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

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Daily News

      Mugabe's nephew attacks settlers

      5/3/03 8:13:25 AM (GMT +2)

      By Takaitei Bote

      TWO settlers and two children on Diandra Farm in Zvimba are allegedly
missing, while 10 others are in hiding after they clashed with President
Mugabe's nephew, Patrick Zhuwau, over occupation of the farm.

      Zhuwau is Sabina Mugabe's son.

      Zhuwau has denied there were clashes on the farm he now occupies
despite resistance from settlers.

      The leader of the settlers, Godfrey Gova, who is also in hiding,
alleged in an interview that Zhuwau hired a gang of about 20 youths who
attacked the settlers last Monday night in a bid to chase them out of the
farm they occupied at the start of farm invasions in February 2000.

      Gova alleged that Zhuwau's gang kidnapped Lazarus Maunze, 60, and
Danger Koro, 70, whose whereabouts were still unknown.

      James Gwaze, one of the settlers in hiding, alleged two of his
children, Kizito, 13, and Valentine, 10, were abducted by the group last

      Gwaze said when he last went home on Tuesday, his wife Tendai told him
that the gang had taken the children away.

      He said he could not establish if the children were back home as he
was living in the bush.

      Gova alleged that since last Monday, the gang has been descending on
the settlers' homes every night, assaulting their wives and demanding them
to to produce their husbands.

      He said trouble started last Monday night when about 10 settlers went
to Zhuwau, who has moved into the farmhouse, to ask him why he had occupied
the farm which belonged to them.

      Gova said: "When we got to the farmhouse on Monday night, Zhuwau
locked us in a room where there were about 20 youths who started attacking
us in the dark.

      "We were only 12. We escaped, but two of us were taken hostage by the
group and we do no know where they are."

      Gova said they were hiding because they feared the gang would attack
them again.

      "We are, however, not giving up. We will go back to the farm and fight
Zhuwau until he leaves. We are prepared to die for that land."

      Gova alleged that they made a report to Nyabira Police Station on
Monday but were surprised the following day when men in police gear visited
their homes in the vehicle that was being used by the gang.

      He said the police ransacked their houses and they were hostile to
their wives.

      "We do not understand the role being played by the police as they seem
to be on Zhuwau's side," Gova said.

      Contacted for comment, a man who identified himself as the
Officer-in-Charge of Nyabira Police Station confirmed a report had been made
of the clashes on Diandra Farm.

      He said: "Telephone Chief Superintendent Gumunyu at Norton Police
Station who is handling the issue."

      The Norton Police Station telephone was not picked up when The Daily
News called several times to speak to Gumunyu.

      Zhuwau said in a telephone interview: "I am living peacefully with my
workers on the farm. There are no settlers on the farm and there were no
clashes on Monday. I also do not have a gang."

      Zhuwau is alleged to have visited the farm for the first time in
January this year and has since then bulldozed his way slowly. He planted
crops this year.

      The settlers said they had occupied it since 2000 and he had "no
 right" to take it over.

      They said Zhuwau had ordered them to leave yet he was not there when
they chased away farmer Peter McSporan, who has since migrated to Zambia.

      Settlers who have occupied neighbouring farms are furious with Sabina
Mugabe's family, which is allegedly chasing them away from the farms they
occupied since 2000.

      The farms taken over by Sabina, her sons and other relatives are
strategically situated around Lake Manyame in Zvimba.

      The properties include Diandra, Lata Farm, Tarnagula Farm, Audleyend,
Mede Estates and Crebilly Farm.
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Daily News

      Trade fair off to a slow start

      5/3/03 8:19:37 AM (GMT +2)

      From Oscar Nkala and Ntungamili Nkomo in Bulawayo

      THE first public day of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair ( ZITF)
took off to a low start with very few people trickling through the gates by
mid-afternoon on Thursday.

      Exhibitors reported an increase in the number of general enquiries
from members of the public but these did not result in business transactions
as during traders' days.

      Public stands were also poorly attended.

      This year's fair came at the height of the most severe economic
downturn in the history of the country since independence.

      A crippling fuel shortage has also forced both public and commercial
transport sectors to ground vehicles.

      The Zimbabwe Defence Forces stand, however proved to be popular as the
few people at the fair passed through for a close glimpse at the military
hardware on display.

      The ZBC which has always been the most popular stand was also affected
by the low attendance as its stand, whose crowds usually spill out of the
hall area, was not even half full by midday.

      Business for exhibitors remained low as shown by the number of
exhibitors who were relaxing in their stands while others would leave their
posts unattended for a long time due to the low level of enquiries.

      People interviewed by The Daily News attributed the low public
attendance to high urban transport costs which shot up to $300 for a single
journey following last month's fuel price increase.

      Despite the low entry fares of $250 for adults and $100 for children,
members of the public complained that transport costs and expensive
refreshments at the fair no longer made it an ideal family outing.

      "Five years back I could afford to bring the whole family here but
this year I will not. I am here courtesy of my employer who is exhibiting,
but how many people will afford to pay for transport, refreshments and the
entry fees for the whole family in these difficult times?" asked Elma
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Daily News

      Families selling assets to buy food

      5/3/03 8:20:15 AM (GMT +2)

      From Ntungamili Nkomo in Bulawayo

      THE Food Security Network (FOSENET), a consortium of 24
non-governmental organisations, says thousands of Zimbabweans have resorted
to selling property in order to buy food, as hunger begins to take its toll.

