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

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      Mugabe, not Blair, must make the first move

      3/4/2003 7:22:38 AM (GMT +2)

      IT HAS been said before: Zanu PF is full of contradictions.

      Not many analysts ever thought they would hear President Mugabe say he
was willing to be friends with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, not after
describing his cabinet as being full of "gay gangsters"and having some of
his praise singers call him a "Blair toilet".

      On his return from a visit to France and the Far East on Sunday,
Mugabe told his supporters at Harare International Airport that President
Jacques Chirac of France was willing to join presidents Thabo Mbeki and
Olusegun Obasanjo of South Africa and Nigeria, respectively, in helping mend
relations between Britain and Zimbabwe.

      Mugabe reportedly told Chirac that he did not discriminate against the
British, which many people, including Zimbabweans, find extremely difficult
to believe.

      He said he had told Chirac to remind Blair that Zimbabwe ceased to be
a British colony in 1980 and was willing to be friends with the British as
long as Britain understood
      Zimbabwe's position. It's hard to believe Chirac needs to be reminded
of these hard facts.

      Since the weekend, it seems Mugabe has adopted a conciliatory approach
to the impasse he brought about between this country and Britain by the
events of 2000 and 2002.

      On Saturday he reportedly said Blair had admitted to him, via Mbeki,
that Britain was wrong on the issue of land reform but had not found a way
of publicly conceding that.
      This was amazing, because Britain has never opposed the land reform
programme. It was the manner in which the exercise was being conducted that
Britain and the rest of the
      international community found repugnant.

      Farms were seized for the benefit of the Zanu PF leadership,
supporters and cronies. The genuinely landless people, who were supposed to
benefit from the exercise, were used as pawns in a game of political
intrigue. Once the land had been grabbed by Mugabe's close associates, they
were driven off by the party chiefs, quite often as abruptly as if the
government had not sanctioned their occupation of the farms in the first

      They have been led up the farm garden path and left in the lurch, so
to speak.
      This is the root cause of the disputes among the ruling Zanu PF
supporters, the war veterans and the party leaders, some of whom reportedly
grabbed more than one farm for themselves, contrary to the one-farmer,
one-farm policy being peddled by the government.

      The chaotic manner in which the exercise has been conducted is
responsible for the current hunger and starvation in the country,
notwithstanding the ravages of the drought.

      Farming activity was disrupted as farmers were driven off the land.
The so-called new farmers who replaced them could not get seed, fertiliser
and implements to continue where the old farmers had left off.

      The government, having outraged most donors with its ham-fisted
treatment of every dissenting political voice, failed to secure enough funds
to fulfil its promises to the new settlers.

      Government resources were plundered with impunity and the trend
continues. It is doubtful that the British government would have backed such

      The exercise cost so many lives; women and children were tortured and
violated, all in the name of land reform.

      It is the wanton destruction of life and property that the
international community could not condone, hence the smart sanctions imposed
on Mugabe, his family, government and close supporters.

      The call by South Africa and Nigeria for the Commonwealth, the
European Union and the rest of the international community to lift sanctions
against the Zanu PF leadership has no substance at all. The government has
done nothing to deserve such a reprieve.

      Farms are still being listed and farmers driven off the land. The
police have done nothing to restore the rule of law. Blair would have no
basis to change his mind now.

      It's Mugabe who must make the first move
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Alice though the looking glass
I guess this epitomises the crazy world we live in...the title The world according to Garp seems to ring true also.
There was a Dairyman of the Year presentation this week.  A dinner and a night out at the Meikles Hotel - a snip at only $46000 per night each, dinner $6000 each.  I made my usual protest.  I am not killing another cow so as to be able to afford this silly night out.  How can I go to a Dairyman dinner, when I can't get stockfeed for my cows.   When I can't do even the most elementary maintenance on my cows, cannot get calf para-typhoid to stop the babies dying, cant afford dry cow -if you can get it....  Why must I pretend that things are ok?  Who is even looking at the pretty picture I would be portraying?
We were in Harare though, a few errands, things which you can't get in Gweru, like badzas etc.  I even bought plants for my garden - haven't done that for a while! We drove past the presidents' houses - as I casually looked to my left, the sentry on guard flapped his bright pink tongue in and out at me.   Well, regardless of any insult, racism or anything else, what a way for a presidential sentry to behave!  I was too astounded to even do anything!
The idiocy continues - Kath has to get armed guards in to protect their crop in the ground.  People being shunted off their farms...and they go, meekly.  What has happened to them that they go so meekly?  I would want to have a bonfire, and be damned to it all.  Have a bonfire and run like hell!  The cricket carries on, and its good sport, in beautiful sunny weather, and we support it as if there is nothing wrong.  Its bizarre.  And the clergymen get arrested, bless them. 
But the queues for fuel go round the block,  The queues for bread seem to be permanent.  The queues for buses to the townships look as if those people will be there all night.  Why do they just stand there?  I just can't do it.  If I can't just buy it, I will have to go without.  Yes I have got loo-rolls, and salt and sugar and toothpaste stashed away, but NO, I'm not standing in a queue like a sheep.  I am still able to make my bread, it gives me a chance to choose whose neck I am wringing this time - oh such good therapy!  And I am even getting quite good at this bread thing.  But Kath and I bought two loaves each last week without a queue - what a good feeling it was, and I don't know how I stopped myself from gobbling the lot then and there!  When I was a little girl the bread used to get put on the back seat, with me, and I used to make holes in the end crust like a rat, oh, to do that again.
But after the rain I can at least look at the sunny day, and think how beautiful it is today.  There's cobs out there in the lands now, and we have to have patrols and guards just to keep it for the workers....what a pain.!  I don't know what happened to the cyclone that was supposed to come in-land, but guess we can survive without.
Have a nice weekend
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African Brotherhood: An Excuse for Despots to Rule

The Daily News (Harare)

March 4, 2003
Posted to the web March 4, 2003

Tanonoka Whande

AFRICAN brotherhood. A magnificent outrage! That's what I call it. What is
wrong with African leaders? No, it's not President Mugabe I'm talking about

Would you believe that in 1927, incumbent President Charles D B King of
Liberia won the presidency by 234 000 votes? Yes, only 234 000 votes
separated him from a determined challenger. That was too close for an
African president, wouldn't you say?

Well, King was "duly elected" President of Liberia. Oh, I forgot to mention
that the total number of registered voters was only 15 000. The African was
a genius after all! Better than our very own resident manufacturer, Tobaiwa
Mudede. King turned 15 000 eligible voters into 234 000 votes for himself.

The poor challenger seems to have unwittingly voted for his opponent
thousands of times over. Could Mudede have been in Liberia in the 1920s? But
that's Africa! Those are the kind of precocious presidents we have always

Is modern-day Africa's best the likes of Olusegun Obasanjo, Mugabe and Thabo
Mbeki? Is this the best this continent can produce? Why are African leaders
despots, oppressors, cruel, uncaring and why do they choose to live in their
respective Finance ministries instead of State Houses?

Why is there so much brutality used on Africans by Africans? Is it in our
genes that once we are rulers we are not happy with just oppressing our own
citizens but look around us to find, encourage and protect other African
leaders who brutalise their hapless citizens?

French President Jacques Chirac must have had nightmares staring into the
eyes of all those dictators amongst whom were murderers, adulterers,
sadists, polygamists, girl-snatchers and, yes, thieves.

Chirac knew but did not care about what some of these men did for Mugabe and
to us in Zimbabwe last year during a charade called presidential elections,
an odious election that Mugabe now impetuously uses to literally keep up

Chirac should also be aware of how faulty Obasanjo and Mbeki's entente
cordiale on Zimbabwe is. True to the norm of dictators mollycoddling each
other, Obasanjo and Mbeki can only hear Mugabe's complaints and mumblings
but not the screams from the millions of people in Zimbabwe.

