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

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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.


"Here dead lie we because we did not choose to live and shame the land
from which we sprung. Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose; but young
men think it is, and we were young."

- A. E. Housman


Letter 1. Subject: Responsibility

Many if not most of history's major tragedies have been allowed to happen
because they were not stopped before they escalated out of control. It is
the classic "I am not the one" or "Don't rock the boat" syndrome. Would our
recent history have been different if there had been a vigorous response at
the time of the first farm invasions? Who can tell? But what is for sure is
that the softly, softly "do nothing" approach did not work.

During my life I have served on many committees and companies, often in an
executive capacity. My first experience was a chairman of the Kitwe Model
Aircraft Club when I was sixteen. Since then there have been many others.
It took some years for the fact to sink in that there were a great many
more talkers than doers. It was always easy for people to propose the
holding of events such as charity casinos, but when push came to shove
those who'd proposed these events suddenly developed pressing personal
responsibilities that prevented them being involved. In all of these clubs
and organisations a small core of the same people always landed up doing
the work! I am sure than many are familiar with this? In my opinion the
basic reason for this reluctance to do what should be done is selfishness,
an unwillingness to do anything that does not bring immediate and personal

We are in desperate straights as a country, and as individuals many of us
have lost the fruits of a lifetime of work. I proposed that a
letter-writing campaign would be the most effective way of countering the
deluge of propaganda, false information and outright lies. I still believe
that this is about the only weapon we have, as well as potentially the most
effective. Many letters of support were posted on the Forum. But other than
that - nothing happened.

If this idea is to be pursued, then one or more people will have to take
personal ownership of the project. It is worth remembering that ZWNEWS,
which has a circulation of more than 85,000, was started and is run by one
man. Similarly, the New Zimbabwe news site is run a person studying at a UK
university. True, there will be no immediate financial reward or ego boost.
Instead there will almost certainly be vicious attacks by the
establishment. But what is better, to submit meekly or at least an attempt
to fight back?

This has become a sort of personal litmus test for me; are there people
willing to actually DO something - or are Zimbabweans content to cry
bitterly into their beer and bemoan their fate because "somebody" won't do
"something"? Because in this instance, I cannot be "the one".

Charles Frizell


Letter 2 Subject: Idle Bunnies

Dear Sir,

Mr. Gavin Conolly has hinted that one of the problems is that there are too
many Idle Bunny Watchers around, and that they ought to get involved and do
something. This seems fair comment.

I would assume that any thinking Idle Bunny Watcher will ask Mr. Gavin
Conolly for ideas on some new pursuits, seeing as these Poor Idle Bunny
Watchers are now actually being watched by the MFA Bunnies themselves. A
comprehensive list of new or potential activities for Bunny Watchers on the
OLF would make a good start.

Bunny Chow.


Letter 3. Subject: JAG Open Letter Forum 13th May 2004 OLF 267

"That is the whole point of the "total onslaught". The question is, can we,
like Maximus, get up enough courage and strength to go back into the ring
and beat this monster? We can - that is what makes a competitor a champion
in every competition."

There is no doubt that there are many Zimbabweans who have courage.
However, unless strong leadership comes forward with huge charismatic
ability to mobilise people, Zimbabwe is sunk. It's finished. Look around
you, the evidence is there for you all to see. No one has been able to stop
this trainsmash to date. What's required is intelligent action and the only
action taking place right now is zanupf putting in place whatever is needed
to frog march Zimbabweans to vote for them at the next election. They even
got the chiefs in their pocket over the past week. Sadly, the MDC has not
identified its competitive advantage as a result of the mandate it knows it
has. It continues to do the same as it did 3 years ago, nothing has changed
except the tilt of the playing field. If the MDC contests this next
election under current conditions, it will again provide countries like
South Africa with the excuse that the elections are legitimate. Is that
what Zimbabweans want ?

Letter 4. Subject: Contributions

Dear Sirs,

Your Open letter forum has become a bit of a bore. Some of the contributors
engage in healthy dialogue which make interesting reading. Some are
hackneyed to say the least, one in particular is the reason I have stopped
reading the letters. His/Her continual carping about CFU, their employees,
elected and ordinary members, farmers who are still on the land and in fact
everything that is not wholly, or should I say Holy, Matabele, is pathetic.

He/She doesn't have the courage to put a name on their contribution but the
style of whinging is as much unmistakeable as the complete lack of respect
for our dear departed, one of who's name they continually spell incorretly.

Still farming Shona.


Letter 5. Subject: Re: Contributions

Dear Editor,

It is most puzzling that "Still farming Shona" should critise writers to
the OLF for not printing their names, and then choose to use a non de plume
in complete contradiction of that very viewpoint. Surely we should all
respect a writer's right to remain anonymous as well as their opinion?