      Said the report: "Two thirds of the districts reported that households
are selling assets for food. These include television sets and radios, which
are vital for communication. Livestock, household furniture and production
equipment have also been sold for food."

      Despite repeated denials of food politicisation by the ruling Zanu PF,
FOSENET's report, which released last month, noted that food politicisation
and corruption were rampant in all districts.

      Collective responses are reported to be hampered by lack of
transparency and responsiveness from state structures, political intolerance
and exclusion and lack of investment and information.

      This, said the report, highlights the need to ensure ethical and
equitable food access in urban areas and to strengthen community mechanisms
to protect and widen ethical approaches to food access.

      The report said thousands of people across the country have resorted
to eating grass seeds and other inedible wild fruits as starvation takes its

      "Food politicisation and the ongoing drought have forced people to eat
a variety of wild foods, some of which are detrimental to human lives," it

      FOSENET warned that the situation could result in the loss of lives as
people consumed inedible foods.

      In Binga district, one of the areas hardest-hit by the drought, some
villagers have been hospitalised after eating poisonous cassava while a
dozen others have been treated for constipation resulting from eating a lot
of wild berries.

      "Households are now consuming a wide range of foods not normally
consumed. Some, such as watermelons and grass seeds, have little nutritional
value, while others, such as wild mushrooms and cassava, have potential
harmful effects," said FOSENET.
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Daily News

      Zimbabwe leads region in suppressing media

      5/3/03 8:21:24 AM (GMT +2)

      By Columbus Mavhunga

      AS the world commemorates World Press Freedom Day today, a regional
media organisation has revealed that Zimbabwe leads the pack in terms of
muzzling the media.

      According to the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) director,
Luckson Chipare, Zambia trails Zimbabwe in terms of Press freedom violations
committed last year.

      "The year 2002 did not point to an overall worsening of attacks
against the media in Southern Africa," said Chipare. "Zimbabwe, however,
remains the seat of more than half of the violations recorded in 2002. This
is evidence of a large-scale crackdown on the media by the Zimbabwean
government and ruling party supporters. This clampdown was formalised by the
passing of the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act in early 2002."

      Luke Tamborinyoka, the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists
secretary-general, yesterday said Misa's statistics were not a surprise to
his organisation.

      "This is not a surprise given the excellent performance which our
government has made in repressing the media," said Tamborinyoka. "The
government has made sterling efforts in making Zimbabwe a rogue regime
especially in the area of media freedom where 63 journalists were arrested
last year but no convictions have been made so far.

      In March, Professor Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of State for
Information and Publicity in the President's Office, scooped an award for
his outstanding performance in emasculating the media in Zimbabwe since he
took over the post in 2000.

      The annual Golden Raspberry Award is given by the United Kingdom-based
media watchdog Index on Censorship.

      The Namibian-based media watchdog Misa said despite Sadc governments
having signed a protocol which is meant to harmonise legislation affecting
information and media in 2001, "Misa is of the opinion that the Protocol is
not conducive to the promotion, protection and enforcement of freedom,
freedom of the media and the free flow of information in Southern Africa."

      Last year in the region Misa recorded several cases of Press freedom
violations which included deportations of journalists, threats, incidences
of censorship, passing of legislation which affects media and arrests.

      "Our governments do not seem to be content with running the affairs of
the state and providing their people with necessities of life," summed up
Misa. "They (Sadc governments) would also want to run the very lives and
control the thinking of the citizens they govern. That was the cornerstone
of colonial oppression - to smash any deviant thinking."

      On Zimbabwe, Chipare, said: "Zimbabwe needs to be singled out not only
for leading the pack in the number of alerts it attracted, but also because
of the nature of these alerts.

      "They deal with arrests, detentions and imprisonment of journalists,
journalists being taken for questioning by the police, physical attacks on
journalists by ruling and opposition party supporters, legal action against
journalists - often based on oppressive and archaic legislation.
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Daily News

      Bid to probe Chombo sparked Mudzuri ouster

      5/3/03 8:23:06 AM (GMT +2)

      By Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter

      This week's suspension of Harare's executive mayor, Engineer Elias
Mudzuri, which has angered many residents, could have been triggered by an
investigation he was about to launch into circumstances surrounding the
status of land acquired by Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing.

      In March 1996, Chombo reportedly acquired the land along Highland Glen
Road in the plush suburb of Umwinsdale, Harare, through the then Department
of Physical Planning for about $70 000.

      A source said the land known as "Subdivision K of Nthaba" and
measuring almost 2 hectares, was pegged at a cost of about $250 000 at that

      "At first he occupied 1,7 hectares of that open land that has been an
open space and free for residents for the past 20 years," the source said.

      "Later he incorporated the remaining 0,3 hectares."

      Mudzuri yesterday said: "I was in the process of investigating Chombo
on that and other various other issues of corruption involving council
officials. I am being victimised because I know who and the areas to
investigate. So in order to protect corruption, Chombo says he has suspended
me, but I am not accepting that.

      "There is more to my so called suspension and at the moment I am
gathering evidence on how he acquired that land and other issues. I was
clamping down on serious crimes at the city council and Chombo says he has
suspended me. As a matter of fact, it is Chombo who should be investigated
and not the mayor. I am still the Mayor of Harare and will only leave office
before my term expires if the residents ask me to do so, not Chombo."

