|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Official sources said Mugabe has ordered a thorough-going
the matter which Information minister Jonathan Moyo has described as a "coup
Mugabe's perceived heir-apparent and
Speaker of Parliament Emmerson
Mnangagwa and Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Vitalis Zvinavashe have been
linked in press reports to an approach made in December by retired Col
Lionel Dyck to Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai about
arrangements for Mugabe's early retirement and a transitional government
leading to elections. They have both denied any involvement.
The Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) is playing a
leading role in the
probe under the direction of Internal Branch director Mernard Muzariri, the
Zimbabwe Independent understands.
officers have been deployed to investigate the unprecedented
political moves which have led to fulminations by Moyo whose career would be
the first casualty of Mugabe's exit.
Mugabe is also understood to have
assembled a crack Zanu PF taskforce
comprising party inquisitors with an intelligence background.
The team is believed to include Home Affairs
minister Kembo Mohadi, State
Security minister Nicholas Goche, former PF-Zapu military intelligence chief
and Home Affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa, and former State Security and now
Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi.
The Police Internal Security Intelligence unit could be
Airforce of Zimbabwe commander, Air Marshall Perence Shiri, a fierce Mugabe
adherent, would act as a technical adviser, sources said.
It is understood Mugabe met the team on Monday and they are
expected to meet
"Those involved are in deep trouble
because Mugabe is livid," a source said.
"They trod on a political mine and it went off."
However, several of those cited as taskforce members
were quick to deny any
connection to an investigation when contacted by the Independent.
"I'm not aware of any investigation," Mnangagwa said.
Dabengwa claimed it was "news" to him and Sekeramayi said he
did not want to
talk about it.
Mohadi said: "We are not doing anything like that."
Mnangagwa was reportedly in South Africa on
Monday, clearing a vehicle.
He had been due to meet Mugabe on Monday in what sources said was likely to
be an uncomfortable exchange.
Prospects for the current year are also poor. "Prospects for the 2002/2003
agriculture season appear poor," said a World Food Programme Vulnerability
Assessment and Monitoring (VAM) Unit report.
As the country faces the prospects of yet another drought,
sources this week said the department was under instruction not to reveal
information on long-range forecasts without prior clearance from the Office
of the President.
"The government does not want any
information on the weather to be leaked,"
said the source.
our (long-range) forecasts are first sent to the President's Office and
only then can they be released."
The source said government has justified
the strict information clamp-down
on weather reports saying it impacted on investment in the agro-industrial
sector. However, despite these measures the government has failed to
adequately prepare for the eventuality of a drought. The WFP weather
monitoring unit said production of rain-fed maize would be low this and next
"The WFP VAM Unit reported that moderate
El Niño events suggest that the
current weather patterns may extend well into 2004, peaking in the first
quarter of next year. For the remainder of the 2002/2003 growing season,
with a few exceptions rain-fed maize can be expected to be low," the report
The report urged the
government and the donor community, which have been
struggling to meet food requirements, to brace for another major shortage
"Given carry-over effects on people's coping capacities from
crisis, anticipated below-normal harvests for the coming season, and the
rapid economic decline, the government of Zimbabwe and humanitarian agencies
need to begin preparing for serious and widespread food insecurity for the
coming marketing year of 2003/2004," the report said.
weather experts painted a gloomy picture of the 2002/2003 season in
Southern African region.
"There is a chance of rainfall
sliding into the below-normal category over
the southern part of the region - Botswana, southern Zambia, central and
southern Mozambique, much of Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, southern
Angola, northern Tanzania, Lesotho and Swaziland," said the Southern African
Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) held in Zimbabwe late last year. The
meeting was convened to update the January to March 2003 rainfall forecast
issued in September last year.
The El Niño phenomenon caused a catastrophe in 1999 and is set
to hit the
region again, said the South African Weather Service (SWS).
"A moderate El Niño is expected to persist throughout the
remainder of the
southern African summer rainfall season," it said.
