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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day
 
'Journalists welcome in Zimbabwe'
 
But they have to apply to authorities

PRETORIA Journalists would be welcome in Zimbabwe they just have to follow due application processes in time.
 
But the only undertaking that Simon Moyo, Zimbabwe's High Commissioner to SA, would give was that he would then "make sure the applications get to the authorities quickly".
 
Addressing the Pretoria Press Club yesterday, Moyo criticised the local media for its "bias" in reporting about his country. He said the SA media, which "could play a positive role in finding solutions to Zimbabwe's problems", has "not been helpful".
 
"If your neighbour's house is on fire, you don't rush with fuel. You assist with an extinguisher. Or at least, with a bucket of water. When Zimbabwe catches fire, even journalists will burn."
 
He condemned Britain for allowing a radio station to broadcast from the UK and incite people "to be as violent as they can, inciting them to revolt".
 
Defending Zimbabwe's contentious media bills, Moyo said MPs had every right to enact laws that are in the interests of their nation. But "no law is cast in stone", he added.
 
Zanu (PF) stalwart Eddison Zvobgo, who also heads the parliament's legal affairs committee, has caused ructions within the ruling party by repeatedly rejecting the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill.
 
Zvobgo has argued that the bill gave the government "frightening powers" to control the press ahead of the election.
 
"Ask yourselves whether it is rational for a government in a democratic and free society to require registration, licences and ministerial certificates for people to speak," Zvobgo said.
 
But "that's why the parliamentary committee is there", Moyo said yesterday: "All he (Zvobgo) is saying is correct. It's the way he sees it."
 
Regarding reports that three journalists were arrested in Zimbabwe on Wednesday, Moyo said protests were allowed but, in doing so, the laws of the country had to be observed.
 
Zimbabwe's relations with the SA government "remain exceedingly cordial, excellent", Moyo said. However, he said opposition leader Tony Leon was "a frustrated man", but this was not surprising for a man who has seen "half his party disappear" with the breakaway of the New National Party.
 
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was confident yesterday that it would win next month's Zimbabwean election by a "landslide" .
 
MDC secretary for economic affairs, Eddie Cross, said while his party was seriously concerned by violence against its members by Zanu (PF) supporters, it would continue to contest the polls peacefully.
 
He said Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's "delinquency" affected SA's economy.
 
Cross criticised President Thabo Mbeki for not having taken decisive steps to stop Mugabe from destroying his country's economy. "Mbeki is the only man in the world who can say no to Mugabe and he knows this, but is taking the matter lightly."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

news.com.au
 
Mugabe's mates claim win over `colonials'
 
LONDON: President Robert Mugabe's supporters claimed a victory over Britain and Australia yesterday after demands for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the Commonwealth were snubbed. The official state-run newspaper in Zimbabwe, the Herald, hailed "yet another diplomatic coup over the mighty British empire".
Commonwealth foreign ministers rejected calls from Britain's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to suspend Mr Mugabe because of his campaign of political intimidation.
 
The group of eight ministers was split, with Australia, Canada and Barbados backing Mr Straw, but Asian and African states opposed to suspension.
 
A disappointed Mr Straw later tried to insist that the words of condemnation issued by the ministers would still represent a blow to Mr Mugabe.
 
But in an editorial, the Herald said Britain had been "slapped in the face". "For the umpteenth time the former colonialists, the British, have been beaten by Zimbabwe on the diplomatic front," it added.
 
"It is always a difficult thing for a master to ever regard their former subject as an equal and this prejudice has confined the British diplomats to international embarrassment."
 
Opposition foreign secretary Michael Ancram described the editorial as "the rhetoric of fascist politicians throughout the ages".
 
The EU has promised to impose sanctions if Mr Mugabe fails to allow observers into the country by the weekend to monitor the election on March 9-10.
 
Meanwhile, media groups in Johannesburg, South Africa, said the free press in Zimbabwe was dead.
 
A media Bill passed Thursday essentially gagged the independent press ahead of the country's elections, free press advocates said.
 
