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

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Financial Times

      Opposition hopeful despite failure of mission to Harare
      By Tony Hawkins in Harare
      Published: May 7 2003 5:00 | Last Updated: May 7 2003 5:00

      Opposition politicians in Zimbabwe voiced hope yesterday that the
involvement of African leaders could reinforce US and British efforts to
resolve the country's political and economic crisis.

      Their comments followed Monday's visit by three African presidents,
South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo and Malawi's Bakili

      They expected pressure on Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwe president, to be
ratcheted up during talks in southern Africa this week and next by Walter
Kansteiner, US assistant secretary of state for Africa, and Jack Straw,
British foreign secretary. Mr Straw is due to take part next week in a joint
UK-South Africa forum.

      Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main Zimbabwe opposition, Movement
for Democratic Change, yesterday met Harare-based diplomats to explain his
party's refusal to drop its court case against Mr Mugabe's disputed re-
election victory in March 2002.

      Mr Mugabe has set abandonment of the case as a precondition for
resuming inter-party talks, which were broken off last year.

      An MDC spokesman said there was "no way" his party would bow to to
President Mugabe's demand that it drops its legal challenge.

      Despite this uncompromising stand - which, on the surface, would put
paid to the African presidents' initiative to revive inter-party dialogue -
opposition officials said Monday's talks were not a waste of time.

      They believed Mr Mbeki and Mr Muluzi left the talks with a far better
appreciation of the situation, and said they had the clear impression that
Mr Muluzi, in particular, had lost confidence in the Zimbabwe government.
The suggestion that the MDC should abandon its legal challenge was barely
discussed, they added.

      However, prospects for moving the dialogue forward would depend on Mr
Mbeki using his clout to force Mr Mugabe to drop his precondition, they

      People close to the talks said the South African president expressed
concern at Zimbawe's accelerating economic meltdown.
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The Cape Times

      Zimbabwe's recipe for the best-behaved press conference ever
      May 7, 2003

      By John Scott

      The Mugabe government has hit on a unique way of controlling the
media - it bans the press from press conferences. Not even the apartheid
government in its most innovative heyday thought of doing this.

      But when the Nigerian and Malawian delegations to the presidential
talks being held in Zimbabwe arranged a press conference, security agents
refused to admit journalists. What happened next is still open to
conjecture. Certainly it was one of the quietest and best-behaved press
conferences ever.

      The chairman introduced the chief spokespersons in each delegation,
and they in turn outlined their respective country's role in the talks thus
far. Because of the sensitive nature of the discussions, they couldn't say
too much. This was appreciated by all non-journalists present. Afterwards
the chairman asked the press: "Are there any questions?"

      As there were no press, none had any questions. "You've really made my
job easy today," the chairman supposedly told the rows of empty seats. "I
also appreciate there were no television camera lights shining in my eyes.
It's always been an irritation in the past."

      Both delegations then made an early exit to the pub, knowing there was
no chance of either being misquoted. Senior Zimbabwean official Henry Mabuso
said: "I believe this is a breakthrough in press relations. It's clean and
clinical. No one gets beaten up or abducted or has his office burnt down. Or
not unless he prints lies after the true facts have been clearly spelt out
at the press conference."

      "But how can he know the true facts if he is barred from attending the
press conference?" I asked.

      "That's the beauty of the system," said Mabuso.

      It's even more beautiful than the old method of keeping journalists
quiet by swearing them to secrecy in exchange for classified information.
You feel very important being taken into the confidence of the country's
leaders and knowing things the general population doesn't. You pride
yourself on being "well-informed". But in my stupidity I often wondered what
the point was of being well-informed if you couldn't pass on this
information to your readers.

      John Vorster wasn't taking even that chance when he invited members of
the parliamentary press gallery to go on a "trip" with him. "Where to, Mr
Prime Minister?" we asked him. "You will find out when we leave," he
responded. "Don't even tell your wives."
      What was there to tell them? We knew nothing.

      Only on the eve of departure did we learn we were to have flown to New
York with him to address the UN, but that plan had fallen through and we
were instead going to Israel.

      At least we got invited to press conferences once we arrived.
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The Times

            May 07, 2003

            Sport and politics do not mix, even in Zimbabwe
            Simon Jenkins

            On Monday the Zimbabwean cricket team, patron Robert Mugabe,
soundly beat the combined British Universities on the green turf of
Edgbaston. On the same day the Zimbabwean police force, patron Robert
Mugabe, soundly beat ten women on the harsh dirt road outside a hotel in
Harare. They were cheering three visiting leaders, including Thabo Mbeki of
South Africa, who were in town to persuade Mr Mugabe to resign.
            The women, who risked torture and possibly death to stage their
protest, were from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). That
opposition is against the Zimbabwean cricket tour of England because it
implies "normality" at home. The reality is brutal repression and economic

            How, asks the MDC, can Britain indulge the finer points of
cricket with any purported representative of this regime? What is a
medium-pace seam attack or a glance through the slips against the backdrop
of Mr Mugabe's machete-wielding gang rapists? Surely such a "game" is

            It is not. It is obscene only when two images are thus
juxtaposed to serve the interests of propagandists. Otherwise reality is
more complicated. Certainly sportsmen love to incant that "sport should not
mix with politics" only when it suits them, the latest cantor being Tim
Lamb, of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Such sportsmen hate
politics when it intrudes on their freedom, as over boycotts. Yet they crawl
to politicians for public subsidies, Olympics bids, superstadiums and
training facilities. Formula One racing opposes state control of tobacco
advertising yet craves state money to keep the roads to Silverstone up to

            Politics has been embedded in sport since Hitler turned the
Olympics into a Nazi rally. America refused to send a team to Moscow in 1980
after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. The Kremlin retaliated against
Los Angeles in 1984.

            This "nationalisation" of sport may be increasingly commonplace
but it remains an offence against libertarianism. Politicians taking hold of
any human contact across boundaries is deplorable, whether intellectual,
cultural or sporting. Leaders seek to identify their moral posturing with
the private doings of individuals.

            Sporting sanctions have become a favourite form of "coercive
diplomacy". Governments wield them shamelessly because they are low-cost (to
them) and high-profile. Only the brief careers of sportsmen suffer. Margaret
Thatcher attempted to get British athletes to boycott Moscow in 1980, though
she did not ban British businessmen from trading with Russia, China or Iraq.
The latter offered less publicity.

            The British Government's approach to Rhodesia/Zimbabwe has long
been equivocal. From 1965 to 1979 London imposed half-hearted sanctions on
the white-minority regime of Ian Smith. Rhodesia became a case history of
how isolation boosts self-sufficiency and entrenches a command economy, to
the point where it can be removed only by force. Iraq has proved another.

            Britain continues to permit professional and business links with
Zimbabwe, in my view rightly. Yet ministers last year leant on the ECB to
break its contract to play a World Cup match in Bulawayo. The ECB asked if
this was a command but was told not. It eventually fell back on "inadequate
safety" as an excuse for cancellation. The incident cost £2 million and
humiliated Britain in the sporting world more than Mr Mugabe, who was not
noticeably mortified.

            Sanctions are the crudest of weapons against a country which, by
definition, is already embattled. Reporting from apartheid South Africa in
the 1980s I had no doubt that trade sanctions were counterproductive.
Disinvestment, import substitution and the transfer of Western assets to
local managers all bolstered the white infrastructure. Black workers were
most harmed, which is why African nationalists opposed sanctions, until
pressed to change their minds by Western anti-apartheid activists. The best
thing to be said of South African sanctions was that they fortified the
economy against the new "sanction" of Western trade protectionism that is
devastating much of Africa to this day.

            The one embargo which I thought did work was the sports boycott.
The reason was that international sport was an abiding obsession of South
Africa's ruling oligarchy. They could ignore economic and diplomatic
ostracism but the sports embargo was visible every day on television and in
the newspapers, nagging at their self-esteem. The country was never an
autocracy, rather a brutal but democratic oligarchy. Sports sanctions
influenced the outlook of five million white voters. The rugby and cricket
authorities became a growing fifth column against apartheid. The lifting of
the boycott was a real incentive to change.

