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Open Letter Forum

We are setting up an open letter forum in the interests of transparency
and to allow farmers to air their views. If you have any submissions for
this forum, please send them to us at




My dear Hasluck,

With the completion of another Council Meeting, yesterday, giving The
Union its democratic face, the day to day running, and possibly the
direction, will now fall upon yourself and the President, I assume.
Whilst the regional member of Council, from Matabeleland, may be regarded
by some fellow members as "out of step," there must be some credibility
to the man asking for a referendum to be called, to settle a rather
contentious issue.

I have attempted to analyse the situation that the Union is now in. Clem
Sunter would describe looking ahead as "scenario planning." There are a
number of possibilities, but one must look at the personalities of the
players as well, to get a feel of how the show will go.

As Bryant said, a leader, and a dictator are not the same thing. The
Union is now to be run by a Dictator, with a "Boy's Own" determination
to run it his own way, ably assisted by the Very Able Director.(quite a
pair, I dare say) Once a man can remove himself from the tragedy of the
situation, it is going to be a great show to watch. I do not know if it
follows a Survivor pattern, or a Big Brother pattern, which will make it
all the more fun to watch. The common thread to "Survivor," "Big
Brother" and, "Dictator & Director" is the built in isolation, of
course. On the other hand, the unique aspect of "D & D" will be, how
do you know when you have won, or lost, and then, when is it all over,
and what is the prize? Perhaps there is no prize at all, and it is all
about qualifying to play, and then just staying there, come Hell or High

Congratulations, to you both on becoming partners and contestants, and
have a jolly good show!



 The Hut,

 Saturday, 28th September, 2002.

My dear Hasluck,

I have written an open letter to farmers, and I have forwarded a copy to
yourself, and the President. In that letter I have called upon the
President, to call a referendum, of all farmers, with the over rider that
should he not be prepared to call a referendum, I call upon Him and his
Vice President to tender their resignations.

I wish to state categorically, that this call is given in all seriousness
and also in good faith, in the interests of The Union, of which you David
Hasluck are the appointed Director. Section 3 (d) and Section 17, of The
Constitution refer to the points where I believe that Our President is in
breach of Our Constitution. One is pertaining to the OBJECTS of Our
Union, referring specifically to "sponsor, oppose or support any
legislation the introduction of which is likely to affect beneficially or
otherwise as the case may be, the interests of its members or the
agricultural industry in general." The other refers to a REFERENDUM
itself, which Mr. Crawford asked for at Council, and now I am asking for,
again, FORMALLY. I am informed that Mr. Ray Passaportis has given his
advice, but am by no means convinced that it has been taken.

Should, the President wish to now use His Council as his cover, I accept
the defence, but only partially. Should Council refuse to call a
referendum, I now FORMALLY ask you, the DIRECTOR, to call for their
resignation, in the interests of The Commercial Farmers Union.
My correspondence, pertaining to what I would regard as ambivalent
behaviour, on the part of Our Leadership, is open for the entire farming
community to read through Justice for Agriculture, and in turn I believe
that The Union should adopt an open and transparent manner.
I cannot in Good Faith tell good farmers to "buy a CFU licence, it's a
good thing to do" when I honestly believe that in Claude Muller's
words, Our Leadership "is in denial."

From everybody's perspective, a referendum will clear up any
misconceptions and mistrust. The Union will then have a MANDATE TO LEAD
WITH, and a POLICY with some DIRECTION. The whole country needs
direction, but we farmers are the most severely affected at the moment.
If current leadership in Our Union cannot stand up and make a difference,
I accept it, but they too must accept it, and make way for new leaders to
come forward, who will make our Union into what it should be.

David, should you not wish to reply to me, and the Leadership choose not
to reply, I accept it. However, I must advise you, that collectively you
must face up to the problems that face the MEMBERS, and come up with some
PLAN, if Our Union is to survive. In the words of David Conolly, to ask a
few thousand farmers, each to make their own plan, is not a 'master
plan,' but a 'cop out,' and an admission of obsolescence. For our
leadership to believe that later, we can formalize a few thousand
'deals' into something workable, I say that we are living on different
planets. A referendum is a way of saying "Farmers First," and it is
NOT my idea - referendum is referred to under Section 17 in the Our
Constitution, a copy of which I can let you all have at your request,
should you be committed to furthering the interests of Our Union.

 Yours sincerely,

 J.L. Robinson.

 Sunday, 29th September, 2002.

My dear Cloete, Taylor-Freem, and Hasluck,

Yesterday, I attended a breakfast, and listened to Mr. Angus Buchan,
speak about how he was driving a tractor, over twenty years ago, and how
his nephew, of pre school age fell off the tractor, and was killed.

That incident, has caused me to put finger to keyboard, when there is
every good reason that I really ought to stop, right now.
Over twenty years ago, a Police and University colleague of mine, and his
grandfather (both very good men), were abducted on New Year's eve. It
was some months, rather than weeks before it was established that
Benjamin Williams, and his grandson David Bilang, had been murdered. At
the funeral, the priest described the trauma that the family had endured,
since the 1st Of January, as "a living hell." I believe that many
farmers are now going through trauma, close to what that priest described
over twenty years ago, at their funeral.

For that, I have great respect, because I am aware that Colin, and his
family, along with my very good friends, Joe and Wendy Whaley have also
walked Angus Buchan's road. Whilst I may not have felt it quite the same
as they did, I must say that, for me, it hurt quite enough. Incidents
such as Martin Olds, Gloria Olds, David Stevens, Henry Elsworth and the
likes also hurt, but hopefully that hurt will not turn to bitterness.
Whilst the likes of David Conolly, Peter Goosen, John Worsick, and
Benjamin Freeth (and many others) may well be at variance with
yourselves, I wish to assure you, that they are men of great integrity.

They, (and I) hurt when they see what is happening to the average farmer
in this country. That hurt has aroused in them, a passion, drive, and
most of all a spirit that is second to none. If you have not come to
realize and understand the level, or depth, of that passion, drive and
spirit I can only say that, you will discover its level and depth in due
course. Today, I will be the humble messenger, to suggest to you, one and
all, to attempt to harness that dynamic power, regardless of how great
the sacrifice, it takes, on your part, to strengthen our Union. I need
not remind you that they are men of Principle, and I have given The
Director, a very good book by Symond Fiske on "The Principle Problem."
Gentlemen, in my grandfather's Oxford English, "upon this occasion, my
conscience is clear," I have delivered the message many times, in
written form and indeed in person to yourselves. The door from the point
of view of "Justice for Our Union" is still open, it is now up to you
to decide to have a good look or not, and I still believe that you will
be held accountable for your actions.

I am reading a book entitled "Zimbabwe - the death of a dream" by
Jim Peron, and I would like to leave you with the words of Mikhail
Bukunin, who wrote of Marx, in 1872:

"Mr. Marx does not believe in God, but he believes deeply in himself.
His heart is filled not with love but with rancour. He has very little
benevolence toward men, and becomes furious and spiteful when
anyone dares question the omniscience of the divinity whom he adores,
that is to say, Mr. Marx himself."
I trust that this will provoke the same level of thought for you, as it
did for me.

 Yours sincerely,

 J. L. Robinson.

 The Pole and Dagga Hut,

 27th September, 2002.

