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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Business Day

Zimbabwe Faces Power Cuts

Business Day (Johannesburg)

March 27, 2003
Posted to the web March 27, 2003

Dumisani Muleya

A BLACKOUT looms across Zimbabwe as regional power utilities threaten to cut
vital electricity supplies over nonpayment.

SA's power utility, Eskom, and Mozambique's Cahora Bassa have given Zimbabwe
an ultimatum to pay, threatening to cut supplies unless the government
settles part of its account.

Last week the regional power companies issued a stern warning to the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa), which they have classified as
an interruptible customer, saying they would sever supplies by last Saturday
unless the struggling local power company paid 6,4m to reduce its debts.

Eskom and Cahora Bassa demanded that the debt repayment be "accompanied by a
convincing and credible future payment plan".

However, official sources say highlevel talks with SA and Mozambican
authorities prevented the threatened power cuts.

The Zimbabwean power utility owes Eskom, Cahora Bassa and the Democratic
Republic of Congo's Snel electricity system more than $147m altogether. Zesa
is facing a predicament which requires urgent attention if the country is to
avoid an electricity crisis similar to the fuel shortage.

The state-owned firm imports about 50% of the country's power needs but the
government has failed to allocate the foreign currency for the imports. This
situation is a result of the country's continuing foreign currency crisis.

Zesa has warned that if government did not immediately provide hard
currency, it would have to resort to stringent survival measures.

This could include the introduction of drastic load shedding as local
generation capacity has been reduced due to breakdowns at Kariba Dam and
coal shortages at the Hwange Thermal Power Station.

As part of its survival strategy, the Zimbabwean power utility has asked
local exporting companies to pay their electricity bills in foreign currency
to deal with its mounting debts.

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

The utility proposed a tariff regime of US3,8c/kWh or a discounted rate of
US3,5c/kWh for exporters willing to forward-purchase electricity.

Exporters were given the option to pay in local currency but at a premium
rate of Z60,75/kWh.

It was envisaged that if all customers participated in the proposed
initiative, Zesa would be able to raise US6,67m a month which, though not
sufficient, would help it meet critical needs and foreign currency emergency

Zesa requires US17m a month to import electricity. Last year's monthly
allocations from the reserve bank of Zimbabwe averaged US2,12m, which was
below expectation. There have been no allocations this year.
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Zimbabwe opposition urges army to defy Mugabe

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, March 27 - Zimbabwe's main opposition party urged the army and
police on Thursday to defy orders to suppress protests against President
Robert Mugabe's rule.
       In advertisements published in several newspapers, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) said there was no role for the security forces in a
''purely political contest'' between the opposition and Mugabe's ruling
ZANU-PF party.
       The MDC says about 500 party members were detained after a two-day
strike last week shut factories and sparked violence in one of the biggest
protests since Mugabe came to power in 1980.
       Police and military authorities deny allegations of involvement in
the crackdown, which the opposition says is being spearheaded by national
youth brigades loyal to ZANU-PF, popularly known as ''green bombers.''
       The MDC said most of the country's police and military forces wanted
to remain professional, but it accused Mugabe of dragging them into a
political and economic crisis of his own making.
       ''The uniformed forces have absolutely no constitutional or
operational role to play in a purely political contest between the MDC and
ZANU-PF,'' the MDC said in full-page newspaper adverts published on
       ''The time has now come for the security forces to make that historic
choice of either being with the people or against them,'' it said.
       A senior government official said the MDC was dangerously close to
violating the country's tough security and media laws which restrict public
statements against the president.
       ''They are urging a revolt among the forces to allow their
(opposition) violence,'' the official told Reuters.
       Police and army officials were not available for comment.
       The MDC called on the police and army to denounce human rights abuses
committed in their name, and to protest the wearing of their uniforms by
Mugabe's ''green bombers'' whom it said were going around dressed as
policemen and soldiers.
       ''The security forces must dissociate themselves from the militias
whose existence is to rob, rape, assault, kill and terrorise people into
submission,'' it said.
       Last week, Mugabe ordered the security forces to crack down on the
MDC, saying they were trying to use violence to overthrow his government
under the banner of defending political rights.
       The MDC has promised more protests if the government does not meet 15
demands by the end of March, including the repeal of harsh media and
security laws and a move to fresh polls.
       Zimbabwe is in crisis with soaring unemployment and shortages of
fuel, foreign exchange and food which many Zimbabweans blame on Mugabe's
       Mugabe, 79, won re-election in controversial polls last year
condemned as fraudulent by the MDC and some Western governments.

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Is Mbeki changing his tune on Zimbabwe?

      March 27 2003 at 05:49AM

      By John Battersby

Is South Africa gradually shifting its policy of constructive engagement in
Zimbabwe to one which includes mild rebuke for growing human rights
violations and increased pressure for the resumption of talks between the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the ruling Zanu-PF?

The question arose on Wednesday during president's question time in
parliament when President Thabo Mbeki disclosed that the government had
expressed its concern to the government of President Robert Mugabe about
"actions which deny the right of people to protest peacefully".

