indeed a monumental tragedy that African leaders have no shame in applauding
and cheering idiots, despots and buffoons.
The recent circus in
Durban clearly shows that our leaders have their heads still firmly buried in
The birth of the African Union had provided the African
presidents with a tremendous opportunity to shed off the past, to
unequivocally and unambiguously embark on democratic
But as it turned out, it was all the millions of us
across the continent who were contemptuously short-charged.
were treated to the spectacle of these leaders idiotically cheering a buffoon
from North Africa in exactly the same way that African leaders did to another
murderous tyrant called Idi Amin way back in the
A crying shame and true testimony that in a time span of
more than 30 years, nothing has changed in Africa.
knows that Muammar Gaddafi became Libya's head of state through a coup
d'etat. Since 1969 when he took over no elections have been held in Libya.
There simply isn't any democracy in that country.
The man is a
dictator. He is a heartless bully whose greatest love is to seek other
dictators on the continent and bankroll them in order to make sure that they
continue the heart-rending suppression of their own citizens.
simply cannot begin to comprehend how Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Festus
Mogae and Thabo Mbeki could just sit there and watch this tragedy of a desert
dweller throw his childish tantrums about "Africans" and some such nonsense.
One of them should have stood up, banged the table and stated in no uncertain
terms that Africa's time had come. He should have stated that: democracy must
be embraced by the continent without preconditions; that those who did not
want democracy could stand up and walk out. He could have gone further to say
those few who really wanted to release the energy and potential of their
people through democratic governance could stay and do business.
But as usual they did nothing. It is terribly frightening when one begins to
see that out of more than 40 African heads of state, not even one realises
that the greatest scourge of our continent is lack of good governance. In
Billions of dollars have been poured into the
continent of Africa over the years. Billions are still being poured. Billions
will be poured in the future.
But because those billions have
never reached, are not reaching and will never reach the intended
beneficiaries, poverty and misery will always stalk the majority of the
people on this continent.
The sickening wretchedness of the
ordinary African is cast in stone and here to stay.
brings accountability; accountability strangles corrupt sharks and when
unrestricted, human drive and initiative produce tremendous progress and
But judging from the recent useless feel-good
conference in the port city of Durban, one can safely remind fellow Africans
that the diseases - the grinding poverty, the corruption, the torture and
killing - are here to stay.
In Durban African leaders clearly
showed that from this abominable path, they will not be
I have long been a believer that it is men that are largely
to blame for the wars in the world. After all, men make guns and bombs and
women make babies and peace.
Certainly in Zimbabwe it is men
that have caused this unspeakable horror that has become our daily lives and
it is the women that are shouldering the consequences.
It is the
man that leads us and the men who surround him who decided that they were not
prepared to give up power and would do whatever it took to stay in
The lot of women in Zimbabwe has become intolerable and the
load we carry every day is overwhelming us.
Our hell starts
before dawn every single morning when we look at the empty shelves in our
kitchens and wonder what on earth we are going to cook that will
satisfy our children's grumbling stomachs.
Gone are the days when
we could start their morning with a cup of sweet milky tea because we cannot
get sugar and can seldom afford milk.
We have to ration them to one
biscuit with their cup of black tea because the price of a packet of biscuits
has gone from Z$40 four months ago to over Z$100 now.
only reminisce about the taste of a bowl of soft porridge because we can no
longer get maize-meal and the cost of other cereals
Eggs are a luxury to be saved for holidays and
paydays as each single egg now costs Z$27.
We have to stand in
food queues day after day patiently waiting for sugar or salt, maize-meal or
As mothers, we have to find ways of repairing our
children's clothes and shoes again and again because new ones are luxuries
that we cannot afford.
We have to accept that there is a good
chance that our daughters' education will be the first one to be forfeited
when we can no longer afford the school fees.
As women, we have
been forced to accept that when our daughters leave school they will have to
attend the Border Gezi inspired National Youth Training camps.
We know that our daughters will have to share dormitories with men and that
there is a very good chance they will come out of that training either with
an unwanted pregnancy or the Aids virus - or both.
As women, we
have been forced to accept that if we want a job and if we want to keep it,
there is a very good chance that we will have to allow our bosses to
have sex with us.
We know that if we want a place in a college and
that if we want to be able to graduate from that institution we will have to
give sexual favours to our tutors and lecturers.
For the last 30
months Zimbabwean women - black, brown and white - have had to watch as our
lives have been completely ravaged by the men governing
We have stood by and watched as our husbands and sons
have been berated by government supporters.