From what I have read on OLF some writers have pointed out that there have
many people killed in Zimbabwe in the last 24 years (a lot were Matabeles I
think) and that Jag has taken a stand on human rights for all Zimbabeans -
not based on tribal or racial group. As I understand it, Jag's ethos is
based on the Ten Commandments which is Holy, but not 'Holy Matabele' in any
manner or means. It would appear that the MFA is also a Holy body based on
the Ten Commandments.

I have yet to see a letter on the OLF that is disrespectful of the people
killed in Zimbabwe, in my opinion.

Passive alignment with elements that are responsible for people dying tend
to undermine any stand for human rights that Jag and other bodies may make
- a bit like not pushing in the scrum or rigging a cricket match, perhaps.
It is most unfortunate that Still farming Shona has stopped reading the OLF
rather than tackle the specific issues brought forward by writers where
there is perceived disrespect for those killed or spelling mistakes, which
could be a positive contribution. The OLF will be poorer for it.

non de plume

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.


JAG Hotlines:
(011) 612 595 If you are in trouble or need advice,
(011) 205 374
(011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us -
(011) 431 068
we're here to help!
263 4 799 410 Office Lines

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Kwara... New Home of Zimbabwean Farmers
Zimbabwean farmers have finally settled in Kwara, making the state their new
home. Recently, they went back to home country, Zimbabwe to report back to
their colleagues. Stephan Hofstatter of THISDAY South Africa, writes


For four decades the people of Yelwa village on the Niger earned their keep
by working on a nearby state-owned sugar cane estate. But years of
mismanagement and corruption forced Bacita Sugar to close its doors in 2001,
leaving rows of Landrovers, bulldozers, trucks and off-road bikes worth
millions rusting in the sun.

Now the Yelwans greet visitors with beseeching eyes and outstretched hands,
lifting threadbare garments to reveal dry dugs of flesh flopping from their
emaciated waists, the signature of starvation throughout this once
prosperous district of Kwara State.

It was this horrific image of poverty in a country which has earned $280
billion from oil exports since black gold was discovered in the Niger Delta
in the late 1950s that Kwara's youthful new governor, Bukola Saraki vowed to
erase when he took office last May.

Innovations thus far have included the Clean and Green Scheme, which
employed thousands of women to tidy up the streets. In a state with a large
Muslim population, the programme initially ran into initial hostility from
religious leaders. But soon recruitment offices were flooded with
applicants, and even conservative Nigerians are beginning to revise their
outlook on women who work.

Another Saraki brainchild, for which he received an award in Brussels
earlier this month, was his Back to the Farm Scheme. About 1,000 half
fertile land scattered throughout the state was set aside for unemployed
urbanites who wanted to take a crack at farming. Three priority
crops-cassava, maize and rice -- were identified, and Asian experts brought
in to help train the new farmers.

Saraki's most important reform has been reorienting the economy from
reliance on state and foreign donor support to being driven by private
sector investment, with a focus on agriculture. Saraki previously chaired a
presidential committee tasked with submitting recommendations to the federal
government on increasing Nigeria's non-oil revenue by $1 billion a year. But
he realised the low yields, outdated techniques and antiquated technology
employed by Nigeria's small scale producers was not conducive to creating a
vibrant commercial agricultural sector. This environment also discouraged
potential investors.

Late last year reports began filtering north about spectacular successes
achieved by Zimbabwean farmers dispossessed by Robert Mugabe's land reform
programme who had taken up residence in neighbouring Zambia and Mozambique.

The immigrants helped break a crippling food shortage and reportedly grew
over 70 per cent of the country's maize last year.

Saraki opened talks with the Zimbabwean Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) in
February and within two months the first delegation of six farmers arrived.

An audience with both Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and finance
minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, convinced the Zimbabweans their hosts meant

"Nowhere in Africa have we been welcomed with open arms like this,"
delegation leader, Allan Jack, said. There is clearly the political will to
make a success of this.

Earlier this month a second team, including two irrigation experts, arrived
in the West African country, this time to inspect potential farming sites.
By then two other states had expressed interest in adopting their own
Zimbabweans, but are likely to wait to see how Kwara's pioneers fare.

First the farmers were taken to Bacita Sugar, a vivid illustration of
Kwara's squandered agricultural potential. In its heyday the estate employed
up to 4000 people, including seasonal labour and workers at the now derelict
sugar mill and processing plant.

With 5,000 hectares under cultivation yielding 60 tons/ha, the mill produced
up to 35, 000 tons of refined sugar, which currently fetches 70, 000 naira
($500) a ton. "We could increase it to double that figure [of 60 tons] and
it becomes much more viable," said irrigation expert Jeremy Oates. The
Zimbabweans also planned to cultivate four times as much land, and expand
the mill's capacity. This would result in potential revenue of up to $140
million a year, depending on sugar prices.

"We want the white Zimbabweans to come and run the sugar estate because they
won't mismanage it" said Yelwa headman, Mohamed Alasan.