Dear Fellow Farmers,

As I complete the six month illegal suspension from my ancestral home, I
have much to reflect upon. To put up with an Old Gifford Boy(C. Wilde
Esq.) referring to me as an Arrogant Young Man, was the start. (the
gentleman concerned, was the "very one" who repaired the SU fuel pump
on my Morris Minor, some twenty five years ago, and apologized for the
charges) I have a very good mind not to tell the gentleman concerned
that the pump, and the car and even the driver and still going strong.
This was only to be outdone by an arrogant Old Milton Boy who used drive
a Humber Super Snipe.(in his day) This particular gentile gentleman, then
proceeded to wave his finger at me, which he has done to the Director and
the President, on more than one occasion, and tell me that I "had not
eaten my bag of salt yet!"(with apologies to Peter Goosen, for his
resemblance to 'The Father' in Herman Charles Bosman)

However, a consultation with a journalistic old girlfriend of mine, born
in the colony of India, now in her ninety third year, with ever
sharpening brain, was when I found my 'moment of truth.' "Ah yes,
satire is all very well" she said "but only in very small doses, my
boy. People say that they can laugh at themselves, but deep down it
really hurts and they don't like it." Point taken, old girl, and now
back to the serious stuff.

And now if we must be serious, let us be serious.

The game started in May, in Bulawayo. One retired member from the
Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement Initiative, from Figtree, and I, asked our
CFU President and his Vice President, what they were intending to do to
avert an impending disaster in The Union. The reply we got from Our
President, was that he had effectively been neutralized, and it became
apparent that there was no plan.

Round two was a few days later in The Lions Den, at a Game Park, near
Gweru, where I had the great pleasure of meeting a highly competent young
man, with a lot to say, representing the Dairy Farmers Association. He
assured us that Our President, plus his two Vices were putting in an
enormous amount of effort and were highly committed. This we accepted,
but we expressed our concern as to the POLICY and the RESULTS on the
ground, and we agreed to differ as to what was necessary, and to what was

Round three was Council itself, still in May, where my ZJRI acquainted
friend, put his case forward very well, I thought. His one query to
Council that day, was regarding the enormous amount of effort put into
RESTRUCTURING ON FEWER MEMBERS. My friend suggested more debate on
POLICY, which would hopefully RETAIN MEMBERS, but was politely told by
Our President that they were on "Restructuring, on the agenda, not
Policy." Mr. Vowles updated the meeting by telling us that only 28% of
farmers were not operational which was very positive - "the flip side
being that some 72% are going along fine." - quote. Mr. Meikle, whom I
continue to regard as a Union Custodian, then told Council that they
ought to budget on 1600 members,(about half) for the next year. Our
Learned Council took this in their stride; "how fantastic we will still
have half, we can then just press on as if nothing unusual has happened,
and just do a little more restructuring," appeared to be the assumption.
Fellow farmers, "necessity is the mother of invention," and Shakespeare
said, "The deep of night is crept upon our talk, And nature must obey
necessity." By June, Justice for Agriculture, was in its infancy, and
in Shakespeare's words, "both natural and necessary." We had at least
1600 potential members, the very ones Our Union deemed EXPENDABLE, and
today the potential grows every day as more farmers are removed from
their land. On the 23rd June, 2002, a case was registered in the High
Court, contesting the Constitutional Legality of the Section 8
Legislation, in this case for Mr. Quinnel. The respondents are : The
Attorney General, The Honourable Patrick Anthony Chinamasa and The
Honourable Joseph Made. In Shakespeare's world, justice would seem both
a "natural and a necessary" desire.

Forgive me, for being so monotonous, to return to Winston Churchill,
again. Martin Gilbert, the author of "CHURCHILL - a life," used the
very apt title for his 24th Chapter "The Moment of Truth." I believe
that we have put off "The Moment of Truth" for some time now, in terms
of Our Union. Gilbert followed with a Chapter called, "Return to the
Admiralty." The next chapter we need to write here, is Return to the
Rule of Law. Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty, the
very day that Britain went to war, September 3rd, 1939. His speech that
day in the House of Commons was to the effect that "this is to
establish, on impregnable rocks, the rights of the individual, and it is
to establish and to revive the stature of man." I feel that Our Union
President should also hear what Churchill said about his Union; "I have
not become the King's First Minister in order to preside over the
liquidation of the Empire." I shall attempt to remain serious, very
serious in fact. For me to quote Our Union Constitution, I trust that the
reader will take this as bordering on 'ridiculously serious.'

Our CFU Constitution, Section 3 (d) states: "The objects of the
Union - to sponsor, oppose, or support, any legislation the introduction
of which is likely to affect beneficially or otherwise as the case may
be, the interests of its MEMBERS, or the AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY

Section 17 states: "Council may at any time hold a referendum of MEMBERS
of the Union on such matters and in such manner as it may determine."
Fellow farmers, I must be serious and honest for a bit longer now. For
Our President and Vice President, and Our Council, to think that a
Referendum is not required at this stage, is indeed the final straw. Our
President and Our Vice President must indeed stand up, and at least
accept some form of responsibility, and accountability, now, right now.
I am only one of many displaced farmers. The arrogance of Our Council to
disregard Our Legal Consultant,

Mr. Ray Passaportis is one thing. For them to decline to call a
referendum is evidence, of just how "out of touch with reality" they
are with what is left of their members, and now soon to be ex-members.
Using their own words, in their suspension of a highly committed,
principled, spiritual leader of Our Union Members, in Chegutu, Mr.
Benjamin Freeth, I say to Council, 'you have refused to faithfully
represent and promote' the interests of your MEMBERS, and have now lost
the faith and following of those MEMBERS.

This is your moment of truth.

Sections 3 (d) and Section 17, as printed above, show clearly where Our
Council is in breach of Our Constitution. I, along with other farmers
hold them responsible, unless they can prove that they do not, in fact,
go along with what is happening on the ground.

There for, I, JOHN LLEWELLYN ROBINSON, do hereby, faithfully ask you,
COLIN CLOETE, and DOUGLAS TAYLOR-FREEM to call a Referendum,
immediately, to facilitate a Way Forward and prevent the collapse of Our
Union, any further. Should you, for any reason feel that this is not at
all necessary, and refuse, then I JOHN LLEWEWLLYN ROBINSON, do hereby,
faithfully ask you , to tender your resignations, with immediate effect,
in the interests of The Union. Just as Justice for Agriculture has grown
bigger than any of its members, so we must accept that Our Union must
always be bigger than any of its members. Once a union is driven by Ego,
rather than Ethos, it is bound to run into problems, and we have had a
fantastic display of what can happen, when Ego takes over. Naturally, a
referendum is by far, the most fair way, of defining the Ethos of Our
Union, and underlines the inherent leadership qualities we were
privileged to experience, when Alan Burl did just that in the early

The Umzingwane Farmers Association, in entirety calls for a referendum,
and in The Presidents words, I will welcome constructive criticism, of a
referendum, as much as I welcome any support for one. Should you have any
comments please send to for my attention. Thank

Yours sincerely,

J.L. Robinson.

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Tsvangirai Indicted

The Herald (Harare)

October 1, 2002
Posted to the web October 1, 2002


MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, facing allegations of plotting to kill
President Mugabe, was yesterday indicted to the High Court for trial and
ordered to deposit another $1,5 million for bail pending trial.

His two alleged accomplices - Renson Gasela, the Gweru Rural MP, and the
party's secretary-general Welshman Ncube, who are also out of custody on
$500 000 bail - were also ordered to pay another $500 000 each by Harare
magistrate Mrs Joyce Negonde.

The trio are facing high treason charges for allegedly plotting to
assassinate President Mugabe.

Prosecutor Mr Lawrence Phiri said the State was ready to commence the trial
on November 11.

The charges arose from Tsvangirai's alleged plot to assassinate President
Mugabe just before the March 9 and 10 presidential poll.

