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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Daily News

      Farmer held hostage

      5/27/03 3:27:55 AM (GMT +2)

      From Zerubabel Mudzingwa in Gweru

      RULING ZANU PF supporters are holding a Kadoma farmer and his family
hostage at their Impalavale farm and have barred them from harvesting their
maize and wheat crops, The Daily News has established.

      The farmer, Piet Rorke, and his family have been held hostage by the
militants since Sunday afternoon.

      Officials at Battlefields Police Station near the farm declined to
comment on the matter yesterday, referring questions to their superiors at
Kadoma Police District Headquarters, where the telephones were not being

      Rorke's neighbour, Jan Jelliman, told The Daily News that the police
had ignored several distress calls from the farmer.

      Rorke and his family were reportedly barred from leaving their home on
Sunday afternoon, after they declined to hand over their farm to people who
occupied it last year.
      The farm is one of 56 Mashonaland West properties spared from
compulsory acquisition by the government following a High Court order issued
in August last year.

      High Court judge Justice Benjamin Paradza granted the order after the
government conceded that the compulsory acquisition orders it had issued on
the farms were invalid and of no effect.

      Rorke told this newspaper over the phone yesterday that his house was
completely surrounded by the militants and his family was under siege.

      His family comprises his wife, daughter and two other relatives.

      Sources close to the matter said the farmer was barred from harvesting
his maize and wheat crops two weeks ago and ordered to vacate the property

      The ruling party supporters subsequently harvested the crop and
allegedly shared it among themselves.

      Mashonaland West governor Peter Chanetsa and the police are said to
have visited the farm on Thursday last week, but failed to break the impasse
between the two parties after the militants turned violent.

      Chanetsa was unreachable on his mobile phone yesterday.

      Jelliman said he had also lost 300 hectares of barley worth $200
million and irrigation equipment worth $300 million during a similar raid at
his farm last month.

      "They also set my grass-thatched home on fire in January in a bid to
drive me out of the property," he said.

      Meanwhile, Movement for Democratic Change shadow agriculture minister
Renson Gasela yesterday described the incident at Impalavale farm as proof
of worsening lawlessness in Zimbabwe, despite denials by the government that
there is little law and order in the country.

      "How could the government claim that there is rule of law when the
police turn a blind eye to settlers who are harvesting where they did not
sow?" he said.

      The government has taken over most white-owned farms under its land
reform programme, which commentators say has been taken advantage of by
ruling party supporters who have settled themselves illegally on several

      The instability caused by the haphazard land resettlement exercise has
combined with drought to cut Zimbabwe's food production by more than 50
percent in the past year. The resulting food shortages have left close to
eight million Zimbabweans in need of emergency food aid.

      The government has however been unable to import adequate relief food
supplies because of Zimbabwe's severe hard cash crisis.
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Harare, May 27   2003.
Your Excellencies, you are all aware of the new dimensions of the economic crisis that has gripped the country over the last few weeks:
·        There is virtually no fuel in the country;
·        There supply of electricity has become even more erratic;
·        Industry is now on its knees;
·        In an attempt to stave off the crisis, the Mugabe regime has become the largest dealer in foreign currency on the black market.
·        The black market is obviously incapable of meeting the national needs in terms of hard currency requirements.
It is common knowledge that the Mugabe regime has neither the imagination, the capacity nor policy package to get out of the crisis.
Poverty, hunger, joblessness and disease are destroying the social fabric of this nation. Urban poverty has reached dangerous levels. For obvious reasons the regime does not publicize statistics on the specific impact of these problems, but death from malnutrition, which in many parts of Africa signals the arrival of a full-blown catastrophe is already occurring.
For instance the Bulawayo City Health Department in an MDC-run local authority has now revealed that between January and February 2003 about 40 people have already died from malnutrition in that city. Statistics for subsequent months are being compiled and are likely to reveal a deteriorating situation.
The social anger born out of these economic hardships has reached levels never seen in this country before. Nobody can foretell how and under what circumstances this social anger is going to subside.
 Even at this late hour we still believe that the only viable solution to end this crisis and give the country a chance to recover must go through a process of serious and sincere dialogue. Therefore, the urgency of international pressure being exerted to bring Mugabe to the negotiating table cannot be overemphasized. It is the only way to avert a catastrophe. A culture of democracy and political tolerance in Zimbabwe can only take root if all of us accept the principle of dialogue without preconditions, as a way out of political problems.
Your Excellencies will recall that since the run up to the presidential poll, several regional and international delegations have been to Harare in an effort to broker dialogue, but Mugabe squandered those precious overtures in an endeavour to buy time, wishing that somehow, the crisis will go away. In particular, Mugabe and ZANU PF have never taken any initiative to resolve the crisis. This is a clear demonstration that the regime has never been sincere about dialogue to resolve the crisis.
The current African initiative by Malawi, South Africa and Nigeria is welcome but it needs to be complimented by a broader international effort. We certainly hope that this initiative is not yet again one of those short-lived diplomatic efforts, such as what happened in 2002, ahead of the G8 meeting and the marketing of NEPAD, and will soon lose momentum afterwards.
It would be a tragedy if efforts to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis were routinely linked to the calendar of multilateral summits and are then allowed to wither after every such summit.
It is with these qualitative changes to the crisis in mind that I felt the need to put you in the picture on where the MDC stands regarding the way forward.
 Our position is quite clear and consistent. We are ready to resume talks at any time. As I said before, and contrary to what has been reported in certain sections of the local and international media, we have never put any preconditions on the resumption of dialogue between the MDC and ZANU PF.  It is the Mugabe regime, which introduced preconditions in April 2002 when dialogue had already started and an agenda had already been set and agreed to.
 We have not set any preconditions for the resumption of dialogue. What we have simply done is to remind the Mugabe regime of its governance responsibilities in restoring the rule of law; respecting human rights; putting a stop to state-sponsored violence; disband and disarm the militia and in general ensuring that peace and tranquillity returns to the country so that meaningful dialogue can take place. The agreed agenda had made provisions for the discussion of all these issues.
These issues were never set out as preconditions because dialogue had already started when the agenda was agreed to. They are routine matters of administration. They are obligations by any de facto authority that claims to be the government of the day.
The issue of Mugabe’s legitimacy was an agreed item for discussion on the agenda. It is therefore insincere and dishonest for Mugabe or anybody else for that matter, to demand that the MDC recognizes him as head of state as a precondition for dialogue.
The legitimacy of the present regime is the root cause of the crisis and the demand that Mugabe be recognized as legitimate ahead of any dialogue is therefore incomprehensible. Pronouncing Mugabe as legitimate will not resolve the crisis because the MDC does not confer legitimacy; it is the people of Zimbabwe who do through the mechanism of a free and fair poll.
The MDC will never accept the illegitimate responsibility to usurp the role of conferring a mandate or governmental legitimacy from the people.
There are historical precedents in our country and in the region. For instance, when the patriotic front went to Lancaster House the issue of recognising the illegal and illegitimate Smith regime was never the issue. The illegitimacy of that regime and the mechanisms for the restoration of legitimacy were the thorny issues for discussion.
 Similarly in South Africa, when the ANC engaged the illegitimate apartheid regime in dialogue, the recognition of the minority regime was out of the question. The dismantling of the racist regime and the movement towards democracy and legitimacy were the core issues of the dialogue.
In Zimbabwe today we find ourselves confronted by a similar set of circumstances. The Mugabe regime is irretrievably illegitimate and can never be salvaged. Recognising the illegitimate regime is out of the question. It is precisely the illegitimacy of the Mugabe regime and the strategies to return to democracy and legitimacy that constitute the agenda for dialogue. The agenda prepared and agreed to by both the MDC and ZANU PF during the aborted April 2002 dialogue recognised this.
In our view, the starting point in the resolution of the crisis of legitimacy and governance in Zimbabwe must be Robert Mugabe’s immediate and unconditional exit from the office of the President. This will pave the way for interim arrangements to be put in place for the holding of presidential polls that will result in the installation of a legitimate government and usher in a new political dispensation that will restore democracy, peace, stability and prosperity to Zimbabwe.
We understand that Mugabe is only prepared to relinquish his illegitimate power if he is guaranteed what he calls a safe and dignified exit. The position of the MDC on that issue is quite clear.
First, the MDC has never preached or practiced the politics of vengeance and retribution. On several occasions, the leadership of the MDC have stated, quite unequivocally to local and international audiences that we are determined never to allow the horrors of the past to haunt and influence the future of our country. That position has not changed.
Second, we recognize Mugabe’s role in the politics of the liberation of this country from the yoke of colonial rule and we do not wish to ignore or minimize the significance of that contribution.
Third, in Zimbabwe there is already a precedent for handling the outgoing political leadership in a post-conflict situation. That precedent has served the country well in the past and the lessons learnt will guide the future to ensure peace and stability in the country. The only guaranteed safe exit for Mugabe and his cronies is through a restoration of the rights of the people, the restoration of the legitimacy of government and the opening up of democratic space.
Fourth, the manner and circumstance of Mugabe’s immediate exit from power should not be a precondition for engaging in dialogue towards a restoration of legitimacy. Mugabe is now a clear liability to the country, the region and internationally.
Fifth, we shall never accept the linkage of the dialogue towards the restoration of legitimacy to Mugabe’s succession plans within his own political party ZANU PF. The MDC cannot reasonably be expected to be part to the reorganisation, renewal and or restructuring of the ZANU PF leadership.
Sixth, the essential goal of the negotiations therefore must be to put in place irrevocable measures leading to and facilitating the holding of free and fair presidential polls, ushering in a legitimate government expressing the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
Seventh, MDC will not be part to any negotiation process, which simply seeks to incorporate us, as junior partners, into the structures of illegitimate power dominated by Mugabe and his cronies. This will only serve to expand that illegitimacy and ultimately to sanitize the Mugabe regime.
We will neither be part to a dubious process that seeks to expand and sanitize ZANU PF’s illegitimate rule nor will we accept a secondary role in any so-called transitional arrangement. We do not crave and will not accept executive responsibilities in partnership with what is clearly an illegitimate regime.
Those within ZANU PF and outside of it who talk about the need for a transitional government clearly recognise the need to transit from the violent illegitimacy of the Mugabe regime to a legitimate and democratic political dispensation and we agree with their diagnosis of the regime entirely.
However we do not believe that the transition should go through a so-called transitional government. Under the prevailing circumstances, a transitional government will be an illegitimate arrangement, which does not carry the mandate of the people.
Such a transitional administration would lack the legitimate authority and the mandate of the people to put in place and steer viable programmes necessary for national revival, renewal and healing. In short it would be merely a face serving formula for the Mugabe regime and therefore a dangerous, cruel and cynical waste of time for Zimbabweans.
Our position and that of the majority of Zimbabweans is that the political arrangements that are necessary after Mugabe’s announced departure must religiously adhere to and be guided by the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
In accordance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe, interim arrangements in the event of a sitting President vacating office are clearly articulated and well provided for. An interim/acting President, logically from the ruling party, would take over the Office of the President and the presidential polls shall be held within a period of 90 days to choose a new and substantive President.
This is a cast iron constitutional provision and there are no compelling reasons to deviate from it.
The issue of a constitutional amendment to enable the formation of a so-called transitional government therefore does not arise. Certainly, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will not be part to any process that seeks to modify or tamper with the constitutionally defined route to presidential succession. In a parliamentary system such as that in Zimbabwe, this provision is a self-triggering constitutional mechanism, which generates its own momentum. It should not be a subject for a constitutional amendment, debate or negotiation among political parties.
“Accommodating” the MDC.
This is a myth that has to be dispelled once and for all. We have not sought and will never seek to be accommodated by anybody outside our democratic entitlement, the rule of law and indeed the constitution.
The negotiations must not be used as a strategy to diffuse ZANU PF’s responsibility for the national ills confronting the nation.  Dialogue must focus specifically on the implementation of agreed measures necessary to return the country to legitimacy, democracy, peace and stability.
We in the MDC fervently believe in the unfettered free and fair expression of the people’s sovereign will. We are ready and comfortable to live with any result of the people’s electoral judgement. If we lose in a free and fair presidential electoral contest we will eagerly play our role as a loyal, patriotic and constructive political opposition party in a democratic society. Similarly if the electorate confers its mandate on us, we are ready to take up the challenge of governance.
Democracy in Zimbabwe would be in mortal peril if, each time when the ruling party is confronted with a legitimate electoral challenge, it refuses to provide for and recognize the genuine expression of the people’s sovereign wish. This has happened in the past and it must never be allowed to happen again by deliberate design.
Governments of national unity, coalitions and such other administrative formulae must not be used as antidotes to vaccinate against and forestall the emergence of a democratic government that expresses the free will of the people.
We therefore envisage no prospect and totally reject any form of “accommodation” during the interim period apart from what must be a common endeavour, by all well-meaning and patriotic Zimbabweans, to put in place irrevocable measures to guarantee a free and fair presidential poll in conditions of peace and general political stability.
This is the greatest challenge that confronts all patriotic Zimbabweans during the interim period. The only way to resolve the current crisis and salvage what remains of the nation is through a process of serious and sincere dialogue between the MDC and ZANU PF. Such a process can only start in earnest if the Mugabe regime commits itself to the creation of a peaceful environment in the context of which a meaningful political engagement can be undertaken.
Serious negotiations towards the restoration of legitimacy, national reconciliation and national healing cannot be meaningfully held in the context of lawlessness, violence and civil strife. The irreversible restoration of law and order, stability and peace is therefore a non-negotiable issue for progress on substantive issues in the negotiation process. There is therefore an absolute imperative for the immediate implementation of concrete measures designed to guarantee a free and fair presidential poll.
As a demonstration of its sincerity and commitment to a peaceful and negotiated end to the current crisis of governance, the Mugabe regime must immediately implement the following fifteen (15) measures:
1.     Put a stop to all forms of state-sponsored violence that has engulfed the nation over the past three years.
2.     End all political persecutions and prosecutions.
3.     All ZANU PF militias must be disbanded; their training must stop immediately.
4.     The so-called war veterans must be disarmed. There must be guarantees that they will not be rearmed and that they will not engage in political activities as an armed group operating above the law, but only as ordinary Zimbabweans.
5.     Repressive and anti-democratic laws such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) must be immediately repealed.
6.     An undertaking not to grant amnesty for perpetrators of murder, rape, torture, political violence and other serious crimes.
7.     An immediate stop to on-going human rights abuses of all kinds.
8.     An end to selective and biased law enforcement. The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) should be non-partisan in the execution of their duties.
9.     An end to the use of the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) for partisan political activities.
10. A stop to the use of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) in civilian policing duties and political activities of any kind.
11. Respect and impartial enforcement of the rule of law.
12. An end to the use of the state controlled print and electronic media as partisan media instruments.
13. A commitment to stop the legislative use of Presidential powers in all the above areas.
14. A commitment to humanitarian ethics in food relief distribution on the grounds of need, without partisan or adverse distinction of any kind whatsoever.
15. Depoliticise the distribution of food relief.
All the above fifteen (15) stipulated confidence building measures must be met and expeditiously implemented before any progress on negotiations on substantive issues can be made.
Again as I said before, these are not preconditions. Instead, they are simply the administrative responsibilities of any de facto authority and the Mugabe regime has deliberately reneged on them, thereby creating the chaotic and dangerous situation in which the nation finds itself.
These are the minimum conditions that would create a peaceful political environment that would enable serious dialogue to take place.
It is only in the context of such an environment that negotiations towards a transition to legitimacy and democratic governance can take place.
The constitutionally mandated interim period must not be varied or tampered with in any way and there must be guarantees for an unimpeded progress towards democratic legitimacy. There must be a deliberate effort to harmonize the state structures and personnel with the reality of the people’s sovereign wishes and this can only be achieved through the creation of institutions that recognize and guarantee democracy and multi-party electoral politics.
Adequate security guarantees would have to be agreed to and corresponding arrangements would have to be implemented to guard against the possible regression to the use of state institutions for partisan political purposes.
Negotiations must be sincere and in good faith. It will be foolhardy for Mugabe or anybody else in ZANU PF to delude themselves and think that the interim period will present an excellent opportunity for them to dissolve the unity of purpose of the MDC or force us to become secondary players in the whole scenario. We are unshakeable in our conviction that the interim period must be used to break the mould of tyrannical politics in Zimbabwe and create a new democratic culture with underpinning political institutions in the country.

