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Mugabe blocks debate on his future

Zim Online

Thursday 29 March 2007

By Patricia Mpofu

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday blocked his ruling ZANU PF
party's politburo committee from debating whether he should stand for
re-election next year, saying the matter could only be decided by the party's
central committee, authoritative sources told ZimOnline.

The central committee, which is ZANU PF's highest decision making body
outside congress meets in Harare on Friday and is expected to endorse
harmonising Zimbabwe's presidential and parliamentary elections so they
could be held together either in 2008 or 2010.

Mugabe, who had earlier proposed shifting the presidential poll from next
year when his term ends to 2010 - which would have allowed him two more
years in office without having to face the electorate - has said he wants to
stand on ZANU PF's ticket in the 2008 ballot.

But the veteran President is facing mounting pressure from within ZANU PF,
fellow southern African leaders and the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party who all want him to quit and pave way for
resolution of Zimbabwe's deteriorating political and economic crisis.

Our sources said Zimbabwe's ambassador to South Africa Simon Khaya Moyo
raised the issue of Mugabe's candidature during the politburo meeting to
which the 83-year old President is said to have coolly reacted, reminding
politburo members that their powers were limited and that only the central
committee could pronounce on his fate in the absence of congress.

"Vice President (Joseph) Msika immediately joined in, in support of the
President and told us that while we could discuss the issue there was little
we could actually do because the central committee as the supreme executive
committee of the party, was the only one empowered to deal with the matter,"
said a top party official, who spoke on condition he was not named.

In the unlikely event that the central committee - dominated by Mugabe
loyalists - recommend that a younger leader represents ZANU PF in next year's
poll, then this would effectively force the veteran leader into retirement.

ZimOnline was unable to speak to ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira on
deliberations of the politburo because he was unreachable on his phone.
State television however quoted Shamuyarira last night as having said the
party's central committee would discuss the issue of Mugabe's candidature on

But our sources said the politburo eventually agreed that the issue of
Mugabe's candidature be referred to the central committee and the Zimbabwean
leader left soon after for Tanzania where was scheduled to brief Southern
African Development Community (SADC) leaders on his country's crisis.

SADC leaders, blamed in the past for their ineffective quiet diplomacy on
Zimbabwe, are expected to push Mugabe to agree to talks with MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai to find a solution to his country's crisis and that he
steps down from power when his term ends in March next year.

But political analysts warn that the veteran Zimbabwean leader - a
hard-to-beat political fox in his heyday - could still manipulate divisions
among regional leaders to evade any meaningful pressure from them.

The politburo meanwhile continued meeting in Harare with second
Vice-President Joice Mujuru now in the chair and most importantly agreed to
call another meeting to discuss how Zimbabwe could re-engage the
international community.

The United States, European Union, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland
have isolated Zimbabwe and imposed targeted visa and financial sanctions on
Mugabe and his top officials as punishment for stealing elections, violating
human rights and failure to uphold the rule of law and democracy - charges
Harare denies.

Meanwhile, Mugabe arrived in the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam and
immediately joined other SADC heads of state for a closed meeting last night
to discuss the Zimbabwe situation. Mugabe is expected to address the full
session of SADC leaders on Thursday.

But interviews with diplomats reflected differences among SADC countries on
how to deal with Mugabe with some countries said to be in favour of tougher
measures against Mugabe while others preferred to maintain the quiet
diplomacy approach that has so far failed to make impact with the Harare

Those said to be in favour of tougher action are Botswana, Zambia and host
Tanzania. Even though the SADC leaders may talk tough behind the scenes,
they are unlikely to issue any critical communiqué against Mugabe, who still
has residual prestige as a pioneer of the anti-colonial struggle in the
region. - ZimOnline

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Police grab opposition leader as Mugabe dances

The Times
March 29, 2007

Jan Raath in Harare and Robert Crilly in Dar es Salaam
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Zimbabwean opposition party, was
rearrested yesterday in a brutal police raid on his party headquarters as
President Mugabe defied international outrage, shimmying his way into a
showdown with fellow African leaders.

The 83-year-old President shuffled to the rhythm of a Tanzanian brass band
after his battered-looking Air Zimbabwe aircraft touched down in Dar es
Salaam, before being whisked away in a Mercedes. In Zimbabwe police began a
new wave of arrests, abductions and assaults.

Mr Mugabe's ferocious attack against his pro-democracy opponents is an
apparently calculated snub to the increasing concerns of his neighbours.

The diplomatic pressure had little effect in Zimbabwe, where Mr Mugabe's
heavily armed riot police arrested scores of members of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) when police sealed off streets in the centre of

They took over the eight-storey building housing the party's headquarters,
drove out the staff and reportedly seized documents. They fired teargas at
lunchtime crowds watching MDC officials being bundled into a convoy of
police buses and lorries that then dispersed the captives around the city.
Alec Muchadehama, Mr Tsvangirai's lawyer, said later that he believed that
his client, who is still nursing injuries from an assault by police 17 days
ago, had been released. About 20 other officials of the MDC and civic
groups, including two MPs, and party executives, were seized from their
homes in predawn raids by groups of up to 20 paramilitary police at a time,
who also ransacked their homes. Police later claimed they had found weapons
and explosives.

"The police are still not giving us access to them," Mr Muchadehama said
last night.

Mr Mugabe was last night in one-to-one talks with his host, President
Kikwete, before an emergency meeting tomorrow with the 14 regional leaders
who make up the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the regional
economic bloc. There are growing signs of anger among Zimbabwe's neighbours
that a "failed state" in southern Africa could wreck the region's nascent
economic recovery.

The South African ruling African National Congress (ANC) last night
distanced itself from Mr Mugabe, whose credentials as a hero of the
liberation struggle have previously protected him from criticism.

Sue van der Merwe, the South African Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs,
used some of the toughest language yet when addressing a special conference
on Zimbabwe in the National Assembly, an event that itself would have been
blocked by the ANC majority a few years ago. "The Zimbabwean situation is a
manifestation of the absence of open political dialogue, which is
regrettably sinking the country into a deeper economic and political crisis
from which only Zimbabweans can extricate themselves," she told MPs.

Mr Mugabe views the agenda of today's SADC meeting as "the campaign by the
MDC to unleash violence as part of its Western-backed efforts for illegal
regime change", according to the Zimbabwean state-run press.

Mr Mugabe's violent handling of his pro-democracy opponents in the past
month has roused statements of concern from SADC leaders, for the first time
in the country's seven years of continual violent crisis. However, Western
diplomats said that yesterday's high-profile police crackdown appeared to be
a deliberate show of scorn by the dictator for his neighbours.

The latest crackdown has been linked to a string of petrol bomb attacks that
police have blamed on the MDC. The party denies the charge and says that the
attacks are the work of state secret police "decoy operations" to provide
the Government with an excuse to crack down on the MDC.

Observers said that the use of South American military-style "hit squads" of
heavily armed men in plainclothes for abductions and attacks on opposition
figures now appeared to be an established tactic against the opposition.

