This insanity must come to an
7/9/02 7:45:17 AM (GMT +2)
I OFTEN wonder
what sort of madness it is that has got into our
country and her leaders. In
Marondera, as in almost all towns and cities
around the country, there is no
sugar to buy in the shops.
At first glance we think of only the
couple of spoons of sugar we have
in our tea and coffee, but this is just the
beginning. Sugar is in so many
of the things that make up our daily
It is in jam and marmalade, soft and carbonated drinks,
sweets. Sugar is needed for bread and buns, biscuits, cakes
beer and spirits.
Sugar, like salt and
maize-meal, is a large part of our nutrition and
yet the government last week
stopped another 15 sugar farmers from
harvesting the cane on their
The farmers were ordered to report to the Chiredzi
Police Station and
sign warned and cautioned statements.
are accused of breaking the law by continuing to provide sugar
What sort of madness is this in a country whose shelves are
Dr Joseph Made, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and
Resettlement, boasts that 300 000 people have now benefited from the
redistribution exercise, but the gain of those people is to the
detriment of 13 million other people in the country and yet we all sit
and do nothing about it. We meekly accept our fate and endure the
This nonsensical situation is the same in all sectors of
There is no milk because our dairy
farmers have been ordered to stop
milking their cows. There is no Roller Meal
because our biggest maize
farmers have not been allowed to grow our staple
There are bread shortages because more than half of our
were not allowed to plant a crop.
becoming a luxury because the majority of poultry producers
have been ordered
to stop working and there is no grain left with which to
There is no salt because there is no foreign currency to pay
importation. The farmers who grow export crops that bring in
currency have been stopped from working.
shortage in Zimbabwe can be traced very simply and
speedily back to a land
redistribution programme which was poorly thought
out, badly implemented and
not backed up at all either with capital or
Zimbabwe 20 years from Independence to the year 2000 to
develop an incredible
agricultural resource base which saw us meeting every
single one of the
country's needs. It has taken less than two years for one
completely destroy two decades of work and cause six million
people to need
food hand-outs from the West.
Our leaders stagger from one crisis
to another as it arises. There
seems to be a complete inability for our
government to look further than
All the food that we are
buying and eating now is literally coming
straight from the fields to our
tables. Nothing is being put aside for next
year. Our grain silos are empty
of wheat, maize, soya and barley. Our sugar
Our national numbers of sheep, cattle, pigs and
chickens are at their
lowest ever levels. Our foreign currency reserves are
down to a few days.
As each part of our daily diet disappears from
the shelves, the
reasons will be exactly the same. The shortages we are
encountering now will
be exacerbated 100-fold next year.
the time has come for each and every single one of our leaders
thinking about themselves and their own political survival and to
thinking about the 13 million people they supposedly represent?
is childish in the extreme to keep blaming someone else for the
For two years they blamed the white commercial
farmers. When they
became extinct, the manufacturers and wholesalers became
accused of hoarding and stockpiling.
insanity has gone far enough and it is time for all Zimbabweans to
right to be able to buy food.
AU must end the era of dictators,
7/9/02 7:38:34 AM (GMT +2)
IT is almost
impossible to be hopeful or happy about the creation of
the African Union
(AU) this week without tempering that hope with extreme
For instance, if Bakili Muluzi had succeeded in ram-rodding through
Parliament of Malawi a constitutional amendment to allow him to run for
third term, he would still have been welcomed with open arms at the
Sam Nujoma of Namibia did exactly that and
remains a bona fide member
of that group of African leaders who routinely
tout themselves as democrats,
but are manifestly less so in
The AU has to do better than the Organisation of African
an audit of which would indicate its success in all its
mediocre. Certainly, its one big success was the
decolonisation of the
continent. Once that had been achieved, it became more
or less irrelevant
In a morbid coincidence, the
last OAU conference is being held as the
United Nations meets in Barcelona to
discuss the scourge which may wipe out
a considerable part of the population
of the continent, HIV/Aids.
The OAU, typically, is ending its life
without having contributed
significantly to the fight against the
pandemic which has seriously
reduced life expectancy in Sub-Sahara Africa -
Botswana, for instance, from
72 to 28 years.
The pandemic is
likely to have a deleterious effect on whatever
economic plans the AU may
come up with to drag the continent out of its
virus which has plagued this continent as much as HIV/Aids has
misgovernance. The AU will reportedly differ from the OAU for it will
and even ostracise from its ranks countries which refuse to conform
tenets of good governance.
Considering its present membership, one
is bound to wonder. For
instance, the OAU has not invited Madagascar's Marc
Ravalomanana to the
summit in Durban. It is to be hoped this had nothing to
do with the
recognition of his government by the United States and France,
colonial power. Evidently, the OAU leaders would have preferred a
despot, the former soldier dictator, Didier Ratsiraka, to have won
election last December.
Ravalomanana is now president of the
whole island nation and the AU
will have to act quickly to recognise him - or
risk the accusation of being
no different from the OAU, endorsing dictators
and other leaders whose
democratic credentials are, at the very least,
President Mugabe falls into this category and although the
apparently has no intention of bringing up the subject of the imbroglio
Zimbabwe on its agenda, the fact remains there is much, much
business in this country before it can be said to have achieved
democracy under Mugabe since the presidential election last
Legislation is now in place which makes a mockery of the
right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Both the
Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Public Order and
Act are iniquitous pieces of legislation the AU should strongly
condemn - if
it didn't have such one-party luminaries among its leaders as
Muammar Gaddafi and Liberia's Charles Taylor.
against poverty should preoccupy the new organisation. But
poverty cannot be
fought when people are denied their basic human rights, as
many Africans are
today. Poverty cannot be fought when there are civil wars
raging in many
countries. Poverty cannot be fought
successfully if opposition parties
are denied the right to function
freely, as in Zimbabwe today.
Meles Zenawi, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, who was in Zimbabwe over
weekend on his way to Durban, said Africa could not ignore the
politically or economically.
The AU needs to accept this
concept of globalisation totally. The days
of one-party tinpot dictators and
military potentates are gone. Only the
true freedom of all the people can
ensure an end to poverty and hunger in
Chiwenga accused of trying to take over farm by
7/9/02 8:20:24 AM (GMT +2)
By Takaitei Bote
JOCELYN Chiwenga, the wife of Zimbabwe National Army
Lieutenant-General Constantine Chiwenga, is at the centre of a
allegedly trying to take over by force a property in the
She already owns a farm in
Enterprise through the government's
controversial land reform
Hortico is a horticultural concern which exports most of
to the United Kingdom.
Contacted for comment last
week, Chiwenga denied trying to take over
the farm. She said she and the
owners of Hortico had only argued over the
payment for the vegetables she had
supplied to them.
The Daily News understands that Chiwenga, who two
months ago took over
Shepherd Hall Farm next to Hortico Farm, allegedly
besieged Hortico for four
working days from Wednesday 26 June to 2 July,
claiming she was the new
Jacob Staunton, the owner of
Shepherd Hall Farm, is reported to have
been chased away by Chiwenga and has
since fled to Australia.
A source associated with Hortico Farm
said: "It all started with a
late invoice. Chiwenga came claiming she was the
new owner of Shepherd Hall
Farm and that payment for the runner beans
supplied to Hortico by Shepherd
Hall Farm two months ago be made to
"The Hortico Farm management declined, saying they would only
previous farm owner, Staunton, as he had supplied the
After the management refused to comply with her demand,
allegedly brought some office furniture and occupied one of the
The source said: "She brought a
computer and office furniture and
occupied one office at the farm, saying she
was the new owner of Hortico
with immediate effect, which was from Wednesday
"She left on Tuesday 2 July when Ministry of Lands,
Rural Resettlement authorities ordered her to leave the
The source said Chiwenga had enlisted the services of the
have Hortico Farm officially ceded to her after the owner had
with a Section 8 order of eviction.
managing director, Daniel Perlman, is said to be out of the
mobile telephone number of Peter Christensen, the operations
busy each time The Daily News phoned him. The number has been
out of reach
since last Friday.
It is understood that Chiwenga threatened to
"deal with anyone from
Hortico who dares speak to the Press".
Chiwenga has denied she wants to take over Hortico Farm. In a
interview last Friday, she said: "If you are going to publish
Hortico, it will be all lies. I am the new owner of Shepherd
Hall Farm from
May and how can I try to take over Hortico Farm when I have
Chiwenga said she had since been paid for the beans supplied
Hortico by Shepherd Hall Farm.
Top government and Zanu PF
officials have been accused of grabbing
prime land with unharvested crops and
there are reports that some now own
more than one farm.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association two weeks
an audit of the land reform programme, saying there was growing
the majority of people including ex-combatants, detainees and
had been marginalised because "political heavyweights have
Police raid private radio station
8:38:21 AM (GMT +2)
THE police last
week raided the offices of the Voice of The People
(VOP), a private radio
station in Harare, and confiscated 133 tapes and
According to a spokesman for Media Institute of Southern
(MISA)-Zimbabwe, the police, accompanied by officers from the
Authority of Zimbabwe, (BAZ) and armed with a search warrant,
raided the VOP
offices on Thursday around 4pm in search of a transmitter and
After failing to find any
transmitters, the police "confiscated 133
tapes and files from the
Bruce Mujeyi, of Gollop and Blank, the radio station's
was present when the police searched the offices, said the
police and the
BAZ officers wanted the transmitter the VOP was "using" to
Mujeyi said the VOP trust deed
disappeared in the confusion during the
search and it is suspected the police
or BAZ officers took it. Mujeyi said
in terms of the law, the police must
return everything they seized.
"We are waiting for a decision on
whether to apply to the court for a
speedy return of the confiscated
equipment or appeal against the harassment
to which VOP staff were
subjected," Mujeyi said.
MISA-Zimbabwe said it was reliably
informed that VOP had no
transmitter in Zimbabwe or anywhere else, and was
not violating any part of
Broadcasting Services Act 2001 because
it is not broadcasting.
The Broadcasting Services Act 2001 bars
anyone from broadcasting
without a valid licence.
broadcasters have been licenced since the law was passed in
Broadcasting Corporation, controlled by the Department of
Publicity in the President's Office, remains the only
broadcaster in the
Ziana workers up in arms over increments
7/9/02 8:23:46 AM (GMT +2)
By Rhodah Mashavave
ABOUT 80 Zimbabwe-Inter-Africa News Agency (Ziana) workers in Harare
a meeting of their board of directors over the non-payment of a 55
salary increment awarded in January.
The workers downed tools from
noon to about 3pm demanding that the
newly-appointed board address them. The
board meeting held at the Ziana
offices in the city was attended by chairman
Munacho Mutezo, Vimbai
Chivaura, the chief executive officer, and three board
Karonga, Johannes Tomana and Ngugi wa Mirii.
According to inside sources, the board had difficulty convincing the
to return to work while they solved their problems.
Takaona, the president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists,
in a letter to
Chivaura, dated 4 July, said: "It has come to our attention
that workers at
the agency who were supposed to get salary increments in
January as required
by the law have not yet got anything.