We have seen our
homes burnt down, our possessions looted and destroyed.
stood at funerals and grieved for the men who have died in our fight for
We have seen our clinics run out of drugs, our schools
close down and our shops run out of food.
We have stood by and
watched as our government of men has raised $65 million for a beauty pageant
so that they can ogle pretty women when our own bodies have become weak and
ravaged by hunger and exhaustion.
In India when the women had
finally had enough of their government's ways they went outside their back
doors every night and banged their cooking pots in protest.
Within a few weeks the noise of women banging pots at dusk became so loud
that it could be heard across the country.
In South Africa during
apartheid women wore black sashes in silent protest against the policies of
In Argentina women carried posters of their
husbands and sons who were missing or had been abused.
America women wore the nappies of their missing children on their heads as
scarves and in silent protest at their government.
And in Zimbabwe
- we women just watch our families grow thinner, and we wait.
When it was
first reported in the Press that a gang of suspected war veterans had, last
Friday, dragged out of his courtroom, the sole Chipinge magistrate, Walter
Chikwanha, and took him to a government building where they severely
assaulted him, every peace-loving, law-abiding Zimbabwean was genuinely
It was the ultimate proof, if indeed any more proof was
needed, that the rule of law has completely broken down in
Many felt anger and revulsion at the state of anarchy and
lawlessness this country has been allowed to descend into because one man
will not countenance the idea that the people of this country have the
inalienable right to decide who will govern them at any given
The attack on Chikwanha was, of course, not the first on a
magistrate. Others in Bindura, Kadoma and Masvingo have in the past been
threatened and demands have been made for them to be transferred or removed
altogether because they had delivered judgments which Zanu PF supporters did
And, as we will all recall, even High Court judges have
had a taste of the nastiness of the so-called war veterans when they think
the courts "have betrayed the party". Because they have been given free rein
by their "patron" to virtually run the country as they please, what they
want practically goes. And there is no better person to testify to that than
the present Chief Justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku. They frightened him out of
his wits when, as head of the commission of inquiry into the wholesale
looting of the War Victims' Compensation Fund, they publicly derided him,
danced on top of his desk and forced him to abandon hearing damning evidence
about how their leader, the late Chenjerai Hitler Hunzvi, had facilitated
huge claims from the fund by undeserving claimants.
All in all,
the war veterans have for a long time now been sending a clear message that
the courts were only free to convict and punish everyone else except Zanu PF
But the physical attack and subsequent abduction of the
Chipinge magistrate, whose whereabouts were still unknown as of Monday, is
the most serious message to that effect to date. It is not entirely alarmist
to say that that attack represented the final nail in the coffin of the rule
of law in Zimbabwe. To all right-thinking Zimbabweans, the attack on
Chikwanha was like an attack on their own person: an assault on their own
dignity, freedom and personal rights.
More than that, it
heralded frightening prospects in that, henceforth, no one who does not
support Zanu PF can expect a fair trial. All magistrates and judges will now
be afraid to pass fair judgments as this could have dire consequences on
their own personal safety. In short, it means the end of justice, law and
order. The justice system as we used to know it and as obtains in all
civilised countries has now been emasculated.
The decision to go on
what was virtually a spontaneous strike by magistrates and other court
officials in Manicaland - action which, needless to say, is unprecedented -
signals the profundity of alarm sparked off by what has been done to
Chikwanha among those members of the judiciary who refuse to compromise their
professional ethics by allowing themselves to be turned into puppets of Zanu
PF and the government's notoriously capricious leadership.
all started with the farm invasions in February 2000.
everybody knew they were ordered by the highest office in the land in
retaliation for what the government saw as humiliation when the people
rejected the draft constitution, President Mugabe told the world that the
invasions were "spontaneous demonstrations".
expressly ordered the police never to move against the invaders, the
so-called war veterans who in reality were no more than frustrated and,
therefore, criminally-inclined hordes of jobless youths whos e plight was
being taken advantage of by the government to destroy support for the
The invasions were later used as punishment on white
commercial farmers for whipping out their cheque books in their massive show
of open support for the infant opposition party.
It is a
fundamental right for citizens to support a political party of their
The people of this country have an obligation to force a
return to the rule of law.
Magistrate orders arrested farmers to remain on
8/21/02 8:06:47 AM (GMT +2)
From Energy Bara
Macgregor Kufa, a Mwenezi magistrate, has ordered four
white commercial farmers arrested for refusing to vacate their
designated properties to remain on their farms until the constitutionality of
the evictions is determined by the Supreme Court.