At lunchtime on Tuesday, minutes after the end of a memorial service for a
young activist shot dead by police on March 11, Last Maenganhamo, an MDC
national executive, was in a car parked across the road from the church.

"Two unmarked Mitsubishi double-cabs drove up," said Robert Manyengawana,
who was in the car with the MDC official. "Six men jumped out, one of them
with a gun, and pulled Last out of the car. He held the gun to Last's head."

The next they heard was a call from Mutorashanga, a small mining town 160km
(100 miles) north of Harare. "We found him at the hospital. He was in a
terrible condition. They just beat him. They took off all his clothes and
dumped him at the side of the road."

A group of unidentified armed men were reported in Mabvuku, an eastern
suburb of Harare yesterday, assaulting people at random.

Tyrant's grip

1963 Robert Mugabe formed the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu)

1964 Jailed for ten years for political activities banned by white minority

1974 Led the largest of the guerrilla forces in Mozambique against Ian Smith's

1980 Swept to power in an election ending white rule

1982-5 Violent crushing of resistance from Ndebele

2002 Fifth reelection was tainted by violence and accusations of fraud

2007 Credited in his early years with improving black health and education,
inflation is now 1.730 per cent, and more than 80 per cent of the population
lives in poverty

Source: Times archives

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Police release Tsvangirai, 20 still detained

Zim Online

Thursday 29 March 2007

By Sebastian Nyamhangambiri and Nqobizitha Khumalo

HARARE - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was last night
released from police custody following his arrest earlier on Wednesday at
the party's headquarters in Harare.

About 20 members of the party's administrative staff who were also arrested
yesterday were still detained and were expected to spend the night at Harare
central police station.

Jessie Majome, the acting Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
spokesperson, confirmed Tsvangirai's release adding that the raid at the
party's Harvest House headquarters was "an act of utmost barbarism" by the

"What they did today was a real act of utmost barbarism. The police arrived
around 1030 am when President Tsvangirai was preparing for a Press
conference on the recent abductions.

"Every tenant at Harvest Hose was ordered out, except those in the MDC
offices. They then started searching our offices, and smashing some of the
property such as computers and picture frames.

"They left a trail of destruction. We are aware that they were looking for
weapons. Unless they put them there they will not find any. We are a
peaceful party," she said.

Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi defended the raid saying the police were
doing their job to preserve peace.

"Every time the police have reasonable suspicion to conduct a search, no one
should raise eyebrows. All the times the searches are in the interest of the
public - including the MDC itself," said Mohadi.

There was speculation that President Robert Mugabe wanted to use the spate
of bombings reported over the past few weeks to justify a crackdown against
the opposition at a regional meeting planned for Tanzania.

Mugabe left for Tanzania on Wednesday to attend a key Southern African
Development Community (SADC) meeting that was called to discuss the
worsening political crisis in Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Meanwhile, the European Union on Wednesday condemned Tsvangirai's arrest
with the British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett calling for the
immediate release of Tsvangirai and his office staff.

"I strongly urge Mugabe and the Zimbabwean regime to heed the calls made by
so many of the international community and their African neighbours to stop
the oppression of the Zimbabwean people and respect their human rights,"
said Beckett in a statement.

German Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jens Ploetner said his country was
"deeply concerned" over Tsvangirai's arrest.

"The EU presidency holds Zimbabwe's leadership responsible in this situation
for the physical well-being of Tsvangirai and his colleagues," Ploetner
said. "We demand that they be immediately granted access to legal and
medical aid and that representatives of the EU presidency are given access
to them." - ZimOnline

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Despite World Scrutiny, Zimbabwe Police Bear Down On Opposition


      By Irwin Chifera, Blessing Zulu, Ndimyake Mwakalyelye, Patience
Rusere, Jonga Kandemiiri
      28 March 2007

Zimbabwean authorities on Wednesday launched what appeared to be a major new
offensive against the political opposition to President Robert Mugabe, even
as the 83-year-old leader headed to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, for a regional
summit called to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe and alleged beatings of
opposition officials.

Police cordoned off the downtown Harare building housing the headquarters of
the MDC faction headed by party founder Morgan Tsvangirai around 11 a.m.
Wednesday, battering down doors, seizing computers and detaining officials
and staff there, including Tsvangirai - though he was soon released, sources

Tsvangirai had been scheduled to hold a news conference at 12:30 p.m. to
sound an alert about the rising number of MDC members being abducted and
beaten by what the opposition party alleges are agents of the Central
Intelligence Organization.

Police Spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said police raided
the MDC offices as part of an investigation into a recent wave of
firebombings of police posts and other targets, including a Harare-Bulawayo
passenger train.

Authorities have accused the opposition of organizing the attacks, but
officials of both MDC factions have denied any involvement and say they do
not condone violence.

Police also conducted early morning raids on the homes of senior officials
in Harare, bundling them into trucks, including Glenview Member of
Parliament Paul Madzore and his wife. Budiriro Member Emmanuel Chisvuure
escaped but police reportedly harassed his family. Many MDC officials and
activists have gone into hiding.

Lawyers for the Tsvangirai faction said late Wednesday that police continued
to hold about 60 officers and members of the opposition faction. Attorney
Alec Muchadehama said that he and another lawyer had not been able to meet
with their clients. Muchadehama said he would file an urgent application to
the Harare high court first thing Thursday asking it to order authorities to
allow them to see the prisoners.

The U.S. Department of State said Wednesday that the United States was
"deeply concerned" about the detention of Tsvangirai and other MDC
officials, and that it held President Mugabe "responsible for the safety of
these Zimbabwean citizens."

The U.S. statement said that recent events "make clear that the Mugabe
regime is determined to preserve its power, regardless of the cost" to the
country. It said, "The regime is attempting to blame the violence on the
opposition itself. The international community rejects this patently false
effort to blame the victims."

Germany, now holding the European Union presidency, said the EU is "deeply
concerned" about Wednesday's detention of Tsvangirai, demanding access to
him and to other arrested opposition politicians.

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Jens Ploetner said those held must be
granted immediate access to legal and medical assistance. British Foreign
Secretary Margaret Beckett also condemned the arrests.

Correspondent Irwin Chifera of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe was at the scene
at the MDC faction's Harvest House headquarters and described the scene.

Tsvangirai told reporter Blessing Zulu the blitz was another intimidation
tactic by the Mugabe government reflecting its increasingly isolated
position. Zulu spoke with Muchadehama soon after the raid when the number
held was undetermined.

The continuing clampdown by Zimbabwean security forces on opposition figures
has many observers baffled as to the strategy Harare is pursuing.

Wednesday's blitz, coming just as the region's leaders were meeting in
Tanzania, led some to conclude that Mr. Mugabe is as and his inner circle
are as disdainful of regional opinion as they are of criticism from the
United States and Britain.

University of Zimbabwe Senior Lecturer John Makumbe told reporter Ndimyake
Mwakalyelye that the government's increasing disregard for legal process
reflects a last-ditch attempt by Mr. Mugabe's government to quash dissent.