The State will allege that sometime between August and September last year,
Mr Rupert Johnson, a long-standing associate of Gasela, approached Dickens
and Madson with the intention of arranging a meeting between the MDC and the
Canadian-based political consultancy firm. The meeting was held on October
22 last year at London's Heathrow Airport and Tsvangirai and Gasela
attended, together with Ncube.

Mr Johnson and Ari Ben-Menashe, representing Dickens and Madson, were at the
meeting, alleges the State.

It is also alleged that on November 3, another meeting was held at the Royal
Automobile Club in London and was attended by Tsvangirai, Mr Johnson, Miss
Tara Thomas and Mr Ben-Menashe.

Miss Thomas recorded the meeting at which the opposition MDC leader
allegedly discussed the assassination of President Mugabe. At his meeting,
the State alleges, Tsvangirai reiterated the need to eliminate President
Mugabe prior to the presidential election.

Tsvangirai allegedly sought the assistance of Dickens and Madson in talking
to the Americans about the transitional period after the death of President

The MDC is alleged to have then channelled money through BSMG offices in
London in three lots of US$50 000, US$28 900 and US$18 600, leaving a
shortfall of US$2 600 on the down payment.

The State further alleges that another meeting took place on December 4,
where Tsvangirai and Mr Johnson were representing MDC while Mr Ben-Menashe,
Mr Alexander Legault and Miss Thomas represented Dickens and Madson.

According to the State, there was another man who attended the meeting but
has not yet been identified.

The alleged plot to assassinate President Mugabe was exposed on November 23
last year when Mr Ben-Menashe visited Zimbabwe and made an official report
to the Government through Air Vice-Marshal Robert Mhlanga, which led to the
trio's arrest.
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Opposition Has Plenty to Worry About

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

October 1, 2002
Posted to the web October 1, 2002


The intimidation and apathy that marred Zimbabwe's rural district council
elections at the weekend also exposed the difficulty the opposition has in
mounting an effective challenge to the government, political analysts told

The elections were held in 1,397 rural districts and 27 urban wards. The
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) only fielded 646 candidates,
reportedly because of intimidation and bureaucratic hurdles which resulted
in 700 ruling ZANU-PF candidates being elected unopposed.

In 86 wards that had declared by Monday evening, ZANU-PF had won 72, the MDC
12 and two wards had gone to independent candidates, the state-run Herald
newspaper reported. The rural results are expected to reflect an even larger
ZANU-PF victory.

"The government of Zimbabwe, we think, did not take the necessary steps to
ensure conditions for a fair and credible democratic election, and failed to
ensure that all parties and candidates were able to participate; to condemn
and punish election-related violence; and to follow transparent and
equitable registration procedures for all candidates. So that's the way it
turned out," US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Monday.

Brian Raftopoulos of the University of Zimbabwe's Institute of Development
Studies said that the government's ability to prevent peaceful protest left
the MDC "obviously in difficulty".

He said that since the crushing disappointment of the March presidential
poll defeat, the MDC had tried to consolidate, improve its policy capacity
and image, while preparing for the weekend's elections.

"The real achievement is that despite the government's onslaught, it is
still on the ground," he told IRIN.

Raftopoulos said that with peaceful avenues of legitimate opposition
blocked, violent protest could be under consideration by elements within the
party, "but the ground is exceedingly unpropitious".

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said in an interview in August with the South
African newspaper The Mail & Guardian: "[More than] 80 percent of
Zimbabweans want change. But we have to choose between violent and
non-violent paths, the challenge being a young generation who believe it is
time to think about armed struggle. We must be conscious that beyond this
chaos, we'll have to pick up the pieces."

Tsvangirai and two MDC party officials were indicted on Monday on a charge
of high treason related to an alleged plot to assassinate President Robert
Mugabe, The Herald reported. Prosecutor Lawrence Phiri said the government
was ready to commence trial on 11 November.

According to Raftopoulos, ZANU-PF's real political victory has been to
undermine "the sense of hope" in Zimbabwe. With no chance of meaningful
dialogue between the ruling party and the MDC on the horizon, the only
option for the opposition was to pursue a long-term strategy aimed at its
survival as a viable political alternative.
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From a farmer in Zim

Destruction and Corruption

"If you find your stolen cattle it will cost you $50,000, and if you do
not pay we will impound your car. If not paid in one month we will sell
your car! That is the law."

The cattle owner protested to the Mozambican policeman, "Why am I being
fined to retrieve my stolen cattle. Who can I appeal to either here or
in Maputo?"

The policeman replied, "You cannot appeal because I am in charge here
and I make the law. Our salaries were low so this is to boost my
personal income. Take it or leave it, this is my law. This is not Maputo
and the money does not go there."

The cattle owner left with his tail between his legs knowing full well
that his cattle had been pushed on board the train at Sango heading for
Maputo, where "owners" are reported to be receiving $110,000, paid in
foreign currency, per head. The train transporting livestock, a large
number of which are stolen, is reported to be leaving for Maputo every
Thursday. There is absolutely no regard for either veterinary or export
permits. The cattle just go.

The cattle owner also reported that he had come across a dozen or so
other distraught cattle owners between Chikombedzi and Sango desperately
trying to track down their stolen cattle. Police are unable to carry out
any follow-up because of an acute shortage of transport. There is not a
single police vehicle at Mwenezi, Chikombedzi, or any other remote
station in these districts.

However the cattle owner reports that Sango is a flurry of activity with
many new Zimbabwe Government 4-by-4s being seen together with the
multitude of cross-border traders. Trade here is reported to be brisk
and competitive with foreign exchange being the main currency used.

The entire commercial cattle industry is under threat of destruction
from starvation caused by the political land campaign, and this account
is just another example of how the herd is being destroyed by the

Although it is reported that there are many troops and the paramilitary
Police Support Unit heavily patrolling the Zimbabwean borders, another
man reports getting lost inside Mozambique whilst trying to show a
friend the historical "Crooks Corner", in Zimbabwe. He reports that he
went 20km into Mozambique along a well-used road, without any visible
signs of a border post, or security forces.

Another reports that the troops are guarding the Zimbabwean borders and
roads to "stop an invasion from Britain."

What is described above is the tip of the iceberg. It is a case of
absolute disregard of the law in a fanatic get-rich-quick struggle at
the expense of others and the economy of Zimbabwe.
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From a farmer in Zim

Bubi FMD and Related Information

Information coming in is that those involved in the land issue have
recently attended a seminar held in Plumtree. The theme is reported to
have been on how to handle the new amendment to the Section 8s, with
special regard to the 7-day eviction clause.

What is expected is a new onslaught against commercial farmers and
especially those perceived to be sympathetic towards the opposition MDC.
This has already been seen on farms south of the Bubi River where the
new farmers are very political and insisting on moving into the owner's

This information needs to be treated seriously because there is evidence
that the settlers are becoming seriously agitated and want to take the
law into their own hands.

In spite of the new outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease the owner's
cattle are being rounded up and penned, in an effort to force them off.
There have been a number of serious confrontations, and one elderly
owner was beaten. Another was thrown in the back of a vehicle and driven
to Beit Bridge to have serious threats of eviction personally given to
him by the authorities there.

The political twist being portrayed on the outbreak is that it has
started as a result of an infection in the owner's dairy herd. In
reality, the properties have been swamped with cattle from the Beit
Bridge communal areas. This is an area where the disease has been
smouldering for over 6 months now, despite haphazard vaccinations.