            Zimbabwe's circumstances are wholly different. Refusing to play
against its cricketers hardly puts them in a position to engineer Mr Mugabe'
s overthrow. They and their supporters are impotent. More relevant would be
a ban on Mr and Mrs Mugabe's shopping visits to Paris. That sanction Britain
has been unable to enforce.

            We can sympathise with the Zimbabwean opposition's desire for
the world to know that theirs is not a "normal" country. But a cricket tour
is far more effective at triggering global awareness of what is happening in
Zimbabwe than the bleak silence of boycott. It was the silence induced by
the Iraq war, not cricket, that gave Mr Mugabe his opportunity for his
latest wave of killings and repression last month, when he arrested 500
opponents and left 250 in hospital. It was economic anarchy, not cricket,
that drew three African leaders to Harare to force Mr Mugabe from power. It
was embattled despotism, not cricket, that emboldened Mr Mugabe to send them

            Every state is better for being pluralist. This means not just
freedom of political and civic association. It means tolerating independent
universities, professions, businesses, newspapers, artists and sportsmen and
women. As de Tocqueville said, the dwindling of such pluralism, whether
political or lay, is a sure sign of democratic decay.

            Prolonged sanctions have that effect. They shrink business
enterprise and enervate social contact, concentrating power on a ruling
corporatist elite. The removal of international contact demoralises and
impoverishes the middle class. The regime's opponents go home or go to
prison. There is no known case of sanctions causing a popular uprising,
despite that being the proclaimed goal of those imposing them. Instead,
sanctioned regimes enjoy astonishing longevity. Look at Cuba, Libya, North
Korea, Iran, Baathist Iraq, white South Africa.

            This week saw the death of Walter Sisulu, the son of a white
father and an African mother, self-effacing intellectual and trusted elder
at the court of Nelson Mandela. Sisulu defied every Western stereotype of an
African leader. He helped to guide his country to the most civilised
"revolution" of modern times. He held, as did Mr Mandela, that even in the
evolution of states there is no alternative to the archaic virtues of
courtesy, conversation, reconciliation and human contact. At the first
meetings between the nationalists and the white Cabinet, Sisulu insisted
that they all shake hands.

            I do not know if Sisulu would have boycotted the Zimbabwean
cricket team. But I am sure he would have pointed out that boycott is both a
trivial and a cruel weapon, to be used only where circumstances justify it.
Those circumstances do not obtain in Zimbabwe at present. As that country
appears to limp towards what we must hope is a moment of crisis, its
flickering pluralism deserves every support, including the freedom to play
international cricket.

            The Zimbabwean cricket captain, Heath Streak, is no more an
"ambassador" for Mr Mugabe than David Beckham is for Tony Blair, Mike Tyson
for George Bush or Shane Warne for John Howard. He has seen his family farm
seized by Mr Mugabe's thugs and his father thrown in jail. His is no longer
a ruling class.

            I am inclined to let this young man make up his own mind with
whom to play cricket. His team symbolise the present anguish and future hope
of a benighted country. To deny them a welcome does more than pollute sport
with politics. It seeks to sweep Zimbabwe out of sight, in a one-off gesture
of Great British Smug.

            Join the Debate on this article at
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Zimbabwe protesters set for Lord's visit

LONDON: Protesters are set to return to Lord's on Wednesday (today) and
picket the annual general meeting of the ground's owners, Marylebone Cricket
Club (MCC), as they bid to have Zimbabwe's cricket tour to England

Last Thursday, 10 members of the 'Stop the Tour' campaign gathered outside
Lord's as Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak gave his first media conference of
the two-Test tour. They want the tour called off in protest over the alleged
human rights abuses carried out by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

And the object of today's protest is to try to persuade the MCC to cancel
the first Test, which is due to begin at Lord's on May 22.

On Sunday, President Thabo Mbeki, of South Africa, President Olusegun
Obasanjo, of Nigeria, and President Bakili Muluzi, of Malawi, met with
Mugabe in Harare in a bid to encourage dialogue between the Zimbabwe leader
and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

But analysts said they would have also discussed the issue of Mugabe's
retirement. Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in
1980. However, 'Stop the Tour' organiser Peter Tatchell on Tuesday that his
group's demonstrations would continue. "The meeting in Harare came to no
conclusions and produced no results. Protests against the Mugabe
dictatorship must continue until the restoration of democracy and human
rights in Zimbabwe.

"What is needed is a combination of pressure from both outside and inside
Zimbabwe. Protests from other African leaders will help, but so will
protests around the world. They reinforce the message that Mugabe is
isolated and loathed." 'Stop the Tour' said they would be handing MCC
members a letter calling on them to withdraw permission for the use of
Lord's. They also want all cricketers playing against Zimbabwe and
spectators watching them to wear black armbands in an echo of a political
protest at the World Cup.

During Zimbabwe's opening match in February, against Namibia in Harare,
players Andy Flower and Henry Olonga wore black armbands and issued a
statement lamenting the 'death of democracy' in Zimbabwe under Mugabe.

MCC spokesman Iain Wilton said on Tuesday: "We are obviously aware of the
possibility of some protests taking place at the AGM and we'll have some
additional security staff on duty. But as far as we are concerned the Test
match here is going ahead."
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'The message is that Africans are in charge'

Mugabe under pressure to talk to rivals

Wednesday May 7, 2003
The Guardian

Jack Zaba Daily News, Zimbabwe, May 6

"Now that presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa and Bakili Muluzi of Malawi are in the country, can we prepare a
smile, marking good days to come? It is clear that these leaders know full
well that the impasse between President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai
[the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)] is so grave that
staring at it would bring the whole of our continent into inexcusable shame.

"These two elephants are having a tug-of-war and ... the longer they fight,
the more the country and Africa at large perishes ... Mr Tsvangirai enjoys
the all-needed international support ... [and Mr Mugabe] knows Mr Tsvangirai
keeps on gathering more influence as long as the economic malaise is
worsening ... So he convinces himself that to at least avoid a humiliating
exit, he should talk with Mr Tsvangirai.

"It's still too early to say what the talks will bring us, but ... all
indications are that our two leaders now appreciate that dialogue can at
least bring a win-win situation without the shedding of innocent blood."

Herald Editorial, Zimbabwe, May 5

"There is trepidation among political-conspiracy theorists who are sceptical
about the timing of the visit, in view of the pronounced positions of the
British and American governments over regime change in Zimbabwe ...

"The Zimbabwean government has been magnanimous in opening its doors to its
neighbours' scrutiny, and can expect nothing short of fair assessment,
advice and help if need be, in addressing whatever problems it has."

Sunday Mirror Editorial, Zimbabwe, May 4

"The latest initiative by African leaders to seek a lasting solution to
Zimbabwe's political polarisation ... is commendable. The message they have
given to the world ... is that Africans are in charge ... and are fully
competent to grapple with their thorny challenges without the complications
brought about by external intervention. After a full year of dishonest
arbitration by the Commonwealth secretariat, Zimbabwe remains an unresolved
issue ...

"As the African leaders settle down for the crucial business of bridging the
yawning divide between the country's major political parties, we urge them
to be fair, but resolute ... The nation sorely yearns for respite from this
retrogressive stalemate."

Mail and Guardian Editorial, South Africa, May 2

"Over the past four years numerous delegations ... have returned from
Zimbabwe bearing great tidings of change about to come. Like latter-day
Chamberlains, our quiet diplomats have returned from Harare with loads of
promises ...

"[But this] mission should not be another whitewash ... Mr Mbeki and Mr
Obasanjo ... [need] to convince Mr Mugabe that it is not only in the
interests of his country but in the interests of our continent that he
vacate state house."

Daily Dispatch Editorial, South Africa, May 6

"Mr Mugabe's latest trick is to make Mr Mbeki and Mr Obasanjo believe that
all they have to do is pressure Mr Tsvangirai's MDC ... to accept the
legitimacy of the blatantly rigged 2002 presidential elections, drop their
legal action, throw away their irrefutable evidence, and guarantee Mr Mugabe
a blissful retirement ...