      Mudzuri said he had written several letters to Chombo complaining
about corruption and also that the council needed a supplementary budget of
$68 billion to run the affairs of the city properly.

      Workers at the site confirmed Chombo owned that land, but said they
did not know how he acquired it.

      Efforts to get comment from Chombo proved fruitless yesterday as he
was said to be attending the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo.

      He diverted his mobile phone calls to his office in Harare.

      Although, he allegedly bought the property in 1996, no major
developments have taken place.

      Meanwhile, Mudzuri alleged that the police were hunting him down at
the trade fair and as a result he was forced to flee the grounds prematurely
before the official opening yesterday.

      "I was tipped-off that the police were looking for me," Mudzuri said.
"A number of council officials from Harare and Bulawayo were harassed by the
police who were inquiring about my whereabouts. I have since left the venue,
but cannot disclose my location."

      He dismissed as rubbish, Chombo's claims that he was seen wearing the
mayoral regalia at the trade fair in Bulawayo.
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Daily News

      African leaders to confront Mugabe, Tsvangirai

      5/3/03 8:23:41 AM (GMT +2)

      By Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter

      IN AN apparent move to be seen to be resolving Africa's trouble spots
"the African way", three continental leaders will on Monday confront
President Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, to find a lasting
solution to the worsening socio-economic and political crisis in the

      The three leaders, South African President Thabo Mbeki and his
counterparts Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Bakili Muluzi of Malawi, are
expected to take Mugabe and Tsvangirai head-on over their political
differences at the expense of the nation when millions are facing starvation
and rampant human rights abuses.

      Following Mugabe's controversial re-election in March 2002, the
Commonwealth, comprising 54 countries formerly British colonies, suspended
Zimbabwe from its councils for a year and mandated Nigeria, South Africa and
Australia to look into the crisis.

      But after the suspension expired on 19 March this year, Australian
Prime Minister John Howard proposed that it be extended for another nine
months, with Obasanjo and Mbeki disagreeing.

      Mugabe shot back by attacking the white community - Britain, Australia
and New Zealand - for allegedly having a colonial hangover over Zimbabwe.

      The expected arrival of the three African leaders could have been
precipitated by signs of no hope of an immediate solution to the Zimbabwe
crisis with the stand-off between Mugabe and Tsvangirai continuing.

      Mugabe says Tsvangirai must recognise him as the legitimate Head of
State before he can even consider to meet with him, while the MDC leader
argues that he will not meet the Mugabe under such conditions.

      An official from the Malawian High Commission in Harare yesterday said
the leaders would raise with the two the deteriorating political and
economic situation in the country and its contagion effect, a resumption of
the Zanu PF/MDC dialogue and possibly succession "if Mugabe so wishes".

      Asked who mandated "the African Troika" on Zimbabwe, the official
said: "This is a joint initiative by the leaders to come to Zimbabwe and to
find a way to resolve Zimbabwe's problems because they are affecting
regional stability."
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Daily News

      President takes a back seat as Trade Fair opens

      5/3/03 8:24:13 AM (GMT +2)

      From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

      FERNANDO Da Piedade dias dos Santos, the Prime Minister of Angola, has
called for more trade between Zimbabwe and his country.

      Officially opening the most subdued and low-key Zimbabwe International
Trade Fair (ZITF) since independence, Dos Santos said it was encouraging to
note that Zimbabwe was holding the exhibition during very difficult times.

      The Zimbabwean government had initially invited President Jose Edwardo
Dos Santos who instead sent the prime minister to represent him under
unexplained circumstances.

      President Mugabe is increasingly being isolated by regional leaders
following the breakdown of the rule of law and human rights abuses in the

      Mugabe, who was present during the official opening ceremony, did not
stand on the dias with his guest, but delegated the task to Vice-President
Joseph Msika.

      Said Dos Santos: "The ZITF is a platform for business players to
penetrate wider markets."

      A total of 660 exhibitors, most of them flea market holders from 20
countries, are participating at the fair whose theme is Invest in the vision
that is taking Africa forward.
      Samuel Mumbengegwi, the Minister of Industry and International Trade,
who introduced the guest of honour, noted that trade between the two
countries has been declining over the years.

      He attributed the fall to the protracted civil war in Angola.

      The ZITF is running concurrently with a tourism exhibition, A'Sambeni

      No country from the industrialised world is exhibiting at this year's

      Some of the stands are empty following the failure by the exhibitors
to transport their goods owing to a crippling fuel shortage that has hit the

      Business at the fair has been so poor with some exhibitors describing
it as a non-event.

      The fair ends tomorrow.
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Daily News

      A brief for the three visiting presidents

      5/3/03 8:13:57 AM (GMT +2)

      When they meet President Mugabe and the leader of the opposition MDC,
Morgan Tsvangirai, in Harare next week, the presidents of South Africa,
Nigeria and Malawi, will be expected to lay the ground for dialogue that
will bring about lasting peace and economic stability in Zimbabwe.

