graveyard.
      The message has to be clear: unless we have a government exercising
real commitment towards our welfare, we are not prepared to go back to work.
      Unless we have a clear commitment to the provision of health,
education, affordable food and transport, a healthy economy, effective
dealing with corruption, a non-selective application of the law, annulment
of repressive legislation, the struggle has to continue until he falls.
      The more he refuses to heed the legitimate demands by his own people,
the harder he will fall.
      Though the immediate call has been for a two-day stayaway, in future
the struggle has to continue till freedom comes. Other means have to be
      There is no act done by a brutalised people which can be rendered
illegal. Let's defend ourselves; let's join hands and defend our country
from this selfish tyrant.
      For those too scared to join the cries for another morsel of sadza, a
stayaway means: stay home and rest, and don't go out of your yard.

      Tapera Kapuya,
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      What if a peaceful mass action is a flop?

      3/20/03 2:33:46 AM (GMT +2)

      LAST week the MDC leadership announced it was soon going to call on
the people of Zimbabwe to embark on a protracted mass action aimed at a
"free and fair" election which would end this country's 12-month political
impasse since President Mugabe's controversial election which put the
country into a worsening economic crisis and international isolation.

      While some have welcomed the idea of a mass action saying: "Mass
action, ndizvo!" in support, others have expressed anxiety saying: "If the
mass action is a flop, it's the end of the MDC!" A few have expressed the
view that the latter view, the view that if this mass action flops, then
that would be the end of the MDC, as not only alarmist but uninformed and
therefore misses the point.
      In this contribution I want to identity with this third view, the view
that the second view is alarmist and uninformed. Not that I am informed by
the MDC of what goes on inside their counsels, as the Pravda continually
makes the mistake of insinuating, but because I am informed by ZANU PF; not
that I sit in the ZANU PF counsels either, but that I know its history
rather intimately, having lived in and through it.
      I first met the late Joshua Nkomo at an NDP rally in 1960 at Chako
township on the outskirt of Mount Selinda in the Chi-pinge district. I might
have been 14 then for no one in my family really knows for sure when I was
      (My birthday of August 23 1946 was a lie my brother, the late Ndaba,
told the missionary, WH Reedy, so that I could be accepted in boarding
school at Mount Se-linda mission where he was a pastor. Up until now, I have
dreaded the thought of what I would have been today were it not for that
lie. Perhaps a rural witch doctor rather than a doctor of political science!
I don't tire telling this story).
      Any way, I sat in the crowd. My mother was there too but I did not sit
with her. I was with the other boys moving up and down with awe and
admiration, observing the pick up jeeps written BSAP (British South African
Police) and the policemen in attendance according to the requirements of the
Public Order Security Act (POSA) en vogue at the time, then known as the Law
and Order (Maintenance) Act (LOMA). Twice, a military helicopter flew over
the crowd to add to the intimidation of my mother but to my friends'
excitement and me.
      After the speeches by Nkomo and my brother, my friends and I, who had
heard nothing from the speeches, were still talking about the military
helicopter, which we had seen for the first time. Hardly did we know that
one day tichadzidonhesa one by one nemabazooka and rocket launchers as
pick-up jeeps and military trucks and tanks burn from having detonated
zvimbambaira (landmines) until Ian Smith's oppressive regime fell at our
      That evening I was to listen to a debriefing conversation between
Machuma (my mother) and Ndaba. Ndaba, who had insisted that my mother and
father went to the Chako rally, asked them a politician's question: "How did
you enjoy the rally?"
      The first to answer was my father who gave the expected answer. "You
were good. Keep it up. We will get back our country, no doubt," he
encouraged. Mother didn't say anything; having assumed the topic was for men
to discuss and the women to only listen. But right as they were about to bid
each other good night, Ndaba asked: "Mother, you haven't said anything,
Machuma. How did you find the rally?"
      She took her time, and then shot back: "Muntanhami, mwa-nangu, my son,
you and Nkomo spoke well. I must say you were better than Nkomo," she
flattered her son to Ndaba's satisfaction! (They spoke in Nde-bele, my
mother's language).
      "But, you will never beat the white man. You saw the jeeps and
policemen, including one white policeman with a gun. They surrounded us with
their sticks and handcuffs. What was that oku-phaphayo, chinoburu-ruka,
which flew over us twice?", she asked, suspecting the military helicopter to
be deadly. She concluded:
      "Uhulumende lo lingeke lamukhupha, ngamazvi kuphela. (You will never
remove this government with words only", she advised her son, her father
having served in King Lobengula's impis before their defeat in the Ndebele
rebellion of 1893.
      Ndaba ran through Nkomo's theme at the rally at which he had given
hope and confidence to the people by citing successful deco-lonisation
examples like India, Indonesia, Egypt, particularly Ghana, stating the cases
of Kenya, Uga-nda, Tanganyika, Nor-thern Rhodesia and Nyasaland as he came
nearer home. She only said, "I see," in a way that betrayed doubt.
      I was Ndaba's 'mujiba-cum-political-commissar-in-residence'. So I
accompanied my mother to her small house making sure she understood what
budi was saying, which had excited me to the point of thinking that we would
be free the next day! She responded by repeating her advice to Ndaba and
Nkomo saying to me:
      "Sipu, mntanami; ikhiwa likhiwa. Lehlula oyihlomkhulu. Sipu, mwanangu,
murungu murungu. Akakunda madzitateguru ako. Sipu, my son; a white man is a
white man. He defeated your grandfathers."
      In the spring of 1966, as I left Sikombela detention camp where I had
gone to bid farewell to Ndaba, Takawira, Mugabe, Nkala, Malianga, Mawe-ma,
Tekere, Zvobgo and Edson Sithole, and perhaps see their faces for the last
time, as I had made the decision to "join the others", I decided I was not
going to tell my mother because she alone would have managed to persuade me
not to go by reminding me how it was that my grandfather was defeated by the
white man.
      I was not telling her (not exactly) what Ndaba had been doing to
answer her perceptive observation and challenge after the rally at Chako.
When I met her briefly during the Pearce Commission in 1972, she told me she
knew all along what we were up to, saying with a touch of satisfaction,
"Namuhla selingama-doda sibili. Now you are real men." She meant that, then
(at the rally at Chako) we were women in that all we did was talk to the
white man and not fight him.
      The decision for direct confrontation with white men was made at ZANU'
s founding congress in 1964. The first phase of the armed conflict with
Smith's forces was a colossal flop, starting with the Sinoa battle in 1966.
These disastrous battles continued one after another until Chitepo called a
complete review of strategy and tactics in 1969. After this review
conference, varungu vakachema particularly from 1972 until Ian Smith
capitulated at Lancaster.
      My submission is that if the MDC's call for mass action is a flop
there will be a review of strategy and tactics until the end of the ZANU PF
authoritarian rule as has occurred in many authoritarian regimes in post
colonial Africa. History doesn't stop with the flop of an event. The only
thing that may result in the MDC's demise, in my view, is if ZANU PF brings
democracy and good governance to Zimbabwe, as that is what we are all
fighting for after all.

