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

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Zim Standard

      Minus two hours
      overthetop By Brian Latham

      FARMERS in the western provinces of a troubled central African country
have been given minus two hours to leave their family homes. Speaking to
Over The Top, the farmers complained that policemen arrived at their homes
at 6pm last Tuesday and told them to remove themselves by 4pm-the same day.

      The farmers and the organisations representing them said the move was
illogical, but a police spokesman disputed this.

      The spokesman, speaking on condition that he was not quoted, said:
"Actually it's entirely logical. The eviction orders said the farmers should
leave by 4pm, but unfortunately, the officers got lost after visiting a
certain drinking establishment between the station and the farms. This was
not their fault."

      When asked how it could be logical to give farmers minus two hours to
leave their family homes, the police spokesman said it had been the
intention to give them plus two hours notice. He apologised for the time
discrepancy, but assured OTT that it was entirely legal and within the
bounds of the rule of law.

      Asked whether even plus two hours was sufficient time to expect a
family to remove a lifetime's worth of possessions, the police spokesman
said: "Oh, absolutely. We are in a great hurry to dispossess farmers of
their livelihoods so that we can increase the number of people on food aid
from six and a half million to 12 and a half million. The success of the
land reform programme depends on all citizens of the troubled central
African country being fed by foreign powers."

      Analysts pointed out that the statement proved that the troubled
central African country's government had never intended to produce food on
farms stolen from farmers. Indeed, they said, the fact that the much touted
winter maize project had managed to produce one day's food for the nation
(providing every family ate just one meal a day) reinforced this. Actually,
said the analysts, it has always been the intention of the troubled central
African nation's planners to be fed by western imperialist powers. "This is
how they plan to receive restitution for the evils of colonialism," said one

      Meanwhile, in the same province, peasant farmers said the commercial
farmers who had received minus two hours notice were the lucky ones.
Following the unusual practice of exercising their democratic right by
voting for the opposition, all they had received was several cracks to the
head, a few burnt homes, an arson attack on a goat shed and a wounded party

      The wounded activist was allegedly shot by a crazed Zany party
candidate who escaped unharmed-though the wounded More Drink Coming activist
was arrested because it is a crime to get in the way of bullets fired by the
ruling Zany party.

      Still, police could not explain why farm evictions were continuing
despite a court order suspending all evictions. Nor could they explain how a
member of the opposition came to suffer a bullet wound under their very

      "Both the court order and the bullet wound are obviously mistakes or
accidents," said an unnamed policeman. "Besides, the most equal of all
comrades recently said court orders need be obeyed only if they suit him-and
we very much doubt this one suits him."

      Both commercial and peasant farmers told OTT that it was highly
unlikely they would ever support the Zany party again, while most citizens
of the troubled central African country said they were too weak with hunger
to support anyone except the imperialist powers providing the food. They
said the next president of the troubled central African country was likely
to be either Mr Blair or Mr Bush.
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Zim Standard

      I will not be silenced-Ncube  10/20/02
      Story by By Thabo Kunene

      BULAWAYO-Controversial and outspoken Roman Catholic Bishop Pius
Mvundla Ncube says he is prepared for anything, even death, in his quest to
stand up against the repressive Zanu PF regime which has caused so much
suffering to Zimbabweans.

      Ncube, who heads the Matabeleland diocese which witnessed the worst
atrocities committed on civilians by the Fifth Brigade's Gukurahundi in the
early 80s, told The Standard that he would not relent in his criticism of
the regime.

      "Someone must sta-nd up and do something, whatever the consequences.
The world must also not watch and do nothing while Zimbabweans are killed by
their own government," said bishop Ncube .

      He added: "This terror campaign must come to an end. Zimbabweans have
suffered enough," said the bishop.

      Persistent hard-hitting criticism of the Zanu PF government has over
the last few years put Ncube on a collision course with President Mugabe.

      Mugabe has on several occasions vented his deep seated anger on Ncube,
accusing him of taking MDC politics to the pulpit. After the watershed 2000
parliamentary elections, Mugabe, whose party was routed by the opposition in
Matabeleland, blamed Ncube for Zanu PF's defeat in the western province.

      The embattled president said the bishop had influenced his Ndebele
tribesmen in Matabeleland to reject Zanu PF in the parliamentary elections.
The MDC won all but two seats in the polls.

      Ncube later received death threats from unknown people.

      Unmoved by such threats, Ncube says he would continue to speak out
against a regime that is continuing to abuse the rights of its citizens.

      The 56-year-old bishop said state-sanctioned terror against the
opposition has become the order of the day in Zimbabwe.

      "Our leaders should stop blaming the west for our problems because
Tony Blair or George Bush are not the problem in Zimbabwe. The problem in
Zimbabwe is Mugabe," said the bishop.

      According to him, leaders of the ruling party have become the worst
oppressors in Zimbabwe who are even denying starving people food.
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Zim Standard

      ZNA troops arrested in Mozambique  10/20/02
      Story by By Farai Mutsaka

      MOZAMBICAN police have over the last month arrested scores of
Zimbabwean soldiers for looting goods from border jumpers, as well as for
harassing Mozambican nationals along the Forbes border post in Mutare, The
Standard has learnt.

      The Standard is relaibly informed that soldiers manning the border
post are constantly at loggerheads with Mozambican officials over the
torture of Mozambican nationals by members of the Zimbabwe national Army

      Some of the soldiers have also been making forays into Mozambican
territory where they have clashed with that country's authorities.

      Although Zimbabwean officials denied knowledge of the arrests, a
Mozambican security official at Manica confirmed to The Standard on Friday
that a number of Zimbabwean soldiers had been arrested in Manica and Tete
for looting and illegally crossing into Mozambique.

      "Yes we have arrested a number of your soldiers but now, I can only
give you the name of a soldier called Togara Nyika. He has already appeared
before our courts for stealing from our people on the border. Others were
arrested in Tete, but I don't have the details at hand," said the official
who identified himself only as James.

      However, Manicaland army spokesman, Isaac Goora, denied knowledge of
the arrests: "We don't know anything about that. We get information from our
troops on the border on a daily basis and we would have known of it by now.
We are also in constant communication with the Mozambican police and they
would have told us had they arrested any of our men," said Goora.

      The Standard was unable to obtain comment from police in Mutare.

      However, reliable sources told The Standard that the constant looting,
by Zimbabwean soldiers, of goods belonging to Mozambican nationals crossing
the border had also irked Mozambican officials.

