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Werriwa by-election acid test for Labor

Werriwa by-election acid test for Labor

Reporter: Sarah Clarke

MAXINE McKEW: The Labor leadership dominated news again today, with Kevin Rudd flying back into
Sydney and still dodging questions about his own plans. But on the other side of the country,
Stephen Smith was much more forthcoming, ruling out a run himself and nominating Kim Beazley as the
man to restore respect to the beleaguered party. We'll hear from Stephen Smith in a moment. But
whoever becomes leader will face their first acid test in a by-election in Werriwa, the seat now
vacant as a result of Mark Latham's resignation this week. It's traditionally a safe Labor seat
with a 9 per cent margin, but over the years the face of the electorate has changed. Political
strategists believe it's unlikely the ALP will lose, but the local branch is warning that nothing
can be taken for granted. In recent years, the Liberal Party has taken a huge bite out of Labor's
stronghold of western Sydney, and as the demographics change, many believe so too does the vote.
Sarah Clarke reports.

SARAH CLARKE: Just a week out from Labor's caucus vote, the race is well and truly on for the
party's top job. But in the western Sydney electorate of Werriwa, another crucial race is under
way. Mark Latham's sudden resignation has left the electorate without a local member. For
generations, this has been part of Labor's heartland, the seat represented by former Prime Minister
Gough Whitlam and former Treasurer John Kerin.

MAN: The seat of Werriwa is a working man's seat, and the working man knows that he needs a good
support - Labor.

MAN: This is a pretty staunch area out here. Started off with the Whitlam era, and we love it out

SARAH CLARKE: But the face of this seat is changing fast. Once dominated by Housing Commission
estates and rural pastures, Werriwa is now home to a new wave of settlers: young aspirational
families whose suburban McMansions are now dwarfing the traditional fibro cottages.

TONY BEUK (AUSTRAL ALP BRANCH): A big range between low-income and high-income families that have
made Werriwa their home.

SARAH CLARKE: As secretary of the local ALP branch, Tony Beuk is only too aware that changing
demographics here mean that the voters of Werriwa can no longer be taken for granted.

TONY BEUK: Oh, look, I necessarily wouldn't view it as a safe seat. I know people would go on
percentages, but I look at the dynamics of the actual seat itself, and with the view that that's
not going to remain stagnant - that will change and alter, certainly within the next 10 to 20 years
- I think from a political point of view, no-one could consider this seat as a safe seat.

ANTONY GREEN (ABC ELECTION ANALYST): It's a 9.3 per cent margin. It would be very tough to dislodge
from the Labor side of the electoral ledger.

SARAH CLARKE: Election analyst Antony Green acknowledges the changing dynamics of the electorate,
but he believes it's still solidly Labor.

ANTONY GREEN: It's got some new areas, growing areas with new housing, which would sort of be like
some of those other seats like Macarthur and Greenway that the Liberal Party has won at the last
two federal elections, but Werriwa also has a core of solid working-class Housing Commission
estates, which is why it's still on the Labor side of the electoral pendulum.

SARAH CLARKE: But by-elections can be unpredictable, and Werriwa is still a wild card for New South
Wales ALP Secretary Mark Arbib, not least because of Mark Latham's dramatic exit.

MARK ARBIB (NSW LABOR SECRETARY): We're always concerned when there's a by-election, always
concerned. John Howard at the moment, after the tsunami, has obviously reached a peak. We're going
to be having a new leader, a new candidate. It's going to be a difficult by-election.

SARAH CLARKE: That candidate won't spring from a vote of the local membership; it will be a
candidate anointed by head office. Branch stacking has forced the New South Wales ALP to freeze
membership and dissolve the local pre-selection council.

MARK ARBIB: Given the time constraints, it's certainly not possible. We need a candidate in the
field urgently. The Liberals are taking this seat very seriously, and we need a candidate who can
get out there and start knocking on doors straightaway. We can't wait.

SARAH CLARKE: Frontrunners for pre-selection include Stephen Chaytor, who, like Mark Latham, has
spent time in the office of Labor luminary Gough Whitlam. There's also prominent Campbelltown Mayor
Brenton Banfield and State member for Liverpool Paul Lynch. But unusually for these would-be
federal politicians, all refused to talk to the 7.30 Report.

MARK ARBIB: It's an ALP pre-selection, so you never know how many will nominate.

