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London protest urges African nations to condemn Zimbabwe's leader

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: October 13, 2007

LONDON: About 50 people, including a member of Britain's Parliament, held a
protest on Saturday against Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and urged
other African countries to condemn him.

The demonstrators outside Zimbabwe's embassy held banners reading "No Mugabe
No" and chanted and sang songs as Dumi Tutani, a demonstration coordinator,
said: "We are trying to raise awareness of the problems back home. .... We
won't rest until there are no more human rights abuses and until there are
free and fair elections.

"There are people in Zimbabwe who don't have access to water or electricity.
We have the highest child mortality rate in the world. Something needs to be
done immediately," Tutani said.

Legislator Kate Hoey, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on
Zimbabwe, received a petition from the protesters and promised to give it to
Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other European Union governments.

It urges the British government and the EU to suspend
government-to-government aid to all 14 Southern African Development
Community countries and to give it directly to Zimbabweans until human
rights have improved in their country. The petition says those other
southern African countries must publicly speak out against the Zimbabwean

"We are here today because Mugabe has not yet gone away. He has dissipated
his country. There is more deprivation than ever, and there are people who
are literally starving," Hoey said. "We need to make sure the South African
countries wake up and speak out and get rid of this dictator. While he is
there, it is a blight on the whole of Africa."
In 2002, Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations on charges
of human rights abuses, unfair land redistribution and election fraud.

Currently, Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party are overseeing a collapsing economy
in Zimbabwe, which has left basic goods scarce amid soaring inflation, which
the International Monetary Fund warns may hit 100,000 percent by the end of
the year.

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Church acts against breakaway Robert Mugabe ally

The Times
October 13, 2007

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe will next week file a court application
seeking to seize control of a diocese from its bishops in a dispute that is
central to a row over homosexuality.

The Province of Central Africa wants to seize three vehicles from the Right
Rev Nolbert Kunonga, Bishop of Harare, and bar him from using any of its
properties, according to a report on the website

Bishop Kunonga is internationally discredited as a supporter of Robert
Mugabe's regime, and in a remarkable snub of a diocesan bishop for political
reasons, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has not invited
him to the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

Last month Bishop Kunonga, who according to the Church Times has never had
to answer accusations over evictions of villagers or of incitement to
murder, declared that he was breaking up the Province of Central Africa and
withdrawing the Harare diocese because of the province's "liberal" approach
to homosexuality.

Most of the Province of Central Africa is conservative on homosexuality,
which is illegal in Zimbabwe and other African nations. Although another
diocese in the province, Lake Malawi, has elected a liberal vicar from
London, the Rev Nick Henderson, as its bishop, local difficulties have meant
that he has yet to take up the appointment.

But Bishop Kunonga insists that the Province has failed adequately to
censure bishops who are sympathetic to homosexuality.

New Zimbabwe reports that the Anglican Church has engaged the Harare law
firm Gill, Godlonton & Gerrans to pursue the cleric before the "funds and
investments are spirited away". Documents seen by the website's
correspondent show that the Anglican Church is seeking an order barring
Bishop Kungonga from accessing the Church's bank accounts, transacting with
the Church's investments and "from working and or doing business from any of
the Church's immovable properties wherever situate.

"Following Kungonga's withdrawal from the Church of the Province of Central
Africa, he has no right to remain in possession of the Church's assets
including the bank's funds, investments, movable and immovable assets,"
lawyers said in papers to be filed at the High Court on Monday.

"The Church entertains a well-founded fear that Kungonga will fund his new
ministry with the Church's resources as he has access to the Church's
investments and funds."

Bishop Kungonga used an interview with Zimbabwe's state media last week to
defend his anti-homosexuality stance. He said: "We are inspired and
motivated by our beliefs in the Scriptures, our beliefs as Catholic
Christians and our beliefs as human beings that homosexuality cannot be
accepted because it takes away our human dignity and it is not accepted in
the Constitution of our country, and it is inconceivable in our cultural

"It's an abomination not only from the Scripture point of view, but also
from the cultural, political set-up in which we are operating."

