"The Zimbabwe Situation" news page

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Conquest Resources Ltd. - Acquisition Of Gold Mine In Zimbabwe
09:01 EDT Thursday, August 24, 2000

Conquest Resources Ltd. (CQRS-CDN) ("Conquest") is pleased to announce that it has entered into an option agreement to evaluate and acquire the Glencairn gold mine and adjacent properties (the "Glencairn group") situated about 11km east of the town of Kadoma in central Zimbabwe.

The acquisition of the Glencairn group gives Conquest exposure to gold production in the historic Eiffel Flats area of the Midlands Goldfield. The property is located 4km northeast of the Cam and Motor mine, Zimbabwe's largest gold producer (>4.7 million ounces historic gold production) and covers 2.5km of strike along the main Eiffel Reef structure with which the Cam and Motor mine is also associated and where vertical development on the shear system reached 1,900 metres.

The Glencairn group provides Conquest with additional gold production capacity, including a 140 tonne per day milling complex, in the Midlands Goldfield where it now holds interests in a number of gold mines or former gold mines and several gold exploration properties with near-term production capacity. As there has been no recent systematic exploration and development work carried out on the Glencairn group, reserve estimates are not currently available.

The Glencairn group also includes the Glenmore, Eiffel Main and Vulcan gold mines which collectively have produced over 75,000 ounces gold at an average grade of 16.0 g/t gold. The Glencairn and Eiffel Main mines were operated on a small scale basis up to the end of 1999. Conquest has commenced de-watering the Glencairn and Eiffel Main workings to the 7 level and will rehabilitate an inclined shaft through former worked out areas for both ventilation and ore/waste hoisting. Underground and surface development will concentrate on ore delineation on the 4 level and above. It is anticipated that initial production will commence in October at 30 tonnes per day, increasing to 70 tonnes per day by year end and increasing to full capacity of 140 tonnes per day in early 2001, to produce approximately 9,000 ounces gold on an annualised basis.

Under the terms of the option agreement Conquest may acquire a 100% interest in the Glencairn group of mines for a consideration of US$1 million at any time during the term of the option agreement which is valid through August 31, 2006. Prior to exercising the option to purchase, Conquest has the right to operate the mines, including the use of the milling facility, in return for payment of a 5% production royalty.

Conquest is currently producing gold on a pilot-scale basis at its Shamrock and Blue Rock mines, also in central Zimbabwe. Conquest plans to expand gold production from existing and newly acquired mines following completion of further surface and underground development, plant upgrade and expansion, and through additional property acquisitions.

Conquest is a Toronto based junior mining exploration, development and gold production company building gold production from several gold projects in the Midlands, Shamva and Mt. Darwin greenstone belts of Zimbabwe and the Lake Victoria greenstone belt of Tanzania. There are currently 20,292,600 shares issued and outstanding.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

