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Mugabe Deliberately Starving Zimbabwe - Archbishop

      Nov. 8
      - DURBAN, South Africa (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
is deliberately starving opposition supporters to strengthen his grip on
power, one of the country's Catholic leaders said on Friday.

      Pius Ncube, Archbishop of Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo, told
church leaders in the South African port city of Durban that he believed 160
people in his home province of Matabeleland had already starved to death,
and thousands more would die next year.

      "Men, women and children were, and still are, being deliberately
starved," he said, adding that Mugabe had embarked on a program of
retribution against his opponents after his plans to change the country's
constitution were defeated in 2000.

      "Mugabe is using the food crisis in Zimbabwe to force people to vote
for his party," Ncube said, adding that only those with ZANU-PF ruling party
cards were able to buy food.

      The European Union said on Thursday that Mugabe was using food as a
political weapon.

      Half of Zimbabwe's 14 million people are threatened with starvation,
according to the United Nations World Food Programme. However the WFP says
it has not heard any reports of people starving to death in Matabeleland.

      ZANU-PF denies that it has politicized food distribution, and in turn
accuses some aid agencies of sending more food relief to opposition

      Since Mugabe won reelection to a fifth term in power in March this
year, Zimbabwe has spiraled deeper into its worst economic and political
crisis in 22 years of independence. Mugabe has held the reins of power for
all that time.

      "He (Mugabe) is clinging to power at the expense of people's lives,"
Ncube told Reuters in a telephone interview after his breakfast speech. "It
is causing a lot of upset because there is no foreseeable end to people's

      "All this is being done to destroy the opposition and cling onto
power, the arrests, the arson, torture and selective distribution of food
all serve to keep the population under control."

      Ncube has spoken out against Mugabe before, most notably since a 1980s
army crackdown in Matabeleland which human rights groups say left tens of
thousands of civilians dead.

      Mugabe's ZANU-PF says the Archbishop sympathizes with the opposition
MDC and should quit the clergy.


Friday, 8 November, 2002, 19:40 GMT
Defiant Zimbabwe bishop 'mad'

Up to six million Zimbabweans need food aid

Zimbabwe's Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, has described as "mad" the archbishop who on Thursday urged President Robert Mugabe to stand down.

      We should feel some sympathy for that bishop because he does not need our criticism, he needs our prayers
      Jonathan Moyo 
Mr Moyo denied that the government distributed food aid to its supporters only, saying that more than half of the supplies had been handed out fairly in opposition strongholds.

The Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, said Mr Mugabe's controversial land reform programme was ruining the country's economy and putting millions at risk of hunger.

He said black farm workers were the real victims when white farms were handed over to government supporters.

'Mad utterings'

Mr Moyo dismissed Mgr Ncube's criticisms, saying he was not fit to pass judgement on the government's policy.

      Archbishop Ncube is a long-time Mugabe critic

"When a bishop is mad, he is mad, and I don't think it is fair for you to ask me to comment on the utterings of a mad bishop," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

"I think we should feel some sympathy for that bishop because he does not need our criticism, he needs our prayers, and we want to assure him he has our prayers. We are praying for him."

Mr Moyo said that the government had distributed 569,000 tonnes of grain across Zimbabwe, at least 54% of which had been given through private milling companies to Harare and Bulawayo, where the opposition is strong.

He dismissed the suggestion that the bishop was only expressing what the people had told him, saying that they had been sent by "British intelligence operatives".

"He is not an authority, Mr Moyo said of Archbishop Ncube, "he is a desperate, troubled soul."

      Mr Moyo accuses the UK of stoking violence in Zimbabwe

The European Union on Thursday accused President Robert Mugabe's government of channelling food aid to its own supporters and ignoring opposition activists, as millions face starvation.

Speaking about reports that foreign food aid was being diverted, a Danish minister said that such behaviour was unacceptable.

Last weekend, a United States official warned that the US may have to take "intrusive" measures to ensure that food aid was properly distributed.

Zimbabwe denied the allegations and accused the US of preparing to invade.

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Friday, 8 November, 2002, 16:55 GMT
Mugabe tightens the noose

Life for ordinary Zimbabweans is becoming more oppressive

      By Mike Donkin
      BBC Correspondent recently in Zimbabwe 

These days there is an unwritten rule in Zimbabwe - support the government or put yourself at risk.

One victim of violence I met, said he was set upon by a gang of ruling Zanu-PF party supporters. The reason?

      We are unable to report on a lot of things that are going on in this country
      Trevor Ncube Zimbabwe Independent 
"I'm not interested in going to the meetings of Zanu-PF," he tells me.

Stories of violence like this are now common. So are stories of torture sessions in police stations.

One official with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) describes the long, long week he spent in custody.

"A group of officers took me from the cell to a torture room, and dipped my head in a bucket of water.

"They had to handcuff me and they had to put electrical cords on my fingers, toes and my private parts. I felt I could not stand it but there was nothing I could do. "

Shoot the messenger

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai says that people are being intimidated across the country, under orders from President Robert Mugabe himself.

"He is using state institutions to crush the opposition by whatever means at his disposal.

      Morgan Tsvangirai warns of economic collapse

"Our leaders in some of the very strong provinces are being brutalised on a daily basis. The judiciary, the press, everyone is under attack."

The press in Zimbabwe feels the noose on them is tightening daily. The government is clearly determined to shoot the messenger.

Trevor Ncube, editor of the Independent in Harare, explains:

"We are unable to report on a lot of things that are going on in this country.

"The story of hunger, the story of destitution, the story of the violence, the story of lawlessness - the independent media in this country, and the foreign media, is unable to get into those areas where the state and the lawless party thugs do as they please. "

Foreign agents

In other nations, those who feel disenfranchised can turn to the law. Not much use here.

Brian Kagoro helps run a legal aid group, Crisis in Zimbabwe. President Mugabe, he says, has made sure that the law works for him.

      There is no way you can pretend that you are in control when six to seven million people are hungry
      Morgan Tsvangirai 
"We've seen the tinkering with the composition of the judiciary. Clearly I think the appointments are meant to deal with specific interests - which are ruling party interests - dilute the composition of the bench to such an extent that it will not be possible to have adverse judgements."

Also under pressure are the non-governmental organisations. They are trying to help millions of Zimbabweans who face hunger because of drought.

But the government accuses some NGOs of being foreign agents and thus a threat to national security.

Political food aid

Canon Tim Neil is a Zimbabwean who runs a local NGO that's trying to feed displaced farm workers. He says it is the government which is threatening the vital work of the NGOs:

"The World Food Programme has suspended food relief in one district because of the politicisation of the relief.

      Praying for better times

"Save the Children have been closed from distribution.

"An organisation that was distributing through the Catholic Church in Gwanda, they have been closed.

"Oxfam has been shut down in, I believe, the Binga area. And so even the implementing partners are being viewed by government as enemies and are not being able to distribute."

These allegations of repression are serious ones. So we tried to call Zimbabwe's information minister to answer them.

He was not available. For now, all these measures seem to have strengthened Robert Mugabe's hand.

Time bomb

But Morgan Tsvangirai warns him people can only take so much:

"There is no way you can pretend that you are in control when six to seven million people are hungry.

"We're near collapsing the whole economic fabric of this society. So it may be a bravado that he's displaying but he knows certainly that he's sitting on a very serious time bomb."

As economic crisis grows in Zimbabwe though, its president shows no sign of relenting.

Most people here feel that things will get much worse, before they get better.
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David R. Sands


Zimbabwe yesterday accused the Bush administration of using
the famine threatening southern Africa as a pretext to
invade or undermine the government of President Robert

"The United States is planning to invade Zimbabwe within the
next six months on the pretext of bringing relief aid to
people who were allegedly being denied food on political
grounds," the state-owned Zimbabwe Herald, considered an
accurate mirror of government opinion, said in a front-page
story yesterday.

The U.S. Embassy in Harare issued a statement denying the
accusations, but Zimbabwe army Chief of Staff Gen. Vitalis
Zvinavashe told the newspaper the U.S. government was trying
to control private relief groups distributing food and aid
in the country "and disregard the laws of Zimbabwe."

The comments were the first extended reaction by the Mugabe
regime to remarks late last week from a senior State
Department official, first reported in The Washington Times
and Bloomberg News, that the U.S. government was considering
"intrusive, interventionist measures" to ensure the delivery
of international aid in the country.

With the Mugabe government accused of channeling food aid
away from regions where political opposition is strongest,
"the dilemmas of the next six months may bring us face to
face with Zimbabwe's sovereignty," said Mark Bellamy,
principal deputy assistant secretary of state for African

Mr. Bellamy said Friday at a Washington forum on Zimbabwe's
deepening economic and political crisis the U.S. government
still hoped the United Nations, private relief groups and
international pressure could open aid channels throughout
the country, and no U.S. official has repeated his explicit

"We believe only the people of Zimbabwe can solve their
nation's problems," according to yesterday's embassy

But State Department officials continue to accuse the Mugabe
government of politicizing food distribution, fears
heightened when Zimbabwean officials seized a shipment of
grain from the U.N. World Food Program and distributed it to
supporters of Mr. Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party.

Relief organizations and community activists within Zimbabwe
have leveled similar charges.

"Politicization of food distribution by the ruling party in
the face of an urgent need and real human suffering is very
cynical," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said
Monday. "It's a very self-serving response to a major
humanitarian catastrophe."

U.S. officials say Mr. Mugabe's authoritarian rule, the
state monopoly on grain distribution and a coercive
land-redistribution program targeting the country's
white-owned farms have greatly aggravated the effects of the
drought that has hit Zimbabwe and five other countries in
the region.

There are about 4.5 million Zimbabweans now needing food
aid, and the figure is expected to rise to 6.7 million by

Mr. Bellamy warned last week, "It's safe to predict that the
situation in Zimbabwe is going to get a lot worse  and that
there will be no change unless outside forces prove to be
the catalyst."

