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Zimbabwe dollar set to plummet, boosting exports


      Fri Oct 21, 2005 11:43 AM GMT

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's dollar is expected quickly to lose half its
official value on a new interbank market, which would push inflation up, but
exports will rise as it weakens, analysts said on Friday.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on Thursday announced the reintroduction
of an interbank trading system to determine the exchange rate for the local
dollar, but exporters will still have to remit 30 percent of their earnings
at a rate to be determined by the bank.

Treasurers from commercial banks met the central bank on Friday to clarify
the guidelines on the floating exchange rate system and trading was expected
to start on Monday.

Analysts said the Zimbabwe dollar was likely to fall to around 60,000 per
dollar versus the official 26,000 during the first week of trade and
gradually weaken to near rates on the thriving black market of 90,000/U.S.

"We should see the Zimbabwe dollar trading at around 60,000 in the first
week which will be followed by a gradual depreciation to within parallel
market levels, that's where it should settle," said a dealer with a Harare
commercial bank.

Black market activity would continue since official avenues would not meet
the higher appetite for imports, dealers said.

Analysts said with the local unit expected to weaken sharply as it seeks a
market-determined rate, inflation would spike before subsiding in the first
quarter of 2006.

Reserve bank governor Gideo Gono on Thursday said inflation, which reached
359.8 percent in the year to September, would ease to between 280-300
percent by year-end.


Although the bank's forecast is higher than the initial 50 and 80 percent
target, analysts say it was still conservative.

"In the short term we are going to see inflation going up beyond 400 percent
because a lot of our inflation is coming from the import side," James Jowa,
a Harare economist, told Reuters.

Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence from
Britain in 1980. Acute shortages of foreign currency, whose rate was
controlled by the central bank, created a black market for almost
everything -- resulting in hyperinflation, prolonged recession and rampant

Consultant economist Eric Bloch said it would take time for exporters, who
have become key in generating foreign currency for Zimbabwe, to benefit from
the new exchange rate regime.

"This move is going to be positive but it's not a quick fix to our problems.
There is a time lag for (exporters') response and I can't see that happening
until around April next year," Bloch said.

Analysts urged the government to create conditions for foreign investment
and attract balance of payment support crucial in stabilising the local
currency and easing inflationary pressures.

Zimbabwe has been without donor support since 1999 after foreign lenders led
by the International Monetary Fund withheld cash over policy differences
such as the seizure of white-owned farms to resettle blacks.

On Thursday Gono stepped up criticism of fresh invasions of commercial farms
and said lack of respect for private property rights made investors
apprehensive and scared them away to other more secure destinations.

"We need to have a shift in government policy so that it meets international
norms of law and order and until that happens we are not going to see
balance of payment support or foreign investors coming to Zimbabwe," Bloch

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The MDC Needs To Uphold and Defend Its Values, Principles and Constitution

21 October 2005

Since the MDC was established 6 years ago, the party’s agenda and progress has been shaped by its guiding principles – democracy, freedom, equality and social justice. These principles are enshrined in our constitution.
The scale and depth of the support that the MDC now enjoys across Zimbabwe would not have been possible if the party lacked the principles that underpin our collective vision for a new beginning in Zimbabwe. If we allow any party member, regardless of their rank or position, to act with impunity and violate the basic values and principles that we stand for then we are no different from Zanu PF.
Left unchecked, these violations will corrode our progressive vision, destroy our credibility and will lead to a betrayal of the millions of Zimbabweans who have entrusted in the MDC leadership their hopes for a better future. Moreover, if left unchecked these violations will ultimately blur the difference between ourselves as a democratic movement and the Zanu PF dictatorship. We owe it to the people to get our house in order.
The people of Zimbabwe, most of whom have no jobs and are desperate for food, expect the leaders of the MDC to be loyal to the democratic struggle in deeds as well as words. Rhetoric is easy; actions provide proof.
Upholding the values of the MDC, and protecting its image in the eyes of the people and the outside world, is the reason why many of us in the party have publicly opposed those who refused to accept the democratic outcome of the secret ballot held by the National Council on the issue of participation in the senate elections. This democratic transgression is the very antithesis of the MDC’s overriding objective – the democratization of Zimbabwe.
Undermining the institutions and structures of the party, by rejecting the authority of the National Council through a claim to possess some indeterminate power accountable to no-one, is, to all intents and purposes, a coup d’etat against the party and its constitution.
Accepting the outcome of a free and fair democratic process is a basic rule of representative democracy.  We lost an opportunity to reaffirm our democratic credentials to the people of Zimbabwe, the region and the broader international community. 
The National Council is the highest authority of the party in between congresses. Its decisions are sacrosanct. How can Zimbabweans entrust their freedoms and liberties, and their good governance, to men and women who have no respect for their own party’s constitution and who now embrace and celebrate violence, intimidation, thuggary and authoritarianism?
All of us in the MDC have worked hard, often putting ourselves and our families at risk, people have been killed and thousands tortured to build this party and offer the people an entity capable of tackling the issues blighting our everyday lives. 
It is therefore deeply regrettable that the two divergent camps have not reached a compromise acceptable to both parties. We have sought high level mediation, and have attempted to engage the MDC president to urge him to put the party and the people first, and act in accordance with the constitution. Both efforts have thus far yielded nothing.
Instead, those of us who have taken a principled stand in order to defend the basic values of the party have been vilified and threatened with violent retribution.  We have been subjected to unqualified accusations including ballot rigging, playing the ethnic card, pursuing personal interests, and acting as Zanu PF stooges. None of these palpably false and absurd accusations are worthy of a response and do not stand up to scrutiny.
Accusations of ethnicity and tribalism, when people are unable to win an argument, are easy to make but extremely dangerous. It is akin to riding on the back of a tiger. To suggest that some provinces have no right to take a position on an issue less they be accused of ethnicity, is totally absurd.
Such intolerance, and shameless appeal to ethnicity, stokes the ethnic fires. Our recent history as a country should counsel against such a blind, myopic and dangerous strategy. As a nation we are still recovering from the wounds inflicted on our national unity by the massacres perpetrated by the Mugabe regime in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces during the Gukurahundi period of 1981-87.
For the MDC it is essential that pockets of anger and hostility give way to reason. Time and energy, which should be spent leading the social liberation struggle, are being misdirected and it is those on the ground who are suffering as a consequence.
It is time everyone in the party got back in touch with what the MDC is all about and focused on the needs of the people. It is time everyone re-attached themselves to the principles and the unity of purpose that brought us together in the first place.
If the MDC is to offer a real alternative to Zanu PF we have to hold ourselves accountable to the highest democratic standards and values. The people of Zimbabwe do not deserve anything less. They have suffered 25 years of dictatorship, poverty and powerlessness. The people have been waiting but they will not wait for forever.   
Paul Themba Nyathi
MDC Secretary for Information and Publicity

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Security chiefs fear popular uprising in Zim


    Basildon Peta
          October 21 2005 at 03:20AM

      Zimbabwe's worsening economic climate could easily spawn a popular
uprising against President Robert Mugabe, according to a confidential
security document obtained by the media.

