|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
The Federal Government says
it will use all diplomatic means available to try to stop crimes against white
farmers in Zimbabwe.
Senator Robert Hill says the Federal Government is increasingly concerned about reports of violence against the farmers.
THE Federal Government today responded forcefully to Zimbabwe's allegations of racism, with Foreign Minister Alexander Downer calling High Commissioner Florence Chitauro to express concern.
Mr Downer telephoned Mrs Chitauro in Sydney and told her it was unhelpful to brand people racists during public debate.
Mrs Chitauro yesterday wrote to Queensland Liberal backbencher Peter Slipper saying his descriptions of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe as a malicious dictator with a personal vendetta against white farmers were racist.
While defending the Government's position that Australia, as host of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, could not prevent Mr Mugabe attending, Mr Downer said there were deep concerns over events in Zimbabwe.
Those concerns were conveyed to Mrs Chitauro.
Bank tellers in court over MDC fraud
Daily News: 8/20/01 8:42:48 AM (GMT +2)
THREE Stanbic Bank tellers appeared before a Harare magistrates’ court on Friday on charges of conniving with MDC employees, Kazamula Chirilele and Hlengiwe Tshili, to steal $9,6 million from the MDC account.
Innocent Mudiwa, 32, the chief teller at the Stanbic Bank Park
Lane branch in Harare, and junior tellers James Kapanepare, 46, and John
Mutizamhepo, 24, were not asked to plead when they appeared provincial
magistrate Shelton Jura. The court remanded them on $15 000 bail each to 30
Prosecutor Tendai Chivaviro said between 1 July and Tuesday last week, after conspiring with Chirilele, Tshili and a Harare man identified as Jamu Moyo, the three tellers facilitated the withdrawal of $4 050 000 from the MDC’s account at Stanbic.
Chirilele and Tshili appeared in court on similar charges on Thursday and were remanded on $15 000 bail each to 29 July, while Moyo is reported to be on the run. The three bank tellers allegedly paid out cheques, suspected to have been stolen by Chirilele and Tshili, without verifying with the account signatories and knew that the signatures on the cheques were fake.
COLIN Cloete, the
president of the Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU), has
denied reports in The Herald that his union has abandoned farm workers by setting up a trust fund to send only its members on holiday to London to recover from the trauma caused by disturbances on the farms.
In a statement, Cloete
accused the State-controlled newspaper of sensationalising the issue of the
trust fund, which he described as a sincere attempt by Zimbabweans to help each
He cited Cyclone Eline which wreaked havoc in the country last year, where he said there were similar moves by the private sector to support thousands of affected people.
On Saturday, The Herald reported that the CFU had set up a trust fund to finance the holidays and to compensate the farmers for the property looted during disturbances on farms in Mhangura and Chinhoyi.
It alleged that the farm workers were incited by the farmers to go on a looting spree.
The Herald reported that the workers were left out of the holiday scheme despite being victims of the disturbances.
Cloete said: “It is unprofessional practice by the journalist who wrote the story as he did not bother to seek comment, but chose to manufacture certain comments never said by myself.” He said he would be seeking legal opinion over the matter. He denied that the CFU had abandoned its workers.
ZIMBABWE president Robert Mugabe should be allowed to
attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Brisbane so his
democratic failings can be addressed, Opposition leader Kim Beazley has
argued. "I understand Mr Mugabe's proposed visit has already resulted in threats of
violence and wild protests," Mr Slipper said.
But Mr Beazley said Mr Mugabe should be allowed to go to the meeting.
"Bring him and tell him what you think of him," he told ABC radio.
"Bring him in and say: 'Look, the treatment of the farmers now is
inappropriate, your refusal to address the fact that you have an opposition now
that is probably better supported in your community and your efforts to keep
them out of office are unacceptable'.
"Have a conversation with him."
Mr Beazley said he hoped the leaders at CHOGM sit down and talk to President
Mugabe about those issues.
Federal coalition backbencher Peter Slipper has said Mr Mugabe should be banned from the meeting because his violations of human rights made him a threat to the people of Brisbane.
"I understand Mr Mugabe's proposed visit has already resulted in threats of violence and wild protests," Mr Slipper said.
But Mr Beazley said Mr Mugabe should be allowed to go to the meeting.
"Bring him and tell him what you think of him," he told ABC radio.
"Bring him in and say: 'Look, the treatment of the farmers now is inappropriate, your refusal to address the fact that you have an opposition now that is probably better supported in your community and your efforts to keep them out of office are unacceptable'.
"Have a conversation with him."
Mr Beazley said he hoped the leaders at CHOGM sit down and talk to President Mugabe about those issues.
THE effort to step up pressure on President Robert Mugabe to stop the economic decline in his country ran into problems last night when the Zimbabwean leader decided to stay away from an international economic summit in Uganda.
Instead of attending the Smart Partnership Dialogue in Kampala, Uganda, Mugabe sent in his deputy, Joseph Msika, throwing a spanner in the works of regional efforts which include an initiative led by SA, to arrange a minisummit to discuss the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, said last night the reason Mugabe had stayed behind was that he had been expecting a visit by Omar Bongo from Gabon. But the visit has since been called off.
Mugabe's absence, which the regions' diplomats said was not an accident, meant talks on Zimbabwe could not happen without him.
Two parallel initiatives were expected to be undertaken to intensify the search for a solution to Zimbabwe's crisis. First, it was hoped a three-nation task team comprising of SA, Botswana and Mozambique would hold talks with Mugabe on the fringes of the economic summit, the brainchild of Mohammad Mahathir, the antiglobalisation Malaysian leader and a known Mugabe ally. The threenation team was set up last week by the Southern African Development Community.
Second, the talks would have involved Don McKinnon, the secretary-general of the Commonwealth, who arrives today.
McKinnon's involvement in the informal, yet crucial, talks is seen as an attempt to get resolution to the Zimbabwean issue ahead of the Brisbane summit of Commonwealth leaders.
A diplomat close to Harare confirmed that Zimbabwean leadership saw this "facade as an abuse of the Smart Partnership" conference. "Why this hide and seek...this is not how to treat a head of state", asked one official.
However, diplomats from Commonwealth ations said Mugabe had missed a chance to make his case ahead of Brisbane. If he angered the African leadership, warned one, who would defend him?
Mugabe's defiant actions have now sent a clear signal of his attitude to the several initiatives being considered for his country.