But Stan Mudenge, Zimbabwe's foreign minister, said in a
television interview that the charges the government was
diverting food aid to political supporters was a "fandango
of a fairy tale of lies" spread by opposition politicians.
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No respite seen for Zim economy

Cris Chinaka

Harare - President Robert Mugabe is expected to present an annual budget
statement next week with promises of a brighter future, but analysts say
there will be no respite for the struggling economy without some key policy

The world will look for any pointers that Mugabe is ready to reverse some of
the controversial policies that have plunged the southern African country's
economy into virtual free-fall with millions facing starvation, they say.

But shifts are difficult to predict in a government dominated by radicals
appointed by Mugabe to help him fight a deepening political and economic
crisis which he blames on Western forces seeking to oust him from power.

Zimbabwe's 2003 budget will be presented on Thursday by new Finance Minister
Herbert Murerwa, who was appointed to the post two months ago in place of
Simba Makoni, whom Mugabe dropped over major policy differences after some
two years in the job.

Murerwa, a genial figure and former diplomat, is regarded by industry as a
loyalist with no strong views and a man who has always worked close to his
boss's instructions.

Policy changes needed

"There is no excitement over the budget because whatever figures and
promises that the government is going to provide will only make more sense
if they are accompanied by some policy changes on the ground," said James
Jowa, chief economist at the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC).

"We may or we may not get some new incentives to boost production," he

Zimbabwe's economy shrank by 7.3% last year and is expected to contract by a
further 10% in 2002 after a severe drought and serious disruption of its key
agricultural sector by Mugabe's land reforms.

Nearly half the country's 14 million people are facing starvation,
unemployment is close to 70% and the country is struggling with other
shortages such as fuel and cooking oil.

Inflation has soared by more than 100 percent in the country since November
2001, climbing to a record 140% in the year to September.

Financial analyst Nyasha Chasakara said Murerwa had hinted that he was
committed to fighting rising inflation and it would be interesting to see
what measures he came up with.

But other analysts say there is very little chance of key policy changes,
including a devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar, which has been pegged at 55
to the US dollar but is trading at around 1 500 on a thriving black market.

Mugabe won't back down

And nobody is expecting Mugabe to reverse or slow down his controversial
seizures of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks, which
he says is part of efforts to revive an economy mired in its third year of

Mugabe, whose controversial policies are blamed by many for ruining one of
Africa's most-promising economies, has been fighting Zimbabwe's political
and economic crisis under the banner: "Land is the economy and the economy
is land."

Critics say instead of opening up the economy to the key private sector,
Mugabe has worsened Zimbabwe's crisis by imposing and tightening controls on
food imports, food prices, fuel and transport. The government has
accumulated foreign debt arrears of nearly US $170 million.

Earlier this week the IMF's chief representative in Zimbabwe, Gerry Johnson,
was quoted from New York as saying that Mugabe's Zanu-PF government was
guilty of creating "a three-headed monster" of declining production in all
sectors, artificially low interest rates and a fictitious exchange rate.

Johnson told Zimbabwe's Daily News Mugabe would have to reverse the
international pariah status he has earned by years of farm seizures, what he
called a stolen presidential election in March and broken promises to gain
political mileage.
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Starving Citizens Resort to Desperate Measures

Business Day (Johannesburg)

November 8, 2002
Posted to the web November 8, 2002

Dumisani Muleya

CARRYING heavy bags of maize-meal on their heads and clutching paper bags, a
long line of people stretches across the New Limpopo Bridge from the SA
border towards Zimbabwe.

As they approach the customs post, about 100 men and women of all ages
suddenly bolt from the main road through holes in the security fence and
rush helterskelter into the bush.

At Beitbridge customs, people look stunned and begin to whistle, prompting
those who have gone through the fence to increase their pace. Packages are
dropped; touts at the border post join the fray, rushing to grab the items
left behind.

As the scene gets more chaotic, the police stand by and watch the drama

These events were observed last weekend, but similar scenes are playing
themselves out on a daily basis here at Beitbridge border post the busiest
port of entry in sub-Saharan Africa where thousands of Zimbabweans are
smuggling food into their own country to avoid starvation. Apart from maize
meal, they also squeeze in with sugar, salt, beans, milk, cooking oil and
even bread.

Some people crossing the bridge say shortages and hunger have forced them to
visit Messina, 12km away from Beitbridge, to buy food.

"There is nothing in our shops," one person says. "The reason why we go
through the fence and not customs is that custom officials only allow us two
bags of maize-meal when we need much more than that."

Armed police at the openings through which most people evade customs say
they cannot stop the human flow.

"What can I do?" asks one officer. "Do you want me to arrest them so that
their families can starve? There is hunger in Zimbabwe and these people are
just trying to survive."

While most people in Zimbabwe's big cities are getting used to having to do
with substitutes, those near border posts such as Beitbridge, Victoria
Falls, Chirundu, Mutare, and Plumtree resort to importing staples from
neighbouring countries.

Zimbabwe is gripped by an unprecedented food crisis. According to the World
Food Programme, about 6-million people nearly half the country's population
are facing starvation. The food crisis has been attributed to drought and
the effects of Harare's land reforms on agricultural production.

The crisis is expected to sharpen in the next few months as food supplies
dry up. Donor groups such as Christian Care have warned that government's
policies are hindering them from bringing in and distributing food freely to
the needy. British organisations such as Oxfam have been banned from
distributing food aid as the Zimbabwean government charges them with trying
to influence domestic politics through food distribution.

For its part, government is unable to import sufficient grain due to a lack
of foreign currency.

Meanwhile, the private sector is not allowed to import grain. According to
government regulations passed last year in the face of looming food
shortages, the state marketing board is the only entity authorised to import

US ambassador to United Nations (UN) food agencies, Tony Hall, warned
recently it could soon be too late to prevent a humanitarian crisis in

"Zimbabwe is headed for famine and people will die," he said. "I'm not sure
we can stop it."

The programme says it is battling to expand its food relief activities to
prevent spreading starvation. A spokesman for the food programme, Luis
Clemens, says the UN relief agency is stepping up efforts to cover those
areas where the food shortages are worsening rapidly.

"We are working flat out to prevent famine," he says.

"By the end of the month we should have moved from 20 to 28 districts. We
are trying to feed everyone who is hungry and we want to reach about
3,9-million people by March or April next year," says Clemens.

Zimbabwe is just one of the countries in the region experiencing severe food

Daily News

      Vegetables join the shortages list

      11/8/02 11:12:27 AM (GMT +2)

      Business Reporter

      EVEN cabbages and other vegetables are now running short despite
government talk of a successful land reform programme.

      A survey by The Daily News showed that most major supermarkets in and
around Harare were receiving an erratic supply of cabbages and rape.

      The supply of traditional basic commodities like maize-meal, cooking
oil, bread and milk continues to be erratic.

      However, shortage of transport seems to be hampering delivery of
produce to markets in Harare. A variety of vegetables are piled along the
roadside on most highways leading to farms surrounding the capital.

      The farmers complain about the unavailability of transport to carry
their produce to the market. Most transport operators have grounded their
fleets following the shortage and high costs of spare parts, compounded by
an erratic fuel supply situation.

      As a result vegetable producers are losing as most of their produce is
rotting by the roadside before reaching the market.

      The vendors who spoke to The Daily News said getting transport to
deliver their produce to the market was fast becoming a nightmare and even
in cases where transport was available, the costs were prohibitive.

      On the farms, a head of cabbage sells at $20 while just by the
roadside, the price doubles to $40 and by the time it hits town the price
would have gone up to between $60 and $70.

      The transport situation in the country has dealt a blow to almost
every sector of the economy.

      Slow and unreliable production flows have become common as transport
operators grapple to get spare parts and fuel.

      Commuters have not been spared either. Transport for urban dwellers
has become a nightmare as it now takes not less than two to three hours for
commuters to get to and from work. Cases where workers report for work two
hours late are slowly becoming the norm, rather than an exception.

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SOUTHERN AFRICA: EU slams politicisation of food aid

JOHANNESBURG, 8 November (IRIN) - The European Union (EU) this week accused Zimbabwe's ruling party of using food aid as a political weapon against opposition supporters.

Bertel Haarder, European affairs minister of Denmark which holds the EU presidency, told Reuters: "They use our aid as a tool in the domestic fight against the opposition in order to survive and that is not acceptable."

Haarder's comments followed a two-day meeting between top EU officials and their counterparts from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in Mozambique. The meeting was reportedly dominated by the political crisis in Zimbabwe and widespread regional food shortages.

More than 14 million people are in need of emergency food aid in six southern African countries, with six million people affected in Zimbabwe alone. While the government has attributed the food crisis to a crippling drought, observers say the government's fast-track land programme has exacerbated the problem.

At the close of the meeting on Friday the EU said in a statement that it would work with local NGOs and other donors to draw up guidelines for the distribution of food aid to the region to avoid political abuse.

The EU, however, failed to broker an agreement with African leaders on how to deal with the crisis in Zimbabwe.

"We have had a robust debate, but we have no agreement on the subject [of Zimbabwe]. But from the European side, we have strongly emphasised good governance, security and peace. Clearly, we have Zimbabwe in mind, because what is happening there is not acceptable. We need that to be sorted out," Haarder told reporters.

Since the start of Zimbabwe's troubles, southern African leaders have been reluctant to reproach President Robert Mugabe, and have opposed sanctions as a possible solution to the political crisis.

"Bashing Zimbabwe all the time does not help. Sometimes it gives people the perception that indeed Zimbabwe has been bullied," Malawi Deputy Foreign Minister Chimunthu Banda was quoted as saying at the meeting in Maputo.

Analysts have suggested that deep divisions between African countries and the West over tougher measures against Zimbabwe had inadvertently hampered efforts to help ease the political imbroglio in the country.

The EU slapped sanctions on Mugabe's government after a March presidential election considered illegitimate by the West, but endorsed by most African countries.

EU representatives in Maputo also reacted strongly to suggestions from the Zimbabwean leadership that Europe and Britain should compensate white farmers for their expropriated land, saying the "reforms were conducted with minimum respect for the rule of law".

Mugabe has said that the farm seizures were the only way to ensure that landless blacks could tackle their poverty.

Despite not having reached a deal with African ministers over Zimbabwe, the EU pledged Euro 101 million (US $101 million) in assistance towards eradicating poverty in the region. The funds are expected to bolster regional economic integration among SADC member states and improve transport and communication infrastructure.