Separately from the police arrests, many activists have been abducted, been
severely beaten and in some cases been dumped in remote locations outside

Glenview MP Paul Madzore, his wife and lodgers were beaten up and taken away
late Tuesday. Opposition sources said their whereabouts and fate were still

Tsvangirai advisor Ian Makone and his wife Theresa, chairwoman for
Mashonaland East for the faction, were abducted late Tuesday with organizing
secretary Pineal Denga. They also were still missing. Joshua Mukoyi of
Kuwadzana, whose two sons are MDC activists, was abducted for the second
time, and remained missing.

Kambuzuma MP Willis Madzimure, Tsvangirai faction spokesman for Harare
Province, told reporter Patience Rusere that he believed the abductions were
intended to intimidate opposition members and weaken their resolve in the

One MDC official abducted Tuesday was found beaten and dumped in the woods
in Mutorashanga, Mashonaland West, about 100 kilometers from Harare.

Local mine workers found Last Maengahama unconscious and covered in blood.
He was taken by police to a local hospital and transferred to Harare's
Avenues Clinic.

Armed men believed to be operatives of the feared Central Intelligence
Organization snatched Maengahama in Borrowdale, a Harare suburb, following a
memorial ceremony held Tuesday morning for slain activist Gift Tandare.

Tandare was shot to death by police on March 11 during a protest.

The MDC's organizing secretary for Harare Province, Toendepi Shonhe, visited
Maengahama at Avenues Clinic early Wednesay. He told reporter Jonga
Kandemiiri that Maengahama's entire body was swollen as a result of the

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US warns citizens in Harare

Zim Online

Thursday 29 March 2007

Own Correspondents

HARARE - The United States yesterday warned its citizens in Zimbabwe to stay
clear of volatile parts of Harare as Zimbabwean police picked up main
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai for the second time in a month.

The US embassy in Harare told American citizens living or visiting Zimbabwe
to stay clear of Harvest House in central Harare and to exercise extreme
caution when travelling though out the Zimbabwean capital.

Harvest House is the headquarters of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party.

"We will keep you updated as the situation develops," the embassy said in
the alert issued yesterday.

The American alert came as heavily armed riot police barricaded roads
leading to the MDC headquarters and arrested the opposition party's leaders.

In a statement, the MDC said Tsvangirai was scheduled to address a press
conference when the police arrested him and about 20 mostly administrative
staff at the party headquarters.

"President Morgan Tsvangirai, who was scheduled to give a Press conference
on the escalating and systemic campaign of violence and intimidation
undertaken by the (President Robert) Mugabe government in recent days, was
among those taken away," the party said.

The party officials said police had indicated that they had raided the MDC
offices in search of petrol bombs and other subversive materials following a
spate of bombings countrywide.

Four police stations, a supermarket, and a passenger train were petrol
bombed between March 15 and 25.

The MDC has rejected government claims it was behind the bombings and
instead says state agents were carrying out the terror attacks in order to
frame and arrest the opposition party's leaders.

Tsvangirai's arrest and the raid on his offices came as southern African
leaders were scheduled to meet in Tanzania to address the political crises
in Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Tsvangirai and several other members of the opposition party were arrested
on 11 March and badly beaten while in police custody. - ZimOnline

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Kick out Zimbabwe ambassador over Mugabe crackdown: Canadian Liberals

Canadian Press
Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2007
OTTAWA (CP) - The Conservative government doesn't plan to suspend diplomatic
ties with Zimbabwe despite a brutal political crackdown by Prime Minister
Robert Mugabe's embattled regime.

A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay says such a move would
leave Canadians without consular protection there, while Mugabe's opponents
would be isolated.

He notes that no other country has kicked out a Zimbabwean ambassador -
which is what the Liberals want the Canada to do.

Opposition protests have been declared illegal in Zimbabwe and recently
opponents of the regime have been arrested, severely beaten, and in one case

The Liberals say that to help prevent a bloodbath Ottawa should expel the
ambassador and adopt strict sanctions against Zimbabwe.

The NDP says there's no indication the government is serious about helping
Zimbabwe civilians, but they are not calling for a suspension of diplomatic
ties for now

© The Canadian Press 2007

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Cutting loose an African despot

Christian Science Monitor

from the March 29, 2007 edition

Pressure is building on Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe. Now is the time to prepare
for a transition.
The Monitor's View
A decade. That's all it has taken for Africa's fastest growing economy to
become the world's fastest shrinking one that's not at war. And for the
continent's "breadbasket" to empty, leaving widespread hunger. Zimbabwe
can't take much more of this.

Hopefully, it won't have to. Pressure as never before is building on the
octogenarian president, Robert Mugabe, to give way after 27 years as
strongman leader.

Mr. Mugabe may still be revered by many Africans as the great liberator of
the former Rhodesia from white rule, but he has made a mess since then.
Inflation clocks in at more than 1,700 percent. The unemployment rate is a
staggering 80 percent. Food is scarce, as are fuel and foreign currency. The
12 million people in this country survive through barter, or by leaving.

An estimated 3 million have fled, many to South Africa. One would think this
influx would have prompted South African President Thabo Mbeki to exchange
his ineffective policy of "quiet diplomacy" with his neighbor for one with
more teeth. South Africa is, after all, Zimbabwe's largest trading partner.

Still, fresh diplomacy is afoot after photographs of brutally beaten
opposition leaders, taken earlier this month, sparked indignation around the
world and where it counts most - with Zimbabwe's neighbors. Not letting up,
police raided the main opposition headquarters on Wednesday and made

Regional leaders, including Mr. Mbeki, are holding a special meeting
Wednesday and Thursday of this week, reportedly to urge Mugabe to negotiate
with the opposition. That's a significant departure from their past

Pressure from Mugabe's peers has a better chance of working than pressure
from the West, which he skillfully vilifies as the colonial oppressor. More
important still is growing pressure from within Mugabe's regime and his
powerful ZANU-PF party for him to step aside. Security forces are divided,
and an economy in free fall is leaving him with less money to wield power
through patronage.

Meanwhile, there's a "new spirit of resistance" from the people, said US
Ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell in an interview with the Associated
Press last week. He added that many of the elements that bring on a coup or
revolution are now present in Zimbabwe.

Africa has rid itself of despots through force and negotiation. Armed rebels
pushed Zaire's corrupt Mobutu Sese Seko into exile and Tanzanian troops
forced Uganda's bloodstained Idi Amin to flee. Charles Taylor's exit from
Liberia was arranged by international agreement.

Exactly when and how Zimbabwe will cross over to a post-Mugabe era is
impossible to predict. Defiance is the leader's middle name. This isn't the
first time his ruling party has been divided. And the shrewd ruler could let
up on opponents in advance of 2008 elections, then rig the vote.

But at some point, the Mugabe era will be over. Western diplomats are wisely
encouraging a deal between ZANU-PF and the main faction of the opposition,
leaving Mugabe sidelined. They should also focus on an aid package that will
surely be needed.

Those inside and outside Zimbabwe should make every effort to prepare for a
smooth transition.

