COMMERCIAL FARMERS' UNION
FARM INVASIONS UPDATE
MONDAY 12 JUNE
Victory Block - A farm truck from Brookfield
was used to transport war vets to a rally yesterday and drove around for
abour 5 hours after finding out that there was no rally. There were numerous
requests for transport to a rally at Msitwe Farm today.
Tsatsi - A rally
is to be held on Zanadu Farm on Friday afternoon.
Mazowe/Concession - Two
groups of war vets at Mazowe Ranch have been pegging and cutting down
trees. An impromptu all-night pungwe was held at Belgownie on
Gutu - 14 war vets visited Blythe farm on
Saturday and told the owner to move his cattle off so that they could
peg. Save Conservancy - Poaching and tree-cutting continues, and
some poachers have been caught.
Nothing to report.
MASHONALAND WEST NORTH
Umboe - Conservancy guards on Highbury
Estates are being intimidated Banket - There have been about 5 road blocks
set up on the area which have been cleared by Banket Police, but are
suspected to have been erected by war vets.
Trelawney - A farmer was
MASHONALAND WEST SOUTH
Selous - There was an all night
pungwe on Queensdale Farm on Saturday.
The next day the occupiers apologised
for the noise!
Marondera South - Monora was
reoccupied by a small group led by a non >war veteran. Two heifers are missing
Wedza - War vet Chipere arrived at Una in a Nelson Farm truck
demanding a truck and trailer in order to attend a meeting, and became
aggressive when the farmer refused. He assaulted the foreman and then took
a tractor, trailer and pick-up. He proceeded to Nelson Farm, where he
took another two tractors and trailers and went to the meeting with as
many people as he could round up. There was no police reaction. On
Poltimore Farm, the farmer was assaulted when returning to the farm after
lunch. He was on a motorbike and was investigating a report received from
a labourer's child of people awaiting him. He came across a road block
on his farm, tried to turn and leave but when his motorbike stalled he
was assaulted by 12-15 men, and was hit him on the back of a head with
a chain. He has had stitches but is fine. The police were attending
an accident close by, so their reaction was very good and 2 of
the assailants were arrested. Last night the labour force was assaulted
and are not at work today. Apparently the incident was fueled after the
farmer saw a woman taking water from a trough and told her not to damage the
ball valve. She went and told the occupiers that he had accosted her.
Enterprise - RSB Farm was visited by 44 on Saturday, who returned
to Mutoko after the local taskforce told them to leave. The Zanu PF
rally at the Arcturus village went without incident.
Bromley/Ruwa - Masun
was occupied and pegged on Saturday, and a presence of 6 left behind. The
farmer of Bellapaise was told by a war vet that he would be visiting the farm
today to collect the Title Deeds and Cession of the land on the farm so that
he can organise residential plots. The War Vet Association Secretary General
has been informed.
Marondera North - War vets arrived on Rapid farm
yesterday demanding the labour's accommodation. They were denied this and
left. On Lekkerwater the owner's father was told to vacate his home by
aggressive occupiers. The group then went to stop a truck en route to the
rally and made the driver make a detour to collect more people. They then
coerced the owner of Rapid Farm to take them to the rally. On Danrose war
vets threatened the labour, forcing them to open the house and office on the
farm. They searched the house and office, removed articles belonging to
Securitas Security, intimidated the workforce and threatened to burn the
Beatrice - A local war vet is causing problems in connection with the
FA showgrounds. There is still a presence on Twa Glens.
Inyathi - The foreman on Loxley Coombe Farm was assaulted
and hospitalised on Saturday night. 4 of his assailants have
disappeared, and police are investigating.
Odzi - This
morning labourers were prevented from working on Sonop Farm because transport
had not been provided for the Zanu PF rally. The Member in Charge is handling
the situation. All farmers in the area have refused transport due to fuel
shortages. On Koppies Farm the farmer and one other person were threatened
with a barricade on Saturday afternoon.
A new occupation took place on
Maonza Farm, and the farmer has been negotiating with 4 of the occupiers.
Old Mutare - A new occupation has left a presence of 5 on one farm.
COMMERCIAL FARMERS' UNION
FARM INVASIONS UPDATE
SUNDAY 11 JUNE
Marondera - Elmswood furniture factory: on
Thursday, due to a power cut, factory workers were stood down for the day.
They objected and sought assistance from the war veterans. On Friday,
invaders arrived to peg the property; owner instructed by the Provincial
War Vet to be at the Zanu (PF) HQ that afternoon. Meanwhile, the factory
was taken over by invaders. Workers and owner were told to gather there. The
driver instructed to round up all ex-Elmswood workers living in the Ruzawi
local compound and bring them also. The police arrived and the invaders
left, threatening to return on Monday.
On Saturday afternoon, President
Mugabe addressed a Star Rally in Marondera.
A large crowd attended,
including farm labour and about 15 commercial farmers. The mood of the crowd
could not be described as enthusiastic. The rally was peaceful. A
scheduled meeting between the President and the Provincial Task Force failed
to take place.
Macheke/Virginia - Acquisition letters have been delivered to
farms on the list as of yesterday. Prior to Saturday's Star Rally in
March there was pressure on Showers and Second Chapter by war vets for
transport. A farm owner's foreman and farm workers were assaulted on
Friday night. Police attended.
Wedza - generally quiet but demands from
war veterans for transport to rallies continue.
President Mugabe held a
Star Rally at Sadza on Saturday morning.
Beatrice/Harare South - relatively
quiet. Tsunga Resettlement has internal strife in the party ranks
relating to the death of a candidate there recently.
Dr Sekeremayi is
addressing a rally there today.
Featherstone - all quiet.
Enterprise - RSB
Farm had 44 invaders arrive from Mutoko yesterday.
Sedgemore Farm received
information that plots were to be pegged at $100 each to raise money for
food. The rally at Arcturus village today to be addressed by Zanu (PF)
candidate for Seke and Minister Murehwa.
Bromley/Ruwa - Bellataise Farm was
threatened by Likomba to hand over the deeds on Monday to cede the
All quiet including
Been a few problems with road blocks on Street and Mazvikidei Road.
Street has been cleared by Support Unit, whilst Banket Police are dealing
with Mazvikidei Road.
Otherwise, all quiet.
Chegutu - delivering of acquisition notices by a three men in a
vehicle; number delivered unknown. War vets are demanding farmers attend
Zanu (PF) rallies.
The province has been stable over the
weekend up to midday today.Apart from numerous Zanu (PF) "voter education)
rallies, there has been minimal activity over the weekend.
Tsatsi - Thomas
Majuru continues to be active in the area and visited two farms yesterday
with the normal demands to sign over half the farm.
Shamva - Attempts
yesterday to secure the safe return of the owner on Glencairn Farm were
unsuccessful. The resident group is uncompromising and, even in front of
the Bindura Officer-In-Charge, openly threatened to kill the owner. The
planned wheat crop has not been planted, lodged maize is germinating and
planting of potatoes has been delayed. losses are estimated to be in the
region of Z$4 million.
Mazowe - Thomas Majuru visited Duncan Farm yesterday
and left in anger when the owner refused to concede to his demands.
Majuru was apprehended on his return journey to Harare and cautioned by
police, but no charges were laid.
He has warned farmers there will be
reprisals following his "harassment" by police.
FARM INVASIONS UPDATE
SATURDAY 10 JUNE
There are lengthy
negotiations to try and allow owner back onto
Farm. Full report
of the region to be included in tomorrow's sitrep.
East and Central: - A new invasion has occurred on Riverton
Mashava Area:- A new invasion occurred on Kimberly Farm and the
owner was told to be off the farm by 2nd July.
Conservancy:- No communications
Gweru : -
MASHONALAND WEST NORTH
Banket :- Hillpass Estate reported that
a steer has been slaughtered. Another death threat received on a
MASHONALAND WEST SOUTH
Situation fairly quiet.
Leny Farm the empty manager's cottage has been occupied.
Alabama, demands were made for the use of vehicle, tractor and trailer,
money, diesel and maize meal - all were refused. On Georgia Farm, war
vets have moved into the school.
Norton:- Don Carlos is reported to be under
warrant of arrest for assault in Norton town.
Dispol has informed the
regional office that anyone supplying transport for rallies risks having
their vehicles impounded as this can be seen as coercing people to attend
The report made yesterday with Mr Roy Bennett,
Chimanimani, was incorrect. He is still on the property, but is aware of
the situation where the Police and Support Unit have been
Monday, 12 June, 2000, 18:26 GMT 19:26 - BBC
$100 fee for Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is charging a fee of $100 to foreign observers and
covering the election later this month.
The deadline for
voter registration passed on Monday, amid accusations that
process has been unfair.
The opposition says attacks on its supporters by
the ruling party are on the
And in a further attempt to
raise revenues, the government has clamped down
on bicycle registration
Zimbabweans are due to vote on 24-26 June in an election which has
been dogged by accusations of fraud and
Accreditation charge A change to the electoral act on
Friday introduced a
compulsory fee for election monitors for the first
There was no official announcement of an accreditation fee for
but foreign correspondents were being charged the same US$100
fee as the
Officials said the fee was to cover the costs
incurred in the registration
Political analyst John Makumbe
said the charge was a means of discouraging
can you ask someone to pay $100 for observing your elections? It
unconstitutional," Mr Makumbe said.
"This is not going to solve our
foreign exchange shortages," he added.
Voters' roll Zimbabweans queued to
check that their names were on the
voters' roll before the deadline for
One report from Harare said a disproportionate number of
white people had
turned out to check the list.
Whites are seen as
likely opposition supporters in the election.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights
Association has expressed concern over the state
of the voters' roll, saying
it included the names of some dead people and
of some people who have voted during the previous elections are not
on the voters' roll," the association's director Munyaradzi Bidi
state-run Ziana news agency.
The main opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change, says 30 of
its supporters have now died in increasing
A BBC correspondent who visited the
village of Haruna in the east of the
country said 18 huts belonging to
opposition supporters - including one MDC
electoral candiate - had been burnt
to the ground.
The government accuses the opposition of inciting violence
and insists the
police are doing their best to control it.
The Harare authorities have confiscated hundreds of bicycles from
who had not paid their annual licence fee of US$1, the state-owned
"Scores of people who had cycled into town for work
had to walk back home
after failing to raise the required fines" on
Wednesday, the paper said.
Fuel shortages caused by foreign exchange
problems have already hit
commuters using cars and minibus taxis.
HARARE, June 12 (AFP) - Authorities in Harare have seized
hundreds of bicycles from commuters who had failed to pay their
annual one US dollar registration fee, the Herald reported Monday.
"Scores of people who had cycled into town for work had to walk
back home after failing to raise the required fines" on Wednesday,
the government-owned newspaper said.
From the MDC, 11 June 2000
30th MDC supporter dies in violence
Last Sunday, June 4, two MDC members, Finos Zhau (23)
and his brother were
taken from their home at Danga at Mberengwa West
constituency by ZanuPF
members and marched to Texas ranch, a well-known site
used by so-called war
veterans as a torture chamber. It is a farm that was
recently invaded and is
a headquarters for war veterans in the area, a lot of
people have been taken
there and tortured according to Mberengwa MDC
The two brothers were kept there until Wednesday last week and
badly beaten with sticks and iron bars. They were released on
evening, Finos was unable to walk. They stopped at Mbwembe school
there. Finos' unnamed brother left him with MDC candidate
and went back to the village to inform others. However, on
Zhau died. He leaves a wife and small children. His brother has
taken to hospital and is in a serious condition.
the police at Mberengwa and the police at Mataga and at Sundawana
informed on Friday, none have tried to interview the surviving
The postmortem will be performed in Bulawayo on Monday. The
take place on Tuesday in Danga at 7am, the police have advised
officials not to attend the funeral.
From The Guardian (UK),
12 June 2000
Mugabe accuses UN monitors
Andrew Meldrum in Harare
President Robert Mugabe
yesterday accused the United Nations secretary
general, Kofi Annan, of trying
to "hijack the international monitoring" of
elections later this month. Even as Mr Mugabe
attacked the UN,
state-sponsored political violence continued in Zimbabwe
with one more
opposition member killed, one tortured and others badly
Mugabe reacted angrily to the UN's withdrawal on Friday from
Zimbabwe's elections. Mr Mugabe said the world body had tried to
illegitimate role" as co-ordinator of foreign election observers.
secretary general decided to act when Mr Mugabe issued new restrictions
international monitors, including regulations on where they could go and
lengthy accreditation procedure.