This has also heightened concerns about the forthcoming Commonwealth ministerial meeting which is supposed to iron out the Zimbabwean issue, lessening tensions at the Brisbane meeting.
Diplomats close to Harare say Mugabe had also deliberately stayed away to send a message to President Yoweri Museveni, the host, that he could not go to a country he was at war with.
Ugandan and Zimbabwean forces are backing rival groups in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. "Until there's a sense of responsibility (from Uganda) we'll not go," one diplomat said.
Mugabe's allies Namibia's Sam Nujoma and Congo's Joseph Kabila have also sent junior delegations for the same reasons as Harare. Mugabe's defiance comes hardly a week after the SADC expressed rare concern at the impact of the crisis on the region.
Harare gives farmers 12 days to decamp
HARARE Zimbabwe plans to complete the first phase of its land seizure programme in the next 12 days, and white farmers whose properties have been targeted will have to leave immediately, the state-owned Sunday Mail reported.
"The first phase of the fasttrack land resettlement programme is expected to be completed in the next 12 days," said Agriculture Minister Joseph Made in an interview. "Commercial farmers still staying on land gazetted for resettlement are required to immediately vacate the properties to allow new settlers to move in," he said.
Zimbabwe has been in crisis since February last year, when militants invaded white-owned land in what they said was a show of support for President Robert Mugabe's campaign to seize farms for redistribution .
A Zimbabwean court is due to rule today on a bail application by 21 white farmers arrested on August 6 and charged with inciting public violence after clashes with self-styled war veterans occupying their properties. Militants staged retaliatory attacks on farms for a week afterwards, looting and destroying property and forcing families to flee .
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said possible US sanctions against his country's leaders would not prompt a state of emergency, contradicting earlier comments by Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge. Reuters, Sapa-AFP.
British Airways has confirmed to the BBC's World Business Report that it will only accept payment in US dollars or sterling.
Many other airlines have adopted the same policy.
The move is a reflection of waning confidence in the Zimbabwe dollar, whose value has plummeted in recent months.
On the black market, one US dollar buys 300 Zimbabwe dollars, compared with an official fixed rate of 55 Zimbabwe dollars to the US dollar.
Already, the local tourism industry is suffering as
regional and international tourists turn their back on the once popular
In 1999, nearly two million people visited Zimbabwe. This figure is now
thought to have halved over the past year.
If the situation does not get better soon, it could be many years before the
tourism industry recovers, John Smith, managing director of Zimbabwe Sun, the
largest hotel operator in the country told BBC's World Business Report.
"The downturn really started at the beginning of last year... There has been
bad political press coming out of this country... Our image has suffered
dramatically over last 18 months," he said.
The Zimbabwe Sun hotel group accounts for about 40% of the hotel beds in the
In 1999, nearly two million people visited Zimbabwe. This figure is now thought to have halved over the past year.
If the situation does not get better soon, it could be many years before the tourism industry recovers, John Smith, managing director of Zimbabwe Sun, the largest hotel operator in the country told BBC's World Business Report.
"The downturn really started at the beginning of last year... There has been bad political press coming out of this country... Our image has suffered dramatically over last 18 months," he said.
The Zimbabwe Sun hotel group accounts for about 40% of the hotel beds in the country.
About 18 months ago, the tourism industry was
operating at occupancy levels of about 60% to 65%.
The international and regional market accounted for roughly 60% of the
Of this, about two thirds was made up of international tourists and one third
of regional tourists.
These two markets have fallen off "dramatically", John Smith said, and it is
the smaller operators that are hardest hit.
"This particularly applies to the smaller safari lodges, where the marketing
is geared towards the international market, they are having a major problem.
Their costs are running away with them and they haven't got the revenue bases to
sustain those costs," he said.
"If it goes on for more than a year, we will see a lot of the tourism
industry actually collapsing and it will be many years before they can revive
that part of the industry," he said.
Zimbabwe was once one of Africa's most prosperous countries, its economy
fuelled by rich mineral resources and agricultural exports, such as tobacco.
The number of attacks on white-owned farms and other assets has crippled the
tobacco and mining sectors.
Together these would usually account for half of all exports.
Zimbabwe's vital export sectors have been crippled by unrest and political
interference, starving the country of hard currency income.
The international and regional market accounted for roughly 60% of the tourism industry.
Of this, about two thirds was made up of international tourists and one third of regional tourists.
These two markets have fallen off "dramatically", John Smith said, and it is the smaller operators that are hardest hit.
"This particularly applies to the smaller safari lodges, where the marketing is geared towards the international market, they are having a major problem. Their costs are running away with them and they haven't got the revenue bases to sustain those costs," he said.
"If it goes on for more than a year, we will see a lot of the tourism industry actually collapsing and it will be many years before they can revive that part of the industry," he said.
Zimbabwe was once one of Africa's most prosperous countries, its economy fuelled by rich mineral resources and agricultural exports, such as tobacco.
The number of attacks on white-owned farms and other assets has crippled the tobacco and mining sectors.
Together these would usually account for half of all exports.
Zimbabwe's vital export sectors have been crippled by unrest and political interference, starving the country of hard currency income.
Harare - Zimbabwean police appealed on Monday to 16 serious criminals who
were mistakenly released from custody to return to jail and finish serving their
sentences "for the good of society".
The 16 felons were erroneously freed on August 11, two days after President Robert Mugabe granted amnesty to 3 000 of the country's 22 500 convicted inmates in a bid to reduce overcrowding in prisons.
The prisons are designed to hold a maximum of 16 000 inmates.
The amnesty was meant to benefit petty criminals, the chronically ill and women jailed for infanticide or giving themselves abortions.
The 16 inmates freed mistakenly from Karoi Prison, 320km north-west of Harare, were serving lengthy terms for housebreaking and theft.
"The error was only discovered five days later," said police spokesperson Andrew Phiri, who appealed to the criminals "to be honest and return to prison where they belong, for the good of society". - Sapa-AP
By Cris Chinaka
Harare - Zimbabwe's High Court on Monday granted bail to 21 white farmers charged with inciting public violence after clashes with pro-government militants occupying their properties.
The farmers were arrested on August 6 in the northwestern town of Chinhoyi for allegedly assaulting supporters of President Robert Mugabe on a white-owned farm occupied by militants backed by the government.