SARAH CLARKE: For the voters of Werriwa, nothing but a local will do.

MAN: It should be local members. Local members should only be in the local areas. Nobody wants an
outsider to come into the area.

MAN: A local - definitely someone from the area that knows the problems of the people in the area.

SARAH CLARKE: And the Liberal camp is listening. It's yet to choose a candidate, but it's expected
to field a high-profile local personality.

ANTONY GREEN: The Liberal Party would love to pick a good candidate who could give the Labor Party
a good run in the electorate, and they'd pour money in and resources, and it would be a very
worthwhile thing for them to do.

SARAH CLARKE: The Liberals have made crucial inroads into western Sydney. In 2001, high-profile
athlete Pat Farmer secured a massive swing in the adjoining electorate of Macarthur. And in the
nearby seat of Greenway, star candidate Louise Markus last year broke Labor's 20-year hold on the
electorate. Kerry Willems and Kerry Roberts are part of a growing small-business constituency out
here. They've just opened a flower shop in the Werriwa suburb of Ingleburn. In this by-election,
both parties will be targeting people like them. They're traditional Labor supporters, but this
time, their vote's up for grabs, and they'll back the candidate who'll best represent their

WOMAN: Not a lot done here in Ingleburn. Ingleburn is really just like a little country town, even
though it's so close to the city and all this sort of thing, but the people itself...

WOMAN: We need a change.

WOMAN: We do need a change here, and maybe that could be the best thing for us.

SARAH CLARKE: The Liberal surge in western Sydney is a phenomenon John Howard must count as a
significant feature of his political leadership, and now, with the spectacular crash and burn by
his latest opposite number, the Prime Minister must surely relish the prospect of the double
whammy: plucking Latham's old seat from the enemy and making it Liberal. Labor will be hoping its
tradition continues.

MAXINE McKEW: Sarah Clarke reporting there.

Stephen Smith bows out of leadership race

Stephen Smith bows out of leadership race

Reporter: Maxine McKew

MAXINE McKEW: While the search continues for a replacement in Werriwa, frontbencher Stephen Smith
went public today as the first of the leadership aspirants to rule himself out of contention in
next Friday's caucus vote. He was also exceptionally candid about the parlous state of party. I
spoke with him a short time ago from our Perth studios.

MAXINE McKEW: Stephen Smith, what are the considerations you weighed in choosing not to make a run
for the leadership?

STEPHEN SMITH (LABOR FRONTBENCHER): Well, Maxine, firstly, I wanted to just carefully think through
what I thought was in the best interests of party and the best interests of the broader community,
and then have a conversation with my colleagues about how they viewed my possible role in that. I
think, frankly, as I expressed it today, most of my colleagues are saying to me, "Stephen, we
certainly view you as a future potential leadership candidate or contender, but we don't think this
is your time." The sentiment to me is one where the party or the majority of the party seems to be
looking for certainty and stability and actual leadership experience, and I think there's a growing
view that Kim provides us with that best credentials, and as a consequence, I decided last night
not to put my name forward and then to indicate that publicly, but also to indicate that I'd be
supporting Kim.

MAXINE McKEW: Equally, a section of the party does seem to be saying - certainly privately at this
stage - that it does want a real choice, not a stitched-up deal.

STEPHEN SMITH: I don't see any damage done to the party's interests by there being a ballot. I
mean, I've made a personal decision. As I said in a sense tongue in cheek today, if I were a
candidate in this ballot, I'd be voting Smith 1, Beazley 2. The problem for me is that a number of
my colleagues have said, "That's fine, Stephen, but we're voting Beazley 1, Smith 2."

MAXINE McKEW: Why not put it to the test?

STEPHEN SMITH: Well, because whilst I don't see any damage to the political interests of the party,
some might say that some political damage might be done to me if I was a candidate in a contest
that had Kim in it.

MAXINE McKEW: So you're ducking to avoid the shrapnel?

STEPHEN SMITH: Well, maybe if I could put it this way: if the bomber's on the runway, there won't
be much air space for me.

MAXINE McKEW: You did talk today, Stephen Smith, about the need to restore political respect to the
party. I mean, I would have thought, though, you'd have enough confidence to test yourself in those
terms, your own abilities to restore that level of respect to the party?