It would appear that the wife of a local MP and Minister is the main
force behind the evictions and has threatened to burn and destroy the
local lucrative ultra-city motel complex. Owners and employees have been
harassed for several weeks now and the owners have also been accused of
poisoning the one water supply. This water is naturally extremely
unpalatable and salty.

Cattle on the commercial farms are now stranded and cannot move because
of the new FMD outbreak. The situation is now even more serious due to
the unleashing of thousands of communal cattle onto the farms that will
destroy the limited grazing very quickly.

Who are the ones who should be moving their livestock?
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Tips for Diplomats in Harare

A suggested list for Canada's new High Commissioner to Zimbabwe
from Canada's Globe & Mail  (an excellent list for all diplomats in

Tips for our man in Harare
Tuesday, October 1, 2002 - Print Edition, Page A17

John Schram, Canada's new High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, is to present
his credentials to the country's President, Robert Mugabe, in the next
few days. Here are some personal tips to help Canada's representative
appreciate conditions in Zimbabwe.
1. Bookmark .  The Web site is maintained daily by
brave journalists who tell the unvarnished truth about Zimbabwe.
2. Don't be fooled by the personal charm and intelligence of Mr.
Mugabe's Zanu-PF men. They are world-class thugs and con men who, over
the past 20 years, have mastered the public relations art of being
3. Line up outside any market and try to buy a bag of sugar or a bottle
of cooking oil.
4. Meet with Tony Reeler and Shari Eppel of the Amani Trust, a
Zimbabwean organization that rehabilitates victims of torture. Encourage
Canadian law schools to bestow honorary doctorates on these heroes.
5. Learn about Zimbabwe's former chief justice Enoch Dumbutshena, one of
Africa's great jurists who was feared by Mr. Mugabe. Just before his
death, Mr. Dumbutshena was given an honorary doctorate at Oxford with
the prophetic citation, "uninfluenced by the public or by the whispers
of the powerful."
6. Read the Mugabe regime's mouthpiece, The Herald, every day. Make
occasional trips outside the capital so that you can draw the contrast
between reality and the official view.
7. Invite the staff of The Daily News, Zimbabwe Independent and Standard
for drinks at your Canadian residence. They may empty your bar, but that
will be a small price to pay for essential and honest background
information. You will be with brave men and women whose work honours
8. Take a supply of insulin for Fletcher Dulini-Ncube. The MP of the
Movement for Democratic Change is a diabetic who recently had an eye
surgically removed. While in hospital, and on bail awaiting trial, he
was visited by prison officials who placed him in leg irons.
9. Visit the holding cells at Harare Central Police Station, where you
are likely to meet some journalists.
10. For an update on Mr. Mugabe's cruel Pol Pot-like torture and
starvation policies, meet Bulawayo's heroic Catholic Archbishop Pius
Ncube, known to be on the President's hit list. Go to outlying areas,
especially Binga and Hwange West, Gwanda North, Chimanimani, Ruwa,
Gokwe, Hwedza, the list is endless, where you will see the desolation
wrought by Mr. Mugabe.
11. Book a weekend in the Victoria Falls Hotel. It is one of the world's
most spectacular hotels. You will get a good room, since the hotels at
the falls are mostly empty.
12. When it's in session, take a seat in Parliament's Strangers'
Gallery. There, most tragically in these terrible times, you will see
the indolence of the government front benches.
13. Try to visit the conservation areas of Masvingo Province. Let us
know if there is any wildlife left.
14. Travel as an individual, not as a diplomat, through the
Zimbabwe-South Africa border post at Beit Bridge.
15. Keep in touch with your predecessor, Jim Wall, now posted to Kenya.
Zimbabwe's feared former chief spook, Elisha Muzonzini, has been
banished to Kenya as Zimbabwe's High Commissioner. This former
director-general of Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organization will
have a part to play in the inevitable power struggle to replace Mr.
Mugabe. At very least, he will be a source of useful information for Mr.
16. Don't ever be rude to the men wearing mirror sunglasses and shiny
And, finally, remember: Mr. Mugabe cannot last.
Gregory Dole is an Ottawa-based writer
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WFP ships 81,500 tonnes of maize to southern Africa


SOUTH AFRICA: October 2, 2002

JOHANNESBURG - The World Food Programme will offload 81,500 tonnes of
United States-sourced maize into southern African ports over the next few
days to bolster its starvation-relief supplies, officials said yesterday.

The U.S. maize, which is not certified as free from genetic
modifications, would be distributed to millions of hungry people in southern
Africa, where drought and political turmoil have created a food shortage
threatening more than 14 million people.
The United Nations agency said the shipment, part of a donation
pledged earlier this year, would help stave off for a while the threat of
famine that looms over much of southern Africa.

"It is a hell of a lot of maize, but it is difficult to say how long
this will last. The way this crisis is going it is getting worse and worse,"
said spokesman Richard Lee.

That the maize is sourced from the U.S. would have been a problem six
weeks ago, when Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe all expressed publicly their
concern over the safety of genetically modified food.

But recent agreements have left only Zambia still refusing U.S.
sourced maize, and Lee said the Zambian government was expected to reach a
decision on its future GM policy in the next few weeks.

Zimbabwe and Mozambique accept GM-maize only if has been milled, which
stops farmers planting whole cobs and averts the risk of contaminating local
GM-free crop strains.

Malawi has said it will take only milled maize during the upcoming
planting season.

Lee said the agency expects the food to last for at least several
months in the main recipient country, Malawi, whose requirements are
estimated at around 20,000 tonnes per month.

Most of the maize, carried in two large ships, would be offloaded at
Mozambican ports over the next few days, before the rest was transported to
Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania for distribution in the north of the affected

The agency had also tendered for transport facilities for a further
60,000 tonnes of U.S. maize that had yet to sail for the region, Lee added.

The U.N. has estimated that 14.4 million people are at risk of
starvation in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Swaziland and Lesotho
where drought, HIV-AIDS and politics are blamed for the region's worst food
crisis in a decade.
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SA Zim farmer's cattle starving
Posted Wed, 02 Oct 2002

Nine cattle belonging to South African farmer Crawford von Abo had already
starved to death and 241 more were starving on his farm in the Zimbabwean
Lowveld after occupiers of the farm had "banned" them from grazing,
reserving the veld for their own cattle, he said on Tuesday.

The new occupants of the farm earlier forbade Von Abo's workers to take the
cattle to safety.

Von Abo said the occupants herded the animals into kraals on the farm,
preventing them from grazing.

They recently sent a message to Von Abo's office in Harare that he should
send feed for the starving animals.

A desperate Von Abo had now turned to the Zimbabwean Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) since, he said, the South African
High Commissioner in Harare had ignored his request for help since September

The SPCA was set to visit the animals on Wednesday.

Andries Botha, Free State leader of the Democratic Alliance, said the
inappropriateness of the "grace" that President Thabo Mbeki had given the
Mugabe government was emphasised by this case.

Botha said it would be a new low point for South Africa's Department of
Foreign Affairs if the Zimbabwean SPCA appeared more effective than the
South African authorities.

"So far the (SA) High Commissioner (in Zimbabwe) has done nothing in a
matter which obviously needs to be dealt with speedily.

"This is not in line with the assurance given by the South African Foreign
Affairs Minister in Parliament in March this year," Botha said.

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The New York Times.

