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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

War in Iraq poses questions about future global order

An element in opposition to attacking Baghdad regime is the feeling the the
US is too powerful
WHEN asked by then US president Richard Nixon what he thought was the effect
of the French Revolution, Chinese premier Chou En-Lai replied it was too
early to tell. And it may well be so with the war in Iraq.

Most answers to the questions about the fallout from the Iraqi crisis are
best prefaced with "it depends".

However, there is little doubt that the international order perhaps best
broadly viewed as a set of institutions, relationships, and ways of doing
things has been shaken and that there is more to come.

The first consequence has been the showdown over US power. France and much
of the world are intent on resisting US power. They simply believe the US
has become far too powerful. And what deeply unsettles them is their fear
that Iraq could be the first step in the remake of the region. This, if
anything, is what hangs over all other consequences of the war and creates
the chances of other collisions, including the reaction of much of the
Muslim world.

Another significant shake-up from the Iraq crisis is that it has left no
doubt that US and UK threats are real on matters of weapons of mass
destruction. One message from Washington is that democratic countries like
India or Israel, or even faintly democratic countries like Pakistan, will be
frowned upon if they possess nuclear weapons, but rogue states will not be
given any leeway.

The hope in Washington has to be this show of resolve will make it far
easier to deal with North Korea's and Iran's threatened nuclear weapons
programme. But even then the message to North Korea may be somewhat muted
because Seoul is within artillery range of North Korea.

Whether the political change in Iraq will act as a catalyst for democratic
reform in the Middle East one positive spin-off widely predicted by the Bush
administration is far from clear. It is also unclear whether this will occur
through reform or revolution. The minority regimes in Saudi Arabia and Syria
are unlikely to reform to the extent they risk losing power.

Demonstrations throughout the Arab world in support of the Palestinians may
be the real catalyst, albeit allied with a democratic Iraq. However, will
regime change in Baghdad make it easier to bring about an
Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement?

The US says it will lay out a road map for peace, and increased pressure
from the US on both sides is highly likely. But the dispute has its own
dynamics which are somewhat independent of what happens elsewhere in the

Many diplomats, true to form, are saying the consequences for the UN as well
as US and UK relations with France and Germany will not be catastrophic.
Their argument is that disagreements over Iraq are once off, and
self-interest demands co-operation on issues like fighting international
terrorism, promoting African development, and international trade.

The US and the UK are likely to push for increased co-operation with African
countries in fighting terrorism. With increased pressure on AlQaeda, its
operatives could be seeking refuge in African countries.

But to believe that SA's relations with the US have not been damaged is
wishful thinking. Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad has said he believes
SA's disagreement with the US will be confined to Iraq, but the stream of
vitriolic anti-US remarks from senior government and African National
Congress officials have undoubtedly done damage.

Realpolitik suggests it will be the "coalition of the willing" who will be
rewarded and SA will not be indulged. The insistence by Angola, Cameroon,
and Guinea that they would abstain on a second resolution under the
circumstances, equivalent to a vote against could also do them future harm
in relations with the US.

If the war in Iraq is prolonged and the US is not able to exit soon, those
outside the US-led "coalition of the willing" will have a point made for
them. But if chemical weapons are used by Iraq, US troops are cheered in
Baghdad, a humanitarian disaster is averted, and a representative government
is in place fairly soon, those outside the coalition could soon rush to the
aid of the victor. For the global order, much will hinge on how the
complexities of the peace are handled.

The issue of whether the US and the UK have by their actions severely
damaged the United Nations (UN) is the most central issue on whether the
world order has forever changed. The UN has been seriously damaged, but this
is probably not structural.

For most of its history the UN Security Council has been a paper tiger. The
latest flagrant violations of its resolutions by Iraq, on top of those by
Israel, as well as UN inability to act in the Kosovo crisis and avert
massacres in Rwanda, is yet another demonstration of the body's impotence.
More precisely it shows the extreme difficulty in taking multilateral
action. And that is likely to remain the case.

Yet the US needs the UN to deal with problems high on its agenda such as
North Korea, and the fight against international terrorism.

The US has said the UN will be involved in humanitarian relief for Iraq and
postwar reconstruction. After making the point and going it alone, it is
likely to help diminish concerns about US unilateralism if in fact that is
the case. But even then long disputes on the UN role in Iraq are in the

Any view that sees US and UK relations with France returning to normal
underestimates the extent to which Washington and London feel betrayed by
Paris. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has repeatedly said the French are
fully to blame for failure to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

Although France, Russia and China all have keen interests in co-operating
with the US to fight terrorism and on trade issues, it will take time for
trust to be restored. The threatened veto by the French is ultimately a
reminder to the US and the UK that the French cannot be allowed into their
inner circles of decision making.

A return to normality in US and UK relations with France at the Group of
Eight (G-8) summit in June is unlikely. Chirac, as host, could seek to heal
the damage, but the US may not respond to these overtures with open arms.

The healing could occur over continued support for the New Partnership for
Africa's Development, which strikes the right chords on governance. However,
as the G-8 promised more aid last year, it is Africa that might have to show
progress this time. After all, Zimbabwe and some other African countries
stand out like versions of Iraq, albeit often without as much oil or an
ability to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Katzenellenbogen is international affairs editor.

Mar 24 2003 07:00:53:000AM Jonathan Katzenellenbogen Business Day 1st

Back to the Top
Back to Index

ZIMBABWE: Commonwealth suspension questioned

JOHANNESBURG, 24 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - A row is brewing over Commonwealth
secretary-general Don McKinnon's announcement last Sunday that Zimbabwe's
suspension from the 54-member body would remain in place until December.

McKinnon's announcement was a turnaround on previous reports that South
African President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo felt
that positive changes in the country made Zimbabwe's continued suspension
unnecessary. Those views were opposed by Australian Prime Minister John
Howard, the third member of the "troika" mandated to deal with the Zimbabwe

Several days before the 19 March expiry of Zimbabwe's one-year suspension,
McKinnon issued a statement saying that members of the troika agreed that he
should undertake wider consultations among Commonwealth governments.
McKinnon said the consensus was the matter would be reviewed at the
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Nigeria in December
2003, and the suspension should remain in place until then.

However, South Africa's high commissioner to the United Kingdom, Lindiwe
Mabuza, has challenged that position. In a statement released last week, she
said that neither the Commonwealth chair nor the secretary-general have a
mandate to extend the suspension, and it was at variance with the public
positions of a "substantial number of Commonwealth governments".

She said that Commonwealth leaders at the recent Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
summit in Kuala Lumpur, unanimously endorsed the NAM conference decision
criticising the imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe.

In addition, 10 Commonwealth leaders at a Southern African Development
Community ministerial meeting in Luanda, reaffirmed the NAM decision.

"In other words, the ministers articulated a view on Zimbabwe also held by
the two African members of the troika", Mabuza said.

"It is thus important for us all to know precisely which countries were
consulted and what positions they communicated to the secretary-general,"
she added.

