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

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This afternoon we had word that Harare lawyers using the framework put together by Richard Moyo Majwabu / Tony Denbury / Dave Coltart managed to get their case before a High Court judge who, with the consent of the Ministry , won the case.  This therefore covers the Bulawayo schools as well, as the High Court here would not rule differently.
HOWEVER, while the court was deliberating, the Ministry was informing the ATS representatives as below of the new ground rules ie they will not honour court judgements, any school that has not signed in agreement its 'acceptance certificate' by the end of tomorrow will be nationalised.  The acceptance certificate is an agreement to run the school at a cost set by the Ministry, hold the fees for 1 year (in this inflationary environment!!!!!!), incorporate government reps into the boards etc etc
We won the battle and while we were on the moral and legal highgroud they nuked us.
We need to get the acceptance certificate signed tomorrow, get the school reopened for the term (it will only last a term in its present state under their regulations) and I will be surprised if we have any pupils left for the third term anyway as the standard of eductation cannot be sustained on their terms.  During the course of the second term we may be able to restructure to survive but, considering the feedback we received in the past two days that government was going to take over the schools, we have now seen it commence!
This is a sad day for the country.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, May 06, 2004 3:12 PM

 6 May 2004


To All Heads and Chairmen of ATS member schools

 This email is designed to update schools on the most recent developments in regard to school closures, fee increase applications etc.  At the time of writing several heads and board members have been detained in police cells; yet others have been required to attend police stations and have made warned and cautioned statements; all of these actions apparently pursuant to charges under the Education Act in respect of fees.  Everything possible is being done to support and advise these colleagues.  A number of ATS schools have re-opened having been cleared to do so by Ministry following signature by the schools of "acceptance certificates". 

 A small ATS / CHISZ delegation was finally able to meet with the Permanent Secretary and several of his colleagues this morning.  Neil Todd / the ATS office is now working with ministry officials to establish the exact status of all member schools in regard to compliance with the most recent directives and in order that schools which remain closed can be re-opened.  This matter is extremely urgent, not only because of the prejudice being suffered but because we have been advised by the Permanent Secretary that the deadline for compliance is tomorrow, Friday 7 May and not 14 May as reported in the Herald and as indicated by the Minister during his meeting with parent representatives.  We have been advised that failure to comply before the expiry of the deadline will lead to a "different administrative course of action" which is understood to mean the government "takeover" of schools which remain "incompliant". 

Can schools who have not yet re-opened or have not yet been offered the opportunity to sign an "acceptance certificate" please contact their PED and / or the Ministry immediately to establish their current status; please also advise the ATS office.  In essence, the acceptance certificates indicate that schools accept that their fees should not exceed the level approved by Ministry and that they will remain at this level for the remainder of 2004.  It appears that in the case of schools which have been notified of approved fee levels for first term 2004 that this is the fee applicable and in the case of other schools, fees may yet be awaiting determination by Ministry based on applications for increases over and above those applicable to third term 2003.

 Boards of member schools are of course entitled to decide how best to proceed, perhaps based on advice received, and this applies both to the signing [or not] of "acceptance certificates" and to legal action.  The ATS advises that schools should sign these certificates as the only practical present means of being permitted to re-open but that they should submit to PEDs and Ministry letters indicating their sincere desire and intention, on behalf of and pursuant to a mandate from parents, to enter into negotiations in good faith for possible further adjustments to fees.  The ATS is continuing to seek legal advice and urges member schools not to allow themselves to be co-opted into processes of legal action which may have motivations different from the immediate school fees / closures issue.  Member schools are of course autonomous and may choose to take legal action on their own behalf including the seeking of injunctive relief. 