It was the first time that Mbeki has spoken out about human rights
violations in relation to opponents of the Mugabe government.

Mbeki identified the Zanu-PF-trained national youth service - the militias
who stand accused of extensive human rights violations - as one of the new
issues that had arisen in South Africaa's dealings with Zimbabwe.

      The solution to Zimbabwe's political crisis had to come from
In a marked change of tone, Mbeki extended the hand of friendship to MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai and seized on reported remarks that he wanted to
resume a principled dialogue between the ruling Zanu-PF and the "broad
democratic forces".

Mbeki said South Africa would be prepared to host talks but that the
solution to Zimbabwe's political crisis had to come from Zimbabweans.

Responding to a question by Democratic Party leader Tony Leon, Mbeki spent
more than half an hour interacting with questioners and received a rousing
standing ovation from the government benches following his sustained
intervention on Zimbabwe.

The president shed his usual defensiveness, and made an impassioned plea to
Zanu-PF and the MDC to resume their political dialogue suspended at the
Zimbabwean government's request nearly a year ago when the MDC filed a court
case challenging the outcome of the parliamentary elections last March.

Tsvangirai, making clear that the MDC would not suspend its court case as a
precondition, said he was ready to resume talks with Mugabe.

Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma insisted at a media briefing that
the government has consistently raised concerns about human rights issues
with the Mugabe government.

She said South Africa had advised the Zimbabwean government to halt reported
torture of opponents of the Zanu-PF government.

The government says in defence of its low-key policy that its critics in the
opposition parties, the media and the international community want South
Africa to invade Zimbabwe or support a regime change which is precisely what
it is vehemently opposing in relation to the US-led war against Iraq.

Another complication for the South African government has been the role of
the international community, particularly Britain, in the Zimbabwean crisis.
Pretoria wants the international community to leave the solution to the
African Union (AU) and SADC and local mediation efforts.

Recently a significant initiative by Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu
Ndungane indicated that there could be a window to move dialogue and
compromise forward in Zimbabwe.

All parties in Zimbabwe have welcomed the archbishop's mediation efforts,
and Dlamini-Zuma has also given the initiative her blessing.

It is clearly in the interests of peace in Zimbabwe - and future harmony
between South Africa and Zimbabwe - that there should be an open debate
about the country's problems.

Mbeki showed through his intervention in parliament what a difference
decisive leadership can make. At last, there is light at the end of
Zimbabwe's long, dark tunnel. - Political Editor

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Zimbabwe Prepares for Crucial Parliamentary Election
Peta Thornycroft
27 Mar 2003, 17:43 UTC

Crucial elections for parliamentary seats are taking place this weekend in
Zimbabwe. Both seats were won with massive majorities by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change in the 2000 elections. The ruling party is
determined to win the seats.

The by-elections are taking place at a time of an upsurge in state violence
against the opposition.

In both constituencies the opposition Movement for Democratic Change polled
four times more votes than the ruling ZANU-PF candidates in the June 2000
general elections. In last year's presidential election, the opposition did
even better in these constituencies.

But the ruling ZANU-PF party has made it clear that it intends to put up a
strong fight for the seats. A ZANU-PF spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira, told
the state media earlier this week that the party was set to reverse its
losses. He said the ruling party has done efficient campaigning and that
voters are aware that ZANU-PF is the only party that can defend the gains of
the war for independence.

Analysts say the ruling party's effort to win the seats has been
characterized by much more than efficient campaigning.

The opposition was only given access to the list of eligible voters in both
constituencies last week, but MDC officials say they have already found many
irregularities. A spokesman for the opposition, Paul Themba Nyathi, said
Thursday that thousands of names have been added to the list of voters, but
none of those named live in either of the constituencies. He also said that
many people have now been registered twice.

In another move that should benefit the ruling party, the opposition has
been denied access to the publicly-owned media ahead of the elections, as
happened during last year's presidential election.

In addition, the government says independent observers will not be allowed
to supervise the polls. Instead, all election monitoring will be done by
government observers.
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ZIMBABWE: Feature - Tensions ahead of critical by-elections
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 27 Mar 2003 (IRIN) - The conduct of this weekend's
by-elections in the Harare constituencies of Highfield and Kuwadzana will be
significant for Zimbabwe's future stability, observers told IRIN on

Of particular concern were the levels of violence and intimidation in the
capital leading up to the by-elections, said Claude Kabemba, policy analyst
with the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA).

"These elections are happening within the context of the 2002 presidential
election. These elections are in [opposition Movement for Democratic Change]
MDC strongholds, if they keep the seats it will justify [their contention
that] they are the popular party and should have won the presidential
elections. If [the ruling] ZANU-PF wins, they will say 'look guys all this
talk about rigging elections is totally false, we have support even in an
MDC stronghold'," Kabemba told IRIN.

The by-elections follow a widely reported government crackdown in which
hundreds of opposition supporters were allegedly assaulted and illegally
detained following a seemingly successful two-day work stoppage orchestrated
by the MDC last week.

