counter Is Singapore a police state?

What characterizes Singapore's political system is the constant query, worry and anxiety among the majority of the citizens, foreigners and observers that individuals and groups will get into trouble with the police and the political authorities for challenging the political status quo. Such anxiety is based on repeated examples of political challengers consistently being found guilty of contravening the system of tight and restrictive laws that govern people in the city-state.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Murderous dictator in Singapore
Mugabe goes shopping in Singapore


Bilateral Relations

Singapore maintains cordial and friendly relations with African countries.

The following visits took place in 2002:

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation of the Republic of Sao Tome & Principe, Mr Mateus Rita, made his first visit to Singapore as Foreign Minister from 17 to 20 November 2002. He met with the then-Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Lee Yock Suan, and had briefings at the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdelaziz Belkhadem made an official visit to Singapore from 12 to 13 November 2002. During this visit, he called on Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and Minister for Foreign Affairs Professor S Jayakumar.

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe made a private visit to Singapore from 5 to 8 August. He called on Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong during his visit.

NATIONAL NEWS Tuesday 21 , January

Mugabe in lavish shopping spree

1/21/2003 9:50:28 AM (GMT +2)

By Lloyd Mudiwa

REPORTS of President Mugabe¡¦s alleged lavish Christmas spending in Singapore have surfaced barely days after a South African weekly newspaper published a story of his chief spin doctor Jonathan Moyo¡¦s alleged shopping spree while on holiday in that country.

During his leave recently, Mugabe visited Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, where he reportedly shopped lavishly, while back home more than half the population faces starvation, partly because of his economic policies.

The President has repeatedly vowed that his government would not let anyone die of hunger.

The Sunday Tribune, a Durban newspaper, in a story on Sunday with the headline Mugabe goes on a Singapore shopping blitz, said the 78-year-old leader had outdone Moyo, his Minister of Information and Publicity.

Shami Harichunder, the acting editor of The Sunday Tribune, yesterday said: ¡§We stand by our report which we believe contains credible sources.¡¨

George Charamba, the permanent secretary in the Department of Information and Publicity, was continually said to be in a meeting last night when comment was sought from him.

¡§When it comes to lavish Christmas spending, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is king,¡¨ reads part of The Sunday Tribune¡¦s story.

¡§Mugabe has outdone his big-spending spin doctor Jonathan Moyo by flying to Singapore to indulge in a huge shopping spree of his own, while back home millions of his countrymen face starvation, partly because of Mugabe¡¦s failed policies.¡¨

Mugabe reportedly went to even greater lengths to stock up on expensive goods for himself and beat the shortages caused by the Zimbabwean economy¡¦s state of near-paralysis.

Most basic commodities such as fuel, sugar, bread, cooking oil and maize-meal have virtually run out in the shops with queues for these items being the order of the day. Prices for the few available goods have been propelled upwards by an inflation rate of more than 175 percent.

Singapore is south-east Asia¡¦s premier shopping destination, with thousands of shops selling the best the world¡¦s manufacturers have to offer.

The Tribune reported that Mugabe stocked up with 15 trolley-loads, including high-tech
electronic goods.

Mugabe and his Zanu PF party¡¦s inner circle are banned from entering the European Union and the United States under sanctions imposed against their human rights violations.

But Mugabe, The Sunday Tribune wrote, was spotted last week in business class on a flight from Singapore to Johannesburg by Greg Mills, national director of the South African Institute of International Affairs.

The paper says Mills, who had been on a working visit to the Far East, was checking in at Changi Airport in Singapore when he was amazed to see the 15 trolley-loads of goods addressed to Mugabe¡¦s official residence in Harare.

The boxes were sealed so Mills could not see what they contained. However, some had labels of high-tech electronic products.

¡§Just before take-off, Mugabe, his wife the First Lady Grace Mugabe and eight other members of their entourage stepped on board and he sat directly behind me,¡¨ Mills said. ¡§With what is going on in his country, the rest of the business class passengers were stunned at his presence.¡¨

Mills said aside from the shopping spree, the 10 business class seats would have cost at least US$30 000 (about Z$1 650 000 at the official exchange rate but Z$42 million on the parallel market).

