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

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Daily News

Leader Page

      Go well, men of moral courage

      3/21/2003 6:52:17 AM (GMT +2)

      As had been expected for some time now, two of Zimbabwe's greatest
cricketing sons, top batsman Andrew Flower and talented fast bowler, Henry
Olonga, have now publicly announced their sad but inevitable "retirement"
from international cricket. That retirement, ipso facto, also spells the end
of their association with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, (ZCU).

      Their parting ways with the ZCU may be enmeshed in acrimony, but it is
fair to acknowledge that, until the start of the Cricket World Cup
tournament, theirs had been a happy, healthy, and mutually beneficial

      Predictably, the ZCU has decided to treat the star cricketers'
departure as nothing extraordinary, pretending they are not the least
bothered and dismissing it as "a normal occurrence the world over".

      Knowing as we do who their patron is, Zimbabweans don't need the
services of a clairvoyant to tell them why the union's leaders are treating
this unfortunate development as a non-event.
      But they would be very mistaken if they think anyone will believe the
departure of the two, and probably that of Guy Whittall too, is "normal",
because it simply isn't.

      If the truth be told, it is easy to understand the ZCU's morally
deplorable head-in-the-sand position they ill-advisedly chose to adopt right
from the start of the crisis when they failed to advice the International
Cricket Union against making Zimbabwe a co-host of the tournament. That
would have been an excellent way of drawing the world's attention to the
abnormal political situation in this country.

      However, knowing the character of the regime running this country, it
is accepted the consequences of doing that could have been dire. But there
was no reason whatsoever for the ZCU to then go on to pretend they are not
deeply disturbed by these cricketers' departure. Their attitude constitutes
a display of hypocrisy of the worst kind because deep down in their hearts
they know that the cricketers' departure is a big blow to Zimbabwe as a test
cricket nation. Before their slump in form over the recent past few years,
our cricket team were among the few sporting disciplines - the two notable
others being tennis and golf - that kept Zimbabwe's flag flying high on the
international scene.

      Their valiant showing, in particular their historic demolition of the
English cricket team, could not have failed to give their patron President
Mugabe, immense satisfaction, given his well-known antipathy towards
everything British.

      Much of the credit for doing the country proud surely went to And
Flower and Henry Olonga who often stood head and shoulder above the rest of
the team. And that is not a figment of some adoring fan's imagination. A
year or so ago, Flower was ranked the best batsman in the world. On the
contrary, it was mean in the extreme for Zimbabwe's cricket authorities to
fail to even show that they are sorry to lose him and express their
appreciation for his contribution to the development of the game in Zimbabwe
which culminated in the country achieving the ultimate in the sport -
attainment of test status.

      He was clearly a tower of strength in the Zimbabwe team. And it may
not be altogether idle speculation to say that the treatment he and Olonga
received from the cricket authorities following their courageous and
memorable demonstration "against the death of democracy in Zimbabwe" had a
bearing on the team's subsequent poor performances, especially against Sri

      But if the Zimbabwe Cricket Union will begrudge them their due
recognition and a fitting farewell, the rest of Zimbabweans are giving
Flower and Olonga a heroes' send-off. They will for ever be held proudly in
our memories for boldly daring to publicly condemn what had to be condemned.
You have been a powerful inspiration to many. Go well, men of moral courage.
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Daily News

      Six MDC candidates disqualified in Chipinge

      3/21/2003 6:46:49 AM (GMT +2)

      From Kelvin Jakachira and Paidamoyo Chipunza in Mutare

      THE opposition MDC yesterday said six of its candidates had been
disqualified from contesting in the Chipinge Town Council elections under
suspicious circumstances.

      Six ruling Zanu PF candidates were duly elected after the
disqualification of the MDC members. The elections, called after Chipinge
gained town status, are set for 26 and 27 April.

      After the disqualification of the six MDC candidates, only two wards
will be up for grabs.
      Prosper Mutseyami, the MDC deputy chairman for Manicaland, said: "What
has happened is that all names of known MDC members have been removed from
the voters' roll."

      Mutseyami said their candidates were disqualified after the names of
their respective nominators could not be found on the voters' roll. He said
the MDC had hired Langton Mhungu, a Chipinge lawyer, to challenge the
disqualification at the High Court.

      Mhungu yesterday confirmed he was instructed by the MDC to challenge
the disqualification.
      The nomination court sat on Monday in the town. Joyce Munamati, the
provincial registrar, said Zanu PF candidates in six wards were duly elected
after the disqualification of the MDC candidates.

      She said if any name did not appear on the voters' roll it was because
the affected individual had not registered during the voters' roll
inspection period.

      The disqualified MDC candidates and their wards are Daniel Ngorima, 2;
Simango Dennis, 6; Daniel Tendai Njanjeni; 3; Maimurei Mazure, 4; Shadreck
Makuyana, 7; and Chrispen Rambo, 8.
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Daily News

      Air vice-marshal tells of Menashe's inaudible tape

      3/21/2003 6:44:16 AM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      ARI Ben-Menashe attempted to sell military aircraft to the Air Force
of Zimbabwe (AFZ) two years ago before he contacted a senior air force
official with claims of a plot by top MDC leaders to assassinate President
Mugabe, the High Court heard yesterday.

      Testifying in the treason trial of MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai,
and two party officials, Air Vice-Marshal Robert Mhlanga, said he got to
know Ben-Menashe when he approached the AFZ, ostensibly to sell an array of
military aircraft.

      "He was selling a whole array of aircraft ranging from transport
aircraft, helicopters and fighter planes," Mhlanga said, under
cross-examination by defence counsel Advocate Eric Matinenga. Ben-Menashe
was the key prosecution witness in the ongoing trial.

      He said at the time he met Mhlanga, he was president of Carlington
Sales, a commodity company. He showed senior AFZ officials brochures showing
samples and performance specifications of the aircraft he said he was
selling and spent a week in Harare trying to persuade the government to buy
the aeroplanes, Mhlanga said.

      Ben-Menashe allegedly spoke highly of his business acumen and "made a
lot of mention of his career in the Israeli secret service - Mossad. He even
had a book which he wrote about his career, to prove the authenticity of
what he was saying", the court heard. Mhlanga said the deal failed as the
AFZ did not need aircraft which Ben-Menashe claimed he could source from
Russia and other countries in the former Eastern bloc.