In a related development, two more British-based charities were banned from operating in Zimbabwe, news agencies reported on Friday. The charities were the Westminster Foundation and the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust.

Harare has in the past accused NGOs of colluding with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in a plot to overthrow the government.

Last month the government ordered Oxfam and Save the Childrens Fund to suspend their operations. Both charities are awaiting government approval to continue with their food delivery programmes.

Daily News

      UN urged to intervene to stop partisan food distribution

      11/8/02 11:35:02 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporters

      THE United Nations has been urged to intervene and stop the
politicisation of the distribution of relief aid especially that which is
sourced through the world body's affiliate organs.

      According to interviews with residents of Harare, the ruling Zanu PF
party should not be allowed to continue monopolising the distribution of
relief food by favouring the party's card-carrying members.

      Scores of consumers who had queued at Pfukwa shopping complex in
Harare's Warren Park D suburb to buy maize-meal went home empty-handed after
they were asked to first produce Zanu PF cards to buy the commodity.

      The maize-meal was being sold at a supermarket in the suburb.One
resident said: "When I went to buy mealie-meal, I was turned away after I
failed to identify the name of the Zanu PF district and its leadership. The
UN should stop this before we starve to death."

      Another resident who identified himself as Murwisi said his wife had
been turned away after she failed to produce a Zanu PF membership card.
      He said: "I think that the UN should intervene to stop this madness.
Why should I be denied food because I do not have a Zanu PF membership

      The residents' plea to the UN came hardly a day after the United
States said it was looking for ways to ensure food reaches the needy
regardless of the political affiliation.

      However, the US Embassy in Harare, denied that it was planning on
invading Zimbabwe as reported by the State-controlled national daily, The

      US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, according to a Reuters
story, said the review of food distribution methods arose after the
Zimbabwean authorities seized grain the World Food Programme was
distributing and gave it to supporters of the government.

      "Contrary to the headline in a 6 November 2002 newspaper, the United
States has absolutely no intention of invading Zimbabwe. No US government
official has made such a threat. We believe that only the people of Zimbabwe
can solve their nation's problems," said the US Embassy statement released
in Harare.

      The US said while it remained committed to helping the people of
Zimbabwe survive the current food crisis, it was against the distribution of
food along political lines."Food donated by the United States must be
distributed according to need, not political affiliation. We believe this is
the principle on which all food aid should be distributed.

      "The United States also remains committed to the fundamental human
rights of the people of Zimbabwe and will speak out when those rights are

      Meanwhile, it was not possible to interview the Zanu PF leadership
responsible for the distribution of of food in Warren Park D because they
were hostile to strangers.

      Dr Nathan Shamuyarira, the Zanu PF spokesman, could not be reached for
comment. His secretary said he was in a meeting.In Binga, Kamativi and
Jambezi in Matabeleland North province, villagers alleged that Zanu PF
officials demanded party cards in the distribution of food aid.

      Macala Mhlanga, the MDC constituency co-ordinator for Nkayi said:
"Most of our supporters are not allowed to buy maize at the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB) and the most affected area is Ward 25, where there is serious

      In Gweru, hundreds of farmers queuing to buy maize seed at the GMB
depot were allegedly turned away after they failed to produce Zanu PF cards.

      The entrance to the GMB depots in most parts of the province are now
guarded by Zanu PF supporters and so-called war veterans.

      The GMB officials in Gweru and Kwekwe refused to comment, referring
all questions to the provincial administrator, Martin Rushwaya. Rushwaya
also declined to comment.

      Zanu PF activists in Zaka, Gutu and Mwenezi districts have taken over
the distribution of food aid where they allegedly deny MDC supporters the

      Charles Mabvure of Ward 11 in Mushandike resettlement area said: "A
list of people suspected of supporting the MDC has been compiled to make
sure that we do not get food. We have also been denied maize seed and
fertiliser under the government's farming credit input scheme."

      MDC officials in Manicaland said the most affected areas are Buhera,
Chipinge, Chimanimani and Makoni districts.

      But Charles Pemhenayi, Zanu PF's provincial spokesperson, dismissed
the allegation and challenged Muchauraya to produce the names of Zanu PF
officials involved in the illegal exercise.

      Muchauraya then identified Fanos Guringo of Buhera, Maurice Mhukwe and
Maurice Sakabuya both of Chipinge, Gilbert Shoko, Fidelis Kangwere, Zenzo
Nyoni and Punish Mhiripiri all from Makoni as masterminding the illegal

      Renson Gasela, the MDC shadow minister of lands, challenged the
government to allow independent inspectors to verify the allegations of
partisan food distribution.

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Daily News

      Bennet accuses war vets of $2m stocktheft

      11/8/02 10:58:20 AM (GMT +2)

      From Brian Mangwende

      Roy Bennet, the MP for Chimanimani, yesterday said war veterans who
are camped on his Charleswood Estate have stolen and slaughtered at least 20
head of cattle worth about $2 million since June.

      He has persistently resisted threats by Zanu PF officials, war
veterans and the police to evict him from the farm, arguing it falls under
the Export Processing Zone (EPZ).

      According to the law, any farm under the EPZ cannot be compulsorily

      Bennet alleged the war veterans slaughtered most of the cattle and
sold the meat to butcheries in Chimanimani, retaining some of the meat for
their own consumption.

      He said: "I have a serious problem on the farm. Since June, the war
veterans have prevented my cattle from grazing, resulting in them losing
weight and eventually dying. I have 800 cattle on the farm at the moment
which are now being stolen and slaughtered."

      Bennet said he initially owned about 1200 cattle but had sold some of
them when the thefts began. He said the war veterans slaughtered two beasts
last week and roasted them on the farm. Bennet said he reported the matter
to the police. He said: "The police have not taken any action whatsoever. I
decided to move my cattle off the farm and approached the veterinary
department in Chimanimani for a permit but the officer there said he was
scared to issue one.

      "He said he had been threatened by a senior policeman against doing
so. My cattle are now in a pathetic state. They are deteriorating because
they are being prevented from grazing."

      Edmund Maingire, the provincial police spokesman, could not be reached
for comment yesterday.

      Stanislous Chikukwa, a member of the national executive of the
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association dismissed Bennet's
allegations on the slaughtering of the cattle.

      He said: "That's not true. I was in Chimanimani last week and I never
received such a report, either from the police, the district administrator
or from war veterans."

      But Bennet insisted his cattle were being starved while some of them
were being slaughtered indiscriminately.
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Daily News

      Tsvangirai's treason trial postponed to February

      11/8/02 10:40:14 AM (GMT +2)

      Chief Reporter

      JUSTICE Charles Hungwe has ruled that the treason trial of MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai and two other party officials facing allegations of
plotting to assassinate President Mugabe be held in February next year.

      The trial was originally set for next Monday. Hungwe's ruling followed
an urgent application in the High Court by Innocent Chagonda representing
Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general and MP for Bulawayo
North-East, and Renson Gasela, the shadow minister of agriculture and MP for
Gweru Rural.

      Chagonda said the ruling was made last week on Monday. "The matter
will be heard on 3 February 2002,'' he said. Chagonda said they applied for
the postponement because the State had failed to give the defence a copy of
the audio tape in which Tsvangirai is alleged to have spoken of the plan to
assassinate Mugabe.

      He said, in addition, the government delayed in giving the defence
team the State outline in the matter."Our advocates were also not available
on the date proposed by the State,'' Chagonda said.

      Advocates Chris Andersen and Eric Matinenga are part of the MDC
leaders' defence team.The three were implicated by former Israeli secret
agent Ari Ben-Menashe, of the Canadian lobbyist firm, Dickens and Madson,
last November in the run-up to the controversial March presidential

      Ben-Menashe, who did political consultancy for the government, has
admitted being a long-time admirer of Mugabe well before the alleged plot by
Tsvangirai and his colleagues.

      The government alleged that a video shot secretly by Ben-Menashe
showed Tsvangirai agreeing with Ben-Menashe that Mugabe be killed before the
presidential election.

      Tsvangirai becomes the second opposition leader after the late Zanu
president, Ndabaningi Sithole, to be tried on allegations of trying to kill

      Sithole died in December 2000 with a pending case in the Supreme Court
in which he was challenging a two-year prison sentence imposed by the High
Court following his conviction for attempting to assassinate Mugabe.
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Daily News

      UK denies masterminding plot to invade Zimbabwe

      11/8/02 10:56:49 AM (GMT +2)

      Political Editor

      THE British High Commission yesterday scoffed at reports in the
government-controlled Herald newspaper yesterday, alleging the United
Kingdom was behind an alleged plot to invade Zimbabwe.

      The High Commission said in a statement yesterday: "These claims are
untrue and irrational. As we have stated on many occasions, the British
government wants to see peace and stability in Zimbabwe. The British
government has no intention of invading Zimbabwe, nor is it encouraging
others to do so."

      Relations between the two countries have deteriorated rapidly since
the farm seizures which began in 2000 and over last March's disputed
presidential election.

      The Zimbabwean government has repeatedly accused Britain of plotting
to topple President Mugabe's government for seizing mainly white-owned
commercial farms for purported resettlement of the land-hungry.

      The British, whose envoy to Harare has reportedly been placed on
24-hour surveillance by State security agents for allegedly trying to
undermine the government, have denied the allegations.

      The latest stand-off stems from yesterday's issue of The Herald, which
alleged that three activists from Matabeleland presented falsehoods on the
situation in the country at a meeting set up by the British in Washington on

      The newspaper alleged the meeting attended by the activists was
organised by the London-based Zimbabwe Democracy Trust, which it said was
funded by Britain's Centre for International and Strategic Studies. The
Herald said the Washington meeting was chaired by a former secretary at the
British High Commission, David Troup, an allegation the High Commission
denied yesterday.

      "Contrary to The Herald's claims, the British government is not
funding the Zimbabwe Development Trust. The Trust is entirely independent of
the British government and does not speak for the British government," the
High Commission said.

      The High Commission said Troup had worked with them in 2000 for just
one month while he was on temporary secondment.

      "He is no longer working for the British High Commission or the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office."