African leaders' attitude towards last year's elections is not surprising.
It was the betrayal of a nation, but more importantly, it was the first
salvo fired in salute of the birth of the African Renaissance.

It was a luminous flare in the African skies to inform all and sundry that
no African president will fault another. Yes, it was the African
Renaissance, African dictatorship by a new name.

Now we know what this renaissance is all about. It was not by accident that
even the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) was launched in
South Africa by Mbeki having been bankrolled by a notorious dictator from up
north who is only African at his convenience but is otherwise an Arab
throughout the year.

Qaddafi can spot talent. He sees dictatorial potential in an individual and
cultivates it. Mbeki is part of the new breed of ineffective and
inexperienced youngsters who, as Moi said, "can be guided".

At its launch hardly a year ago, Mbeki announced that one of Nepad's aims is
to provide African solutions to African problems.

On 23 February, 2003, the French newspaper Le Monde reported that South
African President Thabo Mbeki had asked French President Jacques Chirac to
help resolve Zimbabwe's deepening political and economic crisis. Oh, dear!

But surely Chirac must have heard how the despots who were gathered around
his table recoiled when "good governance" was thrown into the political stew
called Nepad.

Chirac should proceed carefully; these despots mean business. Look what
havoc they are causing in the Commonwealth. But if Chirac wants the respect
of African leaders, he should start by killing several French citizens,
haunt opposition MPs and for good measure bring Le Pen to trial for

But closer to home, it must have taken tremendous soldierly courage for
General Vitalis Zvinavashe to momentarily forget his comrade-in-arms Mugabe
to acknowledge that we have a crisis in our country as of January 2003. He
surely must have been enjoying Rip Van Winkle's 20-year-long siesta. Who
woke Zvinavashe up, I wonder?

Zimbabweans acknowledged this quagmire years ago. At one time even Mugabe
fired his under-performing Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa after realising
that things were just not going well.

Zvinavashe should have made this acknowledgement years ago. Only last year,
Zimbabwean nationals recoiled in a pre-emptive defensive cringe when
Zvinavashe and his armed uniformed cowboys broke out of the cattle pens and
undermined the electoral process by intimidating the people through a
declaration of unwavering support for an unpopular incumbent who was heading
for an embarrassing defeat.

Now Zvinavashe is at it again. He was praised in editorials for his bold
admission that we have a crisis. I beg to differ. Zvinavashe does not
deserve any praise. He is part of the rot. Was it not his soldiers who shot
dead citizens demonstrating against high food prices several years ago?

Please, I am not being maddeningly elliptical but personally, I do not want
to see Zvinavashe's nose steaming the window panes on rooms in which the
people are electing a leader. Stay in the barracks, Vitalis! The people will
choose the leader, your boss, by themselves. You can vote like any other
civilian it is your right, but when you hold a news conference in full
military fatigues telling people that you can only accept a president you
were with in Mozambique then you are setting a dangerous precedent and
stripping the citizens of this country of their rights.

Now the heart of this matter is that those who fought to liberate this
country have failed dismally. You yourself acknowledge that. Our liberators
are now our oppressors. But our liberators do not want us to mention this.
When we do, your so-called war veterans beat us up, maim us and kill us.
This, I am sure, is part of the crisis you were talking about. Now that you
recognise the crisis caused by your kind, what are you going to do about it?

Press reports say you are part of a team that is trying to impose a leader
on us after sending your erstwhile colleague Mugabe into exile. No chance,
my friend! That is not going to happen again. We believed in you people once
and you not only betrayed us but killed some of our kin. Stay in the
barracks, Vitalis.

We are aware that you are manoeuvring to endear yourself to both the
citizenry and whoever is our next leader. You are now saying these things
because your friend is said to be negotiating for an exit package. Your
comrade-in-arms reportedly wants to leave. He doesn't like it here any more.

Didn't Mugabe know all along that when he turned tyrant, it was his own
freedom that he was destroying? You didn't say anything to him then. So why
now? I will accept Josiah Tungamirai and Solomon Mujuru's utterances because
they may be party loyalists but they are not civil servants any more. I
personally do not wish to see the army anywhere near civilian politics. This
country is not going to breed failures like Obasanjo, who is a far greater
and sadder disappointment than Mbeki, the African Renaissance man. Mbeki is
just Mbeki. He has no history by which his presidency can be measured
against, except his first term as president.

Mbeki's presidency so far has been a disaster to Africa in general and
Zimbabwe in particular. Even South Africa's Sunday Times says Mbeki is
unable to confront difficult issues.

(16 February, 2003). But Obasanjo is a one-time president of Nigeria having
used blazing guns to attain that post. The international community could not
praise him enough for "handing over power" to an elected government. He
became a darling and was appointed a member of the Eminent Persons Group,
troubleshooters in pre-independence South Africa. Obasanjo helped to get
Mbeki, among others, out of the abyss that was apartheid. Now he and Mbeki
have teamed up and formed their very own North-South axis, to make sure
Zimbabwe is kept oppressed with no food or hope of political plurality.

Obasanjo has proved beyond doubt that he is no democrat but just another
African reactionary who performs for his wallet and the paymasters
elsewhere. He has let us down. He has ruled Nigeria twice and yet can never
criticise the worst offenders on the continent. "If there are points to be
raised in Zimbabwe, like brothers we put ourselves into a room, we lock the
door" Obasanjo: Daily News, 10 February, 2003. Lord have mercy! The
"brothers" lock themselves in a room to shut out our screams! Talk about a
trade union of African despots! They do not like their people to be free.
Freedom is the ultimate empowerment and that is cause for concern to any
African leader. If people in a neighbouring country are free, they are a
threat to the despot in the adjoining country.

Similarly, Europe and the West do not like popular, strong Third World
leaders because they are difficult to control or influence. That is why our
dictators get support from them. What I have learned from history is that
nations watch while one nation cannibalises itself. It starts as a murder
here, a couple of murders there. At this stage the murderers are dubbed
"unknown assailants". We have seen it recently in Rwanda and Yugoslavia. The
world stands by as they did when famine hit Ethiopia and only jump into the
fray when corpses can no longer be ignored. Now public funds are being spent
bringing "war criminals to account for their actions".

Now picture this: While serving a term for "war crimes" the accused writes
this to a relative and he ends by saying, "Oh, there are things, you see,
for which one has to carry the blame, even if purely factually one might
find excuses; the intensity of the crime precludes any attempt at
self-justification" This accused, however, went on to accept only
"co-responsibility" but never "guilt". This is an excerpt from a letter
written by Albert Speer, Hitler's former Minister of Arrangements. He was
writing to his teenage daughter from Spandau Prison. Enough paranoia and
suspicion have been cultivated in our country to easily lead to our
self-destruction. How many people have to be killed in any country before
leaders recoil? And is Africa really hoping for a revival, a renaissance of
any sort when we produce presidents like Mbeki, Mugabe and Obasanjo? Look
what Mswati of Swaziland is doing in the name of African tradition. And then
there is the incongruous Sam Nujoma! Can any one of these men do anything
for their countries, let alone for Africa? Africa and its leaders! They are
a magnificent outrage, aren't they?
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Fox Sports

Cricket fans released from Zimbabwe jail

Associated Press
Mar. 5, 2003 3:17 a.m.
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP)- A court released 39 people arrested and jailed for
four days after protesting the Zimbabwe government at a World Cup cricket
match, their lawyer said.
But a woman who was also arrested at last Friday's match between Zimbabwe
and the Netherlands remains unaccounted for. Those held said they last saw
her wearing blood-stained clothing, said Tim Cherry, the group's lawyer.