      He said Ben-Menashe telephoned him two or three times later following
up on the failed deal.
      Some time in November 2001, Ben-Menashe telephoned again - this time
with a tip-off on an alleged plot by the MDC to assassinate Mugabe and stage
a military coup, Mhlanga said.

      "I became inquisitive and asked whether this had anything to do with
the aircraft and he said he had information pertaining to a plot to
assassinate the President," Mhlanga said. "He said the plot was being
orchestrated by the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and some of his

      The Canadian-based political consultant allegedly flew to Zimbabwe
three days later armed with a miniature cassette tape, a mini-diskette and a
transcript of proceedings of a meeting in London where Tsvangirai allegedly
requested Ben-Menashe's consultancy to assist in the conspiracy, the court

      "He played the cassette on a recorder and, I must admit, I did not
make head or tail of the contents of the cassette. When I looked at the
transcript there was quite a lot of information I could not make head or
tail of. I could hear voices - his (Ben-Menashe's) voice and Tsvangirai's
voice but I could not make a statement out of it."

      The trial continues today.
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Daily News

      Police ordered to release ANZ staffers

      3/21/2003 6:43:41 AM (GMT +2)

      By Columbus Mavhunga

      Daily News photographer, Philimon Bulawayo, and the Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) Corporate Affairs Director, Gugulethu Moyo, who
were arrested on Tuesday, were finally released from police custody without
being charged yesterday following a High Court order.

      Moyo was arrested at Glen View Police Station when she tried to get
Bulawayo released after his arrest while covering the mass action in

      Moyo was severely assaulted by Jocelyn Chiwenga, the wife of the army
commander, Lieutenant-General Constantine Chiwenga, and her messenger,
Kelvin Chadenyika, at the police station.

      After their release, the two were taken to hospital for medical
treatment by Sam Sipepa Nkomo, the Executive Chairman of ANZ. Both Moyo and
Bulawayo were having problems in walking and looked exhausted.

      The police denied them medical treatment on Tuesday, Wednesday and
      Relatives of Bulawayo cried outside the Harare Central Police Station
when they saw him, after having spent two days without knowing his

      Asked where he was, Bulawayo said: "I was booked out of the Harare
Central Police Station late afternoon on Wednesday and when I asked one of
the plainclothes policemen where I was being taken to, he said I should shut
up and should not give them instructions."

      He said he was not assaulted while at Highlands Police Station, where
he was eventually booked.
      Moyo only said: "I am glad that I can be asked how I am."

      Kay Ncube, the ANZ lawyer, said the police said they would proceed by
way of summons.
      "We spent the whole day trying to force the police to honour the High
Court order, which was issued by Justice George Smith on Wednesday night, to
have my clients released," said Ncube.
      The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) yesterday condemned the
assault of Bulawayo and Moyo and called on the police to arrest Chiwenga and

      "It escapes reason as to where Chiwenga finds the temerity to mete out
partisan punishment on journalists and media workers carrying their
legitimate duties," said Max Saungweme, the NCA spokesman. "Her involvement
in the assault of the ANZ staffers is a case of total abuse of her status as
a wife to an army commander,"

      The NCA called for the immediate arrest of Chiwenga and the officers
involved in the assault. The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists
secretary-general, Luke Tamborinyoka, condemned the incident.

      "The union is deeply shocked at the continued harassment of
journalists," said Tamborinyoka yesterday. "The arrest of ANZ staff only
confirms that Olusegun Obasanjo (the Nigerian leader) was taken up the
garden path. No sooner had the ink on Obasanjo's letter to John Howard (the
Australian premier) dried than we get the government's action in the
opposite direction."
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Daily News

      Mystery over role of Chiwenga henchman

      3/21/2003 6:41:48 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      IT STILL remains a mystery in what capacity Kelvin Chadenyika and
Jocelyn Chiwenga, the wife of the Army Commander, Lieutenant-General
Constantine Chiwenga, assaulted Gugulethu Moyo, the Corporate Affairs
Director for Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), and Daily News
photographer, Philemon Bulawayo, on Tuesday morning.

      It has been established that Chadenyika is a messenger at Zimsafe, a
company owned by Jocelyn Chiwenga.The company, which makes reflectors,
mostly for the army, is located at Stand Number 181, Theris Road in the
Willowvale industrial area.

      An employee at Zimsafe who refused to be named said Chadenyika,
commonly known as "Sporadic" in soccer circles, was Chiwenga's henchman who
moved around with her every time she left the offices.

      Chadenyika was not at the company when The Daily News called. But he
frequents The Daily News offices to give news tips.

      Chadenyika, a former assistant coach with Darryn T Football Club, took
officers at Glen View Police Station by surprise when he verbally abused and
harassed Moyo and other arrested people.

      He assaulted people arrested by the police for allegedly stoning
vehicles and beating up those who defied the mass stay-away called by the
opposition MDC for Tuesday and Wednesday.

      The police let Chadenyika and Chiwenga terrorise Moyo, who, as the ANZ
lawyer, had come to represent Bulawayo, arrested for carrying his camera as
the police assaulted members of the public.

      Moyo was seated on a bench outside the charge office at Glen View
Police Station when Chadenyika arrived.

      On seeing her, he became furious, demanding to know what she wanted
there and who she was.

      When Moyo identified herself as a lawyer with The Daily News,
Chadenyika slapped her on the head and threatened to assault another lawyer,
Alec Muchadehama, who had accompanied Moyo.

      Chiwenga then assaulted Moyo, twisting her arm and slapping her in the
face, accusing her of fomenting anarchy and representing the State's

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Daily News

      Kamushinda accused of defying High Court order

      3/21/2003 6:39:16 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      ENOCH Kamushinda, the chairman of Metropolitan Bank, is accused of
defying a High Court order not to evict more than 1 000 tenants from seven
blocks of flats he owns in the Harare Avenues area.

      Kamushinda, who is also the chairman of the Zimbabwe Newspapers Group,
could not be reached for comment as he was said to be out of the country.
The tenants were granted the provisional order on 14 March this year.

      The tenants charged that Kamushinda was trying to unlawfully evict
them from the flats located between Fife and Herbert Chitepo avenues under
the pretext that he wanted to carry out structural repairs and renovations
to enable him to raise the rents.

      He cannot do so before the current lease agreements signed with the
sitting tenants expire.
      This has prompted the tenants, through their lawyer, Simon Sadomba, to
file papers for Kamushinda to be charged with contempt of court.