¡§One is scandalised by his taking a holiday in the East and indulging in a shopping crusade with so many people starving at home because of his policies,¡¨ Mills said.

Moyo was unrepentant when details of his spending spree in Johannesburg were reported.

He caused a diplomatic row between Zimbabwe and South Africa, when he described South Africans as ¡§filthy and recklessly uncouth¡¨ after his shopping binge was published by a South African newspaper, The Sunday Times, on 12 January.

Friday, 24 January, 2003, 12:57 GMT

Zimbabwe's shopping row

Zimbabweans are now used to queues at shops

President Robert Mugabe has faced press criticism recently for going on a "shopping spree" while visiting the Far East.

Just days before, the South African press published articles about Information Minister Jonathan Moyo loading up on groceries in Johannesburg. The articles contrasted his holiday "extravagance" with the desperation of his countrymen facing famine.

The two trips have raised ethical questions in the opinion pages of Zimbabwean and South African papers. Not only do they comment on the insensitivity of the officials, they also question the ethics of press intrusion in the private life of individuals.

Mugabe has outdone his big-spending spin doctor by flying to Singapore to indulge in a huge shopping spree of his own, while back home millions of his countrymen face starvation

South Africa's Sunday Tribune

"Mugabe has outdone his big-spending spin doctor by flying to Singapore to indulge in a huge shopping spree of his own, while back home millions of his countrymen face starvation," South Africa's Sunday Tribune proclaimed.

"The cost of the trip by Zimbabwe's president, his family and entourage would have bought a lot of food and humanitarian relief for Zimbabwe's starving population," Greg Mills wrote in an article published by Johannesburg's Independent Online.

"Reckless" comments

Infuriated by reports of his trip, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, was reported to have accused some South African journalists of being "filthy and recklessly uncouth".

He later emphasised that his comments were not meant to offend the entire South African nation, but were directed specifically at those who published what he called untruths.

Many Zimbabweans will feel that the acid-tongued minister (Jonathan Moyo) will have got off lightly if no further action is taken against him

Zimbabwe's Daily News

Sections of the press argued however that Mr Moyo's comments, by inference, offended the whole of South Africa and have soured Harare's diplomatic relations with Pretoria.

"Jonathan Moyo was bound to commit the ultimate diplomatic gaffe sooner or later. As a result of his insulting language... the government of President Mugabe has had to apologise to Pretoria," an editorial in the Harare's Daily News said.

"Although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Harare issued a statement distancing itself from Moyo's crassly undiplomatic language, many Zimbabweans will feel that the acid-tongued minister will have got off lightly if no further action is taken against him," the paper remarked.

Press accuses Mugabe of "shopping spree"
The Daily News added that Mr Moyo's "diatribe against the South African media, who covered his shopping spree in their country, was typical of a man whose contempt for The Fourth Estate led to his creation of a law as anti-democratic as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act".

According to the Zimbabwean Herald, South African Foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma reacted to the incident by saying: "Journalists are not a homogenous group, some are rational, some are not".

The government-controlled paper maintained that Zimbabwe's relations with South Africa "are good despite recent press reports claiming they have soured".

A commentary in the Zimbabwe's Sunday Mirror defended the information minister, saying he had been staked out in a "typical sting operation".

Millions of Zimbabweans face starvation
In a Media Analysis column, the writer condemned the detailed reporting of the minister's "sumptuous" meals in South Africa, saying journalists should not "go about sniffing or poking their noses into issues outside the public interest realm".

"It is unethical, un-African, unprofessional and smacks of vendetta journalism," Tenda Chari wrote in the pro-government Sunday Mirror.

Role of the press

But the Zimbabwe Independent believes it is "the function of the press to shame governments that indulge in double standards and hypocrisy".

Where newspapers can show that Mugabe and his ministers have access to scarce foreign currency and spend that money stocking up on supplies that are unavailable to the majority of Zimbabweans, such exposure is a valid role for the media - indeed its public duty

Zimbabwe Independent

"Moyo has been in the forefront of Zimbabwean ministers blaming this country's problems on external forces. They are in denial about their own role in mismanaging the economy, wasting public resources and presiding over unprecedented shortages," the paper said.

