The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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BBC
Monday, 15 April, 2002, 17:55 GMT 18:55 UK
Zimbabwe journalist arrested
Bombed Daily News printing press
The Daily News printing press was bombed in 2001
The editor of Zimbabwe's only private daily newspaper has been arrested after publishing a story that last month's election results were falsified, his lawyer said.

Geoff Nyarota from The Daily News was charged with falsifying and fabricating information and released three hours later, said Lawrence Chibwe.

Geoff Nyarota
Nyarota has been arrested five times in three years
Days after his controversial re-election, President Robert Mugabe signed into law measures which greatly restricted the media.

Another journalist was detained on Monday afternoon, his editor said.

Dumisani Muleya from the Zimbabwe Independent was picked up in connection with a story published last Friday, said the paper's editor, Iden Wetherall.

Earlier on Monday, New Zealand became the latest country to slap a travel ban on Mr Mugabe and his associates in protest at the election, which Commonwealth observers said was held in a "climate of fear".

Jail threat

Mr Nyarota faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison or a fine of $1,800 if found guilty.

In the story, the Daily News accused the man in charge of announcing election results, Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede, of manipulating the count.

He denies the accusation.

Mr Nyarota denies the charge, his lawyer told Reuters news agency.

"The understanding so far is that the police will take the case to the courts very soon, but they have formally charged Mr Nyarota," said Mr Chibwe.

Mr Nyarota has been arrested several times since the Daily News was launched in 1999.

The paper's printing press and main office have both been bombed.

'Shocking'

Last week Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, petitioned the Supreme Court to declare the result of the presidential election invalid.

The MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he has "shocking" evidence of electoral fraud, and is demanding a fresh election.


Mr Mugabe denies the allegations and has said no new presidential poll will be held until his term expires in six years' time.

Last week the ruling Zanu-PF party and the MDC began talks about the future of the country.

The talks, which have been adjourned for a month, are being held under South African and Nigerian mediation.

The United States, European Union and Canada have all imposed "smart sanctions" - travel bans and the freezing of foreign-held assets - on Mr Mugabe and members of his government.

In announcing New Zealand's own ban, Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said there was "clear evidence" that those on the list had been involved "in terms of human rights abuses and undermining the rule of law."

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ABC News

Zimbabwe Editor, Reporter, Charged on Mugabe Stories


April 15
HARARE (Reuters) - The editor of Zimbabwe's only private daily newspaper
was arrested and charged on Monday with publishing false information in a
story alleging President Robert Mugabe fraudulently won last month's
presidential race.

Police charged Geoff Nyarota, editor of the Daily News, under a recently
passed media law which penalizes "abuse of journalistic privilege" with
heavy fines or jail terms of up to two years, his lawyer Lawrence Chibwe
said.

Mugabe signed the media law just three days after winning the March 9-11
presidential poll, which his main rival Morgan Tsvangirai and many Western
powers say he rigged.

A reporter from another private newspaper said police had questioned him for
four hours over a story and charged him with criminal defamation.

"They said I had unnecessarily dragged the First Lady's name into my story
to damage her reputation and I deny this," Dumisani Muleya of the Zimbabwe
Independent said, adding that he was now waiting for the case to go to
court.

The paper's editor, Iden Wetherell, said Muleya was questioned over a story
alleging Mugabe's wife, Grace, had been drawn into a labor dispute involving
her brother and a white-owned company.

He said police detained Muleya after his story was published by the weekly
last Friday.

There was no immediate comment from the police on either case. Chibwe said
Nyarota denies the police charge that the Daily News fabricated information
in a story last Wednesday alleging Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede
falsified vote figures in declaring Mugabe the winner. Mudede has denied the
charge.

"The understanding so far is that the police will take the case to the
courts very soon, but they have formally charged Mr. Nyarota," Chibwe told
Reuters.

Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
has called Mugabe's victory "daylight robbery" and has filed a court appeal,
challenging the result.

