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Published 14th May 2004

Vol 45 No 10


Maize-meal for votes

ZANU-PF strategists believe that a new plan to lock out foreign food aid and hold early elections will bring certain victory

The government's order to a United Nations' crop assessment team to leave the country last weekend is part of its strategy to maintain tight political control over food supply and score a resounding win in the coming parliamentary elections. The order effectively blocks UN and European preparations to provide the food aid estimated to be needed by more than 5 million people this year. President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front government didn't want the UN team to produce figures that show that this year's harvest would fall far short of Zimbabwe's food requirement. That would expose the failure of the land reform programme and lead to hundreds of UN and aid agency officials handing out food aid in the run-up to an election. So political insiders now believe that Mugabe's ruling clique has decided to bring forward the parliamentary elections to October, before the food runs out completely.

Desperate Darfur

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The government continues to block humanitarian aid and a third of a million lives are at risk

It was an operation typical of the one-two punch used in Darfur by the government's regular forces, hand in glove with the irregular forces known as Janjaweed. The double punch has...

A rebel's story

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The commander of the Sudan Liberation Army's Messalit forces, Khamis Abdullah Abaker, was one of the first villagers to organise self-defence units. He described how in 1998-2003, ...

Tragic contradictions

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who on the anniversary of the start of Rwanda's genocide raised the possibility of military intervention in Darfur, has been trying to galvanise th...

Closer and closer

The election for the ruling party's leadership looks increasingly tight

Foreign Minister Hidipo Hamutenya remains the front-runner in an increasingly close and bitter contest to choose the next leader of the governing South West Africa People's Organis...

Presidential prosecutions

Busy days for judges as the President struggles to lock up his predecessor

The two main suspects in President Levy Mwanawasa's anti-corruption campaign have gone missing. Former intelligence chief Xavier Chungu and former Ambassador Attan Shansonga have l...

The family khaki

Despite his retirement from the army, President Museveni is closer to the military than ever

When President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni retired from the army on 6 April, 18 years after his National Resistance Army seized power, his promotion to full general that day was taken a...

Season of hate

UN rapporteurs, peacekeepers and diplomats may hold the key to the crisis

Few punches are pulled in a leaked United Nations report on the brutal suppression of a demonstration on 25 March. It concludes that the government used the opposition march as a p...


Diamond defamation

Oryx Natural Resources has finally lost the legal battle to clear its name and dropped its libel action against the London daily The Independent, which accused the company of money...

Dirty water

Lesotho has scored a rare but convincing victory against corruption. The Maseru courts convicted three multinationals of bribing to secure contracts in the giant Highlands Water Pr...

For show

Parliamentary and local elections late last month produced an emphatic victory for supporters of the President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. His Partido Democrático para l...