The UN said the new regulations
were contrary to standard international
procedures and withdrew its offer to
supervise and coordinate 300
international observers and 16,000 domestic
monitors. The European Union has
taken on the role of coordinating other
observer missions. EU, Commonwealth
and other observer groups are livid about
the new restrictions, which they
believe are clearly attempts to make them
less effective on the ground. But
they have decided to carry on in the hope
that their presence will help
bring about better elections with less
The presence of the international observers has reduced, but
Zimbabwe's political violence. In the latest attack, a supporter
opposition Movement for Democratic Change was killed in the
Mberengwa district while another is in intensive care after being
Finos Zhou, 21, died after being abducted and severely beaten by
of Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. His brother is in hospital with
injuries and cigarette burns all over his body. Although at least
prospective MDC candidates for Parliament have been killed, the party
managed to field candidates in all 120 constituencies and is posing
biggest challenge to Mr Mugabe since he led the nation to independence
Britain in 1980.
Despite widespread intimidation, support for the
MDC appears to be growing.
"We are being ruled by thieves and murderers
instead of leaders," said
Prosper Katsaya Mapfumo at an MDC rally yesterday.
"It is now or never. Now
is the time for us to build a better Zimbabwe for
our children." He was
speaking at a rally for the MDC candidate in Harare
East, human rights
lawyer Tendai Biti, attended by more than 3,000
Zimbabweans, black and
"The main issue in our campaign is the
economy," said Mr Biti. The MDC would
cut the budget deficit and withdraw
troops from the Congo war, creating a
new economic climate and delivering new
jobs. Most of Mr Biti's supporters
arrived on foot, wearing jackets and
jerseys but shed the outer layers to
reveal MDC T-shirts. Just a few weeks
ago an MDC supporter was beaten to
death after being caught wearing such a
shirt. The enthusiasm of the MDC
rally was in stark contrast to the lavish
but subdued Zanu-PF rally in the
same constituency for its candidate, Stalin
Mau-Mau. It featured free
refreshments, free T-shirts and caps, and music
from one of Harare's most
popular bands. It was also attended by about 3,000
"There is no political violence in Zimbabwe," declared Border
provincial governor, at the rally. "Those who create violence cannot
Zanu-PF to go to bed and do nothing. We are not like Jesus. If you hit
cheek, I will hit back with a big fist," he said.
From CNN, 11 June
Opposition in Zimbabwe says another official is killed in election violence
HARARE - Another opposition organizer in Zimbabwe has died
attacked and tortured by ruling-party supporters, the main
The death of 21-year-old Finos Zhou
brought to 31 the number of people
killed in political violence since
February. Zhou and his brother campaigned
for the Movement for Democratic
Change in the remote Mberengwa district,
about 300 kilometers (190 miles)
southwest of Harare, said Sekai Holland,
the party's election candidate for
The two were abducted by ruling party militants last
Sunday, Holland said.
They were beaten and burned with cigarettes. After they
were released, the
younger brother died Friday at a party supporter's
farmhouse, Holland said.
His funeral was scheduled for Monday.
elder Zhou was in critical care in the hospital at the district center
Zvishavane, Holland said. Holland said the brothers had been
targeted. Police were not available for comment on the
The main opposition party poses the biggest threat to President
Mugabe's hold on power since he led the nation to independence from
in 1980. The human-rights group Amnesty International has said it
that the elections, set for June 24-25, can be free and fair because
campaign of "state-sponsored terror" mostly perpetrated by
supporters against opponents.
Border Gezi, a top ruling
party official, on Sunday said opposition
supporters provoked violence. "We
are not like Jesus. If you hit our cheeks,
we will hit back," he told
supporters at a rally for Stalin Mau-Mau, an
election candidate in Mugabe's
party in Harare's eastern suburbs. Mau-Mau, a
former Marxist guerrilla in the
liberation war that led to independence, is
now a wealthy businessman who
still uses his revolutionary pseudonym.
monitors, however, say ruling-party militants,
including thousands who have
illegally occupied more than 1,400 white-owned
farms, are responsible for
instigating as much as 90 percent of incidents of
violence and intimidation.
From News24 (SA), 11 June 2000
Violence death toll hits 31
Harare - The death toll in the violent run-up to Zimbabwe's
elections this month reached 31 after the fatal assault and
torture of an
opposition campaign worker in a ruling Zanu-PF party detention
opposition officials said on Sunday. Fainos Zhou, 21, died on Friday in
Mberengwa district about 300km south west of Harare and would be buried
the area on Monday, said Sekai Holland, candidate in the area for
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
She said Zhou's
brother, whose first name she did not know, and one of her
were both in hospital with severe lacerations, bruising and
all over their bodies. Police in the area refused
Mberengwa has since last month become one of the worst hit
in the tide of
violence that has swept through Zimbabwe since February as
supporters set out to crush the MDC. Holland said the two Zhou
pulled off a bus on Sunday last week at a roadblock manned by
supporters in the Mataga area, and taken to a base of self-styled
war veterans on a nearby commercial farm, occupied by ruling
"They were tortured for three days. They were burnt
with cigarettes. They
were beaten on their legs knees and hands with sticks.
One of them had no
skin on his back," she said. The brothers were released on
walked 20km to her family home near Mataga. She said her own
been burnt by ruling party supporters and the only way to get the
hospital was by bus.
"But Zanu-PF had roadblocks and were
demanding Zanu-PF cards from everyone,"
she said. It would not have been safe
for the two brothers to be taken by
bus. Fainos died on Friday
Holland is challenging her cousin Richard Hove, one of Mugabe's
ministers and MP, for the area in the last parliament. Several
international observers have arrived in Zimbabwe to monitor the
but have not been able to leave the capital Harare because new
demand that they first be accredited by electoral authorities.
is due to begin on Monday.
The country's well-publicised
turbulence has resulted in the cancellation of
a planned visit there by the
Spanish Olympic men's and women's hockey team
in August. Colin Williams,
coach of the Zimbabwe men's team, said the tour
was meant to be part of the
Spanish team's preparations for the Olympic
Games in Sydney. "However, they
have cancelled that tour after hearing and
reading about the situation in
Zimbabwe," he said.
It was the second major international sporting event
to be called off in two
days. On Saturday the Dunlop Challenge Rally, one of
the biggest regional
motorsport events in Southern Africa, also due to take
place in August, was
cancelled because the organisers said they "could not
guarantee the safety"
of visiting drivers.
Veterans loyal to Mugabe
have vowed they will go to war if Mugabe does not
win the elections,
scheduled for June 25-25.
Comment from The Star (SA), 10 June
Can Zim find courage to vote out Mugabe?
Earlier this year, the Helen Suzman Foundation carried out the
national opinion survey in Zimbabwe in a long time. Its purpose was
provide all political actors, the press and civil society, with a
road map of a society whose political contours have long been
under one-party dominance. The results were striking. Held in
the same time as the constitutional referendum, the findings
considerable doubt on the validity of the referendum result.
Harare and Bulawayo, where ballot stuffing was all but impossible,
results tallied almost exactly with the official results, but
else the estimate of anti-government opinion was far higher than
referendum suggested. It seemed as if the government had rigged
referendum - and still lost it.
Overall, only 35 percent wanted
Zanu-PF to stay in power; 63 percent thought
it time for a change; 75 percent
wanted the president's powers reduced; 69
percent thought he should resign
after two terms and 65 percent wanted him
out right away. Moreover, 69
percent were very dissatisfied with the
government and 68 percent lacked
confidence that it was telling the truth.
On the other hand, opposition
feeling had yet to crystallise fully. The poll
showed that in a presidential
race Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC),
lagged behind Mugabe but half either refused to
answer this question or were
uncertain. The auguries, however, for the MDC
were good. Many voters were
only just becoming aware of it and after the
referendum victory the momentum
was on the MDC's side. The overwhelming
impression from the survey was that
the president and his party had
outstayed their welcome. The government was
out of touch: Its concerns were
no longer the same as the voters'.
Whereas Mugabe endlessly harped on the land question, the survey showed
only nine percent thought the land question was the most important issue
55 percent wanted things to stay as they were on the land. A further
percent even thought that white farmers who had left should be invited
As many as 80 percent thought it was not sensible to blame the whites
the country's problems. Voters overwhelmingly blamed the government,
only for the state of the economy but for its failure to solve the
question. Unfortunately, as the message began to sink in that the
was facing defeat, Mugabe and Zanu-PF allegedly fell back on the
state-sponsored terror to try to change the electoral
The Suzman foundation survey found that only 21 percent of
nobody in their community was frightened of Zanu-PF. About 33
most were, eight percent said everyone was frightened. Only 30
confident they could criticise the government without harm
and 52 percent said it would be difficult to vote differently
from the way
the police, security police and Central Intelligence
At stake in Zimbabwe is more than the
plight of individuals or political
parties. The rule of law, prospects for
multiparty democracy and for future
economic development are all on the line.
An ageing liberation culture seems
to be breaking on the anvil of its own
corruption and arrogance but in its
death agony it seems willing to pull the
whole country down with it. For
Zimbabwe's sake, and in the interests of all
democrats in southern Africa,
one must hope ordinary Zimbabweans will find
the courage on June 24-25 to
vote for a different future.
appears in the June 2000 issue of Focus, published by the Helen
From Reuters, 11 June 2000
Commonwealth chief doubts fair Zimbabwe poll
By Dominic Evans
LONDON - Commonwealth
Secretary-General Don McKinnon said on Sunday that
conditions in Zimbabwe did
not appear conducive to free and fair elections.
McKinnon, who has sent a
team of observers to monitor the June 24-25
parliamentary election, said
recent violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe
was "not a good omen". "I've
only had preliminary reports because (the
Commonwealth team) haven't been out
into the countryside, but one still has
to be concerned that the problems
there don't really look as though they are
conducive to free and fair
elections," he said.
"There are far too many people being killed in front
of an election. Far too
many. That's not a good omen for an election," he
told BBC Television's
Breakfast with Frost. The Commonwealth has expressed
concern at a recent
wave of violence which has killed at least 27 people,
supporters, after invasions of white-owned farms by
liberation war veterans
and supporters of President Robert Mugabe. The war
veterans say the land was
stolen during the British colonial era a century
ago. Opposition figures say
the land invasions are aimed at crushing dissent
before the election.
"When I was there three or four weeks ago there was
clearly the issue of
violence, there was clearly the issue of voter
intimidation," McKinnon said.
McKinnon said the 54-nation Commonwealth was
unlikely to take swift action
if it deemed the elections unsatisfactory. But
he said that a critical
report from the organisation, made up of Britain and
most of its former
colonies, could not be ignored in Zimbabwe.
will see it, take note of it and that will have some effect on
whoever is in
charge in Harare," he said.
The Commonwealth has sent a 44-strong team to
Zimbabwe. It will deploy four
observers to each of Zimbabwe's 10 electoral
provinces to assess the
political environment and determine whether the poll
is free and fair.
Veterans' leader Chenjerai Hunzvi has warned hundreds of
who have arrived from the European Union, the Commonwealth
and the Southern
African Development Community to steer clear of the emotive
land issue. The
United Nations said last week it had pulled out of the
election process in
Zimbabwe after the Harare government rejected its offer
to co-ordinate the
From BBC News, 11 June
EXTRACT FROM BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: DON MCKINNON JUNE 11TH,
Well now Fiji was partially suspended from
the Commonwealth last week in
protest at its adoption of military rule. The
Prime Minister and other
hostages have now entered their fourth week in
captivity following the coup
but Fiji is not the only pressing issue the new
Secretary General of the
Commonwealth is having to deal with. Elections, or
so-called elections, will
be held in Zimbabwe later this month and the
question there is whether
they'll be free or fair at all, our diplomatic
correspondent James Robbins
James Robbins reporting there and now I'm joined by the
Secretary General himself Don McKinnon, good morning
begin with Rhodesia shall we for a minute, now known as Zimbabwe,
no longer known by its old name. But now what is your opinion at
at the way things are going, you've had six, or so advanced
your team out there, there are going to be 44 isn't there, in
the end, what,
what are the, what did you see there and what are you
Well I was there probably three or four weeks ago, there was
issue of violence, there was clearly the issue of voter
intimidation both of
which I took up with President Mugabe and said these are
to be concerns in
the lead up to an election. We've had a small team there
now, I think the
whole of the observer team has, in Harare at the present
time, I've only had
a preliminary report because they haven't been out in the
one still has to be concerned that the problems there don't
really look as
though they're conducive to free and fair
Is there anything that could be done to
make them so, I mean the UN have
drawn back from their role but you haven't
and there will be other observers
there, is there anything that can be done,
it can only be done I suppose by
there are probably going to be 150 plus observers there by the time
elections are held. A lot of observers unfortunately are probably only
in for two or three days. The Commonwealth ones will be there for the
period there and afterwards so you've got a reasonable amount of
but I guess if you're looking at, you know, 4,600 polling
throughout the country plus this level of, level of concern about
for a lot of people, it's very uncertain.