Having Bishop Kunonga as a foe is a gift for the pro-gay movement in the
African Church. His support for the conservative evangelical wing is an
embarrassment from which leaders will be anxious to distance themselves.

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Zimbabwe War Vets Leader Declares War On Ruling Party Corruption


      By Chris Gande
      12 October 2007

The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association says it will
shortly launch a campaign to weed corrupt politicians out of the country's
ruling ZANU-PF party, the organization's chairman, Jabulani Sibanda, said

Addressing some 5,000 veterans of the 1970s liberation war Thursday in
Bulawayo after a march in support of President Robert Mugabe's 2008
re-election bid, Sibanda told corrupt ZANU-PF officials, including cabinet
members, to heed his warning.

Sibanda and other war veterans were Mr. Mugabe's shock troops for the
takeovers of commercial farms starting in 2000 under the banner of land
reform. Veterans recently mobilized to demonstrate in Zimbabwe's 10
provinces in support of Mr. Mugabe.

Mr. Mugabe has rewarded Sibanda's loyalty, recently reinstating him in
ZANU-PF from which he was suspended by the party's national chairman, John
Nkomo, who accused him of being disrespectful to senior party officials.
Sources said the reinstatement did not go down well with some ZANU-PF
leaders in Matabeleland who want Sibanda, a popular figure within the
grassroots in Bulawayo, to be ejected from ZANU-PF.

Sibanda explained his anti-corruption initiative and his support for Mr.
Mugabe in an interview with reporter Chris Gande of VOA's Studio 7 for

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MDC activist battles for life after brutal assault

Zim Online

Saturday 13 October 2007

Own Correspondent

HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party on Friday said one of its activists was battling for his life at
Harare hospital after he was brutally assaulted by soldiers and supporters
of the ruling ZANU PF party.

Nelson Chamisa, spokesman of the main faction of the MDC led by Morgan
Tsvangirai said the activist, Maxwell Mazambani, was last month abducted
together with another member of the opposition party, Fibion Mafukidze who
has since died from his injuries.

"Maxwell Mazambani, the MDC candidate for Ward Five in Gutu North in last
year's council elections, is battling for his life at a Harare private
hospital following brutal assaults by soldiers and ZANU PF supporters on 25
September 2007," Chamisa said in a statement to the Press.

He did not say whether the opposition party had reported the abduction and
assault of its two activists, as well as the subsequent death of Mafukidze
to the police.

Both ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira and police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena were not immediately available for comment on the matter.

Chamisa said the MDC was concerned at the continuing violence against its
supporters at a time the party is engaged in talks with ZANU PF that are
aimed at ensuring peaceful and democratic elections next year.

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki was last March tasked by the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) to bring the two political parties to
the negotiating table to cobble up a solution to Zimbabwe's political and
economic crisis.

"The MDC is deeply disturbed that while we are negotiating with the regime
in Pretoria, ZANU PF agents and security forces continue to brutalise and
assault ordinary Zimbabweans simply because they belong to the MDC," said

He added: "There cannot be a free and fair election when the ZANU PF regime
continues to undermine the SADC-brokered dialogue."

The MDC has however in the past said it will not pull out of the dialogue
process despite continuing violence against its activists. - ZimOnline

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Giant platinum mine to import power from Mozambique

Zim Online

Saturday 13 October 2007

Own Correspondent

JOHANNESBURG - Impala Platinum (Implats) says it has reached a tentative
agreement with Mozambique to import power from Cahora Bassa to cushion its
Zimbabwean operations against rolling blackouts.

The South African-based mining giant - majority shareholders in Zimbabwe's
largest platinum producer Zimplats Holdings - said an agreement had been
reached in principle with Mozambique to import power directly from
Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB).

"Internal power sources (are) projected to be inadequate for Zimplats'
expansion plans," Implats said in a presentation posted on its website.

The group, which runs platinum mining operations at Selous, Ngezi and Mimosa
near Bulawayo, also announced plans to build a 330-kilovolt sub-station near
Selous to power its operations. Mimosa is jointly owned by Implats and

Zimplats is currently being supplied power from a Zimbabwe Electricity
Authority (ZESA) sub-station in Norton.

