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

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Natal Witness

Mbeki steps up criticism of Zimbabwe

"The land reform programme in Zimbabwe has left several white Zimbabweans
without land. It is unacceptable because all Zimbabweans, regardless of
their colour, should have an equal claim to land."

With these words President Thabo Mbeki, during a Midrand meeting of church
leaders from across Africa, intensified the South African government's
recent criticism of the government of President Robert Mugabe.

However, Mbeki did not express himself over the continuing violent action
against the Zimbabwean opposition and took up the cudgels for Mugabe's party
the Zanu-PF.

According to Mbeki, South Africa is carrying on with discussions with the
Zimbabwean authority but "many issues" in Zimbabwe must change.

"Legislation that doesn't suit democracy, human rights and media freedom is
unacceptable and should be changed. Land reform was essential but the way in
which it was handled was wrong. Some white Zimbabweans are now without land,
while all Zimbabweans should have the right of access to land."

Mbeki said South Africa approved negotiations between Zanu-PF and the MDC
and blamed the failure of the process on the MDC. He said Zimbabwe is
polarised, even in the context of the church. He agreed with a remark from
the audience that it seems if two separate Christs are worshipped in the
Publish Date: 25 March 2003
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Sunday Times (SA)

Mugabe's 'black Hitler' speech slammed

The United States has accused Zimbabwe's government of unleashing a new wave
of violence against the opposition, which it said was incited when President
Robert Mugabe compared himself to Adolf Hitler.

"The United States strongly condemns the unprecedented violence carried out
by the Zimbabwe government against domestic opponents," said State
Department spokesman Richard Boucher in a statement.

"Over the past three days, the Government of Zimbabwe has embarked on a
massive retribution campaign against opposition officials, supporters, and
other critics of the regime."

The statement, which will further taint Washington-Harare realtions, said
"the upsurge in official violence is directly attributable to President
Mugabe's speech last Friday in which he said he could be a 'black Hitler
tenfold' in crushing his opponents".

Mugabe noted in the speech that he had been compared to the former Nazi
leader in the British press, and said he was ready to embrace such a role.

"This Hitler has only one objective: justice for his people, sovereignty for
his people, recognitition of the independence of his people and their rights
over their resources," he said.

"If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold."

The State Department said that the violence and intimidation followed last
week's work stoppage by the main opposition party the Movement for
Democratic Change.

"The United States demands that the Zimbabwe government immediately cease
its campaign of violent repression," Boucher said.

A police spokesman in Harare said that 400 opposition members had been
arrested since the strike and most were charged with malicious injury to

Buses were stoned and burnt, roads barricaded, supermarkets torched and a
ruling party office fire-bombed during and after the two-day strike.

Boucher said the violence saw many opposition members beaten and in some
cases tortured, adding that one person had died and women were sexually
assaulted by police or military officers.

The United States said earlier this month that it would sponsor a campaign
to censure Zimbabwe's behavior at the UN Human Rights Commission.

President George W. Bush has frozen the assets of Mugabe and 76 other
government officials, charging they have undermined democracy.

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Daily News

      Three days of hell at the hands of the police - part 2

      3/25/2003 5:14:48 AM (GMT +2)

      Continued from yesterday
      "I will beat you and nothing will happen, you can go to court, all the
judges know Jocelyn Chiwenga, wife of the commander, the judges will do
nothing. I can even kill you, I have a gun," she shouted as she rammed her
fist into my body.

      "I have everything, I am filthy rich, filthy rich, you hear me? I have
farms, many businesses and more that 10 kombis that operate in Glen View. No
one can touch me, I am the General's wife!" she said, punching me again.
"You do not know me, I am the General's wife, if you call your people, I
will call helicopters!" she roared again.

      The man in khakis kicked me while she held me down. I got up. He
shoved. A sharp pain shot through my body as my head bumped against a stone
as I fell to the ground. They kicked me while I was down.
      They ordered Muchadehama and I to sit down on the ground. The
unrelenting interrogation started. She questioned and questioned. Her
questions were punctuated by slaps, punches and kicks from her accomplice.

      The more than 60 police officers and soldiers stood watching as we
were beaten and interrogated. The officer-in-charge who had been in his
office when the drama started, was now a spectator. She fired her questions
at me. "Why do you speak to me in English, little girl? Are you Ndebele?"
"Yes," I replied. "You stupid Ndebele girl, what are you doing here? What
happened in Matabeleland in the 80's is going to happen to you today, now!"
she shrilled while her accomplice thumped me on the head.

      I felt a deep chill creep down my spine. She went on to ask where I
had studied law. Not wanting to get myself into any more trouble regarding
my associations with the British, I said, "University of Zimbabwe," at which
she shouted: "Mugabe and I fought so you could have an education and call
yourself a lawyer, now you promote anarchy and tell the British that there
is no rule of law. What rule of law? I am a lawyer myself. I can tell you
about the rule of law, you know nothing."

      At that moment, I felt a pang of pain in my heart.I recalled a day,
just over a year ago when I had informed my father of my decision to return
to Zimbabwe after completing my post-graduate law degree at the University
of Oxford. He tried to dissuade me, saying that this was not the time to
return to Zimbabwe. "You have a brutal government that does not countenance
free thought. Our African politicians are ruthless, why don't you work in
Europe and send articles to newspapers back home if you want to contribute
to Zimbabwe?" he had said.

      The irony of this as I sat at Jocelyn's feet rang clear. Jocelyn had
just told me that I owed her a great debt of gratitude, whilst my own father
who many years ago in Zambia, during the struggle, taught the subject of law
to a number of politicians who lord over us in Zimbabwe today, had long
adopted the cynical view that it would be some time before the value of
lawfulness would penetrate the minds of those very politicians who claimed
to be responsible for my enlightenment.

      The questions and claps continued for 15 more minutes. Occasionally,
Muchadehama would be slapped or kicked by the man in khakis. Suddenly she
ordered: "You two are leaving this station now, go!"
      "We're not leaving until we find out why the journalist is being
detained," I said. "Out!" she screamed as the man in khakis dragged me
towards the gate. As we got to the gate she had a sudden change of mind.

      "Lock this dirt away, seal the gates, no one leaves this station, no
one comes in." She looked at me, sneered and turned to the policeman. "I
said open up the cell and lock her in," she shouted. She was the master here
as she gave orders. This civilian has taken charge of this uniformed force,
I said to myself. Muchadehama intervened.

      "How can you lock her up? She has done nothing wrong? She is a lawyer,
here to look after the interests of a detainee." "Shut up, you think I'm
stupid!" she roared. "You are staying here my girl, I will show you who has
power, you will sleep here and we will beat you so your British masters can
pay you more."

      The police officer complied and locked me up. Three hours later I was
still in the cage at Glen View Police Station, locked up with at least 30
young men who had been arrested that day. For three hours I had watched
silently as a soldier who was inside the cage with us, would, every five
minutes or so, aim for someone's head with a baton.

      The men maintained a defiantly dignified demeanour, enduring their
pain silently. I was fortunate, the soldier never touched me. A 13-year-old
boy sat next to me. I asked him why he was in custody. He said he had been
picked up outside his house with others in the morning when the riot police
swooped in on the neighbourhood. An old man aged about 60, who wore only a
pair of boxer shorts had huge welts on his back and stomach.

      He had been dragged out of his home in his shorts when he attempted to
protect his daughter from the police. Just after 3pm, Jocelyn returned. In
her hand was my British Council Library card. "Stupid girl, this is no
library card. I have investigated. The British don't run libraries, you
think I am stupid. They work with traitors like you," she said, poking me
through the fence.

      "Open up I am taking her to (Harare) Central(police station)" she
directed the policeman. I was hauled on to a truck with 15 men. The truck
was manned by five police officers in riot gear. "Beat her up, I'm following
you to the station," she ordered as she walked towards the Range Rover. As
soon as the truck moved out of Glen View Police Station, the police officers
instructed me to lie flat on my belly, with my hands at my side.

      What I felt next was indescribable pain. The five police officers
rained blow after blow on me with their batons. They used maximum force.
They aimed straight for my buttocks and thighs. The blows were occasionally
substituted with a hard kick from a heavy duty boot. My body curled in pain
and I lifted my hands to cover my head. I prayed. I screamed, louder and
louder. Not out of pain, but because I thought they might stop if I
screamed. That did not happen. They only stopped to taunt me.

      "You are a lawyer, why did you come to Glen View Police Station? Don't
you know that police stations are for the police?" And down came the batons
again. "You are Ndebele, well today you shall speak Shona!" and down came
the batons. "Musalala you shall speak Shona." "Are you married?" "No," I
answered. "Why are you not married?" and down came the batons.

      Pure hatred. For about 10 minutes, I was locked in a dreadful, earthly
hell when, quite miraculously, we encountered an accident. Three police
officers were directed to jump off the truck and attend to the accident
victims. Jocelyn got out of her car to survey the scene of the accident and
give directions to the police. When we arrived at Harare Central Police
Station, the riot police took us upstairs to the Law and Order Maintenance

      The corridors were crowded with injured detainees. As I walked in, the
eyes of the police officers who recognised me turned away in shame. One
officer approached me and asked: "Gugu, why are you here?" The explanation
for that arrived as we spoke. Jocelyn came strutting down the corridor
asking: "Where is that girl?" I was easy to find, being the only woman
there. Pointing at me, she ordered the police officers in the vicinity.

      "Lock her in, she is not coming out of here." She turned to me and
said, "You see how powerful I am, I am the General's wife, they take orders
from me, you are nothing, nothing. "This is only the beginning, I will come
for you, mark my words, you don't mess with the commander's wife."