Mugabe -- Zimbabwe's sole ruler since the former Rhodesia gained
independence from Britain in 1980 -- says he won the elections fairly and
dismisses accusations by mainly Western poll observers, including the
Commonwealth, that he cheated.

Mugabe, 78, says the West is desperate to see Tsvangirai -- whom he calls a
puppet of Britain -- in power and its observers came to the Zimbabwe
elections with pre-conceived opinions.




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SOUTHERN AFRICA: Desperation as people await harvests

JOHANNESBURG, 15 April (IRIN) - Rain-parched Southern Africa is eagerly awaiting the April/May harvests, which will determine whether up to three million people starve.

The situation is forcing desperate Zimbabweans to sell cattle and other belongings at vastly reduced sums to buy food to feed their families.

Reverend Forbes Mutonga, National Director of Christian Care, a World Food Programme (WFP) implementation partner, said: "For kids, the [school] supplementary feeding programmes are becoming their only meal in places like Masvingo and Chipinge.

"Basically life is difficult. In Chipinge district the people have been affected by a cyclone (in 2000), drought and then major drought.

"In Matabeleland most people have some cattle and when they sell them they are being exploited and given some maize meal and are being forced into barter trade. There are even reports of people eating wild roots."

Mutonga said it was not only people who had no crops in their fields and no money who were suffering. People who had money had found it impossible to buy basic foodstuffs.

"This is giving us more of a headache," said Mutonga.

Some of the worst hit areas Christian Care worked in included Guruve and Muzarabani in Mashonaland central, Kariba district, Masvingo, two Matabeland provinces and the Midlands.

"Only two out of 10 provinces have received rainfull so far," said Mutonga.

The results of harvests at the end of April and May will be a key indicator of the region's food security and will be closely watched by the WFP.

Mutonga's concerns are echoed by both the WFP and Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET).

In reports on the regional food security situation the organisations warned that all crops in the southern districts of Masvingo, Midlands, Manicaland, Matabeleland south and north provinces have been badly affected by the drought.

Zimbabwe would have a maize deficit of between 1,2 to 1,5 million tons in the 2002/2003 marketing season, similar to the 1992/93 marketing season.

The WFP is currently implementing a 12-month US$60 million emergency food programme in Zimbabwe which it hopes will reach about 500,000 of the most needy.

On Tuesday afternoon, the WFP would meet NGOs to discuss urban food shortage assessments.

Meanwhile, in other regions, the WFP reported that an emergency programme in Malawi is targeting over 301,000 people. Earlier reports said up to 80 percent of Malawians were facing food shortages.

Zambians continue to battle low and erratic rainfall and early reports from Mozambique indicate that in Tete province several districts will suffer food shortages in the next three months due to the lack of rainfall.

In Angola, heavy rains caused major flooding in Lobito and Benguela hampering access. More than 2,700 people will be helped with WFP aid this week in the Lobito and Dombe areas and community kitchens would be opened in Lobito and Benguela for about 1,000 people who lost their housees, the WFP report said.

In Balombo and Benguela municipalities, over 800 malnourished children were given WFP food. Following the ceasefire about 3,900 malnourished internally displaced people were resettled in Kuito, Kunhinga and Kamacupa.

A FEWSNET report also warned that as a result of warm sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean an El Nino event, which is normally associated with poor rainfall in Southern Africa, was beginning to develop.
[ENDS]

IRIN-SA
Tel: +27 11 880-4633
Fax: +27 11 447-5472
Email: IRIN-SA@irin.org.za
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MSNBC

