Weekly ANB0925_07.txt #7

WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 25-09-2003      PART #7/7

* Uganda. Abducted children freed - 23 September: The Ugandan army has rescued 149 children who were being held by the northern-based rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The army spokesman, Major Shaban Bantariza, says that in the week-long operation, 24 rebels were killed while the army lost three soldiers. "The children were abandoned by the rebels after army units closed in on them in Gulu, Kitgum and Pader districts," said Major Bantariza. He said that the children were in poor health --many were suffering from malaria and malnutrition and are now being cared for by local humanitarian organisations. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 23 September 2003)

* Ouganda. 3e mandat pour Museveni? - Le 23 septembre, le gouvernement ougandais a présenté une demande de modification de l'article de la Constitution qui limite à deux le nombre de mandats présidentiels. Ces derniers mois, de nombreux observateurs avaient noté l'intention du président Museveni de se présenter aux prochaines élections présidentielles prévues en 2006, en dépit de la charte constitutionnelle rédigée en 1995. Le gouvernement a aussi présenté un paquet de 88 amendements, prévoyant des modifications grâce auxquelles le président aurait la faculté de choisir le Parlement et de promulguer des décrets en matière d'investissements publics, environnement et santé. Y figure également la demande de retirer à l'Assemblée nationale la possibilité de rejeter d'éventuelles nominations ou démissions ministérielles. Des observateurs ont déjà mis en garde contre le risque de concentration du pouvoir aux mains du président Museveni. (Misna, Italie, 24 septembre 2003)

* Zambia. Blow for ruling party - 24 September: Defence Minister Michael Mabenga has lost his job and been stripped of his parliamentary seat after the Supreme Court annulled his election victory. The Supreme Court in Zambia delivered its final judgements on two cases outstanding from the country's controversial presidential and general elections nearly two years ago. After the elections in December 2001, which brought current President Levy Mwanawasa to power, the opposition launched a series of legal challenges to the results of both the presidential and parliamentary polls. Today's verdict is a major blow to Mr Mwanawasa's ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) party. The court upheld the complaints of the runner-up, Sikota Wina, of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND). (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 24 September 2003)

* Zimbabwe. Restructuring ZANU-PF - Faced with the increasingly formidable challenge from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) has called for a restructuring process so as to pave the way for President Mugabe's exit. The election of new party officials (starting this month and ending in November) is designed to strengthen the party in time for the 2005 parliamentary elections. A restructuring exercise was carried out only three years ago, but party chiefs want to replace local leaders before their term of office ends. There are rumours that Mr Mugabe has agreed to step down from the helm in December at ZANU-PF's conference. (Stan Dongo, ANB-BIA, Zimbabwe, 12 September 2003)

* Zimbabwe. "The Daily News" -- Media reaction - The closure of Zimbabwe's leading independent newspaper The Daily News earlier this month set off a heated debate in the Zimbabwean press. In the rest of the region, however, the story went largely unnoticed. South Africa, where angry papers called for a drastic change of policy on Zimbabwe, was a notable exception. "So now we have no free daily paper," mourned Zimbabwe's opposition Financial Gazette. "Will Zimbabwe become... completely cut off from the outside world, with no news either coming in or going out? [The ruling] ZANU-PF would love that, so that they can carry out their acts without fear of exposure." The opposition weekly Standard said the Supreme Court's ruling, which found the paper in breach of controversial new media legislation, set a "dangerous" precedent. "It has not taken long for the enemies of the free press to pounce on The Daily News"" the paper said in an editorial headlined "Travesty of Justice". Zimbabwe's pro-government Herald, on the other hand, argued that the opposition paper was guilty of "wanton disregard for the laws of the country and got exactly what it deserved. It boggles the mind to think that a newspaper which purports to "tell it like it is" does not live up to its motto... but instead opts to paint a gory picture of a repressed people cowering before an omnipotent dictator who does not even allow people to speak their minds". In South Africa, Business Day argued that the media legislation was itself "intended to muzzle the private media". Kenya's Daily Nation -- one of the few African papers outside Zimbabwe and South Africa to comment on the closure of The Daily News, said: "South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki seems determined to split the Commonwealth along racist lines by insisting that President Robert Mugabe be invited to the club's December summit in Nigeria". In neighbouring Zambia, The Post said the closure of The Daily News was just another entry in Zimbabwe's sorry record of media oppression. (BBC News, UK, 19 September 2003)