"Mr Mugabe is counting on the despair of ordinary Zimbabwean voters for any
real prospect of reform, a return to weary acceptance that the Mugabe
dynasty (young Robert Jr is 12) must rule forever over an insular,
politically and ethnically homogenous society."
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      Beware the Siren Call for UN "Reform"
      By Tom DeWeese © 2003
        "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling
alliances with none." ~ Thomas Jefferson

      The forces of evil were stunned and temporarily silenced as U.S. bombs
began to drop over Baghdad. For a few precious moments the clowns at the UN
were challenged for a response. Now that the shooting has stopped and Kofi
Annan's favorite dictator, Saddam Hussein, is no more, the boys in the
global back room are starting to rework their strategy to regain the upper
hand over the United States.

      Articles are surfacing and pundits are pondering, questioning the
future of the UN. To sidestep the obvious; that the UN utterly failed to
have even a hint of influence during the resulting overthrow of Saddam,
voices are beginning to suggest the word "reform" to make it more

      American leaders, looking for a way to get around the growing argument
to dump the UN, may latch on to such a reform movement, but they should be
careful what they wish for because they will not get the kind of reform they
are expecting. The UN is never without a contingency plan for its
well-prepared agenda of global governance.

      A major obstacle for those who seek to drive the UN to a position of
international power is the Security Council and the veto power of its
permanent members. Many say the United States controls the UN with its veto
power. The UN's reform solution is to take it away.

      Surfacing prior to the UN's Millennium Summit in 2000, one of the
twelve points of the Charter for Global Democracy was a plan to "reform" the
UN by doing away with the Security Council and replacing it with an
"Assembly of the People."

      The Assembly would be made up of "people from the world" in the form
of non-elected, non-governmental organizations (NGO's). Take note, these are
the same NGO's which write the background material for most of the UN
treaties like Agenda 21, the Biodiversity treaty, Rights of the Child, and
even the Kyoto Global Warming treaty. NGO's are leftist special interest
groups seeking to create the UN as a global government. They are the ones
pushing for UN tax schemes, standing armies and the Criminal Court.

      While the average citizen focuses on the Security Council and its
dramatic image, NGO's have become the driving force in setting UN policy. It
would be a dream come true for the NGO's if the UN scrapped the Security
Council. They would then be free to install the Assembly of the People
through which their drive for UN power could accelerate unabated by pesky
U.S. vetoes. Both American leaders and citizens must fully understand that
the UN offers this nation nothing but misery. The UN is not an instrument
for guarding the peace. History and recent events have amply demonstrated
that the UN is the source for international unrest and "reform" will not fix

      American leadership has, to its credit, not fallen into the trap set
by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to allow the UN to take the lead in
rebuilding Iraq. Blair continues to bully the United States into embracing
the Kyoto Climate Change Protocol. Such a foolish move would be a disaster
to the U.S. economy. Despite his welcome support of the war to liberate
Iraq, Blair continues to be a strong advocate of bad leftist schemes. For
the past fifty years, as the UN lived off the perception that it provided a
forum where nations could air their differences off the battlefield,
countless wars have been fought. Instead of removing the threat to peace,
the UN has encouraged, even nurtured, regimes that waged violence on their
neighbors, and oppressed and tortured their own people. Most of these
international thugs have two things in common. 1) Each has a voice and a
vote in the United Nations. 2) None would be a threat to U.S. interests if
they didn't.

      The United Nations has come under the control of outlaw nations, petty
and tarnished former superpowers and self-ordained special interest groups.
Each promotes a socialist agenda that seeks to redistribute the world's
wealth into their coffers as they diminish the power of the United States
and enslave the citizens of every nation in a new Dark Age of poverty and
misery. This explains why terrorist states like Libya, Syria and Cuba are
allowed to serve on the UN's Human Rights Commission. It's the reason why a
prosperous, industrious nation like Taiwan is refused membership in the UN
while a murderous thug like Zimbabwe's Robert Mugaby is given a prominent
voice at UN conferences.

      The world of the UN is a bizarre parallel reality. The United Nations
is not "dysfunctional," as some "reformists" have claimed. It is a criminal
enterprise in which no moral nation should ever participate, let alone
perpetuate. The time has long since passed when the U.S. should stop funding
this corrupt international institution.

      Tom DeWeese is the publisher/editor of The DeWeese Report and
President of the American Policy Center, a grassroots, activist think tank
headquartered in Warrenton, Virginia. The Center maintains an Internet site
      Copyright, Tom DeWeese, 2003
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Natal Witness

       No time to waste

      If Zimbabwe is going to recover, tobacco must be planted by September


      Now that President Thabo Mbeki and his colleagues, Nigeria's Olusegun
Obasanjo and Malawi's Bakili Mukluzi, are at last engaged in a serious
effort to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis, it is time to look ahead to a
post-Mugabe era and try to assess the country's recovery prospects.

      How much of the economic damage inflicted by President Robert Mugabe's
madness is permanent, how much is recoverable, and how long might a recovery
process take?

      Even a rough assessment reveals one stark fact that Mbeki and his
colleagues should note. Time is of the essence. There is a tight window of
opportunity, between June and September of this year, when a fairly swift
recovery will still be possible. After that it will become rapidly more
difficult and full recovery will be less likely.

      Already some of the damage is permanent. Zimbabwe has suffered a
serious loss of skills, especially in the industrial sector and in the
professions. Some 60% of the country's trained professional people -
engineers, accountants, lawyers and doctors - have left the country. Few
will return.

      The industrial sector has been the worst hit. Scores of enterprises
have been forced to close down and others have moved to neighbouring states
in a disinvestment process that eclipses anything South Africa experienced
during the apartheid years.

      One estimate is that half a billion U.S. dollars of industrial
investment has left the country annually for the past three years. Again, it
will be hard to persuade any of these enterprises to return.

      The mining sector has suffered the least harm. Although mining is
being badly disrupted by power cuts at the moment as foreign electricity
suppliers, Eskom included, demand up-front payments that the crippled
Zimbabwean fiscus cannot meet, the mines have suffered no structural damage
and could quickly be brought back to full production.

      And, ironically, although the agricultural sector was the target of
Mugabe's wildly disruptive "land reform programme", which has been the root
cause of Zimbabwe's economic collapse, it, too, could be substantially
revived in a relatively short time.

      This is because what Mugabe unleashed was not in reality a land reform
programme at all but a mindless spasm of legalised theft and vandalism that
brought agricultural production, and thus the economy as a whole, to a

      But the wonderfully fertile land is still there, and, given bold
policies to reverse what has been done, it could be brought back to levels
of production within a few years where Zimbabwe could at least feed itself
and pay its way once again.

      Some permanent damage has been inflicted in agriculture too. A quarter
of the evicted commercial farmers, including some of the most valuable
producers of specialist crops like seed maize, have emigrated to prosper in
Australia and New Zealand, and they will not return. But three-quarters of
the farmers are still in the country, having moved into the cities and towns
and clung to their title deeds in the hope that things will change.

      At the same time, between 60% and 70% of the farms from which these
commercial farmers were evicted are now vacant, abandoned by the black
"settlers" who were unable to operate them because of a lack of expertise,
financial resources, labour and government back-up.

      Travelling across the country, as I did recently from Harare to
Bulawayo, reveals a remarkable sight of lush grazing - the livestock
population has been decimated to a quarter of what it was only three years
ago - and unworked farmland. Large fields that used to yield crops of maize,
soya bean, sorghum and tobacco, now lie unploughed and overgrown with weeds.

      A leading Zimbabwean rancher and agricultural specialist, Michael
Clark, describes what he saw during a recent trip through the once thriving
Masvingo and Chatsworth farming areas. "Although there were a few isolated
settler huts," Clark writes in an e-mailed memorandum, "there was nothing
else. No crops, no cattle, no people, no wildlife, no farmers, no

      Through most of the rest of the country it is the same, he says. "Just
an empty void." Clark describes one farm he visited, which used to run 22
000 head of export quality cattle, and which is now deserted.