      The soldiers being arrested are part of a joint operation launched by
the police, the army and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to
clamp down on the illegal cross-border trade between Zimbabwe and

      Soldiers, police officers and intelligence officers from across the
country have been drafted into the operation which has caused mayhem in
Mutare and reduced the city to a mini-military state.

      Mutare North MP, Giles Mutsekwa, himself a former soldier, said the
heavy presence of soldiers in the city had poisoned relations between
Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

      "They cannot militarise the city like that. What is making it worse is
that the situation depicts a scenario that says Zimbabwe does not trust
Mozambique. The presence of so many soldiers is not good for our relations
with Mozambique. They have a number of times also got into trouble with
Mozambican authorities and that is not conducive to peace. I have also
received complaints from people being harassed at the border. What these
people are trying to do is to just make a living and they should not be
brutalised for that.

      "You should also know that people from Sofala and Manica provinces
speak the same language as Manyikas and they have intermarried so the
movement between the two countries is quite normal. It should not be
criminalised," said Mutsekwa.

      Upon capture, illegal Zimbabwean and Mozambican border jumpers are
taken to an army camp in Grand Reef where they are systematically tortured.

      Border jumpers who have been through the camp gave gruelling accounts
of how they had been tortured and robbed of their goods by soldiers.

      Since the launch of the blitz, relations between the two countries
have soured with Mozambican officials, particularly those from Manica and
Sofala provinces, complaining of ill-treatment of their nationals.

      This has led to retaliatory attacks on Zimbabweans crossing into
Mozambique which has become a no-go area for Zimbabweans.

      Already, two people, a Zimbabwean and a Mozambican, have died at the
hands of brutal soldiers.
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Zim Standard

      Zimta's Nkala under fire  10/20/02
      Story by By our own Staff

      BULAWAYO-The president of Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta),
Leonard Nkala, has come under fire from teachers who are claiming that he
sabotaged the recent nationwide teachers strike for fear of severing his
strong links with the ruling Zanu PF.

      Nkala is the Zanu PF councillor for Ward 9 in the high-density suburb
of Mpopoma and has been in council for the past seven years.

      In separate interviews with The Standard, the teachers said Nkala was
a Zanu PF politician and therefore had every reason to sabotage the strike
denounced by Zanu PF government.

      "Nkala is sabotaging the teachers' strike because he is afraid of
taking part in a strike that his masters in Zanu PF do not support. That is
the reason why he has distanced himself and the rest of the Zimta membership
from a genuine protest by teachers for an improvement of their services.
This actually exposes where his heart lies," said one member of Zimta.

      "We also fear that Nkala may be afraid of antagonising government for
the sake of his pension benefits. He has at one or two years left in the
service before he retires from the profession," said another teacher based
in Bulawayo.

      Led by Nkala, Zimta disassociated itself from the nationwide strike
called by the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), led by Raymond
Majongwe, who has emerged the true champion of the impoverished teachers.

      Nkala and his executive hurriedly called a press conference recently
in Bulawayo where they distanced themselves from the industrial action.

      Contacted for comment by The Standard, Nkala scoffed at the

      "There is no way we could have collaborated with them (PTUZ) because
we are making very good progress in negotiations with the government and it
is only three months before we get a hefty increment we have been
negotiating for," said Nkala.

      Responding to allegations of sabotage levelled at him by teachers,
Nkala said: "We do not talk about one's political affiliations in Zimta-it
is foolish for those people to link my political affiliations to their
ill-advised strike and as Zimta, we have not asked about the political
affiliation of PTUZ leaders and we have information that one of their
leaders resigned as a teacher a while ago, and we wonder whose interests he
is serving," Nkala said.

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Zim Standard

      Teachers not fired-PTUZ
      By Eupha Mahenga

      THE Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) says contrary to
media reports, the government has not dismissed teachers who took part in
the strike last week.

      PTUZ national coordinator, Innocent Sibanda, told The Standard on
Friday that not even a single teacher had been served with dismissal

      "As it stands now, noone has been served with dismissal letters. We
just heard press reports that over 600 teachers had been fired but nothing
to that effect has been done by the ministry. The ministry has not in any
way communicated to us concerning the issue," said Sibanda.

      Apart from failure by the ministry to notify either the teachers or
the association, Sibanda said the move was a gimmick meant to cow teachers
who wanted to protest against their poor working conditions. He added that
the ministry, led by Aeneas Chigwedere, embarked on various tactics designed
to intimidate the striking teachers.

      For example, he said, the ministry had sent ED 92 forms to schools
like Churchill and Zengeza 2 High, among others, two days after the strike

      The forms are filled by the headmaster when a teacher fails to turn up
for work for 14 continuous days without any valid explanation, and they
normally lead to cessation of one's salary.

      "We don't know what the ministry wanted to achieve when they sent the
forms to be signed by everyone when they are only signed by the headmaster
in the event that a teacher's whereabouts are unknown for two weeks," said

      He said the move was likely to cause confusion in the teaching
fraternity thereby disrupting the strike.

      When Zimta was contacted for comment, its secretary-general, Peter
Mabhande, professed ignorance over the issue. "I am not aware of any new
developments. I don't even know why that would happen," said Mabhande

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Zim Standard - Comment

      Government indifferent to teachers' plight

      THE ongoing teachers' strike led by the Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has been quite an eye-opener for many.

      First and foremost, it has demonstrated the confusion among teachers
themselves because most of them, though disgruntled with their shockingly
low wages, are too scared to confront government on the issue. In other
words, they have succumbed to Zanu PF's bully-boy tactics.

      If all teachers had acted in concert, there is no way the government
would have adopted such an arrogant attitude that saw the permanent
secretary for education, Dr Thompson Tsodzo, announce on the very first day
of the strike that all participants were being dismissed with immediate

      Whatever treatment is meted out to teachers by government in the
future, will be of their own making, for they have clearly shown themselves
to be cowards who cannot even stand up for their rights.

      The lack of enthusiasm over the strike by the majority of teachers is
reflective of the feelings of the generality of Zimbabweans who are too
scared to confront the evil facing them. It is timidity at its worst.

      The strike action has also exposed the danger of not participating
when called upon to choose your representatives. Right now, many teachers
are questioning how a Zanu PF activist, Leonard Nkala, could have risen to
the presidency of the main teachers' union, Zimta. This is the same
situation as when people don't vote and then later complain about their
inept leadership.