Under the legislation it is illegal for journalists to operate without government accreditation and foreign correspondents will only be allowed in the country to cover specific events.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Independent (UK)
 
Poll rivals want to bring back white rule, says Mugabe

By Basildon Peta in Harare and Katherine Butler
02 February 2002

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's President, began his election campaign yesterday by accusing the opposition of standing "for all things white".
 
"What they want is to bring you under white rule and persevere the land rights of the whites," he told people gathered at his first rally ahead of the poll next month.
 
Hours earlier, Jonathan Moyo, the Information Minister, questioned the need for the media, amid global dismay at a law intended to silence political debate before the election. He said the military would not tolerate an opposition victory.
 
The press law imposes tight restrictions on journalists and seeks to eliminate criticism of the government and its policies. Mr Moyo suggested that Zimbabwe would be better off without a free press. "Thomas Jefferson said it was better to have newspapers without government. He was very, very wrong. It is far better to have government without newspapers," he told CNN.
 
Mr Moyo said foreign correspondents could still apply for permission to cover news in Zimbabwe, but British news organisations would be kept out. "We are very clear ­ Tony Blair and his lot will not be allowed to come here. We are saying to them, continue your colonial arrogance in London. You are not welcome here," Mr Moyo said.
 
The European Union joined Britain and America in attacking the law. "We are profoundly disappointed," said Chris Patten, the EU's external relations commissioner. "It represents a fundamental attack on media freedom which, if implemented, will drive a further nail into the coffin of Zimbabwe's democratic tradition."
 
Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, speaking after talks in Washington with Colin Powell, the American Secretary of State, said he found it "almost impossible to comprehend how free and fair elections can be held ... when such laws have been passed."
 
While the final version of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill contains amendments to the original wording ­ which even ruling party MPs found unconstitutional ­ journalists said its impact would be just as draconian. Zimbabwean journalists will have to seek licences from a commission appointed by the Information Minister.
 
The Bill showed "the complete powerlessness of journalists in this really repressive machine Mugabe has managed to build", said Yves Sorokobi, of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. The organisation said it was helping journalists out of the country if they felt they were in danger.
 
Mr Mugabe is giving military leaders a central role in the election, with army officers and war veterans being asked to lead "voter education".
 
The Electoral Supervisory Commission is headed by Sobhusa Gula-Ndebele, a retired colonel and war veteran.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News
 
Moyo, Chinamasa clash in Parliament 
 
2/2/02 8:42:59 AM (GMT +2)
 
 
By Luke Tamborinyoka
 
JONATHAN Moyo and Patrick Chinamasa clashed openly in Parliament on Thursday night over the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill.
 
The row occurred as Chinamasa, the Leader of the House, was about to announce further amendments to the Bill.
 
The Bill was almost through the committee stage when Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, entered the House to say he intended to announce more amendments to the Bill. Some of them would have the effect of stripping Moyo of his powerful role as spelt out in the Bill.
 
Moyo, the architect of the Bill, was clearly heard trying to persuade Chinamasa to ignore the changes recommended by the Eddison Zvobgo-led Parliamentary Legal Committee. Chinamasa was heard to say, in a low voice: "Leave me alone. I am not going to listen to you."
 
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC), the MP for Glen Norah, shouted at Moyo to stop harassing Chinamasa.
 
Chinamasa announced the amendments while Francis Nhema, the Minister of Environment and Tourism, tried to calm down the agitated Moyo, who seemed surprised at his colleague's sudden outburst.
 
Chinamasa said they had agreed that all journalists accredited before the enactment of the Act would be deemed to be accredited for 2002.
 
He deleted another clause which stopped journalists from writing articles quoting other newspapers without permission.
 
Chinamasa removed a clause which empowered Moyo to delegate any
person of his choice to the proposed Media Commission.
 
Moyo remained sullen, even when some Zanu PF MPs tried to congratulate him after the heavily patched-up Bill was finally passed at 9pm.
Two Zanu PF MPs, Joram Gumbo (Mberengwa West) and Sabina Mugabe (Zvimba South) were talking to Moyo when Chinamasa left in a huff after adjourning the House.
 