"Where newspapers can show that Mugabe and his ministers have access to scarce foreign currency and spend that money stocking up on supplies that are unavailable to the majority of Zimbabweans, such exposure is a valid role for the media - indeed its public duty," it contends.

The paper said the trips by President Mugabe and the information minister only "confirmed the impression of gross self-indulgence by Zimbabwe's elite".

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.,3,51811.jsp+mugabe+shopping+singapore&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

Zimbabwe information minister blasts Mugabe critics
Staff Reporter
HARARE, 20 January 2003

Zimbabwe's information minister says those people talking about President Robert Mugabe's early retirement are guilty of treason and coup plotting.

HARARE: The government-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper reports Moyo is accusing the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and some civil servants of spreading lies about Mugabe.

He said those who were talking about any proposed plan for the embattled president's retirement were treading on dangerous waters. He said they were talking treason and were plotting a coup through the media.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said last week he had discussions last month with an intermediary who told him that some leaders in the ruling party understood Mugabe should retire.

Mugabe strenuously denied any plan for his retirement.

Moyo said in the Sunday Mail that if there is anyone who has hatched a plot to force the president to step down, they should face the full wrath of the law.

Moyo said the debate on Mugabe's future is tantamount to plotting a coup in the glare of the media.

South Africa sent a diplomatic protest to Zimbabwe over Moyo's remarks last week that South Africans were recklessly uncouth and barbaric. He also criticised South African President Thabo Mbeki.


According to a South African government spokesman, Zimbabwe's Foreign Ministry responded to the diplomatic protest by saying Moyo's remarks were made in his personal capacity, and did not reflect the Zimbabwe government's position.

A diplomat, whose country is neutral toward Zimbabwe, said he and others believe Mugabe would be forced to reprimand Moyo. He said offending South Africa, which had been loyal to the government in the face of international criticism, was serious.

A political observer, who asked not to be named, said that if Mugabe does not act against his information minister, it would undermine Zimbabwe's relations with South Africa. He said Zimbabwe needed South Africa's mediation and support on regional and international platforms, as never before.

Moyo¡¦s attack on South Africa came in response to a South African Sunday newspaper front-page feature two weeks ago exposing Moyo and his family going on a spending spree and buying food and items such as a home theatre system either unobtainable in Zimbabwe or extremely expensive.

According to the report, the Moyos crammed vehicles and a trailer with the goods before departing for Zimbabwe, where millions of people are facing famine.

It was also reported that they left their hotel rooms in a total mess and five cleaning staff had to remove two trolley loads of half-eaten food and other rubbish, They also had to move the furniture out of the rooms before they could complete the job.

A second front-page report in another South African Sunday paper yesterday reported that Mugabe had flown to Singapore with his wife and an entourage of six where he had too been on a spending spree. According to the report, 15 trolley-loads of goods, including hi-tech electronic items, addressed to the president's official residence, were loaded on to the aircraft taking Mugabe back to Zimbabwe.

(Voice of America News)

From News

World News
Zimbabwe looks to Asia for trade
Mar 25, 2003, 2:04 pm

Journalists see Zimbabwe's land crisis up close ( Special Report)

Graphic: Harold Muhammad/MGM Online
HARARE, Zimbabwe (PANA)?/FONT>Ostracized by her traditional European trading partners over alleged human rights abuses, Zimbabwe is looking to Asia and other developing countries for new trade opportunities to shore up its sagging economy, although analysts say the switch will take time to bear fruit.

The southern African country is under political and economic siege from powerful Western countries and multilateral bodies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, over its controversial seizure of farms from white farmers to resettle landless peasants. Western donor nations, led by Britain, the former colonial power, have frozen financial aid to the country since 2000, a move that has since been followed by the World Bank and the IMF.

The result has been a sharp downturn of Zimbabwe’s economy. In 2000, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 4.2 percent, by over negative seven percent in 2001 and negative 11.9 percent last year.

Unemployment stands at over 70 percent while inflation has soared to more than 200 percent. Exports, mainly derived from agriculture, have fallen by more than 50 percent in recent years to about $1 billion (U.S.) last year, creating a balance of payment crisis, which has seen Zimbabwe default on its foreign debt repayments and led to shortages of fuel and other essential imports.