      While government and its apologists would like to label the strike a
political action, many believe otherwise. It is a fact that teachers are
underpaid-that they are the least paid of all civil servants. How can a
teacher, after going through three years of training, earn a paltry $25 000
a month, less than the $30 000 a police constable earns after having done a
year's training, or a private soldier without an Ordinary Level educational

      While politics is naturally present in all decision-making, and
teachers are as entitled to be involved as anybody else, this strike is not
primarily about politics but about a a genuine grievance which any
responsive government should take heed of.

      It is also a fact that the majority of teachers, often at a very
tender age, are thrust into the midst of poverty and privation and it is
this situation which makes them a vulnerable lot.

      Government knows that teachers are important community leaders,
particularly in rural areas. They form the greatest number of civil servants
employed in some of the most inhospitable areas of the country, and their
interaction with the communities in which they serve, plays a crucial role
in shaping national opinion-just as it did in the 1960s and 70s.

      As educated people, they are expected to provide answers and views on
issues of the day.

      It is this strategic importance that sees them victimised by the
paranoid Zanu PF government. Zanu PF has made only token attempts to win the
support of teachers and that is why it has now resorted to humiliating them
in order to lower their social esteem.

      Teachers have turned against the ruling party and so Zanu PF is now
bent on creating hostility between them and the communities they serve. That
is why the government has turned a blind eye while they are persecuted by
thugs and common criminals. Teaching has become the most vulnerable
profession in our country. When they seek protection from their employer,
they are accused of meddling in politics.

      The government's response to the current strike also raises questions
as to whether it takes their plight seriously. Could it be that the
education minister Aeneas Chigwedere was simply buying time when he
announced, after he had got wind of the impending PTUZ-organised strike,
that a "hefty" salary increase was in the offing for teachers in January? If
the minister is serious, he should at least have given a figure to ward off
the industrial action. Instead, his silence over the current impasse is

      Chigwedere knows that now is about the most appropriate time for
teachers to strike. If they wait until January, only to find out that they
have been taken for a ride, any action they might take then would be futile
because there would be no public exams taking place then. While this might
sound unkind to students sitting for exams, it is not as fatal as being
faced with a striking doctor, hence the government's cavalier attitude.

      Tsodzo's knee jerk reaction to the strike, though typical of Zanu PF,
is quite baffling. There are regulations that govern the profession, which
outline what disciplinary action to take against errant teachers. His
pronouncements have sounded partisan and unprofessional.

      The Public Service Regulations of 2000 clearly state that a teacher
can be away from duty for unknown reasons for up to 14 days, after which he
is deemed to have resigned. This means that if one attends work, but does
not carry out their expected duties, it is the ministry's responsibility to
ask the individual to account for their action. The regulations are silent
on the issue of striking, which is every employee's democratic right.

      In the light of this, the most severe action government can take
against those participating in the strike is to deduct money from their
salaries in respect of the days they have not reported for duty.

      Tsodzo's reckless handling of the issue betrays a carefree attitude
towards the country's resources. How much money is being pumped into the
training of people who will desert soon after completing their courses?
Government should be looking at ways of retaining this valuable sector of
society instead of treating them like cheap labour that can be hired and
fired at negligible cost.

      Whether Zanu PF likes it or not, their handling of the strike has
elevated Raymond Majongwe and his PTUZ. The days of their lap dog, Zimta,
are numbered for it has been exposed for what it is: A toothless union that
sings its master's song.
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Zim Standard

      Compromise or remain behind?
      By Chido Makunike

      LAST week, in my article: 'The whacky world of Zim politics', the word
'whacky' should have ready 'wacky'. I apologise for the unintended mistake.

      This week, I want to continue with my examination of Africa's place in
the world, a subject close to my heart. I am flattered that my take on this
theme has helped to expose the fact that some of The Standard's fiercest
detractors, those who accuse it of being a neo-colonialist, anti-
revolutionary tool, are also some of its most avid readers. Thank you.

      I ask any reader outraged by my opinions to please keep the comments
coming, but they are more effective when they are actual counter-points of
my arguments, than a mere mix of Bible verse and insults, which may only
show one to be an enraged hypocrite than to poke holes in my logic.

      What will it take for Africa to assume its rightful place in the world
as a proud, strong continent, rather than the weak, perpetually angry and
dependent one it is? Are we doomed to forever be a net importer of goods and
even ideas? Will our gaining of more international influence be a result of
the world feeling pity for us for always being last in almost all measures
of socio-economic development, or will the impetus have to come from us?

      Does the will to change our situation exist among us, or have we at
some level accepted that it is our lot to be talked to and treated like
children by our politicians, and that our economies must necessarily go one
way-downwards? Does our only hope of enjoying a reasonable measure of
personal and political freedom and economic well being, lie in going to
Western countries where we are seen as second class citizens?

      I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I think it is necessary
to ponder these issues, to hopefully avoid squandering more time whining
about our marginalisation while the rest of the world forges forward.

      Look at how large a continental mass Africa is. Look at its teeming
mass of people. Reflect on all the precious minerals that Africa has in
abundance. Despite all manner of environmental problems, we still have
pristine jungles, savannas, beaches and rich virgin soils. The weather over
most of the continent is mild and hospitable all year round and conducive to
all manner of economic activity.

      Contrast this with the great poverty and the shrinking economies. Why
is this so? Before the daggers are drawn, I suppose I must quickly mention
the well documented history of the recent exploitation of African resources
and people by various others. But it is just that, history. That history,
being so recent, and having affected every aspect of the African psyche,
cannot be ignored in the examination of our current plight, but that is only
really helpful to the present and the future in so far as it gives us more
determination to overcome our problems, rather than simply feel sorry for

      The dagger throwers will then give impressive, scholarly theses on the
role of the evil international capitalists in the present day exploitation
of Africa's wealth and skewed trade regimes. Then, of course, there are the
wicked western donors whose money we are desperate for, but who, in exchange
for it, dare to actually demand proof of what we are going to do with it,
the bloody racists! How can they take advantage of our weakness in this
outrageous way?

      And don't forget how far we have become pawns in the strategic power
plays of the imperialists who never tire of manipulating our fragile states
for their diabolical ends by demanding good governance, transparent
elections, press freedom and other foreign values!

      Lots of time and energy is spent analysing things from this point of
view. It has the politically correct, Africanist tag to it, and it stirs the
hearts of all of us who are still very aware of how indeed we have been
given a raw deal in our interactions with the West over the last few 100

      My question, as always is: What next? For the sake of argument, let us
accept the thesis of our current rulers that the west which still dominates
so many aspects of our current existence, is irredeemably evil, selfish,
exploitative and racist. For goodness sake, if this is our point of
departure, what are we still doing accepting aid from them?