      Zimbabwean state security agencies have expressed serious fears that a
popular uprising is increasingly becoming real as economic hardships erode
the patience of long-suffering Zimbabweans.

      A document by the Joint Operations Command, comprising heads of the
Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Central Intelligence Organisation and the
Zimbabwe National Army, has been obtained by Zimbabwe's online newspaper

      It warns of the severe consequences of Zimbabwe's continued economic

            'We must not fool ourselves in believing that the situation is
      In an attempt to forestall a possible mass uprising, the document
shows that the security agencies have drawn up a list of 55 political and
civic leaders described as "most dangerous individuals" who have to be kept
under surveillance to ensure they do not mobilise Zimbabweans.

      Main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader
Morgan Tsvangirai tops the list that also includes Mugabe's former chief
propagandist and now independent parliamentarian, Jonathan Moyo.

      The 20-page internal document quoted by ZimOnline reads: "We must not
fool ourselves in believing that the situation is normal on the ground
because we risk being caught unawares.

      People have grown impatient with the government, which they accuse of
causing their problems and doing nothing to alleviate them and they will do
anything to remove it from power."

      National Constitutional Assembly Chairperson Lovemore Madhuku,
outspoken Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
President Lovemore Matombo, Zimbabwe Progressive Teachers' Union
Secretary-General Raymond Majongwe and Felix Mafa, of the Post Independence
Survivors' Trust, are among the people recommended for permanent

      This article was originally published on page 10 of The Mercury on
October 21, 2005

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Lock up land invaders, urges Zimbabwe govt


      Fri Oct 21, 2005 9:00 AM GMT

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's central bank chief urged President Robert
Mugabe's government on Thursday to arrest people invading commercial farms,
branding them saboteurs of the ailing economy who were scaring off

Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono stepped up his criticism of recent land
invasions, warning that the resultant disruption was damaging agriculture.

Land invasions began five years ago with the tacit approval of a government
pursuing its own controversial land reforms. Local media have reported a
series of fresh invasions of white-owned farms in eastern Zimbabwe in recent

"Anyone invading farms now is not working for the interests of this country,
is a criminal and ought to be locked away until after the harvest," Gono
said during a monetary policy presentation.

"Our hearts at the central bank bleed with each story of such levels of
economic disregard, such irrationality and such economic sabotage," he

Mugabe's government has said it would outlaw occupation of state land after
reports of fresh farm seizures in eastern Zimbabwe, but Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa told Reuters recently the protection would not cover
privately owned farms.

"Where no respect is given for the sanctity of private property rights,
investors become apprehensive and instead plough their resources in other
more secure destinations," Gono said on Thursday.

"It is for this reason that we implore the relevant authorities to institute
stringent laws that protect private property."

Mugabe signed constitutional changes into law last month effectively
nationalising all white-owned farms that had been seized by his government
for the resettlement of black Zimbabweans over the last six years.

Gono called on newly resettled black farmers to exploit their land to the
full to reduce Zimbabwe's dependency on food imports, saying they should not
use the land "as weekend picnic ventures."

Critics say land expropriations are partly responsible for waning commercial
agriculture and food shortages since 2001. New farmers are battle to raise
production in the face of a lack of adequate funding and commercial farming

Mugabe has defended farm seizures -- some of which have been carried out
through legal procedures, others by gangs of armed independence war
veterans -- as necessary to correct colonial imbalances that left 70 percent
of Zimbabwe's prime farming land in the hands of a few whites.

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Mugabe Government faces possible split

ABC Radio, Australia

This is a transcript from PM. The program is broadcast around Australia at
5:10pm on Radio National and 6:10pm on ABC Local Radio.

     PM - Friday, 21 October , 2005  18:46:00
      Reporter: Zoe Daniel
      MARK COLVIN: There's a potential split in the Government of Zimbabwe,
which may prove the biggest threat yet to President Robert Mugabe's regime.

      The Government's so-called "Operation Restore Order" campaign was
supposedly designed to clean up slums and crime.

      Instead it's made hundreds of thousands of people homeless and
scattered them into the countryside.

      The attack on the most vulnerable people in Zimbabwe is causing
increasing disquiet among senior members of President Mugabe's own party.

      One such man has told the ABC that there's a looming political split
which is likely to result in the presidency being challenged at the next

      Africa correspondent Zoe Daniel reports from Harare.

      ZOE DANIEL: The only way to speak to Pearson Mbalekwa is in secret ...

      The former secret police chief and member of President Mugabe's inner
circle is now a target because he's deserted the ruling party - ZANU PF - in
response to Operation Murambatsvina, the so-called slum clean up campaign
that's gone too far.

      PEARSON MBALEKWA: The whole thing went out of control. They went into
living quarters, in some suburbs, and started destroying what they're
calling shacks and so forth. And I said to (inaudible) what the hell is
going on?

      ZOE DANIEL: Pearson Mbalekwa is the first to resign from ZANU PF in
response to the demolitions which have made hundreds of thousands of people
homeless, and affected millions.

      As a former head of the feared Central Intelligence Organisation, he
comes from a body that endorses intimidation and violence. But he says he
can't endorse the Government's attack on the most desperate Zimbabweans.

      PEARSON MBALEKWA: I didn't want to be part and parcel of a policy
which I was not part of, so I said no, my party, this is ridiculous, I will
not be used in this whole callous exercise.

      ZOE DANIEL: Pearson Mbalekwa's resignation is not an isolated

      Since President Mugabe overlooked obvious successors to appoint a
female vice president last year, there's been dissatisfaction within ZANU

      Now Mbalekwa is testing the ground for a new political party - on
behalf of others within the Government who he says want out.

      PEARSON MBALEKWA: There's a lot of disillusionment within the party,
not only from the young generation in the party, but even from the senior
leadership members of party bureau, central committee, and members of
Parliament and so forth.

      ZOE DANIEL: Those who have lost their homes and livelihoods in
Operation Murambatsvina are desperate for change.

      Dickson says "ZANU PF has killed us", as he explains that his shop was
destroyed in the demolitions, and now he's supporting his family - including
a disabled daughter - on about $50 a month.

      His wife cries as she points to an eating area where once the family
cooked chicken, eggs and meat, but now Zimbabwe's economic crisis means
there's only porridge for dinner - and not much of that either.

      Operation Murambatsvina has been interpreted as a deliberate attempt
by the Zimbabwean Government to scatter opposition supporters into rural
areas where they can't mobilise against it - especially when they're
starving and cold.

      SEKAI HOLLAND: The Operation Murambatsvina is to ensure the
destruction, it's the final blow, the final blow, to the development of
opposition in Zimbabwe.

      ZOE DANIEL: Sekai Holland was once ZANU PF's representative in
Australia, but now she's one of the Government's most vocal opponents
despite serious intimidation - including an attempt on her life.

