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

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Saturday, 11 October 2002

Hi Karen
I've been asked by a number of media outlets here in Australia to 'cut to
the chase' when providing information on the 'real' situation in Zimbabwe.
With such a mass of reporting available to peruse, journalists frankly give
up trying to analyse events and invariably trot out the same old line
('Redressing the colonial imbalance' bullshit). 
So, as much as I have been able, I've tried to summarise matters to this
point in time in the hope it will bring clarity to a confusing situation. 
It will inevitably contain omissions, but a summary is by necessity
just that. Go well.
Netsai Mabhunu, Melbourne

Disaster in Zimbabwe: the facts

The catastrophic famine looming over Zimbabwe is entirely man-made.  Made
by Robert Gabriel Mugabe - president for life and a septuagenarian at war
with his own people.

A severe drought grips the region, but farm dams throughout the country are
full and irrigated crops could, and should now be growing and nearing

Yet all but a handful of commercial farmers (95% European and many third or
fourth-generation Zimbabweans) have been forced to leave their land, or are
awaiting eviction, but in any case, have ceased production of the nation's
staple, maize - and wheat, beef, poultry and dairy products - and the
tobacco and flower export crops which earn invaluable foreign exchange.

Mugabe's land grab has nothing at all to do with 'giving land to the
masses' or "taking back what was stolen from us by colonialists". This
outrageous lie has largely been accepted by Africa and much of the world as
some kind of excuse for his policies which have spawned the almost total
the destruction of civil society in Zimbabwe.  Mugabe and his cronies
peddle the lie for all it is worth.  It a lie for the following reasons:

*  Approx 350,000 farm workers (many of whom are also third and
fourth-generation Zimbabweans, but of Malawian or Mozambiquan descent)
representing one-third of the country's total work force were employed on
commercial farms.  In turn they supported an average 5-6 people on the
farms (wives, children, siblings, other relatives).  Total supported by
commercial farming activities therefore +/- 2,000,000, or nearly 20% of the
population.   An unknown number (perhaps as many as a further 1,000,000)
people in the cities were in turn supported by the farm workers - not
surprising given that employment stands now at 70% across country.

* Around 80% of all commercial farms were acquired AFTER independence in
1980 AFTER they had first been offered to the government by statutory law
requirement, before then being issued a "Certificate of No Interest".  In
other words, the government could have purchased the farms - and donor
(mainly UK) money would have provided the funds to acquire them.

*  In the June, 2000 parliamentary elections, the opposition MDC - formed
one year earlier - won 57 seats of the 120 in parliament.  ZANU PF retained
62, with one other going to an independent.  However, the government's
slender majority was bolstered by the amended constitution, in which 30
seats are reserved for unelected appointees, including ZANU PF politburo
members, and selected tribal chiefs.

*  This astonishingly close result was because that virtually all farm
workers voted for the MDC as did as many as 70% of urban dwellers who have
migrated to the cities to escape grinding poverty in the bush.  ZANU PF
popularity in the rural areas, where most Zimbabweans live, slipped,  but
it still got the government over the line.

*  Mugabe realised that in order to smash the opposition, he had firstly to
remove the farm workers from their abodes (no address, no voting
registration possible). To do this he had to get rid of the white farmers
(seen, correctly as supporting the opposition).  Ergo - raise the hoary old
topic of 'redistribution of land" which could have been settled during the
previous 22 years - and systematically rid the country of white farmers.

*  Simultaneously his secret police, uniformed police, army and others,
began (and sustain) brutal suppression of urban dwellers.  However, they
are not sitting ducks like the farm workers, and therefore less able to

*  At the same time, he cracked down on foreign journalists (banning BBC,
Telegraph etc) and began hammering the local independent media (firebombing
presses, torturing editors etc).

*  Countrywide, Youth Brigades were formed in the guise of National
Service.  Thousands of 16-18 year-old youths were indoctrinated and
unleashed in the rural areas where bestial acts were committed on suspected
MDC supporters. 'Rape as torture' became widely and effectively used as a
tool of suppression. These  "Green Bombers" - mere children - are the
vanguard of the government's pogrom to undermine the MDC's overwhelming
support among the youth - the largest and fastest-growing section of the

*  Teachers, seen as holding moral authority in the community, and
suspected (rightly) of harbouring pro-MDC sentiments were next.  Brutalised
and expelled from their schools and colleges, their 'counter-revolutionary
activities' could no longer be tolerated.  Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister - a
one-time friend and confidant of Britain's Foreign Minister Jack Straw said
- in a July 2001 meeting with teachers in Masvingo ""You are going to lose
your jobs if you support opposition political parties in the presidential
election. As civil servants, you have to be loyal to the government of the
day. You can even be killed for supporting the opposition and no one would
guarantee your safety."

*  However, in those March 2002 presidential elections (Mugabe vs
Tsvangirai) the people overwhelmingly voted for the MDC but, as the world
knows, the result was stolen by Mugabe who ensured rural ballot boxes were
not monitored by more than a handful of foreign observers (ballot-rigging),
city voters were unable to vote even after queuing for two days, and
managing to finding a further 400,000 votes on the last night of counting.

*  With this 'mandate' and the approval of the spineless OAU, SADC and
others, he now had carte blanche to carry out the final solution: remaining
whites on the land forcibly evicted, manipulation of donated maize (given
only to ZANU PF card holders) and stepped up torture, harassment and
imprisonment of MDC supporters.