And when they talk about 29 people being killed, I mean most of
supporters of the opposition or white farmers weren't
Far too many people being killed in front of
an election, far too many and
that, that, that's not a good moment for an
So, so what would, what would
happen Don if your observers and other
observers come to the conclusion that
this was not a full and fair election,
that there was disgraceful
intimidation, it is not a fair result, what do we
Well I'm obviously in the hands of now the election team led by
Abdulsalami Abubakar who are due to report to me immediately after
election and again before the results are announced and after the
are announced. There will of course be interim reports up until then
they come down with a very severe report that report is left just to
there I guess because people see it, people examine it, people take note
it and that will have some effect on whoever is in control in Harare
that I'm sure.
Well but will anybody do
anything about it?
Well that's up to other
Would we for instance
consider suspending an undemocratic Zimbabwe regime
Well that is likely to be addressed by
ministers when they next meet on a
series of issues, obviously it wouldn't
happen immediately unless there was
something extraordinary to develop but if
it is just considered to be an
election that didn't go right that can be
addressed by ministers and they
may have a number of views on how it should
be dealt with.
Do you think there's any hope of a
change of heart by Robert Mugabe?
Well he, he
certainly impressed upon me at the time that he wanted to see
free and fair
elections. He spent a bit of his time in discussion with me
saying that the
opposition were a large part of the problem, I said to him
well look the
opposition are minor by comparison with Zanu-PF surely that's
not the case
and we, we went off on to another subject I guess. But he is
obviously a very
proud man and this is a big major electoral issue for him.
But I mean he said, he said yesterday or the day before that white
that resist removal from their farms by squatters will be killed and
take more of the farms, that is not very hopeful language is
Not at all, not at all and is really quite
in-appropriate, not at all the
kind of signals that he was giving me when I
met with him just a few weeks
So you doubt
now some of the things he said to you?
Well I'm only
picking up what I see in the media about what is reported back
to me and I'm
frankly looking forward to the report I get from, from the
Yes will you get reports on a regular
basis or only after the election?
Oh no I'll be
getting reports from, we have eight commonwealth secretary
there now with the observer team so there'll be a, a
reasonable capacity to
get broad spectrum reports from across the country.
From Business Day
(SA), 11 June 2000
Mugabe attacks UN over Zimbabwe poll observers
HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has sharply
United Nations, saying it had tried to seize control of all
observers ahead of the crucial June 24-25 parliamentary
official Sunday Mail newspaper quoted Mugabe as saying the
world body had
tried to hijack the election observation process instead of
own independent observers.
"I never invited the UN to
send a co-ordination team. I asked them to send
an observer team,=94 said
Mugabe, addressing what the Sunday Mail called a
star rally in the town of
Marondera, north of the capital Harare, late on
Saturday. "The world body
tried to hijack the election monitoring process.
Instead of sending
observers, the UN wanted to send an irrelevant technical
team, which wanted
to co-ordinate the whole process," Mugabe was quoted as
said it had pulled out of the election process in Zimbabwe after the
government had rejected its offer to co-ordinate the numerous
observers. The Sunday Mail said there were about 16 000
foreign observers in
Zimbabwe to monitor the elections, including teams from
the Commonwealth, the
European Union and the Southern Africa Development
weekly Standard newspaper reported on Sunday that the polls could be
challenged on the ground that the statutory Electoral Supervisory
(ESC) had failed to exercise some of its key constitutional
consultant with the ESC, Rejoice Ngwenya, confirmed that the
ESC had not
taken part in the supervision of registration of voters and that
it had also
not been consulted in matters of the modification of the
Electoral Act," the
newspaper reported. The modification, contained in a
notice published on Friday, allows only members of a
"disciplined force" and
those outside the country on government business and
their spouses to vote
through the postal system. "The postal voters are a
little bit tricky to
monitor," the Standard quoted Ngwenya as saying.
The ESC has the task of
supervising the electoral process and the elections
Lawyers for Human Rights chairman Kevin Laue as well as
for Democratic Change (MDC) officials David Coltart and
Welshman Ncube said
sidelining the ESC could lead to a challenge of the poll
results. They said
there was already widespread abuse of the
Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon said on
Sunday conditions in
Zimbabwe did not appear conducive to free and fair
elections. "There are far
too many people being killed ahead of an election.
Far too many. That is not
a good omen for an election," he told BBC
Television's Breakfast with Frost.
At least 27 people have died and
hundreds, mainly supporters of the
opposition MDC, have been beaten, raped or
forced to flee their homes in the
last few months. Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF
party and allied veterans of the
country's liberation war are blamed for most
of the violence. The attacks
followed the invasion of hundreds of white-owned
farms since February by
liberation war veterans and Mugabe
Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar, former Nigerian military ruler and
head of the
Commonwealth's observer mission, told reporters on Saturday he
Mugabe to stick by his pledge to allow the 44-member group access to
areas during the elections. Mugabe, 76, faces the biggest challenge of
20 years in power from the MDC, led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
and Tsvangirai were on Sunday addressing rallies in rural districts
eastern and southern Zimbabwe respectively.
From The Observer (UK), 11
Oryx float killed by FO
Link with Congo conflict scuppers diamond firm's ambitions -
Pressure from the
Government has forced the controversial diamond mining
company Oryx to pull
its UK flotation, The Observer can reveal. Senior
London Stock Exchange
officials told advisers to Oryx, which has links to
the Zimbabwe and Congo
governments, that it would not be allowed to go ahead
after objections from
UK authorities. It is understood that the Foreign
Office pressed the exchange
to halt the flotation. Government officials said
there were concerns about
the company's mining in the Democratic Republic of
Congo, formerly Zaire.
The highly unusual Stock Exchange move came days after Oryx's adviser,
Thornton, stated: 'We are satisfied Oryx has fulfilled all
criteria required for admission to the Alternative Investment
after the exchange had closed last Friday, Grant Thornton wrote
to tell Oryx
it was no longer prepared to act as its adviser. UK stock
regulations say any company seeking a listing must be approved
The Observer has established that a 'highly
placed individual' approached
the exchange regulators several days ago,
expressing concern about the
flotation. Peter Hain, the Foreign Office
Minister, has criticised Oryx
because its diamond concession, which the firm
believes could be worth $1
billion, was in the southern Congo - 'a clear
conflict zone' in the
country's bloody civil war.
Oryx disputes this,
saying the concession, near the town of Mbuji Mayi, is
hundreds of miles from
the fighting in Kisangani, where hundreds died last
week following clashes
between rival rebel factions backed by Rwandan and
Ugandan troops. United
Nations observers, however, reported fighting earlier
this year between
Congolese government troops and rebel forces in the Kasai
region, in which
Mbuji Mayi is situated.
Oryx, registered in the Cayman Islands, has been
criticised for its links
with Zimbabwe and Congo through two joint ventures.
Under the terms of the
Mbuji Mayi concession, Oryx and the Zimbabwean
government each receive 40
per cent of future dividends. The Congolese
government takes the rest. The
flotation, which was to have been through a
reverse takeover of Petra
Diamonds, will intensify the focus on gem mining in
the Congo. Only a few
miles from the Oryx concession, the Belgian company
Sebeka, partly owned by
De Beers, has mined for several years. The Millennium
Diamond - the huge,
apparently priceless gem displayed in the Millennium Dome
- was mined near
Mbuji Mayi, although De Beers claims it was unearthed before
Geoffrey White, Oryx's deputy managing director,
was angry about the pulling
of the flotation, due on Tuesday. 'The attraction
of seeking a listing
through Petra was that we believed London had total
transparency, and we
could operate on a clear commercial basis,' he said.
'We're outraged by
Petra Diamonds, whose shares are
suspended, was due to hold an extraordinary
general meeting tomorrow, so
shareholders could vote on Oryx's reverse
takeover. Asked if legal action was
possible, White said: 'That's under
From Business Day (SA),
11 June 2000
Congo diamond firm Oryx set to pull UK listing
LONDON - A mining firm with a $1bn diamond concession in the
Congo is set to
pull its London stock market listing amid mounting
controversy about the
role of gems in fuelling African wars, industry sources
said on Sunday. The
British government has voiced concerns about Oryx's
activities and its links
with the governments of Zimbabwe and the Democratic
Republic of Congo, which
are fighting together in a bloody civil war in the
Oryx - incorporated in the Cayman Islands and run from Oman -
was due to
have floated on the junior Alternative Investment Market on June
a reverse takeover of Petra Diamonds. Shareholders were to have
voted on the
plan at an extraordinary general meeting on Monday. But its
plans have faced
a barrage of criticism from government officials and human
The Observer newspaper said the London Stock Exchange
had told Oryx's
adviser Grant Thornton that the float would not be allowed to
go ahead after
objections from British authorities and that Grant Thornton
from the case. Stock exchange rules require companies to be
"We are outraged by what has
happened," Geoffrey White, Oryx's deputy MD,
said. A foreign office spokesman
said on Sunday he was unaware of any
official intervention, but repeated the
government's concerns about
companies trading in diamonds from African
countries at war, such as the
"Trading in diamonds from
war-torn Congo is distasteful, but it is for the
relevant authorities such as
the Financial Services Authority or London
Stock Exchange to take any action
on company listings," he said.
Oryx's appearance as a listed British
company comes at a sensitive time as
international attention focuses on the
role of diamonds in financing wars in
Africa. The British government has
taken a lead in efforts to stop the
trade, calling last week for an
international embargo on diamonds from
Oryx denies it
will be producing "conflict diamonds" from the Congo
concession near Mbuji
Mayi, an area which has been controlled by Zimbabwean
troops for some time.
Oryx has profit-sharing arrangements with Osleg, a
firm linked to the
Zimbabwean government, and Comiex, which has ties to the
Oryx and Osleg will each take 40% of gem mining profits
while Comiex is to
get 20%. Zimbabwean troops have been in Congo since 1998,
government of President Laurent Kabila which is fighting
rebels backed by
Rwanda and Uganda.
From News24 (SA), 11 June 2000
'Land grab list must be revised'
Harare - There was more controversy in Zimbabwe on Sunday over
confiscate white-owned farms when a cabinet minister announced that
of 804 farms meant for seizure would have to be
Agriculture minister Joyce Mujuru was quoted on state radio as
were "many errors" on the list of properties promulgated on June
Commercial Farmers' Union also warned listed farmers this weekend not
exercise their right to lodge official objections to the proposed seizure
their farms before elections due on June 24- 25. "This could prove to
highly inflammatory," a circular to farmers warned. It quoted remarks
President Robert Mugabe at a campaign rally last week that if farmers
and resist war veterans, they (veterans) will kill
Self-styled guerilla war veterans have led the often violent
white farms, and now occupy about 960 of them. Five white farmers
murdered since mid-April, when Mugabe denounced them as "enemies of
state." The mass land-grab has become the biggest issue on Mugabe's
campaign as he promises to hand over nearly two million hectares of
land to blacks, returning to them what he claims was "stolen" by
settlers who began arriving here 110 years ago.
But there has
been massive condemnation of the farm invasions as a reckless,
racist move to
crush support for opposition political parties on the farms
that will destroy
the once thriving economy. Last week Mugabe warned that
the government might
grab all 11 million ha owned by whites. The news
bulletin did not elaborate
on the "errors" mentioned by Mujuru, but
officials of the Commercial Farmers'
Union said that nine of the farms on
the list were duplicates. They also say
that the list has almost completely
ignored government promises that only
farms that are under-utilised, owned
by absentee landlords and foreigners,
next door to overcrowded peasant
farming areas or are part of holdings of
several farms, would be seized.
The CFU said all of the listed properties
were actively farmed and included
some of the most productive properties in
the country. Nearly 180 were the
owners' only farm and only five farms were
foreign owned. The CFU estimated
that 75 000 farm workers and their families
would be driven out of their
jobs and output of Zimbabwe dollars six billion
($160 million) will be lost
in the first year.
The union also said
that agriculture ministry officials began on Saturday in
the Chegutu area
100km west of Harare to distribute notices to listed
notifying them of the government's intention to confiscate
Farmers have 30 days in which to object to the proposed
Government officials have told the union they are prepared to
which farms that are seized, and would be willing to consider
From Pan African News Agency, 11 June 2000
Zimbabwe To Stage Biggest Ever Elections
HARARE - The parliamentary elections
Zimbabwe will hold this month will be
the biggest the country has ever held
in terms of people registered to vote
and candidates vying to be elected,
poll officials said at the weekend.