Another woman had already been released for medical treatment.

There was no immediate police comment on the missing woman.

The magistrate's court in the western city of Bulawayo ordered the release
of the group but ordered them to reappear in court this month on charges
they violated severe new security laws that prohibit unauthorized political
protests and behavior likely to cause a breach of the peace.

Cherry said he planned to officially protest the conditions in which those
arrested were held.

Twenty-three of the group were held in a single cell designed for six
prisoners and were unable to sit or lie down. They were denied water and
food, until it was eventually brought to them by family members, he said.

The cell's toilet was broken so they had to use a bucket in its place.

Cherry said police were "totally uncooperative" when approached by lawyers
and family members seeking information on the status of the protesters.

On Friday the protesters waved banners critical of President Robert Mugabe
and called for a return to law and order in Zimbabwe.

Opponents of the World Cup matches in Zimbabwe argue the government has used
the tournament as propaganda to obscure its violations of democratic and
human rights and state orchestrated political violence.

The International Cricket Council, the sport's governing body, ruled
Zimbabwe could safely host its World Cup matches.

Five other protesters arrested at Zimbabwe's World Cup match against
Australia in Bulawayo on Feb. 24 said they had been beaten.

One of the five reported beatings to his back by a whip and baton, being
kicked in the ribs, severely slapped on the sides of his face and being
beaten on the top of his feet.

Another said he was beaten and had his toe crushed with police boots and
suffered multiple minor lesions and swelling from being beaten.

Faced with growing discontent and dissent, Mugabe's authoritarian regime has
been tightening control over the opposition and the media.

Independent human rights groups reported at least 200 deaths in politically
related violence since 2000 and thousands of cases of torture, unlawful
arrest, assaults and arson, mainly against opposition supporters. Few
alleged perpetrators have been arrested.

From ZWNEWS, 4 March

Names and injuries

The following are thought to have been among the 42 cricket protesters arrested after the Zimbabwe-Holland match on 28 February:

Rosalinda Ngwenya, Mvousi Moyo, Sithembile Ncube, Paul Dietrichsen, Sehlile Ncube, Sibonile Mhlanga, Kugele Moyo, Nqobizitha Ndlovu, Eugene Moyo, Zanele Ndlovu, Terry Alberry, Brian van Blerk, George Parkin, Monty Jenkinson, Kataza Ncube, John Klou, Sikulegile Moyo, Zanele Dube, Francisco Ndlovu, Billy Ndlovu, Pilani Ndlovu, Lovemore Gunda, Tedius Musara, Kindness Moyo, Bukosi Ndlovu, Rorisangi Sibanda, Kindness Ndlovu, Blessing Moyo, Blessing Ndlovu, A 15 year old girl, ? Malunga, Mtoko Nkomo, Trigger Nkhiza, Tembi Nkosi, Rosena Ngwenya, Sibonine Mhlanga, Sikhululekile Moyo, Benjamin Moyo, Gabriel Sibanda, Alfonso ?

The following is an excerpt from an affidavit taken from 5 cricket protesters, who were among 15 arrested during the Zimbabwe-Australia match in Bulawayo on 24 February, detailing injuries received at the hands of the police:

Reported symptoms and clinical findings:

SKN, aged18: He reported extensive beating to his back, with sjambok and baton. He further reported being kicked in the ribs and severely slapped on the sides of his face. He was beaten on the top of his feet. He had insomnia for two nights and was unable to go to school because he was in pain.

Clinical findings: Right ear: swelling below the ear, 3 cm by 4 cm; Back: right scapula: 2 cm by 2 mm hooked lesion, encrusted; Left scapula: discolouration and swelling, 4cm by 3 cm; Rest of rear torso: 6 linear markings, 5 –8 cm long, 2-3 mm wide; Front torso: diffuse tenderness over left rib cage; Right upper arm: linear lesion, 6cm by 4 mm; Left lower arm: below elbow on upper arm, encrusted linear lesion 3 cm by 3 mm; Left foot: 2 linear lesions on upper foot, both 5 cm by 2 mm. The interviewee appears anxious and unwell. He is reporting generalised pain. The report of assault and the clinical findings are consistent. The multiple minor lesions and areas of swelling are consistent with trauma caused by a blunt instrument.

FT, aged 18, aged 18: He reported being beaten with a blunt instrument in addition to punches and kicks on his upper body. Clinical findings: left upper arm: a lesion 3 cm by 2 mm consistent with blunt trauma within the previous 2 days; Swollen region on bicep, 2cm by 2 cm; Pain on palpitation. Interviewee appears restless and angry.

NN, aged 32: He reported being beaten on the top of his head with an instrument. He further reported beatings on his buttocks. Clinical findings: Head: 3 cm lesion on top of head, midline; Mild swelling on left buttock. Both consistent with blunt trauma injuries. Interviewee appears angry and wanting revenge for what he perceives to be unfair treatment.

NZ, aged 23: He reported general beating, and also having his toe crushed with police boots. Clinical findings: First toe on right foot; joint visibly swollen and movement inhibited. Consistent with blunt trauma injury. He is anxious and reticent.

SM, aged 21: He reported beatings to the head and buttocks with an instrument. He reported having a severe headache and also that he had insomnia the first night after his arrest because he was too bruised to sleep. Clinical findings: No visible markings. Interviewee appears restless and anxious and angry.

Conclusion: The clinical findings in 4 of the cases are consistent with the claims of blunt trauma assault. in one case there were no visible clinical findings. In all cases the interviewees showed agitation consistent with recent psychological trauma.

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A Dark Tunnel, Or The Great Wide Open?

The question is constantly asked: "Is there light at the end of the
 tunnel?" Everyone recognises that we're in the darkness in a perilous
state. The answer to the question regarding whether there is light at the
end or not is dependent on one factor: the questioner. To ask the question
the questioner clearly would like to be out of the tunnel; but what is the
questioner prepared to do about getting into the light?

History and experience teaches us that if people want a change of scene
they have to do something about it. It's no good waiting for the knight in
shinning armour because he simply does not show up. In the Eastern bloc
communist states the people waited for more that half a century for the
knight in shining armour to appear; but he never did. The people eventually
had to do the jobs themselves.

In Zimbabwe the time for waiting upon the UN, the EU, the US, or the
Commonwealth or (Ha! Ha!), the South African government is over.
Internally, who do we rely on to bring about openness into Zimbabwe?
1. The "free" press - they're doing a great job despite being hammered for
2. Civic Society and NGOs - the part that has joined Crisis Coalition is
fighting for openness. JAG is a small part of it. The coalition continues
to strengthen despite many getting hammered for it.
3. The Movement for Democratic Change - They are standing for openness
despite getting severely hammered for it.
4. The Courts - Many judges are still standing for justice openly with
their judgements despite getting hammered for it.
5. The Churches - More and more church leaders and their members are
realising that they have to stand for openness and justice because God is a
God of light not darkness. They are doing this despite getting hammered for
6. Students - Students are agitating for openness despite getting hammered
for it.
7. Sportsmen - Olonga and Flower openly wore their hearts on their sleeves
despite knowing that the ZCU and others would hammer them for it.
8. Cricket Spectators - Quite a few people openly stood for justice despite
knowing they would get hammered for it.
9. Even Policemen - There are a number of policemen now and members of the
armed forces trying to stand for openness and justice despite getting
hammered for it.
10. Other Civil Servants - Yes, more and more are realising that if they
want a future for their children they have to do something despite knowing
that they will get hammered for it.
11. YOU! - Sorry about that. You thought you could get away with it, didn't
you? It's nice relying on all those other people. But if YOU don't do your
bit within your own sphere of influence we will remain in the tunnel for
the next half century or for however long it takes for YOU to realise that
YOU have to do something about it. What can YOU do?