      "Oh, but it's not really charity, they owe us, they stole from us,
remember?" But if they continue to be ill-disposed towards us, then even
that aid must have some sinister motives, and we would be more consistent in
our expressed suspicion of them if we rejected it. Are we not always
boasting about the abundant potential wealth of the continent?

      I am trying to illustrate the feeling of entrapment at not having the
wherewithal to exploit the potential wealth and turn it into actual wealth
to meet the many needs, but also the defensiveness, embarrassment and
resentment we feel at having to accept handouts while sitting on all that
potential wealth. Hence the defiant cries of "Africa is a rich continent" to
cover up the humiliation of having to go and plead for food aid, year in and
year out, decade after decade.

      I'm so sorry to have to irritate the African ear by saying this, but I
feel you are not rich if you are sitting on gold you can't access because of
lack of capital or technology. At best, you are 'potentially rich', but that
sure as hell won't put wheat for bread in your silos, nor fuel in your

      Let us just be more realistic about our relatively weak position, and
some of the compromises we may need to make in order to become stronger. Let
me hasten to add that we must not sacrifice our hard won sovereignty in
working with the sly capital and technology-laden westerners. No. Our
sovereignty can only be surrendered to a country like Libya, because you
see, umm, umm ..., that can be explained away in the spirit of south-south

      Never mind that they purchase all the technology they use to drill and
siphon their oil, turning potential wealth into actual wealth, from the evil
West! At least this way, the west only contaminates us with their technology
second hand, rather than directly! The latter would be faster, cheaper and
more beneficial in countless other ways, but less ideologically pure, and we
certainly can't compromise our ideological principles just because our
economy is in a mess, and becoming more so by the day.

      Let us leave close economic cooperation with the running dogs of
western capitalism to economically successful but ideologically compromised
countries like the People's Republic of China, Malaysia, and Zimbabwe's best
friend, Libya.

      Nepad may have aspects that grate on African political sensibilities,
but are those against it offering anything in its stead to get Africa out of
the economic muck? We are scared of donations of genetically modified grain,
but in the absence of viable choices, what do you feed the starving hordes?
You resent the demands donors make as a condition for their aid, but do you
reject or expel them when you admit you can't meet the needs they are taking
care of, or do you swallow some pride and find the middle ground to work
with them?

      We have had many scholarly treatises on the evils of globalisation
recently, but have you noticed that it is going ahead without anybody
bothering what Africa thinks of it, because we are economically weak and can
be ignored so easily? The terms of international trade are stacked against
poor countries, but agitating for change is more effective when you have a
growing economy of production and export, even within the constrains of
those unfair terms, not just by fiery speeches to the converted at the
African Union.

      When you are weak, you sometimes need to make strategic, enlightened
compromises. We have the example of many countries who have been able to do
this, including those I mentioned above. As they became economically
stronger, more confident and self-sufficient, they could make demands and
state their terms more than any rhetorical posturing is going to be able to
do for us.
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Zim Standard

      Hypocrisy the order of the day
      newsfocus By Farai Mutsaka

      THE death last week of former Southern Rhodesian prime minister, Sir
Garfield Todd, has further exposed the deep rooted hypocrisy within the
embattled Zanu PF regime.

      A stranger to Zimbabwean politics would have been moved by last week's
glowing tribute to the late Todd by vice-president Simon Muzenda and Zanu PF
publicity secretary, Nathan Shamuyarira.

      Said Muzenda: "The history of African education in this country cannot
be complete without giving him and Lady Todd a central role in its
development. As I mourn the passing away of this great man, I know that I do
so among thousands of his students, fellow church people, fellow politicians
and many close friends."

      However, what the nation was not told was that despite the sacrifices
Todd made during and after his period in power, Mugabe's reward was to
humiliate the elder statesman by stripping him of his citizenship, thereby
denying him the chance to vote in the March presidential election.

      Members of Todd's family, particularly his daughter Judith, also
became objects of attack from Zanu PF officials for their principled stand
against misgovernance.

      Judith, who fought side by side with her father against Ian Smith's
racist regime, had to reclaim her Zimbabwean citizenship through the courts
after it had been stripped from her by a regime determined to disenfranchise
white people-whom it generally regards as sympathetic to the MDC.

      James Chikerema, a veteran nationalist said Mugabe and his cronies
were shedding crocodile tears over Todd's death.

      "They are disgraceful. They denied him his right to vote claiming he
was not Zimbabwean and I thought that was a real disgrace. But what they are
doing now is more than that. It is the worst form of hypocrisy. I can't
imagine that the same people who ill-treated Todd are falling over each
other praising him when he is dead. They don't have any shame," said

      The story of Todd's humiliation at Mugabe's hands is not a new one. A
number of people, black and white, who at one time were of assistance to
Mugabe and his cronies, became villains as soon as it suited Mugabe's
political ambitions.

      David Coltart and Mike Auret, now at the receiving end of Mugabe's
venom, have a story to tell about the 78-year-old president's hypocrisy. If
former vice-president Joshua Nkomo were alive today, he too would have a
story to tell about Mugabe's double standards and callousness.

      But Todd's case is a unique one in that during the hey day of
colonialism, he put his job as prime minister on the line when he tried to
improve the lot of the black populace and incurred the wrath of his racist
white electorate.

      He was also the man who, after being prime minister of a colonial
government, went on to work with African nationalists to achieve majority

      Todd, who assumed office in 1953, became the only former Southern
Rhodesia premier to be arrested for collaborating with nationalist

      Said Charlton Hwe-nde, a commentator and secretary of African Affairs
for the International Students Union: "These people (Zanu PF) have always
been hypocrites. Todd did a lot to advance the education of African people
and his reward was ill-treatment to the extent of being denied the right to
vote in a country that he fought so hard to free. Now that he is dead, they
are singing praises about his good works. But the truth is that this man
suffered at the hands of both a white dictatorship as well as an
authoritarian black regime.

      "It is not surprising that the ruling party has chosen to recognise
Todd's achievements after his death. For Zanu PF, this is like a pattern.
Joshua Nkomo is now referred to as Father Zimbabwe, a label Zanu PF were
reluctant to recognise while he was still alive. That is the nature of Zanu
PF," he said.

      Todd's affair with the black majority started long before he became
prime minister.