"Apart from the legal
obligation for the agency to pay increases
annually, the workers have written
correspondence from the Department of
Information promising that the salary
increases were to be effected once a
new board is in place.
new board came into office more than four months ago and promised
workers that the increments would come soon. This has not happened
and we are
told that the new chairman has on more than one occasion
meetings with workers."
Takaona said Ziana had not been forwarding
payments to a medical aid
account for the workers with Cimas, and
contributions to the National Social
Security Authority although deductions
would have been made from their
He said: "The
situation has serious implications on the workers in an
environment where the
prices of basic commodities have more than trebled in
the last year. We are
also worried that they now have to pay cash upfront
for medical bills, adding
a heavy burden on their small earnings."
In a related development,
staff at the Gweru based The Times, a member
of the cash-strapped Community
Newspapers Group, and printing company
Superprint on Wednesday last week
served their management a two-weeks'
notice to strike over similar
Anger everywhere as Zimbabwe cracks into
7/9/02 8:44:42 AM (GMT +2)
Zimbabwe's unending political crisis, worsened by widespread
affecting half the population, has divided the country into two
places: an official one and a real one.
Officially, Zimbabwe is
fine. It enjoys the support of the entire
African continent, particularly for
its pan-Africanist zeal to redistribute
land and complete the theoretical
fight against colonialism. That process
would have long been speeded up were
it not for the siege the country is
experiencing from an unpatriotic network
of indigenous puppets of Britain
and the West.
The enemy's main
motivation, as seen by President Mugabe and his
supporters, is to compromise
the nation's sovereignty and create artificial
shortages of tourists,
investors, foreign currency and basic commodities.
In the real
Zimbabwe, survival has become not only a daily challenge,
but an embarrassing
and frustrating game.
Zanu PF officials have bestowed upon
qualities and become national
symbols which should never be
They claim a monopoly
In the official Zimbabwe, no one is starving. There
is plenty of food.
The MDC and the private sector are hoarding
large quantities to drive
the people against the government.
Officially, all non-governmental organisations are dangerous because
support the opposition; they ask too many questions about human rights;
they are led by MDC stooges.
The official world believes in the
same old and tired ways of running
the country, using the same old economic
policies, which have seen the
country's wealth vanish in two decades. That
world is grateful to war
veterans and Border Gezi "graduates" for Mugabe's
"re-election". It accepts
the argument that a battery of laws, fast-tracked
before the election, were
designed to bring about more freedoms and do not
But, the real Zimbabwe is now a very dangerous
place, with anger
The latest figures show that 5,6
million people are hungry. A third of
our two million children under five
need nutritional supplements.
Only two of the country's 57
districts are estimated to have less than
10 000 people requiring food aid.
The rest have 50 000 people or more in
need of help, according to the United
Officially, there is no need for a clear plan to deal with
food shortfall, or developing safety nets for the poor. As long
people have land, donations or aid are unnecessary.
the major donors seem reluctant to underwrite a government they
be irresponsible and illegitimate, officially that presents no
problem to a
sovereign Zimbabwean state.
The official view is that nothing much
can be done about Western
donors who support the MDC's desire to cause alarm
Officially tourism, once one of the country's
major contributors to
gross domestic product, is picking up significantly
following the imagined
success of international lobby groups to market
These groups, led by the likes of Ari Ben-Menashe, have
joined by former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda and Ernest Coovi
Adjovi would rather see tourists flock to Zimbabwe instead
native Benin through the hugely discredited Miss Malaika
The real Zimbabwe, however, knows that tourism has shrunk
percent of the levels achieved in 1999 despite the existence of the
disk, a CD-ROM, designed to counter the negative publicity Zimbabwe
Officially, the business community deliberately
currency on the black market to raise an argument about
The ultimate aim of business, in government's thinking, is
The implications of the rough swings in
the value of the Zimbabwean
dollar on the manufacturing sector and on pricing
are rarely debated.
What officials would like people to see are
television pictures of
basic commodities "hoarded" in some warehouse in the
When the companies attempt to explain the
presence of the publicised
stocks through the State media, they are denied
The real Zimbabwe has been run by nationalists.
These men and women
are mostly without professions. They sincerely believe
that no one can run
this country better than themselves. Once they became MPs
either at independence in 1980 or somewhere thereafter, they
their public offices as the sole source of power, career
income. To them, losing office would have a catastrophic
The few who did or, for some reason, were forced out, have
show for it.
Senior officials are doing everything
possible to cling on to their
posts, suppressing potential
Finance Minister Simba Makoni was unfortunate to have his
discussed as a possible successor to Mugabe. That cost him the support
the establishment which discourages any discussion on life after
Makoni and Leonard Tsumba, the governor of the Reserve Bank
Zimbabwe, have tried, without success, to make the government address
skewed macro-economic environment.
The fact that Makoni
inherited an empty calabash is rarely
year, Makoni stopped Agriculture Minister Joseph Made from
peddle lies that Zimbabwe had sufficient food stocks.
system of political patronage, young politicians are supposed
to be consumed
by the old blood and start to behave like their mentors.
result, in Zimbabwe's case, has been the entrenchment of a
that is replete with lifeless ideas and deadwood.
nation looks set to force the people's will, like dammed
water, to find its
true position on national affairs. That position will
seek an abatement and
eventual eradication of deceit.
The official position of publicly
denigrating everything from the West
has tended to become ludicrous in the
eyes of some bemused Zimbabweans.
None of our political leaders
Residents in demo against water cuts
8:40:36 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in
RIOT police were called in yesterday when hundreds of
Bulawayo's Sizinda suburb staged a peaceful demonstration
against the city
council's decision to cut off water supplies to residents to
million in unpaid rates.
The more than 500
placard-waving demonstrators marched through the
streets and gathered at the
council's housing office.
They confronted the ward councillor,
Alderman Mika Parira Mpofu, and
demanded that he arrange for them to talk to
the mayor, Japhet
Some of the placards
read: Don't kill the milk cow, We say no to 115
percent poverty and Don't
turn council chambers to toilet chambers.
Mpofu, who said he fully
supported the demonstration, was asked by the
mayor to address the
demonstrators and list their complaints.
Mpofu, of Zanu PF, said:
"Some councillors have their own different
agenda but I am for the people and
I represent them totally. The council
should have given enough warning to the
people for them to make arrangements
councillor clashed with the council a few years ago
when he encouraged
residents not to pay their water bills.
According to council
by-laws if water is disconnected at a household
for more than seven days the
house is also closed because it would be deemed
a health hazard.
The residents expressed fear that their houses would be closed
subsequently auctioned because they would not be able to pay the
which had accumulated beyond their reach.
"I get $700
for my pension and I have a family to look after," asked
Nicholas Mathe, a
pensioner. "Where does the council think I am going to get
Some of the residents owe the local authority up to $35 000
arrears and this is likely to increase because of the 115 percent
in rates which began this month.
The last full council
resolved recently that the local authority must
take stern measures to
recover the $800 million.
The councillors admitted it was a harsh
measure in view of the current
unfavourable economic conditions.
But they said council had no choice but to force the cash-strapped
to pay up for the council to launch its capital projects.
Ben-Menashe under probe
7/9/02 8:16:19 AM
The Mail and Guardian
newspaper of Canada reports that Britain's
Scotland Yard police are
investigating Ari Ben-Menashe, the former Israeli
intelligence agent at the
centre of treason accusations against the MDC
He is under investigation for allegedly attempting to
information about the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, for £500
million at the official rate and Z$500 million at the parallel
Ben-Menashe, whose hotly disputed "evidence" in the
could send Tsvangirai to the gallows, is accused of trying to
Mohammed al-Fayed, owner of London's high society shop, Harrods,
for the information three years ago.
He is said to
have approached al-Fayed in 1999 with claims that he had
evidence that the
Israeli intelligence service, Mossad, had plotted to kill
Diana. The princess
died in a Paris car crash in August 1997, along with
"Subsequent investigations established that the Mossad
theory was nonsense and the matter was reported to the police,"
al-Fayed's spokesman, Chester Stern.
News of the
alleged deception, which Scotland Yard has confirmed and
is still under
investigation, casts fresh doubts over the reliability of
evidence in the case against Tsvangirai. The case centres on a
suspiciously edited video purporting to show Tsvangirai
Ben-Menashe a plot to assassinate President Mugabe.
whose popularity had threatened to unseat Mugabe at the
in March, denies the accusations. He claims he was set
up by Ben-Menashe, who
has admitted to being Mugabe's long-standing friend
and doing business with
the ruling Zanu PF party prior to his approaching
The MDC shadow justice minister, David Coltart, said
are fast building a strong picture of Ben-Menashe as not
exactly being a man
of good standing."
The Canadian government
yesterday confirmed that an inquiry into
whether Tsvangirai might have a case
to answer in Canada, for hatching the
alleged murder conspiracy with
Ben-Menashe in Montreal last year, had come
investigation carried out by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
closed because I understand that all investigative avenues were
said a Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, Marie-Christine Lilkoff.
Allegations have also been made that Ben-Menashe's Canadian-based
firm, Dickens & Madson, played a role in illegally trading
diamonds in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A former Mossad
operative, Ben-Menashe was accused of lying under oath
during the Iran-Contra
affair in the United States.
He was also labelled a "notorious and
chronic liar" by The Jerusalem
Post after selling false stories about
Israel's atomic weapons.
Mugabe 'paid Israeli spy to frame opposition
By Basildon Peta, Zimbabwe Correspondent
10 July 2002
Israeli intelligence officer has earned more than US$450,000
President Robert Mugabe, partly as a reward for framing the
leader's main political opponent, officials in the government
Mr Mugabe's chief political foe, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), faces hanging or life in
convicted of high treason over an alleged plot to kill President
is to appear in court to answer the charges next month.
Zimbabwe government is using grainy video footage of a meeting
Ben-Menashe held with Mr Tsvangirai in Montreal as the basis of its
against the opposition leader.
Mr Tsvangirai was shown in the
video saying what sounded like incriminating
statements about "eliminating"
Mr Mugabe. The opposition leader denies the
charges, claiming that the video
footage was carefully edited and
manipulated by Mr Ben-Menashe to frame him
and two of his party officials
who attended the meeting.
controversial Israeli operative is being investigated by Scotland Yard
allegedly trying to sell false information on the death of Diana,
Wales, casting fresh doubt over the credibility of the
allegations against Mr
Canadian police have dropped their own investigation for lack
that Mr Tsvangirai plotted in Canada to eliminate Mr
According to well-placed Zimbabwean government officials, Mr
authorised $450,000 as payment for Mr Ben-Menashe for his work in
the video and for agreeing to be the state's key witness in the
About $200,000 of the total was for Mr
Ben-Menashe to market Zimbabwe abroad
through his Canadian-based consultancy
firm, Dickens and Madson.
