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

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Ruling party wins crucial by-election
HARARE, 29 Mar 2004 (IRIN) - The ruling ZANU-PF has reclaimed the Zengeza
constituency in Chitungwiza, 35 km southeast of Zimbabwe's capital Harare,
in a weekend by-election marred by violence that left one person dead and
several wounded.

ZANU-PF won 8,442 votes while the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) scooped 6,704. The result is significant as the ruling party was
defeated in all major urban settlements in the 2000 parliamentary poll.

However, MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said violence and intimidation
affected the outcome of the ballot.

"The results of the Zengeza by-election do not surprise us in view of the
gross intimidation, violence and the callous murder of our member," he said.

An MDC statement said the deceased was Francis Chinozvinya, "an MDC youth
who was shot in the chest [on Sunday morning] at the home of the MDC
candidate, James Makore, in Zengeza", when a mob allegedly raided Makore's

According to the party, another MDC youth, Arthur Gunzvenzve, was shot in
the leg, while 10 others were also injured in the fracas.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), an NGO which had observers on
the ground during the by-election, said it had received confirmation from a
local hospital that one person was fatally shot and two others were injured.

In another incident, the MDC candidate "fired three warning shots into the
air to disperse a rowdy mob of suspected ZANU-PF supporters who were
descending on him" at a polling station, ZESN reported.

Police declined to comment on the shooting, referring all questions to the
Electoral Supervisory Commission's spokesman, Thomas Bvuma.

"What we have been able to establish is that there were clashes near a
polling station and there are allegations that somebody died after being
shot," Bvuma told IRIN.

The Zengeza parliamentary seat became vacant last year when the incumbent,
MDC legislator Tafadzwa Musekiwa, fled the country for the United Kingdom
saying he feared for his life.

During the 2000 parliamentary elections, the MDC won 14,814 votes in
Zengeza - while ZANU-PF scored just 5,330 votes.

As a result of its observations during the weekend by-election, ZESN
proposed a number of measures, including the establishment of an independent
electoral commission.

It noted that intimidation and campaigning was evident at polling stations.
"The 100-metre radius curtailing political activity is not adequate, as
supporters were openly campaigning and intimidating rivals in front of
police officers," ZESN said.
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The Scotsman

3:42pm (UK)
Death, Violence and Intimidation Dominate Election


Violence, intimidation, vote buying and rigging marked a weekend by-election
in Zimbabwe, independent observers reported today.

Onlookers alleged a government minister fired shots that killed one
opposition supporter and injured two others in a clash in the Zengeza voting
district south of Harare, the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network

The network said its observers did not see the shooting but heard the
gunfire and questioned witnesses afterward.

In a second incident opposition Movement for Democratic Change candidate
James Makore fired three warning shots into the air to disperse what he
called a "rowdy mob descending on him" near a polling station.

At least 50 people were injured in clashes between rival groups, hospital
officials said.

The poll was called after opposition MP Tafadzwa Musekiwa fled to Britain,
claiming he was the victim of politically motivated assaults and death

The result was not available this afternoon.

The by-election was a crucial test of opposition support in its urban
strongholds ahead of a general election next March.

Dr Reginald Matchaba-Hove, head of the Election Support Network, said
observers reported irregularities and intimidation across the district.

"Free and fair elections can only take place in a tolerant political
environment," he said.

He said ruling party militants camped outside polling stations and took down
the names of voters. Observers saw two women accused of voting for the
opposition being assaulted and heavily armed troops and police were deployed
in the district to instil fear in voters.

"It is also worrisome that law enforcement agents are mentioned among the
perpetrators of violence," the network said.

It said ruling party militants moved around the district in large numbers,
hindering campaigning. Most opposition meetings and rallies were cancelled
their posters torn down and replaced by ruling party ones.

A voting instruction poster showed voters how to cast their ballots by
placing their cross in the ruling party's column.

Along with a few elderly and infirm voters were "a large number youths"
requesting assistance from polling officers to cast their vote because they
were either illiterate, sick or had "blurred vision or unsteady hands," the
network said.

The Election Support Network said it was allowed to deploy only 23
independent poll observers, half the number it had proposed.

The opposition controls 54 of the 120 elected parliament seats. President
Robert Mugabe appoints 30 other MPs.

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Zengeza 'Free Clinic' for Zanu PF Supporters

Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)

March 28, 2004
Posted to the web March 29, 2004

Following the establishment by the government of the so-called "free clinic"
in Chitungwiza last week, our reporter Valentine Maponga last week paid a
visit to the clinic posing as a sick and desperate Zengeza youth.

Below is his eyewitness account of the untold story behind the facility:

TWO men are pushing a wheelbarrow with a sick old woman in her late sixties
as we arrive at the clinic.

Seconds later the old woman quietly joins the slowly moving queue. She has a
broken leg which is in plaster and is visibly in pain.

All the other women in the queue look quite composed but what is baffling is
that each of them is holding tightly to small pieces of white paper.

We try to figure out what could be the purpose of the pieces of paper at
this medical facility: perhaps the only government-run free clinic in

The clinic, part of a single-story green building at Zengeza 3 shopping
centre - popularly known as Kugomba by locals - was opened by Christopher
Chigumba, the Chitungwiza businessman who is the candidate of the ruling
Zanu PF party in the by-election which ends today.

Chigumba declared that the clinic would offer free service to all people in
Zengeza regardless of their political affiliation.

"It is not just Zanu PF supporters who are going to benefit from the
programme but every Zimbabwean will be treated for no charge," boasted
Chigumba at a rally that was attended by war veterans, ex-detainees and Zanu
PF youths.

Before long, we are distracted by the suffering woman in the plaster who we
see leaving the clinic without being attended to.

It appears there has been some misunderstanding between her and a woman at
the clinic's reception area.

I forget about her plight as my turn arrives to be attended to.

