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  • Christine Chumbler
    Mugabe to ¡tough it out¢ Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is likely to *tough it out* and appeal to black South Africans over President Thabo Mbeki¢s head,
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 10, 2001
      Mugabe to ‘tough it out’

      Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is likely to *tough it out* and appeal to black
      South Africans over President Thabo Mbeki’s head, in response to the South African
      government’s ditching of its *quiet diplomacy* policy


      Further intensifying the country’s isolation, the United States Congress adopted
      the Zimbabwe Democracy Act by an overwhelming majority.

      Diplomats said Mugabe was most likely to respond to the pressures by projecting
      himself to black South Africans as *a Pan Africanist hero* and *toughing it out, at
      least until he has won a further six-year term*.

      He has already tried to strike a posture as Africa's revolutionary crusader against
      globalisation and the relics of white imperialism, setting an example to the region
      ― particularly South Africa ― on how to conduct land reform.

      Diplomats said another possibility ― although remote ― was that Mugabe would
      make cosmetic changes to appease Mbeki. A small group of wealthy white farmers
      who have backed Mugabe to win forthcoming elections may be brought on board,
      with at least one being offered a Cabinet seat.

      A minister able to speak a South African language, such as Ndebele-speaking
      Zanu-PF party chairperson John Nkomo, currently Minister of Home Affairs, may be
      charged with improving Harare-Pretoria relations.

      In the past week Mugabe has ditched the centuries-old rule book of diplomatic
      practice by permitting his hard-line Minister of Information, Jonathan Moyo, to pillory
      targeted Western diplomats in the state-controlled media, in addition to launching a
      war of words on Pretoria.

      Danish ambassador Ole Moesby and British High Commissioner Brian Donnelly
      were vilified.

      The day Mbeki let it be known he had
      finally lost patience ― Mugabe's worst
      external setback in years ― the new
      Supreme Court bench under former
      minister Godfrey Chidyausiku handed the
      Zimbabwean president a predicted
      internal triumph in the form of 4-1
      endorsement of the *fast track land
      reform programme".

      The last hopes that internal pressure
      could bring change were destroyed on
      Monday by the newly reconstituted
      Supreme Court. Envoys and jurists said
      only external pressure could ensure
      anything resembling clean presidential
      elections next year.

      Chief Justice Chidyausiku cleared the government of all wrongdoing despite the
      murder of 39 farmworkers and nine farmers in two years of what Mugabe calls the
      *Third Chimurenga" or civil war.

      It was unreasonable to expect the government to *bring about a totally crime free
      environment", said Chidyausiku. He added that land reform *is a matter of social
      justice, not strictly speaking a legal issue".

      Three newly appointed Mugabe sympathisers backed Chidyausiku's finding, which
      now clears the way for summary redistribution of 5 000 white-owned farms to
      300 000 Zanu-PF supporters.

      Human rights lawyer Adrian de Bourbon said the ruling marked *the end of the road"
      for farmers’ attempts to fight through the courts. Anyone attempting to defend human
      rights from now on *runs a very severe risk of not getting a fair adjudication", he

      However, Zimbabwe's legal community were ringing in their praise for the personal
      courage and moral integrity of Appeal Judge Admed Ibrahim (61), who issued a
      dissenting judgement.

      Ibrahim rejected demands that he resign earlier this year, despite warnings by
      Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa that *anything could happen" following death
      threats from Mugabe's war veterans.

      In his minority ruling, likely to be reprinted in legal journals around the world, Ibrahim
      accused the government of coming back to Judge Chidyausiku with the same
      arguments that had been rejected by the previous Supreme Court bench under Judge
      Anthony Gubbay.

      He said that on the evidence put before the Supreme Court by the Commercial
      Farmers’ Union it was impossible to say law and order had been restored.

      *Haphazard squatting cannot form part of a lawful programme of land reform," he
      said. *It is not the function of the courts to support the government of the day. The
      courts' duty is to the law and the law alone. They may never subvert the law. To do
      otherwise would create huge uncertainty in the law."

      De Bourbon's warning that internal means of legal redress were running out was
      echoed by Professor Tony Hawkins of the University of Zimbabwe’s business school.
      He believes there is little hope the local business community will exert internal
      pressure for reform, despite the worsening economic crisis.

      However, Zimbabwe remained vulnerable to South African pressure on transport, fuel
      and electricity, said Hawkins. *The economic pressures will continue to intensify in
      the months ahead, but this government is going nowhere until the elections.

      *If Mugabe wins he will have to try and do something ― I don't know what ― to
      reverse some of the things he is doing now. Undermining the dynamo of the
      economy ― agriculture ― will not fully hit us until next year or the year after.

      *We haven't felt the full effect of financing the budget deficit by the tax on savers, and
      the exchange rate policy."

      Institutional investors are currently receiving a maximum of 30% returns in the face of
      nearly 100% inflation, which Hawkins describes as *a concealed tax".

      *There will also be a substantial outflow of skills post election," said Hawkins.

      Despite the country’s economic decline, political entropy and increasing international
      isolation, no challenge is expected to Mugabe’s leadership at next week’s Zanu-PF
      congress in Victoria Falls.

      An orgy of anti-Western and anti-South African rhetoric is expected when close on
      14 000 delegates turn up in the resort town.


      Ministers to audit Zimbabwe's
      land plans

      Harare | Monday

      FOREIGN ministers from six southern African countries are due
      in Harare on Monday to audit developments in Zimbabwe's
      controversial land reforms, a government representative said on
      The meeting is a follow-up to a Southern African Development
      Community (SADC) summit of heads of states held three months
      ago as part of an international diplomatic offensive to prevent
      Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis from turning into a
      regional problem.
      Foreign ministers of Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia,
      Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe are expected
      to hold talks at a Harare hotel.
      "They will be here from the 11th to the 12th of December. This is
      a follow up to the heads of states summit of September," said
      representative George Charamba.
      The September summit agreed to set up a committee of ministers
      to monitor the situation in Zimbabwe.
      Asked about the agenda, the representative said "the agenda is
      theirs, but they have indicated they want to meet stakeholders."
      Local state media say the ministers are expected to hear from an
      array of interest groups -- including the main opposition party,
      white farmers, liberation war veterans, church groups, civic
      bodies, the media and representatives of commerce and industry.
      The meeting is to take place after reported calls by President
      Thabo Mbeki of South Africa for a special SADC task team on
      Zimbabwe to be set up.
      South Africa's Sunday Times last week said that Mbeki's
      patience with Harare was "wearing thin" because the Zimbabwe
      crisis was hampering efforts to launch an economic revival plan for
      Zimbabwe's turmoil has already had economic effects around the
      region, scaring off some potential investors.
      The crippled economy also means that a major market for
      regionally produced goods is disappearing, as the price of imports
      soars with the skyrocketing exchange rate on the parallel market.
      In September, Zimbabwe struck a deal with the British
      government, under which Britain will pay compensation for the
      acquired farms in the former colony, on condition there is a return
      to law and order.
      At the end of October a Commonwealth team of ministers met in
      Harare to investigate progress made in the implementation of the
      agreement with Britain.
      The ministers concluded their meeting with a call on the
      government of President Robert Mugabe to implement the
      agreement signed in the Nigerian capital Abuja on September 6
      and probe reports of rights abuses and violence.
      Last week the Supreme Court declared the land reforms were in
      accordance with the constitution, saying the "land acquisition and
      redistribution is essentially a matter of social justice and not
      strictly speaking a legal issue".
      Zimbabwe has been wracked by a land crisis since February
      2000, when militant government supporters spearheaded the
      invasion of white-owned farms to press for their redistribution to
      landless blacks.
      Meanwhile, Moeletsi Mbeki, a leading international affairs expert
      and brother of South Africa's president said on Sunday that
      drastic measures including economic action are necessary to
      avoid a crisis in Zimbabwe.
      The situation in Zimbabwe not act, Mbeki said on public
      broadcaster SABC's Newsmaker programme.
      "South Africa is the one country that is going to be hurt the most
      by the Zimbabwe crisis, so it is the country that has to take most
      of the action," said Mbeki, who is the deputy chairman of the
      South African Institute for International Affairs.
      Measures against the Harare government of President Robert
      Mugabe could include "pulling the economic plug" on Zimbabwe,
      Mbeki told SABC's Newsmaker programme.
      "You know, most of Zimbabwe's trade goes through South Africa.
      We must be their biggest trading partner," Mbeki said.
      "So we can stop the Zimbabwean economy tomorrow if we
      wanted to. We have the muscle," he said. - AFP


      And this isn't Africa-related at all, except that I saw the story in the Jo'burg paper. Weird, weird world...

