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

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From ZWNEWS, 6 March

War vets to green bombers

Since the constitutional referendum in 2000, government militias, under
various guises, have been a key component of Zanu PF's strategy to influence
electoral results, and to maintain itself in power. Land reform was - and
is - a pretext for a variety of unlawful activities, but most importantly as
a cover for the moving around the country of militia groups. Externally, the
land issue continues to be exploited to counter international criticism.
Internally, however, the land issue no longer persuades many, and as a
result, recourse to militia groups has had to be maintained. We have
available an in-depth study of how the strategy of the use of militia groups
has developed since February 2000. Written by Tony Reeler, an Executive
Committee member of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture
Victims, this paper lays bare the organisation and tactics of the various
militia groups as they have become increasingly integrated into Zimbabwe's
structure of power. If you would like a copy of this study, please let us
know. It will be sent as a Word attachment to an email message - total size
400 Kb, or approximately 8 times the size of the average daily ZWNEWS.
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ABC News Australia

Thursday, March  6, 2003. Posted: 17:00:53 (AEDT)

Zimbabwe fans arrested at Pakistan match

A total of 26 fans were arrested for carrying banners and political messages
during the World Cup match between Zimbabwe and Pakistan, lawyers and police
said on Wednesday.

The group, which according to lawyer Kucaca Phulu included a minor, were
arrested during Tuesday's match at the Queens Sports club in Bulawayo,
Zimbabwe's second city.

A police spokesman confirmed the arrests, but was unable to give the numbers
of the people picked.

"Here we have a social event where people have different political
orientation and some want to take advantage of such a situation and that
might provoke others into animosity," police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena

"If they want rallies they can notify the police and that is where they can
display banners as big as they want."

Tuesday's arrests bring to 68 the numbers arrested at World Cup matches in
Bulawayo in less than a week.

Some 42 anti-government protestors were arrested at the game between
Zimbabwe and the Netherlands on Friday for displaying a banner reading
"Mugabe equals Hitler."

Zimbabwe players Andy Flower and Henry Olonga also protested against the
Robert Mugabe government by wearing black arm bands during Zimbabwe's first
match against Namibia in Harare.
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Business Day

      SA's judges taken to task on Zimbabwe

      Chief justice criticises Paradza arrest
      Legal Affairs Correspondent

      A SENIOR African National Congress (ANC) figure yesterday criticised
SA judges for voicing concern over the way some of their counterparts were
being treated in Zimbabwe.

      KwaZulu-Natal ANC MPL Dumisani Makhaye, in a speech prepared for
delivery in the legislature, accused the judiciary of hiding behind their
independence when they got into trouble. His comments came hours after SA
Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson and eight of his southern African
counterparts questioned the action taken against Zimbabwean Judge Benjamin

      Paradza, who was released on bail about two weeks ago after spending a
night in jail, is to appear in court again on March 21 to face charges of
corruption and attempting to obstruct justice.

      According to the charges filed in Harare, Paradza interfered in the
trial of a friend and business partner who is facing a murder charge.
Paradza has denied the allegations. He has filed a wrongful arrest suit
against the Zimbabwean government in the Supreme Court over his detention.

      Paradza is the second judge to be arrested in Zimbabwe after retired
high court judge Fergus Blackie was arrested in September last year, also on
allegations of obstructing the ends of justice. Blackie is still awaiting

      "When the law takes its course against them (the judiciary in
Zimbabwe), they cry foul and plead the independence of the judiciary. They
hope to be the only ones to be unaccountable to anybody," said Makhaye.

      "Elements from the SA judiciary who themselves think they are the only
ones that are unaccountable to anybody, including some from the ranks of the
struggle, have instinctively come to the defence of elements of the
Zimbabwean judiciary, who think they are above the law."

      Chaskalson and judges from Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia,
Tanzania, Swaziland, Uganda and Zambia said in a joint statement yesterday
that Zimbabwe's actions had served to undermine the credibility of the
bench. "Like everyone else judges are not above the law. Their position as
judges in a democratic state, however, requires that they must be seen to be
independent and not subject to direct or indirect pressure from the
executive," it said.

      The usual procedure when a judge faces criminal charges is to hold an
independent inquiry. If the allegations are found to be true and the judge
is impeached, he could face prosecution.

      "The constitution of Zimbabwe makes provision for such a procedure to
be followed in respect of the impeachment of judges. It is regrettable that
this procedure, rather than an arrest, detention and prosecution, has not
been followed in respect of the allegations against Judge Paradza," the
statement said.

      In January this year, Paradza ordered the release of Harare Mayor
Elias Mudzuri, who was detained after being accused of holding an illegal
political meeting. Paradza also struck down government eviction notices
affecting 54 white farm owners. He also ordered the government to issue a
passport to a veteran human rights activist after she was stripped of her

      Makhaye said that the SA government had been very vocal on issues in
Zimbabwe that had violated the stated policy, laws and constitution. With

      Mar 06 2003 07:06:43:000AM Chantelle Benjamin Business Day 1st Edition
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March 6, 2003
Lawyer for jailed Zimbabwean politician says RCMP withholding evidence

MONTREAL (CP) -- A lawyer for Zimbabwean Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai
says he may use Canadian courts to force the RCMP to disclose evidence
related to the leader's treason trial in Africa.
 Lawyer Innocent Chagonda said this week the Mounties won't release the
results of their probe into allegations Tsvangirai hatched a plot in
Montreal to assassinate Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

 Tsvangirai and two colleagues face the death penalty if convicted.
 The RCMP says its investigation last year into the alleged plot found no
evidence a crime took place in Canada.
 Chagonda said the RCMP files on the case could be "useful" to Tsvangirai's
 "We may have to make a court application to see that they (the Mounties)
comply," Chagonda said in an interview from Zimbabwe.
 "Time is of the extreme essence. If they did not find that there was a
crime that Morgan Tsvangirai committed, then we want their report."
 The RCMP acknowledged this week they conducted a probe and found no
evidence of wrongdoing in Canada, but they refused to discuss any details.
 Tsvangirai is currently on trial alongside two senior colleagues from the
Movement for Democratic Change, Welshman Ncube and Rensen Gasela.
 The treason charges against them were filed last March after Ari Ben
Menashe, a Montreal-based consultant and the trial's star witness, accused
the three of hiring him to help them kill Mugabe.
 Last month, a Harare court heard a secretly recorded videotape of a meeting
in Montreal on Dec. 4, 2001, in which Tsvangirai and Ben Menashe discussed
what would happen if Mugabe were no longer in office.
 A media monitoring group in Harare has said the recording had been heavily
edited and rearranged, and Tsvangirai insists his remarks were taken out of
 Chagonda said he would prefer not to take the Mounties to court, explaining
that Movement for Democratic Change officials in Canada are trying to
persuade the Canadian government to voluntarily release the results of the
RCMP probe.
 "I still believe they might give it to us because the implications are
quite serious," Chagonda said.
 RCMP Staff Sgt. Paul Marsh confirmed the Mounties received questions on
Feb. 13 related to the Zimbabwe matter and that the Mounties issued a
response the following day.
 But Marsh refused to say what questions were asked by the lawyers or what
answers and documents were provided by the RCMP.
 "I'm not at liberty to discuss that because it relates to the matter that
is before the courts," said Marsh.
 An Ottawa-based source close to the Movement for Democratic Change, who
said he received the RCMP's written reply to the defence, claimed in an
interview that many pages were heavily censored.
 The source, who refused to be identified, said some pages had a heading on
top, with the rest of the page completely blank.
 "I read it, and I can't tell what the hell they're talking about," said the
 Marsh refused to say how the Mounties concluded no crime was committed in
Canada in connection with the alleged plot against Mugabe. He would only say
the RCMP "exhausted all leads and that the investigation is closed."
 Canadian Alliance MP Keith Martin, the party's critic for Africa, said
Canada will share the blame if Tsvangirai, Ncube and Gasela are found
 Martin urged the Foreign Affairs Department to press the RCMP to co-operate
fully with Zimbabwean opposition lawyers.
 "Our failure to fully disclose could result in the deaths of three innocent
people," Martin, a medical doctor and outspoken critic of alleged
human-rights abuses by the Mugabe government, said from Victoria, B.C.
 But Foreign Affairs spokesman Reynald Doiron blamed the Mugabe
administration for hampering Canada's efforts to get to the bottom of the
Tsvangirai case.
 Doiron said the Mounties have asked to analyse the videotape of the
Montreal meeting involving Tsvangirai, but that the Zimbabwean government
refuses to hand it over.
 Foreign Affairs officials in Harare are monitoring the trial, said Doiron,
who suggested the RCMP's hands are tied without the co-operation of the
Mugabe government.
 "Until the alleged evidence is provided by the Zimbabweans to the RCMP for
some forensic analysis, there's nothing that can be concluded," Doiron said.
 "It is, and will remain until that day, unsubstantiated allegations."
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This e-mail has come from a lady who has recently been to Kariba

Hello everyone,
I dont normally send a "round-robin" letter, but this time l am, a. time
and b. repitition.  Dont have a very nice story to relay at all, but feel l
have to  get it off my chest!!

The reason why l have mailed so late is basically cos my mail has been down
at home, only got back on line yesterday in-fact, and that we just had to
make an  important call to Barry and Lyn first, before this story got out.
As most of you know, we have Nicks with us here on holiday from Aussie.
We have had a fabulous time so far taking her around the country - Vumba,
Gweru, and this last week spent 5 nights on a houseboat.  The tripe ended
with a real nasty for all of us.

There was 8 of us on the boat and our second last day on the boat - Monday
morning we had an armed robbery on-board.  The first ever on Kariba,
according to the Police and the Army!!

It was 8.30 a.m. the men (Ian, Chinky, Rob, Nigel and the captain of the
boat) had all gone fishing, which left myself, Jenny, Nicky and Marlene on
the houseboat.  Marlene decided to get into her boat and just go a few
metres from the main boat and fish, which left Jen, I and Nicks.  All was
well, Jen and l were talking on the top deck, Nicky reading on her bed in
the cabin down below, when suddenly this shot went off!! WOW!! Next thing 3
"creatures" were standing in front of us pointing a gun down our noses,
shoting "dont move, we kill you"......  Anyway cut a long story short, we 3
girls were held at gun-point and knife point, whilst they robbed us of all
our cell-phones (6), cameras, video cameras, money ($60 000.00 cash),
clothing, all our food - left us nothing but fish and ice and a pkt of
sausages!!  This was like you see in the movies!!!  Well we were besides
ourselves, as you can imagine, when you have a knife to your throat and a
gun pointing at you and been told dont move otherwise we kill you - well
ones knees go totally weak, your adrelelin just gets going and ones saliva
dries up!! All l remeber saying to Jen was. shit what do we do, and l was
going to faint..........