 Meetings have been held involving parents and representatives of PTAs and PLCs from several member schools.  A small committee was appointed and met on 5 May with Minister Chigwedere.  The substance of the discussion and statements made by the Minister were reported back to parent representatives at a further meeting last night.  These may be summarised as follows :

 ·         Government will not tolerate the continuing defiance of private schools in seeking to exceed approved fee increases

 ·         Should schools fail to comply with the Ministry's directives by Friday 14 May [NB : Perm Sec advises this should be 7 May] by signing the acceptance document, Government will take over these schools forthwith - they will be nationalised.  Will take 3 - 5 years to apply to get back ownership / running of school

 ·         Parents must not fear as government will take over - don't worry about time lost - August holidays shorter, no half term weekend

 ·         Private schools registered conditionally - temporary licence given by government

·         Government not responsible for closure of schools, merely not allowed to open

 ·         expecting legal action and loop holes to be exploited and these will be closed immediately.  Court orders will be defied - schools will not open on legal action

 ·         one increase per annum - applications to be submitted by 31 October and response by 30 November.  Spoke extensively of 10% allowance - if above, will entertain application

·         Donations will not be permitted, all levies will be policed

·         Not fighting intransigence but racism.  Fee hikes racist measures to throw out blacks - "racist war"

 ·         Pupil and staff ratios minimum of 60% black.  Spoke about racial composition of Boards / ATS and CHISZ - only meet with whites - where are the blacks?

·         Informers in school, know how dissatisfied parent body are.  "Sad year for you all" - elections next year and there are constituents out there who show us receipts and complain - these are votes for us.

 ·         Boards must have one government rep

·         Government grant allows 20:1 pupil staff ratio

During the meeting with the Perm Sec this morning, we were advised that fee increases needed to be "reasonable" in the context of the present economic environment given poor harvests.  During discussion on the issue of negotiation he made it clear that whereas there was a general right to appeal decisions made by ministry in fixing school fees, in all cases Ministry had addressed itself to all the circumstances and in fixing fees at levels below those applied for had determined that there was "excessive fat".  It was very clear that Ministry have been alarmed by the level of increase in fees implemented or applied for by some schools and there is no doubt that in failing to follow consistent previous ATS advice, some of our members have made rods for our backs by having fallen way behind inflation during past years. 

 There are obviously serious implications for schools signing acceptance certificates, thereby pegging fees at levels below, and in some cases very considerably below, those which they had contemplated charging for second term 2004; not to speak of the "over charge" in respect of the first term.  The considerable reduction in revenue which flows from this position has serious consequences for schools, some of which may render themselves insolvent almost immediately and facing extreme difficulties in relation to possible contractual and other commitments to staff and suppliers.  All schools must urgently take steps to make parents aware and consult with them in regard to measures which will need to be taken in order that schools can operate on such lower revenue bases.  Thereafter, and with very explicit parental support, schools should consider approaching the authorities to discuss possible fee adjustments based on proven and reasonable costs necessary to sustain the level of service required by parents.

The Government perception is that in our Trust schools parents are insufficiently involved in the decision making processes including the setting of service delivery standards, staff pupil ratios, development expenditure, budgets and fees.  Schools should revisit their structures and must in particular ensure that parents are fully informed and consulted in regard to the chosen way forward for each school as it relates to cost structures and revenue generation.

Please keep the ATS office, Neil Todd and David Long fully informed of your situation.  Our objective is to get children back into school with the least possible further disruption and thereafter to seek fair and durable solutions to this issue.  We remain committed to the dialogue and consultation process based on mutual respect and honesty.

Yours sincerely

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      ZIMBABWE  6/5/2004 19:43

      The polemic continues in Zimbabwe over the closing by police of 46
private schools, accused of "racism" by authorities because of their
inaccessible fees for black students, who risk being excluded. A judge today
ordered the reopening of one of the schools shut down two days ago by the
security forces. Susan Mavhangira of the High Court of the Zimbabwean
capital of Harare ordered the reopening of the Hartmann House primary
school, ruling that the decision of Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere to
suspend scholastic activities had no juridical basis. The PTA (Parent
Teachers Association) of the school reopened today had filed a complaint to
the magistrature against the decision of the Minister of Education.
Chigwedere had defined the "former white schools that exclude blacks simply
by raising costs" as "racists", in fact accusing the private institutes of
hiking fees without government authorisation. Some sources refer that at
least three headmasters and representatives of private schools in Harare and
Bulawayo, second city of the African nation, were arrested during the night,
though others say they were many more. The controversial measure affected
over 3-thousand students. The schools closed by the police apparently
ignored a ban to contain increases in fees within 10% in a year. A limit far
beyond the sky high inflation afflicting the economy of Zimbabwe, currently
estimated at around 600% by the IMF (International Monetary Fund). For years
the nation has been torn by a serious social-economic crisis, not lifted
despite promises and reforms introduced by Robert Mugabe, in power since