Mr Ben-Menashe was also to be paid an extra
$400 000 for his marketing
contract by the end of this year, they
Mr Ben-Menashe, called a "delusional and chronic liar" by the
Post, has travelled to Zimbabwe twice this year and has met Mr
both occasions. His travel expenses were paid for by the
The sources did not want to reveal details of how
Mr Ben-Menashe was paid as
this would "expose" and "harm" certain people. It
is, however, understood
that Mr Ben-Menashe's payments were all handled by Mr
Mugabe's spy agency,
the Central Intelligence Organisation.
officials interviewed yesterday accused Mr Ben- Menashe of "milking"
Zimbabwe government yet "doing nothing" to market the country abroad
"Apart from providing the video with Morgan [Tsvangirai]
he has not
implemented any campaigns he promised to improve Zimbabwe's image
said one source.
Another source said officials were concerned
about Mr Ben-Menashe continuing
to earn more money for work he was not
There are fears that Mr Mugabe's courts could convict Mr
Tsvangirai on the
basis of the videotape, notwithstanding the questionable
credibility of the
former Mossad spy. Mr Ben-Menashe cold not be reached for
Three million face starvation in
Plumes of yellow flowers stand erect from the cassia trees that
avenues of Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. Vivid red-leaved
20ft wide grow beside the road and banana, paw-paw and avocado
laden with fruit. This is a land of abundant produce, so how is it
The weather is cold and grey, much like England. Occasionally,
breaks and there is a shaft of hot, delicious sun – but where is
and dust and drought that are the harbingers of famine?
are the first of many puzzles about Malawi. Its climate is equable,
vegetation exuberant, its people are at peace. Why should it suffer a
shortage? And who exactly is short of food? Discovering the truth is
I arrived in Lilongwe in early June, expecting to find a country
to deal with the imminent threat of starvation. Twenty million are
be at risk across southern Africa – 3 million of them in Malawi –
combination of drought, pestilence, war, corruption and famine.
found a government locked in a constitutional row about the
the President for a third term and an aid community bemused by
international focus on the country and unsure how to respond to
Malawi is hungry and many of its people are desperately so but it is
starving – not yet. Veterans of the "scorched earth" famines of Ethiopia
1984 and the Sudan in 1990 insist nothing on that scale has been seen so
in Malawi. Senior executives of the aid agencies in Britain, who
launched disaster appeals to raise funds for southern Africa, are
worried that this scepticism from professionals on the ground will
The chief executive of a British-based
charity told me last week: "I am
confident we can persuade the public to give
now to stave off the crisis
that will otherwise come in November but if the
people out there start
questioning our efforts that could be very
I spent 10 days touring Malawi, visiting hospital malnutrition
villages in the bush where crops have failed and I saw many
the dry hair, puffy hands and feet and protruding bellies that
are the signs
of malnutrition. I saw sick elderly grandparents who face a
to find food for young children whose parents are dead,
victims of Aids. I
met villagers whose crops had been stolen because the
price of maize, the
staple food, is rising and the hungry are growing more
desperate. I saw
homes preparing maize husks – the "hunger food" made from
the chaff around
the grain normally fed to chickens but used in lean years to
families to the next harvest.
But the hunger is not
universal. Even in the same village, some have enough
and others do not.
Moreover, hunger is an annual phenomenon. According to
the Demographic and
Health Survey 2000, published by the Malawian National
severe malnourishment affects 26 per cent of under-fives
in rural areas and
13 per cent in urban areas – the result of years of
Hunger, disease and poverty exact an annual cull of
the population in
Malawi. The difference this year is that the cull has
started early, in May
and June, which should be a time of plenty. At Mulanje
mission hospital in
the south, 900 children were seen in the malnutrition
clinic in May, a
record for that month, when the numbers should be
At Chitambi, a large village of 50 houses four miles from
Mulanje-Blantyre road, people were forced to bring in their crops early
year partly out of hunger and partly to protect them from thieves.
Renard was drying maize husks outside her home and several houses had
of millet drying, normally used for brewing beer but used as a
food when maize is short.
The village chief, an elderly,
frail man wearing a double- breasted blue
jacket and brown trousers rolled to
the knee, had planted a small plot of
maize in front of his house, instead of
in the fields, so he could guard it
from thieves. "I only depend on God.
Whatever God prepares I accept. Only
God knows the future," he
To some, this fatalism can seem exasperating. If you are starving
should you do? Sit and wait for death, at God's convenience, or go
search for food elsewhere? Malawi has one of the largest freshwater lakes
the world with water for crops and an abundance of fish. Why not move to
But this is to misunderstand the predicament. Where life is
communities learn to endure. Stoicism is their strength. They have
resources, no savings, nothing with which to pay for a fishing net or
or fertiliser or transport to enable them to start again. Yet they
cheerful and dignified, not gloomy and downcast, laughing in the face
hardship. That is the African miracle. Those that have little, share
the little that they have. They move slowly and work little,
energy. But they survive.
I asked Grace Malenga, head of
the Moyoh House malnutrition clinic at Queen
Elizabeth hospital, Blantyre, to
gauge the position. Behind her,
solemn-faced children lay inert in the ward
where beds had been crammed
together in pairs to increase capacity.
Malenga smiled patiently. She has answered this question many times. "I
say that where today we have 20 patients, five years ago we may have had
But what does that tell you? Distinguishing the effects of a food crisis
the effects of malaria, HIV and tuberculosis is very difficult. If a
weakened by lack of food then they will be more likely to succumb
She paused, then added: "However, I am a Malawian villager and
when I go to
my village I can see, yes, the situation is quite desperate. It
is not so
desperate now but it will be in a few months. There is simply not
I told her I had seen maize husks being prepared in the
village of Chitambi.
"If they are using maize husks now, that is very
serious. This is the time
to throw them to the chickens. October, November,
December – that is the
time to use maize husks – when there is no maize left
The food crisis is deepened by the Malawian passion for nsima,
food, made from maize flour into patties that have the appearance
taste of solid semolina. It is a comfort food, filling the belly
the blood in a country stalked by hunger, where the nights can be
Malawians say if a man hasn't eaten nsima, he hasn't eaten.
maize is a fragile plant, susceptible to drought and flood, and
cultivation of the crop drains the soil of nutrients. Efforts to
Malawians to diversify and grow other crops such as cassava have had
success up to this point.
The Malawian government has been
blamed for selling off its entire food
reserves of 167,000 tons but it would
have been insufficient to cover the
current shortfall estimated at 600,000
tons. Britain, too, must share the
blame. It provided "starter packs" to
every farmer in 1998 and 1999
containing seeds and fertiliser but, after
record harvests, the price of
maize plummeted. Farmers stopped growing the
crop because there was no
In 2000, starter packs were given
only to the neediest 1.5 million farmers,
which went down to 1 million in
2001. That decision proved disastrous. This
year's harvest, hindered by poor
weather, came in at 1.4 million tons,
compared with the 2 million tons needed
to feed the country.
Mike Wood, the head of the UK Department for
International Development in
Malawi, said: "The Government complained that
the decline [in farmers
targeted with starter packs] was too steep. Our view
is that if we hadn't
done what we did there wouldn't be any farmers growing
"Unfortunately for everyone, the decline coincided with poor
The story illustrates the difficulty facing
donors wanting to help without
undermining a country's capacity to help
Last February, the food shortage was the gravest for a decade,
Bakili Muluzi declared a crisis. The price of maize doubled,
hungry and an untold number died.
This year, the lean
months of December, January and February that lie ahead
look certain to be
worse – unless urgent action is taken now. Mike Wood
estimates about half of
the 600,000 tons shortfall is covered by commitments
from donors. The rest,
the Government is hoping, will be brought in by
commercial organisations to
sell on the open market. But the economy is in
meltdown with inflation
running at 20-plus per cent and interest rates as
high as 50 per cent, so
there is little incentive for businessmen to take
case, we may yet witness a famine to rival any seen in Africa in
Leon slams government's welcoming of
July 08 2002 at 11:14AM
By Sipho Khumalo
Combative Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon has
lambasted South Africa for embracing Iraq by hosting its Deputy Prime Minister,
Tariq Aziz, saying his country, Iraq, was the "polecat of the world".
Aziz was received with fanfare at the weekend by the South African
government and he was later wined and dined by deputy president Jacob Zuma at
his Durban residence, King's House.
Leon, who briefed his party's MPPs
and councillors in Durban ahead of the African Union launch, was scathing about
the human rights record of some of the African countries which were set to play
a key role in the AU.
Commenting on last week's visit by Aziz, Leon said President
Thabo Mbeki's government had poor judgement when it came to choosing South
|'It is wrong in principle to be friends with regimes like
"Just this week, Tariq Aziz of Iraq, one of the most
rights-delinquent countries on the face of the earth enjoyed a red-carpet
welcome from President Mbeki," he said.
"I am deeply embarrassed and
ashamed that my country regards Iraq as worthy of such treatment. But I am
stupefied and amazed that the architect of Nepad believes that treating Mr Aziz
as a local hero is going to generate the investment and support of the US and
the West on which Nepad relies for its success," he said, urging South Africa to
stop trying to walk on both sides of the street.
"It is wrong in
principle to be friends with regimes like Saddam Hussein's and it is destructive
to our efforts to win support for Africa's development from the West," he said.
Leon pledged his support for AU and Nepad but expressed serious concerns
about the human rights record of some of the African countries that were about
to take their seats at the launch of the body in Durban.
"Both the AU and Nepad are founded on sound liberal democratic
principles: democratic government, the protection and promotion of human rights,
the rule of law and market economics. These are the only principles on which
successfully to advance individual freedom, economic growth and social
development in Africa.
|'Libyans continued to suffer from rampant
"They are therefore also the only basis on which
to create an investor-friendly environment in our continent," he said.
However he added that these principles needed to be translated into
reality if the two bodies were to be successful and attract investments into the
"There is therefore nothing inevitable about the future of
Africa. There is no script according to which Africa must remain
poverty-stricken, disease-plagued, under-educated and economically marginalised.
But equally, and crucially, there is no guarantee that Africa will undergo the
much-vaunted renaissance we have heard so much about. Put simply, Africa's
future is up for grabs," he said.
He warned, however, that fine sounding
paper commitments were hardly new to Africa, adding that as long ago as 1979,
the Organisation of African Unity had committed itself to basic human rights and
"And yet, throughout its history, the OAU ignored, explained
away or, in some cases, supported the terrible violations of human rights and
anti-democratic practices that have plagued Africa since the end of colonial
rule. On the basis of non-interference in the domestic affairs of sovereign
states, the OAU stood by while no less than 25 heads of state lost their lives
in the course of revolutions and coups d'etat," he said.
the human rights of some countries already in Durban for the launch of AU, among
others, singling out Zimbabwe for attack.
In praising the OAU's stance
on excluding Madagascar from the launch as "instructive", he urged the AU to
show the people of Africa, and the people of the world, that it did not accept
anti-democratic practices, irrespective of the quarter from which they arose.