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US Department of State Press Statement

Tom Casey, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 28, 2007

Detention of Zimbabwean Opposition Leader

The United States is deeply concerned about the detention of Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the Zimbabwe opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), and other opposition officials today at the MDC's headquarters in
Harare. Tsvangirai was planning to hold a press conference drawing attention
to a series of abductions of MDC officials by what are believed to be
government agents. We hold President Mugabe responsible for the safety of
these Zimbabwean citizens and we call on Zimbabwean authorities to
investigate these attacks and punish those responsible.

Events in Zimbabwe over the past several weeks make clear that the Mugabe
regime is determined to preserve its power, regardless of the cost of its
brutal tactics to the nation and people of Zimbabwe. The regime is
attempting to blame the violence on the opposition itself. The international
community rejects this patently false effort to blame the victims. Robert
Mugabe must stop brutalizing his people, and must allow Zimbabweans free
exercise of their democratic rights. Tomorrow, the Presidents of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) will be meeting in the
Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam to discuss the Zimbabwean crisis. It is
time for Africans to publicly call Mugabe to account for his misrule.


Released on March 28, 2007

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Zim nationals flee to Moz


28/03/2007 15:33  - (SA)

Maputo - More than 400 Zimbabwean nationals have applied for political
refugee in Mozambique within a month, Vista News reports.

In its Wednesday edition the independent fax sheet, MediaFax, said about 470
Zimbabwean nationals had sought political refuge in the last three weeks in
the provincial capital of Chimoio, more than 2 000km north of Maputo.

Manica provincial governor Raimundo Diomba was quoted by the paper as saying
not all the applicants were accorded asylum because "their country was not
at war".

Diomba, however, told the paper there was an influx into Manica province of
Zimbabweans fleeing economic and political meltdown at home.

More than 1 500 are estimated to be involved in illegal gold panning in the
Chimanimani district.

The paper further quoted Diomba as saying asylum was refused to the
applicants because the Mozambican government did not want to strain
"relations with its neighbour".

Thousands of Zimbabweans are estimated to have settled in Mozambique, while
some are engaged in cross-border trade where they seek commodities that are
scarce at home.

Zim lawyers in Maputo

Last year the Manica provincial government banned an "anti-Mugabe march"
organised by some Zimbabweans living in that province, said the paper.

Manica provincial authorities recently met with their counterparts in the
Zimbabwean province of Manicaland to negotiate on the possibility of opening
more official crossing points along the countries' common border.

No details of the meeting were made available to the paper.

This week a delegation of Zimbabwean human rights lawyers arrived in Maputo,
seeking civil society support against President Mugabe. They are being
hosted by the Mozambican Lawyers Association (LDH),

LDH has said it would petition the Mozambican government to take a
"position" on Zimbabwe.

On Wednesday, Mozambican President Armando Guebuza was expected to join 14
other SADC leaders at a two-day extraordinary summit in the Tanzanian
capital Dar es Salaam, which analysts said was spurred in part by the
growing crisis in Zimbabwe.

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Netherlands summons Zim ambassador

Zim Online

Thursday 29 March 2007

By Nqobizitha Khumalo

BULAWAYO - The Netherlands government on Tuesday summoned Zimbabwe's
ambassador to that country, Gift Punungwe, to protest Harare's refusal to
allow a Dutch national and human rights ambassador permission to visit the
southern African nation.

Human rights campaigner Piet De Klerk was on Monday this week barred from
entering Zimbabwe by immigration officials at Harare International airport.

According to reports from Netherlands, De Klerk, had notified Harare of his
trip and had requested meetings with government officials and was also
scheduled to meet with civic society groups and leaders of non-governmental

The Dutchman wanted to carry out a first hand assessment of Zimbabwe's
deteriorating human rights situation.

Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen told Punungwe that it was
unacceptable for Harare to block De Klerk and urged the Zimbabwean
government to allow him to visit the country.

A statement released by the Dutch Foreign Ministry said: "The Netherlands
finds the Zimbabwean authorities' actions unacceptable. The Netherlands is
deeply concerned about developments in Zimbabwe, particularly the human
rights situation."

Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi was not immediately
available for comment on the matter.

Human rights violations are on the rise in Zimbabwe as President Robert
Mugabe's government increasingly resorts to the military and police to keep
public discontent in check in the face of a deepening economic crisis.

The dangerously volatile situation in Zimbabwe will be discussed at a
Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting in Tanzania at the end
of the week. Mugabe is expected to brief the SADC leaders, some who are
worried that Zimbabwe's crisis will destabilise the region. - ZimOnline

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Journalist convicted for operating without licence

Zim Online

Thursday 29 March 2007

By Menzi Sibanda

BULAWAYO - A journalist working for one of Zimbabwe's few remaining
non-government controlled newspapers appeared in court on Wednesday charged
with practising without a licence, while another journalist working for
state-controlled media was fined for failing to correctly identify himself
to the police.

Bright Chibvuri, who is news editor of The Worker, a workers' newspaper
published by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trades Union (ZCTU) appeared at the
magistrates' court in the town of Plumtree, along Zimbabwe's border with

Journalists in Zimbabwe face up to two years in jail if found practising
without a licence from the government's Media and Information Commission.

Chibvuri was arrested on March 3 while taking pictures of a ZCTU meeting in
the border town. He told the court that he had applied for a licence and was
still waiting for a response from the MIC when he was arrested.

He was later issued with a licence which he produced in court as proof. The
court however did not make a ruling on the matter, postponing it to April

Meanwhile, in an unusual case, Sikhumbuzo Moyo, a journalist with the
government-controlled Umthunywa newspaper was fined Z$15 000 and also
slapped with a wholly suspended three-month jail term for giving wrong
identity particulars while investigating a story in rural Kezi district.

The government's Zimpapers company, that is the largest newspaper empire in
the country, owns Umthunywa, which publishes in the vernacular Ndebele

Moyo, who pleaded guilty to the charge, is the first ever journalist working
for government-owned media to be charged for violating the state's harsh
press laws.

Zimbabwe is well known for its draconian Press and security laws under
which, for example, journalists can be sentenced to 20 years in prison for
denigrating President Robert Mugabe in their articles.

Besides journalists being required to obtain licences, newspaper companies
are also required to register with the state commission with those failing
to do so facing closure and seizure of their equipment by the police.