      President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi should be commended for initiating
the meeting, seen as the last hope for a nation that for the last four years
has been agonising from the heavy load of violence, repressive laws and
abject poverty - the result of Mugabe's love for power and gross economic

      Muluzi and his colleagues, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Thabo
Mbeki of South Africa, are expected to bring Mugabe and Tsvangirai to the
negotiating table where they should honestly tackle Zimbabwe's grave

      The issue of the MDC court case challenging Mugabe's presidential
election victory last year and the need for Mugabe himself to step down
should be top on their agenda.

      The African leaders should chide Mugabe for the gross human rights
violations seen through repressive laws such as the Public Order and
Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

      They should also make it clear to Mugabe that he and his party have
become liabilities to the nation as they are responsible for the collapsing
economy that has reduced many Zimbabweans to beggars.

      Mugabe insists that he will only negotiate with the opposition if the
MDC withdraws its court case, while Tsvangirai says Mugabe should give a
date when he will step down and allow a fresh presidential election to be
supervised by outsiders.

      Mugabe is also reported to be demanding a guarantee that there would
be no reprisals against him for his 23 years of misrule, a guarantee that
Tsvangirai is willing to consider after consulting the people. The three
leaders need to work out a compromise position acceptable to both men.

      The Minister of Health, David Parirenyatwa, does not seem to be doing
enough to put the country on full alert in the wake of the latest scourge to
hit the world, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

      There should be control measures in place at all official entry points
into the country to ensure that the disease does not enter this country, or
if it does, the situation is expertly monitored and controlled.

      Already, South Africa, one of our major trading partners, has reported
two cases, one in which a Chinese student studying in that country had to be
quarantined following indications that she might have been suffering from
the disease, and the other case that of a 61-year-old businessman who has
since succumbed to the illness.

      That means human traffic between the two countries' borders has to be
strictly monitored. Besides official trade, there is a lot of cross-border
informal trading between the two countries.

      Some mechanism to monitor that the human traffic between the countries
does not spread the disease should be urgently put in place.

      Fears abound that if an outbreak occurs in Zimbabwe, which has a
serious shortage of drugs, doctors and other medical support staff,
thousands might perish.

      Symptoms of SARS include high fever, cough and pneumonia, and there is
no standard treatment. It is mainly passed by droplets through sneezing and

      Scientists who have sequenced all the genetic material of the SARS
virus said they were stumped by the previously unknown organism. Nations are
struggling to contain SARS, which started in China, but has now spread to
about 30 other countries and has killed hundreds and infected thousands.
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Daily News

      Sacrifices needed from all shades to save nation

      5/3/03 8:14:41 AM (GMT +2)

      By Tawanda waMagaisa

      Commentators have commented. The people have fought. They have been
maimed. They have died. The politicians have lost and won power. Individuals
have lost and gained. The economy is in ruins and the future looks very
bleak. Amid these depressing conditions, it is difficult to see a way out.

      But there is a way out.

      Today I wish to pose certain questions that will call for the
attention of people on both sides of the deep political divide. That is, if
we are all genuine about our concern for the good of the country and its
people, then we must be able to respond to these questions in a more
positive way.

      When we do that we can probably see that there is common ground and we
can sacrifice our differences if only to lay the ground for a better and
more fruitful democracy.

      At certain points in a struggle it is necessary to take the action
that best opens the way to the ultimate result. If it means that one has to
sacrifice certain aspects, it must be done because after all whichever way,
the interest is the ultimate objective - as we used to chant at the
university in the 1990s, by any means necessary. In other words, it is the
end that justifies the means. As it is, we are too preoccupied with the
means, at the expense of the objectives which we aim to achieve.

      Zanu PF is accused and probably guilty of political bankruptcy. They
are accused of lacking ideas to solve the country's problems, let alone to
drive it forward anymore.

      After more than 20 years at the helm, they do not have much to show
for it. There is nothing to attract capital that would be used to keep the
economy going and hence the desperate economic conditions under which we are
living today. Zimbabwe has become isolated from the rest of the world and is
suffering as a result.

      But the reality is that Zanu PF is actually in power. Despite protests
that began after the parliamentary election in 2000 and after the
presidential election in 2002, protesters have not come any closer to
removing the Zanu PF government from power.

      We may protest at their ill-gotten power, but the reality is that we
are actually getting closer to the next parliamentary election before we
have even resolved the deficiencies of the last one.

      Litigation in the courts was the trusted way, but so far the judicial
system has virtually failed to deliver justice. Something somewhere is very
wrong. But after all the arguments, analyses and comments, the truth is that
Zanu PF is in power. They have the comfort and advantage of being in control
of the defence and security forces.

      On the other hand, we have the MDC as the major political opposition
to Zanu PF. It has popular support, particularly in the urban areas, and is
touted as the political saviour of Zimbabwe.

      The international community, except for a few countries, seems to have
more confidence in the MDC than in Zanu PF which explains our economic
malaise. The MDC complains that Zanu PF has control of the political
machinery and has abused it in order to rig elections.

      As a result, despite major gains on the political landscape, the MDC
has failed to take power in Zimbabwe. Its attempts to use the courts have
not yielded tangible results other than establishing itself as a potential
perennial opponent to Zanu PF.

      There are other players on the political scene. These include major
non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which are supposedly meant to
mobilise civil society and promote human rights.

      The list of individual NGOs and coalitions of NGOs is growing which
shows either a rise in the consciousness of the people or greed. The same
motivation that makes a man wake up to announce that he has formed a
political party probably applies also to the proliferation of NGOs.