I walk straight to the small desk where the young woman looks up at me and
says: "Can I help you? Where is your letter from the ward chairman? You are
not serious, I don't think you are sick," she says, brushing me away. This
is before I have even explained my supposed ailment to her.

Perplexed by her behaviour, I inquire from others milling outside why she is
chasing me away from the free clinic that is supposed to attend to any
Zimbabwean regardless of their political affiliation, according to Chigumba.

One man, realising that I am not in picture, politely tells me that I need
to produce a letter from the Zanu PF chairperson at a base in Takawira
Street in order for the nurses to attend to me.

"That is the form of payment you have to produce," says the middle-aged man.

These letters, I learn, are obtained at Zanu PF campaign bases dotted around
the constituency which has witnessed serious campaigning between the ruling
party and the opposition MDC.

It was now clear to me why the ailing woman in the plaster was turned away.

Despite all the pretensions from the likes of Chigumba, only Zanu PF
supporters are attended to at the clinic which was formerly a surgery
belonging to one Dr S Mvurume.

As if the admonition of the lady at the reception was not enough, a giant
poster of Chigumba stares right back at me.

Some of the patients on the queue show me their letters from Takawira
Street. The letters, addressed "to whom it may concern", directs clinic
staff to offer unreservedly any assistance to holders as they are approved
Zanu PF party supporters.

Everything becomes clear: the so-called free clinic in Zengeza is a campaign
tool being used by the ruling party to lure desperate and sick people to
vote for Chigumba.

James Makore, Movement for Democratic Change candidate who is standing
against Chigumba, said he knew all along that the clinic was set up for
campaigning purposes.

"There is no free clinic here It's only a party clinic," said Makore,
adding: "This is clear vote buying."
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Enough is Enough



We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!


Sokwanele highlights

29 March 2004

Report on the National Day of Prayer in Zimbabwe, 27 March 2004.

The CIO or state security agents – the dreaded agents of Mugabe’s tyrannical rule – swept through the grounds of St Mary’s Cathedral, Bulawayo, early in the morning. Before 8.00 am a small contingent of riot police had taken up position outside the Cathedral to keep a close watch on those arriving early for the prayer service, scheduled for 10.00 am.    The plans for this service had been long in the making and the CIO who have ears and eyes everywhere in this police state, had obviously heard from their informers and were going to take no chances with a gathering – albeit for worship – which from their point of view was of subversive intent.  Already they had detained for questioning a civic leader who was one of a small group responsible for planning the service, and charged him on three counts under the notorious Public Order and Security Act.  The atmosphere was tense therefore as worshippers began to arrive at St Mary’s.  The intimidating presence of the riot police and the sure knowledge that the CIO were watching every move cast a shadow over the bright new day.


“Deliver us from evil” was the theme of the day for prayer that was to be celebrated with major ecumenical services in both Bulawayo and Harare.  The evil, or evils, from which Zimbabwean Christians are seeking deliverance, appear in many different guises but most would agree that the common factor underlying all is the vicious and utterly corrupt rule of a regime that no longer commands respect or has any moral or spiritual legitimacy.  The intercessions offered up in the Cathedral were to include prayers for deliverance from the politics of violence and hatred, from the threat of starvation, from corrupt and self-serving rulers, from the laws that rob people of their freedom and dignity, and above all from the fear that paralyses the victims.  Also included were prayers for an end to the pernicious evil of the youth militia programme, recently featured in the BBC Panorama programme.


The service began promptly at 10.00, the large Cathedral filling steadily both before and after the appointed hour, as is custom in Africa.  Well over a thousand worshippers packed in despite the intimidating presence of the riot police on the pavement outside and the sure knowledge that many plain-clothed CIO men were present in the congregation. Indeed their presence was acknowledged in the proceedings and special prayers offered for their spiritual enlightenment.  The beautiful harmonies of the African choirs soon filled the sanctuary and helped worshippers to focus rather on the comforting and strengthening presence of the sovereign God than the signs of disorder around them. 


A tremendous source of encouragement to worshippers was the presence of a number of regional church leaders who had flown in to Bulawayo from South Africa and Zambia just to stand in solidarity with God’s people in their time of need.  Bishops from the Anglican Church and the Pentecostal tradition, Catholic priests and others shared in leading the prayers alongside their Zimbabwean counter-parts.  From their own parishes and their own people they brought messages of hope, support and encouragement to the suffering people of Zimbabwe - reminding them how the God of justice and truth had miraculously delivered South Africa from the grip of a tyranny no less evil in 1994. 


The contribution of one particularly courageous and outspoken man of God, Archbishop Pius Ncube, was recognised in the service and he was honoured for two international human rights awards bestowed upon him in 2003 – awards which many Zimbabweans were not even aware of due to the silencing of the free press and the totally biased reporting in the state media.  The congregation rose spontaneously to applaud the man who has received many death threats, yet continues to speak the truth fearlessly. 


Civic society was also represented in the service and their contribution towards a free and democratic Zimbabwe was celebrated. In a moving ceremony representative human rights’ activists, a lawyer, a doctor and a reporter lit candles around the central Amnesty Candle.  They were honoured as representing the many who have played a leading role in the struggle for freedom, at great cost, not before independence but rather in the years since (1980 – 2004). 


The service ended on a high note with the huge assembly joining hands – black and white, Ndebele and Shona, activists and collaborators – to pray the Kingdom prayer taught by Jesus:  “Deliver us from evil, for yours is the Kingdom !”


(It is estimated that some 2000 people attended the prayer service in Harare which passed off peacefully without any overt intimidation or harassment from the police)


Christians Together for Justice and Peace






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MDC Press Release
29 March, 2004

Justice denied.

 The results of the Zengeza by-election do not surprise us in the view of
the gross intimidation, violence and the callous murder of Francis
Chinozvima. We are mourning his death, which symbolises the further decay of
the democratic processes in Zimbabwe.

