|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
One of Zimbabwe's few hundred remaining commercial farmers has been
beaten to death after being warned to leave, according to sources at the
Commercial Farmers Union. The dead farmer, Peeter Siverton, was planning to
leave the farm for his own safety.
The 71-year-old Peeter Siverton lived on his own and grew his last
crop in April 2003. His children said he was under continuing threat from
new neighbors and government officials who have taken over all the farms in
the area known as Sherwood Block in central Zimbabwe. They said Mr. Siverton
was preparing to leave his home for the relative safety of Harare.
He was beaten to death and his body was stuffed into an ant hole on
his land. Police say they are investigating Mr. Siverton's death as murder,
but say it was not politically motivated.
But most farmers who have survived the four-year purge of white
farmers say they live in daily fear of violent eviction or worse.
A source who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution said
in the past three weeks, some of Zimbabwe's top political officials have
visited farms of their choice, and have given notice to the owners to leave.
Among the visitors, the source said, was General Vitalis Zvinavashe, the
recently retired head of Zimbabwe's defense forces. He is widely tipped by
political commentators to be the front-runner to replace President Robert
Mugabe when he eventually steps down.
The source said General Zvinavashe arrived on a farm 40 kilometers
north of Harare last Friday and gave the owner until June to pack up and
leave his farm. He also warned the farmer that, if this became public, he
would confiscate all the corn the farmed had planted.
Several other political leaders, who had not taken farms up to this
point, also have been reported to have visited white-owned farms and served
similar ultimatums on the owners.
The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association, whose membership has dwindled to a
third since the beginning of land seizures nearly four years ago, said most
of its members are not planning to grow a crop next season. Tobacco exports
used to earn 40 percent of Zimbabwe's foreign currency.
Police leave Zimbabwe newspaper in peace
January 21 2004 at 06:42PM
Harare - Zimbabwe police vacated the premises of the country's largest
private newspaper on Wednesday in compliance with a court ruling that it
should be allowed to resume printing, a senior company official said.
Police shut the Daily News four months ago and had disregarded a court
ruling earlier this month to let the newspaper resume operations pending a
final determination on its legal status.
"I can confirm that the police have moved away not only from our
offices but also from the printing press. We are working very hard to see if
we can put out a paper tomorrow (Thursday)," said Sipepa Nkomo, chief
executive of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) which publishes the
The Daily News, which has been critical of President Robert Mugabe's
government, was shut in September after the Supreme Court ruled it was
operating illegally without a licence in defiance of media laws introduced
Brutish And Lucrative Times in Zimbabwe
Business Day (Johannesburg)
January 21, 2004
Posted to the web January 21, 2004
In a way not dissimilar to Smith's Rhodesia, Mugabe's government serves the
ZIMBABWE has apparently been poised at five minutes to midnight, on the
brink of imminent collapse, for more than three years. Why has it not
collapsed completely, with hungry people taking to the streets and kicking
out President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu (PF) cronies?
On the face of it, the economic situation should have provoked a massive For Kathleen O'Dea, the trauma of seeing "dead bodies and intimidation" on a daily basis in rural Zimbabwe forced her to leave for the UK two years. Now the former international swimmer, 39, says the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) should cancel the tour when they meet to discuss the issue on 29 January. "People's lives are in danger and President Mugabe will give five-star treatment to England. "It's his way of making himself look good while he keeps committing atrocities behind the scenes." Ms O'Dea also questioned whether the English team, spectators or media would be safe. On one occasion, she says she was held hostage by the president's henchmen at a farm belonging to her friend Roy Bennett, an MP in the opposition party MDC. "Mugabe wanted Roy Bennett killed. His men kept Roy's wife and I for about six hours while they beat the farm workers to a pulp." 'Too late' She acknowledged that some activists wanted to use the tour to highlight the alleged atrocities taking place, but said this was outweighed by the benefits it would give the president. He is accused by western nations of election-rigging and torture but has repeatedly denied any human rights abuses. Although the ECB says no decision has yet been made, one of their senior members Des Wilson has outlined serious concerns in a 17-page report. Alan Wilkinson of campaign group End The Silence! said the cricket administrators seemed to be acting a year too late. He said the tour would give President Mugabe, patron of the Zimbabwe cricket union, a "veneer of approval". The regime is so brutal, he claimed, that even people wearing a red T-shirt - the colour associated with the MDC - can be beaten up by the ruling party's militia. "Cancelling the tour would give hope to the suffering people of Zimbabwe who have nothing - hope that the world is listening to their problems." One of Mr Wilkinson's key allies in the Commons has been shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram, who said it would be a "disgrace" for the tour to go ahead. Campaigner Peter Tatchell failed in his attempt last week to persuade a British court to issue a warrant for President Mugabe's arrest for alleged human rights abuses. He said: "There can be no normal sporting relations with an abnormal society like Zimbabwe, where torture, rape and murder are being perpetrated by government agents. "The tour should be called off to show our solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe who are struggling for democracy and human rights. "It would be unforgivable for the England cricket team to play matches at the Harare Sports Club, which is just a few blocks from one of the main torture centres."
public backlash. With inflation touching 700%, the black-market exchange
rate a hundred times the official level of US1-Z55, and widespread food
shortages, the average Zimbabwean is considerably worse off today than since
the farm invasions instigated by the government began three years ago.
Three explanations stand out.
First, that Zimbabweans are today passive political actors. Recent knowledge
of the personal cost and trauma of civil war has meant the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change has remained steadfastly committed to a
nonviolent, legal and democratic transition. Coupled with the relative
strength and bloodthirstiness of the state's security forces, a popular
uprising like that which toppled Nicolae Ceausescu's regime in Romania, or
more recently removed Slobodan Milosevic from power, is unlikely.
A second explanation is the relative absence of external pressure and
involvement, as in SA's transition, being used to assist the democratic
forces and acting as a brake and modifier of Mugabe's behaviour. According
to this line of reasoning, if external pressure is increased and Mugabe
goes, Zimbabwe could quickly revert to normality and recover.
But there may be another pertinent explanation.
A third argument is that the economy has simply experienced an accelerated
transformation similar to many elsewhere on the continent. Mugabe's land
reforms have acted as a catalyst to expedite a process whereby the economy
is used primarily as a means of creating and bolstering political support
through patronage and networking.
Like many other African situations, Zimbabwe's economy thus functions today
not along the lines of a western model abiding by the rule of law and
transparency, but instead uses a combination of fear and reward.
Nonetheless, it still operates. The fact that 99% of Zimbabwe's 13-million
people might have suffered as a consequence is neither here nor there,
according to this reasoning, if the elite prospers.
Indeed, the Zimbabwean economy does work very well, albeit for a very small,
largely well-connected elite. In fact, many in Zimbabwe (including a number
of foreign investors) are still making obscene amounts of money despite (and
many because of) this economic collapse. How?
There are at least five ways.
The first is via direct patronage, including the distribution of land seized
by the state mostly from white farmers, and the loan of money at
preferential interest rates as low as 15% against the market rate of more
than 50 times this number.
Second, the artificial pegging of the exchange rate has created a massive
informal market in currency trading.
Third, the collapse of state procurement of fuel offers opportunities to
entrepreneurs to provide for Zimbabwe's daily needs of 3-million litres.
Importers can easily double their US10000 investment on a single tanker
Fourth, the existence of at least three exchange rates is a licence for
state-sponsored fraud: the official rate, the exporters' rate of US1Z824,
and the market rate on the street. If you are making foreign exchange
through exports or tourism, half is banked at Z824, the remainder at Z55.
The reserve bank is thus making enormous profits. Although the amount going
through the bank has halved to just US1bn in three years, it still
represents a theoretical Z6-trillion. Some of this is exported to foreign
bank accounts or used to buy luxury goods. Zimbabwe is still the largest
market for Mercedes cars in Africa after SA. Of course this system depends
on the bank continuing to print money.
In this structure, imports purchased with foreign exchange have a premium
value within Zimbabwe, while the cost of locally produced items is
artificially low, offering huge profits when exported. In the short term,
the imposition of sanctions against Mugabe's regime might actually make
imported goods more scarce, offering the opportunity for even greater
Finally, state pension funds, state-controlled pension houses, parastatals,
and food and other monopolies offer additional milk-cow situations to the
politically connected. No wonder Zanu (PF) is reluctant to leave office.
The compression of political time and space in which the collapse of the
economy has been engineered has created something of a feeding frenzy,
particularly where there are no guarantees of prosecution of today's
But it might not stop even with political change.