As it turned out, Bacita was put on hold until liquidation proceedings were
completed. The state-owned company apparently accumulated a mountain of debt
the federal government is looking into covering, leaving Saraki's hands

Instead the Zimbabweans have been granted 15 farms of 1,000 hectares each
further along the Niger. This gently sloping, well watered terrain is where
the pioneers will clear virgin bush and set up the first Zimbabwean
community in Nigeria.

The farmers would be granted pioneer status, which translates into a
five-year tax exemption window, and be allowed to bring in key staff to
train local workers. Other likely incentives are duty free equipment imports
and low interest loans. The governor has also undertaken to build roads and
houses and provide security and telecommunications.

Preliminary inspections revealed the soil was suitable for maize, rice and
cowpeas. Poultry farming is also on the cards. Initially relatively small
areas would be cleared and irrigated, but once markets were tested,
production would expand rapidly. With a cargo hub planned at the state
capital, Ilorin, roses and tropical fruit for export could become big money
spinners. Bill Hughs, once one of Zimbabwe's top dairy farmers, plans to
build Nigeria's first modern dairy and launch an industry the country sorely

Last week the farmers returned to Zimbabwe to report back to other
interested CFU members. Once surveyors have updated maps and planners marked
out farm boundaries, a core team of 15 pioneers will be selected to make
history. After the first farms are established, 75 more farmers and their
families are expected to follow. There will be enough takers, said Jack.

Saraki hopes to see a knock-on effect of Nigerians employed as managers or
supervisors using the skills they learn to start their own farms -- that
these are the first stirrings of Nigeria's agricultural revolution.

THISDAY spoke to Governor Bukola Saraki, the driving force behind Nigeria's
agricultural revolution.

You pioneered the initiative to import Southern African farmers with the
skills and experience to revive commercial agriculture in Nigeria. How and
why did this came about?

When I was elected Kwara state governor almost a year ago we spent the first
few months establishing our revenue and expenditure, and how we could get
the economy going and provide jobs.

My view of poverty reduction is how to empower people to keep themselves
alive and employed. The problem in Africa is a lack of jobs, of being able
to provide for yourself. Yes, we must invest in infrastructure, but until we
can get our people to provide for themselves we are not going to get out of
this vicious cycle.

In Kwara we don't have oil, but we have a vast amount of land -- 2.3 million
hectares -- available for agriculture. I realised only agriculture has the
potential to provide jobs, both as a primary activity and through
agri-allied industries, and bring down the cost of food.

We started with our Back to the Farm programme, making it a key policy to
support agriculture, but realised it was all peasant farming. The average
age of a Nigerian farmer is 60-70, with little exposure to modern
technology, no mechanisation, producing low yields, with no money to buy
tractors or imputes.

We decided the only way to push agriculture was through commercial farming.
This was the time when white farmers in Zimbabwe were having problems with
Robert Mugabe. The feeling we got was the farmers saw themselves as Africans
and wanted to stay in Africa. We thought: if you've got what it takes to
make it in commercial farming, the opportunities are here.

What are these opportunities?

There are many products they can grow here. We are spending minimum of $2.5
billion a year on food imports. We import rice worth $600 billion, we import
sugar, chickens, and powdered milk. There is an enormous market for all
these products.

Has there been any resistance from Nigerians?

the attitude here is commercial -- let them come and show us how. I believe
the Nigerian farmers will learn from them. What will eventually happen is
Nigerian peasant farmers will improve their yields and the youth will become
interested in farming.

The typical Nigerian sees himself as a businessman. After two years the farm
manager won't want to stay as a paid employee, complaining the white man has
the land and I'm being paid peanuts. All he wants to do is learn from you
and set up his own farm. When we found oil we didn't ask people in southern
Nigeria to look for shovels to dig for oil -- we brought in foreigners with
expertise. The land we have is an asset that isn't being utilised and the
only way we can do that is bring in people with the necessary skills.

Also, financial institutions are not ready to provide funding for
agriculture. Nigerian farmers have no experience in accounting practices and
will never meet the criteria of credit assessments. Now banks will say:
fine, you have a vehicle which is bankable, a management structure we can
work with. They (Zimbabweans) have the expertise.

Now that we have identified suitable land, we will decide what we are going
to grow and irrigation specialists are looking at the infrastructure
required. Then we will put a feasibility study together to take to the

Given Africa's colonial history of land dispossession, weren't you taking a
major political gamble?

Of course. There are those who say we are giving our land to white
foreigners. But the majority are seeing beyond that now and talking about
how we can get Africa out of its poverty trap. In my view what is worse is
continuing to shop around for aid from developed countries. Anyway, in
Nigeria no one owns land.

Understandably, the Zimbabweans said they would prefer outright ownership.
Would you consider bending the rules?

They will have a bankable certificate of occupancy with a 50 or 99-year
lease. But there is no freehold title here. If we start taking that road now
we play into the hands of people opposed to this project. What is easy to
sell to the community is the existing leasehold.