      At Dadaya mission, from where he launched his political career, Todd
built a school for African children. Among the beneficiaries of Todd's
benevolence was Mugabe who, together with other nationalists, later trekked
to Shabani to teach at Todd's school.

      During his tenure, Todd, seen as the most progressive colonial-era
prime minister, introduced various measures, including a five-year plan in
1955 which allowed elementary education for every African child of
school-going age. In 1957, he introduced a franchise bill which cl- eared
the way for multi- racial trade unions.

      Todd's reforms earned him enemies within the white community and they
took the opportunity to oust him when he proposed a revision of the
franchise qualifications to enable the addition of between 6 000 and 10 000
Africans to the voter's roll. This would have increased the percentage of
black voters from a mere 2% to about 20%.

      Even after independence, Todd did not let his alliance with Mugabe,
who appointed him senator in 1982, to sway him from his principles, and he
bluntly voiced his concern when Mugabe began trampling on people's rights.

      "I am horrified by the destruction of our economy, the starving of our
people, the undermining of our constitution, the torture and humiliation of
our nation by Zanu PF. Just as we stood with courage against the racism of
the past, so, today, we must stand with courage against the terror of the
present," he said in February.

      He will be mourned by many.
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Zim Standard

      MDC activist dies
      By Loughty Dube

      BULAWAYO-A Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activist, Nkosana
Phiri, who was seriously injured by Zanu PF youth militia and war veterans
determined to prevent opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, from holding a
rally at White City Stadium in January, died of the wounds last Sunday.

      Phiri becomes the second opposition activist to succumb to wounds
sustained in the same attack. Another party activist, Mthokozisi Ncube, died
a few days after being attacked by the marauding Zanu PF militia.

      The two were part of a group of MDC activists that were trapped by
Zanu PF supporters camped outside White City Stadium after a squabble
between the two political parties over the control of the venue.

      Both President Mugabe Tsvangirai were scheduled to address rallies on
the same day at the stadium.

      The trapped MDC activists had camped overnight inside the stadium
without realising Zanu PF militia and war veterans were also in the stadium.

      Phiri and his colleagues were attacked with sticks and fists by the
Zanu PF youths. Ncube died a few days later while Phiri and two other
activists survived the attack with serious bodily injuries.

      Phiri, who had been in and out of hospital, died at Thongrove Hospital
where he was being treated for persistent internal bleeding from chest

      MDC information officer for Bulawayo province, Victor Moyo, confirmed
Phiri's death saying he was buried at West Park cemetery in Bulawayo on

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Zim Standard

      MDC man abducted, daughter raped by militia  10/20/02
      Story by By Vimbai Kandemiri

      DOUBLE tragedy struck the Mazarire family of Muzarabani in the run-up
to the rural district council elections when marauding Zanu PF militias and
war veterans abducted the father before raping his 18-year- old daughter, it
has emerged.

      Information reaching The Standard indicates that after the ordeal, the
family which was being persecuted for supporting the MDC, was ordered to
leave the area by the Zanu PF militants, determined to rid the area of
opposition supporters.

      "It was just too much for us," lamented Solomon Mazarire, the MDC
chairman for Chadereka ward in Muzarabani in an interview with The Standard
in Harare, where he has been forced to seek refuge.

      Relating the family's ordeal, a distraught Mazarire, who is now
homeless, said: "They took me away first, to a torture camp and later came
for my wife and daughters. It's something civilised people could never do."

      He added: "They beat me with logs and wire in full view of other
villagers at a torture camp. I will live to regret the trauma this incident
has brought to my family. Imagine how cruel they were to go on to rape my
daughter. Handiti vatokanganisa hupenyu hwake hwemangwana? Chete zvinhu
zvichachinja hapana kwavanosvika vachiuraya kudai."

      On that fateful day, Nobbie Dzinzi, the Zanu PF member of parliament
for Muzarabani was addressing a rally at Gunduza township when Mazarire was
allegedly force-marched to the service centre by the militia.

      After the rally, Zanu PF youths took Mazarire to a torture camp near
Chimoyo, where he was repeatedly tortured for more than 10 days before being

      A day after his abduction and unbeknown to Mazarire, the Zanu PF
supporters went to his home in the early hours and abducted his wife, Mercy,
and daughters, Lynette, 18, and Lilian, 16, and took them to a camp base at

      At the base, they were assaulted and forced to confess to whatever MDC
material they had at home. Fearing that they would be harmed, Lynette
revealed that there was an MDC t-shirt and some literature at home. She was
ordered to go and fetch the items and bring them back to the camp, which she
did only to then be raped by the base commander, who she identified as

      In an interview with The Standard at the Avenues Clinic on Thursday,
where she had gone for a medical check up, a tormented Lynette said:
"Mtombeni, a war veteran who is a camp leader at Utete camp said: 'Nhasi
uchaona zvandichakuita, ndiko kuti baba vako vapfidze kushandiswa ne MDC'
(You shall see what I'm going to do to you, just to teach your father a
lesson), before raping me."

      The war veteran told her that even if she reported the matter to the
police she would not be taken seriously as they did not co-operate with MDC

      The following morning, Zanu PF youths once again besieged the Mazarire
homestead and ordered the entire family to leave Muzarabani and never

      Said a tearful Mazarire: "They clearly told us that we would be hanged
if we ever set foot in Muzarabani again. We complied and that is why we are
in Harare trying to make a new start to our wretched life."

      He said Zanu PF youths actually carried their belonging to the bus
stop after which they sought temporary shelter at the MDC offices.

      On Friday, Mazarire was in Chitungwiza, looking for lodgings for the
family. At the time of going to press, it was not clear whether he had
secured accommodation.

      In the meantime, his daughter Lynette, who had just been to the
Avenues Clinic, was at the offices of ZimRights, a human rights
organisation, reporting the case.

      The doctor's report on her condition is likely to be available to

      Lynette was seen by a specialist at the clinic and she also reported
the matter to the central police station where she was asked to present an
affidavit compiled by a doctor. Lynette has vowed never to set foot again in
rural Muzarabani.
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Zim Standard

      'Sadc must map out Mugabe's exit'  10/20/02
      Story by By our own Staff

      A HIGHLY respected international advocacy group says Sadc leaders
should come up with a strategy which will allow embattled President Mugabe
an honourable exit, so that the country's political crisis which has caused
acute economic hardships for Zimbabweans, can at last start to ease.

      In a statement released on Friday, the International Crisis Group
(ICG) said the once prosperous Zimbabwe would become yet another failed
African state unless concrete measures were taken to stop the current rot.