Oh my God what an experience, Jen, Nicky and l were trapped in the cabin
below with this one "creature"  - putting it mildly.... holding a knife not
far from my neck, while he "loaded" himself with our clothing, money, etc
etc demanding forex and money etc.  I cant tell you how ones life flashed
before all of us l honestly thought we were going to be raped, and l
remember saying to Jen, please God tell him to shoot me before he rapes me,
l was besides myself, we all were!  Poor little Nicks had been lying on her
bed reading when this thing shot downstairs and demanded money from her
holding a friggin screwdriver at her, poor child, she was in total shock,
fortunately contained herself very well, and my biggest worry was to get
downstairs to her to protect her.  She was as white as a sheet when l was
marched down there at knife point, and all l remember saying to her was
dont say a word, just sit still , as l didnt want them to hear she was a
foreigner.  I then proceded pleading with "this creature" to pse not harm
us, we are all locals, no foreigners here, all he kept asking for was
money.  In the meantime the two cooks upstairs had been held at gun-point,
made to lie down on the kitchen floor and not move.  Fortunately they were
cooking in the kitchen when this happened, and had managed to save us some
food in the oven, as these bastards stole all our food.  When these 3 fired
a shot before getting onto the boat, and shouted dont move ors-else we kill
you, Marlene, fishing in her boat realised what was happening and sped away
with full-throttle, to find the men.  Poor girl, in a state, headed in one
direction, the wrong direction as to where the men had gone!  Poor girl,
she eventually found them, which to us seemed like a friggin eternity, and
they came back.

In the meantime, we had no knowledge that they had got off the boat, and we
crept upstairs and asked the 2 staff to quickly untie the boat and reverse
the boat off the land, i thought by getting in the middle of the lake, they
had less chance of getting back to us, l was afraid they would come back,
as the men seemed to take an age to get back to us.  Well this Steven (the
cook) did very well, considering he had no idea of how to drive the boat!!
By this time you can imagine what a state the 3 of us girls were in!!!!
I have never been so blady scared in all my life, my life flashed before
me, cos l thought we were "gone".  What kept scaring me was the fact that
my last promise to Barry and Lyn was "Dont worry about Nicks, l will look
after her" - well folks l have never prayed so hard and so much in all my
life, that l can tell you, the words that Barry kept saying to me....
"Cripps, will my daughter be safe in Zimb"..... yes l replied, of course,
she is with me..... well l just kept praying that we wouldnt be raped by
these bastards, a fate worse than death l think, my 3 boys lives flashed
thru my head of how they would be brought up without a Mother... Oh my
God...... all l do is cry and cry and cry ,re-living this experience is a
nighmare, we are all very traumatised.  All l want to do is get OUT of this
place, and Ian still CANT understand why!!!!

What does it take for him to flippin wake up??!!  I think we are still in
such shock, night times are the hardest to try and sleep, that doesnt come
easy, and just knowing that l have to get out of these 4 walls and go
shopping with "masses" around me, l cant stand it.  I have refused to go to
the shops, my cupboard is like Mother Hubbards cupboard,... and guess
what... l dont care!!

I just thank God we are alive and not harmed and werent raped.  It could
have been worse l know, but shit if that is what the worst choice is, well
then, l would rather not live thru that!!

We managed to radio Kariba, they also stole our portable walkie talkie
radio - thankgod we had another one.  The cops and army were very good
-pitching up 6 hours later - WOW!!  Once they did arrive, they scoured the
area, travelled on water to the nearby fishing camp, and found it deserted!
This is certainly a first for Kariba, according to them.  What was found on
the land was a 38 special revolver doppie, that they had fired, and a pork
chop and a bread roll that they had dropped.

Ian most expensive video camera  and all our holiday pics for Nicky - gone,
cell phone which he had just bought - gone. we had no communication with
anyone, which was scary.

When the men did get back to us, which was about 9.00 a.m. - on hearing
this, they were very very stressed and besides themselves, - shame and feel
very bad at leaving us - but hey.. who would ever think that this would
happen on a boat!!!?? They went thru quite a difficult time consoling us 4
women, l think Nics and l and Jen killed a crate of Ians beers in a space
of 20 minutes!! In-fact, by night time he was totally out of beers!!!! Our
nerves are shot and we are just extremely traumatised to say the least.
Lyn & Jeans, as l said to you in last nights e-mail, and, sorry - it is a
very "traumatised" one, l am going crazy, l just want out now, l have had
it.  I dont know how much more of this l can take here.

Nics has been very brave Lyn, as she said to you this a.m. on the phone,
she hasnt cried yet - which worries me, she mustnt bottle up her feelings,
l have asked her if she wants tranquillisers/sleeping pills, she said no,
but she has handled it well.  I did hear her say to you, she would probably
only cry when she had her family with her - well l dont want her to think
she cant confide her feelings in us, for heaven sake we are her family too.

Anyway besides that awful, awful incident, we are all well, bearing up
amongst the shortages and all the shit going on here. We do feel a little
bit anxious about still continuing our travels around the country, but
hopefully, all will be well.  - Have to try and think positively , -but hey
thats HARD here!!

I WOULD prefer to just pack my suitcase right now and get the hell out NOW!
Anybody know of any jobs going in Aus right now???? I'm available!!

O.K. guys, must end, this probably seems like an Enid Blytin story to you,
remember we love you all and look forward to hearing from you all soon.
Love and miss you.
Heaps of love
P, I & N
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ABC Australia

Friday, March  7, 2003. Posted: 09:15:33 (AEDT)

Witness asks for dismissal in Zimbabwe treason trial

The key witness in the treason trial of Zimbabwean Opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has asked to be dismissed from the case.

The Canadian-based political consultant Ari Ben Menashe says he has been
abused by the defence and prosecution lawyers.

Mr Ben Menashe has made an emotional plea to step down from the trial.

The prosecution witness says he has been treated like a prisoner.

Mr Ben Menashe has faced several days of cross examination about his
involvement in a meeting with Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The prosecution alleges Mr Tsvangirai who was captured on video tape, spoke
about plans to eliminate President Robert Mugabe.

Mr Ben Menashe has admitted that he lured Mr Tsvangirai to the gathering
under false pretences.

The trial is continuing in the capital Harare.

If found guilty Mr Tsvangirai and two of his colleagues could face the death
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Zimbabwe judges condemn colleague's arrest

HARARE, March 6 - Half of Zimbabwe's High Court judges condemned as
unconstitutional on Thursday the arrest of a colleague charged with
interfering in the case of a business partner.
       Justice Benjamin Paradza is suing President Robert Mugabe's
government for wrongful arrest over a ''humiliating'' night spent in a jail
infested with lice, which he said was an assault on judicial independence,
his lawyer said.
       In a statement on Thursday, half of the High Court's 20 judges said
the state had failed to follow procedures laid down in the Constitution to
handle allegations of misconduct against a judge, including the appointment
of a tribunal to investigate.
       ''The image of the judiciary is severely tarnished and the status of
judges is belittled if a judge, who has not been suspended from office in
terms of...the Constitution is detained in police cells,'' the statement
       ''If any judge is treated in the manner in which Justice Paradza has
been, the impression is unavoidable that the judge concerned is being
harassed and victimised.''
       Paradza was detained overnight in February over allegations he
interfered in the case of a business partner, which was being handled by
another judge. He was subsequently charged with corruption and freed on
bail, to appear in court on March 21.
       His aides say the charges were politically motivated and designed to
punish him for embarrassing Mugabe's government the previous month when he
freed Harare's mayor, a member of the main opposition held for holding an
illegal political meeting.
       Police say the corruption charges against Paradza are not politically
motivated. He stands accused of trying to influence a fellow judge to
release the passport of Russel Wayne Luschagne, his partner in a safari
hunting business venture.
       Luschagne's passport had been held by a court under his bail
conditions for a murder charge, and police said Paradza had said he stood to
lose $60,000 if he Luschagne did not get his passport back in order to make
a business trip to Spain.
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Last lot appear in Court!

1. Tadious / Fibian Musara Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
2. Polite Ngwenya 27yrs Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
3. Brian Van Blerk 31yrs Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
4. Bukhosi Ndlovu Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
5. John Tlou 47yrs Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
6. Khathaza Ncube 21yrs Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
7. Makhosi Ncube 23yrs Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
8. Lovemore Gunda 22yrs Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
9. John Edward Dietrechson 65yrs Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
10. George Parkin Jnr 49yrs Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
11. Charles Jenkinson Fri 28 Feb Paid fine and released
12. Trigger Mkiza 21yrs Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
13. Terence Arthur Albery Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
14. Blessing Moyo 20yrs Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
15. Blessing Ndlovu 25yrs Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
16. Daiton Laudon Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
17. Kindness Moyo Fri 28 Feb Hospitalised, released from Custody
18. Rosinah Ngwenya Fri 28 Feb Assaulted, released held at Mzilikazi
19. Similo Mpofu Fri 28 Feb Assaulted, released held at Sauerstown
20. Sibonile Mhlanga Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
21. Thulani Ndlovu Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
22. Sithembile Ncube Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
23. Sehlile Ncube Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
24. Benjamin Moyo Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
25. Majaja Kavhala Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
26. Rorisang Sibanda Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
27. Lloyd Jari Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
28. Sinikiwe Ndlovu Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
29. Philemon Bwerimwe Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
30. Sinikiwe Mkhwananzi Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
31. Sikhululekile Moyo Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
32. Alfonso Mathuthu Fri 28 Feb Court 4 Mar & Bail - To appear 21 March
33. Mehluli Ncube Mon 3 Mar Arrested at home. Bail/released to appear 25 March
34. Thamsanga Ncube Mon 3 Mar Arrested at home. Bail/released to appear 25 March
35. Zibusiso Thodlana Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
36. Thandumuzi Nyoni Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
37. Janet Tshuma Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
38. Khumbulani Nxumalo Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
39. Paul Ncube Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
40. Tsarelo Nare Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
41. Malvin Zitha Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
42. Linzima Zitha Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
43. Bright Maguri Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
44. Marlon Pamugwagwa Minor Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
45. Tranios Tshuma Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
46. Ndabezezere Vike Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
47. Christopher Sibanda Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
48. Owen Matavire Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
49. Thabani Sibanda Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
50. Nomvelo Ngibari Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
51. Wonesa Leo Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
52. Jonathan Gondowe Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
53. Melusi Nyathi Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
54. Siphatisiwe Nyoni Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
55. Takesure Moyo Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
56. Thulani Ncube Minor Tues 4 Mar Court 6 Mar & Bail - To appear 25 March
57. Zenzo Moyo Tues 4 Mar Released without charge
58. Garry Rudhe Tues 4 Mar Released without charge
59. Lovemore Phiri Tues 4 Mar Released without charge
60. Nqobizitha Ndlovu Fri 28 Feb Released without charge
61. Eugene Moyo Fri 28 Feb Released without charge
62. Zanele Ndlovu/Dube Fri 28 Feb Released without charge
63. Billy Ndlovu Fri 28 Feb Released without charge
64. Ntokozo Nkomo Fri 28 Feb Released without charge
65. Thembinkosi Fri 28 Feb Released without charge
66. Sister of Thembinkosi Fri 28 Feb Released without charge
67. Ntokozo Nkomo Fri 28 Feb Released without charge
68. Mxolisi Moyo Fri 28 Feb Released without charge
69. Francisco Nyoni Fri 28 Feb Released without charge
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: Sam Baker

Please can you pass this on to anyone who might be interested?