STEPHEN SMITH: Well, Maxine, when the last ballot was on, I always thought that the next time there
was a ballot, I'd be a candidate. But I expected, like most people did, that that would be in
years' time. This one's come at a time that people haven't been expecting. It's come in very sad
circumstances, where Mark Latham has been forced out of public life as a result of ill health, and
where, frankly, the party is in a political predicament.

MAXINE McKEW: In fact, you went further today, really. You said the party is close to being a
basket case. I mean, that was quite a bout of political honesty, wasn't it? What's provoked it?

STEPHEN SMITH: At 6 o'clock on the night of the 9th of October, I don't think the community
regarded it as a basket case politically. They were going to - they didn't elect us, but we got a
respectable vote in terms of two-party preferred. But since then, our response to - our collective
response to the election defeat, the public commentary, the overanalysis, frankly, has left us
looking a bit of a rabble. So I think the first thing we need to do is to get political
respectability. Then we've got to build on that respectability and be a unified, effective
Opposition, holding the government to account, and then holding ourselves out as an alternative
government. I do think if we do the right things, we can win the next election. But a lot of the
commentary I've had from people in the community out and about over the holiday period has
essentially been, "Look, we don't actually think it's in the national interests that the Opposition
at the federal level is not effective. We do want you to be an effective Opposition." And given the
particular predicament that we're in, I just sense that the majority view of the party is that the
time is best suited for Kim.

MAXINE McKEW: The implication of what you're saying, then, is really that the view of the party as
a bit of a rabble will continue if anyone other than Kim Beazley is elected. What does that say
about the respective talents of either Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard?

STEPHEN SMITH: I'm not saying that at all, Maxine. I'm saying I've formed a personal view. I sense
that's the majority sentiment. I'm certainly not going to get into a running commentary about any
other prospective or potential candidate, and I've made the point crystal clear that whoever wins
on Friday, next Friday, whoever wins, I will serve absolutely loyally. I will do the best that I
can as a shadow minister, as a frontbencher, with the aspiration being to help win the next
election and sit round a Cabinet table in a Labor Government. So I think whoever wins next week,
the most important thing is that the party then unites behind that person, he or she.

MAXINE McKEW: If, say, Kevin Rudd comes through next Friday, you give this guarantee: you will
serve him loyally?

STEPHEN SMITH: Absolutely.

MAXINE McKEW: You won't be agitating on the sidelines?

STEPHEN SMITH: Whoever wins next Friday, I will do whatever job they want me to do, I will serve to
the best of my ability, just as I did when Kim Beazley was leader before, as I did when Simon Crean
was leader, until I formed the view that Simon wasn't going to win us an election and had lost the
confidence of the community, and when I was in a minority view in the caucus, I went to the back
bench, and when Mark Latham became leader, he asked me to come back to the front bench. I served
him loyally as immigration shadow minister, and then during the campaign he asked me to help. I
helped him to best of my ability, and I will do that to whoever wins on Friday.

MAXINE McKEW: Just a final point: if Kim Beazley does emerge as the leader next week, your
preferred choice, what guarantees are there for the Labor Party, broadly, that in fact it will not
be a return to business as usual?

STEPHEN SMITH: Well, I haven't sought any guarantees from anyone, Maxine. I think when you stand up
as a political party and say, "We want to be given the responsibility of governing the country",
there are a couple of fundamentals that the community looks to. One is that you can protect and
defend the national security interests of the nation, and that you can protect, defend, maintain
and enhance the economic security interests of the nation and its people. I think Kim can certainly
do the first in spades. I think we have, as a party, much more work to do on the economic front.
There is a long, hard job to do in terms of policy, in terms of politics. The challenge is there.
I've just come to the conclusion that the time is not right for me and the best choice available to
start that process is Kim.

MAXINE McKEW: Stephen Smith, for that, thank you.

STEPHEN SMITH: Thanks, Maxine.

Business resists taking on responsibility for recycling

Business resists taking on responsibility for recycling

Reporter: Jonathan Harley

MAXINE McKEW: Since the 1970s, Australians have been told to do the right thing with their rubbish,
and for most of us, that's meant the weekly kerbside recycling collection. But that service costs
local councils up to $300 million per year, fuelling a showdown over the future of recycling. Now
green groups and some local councils have joined forces in an effort to reverse the whole onus of
responsibility for all that rubbish. If they get their way, companies would have to carry the
financial burden of recycling the packaging they produce, starting with glass and plastic bottles.
But powerful business interests are resisting fiercely. Jonathan Harley reports on the war on

JONATHAN HARLEY: For more than 20 years, this has been the green face of Australian waste
collection. Kerbside recycling is widely regarded as a suburban success story. But only a fraction
of the 5 billion drink containers that Australians throw away every year get collected here.