      Zimbabwe, which emerged as a model African state during the early
years of independence, is currently facing its worst economic crisis
characterised by an acute shortage of basic commodities and a free-falling

      "If current trends are not reversed, there is a real prospect that its
political, economic and social foundation will collapse, leaving Zimbabwe a
failed state," said the ICG.

      This would have a ripple effect on neighbouring countries,
particularly South Africa to which tens of thousands of people were likely
to flock to as economic refugees.

      The group, which is a private multinational organisation working
towards the prevention of deadly conflicts in the world, said Sadc should
work towards resuscitating the aborted Zanu PF-MDC talks.

      The group said Sadc's intervention "should be directed towards
achieving a negotiated inter-party solution that includes restoration of the
rule of law, genuine land reform, an exit strategy for Mugabe and
establishment of conditions for free and fair parliamentary and presidential
elections to be held significantly ahead of the regularly scheduled dates".

      Despite mounting pressure on Mugabe, deep divisions within the
international community on the country's crisis were playing into Mugabe's
hands, the ICG said.

      Over the last few months, the African leaders, notable among them,
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, have
resisted attempts to punish Mugabe despite pressure from many organisations
including the European Union (EU) and the USA.

      Only last month, the two leaders threw out a proposal, by Australian
Prime Minister John Howard, to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth,
preferring to give the aging leader more time to sort out the chaotic
policies that have ruined the country.

      Sadc has also refused to be openly tough with Mugabe, who stands
accused of stealing victory in the presidential poll.

      "Despite the rising humanitarian costs of the crisis in Zimbabwe, the
international community remains deeply divided about its response, allowing
President Mugabe to believe that he can exploit the policy fissure
between-broadly-the west and Africa," said the group.

      It added: "The skewed emphasis by much of the international media on
the plight of white farmers has also given Mugabe's revolutionary rhetoric
greater resonance in many African quarters, rather than putting a spotlight
on the egregious human rights abuses, the dismantling of democratic
institutions, the use of food aid as a weapon, the destruction of the rule
of law and the lack of security for private investment."

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Zim Standard

The Sunday Telegraph (United Kingdom):

Mugabe land grab leaves horses to starve: An international rescue effort is
under way to save thousands of dying animals

October 20, 2002 4:04am

THE RIBS of these Zimbabwean horses stick out through their matted coats.
Starving and slowly dying, they are stark reminders of the cruelty inflicted
on farm animals when President Robert Mugabe ordered thousands of white
farmers to leave their land.

As the farmers fled, few of their pets and working animals could be
evacuated. Although some dogs and cats were quarantined and taken out of the
country, greater numbers were put down by vets - until the necessary drugs
ran low.

For the farm horses, however, there was almost no hope. As they were unable
to forage, the choices were a slow death or a bullet.

Dr Robert Gordon, 42, a Zimbabwean vet who emigrated to New Zealand last
week, said: "I worked in Cumbria last year during foot and mouth. This is
worse. I have put down hundreds of family pets and horses. I have nowhere to
bury the animals as I was chased off my farm. Sometimes we put the horses
down mine shafts."

An international effort to rescue the horses is now under way. Volunteers
from South Africa, Switzerland and Scotland are arranging convoys to
evacuate some of the animals. The first fleet of trucks will head north
through South Africa to the Zimbabwean border this week to collect 12

Volunteer helpers in the city of Bulawayo are nursing starving horses in
holding centres. Their task is made more complicated because animal feed
stuffs are running out, the value of the Zimbabwean dollar has plummeted,
and there is a shortage of overseas currency to buy more feed and medical

At first the volunteers hoped to keep the horses alive in Zimbabwe, but new
hope arrived when they made contact with a South African animal rescue
charity called Wet Nose, which has been evacuating small animals on British
Airways flights to South Africa. Together they worked out a plan to move the
horses overland.

The first horses to be evacuated have been taken to an animal research
institute in Harare, where they are being given medical tests and
vaccinations for South Africa. In a few days they will be driven to the
border to meet the truck convoy. "We are going to drive up to Zimbabwe, and
the team on that side will drive down to the border," said Tracy Forte, the
president of Wet Nose. "Once this is up and running we will be able to do
between 12 and 20 in each truck load, and we will do one or two runs a week.
We will have to organise a vet for each convoy, and volunteers to care for
the horses."The trip is a several hundred mile trek across territory
confiscated from white farmers and runs the risk of attack from war
veterans. Wet Nose is hoping that the border transfer goes smoothly but will
not know until they put it into practice.

Funds for the convoys are being raised in Britain by Kirsten Harris, a
Scottish riding instructor, through the Zimbabwe Horse Rescue Fund. She
said: "The situation out there is quite diabolical. The country is being
destroyed by Mugabe and his people, and it is the horses and dogs and farm
animals who are the first victims."

Donations can be sent to the Zimbabwe Horse Rescue Fund, c/o 21 Charlotte
Square, Edinburgh EH2 4DS.

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Zim Standard

      Where are you Coltrane, Viola?

      NAMIBIAN president, Sam Nujoma, and the two Harlem thugs who have been
frequenting Harare as American activists have misled Robert Mugabe into
believing that he is conducting the land reform programme in a transparent

      Now that there is hunger in Zimbabwe because of a haphazard process
driven by politicians, Coltraine and Viola are nowhere to be found.

      Old Sam Nujoma wants to behave like a rare wise man from the east,
ululating and chanting slogans of support and yet he knows nothing about the
politics in Zimbabwe.

      Kurauone Chihwayi

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Zim Standard - letters

      Milk costing more than petrol

      WHEN I was growing up many years ago, my primary school teachers,
together with the local nurses, used to continuously tell us that fresh milk
was good for children. So I grew up in the belief that milk was a basic food
item, like sadza, vegetables, bread and so on.

      Walk into any supermarket today and a litre of fresh milk now costs
twice more (around $160) than one litre of petrol ($74,47). At that price,
milk has become a luxury food item, beyond the reach of many. Could it be
that our resoundingly successful agrarian revolution has decimated the
national dairy herd to the extent that we are now having to import the

      Could it be that Dairibord Zimbabwe is now importing dry milk products
and reconstituting them into fresh milk because we no longer have local milk
producers? Would this explain the erratic milk supply in the supermarkets?

      There is really no logic-but then is there anything logical in this
country any more-as to why a basic food item produced locally should be so
expensive. We must be the only country in the world where milk costs so much
more than petrol or diesel.