"For example, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya rules by decree. Libya
has no constitution, political parties are illegal, Libyans continued to suffer
from rampant corruption, mismanagement, and severe restrictions on their
political and civic freedom. And yet this man is feted by South Africa's
president," he said.
Cheers to beer as Zim's maize runs
July 07 2002 at 09:29PM
By Basildon Peta
Beer will be the latest in a string of commodities
to disappear from Zimbabwe's supermarket shelves.
This is because of a
critical shortage of a necessary ingredient - maize.
salt, cooking oil, soap, margarine and bread can no longer be easily obtained.
Beer drinkers in Zimbabwe would be shattered on learning that
the commodity, which allows them to drown their sorrows in the midst of the
worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1980, will no longer be
|6 million Zimbabweans will need food
Pearson Gowero, chief executive officer of Chibuku
Breweries, the main beer brewer in Zimbabwe, said the shortage of beer in the
coming weeks would be a result of the critical shortage of maize in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe needs to import at least 700 000 tons of maize to compensate
for shortages caused by a combination of drought and seizures of white farms by
President Robert Mugabe's supporters.
The Grain Marketing Board, which
controls national grain reserves, has reduced maize supplies to Chibuku
Breweries, in favour of using the little remaining grain reserves for food
Gowero said his firm was trying to import maize directly
from South Africa but this was proving difficult because of the crippling
foreign exchange crisis in Zimbabwe.
The World Food Programme estimates
that 6 million Zimbabweans will need food aid due to the crisis in the country.
Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon was expected to lobby
Commonwealth leaders attending the launch of the African Union in Durban to
persuade Mugabe to end the crisis in his country.
Meanwhile, the main mental hospital in Zimbabwe is giving its patients
cigarettes as sedatives after it ran out of essential drugs, a state newspaper
reported on Sunday. - Sapa-AFP
African leaders launch new continental union
CNN - July 8, 2002 Posted: 6:14 PM EDT (2214 GMT)
DURBAN, South Africa (AP) -- Donning silver robes and silk suits,
African leaders gathered Monday to eulogize the Organization of African Unity as
a crucial instrument in the continent's fight against colonialism.
The organization will be disbanded Tuesday and replaced by the African Union,
which will help promote democracy, human rights and development across Africa,
its supporters say.
As he bid the OAU farewell at its closing session, South African President
Thabo Mbeki took issue with critics who said the group had been merely a
collection of corrupt politicians who passed lofty resolutions but accomplished
The OAU helped bring cohesion to a scarred continent and ensured its
liberation from colonial rule and apartheid, Mbeki said.
"The liquidation of the system of colonialism stands out as one of the
historic achievements of the OAU, which guarantees the organization a permanent
place of honor in the history of the formation of modern Africa," said Mbeki,
who will be the African Union's first chairman.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan praised the OAU for bringing Africans
together, but he cautioned that the road to forging a true African Union would
not be easy.
"(It) will require great stamina and iron political will, combined with
readiness to accept a seemingly endless series of negotiations and compromises,"
Annan told delegates in the coastal city of Durban.
Mbeki has worked to rally his fellow leaders behind the union and the New
Partnership for Africa's Development, which seeks international investment in
Africa in return for good governance, fiscal responsibility and respect for
Annan, who comes from the West African nation of Ghana, said that to get
wealthy donors on board, Africa would have to prove itself.
"They will respect us even more when they see us actually resolve the
conflicts that disfigure our continent. And I do mean resolve them. Managing
them is not enough," he said. "So let us apply ourselves, as Africans, to
persuading the rest of the world to join us ... and start implementing the
measures we all know are needed, if development is to be made truly
Not all African leaders seek the brand of democracy and good governance being
pushed in the African Union agenda.
Mbeki, the public face of the new push, has had to compete for influence
against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who has hoped to use the new union as a
lever to assume a strong leadership role on the world's poorest continent.
In an effort to placate the Libyan leader, Gadhafi was to be made a member of
the steering committee for NEPAD, a program he has only recently endorsed, media
reports said Monday.
Dressed in lavender robes and a matching cap, Gadhafi said he welcomed
foreign investment in the continent, but warned that it should come on Africa's
"Those who want to assist us, we welcome. Those who want to impose conditions
on us, we don't want them," he said. "We need economic development and health
care more than philosophical thoughts and interpretations of democracy."
Gadhafi said Africa has its own approach to development that is different
from wealthier nations.
The OAU was derided within Africa and abroad as little more than a
bureaucratic talk shop for African leaders that did nothing to stop the
oppression of Africans at the hands of their own leaders.
The African Union is envisaged as a far stronger federation that will include
a parliament, a security council and a standby peacekeeping force.
However, many critics remain doubtful that African leaders will be willing to
give up even a small piece of their power to the new body.
Mbeki urged delegates to move beyond the past.
"We have to overcome the debilitating effect of inertia, which makes us act
in the old ways," he said. "The situation demands that we make a new beginning."
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
“At the boiling point of the pain”.
Report of a pilot study examining
the efficacy of psychotherapy for torture survivors.
31 May 2002
Suite 31 Raleigh Street
P O Box 5465
Tel: (263-04) 792 222, 737 509
Fax: (263-04) 731 660
email: amani@ echo.icon.co.zw
Professor Geoffrey Feltoe [Joint Chairperson]Dr Frances LovemoreDr Faith
NdebeleDr Mary BassettDr William JohnsonFr Edward Rogers SJ Sr Janice
McLaughlinMr David KitsonMrs Beatrice Mtetwa
This report was produced by the Mopane Group for the AMANI Trust. The
Mopane Group was established in 2001 and consists of mental health professionals
(clinical psychologists and social workers) who provide consultations, clinical
services and related research in the area of traumatic stress.
This work was supported by the British High Commission, the Royal Norwegian
Embassy, the Swedish Embassy, and USAID.
Background to the Study
For the purpose of this report we will not be reviewing the rapidly
deteriorating political situation in Zimbabwe. However, it does form the
back-drop for the following report. In the last two years Zimbabwe has seen as
escalating number of victims of organised violence and torture (OVT) . Since
the Constitutional Referendum in February 2000 many violent acts on human life
have been committed in the run up to the Presidential elections of March 2002.
Thousands of people have been displaced from their homes, hundreds have been
physically and emotionally tortured and more than two hundred have died as a
result. This is the context to the specific situation we now face. The effects
of organised violence on the victims in the current crisis situation
(pre-election period) are not the only concern for Amani and the Mopane Group.
There is also a shared concern for the long-term effects of widespread social
violence in a country that has experienced three serious outbreaks of similar
violence in the past three decades. Therefore our investigations are motivated
1. concern for crisis management of current victims;
2. developing and
implementing effective services for longer term care;
3. participating with
other organisations in identifying factors which contribute to repetitive
outbreaks of violence of an extreme and repetitive nature.
It was against this general background that Mopane undertook a pilot
project for the Amani Trust. As a pilot, the aim of the study was not
restricted to a specific research question. The study was designed as open
ended and qualitative. However, within this general proviso, a number of
research questions might be delineated. These included:
· the appropriateness of a formal counselling service/model for the Amani
· the ways in which the counselling was affected by the
surrounding climate of ongoing violence and political uncertainty,
that each client was only to be offered a one-off session, what were the
resources inherent in their narratives that might be mobilised to enhance a
· and in what ways were these healing processes enhanced by
the experience through counselling of active witnessing and validation.
Brief summary of the literature
This study has been influenced by our
reading of similar literatures in relation to the psychological and social
effects of the trauma resulting from organised violence and torture. While we
will not be reviewing that literature in depth in this report, it does seem
important to note that there is a large body of literature relating both to
similar experiences elsewhere in the world and also within the specifically
Zimbabwean context. The consensus from cumulative international work would seem
to suggest that the psychosocial trauma caused by OVT is characterised by
symptoms characteristic of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which might
include clusters of the following: depression, anxiety, sleep disorders,
fatigue, intrusive thoughts and emotions, nightmares, irritability, withdrawal
and startle reactions (Kinsie et al 1984), and may well have multigenerational
effects within the families of victims, as well as within the societies in which
these upheavals are experienced (Danieli 1986). This latter is an important
point since it would add weight to the view that appropriate interventions now
might well reduce the risk of severe multigenerational transmission. Danieli’s
work should also alert us to another truism of the OVT literature; namely that
survivors often censor themselves in retelling their experiences in order to
avoid traumatising their listeners. However, Summerfield (2000), among others,
warns against applying models of pathology to populations displaying normal
distress reactions in the face of severe and violent social events. He stresses
that healing lies primarily in the development of political cultures of human
rights and social justice, and appeals for research into resilience
Zimbabwe has been the site for some important research on the epidemiology
of common mental disorders(defined as non psychotic disorders involving elements
of anxiety and depression) in community populations which has suggested that
between 30 –40% of clinic attenders are suffering from some form of common
mental disorder (Patel, Todd & Winston 1997/1998). Subsequent studies
indicate that in around 10% of the population chronic common mental disorders
may be attributable to experiences of organised violence and torture (Reeler,
Mbape, Matshona, Mhetura & Hlatywayo 2001). It is important to note that
these studies predate the outbreak of the current wave of organised violence
prior to the Constitutional Referendum in 2000; Reeler et al were talking to
their informants about the chronic physical and psychological suffering
consequent upon their experiences of OVT in the Liberation War of the 1970s.
Given the widespread nature of the violence since 2000 we must anticipate high
levels of fresh trauma and retraumatisation in these communities. Elsewhere
in Zimbabwe, in work with Matabeleland communities traumatised by the 1980s
Gukurahundi experience (Eppel 1998), reports of work with traumatised
communities suggest that they may have other cultural resources which could be
mobilised to enable healing and reparation, in particular in relation to rituals
of reburial and cleansing. The Matabeleland work also importantly highlights
the importance of attention to damage to the social fabric of communities and
also notes that post Independence state violence may be experienced as more
traumatic (perhaps because the perpetrators were previously seen as liberators)
than that which occurred during the Liberation struggle (when suffering was
anticipated but much comfort was gained from the importance of the cause).
We have been influenced by this work and by accounts of therapeutic work
arising out of narrative theory that seemed appropriate in a context when the
importance of witnessing is paramount. For example, we have been profoundly
affected by Weingarten’s (2000/2002) work on witnessing and the possibility
that compassionate witnessing positions may help to ameliorate the effects of
trauma, and challenging the consequences of deliberate silencing on our lives
and communities. In this regard we find ourselves in agreement with earlier
“…it is clear that storytelling is power. It has been salutary
indeed to see the effects of the stories being witnessed. The value of ‘story
telling’ and ‘witnessing’ cannot be emphasised enough in the therapeutic
process.” Reeler 1998: 11.