HP Learning Centre is offering an online stress-management course.
Enrolment is free.  The web address is:-

The course started on 20th February and ends on 4th April, but you can join
any time and catch up with the lessons.

Stressed-out Zimbos might find it useful!

Cheers, Sam



There has been a storm of outrage amongst us Free Zimbabwe Activists since
Chirac invited Mugabe to Paris.  Never mind his other gallic politicking.
These are some of the jokes circulating in the UK amongst the population in
general. (See French military magazine attached).  It may not be
politically correct but is true.

What's one good thing that came out of France?

The Huguenots!

In Paris they grow a lot of trees - Why?

So that the Germans can march in the shade!

What is the difference between the French and a piece of toast?

You can make soldiers out of toast!!!

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

Justice for Agriculture mailing list
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Natal Witness

Maduna stands by SA judiciary

CAPE TOWN - Justice Minister Penuell Maduna distanced himself on Thursday
from an attack on the region's judiciary by a senior ANC MPL and pledged to
protect the rights of South African judges to express their views.

This follows criticism from the official opposition and the General Council
of the Bar of KwaZulu-Natal over MPL Dumisani Makhaye's comments.

On whether Maduna shares Makhaye's views, ministry spokesman Paul Setsetse
said: "We distance ourselves from what he said.

"Judges in South Africa are independent and are indeed at liberty to express
their views on local, as well as international, issues.

"It is within their rights to express their dissatisfaction as the judiciary
on the Zimbabwean situation," Setsetse said.

"As the Ministry of Justice we will protect our judiciary to express their
opinion and views."

On whether Maduna shares the chief justices' concerns about Zimbabwe,
Setsetse said the situation in Zimbabwe is being handled at a diplomatic
level "and we would like to leave it at that".

"We would not want to comment outside that all-inclusive approach embarked

Setsetse said Makhaye's comments do not represent Maduna or the South
African government.

"He was just speaking for himself."

On Wednesday, Makhaye criticised the region's chief justices for raising
concerns about the arrest of Zimbabwean judge Benjamin Paradza.

The General Council of the Bar said it is disconcerting and regrettable that
a member of a South African legislature acted in this way.

"The tone of the statement suggests a contemptuous attitude towards those
voices that express concern about the independence, perceived and real, of
the judiciary," council chairman Willem van der Linde said.

Speaking in the National Assembly, Sandy Kalyan (DA) called on the ANC to
repudiate Makhaye, whom she described as "this dangerous man".
Publish Date: 7 March 2003
Source: SAPA
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Zim Independent

Judge slam Chidyausiku
Vincent Kahiya
IN a bold stand against government attempts to undermine the judiciary,
Justice Benjamin Paradza who is facing charges of corruption, has attacked
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and Judge President Paddington Garwe,
accusing them of allowing his arrest and thus compromising the independence
of the judiciary.

Justice Paradza in a Supreme Court application challenging the
constitutionality of his arrest has charged that the Chief Justice and the
Judge President failed to protect him because they feared the executive.

Ten High Court judges on Wednesday signed a statement denouncing the arrest
of Paradza, which they said tarnished their image and belittled them. They
said Justice Paradza should not have been arrested until the correct
procedures had been followed.

In hard-hitting remarks forming part of his Supreme Court application filed
this week, Paradza described the conduct of the two most senior members of
the bench as "completely unacceptable".

"I must point out that the conduct of my immediate superiors, both the Judge
President and the Chief Justice, is completely unacceptable," said Justice
Paradza in his founding affidavit.

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

"I can only assume that they did not do so for fear that they would fall out
of favour with the executive, as happened in the case of the former Chief
Justice Gubbay and the other judges of the High Court who resigned their
offices," he said. "In so acting they have indeed compromised the
independence of the judiciary."

Justice Paradza was released on bail two weeks ago after spending a night in
police cells at Borrowdale police station and is to appear in court again on
March 21. He is accused of interfering in the trial of a friend and business
partner who is facing a murder charge. Paradza has denied the allegations.
The state has said it will call two judges, Justices Malaba and Cheda, as
witnesses in the case.

Paradza is the second judge to be arrested in Zimbabwe after retired High
Court judge Fergus Blackie was arrested in September last year, also on
allegations of obstructing the course of justice. Blackie is still awaiting

Paradza said prior to his arrest he had phoned Justice Garwe advising him of
the impending arrest. He said the Judge President gave him the impression
that "he did not know anything about it".

"I have since found out that, indeed, the Judge President, the Chief Justice
and the first respondent (the Minister of Justice) had been aware of my
impending arrest three weeks before," he said, "and they did not have the
courtesy to advise me at the time that they had been made aware of it,
giving me an opportunity to respond to the complaints made against me."

He added: "The Judge President, the Chief Justice and the first respondent
did not care if the complaint against me was false, malicious or otherwise,
but merely allowed the police to arrest me.

"This again demonstrates the point that it is impossible to have an
independent judiciary if the executive can interfere at will and be allowed
to be the first judge of a judge." This meant any police constable could
walk into a judge's cha-mbers and arrest him, Paradza argued. Legal experts
said the statement by the judges condemning the arrest of Justice Paradza
puts the Chief Justice in an invidious position.

"If the Chief Justice is going to preside over the case, it means he would
have to make a ruling in a case in which 10 judges on his bench have already
pronounced a determination," said a senior partner with Harare law firm.

Justice Paradza said his arrest was unconstitutional as President Mugabe, on
the advice of the Chief Justice, should have first set up a tribunal to look
into the allegations levelled against him. Once a determination had been
made he could face arrest after leaving the bench.
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Zim Independent

Thailand tightens visas for Zim
Staff writers
IN a blow to President Robert Mugabe's "Look East" policy, Thailand has
imposed visa restrictions on Zimbabweans wishing to visit that country. The
news comes only days after Mugabe visited Bangkok to open a trade expo in
the Thai capital designed to enhance business contacts.

Despite Mugabe's shuttling between Harare and Far East capitals, trade
figures obtained from Zimtrade this week reveal that trade with the Asian
Tigers has been on the decline for the last five years.

The diplomatic shuttles undertaken at considerable cost to the ficsus do not
appear to have brought any meaningful benefits.

Exports to Thailand declined sharply to US$8,78 million in 2001 from US$37,1
million in 2000, compared to imports worth US$4,03 million in 2001. Cotton
and asbestos made up the larger part of the exports. The pattern for 2002 is
much the same, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt, although figures are
still being collated.

Mugabe opened the Zimbabwe-Thailand Expo Centre, a shop window for
Zimbabwean products, on February 26 while on one of his whirlwind tours.

He launched another expo centre in Singapore on February 27. Exports to
Singapore declined to US$2,2 million in 2001 from US$14,5 million in 2000,
while imports from Singapore were worth US$2,6 million.

Despite the opening of the Zimbabwe-Asia Expo Centre in Kuala Lumpur in
Malaysia last year, exports to that country were worth only US$1,2 million
compared to imports of more than $11 million.

Mugabe returned from his trip to the Far East last weekend declaring he had
"done a great job" in wooing investment from that part of the region.

Until January, Zimbabwe passport holders could obtain a visa on arrival at
Bangkok airport. But this facility has been withdrawn. Zimbabweans will now
have to obtain visas before travelling to Thailand. The visa restriction
came into effect on December 29 after Mugabe had been to Thailand twice on
business trips.

The Independent has it on good authority that businessmen, led by banker
Enoch Kamushinda, who accompanied President Mugabe to Thailand last week had
to get visas before travelling to that country.

The Thai authorities signalled their intention to tighten entry restrictions
for nationals of a number of countries, many in Africa, shortly after the
September 11 2001 attacks in the United States but waited until this year
before doing so. They have also referred to a lack of reciprocity on visa
issues with these states.

The citizens of many countries do not require visas for Thailand while
others can still obtain visas on arrival. South African passport holders
benefit from an exemption that permits them to enter and stay in Thailand
for 30 days without an entry visa.

Mugabe visited Thailand with an entourage of officials and businessmen last
week, his second visit this year. But it is not clear if the new
restrictions were discussed. There has been much fanfare in the official
media surrounding the policy of forging closer relations with countries in
the Far East. A visit to Zimbabwe last November by a trade delegation from
Thailand discussed trade and tourism ties. It was proposed that Air Zimbabwe
should fly to Bangkok.

Zimbabweans - business people and tourists - have been visiting Thailand in
growing numbers in recent years and it is thought the latest clampdown will
affect the flow. Visas will now have to be obtained from the Royal Thai
embassy in Pretoria prior to travel.

A Thai business delegation led by Dr Nalinee Joy Taveesin last year promised
to export fertiliser to Zimbabwe and establish an airlink between Bangkok
and Harare. None of this has happened.
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Zim Independent

Zanu PF officials accused of raping militia trainees
Loughty Dube/Cynthia Mahwite
SENIOR Zanu PF officials in Bulawayo have been implicated in a rape scandal
at national youth militia training camps that were scattered throughout the
city in the run up to the 2002 presidential election, the Zimbabwe
Independent has learnt.

The revelation came last Thursday when a number of female "Green Bombers"
gave a harrowing account of rape ordeals they endured. The girls testified
during a church meeting organised by church leaders in Bulawayo for torture
victims. Archbishop Pius Ncube presided.

The MP for St Mary's, Job Sikhala, testified on his torture by police at the
meeting that was attended by church leaders from South Africa.

Implicated amongst the perpetrators of the rape ordeals are senior Zanu PF
executive members for Bulawayo province (named) and base commanders for the
training camps (names supplied). Girls who were based in a training camp
situated in Burnside spoke of serious abuse of female members in the camps.

"I do not know the father of my baby because I was repeatedly raped by a
number of different men and boys every night," said one of the girls who
spoke on condition of anonymity.

"When we reported the incidents to our base commander we were beaten up and
told we were MDC sellouts."

She said the cases of rape were reported to Hillside police station but the
police have remained silent on what course of action they have taken.

"Police would also visit the camp and leave with some girls," said one of
the girls.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said if the cases of rape were reported to
the police they would be investigated irrespective of whether they were
political or not.

"Irrespective of whether these cases are political or not, if they are true
rape cases the culprits would go to court because we would be dealing with
criminal cases," Bvudzijena said.

He however said some people were taking advantage of the current political
climate to misrepresent facts.

However, the girls insisted that serious abuse of female members of the
youth militia at the youth camps took place.