      A JAPANESE woman who
      apparently set out to find one
      million dollars in ransom money
      depicted in the hit comedy-thriller
      "Fargo" may have died from
      exposure, Japanese media said
      on Monday. The body of the
      woman, a resident of Tokyo, was
      found in the Detroit Lakes area of
      Minnesota on November 15, Jiji
      Press said, citing the Japanese
      Consulate General in Chicago and
      local press reports. A hunter
      discovered the lightly-clothed
      body of the 28-year old in a forest
      one week after she landed in
      Minneapolis, Kyodo News said.
      She had earlier been interviewed
      by local police after being seen
      wandering alone in the town of
      Bismarck, North Dakota. Unable
      to communicate adequately in
      English, the woman showed police
      a crude hand-drawn map which led
      them to believe she was
      attempting to find the ransom
      money depicted in the
      Oscar-winning 1996 Joel and
      Ethan Cohen film. A Japanese
      foreign ministry official from the
      division in charge of protecting
      Japanese nationals overseas
      confirmed the woman's death, but
      declined to comment on the
      circumstances or identify her,
      citing privacy concerns. "Fargo",
      named after a town on the
      Minnesota-North Dakota border, is
      the fictional story of a faked
      kidnap that goes horribly wrong. It
      is set in the frozen wastes of the
      border area's Great Plains. In one
      scene, one of the villains stops
      his car in a snowy landscape
      devoid of features except for a
      wire fence and fenceposts to bury
      a briefcase containing almost one
      million dollars. The film opens with
      the statement: "This is a true
      story. The events depicted in this
      film took place in Minnesota in
      1987," a statement now
      celebrated as a cinematic joke.
      "For the record, no Twin Cities
      dealers' wives have been
      kidnapped and killed in Brainerd (a
      town in Minnesota where most of
      the film is set)... no one has been
      axed to death, dismembered and
      fed into a wood chipper," the
      website of the Brainerd Daily
      Dispatch states, referring to the
      film's gruesome plot. - Sapa-AFP
    • Christine Chumbler
      Rural revolt threat Three Southern African countries have sold out the region s peasants in favour of quick profits and short-term political expediency, a new
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 19, 2002
        Rural revolt threat

        Three Southern African countries have sold out the region's peasants in favour of
        quick profits and short-term political expediency, a new hard-hitting academic study


        The University of the Western Cape's school of government claims the
        systematic betrayal of small-scale and subsistence farmers in Mozambique,
        South Africa and Zimbabwe is causing a region-wide rural revolt that could
        shatter Southern Africa's economy.

        The university says peasants, who were promised land ownership and a real chance
        of prosperity with the advent of democracy, are instead being marginalised and
        kicked off their land in favour of rich foreign investors or privileged local consortiums.

        The university's latest Sustainable Livelihoods in Southern Africa report adds that
        even when governments attempt to deal with growing dissatisfaction, their policies
        and strategies have proved inadequate or impractical.

        In post-apartheid South Africa two-thirds of the country is still owned by 60 000 white
        landlords, while 14-million black subsistence farmers eke out a living in the former

        "None of the three main components of the South African land reform programme,
        namely the restitution of land rights, land redistribution and tenure reform, have made
        a significant impact," the report reads.

        Restitution and redistribution have both, it contends, suffered from cumbersome and
        ineffective bureaucratic processes, as well as an over-reliance on market
        mechanisms to acquire land.

        Tenure reform, which effects millions of rural workers, has also failed to prevent the
        eviction of long-term tenants on white-owned farms or halt the encroachment of
        private business on tribal and communal land.

        A key flaw, university researcher Edward Lahiff notes, is the government's failure to
        address the chaotic administration of communal land in former homeland areas
        where South Africa's poorest citizens live.

        "Land tenure reform has the potential to affect the largest number of people in the
        shortest time, but while the government has passed crucial laws it simply hasn't put
        the necessary resources into enforcing them," Lahiff explains.

        Provincial administrations have, he said, been tasked with implementing the
        Extension of Security of Tenure Act but often only hired a single official to police an
        entire province.

        "Not even the police, magistrates or other people in the justice
        system are sympathetic, so farm tenants aren't taken seriously.
        Recent policy shifts, away from the pro-poor approach between
        1994 to 1999, towards a commercial farming model and linked
        proposals to privatise communal land are also likely to even
        further diminish the benefits of land reform," Lahiff warns. South
        Africa's failings are not, however, unique.

        Neighbouring Mozambique, where 75% of residents are rural and 60% live in
        "absolute poverty", also favours big business and foreign investors over the livelihood
        of its peasants.

        The country promulgated a reform land law in 1997 recognising the land rights of
        subsistence farmers, but has failed to honour the rights when challenged by
        corporate or foreign interests.

        Massive tracts of Mozambique's most fertile land are, Lahiff says, being
        concessioned to cash-rich investors without local indigenous farmers being notified
        or consulted.

        "Available evidence suggests that the impact on the rural poor is entirely negative,
        with local people denied access to essential natural resources such as wildlife and
        indigenous forests," he warns.

        The investors also often impose exploitative contracts on local subsistence farmers,
        including sharecropping and labour tenancy agreements that hark back to colonial

        "Notable among these new settlers are Afrikaner farmers from South Africa who have
        been granted vast concessions in Naissa and Zambezia provinces," said Lahiff.

        Dispossession is increasing as tourism and wildlife investors move into Mozambique,
        with concerns that thousands of families affected by the new proposed transfrontier
        park with South Africa haven't been properly consulted or offered compensation.

        Zimbabwe too neglected its rural poor until very recently, granting the best
        agricultural land to government supporters and political favourites.

        "Zimbabwe was able to boast an impressive rise in production among small-scale
        farmers, but its attempts at land reform were implemented very slowly over the 21
        years since independence, without any of the key targets being met," said Lahiff.

        "President Robert Mugabe was still allocating land to big farmers until just before
        land invasions began, and only changed the policy when it was politically expedient
        to do so."

        Instead of relieving the plight of the rural poor, the invasions of white and
        corporate-owned farms by Zanu-PF supporters, war veterans and landless peasants
        have so disrupted the agricultural economy that production has plummeted and food
        shortages are being reported.

        "As a result, prospects for successful reforms may have been set back even as
        popular pressure reaches new heights," said Lahiff.

        The promised reforms are further limited by Zimbabwe's technocratic, top-down

        "The poor quality of support services to resettled farmers and government's neglect of
        tenure reform in communal areas has further limited potential benefits."

        The failings, which are common in all three countries, have prompted non-government
        organisations and peasants themselves to step into the breach.

        NGOs such as Associaçâo Rural de ajuda Mútua and peasant movements such as
        Uniâo Nacional des Camponeses in Mozambique have spearheaded a land
        campaign that has influenced legislation and is changing government's policies.

        In South Africa the national land committee hasn't been as successful at creating a
        rural social movement but has managed to win wide audiences for its demands for
        faster and more radical land reforms.

        The committee and its Mozambican counterparts also travelled to Brazil this week to
        learn from the apparent success of the Landless Workers' Movement, which has
        resettled 542000 rural families or almost two million people on 18-million hectares of
        new farmland at a cost of $6,5-billion.

        The African activists are, however, in for a disappointment.

        Recent Brazilian studies indicate that the dream has soured, with resettled farmers
        defaulting on a debt of $450-million and up to 25% of all resettled farmers abandoning
        their plots within two years.

        The problems cited by Brazilian settlers echo the challenges faced by their African
        counterparts, including competition from mechanised commercial estates,
        inadequate water, transport and electricity infrastructure and inefficient government
        support schemes.

        National land committee deputy director Tom Lebert concedes the problems, but
        insists that Africans can still learn from the Landless Workers' Movement's success
        in mobilising the rural poor and holding government to its land promises.

        "We're going to learn from their successes, even if that means noting their failures.
        We are also going to build relationships with the 70000 land reform activists at the
        World Social Forum, so we can build an alliance against corporate globalisation,"
        said Lebert.

        He stressed that the committee did not oppose South Africa's attempts to produce
        black commercial farmers, but warned that not all subsistence farmers wanted or
        were able to go commercial.

        "We believe land reform should primarily benefit the landless," he said. * African
        Eye News Service


        Militants March in Zimbabwe

        By Angus Shaw
        Associated Press Writer
        Monday, February 18, 2002; 3:57 PM

        HARARE, Zimbabwe ** Thousands of ruling party militants marched through Zimbabwe's capital and hurled
        stones at the opposition headquarters on Monday as the European Union voted to impose sanctions on the
        violence-wracked African nation.

        An opposition-aligned group accused police of beating several of its members in a separate incident ahead of
        presidential elections next month.

        The 10,000 protesters marched Monday to the offices of Britain's diplomatic mission and accused the former
        colonial power of supporting the opposition to give control of Zimbabwe back to "white oppressors."

        Militants then stoned the building housing the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, smashing the
        building's glass doors and the windows of adjacent shops. No injuries were reported.

        The vote will mark the strongest challenge yet to President Robert Mugabe's 22-year rule. Humanitarian workers
        say the violence is part of a coordinated campaign to ensure victory for the increasingly unpopular ruler.

        The Zimbabwean government on Monday banned a host of foreign journalists from covering the election despite
        earlier promises to admit them.

        On Saturday, it expelled European election observer Pierre Schori, prompting the European Union to cut off
        $110 million in development aid over five years and impose an EU travel ban on Mugabe and 20 of his Cabinet

        "The EU remains seriously concerned at political violence, serious violations of human rights and restrictions on
        the media ... which call into question the prospects for a free and fair election," a statement issued by the EU
        foreign ministers said.

        Church officials in Zimbabwe's second-largest city, Bulawayo, said Monday that four clerics and seven of their
        followers were arrested Saturday by police who claimed their prayer vigil for peace violated Zimbabwe's new
        security laws.

        Several were arrested as they knelt and prayed outside a police station where the group's leader, the Rev. Noel
        Scott, an Anglican pastor, had been taken. Among those arrested was Father Kevin O'Doherty, a Roman
        Catholic missionary from Detroit who is based in Bulawayo.

        All 11 were released on bail by a Bulawayo court Monday after spending two nights in custody.

        The interdenominational group of churches said in a statement that police had banned a prayer procession
        Saturday to several local churches, saying they could not guarantee walkers' safety.

        The group decided to travel between services in cars, but "a police presence was observed" at each service, the
        churches said. Scott was approached while giving a sermon and arrested when he stepped outside the church.

        A 1,000-person march for constitutional reform was broken up by police on Friday after it was banned on the
        grounds it risked triggering public violence.

        The march Monday by 10,000 ruling party supporters, however, was legal, police said.