The only way to combat darkness is with light. When we're in a closed dark
society of patronage, victimisation and fear, its hard to break ourselves
out into the open, but if we don't come out of the tunnel ourselves
Zimbabwe is never going to come out of it.

It was only when "the people" in those Eastern bloc communist states
realised this that the regimes of darkness collapsed. "If we believe in a
open society," they said, "and we want an open society, we have to live as
though we are in an open society." It was only when they started to "live"
in the society that they believed in that their society became what they
believed it should be. They defied the great might of a thoroughly
organised and ruthless regime and toppled it with openness and light.

As an individual, each of you, especially you leaders, (because leadership
has to be by example,) need to decide: "do I want to live and do business
in the dark tunnel of despair; or would I prefer the great wide open?" if
you prefer the latter, you need to openly support individuals and
organisations standing for openness, justice and a future for all
Zimbabweans. JAG is just one such organisation. Your membership would be
greatly appreciated. Please call or email for further information on what
we stand for and how we are working towards a vision and a future for us
all. Don't put it off! We need you! You don't have to be a farmer or
ex-farmer to become a member.

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Zimbabwe unveils plan to revive failing economy
Tue March 4, 2003 03:06 PM ET
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE, March 4 (Reuters) - The Zimbabwean government unveiled a new
economic plan on Tuesday that it hoped would moderate a four-year recession
that has mired the country's economy in its worst crisis in decades.

Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa told journalists the plan included
incentives for key export sectors, including gold mining, tobacco and
horticultural farming, loan schemes for distressed companies and financial
support for new commercial farmers.

Zimbabwe's faltering economy is grappling with acute food, fuel and foreign
currency shortages. Inflation has soared to an all-time high of 208.1
percent, while more than two in three people are without jobs.

Critics, particularly Western nations, say the economy has suffered from
poor governance and that the country's once productive commercial farms have
been ruined by a programme of land redistribution from rich whites to poor

Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary Nicholas Ncube said that if all the
proposals in the economic revival programme were implemented Zimbabwe's
largely agriculture-based economy would contract at a lower rate of 7.8
percent this year than the previous government forecast of 10.3 percent.

"We estimate that what we are proposing to do will cut down the negative
growth rate to 7.8 percent...and that's a start, with the objective of
seeing positive growth rate in the coming years," Ncube said.

Murerwa said it was important for Zimbabwe to boost its foreign currency

He said the new National Economic Revival Programme, a product of input from
President Robert Mugabe's government, private industry and labour unions,
included an indirect devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar announced two weeks

Under the measure exporters can exchange the Zimbabwean dollar at a rate of
800 to the U.S. dollar, about half its black market value. The move was
welcomed by industry chiefs as a big step towards assisting the economy.

"We think that some of the measures that we are taking will improve the
health of the economy, and help us achieve the growth potential that we
need," Murerwa said.


Murerwa said Zimbabwe was hosting a routine annual International Monetary
Fund mission in Harare, and that the government hoped the programme would
help restore good relations with the fund.

The IMF, together with the World Bank and other key Western donors, cut aid
to Mugabe over his controversial policies, including his seizures of
white-owned farms for black resettlement.

The land seizures drew heavy international criticism, and together with poor
weather are blamed for exacerbating a food crisis that has left half of
Zimbabwe's 14 million people in need of aid.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, who attended the launch of the
government's economic revival programme, said the land reforms were no
longer an issue except with Zimbabwe's Western critics and the main
opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change.

He added that the involvement of labour and the private sector in the
production of the new plan had created a conducive environment for
implementing the programme.

The official Herald newspaper said on Tuesday the government had raised the
exchange rate used to calculate duty on luxury imports to 800 Zimbabwe
dollars per U.S. dollar from the previous rate of 500 compared to the
official rate of 55 it has been pegged at since November 2000.

Murerwa did not comment on another report in the Herald that the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe was failing to print new bank notes due to a shortage of
foreign currency, supplies of which have been squeezed since 1999.
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We have had a number of reports that the death rate has increased
dramatically on commercial farms. This has been facilitated by a number of
factors relating to HIV, new forms of malaria and other diseased that have
come with invaders, and malnutrition due to maize being confiscated, etc.

The International Red Cross has already been alerted to the situation and
any reports of increased death rates on farms should be directed through

Your co-operation would be greatly appreciated.



As you maybe aware, we have been trying to work on a project to replace
maize that was commandeered from farmers and their workforces by the GMB.
War veterans, army and police were often involved in these illegal
seizures. As a result, many farm workers are now without maize and
absenteeism and declining production is a major problem.

Unfortunately, so far, our requests have been turned down. The result of
this is in many instances dire: the productive sector is starving while the
unproductive sector is being fed by the international community. It must
here be recorded that the unproductive sector includes the very people that
are causing the chaos and starvation on the farms.

We continue to appeal to the international community to swiftly make a
concession for the farm workers who have had their food confiscated by a
ruthless regime.

Justice for Agriculture mailing list
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BOTSWANA: Hard times for Zimbabwean job-seekers

GABORONE, 4 March (IRIN) - White City bus stop in Gaborone, across the road from the Ministry of Finance, is the informal job centre for Zimbabweans looking to scrape a living in Botswana.

From first thing in the morning until dusk, groups of young men and women wait patiently by the roadside hoping to be picked up as casual labour. It's usually a long and frustrating wait, punctuated by the occasional sarcastic comment from passing Batswana motorists, or attempts by the police to enforce anti-loitering laws and move them on. 

Among the Zimbabweans IRIN talked to were printers, carpenters, bricklayers and a former salesman. They all spoke of the difficulty of trying to make ends meet in Botswana - pointing to a growing antagonism from Batswana, alleged police harassment, the risks of exploitation by employees, and overcrowded living conditions among similarly disadvantaged friends or relatives.

But they were unanimous in stressing that prospects were even worse back home in Zimbabwe.

"It's stressful, it's very difficult to survive in this town, but in Zimbabwe jobs are hard to come by," said one man, who asked not to be named. Trained as a printer, he had been in Gaborone for two weeks trying to find "any kind of work".

"We are being killed that side, we're coming here to survive. The war there is not political violence, the war is hunger," another young man explained.

The lack of employment prospects at home, shortages of basic commodities and the strength of the Pula against Zimbabwe's devalued currency have attracted the more enterprising - or desperate - to Botswana, which alongside South Africa ranks as the region's most prosperous and stable economy.

A senior immigration official at the Ministry of Home Affairs, two blocks away from White City, said the influx of Zimbabweans was "alarming". While those looking for work at the bus stop told IRIN they all had passports and entry permits, the official said the bulk of Zimbabweans crossing into the country were illegal "border jumpers".

In the run-up to Zimbabwe's controversial presidential election in March 2002, Botswana introduced a contingency plan to cope with a potential influx of refugees fleeing political unrest. The preparations proved unnecessary. Only 25 asylum seekers have so far been received.

Far more serious for the authorities has been the numbers of illegal immigrants. According to the authorities, 200 Zimbabweans are arrested each day, and transferred to a detention facility in Francistown, 500 km northeast of Gaborone, before being taken to the border.

"It's an economic drain for Botswana to continue to receive and return illegals," an official in the Office of the President told IRIN. "Our asylum landscape does not entertain economic migrants."

Zimbabweans are willing to take on the jobs most Batswana shun as too lowly paid, such as farm labourers and maids. But as their numbers increase, so reportedly has public complaints over their presence.

The government-produced newspaper Dikgang on Thursday reported that during a series of parliamentary debates last week, the issue of the influx of Zimbabweans was raised repeatedly.