"It is painful to speak of that today, the filth I went through of being
made a wife of so many men is horrible, especially the fact that some of the
boys we shared the same room with forced themselves on us," said one of the

She said the training they underwent included a 20-km marathon in the early
hours of the morning and returning to base where they had to do 200 press
ups before going for party sloganeering and re-education lectures.
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Zim Independent

Zim in bid to end isolation
Mthulisi Mathuthu
AHEAD of the European Union/Africa Caribbean and Pacific Joint Parliamentary
Assembly meeting to be held in Congo-Brazzaville this month, Zimbabwe is
already lobbying for the lifting of sanctions and adoption of a resolution
that Britain is to blame for its problems.

The meeting is scheduled for March 31 to April 4.

The Zimbabwe Independent this week obtained details of the motion which will
be tabled by State Enterprises minister Paul Mangwana at the end of the

"The only issue obstructing the return to normalcy in the country is the
sustained hostility of the United Kingdom government which is engendering
polarisation in Zimbabwean society and blocking cooperation between Zimbabwe
and the international community," it reads.

The resolution claims Britain used "coercive diplomacy" to have the EU, the
Commonwealth and the United States impose "declared and undeclared"
sanctions on Zimbabwe.

It says: "The United Kingdom has used coercive diplomacy to conscript the
EU, the Commonwealth and the United States to impose declared and undeclared
sanctions on the government and people of Zimbabwe with a view to creating
an economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe."

Zimbabwe hopes to convince the EU/ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA)
that Britain, as a former colonial master, is opposed to the land
resettlement exercise and has hence campaigned for Zimbabwe's isolation.

The resolution blames Britain for undermining the growth of genuine
democracy, the rule of law and the culture of respect for human rights
through inciting international host-ility against Zimbabwe and by sponsoring
organisations to arouse domestic upheaval and render the country

Crafted on February 27, the document claims that Britain is at the forefront
of Zimbabwe's demonisation in the media helped by some journalists, "as was
the case with the disgraced Financial Gazette and London Observer (sic)
journalist, Basildon Peta.

"Opposition to the land reform programme has also led to the nurturing and
sponsoring of surrogate political forces and NGOs in Zimbabwe to provoke the
forces of law and order so that the just cause of redistributing land to the
landless black majority can be condemned by the international community on
the basis of malicious and false allegations on non-observance of the rule
of law, human rights and good governance," the resolution claims.

According to the document circulating among diplomats and MEPs in Brussels,
Zimbabwe wants the JPA to endorse the Abuja summit and Presidents Thabo
Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo's observations that land, racial and external
interests were at the core of its problems.
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Zim Independent

Govt intensifies crackdown against dissent
Blessing Zulu
THE clampdown on dissent has intensified over the past two weeks with
growing evidence of police brutality - further denting claims by Presidents
Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo that the situation in Zimbabwe has

Some of the worst cases of brutality followed a World Cup cricket match in
Bulawayo last Friday.

Nigerian leader Obasanjo came to Zimbabwe on February 8 on a one-day visit
from South Africa. Following his visit over 280 people have been arrested
under the draconian Public Order and Security Act (Posa).

Mbeki told the SABC that his government had a commitment from the Zimbabwean
leadership that repression would stop. But there has been an increase in
police violence since then.

On February 13, a meeting organised by the Zimbabwe National Pastors
Conference at Northside Community Church in Borrowdale was brutally broken
up by the police.

The police assaulted prominent academic and civic leader, Dr John Makumbe.
They briefly detained human rights lawyer Brian Kagoro, Bishop Trevor
Manhanga and an American diplomat.

On February 14 police arrested 73 people, mainly women, who were marching
for peace. Those who were detained included seven journalists who were
covering the event and a clergyman whose camera was confiscated after
video-taping the demonstration.

In another potentially embarrassing case, the vice-president of the Bulawayo
Queens Sports Club and an accredited member of the International Cricket
Council, Paul Dietrechsen, was arrested and assaulted after the cricket
World Cup match between Zimbabwe and Holland. Dietrechsen and another member
of the Bulawayo Queens Club, George Robert Parkin, had gone to the police
post at the grounds to inquire about a club member, Monty Jenkinson, who had
been arrested for allegedly verbally abusing a youth who had entered an area
of the club reserved for members.

"After the match the young man returned with five policemen who arrested
Jenkinson," said Parkin in a statement.

"As we got there Jenkinson was pushed into the police post building. A
senior police member in uniform with a faulty right eye then punched
Jenkinson in the mouth and about the head with a clenched fist," Parkin
said. There were up to eight officers present he said.

"At that stage Paul Dietrechsen walked in. He was wearing his official ICC
badge. He had to push his way through the policemen and wanted to know what
was going on."

As Dietrechsen tried to make his way out he was assaulted, Parkin said. Then
a plain clothes officer arrived, Parkin said.

"I saw him grab a long rubber riot baton from one of the uniformed officers
and start assaulting Dietrechsen with the baton."

Parkin said he shouted for the officer to stop and threw himself in the way.
Dietrechsen is 65 years old. Parkin claims the plain clothes officer then
started beating him.

All three - Jenkinson, Dietrechsen and Parkin - were then forcibly pushed to
the ground and assaulted, Parkin said.

He claims the plain clothes officer shouted racist abuse at them asking: "Do
you know me, do you know me?"

"I do not know how many times I was assaulted - but many many blows," Parkin
said. "This was also happening to Dietrechsen and Jenkinson."

They were then taken to Bulawayo Central and later to Queens Park where they
were detained.

"We were not allowed access to any legal advice, or to see our family
members, or to make any phone calls," Parkin said. He and Dietrechsen were
charged under Posa for attempting to obstruct the course of justice.

At the same match 41 cricket supporters were detained by the police for four
days after a peaceful demonstration. They were all released by the courts.

On February 28 the police arrested 23 clergymen who were protesting against
the excessive use of force by the police. Twenty-eight cricket supporters
were arrested on Tuesday for demonstrating at the Queens Sports Club where
the match against Pakistan was being played.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has also suffered from
the latest wave of arrests and assaults.

At least 26 MDC supporters on their way to a rally in Hatcliffe were
arrested on Sunday along Chancellor Avenue. The MDC said its supporters were
detained and assaulted in State House grounds for wearing MDC T-shirts.

Nelson Chamisa, the MDC candidate for Kuwadzana, his campaign manager
Charlton Hwende, and over 50 supporters were arrested for campaigning.

In the high-density suburb of Mufakose a further 70 MDC supporters were
arrested and 10 other suspected MDC supporters were picked from their homes
in Mufakose in the early hours of Monday morning. This was after an MDC
rally sanctioned by the police.

MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi said the arrests exposed the
government's hypocrisy. About 50 of the 70 were released on Tuesday night.

"The arrests are further evidence that the Mugabe regime does not tolerate
political pluralism in the country, and is willing to continually suppress
opposing views, contrary to the efforts by the regime to hoodwink the
international community into believing that the country is returning to law
and order," said Nyathi.

"We reiterate our position that the ZRP has become a willing tool in Zanu
PF's effort to suppress basic human rights in Zimbabwe," said Nyathi.

The Speaker of the Swedish parliament, Bjorn von Sydow, has reacted strongly
to reports of arrests and state-sanctioned violence in Zimbabwe.

"I want to convey the Swedish paliament's vehement protests against these
violations of the human rights of MPs and members of the opposition," he

"The Zimbabwe government must put an immediate stop to the tide of violence
and torture that has swept across the country," Von Sydow said.
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Zim Independent

Matsanga Mugabe's 'advisor'
Mthulisi Mathuthu
THE London-based Ugandan fugitive, David Nyekorach-Matsanga, is now one of
President Robert Mugabe's public relations advisors.

A fortnight ago Matsanga told two undercover journalists from the British
Telegraph newspaper in Croydon that he was one of Mugabe's advisors.

He said: "I know all the government, they turn to me for advice. Mugabe is
always interested in what I have to say."

According to the Telegraph, Matsanga is paid by the Zimbabwean government to
win publicity for it through his Africa Strategy company which last year
held a conference in Croydon to market Mugabe's land policies.

This comes at a time when Matsanga has been publicising Africa Strategy as a
civic organisation committed only to political debate and research.

Other companies that have been hired to do publicity work for Mugabe's
government are Dickens & Madson owned by Ari Ben-Menashe and Andrew Young's
Good Works International.

Last month Matsanga was staying at the Sheraton Hotel in Harare from where
he wrote vitriolic columns in the government papers attacking the British
government and independent journalists.

He also gave lectures at the Zimbabwe Open University's department of media
studies during which he admitted to carrying out research on land on behalf
of the government.

Over lunch with the Telegraph journalists, Mastanga boasted of being a
British citizen and a member of Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party.

He also claimed to have worked as a researcher for Robin Cook, then shadow
foreign secretary, before the 1997 election.

"Britain is my home. I have been here many years. I worked for Robin Cook
before the 1997 election and I am still in the Labour Party," he said.

Matsanga is a wanted man in Uganda where he was a spokesperson for the
Lord's Resistance Army, a rebel group which has been listed by the US
government as an international terrorist organisation.

The Telegraph quoted an unnamed Home Office spokesman as saying the British
government was "not in the business of giving asylum to those who pose a
risk to others" and was "not prepared to offer sanctuary to people who abuse
our hospitality".

Only last month an East African diplomat in Harare warned that his continued
abuse of President Museveni in Zimbabwe's government papers could drive a
wedge between Harare and Kampala.
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Zim Independent

McKinnon in shuttle diplomacy over Zim's Commonwealth status
Dumisani Muleya
AS the expiry date of Zimbabwe's one-year sus-pension from the Commonwealth
approaches, the club's secretary-gen-eral Don McKinnon is intensifying
shuttle dip-lomacy to break the deadlock over the issue.

McKinnon, who is compiling a report on the current Zimbabwe crisis, was in
South Africa this week for talks with President Thabo Mbeki.

Mbeki, Australian Pri-me Minister John How-ard, and Nigerian President
Olusegun Obasanjo form the troika which suspended Zimbabwe from the
Commonwealth on March 19 last year for electoral rigging.

Howard wants Zimba-bwe's suspension exte- nded for another year while Mbeki
and Obasanjo are battling to lift the ban. The three leaders clashed over
the issue at a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, last year but agreed to review the
situation this month.

However, Obasanjo recently wrote to Howard claiming the meeting was no
longer necessary and Zimbabwe should be readmitted to the club because it
has addressed issues of concern.

Zimbabwe was asked to tackle matters relating to democracy and human rights
during its suspension. Howard said he is opposed to Zimbabwe's readmission
because the situation has not only remained unchanged butwas actually
getting worse.

Apart from failing to address issues raised at Marlborough House in London
last March, Harare has also barred McKinnon from visiting the country on a
fact-finding mission.