      She left. I was detained at Harare Central Police Station with more
than 150 people who had been picked up in Glen View that day. Fellow
detainees said that Jocelyn, her accomplice and the soldiers had been in
Glen View all morning. Her private trucks had ferried the riot police. Some
said they were dragged from their homes. Almost all had been assaulted. They
claimed that they did not know why they were there.

      We were all denied medical treatment and struggled quietly with our
pain. We could not believe that this was really happening in Zimbabwe in the
Year of Our Lord, 2003. For three days I was abused. Subjected to the most
inhumane of conditions -toilets that could only be flushed from the outside
of the cell by police officers who seemed to delight in not flushing out
these cesspools. For three days I lived in an overcrowded, dirty cell. The
first night I stood until morning, the concrete beds and floor were full.

      When I asked for medical treatment or in the least, a soft chair to
rest my swollen bottom, the police officers taunted me, told me that I had
no rights, rights were "lawyer talk", not for prisoners. For three days, I
watched as police officers assaulted my fellow prisoners.

      The assaults were totally unprovoked. They were meant to keep us in
line. Every three or so minutes a heavy gumboot would land on the jaw of a
helpless prisoner. At one point, a police officer aimed straight at the
bloated eye of a young man and punched him. I cannot describe the horror of
his cry of pain. I was lucky, I only got pushed and shoved.

      We waited for well-wishers to bring us food and water. We shared with
the others as nothing was served at the police station. On Thursday evening,
I was finally released. A policeman who had allowed me to use his mobile
phone to call for help earlier that day, said to me as I left: "Sister, I
have nothing against you. We knew you were being held here for nothing. We
even knew there was a court order to release you, but with these political
cases even the most senior guy in the police station makes no decision, we
are instructed right from the top."

      I left almost 200 "political prisoners", behind. They were battered, b
ruised and oppressed souls, but their eyes flickered with an awesome glow
which to me signalled defiance. Their backs were broken but their spirits
were not.
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.

Letter 1: From a Disgruntled ex-Farmer's wife.

The bloodshed and beatings continue. Anyone who saw the front page picture
of Mrs Gardiner of Ruwa (Daily News Sat 22/3/03) and believes that
commercial farming in Zimbabwe should continue, have their heads firmly
entrenched in a massive sand dune!

What will it take for the CFU and the remaining farmers to let this regime
get on with their hell bent destruction? The sooner we let them get on with
their "Land Reform" programme, the sooner the probability that the whole
illegal JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM and corrupt system will collapse. What kind
of life can it be for those few remaining farmers? Hostile extortionists
for neighbors and very little community life left.  We all love our country
but many of us ex farming families did not have the financial wherewithal
or the immoral inclination to do business with this illegal regime.

One thing of which I can be certain, is that one day eventually, sanity and
democracy will prevail once again in Zimbabwe and those who have been
dealing with ZANU PF will have a lot to answer for. There is no future in
Zimbabwe for the majority of us as long as people continue to bow and
scrape in order to save their own worthless skins at the expense of those
who have had their lives dismantled by the madness of ZANU PF.

I personally have had enough of the CFU, the pointless and boring letters
from J.L Robinson and those farmers who sit smugly on their farms lining
the pockets of the "resettled farmers". To this government you are as
expendable as all those who have gone before you. Get it into your heads
that we can only fight the good battle once we have a democratic system
back in place and that means the absolute end of ZANU PF.

Letter 2 - "Norman Minter"

Dear Editor,

We read and heard about the incident on Roy Bennett's farm. We would like
to wish all the people who were so brutally assaulted a speedy recovery. We
stand by you with your views and hope we can all live together in peace
very soon.

The Minters.

Letter 3: Quentin and Angela Haddon

Does anyone know the whereabouts of Dave and Bridget Van Wyk and their 2
year old Matthew.  The last place we heard they were was on a rose or
tobacco farm close to Harare.  Thank you for any help
A & Q Haddon, New Zealand.  You can email us on

Letter 4: Peter Rosenfels

Mr Susman

I have just read, with interest, your article in the above mentioned trade
magazine, and am surprised at some of your comments. Especially from a
person in Israel.

You state "Morally I believe the land belongs to the blacks and they are
taking it back. While I understand the plight of the white farmers, it was
not their land to begin with and they have enjoyed 100 very good and
extremely profitable years...."

Am I to understand, therefore that come 2048, the Israeli settlers, after
their 100 "good and profitable" years, will pack up and leave? Where in
your plan do I fit? A Zimbabwean citizen of European origin, but of four
generations standing in this country? My German-Jewish Great-Grandfather
came to Africa in th 1880's, and to what is now Zimbabwe in 1894. He was a
trader, and left his new wife, and infant daughter in Bulawayo whilst
traveling all over the region selling his goods. My Great-Grandmother set
up Bulawayo's first laundry, and later the first livery service, and 16
years later, in 1910, bought a farm. 16 years of hard work, not exploiting
your "cheap labour". And she BOUGHT the farm. There were no favors from the
British Authorities, my Great-Grandfather, and later my Grandfather,
narrowly avoided incarceration during the two World Wars, for having a
German sounding name. Now I stand to lose my home, my business, and even my
citizenship because of the current collapse of law and order.

I have no ties to any other country, no claim of citizenship, right of
abode or the like. And you have a moral opinion that I am in the wrong

When will you express your opinion on the whites of Australia, or of
America and Canada perhaps? What is your moral opinion on property-
ownership by non-whites in Europe?

Get real. As a Zimbabwean who has a white skin, I have as much right to own
land here as another Zimbabwean citizen. After all, if you want to start
splitting hairs, the black tribes here have little more claim to the land
than I do. They pushed out the original people, the San (or Bushmen) not
long before my ancestors got here. In short we all belong, and must stop
using race to justify persecution.

Choose carefully where you apply your morals. They could get you burnt. PS
You quote that 30% of white farmers have lost their land. That figure now
stands at 98%. That should give your moral righteousness a boost.

Letter 5: Bruce Smith

The Chairman, NADF.

Dear Sir,

I have reason to express concern to you as Chairman of our Association. I
have paid levies to the Association for many years and naturally expect
some form of service for my contributions over the years. I have been
advised that this Association, under your guidance as Chairman has openly
indicated its support of the situation that Commercial Agriculture now
finds itself in, and has refused to stand up for farmers' personal,
business and property rights.

I have considerable pain, and anger to think that the money I contribute
could be used to undermine my very existence in agriculture, and the
existence of my colleagues, whatever commodity they may produce - and there
by support the starvation that faces the people of this country. I hereby
tender my resignation from your Association and will remain divorced from
it and your incredulous policy (as set out in Dairy Mail). Only once you
have some intent to protect the business, property and personal rights of
your members and our colleagues in other commodities, might I be tempted to
return to your Association and Union. The contribution that was going into
the Association will now be sent to charity to help feed the people that
you have let down.

Yours faithfully,
Bruce Smith.

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Zimbabwe crisis 'getting worse'

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said the crisis of
governance in the country is deepening.
He called for principled dialogue between his Movement for Democratic Change
and the government to prevent anarchy and chaos.

Mr Tsvangirai told a news conference during a lunch break in his treason
trial that the opposition would continue with protests which last week saw
an effective nationwide strike called by the opposition.

Mr Tsvangirai said no amount of brutality and arrests of opposition
supporters would discourage people, and the more repression there was the
more it would rebound.

'Playing with fire'

Following last week's strike, hundreds of MDC activists have been arrested
and many say they were tortured.

This "unprecedented violence" against political opponents has been condemned
by the United States.

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

Mr Tsvangirai is facing treason charges for allegedly plotting to
assassinate President Robert Mugabe before last year's presidential

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.

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

'Crying foul'

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

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

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.
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Mugabe steps up opposition crackdown

By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Rights groups say Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has
stepped up a crackdown on the opposition, but analysts have said the
intimidation and arrests are unlikely to prevent new protests.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) say police have detained
about 500 MDC members after a two-day strike last week shut factories and
sparked violence in one of the biggest protests since Mugabe came to power
23 years ago.

A Zimbabwean human rights group said on Tuesday it was getting daily reports
of assaults and torture of MDC members in what it said was an intensified
campaign of intimidation by militant supporters of Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF

"We have been getting reports of about 60 cases of violence a day in the
last couple of days, and in our view that is really massive," said Brian
Kagoro, co-ordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe.

"The picture we are getting is that ZANU-PF is on a new and very big drive
against the MDC," he added.

Political analyst Masipula Sithole said ZANU-PF's latest campaign was aimed
at preventing the MDC from calling another "mass action" against the

"That is the definitely the aim, but I don't think it is going to work,"
Sithole told Reuters.

"The level of anger against the government is so high that it is not
possible to crush it through intimidation," he added.

The MDC last week warned Mugabe to concede to fresh elections or face more
protests. Mugabe won re-election in controversial polls last year condemned
as fraudulent by the MDC and some Western governments which have slapped
sanctions on Mugabe and his inner circle.

The country is facing its worst economic crisis in more than two decades,
with record high unemployment, inflation and shortages of fuel, foreign
exchange and food.


Mugabe dismissed the MDC ultimatum, saying he would not listen to "pathetic
puppets" of the West. He also ordered security forces to crack down on those
using violence against the government, accusing the MDC of employing mob
aggression under the guise of defending human rights.

A senior Western diplomat based in Harare said on Tuesday the government's
drive against its opponents would likely bring it under more international

"I think what we are seeing are acts of frustration...but I think the costs
are going to be higher on the government side -- the opposition can only get
more determined to confront them and the pressure from the international
community can only rise," said the diplomat who declined to be named.