COMMERCIAL FARMERS' UNION
FARM INVASIONS UPDATE
THURSDAY 24 AUGUST 2000
REGIONAL REPORTS
MASHONALAND CENTRAL
Shamva - War vets threw stones at the main foreman on Burnside Farm and a confrontation ensured. The foreman managed to escape but war vets set fire to his motor bike. War vets then proceeded to the owner's house and destroyed his electric gate and electric fence, and then continued to his brother's house and burnt the grass on the security fence. Several farmers, Police and an element of the Support Unit reacted. A number of war vets have been arrested and are to be charged for the destruction of the farm motor bike. Property worth $40 000.00 has been stolen from the homestead of Glencairn Farm. The owner has also reported that maize is being stolen and that he has been stoned in his vehicle resulting in some broken windows.
Harare West/Nyabira - War vets are interfering with day to day operations and intimidating labour on Mayfield Farm.
MASHONALAND EAST
Marondera - There was a work stoppage on Idapi which was resolve by the Police.
Marondera North - Rapids: Another hut was built on Rapids and the Police said that they would return today.
Beatrice - Twaglens and Sanctuary have had ongoing hut building where they border Ringa resettlement, but yesterday the Police asked them to move off, which it appears they are doing. Tree cutting continues on Innesfree and Kerry. A white Mazda tried to gain entry onto Eden on two occasions in one evening, but the gate was locked. The following day a grass fire was started and approximately 350 ha of grass was burnt.
Harare South - On Pressgrave war vets living and building there disappeared during the night to Harridge Base, requesting assistance to return to Harare. They said they were abandoning their tasks as they did not like being 'dive-bombed' by a local farmer.
Featherstone - Unable to contact.
Wedza - Gun shots were heard between Ashlynn and Nelson Farms. On Fair Adventure an occupier was arrested for maize theft. Another gun shot was heard early this morning between Mbimi and Markwe.
Enterprise - There was a meeting on Devonia yesterday which was addressed by Hunzvi and Chinotimba. War vets were instructed to continue interfering with farm work, and also to appear in Harare for the demonstration against Police action. This morning there were threats to interfere with farm work but nothing was reported.
Bromley/Ruwa - The same occupier who slashed the seed beds on Xanadu, was seen starting a fire in the citrus orchard. The Police reacted. On Likomba the person responsible for starting the township development on farms around the airport was arrested yesterday, along with Mahiya.
Macheke/Virginia -Resident war vets on Mug have taken 2 oxen and a plough with a scotch cart onto the farm. They were going to go ahead and plough "their land, but Police resolved the issue. On Nyagadzi war vets were putting a hut up on the paprika land. The MIC said that this was all right. The same answer was received by the owner of Chilinda when he reported hut building. Springs, Airlie and Longridge all reported hut building. The Police attended and resolved these problems in the afternoon. There was a new occupation on Montpellier and Camdale. The vlei on Mignon was set alight after the occupiers were subpoenaed to appear in Court today.
MASHONALAND WEST NORTH
Tengwe - Quiet.
Karoi - The Governor yesterday met with farmers, war vets and Police and said that the truce made on Tuesday must stand and all work stoppages must cease.
Doma - Rivonia Farm still has a presence of 20. On Chenene there are people living in the stables. There is a presence of four on Deerhurst. Chiridza was occupied by about 35 people. A war vet on Rivington is charging people for plots. On Binge there are many people fishing in the farm dam.
Chinhoyi - A kudu was poached on Sheepridge. On Belltree war vet Moses told the manager to vacate the homestead by Monday. War vet Moses told the owner of Hilltop not to irrigate lands. Tree cutting continues on Osro, and hut building on Dumalan. In yesterday's report, Bunya was pegged by DDF, not by Agritex.
MASHONALAND WEST SOUTH
Norton - Hut building is continuing on Serui Source and Nyadgori.
Selous - There is increased tree cutting on Mount Carmel.
Chegutu - There are now 55 houses on Riverside. Police say they can do nothing about the escalation. On Damvuri there is increased tree cutting. Police have not investigated. Police have said that they will not react to a new occupiers on Ijapo.
Kadoma - The Regional Executive visited Milverton Estates yesterday and counted tens of thousands of trees that have been cut down (many of them small ones), if not hundreds of thousands. There are currently 200 head of cattle missing. One war vet was wanting cattle to be moved out of Stover as a cow had eaten his shirt. On Queensdale and Madodo Police have told new occupiers to vacate. They have all refused. A new occupation was threatened on Hove. Police attended in force to intercept it but it did not arrive.
General - Police are confused as to how to stop new occupations, and as to whether occupied property with new invaders coming onto it counts as a new occupation or not. They also do not know whether to deal with new hut building.
MASVINGO
Masvingo East and Central - Another 200 people have occupied Fomax Farm this morning. The situation remains the same everywhere else.
Chiredzi - Situation remains the same.
Gutu/Chatsworth - Situation remains the same.
Mwenezi - Situation remains the same.
Save Conservancy - No communications with their office this morning.
MANICALAND
No report.
MATABELELAND
Nyamandhlovu - There are large numbers pegging on Bonisa Farm, the bank roads and on Mimosa Park.
MIDLANDS
Kwekwe - There was a new occupation on Mahamara. Two cattle were slaughtered on Mooirivier over the weekend, and occupants are deliberately leaving gates open to mix up the cattle. Bonwei had an increase in numbers over the weekend. The owner was advised that he was going to be evicted on Monday 21. He vacated his farm to avoid confrontation. Police called out to address occupiers. That afternoon 50 occupiers circled the house. Police reacted again and dispersed the crowd. Hostile occupiers on Loozani are threatening to pick up arms against the owner. On Sherwood Park School 20 war vets were removed from the school, which they have been occupying since March. However, they were replaced by 6 new war vets. Sunnyside/Riverside had an escalation in numbers. Truck loads of thatch and building materials were seen being taken onto Hunters Moon.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mugabe finds Z$3m for fuel, but no more in sight (Business Day)

HARARE -President Robert Mugabe's government said on Wednesday it had
found the cash for another 10-million litres of fuel, but industry officials say it will
bring only slight relief to the desperate shortage afflicting the country.

The country's stricken tourist industry was also thrown into further desperation
as jet fuel supplies at Harare International Airport dried up and incoming
international flights had to be diverted to other airports in and outside Zimbabwe
to refuel.

Pedia Moyo, president of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe which
represents the country's hard-currency earning hotels, said on Wednesday the
fuel crisis was one of the major causes of a drop of 90% in tourist arrivals since
last year.

A British Airways non-stop flight from London to Harare had to make an
unscheduled fuel stop in Kenya on Wednesday, delaying the flight by at least
two hours, airline officials said.

On Tuesday an Egyptair flight had to abandon a scheduled stopover flight in
Harare and continue to Johannesburg. It offloaded its passengers in Harare on
the way back, six hours behind schedule.

On Monday, an SAA flight from Johannesburg to Harare was forced to divert to
the western city of Bulawayo to refuel there for the return trip. It was the first time
the country's biggest airport had run out of fuel.