      She says Western governments must take some responsibility for Robert
Mugabe, because they lauded him as a hero for helping liberate Zimbabwe from
white rule.

      SEKAI HOLLAND: The inaction of Africans over Zimbabwe is really saying
to the West, he is your baby, deal with it.

      ZOE DANIEL: There's a sense that the main Opposition Movement for
Democratic Change now has little chance of toppling the Government, with its
supporters scattered and scared.

      In the meantime, destitute families like Dickson's can merely pray.

      This is Zoe Daniel in Harare, Zimbabwe, for PM.

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Branches support Tsvangirai's boycott call


          October 21 2005 at 09:45AM

      By Angus Shaw

      Harare - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, facing a split that
could destroy his party, campaigned among its branches and received
overwhelming support for a boycott of upcoming Senate elections.

      William Bango, Tsvangirai's spokesperson, said on Friday that 10 of
the party's 12 provincial districts support the call for a boycott.

      "The national sentiment is against the Senate structure," Bango said.

      But top party leaders in a vote narrowly rejected Tsvangirai's call
for a boycott of the November 26 election for a new Senate.

      Party officials favouring participation have said they will nominate
their candidates for the November election on Monday.

      Tsvangirai's supporters say party dissidents may run as independent
candidates but they would risk suspension from the party.

      Bango said Tsvangirai was confident the boycott will be observed.
Tsvangirai himself made no comment because "he prefers not to heighten the
political temperature."

      Tsvangirai's deputy, MDC Vice President Gibson Sibanda, on Thursday
accused the party leader of breaching the party's constitution by defying
the October 12 internal ballot of the executive committee, known as the
National Council, on participation in the Senate poll.

      Sibanda also said inquiries into intimidation and "violent activities"
against some national and provincial party officials established the
involvement of Tsvangirai's office and his bodyguards.

      Bango told state radio on Friday there were no provisions in the
party's constitution for dissidents to seek Tsvangirai's impeachment as
party leader.

      The labour-backed party, formed in 1999, presented the first major
challenge to President Robert Mugabe's increasingly autocratic rule. But it
has lost three elections amid allegations of vote rigging and intimidation.

      A new 66-seat upper house, including 50 elected members, was created
by a recent constitutional amendment. The opposition opposed the amendment
and Tsvangirai argues that participating in the election will give
credibility to the chamber and a fraudulent poll.

      The opposition won just 41 of the 120 elected seats in parliament's
150-seat lower house in March. - Sapa-AP

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Zimbabwe MDC faction in S Africa


      Top officials from Zimbabwe's main opposition party are visiting South
Africa, reportedly to meet President Thabo Mbeki.
      Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai is not on the

      The visit comes amid signs of a split in the party over elections next
month. Mr Tsvangirai has announced a boycott, while some officials want to
take part.

      Mr Mbeki has been trying to mediate a solution to Zimbabwe's political
and economic crisis for several years.

      An MDC source told the BBC News website that the group visiting South
Africa comprised at least four of the party's top six officials, excluding
Mr Tsvangirai.

      According to the source, the delegation includes party deputy
president Gibson Sibanda; secretary general Welshman Ncube; deputy secretary
general Gift Chimanikire and national treasurer Fletcher Dulini-Ncube.

      Earlier this week Mr Sibanda accused Mr Tsvangirai of "wilfully
violating the constitution of the MDC" and breaching its code of conduct by
insisting on a boycott.

      'No split'

      But after meeting Mr Tsvangirai on Wednesday, Mr Sibanda rejected
suggestions that the party was about to split.

      Correspondents say there is a strong desire among the southern
Ndebele-speaking members of the MDC to take part in the Senate elections and
not hand victory on a plate to Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

      But in the northern ethnic Shona areas of the country, the MDC is less
organised and is ill-prepared to contest elections.

      Mr Sibanda, Mr Ncube and Mr Dulini-Ncube are all from the southern
Matabeleland region.

      The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a coalition of
pro-democracy groups, added its voice to the call for a boycott of the
Senate election, calling it "meaningless" and a "waste of time and

      Elections were called after a recent constitutional change
reintroduced an upper house into parliament.

      Government critics say the change was introduced to strengthen the
hold on power of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

      The MDC believes violence and fraud have made previous poll results

      Zimbabwe has had a single-chamber parliament since 1987, when Mr
Mugabe abolished the Senate.

      But the government now says the reintroduction of the Senate will
boost the authority of parliament.

      The Senate will comprise 10 traditional chiefs, 50 senators elected on
a constituency system and six appointed by the president.

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Refuse collection..... or lack thereof

Sent: Friday, October 21, 2005 11:58 PM

Ref the story about the refuse being collected:-
We, in our part of Hatfield have not had a Refuse collection since the
second week of January 2005!!
I have been to remonstrate with the man in charge of the vehicles and he
said he would "let me know on my cell" the day we should get a truck
round to pick up the mountain of black bags - but to no avail; we are
still waiting, 5 weeks since this last promise. Our neighbors all around
have for months been burning their household refuse weekly or
fortnightly, with a fairly constant blanket of carcinogenic smoke
blowing into our house, mostly after a night of nocturnal burnings, or
rather "slow smoulderings". Bleating to the Health authorities has
failed to get anything done about it, even thoiugh there are Bylaws
against such burnings.
P & I, like the idiots that we are, dig holes and bury the black bags
- to date we have covered over about 6 big holes, which has robbed the
crows of a tasty restaurant!
Anyway, life goes on.

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Healer refused blood test

The Sun, UK



      THE High Court has ordered the conviction of a traditional African
healer and spirit medium who refused to provide a blood specimen for testing
after being suspected of drink-driving.

      In what was described as a "bizarre case", Nyararia Mukandiwa, from
Dalton, Huddersfield, had earlier escaped conviction at a magistrates court
after saying he could not give blood "for spiritual reasons".

      He was described in court as a licensed traditional healer from
Zimbabwe, registered with the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers
Association, known as Zinatha.

      He also said he was a spirit medium, known as a Mhondoro, and
considered himself possessed by spirits, and therefore had to avoid
situations that unexpectedly drove him into a trance.

      Professor Richard Werbner, professor of African anthropology at
Manchester University, had given expert evidence on behalf of the
33-year-old at Huddersfield Magistrates' Court that "the sight of a corpse,
extreme anger and the spilling of blood" could all send him into a trance
that could result in violence to himself or the police.

      District Judge Bennett ruled in September 2004 while sitting at
Dewsbury Magistrates' Court that Mukandiwa's spirit medium role meant there
could be "a risk to health" if required to give blood.

      That was "a reasonable excuse" for him not providing a blood sample
under the 1988 Road Traffic Act, said the judge, and refused to convict him.

      Judge Bennett said: "I was satisfied that this man's fear of giving
      related to his going into a trance and the consequences for the
police, who would not know how to respond to the situation, with which they
would be totally unfamiliar."