With little prospect of a thaw in ties with the West, Zimbabwe has turned to the Asian tiger economies for trade opportunities to help lift its economy from the woods. President Robert Mugabe himself is leading the campaign, capitalizing on warm personal ties with most Asian leaders.

Recently, the Zimbabwean leader led business executives from Harare to stage trade fairs in Thailand and Singapore, two of the Asian countries, which the country has targeted.

"The age-old reflex and tradition of exporting to Europe, which we seek to challenge through this initiative, will be at veritable odds against this endeavor. We need to vindicate it by showing continuous trade and just rewards," he said when he opened the trade fair in Singapore. "The fiery and beautifully multi-colored entrepreneurial spirit of the tiger surely connects so well with the awesome roar of the African lion in a way destined to make a mark on the world," said Pres. Mugabe.

Zimbabwe has already signed multi-billion export deals, mainly of agricultural products, with Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, but most of them are in abeyance because of drought. With Malaysia, Zimbabwe has even negotiated trade in the local currencies of the two countries.

"It is clear we have to look at each other, at ourselves, to develop markets and to build investments," Pres. Mugabe said in Singapore. "Until now, we had very modest results to show in this wished-for relationship, where the prospective lovers share the same bed but enjoy different dreams. It would appear now that the time is ripe and this initiative ignites what promises to be the way and direction of future business," he said.

But analysts say it will take time, if ever possible, for Zimbabwe to escape the trade clutches of Europe, which has been the country’s main trading partner for many years. Britain, for instance, still remains Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner in the world after South Africa despite the chill in relations between Harare and London over the land reforms.

"Asia offers good prospects, especially for the sort of products (agriculture commodities) which we export, but we cannot replace our traditional markets overnight," said Andrew Taruvinga, a political analyst at the University of Zimbabwe. "Among other things, we have to learn the traditions and culture of the Asians, as we learned that of the Europeans over time, in order for us to become successful trading partners, and this will take time," he said.

But Pres. Mugabe says Zimbabwe cannot afford to keep relying on the developed world for trade, and the re-orientation of focus is a matter of national survival. "We dare not jeopardize this seminal initiative through long promises met by short deliveries. Such costly mismatches between promise and delivery erodes confidence, destroys trust without which business cannot take place," he told Zimbabwean business executives accompanying him on the Asian tour.

Thailand Tightens Visas for Zim

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)
March 7, 2003
Posted to the web March 7, 2003

By Staff Writers

IN a blow to President Robert Mugabe's "Look East" policy, Thailand has imposed visa restrictions on Zimbabweans wishing to visit that country. The news comes only days after Mugabe visited Bangkok to open a trade expo in the Thai capital designed to enhance business contacts.

Despite Mugabe's shuttling between Harare and Far East capitals, trade figures obtained from Zimtrade this week reveal that trade with the Asian Tigers has been on the decline for the last five years.

The diplomatic shuttles undertaken at considerable cost to the ficsus do not appear to have brought any meaningful benefits.

Exports to Thailand declined sharply to US$8,78 million in 2001 from US$37,1 million in 2000, compared to imports worth US$4,03 million in 2001. Cotton and asbestos made up the larger part of the exports. The pattern for 2002 is much the same, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt, although figures are still being collated.

Mugabe opened the Zimbabwe-Thailand Expo Centre, a shop window for Zimbabwean products, on February 26 while on one of his whirlwind tours.

He launched another expo centre in Singapore on February 27. Exports to Singapore declined to US$2,2 million in 2001 from US$14,5 million in 2000, while imports from Singapore were worth US$2,6 million.

Despite the opening of the Zimbabwe-Asia Expo Centre in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia last year, exports to that country were worth only US$1,2 million compared to imports of more than $11 million.

Mugabe returned from his trip to the Far East last weekend declaring he had "done a great job" in wooing investment from that part of the region.

Until January, Zimbabwe passport holders could obtain a visa on arrival at Bangkok airport. But this facility has been withdrawn. Zimbabweans will now have to obtain visas before travelling to Thailand. The visa restriction came into effect on December 29 after Mugabe had been to Thailand twice on business trips.

The Independent has it on good authority that businessmen, led by banker Enoch Kamushinda, who accompanied President Mugabe to Thailand last week had to get visas before travelling to that country.