"What is certain is that the pre-election atmosphere is not conducive to
freedom of expression and movement, [and consequently] not really conducive
to free and fair elections. ZANU has to realise by now that people in
Zimbabwe have no means to overthrow the government militarily or through
violence and they need to be able to freely express themselves," Kabemba

"It will be in the interests of Zimbabwe, and maybe ZANU's sustainability,
to show some kind of openness and respect for the rule of law, and electoral
rules," he added.

Victory in the by-elections would bring the ruling party closer to a
two-thirds majority in parliament, which would allow it to push through
constitutional amendments.

Bidi Munyaradzi, national director of Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
(ZimRights), told IRIN that ZimRights would be among the organisations
providing monitors for the by-elections.

"The atmosphere is very tense, [society is] seriously polarised. But people
are more afraid of post election violence, because ... we've seen it
happening after every election. People do not have trust in the electoral
process and if you lack trust in the electoral process there's no way you
can guarantee the acceptance of the election result," he warned.

There was already a concern that the voters roll may have been tampered
with. "The voters roll has been questioned, some people are not on the roll,
they've disappeared or been deleted," Munyaradzi said.

The by-elections take place ahead of a deadline set by an MDC for the
government to release political prisoners and respect civil liberties. The
party warned that refusal to comply with the 31 March ultimatum would result
in a mass action campaign.

President Robert Mugabe has reportedly dismissed the ultimatum, and told his
security forces to "react promptly and with vigour ... to dangerous

However, Zimbabwe's neighbour South Africa has indicated its concern over
the mounting political tension.

Responding to questions in parliament this week, President Thabo Mbeki said
Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was in contact with her counterpart
in Zimbabwe following reports of police excesses after last week's protests.

"We are dealing with that question with the Zimbabwe government and indeed
have said to them that we do not agree with actions which deny the right of
Zimbabweans to protest peacefully," the Business Day newspaper reported
Mbeki as saying.
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Zim Independent

Government rebuffs Mbeki over Posa
Vincent Kahiya
IN a major rebuff to South African President Thabo Mbeki's "quiet
diplomacy", the government says it will not under any circumstances amend
the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) which it needs as its chief weapon
to fight the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

After two months of speculation, mainly spawned by comments from Mbeki that
Zimbabwean security legislation would be relaxed, Justice minister Patrick
Chinamasa on Wednesday said Posa would not be amended as it was serving a
key purpose.

"We came up with Posa after a realisation that the country was under siege,"
he said.

"We cannot amend Posa when we are under an onslaught from institutions which
are causing mayhem and anarchy in the country.

"We cannot loosen up and let the MDC and other puppets of the United States
and Britain run around bombing bridges and shops. Posa was the answer to
this because we have to protect our democratic space and sovereignty."

Mbeki has made a number of statements suggesting Zimbabwe would amend Posa
and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), the
last as recently as this week.

"We have agreed with the government of Zimbabwe that they should attend to
the pieces of legislation that are said to offend human rights (and) the
press," he told African clerics meeting in Midrand on Monday.

Mbeki has been hawking the undertaking he said he got from Zimbabwe around
the Commonwealth to advance the claim that Mugabe was on the path to reform.

He first made the claim on amendments to security and press laws when he met
British Prime Minister Tony Blair at his country home, Chequers, early last
month. He told Blair South African cabinet ministers who had visited Harare
learnt of Mugabe's plans to ease political restrictions.

Chinamasa dismissed Mbeki's assertion that there was any such agreement.

"I am not aware of anyone in my government having made such an undertaking.
Anyone suggesting that we are going to amend Posa is not serious. How can we
loosen up and relax when we are under siege?

"Get it from me, Posa will not be amended. We are not doing that and we make
no apologies about it," said Chinamasa.

The government has used Posa to stifle civic activism by banning marches and
public meetings. It also makes ridiculing the president or bringing him into
contempt an offence punishable by jail. Lawyers regard the legislation as in
conflict with constitutional provisions on freedom of speech and assembly.
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Zim Independent

Transfer of election materials

Vincent Kahiya
REGISTRAR-GENERAL Tobaiwa Mudede has continued to block the transfer of
election materials for the last presidential election to Harare for safe
keeping despite a High Court order to do so.

The election materials are currently scattered across the country as Mudede
remains defiant and in breach of Section 78 of the Electoral Act.

Mudede has appealed against the judgement delaying the transfer of the
materials to the capital. Civic groups believe the RG's refusal to move the
materials leaves them liable to interference.

Mudede's attempt to destroy the election materials last September on the
pretext that he needed the ballot boxes for local government elections was
blocked by the High Court after opposition from the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC). The MDC argued that destruction of the papers would be
prejudicial to their petition challenging the result of the March 2002
presidential poll. Justice Anele Matika ruled that Mudede could use the
boxes but said he should not destroy the papers.

The petition is scheduled to be heard next month but MDC lawyers would like
the election materials brought to the capital prior to the hearing.

According to Section 78 of the Electoral Act constituency registrars should
enclose in separate sealed packets counted and rejected ballot papers as
soon as possible after polling. The materials should then be transmitted to

This has not happened and the materials have remained in the provinces, most
of which are in ballot boxes stored at schools and at rural district offices
which sometimes double up as Zanu PF offices.