Zimbabwean companies have been subjected to rolling blackouts blamed on an
eight-year economic crisis that has seen ZESA failing to keep pace with
demand for electricity.

Large electricity consumers such as mining companies have in recent years
been forced to pay for their power needs in foreign currency in a move meant
to assist power utility raise hard cash for imports.

Zimbabwe imports more than 40 percent of her power from neighbouring

Implats also announced it had assisted ZESA with the purchase of two
transformers for the Norton sub-station.

Besides the constant power cuts, Zimbabwe's mining sector has to come to
grips with a proposed law that would see foreign players in the industry
ceding 51 percent of their shareholding to indigenous blacks. - ZimOnline

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Reinfeldt 'must boycott Africa summit' over Zimbabwe

The Local, Sweden

Published: 13th October 2007 11:55 CET

Pressure is growing on Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to boycott a
meeting between European and African leaders if Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe attends.

Birgitta Ohlsson, foreign affairs spokeswoman for the Liberal Party, one of
Sweden's four governing parties, has said Reinfeldt should follow the lead
of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who has already said he will not

Writing in Saturday's Dagens Nyheter, Ohlsson said that to attend would be a
"moral faux-pas".

"Gordon Brown has already set the agenda. I think definitely that the
Swedish prime minister should follow his line," she told The Local.

Ohlsson emphasised Zimbabwe's desperate situation:

"I've seen the cruelty against the opposition; I've seen the poverty -
around 30 percent of Zimbabwe's population has left the country. 25 percent
have HIV," she said.

The Swedish government has yet to make a formal decision on boycotting the
summit, although the Liberals' strong opposition will weigh into the
decision. Neither Reinfeldt nor Foreign Minister Carl Bildt have said
whether Sweden will attend, although Bildt has said Mugabe is "quite simply
not welcome," to the summit.

Ohlsson, who visited Zimbabwe last month and who has close contact with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said Sweden has "a great
reputation in Zimbabwe." The country's democracy movement will "be very
disappointed with us" if Reinfeldt turns up at the EU-Africa summit in
Portugal in December, she said.

Portugal, which hosts the EU presidency, and European Commission President
Jose Manuel Barroso have responded with dismay to Brown's decision not to

"That would not be fair, nor right, and that would not serve European
interests if, because of a political regime or a specific dictator, we could
not have a meeting at this level with Africa as a whole," Barroso told
Portuguese media this week.

But Ohlsson says that the decision to lift the EU's travel ban on Mugabe so
he could attend the summit was "hypocritical".

Ohlsson contrasted the treatment of Mugabe with the EU's attitude to Burma's
attendance at the 2004 Europe-Asia summit. On EU insistence a compromise was
eventually reached in which Burma only sent a low-level delegation.

"Why can't we have the same attitude to Zimbabwe," Ohlsson asked.

African Union leaders have so far refused to force Zimbabwe to send a
low-level delegation, insisting that Mugabe has the right to attend.

China is one factor complicating the EU's attitude to the summit. With the
Chinese an increasingly important player in the mineral-rich continent, many
EU officials think the summit is necessary to bolster European trade
relations with Africa.

Ohlsson said the China issue did complicate matters:

"It is a problem - they are very active on the continent with investment and
aid programmes."

"But at least we have the principle of democracy, which the Chinese don't.
If we don't stick to our principles, how can we encourage the [Zimbabwean]
opposition to stick to theirs."
James Savage ( 656 6518)

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Issue Of Mugabe Role In Lisbon Summit Again Tests EU-AU Relationship


      By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
      12 October 2007

The international debate over whether Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
should invited to a European-African summit in December in Lisbon has
reopened a fault line between the two continents - which has spread within
Europe as well.

Summit host Portugal said it would not discriminate against any country,
leading many to believe that it will issue invitations in such a way as to
include Mr. Mugabe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel took the same position
in a recent visit to South Africa.