Please, let's not 'privatize' elephants
Matthew Scully NYT
Wednesday, October 2, 2002

ARLINGTON, Virginia After a decade in which ivory poachers had taken their
AK-47s to 700,000 elephants - compared to the 500,000 or so still with us -
the United States barred ivory imports, initiating a worldwide ban in 1989
under the African Elephant Conservation Act. In January, President George W.
Bush reauthorized the ban. Yet now there is talk in Washington of reversing
this policy, leaving elephants again at the mercy of the ivory trade.
Among the mostly conservative Republicans who follow these matters,
America's commitment to protecting the elephant has never sat well. A few in
Congress and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service are trying to
persuade the Bush administration to support a plan by five African states,
led by Zimbabwe and South Africa, to allow a permanent resumption of legal
but "limited" ivory sales.
A vote will come soon, at a meeting of the Convention on International Trade
in Endangered Species. Kenya, India and other countries opposed to ivory
trading are counting on U.S. help to turn back the proposal. Those who
oppose the ban contend that elephants are a resource and ivory a commodity
like any other. We can keep the elephants alive, they say, only by keeping
alive the demand for ivory, since that alone is what gives elephants their
value. Never mind that the ivory-hunting mayhem of the 1980s only inflamed
demand for yet more of the stuff. And never mind that every recent
experiment in limited sales has failed. The seizure of six tons of ivory in
Singapore this summer is clear evidence of ivory sales far in excess of
According to the sustainable-use argument, the real problem is not the
butchery of elephants, but merely the pace of butchery and who gets to do
the butchering. Western trophy hunters make a similar argument. The
continued existence of elephants in their habitat depends, we are told, on
the very desire of humans to hunt and kill them.
We are not encouraged, in sustainable-use theory, to think much about why
such people wish to kill elephants: to serve the silliest of vanities, like
trophies and trinkets. The crucial point, the libertarians argue, is that
only "privatized elephants" have value, "paying their own way" through a
systematic harvesting of ivory and trophies. Representative Richard Pombo,
Republican of California, a sustainable-use man and a champion of trophy
hunting, has written to Secretary of State Colin Powell insisting "that any
future policy regarding various species - whether the subject species are
elephants, whales, turtles or trees - be based on sound science." Powell was
too busy or too polite to write back explaining the difference between an
elephant and a tree. But there is a difference, readily perceived by sound
science and simple human decency. We are talking about intelligent mammals
whose entire population was cut in half in a decade. Poachers still
slaughter thousands annually. Such is the trauma inflicted on the herds that
scientists have lately noticed a strange frequency of African and Asian
elephants born with no tusks. A tiny percentage of male elephants have
always been tuskless. Now, as if evolution itself were trying to spare them
from human avarice, that genetic variation is spreading because the tuskless
ones are often the only ones left to breed.
The ivory ban has not been perfect, but it has been merciful, reflecting
humanity's ability to appreciate the goodness of these creatures, to see the
wrong done to them and to search for ways to right it. The elephants that
are left have plenty of value exactly as they are, without need of men with
guns and machetes to give it to them.
The writer is author of "Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of
Animals and the Call to Mercy" and a former speech writer for President
George W. Bush. He contributed this comment to The New York Times.
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Independent (UK)

Zimbabwe holds Briton for filming election bribery
By Paul Peachey
02 October 2002
A prominent critic of Robert Mugabe and a Briton were expected to appear in
court yesterday after being arrested trying to film abuse of Zimbabwean
council elections.

Roy Bennett, one of only two white opposition MPs in Zimbabwe, was detained
with Stewart Girvin on Sunday as they made a video recording near a polling
station where representatives of the ruling Zanu-PF party were allegedly
giving maize to hungry voters who pledged their allegiance.

The pair, with Mr Bennett's bodyguard, Mike Magwaza, were accused of
breaking electoral laws after being held for two days for an offence that
carries a maximum of a 100 fine, their supporters said.

Mr Magwaza was said to have been tortured while he was held at Chimanimani
police station. Mr Bennett's wife, Heather, "heard loud screaming from the
area where Mr Magwaza was being held", according to the campaign group Save

Mr Magwaza briefly escaped from the cell but was caught and dragged back
before the screaming started again, Mrs Bennett said.

Mr Girvin, 40, a naturalised British citizen who was born in Zimbabwe, is a
diabetic and was denied medication, according to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

Mr Bennett and the other white opposition MP, David Coltart, have been the
target of vociferous attacks by the Mugabe regime. Mr Bennett represents
Chimanimani and has refused to leave his farm under Zimbabwe's land reforms.
On his return from the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, President
Mugabe said: "The Bennetts and the Coltarts are not part of our society.
They belong to Britain and let them go there. If they want to stay here, we
will say, 'Stay here, but your place is in jail.'"

Mr Coltart, the shadow justice minister, said he expected the three men to
be freed yesterday or today, but said it remained unclear what the men would
be charged with because they had been denied access to lawyers. "I have had
threats levelled against me by Mr Mugabe for a lot longer than Mr Bennett.
There's very little you can do," he said.

The Foreign Office said it was investigating reports of Mr Girvin's arrest
but could not confirm any details.

Mr Mugabe's ruling party won the majority of seats in the weekend council
elections, sealing its grip on its traditional rural power base.

The opposition said that 700 MDC candidates were barred from registering or
intimidated out of running for the polls, in which 1,400 seats were being
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Zimbabwe Political Dispute Heard at Supreme Court
Peta Thornycroft
1 Oct 2002 16:17 UTC

The opposition's challenge to the outcome of Zimbabwe's presidential
election last March reached the country's Supreme Court Tuesday. The losing
opposition candidate is appealing an earlier ruling which denied him access
to the original electronic voter registration list.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was represented by South African
advocate Jeremy Gauntlett, in spite of earlier attempts by the Zimbabwe
government to bar him from taking on the case.

Mr Gauntlett is one of South Africa's most senior advocates, and has
appeared several times on behalf of the African National Congress.

He argued that no challenge to the presidential election, which gave
President Robert Mugabe six more years in power, could be complete without
scrutiny of the original voters' roll.

The state has refused to release the electronic disks containing the names,
offering thousands of pages of printed lists instead.

Mr Gauntlett appealed this decision saying Mr Tsvangirai was entitled to the
electronic version.

Among the main allegations by the opposition, even before election day, was
that the voters roll was improperly compiled, and was illegally withheld
from them. There were claims that tens of thousands of voters were included,
long after the closing date for registration.

Lawyers acting for Mr Mugabe have denied all Mr Tsvangirai's allegations.

Three judges, all recent appointees to the bench, heard the appeal, and
reserved judgment to a later date.

The largest observer missions, from Europe and the Commonwealth said the
elections were neither free nor fair. South African observers, and several
small missions from African countries declared the polls were legitimate and

Court officials say the opposition's case will likely continue for several
months, and may not even resume until early next year.
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Washington Times