I thank you.

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Govt won't interfere with media
26/05/2003 20:18  - (SA)

Pretoria - South Africa has no intention of acting against its media,
accused by the Zimbabwe government of "demonising" President Robert Mugabe,
President Thabo Mbeki's spokesperson said on Monday.

Bheki Khumalo, commenting on a letter to the South African government from
Zimbabwean Information Minister Jonathon Moyo which charged that South
Africa's media were demonising Mugabe, said the government would not
interfere with constitutional provisions safeguarding the freedom of the

"South Africa has laws that govern the freedom of the press and we have no
intention of interfering with that," Khumalo told AFP.

"Equally, we reserve our own right to respond if the media criticism is
unfair or inaccurate. Sometimes we are criticised and lampooned in ways that
we do not like but we respect the right of the media to do this," said

"We fundamentally support the right of people to criticise. Our law allows
people to write what they like."

In a letter published at the weekend in Zimbabwe's Sunday Mail newspaper,
Moyo, whose office crafted tough laws governing the press in Zimbabwe,
charged that Johannesburg's Sunday Times newspaper "has been at the
forefront of demonising the president, the government and people of

The aim was "to divide Zimbabweans and South Africans", the Sunday Mail
quoted Moyo's letter as saying.

"I should state categorically that we believe in media freedom as one of the
pillars of democracy, yet we are clear that this freedom is not a licence
for vested interests to insult and demonise a head of state," Moyo wrote.

Khumalo acknowledged receipt of the letter from Moyo.

"Protocol determines that Minister Pahad (Minister in the Presidency Essop
Pahad, also responsible for information) will reply to his Zimbabwean
counterpart and we cannot comment on what that response will be," he said.

Relations between Zimbabwe and South Africa have remained close, despite
western pressure on Mbeki to revise his policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards
South Africa's northern neighbour.

Zimbabwe's treatment of the media shot into the spotlight earlier this month
after US reporter Andrew Meldrum, who had lived in the southern African
country for 23 years, was deported. He had been reporting for Britain's
Guardian newspaper.
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Libya to give Zim fuel?
26/05/2003 14:37  - (SA)

Harare - Libya is looking into ways of providing fuel to Zimbabwe to ease
the shortages crippling the country, a Libyan minister told Zimbabwean state
radio on Monday.

Ali Triki, the north African country's minister of African unity was
reported as telling the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation that a team of
Libyans was in the country "working on modalities of how to bring fuel to

Triki was speaking after a meeting with President Robert Mugabe, the radio

Zimbabwe is currently facing a severe fuel shortage.

Motorists queue, sometimes for days, to obtain the commodity, while industry
has been similarly hard-hit. Air Zimbabwe is reportedly refuelling its
aircraft in neighbouring countries.

Libya, a close ally of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, had previously
provided the country with 70% of its fuel requirements.

A fuel deal signed with Libya last year was supposed to see Zimbabwe
receiving fuel in return for exports of tobacco, beef and sugar.

But Zimbabwe was reported to be unable to keep its side of the deal.
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From The Sunday Mirror, 25 May

Uncertainty surrounds succession debate

By Tawanda Majoni

There is uncertainty and hesitation in Zanu PF over how to proceed with
debate on the succession of President Robert Mugabe, the Sunday Mirror has
learnt. Mugabe last month indicated that he would welcome an open debate on
who should succeed him in a televised interview to mark the country's 23rd
Independence anniversary. He reiterated the statement last week at the two
star rallies he has held as part of his countrywide tour to explain the task
of the land review committee among other developmental and humanitarian
concerns. "You must debate succession. We want to be true and open to each
other and discuss as a united people," he told thousands of Zanu PF
supporters at Tsakare business centre in the Mashonaland central town of Mt
Darwin, a traditional Zanu PF bastion. Party supporters at Wenimbi in
Marondera, the capital of Mashonaland east province, also heard the
President encourage open debate on his successor. Mugabe has repeatedly
warned against tribalising the succession debate as that would cause a split
in the party.