A senior Commonwealth official told the Zimbabwe Independent from London
this week that McKinnon is busy consulting on the issue. He is expected to
release a report on Zimbabwe soon.

"The report has not yet been finalised but it will be ready soon," the
official said. "It will be sent to troika members as soon as it is

Sources said McKin-non has already consulted the troika members and is now
talking to other Commonwealth leaders.

"He held talks with Mbeki this week," a source said. "Last week he spoke to
Obasanjo during the Non-Aligned Movement (Nam) summit in Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia, and prior to all this he had consulted Howard during his visit to
London on February 12."

Besides these leaders, McKinnon is understood to have met more than 20
Commonwealth leaders during the Nam meeting. He has also been to India,
Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Swaziland.

"In addition to all this, McKinnnon has also had telephone contacts with a
number of Commonwealth leaders," the source said. "He will continue
consulting until the troika decides after March 19 what is the next step on

Asked how effectiveMcKinnon's overtures during Nam were giventhat the summit
expressed blanket support for Zimbabwe's land reforms and called for the
lifting of targeted sanctions imposed by the European Union, the
Commonwealth official said there was no connection between the two issues.

"There was no connection between Nam and McKinnon's mission," the official
said. "It was never the Commonwealth's business to shape the views and
statements of Nam leaders. We saw the declaration on Zimbabwe but we know
there was no debate and consensus on the issue.

In any case, the declaration was actually drafted weeks before the summit.
So there was little resemblance between what Nam leaders thought and the

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Zim Independent

Fuel crisis to stay with us despite price hikes - Gono
Ngoni Chanakira
GIDEON Gono, the country's main fuel-deal broker, says despite the recent
price hikes, Zimbabwe is not yet out of the "dark cloud of scarcity" as far
as the crippling shortages are concerned.

Gono, the Jewel Bank's chief executive officer, has facilitated deals by
organising offshore funding for fuel, especially from Kuwait.

He has also facilitated trade deals between Zimbabwe and Malaysia,
culminating in the latter agreeing to accept local currency in payment for

In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent this week, Gono was quick to
point out that "issues dealing with the fuel crisis are now deemed strategic
and confidential".

He said: "We have been experiencing a rough patch over the last three months
or so. We are not yet out of the dark cloud of scarcity and it is not very
clear as to when we will get out."

In a bid to bail out the cash-strapped Noczim, the Minister of Energy,
Transport and Communications, Amos Midzi, last Tuesday hiked the fuel price.

Petrol went up from $74,47 to $145,20, while diesel increased by 80% from
$66,39 to $119,43. The industry had proposed increments of up to $500 per
litre for petrol and $300 for diesel.

Gono said: "We still have a long way to go in terms of coming up with a
pricing structure for fuel that recognises the true nature of procurement
cost as well as the situation on the ground. I don't think the situation was
meant to correlate price with availability, but rather meant to correct a
pricing backlog where, for instance, a bottle of water was costing more than
fuel which it still is."

He said he would prefer a regular price review in line with the viability of
the industry, which took account of inflationary pressures.

Citing confidentiality clauses, Gono refused to comment on the amount of
fuel the country had so far imported or how much money had been splashed out
to suppliers by his bank.

He, however, admitted that Zimbabwe was seriously cash-strapped and did not
have sufficient foreign currency to continue paying for imports.

Bankers said foreign currency reserves in the sector diminished from about
US$10,3 million in November, last year, to about US$600 000 last month.

Gono said since exports had nose-dived, receipts to the central bank were a
third of 1998 levels.

"Such a decline has meant that all critical areas have suffered," he said.
"The country is under sanctions from the donor community, and the gap has
been left exposed since the land reform programme began. There is no new
forex to fill this gap. Until and unless we come up with a self-sustaining
source of energy, we will be seeing queues and fighting among our consumers.
The supply levels are critical. What Zimbabwe needs is an investment in fuel
which goes beyond the hand to mouth situation that we are experiencing right
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Zim Independent

Evicted farmers could lose millions
Augustine Mukaro
FARMERS served with Section 8 notices last week face the danger of losing
millions of dollars in crops and equipment as government could evict them in
May before they round up their operations.

A Section 8 notice means that a farmer is given 90 days to complete his
operations and vacate his property.

He is expected to harvest all crops in 45 days and then round up any other
activities in the remaining 45 days

Twenty-four of the 44 commercial farmers still operating in the Karoi/Tengwe
area who were served with Section 8 notices said an atmosphere of
uncertainty and fear has gripped farmers as evictions loom.

"Memories of arrests and harassment which were prevalent in government's
sweeping evictions of farmers last year still haunts us," said one of the
farmers on Wednesday

Justice for Agriculture vice-chairman John Worswick said all the farmers
served with the notices had a tobacco crop in the field currently being
harvested and the process would be completed next month. Each farmer has
planted up to 40 hectares of tobacco and can earn $200 million at the

"The crop would need to be cured, graded and then marketed," Worswick said.

"Farmers would need up to at least September to completely round up their
operations at the farms so if government is going to effect the notices,
farmers would suffer serious losses," he said.

He said the few farmers still operating throughout the country had put crops
in the ground following government's assurance that the on-going land reform
programme would not affect them.

The farmers were also misled into making huge investments in producing crops
banking on government's continued rhetoric that the land reform programme
had been completed.
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Zim Independent

Zim owes IMF US$310m
Ngoni Chanakira
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF), which the government has strongly
criticised for "derailing the country's economy", is owed US$310 million by
Zimbabwe, according to reliable sources.

This figure amounts to $17,050 billion using the official rate of US$1/$55
and a staggering $465 billion on the black market rate of US$1/$1 500.

Zimbabwe's arrears, on the other hand, now amount to US$211 million ($11,605
billion officially).

The IMF's Senior Resident Representative, Gerald Johnson, on Tuesday
admitted that the IMF was owed "millions" by Zimbabwe.

Johnson said in an interview: "As you are aware the process to clear the
arrears is quite complicated. The IMF, however, works closely with countries
and gives them time to clear their outstanding payments. The mission
continues to work with countries even if they are in arrears."

The IMF and World Bank, both divisions of the Washington-based Bretton Woods
institutions, have come under severe criticism from government because of
their outspokenness regarding Zimbabwe's economic and political affairs and
suspension of balance of payments support to Zimbabwe, resulting in a
foreign currency crisis.

A high-powered IMF mission is currently in Zimbabwe holding discussions with
government, business, labour, and members of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

It will also grill the top brass of the ruling Zanu PF party about the
situation prevailing in the country.

Individuals expected to meet the IMF delegation include Reserve Bank
governor Leonard Tsumba, ministers Herbert Murerwa (Finance and Economic
Development), Samuel Mumbengegwi (Industry and International Trade), Joseph
Made (Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement), and MDC president Morgan

The mission is also expected to consult with the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries (CZI), Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU), as well as the banking sector.

In its last report on Zimbabwe in 2001, the IMF expressed concern over the
deterioration of economic activity, inappropriate macro-economic policies,
and the general breakdown in law and order, saying this had further damaged
confidence, destroyed capital, and eroded institutions important for
economic development.

The mission said then: "Zimbabwe's economic crisis continues to deepen."

Johnson this week said: "The delegation will issue a report when they have
completed consultations with the individuals they are meeting."
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Zim Independent

Zim braces for showdown
Ndamu Sandu
WITH six months to go before the 5th edition of the World Trade Organisation
Ministerial Conference in Cancun, Mexico, daggers are already drawn as
Zimbabwe braces for a showdown at the summit.

In an interview at a workshop organised by the Southern and Eastern Africa
Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) in Kadoma last week,
director of External Trade in the Ministry of Industry and International
Trade, Rudo Faranisi said the preparatory process towards the ministerial
conferences was not transparent and lacked inclusiveness.

She said there were many developing countries being excluded from council
meetings even after specific requests had been made.

Faranisi said: "This only serves to entrench the interests of developed
countries at the expense of the developing countries."

She acknowledged that the road to Cancun was bumpy for developing countries,
particularly those from Africa, and called for a coordinated effort on their
part to come up with coherent strategies in negotiations with other WTO
members, especially the developed countries.

The director said her ministry would hold consultative meetings to collect
the views of all stakeholders.

Faranisi said Zimbabwe, like any developing country in the world, would put
forward issues that advance its status.

"Developing countries should look internally to issues that affect
themselves as nations," she said.

Asked why southern African nations had not united to form a legislative body
similar to that in east Africa, Faranisi said her ministry would deliberate
on the formation of a regional legislative assembly.

Three east African countries have formed a legislative Assembly, the East
Africa Legislative Assembly.

Headquartered in Arusha, the Assembly is responsible for advocating the
views of these east African countries at the summit and to offer insights on
what to be deliberated on.

The Mexican summit in September is a follow-up to the WTO's Doha summit in
2001 where developing and developed countries failed to reach a consensus.

The developing countries will have a crunch after last month's aborted WTO
Agriculture Agreement in Geneva, Switzerland.
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Zim Independent

Zim faces 'economic misery' - Jewel Bank
Ngoni Chanakira
WHILE the Jewel Bank's profit before tax continues to rise, this time by
246% from $1,3 billion to $4,3 billion, the bank says Zimbabwe is facing
"economic misery".

Jewel Bank chairman, Richard Wilde, while smiling about his firm's
impressive results released this week, spoke strongly about the country's
economic gloom.

He said the period under review would go down in the history books as one
during which Zimbabwe's socio-political and economic fortunes reached levels
of economic misery and instability never experienced since independence.

The bank's net profit after tax shot up by 233% from $808 million to $2,7
billion, while headline earnings per share went up from 198 cents to 580

Despite a very competitive banking sector, the Jewel Bank managed to
increase its deposits by 81%, from $30,4 billion to $55,2 billion.

Shareholders funds also went up by 107% from $2,6 billion to $5,3 billion,
while the bank's balance sheet size increased by 93% from $36,1 billion to
$69,5 billion.

The total dividend for the year increased by 120% from 50 cents to 110

Wilde said: "The year under review will certainly go down in the history
books as one during which the country's socio-political and economic
fortunes reached levels of economic misery and instability never expected
before in our short history of independence.

"Inflation hit record levels, closing the year at 198,9%. Foreign currency
shortages reached acute dimensions, which threatened to cripple essential
imports for the country while the grey market price for the commodity rose
to levels never dreamt of before. Shortages of power, fuel, essential basic
commodities and their inappropriate pricing also threatened the social,
political and economic stability of the country."

The Jewel Bank's charge for doubtful debts on the other hand increased from
$547 million to $815,9 million, bringing the cumulative provisions held by
the bank to well over $2 billion.

"Recoveries of previously classified debts resulted in a release of
provisions of $642,4 million during the year and measures are in place to
continue with the strategy to reduce non-performing loans to the absolute
minimum even though the operating environment makes it impossible to
eliminate this risk," Wilde told shareholders this week.