* Zimbabwe. Vice-President dies - 20 September: Vice-President Simon Muzenda, a close ally of Robert Mugabe, has died in hospital after a long illness, the president has said. A sombre Mr Mugabe announced the news in a live broadcast on state television with "a heavy heart". "Vice President Muzenda... is and shall always remain a great revolutionary leader," he said. "He took it upon himself to join the struggle for the freedom of this country from British settler colonialism." Local media had reported in recent months that Mr Muzenda was ill, however the official Herald newspaper had dismissed reports that his condition was critical. He would have turned 81 next month. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 20 September 2003)

* Zimbabwe. Décès du vice-président - Le 20 septembre, le vice-président du Zimbabwe, Simon Muzenda, longtemps un des plus proches collaborateurs du président Mugabe, est décédé à l'âge de 80 ans, à la suite d'une longue maladie. Cette disparition ne devrait toutefois pas laisser un grand vide dans le pays. Ancien charpentier au caractère quelque peu bourru, Muzenda était considéré comme l'un des hommes politiques les moins cultivés du pays, mais avait été récompensé de sa fidélité par un poste de vice-président. Il faisait régulièrement l'objet de moqueries en raison de ses maladresses. Cependant, il s'était distingué dans le combat contre le pouvoir blanc britannique de Rhodésie et avait passé une grande partie de la décennie 1962-1972 derrière les barreaux. Il avait fui en Zambie, puis au Mozambique, avant de rejoindre Mugabe dans la réorganisation du parti ZANU (Union nationale africaine du Zimbabwe). Mugabe l'avait nommé vice-président en 1987. (D'après AP, 21 septembre 2003)

* Zimbabwe. "The Legend of the Sky King" - A team of Zimbabweans has produced what they say is Africa's first full-length animated feature film, to international acclaim. "The Legend of the Sky Kingdom" was made in Harare on a minimal budget and pioneers a technique called "junkmation". The characters and sets in the film are made from discarded items such as car parts, tools, kitchen utensils, pipes and pieces of wood. The film took four years to make and has been chosen among the top five of 1,300 entries at the World Animation Festival in France. "It's a movie made out of junk, coming out of a country that is last in the alphabet and pretty much last in everything at the moment, made by a complete bunch of unknowns," said director Roger Hawkins. "Junkmation" was inspired by the ability that Zimbabwean craftsmen have to make pieces of art from wire, tin and other discarded items. Mr Hawkins said that the level of skill and natural ability that people have to recycle objects is a goldmine. "I thought if we could put this into a film we'd come up with something really unusual," he said. "We became junk purists, we invited friends to dump rubbish outside our studio and we had a "junk librarian" who sifted through it all." Fifteen people worked on "The Legend of the Sky Kingdom" in two studios, costing less than $1 million. The film is targeted at children, and has the theme "Seeing is believing." Three orphans escape the Underground City ruled by the Evil Emperor and go in search of the Sky Kingdom, facing many challenges along the way. (BBC News, UK, 22 September 2003)