      Please go, Mugabe, Made and company.

      Fed Up

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Zim Standard

      Cable thefts scupper TelOne expansion
      By Parker Graham

      MASVINGO-Villagers who benefited under the widely condemned fast track
land reform programme have allegedly prejudiced telecommunications entity,
TelOne, of over $25 million through cutting and theft of copper wires and
cables, Standard Business has established.

      Investigations carried by this paper revealed that some resettled
families who are facing severe food shortages were finding TelOne wires the
only source of income. Several cables along Zvishavane-Mberengwa, Chivi,
Mashava, Renco, Chiredzi and Gutu were reported to have been severely
affected by thefts.

      Contacted for comment, TelOne public relations officer, Collin
Wilbesi, only confirmed that his corporation had lost copper wire worth
about $25 million in the first quarter of the year.

      "TelOne was prejudiced of copper wire worth over $24 million, with
estimated loss of revenue valued at $1,2 million in Masvingo alone.

      "Due to rampant acts of cable thefts, we have embarked on an exercise
to install alarm systems on all plant and buildings which are prone to
theft, that is overhead wires, cables and equipment buildings," said

      He said, instead of concentrating on expanding and improving the
TelOne network, the limited resources available would be used to repair
stolen cables.

      "There are plans to digitalise all exchanges in Masvingo province. At
the moment, the main hurdle is lack of foreign currency as all our equipment
is imported," said Wilbesi.

      Several white commercial farmers in Mwenezi expressed concern over the
manner in which copper wires were stolen from TelOne as well as fences from
designated white farms.

      CFU Masvingo regional vice chairman, Mike Clark, said the majority of
the resettled families who benefited under the internationally condemned and
chaotic fast track land programme were trapping wild animals using snares
from their fences.

      "They kill animals in broad daylight and nothing happens to them. Some
of the villagers who benefited from the chaotic fast track even slaughter
white farmers' cattle," said Clark.

      Masvingo provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Learn Ncube,
professed ignorance on the issue, but quickly warned culprits that the law
would take its course.

      "Whoever is caught breaking the law will be prosecuted regardless of
which political party they are affiliated to," said Ncube.

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Sunday Telegraph (UK)

Poachers slaughter presidential elephants for meat
By David Harrison, Environment Correspondent
(Filed: 20/10/2002)

An elite herd of elephants granted "perpetual protection" by President
Mugabe is being wiped out by poachers as hunger and lawlessness sweeps rural

Dozens of the country's 500 presidential elephants have been killed in such
a ruthless surge of poaching that conservationists say that the herd is in
danger of disappearing.

The elephants are being trapped in wire snares which wrap around their neck,
head, chest, legs and trunks, wounding and maiming them. Some die from
disease while others are killed not for their ivory tusks, but for their
meat and hides which sell profitably in a country suffering severe food

Until recently, conservationists thought that the elephants were caught in
snares set for other animals. Now, however, it is clear that the poachers
are using large snares aimed at elephants on the 35,000-acre Hwange Estate,
on the edge of the Hwange National Park.

Sharon Pincott, of the presidential elephant research and conservation
project, said: "This is a disturbing change. Before this I believed that the
elephants were unfortunate victims of snares meant for other animals.

"Now it's clear that the presidential herd is being targeted deliberately.
For an elephant to be snared around its chest means it has walked into one
very big snare.

"This is big business. Last year we found very few snared elephants but now
we find one every few weeks. Snares are being set in the thousands by
big-time poachers who sell the meat and hides."

If the snares are not removed quickly, the elephants' chances of survival
are slim. Baby elephants find it particularly difficult to free themselves
and drag the snares until they drop. Some elephants break free, but wander
around mutilated and eventually die.

Ms Pincott came to Zimbabwe from Britain last year to study the herd, but
soon realised that saving it was the priority. The presidential conservation
project has launched an emergency appeal to save the elephants.

The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, a British charity, is now funding
equipment and drugs to free and treat the trapped elephants.

The foundation was already working in the area with the endangered African
Painted Dog, which faces similar problems with snares. It is now helping
remove snares and treat the wounds of injured elephants.

President Mugabe bestowed his personal patronage on the elephant herd in
1990 as a symbol of Zimbabwe's commitment to animal conservation.

Next month, however, Zimbabwe and other southern African states will seek to
lift the international ban on the ivory trade at a meeting of the Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

Conservationists are arguing that it will lead to more poaching but in the
meantime, the poachers in Zimbabwe have found another market for the
elephants that they kill.

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Plans to Declare Todd National Hero Shot Down

The Daily News (Harare)

October 18, 2002
Posted to the web October 19, 2002

Staff Reporter

CLOSE associates of the late Sir Garfield Todd, who died in Bulawayo last
week, say they are alarmed the government plans to declare him a national
hero.Last night, a close associate of the former prime minister of Southern
Rhodesia said it would be "inappropriate" if hero status was under
consideration for Sir Garfield.

He said: "Overtures have been made to Todd's daughter, Judith, and she hopes
the government will not make the mistake of trying to confer hero status on
her father.

"She is busy with a committee preparing for next week's memorial services in
Harare and Bulawayo, and his funeral at Dadaya on 27 October." Judith was
not available for comment last night. But both Vice-President Simon Muzenda
and the ruling party's secretary for information and publicity, Dr Nathan
Shamuyarira, spoke highly of the contribution Sir Garfield made to this
country, its education and the cause of black Zimbabweans. Todd, who
succumbed to a massive stroke at 94, will be buried next to his wife, Grace,
who died last year. He was detained twice by the Rhodesian regime, and
restricted to his ranch, while his daughter, Judith, after being force-fed
during her six weeks' detention in Marondera police cells, was forced into
exile for seven years.

"Sir Garfield Todd made his position clear, in the last years of his life.
He had been appalled at the ruling Zanu PF's suppression of democracy, the
erosion of civil liberties, assassinations of opposition officials and
supporters, arrests and torture, and the climate of fear which had spread
through the country," the well placed source said.