EU says no to compensation

Maputo - The European Union (EU) has rejected Zimbabwe's demand for Europe
and Britain to compensate white farmers evicted from their farms under
Zimbabwe's contentious land reform programme.

"That is now unacceptable, these reforms were conducted with minimum respect
for the rule of law," Danish Minister for European Affairs Berterl Haarder
told a press conference late on Thursday.

Zimbabwe is currently embroiled in a land reform programme which has seen
the seizure of most of the properties belonging to the country's 4 500 white

Very few have been compensated so far by the Zimbabwean government.

Haarder's comments came after the first day of a two-day meeting between top
EU government officials and their counterparts from the 14-member Southern
Africa Development Community (SADC) in the Mozambique capital.

Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge had said earlier President Robert
Mugabe's government wanted Britain to compensate white farmers as "we have
completed the land reform programme".

"We just want justice for the white farmers," Mudenge said.

Haarder said Zimbabwe had prompted heated debates at Thursday's session,
which focussed on peace and democracy. "We had serious and robust debates on
Zimbabwe but with little progress," Haarder said.

He said a normalisation of relations between Zimbabwe and the EU could not
be expected soon, but everything would be done to ensure the continuation of

The EU has been a staunch critic of Zimbabwean land reform, and has imposed
targetted sanctions and travel restrictions against Mugabe and 71 of his
close associates for alleged human rights abuses. Sapa-AFP
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Daily News - Leader Page

      Sadc ministers must act to avert disaster

      11/8/02 11:00:57 AM (GMT +2)

      RECENT developments in which Zanu PF has demanded membership cards
from hungry rural and urban dwellers only serve to strengthen the need for
international pressure to ensure non-governmental organisations are allowed
direct participation, in order to save millions of Zimbabweans from

      Villagers in Binga, Insiza, and urban dwellers in Budiriro,
Chitungwiza, Kuwadzana, Mufakose and Warren Park have in the past week been
required to produce membership cards of the ruling party before being
allowed to buy maize-meal.

      This is the most callous conduct anyone can ever imagine from a
government. As one of the ruling party's senior officials, Didymus Mutasa,
said not so long ago, Zanu PF's actions illustrate that they would rather
all non-party supporters starved to death, effectively a kind of
State-induced genocide, designed to ensure that Zimbabwe reverts to a
one-party state.

      This is one example of how a government has deliberately plotted to
wage a war against its own citizens for daring to exercise their right to
belong to a party of their choice.

      It is because the government no longer listens to anyone, internally,
that pressure from outside should be applied in order to avert an imminent
humanitarian crisis.

      If the food for which Zanu PF membership cards are being demanded was
free, and was being sourced by the party using its own resources, there
might be some tenuous justification of the malicious practice. But this is
food that people are paying for with their own money. On the other hand, the
government has ensured that anyone seeking to bring in food - private
companies and the MDC - is denied such a role by a government requirement
that they first obtain an import licence.

      The government is doing this deliberately in order to "fix" the
opposition, but more significantly what is happening demonstrates that the
government's assurances are worthless. President Mugabe in July assured
James Morris, the executive director of the United Nations World Food
Programme (WFP) that the government would not interfere in the distribution
of food aid to the more than six million Zimbabweans at risk of starvation.

      What has followed Mugabe's "assurance" to the WFP chief is that in
areas such as Binga and Insiza, international non-governmental organisations
have been ordered out because they are perceived as feeding supporters of
the opposition.

      That a government can sanction the starvation of hundreds of thousands
of people because they differ politically is reprehensible, disgraceful and
horrendous.The government and the ruling party claim it is not their policy
to sell food to their supporters only, but the structures
      that are doing this are theirs, so they cannot be unaware of it.

      If indeed the government was against such a practice, it would have
ordered the arrest of anyone guilty of such conduct and would have punished
them in a manner demonstrative of the government's displeasure. But it has
done no such thing because it is sanctioning these dastardly activities.

      The European Union-Sadc ministers meeting in Maputo this week would be
an appropriate platform to pressure the Zimbabwe government to allow
non-governmental organisations a more significant role in averting mass
starvation. The actions of the government are no different from the those of
the perpetrators of the genocide that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives
in Rwanda during 1994.

      It is now more than a month since non-governmental organisations were
stopped from distributing food to more than 200 000 people in Binga.

      There might still be some food which the government gave the villagers
in Insiza, in exchange for their votes during last month's parliamentary
by-election, but even there hunger may yet claim many lives.

      It is anyone's guess how the villagers are surviving. Pressure must be
exerted on the government to avert a looming humanitarian crisis. It is
ironic in a macabre sort of way that the government can express grief at the
number of lives lost in this week's road accident and mine tragedies, when
it is itself busy plotting to bring about the demise of people who are not
its supporters by denying them food.

SADC/EU Meeting Ends Without Agreement On Zimbabwe

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

November 8, 2002
Posted to the web November 8, 2002


A ministerial meeting between the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) and the European Union (EU) ended in Maputo on Friday, without any
agreement on the crisis in Zimbabwe.

The meeting lasted four hours longer than scheduled, and much of that time
was spent in negotiations over how to refer to Zimbabwe in the final

Key ministers could be seen going from one group to another clutching pieces
of paper. As the afternoon wore on so the diplomats became increasingly
tired, increasingly frayed.

In the end, all that could be said in the final statement was "On the
question of Zimbabwe, SADC and EU could not reach an agreement".

The meeting's co-chairman, the Danish Minister for Europe Affairs, Bertel
Haarder, read out to a closing press conference the text on Zimbabwe that
the EU had proposed. This expressed "concern at the plight of the people of
Zimbabwe", and stressed that the issue of land reform could not be separated
from the rule of law, democracy and human rights. It suggested sending a
joint SADC/EU team to Zimbabwe to follow the situation and make
recommendations for the way forward.

Haarder said it was the Zimbabwean delegation, led by Foreign Minister Stan
Mudenge, that had blocked adoption of this text.

However, his co-chair, Angolan Planning Minister Ana Dias Lourenco, denied
this and said the EU text had been rejected by SADC as a whole.

The EU took the precaution of circulating a brief statement of its position
on Zimbabwe. This expressed deep concern at "the violations of human rights
and the restrictions on the media, as well as the deteriorating economic
situation, caused largely by the policies of the Zimbabwean authorities".

There was no equivalent statement from SADC. Lourenco claimed the SADC
position on Zimbabwe was "well known", and called for a renewed dialogue
between the EU and Zimbabwe.

"Our objective is to re-establish relations between Zimbabwe and the EU",
she said.

She claimed that the disagreement over Zimbabwe did not affect the rest of
the meeting, nor did she expect it to affect the overall level of SADC/EU

During the meeting Mudenge called on other EU members to put pressure on
Britain to pay compensation to the mainly white commercial farmers whose
land has been expropriated during Zimbabwe's "fast track" land reform.

This was regarded as an attempt to split the EU delegations, and it failed.
"The 15 EU countries have been in total agreement", said Haarder. "We have
stood together".

He noted that when the EU held meetings in the afternoon to discuss the
working of the communique, they only lasted about five minutes, such was the
level of consensus.

Later Mudenge claimed he had been encouraged by the meeting and that "a lot
of useful information was exchanged".

But he then denounced Britain and other EU members for "destabilising"
Zimbabwe. Asked repeatedly which EU members he was referring to, he would
only mention Britain, Denmark and Holland by name.

The "destabilisation" consisted in independent radio stations broadcasting
from Britain and Holland, and foreign funding for Zimbabwean human rights
organisations and political parties. At one point, he described those who
received such funding as "British agents".

Was Mudenge really suggesting that NGOs in the SADC region should not accept
any money from foreign governments ? "They should not fund political parties
or groups that attack SADC governments", he replied.

Mudenge denied allegations of discrimination in the distribution of food
aid, and claimed that the greater part of the aid distributed this year has
gone to parts of Zimbabwe that returned opposition members to parliament.

Mudenge praised two former British foreign secretaries, Lords Carrington and
Howe, for urging the current British government to pay compensation to the
Zimbabwean white farmers, whom he described as "victims of the Lancaster
House settlement" (the 1979 agreement on Zimbabwean independence).

Ironically, Mudenge was siding with prominent members of the British
Conservative Party (historically the party which supported white minority
rule in what was then Rhodesia) against the current British government,
formed by the Labour Party (which historically supported the liberation

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ATTN SUBSCRIBERS: Please note a correction to the headline of the story moved on Thursday. Oxfam has not "urged" the Zimbabwe government to lift its ban. The headline should have read:

ZIMBABWE: Oxfam awaits approval for WFP food deliveries

JOHANNESBURG, 7 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - A British charity Oxfam on Thursday said it was still awaiting approval from the Zimbabwean government to go ahead with the delivery of food supplied by the World Food Programme (WFP).

Jane Cocking, Oxfam's regional programme manager in Zimbabwe told IRIN: "We are still in negotiations to become a WFP implementing partner. All the paperwork has been done and there are ongoing discussions with the Ministry of Social Welfare. We are confident that the suspension will be lifted soon."

Last month Oxfam and Save the Children's Fund (SCF), another British NGO were banned from distributing WFP-supplied food aid. Additionally, SCF was ordered to stop distributing its own food to people in the Binga district of western Zimbabwe.

The ban on the two charities came at a critical point, with hunger deepening across Zimbabwe. WFP has estimated that close to six million are in need of emergency food aid until the next harvest in March/April 2003.

In the meantime, Oxfam said that it had distributed seeds to communities in the Midlands and Masvingo provinces.

Last year the government accused aid agencies of using food relief to campaign for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

More recently, the politicisation of food aid has become a controversial issue as the government faces allegations of channelling food aid away from regions where political opposition is strongest.

Last month WFP suspended the distribution of relief supplies in Insiza district in Matabeleland South province due to alleged political interference by President Robert Mugabe's ruling party.

Dispatch online

Cholera follows in wake of food shortage

GENEVA -- Cholera is the latest health threat to more than 14 million people
already hard hit by a food crisis in southern Africa, the International
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies warned yesterday.

Five hundred cases of cholera and 24 deaths were reported in the last month
alone in Zimbabwe's Masvingo province, it said.