Mabuza said that it was a long-standing Commonwealth tradition and practice
to take decisions by consensus, as was the original decision to suspend

McKinnon's statement that the members of the troika concluded that the most
appropriate approach was for the suspension to remain in place "does not
represent the view of the troika", Mabuza said.

In response, Commonwealth spokesman Joel Kibazo told IRIN that McKinnon's
consultation of other leaders came at the request of a divided troika.

"He [McKinnon] canvassed the opinion of those leaders and does not have
their permission to go back and reveal their position. He reported what the
general view was and those people who took that position know who they are,"
he said.

"He found that some were in favour of stronger measures and some in favour
of weaker measures. But the generally held broad view was to keep sanctions
until they could all meet to discuss it. He told the troika what his
findings were and they agreed," Kibazo said.

The decision to suspend Zimbabwe came after the Commonwealth expressed
concern over the violence surrounding last year's presidential elections,
which it deemed neither free nor fair.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Eyewitness: Zimbabwe torture victim
Zimbabwe torture victim
Hundreds of people say they were assaulted after the strike

Zimbabwe has seen hundreds of arrests since last week's strike, with allegations made of brutal treatment. Patricia, an official with the Movement for Democratic Change in Harare, told the BBC of her ordeal.

I was fast asleep at 1pm when I heard them knocking at my door. I thought they were thieves. The soldiers pushed the door open.

They were many, some were in civvies.

They had guns, ropes, baton sticks. They asked who Patricia was.

I said: "I am Patricia".

They took the urine from my kid and said: 'Drink it'
Patricia, MDC

They asked if I was the secretary of the MDC.

I said "Yes".

They said: "Bring your particulars of the MDC."

I said: "I don't have any."

'We want to kill her'

They said: "You are a prostitute of [MDC leader Morgan] Tsvangirai, so we are going to take this condom and put it on this gun and get it into you, because Tsvangirai is doing this to you and you enjoy having sex with him".

I told them I had never had sex with Tsvangirai and they said: "That is your boyfriend and you should suffer for this."

They put the gun inside me and they asked me if I was enjoying it.

Riot policeman in Harare flees stone-throwers
The strike was marred by violent incidents

I said: "It is painful."

They said: "It is not painful because when you have it with Tsvangirai you'll be smiling."

They forced me to make noises as though I was having sex with a man.

I did.

When my brother heard that I was being assaulted, he came out from his house to my room and said: "What is happening?"

He was told to shut up and was beaten and made to get into the toilet.

They opened the taps and water was running all over his body and asked: "Why are you living with this MDC person here? We want to kill her."

They started beating me up.

They took the urine from my kid and said: "Drink it."

I first refused but the way they were beating me and they wanted to put the gun again, so I had to drink it.

After drinking it, they said they wanted to see the urine flowing.

I said: "I don't have any urine."

They said: "We know you have it. You have to do it now before we kill you."

So I had to do the urine standing.

They said: "We want to see it flowing by your feet."

So I did.

I am afraid of meeting them again. I don't know what they will do.

They have already killed me.

I have to carry on. I just want revenge.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Guardian

'Hundreds beaten' after strike in Zimbabwe

Staff and agencies
Monday March 24, 2003

Opposition groups and human rights organisations said today that government
security forces loyal to the president, Robert Mugabe, have arrested and
beaten hundreds of people in response to last week's general strike.
Meanwhile, two opposition MPs were arrested and, according to Amnesty
International, up to 500 people were being held on allegations that they
participated in last week's strike that brought Zimbabwe's economy to a
standstill, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said. Police
confirmed 200 arrests, state radio reported.

The Zwakwana human rights monitoring group said that Harare emergency wards
are treating people for broken bones, bruising and sexual assault after they
were beaten with wire whips, iron bars, electrical cords and rifle butts by
ruling party militias, uniformed soldiers and police reservists.

Witnesses said they saw police and ruling party youth militias taking part
in assaults. Staff members at one private clinic said its emergency services
treated 200 people.

The police had no comment on allegations they had a role in the attacks, but
the military denied any involvement through the state media.

Speaking last Friday, Mr Mugabe threatened retribution against his
government's opponents, saying the strike action was used by the opposition
to incite violence.

He warned opposition leaders that "those who play with fire will not only be
burnt but consumed". The strike was called by the opposition to protest
repression by Mugabe's government as well as acute food and gasoline
shortages. A statement issued by Amnesty International described
deteriorating security conditions and mass arrests in Zimbabwe as "a new and
dangerous phase of repression".

An opposition spokesman, Paul Themba Nyathi, said troops and militias raided
the homes of opposition supporters across Harare over the weekend.

He said troops assaulted an MP and two of his aides and that the mother of
one activist was sexually assaulted with the barrel of an assault rifle.

The opposition MP Roy Bennett said state agents and army troops stormed his
farm outside Harare on Thursday and killed a striker accused of rioting and
burning a bus. He said the troops also used whips and riot sticks to beat 30
of his workers.

An army spokesman, Colonel Ben Ncube, denied the incident occurred. "We have
since sent our team to investigate but at the moment we found out there was
no such incident," he told the state Herald newspaper.

The national strike was the largest protest since Mr Mugabe - brought to
power at independence in 1980 - was re-elected for another six-year term
last year in elections that observers said were marred by intimidation and

Mr Themba Nyathi said strikes and demonstrations would resume soon if the
increasingly authoritarian government does not, "embark on a programme to
dismantle the basis of its tyranny".
Back to the Top
Back to Index

'Brutal' Zimbabwe crackdown
Riot policeman in Harare flees stone-throwers
The strike was marred by violent incidents

Opposition groups in Zimbabwe say that government security forces have arrested and beaten hundreds of people following last week's widely observed general strike.

Amnesty International says that up to 500 people have been detained in "a new and dangerous phase of repression".

Following the strike, President Robert Mugabe warned the opposition Movement for Democratic Change not to instigate violence, saying: "Those who play with fire will not only be burnt but consumed."

The BBC's Barnaby Philips in Johannesburg says that all the evidence points to a new crackdown of unprecedented brutality.

'Children assaulted'

A doctor working in a hospital in the capital, Harare, said more than 250 people have been treated there after being beaten by the security forces; many had broken fingers or toes, some had broken legs.

Two women described how men in military uniforms stripped them, beat them, and used guns to sexually abuse them.

They took the urine from my kid and said: 'Drink it'
Patricia, MDC activist

The MDC says that children of opposition activists have been assaulted.

Lawyer and director of the publishers of the Daily News Gugulethu Moyo says she was beaten by five men in Harare central police station after going there to enquire about a Daily News photographer who had been arrested.

"The cells were so full I had to stand, which was okay because my backside was so bruised I could not lie down," she said.

'Crying foul'

"We are fast losing count of people being detained and tortured because it's now happening every hour," MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi told Reuters news agency.

Zimbabwean police spokesmen Bothwell Mugariri said about 400 opposition members have been arrested since last week's strike.

Torture victim
This woman, 60, says she was beaten by soldiers

He said many had been charged with malicious injury to property.

The police have denied the torture allegations.