While Member of Parliament (MP) Ambrose Masalila reportedly said "such people are an asset that can solve the problem of lack of farm labourers in the country", Gaborone Central MP Margaret Nasha suggested that residents of White City regarded the "presence of such people as a nuisance".

"Every other person you see at White City is a Zimbabwean," she claimed. She accused the job-seekers of vagrancy and harassing residents.

White City has a growing reputation for crime. But a Zimbabwean, who had recently arrived in Gaborone, told IRIN: "We don't want to harm anyone, we just want to work."

One young woman, with two children back in Zimbabwe and looking for a job as a maid, complained that the police have cracked down in Gaborone. "Even if you have a passport the police chase you away, they say they don't want to see us here," she said.


Tel: +27 11 880-4633
Fax: +27 11 447-5472
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Daily News

      Border Gezi youths assault MDC members

      3/4/2003 7:04:36 AM (GMT +2)

      From Paidamoyo Chipunza in Mutare

      SIX MDC activists in Chimanimani were allegedly assaulted by a group
of youths from the Border Gezi National Training Service who accused them of
supporting the wrong party.

      A plain clothes police officer, only identified as Woyo, was
reportedly part of the group that assaulted the MDC activists. Three of the
activists Godwin Chakandinakira, 26, Ndashata Mwaunzaneyi, 25 and Simba
Makureyi, 23 were treated and discharged in Mutare.

      The other three Farikayi Matsiyo, 40, Charles Dhlakama, 37 and Elijah
Chakandinakira, 37 were recovering at a hospital in Marondera.

      Chakandinakira said the assault started when the Border Gezi youths
demanded to know the identity of an MDC supporter, who had been seen wearing
an MDC T-shirt.

      Chakandinakira said when they failed to locate the MDC supporter they
were looking for, Woyo, the policeman, and the Border Gezi youths,
approached him and asked for assistance to look for the man who, by then,
had been forced to remove the MDC T-shirt.
      "When we failed to locate the man, they started assaulting me."

      Chakandinakira alleged that his colleagues were also assaulted for the
same reasons.
      He said they were surprised when the police arrested and detained them
at Bumba police base. They were released later that day without charge.

      Pishai Muchauraya the MDC spokesman in Manicaland said the attack
against his party's supporters was calculated at thwarting opposition
activism in the country.

      Charles Pemhenayi, the Zanu PF provincial spokesman, referred all
questions to the Department of Youth Development.

      "I only deal with matters to do with Zanu PF," Pemhenayi said. "The
government is responsible for these youths."
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Daily News

      Judge blasts police for shoddy murder probe

      3/4/2003 7:02:45 AM (GMT +2)

      From Sydney Saize and Farai Makotsi in Mutare

      A HIGH Court judge, freeing a Buhera man of a murder charge, on
Thursday said the police officers who worked on the case failed to
thoroughly perform their duty.

      Justice Yunus Omerjee acquitted Eleck Chizemo who was on trial in
connection with the 4 October 2000 death of Kanganwiro Gura in Buhera.

      Ben Chidenga, the State counsel, withdrew the case mid-way through the
trial when it appeared most of the State's witnesses were giving
contradictory evidence and failing to directly link the accused to the

      Chizemo was alleged to have assaulted Gura, who was on crutches, after
he followed her from a beer drink at Mubau business centre, south of
Murambinda growth point.

      A post-mortem report concluded she died of internal injuries including
a ruptured liver.
      But Omerjee, sitting on circuit in Mutare, threw out the murder
charges against Chizemo, saying the officers who handled the case failed to
"deal diligently" with such a serious crime.

      The judge then instructed the State counsel, Chidenga, to write to
senior police officials to advise them of the shortcomings in the
investigative skills of their junior officers.
      Omerjee commended the State counsel for withdrawing the matter during
trial, saying he acted "professionally" after being let down by the police.

      "The State counsel has tried his best to present his case against you,
but has been let down the improper investigations by the police," Omerjee

      Chizemo, through his lawyer Tendai Toto, had pleaded not guilty to the
      The judge said: "The courts are concerned by the improper
investigation of cases in Zimbabwe. It is a cause for concern. This is a
clear case of murder, which is a serious case that required the
investigating officers to diligent and thorough."

      The State's case, apparently, began to crumble amid contradictory
statements from the
      investigating officers and State witnesses during cross-examination by
the defence.
      The State called nine witnesses, four of whom are members of the
police force. A
      government medical officer at Rusape General Hospital, Dr Chimhuya,
also appeared for the State.

      In the State outline, Chizemo is alleged to have followed the deceased
and assaulted her
      using her own crutches. But under cross-examination, several of the
State's witnesses contradicted themselves about the accused's involvement.

      Also, the police officers failed to decisively link Chizemo to the
crime .
      One of the investigating officers, Detective Sergeant Jambwa of Rusape
      conceded to the defence there were several discrepancies in the
warned-and-cautioned statement Chizemo wrote and signed and the typed
version presented as evidence in court. Jambwa would not explain the source
of the discrepancies.

      Said the judge: "I am glad about the professional manner the State
presented the case and the professionalism it shown by withdrawing its case
when it realised it was difficult to continue."
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Daily News

      RG's Office under fire over birth certificates

      3/4/2003 7:01:15 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Masvingo

      THE Registrar-General (RG)'s Office has come under fire for failing to
cope with the demand for birth certificates in the country.

      Netty Rusere, the Child Protection Society's co-ordinator, said the RG
's Office was failing to cope with the demand for birth certificates for
needy children to be able to have access to education.

      Because of the delays in the processing of documents, thousands of
deserving children in the country did not have birth certificates.

      Said Rusere: "It is the child's right to get a birth certificate. We
have tried our level best to initiate change but the RG's Office is not
co-operating. It is important that we all try to play a role in making sure
that certificates are given to the children for them to be able to start
their primary education."
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Daily News

      MP slams Made for chaotic land distribution

      3/4/2003 7:00:14 AM (GMT +2)

      By Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter

      VICTOR Chitongo, the Member of Parliament for Murewa North, has
attacked Joseph Made, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement, over the chaotic manner in which land is being distributed
among the landless Zimbabweans.

      Reacting to President Mugabe's 15th State of the Nation Address on 19
December 2002 concerning agriculture, Chitongo said: "It is my sincere
belief that our ailing economy can be jump-started by agriculture. The
economy cannot be jump-started by agriculture if we have large swathes of
land given to people who are holding it for speculative rather than
productive purposes.

      "Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture must wake up from its slumber
and start giving the producer viable prices and stop this counter-productive
business of subsiding those who do not want to work on the land . . . Our
people have the capacity of producing almost every crop needed for both
domestic consumption and export but our Agriculture Ministry has let us

      Chitongo was addressing the second half of the Third Session of Fifth
Parliament which opened on Tuesday.

      The distribution of land is being administered by Ministry of Lands,
Agriculture and Rural Resettlement.

      The exercise has been criticised by senior ruling party, government
officials and opposition party leaders as largely flawed since top Zanu PF
members owned more than one farm despite Mugabe's declared policy of one man
one farm.

      The land grab began in February 2000 soon after people rejected a
draft constitution spearheaded by Jonathan Moyo, then spokesperson of the
Constitutional Commission.
      The late Chenjerai Hunzvi, a war veteran leader, and Joseph
Chinotimba, the chief security officer at the Harare City Council, went on a
rampage evicting commercial farmers from their properties and effectively
stopping most farming activities.

      Most commercial farmers have now settled in neighbouring countries
such as Mozambique, South Africa and Botswana
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Daily News

      Teachers abuse pupils

      3/4/2003 7:21:53 AM (GMT +2)

      By Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter

      EVEN teachers cannot be trusted.

      Police in Kwekwe on Sunday arrested two student teachers at Kwekwe
Primary School for allegedly fondling 13 Grade 4 and 7 pupils at the school
since the beginning of the term in January.