      Today the Director of Public Prosecutions appealed to the High Court,
and two senior judges ruled there were "fatal flaws" in Judge Bennett's
decision and Mukandiwa must be convicted.

      During the two-hour hearing, Lord Justice Scott Baker, sitting with Mr
Justice Newman, observed: "The district judge seems to have got mesmerised
in this case."

      The alleged risk of blood causing a trance "could easily have been
avoided by Mukandiwa shutting his eyes or looking away", said the lord

      The evidence was that it was the "spilling" of blood which was the
problem and might cause a risk to health. There was no finding that the
"sight" of it was a problem.

      Lord Justice Scott Baker added: "Even if he went into a trance, the
district judge conducted no real analysis of the likely consequences, other
than concluding Mukandiwa might be violent to himself or others.

      "It seems to me to be a far cry from the evidence shown that to give a
sample would entail a substantial risk to Mukandiwa's health."

      The judge described how Mukandiwa was stopped by a police patrol after
his Peugeot car strayed across a white line in February 2004 on a
Huddersfield road.

      At first the police gave him the benefit of the doubt over
      because a breath-testing kit was not available.

      But he was arrested and taken to Castlegate police station because, as
he went to drive off, he clipped the central reservation.

      He was asked to give blood after he failed, through medical reasons,
to complete a breath test at the station.

      He replied: "I can't give blood for spiritual reasons" and was
subsequently charged.

      Allowing the DPP's appeal, Lord Justice Scott said the High Court had
also been asked to consider whether the police should have been obliged to
require the healer to provide a sample of urine, not blood.

      But that issue never arose in the magistrates' court and it was too
late to raise it now.

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Simmons faces deportation from Zimbabwe

Cricinfo staff

October 21, 2005

The row over the future of Phil Simmons took another twist today with the
news that he faces deportation by Zimbabwe's immigration department.

Simmons, who was replaced as national coach in August, had his contract
terminated by Zimbabwe Cricket earlier in the month, but 30 national players
presented a petition to the board on Tuesday demanding his reinstatement.
Simmons, meanwhile, claimed the dismissal was unconstitutional and was
consulting lawyers over his options.

But sources close to the situation claim that someone inside ZC approached
the immigration authorities, with the result that he has been told that he
will have to leave the country as he no longer has employment there.

Simmons is said to be considering challenging the order, while the players
are reported to be livid at the latest development.

© Cricinfo

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MDC's unedifying war over elections

Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 21 October

Iden Wetherell

Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
is fighting a civil war over whether to participate in elections for an
upper house of Parliament next month. And it's not a pretty sight. The
battle is being fought in full public view as newspapers carry daily reports
of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai's increasingly desperate attempts to block
candidates from filing nomination papers. A slim majority of party officials
want to take part in the contest scheduled for November 26. Tsvangirai is
strongly opposed to participation. He wants to prevent any further
collaboration with an electoral management system that he says "breeds
illegitimate outcomes" and which he blames for the party's setback in the
March general election. The majority believes that if the party is to retain
its presence at the centre of the nation's political life it must contest
seats for the revived Senate, some of which it will undoubtedly win.

The MDC's strength lies in its urban constituencies, which, in March firmly
slammed their doors on President Robert Mugabe's political pretensions. The
party's secretary general, Professor Welshman Ncube, is seen as heading the
faction of the party that favours participation in the Senate poll. It is
largely based in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, and reflects the MDC's
strong presence in the southern Matabeleland provinces. Tsvangirai's support
lies mostly in the capital, Harare. This has given the struggle an ethnic
dimension. But to portray it in those terms would be to miss several salient
points. Tsvangirai had his reservations about entering the March poll borne
out when the party was placed at a disadvantage by the refusal of the public
media to allow the opposition anything more than token space during the
campaign and, more seriously, by what he regards as the institutional bias
of the electoral system. These concerns are shared by civil society
organisations such as the National Constitutional Assembly which believes
the problem of a lopsided electoral playing field will not be solved until a
democratic constitution is introduced. The MDC's national council voted to
participate, an outcome the party leader declines to recognise.

While Tsvangirai's critics see him as dictatorial and headstrong, few doubt
his popularity with grassroots supporters and the trade union movement or
question his courage in facing down Mugabe's menaces. He has twice been
charged with treason. Certainly no one else in the party leadership would be
able to draw the large crowds he can summon at the hustings. His only
serious rival, Ncube, while a master of legislative detail, is viewed by
some in the party as over-anxious to pursue the politics of accommodation.
Ncube is the MDC's negotiator in suspended talks with Zanu PF on
constitutional reform. The state-owned media has been having a field day
publicising the divisions in the ranks of the opposition that have
conveniently obscured Zanu PF's internecine fighting over the succession to
Mugabe. The 81-year-old ruler would welcome an MDC boycott, analysts
suggest, because it would enable him to use the Senate as a retirement home
for surplus personnel. The MDC, on the other hand, would be yielding ground
in areas where Zanu PF has no prospect of winning votes. Divisions deepened
this week as Tsvangirai stepped up his campaign against participation while
the opposing camp proceeded with the selection of candidates.

The MDC has overcome formidable obstacles over the past six years in
mounting a challenge to Mugabe's sclerotic rule, coming within a whisker of
winning the 2000 general election. It offers a comprehensive package of
policies on governance and economic recovery that many parties in Africa
would be happy to embrace. But it has now lost focus on the big picture of
how to confront the regime and is instead absorbed in a destructive battle
of its barons who refuse to agree on tactics, a struggle that has resonance
in the fragmented politics of Kenya and Malawi. Its spokespersons suggest
the current unedifying spectacle points to healthy debate at the top. It
more realistically reflects the conundrum of how a party committed to
democratic values can take on a regime determined to use brute force to
prevent it. There are no easy answers to that. Meanwhile, it looks as if
Zimbabwe's best hope for a democratic future is determined to go down
fighting - itself!

Iden Wetherell is group projects editor of the Zimbabwe Independent and
Standard newspapers

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Nkomo speaks from the grave

The Zimbabwean
Members of ZimVigil with Kate Hoey MP in front of No. 10.
Credit: ZimVigil
LONDON – Some 300 Zipra and a few Zanla former combatants were arrested after skirmishes at a military camp near Karoi, put on trial and executed with no right of appeal in 1983. Their relatives were not informed.
“Some 300 Zipra combatants and a few Zanla, who were arrested after the troubles in a battalion camp near Karoi, were detained secretly somewhere near Harare and taken in small batches to be court-martialled and executed with no right of appeal and without informing their next of kin. It is further known that the last of these executions that has come to light took place on February 14,” says a letter, dated June 7, 1983, to President Robert Mugabe from former Vice President of Zimbabwe, Joshua Nkomo, written soon after he was sacked from government in that year.

The lengthy letter, written in self-imposed exile in the UK, is now doing the rounds in email form. It also informs Mugabe that 5th Brigade was marching people into the bush and shooting them, either leaving the bodies to rot where they fell or dumping them elsewhere.