      They said the High Court should order Kamushinda not to refuse to
accept their rents and to remit payments for water to the city council,
which disconnected water to the flats. They claimed his actions were illegal
as the matter was still to be decided by the Northern Region Rent Board and
the High Court.

      "The cutting off of water supplies is not only inhuman but
mischievous, as it causes a humanitarian crisis which will create a health
hazard," Sadomba said.

      Kamushinda has been involved in a wrangle with the tenants, who are
reluctant to leave, despite a notice in November last year, ordering them
out by end of January.

      Justice Benjamin Paradza granted Mnondo Properties Residents'
Association the interim order on behalf of the tenants. The order bars
Kamushinda's company, Mnondo Properties (Pvt) Ltd from disconnecting water
and electricity supplies from the premises known as Stow, Ringron, Sarsden,
Creed, Spofforth, Icomb and Cotswold courts.

      The company is also being interdicted from evicting and interfering
with the tenants.
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Daily News

      AirZim to hire two 50-seater planes

      3/21/2003 6:38:52 AM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba

      AIR Zimbabwe plans to hire two 50-seater planes from Air Littoral
Industrie SA of France at an approximate cost of US$147 000 (Z$117,6
million) for each of the planes every month for the next three years.

      Lionel Sineux, the head of fleet management at Air Littoral France,
has queried where Air Zimbabwe got the nearly US$2 million (Z$1,6 billion)
in foreign currency which it wired to France as a commitment fee.

      On 12 March, Rambai Chingwena, the Air Zimbabwe managing director,
received an e-mail from Sineux which confirmed receipt of US$170 000 (Z$136
million). The airline first received US$150 000 (Z$120 million) and later
US$20 000 (Z$16 million) as a commitment fee from Air Zimbabwe.

      Sineux said: "We have received from Air Zimbabwe an amount of US$102
086,20 (Z$81 668 960), initially US$102 100, but minus US$13,80 (Z$11 040)
as bank fees. We do not know to what this wire refers. We only know that it
was initiated by the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe. Could you tell me if this
money comes from you?"

      Chingwena said he thought it was premature for him to give details of
the deal and his communication with the authorities at the French airline.
There were still a lot of things that needed to be discussed, he said.

      He said: "It would come through at the appropriate time. It's at a
stage we feel is not for public disclosure."

      According to sources at the national airline, five senior managers led
a delegation to France last Sunday to conclude the deal. The delegation
comprised Phineas Ndlovu, the acting general manager (engineering
department), Eddie Manda, the senior manager for hangar maintenance, Boston
Odongo, a Ghanaian, the senior manager quality assurance, David Tambo, the
acting senior manager technical services, and Mordecai Magaisa, the chief
internal auditor.

      Jean Durand, the president director-general, will represent the French
airline in the signing of the contract.
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Daily News

      Zanu PF youths bar project hand-over

      3/21/2003 6:41:01 AM (GMT +2)

      From Kelvin Jakachira in Mutare

      ZANU PF youths in Mutasa yesterday stopped the British High
Commissioner in Zimbabwe, Brian Donnelly, from officially handing over a
water project worth $2,8m to two schools in the district, after threatening
to disrupt the programme.

      The youths, from the Border Gezi national youth training centres,
threatened villagers in Mundenda village - warning them against attending
the hand-over ceremony.

      The project, meant to benefit more than 1 600 students atMundenda
Primary and Secondary schools, was funded by the British High Commission in
Harare. Mundenda is about 40 kilometres north of Mutare.

      "It was so disappointing," Donnelly said in an interview yesterday. "I
hope we will be able to go there when things are calm." The project includes
a borehole, a windmill, a water tank and pipings.

      Donnelly said the other reason which forced him to postpone the
hand-over ceremony was that the Member of Parliament for the area, Giles
Mutsekwa, was in police custody. Mutsekwa, who represents the Mutare North
constituency, was arrested on Wednesday for reasons as yet unknown. Mutsekwa
is believed to be detained at Penhalonga Police Station, about 15 kilometres
north of Mutare.

      "We postponed because the MP for the area, who was arrested, has not
yet been released and that some youths visited the school and told the local
community that the hand-over should not take place," Donnelly said
      "The local community was concerned and we decided to postpone the
hand-over to avoid unnecessary problems for the school board."

      Reward Magama, the provincial youth development head, said: "I do not
know anything about that." He promised to investigate the allegations.

      Donnelly is in Mutare for a road show aimed at disseminating
information about the United Kingdom.

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Daily News

      Commuters milked

      3/21/2003 6:57:37 AM (GMT +2)

      Business Reporter

      COMMUTERS in and around Harare are forking out as much as $300 to get
to work following the recent increase in fuel prices.

      The government gazetted fares, which are being violated by commuter
omnibus operators, had remained between $50 and $80 for a single trip.

      Commuter omnibus operators have defended the fare increases, saying
they were a true reflection of the high cost of fuel and spare parts.

      A litre of petrol now costs $145,20 up from $74,47, while the price of
diesel has gone up from $66,39 to $119,43 a litre.

      The shortage of foreign currency on the official market had forced
operators to source it from the parallel market, where the United States
dollar is fetching up to $1 500 against the local unit.
      Residents from south-western suburbs of Glen Norah, Glen View,
Budiriro and Highfield were paying between $200 and $300 for a single trip
to town.

      Several commuters who spoke to The Daily News yesterday accused the
government of neglecting commuters by taking too long to respond to the
transport crisis.

      The recent acquisition of buses by the State-owned Zimbabwe United
Passenger Company (Zupco) has made little impact as queues are still taking
too long to clear.

      The few Zupco buses available were, however, still charging $65 on the
City-Kuwadzana route.
      Agrippah Muchengu, 28, of St Mary's, said bus fares on the
City-Chitungwiza route now range between $80 and $200 for a single trip.

      "I paid $200 to get into town (Harare) in the morning, but I was
surprised when went back to Chitungwiza because I was made to pay $80 for
the trip back," Muchengu said.
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Daily News

      Victoria Falls deputy mayor quits Zanu PF

      3/21/2003 6:40:28 AM (GMT +2)

      From Oscar Nkala in Bulawayo

      The deputy mayor of Victoria Falls, Thembinkosi Sibindi, beaten up by
war veterans three years ago, has resigned from Zanu PF.

      Sibindi confirmed on Wednesday he had resigned from the party to
concentrate on personal business.