"The government is certainly mistaken if its view is that nobody is watching
Zimbabwe because of Iraq," he added, referring to the U.S.-led war against

On Monday, the United States condemned the government's actions, saying it
was directly attributable to Mugabe's speech last Friday in which he said he
could be a 'black Hitler tenfold' in crushing his opponents.

The State Department called on Harare to "cease its campaign of violent
repression" and to bring to justice the perpetrators of "these serious and
widespread human rights abuses".

Mugabe, 79, in power since the former Rhodesia gained independence from
Britain in 1980, last week accused the United States, Britain, Germany and
the Netherlands of sponsoring the MDC protests.
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Explosive Situation Developing, Warns Amnesty

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

March 25, 2003
Posted to the web March 25, 2003


Rights group Amnesty International believes that an "explosive situation" is
developing in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe has warned that the
opposition would be "consumed by fire" following last week's worker

News reports on Monday quoted police saying that they had arrested around
400 opposition members since the start of a two-day opposition-led strike,
which ended on Wednesday 19 March. Police said most of those arrested were
charged with malicious damage to property and were still in custody. The
charges related to incidents such as the torching of a bus during the

However, Amnesty International said the mass arrests signalled a "new and
dangerous phase of repression" in Zimbabwe.

"Amnesty International is deeply concerned by the increasing scale of
arbitrary detentions and for the safety of several hundred people including
officials and supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) taken into custody in Zimbabwe since 18 March 2003.

"Although some of those arrested have been released, many remain in
detention, whilst the whereabouts of others remain unknown. At least one
person, Steven Tonera, a farm worker in Manicaland province has been killed,
allegedly as a result of being beaten by state agents," the rights group

Mugabe had warned the MDC on Friday that "those who play with fire will not
only be burnt but consumed by fire", the official Herald newspaper reported.
He was speaking at the funeral of late minister Swithun Mombeshora at the
National Heroes Acre in Harare.

"Our law enforcement agents must react promptly and with vigour as they
provide appropriate responses to dangerous mischief-makers," Mugabe added.

Amnesty said the latest "wave of violence" was a reaction to the MDC
organised stay-aways on 18 and 19 March and was an attempt by the government
and its supporters to intimidate supporters of the MDC and other government
critics prior to two by-elections due on 29 and 30 March.

The rights group listed several incidents of alleged torture and violence by
state officials.

In one such incident on 18 March, "a group of soldiers and state agents beat
and tortured three workers on the farm of Roy Bennet, MDC MP for
Chimanimani. The three men were forced to lie on their stomachs on the
ground and were beaten with batons, sjamboks (whips) and pieces of wire".

"Their fingers and toes were also broken. As a result of the beatings and
torture, one of the workers, Steve Tonera, died. The three men were accused
of being MDC supporters and of burning a bus. On 20 March, a convoy of three
trucks carrying up to 60 soldiers of the Zimbabwe National Army came back to
the farm and severely assaulted up to 70 people," Amnesty alleged.

The rights group added that the "alarming escalation" in political violence
was a clear indication that the Zimbabwe authorities were "determined to
suppress dissent by whatever means necessary, regardless of the terrible

"We look upon the next 10 days with fear: the expectation is of further
violent reaction to organised protests by the MDC and civil society," the
organisation warned.

Meanwhile, Mugabe blamed the West for supporting the opposition strike,
naming countries such as Britain, America, Holland and Germany.

"The money used to organise the pretended stay-away, pay our youths to
self-destruct and turn them into purveyors of violence, came from the
so-called democracies of the West," the Herald quoted him as saying.

Mugabe also dismissed an ultimatum issued by the MDC last week, which called
for the release of political prisoners and restoration of civil liberties.
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First Urban Feeding Programme Opens

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

March 25, 2003
Posted to the web March 25, 2003


Zimbabwe's first urban feeding programme has opened in the country's second
city, Bulawayo.

Up to 800 malnourished children aged under five have been assisted over the
past two weeks, Help-Age Germany told IRIN on Monday. The development agency
is running the initiative in conjunction with the Bulawayo health department
and the World Food Programme (WFP).

The children were identified for assistance by health staff during their
routine monthly clinic visits. They all displayed weight loss, were not
gaining weight, or were underweight, said Yvonne Neudeck, Help-Age Germany
head-of-office in Bulawayo.

The pilot project, which is running at three clinics in the city so far,
provides the mothers with a WFP-supplied ration of 10 kg of corn soya blend
and one litre of cooking oil to enable them to supplement their child's

"Not all the mothers brought their children for their monthly check up
previously, but now that they know the child might be given food, they are
coming," said Neudeck.

Humanitarian officials have warned for some time feeding programmes were
needed in Zimbabwe's urban centres, which have been bypassed by the current
relief effort.

The country's failing economy has worsened unemployment and deepened
poverty. Abuse of the government's price control system has also caused
shortages and driven basic commodities onto the black market where they are
sold at vastly inflated prices.

"It's been a great project and the needs have been much bigger than
expected," Neubeck said. "It's very bad [in Bulawayo], worse than in the
rural areas ... The mothers tell us that they have no food and the basic
foods that are available are too expensive.

"The children look three years old but they are five. They are completely
underweight and many have HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis or both," she added.

Neudeck said Help-Age Germany hoped to extend the programme, which is funded
by the British Department for International Development, to all 17 clinics
in Bulawayo. Plans were also being finalised to open a similar programme in
the capital Harare, followed by other urban centres like Gweru and Kwekwe.

"We didn't advertise the programme because we were afraid of a rush, but
word of mouth has been fantastic - neighbours and friends are telling each
other and the news is spreading very fast. We've also had good cooperation
from the Bulawayo council," Neudeck said.

According to the latest WFP assessment, more than half of Zimbabwe's 11.6
million people are in need of food aid.
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Comment from ZWNEWS, 25 March

The burden of proof

By Michael Hartnack

As a test of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change's ability to
organise nationwide in the face of extreme difficulties, last week's two-day
stayaway was an astonishing success. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai summed up
the public mood by declaring: "The regime is now nervous - their bags are
packed as they realise who has the power. We have to prepare for the final
push and they will run." The response by Robert Mugabe's agents to the most
convincing opposition protest in four years has been a vicious campaign of
retribution against those suspected of masterminding the action. Amnesty
International called the crackdown "a new and dangerous phase of
repression". "What we are witnessing is much more than a government whose
tactic is raising the level of violence in the run up to elections," said
Amnesty. "This is an explosive situation where there seem to be no limits as
to how far the government will go to suppress opposition and hold onto
power." Probably the most horrific pictures ever carried by a Zimbabwean
newspaper appeared on the front page of Saturday's independent Daily News -
the lacerated back, buttocks and thighs of 60 year old Isobel Gardiner, wife
of the manager of a farm owned by MDC MP Roy Bennett at Ruwa, on Harare's
eastern outskirts. She, her husband, and 40 farmworkers of all ages and both
sexes were forced by soldiers to lie on the ground and be mercilessly
flogged. The reason? Bennett - whom the soldiers could not find - was
accused of organising the stayaway. One man, Steven Tonera, was beaten to

The MDC has given an ultimatum that mass action will resume unless Mugabe
concedes a timetable for fresh elections, ends terror and stops using famine
relief as a political weapon while 8 million Zimbabweans face starvation.
But calls Saturday by Mugabe's mouthpiece, the Herald, for "communities now
to flush out undesirable conjunction with law enforcement
agents" suggest confidence that Mugabe will break the MDC's spirit before
any second round. Until the word is given, the MDC cannot be sure of the
response. Despite his triumphant words, Tsvangirai must know that Mugabe
will not be moved by shows of popular will as long as he has food in the
State House pantry, loyal lieutenants, desperadoes with guns to do his
bidding, and a ruling party in neighbouring South Africa that has staked its
fortunes on the survival of Zanu PF. Mugabe's Achilles' heel, say diplomatic
sources, is his immediate subordinates. Some are known to be paranoically
fearful what will happen to them when the 79-year-old president loses his
grip on power, and are trying to arrange a deal through the compliant South
Africans that will give them immunity in return for hastening his dignified
exit. After the state media tried to pretend the stayaway was "a flop",
Mugabe himself tacitly acknowledged its success by making his usual attempt
to blame the West. "Our country today is afflicted by stage- managed
ructions," he said at the funeral of a cabinet minister on Friday. "The
money used to organise the pretended stayaway, pay our youths to self
destruct and turn them into career purveyors of violence, came from the
so-called democracies of the West."

The MDC's feat last week speaks for itself: With Tsvangirai himself having
to appear daily in the dock at the High Court in the sixth week of a bizarre
trial on allegations of plotting Mugabe's assassination, the MDC's activists
shut down 90 percent of the remaining economy. And they did it without
triggering chaotic rioting which could have turned into a bloodbath with
security forces slaughtering protestors. The party reported that hundreds of
their members were arrested and police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena boasted
"we are closing in on the ringleaders". On the eve of the stayaway,
detectives seized tens of thousands of handbills publicising it, but still
the word was passed round. The authorities deployed helicopters, armoured
cars, and police patrols on horseback, as well as paramilitary riot squads,
menacing behind their shields and face masks. Sources say the MDC had even
calculated the quantity of tear gas available to their adversaries and the
maximum capacity of prisons, police cells and possible makeshift holding
pens. The MDC will need all this organisational capacity and discipline if
Mugabe is suddenly given the push by his henchmen. It will have to prevent a
starving country descending into an orgy of looting and revenge. An MDC
spokesman claimed "third force" elements were behind isolated stonings and
the petrol bombing of a bus in Harare's southern suburbs. There is no hard
evidence, but with an ominous mood among some opposition supporters, it is
surprising there weren't more such incidents.  The regime also accused MDC
supporters of planting explosives at two supermarkets, two roadside vending
stalls and under a bridge in the Zimbabwean midlands, and of setting fire to
a building in Chinhoyi housing regional offices of Zanu PF and the General
Agricultural and Plantation Workers union. The local MDC chairman was
immediately arrested as a suspect.  After past bombings of the offices and
printing-press of the independently-owned Daily News and a private radio
station, however, the onus to prove innocence should rest on Mugabe.
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: O'Neill Meats

As a result of the beatings, one of the people from Roy's farm, Steven
Tsonera, has died.