Nkomo also bemoaned the fact that the 5th Brigade was formed outside the structure and command of the Zimbabwe National Army, so that it could be used by Zanu (PF) to crush opposition.

“It is obvious to me why you decided to form the 5th Brigade … so that you may use it as a party and tribal brigade for eliminating and liquidating, as you have many times said, those you choose to destroy. As a matter of fact, when I questioned the formation of the 5th Brigade outside the ZNA without consultation you angrily replied: ‘Who are you to be consulted? This brigade,’ you said, ‘has been formed to crush those who try to subvert my government. And if you attempt that they will crush you too.’”

Nkomo criticised the retention of oppressive colonial legislation on the statute books of a newly-independent Zimbabwe. “I now understand why you have maintained legislation such as the law and order Maintenance act, the Unlawful Organisations Act and the Emergency Powers Act, which were enacted by former regimes, specifically for the suppression and oppression of the black population and for use against their efforts to struggle for independence, social justice, enjoyment of freedom and human rights. You now seem to enjoy, and justify, the use of these notorious laws to deny your own people that which they fought and died to achieve.”

The letter raises a catalogue of human rights abuses, including arbitrary arrest and harassment of opposition politicians, disappearances and extra-judicial executions – sanctioned from on high and curtailment of individual freedoms which the letter says were rampant at the time.

Perhaps the most remarkable part of the more than 20-year-old letter is the reference to a conversation between the two men in December of 1981: “ I had made it plain to you Prime Minister … that your resettlement policy was a national disaster and you agreed with me.”

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Mbare squatters win court ruling

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - The High Court has barred police from evicting some 350 squatters
from makeshift shelters in Mbare after a magistrate, apparently nervous of
retaliation from the Justice Ministry, refused to hear the case.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), which represents the group - among
thousands of urban dwellers whose homes and livelihoods were destroyed in
Operation Murambatsvina - said the High Court on Oct. 10 provisionally
barred the eviction. "It was by consent. The City of Harare said they had
never threatened eviction," said Zvikomborero Chadambuka of ZLHR. The group
will now be seeking a final court order barring their eviction until they
have been found alternative accommodation.

Provincial Magistrate Ms. Chigwaza refused to hear the case Oct. 5, claiming
that magistrate's courts have no jurisdiction in Murambatsvina cases,
although there is a register of such cases having been heard in lower

Most of the group, including children, have been living in squalid
conditions in makeshift shelters on an open area near Tsiga Grounds in
Mbare. They were evicted from their homes under the purge - reportedly
organised by the Central Intelligence Organisation to fend off feared
demonstrations against the Mugabe regime. Police armed with dogs showed up
on October 2 threatening them with violence unless they moved.

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Big changes ahead as economy dies

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - My attempts to forecast the exchange rates during the past two
weeks have had to be revised so often that in the end I had to start again.
The parallel rate has come under serious additional pressures from the
decision to rake in money to pay the IMF, and this has added to the
Another issue that needs to be factored in is on the ballooning domestic
debt. Government has at last accepted the need to pay reasonable interest
rates, but it appears not to have the means to service that debt and a
massive increase in debt-service requirements is about to surge onto the
money market.

Through the aggressive conduct of Zimra against everybody in general and the
share market in particular, through the exacting of "dues" from banks via
the 60% Statutory Reserve Ratio, from the swingeing sweeping of surpluses
from the market in exchange for two-year Treasury Bills and its extravagant
(and hopefully failed) attempts to exact bigger inflows by setting
Prescribed Asset Ratios at the market, rather than the book values of
pension funds' physical assets, government seems to have come to the end of
its fund-raising options.

As it has clearly not succeeded in raising nearly enough from this shrinking
economy to cope with its debt service needs, we might have good reason to
fear what might come next. A debt rescheduling ploy might be tried, or
possibly something more drastic. If the Reserve Bank's purchase of Treasury
Bills has to be stepped up, this will add as significantly to inflationary
pressures as would further increases to government's overdraft with the
Reserve Bank. Both amount to money-printing, both help to sustain consumer
demand without adding a single product or service into the supply chain, and
both add to the demand for imported goods that are already so scarce and so
highly priced that any additional demand will put disproportionate pressure
on the parallel market exchange rate.

The parallel market rate could come back down, maybe to around Z$80 000
again, if we finally land that South African loan, but a lot depends on how
much it will be and the terms. As the parallel rate is presently being
driven by a much more serious scarcity factor, if a very big loan came
through it could reduce the scarcity enough to bring to a stop the sales
above Z$80 000, at least for a while. But if it is small and highly
conditional it might not make much difference at all, and the rate in
October could climb above Z$140 000 to one US dollar. That, in turn, would
bring much closer the possibility of inflation at above 1000%.

In most countries that have suffered inflation at such levels, changes in
government have followed soon afterwards. South Africa's influence here
could be decisive: loans could be offered, but only on condition that the
elections are run again in 2006 under international supervision and only if
opposition newspapers together with the freedom of movement and safety of
opposition candidates were restored and guaranteed. It seems to me that,
like it or not, we are soon to experience some far-reaching changes.

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Zim nurse wins top UK award

The Zimbabwean

LONDON - Zimbabwean nurse Itai Nyamatore, who until 1997 was director of the
Zimbabwe National Association for Mental Health, has won a top award for a
project to help black and ethnic minority communities get better mental
health care in Britain.
Mrs. Nyamatore, 49, received the Mary Seacole Leadership Development Award,
which carries a £6,250 sterling bursary for research, in a presentation at
the London headquarters of the Royal College of Nursing. She is now
Strategic Nurse Manager at Northampton Primary Care Trust, a state-funded
hospital group located some 150 kms north of London

"Inquiries and studies indicate that black minority and ethnic users
(patients), particularly those of African Caribbean origin, do not receive
the same treatment, care and service as other service users," she said.

Mrs. Nyamatore, from Mrewa, was educated at Nhowe Mission near Macheke. She
came to Britain in 1997 to train as a mental health nurse, and graduated in
1982. "As soon as I qualified, I rushed back home," she told The Zimbabwean.
"Zimbabwe was independent and I couldn't wait to give my services to my
country and work with my people."

She worked at Harare's Parirenyatwa Hospital before joining the Zimbabwe
National Association for Mental Health in 1990. In 1998, with her two eldest
sons, twins born while she trained in Britain, wanting to further their
education, she returned and took a job with Derbyshire Mental Health Trust.
It was there that she began work on her award-winning project.

The twins, now aged 24, have also prospered - one a graduate of Manchester
University works for British Airways, and the other is doing business
studies. Mrs. Nyamatore and her husband, Augustine, who has joined her in
Britain, also have two younger sons aged 18 and seven.

The Mary Seacole award is funded by Britain's National Health Service.
"Since its foundation, the NHS has always depended on the contributions of
diverse communities," said Lord Warner, a government health minister who
presented the award. "The NHS is a real, living organisation which must .
develop in order to deliver appropriate services to all its communities."