Mugabe has been demonised as the architect of this collapse. He must take
his (considerable) share of responsibility. But the removal of the president
will not simply be enough to change this situation. Nor will the attempts to
revitalise institutions of governance such as the reserve bank which, in an
environment where the economy is largely informalised (as it is today),
provide little more than a fig leaf of legitimacy. The "reformalisation" of
the economy will instead require a fundamental alteration in the political
structure and functioning of the economy, involving radical strategies to
turn back the clock including the removal of people from illegally acquired
Naturally it will be difficult, nay impossible, to revert to pre-land
invasion times. There is also the danger that once Mugabe goes, there will
be a belief that all is resolved and today's new economic "system" can
Foreign investors can still make money in this mutant environment, but to do
so they will have to turn a blind eye to the way in which Zimbabwe is
emerging as a country with a Hobbesian paradigm of economic operation: not
one to be viewed within a prism of western liberal concepts of unemployment
and employment, fiscal management and the rule of law. Rather there are two
groups in Zimbabwe today: those above and below the poverty line. Those
above, while diminishing in number, are getting much richer, those below are
slipping faster and faster into even more extreme penury. All this is quite
the opposite governance regime that the New Partnership for Africa's
No doubt the departure of some foreign investors, especially those in
retail, mining and manufacturing, is what many Zimbabwean business people
hope for. The sale of local assets usually at discounted values creates
further troughs to feed off and opportunities for patronage. Those investors
who want to be part of a solution that maintains an economy functioning
along liberal lines will have to stand up to pressure to sell assets in
Zimbabwe often coming from executives within the local organisation. A
failure do so could also be taken as a sign of weakness by others elsewhere.
Thus Zimbabwe under Mugabe just as Rhodesia under Ian Smith works rather
well, thank you, if only for a small number. Unless it is changed quickly
thus threatening elite interests it will become more difficult to turn back
Mills is national director of the South African Institute of International
BBC News Online
She said: "I was a sportsman. I still think sport and politics shouldn't mix but they do.
The 48-year-old, who left Zimbabwe 16 years ago, said: "The ECB seems to be taking on all the issues we told them about a year ago, but in that time the situation and the suffering has escalated."
He said: "If he had any compassion for the people of Zimbabwe, [Foreign Secretary] Jack Straw would end the confusion and put a stop to this tour now rather than risk a repeat of the shambles surrounding last year's World Cup."
Zimbabwe: Analysts Cautious About Inflation Rate Decline
For Kathleen O'Dea, the trauma of seeing "dead bodies and intimidation" on a daily basis in rural Zimbabwe forced her to leave for the UK two years.
Now the former international swimmer, 39, says the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) should cancel the tour when they meet to discuss the issue on 29 January.
"People's lives are in danger and President Mugabe will give five-star treatment to England.
"It's his way of making himself look good while he keeps committing atrocities behind the scenes."
Ms O'Dea also questioned whether the English team, spectators or media would be safe.
On one occasion, she says she was held hostage by the president's henchmen at a farm belonging to her friend Roy Bennett, an MP in the opposition party MDC.
"Mugabe wanted Roy Bennett killed. His men kept Roy's wife and I for about six hours while they beat the farm workers to a pulp."
She acknowledged that some activists wanted to use the tour to highlight the alleged atrocities taking place, but said this was outweighed by the benefits it would give the president.
He is accused by western nations of election-rigging and torture but has repeatedly denied any human rights abuses.
Although the ECB says no decision has yet been made, one of their senior members Des Wilson has outlined serious concerns in a 17-page report.
Alan Wilkinson of campaign group End The Silence! said the cricket administrators seemed to be acting a year too late.
He said the tour would give President Mugabe, patron of the Zimbabwe cricket union, a "veneer of approval".
The regime is so brutal, he claimed, that even people wearing a red T-shirt - the colour associated with the MDC - can be beaten up by the ruling party's militia.
"Cancelling the tour would give hope to the suffering people of Zimbabwe who have nothing - hope that the world is listening to their problems."
One of Mr Wilkinson's key allies in the Commons has been shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram, who said it would be a "disgrace" for the tour to go ahead.
Campaigner Peter Tatchell failed in his attempt last week to persuade a British court to issue a warrant for President Mugabe's arrest for alleged human rights abuses.
He said: "There can be no normal sporting relations with an abnormal society like Zimbabwe, where torture, rape and murder are being perpetrated by government agents.
"The tour should be called off to show our solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe who are struggling for democracy and human rights.
"It would be unforgivable for the England cricket team to play matches at the Harare Sports Club, which is just a few blocks from one of the main torture centres."
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
January 21, 2004
Posted to the web January 21, 2004
Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate, one of the highest in the world, dropped
by 21 percent in December but analysts regard this as a "temporary reprieve"
and not a sign that the economy is on the mend.
The government-run Central Statistical Office (CSO) on Tuesday released
figures indicating inflation had dropped to 598.7 percent in December from
619.5 percent in November.
Economist John Robertson explained to IRIN: "It does not mean that the
prices are not increasing - they continue to rise. The new figures indicate
that while prices of commodities had gone up by 33.6 percent in November,
the increase was reduced to 11.2 percent in December."
He noted that while the drop in the inflation rate might "seem as the step
in the right direction, our inflation rate at 598.7 percent is much too
There were several factors - not related to any of the government's
initiatives - responsible for the drop in prices during December, he said.
One of these was the rise in the Reserve Bank's interest rates, which had
forced shopkeepers to lower prices so they could clear their bank overdrafts
from increased cash flow generated by sales.
"Shopkeepers had been sitting with goods which had not moved in months,"
said Robertson. Parents of school-going children, confronted with an 84.3
percent hike in school fees between October and December 2003, had also put
off buying goods which were not essential.
Robertson pointed out that there had been a drastic increase in the price of
commodities from August/September to November. According to CSO's Consumer
Price Index, a foodstuff priced at US $14.75 in August 2003, sold at US
$30.20 in November. A medical service costing US $7.55 in August had shot up
to US $23.15 in November.
While the price of bread and cereals recorded a decrease of 1.7 percent from
October to December 2003, dairy products, including milk, cheese and eggs,
were 28 percent more expensive at the end of 2003.
The official Herald newspaper claimed on Tuesday that the decline in the
inflation rate was a result of the central bank's measures to control
speculation and fraud in the financial sector.
But Robertson pointed out that the measures, such as the introduction of
foreign exchange auctions, had only happened in January, so "it could not
have possibly influenced the inflation rate in December."
The auction system has served to force down the value of major foreign
currencies on the parallel market. The US dollar traded at approximately Zim
$6,000 a month ago on the parallel market, but was now down to Zim $4,500, a
loss of 25 percent in value.
Renal Treatment Costs Unbearable
The Herald (Harare)
January 21, 2004
Posted to the web January 21, 2004
CASH is bad business for the poor in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa where
growing numbers of renal patients are increasingly finding it difficult to
raise money for complex health conditions, which require dialysis.
Shortages of resources to procure or maintain existing equipment have also
added to the woes in Zimbabwe's health care delivery system.
In Zimbabwe, dialysis treatment programmes are dependent on the availability
of funding and donors.
But the flight of donors owing to sanctions imposed by western countries on
Zimbabwe have hit renal patients hardest including many others who require
specialist treatment and accessories.
"Lack of funding and crippling shortage of equipment are both a huge
handicap," says Dr Chiratidzo Ndhlovu, a nephrologist at the University of
Zimbabwe Medical School.
"There are many people with renal problems and support is needed."
She says most renal patients were buying consumables like needles, tubes,
fluids needed for dialysis, membranes and other disposables from South
A patient at Parirenyatwa Hospital says he buys membranes for more than R100
in South Africa in addition to other consumables required.
Patients fork out money from their pockets owing to a crippling shortage of
consumables in the country.
A local pharmaceutical company, Datlabs, has since stopped manufacturing
dialysis chemical solution which is critical in the removal of waste
products and excess fluid from the blood stream while at the same time
maintaining a proper chemical balance of the blood.
"You can't get treatment unless you can get money for consumables and for
dialysis service fees," Dr Ndhlovu said.
"Only a small proportion of Zimbabweans can afford this. It's costly and
requires expensive technology."
Dialysis is very expensive and on average medical costs for a dialysis
patient are five times higher than for an average patient, medical
For the privately owned Harare Haemodialysis Centre, a single dialysis run
now costs more than $1,2 million while the country's two major referral
hospitals, Parirenyatwa Hospital and Harare Central Hospital charged $125
000 last year.
Parirenyatwa Hospital has six functioning dialysis machines and only 25
patients are receiving treatment.
Sources at Harare Central Hospital say the renal unit was now attending only
to a few chronic renal patients.
"Not all machines are functioning. We have since stopped taking new patients
owing to the shortage of consumables and resources to maintain the machines.
Patients have to buy disposable consumables on their own," she said.
And, recently the Nephrology Patients Association of Zimbabwe appealed to
the Government, medical aid societies and health institutions to peg
reasonable fees, which its members could afford.
"These costs are unbearable not only for the average person but to any well
paid person suffering from renal failure," said the association.
Dr Ndhlovu says public health institutions depend mostly on donor funding
and cannot afford to buy and maintain dialysis equipment, which require
Dialysis treatment replaces the function of the kidneys, which normally
serve as the body's natural filtration system.
Medical practitioners say through the use of a blood filter and a chemical
solution known as dialysate, the treatment removes waste products and excess
fluids from the blood stream while maintaining the proper chemical balance
of the blood.
There were two types of dialysis treatment in Zimbabwe - haemodialysis and
Dialysis can be used in the treatment of patients suffering from poisoning
or overdose, a process that involves removal of toxins from the blood
Its most prevalent application, however, is for patients with temporary or
permanent kidney failure.