Zimbabwe reparations

Walter Williams

     Shakespeare Maya, Zimbabwe's leader of the opposition National Alliance
for Good Governance, opined, "This land was stolen from our ancestors, and
it follows that those who hold it now are thieves."
     It's this vision that has prompted Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
to target 95 percent of white-owned farms for redistribution. His Land
Acquisition Act calls for the eviction of more than 4,000 white farmers.
More than 2,900 white farmers have already been evicted. Mr. Mugabe's wife,
Grace, has personally assisted in the country's land reform by showing up on
one 3,000-acre farm with her husband's troops, declaring, "I'm taking over
this farm." The white owner was arrested, and black farmer workers were told
to hit the road.
     The late South African economist William Hutt, in his book "The
Economics of the Color Bar," argued that one of the supreme tragedies of the
human condition is that those who have been the victims of injustices or
oppression "can often be observed to be inflicting not dissimilar injustices
upon other races."
     In 1893, with the military backing of the British government, Cecil
Rhodes (namesake for the Rhodes Scholarship) confiscated land that had been
settled and owned by the Ndebele and Matabele peoples. He established what
was known as Rhodesia, a country that became the jewel of Africa, with its
mining and agricultural riches. In a word, Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, became a
net food exporter and the "bread basket" for wheat and corn for its own
people and most of East Africa. By the 1960s, Rhodesia's per capita income
and education were one of Africa's highest.
     In 1965, Rhodesia won its independence and Robert Mugabe, a
Marxist-socialist, became its leader. As Mr. Hutt might have predicted, Mr.
Mugabe began his oppression of other peoples. Starting in 1983, he used his
North Korean-trained 5th Brigade to brutally massacre thousands of Ndebele
civilians, a brutality that included hacking to death and disembowelment.
Later in the '80s, Mr. Mugabe started attacking rule of law, harassing and
suppressing Zimbabwe's free press and news media, and arresting dissenters.
Opposition party leaders are now imprisoned and faced with kangaroo-court
trials. Just recently, Mr. Mugabe ensured his president-for-life status by
openly rigging national elections.
     Zimbabwe has come full circle. Mr. Mugabe has created a disaster for
both black and white Zimbabweans in the name of reparations and land
redistribution. He has outdone the injustices of Cecil Rhodes, who by the
way, was an avowed racist. Members of his ZANU-PF party have torched at
least 10 million acres of cropland and prevented millions of others from
being farmed. Per capita income, $380 a year, is about half what it was just
five years earlier. On top of that, inflation has reached 125 percent and is
     Soon we'll see pictures of emaciated children flashing across our
television screens, and calls for food assistance. The U.N. Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP) estimate
that millions of Zimbabweans face imminent starvation. The politically
correct cause of the Zimbabwe's looming famine is drought. Yes, drought has
been a problem, but Mr. Mugabe's politics is a better explanation of why
millions of his countrymen face starvation.
     One naturally asks where the Black Congressional Caucus, NAACP and
other civil rights organizations - who in the 1960s were demonstrating and
calling for the end of English rule - are. There's a deafening silence, the
same silence when Africa's black tyrants elsewhere on the continent commit
brutalities making those committed by former colonial masters pale in
comparison. Their positions don't differ from one that holds that blacks are
exempted from the civilized standards of conduct demanded from whites. Or
might it be that America's civil-rights establishment feels brutalization of
blacks by blacks doesn't hurt as much?

Walter Williams is a nationally syndicated columnist.
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            African states seek debt cancellation for famine victim
            October 02, 2002, 05:30

            The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) has called for
the cancellation of debts owed by six countries where more than 14 million
people are threatened by famine.

            In a statement released yesterday, SADC ministers meeting in the
Angolan capital, Luanda, said they appreciated the generous response of the
international community which has so far provided $183 million of 507
millions promised to fight the famine.

            Ministers "called on the international community to accelerate
emergency relief in the form of acceptable, nutritious foodstuffs, cancel
the debt of affected countries and to promote fairer trade and market access
for developing countries, and in particular those affected by famine," the
statement added.

            The cancellation would affect six of the 14 SADC members,
Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The six
famine-stricken lands had urgent need of 1,05 million tonnes of grain by
next March to save some 14,4 millions from starving, the SADC said. It also
noted a risk of famine in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

            SADC discuss GMOs
            The statement added that the SADC Council of Ministers had also
noted the controversy on the consumption of Genetically Modified products in
the region and requested the World Health Organisation to provide further
clarification on GMO foods. The Council had approved setting up an advisory
committee to develop guidelines on the GMOs.

            It also sanctioned the dispatch of 20 SADC officials and
scientists to the US "with a view to enhancing the region's knowledge and
understanding of GMOs." "For those member states that have accepted this
grain, they have to launch awareness campaigns to ensure that the GMO maize
is not planted and that it be milled into flour before distribution to
beneficiaries," the press release added. Of the six countries affected, only
Zambia has formally refused GMOs, while others such as Zimbabwe have
accepted them only reluctantly and with strict controls.

            The proposals by SADC ministers are expected to be adopted by a
summit of SADC heads of state and government tomorrow. The summit was set to
review political and socio-economic developments in the region in the last
year. Food shortages, the restructuring of the SADC, co-operation between
the SADC and the European Union, and an upcoming conference in Botswana top
the agenda.

            Delegates were to be briefed on the progress of the New
Partnership for Africa's Development, a home-grown development plan for the
continent, and decisions made during the opening summit of the African Union
in South Africa in July. The 14 SADC members are Angola, Botswana, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique,
Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and
Zimbabwe. - Sapa-AFP
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SA farmer turns to SPCA to save Zim cattle

      October 01 2002 at 04:33PM

Nine cattle belonging to South African farmer Crawford von Abo had already
starved to death and 241 more were starving on his farm in the Zimbabwean
lowveld after occupiers of the farm had "banned" them from grazing,
reserving the veld for their own cattle, he said on Tuesday.

The new occupants of the farm earlier forbade Von Abo's workers to take the
cattle to safety.

Von Abo said the occupants herded the animals into kraals on the farm,
preventing them from grazing.

They recently sent a message to Von Abo's office in Harare that he should
send feed for the starving animals.

A desperate Von Abo had now turned to the Zimbabwean Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) since, he said, the South African
High Commissioner in Harare had ignored his request for help since September

The SPCA was set to visit the animals on Wednesday.

Andries Botha, Free State leader of the Democratic Alliance, said the
inappropriateness of the "grace" that President Thabo Mbeki had given the
Mugabe government was emphasised by this case.

Botha said it would be a new low point for South Africa's Department of
Foreign Affairs if the Zimbabwean SPCA appeared more effective than the
South African authorities.

"So far the (SA) High Commissioner (in Zimbabwe) has done nothing in a
matter which obviously needs to be dealt with speedily.

"This is not in line with the assurance given by the South African foreign
affairs minister in parliament in March this year," said Botha. - Sapa
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Business Day

      Commonwealth needs to face new century bravely

      Zimbabwe a litmus test of commitment to values and principles of
democratic era
      THE Abuja meeting of the Commonwealth troika has been described by
some as a missed opportunity. Others see it as marking continuity rather
than change in President Thabo Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy" towards Harare.

      This has caused an outcry. It was the second meeting of the troika
made up of Mbeki and President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Prime
Minister John Howard of Australia. In March this year they met in London and
agreed to suspend Zimbabwe from the cosy club of former British colonies for
one year. This step was based on flawed March elections and concerns about
human rights abuses.

      Zimbabwe is seen largely as the litmus test for the Commonwealth's
commitment to its values and principles in the 21st century. It is also seen
as a test for African leaders' commitment to the values that underpin the
New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).

      What comes out of the meeting has affected the Commonwealth's and
Africa's credibility in ways that are not insignificant. Important questions
which have dominated the debate on Zimbabwe thus far are worth raising

      Does the outcome of the troika's Abuja meeting pit Africa against the
west, black against white or those "for" against those "not for" democracy?
Does it suggest there is one democracy for the west and another for
Africans? Does it also imply, as Zimbabwe's Jonathan Moyo has suggested,
there is a "white Commonwealth" (represented by Australia's John Howard in
Abuja) and a "black Commonwealth" (represented by Mbeki and Obasanjo)?

      More importantly what does all this mean for the supposedly common and
shared values and norms upon which both the Commonwealth and Nepad are

      Zimbabwe asks important questions about Commonwealth commitment to
democracy, rule of law, good governance and free market economics and free
and fair electoral processes in all member states.