Viljoen, Edwards Henry, Gerald Whitehead, and Christo Schimper were not asked
to plead and were remanded to 18 September on $10 000 bail each.
Kufa ordered the farmers to remain on their farms pending a ruling by the
Supreme Court on the constitutionality of Section 8 of the Land Acquisition
The High Court recently issued a provisional order in which it
ordered the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, and the
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, and the
Attorney-General to show cause why the new amendment to the Land Acquisition
Act should not be declared invalid.
The ruling by Kufa comes at
a time when other magistrates across the country have been giving ultimatums
to farmers to leave their properties pending the finalisation of their
The State alleges that the four commercial farmers defied
Section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act which required them to vacate their
properties on 8 August.
In Masvingo some white commercial
farmers were given only two days to remove all their personal belongings from
On Monday, Masvingo provincial magistrate Godwin
Chizhande ordered five commercial farmers to leave their farms pending the
finalisation of their cases.
The farmers were given two days to
vacate their properties.
Chizhande granted them $500 bail each on
condition they would leave their farms.
DIPLOMATIC relations between Zimbabwe and Mozambique could be strained over
reports of the death of a Mozambican civilian allegedly shot by Zimbabwean
soldiers a month ago.
Jorge Maquenzi was allegedly fired at by the
soldiers and died later at Mutare General Hospital.
like many others, reportedly took place near Machipanda, the border post
According to the Mozambican daily newspaper in
Beira, Diario de Mozambique, Maquenzi's body was taken to that country only
The newspaper cited red tape as the reason for the
delay, saying: "The delay in returning his body was due to bureaucratic
complications on the Zimbabwean side."
About 600 illegal
cross-border traders from both countries have been netted in the ongoing
combined army-police blitz to curb unauthorised crossing between the two
According to Diario de Mozambique, Zimbabwean troops
have been accused of raping and torturing the traders before forcing them to
pay fines of $500 each.
The paper alleged that the uniformed
forces confiscated the goods for personal use.
quotes Antonio Joaquim, 23, as saying soldiers forced him to drink five
litres of diesel out of the 40 litres he had bought in Mutare.
He was allegedly among 30 Mozambicans who had crossed into the country last
Saturday to shop in the city, the newspaper reported.
officers keep a 24-hour vigil at all illegal entry points in an operation
aimed at stopping the traders from exporting scarce commodities such as
cooking oil, maize-meal, sugar, margarine, salt, cigarettes and soft drinks
Those caught are allegedly assaulted and transported
to Grand Reef Infantry Battalion Barracks, about 20km west of Mutare,
for corporal punishment, before being ordered to pay $500 in
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior official at
the Mozambican Embassy in Harare on Monday said: "We have been
receiving disturbing reports from that end. Consequently, there were meetings
of the joint commission, one of which was held in Mutare.
sides discussed the incidents. Our provincial director of Manica police
attended the meeting and it was agreed that our problems should be resolved
"Also at the meeting was his Zimbabwean counterpart and
senior army officials. We do not see why we should not be able to solve these
problems as we have been working together for a long time."
Asked at whose behest the meeting was convened, the official said: "This was
a routine meeting and we really do not fuss about who called the meeting
first. But, I can assure you both countries have made an undertaking to
resolve the problems."
Mbonisi Gatsheni, the army spokesman,
referred all questions to army officials at 3 Brigade in Mutare.
Efforts to get a comment from 3 Brigade and the police were in vain.
Zimbabwe in a fix to repay Libyan oil, claims
8/21/02 8:12:06 AM (GMT +2)
A British newspaper last Saturday reported that the
Zimbabwean government had surrendered the title deeds to the Zimbabwe High
Commission premises in London to Libya as security on an oil
The Times said: "President Mugabe has run up such
colossal debts that he is reported to have handed over the deeds of his
country's high commission in The Strand in London to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi
of Libya as surety on an oil deal.
"The Zimbabwean leader has
already parted with hotels, farms seized from their white owners and some of
his country's most valuable assets to ensure that Libya does not halt its
vital oil supplies."
But the high commission yesterday denied that
the title deeds had been given to Libya.