 We again note with concern the continuing closure of all democratic space
and the closure of all avenues to a peaceful solution to the social,
economic and political crisis in our beloved country. Zimbabweans will not
accept forever that the universal values of justice, democracy and rule of
law enjoyed by the rest of the world are denied to us.

 To the people of Zengeza, we make a solemn pledge that the hurt they are
experiencing will be assuaged at the next election.

 Paul Themba Nyathi
Secretary for Information and Publicity
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Zanu-PF fires 'warning shot' at MDC

      March 29 2004 at 06:54PM

Harare - Ruling party Zanu-PF on Monday won a local by-election that
independent observers said was marred by violence, intimidation, vote buying
and rigging.

The parliamentary by-election in the Zengeza voting district south of the
capital was won by ruling party representative Christopher Chigumbo with 8
447 votes to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change's James Makore
who got 6 706 votes.

"We are elated with the results." state radio reported ruling party
spokesperson Winston Zhau saying. "It is a clear indication Zanu-PF is back
in the urban centres. It is a warning shot to the MDC ahead of next years
parliamentary elections," he said.

But independent observers said the two days of voting and the electioneering
period leading up to it was far from free and fair.

      'It is a warning shot to the MDC'
Onlookers alleged that a government minister fired the shots that killed one
opposition supporter and injured two others south of Harare, the independent
Zimbabwe Election Support Network said.

The network said its observers did not see the shooting but heard the
gunfire and questioned witnesses afterward.

In a second incident, opposition party candidate Makore fired three warning
shots into the air to disperse what he called a "rowdy mob descending on
him" near a polling station.

At least 50 people were injured in clashes between rival groups, hospital
officials said.

The poll in the Zengeza district town of Chitungwiza, 30km south of Harare,
was called after opposition lawmaker Tafadzwa Musekiwa fled into
self-imposed exile in Britain, claiming he was the victim of politically
motivated assaults and death threats.

      'Free and fair elections can only take place in a tolerant political
The by-election was a crucial test of opposition support in its urban
strongholds ahead of national parliament elections next March.

Reginald Matchaba-Hove, head of the Election Support Network, said observers
reported irregularities and intimidation across the Zengeza voting district.

"Free and fair elections can only take place in a tolerant political
environment," he said.

He said ruling party militants were camped outside polling stations and took
down the names of voters. Observers saw two women accused of voting for the
opposition being assaulted and heavily armed troops, and police were
deployed in the district to instill fear in voters.

"It is also worrisome that law enforcement agents are mentioned among the
perpetrators of violence," the network said.

It said ruling party militants moved around the district in large numbers,
hindering campaigning. Most opposition meetings and rallies were canceled,
their posters torn down and replaced by ruling party ones.

A voting instruction poster showed voters how to cast their ballots by
placing their cross in the ruling party's column.

Along with a few elderly and infirm voters were "a large number youths"
requesting assistance from polling officers to cast their vote because they
were either illiterate, sick or had "blurred vision or unsteady hands," the
network said.

The Election Support Network said it was allowed to deploy only 23
independent poll observers, half the number it had proposed.

State radio said Monday that 15 388 votes were cast at 11 polling stations
in the two days of polling - a 32 percent turnout of registered voters.

In the last Zengeza poll in 2000, 46 percent of voters cast their ballots,
giving the opposition three times as many votes as the ruling party.

The opposition controls 54 of the 120 elected parliament seats. President
Robert Mugabe appoints 30 other lawmakers. - Sapa-AP
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Daily News

      Double Act: Fighting International Terrorism & Violating Citizens

      Date:29-Mar, 2004

      Since the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York and on the
Pentagon in Washington DC on 11 September 2001, 'terrorism' has become a
global buzz word. It has instilled fear in ordinary citizens and prompted
governments to institute legal mechanisms for the protection against real or
perceived terrorist threats. The recent bomb attacks in Madrid, in which
about 200 train commuters were killed, fuel this fear, both among the
citizenry and the lawmakers. In Spain, the anger and fear of voters were
enough to change the outcome of what was considered a cut-and-dried
election: the incumbents lost as voters placed their hopes on a new
government to protect them from further attacks by changing their government
's policy.

      Many countries have instituted legal mechanisms under the pretext of
counter-terrorism. Some of these have been legitimate, while others have
blatantly flouted civil liberties, both according to their own national as
well as international legal norms and standards. These past few years have
been a fragile, even dangerous time for human rights. Some governments have
managed, for a time, to convince their citizens that these can and perhaps
even must, be sacrificed in the interests of protecting the greater good
against terrorist threat. But the mood is changing and ordinary citizens are
waking up to the reality of the consequences of giving in to this view.
Human rights, once surrendered, are not often easily regained.

      Zimbabwe, too, has jumped on the 'anti-terrorism bandwagon'. Just over
two weeks ago, 70 alleged mercenaries were arrested at Harare airport and
detained. According to various news reports, the men had allegedly stopped
in Zimbabwe en route from South Africa to Equatorial Guinea to pick up arms
purchased in Zimbabwe for use in a coup d'etat in Equatorial Guinea.
Initially, the charges against the men ranged from conspiracy to murder
Equatorial Guinea's President Obiang, to illegally buying weapons, to
violating Zimbabwe's immigration laws. Over the weekend, the men have also
been charged with violating specific United Nations resolutions pertaining
to 'international terrorism'. The men now face a total of six charges and
were awaiting officially being charged either in open court or, as the
Zimbabwean government wants, in the high-security prison where the men are
being kept. The men, most of them South Africans, claim they were on their
way to the Democratic Republic of Congo to guard a mine.