IAN KIERNAN (CHAIRMAN, CLEAN UP AUSTRALIA): Well, we're only seeing rates of 30, 40 per cent of
recovery of recyclable materials.

JONATHAN HARLEY: And there's a lot of unwanted waste messing up the good stuff for recycling.

PAT McDONALD (GARBAGE COLLECTOR): Garbage and a lot of plastic bags and polystyrene - that's the
problem, polystyrene.

JONATHAN HARLEY: It's such a problem that Pat McDonald must watch what comes out of every bin.

PAT McDONALD: Mounted up on the roof there, we have a colour TV monitor that shows the recycling
going in the back of the truck, and we know what everyone puts in their bins.

JONATHAN HARLEY: Such problems put the apparently benign institution of kerbside recycling at the
heart of an intensifying debate about Australia's waste...

GENIA McCAFFERY (LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION OF NSW): It's just a continuing brouhaha. It hasn't
really stopped.

JONATHAN HARLEY: ...and who should pay.

ALEC WAGSTAFF (COCA-COLA AMATIL): Industry will always look to protect itself, and that's

JONATHAN HARLEY: Now, a green coalition, including Clean Up Australia's Ian Kiernan, is pushing to
shift the onus of responsibility from local councils onto the companies who produce the packaging
in the first place.

IAN KIERNAN: The producer of the packaging, who's had the financial benefit of it, just walks away
and leaves the community stranded with the problem.

JONATHAN HARLEY: Australia's great waste debate stretches from your local garbo man to the
boardrooms of some of the biggest companies in the country, and it centres on this little-known but
controversial document, the so-called National Packaging Covenant. Now, depending on who you're
talking to, it's either the basis for a groundbreaking approach or it's not worth the recycled
paper that it's written on.

GENIA McCAFFERY: It's classic where the industry doesn't want to take responsibility, so it sort of
creates a smokescreen, and that's the National Packaging Covenant.

JONATHAN HARLEY: The covenant's been described as an industry smokescreen. Is that too tough?

IAN KIERNAN: No, not at all. You couldn't be tough enough on it.

because groups like Clean Up Australia and Planet Ark and the Australian Conservation Foundation
have got a role to play. They are, I guess, the conscience-prickers of Australia. But they don't
have the solutions either.

JONATHAN HARLEY: Green groups say they do have a solution, which they're pushing as the National
Packaging Covenant undergoes its five-year review. That proposed solution involves three words
despised by industry: container deposit legislation.

MAREE McCASKILL: I say it's a '60s solution for a 2005 problem, and I don't believe it works very

JONATHAN HARLEY: Container deposit legislation has been operating in South Australia for 30 years.
In an effort to tackle littering, the State Government put a 5c deposit on drink bottles as an
incentive to encourage recycling. To this day, the scheme is popular, and advocates say it recovers
twice as many containers as kerbside recycling.

GENIA McCAFFERY: It's incredibly effective, and I quote the figure again: 88 to 90 per cent of
those containers are recycled there. We're doing 33, you know. The figures speak for themselves.

JONATHAN HARLEY: But wherever there's a statistic about waste, there's a furious debate.

MAREE McCASKILL: Because at the moment, environment groups, industry, government, pluck figures out
of the air, and they use figures that suit them.

JONATHAN HARLEY: The spread of a deposit system beyond South Australia's border has been fiercely
fought by the beverage industry. It's funded litter prevention awareness campaigns as a way to help
stave off heavy regulation, and away from the public gaze, it's used its weight to lobby
effectively under the guise of the Beverage Industry Environment Council.

MAREE McCASKILL: I think a voluntary approach is always better, because you appeal to the better
side and better nature of people, who will strive to do something because it's a challenge.

JONATHAN HARLEY: And how much cheaper is it for industry?

MAREE McCASKILL: Oh, not particularly cheaper at all.