The end to all this is nigh: city whites / businesses, then Asians will be
dispossessed and expelled (remember Amin)? and the recently returned 10,000
Zimbabwe Army personnel used to crack heads in the cities.  With
middle-class black Zimbabweans streaming from the country by their
thousands, the country will be left with a tightly-guarded and privileged
tiny minority of 'chefs' and their stooges in business, the military and
police - and a cowed, starving and dispossessed majority.

Can this living nightmare end without a bloody fight?  Some say it is the
only hope for the masses because Mugabe and his cronies must not fail. They
know that a date in the Hague awaits them.
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Bungles fuel food crisis
October 12 2002 at 08:04PM
By Caroline Hooper-Box, Sivuyile Mangxamba, Sapa and Reuters
Red tape and a shortage of funds are threatening the lives of millions in southern Africa as the number in need of famine relief rises.
Desperately needed maize has been held up at Durban port and at Zimbabwean border posts by bureaucratic red tape and a reluctance to accept genetically modified grain from the United States until it has been milled.
Richard Lee, a United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) spokesperson, told The Sunday Independent: "The number of people in need is increasing every week."
'There are 700 000 to 800 000 orphans here at the moment'Current United Nations estimates are that 14,4 million people in southern Africa are threatened with starvation. Half of those in need of food aid are in Zimbabwe. South Africa has agreed to donate 100 000 tons of maize to the WFP for emergency food assistance in the region.
The WFP has 40 000 tons of food stored at Durban's port. Uncertainty and reluctance over accepting US-sourced maize that has no guarantee of not being genetically modified have led to lengthy delays in shipping the food to where it is needed most.
President Thabo Mbeki said having the food sitting at the port was sending mixed signals. Whereas the region was seeking food aid, it looked like it did not need it. South Africa has decided to carry the cost of milling the GM maize currently stored at South African ports.
Zimbabwe and Mozambique will accept GM maize only if it has been milled, which averts the risk of contaminating local GM-free crop strains. Another 81 500 tons of US-sourced maize will be shipped to southern Africa in the next few months.
The WFP has appealed for $507-million (about R5-billion) to avert the food crisis, but has received only 36,5 percent of that, Lee said. The WFP is urgently appealing for more donations.
'It's not here yet but it's coming'Tony Hall, a US envoy to the Food and Agriculture Organisation who is on a fact-finding mission in Zimbabwe, told reporters "all indicators point to a major catastrophe in the making here and I'm not sure it can be stopped. Half the population are at risk of starvation.
"There are 700 000 to 800 000 orphans here at the moment. Added to that is the Aids problem, the drought, the economy, the government and the illegal seizures of farms. Put all this together and you've got a famine.
"It's not here yet but it's coming... Drought has not caused this problem, it has only compounded it."
Hall said food aid to Zimbabwe was being held up at the borders for more than a week by red tape at times. He warned that if the Zimbabwean government did not step in quickly, remove the red tape and allow massive amounts of food imports, it would be assured of a famine. In South Africa there is no food shortage, but a price crisis. The prices of maize, bread, potatoes and other basic foods have increased by more than 18 percent in the past few months, prompting the cabinet's announcement this week of a short-term programme to provide some maize meal at half the current cost.
The departments of social development and agriculture have been tasked to investigate a system of food vouchers, and social welfare grant increases are also on the cards.
The main causes of the price increases were the "rapid depreciation of the rand, oil prices, regional food shortages and a lack of competition in the supply chain beyond the farm-gate", the cabinet said after a meeting this week.
Where food imports had been cheaper in the past, the depreciation of the rand has made them more expensive, the cabinet said.
Rising food prices were being aggravated by the "hand of the market" where local farmers were choosing to export most of their produce in a bid to boost their profit margins, said Wolfgang Thomas, a Western Cape-based economist.
Bongiwe Njobe, the department of agriculture's director-general, said South Africa had a food surplus, but a pricing structure problem.
The government has reached an agreement with Premier Foods to provide a Yiyo Lena-branded maize meal, which will start selling at a subsidised price of R25,99 a bag this month. A 12,5kg bag of maize meal currently costs between R45,75 and R47,39.
The amount supplied will be just a fraction of South Africa's consumption. According to Johan Pienaar, the director of economics and trade at Agri SA, the 1 000 tons being distributed per month was "not a lot. But, for those who do not have any, it is quite substantial", Pienaar said.
Investigations are being conducted on the re-establishment of strategic grain reserves, which would act as buffer stocks.
Organised agriculture experienced "no discomfort" with the government's plans to bring relief from food price inflation to the poor, Japie Grobler, the Agri SA president, said.
Although the reintroduction of strategic grain reserves - announced as a possibility to be investigated by the government - might have a distorting effect on the market, it needed not be the case if it was done in the correct way, Grobler said.
Thoko Didiza, the agriculture minister, said South Africa would "work towards the introduction of incentives for expanded food production in the region as well as the lowering of food tariffs within the Southern African Development Community as part of its free trade agreement".
©2002. Independent Online
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Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2002 12:37 PM
Subject: Principles The Defence of Fundamental Principles
Over the centuries, man has evolved a set of fundamental principles which are meant to lay down rules for his communes.  God did the same thing at the beginning of time with the 10 commandments and like those, the modern principles of governance are meant to be written in stone for universal and time reference by communities everywhere.
They are not complex, although the out workings are, and they are not many: -
1..  The rule of law and equality before the law.
2..  The right to freedom of expression.
3..  The right of freedom of association.
4..  The right to personal safely and protection.
5..  The security of privately owned assets.