The following contributions have been made to the fund.  We will distribute
food and cash on a weekly basis.  Thank you all very much for your support.

For those who have not heard, Roy Bennet's farm in Ruwa was visited on
20/3 by an army contingent who severely beat the Gardeners and a large
number of his workers - men, women and children. The beatings were in
retaliation for Roy being viewed as one of the major orchestrators of the
recent stayaway.

We have started a fund to support and encourage Roy's workers to stay on
the farm even though they are frightened and traumatised. If you are in any
way able to contribute in KIND OR IN CASH, please phone us on 011 - 403327
or drop off anything you can contribute to O'Neill Meats offices in the
Colcom Complex at 1 Coventry Road. We are unfortunately not in a position
to collect. Your donation will be acknowledged.

Bulawayo residents please contact Monika and Clive Midlane on 09- 881154 or
Cell 091 - 351416.

Please forward this e-mail to anyone you think could help. Our e-mail is

List of Contributors:
O'Neill Meats - 2 Sides of Beef
Kockotts - 25000
Percy and Linda Sharp - 15000
Eddie Cross - 25000 Pledged
G Potgieter (Jnr) - 15000
C & E Wixley - 25000
P & S Mason - 20000
Petrabuilt - 25000
Brian & Kerry Wehlburg (Australia) - 10000
DC Lilford Trust - 30000 Pledged


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
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JAG Security Release March 25, 2003


Due to the current tension prevailing after the mass action last week, it
is strongly advised that women do not travel on their own at night as there
have been a couple of serious incidents involving army personnel.  Farmers
should remain very vigilant and be aware of their vulnerability during
these difficult times.




JAG Hotlines:
(011) 612 595 If you are in trouble or need advice,
    (011) 205 374
       (011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us -
       (091) 317 264
    (011) 207 860 we're here to help!
(011) 431 068

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Independent (UK)

Zimbabwe: The cricket revolutionaries

Last month at the Cricket World Cup, two Zimbabwean players took to the
field wearing black armbands to signal the death of their country's
democracy. What happened next? Basildon Peta reports on the fate of the men
who dared to challenge Mugabe
26 March 2003

On a sunny morning in early February, two cricketers, smartly dressed in the
Zimbabwe team colours of red, green and black, strolled on to the lush green
pitch of Harare's main cricket ground. Along with the rest of the Zimbabwe
team, they were there to play against Namibia in their country's opening
match of the cricket World Cup. They may have hoped for an enthusiastic
welcome from the rather thin crowd in the stands, but the fans stayed
unusually quiet. The reason? Henry Olonga and his team-mate Andy Flower had
made an unscheduled addition to their kit: they were wearing black armbands.
And in a joint pre-match statement, the two players - one black, one white -
explained their actions thus: "We are mourning the death of democracy in our
beloved Zimbabwe... We pray that our small action may help to restore sanity
and dignity to our nation."

A small action, indeed; certainly, if judged by the standards of even the
most elementary democracy. Yet it has cost the two men dearly. Their
comparatively opulent lifestyles in the beleaguered southern-African nation
are no more. The two cricketers have joined the estimated three million of
their countrymen who have fled Robert Mugabe's reign of terror to live as
economic and political refugees in foreign countries. Both have retired from
the international game; Olonga is in hiding in South Africa, and Flower and
his family are preparing to start a new life in England. (Flower will be
joining the Essex team this summer.) Both know what awaits them if they go
back home - charges of treason, an offence punishable by death.

Zimbabwe House, President Mugabe's official residence in Harare, is just
opposite the capital city's cricket ground. Stroll around these two
buildings and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a country at
war with a superpower. They are surrounded by heavily fortified security
cordons and armed soldiers carrying automatic rifles and machine guns.
Hi-tech security cameras, allegedly installed with the help of Israeli
intelligence, are dotted around the towering concrete wall around Mugabe's
hideaway. But they are not just there to enable his security men to track
movements in the immediate vicinity. Just as important, they allow them to
monitor everything that goes on at the cricket ground, on the western side
of the President's residence.

The reason for their interest is obvious. The ground is the long-standing
home of the Harare Sports Club, a popular venue for whites that has often
been accused of providing a focus for plots to overthrow Mugabe's
government. Protesters against Mugabe's increasingly authoritarian regime
generally avoid straying into this high-security area, as his trigger-happy
soldiers have, over the years, shot and killed dozens of motorists for
violating curfews around the stadium and Zimbabwe House. So it must have
taken extraordinary courage for Olonga and Flower to make their historic
protest right under the noses of Mugabe's security men.

If truth be told, they might have hoped for a better reception. They got a
muted response from the sparse crowd of spectators, mostly schoolchildren,
partly because of the Zimbabwean government's threat to quell any protests
ruthlessly, and partly because it was not a big match anyway - Namibia are
novices in world cricket. Away from the ground, Zimbabweans generally
applauded the two cricketers, although the state media launched a scathing
attack on Olonga as a "lackey of the whites". In the international press,
their actions were noted and widely praised; even the odd interview with
Olonga was printed. But that's as far as it went.

Meanwhile, Mugabe, the ageing Zimbabwean leader, who has ruled with impunity
since independence from Britain in 1980, was continuing with his war on his
own people - both black and white. Oppose his rule and you immediately walk
into his line of fire. So it was no surprise that, after the Namibia match,
Zimbabwe's selectors tried to drop Flower - the team's only world-class
player - from their game against Australia. Only the threat of a players'
revolt kept him his place. Olonga, on the other hand, was relegated to 12th
man for all Zimbabwe's later games, including what was to be his last match,
against Sri Lanka in the Super Sixes. By then, he knew he was in trouble.

On the day of the Sri Lanka match, reports were rife that President Mugabe's
much-feared secret police, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO),
would be in the stands as spectators. Olonga feared that their real mission
was to escort him back home to face charges of treason. "I suppose I shall
never know why the CIO men were there or what they planned, but I was taking
no chances, with so many people being arrested on trumped-up treason charges
back home," he said afterwards. Before the match - which was played in East
London, South Africa - had finished, he had packed his bags, handed over a
resignation statement to the media and gone into hiding. At the young age of
26, Olonga's promising international cricket career - as an energetic fast
bowler and the first black cricketer to represent Zimbabwe in a Test match -
was over.

It is now clear that Olonga was right in his decision not to go back home.
When I interviewed intelligence officials in Zimbabwe last weekend, they
confirmed Olonga's fears that his safety would not have been guaranteed had
he returned to Harare. By staging his protest at a sporting event so close
to Mugabe's residence, Olonga was liable, according to the officials, under
Zimbabwe's vaguely formulated security laws, which criminalise anything the
President does not like. "His behaviour was criminal," said one intelligence
official. "What does one gain from selling out and lying about his country?
He tried to besmirch the President's name... and so he is liable under

Posa is the acronym for Zimbabwe's new draconian Public Order and Security
Act, which allows 20-year jail sentences and even the death penalty to be
imposed on anyone accused of tarnishing Mugabe's name or engaging in
treasonable acts. How Olonga's and Flower's protest violated that law could
never be clear to anyone outside Mugabe's partisan police force and muzzled
judiciary. Yet the officials I spoke to said they focused more on Olonga
because he was "a black man who had publicly betrayed his fellow black
people" and had publicly "conspired" in white-led machinations to overthrow
President Mugabe. They said, too, that there was nothing to stop them
arresting Olonga during his final match in South Africa and asking him to
explain his actions. They held back only because they "did not want to be

A more likely reason for their restraint is that the Zimbabwean authorities
had given a multitude of assurances to the International Cricket Council
(ICC) regarding the security of players. With five more of the Super Six
matches to be played, the ICC might well have decided to cancel games if
there had been any public show of strong-arm tactics against players. So, it
seems a strategic decision was made to wait until after the World Cup. But
the Zimbabwean authorities mistimed it badly, and Olonga escaped.

Dr John Olonga, Henry's 67-year-old father and a consultant with a respected
practice in Bulawayo, south-west Zimbabwe, says he got wind of a plot to
arrest his son on his return from South Africa. He implored him never to
return. "I could not sacrifice my son by letting him come back to Zimbabwe,"
he says, insisting that the authorities wanted his son to pay a "heavy
price" for his courage in telling the truth about the "state of chaos" in
Zimbabwe. "What my son has said about human-rights abuses in Zimbabwe is
known to everyone here, but most people are afraid to speak because of this
authoritarian government," Dr Olonga says. "As a father, I had to act. I
told him to stay away, because we could not ignore the warnings I was
getting from sympathetic people in high places, people who knew he was in

Dr Olonga says he has lived and worked in various African countries but is
outraged by what Zimbabwe is experiencing. "I am horrified by the situation
here. I could never have imagined things would get this bad," he says.
Although the departure of his son has, naturally, disrupted his family of
five, he says he can feel only glad that he is out of danger. "I was haunted
by thoughts of his safety while he was still here, but I now feel relived."
While Henry has hinted that he hopes to seek asylum in England, his father
insists that his son has not made a final decision on his destination: he
will end up "wherever he feels safe", possibly even with his mother, who is
based in Australia.