The Thai authorities signalled their intention to tighten entry restrictions for nationals of a number of countries, many in Africa, shortly after the September 11 2001 attacks in the United States but waited until this year before doing so. They have also referred to a lack of reciprocity on visa issues with these states.

The citizens of many countries do not require visas for Thailand while others can still obtain visas on arrival. South African passport holders benefit from an exemption that permits them to enter and stay in Thailand for 30 days without an entry visa.

Mugabe visited Thailand with an entourage of officials and businessmen last week, his second visit this year. But it is not clear if the new restrictions were discussed. There has been much fanfare in the official media surrounding the policy of forging closer relations with countries in the Far East. A visit to Zimbabwe last November by a trade delegation from Thailand discussed trade and tourism ties. It was proposed that Air Zimbabwe should fly to Bangkok.

Zimbabweans - business people and tourists - have been visiting Thailand in growing numbers in recent years and it is thought the latest clampdown will affect the flow. Visas will now have to be obtained from the Royal Thai embassy in Pretoria prior to travel.

A Thai business delegation led by Dr Nalinee Joy Taveesin last year promised to export fertiliser to Zimbabwe and establish an airlink between Bangkok and Harare. None of this has happened.,11581,882630,00.html

Mugabe's grip tightens on eve of cricket tour

Zimbabwe's opposition face arrest and torture as the World Cup draws closer

Paul Harris in Harare
Sunday January 26, 2003
The Observer

They came in the dead of night. Job Sikhala was woken by a phone call from a neighbour warning that vehicles were approaching his home shortly before 4am. Sikhala knew he was in danger: as an opposition MP with Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change, he was a prime target for Robert Mugabe's secret police.

Yet the politician had made precautions. Snatching up a few possessions from his room, Sikhala hurried to the cellar and the secret tunnel he had built under his home. He escaped. But Mugabe's spies are everywhere in Zimbabwe today. Sikhala was picked up by police at a hotel later that day. His nightmare was about to begin.

He was taken to Harare Central Police station before being put on an unmarked minibus and driven for an hour. Blindfolded and terrified, Sikhala was led down three flights of stairs by his police guards. He could see nothing and his interrogators would not tell him where he was. But Sikhala knew what awaited him. In Zimbabwe, those arrested in the middle of the night always expect the worst. 'I knew it was a torture chamber. I knew something terrible was about to happen,' he said.

The secret police beat him on the soles of his feet with wooden sticks. His torturers took it in turns as they demanded details of how the MDC works and what plans it had for the coming months. Then they tied an electric wire around a toe on each foot and electrocuted him, burning his flesh. 'They did that for 10 minutes and one of them said "You haven't even started talking",' Sikhala said.

Wires were attached to his penis and testicles. The current was turned on. Another wire was clipped to his tongue. They shouted the same questions, over and over. What was the MDC doing? Who were its supporters? Why was he with them?

He tried to answer them, but could barely speak. Another wire was attached to his left ear and more shocks sent down the cables. Then one of the torturers urinated on him. 'At that moment I urinated myself also. Then they made me wriggle in it and said I had to pretend to swim,' Sikhala said.

'I had given up life. Whatever the outcome, I had given my life to God at that point. I cried about never seeing my two kids again. Would they know that their father had been killed by these people? That I had died in this way?'

He was vaguely aware of his torturers talking about drowning him in a nearby reservoir. They drove him back to Harare police station, where he was charged with plotting against the state. As soon as he was released, supporters took him away to a secret location for hospital treatment.

Sikhala's arrest and torture was only one of dozens in recent weeks. A huge and brutal crack down is underway, aimed at crushing any form of opposition to the regime of President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party.

The reason is simple: in a few weeks' time Zimbabwe will host six international matches of the Cricket World Cup. The event will provide a perfect opportunity for Mugabe to present a sanitised view of Zimbabwean life to the world.

But the event will also attract scores of foreign journalists, who are currently banned from entering Zimbabwe. Mugabe is determined that by the time they get here the opposition will be in no condition to create trouble. The main focus of the crackdown is the MDC, whose leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, goes on trial for treason next month. In the past three weeks MDC activists, councillors, MPs and sympathisers have been arrested and jailed. Some, like youth leader Fanuel Tsvangirai, are missing. One MP, Tafadzwa Musekiwa, has fled abroad. BUT IT IS not just the MDC. So desperate is the ruling party to ensure that the cricket matches pass off peacefully that any form of opposition is ruthlessly crushed.