Dennis Dzapasi, a high
commission spokesman, told The Daily News from London: "We have no idea about
that. We didn't see that story but that is unbelievable."
said the high commission had experienced "such kind of naked lies" last year
when there was speculation that President Mugabe owned a castle
The Times said Mugabe had also given Gaddafi a
controlling share in the oil pipeline between Zimbabwe and the Mozambican
port of Beira and a significant shareholding in the State-owned National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe to ensure that Libya did not stop oil
"Libyan officials have warned Colonel Gaddafi that
Tamoil, the State-owned oil company, is perilously close to bankruptcy over
its dealings with Zimbabwe," The Times said. "Twice in recent months Tamoil
has turned off the taps to Harare and only a personal plea to the colonel
from Mugabe has restored the oil after he promised to settle the mounting
According to The Times, Tamoil said Zimbabwe failed to meet
its US$90 million (Z$5 billion at the official exchange rate) quarterly
payment in May after Gaddafi had agreed last December to supply US$360
million (Z$20 billion) worth of oil.
The British Foreign Office
told the newspaper that it had not been informed of any change in the
ownership of the Zimbabwean High Commission in London.
quoted a spokesman as saying: "It's their property, so I suppose they can do
what they like with it."
The newspaper said a Zimbabwean diplomat
in Paris, France, had described the deals between Zimbabwe and Libya as
"poisonous". Libya is reportedly supplying Zimbabwe with more than 70 percent
of its monthly oil requirements.
THE Law Society of Zimbabwe yesterday implored the
government to take urgent action to protect judicial officers and restore
public confidence in the administration of justice in Chipinge.
The comment follows the brutal assault on the Chipinge magistrate Walter
Chikwanha, allegedly dragged out of the courtroom by suspected war veterans
and assaulted. He had just dismissed an application by the State to remand in
custody five opposition MDC party officials.
The attack on court
officials comes after a statement by President Mugabe that his government
would not respect court judgments they did not consider
Magistrates and prosecutors in Manicaland on Monday
stopped work in protest against the assault of their colleague.
WASHINGTON - The United States
said on Monday it was appalled by what it called the senseless campaign by
the Zimbabwean government to evict white farmers.
It called on
the government to stop the campaign, which it said was contributing to food
shortages and damaging the international reputation of the Southern African
President Mugabe's government has ordered 2 900 of the
country's remaining 4 500 white commercial farmers to quit their land
without compensation, but nearly two-thirds have defied an 8 August
Police have arrested nearly 200 farmers since Friday and
vowed on Monday to pick up more farmers resisting the government's fast-track
land resettlement scheme.
US State Department spokesman Philip
Reeker said, "We're certainly appalled . . . that at a time when six to eight
million people are facing the real possibility of famine, the Mugabe
government continues its senseless campaign to evict commercial farmers and
"The United States once again calls upon Zimbabwe to
halt its pursuit of unchallenged power, restore the rule of law and cease
abusing the human rights of its citizenry."
Reeker called the
arrests "reckless and reprehensible actions . . . (that are) causing further
damage to Zimbabwe's international standing."
The spokesman said
the United States recognised that land distribution in Zimbabwe was
inequitable for historical reasons and that it favoured rational land
"That is not what's happening there," he said. "Many of the
farms seized thus far appear to have been distributed to ruling party
officials and to regime insiders and not to the landless peasants whose
interest Mugabe pretends to represent." - Reuter
The United States does not consider President Robert
Mugabe a legitimate leader and is working with South Africa, Botswana and
Mozambique on ways to isolate him, according to a senior
The US and Zimbabwe's neighbours were also looking for
ways to help the internal opposition to Mugabe change the system, Walter
Kansteiner, assistant secretary of state for African affairs, told a briefing
Kansteiner spoke as Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa urged landless blacks to move on to white-owned farms, setting the
stage for a possible confrontation with commercial farmers defying eviction
Kansteiner said: "We do not see President Mugabe as the
democratically legitimate leader of the country. The election was fraudulent,
and it was not free and it was not fair. 'It is
"We're continuing to work with the South Africans and the
Botswanans and the Mozambicans on what are some of the strategies that we can
use to isolate Mugabe, in the sense that he has to realise that the political
status quo is not acceptable."
Strategies could include more travel
and financial restrictions on Zimbabwean leaders, but not trade sanctions,
especially during food shortages.
The Agency for International
Development (USAid) administrator, Andrew Natsios, announced that the US was
contributing an extra 190 000 tons of food to southern Africa, bringing the
US total for the year to about 500 000.
He warned: "Unless commercial
markets in Zimbabwe are freed of the restrictions the Mugabe government is
putting on them, we will not be able to respond adequately to the
Natsios said: "It is madness to arrest commercial farmers in the
middle of a drought when they could grow food to save people from
In Harare on Tuesday, Chinamasa told the state-owned Herald:
"Those who have been allocated land should move to the farms and utilise
"In fact they (black settlers) should have started moving into the
farms when the first 45-day notice period given to the commercial farmers by
the government to round up their operations expired," he said.
said about 215 white farmers had been arrested since Mugabe ordered 2 900 off
their land last Thursday.