6..  Freedom from discrimination based on ethnic, racial or religious affiliation.
7..  The right to citizenship and democracy within an open society.
8..  Integrity and transparency in the use of public funds.
9..  Gender equality in society.
10..  The sanctity of marriage and the special rights of children.
You could add more to this list, but I think that in essence, these are the very basic things that people all over the globe have accepted as the "ground rules" for national governance.  How are we doing?  Well looking at that list we are clearly in violation of nearly all the above - the only exceptions perhaps is number 9 and 10 where we have made a start of sorts, although progress is slow.
The MDC in its turn has decided that it wants to effect changes to this situation through non-violent, democratic means.  We have people in our ranks that have demanded "action" to change the situation - by this they mean mass action in the main.  In other parts of the world this is accepted as a normal part of daily political life.  Everybody gets to do it at some stage of his or her lives, not here.  If we went onto the streets to demand change we would be confronted with armed force immediately.  The Police and Army would use live ammunition and special riot control equipment including tear gas that stuns its targets and high pressure hoses that can carry a variety of most unpleasant substances.  Following such unwarranted reaction, the government would then ban the MDC and imprison its leadership - setting back the cause of democracy and good governance in this country for a decade or more.
We thought that if we took the "high road" of moral and political principle that the international community (including our immediate neighbours who have most at stake) would back us unreservedly and do whatever was needed to bring the Mugabe regime into line.  We were mistaken in that belief.  The South African Foreign Minister came to Zimbabwe last week, made no statements, did not meet the MDC and as far as we can discern, did little to stop the outrageous political and criminal behavior of the Mugabe regime.
The Americans alone have stood clearly by their principles and made their position clear at every turn.  It was George Bush who first rejected the March 2002 presidential election results.  Listening to the Voice of America editorial "expressing the views of the American government" the other night drew tears to my eyes as I realized that someone out there appreciated what we are going through here in Zimbabwe and felt as strongly as we did about the situation.
Listening to Baroness Amos in the House of Lords or the BBC Africa service, one does not get that clarity or commitment coming through.  A lot of wringing of hands (or is it a washing of hands?) and a lot of denunciation of what the Mugabe regime is doing to this country, but little else.  We see little or no sign of effective pressure on South Africa to do the right thing.  The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in South Africa has said on many occaisions when asked what they were doing "what do you expect us to do - go to war against Mugabe?" No one to my knowledge has yet answered his question.  The reality is that South Africa does not have to go to war against Mugabe to bring him into line - all it has to do is to say to him, very firmly, enough is enough, its time to go.  Zimbabwe has an economy that is 3,6 per cent the size of South Africa.  We depend on South Africa for over
70 per cent of our foreign trade; foreign trade is over 50 per cent of our GDP.  We import 50 per cent of our electrical energy, 100 per cent of liquid fuels.  Like Smith, Mugabe could no sooner say no to Mbeki than fly to the moon.
South Africa's "quiet diplomacy" is not working and will not work.  It means that when seen in public with Mugabe, Mbeki is seen as being totally at ease - often even holding hands with him in the African way.  It means supplying electrical energy on extended terms of credit and persuading others to do the same.  It means supporting lines of credit for liquid fuels from South African refineries.  It means allowing Mugabe to violate the investment rights of South African firms that are invested here without serious intervention on their behalf.  It means supporting Mugabe's use of the platforms of the AU and the SADC to defend the indefensible.  It means standing up against the rest of the democratic world when they want to sanction the Mugabe regime so as to give Mugabe more time to wipe out his domestic opponents.  Of course such a strategy is not going to work and the South African government clearly means it not to.
So where does that leave us?  Well the options are narrowing.  The US State Department issued a new foreign policy statement a couple of weeks ago in which they pledged support for democratic movements who seek change in totalitarian regimes via peaceful means.  What does that mean?  Does it mean using the UN to bring such delinquents to heel - such as they are doing right now with Iraq?  Does it mean the threat of military intervention in all such situations in defence of the principles of good governance and democracy?  The obvious answer in the case of Zimbabwe is no, it does not mean that because we are too insignificant to warrant such attention and because Mugabe does not represent a threat to the security interests of the big powers anywhere.
So the battle to defend these fundamental principles must be fought out in lonely prison cells and bloody torture chambers, in the defence of democracy by simple peasant farmers who risk their lives and the lives of their families in so doing.  The pictures last week of piles of food supplied by donors being used to reward voters who asked to vote "under supervision"
at polling stations.  The cowardly withdrawal of food aid in the Binga district where people courageously voted in a MDC controlled local government authority in defiance of threats from the administration that to do so would be to put the food supply in jeopardy.  The South African Minister of Foreign Affairs justified her "softly, softly" approach by saying "I see no sign of impending violence here" as if that was the issue at stake.  Does she not see that it is the MDC who is maintaining that situation by restraining its supporters from taking the low road and all that that would entail?
If the failure of the international and regional community to help us defend fundamental principles here continues, we will eventually have no choice in the matter, we have to have change before the country is totally destroyed by this manic regime.
Eddie Cross Bulawayo, 13th October 2002
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Farming in Zimbabwe on its last legs

      October 12 2002 at 08:04PM

By Basildon Peta

Only 400 white farmers are now left in Zimbabwe's once mighty commercial
agriculture sector, out of more than 4 500 before the advent of President
Robert Mugabe's seizures of white farms two years ago.