At least four independent newspapers including the biggest circulating
daily, The Daily News, have been shut down over the past four years for
breaching state media laws. - ZimOnline

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Mai Mujuru resigns

The Zimbabwean

Husband threatens coup ... *SADC meets*
Vice president Joice Mujuru tendered her resignation to President Robert
Mugabe a fortnight ago, according to highly-placed sources within Zanu (PF).
But he has not accepted it.
As the acrimonious power struggle within the ruling party increases, Mujuru
has already started campaigning to stand for the party at next year's
presidential elections.  Sources said she had boycotted meetings recently
and told Mugabe she couldn't take any more of his double standards and
hunger for power.
Unconfirmed reports from CAJ News Agency say Retired Lieutenant General
Solomon "Rex Nhongo" Mujuru has given Mugabe a week to abandon his plans to
stand again in 2008 or face a coup d'etat.
The ultimatum was sent a week before Zanu (PF)'s crucial meeting taking
place today in Harare, with almost 70 percent of the former freedom fighters
agreeing with Mujuru that the time for Mugabe to go has come.
Tension is high between Mugabe and the faction after the aging tyrant's
recent criticism of Mujuru's presidential ambitions and accusations of her
using "sinister" means to get to the throne angered senior faction members.
It is for that reason sources say enraged members pressurized the vice
president to resign.
Mujuru and her husband recently met South African vice president, Pumuzile
Mlambo-Ngucka, for talks, which informed sources said were centred on "the
need to remove Mugabe for the good of not only Zimbabwe, but also the
region,  and securing support for Mujuru's campaign".
"The deputy presidents also touched on the worsening economic situation, the
need to return to democracy and open up Zanu (PF)'s succession debate
without victimising those with differing views," said an impeccable CIO
Retired defence forces commander, Vitalis Zvinavashe, and the current
commander, General Constantine Chiwenga, are believed to be backing Mujuru.
But, raising fears of a civil war, it is understood that commanders of the
army and airforce, Philip Sibanda, and Perence Shiri, as well as police
commissioner Augustine Chihuri, support Mugabe.
"Mujuru and Zvinavashe would like to see Zimbabwe's isolation coming to an
end with all the sanctions imposed against the country lifted. They feel
Zimbabweans have suffered more than enough and now need to return to
freedom, democracy and the rule of law," said a central committee member
from Matabeleland.
The other contender for the throne, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has remained
ominously silent throughout all this. Leader of the minority MDC faction,
Arthur Mutambara, said last week he would not risk splitting the vote by
standing against Morgan Tsvangirai in the presidential elections.
Meanwhile, for the first time, SADC leaders are meeting urgently in Dar es
Salaam to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis. It is unsure whether Mugabe, fighting
for his political survival in politburo and central committee meetings this
week, will attend the SADC summit.

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Rigging, divide and rule tactics exposed

The Zimbabwean


Although not officially the candidate for Zanu (PF), President Robert Mugabe
last week launched his 2008 presidential election campaign at an illegal
rally attended by thousands of members of the party's women's and youth
leagues, bussed into the capital from around the country.
Meanwhile, Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC, who is likely to be his
main rival, has been denied the right to address meetings because of the
blanket ban by police on all political activity in Harare.
Police in other areas, where there is no official ban, have been refusing to
allow MDC to hold meetings - effectively hamstringing the opposition from
communicating with its membership.
With the elections due in less than 12 months, it is already clear that the
playing field will not be level. Other plans to rig the election in Mugabe's
favour are already underway, as we report this week.
In the face of vicious brutality and naked threats of more violence from
Mugabe and his henchmen, the MDC has bravely scheduled another rally for
Chitungwiza this weekend.
We commend the leader of the Mutambara faction of the MDC, Arthur Mutambara,
for seeing through the divide and rule tactics of Zanu (PF) when the Police
offered to lift the ban on rallies to allow him to address a meeting in
Chitungwiza while denying the same right to Tsvangirai. This is the kind of
statesmanship we have been looking for.
We also applaud Botswana members of parliament who called on their
government to take active steps, such as closing their embassy in Harare, to
convey their disgust at the appalling behaviour of the Mugabe regime.
Unfortunately this noble suggestion was not implemented - as stated in our
editorial last week.
We call on the international community, and our southern African neighbours
in particular, to stand with Zimbabweans in their hour of need, and to
consider this practical option as a demonstration of support for all those
whose lives have been ruined by the aging dictator. Failure to take such
practical action sends the signal that they support tyranny.
How the British can help
As behind-the-scenes efforts to cajole Zimbabwean politicians to resolve the
country's crisis eventually gather steam, Britain in particular has a
wonderful opportunity to make a practical, meaningful contribution to the
sustainable success of a new Zimbabwe.
It is no secret that the majority of skilled and professional Zimbabweans -
hundreds of thousands of them - fled to the UK when things began to go
rotten at home.
Many of these have been forced by the British system into menial labour and
a life of hide-and-seek with the authorities.
They are anxious to return home when things settle and will be desperately
needed in the new Zimbabwe. We therefore call on the British government to
implement a temporary amnesty, say for the next six months, allowing them
all to work here legally. This will enable them to earn enough money to pay
their passage home and to have something to show for their years of exile
and to make a new start - re-building the shattered economy. Without this,
many who would want to return will be unable to.

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Interim authority needed to oversee regime change

The Zimbabwean

'Government has to concede that there is a political crisis'
Zimbabwe's deep political crisis has assumed a violent and dangerous
character. The recent arrest and torture of opposition and civic leaders,
the cold-blooded murder of an unarmed civic activist by the police and the
violent reaction to repression by the residents of Harare, have heightened
tension in the country.
Internal squabbles rocking Zanu (PF), public anger resulting from brutal
repression and economic hardships as well as international pressure point to
the scale of the problem and the urgent need to resolve it.
As a starting point, government has to concede that there is a political
crisis causing instability. Blaming someone else for the crisis will not
help the situation.
We propose the following logical steps that would lead to the resolution of
the problem:
1.The convening of an all-stakeholders' conference to hammer out a permanent
solution. The stakeholders would include representatives of government,
political parties, civil society, churches, labour, business, youth and
women. A foreigner would be the best arbiter.
2.The stakeholders should agree on the composition and establishment of an
interim authority to oversee the country's transition from dictatorship to
democracy - at most one year.
3.During this period, the interim authority would scrap all draconian pieces
of legislation such as POSA and AIPPA, as well as disband the notorious
youth militias, in order to create a conducive environment for all political
players to participate freely in an election campaign. At the same time, the
authority would draft a new democratic constitution.
4.It would conduct general and presidential elections under the auspices of
the United Nations, African Union and SADC. The elections would be based on
the SADC principles and standards of holding democratic, free and fair
elections. In that regard, the current electoral laws should be amended to
meet the SADC principles and standards, including the establishment of an
independent electoral commission.
5.It would invite international observers and journalists to witness the
election process in order to give it legitimacy. There would also be local
observers, monitors and journalists.
6.It would then hand over power to a legitimately elected government which
would be guided by (and respect) the new democratic constitution.
The new government would face the daunting challenge of entrenching
democracy and peace, rebuilding the battered economy and resuscitating
collapsed social services. Zimbabwe would then rejoin the international
community of nations, with all the rights, benefits and privileges accruing
from that opportunity.
- ZLP is  a non-partisan, non-governmental organization formed by genuine
war veterans. We envisage a Zimbabwe that upholds universally accepted norms
and principles of democracy, good governance and fundamental human rights,
and values peace.