"The police would want to interview and charge everyone who was involved in any kind of violence and we are not going to get distracted by people who organise violence and then cry foul when the law is applied to them," a spokesman said.

During the strike, stones were thrown at passing cars and a bus was set on fire.

The police also say that the offices of the ruling Zanu-PF party were set on fire in Chinhoyi, north of Harare, while explosives were found in the central town of Kadoma.


Zimbabwean human rights activist Tony Reeler says the attacks are focused on the MDC's local leadership.

Following the strike, the MDC gave Mr Mugabe until 31 March to agree to 15 demands including ending torture and depoliticising the police force or face further "popular mass action".

Tension is rising in Harare ahead of two by-elections this weekend in seats the MDC won easily in June 2000 elections.

Zimbabwe, once a regional breadbasket, now has massive unemployment, long fuel and bread queues and inflation of more than 200%.

Up to half the population, some seven million people, need food aid according to donors.

Back to the Top
Back to Index



Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: D Joubert

An open letter to the Chairman of J. A. G.

Dear David,

Having endured for some time now the spurious drivel that detracts from the
otherwise useful information, which you distribute through your regular
communiqués and "Open Forum", I felt it important to expose some home
truths and in the process point out that at this very critical juncture,
that your organization has lost its way, and serves to harm farmers
interests as opposed to supporting their cause.

As I understand the situation, JAG was born out of mistrust for the
Commercial Farmers Union and their ill advised and naïve policies regarding
the `non confrontational' approach to this evil regime; which events have
shown, had no intention whatsoever to compromise with a community they
perceived as powerful opponents to their policies of greed and suppression.
The dogmatic and persistent refusal of the CFU leadership to defend the
rights of all its farmers in terms, not only of its own constitution, but
also the laws and constitution of this country, in a nutshell, gave birth
to the cause and the justification to challenge the CFU leadership and form
a body capable of representing farmers' genuine interests'.

The prompt and courageous actions of JAG gave the many farmers hope and at
the very least, the courage to believe in themselves and what was right.
You must all be applauded for standing firm and exposing the self-interest
and hypocrisy of a CFU Council and other prominent farming figures that
were quite willing to sacrifice the majority of their community to appease
evil. The assistance and information you continue to give farmers is
invaluable in the defense of our rights, but I suggest to you that the
situation has changed dramatically in recent times, and for the benefit of
the farming community, it is time for you to reassess your role, if your
organization is to continue to hold respect of that community or serve any
useful purpose in the future.

History will tell you that the commercial farmers of Zimbabwe, however
diverse in their opinions', have time and again proven themselves a
formidable and determined force when confronted with adversity. Despite
falling victim to the calculated and ruthless campaign waged by this
regime, it is clearly apparent, that in the face of such relentless
challenge our farmers and leadership have now responded and seem prepared
to confront the issues of lawlessness and gross unfairness to which we have
all been subjected.

I am cognizant of your fears and mistrust of a leadership that has been
more than willing to seek association with the forces of evil, but if
farmers are now prepared to stand together through the CFU then we must
support the effort unconditionally. Certainly, many of us feel that there
are still shortcomings in CFU policy, but we should rather be giving
support and encouragement to the leadership, who will in turn grow in

Sadly, having played a pivotal role in the CFU's positive change of heart,
it seems that JAG is now intent on destroying the sense of purpose that it
helped create. Personalized attacks and criticism of the reformed
leadership, as illustrated by the detached thinking of wannabee politician
cum philosopher cum scribe Willie Robinson, simply detract from the
daunting task ahead. Surely you do not believe that this form of garbage
which you distribute through the `open letter forum' will advance either
our cause or sense of purpose? Frankly, you are all acting as though you
fear personal loss of recognition or influence, and have, in the process,
dropped the ball - ironically at a time when the goal line is within reach.

No person, policy or organization can serve the farmers of this country
more effectively than a united and positive Commercial Farmers Union in the
critical months that lie ahead. We need to work together with a common
sense of purpose, and I urge you to reexamine your motives put your weight
and influence behind the reformed initiative for the benefit of our
Yours sincerely,

Dave Joubert.

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

Justice for Agriculture mailing list
To subscribe/unsubscribe: Please write to
Back to the Top
Back to Index

      U.S.: Zimbabwe Gov't Inspiring Violence

      The State Department strongly condemned what it said Monday was
unprecedented violence sponsored by the Zimbabwe government against domestic

      Spokesman Richard Boucher said the three-day campaign has targeted
opposition officials and supporters and other critics of the regime.

      "This wave of violence and intimidation follows last week's successful
and largely peaceful two-day work stoppage organized by the main opposition
party, the Movement for Democratic Change," Boucher said.

      Since then, he said, more than 400 opposition supporters have been
arrested, beaten and in some cases tortured by individuals in uniforms of
police or the Zimbabwe military.

      "Over 250 people have required hospitalization, and at least one
person has died," Boucher said. "Women have been sexually assaulted by
police or military officers."

      He said the upsurge in official violence is attributable directly to
President Robert Mugabe's speech Friday in which he said he could be a
"black Hitler 10-fold" in crushing his opponents.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Excerpt from a long interview -

Rights Still Being 'Eroded' Says Gambian Opposition Leader

March 24, 2003
Posted to the web March 24, 2003

Charles Cobb Jr.
Washington, DC

Talk to me about Zimbabwe. You were an observer during the last elections
there. How do you understand Zimbabwe?

Yes, I was deputy head of the Commonwealth election observer mission there.
I worked under Nigeria's General Abdul Salam Abubakar. Fortunately, I was
head of the Kwe Kwe district, a very big district and had the chance to
witness first hand the serious violations of human rights there. I took
photographs and interviewed some of the people who were victims of torture.
Some opposition supporters had their testicles cut off, some had the name of
Mugabe's party, Zanu PF, branded with hot irons on their backs, and some
were killed. If Africans treat their fellow Africans worse than we were
treated by the colonialists and the slavers, what moral right do we have to
protest against the way we are treated by the Ku Klux Klan or the Red Necks
in Germany? And that is exactly what is happening in Zimbabwe. And there was
the changing of the law extending the polling period 24 hours before polling
started. Our report reflected what we saw on the ground. Our conclusion was
that the elections were neither free nor fair.

I had been, as a young person, a strong admirer and supporter of Mugabe, but
I am so angry with him now. When I was Deputy Foreign Minister back in 1977,
I was The Gambia's representative on the UN Committee for Liberation. I got
to know both Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo personally. At the Lancaster House
meeting to work out the modalities for Zimbabwe's independence, all of us
were unhappy with two things: the provision granting 20 seats in Zimbabwe's
parliament to whites and the land issue. Immediately after independence,
Mugabe organized a referendum and got rid of the 20 seats reserved for
whites. Why did he not settle the land problem then? He was so popular that
whatever he did would have been supported by the international community.
And he had Russia and China backing him. Why did he wait for twenty-two
years, at a time when he has a formidable Zimbabwean opposition, to settle
the land issue? The British had given him 22 million pounds to fund the land
distribution program. But he did nothing. He shared that money among the
members of his party's central committee.