"El Niño events decrease the likelihood of a favourable summer
season over most of Southern Africa. There is 40% to 45% probability for
below-normal rainfall from January to March 2003 and from March to May there
is a 40% probability for below normal conditions over the entire forecast
region. The temperature outlook from January to April 2003 is far above
normal temperatures over the forecast region," said SWS.
WFP said the Zimbabwean situation would be exacerbated by the confusion
in the farming community resulting in a below-normal area being put under
crop this year.
"Government estimates the area put under crops at 1,5
million hectares as of
December 31. The figure represents only 65% of the area planted in the
2001/2 season," said the WFP report.
"Investors in the US and Europe are nervous about the
implosion of the rule
of law in Zimbabwe," said Royce.
very real reticence about the region as a result of what has
happened there, and the reports of what is happening in Zimbabwe are
disconcerting to investors."
Bill Thomas, the chairman of the US Congress' powerful
Ways and Means
Committee, said the time limits put on Agoa were identified by the South
African government as one of the main concerns regarding the export
Thomas concurred with Royce that the
Zimbabwean crisis was wasting the
opportunities offered by Agoa.
"The fact is the Zimbabwean problem is eating up the one thing
that we don't
have and that is time - the longer it goes on the more difficult it will be
to respond to the problems," Thomas said.
Royce called on all concerned parties in the Zimbabwean
conflict to deal
decisively with President Mugabe.
civil society, even within the party in power and opposition
parties, there is going to be the realisation that Mugabe needs to go and
the rule of law needs to return," Royce said.
He urged countries in the region that
had been affected by the crisis to
take on the responsibility of leveraging Zimbabwe from the brink and putting
it on the course to democracy.
Royce said the international community was hoping that
South Africa and
other governments would engage with Zimbabwe and bring back the rule of law.
Royce cited the controversial election won by Mugabe
and the crackdown on
members of the opposition as a cause for concern. He cited the murder of
Movement for Democratic Change activist Tichaona Chiminya, the
politicisation of food handouts and Information minister Jonathan Moyo's
buying food "by the trailer-load" in South Africa as close to seven million
Zimbabweans face starvation, as evidence of a crisis.
The High Court ruling by Rita Makarau that led to the
nullification of two
Zanu PF parliamentary seats on grounds of electoral intimidation was also
noted as evidence of the breakdown of the rule of law.
In an interview this
week, Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president Colin
Cloete said government was desperately looking for equipment and machinery
to help abandoned resettled peasants till vast tracts of land currently
"What happened is that I got a call from the Agriculture
Made) on Monday asking for a meeting with us," Cloete said.
"We met him on Tuesday and he asked for equipment and
machinery. He wanted
to know if we could sell the equipment or allow it to be hired. But we told
him we don't actually have the equipment as a union because it belongs to
Cloete, who attended the
meeting with his vice-president Doug Taylor-Freeme,
said the CFU did not pledge to give government any equipment as reported in
the state media, but only promised to consult its members on the issue and
report back to Made.
He also said contrary to reports that the farmers had
undertaken to release
$30 billion worth of equipment to government, the CFU officials and Made did
not discuss the value of the equipment or the figure touted in the Herald.
"We certainly didn't talk about that figure
($30 billion) but perhaps the
minister made his own calculations," he said. "But we didn't discuss that at
The government media claimed
"a major breakthrough" had been reached between
Made and the CFU leadership over the equipment issue.
However, Cloete said there was no agreement
that his organisation would
provide the equipment because "it does not own equipment in the first
The equipment on the farms and in
warehouses is owned by individual CFU
members and not the organisation, he said.
Asked if the CFU was now cosying up to government in a bid to
clashes, Cloete said he did not wish to discuss politics.
"I wouldn't want to be embroiled in politics but as you
will know, we have
always tried to work with government but the political situation made it
difficult," he said.
Most of the land government
grabbed is lying idle as resettled people have
no resources to work it. Government's recent efforts to raise $64 billion
through an Agri-bond failed dismally as only $10 billion was raised.
Ngwenya runs an immune-enhancement surgery along Josiah
Chinamano Avenue in
Sources at Collingwood said milk
production is fast diminishing at the farm
since the take-over by Ngwenya.