Nhema continued to placate Moyo as Chinamasa watered down Moyo's Bill, to the amusement of MDC MPs, who did not object when the Bill was finally passed after three weeks of prevarication.
 
The stand-off between the two ministers seemed to reflect the wide rift within Zanu PF over the Bill.
 
On Tuesday, Zvobgo, the chairman of the Parliamentary Legal Committee, hailed Chinamasa for giving the Bill a "human face".
 
Zvobgo said the Bill, in its original form, was "dangerous" and "a determined assault on our liberty".
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News
 
Court official allegedly conspires with arson suspects 
 
2/2/02 10:21:29 AM (GMT +2)
 
 
Court Reporter
 
EDIAS Muzerengi, a clerk at the Chinhoyi Magistrates' Court, allegedly conspired with suspected criminals and torched the court's records office in an intricate case of arson reminiscent of scenes in crime movies.
 
So sophisticated was the act that police forensic scientists are still trying to identify a fluid which was found on a bell switch the following morning and the origin of gunpowder left beside the court's strongroom. Gunpowder, which is highly flammable, is believed to have been used to fuel the fire which destroyed furniture and court documents.
 
The value of the property is yet to be established. Muzerengi, 26, of Whitecliff in Chinhoyi, appeared before Harare provincial magistrate on an arson charge. He was not asked to plead. The court remanded him in custody.
 
Prosecutor Alan Mabande said Muzerengi remained behind at the end of business on 4 January. He allegedly removed the screws on the strongroom door handle and took both the screws and the handle.
 
He then allegedly started a fire next to the strongroom in the clerk of court's office. A security guard on patrol discovered the fire but by the time the Fire Brigade arrived, the flames had burned to ash all the dockets and court records in the office, spreading to other offices where some criminals' records were destroyed.
 
Forensic scientists discovered a strange fluid, suspected to contain petroleum, flowing from a bell switch and a box containing gunpowder. The police said Muzerengi was the only one who had access to the office after work hours as he was the one who kept the keys for both the office and the strongroom.
 
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News
 
Recycled cooking oil on sale 
 
2/2/02 10:22:42 AM (GMT +2)
 
 
From Sandra Mujokoro in Bulawayo
 
RECYCLED cooking oil has resurfaced on the black market in Bulawayo. The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) Bulawayo branch said notorious for this are fast food outlets which use the oil for the whole day before selling it through the back door at the end of the day.
 
"Customers must be aware that used oil is not only cheap, but very poisonous. They must query the traders if the oil is very dark in colour or has no proper label on the original container," said Rosemary Chikarakara, the regional manager of the CCZ.
 
She said anyone caught trading recycled cooking oil would be severely dealt with by the Bulawayo City Council health department, while those overcharging would be arrested by the price monitoring unit. Queues of desperate cooking oil seekers have been seen at the premises of some companies which sell the commodity illegally.
 
One woman in a queue said she did not mind where the suppliers obtained the oil because it was difficult to find it in the shops anyway.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News
 
Zanu PF officials block Sadc ministerial taskforce from visiting strife-torn Lupane 
 
2/2/02 10:25:56 AM (GMT +2)
 
 
From Mduduzi Mathuthu
 
ZANU PF officials last Thursday prevented a visiting Southern African Development Community (Sadc) ministerial task force team from visiting the strife-torn rural outpost of Lupane following the murder of an MDC activist by pro-government militants.
 
The Sadc delegation is on a countrywide tour to audit President Mugabe's pledge this week to stop his supporters from leading a violent presidential election
campaign.
 
The Sadc team, which left Harare yesterday. was led by Malawi's foreign minister, Lilian Patel.
Abednico Bhebhe, the MDC MP for Nkayi and the party's Matabeleland North chairman, Morgan Komichi, who were allowed to address the delegation, challenged them to proceed to rural Lupane.
 