A spokesman for Mugabe's office said that the government paid Z$3 in arrears to
a Kuwaiti oil supplier on Tuesday to allow the company to resume supplies
halted at the Mozambican seaport of Beira. She said a consignment of
9,9-million litres had been released.

Last week the government raised another Z$8m that saw petrol and diesel
supplies trickling through the pipeline to Zimbabwe.

But a senior official in the country's fuel industry who asked not to be named
said that the new supplies were "enough for a week, if we ration carefully."
Zimbabwe consumes 5,2-million litres daily in normal circumstances.

"What reserves?" he asked. "We are dry. Everything is dry. It has never been so
bad. Very shortly it (the new supplies) will run out. Who knows when we are
going to get more?"

Zimbabwe has been struggling with a crippling fuel shortage since December last
year when international oil companies cut off supplies after the state-owned
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe failed to meet payments on its debts to
them.

The situation has dramatically worsened since then, as the country's foreign
reserves ran out, as a result of dramatic economic decline and the freeze on
international aid and finance imposed.

Economists blame the hard currency drought on bungled economic policy and a
slump in investment and economic output, largely the result of state-inspired
lawlessness by so-called guerilla war veterans on the country's commercial
farms which are regarded as the engine of the national economy.

Moyo also blamed anarchy by war veterans as major causes for the collapse of
the country's tourist industry, the third biggest earner of foreign exchange, after
agriculture and mining. She cited incidents in which tourist operators had been
harassed, and police had failed to act.

"The international perception Zimbabwe is that of a country to be avoided for the
foreseeable future," she said.

Occupancy at hotels was "the lowest since independence" in 1980. "A large
number" of hotels would go out of business unless the crisis was ended. About
500 workers had to be laid off because of the downturn in business. -
Sapa-DPA.

Zim farmer now labours in UK (News 24)
London - A white farmer who until recently employed 65 people on his
prosperous farm in Zimbabwe is now driving a tractor on short-term
contracts in England in an effort to maintain his family after fleeing his
home, the Daily Telegraph reported on Monday.

Until a few weeks ago Derek Arlett-Johnson, 40, had owned a
1,400-hectare estate near Gweru, producing flowers for export to
Europe and North America, but was driven off his land by death threats
from men posing as war veterans, the conservative newspaper
reported.

"I had received death threats. I got two visits from the so-called war
veterans and on the second occasion I knew they were deadly serious.
I made up my mind to get out," he told the Telegraph.

"I have lost everything. I can see no prospect of receiving
compensation for the loss of my land. I had an overdraft facility at the
bank but all I could do was walk away and leave my lawyer to sort
things out. They will have to get out of it what they can."

The Telegraph reported Arlett-Johnson's farm was standing derelict
and worthless, and that he had fled the country with the equivalent of
1,000 dollars to start a new life in Britain with his wife, Yvonne, and his
seven-year-old daughter, Toni.

It said Arlett-Johnson was working up to 100 hours a week in an
attempt to make enough to support his family in Suffolk.

He still fears reprisals and is worried about relatives still in Zimbabwe.
Describing his escape he said he staged his departure over a week to
outwit gangs, selling some machinery and dispersing livestock and
family pets among other farmers to make sure they were well looked
after.

"That was the most traumatic part in many ways. My daughter had to
leave the horses and dogs which she adored. She may never see them
again. That is very hard for a child who is fond of animals. There is no
way you can leave your animals behind in circumstances like that. You
have to do your best for them. It is only right," he said. - Sapa-DP.

War veterans kicked off white farms
War veterans have occupied over 1,000 farms since February Police in Zimbabwe have begun forcibly to
evict hundreds of self-styled war veterans occupying white-owned farms.
Officers set on fire hundreds of dwellings on farms south of the capital, Harare, after
ordering more than 700 occupiers to remove their belongings and evacuate.
Correspondents say this has been the first serious move against the war veterans since February, when they
began their land occupations. The police action was ordered by the Home Affairs minister, John Nkomo.
More than 1,500 farms have been invaded since President Robert Mugabe announced his
policy of redistributing land from whites to blacks.

Strict orders
"We have received instructions to be more strict with former fighters who refuse to obey
government orders," a police officer who sought anonymity told reporters.
However, it was not clear how long the eviction process would continue or whether it would be extended
across the country. The BBC correspondent in Harare, Joseph Winter, says no action has been taken
anywhere else, although a large number of the occupied farms are not on the official list for acquisition.

Police have previously ignored several court orders to evict the squatters. Two orders by senior ministers
for occupiers to vacate private land were later revoked by President Mugabe. On Monday, about 100 squatters
were driven off a farm near Chitungwiza, a township 25km south of Harare. A fortnight ago, a group of
schoolchildren were abducted and allegedly sexually abused at the farm. But police deny any link between the
abductions and the evictions. The evictions continued on Tuesday as police and council workers began
demolishing several homes in the western suburb of Kambuza.