Even in Zimbabwe they had freehold but if someone wanted to get rid of them
they did so. There are no certainties, even with freehold. It depends on the
government and its policies creating an environment of trust.

what happens if there's a change in government?

we are putting together an agreement which would make it difficult for a
future government to renege on promises.

What incentives are the farmers being offered?

They will be granted pioneer status, which means a five-year tax break. And
they can bring in skilled staff. We need expertise to get this going.

has this complicated Nigeria's relationship with South Africa and Zimbabwe?

I would like to think it hasn't. It's part of the Nepad philosophy of
African countries working toward a common goal. I am trying to focus on the
real issue: the economy. If I truly thought our peasant farmers could take
us where we wanted to be I would probably not have invited the Zimbabweans.
And why go to Europe to find the skills when we have people right here in
Africa they are Africans.

Owning land is one thing but we've had the land for donkey years and done
nothing with it. Who knows, in 10 years time we might have our own Zim
farmers who go to other parts of Africa to lead an agriculture revolution.
We can't run away from the political colouration, but let us look at it for
what it is: an economic issue.

What will happen to the people currently using the land?

There are vast areas of land not being used and which therefore has no value
now. The traditional leaders we've spoken to are very positive.

Its a win-win situation for everybody. The communities want to piggyback on
the Zimbabwean farmers. They see it as an opportunity. Of course, there are
critics who say this is colonisation, but the majority of Nigerians are
supportive. We all agree these guys have skills to impart to Nigerians.

Nigeria's decision to ban food imports next year will stimulate local
agriculture, but doesn't this violate international trade agreements?

The playing ground isn't level. Take dairy products. In Australia, Ireland
and New Zealand dairy products are being subsidised. What chance do we have
of competing with that? So if you want to criticise our import bans, take
away your subsidies so we know the true cost of your milk. Even the World
Trade Organisation says you are allowed to protect your market while you are
developing it. Only once it has matured enough do you open it to
international competition. I truly believe it is in the interests of the
international community for Nigeria to become self-sufficient. It is my view
that import bans is what the country needs in the initial phase.

What do you hope to achieve, and by when would you like to see results?

In Africa, government subsidies for agriculture doesn't work because most of
the subsidy doesn't reach the farmers. We should help commercial farmers who
in turn will help small farmers. By 2006 we should be able to see some
changes in the agricultural sector.

In a state where 80 per cent of revenues go towards salaries, its just a
matter of time before we run out of money. We want to reduce our import bill
by 75 per cent and become a model for the rest of Africa, with the limited
resources we have. I truly believe this is the right solution, not only for
Nigeria but the whole of Africa. If we can get this thing right in Kwara it
will change the way we look at agriculture throughout Nigeria. It will
transform the country's economy. A lot of other states are already
interested, but everyone is waiting to see the first case to take off.

I think it's in the interest of all stakeholders in Nigeria and the whole of
Africa to see that it takes off because if you get a country like Nigeria
back to agriculture it will reduce poverty in the region. Don't forget
Nigeria's economy affects the entire West African region. We could start
providing low-cost food for our neighbours.

I think it's a golden opportunity. I know some developed countries are wary
of the project because they don't want to be seen as providing financial
support to be white Zimbabwean farmers. But I think as leaders we should
look at the bigger picture and be ready to take the flack today for the
benefits tomorrow.
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The Guardian

England spot way out of Zimbabwe

David Hopps
Wednesday May 19, 2004

England were presented last night with a potential get-out clause to cancel
their tour of Zimbabwe this autumn after the International Cricket Council
challenged the African country to solve the bitter power struggle between
officials and players and protect the integrity of world cricket. On a day
of dramatic developments in Harare, the Zimbabwe Cricket Union was
officially informed that, unless it finds a solution to its dispute with 15
disaffected white players, the ICC's executive committee will hold an
emergency telephone link-up on Friday to vote on whether Zimbabwe's two
Tests against Australia this month should have their Test status revoked.
"We need to fix it in the next 24 hours," Mal Speed, the ICC's chief
executive told an Australian television channel. The vote hangs in the
balance, but if it goes against Zimbabwe by a two-thirds majority,
Australia's Test side is expected to return home, giving England fresh
justification for cancelling their own tour this autumn. England's moral
argument for not touring Zimbabwe has been dismissed by the ICC, they do not
have the evidence to cancel the tour on safety and security grounds, they
dare not take unilateral action for fear of suspension and bankruptcy, and
the government will not instruct them to stay at home. But the argument that
could hold sway, and which ICC delegates from the 10 Test nations will vote
on this Friday, concerns "the integrity of world cricket" - playing
standards in other words. There are signs that the Asian bloc, lead by the
all-powerful India, is beginning to find Zimbabwe an embarrassing ally.
England seemed oblivious last night to the rapid developments in Harare,
which saw the diplomatic mission of Speed snubbed by the ZCU.
Speed held long discussions with the players and their legal representatives
but, despite his forensic care not to cause offence by talk of mediation,
his meeting with the ZCU was blocked after an internal power struggle in
which the invitation from the ZCU's chairman Peter Chingoka and its chief
executive Vince Hogg was overruled. Instead, Speed met Chingoka and Hogg on
the understanding that they would relay to the full board the importance of
preserving the integrity of Test cricket. Last night, the ZCU seemed bent
upon self-destruction, refusing the entreaties of the ICC that the Tests be
deferred until, or unless, a more meaningful contest could be held. "The
decision by the ZCU to withdraw its invitation to Malcolm Speed was
unfortunate," the ICC president Ehsan Mani said. "The ZCU has now indicated
that it intends to proceed with these matches as Test matches and I have
called a meeting of the ICC executive board to establish clearly if the ICC
directors believe that affording these matches Test status is appropriate.
"Where the ICC is clearly involved is in its duty to protect the interests
of the international game. It now up to the directors of the ICC to
determine if these matches should have Test status and to exercise their
judgment as to what course of action best protects the integrity of the
international game."
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Business Day