      Although the police in Kwekwe refused to comment, one parent said the
matter had been recorded as case number CR41/3/3.

      Authorities at the school said the teachers had entered the hostel
"half-dressed, by mistake".

      Asked how the abuse came to light, one parent said: "My child wrote me
letters saying she no longer wanted to continue her education at the school.
      "She would not give reasons, but insisted she was no longer interested
in staying at that school. On Saturday, I received another letter from her
and I went to the school and got the shock of my life.

      "When I entered the hostel all the children broke down and started
relating what was happening to them. It was then that I reported the matter
to the police."

      The parent said while at the police station, she was informed there
were other
      incidents of child abuse under investigation which occurred last year.
      "What's surprising is that the headmistress, a Mrs Mudawarima, and the
matron were aware of what was happening, but they did nothing about it."

      Contacted for comment, Mudawarima said: "This is an issue we are still
trying to get to the bottom of. We have to try and protect the name of the
      "What I can say is that the student teachers entered the hostel by
mistake, half-dressed. The pupils panicked and informed their parents."

      The two student teachers were seconded to the school during the third
term last year.
      Raymond Majongwe, the secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers'
Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), condemned the teachers' behaviour.

      "Such an act is unacceptable. There is no way we can condone such
behaviour. It further dents the image of the teaching profession which was
already bad," Majongwe said.
      "We can't allow such things to happen. The law is very clear on that
one. It should take its course and leave no stone unturned to get to the
bottom of the matter.

      "We at PTUZ have a code of conduct that does not allow such behaviour.
As a matter of fact, we have received reports that certain headmasters in
Harare are abusing their positions not only to abuse pupils, but teachers as

      "We are going to act on that one because the behaviour is unbecoming
and has to be stopped at once."

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Daily News

      Zimcet thank MP for preaching peace among war vets, farmers

      3/4/2003 7:06:29 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (Zimcet) has commended Webster
Shamu, the MP for Chegutu, for urging newly-resettled farmers, among them
war veterans and former farm workers to co-exist in peace even if they
belong to different political parties.

      In a statement, Zimcet said Shamu's sentiments in The Daily News issue
of 17 February, were very encouraging as Kuwadzana and Highfield residents
brace for by-elections at the end of this month.

      Speaking at Chikeya farm in Zvimba recently, Shamu said it was wrong
for any person to preach political hatred.

      "Let's accept diversity of opinion. We, as Zanu PF and MDC MPs, are
uniting in parliament as Zimbabwean MPs and eating together, striving to
bring development to everyone.

      "This is because hunger and starvation of this magnitude does not
distinguish between MDC or Zanu PF members," Shamu said.

      "Zimcet, believes that if all aspiring and present leaders could
emulate Shamu's stance, we would not be worried about the establishment of
base camps meant to be torture chambers and platforms for violent attacks
towards suspects and known members of the opposition.

      "Communities should learn to accept their differences and work
together if they are to succeed in whatever they do.

      "Zimcet appreciates the bold stance by Shamu and urges other
legislators to promote tolerance in their constituencies. Only then can
Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Thabo Mbeki confidently argue for Zimbabwe
to be reinstated in the Commonwealth," the statement read.
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Daily News

      Police want to question MP Mangono

      3/4/2003 7:05:27 AM (GMT +2)

      From Energy Bara in Masvingo

      Police in Masvingo are keen to question Silas Mangono, the Member of
Parliament for Masvingo Central, in connection with meetings organised by
opposition MDC youths in the town's high-density suburbs.

      The police accuse the youths of holding illegal gatherings at night,
allegedly on the instructions of the MP, without police clearance.

      Mangono was ordered to report to Masvingo Central Police Station last
week to answer questions in connection with the meetings.

      Superintendent Simon Mbedzi, the officer commanding Masvingo district,
confirmed they wanted to question Mangono in connection with the alleged
illegal gatherings.
      Said Mbedzi: "We want to talk to him over the issue because as police
officers we have to maintain peace."

      The MP, however, said he had nothing to do with the meetings. "I am
not behind those alleged meetings. If our party youths are holding the
meetings, then there is no problem."
      Meanwhile, at least three Grain Marketing Board workers allegedly
sustained serious injuries after they were allegedly assaulted by police

      The workers were suspected to be MDC activists who were holding
illegal meetings. One of the victims said the police armed with rifles
attacked them at around 10pm. "They assaulted us with batons as we were
coming from work at night," he said.

      The injured were treated at Masvingo General Hospital. The police
refused to comment on the incident.
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Leader Page

      RBZ partly to blame for collapsing banks

      3/4/2003 7:23:55 AM (GMT +2)

      By Farai Musamba

      The country has once again been rocked by a major failure in the
banking sector, with the First National Building Society being placed under
curatorship. This comes a few months after another institution, Genesis
Investment Bank, was allowed to resume trading.

      The two banks are additions to the list which includes the Boka-owned
United Merchant Bank, the Universal Merchant Bank which has since been taken
over by CFX, and the Zimbabwe Building Society which was rescued by the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

      These collapses, near-collapses or insolvencies have all taken place
in the last few years. One can probably, though unfairly, trace these to the
liberalisation of the financial sector. Lest we focus on the wrong issue, it
is not the principle of opening up the sector to new players that is to
blame, but the conduct of those in the sector and lack of clear corporate
governance practices that are to blame.

      Considering the effect that a bank failure has on the depositors and
society in general, the issue should not be routinely treated like the
failure of just any other company. A bank failure has the potential to wipe
out many people's entire savings, thereby wreaking havoc in their poor

      The RBZ has probably played a part in the collapse of these banks. It
appears from these situations that the central bank has not performed its
duty of supervising the banks. Why has it let the situation get out of hand,
one may ask? Why is it not able to detect improper conduct on time? Answers
to these questions could be varied, but one can be forgiven for concluding
that the system is ineffective, is being short-circuited, lacks watertight
procedures, or is just not being followed by whoever is mandated to execute
it. It may be falling short on all of the above. The circumstances demand
that the RBZ re-examines its control mechanisms in order to perfect them
before more institutions are affected.

      The issuing of licences to operators of financial institutions is
another factor. Can anyone with a hundred million or so dollars be given a
licence? What else do the authorities look for before awarding one? Are
there character checks of those seeking permission to deal in the sector?

      Once the institution has been registered, what are the corporate
governance standards in place in terms of the personnel that runs the bank,
starting from the board of directors downwards? What are the qualities of
people who can be elected board chairmen and branch directors? Do these
people have the requisite financial experience? Are they able to read and
interpret financial statements? Do they own any shares in the company?

      These criteria for qualification can be there on paper, but are they
effectively utilised?

      Is the board properly composed of the requisite numbers of executive,
non-executive and independent directors? Do they have the right committees,
are they properly composed and do these committees meet to transact

      Another very important feature is the lack of training for directors.
It appears that directors do not understand or know the immense
responsibilities placed on their shoulders by the shareholders, depositors
and society in general. Should it not be a requirement that every director
of a financial institution be trained, not only to do the job properly, but
to understand his/her fiducial duties?

      The board of directors is normally effective if it has an effective
company secretary. The company secretary is the chief advisor to the board.
A question that arises is, do the banks have properly qualified company
secretaries? Do these company secretaries have the appropriate background
knowledge needed in a financial institution? Such knowledge concerns finance
and accounting, the legal background, management and communication that are
necessary in this field. These qualities are necessary for anyone to be a
chief advisor to the board.

      Another issue that arises in connection with the company secretary is
where exactly he or she owes allegiance. In theory, it must be to the board
and not the chief executive, but is this happening on the ground? When
talking about the qualities of the board, one must also talk about the
quality of people who can manage the institution. Although it may be
regarded as unfair or undemocratic, it may be necessary (for the good of the
depositors, shareholders, society and the system at large) to put in place
minimum ethical requirements and disqualifications for those who aspire to
run these vital institutions.

