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

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The Guardian

Pressure On Zimbabwe On Farm Seizures

Wednesday December 5, 2001 7:10 PM


WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. officials are hoping to pressure Zimbabwe to end its
practice of seizing white-owned farms to give to landless blacks.

But the country seems intent on continuing the often-violent practice.
Zimbabwe's highest court Monday upheld a government plan to seize the farms.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a measure, 396-11, requiring
the African nation to adopt land ownership protections in order to continue
receiving U.S. aid.

The chairman of the International Relations Committee, Rep. Henry Hyde,
R-Ill., said that during his 21-year reign, President Robert Mugabe ``has
used land reform as a political wedge issue. . . refusing credible programs
that would have addressed the issue in favor of a soapbox for demagoguery.''

``A once productive country faces starvation,'' Hyde said. ``Yet the
Zimbabwean government responds to the cries of its people and its political
opposition with harassment, intimidation, and murder.''

Unless Zimbabwe changes its laws, the bill would order U.S. representatives
to international financial institutions to try to block aid or debt relief
to the country. The White House would also have to ensure that elections
planned this March meet democratic standards.

If changes are made, the Treasury Department could help find debt relief for
the country. It would also allow the release of $20 million for land reforms
and $6 million for election monitoring.

The Senate has already passed its own bill, but its version requires U.S.
representatives to international financial institutions to push for debt
relief and financial aid for Zimbabwe. The Senate also wanted to build a
Southern Africa Finance Center in Zimbabwe, as an incentive for the country.

The two versions will have to be reconciled between House and Senate
negotiators. Aides hope a compromise can be reached before Congress adjourns
for the year.

Armed ruling party militants have occupied more than 1,700 white-owned farms
since March 2000, demanding they be redistributed to landless blacks. The
government has listed some 4,500 properties - about 95 percent of farm land
owned by whites - for nationalization without compensation. Last month it
warned about 800 farmers they had three months to vacate their land.

The Zimbabwe court's ruling, made public Tuesday, rejected white farmers'
assertions that the land seizures were violent and were breaking down law
and order in farming districts.
THE BILL :

Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (Engrossed House Amendment)

107th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 494

AMENDMENT

S 494 EAH

In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

December 4, 2001.

AMENDMENT:

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

SEC. 2. STATEMENT OF POLICY.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

SEC. 4. SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY.

SEC. 5. SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS, THE FREE PRESS AND INDEPENDENT MEDIA, AND THE RULE OF LAW.

SEC. 6. SENSE OF CONGRESS ON THE ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN AGAINST INDIVIDUALS RESPONSIBLE FOR VIOLENCE AND THE BREAKDOWN OF THE RULE OF LAW IN ZIMBABWE.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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MSNBC
.
Zimbabwe silent on U.S. aid, sanctions bill


HARARE, Dec. 5 The Zimbabwean government maintained a deafening silence on
Wednesday to news that the U.S. House of Representatives had approved a bill
threatening sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and his associates.
Senior Zimbabwean government officials were unavailable for comment
for a greater part of Wednesday, but official sources said there was an
angry mood in the corridors of power.
''I think quite a number of people are angry, because they know that
at a personal level, this bill will have serious repercussions for them if
it is implemented,'' one source said.
''But at the official level, the response is going to be the standard
one, that America is acting in a racist manner and is punishing ZANU-PF
(Mugabe's ruling party) because it wants to see a puppet government in power
and to preserve white minority interests,'' he said.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday endorsed the Zimbabwe
Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill -- a stick and carrot approach -- to
press Mugabe to ensure free elections and establish land ownership
protections in his country.
On a 396-11 vote, the House approved the bill, which was passed by
the Senate in August, offering Zimbabwe a broad package of aid and economic
enticements on condition that the government ended its sponsorship of
violence and commit to an equitable land reform programme.
The bill urges President George W. Bush to consult with European
Union countries, Canada and other nations on possible actions to be taken
against those responsible for violence in Zimbabwe, including Mugabe.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Commonwealth ministers
would meet in London in the week beginning December 17 to discuss also
possible sanctions against Zimbabwe.

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS
Those actions resulting from the U.S. bill could include travel and
investment sanctions against Mugabe, his family and associates.
The measure also authorises broad debt relief, support for new
international loans and financial and technical support for Zimbabwe if the
White House decides Mugabe has restored the rule of law, held free and fair
polls and committed his government to land reform.
The bill authorises foreign assistance funds to Zimbabwe to support
the establishment of democratic institutions and the rule of law. But
analysts said any form of sanctions would hurt an economy already struggling
with its worst crisis in decades.
Travel and investment restrictions, and a freeze of assets would also
affect some of Mugabe's senior officials who have homes or children at
school in the United States and Europe.
Mugabe maintains he has no wealth hidden abroad.
In a terse statement, Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) said on Wednesday the government was responsible for
the trouble befalling it.
''The MDC believes that this is a matter between the Americans and
the affected ZANU-PF officials, who through their conduct have invited this
legislation on themselves,'' it said.
At a rally on Saturday, Mugabe vowed to continue his controversial
land seizure drive ''with or without sanctions.''
Mugabe predicted he would easily win presidential polls due by April,
although his ZANU-PF only narrowly beat the opposition in last year's
parliamentary general elections despite a violent campaign in which 31
people died.
The EU is also threatening sanctions on Mugabe over his conduct. On
Tuesday Canada imposed visa restrictions on Zimbabwe and six other
countries.
Mugabe, 77, has held power since the former Rhodesia gained
independence from Britain in 1980 but is expected to face the stiffest
challenge of his career in elections from MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.