For patients with end-stage renal disease, whose kidneys are no longer
capable of adequately removing fluids and wastes from their body or of
maintaining the proper level of regulated chemicals in the blood stream,
dialysis is the only treatment option available outside of kidney
Haemodialysis, which is the most frequently prescribed dialysis in Zimbabwe,
involves circulating the patient's blood outside of the body through an
extra-corporeal circuit (ECC) or dialysis circuit.
Two needles are inserted into the patients' veins or access site and
attached to the ECC which consists of plastic blood tubing, a filter known
as a dialyser (artificial kidney) and dialysis machine that monitors and
maintains blood flow and administers dialysate.
A dialysate is a chemical bath that is used to draw waste products out of
Most haemodialysis patients require treatment three times a week for an
average of 3-4 hours per dialysis run.
Medical specialists say treatment schedules depend on the type of dialyser
used and the patient's current physical condition.
A nephrologist, a doctor who specialises in the kidney, usually oversees
In peritoneal dialysis, the patient's lining of the abdomen acts as a blood
filter. A catheter is surgically inserted into the patient's abdomen, which
through chemical solution waste products and excess fluids move from the
patient's blood stream into the dialysate solution.
Dr Ndhlovu says Zimbabwe and South Africa were the only countries in
southern Africa, which offered dialysis treatment.
This is because this treatment is highly specialised and required extensive
Outside the southern Africa region, the Nairobi Kidney Centre in Kenya runs
a dialysis and kidney transplant centre.
The centre charges Ksh 500 000 (approx US$20 000) to dialyse one patient per
year which is expensive and a huge burden to any health service even in
Of the 36 patients that the centre has, only six had been offered kidney
South Africa has about 15 000 people with kidney complications who cannot
get medical attention because of a lack of organ donations, insufficient
dialysis machines and resources.
The SA Dialysis and Transplant Registry estimates that about 21 000 South
Africans were currently experiencing kidney failure.
Health statistics also indicate that, of that figure, only 5 000 patients
Each machine costs R100 000 and treatment for a single patient cost yet
another R100 000 a year dealing a heavy blow to the health delivery on the
Nephrologists say dialysis and transplant programmes in the rest of Africa
are dependent on the availability of funding and donors.
They say services are still predominantly urban and generally inaccessible
to the majority of the poor in rural areas where more than 60 percent of
people live in Africa.
"There is not enough money for healthcare in the developing world
particularly for expensive and chronic treatment of renal problems which
require a big capital investment," says one nephrologist from South Africa.
And, it appears it will take some time for renal patients to get attention
given the scourge of Aids, malaria and tuberculosis, which are the major
areas of concern for donors.
England seen cancelling tour of Zimbabwe
Wed 21 January, 2004 00:55
LONDON (Reuters) - England are likely to cancel their scheduled cricket tour
of Zimbabwe in October on moral grounds, The Times has reported.
The 15 members of the England and Wales Cricket Board's management board
will decide whether the tour should go ahead at a meeting next week.
They will base their decision on a document by one of their members, Des
Wilson, sent to them on Tuesday, the paper said on Wednesday.
"The safety and security of a touring party can in today's circumstances no
longer be the only factor in deciding whether or not to proceed with a
controversial tour," the paper quoted Wilson as saying in the document.
"Can we tour this country knowing what we do about its stance on human
rights and suffering of its people?" Wilson said.
"If the behaviour of the regime is contrary to all that sport stands for in
terms of the way human beings should behave towards one another, and is
judged to be extreme in its unacceptability ... the governing body should
with humility and great thought to the consequences of its actions accept
that it cannot justify ignoring the cause for such widespread international
and home country concern."
England's players refused to play in a match against Zimbabwe in Harare
during last year's World Cup, citing security concerns.
However, Australia, went ahead with their match in Bulawayo without
The British government had argued before the tournament that England should
not play there following criticism of President Robert Mugabe's
administration and its controversial land reform policy.
Zimbabwe last month resigned from the 54-nation Commonwealth, which Mugabe
said had been hijacked by racist interfering in the country's internal
The Commonwealth, which is made up of mainly former British colonies,
suspended Zimbabwe in 2002, saying Mugabe had rigged his re-election to
power and harassed opponents.
Zimbabwe toured England in July last year, contesting two tests and a
triangular one-day series also involving South Africa.
ZCU expect England to tour Jan 21 2004
The Zimbabwe Cricket Union have called on England to honour their
commitment to tour the stricken country later this year.
Des Wilson, a member of the England and Wales Cricket Board management
board, has called the November tour into question on moral grounds.
Since England refused to play in the southern African country during
last year's Cricket World Cup because of security fears, Zimbabwe's
infrastructure has further deteriorated.
President Robert Mugabe remains in power, but an isolated figure and
last month withdrew Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth following its suspension
on grounds of humanitarian and electoral abuses.
Wilson, former vice-chairman of Sport England and Liberal Democrat
campaign director at the 1992 General Election, maintains the moral issue of
allowing the tour to go ahead must now come into question.
But Peter Chingoka, chairman of the ZCU, has written to his ECB
counterpart David Morgan and urged him to not to break the "honour and
spirit upon which bilateral series between countries are based".
He said: "We are aware of media speculation concerning England's tour
to Zimbabwe, but there has been no formal advice from the ECB to clarify the
matter. Obviously we expect that the tour will go ahead.
"In light of the uncertainty that appears to exist in England the ZCU
has now written to David Morgan, asking him to urgently confirm the
commitment he gave on behalf of the ECB to our board of directors in Harare
"That commitment was that England would fulfil its scheduled tour to
Zimbabwe and those assurances were given to secure Zimbabwe's tour of the UK
"Having honoured our word that we would tour the UK we naturally
expect England to reciprocate by touring Zimbabwe."
Zimbabwe tour still on for Aussies
Robert Craddock and Bronwyn Hurrell, cricket
AUSTRALIA is determined to proceed with its tour of Zimbabwe and will ignore
the moral argument for staging a boycott.
The revelation yesterday that England is close to cancelling its proposed
November tour of the strife-torn nation on moral grounds will, according to
Australian officials, have no impact on Australia's prospects of touring
there for two Tests and five one-day games in May-June.
"Our intention is to go to Zimbabwe subject to the normal considerations of
safety and security," Cricket Australia spokesman Peter Young said
Young said there would be a traditional pre-tour inspection of local
conditions from Cricket Australia officials, plus players' representative
Tim May, in the months before the tour.
England appears likely to take a stance against the corruption which has
become rampant under Zimbabwe's rogue dictatorship of Robert Mugabe, but
Australia appears set to fall in line with International Cricket Council
policy and ignore the political side of the argument.
"Our long-standing position is that our expertise is managing and organising
cricket. We are committed to the ICC's future tours program, which says we
must play each nation at home once every five years and we are keen to see
cricket develop as a global sport," Young said.
Though the well-being of Zimbabwe has been deteriorating by the day and
essential commodities such as petrol are becoming distressingly scarce, the
security risk to the players is not considered great.
The West Indies toured Zimbabwe earlier this season without incident.
Australia cancelled a tour to Zimbabwe two years ago because of concern over
the stability of the local community in the wake of controversially rigged
national elections which reappointed the tyrannical Mugabe.
The Australian players agreed to tour there for a World Cup fixture last
February but only after an intense series of meetings with Cricket Australia
In his World Cup diary, Adam Gilchrist said the players were concerned by
the moral issues surrounding the tour.
"Publicly, it was said the team's only concern with Zimbabwe was security
but I never bought into that," Gilchrist wrote.
"There was always a lot more to it, and everyone at some point was talking
about the moral issues of the regime."
Zimbabwean Cricket Union president Peter Chingoka has urged England to go
ahead with its tour for the good of Zimbabwean cricket and "the honour and
spirit upon which bilateral series between countries are based".
Zimbabwean captain Heath Streak, who had part of his family farm seized by
the Mugabe government, is also hoping the tours go ahead.
"We would love to see both teams coming to Zimbabwe," Streak said.
"There are a lot of people who dream of seeing in the flesh the Australians
and English playing cricket."
Henry Olonga, the black Zimbabwe cricketer whose demonstration against the
Mugabe regime last year cost him his place in the side and who is now a
virtual refugee, said: "I'm not English, so who am I to suggest what England
should do? But I certainly believe that whoever can bring pressure to bear
on Robert Mugabe's abhorrent government ought to do so."
England's World Cup side refused to travel to Zimbabwe last year, but that
was solely on grounds of security.
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE P R COMMUNIQUÉ - January 20, 2004
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
THE "HARSH REALITY" of "AFRICA"
from Gordon McIntyre
ex bulawayo , matabeleland , manicaland , harare , mashonaland , midlands
provinces in zimbabwe , ex south Africa natal
now in uk cornwall
MAKING AFRICA SMILE JANUARY 15TH 2004
Bad leadership has crippled Africa. But there are, at last, signs of
"BLASPHEMOUS" was how the information minister described an article in the
ZIMBABWE INDEPENDENT complaining about President Robert Mugabe's habit of
commandeering commercial passenger jets for his own use. It was a revealing
choice of adjective. Mr Mugabe's henchmen do not really think their leader
divine, but they often suggest that he is infallibly righteous, and that
those who defy him should be smitten. The INDEPENDENT's blaspheming scribes
were perhaps lucky to be released on bail this week.