      Professor Masipula Sithole is a lecturer of political science at the
University of Zimbabwe and director of the Harare-based Mass Public Opinion
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      The evil that men do lives after them.

      3/20/03 2:28:25 AM (GMT +2)

      "THE evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with
their bones", so says Mark Anthony in Shakespeare's tragic play about the
brutally murdered Roman emperor Julius Caesar.

      As profound as the statement might be, in the case of Zimbabwe's
leaders, I'm afraid there is very little good that will be buried with them.
      In fact, the evil they have done to Zimbabwean society is likely to
hound them, their children and their grandchildren to their graves.
      The evil that many Zimbabweans are perpetrating at whatever level to
entrench the repression of their fellow compatriots, for the sake of their
own personal comfort and glory, will live after them.
      Their names will be chronicled when the history of a truly free
Zimbabwe is told.
      This talk of good and evil brings me to the various views being
expressed about the role of the clergy in the political and economic crisis
Zimbabwe is faced with.
      If I were to go by the thinking that seems to be dominant within ZANU
PF, the church should not be seen to be criticising the government.
      According to President Robert Mugabe, the clergy should not question
or challenge the authority of the government.
      I am a staunch admirer of Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube for his
principled stand, frankness and boldness when he speaks outright about the
ills that have befallen the people of Zimbabwe.
      This is how it should be.
      Ncube is standing up at a time when fellow clergymen have opted to be
silent in the face of heightened repression in the country.
      They have chosen not to see any evil, let alone castigate it.
      I am against the idea of people who think the spiritual leader's role
in this country should be confined only to preaching powerful sermons,
narrating miracles performed by Jesus during his time on Earth, praying for
the sick and singing moving hymns.
      It would be foolish, or rather a dereliction of duty on their part,
for the church leaders to preach at the top of their voices about the
paradise we will enjoy when we die and go to heaven when the majority of
Zimbabweans are experiencing hell on earth due to sheer misrule.
      There is no need to keep on pontificating about the world to come when
the world we live in is fraught with repression, injustice and corruption.
      Let the Ncubes of this world stand up and point out the evils in this
country in our lifetime.
      Let the Ncubes of our time stand up and preach the gospel of justice
whether at the cricket grounds, on buses, in the streets or at the pulpit.
Who said it's criminal?
      Let the Ncubes in our midst stand up and point out where our rulers
are going wrong without fear, shame or compunction.
      Let the Ncubes in our midst stand up and preach freedom.
      It is time for genuine church leaders to stand up and speak outright
against the wrongs that are being done by the leadership in this country.
      The fear of the Lord, not any mortal, is the beginning of wisdom.
      To hell with church leaders who want to hobnob with politicians and
find favour in the eyes of the leaders of this country, who are presiding
over the collapse of our country.
      We need church leaders in our midst who fear the Lord, not human
      The tragedy in Zimbabwe is that we have church leaders who fear
mortals not the Lord, no wonder injustice is left to flourish.
      God is a God of justice.
      God is a God of peace
      God is a God of prosperity.
      If God, who the pastors and priests in this country purport to serve,
is a God of eternal goodness and mercy, then they should speak against the
ill treatment that Zimbabweans are being subjected to by this arrogant
      Even Jesus Christ during his time on Earth cracked the whip and meted
out punishment to the people who had turned temples into gambling halls and
trading centres.
      It is time genuine spiritual leaders prayed for divine retribution
against the people who have turned Zimbabwe into a basket case.