But British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has declared that no top British
official will attend if Mr. Mugabe is present. African leaders, offended,
have taken much the same stance they took 2003, when the same issue scuttled
a planned EU-AU summit.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, chairman of the Southern African
Development Community, said Mr. Brown's participation in the summit was also

For perspective, VOA spoke with two analysts about the Mugabe contretemps:
political analyst Glenn Mpani in Cape Town, South Africa, and international
relations expert Innocent Sithole, who is based in Leeds, England.

Sithole told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
that moves by Britain and others to isolate Zimbabwe have made the gathering
more about Mr. Mugabe and Zimbabwe than larger issues of development and

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Saturday 13th October 2007

Dear Family and Friends,
I don't know what the colour of sadness is, but this October 2007 I think it
must be purple. The streets in our suburbs, towns and cities are lined with
Jacaranda trees and they are in full blossom, carpeting the roadsides with
soft purple flowers. The Bougainvilleas are covered in flowers too - mauve,
lilac and bright purple. It's hard to believe that with such tropical
brilliance all around us this hot October, there is such sadness too. For
three months or more everyone's been talking about the fact that there's no
food in the shops because the government ordered prices to be cut to below
production costs. Most of us have been so busy trying to find enough food to
survive and support our families that we haven't really been looking at how
other businesses are coping with absurdly low controlled prices. Well, to
put it simply, they're not.

I took a walk around my home town this week and was shocked at what I found.
Two big clothes department stores have closed down in the last month. These
weren't little family shops but big outlets stocking clothes, shoes and
accessories for men, women and children. Their huge glass display windows
stretching for more than half a block along the pavement are completely
empty. Peering in, you can see nothing except vast expanses of grey concrete
floor. Carpets have been removed, naked wires hang from ceilings, light
fittings have gone, clothes racks are cleared, shelving has been taken off
the walls and the employees are all gone. Where are they now, I wondered and
how are they surviving. A great sadness welled up inside me; home is dying a
slow and tortuous death.

I wandered into a bookshop which is all but empty and into two clothes shops
which have almost nothing left to sell. All tell the same story: they cannot
sell goods for less than they have paid for them. Shop owners look gaunt,
exhausted and desperate, they say they cannot sleep at night and that their
stomachs are in tight knots: they are watching their work and investments of
a life time just ebb away. I went into another shop which has been in the
town since the 1960's. Their doors are still open but its as good as
pointless. Three smartly dressed salesmen wearing name tags stood against
the wall talking to each other. There are perhaps fifty items left to sell
in this branch of a shop which has outlets all over the country. The teller
sat counting wads of dirty almost useless money - bank notes which have
expiry dates on them and which we've been warned may be changed at any time
in the next few days or weeks. I asked the teller if the shop was closing
down. 'No,' he replied, 'if we do then they (the government) will just take
us over.' I asked him how they could stay open and he just shook his head
sadly. 'We are broken,' he said; 'we are just waiting for whenever the last
day comes.' I didn't know what to say but then the man looked around to see
if anyone was listening before he said : 'It's political you know.'

That little phrase slammed me back in time instantly to the day when the war
veterans were shouting at me through the farm gate. Threatening to shoot me,
armed with a pistol, one had bragged that he could "drop me at ten, twenty,
even forty meters." This is my farm he had screamed at me, my house, my
fields, my cattle and then later, when the Police finally came, they said
they could do nothing because :"it was political."

I stared at the teller with his empty shop and filthy money and his eyes
were filled with despair. 'Where will I go,' he said; 'what will I do?' I
had no answers and could just say: I am so sorry, so very sorry. As I left
and the trees dripped their purple flowers at my feet the tears were in my
eyes. We are a nation traumatized, regardless of our age or sex, the colour
of our skin or our profession and yes, it is all political.
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.

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Leading Zimbabwe Retailer Edgars Announces Round Of Store Closures


      By Patience Rusere
      12 October 2007

Reflecting widespread distress among businesses in Zimbabwe, the Edgars
retail chain said Friday that it has closed 19 of 55 stores countrywide,
will shut another five of its clothing outlets soon, and plans to shutter 14
of its Express stores.