Mobs of militants staged retaliatory attacks on white farms for a week afterwards, looting and destroying property and forcing families to flee before police intervened.
|Required to report to the police every Friday|
|'We just want our men out'|
By Jon Jeter
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, August 20, 2001; Page A01
CHEGUTU, Zimbabwe -- With its withered tobacco leaves, rot-black sunflowers and an untended wheat crop that has turned a dour shade of green, Phil Matibe's Paarl Farm is a 1,100-acre wasteland, idled by a government land-reform program that evicted the commercial farmer and his family two months ago.
The peasants ushered onto the farm by government officials have stripped bare Matibe's tractor, chopped down scores of trees for kindling and shacks, ransacked his tobacco barns and, for good measure, set fire to his house and corn crop. The work stoppage has left nearly 100 farmhands jobless and hungry, scavenging the parched fields for nuts and rats to eat. They, too, must leave the farm by month's end, provincial officials have told them.
Entering a campaign season in which he faces the first electoral challenge in his 21 years in power, President Robert Mugabe has trumpeted land reform as the unfinished business of the liberation war that freed this southern African country from British rule in 1980. Flouting the country's laws and ignoring increasing international pressure, Mugabe's governing party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), has used fiery appeals to pan-African nationalism and a fervent pledge to relieve rural poverty to justify its accelerated efforts to transfer farms with the most fertile soil to landless blacks.
But the government-led assault on Paarl Farm speaks volumes about Mugabe's motives, his policy and its feasibility. Matibe is neither white nor British, but a black Zimbabwean who purchased this farm with his life savings two years ago. He is also a member of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the surging new political party that threatens ZANU-PF's uninterrupted reign.
Among those who have been given plots of Matibe's land are a banker and three police officers who are ZANU-PF loyalists.
And instead of easing poverty, Mugabe's fast-track resettlement program is actually widening it, critics say, by killing the crops that Zimbabwe relies on for trade and food, and by leaving thousands of farmworkers jobless and homeless just as the country is facing massive food shortages and soaring unemployment.
"This," said Matibe, 34, "is not about correcting a colonial imbalance. This is about punishing your enemies and rewarding your friends. This is about staying in power no matter what the damage is to your country or its democracy."
Whites account for less than 1 percent of Zimbabwe's population of 12 million but, in a country roughly the size of California, own a third of the arable land. There is a consensus among economists, development experts and diplomatic officials that the concentration of land in the hands of a tiny elite deprives millions of poor blacks of a crucial resource in an economy heavily dependent on agriculture.
But critics say that as ZANU-PF's popularity wanes, Mugabe, 77, has used land as a smoke screen to cloak his party's mismanagement of the country and also as the principal component of a patronage system that nourishes political devotion and tramples dissenters.
The results have been dire in a country in which nearly a third of the population is forced to survive on the equivalent of a dollar a day.
Nearly 40 people have been killed since mobs of ZANU-PF supporters, led by veterans from the country's independence war, began occupying white-owned farms 18 months ago. The land grabs began in the weeks before Zimbabwe's most recent parliamentary elections and many of the white farmers targeted were supporters of the opposition MDC.
This month, clashes in Chinhoyi, a rural area about 75 miles northwest of the capital, Harare, drove more than 100 white farmers and their families from their homesteads. Twenty-one white farmers were arrested and were being held without bail on charges of causing public violence.
The lawlessness and the refusal of the police to intervene have led investors to flee the country and donors to freeze funds, driving the unemployment rate to 60 percent. The inflation rate has been 65 percent over the past year, and a trade organization representing the country's 4,500 mostly white commercial farmers announced this month that the disruptions caused by the illegal occupations of nearly 2,000 large-scale farms would reduce crop yields by more than 25 percent next year. Relief agencies are preparing to import up to 500,000 tons of grain to a country once known as Africa's breadbasket.
"I think famine is unavoidable," said Ian Kay, a white commercial farmer who said his tobacco and wheat crops will be only half their usual volume as a result of squatters who forcibly settled on his farm in June.
"All preparation for [next month's] planting season has come to a halt," Kay said. "Whenever one of my guys tried to plow, three or four [squatters] would walk up to the tractor and tell him to get off or they would set him and the tractor on fire."
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made this month announced that the government plans to step up its seizure of farms, nearly doubling from 12 million to 20 million the number of targeted acres.
And with the U.S. Congress expected to pass the Zimbabwe Democracy Bill, which would ban travel to the United States for Mugabe and his cabinet unless the illegal farm occupations are suspended, Western diplomats and others fear that the violence and food shortages will escalate in the months leading up to the presidential election next spring.
Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo this month suggested that the governing party would declare a state of emergency -- and possibly martial law -- if U.S. lawmakers passed the bill, which ZANU-PF has characterized as a sanctions measure that would affect Zimbabwe's national security.
"And now you have this talk of sanctions?" a visibly angry Mugabe said recently at a holiday gathering to commemorate the black freedom fighters who perished in the independence war of the 1970s. "Just what is our crime? Our crime is that we are black, and in America the blacks are a condemned race."
Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, said in an interview last week that criticisms of the government's land policy are exaggerated and manipulated by white farmers and colonial interests intent on preserving the economic inequities that remain in sub-Saharan Africa a generation after most countries won their independence.
"Food shortages we've always had in Africa, and we always will have food shortages," he said. "This is a major, major adjustment we are undertaking, and there is going to be an economic slump.
"There will be difficulties, but they are difficulties associated with transformation, and in the long run that transformation will be to the benefit of all Zimbabweans. This is about finding a new place for the black man in our economy."
That new footing is uncertain as of now. The estimated 350,000 people who work on Zimbabwe's commercial farms represent nearly a quarter of the country's workforce, but of the 122,000 families the government claims to have resettled, fewer than 1,900 are families of black farmhands.
Despite its contentious relationship with Mugabe, the mostly white Commercial Farmers' Union puts the number higher, estimating that roughly 10 percent of the 6 million acres seized have gone to former farmworkers.
The General Agricultural and Plantation Workers' Union of Zimbabwe estimates that only three of every 500 people resettled by the government are displaced workers.
Until the convoy of government cars and truck beds filled with squatters pulled up to Phil and Pearl Matibe's front door in June, their sprawling farm was home to 123 workers and their relatives living in mud-and-grass huts.
After giving the Matibes a week to move their household belongings and two young children, provincial officials told the workers they would have to leave because they had not registered to receive plots on the resettled farm.
"Where will we go?" said Kariba Hanoki, a farmworker for 38 of his 59 years. "We have nothing. We have no food. We have no soap. We have no money to go back to the rural areas where we came from."