Official list
Mr Nkomo's eviction order came as President Mugabe was attending an economic summit in
neighbouring Mozambique. In recent weeks, President Mugabe has come under increasing
pressure to restore law and order in farming districts, which are the backbone of Zimbabwe's economy.
Mr Mugabe says that war veterans will only be allowed to remain on those farms acquired by the
government, ending the uncertainty in the rest of the agricultural sector.

The government announced this month it would confiscate 3,000 white owned properties
without paying compensation and hand them over to landless blacks. About 4,000 whites
own one third of the nation's prime land and employ nearly two million black workers.

Protest as police raze Zimbabwe squatter camps
By Martin Rushmere in Harare (The Telegraph)
A MOB of 200 former guerrillas demonstrated outside the offices of
President Mugabe in Harare yesterday to protest against the police
destruction of several squatter camps on farms.

A main street was closed off, passers-by were chased away and two
photographers assaulted. The chanting mob called for the dismissal of the
Home Affairs Minister, John Nkomo, who ordered police to burn down huts
built by invaders on three farms on the outskirts of the capital. Placards
accused Mr Nkomo of a "sell-out". The term was used by Mr Mugabe's
forces during the Rhodesian bush war and led to the instant execution of
suspected supporters of Ian Smith.

Agripah Gava, director of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans'
Association, said that the protests were not directed at Mr Mugabe. "It's not
against the president. It's against anyone who gave the order to demolish the
houses."

Political observers remained sceptical that the police action was a genuine
about-turn by the government. There was speculation that it was timed to give
a favourable impression to an International Monetary Fund audit team that
was due to arrive today.One Western analyst said: "This could be window
dressing to hoodwink the IMF."

The IMF stopped all lending to Zimbabwe because of a spiralling budget
deficit - which is expected to reach 15 per cent of GDP this year - misleading
information over the cost of Zimbabwe's military involvement in the Congolese
civil war, and the general economic and political chaos.

All Western donors have followed suit, leading to a virtual exhaustion of
foreign currency reserves, a chronic fuel crisis and enforced power cuts
because there is no money to pay for electricity imports. Economic output is
expected to fall by 10 per cent this year. Since February, more than 1,700
farms have been invaded illegally by squatters led by veterans of the liberation
war.

The Commercial Farmers' Union has reported incursions on 35 more farms
within the past week, and 65 farmers have received death threats. Mr Nkomo
has prohibited new incursions on to farms and ordered squatters not to
interfere with farming, after much of the high-earning tobacco crop has been
lost.

Squatters driven from white farms
By Angus Shaw in Harare 23 August 2000 (UK Independent)
In their first serious response to Zimbabwe's six-month-old farm
occupations, police have begun tearing down shelters of squatters on
some white-owned farms, officials said yesterday.

Police ordered more than 700 occupiers off farms near the capital,
Harare. About 100 squatters were told on Monday to leave a farm
near Chitungwiza, a township 25km (15 miles) south of Harare. Earlier
this month, militants on the farm were accused of abducting and
sexually molesting 17 farm workers' children. Police also arrested 13
militants who threw up makeshift road blocks and halted traffic for
several hours on a main highway into Harare.

Police and council workers also began demolishing several brick
houses on Tuesday in the Harare suburb of Kambazuma, where
squatters had builton vacant council-owned land.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

In this issue :

From The Financial Gazette, 24 August

Govt ends evictions

THE government yesterday made an abrupt U-turn on its tough action against illegal farm settlements by independence war veterans, ordering police to stop the destruction of squatter camps and announcing that it will compensate victims of the two-day blitz that razed down hundreds of shacks in and around Harare. Information Minister Jonathan Moyo told the Financial Gazette that a Cabinet meeting yesterday had decided to stop all police action against the squatters and war veterans who have invaded hundreds of white commercial farms across the country, precipitating a crisis. "What was done was wrong. The way they approached the issue was wrong," Moyo said. "We are looking at ways to redress the situation immediately and compensating the victims and taking corrective measures."

Government sources said there had been widespread condemnation by senior officials of the ruling ZANU PF party of the way the police had razed the shacks on farms around Harare earlier this week. The exercise was ordered by new Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo, who indicated in numerous interviews with the local media that he would deal ruthlessly with lawlessness precipitated by the veterans' seizure of farms since February. Efforts to get comment from Nkomo on the Cabinet's action, which dramatically clipped his authority, were fruitless up to last night. His office said he was in Cabinet for most of the day and only expected back late in the evening.

This is the second time this year that President Robert Mugabe, increasingly isolated by his Cabinet, has forced his home affairs ministers to back down on tough action against the lawless mobs of the veterans. Dumiso Dabengwa tried to take a hard line against the veterans at the start of the farm seizures, but was slapped down by Mugabe. Then the entire Cabinet agreed to evict the veterans while Mugabe was away on a trip abroad, but he rejected its plans when he flew back home. One well-placed source yesterday said the veterans, who enjoy Mugabe's open support to seize the farms and to defy court orders to quit the properties, had contacted him immediately after his return from a summit in Maputo on Tuesday night to have their issue placed at the top of yesterday's Cabinet agenda.