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Harare police arrest nine in school fees row

      May 06 2004 at 06:36PM

By Stella Mapenzauswa

Harare - Zimbabwe police have arrested nine officials from several private
schools on charges of sharply hiking fees without approval from President
Robert Mugabe's government, a police spokesperson said on Thursday.

Mugabe's government accuses private schools, the preserve of whites before
independence from Britain in 1980, of boosting fees in a racist drive to
block enrollment by ordinary blacks.

Police spokesperson Inspector Andrew Phiri said three school headmasters
from the eastern district of Marondera had been detained overnight while the
chairpersons of their school development associations were picked up on

Three more principals had been arrested in the southern city of Bulawayo, he
said, adding that six of the accused had been released on bail and were due
in court on Friday.

On Tuesday, police barred over 40 private schools countrywide from opening
for a new three-month term after they raised annual fees by about 50 percent
to at least R5 000, citing soaring inflation, which has risen to 580

Zimbabwe's annual per capita income was about R3 500 in 2002, according to
World Bank figures, and consumer purchasing power has eroded sharply with
the country's deepening economic crisis in the last two years.

Zimbabwe's Education Act bars private schools from raising fees by more than
10 percent without state approval. Private schools say the government has
not responded to their application for steeper increments they say are
necessary to maintain standards in the face of soaring costs.

The decline of Zimbabwe's education system mirrors the country's slumping
economy, which suffers record unemployment and chronic shortages of foreign
currency and fuel.

Critics blame mismanagement by Mugabe's government, but the veteran African
leader denies the charges and says his country is being sabotaged by
opponents of his policy of seizing white-owned farms to give to landless

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From The Financial Mail (SA), 30 April

Power corrupts - absolutely

By Tony Hawkins

Harare - Any doubts about a dramatic shift in power from Zimbabwe's finance
ministry to its Reserve Bank have been laid to rest by two unrelated
developments. In one, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono delivered a 108-page
quarterly review of the economic situation - about three times as long as
the past two annual budgets by the finance ministry - in which he covered
the entire economy, including areas well outside the normal jurisdiction of
a central bank. The second event was the weekend arrest of finance minister
Chris Kuruneri on allegations of illegal externalisation of foreign
currency. Unlike some other recent arrests, that of Kuruneri is not seen as
part of the increasingly fierce struggle for power within the ruling Zanu PF
party, but as part of the government's pre-election efforts to show that it
is serious about tackling corruption. Though he holds the finance portfolio,
Kuruneri is not a political heavyweight and, as such, has never attracted
much attention in the Zanu PF ranks. However, the charges and
counter-charges of corruption between the two main factions, slugging it out
over who will succeed President Robert Mugabe, have played an integral role
in thrusting him into the "limelight".

The appointment of a top-level committee to investigate the ruling party's
companies and financial deals, along with accusations surrounding the
financial affairs of the frontrunner to succeed Mugabe, parliamentary
speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, mean that the campaign against corruption has
taken a decisively political turn and could be central to determining who
will take over from Mugabe. The committee investigating the party's
financial dealings is dominated by anti-Mnangagwa politicians, including the
head of the rival faction, former army commander Solomon Mujuru. Much
depends on how President Thabo Mbeki plays his hand. It is assumed that he
will use Mugabe's visit to Pretoria this week to push for a resumption of
talks between the government and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, though Mugabe is unlikely to name the date of his retirement unless
and until the succession has been decided. Mbeki will want to know too
whether the reports of economic stabilisation in Zimbabwe that took up much
of Gono's review imply a resumption of international assistance to Harare.