      He said: "I have a growing business enterprise which needs to be
looked after. That is where I will be concentrating my energies. I am
definitely out of politics."

      But he denied reports he was joining the MDC, saying he would not be
joining any political party.

      "This is not just a resignation from Zanu PF. It marks my exit from
active party politics," said Sibindi.

      He confirmed Zanu PF had not treated him fairly since his assault by
war veterans three years ago.

      He said the party had not approached him to discuss the representation
of his ward in next August's council elections as he had no interest in

      In August 2000 Sibindi, then acting mayor of Victoria Falls, was
beaten up and dragged out of his office by Zanu PF supporters and war
veterans who alleged he was an MDC supporter.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Zesa: no more power to the people

THE chairman, directors and management of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (Zesa) are faced with a most unenviable and near impossible task
of providing all of Zimbabwe with its electricity needs. Agriculture,
mining, tourism, transport, communications, commerce and industry, and
residents all rely on a continuing, reliable supply of electricity, and must
look to Zesa for that supply.

The difficulties confronting Zesa are immense. In the first instance, it
necessarily has to import electricity from neighbouring territories,
including Mozambique which produces electricity in excess of its domestic
needs at Cahora Bassa, and from Eskom in South Africa, as well as from the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Imported energy has to be paid for
in foreign currency. But, thanks to government's gross mismanagement of the
economy coupled with its even greater mismanagement of Zimbabwe's
international relations and consequential loss of balance-of-payments
support, international aid and foreign lines of credit, Zimbabwe suffers a
chronic scarcity of foreign exchange.

This results in an insufficiency of forex for Zesa to meet its external
commitments for imports of electricity. So serious is the situation that on
March 11 Zesa disclosed that it had only ten days within which to make
payment for supplies from Cahora Bassa, failing which supplies would be
discontinued with effect from March 22. In such event Zesa will have no
alternative but to resort to load-shedding, to the detriment of all sectors
of the economy and the great discomfort of all householders.

That is not the only foreign currency based problem confronting Zesa, for it
also needs very substantial amounts of foreign exchange to fund essential
imports of spares, consumables and equipment. In addition, Zimbabwe's
continuing foreign currency crisis does not only impact directly upon Zesa,
but also indirectly, for that crisis has caused major reductions in
production of coal at Hwange due to insufficient importation of spares and
consumables needed to maintain mining operations at required levels. As a
result, Zesa suffers severe constraints on thermal power station operations
and, therefore, on Zimbabwe's domestic generation of energy.

Added to all these problems, Zesa also has to cope with the same problem as
impacts so very greatly upon all Zimbabwe, being hyperinflation. Zesa's
wages and salaries necessarily rise because its employees suffer as much as
do all other Zimbabweans from rampant inflation. Its operating costs
similarly rise continuously from the ever-escalating upsurge in prices in

As Zesa has always suffered from under-capitalisation and as Zesa's
inadequate capital base has been progressively eroded by its operating
losses, it has had little or no alternative but to depend very heavily upon
borrowings. Servicing of those borrowings has placed an immense burden upon
Zesa, both by way of interest charges swelling the losses, and by way of yet
further needs for foreign exchange.

With all these almost insurmountable adverse circumstances, Zesa's board and
management would normally be deserving of much sympathy and understanding.
However, any sense of sympathy wanes and understanding declines when Zesa
allows its monopolistic powers to influence its customer relations, which
are founded upon arrogance and dictate instead of upon dialogue, coupled
with an astounding lack of appreciation of commercial realities.

This was evidenced very clearly when, a few months ago, driven by the
pressures that Zesa was suffering, it sent a letter to major exporting
consumers, appealing to them to pay for their electricity consumption in
foreign currency. Whilst the motivation for such an appeal was clear and
understandable, nevertheless the appeal demonstrated a great lack of
realism. On the one hand, very few exporters could afford to apply foreign
currency to pay for electricity as at that time 40% of export proceeds were
mandatorily sold to government, and the remaining currency was needed by
many for the purchase of raw materials and other inputs necessary for
continuing exports and, on the other hand, any who had foreign currency in
excess of their own needs had to dispose of it in the parallel market, for
only that market's exchange rates made their exports viable. But Zesa's lack
of realism was so great that its appeal for payments in foreign currency
offered an exchange rate of US$1: $55 (when the parallel market rate
approximated US$1: $1 250!).

But last week Zesa outdid itself. The appeal for foreign currency payments
last year having been wholly unsuccessful, Zesa unilaterally informed a
gathering of Bulawayo industrialists that forthwith all exporters would be
billed in foreign currency based upon an exchange rate of US$1: $55
(notwithstanding that since February 27 the official rate of exchange in
Zimbabwe, as specified in Statutory Instrument 83A of 2003, has been US$1:
$800). In doing so, Zesa was disregarding and flouting law, for by statutory
instruments it has long been legislated that all pricing in Zimbabwe must be
in Zimbabwean currency.

Moreover, in dictating this new payment requirement, Zesa was also ignoring
the fact that pricing its supply of electricity at such an exchange rate
would effectively represent a 1 455% tariff increase. Such an increase would
have been almost seven times Zimbabwe's annualised inflation rate, and would
have been over and above several tariff increases in recent months,
including a substantial increase in February.

Zesa tried in its discussions with industrialists to justify last month's
massive increase in its charges by referring to the new official foreign
currency rate of exchange of $800: US$1 despite the fact that that rate came
into being on the eve of the last day of February, whilst Zesa's tariff
increase was for the whole of February. Furthermore, Zesa alleged that the
tariff increase only had the effect of aligning the tariff with the regional
average, which it claimed was US3,8 cents, but the industrialists refuted
this, they hurriedly making appropriate telephonic enquiries with
neighbouring territories, enabling them to contend that the regional average
actually approximated US1,8 cents or less than one-half of the average
tariff cited by Zesa.

Zesa back-tracked by advising representatives in Harare of Zimbabwean
industry that the payment of electricity bills in foreign currency was not
compulsory. That policy reversal was of utmost importance for, irrespective
of whether or not Zesa could lawfully demand forex payments, the hard fact
is that very few, if any, exporters could afford to make them, they already
being required to sell 50% of their export proceeds to the Reserve Bank.
Even for the few that could pay in foreign currency, Zesa's intended
currency conversion rate would have made it impossible for any exporter to
continue exporting without sustaining major losses.