Farming organisations and analysts this week expressed fears that Zimbabwe's
agricultural sector, the backbone of the economy, was now headed for its

There were reports this week that 90 percent of 300 000 supporters of the
ruling Zanu-PF who were resettled on small plots carved from the seized
farms did not have seed or implements to work their land, barely two weeks
before the official start of the rainy season.

All remaining sugar-cane farmers were evicted this week after Zanu-PF
militants invaded 72 cane farmers and ordered them off their land in the
Chiredzi area in the lowveld.

Sugar is one of the commodities that has long disappeared from supermarket
shelves in Zimbabwe.

"The Chiredzi farmers were evicted regardless of the status of their farms.
Even those who had not been served with eviction notices were removed from
their land," said Dave Hasluck, the director of the Commercial Farmers

Jenni Williams, a spokesperson for Justice in Agriculture, said the Chiredzi
farmers had been evicted on instructions issued from police and army

"The army and police officials told farmers that their instructions
superseded any existing high court rulings," Williams said.

Hasluck and Williams said only about 400 farmers were left working their

Hasluck said another 400 had left the country permanently, while more than 3
200 others had left their land to live in the cities and towns of Zimbabwe.

About 600 others farmers occassionally visited their land when the situation
permitted but were unable to farm because of serious disruptions.

"We have only 400 farmers effectively doing their work with little or no
disruptions," Williams said.

Analysts said this week that Mugabe's land seizures would be disastrous for
agricultural output next year.

Hasluck said the tobacco planting season had begun on September 1 but the
remaining farmers had been able to plant only 15 percent of the total
hectarage last year.

He said the country would be lucky to get 60 million kiolograms of tobacco
in 2003, compared to the 237 million kilograms produced in 2000 before the
disruptions started.

Tobacco output has been on the decline, with farmers producing 200 million
kg in 2001 and 170 million kg in 2002.

Tobacco is Zimbabwe's largest foreign currency earner. It accounts for 37
percent of the country's total export receipts. With the massive decline in
tobacco output expected in the coming year, Zimbabwe's serious hard currency
shortages are set to worsen.

Economists have predicted that total agricultural output next year will
contract by 60 percent.

The situation could worsen because of the government's failure to provide
critical back-up resources for the 300 000 blacks who have been resettled on
the seized farms.

Zimbabwe's business and financial newspaper, the Financial Gazette, said
this week that time had run out for 90 percent of the resettled farmers. It
quoted a report by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet), which
said 94 percent of the resettled farmers did not have seeds for the upcoming
season's cereal crop.

The report said at least 60 percent of the farmers had no option but to wait
to get the inputs from the government.

Seed prices had increased by 375 percent, pushing them out of the reach of
many of the farmers, the report said. The Fewsnet report said at least
R26-billion was required to adequately support the resettled communal
farmers with seeds, chemicals, fertilisers, tillage and extension devices.

However, the Zimbabwe government had allocated only R1,4 billion in a
supplementary budget for the input support programme.

Apart from lack of tillage services, land preparation was also being
hampered by the fact that most resettled farmers did not have the money to
invest in capital equipment.

Moreover, most of the resettled farmers were unlikely to produce cash crops
but would opt to produce food crops like maize for their subsistence,
raising more fears about the crop output next year.

Many of the 1 000 large farms acquired by top government, military and
ruling party officials were already lying idle, with no prospect of being
farmed by their new owners, most whom visited them only on weekends.

"There is mounting evidence that we are in no position to produce a crop for
next year and this is going to be a major disaster," said John Robertson, an
economic consultant. - Foreign Service

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Business Day

'We will not overthrow Mugabe'

Ranjeni Munusamy
South Africa will not dictate policy to Zimbabwe, neither will it be
"dragooned" into overthrowing President Robert Mugabe's government,
President Thabo Mbeki said this week.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Mbeki said the West's suggestion that
"the worst crisis in the world is Zimbabwe" was not helping to solve the
nation's problems.

"You can see that there is a particular agenda that drives that particular
perception about Zimbabwe. The notion that South Africa can dictate policy
to Zimbabwe . . . people must abandon that. The notion that South Africa can
walk across the Limpopo and remove that government, what [US] President
[George W] Bush calls regime change, is not going to happen," said Mbeki.

He said the only solution to Zimbabwe's problems was continued engagement
with everyone concerned.

In line with this, the Southern African Development Community decided last
week, on invitation by Mugabe, to send its Ministerial Task Force on
Zimbabwe back to the country to review developments, particularly the
controversial land redistribution programme.

"President Mugabe, when we were meeting now in Luanda at the SADC summit,
said why doesn't the SADC task force come back to Zimbabwe, look at anything
and everything it wants to . . . so that it can determine for itself the
sort of intervention it should make," said Mbeki.

"He was saying that it is necessary that the region should have its own
independent reading of what is happening in Zimbabwe so that it makes its
own determination."

Mbeki also spoke on his battle with the "ultra-left", which he said was to
be found in Cosatu, the ANC and the SA Communist Party.

He said these people were demanding that the government change its policies
with regard to the privatisation of state assets, as this process was
interpreted as the "implementation of a neo-liberal agenda and an
accommodation of globalisation".

"What has to happen, I think, is that we need better engagement with
everybody concerned. That also includes engagement with the affiliates, for
instance, of Cosatu, not just with Cosatu the federation," he said. "I think
that process of engagement - honest, open, frank - will do something to
educate ourselves about the reality of South Africa."