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Cosatu to support stay away

The Zimbabwean

THE Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has reaffirmed its
support for the people of Zimbabwe in their struggle for democracy and human
"We want to see a much stronger statement coming from the government of
South Africa condemning the vicious attacks on political opponents of the
Zanu (PF) regime," Patrick Craven, Cosatu spokesperson, said in an interview
with CAJ News.
Cosatu condemned Zimbabwe's brutal treatment of opposition leaders and gave
their full support to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and their
planned stay away scheduled for 3 and 04 April 2007.
 "We will be organising solidarity actions in South Africa on those days,"
he added. - CAJ News

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The Zimbabwean Letters

Roll of Shame will ensure justice is done
EDITOR - I wish to congratulate you for launching the Roll of Shame. This is
just excellent! All Zimbabweans must be invited to write to The Zimbabwean
giving as much detail as possible on any perpetration of injustice by
For the time when the Wheels of Justice start turning once more in Zimbabwe
... I urge all people concerned to gather evidence... even if it is multiple
eyewitness accounts, or anything that will help in securing conviction and
ensuring that these culprits do time for their brutalities.
These people need to know that their time is going to come and whatever they
do today will catch up with them tomorrow. This might help in bringing
sensibility and accountability back into some thick heads!
Like they say "... if you dance with crocodiles you need to be ready for
whatever happens when the music stops!"
Meanwhile, as Robert Mugabe (soon to be Accused Number 1) must be secretly
going through his plans A, B and C ... he must certainly be weighing various
destinations as options for his flight into exile. This he must be doing
We know he is senile and severely challenged when it comes to a whole
variety of managerial capabilities, as his unnecessarily long tenure at the
helm of the Zimbabwe government amply demonstrates ... but it would only be
an absolute idiot, oaf or lunatic of the lowest order who in
similar circumstances would not be looking at destination options for exile.
If he does have the presence of mind (which is extremely doubtful, all
things considered) to be weighing these options, I wish to warn him to take
South Africa off his list.
We are aware that Thabo Mbeki has been supporting him consciously or
otherwise ... but anyone with an ounce of intelligence and reasonableness
will get to the same logical conclusion that 'Quiet Diplomacy" amounts to
explicit complicity on the part of South Africa.
We wish to let the Dictator know that  in South Africa although he might
have a friend in Thabo Mbeki he has a myriad of enemies here! Its not only
people like me who not only contributed to the war of 'liberation' in subtle
and direct ways but who now see Mugabe for the trash and filth that he is!
Just think of it ... the man used to be our hero!
Then there are all those many bitter victims of Gukurahundi in Matabeleland,
victims of the more recent Murambatsvina and  what more, there is a higher
concentration of Rhodies and those forcefully displaced white farmers here
than you would find anywhere else in the world!
I am not saying you don't come to South Africa but if you do ... don't
sleep! Keep your lecherous old eyes open 24/7/365! You hear that?

We have seen this
brutal evil in the past
EDITOR - Should the events of the last 15 days come as a surprise? By their
horror and depraved nature they do - they disgust us and our revulsion is
heightened by the fact that the orders for brutalisation and
institutionalised terror flow from the pens and orders of those who are, or
were at one time, entrusted with the welfare of the common man and woman.
Their names are as well known to us as their acts of betrayal to the nation
and, indeed, their oaths of office. But ... we have seen brittle integrity
and treachery and evil in the past.
The thuggery at the Sunday prayer rally was quite horrible but was it not
the spawn of history from Regina Mundi, St Paul's Musami, Elim Mission,
Olive Tree Farm, and the 11 who prayed  outside ZRP Central in Bulawayo?
The witness of men and women of vocation and the countless people of
goodwill standing against the darkest powers will always draw the most
poisonous of venom from a totalitarian, guilty and godless state. The
current shootings, the savage and wanton acts of grossest depravity, are
replays of a brutal past ... it has happened before.
Yet there is a sickening new dimension.
 Is it normal for the powers of State to take pot shots at mourners offering
condolences at the home of a deceased? Does it happen elsewhere?
 Does the venality of Chief Kandaya, demanding four head of cattle before
the burial of Gift Tandare in ancestral ground, not reveal the depth to
which evil has penetrated in the land? Is this not yet another instance of
violated trusteeship?
Surely the theft of the body of Gift Tandare under false pretences by agents
of the State from an undertaker must be one of the grossest violations of
family intention, human sanctity and the dignity of the dead? Am I wrong?
Tandare's burial order was hastily altered after the CIO officers said that
they had orders from the President's Office to remove the body 'as quickly
as possible'.
The injury and insult to the mourning family, bewildered in grief and sorrow
with their wounds deepened by the forceful abduction of a loved father's
remains, could only rise from a State plot hatched in the depths of hell.
Just how would one feel, placed as they now are?
Burial and disposal of the unknown, in unmarked surroundings guarded by the
forces of the enemy and evil, calls to mind the dumping of corpses in the
shafts of Antelope Mine.
But that was Gakurahundi and it happened before ... of course.
But is not the final irony that so-called 'state assisted funeral' (see the
Herald)? Does it not make the ultimate confession ... for the present and
for the past?
IAN, Bulawayo

Why are NGOs silent
over beaten women?
EDITOR - After the shocking reports emerging out of the continuing
government crackdown on opposition party activists, there is one very silent
Two women were beaten senseless inside police cells and then, later, as they
were leaving for treatment in South Africa, they were detained, returned to
a Zimbabwean hospital and put under police guard. I haven't heard or seen
one statement by any of the many, many well-funded, high- profile women's
NGOs about this violence.
Meanwhile, in the hallowed halls of Parliament, the President has agreed to
sign the new domestic violence bill. Is it okay for police to beat women as
long as they are not beating their wives?
Where are the women's organisations to speak up about this appalling
violence perpetrated by the state against women?  Are these NGOs, many of
them Western funded, collaborators with Zanu (PF), or what?
SCOTT, Bulawayo

Trough feeders will rue
expulsion of diplomats
EDITOR - Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi wants to boot out
Western diplomats who know too much about civilized norms and the depth of
rot, incompetence, evil and corruption in the regime.
Going with the expelled Western diplomats will also be all donor aid.
Certain nations occasionally 'pseudo protest' after being re-awakened to the
abuses perpetrated by the regime.
Firstly, they have to discover that SA President Thabo Mbeki's endless
support for the evil regime is founded on the fact that this fellow
'liberation struggler' has the same anti-Western, Stone Age, racist
renaissance agenda as his hero Robert Gabriel Mugabe, whom he reveres,
emulates, envies and fears so much.
Secondly, they should know that one of the biggest sources of foreign
currency in Zimbabwe is from aid and donors.
Thirdly, hundreds of millions of US dollars in aid from the West is pouring
into South Africa and Zimbabwe where, still unknown to these woolly-minded
donors, most ends up in the pockets of enabled ANC or Zanu (PF) comrades.
Fourthly, most intelligent people know that aid monies go through the Zanu
(PF) Reserve Bank money laundromat, where incoming foreign exchange is
converted for the donors' 'benefit' at the official exchange rate. After
that, the forex is exploited by the enabled heroes, who buy it at the same
official rate. They then immediately sell it at the parallel rate, and then
go back again and buy more cheap forex!
The transaction profit is not hard to figure out. Results of this
manipulation can readily be seen by the brazen exposure of instant wealth by
suitably loyal Zanu (PF) and banking insiders.
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi may find himself a wanted man, for a lynching by his
comrades, when he has blown away the donor aid forex loot-trough from under
their nuzzling snouts when the Westerners are expelled.
KEVIN BLUNT, Bloemfontein, RSA