JONATHAN HARLEY: Beverage containers are just one part of the overall rubbish problem. Ian Kiernan
says proof that South Australia's deposit system works is that, on Clean Up Australia Day, half as
many empty bottles are collected there as in the rest of the country.

IAN KIERNAN: South Australia's deposit legislation is a very good example of incentive working. You
put a value on the packaging and it will disappear off the street. It's going to need a tough
stance by government.

JONATHAN HARLEY: And are State and Federal politicians up to the task of taking the lead on this?

IAN KIERNAN: No, and I think the National Packaging Covenant reflects that.

SENATOR IAN CAMPBELL (ENVIRONMENT MINISTER): We should be proud of what we've achieved, but
industry knows that the government is very serious about increasing the effort.

JONATHAN HARLEY: It's mainly a matter for the States, and late last year, State and Federal
Environment Ministers agreed that industry must have specific recycling targets. But that's
unlikely to mean Commonwealth backing for a national deposit scheme.

SENATOR IAN CAMPBELL: I think it's fair to say, if you want a true reflection of my thinking, that
I'm not attracted to it, but I won't rule anything out.

JONATHAN HARLEY: A deposit system would benefit some companies, such as the makers of these
so-called reverse vending machines. They provide a direct refund for containers and have led a
high-tech recycling revolution in Europe.

IAN KIERNAN: Internationally, we're seeing very much better recovery rates in some of the European
countries - in Germany, in Holland - where they don't have the facilities of easy, cheap landfill

JONATHAN HARLEY: The beverage industry disputes that deposit legislation has been a success in
Europe and argues that the cost of such a scheme would jeopardise the viability of kerbside
recycling in Australia. And whatever the latest technology, industry dismisses a deposit system as
just out of date.

ALEC WAGSTAFF: In reality, container deposits have not been introduced outside of Germany in the
world since the '70s, and that's no mistake as to why that's happened.

JONATHAN HARLEY: But beverage giants like Coca-Cola Amatil must be seen to be taking a fresh
initiative. So they're part of a push to put more recycling bins in public places, like these at
Manly in Sydney's north.

ALEC WAGSTAFF: So by proposing solutions like public place recycling and putting up money for those
programs, we think industry's doing its fair share.

IAN KIERNAN: I applaud the public place recycling initiative. We're involved in it. It's a very
good step forward. But it's only one.

JONATHAN HARLEY: Ultimately, it comes down to how the public pays for recycling, whether as
ratepayers or consumers.

GENIA McCAFFERY: So if we're going to be paying, let's get the best environmental outcome.

JONATHAN HARLEY: Ahead lies a battle of passions, profits and politics.

MAREE McCASKILL: And if industry hasn't dramatically improved and got its act together, then it
deserves to be regulated.

JONATHAN HARLEY: It's now a matter of just how much mess everyone makes in the process.

MAXINE McKEW: Jonathan Harley reporting there.

Zimbabwe opposition says peaceful change unlikely

Zimbabwe opposition says peaceful change unlikely

Reporter: Sally Sara

MAXINE McKEW: To overseas news now, and the African republic of Zimbabwe, nominated by incoming US
Secretary of State Condaleezza Rice as one of several outposts of tyranny set for special attention
in the second Bush administration. President Robert Mugabe stands accused of using blatant violence
and draconian security laws against his political opponents. Foreign observers maintain that the
country's last two elections were neither free nor fair. Now, Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change is threatening to boycott the next election, due this March. The country has been
off limits to most foreign reporters for almost two years, but the ABC's Sally Sara recently gained
access to leading opposition figures and found that they're now despairing of ever achieving
peaceful change through the ballot box.

SALLY SARA: These are the streets of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city. We're filming
secretly because we've come to interview people the Mugabe Government has tried to muzzle.

new direction for the country.

ARCHBISHOP PIUS NCUBE (CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF BULAWAYO): It makes me very, very angry that people
are not allowed to change a government and vote in a government which is of their choice.

SALLY SARA: With severe unemployment and inflation that has peaked at more than 600 per cent, many
people here can't get enough to eat. But the city's Catholic Archbishop believes that food has
become the latest political weapon for the country's ruling Zanu-PF party.

ARCHBISHOP PIUS NCUBE: And the government told lies there, saying that we had enough food, when
they knew very well that we had only a third of the food that we need - we only had 700,000 tonnes
of food. So this really makes me cross, that here is a government that is ready to sacrifice the
lives of his people, all for the sake of political expedience.