He said he did not think the anti-privatisation protest action against the
government would have any "material impact", as was evident from the poor
response of workers to last week's general strike.

"We've been saying to Cosatu it's not possible . . . to mobilise workers to
act against this government which they elected, to act against the ANC.
Politically, it can't be done; they [workers] will not respond."

He said the ANC's forthcoming national conference should deal with ways to
improve the implementation of government policies. The ANC should assess the
effectiveness of all government structures, and ANC representatives, in
discharging their responsibilities.

Regarding a statement by the ANC Youth League that top positions in the ANC,
such as the presidency, should not be challenged, Mbeki said all branches
were free to propose candidates of their choice.

With regard to poverty levels in the country, Mbeki said the government was
looking at urgent interventions to cut food prices, make school feeding
schemes operate more efficiently, redesign the social security system and
improve the distribution of social pensions.

Mbeki said Parliament should amend the Constitution to allow national and
provincial elected representatives to switch to the party of their choice.
He said the issues raised by the Constitutional Court last week in its
judgment on floor-crossing legislation were "distorting the political
evolution of this country".

He said a possible ANC takeover of KwaZulu-Natal, if the amendment was made,
should not affect negatively the ANC's relations with the IFP. "We clearly
would have to be very careful to ensure that whatever happens in the
politics of the province doesn't result in the re-emergence of political

Sunday Times
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            SA should not to change its stance on Zimbabwe
            October 13, 2002, 19:15

                  Alec Erwin, trade and industry minister, says Zimbabwe
featured strongly in the deliberations

            South Africa should not change its quiet diplomacy in dealing
with Zimbabwe, but needs to have more urgency in dealing with the matter.
This was the message of world business leaders at the end of the fourth
meeting of the International Investment Council in Durban.

            The International Investment Council is concerned about the
effect of Zimbabwe's instability on the rand, and South Africa's prospects
of attracting foreign investment. The council has, however, rejected calls
for government to adopt a hard line approach to Harare. Neil Fitgerald, the
chairperson of Unilever, says: "You never persuade your neighbour by
shouting over the fence."

            Following the recent visit to Zimbabwe by Nkosazana Dlamini-
Zuma, the Foreign Affairs Minister, government says an agreement has been
reached to start bilateral talks with the Zimbabwean government soon.
President Thabo Mbeki says: "To engage with them on all the matters that
relate to Zimbabwe; all of them, whether they relate to land or legislation
or general politics of the country, the economy, the food shortages and so
on, we will do that."

            With regards to the economy, the council believes that South
Africa is set to achieve a growth rate above the world average within the
next two years. This is based on the economy's strong export performance and
government's increased expenditure on the domestic economy.

            Government now plans to intensify its international investment
campaign by selling South Africa as a success story. The investment council
believes it will succeed in getting more investment into the country.
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Mbeki won't be 'dragooned'

Johannesburg - Pretoria won't dictate policy to Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe, nor would it be "dragooned" into overthrowing his government, South
African President Thabo Mbeki said in an interview published on Sunday.

"When people say: 'Do something', we say to them: 'Do what?', and nobody
gives an answer because they know when they say 'do something' what they
mean is march across the Limpopo and overthrow the government of President
Mugabe, which we are not going to do," Mbeki told South Africa's Sunday

"You can see that there is a particular agenda that drives that particular
perception about Zimbabwe. The notion that South Africa can dictate policy
to Zimbabwe. People must abandon that."

"What (US) President (George W) Bush calls regime change is not going to
happen," Mbeki said. "The particular focus on Zimbabwe suggests that
particular agendas are being pursued here. And we are being dragooned to
play: To come and fulfil and implement other people's agendas."

Mbeki said the only solution to Zimbabwe's problems was continued engagement
with all parties concerned.

Mbeki said the suggestion by Western governments that Zimbabwe was the worst
crisis in the world would not help to solve the problems in the country.

Mbeki and his Nigerian counterpart Olusegun Obasanjo are pushing for talks
between Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) to re-open.

'Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe every day'

Mbeki said the focus on Zimbabwe as the most grievous problem in the world
could suggest that particular agendas were being pursued.

There was not nearly as much focus on Pakistan, which was also suspended
from the Commonwealth after its military coup a few years ago.

"When we asked, why is nobody saying anything about Pakistan, but it is
Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe every day? Is a military coup less of an
offence? Or is a military coup in Pakistan okay?"

He said South Africa's position remained the same in that the land question
in that country had to be resolved.

"I'm sure the nation understands when we've said the matter of the land
question in Zimbabwe must be handled in the context of the law, without any
conflict, in the interest of both black and white in Zimbabwe.

"We've said that many times."

A SADC team would return to Zimbabwe, on Mugabe's suggestion, to make its
own determination of the situation, Mbeki said in the report.

The South African government has been criticised for its refusal to
criticise Mugabe's controversial land reforms and lawlessness in Zimbabwe
that has claimed the lives of a dozen white farmers and displaced tens of
thousands of people. - Sapa-AFP
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Zimbabwe shrugs off Australia's Mugabe sanctions
Zimbabwe has dismissed the Federal Government's decision to impose sanctions against President Robert Mugabe.
Zimbabwean officials say the measures will not deter their President.
Presidential spokesman George Charamba says Australia's actions will have little effect.
"There is no way they can stop the land reform program and they know that, and that we are almost close to concluding it, with or without Australian support or goodwill," he said.
But Tendai Biti, spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, says other countries need to follow Australia's lead.
"The international community cannot continue watching, that is completely unacceptable," he said.
The Federal Government has imposed travel bans and frozen the assets of Mr Mugabe and his senior officials.
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Mugabe threatens to 'regulate' meddling Catholic Justice Commission

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has singled out the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) for meddling in the country's internal affairs and has said his government will regulate it.