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From Forbes - Management and Trends

Commonwealth to mull Zimbabwe sanctions in 2 weeks

Reuters, 12.05.01, 9:46 AM ET


LONDON, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Commonwealth ministers will meet in London in
about two weeks to discuss possible sanctions against Zimbabwe, British
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on Wednesday.

Straw told parliament's Foreign Affairs Select Committee that the
Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group would gather "in the week beginning
December 17" but refused to speculate about what action might be taken
against President Robert Mugabe.

Critics say Mugabe has largely ignored an agreement brokered in Abuja,
Nigeria, that his government signed in September to end often violent
invasions of white-owned farms by his supporters. They have also denounced a
media bill which they say is meant to curb press freedom in the run-up to
presidential elections.

"Do I believe that Abuja has been followed? No," Straw told the committee.

But he said the deal had been useful in ratcheting up international pressure
on Mugabe, from merely bilateral protests from Britain, to multilateral
complaints, not least from the African continent.

Straw told Reuters a definite date for the meeting of the eight-member CMAG
group had yet to be finalised and he would not speculate on what sanctions
might be imposed, saying: "That would re-bilateralise the issue".

But he condemned curbs on the press. "It is further evidence of their desire
to rig the system," he said.

Mugabe has faced growing foreign pressure, most recently as South African
President Thabo Mbeki apparently distanced himself from him and reports
suggested the United States is considering imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Copyright 2001, Reuters News Service.

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Trade unions support firmer stance on Zimbabwe

from afrol News

"About time too" was the response of ICFTU General Secretary Bill Jordan on
hearing of the radical shift in policy from South African President Thabo
Mbeki towards his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe.

For the first time, President Mbeki had spoken out against the disastrous
policies of the increasingly tyrannical Mugabe, claiming that he was
endangering the economic situation for the whole of the region.

His words echo those of a letter sent by the International Confederation of
Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) to Mugabe in July this year, in which Bill Jordan
protested "at the deteriorating trade union and human rights situation, as
well as the economic, social and political crisis, which continues to take a
heavy toll on the majority of the people."

The Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) is an affiliate member of the
ICFTU. During recent 'stayaway' protests at government fuel price increases,
ZCTU members were continually harassed and intimidated.

Supporting the ICFTU belief in the necessity of free elections in Zimbabwe
in April next year, a spokesman the South African President, Bheki Khumalo,
explained, "if the elections are not fair, the situation will be a lot worse
than it is now."

The change in direction from Mbeki was triggered by frustration at
Zimbabwean hindrance of the 'New Partnership for Africa's Development,'
which is aiming to improve the economic situation in the region.

"Robert Mugabe has long failed to respect the most basic of trade union
rights, as well as the suppression of the freedom of expression and freedom
of information", said Bill Jordan. "His policies are greatly undermining
democracy in the country and the prospects of the region as a whole. This
firmer stance from his African neighbours is an important step forward," he
continues.

Also the leading South African trade union COSATU had pressured President
Mbeki to take a harder stance against Zimbabwe's Mugabe. Especially the
government attacks on ZCTU earlier this year had provoked hard protests by
COSATU, noting "with utter dismay this unbecoming conduct by the security
forces."

The Zimbabwean government now only seems to have some support among his
Namibian counterpart, lead by autocrat President Nujoma, in the Southern
Africa region. South African pressure against Mugabe is seen as having
strong weight in the region.
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Pressure piles on Mugabe

12/4/01 9:19:33 AM (GMT +2)

THE former South African president, Nelson Mandela, has lent his weight to the need for a free and fair Presidential election in Zimbabwe next year, supporting his successor's tougher stance on President Mugabe.

Mandela, the winner, with former prime minister F W de Klerk, of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, said yesterday it was only reasonable for Mbeki to get tougher with Mugabe, after realising his "quiet diplomacy" was not working.
Mandela, the 83-year-old first president of a democratic South Africa, said it was clear Mugabe did not listen to advice from his colleagues on the need to restore the rule of law.
Mugabe has refused to carry out lawful land reform, or to adopt minimum conditions for a free and fair election.

The man who spent 27 years in prison for his struggle against apartheid, was speaking to journalists in the Western Cape where he was visiting a number of schools.
Mandela said it was not too late to ensure a successful election in Zimbabwe.
He said: "Let us not close the possibility of succeeding, because there are increasing pressures now."