Observers this week said there was a high likelihood that the materials
might fall into the hands of the militia.

Last November Mudede filed an application in the High Court saying his
office did not have the resources to move the materials. Justice Anne Marie
Gowora dismissed the application saying the transfer of the materials was a
general function of the RG's office and should be carried out.

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Zim Independent

International protests mount
Dumisani Muleya
AS political repression intensifiesin Zimbabwe, government this week came
under pressure to abandon its sweeping crackdown on dissent. Despite the
international focus on Iraq, state-led violence is attracting sharp foreign

The German parliament yesterday stepped up censure of events in Zimbabwe
during debate on an all-party motion tabled in the lower house earlier this

In their strongest remarks yet, German MPs said government must halt its
clampdown on democratic opposition and stop human rights abuses and misrule.

The legislators said Zimbabwe should cease its campaign to "brutally combat
the opposition and criticism with the support of security and military

German MPs urged the federal government to use its position in the United
Nations Security Council "to have the Zimbabwe crisis put onto the agenda to
rein-in the conflict in the region and to bring it closer to a solution".

The United States this week warned Harare against state-sponsored violence
in the country.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher accused President Robert Mugabe
of fanning the "upsurge in unprecedented official violence".

"The US demands that the Zimbabwe government immediately cease its campaign
of violent repression," he said. "The Zimbabwe government must also act to
identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of these serious and
widespread human rights abuses."

Australian Foreign minister Alexander Downer on Wednesday also condemned the
ongoing repression.

"The government is appalled at the unprovoked, violent repression and
intimidation that is taking place in Zimbabwe," he said.

Downer said Australian diplomats in Zimbabwe had "witnessed first-hand the
result of several vicious beatings by army personnel, including beatings
with sticks wrapped in barbed wire".

"In addition to an escalation in violent repression, the regime continues to
encourage systematic harassment of the opposition, electoral malpractice and
corrupt legal processes," Downer said.

"The government demands that the Mugabe regime ceases this campaign of
repression and bring to justice those people who are responsible for it."

South African President Thabo Mbeki told parliament in Cape Town on
Wednesday that Pretoria was opposed to Harare's repressive agenda.

"We are dealing with that question with the Zimbabwean government," he said.
"Indeed, we have said to the Zimbabwean government that we would not agree
with actions that deny the right of Zimbabweans to protest peacefully,
democratically and so on."

A ruling African National Congress MP, Pallo Jordan, said it was a "scandal"
that Zanu PF was now undermining democracy when it apparently fought for it.

He said the ANC had warned Zimbabwean parties against "subversion of the
rule of law" and "the temptations of recklessness that could easily
precipitate armed conflict".

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Zim Independent

Zanu PF chefs fight over land ownership
Blessing Zulu
CONFUSION reigns in Mashonaland West's Gwebi/Hunyani area as a wrangle
between ministers, governors and war veterans over prime farming land has
halted production, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

The interim land audit report by Minister of State for the Land Reform
Programme in Vice-President Joseph Msika's Office, Flora Buka, referred to
the disputes among Zanu PF heavyweights in the area.

The report singled out Chinhoyi MP and Zanu PF Mashonaland West chairman
Philip Chiyangwa, Mashonaland West governor Peter Chanetsa and Local
Government minister Ignatius Chombo as being at the centre of the wrangle.

The report said the squabbles are retarding development. In the Nyabira area
of Mashonaland West almost 90 farms have remained unallocated for two years.

Investigations by the Independent reveal that the dispute has drawn in
Minister of Youth Development and Mashonaland West governor, Elliot Manyika,
and leaders of the war veterans, Endy Mhlanga, Patrick Nyaruwata and Mike

Nyaruwata, the war veterans national chairman, confirmed there were problems
in the area.

"There are problems that are still being experienced in that area," he said.

Nyaruwata blamed the squabbles on politicians in Mashonaland West province.

"There are some politicians in Mashonaland West province who wanted to use
their political muscle to bar other people from acquiring land in the
Hunyani and Gwebi area.

"They argued that priority should be given to people from that province only
and we told them that the land was for all Zimbabweans."

Nyaruwata acknowledged that failure to solve the crisis was detrimental to
farming activities.

A commercial farmer in the area said the equipment on the farms triggered
the scramble.

"The few of us who are still on the farms have been confined to our houses,"
said the farmer.

"The area at the moment is almost sealed off as these factions have guards w
ho do not allow people to visit the area.

"Nyabira used to be a very intensive farming area where crops such as wheat,
maize and soyabeans were grown on a rotational basis," he said.

"But the new settlers seized all the farming implements."

A source in the Ministry of Agriculture said production in the farming area
has almost come to a halt as a result of the stalemate.

"The area in question lies between Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central
and this explains why there is all this confusion," the source said.

"The Ministry of Agriculture is settling A2 farmers and the two governors
are coming in with their A1 farmers. War veterans have also come into the
picture claiming that they have jurisdiction over all areas within 30 km of
Harare," the source said.