        Police stopped the crowd's attack on the opposition party building and herded at least 50 party militants into
        police vans. Police refused to say whether any had been charged.

        "The police are blatantly the instruments" of the ruling party, said Lovemore Madhuku, head of the
        opposition-backed National Constitutional Assembly, which organized Friday's march. "If you are against the
        government you don't have any rights."

        On Sunday, the government told Swedish reporters that they would not be allowed to cover the election * an
        announcement that came one day after Schori, a Swede, was expelled. Some journalists from other European
        countries and South Africa were also rejected.

        A few U.S. media organizations, including The Associated Press, were told Monday they had been denied
        permission to bring in foreign reporters. A few other U.S. organizations were granted accreditation, which will
        costs $300.


        Zimbabwe Condemns EU Sanctions

        By Angus Shaw
        Associated Press Writer
        Tuesday, February 19, 2002; 6:24 AM

        HARARE, Zimbabwe ** The government on Tuesday condemned European Union economic and diplomatic
        sanctions, accusing Europe of orchestrating "hostile action" to influence March elections.

        "There is no price that is going to be high in defending our independence," said Information Minister Jonathan

        The European Union, angered by Zimbabwe's refusal to let its observers freely monitor March 9-10 presidential
        elections, imposed sanctions Monday against President Robert Mugabe's government and ordered its observer
        team home.

        EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels imposed "targeted sanctions" with immediate effect, Spanish Foreign
        Minister Josep Pique, the meeting's chairman said.

        Moyo described the decision as "an orchestrated and self-fulfilling process," The Herald said.

        "There is no amount of hostile action through sanctions or otherwise that will make us move from our principle to
        defend our indepen mission and accused the former colonial power of supporting the opposition to give control of
        Zimbabwe back to "white oppressors."

        EU ministers said the 15-nation bloc was seriously concerned about political violence, human rights abuses and
        restrictions on the media which called into question the prospects for a free and fair election.

        The sanctions include cutting off $110 million in development aid for the 2002-2007 period, a ban on travel to the
        EU for Mugabe and 20 of his Cabinet ministers and freezing their assets in Europe.

        The EU said it will also pull out 30 European elections observers already in Zimbabwe.

        Zimbabwe has been wracked by political violence for the past two years that opposition supporters, human rights
        activists and many international officials blame on Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party.

        Mugabe, 77, who has ruled Zimbabwe since it won independence from Britain, is fighting to maintain his 22-year
        grip in power. As his popularity has waned, he has imposed curbs on journalists and opposition parties and many
        of his critics have been attacked or threatened with prosecution.

        The state media, a platform for official policy, carried no reaction to the EU decision from Mugabe early Tuesday.

        In a defiant statement on state television Sunday, a visibly angry Mugabe said Zimbabwe was capable of running
        its own elections without interference from Western countries.

        Mugabe earlier this month banned election observers from Britain, the former colonial ruler, Denmark, Finland,
        Germany, Sweden and The Netherlands, accusing them of bias in favor of the opposition Movement for
        Democratic Change.

        Moyo said the government welcomed "open-minded observers."

        "We are happy the world is larger than Europe and that we in Africa would like to be judged by Africans who
        share the same values with us," he said.

        The European sanctions came two days after Zimbabwe expelled Pierre Schori, head of a 30-member EU
        election monitoring team.

        Schori, Sweden's ambassador to the United Nations, attended the EU foreign ministers meeting. He
        recommended against sanctions but said he agreed the observers had to withdraw to spare them physical abuse
        and insult.

        In London, an opposition Conservative Party spokesman told British Broadcasting Corp. radio Tuesday that
        Zimbabwe could become a "rogue state" and a menace to the international community unless democratic elections
        are ensured.


        Zimbabwe rewrites
        observer rules

        By BBC News Online's Martin Asser

        The run-up to the 9-10 March presidential
        election in Zimbabwe has seen unprecedented
        interest in the electoral monitoring process, in
        particular the composition of those bodies
        tasked with ensuring the election will be free
        and fair.

        The government has issued a number of
        invitations for observers from abroad, but has
        also specifically excluded certain nationalities -
        with UK citizens top of the list - as well as
        some of the international organisations which
        usually monitor elections.

        New electoral legislation
        in Zimbabwe makes the
        unique linguistic and
        legal distinction between
        election observers and
        election monitors.

        Only the monitors
        assigned by the official
        Electoral Supervisory
        Commission will be able
        to deliver a verdict on
        how democratic the
        elections have been.

        Observers, on the other hand, will be given
        free access to observe the electoral process
        across the country, but their findings will not
        be taken into account by the ESC.

        The vast majority of observers - about 12,000
        - are to be "domestic", i.e. Zimbabwean
        nationals, who will be present in groups of
        three at each of the country's 4,000-plus
        polling stations. Four monitors are meant to be
        at each station as well.

        There will also be
        dozens of foreign
        delegations providing
        hundreds of observers
        who - in co-ordination
        with their Zimbabwean
        counterparts - will be
        deployed at potential
        "hot spots" to try to
        bolster the security of

        Monitors are being
        drawn mainly from
        employees at the
        Ministries of Education and Home Affairs, and -
        to the concern of some domestic observers -
        the Defence Ministry.

        An agent for each candidate contesting the
        election is also allowed at every polling station.

        The only difference in terms of access
        between these groups is that domestic and
        international observers will not be allowed to
        stay with the ballot boxes between the polling
        booth and the place where votes are counted.

        Delegation withdrawn

        The Zimbabwe
        Government has issued
        invitations to numerous
        countries - both
        individually and
        collectively under the
        auspices of continental
        and international bodies
        of which they are

        Invitations to send observers have gone out to
        the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)
        nations group, the Organisation of African
        Unity (OAU, or African Union), and the
        Southern African Development Community
        (SADC) and the Commonwealth (excluding the
        United Kingdom).

        The problems with the
        European delegation -
        which officials in
        Harare said had been
        invited as a junior
        partner in a group with
        the ACP nations - and
        the Europeans'
        withdrawal, stemmed
        from the government's
        determination that
        British observers were
        not welcome.

        That "disinvitation"
        was later extended to include Sweden,
        Denmark, Germany, Finland and the
        Netherlands, all for allegedly "favouring"
        President Robert Mugabe's main rival, Morgan

        EU officials announced "targeted sanctions"
        and the withdrawal of all the observers,
        including those from countries such as France,
        Spain and Italy, who had already been

        Other omissions

        From the US, only the National Association for
        the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
        has been invited to provide observers, while
        other organisations, such as the Carter
        Institute and the National Democratic
        Institute, which might usually expect to
        monitor elections, have not been asked.

        The NDI has struggled
        to work in Zimbabwe
        since 2000, when it
        concluded that "the
        conditions for credible
        democratic elections
        do not exist". Denied
        accreditation, the
        body withdrew later
        that year.

        The withdrawal of the
        EU team deprives the
        international observer
        body of a group which
        would have eventually totalled about 150

        That will increase the pressure on the
        domestic observers, and the officials and civil
        society members of the large foreign
        delegations, such as the 100-strong South
        African team and the 50 representatives of


        Analysis: EU sanctions
        lack teeth

        By Paul Reynolds
        BBC World Affairs Correspondent

        The European Union decision to impose so
        called "smart" sanctions on Zimbabwean
        President Robert Mugabe and 19 of his senior
        associates will make little difference to the
        conduct of the presidential elections there on
        9 and 10 March.

        The sanctions mean that Mr Mugabe and the
        others will not be able to travel to the EU, will
        have their assets in the EU - if any are left -
        frozen and the EU will not sell arms to

        The EU's foreign ministers imposed them after
        the head of the European observer mission,
        Swedish diplomat Pierre Schori, was ejected
        from Zimbabwe.

        These personal
        sanctions will not affect
        aid which is directed
        towards helping ordinary

        The observers still left in
        Zimbabwe will be withdrawn on the grounds
        that they will be so restricted as to be

        Europeans unanimous

        The decision was taken after a debate among
        the foreign ministers as to whether it might not
        be better to leave the sanctions on one side
        and the observers in place until after the
        elections themselves. The Portuguese and
        Greeks took this line.

        Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller said
        Europe should not help Mr Mugabe win the

        The French were
        inclined towards holding
        off on sanctions, but
        French Foreign Minister
        Hubert Vedrine fell in
        behind British Foreign
        Secretary Jack Straw, who called for a hard

        In the end there was unanimity. Everyone,
        despite their reservations, accepted that the
        expulsion of Mr Schori and inhibitions placed on
        the observers were just too much.

        "Today is the end of
        the road", declared Mr

        The European Union
        has therefore played
        its card. But it is not a
        particularly strong
        card, since Mr Mugabe
        is unlikely to be much
        moved by not being
        able to travel to

        He is single-mindedly
        determined to win the
        election, as much as he was to win the
        guerrilla war against white Rhodesians.

        No sign of support

        And there is no international agreement on
        sanctions. South Africa is not joining in.

        Its attitude will also largely determine that of
        Zimbabwe's neighbours in the 14-member
        South African Development Community (SADC).

        The United States might add its weight but
        this is not certain and again, in any case,
        would not make much difference.

        And there is some real opposition to
        withdrawing the observers. Amnesty
        International says it would have been better
        for them to stay.

        So the upshot is rather messy - limited
        sanctions which will have little effect, and no

        The European Union has huffed and now it has

        But it is unlikely to bring Robert Mugabe's
        house down.


        EU sanctions move
        'baffles' African nations

        The EU fears Mugabe is trying to steal the election
        African nations have expressed surprise at the
        EU's decision to impose sanctions against
        Zimbabwe and withdraw its election observers.

        Neighbouring South Africa described the move
        as "difficult to fathom".