Zanu-PF's youth wing, the so-called Green Bombers, have been sent into opposition areas to terrorise and intimidate the locals. They have set up camps and any whiff of dissent is dealt with brutally. Journalists have been beaten and the sight of a white face - especially that of a foreign journalist - is an invitation to arrest and torture.

Even as police were preparing Sikhala's arrest on 14 January, four activists for the Combined Harare Residents Association were being tortured by the Green Bombers, named for the green uniforms they wear. The four were touring the crowded township of Kuwadzana on a 'familiarisation' trip ahead of a by-election there, which the CHRA wants to ensure is fair and open. But their presence was too much for the Green Bombers. They were frogmarched into a militia base, one of four that have been set up in Kuwadzana.

'There was no lighting and it was getting dark. I heard one of them call the police and he told the others that the cops had said they could "work" on us first and they would come over later,' Barnabas Mangodza, one of the victims, said.

The 'work' soon began. Some of the youths scrolled through the address books on the group's mobile phones and found numbers for MDC activists. One of the militia said: 'Now we are going to beat you. Who is going to be first?'

Mangodza stood up. Eight people held him while six others hit him with whips, sticks and their fists. Similar treatment was meted out to the other three: Jameson Gazirayi, Joseph Rose and Richard Mudehwe. The ordeal lasted two hours. Finally, the police came and the Green Bombers left. Despite their wounds, Mangodza and the others were arrested and fined Z$5,000 (£55). Their crime was 'behaviour likely to disturb the peace'.

Zimbabwe is a country gone mad. A stolen election last March and the disastrous confiscation of the country's white-owned commercial farms have triggered complete economic collapse.

Starved of foreign currency and in the grip of 500 per cent hyper-inflation, all basic commodities have run out. In the cities people queue for entire days to get fuel, bread, salt and cooking oil.

The countryside is the worst off. Drought has gripped the land, withering crops and killing cattle. An estimated seven million people are facing starvation in a country that used to be an exporter of food. But the ruling elite still prosper. Inflation has created two economies. Those with foreign currency can afford anything. Those without can afford nothing.

Both Mugabe and his reviled Information Minister Jonathan Moyo recently travelled abroad to buy their own supplies. Mugabe flew first class to Singapore, returning with 15 boxes of goods. Moyo travelled to South Africa by convoy, where he loaded up with canned food, rice, sugar and bread. The hypocrisy has shocked many. 'Don't send us cricketers, send us food,' Wilfrid Mhanda, head of the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform and a former black liberation fighter who now opposes the government, said. 'When the English cricketers come here they will do just as Mugabe does. They will eat and drink well, while we are starving.'

For most Zimbabweans - 70 per cent of whom are unemployed - life is spent in a desperate search for enough to eat. Yet even in buying food, Mugabe's grip on power is tight. Zanu politicians are given food to distribute. Party cards must be shown to receive it. The Green Bombers loot shops of food, which they sell for a profit. In Chitungwiza, their actions sparked ugly riots two weeks ago. There are now 1,500 of the militia in the township, which has an MDC mayor. More are coming. The son of one local councillor was injured so badly he was taken to hospital - because he wore an MDC T-shirt. 'The Green Bombers made him try and eat his own shirt,' the councillor, who was afraid to give his name, said.

The MDC is reeling under the pressure, but plans are still being drawn up for protests inside and outside the six matches to be played. The Government is gearing up too. It has set up a special police taskforce to crush any dissent near the games. 'We will be in full force,' police commissioner Augustine Chihuri said last week.

But amid the chaos and violence there are signs of hope. Zimbabweans can turn the tide. One such is Chitungwiza shopkeeper Lloyd Moyo, 28. The Green Bombers had stolen so much bread that he stopped selling it. But local people begged him to carry on. They promised to protect him from the militia. So far, they have. Standing in front of his ramshackle grocery store, Moyo raised a brave voice of challenge. 'I am not afraid,' he said.