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      ZESA in US$3m arrears to Finnish firm

      By MacDonald Dzirutwe Business News Editor
      3/20/03 2:14:40 AM (GMT +2)

      A Finish export credit agency, FINNVERA, has issued a default notice
against Zimbabwe for failure to repay arrears of more than US$3 million on a
loan to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), which analysts
this week said would further hamper efforts to raise funds for the power
utility's ambitious expansion programme.

      FINNVERA, an autonomous agency with a financial guarantee from the
Finish government, issued the default notice to international financial
institutions and credit agencies last Thursday and has suspended credit and
insurance cover to Zimbabwe.
      The credit agency provided medium-term credit to ZESA in 2000, but it
was not possible this week to ascertain the principal amount of the loan,
nor would FINNVERA disclose what the money had been used for.
      ZESA management services officer Daniel Maviva did not respond to
questions on the matter sent to him last Thursday.
      However, FINNVERA is part of the Berne Union, which represents 51
credit agencies around the world and whose purpose is to provide credit and
insurance cover against non-payment of international trade debts.
      A member of the union can only issue a default notice against a client
when there are problems regarding repayment of funds in excess of US$100
      According to the Finish agency's default notice, seen by the Financial
Gazette, the medium-term credit extended to ZESA was guaranteed by the
government, which has failed to meet most of its foreign commitments in the
past three years because of a severe hard cash squeeze.
      The default notice shows that the outstanding amount on the loan is
US$3 116 376.
      Information obtained from FINNVERA, which has suspended credit and
insurance cover to Zimbabwe, also shows that the agency has given the
country the worst credit rating that it can award to a client.
      FINNVERA has awarded Zimbabwe its worst rating of seven, for
short-term, medium-term and long-term credit, indicating that the southern
African country is considered to be "very high risk".
      Zimbabwe's country adviser at FINNVERA, Outi Homanen, and the bank
adviser, Jari Mehto, did not respond to written questions on the
implications of the agency's default notice against Zimbabwe.
      The notice comes barely four months after another export credit
agency, Office National du Ducroire (OND) of Belgium, issued a notice
against the government for defaulting on a US$360 million debt owed to the
      Efforts to establish whether the government had repaid the loan were
unsuccessful this week as OND officials declined to release any information,
citing client confidentiality.
      Local analysts this week said FINNVERA's default notice would worsen
Zimbabwe's credit worthiness, already hard hit by the suspension of
International Monetary Fund (IMF) balance of payments support in 1999.
      Most international institutions take their cue from the IMF when
assessing a country's credit risk.
      The analysts said the notice could also affect attempts by ZESA to
raise funds for its US$3.45 billion development plan, which will have to be
bankrolled by local and foreign investors because of the power utility's
financial constraints.
      The development plan involves boosting generation capacity at several
existing plants and also establishing new facilities to increase power
output and wean Zimbabwe from its reliance on regional imports.
      The analysts said an offer by an Indian financial firm to provide ZESA
with a US$350 million loan could also be affected by indications that the
electricity company was a bad credit risk.
      The analysts said reluctance to fund ZESA would mean that Zimbabwe
would continue to face serious electricity shortages, the result of capacity
constraints at generation plants and of the country's hard cash crisis.
      Kingdom Bank economist Witness Chinyama told the Financial Gazette:
"What this means is that we have assumed a very high pariah status and
potential investors are watching developments.
      "Going forward, I think we are faced with ageing plants and with
constraints on foreign currency generation, we are going to see more
electricity shortages."
      University of Zimbabwe business studies lecturer Anthony Hawkins
added: "There is no foreign investor willing to put his money when everyone
else is saying we are highly risky."
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