        "We're really surprised at
        this decision, because if
        there are allegations
        that elections might not
        be free and fair, then it
        is important to ensure
        that as many neutral,
        objective, impartial
        observers are in place," Deputy Foreign
        Minister Aziz Pahad told SABC radio.

        Observers from South Africa and the
        Commonwealth are still in Zimbabwe.

        The South African head of the election
        observer team from the Southern African
        Development Community (SADC), Samuel
        Motswaynarnay, contests the view prevalent
        in Europe that Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is
        preventing free and fair elections through

        Mr Motswaynarnay attended a Zanu-PF rally at
        the weekend.

        "It was quite big," he said. "I think there was
        an attendance of anything up to 20,000 people
        at the rally."

        "Everything proceeded
        in a very orderly way,
        and there was no
        evidence of any
        coercion or
        harassment caused by
        the police who were
        there in large numbers.

        "We also attended a
        rally of the opposition
        party, in Harare, and
        that also proceeded
        quite smoothly, with
        no evidence of
        violence at all."


        Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo - who
        brokered an agreement between Britain and
        Zimbabwe last year - also challenges the EU
        assertion that Mr Mugabe is using
        unacceptable means to ensure his re-election.

        "What are the democratic principles that he is
        flagrantly abusing?" Mr Obasanjo asked. "He
        says he is going into an election. He has
        parties other than his own that are allowed
        freely to contest and participate.

        "He has asked for
        observers from all over
        the world to come. He
        has asked for the
        foreign press from all
        over the world to

        "He has worked with
        other political parties
        and civil society and
        religious leaders in his
        country, to reduce the
        level of violence."

        Joel Kibazo,
        spokesman for the Commonwealth Secretariat
        in London, said that its mission would go ahead
        as planned.

        "Our observers are now in Zimbabwe, he said.
        "We've got 10 on the ground, and by the end
        of the week, we will have a large group of
        observers. We hope to have more than 40 in

        "The Commonwealth has decided that what it
        wants to do is observe the elections, and we
        are continuing with that."
      • Christine Chumbler
        Mugabe rival charged with treason Zimbabwe s main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has been formally charged with treason after being summoned to appear
        Message 3 of 6 , Mar 20, 2002
          Mugabe rival charged
          with treason

          Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, Morgan
          Tsvangirai, has been formally charged with
          treason after being summoned to appear
          before magistrates in the capital Harare.

          Mr Tsvangirai denies plotting to kill President
          Robert Mugabe, who defeated him in a
          presidential election 10 days ago that was
          marked by allegations of vote rigging and

          Earlier, Australian
          Prime Minister John
          Howard - one of the
          Commonwealth leaders
          who announced
          Zimbabwe's suspension
          on Tuesday - said any
          notion of prosecution
          of the opposition
          leader was inimical to
          the process of

          Mr Tsvangirai's
          summons came after
          another Commonwealth leader, Nigeria's
          President Olusegun Obasanjo, told the BBC
          that the governing and opposition parties in
          Zimbabwe had agreed to discuss a plan put
          forward by the Commonwealth to resolve the
          political crisis.

          Mr Obasanjo said this envisaged setting up a
          coalition government to promote reconciliation,
          with a new election to be held at an
          unspecified future date.

          Secret video

          The treason charge against Mr Tsvangirai
          carries a possible death penalty.

          Mr Tsvangirai's deputy, Welshman Ncube, was
          formally charged with the same offence and
          granted bail the day before the election, which
          Mr Mugabe officially won with 56% of the vote.

          The MDC leader says
          the charges, based on a
          videotape which
          purports to show him
          discussing the
          assassination of Mr
          Mugabe with a political
          consultant, were fabricated to try to remove
          him from the political scene.

          The allegations against Mr Tsvangirai were
          made by a Canadian political consultancy,
          Dickens and Madson, headed by former Israeli
          intelligence officer and Mugabe lobbyist Ari

          But there have been suggestions the
          videotape was heavily edited.

          Last year, charges of treason against Mr
          Tsvangirai were dropped after a court ruled
          them unconstitutional.


          Zimbabwe Protest Off to Slow Start

          By Angus Shaw
          Associated Press Writer
          Wednesday, March 20, 2002; 9:35 AM

          HARARE, Zimbabwe ** A nationwide protest strike called after Zimbabwe's marred elections got off to
          a slow start Wednesday with only some banks and business closed, while the opposition leader was
          summoned into court to face treason charges.

          Morgan Tsvangirai was making his first court appearance on accusations he plotted to assassinate
          President Robert Mugabe, a charge first leveled in February that he says the government concocted to
          discredit the opposition ahead of elections earlier this month.

          Those March 9-11 elections ended with Mugabe * who has ruled Zimbabwe since leading the nation to
          independence from Britain in 1980 * being declared the victor over Tsvangirai. But the opposition says
          the vote was fixed and observers say it was tainted by violence and irregularities.

          The Commonwealth group of Britain and its former colonies on Tuesday suspended Zimbabwe's
          membership for a year because of a "high level of politically motivated violence" during the vote, further
          isolating the southern African nation.

          The reason for Tsvangirai's summoning Wednesday was not announced, but the court hearing was
          expected to deal with procedural issues. Tsvangirai has denied the charges.

          The opposition and the country's largest labor federation called a three-day strike, beginning Wednesday,
          in response to the violence surrounding the election. Police manned roadblocks on the main highways into
          Zimbabwe's cities Wednesday after declaring the strike illegal under sweeping new security laws passed
          ahead of the elections.

          The immediate response to the strike call was not strong. Some factories and shops in the capital, Harare,
          were forced to close after workers did not show up. Commuter traffic was lighter than usual and activity
          in Harare's normally bustling townships was down.

          Most government offices, post offices and schools remained open.

          Union officials said they expected the three-day strike to take greater hold Thursday.

          But state radio described the strike organized by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions as a failure
          and said police were deployed across the country "to make sure some unruly elements do not prevent
          people going to work."

          Zimbabwe's yearlong suspension from Commonwealth councils was announced in London by Australian
          Prime Minister John Howard, along with presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Olusegun
          Obasanjo of Nigeria.

          Mugabe's government said it was waiting to see the full report on the decision before commenting, state
          radio reported. Tsvangirai welcomed the suspension.

          Howard said the three leaders accepted the findings of Commonwealth observers that the elections were
          seriously flawed. Mbeki and Obasanjo remained silent at news press conference with Howard, signifying
          their approval of the decision only with their presence.

          It was an about-face for Mbeki, whose government had previously declared the election legitimate.
          Mbeki's African National Congress and Mugabe's Zanu-PF have been allies since the 1960s, when both
          were fighting white minority regimes.

          Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon later told the British Broadcasting Corp. there had
          been "pushing and shoving and cajoling and pleading" in the three leaders' talks.

          Other African nations, including Tanzania, Namibia and Mozambique, have endorsed Zimbabwe's
          election as credible.

          The Commonwealth action furthers Zimbabwe's isolation. The suspension halts all current
          Commonwealth-backed technical assistance programs and bars new ones, except those aimed at
          restoring political stability.

          The European Union, Canada and Switzerland have imposed targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his


          Zimbabwe offered carrot
          and stick

          By Barnaby Mason
          BBC Diplomatic Correspondent

          The Commonwealth has decided to adopt a
          two-track approach to Zimbabwe.

          It has suspended the country for a year on the
          grounds that this month's presidential election
          was not free and fair.

          But Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and
          South African President Thabo Mbeki will
          continue their efforts to promote reconcsnded with Mugabe * who has iliation
          in Zimbabwe between government and

          The two African leaders agreed the approach
          at a meeting in London with Australian Prime
          Minister John Howard.

          Mr Howard said the three leaders accepted the
          findings of the Commonwealth observer team -
          that the election was marred by a high level of
          politically-motivated violence and intimidation,
          and did not adequately allow a free expression
          of will by the people.

          Financial aid urged

          Zimbabwe is suspended
          for a year from all
          Commonwealth meetings
          - a symbolically severe
          step similar to that
          taken against Pakistan
          and Fiji, where
          democratic governments
          were actually removed
          by the military.

          At the same time, Mr
          Howard said the
          Commonwealth would
          stay engaged with
          Zimbabwe, with Mr
          Mbeki and Mr Obasanjo
          trying to heal some of
          the damaging splits
          between President
          Robert Mugabe and the
          opposition leader,
          Morgan Tsvangirai.

          The Commonwealth
          leaders also urged the
          international community
          to respond to the
          desperate economic
          situation in Zimbabwe,
          especially the food shortages.

          Mr Howard described the outcome of the
          London talks as balanced.

          The troika, as he called it, managed to present
          a united front in public and avoid a black-white
          split of the kind that threatened the recent
          Commonwealth summit.

          There had been doubt as to whether the
          South African leader would agree to
          suspension at all - most of Zimbabwe's
          southern African neighbours had endorsed the
          election as legitimate.

          But to have done nothing would have damaged
          the chances of greater Western investment in
          African countries under the New Partnership
          for African Development which is dear to Mr
          Mbeki's heart.

          A group of predominantly white Commonwealth
          countries led by Britain had demanded
          Zimbabwe's suspension as a minimum step to
          demonstrate that the Commonwealth was
          serious about its commitment to uphold
          democracy and the rule of law.


          Everyone's a loser

          Would the ANC have accepted a so obviously crooked election outcome in 1994?


          Foreign policy presidents require, by definition, foreign policy successes. Has
          the outcome of the Zimbabwe election marked such a success for President
          Thabo Mbeki? And will it get the Zimbabwe economy out of jail?