Commonwealth press to back Zimbabwe's free media



CAPE TOWN, April 15 The Commonwealth Press Union (CPU) will shun
Zimbabwe's state-owned media during its suspension from the association, but
will work with the country's independent media, an official said on Monday.
Zimbabwe was suspended from the 54-member Commonwealth in March
after a disputed presidential election in which Robert Mugabe, who extended
his 22-year rule to 2008, charged that the opposition parties and press were
backed by the West.
Mark Robinson, executive director of the CPU, told a news conference
in Cape Town that Zimbabwe's 12-month suspension did not mean the union had
to withdraw entirely from the country.
''We will apply exactly the same principles that we applied with
Nigeria when they were suspended -- we will not be issuing any invitations
to state-owned media during the period of that suspension,'' Robinson said.
''But we will not cut ourselves off from the privately owned media
who we have been working to help and to encourage.
''We want to see a strong democratic press develop in Zimbabwe as in
every other country and we will do all within our powers to help,'' he said.
Zimbabwe's only broadcaster and its main newspaper are state owned. A
handful of independent newspapers battle legal restraints, bombings and
police harassment.
On Monday, the editor of Zimbabwe's only private daily newspaper, the
Daily News, was arrested and charged with publishing false information in a
story alleging that Mugabe fraudulently won last month's presidential race.
The London-based CPU is represented at a Commonwealth conference on
parliament and the media in Cape Town this week.
The Commonwealth suspended Zimbabwe after its observer mission
reported that the March election that returned President Robert Mugabe to
power was not a free expression of the public will.
The 54-member Commonwealth links Britain, its former colonies and a
handful of other developing nations. Its subsidiary organisations include
the CPU, a broadcasters' union and the Commonwealth Parliamentary
Association (CPA).
CPA Secretary General Denis Marshall said the Commonwealth had done
everything it could to punish Zimbabwe by suspending it from the
association's activities.
Zimbabwe is facing mounting sanctions over the violence and alleged
abuse of legal powers that marred the election.
Mugabe has so far refused, however, to consider rerunning the
election under international supervision.

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BBC
Monday, 15 April, 2002, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
MDC set deadline for talks with Mugabe
The BBC's Tim Sebastian met Tendai Biti
The BBC's Tim Sebastian met Tendai Biti
A senior member of the Zimbabwean opposition says his party will pull out of talks with Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party, if they fail to reach an agreement to re-run last month's presidential elections within four weeks of negotiations.

Tendai Biti, a spokesman on foreign affairs for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) told Tim Sebastian for BBC HARDtalk that his party would call off negotiations with the Zimbabwe Government if the matter was not addressed.


The principle is that the Zanu-PF regime is illegitimate.

Tendai Biti
"If after four weeks there is no prospect of an agreement then there is no point in engaging in verbal exercises," he said.

On Friday, the MDC petitioned the Supreme Court to declare the result of last month's presidential election invalid.

Whilst crisis talks between the two parties have currently been suspended until 13 May.

'Stealing victory'

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC which lost the widely condemned March poll, has accused President Robert Mugabe of stealing victory.

The MDC claims the election result was
The MDC says the election result was "illegitimate"
His party has alleged there were large discrepancies in the figures recorded at polling stations and those announced by the government.

However, in the interview Mr Biti denied that by agreeing to talk to a government it has labelled "illegitimate," his party had "sold" its principles, saying the MDC had an obligation to break the political impasse in Zimbabwe.

"We have not sold out on any principle," he said.

"The principle is that the Zanu-PF regime is illegitimate and we have to go back to the question of legitimacy, by allowing the people of Zimbabwe to have a free and fair election where they can freely express their political choice."

Disappointment

Mr Biti who is visiting London to drum up international support for his party went on to express his disappointment with Europe, claiming that the international community should be exerting more political pressure on the Zimbabwe Government.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Mr Tsvangirai is calling for a re-run of the election
"I am disappointed that the pace of international involvement is not consistent with the balance sheet of things that are happening at home," he said.

Last month, Commonwealth observers reported that the presidential election in March was marred by a climate of fear and violence against opposition supporters and Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth for a year.