      What this means is that, with a bold and determined reversal of
policy, the farmers who are still in the country could be returned to their
unoccupied farms. A substantial part of the agricultural economy could be

      This should then be followed by a legitimate and sensible land reform
programme, with land properly acquired with fair compensation for occupation
by authentic black farmers, who should be provided with the financial
support to acquire the seeds, fertilisers and other equipment they need to
make productive use of it.

      But speed is critical.

      Zimbabwe is bankrupt and to get it up and running again it needs to
have a tobacco crop in the ground by September. Do that, says John
Robertson, the country's leading independent economist, and Zimbabwe could
possibly match its 1999 export earnings of US$600 million next year,
compared with the miserable US$150 million it earned from tobacco sales this
year. This would be a lifesaving injection of foreign exchange, the
essential starting point on the road to recovery.

      But, Robertson warns, to achieve that requires getting the bulk of the
available commercial farmers back on the abandoned farms by June or July.

      In other words there is no time for further timidity and egg-dancing
by Mbeki, Obasanjo and Mukluzi in their dealings with Mugabe.

      More critical still, if a settlement is delayed until next year it
will be too late to plant food crops for the 2004 harvest. Starvation,
already ravaging the rural population, will then become worse, with no
chance of recovery until the 2005 season.

      The timeline is achievable. What is needed is a swift agreement that
Mugabe should retire immediately, with a guarantee of immunity from
prosecution for all his crimes to ease him on his way, and for a new leader
with some local and international credibility to take over the leadership of
the ruling Zanu-PF party.

      Former Finance Minister Simba Makoni, whom Mugabe fired last year for
suggesting the Zimbabwe dollar should be devalued, would clearly be the most
competent successor, but he lacks a solid support base within the party and
other old party hacks are hungry for the job. Again Mbeki and company should
use their influence to get the right man appointed, for international
credibility is vital to the recovery process.

      That done, negotiations should then take place between the new Zanu-PF
leadership and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for a
joint transitional administration to take over and prepare the ground for
internationally supervised elections to take place, preferably before the
end of the year.

      That would be enough to win international endorsement of the deal. The
World Bank and International Monetary Fund would then come on board and,
with the support of the police and military, the reconstruction programme
could begin even before the election.

      But if there is any further diplomatic soft-shoe shuffling, another
agricultural season will be lost and the misery will turn into catastrophe,.

     Allister Sparks, former editor of the Rand Daily Mail, is a
veteran South African journalist and political commentator.
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      The beginning of the end is only weeks away
      May 7, 2003

      It has gone deafeningly quiet in Zimbabwe. 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 run out of petrol and
diesel and even the recent 320% increase in the price of fuel has done
nothing to improve supplies.

      According to the government-run National Oil Company of Zimbabwe,
which has been riddled with corruption scandals, no supplies have entered
the country for the past week. Zimbabwe has no foreign currency with which
to pay for imported fuel and at last our suppliers have said - no money, no

      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 anymore, 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.

      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 hundreds of cars converge 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 reopen again next week and we will be cycling to school.
Zimbabwe is teetering on the edge of complete collapse now. There is little
left for Mugabe's government to seize or control, there is no fuel and very
little food and the population seems to have found both its voice and its

      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 and had enough of being scared. I am certainly not alone in
feeling that the beginning of the end is now only weeks away.

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The Star

      Mugabe charges on despite 'cool it' pleas
      May 7, 2003

      By Basildon Peta and Brian Latham

      A visit by three peacemaking presidents has provided no let-up in
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's siege of terror against his opponents.

      As he met with presidents Thabo Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo and Bakili
Muluzi, police forcibly removed Harare executive mayor Elias Mudzuri from
his home and office.

      At a summit in Harare, Mbeki, Nigerian President Obasanjo and Malawian
leader Muluzi shuttled between Mugabe's State House and the 14th floor of
the city's Sheraton Hotel to speak with Movement for Democratic Change head
Morgan Tsvangirai.

      The trio of presidents described the talks as good.

      But after the talks it emerged that 79-year-old Mugabe had demanded
that the MDC recognise him as the country's legitimate leader and drop an
electoral challenge against him, currently awaiting a hearing in the High

      MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi said: "No way are we ever going to
consider that, because there's no relation between the political process and
the legal action."

      The MDC warned that the stalled negotiations would not stop the
party's planned mass action.

      The party also scotched speculation that the talks to end Zimbabwe's
crisis had made headway.

      While this was going on, riot police raided Harare City Council office
premises and confiscated the keys to Mudzuri's official residence.

      They took the action against Mudzuri because he had defied his
suspension from office last week by Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing.

      The Combined Harare Residents' Association, a civic group representing
the interests of ratepayers, is to challenge Mudzuri's suspension.

      His lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, said there was no basis for the

      Mtetwa said the legislation under which Chombo suspended Mudzuri
required that there be reasonable grounds for the suspension, but Chombo had
failed to list these.

      "In our view, you have failed to properly comply with provisions of
the law, with the result that the purported suspension is null, void and of
no effect."

      Mtetwa said Chombo had misconceived his powers as set out in the act,
"in addition to failing to understand the very clear differences between
council powers and the functions of the mayor".

      Mtetwa said Chombo's ministry had refused to grant the council
authority to borrow money for capital projects, resulting in its failing to
discharge its duties appropriately.

       Fuel shortages in Zimbabwe have worsened in recent weeks, while
the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority has been plunging industrial sites
into unproductive silence on a daily basis.

      Yesterday, Harare lurched through a four-hour power cut that saw
thousands sitting idle waiting for lights, machines and computers to power
up. -Independent Foreign Service
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This is letter written to Jonathan Manthorpe, an acclaimed writer on Intl.
affairs for the Vancouver Sun Newspaper. He has great knowledge of African
affairs, having lived/been a reporter in Zimbabwe for a period.