          One mooted solution gaining currency is that a government of national unity (GNU)
          will be created in Harare. A quid pro quo for the Movement for Democratic Change
          (MDC) accepting an obviously flawed election process would presumably have to
          involve constitutional change, with Robert Mugabe's departure at least to asnded with Mugabe * who has
          non-executive presidency and their participation in this government. For Pretoria this
          is a "win-win" solution, one that leaves regional liberation ally Zanu-PF in power, no
          challenger to South Africa's hitherto unbridled status as continental leader and,
          apparently, the hope of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) intact.

          A GNU is undoubtedly preferable to conflict and chaos in Zimbabwe, but by no
          means guarantees peace. It means different things to different parties ― it is one
          thing if it is proposed by the MDC, another if it is used to legitimise the election

          If Zanu-PF remains in power at the core of a GNU, it is unlikely to be sufficient to
          restore trust in the Zimbabwean political economy. It is certainly a second prize to
          democracy being allowed to run its course. And it is unclear whether a shotgun GNU
          passes the Nepad governance test.

          An outright Mugabe victory is the worst-case scenario for the region. With this, there
          is little or no hope of Zimbabwe's economic recovery and every prospect of continued
          and rapid economic decline and increasingly widespread political violence. Victory by
          Morgan Tsvangirai offered much more: the likelihood of foreign
          economic assistance and a political and social compact
          enjoying majority support. Importantly, an MDC victory would
          have not only kept alive but advanced the Nepad vision of
          prosperity through democracy and good governance.

          But the MDC has also posed a challenge to regional leadership. Tsvangirai has come
          through the union ranks, not through the party hierarchy. His party's multiracial
          character and opposition to the seizure of white farmland ― but importantly not the
          need for land redistribution ― is a challenge to those intent on perpetuating racial
          schisms for political ends. He and his party were increasingly becoming the darlings
          of the West, a role previously occupied virtually unchallenged ― HIV/Aids
          controversies apart ― by the South African presidency.

          Pretoria has apparently favoured a GNU on the basis of the utility of this approach in
          its own context in 1994. But the contexts are radically different, and it is also not
          entirely clear whether South Africa's GNU was a success. It has been more than 20
          years after Zimbabwe adopted its own GNU in its transition from white rule. This
          collapsed in 1983, as did the Zanu-Zapu GNU in 1987. Moreover, this poll was
          supposedly a competitive democratic process, about a potential change of
          government rather than liberation from colonial rule.

          The GNU has explicit short-term advantages in negating claims of electoral fraud and
          preventing widespread violence. In weighing up the options, Tsvangirai would
          presumably not want to be labelled as a spoiler who refused to participate in a GNU
          and in so doing saw his country collapse amid internecine, inter-party, inter-regional

          Most of the advantages of a GNU accrue, however, to Zanu-PF, at least temporarily
          keeping them in power and civil strife in check, and ending the political stalemate.
          But vibrant opposition politics has explicit advantages for the MDC, particularly in
          terms of keeping their distance from Zanu-PF and Mugabe, both of which appear
          intent on self-destruction.

          A GNU has more value as a bridge to a new political dispensation, but its merit
          hinges onsnded with Mugabe * who has the support offered by the international community. This is, in turn,
          dependent on clear signposts and interim objectives in meeting a destination of
          democratic governance.

          Zimbabwe's election was not simply an event, but the culmination of a much longer
          process. This process would frankly not have been acceptable to South African
          voters, particularly the government's control of the media, the selective exclusion of
          foreign observers and election training teams, the lack of oversight facilities at all
          stages and the failure to provide sufficient opportunity for Zimbabweans to cast their
          votes. It is doubtful, as in South Africa in 1994, that those Zimbabweans who queued
          for days to make their mark would have been voting for a continuation of the status
          quo and not for change.

          Why then should South Africa and others have a different expectation of the value
          and process of democracy north as opposed to south of the Limpopo? Would the
          African National Congress have accepted a so obviously crooked election outcome in

          Political expediency might ultimately win the day in Zimbabwe ― at least for a while
          ― in the form of a GNU with South Africa acting as the midwife. Even so,
          democracy, the Zimbabwean populace and their economy, the image of South
          African leadership and the hope of African recovery through Nepad have all been

          Dr Greg Mills and Tim Hughes are the national director and parliamentary research
          fellow respectively at the South African Institute of International Affairs


          Fight against world

          By Steve Schifferes
          BBC News Online economics reporter

          Reducing global poverty, and improving health
          and education in poor countries, are the goals
          of a summit of world leaders that has opened
          in Monterrey, Mexico.

          Graphics gallery

          An unequal world

          The five-day meeting hopes to identify the
          resources needed to achieve these aims -
          and to meet the Millennium development
          goals agreed by the United Nations two
          years ago.

          The conference is also
          being seen as a test as
          to whether the new
          spirit of international
          cooperation against
          terrorism will be
          extended to tackle world

          US president George W
          Bush, South Africa's
          Thabo Mbeki and French president Jacques
          Chirac are among the 59 heads of state who
          will attend later in the week.

          Critics charge that the
          conference will be "a
          fiasco and a flop".

          Steve Tibbett of
          development campaign
          group War on Want
          said that "a
          conference which
          comes up with no new
          money, has no plan for
          new money and no
          ideas on how to get
          new money is nothing
          other than absurd
          pantomine politics."

          But Trevsnded with Mugabe * who has or Manual, South Africa's finance
          minister, said that the conference plans would
          mark "a new compact between developed and
          developing countries".

          Aid boost

          And Mark Malloch Brown, head of the UN
          development programme, told the conference
          that although it may not achieve all its goals,
          critics should recognise that the result will be
          a glass that is half full, not half empty.

          Last week, both the United States and the
          European Union pledged big increases in their
          aid budgets.

          The EU said its member states would,
          collectively, add $7bn more aid by 2006, while
          the US said it would spend an extra $5bn in
          the three years from 2004.

          However, President Bush has made it clear
          that the new money would be conditional on
          economic, political and legal reform in
          developing countries.

          Neither the US nor EU plans will provide the
          $50bn in fresh aid flows that pressure groups
          and the World Bank say is needed if the target
          of reducing world poverty by 2015 is to be

          Nevertheless, after
          years of declining aid
          budgets, poor countries,
          particularly in
          sub-Saharan Africa, will
          welcome a reversal of
          the trend.

          UK lead

          Clare Short, the UK
          development secretary,
          says the aim of the
          conference is to reward
          developing countries
          who have already tried
          to mobilise domestic
          resources with
          international support,
          and she hopes that not
          only the amount of aid
          will be increased, but also its quality.

          On Sunday, she told
          the BBC: "We've got
          consensus on how to
          do the reforms, we've
          got $50bn and we're
          going to a meeting
          where if we don't
          come up with more
          money, things will turn
          sour and nasty."

          She welcomed a shift
          in the Bush
          position, which
          included a $5bn aid promise.

          "That's not the extra $50bn the World Bank
          say we need... but it's a turnaround."

          The UK is leading a campaign to abolish tied
          aid, in which aid money can only be used to
          buy goods in the donor country.

          And the UK also supports calls by developing
          countries for a bigger voice in international
          institutions such as the World Bank and the
          International Monetary Fund.

          But that could be controversial, especially if
          rich countries are called upon to reduce their
          voting power in international bodies.

          Radical proposals out

          More radical proposals for global governance,
          with new international organisations for
          regulating the environment and international
          taxes, have already been ruled out of
          snded with Mugabe * who has consideration.

          But the summit is pledged to look at
          "innovative financing methods" to increase aid

          Some non-governmental organisations would
          like the summit to consider the so-called
          "Tobin tax" which would tax currency
          transactions to slow speculation and generate
          funds for development.

          Trade is another issue where little more
          progress can be expected, despite the fact
          that falls in commodity prices have hit many
          poor countries harder than reductions in aid

          Rich countries have already pledged to take
          account of the interests of developing
          countries in launching a new trade round at a
          meeting in Doha, Qatar, last year, and are
          unlikely to want to make any fresh
        • Christine Chumbler
          Century Malawi Venture Stalls The Daily News (Harare) July 24, 2003 Posted to the web July 24, 2003 Chris Goko CENTURY Holdings Limited has encountered
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 25, 2003
            Century Malawi Venture Stalls

            The Daily News (Harare)

            July 24, 2003
            Posted to the web July 24, 2003

            Chris Goko

            CENTURY Holdings Limited has encountered difficulties in its expansion
            into Malawi, with that country's central bank querying the destination
            of funds the local financial services group used to buy a stake in a
            Malawian bank.

            Century bought into INDEbank Malawi in November last year through
            Botswana-incorporated Century International Limited (CIL).

            CIL is the Zimbabwean banking group's offshore holding arm and it has
            invested US$2 million (about $1.68 billion) so far into INDEbank

            Sources close to the matter said the Reserve Bank of Malawi had queried
            the destination of the funds used to buy into the Malawian bank.

            Century Holdings spokeswoman Farai Mangwende confirmed the

            She told the Business Daily: "We confirm that there have been queries
            by the Reserve Bank of Malawi regarding the destination of funds for the
            payment of Century's acquisition of INDEbank."

            The Malawi central bank feared proceeds from the November 2002
            acquisition were externalised and were "not benefitting Malawi seeing as
            the existing shareholders are in Europe", she added.

            Mangwende, however, denied allegations that Century Holdings'
            investment in Malawi had not received approval from the Reserve Bank of

            She said the investment was "granted approval in principle" by the
            Malawi central bank in November, which is why Century was able to begin
            raising capital for the venture.

            Responding to claims that staff seconded to Malawi had been called back
            because of the setback in the project, the Century spokeswoman said
            financial managers from the group had been sent out on a temporary basis
            to oversee the initial development of the bank.