Attacks on leaders are
human-rights violations
EDITOR - History has taught us that oppressive regimes become more virulent
as their grip on power and moral standing become more tenuous.
A typical life in Zimbabwe today is 'poor, nasty, brutish and short'. The
current criminalization and humiliation of the opposition leadership,
particularly those from the Movement for Democratic Change, by President
Robert Mugabe is reminiscent of the early years of independence when PF Zapu
and its leader (the late Vice President Dr Joshua Nkomo) were systematically
suppressed, brutalized and emasculated.
The ongoing barbaric, state-sanctioned terrorism and repression on political
and civic leaders in Zimbabwe is a flagrant, gross human-rights violation
even under the discredited Zimbabwe Constitution. The unleashing of thugs by
the State is the highest act of madness by 'revolutionaries' who have gone
 President Robert Mugabe was quoted by Zambia's Daily Mail in May 2006,
threatening MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, saying any effort to force him out
of power would be 'dicing with death'. Subsequently the police banned street
marches and prayer meetings planned by churches to mark the plight of
thousands left homeless by Operation Murambatswina.
Mugabe is swimming against the tide of history and will be remembered as a
liberator who became an oppressor.

Why better deal for
Mutambara faction?
EDITOR - The following comments are my personal views and do not represent
the MDC party led by the founding father and the best qualified to be called
President of Zimbabwe Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.
1. Why were Mutambara and Job Sikhala never assaulted by the Zvimba Rural
Area regime of Baba Chatunga?
2. Statistics indicate that 99% of MDC members nursing injuries and those
killed belong to the MDC action led by President Morgan Tsvangirai.
3. Does it mean that Mutambara and Sikhala were the only two brave
individuals who were ready to join President Tsvangirai and the Save
Zimbabwe Campaign prayer warriors at the Zim grounds?
4. If the answer to number 3. is yes, then where were the lot from Mutambara
and Ncube's faction?
Maybe Mugabe deliberately and intentionally wanted to create a rift between
the two factions, so that he may have time to mend his party's internal
conflicts while we suspect each other of working with his regime?
Next time, gentleman, if we say 'Go' it means going, not backwards, because
it's now time to identify oneself to the electorate, in order to free
MR THUNDER, MDC Harare Provincial Youth Secretary for Policy and Research

High fees negate
right to education
EDITOR - What is the logic behind the stipulation of exorbitant tuition fees
at tertiary institutions?
Many students are finding it difficult to live up to the financial
expectations of these fraudulent, corrupt and inefficient
state-indoctrinated academic systems.
It is high time the students revolt and claim their indispensable right to
It's surprising that these once-vibrant academic Hellenising centres are
fast been transformed into retail black markets, where education is sold.
Something needs be done.
Thumbs up to Zinasu.
FARMADE, by email.

Power of prayer
could save country
EDITOR - In World War II, while Hitler was brutally taking over the world,
there was an advisor to Churchill who organised a group of people who
dropped what they were doing every night at a prescribed time for just one
minute to collectively pray for the safety of Britain, its people and for
peace. Things were drastically changed and, well . the rest is history.
God is the answer, and prayer is the only way for Zimbabwe!
In view of the current state of affairs in Zimbabwe, we are organising a
daily one-minute prayer time at 8am or 1pm or 8pm. At any of these times,
please stop whatever you are doing and spend that one minute praying for God
to intervene in the affairs of our country.
Someone once said if Christians really understood the full extent of the
power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.
Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have. Together we can make a
If you know any other Christian brother and sister who would like to
participate in this powerful exercise, please pass this on. Thank you.
PTV, Zimbabwe

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Lessons from recent events

The Zimbabwean

John Makumbe
The events of the past few weeks hold significant lessons for all of us in
this country and further a-field. For the two factions of the MDC, perhaps
one of the most important lessons is that unity is not only necessary but
also possible. There is much to be gained by the two factions coming
together and fighting the real enemy of the people of Zimbabwe, Robert
Mugabe and his fractious Zanu (PF) party.
It must be obvious to the Members of Parliament in the Mutambara faction
that, come 2008, they are likely to lose their seats in the House of
Assembly if they do not rejoin the Tsvangirai faction well before the
elections. This is a cold and hard fact and the sooner they rejoin the main
MDC the better for everyone.
The second lesson is that the people of Zimbabwe are ready able and willing
to resist the dictatorial Mugabe regime. All that the people need is a
strong and courageous leadership and effective mobilisation. It also became
very clear that a lot of work still needs to be undertaken among the law
enforcement agents in order to make them behave themselves in a manner that
is appropriate in the handling of the masses of Zimbabwe.
This calls for sustained efforts aimed at influencing the mentality of the
police, the army and the CIO so that these forces are made to realise that
their support for the despotic regime does not have to translate into
brutality against the already suffering people.
Further, recent events clearly demonstrated that the regime is far from
being invincible. In fact, it is highly vulnerable to pressure, and will
panic at even the most peaceful demonstration of dissatisfaction by the
people. This weakness must be exploited to the full, and the regime must be
made to spend huge amounts of scarce resources to maintain itself in power.
Eventually, the resources will run out and the despot will have to run for
cover. Time is always on the people's side. After three weeks of public
confrontation it is clear that what is needed is a sustained series of acts
of resistance throughout the country, instead of one major event in one
locality and nothing after that.
Progressive forces throughout Zimbabwe need to plan a series of activities
aimed at resisting the diabolical dictator spanning a period of not less
than three months at a time. Such activities need to be well coordinated so
that they can effectively strain the regime for a sustained period.
While these resistance activities are in progress, efforts to dialogue with
representatives of the regime need to be pursued at all possible levels of
the Zimbabwe body politic. It is not likely that mass public demonstrations
alone will succeed in getting the dictator conceding defeat and running out
of the country into Namibia or to Malaysia.
Rather, the mass action will be instrumental in softening the authoritarian
regime and making it more willing to negotiate for the peaceful resolution
of the crisis.
The next few weeks are going to be crucial for the determination of the
direction this national resistance will take. This is going to be one
exciting year in Zimbabwe, even though there will be a price to pay for our
freedom. Freedom is not free, neither is it cheap. Thank God, many
Zimbabweans are willing to pay the price for this nation's freedom. There is
no alternative to regime change.

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What to do next?