The farmers' lobby group Justice for
Agriculture (Jag) said on Tuesday 145 farmers had appeared in court to face
charges since Friday.
Most had been released on bail and ordered not to
return to their farms.
Jag declined to comment on Chinamasa's remarks,
but said 15 farmers in the Karoi-Tengwe area had surrendered to
"A team of lawyers is looking into legal action. One of the
options open is to challenge the bail conditions that are being imposed on
the farmers countrywide," said Jag spokesperson Jenni Williams.
CAPE TOWN, Aug. 21 - South Africa intervened on behalf of
its citizens caught up in Zimbabwe's controversial land grab on
Wednesday. But the move was not enough to silence critics of President
Thabo Mbeki who say his lack of action on the Zimbabwe crisis is a key
factor behind the rand's slide to a 15-week low of 10.95 to the
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has ordered 2,900 white
farmers to hand over their land for redistribution to blacks, but most have
ignored the August 8 deadline. Around 200 white farmers, including
two South Africans, have been arrested in the last week for defying eviction
orders. South African Foreign Ministry spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said
the country's High Commissioner in Harare, equivalent to an ambassador, had
been in touch with the Zimbabwe Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.
''The South African High Commissioner has made representations to the Zimbawe
Foreign Ministry regarding six farms owned by South Africans in Zimbabwe and
earmarked for redistribution,'' he said. Mamoepa declined to elaborate
or say whether Pretoria was asking for an exemption from the land reform
drive. ''The mission remains in contact with the Zimbabwean
authorities to find an early resolution to this matter,'' he said.
Mbeki's critics said South Africa's mission in neighbouring Zimbabwe had not
done nearly enough to bolster confidence in the region. ''What is
happening in Zimbabwe is having a big effect,'' one trader told
U.S. SEEKS TO ISOLATE MUGABE Tony Leon, leader of
South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance, said Mbeki's response had been
completely inadequate. ''Our lack of any cogent and coherent response
is costing us badly in terms of the rand and in terms of our regional
credibility,'' he said. ''Our silence is a continuing failure on our
behalf.'' Officials could not confirm a statement by U.S. assistant
secretary of state for African affairs Walter Kansteiner that South Africa
was cooperating in a programme to isolate Mugabe. ''We are looking at
that statement,'' said Mamoepa. Mugabe, in power since 1980, says
he is seizing farms to reverse the legacy of British colonial rule, which
left about 70 percent of the best land in the hands of a tiny white
minority. A senior government source told Reuters Pretoria believed
the Zimbabwe crisis was a domestic issue. ''The guiding principle
is still that this problem should rest where it belongs - with Britain. It is
a British problem, a British history that got Zimbabwe where it is today,''
he said. However, he added that the government was becoming
increasingly frustrated with Mugabe and the effect his policies were having
on business confidence. Stellenbosch Univeristy political scientist
Willie Breytenbach said the arrest of two South African farmers had given
Mbeki a key chance to send a strong signal to Mugabe. ''Should
Thabo (Mbeki) have been looking for an excuse to change tack or to get
involved more directly, then, if he is clever, he will use
this opportunity,'' he said.
Zimbabwe: U.S. threats against Mugabe 'racist' August 21, 2002
Posted: 1:32 PM EDT (1732 GMT)
HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) --
Zimbabwe accused the United States and Britain Wednesday of a "racist"
campaign to isolate Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe internationally and
maintain white economic dominance in southern Africa.
States said Tuesday it did not consider Mugabe, who won a controversial
election in March, a legitimate leader and was working with governments in
the region to isolate him.
"The legitimacy of our political system or our
president is not dependent on America, Britain or any other country, but on
Zimbabweans," a senior Zimbabwean foreign affairs official said.
bullying tactics that America and Britain are using against us are meant to
frustrate our quest for social and economic justice, to stop our program to
redistribute some of the very large tracts of land held by whites here to the
indigenous black people," he told Reuters.
Zimbabwe has been gripped by a
political and economic crisis since pro-government militants invaded
white-owned farms in early 2000 in support of Mugabe's campaign to
redistribute farms to landless blacks.