ICC to rule on Zimbabwe-Australia Test


LONDON - The ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe cricket took a new twist when the
International Cricket Council (ICC) announced it had called a board meeting
Friday to discuss whether the forthcoming series between the African state
and Australia should be granted Test status.
The move came after the ICC revealed that the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU)
had rejected its proposal, agreed by Cricket Australia, to defer the series
and just 24 hours after ICC president Ehsan Mani said that suspending
Zimbabwe from international cricket was "not on the radar".

Zimbabwe cricket has been rocked by the axing of 15 senior white players,
including former captain Heath Streak, following a dispute with the ZCU
which the rebels accused of operating a selection policy based on racial
quotas rather than merit.

In the absence of those 15 players, a Zimbabwe side made up of largely black
novices has suffered two huge Test defeats at home to Sri Lanka, the second
by an innings and 254 runs completed at Bulawayo on Monday.

ICC's Australian chief executive Malcolm Speed flew to Harare Monday for
talks with the ZCU and rebel players.

But while he met with player representatives and ZCU chairman Peter Chingoka
and chief executive Vince Hogg, he was not allowed to attend a ZCU board
meeting which the ICC believed he had been invited to speak at.

Such was Zimbabwe's inept performance against Sri Lanka that fears were
expressed about what might happen against an Australia side that tops the
ICC's Test championship table.

Now the ICC's board will hook up for a teleconference meeting to discuss the
issue on Friday.

In a statement Mani, who called the ZCU decision to withdraw its invitation
to Speed for the board meeting "unfortunate", said: "The ZCU has now
indicated that it intends to proceed with these matches as Test matches and
I have called a meeting of the ICC executive board to establish clearly if
the ICC directors believe that affording these matches Test status is

Voting power on the ICC board rests with the directors representing the 10
Test playing nations. Any motion to withdraw Test status from the
Zimbabwe-Australia series would require the support of seven directors.

Mani admitted that while it was standard ICC policy not to interfere in the
internal affairs of a member board, the Zimbabwe situation meant the world
governing body had to act.

"Where the ICC is clearly involved is in its duty to protect the interests
of the international game and it is for this reason that I have called this
board meeting."

The first Test between Zimbabwe and Australia is due to start in Harare on
Saturday with the second scheduled in Bulawayo on May 29.


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Aussies may head home

Wisden Cricinfo staff

May 19, 2004

James Sutherland may have no option but to call his team back to
Australia Getty Images

Australia's cricketers are likely to clear out of Zimbabwe rather than hang
around for an unofficial, meaningless series if the two matches between the
countries, scheduled to begin on Saturday, have their Test status revoked.

"The Australian cricket team has gone to Zimbabwe to play Test and one-day
cricket," said Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland. "If
we're not going to play that, then I'm not sure whether it is appropriate
for us to be there."

The ICC will decide on the status of the proposed matches during a telephone
hook-up between its ten executive board directors on Friday.

Australia's most powerful politicians today made plain their feelings on
what should happen. The treasurer, Peter Costello, commended Stuart MacGill
for making himself unavailable and said that, if he was a cricketer, he
wouldn't be playing in Zimbabwe.

"People are going to say they're under contract to Cricket Australia and
they have to fulfil their contracts," said Costello. "I understand that
argument but I would suggest Cricket Australia think very seriously about
this tour."

John Howard, the prime minister, perhaps mindful of the antagonism sparked
by his random theories on Muttiah Muralitharan's bowling action, was more
cautious. Asked on ABC Radio if the Australians should come home, Howard
said: "That's a matter for Cricket Australia, I don't want to tell Cricket
Australia what to do.

"But I do want to express the view that I think most Australians hold, and
that is there should not be any selection of teams on a racial basis. After
all, that was the basis of the original 20-year ban on South Africa, wasn't

The matches will lose their Test status if seven of the ten ICC directors,
representing each Test-playing country, support such a motion. Greg
Chappell, the former Australian captain, views it as an obvious solution.