More than a dozen farmworkers gathered around him, telling similar stories of life without jobs, food or money, and of eating whatever they could find -- nuts, beans, even dead rodents -- in fields they are unable to harvest without equipment.
"We were hoping that Mr. Matibe could arrange something for us," said Loyas Konorine, 30, a mother of two, who worked on the farm for five years. "But now we understand that Mr. Matibe is having a difficult time as well."
Matibe purchased the farm with money saved from a munitions firm that he founded, and he invested more than $150,000 in improvements and equipment.
While farmworkers often complain of poor pay and abuse by white farmers, several here said the Matibes were fair people who even took one of Hanoki's eight children to live with them at a friend's apartment in Harare when they were evicted to lighten their foreman's burden.
Charamba, Mugabe's spokesman, said he was unaware of Matibe's case but that in some isolated instances, land records failed to identify a farm's owner and listed a previous owner instead.
A black farmer whose property was wrongly targeted for acquisition, he said, could appeal to the agriculture minister.
Uninsured for damage that results from political violence, Matibe said he is unsure what to do now.
He does not regret his work with the MDC because he believes that Mugabe has outlived his political usefulness. But he failed to appreciate, he said, precisely how desperate ZANU-PF is to stay in power.
"I am as indigenous as anyone," Matibe said. "I was born and bred in Zimbabwe and all I know is farming. I wanted to give my farm to my two children. But now I am landless . . . because I had the audacity, the gall . . . to think."
The State Department is condemning what it says are serious human rights abuses and a climate of fear in Zimbabwe, which it says are threatening the economy of the entire region of southern Africa.
The comments in Washington followed a week-long wave of attacks and looting of white-owned farms by pro-government militants in Zimbabwe that forced some 100 farm families to flee and complicated a growing food shortage in the country.
The campaign has been accompanied by what U.S. officials say has been harassment of journalists, including the arrest this week of four staff members of the country's only independent newspaper after it carried a report implicating police in the farm attacks.
At a news briefing in Washington Thursday State Department spokesman Phillip Reeker said the United States is "deeply concerned" about the level of political violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe, and the country's rapid economic decline.
"The situation has taken a toll on the people of Zimbabwe as well as the people in southern Africa as a region, discouraging foreign investment, creating a potential for a refugee crisis and food shortages and reducing trade within the region," said Mr. Reeker. "So we condemn the serious human rights abuses and growing climate of fear and intimidation for which the government of Zimbabwe bears primary responsibility."
Mr. Reeker said the United States will continue along with other concerned countries and international organizations to press Zimbabwe's government to respect the free media, its independent judiciary and legitimate opposition political parties there.
The United States has been a persistent critic of the Mugabe government and the officially-inspired farm attacks, which began early last year.
On his trip to Africa in May, Secretary of State Colin Powell publicly urged Mr. Mugabe who has led the country for more than two decades to step aside in favor of a new generation of leaders when the country holds a presidential election next year.
He was beaten to death in broad daylight, largely unnoticed by anyone but his neighbors. Neither white nor a farmer, John Kamonela is far more representative of the terror unleashed by President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.
Last month alone, more black opponents of Mr Mugabe's rule were killed in politically motivated violence than white farmers since the land grab began early last year.
Mr Kamonela was murdered by the government militia because of his opposition sympathies. Another black was burned alive a few days earlier after a petrol bomb was thrown into his home; his family does not want his name released for fear of reprisals.
The Amani Trust in Harare, which monitors the human rights abuses, recorded 11 political murders, 61 disappearances, 104 unlawful detentions, and 288 cases of torture last month. Nine white farmers have been killed since April last year.
While international protest usually accompanies attacks on whites - putting some restraint on the government's actions, although it may play into Mr Mugabe's hands by focusing on the land issue - the campaign against ordinary blacks is relentless.
"These figures are only part of the picture, the ones we can confirm with certainty," said Anthony Reeler of the Amani Trust. "The state has very few inhibitions about using violence. We hear lots of reports of people dying, but the people are very unhelpful at giving us those statistics. There have been many more deaths in the post-parliamentary election period than before."
Up to 40 people were murdered in political violence before the June, 2000, parliamentary election, which the opposition Movement for Democratic Change came close to winning. Since then, the Amani Trust estimates that twice that number have been killed.
Torture is widespread, committed by the police, the self-styled war veterans or by militants of the ruling Zanu-PF. Some farm workers have been burnt out of their homes, which have then been looted. Many have been forced to attend political rallies where they were expected to identify MDC supporters among themselves. These sympathisers were then beaten, or worse, as a warning to others.
It is not just the poor who are vulnerable. Teachers and health workers in rural areas have also been targeted by the militias because of their presumed sympathy with the opposition.
Even election to parliament provides little protection. Dozens of opposition MPs have been arrested or assaulted, had their homes attacked or faced other intimidation since they were elected last year.
Such abuse has been made possible by the rapid transformation of police and judiciary from largely autonomous bodies to tools of the ruling party. The police have been purged of those suspected of disloyalty to the regime and are effectively another Zanu-PF militia.
They offer little protection to Mr Mugabe's opponents. War veterans have in many rural areas taken control of police stations. The force is then used to harass and detain opposition supporters, while ruling party activists get away with intimidation, assault and even murder. The actions of the army and the Zimbabwean secret police, which is solely accountable to Mr Mugabe, are little different.
Nor can people look to the courts with any confidence. Many magistrates are sympathetic to Zanu-PF or too intimidated to rule against the government. Judges who make an independent stand have been forced to resign after threats to their lives and families. And when a judge does resist the pressure and issues a court order against the government, Zanu-PF simply ignores it if it chooses.
While the government ignores the courts at will, it uses the law as another weapon against its opponents. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai faces subversion charges for warning Mr Mugabe that if he tried to hang on to power by force he might be removed by force.
Zimbabwe prison officials are now refusing to release 21 white farmers who have been held for the past 15 days for allegedly attacking land invaders The farmers were granted bail on Monday, but were held overnight while their paperwork was processed. The men were then scheduled to be released Tuesday, but prison officials told lawyers for the farmers that release papers for the men have not been issued. The lawyers charge the officials are deliberately delaying the release of the farmers. The men have not yet been formally charged. Zimbabwe High Court Judge Rita Makarau has barred all but one of the farmers from returning to their land for at least four weeks upon their release, saying she fears a new outbreak of violence. One farmer is ill and is being allowed home for treatment.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's Farmer's Union says the farm violence has resulted in an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease among cattle herds. The union says destruction of farm fences by squatters occupying the land has allowed wild animals that carry the disease to mingle with farm animals. The government has halted all beef exports. Experts say the outbreak could cost the country as much as $100 million in lost agricultural exports.