However Mr Biti argued that this suspension was not enough and called for the international community to impose targeted sanctions on President Robert Mugabe

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From a Zimbabwean farmer:
"Well the land invasion saga continues with new twists everyday the latest being that you are not allowed to move your equipment off the farm and it now belongs to the settlers and they are going around doing inventories they came to us today to do the inventory. They say they are going to be using all the irrigation pipes and irrigation motors to grow winter wheat. There was also a very hard hitting statement made yesterday by the Minister of Lands Mr Made (Published here and repeated in the article below). Anyway we plod on and wait the next couple of days to see our fate. There have been a number of farms that have been looted in this area with J and E (our next door neighbours) being one of the five to loose things. Their losses go into well over $20 000 000.00 zim $ and their house has had tiles, sinks, toilet cisterns, basins electrical fittings etc removed. They had taken most of their furniture to town and only had a few things left in the house but these things were all stolen. E got lorries in last week with a police escort to remove the remainder of equipment and had to leave behind the irrigation pumps, some diesel and a generator as well as various other items. "
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Subject: The Land Agenda

Any ideas that might be held by others in Africa that Mugabe and Zanu PF are sincere in their commitment to the Abuja accord on land or the UN proposals for land reform or even the 1998 agreement reached with the stakeholders on the subject, must surely be swept away by this extraordinary statement from the Minister responsible. It should be noted that 3 days ago Zanu PF agreed in a meeting chaired by Nigeria and South Africa that they would negotiate with the MDC an approach to the land issue which was in keeping with the commitments made in Abuja by the government some three months ago. This new statement clearly shows that Zanu has no intention of doing so and are now fully committed to the wholesale nationalization of all commercial land in Zimbabwe that is being used for agricultural purposes.
In this statement there is no commitment to compensation for the assets being seized in this manner, no reference to the legal process which is clearly set out in legislation passed by this government to manage the land reform process. It brushes aside the decisions of the Supreme Court on this issue and completely ignores all historical legal agreements including the protection of investment agreements with at least 20 overseas countries, the World Bank and UN Conventions on the subject.
The is no commitment to the rights of the large agribusiness sector covering tens of thousands of hectares of timber, tea and coffee plantations or the massive sugar and citrus plantations in the south of the country.
The sums involved are simply immense and the State has no possibility of either providing for or ever paying for the assets being looted by this process.
This is not land reform, this is theft of private property on a scale not seen in Africa for many years. There is no reason why this process should not be extended to the commercial and tourism assets in the country or the mining assets - in fact the justification given in the last paragraph opens the way to just such an exercise.
It must also be noted that the manner in which this high handed action is being carried out is symptomatic of a totalitarian dictatorship which has little regard for the rule of law or the rights of others. This action not only destroys a vibrant commercial farming industry that has served Zimbabwe well for a 100 years but also condemns the country to hunger, joblessness, poverty and degradation on a huge scale. Its implications will have far reaching effects on the whole of southern Africa and beyond.