            "The staff that had been sent to Malawi were sent there in order to
            facilitate the eventual transition of INDEbank into Century," she said.

            "Such staff can only go for designated periods not exceeding three
            months," she added, emphasising that in terms of an earlier agreement,
            the staff had been sent to Malawi on the basis of skills transfer
            pending completion of the acquisition.

            It was not immediately clear how the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed
            financial services group would now proceed after the setback in Malawi.

            But it emerged yesterday that the group had engaged the Zimbabwean
            central bank and its Malawi counterpart over the matter.

            At the company's annual general meeting in late April, Century
            directors told investors that the southern African initiative had chewed
            up nearly $40 million, which was not expensed but was reflected as
            capitalisation in the group's 15-month audited accounts to December

            Gary Shoko, the bank's chief executive, said the market should expect
            better results and performance at the next financial results
            announcement, saying that the improvement in performance was already


            Zimbabwe formally appeals for food aid


            24 July 2003 16:58

            The Zimbabwe government has made a formal appeal for new international
            food aid to stave off starvation faced by some 5,5-million people, the
            United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Thursday.

            "We now have the appeal in hand and certainly it has been a bit of a
            while in coming," said WFP country director for Zimbabwe Kevin Farrell.
            He said the government forecast a grain deficit of 711 000 tonnes until
            the next main harvest in early 2004.

            The government has estimated a production total this year of 900 000
            tonnes of the staple maize, and state reserves total some 284 000

            "It (the appeal) says government will need to import 711 000 tonnes of
            maize grain in order to make up for the maize grain deficit," Farrell

            The WFP received the government appeal on Tuesday and will forward it
            Thursday, he said.

            "We are trying to resource 350 000 tonnes on top of the carryover that
            we have of a little over 100 000 [tonnes]," he told reporters.

            With an average one person in two facing food shortages, Zimbabwe is
            the largest recipient of humanitarian aid in southern Africa for a
            second year running.
            UN food agencies meeting in South Africa last month concluded that the
            dire situation in Zimbabwe was caused by drought and the "current
            social, economic and political situation".

            Zimbabwe embarked on a controversial and sometimes violent land reform
            programme in early 2000 that has seen some 14-million hectares
            (42-million acres) of formerly white-owned land being seized to
            redistribute to landless blacks. - Sapa-AFP


            Zim detainees include babes in arms


            25 July 2003 14:33

            A group of 48 women demonstrators, four of them with babies, were
            facing a second night in police cells in the western city of Bulawayo on
            Friday for allegedly being part of an "unlawful gathering".

            Lawyers were trying to secure the release of the women and the infants
            but relatives said they feared that they would continue to be held
            throughout the weekend.

            They were arrested in Bulawayo on Thursday after protesting against
            draconian legislation that legal experts say gives the government powers
            almost identical to a state of emergency, including random arrest,
            outlawing demonstrations and jailing journalists for criticising the

            Eyewitnesses said the police first arrested a few of the leaders of the
            demonstration, organised by Concerned Citizens of Zimbabwe, a coalition
            of civic organisations.

            Many of the other demonstrators then voluntarily handed themselves over
            to police, some of them climbing into police vehicles to join their
            arrested colleagues.
            The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said ruling party
            vigilantes in the last three days had embarked on a campaign of violent

            intimidation in urban areas around the country to force opposition
            candidates to withdraw from local government elections next month.

            MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi said candidates' homes in the towns
            of Kariba in remote northern Zimbabwe and in Marondera had been
            attacked, and candidates had been threatened with death.

            Earlier this week three MDC candidates were in hospital, one of them
            with a broken neck, after ruling party militiamen forcibly barred them
            from registering as candidates.

            The incidents came amid growing international pressure on President
            Robert Mugabe's government and on the opposition MDC to begin
            negotiations to end the country's political and economic crisis.

            Observers also said that signs of hope for talks emerged mid-week when
            the pro-democracy party called off a scheduled walk-out of Mugabe's
            annual address at the opening of Parliament, which was followed by a
            cautious welcome by Mugabe, who spoke of "our brothers and sisters in
            the opposition".

            Human rights organisations say random arrests, violent suppression of
            opposition supporters and denial of the protection of the law for
            victims of state-driven violence is the order of the day as 79-year- old
            Mugabe clings to power after 23 years in office. - Sapa-DPA


            Mugabe, Tsvangirai Open Way for Talks

            Business Day (Johannesburg)

            July 24, 2003
            Posted to the web July 24, 2003

            Dumisani Muleya and Sarah Hudleston

            ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe and his Movement for Democratic
            Change (MDC) rival Morgan Tsvangirai have taken a huge stride towards
            resuming talks to resolve their country' s political and economic

            In an unprecedented gesture of reconciliation, the two leaders extended
            each other the olive branch, calling for co-operation and dialogue to
            end the crisis.

            The apparent thawing in relations between the two leaders and their
            parties would vindicate President Thabo Mbeki's insistence, made
            recently to US President George Bush, that behind the scenes talks were
            taking place.

            The prospect of meaningful talks starting soon appears to have been
            bolstered by the MDC's announcement yesterday that it was upgrading its
            negotiation team ahead of resuming talks with the ruling Zanu (PF).

            Three new members are to be added to the team, which will be led by MDC
            secretary-general Welshman Ncube.

            Tsvangirai said in Harare yesterday the MDC had decided to invest all
            its energies in the search for a permanent solution to the Zimbabwean

            "We have expanded our negotiating team, and agreed on the route to
            guide the team when dialogue resumes.

            "We are ready to support and participate in all efforts designed to
            chart a peaceful course towards the resolution of the crisis in
            governance in Zimbabwe."

            Ncube led the previous round of talks which were called off by Zanu
            (PF) last year. The names of the new MDC delegates have not yet been

            Mugabe told a luncheon, hosted by the local government ministry to mark
            the opening of parliament on Tuesday, he was happy that opposition MPs,
            including MDC leader Tsvangirai, who is not a legislator, were present
            during his address to parliament.

            MDC MPs have in the past boycotted Mugabe's parliamentary speeches,
            claiming that he stole last year's March election.

            In a conciliatory tone, Mugabe said he hoped the two parties would be
            able to work together despite their differences.

            "I am glad that today there was that realisation that parliament must
            hitherto be an honourable institution to which we belong," Mugabe said.

            Tsvangirai said his party would do everything it could to ensure
            negotiations resumed.

            "Our national executive tasked the leadership to do all it can to clear
            the air for a peaceful political engagement.

            "We decided to invest all our energies in search for a permanent and
            lasting solution to the Zimbabwean crisis."

            The Zimbabwean official opposition is still pressing ahead with its
            court petition to have the results of the 2002 presidential election

            The MDC's petition will be heard in the high court on November 3.

            However, David Coltart, MDC secretary for legal affairs, said yesterday
            that the party might be prepared to suspend the court petition should
            talks resume.
          • Christine Chumbler
            Mugabe snubs to top food aid official Harare 15 June 2004 14:16 A visit to Zimbabwe scheduled for Tuesday by James Morris, the United Nation s top food aid
            Message 5 of 6 , Jun 15, 2004
              Mugabe 'snubs' to top food aid official


              15 June 2004 14:16

              A visit to Zimbabwe scheduled for Tuesday by James Morris, the United Nation's top food aid official, has been called off, UN officials said, in a sign of worsening relations between President Robert Mugabe's government and the world body.

              James Morris, executive director of the World Food Programme, had Zimbabwe on his itinerary for a visit arranged months ago to five Southern African countries, but a UN spokesperson in Harare said on Tuesday the visit had been "postponed".

              "Unfortunately, due to a cabinet meeting, no government officials are likely to be able to meet with the special envoy," the spokesperson said.

              Meetings with "key government representatives" were an essential part of its consultations in Zimbabwe. Morris, also UN secretary-general Kofi Annan's special humanitarian envoy to Southern Africa, would be going to Malawi on Tuesday instead.

              "It's a deliberate snub," said a Western diplomat. "Zimbabwe had agreed to the visit, and Morris was set down to see Mugabe. Late last week, they changed their minds."

              The calling off of Morris' visit occurred amid controversy over the government's refusal to allow UN famine relief operations to continue for the third year in a row this year, despite widespread forecasts that crop output would again fall far below the volume needed to feed the country's 12-million people.

              Last month, Mugabe said the UN was "foisting" food on the country.

              "We are not hungry," he said. "We don't want to be choked."

              Since 2002, the United Nations has helped avert massive starvation as it delivered food to up to five million people at a time. Zimbabwe was Africa's second biggest food producer, after South Africa, until 2000 when the country's agricultural industry began to collapse as a result of the illegal, violent state seizure of nearly all of the highly productive farmland owned by white farmers. - Sapa-DPA


              Zimbabwe factions fight over farms

              15 June 2004 07:27

              Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe's information minister, denied on Monday that Robert Mugabe intended to nationalise all farmland, saying the policy only applied to plots seized from whites.

              His statement contradicted that of John Nkomo, the land reform and resettlement minister, who last week said the state would nationalise all agricultural land.

              Nkomo said Mugabe's government would issue 99-year leases for farmland and 25-year leases for wildlife and conservation areas.

              On Monday, Moyo said nationalisation "only applies to land acquired by the state under land reforms and does not in any way invalidate or supersede other lawful forms of tenure".

              His statement suggests factions within Mugabe's government are vying with each other over land policy.

              In addition to publicly correcting Nkomo, Moyo recently lost a very public battle with another leading official.

              Confusion has often surrounded Mugabe's land seizures, with the government saying one thing but doing another.

              Only 10% of farmland is in private hands but it includes large plantations growing tea, timber and sugar. Although Mugabe declared last year that land seizures had ended, the government has taken over more than 900 properties this year.