Yet another very great concern created by the Zesa actions is that the
tariff increases fly in the face of the agreements reached in the Tripartite
Negotiating Forum (TNF). The TNF comprises government, labour and private
sector enterprise, and to all intents and purposes concluded a Social
Contract in terms of which there would be no increases in prices for goods
and services, wages and government charges without prior agreement between
the parties. Such increases as would be agreed would correlate with
inflation and any other justified factors necessitating the increases.

Despite that TNF agreement, to which government is not only a party but has
also been an advocate in its recently released National Economic Revival
programme (NERP), Zesa continues autocratically to revise its tariffs. To
all intents and purposes, therefore, as Zesa is owned and controlled by
government, the government considers itself not to be bound by anything that
it agrees within the TNF, and especially not by the TNF's Protocol on Prices
and Wages Stabilisation.

Not only are industrialists affected by the TNF price-stabilisation
agreement, but they are also constrained by Zimbabwe's price control and
price freeze legislation. As a result, they are in a situation that their
production costs soar upwards due to Zesa's tariff increases, but they
cannot adjust their prices. That can only collapse many more industries,
further reduce export performance and hence reduce the already inadequate
inflows of foreign exchange, and must undermine NERP.

All that must have devastating impact upon Zesa, essentially self-inflicted,
and must soon curtail Zesa's operations. Contrary to the maxim associated
with Zimbabwe's Independence of "More power to the people", in a different
context it will soon be "No more power to the people".
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Zim Independent

Have price controls been abandoned?
ZIMBABWEANS must be celebrating the news that individuals can now import
certain "essential commodities" in short supply in the country. Citizens
have regularly complained about the very high import duties charged locally.

While this move could be intended to help a desperate nation, Sandawana
smells a rat here.

Obviously joining genuine importers will be various individuals who intend
to take advantage of the latest offering to reap millions from cash-strapped
and desperate consumers.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) this week announced that individuals
could now import larger quantities of at least 11 foodstuffs without an
agricultural permit, provided the commodities were imported for domestic
consumption only.

Individuals can now import up to 20kg of dried beans, 100 litres of cooking
oil, 20kg of dried or fresh fish, 20kg of groundnuts and 20kg of dried or
fresh kapenta. An individual can also import a maximum of 500kg of maize
meal, five litres of milk, 200kg of onions, 200kg of rice, 50kg of sugar and
100kg of wheat flour.

Motorists were also granted a dispensation to import, for personal use and
not for resale, fuel in containers up to a maximum limit of 500 litres per
vehicle provided that the beneficiary observes all safety regulations.

Those individuals with access to foreign currency therefore no longer need
to procure goods in Zimbabwe provided they have enough family members or
associates to travel to and from neighbouring countries.

Will there be checks and balances as to the number of trips one undertakes -
in a month, two months etc?

How will customs officials tell that the imported goods were bought using
one's own resources?

Have we finally admitted that we have failed to resuscitate our collapsing
industrial base?

The new scheme seems like another of those policies being implemented
without careful thought about the consequences.

We predict worsened congestion at the passport office as citizens become
cross-border traders, massive profiteering at border posts as goods and cash
change hands, and the complete disappearance of the few products that had
become available on our supermarket shelves for domestic consumption.

Why introduce price controls when goods are not available?

Beating price controls

THE government's price controls seem to be a total failure judging by the
way companies are becoming very innovative to beat the system. Last week we
witnessed a flood of milk in our supermarkets, much to the delight of
consumers. However, consumers were shocked to realise that the product not
only came in a much smaller satchet, it had skyrocketed from about $120 to
$220! Has the quality of the milk or packet improved, we wonder? We have
also been flooded with smaller sized soaps, loaves of bread, cooking oil
containers, and sugar packets at a higher price. When will all this stop?

Shack levy in the offing

IT sounds unbelievable but it is true. Mutare City councillors have been
debating the introduction of a "Shack Levy"! Sandawana is reliably informed
that seven councillors however objected to the "noble" idea tabled for
discussion during last week's full meeting. Why should residents be forced
to pay a levy for illegal structures springing up all over the city?

We thought shacks - wherever they may be - were to be demolished and
low-cost houses built for homeless ratepayers instead. Isn't this recent
debate an admission by the Mutare city fathers that their housing policy has
failed? We thought shacks were illegal structures in the first place!

It's time to eat Kenya

NOW that the hullabaloo about the wonders Zimbabwe would perform at the
Cricket World Cup is over and the country having been unceremoniously booted
out of the prestigious tournament, several conclusions are being made as to
why we did so badly. The event, which began in Cape Town in February, ends
this weekend in Johannesburg and was the biggest cricket tournament ever. It
was also the first of its kind to be staged on the African continent.

Zimbabwe and Kenya co-hosted the event with South Africa. Kenya, who were
responsible for our eventual cricket failure, supplies us with tonnes of aid
in the form of maize meal - our staple food. The maize meal is popularly
known here as "Kenya". Observers say maybe it's time to forget about the
Cricket World Cup and concentrate instead on "eating Kenya"!
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Zim Independent

IMF to examine policies, payments before acting on Zim
Ngoni Chanakira
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it will now closely examine the
progress made on policies and payments when it considers the issue of the
possible suspension of Zimbabwe's voting and related rights in the
organisation in early June.

In an interview this week, after the Washington-based aid agency released a
damning report on the state of affairs in Zimbabwe, IMF senior resident
representative Gerry Johnson said Zimbabwe still had voting rights within
the organization.

He said: "However these could be reviewed in early June when the executive
board meets because they have been considering the issue of suspension of
voting rights."

Zimbabwe currently owes the IMF US$310 million. Its arrears amount to US$211
million. The country had its balance of payments support for the economic
recovery programme suspended by the IMF in 1999.

The World Bank - another Bretton Woods Institution - and several
international aid organizations also suspended financial support to
Zimbabwe, citing the country's poor macroeconomic principles, controversial
land resettlement programme, abuse of the judiciary, as well as political

A seven-member team from the IMF visited Harare from February 25 to March 13
in connection with the annual Article IV Consultation between the Fund and

The purpose of the visit was to hold discussions with the Zimbabwean
authorities on the economic situation and macroeconomic policies.

The team also met with representatives of civil society, such as NGOs, the
business and financial communities, political parties, and trade unions, as
well as the diplomatic community.

In its report, the IMF team said: "While Zimbabwe's arrears currently
preclude access to IMF lending, further determined policy adjustment efforts
would be an important signal of Zimbabwe's determination to address its
serious economic difficulties.