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Zim Independent

Catholics clash over Zim crisis
Mthulisi Mathuthu
ANXIOUS to stay clear of trouble with the government, local catholic bishops
are believed to have protested to the Southern African Catholic Bishops'
Conference (SACBC) over a statement last month calling on South Africa to
tighten the screws on Zimbabwe to bring an end to state terror.

The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) was alarmed by the SACBC's
comments on the situation in Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwe Independent has heard that some members of the ZCBC argued that
confronting President Mugabe could cause trouble and possible retribution.

A source has confided to the Independent that a small informal meeting on
February 7 discussed the regional bishops' statement and was worried that it
could cause problems for them.

But ZCBC secretary-general Godwin Nyatsanza said he was not aware of any
complaints to the SACBC.

He said: "What I know is that they made their statement after their meeting
and faxed it to us but anything more than that I don't know."

Head of the SACBC justice and peace department, Fr Gabriel Neville, this
week said no agreement was breached because the statement only commented on
the Zimbabwean situation in relation to the South African government.

He said: "Normally, no bishops' conference would comment on the situation in
the territory of another bishops' conference without being asked to do so by
that conference or following the lead of the bishops' conference in that

"However, the situation in Zimbabwe is a very big issue in South Africa and
we as the SACBC had to comment on it in relation to our own government. "In
addition, we have been receiving many requests for solidarity from groups
and individuals in Zimbabwe."

Asked if they had received a com-plaint from Zimbabwe he said: "I am sorry I
have no mandate to say more than I have said."

Issued at the end of the plenary meeting in Pretoria on February 6, the
statement called on the South African government to intervene in Zimbabwe to
combat possible civil unrest and stall state terror.

It said: "The Zimbabwean crisis requires urgent and direct intervention by
the South African government, in the same way that the government has played
a leading role in the resolution of other political conflicts on the African

"However, the South African government has consistently snubbed calls for it
to play a more active role in exposing the abuses that now characterise
Zimbabwe's political life and to take action to avert a further catastrophe
in our neighbouring country."

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Zim Independent

Zim envoy to Berlin in row with MPs
Dumisani Muleya
ZIMBABWE'S ambassador to Germany will be presenting her credentials today
following a period of frosty relations between Harare and Berlin after the
envoy made comments that outraged German parliamentarians.

The ambassador, Lucia Muvingi, attacked a motion introduced in the Bundestag
(lower house) by the opposition coalition Christian Democratic
Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU).

The motion, tabled on February 13, referred to the current political and
economic crisis in Zimbabwe and spoke of the need to prevent terror,
genocide and starvation. It condemned political repression and economic
vandalism in the country.

Other parties subsequently introduced similar motions. As result, a unified
motion by five parties - the CDU/CSU, the ruling Social Democratic Party
(SPD) and its junior partner, the Green Party, and the opposition Free
Democrats - was agreed on March 12. It was debated in the Bundestag

This has fuelled the low-intensity diplomatic conflict between the two
countries. The situation deteriorated dramatically after Zimbabwe reacted
indignantly to the initial motion.

The ambassador, thought to be acting on instructions from Harare, dispatched
a vitriolic letter on February 14 accusing the CDU of "colonial nostalgia"
and "ganging up" with British MPs.

It said the embassy was "filled with utmost disgust and horror at the
display of the imperialist and colonial mentality among the top ranks of
Germany's political establishment".

The outburst is understood to have led to German president Johannes Rau
postponing the presentation of Muvingi's credentials which had been due to
take place on March 12.

It is understood Rau's office informed Muvingi after the letter that she
would be accredited at a later date, a move seen as a rebuke.

But a source yesterday said she would now be received today.

Muvingi has been waiting for an appointment since she arrived in Germany in

German ambassador to Zimbabwe Peter Schmidt confirmed the parliamentary
motions and Harare's backlash.

Before she went to Berlin, there was drama at a dinner party on December 12
hosted at Schmidt's Chisipite home for Muvingi attended by a visiting
official from Berlin.

Sources said Central Intelligence Organisation officers tried to gatecrash
the party in a bid to flush out a visiting German humanitarian assistance
official from the Ministry of Development & Cooperation who they claimed was
"persona non-grata".

"The officers arrived at the party and interrogated drivers of the guests
about the occasion and asked who were attending," a source said. "But they
went away before the ambassador could talk to them."

UNDP representative Victor Angelo is understood to have intervened to
prevent an embarrassing incident.

After this episode, the German embassy protested at a bilateral and European
Union level about what it viewed as blatant breach of the Vienna Convention
which regulates diplomatic relations between countries.

Harare promised to investigate but no response has been given as yet.

German MPs said their unified parliamentary motion tabled on March 12 was
aimed at "maintaining pressure on Zimbabwe to avoid destabilisation of
Southern Africa".

The legislators have urged Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government to step
up pressure on Zimbabwe to change course. The draft Bundestag motion also
urges Berlin to work with Southern African Development Community countries,
especially South Africa, to "exert pressure on the government of Zimbabwe to
achieve a policy change in the direction of the rule of law, democracy and
rehabilitation of the agriculture infrastructure".