Mandela said he was optimistic that a new Southern Africa Development Community taskforce, appointed in September to monitor the restoration of the rule of law in Zimbabwe, would prove effective.
He praised Mbeki's more forthright stance on Zimbabwe, but said the South African government had been right to try "quiet diplomacy" at first.

"He adopted the correct policy at first. He wanted to speak through diplomatic channels and that is the proper course for a head of state to follow," Mandela said. "It is quite clear now that Mugabe has not listened to him and that is why Thabo Mbeki is getting tough."
Mandela said Mbeki was "no longer just the president of South Africa . . .
to a very large extent he is president of Africa as well".

Mbeki, sources in his government said, is making it plain to Mugabe that the Zimbabwean leader could no longer expect his protection over the escalating crisis in the country.
Mbeki, who last week warned of civil conflict if the Presidential poll was not free and fair, is losing patience over the Zimbabwean crisis as Mugabe refuses to listen to advice from his colleagues in the region.

MDC vice-president, Gibson Sibanda, said of Mbeki's tough stance on Mugabe: "He hasn't done enough, but we appreciate that he's already sending the correct signals to Mugabe to restore the rule of law and prepare for free and fair elections."
Zanu PF and government spokesman, Jonathan Moyo, yesterday said he would not comment on Press reports attributed to Mbeki because the South African president had not said anything officially to the Mugabe government.

The State media, however, yesterday attacked Mbeki, attributing his new position against Mugabe to the recently-forged alliance between his African National Congress (ANC) and the New National Party (NNP) which, as the National Party, introduced apartheid in South Africa in 1948.
The NNP has severed its links with the Democratic Party led by Tony Leon, widely attacked by Moyo as racist and pro-MDC, to form an alliance with the ANC.
Mugabe has recently faced growing foreign pressure to ensure a free and fair Presidential election and the freedom of the Press.
The United States has moved close to imposing targeted sanctions against him and senior government and Zanu PF officials. The European Union is tightening the screws around Mugabe over the governance issues.
- Staff Reporter/ Reuter

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CMED officials accused of causing Gezi's death

12/4/01 9:46:15 AM (GMT +2)

From Our Correspondent in Gweru

Officials at the government's Central Mechanical Equipment Department (CMED) have been accused of causing the death of Border Gezi, the Minister of Youth, Gender and Employment Creation, in a road accident near Mvuma early this year, after they negligently fitted a defective tyre on his official Mercedes Benz vehicle.

Handing down the verdict of an inquest into the death of Gezi and his driver Nicholas Murondatsimba on Friday, the coroner, Oliver Mudzongachiso, accused the CMED officials of lying about the condition of the tyre during cross-examination.
Gezi and Murondatsimba died on the spot when the ministerial car burst a tyre, veered off the road and overturned at the 200km peg along the Harare-Masvingo road on 28 April.
Mudzongachiso, in his 150-page long verdict, said Fidelis Muchenje and Langton Chatama, the two senior officials at the VVIP section of the CMED, acted negligently when they fitted a wrong tyre to Gezi's ministerial Mercedes Benz on 19 February. The defective tyre later peeled off and caused the accident.

"Due to momentum which was caused when the left rear tyre failed and the vehicle swerved to the right, it swung around, faced east, careered by the back and in the process hit on to three trees and ended up resting upon a huge gum tree facing west." "Due to the impact upon the trees, the two met their deaths," said Mudzongachiso.

He said the two witnesses lied in order to distance themselves from the tyre which later peeled off, and tried to clear themselves from the negligence allegations. During cross-examination, Muchenje, an artisan at the CMED VVIP depot, denied having seen the tyres which were presented before the court as exhibits. He told the court that the tyre which caused the accident was not
the one he had fitted.

"When Muchenje was shown the blown-up tyre, he started to backtrack, saying he did not know it and made weird suggestions that it could have been fitted elsewhere," said Mudzongachiso.
"He then changed and said he had fitted the tyre on the right rear side and not the left rear. On another plane, he readily admitted he was not allowed to fit different tyres on a vehicle.
"This witness's testimony readily confirms that indeed the tyre he fitted was on the left rear, but when he realised it, he began to throw spanners at every possible avenue, he knew that this issue had drastic consequences."

The evidence by Chatama, the acting foreman and inspector at the CMED VVIP section, was also dismissed as incoherent and untrue. Despite being shown an exhibit which suggested that the car had been brought to the depot on 19 February for a tyre repair, Chatama still insisted that the correct date was 28 February.

He said Gezi's car had come for general service and not specifically for tyre repair. Chatama said it was only after routine service that he discovered the worn-out tyre, and instructed Muchenje to replace it.

He later turned around and said he did not see the tyre and was not there when it was fitted to Gezi's car. The inquest, which took nearly two weeks, involved a visit to the scene of the accident, a study of eyewitness accounts as well as police reports on the accident.

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