Clashes on August 6 between the farmers and the militants unleashed two weeks of violent invasions of white-owned farms by black squatters and pro-government militants. More than 40 white-owned farms were looted and some homes burned.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters and DPA.
TheAge.com.au: Tuesday 21 August 2001
South Africa and its neighbors are preparing for an influx of refugees from Zimbabwe, as the economic and political crisis there deepens in the coming months.
South Africa, Mozambique and Botswana are preparing to receive tens of thousands of people if the land crisis causes major food shortages, or the campaign of terror unleashed by President Robert Mugabe deepens in the run-up to next year's presidential election.
Pretoria has had contingency plans in place since the end of last year.
Earlier this month, a summit of regional leaders publicly warned that Zimbabwe's economic crisis could seriously undermine its neighbors, and privately decided that there is a real possibility of a major refugee crisis.
As a result, the three have held talks with UN officials about their preparations.
South Africa is planning a tented refugee camp at Beit Bridge, just inside its border with Zimbabwe. Mozambique says it will house any refugees at the port city of Beira. The Botswanan army is planning a camp in the far north of the country, near the Caprivi strip.
Officials are working on the presumption that white and middle-class black Zimbabweans will flee to Britain or enter South Africa as tourists, but that the vast majority of the population does not have the means to do more than cross the nearest border.
South Africa's constitution offers protection to refugees, which means that Pretoria would find it difficult to turn refugees away.
But the government fears the social consequences if large numbers of Zimbabweans enter the labor market because high unemployment in South Africa is already contributing to xenophobia.
Calls to ban Mr Mugabe from attending a Commonwealth leaders' meeting in Australia as a protest against human rights abuses were dismissed by government officials yesterday.
Those advocating a ban claim Mr Mugabe's proposed visit had resulted in threats of violence and protests at the Commonwealth meeting in Brisbane from October 6 to 9.
- GUARDIAN, AAP
IRIN: August 21, 2001
Posted to the web August 21, 2001
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development Simba Makoni has warned that the government's controversial fast-track land programme had contributed to a decline in agricultural output, the private 'Daily News' reported on Monday.
Speaking in Parliament last Thursday, Makoni said the decline in output was because of "sub-optimal operational conditions on farms affected by the fast track resettlement programme", high input costs, the mid-season dry spell and floods caused by Cyclone Eline, as well as belated payments to farmers by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB). Large-scale farmers had also reduced the area planted with maize by 54 percent. Makoni said the 2001 budget would now have to accommodate unavoidable additional expenditures on drought and food relief, especially maize and wheat imports, to make up for shortfalls.
Mugabe's friend is new Chief Justice as white farmers get bail
The Times: TUESDAY AUGUST 21 2001
FROM JAN RAATH IN HARARE
A CLOSE friend of President Mugabe became Zimbabwe’s new Chief Justice, together with three new High Court judges described as “junior lawyers” yesterday, deepening disquiet over the county’s once-respected judiciary.
Mr Mugabe swore in Godfrey Chidyausiku, 54, as the replacement for Anthony Gubbay, one of the most highly regarded judges in the Commonwealth, who was forced by threats of violence by the Government to resign in March.
The controversial appointment came as 21 white farmers, who have been accused of attacking a mob of militant ruling Zanu (PF) party squatters, were finally granted bail after two weeks in filthy police cells in the volatile northern town of Chinhoyi. They were also barred from returning home for a month. Judge Rita Makarau set bail at Zim$100,000 (£1,250) and the same sum in sureties. They were not expected to be released until today because of the slow process of lodging the money and proof of assets.
The farmers — with the exception of Gert Pretorius, 72, who is in hospital with a heart ailment — were ordered to keep out of Mashonaland West Province, which in the past two weeks has been the scene of random attacks on whites and the comprehensive looting of 53 white farms by Mr Mugabe’s militias. Judge Makarau said that there was “a high likelihood of public violence and unrest if the appellants are immediately returned to the community”.
It took her four days and repeated postponements to make a decision. During their two weeks in the cells, the farmers have been shaved bald and forced to wear prison fatigues, in violation of the law. They were deprived of medicine and extra food from relatives and forced to parade in front of state television cameras.
Patrick Chinamasa, the Justice Minister, described the appointment of Mr Chidyausiku as “a watershed in the history of the country because we have a Chief Justice with no links with the pre-independence regime”. He appeared to have forgotten that Mr Chidyausiku was an independent MP in the former Rhodesian Parliament from 1974 to 1977 and of the existence of Enock Dumbutshena, the venerated first black Chief Justice of Zimbabwe, whose tenure from 1984 to 1990 Mr Mugabe refused to extend after a series of rulings unfavourable to the regime.
Mr Chidyausiku was a Zanu (PF) MP immediately after independence in 1980, served as Attorney-General and went through a series of high-speed promotions after he was appointed a High Court judge in 1987. The Supreme Court repeatedly overturned his judgments.
Legal sources said that two of the new judges had little-known records. The third, Nicholas Ndou, was a magistrate who refused to set a hearing in 1984 for an inquiry into the discovery in a riverbed of the tortured bodies of two opposition party figures.
Australia won't bar Mugabe
The Globe & Mail: POSTED AT 12:55 AM EDT Tuesday, August 21
Canberra — Foreign Minister Alexander Downer rejected calls to ban Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe from a Commonwealth summit in October as a diplomatic brawl erupted between the two countries.
Mr. Mugabe is one of 54 leaders expected to attend the summit of Britain and its former colonies and dependencies. The Oct. 6-9 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is being held in the eastern Australian city of Brisbane.
Two legislators from Australian Prime Minister John Howard's governing Liberal Party have called on the government to ban Mr. Mugabe from the meeting because of violence against white farmers in Zimbabwe.
In the past two weeks pro-government militants have looted and burned white-owned homes in the Mashonaland West province of the southern African country. They are among ruling party militants who have illegally occupied more than 1,700 white-owned farms since March 2000, spurred by a government campaign to seize 4,600 white farms and redistribute the land to blacks. The targeted farms make up about 95 per cent of white-owned farmland.
Mr. Downer said Tuesday he understood the anger over events in Zimbabwe, but Australia was obliged to accept every Commonwealth leader, while the summit provided a forum to put international pressure on Mr. Mugabe.