A Zanu PF central committee member, speaking on condition of anonymity, said
it was unclear how the succession issue should be debated. "The voiced
commitment to an open succession debate is welcome. However, people are
choosing to tread carefully as it is not clear how that should be done,"
said the source. He said there was no clarity on what forums should be used
to discuss the issue, adding that Mugabe had not made it clear as to whether
he intended to retire before or at the expiry of his current term of office.
The President was re-elected last year in an election whose results the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is challenging in the High Court. In
accordance with the current constitution, Mugabe is expected to step down in
2008. "The general feeling in the party at the moment is that no-one wants
to be seen to be openly ambitious or to be interpreted as being used by cert
ain people harbouring presidential ambitions. I think there is inertia,
given the fact that the subject of succession has all along been viewed as
taboo," said the source. The Zanu PF information and publicity chief, Nathan
Shamuyarira dismissed the possibility of an organised system to tackle
Mugabe's succession. "That is not an issue at all. Do you expect us to form
an organisation to debate the succession of the President?" said
Shamuyarira. He said, in line with the party's constitution, members would
select Mugabe's successor at the next congress, an event that comes after
every five years, with the last having been held in 1999. Giving his own
interpretation of what Mugabe said when he encouraged debate on succession,
Shamuyarira said the President had extended the invitation to the whole
nation and not just Zanu PF members. Analysts however maintain that the
invitation was made to ruling party members, as Mugabe clearly stated that
the succession debate should be handled without jeorpadising unity within
the party.

Patrick Nyaruwata, the national chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation
War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA), itself a Zanu PF vanguard, vowed that
his organisation would openly deliberate on Mugabe's succession. "Since the
President has opened the debate, we will talk about the issue without fear.
We will express our views about those who have been touted as having
intentions to take over the presidency," said Nyaruwata. He suggested that
various platforms should be used to debate, among which must be party
conferences and congresses as well as the politburo. Nyaruwata added that
the war veterans movement would constantly engage Mugabe, who is their
patron, in making recommendations of possible successors. At a politburo
meeting held early this year, another central committee member, who is
reported to belong to one succession camp, reportedly openly told Mugabe to
tell the party and the nation his plans on retirement. In a thinly veiled
attack on Mugabe, Nyaruwata said his organisation would welcome a successor
who would have demonstrated the intention to kick-start the ailing economy
by re-engaging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
"The leader should have a fresh perspective on how to turn around the
economy, while at the same time improving relations with the international
community," he said. "In addition, he should genuinely respect war veterans
and should demonstrate a long history of support for the struggle for
independence in Zimbabwe."

The media has been awash with reports of plans for Mugabe's exit from power.
In January this year, there were reports that Mugabe had agreed to a process
of handing over power to a transitional government that would involve the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Mugabe and the ruling party dismissed
such plans. The recent announcements by the President encouraging open
discourse on succession are widely seen as an indication that Mugabe is
prepared to go any time, as long as he is convinced that his departure would
not cause mayhem in the ruling party. Camps have reportedly been formed
within the party as presidential aspirants jostle to claim pole position in
the race to succeed Mugabe. Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zanu PF's national secretary
for administration is believed to be leading one camp while retired army
general, Solomon Mujuru is said to be leading a contending camp, to which
defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Air Marshall Perence Shiri and army
commander, Lieutenant-General Constantine Chiwenga are said to be aligned.
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Toronto Star

      May. 25, 2003. 01:00 AM

      Congo death toll: 2,500 per day
      No end in sight for deadliest conflict since WW II

      Diplomat sees `a type of genocide going on here'


      KINSHASA-When a barge laden with aid supplies left here during a rare
moment of optimism last year, two doves were thrown into the air to
symbolize a long-awaited peace in the troubled heart of Africa.

      One dove refused to fly. The other plunged into the filthy waters of
the Congo River where, its feathers coated in oil, it slowly drowned.

      It was yet another ill omen for the Democratic Republic of Congo,
which has seen countless failed attempts to end Africa's biggest conflict.

      For nearly five years, the sprawling regional war being waged in the
former Zaire has drifted in and out of world view, grabbing occasional
headlines only after a spate of heavy fighting, a massacre, the murder of a
president or a volcanic eruption.

      Most battles are fought in remote areas, their victims unrecorded,
while all sides race to export minerals to make jewelry or the latest
technological gadgets for rich nations.

      But violence, hunger and disease are blamed for between 3.3 million
and 4.7 million deaths, making this the deadliest conflict since World War
II, according to a recent report by the New York-based International Rescue

      "We'll never know how many have died because the bodies have
disappeared - whole villages and tribes have disappeared," says a senior
diplomat here in the capital.

      "There's a type of genocide going on here and the international
community is still quiet. It is such a complex, kaleidoscopic thing that it
is difficult for the Western mind to grasp the intricacies of the African
issues involved."

      Cannibalism, tribal clashes and the presence of traditional warriors
who believe magic water can stop bullets only enhance the haunting portrait
of Congo painted a century ago in Joseph Conrad's classic novel, Heart Of

      The vast territory has rarely enjoyed peace or stability since
Belgium's King Leopold II carved out a private central African empire that
became a byword for greed and brutality.

      Mobutu Sese Seko seized power after a hasty independence in 1960 and
his kleptocratic rule lasted nearly four decades.

      A chaotic country the size of western Europe, Congo is now split into
personal fiefdoms loosely controlled by various rebel factions, countless
groups of roving armed bandits and a government unable to regain its grasp
on nationhood.

      The main belligerents claim to be fighting for the "reunification" of
their country, but tribal and national interests have taken precedence and
the net result for most of Congo's 60 million people is more poverty and
extreme suffering.

      For Agnes, a 20-year-old woman in the eastern lakeside town of Bukavu,
every kick from the child in her belly is a dull reminder of the night armed
men burst into her village home in the forest and raped her until she fell

      "It is a child of evil, but it is also partly my blood, so I don't
know what to do," she whispers, explaining she was a virgin before the
attack. "It torments me."

      Another 15 women, huddled under a nearby tree at a help centre, are so
distraught that they occasionally vomit at the thought of their
experiences - experiences that form a terrifying pattern of mass rape used
as a weapon of war.

      "I can't think of anywhere else where the situation is as bad as it is
here," says one Western aid worker in Bukavu.

      "Forget Afghanistan under the Taliban. Eastern Congo is probably the
worst place in the world to be a woman. And the thing is, very little is
being done to change that."

      The region was plunged into anarchy when thousands of Hutu extremists,
known as Interahamwe, fled into Congo's wilds after committing the 1994
Rwandan genocide.

      Rwanda and an allied Congolese rebel army pursued them, triggering a
war that has steadily mushroomed. The sheer number of factions has dampened
hopes for peace.

      The cycle of violence includes traditional Mai-Mai warriors, fighting
against the rebels of the Rwandan-backed Rally for Congolese Democracy,
which nominally controls one-third of the mineral-rich state.

      "Rape is frequently used against women to punish husbands suspected of
collaborating with the Mai-Mai," according to the Canadian organization
Rights & Democracy.

      "Some combatants are said to have boasted about having infected the
women they raped with AIDS."

      Up to 60 per cent of the soldiers and militia fighters in eastern
Congo are thought to be infected with the HIV virus that causes AIDS,
pointing to future catastrophe for the rape victims and their country.

      In the remote gold-mining town of Shabunda, local people reckon 80 per
cent of the women have been raped. Others have had their genitals mutilated
with sticks, knives, razors or guns.

      The predators follow a pattern. They attack at night or target women
collecting food, water or firewood from fields.

      Women and girls are kidnapped as sex slaves and forced to cook, do
laundry and transport looted goods.

      The war in Africa's third-largest country began when rebels backed by
Uganda and Rwanda invaded in 1998 to hunt down Rwanda's genocidal killers.

      Uganda and Rwanda started off as allies, but turned on each other.
Their armies have clashed several times in Congo and the two countries
support opposing factions battling for control of the country's enormous

      Dubbed "Africa's First World War," the conflict has polarized the
region, pitting Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and various rival rebel groups
against the government and allies Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

      Unfinished civil wars in Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Angola have
played out on Congo's soil, while local feuds and tribal enmities fuel ethni
c violence in the northeast.

      A 1999 peace deal froze the armies in place but failed to stop the
fighting or the looting of Congo's wealth of natural resources, including
gold, diamonds, timber and coltan, a mineral used in laptops, cellphones and
stealth bombers.

      Most foreign troops have pulled out, but leaders from all sides in
Congo's war are still accused by the United Nations of plundering resources
while the population suffers.

      Diamonds are Congo's biggest source of export earnings, officially
worth $240 million in 2000 and $225 million (all figures U.S.) in 2001,
according to government figures.

      But twice that amount is smuggled out illegally through porous borders
by corrupt officials, criminal networks and rebels, according to a report by
Partnership Africa Canada, an Ottawa-based group.

      "People are becoming poorer, while others - entrepreneurs, thieves and
killers - are becoming richer," it said.

      There have been countless peace accords - the most recent signed this
month - and occasional glimmers of hope.

      But advances toward a lasting peace are threatened by the volatile
situation in the northeastern province of Ituri, where recent ethnic
massacres have brought echoes of Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

      Bloody clashes between Hema and Lendu tribes around the northeastern
town of Bunia have killed hundreds of civilians in recent weeks.

      The United Nations Mission in Congo is woefully understaffed, with
only about 4,400 troops thinly spread across the country and unwilling to
venture into the most troubled areas.

      Member nations are reluctant to get involved in such a complex war and
the U.N. is hampered by its status as an observer mission with no mandate to
interfere when fighting erupts.

      Congolese civilians have little respect for U.N. personnel, often
throwing rocks at their gleaming white SUVs and referring to them as
"tourists" for their fat wallets.

      France's offer to lead a more robust foreign presence in Ituri may be
tempered by the recent news that two U.N. military observers were "savagely
killed" near Bunia, according to U.N. spokesman Hamdoun Toure.