A team of veterans representing members who had houses and properties destroyed in the crackdown is said to have sought audience with Mugabe's office and complained bitterly about the police action. Some Cabinet ministers are understood to have criticised the methods used by the police, describing the action which was well received by Harare residents as "politically suicidal". According to sources, the army - which is said to be sympathetic to the veterans - was now going to be used to handle the evictions. "The way the execution was done is disastrous. The police handled it poorly," a government official told the Financial Gazette before the Cabinet meeting.

The government's soft approach to the farm and property invasions by the veterans and hundreds of pro-ZANU PF supporters has been widely criticised in Zimbabwe and abroad and has cost the country dearly in lost investor confidence. Harare residents and thousands of farm workers had applauded Nkomo's tough action, with hundreds openly cheering as police razed down the illegal structures which had sprouted all over the farms surrounding the capital.

From Reuters, 23 August

Zimbabwe cabinet to discuss police farm action

HARARE - Zimbabwe's cabinet will look into police destruction of makeshift houses erected by war veterans illegally occupying white-owned farms near the capital Harare, a government official has said. Acting on Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo's orders, police on Tuesday destroyed houses under construction and burnt down makeshift huts on three farms, including one where war veterans were accused of abducting and sexually molesting schoolgirls. The official Herald newspaper said police had also evicted veterans and backers of the ruling ZANU- PF party, apparently overturning President Robert Mugabe's assertion that they would only vacate the farms as and when they were moved onto resettlement land.

On Wednesday presidential spokesman George Charamba declined to comment on the evictions and whether they represented a change in government policy on the invasions. "Cabinet is meeting today and naturally that is going to be one of their topics of discussion," Charamba told Reuters. Demonstrating war veterans seem to believe Nkomo acted unilaterally, without approval from Mugabe, who was visiting Mozambique at the time. But Zimbabwe's main state newspaper has applauded the police action as a stroke for law and order. On Wednesday about 150 angry veterans camped outside Mugabe's offices chased away local and foreign journalists at the scene, accusing them of writing lies about the land issue. The veterans sang revolutionary songs, chanted slogans and waved placards, one of which read in the Shona language: "John Nkomo you have sold out". A war veterans association spokesperson said its leadership, including its president Chenjerai Hunzvi, were meeting government officials over the issue.

In an editorial on Wednesday, the Herald applauded what it called the government's crackdown on war veterans "who have been causing lawlessness on occupied farms". "There is no need for disorder and disruptions on occupied farms and there is no need for any more farm occupations." Farmers say the invaders continue to assault them and their labourers, steal livestock and disrupt agricultural activity under the eye of the police, who have been widely criticised for siding with the veterans. "Now that the police have rediscovered their moral courage and decided to act in a manner they were constitutionally obliged to have acted way back in February, it is absolutely imperative that they are never seen to vacillate again," the privately-owned Daily News said.

From The Daily Telegraph, 24 August

Protest as police raze Zimbabwe squatter camps

Harare - A mob of 200 former guerrillas demonstrated outside the offices of President Mugabe in Harare yesterday to protest against the police destruction of several squatter camps on farms. A main street was closed off, passers-by were chased away and two photographers assaulted. The chanting mob called for the dismissal of the Home Affairs Minister, John Nkomo, who ordered police to burn down huts built by invaders on three farms on the outskirts of the capital. Placards accused Mr Nkomo of a "sell-out". The term was used by Mr Mugabe's forces during the Rhodesian bush war and led to the instant execution of suspected supporters of Ian Smith.

Agripah Gava, director of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association, said that the protests were not directed at Mr Mugabe. "It's not against the president. It's against anyone who gave the order to demolish the houses." Political observers remained sceptical that the police action was a genuine about-turn by the government. There was speculation that it was timed to give a favourable impression to an IMF audit team that was due to arrive today. One Western analyst said: "This could be window dressing to hoodwink the IMF." The IMF stopped all lending to Zimbabwe because of a spiralling budget deficit - which is expected to reach 15 per cent of GDP this year - misleading information over the cost of Zimbabwe's military involvement in the Congolese civil war, and the general economic and political chaos.

All Western donors have followed suit, leading to a virtual exhaustion of foreign currency reserves, a chronic fuel crisis and enforced power cuts because there is no money to pay for electricity imports. Economic output is expected to fall by 10 per cent this year. Since February, more than 1,700 farms have been invaded illegally by squatters led by veterans of the liberation war. The CFU has reported incursions on 35 more farms within the past week, and 65 farmers have received death threats. Mr Nkomo has prohibited new incursions on to farms and ordered squatters not to interfere with farming, after much of the high-earning tobacco crop has been lost.