The official Herald newspaper says NGOs, trade unions, the private media and embassies are also among the "Trojan horses" that received money from abroad "all to be used against us".

But the main object of his ire was the Catholic Commission, which he said had recently fielded opposition candidates in a northern rural constituency in local elections.

"This is a gross interference in our national affairs, disguised as non-governmental work," Mr Mugabe said to members of his ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) Central Committee on Friday local time.

Mr Mugabe said NGOs were not registered to be "hatcheries of political opposition" and said his government would tighten policies to regulate their work, the Herald said.

"They should not cry, for they have redefined the rules of engagement," Mr Mugabe said.

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From el Pais (Spain)

Hitler, the Arab Playboy and the Son of God

By John Carlin

Part One

In order to transport half a million dollars in unlaundered cash safely from one country to another there are two basic requirements. First, you must possess a business class ticket, because the weight of half a million dollars exceeds the hand luggage limit on Economy. Second, you must disembark at an airport where customs officials may be relied upon not to ask questions. Harare International Airport has provided precisely such facilities in recent years; foreign associates of the Zimbabwean government have provided the business class tickets and the millions in cash. Once inside Zimbabwe, the money has been employed, among other things, to pay off senior government officials and others close to President Robert Mugabe; to engage in currency exchange rackets; and, abetted by the military and other elements in the Zimbabwean state apparatus, to purchase "blood diamonds" in the war zones of the Congo.

In tracking the trail of the cash, el Pais has obtained dozens of documents, including three signed affidavits, and spoken to experts on Zimbabwe in London, Washington and New York. But the investigation has centred chiefly on the testimony of two individuals who worked closely for more than two years within an elite clique of Zimbabweans and foreign business people who have been making big money out of the mayhem of war. The two individuals' story reveals the corrupt schemings of Robert Mugabe's inner circle and reinforces the perception - held by the European Union and the United States, among others - that Mugabe is the leader not so much of a national government as of a small gang that has spent the last four years getting rich thanks to a war that has cost more than two million lives in the Congo; that deems its own survival to be of more pressing urgency than the impending death by famine, as the United Nations has warned, of six million Zimbabweans.

In conversations el País held in Washington that ranged from Congress to the State Department to the Pentagon and in London with officials of the government and members of the House of Lords, the words that kept on recurring to describe Zimbabwe's ruling elite were "mafia", "pillage" and "criminal". The consensus, summed up by one congressional staffer in Washington, was that the Zimbabwean government was "a criminal organisation run for the benefit of Mugabe and his cronies". "Mugabe always was power-hungry, but not - I thought - corrupt. I never imagined he would end up presiding over the most corrupt regime in Africa," said Robin Renwick, one of the chief architects of the Lancaster House agreement which gave independence to Zimbabwe and, as it turned out, uninterrupted power to Mugabe and his Zanu PF party for the last 22 years. Lord Renwick, later British ambassador in South Africa and Washington, has been one of the more vocal proponents of an EU visa ban and assets freeze imposed this year on Mugabe and 71 of his associates. Russ Feingold, the Democrat who chairs the US Senate's Sub-Committee on Africa, has pushed for similar sanctions in Washington. Senator Feingold, who has met with members of Mugabe's inner circle, said that Zimbabwe's "elites" had "strong incentives to retain power regardless of the cost to the country as a whole"; that it was difficult to avoid the conclusion "that public office is being used almost solely for private gain". Or, as Renwick more bluntly put it, "the Zimbabwean army has been rented out in the Congo for the benefit of Mugabe and the mafia around him".

Ed Royce, the Republican who heads the House of Representatives' Africa sub-committee, is outraged by what he calls Mugabe's use of "food as a weapon", deliberately "starving people" his political opponents. The judiciary is neutered, the press is gagged (North Korea-style, no foreign press are allowed in Zimbabwe today) and meanwhile, Royce said, "Mugabe's cronies live high by pillaging the Democratic Republic of Congo". Walter Kansteiner, the US assistant secretary of state for Africa, spoke of the man-made "tragedy" of Zimbabwe when he spoke to el País. Traditionally an exporter of food, a country with a solid infrastructure and one of the highest educational standards in Africa, Zimbabwe had been a beacon of light in a dark continent. It had emerged, in Kansteiner's word, "from a harsh colonial past into a country that clearly valued democratic tradition". Not any more, said Kansteiner, who - choosing his words diplomatically - described the business deals the Mugabe regime now engaged in as a "a little bit murky".