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US must hold SA hostage over Zim

The Zimbabwean

ROGER BATE, Resident Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, argues
that Washington should punish regional leaders who fail to act but simply
wait for Mugabe to die
WASHINGTON - Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, spent the earlier part of
this year rigging an election, then turned to bulldozing the urban
settlements where it is believed the opposition had majority support, and
the time in between amending the constitution to extend again his rule and
again curtail property rights of his citizens.

It is hard to believe that even Mugabe thinks he can get to retirement
unscathed, but so far he has gotten away with doing exactly what he likes.
Hamstrung by indecision, the UN will not act, the African Union is once
again demonstrating that it is a club for dictators, and that its
'democratic' actions against dictatorial regimes, such as in Togo, are
isolated cases against those outside the clique. The UK appears incapable of
any meaningful action and in the US democracy support has been slashed.

Perhaps saddest and most baffling though, is that the opposition in
Zimbabwe, unquestionably the government in waiting, has been so quiet. In
doing so, it has prolonged the crisis. There is an urgent need for personal
leadership, which will generate a powerful rallying point. This beautiful
and once bountiful country is being ruined; people are being displaced,
dispossessed, terrorised and even murdered by the State. A third of the
population may have already left, for the rest there is no apparent
likelihood of civil disorder or armed conflict. And without an obvious
conflict the impotent international community will apparently not intervene,
as it has done in Sudan and elsewhere in Africa.

International diplomacy is active but it is, by definition, limited. Two
weeks ago, Jendayi
Frazer, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, announced tough travel
sanctions to be placed on more cronies of the Mugabe government and their
extended families. It is a pity these restrictions weren't effective in
preventing Mugabe's recent ignominious and galling display of chutzpah at
the UN.

The International Monetary Fund was preparing to expel Zimbabwe for
non-payment of debt, but $120 million was produced just in time as part
payment. This money it is suspected, was part-raided from private bank
accounts on the grounds of a newly-minted technicality over holdings of
foreign exchange. In any event, given that the Mugabe regime has stolen so
much, the IMF has undoubtedly accepted stolen funds.

The US is taking action against Mugabe while trying to support the
Zimbabwean people suffering from food shortages and human rights abuses. US
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with South African President Thabo
Mbeki after the UN meeting and seemingly encouraged a stronger stance
against Zimbabwe. And Mbeki has responded, abandoning his long-held faith in
'quiet diplomacy'. A loan deal included conditions that Mugabe should open
talks with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, and repeal a
series of repressive laws and implement ambitious economic reforms. Mugabe
rejected it and berated his officials for coming home with such a deal.

Meanwhile action by the US is in reality weakening. Deflection and blaming
Mbeki for lack of action is no longer cutting any ice with exiled
Zimbabweans or concerned Africa-watchers. No one has seriously been calling
for military intervention, but some have demanded far greater actions,
including strong economic pressure on neighbouring states, changing trade
deal priorities to other regions, lowering of general aid and increasing US
assistance to civil society groups inside Zimbabwe. Democracy aid has been
slashed from $7m to $3m for the new calendar year. This is a disgrace, when
so much can be gained with so little in this wretched country.

For now, Frazer's overall approach smacks of the African style diplomacy -
no meaningful action. Ultimately, the US has to hold the region hostage over
Zimbabwe, or we will simply watch more Zimbabweans (many with HIV) leave
their country with nothing or die from the cold, starvation and disease.
There is also the danger that Zimbabwe's excesses will be copied elsewhere.
Namibia expropriated its first white farm last month, and pressure on Mbeki
in South Africa to do likewise has finally paid off with an announced
appropriation shortly in South Africa's North West Province. There are many
differences between these countries and Zimbabwe, but bad behaviour that
goes unpunished encourages those with similar agendas.

Finally, what is the point of development aid to a region that will condone
mass murder and the wholesale theft of property rights? There should be a
cost for those in power who are simply waiting for Mugabe to die.

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Not worth the paper .

The Zimbabwean

Editorial comment

The Zimbabwe government has been sending confusing messages to potential
investors in the last few weeks. First we had Dutch farmers, who were
protected by a bi-lateral investment treaty, suing the government for
seizing their farms without compensation in breach of the international
agreement. Government did nothing, forcing the farmers to take their case to
international arbitration - a costly, time-consuming exercise.
This particular case will seriously damage the credibility of Zimbabwe's
respect for the rule of law - if any remains, that is.

Then we had the minister in charge of the spooks, Didymus Mutasa, jumping
into the fray and saying no international agreements would be respected
because they interfered with Zimbabwe's sovereignty and were not worth the
paper they were written on. Nobody in authority has rebuked him or denied
that this is, indeed, government policy.

And now the president has come in with 'reassurance' to foreign investors
that property rights would be respected in Zimbabwe. In a document released
last week titled 'Investing in Zimbabwe' and signed by Mugabe himself, the
government says 'investment remains a key pillar of the country's economic

"Government is committed to protecting the sanctity of international
agreements," says the document sanctimoniously. Has Minister Mutasa seen
this document, we wonder? Or given his approval? Have the war vets, who are
continuing to invade farms in the eastern Highlands and elsewhere, been made
aware of this?

What was that about not being worth the paper it is written on? .

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No place to hide for war criminals

The Zimbabwean

WINDHOEK - Namibia's National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) joins several
other national and international human rights defender organizations in
welcoming the first ever indictment by the permanent International Criminal
Court (ICC) of individuals accused of grave breaches of international human
rights and humanitarian law.
UN's Democratic Republic of Congo Special Representative William Swing
announced recently that the ICC had issued arrest warrants for elusive
Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony and four other LRA
commanders. LRA rebels have been accused of having committed untold
widespread atrocities against the civilian population, including torturing,
raping, murdering, kidnapping and maiming children.

"Such indictments should send a stern signal to war criminals, dictators and
other abusers of power anywhere under the sky that sooner or later their
judgment day is coming", warned NSHR executive director Phil ya Nangoloh.

The ICC has universal jurisdiction to ensure that genocide, crimes against
humanity, ethnic cleansing and war crimes do not go unpunished. Established
under the Rome Statute on July 17 1998, the Court has automatic jurisdiction
when any of the said crimes are perpetrated on the territory of a country
that has ratified the Statute. The Statute entered into force on July 1

"This means that anyone, regardless of his or her political position or
social status, who after July 1 2002 is accused of having committed any of
the crimes listed under the Statute, is liable to be prosecuted by the ICC.
When a certain country is unwilling or unable to prosecute a war criminal,
then the Court automatically steps in" ya Nangoloh observed.

Namibia has deposited its instrument of ratification of the ICC on June 25
2002. The country has also ratified several other relevant international
human rights and humanitarian treaties, including the Geneva Conventions of
1949 and the 1977 Protocols additional thereto, the Genocide Convention of
1948 and the 1984 UN Convention against Torture.