Sadly, as long as he remains in South Africa, Olonga is, in all probability,
not entirely safe. "South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC)
party and Zimbabwe's Zanu PF party are bedfellows," he has said, adding that
he foresees the possibility of the two parties colluding to harm him. As a
result, he is remaining deep in hiding - even his father does not know where
he is staying - while attempting to negotiate his way out of South Africa.
He is unlikely to receive much help from the authorities. An ANC spokesman,
Smut Ngonyama, did not mince his words when I spoke to him, describing
Olonga as "ill-informed and delusional". "While he may be an accomplished
cricketer, Olonga clearly knows nothing about the constitutional and
political environment in South Africa, nor about the nature of international
inter-party relations," Ngonyama says. "His suggestion that his life could
be in danger in South Africa is insulting."

But Dr Olonga and his friends in Zimbabwe, who are baffled by the South
African government's continued open support for Mugabe while he eliminates
opponents at home, believe that Henry's fears are not entirely unfounded.
"The key is for him to get to where he feels completely safe," his father

So what now for Henry Olonga? Though abandoned by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union
and dropped by his cricket team, he claims to have no regrets. "The stand I
took in the World Cup has undoubtedly had repercussions that have affected
both my career and my personal life," he said in the statement that
announced his retirement. "If I were to continue to play for Zimbabwe in the
midst of the prevailing crisis, I would do so only by neglecting the voice
of my conscience. I would be condoning the human-rights violations that have
been perpetrated - and continue to be perpetrated - against my countrymen."

Dr Olonga attests to his son's integrity. "They may threaten him and scare
him off, but there is one thing they won't take away from him: his
conscience and pride," he says. An old school friend of Henry's, who
declines to be named, for fear of reprisals, agrees, describing him as a man
of conviction. "He can sacrifice anything for his convictions... When he
thinks he is right about something, you can't turn him from that path. He
didn't protest that Mugabe's regime is evil because everybody else said so.
He did it because that's what his heart and conscience told him. If there
are principled people in this world, then Henry is definitely one of them."

Lovemore Madhuku, a law professor at the University of Zimbabwe and the
chairman of Zimbabwe's civic group, the National Constitutional Assembly,
says he has become a great admirer of Olonga since the armband protest. "At
his tender age, he has done what most people are afraid to do in this
country," says Madhuku. "He has done what his country needs. If other
high-profile sportsmen in this country would use their stature to highlight
the abuses in this country, perhaps we could attract more world attention.
We might not have sunk to this disgraceful state of squalor. But many
amongst us are cowards."

Madhuku hopes that Olonga's plight will help to keep the abuses in Zimbabwe
in the spotlight when the world is focused on Iraq. He says he cannot
understand why world leaders are not convinced that the Zimbabweans
repressed by Mugabe's regime do not deserve the same attention as the Iraqis
repressed by Saddam Hussein. "Instead of helping fleeing Zimbabweans, some
countries - including Britain - turn a blind eye. That can only make them
more fearful of engaging Mugabe at home, because they have nowhere to run,"
he says.

It's hard not to agree that the UK - where Olonga's stepmother lives -
should play its part by granting him asylum. What he would do once here is
tricky. The county cricket clubs have already filled their quotas of two
overseas players each - or have made the financial decision not to do so.
And even if he were granted British citizenship, his prior membership of the
Zimbabwe international team would mean he couldn't turn out as a domestic
player for 12 months. He could, perhaps, end up singing for his supper
instead. For, as well as being a talented cricketer, Olonga has had a second
career, in music - he has had a No 1 single in Zimbabwe. And it has been
claimed that Barrington Pheloung, the composer of the Inspector Morse theme
tune and a keen cricket fan, even offered Olonga a recording contract a
couple of years ago.

Olonga does not rule out returning to play cricket for his country one day.
"If there was a change of regime that made my return without fear of
prosecution feasible, I would come out of retirement tomorrow to play again
for the Zimbabwe I love," he has said. Yet until he finds somewhere safe to
live, that is out of the question. "I have to consider the worst-case
scenario," he says. "I cannot take chances with my security. That is why I
am in hiding, keeping a low profile. Which means locking the door and
staying off the streets."
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Daily News

      Chinotimba a convict

      3/26/2003 10:21:12 AM (GMT +2)

      By Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter

      WITH only three days to go before the parliamentary by-election in
Highfield, it has emerged that Joseph Chinotimba, the ruling Zanu PF's
candidate, could be a fugitive from justice.

      Last year, the aspiring Member of Parliament was slapped with an
effective two-month jail term after regional magistrate, Godfrey Macheyo,
convicted him of unlawful possession of a firearm.

      Immediately after Chinotimba was sentenced, his lawyer, Lawrence
Muvirimi, appealed against the decision, but Macheyo threw out the

      According to an appeal against Chinotimba's conviction and sentence,
lawyers Musunga and Associates said their client had been released from
custody in circumstances that remain unknown to them.

      A lawyer who refused to be named said in the event that Chinotimba
wins the Highfield seat, he will have to give it up if the conviction is

      Bharat Patel, the Deputy Attorney-General, said yesterday the State
was cross-appealing, but that a date to hear arguments from both parties was
still to be set down.

      Initially, Chinotimba was charged with attempted murder and illegal
possession of a firearm after he allegedly fired shots and injured Anna
Maria Maenzanise, an opposition MDC activist in Glen Norah, in October 2000.

      However, Chinotimba was acquitted of attempted murder, but convicted
of possessing a firearm without a licence.

      Court papers filed in the High Court on 22 August 2002 by Musunga and
Associates on behalf of Chinotimba read: "Appellant (Chinotimba) applied for
bail pending appeal, but the application was dismissed.

      "Be that as it may, appellant was later released in circumstances
unknown to his counsel," Musunga and Associates wrote in their heads of
argument against the conviction and sentence.

      This raises questions of whether Chinotimba's release from custody was
      Soon after conviction and sentence, Muvirimi, then of Musunga and
Associates, told the government-controlled Herald newspaper that after the
court had adjourned, Macheyo then reversed his earlier decision on the bail
application and released Chinotimba - a decision described by lawyers as

      After Macheyo handed down the sentence, pandemonium broke out at the
Harare Magistrates' Courts when about 300 Zanu PF youths protested against
the sentence.
      In the ensuing melee, the youths manhandled a Herald reporter and
seized his notebook.
      A separate group mobbed the magistrate's car and vowed to wait for him
in the car park. Riot police were called in to quell the disturbances.

      Meanwhile, in their appeal against conviction and sentence, Musunga
and Associates will argue that Chinotimba had no knowledge that Zanu PF, his
principals, had no certificate for the firearm in question, and that he
lawfully came into possession of the weapon.

      They say Chinotimba, a war veteran, did not know that it was his duty
to acquire a licence for the firearm, but that it was Zanu PF's duty to do
so. The lawyers further argue that he was unaware of any restrictions
imposed by the police's issuance of the firearm.
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Daily News

      108 suspects get bail

      3/26/2003 10:05:10 AM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      HARARE magistrate Judith Tsamba on Monday remanded to 14 April on $10
000 bail each 108 Glen View residents facing charges of public violence.

      Prosecutor Mehluli Tshuma said some time last week the accused
assembled near Budiriro 1 High School, where they approached the headmaster
to order him to close the school.

      It was alleged they beat him up and accused him of failing to heed the
stayaway call.
      After assaulting him, the group went outside the school gate, stopped
a bus which was passing by and began beating up passengers and the driver,
the State alleged.

      Tshuma said one passenger was injured during the attack.
      Later, the accused, in the company of many others who are still at
large, were seen by police officers throwing stones and missiles at cars and
people passing by, causing damage and injury respectively.

      At Budiriro 1 shopping centre, the same group was spotted by
Constables Charumbira and Makaka throwing missiles at passing cars and
harassing passers-by.

      Tshuma said the group was arrested in Glen View 3 where Support Unit
Juliet Troop caught up with them as they blocked roads with stones and scrap
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Daily News

      Defence grills detective in Nkala murder trial

      3/26/2003 10:08:25 AM (GMT +2)

      By Sam Munyavi

      The police searched for the body of Bulawayo war veteran leader Cain
Nkala in the area it was later found before they even knew that he was dead,
the High Court heard in Harare yesterday.

      Nkala was allegedly abducted from his Magwegwe home on 5 November
2001. His body was exhumed near Solusi University on 13 November 2001.
Kethani Sibanda, Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, the MP for Lobengula-Magwegwe (MDC),
Sonny Masera, the MDC director of security, Army Zulu, Remember Moyo, and
Sazini Mpofu are facing charges of kidnapping and murdering him.

      Advocate Eric Morris, a defence lawyer, told Justice Sandra Mungwira,
according to the police diary compiled by Detective Assistant Inspector
Rafias Masuna of the Bulawayo CID, they searched for Nkala along the Solusi
Road on 6 November 2001.

      Under cross examination by Morris, Masuna said other searches were
conducted in the suburb of Killarney and along the Khami, St Peter's and
Victoria Falls Roads.
      Morris said he was "astonished" the police confined themselves to the
Solusi Road during the search.