Other cases have been reported in neighbouring countries affected by drought
which has meant more people are forced to drink polluted ground water.

The International Federation has sent cholera treatment kits for up to 5000
people this week, but said it also needed to step up its water and
sanitation efforts.

The Zimbabwe Red Cross said cholera had in recent weeks swept through the
districts of Zaka and Bikita where HIV-Aids affected up to 42 percent of the
adult population.

"The Red Cross maintains there is a link between the cholera outbreak and
food shortages," the statement said.

Ben Mountfield, based in Zimbabwe, noted that cholera usually struck when
the rains started, but this year it had come earlier because of the food
security situation.

"People are weak, they have limited access to food and they are using poor
water sources," he added.

As well as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi and Swaziland are
affected by the food crisis. -- Sapa-AFP

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Daily News - Leader Page

      Media law changes broaden State control

      11/8/02 11:07:17 AM (GMT +2)

      By Sizani Weza

      NOTHING smacks of hypocrisy more than a law that purports to afford a
profession some protection but which is, in fact, replete with clauses
      that restrict its practice.

      It is even more serious if that law attacks one of the most
fundamental human rights guaranteed under our Constitution - the freedom of
expression and our right to be fully informed.

      But the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)
does precisely this by creating a fictitious privilege out of the practice
of free
      expression and criminalising those who violate the provisions of this
repressive legislation. Such a law has no place in any democratic society.

      If the proposed amendments to AIPPA form the bulk of this article,
readers should be under no illusion that any serious discussion about
regulating the media and promoting access to information in Zimbabwe must
now start with how this law in all its forms (amended or not), affects every
one of us.

      AIPPA is an ominous document. Its intentions are calculated to
buttress government's present campaign to dismantle the instruments of
democratic practice by silencing the voices of those who criticise its
apparent excesses.

      Despite the fact that dozens of changes were made to the original
Bill, which the Parliamentary Legal Committee described as "the most
calculated and determined assault on our liberties guaranteed by the
Constitution", AIPPA still remains a most extraordinarily repressive piece
of legislation.

      Indeed, some amendments proposed by Parliament were discarded on the
basis that they would erode "the policy thrust" of a law that intended to
give the Minister of Information and the Media and Information Commission
(MIC) unprecedented authority, comparable only to that of the police force
and the Supreme Court. In its original form, the Bill even granted the
Commission immunity from legal proceedings, a right only enjoyed by the
President under the Constitution.

      While these extremely authoritarian provisions did not survive in the
Bill's passage through Parliament, they provided a clear indication of the
"policy thrust" that motivated government's thinking when it introduced the
legislation. Just hours before the bombing of The Daily News printing press
in the early hours of 28 January 2001, the Minister of State for Information
and Publicity in the President's Office, Professor Jonathan Moyo, was quoted
on national radio and TV (main news bulletin on 27/01/2001) as saying:
      ". . . because of its anti-Zimbabwean stance the pro-MDC Daily News
poses the greatest threat to the national security and freedom of the Press
and government will not hesitate to take corrective and legal measures
against the wayward publication."

      It is small consolation that Moyo condemned the bombing soon after it
happened - albeit blaming the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) without providing any evidence to support his claim. The State's utter
failure to bring the culprits to justice for this act of exceptionally
blatant terrorism nearly two years ago, can only be measured by its
subsequent silence on such a grave matter.

      From this and numerous other threats the minister and other government
officials have made against the private Press, the "policy thrust" of AIPPA
becomes abundantly clear: it is nothing more than a government attempt to
silence public dissent and its messengers, in an effort to promote the
selfish interests of the Mugabe regime - one of which is to extend its stay
in power.

      To do this effectively, the government has to suffocate all the
alternative sources of information that report on government's excesses and
the voices of its victims, through economic, legal and all other means at
its disposal. And AIPPA is the instrument with which it plans to achieve
this. The Act intends to "licence" journalists and "mass media services" and
impose fines and jail terms for breaking the provisions of a law that turns
the practice of receiving and disseminating news and opinion into a

      No longer is the telling of stories and the dissemination of opinion a
right that is constitutionally protected. Under AIPPA the practice of
journalism will be severely regulated.

      Already, at least 15 journalists have been charged under AIPPA since
it was promulgated on 15 March this year. Others have been threatened,
harassed and arbitrarily detained. Beyond this, an increasingly violent and
widespread campaign has been launched to prevent private newspapers from
being circulated freely around the country. Little effort has been made to
curb this totally illegal activity.

      AIPPA's manifestly unconstitutional clauses and pending legal
challenges have exposed the Act's weaknesses and have convinced the
government of the need to gazette amendments to the law.

      These reduce its exposure to constitutional challenge and broaden the
powers of the MIC and government's control of the dissemination of all
      electronic and printed matter to unlimited audiences.

      The free flow of information in Zimbabwe will depend heavily on the
decisions of the MIC, which has the authority to decide the fate of those
who collect and distribute information for public consumption.

      In the original Act, three of the seven members of the MIC were to be
nominated by an association of journalists and media houses. The proposed
amendments seek to repeal this provision and give the minister sole
discretion to appoint all commissioners, whom he can suspend or dismiss for
"conduct that renders him/her unsuitable". What constitutes such conduct is
not defined, leaving the law open to abuse.

      That the media fraternity will have no say in the whole process as
laid down in the proposed amendments is significant. This measure will have
the effect of eroding professional independence, thereby undermining the
integrity of the information reaching the Zimbabwean public.

      Indeed, the proposed amendments reinforce the repressive tendencies of
AIPPA. Serious and meaningful debate on media regulation should not start
with AIPPA, since it is a negative document. Its inadequacies as a
democratic tool for promoting the free flow of information in the public
interest are in no way remedied by the proposed amendments. And its
selective application solely against the private Press, clearly demonstrates
that the "policy thrust" of its promulgation was to silence dissent and
starve the nation of vital and impartial information.

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Daily News

      NCA to stage demo

      11/8/02 11:32:06 AM (GMT +2)

      By Luke Tamborinyoka

      THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) says it will hold
nationwide demonstrations tomorrow without police permission to protest
against continued government repression.

      On the same day, the MDC will hold their third anniversary
celebrations in Highfield.

      Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA chairman, said yesterday the NCA would hold
mass demonstrations throughout the country to protest against government
repression and press for a new Constitution.

      "After Saturday's demonstrations, we will be holding these protests
every two weeks," he said. "We want to protest against the government's
continued subjugation of the people of Zimbabwe through unjust laws, which
we believe can only be solved by having a new Constitution. The
demonstrations will be in defiance of the repressive Public Order and
Security Act in that we will not even notify the police, as we have been
doing all along. They use our courtesy to crush our demonstrations and it is
now time to say no."

      On whether NCA members would not be arrested again for holding
demonstrations without informing the police, Madhuku said: "Fear of the
police can never be a valid reason for postponing a demonstration. Engaging
in a demonstration is a fundamental right, just as one does not seek
permission to breathe."

      He said the demonstrations would be held in Harare, Gweru, Mutare,
Masvingo, Bulawayo and Gweru. On the same day, the MDC is scheduled to hold
its third anniversary celebrations at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield.

      The MDC secretary-general, Welshman Ncube, said the party resident,
Morgan Tsvangirai, and other party leaders would address the

      On the clash between the NCA demonstrations and the MDC celebrations,
Douglas Mwonzora, the NCA spokesman, said: "In the current situation the NCA
sees nothing to celebrate, under these circumstances of massive
intimidation, election fraud, harassment of the opposition and a total
breakdown of the rule of law."
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Daily News

      $72 000 for UK visa

      11/8/02 10:35:41 AM (GMT +2)

      By Luke Tamborinyoka

      IN a move certain to dash the hopes of thousands of Zimbabweans
seeking economic refuge in the United Kingdom, the British High Commission
in Harare yesterday announced that Zimbabwean nationals visiting the UK will
now require a visa.

      Previously, Zimbabweans did not need such an endorsement on their
passports. An estimated 300 Zimbabweans, fleeing an economic meltdown in
their motherland and government-sanctioned political violence, seek asylum
in Britain every two weeks. In June, British Press reports cited Zimbabwe as
among the countries with the highest number of refugees seeking asylum in
the UK during the first three months of this year. Zimbabwe became the third
largest source of people seeking refuge in the UK - behind Iraq and

      Under the new arrangement, which comes into effect tomorrow,
Zimbabweans will have to fork out $72 000 for a visa, apart from the
prohibitive airfare of more than $500 000 to London. Zimbabweans wishing to
transit through the UK to and from a third country will also require a visa.

      "The current fee for a standard visitor's visa, allowing entry into
the UK for up to six months, is $72 000. A direct transit visa currently
costs $54 000," the High Commission announced. The visa applications will be
handled by a special operator, FedEx, which has offices in Harare, Bulawayo,
Gweru, Mutare and Victoria Falls.

      Last night, the British envoy to Zimbabwe, Brian Donnelly, denied the
new measures were part of the stand-off between his country and Zimbabwe. He
said the new visa requirements were intended to reduce the rising number of
Zimbabweans seeking asylum in the UK.

      Donnelly said in 2001 only 115 were granted political asylum out of 2
115 applicants. He disclosed that 2 800 Zimbabweans had sought asylum in the
first six months of this year.

      The British Home Secretary, David Blunkett, was quoted as saying the
new measures are in line with a new policy to overhaul the British
immigration and asylum system.

      "I have decided to bring in a visa programme for Zimbabwe to deal with
what is a very significant abuse of our immigration control by Zimbabwean
nationals. Large numbers are refused entry into the UK and returned, others
are granted short-term entry, many as visitors, but fail to return home," he

      "In addition, the UK has experienced increasingly large numbers of
unfounded asylum claims from Zimbabwean nationals.

      "We have put in place special arrangements to help those who already
have a confirmed ticket to travel to or via the UK, and can show that it was
purchased on or before 7 November 2002."

      Exempted from visas are those who are due to arrive in the UK on a
direct flight or a direct transfer flight via Johannesburg before midnight
on Friday next week. Those who are due to transit the UK before midnight on
Friday are also exempted.