Following its Article IV mission to Harare in March, the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) let it be known privately that there was no chance of a
new lending programme until the political crisis was resolved. The IMF takes
a very different view of Zimbabwe's economic prospects from Gono,
forecasting that real GDP will fall a further 9,2% this year, while
inflation will average over 600%. Gono has not made any GDP growth
predictions but he is sticking to his forecast that inflation will fall
below 200% by December. Last month inflation fell to 583%, from a peak of
622% in January. The monthly rate is now down to 5,9%, compared with an
average monthly rate last year of 18%. This suggests progress is being made,
but Standard Bank economist Robert Bunyi sees this as only temporary. He
expects inflation to slow further before accelerating again in the second
half of 2004, though it seems highly unlikely that the IMF's 640% annual
inflation rate will be reached. Bunyi says the auction exchange rate, which
reached its strongest point of Z$3 518 to the US dollar at the end of
January, will continue to slide. By last weekend it had fallen to Z$4 700
and with Gono having announced a floor rate for exporters of Z$5 200,
equivalent to a further 10% devaluation, analysts are sceptical of the
governor's claim that the rate will be reviewed upwards in the final quarter
of 2004.
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From SW Radio Africa, 5 May

Court ruling on Charleswood

On Tuesday a high court judge ruled in favour of MDC MP Roy Bennett in his
bid to take back his farm in Chimanimani and continue operations. In legal
terms the order was granted with consent, meaning the government agrees with
it. This becomes the 6th ruling granting ownership of Charleswood Estate to
Bennett, but the Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI), which has taken over
operations since the illegal invasion last month, refuse to leave. Soldiers
continue forcing the farm workers to engage in political activities for Zanu
PF. The tragedy here is that the workers are being used to attend political
rallies and are being paid less than a third of their original salaries
under Bennett. Any workers suspected of supporting the opposition have been
victimised. Two men were brutally assaulted and forced off the farm by
soldiers yesterday, and are now homeless looking for food and shelter in
Mutare. Tererai managed to speak to them about their plight this afternoon.
The two farm workers that were assaulted by soldiers and forced to leave
their homes on the farm Tuesday were in Mutare looking for food and shelter
this afternoon. One of them described the brutal beating they received and
the destruction of their property.
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SA delegation to visit alleged mercenaries

      May 06 2004 at 05:33PM

Pretoria - A South African consular delegation from the High Commission in
Harare has been given permission by the Zimbabwean government to visit the
alleged mercenaries in prison, foreign affairs officials said on Thursday.

Spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said the delegation would visit the prisoners on
Friday to discuss their needs, health and to convey messages to and from
their families.

"The high commissioner, Jerry Ndou, has been in regular contact with those
detained but this is the first time consular services has been allowed to
visit," he said.

The 70 men were detained at Harare International Airport almost two months
ago when their Boeing 727 stopped to refuel and pick up military equipment.

The Zimbabwean authorities claim they were on their way to join 15 suspected
mercenaries arrested in Equatorial Guinea and charged with plotting to
overthrow the government of the oil-rich central African nation.

But the 70, most of whom are from South Africa, have said they were on their
way to the Democratic Republic of Congo to work as security guards at a
diamond mine.

On Tuesday a team of South African Embassy officials of the diplomatic
mission in Gabon paid a similar visit to the South African prisoners held in
Equatorial Guinea on allegations of being involved in the same coup plot.

"The embassy officials visited each and every one of the eight South African
prisoners and were satisfied that the prisoners are all in good health and
condition," Mamoepa said.

He said the department of foreign affairs' consular section had contacted
each prisoner's family to inform them of their findings. - Sapa

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      Rebels ready to end careers

      A dozen Zimbabwe cricketers are ready to turn their backs on
international cricket if officials do not meet their demands by Friday.
      "If they do not respond positively, then all of us will cancel our
contracts by tomorrow evening," said batsman Grant Flower.

      The Zimbabwe Cricket Union has refused to allow the players'
grievances to be heard by an independent arbitrator.

      "We suspect the ZCU has something to hide," Flower added.

      The 12 also includes former national team captains Heath Streak and
Stuart Carlisle, all-rounders Andy Blignaut and Sean Ervine and spinner Ray

      They were offered mediation by the ZCU earlier this week, but unlike
arbitration, its findings would not be binding.