"Caution and diligence, without exaggeration, will always guide the bank's
lending programmes and its subsequent monitoring of performance."

The chairman took a swipe at the government, saying President Robert
Mugabe's regime had "not succeeded in reversing the contraction of the

Wilde said: "Government's response to the challenges confronting the country
while commendable in courage and determination has not succeeded in
reversing the contraction in the economy."

He said it was very important now more than ever before that the government
changed its economic principles and followed revival plans spelt out by

He said the government needed to desperately tackle the problems being faced
in the transport, communications, international relations sectors, as well
as poverty alleviation methods.

The bank chairman said the problems of shortages, de-industrialisation,
unemployment and inflation, had combined to make Zimbabwe the "least
competitive investment destination in the region".

"The matter is extremely urgent," Wilde said.
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Zim Independent

Zim isolation hurts business
Ngoni Chanakira
DESPITE the government's insistence that international isolation is not
hurting economic prospects, leading business executives both locally and
regionally dispute this, saying Zimbabwe cannot go it alone.

Zimbabwe has been isolated for more than three years now by the
international community who cite its unjust human rights record, abuse of
the judiciary, skewed macro-economic policies, as well as its land
resettlement programme.

The European Union (EU), the Bretton Woods institutions that include the
World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United States
government, as well as several donor organizations have imposed sanctions
against Zimbabwe.

President Robert Mugabe and more than 70 of his senior government officials
and business associates have been banned from traveling to the EU and the US
as the international community tightens up on its sanctions imposition.

In an interview, Yusuf Turundu, Permanent Secretary of the African Business
Round Table (ABR), said Zimbabwe "definitely cannot go-it-alone".

Turundu, who is based at the association's headquarters in South Africa, was
visiting Zimbabwe to meet business executives.

He said: "Zimbabwe definitely needs to talk to the international community
in order to get international support. This is the reason why there are
international groupings and meetings between diplomatic personnel. No
country in the world survives on its own. It can never happen."

While Zimbabwe has tried to play down the diplomatic impasse with the
international community, it has, however, begun to look to the Far East for
its markets.

Several trips have been made to countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and
China to try and get access to markets there.

In an interview this week, Gideon Gono, chief executive officer of the Jewel
Bank, also confirmed that Zimbabwe needed friends because it could not
conduct its business without help.

Gono said: "The Far East can help Zimbabwe just like what the Europeans were
doing. Let's face it, we cannot do things on our own. In the world of
business he that explores new avenues is one who comes out better."
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Zim Independent

Rio's gold output down
Staff writer
RIO TINTO Zimbabwe Ltd (RioZim)'s gold production has slumped by 77,4 % to 1
182 kg compared to the previous year, the group said this week.

In its results for the year ended December 31 2002, the company said profit
after tax rose by 449% to $582 million while group turnover rose by 96 %
from the previous year to $4,9 billion.

Rio Zim, however, attributed the decrease in the production of gold to the
closure of Camp Dump and the lower available ore grades at both Patchway and

The company said it had made a loss through December after the announcement
of the budget.

"Following the budget and other pronouncements in November, the company
operated at a loss through December," the company said.

It said the exploration joint venture programmes had created an expenditure
of $218 million and the company was responsible for 50% of this amount.

Rio said work on existing projects would be completed during the course of
the year.

"Work programmes on existing ground holdings will be completed during 2003
and no new ground is being taken," Rio said.

On its future prospects, the company said it was optimistic that changes to
macroeconomic policy announced by the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development, Herbert Murerwa, had removed the conditions which prompted the
cautionary statement issued in December last year.

The measure announced by Murerwa meant that government would devalue from
the current $55 to the United States dollar, to $800.
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Zim Independent

Foreign currency shortages set to persist
Staff Writer
ZIMBABWE'S foreign currency shortages are set to persist due to the
decreasing volumes of minerals expected to be produced this year, according
to statistics released by the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CMZ).

The chamber, in its report for October/November released this week, said
most minerals would record decreases in volumes produced in 2002 compared to

Minerals anticipated to record decreases in volumes include black granite,
coal, chromite, cobolt, gold, graphite, iron ore, iron pyrite, lithium
minerals, magnesite and nickel.

Those expected to record increases include asbestos, copper, high carbon
ferrodrome, palladium, platinum, rhodium and vermiculite.

The chamber said: "With the decline in the performance of the real sectors
expected to continue in 2003, the contribution at Pay As You Earn (Paye) and
other sources of revenue is expected to be greatly reduced in 2003.

The increase in revenue in 2003 compared to 2002 is mainly due to inflation
adjustments. However, if measures to address inflation through price
stabilisation work, it is difficult to determine the reason for the 104%
increase in anticipated revenue for 2003."

In his 2003 national budget, Minister of Finance and Economic Development
Herbert Murerwa, estimated that $540 billion would be raised.

However, the chamber said "it is difficult to imagine how these resources
will be raised".

"For 2002 all the sectors are estimated to record significant negative
growth as follows: mining (7,1 %), manufacturing (17,2 %), agriculture (20,8
%), hotel and distribution (12 %), construction (10 %), and electricity (4,7

"The structure of government revenue sources is: PAYE (43%), sales tax (23
%), corporate tax (11 %), customs duty (six %), excise duty (six %), others
(10 %)," said the chamber.

The chamber said gold production had been affected by the support price that
always lagged behind operating costs creating cash-flow problems for

"The shortage of foreign currency and the inefficiency of the gold pool
facility also presented the sector with challenges that impacted negatively
on production," the chamber said in its report.

"As long as these two issues are not dealt with decisively production will
decline further in 2003. Other minerals battled with operating cost that
continue to escalate with no end in sight. On the revenue front mineral
prices have not been performing well during 2002. World economic recovery in
2003 will impact positively on commodity prices as demand for mineral
commodities is expected to increase."

The chamber said increased production efficiencies had resulted in increased
production of asbestos throughout 2002. It said by year-end production was
anticipated to have increased by 28,6 % compared to 2001.

"A reduction in world production is acting in favour of Zimbabwe as the
number of competitors has been reduced," the chamber said. "The asbestos
market has remained favourable."

However, the South Africans are battling to get asbestos from Zimbabwe
banned in their country. Zimbabwean politicians have been lobbying to avoid
this happening at great cost.

South African members of parliament have been invited to attend several
briefings on asbestos and its advantages, while several Zimbabweans in the
industry have also visited the neighboring country to try and convince them
about safety of local asbestos. -.
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Zim Independent - letters

Time to look beyond Zanu PF politicians

I HAVE been following the Zimbabwe debacle with keen interest. I wish to
make some observations so that others can learn and maybe add one or two
views of their own.

Zanu PF is becoming obsolete in the Zimbabwean scenario, as everyone now
knows. We now need to look beyond these eloquent but useless politicians.

In the same breath I hasten to add that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is the
best thing that ever happened to us as Zimbabweans. He has put to shame the
Zanu PF clique of clueless politicians and their sadistic police force by
skillfully steering away from the anticipated violent mass action.

Their tear-gas is gathering dust and soldiers are getting restless because
the threat of war has not materialised and the promised booty might not be
coming because the Zimbabwean civilian is much too crafty to confront a
ruthless armed enemy head-on.

They might brand Tsvangirai a traitor, a British-sponsored puppet but who is
the real revolutionary? Certainly not the ruling elite! Because of Zanu PF's
numerous blunders, the Libyans have colonised us, the Chinese are being
courted to colonise another chunk of an already mortgaged country, while the
Malaysians are being promised heaven on earth by taking over whatever they
can lay their hands on before the curtain comes down on Zanu PF.

What have we got in common with all these new colonisers?

By now most people will have realised that you don't have to like a man to
do business with him, and for the sake of survival, there is nothing like
pride in a fallen man.

We might not like the British and Americans, but their patronage brings food
to many a table. Although the Americans don't like the Chinese they still
trade with them. Which is why someone once remarked that there are no
permanent friends or enemies, only alliances.

Zanu PF has failed to create any notable alliances and has made more enemies
than friends - which is why we are in the current mess. yet they deceive
themselves that they are still popular at home.

And it never ceases to amaze me how unelected people such as Jonathan Moyo,
Patrick Chinamasa and Joseph Made keep harping on about sovereignty,
independence etc. Whose sovereignty? Whose independence? Shame on them.

My advice to the MDC now is to plan for the next phase of the battle for
Zimbabwe, to organise peaceful rallies and educate the electorate on how
best we can survive after Zanu PF is gone. We need people closer to home
(our neighbours) to understand our plight, and also to understand that while
we may not be happy, war is not a suitable alternative as yet.

Thabo Mbeki and friends have to be convinced that the last war that ended in
1980 is still fresh in the minds of many, and the wounds are still fresh
too. Some houses that were destroyed during that war are still to be

Zanu PF is still caught up in the time warp of war, which is why their idea
of a hero is still that of someone who participated in the liberation war.
What about the other heroes - nurses, doctors, scientists and all who offer
a great service to their country?

Finally, I think the idea of boycotting businesses run by Zanu PF apologists
is a very good one. Let's keep that going and hit them where it hurts most -
their pockets.

l Two more heroes have been added to the list of those fighting for
Zimbabwe's freedom from tyranny: Andy Flower and Henry Olonga.

Welcome aboard guys and thank you for doing what you did. Zimbabwe needs

C Kandemiri,

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Zim Independent

Creating a desert called peace
By Paul Taylor
THE Romans knew a thing or two about war and peace. The "Pax Romana" (Roman
Peace) was created by a succession of wars. A Celtic chieftain said of
Caesar's legions: "They create a desert and call it peace."

But even when Rome was at the height of its power, shrewd and prudent
citizens warned of the dangers of commencing hostilities without thought to
their eventual conclusion. The writer, Sallust warned: "It is always easy to
begin a war, but very difficult to stop one, since its beginning and end are
not under the control of the same men."

The world stands on the brink of another war. Only fools could claim to
predict its course with certainty. President George Bush is hopeful that
regime change, democratic stability and accountability will be achieved by
an invasion of Iraq. Perhaps. But his wider war is against fundamentalist
terrorism. His opponents' style of guerilla warfare has been called "the war
of the flea". Those of us who agree with Bush that fundamentalist terrorism
is a serious threat to world peace are entitled to ask whether a
conventional onslaught in a highly volatile region is not akin to a
sledgehammer blow aimed at a swarm of fleas?

Nelson Mandela has criticised Bush's disregard of international law. Under
Mandela's presidency South Africa invaded the powerful state known and
feared as the Kingdom of Lesotho to effect regime change. As far as I can
recall, the South Africans did not consult the UN General Assembly or
Security Council beforehand. They effected intensive architectural change
and reduced much of Maseru to rubble. No-one can predict the course of war.

Least of all Robert Mugabe. Having started his land war, he created a desert
which he now calls peace. He says the war is over. But as long as the crisis
of legitimacy continues, violence will go on. Mugabe's power depends on
jambanja and the perpetuation of crisis.