When I visited Zimbabwe about ten years ago as Gambia's minister of the
Environment, Zimbabwe was exporting food to all the countries of Southern
Africa. Today, Zimbabweans are starving and Zimbabwe is a net importer of
food. What kind of policies and programs did they have? Zimbabwe has one of
the most educated cabinets in Africa. Yet they are behaving as if they are
in the 19th Century.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Mayor in danger

      3/25/2003 5:12:23 AM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba

      A SHADOWY pro-Zanu PF vigilante unit in Mbare known as "Chipangano"
yesterday force-marched residents to Town House to demand the ouster of
Elias Mudzuri, the executive mayor.

      The group reportedly commandeered commuter omnibuses and other private
vehicles in the suburb to ferry the purported protesters into the city.
Speaking from his residence, Mudzuri said the demonstration was organised
during the late Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Swithun Mombeshora
's burial at Heroes' Acre last Friday.

      Zanu PF youths harassed Mudzuri at the burial and confiscated the keys
and a manual to his official vehicle parked in the VIP car park, threatening
to burn the limousine. Mudzuri, elected on an opposition MDC ticket,
yesterday said: "It's a plot involving the government to move against me.
What I hear is that they want to kill or hurt me. But I will not be
intimidated by villagers who have no stake in Harare. These were rural
people mobilised and forced to demonstrate against me."

      Mudzuri said senior government officials were behind the
demonstration. The demonstrators denouncedMudzuri for alleged
maladministration.a However, the mayor accused the police of conniving with
Zanu PF to eliminate him or push him out of office.

      The demonstration comes two days after President Mugabe told mourners
at Mombeshora's burial that State security agents had been directed to crush
the MDC in the wake of the opposition party's largely-heeded mass action
call last week.

      Wayne Bvudzijena, the police spokesman, declined to comment on Mudzuri
's allegations. The nearly 5 000 protesters, including residents forced to
march to Town House, accused Mudzuri of neglecting their hostels, toilets
and failing to collect refuse.

      They toyi-toyied around Town House chanting: "Mudzuri should be beaten
up, he must be killed and he must be removed." The Zanu PF supporters
confiscated and tore up copies of The Daily News.
      Montforte Hays, the circulation manager of Associated Newspapers of
Zimbabwe, the publishers of The Daily News, said 1 234 copies of the paper
worth $185 100 were destroyed by the Zanu PF supporters.

      As they dispersed, the Zanu PF youths severely assaulted Daily News
vendor Lovemore Muhlomeri at the corner of Robert Mugabe Road and Fourth
Street. Muhlomeri was rushed to Harare Central Hospital.

      Nathan Shamuyarira, the Zanu PF spokesman, denied any knowledge of the
demonstration. Last month the police barred Mudzuri from meeting Harare
residents at Town House, saying they feared for his safety after reports
that there were people intending to attack him. "The police knew that there
would be demonstrations against me, but they kept that a secret from me,"
Mudzuri said.

      "No police officer even called to ask about my security. Why didn't
they stop this demonstration? Where are they when my security is really in
danger?" The demonstrators railed against alleged unlawful dismissals,
suspension and victimisation of Zanu PF supporters working in the council,
accusations which Mudzuri denies. The Minister of Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing, Ignatius Chombo, has clashed with Mudzuri over
the same issues.

      The demonstrators had earlier forced vendors from Mupedzanhamo flea
market and Mbare home industries, popularly known as Siya So, to take part
in the protests before they commandeered buses and lorries to ferry people
to Town House. Some of the demonstrators said the Zanu PF leadership for
Harare province directed them not to chant Zanu PF slogans or wear the party
's regalia for the demonstration to appear to be a residents-initiated

      A 57-year-old woman from Mbare said: "The youths came to our stalls at
Mupedzanhamo and ordered us to close shop. They said we were supposed to
express our displeasure with Mudzuri." Some of the demonstrators were
brought in government-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company buses. A
source said the demonstrators dispersed after the police advised them that
the MDC was mobilising its supporters to counter the demonstration and
defend Mudzuri.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Settlers resist eviction from Beatrice farm

      3/25/2003 4:52:25 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      AT least 40 settlers who occupied Nyabiri Farm in Beatrice last year
under the government's land reform programme have alleged police harassment
amid reports that the government wants to return the farm to its original

      The A1 scheme settlers said at the weekend officials from the Ministry
of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing in Mashonaland East
visited them last month to tell them to leave the farm because they were not

      "Our efforts to defy this order have resulted in harassment by the
police from Beatrice," one settler claimed. "The former owner, Andrew Gau,
has moved in with 12 armed guards who are patrolling the fields and
terrorising us."

      He said the settlers were sleeping as a group as they feared the
guards might attack. Beatrice police refused to comment. The settlers who
had planted maize, groundnuts, paprika and tobacco at the 450 hectare farm,
said since Gau moved in, he had harvested at least 20 000 kg of tobacco.

      Gau said yesterday he was told last December by the Mashonaland East
land task force committee to return to the farm as there were plans to
downsize it. "However, I cannot say much as there has been a lot of violence
at the farm but you can talk to the governor (David Karimanzira) as he knows
exactly what is taking place," he said.

      Karimanzira said he would not comment as the land task force committee
had not briefed him on the situation at Nyabiri farm.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Soldiers attack revellers

      3/25/2003 4:54:38 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      SEVERAL people were seriously injured over the weekend after armed
soldiers and policemen stormed into nightclubs. Armed soldiers have stepped
up patrols in Kuwadzana, Harare, where a by-election is due this weekend,
following a mass stayaway last week.

      The soldiers, wearing MDC T-shirts with a portrait of Nelson Chamisa,
the opposition party's candidate in the Kuwadzana poll, severely assaulted
five workers at Kadada Night Club in Dzivaresekwa 4 at around 4am on

      Tapiwa Nemaura, 25, the club's doorman, said the soldiers beat up all
the workers on duty after one of them chanted an MDC slogan which received
an enthusiastic response from the other workers. "In no time, we were made
to lie on the ground and the soldiers beat us with barbed wire and an
assortment of weapons," he said.

      He said the soldiers took turns to beat them. Beauty Murwisi, 27, who
could hardly sit down, said the soldiers made off with crates of beer after
the beatings. "We were given a week off by the club's owner to seek medical
treatment," she said.

      Other workers claiming to have been beaten by the soldiers included
Matilda Listoni, 30, Costa Machiwenyika, 20, Kerina Mugandidze, 29, and
Royai Makona, 30. The night club has not opened since the beatings.

      Night clubs at Budiriro 1 and 2 shopping centres have closed after
several night raids by the army and the police. Some residents of Harare
said they had been forced to retire as early as 6 pm for fear of being
beaten up by the uniformed men if they "broke" the unofficial curfew.

      They said night clubs were not opening for business after 6pm because
the police mounted raids on them. An army official, identifying himself as
Chinoingira, said there were no troops deployed anywhere.

      "If our troops were deployed, we would alert the public not to fear
them because it would be for a specific purpose," he said.