      While the world waits to act, the death toll continues to rise in a
war with an estimated 2,500 fatalities per day.

      Massacres are common, but most of the war's fatalities are from
malnutrition and lack of access to basic health care in a country with
virtually no infrastructure, where crops have been abandoned and the economy
has collapsed, along with what little health care existed before the war.

      "I am fighting for Congo," says Jackson, a 16-year-old soldier who has
been fighting with Ugandan-backed rebels in northern Congo for three years.

      But when asked what he or his country has gained from the war, he
shrugs and replies, "I don't know."

      Finbarr O'Reilly is a Canadian journalist who writes extensively from
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Independent (UK)

      Government accused of hypocrisy over arms sales to African states
      By Nigel Morris, Home Affairs Correspondent
      27 May 2003

      The Government was accused of hypocrisy yesterday for allowing arms
sales worth £16m to central African nations embroiled in the war in the
Democratic Republic of Congo.

      British companies sold shotguns, pistols, helmets and body armour to
Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Zimbabwe between 1999 and 2001.
They have been caught up in fighting that has paralysed the country since
the 1990s.

      The Government - which announced last week that it was considering
joining a peace-keeping force planned for the north-eastern DRC - said that
careful checks were made on arms exports to central Africa to ensure they
could not make their way to the DRC.

      But critics said that the sales were underminilng government promises
to apply an "ethical dimension" to foreign policy - and warned it would be
impossible to keep track of the equipment once it had arrived in central

      In 1999, sales to the region included £3m of body armour and helmets
to Angola and armoured vehicles to Uganda. The following year, UK companies
sold £1m of body armour and assault rifles to Namibia and £1m of military
vehicles to Zimbabwe.

      In 2001, the most recent year for which arms sales figures were
released, Angola bought £8m of military and armoured vehicles, while machine
pistols and weapon-cleaning equipment was sent to Uganda.

      Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP and campaigner on the crisis in
the DRC, said: "This makes claims of an ethical policy a sham. The
Government has been hypocritical on this issue. We are talking about four
and a half million African lives that have been lost over five years and
British companies are profiting from it. There's blood on the Government's
hands over this."

      A spokesman for Amnesty International said: "The fact that the UK has
relatively recently licensed the export of armoured vehicles to Angola and
Uganda - two nations heavily involved in Africa's so-called world war -
raises fresh questions about the Government's ability to properly regulate
the arm trade.

      "The question that should be asked is - can the British Government
account for the whereabouts of its equipment and can it guarantee it has not
fallen into the hands of warring militias committing massacres in eastern

      A spokesman for Saferworld, an anti-arms sales pressure group, said
the granting of licences proved the need for tougher scrutiny of the weapons
trade. "It is encouraging that the Government are considering sending troops
to the Democratic Republic of Congo as an effective peace-keeping force is
desperately needed. This must be backed up, though, by tougher arms export
controls," he said.

      The Foreign Office has said that each licence granted was checked
against the risk that the arms could be used in internal suppression or
external aggression. Much of the 2001 sales to Angola were said to be for
the oil industry.

      In February 2000, Tony Blair announced that the Government would not
grant arms export licences to countries involved in the DRC, if there was a
"clear risk" that they could be used in the conflict.

      One month earlier, the Prime Minister faced anger after he overruled
the Foreign Secretary at the time, Robin Cook, and gave the all-clear for
parts for Hawk jets to be sent to Zimbabwe, which was known to be involved
in the fighting in the DRC.
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We are looking for generator sets of various KVA capacities and would like
you to check availability with your farming members.

1 x 60 KVA, 2 x 500 KVA, small gensets (+-25 KVA) suitable for houses.
Sizes to be advised.  Please contact email:


Can anyone help? Needed, up to 12 tonnes AN (or AN blend) on farm Mvurwi.

Offers? Contact Roy MacIlwaine, Tel: 011 610 163 or


I am busy reaping grape fruit and both my pallet jacks have "jacked" in. If
you know of anyone selling a couple I would appreciate if you could put
them in touch with me.  Please contact:


(ad inserted 12 May 2003)
We have a 150 KVA generator for sale, including the change over switch &
fuel tank.

All reasonable offers in U. S. will be considered.  Please contact JAG
offices for contact details.


ad inserted 23 May 2003

Looking to Buy: Used Radio Base Sets.  Please contact Paul at:


Ad inserted 23 May 2003

I have a 100 kva Kohler generator for sale. It has done 500 hours and is
complete with change over switch and control boxes, tank and silencer. If
interested please ring Pat Johnson on 04 332798 or 011 862 857.


Ad inserted 23 May 2003

Carol Johnson (ex Chinhoyi) is now working in Harare as a Sales
Representative for Lomagundi Travel, Harare. Please contact her if you need
any travel arrangements done either locally or internationally. There are
some very good specials on at the moment, which may be of interest to you.
Her contact telephone numbers are: 04 332798 or Cell 011231541.


Ad inserted 16 May 2003

1) I am looking for a 150KVA generator (100KVA would do if necessary).
Contact: Anthony Humphreys 091 272 148 or (04) 741060 or

2) I am also looking for a qualified electrician, between 30 and 45 years
old. Must be in a position to possibly travel between Harare and Kariba on
a fortnightly basis.
Contact: Anthony Humphreys 091 272 148 or (04) 741060 or
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Call for Zimbabweans to remain united

27 May 2003
Libyan foreign minister, Dr Ali Tarki, has called on the people of Zimbabwe
to remain united to overcome the variuos challenges facing the country.

Speaking after meeting President Robert Mugabe at Zimbabwe House in Harare
on Monday, Dr Tarki said he is in Zimbabwe to deliver a special message to
President Mugabe from his Libyan counterpart, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

The Libyan foreign foreign minister held a one and half hour meeting with
President Mugabe. He said some fuel leakages have to be dealt with
thoroughly for Zimbabwe to solve the problem of fuel shortages.

COmmenting on Africa Day, Dr Tarki said Libya is willing to host some of the
institutions of the African Union, adding that 15 African countries have
agreed to have the African parliament established in Libya.

He said Mauritius is expected to host the African Court of Justice and the
Maputo African Union summit in Mozambique in July will set a clearer picture
of how the continent is moving foward in consolidating unity.
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Dispatch (SA)

        Charms and spirits dog Mugabe's heirs

       PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, 79 in February, broke new ground last week
by declaring -- at last -- he would welcome an open debate on who will
succeed him.

      Any discussion was in the past kept stringently off the Zanu(PF)
agenda, and it was declared that Mugabe would remain in power until he
completes his present term in 2008.

      This is still, technically, the official position.

      "Some leaders are consulting traditional healers and ancestral spirits
in search of charms," Mugabe revealed at a rally in the remote Tsakare area
near Mount Darwin, 200km north of the capital. He can only have been quoting
reports he gets from Central Intelligence Organisation spying on his own
supposedly most trusted aides.

      He repeated identical remarks the following day at another rural
rally. He lashed out at young black professionals and business people who,
he said, "work against the government" although their livelihoods are at its
financial mercy.

      Mugabe was, albeit unwittingly, drawing attention to a revolution that
has taken place here over the past 50 years, and not in African society

      The policy of the former Southern Rhodesian Native Affairs Department
differed radically from that applied by the British Colonial Office in
neighbouring Bechuanaland (Botswana) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), and
that in South Africa, in its refusal to recognise any paramount chiefs.

      As late as 1948 it ignored an appeal by Matabeleland tribal elders for
a descendant of Lobengula to be installed as king.

      In the 1950s, however, investigations by a young white researcher into
the 15th-18th century Monomotapa dynasty started a wave of excitement among
Shona families who claimed to be heirs.

      From one point of view (and many are valid), this marked the beginning
of the fight for enthronement of a Zimbabwean "monarch" who would -- as the
Native Affairs Department all along feared -- challenge white paternalism.

      A prominent claimant, Isaac Samuriwo, was told by a spirit medium to
spend a night in a remote place, where sight of a lion would signal his
impending promotion. Around midnight he lost his nerve, the family tell me.

      Samuriwo joined the Dominion Party led by Winston Field (later the
first Rhodesian Front prime minister), gaining election as an MP.

      Samuriwo was, significantly, closely related to Robert Mugabe, to the
pioneer African nationalist James Chikerema (who confidently declared in
1979 that he would soon succeed Bishop Abel Muzorewa as premier), and to the
late chief justice Enoch Dumbutshena, who contested the 1995 presidential

      Equally significantly, Samuriwo's top-down leadership aspirations
mirrored those of the patrician Godfrey Huggins (Lord Malvern) who would
loftily tell visiting British politicians that only he understood and knew
how to manage white Rhodesians. White voters were soon to espouse men with
"the common touch", Roy Welensky and Ian Smith.

      Belatedly, the Rhodesian government tried to cultivate a paramount in
the form of the pro-white Chief Chirau, a former air force guard and Lusaka
Fire Brigade member who had been an acting chief during his ageing father's

      Under Shona custom, he was ineligible to succeed when his father died,
but the white authorities for once managed to bend the rules. White meddling
in other chieftainships frequently met with ignominious rebuff when the
people -- and the spirit mediums -- refused to acknowledge their candidates.

      The Rhodesian government set the country on the slippery slope to its
present culture of impunity when it rushed an Indemnity Act through
Parliament to stop legal action against Chirau, then president of the
Council of Chiefs, for serious assaults on two activists for Muzorewa.
Handcuffed by his guards, they suffered internal injuries from being
repeatedly kicked by him.

      Such, however, was Chirau's charisma -- the force of his "tutelary
spirit" in tribal lore -- that Mugabe joined the mourners when he died in

      Throughout Mugabe's 23-year rule, he has made frequent claims to the
authority of the ancestral spirits. New legislation reinforces the perks and
prerogatives of chiefs on a scale undreamed of by reactionary white district
commissioners. They now enjoy sweeping powers to arrest and expel "disloyal

      At their nocturnal kangaroo courts during the 1972-1980 bush war,
Mugabe's Zanla guerillas almost invariably combined accusations of
witchcraft with collaboration. Joshua Nkomo's Russian-trained Zipra, allied
to the ANC's uMkhonto we Sizwe, were never recorded to have employed such

      Mugabe's repeated charge today is that supporters of Morgan
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change are "totemless aliens" who have
broken with their ancestral culture.