More than five million people, out of
the country's estimated population of
12.4 million, have registered to vote
while a total of 566 candidates are
standing in the election, the first in
which the ruling ZANU-PF party is
being opposed in all 120 constituencies.
The labour-backed opposition,
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is the
only other party to field
candidates in all areas where in the past the
governing party won unopposed.
However, most of the candidates are
concentrated in urban areas where
opposition parties enjoy strong support and
where they are expected to do
better than ZANU-PF's stronghold in rural
Parliamentary elections in the past were characterised by voter
which the majority of the electorate, especially in towns, did not
bother to register. Political analysts said the prospect of
defeat, deduced from the government's failure in February to win
referendum on a new constitution, had galvanised electoral interest in
24-25 June poll.
From Pan African News Agency, 11 June
Mugabe To Expel Party Members Running As Independents In Poll
MARONDERA, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe's
ruling ZANU-PF party has resolved to expel
20 members contesting this month's
parliamentary polls as independent
candidates after losing in primary
elections, party leader President Robert
Mugabe said at the weekend. He said
the party, which has been in power since
the southern African country gained
independence from Britain in 1980, would
not re-admit the rebels into ZANU-PF
even if they won in the elections.
"There is no such thing as an
independent ZANU-PF candidate. All those
standing as independents will never
be re-admitted into the party whether
they win or lose," Mugabe said at a
campaign rally in the eastern farming
town of Marondera. Several ZANU-PF
members, especially former MPs who were
voted out in the primary elections,
have registered to stand as independent
candidates in the 24-25 June
parliamentary elections. Attempts by senior
party officials to persuade the
rebels to drop out from the race, and avoid
splitting votes, have
The ruling party faces a tough challenge, especially in urban
areas, from a
new labour-backed opposition party called the Movement For
From The Star (SA), 11 June 2000
Party defectors make Mugabe jittery
Harare - A record number of candidates are contesting
elections in Zimbabwe as independents, the majority of them
the ruling party, according to a list published on Sunday. Of
aspirants for the 120 contested seats, 92 are independent, 35 of them
President Robert Mugabe's governing Zimbabwe African
Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF). The decision by so many former
members to stand on their own is worrying the party, which has swept
overwhelming wins in the four elections held since independence from
Mugabe, at all five of the rallies he addressed last
week, went to great
pains to lash out at the defectors. "Anyone who declares
is lost and has become an enemy of the party," he told
one rally on Saturday
at Sadza, south-east of the capital, obviously
concerned that the defectors
could split the ruling party vote. He singled
out southern Masvingo province
where 11 disgruntled former party members who
refused to accept defeat in
party primary elections decided to stand alone.
At another rally, Mugabe
warned the defectors' supporters that they too would
be considered Zanu-PF's
A new opposition party, the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), born from
the trade union movement, is
contesting all 120 electorates - the first such
challenge to Mugabe's party
in Zimbabwe's history. An average 15 seats went
unopposed to Zanu-PF
candidates in each of the previous parliamentary
elections. "There is a lot
of concern because Zanu-PF is used to the
opposition splitting its own vote
to the advantage of Zanu-PF, but now its
own vote is going to be split," said
political scientist John Makumbe.
Several Zanu-PF members of the outgoing
parliament left the party in April,
citing lack of democracy in the primary
elections to choose party candidates
for the June 24 and 25 elections. Two
MDC members who lost out in the party
selection process are standing as
independents. "Even in the opposition,
there isn't unanimity and unity as is
sometimes portrayed," Makumbe noted.
The proliferation of independents has
been described as democratic, but
Makumbe said: "It may be negative if
politics is being seen as a meal
ticket, a necessary thing to ensure they get
a pay cheque for the next five
Mugabe's party has expelled
all those who decided to stand as independents
and vowed that it will not
consider taking them back into the fold even if
they win seats in parliament.
A cartoon in the independent Standard depicts
a long wall plastered with
independents' posters and suggests that they form
a party of independents.
Fifteen parties are taking part in the elections.
Mugabe appoints 30 MPs in
addition to those who win the 120 contested seats
voting - there are no reruns - which means that
Zanu-PF need win only 46
seats to retain its majority, but the combined
opposition needs to win 76. In
the outgoing parliament, Zanu-PF held 147 of
the 150 seats.
Star (SA), 11 June 2000
I'm here to stay, says Mugabe
Marondera - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, now 76, declared
he would retire from office only after his ruling party voted him
Mugabe, who has ruled the country since independence from Britain 20
ago, and whose current term expires in 2002, told an election rally in
town south-east of Harare that some members of the last parliament who
been calling for him to step down, were wasting their time. "Some people
(the former) parliament want Mugabe to be removed from power," he said.
will only give up power if the congress so decides."
congress votes us out, well, we will go," he said. The ruling
holds its congress every five years. The last one took place
1999. Mugabe also announced that his government would seriously
establishing a senate in the next parliament, due to be elected on
24-25. The current constitution does not provide for a
From BBC News, 9 June 2000
Cuban doctors from Zimbabwe
The United States authorities say they are
prepared to grant refugee status
to two Cuban doctors who defected while
working in Zimbabwe. The doctors -
Leonel Cordova Rodriguez and Noris Pena
Martinez - were sent to Zimbabwe in
February as part of a Cuban aid programme
to provide medical care in rural
They left their work in May
and sought to emigrate to Canada. The Zimbabwean
authorities detained them
and sought to extradite them to Cuba but were
stopped by the United Nations
refugee agency, which recognised the pair as
say they expect the pair to move to the US once they have
formalities with the immigration service.
Keep up the
MDC Support Centre
8th Floor, Gold
Guqula Izenzo/Maitiro Chinja
has always been an expensive thing. History is fit testimony to the
freedom is rarely gained without sacrifice and self-denial."
The horses are in the gates
Monday 12 June, 2000
Who will be first
past the post?
The horses are in the gates and now set off on a campaign
to see who will be
first past the post. Both MDC and Zanu PF put up 120
independents in most places - about half of the latter are
dissidents and half are representatives of the other 34 opposition
MDC had prepared itself well for - and just as well as all sorts of
Dave Coltart was declared not a citizen, wrong guy
to try that on.
Sekai Holland had problems and various demands were made
which had to be
countered by lawyers attending all the courts on MDC's
monitors were in evidence and certainly helped.
going through Bulawayo and Beitbridge we attended the funeral of one
active supporters in the Bikita area. He was killed in a family
although originally it had been treated as being a
We saw the suspect being questioned by the police
and were able to speak to
them. Then we went on to take part in the
traditional ceremonies that are
followed under such
About 8 local and provincial MDC party officials
accompanied us. It was very
interesting and we were able to make contact with
the families involved. I
think they appreciated our effort to see them very
What was equally interesting was an opportunity to travel through
been Zanu PF strongholds in the rural areas - we were some 100 kms
main road and 400 kms from Harare in one of the most densely
of the country.
Part of the ceremony was in the
peasant farming area and part in the small
was evident everywhere we went that MDC has made deep inroads into the
population - we were greeted with the MDC sign - an open hand, palm
everywhere and saw a woman wearing an MDC T shirt - something that
been possible in the Mashonaland provinces for some two months now.
village head in the communal area was an MDC ward chairman and our
is a local small-scale commercial farmer who is related to the
chief. The 8
men who accompanied us were an outstanding group - teachers,
one bank manager
One was standing against a well known Minister - Edison
Zvobgo, one of the
intellectuals in the Zanu PF and he caused much mirth
describing how Zvobgo
reacted when he learned that he was not going to run
unopposed - as he had
We ran into the Zanu PF candidate and
the encounter was cordial and
friendly - but they very much wanted to know
what we were doing lower down
in the district.
We heard of elements of
the army being deployed and looking for evidence of
the MDC in the villages.
However it was interesting talking to the 4
policemen who were investigating
the murder - they were clearly in support
of the MDC and our people showed no
reticence in dealing with them.
Of particular note was the number of
older people who were MDC supporters.
If this is the situation in the
rural areas, then I am more convinced than
ever that the MDC is going to
HARARE, June 11 (AFP) - President Robert Mugabe and his ruling
party are whipping up hatred against white Zimbabweans in the run-up
parliamentary elections, blaming them for economic chaos here.
incident has already been reported of a mob chanting "we
want our land"
beating an unarmed white man senseless in Bulawayo,
the country's second
city, with one of the attackers calling a
friend on a cellphone and boasting
"We've killed a mukiwa (white)."
The Commercial Farmers Union originally
unidentified man had been killed in the May 31 attack, but AFP
unable to verify his death with police, hospitals or mortuaries, and
a CFU official later said that the man "appeared dead" for the 20
minutes he was observed lying on the ground.
Mugabe warned white
farmers Thursday that if they tried to
resist squatters led by independence
war veterans who are occupying
some 1,500 of their farms "they will die."
The president regularly tells campaign rallies that the 70,000
Zimbabweans hold the levers of economic power, meaning that
the 12.5 million
black Zimbabweans are not really free.
On the other hand, he told a rally
Saturday: "We fought each
other in the past, but today we can't avoid each
other; we have a
common destiny, one identity as Zimabweans."
calls the occupation of the farms a continuation of the
bloody war against
white settlers that led to independence from
Britain in 1980.
describes opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as a
"puppet of the whites"
-- a popular placard at his rallies.
Tsvangirai is head of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC),
a new party born from the trade union movement
which is putting up a
strong challenge in the June 24-25 elections to
African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).
ZANU-PF pamphlet handed out at rallies, and written in both
Shona, talks of a "racist minority" and "the racists who
"The same racial minority has been increasing prices well
market value in order to make unjustified profits and cause
suffering among the majority of the people," it declares, adding
"what is worse is that the same minority is now trying to make
gains out of their economic mischief."
The latest issue of the
government-owned Sunday Mail carried a
cartoon showing a white farmer with
his foot on a black's back --
the aspiration of "others."
carried an editorial saying that whites see the MDC as
"a convenient front
in their bid to recolonise us."
"In their private circles blacks of any
of their political affiliation are simply
'kaffirs,'" it declared.
An article in the same paper talks of "racist
and asks: Do you really know how beastly most
are?" before going on to tell a long story about a
African who murdered two of his black workers.
president and his supporters also direct a steady stream of
Britain, with Mugabe describing the government of Prime
Minister Tony Blair
as "children who don't understand history."
Britain, guilty of "racial
bigotry," according to the Sunday
Mail, is conniving under the ruling party
scenario with white
Zimbabweans and the MDC to topple Mugabe and ZANU-PF.
The president and his supporters also regularly accuse white
of coercing their black employees into supporting the MDC.
Zimbabwe political scientist, John Makumbe told
AFP on Friday that Mugabe
was "pursuing his strategy of using the
land issue and violence and racism
as the only cards for survival in
A poll of 1,900
voters conducted in early March by Probe Market
Research, which is linked
to Gallup International, showed that 63
percent wanted a change of
government and that 65 percent wanted
Mugabe to step down.
that even among communal farmers, ZANU-PF's
traditional power base, 57
percent wanted a change of government.
No poll has been published since
then, but the MDC is contesting
all 120 electorates -- the first such
challenge in Zimbabwe's
HARARE, June 11 (AFP) - A record number of candidates are
contesting parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe as independents, the
majority of them defectors from the ruling party, according to a
Of the 566 aspirants for the 120 contested seats, 92
independent, 35 of them from President Robert Mugabe's governing
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).
decision by so many former party members to stand on their
own is worrying
the party, which has swept to overwhelming wins in
the four elections held
since independence from Britain in 1980.
Mugabe, at all five of the
rallies he addressed last week, went
to great pains to lash out at the
"Anyone who declares himself independent is lost and has
an enemy of the party," he told one rally Saturday at Sadza,
southeast of the capital, obviously concerned that the defectors
split the ruling party vote.
He singled out southern Masvingo province
where 11 disgruntled
former party members who refused to accept defeat in
elections decided to stand alone.
At another rally,
Mugabe warned the defectors' supporters that
they too would be considered
A new opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
(MDC), born from the trade union movement, is contesting all 120
electorates -- the first such challenge to Mugabe's party in
An average 15 seats went unopposed to ZANU-PF candidates in
each of the previous parliamentary elections.
"There is a lot of
concern because ZANU-PF is used to the
opposition splitting its own vote to
the advantage of ZANU-PF, but
now its own vote is going to be split," said
John Makumbe in an interview with AFP on Sunday.
Several ZANU-PF members of the outgoing parliament left the
party in April,
citing lack of democracy in the primary elections to
choose party candidates
for the June 24 and 25 elections.
Two MDC members who lost out in the
party selection process are
standing as independents.
"Even in the
opposition, there isn't unanimity and unity as is
The proliferation of independents has been described as
democratic, but Makumbe said: "It may be negative if politics is
seen as a meal ticket, a necessary thing to ensure they get a
pay cheque for
the next five years."