The only difference is a new "spin". Last week ZBC's Munyaradzi Hwengwere
promised the cessation of nauseating "Chave Chimurenga".

Perhaps one day he will be called upon to explain why he abrogated his legal
responsibilities by giving divisive and inflammatory material airtime in the
first place. It is in the interests of all Zimbabweans that an investigation
be held into the tawdry project. When Mr Morrison is given a "barbed wire
tail" Mr Mathe's turn and Mr Musoni's will follow sooner or later.

The Prince of Bombast, Muzvinafundo Moyo, has ordered his newshounds to stop
printing the sort of abysmal drivel which incites racial hatred. May he one
day be called upon to explain why he instructed them to print it in the
first place.

For on the street and in the courtroom, there are signs that justice is
emerging from its slumber.

Only last week a judicial Moses took the first steps to lead our country out
of the chaotic legal wilderness in which the whim of Pharaoh has reigned
supreme. Certain Zanu PF cadres, supposed warriors of the hondo yeminda,
appeared for sentence before Justice Chinhengo. They were convicted of
having committed brutal murder as part of their politically delegated duties
and pleaded that in effect they were only following orders.

The learned Judge stated: "Courts should not be seen to condone such
unlawful activities or to allow this kind of indoctrination to spread. Your
lawyer submitted that when you committed the offence, you thought you were
engaged in the Third Chimurenga, but that was unlawful."

It is worth repeating that in a Zimbabwean High Court Judge's eyes, the
"Third Chimurenga" declared by Mugabe is "unlawful".

But unlawful or not, it continues. Violence continues. Farm seizures
continue. Mugabe does not have the will or the ability to cease hostilities
against our country. Others will have to end what Mugabe began. Justice
Moses Chinhengo has made a start.

We need not expect the "Minister of Justice" Patrick Chinamasa to welcome
Chinhengo's courageous brand of judicial activism. He may yet be its target.
In the first flush of delight in the glorious victories of the hondo yeminda
over peaceful political activists, isolated commercial farmers and other
recalcitrants, it was Chinamasa who stood up at a conference of religious
leaders and unambiguously declared "violence is a necessary tool for a
successful land reform programme".

Chinamasa is allegedly a lawyer. As such he should understand the legal
maxim, qui facit per alium facit per se: He who acts through another is
deemed to act in person. If he were a better lawyer he might have considered
silence to be a wiser option than making statements which tend to
self-incrimination. Now his comments stand on record for future forensic

Just as the Zanu PF killers in Chinhengo's courtroom were called to account
for their crimes, there is no reason why those who benefit from a climate of
political polarisation, racial tension and violence, who indoctrinate and
instruct and incite these hondo yeminda thugs, and who deploy them in the
commission of acts of assault, rape, torture and murder should not come one
day to their own judgement.

Mugabe himself has made any number of utterances constituting incitement to
violence and racial hatred. These are a matter of record. Just as the
senescent Kamuzu Banda once stood in the dock, Mugabe too may be called upon
to account for his public speeches, as well as his private instructions.

Thoughtful commentators be-lieve that if the price for a peaceful transfer
of power to a democratically elected government is an amnesty for Mugabe and
his bully boys then it is a price that should be paid. It is argued that he
and his cohorts cling to power because they are afraid to relinquish it.
Amnesty gives them an "exit strategy", an inducement to depart the political

But in truth the converse is increasingly clear: our ruthless politicians
stay in office in the arrogant belief that they can indefinitely take
advantage of the legendary capacity of our people for forbearance and

They should be made to understand forgiveness is not finite and must be
earned on a case by case basis. After all the search for personal
accountability from undemocratic rulers has ample precedents, under UN and
domestic auspices in Sierra Leone and East Timor, under International
Criminal Tribunal auspices for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and under
domestic auspices in South Africa's Truth Commission. Why should Zimbabwe be
an exception?

Our country has suffered 40 years of illegality and state-sponsored violence
under what the late Joshua Nkomo described as "not the rule of law, but the
law of rule". Sooner or later we must make our leaders and their disciples
understand that the culture of impunity is at an end. If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?

l Paul Taylor writes on civic issues.
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Zim Independent - comment

State assaults will scupper revival plan
THERE has been a marked deterioration in the security situation in Zimbabwe
over the past two weeks as arrests of civic activists and opposition
supporters have been stepped up. This has in turn induced a climate of
uncertainty and increased the likelihood of political confrontation.

The illegal detention of 41 people last Friday after demonstrations at the
Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo during Zimbabwe's World Cup cricket match
against the Netherlands, most of whom were not released until Tuesday this
week, was merely one aspect of a wider crackdown. Some claim they were
assaulted in custody.

A separate incident involving claims of police violence against Queens Club
members and officials at the same cricket ground confirm perceptions that
those entrusted with upholding the law have been given carte blanche to
abuse it. The arrest and beatings at State House of MDC supporters on their
way to a rally challenge any official claims to political normality.

Twenty-eight people were arrested on Tuesday for demonstrating at the match
with Pakistan. Five protesters arrested at Zimbabwe's match against
Australia in Bulawayo on February 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,
according to reports.

We have very quickly descended into a police state where arbitrary and
illegal patterns of arrest and abuse of detainees have become routine.
Lawyers for those detained after the match in Bulawayo last Friday have
described the shocking conditions in which their clients were held. They
described the police as uncooperative.

Reports suggesting aggressive and hostile attitudes towards members of the
public, such as those making enquiries at police stations, underline the
collapse of professional standards in the force.

The arrest, detention and prosecution of a judge on corruption charges last
month represents another dimension to the systematic assault on the fabric
of justice and the rule of law by the state. Justice Paradza's main offence,
it would appear, was to demonstrate an inconvenient degree of judicial
independence. Fellow judges have understandably protested against this

The arrest of church ministers in Harare trying to deliver a petition
calling for an end to police abuses adds to an impression of civil society
under siege. It is significant that none of those arrested in the cases
referred to here were guilty of violence or even incitement. Their only
offence was to exercise the rights accorded to them under the constitution -
the rights to assembly and expression.

An Act of parliament - Posa - passed after Zanu PF suffered serious
electoral setbacks in 2000, is designed to give the police sweeping powers
to prevent those rights being exercised. But it is manifestly
unconstitutional. The police do not have the right - even though they have
the power - to prevent Zimbabweans exercising freedoms accorded to them in
the country's most important law, its constitution.

Justice Yunus Omerjee, opening the legal year of the High Court in Mutare
last week, echoed remarks made earlier by Judge President Paddington Garwe,
warning the police against the temptation to treat an accused person as
guilty. Justice Omerjee urged the police to be fair and thorough in their
investigations before arresting suspects, a call that seems to have been
widely ignored.

The steady collapse of the rule of law, mirrored by the abuse of power on
the part of those who possess it, represents an inauspicious terrain for the
government to launch an economic recovery plan. Any such plan requires first
and foremost a safe and predictable political environment. Investors,
industrial captains, and ordinary business people need to be able to make
calculations over the medium to long term. In Zimbabwe today that is

Businesses have looming over them an unrealistic and artificially-controlled
exchange rate, an inflation rate of 208% fuelled by reckless state borrowing
and spending, and threats of confiscation by the president keen to punish
the private sector for its perceived support for the opposition.

This is not an environment in which business can function, let alone
succeed. The National Economic Revival Plan will fail because a political
culture of coercion, violence and lawlessness has been nurtured and because
unaccountable politicians will continue to engage in populist grandstanding.
If Herbert Murerwa has not learnt that lesson he has learnt nothing.

The recovery plan dishonestly pretends that forex shortages are a product of
sanctions. Combined with a worsening export performance, this has led to
shortages of fuel, power, food and drugs, as well as spares, capital and
equipment, the document says.

"If not urgently addressed, foreign exchange unavailability will lead to
national instability and pose a threat to national security," it warns.

It doesn't mention the state's record in sabotaging agricultural exports and
tourism which have deprived the country of forex receipts. Nor does it refer
to the state's role in fomenting violence, lawlessness and instability.

So long as the state persists in flouting the rule of law, abusing ordinary
citizens and treating the fiscus as the cabinet's private piggy bank there
is no prospect whatsoever of the revival plan working. In fact, like
Zimprest and the Millennium plan it is already dead in the water.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Corruption is costly for business
APPROXIMATELY a fortnight ago, the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development, Herbert Murerwa held a press conference where he announced what
he suggested was "a new policy thrust", the National Economic Revival
Programme (NERP). Although the full document on NERP "spelling out the
implementation modalities" was not then available (and was not released in
the next week despite his assurance that it would then "be made public"), he
outlined 17 "sector-specific measures which government and its social
partners" would implement.

The last of the 17 measures which he identified was that of combating
corruption. The minister said: "Corruption has become a serious concern in
both the public and private sectors. If unchecked, this poses immense
business transaction costs to the economy." He stated that: "To eradicate
this, government, in partnership with all stakeholders, is finalising
legislation for an Anti-Corruption Commission."

If such legislation is forthcoming, and provided that the legislation is
substantive and having real enforcement powers, and also provided that the
legislation is unreservedly applied without fear or favour, it would be a
major contributor towards the development of a stable, sound economy.

Regrettably, although the minister undoubtedly made his statement with
utmost good faith and genuine intent, most will inevitably be sceptical as
to government's determination to curb and contain corruption, for its track
record of positive action against corruption over the 23 years of
Independence is not an impressive one, and few believe that the government
leopard is able to change its spots.

Corruption is a virulent disease which can undermine and destroy an economy.
Whether that corruption is the acceptance of bribes by civil servants to
divert tender awards, or it is an abuse of spending powers and a deliberate
redirection of state funds, or it is an unauthorised use of state assets for
personal gain, it repercusses negatively upon the economy.

In particular, it exacerbates the extent of government spending, worsening
the state's deficits and forcing increased recourse to borrowings. That
fuels inflation, and crowds the private sector out of the money market to
the prejudice of investment.

The same holds good to a major extent when corruption occurs in the private
sector. Whether a bribe is paid to a state official or to a private sector
purchasing officer, the payer seeks to recover that cost by price inflation
for the goods or services being supplied so as to realise his targeted
profit. Similarly, if assets are misused, be they assets of government or
those of private enterprise, there is a cost to the owner of those assets,
and that cost repercusses upon economic wellbeing.

In like manner, when investment proposals are "hijacked" by officialdom for
their personal benefit, intending investors are deterred from making further
proposals, and seek alternative, less corrupt environments in which to
pursue their investment objectives. When those in power use that power for
the enrichment of themselves, their near and distant families, and their
friends, they debase all confidence in law and order, in the integrity of
the authorities, and in opportunities for individual economic advancement in
the absence of corrupt interaction with those authorities.