Two counsellors/research assistants were employed for this project. Both
had previous training and experience in counselling although neither had worked
with victims of organised political violence prior to this study. Counsellors
were instructed that only one session was possible with each client and the
emphasis in that session should be on facilitating free flow of the client’s
During the 13 week pilot stage, 84 sessions were offered by the Mopane
Group to Amani for clients to be referred for a one-off session. The
methodology employed for the study was based on taping and transcribing clients
sessions. Due to circumstances within the context outlined above, Amani was
only able to utilise 31 of the total sessions offered. Of the 31 sessions
only 23 were finally transcribed due to equipment failure. In addition a small
amount of quantitative data was obtained from Amani for those clients whom they
had referred. This quantitative data includes basic demographics and total
scores on the Self-Report Questionnaire-8 (SRQ8) which provides a basic measure
of trauma related symptomatology at the time at which the client was originally
assessed by the Amani staff. This information was obtained towards the end of
the pilot project and it may be important to note that the counsellors did not
have access to this information at the time of their session with each
The purpose of the pilot study was explained to all the clients and their
consent was obtaine`d to tape the sessions. None declined. It was explained
that the sessions would be entirely confidential and that the transcripts would
be anonymous and would not include any names of people or places. Some clients
requested a copy of the taped sessions whilst some other clients needed further
reassurance regarding confidentiality.
The majority of the clients chose to conduct the session in Shona and this
required careful translation into English. Thus, a system of proof reading by
counsellors to ensure an accurate translation of the interview was
Transcripts were then analysed using two modes of analysis. Firstly a
series of themes was drawn out from the total group of transcripts by means of
interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA). Secondly, a smaller group of
transcripts was analysed as narratives using narrative analysis. We believe
that this combination allowed both attention to common themes as well as closer
inspection of individual modes of expression and experience.
Seventy-four percent of the clients were men with the majority (82%) being
under the age of 40 years. Only three women were referred. The mean age for
the group was 32.7 years. Most were married with children (70%). Almost all the
clients needed medical attention as a result of physical injury due to OVT and
this was provided as a priority by Amani before being referred to the
counselling session. Sixty percent of the group had been seen by Amani within
four weeks of being referred for a counselling session. The remaininder had
been seen by Amani several months previously. This may be due to the client
experiencing multiple traumas and visiting Amani more than once. A majority of
the clients was displaced and had lost their homes, so were being temporarily
housed and in the care of Amani. Thus, most clients had no shelter,
possessions, food or security when they initially approached Amani. Forty-eight
percent of the group had been educated up to secondary level and 35% had only a
primary level of education. Only one client had a tertiary education.
Of the total group more than half (56%) had a total score on the SRQ-8 of
four or more . 17% of this group scored higher than seven. Two clients had
suicidal tendencies and were referred back to Amani who then referred them to a
psychiatrist for medication.
Seventy-eight percent of the group had been physically tortured and 65% had
experienced emotional torture. The physical torture largely involved being
beaten (kicked, punched, hit with a weapon, attempted suffocation, and rolling
naked on hot sand) and the emotional torture mostly involved being threatened
and/or humiliated. The threats included death threats and further beatings.
Also, threats were made regarding physical torture for the client’s spouse (in
most cases wives) including rape and sexual assault. In some cases it was
announced publicly within the community that it was permissible for anyone to
have sexual relations with the victim’s wife.
Emotional torture accompanied the physical torture in most cases.
Forty-seven percent of the group had experienced extreme humiliation that
included being stripped naked in front of a large group, women in the group
laughing at the person’s nakedness, and the person being made to act like an
animal (barking like a dog and/or leaping like a frog were the most common).
The following is an excerpt from one client’s story. His story was very similar
to most of the client’s experiences.
“… youths came to my home to destroy my property and took away property
that was meant for a bridge. After a while they came and abducted me and took
me to their base. I was severely beaten. I got many lashes. They used a
bicycle chain. After that I was released. They came again after three weeks,
they tortured me. (Again later)….they abducted me. They said they had failed
to make us do what they wanted. They took us to the war vets at Base Twleve.
There we were undressed. They tied our hands and legs and we were severely
beaten. They threw me into a hole and was ordered to bark like a dog. When
they took me out they applied an itchy plant all over my body. Our area is
extremely hot so we were made to roll in very hot sand. We had to do army
drills until our bodies had blisters all over because of the hot sand and the
itchy plant. They beat us again and poured water on us because we were
critical. They left us there and we struggled to walk home.”
More than half the group (52%) said that their homes had been destroyed
(usually by burning), although, this figure could be higher as it was difficult
to obtain this data. The majority of the clients seen had been displaced either
through the loss of their homes or because of the threat of death if they
Many of the clients complained of symptoms which could be related to
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These included intrusive thoughts,
flashbacks, restlessness, anxiety, nauseousness, stomach aches, headaches, chest
aches, difficulty sleeping, being fearful and agitated. Some clients were so
desperate and hopeless that they thought of suicide.
One client stated “… I am worried sick because I do not know my child’s
condition. That is why I look sad and withdrawn. Sometimes I feel like killing
myself because I can’t look after my family”.
All clients were extremely worried about what would happen to them and
their families and how would they be able to look after their families in the
current context. These symptoms are certainly consistent with a diagnosis of
post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) although we are aware that this is a
controversial diagnosis in the literature.
Most striking for us as researchers was that the trauma emerged from the
transcripts as deeply social in nature. We believe this element requires
highlighting since it represents a divergence from the literature and begs
further study. In the context of the narratives, clients began with often
detailed descriptions of the violence they had been subjected to but very
quickly moved to descriptions of the social impact. There are detailed
descriptions of the effects on family and neighbours when the victim first
arrived home, as well as longer term musings on the effect of the victimisation
and displacement on the client’s ability to continue providing for their
families. However there was also considerable concern about the perpetrators,
many of whom were known to the victims; thus there is a recurring refrain about
the effect of these events on future social relations within the community. One
man wonders what he will call his neighbours’ children (who were also his
tormentors) when they next meet. These social elements highlight ways in which
whole communities have been torn apart by the insidious nature of this violence
and its consequences for future social relations in communities where there has
been strong levels of social cohesion until now.
Very clear themes were evident in all of the clients stories. Abduction,
physical and emotional torture, destruction of homes and possessions causing
displacement were recurring themes. Most clients were in physical pain due to
the injuries as one client states:
“ At times I have problems with chest pains. At times I feel like I have
asthma. At times I cannot bend. This happened from the time when I was
In some cases, clients had lost loved ones due to the OVT and were in a
state of grief as with this following client:
“There are so many painful experiences but killing my son, ah! That is very
painful. There are times when I am sitting just resting and I expect my son to
walk in the door….. it is painful. …. It is still so painful. I’ll never
forget this pain, never.”
Others had been separated from their loved ones and still did not know
where they were and if they were safe.
One client says, “Of all the things that happened to me, one thing that
pains me most is the family I left behind. This worries me a lot. I left my
wife and child. …. Right now I do not know how things are at home. Maybe they
were beaten up, or maybe they were killed, I don’t know…. I left everything
The strong themes of emotions were loss, grief, isolation, anxiety, fear,
anger, and suspicion. The theme of anxiety and fear was most often linked to
how the clients were going to be able to look after family members and be able
to ‘get their lives back to normal again’.
One clients states, “I am deeply pained by the destruction of (my
parent’s) home. Now both parents are old, and to imagine them starting afresh
to build up when things are so expensive, for them to reach where they have been
now, this pains me a lot”. Another client said “I’d say there are two things.
Firstly, they introduced a fear in my life. I’m afraid all the time, afraid
that they will come back for me at any time. Secondly is the uncertainty of how
I will survive and fend for my children.”
Many clients were in physical pain, hungry and exhausted and this has to be
taken into account when considering the provision of longer term clinical
services. The clinical services cannot be run in isolation and would need to
link up with other organisations who would address the physical needs of the
The social impact of OVT is enormous within the Zimbabwean culture.
Clients expressed feelings of both desperation and confusion as to how young
people could beat up older people and in some cases people from their own
village. One client did not know if he could return to his home as it had been
his neighbour’s children who had been involved in his physical torture.
Another client says, “When I am alone and sleep I think a lot about this
fateful event, especially the fact that many women saw me naked. This pains me
a lot and if I think about it I don’t feel alright. I reach a point whereby I
think that before going through such an ordeal I should have killed myself”.
The individual’s experience of torture is even greater when seen within the
When asked what was helping the clients cope many responded that prayer and
a belief in God kept them going. Also, being with others who believed in the
same political cause was very supportive. Many expressed a desire for revenge
and believed that with revenge their own healing could take place.
One client said, “ In my mind I feel hurt. If I were to be given a gun and
go back to my rural home, I would have killed someone there. I would have shot
someone. I suffered a lot. It was terrible. I experienced horror.”
Another client also expressed how he felt revenge would help: “I feel
anger, pain, bitter and so forth has been reduced by two percent because I still
want revenge. If I could go back to revenge that will settle everything.”
This is a concern as it contributes to the repetition of the
A significant belief system was evident in the transcripts. A majority of
the men in the client group felt that men should be strong and should provide
for and protect their families. This created extreme concern and guilt about
being responsible for the desperate situation. They felt burdened and worried
about their family’s future.
One client comments: “What pains me the most is that my family have nothing
to survive on. Of course all these other things are painful. The most painful
that is that even if I am to go back to my place, I have nowhere to start
Many held onto a belief in God and prayer and this helped them to cope.
Others believed that talking with others believing in the same cause helped a
great deal. The three women believed their responsibility was to worry about
the care of the children and to ‘run the household’ - cook the food, ensure
cleanliness and to comfort the family.
The pattern of
violence was most often that large numbers of youth who would attack the victim
at night when he was either alone or with his family. Often the victim was
abducted and physically and emotionally tortured. In many cases the victim’s
home was destroyed usually by burning and the client was forced to flee from
his/her home and village.
We have taken an excerpt from one transcript that describes a client’s
experience of the OVT. We found that this description was a strong theme
throughout the transcripts.
An excerpt from one narrative:
When I came to Harare I was deeply in severe pain.
If it was boiling water, it was at the boiling point of the pain.
I still feel this severe pain even though I haven’t been harassed or
I think of those at home. I think of my mother and the
pain she is going through.
I think of the pain felt by those at home.
I think of the destruction of my home.
I think of the separation with my relatives, those whom I am not in touch
with, the fear of going back to my rural home, my home where for the rest of my
life I have been free to go to. I have no means and the freedom of doing all
The pain constantly calls again. I always find myself pondering over the
pain. I only relax for a short time.
The pain keeps on coming.
No action was taken against these
people. I know that it is legal that if someone does you wrong, you go and
report to the police and the person is arrested if he deserves prosecution, but
you find out that people keep on committing such acts, one doesn’t know that he
is doing wrong and does not repent, this is what pains me most.
If the country is in this state, what difference is there between a dog and
a human being.
If I don’t enjoy the freedom to go to my home place, the place
where I was born, this pains me.
Since birth, I have never experienced such pain.
Also I have a lot of problems which need my attention in the same year at
the same time.
I never expect the future solutions to my problems to come to
an end. I wish an end of era to such problems, except that I was lucky to get
an organization which is helping me.