Mugabe's party has expelled all those who decided
to stand as
independents and vowed that it will not consider taking them
into the fold even if they win seats in parliament.
A cartoon in
the independent Standard depicts a long wall
plastered with independents'
posters and suggests that they form a
party of independents.
parties are taking part in the elections.
Mugabe appoints 30 MPs in
addition to those who win the 120
contested seats in first-past-the-post
voting -- there are no reruns
-- which means that ZANU-PF need win only 46
seats to retain its
majority, but the combined opposition needs to win 76.
In the outgoing parliament, ZANU-PF held 147 of the 150
HARARE, June 11 (AFP) - Controversial South African politician
Madikizela-Mandela declared in Harare Sunday that she was
political situation in Zimbabwe with sympathy.
"We hope they will have a
fair and fruitful election," added the
ex-wife of former South African
president Nelson Mandela.
South Africa's ruling African National Congress
Madikizela-Mandela represents as a member of the Cape Town
parliament, expressed support at the end of last month for
embattled government, and attacked Britain's attitude to
the land reform
South African President Thabo Mbeki has adopted a quiet
diplomatic approach to the occupation of some 1,500 white-owned
and political violence which has resulted in some 29 deaths
He persuaded Saudi Arabia and the Nordic states to put up 14
dollars last month to buy farms in Zimbabwe for
redistribution to blacks.
"I wish everybody well," said Madikizela-Mandela at the
Chinese-built national sports stadium, where she watched a women's
football match between Zimbabwe and Namibia for the African Cup of
Nations. The Zimbabwe team beat the Namibians 11-0.
"We are very
sympathetic to what is happening here,"
Madikizela-Mandela told reporters.
"This is my other home. We (other members of the ANC) were
here during the difficult days of the struggle (for majority
rule in South
Africa)," she said, paying tribute to the role
Zimbabwe played in hosting
South Africa freedom fighters during the
always be very close to this country. We shared the
yesterday, the problems created by colonialism," she
for a peaceful election. We hope that we are going to
see some improvement
in African elections. Our continent has been
beset by unnecessary violence
when we do have elections."
Reports of political violence in Zimbabwe
have diminished over
the past week.
Zimbabwe Gender Minister Oppah
Muchinguri told a news conference
that Madikizela-Mandela, who was last in
Zimbabwe six years ago, was
not here to help campaign for the elections, but
to support sport.
"She is not here to campaign for elections, but she
support the first (women's soccer) team we have developed in
Zimbabwe and (which) is playing at the right time when all of us are
fighting one another but at least we have that has brought us
and we are both supporting it," said Muchinguri.
declared she was "ecstatic" at being invited
to watch the match, which drew
a sparse crowd of barely 5,000
"Sport is dear to us,
extremely dear to South Africans. It means
sharing with our sisters our
cultural diversity," she said.
Madikizela-Mandela, wearing an embroidered
turquoise robe and a
white coat, was met by Muchinguri, Sports Minister
and a nephew of President Robert Mugabe, Leo Mugabe, who
president of the Zimbabwe Football Association.
She is president
of the ANC's Women's League.
Her profile has dropped since the
anti-apartheid struggle years,
but she remains popular and has always had a
good relationship with
Her popularity persists
despite her conviction in 1991 of
kidnapping teenage activist Stompie
Seipei and allegations during
Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings
that she was involved
in assault and murder.
She was sacked as a
deputy cabinet minister in 1995 and divorced
by Mandela a year later.
She took the opportunity in Harare to discuss gender relations,
saying men had destroyed the world, but women intended to rebuild
"The globe ... has been distorted by men. Men have killed
They manufacture weapons of war, they manufacture atomic
bombs, AK-47s. We
as women mean reconstructing the world," she told
a news conference.
"We intend teaching the men one thing or two, we are going to
take over as
women and show men how it is to live peacefully with
one another as nations.
We see what is happening in Africa today.
Our continent is riddled with
Subject: ZimNews - 11 June 2000 12 DAYS TO
From The Independent (UK), 11 June 2000
Mugabe win set to be rejected by UK
By Colin Brown and James Roberts
Britain is preparing to reject a victory
for President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party in Zimbabwe's elections because of
the state-sponsored intimidation of the opposition.
On Friday the United Nations pulled out of the election process after the
government in Harare rejected its offer to co-ordinate international observers.
Mr Mugabe demoted the UN to participation as an observer group monitoring the
parliamentary elections scheduled for 24 and 25 June.
The UN withdrawal has strengthened the
belief among British ministers that the elections have been rigged through
intimidation to re-elect Mr Mugabe's party. The Government has been convinced by
intelligence reports that the elections cannot be free and fair. "We are going
to walk away from them," said a ministerial source. Secret intelligence reports
to the Foreign Office have revealed that the Zimbabwean President ordered the
destruction of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change before elections were called.
Ministers received the reports in February.
They disclosed that President Mugabe had faced calls for his resignation by at
least six speakers at a closed meeting of the Zanu-PF council, and that he had
ordered the destruction of the MDC. The killings of white farmers were seen in
Britain as racial attacks on the white minority, but ministers are convinced
they are part of the concerted campaign of intimidation against MDC
Mr Mugabe's stormtroopers are mostly ruling
party thugs operating in the guise of war veterans. Violence instigated by the
so-called veterans has so far claimed more than 29 lives with hundreds of people
injured. Workers on white-owned farms have been herded and terrorised into
"re-education camps" where they are forced to chant ruling party slogans and
warned that any vote for the MDC will be found out and punished. Some people
have fled their homes.
Britain was hoping that South Africa's
President Thabo Mbeki would act as an intermediary in the crisis, and help Mr
Mugabe to see that his policies would only lead to isolation for Zimbabwe.
However, South Africa's ruling African National Congress appears to be
supporting Zanu-PF. In an interview published in the Mail and Guardian
newspaper, Kgalema Motlanthe, the ANC secretary general, said the situation in
Zimbabwe had suffered from a "misrepresentation of the facts" by the
But Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC,
said: "The ANC's endorsement of Zanu-PF is counter-productive. We would have
hoped they would have done all in their power to back a free and fair
From The Sunday Times (UK), 11 June
Lone farmer defies poll death
Tom Walker, Chimanimani,
IF ONE thing could improve Roy Bennett's lot this weekend, it
would be the return of a cavalry officer's sword that belonged to his great
grandfather. It was last seen being waved by a drunken war veteran driving
Bennett's tractor haphazardly through the main street of Chimanimani, crying:
"Kill the white pig." There are a few other items on Bennett's wish list, such
as a democratic country, but to recover his sword and other stolen property -
running to six pages on the local police report â€“ would be a start.
Then, he says, he could get on with his parliamentary campaign
as the only white farmer standing for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in Zimbabwe's general election. While his colleagues have adopted
their union's tactic of appeasement of the ruling Zanu-PF party in the face of a
campaign of intimidation, Bennett has, in his own words, "shoved my head way
above the parapet".
He is now top on the war veterans' death list, and police have
warned him that a second assault on his farm is imminent. Next time, he has been
told, his assailants will be armed with Kalashnikovs supplied by the secret
police. In most of Zimbabwe the MDC has all but disappeared underground, with
Morgan Tsvangirai, its leader, relying on his followers to vote in silence.
Bennett, tucked away on his Charleswood coffee estate on the hilly Mozambique
border, has other ideas.
"Our workers feel betrayed by the way we've gone quiet," he
said. "First they wear the MDC T-shirts with pride and then we tell them to hide
them while the farmers run away. Well, I said, 'Enough of this, I'm coming
back.' I have a moral obligation to my people." When Bennett says "his people"
he means not only his 400 farm workers but the entire population of the
Chimanimani region, an area of mist-shrouded upland beauty described by travel
agents as Zimbabwe's best-kept secret.
A stocky 43-year-old of ripe vocabulary, Bennett wants the
7,000-acre Charleswood to become an advanced coffee producer, supplying rich
roasts through a website and dramatically increasing the local standard of
living. Already he supports farming and educational projects in nearby villages.
He is so popular that he is known as "pachedu" (together), but to achieve his
goals he needs the present government to be removed. Sickened by Zanu-PF
infighting and corruption, Bennett went against his instincts and into politics
earlier this year. Initially he campaigned under the Zanu-PF banner, hoping he
could fight the one-party state from within. When the MDC emerged, he switched
after consulting his workers. Not only was he a colonialist farmer in Zanu-PF's
eyes; he was now a traitor, too.
Since then, Bennett has happily aired his views on the
president and his elite, pulling no punches. "As soon as the MDC is in
government, Mugabe should be impeached," he said. Many in the commercial
farmers' union believe his bravado borders on the suicidal but, despite a daily
deluge of telephone threats, he is cheerfully pulling his farm back into shape
after its invasion a month ago. After countless meetings with Zanu-PF and the
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), or secret police, he and his farm
managers were finally allowed back last week.
One reason for his quiet confidence is the presence of MDC
bodyguards, who have the farm perimeter staked out. "We'll shoot back if they
try anything," said one of their commanders, a giant of a man in size 14 boots
who has already helped to repulse an attempt by the war veterans to return with
their customary array of clubs and sticks. Yesterday there was renewed tension
as a lorry laden with veterans was seen down the road and Bennett's wife,
Heather, and son, Charles, both left the farm.
Although it had endangered his repayment of a Ł1m bank loan,
Bennett said the invasion had its comical aspects. The estate was plunged into
the realms of the absurd as Agrippa Natanga, the local CIO chief, allegedly took
"Down with Pachedu," the workers were forced to chant. "Down
with his wife, down with his whores. Down with his dogs, down with his cats."
Charging into the Bennetts' house, the veterans broke into the bathroom, found
Heather's perfumes and began dousing themselves. "I wish I'd had a
fly-on-the-wall camera," said Bennett.
The atmosphere had darkened, however, as his gun safe was
wrenched open and his high-powered hunting rifles were handed out. An empty gun
normally used for shooting baboons in the maize fields was found, and its owner,
Robert Mupariwa, was strung up by one leg from a tree. "If they had found the
bullets they would have used them," said Mupariwa, still limping from his
The workers claim that Natanga made the house his base camp.
Villagers with MDC connections were summoned at gunpoint and forced to sing the
praises of Zanu-PF as they were stretched across a coffee table and thrashed.
Natanga, who works from an unmarked building between a sprawling bougainvillea
and the quaintly chaotic Chimanimani police station, hotly denied any role in
the invasion. Asked about rumours that Bennett would be killed before the
election, he said: "But that would be an offence!"
From The Sunday Telegraph, 11 June
Mugabe mob terrorises villagers as
observers look the other way
By David Blair in Mataga,
IN the run-up to parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe this
month, hundreds of thugs from the ruling Zanu-PF party have overrun Mberengwa
district, 250 miles south-west of Harare.
They ruthlessly hunt down anyone suspected of backing Sekai
Holland, the candidate for the Movement for Democratic Change, the main
opposition party. For Girly Chinyerere, the arrival of 24 fanatical supporters
of President Robert Mugabe at her village home marked the beginning of an ordeal
that she shuddered to recall. They came at dawn, brandishing whips, chains, iron
bars and clubs studded with rusty nails, their advance betrayed by loud cries of
"Forward with Comrade Mugabe!"
Although the European Union and Commonwealth have committed
more than 240 election observers to Zimbabwe, most have yet to leave Harare and
are regarded with indifference by besieged opposition supporters in remote
areas. Taking advantage of Mberengwa's isolated location, Zanu-PF gangs have
rampaged through the area.
According to residents, hundreds of people have been beaten,
three are missing and feared dead, nine women have been raped, 30 teachers have
been driven from the area, causing the closure of seven schools, and scores of
MDC members have fled in terror.
On the advice of MDC officials, we took seven guards, known as
"The Karate Boys", to guarantee our safety in an area where roads are lined with
the blackened shells of burnt-out huts. Mrs Chinyerere's experience is
commonplace. The Zanu-PF mob, knowing that she was an MDC member, hurled stones
at her windows while she hid in terror. They grabbed her 18-year-old daughter
and shouted: "We will beat her until you come out." Mrs Chinyerere emerged and
the gang set upon her. She said: "They beat me everywhere. On my back, my feet,
my legs, everywhere." Her assailants demanded the names of MDC supporters and
the surrender of her membership card.
Then Mrs Chinyerere, who was wearing only a night-gown, was
thrown to the floor and spreadeagled. She said: "Two men held my arms down, one
sat on my face and two others pushed my legs apart." Just as she feared she
would be gang-raped, the leader of the mob called off his men and left Mrs
Chinyerere with a warning that has become the hallmark of Zanu-PF terror gangs:
"Vote for comrade Mugabe or you will die."