"I can understand the anger there is about what is happening in Zimbabwe, but at the same time just refusing to talk to him isn't necessarily going to be the best way of helping all those people," the foreign minister told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
He said an action group of Commonwealth foreign ministers had discussed the issue at length earlier this year in London and wanted to send a delegation to meet with Mr. Mugabe, but he had refused. The group would meet again in London ahead of the summit, Mr. Downer said.
Comments by one Australian legislator, Peter Slipper, have created a diplomatic spat between Australia and Zimbabwe.
"This man is a dangerous, malicious dictator who has recently pursued a vicious personal vendetta against white farmers," Mr. Slipper told ABC radio. His comments drew sharp criticism from Zimbabwe's High Commissioner to Australia, Florence Chitauro, who wrote to Mr. Slipper that he did not understand the problems in Zimbabwe and that his attitudes were racist.
Prime Minster Howard and Mr. Downer have both defended Mr. Slipper, saying there are obvious concerns within Australia at Mr. Mugabe's handling of domestic issues. However, Mr. Howard said he did not agree with banning Mr. Mugabe, arguing that the summit could influence the way member governments acted.
He had the most unlikely of nicknames, especially for an African. But he revelled in the shock it provoked in others, particularly the country's small white minority. His short-term notoriety came to an abrupt end on June 4 when 51-year-old Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi died in Harare, Zimbabwe, reportedly from malaria.
monster's death leaves hope for peace
With strongman 'Hitler' Hunzvi gone, President Mugabe may be persuaded to use more peaceful methods, says former diplomat HARRY STERLING
Globe and Mail: Monday, June 11, 2001 – Page A13
While scarcely known by the outside world until recently, Chenjerai Hunzvi was increasingly a destabilizing factor within Zimbabwe. As the leader of the country's so-called "war veterans" from the liberation struggle, Mr. Hunzvi was the driving force behind the seizure of white-owned farms, and attacks against white farmers in which several were murdered and countless others badly beaten by his followers.
He was also responsible for attacks and killings committed against Zimbabwe's pro-democracy movement, reportedly resulting in at least 30 deaths.
Mr. Hunzvi's own death could have important ramifications for the repressive regime of President Robert Mugabe, as well as for pro-democracy forces. Mr. Hunzvi and his men (many too young to be veterans of the 1970s guerrilla war) were responsible in recent months for invading businesses and other institutions, and extorting money from management for alleged severance payments for previously dismissed personnel.
In one highly publicized incident, they abducted the Canadian director of the CARE office in Harare, Dennis O'Brien, and manhandled the Canadian High Commissioner, James Wall, when he tried to intervene.
As a result, Canada has suspended bilateral aid. The veterans' acts of violence had already prompted the British to close their cultural office in Harare. Other Western governments have taken similar measures.
Neither Zimbabwe's small white minority nor the pro-democracy Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, headed by trade-union leader Morgan Tsvangirai, will mourn the demise of Chenjerai Hunzvi. Both suffered at the hands of his "war veterans." However, it's uncertain what effect his departure will have on Zimbabwe's highly charged atmosphere as President Mugabe endeavours to intimidate his opponents in his bid to win re-election next April.
Mr. Hunzvi's actions were always a double-edged sword for President Mugabe. On the one hand, Mr. Hunzvi and his followers played critical roles during recent elections, in which Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party won, and Mr. Hunzvi, a trained doctor, was elected a member of parliament.
But while Mr. Hunzvi was useful to Mr. Mugabe, the violence he unleashed created problems for the President: The country's growing instability caused economic havoc and ended business investment. This, just as the nation was confronting almost 50 per cent unemployment in urban areas, and escalating food and gas shortages.
Mr. Hunzvi's strong-arm methods were uncomfortably familiar to Mr. Mugabe personally. In the 1990s, Mr. Hunzvi extorted the President into increasing pensions and other payments for war veterans. There have been recent signs that President Mugabe was finding Hitler Hunzvi a liability; other African leaders counselled him to rein him in.
The man's departure provides an unexpected opportunity for the various sectors of Zimbabwean society to step back and think about where the turmoil has been leading the country. If, as some suspect, it was Mr. Hunzvi's powerful personality and willingness to use brutal tactics to achieve his goals that gave the war veterans their clout, his death could weaken his followers' resolve.
This does not mean Mr. Mugabe himself will suddenly become a born-again statesman. Far from it. He and his own followers have no intention of advancing the cause of democracy. That would mean putting at risk all the power and privileges that Mr. Mugabe and his inner circle -- including senior military officers -- have been enjoying since independence in 1980.
But without Mr. Hunzvi around to carry out his dirty work, Mr. Mugabe may have to use less coercive measures in coming days. Were he to use the security forces against the civilian population, the action could boomerang on the President if neighbouring countries felt compelled to disown him. (During his recent visit to Africa, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell pointedly suggested it was time for Mr. Mugabe to hand over power to a new generation.)
Now's the time for Commonwealth countries, including Canada, to press
President Mugabe to use Chenjerai Hunzvi's passing as the opportunity to end the
violence and tension gripping the nation. And pivotal African states, such as
South Africa and Nigeria, should be persuaded to play leading roles in the
Harry Sterling, a former diplomat, is an Ottawa-based commentator. He served in Africa twice and writes regularly on African issues.
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - At least 60 black Zimbabwean militants besieged a white farmer in his home Tuesday as self-styled war veterans laid claim to white-owned land reportedly earmarked for transfer this month to blacks.
Peter Goosen was barricaded at his farm in the Nyamandlovu area, outside the southern city of Bulawayo, after militants armed with knives and spears moved onto his property, local farmers told Reuters.
"They are demanding that he must leave so they can settle there," Goosen's neighbor Peter Johnstone said.
Chris Jarreth, chairman of the Nyamandlovu Farmers' Association, said the group was in radio contact with Goosen and had not been harmed.
"We are in some kind of talks to resolve this issue," he said. "They want him out, but he does not want to leave."
Local police said they were trying to defuse the situation.
Increased militant activity comes after Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said in a statement in a Sunday newspaper that the first phase of fast-track land resettlement would be completed this month, and farmers had to vacate targeted properties immediately.
MUGABE BACKS REDISTRIBUTION
President Robert Mugabe says it is immoral for some 4,500 whites to own the bulk of Zimbabwe's prime farmland while majority blacks are still crammed into unproductive areas.
Farmers say the settlers, led by self-styled war veterans -- some of whom are too young to have fought in the 1970s independence war -- have already claimed agricultural land across the country.