      As the major players battle it out at the terrestrial levels, it is th
e public that has suffered. It is they that have borne the brunt of
political and economic decline. It is they that have been maimed, that have
died more than the politicians or NGO personnel.

      The route probably lies in asking these players to have another look
at the values that define and bind our society.

      Respect for life, security, the rule of law, economic prosperity and
independence, fundamental individual and community rights, etc. Those values
that we aspire to and that they purport to represent on our behalf are there
between them, but they have chosen to ignore them.

      Is this impasse going to dissolve anytime soon? What will it take to
break the impasse? Is it possible that in breaking the impasse each side
will have to sacrifice certain interests it holds dear? Who in their
respective systems is responsible for the failure to see sense and common
ground upon which a common foundation can be built?

      I cannot prescribe what we must do for I am a mere mortal with a few
ideas, but I only suggest that somewhere between the protagonists there is
common ground and that common link can be used to provide an avenue.

      Ultimately what the MDC or Zanu PF wants respectively - power through
democratic, legitimate means - will be achieved, but only after the
conditions necessary and amenable to that goal have been established.

      As things stand right now under present conditions, despite the wishes
of the people, there is no prospect that the MDC will achieve power other
than through the complete breakdown of the economy and some mass uprising
against the present government. But even then do not put your money on it.
They have used all the constitutional means, but they argue that they have
been thwarted by the State.

      Meanwhile Zanu PF clings to power albeit desperately. Every day people
say they will be gone soon - but this has gone for far too long, for the
real victims of this impasse are the economy, the people and all the values
that are supposed to define us as a people.

      Some sacrifices need to be made and very soon. Perhaps some will say
it is just sheer politics of expediency, but that is politics nonetheless.

      If it should help, give it a chance.

      Tawanda waMagaisa is a social and political commentator

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Daily News

      Fuel crisis deepens

      5/3/03 7:56:01 AM (GMT +2)

      By Takaitei Bote and Chris Goko

      THE government is desperately trying to put together an arrangement in
which it can use proceeds from the sale of tobacco to pay for fuel, which
has almost run out.

      Officials at the Ministry of Energy and Power Development and the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) have sold the idea to a number of
fuel suppliers in a bid to give relief to local industry.

      The Jewel Bank, formerly the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe, is
understood to be advising Noczim and the ministry.

      "Our biggest problem is that the volumes of the tobacco crop coming
through the three auction floors has been disappointing to say the least," a
source said.

      Noczim chief executive officer Webster Muriritirwa referred all
questions to the ministry.

      Muriritirwa said: "Get in touch with the Ministry of Energy and Power
Development, that is where statements are issued."

      The fuel situation remained critical yesterday despite price increases
effected last month.
      Supplies have been erratic for the past five years due to a crippling
shortage of foreign currency.

      Amos Midzi, the Energy and Power Development Minister, said he was
hoping that the situation would improve soon.

      "We are expecting an improvement in the fuel supply situation later
this week," Midzi said when contacted for comment on Tuesday.

      About 439 000 litres of fuel arrived in the country last week. The
consignment was diverted to Bulawayo where the Zimbabwe International Trade
Fair (ZITF) is taking place.

      The diversion followed a plea to President Mugabe by Graham Rowe, the
ZITF general manager, and Mthuli Ncube, the ZITF chairman. The diversion was
done to ensure that visitors to the fair were not stranded.

      Only about three tankers carrying 35 000 litres of fuel were
dispatched to Gweru and Kwekwe early this week, while two delivered to

      Supplies that have trickled in so far are virtually a drop in the
ocean for a country that consumes 67 million litres of fuel a month.

      The fuel crisis has worsened because Noczim is bankrupt and has no
funds to purchase foreign currency.

      Noczim has been labelled uncreditworthy because it owes external
suppliers in excess of $21,6 billion. The parastatal is on the market
seeking to raise $60 billion for importing fuel.

      Zimbabwe has of late been getting supplies from Kuwait, South Africa,
Botswana and Nigeria. These countries were now asking for cash up-front
before making any fuel deliveries.

      Libya has effectively stopped supplying fuel because of non-payment.
Zimbabwe owes Libya more than US$170 million (Z$140 080 billion) for fuel
purchased at a premium.

      The fuel crisis bedevilling the country has paralysed commerce and
industry leading to companies scaling down operations or closing down
completely. About 350 firms have closed shop since December, throwing more
than 350 000 workers onto the streets.
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Mail and Guardian

Harare mayor 'gone into hiding'


      03 May 2003 09:40

The popular opposition mayor of Zimbabwe's capital city, Elias Mudzuri, went
into hiding from police Friday as authorities tried to enforce a
controversial order to suspend him from office, lawyers said.

While the search continued, senior police officers visited the deputy mayor
to try and force her to take over Mudzuri's office, but she also defied

"The mayor has gone into hiding and cannot be contacted," said advocate
Edith Mushore. "His attorney has informed police she can bring him in, but
only after they say what charge they want him on.

"They haven't specified any charges. They don't have anything to charge him
with," she said.

Earlier in the day, she said, local government minister Ignatius Chombo
abandoned an application to the high court here to force Mudzuri to formally
leave office, shortly before the application was due to be heard, she said.

"They thought they would be able to get an order if we didn't contest it,
but when they heard we were opposing it, they abandoned it," she said. "They
knew they couldn't stand it up."