      Chinoingira said he preferred written questions and referred further
inquiries to the police who are in charge of internal joint army-police
operations. Wayne Bvudzijena, the police spokesman, refused to comment - as

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Police seek warrant

      3/25/2003 4:55:38 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      CHINHOYI police were yesterday expected to issue a warrant for the
further detention of 14 MDC supporters arrested for allegedly bombing Zanu
PF's provincial offices last Friday.

      Tapiwa Muchineripi, the group's lawyer, said the police were reluctant
to bring them to court. He said by late yesterday only Gift Machoka Konjana
had been charged with contravening Section 6 of the draconian Public Order
and Security Act, or alternatively arson. But Konjana remained in police

      Section 6 (1) (a) (ii) says: "Any person who, for the purpose of
causing or furthering an insurrection in Zimbabwe commits any act
accompanied by the use or threatened use of weaponry with the intention or
realising that there is a risk or possibility of damaging or destroying any
property . . . shall be guilty of an offence."

      Muchineripi said: "The rest were not charged, but are being held at
different police stations in Mashonaland West. The police insisted they
wanted authority from their superiors to issue a warrant for further

      "We will file an urgent chamber application in the High Court to
secure the release of the group," said Muchineripi. Silas Matamisa, the MDC
provincial chairman in Mashonaland West, and his wife, were also arrested.

      Muchineripi said Matamisa was being held at Mhangura Police Station.
He said he was only allowed to see his clients on Saturday afternoon.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Magistrate orders torture investigation

      3/25/2003 4:56:27 AM (GMT +2)

      From Kelvin Jakachira in Mutare

      A MUTARE magistrate yesterday ordered an inquiry into the prolonged
detention and alleged torture of MDC supporters by the police. Lloyd Kuvheya
made the ruling after lawyers representing 17 MDC members, arrested last
week, complained in court their clients were detained for six days instead
of the stipulated 48 hours.

      The lawyers, Chris Ndlovu and Arnold Tsunga, said the police had
confiscated cash and property from the MDC supporters. They said Giles
Mutsekwa, the MP for Mutare North, was denied access to medication in spite
of his hypertension condition, of which the police had been told. "An
enquiry must be conducted to clarify issues such as over-detention,
confiscation of property and assaults," Kuvheya said.

      He said the enquiry should be completed within two weeks. Levison
Chikafu, who appeared for the State, agreed with the magistrate. "I tried to
look for the accused so that I could bring them to court, but it was
fruitless," Chikafu said The MDC members include Mutsekwa, Patrick Chitaka,
chairman of Mutare North, Pishai Muchauraya, the provincial secretary for
information and publicity, Mafias Tenga and Knowledge Nyamhoka, a councillor
for Ward Four in Sakubva.

      They were charged under the repressive Public Order and Security Act.
They are accused of organising and inciting people to engage in violence
during last week's mass action. They were remanded to 7 April after they
each paid $10 000 bail.

      The police last week arrested 30 MDC supporters and detained them at a
number of remote police stations in Marange, Muromo, Odzi and Penhalonga.
"They were detained outside Mutare to instill fear in them," Ndlovu said.
"It was difficult for them to get access to lawyers and relatives. The
accused were traumatised. They were treated like convicts."

      The lawyers said the police confiscated $107 000 in cash and a
cellphone from Muchauraya. The magistrate ordered that the money and the
cellphone be returned to Muchauraya.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Lawyers call for the arrest of Chiwenga

      3/25/2003 4:57:48 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has joined other civic
organisations in condemning the harassment and unlawful two-day detention of
Daily News staff by the police in Harare last week In a statement, ZLHR
yesterday called upon the police to arrest Jocelyn Chiwenga, the wife of
Lieutenant-General Constantine Chiwenga, the army commander, who assaulted
Gugulethu Moyo, The Daily News legal advisor. and photographer Philimon
Bulawayo at Glen View Police Station.

      Moyo had gone to secure the release of Bulawayo who had been detained
for covering the two-day mass action called by the MDC. ZLHR said: "This
continued harassment of legal practitioners in the line of their duty has
most serious implications on their ability to perform their professional
functions without fear or favour.

      "The fact that the police and army officers made no attempt to
restrain or arrest Chiwenga following her clearly unlawful behaviour, in
fact, took orders from a civilian to unlawfully assault and detain lawyers,
is to be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

      "We are greatly concerned by attempts by the police to deny Bulawayo
his constitutional right to legal representation. Attempts to hide a
detainee (Bulawayo) from his lawyer are tactics reminiscent of the Rhodesian
security forces, and have no place in a democratic society committed to the
rule of law and respect for the rights of its citizens."

      The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists and the National Constitutional
Assembly last week denounced Jocelyn's unruly behaviour and called on the
police to arrest her.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Police claim Nkala murder suspect confessed

      3/25/2003 4:58:16 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      The State yesterday produced a lengthy hand-written confession by
Kethani Sibanda in the on-going "trial within a trial" in the Cain Nkala
murder case in the High Court in Harare. Justice Sandra Mungwira adjourned
the court at 1pm to today to allow the defence to consult on the new

      Sibanda is accused together with Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, the MP for
Lobengula-Magwegwe, Sonny Masera, the MDC director of security, Army Zulu,
Remember Moyo, and Sazini Mpofu, of kidnapping and murdering Nkala in
November 2001.

      Nkala was allegedly abducted from his Magwegwe, Bulawayo, home on 5
November 2001 and his body was exhumed near Solusi University on 13 November
2001. The "trial within a trial" is to decide the admissibility of the
statements taken from the men.

      Yesterday, Detective Assistant Inspector Refias Masuna of CID in
Bulawayo, told the court that Sibanda had confessed freely. The State, led
by Neville Wamambo, produced the lengthy written and typewritten statements
by Sibanda.

      The defence then applied for time to study the documents. Masuna said:
"He took over two hours to write. He said he was happy because he was going
to be relieved of the feelings that were haunting him. No form of threat or
inducement was applied."

      Sibanda allegedly said he was acting on instructions from Masera and
Dulini-Ncube to kidnap and murder Nkala. Nkala was kidnapped so he could
give them information on the fate of Patrick Nabanyama, an MDC election
agent in the June 2000 parliamentary elections.

      Nabanyama was kidnapped by suspected Zanu PF supporters that month and
has not been seen since, Sibanda allegedly confessed. The group, including
Matshobana Ndhlovu, Prince Ndhlovu, Jison Moyo, Gilbert Moyo, Sazini Mpofu,
and Remember Moyo had kept surveillance on Nkala's house on 1 November,
using a vehicle provided by Masera, Masuna said.

      He said Sibanda confessed that they had driven to Norwood Farm about
31km from Bulawayo on the road to Solusi University where he, Gilbert Moyo
and Prince Ncube strangled Nkala. Masuna said: "They told him to make some
prayers since they were going to kill him. They strangled him using Sazini's
shoe laces."