Zimbabwe provides a dramatic illustration of how statist economic policies,
corruptly enforced, swiftly impoverish. In the past five years, Mr Mugabe's
contempt for property rights has made half the population dependent on food
aid, while his cronies help themselves to other people's land and savings,
and build helipads for their own mansions. But Zimbabwe's curse is also
Africa's. The main reason the continent is so poor today is that
Mugabe-style incompetent tyranny has been common since independence (see our
survey). The most important question for Africans now is whether Mr
Mugabe represents not only their past, but their future as well. There are
encouraging signs that he does not.
Consider first the advance of democracy south of the Sahara since the end of
the cold war. In the 1960s and 1970s, no African ruler was voted out of
office. In the 1980s, one was. Since then, 18 have been, and counting. That
still leaves a lot of countries where polls are rigged and dissidents
disappear, but it is surely a sign that some African governments are
becoming more accountable to their people.
Africa's media, too, are shaking off their shackles. Under most of the
military regimes of the 1970s and 1980s, independent newspapers and radio
stations were simply not allowed. Today, they are as numerous as they are
irreverent. Television is still largely state-controlled and journalists are
still persecuted--occasionally in most countries, systematically in places
such as Zimbabwe and Eritrea--but, overall, the mighty are subject to
greater scrutiny than before, which makes it a bit harder for them to abuse
In the past couple of years, Africa has also grown more peaceful. During the
cold war, the great powers fought a series of proxy battles on African soil,
arming and aiding each other's clients' enemies with scant regard for the
African lives their meddling cost. With the collapse of the Soviet Union,
Africa's strategic importance waned. Its wars, however, did not. Without
their superpower backers, some states crumpled, leading to new and
exceptionally bloody struggles in countries such as Congo and Liberia.
Fortunately, several of these conflicts seem at last to have run their
course. Angola and Sierra Leone are at peace. The pointless border clash
between Ethiopia and Eritrea has stopped. Congo's war, the worst anywhere
since the second world war, is formally over. Liberia's warlord, Charles
Taylor, has been driven into exile. Even in Sudan, which has known only 11
years of calm since 1962, government and rebels are on the verge of signing
a power-sharing deal.
This sudden outbreak of tranquillity has various causes. Angola's war
stopped because one side won. Others have ended because both sides were
exhausted, or because outsiders cajoled them into putting down their weapons
and starting to talk. If Sudan's rulers make peace this year, it will be
largely because they are terrified of what George Bush might do to them if
they do not.
A LONG TREK AHEAD It is too early to say that Africa has turned a corner,
however. Sporadic but brutal fighting continues in Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire,
eastern Congo and western Sudan, among other places. There is still a risk
that new wars may begin, or old ones reignite, for many of the causes of
Africa's instability have yet to be resolved.
Because political office is a quick route to wealth in Africa, people fight
for it. Since most Africans feel more loyal to their tribe than to the young
and artificial nation-states of which they are nominally citizens, it is
often easy for unscrupulous leaders to win support by appealing to bigotry.
Because Africa is poor and economically stagnant, there are a lot of jobless
young Africans for whom joining a rebel group and looting the village next
door can seem like an attractive career option. AIDS makes Africa even
poorer, and so less stable, although some recent studies suggest that it may
affect slightly fewer millions than previously estimated (see article).
If Africans are to have a chance of pulling themselves out of penury, they
need governments that do not stand in their way. They need leaders who
uphold the law impartially, but otherwise let people do what they wish. They
need governments that pass sensible budgets and stick to them. Fiscal
realism is more common now than a decade ago, as the continent's generally
lower inflation rates attest. But graft is still widespread: Angola's rulers
were accused this week of having wasted or misappropriated $4 billion in
five years--more than 9% of GDP each year. (They denied it, of course.)
Africa's two most important countries--Nigeria and South Africa--are doing
several things right. Both have swapped tyranny for democracy, and both are
using their diplomatic and military muscle to end some of their neighbours'
wars. But both governments are worryingly dependent on a single source of
revenue: oil, in Nigeria's case, and white taxpayers, in South Africa's. If
Africa as a whole is to prosper, the majority of its citizens will have to
produce more, fashioning goods or providing services that the rest of the
world wants to buy. Given that most Africans are subsistence farmers, that
will not be possible without a vast social upheaval, with unpredictable
consequences. It is a daunting challenge, but the alternative is likely to
Rich countries can help Africa, ideally by removing the tariffs and farm
subsidies that throttle African trade. But in the end it is up to Africans
to solve their own problems, starting with the ejection of some of their
current rulers. The Big Men will not go quietly; but they are not immortal,
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE P R COMMUNIQUÉ - January 20, 2004
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
JAG is fully in agreement with the article put out by the Daily Telegraph
of 24 December 2003. The figures quoted by them with reference to the
production of maize for this season could possibly be less than the third
of normal production they predict.
The shortage of fertilizers, crop chemicals and tillage facilities are
bound to impact unfavourably on these figures. Also the fact that much of
the harvest will be eaten green as the shortage of maize meal starts to
bite. This is already evident as huge amounts of green maize can be seen
for sale on the roadsides.
The problem will be compounded as tobacco, once the largest producer of
forex is set to decline even further, possibly as low as 30 million kg's
with a large proportion of this being the low value filler types.
With the drought in RSA likely to reduce the maize crop there it is
possible that the amount of food needed to feed the population will not be
The government blames drought for the shortage of production, however, with
full dams countrywide and reasonable rain in the grain producing areas in
the last 3 years, this is obviously not true.
JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
email@example.com with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
Open Letters Forum.
The Matabeleland branch of the CFU has cut its links with the mother body
over some major disagreements on policy.
As a means of finding a way forward it appears that the historical
perspective of the effect of the Third Chimurenga need to be studied.
I seek clarification of the following facts:
1. Did Jag not submit the Quinnel case in June, 2002 which questions the
constitutionality of evicting a person from their home and business where
no compensation has been paid? Was this done in complete contradiction to
an official policy of Dialogue, deemed to be 'trendy' at the time?
2. Did Matabeleland Branch not submit a case to the High Court on 13th
November 2002 and obtain an interdict ruling that the it was indeed
unlawful to evict a man from his farm before his day in Court? - Case
3. The case 2720/2002 merely covered the unlawful evictions in the
Provinces of Matabebeland North and South only? - because it was brought
about by Matabeleland Branch - not the mother body?
Assuming these facts are correct:
* It appears that Jag started the legal initiative and Matabeleland Branch
followed to protect its members.
* It also appears that the 'mother body' chose to ignore the advice given
by the newly appointed Ray Passaportis to challenge the various laws that
were methodically destroying its very own members' livelihoods.
*Based on the letter from Mr. Taylor Freeme to Matabeleland farmers dated
12th December, 2003 (ref M/16/DTF/sh3740) where it states "Every member is
encouraged and advised to defend his interests totally through the Courts"
it still remains beyond many farmers' comprehension why the mother body
could not emulate the Matabeleland branch and place a REPRESENTATIVE CASE
in the Court.
*Further the letter states "our role is to lobby.." indicating that it has
failed to stand up for its farmers' rights and can only talk.
Editor, the winds of change have started to blow from a democratically
elected body of farmers who are tired of other 'so called leaders' trying
to put spin on words like lobby, dialogue and 'work with government on the
land reform programme', or tell their ex-members to each pick up the bill
for an individual court case because they are not prepared to stand up for
what is right on behalf of the membership.
This democratically elected body of farmers in Matabeleland appears to have
drawn its line in the sand about human rights and property rights, and
deemed it unfit to be associated or responsible in any way for any actions
of its former mother body.
It is now up to farmers and non farming farmers, through their
democratically elected bodies in the OTHER REGIONS to decide if they want
to lobby and dialogue; or if they want to stand by the law.
The choice is fairly simple, and above all it is still their choice.
Matabeleleland has made its choice.
I am sure you most of you feel just like I do. Its getting pretty scary
out there. Every day we hear of robberies, brutal beatings, car jackings,
people made to drink acid and suffering candle burns. Something in the back
of your mind probably says but surely it couldn't happen to me but it
could. Now we most definitely don't want to be murdered in our beds so most
of us are trying hard to step up security. Making sure the doors are all
locked, windows tightly closed so they can't squirt Quick Start (ether) in
the room and render you helpless before it all begins. Practising high
karate kicks in case you get a chance to nail one of the bastards in the
balls. Mind you if they are thinking about burning you with a candle maybe
comatose is not a bag thing. Then there is the frightening thought of
rape, so no more bouncing into bed dressed in nothing but your birthday
suit and a squirt of Chanel. Its a sensible pair of elasticised knickers
and your PJs buttoned up to your chin. Then you collect the arsenal of
weapons to hide under your pillow. Pepper spray, knife, tiny pistol with
tiny bullets and Sue Elton's firecrackers guaranteed to sound just like a
shotgun. Sue gave me a clandestine demonstration and they certainly do, I
thought we had blown the walls of her garage down and found myself flat on
the grass with my hands over my ears. You are so uncomfortable waiting for
the inevitable you can't sleep. As you lie there eyes wide open, you worry
about your dogs. Now mine would lick any would be burglar to death, if
they barked it would be in greeting, they would wag their tails in
unashamed joy as the intruders came in to axe us. Miraculously, you wake in
the morning to discover there is another day. You hug each other in relief
and then rush outside to see if the tyres are still on your car, if they
are the relief is immense. You punch the air with a whoop of absolute joy,
ecstatic that your vehicle is still there for another day. You pirouette
back into the house to build up stamina to face the day. You set off, kids
in the back, down the hairpin bends of the Bvumba to earn your daily crust.