      The way the outcome of the recent presidential elections in Zimbabwe
was reached and accepted by most Africans, and rejected by western countries
and the Commonwealth, requires us to attempt to answer these fundamental

      The resolution of the Zimbabwean question is critical for a number of

      First, the development of Zimbabwe cannot take place effectively until
and unless the political situation is normalised. No economic sector has
been unaffected by the crisis in that country.

      Second, the controversy relating to the results of the outcome of the
Abuja meeting threatens to polarise Africa and the west and rekindle old
colonial antagonisms. This should be avoided at all costs.

      The developed world can and must help in the effective implementation
of Nepad. At the core of Nepad are the values that are at stake in the
Zimbabwean debacle.

      Third, the collapse of Zimbabwe would not augur well for the global
war against terrorism. The danger of it becoming a breeding ground for rogue
elements cannot be ruled out. Zimbabwe is therefore not just a problem for
Africa alone.

      Fourth, from a geopolitical perspective, Zimbabwe is a key player in
the resolution of the conflicts in Angola and the Democratic Republic of
Congo. Its strategic alliance with Angola, the Congo and Namibia and cordial
relations with Mozambique are key factors in subregional politics.
Pretoria's quiet diplomacy approach should, among other things, be seen in
the context of this prevailing balance of political and military forces in
the region.

      There should be no compromise on the need for Commonwealth norms and
values to be adhered to. The same applies to Nepad and African Union norms
and values. Mugabe must be made to pay the price for noncompliance. Africa
and the rest of world must have a unified position on this matter. The
northsouth, black-white divide is unhelpful. The focus must be on the values
at stake. That is a good basis for a unified position. What is to be done?

      The western media and British government should tone down its
anti-Mugabe rhetoric, which plays into the hands of Mugabe and other
despotic rulers in Africa.

      The misguided Africa policy pursued by the British government has done
more harm than good for the opposition movement in Zimbabwe. The British
government did too little too late at best, and at worse, did nothing to
salvage the Zimbabwean situation.

      Two years ago, Britain was selling military equipment to Zimbabwe when
things were already getting bad. This was despite its "ethical foreign
policy" at the time. Britain's double standards were reflected in its
harassment of black Zimbabwean refugees who fled to the UK at a time when it
had already announced contingency plans to airlift whites from Zimbabwe.

      This has partly created the dangerous tendency to view the Zimbabwean
crisis as pitting Africa against the west, black against white. This is
wrong. What is at stake here are critical issues of human rights and
fundamental freedoms, which are universal in nature.

      The fact that different people read the Zimbabwean situation
differently is because their agendas and vested interests are different.

      The reconciliation of these differences is vital if an enduring
solution is to be found to the Zimbabwean question and, dare I say, other
conflicts in Africa. The Commonwealth troika's Abuja meeting was as historic
as it is significant the world was watching whether it will respond bravely
to the challenges of a brave new world.

      If anything, it teaches us that the Commonwealth needs to insist on
the universal applicability of its values and principles, as indeed it must
if it is to remain a credible player in the mainstream sphere of global

      Dlamini is a Research Associate with the SA Institute of International
Affairs and is also attached to Templeton College, Oxford.
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Daily News

Air Zimbabwe faces flight ban over safety

10/2/02 8:48:27 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

AVIATION experts say they fear if the ongoing strike by Air Zimbabwe
engineers continues, the airline monitoring body, the Civil Aviation
Authority Zimbabwe (CAAZ), may be degraded by other global aviation bodies.

The sources, who declined to be named, said this could in turn lead to
the cancellation of Air Zimbabwe flights from a number of major
international routes.

But Karikoga Kaseke, the CAAZ chief executive officer, dismissed the
fears of cancellation of Air Zimbabwe's international flights, saying the
airline met international safety standards despite the engineers' strike.

Kaseke said: "No one else is qualified to tell the world if Air
Zimbabwe has compromised its standards, except myself as the boss of CAAZ.

"As far as we are concerned, the workers filling in for the striking
engineers are doing a good job and we are confident everything is going on

The CAAZ supervises the safety capacities of all airlines in Zimbabwe.
Engineers who spoke to The Daily News yesterday said there was a possibility
Air Zimbabwe might be banned from travelling to key international
destinations by other countries who may fear for the safety of their people.

"It is a subject countries to which we fly will soon raise, because no
respectable national airline can go for three weeks without a competent and
properly registered work force of engineers.

"It is clear that the current back-up force of recalled technicians
and managers are failing to execute their functions, as confirmed by recent
flight delays," said one engineer who refused to be named.

The engineers downed tools three weeks ago, demanding higher pay.
An Air Zimbabwe Boeing 737 has reportedly been sent to South Africa
for air checks, while another domestic flight was last week delayed for over
three hours due to technical faults. Most engineers said they doubted the
capability of the reserve work force as most of them were retired.

One engineer said: "Most of the engineers who have been rehired are no
longer 'air worthy' because they are out of touch with new aircraft

"Aircraft systems are always changing and we are afraid these guys may
not be able to cope with certain modifications - we are concerned about the
safety of the passengers and the machines alike."
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Commission subverts wishes of residents

      10/2/02 8:39:33 AM (GMT +2)

      IT IS time the government was told in no uncertain terms that it
should not mistake the civility of the people of this country for docility.

      On Monday the government announced the appointment of a five-member
commission ostensibly to "assist" in the running of the affairs of the City
of Harare.
      The current executive council of the City of Harare has only been in
office for six months.

      In seeking to justify the appointment of the commission, the Minister
of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Dr Ignatius Chombo,
said the appointment of the commission was necessitated by the failure of
the council to provide a clear turnaround policy framework.

      The first issue the government needs to explain to citizens of this
country is just how many of the local authorities in Zimbabwe have produced
a clear turnaround policy within six months of coming into office. The truth
is that none have done so to date.

      It is common cause that there is bad blood between Chombo and the
present executive led by Mayor Elias Mudzuri, and that the government and
the ruling Zanu PF are unhappy that the capital city is administered by the
opposition. But that is the wish of the majority of the ratepayers in Harare
and Zanu PF and the government, through Chombo, have no business trying to
subvert the democratic wishes of the electorate in Harare.

      The people who can judge whether or not the new executive council has
performed within the past six months of coming into office are the
ratepayers of Harare.

      The evidence to demonstrate their commitment to righting the wrongs
created by previous successive Zanu PF councils is there: the roads have
been retarred during the last six months, while the whole of the drainage
system in Harare has been attended to. For once, an attempt is being made to
restore Harare to its pristine glory as the Sunshine City.

      Chombo, the government and Zanu PF have become impediments to the
proper administration of Harare.

      Mutare City Council is a good example illustrative of the government's
hypocrisy over the alleged failure by Harare to produce a turnaround policy
framework. The state of the road network in Mutare has driven away major
investors, while a damning report about Mutare City Council, produced by a
Harare-based accounting management and auditing firm early this year, has
revealed that Chombo, whose ministry oversees local authorities and the
government, are not reacting or taking steps on the basis of the audit
      If the government was sincere about being guided by the interests of
the public, it would have moved to appoint a commission to assist Mutare
City Council. But then this has nothing to do with serving the interests of
the majority; it has everything to do with imposing the wishes and whims of
Zanu PF on the people.

      For too long, the people of this country have allowed Zanu PF and the
government to trample all over their rights.

      There is a fuel crisis that has spanned three years, but the people
have accepted it. There is a widespread shortage of basic commodities such
as sugar, bread, milk and maize-meal, while in the rural areas starving
people are only allowed access to food donated by the international
community, upon production of a Zanu PF membership card. In all these
abuses, the people have remained quiet. As a result the government takes
them for granted.