It says the rule of law in Zimbabwe has been undermined by "massive
violations of human rights, corruption and clientelism which are fundamental
components of (President Robert) Mugabe's system."

"The regime brutally combats opposition and criticism with the support of
security and military forces and youths who have been trained in military
camps," the motion says.

Muvingi accused the MPs of "gross misrepresentations". But the Germans
insist Harare's repression is simply untenable.

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Zim Independent

MDC ready for showdown with government
Dumisani Muleya
EMBOLDENED by the success of last week's stayaway, the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) yesterday said it was bracing for combat against
government over escalating repression.

MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said confrontation was looming ahead of the
expiry on Monday of his party's 15-point ultimatum calling on the government
to immediately stop repression or face unprecedented mass action.

"If government ignores the ultimatum it would be declaring war against the
people," Nyathi said. "The consequences of such a move would be serious."

The MDC gave government a March 31 deadline to restore the rule of law, end
violence and human rights abuses, and release all those detained for
political reasons.

However, President Robert Mugabe scoffed at the MDC, saying his government
would not yield to demands of "students of the white man".

Information minister Jonathan Moyo bluntly described the ultimatum - and its
author - as "stupid".

But Nyathi warned Mugabe's refusal to stop ongoing repression was a
provocation of an already restless population.

"By refusing to abandon repression in order to continue his tyranny, it
means Mugabe is simply saying he wants to confront oppressed Zimbabweans,"
he said.

"Let him be warned that Zimbabweans have a long history of resisting
dictatorship. They did so in the past and they will certainly do so now."

The MDC national executive met on Sunday to review the stayaway and map a
way forward. It resolved to fight on despite intensifying state-instigated
retribution against its members after the industrial action.

Zanu PF's politburo on Wednesday resolved that government should intensify
its crackdown against the MDC, claiming the opposition was causing violence.

This seemed inspired by Mugabe's vow last Friday that his government would
crush the MDC.

On this weekend's by-elections in Harare, Nyathi said the MDC was poised to
retain the seats "to maintain our undisputed dominance in urban areas" and
in the process prevent further consolidation of the current dictatorship.

Zanu PF takes on the MDC in the key by-elections in Highfield and Kuwadzana.

The by-elections are the first urban parliamentary polls since the 2000
general election.

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Zim Independent

War veterans defy High Court order
Blessing Zulu
WAR veterans subdividing and selling residential stands at Echo Farm in
Borrowdale have defied a High Court order to move off the farm.

The settlers, calling themselves Sally Mugabe Heights Co-operative, say they
do not recognise the court order because the allegations against them are

Finance manager of the housing co-operative, Richard Zacharia, said they did
not recognise the order because they were not occupying Echo Farm, but an
adjacent farm called Acorn.

"Those people want to tarnish our image by publishing untruths," Zacharia
told the Zimbabwe Independent last week.

"We are aware that we are in a protracted struggle with enemies of the land
reform and we can assure you that we will win," he said.

"We did not even bother to attend the court hearing because we are not at
all occupying that farm."

Andrew Logan of the law firm Wintertons, representing the owners of the
property, Gilson Enterprise Pvt Ltd, said the settlers' occupation of the
private property was illegal.

"Any persons who have purchased stands on the property known as the
remainder of Echo will be evicted in due course by the Deputy Sheriff in
terms of the order granted by the High Court," said Logan.

Zacharia said his cooperative had a membership of 2 500 and they were still
taking in more people.

On February 5 this year, the High Court (case number HC10345/02) granted an
order to Gilson Enterprises instructing the settlers to stop all
developments and vacate Echo Farm. In an advertisement in a local weekly
newspaper, Gilson's lawyers said: "Sally Mugabe Heights does not own
property and is not authorised to sell stands located on the property.

The public are warned that no purported purchases of stands on the property
will be recognised by the true owner of the property."

The war veterans are selling half-acre stands in the prime residential area
for a give-away price of $810 000 plus $1 000 per month levied as an
administration fee. Members of the co-operative will also pay a once-off
$107 000 for the construction of the main access road. Stands in the area
are valued at $20 million for half an acre.

The Independent last week visited the office of the sellers on the fourth
floor of Memorial Building in Samora Machel Avenue in central Harare and
found the office congested with people inquiring about the stands and others
making payments.

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Zim Independent

Moyo wins award

INFORMATION minister Jonathan Moyo was on Wednesday awarded the Golden
Raspberry Award for "services to censorship" in Zimbabwe, Reuter reports.

The accolade was given by the British-based Index on Censorship.

The Golden Raspberry Award is normally reserved for the "worst career
achievement" in the movie industry. Reuter did not explain how Moyo earned
the award.

Moyo is the architect of the contentious Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act under which over a dozen journalists from the
privately-owned media have been arrested and charged by the police. He is
also the brains behind the Broadcasting Services Act under which the ZBC is
the sole public broadcaster.

Meanwhile, Qatar-based Al Jazeera television, which beams into 35 million
Arab homes, also received an award from Index on Censorship on Wednesday for
its resistance to censorship.

The accolade was given for Al Jazeera's "apparent independence in a region
where much of the media is state-run". - Staff Writer/Reuter.