"This therefore means that, as from June 25 2002 anyone in Namibia,
including a standing head of state, who is accused of grave breaches of
international human rights and humanitarian law is liable to be hauled
before the ICC at The Hague.Under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction
national courts of ratifying States can try all cases of gravest crimes
under international law, even if such crimes are not committed in the
national territory of a State Party and even if a head of state of another
country commits such crimes" explained ya Nangoloh.

Recently there were several other noteworthy developments concerning the
doctrine of universal jurisdiction:

In one such development, a rare case is currently under way in The
Netherlands. Two former military intelligence generals in the then
Soviet-backed Naji Bulla regime in Afghanistan have been hauled before the
District Court of The Hague. They are facing indictments of gruesome
atrocities committed against Afghan civilians between 1983 and 1991. They
have been indicted under two Dutch laws based on the Geneva Conventions of
1949 and the 1984 UN Convention against Torture. Generals Heshamuddin Hesam
(57) and Hadibulla Jalalzoy (59) fled the Taliban regime and sought
political asylum in The Netherlands.

Secondly, Spain's Constitutional Court ruled on September 28 2005 that
subordinate national courts may try cases of genocide and crimes against
humanity committed outside the country, whatever the nationality of the
victims and perpetrators.

Thirdly, on September 28 2005 a Belgian court has issued a warrant for the
arrest and extradition of former Chadian despot Hissene Hahre (62) on
charges of torture and other atrocities committed during his eight-year rule
between 1982 and 1990. Habre, who currently lives in exile in Senegal, is
wanted under a Belgian universal jurisdiction law. In 1992 a truth
commission accused the Habre regime of some 40,000 cases of political murder
and torture.

Fourthly, the World Summit held on September 14-16 2005 in New York adopted
inter alia a doctrine of the "responsibility to protect". In terms of the
doctrine the international community has a responsibility to intervene in a
country where genocide, ethnic cleansing or crimes against humanity directed
at the population of that country is taking place. Speaking at a UNHCR
Conference in Geneva on October 5-6 2005, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
said that it is the responsibility of all UN Member States to protect
civilian populations against genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and
crimes against humanity perpetrated by their own governments.

In a fifth development a British court sentenced Afghan warlord Zardad Khan
(42) to a 20-year jail term for atrocities committed during civil war in his
native Afghanistan between 1992 and 1996. Khan fled to Britain during 1998
using a false passport in search of political asylum.

In another landmark resolution on March 31 2005, the UN Security Council
voted to refer perpetrators of human rights abuse in Sudan's Darfur region
to the ICC. The adoption of Resolution 1593 importantly marks the first time
the Security Council has referred a case to the ICC.

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Zimbabwe is hemorrhaging

The Zimbabwean

A careful examination of the track record of Zimbabwe's Zanu (PF) government
since 1999 spells grim prospects for any real political, economic and
judicial reforms in the near future.
The financial picture remains dismal at best. According to a review
conducted by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, last month Zimbabwe was
overdue on its financial obligation to the organization and declared
ineligible to utilize or borrow resources from what is called the Poverty
and Growth Reduction Facility (PGRF).

This PGRF program is part and parcel of remedial measures that delinquent
countries are encouraged to undertake to address their financial obligations
to the organization.

As of June 2005, the indebtedness of Zimbabwe to the IMF was estimated at
US$290.7 million dollars and its total external debt is US$2.6 billion
dollars. The government had pledged to reduce its indebtedness to through
incremental payments of US$9 million dollars quarterly and won a temporary
six month reprieve from the organization's Executive Board which had
threatened expulsion. The goal is to payoff the remaining debt of US$160
million dollars by 2006. Zimbabwean state radio welcomed the reprieve,
calling the decision by the IMF executive board an "achievement against all

Zimbabwe recently made a US$135 million dollars payment to the IMF in an
effort to show good faith in addressing its financial obligation. Had
Zimbabwe being expelled, it would have made history as the first country to
be bounced from the IMF since Czechoslovakia in 1954. Inflation is at an all
time high of 255% and unemployment is quoted at 80%. About 3 million
Zimbabweans have already fled to Botswana or South Africa. The government
military expenditure for 2004 fiscal year was US$217million dollars.

According to international intelligence analysts, the military command is
increasingly finding it difficult to continue to defend the autocratic
tendencies of the government. Even the military is smarting from food
shortages and shrinking wages and has had to stop providing three square
meals daily for soldiers. But officially, the government and the military
command deny that such problems exist.

The government has so far successfully maintained the loyalty of the
military in such a potentially explosive national environment by
strategically doling out patronage; be it promotions, "fat" pensions or the
awarding of farmlands taken from white owners in the controversial

There appears to be reluctance by Zimbabwe's neighbours to confront the
downward spiral and some sympathizers in the media have begun to play
defence for Mugabe. In an editorial, the South African weekly newspaper,
Mail and Guardian, accused Mugabe's critics of "hypocrisy" and former
colonial power Great Britain of "demonizing President Robert Mugabe." The
paper argued further that millions of people are resettled somewhere in the
world every year to "make room for tourists, dams, roads and airports."

- Emmanuel Abalo is an exiled Liberian journalist, media and human rights

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Facing a Zimbabwean genocide

The Zimbabwean
Green Bombers in training
Credit: IWPR
Like a snared animal, attacking even those who would free Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party, severely injured by their own failed policies, and in a desperate attempt to hold onto power, are tearing into the flesh of Zimbabwe’s own citizens. At first cloaking his ruin of Zimbabwe’s economy as land reform, Mugabe then turned on his urban poor, bulldozing hundreds of thousands of peoples’ homes in the cold of winter.
According to the United Nations Report on the Fact-Finding Mission to Zimbabwe to Assess the Scope and Impact of Operation Murambatsvina, there are, “three main categories of victims – those who have lost their homes, those who lost their livelihoods, and those who lost both.”

There can be little doubt that this list will soon contain a fourth main category, those who have lost their lives.
Beginning officially on May 19, 2005, Operation Murambatsvina (“Operation Drive out the Filth”), having already left 700,000 homeless, and directly impacting the lives of a further 2.4 million, is simply the most recent manifestation of the Mugabe/ZANU-(PF)’s systematic progression toward a governmental policy of overt mass murder.

Make no mistake, what we are currently witnessing in Zimbabwe—even now, Operation Murambatsvina continues to unfold—constitutes nothing less than the first stages of a centrally organized program of mass murder on a scale of the genocides of Rwanda and Darfur.

With a diligence akin to that of Hitler’s Germany, where valuable resources were diverted from the war effort—even as the Eastern Front collapsed under the onslaught of the Red Army—in order that the trains could continue to transport their pitiful cargos to the death camps, the Mugabe regime squanders what few assets it is still able to squeeze out of the freefalling Zimbabwean economy, to fuel a policy that aims at the elimination of all potential opposition, an opposition that Augustine Chihuri, the Zimbabwean Police Commissioner, has described as a, “crawling mass of maggots bent on destroying the economy.”