The government has ordered 2,900
of the country's 4,500 white commercial farmers to vacate their farms, but
nearly two-thirds are defying the Aug. 8 order. Some 200 farmers have been
arrested and many charged for resisting eviction.
in March was condemned by the opposition and some Western nations, including
the United States and former colonial ruler Britain, as fraudulent. But the
government insists the polls were free and fair.
mugabe Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner
said Tuesday that the United States and Zimbabwe's neighbors were looking
for ways to help the internal opposition change the system.
last few months, while critical of Mugabe's policies toward the opposition
and white commercial farmers, the United States has not pressed hard for a
change of government in Zimbabwe.
But Kansteiner said: "We do not see
President Mugabe as the democratically legitimate leader of the country. The
election was fraudulent, and it was not free and it was not fair."
said the United States was working with South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique
to isolate Mugabe, but Mozambican officials on Wednesday denied working with
"I am not aware of any initiative of that kind with us,"
said Foreign Affairs Minister Leonardo Simao. "Our approach to Zimbabwe is to
bring everybody on board to find solutions."
In South Africa,
government officials said they were studying Kansteiner's remarks. Officials
in Botswana were not available to comment.
Kansteiner, who runs U.S.
policy toward Africa, said strategies to isolate Mugabe could include more
travel and financial restrictions aimed at Zimbabwean leaders, but not trade
The United States and the European Union have imposed some
travel and financial restrictions on Mugabe, dozens of Zimbabwean officials
and supporters of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.
In Harare, the foreign
affairs official said Zimbabwe was the target of a "racist program" to
maintain white economic dominance in the region.
"But we pray all the
time that God can see us through this and that our own brothers and sisters
in Africa will not be used against the interests of their fellow brothers and
sisters in Zimbabwe," he said.
"We pray that no self-respecting African
will agree to be an Uncle Tom, a puppet for a hatchet job against fellow
Africans no matter what arguments are used to dress it up," the official
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - After his arrest for defying a
government eviction order, white farmer Roy Fuller, 60, salvaged his family
photographs and valuables and left his home of 36 years.
bitter, but its more out of sadness than anger. We're not staying. It's quite
a relief to know its over now,'' he said Wednesday as he joined dozens of
fellow white farmers forced off their land and began making plans to move to
neighboring South Africa to work on a vineyard.
The government's campaign
to take over white-owned farms has added to more than two years of political
chaos and disrupted food production. The seizures, along with a drought, have
caused widespread food shortages that relief groups say threaten half of
Zimbabwe's 12.5 million people.
Fuller, ordered by a local court to
abandon his 2,900-acre farm in the corn, beef and tobacco district of Selous,
45 miles west of Harare, left tobacco worth $60,000, 130 head of beef and
dairy cattle and 70 black workers and their families to a gloomy
The workers, who continued to sort and grade tobacco Wednesday,
will eventually have to leave, Fuller said. Local officials asked him to pay
them severance packages.
His cattle were being moved to a neighbor's
land. ``They will have to be sold or slaughtered; there isn't enough grazing
for them there,'' he said.
Fuller was evicted from his farm under a
chaotic land redistribution plan the government says will right colonial-era
imbalances that left 4,500 whites with a third of Zimbabwe's farmland and 7
million blacks with the rest.
The government has targeted 95 percent
of white-owned land for redistribution.
In the first mass wave of
evictions Aug. 8, about 2,900 farmers were ordered off their land, but 60
percent refused to comply, according to Justice for Agriculture, a farmers
Nearly 200 of them were arrested in the past week. The
farmers, many contesting the legality of their eviction orders, face up to
two years in jail and a fine.
Farmers' lawyers believe the eviction
orders violate their constitutional rights of ownership and freedom from
racial discrimination and also contain technical errors making them
Despite government promises, Fuller received no compensation for
his farm, which is valued at about $1.2 million.
Fuller, scheduled to
return to court Aug. 30, said he will demand compensation, but will not fight
for the return of the farm where his three children grew up.
emotional loss, the despair is enormous. Some guys may be a lot stronger than
me, but I've had enough. My mind is made up,'' he said, recalling threats and
intimidation from ruling party militants who occupied part of his land the
past two years. ``We tried to coexist and cooperate but it didn't
On Tuesday, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa urged black
settlers allocated land on contested farms to move onto them and begin
preparing for the end-of-year rainy season, despite the court challenges. New
farmers should not be hindered by white efforts to block land redistribution,
That statement and bail terms that forbid many arrested
farmers from living on their land while awaiting trial disturbed many
The bail conditions are ``a prejudgment of the validity'' of
eviction orders, said David Hasluck, director of the Commercial Farmers
Union, representing the nation's white farmers.