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Zim Independent

Paradza case a dilemma for Chief Justice
Vincent Kahiya
CHIEF Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku will find himself in an invidious position
when the Supreme Court hears the application by Justice Benjamin Paradza
challenging the legality of his arrest last month.

In his affidavit, Justice Paradza accused the Chief Justice, together with
Judge President Paddington Garwe, of failing to notify him of his impending
arrest on corruption charges.

In hard-hitting remarks forming part of his Supreme Court application filed
earlier this month and reported in the Zimbabwe Independent, Paradza
described the conduct of the two most senior members of the bench as
"completely unacceptable".

"I would have expected them to protect the integrity of the bench by
insisting that there was no need for my arrest and being placed on remand
without the correct procedure being followed.

"I can only assume that they did not do so for fear that they would fall out
of favour with the executive," he said. "In so-acting they have indeed
compromised the independence of the judiciary."

Legal experts this week said if Chief Justice Chidyausiku was to hear the
case with other judges of appeal he would have to make a ruling in a matter
in which he was an interested party.

Legal expert Lovemore Madhuku on Wednesday said, ethically,

Chidyausiku should not sit in the case.

"The Chief Justice can on his own accord recuse himself from the case and if
that does not happen, the applicant can make an application for recusal,"
said Madhuku.

He said in the event of Chidyausiku not recusing himself, Paradza could make
an application to the Supreme Court on the day of the hearing and the case
would be put before the bench.

He said in the event that Chidyausiku decided not to sit in the case,
President Mugabe would be required to appoint an acting Supreme Court judge
as a replacement. The full bench of the Supreme Court should hear all
constitutional cases.

"There is however no precedent. That has never happened in Zimbabwe," said
Madhuku. Justice Paradza's lawyer Jonathan Samkange of Byron Venturas would
not comment on the case saying it was sub-judice.

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Zim Independent

Donors withhold funds for megapark
Augustine Mukaro
Donors are withholding funding for the transfrontier park project from
Zimbabwe until the country has restored the rule of law and can demonstrate
sound conservation methods, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.

Highly placed sources involved in the transfrontier park development said
donors had withheld funding until the government removes people who invaded
Gonarezhou National Park.

"Huge amounts of money have started pouring into South Africa and Mozambique
for the development of infrastructure agreed when the trans-frontier park
agreement was signed," sources said.

The transfrontier park is made up of Kruger National Park in South Africa,
Gonarezhou in Zimbabwe and Gaza in Mozambique. If completed the park will
occupy 3,6 million hectares.

Last September Germany donated five million Euros to both South Africa and
Mozambique for infrastructure developments. Many other donors are reported
to have responded positively to the two countries but Zimbabwe has been left

Among the major infrastructure developments needed, Zimbabwe had agreed to
construct a bridge across the Limpopo. It had also undertaken to refurbish
and build lodges and chalets at selected areas in Gonarezhou.

Zimbabwe fell out with the donor community when war veterans and Zanu PF
supporters launched the often violent farm invasions in 2000.

The impasse worsened when the invaders occupied national parks,
conservancies and Campfire projects with government endorsing the invasions.

In June last year the Independent reported that government had resettled
about 750 families on 11 000 hectares inside Gonarezhou. People have also
invaded conservancies such as Save, Midlands, Malilangwe and Bubiana as well
as Mungwezi.

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Zim Independent

UNDP calls for land reform review
Mthulisi Mathuthu
UNITED Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative Victor
Angelo has called for a vulnerability survey to identify problems in the
government's controversial land reform exercise.

Angelo told Irin this week that there was a need to fully comprehend the
situation on the ground before Zimbabwe could address fundamental issues of
food security and agricultural growth "in a way that is genuine and socially

Angelo said only when an agricultural survey had been done would it be
necessary to hold an international land donors' conference.

"First things first. I trust that donors would be very supportive of a
well-designed and properly implemented survey of the agricultural situation,
and before this has been achieved, we can't even talk about the next step,"
said Angelo.

The survey would be aimed at finding solutions to the problems faced by the
displaced farm workers and the resettled farmers who are threatened with
starvation and disease.

"The survey is an absolute necessity if we are to plan appropriately for
future assistance. The survey will also be a test of our ability to access
these areas. If we do not reach the very persons who are in need of our
help, this creates a major impasse," said Angelo.

Angelo said there was need to assess the impact of changes in land ownership
over the past three years with a view to assisting the victims of the land
reform exercise. He said already there were indications that some of the
intended beneficiaries of reform were left out.

He said the UNDP planned to kick-start its own survey "very, very soon" and
was inviting interested parties on board. The survey would help find
solutions to Zimbabwe's long-term needs.

He said the UNDP plans to initiate projects which will assist the affected
families once the survey has been carried out.

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Zim Independent

Inflation wrecks havoc on listed firms
Ngoni Chanakira
ZIMBABWE'S soaring month-on-month inflation rate, currently pegged at 9,1%,
is playing havoc on companies listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE)
since they have to include hyperinflation in their financial reports.