Edgars cited government price controls as the main reason for the major

In a statement accompanying results for the quarter ended June 30, Edgars
states that if the chain can reach an agreement with Harare for a viable
pricing model the closed shops will be restocked and reopened in April next

Edgars Chief Executive Officer Raymond Mlotshwa was not immediately
available for comment - his staff said he was in a meeting.

Director Dennis Nikisi of the University of Zimbabwe's Graduate School of
Management told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
the downsizing by Edgars, which used to manufacture most of the goods it
sold, reflects a de-industrialization that will leave Zimbabwe dependent on
imported goods.

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Zimbabwean Businesses Welcome New Increases In Controlled Prices


      By Jonga Kandemiiri
      12 October 2007

The Zimbabwean government late this week raised its caps on prices for most
basic commodities and agricultural inputs at the wholesale and retail level
in a move that was welcomed by the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce.

The National Incomes and Pricing Commission set new retail prices for white
sugar, fresh milk, maize meal, cement, fertilizer, maize seed, coal and
stockfeeds. Prices for opaque beer (as opposed to lager), soft drinks and
vehicle tires also went up.

The government said last month that it was working with producers and
consumers to ensure prices would be viable for all involved in the supply

Shop shelves were emptied in July and August following government-imposed
price cuts, but retailers are now reporting somewhat improved supplies of

However, consumers said the new government-set prices are far under the
parallel market prices they must pay to secure staple foods and other goods,
adding that they don't expect to see such commodities plentifully available
on store shelves soon.

National Chamber of Commerce President Marah Hativagone told reporter Jonga
Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the government's move is in
line with proposals that private-sector representatives have submitted on
price controls.

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Zim churches plead for divine mercy

Zim Online

Saturday 13 October 2007

By Lizwe Sebatha

BULAWAYO - Churches across Zimbabwe today hold prayer meetings seeking
divine intervention in a country battling an unprecedented economic crisis,
food shortages and record-breaking inflation.

The Ecumenical Peace Initiative Zimbabwe (EPIZ) - an umbrella assembly
bringing together the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Evangelical Fellowship
of Zimbabwe (EFZ) and the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) -
organised prayers for the nation.

Last year, the EPIZ presented a document to President Robert Mugabe titled
"The Zimbabwe We Want: Towards a National Vision for Zimbabwe" that called
for dialogue between Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party and the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change party.

EPIZ communications officer Gladmore Dzunga on Friday told ZimOnline that
the police had cleared the prayer meetings that take place between 1pm and

Under tough government security laws, Zimbabweans must first seek police
approval to gather in groups of more than three to discuss politics.

The church is exempt from this requirement. However, the police have broken
up prayer rallies before which they claim are political gatherings.

For example, last March heavily armed police officers beat up opposition
leaders, church and civic society activists who were attending a prayer
rally in Harare's Highfield suburb. The police said the prayer meeting was
illegal because the organisers had not sought permission from the law
enforcement agency.

Dzunga said: "The National Day of Prayer is for every Zimbabwean from all
walks of life, politicians, students, church and non-church members to pray
for the nation and an end to the suffering of the people of the country."

Zimbabwe has since 1999 been grappling with an agonising economic meltdown,
critics blame on repression and mismanagement by Mugabe, a charge the
veteran leader denies.

Mugabe, who has held power for more than 27-years and plans to stand for
another five-year presidential term in 2008, blames the deepening crisis on
what he calls sabotage by Western powers who are angry over his seizure of
white farmland to give to landless blacks. - ZimOnline

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Harare - now with Ricoffy (but still without bread)

Comment from The Weekender (SA), 13 October

Angus Begg

Spending a couple of days in Harare recently I felt much like I imagine I
did when first reading Puff the Magic Dragon as a child. From the atmosphere
at Harare International Airport, with its handful of bored drivers holding
up name-boards for expectant visitors, to the overflowing plates in my hotel
restaurant, it was quite a surreal picture. It all started at the airport.
It was a Sunday and, barring the fact that the airport was almost deserted
(those present were seated at the bar), it all seemed oddly normal. The
usual, anticipated ordeal at the immigration counter turned out to be a
swift cruise; it was actually one of the most pleasant passport breezes in
Africa in years. Sceptics will say this is merely because no one is
travelling to Zimbabwe. They are wrong. Airlines flying to the country will
confirm that the demand for seats in and out of Harare is high.