      This is the essence of the sociological revolution Tsvangirai and his
ilk represent. A veteran trades unionist with no elitist ancestry
pretensions, he is as far removed from Mugabe in spirit as the Scottish
socialist Kier Hardie was from Bonnie Prince Charlie, or Aneurin Bevan from
the Welsh wizard Merlin.

      This is why the ANC are so far off beam when they equate the MDC with
Mozambique's former Renamo rebels, mostly rural people who under Portuguese
rule were classified as "non-assimilado" -- unassimilated into modern legal

      The egalitarian and democratic spirit in the MDC acquired its
organisation from Denmark's social democrat trades union, throwing off the
Eastern bloc concept of workers' leaders telling them what the Marxist
theorists in party headquarters want them to think.

      The MDC draws its core support from a new black lower middle class who
watch television, who have relatives in the three-million strong Zimbabwean
diaspora, but are too poor to own businesses which make them hostages to
Mugabe's patronage system.

      They are to be met every day in queues where they express themselves
voluably, but are of course unheard by the elite, who have another source of

      As the economy and the Zimbabwean currency continue to plunge --
inflation in April reached 269,2 percent -- we are moving into a vicious
apartheid that will cleave this society from top to bottom, one section
having a source of supply ruled by the US dollar, the other by the
Zimbabwean dollar.

      Special shops and filling stations, operated on concessions by members
of Mugabe's elite, are making everything from imported lamb and butter to
petrol available to a privileged few who can pay in foreign exchange.

      The US dollar last week fluctuated at US1$ to Z$1 500-Z$2 300.

      Meanwhile a woman primary school teacher, earning Z$56 385 a month, is
hard put to pay Z$10 000 for a single packet of modern "feminine
requisites", which have to be imported since the local factory closed.

      Such people care as much for mumbo-jumbo about lions as today's
average Athens office worker thinks about the Delphic Oracle and the
Eleusinian Mysteries. Most are, in any case, members of the mainline
Christian churches.

      Mugabe and Zanu(PF) will be unable to eliminate them unless (God and
the ANC forbid) they adopt the Killing Fields genocidal tactics of the Khmer
Rouge. The issue is not, therefore, about Tsvangirai's individual character,
the influence of the dwindling number of whites or the British and American

      Which is why those South Africans who back Zanu(PF) are putting their
money on a foundering horse. By telling us how his lieutenants still dabble
with charms and spirits, Mugabe reveals not only the atmosphere of paranoia
he has created around himself, but how his elite has failed to modernise its
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Daily News

      ZANU PF seeks successor

      5/27/03 3:14:23 AM (GMT +2)

      By Sydney Masamvu Assistant Editor

      THE ruling ZANU PF will hold provincial congresses around the country
in the next six months to ascertain from party supporters who they want to
succeed President Robert Mugabe as ZANU PF president, The Daily News has

      It also emerged that ruling party members were split between former
finance minister Simba Makoni and Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa
as potential successors for Mugabe.

      Both Makoni and Mnangagwa have been named in the past year as likely
candidates to replace Mugabe.

      However, the speaker of Parliament told the High Court this month that
he had no presidential ambitions.

      Preparations for the provincial congresses come after Mugabe at a
gathering in Mount Darwin last week openly encouraged succession debate
within his party, for the second time this year.

      Mugabe also indicated during an interview on State television
conducted a few days after the 18 April Independence Day holiday that his
potential successors within the party should openly declare their intentions
to encourage debate.

      ZANU PF secretary for information and publicity Nathan Shamuyarira
told The Daily News that the debate on Mugabe's successor would start within
the provincial structures of the party and would continue at the ZANU PF
annual congress.

      ZANU PF has 10 provincial structures countrywide. The party normally
holds its annual congress in December.

      "Debate within ZANU PF itself will start from the provinces and
central committee, before reaching the Politburo and the annual congress,"
Shamuyarira said. "The President has said this is an all inclusive debate
and everyone is free to participate without any fear."

      He however would not discuss the behind-the-scenes campaign by
potential candidates, which ruling party insiders say has already begun.

      ZANU PF officials said if the choice of the provinces was used to
determine the selection of a potential successor to Mugabe, Mnangagwa would
have the upper hand.

      However, the officials said the majority of ZANU PF's Politburo and
central committee, key organs in the ruling party's decision making process,
were backing Makoni, who they believe has a "solid appeal to voters".

      They said the feeling within the party was that Makoni's appeal for
the electorate would enable the ruling party to defeat the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change in any election. The former finance minister
is also said to have "a good rapport with the international community",
which would be important for Zimbabwe's economic future.

      Foreign investors and multilateral agencies have suspended support for
Zimbabwe and it is believed Makoni could help to unlock the billions of
dollars worth of support that is crucial for the revival of the country's

      "The contest is between Mnangagwa and Makoni," said a ZANU PF
Politburo member from Mashonaland Central province, who spoke on condition
of anonymity. "Mnangagwa has the leaders of the provincial executives on his
side, but one does not know the extent of their influence in this process.
On the other hand, a majority of central committee and Politburo members,
who are mandated with endorsing or vetoing key decisions, are rallying
behind Makoni."

      "If the debate comes to the central and Politburo level, it is Makoni
all the way. We have been consulting informally and Makoni seems to be an
outright choice given the way the politics is unfolding in Zimbabwe and the
influence of the international arena," the Politburo member added.

      Since leaving the Cabinet last year, Makoni has refused to comment on
his political future.

      Meanwhile, ZANU PF insiders yesterday said when Mnangagwa assumed the
party's secretary for administration portfolio, he immediately embarked on
an exercise to restructure the provincial executive leadership to ensure
that people who would support his candidature were at the helm.

      During the process, he also purged those who did not back his
candidature for the party's national chairmanship, eventually won by Special
Affairs Minister John Nkomo.

      Mnangagwa has the support of Midlands chairman July Moyo, who is
related to him, as well as that of Mark Madiro, provincial chairman of
Manicaland. Madiro was director of finance at ZANU PF when Mnangagwa was the
secretary for finance in the Politburo, party insiders said.

      They said Mnangagwa also enjoyed the support of the Masvingo province
through Vice-President Simon Muzenda. Mashonaland West province is headed by
Phillip Chiyangwa, who is linked to the Mnangagwa camp, as is Elliot
Manyika, who heads Mashonaland Central province.

      Suspended Bulawayo provincial chairman Jabulani Sibanda is also linked
to the Mnangagwa camp.

      The three Matabeleland provinces as well as Mashonaland East are
understood to be backing Makoni, who ruling party officials say has the
support of ZANU PF stalwarts such as retired army general Solomon Mujuru,
John Nkomo, Dumiso Dabengwa and Edisson Zvobgo.

      Harare province is considered a swing vote
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Daily News

      Mayor warns of looming health crisis

      5/27/03 3:22:38 AM (GMT +2)

      From Oscar Nkala in Bulawayo

      BULAWAYO Executive Mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube has warned Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo of an
impending health crisis in Zimbabwe's second city because of severe fuel

      In a letter to the minister, the mayor said because of the fuel
shortages, the city's entire vehicle fleet had been grounded, affecting
critical departments such as fire and ambulance services as well as refuse

      The council last week notified residents and other service consumers
that it had run out of diesel and had grounded its vehicles.

      In his letter to Chombo, Ndabeni-Ncube said the government should
place local authorities at a high priority fuel allocation rating, to enable
them to continue running emergency service sectors.

      The mayor said: "I wrote to make the government aware of the dire
straits in which local authorities, including Bulawayo, are in running daily
service delivery because of the fuel crisis. I also asked that local
authorities be placed on the high priority fuel consumers rating so that
they can get some of the little fuel the country receives to run crucial
sectors like fire, ambulance and refuse collection."

      Ndabeni-Ncube said the Bulawayo City Council had come up with
contingency measures, under which the petrol available was being allocated
to the fire and ambulance departments.

      Under the same measures, the council has managed to keep at least
three refuse collection vehicles running.

      "As we speak, the council has no drop of diesel. We however are aware
of the health hazard posed by uncollected refuse. With that in mind, the
refuse collection system has been staggered to allow at least three vehicles
to remain mobile and service all areas at least once a week," the Bulawayo
mayor told The Daily News.

      He added: "This may mean long delays in collection from some areas,
but we believe residents understand the nature of this problem and will bear
with us."

      The fuel supply situation has deteriorated in Bulawayo since the end
of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair last month.

      The Bulawayo municipality is only one of several around Zimbabwe whose
delivery of crucial services has been affected by the shortage of diesel and

      Most city councils have been forced to ground their vehicles because
of the fuel crisis, which has also crippled the operations of many
manufacturers and commercial companies.
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Daily News

      Mopani worm in danger of extinction

      5/27/03 3:23:46 AM (GMT +2)

      From Oscar Nkala Staff Reporter

      MATOBO District - For Anna Mathathu, it is incomprehensible that the
protein-rich mopani caterpillar could be facing extinction in the
Matabeleland region if urgent steps are not taken to conserve its habitat.

      All her life, the 56-year-old villager has relied on the seasonal
delicacy to supplement her meagre diet.

      But it has become obvious to her, and countless other residents of
Matobo district - located about 70 kilometres south of Bulawayo - that
unless conservation strategies are adopted, the mopani caterpillar will not
accompany future rains as it has done for decades.

      The delicacy is known to the Ndebele-speaking people of Matabeleland
as amacimbi , to the Kalanga as mahonja or mashonja and to the Shona as

      Encased in a tough and spiky skin that protects its nutritional flesh,
the mopani caterpillar has gained popularity as a delicacy in the countries
of southern and central Africa.

      To the rural communities of Matabeleland, where it thrives, it has
become an important source of food.

      But a brisk trade in the delicacy is threatening its survival and
worrying villagers, who say there is no regulatory system to control the
mopani caterpillar business that has become a source of livelihood for
hundreds of people from within and outside Matobo district.