      It is a messy case. In a statement, the African Union hailed Zimbabwe,
along with the government of South Africa, for their successful efforts in
averting 'the attempted invasion of Equatorial Guinea by mercenaries'. In a
similar vein, South Africa's Intelligence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said at
the weekend the fact that the combined intelligence and security services of
South Africa, Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea had stopped a coup in its
tracks should make it clear that an era had passed. 'It should fill each one
of us here with pride that our efforts are bearing fruit, that our efforts
are heralding a new identity for Africa, an identity of stability,' she

      Meanwhile, as the 70 detainees await formal charge in Zimbabwe, about
15 of their alleged colleagues are being detained under harsh conditions in
Equatorial Guinea. Following the alleged coup attempt, Equatorial Guinea has
further taken the step to kick out every South African working in the
country, along with citizens of several other African nations. Newspapers
reported alleged beatings and rapes by Equatorial Guinea Security forces
preceding the deportations.

      As all of this was taking place, the 180-member African Parliament
(representing the 36 countries that have signed the protocol establishing
the assembly) was officially inaugurated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The
African Union also plans to establish a human rights court.

      Later in the week, the members of the African Peace and Security
Council (APSC) were named. The five three-year seats will be occupied by
representatives of Algeria, Ethiopia, Gabon, Nigeria and South Africa (10
seats with two-year terms were also appointed). While the Parliament will
initially remain quite toothless, the launching of the APSC is significant.
Like its UN counterpart, it will have to deal with the issue of terrorism.

      One of the difficulties most countries have faced in trying to draft
anti-terrorism legislation - and a difficulty the APSC will no doubt have to
grapple with - is agreeing on a definition of who is a terrorist. The issues
surrounding terrorism legislations were debated by the IBA's Task Force on
Terrorism - the findings are available at the IBA Website
Many of the African liberation movements were labelled 'terrorist
organisations' by the colonial governments they fought against. Nelson
Mandela was branded a terrorist by the apartheid government. Today he is
revered in South Africa, including by white South Africans, as the symbol
for reconciliation and the architect of the country's peaceful transition.

      No one is likely to argue that these 70 men sitting in Harare's
high-security prison are Mandelas in the making. Whether or not they were
indeed planning to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea, many of
them have proven track records as mercenaries. Nonetheless, these men have
rights protected by international law. Zimbabwe cannot claim jurisdiction
for most of the charges they face.

      It is also somewhat ironic that Zimbabwe has charged these men with
violations of UN resolutions, when it emerged last week, during the start of
the UN Commission on Human Rights' 60th session in Switzerland, that
Zimbabwe is among 25 countries that have not ratified conventions and
agreements of the Commission.

      But, even if it has not ratified UN human rights resolutions,
Zimbabwe, a member of the African Union, would do well to recall the AU's
Decision on the Elaboration of a Code of Conduct on Terrorism (December
2003): '...(T)oday it is imperative to establish a Code of Conduct geared
towards combating terrorism and promoting humanitarian and moral values
based on solidarity, tolerance and the rejection of any form of
discrimination, injustice, extremism and hatred as well as fostering mutual
respect for the sovereignty of States.' Zimbabwe cannot, therefore, occupy
the moral high ground by charging alleged mercenaries for an alleged coup
attempt in another country under the guise of fighting 'international
terrorism', while the human rights of its very own citizens are being
violated and intolerance and injustice are the order of the day within its
boundaries. It is both morally and legally unjustifiable for a government to
take up the banner of the fight against international terrorism, while
violating basic human and civil rights of its own citizens.

        .. This column is provided by the International Bar Association. An
organisation that represents the Law Societies and Bar Associations around
the world, and works to uphold the rule of law. For further information,
visit the website

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ZESA Pays Dearly for Third-Party Electricity

Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)

March 28, 2004
Posted to the web March 29, 2004

Kumbirai Mafunda

THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) is paying dearly for
failing to settle debts with major power suppliers by sourcing electricity
from third parties at exorbitant tariffs, it emerged last week.

Authorities from the electricity concern told a hearing convened by the
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, Industry and
International Trade that ZESA is struggling to pay off its regional
suppliers owing to a biting foreign currency crunch.

These include Eskom of South Africa, Snel of the Democratic Republic of the
Congo and Mozambique's Hydroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB).

The failure to repay the debts and settle arrears resulted in power supplies
to Harare being cut off in December.

The three suppliers had a bilateral agreement with ZESA under which they
could supply power up-front and ZESA would pay later.

However, owing to continued default payments, the regional suppliers are now
demanding pre-payment.

HCB, for example, is now selling excess power to Eskom, Namibia's NamPower
and Botswana Power who in turn are exporting to ZESA under an auction

Due to its failure to make advance payments to Eskom, ZESA is now
participating on the short-term energy market through competitive bidding
where it ends up paying exorbitant electricity tariffs.

ZESA imports 35% of its electricity requirements from the region and
generates the other 65% locally.

HCB, which is owed US$30 million for power supplies by ZESA, has asked the
company to make full debt payments before the resumption of normal power

"We have lost a minimum of 350 megawatts to other competitors. It is being
given to other suppliers who don't need it to sell to us at high tariffs,"
said Obert Nyatanga, ZESA's general manager for corporate affairs.

Nyatanga said although alternative suppliers from Botswana had agreed to
give credit to ZESA, the power supplier was failing to meet the credit terms
and hence are paying heavily.

"We are heavily indebted right up to December," said Nyatanga.

Zimbabwe faces a total power blackout in four years when regional power
supplies begin to dwindle according to the Southern African Power Pool

The shrinkage in power supplies will stop or dramatically reduce imports
from the regional utilities that have so far provided a lifeline to
Zimbabwe, which is in economic decline.
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Violence may settle cricket row

Denis Campbell and Kamal Ahmed
Sunday January 12, 2003
The Observer

England's controversial cricket World Cup match in Zimbabwe next month
looked set to be cancelled last night because of growing political violence
by supporters of Robert Mugabe's regime and worsening food riots.
As pressure grew on Tony Blair to make an 'unequivocal statement' on the
issue at his monthly press briefing tomorrow, the International Cricket
Council, the sport's global governing body, confirmed yesterday it would
move all six World Cup matches out of Zimbabwe if growing security problems
meant players' safety could not be guaranteed.