Without disclosing the penalty impositions, the ZSE says it will now clamp
down on those firms not adhering to the international requirement.

All financial statements are supposed to conform to International Accounting
Standard (IAS29): "Financial Reporting in Hyperinflationary Economies".

Hyperinflation was formally identified in Zimbabwe in November 1999 and the
bourse immediately decided to adopt the international reporting requirement.

Since 1999 Zimbabwe's inflation has soared from about 20% to 220,9% at
present, making some of the billion-dollar figures earned by firms
"meaningless" when hyperinflation is taken into consideration.

Economists predict that inflation will surpass the 450% figure by the end of
the year.

In an interview this week ZSE consultant Anthony Barfoot said: "We will be
dealing with listed firms who are not using hyperinflation in their results.

We have told them before. It's just that the situation is a bit of a problem
because of the way inflation is continuously changing in Zimbabwe."

Barfoot said about 20% of listed firms were still not using hyperinflation
in their reports.

Financial institutions such as NMB, Kingdom, Trust and First Banking
Corporation have, however, adhered to the IAS29 regulations. Some industrial
firms such as Chemco and Clan on the other hand have not adhered to IAS29,
saying this would not result in a fair presentation of their financial

Clan said inflation-adjusted fina-ncial statements would be presented with
their annual report, while Chemco in its results for the period ended
October 31 2002 said the exercise was "costly" and "not useful".

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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo - Rubbish piling up
Iden Wetherell
HOW much longer can the nation's capital go on with uncollected garbage
piling up everywhere? While we all know perfectly well Monday's
demonstration against Mayor Elias Mudzuri was the product of Zanu PF's
imported rent-a-mob, I have some sympathy with genuine residents of Harare
who have not had their rubbish collected for three weeks.

The excuse is that there is no diesel and refuse trucks need repairing. But
other businesses are coping with fuel shortages - admittedly with
difficulty - and the trucks can be fixed. A more plausible explanation can
be found in the territorial disputes that have erupted since Mudzuri
extended the contracts for refuse collection to companies not associated
with Zanu PF.

This has led, I gather, to disputes over jurisdiction.

We carried details in this newspaper on March 14. The new contractors have
been given 90 days to procure equipment and start collections. That takes us
through to the end of May. The established collectors - ie Zanu PF-related
companies - were supposed to continue collecting in their old jurisdictions
up until then. But they are sulking. They are unhappy about having their
turf - and therefore their incomes - reduced by a more equitable sharing of
the refuse cake.

Mudzuri appears paralysed by this stayaway. He should move swiftly to
penalise companies refusing to collect rubbish. One of the primary functions
of any city council is refuse collection. Public health is under threat from
uncollected rubbish. It is also unsightly. Instead of allowing the strike to
continue, Mudzuri should immediately suspend the contracts of those
companies refusing to accept the new order.

There are many ways in which Zanu PF is resisting the democratic election of
a mayor who represents the majority of people in the capital. This is one of
them and it needs to be exposed. The mayor should name and shame those
companies refusing to do their job.

Meanwhile, it is evident that Zimbabwe is running out of fuel. Allocations
to garages have been steadily reduced. As our front-page story revealed last
week, the Libyans and others are reluctant to agree to any deal that places
them at a disadvantage because of the unrealistic exchange rate. Also, they
want to be paid on time. As the Iranians we interviewed suggested, countries
that prove unreliable customers are unlikely to have contracts renewed.

Furthermore, Eskom and Mozambique's power utility HCB want to be paid what
they are owed. Zesa simply doesn't have the forex. Government can't help and
attempts to charge customers exorbitant amounts in forex are likely to meet
a brick wall.

None of this is the product of an international conspiracy. Very simply Zanu
PF policies have sabotaged the country's means of earning forex. Export
commodities have been the chief victims of chaotic land seizures.

Zimbabwe's once lush and fertile agricultural estates lie idle as we pay the
price of wanton vandalism by the country's political elite and their militia
henchmen. Then there are policies that prevent companies recovering the cost
of their operations.

Populism has its price and we are all paying it in the form of fuel
shortages and very soon power cuts. It's no good blaming foreigners who are
understandably reluctant to throw good money after bad. The buck stops at
State House.

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Zim Independent

Feedback - Inflation or rip-off by TM Ascot?

Dear Editor, ON Saturday, March 21 I noticed that the imported French wine
JP Chenet blanc de blancs was back on the shelves at TM Ascot in Bulawayo
after a two-week stock out and was priced at $6 862 a bottle. The previous
price was $1 600.

Being totally fed up with ever-increasing prices of imported items when the
parallel market remains unchanged, I queried this price with the branch
manager. He kindly offered to look into the matter.

A worker removed the four bottles from my trolley, took them away and
returned the wine with the price of $6 820 scratched out and $1 600 written
on the ticket.

He informed me that an error had been made for which he apologised.

I discovered the next day that the price of bottles remaining on the shelf
had not been changed!

Is there an ulterior motive for local branch management of TM Stores to
super-inflate prices of popular products or is it a company policy?

Whatever the reason, it stinks.

Estelle Scheijde,


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