* Zimbabwe. "The Daily News" under attack - 18 September: Zimbabwe's High Court has ordered the re-opening of the only independent daily newspaper in the country. The Daily News, which is critical of President Robert Mugabe, was shut by the government for breaking a new, stringent press law. The paper has not been published since 12 September, when it was closed down and riot police sealed off its premises. In its ruling, today, the High Court says police had no right "to prevent the applicant and its employees from gaining access to the premises of the applicant and carrying on its business". The court also said equipment seized in raids must also be returned to The Daily News. The paper's chief executive Samuel Nkomo welcomes the ruling. "I am anxious that we get back to work, and I am hoping to produce a newspaper tomorrow," he says. But acting Attorney General Bharat Patel says the government is going to appeal. The Zimbabwe state controls the country's two other daily papers and the single television and radio broadcast station. During the night, the police again shut down the newspaper's offices in defiance of the court order. 20 September: Zimbabwean officials have blocked an attempt by The Daily News to resume publication. The paper had applied for a licence from the government-appointed Media and Information Commission. But the Commission ruled that the paper's publishers -- Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) -- had "failed to meet the requirements of the law". The paper had applied eight and a half months after the expiry of a government deadline for registration, the Commission ruled. The Daily News had also failed to supply the Commission with free copies of the paper, as required under the new media law, it said. 22 September: Four directors of The Daily News have been charged under strict media laws. Police have also raided the offices of The Daily News. Associated Newspapers group chief executive Sam Sipepa Moyo, and three others were questioned by police and then charged with illegally publishing a newspaper, says the company's legal spokesperson. ANZ's chief executive, Sam Sipepa Nkomo, has vowed to keep up the fight through the courts. The same day, Reporters sans Frontières says it is "outraged" at the news of the Media and Information Commission's unanimous decision to silence The Daily News. 23 September: Police say The Daily News's entire editorial staff are to be charged for working without accreditation. A police spokesman says the police also want to question the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe's board chairman, Strive Masiyiwa, who lives in South Africa, "over his role in the illegal operation of the group". (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 23 September 2003)

* Zimbabwe. Presse indépendante muselée - Le jeudi 18 septembre, la Haute Cour de justice du Zimbabwe a ordonné la réouverture du Daily News, seul quotidien privé du pays. Sa fermeture avait été ordonnée le 12 septembre par le régime de Robert Mugabe. La Cour a également ordonné la restitution du matériel saisi par la police au siège du journal. Le gouvernement a annoncé son intention de poursuivre cette décision en appel. Depuis sa création, le Daily News et ses journalistes sont régulièrement harcelés par la police et les partisans de Mugabe. Début 2001, son imprimerie a été victime d'un attentat à la bombe dont les auteurs n'ont jamais été retrouvés. Mercredi dernier, une centaine d'activites et trois journalistes avaient été arrêtés à Harare, alors qu'ils manifestaient contre la fermeture du Daily News. - Le 19 septembre, le Daily News n'a pas pu reparaître. La police qui avait brièvement quitté les locaux du journal, le jeudi, et restitué une partie des ordinateurs, y est revenue et a empêché le personnel d'y entrer. - 21 septembre. La commission nationale des médias du Zimbabwe a refusé d'enregistrer le groupe de presse privé Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), éditeur du Daily News. La Cour suprême avait ordonné à ANZ de s'inscrire auprès de cette autorité. Pour justifier son rejet de la demande d'inscription, la commission a soutenu que le groupe a violé les lois du pays sur la presse, dont le recrutement de journalistes non accrédités. -Mardi 23 septembre. Selon la police, les 45 journalistes du Daily News seront inculpés pour exercice illégal de leur métier. Ils risquent une suspension de leur permis de travail et une radiation du registre de la profession. 5 des 9 membres de la directiondu journal ont déjà été entendus lundi par la police et inculpés pour publication d'un journal sans autorisation. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 23 septembre 2003)

Weekly anb0925.txt - #7/7 - THE END

Un homme meurt chaque fois que l'un d'entre nous se tait devant la tyrannie (W. Soyinka, Prix Nobel litterature)
Everytime somebody keep silent when faced with tyranny, someone else dies (Wole Syinka, Nobel Prize for Literature) *
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