A storm erupted after Tuesday when the government delivered an order
suspending Mudzuri from office with immediate effect, accusing him of
corruption, abuse of office and of failing to deliver services to Harare's

Observers say the government has been severely embarrassed in its bid to
force out the mayor only days before the presidents of South Africa, Nigeria
and Malawi are due to visit the capital for critical talks to try and
resolve the country's crisis.

Since he was elected last year, Mudzuri has won the hearts of the capital's
residents for his attempts to rehabilitate the city after decades of decay
under the corrupt and inept administration under President Robert Mugabe's
ruling Zanu-PF party.

Mudzuri overwhelmingly won the mayoral elections as the candidate of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), but since then has suffered
constant interference from the government which blocked his projects,
barring him from borrowing capital finance and even refusing him foreign
currency to import water purification chemicals for the city's water supply.

He was arrested and kept in filthy police cells for four days in
January -for addressing a ratepayers' meeting.

Mudzuri has defied this week's suspension order, and carried out civic
functions during the week. The suspension order also told deputy mayor
Sekesai Makwavarara to take over Mudzuri's role, but she also ignored

She confirmed she had been visited Friday by two senior police officers who
attempted to intimidate her into moving into his office. "They said they
wanted to know how safe I am," she said.

They also tried to get the key to his office from the council secretary and
asked why Makwavarara was "not operating out of the mayor's office," she
said. "They cannot push me," she said. "I know where I stand."

Advocate Mushore said the suspension was illegal. "The state cannot just
suspend the mayor. It has to conduct an inquiry and hold a referendum among
the ratepayers who elected him, to see whether or not they believe he has
failed to deliver. The government did neither of those."

She would challenge the government's suspension order in court on Monday,
she said. - Sapa-DPA
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Winter of discontent.

Dear Family and Friends,
It has gone deafeningly quiet in Zimbabwe this week. The usual early morning revving of a multitude of engines as people start their cars for work has been reduced to only one or two. The country has now completely run out of petrol and diesel and even the recent 320% increase in the price of fuel has done nothing at all to improve supplies. According to the government run National Oil Company of Zimbabwe which has been riddled with corruption scandals, no supplies at all have entered the country for the last week and none is in the pipelines either. Zimbabwe has no foreign currency with which to pay for imported fuel and at last our suppliers have said - no money, no fuel. This all sounds like a bit of a predictable disaster but the effect it is already having on our daily lives is enormous. We simply can't go anywhere any more, twice weekly trips to the supermarket have become once a fortnight and even that is a pretty wasted trip because, with no petrol, there are hugely reduced deliveries and so less and less food to buy- especially in small towns like Marondera. Something as simple as collecting post is also a waste of time. Aside from the fact that postage went up from Z$30 to Z$100 for a local letter last week, and aside from the fact that the government just fired 3000 postal workers for having joined in the nationwide stay away, there is no post to collect as it's all stuck in Harare with no petrol to distribute it. All week in our little town there have been rumours of a petrol tanker heading our way. Suddenly a deserted petrol station looks like a huge public occasion as literally hundreds of cars converge and park in massive lines along the road. Six or eight hours later everything gets back to normal and everyone disappears as it becomes clear that it was just another rumour and there isn't any petrol. Schools re-open again next week and Richie and I will be cycling to school. He's delighted at the idea, which he sees as a huge adventure but I suspect he'll change his mind fairly quickly as winter moves in and fingers and toes freeze!
Petrol is not the only topic causing rumours, there is also much talk this week that President Mugabe is about to step down. The Presidents of South Africa, Malawi and Nigeria are due in Harare in the coming days and there is much speculation about the real purpose of their visit. Certainly Zimbabwe is teetering on the edge of complete collapse now, there is little left for the government to seize, loot or control, there is no fuel and very little food and the population seems to have found both its voice and its courage. After the latest hugely successful three day national strike, people are champing at the bit for a huge push that would see the desperately needed changes to our governance. Neither the opposition MDC nor the trade unions are prepared to say what or when the next call for public action will be but it seems inevitable that it will be very soon as people have simply had enough. We've had enough of being hungry, had enough of rocketing inflation, had enough of not being able to afford anything, had enough of being pushed around and had enough of being scared. I am certainly not alone in feeling that the beginning of the end is now only weeks away.
For me the most amazing thing that happened this last week was when the Harare Mayor was suspended from his duties by Home Affairs Minister Chombo. The MDC Mayor, Elias Mudzuri was overwhelmingly and democratically elected and has become the hero of Harare. He has consistently spoken out against mis-governance, he has been harassed, intimidated and even imprisoned for standing up for the people of Harare so his suspension is undoubtedly a huge mistake and will make the restless population of the capital city even more willing to stand up for themselves.
Zimbabwe had shuddered to a stop. All eyes will be upon President's Mbeki, Obassanjo and Muluzi. We hope and pray they do not let us down again because we have had enough. Winter is coming and it will be a long hard winter of discontent. Until next week, with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle. 3rd May 2003.
"African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available from: and
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Extract from an email  sent on from Zim...