On the bus taking us from the terminal building to the aircraft, I got
chatting to a teenage schoolboy from Michaelhouse private school in the
KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. He makes the trip home to Harare quite often and
said he can't think of anything he "does without". Granted, he doesn't do
the shopping, but it appears his lawyer-father and accountant-mother ensure
they don't run out of peanut butter. Shopping is the one, obvious, reason
for the full flights between Joburg and Harare, as evidenced by the
character emerging from customs with a trolley full of cheap cutlery and
plastic toys. Hanging about with a few others at the entrance to the
terminal building - my lift hadn't materialised - I gained an inkling into
other possible reasons for this unexpected, high volume of traffic; and it
certainly isn't the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls.

The two young French women from an NGO were collecting a colleague. The
young Australian next to me with a cellphone to his ear, was a temporary
resident of Zimbabwe and was also with an NGO. On a six-month contract, he
said he was tired of the power cuts and couldn't wait to get out. An
Afrikaans-speaking couple offered me a lift to my hotel in their 4x4, my
cabin bags winning out over the young Aussie's trolley-load of luggage. As
The Village People (might have) said when advising young men to go west in
late 1970s America, it is also best to travel light. He said he was an
engineer from Pretoria, currently spending most of his time in Harare
running the southern African office for a Swedish engineering firm. His wife
visits regularly.

While I scanned both sides of the road for obvious signs of Zimbabwean
meltdown (as one searches for impala in the Kruger Park), she mentioned
there was no bread in the country. He said he could see his company "pulling
out of Zimbabwe soon". Entering the city, everything looked normal - for a
Sunday anyway. The near-naked character sitting on the pavement was
distinguished more by his short dreadlocks than his tattered shorts; the
suggestion was that he once would've hummed a Bob Marley number and, just
possibly, in keeping with Marley's feelings about emancipation, had known
better times. According to a report in The Herald earlier this month,
"President Mugabe . is still primarily concerned with the economic
emancipation of Zimbabwe and Africa at large". Phew. Thank goodness for
newspapers. For a moment I thought he'd lost it.

That night in my four-star hotel, room service said they had no filter
coffee. I asked what they did have. "Ricoffy, sir." "You haven't seen any
Nescafé skipping around the kitchen?" (When standards drop, everything is
relative.) "No sir." The absence of bread in the country, apparently due to
a shortage of flour, didn't affect me one bit. Firstly because I'm trying to
eat less bread, and secondly, the scones on the buffet, when toasted, made
for a great substitute. After confirmation from my mother that scones are,
indeed, made with flour, thoughts of a revolting Paris in 1789 flooded my
mind. In this image was a Zimbabwean leader in a powdered wig announcing
from a specially-erected balcony at the top of Harare's high-rise Zanu PF
building (which apparently doubles as a bakery), crying: "Let my comrades
eat scones!" The fact that the scone is a British colonial staple did little
to spoil my vision

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JAG open letter forum no. 507

Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with “For Open Letter Forum” in the subject line.