The latest scramble for land came after 21 white farmers northwest of Harare were granted bail Monday after being kept in jail for two weeks on charges of inciting violence.
The farmers had clashed with pro-government militants occupying their properties in the northwestern town of Chinhoyi. The militants retaliated by burning and looting property.
A lawyer for the farmers said the High Court in Harare had signed their release warrants in the afternoon, but prison officials in Chinhoyi said they would not free the men until the prison had received the documents.
"They are not going to release the farmers today. But in our view, because the warrants have been signed the farmers are being held illegally," said lawyer Jeremy Callow.
Bail included a cash payment of 100,000 Zimbabwean dollars ($1,960), a similar amount in titles to assets or other surety, and the surrender of passports to the police.
The farmers also cannot return to the Mashonaland West area, which includes Chinhoyi, for at least four weeks.
The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), which represents 4,500 white farmers, says its members had been told nothing official by the government about the speeding up of land transfer that minister Made's statement implied.
Made, who has not commented further on his Sunday newspaper statement, was unavailable Tuesday.
"We cannot act on the basis of newspaper reports...but what is sad is that some people are acting on this," said a CFU official who declined to be named.
Earlier this month, Made told a CFU congress that the government had increased the amount of commercial land for redistribution to blacks to 8.3 million hectares (20.5 million acres) of the 12 million hectares it says whites own.
The state had previously targeted five million hectares.
Since farm invasions began in February 2000, nine white farmers have been killed and scores of farm workers injured in the accompanying violence.
The land seizure campaign, criticized by Western governments including the United States and Britain, has depressed foreign investor sentiment toward southern Africa.
Tuesday, Australia denounced Zimbabwe for failing to control escalating lawlessness between white farmers and landless blacks and ignoring international complaints about human rights abuses.
THE Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) has finally acknowledged publicly that there is a
crisis in Zimbabwe while South African President, Thabo Mbeki, managed last week
to get the Sadc summit to challenge President Mugabe’s way of handling the
explosive situation in his country.
Mbeki, who for long has
been blamed for using quiet diplomacy on Mugabe, has of late been critical of
his northern neighbour’s behaviour and the way he has been handling the volatile
land situation in the country and the politically-motivated violence ahead of
the Presidential election next year.
Sources said judging from events behind closed doors at the Blantyre Summit in Malawi, Mugabe is increasingly being isolated by his colleagues in the region.
First, he lost total control of the grouping’s contentious Organ on Politics, Defence and Security and was not included in Mbeki’s powerful African nations committee that will drive the Millennium African Renaissance Plan, now the New African Initiative.
Zimbabwe, by virtue of being South Africa’s largest trading partner, would have been on the committee.
Being left out was a major blow.
“The fact that young Joseph Kabila chose to go to Malawi after everyone else had departed tells a very big story,” a Sadc source said. “The Democratic Republic of Congo president would have jumped at the slightest chance of meeting his allies in Malawi, but it seems he has been told to keep a distance. That’s why he opted to go to Malawi and talk to Bakili Muluzi afterwards.”
Mugabe, who has since described the Malawi Summit, as his best ever Sadc summit, failed to get support for his controversial land reform exercise unlike at last year’s summit in Windhoek. Sources say it was quite obviously a bad summit for the President.
“He must have been really pained to lose his coveted five-year-long chairmanship of the organ, which he had exploited fully as a regional power base resulting in him being able to declare war in the DRC,” the source said.
With the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill expected to be signed into law by United States President George W Bush, Mugabe faces further isolation from the international community over the way he has been handling the crisis in the country.
International organisations have been calling for the Commonwealth to ban Mugabe from attending its summit in Brisbane, Australia, but he has since declared he will attend regardless of threats of violent demonstrations.
Meanwhile, The Sunday Independent of South Africa reported yesterday that Mbeki worked hard behind the scenes at the Sadc summit to ensure that the region challenged Mugabe’s handling of his country’s growing crisis.
Mugabe is likely to come under increasing pressure in the next month or two from both Sadc and leading African backers of Mbeki’s Africa Plan.
Mugabe still has some residual support in the Commonwealth where a task team led by Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo has failed so far to make tangible progress in resolving the conflict between Britain and Zimbabwe over land.
But diplomatic efforts are under way to ensure that Mugabe will get the same cold shoulder at the Commonwealth summit in October that he got in Blantyre last week.
Mbeki’s deft diplomatic manoeuvring also ensured that his Africa Plan, which has the backing of the eight industrialised nations as well as Africa and the Non-Aligned Movement, will be born without the contamination that Mugabe’s involvement in a leadership role would have implied.
Zimbabwe was not even on the agenda of the Sadc summit before it started last week, but Mbeki ensured that Zimbabwe was placed near the top of the agenda, once the meeting got under way.
This year, the Sadc heads of government brushed aside an attempt by Mugabe to win their support for his controversial seizure of white farms and a condemnation of Britain, the former colonial power, for failing to fund land redistribution.
They appointed a task team spearheaded by South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique to address the problem, in effect telling Mugabe that he was not capable of governing his country alone.
Sources said this team was expected to meet possibly as early as yesterday in Kampala where African leaders are gathered for the Smart Partnership summit.
Several analysts have noted that the appointment of the task team was a major setback for Mugabe since it will pry into his handling of his country.
It has been briefed to consult all role players in Zimbabwe, including white farmers, opposition parties and the government.
“If a country’s neighbouring states decide to speak about their brother’s problems in public, it is, in diplomatic terms, tantamount to drawing the line on its actions,” Jakkie Cilliers of the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria said.
“The leaders of these three countries are not the type who can be easily pushed around by Mugabe. It is obvious that they will implore him to implement land reform within the context of the rule of law,” said another source.
“The fact that the leaders did not settle for a team comprising Mugabe’s friends like Namibia, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo meant they were sending a very clear message to Mugabe that they want the land issue resolved properly to avoid ripple effects into the entire region,” the source said.
Sadc sources said the leaders were also unusually frank and critical of Mugabe in their closed sessions.
They said Swazi King Mswati III had reflected the tone of the discussions when he later told reporters that Mugabe’s illegal seizure of white farms tarnished the reputation of the whole region and that it had to be brought under control. Some official sources said that Mbeki’s approach was to warn Mugabe that he needed to take strong action to avoid a potential train smash at the Commonwealth meeting.