Her ordeal was far from over. A week later, as she and her
husband, Daniel, who is a junior MDC official, sat amid broken glass and smashed
furniture, the mob returned and stoned their house before stealing everything of
value and breaking what they could not carry. For good measure, they set fire to
two huts used as storehouses. When Mr Chinyerere tried to report the crime, 50
men wearing Zanu-PF T-shirts ambushed him en route to the police station. He
said: "They just attacked me, beating me everywhere and shouting, 'We will kill
you, you will die'." The mob broke his left arm and left him covered with
bruises and weals. Mr Chinyerere said: "I am in fear; I know they will try to
find me. Now I cannot work and I don't know how we will live."
The couple have six children and the youngest boy, who is
eight, witnessed the assault on his mother. After countless incidents of this
sort, Mr Mugabe's opponents in Mberengwa believe that even the presence of
international observers cannot lift the stifling atmosphere of terror. One MDC
activist said: "What are they doing in Harare? What are they observing there?
But even if they do come here, it is too late. People are so afraid." At one
school visited by Zanu-PF thugs last week , teachers were unwilling to show
their faces. A group of eight people, some wearing bandages, queued outside the
police station in Mataga village, waiting to report more assaults.
A few miles away, a row of nine charred and blackened huts
destroyed by suspected Zanu-PF gangs who have rendered occupants homeless stood
as warning of the price of dissent. Yet Sekai Holland is determined to win this
seat for the MDC. She said: "I'm going to campaign face to face with Zanu-PF. If
it means I'm going to die, then it tells what is happening in Zimbabwe."
Comment from The Zimbabwe Standard,
11 June 2000
ZIMBABWE is at the cross roads. Witness the current mayhem that
has led to wanton loss of life, destruction of property and general lawlessness,
and you will understand just what is at stake here â€“ our destiny. Yes, our
destiny is at stake and it is everyoneâ€™s duty to play their role in mapping the
way forward for this most wonderful nation. Nobody should be left on the
sidelines, and then cry foul when the game is over. What is needed is for
everyone to grab this rare chance of speaking out on 24 and 25 June. You either
speak out for the status quo, or speak against it, if you are dissatisfied with
the way things are going in Zimbabwe, or with how the present government has
managed its affairs over the last five years.
It is only proper that every citizen should be given the right
to cast his/her vote on election day. With this in mind, we welcome President
Mugabeâ€™s Thursday announcement that those whose names are missing from the
voters role, or those who had not registered during the voter registration
exercise, have up to tomorrow to do so. Of course, we would have wished for more
time, but instead of crying foul, everyone should rush to the registration
centres to ensure that they are registered. Who knows, if the response is
overwhelming, the government, or rather the president, might be forced to extend
this "grace period".
Still on elections, it is every partyâ€™s duty to assure the
electorate that their vote is their secret, to dispel fears that might
discourage those who want to speak out from casting their vote. It is also
paramount that every eligible voter appreciates the importance of his/her vote.
For too long, Zimbabweans have been a passive lot, waiting for a few to decide
for them in the belief that their single vote does not count. No way, this is
not how democracy works, democracy triumphs when people turn out in large
numbers - under an enabling atmosphere and process â€“ to choose who they want to
Because of the importance of this exercise, it is also the duty
of social institutions, especially churches, to encourage people to go and vote.
Today is especially important - pastors, reverends, priests, whatever the title,
should encourage people to claim their right by ensuring that their names are on
the voters roll, before close of business tomorrow. It is both a heavenly and
national duty as it espouses freedom of expression, the cornerstone of
democracy. We cannot rely on outside pressure, in the form of international
observers or condemnation. If we fail this time, it will be none but ourselves
to blame. Let no one be fooled that the observers will have a decisive impact.
All they do, as the name suggests, is to observe the process, and then write
their findings - after the election - in the comfort of their own countries. If
the reports are unfavourable, a rap on the knuckles is the most that we should
Once again, every eligible voter is holding the destiny of this
land in their hands - yes, that little "X" matters. It would be high treason not
to play your part.
From News24, 10 June
Mugabe lashes out UN's
Marondera - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe accused the
United Nations Saturday of trying to assume an "illegitimate role" in the run-up
to parliamentary elections on June 24-25. The United Nations pulled out of the
electoral process on Friday after a dispute with the government over who
controls the international observers flocking into this southern African nation
from around the world.
The UN team pulled out after the Harare government reneged on
an agreement letting the world body co-ordinate international observer groups
ahead of the polling, said Fred Eckhard, spokesman for UN Secretary General Kofi
Annan. "We had offered to help with the coordination of international electoral
observers," Eckhard said in New York. "The secretary general (Kofi Annan) had
understood from his conversations with President Robert Mugabe that this was
acceptable to the government of Zimbabwe," he added.
But the government had now asked the UN simply to send
observers, rather than co-ordinate the work of monitoring the elections, Eckhard
said. "There is far too little time for the United Nations to consider doing
so," he added.
Mugabe, addressing some 10 000 enthusiastic supporters in a
working-class suburb of Marondela, 75 kilometres southeast of Harare, declared:
"That role which the United Nations wanted to assume is an illegitimate role in
my view." Speaking in English for the benefit of EU observers present, he
declared: "We are not chasing them out of the country," adding that he hoped
they would remain to participate "in an observer capacity."
"The legitimacy of the elections will depend on us and our own
judgment," the president declared. "We want our elections to be free and fair
and they're going to be free and fair from our point of view," he said.
From The Sunday Times (UK), 11 June
Mugabe seizes control of independent
PANICKED by the arrival of large numbers of international
observers who may declare Zimbabwe's elections on June 24 and 25 not to have
been free and fair, the government of President Robert Mugabe has issued a
decree asserting control over them. Accreditation and supervision of observers
has been snatched from the Electoral Supervisory Commission, an independent
body, and placed instead under the ministries of home and foreign affairs. The
commission is to seek a court order declaring the decree unconstitutional.
Mugabe has also objected to United Nations co-ordination of the
observers, causing the UN to withdraw and leaving the monitoring project in a
state of crisis. Most observers are staying inside their Harare hotels as the
government dawdles over accreditation procedures to prevent them from venturing
into the countryside - from which reports of torture, gang rape and mass
beatings by Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF continue to pour in. Already the "war
veterans" led by Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi have given a warning that they will
not tolerate observers visiting farms.
One European Union observer said: "They seem to have expected
that we would send three or four observers, a day or two before the poll.
Instead, soon there will be 200 EU observers." The Commonwealth will have a
further 45, the Americans 30 and the South Africans 50. More are arriving all
the time - from other southern African nations, Canada, Australia, Norway and
the Organisation of African Unity - although there cannot be enough to watch all
3,600 polling stations.
Thousands of election monitors have also been trained by
opposition parties after their success during the constitutional referendum in
February. "We found that only when our monitors slept with the ballot boxes,
never letting them out of their sight, were the results honest. Everywhere else
the boxes were stuffed," said Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for
But the government decree will bar political party members from
acting as monitors. Opposition groups say this is an attempt to ensure that all
polling station officials will be Zanu-PF loyalists. Isaac Maphosa, of the
National Constitutional Assembly, believes the government is doing all it can to
suborn observers. Since the ruling parties of South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique
and Lesotho have backed Zanu-PF, it is regarded as a foregone conclusion that
many of their representatives will declare the election free and fair, whatever
Aready the Zambians have announced that they are sure the
elections will be so, and that "Africa does not need international observers to
legitimise its elections". The Americans and Europeans seem certain to go the
other way, producing a split. Pierre Schori, leader of the EU delegation, has
already demanded fair broadcasting coverage for the opposition (it currently
gets none) and said that the election could have a "profound effect" on future
relations with EU countries.
From Associated Press, 10 June
Observers say they'll carry on
despite U.N. withdrawal from Zimbabwe election
By ANGUS SHAW
HARARE - The withdrawal of U.N. observers from Zimbabwe will
not affect the role of other foreign observers who are in the southern African
nation to make sure that upcoming parliamentary elections are free and fair,
officials said Saturday. The United Nations said Friday that President Robert
Mugabe had reneged on an agreement to permit the world body's observers to
coordinate all foreign observer missions and that there was not enough time for
the United Nations to renegotiate its role there.
"If we are not doing the coordination, there is no point in us
being there," U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said in New York. However, observers
from the Commonwealth of former British territories, the European Union and the
14-nation Southern Africa Development Community will remain in place to monitor
the June 24-25 poll. "We are here to see whether conditions exist for a free
expression of will by electors," said Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar of Nigeria,
chairman of the 44-member Commonwealth group.
Sanna Jonson, a spokeswoman for the 210-member EU observer
group, said the U.N. pullout was regrettable but "we will carry on." The main
opposition party in Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change, criticized the
decision by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to withdraw U.N. observers. "For
any electoral process to receive the stamp of moral authority from the
international community, it needs recognition from the United Nations," said
party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Abubakar said the presence of international observers and about
14,000 domestic election monitors from church, human rights and civic groups at
4,000 polling stations across the country aimed to ensure voters' security and
give them confidence. The human rights group Amnesty International said Thursday
it doubted that free and fair elections were possible because of a wave of land
takeovers spearheaded by veterans of the war that led to independence from white
minority rule in 1980. The government has ignored constitutional ownership
rights and laws protecting private property during the often-violent occupations
of more than 1,400 white-owned farms that began in February.
From Reuters, 10 June
Commonwealth mission expects full
HARARE - The Commonwealth's observer mission to Zimbabwe began
work ahead of June 24-25 elections on Saturday, saying it expected President
Robert Mugabe's government to give it full access to all areas during the poll.
Delegation leader and former Nigerian military leader Abdulsalami Abubakar told
a news conference in Harare that his group was fully independent and committed
to bringing confidence to voters unsettled by pre-poll violence.
"(The group) will aim to give confidence to the voters and
enable us to obtain a representative sample of the electoral process so that we
can make judgement called for by our terms of reference," Abubakar said at a
press conference. Abubakar handed Nigeria's government over to civilian rulers
last year after 15 years of army rule. "This group is independent of
(Commonwealth Secretary General) (Don) McKinnon. It is also independent of the
countries from which we have come and any organisations to which we may belong,"
said Abubakar, who heads a 44-member team. "During Mr McKinnon's visit here (in
May), President Mugabe assured him that the observer group would have access to
all areas. We have not been informed of any word to the contrary," said
Abubakar, accompanied by many delegation members.
Abubakar played down a decision by the United Nations to
withdraw a technical team intended to co-ordinate international observer
efforts, saying the Commonwealth could go it alone. "The pulling out of the U.N.
(technical team) does not affect our work at all. We are an independent body
capable of making our own arrangements," he said. The U.N. team pulled out of
the election process after the government rejected its offer to co-ordinate
The Commonwealth will deploy four observers to each of
Zimbabwe's 10 electoral provinces to assess the political environment and
determine whether the poll is free and fair.
Privately, members of the group were sceptical of a free and
fair election against a background of violence that has killed at least 27
people, mainly opposition supporters. "It is a difficult process. But we are
coming in against a background of election violence. People have died. People
have been injured. Many white farms are occupied. The process would already
appear to be tainted," one observer said. "Many of us come with a sceptical mind
in terms of whether the election can be free and fair. But we will be talking to
government and opposition officials, non-government agencies, rights groups and
ordinary voters in the coming days to have a broader view of things," added
From The Star (SA), 10 June
Zim to outlaw 'three-legged
Mutare, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe will amend its constitution to
outlaw dual citizenship, President Robert Mugabe told a campaign rally in this
eastern city on Friday. He complained that many white Zimbabweans also held
British or South African citizenship. "We call them three-legged creatures,"
Mugabe said, speaking in Shona. "We don't want such type of people here."
He noted that some white Zimbabweans with dual citizenship held
high positions in the judiciary and government, and urged them to renounce their
second nationality. He added however that the government would continue to
employ expatriates from other African countries and Europe. Mugabe also
expressed support for the often violent occupation of some 1 500 white-owned
farms by squatters led by veterans of Zimbabwe's independence war from Britain.
"They're going to keep on fighting until they have the land
back," he said. The government has already listed more than 800 white-owned
farms - many of them not occupied â€“ which it plans to seize without payment and
distribute to landless blacks, and Mugabe has said the list will be extended. He
told his 10 000 or so enthusiastic supporters at a stadium here that the
government would set up schools, clinics, roads and boreholes on the distributed
farms, which he said would be given out before the next planting season starts
Amendment of the constitution will be up to the next parliament, to be
elected June 24-25. Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic
Front is facing a strong challenge - for the first time - from the newly formed
Movement for Democratic Change, which is contesting all 120 constituencies, but
says that many are too dangerous to campaign in because of political violence
which has resulted in the deaths of some 29 people, four of them white farmers,
From The Zimbabwe Standard, 11 June
New radio station to operate on
AN INDEPENDENT broadcasting station, which will operate on the
short wave frequency, is due to be launched in the country this week. Although
details of the station were still sketchy at the time of going to press, The
Standard has it on high authority that the station will start operating on
Wednesday, and will be transmitting on 7.215 Kilohertz on the shortwave band.