From The Daily News, 23 August

Residents cheer as police demolish illegal structures

HARARE police yesterday continued their blitz against the illegal construction of houses on stands allocated by war veterans and Zanu PF supporters in Kambuzuma Extension. Police on Monday burnt and destroyed all houses erected by the war veterans and Zanu PF supporters at Stoneridge Estate, along the new Chitungwiza Road, and at Hopley and Blackfordby farms just outside Harare. The officer commanding Harare province, Senior Assistant Commissioner Emmanuel Chimwanda, yesterday said the government had ordered the demolitions. He said police in Harare would be evicting all invaders from council land, once they were identified.

Yesterday, hundreds of Kambuzuma residents cheered the police as they went into action. They occasionally showed the open palm symbol of the MDC. John Nkomo, the Minister of Home Affairs, last week said the government would start evicting the invaders from the commercial farms they have occupied since February. About 500 policemen and 20 vehicles were deployed at the industrial land near Kambuzuma, which belongs to Rothmans of Pall Mall. Police officers, armed with baton sticks and teargas cannister launchers, provided security. The war veterans invaded the area in May and parcelled out land to prospective homeseekers. They cut down trees and dug foundations in the middle of homesteads. The land was not serviced for residential purposes. Police were still knocking down the shacks and houses, mostly built with cement bricks, using logs and sledge-hammers when The Daily News arrived on the scene in the afternoon. The police had started at about 10am.

Richard Mapangura, a war veteran known as Comrade Tanganeropa, claimed they had obtained title deeds to the land from the city council on 9 May, although he could not produce them. He said the police had not given them any notice of the demolition. "Whoever authorised this is an MDC sympathiser," he said. "We want to be addressed by President Mugabe." Senior Assistant Commissioner Chimwanda dismissed Mapangura's allegation of an MDC connection as a lie. Mapangura vowed to continue with the invasions. Selina Chinembiri, a prospective home owner, said she had paid $230 as joining fee and another $3 000 in installments over three months before being allocated a 400 square metre stand. She said she had spent money on building materials. Chinembiri, whose late father Godwin Chinembiri was a war veteran, said about 1 500 people - mostly former freedom fighters and Zanu PF supporters - had been allocated stands. War veterans were allocated larger stands of about 2 500 square metres, she said.

From The Financial Gazette, 24 August

Mugabe must go, says MDC

THE opposition MDC is investigating ways to force President Robert Mugabe out of office before the 2002 presidential election that may include the possibility of the labour-backed party sponsoring a Bill in Parliament to sweeten Mugabe's retirement package, MDC head Morgan Tsvangirai said this week. Tsvangirai told the Financial Gazette that the MDC could introduce a motion in Parliament if it felt that it would garner sufficient support from the ruling ZANU PF to improve Mugabe's retirement benefits as one way to entice the veteran politician to make "a graceful exit". "This is not just a question of political opportunism," Tsvangirai said. "This a question of national survival." Tsvangirai said the national feeling in Zimbabwe across party lines was that Mugabe was now a liability to the development of the country and its acceptance internationally. "The current state of affairs is leading us no-where," said the former trade union leader. "We are headed for doom and gloom. Mugabe has to be forced to retire." He added: "Mugabe must be assured that the nation recognises his contribution as father of this nation called Zimbabwe . . . that we don't want to engage in retribution when he goes because it sets a wrong precedent for the future."

From The Star (SA), 23 August

Zim's last crumbs will buy fuel for one week

Harare - President Robert Mugabe's government announced on Wednesday that it had found the cash for another 10-million litres of fuel, but industry officials say it will bring only slight relief to the desperate shortage afflicting the country. The country's stricken tourist industry was also thrown into further desperation as jet fuel supplies at Harare international airport dried up and incoming international flights had to be diverted to other airports in and outside Zimbabwe. Pedia Moyo, the president of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe, which represents the country's hard-currency earning hotels, said on Wednesday the fuel crisis was one of the major causes of a drop of 90 percent in tourist arrivals since last year.

A British Airways non-stop flight from London to Harare had to make an unscheduled fuel stop in Nairobi, in Kenya, on Wednesday, delaying the flight by at least two hours, airline officials said. On Tuesday an Egyptair flight had to abandon a scheduled stopover flight in Harare and continue to Johannesburg. It offloaded passengers at Harare on the way back, six hours behind schedule. On Monday, an SAA flight from Johannesburg to Harare was forced to divert to the western city of Bulawayo to refuel there for the return trip. It was the first time the country's biggest airport has run out of fuel.

A spokesperson from Mugabe's office said the government had paid $3-million in arrears to a Kuwaiti oil supplier to allow the company to resume supplies halted at the Mozambican port of Beira. She said a consignment of 9,9-million litres had been released. Last week the government managed to raise another 8-million dollars, which meant petrol and diesel supplies again began to trickle through the pipeline to Zimbabwe. But a senior official in the country's fuel industry said the new supplies were "enough for a week, if we ration carefully". Zimbabwe normally consumes 5,2-million litres a day.