      "That (threat) is because people from outside the district have been
over-exploiting the resource without considering that the caterpillars need
to regenerate every year. Such people care more about the profits they
derive from the resource than its sustainability," Mathathu told The Daily

      The villager, who is from the Manyane area of Matobo district, added:
"Even the prime amacimbi-producing parts of the district still do not have
the caterpillars despite the rains this year. We fear they may not appear
next year.

      "It could be the end of amacimbi in the district. As long as outsiders
who are not concerned with the local environment and who do not understand
the importance of the worms to the economy of this district are allowed to
over-harvest the resource, we can be sure that we will not have any amacimbi
to talk about next year."

      Villagers say the steady decline in the supply of amacimbi began three
years ago when groups of women from Bulawayo and Harare began invading the
area to buy the mopani worms, leading to over-harvesting of the delicacy.

      Traders from Zimbabwe's main urban areas export the caterpillars to
Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Africa and

      The caterpillars were initially taken to the DRC in 1998, where they
were an instant hit, with Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia also
becoming major consumers.

      The absence of regulations or legislation to control the harvesting of
the mopani worms has made it impossible for rural communities in
Matabeleland to limit the trade in the delicacy, some villagers told The
Daily News.

      Canaan Ncube, a ward development committee member in the Donkwe area,
said: "The problem is that there are no local by-laws stating who should
harvest, where and how much.

      "So, there is no balance between the demand for the product and its
regeneration, and this endangers the sustainability of the whole trade
locally and regionally."

      He said the harvesting of amacimbi had become so commercialised that
the mopani tree, the caterpillar's habitat and source of food, was
endangered every rainy season.

      "People fell down decades-old mopani trees just to get a kilogramme of
immature caterpillars," he noted. "In the process, the habitat is destroyed
and once the immature caterpillars are harvested, there is no hope of others
re-appearing in the same area."

      Although local authorities in whose areas the caterpillars thrive have
been advised to introduce by-laws to manage harvesting as well as to
safeguard the environment and the caterpillars' habitat, most councils in
Matabeleland South have yet to implement such regulations.

      A Kezi businessman involved in the caterpillar trade pointed out: "In
Matobo, anyone can come and camp in the bush. They burn down the trees, take
the amacimbi away and leave the producers of this delicacy with multiple
environmental problems.

      "Trees die, and the fires they make have always turned into veldfires.
So, we are the net losers in the exploitation of our own resource."

      Knowell Dube, the Matebeleland South provincial natural resources'
officer, told The Daily News that the authorities in the province were aware
of the destruction of habitat and were attempting to come up with solutions.

      "We are aware of the over-harvesting and attendant environmental
problems," he said.

      "We are working with a number of councils to form local groups that
will monitor the harvesting and protect the trees. The theory is that given
incentives like exclusive harvesting permits, villagers can take better care
of their trees and protect the mopani worm from over-harvesting. But we need
regulatory support from the councils to achieve this."

      But he said so far only Gwanda, Bulilimamangwe and Mangwe districts
had come up with distinguishable local interest groups, which were being
educated by his department about the importance of resource-exploitation
monitoring and habitat conservation.

      "In Gwanda district, we provide advisory services to monitoring and
licencing committees in ward 17. But it is not easy for the department to
monitor environmental problems where there are no local by-laws to refer
 to," Dube said.

      Technical assistance to affected rural district councils is also being
provided by the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources
(CAMPFIRE), created to help rural communities sustainably utilise natural

      Judas Nyaguse, an information officer with CAMPFIRE, said his
organisation was not directly involved with mopani-producing communities but
was giving technical assistance to councils to empower communities to take
control of their resources.

      "Our business is to advise RDCs (rural district councils) in the
building of capacities for resource-control. But we do not have any
programme on amacimbi exploitation in Matobo District," he said.

      "We are currently working with the Bulilimamangwe and Mangwe councils
to set up processing factories at Madlambudzi and Brunapeg," he added.
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      Canada to deport Alexander Legault

      5/27/03 3:25:38 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      ALEXANDER Legault, a Canadian-based political consultant who had been
listed as one of the prosecution's witnesses in the ongoing treason trial of
three leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is due
to be deported from Canada on Friday to face trial in the United States on
fraud charges amounting to at least US$20 million (Z$16,4 billion), it has
been established.

      Legault doubles as vice-president and chief finance officer of Dickens
and Madson, a Canadian political consultancy headed by Ari Ben-Menashe, the
principal prosecution's witness in the trial of MDC president Morgan
Tsvangirai, secretary-general Welshman Ncube and Renson Gasela, the
opposition party's shadow minister of agriculture.

      According to correspondence between the opposition leaders' lawyers
and an attorney appointed in Canada to assist the defence with
investigations, an enforcement officer with Canada's Department of
Immigration met with Legault on 2 April 2003 to discuss Legault's impending

      "The (Canadian) government has bought him a plane ticket to New
Orleans. The American authorities will be waiting for him when he gets
there," said a letter from the Canadian attorney, read out last week in the
High Court by South African advocate George Bizos, the head of the defence

      "He is wanted on fraud charges totalling $7 million in the State of
Louisiana and on $13 million in the State of Florida."

      Legault, believed to have been living in Montreal for the past 21
years, was in the original list of 11 State witness - four of them
foreigners - who were to testify in the high profile case.

      He was dropped at the start of the trial in February when he failed to
travel to Harare "because of ill health".

      Ben-Menashe has claimed that Tsvangirai requested Dickens and Madson
to assist in the assassination of President Robert Mugabe and the overthrow
of the ZANU PF government.

      Tsvangirai and his co-accused deny the charges.

      Legault attended and took part in discussions during the 4 December
2001 meeting at the Dickens and Madson headquarters in Montreal, where
Tsvangirai allegedly requested assistance in the murder and coup conspiracy.

      The head of the Central Intelligence Organisation, retired army
Brigadier Happyton Bonyongwe, said during cross-examination last week he was
not aware of Legault's impending deportation.

      Efforts to contact Canadian authorities in Harare and Ottawa were
unsuccessful yesterday. The MDC leaders' treason trial continues tomorrow.
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      $4bn missing from ZESA pension fund

      5/27/03 3:26:39 AM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba Staff Reporter

      THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) pension fund is
reported to have been prejudiced of more than $4,1 billion after the power
utility apparently withdrew funds to pay off exit packages to several
workers who had retired before their mandatory retirement age of 60 years.

      Workers and trustees say Sydney Gata, the ZESA executive chairman,
authorised without their consent the withdrawal of $4,1 billion to pay
retrenchment packages to retiring workers.

      Under normal circumstances, the exit packages are supposed to be paid
from ZESA's coffers and not from the pension fund, whose funds are only
withdrawn when an employee has retired.

      One of the trustees said last week that trustees understood that ZESA,
after dismissing or suspending workers since last year, would pay these
workers their salaries from the pension fund.

      "What we have gathered is that several of these workers were then
given their packages from the fund instead of ZESA coffers," the trustee

      "Most of these retired on medical grounds or after ZESA realised that
it would lose the cases in a labour tribunal before reaching their
retirement age of 60. ZESA should have paid the actuarial deficit in years
to each person's monthly contributions until the 60-year mark but the power
utility has not done that."

      The workers charged that Gata, who is also the chairman of the pension
fund, had capitalised on his dual chairmanship of the fund and the authority
to authorise the withdrawal of money from the pension scheme.

      But Gata on Friday denied being involved in the alleged racket, which
has reportedly prejudiced the pension fund. He said when he joined ZESA in
1999, he inherited an $8,4 billion loss accrued in 1998 and 1999, and he had
now turned the company into a profit-making venture.

      "We have managed for the first time to pay 50 percent dividends to the
government," Gata said. "In 2001, ZESA made a profit of $6,5 billion. I
personally fought for the provision of $4,2 billion to bail out the pension
fund which had by then a long history of actuarial deficits. In that year we
got a zero percent tariff increase."

      Asked about the concerns of workers and trustees that he has abused
the fund, Gata scoffed at the allegations saying the government had actually
assigned him to clean up the pension fund.

      He said there were serious problems at the pension fund before his
appointment but these had been cleared. "I have a letter from the Ministry
of Mines and Energy commending me for doing a good job at the fund," he

      "I appointed a task force of employer and employee trustees to
administer that fund. There is no decision that l make without the approval
of the board of trustees.

      "Furthermore, the fund has financial advisers and no investment is
carried out without the recommendation of the sub-committee of the workers'

      Gata said he did not regularly chair the fund because he had solved
the problems at the fund and his deputy, identified only as Chikwenhere, now
chaired its meetings on most occasions.

      He asked why he would abuse the fund when it was common knowledge that
ZESA workers had actually voted him in absentia while he was in Europe to
become the founding president of the association of ZESA pensioners.

      Wilson Lungu, the acting general manager of the pension fund, could
not disclose how much was in its coffers now and how ZESA came to rescue the
fund from collapse.

      Lungu said although the pension fund had its trustees - four elected
by the workers, one pensioner and five representing ZESA - the authority
still remained the majority shareholder of that fund in which it contributed
21 percent of each employees' monthly contribution.

      The striking workers last Thursday presented a petition to Amos Midzi,
the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Emmerson Mnangagwa, the
Speaker of Parliament, and Gibson Sibanda, the leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change in the House outlining what they said were the reasons for
the collapse of ZESA.

      "The authority is now being managed by personal assistants and ad hoc
committees that are formed and dissolved," the workers claimed.

      " This is leaving a lot of business unfinished and it is impractical
to audit and evaluate his (Gata's) different management teams. We ask you to
set up a commission of inquiry that includes worker representatives." They
urged Midzi to co-operate with ZESA workers in Grades A1 to D2 who they said
had shocking information on alleged corruption at the State-run company.

      Midzi yesterday confirmed receiving the workers' petition but said he
had not read it.

      The workers said ZESA management's priorities compromised service
delivery and prejudiced the power utility of billions of dollars.

      "We are devastated to bring to your attention that almost all the
former directors and other former employees who were given their packages
running into billions of dollars have now been re-engaged by the executive
chairman as consultants, further siphoning our depleted funds," the workers

      Gata said ZESA had several consultants who had benefited the company
because it now made profit running into billions of dollars annually.