In a clear signal that they are prepared to pull out, the England players
last night underlined their opposition to Mugabe. 'The players and the
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are very much aware of the repressive
nature of the Mugabe regime, and are keen to help the Zimbabwean people and
Zimbabwe cricket,' said Richard Bevan of the Professional Cricketers'
Association, who has been centrally involved in the stand-off between the
Government and the ECB over whether England should fulfil their fixture.

Although the ECB will confirm on Tuesday its intention to fulfil England's
fixture in Harare on 13 February, spokesman John Read last night underlined
that 'if the situation in Zimbabwe deteriorates beyond an acceptable
situation, to the point where we and the ICC don't think it's safe to go,
and the safety of our players can't be confirmed, then we won't go.

'If things do deteriorate, we would put pressure on the ICC, and I'm sure
the ICC would then decide to move the games to South Africa.'

Yesterday, Charles Kennedy, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said the
Government had mishandled the situation and had sent out mixed messages.
'This has been mishandled,' he said. 'The Government has been very late in
expressing its view that the England team should not play in Zimbabwe. It
should have been deciding much earlier; instead mixed messages have sown
confusion. Sport and politics should not be mixed but occasionally it is
unavoidable - the appalling Mugabe regime will undoubtedly seek to exploit
this opportunity and that's unacceptable. England shouldn't play there.'
Kennedy said the ECB should be paid compensation by the Government for
having to pull out.

Backbench Labour MPs also voiced their concern. Tony Banks, the former
Sports Minister, said Blair should 'take the initiative' and contact other
countries to organise a boycott. 'The ECB aren't diplomats and shouldn't be
left to sort this out,' Banks said. 'England should only not play if the
other teams don't play.'

Mark Ford, the son of the Zimbabwean farmer who was brutally beaten before
being shot dead by groups loyal to Mugabe, has called on Blair to pull
England out of their match with Zimbabwe.

Ford said by playing in Zimbabwe England would be 'sending out the wrong
message to the world' about the country.

The ICC has set up a standing committee to monitor the security situation in
Zimbabwe in light of the problems being caused by its descent into famine.
Up to seven million Zimbabweans are now going hungry and there were food
riots last week in Harare and Bulawayo, where other World Cup games will be

Cricket insiders believe the move will lead to matches being transferred to
South Africa, which is hosting the bulk of the tourna ment, and act as a
face-saver for the Government and ECB. Officials are also worried the
matches themselves could become flashpoints as opposition groups plan to
stage demonstrations outside them.

Malcolm Gray, the ICC's president, said a fresh safety inspection team could
be dispatched to Zimbabwe if the situation deteriorated, and its findings
could lead to the games being moved. A previous visit in November declared
Zimbabwe safe, but violence has worsened since then.

Ministers have warned that the situation in Zimbabwe is expected to worsen
in the coming weeks. There is also concern that a trial of three opposition
leaders due to start on 3 February in Harare could lead to unrest.

· Additional reporting: Tom de Castella
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Paul Strang accuses ZCU of wanting 'puppets'

Wisden Cricinfo staff

March 29, 2004

Less than 48 hours after it was revealed that Bryan Strang had been banned
from playing domestic cricket by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), it has
emerged that Paul, his older brother, has also been overlooked by his
provincial side in rather strange circumstances.

Paul Strang played 24 Tests and 95 one-dayers for Zimbabwe between 1994 and
2001. Although Manicaland gave no reason for his being dropped last season,
he has little doubt what was behind their decision.

"I wasn't given a reason, but when I was head of the players' association I
had been very vocal about various aspects of the game I believed to be
wrong, including the quotas system," he told BBC Sport. "It seems you have
to be a 'yes man' and be a puppet on a string to play for the ZCU. They
don't seem to apply the normal parameters for selection, but use other
things than a player's statistics."

Former Zimbabwe fast bowler Henry Olonga, who now lives in the UK after
fleeing his homeland following his black-armband protest during last year's
World Cup, agreed with Strang's view. "According to the ZCU, they are an
apolitical organisation, but the way they deal with any players who have
shown any form of dissent is not consistent with that," he explained to BBC
Sport. "I made my comments and I got censured. All sorts of things happened
to me after I took my stance. Many players who have had the freedom to speak
their minds about what's happened in Zimbabwe very often find themselves

The Zimbabwe Cricket Union has declined to comment on the situation
regarding the Strangs.

© Wisden Cricinfo Ltd
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MDC lawmaker arrested
29/03/2004 19:48  - (SA)

Harare - An opposition lawmaker in Zimbabwe has been arrested and charged
with attempted murder after he fired shots to disperse ruling party
supporters during a tense weekend by-election, his lawyer said on Monday.

Alec Muchadehama said Bennie Tumbare-Mutasa, a Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) lawmaker for the town of Chitungwiza, south of the capital
Harare, was arrested on Sunday and charged with attempted murder.

"He's now facing two counts of attempted murder or alternatively unlawfully
discharging a firearm," said Muchadehama.

Muchadehama said his client could be "lawfully excused" for firing three
shots into the air on Sunday after his vehicle allegedly came under attack
from militant supporters of President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF).

A two-day weekend poll pitting the ruling party against the opposition in
Chitungwiza was marred by violent clashes between opposition and ruling
party supporters, which culminated in the shooting dead of an opposition
supporter on Sunday.

No arrests have been made in connection with that shooting, which allegedly
took place after ruling party supporters raided the opposition party's
campaign centre in the town.
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'Drivers to Blame for Alarming Rate of Accidents'

The Herald (Harare)

March 29, 2004
Posted to the web March 29, 2004


Zimbabweans are continuing to kill each other on the roads in ever
increasing numbers.