      He said: "Instead of a dragnet search, a search that covers all the
likely areas . . . we have a search confined to a tiny little area where the
body was allegedly found. Doesn't it seem funny to you?"

      Masuna insisted the police had searched the other areas but he could
not find where the Victoria Falls Road was mentioned in the police diary. He
said the police drove along the Solusi Road looking for a place where anyone
could dispose of a body.

      Morris said: "Your answer has more holes than Swiss cheese. Hole
number one, you didn't know Nkala was dead."

      Masuna agreed with Morris.
      Morris said even if the police knew Nkala was dead, they had no way of
knowing that his body would be visible from the road.
      Masuna could not say whether the police used dogs in the searches
"because I was not in charge of the investigation".

      Morris said the search for Nkala was not a random search as there was
an entry in the police log that said Nkala was being held at a house in
Killarney at the time the road searches were being conducted.

      Earlier in the proceedings, Masuna refused to comment on instructions
written on the police diary by Deputy Commissioner Griffiths Mpofu.

      Among these were instructions for investigators to pay attention to
the Matopos area, to go back two years from November 2001 to all the murders
where firearms were used, and to the Martin Olds murder docket. Olds, a
Nyamandlovu farmer, was murdered in 2000 by war veterans. The trial
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Daily News

      Brutal assaults outrage nation

      3/26/2003 10:08:55 AM (GMT +2)

      From Ntungamili Nkomo in Bulawayo

      The MDC and civic society have expressed outrage at the mass arrests
and brutal beatings of people by State security forces during and after last
week's mass stayaway.

      Secret service agents, armed soldiers and police are currently on the
rampage, beating up people across the country whom they accuse of
participating in the stayaway.
      Paul Themba Nyathi, the opposition MDC spokesperson, condemned the
arrests, describing the ruling Zanu PF as an "uncivilised and intolerant

      "It is very unfortunate that people can be brutalised and victimised
for expressing discontent at a regime whose legitimacy is in question.
      "Zanu PF is a threat to civilisation. It's a regime that has run short
of ideas. By bludgeoning people, they think they can beat themselves into
legitimacy," said Nyathi.
      He said 500 people had so far been arrested in connection with the
mass action and one person had been bludgeoned to death.

      Archbishop Pius Ncube, a Catholic priest and human rights activist,
said the arrests displayed gross human rights abuses by the government.
      He described President Mugabe's government as a "savage and
uncivilised regime".
      He said last week's mass action confirmed an overwhelming public
anti-government feeling, but that it was unfortunate that the police had to
quash it with "such unbridled brutality".

      Professor Masipula Sithole, a lecturer in the department of politics
and administrative studies at the University of Zimbabwe, said the move was
a clear manifestation of how the human rights record has diminished in

      "Beating up people for showing their disgruntlement at the government
in a peaceful manner is a tragic situation.
      "It reflects negatively on Zanu PF's human rights record. They are
actually exposing their brutality to the world," he said.

      National Constitutional Assembly chairman Lovemore Madhuku, himself a
victim of several arrests over his organisation's demonstrations for a
people-driven constitution, urged the masses to heed any call by public
bodies to demand good governance in the country.

      "It's a brutal state that has nothing better to do besides unleashing
a reign of terror on innocent people. People should be brave and take the
bull by its horns," he said.
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Daily News

      Binga finally gets food aid

      3/26/2003 10:04:40 AM (GMT +2)

      From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

      The food situation in drought-hit Binga, where hundreds of villagers
are starving, has improved following the resumption of the distribution of
relief aid by donor organisations, banned from the area by the government.

      Joel Gabhuza, the Member of Parliament for Binga, said the resumption
of relief aid had helped avert starvation.

      "The resumption of food aid and the little that was harvested has
reduced hunger in Matabeleland."

      Gabhuza said apart from a few cases of theft by people appointed to
help in the distribution of the food, the situation had vastly improved.

      The government last year barred the UK-based Save the Children Fund
and Catholic Development Committee (Cadec) from distributing relief food in
Binga, alleging that the two organisations had influenced Zanu PF's defeat
in the rural district council elections.

      Binga recorded the highest number of wards won by the MDC in the rural
district elections last year.

      The two non-governmental organisations declined to comment on the
resumption of the relief supplies.

      Two weeks ago Binga Hospital officials reported that there had been an
increase in cases of constipation as villagers relied on wild fruits for
sustenance, due to the acute shortage of food.
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Daily News

      Mudede releases voters' rolls

      3/26/2003 10:05:37 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      TOBAIWA Mudede, the Registrar-General, on Friday released the voters'
rolls for Kuwadzana and Highfield constituencies as ordered by the High

      Earlier, Mudede had refused to hand over for inspection the voters'
rolls to Nelson Chamisa, the MDC candidate in the parliamentary by-election
for Kuwadzana.

      In February, Chamisa wrote to Mudede requesting for an updated voters'
roll for inspection ahead of the Kuwadzana by-election scheduled for this
      The by-election in Kuwadzana will run concurrently with that in
      Mudede had filed an opposing affidavit but High Court judge, Justice
Anele Matika, threw out his application.

      Matika's ruling also applied to the Highfield constituency.
      Remus Makuwaza, the MDC director of elections, on Monday confirmed the
MDC candidates had received the voters' rolls.

      "We are now carrying out an internal audit of the voters' rolls," said
      Calls for updated voters' rolls were made after the MDC alleged that
there were about 26 000 ghost voters in Kuwadzana and Highfield.
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Daily News

      Treason trial hits fiscus

      3/26/2003 10:07:54 AM (GMT +2)

      By Fanuel Jongwe Court Reporter

      THE on-going treason trial of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and two
senior party officials, has "greatly affected" this year's budget through
expenses incurred for the upkeep of international witnesses, the High Court
heard yesterday.

      "Resources have been stretched," Joseph Musakwa, the Director of
Public Prosecution in the Attorney-General's Office, said yesterday.

      He was opposing an application by the defence to compel the State to
bring equipment used by a Canadian private investigator to video-tape a
meeting between Tsvangirai and officials from Dickens and Madson, a
political consultancy firm based in Montreal, Canada.

      At the meeting, Tsvangirai allegedly requested Dickens and Madson, to
assist the MDC assassinate President Mugabe and depose the Zanu PF

      "I am aware that witnesses' expenses for the current financial year
have been greatly affected by this case," Musakwa said.

      "It would not be fair to order that the expenses be met by the State.
We are not the ones who have requested the equipment."

      Defence lawyer Chris Andersen shot down Musakwa's explanation accusing
the State of being extravagant.

      He charged that the State was treating witnesses in the on-going trial
to first-class indulgence "unprecedented in the country's legal history".
      "The State paid first class airfares for one of the witnesses and two
business class fares," Andersen said.

      He said the witnesses were booked into first-class hotel suites.
      "The same State now says it does not have enough money to bring
equipment to ensure the fair trial of the accused persons who are facing
serious charges."

      Andersen said the defence required the equipment to test the evidence
of Bernard Schober, the private investigator and security consultant who
installed the video equipment.

      He said the State should bear the costs of bringing the equipment -
two cameras, a microphone, video cassette recorder and monitor to Harare.

      He said this should be done even if it meant withdrawing some of the
money one of the witnesses said he was entitled to.

      Judge president Paddington Garwe is expected to deliver his ruling
today on the defence's application.

      Schober said on Monday he was charging the government US$1 000 ($55
000 at the official exchange rate, but $1,5 million on the parallel market)
a day for the duration of his stay while he testifies in the trial.

      The amount excludes travel, food and accommodation expenses.
      Schober said yesterday that the video-tape of the meeting at Dickens
and Madson was clear and audible and that it was the best he could produce
in the circumstances.

      Dickens and Madson is headed by Ari Ben-Menashe, the State's key
witness. He said he had not pre-judged the case and said his coming to
Zimbabwe was a revelation.

      "I have no idea who is right or wrong in this situation. I don't live
here," Schober said.
      "No one among my friends and family wanted me to come here because of
things that are said about this country. They thought this country was in
total turmoil but I am surprised the people I meet are kind and friendly."
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Shortages being exploited by Zanu PF leadership

      3/26/2003 10:19:43 AM (GMT +2)

      Zanu PF and its leadership will fight tooth and nail to ensure that
the current economic malaise continues, as they stand to benefit from the
perennial shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency.

      But this is short-sighted of them.
      By fuelling anarchy, starvation, general social instability and
mayhem, they are stoking the fires that will eventually consume them.

      The success of the MDC-sponsored mass action showed that the people
are generally fed up with Zanu PF and its machinations.

      The party leaders thought they could fool all the people all the time,
but the truth, is that you cannot fool all the people all the time.

      President Mugabe and his close circle never seem to run out of new
tricks in their concerted efforts to remain in power. They use diversionary
political tactics to temporarily fool the people into believing they have
found real solutions to the problems they have brought upon a country which
once flowed with milk and honey.

      Most people have long realised the Mugabe regime is the source of the
misery in which the people are wallowing today.

      At the beginning of the fuel crisis, Mugabe said the erratic fuel
supplies were causing him headaches and stomach aches.

      But in typical Mugabe fashion, he shifted the blame onto the petroleum
companies. He said they should have started importing fuel for resale to the
public long ago.

      All along the fuel was being procured by the government-owned,
corruption-riddled National Oil Company of Zimbabwe.

      Suddenly the same company, plagued with mismanagement, was no longer
to blame for the crisis. It was now the oil companies to blame, although
they had never been allocated foreign currency, which is controlled by the
government through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

      The State then introduced a two-tier exchange control mechanism. They
didn't think this was enough, and have now allowed motorists to import as
much as 500 litres of fuel duty-free.