What reserves?" he asked. "We are dry. Everything is dry. It has never been so bad. Very shortly it will run out. Who knows when we are going to get more?" Zimbabwe has been struggling with a crippling fuel shortage since December last year, when international oil companies cut off supplies after the state-owned National Oil Company of Zimbabwe failed to meet payments on its debts to them. The situation has worsened dramatically since then, as the country's foreign reserves ran out - the result of drastic economic decline and the freeze on international aid and finance imposed. Economists blame the hard currency drought on bungled economic policy and a slump in investment and economic output, largely the result of state-inspired lawlessness by so-called guerilla war veterans on the country's commercial farms which are regarded as the engine of the national economy.

Moyo also blamed anarchy by war veterans as a major cause of the collapse of the country's tourist industry, the third biggest earner of foreign exchange, after agriculture and mining. She cited incidents in which tourist operators had been harassed, and police had failed to act. "The international perception of Zimbabwe is that of a country to be avoided for the foreseeable future," she said. There would be no improvement "unless we recognise the concerns of potential visitors and remove both the cause and the symptoms of this perception problem." Occupancy at hotels was "the lowest since independence" in 1980. A large number of hotels would go out of business unless the crisis was ended. Already this year 500 workers had had to be laid off because of the downturn in business.

From The Star (SA), 23 August

Foes Mugabe and Museveni meet on Congo peace

Maputo - Leaders of Uganda and Zimbabwe, who are on opposing sides of the war in the DRC, met on Tuesday to seek ways to advance the fragile peace process. Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe described his 45-minute meeting with Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni as having gone "beautifully". He said the meeting was "to exchange ideas on the DRC, to see where the hitches are and how we can help to overcome those hitches at the present time". Zimbabwe supports the DRC's President Laurent Kabila in the two-year war, while Uganda backs a rebel faction.

Mugabe and Museveni met on the sidelines of a regional economic forum in Mozambique. Both attended talks held last week on the DRC in Lusaka. The talks collapsed after Kabila failed to agree to the deployment of UN peacekeepers and to accept the UN-backed mediator. Meanwhile Nigerian General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who was named on Friday as a UN special envoy to save the foundering peace process, is on a tour of the region to save the UN mission in DRC from collapse. The UN Security Council has already given authority for 5 500 UN troops to monitor a last year's ceasefire agreement, but so far, only about 230 military observers have been deployed. Abubakar was named as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy to the DRC on Friday. Mugabe has an estimated 12 000 Zimbabwean troops deployed in the DRC. The Ugandan military presence in the country stood, at its height, at an estimated 10 000 troops, but earlier this month the army withdrew about 4 000 soldiers. Kabila also has the support of Angola and Namibia, while Rwanda supports a second rebel faction.

Editorial from The Daily News, 23 August

Nkomo must deal with Hunzvi next

Tragically belated though it may be, the police action against the anarchy spawned by politically misguided liberation war veterans, some of them too young to have engaged in Zimbabwe's war of liberation and others who are unquestionably people of dubious character, is most welcome. We refer here to their firm-handed action on the Shamva Road and at Stoneridge Estate. From the earliest days of farm invasions in February we, as a paper, have loudly and consistently condemned them as economically ruinous and, for President Mugabe and his party, Zanu PF, politically suicidal to say nothing of the incalculable damage they were bound to cause to the country's image internationally.

For our trouble and simple common sense, we were contemptuously dismissed as puppets of white people. We were accused of advancing foreign interests and we were branded as traitors and reactionary rabble-rousers. But we and other sections of the privately owned Press were undeterred and maintained the campaign for government to act to put an end to the rampant lawlessness which accompanied the land invasions. We were accused of pursuing a political agenda sympathetic to the opposition. We knew we were right and had a national duty to save the country from complete destruction by its own government.

It is to state the obvious to say that everyone in the entire State machinery, right from the President down to the lowest operatives in the CIO and the police force, knew that what was happening, though likely to bring short-term political

benefits to its initiators, was not in the nation's best long-term interests. But because they were moral weaklings, or simply did not want to upset the apple cart or because they were genuinely mortified by the likely consequences of challenging the war veterans in their various forms, the authorities chose to do nothing about the disastrous situation.

However, now that the police have rediscovered their moral courage and decided to act in a manner they were constitutionally obliged to have acted way back in February, it is absolutely imperative that they are never seen to vacillate again. It is no coincidence that the police are now acting to maintain law and order soon after the takeover at the Ministry of Home Affairs by the "no-nonsense" John Nkomo. Henceforth, the police should be seen to act with the firmness, resoluteness and singular purposefulness which characterised the force before it was weakened by partisan politicisation.