      Also exempted from visas are Zimbabwean passport-holders who are
legally settled in the UK, those with certificates of entitlement to the
right of abode and those who have previously been granted leave to enter or
remain in the UK for a period of more than six months but are returning
before that period has expired.

      The High Commission said straightforward applications would be dealt
with within seven working days and that all those with queries would be
invited for interviews at their offices in Harare.

      "FedEx will deliver your passport, with a visa if your application has
been successful, to your home address," the High Commission said.

      n In an apparent retaliatory move, ZBC announced last night that the
Zimbabwean government had imposed a travel ban on 119 people, including
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Zimbabweans working for SW Radio
Africa, which broadcasts from London.

      ZBC added that Britain had been downgraded, in terms of visa
requirements, from category A to B. This means British passport holders will
now be required to apply for visas to enter Zimbabwe.

ZBC...............(govt broadcasting)

Government not worried about Britain's imposition of sanctions

9 November 2002
The Government said it is not worried by Britain's decision to impose visa
restrictions on Zimbabwean nationals visiting the European country.

The Minister of State for Information and Publicity, Professor Jonathan Moyo
told Newsnet that Zimbabwe is the only country in the region that was still
enjoying that special dispensation.

Professor Moyo said Zimbabwe was enjoying that dispensation because of the
presence of the British kith and kin in the country who are clinging on to
prime land.

The introduction of visa requirements for Zimbabwean nationals entering the
United Kingdom comes after a long-standing diplomatic row between the two

Professor Moyo said the removal of the special dispensation on visas for
Zimbabwean nationals has been prompted by the exodus of white commercial
farmers running away from the land reform in Zimbabwe.

Professor Moyo also pointed out that Britain is now afraid of being exposed
after recent reports that some blacks who left the region under the false
pretext of asylum seeking are being treated as slaves in Europe, Australia
and other developed countries.

Meanwhile, Professor Moyo said the Government has also imposed travel bans
on some Zimbabwean nationals resident in the United Kingdom because of their
works and utterances.

"These Zimbabwean nationals have proved beyond reasonable doubt that they
have lost their allegiance to the land of their birth," he said.

He added that some of them have even acquired foreign citizenship.


      MEPs face Zimbabwe ban

      EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Zimbabwe yesterday announced that six MEPs
would be banned from entering the country in retaliation for London's
introduction of visas for Zimbabweans travelling to the UK.

      The MEPs - co-president of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Delegation,
Glenys Kinnock, and Conservatives John Corrie, Nirj Deva, Jacqueline Foster,
Neil Parish and Geoffrey Van Orden - join a host of prominent UK politicians
who are no longer welcome to set foot in the country. External Relations
Commissioner, Chris Patten, has also been hit with the sanctions, which have
immediate effect.

      The Zimbabwean Government said the decision had been taken to
safeguard the country's sovereignty, secure its national interests, peace
and stability. Visas for Zimbabwean citizens travelling to the UK had been
imposed in response to the growing number of people unjustifiably claiming
political asylum.

      EU breaks its own travel ban
      MEP Geoffrey Van Orden today branded EU travel bans on senior
Zimbabwean Government officials a "farce" when it was revealed that the
Belgian Government has issued entry visas for two banned Zimbabwean

      Minister of State for Enterprises, Paul Mangwana, and Deputy Minister
of Finance and Economic Development, Christopher Kuruneri, will be
travelling to Brussels to attend the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly
between 25 and 28 November.
      "This decision is a disgrace. It makes further mockery of the European
Union and it is an affront to all the starving and oppressed people of
Zimbabwe," said Mr Van Orden. He pointed out that this is the third time in
six weeks that the EU has broken its own travel ban.

      In September, Trade Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi spent a week in
Brussels and last month the EU summit with the Southern African Development
Community was relocated from Copenhagen to Mozambique so that Zimbabwe's
Foreign Minister could attend.
      Mr Van Orden has called for the Danish Foreign Minister, Per Stig
Møller, EU Development Commissioner, Poul Nielson and MEPs to boycott the
Joint Parliamentary Assembly if the Zimbabwean ministers attend.
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8th November 2002
Press Release
Police Autopsy Results Do Not Absolve Regime.

The results of the police autopsy announced yesterday do not in anyway
change our position that the illegitimate Mugabe regime is directly
responsible for the death of Learnmore Jongwe, the former Member of
Parliament for Kuwadzana and Secretary for Information and Publicity for the
Movement for Democratic Change.

Jongwe died in the custody of the state. He had been denied bail three
times; the state alleged, among other reasons, that he had to be kept safe
from committing suicide. It now emerges that the regime wanted to keep him
'safe' so as to ensure his death.

The fact that traces of chloroquine were found in his body raises two
fundamental points. Firstly, Jongwe could have been forced to take
chloroquine. Secondly, if he indeed took the chloroquine on his own accord,
the regime and its partisan police force must explain under what
circumstances Jongwe got access to excessive amounts of chloroquine while in
state custody.

What is particularly shocking is the level of insensitivity of the police,
who proceeded to announce the results of the autopsy without even having the
decency to inform the Jongwe family. Like all Zimbabweans, Learnmore's
mother, his lawyer and the rest of the Jongwe family found out about the
results of the autopsy from the public media.

Such is the state of decay that the regime's police force has no sensitivity
to the feelings of the citizens of Zimbabwe; it is only concerned about
serving the interests of the dictator.

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena's continued insistence that the police
will not consider the results of an autopsy carried out by an independent
South African pathologist, suggests a level of nervousness about the
revelations that could come out of that autopsy. It also suggests that the
police knew, even before the result of their autopsy, how Jongwe died.

Paul Themba Nyathi,

MDC Secretary for Information and Publicity.
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Nicole Itano


JOHANNESBURG - Sikiniwe Khumalo tends to 40 patients during
a single shift as a nurse at the Helen Joseph Hospital here.
That's too many, she says, for her to offer more than basic
medical care, and certainly too many to remember all their

Miss Khumalo's workload is typical of medical personnel here
and around Africa, where HIV/AIDS and malnutrition have
given doctors and nurses more work than they can handle.

Despite this need, however, in a few months, Miss Khumalo, a
single mother of two, will pack her bags and leave the
country of her birth for England, where she will have a
take-home pay three times her salary in South Africa. And
friends who have already left say that in Britain, she will
care for just six patients at a time.

"Basically, it's the money," she said. "I can't make
payments here. I've been working for 15 years, but I think
I'm not getting the salary I deserve."

Miss Khumalo is not alone. South Africa is experiencing a
huge drain on health professionals, many of whom, like Miss
Khumalo, are leaving the country for places like Britain,
America and Australia, where pay is higher and working
conditions are better.

This comes at a time when the country's already-overloaded
health system struggles to deal with the increasing burden
of AIDS. But overworked and underpaid doctors and nurses are
looking for alternatives. They are often helped by
international recruiting agencies that many African
governments accuse of luring away their much-needed medical

No one knows exactly how many of South Africa's medical
professionals, whose training in the country's medical
schools is highly respected worldwide, have left the
country, because few tell the government they are leaving.

But the South African Medical Association estimates that at
least 3,500 of its 26,000 practicing doctors are living
abroad. The country's minister of health says that from 1995
to 1999, more than 2,500 nurses applied to have their
qualifications verified, which is usually required for
nurses to move abroad.

Surveys show that the outflow is likely to increase. Nearly
10 percent of doctors surveyed by the South African Medical
Journal said they may leave within the next five years, and
one in three new doctors doing mandatory one-year community
service has plans to emigrate.

"Students sit around and talk about where they want to go
when they leave the country," said Christiaan Burger, a
medical student at the University of Pretoria and spokesman
for a student group protesting the planned addition of an
extra year's internship. Mr. Burger and others say that this
extra year of service will push more doctors to leave.

South Africa has called on wealthy governments to stop
recruiting its medical professionals.

"There is a strong feeling that it is cynical on the part of
countries that are better resourced to rely on a constant
stream of migrants from countries that pay less," said
Jo-Ann Collinge, a spokeswoman for South Africa's Department
of Health. "There should not be a systematic draining from
developing countries."

The Commonwealth, a body of 54 former British colonies and
territories, has addressed the issue of poaching. Some
countries have agreed not to recruit staff directly from the
developing world. Britain, however, is trying to relieve
long waiting lists at hospitals by bringing in doctors from
abroad on a temporary basis.

Because the United States does not have a nationalized
health system, the U.S. government cannot forbid American
hospitals and universities from recruiting overseas.

Private companies continue to recruit heavily in African
countries by advertising in medical journals and even
offering rewards for doctors and nurses who provide the
names of colleagues. Even if such practices were banned,
there is little that could be done to stop professionals
like Miss Khumalo from approaching placement companies on
their own.

Medical groups in South Africa say the country needs to
address the homegrown reasons - which have to do with more
than just pay - that cause medical professionals to leave.

Neurologist James Temlett worked for 25 years as a doctor at
Johannesburg General Hospital and as a medical professor at
the nearby University of Witwatersrand. A month ago, he left
for Australia, where he now splits his time between a
university and a hospital in Adelaide.

Dr. Temlett said he left largely out of disgust with South
Africa's HIV/AIDS policies and the government's refusal to
recognize the scope of the pandemic. The government has
opposed the use of anti-retrovirals for AIDS patients in
public hospitals and clinics, citing concerns about cost and
the drugs' effectiveness.

"Out of the 40 patients I would see during a shift,
two-thirds of them - sometimes even as high as
three-quarters - were suffering from HIV-related diseases,"
he said. "It's certainly a crime against humanity not to
recognize the scope of the problem.  It's tremendously
demoralizing the staff."

Despite its struggles to keep its medical staff, South
Africa's situation is not nearly as severe as the situation
of many of its neighbors.

There are 400 registered doctors left in all of Zambia, and
many of Zimbabwe's medical professionals have left recently
because of the increasingly unstable political situation
there. At one main hospital in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's
second-largest city, three of the hospital's four surgeons
left the country this year. In Kenya's Daily Nation
newspaper, the director of medical services said that Kenya
has only 600 practicing dentists, an average of one for
every 69,000 patients.