  Hello Jonathan,
   Particularly appreciate your succinct grasp of International affairs,
with the spotlight on Africa/Zimbabwe.
  No doubt you will be aware of the failed attempt by Mbeki, Obasanjo and
Muluzi yesterday(Monday 5/05) to convince Robert Mugabe to relinquish his
grasp on power in Zimbabwe. That is if they had the intestinal fortitude to
tell the rascal face the face, that he is well past his sell by date.
  He appears to have been obstinate once again, refusing to face the fact
that his policies have destroyed/bankrupted a bountiful country. It would
appear from news reports,that once again his giant ego has gotten in the
way. He continued to insist that prior to any talks beginning with the
opposition M.D.C., that the M.D.C. recognize his Presidency, and withdraw
their legal application to the High Court.
  The M.D.C. submitted legal proceedings to the courts asking to have the
entire Presidential election of MAR 2002 be declared declared null and void.
They have substantial proof of election irregularities inc. ghost voters
being counted towards his re-election/refusal by the Registra-General to
release the voters role to the M.D.C./verified letters from the Commander of
the Army, recommending they take control of the whole process, of course
rigging its outcome in Mugabe's favor. Naturally they forgot the
mathematics, the final voters roll numbers just did not add up.
  I have it from good authority, a recent former President of the C.F.U.
told me personally of his delegation being subjected an hour of Mugabe's
unbelievable egotistical belief, that he is the chosen leader of Zimbabwe,
for his lifetime!! Finally they were allowed the final 10 minutes remaining
in the allotted time period, to try to gain his attention to the effects of
his ruinous land invasion policies.
  He has shown absolutely no interest in the welfare of his people, only his
current attempts to subvert international justice/find a method of escaping
the repercussions for his unleashing his Fifth brigade army unit(trained by
the North Koreans) genocide of the Matebele people during the period
  The newly organized African Union (A.U.), desperately wants to show the
rest of the world at large that they can control Africa's tyrants. Thru peer
review, show that they are liable for undemocratic behaviour/ human rights
abuses.( Or risk Africa continuing to be the laughing stock/ignored by the
first world). Financing NEPAD would of course be significantly reduced if
the Africans fail to show they can censure their own.
  One needs to also understand why Mugabe has such contempt for his younger
African leaders, they too have skeletons hiding their respective cupboards.
Mbeki has apparently huge periods where he is inebriated,publicly failing to
comprehend the complexities of HIV/AIDS relationship. In addition his ANC
ruling party acknowledged Mugabe's illicit Presidential win, and now find
they were duped, with more and more revelations of corruption bring exposed.
  Obasanjo has recently been re-elected in his country Nigeria,but in some
states there more votes than voters/ his voter numbers were also hugely
inflated , causing embarrassment. European election observers also condemned
this election as significantly flawed.
  Muluzi from Malawi has members of his cabinet, who sold Malawi maize
reserves for personal gain, whilst they were aware that the forthcoming crop
was not going to be adequate to feed the nation for the coming year.No-one
has been prosceuted for this as yet. Muluzi has also publicly voiced his
lowly opinion of women in Malawi, denigrating them on stage, much to their
outrage. So much so that his own wife tried to commit suicide last year.
Note: all these Info Sources from MALAWI newspapers etc can be seen on the
website .
  Now, I note that suddenly the British foreign secretary (Jack Straw) and
the American Secretary of State for African Affairs, Walter Kansteimer are
to due to both visit Botswana next week. Ostensibly they are there to
discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe and other Southern African issues. Can it be
seen that they are going to increase pressure on Zimbabwe's neighbouring
states into not further procastinating over dealing with Mugabe, by
insisting his timely/immediate exit? Why is it that Africa cannot deal
African problems, deal with her own errant dictators?
  Imagine if Ian Smith, whilst he lead Rhodesia, had starved his own people.
He would have been dealt with immediately by the E.U. and other world
powers, and brought before the International Court of Justice. Is it simply
because Zimbabwe has no oil/W.M.D.(unlike Iraq), that Mugabe has been left
to continue his own disgraceful actions against his own people?
  Or is it because Mugabe, a black racist has embarrassed the all the
world's white liberals, by becoming the first blackman to turn all their
preconceived notions upsidedown( that only white racists are a problem to be
disarmed/removed from office like Milosovic?).
  Let's not hold our collective breaths over this British/U.S. visit next
week, after all Straw has been lead by the nose by Mugabe before. Straw has
failed to understand how slippery Mugabe is, he made statements acclaiming
their "Ajuba Agreement" some two years ago. Mugabe promptly disgarded their
"agreement"completely, leaving Blair's Labour party government red-faced.
  Mugabe should not be allowed to escape any of his criminal actions,
genocide and torture, otherwise we have definitely a case world double
   Look forward to your comments,
  Sincerely, Lovemore.
  P.S. I was former Zimbabwean farmer who was removed from his property
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Olonga urges Test protests

Paul Kelso
Wednesday May 7, 2003
The Guardian

Henry Olonga has urged spectators at the forthcoming Test matches between England and Zimbabwe to use the opportunity to protest against human rights abuses by President Robert Mugabe's government.

Olonga, who was thrown out of Zimbabwe's World Cup squad and forced to leave the country after he and fellow player Andy Flower wore black armbands in protest at the "death of democracy" in their country, said protests would be more constructive than a boycott by spectators.

"The Test matches will help draw attention to the human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. People should come along to the matches but do something with placards or whatever to make their point. That would be better than the silent approach," he said.

Protesters, including the activist Peter Tatchell and the former sports minister Kate Hoey, have vowed to protest at Zimbabwe's two matches at Lord's later this month and at Durham in early June. There was a small protest at Edgbaston for the tourists' match against British Universities.

A spokesman for the ECB said it respected the right of people to protest peacefully and lawfully. "We should be grateful that we have the democratic right in this country to protest, and we will respect that, as long as people respect the right of other people to watch the cricket. If it impinges on other people's enjoyment then that is a problem."

Unlike in football stadiums, ECB ground regulations do not explicitly prohibit political statements being made by spectators, but there are a number of catch-all clauses that could be used to prevent banners or placards or banners being displayed. One such prohibits banners that could "be construed as offensive to other spectators".

MCC members attending today's annual general meeting will face protesters at the gates of Lord's lobbying them to cancel the Test on the grounds that the Zimbabwe squad has been politically vetted by the Mugabe government. Mugabe is patron of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union.

A spokesman for the touring side yesterday denied there had been any political input in selection.

Zimbabwe's two-Test series comes just three months after England boycotted their World Cup fixture in Harare, ostensibly on security grounds, after the ICC refused an England and Wales Cricket Board request to have the match relocated because the England players hd received a death threat. Olonga said he felt that had the team known the ICC would reject the request then Nasser Hussain's squad would have boycotted the match on moral grounds.

"Nasser was very clear that he did not want anyone going to watch the game to get hurt or caught in trouble caused by the match," he said.

·The West Indies wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs has been included in the 14-man squad for the fourth Test against Australia, which starts on Friday. Jacobs missed the last two Tests against Australia because of a groin strain.

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Daily News

      Council defies Chombo

      5/7/03 7:35:26 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      A DEFIANT Harare City Council has resolved to ignore Local Government
Minister Ignatius Chombo's suspension of Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri, who
it said would continue to receive his salary and benefits.

      Chombo suspended Mudzuri last Tuesday, citing alleged incompetence,
and ordered that his salary and benefits be stopped, although he could
retain his official car and continue to live in the mayoral mansion.

      In a statement issued yesterday, the Harare City Council said Mudzuri,
who was overwhelmingly elected in March last year, would continue to be
mayor unless residents of the capital city rejected him.

      The council said: "We shall continue to discharge our respective
duties with His Honour the Executive Mayor and shall accordingly disregard
the purported suspension as it is of no moment or consequence to His Honour'
s office."

      It was not possible to ascertain from Mudzuri yesterday whether he
would continue with his council duties, but his deputy, Sekesai Makwavarara,
said the mayor had reported for work at Town House in the morning.

      She said Mudzuri had made plans before his suspension to go on leave
from Thursday this week. Makwavarara referred all further questions to

      The city council said in its statement: "We note, with utter dismay,
that the minister was operating under a serious misapprehension of the
relevant Act. For the record, a mayor assumes office strictly to pursue and
implement resolutions of council.

      "The duties can, therefore, not be divorced from the activities of
council. In fact, they are dovetailed. The suspension of a mayor ipso facto
(by that very fact) means a suspension of the entire council."

      The council said Mudzuri's suspension was "baseless, irrational,
fallacious and malicious".

      It said: "The withdrawal of the misplaced, ill-timed and ill-conceived
court application is a vindication of the foregoing."

      Chombo last Friday withdrew a High Court application to bar Mudzuri
from performing his duties. He filed the application after he heard that
Mudzuri was seen in Bulawayo during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair,
wearing his mayoral regalia.

      The council said: "As far as council is concerned, a mayor works in
conjunction with council in the enforcement and implementation of council
resolutions and policies. We, therefore, do not recognise the purported
suspension of our duly elected mayor."

      The council said Chombo's decision was not surprising when looked at
from a historical perspective and "clearly demonstrates that extraneous
considerations entered the fray. The decision-making process is, therefore,
fraught with maladies".

      "We would also like the minister to note that the deputy mayor assumes
the duties of mayor in his absence as provided for by Section 52 of the

      When he suspended Mudzuri, Chombo gave the deputy mayor a letter
appointing her acting mayor, which he is not required to do by the Urban
Councils Act.

      Mudzuri went into hiding during the trade fair in Bulawayo last week
when he heard the police were hunting for him. He was back at work at Town
House on Monday morning, but was forced out by armed riot police.
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Daily News

      ZCTU reverses decision to call for boycott

      5/7/03 7:43:37 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      The ZCTU has reversed its decision to call for an international
boycott of the Zimbabwe Posts (Pvt) Ltd (Zimpost) after the parastatal
hurriedly reinstated postal workers it had dismissed for taking part in the
three-day national job stayaway last month.