      A vital organ of any major company is the internal audit department.
In all these situations, would we be able to say this department has been
performing its role? If so, how is it that these nefarious activities have
not been detected by the department? If they have, have they been reported
to the board and what did the board do about them? On this note, a closely
related anomaly comes to mind. Sometimes, if not in most cases, the internal
audit department reports to the chief executive officer, who, if he or she
is involved in unsatisfactory conduct, could kill or muzzle the report.

      This way the board may only get a sanitised version of the report. Do
the financial institutions have internal audit departments? If so, who do
they report to and on what issues, and does the board audit committee have
unfettered access to this department? These things may be in place, but are
they actually being done?

      The failure of a number of institutions in the recent past brings to
the fore the issue of the external audit. The RBZ has made it a requirement
that audited financial statements be published every six months. Since this
is being done and people still manage to defraud, does it not raise an issue
of the quality of the audit and perhaps further to say, are our auditors
appropriately equipped to audit these institutions? If the answers are all
positive then again the question that begs an answer is, if all this is in
place how are these fraudulent activities going undetected for this long?

      Shareholders are major stakeholders in a bank. The survival of the
bank is in their interest. What role are they playing in curbing the acts of
corporate misgovernance? One may say they are probably leaving the policing
to the external auditors.

      The Enron and Worldcom experiences would suggest otherwise. Arethe
shareholders reading the bank'sfinancial reports? Are they attending the
bank's annual general meetings (AGMs), and if so, are they asking the
questions that should be asked or are they attending them only as a
socialoccasion? Talking about AGMs, are the board and management being
transparent when addressing shareholders' concerns or the concerns are
quickly brushed off using some clauses in the company's articles of

      On shareholding, from a study of the banks that have not done too well
in corporate governance, it can be noted that the chief executive, managing
director or executive chairman wields immense powers as they own the major
portion of shares. It means therefore, that even the board is at their mercy
as they can fire the board for disagreeing with them.

      This is probably why some of these things happen, especially if the
board members are not appropriately trained and principled. Shouldn't there
be limit on shareholding for someone who is the chief executive of the bank?
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ABC Australia

Tuesday, March  4, 2003. Posted: 08:06:08 (AEDT)

Zimbabwe police arrest activists
Police in Zimbabwe have arrested up to 100 opposition activists in two
separate incidents and human rights lawyers are now demanding their release.

The Opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), says 26 people
were arrested after driving past the residence of President Robert Mugabe.

The MDC says the activists were accused of disturbing the peace and were
assaulted by Presidential guards.

In a separate incident up to 70 MDC youths were arrested after holding a
legal rally in the capital Harare.

Human rights lawyers are also calling for the release of protesters, who
were arrested at last week's cricket World Cup match in the southern city of

More than 40 spectators including a teenage boy were taken into custody for
displaying anti-Government banners.

Police arrest 106 Mugabe opponents

POLICE in Zimbabwe have arrested another 106 government opponents as Robert Mugabe¹s regime cracks down on the opposition ahead of two crucial by-elections, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claimed yesterday.

More than 200 people have been picked up since Friday, most of them members of the beleaguered MDC.

On Sunday, 26 MDC supporters were arrested after they drove past Mr Mugabe¹s official residence wearing opposition regalia. "Soldiers used logs, booted feet, the butts of their guns and other instruments during the four-hour detention inside the state house," the opposition said in a statement.

Five MDC supporters were seriously injured and had to be taken to hospital.

Government media said those arrested had "verbally abused" the presidential guard and chanted MDC slogans.

The MDC also claimed that around 70 of its members were picked up on Sunday in Mufakose suburb.

Police arrived just after an MDC rally and took away youths who were tidying benches, the party said. Another ten suspected opposition supporters were picked up yesterday morning. Police have not confirmed those arrests.

Parliamentary by-elections are due at the end of March in the suburbs of Kuwadzana and Highfield. Both seats were won by the MDC in elections in 2000, and Mr Mugabe is determined to win them back.
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Zimbabwe Opposition Remains in Disarray 1 Year After Election Defeat
Challis McDonough
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
04 Mar 2003, 16:48 UTC

It has been roughly one year since Zimbabwe's controversial presidential
election. Senior members of the main opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change, admit that the party fell into disarray after the
election, which they say was stolen from them. Critics say the party has
"lost its momentum," and some rank-and-file party members are beginning to
lose faith in the party leadership.
All over Zimbabwe, in the days after the presidential election last March,
people were holding their breath. Would there be a showdown? Feeling robbed
of a victory at the polls, would the opposition supporters take to the

A VOA reporter making the rounds in the townships outside Harare kept
hearing one thing - MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai will call us out onto the
streets to protest against this election, and we are ready to go. We are
just waiting for his call.
But Mr. Tsvangirai never made that call.
An MDC member of parliament for Bulawayo, David Coltart, admits the party
leaders simply had no plan for how they would react if they were declared
the losers.
"We had no Plan B at the time of the election," he said. "We were, I think,
overconfident about our chances not just of winning the election, we always
knew that we had popular support. But we were overconfident about our
ability to expose the fraud and to prevent the fraud. And because of that,
there wasn't any Plan B. And I think at the time, had there been a
well-organized call to action, people would have come out."