For someone of my age, when I just sit and eat, I’m like vegetables in the
garden which are just watered without making any production. I look forward to
plan my life, to a bright future. I look forward that what I had accumulated
will help me in my life. If this is destroyed by someone who made no
contribution towards it, and has no right to do so, it’s painful.
What happens when you are in pain and you long for a long life, it’s a
problem because deep thoughts can bring in illness.
It is a striking and repetitive aspect, particularly of the men’s stories,
that impoverishment, loss of economic self-reliance and attendant social status
are all negatively impacted by the experience of victimisation and
displacement. We are aware that long term healing also requires a broader
programme of economic assistance that is beyond the scope of our work.
Certain voices and experiences are significant by their absence from these
narratives. For example, women are grossly under-represented here although the
men who speak also point out that their wives, mothers, daughters and other
female kin have also been direct victims. In the three transcripts that
represent women’s experience directly it is striking that their healing must
co-exist with their ongoing attention to the needs of their male relatives. We
have many questions about how the gendered role of caregiver can proceed with
the demands of personal healing. Even more absent are the voices of children:
although all these accounts show some evidence of the plight of children either
as direct victims or as witnesses. There is clearly a very pressing need to
find out how these children are coping and what help they may need to make sense
of their very violent worlds. We are also struck by the muted way in which
sexual victimisation, in particular, is given voice. We are aware that women,
girls and in some cases men may well have been raped and sexually assaulted and
humiliated as an aspect of their overall abuse through OVT. With the men we are
aware that, since both our counsellors were female, that there were major
cultural and gender obstacles in the path of fully giving voice to these
The transcripts make clear that many of the direct perpetrators of violence
were themselves young, impoverished community members whose incorporation into
the ranks of the militias is highly likely to have included themselves
experiencing or being threatened with torture and abuse. There is clearly a
need to fully investigate this group in order to establish the most appropriate
mode of therapeutic intervention.
Recurrent in these very painful stories is the theme of revenge and the
dominant idea that only revenge will give peace to these victims. We are
motivated to find alternative, non-violent modes of release and restitution that
might bring peace to both victims and perpetrators and the deeply wounded
communities from which they both come.
What was also striking is how strongly the clients were negatively affected
by the break up of family and community ties. How these people are
re-integrated back into their communities will be an important issue to address
in the future.
Conclusion & Recommendations
It should be re-iterated that this was a pilot study based only on the 13
weeks prior to the Presidential elections. This data represents a very small
sample from the larger group and the total figures of people in need are
overwhelming. Further investigation to obtain true prevalence rates will be
essential in order to establish the extent of the need. However, we believe
that the study provides support for the establishment of a formal counselling
service for both primary and secondary victims of OVT. It will be important
that such a service provides a clinical service that is sensitive to cultural
variations. For example, the pilot provided a one-off session for the
individual. We anticipate that a more appropriate service would be able to be
flexible with regard to the number of sessions as well as the configurations of
clients that might attend such sessions.
Based on both the information collected from the stories told by the
clients and the very significant silence on certain information (e.g. rape and
sexual assault) there is an enormous need for further support for the people who
have experienced trauma and the communities in which they are apart. An
established counselling service will need balanced gender representation amongst
its staff in order to begin to address these issues.
The psychosocial damage that is evident due to the current and longer-term
political violence makes it essential to address the clients at an individual
level. However, although the individual service is effective for those who
would benefit from individual sessions, it would also be important to address
the victims of the political violence on a group and/or community level. At a
group level, gender issues should be considered, i.e. perhaps groups of women
within their communities could be given support separate from the men.
Focussing on the families within the communities would also be important.
Another extension of the core principle of cultural appropriateness would be
attention to the social nature of the trauma. Thus we anticipate the need for
an established and well funded community outreach programme that would provide a
community based clinical service in the context of ongoing research into the
social nature of the trauma and its effects on family/community/neighbourhood.
One important aspect of this community programme would be liaison with community
traditional leaders, both civic and spiritual, in order to help identify those
resources within community domains that might be mobilised in the aid of
healing. We also anticipate very close working relationships with those
organisations whose aims are more focused on sustainable livelihoods and
Danieli Y. 1998. Conclusions and future directions. In Danieli Y (Ed):
International Handbook of Multigenerational Legacies of Trauma. Plenum Press,
Eppel S. 2001. Healing the dead to transform the living:
exhumation and reburial in Zimbabwe. Unpublished manuscript, Amani Trust,
Kinzie J et al. 1984. Post traumatic stress disorder among
survivors of Cambodian concentration camps. American Journal of Psychiatry 141:
Patel V et al. 1997. Common mental disorders in primary care in
Harare: associations and risk factors. British Journal of Psychiatry 171:
Patel V et al. 1998. Outcome of common mental disorders in Harare.
British Journal of Psychiatry 172: 53-57.
Reeler A, Mbape P et al. 2001.
The prevalence of disorders due to organised violence and torture in Mashonaland
Central Province, Zimbabwe. Torture, 11, 4-9.
Reeler AP. 1998. Epidemic
violence and the community: a Zimbabwean case study. Journal of Social
Development in Africa 13: 41-51.
Summerfield D. 2000. War and mental
health: a brief overview. British Medical Journal 321: 232-5.
2000. Witnessing, wonder and hope. Family Process 39: 389-402.
K. 2001. The Witnessing Project. Unpublished manuscript, Family Institute of
Preliminary Report of a Survey on Internally Displaced Persons from
Commercial Farms in Zimbabwe.
A report prepared by the
Mashonaland Programme of the AMANI
31 MAY 2002
Suite 31 Raleigh Street
P O Box 5465
Tel: (263-04) 792 222, 737 509
Fax: (263-04) 731 660
email: amani@ echo.icon.co.zw
Professor Geoffrey Feltoe [Joint Chairperson]Dr Frances LovemoreDr Faith
NdebeleDr Mary BassettDr William JohnsonFr Edward Rogers SJ Sr Janice
McLaughlinMrs Beatrice MtetwaMr David Kitson
This work was supported by the British High Commission, the Royal
Norwegian Embassy, the Swedish Embassy, and USAID.
Zimbabwe is experiencing a massive humanitarian crisis. The past two years
have seen a record of deteriorating human rights, and the consequent social
turmoil has led to an increasing number of internally displaced people in the
country. Violence against the major opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), has been well documented both locally and
internationally . In the pre-election period, there was widespread intimidation,
assault, and politically motivated killings, carried out mainly by “war veteran”
militia, youth militia, and supporters of the ruling party, Zanu(PF) . While
some of the “war veterans” are indeed genuine members of the liberation struggle
of the 1970’s in Zimbabwe, there are also a larger group of unemployed youths
who have become involved in the organised violence and torture (OVT). Although
much of the OVT has centred around issues related to the many elections held
over the past two years, there have been equally as much OVT during the land
disturbances. A large number of allegations have been made about OVT targeted at
both the farm owners and the farm workers . As indicated above, there are a
plethora of reports on the OVT, but little of this deals with the direct
evidence from the commercial farms. In particular, there are few scientific
reports on the experiences of OVT and the effects upon commercial farm
The months following the Presidential Elections of 9 – 11 March 2001 have
been marked by widespread recriminations against the opposition party members,
and intensified action against the farm owners and farm workers. The continuing
violence has meant that farm workers and MDC supporters have been forced to flee
their homes to escape harassment, assault, and, in the worst cases, death. Farm
workers often have no other home except on the farm, having either being born
there, or being of foreign descent, mainly Malawian or Zambian. The farms, as
well as providing accommodation and employment for these people, also allowed
the farm workers access to medical care and schooling for their children.
On the farms listed for acquisition and settled by the “war veterans”, the
farm workers have been subjected to continual intimidation, theft of personal
belongings, vandalism, and destruction of their homes. Before the elections,
they were forced to attend all night rallies for ‘voter education’ by Zanu(PF)
supporters, and after the elections they were punished with violence for
continuing to live and work on the farms, which was seen as supporting the MDC
and the white farmers. The farm workers either then leave rather than live side
by side with their new neighbours, or are forced to leave by violence, in some
instances with only the clothes on their backs. The police and the army, far
from trying to protect the rights of the farm workers are often part of the
problem, standing to the side when violence erupts on the farm, and continuing
to harass the displaced farm workers, once they have left for the urban centres
and refuge. There are even instances of senior police officers and army generals
acquiring farms themselves and depriving the farm workers of their homes and
As mentioned above, there has been a relative dearth of hard information on
the effects of the farm invasions on commercial farm workers. The AMANI Trust
has seen relatively few commercial farm workers amongst the victims of organised
violence and torture seen in the past two years, but the numbers have been
increasing over the past six months. As the pace of land acquisitions has
accelerated, so have the numbers of farm workers displaced, but it is clear that
there is no hard information on the actual numbers.
The Amani Trust carried out a survey in early May 2002 of a group of one
hundred and thirty nine commercial farm workers displaced from Marondera
(Mashonaland East region). These workers had been forcibly removed from their
homes on the farms and prevented from working by ‘war veterans’ and Zanu(PF)
supporters. In the process, they had faced harassment and physical violence, as
well as losing all their belongings. They were all given temporary refuge by the
Amani Trust, and are now being assisted by other non-governmental organisations
This preliminary report was predicated by the need to provide some hard
information on the issues faced by displaced commercial farm workers. It was not
the intention that this survey provide any estimate of the numbers, but rather
to provide some qualitative data on the population in question. A detailed
interview form was used, covering a variety of areas, and this took about one
hour to complete. Experienced nurses were used as the interviewers, and they
were all given basic orientation and training prior to being deployed.
A more detailed report will be available in due course, but this
preliminary report is being released in view of the urgency to provide hard
information for current planning on internally-displaced persons (IDPs).
2. HISTORY OF THE DISPLACEMENTS
The displaced persons came from 5 commercial farms, but the majority came
from two farms, as follows:
· Chipesa Farm 87
· Chakadenga Farm 38
· Hind Farm 1
· Melara Farm 9
2.1 Chipesa Farm, Marondera
There have been war veterans living on this
farm since 2000. In that time, as well as the farm owners being harassed and
assaulted, the farm workers have had their houses burnt and rebuilt several
times, and have had to live and work in conditions of fear and assault. On the
15th of March, war veterans and ZANU(PF) supporters, some driving Zanu(PF)
District Development Fund vehicles, went to the compound and fields, where the
paprika crop was being harvested and rounded up the workers. A tractor driver
was assaulted along with other farm workers who were beaten for resisting. They
were accused of supporting the MDC and were told that the owner of the arm was
going to be killed. The farm workers led to nearby hills where they hid for
several days before seeking food and shelter at a nearby farm. They were then
ferried into Harare where they were given food and shelter.
2.2 Chakadenga Farm, Marondera
On the 10th of April resident war
veterans and Zanu(PF) youths were went to the farm compound, and fields and told
the workers that they were now the owners of the farm. They accused the workers
of supporting the MDC and told them that they had 20 minutes to pack their
belongings and vacate the farm. In the ensuing pandemonium, several workers were
assaulted. Not all of them had time to take possessions so many had to leave
with the clothes they were wearing. They were taken by tractor to bus stops and
told to wait for buses there. It was raining, and they slept in the open for
several days before local farmers made arrangements for their food and shelter,
eventually taking them to Harare to the Amani Trust offices.