"Such efforts would also begin to lay the basis for regularising Zimbabwe's
arrears to the IMF and other creditors. The staff team also welcomed the
authorities renewed undertaking to make small quarterly payments of US$1,5
million to the IMF.

The executive board will closely examine the progress made on policies and
payments when it considers the issue of the possible suspension of
Zimbabwe's voting and related rights in the IMF early June."

The organisation said Zimbabwe's economy had experienced a progressive and
sharp deterioration during the past four years.

It said real gross domestic product (GDP) had declined by about 30%, and was
still contracting.

Inflation had doubled in each of the last two years to reach 200% at the end
of 2002 and could well rise further.

The IMF pointed out that there were widespread shortages in Zimbabwe,
poverty and unemployment had risen, and the HIV/Aids pandemic was worsening.

The organisation said it however welcomed government's efforts in trying to
address problems in a "consultative fashion through the Tripartite
Negotiating Forum"; the setting of the exchange rate for most transactions
at $824 to the US$1, as this was a courageous step forward and would require
careful follow up; and price control mechanisms which were being reviewed,
with the aim of providing more "flexibility to address the availability of
goods and the viability of producing them".

The IMF said it was notable that government had tightened monetary policy in
recent weeks, and if that was pursued "with increasing vigor inflation will
eventually be brought under control".

In an interview this week economic consultant John Robertson said the most
important issue affecting Zimbabwe at the moment was the unstable political

He said continuing to pretend that the political climate was "normal" was
"hoodwinking the world".

Robertson said: "None of the IMF findings are surprising because they deal
with economic issues - inflation, the exchange rate, budget deficit and so
on. However what needs to be solved is the country's political situation -
the rule of law, and abuse of the judiciary and property rights."

He said once these burning issues were not dealt with nothing would change.
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Zim Independent

Seed producer falls victim to land grab
Augustine Mukaro
NATIONAL Tested Seeds, one of the country's largest seed-producing
companies, is threatened with closure as its farms have fallen victim to
government's programme of land grabs, the Zimbabwe Independent established
this week.

The company's farms, Parklands, Lindale and Sigaro in the Norton farming
area stopped production in 2001 after they were invaded by the war veterans.

The farms were subsequently served with Section 5 notices. The notice bars
the property owner from making any new investments because government has
shown its intention to acquire the farm.

It is not clear who the properties will be allocated to. Sources said First
Lady Grace Mugabe visited the farms last weekend.

"Grace was accompanied by Ignatius Chombo when she visited the farms last
weekend," sources in the area said.

Chombo is the National Land Taskforce chairman responsible for ensuring that
people allocated plots under the land reform programme occupy them.

The farms used to produce seeds for almost all crops grown in Zimbabwe
ranging from maize, wheat, soya-beans, to pumpkins and vegetables. The seeds
were processed, packagedand marketed under the banner of National Tested

"We have since stopped any farming activities at the two farms," sources at
the farm said.

"War veterans occupying the farms are utilising very small portions leaving
vast stretches of land lying idle. They become violent if the farm owner
tries to plough," the sources said.

Efforts to contact the owner of the properties, Joseph Kennedy, were
fruitless as he was said to be in Australia on business. Kennedy is also the
managing director of National Tested Seeds

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Zim Independent

Israeli-made vehicles on alert during mass action
Loughty Dube
THE Zimbabwe Republic Poli-ce's new crowd control equipment rolled into
action this week as government prepared for any eventuality during the
two-day stayaway.

The Israeli-made armoured vehicles armed with water can-nons were sighted in
Chitungwiza on Tuesday and were still parked at Chitungwiza police station
on Wednesday morning.

Last year the police vehem-ently denied having purchased the vehicles when
the Standard broke the story. Farai Mutsaka, a reporter with the Standard,
was arrested and charged with "abuse of journalistic privilege" and
publishing "false news" for writing that the police had bought the

However, Israeli company Beit-Alfa Trailer Company (Bat) confirmed after the
publication of the story that its Jet Pulse Water Cannon System was
currently in "active use" in Zimbabwe.

The crowd control vehicles were however not called into action this week as
they are only effective in controlling large crowds.

On Tuesday two Zimbabwe national army armoured vehi-cles with mounted
machine-guns patrolled Chitungwiza, Mufakose and Kuwadzana. Police who have
complained of lack of manpower, maintained a heavy presence in the
high-density areas with some of them wielding new whips which were liberally
tested on the public.

Meanwhile, riot police and the army took turns to assault Bulawayo residents
in unprovoked attacks in the city's populous high-density suburbs of
Mako-koba and Mpopoma during the two-day mass stayaway.

Two truck-loads of riot police, some heavily armed with AK 47 rifles, sent
vendors and commuters fleeing in all directions at the Renkini bus terminus
as they indiscriminately attacked any grouping of more than three people.

The riot police travelling inarmoured trucks brought busi-ness at the
terminus to a standstill as they descended on anyone in sight.

They beat up commuters with baton sticks while some people were booted.
Across the city in Mpopoma armed soldiers patrolled the township where they
randomly attacked residents.

A news crew from the Zimbabwe Independent touring the townships on Wednesday
witnessed soldiers assaulting a group of youths they found seated outside a
shopping complex in Mpopoma.

Police spokesman for Bulawayo Smile Dube said he had not received any
reports of police assaults on civilians.

"It is not the business of the police to go about beating up innocent
civilians but if there are any aggrieved people they should come forward and
report the allegations at any police station in the city and the cases will
be investigated," said Dube.
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Zim Independent

As Chinamasa fails to sell land reform ... Govt rapped for human rights
Mthulisi Mathuthu
ZIMBABWE has suffered a setback at the ongoing 59th session of the United
Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva where Justice minister Patrick
Chinamasa tried in vain to sell government's controversial land reform

While Chinamasa blamed industrialised countries for abdicating their moral
duty by refusing to support Zimbabwe's development needs, some Western
nations argued that there were no reciprocal international obligations in
respect of the right to development.

Croatia, Italy and Bulgaria stressed the importance of the rule of law and
respect for human rights, two principles Zimbabwe is accused of violating.

The conference, which opened on Tuesday this week and ends on March 25, will
also see the United States calling for tighter measures against President
Robert Mugabe's regime for human rights violations.