A snap survey carried out by The
Daily News showed that South Africa has the lowest price per litre of US$0,42
(about $23) for diesel and US$0,45 (about $24,75) while Zimbabweans pay Z$66 and
Zambia has the second highest price of about Z$55 and Z$56 respectively.
John Robertson, an economic consultant, said Zimbabweans were now paying for the corruption and mismanagement at the debt-ridden Noczim which owes $25 billion.
“We are now suffering because Noczim has been underpricing the fuel. The high price is meant to settle the debt which has been accumulating over the years,” said Robertson. “We have to seek suppliers who are competitive.
Independent Petroleum Group is charging an extra premium because we are a risky customer and they are justified.”
Another economic consultant who preferred anonymity said the recent clamour by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions for a reduction in the price of fuel was feasible.
He said: “Noczim must be dissolved and the fuel industry sector opened up, to give the public a transparent and accountable fuel delivery system.
“This would result in procurement at international prices and not at the special deal inflated prices currently being charged, by the IPG.”
Robertson said Noczim had been undercharging fuel because of political interference.
He said: “This could have been avoided but the government wanted popularity.
But it is already in a mess and it has become extremely unpopular now as it tries to set the right fuel price and to service Noczim.
“Servicing the Noczim debt without putting too much burden on consumers can be done if it is rescheduled to about 20 years. But that can only be done if we become credit-worthy and borrow off-shore. But our government is not committed to that until after next year’s election. Until then we will remain paying for fuel more than anyone else in the region.”
Meanwhile, fuel queues and shortages resurfaced in Harare last week, raising fears of another fuel crisis.
There have been fuel shortages since 1999 caused by an acute foreign currency shortage.
Last week, a Noczim official said the latest shortage was triggered by panic buying.
The official said: “There is a rumour that fuel prices will go up. We do not know where the rumour is emanating from. It has triggered an artificial fuel shortage as every motorist is resorting to unnecessary refuelling.
“Our supplies have been the same for the past three months.”
Our Correspondent in Masvingo
Police in Masvingo have refused to comply with an order by a magistrate to hand over about 50 soldiers, who went on a rampage two weeks ago and beat up people in public bars and night clubs in Masvingo town, for prosecution.
A Masvingo magistrate,
Shortgame Musaiona, on 8 August ordered the police to bring the army recruits to
court within seven days to face charges either of public violence or of assault
with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
An official at the Masvingo magistrates’ courts said yesterday that the police had refused to bring the soldiers to court, arguing that the $60 deposit fines were proper.
“Police have not yet brought the soldiers to court because they argued that the fines were enough,” said the official.
They also argued that apart from the fines, the army recruits were going to face disciplinary action at their work places.
The recruits, who were arrested following the disturbances in Masvingo, had been ordered by the police to pay deposits fines of only $60.
Inspector Simon Mbedzi, the Masvingo police spokesperson, yesterday refused to entertain questions from The Daily News.
In a letter to the officer in charge, Masvingo Central magistrate Musaiona said: “May you, with the powers vested in you, ensure that the soldiers are brought before the court within seven days.
“The scrutinising magistrate was extremely appalled and shocked at the manner in which your office assessed the case.
“That young soldiers, supposed to be disciplined, ran amok disturbing peace appeared to have been condoned or blessed in their actions through the paltry and cosmetic fines they were ordered to pay.
“The scrutinising magistrate is hereby refusing to confirm both the charge and the amounts assessed as he feels appropriate charges ought to be a more serious offence of either public violence or assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.”
The magistrate said since property worth thousands of dollars was damaged while people were injured, it was in the interest of justice to press appropriate charges against the soldiers.
“The court views that hooliganism is rife in these young soldier offenders and the public will feel betrayed when insubstantial fines and wrong charges are preferred at the expense of serious crimes.
“It is gross abuse of justice by requiring the soldiers to pay $60 deposit fines, which amount is not commensurate with the assumed damage caused. What type of justice is this?”
At least 10 people were injured, five of them seriously, during the disturbances, leaving the Masvingo community dumbfounded.
The injured were treated at Masvingo General Hospital.
The soldiers descended at Ritz Nightclub at around 9pm and started throwing missiles, damaging window panes and beating security guards at the entrance.
They also stoned cars outside the nightclub before forcing entry into the premises. Once inside, they opened one of the tills and got away with $5 000 in cash.
Patrons ran for dear life as the rowdy soldiers indiscriminately beat up everyone in the club.
The soldiers proceeded to Landmark and Wild bars where they beat up people before smashing windows.
Windows were also smashed on shopfronts in the vicinity.
|Air Zimbabwe workers lock out management|
8/21/01 8:57:42 AM (GMT +2)
Air Zimbabwe workers in
Harare yesterday barred their management from entering the premises after wage
negotiations broke down last week.
The workers are demanding a
37 percent salary increase. In addition, they want their transport and housing
allowances increased by 300 and 100 percent, respectively.
A workers’ spokesman said they decided to lock out the management after it failed to award them the increases.
He said: “We have resolved to lock them out because they are incompetent and corrupt. They are not concerned about our suffering.
“They are only concerned about feeding themselves. The board said we should get our salary increases by last week, but nothing has materialised. We are starving.”
A uniformed pilot pleaded in vain with a security guard manning the main gates to be allowed into the premises.
“I used a gun to liberate this country,” fumed the security guard as he barred the pilot from entering the premises, “and I do not want to use it again when it comes to dealing with people like you. You do not want to respect me.”
David Mwenga, the airline’s senior public relations manager, would not explain the lockout of the management.
“We have not been given any reason,” said Mwenga.
“We believe this has something to do with the deadlock in negotiations over salaries and allowances.”
|This country needs help|
8/21/01 10:41:16 AM (GMT +2)
I AM a black Zimbabwean living in this country. It is quite saddening for those of us suffering in this hell of a country to hear that the South African President Thabo Mbeki, supports President Mugabe.
Prices of basic commodities
rise almost everyday. Transport costs are sohigh those still lucky enough to be
employed have to resort to walking to work.
The ordinary man in the street now has one meal a day. National events are now being used as Zanu PF rallies. The President and his cronies openly threaten us with war if we vote for a party other than their “ruining” as opposed to ruling party.
Why the United States has to take so long to pass into law the Zimbabwe
Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill has everyone very worried.
We are suffering here. How much more do they want us to suffer?
Do these people not care?
Is it the US alone that can help bring about a change in this country? Can’t the people of the world unite and help the people of Zimbabwe attain true peace and democracy?
This is a cry for help.