      This was all a facade, to hoodwink the public into believing the
government had their welfare at heart.

      They were only exacerbating a problem for which they have no immediate
solution, but will not admit they are at their wits' end as to how to
resolve it.

      There is no foreign currency from the banks for individuals to import
fuel. The move only aggravates the foreign currency black market as the
public will use any means to procure the scarce commodity to import fuel and
other basic essentials which are in short supply.

      Allowing individuals to import their own fuel is an overt way of
promoting the black market. In other words, the government is saying to the
people: do whatever it takes to get anything you want as long as you don't
get caught.

      This is condoning and perpetuating anarchy and lawlessness.
      There was already a serious shortage of foreign currency caused by
massive disruptions on the farms as a result of the invasions by Zanu
PF-sponsored war veterans and other party zealots.

      The country could not export enough tobacco to meet its fuel needs.
      Two years later, the farm invasions would cause what is now commonly
referred to as man-made starvation characterised by shortages of essential
commodities, which are now a common phenomenon.

      And who is benefiting from all this misery? None other than the Zanu
PF leadership.
      They never queue for maize-meal, sugar, cooking oil, bread and butter.
It would not be surprising if some of that party's big guns were behind the
thriving black market for anything in short supply.

      But it could all end very soon. The people now know how to scare the
wits out of the leadership.
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Daily News

      Funeral assurance firms on the verge of collapse

      3/26/2003 10:27:13 AM (GMT +2)

      By Hama Saburi Business Editor

      FUNERAL assurance, once considered a safe haven for investors, has
lost its glamour with most companies now on the verge of collapse owing to
huge cost increases that cannot keep pace with premiums.

      The sector, which is dominated by Doves-Crocker Morgan, Moonlight,
First Funeral Assurance and Nyaradzo, has been caught in a web of ballooning
costs, uneconomic premiums and cut-throat competition.

      Costs have gone up by over 350 percent inside 12 months in sympathy
with inflation, which reached a record 220,9 percent last month.

      Expenditure heads largely consist of timber, petrol/diesel, mortuary
maintenance, salaries and vehicle running costs.

      Premiums have, however, remained static, courting trouble for an
industry that covers its commitments using contributions from policyholders.

      Phillip Mataranyika, the secretary of the Zimbabwe Association of
Funeral Assurers said a number of options were being looked at to free
companies from prevailing difficulties.
      "The sector is trying by all means to remain viable by containing

      "We are now going back to our clients so that they can top up their
premiums," said Mataranyika.
      Some clients were paying as little as $2 to $300 a month and yet they
were entitled to a casket and full burial services.

      A casket now costs at least $120 000, while a polished coffin exceeded
$25 000.
      A number of funeral assurance companies may be technically insolvent
by virtue of obligations outstripping assets.

      The only way out would be to increase premiums or invoke aspects of
the Insurance Act that allowed companies to pay cash equivalent to the face
value of their policies.
      Many policyholders were likely not to afford the new premiums.

      Progressive Insurance Brokers, which handles policies on behalf of
Doves, urged clients to review their policies before the end of August this

      Doves (the largest and oldest funeral assurance company in Zimbabwe)
will pay the face value of the policy, together with interest instead of
providing funeral services.

      Ricky Mapani, the managing director of Doves, said companies could not
continue to subsidise policyholders.

      "If contributions are not adjusted, then, the industry would collapse
because you need a deep pocket to pay out on high expenditure," said Mapani.
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Daily News

      Hippo Valley worried by sugar smuggling

      3/26/2003 10:28:02 AM (GMT +2)

      Business Reporter

      A LEADING producer of raw sugar, Hippo Valley Estates Limited, said
illegal exports of sugar can be discouraged by allowing free market forces
to set correct prices.

      Len Bruce, the chairman of Hippo Valley, said informal traders were
continuing to circumvent price controls and restrictions on exports imposed
by the government last year.

      The controls were part of desperate measures taken to address the
shortage of sugar and other basic commodities.
      The shortage of sugar has become more pronounced, as the market has
gone underground.

      "In spite of the industry's efforts to ensure availability on the
formal domestic market, leakages into both the informal market and
neighbouring countries to be a major cause for concern.

      "Setting a realistic sugar price structure based on market forces of
demand and supply will discourage speculative purchasing, hoarding and
illegal trade in sugar," Bruce said.
      Financial results released by Hippo yesterday indicate that 284 109
tonnes of sugar were produced last year, up from 248 603 tonnes in the
previous period.

      Production during the year was affected by excessive temperatures,
evaporation and illegal strikes by cane-cutters.

      Inflation-adjusted figures reflect a 17 percent decline in turnover
from $38,1 billion in 2001 to $31,1 billion in 2002. Operating profit
declined by 71 percent from $6,8 billion in 2001 to $2 billion last year.
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Daily News - Feature

      In Africa, it's truly the battle of the sexes

      3/26/2003 9:56:41 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Arab editor of a newspaper with undiluted sympathies for Saddam
Hussein told colleagues from the Commonwealth Press Union in Sri Lanka last
month that George W Bush would go to war against Iraq because he loved his
mother, the silver-haired Barbara Bush.

      A British military analyst told the same gathering the war would start
on 20 March.

      Abdal Bari Atwan was alluding to the story doing the rounds before the
United States invasion of Iraq that Saddam once plotted the assassination of
Barbara Bush, George W's mother. The son had apparently sworn to avenge that
attempt by blowing Saddam to smithereens.

      A son's love for his mother can be fathomless. The Oedipus complex is
described, in psychiatry, as a "manifestation of infantile sexuality towards
parents, with attraction to a parent of the opposite sex, especially mother,
and jealousy of other parent".

      Don't ask me if this is the case with the Bushes, but what Abdal Bari
Atwan seemed to be saying was that there was something weird about George W'
s reason for wanting to overthrow Saddam.

      To love your mother to the extent of risking the murder of thousands
of people thousands of kilometres away sounds reckless in the extreme.

      But then Saddam is not an innocent man - really not a very nice man.
His mother might think so, but then she is his mother.

      In any case, if a love for his mother were the only reason for Bush's
determination to blow the walrus moustache off Saddam's upper lip, then not
many people, including the British, would be able to explain Tony Blair's
willingness to help him out - unless Blair loves his mother to the same
extent and wishes to warn anyone plotting to assassinate her in her sleep
that he, too, would do to them what Bush is trying to do to Saddam.

      But then where matters of the heart are concerned, nothing can be
measured in terms of how much is too much.

      All this does not detract from the truism that men are no better than
women, or that women are as good as men, even if men don't menstruate.
      At the bottom of it all, we are all the same.

      But I worry constantly about the African woman's status on the
continent. In November, I urged them to stage a demonstration to protest
against King Mswati of Swaziland after he had taken on his umpteenth wife.

      A reader suggested polygamy didn't necessarily heighten the chances of
HIV infection. He defended the practice, saying it was part of Swazi and
African culture.
      I say: Fine, but a man of promiscuous mating habits is dangerous in
any situation - monogamous or polygamous.

      On 8 March in Zimbabwe, women demonstrating on International Women's
Day received a savage reception from the police. In Bulawayo and in Harare,
they locked them up and roughed them up - one of them into menstruating.
      On top of that, there is the matter of the shortage of sanitary pads.

      Yet women remain as fascinating as ever, their sense of humour still
intact in spite of the male chauvinism shoved at them every day, especially
in Zimbabwe. The other day, I
      received this in the e-mail:
      Who understands men?
      The nice men are all ugly.
      The handsome men are not nice. The handsome and nice men are gay.
      The handsome, nice and heterosexual men are married. The men who are
not so handsome, but are nice men, have no money. The men who are not so
handsome, but are nice me with money, think we are only after their money.
The handsome men without money are after our money. The handsome men, who
are not so nice and somewhat heterosexual, don't think we are beautiful
enough. The men who think we are beautiful, that are heterosexual, somewhat
nice and have money, are cowards. The men who are somewhat handsome,
somewhat nice and have some money and, thank God, are heterosexual, are shy
and never make the first move.

      The men who never make the first move, automatically lose interest in
us when we take the initiative.

      Men are like a fine wine. They all start out like grapes, and it's our
job to stomp on them and keep them in the dark until they mature into
something you'd like to have dinner with.

      Some of these problems afflict men in equal measure.
      But what I am very keen to investigate is just how men like Godfrey
Nzira, the Chitungwiza sect leader sentenced by a Harare magistrate to an
effective 32 years in jail for rape, manage to hoodwink the women into
believing they are men of God.

      Rasputin, the Russian monk, did a similar job with Czar Nicolas's wife
and I daresay they are men who have fallen prey to women possessed of the
same sort of guile.
      The equality between men and women in everything, except their
biological make-up, would seem to be fairly incontestable.

      In many countries, especially the developed world, women have fought
long and hard to free themselves from the stigma of being the weaker sex in
every department.
      In Africa, the battle of the sexes is likely to be long and hard.
Women like Jocelyn Chiwenga are not likely to help matters at all. Their
concept of feminism seems to be steeped in the Zanu PF concepts of
everything - there has to be violence and force for anything to succeed.

      The hero-worship of the president of the party among the women members
is no different from that of Kamuzu Banda's Mbumba.
      Margaret Dongo, who refused to be a Zanu PF wallflower in Parliament -
part of the dzepfunde sycophants another former Zanu PF woman MP, Mavis
Chidzonga, spoke of - was repaid for her assertiveness by expulsion from the
party of Yeschef.