Chinamasa argued on Tuesday that it was time former colonial powers accepted
responsibility for the "evils of colonialism and slavery" and pay
reparations to meet the development needs of poor nations.

Reporting on Chinamasa's speech in Geneva, the UN said: "Zimbabwe was
naturally deeply disappointed by the lack of movement in the Working Group
on the Right to Development."

Chinamasa was quoted saying: "Statements by some members of that Working
Group to the effect that there were no reciprocal international obligations
in respect of the right to development are most disturbing as they reflect
the arrogance of the developed countries and their insensitivity to the
gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity that they, as
former colonial powers and slave-trading and slave-owning societies, had
committed against the majority of peoples of developing countries."

This was after Italy had emphasised that it was every government's
responsibility to "uplift its own people" and respect human rights.

Chinamasa said despite its formation five decades ago, the UN Human Rights
Commission was still not committed to the right to development and was
letting former colonisers off the hook.

Chinamasa said far from being a retributive exercise, Zimbabwe's land
resettlement exercise was motivated by the desire to meet people's right to

He challenged developed nations to assist new farmers in their efforts to
work the land and fully realise their right to development.

In contrast to Chinamasa, Inter-Parliamentary Union secretary-general Anders
Johnsson said: "Any democracy worthy of the name must aim to protect the
dignity and fundamental rights of the individual.

"It must seek to bring about social justice, nurture the economic and social
welfare of the community and invigorate the fabric of society."

The land reform exercise has been characterised by corruption, state
terrorism, arbitrary seizures and displacement of workers.
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Zim Independent

Zim faces power blackout
Augustine Mukaro
ZIMBABWE faces a prolonged power blackout after South African utility Eskom
joined its Mozambican counterpart Cahora Bassa in threatening to halt
electricity supplies to Zimbabwe over payment arrears.

Documents obtained by the Zimbabwe Independent show the Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority (Zesa) is facing a major crisis that requires urgent
attention if the country is to avoid being cut off.

The documents reveal that government has failed to allocate the foreign
currency for power imports. The regional power companies are threatening to
switch-off the country as early as this weekend over a US$6 million debt.

Zesa says if government does not immediately provide hard currency, it will
have to resort to stringent survival measures. This could include the
introduction of drastic load-shedding as local generation capacity has been
reduced due to breakdowns at Kariba and coal shortages at the Hwange Thermal
Power Station.

Zesa has asked exporting companies to pay for electricity bills in foreign
currency to deal with growing debt.

Economists said this was unworkable as past attempts had failed.

Zesa executive chairman Sydney Gata, in a memo to customers dated March 12,
said the power utility required US$17 million monthly to import electricity.
Last year's monthly allocations from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe averaged
US$2,12 million and there have been no allocations this year.

South African and Mozambican power companies are demanding by tomorrow down
payment of US$6,4 million from Zesa in part settlement of a combined debt of
US$150 million.

SA's Eskom and Mozambique's Cahora Bassa said the debt repayment should be
"accompanied by a convincing and credible future payment plan".

Gata said Zesa was disappointed that local industry was reluctant to adopt
its proposal which would help not only to raise foreign currency but also be
acceptable to regional power utilities.

Last month Zesa sent electricity bills in foreign currency to exporters and
miners but industry is yet to accept the new arrangement.

Zesa has proposed a tariff regime of US$3,8c/kWh or a discounted rate of
US$3,5c/kWh for exporters willing to forward-purchase electricity.

Exporters also have the option to pay in local currency but at a premium
rate of $60,75/kWh.

"It is therefore envisaged that if all customers participate in this
initiative, Zesa will be able to raise US$6,67 million per month which,
though not sufficient, will go some way in Zesa's critical needs and
currency emergency obligations," said Gata.

Last year Zesa's plan to bill exporters in foreign currency failed as
exporters were not prepared to surrender their forex at the official rate of
US$1 to $55 when they sourced the greenback at the parallel rate of US$1 to
$1 250.

Despite the new incentives for exporters who now have a preferential rate of
US$1 to $824, most exporters still source forex at the parallel rate of US$1
to $1 400.

Gata conceded that Zesa could be disconnected by tomorrow if it fails to pay
the demanded amounts and provide a future payment plan.

"Eskom has already classified Zesa as an interruptible customer and are now
demanding advance payment for supply. The 25% discount on the import tariff
from Eskom to Zesa has been lost and arrears continue to grow and incur an
interest penalty of 24% per annum," he said.

Cahora Bassa is demanding an immediate payment of US$5 million while Eskom
wants R11,2 million. This adds up to US$6,4 million.

"We shall advise that under current circumstances of non-payment by Zesa, we
shall reduce your power level to zero Mega Watts from 22nd of March 2003,"
reads part of the letter from Cahora Bassa.
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Zim Independent

White collar crime a threat to depositors - Murerwa
Ngoni Chanakira
THE Minister of Finance and Economic Development Herbert Murerwa has
admitted that white-collar crime within the financial sector is on the
increase and if unchecked, will pose a serious threat to depositors.

These sentiments come soon after Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) chairman
Geoff Mhlanga accused some company directors of listed firms of "operating
unprofessionally" by releasing confidential information to the market and
the media.

It also comes hard on the heels of a billion-dollar scam involving
misappropriation of depositors' funds by directors of First National
Building Society (FNBS).

The ZSE board suspended three counters from trading in view of the
significant movement in the companies' share price to "protect investors".

The bourse questioned the reasoning by investors for the "significant

The suspensions lasted 24 hours for each company.

Firms that have been suspended during the past months include Zimbabwe Sun
Ltd (Zimsun), Tedco Ltd, and African Banking Corporation Holdings Ltd (ABC).

Murerwa, who was guest of honour at the fifth anniversary of Kingdom
Financial Holdings Ltd (KFHL) unit trusts last week, said: "Cognisant of the
fact that equity and money markets act as a link between investors and
business requiring capital to create jobs and gross domestic product growth,
government recently announced a dual interest rate policy aimed at mutually
benefiting both savers and borrowers.

"In addition, government has put in place the National Economic Revival
Programme with a view to creating a conducive economic environment. However,
government remains worried that white-collar crime is on the increase in
this sector, such that if unchecked, will pose a serious threat to

"In addition to strengthening the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's supervisory
capacity, government is in the process of putting in place legislation to
set up the Anti-Corruption Commission in order to mitigate this problem."