      The workers said Fortune Sambo, who was ZESA's industrial relations
officer, Tendai Chikandura, the former ZESA properties manager, and Philip
Mhike, a former deputy police commissioner who is now ZESA's risk control
consultant, had been re-engaged as consultants at ZESA head office despite
being retrenched about two years ago.

      Daniel Mavhivha, described by the workers as Gata's ally, is also a

      Bridget Zhakata, Gata's "senior" secretary, is said to be employed on
a consultancy basis which the workers claim is draining the power utility of
critically needed funds.

      Sarah Dube, who was formerly the personnel officer for the company,
was made the secretary for the management Advisory Committee, a position
which was previously not there.

      Gata said he had two personal assistants, both of whom had their
individual executive secretaries, but denied that any of these employees
were his relatives. In fact, he said, the workers had been recruited by a
private employment agency.

      The petition says: "Dozens of ZESA employees are on suspension with
full pay and ZESA is paying double salaries for their replacements. With the
expertise we have in Grades A1 and D2, please be advised that we don't need

      "Our labour force is so competent that we can actually out-source our
skills as consultants to other small organisations and get the much-needed
revenue. We only need a visionary to lead our organisation."
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      Will army shoot down Tsvangirai's bid for power?

      5/27/03 3:27:23 AM (GMT +2)

      By Abel Mutsakani Managing Editor

      OPPOSITION leader Morgan Tsvangirai has set the first week of June for
mass demonstrations to oust President Robert Mugabe, but analysts yesterday
warned that Zimbabwe's army and not Mugabe stood in the way of Tsvangirai's
final push for power.

      The mass demonstrations, which are planned to occur simultaneously in
all urban centres across Zimbabwe, could cripple Mugabe's embattled
government, the analysts said.

      But they warned that in the process, they would also create a power
vacuum that could give the army a pretext to step into the fray, ostensibly
to restore national order and security.

      "If the mass action cripples the system and the government of the day
is unable to function, that provides a scenario for the military forces to
intervene," University of Zimbabwe (UZ) lecturer and political commentator
Heneri Dzinotyiwei said yesterday.

      Ratcheting up pressure on Mugabe, Tsvangirai last Sunday told 15 000
supporters of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Harare to prepare
for mass demonstrations to begin on 2 June and which are aimed at forcing
Mugabe to relinquish power.

      Tsvangirai says the street protests are the final solution to a severe
political and economic crisis that has gripped Zimbabwe since Mugabe's
controversial re-election last year.

      The opposition leader has also filed a court challenge against Mugabe'
s victory, which he argues was secured through violence and outright fraud.
Mugabe denies the charges.

      The MDC would push for elections within three months after Mugabe was
deposed through mass protests next month, Tsvangirai said on Sunday.

      But lawyer and political commentator Brian Kagoro said Tsvangirai and
his MDC party could successfully storm Mugabe's State House residence or his
Munhumutapa office complex only if the army stepped aside.

      "If it (mass action) is to succeed, there has to be a deal between the
organisers of the planned marches and the army, in which the soldiers will
agree to stand on the side lines," said Kagoro, who is also national
coordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe, a coalition of civic groups in the

      Some groups within Crisis in Zimbabwe have said they will support the
planned mass demonstrations.

      Tsvangirai has so far not publicly indicated whether he has any
guarantees from Zimbabwe's armed forces that they will not block the MDC

      However, the MDC leader has publicly called on the army not to allow
itself to be used against innocent civilians, revealing his anxiety over the
soldiers' possible reaction to the proposed marches to oust Mugabe.

      The Zimbabwe Defence Forces, a large proportion of whose top
commanders and soldiers fought under Mugabe during Zimbabwe's 1970s
liberation war, have unwaveringly supported the ageing leader.

      Days before the disputed presidential election in March last year, the
top commanders of Zimbabwe's security forces declared in a statement that
they would not accept a president who did not fight in the independence war.

      Tsvangirai, whom Mugabe accuses of being a puppet of Zimbabwe's former
colonial master Britain, did not participate in the bush war.

      The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association, grouping
together the former fighters, including those now serving in the army, vowed
last week to use military means to crush the planned MDC marches.

      Kagoro said in the absence of a deal between Tsvangirai and the army,
it was most likely the armed forces would intervene against an MDC-marshaled
popular uprising against Mugabe.

      "There is no doubt in my mind that the army will be taking a position
that is against the popular action," the respected analyst said.

      Several middle-to-high ranking army officers have been given lucrative
farms and property seized by the government from white farmers under its
controversial land reforms.

      Several army officers who commanded Zimbabwe's military campaign in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) also reportedly reaped huge
profits from the illegal trade in diamonds and timber, thus creating a
"merchant class within the armed forces," according to Kagoro.

      The Zimbabwe National Army has denied its involvement in the looting
of resources in the DRC.

      Kagoro said Zimbabwe's army generals were likely to order troops to
crush the demonstrations, most probably because: "A threat to the
establishment is not only a threat to their political interests, but also a
threat to their economic and therefore personal interests."

      Dzinotyiwei said Tsvangirai and his MDC party had to ensure that the
demonstrations were orderly and peaceful in order to limit the grounds for
intervention by the army.

      "Otherwise if the worst case scenario happened with the army
intervening and taking over the running of the country, it would be a big
setback for both ZANU PF, MDC and pro-democracy forces in Zimbabwe,"
Dzinotyiwei said.

      The military, if it took over management of the country because there
was anarchy, would most likely ban political activity setting back the
bigger national struggle for democracy, the UZ analyst added.

      South Africa Institute of International Affairs researcher Herbert
Ross said Zimbabweans could expect little help from the region to rid
themselves of the soldiers if they took over political office.

      Ross said: "There would probably be protests against such a
development, but there would be very little meaningful action on the ground.
Zimbabwe has a strong army which no one in the region, including South
Africa, would want to go to war with just like that."
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Leader Page

      Mass action could make or break MDC

      5/27/03 3:18:17 AM (GMT +2)

      THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has upped the
stakes in Zimbabwe's political game with the announcement of the dates for
its proposed anti-government demonstrations.

      Demonstrations whose success or failure will have far reaching
implications for the future of the party and Zimbabwe as a whole.

      MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai told supporters on Sunday to pray this
week in preparation for the mass action, dubbed the "final push" and
scheduled to begin on 2 June.

      "We want to embark on a week of democracy marches in every town and
every workplace," Tsvangirai told a rally in Harare. "We must be prepared to
be arrested, we must be prepared to make a mark to ensure that we will never
again be oppressed.

      "We cannot stop this mass action because (President Robert) Mugabe has
offered nothing. Until he agrees to go, we will continue to push."

      It is anyone's guess how Zimbabweans will respond to the MDC's call.

      But it must be clear to all observers that the opposition party could
be betting its future and that of the entire nation on this one hand.

      A positive public reaction in which Zimbabweans take to the streets in
their hundreds of thousands will be a significant moral victory for the

      It will tip the odds in the MDC's favour as it ratchets up pressure
against Mugabe to call it quits and make way for a government that could
begin to put Zimbabwe's economy on the path to recovery.

      But an overwhelming response to the call for mass action would not
come without its dangers.

      It is hard to say how State security agents will react when faced with
hundreds of thousands of angry, determined people marching towards State
House or the President's Munhumutapa offices.

      Already, veterans of Zimbabwe's war of liberation have indicated that
they plan to join forces with the police and army to use "military force"
against anti-government protesters.

      The instability and chaos that could result from a violent reaction to
the proposed demonstrations would have disastrous social, economic and
political consequences for a country that is already on the verge of

      Indeed, the public's fear of violence could work against the MDC,
convincing most Zimbabweans to stay home and keep their heads down instead
of risking life and limb by joining the proposed street protests.

      Such a response from the public could be disastrous for Zimbabwe's
main opposition party, which now more than ever needs to demonstrate its
continuing relevance to national politics.

      Failure to mobilise support for the proposed action could cripple the
MDC's efforts to play a leading role in the struggle for democracy and
change in Zimbabwe.

      If the opposition party is unable to drum up the numbers necessary to
show its strength, there is little chance that it will ever succeed in
pressuring Mugabe into an early exit from active politics.

      Neither will it be able to press the government into abandoning the
reckless policies that have ruined Zimbabwe's once prosperous economy, whose
decline could accelerate, with serious social implications.

      By staking all on this proposed mass action, the MDC has virtually
backed itself into a corner and left itself with very few options. It is to
be hoped that the party's leadership has taken a long, hard look at all the
ramifications of the party's proposed action.

      Indeed, it is important that all of Zimbabwe's leaders and their
supporters maintain cool and clear heads in the next week.

      Sober heads and steady hands, not bravado, are needed for the
challenges that lie ahead.
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      Mistrust having disastrous effects on Zimbabwe

      5/27/03 3:18:56 AM (GMT +2)

      By Coxwell Chigwanha

      When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. This adage runs
true of the current situation in Zimbabwe.

      The sour relationship between the ruling party ZANU PF and the
opposition, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has reached quite
frightening levels albeit with disastrous effects on Zimbabwe as a nation.

      The MDC in tandem with its "brothers in arms", the NCA has gone on a
vitriolic warpath, calling on mass stayaways and accusing every government
initiative as "a desperate attempt" by what they call an illegal regime bent
on clinging to power against the wills of the people.

      The ruling party's response on the other hand, has been equally bold
branding the MDC "as an imperialistic party bent on perpetrating British
interests and lacking in policies and programmes that enrich the indigenous

      The fourth estate, the media have also lost their core values of
objectivity, fairness and accuracy during "these moments of madness".

      Media houses have aligned themselves with political parties forgetting
their core business.

      Every newspaper carries an article on Zanu PF and MDC as though there
are no other issues of national interest to report on.

      Now is the time to take stock of what we have done so far as a nation
and the gains accrued so far, that is if there are any.

      Whose interest are we perpetrating and advancing when we continue to
hackle and bay for each other's blood over issues that have torn us apart?