It is doubtful that when Mugabe decided to enlist the services of those dubious characters calling themselves war veterans to batter and torture a whole defenceless civilian population into submission to save his party from certain defeat in the June election he had any idea things would get so much out of control. We said it right at the beginning when the self-styled war veterans were first let loose to cow, through the uncontrolled use of brute force, whole rural communities into supporting Zanu PF, that Mugabe had created a monster he might never be able to control.

Those of our fellow citizens given to labelling us "prophets of doom" each time we tell the nation some uncomfortable truths must have dismissed that warning as alarmist. But, although we had obviously hoped our fears would ultimately be proved baseless, lately it was clear that our chilling prophesy had been fulfilled. The level of lawlessness on the farms had long passed the mark where any Head of State, no matter how high the stakes of inaction, could afford not to order a crackdown to restore some semblance of sanity.

Mugabe's reasons for not moving against the bandits calling themselves war veterans, though totally unacceptable, were understandable. Firstly, being on record as having euphemistically termed the terror campaign "peaceful demonstrations" when it started, suddenly turning against them would have been an acutely embarrassing volte face. Secondly, of even greater concern was the prospect of being openly defied. Mugabe had already witnessed a dress rehearsal of the likely scenario. A week or two ago, the self-appointed commander of the anarchists, Chenjerai Hunzvi, decreed that there were not to be any more fresh farm invasions. The self-styled war veterans responded by intensifying the invasions. Mugabe simply could not risk being similarly defied. We are relieved police now have a free hand. For Nkomo the next challenge is to deal ruthlessly once and for all with Hunzvi. He will have the support of 13 million Zimbabweans.

From The Daily News, 23 August

Tsvangirai to press on with election challenge

Morgan Tsvangirai, the president of the MDC, will press ahead with his petition to challenge the results of the Buhera North constituency. He says several irregularities surfaced last week. "The failure to keep reliable, sealed voters' lists from each station, and the failure to keep the electoral records in sealed packets as required by the electoral laws rather than in ballot boxes are serious flaws," said Tsvangirai's lawyer, Sheila Jarvis of Atherstone and Cook. "It has been suggested that the lack of any reliable voters' list is simply due to some mis-bundling at the constituency centre. But as there are clearly parts missing or exchanged, this cannot be accepted," she said.

The election petition, filed with the High Court, raises a number of issues, including the assasination of the MDC's campaign manager, Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika, an MDC youth member who were petrol-bombed at Murambinda in Buhera. Tsvangirai lost to his cousin, the former Manicaland governor Kenneth Manyonda, who polled 12 865 to Tsvangirai's 10 305. There were 797 spoilt papers and 11 postal ballots. Jarvis said the petition principally concerned the poor voters' rolls, violence and intimidation that occurred in the Buhera North constituency in the run-up to the election.

In a report to the MDC, Jarvis said the use of old-style plywood ballot boxes had impacted negatively on the election results as "the ballot boxes are not secure unless watched". "The Election Supervisory Commission and other interested parties," she said, "had prepared to ensure continuous visual monitoring of the boxes from the start of polling until the completion of counting, but because of government's last minute changes disrupting the plans, your election and polling agents had been unable to continually monitor two of the boxes, from which 1 533 votes came." She said there were discrepancies in the figures during the initial counts.

The MDC was denied copies of the voters' rolls for the constituency before the election. Four of the presiding officers' books used to record extra votes were missing, and no explanation was given by officials from the registrar-general's office. "When we tried, with the presiding officers' assistance, to identify which station the bundles we had had come from, by checking for the deleted names of those officers who said they had voted at their own station, some could not find their names deleted in any copy," said Jarvis. She said some supplementary voters' rolls from the constituency office kept at polling stations, in case some of the issued rolls were found to be defective, and which were supposed to be in the boxes, were far fewer than the required total. Jarvis said the failure to keep reliable, sealed voters' lists from each station, and the failure to keep the electoral records in sealed packets as required by the electoral laws rather than in ballot boxes which can be opened from the bottom or at the hinge without disturbing the seals on top, were serious electoral flaws. Meanwhile, the inspection of the voters' rolls for Buhera North to check for double voting and other irregularities is still going on at the MDC offices.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Zimbabwe government has cut back on police operations to drive ruling party militants and illegal squatters from white-owned farms.

Government officials say police used excessive force in three days of evictions.

The eviction orders were given while President Robert Mugabe was out of the country.

Mugabe's chief spokesman Jonathan Moyo said "the government regrets and takes full responsibility for the manner in which the police have sought to evict homeless families."

He said police demolished and burnt down shacks and belongings of impoverished squatters worth an estimated 66,000.

Farmers leaders said police appeared to have backed off and there are no reports of new evictions.

Moyo said the government intended to remove illegal occupiers from white-owned farms not among about 3,000 properties targeted for confiscation and handing over to landless blacks.

But that would be done gradually "within the usual standards of human dignity and common decency," Moyo said.

The government is considering paying compensation to more than 1,000 squatters evicted since Monday from farms and vacant land owned by the municipal council around Harare and was "exploring various other ways of assisting the affected families," Moyo said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index