Not knowing what's out there and what surprises are in store for you.. It
can be anything, hi-jacking, spot speeding fines which have to be paid
immediately and if by some chance you don't have the money on you, well you
could spend the rest of the day parked under a tree while the police work
out what to do with you. We have all heard of the guy who was shot at the
roadblock, there is a white cross which is a daily reminder depicting where
he was shot. So you have to be very obliging as you greet gun toting army
youth unless you upset them. As this is happening, you could have a phone
call telling you that your farm equipment which you thought was safe, has
now been commandeered by a general, inspector, superintendent and is now
making its way to Gokwe and by the way there is nothing you can do about
it. This could apply to farms, cattle and of course crops still in the
ground. You finally reach the office after surviving two near head on
collisions and the car in front of you loses its wheel going round the
corner but fortunately it bounces against the kerb and doesn't wipe out
your windscreen or kill your husband. You raise your eyes to heaven in a
silent prayer of thanks. So it goes on, pretty exciting stuff, I won't go
on about unhappy labour, pay increases, workers trying to put you in jail
who still feel they should receive a package. Now don't get despondent, at
least for us life is far from boring and us Zimbabweans could never be
described as boring people, far from it. Meet an outsider and describe a
couple of days in your life in Zim and they look at you in outraged
disbelief. You see them labeling you a Psychopathic liar. It must sound
pretty weird if you don't live here. In fact it must sound unbelievable. We
just have to take each day as it comes and Zimbabwean's have become very
good at that. We know that tomorrow is promised to no one. Which is really
what this email is all about. I know I got a bit side tracked one does in
this country. While I was sitting in a landrover in Kwe Kwe incinerating
myself in the heat waiting for a driver. I noticed a book in a shop window
and it was called Historic trees of Zimbabwe. What a find, I whipped out
and bought it and was absolutely amazed to find there are a fair amount of
these beautiful historic trees in Mutare and the Bvumba. Pat and I found
the historic baobab outside Kadoma on the way back from Kwe Kwe and I could
not believe we had never noticed it before. Too busy worrying about other
things. Today Pat, Annie Cheeseman and I found the enormous strangler fig
in Oak avenue, Mutare and let me tell you it is so huge. This weekend we
are off to find the historic trees of Shigodora on Jack Hulley's property
in the Bvumba. Its a real treasure hunt and its all so exciting and keeps
your mind off all the hideous things that could happen.. So appreciate more
than ever all the great things this country still has to offer and find the
historic trees in your area. As for me I am checking the windows and doors
of course, loading the gun and practising my high kicks down the passage..
Love to you all Mandy (keep safe)!!!!!
HISTORIC TREES OF ZIMBABWE L.J. MULLIN BOUGHT AT KINGSTONS. ITS A MUST.
I hope that your readers will forgive me if I reflect further upon some of
the issues I considered in my letter of 26 November and which have been
since been addressed with greater lucidity and verve by other
correspondents. The JAG open letters forum may serve a number of purposes
but I hope that it will be, first and foremost, the means to apply the
expertise of Zimbabwean commercial farmers, (and most were, are, admirably
expert), to the matter in hand: the defence of the rights of the commercial
farming community and preparation for the reconstruction of Zimbabwean
agriculture. Bill Annandale's letter of 11 November about reconstruction,
the editor's note of 10 December about the significance of good husbandry
or Peter Hubert's most interesting observations about the allocation of
title to smallholders are cases in point.
When the starting gun goes to begin reconstruction there will be many
jostling for position alongside the Zimbabwean government|: NGOs heavy with
highly-paid experts, international donors, those with far murkier agendas,
and, of course, ourselves- the commercial farming community. We hold two
strong cards: right is on our side and we know what we are talking about.
But these two trumps will not necessarily win us a fair share of the
tricks. We need to be clear about what can and should be done and we need
to buttress our arguments with a wealth of detail and reflection. The JAG
letters forum should be a cocktail of debate about soil types and animal
husbandry, irrigation systems and finance, where commercial farms can
flourish and where smallholders should hold sway, where in a new economy
there will be room for those who had no place until they were shepherded
onto a commercial farmers veranda and onto his maize lands.
My own qualifications to contribute to such a debate are scanty (although
such will not prevent me trying). So permit me to address some four points
which I wish, desperately, had been settled to the satisfaction of all
reasonable people three or four years ago:
1. The rights and wrongs of the land issue: :
It is curious to find a few people still gnawing and scratching at the
question of whether or not, beneath or behind all the violence and
incompetence, Mugabe might after all have a point about `the land.' He does
not. And as it seems that the points cannot be made enough let me fire five
more rounds into that battered and stationary hulk of an issue:
a.) If Cecil Rhodes and his followers, and those who occupied land in what
is now Zimbabwe before the arrival of the whites, and the British colonial
ministers of the time were, by some medical extrapolation, still alive
today, and operating under the mores and ideals of the early 21st century
then there would be scope for a court action. Even under such circumstances
I suspect that Rhodes would submit a spirited defence on the grounds that
much of the land was vacant bush over which no clear sovereignty existed.
It was a controversial issue at the time. But these people are not alive.
They are demonstrably long dead. Generally, the eighteen year old war
veteran or confused and struggling squatter has no more connection with
those who once did or did not live on a piece of land one hundred years ago
than does the dispossessed white farmer with the settler who first occupied
that land, or cleared the bush to create it, or does a politically correct
British Labour minister with his Victorian forebear. Those who argue
otherwise will have to concede that I am entitled to seek compensation from
the first black Zimbabwean I might bump into on Second Street because the
great uncle of a friend of mine was robbed of his wallet by a black
Zimbabwean in Bulawayo in 1928. And such is palpably absurd.
b.) Mugabe claims otherwise. Yet his Fast Track programme has made no
attempt whatsoever to abide by the logic of his indefensible claim. He has
made no attempt to identify which areas were once possessed by Africans nor
to identify the rightful heirs and descendants of the dispossessed nor to
identify which farmers might be said to be beneficiaries of colonialism.
His policy has been, for the most part, a brutal eviction of agricultural
title holders on the basis of one criterion alone - the colour of their
skin. That's it. And the result, by the by, is that some commercial
farmers, and their workers, have been replaced by squatters whose claims to
Zimbabwean nationality are far more tenuous than those of the evicted. Fast
Track has been a pogrom and such is abhorrent under both natural law and
all the tenets of jurisprudence.
c.) Let us take one step more with Mugabe down his dark road and pretend
that even this reallocation of resources by race has some legitimacy. Even
here he has failed for far from returning land to black Zimbabweans he has
distributed it upon a feudal basis either to dependent squatters, who hold
the land from him and his party, at their pleasure, or to his cronies and
acolytes. Fast Track has been corruption and political expediency painted
upon a canvas of farms, dams, barns and homesteads.
d.) And even this ruthlessly executed policy has been a pitiful failure in
any terms but those of political survival. I anticipated agricultural decay
from Fast Track - instead we have seen a collapse that has cast Zimbabwe
into an abyss where people go hungry by full dams and only the generosity
of Mugabe's hated enemies in the West keeps Zimbabweans alive.
e.) We have no case to answer. Even the British government will concede
this, quietly. Quietly for its support for land reform has long rested on
one justification alone - that of poverty reduction, not of some elusive
post-colonial redistribution. Yet it goes beyond that for although there
might be a presentational case for land reform there was no pressing demand
for it. Here Ben Freeh has beaten me to the draw with his consideration of
the 1999 donor survey (Forum 20 October). The vast majority of Zimbabweans
wanted jobs, education, hospitals, a proper economy, not to be picked up
and dumped on someone else's land and left to fend for themselves. Fast
Track is a story about power. As any sensible commentator has long
Trotting alongside misplaced concerns about Mugabe's cause we often find
those keen to consign Zimbabwean commercial agriculture to history. This
seems equally perverse. Commercial agriculture is the culmination of a
journey first begun by those for whom hunter-gathering was not enough
thousands of years ago. It is a means to achieve high production, to
exploit poorer land to the full, and to create employment not only on the
land but downstream in offices and markets and warehouses and processing
plants. Here I must disagree with Mr Annandale (`The past way of farming
has gone'). We must avoid the trap into which most of the world seems to be
snared - that of treating Africa as a special case where the normal rules
need not apply. Yes, we must adjust our solutions according to the economic
conditions within which we must operate. But we should not, for example,
shun freehold because Africans may be sensitive to whites owning land. In
the future there must be Zimbabwean commercial farmers, not white or black
commercial farmers, who farm as effectively as possible. And effectiveness
often requires either freehold or leases so lengthy that they are freehold
in all but name.