For the remnant of farmers in Zim, it's a time when the pace slackens off on
the farm and one can take stock of the previous season and contemplate the
next.   (This is what ALL of Zimbabwe's farmers should be doing, not just  a
fortunate few.)   As Dave said in his recent "weekly" though, it is sad to
see that farmers who are operating are sometimes the butt of snide comments
about being zpf supporters who have bribed their way clear.   This is simply
not true.   Yes. there are some who have done that, (and have found that it
doesn't work anyway) but the vast majority still farming have been "left
alone" for a variety of sometimes unexplained reasons and circumstances.  As
for us on M, it has been the undeniable power of prayer and God's grace.

We had our T home for a short vac in April.  A special time!    She is
working so very hard, but is being rewarded with excellent results in her
second year of medicine.   Must be a chip off the old block!    She is doing
anatomy at the moment which entails the complete dissection of a cadaver
from head to toe and every sinew in between.   She thrives on the guts
and gore and is able to give us graphic descriptions of the insides of the
human body,(usually during meal times!)   Much to his annoyance she has
named her cadaver after her younger brother!
S is doing his last year at school and is in a bit of a quandary as to what
to do.   I suspect he wanted to farm, but in Zim they say leaving your farm
to your son is classed as child abuse!    He applied to the RAF to fly for
them, but we got a polite reply saying that they certainly do take recruits
from commonwealth countries, but unfortunately NOT from Zimbabwe at this
present time.   Who wants to be a dastardly gay breetish pilot anyway!

A communal farmer from the reserve who used to work for Des, asked me to go
and see his crop last week.    He had a stack of tobacco of reasonable
quality and yield.   Whilst assisting him with tips on grading, a small
grateful crowd formed, all hanging onto my every word, soaking in any
technical information on offer.    It reminded me so much of the days with
Hamish, and what could have been without political interference.    When
they asked me to please ask Des to come back as he had been so helpful to
them in setting up their tobacco project, the topic inevitably turned to
politics.    Even these guys have had a guts full and realise they have been
hoodwinked.  They are "talking" now, even reading the Daily News that is now
available in places that it was never found before.  (ZRP especially are now
avid readers - I suppose fearing that their names might appear in the "name
and shame" adverts)
This group had very derogatory words for the "ma setters" farming ability
and going as far as calling them straight thieves, as they pointed across
the Dande to N's place where all the roofing is fast disappearing.    I
left, feeling heartened and warm realizing that despite the racist garbage
spewing from the politico's, that the genuine goodwill that crossed the
races has not been completely destroyed, and it is this goodwill that will
be needed in large doses to rebuild the nation soon.

We are really feeling (at last) the effects of the economic meltdown.
Yesterday we had a power cut and Zesa couldn't come out to fix it cos they
had no diesel.   Guard Alert couldn't come to deliver the wages unless I
supplied petrol.   Things are seriously coming to a head now and the
government has no place to hide.    Rantings about sovereignty and
recolonisation are just pathetic attempts to shift the blame that even the
povo (who are bearing the brunt of the hardships) don't swallow anymore.
The stayaway was very successful - seems people will now support anything
that is anti govt.   We are in for a scary few months, but perhaps, an
exhilarating ride! - Hope we can hang on for the inevitable jubilation!
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Sunday Times (SA)

Zimbabwe marks Press Freedom Day

HARARE - Around 300 people gathered in the Zimbabwe capital Harare today to
mark World Press Freedom Day, as a regional press watchdog claimed the
country led the region in repressing the media.

Zimbabwe's media has been under the spotlight since tough new press laws
were introduced last year, which make it a crime to publish "falsehoods" and
require all journalists to be registered.

Sixty-three journalists - almost all from the private press - have been
arrested since the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) was passed, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) says.

Luke Tamborinyoka, the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists (ZUJ), told reporters and members of the public gathered in a
sunny Harare park that the day was being marked "under a dark cloud of media

Protest poets performed at the gathering.

In an interview in the private Daily News MISA director Luckson Chipare,
said Zimbabwe "remains the seat of more than half of the (rights) violations
recorded in 2002" in the southern African region.

The ZUJ's Tamborinyoka said AIPPA was an "obnoxious" piece of legislation
that was the "final nail in the coffin" of Zimbabwean press freedom.

The media law - which is being challenged in a constitutional court - was
signed by President Robert Mugabe in March 2002.

His government said the international media was biased against Zimbabwe and
that new controls on the press were needed.

Andrew Meldrum, spokesman for the Foreign Correspondents' Association of
Zimbabwe, hailed as "a victory" the fact that none of the 63 people arrested
under AIPPA had been convicted.

Meldrum, who reports for London's Guardian newspaper, was arrested and
charged under the law on May 1 last year for allegedly writing a false
story. He was later acquitted.

The American reporter is one of a handful of non-Zimbabwean journalists left
operating in the country. At least five foreign correspondents have been
forced to leave Zimbabwe since 2001.

Government opponents claim that the state-run press here is used to further
the interests of the ruling party.

The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), a local watchdog, said
Saturday the government used state-owned newspapers and the national
broadcaster as "messengers of its own propaganda at the expense of the

The remark came as the official Herald newspaper quoted Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo as saying the national radio stations should carry 100% local
content in order to spearhead a "cultural revolution".

Under current regulations, 75% of the music broadcast on the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has to be composed locally. The remaining 25%
can be made up of international music.

"Americans have 100% local content and the British also have the same and I
think we can take the lead and others may follow," Moyo told the Herald.