This was however, resisted by Zanu PF officials who included Foreign Affairs Minister, Stan Mudenge and the Matabeleland North governor, Obert Mpofu who kept indicating that there was insufficient time.
 
"If the Sadc team is to embark on such trips only to be blocked from seeing for themselves Zanu PF terror, then such trips might as well be called off," said Bhebhe.
 
"Here was a clear case that would have lifted the iron curtain from the Sadc eyes to the realities on the ground."
 
Jameson Sicwe, an MDC activist was hacked to death by suspected ruling party militants on Wednesday. Matabeleland North police spokesman, Senior Assistant Commissioner Boyathi Ngwenya told the Sadc team his body had been transferred to Bulawayo for a post-mortem.
 
More violence was reported in Tsholotsho, a few kilometres from Lupane, where more than 75 youth brigades trained under a national youth service programme attacked villagers in Sipepa, killing an MDC activist, Halaza Sibindi.
 
Sibindi, who was the MDC chairman for Ward 5, was bludgeoned to death in his sleep with an assortment of weapons by members of the Zanu PF youth brigade who also razed to the ground the home of the MDC organising secretary, Simon Nkala.
 
Nkala fled with his family after a tip-off from some sympathisers who intercepted a list of MDC officials who were to be killed. A Sipepa businessman has been named in connection with the violent incidents.
 
Villagers have fled Sipepa where a Zimbabwean diplomat who is a former MP, is leading the Zanu PF campaign. War veterans on Wednesday seized a truckload of maize from the Grain Marketing Board which is now being distributed at the production of a Zanu PF membership card.
 
Thousands of people are on the verge of starvation, a Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace official said yesterday.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News- Leader Page
 
Putting Zimbabwe back on the road to recovery 
 
2/2/02 9:21:49 AM (GMT +2)
 
 
By Norman Reynolds
 
THE World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in New York needs to hear positive actionable news from President Thabo Mbeki. Commentators suggest that Zimbabwe might sink the New Economic Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad). That need not be so.
 
Here, attack will be the best defence. Being business led, the WEF wants to hear that southern Africa, with her African and international partners, is going to put the Zimbabwe bus back on the road as part and parcel of a gathering regional governance, economic and business dynamic.
 
The real launch of Nepad will follow the Zimbabwe "recovery" example to be realised during 2002-2004. This needs considered argument to dispel the cloud of scepticism.
 
It holds lessons for Nepad itself and for a more equitable and efficient global economic system that the WEF must also ingest. A few truths about Zimbabwe:
 
 From Independence to around 1987, it followed a redistributive "socialist" path with considerable post-war reconstruction, education, health and small farmer success. That, however, failed to grow the economy, including jobs for an increasingly well-educated labour force. By the late 1980s, it was clear that Zimbabwe could not sustain that large public expenditure effort or create jobs.
 
 Robert Mugabe increasingly followed an Eastern European communist party patronage, citizen-demoting model that included putting his Presidency above the law. It has proved to be a disastrous political cul-de-sac.
 
 A too orthodox, too simplistic Economic Structural Adjustment Programme from 1991 swung policy in favour of those already producing for the global economy. As before, there was success with the core policy aims, but at great cost to education and health.
HIV/Aids was already rampant. Numerous local firms closed and further jobs were lost. The countryside, where most live, was virtually abandoned, left as a vote bank. Urban disaffection began to rise, notably from 1996, as the benefits were outweighed for most by unemployment and worsening public services.
 
 President Mugabe has criticised Structural Adjustment as wrong without either accepting the necessary discipline, particularly around the budget and parastatals, or finding effective "localisation" policies and programmes to grow the domestic economy within a globalising economy.
 
 Zanu PF found itself with little to offer its people. Mugabe's ability to manipulate party and state for his own survival has led to false, misleading populist policies on land, to corruption and to the need for bogeymen to excuse failure.
 
 In 20 years Zimbabwe, flip-flopping on economic policy, showed that it could do both, build its people and compete in the global economy. It never found how to do both simultaneously. Populist politics took the front seat. There are important lessons for all in this failure.
 