"I think the whole situation is very sad and obviously it needs to be sorted
out," Chappell said. "I don't think it is a satisfactory situation when you
have a team being put on the field that is clearly not their best team. We
can't afford to have the standard of Test cricket denigrated from within. I
think that's something that has really got to be fiercely protected by the
game of cricket."

Wisden Cricinfo Ltd
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New Zimbabwe

Moyo for President?

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 05/19/2004 11:24:57
INFORMATION and publicity minister, Jonathan Moyo says he refused the
British Sky News crew an interview with President Robert Mugabe merely "to
prove to whoever they were working for that we are the authority and fully
in charge and not that we did not want them to meet the President".

Ironically, the Sky News crew had been invited into the country by Zanu PF
through its information and publicity chief, Nathan Shamuyarira.

Moyo's department, which was engaged in a covert tug-of-war with Shamuyarira
over the accreditation of the Sky News crew, arranged an alternative
regional media deal with the East African Standard and KTN of Kenya.

Journalists from the two foreign media houses were granted an interview with
President Mugabe by Moyo ahead of the Sky News crew which, ironically, was
at the same time told to pack and leave the country.

The Herald, one of the titles under Moyo's control, consistently claimed the
British crew was in the country at the behest of Ugandan national, David
Nyekorach-Matsanga and not Zanu PF. Matsanga assisted the ruling party to
broker the Sky News deal and is also seen as close to Speaker of Parliament
and ruling party secretary for administration, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

However, after a series of such claims by the newspaper, Shamuyarira on
Thursday issued a statement correcting the Herald's erroneous reports.

"The Sky News team that has been filming in Zimbabwe in the last ten days
was invited to come to Zimbabwe by Zanu PF. The statement given to your
readers that they were invited by someone else is not correct," Shamuyarira
said in the statement. Curiously, the Herald, which also received
Shamuyarira's statement, did not publish it.

Confidential sources claimed the real reason behind Moyo's open aversion to
the Sky News deal has to do with the ruling party's succession politics.

According to the sources, Moyo suspected that Shamuyarira intended to use
the Sky News documentaries to advance the profile of lands and land
resettlement minister and Zanu PF chairman, John Nkomo as a leading
contender in the succession race. Moyo, the sources said, also suspected
that Matsanga was interested in having Mnangagwa receive positive profiling,
thus selling him as an acceptable candidate to succeed President Mugabe.

Hence the Kenyan deal, added the sources, which was meant to pull the rug
from under Shamuyarira's feet and render the Sky News deal immobile. Party
outsiders at the weekend raised questions as to whether the frustration of
Shamuyarira's Sky News initiative and the fruition of Moyo's Kenyan deal
also reflected the former's decline and the latter's rise in the ruling
party's politics.

However, Shamuyarira, who maintained in his statement last week that Sky
News would complete its work, revealed last night that Sky News had
broadcast positive interviews with leading government officials and that the
interviews had been beamed to the British audience throughout yesterday.

"The documentaries are really good. They flighted interviews with (Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon) Gono, Mnangagwa, Nkomo, and they were fair
and balanced," Shamuyarira said.

"What is important is that the voice of Zimbabwe is being heard by the
British public. They are giving positive stories to the British public
because they don't see that; they only see the negative picture and do not
know that land reform has gone well, the economy is recovering, or that
democracy is working in Zimbabwe," Shamuyarira added.

Asked to comment on Moyo's statement to the East African Standard
journalists, Shamuyarira said: "Ask the Minister of Information, I don't
want to reply for him."
Moyo has been on a regional media offensive, touring Zambia, Namibia and
Mozambique in recent weeks. He has set up, in conjunction with Namibia's New
Era, a regional newspaper named The New Sunday Times.

Sources alleged Moyo was using the media in the region to create a platform
for himself in the region. Interestingly, the East African Standard
attempted an analysis of Zimbabwe's succession politics in which they
identified Moyo as the leading contender to succeed President Mugabe.

"Analysts in Zimbabwe view Tourism (sic) and Information minister Prof.
Jonathan Moyo as the favourite to succeed Mugabe. Of the cabinet ministers,
he is the closest to the President and the most powerful," the paper wrote.

But an analysis by the South African Sunday Times last year had this to say
about Moyo and succession:"Anyone suggesting Moyo as a serious presidential
candidate - and there have been several such suggestions in recent weeks -
doesn't know what they're talking about.

Mugabe's spin doctor and one-time Wits University academic is considered an
infant in the realpolitik of Harare. Observers have even suggested that Moyo
will have reached his sell-by date the moment Mugabe leaves office.