Ngwenya last week confirmed to the Independent that he has
taken over the
operations at the farm and would like to transform it into a herbal project
for the treatment of HIV/Aids.
"I have already
planted nurseries of the herbs and they will be ready for
transplanting shortly," Ngwenya said.
"In fact, the 309-hectare Collingwood Farm is
not big enough for my project.
I need at least 1 890 hectares for full-scale production of the herbs."
Ngwenya said he offered the previous farm
owners, the Gaisfords, a cheque
for $100 million as compensation for improvements and equipment on the farm
but they turned down the offer.
Sources, however, said the cheque allegedly offered to the
Gaisfords was a
"The Gaisfords would not accept the
alleged cheque because it was not a
valid cheque but only a photocopy of the original," the sources said.
The Gaisfords could not be reached for
comment as they are understood to
have left the country.
Collingwood used to be a Dorking Dairy out-grower,
delivering all its milk
Dorking is Harare's major
milk provider, delivering around seven tonnes of
milk to the capital every day. Other than milk, Dorking also produces
yoghurt and cream for both local and export markets.
Sources said Dorking would be hard-pressed to
maintain the same levels of
milk production as most of its out-growers had ceased production.
Milk production has been in sharp decline over the
last three years with
nearly half the producers being forced to stop production and vacate their
properties as government implements its land reform programme.
opposition party recently revealed that over 10 000 new voters had been
added to the voters' roll since the March 2002 presidential election.
MDC legal secretary David Coltart confirmed his party was compiling the
evidence to challenge the registration process under Section 61 of the
"Section 61.3 of the Electoral Act stipulates that the Electoral
Commission (ESC) has the sole responsibility of registering voters but in
Kuwadzana, the Registrar-General has usurped the powers of the ESC and is
doing the registration of voters himself which is unconstitutional," Coltart
said. - Staff Writer.
The Troika, which consists of Mbeki and
Obasanjo together with Australia's
premier John Howard, will decide on whether to continue Zimbabwe's
suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth.
Addressing diplomats yesterday, Tsvangirai, in a
demonstration of growing
irritation at Mbeki and Obasanjo's failure to outrightly censure Mugabe,
described the two presidents' action as a "cynical and cruel act of
"Tragically," he said, "supposedly
leading countries in Africa, such as
South Africa and Nigeria are now in the forefront, chiding the international
community for its condemnation of the brutal Mugabe regime, denying the
existence of the tragic circumstances in which Zimbabweans find themselves,
cheering Mugabe in the name of a dubious African brotherhood to go on
perpetrating the outrage and waiting for the policies of the regime to
produce mass graves which they regard as an adequate and sufficient
definition of the existence of a crisis in Zimbabwe.
"Let me say this clearly to Nigeria and South Africa," said
"They are simply deluding themselves and Mugabe, their ally, against the
people of Zimbabwe. The people of Zimbabwe will never, never accept this
little strategy of repackaging and sanitising the Mugabe tyranny."
Tsvangirai said Nigerian Foreign minister Sule Lamido this
week delivered a
message from Obasanjo meant to assure Mugabe that "Nigeria would continue to
buttress him in his quest to maintain tyrannical rule over Zimbabweans".
He also attacked South Africa's Foreign minister
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who
also paid a visit this week saying she was on a similar mission.
Tsvangirai said the real intention of Mbeki and
Obasanjo was to give
Zimbabweans a false sense of hope and thereby buy time for Mugabe "to make
good his bloody electoral fraud and consolidate his dictatorship".
"It is this kind of behaviour and arrogance that
points to the existence of
a sinister and active plot on the part of Nigeria and South Africa to lead
the way in legitimising a murderous and brutal illegitimate regime,"
Mbeki and Obasanjo last
year led the initiative to have inter-party talks
between the MDC and Zanu PF but these collapsed after the MDC challenged
Mugabe's victory in the courts.
"In pursuit of this desperate strategy, presidents Obasanjo
and Mbeki have
now come out openly in support of the Mugabe dictatorship against the people
and forces of democracy in Zimbabwe," he said.