      It prompted four of the 12 - Streak, Price, Ervine and Trevor
Gripper - to pull out of the first Test against Sri Lanka, having been named
in the squad for the match.

      Their decision was criticised, however, by International Cricket
Council president Ehsan Mani.

      "If the rebels believe that walking out will result in other countries
interfering in Zimbabwean cricket, they have been badly advised."

      Mani added: "I am not going to pass comment on the rights and wrongs
of what has happened in this case but what is clear is that by walking out
on their team-mates, the rebels have placed Tatenda Taibu and his team in an
invidious position.

      "I am concerned that even if an agreement is now reached, this tactic
of walking out on their team-mates could irreparably split the dressing
room, making a lasting solution even more difficult to find."

      Mani said ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed had offered to become
involved in the dispute but the ZCU had refused it.

      He added the only way the ICC could intervene was if the other
Test-playing nations took a decision to force Zimbabwe to accept the ICC's

      The rebels lawyer Chris Venturas said: "We went back as a sign of good
faith, and it was un-negotiable that this matter had to go to arbitration to
give it the seriousness and the respect it deserves.

      "Mediation doesn't assist in any way. Even if the mediator finds in
our favour on all three points, the ZCU don't have to abide by his ruling."

      If the players do quit international cricket, they would have to look
overseas as a way of continuing their careers.

      Streak has a contract with Warwickshire to play county cricket in
England this summer, but others would probably have to settle for club

      Flower's brother Andy retired from international cricket last year
after he and team-mate Henry Olonga carried out a black armband protest
during the World Cup.

      They claimed they were mourning the "death of democracy" in their

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      Derision at Mugabe newspaper plan

      The launch by Zimbabwe and Namibia of a new "African" paper has been
slammed as "a waste of money" and "propaganda".
      The paper, to be launched on 1 July, will be "written from an African
perspective," featuring articles from existing state-run newspapers.

      The regional allies say the New Sunday Times, to be distributed across
southern Africa, is needed to counter the "threat from the global media."

      But one media executive told BBC News Online the idea was "just

      Namibia President Sam Nujoma is one of Robert Mugabe's strongest

      At the weekend, Mr Nujoma said Namibia would protect Zimbabwe if it
was attacked by western powers.

      Business failure

      Herald Assistant Editor Moses Magadza will be seconded as editor of
The New Sunday Times, based in Namibia.

      The state-run Herald is widely see as a mouthpiece for Mr Mugabe's

      The paper will feature articles from The Herald publishers Zimpapers
and its Namibian equivalent New Era.

      "I don't see how readers and advertisers can sustain Mugabe and
Nujoma's propaganda tool," a Namibian journalist told South Africa's Cape
Times newspaper.

      Justice Malala editor of South Africa's ThisDay newspaper told BBC
News Online that as a business venture, it was doomed to failure because
there was already such strong competition.

      "As a political idea, it is preposterous, ridiculous and stupid in the
extreme," he said.

      "They say they will be writing from an African perspective - I find
that deeply insulting," Mr Malala said, whose Nigerian-owned paper is highly
critical of Mr Mugabe's government.

      'Negative image'

      "The money would be better spent elsewhere," said Guguletho Moyo from
the Media Institute of Southern Africa, Misa, as it is a very costly

      "It's disturbing to see governments investing public resources to
compete against private media houses," she told BBC News Online.

      "The majority of journalists already working in the region are
Africans, writing from an African perspective.

      "We suspect it is the interests of the government, not the people,
that they want to protect," she said.

      The Zimbabwe government has long blamed the international media for
giving the country a "negative image".
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Comment on an article published yesterday, headed:

Harare introduces 24-hour water cuts
The Herald 6 May 2004


Firstly it is not the Council that has introduced cuts but the Municipality
of Harare which is the equivalent of the State's civil service - Council
(i.e. the elected body of representatives of citizens) is barely
functioning, having been undermined, subverted and emasculated by the
partisan interference of the mugabe regime.

Secondly, one of the reasons given for the suspension and dismissal of the
elected Executive Mayor, Elias Mudzuri, was his failure to resolve the
city's water crisis. If a year later, the problems still persist, would it
not be reasonable to deduce that other factors are actually responsible for
these problems?