The revelations of the two individuals from inside the Zimbabwean "mafia" who spoke to el Pais, in conversations held in London and Marbella, help reveal the depths of the Zimbabwean tragedy and shed new light on the murk; on a state-sanctioned criminal network whose accomplices and interests extend from Africa to Europe and the Middle East. The two spoke on condition of anonymity because they said they feared that if their names were published they, or their wives and children, might be killed. Because of their very real concerns, the two sources shall be known in this article as - choosing two names entirely at random - Ali and Moses. The story they tell has two protagonists, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Thamer Said Ahmed Al Shanfari, both of whom have been in the spotlight of a long-standing United Nations investigation into the looting of the Congo's mineral wealth. Mnangagwa is Mugabe's crony in chief: his closest confidant, the key man in Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation - the secret police - ever since independence, and the man with whose blessing almost any crime may be committed in Zimbabwe with impunity. Al Shanfari, Mnangagawa's crony, is an Omani entrepreneur described in a secret South African intelligence document obtained by el País as "the Zimbabweans' most important foreign business partner". Mnangagwa, known in Zimbabwe as "the Son of God" because of the general supposition that he is Mugabe's anointed successor, is the man who, among other things, guarantees the safe passage of illegal cash and diamonds through Harare Airport. Shanfari, the playboy son of a former Omani oil minister, is the man who starts the ball rolling by buying the business class tickets and arranging the transfer of the large sums of cash from Europe on which the commercial transactions in the Congo depend. Shanfari is the president and chief executive officer of a company called Oryx Natural Resources that owns a diamond concession in Mbuji-Mayi, in the Congo, jointly with the governments of Zimbabwe and the Congo.

Ali, more hands-on in his dealings with Mnangagwa and Shanfari than Moses, recalls how three different individuals paid by Shanfari would take it in turns to pick up sums ranging from 500,000 to 750,000 US dollars in cash from a bank account in London and a bank account in Brussels, both in the Oryx company name. The money itself did not belong to Oryx (a company whose auditors are the same as Enron's, Arthur Andersen) but to at least three Arab business associates of Shanfari's. One of them was a Lebanese diamond dealer; one an Iraqi arms dealer; one a Sudanese businessman who had been involved in the bankruptcy scandal of the Abu Dhabi-based Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in 1992. Ali and Moses said they knew personally, from first-hand evidence, of ten such trips, involving a total of around five million dollars. "But we know there were many more of these missions, even though we were not directly involved," they said. Shanfari's couriers, ex-soldiers who could be relied upon to obey and follow orders, would catch a plane at Gatwick Airport ("there was no problem with the x-ray machine: money just shows up as ordinary paper"), take their business class seats and fly south to Harare, where - thanks to Mnangagwa and the complicity of the Zimbabwean military - they would breeze through customs. "The money would then be distributed in various ways," said Ali, who says he saw much of what happened with his own eyes. "Part of it would go to the PLO Embassy in Harare. The ambassador was a very nice man. As well as being the longest-serving diplomat in Harare - his car's number plate was CD1 - he was a foreign exchange dealer. He gave us Zimbabwean dollars in return for the US, lots of them, in big cardboard boxes." Large chunks of this money would then go to Emmerson Mnangagwa. "Emmerson would get a cut after very trip. What would happen would be that Emmerson would come round to Thamer's house for a barbecue or a dinner – he has a huge ranch house outside Harare -- and while they were eating one of Thamer's trusted people would put two or three of these cardboard boxes stuffed with money into the boot of Emmerson's car."

Another of the beneficiaries of Shanfari's largesse was Mugabe's young wife, Grace, a woman who has acquired a reputation as something of an African Imelda Marcos on account of her profligate spending down the years in the shops of London, New York, Madrid and other western capitals which she has visited in recent years - usually flying Air Zimbabwe, a state airline which the Mugabes have a habit of commandeering for their own private use. Ali and Moses said they were aware of boxes of money having been delivered by car to the First Lady at her home. A third beneficiary was General Vitalis Zvinavashe, head of the Zimbabwean armed forces, famous for having uttered the following memorable line last March on the eve of Zimbabwe's flagrantly stolen, "Any change designed to reverse the gains of this revolution will not be supported." Another individual who received cash hand-outs from Shanfari was Sydney Sekeramayi, Mnangagwa's most serious rival to take over as president eventually from Mugabe. Sekeremayi, today minister of mines and energy, wrote a letter to Shanfari dated 7 July 2000 when he was Minister of State Security in the President's Office - meaning head of intelligence - thanking him for monies received. Elections had just taken place in Zimbabwe and Sekeremayi had retained his parliamentary seat. The letter, a copy of which has been obtained by el País, carries an official Zimbabwean government letter head and contains Sekeremayi's signature at the bottom. It reads: "Dear Mr Thamer Al-Shanfari, I am writing this letter to express my sincere appreciation for the generous moral, material and financial assistance you rendered to boost my election campaign. My re-election as the Member of Parliament for Marondera East was greatly facilitated by your support. Thank you very much.Dr S:T: Sekeremayi."

The crucial cogs in the state apparatus having been duly oiled (Moses calculates that Mugabe's people took between 10 and 20 per cent of the cash that arrived on the flights from London Gatwick), the remaining money set off into Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On planes provided by a company called Avient - of which the Zanu PF treasurer and close Mugabe associate J.C. Joshi is a director – that also had a side-line supplying Antonov aircraft and Ukrainian pilots to the Congo military. Mnangagwa, who did business deals with his Congo counterparts, saw to it that there would be no awkward questions asked by the customs men at Kinshasa airport. "The procedure was quite straightfoward," Moses explained. "We'd meet with a guy called Alphonse in Kinshasa, a Belgian diamond dealer, and we gave him US dollars for uncut stones that had been extracted in the Congo's big diamond area Mbuji-Mayi. Then we'd go back to Harare with the diamonds and from there we'd take them down to South Africa to have them cut. That was the tricky part."