"The issue of the migration of doctors is an international
issue," said Dr. Kgosi Letlape, chairman of the South
African Medical Association. "The problem has become very
widespread. The problem is that being a doctor is no longer
economically attractive. Even successful countries are
having a hard time training enough doctors."

This article was mailed from The Washington Times
For more great articles, visit us at

Copyright (c) 2002 News World Communications, Inc. All
rights reserved.

'SA Will Suffer for Its Policy On Zimbabwe'

Business Day (Johannesburg)

November 8, 2002
Posted to the web November 8, 2002

Dumisani Muleya

SA IS underestimating the collateral damage the Zimbabwean crisis is causing
its economy, the Europebased International Crisis Group (ICG) has said.

In its latest report, the ICG says SA's weak response to the Zimbabwean
situation is worrying as it shows a lack of understanding about the spread
of economic and political strife in the region.

"The lack of action divides Africa and key western governments while
Zimbabwe's opposition and civil society feel abandoned and victimised," it

ICG said SA would be the biggest loser if it continued to resist calls to
moderate and contain Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as a collapse in
Zimbabwe would have far-reaching consequences across the Limpopo.

The ICG is a private, multinational organisation committed to strengthening
the capacity of the international community to understand and respond to
impending crises around the world. It is comprised of retired leaders and
statesmen and its chairman is former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari.
Former SA high commissioner to the UK Cheryl Carolus sits on the board.
Since its inception in July 1 1995 it has written several reports on

The ICG also warns that SA is facing an increase in the number of economic
refugees fleeing from Zimbabwe. "The chief concern is the potential for a
significant increase in refugees if Harare deliberately elects to use
refugees as a human bomb."

Thousands and thousands of Zimbabweans would escape to SA."

Apart from damaging the SA economy, the Zimbabwe emergency would undermine
the New partnership for Africa's Development, ICG said.

It says that President Thabo Mbeki has been using red herrings to avoid
action against Harare. Mbeki's recent claim that his critics want him to
invade Zimbabwe is irrelevant.

"Mbeki judges that opposing Mugabe could well cost him domestic political
capital," it says.

ICG says SA officials are united in their attempts to use feeble excuses to
duck the Zimbabwe issue.

For instance, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel recently dramatised Pretoria's
unwillingness to act against Harare by asking whether his government should
act like Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon does against Palestinians. The
ICG says such arguments are unhelpful.

The watchdog says the reasons SA is reluctant to tackle Zimbabwe head on are
complex. Foremost of these is the "great sensitivity throughout the
continent about criticising a liberation movement such as Zanu (PF)".

Mbeki is failing to act because he is pandering to revolutionary solidarity
politics, says the ICG.
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Friday, 8 November, 2002, 16:41 GMT
Peer review "too scary" for African leaders

This week, Africa Media Watch examines press reaction to Africa's Peer Watch Mechanism.

The initiative, endorsed by African leaders as part of the New Plan for African Development or Nepad, aims to monitor the behaviour of African governments with a view to attracting Western aid.

Papers fear that the initiative's success will be hampered by the long-held tradition of non-interference in other states' affairs.

"The notion of Africa being its brother's keeper is not going to be an easy ride," an opinion writer in Johannesburg's Business Day cautions.

      The Nepad project is doomed to fail because it is really nothing more than wishful thinking
      Daily Nation 
The paper feels many countries on the continent will view the idea as a threat, especially those that "rely on repression to rule their people".

Harare's Daily News takes a similar line. In an editorial on why African leaders are "scared" of scrutiny, the paper says the phenomenon "is Zimbabwe in a microcosm: intolerance of dissent".

"The Zimbabwe Government is sceptical of Nepad, anyway, basically because of its reliance on Western aid," the paper adds.

'Window dressing'

Nigeria's Vanguard worries that "without a cast iron commitment to police its own progress... Africa's latest development plan could suffer the same fate as a half-dozen previous failed initiatives".

This pessimism is echoed in a commentary in Kenya's Daily Nation, which says the NEPAD project "is doomed to fail because it is really nothing more than wishful thinking".

Botswana's Mmegi comments in similar vein: "History shows that African leaders see no evil and hear no evil when dealing with errant leaders".

      We survived this long because we did not interfere in anybody's affairs...
The paper cites the example of Zimbabwe, whose "neighbours bear the economic consequences of Robert Mugabe's misrule, yet fail to take firm action against him".

Similarly, Botswana can hardly advise Namibia's Sam Nujoma against running for presidency for a fourth term, the paper says.

"If we do, a war of words will erupt overnight. We shudder to think what could develop after the verbal exchanges," Mmegi says.

"We survived this long because we did not interfere in anybody's affairs... This initiative is a useless exercise that can only generate resentment and anger within the continent".

The paper adds that if it is not "politically palatable" for leaders to criticise each other in an African set-up, then "the peer review is a window dressing that we do not need".

Plausible move

A more optimistic note is sounded by Uganda's New Vision, which describes Nepad and its initiative as "more plausible than previous recovery plans".

      Anyone who does not sign is unlikely to obtain any of the extra aid and investment that Nepad is trying to attract to the continent
      Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique 
The paper feels Uganda's support for peer review will also silence government critics who have accused the government of "slipping back to the dark days of dictatorship".

"Hopefully critics will take this open-minded acceptance of peer review as a sign that democratisation is still going forwards in Uganda, and not backwards as they claim," the pro-government paper remarks.

An opinion writer in Kenya's Daily Nation goes so far as to describe the Peer Review Mechanism as "a remarkable addition to the usual attempts by African countries to get donor aid".

The paper says the initiative amounts to a pledge by African leaders: "We will govern our countries more fairly and efficiently if you give us lots of money for development projects."

The Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique also highlights the link to aid.

"Anyone who does not sign is unlikely to obtain any of the extra aid and investment that Nepad is trying to attract to the continent," the agency says.

It quotes the Mozambican government adviser, Firmino Mucavel, as saying that the Nepad summit came under pressure to turn the peer review mechanism into a mere assessment of economic performance, "leaving embarrassing political issues aside".

"But without the political side, it is not possible to achieve social goals," Mucavel said.

Kenya's People's Daily disagrees, saying the economy should always be the priority.

Nepad leaders should "escape the Western obsession with demanding verbalisms like 'democracy' and 'transparency'... and focus on monitoring African economies," the paper advises.
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The Times

            November 08, 2002

            Elephants blunder back into the line of fire
            by jonathan clayton

            As African nations push for a relaxation on ivory sales, our
correspondent reports from Kenya's Tsavo game park

            IT WAS dead of night when the young Somali poacher finally crept
slowly towards the watering hole.
            The Kenyan game ranger, crouching low in a nearby ambush
position, stiffened and tightened his finger round the rifle trigger,
straining every sinew for the slightest clue to his adversary's exact

            When the poacher switched on his torch to give enough light to
refill his water canister, a single shot rang out, killing him instantly.

            The darkened plains of east Africa erupted into gunfire as the
poacher's three accomplices fled into the bush, firing indiscriminately at
where they thought their pursuers from the Kenya Wildlife Service were

            "We believe we got the leader. Another was injured. They were
almost out of the park. The others made it into more populated areas, and
got away," Danny Woodley, the game warden responsible for security in Tsavo,
an area about the size of Wales, said.

            Hours earlier, the gang had slaughtered a family of ten
elephants, hacking away their faces with axes to gouge out every inch of
their precious ivory tusks.

            The wildlife service had been tracking them since they entered
the park several days earlier, but had been too far behind to prevent the
massacre, the worst single case of poaching in Kenya for several years.

            Mr Woodley, a white Kenyan, was one of the first to arrive at
the killing site. Some corpses lay with their feet in the air, others on
their knees, as though they had died begging.

            "They were like beached whales in pools of crimson blood,
covered in vultures. There were cartridge cases all over the place," he

            However, what worried and impressed Mr Woodley was the
professional way in which they had been killed: approaching from downwind,
the killer took the matriarch first with a few accurate head shots, then as
the rest of the confused herd milled around, he finished them off
individually with just one or two shots to the head.

            "This man had killed elephants before. He knew what he was
doing," Mr Woodley said. The killer had to get close enough for an accurate
head shot as he was only armed with a light calibre AK47, he said,
emphasising that elephants have poor sight and experienced trackers can get
very close before they are sensed.

            His suspicions were later confirmed when the dead poacher was
identified as one of the killers of elephants in the "ivory wars" of the
1980s. For Mr Woodley, it was just another confirmation that someone,
somewhere, was again buying ivory.

            Kenya has witnessed a sudden surge in poaching over the past 18
months that evoked memories of the late 1970s and 1980s, when huge herds
were destroyed.

            When that slaughter ended in 1989 with a worldwide ban on the
trade in ivory, Kenya's elephant population had been reduced from several
hundred thousand to a mere 18,000. Across Africa, the elephant population
was halved from 1.3 million to about 600,000.

            Now poaching is back and many wildlife experts blame its
increase on speculation that controls on the trade in ivory could soon be

            More than 20 African governments support easing the ban to sell
up to 87 tonnes of their ivory stocks. The issue will be reviewed next week
by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

            Kenyan officials say that 81 elephants have been poached so far
this year, compared to 57 for the whole of last year, which was itself
double that of the previous year.

            More than one third of all Kenya's current elephant population
of about 30,000 roam the plains of Tsavo East game reserve in the northeast
of the country, a remote and traditionally wild area.

            Mr Woodley and his aides first noticed an increase about 18
months ago. "We had had several years of virtually no poaching at all, and
then it started to hit us again," he said. "There is clearly a market for

            About 30 elephants are known to have been poached in Tsavo this
year, but the remains of others in such a vast area may still not be found.

            Officials say that, while the increase in poaching may not be
due to the Cites review, it shows that there is already a demand for ivory.
If the trade in ivory returns, they say, prices could rise and lead directly
to more poaching, which non-southern African states are not nearly as well
placed to combat.

            "The crucial question to ask is: if we have sales again, will
demand go up and therefore the price?" Esmond Martin, a world expert in the
ivory trade, said. "If the price goes up, then we will have an increase in
poaching. It is as simple as that. Elephants are only killed for economic

            Mr Martin said that the current price for African ivory, most of
which is now smuggled to illegal carving houses in China, was about $45
(£28.50) per kilo. Poachers got between $7 and $12.