Transmission will be in the countryâ€™s three official languages, Shona, Ndebele
and English in half hour slots between 7pm and 9.15pm.
Those believed to be running the station refused to shed any
light on developments and even professed ignorance of the existence of the
station. It is believed that a number of local business people and some
unidentified foreigners are behind the stationâ€™s formation but wish to remain
anonymous for fear of victimisation.
"The station will start broadcasting on Wednesday, but the
people behind it want to remain anonymous because they fear government
victimisation. They want to give Zimbabweans an alternative broadcasting station
which is not partisan like the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Station (ZBC). This is
important as the elections draw nearer," said one source but he also flatly
refused to disclose further information regarding the station.
Government has always rejected calls to open up the airwaves to
more participants for fear that an independent station could "damage" the
reputation of the government. Government has maintained a tight grip on the
state-owned ZBC, making sure that dissenting voices are denied air time on the
stationâ€™s channels. The ruling Zanu PF party has even gone to the extent of
calling for the banning of songs deemed "derogatory" to the ruling party.
Opposition political parties have also had to battle to receive coverage from
ZBC. The new station could thus provide relief for them.
The sources said the station was likely to broadcast from
outside the country and, in terms of the Broadcasting Act, government could not
stop the station from operating as there are no prohibitions on those who
broadcast from outside. However, only the ZBC is allowed to own a
Before the emergence of the private media, Reverend Ndabaningi
Sithole, tried to break state monopoly over the media by operating a radio
station, Radio Chokwadi, from South Africa. ZBCâ€™s monopoly is being challenged
in court by Capital Radio owned by media consultant, Mike Auret Jnr and veteran
broadcaster, Gerry Jackson who are seeking the right to own a transmitter and
operate an independent station in the country. They cite ZBCâ€™s partisanship as a
major reason for the stationâ€™s monopoly to be abolished.
From The Mail & Guardian, 10
ZIM TO USE FRAUD-FRIENDLY BALLOT
ZIMBABWE will use traditional wooden ballot boxes in
parliamentary elections on June 24-25 because they are still credible and
readily available, Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede said on Saturday. He said
the use of transparent ballot boxes used in other countries to guard against
fraud would be a burden to taxpayers. "Our wooden ballot box is quite credible
and there is nothing wrong with it," he said. "We don't want to spend money
unnecessarily ... boxes do not bring change to the election results. "We have
abundant forests in the eastern highlands," he said. "We should be proud of our
product. We can make the ballot boxes ourselves."
Mudede said he had asked some international election observers
here what changes the use of transparent boxes had brought to other elections.
"Most of them said nothing changed and that it was a sheer waste of resources,"
he said. In Zimbabwe, the wooden ballot boxes are opened to check if they are
empty before voting starts. This is done in the presence of representatives of
various political parties. After voting ends on a particular day, the box is
sealed and party representatives guard the boxes overnight. The following day,
the boxes are opened in the presence of all parties.
From The Sunday Times (SA), 11 June
Mbeki, Nordic leaders at
Copenhagen - SOUTH Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has insisted
that the governments of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the US had said they were
ready to assist in the redistribution of 118 Zimbabwean farms at a cost of about
R90-million. Mbeki made the assertion in an interview with the Sunday Times only
hours after the prime ministers of the three Nordic countries stated
unequivocally that they would not contribute to land redistribution in Zimbabwe
unless violence ended and the coming elections were free and fair.
They were supported by the prime minister of Finland and the
foreign minister of Iceland. The European leaders also said Zimbabwe must
contribute to the land reform programme before they would express support for
However, Mbeki said the R90-million was pledged in 1998 at a
conference in Zimbabwe and that the countries had not been asked to contribute
to a new fund. "The money is there . . . there is no other fund which was asked
for," Mbeki said. "Indeed Norway and the ones we have spoken to - Sweden and
Denmark - said 'yes, sure, we are ready to assist'. United States? 'Yes, sure,
we are ready to assist'."
However, led by Finland's Paavo Lipponen, the Nordic premiers
said they would fund such a programme only if Zimbabwe itself had initiated and
contributed to a land reform plan. Sweden's Goran Persson told the Sunday Times:
"We have not renewed our development assistance, suspended two years ago, to
Zimbabwe. "I will wait for a formal request and I will consider it. Naturally it
must come from Zimbabwe."
Lipponen said: "If it is money for land reform [we are talking
about] we are a bit reserved. We would not like Zimbabwe to use it for military
purposes. The Zimbabweans should first organise land reforms themselves, then we
will come in."
The premiers met Mbeki in Skagen, Denmark, for the SA-Nordic
Summit. They have agreed to meet regularly with South Africa, which they regard
as a powerful player in Southern Africa. Mbeki said South Africa had made
advances to the Nordic countries and the US for the R90-million because 118 of
the farms earmarked for redistribution in 1998 had come up for sale.
However, because Britain said it needed to have certain
conditions fulfilled before it could release the money , Mbeki felt South Africa
should mobilise funds to ensure the farms were bought. "So the matter we raised
was that of bridging finance to deal with the 118 farms, to get that process of
land reform proceeding," Mbeki said. "And then these donors that had agreed in
1998 would come back together and discuss this matter.
"The money is there. It does not require any setting up of any
fund. The matter then passed on to the UN secretary-general, who put it to the
British prime minister and Zimbabwean president."
From The Mail & Guardian (SA),
10 June 2000
Zim teetering on the brink of
Harare - ZIMBABWE is hurtling toward bankruptcy in the violent
run-up to parliamentary elections as the government prepares to seize
white-owned farms without payment. President Robert Mugabe - blaming "cartels"
for Zimbabwe's problems - told a campaign rally on Friday that the government
will reintroduce price controls soon. But economists say such controls will only
exacerbate the underlying problems and are predicting that the government will
have to raise taxes and slash spending after the June 24-25 elections.
Foreign exchange is critically short, donors have cut off aid,
and investors are staying away. Ordinary people are hurting, with the price of
vegetables up by about 200% recently and inflation running at some 60% and
rising by the day. Unemployment is estimated at around 50 to 60% of the
workforce, and growing. Farmers are holding back their crops because the
government has pegged the Zimbabwean dollar at 38 to the US dollar - the
parallel rate is 55 to the dollar - and businesses are laying off staff and
cutting back production because of the scarcity of fuel and because they cannot
obtain the foreign exchange they need for equipment. Petrol was delivered to
service stations Friday after a long drought that saw motorists queuing for
hours and many pumps dry, but the Ziana news agency reported Saturday that
people were cutting down trees in Harare for firewood because of the shortage of
Zimbabwe imports electricity from Angola, South Africa,
Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia, and the state utility is
starting to ration power, saying it does not have access to the foreign exchange
it needs, with a resulting shortfall of 10 to 25% of power at peak times. It
owes US$20 million to South Africa alone. Loans cost around 60%, but few are
approved because banks calculate that most businesses and farmers have little
prospect of repaying them. The crunch is hitting all sectors: the National Blood
Transfusion Services reported Saturday that they were struggling to pay their
debts to foreign suppliers because hospitals were not paying for the blood, and
a potato crisp factory has been idle for the past three weeks as a result of the
shortage of paraffin and foreign exchange.
Squatters led by veterans of Zimbabwe's war of independence
from Britain who have occupied some 1 500 white-owned farms burnt stocks of
tobacco - the country's biggest foreign exchange earner, along with gold - and
wreaked havoc on some farms. Four white farmers are among around 29 people
killed in political violence since February, and the government is planning to
seize more than 800 white-owned farms without payment and distribute them to
landless blacks. That number will grow, Mugabe is telling his supporters.
The Commercial Farmers Union says the white farmers have lost
four billion Zimbabwe dollars (more than US$100 million at the official exchange
rate) since the farm occupations started. Business leaders warned Thursday that
gold mines would be forced to close if economic hardships continued to place a
stranglehold on foreign currency inflows. Doug Verden, a senior executive in the
Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines said that production of gold was down by a tonne
compared to this time last year.
The Standard Chartered Bank is warning that the economy will
shrink by at least five percent this year. "Zimbabwe's economic outlook has
deteriorated dramatically in the last six weeks," the bank said in its May
economic review. The rate of economic decline will accelerate after the
elections "unless there is a radical change in policy, not just in regard to
land, but also in macroeconomic management," said the British-based bank, which
has branches throughout Zimbabwe. "It is now clear that lasting - as distinct
from temporary - damage has been inflicted on commercial agriculture," it said.
The bank noted that net capital flows into Zimbabwe tumbled from US$319 million
in 1997 to just 16 million last year, and that the Reserve Bank was warning that
this year there would be a net outflow of more than US$200 million, which "may
turn out to be an optimistic assessment."
It said economic indicators showed the budget deficit was currently running
at an "unsustainable" rate of some 20 percent of gross domestic product.
From The Zimbabwe Standard, 11 June
Zanu PF refuses to disclose
ZANU PF members last week objected to the reading of their
partyâ€™s financial report by the partyâ€™s finance secretary, Emmerson Mnangagwa,
in the presence of the media. The report outlines how Zanu PF used the funds
allocated to it by the treasury under the controversial Political Parties
The meeting was a special caucus for Zanu PF parliamentary
candidates held in Harare. It was addressed by President Robert Mugabe.
Mnangagwa was about to read the full outline of the report when the minister of
state for national security, Sydney Sekeramayi, informed him of the presence of
members of the local and international press. "I am informed that there are some
journalists present in here and I will present the report in their absence, in
the afternoon, since it is an internal matter," said Mnangagwa.
Under the Act, treasury is obliged to release money to a
political party which has at least 15 seats in parliament. Zanu PF received $76
million in the last budget and has channelled the money towards its electoral
campaign programme. According to sources, controversy surrounds the money, with
some Zanu PF candidates alleging that the money was being misappropriated. There
are reports that the party had exhausted the money and is now seeking more funds
for the campaign.
Speaking at the same meeting, vice-president Simon Muzenda
voiced his concerns about the money, saying it should be used for its intended
purpose. "Let us use the money for the election and it must not be diverted for
any other purpose."
The Standard understands that war veterans were given at least
$20 million to finance the current farm invasions and the subsequent reign of
terror meant to cow the opposition into submission. Another tranche was
disbursed to 10 Zanu PF provinces countrywide through their provincial
From The Zimbabwe Standard, 11 June
Zimbabweâ€™s record further
ZIMBABWE's international image continues to be tainted
following the release in Harare and Copenhagen on 6 June of a damning document
that details the countryâ€™s organised violence and torture in the run-up to
parliamentary elections scheduled for 24 and 25 June, The Standard learnt
In a hard-hitting document prepared by Amani Trust at the
request of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT),
the human rights organisation says it had identified allegations that doctors in
Zimbabwe were involved in, or condoned torture, and that health workers were
being targeted by perpetrators of organised violence and torture, while health
services to victims of organised violence were being disrupted.
The report, which The Standard accessed yesterday, says the
current situation in Zimbabwe indicates that organised violence and torture is
taking place on a very large scale, and that this requires independent
verification. "There is evidence that mass psychological torture is occurring.
Three cases illustrate torture being used to renounce political affiliations.
There is evidence of community disruption through intimidation to, and violence
against health workers and teachers," says the report.
The report further states that at the time of publishing the
report, 29 people had been killed, with most of them being members of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). No arrests have been made in
connection with the deaths. "The politically motivated violence, which has
spiralled in the past two months of 2000, became a matter of immense concern to
all the members of the Human Rights NGO Forum. The Forum accordingly started a
project to record and act upon cases of political violence and to support and
unify the initiatives being pursued by individual members of the forum. The
project has already received a large number of survivorsâ€™ accounts of torture
and beatings, as well as cases of killings.
Together with the numerous reports of political violence in the
press, these victimsâ€™ accounts provide yet more evidence that Zimbabwe is
experiencing gross human rights violations," says the report. The report
recommends the establishment of an independent judicial commission to
investigate all gross human rights violations. "It is imperative that the
Zimbabwe government sign and ratify the United Nations Convention Against
Torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment
as soon as possible. A policy of reparation should be developed and implemented.