      Zimpost fired more than three quarters of the 2 800 workers with
effect from 23 April but recalled them when clients, among them police
officers and soldiers who are paid through the post office, complained about
the resultant poor service.

      Wellington Chibhebhe, the ZCTU secretary-general, said: "We were not
going to take it lightly. We had sensitised the international labour
community on the development and we were going to call for the imposition of
sanctions on Zimpost.

      "There would have been no incoming or outgoing postal services."
Chibhebhe said the short-lived suspensions were not acceptable and were
"pure victimisation."

      He said: "The net was being cast wide but they were zeroing in on the
president of the Communication and Allied Services Workers Union of Zimbabwe

      Lovemore Matombo is the president of the CASWUZ , the former Zimbabwe
Posts and Telecommunications Workers Union. He is also president of the
ZCTU, the largest trade union umbrella body.
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Daily News

      ZCTU warns of another stayaway

      5/7/03 7:45:17 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      There was fighting talk against the government by the ZCTU and
hostility for The Daily News from the pro-government Zimbabwe Federation of
Trade Unions (ZFTU) as the newspaper sought a review of last Thursday's
Workers' Day celebrations from the two organisations.

      Lovemore Matombo, the ZCTU president, said a national job stayaway can
come any time from now because of the government's refusal to reverse last
month's fuel price increases.

      He said: "I hope the message we gave that we are going ahead with
stayaways got home. We are no longer going to give dates. Now we are going
to do it quietly through the ZCTU structures."

      The government ignored the ZCTU's first demand for a reversal of the
fuel increases, resulting in the three-day stayaway last week, and a second
demand for a reversal on Monday this week.

      Amos Midzi, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, said the
ZCTU was dreaming.

      Matombo said: "It is they who are dreaming and they are likely to
dream until the last day. If the fuel price is not reduced, this will shape
the future of Zimbabwe because the government cannot have it both ways."

      The ZCTU held its main celebrations at Rufaro Stadium while the rival
ZFTU was at Gwanzura Stadium. Matombo said the police in Chitungwiza
tear-gassed people at Chibuku Stadium, resulting in cancellation of the

      At Rufaro Stadium, a man carrying a large bag was beaten up by workers
when he ran towards Matombo in what was probably a planned attack.

      Matombo said: "He was about two metres away and reaching into his bag
when he was caught by workers and intercepted. I think he had a weapon in
there and intended to attack me."

      The man was rescued by the police.

      Joseph Chinotimba, the vice-president of the ZFTU, was hostile and
went on a tirade when telephoned.

      He accused The Daily News of lying about the attendance at the
Gwanzura Stadium, venue of the ZFTU celebrations.

      Told that the general view was that most people had gone to the
stadium primarily for the musical entertainment and the soccer match between
Dynamos and Black Rhinos, Chinotimba said: "What's wrong with that? Even if
they came for that they heard what I said. Kunonzi kugona kuronga (that is
good organisation). I can organise better than Chibhebhe."

      Wellington Chibhebhe is the secretary-general of the ZCTU.
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Daily News

      Mliswa granted $50 000 bail

      5/7/03 7:47:11 AM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      Themba Mliswa, the controversial fitness trainer, who has been in
remand prison since last month in Karoi for assaulting commercial farmers,
was yesterday granted $50 000 bail by a High Court judge.

      Mliswa and his 10 farm workers, who were each granted $10 000 bail,
were asked by Justice Lavender Makoni to report three times a week at Karoi
Police Station.

      Don Moyo, Mliswa's lawyer said: "Since the judge ordered my client to
report three times in Karoi, we agreed with the State that Mliswa reside

      According to the State, Mliswa, in the company of the Chinhoyi-based
"Top Six" Zanu PF gang, on 7 April attacked the two farmers, the policeman
and the messenger of court at Springs Farm in Karoi.

      The incident happened after John Coast and Allen Parrson went to the
farm, equipped with a High Court order allowing them to remove their
personal belongings from properties they own in the area.

      Both farmers are directors with Hesketh Park Estates (Private)
Limited. Parrson runs Meadville Investments (Private) Limited which owns
Springs Farm, occupied by Mliswa.

      Mliswa had been denied bail by Karoi magistrate Samuel Muyemeki after
the State said he was unrepentant.

      He is on a $20 000 bail for a separate charge of common assault. He
allegedly assaulted Parrson's wife, Jenny.
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Daily News

      Masvingo scales down operations

      5/7/03 7:47:41 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Masvingo

      THE city of Masvingo is scaling down its operations by about 50
percent and has shelved capital projects because of budgetary constraints, a
council official said yesterday.

      The finance committee chairman, Fabian Mabaya said the 2003 budget
falls far short of the council's needs and the local authority might be
forced to come up with a supplementary budget, six months into the year, to
cater for the shortfall.

      "We are looking at cost-cutting measures. We have to scale down our
operations by about 50 percent as a result.

      "The 2003 budget is no longer sustainable due to inflation. If we are
to operate within that budget then it means some of our projects will have
to be shelved."

      Chaimiti said some capital projects which had been budgeted for would
be shelved. The critical projects include a $2 billion water augmentation

      The city's water system is too old and can no longer cope with demand.

      The water system was designed to cater for only 52 000 people and the
population has since trebled.

      The council this year unveiled a $1,3 billion budget which saw rates
and tariffs going up by about 75 percent.

      According to Mabaya, the council needs more than $3 billion to
effectively implement its capital projects.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Another betrayal

      5/7/03 7:36:08 AM (GMT +2)

      Once again Zimbabweans have been let down.

      With President Robert Mugabe virtually hanging on by the thread
because of Zimbabwe's fast deteriorating economic crisis, all Presidents
Thabo Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo and Bakili Muluzi needed to do was to apply a
little pressure to bring Mugabe to the negotiating table without any
preconditions by him.

      But a golden opportunity to relieve Zimbabweans of the pain wrought
upon them by the retrogressive policies of this government has been lost -
all because Mbeki and company would rather have solidarity with the ageing
dictator than with the long-suffering masses of Zimbabwe.

      Lost too, was an opportunity to relieve the region of the burden of a
chaotic and collapsing economy in its midst and redeem southern Africa's
tainted image as a worthwhile destination for foreign investors.

      That Mbeki, Obasanjo and Muluzi would, in the first place, entertain
Mugabe's demand that talks between him and Movement for Democratic Change
leader Morgan Tsvangirai could only happen if Tsvangirai first recognises
Mugabe's controversial re-election last
      year, was most dishonourable and a shameless betrayal of the trust
innocent Zimbabweans placed in the three leaders.

      What else, we ask, would there be to talk about once Tsvangirai grants
Mugabe the recognition and, therefore, the legitimacy that he so badly

      And yet it should have been clear to all that far from genuinely
wanting to help resolve Zimbabwe's fast deteriorating crisis, Mbeki and
Obasanjo's one vocation has always been to try and buy legitimacy and,
therefore, acceptance by the international community for Mugabe and his
embattled administration.

      This is, of course, despite the unprecedented violence and alleged
fraud that marred Mugabe's re-election last year, let alone the blatant
human rights abuses and lawlessness that continues unabated even today.

      It is Mbeki and Obasanjo who have, since Mugabe's controversial
re-election last year, marshalled African and regional opposition to
international sanctions against Mugabe and his top officials, making the
smart sanctions imposed by the rest of the progressive world against the
government virtually ineffective.

      The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) has remained a
hapless bystander as Zimbabwe burns, sending several spineless delegations
to Harare that have failed to move Mugabe not even an inch.

      This, all because Sadc's leading voice, Mbeki, would never do or say
anything that might in the slightest endanger Mugabe's stranglehold on

      And, worst of it all, it was Mbeki and Obasanjo again who torpedoed
the Commonwealth troika that had been tasked with whipping Zimbabwe back
into line, even shamelessly lying to the world that Zimbabwe be admitted
back into the councils of the Commonwealth because all was getting well
again in the country.