I wonder also why commentators seem to regard the commercial nature of a
farm as a bar to African empowerment. Commercial farms offered not only
employment but water or power or education or healthcare of a combination
of all of these. Furthermore they offered opportunity. The foreman, the
tractor driver, the carpenter, the builder, the mechanic, these were
skilled individuals with dignity and position that the owed, in part, to
the enterprise that employed them. Some went further to manage and acquire
farms of their own. If anybody thinks that power and water and a regular
income is not empowering let them take a stroll through many parts of
Africa and see just how dignified and empowered existence is without ready
access to such fundamentals. . Commercial agriculture does not inhibit
development, personal or social. It can enhance both. John Kinnaird, in
his letter of 13 November, draws our attention to what is happening in
Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda where some smallholdings are producing export
crops. I have experience of only the first two. Yes, in both countries some
smallholders do produce export goods. Some smallholders are proud of their
land and farm it professionally. But many do not - the land that they
cultivate feeds them and their families, in a good year, but pays no
dividend to the wider economy. There is a place for smallholdings in the
African economy but that place is beside, not instead of, commercial farms.
Thus, if we set aside African prejudice against white land ownership, and
if we recognise that commercial agriculture is not just economically viable
but, in many ways, the economically preferable option then there are no
bars to a renaissance of commercial agriculture in Zimbabwe that we cannot
rightfully and sensibly challenge. Commercial farming was one of the few
success stories of post-independence Zimbabwe,
3. The losing battle
Amidst all the hunger and chaos Mugabe can claim one clear win and that win
is over us: the commercial farming community. Ask just about any African
outside Zimbabwe, journalist, politician or man in the street, pick up any
one of a number of respected newspapers or magazines, tune in to or log
onto the BBC, and see and hear the same weary lies, Mugabe's lies: white
farmers owned `all the land' , all white farmers were direct beneficiaries
of colonialism, land was always the burning issue. Even those Africans
who despise Mugabe for seeking to haul Africa back into the dark ages shake
their heads when it comes to `the land' and mutter that Europeans can
never understand the African affinity with `their land'. Tell that to a
Welsh sheep farmer. Why this blind spot, this remorseless guzzling of an
The first reason is that liberation is the keystone of recent African
history: Africans, so the accepted wisdom goes, fought for, and won, their
liberation from peoples represented most emotively by white farmers in
khaki shorts. To concede now, in what is for some still the immediate
post-colonial era, that those white farmers actually had, and still have, a
right to their land, is almost a heresy. The trademark action of the
Rhodesian bush war was attacks upon commercial farms: uncomfortable,
perhaps, to concede now that those who farmed those farms had a right to
them. And this prejudice stretches far beyond Africa - it remains almost
impossible to shake from the Western metropolitan mentality the cliché,
forged in the campaign against apartheid, that that white farmer in khaki
shorts is an exploitative racist. It was hard indeed for many journalists
and politicians and NGO representatives to accept that Mugabe, once an
idol, was rotten to the core. But still too hard for some to see the white
farmers as anything other than victims of their own illegitimacy.
The second reason has already been well articulated in this forum: we might
term it the Mbeki doctrine. That doctrine has it that the Zimbabwe crisis
is essentially a battle between two sides, not the persecution of a
democratically inclined people by a dictator. In the interest of balance,
of presenting both sides of the story, commentators and others feel obliged
to find reasons for Zimbabwe's woes other than the naked self interest of
Mugabe and his henchmen. Even reports of Mugabe's latest atrocity will, we
notice wearily, include a paragraph seeking to present, however
cosmetically, the other side of the story. Even though there is no other
side. And that paragraph will home in on the land issue like a
superannuated homing pigeon. .
And thirdly - we lack champions. The MDC's policy on land seems reasonable
enough but it is articulated, if at all, in a whisper. The southern
African states have colluded contemptibly with Mugabe; if, with a mad rush
of blood to the head, one of them does mumble a fleeting rebuke then you
can bet the harvest that isn't going to happen that it will not be over his
seizure of farms. The West has for many years now stuck grimly to a policy
of keeping quiet about the land issue to `avoid playing into Mugabe' s
hands'. The argument of the UK and others is that if they do fight our
corner such will simply prove Mugabe's point - that we are a colonial relic
who look to London or Rome or Amsterdam rather than Harare. This has always
been a specious argument: Mugabe will damn the West as neo-colonial
irrespective of what they say or do and no sensible or decent person should
be swayed by Mugabe's foul-mouthed rants anyway. The West's policy fails to
recognise (for it knows that Mugabe will not) that the vast majority of
those expelled by Fast Track are Zimbabweans, white and black, and implies
as well that those who do have other nationalities do not have the usual
quota of human rights. Compare and contrast the British government's
attitude to, say, British tourists arrested for plane-spotting in Greece
with its attitude to Zimbabwean residents with British passports tortured
or impoverished by ZANU PF. This policy has been wrong and we have paid a
heavy price for it. It is encouraging now to see JAG quoted, sometimes, in
the British press and acknowledgements of the costly disaster that Fast
Track has been. But such comments are still lonely lights in this
4. How long Oh Lord how long?
We have been waiting now for almost four years, four awful years, for the
Mugabe regime to finally disintegrate and for dawn to break over the
stinking rubble. This has yet to happen. During that period Mugabe and his
henchmen have provided a textbook demonstration of how to destroy a
prosperous country - only they, a tiny proportion of Zimbabwe's population,
have benefited. The most ardent supporter of apartheid, the most resolute
African cynic, even they would not have dared to write such a script. Such
things are not supposed to happen in the 21st century. Yes, countries
divided by years of conflict or institutionalised tribalism or careless
colonial division continue to smoulder and fester. But Zimbabwe was not
such a country. For a working country to be destroyed at the whim of a
tyrant is the stuff of the Dark Ages. It is small wonder that cynicism and
expediency often prevail, that people believe that the dawn will never come
and adopt the cringing, accommodating precepts of the darkness. But that
dawn will come. Mugabe is old and sick and washed up and his regime has
proved itself a disastrous failure. Gone are the days when history might
have associated Mugabe with liberation and independence; he will shuffle
off into history with little but the stench of brutality about him,
followed by the empty eyes of starving children.
In 1943 Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met in Tehran to plan the post-war
world. All the allies still had defeats ahead of them as well as the final
victory, the Nazis reigned supreme on the European mainland, Hitler and his
henchmen still strutted confidently in their ice cream finery. But defeat
was written on every wall for all to see as it is now for Mugabe in
Zimbabwe. And so we should plan as they did for the dawn. The difference
between that process and ours is that Tehran, and Yalta and Potsdam that
followed it, were perverted by the half-concealed ambitions and fears of
Stalin, already a proven mass-murderer. We have no such allies: the one
great evil is clear and sharp and right before us. We have a golden chance
to help build a new and working Zimbabwe where issues or history and race
are at last consigned to history. We, you, people reading this have the
expertise and brains and guts to help do that. So get thinking and get
planning. And do not, as so many do, ask what the point is and slink into a
clammy bed with yet another of Mugabe's capering profiteers.
But for now the fight goes on as well. What can we all do? Returning to my
third point we, the farming community and our friends, can at least fight
that one great untruth. We are a battered and dispersed army, some still
on farms, some in Australian bungalows, some in English council houses,
some hacking away on the Zambian plains or in the Mozambican bush. Some of
the generals we started the war with seem to have surrendered or even
changed sides. Supplies are low. Our allies are uncertain. Yet when we look
at the enemy and his disarray we cannot but take heart and see that the
battle is worth fighting.
And we all, nearly all, have that most modern weapon of the e mail. And we
have sharp facts to fire off time and time again until the truth is
1) A significant majority (Editor - 80%?) of commercial farms have changed
hands since independence, many with certificates of no interest. African
Zimbabweans were able to buy. They did not. There is no colonial legacy. .
2) By 2000 the white commercial farmers owned less than 20% of the land
area of Zimbabwe. This was emphatically not all the best land. The majority
of farmers were Zimbabwean nationals.
3) Farmers have been evicted on the basis of the colour of their skin and,
to a lesser extent, their political beliefs. No attempt has been made to
implement Mugabe's claimed policy of post-colonial restitution.
4) Generally, those evicting have had no greater right to Zimbabwean
nationality than the evicted. Mugabe has simply replaced the many skilled
Zimbabweans on farms with far fewer, and unskilled, Zimbabweans.
5) Mugabe won the support of SADC and others for three years by claiming
that each farmer would be allowed to keep a farm. Farmers who only ever
owned one farm have suffered attack and eviction since 2000. Mugabe lied.
If the BBC or SABC or the New York Times or the Manchester Guardian
receives an e mail laying out the above points it will ignore it. If it
receives fifty it will not, particularly if those e mails come from all
over the world. Note, highlight and challenge those articles and writers
that maintain the same old lies. Do not let one go by. Ever. Use my words
or any form that the editor may seek to substitute. Those lies, and they
alone, continue to legitimise what Mugabe is doing in the eyes of a portion
of the world and if we can knock them down then we are hurting him. We did
not steal any land. Instead we farmed it not just for our own good but to
the benefit of our workforces, our districts and our country. Mugabe stole
the land. And he did it for himself.