As we know, the mugabe regime has survived for 24 years by living off the
fat of the land while appropriating the wealth of the country (and
mortgaging the country to foreigners) to provide resources to fuel the
feudal patronage system underpinning the regime. The current crisis is the
direct result of the failure of successive zanu-dominated councils to manage
the city properly and to factor in capital and replacement costs for the
water system (and other sectors). To blame the recently elected MDC-led
council for the sins of omission committed by Tawengwa and others is
laughable; such ludicrous fictions will only convince those diehard zanu
faithfuls (who would believe that the sun was green if Jonathan Moyo told
them so).

Harare is a prime example of the incompetence and  negligence of the regime;
from a bustling dynamic metropolis, the city has descended into an anarchic
shambles, peopled by desperate citizens struggling to make a daily living.
The regime can only respond by destroying the democratic institution (i.e.
an elected council) that might have given us some chance of turning around
the situation and imposing unelected leaders( Mangwende, Chideya, Gwindi and
the puppet Makwavarara) who can only utilise coercion to achieve their

But as it is said, we get the leaders we deserve and certainly in the case
of Harare, residents by and large are receiving the just rewards of their
pathetic lack of interest in the affairs of Town Hall. The struggles of
those few dozen people with vision and commitment to promote the residents'
movement are not enough to compensate for the overwhelming indifference of
the majority of residents. I believe that most residents who live in Harare
have no interest in civic matters and care little for the communal spirit
that characterises other Zimbabwean cities like Bulawayo.

A survey carried out by CHRA in 2001 indicated that most people did not
regard Harare as their 'home' and would return kumusha once they retired. As
a colonial city, Harare has always been populated by people more concerned
with extracting value for themselves irrespective of any repercussions of
such narrow self-interest for the city as a whole. The consequent
frustrations for civic-minded activists are ulcer-inducing! Until such time
as the greater proportion of residents regard themselves as Hararians not
temporary dwellers here only because they cannot make a decent living at
home, the decay and misgovernance will continue, even when we eventually
have a genuinely democratically-elected central government.

Mike Davies

NB: These comments represent my personal views and may or may not reflect
the consensus and/or official policies of the Combined Harare Residents
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ECB not to force objectors to tour Zimbabwe
Thu 6 May, 2004 17:58

By Mike Peacock

LONDON, May 6 (Reuters) - England's cricket chief said on Thursday he would
not force any individual player to tour Zimbabwe later this year.

But after last-ditch talks with the British government, which again said it
could not order a halt to the tour, the England and Wales Cricket Board
(ECB) appeared to accept that an England team will probably play in

"The...board will not force any individual player to tour if he does not
wish to do so as a matter of personal conscience," ECB chairman David Morgan
told a news conference after talks with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

The next ECB board meeting, on June 8, would make a final decision about the
October tour, he said.

A sympathetic Straw said Morgan and his team had explained the potentially
"severe damage" to the English game if the tour was cancelled and repeated
that the government "would prefer the team not to go".

The International Cricket Council (ICC), cricket's governing body, said in
March any country refusing to tour for anything but security reasons or
governmental direction would face a minimum fine of $2 million and possible
suspension from the international game.

"The British government has no such power to instruct people not to leave
the country to play sport," Straw said.

The ECB has been in a prolonged political battle with the government and the
ICC over the tour.

Zimbabwe cricket chiefs have consistently argued there is no sound reason to
cancel. The England team refused to play there in the 2003 World Cup because
of security concerns.

Straw wrote to the ECB earlier this year, saying the security situation in
Zimbabwe had worsened since then with Robert Mugabe presiding over an
"appalling human rights situation".

"We fully understand the government's position," Morgan said. "In no way do
we seek state control of cricket."

Morgan said he would seek assurances about the players' safety before
proceeding with the tour. "They, like the board, are in an invidious
position," he said.

Leading England players like Graham Thorpe and Mark Butcher have already
voiced their doubts about playing in Zimbabwe.

Australia bowler Stuart MacGill has made himself unavailable for the world
champions' tour later this month because of moral concerns.
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