      What kind of environment are we creating for our children to live in?
The orgy of violence currently engulfing the country would surely make those
who died for this country during the liberation war turn in their graves.

      Are we tired of ruling ourselves barely 22 years since we attained

      European opposition parties have ably demonstrated that politics is
not about tearing the country through mass stayaways, destruction of
infrastructure, murder and intimidation of civilians but is about nation
building through constructive engagement of opposite sides.

      Opposition parties should provide the checks and balances in a
thriving democracy where mutual respect of divergent ideas should be of
paramount importance.

      The MDC should applaud the government and ruling party if it comes up
with a constructive piece of idea that enhances the whole essence of nation
building. It should equally take to task the ruling party within a framework
of constructive criticism, if certain issues that it feels threaten the
continued existence of Zimbabwe as a nation are advanced by the ruling

      What do we see? Unnecessary violence and unfortunate loss of human
lives and a sad chapter in the history of our country.

      The present scenario brewed in a cauldron of mistrust and lack of
communication has led to a situation where the two parties are literally
holding Zimbabwens at ransom.

      Zimbabweans scattered around the once beautiful country, continue to
bear on end the brunt of this unending circus.

      Solutions to the Zimbabwean crisis are not at 10 Downing Street, nor
are they entrenched elsewhere in Europe, but rather, they are here in
Zimbabwe, at our own fingertips.

      We have allowed the western imperialist forces and reactionaries to
penetrate our ranks and files, sowing seeds of hatred and mistrust,
dictating terms to a once God fearing and loving nation. That is regrettable
and a sorry sight.

      Zimbabweans are one and we will never stoop so low as to destroy our
once beautiful land with our own hands. We pledge to all work for peace and
prosperity for our country, Zimba remabwe - the house of stones.

      I therefore urge the opposition MDC and NCA to critically examine and
ask themselves whether the stayaways, sanctions and demonstrations are a
panacea to Zimbabwean problems.

      Fellow Zimbabweans, it is never too late to start rebuilding the house
of stones lest posterity holds us accountable for this genocide we are
committing on our kith and kin - Africans do not die forever - "Ropa
remukaranga hariravirwe vakuruwe".

      The opposition can bury the hatchet with the ruling party, forget the
atrocities and pain inflicted on each other, shake hands and start again to
work for the good of the nation.

      For this to occur the opposition parties need to shed their tainted
image by disassociating themselves from imperialist forces and once again
become local opposition parties funded and driven by locals for locals.

      We therefore need to swallow our pride and end the queues in our
country. Brothers and sisters lets use our black intelligence, accept
responsibility for our acts and avoid becoming bitter for bitterness is
cancerous and ruinous.
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      'Zimbabwe among world's worst economic performers'

      5/27/03 3:08:31 AM (GMT +2)

      Business Reporter

      THE payment of bribes to further business interests has increased in
the last three years in Zimbabwe, which has been ranked 78th out of 80
countries in the World Economic Forum (WEF)'s 2002-2003 Global
Competitiveness Report.

      The southern African nation is ranked ahead of Venezuela and
Guatamela, both facing severe economic crises.

      Zimbabwe lagged far behind its closest neighbours Botswana and South
Africa, who are ranked 24 and 53 respectively.

      On a scale of one to seven, with one indicating a significant increase
in bribery and seven a decline, Zimbabwe scored 2,4. It was slightly ahead
of Venezuela, which scored 2,1 and Guatamela, with 2,0.

      In terms of growth competitiveness, Zimbabwe was ranked 79 out of 80
in 2002, sliping from 75 in 2001.

      "One of the worst performers (in economic competitiveness) remains
Zimbabwe, where the economic downturn accelerated substantially in 2001 and
2002," the WEF report said.

      According to the report, Zimbabwe is ranked 76 out of 80 countries
where companies had to make "undocumented extra payments or bribes"
connected with the issuing of public contracts.

      When deciding upon policies and contracts, government officials in
Zimbabwe are said to favour well connected firms and individuals.

      Zimbabwe government tenders for multi billion dollar projects have in
the past five years been controversially awarded, resulting in some
companies seeking the intervention of the courts to reverse the contracts.

      Some contracts have been reversed, but as recently as 2001, crucial
documents for a Japanese tender for the digitilastion of the country's
telephone network disappeared and have not been found.

      According to the WEF report, Zimbabwe is also among the top five
nations where insider trading is prevalent on the stock market.

      However, allegations of insider trading have not been proved because
of the absence of a legal framework to deal with such a practise.

      Out of the 80 countries surveyed by the WEF, Zimbabwe is ranked 77,
making it one of the economies where financial assets and wealth were not
adequately protected by law.

      South Africa is however ranked 21 and Botswana 24.

      Since the invasion of mostly white-owned farms began in February 2000,
foreign investors have questioned the sanctity of property rights in
Zimbabwe, leading to most foreigners abandoning the country for its
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      Low maize deliveries to GMB spell disaster

      5/27/03 3:08:01 AM (GMT +2)

      Business Reporter

      FOUR months before the end of the 2003 maize marketing season, the
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has purchased only about 7 000 tonnes of maize,
enough to feed Zimbabwe for one and a half days, it was learnt this week.

      Officials within the parastatal, the sole trader in maize and wheat in
Zimbabwe, said the purchases were made between the start of the marketing
season in April and the end of last week.

      The maize marketing season is from the beginning of April to September
and this year, the government hiked the maize producer price by 364 percent
to $130 000 a tonne in a bid to encourage farmers to sell their produce.

      GMB officials yesterday said the parastatal had, however, so far
collected less than 7 500 tonnes of maize from farmers.

      Zimbabwe, which has been facing food shortages for the past two years
due to drought and government land seizures, requires about 5 000 tonnes of
maize a day to meet domestic demand. The country's annual maize consumption
is estimated at two million tonnes.

      "The GMB has purchased less than 7 500 tonnes of maize as many farmers
are holding on to the little maize they produced for consumption purposes,"
an official within the parastatal said.

      GMB operations director Samuel Muvuti refused to comment on the matter
yesterday, while Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister Joseph
Made was unavailable on his mobile phone.

      Agricultural experts said the low maize deliveries to the GMB would
worsen shortages of maize-meal, the country's staple food.

      Many Zimbabweans have substituted bread for maize-meal in the past
year because of the severe maize shortages.

      But millers say the wheat supply situation is also critical, with
major millers indicating that they had run out of stocks last week.

      Wheat is the country's second staple after maize, but production has
also been hit by drought and instability in the agricultural sector
resulting from the government's controversial land reform programme.

      Under the programme, most white-owned commercial farms have been taken
over for the resettlement of black peasant and aspiring commercial farmers,
many of whom do not have the resources to produce enough to feed their
families or the nation.

      The commercial farmseizures are estimated to have slashed food
production by at least 50 percent in the past year.

      Farmers this week said there would be little winter cropping this year
due to the lack of inputs and infrastructure which was destroyed during
farming invasions.

      The government is expected to make a formal request to the United
Nations' World Food Programme to extend emergency humanitarian assistance
programmes, most of which end in June.

      Close to eight million Zimbabweans need emergency food aid and the
number is expected to rise in the next few months because of inadequate

      Agriculture industry officials have said between 800 000 and 900 000
tonnes of maize would be produced this year, which is an increase from last
year's 550 000 tonnes.

      Davis Mugabe, president of the Indigenous Commercial Farmers' Union
(ICFU) said: "The country will produce about 900 000 tonnes of maize, which
is not enough to feed the nation for the next year. While the food situation
will improve, there is still need to import food."

      But imports will be hampered by Zimbabwe's severe foreign currency
crisis, which has also affected imports of fuel, electricity, raw materials
and spare parts for equipment.

      ICFU cereal chairman Denford Chimbwanda said most of the association's
members were failing to deliver maize to the GMB because of fuel shortages.

      "There are no maize deliveries because of fuel shortages and in any
case, farmers want a maize producer price of $300 000 a tonne for them to be
able to pay back loans," Chimbwanda said.
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ATMs Down As Cash Shortages Continue

The Herald (Harare)

May 27, 2003
Posted to the web May 27, 2003


Automated teller machines (ATM's) at most banks in Harare were down
yesterday as the cash shortages continued over weekend.

Sources in the banking industry told The Herald that the problem was because
of shortages of notes.

"There is no cash. Most banks did not put anything in those machines by end
of business on Saturday because notes are scarce," said the source.


This is likely to persist this week as many people get paid at this time of
the month and need cash to settle their bills. Many people have been
stranded since Friday as they failed to withdraw their money.

Mr Eric Mombeshora from Mabelreign said he had failed to withdraw money
since Friday.

"I have been to the city centre and the ATM's were down. I went to Avondale
and Westage Shopping Centre but there was nothing," said a disappointed Mr

Mr Farai Shumba of Chitungwiza said he would be forced to spend the long
weekend at home because of the cash shortages.

"I was supposed to travel to see my mother who is not feeling well in Gweru
but I failed. I don't think this is a good image for the banking industry.
We won't keep our monies there anymore," Mr Shumba said.

He said he would withdraw all his money after the weekend.

"It's better to keep the money at home because how can you suffer when you
have got the cash. They should solve the problem before the banking sector
collapses. We have lost faith in these banks," he said.

ATM at most banks in the city centre were out of service.

Security guards manning the ATM's said the machines ran out of cash at
midday on Saturday.

"The machine has no money. You should come and check on Tuesday maybe they
will be functional," he said.


Only a few ATMs at some banks had cash. Cash shortages, which occurred late
last month, resurfaced on Friday as most banks ran dry due to the failure by
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to supply them with cash.

On Saturday long winding queues were seen at most banks in the city centre
as people waited to patiently withdraw their money.

However, those who managed to access their money were given $50 notes as
most banks did not have $500 and $100 notes.

Some banks had even reduced withdrawal limits to clients. Most banks were
allowing their clients a maximum withdrawal of $20 000.

"Due to the shortage of Zimbabwe currency notes from the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe, we are regrettably left with no option but to limit withdrawal
amounts until such time the situation improves," the POSB said in a Press

Last month people struggled to access their money after an illegal three-day
stay away organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.
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