SALLY SARA: The government denies the accusations, but Archbishop Ncube claims that the people of
Bulawayo are suffering because they voted overwhelmingly for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change at the last election.

ARCHBISHOP PIUS NCUBE: I believe that food is one of the basic requirements of a human being. I
mean, we have children who are stunted right now, one out of four children are stunted, stunted
because the government is controlling food and politicising food. Often, they refuse giving food to
people who don't belong to the party.

SALLY SARA: Zimbabwe was once a food exporter. Now, isolated internationally and its economy in
ruins, more than 1.5 million of its people are in need of humanitarian aid.

MORGAN TSVANGIARI: What we are saying is that what Zimbabwe needs is a new beginning, otherwise
this path and direction that this country has been set by Zanu-PF is a precipice we are looking

SALLY SARA: Morgan Tsvangiari is the former trade unionist who is leading the struggle to oust the
Mugabe Government at the ballot box. But his party is threatening to pull out of the election
scheduled for March. After the experience of the 2000 and 2002 elections, when opposition
supporters were beaten and intimidated, he believes the Mugabe Government will once again rig the

MORGAN TSVANGIARI: And those elections have been rigged in their face. Do they want to go and try
something again where their vote won't count, because that's exactly what is happening: their vote
is not making a difference.

SALLY SARA: Most foreign journalists have been barred from entering Zimbabwe since we last filmed
here almost two years ago. Local human rights activists say the level of political violence from
both sides appears to have eased since then. But among those who oppose the government, there's a
strong sense of paranoia and intimidation.

MORGAN TSVANGIARI: Mugabe is stealing again. He has stolen an election, he is going to continue to
steal an election because he doesn't want to give up power.

SALLY SARA: These children have only known life under President Mugabe. A generation of Zimbabweans
has grown up under his authoritarian rule. Archbishop Pius Ncube has long been one of the
government's most outspoken critics.

ARCHBISHOP PIUS NCUBE: What really angers me is that people have no possibility of changing this
government. They can't change it because the ballot will be rigged.

SALLY SARA: But the government is determined to silence its opponents. It recently passed a new law
called the Non-Government Organisations Bill, which forbids foreign human rights groups from
working in Zimbabwe and places restrictions on local groups such as churches. Church and community
groups are playing an extremely important role in the current situation. Not only are they
providing assistance to those people who are suffering; these are some of the only remaining voices
to speak out against injustice. But the government's NGO Bill could change all of that. Vincent
Ndlovu is a veteran of Zimbabwe's guerilla war against white rule. But when he began campaigning
against the Mugabe Government, the reaction was swift and ruthless.

VINCENT NDLOVU (CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST): 1984, I was sentenced to 15 years under the Law and Order
Maintenance Act, and I was only released after the signing of the unity accord in 1990 on the 3rd
of September.

SALLY SARA: So you were charged with treason?

VINCENT NDLOVU: Yes, I was charged with treason.

SALLY SARA: Now the civil rights activist faces the prospect of going back to jail if he fails to
comply with the new law. He believes it's a thinly veiled attempt to muzzle dissent in the lead-up
to the next election.

VINCENT NDLOVU: I still feel, even today, because of the love of my country, that I have to say my

SALLY SARA: But after its previous failures at the ballot box, the opposition is struggling to
mobilise public displays of support. Archbishop Ncube is now questioning whether Morgan Tsvangiari
is the best person to lead the struggle.

ARCHBISHOP PIUS NCUBE: Now we don't have anybody in Zimbabwe who can say, "Now, here we are. It's
worth it to lay down your life to stop this oppression." So if we could just get a leader who would
really command enough respect to stand up against the unjust system, because this unjust system is
causing a lot of unhappiness to a lot of people.

MORGAN TSVANGIARI: I hope he has an alternative. Well, if he has no confidence in my leadership,
then he should tell us who has the confidence to lead the country forward.

SALLY SARA: Many Zimbabweans are desperate for a change of leadership. But if the opposition goes
ahead with its threat to boycott the election, voters will be left without an alternative to the
ruling party. Zimbabwe's political impasse threatens to enter a new and unpredictable phase.

MAXINE McKEW: Sally Sara reporting there.