Members of the Amani Trust clinical team interviewed 139
internally displaced people. These refugees were being housed in two tented
camps at Cleveland Dam and Coronation Park. Questions in the survey covered
demographics, a medical assessment of their past and current condition, the farm
workers experience of violence, a narrative of their story in their own words
and finally a list of their material losses and resources available to them.
The interview form drew strongly on a protocol originally developed by the
AMANI Trust in its work with survivors of organised violence and torture from
the Liberation War of the 1970s . It was slightly adapted for the present
survey, but generally covers the issues regarding torture that are recommended
in the Istanbul Protocol recently adopted by the Office of the High Commission
for Human Rights of the United Nations.
Results of the questionnaire are displayed with both the
actual figures and as a rounded up percentage of the total number of
As can be seen from the table below, there were more men than women in the
sample, but this survey did manage to include a reasonable percentage of women.
This is important because political violence against women is widely reported
anecdotally, and there is generally little concrete information on women from
the current violence.
Sex Number Percentage
Male 80 58%
Female 59 42%
The data regarding marital status are unremarkable in most ways, with most
being married as might have been expected in a group from a “settled”
population. Most commercial farm workers have been resident on farms for many
years, and even grow up in families that were resident on commercial farms.
Status Number Percentage
Married 87 63%
Single 34 24%
Divorced 15 11%
Widowed 3 2%
Out of the people who had or were still married, 90 cases were traditional
marriages, 1 was polygamous, and 2 were church/civil marriages.
Type of employment Number Type of employment Number
labourers 91 (65%) Gardener/tailor 1
Farm guards 4 Grader 1
herders 5 Horticultural worker 1
Foremen 6 Flower
Supervisors 2 Irrigation foreman 1
drivers 2 Irrigator 1
Carpenter 1 Gardener 1
Clerks 2 Mechanic 1
Sprayer 2 Orchard
As can be seen from the table above, the sample reported a wide variety of
occupations within the commercial farms, but labourers were in the vast
4.2 Experience of violence
A very high percentage (71%) reported an experience of torture or
repressive violence, whilst 90 cases, or 65%, had had some experience of torture
or repressive violence prior to the present episode. As was seen from the
history reported above, the most recent episode was associated with their
displacement. The sample also reported that many adults in their family had
witnessed their torture. Here, 82 cases, or 59%, had had other adults witness
their torture, and this was usually a spouse. Other family members were also
reported as having experienced violence: 76 cases, or 55%, had a similar
experience to the interviewee.
More disturbingly, children were not exempt. The interviewees reported that
children in their families had witnessing the violence in 77 cases, or 55%. The
sample reported having a total of 865 children between them, with 527 children
still resident on the farms.
4.2.1 Physical Assaults
As can be seen from the table below, physical assaults were common, with
beatings of one kind or other the most common. This table does not give the
frequencies with which the sample experienced assaults, and this will be given
in the fuller report. The frequencies are important however as these persons
reported more than one encounter with organised violence and torture.
Type of assault Number Percentage
Slapping or kicking or
punching 46 33%
Blows with rifle butts, sticks, whips or
irons 58 42%
Exposure to extreme cold or heat 39 28%
suspension 10 7%
Prolonged standing or crouching 28 20%
immersion, asphyxiation, strangling 6 4%
Burning 5 4%
shocks 1 1%
Rape 4 3%
The forms of deprivation seen in the table below relate partly to the
effects of the displacement itself, when people were forcibly moved off the
farms from which they came. However, some of the forms of deprivation were
experienced at the same time as people were assaulted or at during the forced
attendance at “pungwes” (see Section 6 below).
Type of deprivation Number Percentage
Deprived of food, comfort or
communication 72 52%
Incommunication, minimal food and comfort,
overcrowding 53 38%
Lack of water (more than 48
hours) 36 26%
Immobilization, restraint, total darkness (more than 48
hours) 34 24%
Lack of sleep (less than 4 hours per night) or 5 days or
longer 52 37%
Lack of needed medication or medical care or more than 48
hours 27 19%
4.2.3 Sensory over-stimulation
Sensory overstimulation seems to be more frequently reported than in
previous studies. It is clear that the high report relates to organised
violence at “pungwes” or other forced meetings, or is seen as the concomitant of
the displacement process which was clearly traumatic as seen from the history
above (also see Section 6 below).
Type of sensory over-stimulation Number Percentage
noises 61 44%
Screams and voices 76 55%
Powerful lights 5 4%
lighting 3 2%
Special devices 4 3%
Drugs 0 0%
4.2.4 Psychological torture and ill-treatment
Psychological torture is frequently underestimated, both in the frequency
of its occurrence and in its effects. Here it needs to strongly stressed that
the most serious long-term consequence of OVT is psychological disorder. Many
studies, including those from Zimbabwe, have established very high rates of
psychological disorder following torture. Most commonly reported are high rates
of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but other forms of disorder, such as
depression, are also commonly seen. In terms of the frequency of psychological
torture, it is important to recognise that this can be both a form of torture on
its own, which is highly damaging, but also a nearly always present during
physical torture. It is also important to note that the witnessing of torture,
especially when the victim is forced to be present when a loved one or familiar
is tortured, is equally damaging. Here the findings under the introduction to
Section 4 should be noted.
Type of psychological torture and ill-treatment Number Percentage
abuse 118 85%
Threats against person 114 82%
accusations 115 83%
Abuse with excrement 38 27%
Sexual abuse (without
violence) 20 14%
Menaces against own life and family 70 50%
execution 24 17%
As is seen from the table above, very high rates of psychological torture
are reported by the sample, with high percentages for nearly all categories of
4.3 Witnessing violence, ill-treatment or torture
As mentioned in Section (4.2.4), witnessing of OVT should note be
underestimated, either for its occurrence or its effects.
where the person has witnessed assaults: 109 (78%)
As can be seen from the table below, the pattern of witnessing assaults
bears a strong correspondence to the pattern reported for assaults themselves.
The witnessing of Beatings are most commonly reported, but, interestingly, the
witnessing of rape is 5 times more common than the experience. Rape is generally
under-reported, and follow-up on the cases reported above will allow us to
understand whether this high percentage of witnessing of rape represents an
under-reporting of rape or is due to the rapes occurring publicly. Public rape
has been reported in other Zimbabwean cases as a form of torture.
Type of assault witnessed Number Percentage
Slapping, kicking or
punching 68 49%
Blows with rifle butt, sticks, whips or
irons 90 65%
Hanging or suspension 15 11%
Prolonged standing or
crouching 32 23%
Submarine, immersion, asphyxiation,
strangling 14 10%
Burning 9 6%
Electrical shocks 1 1%
abuse 19 14%
4.3.2 Cases where the person has witnessed executions: 46 (33%)
Two deaths were reported by this sample, and, as can be seen from the table
below, a significant percentage reported witnessing the beating to death of a
farm worker by a soldier, whilst a smaller percentage reported seeing the
shooting of a policeman. This latter incident was widely reported in 2000. It is
unclear whether the other categories relate to these incidents, or other
executions Number Percentage
Beating 36 26%
Shooting 13 9%
Stabbing/cutting 3 2%
strangling 8 6%
Burning 4 3%
5. SOCIAL INTEGRATION AND RESPONSIBILITY
This section deals with the affiliations of the sample. Clearly any
political affiliation has been highly problematic in the past two years, and
there have numerous public accusations that commercial farmers and commercial
farm workers. Thus, it was important to examine to what extent this accusation
is accurate, although it is clear that political affiliation to any political
party in a constitutional right and certainly no justification for persecution
There were 66 cases, or 47%, where the person was a
supporter, or member of an organisation that became persecuted. 57 cases, or
41%, described themselves as active supporters or members of a political
organisation. A further 9 cases, or 6%, described themselves as members of a
Of the 57 people who supported a political organisation, 41 (72%) did not
state their political affiliation, 11 (19%) were Zanu(PF) and 5 (9%) were MDC.
Clearly the sample were fearful of describing their political affiliation.
6. VIOLENCE ANALYSIS:
This section is based upon the narrative histories or organised violence
and torture given by the interviewees during the general interview.
The farm workers in the pre-election period were forced to attend all night
rallies held by the ‘war veterans’ and Zanu(PF) supporters. At these rallies,
the people were forced to stand for long periods of time, in cold temperatures
and rain, and were forced to chant Zanu(PF) slogans and dance. Those who did not
comply were beaten or forced to behave in a degrading and humiliating manner, an
example of this being men forced into sexual acts with each other or forced to
imitate sexual acts with the ground, whilst their wives were forced to watch.
The farm workers were prevented from sleeping, deprived of food and water for
long periods of time, and faced a barrage of accusations concerning their
supposed support for the MDC.
Specific forms of assault mentioned by the farm workers included being
pricked with forks, having crushing pressure applied to their genitals, and
being forced to stand upside down whilst being beaten. They were also beaten
with sjamboks, sticks, chains, and were beaten under the soles of their feet
(falanga). One farm worker tells of being forced to drink water that had been
mixed with diesel petrol. Farm workers were singled out and underwent simulated
executions, where they were hung from trees or had guns pressed to their
forehead. The night before voting opened in the 2002 Presidential elections, the
workers were forced to attend one of these all night rallies – pungwes – and
were “taught” how they should cast their vote. Of the 139 people interviewed,
65% said that they had a previous experience of OVT. The perpetrators of the OVT
in every case were listed as either “war veterans” or Zanu(PF) supporters.
For the past two years, as well facing extreme levels of OVT, individuals
on farms also witnessed many incidents of harassment, torture, and even
executions. They reported seeing a policeman executed by ‘war veterans’ in June
2000 on Chipesa Farm and being forced to bury the body on the farm. In some
instances, police complicity in the violence was mentioned, in that they did not
protect the farm workers and even went as far to have a role to play in the
violence. A farm worker tells of watching a soldier beat a man around the head
with gun until he died. In one case, a man said he saw a school-boy executed by
the ‘war veterans’ for questioning their activities. A farm worker reports that
he saw somebody asphyxiated after the victim had plastic bags wrapped around his
head by the “war veterans”.
Over 80% of the people interviewed said that they had suffered verbal
abuse, threats against their person, and false accusations. These accusations
and verbal abuse pertained in the main to support for the MDC. The workers were
told that the farm owners were MDC supporters, and by continuing to live and
work on the farms, they were also involved.