      It is time the Combined Harare Residents' Association roared back
loudly, "No, enough is enough!"

      The appointment of the five-member commission is clearly intended to
sabotage the democratically elected executive of the Harare City Council. If
Mudzuri and his councillors fail to live up to the expectations of the
Harare ratepayers the people know what to do with them.

      After all, the government has during the past 22 years failed to
produce a turnaround policy for the country's economy.

      They would have been shown the door in 2000 and 2002 if, once again,
they had not "fixed" the elections.
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      Whose culture is going to be taught in schools?

      10/2/02 8:40:44 AM (GMT +2)

      THE recent Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation documentary, Around
Zimbabwe, was shown ostensibly to inform the public that children are going
to be taught a new subject from Grade One to Form Four in all government

      The public also learnt that the Ministry of Education was busy
finalising the syllabuses.

      The reasons for this new subject are well-known: our children have
lost "direction".

      The discipline in our schools and that of children everywhere leaves a
lot to be desired.

      Culture as a subject has never been taught in the history of our
schools - not that predecessors in the Ministry of Education have been too
stupid to recognise the importance of the subject, no, but the word culture
still remains difficult to define conclusively.

      You cannot say exactly what the word means. The dictionary definition
does not give us a good start if we want to teach culture as a subject in
our schools.
      The explanation of culture as "the customs and civilisation of a
particular people or group", is inadequate for our purposes.

      It does not show us what the subject is, or how it can be taught,
although we know somehow it has always been taught.

      A fair attempt at defining culture, would be to consider it a natural
phenomenon and like all phenomena - light, sound and electromagnetic waves -
has a spectrum of its own particulars, in the form of language, religion and
customs occupying particular positions. These, much as they constitute
culture, must not be taken as the sum total of culture.

      The majority of people in Zimbabwe practise a common culture - Bantu
culture - but if you examine it closely, you will find they also practise
different customs and religion. Even their politics differ, and unless the
government draws a distinction between culture and customs there is a danger
that minority groups in the country will be forced to practice irrelative

      I do not know whether there is a law to guard against such tendencies,
but it sounds like oppression. People have always fought against injustices,
irrespective of the might of their oppressors.

      If you force my children to learn your language, your customs, I might
want to kill you and if I do not, be sure the same resentment will develop
in my children.

      If they do not kill you on my behalf, they will certainly kill your
offspring or the children of your children.

      All this, of course, is assuming the project to introduce culture
succeeds. As everyone suspects, this could just be another way of distracing
people from their real problems.

      It will probably not see the light of day or bring about the expected
results. To begin with the teachers who will do most of the donkey work are
not fundis in the subject.

      In addition, there are no resource materials. Besides, most of the
teachers are in the field for their own selfish reasons - they are working
rather than teaching and also need intensive lessons in culture.

      To add insult to injury children have lost confidence in their
teachers; they see them
      operating under stressful conditions almost every day.

      Teachers have lost prestige, society mocks them daily and the
children, as eventually happens in such situations, now look for role models
elsewhere - among the rich, criminals and fake politicians.

      The honest assumption here is that the government is trying to run
away from its responsibilities.

      Everybody knows the source of the crisis - the economy is in very bad
shape. There is a high level of stress in the country and there has been for
some time. Children grow up hearing their parents using unprintable words to
describe the government or even the President. Now if children eventually
realise their parents do not respect those who govern them, they will not
respect anyone themselves. Not their teachers and not even God.

      If the government were to solve the problem of stress, everything
would go back to normal; children would be content and parents would be able
to raise them without the addition of culture as a subject in our school

      Culture as a subject has enough teachers as it were. The dilemma of
recalcitrance is not for teachers to resolve; it is indeed a cultural issue
and can best be tackled by those people best equipped for its transmission -

      All the government can do is avail resources unless, of course, the
authorities are not sincere. The exercise is but a political gimmick to make
the nation think something is being done while the government grapples with
not what can make this country well, but how to manipulate the vote and
neutralise the dissent that threatens to engulf Zanu PF
      every day.

      Well, as the government should know, it can fool some people
sometimes, but it cannot fool all the people all the time.
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      British Airways cuts fares as Air Zimbabwe's charges rise

      10/2/02 8:22:17 AM (GMT +2)

      By Colleen Gwari Business Reporter

      AS a result of feedback received from customers and in its drive to
make quality air travel an affordable option to the travelling public,
British Airways has redesigned its air fare structures, introducing new
options while incorporating outstanding reductions on others.

      "These are not special offers, but new standard fares available to all
world travelling passengers," said Clare Wingfield, British Airways
marketing manager for Central Africa.

      She said British Airways was re-organising large parts of its fare
structure and redesigning it to make travelling much more simple and user

      "In the process we have introduced new, less expensive fares
especially for those tickets whose duration is less than six months and have
been paid for in advance.

      "We have also created a brand new one-way fare and have retained our
special youth and senior citizens rates," said Wingfield. Wingfield said
British Airways was committed to a long-term relationship with Zimbabwe
while offering customers the best quality travel as demonstrated through the
introduction of the new Boeing 777 aircraft and initiation of Heathrow as
the London terminus.

      British Airways did not provide detail about exact percentage change
in air fares.

      Meanwhile, Air Zimbabwe's fares have been rising over the years making
it difficult for the public to travel locally or abroad.

      With its fares quoted in hard currency, Air Zimbabwe is one of the
cheapest airlines in the world, but quite expensive for locals due to the
depreciation of the Zimbabwe dollar.

      In a separate development, the strike by 185 aircraft engineers at the
troubled national carrier entered its third week on Monday, with only five
engineers heeding calls to return to work.

      The national airline spokesman, David Mwenga, was quoted in the
government-controlled daily, The Herald, as saying more engineers had
contacted the company's management expressing a willingness to return to
work, despite threats from their colleagues.

      Mwenga said: "The majority of the engineers have not yet returned to
work and the restructuring of the engineering department is on course."

      He said the engineering department had come up with appropriate
staffing levels and only those who have returned to work were being

      A return ticket to London costs about $400 000 compared to $100 000 in
the same period last year.
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      Bennet in court for allegedly contravening Electoral Act

      10/2/02 8:42:16 AM (GMT +2)

      From Brian Mangwende in Mutare

      CHIMANIMANI Member of Parliament Roy Bennet was yesterday remanded on
$10 000 bail to 15 October along with Menson Magwaza by a Chipinge
magistrate when they appeared in Nyanyadzi on charges of contravening a
section of the Electoral Act.

      The State alleged that Bennet, an MDC member, together with Magwaza
and a South African national, Stewart Girvin illegally took photographs in a
Chimanimani polling station during the just ended rural district council

      Girvin was remanded on $20 000 bail.

      On Sunday Bennet was arrested for contravening the controversial
Section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act for refusing to leave his Charleswood
Estate in Chimanimani.

      Bennet had contested the Section 8 order served on him by the
government, resulting in the High Court granting him an interim relief order
to continue with business on his farm.
      Charleswood Estate falls under the Export Processing Zone and is
therefore exempt from compulsory acquisition as it is a high foreign
currency earner for the country.

      The Chimanimani area has been hit by a spate of State-sponsored
violence with so-called war veterans assaulting a magistrate in Chipinge in
August for denying three Zanu PF supporters bail.

      In mid-August over 200 workers and guards employed by Bennet were
beaten up by State agents including Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
staffers led by Joseph Mwale and several police officers.

      Bennet said he had evidence that his farm had been allocated to the
director-general of the CIO , Elisha Muzonzini.
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