 The current severe downturn in governance and economic conditions is just two years old. The United Nations Country Team's Zimbabwe Relief and Recovery Programme of September 2001, four months ago, showed how to restore and correct a working economy for all within two years if a new start could be made. That will now take longer as more economic, institutional and managerial destruction has occurred since then. But it is possible.
Zimbabwe's Recovery Plan is built upon two legs:
 
 A rapid increase in local effective demand created by donor funding of a variety of grants to underwrite household economic and food security, to keep children in school and, in a hierarchy of preferences over time, to form community investment (work) budgets. These will generate welfare, secure economic rights, build and maintain productive assets, re-form community cohesion, and fuel a large mass market for low foreign exchange basic goods and services, stabilising and growing society and the economy.
 
 The conversion of villages to "Trust Companies" financed as above and so able to expand onto new land bases when members so decide by "supported" entry into the land market. This neutral land reform is acceptable to Zimbabweans who want to regain control over their lives. This would enable commercial farmers to return and be helped to become productive again. That support would also assist new entrants to commercial farming and it will require that farm labour enjoy a larger financing and ownership role. It is a model of interest to Afghanistan, wracked by low internal demand and warlords, and to southern Africa. The regional, African and international effort right now is to see that there is a free and fair presidential election. It is important not to get to a position of an unacceptable "fraudulent" result. This may involve a mutually agreed delay in holding the election, with regional and international help to prepare for the same, even with Southern African Development Community troops, with international support, on the streets. The lessons to be learnt are close to the aims of Nepad:
 
 It is not enough to create the essential human and economic freedoms that go with global success. Political stability is first built upon citizen economic opportunity. Developing economies must be built both from the top, globalisation, and from the bottom, policies and programmes that generate local participation and enlarge the total economy and so reward and secure local and global investors.
 
 For Nepad, Zimbabwe represents a high profile opportunity to turn this "accident" into opportunity. Zimbabwe and its people are remarkable and heroic. Some 75 percent seek to create a seriously democratic, open and successful country. There is considerable goodwill amongst citizens. They have gained a heightened knowledge of what constitutes the foundations of national success. And there is international support for any such endeavour.

MSNBC
 
Government backtracks on Zimbabwe media curbs 
 
ASSOCIATED PRESS
 
HARARE, Zimbabwe, Feb. 2 The government backtracked dramatically Saturday on its sweeping media control laws, indicating they will not be imposed immediately and may not be enforced at all, a state-run newspaper reported. 
The state Herald newspaper, an official mouthpiece used to publicize official policy, reported that the office of the Attorney General, the government's chief law officer, said the bill ''may take quite some time before it becomes law, if at all.''
       The laws proposed in the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill still have to be signed into law by President Robert Mugabe.
       The laws were passed by the Harare parliament Thursday with last minute amendments that were ''rushed through without proper consultation,'' the Herald said.
       The legislation has been widely condemned by the international community and free press advocates.
       Critics say the media bill and new security laws enforced since Jan. 18 were part of a package of legislation aimed at stifling dissent ahead of presidential elections next month.
       Mugabe, 77, is fighting for his political survival as his popularity wanes after nearly 22 years of authoritarian rule.
       (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