      Masuna said Sibanda and Remember Moyo briefed Masera in his offices
about their mission the next day. Masuna said: "He gave them $5 000 each to
cleanse themselves of the deceased's avenging spirit."
      The trial continues today.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Ben-Menashe witness gets US $1 000 per day

      3/25/2003 4:58:59 AM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      THE government is paying a prosecution witness in the MDC treason
trial US$1 000 (Z$55 000, but Z$1,5 million on the parallel market) a day
for the duration of his stay while he testifies. Bernard Schober, a
Canadian-based private investigator and security consultant, said under
cross-examination by defence counsel, Chris Andersen, he had been charging
the daily rates since he left his Montreal base in Canada on Wednesday last

      He said although the amount was "acceptable" to him, it was nothing
compared with what he charged clients in Canada. He said the money, which
excludes travel, food and accommodation expenses, would be paid through
Dickens & Madson, the Montreal political consultancy headed by Ari

      "I will be looking for Ari Ben-Menashe, when I return to Canada, for
my money," said Schober. "The only arrangements I have are through Ari
Ben-Menashe's offices." Ben-Menashe is the key State witness .

      Schober was hired by Dickens & Madson to video-tape a meeting with MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai on 4 December 2001 where Tsvangirai allegedly asked
Dickens & Madson to help the MDC assassinate President Mugabe and depose his

      The video-tape forms the basis of the charges against Tsvangirai,
Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general, and Renson Gasela, the party's
shadow minister of agriculture. The three have pleaded not guilty. Schober
denied claims by Ben-Menashe that he was in contact with Zimbabwe government
officials and that he was paid US$30 000 to video-tape the meeting.

      He said he was paid in cash and not through a trust account for
Ben-Menashe's wife, as the star State witness alleged. Schober said he
sub-contracted a former police officer named as Alain Rencurt, and an
unidentified helper to install cameras, a video monitor, a recorder and a
transmitter in the boardroom at Dickens & Madson where Tsvangirai was due to
meet officials from the consultancy.

      Joseph Musakwa, the Director of Public Prosecution in the
Attorney-General's Office, protested when Andersen asked Schober to say
whether witnesses in Canada were paid as much as US$1 000. "What's the
relevance of comparing witnesses' expenses in Zimbabwe and Canada?" Musakwa

      The judge intervened when the cross-examination nearly degenerated
into a verbal duel as Andersen insisted that Schober disclose the names of
his clients apart from Megaprobe, the investigations firm through which
Ben-Menashe contracted him.

      Schober, on the other hand, refused to name the clients saying their
identity "was not relevant to the case". The judge ruled that Schober
disclose the identities of the clients after contacting the clients in
question. The trial continues today when the defence is expected to finish
cross-examining Schober.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Daily News reporter Mudiwa set free

      3/25/2003 4:59:57 AM (GMT +2)

      By Angela Makamure

      LLOYD Mudiwa, The Daily News' municipal reporter facing a charge of
publishing falsehoods, is a free man after Harare magistrate Sandra Nhau
refused to place him on further remand.

      Nhau said Section 80 of the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act under which Mudiwa and former Daily News editor-in-chief,
Geoffrey Nyarota, are being charged, was unlikely to survive the
constitutional test in the Supreme Court.

      Mudiwa was arrested and charged after the newspaper published a story
he wrote about the alleged decapitation of a Magunje woman by Zanu PF youths
last April. The story, given to The Daily News by George Nyadzayo alias Enos
Tadyanemhandu, later turned out to be false and that he had deliberately
misinformed the newspaper.

      Refusing to place Mudiwa on further remand, Nhau said: "Section 80
will not withstand scrutiny by the Supreme Court. There is a proposal for
the amendment of the Act." She said Mudiwa's continued remand was not
warranted because the State had failed to convince the court when it applied
for his further remand.

      Nhau pointed out that Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of State for
Information and Publicity, conceded that Section 80 was in conflict with the
Constitution, hence it was being amended. Clause 20 of the Amendment Bill
reads in part: "A new proposal is to frame the offence of abuse of
journalistic privilege in a manner that avoids any apparent conflict with
the Constitution - that is freedom of expression."

      Nhau said since the accused were yet to plead to the charges, there
was no way Mudiwa could prejudice the State, hence it was only fair to
remove him from remand.

      In July last year, lawyers representing Mudiwa and Nyarota challenged
the constitutionality of the section under which the State seeks to
prosecute them.

      The Supreme Court is yet to deliver its ruling on the matter. Lawrence
Chibwe represented Mudiwa yesterday. Last month a warrant of arrest was
issued against Nyarota after he failed to turn up in court for further

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      As a matter of fact ...

      3/25/2003 5:01:34 AM (GMT +2)

      In our front page story yesterday, we said that Stalin Mau Mau's real
name is Keen Marshall Charumbira.

      This, in fact, is not true. His real name is Augustine Mudzingwa. We
apologise unreservedly for any inconvenience that this error might have
caused to both parties. - Editor
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Soldiers, police attack MP

      3/25/2003 4:53:28 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      ABOUT 30 armed policemen and soldiers assaulted Gilbert Shoko, the MP
for Budiriro, in a pre-dawn raid on Saturday at his house. They demanded to
know the MDC's next course of action after its successful two-day stayaway
last week.

      The MDC has given the government an ultimatum to resolve the country's
economic problems by next Monday or risk mass action. Earlier, the armed men
raided a United Nations Development Programme-funded Parliament of Zimbabwe
information centre in the constituency.

      They allegedly beat up Shoko after breaking into his house in Budiriro
1 and took $120 000 raised from the MP's transport business, a tube of
toothpaste and empty bottles. At the information centre, the police and
soldiers allegedly destroyed furniture and kidnapped Tonderai Marufu, a

      Shoko, who yesterday found it difficult to walk following the
beatings, said the armed men descended on the information centre in Budiriro
4 at about 2am. Shoko said: "They broke in and ransacked the offices and we
have not seen the guard Marufu since then."

      Marufu, who is in his 20s, stays in Budiriro 2. The alleged
assailants, travelling in two police Puma vehicles, then headed for Shoko's
house. "They used a ladder to scale the razor-wire topped wall, indicating
they knew the security situation," Shoko said.

      He said the police and soldiers broke into the house through the
back-door and woke up Resinah and Tiny, his daughters aged six and eight
years, respectively.

      "They ordered my daughters to show them my bedroom," Shoko said. "They
dragged me out while I was sleeping with my wife and assaulted me in the

      "They were all over the yard and assaulted me all over my body. They
wanted to know what the MDC was planning next and the addresses of the party
's youths. I declined to give them any information." The MP sustained a
fractured rib and bruises on his back and buttocks.

      Three guards protecting him also sustained injuries. Shoko said: "The
information centre is an extension of Parliament and breaking into the
offices is akin to breaking into Parliament." Shoko said he did not bother
reporting the incident to the police since they were involved in the attack.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Leader page

      Stayaway message: Enough is enough!

      3/25/2003 5:09:15 AM (GMT +2)

      By Cathy Buckle

      Last week the people of Zimbabwe finally overcame their fear and
showed the government that they have had enough. By simply staying at home
for two working days they were shouting out the messages: we are tired, we
are hungry, we want democracy.