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Zimbabweans commemorate World Press Freedom day

04 May 2003 Zimbabwean organizations on Saturday joined the rest of the
World in commemorating World Press Freedom day at a public meeting held in
the Harare Gardens.

The President of the National Association of Freelance Journalists, NAFJ Joe
Kwaramba called on the media practitioners in Zimbabwe to observe the day
with their country at heart.

Kwaramba said it is unfortunate that some local media organizations are
operating without any codes of conduct hence most journalists can afford to
report on wishful thinking.

Media ethics committee Chairman, Mr Tafataona Mahoso urged Zimbabwean media
practitioners to commemorate World Press Freedom day bearing in mind that
they must not be used by the west to destroy their own country.

Mr Mahoso cited examples of Yugoslavia and Iraq where the media played a
major role in destroying the two nations.
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U.N. Hypocrites Can't Define Terrorism
Published on 5/3/2003

In the ancient land now called Iraq, the Bible describes how a group of
people came together to build a city with an immense tower that would reach
to heaven.

The descendents of those people who constructed the Tower of Babel have
regrouped in the United Nations. They still cannot understand one another's

That failure to communicate erodes the foundation of the international body,
foils the war on terrorism, inhibits U.S. efforts to build a fair and
equitable democracy in Iraq and threatens to blow up the road map for peace
just handed to Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

In the Alice in Wonderland world of the United Nations, the delegates cannot
agree on the meaning of the word "terrorism."

On this side of the United Nations rabbit hole, terrorism is the use of
terror as a means to cause intense fear, to demoralize, to intimidate, to
subjugate or to coerce, especially for political purposes.

In a sane world, it would be obvious that suicide bombers who repeatedly
blow up busloads of innocent people are practicing terrorism. The United
Nations cannot accept that definition.

Even after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the General Assembly of United
Nations could not agree on a complete terrorism strategy.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Anne Bayefsky, adjunct professor at
Columbia University Law School, professor of political science at York
University, Toronto, and a member of the governing board of U.N. Watch, said
attempts to arrive at a consensus on terrorism are consistently blocked,
especially by Arab and Islamic nations.

Bayefsky reports that Saudi Arabia recently expressed the prevailing
sentiment of many U.N. members by arguing "we should distinguish between the
phenomenon of terrorism and the right of peoples to achieve

Syria, a nation that supports terrorism and even controls its own terrorist
incubator in Lebanon, is a member of the Security Council where it works to
block U.N. Resolution 1373, designed to encourage states to combat

Defying all reason, Syria denies any involvement with terrorism.

Another example of the up-is-down babble coming out of the United Nations is
the fact that Libya, a despotic rogue state and terrorist breeding ground,
now chairs the U.N. Human Rights Commission. Other members include China,
Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Cuba, which has been in the news for gross human rights violations involving
kangaroo-court executions and imprisonment of librarians, journalists and
political dissenters, was recently re-elected to the U.N. Human Rights

The delegate from Cuba's repressive regime on the commission called for
sanctions against the United States for "massive and flagrant violations of
human rights."

Sudan, a country that practices slavery, torture and routine mutilation of
its citizens, recently had U.N. reports of its abuses dropped thanks to the
U.N. Human Rights Commission.

Also recently, the same commission sanctioned the use of "all available
means including armed struggle" against Israel. The U.N. human rights
commission approved suicide bombings and terrorism.

The Tower of Babel is with us still.
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Is Mugabe on the way out?
      May 03 2003 at 12:26AM

      By John Battersby

After three years of political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe, the end of
Robert Mugabe's rule is in sight.

Three African leaders including South African President Thabo Mbeki are to
fly to Harare on Monday to persuade Mugabe, who has been hinting at possible
retirement, to take the plunge.

There is now hope for an interim political settlement in Zimbabwe which
would see the retirement of Mugabe, the creation of a transitional
government headed by his Zanu-PF party and a programme of economic
reconstruction heavily supported by South Africa.

If African leaders are successful in persuading Mugabe to bow out with
dignity, the proposed presidential election in 2008 could be brought forward
to coincide with scheduled parliamentary elections in 2005.

      There is now hope for an interim political settlement in Zimbabwe
It is unclear whether Mugabe will stay on as a largely ceremonial president
while a younger man takes over running Zanu-PF.

The current favourite of a growing faction within the ruling Zanu-PF, the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and among African mediators
is Mugabe's former finance minister Simba Makoni.

Mugabe fired him last year after a row over the devaluation of the
Zimbabwean currency.

Makoni, who has praised Mbeki's handling of the crisis in Zimbabwe and met
him towards the end of last year, is seen, together with MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, as the only contender for the leadership who would be able to
raise loans for Zimbabwe from the International Monetary Fund and the World

Mbeki's visit to Harare on Monday is expected to re-start the long-stalled
dialogue between Zanu-PF and the MDC.

Mbeki, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, as the next chair of the
Commonwealth, and Malawian President Bekili Muluzi, as chair of the Southern
African Development Community task team on Zimbabwe, will present Mugabe
with a formidable display of African unity.

The troika will urge the beleaguered Zimbabwean president to step down and
allow a renewal of the ruling party's leadership and the inclusion of the
MDC in a transitional government.

The latest prospect for a political settlement in Zimbabwe follows renewed
hints by Mugabe last weekend that he is considering retirement, new
concessions by the opposition and growing dissent within Zanu-PF as to who
Mugabe's successor will be.
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