He said the position taken by the two leaders would influence
by the Troika.
"As a result, the forthcoming
Commonwealth Troika meeting in South Africa is
now a cruel gimmick and serious opinion in the international community must
totally ignore the incoherent rants that will emanate from it," he said.
He said Nigeria continued to misread the Zimbabwean crisis by portraying it
as a racial issue between black and white.
"The people being starved to death are not
white; the majority of those
killed by the regime's killing machine are not white; those who languish in
jail as I speak to you and are subjected to incessant torture and sub-human
conditions are not white; those in the rural areas who are daily subjected
to brutal treatment are not white.
"It is therefore despicable and cheap for anyone to reduce
such a tragedy to
an issue of race for the sake of a fake African brotherhood and political
expediency," he said.
He said the MDC was a national
political party that articulated and
expressed the national interests of all Zimbabweans.
Diplomatic sources said in his first visit last September, Morris agreed
with President Mugabe that there was a need to increase implementing
capacity, resolve the genetically-modified organism (GMO) issue, engage
private players in food importation and end the Grain Marketing Board's
(GMB) monopoly on grain trading.
critical issues such as the increase of implementation partners
and distribution of GM food in a milled state were completely resolved," a
UNDP diplomat said
World Food Programme implementation partners have
increased from seven to 12
over the past four months and donated GM grain is being milled largely in
South Africa before distribution.
agency sources said government, through the GMB, retained a choke-hold
on the trade in maize and wheat.
"Previous attempts by Morris and other UN
officials to persuade Mugabe to
agree to the creation of a US$85 million fund supported by donors and from
which private sector companies could borrow money to import grain has died a
natural death," sources said.
Other than focussing on the humanitarian crisis, Morris is also
to be on a mission to press Mugabe into reversing controls in the pricing of
maize and exchange rates.
Morris' visit comes at a time
when the portion of Zimbabwe's population in
need of food aid through to March has risen to 62%, up from 58%.
The figure means that 7,2
million people would go hungry in a country whose
population is estimated at 11,6 million. An estimated 6,7 million people are
surviving from food handouts either from the donor community or government
since last year.
Exporters this week said the move was fraught with
anomalies and was open to
abuse with certain individuals being able to access forex while others were
marginalised. Mining houses umbrella body, the Chamber of Mines said the
measure was taking a toll on the viability of the sector.
"The foreign currency available to producers for their
business is limited,"
the Chamber said.
"It used to be 40% to
government and 60% to producers. reducing the figure
to 50% for producers reduces their viability." To date, three mining houses,
Bindura Nickel, Rio Tinto and Falcon Gold have warned of possible closures
if there is no change in policy soon. Mining houses used to access their
forex requirements from the parallel market, which has gone underground
following the cessation of bureaux de change operations end of November.
The Chamber said while
at the moment there have been no mine closures, these
might manifest themselves in the medium to long-term if the measures were
Murerwa's measures were necessitated by what he termed
"rampant abuse" of
the country's foreign exchange earnings.
result critical foreign exchange payments had not been met at a time
when non-essential imports had continued to flood the market. The increases
in the retention rate were aimed at cushioning imports.
industry, reeling from a nosedive in business due to the
harsh political climate, said the measure signalled a death knell for the
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (Haz) president Shingi
Munyeza said tour
operators were feeling the pinch of the measure.
"Our industry is negatively impacted," Munyeza said.
The Haz boss bemoaned the shortage of foreign currency saying
bank has been slow in allocating them forex for use in the industry.
Munyeza said if the move continued for longer, some tour operators would
He said industry was seeking
permission to trade foreign currency earnings
on the parallel market to realise better returns than those obtaining in the
The country is facing severe foreign currency shortages to
electricity and fuel after the poor performance of top foreign currency
earners, tobacco and tourism industries.