MSNBC
 
Zimbabwe minister slams Britain's Jack Straw  
 
 HARARE, Feb. 2 Zimbabwe's information minister has accused British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw of dealing with Zimbabwe with ''an open mouth and shut mind'' and dismissed his criticism of a tough new media bill. 
In a comment published by Zimbabwe's official Herald newspaper on Saturday, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo also expressed unhappiness that changes to the bill, passed by parliament on Thursday, had robbed it of its fundamental objectives.
       Despite the changes, the bill still restricts access for foreign reporters and imposes tight controls on local media in the run up to a March 9-10 presidential election.
       Straw said on Friday he found it ''almost impossible to comprehend how free and fair elections can be held'' when such laws had been passed.
       Moyo told the Herald: ''It is another example of Straw's megaphone diplomacy. He is continuing to approach developments in Zimbabwe with an open mouth and shut mind.''
       Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe launched his re-election campaign on Friday with a vitriolic attack on Britain, which Mugabe accuses of siding with Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
       Critics say the media bill's aim is to stifle free debate in the run-up to the election, in which Mugabe faces his toughest challenge after 22 years in power.
       The bill has drawn wide international condemnation.
       On Monday, the European Union threatened to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe if Mugabe did not allow the deployment of EU observers by Feb 3.
       On Wednesday, however, Commonwealth foreign ministers rejected a British call for Zimbabwe's immediate suspension from the 54-nation group.
       Under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill, a state-appointed commission will license journalists, who could face up to two years in jail for breaking the regulations.
       The original draft gave all foreign and local media organisations in Zimbabwe three months to apply for a new licence. In what is seen as a victory for opponents to the bill, the revised version says existing organisations will be considered registered.
       The new bill also allows foreigners to take non-controlling stakes in media organisations, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by Reuters. The original version allowed only Zimbabwean citizens to operate media organisations.
       The bill will become law once it has been signed by Mugabe.
       Mugabe, who turns 78 this month and has ruled the former Rhodesia since independence from Britain in 1980, has not commented publicly on the bill.


The Sun-Herald


Mugabe blasts all things British
Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, raise their fists in salute as they arrive for the election rally in north-eastern Zimbabwe.Picture: AFP

By Peta Thornycroft in Mutawatawa and David Blair in London

President Robert Mugabe launched his re-election campaign in familiar fashion Friday, blaming Britain for all of Zimbabwe's problems and branding the black opposition "puppets of the whites".

Wearing a white baseball cap and a three-piece suit, he addressed 8,000 subdued supporters at a carefully staged rally in a rural stronghold of his Zanu-PF party.

His speech will have done little to stem the growing campaign to oust him and his country from the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, to be held in Brisbane next month.

Nor will it have stilled worldwide concerns over the atrocities being reported from his country.

To chants of "Down with the British" and "Down with the whites", Mugabe turned on Britain and its Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

"We are in a state of political war," he said. "We are in a war to defend our rights and the interests of our people. The British have decided to take us on through the MDC [Movement of Democratic Change]."

The campaign for his re-election in six weeks' time began as Mr Mugabe's Government faced the worst diplomatic crisis in its relations with the developed world since Zimbabwe achieved independence in 1980.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said he found it "almost impossible to comprehend how free and fair elections can be held".

Condemning the passage on Thursday night of a draconian new media law, which will make it impossible for journalists to work in Zimbabwe without State approval, Mr Straw said it could trigger the imposition of European Union sanctions next week.

Any sanctions would be aimed at Mr Mugabe and his allies and take the form of travel bans and the freezing of overseas assets.

Mr Straw's tough message was delivered in Washington and echoed by US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

America has already passed a law empowering President George Bush to impose personal sanctions on Mr Mugabe. Mr Powell said the Bush Administration was working "in close co-ordination with our British colleagues".

But British Foreign Office sources played down suggestions that the media law alone would trigger the onset of sanctions. They said the key test would be whether Mr Mugabe admits the first six EU election observers, who are due to arrive in Harare today.

Mr Mugabe's half-hour speech at the rally was peppered with racial insults directed at Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, whom he accused of being a British stooge.

"Tsvangirai has decided he must be white," he said. "How can we have blacks who masquerade as whites? Whatever Blair tries to do, we will not back down. We went to war; we went to prison; we have suffered over the years but we are not afraid of the struggle. We will not run away. You can count on us to fight."

The rally was held in Mutawatawa, a dilapidated town 210km north-east of Harare. Mr Mugabe said the area was undeveloped and "this was brought about by the British and Tsvangirai".

For all the displays of confidence, evidence is mounting that Zimbabwe will run out of maize well before the election on March9 and 10. The World Food Program estimates that 558,000 people need emergency supplies.