Party leader and presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai condemned the
election as "daylight robbery," claiming victory had been stolen from him
through blatant rigging by the ruling party, ZANU-PF, and Zimbabwe's
longtime president, Robert Mugabe.
The MDC started legal action to have the results overturned. In the year
since then, they have been demanding a new election, to be held under the
supervision of the United Nations. But never has Morgan Tsvangirai called on
his followers to take to the streets and peacefully protest against the
election results.
One man who has made that call is Lovemore Madhuku, who heads the National
Constitutional Assembly. The group was formed several years ago to press for
constitutional reform in Zimbabwe, but has since become involved in a wide
array of political issues. Mr. Madhuku says rank-and-file MDC members are
beginning to lose faith in Mr. Tsvangirai.
"There is no doubt about that, they are beginning to lose faith," he said.
"And he knows it as well, that people are beginning to lose faith. But I'm
sure he thinks it is unfair. He thinks it is unfair for people to expect him
to go beyond what he has done already."
The National Constitutional Assembly has called a number of mass
demonstrations and work stayaways in the year since the election. None of
them has succeeded. Mr. Madhuku says there are two reasons for his failure
to rally mass support. One is a government that consistently refuses to
grant permission to hold peaceful protests. That keeps people away because
they are afraid that the police will crack down on what has been deemed an
illegal gathering under Zimbabwe's restrictive Public Order and Security
The second factor, he says, is lack of support from the MDC.
"This is where we criticize the opposition. Because they the people, they
have more people than any of us," Mr. Madhuku said. "They have the resources
and so on. And they have the mandate to do that! When we do it ourselves, it
is more or less over-stretching."
Mr. Madhuku is not the only opposition activist who is criticizing the MDC
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, has been one of
President Mugabe's loudest and most consistent critics over the last few
years. But the archbishop is growing increasingly critical of Morgan
Tsvangirai as well, calling the opposition leader "too weak."
"If people had a good leader, they would all unite and speak with one voice,
down with you! We have had enough of you," he said. "And indeed he
[President Mugabe] would indeed find himself out."
It is not just the party's response to the election that is causing problems
for Morgan Tsvangirai. In the streets of Harare and Bulawayo, many ordinary
MDC supporters are asking, where has Morgan Tsvangirai been for the last
year? One taxi driver told VOA the opposition leader just disappeared after
the election. He called Mr. Tsvangirai "a coward," and said he thought
several other MDC politicians might make better party leaders.
For his part, Morgan Tsvangirai says his hands are partly tied. Shortly
before last year's election, he was arrested and charged with plotting to
kill President Mugabe and stage a coup d'etat.
"The biggest predicament or dilemma we face is that on one hand, Tsvangirai
is expected to lead people to freedom, and at the same time he is facing a
treason trial," he said.
Mr. Tsvangirai denies the charges against him. He says they are politically
motivated and aimed at discrediting him. He also admits that the trial is
taking up a lot of his time, and has distracted from his work.
But he also vehemently denies allegations that he is failing to lead the
opposition well enough.
"I've had situations where they say, oh, lead us from the front," Mr.
Tsvangirai said. "I am leading from the front! I am confronting Mugabe! And
for the past three years, if it were not for the leadership of the MDC, who
would have confronted Mugabe? So we are playing our part. But the people
also, the society itself, must realize that nothing is going to come without
themselves making sacrifices. That's all we are saying."
Other senior MDC members acknowledge that Mr. Tsvangirai's image is
tarnished among his followers. David Coltart, the MDC secretary for legal
affairs, says MDC leaders are "acutely aware" of the growing criticism. And
he says it is not just coming from outside the party, but from some inside
it as well.
Mr. Coltart says in the days following the election last year, two groups
emerged within the MDC. One advocated the protest route, taking to the
streets to force a change. Members of the other wing, including him, wanted
to take the legal route, challenging the election in court.
"Those of us advocating for the legal route won the day in April, but we've
been under constant pressure to justify our position since then. Within the
party," he said. "And now of course the public pressure is growing. And I
have to say that we're losing ground because our legal actions have been
frustrated at every turn. And I think that that has led to growing
frustration that our policy of pursuing a challenge through the courts,
through the constitution is going to yield no benefits whatsoever."
Critics inside the MDC complain that Mr. Tsvangirai has surrounded himself
with lawyers, and has gotten out of touch with ordinary Zimbabwean people -
including those from the trade union movement he used to head. But
Mr.Coltart says the party is trying not to play into the hands of its
"Those criticisms are valid, but the dilemma that we face as a leadership is
that we understand that [Mr.] Mugabe actually wants a fight," he said. "He
would like to have us in the streets. He is far better equipped than we ever
will be, not just in terms of physical firepower but also in terms of his
will to engage in a violent struggle."
And so the opposition party that focused all its energy on winning last
year's presidential election is still trying to define its role in a
post-election Zimbabwe. Mr. Tsvangirai says he cannot reveal what his
strategy is, but he insists that he has one.
"The timing has to be right. The opportunities must be exploited carefully,"
he said. "Because if you mistime it, and call prematurely, call upon people
when they have not done any work on the ground, and it backfires, how long
is it going to take before another democratic movement will emerge in this
Mr. Tsvangirai says Zimbabwe's "democratic movement must not be crushed to
the extent that it disappears." He uses China's 1989 crackdown on protests
in Tiananmen Square as an example. He is focusing, he says, on building
grass roots organization and party structures. When the party is ready, he
says, he will act.
But his critics continue to wonder when that will be.

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JAG Open Letter Forum No. 39 - 4th March 2003

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


Letter 1: Kerry Kay

Marondera Rural Council.

Thank you for your invoice number 700/434 dd 1st January, 2003 requesting
payment of $395,400-00 for rates due for the year 2002/3.  You might not
have already heard that our farm, together with all the others in that
area, were compulsorily acquired last year by the Government, and all the
owners evicted, some like ourselves at gunpoint.  As we are no longer the
legal owners in terms of the Land Acquisition Act, might I suggest that you
refer this account to either of the following: Wilfred Marimo (War Vet),
Monday Mpazvirwo (resident emergent farmer on Chipesa) or in fact any of
the other new residents whose names are known but are too numerous to
mention.  I am sure that they will be able to collectively pay this large
sum of money in order to keep the roads graded, the health workers paid,
and all the other many services provided by your council.

Thank you for the good services that your Council has provided to us for
the past 54 years that we have farmed on Chipesa.

Yours Sincerely,
Kerry Kay (Mrs).


Letter 2: Andrew Marais

I really take my hat off to you all - you are doing things for our country
that will be never forgotten. God bless you all


Letter 3: D. Sparrow

I made a modest contribution to the pre Independence multiracial nation
building exemplified by beautiful Salisbury and a highly effective and
uncorrupt administration of an efficient and prosperous economy based on
the commercial farming established over a century by a combination of the
white entrepreneurial expertise and work ethic and the essential black

I have become increasingly appalled by the wanton destruction of that
unique tradition and culture by the worst anarchy committed in the face of
international condemnation, by a regime headed by a group of rapacious
racialists whose bidding is executed by civil servants, police, army and
the equivalent of Hitler's Blackshirts all of whom bear responsibility for
the blatant racial cleansing and theft of the farms and equipment.

It is politically correct to highlight the culture consequences of this
national suicide in the form of unemployment and starvation of most of the
population but dare I comment that these symptoms could be temporary in
contrast with the terminal expulsion of the farmers with estimated
expropriated assets of £300m.

I must acknowledge that Mugabe and his clique have cleverly outmanoeuvred
and negatived all opposition including the local MDC majority and the
pathetic external critics particularly the UK which devised the
Constitution including the protection of all races and their assets. I
would like to know the principles and policies of the MDC in relation to
this devastation and how the farms would be restored to their rightful
owners; the multiracial culture saved and the perpetrators duly prosecuted.
The current trial of Tsvangirai, the publicity of which is eclipsed by
other international topics, is probably corruptly flawed but it is another
example of the shrewd tactics which has left the MDC leaderless at this
critical juncture but also indicates the inadequacy of the opposition and
its personnel.

Do we have to wait for a serious and spontaneous uprising of the population
to trigger meaningful external intervention ?

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

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Provincial Governor Praises Zimbabwean Farmers

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

March 4, 2003
Posted to the web March 4, 2003


Chimoio (Mozambique), 4 Mar (AIM) - The governor of the central province of
Manica, Soares Nhaca, has declared that the role of Zimbabwean farmers is
fundamental for the development of commercial agriculture in Mozambique.

Nhaca was speaking after visiting seven farms run by Zimbabwean commercial
farmers, who have left their country of origin largely because of the
chaotic land reform imposed by the Zimbabwean government. Zimbabwe's loss is
Mozambique's gain, and Nhaca said notable agricultural development was under
way in the areas where the Zimbabwean farmers have settled.

There are about 50 of them in all, and they have been granted land to farm
in the districts of Mossurize, Sussundenga, Gondola and Manica. The
Zimbabweans are mainly producing tea, tobacco and other cash crops, but
during his visit Nhaca urged them also to grow food crops, particularly
grains and vegetables, to satisfy local needs.

Nhaca said the investment by the Zimbabwean farmers in Manica was part of
the Mozambican government's drive to restore agricultural production, after
the devastation caused by the war of destabilisation that ended in 1992.

The main stress of the Agriculture Ministry has been on peasant farming,
which has responded well, particularly in the fertile north of the country.
But large scale commercial agriculture has yet to recover, and requires
substantial investment.

The argument against foreign farmers settling in Mozambique, sometimes
raised by opposition politicians, is that they will usurp land from
Mozambican peasants. But according to Agriculture Minister Helder Muteia, so
far there have been no conflicts between the Zimbabweans and Mozambican
rural communities. He said this was because the authorities had been careful
enough "to consult with the communities, to find out whether the land is
occupied or not, before granting any plots to foreigners".

Muteia stressed that the work of the Zimbabwean farmers could be an
important contribution to the development of agriculture in Mozambique.
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