A couple of individuals who Ali and Moses know very well and who were employed by Shanfari transported the diamonds to Johannesburg in their underpants. "Enough diamonds to fill a tea cup," said Moses. "Easily half a million to a million US worth on each trip." Once the stones had made it through Johannesburg airport the rest was easy. "We got the diamonds back into Harare - never a problem because we had the infrastructure of the military to assist us and of course carte blanche in the airport itself. From there the diamonds, certified as if they had been extracted legally from a mine owned by Oryx, travelled on to Antwerp where they were sold legally. The people who put the money into the system in the first place got the same amount back - but now certified by the Antwerp diamond buyer as having clean provenance. It was pure money-laundering. Everybody was happy. Thamer's Arab friends had achieved their objectives. Thamer took a big cut. Emmerson and the others made easy money."

Sometimes, though, Shanfari tried to get a little too clever, according to Ali and Moses. "It worked beautifully, until the day that it didn't." This is what would happen. The US dollars would travel from Harare to Kinshasa but not, initially, to buy diamonds. To be changed, rather, into Congolese Francs. At the office of an associate of Shanfari's called Akram that Ali describes as having been "just full of foreign currencies". Akram was Akram Moorad, nephew of the Lebanese diamond dealer who was among Shanfari’s cash suppliers in Europe. "Thamer called the Congolese Francs 'chicken feed'," recalled Ali. "There was tons of the stuff, loaded inside big silver containers, that we'd take back to Harare. Later, in the dead of night, we'd load the boxes onto a Libyan plane - a private plane in from Tripoli - at Harare airport which would take the money to Kisangani, which was the heart of rebel country in the Congo war. Here they desperately needed Congolese Francs." Congolese Francs are the local currency but cash has been hard to obtain. The distance between the capital Kinshasa and Kisangani is more than 700 miles. In war-time getting from one place to the other has proved almost impossible. Getting US dollars presented less of a challenge, because they could be shipped across Congo's borders with two countries friendly to the Kisangani rebels, Uganda and Rwanda. "So they bought Thamer's Congolese Francs in US dollars," Ali continued, "but Thamer got back double the rate he'd sold them at in Kinshasa. Double!"

It was a great business, (though there are suggestions now that some of the dollars received might have been forged). But it was risky. "Because if either the Zimbabweans or the Congolese found out the money was going to those they were actually at war with, there would be hell to pay for Thamer." As far as the Zimbabwe authorities were concerned, Moses explained, the Libyan plane was taking the money to Oryx's mine at Mbuji-Mayi, to pay for staff and equipment. "One day we got nailed at Kinshasa airport," Ali said. "There was a cock-up, someone wasn't tipped off on time, and they caught us - Congolese military security - with 750,000 US worth of Congolese Francs on our way back to Harare." An employee of Shanfari's was jailed, as was Patel the Kenya Airways man. Shanfari's employee was released after Mnangagwa intervened directly on his behalf with the Congolese justice minister.

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Garfield Todd, former Rhodesian Prime Minister, is dead at 93

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Sir Garfield Todd, the former prime minister of Southern Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was once known, died after suffering a stroke Sunday. He was 93.

Todd died in hospital in the western city of Bulawayo, said his daughter Judith Todd, a leading Zimbabwean human rights activist.

Prime minister from 1953 to 1958, Todd backed Zimbabwe's independence for two decades before it was finally granted in 1980. He later became a bitter critic of President Robert Mugabe and earlier this year was stripped of his passport and vote under draconian new citizenship laws.

Born in Invercargill, New Zealand, Todd came to Southern Rhodesia in 1934 as a missionary for the Church of Christ and helped run a school about 250 miles southwest of the capital Harare, which was called the Dadaya Mission.

The school produced many of the country's black political leaders, who studied and later taught there. The school was attached to a teachers' training college, one of just a few institutions in the country that was open to blacks wanting to further their education.

Todd entered Parliament for the governing white supremacist United Party in 1946. His rugged good looks, fluent oratory and lucid memory smoothed his path to the premiership in 1953.

In power, Todd deployed white troops to crush striking black mineworkers and faced mounting unrest over unpopular land reforms.

But he also felt at least some blacks deserved the right to vote and enter politics, believing compromise would secure the whites' future.

"These were reasonable things, but the whites only saw it as losing their privilege, and they were right. But it was an artificial privilege," he told The Associated Press in an interview in 2000.

Todd claimed he was ousted by white reactionaries bent on blocking black advancement, but colleagues said his autocratic unpredictability triggered his replacement by Edgar Whitehead.

Out of office, Todd joined African nationalist leaders in 1960 in a call for British troops to remove Whitehead by force.

His critics accused him of doing little to advance democracy while in power, and of trying to reinvent himself as a liberal and build a black constituency to restore his waning political influence.

When Whitehead was himself replaced by Ian Smith, who declared unilateral independence from Britain in 1965, Todd was restricted to his ranch. He was twice detained during the 1972-80 independence war.

Nominated a senator after Zimbabwe's 1980 independence, Todd at first strongly supported Mugabe's policies but later accused him of allowing rampant corruption to destroy the hopes of a rising black generation.

Early this year, officials denied Todd a vote in presidential elections because he was born in New Zealand, claiming he had forfeited his Zimbabwean citizenship.

Todd's wife, Grace, died last year. He is survived by three daughters and two grandchildren.

He was knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth in 1989, with Mugabe's approval, at the behest of the New Zealand Government.

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