Despite his high profile, particularly outside the country, Moyo's only
contribution to date has been to serve as Mugabe's flak catcher - and he
will remain useful only as long as he fills the role of Zanu PF punchbag".
From the Daily Mirror

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Independent (UK)

Opposition urged to boycott polls after Mugabe rigs election
By Basildon Peta, Southern Africa Correspondent
19 May 2004

Zimbabwe's main opposition party is under pressure to boycott elections
after President Robert Mugabe brazenly rigged a by-election in an opposition
stronghold at the weekend.

Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF won the Lupane by-election by 883 votes, polling 10,069
against the MDC's 9,186.

The seat fell vacant on the death of David Mpala, an MPC member. His health
had deteriorated rapidly since being tortured by Zanu-PF supporters in 2002.
The ruling party lost the Lupane seat in the 2000 parliamentary elections by
about 10,000 votes.

Critics questioned how Mr Mugabe's party could win the by-election when the
situation in Zimbabwe had dramatically worsened since 2000, with inflation
peaking at 600 per cent and people barely able to afford the basics.

Independent Zimbabwean monitors said the election win could only have been
achieved by the brazen rigging they had seen in Lupane. They accused Mr
Mugabe of bussing in people from neighbouring constituencies to vote.

The MDC said opposition campaigners were abducted and tortured. Villagers
were told they would not be eligible for famine relief if they did not vote
for the ruling party. Mr Mugabe's youth militia intimidated and assaulted
voters and a journalist, Savious Kwinika, was left for dead. But Zanu-PF
said the victory was legitimate because Zimbabweans had now realised that
the MDC was a "puppet" of Britain.

The victory also underlined the "success" of the land reform programme under
which thousands of white-owned farms had been redistributed to blacks, the
party said.

Professor Lovemore Madhuku, the leader of the largest civic group, the
National Constitutional Assembly, said that the MDC's strategy of contesting
elections then crying foul after losing was senseless. "These are not
elections but pre-determined processes that the MDC is merely giving
legitimacy by its participation," Professor Madhuku said. "What they need to
do now is to join us in the fight for a democratic constitution and an
acceptable electoral framework before they contest these sham elections."

Elections in Zimbabwe are run by an electoral commission handpicked by Mr
Mugabe and stuffed with army officers.

The MDC is barred from state-run broadcasts and print media. A spokesman,
Paul Themba Nyathi, said elections "had become a major farce". But there was
no consensus on whether to boycott polls.

* South African President Thabo Mbeki has been given a 24-hour ultimatum to
guarantee that 70 suspected mercenaries detained in Zimbabwe will not be
extradited to Equatorial Guinea, where they face summary execution.

Lawyers representing the men want Mr Mbeki to seek their extradition to
South Africa, arguing that he has a constitutional responsibilty to help
South African citizens arrested in countries where they have no chance of
getting justice "even in its most elementary forms". The alleged
mercernaries are mainly from South Africa.

The lawyers have said that unless Mr Mbeki takes steps to save the men from
certain death, they would take the South African leader to the High Court in
Pretoria to try and secure his intervention.

The men were arrested at Harare International Airport on 7 March. Zimbabwean
officials said they were on their way to overthrow the government of
Equatorial Guinea. The men said they were going to guard a mine in the
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Zim cattle spread FMD in Botswana

Staff Writer
5/18/2004 11:15:28 PM (GMT +2)

FRANCISTOWN: A senior veterinary officer has said that Zimbabwe is to
blame for the outbreak of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the Matsiloje
area in 2002.

Responding to questions raised at a two-day FMD workshop at the
Thapama Lodge, Principal Veterinary Officer in the department of Animal
Health and Production, Dr. Moetapele Letshwenyo, explained that:

"For the 2002 outbreak of FMD in Matsiloje, the similarities stood at
99 percent in the type of virus of the FMD in Zimbabwe and the one detected
here. Whether they agree or not, we have scientific evidence to that effect"

He was responding to a question asked by Senior Assistant Commissioner
of Police, Paphani Mazwiduma, who was a participant at the workshop. He
stressed that the Botswana FMD matched the one in Zimbabwe.

"Most of their cattle are highly exposed to FMD as control measures
are not as tight as here," he said. He added that because of the risky
situation in Zimbabwe, the Botswana government has embarked on the
construction of an electric cordon fence along the border to control the
movement of cattle. Letshwenyo told the workshop that the Botswana
government took the decision to destroy cattle to control FMD instead of
vaccination because the country was protecting its European Union (EU)

He stated that talks with Zimbabwean authorities on FMD are
continuing. "We have been talking to the Zimbabwean government. About two
years back, we gave Zimbabweans free doses of FMD. The unfortunate thing is
that they have confessed that they have no money to effectively combat FMD,"
he said. He added that there are no immediate plans to vaccinate buffaloes,
which are known to be carriers of FMD.

He indicated that the electrification of the cordon fence along the
border areas is going to be done in three phases.

The objective of the workshop was to create awareness for FMD
recognition and control measures for farmers and other stakeholders.