The Zimbabwean

As the Mugabe regime staggers to its end, leaving the economy in tatters,
economist NORMAN REYNOLDS proposes a revolutionary scheme to set the country
on its feet again.
'How can aid be provided that will not be drained away by corruption?'
The current danger is that Zimbabweans do not see, and thus do not agree, on
what to do next. Neither Africa nor the international community have any
real idea either. Lies by Mugabe have resulted in the World Food Program
having no funds to rescue millions of Zimbabweans from imminent starvation.
The main opposition party has yet to fashion a recovery program that can
attract both local and international support. The only possible MDC/Zanu
(PF) joint activity is to re-write the Constitution and hold fresh elections
that Zanu (PF) can only lose.
Archbishop Tutu and, a while back, a senior member of South Africa's ANC,
Cyril Ramaphosa, have stated that South Africa should intervene in Zimbabwe.
Neither made clear how.
The international community will have to pour large amounts of money into
Zimbabwe, if only as humanitarian aid. At least US$1 billion is required now
for the urgent importation of grains and cereals. And another US$1 billion
is required for fuels, medicines etc.
Over the next five years the total bill for 'relief' is likely to come to at
least US$10 billion. Add another US$10 billion for economic and social
recovery. What terms should be set for the use of US$20 billion?
How can aid be provided that will not be drained away by corruption? This is
the key question and opportunity regarding Zimbabwe's recovery. South Africa
can play a lead role in this effort, and in so doing can restore the promise
of NEPAD and of the AU as directly interesting to all Africans.
It has the opportunity to create a "failed state" program based on
international trusteeship. Such a plan already exists in South Africa,
approved by the government.
It is called the "Sustainable Community Investment Programme" (SCIP). SCIP
is the first programme that fully acknowledges and acts upon the 'dual'
economy. It seeks to balance global with local, to provide all communities,
particularly the long marginalized township and rural areas, with the basic
right to live in a "Working Local Economy". Citizens are invited to organise
in registered Community Trusts and to receive a set of Social and Economic
Rights with Budgets so that they can take charge of their lives, be
responsible and competent partners of government and of business and,
together, raise the pathetic local income multiplier (local cash
circulation) some three times or more.
Thus they grow the economy and government expenditure is largely recouped by
tax. The SCIP model, citizens and local/national economy first, is a model
for all of Africa and for the growing 'backward areas' of the developed
world. It is immediately suited to Zimbabwe's grave crisis.
Any recovery program must be built upon the quick realization of individual
and community economic and social rights. People must be treated as
competent immediately, not after prolonged "training" or "management".
The plan must give them the financial means and the right to make their own
economic decisions, to look after themselves and their families, and to
contribute to their communities.
The Plan
Here is an outline of the plan that a colleague and I put together in 2003,
at the request and with the agreement of the Zimbabwe Country Team led by
the United Nations. It stands in stark contrast to the usual IMF
macroeconomic stabilization program, based on controlling deficits and the
balance of payments. And it builds democracy and stability by action, not
just the request for 'talks'.
1.All foreign aid is to go into a special foreign exchange account in the
Zimbabwe Reserve Bank, without exception.
2.The equivalent in local currency would be transferred as needed into a
Zimbabwe Economic and Social Rights Trust, controlled by persons appointed
by the UN/AU/SADC.
3.A customized foreign exchange system would be implemented under UN
supervision. The Economic and Social Rights Trust would use the inflow of
foreign aid to provide, as SCIP proposes in South Africa, "Child", "Health"
and "Investment Rights" to all citizens who register and act together under
Community Trusts formed at the village, neighbourhood, and street levels.
4."Child Rights" would be set at R300 equivalent per child per month up to
18 years of age. The monthly inflow of funds would be used first to buy
locally produced food for daily child feeding. This creates a very large new
agricultural industry run by the poor. The payments for the food goes 30% to
pay the school fee until paid off each term, 10% to the Community Trust, and
the balance to the parent/local supplier. In this way, the publicly provided
money would circulate locally three to four times, activating and rewarding
local economic production and building community cohesion and common
5."Health Rights", some R120 per month per person, place responsibility for
health, and the means to act (water, sanitation, food, immunisation,
economic activity and participation) within community. This allows citizens
to confront the causes of illness, to plan, with official and skilled
support, how to achieve 'health' as a community outcome, and to thus avoid
the deep hole of today's floundering public health service that is swamped
by illness with little ability to secure health.
6."Investment Rights," worth R1,500 per adult per year for four years, would
be paid to each Community Trust per registered resident adult. These funds
would be used jointly at the local level to build or restore community
productive capacity such as community gardens, irrigation, improved grazing
and woodland, rental housing and other infrastructure, and to finance
individual crop production, food processing etc.
Next week Dr Reynolds looks at the Impact of the Plan.

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JAG Open Letter Forum No 479

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

JAG Hotlines:
+263 (011) 610 073 If you are in trouble or need advice,
 please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!
+263 (04) 799 410 Office Lines


Letter 1 -  Peter Davidson

Dear JAG,

I see that JR is at it again. As they say in OZ, good on ya cobber. This
zanupf oppression has clearly affected the thinking and reactions of some
people. In this instance, N Kirk has taken offence demanding that JR keeps
his opinions to himself. I have no idea who JL is but he has every right to
communicate through this medium, as has anyone else. That's democracy!! If
it offends N Kirk, TOO BAD. I would strongly suggest that N.Kirk argues the
point with intelligence instead of being so hostile. There are plenty of
armchair warriors out there on the internet and Zimbabwe needs them right
now. No doubt, JR's short time in OZ has enabled him to see what real
democracy is all about and I'm quite sure that most of us share the common
hope that the same overlay of democracy that OZ has will one day cover our
own homeland. Unless one has lived in a real democracy, one really has no
idea about what it means. In particular - tolerance of others opinions, even
if they are at variance to yours.

Best regards to JAG - you are doing a fantastic job!!

Peter Davidson


Letter 2 - Johanna Schermuly, UK

Reply to letter 4 - Ann Hein

Hi there, JAG

I was not going to reply to anything in particular, but then read Ann's
letter again. I can understand how you feel, Ann, in your shoes would
probably feel the same way. I find your comments unfair though. Taking the
'gap' as you put it is not that straight forward; it takes a lot of
deliberation, heartache, to some extent guilt and specially courage to
venture into the unknown. And a lot of hard work. We have fortunately made
it in the UK, but would say it is not my favourite place to be.  I am a fan
of Cathy Buckle and read her weekly letters without fail. We have moved on
but still keep close touch with people and events in Zim.

Please don't underestimate what people feel or go through when they decide
to leave, you will only know if you have to go through it yourself. You
would be a stronger person for it. I wish you all the best.

Johanna Schermuly, UK


Letter 3 - Veronica Scott

 Dear JAG

"J" said:  those "who have never worked the land ... have therefore lost
nothing under Mugabes regime".

Surely you can't be serious?  How dare you surmise that the only victims in
this fiasco have been farmers!  Or are farmers the only ones who qualify as
real people in your eyes?   I had thought attitudes such as yours had left
with the last ship to Australia; sadly I am wrong.

Clive Midlane's statements about the so-called 'lucky ones' has caused quite
a stir, and I'm afraid to say your statement puts you in the same category
as him.  The glaring difference being, at least he had the courage to sign
his name.

Veronica Scott

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

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