Use of such dehumanizing language is one of the surest early warning signs of genocide.

Genocide is a process and not an event. The Mugabe regime has committed genocide before, and it has now begun the genocidal process again.

In October 1980, when then Prime Minister Mugabe signed an agreement with the North Korean President, Kim Il Sung, providing that the North Korean communists would train what was to become the elite “5 Brigade” of the Zimbabwean army, he launched an intentional, organized process of genocide.

5 Brigade, comprised largely of Shona-speaking members of the armed wing of what is now Zanu (PF), and organized along the lines of Hitler’s SS—standing outside of the army chain of command, and answering only to Mugabe himself—unleashed the Gukurahundi (“the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains”), the regime’s first, and still unpunished, genocide.

While an accurate death toll for the Gukurahundi is all but impossible to ascertain, with thousands of bodies disposed of in mass graves and thrown down abandoned mine shafts, it is estimated that at least 20,000 people were murdered by members of 5 Brigade, the Zanu (PF) Youth Militia, the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO), and the Police Internal Security Intelligence Unit (PISI), all active participants in the killings.

What is known, and documented, about the Gukurahundi, is that it constituted the Mugabe regime’s first overt use of food as a weapon of suppression, with over 400,000 Zimbabwean citizens driven to the brink of starvation before 5 Brigade was withdrawn and disbanded in 1986.

Mugabe was shocked when in the Referendum of February 2000, a majority of those Zimbabweans who voted rejected proposed constitutional changes designed to strengthen the powers of the executive presidency. Mugabe’s Zanu PF) reacted with a second violent and coordinated attack on those perceived as threatening its grip on power, the political opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and Zimbabwe’s commercial farming sector. The Zanu (PF) Youth Militias, nicknamed the “Green Bombers,” have been re-constituted, with Shona ethnic indoctrination and lethal armament.

Now, Mugabe’s assault on the Zimbabwean people, again utilizing the same tools of intimidation, torture, murder, and terror that were so viciously applied during the Gukurahundi, has escalated into Operation Murambatsvina. No longer content to control and suppress its’ political opposition, the Mugabe regime has implemented a systematic policy of forced relocation and mass murder by attrition.

Given Mugabe’s evident refusal to end the policies that will lead to the extermination, by attrition, of hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean citizens, the time for discussion and hand wringing has passed. Now it is time for those nations with the moral will, and the necessary resources, to act decisively – either with, or without, the approval of Mugabe, Zanu (PF), or this criminal regime's apologists.

What remains is for the world’s governments to decide whether they want to look back on this time in pride at having acted to avert another humanitarian disaster, a “tsunami,” as its victims have named it, a program of mass murder, to call it what it is, or in shame, at their collective complicity in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. The dying has already begun in Zimbabwe. Will the “Never again,” invoked so piously after Rwanda, once more translate into “again and again?” Kevin Engle, an independent researcher, has lived in Zimbabwe. Gregory Stanton, President of Genocide Watch and James Farmer Professor of Human Rights at the University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Virginia, has conducted genocide prevention training in Zimbabwe.

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Remember travelling in Zim?

The Zimbabwean

Nostalgia website looks back on how we used to do things at

Zimbabweans scattered across the globe today hold poignant memories of the
vast open roads of home. has captured the best of these days in
memories written by those of us who were there at the time.
In the 1950s the tarmac roads we know today did not exist. One member fondly
recalls: 'I wonder how many folk remember the incredible old strips that
were our roads in the 1940s and 1950s These were much better than plain dirt
roads, as at least you had a firm foundation to travel on when it had been
raining for a couple of days. It was scary stuff though, as one travelled
along, to see a car coming towards you. The idea was that each car would
move over to the left, with the right wheel on one strip, until each had
passed, and then back onto the two strips. But there was always that sort of
"will he, won't he" feeling about the other driver actually being a
gentleman and moving over'.

As late as the 1970s this cat-and mouse-game continued, with typical Zim
etiquette as this former Zimbabwean recalls: 'Remember the good manners
driving when on strips or narrow tar in the 1970s? - at a narrow bridge, the
unspoken law was: whoever was heading into town had right-of-way! Always
waved "thank you" when passing'.

Remember the vehicles we affectionately owned, used and polished on our
weekends in the 1980s? Those old Peugeots come top of this list as many
recall - 'The 'in' car in the 1980s was the Peugeot 404, the ones that
became the first ETs (emergency taxis), those days we called them pirate
taxis dzamaigara kumashure makapesana pesana makatambarara makumbo so!
(where you used sit in the back with your legs in between the person
opposite you) And the fare was 20c going into town'.

The Peugeots became renowned for their strength and resilience. Another
member recalls: 'Memories of my car are great, being a 404 Peugeot - one of
the strongest cars, in those days better known as the lion of the road. That
car never disappointed me on the road. I used to travel long journeys cross
country, no problems!' Many of these Peugeot work horses are still in
service on Zimbabwe's roads today.

Other cars that made the 1980s special include the Pulsar, 120Y, Bluebird
and the Citroens. Some remember their first driving lessons in these
vehicles - 'The car I learnt to drive in at 16 years old was my mother's
green Pulsar. Brand new out of the box! I used to drive up and down the
driveway and outside on the newly tarred cycle track for practice'. Remember
when most of the Rixi Taxi's where Renault 4's - in some you had to hold a
wire to keep the door shut!

Others recall the Citroens DS 'frog car' - 'I remember my Dad had a Citroen,
those big flat cars that looked like kind of like a frog. Am not sure
whether it was an 'in' car then as well or not but we loved it to bits and
we would clean it and polish the wheels with Silvo on the rims and black
shoe polish on the tyres and then go for a drive namudhaara (with the old
man) afterwards!' More memories of the 'bamba dachka' recall - 'Man that car
is so weird. It looks like a frog, and had power steering, something called
ABS, lights that turn in the same direction as the wheels and to make it
worse, you had to wait for the car to go up and down when you start it or
switch it off!'

Lately driving in Zimbabwe is tinged with the tension of whether or not you
have enough fuel to complete your journey. Who has lived or travelled in Zim
after 2000 and doesn't relate to this memory? 'The longest trip I ever made
between Harare and Bulawayo (435kms) was in 2000 at the height of the fuel
crisis. I had to travel to Bulawayo to attend my grandfather's funeral and
could only scrape up 40 litres of fuel, which was supposed to get my
pregnant wife and me to Bulawayo, and be enough to move from station to
station in search of fuel for the return journey. It was a painfully long
trip and we arrived in Bulawayo that day in time for the wake before the
funeral the next day. We certainly travelled by grace and faith and, after a
full day in a fuel queue after the funeral, we painfully travelled back to
Harare at the same slow speed.'

The memories recalled here were contributed by members of -
Zimbabwe's largest nostalgia and reunion site. Membership is currently free
to Zimbabweans across the world.

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