              At Easter it took over Kondozi farm, a large business owned by a prominent black businessman, which grows and exports vegetables and fruits to British retailers including Tesco in contracts worth millions of pounds.

              State agents invaded the farm, throwing 4 500 workers out of their homes.

              The owner announced last week that he would move his business to Mozambique and Zambia. - Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004


              Couple beaten by mob


              15 June 2004 07:27

              A Finnish woman and her white Zimbabwean husband, both in their fifties, narrowly escaped with their lives on Monday after a savage beating by President Robert Mugabe's youth militia using iron bars and rocks to try and force them out of the village they live in.

              Birgit Kidd said the mob of youths, led by secret police, attacked her and her husband, Shane, both active supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, when they were trying to assert a court order allowing them to return to the party's office on Monday in the picturesque tourist village of Chimanimani in Zimbabwe's south-eastern districts.

              Kidd said an attempt was made to burn down the MDC office, in a building which the couple own, three weeks ago.

              Speaking from her hospital bed in the neighbouring town of Chipinge, she said she had a dislocated shoulder where she had been hit with an iron bar, 15 stitches to wounds in her head where the youths threw rocks at her and bruises all over her body.

              Her husband was bleeding from the ears, mouth and lips and also suffered multiple bruises. "I thought I was going to lose my life," she said. "Everything that was available they were throwing at us. They were trying to finish Shane off with a huge rock. They were shouting at us they were going to kill us.

              "We have done nothing wrong. We [the MDC] don't beat anyone, we don't rape anyone, we don't burn anyone's houses."

              The incident was the latest in a five-year reign of violence and terror controlled by Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party in the Chimanimani area.

              The election of a popular white farmer, Roy Bennett, in 2000 triggered a backlash directed against MDC supporters. - Sapa-DPA


              Uganda Distributes Free Generic AIDS Drugs

              By HENRY WASSWA
              The Associated Press
              Monday, June 14, 2004; 11:07 AM

              KAMPALA, Uganda - Uganda on Monday began distributing free generic HIV drugs in a program aimed at treating all of the country's estimated 100,000 people living with AIDS. The distribution makes Uganda only the second country in Africa to do so, the health minister said.

              Vans carried $1.3 million worth of anti-retroviral drugs to 23 health centers, government and church-run hospitals around Uganda for the first 2,700 HIV-infected people to be treated under the program, Health Minister Jim Muhwezi said.

              "Today, we are beginning to give people free treatment. We think we will cover everybody because. ...We are getting the money to do the work...(and) the prices of the drugs are getting lower and are not moving upward," Muhwezi told The Associated Press.

              He said the United Nations' Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will give Uganda $70 million over five years to fund the program. Uganda also expects funding from the U.S. government, which has pledged $15 billion over five years to finance the global fight against AIDS in 14 African and Caribbean countries.

              Uganda has waged one of the world's most successful battles against the spread of HIV, bringing the infection rate down from more than 30 percent in the early 1990s to around 6 percent of the country's 25 million people last year.

              So far Botswana is the only African country to guarantee free AIDS treatment to all who need it, even though they are the more expensive brand-name drugs.

              South Africa approved its own program late last year, but says it will take five years to reach all the patients who qualify for treatment.

              Several African countries have programs that covers only HIV-positive pregnant women. They receive nevirapine, a drug that helps prevent transmission of the virus that causes AIDS from mother to child, for free.
            • Christine Chumbler
              Anti-Tobacco Lobby Affects Malawi The Post (Lusaka) October 7, 2004 Posted to the web October 7, 2004 Masuzyo Chakwe Lusaka MALAWI s economy has greatly been
              Message 6 of 6 , Oct 8, 2004
                Anti-Tobacco Lobby Affects Malawi

                The Post (Lusaka)

                October 7, 2004
                Posted to the web October 7, 2004

                Masuzyo Chakwe

                MALAWI's economy has greatly been affected because the International
                Anti-Tobacco Lobby is calling for a reduction of tobacco exportation
                which is Malawi's main cash crop, acting Malawian High Commissioner
                Protasii Kanyengambeta has said.

                Kanyengambeta said Malawi was losing a lot of income through tobacco
                because the international Anti-Tobacco Lobby was very cautious about how
                much tobacco can be exported.

                He said this has been a problem because there had been a lot of talk on
                reducing on advertising because tobacco causes cancer and the
                international market was very cautious on how much tobacco could be

                He said Malawi greatly depended on tobacco and this had led to loss of
                revenue but the Malawian government was trying to find supplements for

                "We have started growing tea, sugar, cassava and cotton. Malawi's
                economy solely depends on agriculture and we live at the mercy of
                nature, when the weather is kind we are happy, when the weather is bad
                we get worried," he said.

                Kanyengambeta said the Malawian government was trying to add value to
                the tobacco industry by starting to process it at home.

                "The fact that Malawi does not process the tobacco has made it
                difficult because we just grow and export and the content of the tobacco
                is much stronger and this is what has brought a lot of controversy from
                the lobby," he said.

                Kanyengabeta said the pricing had also been affected because Zambia,
                Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Tanzania had also started growing tobacco and
                this had led to loss of revenue on Malawi's part.

                He also said Malawi whose economy is agricultural based had not been
                able to produce enough food because of the drought and had made the
                country import maize from Zambia.

                Kanyengambeta said the political situation in Malawi was very healthy
                where they had four opposition political parties working with the

                "They have formed a coalition with government and they have opposition
                members as ministers in government," he said.


                The new betrayal

                Godwin Gandu

                07 October 2004 08:59

                Vicious cycle: Farm settlers protest around a fire started by the
                Zimbabwean police during an eviction. (Photograph: DZK Images)
                Zanu-PF bigwigs are at loggerheads over the eviction of more than 400
                families, including war veterans, from 22 farms they occupied during the
                land grabs that accompanied Zimbabwe's last parliamentary elections.

                The evictions are taking place under the command of deputy police
                commissioner Godwin Matanga. Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said
                the people "illegally settled themselves" on the farms and the
                government was now "regularising the land reform".

                "It's an insult to 14-million Zimbabweans," said war veterans
                leader Jabulani Sibanda. "Top government officials own more than one
                farm. Why target people sharing a farm? That logic alone is an insult.
                These are simply people who moved from dry land where they were settled
                by Rhodesians to where the new Zimbabwe laws enabled them to exist,"
                said Sibanda.

                The war veterans are furious that the "settlers" have been evicted
                without notice and have urged President Robert Mugabe to put a stop to

                Writing in the state-run Sunday Mail Lowani Ndlovu, widely believed to
                be the pseudonym of Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, described the
                evictions as a "violation of government policy".

                "They raise more legal policy questions than they provide answers ...
                They have been callous and unlawful. It smacks of the Rhodesian premier
                Ian Smith's eviction of blacks. The wrong way of doing the right thing
                is not just unacceptable, but also dangerous," Ndlovu fumed.

                But Land Reform Minister John Nkomo is adamant that the move is in line
                with guidelines and procedures of a commission set up to investigate
                progress on land reform. He said Mugabe had appointed 12 people to
                conduct a land audit in May, which produced the Utete report detailing
                irregularities in land redistribution and its impact on commercial
                farmers and workers.

                Constitutional law lecturer Dr Lovemore Madhuku doubts that proper
                legal process was followed. "It shows Zanu-PF is confused. It is a
                momentary lapse of strategy."

                Without food and shelter, the settlers have resorted to squatting in
                the open veld along the Harare-Kariba highway where they are at the
                mercy of the rain and chilly evening temperatures.

                Burnt-out huts, broken pots, empty cattle pens and deserted fields are
                all that are left at Inkomo farm about 50km northwest of Harare and it
                is about 60km from Raffingora farm recently allocated to Harare mayor
                Sekesai Makwavarara after she defected from the Movement for Democratic

                When the Mail & Guardian visited the settlers temporary home one woman
                could not hold back her tears as she explained that all they wanted now
                was food. Another elderly woman was pounding maize and praying that the
                rains wouldn't destroy the little they had left.

                Rumour has it that a top government official was moving in with his

                Another farm dweller, Wilbert Chimbudzi, believed the settlers had been
                "stabbed in the back". His two huts were torched leaving his family
                vulnerable. "We have been left with nothing. Nothing," he said.
                "We were never given time to prepare. It was so inhumane and we
                don't know why we are being made to suffer when in the first place it
                was the government that encouraged us to invade farms."


                New draft poll Bill for Zim


                07 October 2004 12:59

                advertisementThe Zimbabwe government has approved a draft Bill to
                "overhaul" the country's widely criticised election laws and provide for
                the establishment of a tribunal to settle poll disputes, a state-run
                daily said on Thursday.

                The Herald said the move was "in accordance with the letter and spirit"
                of southern African regional principles and guidelines for democratic
                and free polls.

                The proposed law "incorporates several ways of removing voting
                bottlenecks", the paper said.

                Apart from setting up an electoral court -- which would not have
                jurisdiction over criminal cases -- the proposed law will establish a
                separate registrar of voters and end mobile polling stations, currently
                used in remote areas.

                The Bill is the second set of proposed poll regulations introduced by
                the government of President Robert Mugabe in a month, and ahead of
                national elections due in March.

                On September 10 the government officially published the Zimbabwe
                Electoral Commissions (ZEC) Bill, which went through its first reading
                in parliament on Wednesday.

                If enacted, the Bill will give Mugabe powers to appoint key members of
                an "independent" commission to oversee all elections and referendums,
                beginning with legislative polls due in March.

                The country's civic groups have complained about a lack of safeguards
                to ensure the independence of the election commission and fear it might
                be biased.