      The struggle for women's rights in Zimbabwe cannot be entrusted to
Zanu PF, a distinctly patriarchal party, like the society in which it was
bred. Only extraordinary measures will have an impact on the citadel of male
chauvinism that underpins the domination of society by men.

      So far, there has been no real champion of women's rights in Zimbabwe.
For that matter, nowhere in Africa has any woman emerged who has so
challenged the male domination of politics that she had presidents trembling
in their long johns.

      Which is why the women of Africa must gird their loins for a long,
hard struggle.
      In Zimbabwe, they could start by not submitting meekly to beatings by
the police. They could follow this up by stripping naked when demonstrating
against some wrong done to them.

      That could really stun the leader who has some of them assembled like
she-goats for him at the airport. There, he regales them with his latest
exploits and they lap it up.
      Their children, meanwhile, must weep tears of shame and humiliation at
that spectacle.
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Zimbabwe Opposition Vows More Mass Action If Democracy Not Restored
Peta Thornycroft
25 Mar 2003, 17:28 UTC

The head of Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change,
said his party plans to resume mass action at the end of the month if its
demands for democracy are not met. The warning by Morgan Tsvangirai follows
a government crackdown after a two-day strike last week paralyzed Zimbabwe's
two largest cities.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the level of repression in Zimbabwe
is unacceptable.

Hundreds of people were arrested after last week's strike and many other
people were severely beaten. Most of the attacks took place in the
working-class suburbs around Harare. In interviews with the media and human
rights workers, many of those who were beaten said government soldiers were
responsible for the attacks.

The Movement for Democratic Change has given the government until March 31
to meet its demands for greater political freedom. It is calling for, among
other things, a return to the rule of law and lifting of repressive security
legislation. If there is no response from the government by the end of the
month, Mr. Tsvangirai says the opposition will call for more mass action.

But the MDC leader also held out an olive branch. He said his party is
willing to enter into talks with the government to discuss how to solve
Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis.

Last year, in an effort to ease tensions in Zimbabwe, officials in Nigeria
and South Africa arranged talks between the ruling ZANU-PF and the Movement
for Democratic Change. But just before the talks were to take place, ZANU-PF
said it was not going to participate.

Government rhetoric against the opposition has recently intensified.
Following last week's strike, President Mugabe called the MDC a terrorist
organization and vowed that it would be crushed.
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'Hitler' Mugabe launches revenge terror attacks
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 26/03/2003)

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has compared himself to Adolf Hitler.

At the state funeral of one of his cabinet ministers, Mr Mugabe said: "I am still the Hitler of the time. This Hitler has only one objective, justice for his own people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people, and their right to their resources.

Sexually assaulted: Patricia Mukonda in hospital yesterday

"If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold. Ten times, that is what we stand for."

Hours later members of the Zimbabwe National Army, including Mr Mugabe's elite force, the Presidential Guard, began a pre-dawn rampage in revenge for the opposition general strike last week.

The attacks left more than 250 people injured, scores of them seriously, but victims remained defiant yesterday. Patricia Mukonda, 27, a secretary at the head office of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, needed hospital treatment.

Up to 60 members of the Guard and other soldiers arrived in two armoured personnel carriers in Mabvuku, a working class suburb east of Harare, and attacked under cover of darkness.

Bursting into her house, they accused her of burning three buses during the two-day strike.

"They beat me all over," she said, adding that she was sexually assaulted with a baton while her six-year-old son was forced to watch.

"They said I was [MDC leader Morgan] Tsvangirai's prostitute," she said.

"They roped me to the window sill, took a glass and broke it, and pushed my left arm on to it and I fainted. They heard a woman crying and rushed out and my brother came in and took me to a field, and I slept."

Miss Mukonda, who is chairman of her local residents' association and has been arrested five times, said the soldiers promised to return to Mabvuku and kill 20 people by the end of the month.

"They have to come at night when we are sleeping, when we are weak," she said. "What hurts my mind is that I am in hospital, and I should be revenging. I will be the first soldier of the MDC."

The United States condemned the regime's actions and said the attacks were directly linked to Mr Mugabe's "Hitler" remarks.

President George W Bush has frozen the assets of Mr Mugabe and 76 other government officials, accusing them of undermining democracy.

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Independent (UK)

Zimbabwe MP describes eight-hour police torture
By Basildon Peta Southern Africa Correspondent
26 March 2003

Job Sikhala was called the "roaring lion" because of his powerful oratory.
He helped establish the Movement for Democratic Change as the most serious
challenge to President Robert Mugabe since Zimbabwe gained its independence
from Britain in 1980.

At political rallies, he roared the MDC's slogans and the crowd would roar
back. He was the warm-up act for the party's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. His
name on the posters would guarantee a full house at MDC rallies.

But Mr Sikhala, 30, an MP and senior member of the party's executive
committee, is now a shadow of his former self. After being tortured by Mr
Mugabe's police, he says his life will never be the same again.

Speaking about his ordeal for the first time yesterday in the Johannesburg
clinic where he is now getting specialist treatment, Mr Sikhala warned that
while the world focuses on Iraq, President Mugabe is intensifying his reign
of terror. An unprecedented crackdown has been launched against the
opposition, with more than 500 people jailed since Sunday.

Mr Sikhala described how police raided his home in the Harare suburb of St
Mary's two months ago and assaulted everyone present, including his wife who
had just given birth. They took him to Harare Central Police Station and
accused him of plotting to overthrow President Mugabe. The allegations were
later dropped in court.

After being kept overnight in a police cell, he was taken to an unknown
location where he was subjected to eight uninterrupted hours of torture. He
says he was thrown into a dirty room with blood splattered all over the
walls. He too would lose much of his blood there, he was told.

Two men took turns to beat the soles of his feet with wooden planks. "They
then applied electric shocks to my genitals and tongue," Mr Sikhala said
yesterday. "The more I cried, the more they inflicted the pain, saying I had
not cried enough. They would at times apply the electric shocks to my
genitals, tongue, toes and fingers at the same time."

His torturers urinated on him as he lay on the floor. "At that moment I
urinated myself also," he said. They then forced him to drink all the urine
to dry the floor, he said. He was also forced to drink what he thinks was a

He heard his torturers talking about drowning him in a reservoir. They drove
him back to Harare Central Police Station, where he was charged with
plotting against the state. As soon as he was released, supporters took him
away for hospital treatment.

Now he suffers from persistent headaches, nightmares and hallucinations and
severe forgetfulness.

Taurayi Magaya, 33, a district chairman of the MDC, was arrested on the same
night as Mr Sikhala and was subjected to the same torture for a similar
eight-hour period.

"I now feel like a mad man," he said. "At night I run from my home under the
influence of nightmares."

He says he suffers from severe stomach pains, after drinking "strange"
liquids under torture, as well as "permanent headaches".

The third torture victim at the clinic would not be interviewed because he
does not want to remember his trauma. But all three consider themselves
lucky - because of their political status they could get treatment. But
ordinary party members in remote rural areas had no such help, they warned.
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The Star

      Tensions rise after Zimbabwean torture
      March 25, 2003

      By Brian Latham

      Harare - After a weekend of midnight police raids on suspected members
of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change, tensions have risen
in the city.

      Adding to opposition anger were reports of widespread torture in
police cells of hundreds of activists seized from their homes by police and
shadowy state agents yesterday.

      Meanwhile full-colour pictures showing the grotesquely tortured
buttocks of 60-year-old Isabelle Gardiner drew angry gasps from a horrified

      Gardiner, whose husband manages a farm leased by MDC MP Roy Bennett
just east of Harare, was subjected to hours of torture by people wearing
army uniforms.

      Zimbabwe National Army spokesperson Colonel Ben Ncube denied soldiers
had been involved in the assault on the Gardiner family and several
farmworkers last week.

      The attack, which witnesses said was carried out after three armoured
military vehicles swooped on the farm, saw the murder of farm guard Steven

      "We've sent our teams to investigate the issue, but at the moment we
found out that there was no such incident at the farm," Ncube told the
state-controlled Herald newspaper.

      Still, one murder and several documented beatings of people rushed to
Harare hospitals testify differently, say MDC activists.
      The action, together with what it describes as hundreds of arrests in
reprisal for last week's mass action, has been condemned by human rights
organisation Amnesty International.

      Amnesty said it was very concerned for the safety of Zimbabweans over
the next
      10 days.

      The reprisals against the opposition come in the wake of last week's
MDC-organised mass action and ahead of two important by-elections.

      Meanwhile Zimbabwean police admitted that 160 people had been arrested
following the mass action, although MDC activists say the figure is higher.

      The arrests and torture come as President Robert Mugabe warned the
opposition it would be "consumed by fire".

      Speaking at the funeral of former education minister Swithun
Mombeshora, Mugabe said: "Let the MDC and its leaders be warned that those
who play with fire will not only be burnt, but consumed by that fire. Read
us correctly."

      According to the underground movement Zvakwana ("It's enough" in the
Shona language), more than 250 people have been admitted to Harare's Avenues
Clinic since the stayaway.
      Many of the victims told how they were warned during their attacks not
to report the incidents to hospitals or human rights organisations, said a
Zvakwana statement.

      Meanwhile the MDC and Women of Zimbabwe Arise both reported the case
of a woman who had been sexually assaulted by a rifle-toting soldier.

      Accounts of horrific ordeals at the hands of soldiers, police and
Zanu-PF gangs continue to emerge on a daily basis.

      Meanwhile MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi said his party knew that
Zanu-PF was responsible for the violence against MDC members.

      He said Mugabe should take full responsibility for the "senseless
barbarism". - Independent Foreign Service
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