The latest police figures show 2 146 people were killed in road accidents
nationwide between January and September last year compared to 1 659 during
the same period in 2002, representing an increase of 22,6 percent.

And the overwhelming majority of these fatalities were the result of human
error, people just driving badly or wrongly.

Assistant Inspector Blessmore Chishaka of the press and public relations
section at Police General Headquarters said last Friday there was an upward
trend in the number of accidents.

There were 58 804 reported road accidents nationwide last year that injured
26 804 people compared to 46 470 reported accidents that injured 21 275 the
previous year. All accidents that result in injury or death must be reported
although others, such as bumping your own car against a wall, do not have to

Harare and Bulawayo provinces accounted for most of the accidents and this
is because of the large volume of traffic in the two cities.

A total of 407 people were killed in road accidents in Harare last year
compared to 247 in 2002.

In Bulawayo the number of people that were killed in accidents rose to 129
last year from 84 the previous year.

Asst Inspector Chishaka said while there were several causes of road
accidents such as road and climatic conditions, the major one was human

"A rundown of some of these human errors supported by statistical data will
show what we mean by saying that drivers are to blame for the alarming rate
of road accidents and the consequential injuries and deaths that follow," he

Asst Inspector Chishaka said 1 119 motorists were arrested last year for
negligent driving compared to 2 232 the previous year.

The most common cases of negligent driving included travelling at excessive
speed, cutting corners, failing to keep the vehicle under control, driving
under the influence of alcohol and failing to sound the horn.

There was a need, Asst Inspector Chishaka said, for drivers to change their
attitudes if road accidents were to be curbed.

The country's roads have become death traps and recently three Caps United
players and two supporters were killed in a road accident that occurred at
Manyame River bridge near Norton.
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The Herald

International tribunal to probe Paradza sworn in

Herald Reporter
A three-member international tribunal comprising prominent Supreme Court
judges from Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania to look into allegations of
misconduct levelled against suspended High Court judge, Justice Benjamin
Paradza, was sworn in by President Mugabe at State House yesterday.

Justice Dennis Kamoni Chirwa of Zambia chairs the tribunal and would be
assisted by Justice Isaac Mtambo from Malawi and Justice John Mroso from

The tribunal was appointed in terms of Section 87 of the Constitution of
Zimbabwe as read with Section 5 of the Commission of Inquiry Act.

The investigation of Justice Paradza stems from an incident that occurred
allegedly outside the court system when he allegedly tried to influence his
Bulawayo colleagues - Justices Mafios Cheda, George Chiweshe and Lawrence
Kamocha - to release the passport of Russell Labuschagne, his business
partner in a safari hunting business.

The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Cde Patrick
Chinamasa, said the charges against Justice Paradza arose from an incident
where he allegedly tried to influence the variance of bail conditions to
Labuschagne, who was facing murder charges.

Labuschagne's passport had been held by the High Court under bail
conditions. He was later sentenced to an effective 15-year jail term for
murdering a fisherman he had found poaching fish.

Cde Chinamasa said Government could only take action against a judge after
recommendations from a properly constituted tribunal.

"The tribunal will make recommendations to the President on its findings,"
he said.

The findings would determine whether Justice Paradza would remain a member
of the High Court bench.

Cde Chinamasa said the inquiry is expected to take up to three weeks.

Members of the tribunal were drawn from the Southern African Development
Community region because they are conversant with the country's legal

The tribunal's terms of reference include conducting an inquiry into whether
Justice Paradza's conduct constitutes misbehaviour in terms of subsection
(1) of Section 87 of the Constitution, and to investigate the nature and
extent of his interest in Circle G (Pvt) Ltd and Black Rhinos Safaris (Pvt)
Ltd and their affairs.

It will also investigate the relationship between Mr Paradza and
Labuschagne, the nature and extent of Mr Paradza's involvement in the
handling of Labuschagne's application for the variation of his bail
conditions in January 2003 and the nature and details of the discussions
between Mr Paradza and Justices Cheda, Chiweshe and Kamocha in relation to
the allegations.

The tribunal will also look into the involvement of Ralph Nkomo, Diro Anand
and Charles Mabisa in the case.

Allegations against Mr Paradza arose between January 15 and 23 last year
after he allegedly asked Justices Cheda, Kamocha and Chiweshe to release a
passport belonging to Labuschagne who was facing murder charges.

Mr Paradza allegedly said he risked losing $3,5 million if Labuschagne was
not given his passport to travel to Europe.

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The Herald

New firm set to improve fuel supply

Herald Reporter
THE Petroleum Marketers' Association (PMA) yesterday expressed optimism that
the setting up of the Special Purpose Vehicle Company would see an
improvement in the supply of fuel.

The association expressed hope that the company, registered last week, would
be given preferential treatment at the foreign currency auction floors,
thereby making it easier for it to purchase fuel from outside the country.

PMA spokesperson Mr Masimba Kambarami said the problem with the current
situation was that different companies were bidding at different prices.

Some were successful while others were not, resulting in intermittent fuel

Fuel importers have blamed the lack of foreign currency for the fuel

The Special Purpose Vehicle Company would bid with one voice.

"The company will find the best possible offshore tender for the supply of
fuel, one that guarantees a low price. It will also negotiate for the best
foreign currency auction price here on behalf of all our members," he said.

All that individual companies would have to do is list their requirements.

Mr Kambarami said this would ensure that there was sanity in the pricing
system and would be more efficient.

Because individual companies were currently bidding at different prices and
buying fuel from different sources, the price of the commodity varied

A snap survey showed petrol prices as ranging between $2 900 and $3 500
while diesel was going for between $2 700 and $2 900 a litre.

Other players in the oil industry said they were surprised that the sector
was not given preference at the foreign currency auction floor.

They said when the foreign currency auction system was introduced at the
beginning of the year, they thought it would benefit the "critical" fuel
importation sector.