The Daily News last night learnt that his only relative in Zimbabwe, Judith,
is hoping she is not placed in the "embarrassing" position of rebutting
"well-meaning" people who believe her father should be a hero. "She would
not consider it, as she knows it would have been against his wishes", said
the well placed source. New Zealand-born Sir Garfield was refused permission
to vote in the March presidential election, and Judith, born in Zimbabwe,
had to go to court repeatedly to get a passport, which is only valid for a

Next Monday, Tobaiwa Mudede, the registrar-general will appeal to the
Supreme Court against the High Court judgment awarding the return of Judith
Todd's citizenship and passport.
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Heroes and judges

Dear All,

I was asked by Judith Todd to forward this message. Hopeful that those who
receive it will be people who knew late Sir Garfield.
Jenni Williams

Sir Garfield Todd
There are going to be thanksgiving/funeral services for my father next
Thursday 24 October at the central Presbyterian Church Harare from 1 - 2 pm;
Bulawayo Friday 25 October at the Baptist Church, 2nd Avenue/George
Silundika Street
from 1 - 2 pm;  and the interment will be at Dadaya on Sunday, 27th October
from 11 a.m.

Notes from Judy.....
Next Monday 21 October the Registrar-General for Citizenship, Mr. Mudede,
takes my case to the Supreme Court.  He is seeking to overturn a judgement
in my favour by the High Court which stated that as I am a citizen by birth
of Zimbabwe I must be treated as a citizen and I must be given a passport.
After that High Court ruling I was given a passport but valid for only one
year, pending the outcome of this Supreme Court case.

I heard today that the panel of judges on Monday (they are selected by the
Chief Justice Chidyausiku) will be Chidyausiku himself, Malaba and Kwaunza.
Mudede is arguing that as my parents were born in New Zealand that means
that I have a claim to New Zealand citizenship which I have not renounced
and that therefore I have forfeited my Zimbabwe citizenship.  My argument is
that my citizenship of Zimbabwe is by birth and that I cannot (as he
requires me to do) swear under oath that I have renounced a citizenship (New
Zealand) which I do not have.
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Hunger relief efforts suspended in Zimbabwe town
Militants seized grain, threatened aid workers Associated Press
 The Baltimore Sun : Originally published October 20, 2002

HARARE, Zimbabwe - The World Food Program said Friday it suspended hunger relief efforts indefinitely in a Zimbabwean town after ruling party activists threatened aid workers and seized donated grain.

The action marked the first time the WFP halted food distributions in Zimbabwe, whose government has been accused of using food as a political tool against the opposition.

An estimated 6.7 million Zimbabweans, more than half the population, are in danger of starvation in the coming months.

Workers for the Organization of Rural Associations for Progress were distributing WFP corn to hungry families Thursday at Insiza, 350 miles southwest of Harare, when ruling party militants threatened them and seized more than three tons of the grain, the WFP said.

The militants then distributed the aid to "people who may not be intended beneficiaries," the U.N. agency said.

Insiza, the site of an upcoming by-election, has been racked by political violence in recent weeks. "Relief food distributions are not the place for any kind of political activity," said Kevin Farrell, WFP's country director in Zimbabwe. "WFP standing policy is to not tolerate the misuse of its resources for political ends," he said.

Government and ruling party officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Welshman Ncube, secretary-general of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, said food aid had been used against the opposition for the past two weeks.

Officials, sometimes with compliance of aid workers, deliberately arranged food distributions near MDC rallies to lure away starving voters, he said. The opposition supporters were then forced to chant ruling party slogans and surrender opposition party cards before being given food.

Human rights workers have reported similar incidents in recent months as hunger spreads throughout the country.

Tony Hall, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, said last week that people across Zimbabwe told him the government had refused to sell grain in some areas considered hotbeds of opposition support.

The WFP has blamed the hunger in Zimbabwe on a devastating drought combined with the government's policy of seizing land from white commercial farmers and giving it to blacks, a policy that has badly damaged agriculture here. Government officials deny allegations their land redistribution plan has worsened the crisis.

Copyright © 2002

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Dear Family and Friends,
Life in Zimbabwe has a strange duplicity about it with everything seeming so normal on the surface and yet so abnormal under the veneer. My 10 year old son Richard went on a school camp to Bulawayo and Victoria Falls this week and while I made the preparations and did the packing, it all seemed so normal that it could have been happening anywhere in the world. A huge list of things had to be crammed into the smallest possible case - sleeping bag, pillow, clothes, toiletries and home made biscuits. The abnormality started as Richie and I walked to the car with his kit bag. "I hope we don't meet any war vets Mum" he said. I made all the right reassuring noises but both my heart and stomach were in my mouth. I'm not sure if Richie believes me anymore when it comes to these sort of conversations because I've made him so many promises like this before and everytime I've been proved to be lying as war veterans have taken everything we've ever had and there's never been anyone able to help to us.
I had an anxious four days while Richie was away on his adventures but they say no news is good news and I was looking forward to having him safely back at home on Thursday afternoon. The bus was very late and sitting in the darkening school car park there was nothing to do except wait, try not to worry and just soak in an African night. The almost full moon rose, the temperature dropped and a million crickets and cicadas began their nocturnal chorus. Bats flitted across the car park and a night jar swooped low in the moonlight, its call of "Good Lord Deliver Us" bringing goose bumps to my arms as the minutes dragged by and still the bus didn't come. When the children finally dragged themselves off the bus, filthy and exhausted and more than 5 hours later than their announced arrival time, I wanted to just fling my arms around my son. He's 10 though, status is everything, hugs in public are most definitely not allowed and we at last went home. 
Life soon got back to normal, the ring of filth around the bath, blaring television and sagging washing line have bought normalcy back. When I asked Rich what the best and worst of his trip were I was told that the train toilet was gross as it empties straight onto the railway lines and that the best was climbing the granite rocks of the Matopos, watching the black eagles and seeing the "olden day" ox carts in the natural history museum.
Abnormality kicked in the morning after Richard's return when we went to do our weekly shopping. No bread, milk or flour, no sugar, biscuits or yeast and a small packet of chicken pieces costing over Z$1000. We joked as we stood in line at the post office, Richie insisting the parcel we were waiting for would be for him. "How boring" he said when he found it was for me and it was yeast so that I can make bread for his school lunches.
Richard and his class mates were so lucky to have had such a wonderful adventure while the rest of the country's schools have been plunged into utter chaos for the second week running. The government say they have fired 627 teachers and there were reports of huge senior schools being manned by as few as 3 members of staff. The head of the striking teachers, arrested and assaulted in police custody last week, was re-arrested this week still bearing wounds from his last encounter with Zimbabwe's police.
In Zimbabwe now we have all come to thank God every day not only for what we are given but for being  in one piece to see another sunset and hear the haunting call of the nightjar's one more time. Until next week, with love, cathy. Copyright Cathy Buckle.19th Oct 2002.
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