One final word. One man's disaster is another's opportunity. We have seen,
and will continue to see, schemes and stratagems and designs for magicking
sums of forex into the hands of dispossessed farmers. To those who have
lost everything, and for who life remains an endurancel of grief and need,
these schemes will always and understandably appeal. But they will do good
for few and wrong by many, not least in that they will divide us as we
scrabble for whatever mean pickings might emerge. The combination that we
require is a new government, full engagement by the outside world and those
processes advanced by JAG that will present a coherent and reasonable case
for restitution of title and compensation.
With apologies for so long a missive and with all hope for the future,
SADC set to hit electricity wall by 2007
January 21, 2004
By Zobuzwe Ngobese
Durban - Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries would
run out of capacity to meet electricity demand by 2007, Ikhuphuleng Dube,
the principal research officer at the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority,
This was the consensus reached from preliminary studies conducted by
the Southern African Power Pool, a regional body of electricity utilities
across the SADC.
Dube said SADC countries would have to invest in excess of $10 billion
to meet the threat posed by the impending shortfall.
"Although the Southern African Power Pool studies are not yet
complete, we have seen that certain projects within the region can be
harnessed to meet the deficit. These projects include investment in
generation of power and regional interconnectivity," he said.
The studies were initiated to ascertain which projects provided the
least costly power. Each member country does its own demand focus, which it
submits to the regional body.
Zimbabwe, which has five power plants, would need to invest in excess
of $1 billion to meet its local needs and was looking at establishing three
power plants, Dube said.
"We are engaged in a massive rural electrification project and
expansion plans of existing plants have been put in place," he said.
Most SADC countries are net importers of electricity, with South
Africa and Mozambique exporting the bulk of the region's power. However, the
threat of declining capacity is also expected to hit exporters of
The SADC is particularly under threat because it takes five years to
plan, build and commission a power plant.
Ernst Uken, the head of the energy technology unit at Cape Technikon,
said there were major benefits for SADC countries, particularly in poor,
rural communities, if they explored more ways of using alternative or
renewable sources such as solar energy.
"The additional benefits include fuel diversity and reduced price
diversity, load growth insurance, reliability and resilience," he said.
The technikon unit has created 50 jobs with the establishment of an
affordable solar sewing station in the rural village of Kliprand, which will
become self-sustainable in May.
Supreme Court frees Chiyangwa
By Staff Reporter
PHILLIP Chiyangwa, a high ranking member of President Robert Mugabe's ruling
Zanu PF party and parliamentarian was released from prison on Tuesday night,
almost two weeks after being arrested on charges of interfering with a fraud
case that has rocked the country's banking sector.
Chiyangwa, a showy MP, businessman and relative of President Mugabe won his
freedom after the Supreme Court upheld a decision by a lower court to grant
him $5 million bail.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku ruled that there was no
basis for the State to continue appealing for his incarceration.
Chidyausiku concurred with Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza and Justice Misheck
Cheda both of the Supreme Court that since the High Court had already
granted the legislator bail, there was no basis for the State to appeal
against that decision in the superior court.
"The order to release the accused is granted and the State’s appeal is not
"The second respondent (the Attorney-General’s Office) to pay costs of the
application," said Justice Gwaunza who read the ruling on behalf of the
Eye witnesses said Chiyangwa was whisked from the Harare Remand Prison at
around 6:15pm Tuesday in a white Mazda twincab and driven home by his lawyer
Mr Lloyd Mhishi of Dube, Manikai and Hwacha law firm.
Jubilant relatives and sympathisers were observed outside the Harare Remand
Prison dancing in delight as the legislator, who has been in custody since
January 10, was driven off.
President Mugabe has vowed to act firmly against rising corruption, which
political analysts say has fuelled anger against his rule in the face of a
deep economic crisis many critics blame on government mismanagement.
Tedius Karwi, a High Court Judge, granted Chiyangwa bail last Friday in the
case in which he is accused of attemtping to defeat the course of justice,
threatening a police officer and contempt of court.
The case is linked to a multi-billion fraud scam at ENG Capital Management
where Chiyangwa was said to hold a 40 percent shareholding.
The judge asked Chiyangwa to deposit Z$5 million in bail, to surrender his
passport, to reside at his Harare residence and to report regularly to the
police. The flamboyant businessman is likely to remain in prison until the
Supreme Court hears the state's appeal, for which no date has yet been set.
Meanwhile Dumisani Muleya reports that the ruling Zanu PF is deeply divided
over the arrest and detention of its MP and Mashonaland West chairman Philip
Chiyangwa on allegations of trying to obstruct the course of justice.
Mashonaland West senior politicians are said to be livid over Chiyangwa's
incarceration which will see him stay in custody for 18 days.
Chiyangwa, who was arrested last Saturday, was on Wednesday remanded until
Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira and politicians from Mashonaland West
such as Ignatius Chombo, Sabina Mugabe, Edna Madzongwe, Leo Mugabe, Webster
Shamu, and Bright Matonga were said to be infuriated by Chiyangwa's
This group from President Mugabe's home province on Sunday descended on
Harare Central police station, where Chiyangwa was detained, to demand his
release from holding cells after the MP won a court order to be freed.
His supporters invaded the police station expressing anger at what they saw
as defiance of a court order in favour of Chiyangwa by the law enforcement
Leo Mugabe confirmed that he visited Harare Central police station on Sunday
with other party members to ascertain the circumstances surrounding
Chiyangwa's continued detention.
"Political leaders from Mashonaland West visited the police station to find
out what was going on," Leo Mugabe said. "We were supposed to have a
provincial executive meeting on Sunday but our chairman was not there. We
therefore wrote to Shamuyarira expressing our concern. We didn't think that
it was fair to have him in prison but that was before these other
allegations against him arose."
Chiyangwa is currently facing allegations of trying to defeat the course of
justice, contempt of court and perjury.
Acting President Joseph Msika and most of the Zanu PF old guard clinging to
President Mugabe's coat-tails were seen as being behind Chiyangwa's arrest.
They were said to have been angered by his political manoeuvres in the party
in connection with the president's succession battle.
During last month's Zanu PF conference in Masvingo, Chiyangwa was linked to
a document that was circulated among delegates accusing Msika of corruption
and hobnobbing with white farmers. The document also called for Msika's
removal. But Msika reacted angrily and warned "new comers" to be careful in
their bid for power.
Chiyangwa's arrest followed a stern warning by Msika last Friday. President
Mugabe this week also made threatening remarks against "lawbreakers and
corrupt characters", amid speculation he could have agreed to the action
Apart from Chiyangwa's attempt to thrust himself into the centre of the
heated succession debate and become a political mover and shaker, some Zanu
PF bigwigs were understood to be irritated by his swashbuckling character
and claimed he showed disrespect for the party leadership.
Political activists, backed by party heavyweights from Mashonaland West, on
Sunday hoped their political muscle would get Chiyangwa released, in a move
which revealed widening cracks in the ruling party.
However, police at the cells refused to accept their demands, saying their
superiors had not given them any instructions to release the MP.
Chiyangwa, who has tried to bring State Security minister Nicholas Goche
into the ENG Capital Asset Management saga after it was said state
intelligence officers were being used as debt collectors, had secured a
court order after Benjamin Muponda, younger brother of detained ENG
director, signed an affidavit saying the car that the MP was alleged to be
clinging to was with him.
It is feared the current turmoil is Zanu PF could claim a number of
political casualties as the struggle for succession intensifies.
England have moral means to boycott tour
By Derek Pringle
England could be the first team to withdraw from an overseas tour for moral
reasons since apartheid South Africa was boycotted by the cricket world 13
years ago, if the criteria laid out in two new white papers are applied to
their scheduled trip of Zimbabwe in late October.
The thorny decision over whether to tour Robert Mugabe's strife-ridden
country will be taken by the management board of the England and Wales
Cricket Board next week on Jan 29, a month earlier than expected.
Given the situation in Zimbabwe has worsened over the last six months - a
change that has seen them expelled from the Commonwealth - the decision
seems straightforward, especially as these documents offer a framework to
overcome even cricket's natural antipathy to broad-based resolution.
Both papers are the work of Des Wilson, the recently appointed chairman of
the ECB's corporate affairs advisory committee and a former director of
Shelter and Sport England. Wilson, now 62, has been around the block a few
times and clearly possesses considerable political and business nous.
His love of causes (he campaigned for lead-free petrol) and charity cases is
well known, which is presumably why David Morgan, the chairman of ECB,
sought his help following the sorry debacle surrounding England's refusal to
play a World Cup match in Harare last February.
The first document sets out to guide interested parties toward making an
informed and rational decision over all tours, and is published today. The
second, to be given to the ECB's management board (the 15 men who actually
vote on the issue next week), will apply the protocols in the first document
specifically to Zimbabwe. Of course, those voting can ignore both documents,
though with cricket now keen to modernise along with other businesses by
becoming more politically and morally savvy, it is an arrogance the game can
As a navigation aid, the first paper would have been invaluable to Nasser
Hussain, England's captain during their World Cup fiasco last year. Having
noted the serious downside of cancelling tours - the destabilising of
international cricket, the loss of revenue from sponsors and broadcasters,
not to mention the devastating effect it can have on the cricket community
of the country ostracised - it sets out six factors to be considered before
a tour is called off.