This policy should include restitution, compensation and rehabilitation," states
From The Zimbabwe Standard, 11 June
Violence could lead to results being
nullified, says judge
A HIGH Court judge has said that if the electorate is subjected
to beatings, torment, diverse brutality and humiliation, designed to subjugate
its freedom of choice during an election, a nullification of that poll might be
Justice Gillespie made the comments on 31 May as he dismissed
with costs, an application by the Zanu PF chairman for Manicaland, Shadreck
Beta, for the court to nullify the results of the Mutare mayoral election. The
election was won by Lawrence Mudehwe.
Beta complained that his supporters had been denied the
opportunity to vote because they did not have lodgersâ€™ cards and were thus
unable to prove their status. Beta produced affidavits of eight people in
support of his claim.
Justice Gillespie said the court had full jurisdiction over all
matters pertaining to electoral disputes save where the resolution of the
dispute might involve a breach of the privilege of parliament. He said in such
instances, the jurisdiction it had was regulated by the Electoral Act which did
not oust or replace the courtâ€™s existing jurisdiction, but expanded it.
He said it could be concluded that, despite the legislative
provision for, and the clear desirability of, a trial of election petitions, in
rare circumstances, such a proceeding would not be insisted upon.
"In the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction to regulate its
own proceedings to achieve justice, the court will, in a proper case,
countenance electoral challenges irregularly brought and determine the issue
despite the absence of trial. This will only be tolerated, however, where there
is no dispute of fact. Where there is any dispute of fact in an electoral
challenge, there is no room for the robust approach to a resolution thereof as
applied in ordinary civil litigation. This is because of the consideration, in
electoral matters, of free expression of the democratic will of the electorate
that is to be held and the determination of elections through litigation to be
avoided. Where, however, proof is advanced that in any election the apparent
exercise of democracy has been subverted, then the court will come to the
assistance of the aggrieved electorate and uphold the democratic process by
setting aside the election. But to do so on a robust approach to disputed
allegations would be entirely misplaced," said Justice Gillespie.
The judge said to give a topical example gleaned from current
events, one would have to be singularly isolated from public affairs to be
unaware of current unrest and political discord in the country. "Even an ivory
tower would not be above the news. As far as a court of law is concerned,
whatever might be the knowledge or belief of those closer to events than our
lofty judicial detachment, none of the allegations I am about to repeat can be
regarded as anything other than unproven allegations. They serve, nevertheless,
to illustrate the point I wish to make. One hears the charges that people are
being murdered by reason of their candidacy for, or contributions to, a certain
political party. The people are being subjected to beatings and torments for
their political adherence; that agents provocateurs induce people to betray
their views by simulating the gesture and slogans of those they wish to
persecute; that whole communities of people are herded into "re-education"
centres and then subjected to diverse brutalities and humiliations designed to
subjugate their freedom of choice. If any such misdeeds were established in any
particular constituency, then that may be an irregularity or transgression of
the electoral ethic and might justify the inference that the result must have
been affected. The nullification of the poll at that constituency might be
warranted," he said.
Justice Gillespie said no matter what perception or notoriety
may attend such allegations, no court would act upon them unless they were
proven. "Once proven, whether before polling, in order to restrain such
practices, or thereafter, to impeach them, then the court has full power to
intervene. Power, of course, in the sense of jurisdiction and moral authority.
The court, like the Pope, has no divisions. For the efficacy of its orders the
court relies upon the submission of the executive to the rule of law." he
From The Zimbabwe Standard, 11 June
MMPZ to launch election reporting
THE MEDIA Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) has compiled a
booklet to help journalists report the countryâ€™s forthcoming parliamentary
elections. The booklet, called Election Reporting - A Practical Guide, which is
still in its draft form and is expected to be launched next week, was put
together on behalf of the Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe Chapter
and the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN). Speaking at a half-day seminar
organised for journalists to discuss the contents of the draft booklet, the MMPZ
coordinator, Andrew Moyse, said the guideline was meant to be a reminder for
journalists when covering the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
Said Moyse: "The booklet is just a guide for journalists to
remind them of what is expected of them when covering elections." The draft
booklet outlined ethical standards for journalists in covering parliamentary
elections, as well as how they can plan for election coverage. It also contained
experiences from Kenya on how the journalists there planned to cover their
countryâ€™s 1992 elections.
Wangethi Mwangi, the managing editor of Nation newspapers in
Kenya wrote: "The pursuit of the truth is a great democratic cause. If a
journalist fails there, he or she fails in the struggle for democracy. The
struggle for democracy must be a call to every journalist."
When reporting the parliamentary candidate campaigns from
different political parties, the booklet said the journalists should dig beneath
the surface of what the politicians say. Says the booklet: "Politicians of all
parties want to use the media to get their message across to the voters.
Sometimes they will say things that are untrue - and very often they will leave
out facts that are inconvenient to their case. It is not the duty of the media
to debate with candidates as though journalists were politicians themselves. But
it is good journalism to look behind the politiciansâ€™ words to see what they are
likely to do if elected."
The MMPZ also drew a list of guidelines on how publicly-owned
media should cover elections. The guidelines were based on international
standards on how such institutions should cover elections. MMPZ said media
funded by the public have a duty to be balanced and impartial in their election
reporting and should not discriminate against any party in granting access to
print or air time. The organisation stressed that news, interviews, information
or current affairs programmes, or articles must not be biased in favour of or
against any party or candidate.
The president of the Independent Journalists Association of
Zimbabwe (IJAZ), Abel Mutsakani, said journalists covering elections would find
the booklet useful. His colleague, the president of the Zimbabwe Union of
Journalist (ZUJ), Matthew Takaona, also welcomed the booklet saying it would
enable journalists to cover the forthcoming elections more transparently. He,
however, said how journalists would cover the elections would depend on their
individual institutionsâ€™ editorial policies.
From The Zimbabwe Standard, 11 June
Poll results could be
THE outcome of this monthâ€™s historic parliamentary elections
could be legally challenged on the basis that the Electoral Supervisory
Commission (ESC) was not adequately involved in the electoral process, legal
experts told The Standard yesterday.
According to the ESC itself, it had failed to exercise two of
its three constitutional functions namely; to supervise the registration of
voters and to consider any proposed election legislation that has been referred
to it. The third function of the body is to supervise the conduct of general
elections and by-elections.
Speaking to The Standard yesterday, a consultant with the ESC,
Rejoice Ngwenya, confirmed that the ESC had not taken part in the supervision of
the registration of voters and that it had also not been consulted in matters of
the modification of the Electoral Act. The modifications, gazetted on Friday,
allow only members of a disciplined force and those absent from the country on
government service, as well as their spouses, to vote through the postal ballot
system. Said Ngwenya: "The ESC was not consulted when the Electoral Act was
modified. We were only given the draft document on Tuesday while it was gazetted
on Friday. The ESCâ€™s role was undermined."
Ngwenya said by virtue of the constitution, the
registrar-general was meant to make routine reports to the ESC, to update it on
how his office was conducting the registration of voters in order to enable the
supervision of the exercise. On whether it would be possible to monitor the
postal ballot system, Ngwenya said: "The postal voters are a little bit tricky
to monitor, the question that will be raised by citizens is whether we can trust
Mudede with postal voters."
Kevin Laue, a senior Harare attorney and human rights lawyer
who also chairs the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said the sidelining of
the ESC was unhealthy for the countryâ€™s electoral process. "Itâ€™s unhealthy, it
makes the elections messy. It could give people an argument to challenge the
aspects of the election outcome." Professor Welshman Ncube, who is a lawyer by
profession, and is also the secretary-general of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), said the ESCâ€™s role was not being taken seriously by the
government. He said inadequate resources and the fact that the commission was
operating without the full compliment of workers, was evidence of that. The ESC
is currently operating with three members, instead of the five required by the
constitution. Said Ncube: "If someone is able to testify that there were 10 000
people who registered for elections but failed to appear on the voters roll on
election day, then one can argue that this was so because the elections were not
supervised by the ESC."
Recent press reports revealed that thousands of people who had
registered to vote were missing from the voters roll. David Coltart, a lawyer
and secretary for legal affairs within the MDC, said given the scale of the
abuse of law in the country, the aspect of the ESC was apparently insignificant.
Coltart said this was not the first time that the ESC had been unable to do its
work. The ESC refused to monitor last yearâ€™s local government elections because
it was not offered adequate information and resources to carry out its duties.
Comment from The Zimbabwe Standard,
11 June 2000
Letter from America - Africa ready
BETWEEN 1966 and 1968 I was a student at the University of
Rhodesia. The whole world was opening up to us; we surveyed it and we saw that
life could be good. I remember sitting on the green lawn of Manfred Hodson Hall,
sharing jokes with Stanley Mudenge, A Sakupwanya, J Jokonya and many other
bright lights of the emerging Africa. Africa, was at last, thank God, freeing
itself from colonial shackles. Even though Ian Smith said white rule would last
for a thousand years, we all knew it was a joke. Or was it a joke? That is the
subject of this letter.
Colonialism is returning, and most Africans now look back to
those days with some fond memories. The lawlessness in Somalia, Sierra Leone and
Liberia show that the British (in Sierra Leone at least) are being asked to take
over and to remain as "masters and saviours" from the rule of thieves and
gangsters who call themselves nationalists.
Sir Siaka Stevensâ€™ first nationalist government - 1968 to 1985
â€“ was a one party state and the majority of Sierra Leoneans remember and
"allege" that it was a "government of vultures". Another phrase used is that it
was "a government of locusts." A country blessed by washed down diamonds in its
riverbeds, its living standard once rose to nearly U$5 000 per capita. But that
was before the vultures perfected their methods. Vultures eat everything in
sight. They do not "grow" anything (use the word invest), rather than "prune"
(use the phrase encourage capital growth) they cut down the branch, sometimes
even dig up the root as well if they can get their vulture filthy talons on
them. Whether they are vultures or locusts, the result is the same. Nothing
viable is left after they have been through. Add to that a one party state,
there is no lawful way in which these vultures can be encouraged to relinquish
The significance of these vulture governments is the widespread
corruption of the organs of state. The military was allowed to use their
equipment to mine (unlawfully) and sell diamonds. The police were on the take,
and this can be juicy, even the Holy Fathers looked the other way. The whole
fabric of society was undermined. The whole elite structures were compromised,
including the newspapers. That explains the emergence of vicious bandit warlord
Nelson Mandela of South Africa has said that a government
creates its own opposition. A trustful and generous government is likely to have
a trusting and loyal opposition. A vulture government is likely to create a
thoroughly wicked vulture opposition. Sankohâ€™s men chopped off the limbs of
those who supported government and perhaps in vulture logic they deserved such
treatment. Likewise, when Sankoh was captured, he was stripped of his clothes
and paraded through Free Town streets. He was saved and taken to a British
The warlords parcelled Sierra Leone into "no go areas" usually
around diamond claims. A form of evil equilibrium was reached. One vulture
warlord was as strong as another. That is why the British paratroopers made
mince meat of the so-called resistance in a matter of three days. That is why
the Sierra Leoneans have begged the British government to keep its troops there
as a protection against vulture governments. Teachers and civil servants went
without pay even during Siaka Stevensâ€™ locust period. But colonialism has
already seeped back into Sierra Leone.
Here are the facts. As we speak, Britain has advisors in all
levels of Sierra Leone government. These are called backroom boys. The blacks
you see at the front desk donâ€™t make the final decisions. It is the British who
make sure that the soldiers are paid on time now run the military. The
accountant-general in the country is a Briton on secondment; the revenue
officers are British; the customs officials are British. The "vulture chefs"
used to walk through customs offices without paying what they owed. Every Sierra
Leonean had a friend or relative at the customs office and knew how to wait
until his relative was on duty. The same vultures do not play those games with
the British now. The inspector-general of the police is British - Keith Biddle,
formerly assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester and Kent.
It is not for me to say whether the Sierra Leoneans are better
off with the British as "masters and saviours" (their own words). I simply
report the news. They are begging the British to stay for good. The events in
Zimbabwe have compromised so many groups of people. the military has been
tainted, the police has looked aside while crimes were committed, the wrong
doers daily give interviews to the BBC and the New York Times, boasting about
the number of beatings and burnings they have committed on behalf of the
The Holy Fathers, God forbid, say that: "We are really not sure
who is committing the evil acts." By and large, they remain silent in the face
of naked evil. I thought their job was to condemn wickedness and let the chips
fall where they may. What then shall become of us?
When the dust settles down, Zimbabweans will find themselves
worse off than any time they can remember. They may look back at colonialism and
say, as Nigerians now say: "At least the British were equally unfair with
everybody. There was no favouritism and they were efficient about their
See you next week.
Ken Mufuka is a Zimbabwean citizen based in the US. He is a