      Never mind the blood of innocent Zimbabweans that continues to be
spilt by pro-ruling Zanu PF party thugs and militias nor the pained cries of
orphans and widows because of hunger caused by Mugabe's chaotic and
destructive land reforms.

      And these are the same people who want donors to pour their
hard-earned money into their New Partnership for Africa's Development
(Nepad) programme and strangely enough because Nepad is supposed to commit
Africa's rulers to good governance and the respect of human rights. What a

      Perhaps the only lesson to draw from Mbeki, Obasanjo and Muluzi's
deplorable action - if at all anybody needed reminding - is that oppressed
Zimbabweans are alone in their fight to free themselves from a government
gone mad with power.
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Daily News

      Mugabe's legitimacy stalls Zanu PF-MDC dialogue

      5/7/03 7:48:51 AM (GMT +2)

      By Sydney Masamvu

      THE legitimacy of President Robert Mugabe's government and the impact
of the Zimbabwe crisis on southern Africa are among the issues that took
centre stage during talks convened on Monday by African leaders attempting
to break the impasse between the country's two main political parties.

      Government sources told The Daily News yesterday that Mugabe indicated
to South African President Thabo Mbeki and his Malawian and Nigeria
counterparts, Bakili Muluzi and Olusegun Obasanjo, that he had no intention
of entering into any dialogue with the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), if the opposition party did not first acknowledge him as the
constitutionally elected President of Zimbabwe.

      "President Mugabe did not dither about what he expected from the
opposition. He told the leaders that they should recognise him or there is
no dialogue," said an official close to the talks.

      The official said Mugabe was preoccupied with the issue of legitimacy
and told the troika to raise the matter with the MDC, which he said was
behind an international campaign to isolate his government.

      The European Union and the United States of America have refused to
recognise Mugabe's government, accusing it of rigging last year's
presidential election, in which Mugabe defeated MDC leader Morgan

      Officials close to Monday's talks said Obasanjo set discussions held
with the MDC in motion by telling the party's leaders that it was a
 "mistake" on their part to petition the courts challenging Mugabe's
re-election as President.

      Tsvangirai and his secretary-general, Welshman Ncube, however pointed
out to Obasanjo that there were legal and political factors taken into
account in the decision to challenge Mugabe's re-election.

      The MDC told members of the troika that if the party dropped the legal
action, it would have no basis to "cry foul" over the alleged rigging of the
March 2002 election, disappointing Zimbabweans who the MDC leaders said
wanted the issue of the government's legitimacy resolved.

      Sources said Tsvangirai told the troika that Mugabe's demands were
like the African National Congress being forced to recognise the apartheid
regime in South Africa before the two sides could enter into talks.

      The sources said Mbeki, who has been criticised for his "quiet
diplomacy" stance on Zimbabwe, acknowledged during Monday's meeting that the
MDC had the right to challenge the presidential election result in court.

      Muluzi forcefully pushed for dialogue between the MDC and Zanu PF to
resume urgently, pointing out that the Zimbabwe crisis was adversely
affecting regional economies, a concern that was also expressed by Mbeki,
sources said. The sources told The Daily News that this week's talks were
arranged when Mugabe sought help from Mbeki three weeks ago to ease the
country's economic crisis, worsened by acute fuel and power shortages.

      Commenting on the talks, Tsvangirai, who yesterday briefed diplomats
in Harare on Monday's discussions, said his party would welcome any
initiative that could help resolve the country's crisis. But government
officials said despite Monday's meetings, there was no immediate
breakthrough in the impasse between the MDC and Zanu PF.

      "A beginning has been made. It was a good effort, but with no
break-through. With a little bit of shoving and probing, talks will resume,"
a top Foreign Affairs official told The Daily News.

      Observers, however, said the two parties had to prioritise the
interests of the nation and abandon their hard-line stances.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      When you enter God's House you leave war behind

      5/7/03 7:36:57 AM (GMT +2)

      By Fr Oskar Wermter SJ

      "The man was obsessed with the issue of land," wrote Alexander
Kanengoni about the liberation war leader Robert Mugabe (The Daily News, 12
April 2003).

      Precisely, he still is. He is so obsessed with land that he no longer
cares about the people on the land, now or in the future.

      Land points at a collective trauma from the past. It needs healing.
But simply restoring the past is not enough. Land needs to be part of a
vision for the future.

      The great hope had been that restoring the land to the people would
restore to them their lost dignity as the original owners of the land. But
somewhere along the line the enterprise went horribly wrong.

      What dignity is this when we see the tortured, torn flesh of fellow
human beings in pain and agony? What dignity is there in the haunted eyes of
internal refugees from injustice and terror knocking at my door and asking
for shelter? What dignity is there in economic refugees running away to
Britain, the very country everybody had been so proud of being independent
from? There is much humiliation and very little dignity left.

      What went wrong? "The land is the economy, and the economy is the
land." This is economic nonsense and morally a fundamentally wrong choice.
People are the economy, and the economy is the people! Land, and everything
that goes with its proper use, must serve the people, and that makes change
necessary, certainly.

      But they have turned things upside down and made the people serve the
land, and for the economic and political power interests, land stands for
sacrificing fellow citizens to the idol of their own glory.

      They have turned land and what they hoped to gain from it into an end
in itself and made people mere means towards that end, pawns in a deadly
game. Their ideology made land something sacred, something to die for, even
something to kill for!

      "Man is the source, the focus and the end of all economic and social
life." (Vatican Council II) This one sentence smashes all the altars on
which human beings have been slaughtered for the sake of so many obsessions
with wealth and ownership, political supremacy and egos gone mad. It puts a
world which was upside down back on its feet. People always come first. The
rest are mere tools.

      We have been bored to tears so many times by the leader haranguing us
endlessly because he knows everything and we, the people, apparently know
nothing, nothing at least that would interest him. We need leaders who
listen to us, we who have entrusted them with power by our vote.

      We have been silenced by endless monologues. Instead, we need
dialogue. Alas, that is what a dictator fears most: he never asks questions
because he has all the answers. In holding a monologue, he is in control, in
listening to people speaking their minds he is not. So, running no risk, he
dictates what they have to answer.

      We have been vilified, insulted, threatened. Verbal violence has
finally produced physical violence, terror, torture. What we need is
recognition of our common humanity, even in the foreigner, the opponent -
yes even the old enemy.

      We jump to our feet when the leader enters anywhere, we cringe before
him in the dust when we are pushed aside by his screaming police cars, we
put his picture everywhere lest someone suspects us of disloyalty.

      We do not need slogan-shouting masses, raised fists, demonstrations of
submission and meek obedience.

      What we really need are leaders who respect the people, humbly
acknowledge we are all human, frail and prone to error, the greatest and the
least, apologise when they fail to fulfil their promises, and accept
responsibility for the life and well-being of all, friend and foe alike.

      Would you ever accept an invitation to someone's house for dinner and
then go and insult the host? But that is what the leader of the nation did
when he attended the funeral mass for Archbishop Patrick Chakaipa. Speaking
as a party politician rather than Head of State, he abused the privilege of
being allowed to address the congregation by attacking one of the bishops,
contemptuously ignoring the sign of peace the bishop had gone out of his way
offering him.

      This was an insult also to the late archbishop whose memory as a man
of peace we were celebrating. And all this happened just after we had shared
the moment of divine presence in communion with one another. "This is not
what we have come for," grumbled a good many as they were leaving.

      What is possessing ambitious men so they lose all proper human
feelings and decent manners? When you enter the House of God you leave war
and weapons behind. It is a sacrilege to carry on fighting in a sacred

      We are not prisoners of the past and the vicious circle of violence
and revenge. We can make a new beginning. We are not condemned to fighting
the old battles over and over again as if we had no future.

      We no longer sacrifice people for some higher purpose. There is no
higher purpose than people themselves.

      We mourn the dead and hold their killers accountable precisely because
we do not want any more blood spilled. We must draw a line under the chapter
which is now past. The time for bloody combat is over.

      The time has come for the peaceful contest of ballot and debate, for
the bloodless battle of wits.