Though Zimbabwe faces
a food shortage, farmers are being forced to abandon crops, including
irrigated wheat, that need constant attention, Hasluck said.
time they go to court throughout September, the crops will be
dead, exacerbating an already critical food situation,'' he said.
the Karoi and Chinhoyi districts northwest of Harare, union officials said
some farmers received police permission to tend their crops during the day
but had to stay with neighbors at night.
Others were trying to ``farm by
phone'' with the help of unaffected neighbors, managers and workers, said
David Rockingham Gill, a union official in Chinhoyi.
despair, Fuller was unwilling to try such machinations. Instead, he
remembered the troubled times of his youth, when he and his
missionary parents fled war in the Congo in 1962 with their belongings in
``That experience keeps coming back to haunt me,'' he said.
``It's happening again.''
APOLOGISTS of the
government's chaos that is disguised as land reforms have reacted with
predictable glee to the mass arrest of commercial farmers who are refusing to
abandon their only homes.
The praise-singers are citing the so-called
Section 8 orders, which seek to evict the farmers from their properties
without any compensation, as justification for the government's
The apologists are telling Zimbabweans: the government
is only enforcing the rule of law and the farmers, who have repeatedly gone
to the courts to challenge the reforms, should have known better.
the apologists don't tell Zimbabweans is the simple fact that any law that is
fundamentally flawed - that is that it is unjust and unfair - will inevitably
be challenged by any right-thinking person.
Section 8 orders fall wholly
within this category of laws.
Laws which go against the grain of natural
justice and internationally accepted norms of civilised behaviour or are
enacted by an illegitimate regime will remain unconstitutional and illegal no
matter whether that regime's parliament or courts have blessed them. It is as
basic as that.
It is obvious that any law which seeks to dispossess
anyone of his rightful property is unconstitutional and therefore must be
subjected to competent judicial review.
But the corruption of the law
in Zimbabwe - many would say the rule of law is being subverted - is not just
confined to the Section 8 orders.
We now have the Public Order and
Security Act (POSA), which bans groups of people from gathering or holding
what are perceived to be meetings that have a political agenda unless
approved by the police.
In other words, POSA is criminalising an
individual's most fundamental right to hold political views that are
different to those of the ruling party and class and to share these with
others, a curtailment of an individual's basic freedom of
Then there is the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA), which essentially criminalises criticism of President
Robert Mugabe and stifles the media's basic right to report on activities of
leading public officials and companies.
It is trite to state that both
AIPPA and POSA are unconstitutional and will remain so no matter which
government or judge approves them.
In fact, the two feudalistic pieces of
legislation are the greatest threats to basic freedoms of all who live and
work in Zimbabwe.
As Nigerian author and playwright Wole Soyinka aptly
put it in 1987: "The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of
Even assuming that the present government has been elected by
popular will, which is far from certain because of the violence waged by
ruling party followers against perceived political foes in the last two
national ballots, it is irresponsible for any regime to enact patently
unconstitutional laws, whatever the justification.
In the enduring
1997 words of America's Sheila Jackson Lee, the Democratic Party's Texas
legislator: "Sometimes the tyranny of the majority must
As it is, the Section 8 orders not only evict and
essentially seize the farmers' properties but clearly show that the crafters
of the legislation care nothing about where the farmers will live and who
will pay for their upkeep while they mount their legal challenge to the
Indeed, the orders are silent on what immediate
compensation, if any, is paid to a farmer who is forced to flee his only home
and has to leave behind an entire farm that has crops or cattle.
individual deserves to be treated like this, more so when a
significant number of the farmers, who are Zimbabweans, actually bought the
land with loans from banks after the country's independence in
The violent seizure of land from hapless blacks by Rhodesia's 1890s
white supremacists was an intolerable crime against humanity, no matter how
the settlers tried to justify and legalise it.
We don't expect an
enlightened administration in the brave new world to do the same, no matter
how justified the action is.
MDC Statement : Mugabe regime guilty of violating Convention against
The Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment was adopted by the General Assembly of the
United Nations on the 10th December 1984. Not surprisingly Zimbabwe, under
the Mugabe regime, as never become a "State Party", that is a nation that
has ratified the Convention. During the last 18 years the Mugabe regime
has systematically violated the Convention. During the period December 1984
to December 1987 numerous members of Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU party were
subjected to Torture at the hands of the regime. Whilst the incidence of
Torture lessened greatly during the period 1988 to 2000 there were
nevertheless sporadic cases of Torture.