PRESS STATEMENT BY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT, HON J.M. MADE, ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE LAND REFORM PROGRAMME (MODEL A1 AND A2)
INTRODUCTION:
The Land Reform Programme has seen many challenges to government and in particular the implementation of the Fast Track Resettlement Programme launched 18 months ago.
Some of the challenges that government has faced in implementing the land reform programme have been: -
* Resistance by the Commercial Farmers
* Delays in the Administrative Courts
* Bureaucratic delays at the ministry level. Officers wanting to formulate policy instead of implementing policy.
* Lack of adequate resources (financial, human and physical)
In order to address most of the challenges that have been faced, government through my ministry has taken a decision that we fully address the issues and give a public statement to indicate which measures we are going to take and the direction in order to conclude the Land Reform Programme.
The major objective being to further enhance social, political and economic stability.
EFFECT OF SERVING PRELIMINARY NOTICE. (SECTION 5)
Where government has expressed an interest to compulsorily acquire a farm by gazetting the farm and serving a preliminary notice (commonly referred to as a Section 5). The landowner shall not: -
* Sub-divide or apply for a permit to subdivide such land
* Construct permanent improvements on the farm
* Dispose of such land
* Demolish, damage, alter or in any other manner impair the farm, or
* Release water from the dams; destroy pastures or carry out activities that sabotage the smooth implementation of the land reform Programme EFFECT OF SERVING ACQUISITION ORDER (SECTION 8)
The serving of an acquisition order (commonly referred to as section 8) on a gazetted farm, has the effect of immediately transferring the ownership, of that farm to the acquiring authority, represented by the Ministry of Lands, Agricultural and Rural Resettlement. The acquiring authority will immediately survey, demarcate and allocate the land concerned without undue interference to the living quarters of the owner or occupier of that land.
It is a criminal offence for the landowner to interfere with the exercise of survey, demarcation and settler emplacement. The landowner should now confine himself or herself to the homestead, and must vacate the farm within
90 days of being served the acquisition order. The acquisition order now also serves as an eviction notice. No requests for extensions of the notice period shall be entertained. Government expects the new settlers to quickly move into their newly acquired land and become the landowner and newly settled farmer. White commercial farmers must stand warned that government will not tolerate interference of the operations of the newly settled farmer.
IMPLEMENTATION OF MAXIMUM FARM SIZE REGULATIONS Government has now started to implement the Maximum Farm Size regulations.
The Maximum Farm Size regulations will be implemented as follows: -
* The affected farms are going to be gazetted and compulsorily acquired.
* the farms are going to be subdivided to conform with the required maximum farm size,
* the current landowners that wish to continue farming in Zimbabwe will have to indicate their intention to do so and government will consider the requests.
In December 2000 government gazetted Statutory Instrument Number 288 of 2000 in which maximum farm sizes were prescribed for all the agro- ecological regions of our country. The maximum farm sizes were broken down as follows: - Agro-Ecological Zone Maximum Farm Size (ha)
l 250 lla 350 llb 400 lll 500 lV 1 500 V 2 000 All farms that have not been gazetted for compulsory acquisition are going to be sub-divided to comply with the maximum farm sizes.
The following farms/properties will be exempted from the maximum farm size regulation: -
* State land
* Properties belonging to church or mission organisations
* Properties belonging to educational institutions
* Properties owned by black indigenous farmers
* Properties where Model A1 and A2 allocations have already taken place My ministry is still working out the appropriate maximum farm sizes for conservancies and plantations in consultation with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
GOVERNMENT SUPPORT AND PROVISION OF RESOURCES Government has also identified under the Land Reform Programme, a second challenge, that is, the need to support fully the resettled families in order to optimise agricultural production so that economic growth, food security and employment creation are assured.
In all government-supported programmes under the Land Reform Programme, the production of starch based crops like maize, sorghum, millet and potatoes is going to be emphasised and production targets are going to be set.
Government is also going to put a price structure that will encourage farmers to produce these crops. As people are moved from marginal land to land with better pastures, livestock is also going to take centre stage in our programme so that the country can meet domestic consumption and export needs.
Government is also going to beef up resources and support services at provincial and district levels to meet the demands of the land and agrarian reform. The required personnel are going to be recruited so that the various activities under the land and agrarian reform can be carried out swiftly and efficiently.
We have to create a normal life in the resettled areas by designating areas for rural service centres in order to provide schools, clinics, infrastructure for grain storage, etc.
SABOTAGE AND DESTRUCTION OF INFRASTRUCTURE ON FARMS We have received reports of commercial farmers who are destroying infrastructure and removing or vandalising irrigation and other farm infrastructure. The aim is to frustrate government efforts to grow a winter crop and preparations for the summer crop and other farm operations. The nature of other acts of sabotage, include among others the spraying sugarcane plantations with harmful chemicals and infecting cattle with diseases. These criminal acts are going to be investigated and the culprits will be brought to book.
MINISTRY CIVIL SERVANTS The Ministry's civil servants have done a hard job so far.
However a serious problem has arisen of different levels not working at the same pace. A number of critical officers seem to be putting brakes on the implementation of the Land Reform Programme. Numerous reports are coming from the ground alleging that civil servants in my ministry at certain levels are working hand in hand with commercial farmers to derail and delay the gains so far achieved on the future of the Programme. As Minister I will not hesitate to deal with officials that derail and or delay the land reform programme.
NATIONAL LAND TASK FORCE The National Land Task Force has been re-activated. The Task Force will have very clear terms of reference to monitor and recommend action to be taken by my Ministry in order to have the Land Reform Programme effectively concluded. In addition to the Task Force, various Ministers will be requested to assist in various provinces to see that our targets are met.
Ministers Mujuru, Chombo, and Made will soon meet the Task Force to map out its action.
CONCLUSION Our Land Reform and Agrarian Reform are well crafted as they are based on studies that have indicated that we have land that is under- utilised or virgin. Our Land Reform Programme is going to be carried out in an environmentally sustainable manner.
I would like to take this opportunity to tell the nation that there is no going back on the land reform programme.
Overally by implementing land re-distribution and de-racialisng the agricultural large scale sector, Zimbabwe will ensure that agricultural production is never again in the hands of a few who under-utilise or hold to ransom the means of food security, employment creation, and economic growth.
I thank you.