                Last week, the groups told a parliamentary committee that they were
                also worried that the ZEC did not adequately address issues relating to
                electoral violence and conflict resolution.

                The electoral court, proposed under the Electoral Bill, will have
                limited jurisdiction and only "hear and determine election petitions and
                other matters and shall be a court of record", The Herald said.

                "It will, however, have no jurisdiction to try any criminal case," it

                Scores of people were killed in the run up to the country's 2000
                parliamentary elections.

                The 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), of which
                Zimbabwe is a member, has meanwhile adopted a charter to ensure free,
                fair and peaceful elections in all its member states.

                The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party says these
                conditions do not exist in Zimbabwe but the country's Information
                Minister Jonathan Moyo has said that Harare is not bound to stick to the
                SADC guidelines because they are not law.

                The MDC has threatened to boycott the polls until all the SADC
                guidelines have been implemented. - Sapa-AFP


                Zimbabweans protest against new laws


                07 October 2004 12:59

                advertisementAbout 200 anti-government activists in Harare demonstrated
                on Thursday against a barrage of repressive Bills that were introduced
                into the Zimbabwean legislature.

                Early morning commuters looked on as members of the National
                Constitutional Assembly, pressing for a democratic constitution, marched
                through the city centre strewing thousands of leaflets condemning
                planned laws that threaten the existence of the vigorous civil liberties

                Only two people were arrested as the demonstrators were dispersing,
                said NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku. Police were caught by surprise, "We
                were too early for them," he said. The government has effectively banned
                public protests and usually meets them with violent baton charges,
                teargas and arrests.

                Also on Thursday, 47 women who have been in police detention since
                Tuesday after demonstrating against the Non-Governmental Organisations
                Bill, were expected to face a court later.

                The controversial NGO Bill and the Electoral Bill which reinforces the
                government's control of elections and a third Bill tightening state
                controls on the press were tabled in parliament on Wednesday.

                The legislature, dominated by Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party, was
                adjourned until next Tuesday to allow the parliamentary legal watchdog
                to scrutinise the Bills for contraventions of constitutional rights.
                Lawyers say the parliamentary committee can only briefly delay laws that
                violate human rights.

                The NGO Bill and the electoral Bill are considered Mugabe's strategy of
                securing victory in parliamentary elections next March.

                The electoral Bill is meant to establish an independent election
                commission to administer elections, but critics noted that the body is
                effectively appointed by Mugabe himself.

                On Wednesday in parliament, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the
                opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would not have access to
                the state-controlled media during the run-up to the elections. The
                regime controls all radio and television stations and daily newspapers.

                "If you are an al-Qaeda, you cannot be expected to be given access to
                the public media," he said, adding, "You cannot expect the MDC to be
                given the right to say Mugabe must go in the public media."

                In July, Mugabe signed a regional Southern African treaty which commits
                all members to hold democratic elections, but the MDC says the Harare
                regime has no intention of fulfilling its obligations.

                The government has been forced to appear as if it is complying, said
                MDC legal spokesman David Coltart. In fact, there is no compliance.

                The 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) principles
                on democratic elections demand political tolerance, a conducive
                environment, freedom of association and freedom of expression.

                During questioning in parliament on Wednesday, Chinamasa told MDC MPs
                that the SADC treaty was not a binding law, but simply a guideline.

                The MDC says it will not participate in the election until the
                government meets the SADC principles in full by abolishing state
                security legislation under which opponents are still arrested and
                lifting controls on the independent press.

                More than 300 people, nearly all opposition supporters, were murdered
                during elections in 2000 and 2002, and thousands have been arrested,
                tortured, assaulted and driven from their homes.

                After the 2002 presidential elections, the Commonwealth said Mugabe's
                victory was the result of fraud and bloody intimidation and suspended
                Zimbabwe. - Sapa-DPA


                Zimbabwe MPs in travel scam

                Itai Dzamara | Harare

                08 October 2004 08:37

                advertisementMembers of Parliament who represent constituencies outside
                Harare are raking in millions of Zimbabwean dollars monthly from
                transport and accommodation allowances despite staying in the capital
                most of the time they are attending parliamentary sessions,
                investigations by the Zimbabwe Independent have revealed.

                In what could turn out to be a scandal to rival one that erupted in
                South Africa in July, it emerged that MPs use the out-of-town allowances
                facility as a cash cow on a bad day.

                It has surfaced that a lax system at Parliament allows MPs to pocket
                huge sums of money monthly in transport claims. There is no mechanism of
                verifying whether an MP really travelled the claimed distances every
                time he attends parliamentary business.

                MPs are paid Z$2,1-million per month while governors get Z$2,8-million.
                Ministers are paid Z$3-million while the vice-president's salary is

                Legislators however claim millions of dollars in travel allowances. The
                Independent this week established that MPs from Matabeleland get
                Z$25-million monthly in transport and accommodation allowances. MPs are
                also paid Z$180 000 per night if they stay with relatives or friends.

                The clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, this week said their system only
                verifies whether an MP attended sittings or committee meetings to
                approve an allocation for transport. He said they also checked the
                mileage on MP's vehicle to ascertain whether it tallies with the claim
                submitted and the parliamentary business attended.

                "It is not our responsibility to follow the MP to establish whether he
                has indeed travelled from the address submitted," Zvoma said.

                "We check the register and confirm whether the member was present in
                the House as claimed or whether they attended a committee meeting. We
                could only confirm whether they travelled from, say, Zvishavane to
                Harare by stationing someone there, who would follow them all the way.
                The accounts department checks MPs' vehicles' mileage to confirm whether
                they have recorded the required distance."

                When a member is sworn in, he submits an address which is taken as
                their permanent residence. It is these addresses that Parliament uses
                when the MPs claim transport allowances. Investigations by the Zimbabwe
                Independent revealed that a majority of MPs who represent constituencies
                outside Harare submitted addresses in their constituencies and claim
                transport allowances based on that.

                Figures obtained from Zvoma show that transport allowances vary
                depending on the size of the MPs' vehicle engine. However, most of the
                MPs' vehicles -- secured through a government loan scheme -- have engine
                capacities of 3 000 cubic centimetres, which is the highest level. The
                allowance for the highest level is Z$11 125 per km for petrol and Z$11
                029,82 for diesel.

                For a trip from Bulawayo to Harare, a distance of 440km, the allowance
                for a petrol vehicle would be Z$4,8-million. The same amount is
                allocated for the return trip. A return ticket to Bulawayo by Air
                Zimbabwe costs Z$774 000.

                A claim for a trip from Masvingo to Harare, which is 298km, using a
                petrol vehicle, earns the legislator Z$3,3-million multiplied by two for
                the return journey.

                During parliamentary sessions, MPs are usually required to attend
                weekly. MPs from outside the capital claim that they go to their
                constituencies every weekend. This means an MP can make four claims a
                month, which translates to Z$38,4-million for an MP based in Bulawayo.

                Parliament pays accommodation allowances straight to three-star hotels.

                Sources said there had been complaints by the Ministry of Finance over
                the expenses incurred by Parliament, especially on transport allowances,
                which they say gobble the largest chunk of Parliament's annual budget.

                But Zvoma said: "We haven't had any investigated or verified cases of
                the abuse of the system."

                All that is required to obtain the accommodation allowance is
                confirmation that an MP attended parliamentary business. In the case of
                hotels, it has to be confirmed that the MP stayed at a particular hotel,
                to which the money is paid directly. - Zimbabwe Independent


                Kenyan ecologist wins Nobel prize

                Kenyan environmentalist and human rights campaigner Wangari Maathai has
                won the Nobel Peace Prize.
                She is the first African woman to be awarded the peace prize since it
                was created in 1901.

                A surprised Mrs Maathai broke the news to reporters minutes before the
                official announcement.

                The prize committee says Mrs Maathai, Kenya's deputy environment
                minister, is an example for all Africans fighting for democracy and

                The delighted 64-year-old professor said the award was completely

                "This is extremely encouraging to the people of Africa and the African
                woman," she told the BBC.

                "It is a recognition of the many efforts of African women, who continue
                to struggle despite all the problems they face."

                Social science

                In the late 1970s Mrs Maathai led a campaign called the "Green Belt
                Movement" to plant tens of millions of trees across Africa to slow

                The movement grew to include projects to preserve biodiversity, educate
                people about their environment and promote the rights of women and

                Mrs Maathai said she was delighted that the vital role of the
                environment had been recognised.

                "The environment is very important in the aspects of peace because when
                we destroy our resources and our resources become scarce, we fight over

                "I am working to make sure we don't only protect the environment, we
                also improve governance," she added.

                The committee says she has combined science with social engagement and
                politics and has worked both locally and internationally.


                The professor was the 12th woman peace laureate since the first award
                was first made in 1901.

                A spokesman for the Kenyan government said his country was honoured.

                "This is a great moment in Kenyan history. To us this shows that what
                Wangari Maathai has been doing here has been recognized," Alfred Mutua

                "We're very proud of her and she deserves all the credit."

                Mrs Maathai beat a record 194 nominations, including former Chief UN
                weapons inspector Hans Blix and head of the UN energy watchdog, Mohamed
                ElBaradei, to win the prize.

                Mrs Maathai is the second woman in a row to be awarded the peace prize
                which last year went to Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, for her work for
                the rights of women and children in Iran.

                The award, which includes 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.3m) is awarded
                in Oslo on 10 December each year.

                Africa's peace laureates

                2004 - Wangari Maathai, Kenya
                2001- Kofi Annan, Ghana
                1993 - Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk, South Africa
                1984 - Desmond Tutu, South Africa
                1960 - Albert John Lutuli, South Africa
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