"The World Cup was a nightmare and I'm glad I wasn't around," Wilson said
yesterday. "It was a difficult situation but a lot has changed since then,
not least that this is a tour and that was just a single one-day match. My
hope is that this paper will provide boxes to tick and provide a model to
cover all situations."
The first box contains that old chestnut safety and security, the only one
to be considered by the International Cricket Council during the World Cup.
Wilson advocates taking expert advice wherever possible - the ICC set up a
panel of suitably qualified experts last November - with the proviso that
even experts cannot know what terrorists are planning as they do not
broadcast their intentions in advance.
The ECB, legally bound to have a duty of care over their employees, should
therefore err on the side of caution, a stance made easier by the Foreign
and Commonwealth Office giving as "clear a lead as possible on specific
issues", including British foreign policy. At present, the message regarding
Zimbabwe seems to be they would rather Michael Vaughan's team did not go,
though that could change should the regime do the same.
Others points to consider include the integrity of the tour, a condition
infringed should either racism or a country's political leadership intervene
in the selection of the visiting team, as was famously the case when South
Africa's government objected to England's selection of Basil d'Oliveira, a
Cape Coloured, in 1968. The MCC promptly cancelled the trip and England
departed instead to Pakistan, something the players would be reticent to do
this time following al-Qaeda's presence in the area.
Public opinion is another matter Wilson says needs to be considered, albeit
with caution, given that it can sometimes be unduly emotional and even
misinformed. In a modern world, eager to highlight injustices, it must be
given its voice though, as must cricket's stakeholders.
The ECB's former chairman, Lord MacLaurin, was probably just stirring the
pot when he said Vodafone would reconsider their sponsorship deal with
England if the team went to Zimbabwe. But many businesses are becoming more
choosy over whom they associate with, though presumably broadcasters such as
Sky and BBC will always want tours to take place.
Cricket in this country can no longer operate in a vacuum as it once did and
must be subject to moral judgments over its activities, especially if they
include official visits to a country whose regime is guilty of
systematically starving its political enemies. With several cricket-playing
countries run by undemocratic regimes, Wilson's paper advises caution and he
suggests only extreme cases be considered. His mantra is not to judge how
they came to power, rather what they do when they are in power.
In a departure from the usual 'suck it and see' approach, the ECB have been
proactive in commissioning Wilson to draw up papers that should provide an
invaluable model as cricket strives to modernise its thinking and
When applied to Zimbabwe, as it will be in eight days' time, it is obvious
the tour cannot go ahead, though that may not be a foregone conclusion
following Zimbabwe's agreement to tour England last summer, a decision that
prevented a substantial hole opening up in ECB coffers. But while staying
away will be a body blow to cash-strapped Zimbabwe cricket, it will at least
show the game in England has regained its conscience.
Mugabe needs the “Lesotho 1998” solution
1/20/2004 9:57:49 PM (GMT +2)
THE Zimbabwe crisis, illegal immigrants and South Africa’s “quiet
diplomacy” are making headlines now every week. To understand the position
of the southern African countries towards Zimbabawe, a view backwards will
It is largely forgotten that Zimbabwe suffered tremendously during
apartheid South Africa. It fought for 10 years (1982-1992) against the South
African-sponsored Renamo and saved the government of Mozambique from defeat.
Many Zimbabwean soldiers lost their lives.
You cannot expect that the government of Mozambique can now turn
against President Robert Mugabe even though they certainly disagree with him
on many issues.
Zimbabwean troops also kept the Tete Corridor open during that
period - the lifeline for Malawi- before troops from Botswana took over as
part of the agreed peace keeping mission.
Mugabe’s position against apartheid South Africa was absolutely firm.
Even though he favoured the Pan African Congress (PAC), the African
National Congress (ANC) had offices in Zimbabawe that became targets of bomb
attacks by South African agents.
Zimbabwe also supported SWAPO in its struggle for the independence of
All these countries owe Zimbabwe a lot. That prevents them from now
turning against Mugabe, even though most of them disapprove the terror
Mugabe is inflicting upon his own people.
There is also no love lost between Mbeki and Mugabe. Mugabe put him in
prison in Bulawayo for two weeks together with ZAPU leaders Lookout Masuku
and Dumiso Dabengwa in 1981.
What are the alternatives to quiet diplomacy for Thabo Mbeki?
The only alternative that would work would be action. Closing
Beitbridge border post, putting troops on the border, cutting the
electricity supply and giving Mugabe an ultimatum to step down. The “Lesotho
This would make him a hero in Zimbabwe but a traitor and sellout
elsewhere in Africa.
Mugabe still commands a lot of support at the grassroots level not in
Zimbabwe anymore, but across Africa and even within the ANC. This could have
been witnessed at Walter Sisulu’s funeral where he got the second biggest
applause upon arrival.
The violent land grabbing has made him even more popular as someone
who corrects the imbalances of colonialism, makes the whites suffer and does
not care what the old colonial master, Britain says.
However, quiet diplomacy cannot work with Mugabe, who regards himself
as a visionary Pan Africanist leader, hoping to inspire the blacks in South
Africa to rise up in a big revolution and chase the whites out of Africa.
For him Mbeki is a manager, not a visionary.
Only a person like Nelson Mandala could stand up and explain to the
Africans that Mugabe is no longer a true African leader, but a dictator,
guilty of genocide after the Matabele massacres that killed at least 20,000
people and a racist.
However, Mandela keeps quiet and does not want to get involved in
Botswana’s views about Zimbabwe are shared by many of its neighbour
governments albeit not openly. Botswana can openly display its views because
it owes Zimbabwe absolutely nothing.
In the contrary, Botswana gave refuge to Zimbabweans during the terror
regime of Ian Smith. For this outstanding contribution, Seretse Khama was
awarded the Nansen Medal.
Botswana again gave refuge to the Matabele who fled from the terror of
Mugabe’s Fifth Brigade during the period of 1982-1987.
Now again Botswana is flooded with political and economic refugees
from Zimbabwe, who create a huge problem and are to a certain extent
responsible for the ever-increasing crime rate in this country. Even street
kids from Bulawayo are roaming around now in Francistown.
The only way out is a firm common position of all SADC countries
towards Zimbabwe, exposing the continuous terror and at the same time
pressing for a government of national unity.
Dr. Alexander von Paleske
Dr Alexander von Paleske was head of Heamatology Department at
Mpilo-Hospital in Bulawayo from 1987 to 2001.
Herald Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 January 2004
Gasela initiated meeting with Ben-Menashe: Tsvangirai
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is facing charges of plotting to
assassinate President Mugabe, yesterday said he came to know Mr Rupert
Johnson, the partner of Canadian political consultant Mr Ari Ben-Menashe,
through Gweru Rural MP Mr Renson Gasela.
Tsvangirai said Johnson, who was an acquaintance of Mr Gasela, then
introduced him to Mr Ben-Menashe at Hilton Hotel at Heathrow Airport in
He said Mr Gasela initiated his meeting with Mr Ben-Menashe, the key witness
in the case, following their discussion with the legislator that they could
assist MDC financially and lobby for the party’s international support.
Tsvangirai said this when he was narrating to the High Court how the MDC
leadership was involved with Dickens and Madson and how they were allegedly
conned by Mr Ben-Menashe on the pretext that he was assisting them win the
"The party was operating on a shoestring budget, as it was faced with
elections in six to eight months time," said Tsvangirai.
"Funds were urgently needed to support our programmes."
Tsvangirai, who denied ever plotting to kill the President, said he met Mr
Ben-Menashe in London where a meeting was convened and a contract between
MDC and Dickens and Madson was entered.
This, he said, was after Mr Ben-Menashe had outlined to Tsvangirai, MDC
secretary-general Professor Welshman Ncube and Mr Gasela his credentials and
the benefits their party would get from the consultancy firm.
The MDC leader told the High Court that he was very much impressed by
credentials of the Canadian-based political consultant.
Asked by Advocate George Bizos if he believed Mr Ben-Menashe, Tsvangirai
said: "I believed him. I was very impressed with his credentials and had no
reason to doubt he was bona fide."
The court heard that Tsvangirai did not know that the proceedings of the
meeting at Auto Royal Club in central London were recorded.
Tsvangirai said although the proceedings were recorded, the transcript was
inaccurate, inaudible and unintelligible.
Led by Adv Bizos, Tsvangirai said the defective transcript never suggested
anything about him requesting the assistance of Mr Ben-Menashe to
assassinate President Mugabe.
"I am sure if the meeting was recorded, the request was recorded," he said.
"I had no basis of making such a request. It was not part of the mandate of
Dickens and Madson."
According to Tsvangirai, when he travelled to Canada for another meeting
with Mr Ben-Menashe, the purpose of the meeting was to meet a senior US
administration officer and a director with the Central Intelligence Agency,
a Mr Simms.
The court also heard that he was supposed to meet US Secretary of State Mr
The MDC leader said he was surprised that when the meeting started, the
agenda had been changed and he "deduced a sinister motive."
The agenda, he said, sought to extract the so-called agreement that took
place on the first two meetings in London.
He said his meeting with Mr Ben-Menashe and his business colleagues in
Montreal, Canada was turned into an interrogation exercise.
Tsvangirai is denying the charges of plotting to assassinate President
However, if convicted, he faces a death penalty.
He claimed the Government set him up.
The trial continues today.