"No police officer shall inflict, instigate or tolerate any act
cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment to any person... Police
officers shall treat all persons fairly and equally and avoid any form of
Generally, it can be said, the
ZRP has discriminated against the opposition
and in favour of the ruling party in permitting marches, rallies and other
political activities to take place. During farm invasions it very often
sided with farm invaders against farmers and their families who were under
attack. The Chinhoyi case comes to mind.
More seriously, it appears to have adopted a policy of
torturing members of
the opposition in its custody.
York-based Lawyers Committee for Human Rights this week issued a
statement expressing serious concern about what it calls "ongoing attacks on
human rights and civil society activists as well as the political opposition
It refers in particular to claims of serious physical
mistreatment while in
custody of MP Job Sikhala and lawyer Gabriel Shumba, a member of the NGO
Human Rights Forum.
Sikhala and Shumba, together
with Shumba's brother Bishop, were arrested in
St Mary's, Chitungwiza, on the night of January 14.
Sikhala said in court last week that he was
moved first to Matapi police
station in Mbare and then to Harare Central. He was denied access to legal
representation until a court order was issued on the night of January 15.
The following day he appeared before a magistrate and gave details of being
beaten, electrocuted, urinated on and forced to swallow a noxious liquid
while being interrogated about an arson attack on a bus and alleged plans
for an MDC uprising.
Shumba complained of
similar torture in custody. The two are charged under
Public Prosecutor Thabani Mpofu was reported as saying he would
forward a medical report confirming Sikhala's injuries to the commissioner
of police and the attorney-general.
In a separate incident on January 14, Farai
Barnabas Mangodza, Jameson
Gadzirayi, Joseph Rose and Richard Mubekwe, members of the Combined Harare
Ratepayers Association (CHRA), were detained in Kuwadzana. The four reported
that they were held by members of a youth militia and severely beaten for
approximately two hours.
then removed from the control of the militia by police and further
detained until agreeing to sign admissions of guilt to a charge of
"behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace". It was only after signing
these admissions and the payment of $5 000 each that they were able to get
"The detention of and acts of violence against civil
society and opposition
representatives is a common occurrence in Zimbabwe," the Lawyers Committee
for Human Rights says.
In the midst of an
economic crisis, it points out, "rather than encourage
and support the work of independent civil society groups like the Human
Rights NGO Forum and the CHRA, the Zimbabwean government instead subjects
such groups to constant persecution in total disregard for basic rights and
the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,
Legal Resources Foundation this week condemned the police for "engaging
in extra-legal methods in their investigation of the charges preferred
against Shumba and his co-accused". It called for the investigation and
prosecution of perpetrators of torture against them, pointing out that a
government doctor had confirmed their claims.
Four men accused of the murder of
Cain Nkala were tortured during
interrogation by police in Bulawayo and forced to make confessions dictated
to them by their interrogators, their lawyers told the High Court in
Bulawayo on Monday.
Last Friday the
Herald reported that regional police chiefs had expressed
solidarity with Zimbabwe by refusing Norway's offer of training in
peacekeeping if Zimbabwe was excluded. Norway had raised concerns about
human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
South Africa's police commissioner Jackie Selebi was quoted
as rejecting the
Norwegian offer in a story describing the move as "another diplomatic
victory" for Zimbabwe.
ZRP commissioner Augustine
Chihuri was reported as telling police chiefs
that land reform had gone a long way to "stabilising the policing
environment". He dismissed claims by "detractors" that Zimbabwe was
witnessing a deteriorating situation.
It is quite clear from this that Sarpcco, the organisation
police chiefs from 12 countries, is being used as an instrument of state
propaganda. Chihuri is chair of Sarpcco and a vice-president of Interpol to
which Sarpcco is affiliated.
Both Sarpcco and Interpol
are clearly turning a blind eye to reports of
police torture and other human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Sarpcco in fact
appears to be shielding Zimbabwe's police from charges of abuses that make a
complete mockery of the code it adopted with such fanfare last September.
Interpol should be tackled
on this. Why is it ignoring well-documented cases
of torture by an affiliate force and why are regional police forces prepared
to cover for a wayward member in the interests of political solidarity? This
is about as unprofessional as it gets.