 Ben Freeth – Chegutu  11/10/07

Dear JAG,
The judgement regarding the referral from the Chegutu Magistrates court to
the Supreme Court took place this morning [11/10/07].  There was huge
pressure with the court room filled to capacity with local strong men. It
did not go well. The Magistrate began by stating the charge under section 3
[3] of the gazetted land [consequential provisions] act which makes it a
criminal offence to still be on land taken by the State without authority.
The magistrate went on in an attempt to sum up in a couple of minutes what
was argued by Mr. Drury over more than a 2 hour period in the hearing.  His
judgement referred to only one of the eight constitutional points that had
been raised.  It related to amendment no. 17 to the constitution.  This
amendment, it was argued, extinguishes the rule of law by destroying the
separation of powers and peoples rights and expectations to protection of
the law.
The magistrate then summed up the State argument which said that the
application for referral to the Supreme Court had been opposed because it
was considered simply a delaying tactic.  The application for referral had
come after the accused were on the wrong side of the law.  The accused had
ignored the notice to vacate their properties and had not applied to
challenge it before the notice expired.
The Magistrate went on to give his judgement.  He simply said that the law,
through amendment number 17 to the constitution, expressly forbade any
person with a right or an interest in land from approaching any court.
Regarding referring the matter to the Supreme Court he went on to define
what frivolous and vexatious meant.  He cited the Martin case which defined
it as meaning: "lack of seriousness"; "devoid of merit"; "not raised in good
faith" etc.  He said that the constitution is the paramount law and can not
be challenged.  He said that there was no precedent to challenge the
Zimbabwe constitution and the same was the case in South Africa.  The
current application for referral was therefore in his view "frivolous and
vexatious" despite the fact that other magistrates had referred the exact
same issue in other courts.   The magistrate did not even mention the fact
that the matter had been challenged in the Supreme Court in the Campbell
case 6 and a half months ago and that the supreme court was obliged to make
a judgement on the matter but was still deliberating.  He simply said that
the farmers had ignored their notices to vacate and any subsequent
application for referral to the Supreme Court was merely a delaying tactic.
The magistrate dismissed the application for referral.
Mr. Drury for record purposes expressed disgruntlement and said that the
Supreme Court would be approached anyway.  He pointed out that there had
been 7 other constitutional points that the Magistrate had not referred to.
He said that the Shaw case had argued that legislation had to be "reasonable
and necessary" which this clearly wasn't.  He also pointed out the fact that
Zimbabwe had signed the SADC treaty which brought with it legal obligations.
He reiterated that the Supreme Court already had the Mike Campbell case.
The Magistrate said that a written judgement would be available on Monday.
 Dates were then set for individual hearings:
Eastwood: 31/10/07.
Campbell: 8/11/07.
Etheredge: 15/11/07. [Nicholson to also appear to set trial date]
Nicolle: 22/11/07.
Beattie: 29/11/07.
Rogers: 6/12/07.
Visagie: 13/12/07.
Buitendag: 20/12/07.
Seaman and Pasque: 21/12/07.
Conclusion:  The one mitigating factor was the fact that none of the accused
has been remanded in custody.  Of critical importance also is the very
significant international interest in the outcome of what is taking place in
Chegutu Magistrates court.  It has been said that publicity is the very soul
of justice.  The press coverage is critical if we are to see justice unfold.
The darkness hates the light because the light exposes it.  For too long
people have been succumbing to the darkness by not allowing the light to
shine on the injustices being perpetrated.  This mindset has to dramatically
change.  We have nothing to hide and everything to lose if we do not expose
the darkness for what it is.
The Campbell SADC case went in to Windhoek last Friday. The more injustices
perpetrated within Zimbabwe before the hearing of this in Windhoek, the
stronger the case becomes. This case goes to the core of the injustices to
do with the land programme in Zimbabwe:  the fact that amendment number 17
goes against all laws within SADC let alone the rest of the world; the fact
that an acquisition without compensation is not a valid acquisition; and the
fact that the whole land program has a racial bias i.e.  the sole criteria
for acquisition is based on the colour of the owners skin.  Other
fundamental points are also raised.  The papers supporting the case run to
over a thousand pages. The outcome of this Magistrates court hearing will
obviously strengthen the SADC case.  If the SADC case succeeds all current
attempts to criminalise those still on the land will fail.  If the CFU
continue to refuse to protect members through applications to higher courts
we may need to look at other individual farmers coming on.  The issue of
locus standi in SADC will not be such an issue in SADC so other farmer
groupings may wish to come on board too.
In the meantime Mr. Drury will be working on an application to the Supreme
Court for the Chegutu farmers. The modalities of this are yet to be worked
Ben Freeth

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The Daily Reckoning

Friday, 12 October 2007

The crisis of 2001-2002 reduced Argentines' wealth by nearly
Argentina? Look at Zimbabwe, says old friend Marc Faber. The story is the
same, but it is more entertaining. And it is still in the hyper-farce stage.
Inflation is officially running at about 7,000% per year. But unofficial
estimates say the rate for this year will turn out to be more like 100,000%.
Marc visited Zimbabwe recently. He says he went out to buy a bottle of
orange squash on Monday; it was 120,000 Zim dollars. On Tuesday, the price
had gone up to 180,000. And by Friday, it was at 600,000.