Workshop participants were worried by incidents in which Zimbabwean
cattle rustlers continued to raid the border areas in the North-East

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Business Day

Get involved or face us in court, coup suspects warn SA


A GROUP of 70 suspected mercenaries held in Zimbabwe on charges of
plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea are preparing to take the South African
government to court unless it intervenes in their case, their lawyer said

The men, who have been in a Harare jail for the past two months, have
asked President Thabo Mbeki's government to either seek their extradition to
SA or provide assurances that they would not be handed over for trial in
Equatorial Guinea, lawyer Alwyn Grievenow said.

Government was notified in an official letter served this week that it
had 24 hours to respond to the request or face court action. "If we do not
receive the undertakings we will proceed with an urgent matter in the
Pretoria High Court," Grievenow said. The petition could be heard next week.

The 70 suspected mercenaries, who come from SA , Namibia and Angola
but were all travelling on South African passports, were arrested at Harare
airport on March 7, accused of planning to overthrow Equatorial Guinea's
long-time leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema with weapons allegedly bought from
Zimbabwe's state arms manufacturer.

Fifteen other men were arrested on similar charges in the oil-rich but
impoverished central African country and are charged with being accomplices
in the same plot.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe held talks with Obiang earlier this
month, after which an official said that Mugabe had agreed to hand over the
men for trial and a possible death sentence in Equatorial Guinea.

There has not, however, been any official statement from the
Zimbabwean government about extradition of the 70 accused men.

Grievenow said that authorities were investigating whether the men
might have violated a South African law on foreign military assistance.

"If they have a case they should serve warrants on the men. If they do
this they must apply for their extradition to SA ," said Grievenow.

"We haven't got a problem standing trial but we don't believe they
will have a fair trial in Zimbabwe. We want them, therefore, to stand trial
in SA ," he said.

The families of the alleged soldiers of fortune have staged a protest
in Pretoria to ask Mbeki to bring the men home.

Government has given no indication that it is planning to intervene if
the men are extradited to Equatorial Guinea, saying there was "no legal
basis for SA to demand that its nationals should not be extradited to
another country".

Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Alliance yesterday called on
government to come clean on any reported assistance it has rendered to
prosecutors from Equatorial Guinea.

"The fact that government is assisting Equatorial Guinea in this
manner is a direct contravention of the recommendation made by Jan Henning,
deputy head of the National Prosecuting Authority, on the prospects of a
fair trial taking place in Equatorial Guinea," said the party's foreign
affairs spokesman, Douglas Gibson. With Sapa-AFP
May 19 2004 07:07:39:000AM Business Day Reporter Business Day 1st
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Players resigned to a future outside Zimbabwe

Wisden Cricinfo staff

May 19, 2004

Andy Blignaut and Geoff Marsh (ZImbabwe's coach) ponder their
futures in Harare yesterday Getty Images

While Malcolm Speed was being given the cold shoulder by the board of the
Zimbabwe Cricket Union, he did meet with some of the rebel players during
his 36 hours in Harare. The talks, described as amicable, remained private,
but by the time he left what was clear was the stand-off between the board
and the players was no closer to being resolved.

The rebels remain unimpressed by last Friday's statement from the ZCU giving
them another 21 days to return to work, seeing it as little more than a
face-saving exercise brought about by fears that it had acted illegally by
dismissing them in the first place.

If anything, the players' attitude has hardened. They still insist that
Heath Streak should be reinstated as captain, the board are equally adamant
that Tatenda Taibu, his successor, is there to stay. Asked whether they
would be prepared to compromise, Grant Flower, the spokesman for the players
said: "I'm not. Our captain [Streak] might be, but I think he'd be on his

Flower added that he feared that he, and most of the other rebels, had
played for Zimbabwe for the last time. And he admitted to having grave
concerns for the game's future in the country. "With more experience the
young guys in the team will become better players but that will take a long
while," he said. "But I don't know if there is enough good players in this
country to keep the system going to be honest."

Although they are continuing to train, many of the rebels appear to have
accepted that their careers in Zimbabwe are over and are looking abroad for
employment. Sean Ervine left last week -ironically bumping into the
departing Australian side at the airport in Perth - and is pondering playing
for Western Australia. Streak has been linked with Tasmania, although he is
unlikely to do anything until all hope of a deal with the board has
disappeared. Others are considering offers to play club cricket.

As for Taibu, he remains at the centre of the dispute but very much
distanced from it. He has got on with the job of captaining the decimated
Zimbabwe side, and has led by example and with great dignity. But while he
is good enough to play international cricket, he is leading a team which
clearly isn't.

"Obviously it has been tough, but I'm very lucky to have a bunch of young
guys who are willing to represent their country," he said. Asked whether he
thought the Tests should go ahead, he said that was a decision for the ICC.
But he added: "It's disturbing . it would be disappointing for me because
the Australians are the world champions and my boys need to play them to

Wisden Cricinfo Ltd
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