It is not surprising that so many of the populace ponder as to how, after a
little more than two decades of Independence, such a large number of the
nation's leaders and civil servants in high office (albeit not all of them),
having been possessed of nothing of substance in 1980, now own several farms
(some being concealed in carefully structured companies or registered in the
names of relatives), own diverse businesses, numerous urban properties, have
luxury vehicles for all adult members of their families, and can afford to
fund their children's education overseas.

Certainly that could not have been possible on the unrealistically low
ministerial and public service salaries paid to them. That debasement of
confidence in law and order and in the integrity of the authorities erodes
business confidence and dispels investor interest, whilst alienating the
international monetary and donor communities, all to the prejudice of the
economy and, therefore, of the populace as a whole.

During the almost 23 years of Zimbabwe's Independence, there have been only
two significant official reactions to corruption. The first was when the now
much maligned Geoff Nyarota, then editor of the Chronicle, exposed the
scandalous corruption within the state-controlled motor industry. That
exposure became known as "Willowgate", and even if with some reluctance,
government did react, establishing the Sandura Commission to conduct a full

Justice Sandura and his commissioners did so unreservedly and energetically,
their findings resulting in several prosecutions, ministerial resignations
and even one ministerial suicide.

The other instance was when government set up the Chidyausiku Commission to
investigate allegations of abuse of disability awards to war veterans.

The commission diligently carried out its terms of reference, and its report
exposed numerous incidents of corruption. Regrettably, whether out of fear
of losing its war veteran support base, or whether to protect relatives and
friends, government proceeded with prosecution of very few of those exposed
by the commission.

A similar reluctance to prosecute has been evident on many other occasions,
even when it has been that ministers of government have publicly disclosed
awareness of corrupt practices in parastatals under their control.

The continuing reluctance of the state to act against many who have been
blatantly corrupt reinforces what was said by a British premier of
yesteryear when, on January 9, 1770, William Pitt told the House of Lords
that "unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it".

That government now intends, even though very belatedly, to establish an
Anti-Corruption Commission is very commendable, but it will be an act of
futility unless it has several major characteristics. First and foremost, it
must comprise commissioners of absolutely undoubted integrity, whose honesty
is totally assured.

Although some say that "it takes a thief to catch a thief", that is without
substance. If the commission is to be successful, there must be no doubt
that its commissioners are incorruptible. Moreover, if their appointment is
to be transparent and completely credible, they must be persons without
political affiliation or association.

They must, between them, also have the necessary fiscal, legal and
commercial expertise to enable them to operate effectively, and must be
equipped with the necessary resources to enable them to supplement that
expertise with access to specialists whensoever necessary.

Even if the commission is well-structured, it will not be able to be a
meaningful force in containing corruption unless it is equipped with major
powers and authority.

It must have the power to investigate any as it may consider necessary, no
matter how great the status or high the authority of the persons that it
considers require investigation. To bolster its powers of investigation it
must be vested with the power of subpoena, enabling anyone to be required to
give evidence to the commission, and that power must be extended to provide
that any who give false evidence can be prosecuted for perjury.

The investigative powers must also include the right of access to any
records and documents of any person, with the sole exception of any
protected by the privilege that extends to the legal profession on
documentation from clients in their possession, and on advice given by them
to clients, or made to them by such clients.

Of great importance is that the commission must be vested with the power and
authority to grant amnesties, total or partial, in order to access valid
evidence not otherwise available, and that it is also imbued with the power
to initiate prosecutions of those that it finds to be corrupt, irrespective
of whether in the public, or the private sector.

If government does not devolve that power upon the commission, it will be
clear that it remains determined to retain absolute power unto itself. If
that is its perception, then government needs to recall that, as stated by
Lord Acton on April 3, 1887: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power
corrupts absolutely."

Any reluctance on the part of government to create a fully-empowered,
transparent Anti-Corruption Commission would be a demonstration that
"absolute power corrupts absolutely", whilst creation of such a commission
would not only evidence good faith on the part of government, but would also
be a major contributor to the much needed economic revival.
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Zim Independent


The Zim Expo everyone is attending
DOES President Mugabe really think Zimbabwean newspaper readers are so
gullible as to believe his story about Tony Blair "admitting that his stance
on Zimbabwe over the land reform programme was wrong"?

Blair is said to have disclosed this in his talks with Thabo Mbeki at
Chequers last month, and Mugabe retailed the tall story to reporters in
Singapore last week.

But the language used indicates a source closer to home.

"Blair admitted to President Mbeki," Mugabe was quoted by the Herald as
saying in regard to land reform, "that they were wrong and we are right but
that he has no way now of adjusting and accepting publicly that they were

Does that sound remotely like anything Blair would be likely to say? His
government supports land reform, as agreed at the 1998 Harare donors'
conference, but not the arbitrary seizures that have been witnessed over the
past three years. Now it has evidence of corrupt practices in the
redistribution process, collapse of agricultural productivity and mounting
starvation, Blair's government is hardly likely to announce that it was

Nor is Britain or any other donor about to "adjust" its position. The silly
story about Peter Hain and Clare Short constraining Blair only exposes the
extent of official ignorance in Zanu PF about how Labour party policy is

Then we had "leading British experts on African affairs" telling Blair that
he had failed on Zimbabwe "because President Mugabe was not only popular
with his people but also with his peers in the entire developing world
because his cause is right and is shared by the leaders of the developing

So "British experts" on Africa would use perspectives and terminology
identical to those of Zanu PF and the Department of Information? What a

It is little wonder that while Mugabe's remarks were given headline
treatment in the Herald, they were virtually ignored in the media of the
target markets they were designed for. Evidently Singapore's press doesn't
treat its readers as completely stupid!

Speaking of which, the Herald quoted "analysts" as welcoming Jacques Chirac'
s intervention. And who were these "analysts"? Our old friends Vimbai
Chivaura and Tafataona Mahoso.

Chivaura, who is evidently not ashamed to advertise his extensive ignorance,
told us Chirac was "educated" while Blair was "uneducated". The British only
survived through "plunder and deceit", he claimed, "while the French use
civility and are gentlemen in their conduct".

This is evidently what passes for "analysis" in the Herald!

Then we had Mahoso who we gather was speaking as head of the Media and
Information Commission. He said Britain was only a minor force in the
Commonwealth compared to Nigeria. Blair had lost the battle to isolate

He cited as evidence for this claim support rendered to this country by
those attending the recent summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Kuala
Lumpur. He didn't say what form that support took. It certainly hasn't been
evident to anybody living in Zimbabwe but may be discernible to professors
of the press happy to parrot whatever the government wants them to say.

As for the "information bulwarks" the president is building against the
spread of "lies" about Zimbabwe, will they be effective in preventing
reports about the arrests of judges, church leaders, and cricket
demonstrators, not to mention the pervasive use of torture, which are
finding their way into the international media?

Will they be able to prevent reports about the arrest of opposition
supporters for "insulting" guards outside State House when all they were
doing was singing, or other aspects of the police state Zimbabwe has become?

Mugabe must get real. The Zimbabwe that is making the news pages every day
of the week is the one he has shaped in his own image. It is this ugly face
of the Zanu PF state that the world is coming to know so well - the Expo
everybody is attending.

There is another point to be made when we hear of these Zimbabwe Expo
Centres. Is it seriously believed that investors in Singapore, Malaysia and
Thailand don't speak to their counterparts elsewhere in the world and ask
them about their experience of investing in Zimbabwe before they risk their
money? By the way, what happened to Nhlanhla Masuku's CD Rom? We wonder what
the return on investment was in that case!

Viewers watching SABC's coverage of the cricket World Cup's spectacular
opening ceremony in Cape Town last month will have been struck by the tall
and elegant - if rather robust - figure heading the Zimbabwe team as they
marched confidently into the stadium at Newlands.

But, it now comes to light, Zimbabwe's standard-bearer was not all she was
cracked up to be. The Cape Times reports that Barbara Diop, a Senegalese
model working for a Cape Town agency who was hired by the Zimbabwe Cricket
Union to accompany our flag, is in fact a transsexual awaiting her final

Sadly, this means there won't now be a photo opportunity of "Barbara" being
embraced by the ZCU's patron. What a story that would have made!

We liked Mark Doyle's piece on the BBC about the pecking order in Paris
during the Franco/African summit.

French body language is very explicit, he pointed out. Particularly
President Chirac's. Most African leaders on arrival at the Elysée palace got
three kisses - right cheek, left cheek, right cheek.

But some favoured leaders got four while those less esteemed got two.

"Up for four kisses," Doyle reported, "were special friends of France or
countries that for one reason or another fitted the French view of the

Under this heading came the democratic leaders of Senegal and Ghana. The
King of Morocco, despite a lack of democratic credentials, also got four
plus a firm squeeze on the shoulders. The ruling dynasty is a particular
friend of France.

Further down the scale the despotic leader of Equatorial Guinea only got two
kisses. The Rwandan head of state got none at all. Just a very stiff
handshake. The current regime in Kigali has publicly blamed France for
permitting the massacres of 1994 and is now committed to a policy of using
English as an official language.

With President Mugabe the approach was only slightly different. Chirac's
right hand shook Mugabe's, but in a limp sort of way while the Frenchman
kept his head firmly back. No question of a peck there, Doyle pointed out.

"The body language was completed by Chirac using his left hand to usher Mr
Mugabe along, out of camera shot as soon as possible," Doyle said

Masterful diplomatic stuff, heconcluded. France thereby expre-ssed concern
about human rights in Zimbabwe while leaving the door open to negotiation
with Africa.

This placed African leaders firmly behind Chirac's diplomacy on Iraq -
exactly where the sly old French fox wanted them. Another boot in la
derriere pour Blair!

We hear Mugabe apologist Baffour Ankomah recently made a spectacle of
himself at City University, London, where he was invited as a guest speaker
to talk on how the Western media report on Africa.

Journalism students and practicing journalists attending the meeting
expected something inspiring from the Ghanaian exile but instead were served
up a Department of Information-style diet. Ankomah tried in vain to sell his
tired old horse, Bob, but there were no takers in the audience. On human
rights abuses, famine and the economic crisis facing Zimbabwe, Ankomah
appeared completely uninformed claiming Mugabe has been stitched up by the
British government and the BBC.

He unashamedly denied that foreign journalists were refused entry to
Zimbabwe but was embarrassed when a Canadian journalist stood up and told
the audience how he was denied entry.

Ankomah came with seemingly fiery but hollow arguments based on isms and
schisms - he did not do any thorough research and his delivery insulted the
intelligence of scores of African journalists in London who could have made
a better case for Zimbabwe without making a fool of themselves!

We are grateful to Brian Wood of Warwickshire in the UK for this belated but
nevertheless welcome tribute to Andy Flower and Henry Olonga. It is a quote
from Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833-1870).

"Life is mostly froth and bubble,

Two things stand like stone,

Kindness in another's trouble,

Courage in your own."

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