This would seem all very funny, but currencies mean something to ordinary
people. At the margin, they can make the difference between life and death.
Thanks to Robert Mugabe's financial management, the average man in Zimbabwe
can expect to drop dead at the age of 37. As recently as 1990, he could have
looked forward to 60. While life expectancy plummeted, so did job
expectancy. The average guy has only a 50/50 chance of finding work.

But here's the kind of detail that gives us hope for the future. We may not
survive it, but at least it will be amusing. It's apparently the Africans'
turn to head the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. Naturally, they
turn to a country that has found a way to sustain un-development - Zimbabwe.
The country has been going downhill ever since they kicked Ian Smith out of
office in 1979.

(Ian Smith is still alive, we believe. He is living in Cape Town, South
Africa. Perhaps he should be called back to Churchill in
WWII.or Petain.)

The man given the post of heading up the commission on sustainable
development is named Francis Nhema, a crony of Robert Mugabe. His personal
contribution to sustainable development is that when he was given one of the
farms stolen from white farmers, he let it go to rack and ruin.

Enjoy your weekend,

Bill Bonner
The Daily Reckoning

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In the right hands, the darkest deeds make a brilliant story

Vancouver Sun

Alma Lee, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, October 13, 2007
Book Review



This is a story we know. It is a story that has been covered in newspapers
and in films. So why is it being told again? You need to read this book to
find the answer.

The story takes place in an unnamed African country. The fact that the
author is from Zimbabwe is irrelevant to the content of this book and is
only significant inasmuch as we presume Ian Holding has firsthand knowledge
of his narrative.

What is relevant is the way the story is told.

A 16-year old white boy, Davey Baker, witnesses his parents being brutally
murdered by the blacks who have taken over the country. The neighbours, Mike
and Marsha de Wet, are his parents' closest friends who have no children and
are his surrogate aunt and uncle.

It's Mike who finds the bodies and the boy. He and Marsha take Davey in and
try their best to care for him. This turns out to be easier said than done.

The devastating incident doesn't only have a horrific effect on the boy but
it affects the entire community of farmers in the area. Davey's pain,
confusion and, ultimately, his burning anger, confront them all with the
deep fear they experience after the murders. "Relief turns to anguish,"
Holding writes, "then to anger and finally a stifled, numb sense of bitter

The societal circumstance that is happening to the community is that they
feel alone because, under a dictatorship, people stop trusting one another.
In this circumstance, then, they are actually relieved when Davey has to go
back to boarding school. His absence allows them to feel slightly safer,
since they aren't being confronted on a daily basis with the reality of what
has happened.

You're probably thinking this sounds like a very dark and heavy read and, as
far as the story goes, in many ways it is. However, it's the construction of
the novel that kept me turning the pages. The characters are so real, and
it's easy to relate to Davey, in particular. He suffers from the trauma, but
deep within him there's a slow burn that propels him into behaviour that is
alien, even to himself.

The writing is close to brilliant, in my view. There is a dreamlike quality
to the text, as though much of the story is happening in slow motion, even
though the content is shocking and sometimes gruesome.

Again, you are probably wondering why you should pick up this book, but I
can assure you that this writer is able and sure of himself. This is a
chilling and suspenseful story with a surprise twist. You will be kept
engaged, especially in the shifting time spaces that Ian Holding writes so

The style is what gives the book its gripping quality. Read it and make your
own judgment.

Alma Lee founded the Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival.

Ian Holding's festival events are scheduled for Friday, Oct. 19 and
Saturday, Oct. 20.

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