Since February 2000 the
numbers of Torture cases have escalated dramatically. However in most case
of Torture the regime has been able to hide behind the fact that the Torture
has been committed by so called "war veterans" and ZANU (PF) militia, not
State functionaries. However in the last few weeks a number of clear cut
cases involving State officials have occurred.
The first case involves
MDC Treasurer General and Member of Parliament, Fletcher Dulini-Ncube.
Dulini-Ncube was arrested by the police 2 weeks ago, on the instructions of
the Attorney General, Andrew Chigovera, and was detained until his release
yesterday after the High Court ordered his release. Dulini-Ncube is diabetic
and aged 63. Following the denial adequate medical treatment when he was
detained in solitary confinement in November last year his eyesight
deteriorated in his right eye necessitating the surgical removal of eye on
the 9th August. The following day Dulini-Ncube was arrested and hauled out
of his sick bed. Since then he has been detained in a hospital and has been,
for the entire duration of his incarceration, in leg irons. On the 16th
August a High Court Judge dismissed the Attorney General's objections to him
being granted bail, stating that there was no basis to the denial of bail.
Indeed the Attorney General's action in opposing bail in the circumstances
was simply vindictive as was the use of leg irons.
The second case
involves the detention of commercial farmer Robin Greaves by Nyamandlovu
Police on the 16th August, 2002. Mr Greaves was detained on allegations that
he remained in his home more than 90 days after being given notice to vacate
it by the regime. Mr Greaves is aged 64. On the 17th August 2002 Mr
Greaves' family doctor Dr. J.G.M. Ferguson wrote a medical report which
reads as follows:
"This patient is chronically unwell with multiple
problems. He has had carcinoma of the prostrate and renal cancer which led
to him having a nephrechtomy. He was badly shot up in a dissident ambush
which left him with neurological damage and his eye had to be removed. His
vision is extremely poor and there is chronic sepsis of the eye socket. Mr
Greaves suffers from chronic bronchitis and requires frequent courses of
steroids. There is polycystic liver disease which may be due to secondary
cancer deposits. Mr Greaves requires constant medical supervision and it
is inadvisable for him to be detained. I must advise that he should
be urgently released."
The above mentioned medical report was brought
to the attention of the following people: Minister Sithembiso Nyoni, Senior
Assistant Commissioner Zengeni (a staff officer in Police Headquarters in
Harare), Superintendent Moyo (District Officer Commanding Bulawayo Rural - it
is thought), Officer Commanding Police Matabeleland North (name unknown),
Officer in Charge police Nyamandlovu and Obert Mpofu, and Governor
Matabeleland North Province. Doctor Ferguson himself travelled to
Nyamandlovu with Mr Greaves' lawyer and made representations there. Despite
their efforts the authorities refused to release Mr Greaves and tonight he
remains in a police cell and will probably only appear in court on Monday the
19th August. It goes without saying that the conditions he is being held
under are shocking and extremely unhygenic.
It is pertinent to note
that numerous other farmers arrested on identical charges have been released
by the police in their areas having been simply cautioned or granted free
bail. In other words this is clearly a case where the police and other
authorities could have exercised mercy and released Mr Greaves. The decision
to hold him is accordingly gratuitous and vindictive, as was Mr
Article 1 of the Convention against Torture
'Torture' means any act by which severe pain or suffering,
whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such
purposes as ... intimidating him or coercing him, or for any reason based on
discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at
the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official
or other person acting in an official capacity.
Article 5(2) of the
Convention against Torture states:
Each State Party ( i.e. Nations which
have ratified the Convention) shall likewise take measures as may be
necessary to establish its jurisdiction over such offences in cases where the
alleged offender is present in any territory under its
The actions of the Attorney General, the Police and the
regime's officials in the above mentioned cases are clear cut violations of
Article 1. Nations which have ratified the Convention, which include South
Africa, Algeria, Canada. Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Togo, and most
European countries, are obliged to take measures to ensure that those people
who commit torture anywhere in the world can be prosecuted if they happen to
come on to their territory.
The MDC condemns these ongoing acts of
Torture perpetrated by the regime.
It should be stressed that these two
cases are simply the tip of the iceberg and most poor black Zimbabweans who
have been subjected to Torture at the hands of the regime do not have the
luxury of legal counsel, as these two men had, and as a result their cases
are largely unreported. The MDC calls upon the international Community to
take vigorous action against all those guilty of Torture in
David Coltart Secretary for Legal Affairs (and Shadow
Justice Minister) MDC