      For three years, we have known that no one from outside Zimbabwe is
going to help us until we help ourselves. Last week, Zimbabweans helped
themselves. Thousands of shops, companies and factories simply locked their
doors for two days and their principled stand gave us all the thing we so
desperately need: a light at the end of the tunnel.

      Perhaps the hardest thing about living in Zimbabwe in 2003 is that we
do not know how or when the crisis is going to end. We have no hope for
economic revival. We know that inflation is not going to stop rising. We are
well aware that our hospitals have no drugs. Every month we see friends
leaving and yet more companies closing down or relocating to other
countries, but we are powerless to stop the decline.

      No one knows what to do or how to survive. We do not want war, bombs
and guns. We do not want to wake up one morning and discover that the world
has bombed "opportunist targets" in Harare as they did in Iraq, and the only
way to stop that from happening is to start helping ourselves and stand

      We all accept that some institutions have to function when calls are
made for people to stay home. We know that nurses and doctors have to go to
work and that teachers must report to school - someone has to be there to
look after our children, particularly boarders, who are helpless victims in
a country in crisis.

      There are a number of other essential life-saving services which must
continue to operate. There is no excuse, though, for some of the cowardly
organisations who chose not to take part in last week's stayaway.
Zimbabweans must assume that companies who stayed open approve of farm
seizures; that they agree with the oppression of the opposition MDC and
murder and torture of its supporters.

      We must assume that these companies do not care about the repressive
and misnamed Public Order and Security Act and the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, agree that people can be beaten and tortured
whilst in police custody and accept that if they do not belong to the ruling
party, they have no rights in the country.

      The call for a national stayaway was not designed to sabotage the
country and its almost dead economy, but to save it. For three years the
government of Zimbabwe has only got away with their repressive policies
because we could not be united as one people. They have only succeeded in
starving us because we have allowed them to do so.

      We sat back and watched ministers and top officials seize multiple
farms. When the major wheat-growing farms in Chinhoyi and Banket were taken
over, we did nothing except moan; and then we moaned some more as we stood
in lines for bread. We did nothing when children were turned into pawns and
indoctrinated in the so-called National Youth Service training camps, and we
do nothing now as these same children intimidate us and snatch all the
bread, sugar and maize-meal for themselves.

      We know which companies stayed open last Tuesday and Wednesday. They
showed their approval of government policies by doing so. On Tuesday, the
Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) sent out an e-mail reporting on the stayaway
and said that their offices in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Chinhoyi were

      Surely they and their handful of remaining members could have made a
principled stand just this once? Twelve of their members been murdered since
2000 and thousands of farm workers have been beaten and tortured.
Three-thousand farm workers are now homeless, destitute and starving. Has
their hell been for nothing? Shame on you, CFU!

      Some other white-owned businesses also stayed open last week and they
too should be ashamed. If, as white Zimbabweans, we like to say that we are
"white Africans", then we should start behaving as if we are. At the very
least, whites who say they are too afraid to be actively involved, should
offer moral support to the hundreds of thousands of black Zimbabweans who
are scared, suffering, starving and voiceless.

      White Zimbabweans must join hands, both with each other and with their
black neighbours. Each and every single Zimbabwean - black, white and
brown - is going to have to make some sacrifices if democracy is to be
achieved. A stayaway means exactly that: stay at home; don't go to work; don
't go and drink coffee, don't go out. We must all - black, white and brown -
stop sitting on the fence, stop waiting to see what our mates are going to
do and make a principled stand before we too become "exiled Zimbabweans".
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Leader page

      How many audits needed to uncover land scandal?

      3/25/2003 5:08:15 AM (GMT +2)

      When the people took up arms to fight white minority rule as far back
as 1893, land was the raison d'etre of their struggle. When political
independence was attained in 1980 after a protracted struggle, the new
majority government pledged to redistribute land equitably to reverse the
ills brought about by the Land Apportionment Act of 1930.

      This most evil law sought to allocate land along racial lines.
Millions of landless peasants who had been forced onto barren land in
communal lands looked up to the new government for a fair land policy that
would redress decades of inequity. Expectations were understandably very
high because Zimbabwe's economy is agro-based and land is a finite resource.

      But the government, because of limited resources and expertise and the
lack of a clear plan, failed miserably to produce an acceptable land reform
programme. Attempts to redistribute land over the last 22 years have been
mired in controversy, partly because the government leaders have allocated
themselves large chunks of fertile land, leaving the millions who genuinely
need it without.

      Realising that its support base had become unstable, the government
used the land issue as a political weapon to win the 2000 parliamentary and
2002 presidential elections. President Mugabe bowed to the threats from an
angry group of war veterans, who were demanding land as compensation for
their role in the liberation struggle.

      Led by Chenjerai Hunzvi, the war veterans invaded commercial farms
nationwide, bringing to a halt all viable agricultural operations. The
government hurriedly put in place the controversial Land Acquisition Act,
which is being challenged by the Commercial Farmers' Union, representing
white farmers, as it violates property rights as enshrined in the

      Scores of people have died in the violent land grab which has brought
the country's economy to its knees. Despite claiming to have resettled 300
000 families under the A1 model scheme and another 51 000 families under the
A2 model scheme by the beginning of this year, the government has failed to
address the plight of thousands of former farm workers. Most of these have
been left jobless and homeless. They are old and have no money to conduct
any meaningful farming, even if they were to be allocated land.

      The land distribution programme, therefore, can be described as a
total failure which has harmed the economy and brought about much suffering
among thousands of people. Only the fat cats in the ruling Zanu PF have
benefited from the land grab, some of them getting more than one farm.

      Last year, the government set up a team to conduct a national land
audit. Headed by Flora Buka, the Minister of State for the Land Reform
Programme, assisted by Vice-President Joseph Msika, who chairs the national
land committee, the team put together a damning report which the government
has not been keen to publish - much like the Chihambakwe report on the
massacres in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the 1980s.

      Those privy to the document, leaked to the foreign media early this
year, say it details how government officials abused their positions to
acquire land. Much time and money was spent on compiling the audit report.
If it will not be publicised, why should anyone, let alone the government,
propose to have another land audit? What purpose would it serve? The
government knows what went wrong with the land redistribution programme -
the corruption in high places and the abuse of office by Zanu PF and
government officials.

      One more audit can only be interpreted as a cover-up of the real
scandal. People are not stupid: the ruling elite stole the land and now want
to hide the theft behind another audit - which won't be made public either.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      NRZ hikes fares by 41 percent

      3/25/2003 5:23:25 AM (GMT +2)

      By Chris Mhike Business Reporter

      TRAIN fares went up by over 41 percent yesterday, worsening the plight
of low-income travellers, who are already struggling to make ends meet.

      The new fares come after the recent fuel price increases which saw bus
fares rise by more than 100 percent.

      Surprisingly, the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has left fares
for urban routes unchanged. An official with the NRZ described the increases
as "inevitable". "Everything is going up these days - spare parts, fuel,
salaries and administration costs.