The farm workers had in total 865 children in the families. Of this number,
there were 527 children listed as living on the farms. The survey revealed that
55% of the adults questioned said that incidents of violence had been witnessed
by the children. The psychological damage, already experienced by this
vulnerable group, has only been exacerbated by losing their homes, possessions
and chance of an education. In many cases they have been also separated from
The actual point at which the farm workers were forced off the farms were
characterised by physical assaults, such as the case of the tractor driver who
was stoned or the farm worker who was beaten attempting to resist the actions of
the ‘war veterans’ and the Zanu(PF) youths, as well as psychological trauma. The
intimidation felt by the workers, as they were given 20 minutes to pack up their
lives or face more violence and death, was the end of a cycle lasting for
months, and the beginning of one of insecurity as an internally displaced
6. MEDICAL ASSESSMENTS:
The medical data reported below is based on self-report, but will be
corroborated in due course by medical examination. The medical evidence is in
the process of being compiled, and will be included the more detailed
6.1 Mental health
As indicated above, psychological disorder is the most common short-term
and long-term effect of torture, whether the torture is physical or merely
psychological. 81% reported scores in excess of 4, which is considerably higher
than any comparable primary care population , including populations containing
survivors of torture . It is even in excess of the prevalence obtained in a
Zimbabwean refugee setting or the prevalence found in a war veteran group . In
fact, it is comparable with multiply traumatised populations, such as those
found in Matabeleland, where the population had suffered from organised violence
and torture in two successive decades.
Percentage prevalence of psychological disorders in various populations in
(data taken from various Zimbabwe studies)
As can be seen from the table above, the rates obtained from the IDP group
are markedly greater than virtually all previous studies from a wide variety of
different populations. The rate reported here is nearly 20% higher than the rate
obtained from a displaced persons population – Mozambican refugees – and is
nearly 40% higher than the rate obtained from Zimbabwean primary care and
community samples. It is higher than the rates found in Mount Darwin and
Muzarabani, in which there was specific screening for victims of organised
violence and torture, and in which they were previously very high rates of human
rights violations reported. The rate is even higher than that found amongst
Zimbabwean war veterans, which was previously the highest reported rate from any
population here in Zimbabwe.
The implications from these comparisons are very worrying indeed, and
require some brief comment. Firstly, this is a group that is still in the
displacement process, with no secure home at all for the present – they have at
least once been moved forcibly back to the farms from which they came and where
they no longer have any security. Thus, the trauma process is still continuing
and feelings of anxiety and depression will be prominent.
Secondly, they are a group that has had multiple experiences of OVT and
has lived in a state of high stress for a considerable time. This is analogous
to what trauma experts term living in a zone of “high war stress”: a situation
in which the likelihood of witnessing death, serious injury, and violence is
highly probable. Persons living in such situations are highly likely to develop
trauma disorders, as was the case with the Mozambican refugees, war veterans, or
ordinary citizens during times of epidemic violence, such as the Liberation War,
or during the Gukurahundi period in the 1980s.
This finding is bolstered by the findings on the general health problems
reported by this sample.
6.2 Present state of physical health
As regards their self-perceived health status, the sample reports high
frequencies of symptoms associated with psychological disorder: headaches,
dizziness, impaired concentration and memory, chest pains, palpitations,
abdominal pains, and sleep disorder. Moreover, there are also a high number of
symptoms that are associated with injury due to physical torture.
Together, the findings indicate a group for which medical and psychological
care must be a very high priority.
Condition Number % Condition Number %
Headache 77 55% Vomiting 17 12%
Dizziness 48 35% Diarrhoea 16 12%
concentration 47 34% Constipation 15 11%
Impairment of memory 49 35% Pain on
urination 17 12%
Impairment of hearing 19 14% Male pain in the genital,
female pelvic pain 28 20%
Numbness or pins and needles in
arms/legs 47 34% Lacking control on urination, defecation 7 5%
strength in arms or legs 32 23% Convulsions or loss of consciousness in the last
month 1 1%
Pains in shoulders or arms 27 19% Male impotence 7 5%
legs, including feet 45 32% Menstrual
disturbances 16 12%
Backache 54 39% Sleeping disturbances 67 48%
pain 45 32% Difficulty in falling asleep 41 29%
Palpitations 62 45% Early
awakening 22 16%
Abdominal pains 58 42% Disturbed
sleep 22 16%
Nausea 26 19% Nightmares 26 19%
There are several thousand farms in Zimbabwe that have been listed for
acquisition and have “war veterans” and others settled on them. If one takes the
experiences of the farm workers from the farms surveyed and multiplies the
situation to cover all the invaded farms where workers have faced a barrage of
intimidation, assault, and eventual forced displacement, the magnitude of the
crisis is apparent. With Zimbabwe facing a severe food shortage as a result of a
drought and dramatically lowered food production on the commercial farms, the
problem of internally displaced persons becomes even more critical. These
internal refugees, and the many more that the coming months will see, all
require food, shelter and medical assistance, that will not be forthcoming from
a government which is broke and facing international censure.
The overall picture is one that must raise the deepest concerns for all
humanitarian agencies and the government. The incidence of reported OVT, and
especially torture, is extremely high, but perhaps expected from the plethora of
reports of high rates of gross human rights violations that have taken place on
the commercial farms. Although it is difficult to generalise from a clinical
study such as this, it does seem fair to postulate a model that will be able to
generate an estimate of the likely frequency of both OVT and its effects. Here
it should be pointed out that there already exists a considerable body of
epidemiological research on common mental disorders and disorders due to
torture, from which it is possible to make educated guesses. We can certainly
make comparisons with other Zimbabwean reports on the prevalence and nature of
disorders due to OVT (see footnotes 5,6, & 7 above).
Extrapolation from the results of this survey may allow the calculation of
crude estimates of the frequency of torture and accompanying trauma amongst
commercial farm workers. Assuming that an overall indicator can be generated,
and it does not seem very difficult to do this, then it becomes possible to
estimate the likely number of people affected. This can be calculated from the
actual numbers of farm workers and their families employed on those farms. Using
the data derived from the present study, a very crude estimate would then be
derived in the following way from the above findings:
· Take all high risk farms, those with multiple reports of gross human
· Calculate the rates of gross human rights violations at
71% of all adults;
· Calculate the rates of gross human rights violations at
55% of all children;
· Calculate the rate of psychological disorder at 81% of
Now this may seem to lead to impossibly high rates, but, in the absence of
proper epidemiological investigations, it is vital to have some estimate of
social and medical requirements. It is clearly better in the current
humanitarian crisis to err on the side of generosity than design helping systems
that miss problems. In refugee or IDP populations that disorders due to trauma
are frequently not identified in the setting up of initial help systems, and it
is now well recognised that such populations require a holistic perspective with
However, whatever rates of gross human rights violations are finally
obtained, and whatever rates of disorder are finally established, this
preliminary report suggests extreme cause for concern. There are many reports
over past two years indicating high rates of organised violence and torture in
both commercial farm workers and residents of the adjacent communal lands. It is
evident that the overall number of persons affected by the events of the past
two years will be exceedingly high indeed, and there is a pressing need both for
epidemiological investigations into the prevalence of trauma disorders, as well
as an urgent need to design adequate helping systems that do not marginalize any
sector of the community.
Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 22:35 GMT 23:35 UK
Eyewitness: Zimbabwe in turmoil
Mugabe's supporters have created a climate of
Despite a government ban on foreign correspondents, the
BBC's Fergal Keane visited Zimbabwe, where he witnessed a country fast
descending towards disaster.
After years of political chaos and violence, millions of people in Zimbabwe
are now facing starvation.
The government of Robert Mugabe blames the situation on drought, but the
opposition and human rights groups say the country is in the throes of a
President Mugabe of a politically motivated policy of violence and intimidation
to drive away white farmers, so their land can be given to poor black people.
There is always a stage where people will say enough is
Morgan Tsvangirai, opposition leader
By 10 August, all white farmers must have vacated their land, and food
production in the country has all but stopped.
We drove for several hundred miles through Zimbabwe and spent time in the
White farmers are being forced to sell up and move
In rural areas, we saw once-thriving fields where the weeds had taken over.
Many others were emptied of the herds of cattle which are being sold off by
white farmers who believe they have got no future in the country.
They have been given a month to get off the land.
This destruction of the agricultural economy is happening in a country where
millions face starvation.
In Harare, we met some of the scores of torture victims now in hiding from
Robert Mugabe's supporters - men who described savage beatings at the hands of
policemen and war veterans acting together.
Mugabe blames drought, not policies, for food
Against this background, the leader of the opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, has
called for public demonstrations.
But I asked him if this didn't mean confrontation on the streets was
"It's unavoidable, because it doesn't even have to be organised by anyone.
The situation itself is fast deteriorating to levels of public response. There
is always a stage where people will say enough is enough," he said.
Perhaps the most haunting testimony of repression came from a young mother I
met at a refugee camp in the bush.
She told me she had been gang raped by seven members of the ruling party
With escalating repression, and looming starvation, there is a powerful sense
of a country sliding inexorably towards disaster.
'Zim to tighten forex controls'
News24: 09/07/2002 16:56 -
Harare - Zimbabwe's government is expected to tighten foreign
controls in the next two weeks as the country battles with a
shortage of hard currency, private banking officials said on
The officials, who all refused to be named, said they expected
policy to order the liquidation of all private foreign currency
(FCAs), held by corporates and individuals.
expected the government to scrap a facility where some exporters
30% of their foreign exchange earnings to finance vital imports,
centralise the management of foreign currency at the Reserve Bank
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was looking at allocating
any available foreign
currency in the following order - 40% for fuel and
electricity imports; 20%
for essential imports such as maize and drugs; 20%
for an export-revolving
fund and the remaining 20% for general allocation,
The banking industry also expects President Robert Mugabe to
crackdown on a black market that has mushroomed over the last two
after the exchange rate was fixed.
In June, the Zimbabwe dollar
plunged by nearly 50% on the unofficial
parallel market to between 600 and
800 to the US dollar. This compares with
an official exchange rate of 55
against the dollar, which has been in place
for two years.
said the sector was rife with rumours of tighter controls after
the state media that the finance ministry and central bank had
failed to curb
the black currency market.
"The market deduction of this criticism is
that we should expect a new
policy, but unfortunately I don't think that
policy will address the
fundamental problems that we are facing (or) increase
exports and earnings
and set a realistic exchange rate," one senior banker
"Instead of measures to reverse the current decline and incentives
the economy, I think we are going to get more controls on the little
we are still getting," he said.
Neither the government nor the
central bank have commented on the rumours.
Zimbabwe war veteran jailed for
HARARE, July 9 - A senior war veteran who played a key role
Robert Mugabe's controversial land seizure campaign was
sentenced to three
years in prison for fraud, state television reported on
Andrew Ndlovu, Project Secretary for the Zimbabwe
War Veteran's Association, was found guilty of embezzling
Zimbabwe dollars ($14,430), said the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Ndlovu has been a leading supporter of Mugabe's land
programme, started in early 2000, of white-owned farms for
poor landless blacks.
Mugabe says the campaign,
which plunged the country into its worst
economic and political crisis since
independence 22 years ago and has drawn
condemnation, is an attempt to correct years of
The broadcaster said Ndlovu pleaded not guilty and accused some
officials of trying to ''fix'' him for criticising what he said
was the slow
pace of land resettlement