      The other day we saw a government minister listening to an opposition
Member of Parliament, taking in attentively what she had to say. Let this be
a hopeful sign for better things to come.

      We need a more profound transformation than any revolution can

      When we see leaders listening in respectful silence to unemployed
youths at street corners and asking the old what they hope for, we will know
the great transformation has begun.

      Fr Oskar Wermter is based at St Peter Claver, Mbare
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      Junior minister widens hate catchment area

      5/7/03 7:38:25 AM (GMT +2)
      It is very clear to every fair-minded Zimbabwean that the unelected
junior minister, whom I will not name, is one of the chief architects behind
the torture and assault of MDC activists in this country.

      The overzealous rocket scientist has widened his hate catchment area
from the two Chitungwiza MPs - the young Tafadzwa Musekiwa and courageous
Job Sikhala - to virtually all MDC supporters.

      From the days of the draft constitution the man has never looked back.
Consider how he carelessly crafted the widely condemned Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act as well as his role in coming up
with the Public Order and Security Act - to cast evil spirits towards
opposition politics.

      I did not see the list that the MDC published, but from the reports
made it glaringly is missing something. To be meaningful and comprehensive,
it should include the dirty masters behind the scenes like the Nutty
Professor himself, Elliot Manyika, our digressed President, the partisan
police commissioner etc. The picture should be complete.

      But what never ceases to amaze me is how the poor minister has for the
love of bloody money changed ship from an academic of some repute to a
pathetic power-hungry Zanu PF politician who hates opposition politics
despite emerging from it .

      When the day of reckoning comes, we will surely not forget you,
foul-mouthed junior minister. But in the meantime, stop lying and fooling
even yourself.

      Maxwell Nyangu
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      Chombo masquerading as government minister

      5/7/03 7:39:06 AM (GMT +2)

      It seems to me that Ignatius Chombo may have started something when he
accused Elias Mudzuri of masquerading as the mayor of Harare.

      Mudzuri can be confident that he was well and truly elected, despite
the best efforts of Tobaiwa Mudede, the Registrar-General.

      However, Robert Mugabe is certainly masquerading as President after
losing the presidential election.

      That makes all of his appointed "ministers" part of the masquerade.

      Then we know that the majority of Zanu PF MPs are masquerading as
legislators because they are there under false pretences having themselves
lost in the parliamentary election.

      Chombo, who was noted for waving his gun around like an old-time
cowboy during this election, is chief among those acting an illegitimate
part in the Zimbabwe soap opera.

      So we have a bunch of clowns and actors masquerading as the government
of Zimbabwe - no wonder the country is a disaster.

      Let's get rid of the clowns and get a real government - urgently!

      Charles Frizell
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      A good nose for bad politics might save us

      5/7/03 7:28:35 AM (GMT +2)

      NOSES come in all shapes and sizes - big, very big, small and very
small. If yours is in the "very" category, boy, are you in trouble!

      As one of the orifices in your body, your nose is not to be toyed
with. There are substances in the twin holes which you really don't want the
public in general to see.

      I am grateful most women of my acquaintance do not trifle with their
noses, but I now suspect that because of Zanu PF misgovernance, many women
have thrown caution to the winds and with it their delicate femininity.

      The spectacle of men poking their fingers into their nostrils in
public is disgusting enough, but women? It makes you want to plead with them
not to cause such odium to their sex.

      I had always thought a woman from kumusha or emaguswini could probably
get away with this nauseating conduct. But a woman bred in the city? Would
she not have been told at school, the clinic, in Sunday school, the church
or the supermarket, that women who poke their fingers into their noses, as
if digging for gold, are a disgrace to all womanhood?

      But I turned away as this woman sitting next to me on the bus seemed
determined to get to the bottom of what was down that Connemara mine of her
nose. What was even more disgusting was that she would bring out her finger,
stare at the muck it had unearthed from all angles, then wipe it off on her

      I consoled myself with the conviction that she could not be an
urbanite: she was one of those unfortunate victims from the boondocks,
looking for a job in the city because the government has rendered many parts
of the communal areas politically uninhabitable because of the Green Bombers
who believe all young people are MDC supporters.

      So who are the Green Bombers - men afflicted with a bizarre form of
stunted growth?

      But let's return to the noses: Jimmy Durante and General Charles de
Gaulle had very large noses. Were they in trouble then? I suppose the public
poking fun at them was enough trouble.

      For those too young to remember these essential details on noseology,
Durante was an entertainer with a nose entitled to its own name - they
nicknamed him "The Schnozzola" because of its size.

      He competed with Bob Hope, whose nose is an award-winning shape. He
said of their two noses: "When it comes to noses, you're a retailer, I am a

      I've heard people say men with unusually large noses excite women in a
manner men with normal-size noses cannot. I have yet to substantiate this
with noseologists - not with your average ear and nose specialist.

      De Gaulle, on the other hand, was a politician and was the president
of France when things were not going too well for that republic, born out of
a prison riot.

      But he was a cartoonist's favourite because of his very large nose.

      Back home, it's downright dangerous to cite local characters with
large or small noses. The laws of libel and defamation are such a Stalinist
minefield, you could find yourself being hauled, not into court, but to
jail, before they can prove the nose was indeed very big or very small and
that your comment was in the public interest, not malicious.

      A comment on the relative size of the noses of two people embroiled in
a political feud - Elias Mudzuri and Ignatius Chombo - would probably end up
as a cause celebre.

      Certainly, a comment on President Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai's noses
could land you into a big stink of a legal stew. Mugabe has commented
disparagingly on Tsvangirai's physiognomy, prompting others to speculate on
his features, which are notable for their agedness.

      Incidentally, it also laid bare the paucity of solid political
gunpowder in his arsenal: he is firing blanks.

      The nose is of paramount importance to any journalist. A reporter said
to have a good nose for news, even if he is a lousy writer, is such an asset
to the editor there is psychologically a ready supply of nasal and/or other
sophisticated drugs in case he develops the journalistic equivalent of the
flu or catarrh, and loses his sense of smell.

      But a good nose for bad politics is what we all need right now. Zanu
PF politics stink to high heaven. How easily can you smell a political
stink? I doubt that anyone endowed with even the smallest nose would be
unaware that this 23-year-old country needs to be rescued.

      People who insist politics died with independence in 1980 have been
partly responsible for perpetuating the myth that once the black people took
over from the white colonialists, there was no more need for politics.

      To some fly-by-night political analysts, commentators or political
scientists, this proposition may sound weird, or rooted in ill-informed,
half-baked speculation. But this is based on much more tangible evidence
than their own ill-cooked and indigestible data culled from the woolly
ruminations of the mandarins who inhabit Shake Shake building, spending most
of their time checking on how much foreign currency their vendors are
selling on the black market.

      The evidence of the scarcity of political savvy became clear after the
referendum in February 2000. The result of that plebiscite had Zanu PF on
the ropes, literally praying for the final blow which would put the party
out of its misery.

      Then the most amazing transformation took place a few months later.
Zanu PF, revived by political smelling salts of the most potent variety, got
its second wind and knocked out the people who had almost flattened it in
the referendum.

      After that, people who had received a strong whiff of political wisdom
during the referendum suddenly lost their sense of smell completely and
could not distinguish the stench of political chicanery from the fresh
fragrance of political renewal.

      In practice, it meant they reverted to the myth that freedom had been
won and there was no need for change: the people were in control of their
destiny, and not the colonialists.

      But even friends of the Stone Age party now seem to recognise that
their own noses had been put out of joint by the powerful propaganda from
Zanu PF: the pan-Africanist fulminations which accompanied the killings in
the fields during the farm invasions of 2000 and the butchery of political
opponents later that year were rotten lies. Everybody - friend and foe of
Zanu PF - can now smell the rat that died in the party's HQ.

      If there are people whose nose for political skunks is still
underdeveloped, then they must be advised to see their specialist political
nose surgeons. In the end, this is what could serve the country from the
fire and brimstone whose deadly fumes some of us can feel tickling our
nostrils today.
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