      "In fact, all costs related to the provision of transport and other
services have escalated. The increase was, therefore, necessary for the
continued viability of the NRZ," said the official.

      On the Harare to Bulawayo route, passengers will fork out $6 600 for
the sleeper service, up from $4 560. Fares for the standard and economy
classes have gone up from $2 520 to $3 600 and from $2 040 to $3 000,
respectively. The new fares are only applicable between Monday and Thursday
as well as on Saturday.

      A higher scale will apply on peak days, that is, Friday and Sunday.
The peak fares for the Harare route would be: sleeper - $6 720, up from $4
680; standard - $3 720, up from $2 640; and economy - $3 120, up from $2
160. Travellers from Harare to Mutare will pay $3 850, $2 240 and $1 820 for
sleeper, standard and economy class, up from $2 600, $1 540 and $1 260.

      Fares on peak travel days will be $3 920, $2 310 and $1 890,
respectively. Bulawayo-Victoria Falls passengers will pay $5 880, $4 200, or
$2 640 on ordinary days, while the fares on peak days will be $6 000, $4
320, or $2 760.

      The Bulawayo-Hwange trip now costs $4 410, $3 150, or $1 480 on
ordinary days for the three classes; and $4 500, $3 240 or $2 070 on peak
days. Scores of stunned prospective rail travellers thronged the Harare
Railway Station yesterday to confirm the new fares, as rumours about the
increases spread across town.

      Unlike in the past, NRZ chose not to advertise the new fares in the
electronic and print media. John Muzungu of Mabvuku expressed shock and
disappointment at the new fares.

      "This announcement throws my budget into a serious mess. I had planned
to travel to Bulawayo by rail this evening, but I cannot afford this new
fare. "I now have to sit down and think again about the additional money
needed," Muzungu said.

      Most people who spoke to The Daily News at the station were shaking
their heads in disbelief as they cursed the NRZ or mumbled inaudibles while
scrutinising the new fares posted on notice boards.

      Misheck Matanhire, the NRZ corporate affairs manager, did not respond
to questions faxed to his office yesterday, hence The Daily News could not
establish why the new fare increases were being applied selectively.

      Speculation was, however, rife that NRZ had not increased fares for
"The Freedom Trains" for political reasons. The Freedom Train service was
introduced as a ploy by government to regain the urban vote, which it lost
to the opposition MDC, under the guise of helping ease the plight of

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News


      Beitbridge: the dirtiest town after Lagos

      3/25/2003 5:15:24 AM (GMT +2)

      From Oscar Nkala in Bulawayo

      "This is the fastest growing little hovel in Africa south of the
Sahara. You can come up with five different pictures of it in five minutes."

      So remarked Salatiel Muleya, the Beitbridge Residents' Association
(BRA) chairman, when he was asked to describe his town. In as much as there
is no doubt that the "hovel", as Muleya chose to call it, is growing, there
is also no doubt that Beitbridge is the busiest inland port South of the

      But in discussing Beitbridge, it would be an act of misinformation not
to tell the visitor that it may also be the dirtiest town after Nigeria's
Lagos, in sub-Saharan Africa. The cleanliness of Beitbridge has over the
years become the single most constant cause of embarrassment for the the
Beitbridge rural district council, the residents and the Beitbridge Business

      Muleya said the bad state of environmental health in the town had
deteriorated beyond redemption because of rampant corruption and
inefficiency in the council. He says the corruption has led to a collapse in
service delivery, notably the collection of refuse and the repair of burst
sewerage pipes, some of which have been spewing raw sewage into the dusty,
narrow streets for the past three years.

      The raw sewage can be seen flowing lazily past Vhembe secondary
school, but the ever-present stench no longer seems to bother the pupils. It
can also be seen at the country bus terminus where vendors continue to sell
their wares unperturbed. Foodstuffs, it seems, have found a way of
co-existing with the raw sewage and the heaps of rubbish are now part of the
landscape of Dulibadzimu suburb.

      The sewage is not the only source of irritation for residents. The
western side of Dulibadzimu, where the clinic is situated, is a living
testimony of people preaching exactly what they do not practice. Papers
light enough to be blown around by the dry, hot winds are strewn all over
the ground with fairly thick concentrations on tree tops.

      "This town is one big rubbish dump," says Muleya. "Even the clinic
that teaches people the basics of hygiene cannot do anything to clean its
own surrounds. Council is not doing anything to clean up this town." Apart
from having the most haphazard street configurations, Beitbridge has no
street lights except on the international highway.

      Kingdom Ndabambi, a resident of New Dulibadzimu, says he bought his
house three years ago but is still not connected to the sewerage and water
reticulation system. The delays in providing vital domestic services has led
to residents using the bush to relieve themselves.

      In November last year, the town and surrounding areas were hit by a
cholera outbreak which killed one person and left over 250 people in
hospital. It was attributed to the council's failing waste management

      Like Lagos which spills its sewage into the Atlantic Ocean, Beitbridge
spills its sewage into the Limpopo River, upstream of the point from where
Musina Town Council draws its water by sand

      The sewage flows into the river, although the council has 254 hectares
of land meant for farming projects that could use it as manure. On the
opposite bank, Musina is running a flourishing project which uses sewage as
fertiliser on a 504-hectare piece of land.

      But it is not just the residents who are bitter with council's
inefficiency and the alleged corruption, the business community sees the
council as deliberately impeding development in the town. Jonathan Gapare's
construction company won a tender to build over 600 houses in the town.

      Chief among his grievances is that the council has not done
site-servicing while the area under construction is off the council water
supply grid. Gapare said: "We have held so many meetings with council
officials to have the stands under construction connected but to no avail.
Apart from slowing down our work, it is also a threat to the health of our
site workers as they are surrounded by bush, the regular lavatory for people
who already live here."

      Donn Davidson, the Beitbridge Inn manageress, thinks of the council as
a "crisis management committee". "This is the most difficult, most
insensitive council I have dealt with since I came into the business world,"
she says. "The state of environmental health here is appalling as you have
already seen.

      "The central problem is that the council is not serious about
attending to burst sewers and connecting the whole town to the water grid.
Even those who are connected still have to think about whether the water is
there. And it is usually not."

      She said her company, which was forced to drill a borehole when the
town went dry two days before the solar eclipse last year, will drill more
boreholes as a contingency measure amid mounting fears that the water crisis
might return before the end of April.

      "Very soon this place will be so full of boreholes the water table
will recede beyond anyone's reach. I don't want to imagine what would happen
to environmental health around here at that time since not all residents
will be able to drill family boreholes," Davidson says.

      The business association says repeated efforts to convince the council
that investment would increase if it became serious with service delivery
have failed. A fresh controversy over the state of environmental health has
rocked the town over the past two weeks. The residents' association is now
demanding an audit into how $10 million, released as a government grant for
the pre-eclipse clean-up of the town was used.

      Residents claim there is nothing on the ground to show there was ever
a clean-up, or that there is one under way now, as council maintains.
Back to the Top
Back to Index