Behind him, stapled to a wall, was a photograph of him taken on the day his shop opened. Above it was a proud handwritten message. 'Life is full of problems,' it read. 'But we shall have victory in the end.'

LETTERS/OPINIONS Thursday 13 , February

President should have taken a leaf from Singapore leader

2/13/2003 12:25:12 AM (GMT +2)

So near and yet so far!

President Mugabe, his wife and cronies were in Singapore for shopping. How did you like that beautiful place, Mr Mugabe?

If you were a wise old man since we grew up with the sentiment that wisdom comes with age you should have taken time to listen to Lee.

He was educated by the British like you, made good sense of that education, reformed Singapore and now it is one of the economic wonders of post-British colonisation. Lessons from him are badly needed back home.

Singapore is a shopping haven for you today because its leader had the people¡¦s interests at heart. Lee could have his faults, as all leaders are expected to have since they are human, but at least all his people are housed, clothed, fed, employed and, above all, free.

You did not even bother emulating him. What would the use be anyway? You have done enough damage. If I were you, I would advise whoever is tipped to take over from you to take time to talk to Lee, not about dictatorship, but about the way to treat people like
dignified beings.

Zimbabweans are so stressed out they do not know whether they are living or just existing. Uncertainty is the constant cloud looming above us.

I don¡¦t even know why I am bothering to write to this tyrant. He does not listen to good advice, he gets defensive about his own mistakes, hates freedom of expression, hates seeing Zimbabweans happy, loves a lavish lifestyle and obviously reads this paper with malicious intentions, hence his persecution of journalists.

Maybe I should have sent this letter to the government-controlled newspapers.

Farai Moyo
In Other News:

Stop passing the buck

Civil service salary increases are unfair

ZBC-TV full of lies

Cricket patron has blood on his hands

Tracing lost parcels at Zimpost waste of time

Councillors are abusing our property

Leaders abusing unity for their own ends

ZBC hijacked by the rich

President should have taken a leaf from Singapore leader

Zimbabweans have to help themselves

Mugabe: US must disarm

Mugabe sees himself as a freedom fighter

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has launched a scathing attack on the "born-again colonialists" of the United States and the United Kingdom.

The US should lead by example and dismantle its weapons of mass destruction, before demanding the same of Iraq, he said.

He also questioned the legitimacy of George Bush's 2000 election victory, saying Mr Bush was in no position to lecture Zimbabwe on democratic elections.

The US and the UK have heavily criticised Mr Mugabe, saying his re-election last year was marred by fraud and violence and accusing him of diverting food aid from starving opposition supporters.

The US, the UK, the European Union and the Commonwealth have all imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.

'End sanctions'

Mr Mugabe was speaking at the summit of the 116-member Non-Aligned Movement (Nam) in Malaysia.

Mr Mugabe says that the West is waging a campaign to vilify him because of his policy of redistributing land from whites to blacks.

Why can't the United States demonstrate what Iraq should (do) by destroying their own massive heaps first?

Robert Mugabe

He sees this as putting right unfair land ownership patterns due to the colonial era.

The West has double standards when dealing with poor countries, Zimbabwe's leader said.

"Iraq might have developed or desired to develop arms of mass destruction. But the United States has massive arms of that magnitude.

"Why can't the United States demonstrate what Iraq should (do) by destroying their own massive heaps first?" he asked.

Iraq is a member of Nam and its Vice President, Taha Yassin Ramadan, was present during Mr Mugabe's speech.

'Sanctions on Bush?'

"The United States, awakened to the implications of being the sole superpower, joined by Britain as a born-again colonialist, and other Western countries have turned themselves into fierce hunting bulldogs raring to go, as they sniff for more blood, Third World blood," Mr Mugabe said.

Since being ostracised by the West, Mr Mugabe has sought to cultivate allies in Asia, in particular Malaysia, Singapore and China.

The Zimbabwe leader said that the US courts which ruled that Mr Bush had won the closely fought 2000 election was "dominated by Republican judges."

"Is it not ironical that Mr Bush who was not really elected should deny my legitimacy, the legitimacy of President Mugabe, established by many observer groups from Africa and the Third World.

"Who, in these circumstances, should the world impose sanctions on? Robert Mugabe or George Bush?" he asked.