While they had been given permission by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to bid
for enough currency, higher bidders were beating them to it.

"So we are caught between a rock and a hard place because we cannot get the
currency and if or when we do get it from other sources besides the auction
floor and bring in the fuel, we are quizzed about its origins.

The only way to save the day for the country is if we act as one. Even
prices will be more or less the same to the public and we will not have
problems buying the fuel," said a source who spoke on condition of

Fuel supplies continued to be erratic throughout the weekend and yesterday,
with long queues at all filling stations with supplies.

This forced some commuter omnibus operators to pull their fleet off the road
as they went in search of fuel.

As a result, commuters from areas like Mabvuku and Tafara found it difficult
to get transport to work yesterday.

The situation was said to be worse in small towns like Marondera, where
there were hardly any supplies.

Motorists said if the situation did not improve, they would have a bleak
Easter holiday.

Fuel problems resurfaced in the country last week due to a lack of foreign
currency to buy the commodity from outside the country.

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Clerics Join Forces Against Hunger and Violence

Wilson Johwa

BULAWAYO, Mar 29 (IPS) - "Deliver us from evil", a simple prayer from the
Book of Matthew in the New Testament - yet one that resonated powerfully in
Zimbabwe this weekend.

Shaking off interdenominational differences, church officials and members
met in two cities on Saturday (Mar. 27) to intercede against hunger,
poverty, corruption and HIV/AIDS.

They also prayed for peace and reconciliation in Zimbabwe, which has been
wracked by political violence since 2000. Clerics from neighbouring South
Africa, Botswana and Zambia were on hand to lend support at the meetings,
held in the capital - Harare - and Zimbabwe's second-largest city of

The gatherings kicked off amidst reports of violence in Zengeza, just
outside Harare, where residents were casting ballots in a two-day
by-election. By the end of the weekend, the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) said at least one of its supporters had been killed
by youths from the ruling ZANU-PF party - while several others were injured.

"Each time I come to this nation, there is only one word that comes to me:
pain...pain...pain...," said Reverend Emmanuel Buthelezi from the South
African port city of Durban. "So we have come to pray with you...One day, we
'll overcome."

Pastor Raymond Motsi of the Bulawayo Baptist Church told IPS that the
Saturday service, to date the biggest of its kind, was the start of a
continuing programme "to gather momentum and mobilize people" as part of
Gandhi-style peaceful protests. (Mahatma Ghandi, who led the struggle for
independence in India, achieved global renown for his passive resistance to
colonial rule.)

"We have found that ZANU-PF is a military machine that's armed to the
teeth," explained Motsi, adding "We have to deal with them in a powerful,
but peaceful, way."

Zimbabwean authorities have enacted a number of laws which appear designed
to muzzle government critics. These include the Public Order and Security
Act (POSA) which restricts public gatherings - and makes it an offence to
issue statements that could be viewed as undermining the authority of the

Motsi says since civic organisations are being denied a platform for their
concerns, the church has stepped in. For the time being, state security
agents do not appear to have jurisdiction within church premises under POSA.

Although government has systematically acted against its critics, Motsi says
he doesn't fear that the church will be next in the firing line - providing
it continues "to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves", he added,
quoting from Matthew.

Still, two days before the prayer meeting plainclothes policemen armed with
a search warrant raided the offices of Bulawayo Agenda, a pressure group.
Seeking clues about the upcoming prayer meeting, they confiscated books,
letters, documents and 16 video recordings of the organisation's public

The officers returned later to arrest the group's 23-year-old administrator.
She was only released when Bulawayo Agenda's coordinator, Gorden Moyo,
turned himself in. Moyo was detained for 12 hours before the prayer meeting
where he and four other civic leaders were honoured for services to the

Police also went to the offices of a community radio station that is pushing
for independent broadcasters to be allowed to operate in Zimbabwe. They took
documents from the offices, including invitations to an upcoming arts
festival, and interrogated two staff members.

The station's director, Father Nigel Johnson - a Jesuit priest - had been
arrested three months earlier for filming a music video. He was in South
Africa on business at the time of the search, but told IPS later that police
"seemed to be looking for printed stuff with regards to the prayer service".

Johnson said the officers might also have been looking for clues as to who
had assisted the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in filming a
documentary on the activities of Zimbabwe's controversial youth militia,
also known as "green bombers" because of their uniforms.

However, police claim the various searches and interrogations were justified
by the strongly-worded fliers which were distributed prior to the prayer
meeting in Bulawayo. These pamphlets, they say, made the meeting look like a
major political rally - likely to be proscribed under Zimbabwean law.

The Bulawayo gathering took place at the city's main Catholic church. The
head of the Catholic faith in Zimbabwe, Bishop Pius Ncube, is among the most
outspoken critics of President Robert Mugabe.

In his address, Ncube lamented that one in every five Zimbabweans had left
the country because of political and economic concerns, ".and there are
people who pretend things are normal. They are liars".

He added that in March alone, electricity bills had quadrupled in certain
instances, leading to a situation where people were living under bridges.
Infrastructure like sewage pipes and traffic lights was in disrepair.

Father Jerome Arones from Cape Town in South Africa, said the price of bread
had more than doubled since his last visit to Zimbabwe in September. "I
wonder how the ordinary man lives?" he asked.

The churches have resolved to open their doors every Wednesday afternoon for
further peace prayers.

The start of 2000 saw the occupation of white-owned farms in Zimbabwe by
blacks who were reported to be veterans of the country's war of
independence. Government's claim that the occupiers were acting without
state guidance has been hotly-disputed, with critics claiming the invasions
were part of a strategy to ensure a ZANU-PF victory in parliamentary

When the occupations first got underway, the majority of Zimbabwe's best
agricultural land was owned by minority whites - despite a number of
attempts by government to accelerate the process of land redistribution. The
country's struggle for independence was, to a significant extent, motivated
by racial disparities in land ownership.