            The former director of the wildlife service, Richard Leakey, the
son of the palaeontologist Louis Leakey, and the man who led the fight
against the ivory trade, said: "Today we face a critical moment in the
battle to save the elephant. This is no time to reintroduce the trade."

            Plea to lift ban

            a.. Twenty-two African governments have backed plans to relax
the 13-year ivory trade ban and allow South Africa, Botswana, Namibia,
Zambia and Zimbabwe to sell up to 87 tonnes of their ivory stocks.

            a.. The issue will be discussed and voted on next week by the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) in Chile.

            a.. The five southern African countries have demanded a one-off
sale of their stockpiled ivory, and permission to sell a quota of 14 tonnes
of ivory every year. They claim that elephant populations are not threatened
and argue that the sale of ivory stockpiles will pay for conservation

            a.. Opponents, including Kenya, India and many environmental
groups, believe any relaxation will prompt a further increase in poaching
and illegal trade.

            a.. There is growing evidence that ivory poaching is on the
increase in Africa, particularly among the Congo Basin countries of the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial
Guinea, Cameroon and the Central African Republic.

            a.. Africa's elephant population is estimated to have fallen
from 5 million in the 1930s to about 600,000 today. Most African ivory is
smuggled to China and is estimated to sell for about $45 (£28.50) a kilo.

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Daily News

      Women sidelined in land reform exercise

      11/8/02 11:29:27 AM (GMT +2)

      ABBY Mgugu, the Director of Women and Land Lobby in Zimbabwe, says
women have not benefited from the government's land reform exercise despite
constituting the majority of the population in the country.

      Speaking at a meeting of the Parliamentary committees on Gender, Land,
Justice and Women's caucus yesterday, Mgugu said only 16 percent of
women-headed families had been resettled by March this year under Model A1
farming scheme.

      Women constitute 52 percent of the population.

      Mgugu said women's issues were ignored in the accelerated Land Reform
and Resettlement Implementation Plan dubbed the "fast track" programme.

      "This programme is provided for in the 16th Amendment to the
Constitution of Zimbabwe. It does not deal with gender issues at all.

      "It has been difficult for women to compete with men for land under
this programme because there have been incidents of violence surrounding the
programme," Mgugu said.

      She said a quota system for the resettlement of women should have been
instituted under the fast track land reform programme in order to
accommodate more women.

      She said this is despite the fact that the government is part and
signatory to several human rights instruments such as the Beijing Platform
of Action and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of
Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

      Article 149 (g) of CEDAW states that: "State parties shall take all
appropriate measures to ensure that women shall have equal treatment in land
and agrarian reform and in land resettlement schemes."

      Daniel Ncube, chairman of the parliamentary land committee said women
were suffering because they were being discriminated against by men when it
came to land acquisition.

JTA News

      Zimbabwe Jews weighing options
      as Ashkelon mayor offers them aid
      By Moira Schneider

      CAPE TOWN, Nov. 8 (JTA) - Zimbabwe's shrinking and mostly elderly
Jewish community has been heartened by an offer from the mayor of Ashkelon
to assist those who settle in the Israeli coastal city.
      Michael Mensky, who heads South Africa's Israel Center -- associated
with the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization -
conveyed the offer, as well as other aliyah options, at community gatherings
this week in Harare and Bulawayo.

      Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin learned of the plight of the Zimbabwe
community while attending an aliyah fair in South Africa over Passover.

      "He said he would take their plight as his own and work as a mayor to
enhance their coming to Ashkelon," Mensky told JTA.

      Mensky told community leaders that Israel historically has
demonstrated its concern for threatened Jewish communities -- such as those
in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen and Ethiopia -- and that Zimbabwe's 600 Jews
would be similarly helped.

      Over the past several years, black "war veterans" have invaded
white-owned farms in Zimbabwe and turned out their owners. Hundreds of
thousands of black farm workers and their families also have been thrown out
of their homes.

      The country's economy has deteriorated into massive unemployment and
runaway inflation, and over 80 percent of the black population now lives
below the poverty line. A longstanding drought has exacerbated the risk of

      Zimbabwe Jews who move to Israel will receive an "absorption basket"
of financial benefits, Mensky said. He is lobbying for special recognition
for them so that housing allowances, particularly for retired people, may be

      "The situation in Zimbabwe seems to be deteriorating, and we suggested
to the community that if and when it's time, Israel will be there for them,"
Mensky said. "This is the first time they have been made such an offer."

      It's not clear how many will take Vaknin up on his offer. Some
Zimbabwe Jews do not see Israel as a viable option, others are looking at
other destinations and some believe the situation at home will improve,
Mensky said.

      While most are taking a wait-and-see approach, "in light of what's
happening in the country, I think many are taking this offer very
 seriously," Mensky said. "They feel comforted to know that there is some
sort of a back-up plan lined up."

      An elderly member of the community, who did not wish to be identified,
said Jews in Zimbabwe indeed were considering their options.

      "We don't know what's happening. We're in an awkward position - after
all, we've been here all our lives -- and it's not something that we enjoy,"
he said.

      Community members "certainly showed more interest than usual" in the
Israeli offer, the man noted. "And although the elderly are the last to want
to move, it will be taken up if necessary."

      Ivor Davis, past president of the Harare Hebrew Congregation, said
Vaknin's offer "went down extremely well."

      "For many of us this country has been a 'goldene medina' with its
splendid climate, friendly people and its opportunities," he said. "For
those of us who will leave the country, we shall miss it desperately."

      But, he noted, "what has happened to the white farmers and, indeed, to
the million of their black farm workers is perhaps the proverbial writing on
the wall."

      Mervyn Smith, chairman of the African Jewish Congress, said the offer
was "very generous and very helpful. There's no doubt that the economy and
infrastructure has collapsed in Zimbabwe and if we can help Jews settle in
Israel, where they will live in safety and comfort, certainly it's to be
encouraged in all respects."

      Mensky said he had been shocked to see long lines for bread and
gasoline in Zimbabwe.

      "Jewish homes I went to had no milk or bread," he said. "Basic
ingredients" are "very hard to come by."

      The many elderly members of the community seem particularly likely
candidates for aliyah, Mensky said.

      "Those who are of pension age and know that their prospects of growing
old in Zimbabwe are very dim would look very seriously at relocating to
Israel," he said. "A lot of those I met have children in Israel, and for
them to go and spend time near their families is very appealing."

      But he acknowledged the difficulties.

      "These people come from very large homes, and it basically means
giving up everything," he said.
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UK inquiry into jet parts for Mugabe

David Pallister and Tania Branigan
Friday November 8, 2002
The Guardian

The British government has launched a formal investigation into allegations
that a white Zimbabwean businessman - one of the richest men in Britain -
has broken UK and European sanctions by supplying aircraft parts to the
Zimbabwean air force.
The allegations against the international financier John Bredenkamp have
been made in a United Nations report into the "illegal exploitation of
natural resources" in the Democratic Republic of Congo, published last

In the past few days both the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and the defence
secretary, Geoff Hoon, have confirmed in parliamentary answers that an
investigation has been launched. In the first answer to the Tory MP Michael
Ancram, Mr Straw said: "We are aware of allegations of past arms dealing
activities by Mr John Bredenkamp."

On Monday Mr Hoon told the Labour MP Paul Farrelly, who accused Mr
Bredenkamp of sanctions-busting in the Commons in March: "The government
certainly takes seriously all credible reports of misuse or diversion of
UK-exported equipment."

The UN report says that Mr Bredenkamp, founder of the Ascot-based sporting
agency Masters International, "has a history of clandestine military

While Mr Bredenkamp admits he broke sanctions for the Rhodesian regime of
Ian Smith, he denies any sanctions violations since then. He said in a
statement to the Guardian that he took "great exception to any allegation of
wrongdoing", and described the report as "hopelessly misleading and

His £720m fortune has placed him as the 33rd richest person in Britain,
according to the Sunday Times Rich List. He is registered in the UK as a
director of 11 companies.

The report says he is an active investor in a brokering concern called
Aviation Consultancy Services, which acts as an agent in Africa for major
European defence contractors, including BAE Systems. BAE Systems supplied 12
Hawk jets to Zimbabwe in the early 1980s, but an arms embargo was imposed on
the country in May 2000 in protest at the violent treatment of President
Robert Mugabe's opponents. The EU followed suit in February this year.

The UN report says: "Mr Bredenkamp's representatives claimed that his
companies observed European Union sanctions on Zimbabwe, but British
Aerospace spare parts for Hawk jets were supplied early in 2002 in breach of
those sanctions."

The panel cites internal documents, which the Guardian has seen, from one of
Mr Bredenkamp's companies, Raceview Enterprises, which supplies logistics to
Zimbabwe's defence forces. A memorandum dated May 17 2001 details aircraft
spares worth $3m (£1.9m).

In a lengthy explanation sent to the Guardian, Mr Bredenkamp's spokesman
agreed that ACS acted as a broker for Raceview, which reached a general
supply agreement with the air force in August 2001. But he said the aircraft
spares were legitimately exported from European manufacturers and not from
BAE Systems or the UK.

The spokesman enclosed a letter from ACS to the air force in April this year
saying that because of the EU embargo two suppliers (whose names have been
blanked out) had decided to suspend all shipments to Zimbabwe. The country
has aircraft from Italy, Spain and France.

Although BAE Systems acknowledge that ACS is "one of our many advisers in
Africa" it denies supplying Hawk spares in breach of sanctions. "We did not
supply any spares to Zimbabwe and we do not believe any were delivered,
because we believe Zimbabwean Hawks are not flying and have not been for two
years," Richard Coltart, BAE's head of news, said. "We investigated these
allegations and made sure we hadn't done anything wrong, even by accident."

Zimbabwean newspapers have suggested that the Hawk spares were bought from

In reply to the report's allegations that Mr Bredenkamp's companies had
improperly exploited Congo's natural wealth, his spokesman said the
conclusions were "either false or inaccurate, and in context maliciously

"Many of the statements and allegations contained in the report are
substantially at odds with the considerable information and documentation
voluntarily provided," the spokesman said.
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