The last paragraph shown above is very important in that it gives the justification for this draconian statement as far as Zanu PF is concerned.
It should be noted that land owned by black large scale farmers - most of whom are Zanu PF functioaries or military officers who have benefitted from the process so far, are specifically exempted from the land aquisition process and the regulations on maximum sized properties.
The object is therefore racial as well as economic. The great majority of the properties siezed as a result of this declaration are farmed very intensively and have been the cornerstone of food security for the past 20 years of independence.
With this single stroke of a pen - the government has thrown up to 500 000 people out of work, driven their families (2,5 million people) into penury and destroyed any chance of a resumption of economic growth after three years of decline in the GDP. The decision to pay farmers for the past years tobacco crop at the official exchange rate means also that as a final act, the state will take this asset from the growers at a quarter or less of its real value. Plans for a winter crop of wheat and maize are a pipe dream and another form of economic madness.
This is the sort of thing that is going to sabotage the New Economic Programme for African Development (NEPAD). If the Mugabe regime is allowed to carry out this so called "reform process" by African leaders, then they will be tacitly endorsing actions of this nature everywhere in Africa and investors everywhere will take note. It must be noted that the tiny white community that is affected by these measures are all highly qualified and experienced and possess the resources to relocate to other countries where their rights as investors, as citizens, as human beings will be respected.
Those left behind are not so fortunate and will pay the price for these gross violations of basic rights. Rights which are everywhere else in the world are regarded as being inviolate.
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EU beefs up Zimbabwe sanctions with ban on ministerial contacts

LUXEMBOURG, April 15 (AFP) - EU foreign ministers on Monday beefed up their sanctions against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his government to include a ban on bilateral ministerial contacts "until further notice."

In a statement, they expressed "deep concern at reports of continuing politically motivated violence against opposition supporters" by Mugabe's governing ZANU-PF party.

Meeting as the EU Council of Ministers, they also condemned "the wide-scale abuse of human rights still taking place, especially in the rural areas, with the assent or the complicity of the Zimbabwe authorities."

"The council decided to impose a moratorium on bilateral ministerial level contacts with Zimbabwe until further notice, except for the conduct of political dialogue intended to promote democracy, human rights, the rule of law in Zimbabwe, regional security and for addressing humanitarian needs."

The 15-nation European Union, at Britain's urging, had imposed personal sanctions against Mugabe and 19 close associates, including an asset freeze and a travel ban, prior to Zimbabwe's general elections last March 9-10.

It also yanked its election observers out of the country, after determining that Mugabe's administration would not allow them to fan out across the country and go about their work thoroughly.

In their conclusions Monday, the EU foreign ministers said they were deferring consideration of "additional targeted measures" against Mugabe's government until their next meeting in May.

They also said they were awaiting "with interest" a report on a visit to southern Africa by an EU delegation, and for "signs of a clear commitment" from Harare to end political violence and strive for national reconcilation.

"The council welcomed the initiative of South Africa and Nigeria to facilitate inter-party dialogue in Zimbabwe," their statement said, adding: "The EU strongly supports all efforts which will lead to a fully representative future government in Zimbabwe."

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