In an interview, ZSE chief executive officer Emmanuel Munyukwi this week
said the major reason why there was an increase in suspensions was that
companies were ignoring "conditions and procedures" as stipulated by the

Munyukwi said: "Companies are not sticking to requirements. There is nothing
new about suspensions because we have taken such action in the past. Some
firms are just ignoring information on their results, not issuing profit
warnings and are releasing information to persons not qualified."

He said because there was no regulation dealing with insider trading, it was
extremely difficult to prove that firms were engaged in insider trading.

However, one counter that had been suspended, ABC Holdings, accused the ZSE
of acting in haste to suspend the financial institution without prior notice
or consultation as required by Sections 1.4 as read with 1.5 of the Stock
Exchange Listing Requirements.

This requirement says: "When the listing of securities in a listed company
is under threat of suspension, the affected company shall be afforded the
opportunity of making representations to the committee in support of the
continued listing of such securities prior to the committee making any
decision to suspend such listing."

ABC said suspending counters without consultation resulted in the group's
image being tarnished and would cause "potential prejudice to shareholders
and other stakeholders".

Munyukwi said there were several ways companies were not sticking to ZSE
regulations and the new Securities Bill would deal with them.

He said activity on the bourse was taking a knock because of the economic
problems especially those facing agriculture where revenue flow was falling.
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Zim Independent


Freedom for whom?

AS the decent people of Zimbabwe watch in horror as this wonderful country
sinks deeper and deeper into a cesspool of evil, poverty and anarchy one
cannot help but ponder the reason why this has been allowed to happen.

Never in the history of this fair land has such unbelievable evil and hate
been allowed to prevail.

A bush war raged in this country between 1973 and 1980 "to rid the land of
the dreadful white colonial oppressors".

During this period, certain elements of the black population of the then
Rhodesia took up arms against the Rhodesian government to achieve the above

Since the Zanu PF government came to power in 1980, most rational, balanced,
honest and intelligent people have realised that a large proportion of the
senior cadres, ie Robert Mugabe and company who were in control of the bush
war had a hidden agenda - self-enrichment.

"Freedom" for the people was the front they put up but freedom for Zanu PF
to do exactly as they pleased with whomever they pleased whenever they
pleased was part of this hidden agenda.

I would be intrigued to know why arms were taken up against the Rhodesian
government but now in this hour of desperate need, nothing even remotely
resembling an armed uprising against this evil regime has come to light.

Alistair Hull,

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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

SA church to rescue
Iden Wetherell
THE involvement of the Anglican Church of South Africa in Zimbabwe's stalled
internal peace process is welcome. Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane is a
respected churchman who brings to the table the essential ingredients of
integrity and independence of mind.

The same, sadly, cannot be said for our local prelates. Indeed, the entry
onto the scene of the South Africans is itself a rebuke to the local church

The Catholic bishops have been working studiously to discourage their South
African counterparts from speaking out on the Zimbabwe question, while the
Anglican Church has been paralysed by the election, in questionable
circumstances, of Bishop Nolbert Kunonga to the Harare diocese. His
undisguised admiration for the president has led to an inevitable rift in
the Anglican church whose members do not all share their bishop's political

The Catholic bishops, let us not forget, were so delinquent in their duty
seven years ago that they could not agree among themselves on the
publication of a report into the Gukurahundi atrocities of a decade earlier.
Many felt exposure of such manifest evil would be "unhelpful" in the
church's relations with government.

I recall an episode two years ago that told me all I needed to know about
the church leadership in this country. A group of church spokesmen had just
emerged from giving evidence to a visiting mission of foreign dignitaries at
the Sheraton Hotel and were being interviewed by the press. One of the
group, the secretary-general of the Christian Council of Zimbabwe, was
talking about the need to counter "white lies", a phrase he evidently
misunderstood, while blaming the country's poor image on the press. The
Catholic bishop present was invited to comment on the suggestion that the
country's problems stemmed from media distortions. He was unable to do so.
In fact he was unable to add anything of value whatsoever to the views of
the pro-Zanu PF clergy around him.

I have every respect for Catholic bishops such as the Bishop of Bulawayo in
the 1980s, the Rt Rev Henry Karlen, and his present-day successor Pius Ncube
who stand up for what is right. In fact few observers would be able to
differentiate between the two when reading Karlen's criticism in 1984 of
government troops carrying out "a campaign of starvation, torture, rape,
beatings and murder against the civilian population".

Today Pius Ncube is prepared to follow the dictates of his conscience in
standing witness to the same activities by the same regime. The special
service he held for young women abducted and raped by the "Green Bombers"
during last year's presidential election campaign was an example of the
testifying and healing role the church should be playing in society.

Warnings and menaces from security authorities that he was exceeding his
episcopal mandate will have only stiffened his resolve.

Much of what we are seeing now in the way of threats, police brutality and
militia atrocities will be familiar to observers of the South African scene
in the 1980s and Eastern Europe just before the collapse of Communism. Civil
rights activists and church leaders were targeted in those societies as
terminal regimes lashed out at their opponents.

Our situation here is by no means unique. But at the same time it must be
acknowledged that our civil society is structurally weak. The church needs
to find its voice. And the academic, legal, and business communities need to
speak out on injustice and national pauperisation,

There is obvious concern in civil society that Ndungane, who knows little or
nothing about Zimbabwe, will be taken in by the claims of the ruling-party
politicians he meets. This, after all, is what happened to Thabo Mbeki and a
host of visiting South African ministers pre-selected for their gullibility.

But we need have no fears on this score. South African civil society is made
of sterner stuff. As he made clear at his press conference, the archbishop
recognised that the Zimbabwe crisis involved more than a land problem.

"The restoration of political normality, a culture of human rights, hunger
relief and political legitimacy are important to bring peace and stability
to Zimbabwe," he said in remarks echoed by Charles Villa-Vicencio of the
Institute for Justice and Reconciliation which is sponsoring the talks.

Those involved have no illusions about the size of the mountain they have to
climb. But so far they provide the best opportunity we have had for
political change. They are declining to swallow President Mugabe's
blandishments or his redundant nationalist pretensions about the MDC being
British-sponsored. The fact that the Herald ran an opinion piece denouncing
Ndungane's remarks is a good sign. However obdurate Mugabe may appear, he is
at least now acknowledging that he needs help in climbing out of the hole he
has dug for himself.

We wish Archbishop Ndungane and his colleagues well. They need the goodwill
of all Zimbabweans in their rescue mission.
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