The 2000 parliamentary poll and a subsequent presidential election in 2002
were characterized by political violence that mainly affected the MDC.

Zimbabwe's economy has also taken a battering in recent years, in part
because of the country's costly involvement in Congo-Kinshasa's civil war.
This allowed high-ranking Zimbabwean officials to benefit from resource
exploitation in the Congo.

Triple-digit inflation is now the order of the day, along with food and fuel
shortages. (END/2004)
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Nip Human Trafficking in the Bud

The Herald (Harare)

March 29, 2004
Posted to the web March 29, 2004

Hatred Zenenga

REPORTS of organised human trafficking and smuggling gangs in Zimbabwe are
disturbing and call for swift action to nip it in the bud before the problem
gets deeply rooted.

Scores of foreigners, mostly Asians of Pakistan origin have been smuggled
into the country, where they perceive huge opportunities to engage in
illicit activities.

Immigration officials and the police have managed to bust trafficking rings
involving nationals from Pakistan, Rwanda, Burundi and Somalia.

Evidence abounds in the country of the organised human trafficking rings
whose roots have been traced back to such countries as Pakistan.

One Pakistani arrested in Harare recently has allegedly confessed to have
paid US$500 to trafficking ring leaders after which he was taken to a lodge
in the capital city where he joined several others from Pakistan waiting to
get their papers "processed".Suspected Burundi and Somali human traffickers
have also been arrested for smuggling scores of foreigners into the country
using forged documents and charging their victims US$1 000. Some Congolese,
Ban-gladesh and Nigerian nationals are also under investigation.

Some of the illegal immigrants who have been caught in Zimbabwe were found
to be in transit to South Africa, where they believe it is easier to find
jobs and lead a better life.

Three Zimbabweans have been nabbed after being implicated in the racket for
processing fake work permits and travel documents of people that have been
smuggled into the country.

Human trafficking is probably the fastest growing area of crimes in the
world and the scourge, which is rampant in Europe, is now spreading fast in
Africa, eclipsing the more risky and now less lucrative drug trade.

The United Nations estimates that world-wide, gangs who are often one step
ahead of investigators, make US$7 billion annually from trafficking in
humans, and at least 700 000 people are smuggled from their home countries
each year.

But for the majority of the victims of human trafficking, promises of wealth
and better life often turn out to be modern-day slavery.

Young men and women are lured by agents who cash in on the dreams of the
poor to make it big in developed countries or African countries with
opportunities like Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana.

In Europe, the majority of the victims are women, who come from eastern
European countries such as Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, and Lithuania. However,
increasing numbers are also coming from Africa, Zimbabwe included.

According to the UN, women have been an easy target for the sex traffickers,
who make promises of well-paid jobs, marriage to well off gentlemen or an
artistic career in the art of exotic dancing, the preferred euphemism for

Once they get to their destination, they soon discover that they are in the
sex trade and their passports are confiscated. The women often work extra
hours to pay off debts and bills of expenses charged by the traffickers.
They are, in most instances reluctant to report the cases for fear of

In Europe, typical areas of work for victims of human trafficking include
domestic service, prostitution and forced labour in factories.

Russian trafficking victims working in the sex industry in Germany, for
example, reportedly earn US$7 500 monthly - of which the trafficker takes at
least US$7 000.

Zimbabwean immigration officials and the police said most of those arrested
without proper documents have been implicated in prostitution,
money-laundering and illegal foreign currency deals.

It has since emerged that foreigners are behind the mushrooming of brothels
in Harare's Avenues area, where strip-tease business has become popular with
most locals.

Illegal immigrants from such countries like Burundi, Rwanda and Somalia have
entered Zimbabwe through border jumping or under the guise of refugees
running away from civil wars.

Their voyage can chill all but the most desperate. For example, 26 Somalis
recently entered the country at Chirundu border post using fishing boats.
Others risk their lives in squalid and airless truck containers for days
trying to reach their destinations.

While immigration authorities and the police maybe acting to clampdown on
the sophisticated criminal networks of the traffickers, landlords, whose
properties have been used by the traffickers as bases or hideouts are paid
handsomely in hard foreign currencies and will not inform the authorities.

The lure of the scarce foreign currency and profits made in the illicit
activities also make it very possible for traffickers to buy police and
immigration. This also makes the crackdown more difficult.

Despite such hindrances, the authorities should intensify the war against
the human trafficking sharks, whose activities are not only a threat to the
socio-economic system of the country, but also to national security.

However, stiffer sentences for human traffickers, such as lengthy jail
terms, should have a deterrent effect.
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Journalists Denied UK Visas

Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)

March 28, 2004
Posted to the web March 29, 2004

IN an unprecedented move, British immigration authorities in Harare have
denied three senior Zimbabwean journalists business visas to the UK on
suspicion that they would not return upon arrival there, The Standard has

The journalists - who include a line editor from The Herald and two senior
editors from the Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard - were told by UK
visa officer Andrew Gerrad that he was not "satisfied" that they were
"genuinely seeking entry for the purpose and period as stated".

The journalists had been invited by British Airways as a routine trip to see
the current travel arrangements for Zimbabweans wanting to visit the UK. "I
have been to England on several occasions and I have never met such
treatment. It's unfair for them to say that I would desert my job and family
to go to UK," said one of the affected journalists.

The Zimbabwe National Editors' Forum (Zinef) said it was "appalled" by the
British embassy's decision to refuse visas for the three journalists.
"Although the three were invited separately, the embassy's entry clearance
office made gross generalisations about them that were both spurious and
prejudicial," said a statement from Zinef.

"No evidence whatsoever was supplied for the assumption that they would not
return to Zimbabwe. All three, to our knowledge, had every intention of
returning to this country. They have jobs and families here."

Efforts to contact the British Embassy for comment were fruitless.
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