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COMMERCIAL FARMERS' UNION
FARM INVASIONS UPDATE
TUESDAY 13 JUNE 2000
REGIONAL REPORTS

MASHONALAND CENTRAL
Centenary - Ploughing was stopped at Ellen Vallen today and negotiations are underway to resolve the issue.
Victory Block - The manager at Farfield Farm was given a hard time but managed to handle the situation.
Mvurwi - The farm owner at Msonneddi Estates has had to vacate the farm after receiving a threat. The tenant renting the house at Msonneddi has not been allowed to leave the farm today.
Tsatsi - Holme Eeden and Wychwood were visited today and advised that there would be a pungwe at Holme Eeden later.

MASVINGO
Masvingo East and Central - A threat was made on Kimberley Farm yesterday which was exaggerated by the time it reached the farmer, but was resolved today. There was a new and large occupation on Cambria Farm and a reoccupation on Shallock Park Farm.
Gutu/Chatsworth - 14 war vets visited Blyth Farm on the weekend demanding permission to move their cattle onto the farm for grazing. This was reported to the Police who said that the occupiers were allowed neither to move cattle onto the farm, nor chop down trees.
Save Conservancy - More land has been taken over by occupiers on Angus Ranch. On Savuli there was a threat of an occupation on one of the campss again, but this has been resolved. Poaching continues and 2 employees have been assaulted, but not seriously. The leader of the group is coming to the compound today to "re-educate" the people. Poaching is ongoing on Sango Ranch. The occupiers are made up mainly of youths. This morning the owner and his game scouts were confronted and they had stolen 2 shotguns, 2 radios, 9 bullets and 3 radio batteries.
Chiredzi - A gemsbock was slaughtered on Fairange Estates yesterday and those responsible tried to hid the evidence. Another 4 gemsbok are reported missing. There has been another threat made on Malilangwe.

MIDLANDS
Gweru East - Zanu PF passed through one compound taking down workers' names.

MASHONALAND WEST NORTH
Chinhoyi - Hilltop has been pegged but no presence left. 6 huts were built on Sligo Farm but there is no presence. On Hillandale Farm an MDC pick-up arrived on the farm and put up posters without permission. A Zanu PF truck caught them and accused the farmer of being an MDC supporter. The Tredar guard was accused of not reporting the matter to Zanu PF and the farmer was nearly hit with a knobkerrie for explaining that no one had time to do anything. Farm labourers averted trouble by explaining that no one was aware of the MDC arrival.

MASHONALAND WEST SOUTH
Norton - The Member in Charge of the Norton ZRP was reprimanded at a rally on Sunday for removing Clifford Farm occupiers. (Clifford Farm is next to President Mugabe's farm in Norton.) Don Carlos was at the rally and was supposed to be arrested for an assault in Norton Town, but was not as a result of this. Some people arrived on Nugget farm in a government vehicle and were allocating land. On Parklands Farm people travelling with Mrs Rusike were seen carrying weapons. Mrs Rusike is teaching war vets from Mvurwi to farm and has instructed them not to use fertilizer because it burns the soil. Both these farms are on the list. Chegutu - There was a work stoppage on Masterpiece Farm, and threats to move into the homestead on Lismor Farm. Police responded to the latter.
Kadoma - Invaders on Milverton Estates are leaving gates open leading to problems with mixed cattle herds etc. Milverton Estates is the largest beef exporter in the country and is on the list.
Selous - Increased invader activity on Dorwood and Zimbo Drift Farms.
There has generally been a move to and increased activity on listed farms.

MASHONALAND EAST
Marondera South - There are continued problems with the owners of Elmswood. Enterprise - Allegations that the war vets are charging $2 per head in the farm villages to buy food for themselves are under investigation at the moment. Macheke/Virginia - Glen Somerset. The farmer visited the farm village on his motorbike to see the progress on some houses that were being built there. He was confronted by about 20 people, half of which were women. When he tried to leave his motorbike got stuck in a hole and they caught him, beat him and tied him up with wire. They hauled him to the beer hall and that is where the police found him, about half an hour after the report was made to them. The farmer sustained welts on his back and a cut on his head. One of the vets had a stick with a piece of electric wire on the end which he was using to beat the farmer. The reason for the assault is that he refused the demands made by his resident occupiers for a tractor.
Beatrice - The war vet causing problems with the showgrounds has not resurfaced today.
Featherstone - Jackalsdraai was pegged again yesterday. There are demands around the district where the war vets are making the labour pay between $25 and $50 for their plots.

MATABELELAND
Beitbridge - the foreman on Twin River Ranch reports that Mr Chimweni is refusing to allow a hunter onto the ranch.

MANICALAND
Nothing to report.

OTHER
Island Hospice will do a trauma de-brief counselling session for farmers' children who have been exposed to violence or displacement on Thursday 22 June 2000 (the day the kids break up school for the long weekend). It will be from 2-4 pm at Island Hospice in Avondale, Harare. The cost of a session can be claimed from your medical aid. They will take between 8 and 12 children for this session, and if there is a great demand will organise further dates. If you are interested, please contact Kerry Kay on 091-315323 or phone Hospice on 04-335886 and speak to Roni or Margaret.
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MDC vs ZANU PF - comment
Before David Stephens was killed there was a very good chance of a landslide victory for MDC.... now it is more difficult to tell. But of late the Zanu-PF rallies have swelled and we have great fanfare about how the defectors have seen the error of their ways... just asks the question, why did they defect in the first place if Zanu-Pf are as wonderful as they claim they are and if it is a choice between getting your head caved in and your wife raped, do you then change horses? I was at an agricultural business the otherday and an employee of another firm was waiting for goods wearing his employer's shirt with logo. He waved to my son and my son innocently gave the open handed wave, this was then reciprocated by this man. Bearing in mind he is just a general worker, he then began to discuss about how we need a Change. MDC cannot put up campaign posters so supporters have taken the spray can and MDC is emblazoned everywhere. The first time in my life I actually support graffiti. The support is still there but can not be spoken about. The unanswered question is how afraid people will be that either they don't vote or believe the Zanu-PF rubbish that they will know who they voted for?
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From the Zim Daily News
13 Tuesday , June
www.dailynews.co.zw

Why the oppositions campaign is easier
6/13/00 10:39:10 AM (GMT +2)

WHEN Enos Chikowore, the former Ministry of Transport and Energy, threw in the towel in February and resigned over bungled fuel imports, this was taken as a healthy admission of failure, but also a desire to solve the fuel crisis speedily.

With the ministry assigned to the Presidents Office, the government seemed to signal the urgency required to deal with the matter.

But nearly four months after Chikowores departure, the shortages of fuel have turned full cycle. They look destined to be with us for much longer than anticipated.

The uncertainty over supplies and the inability to explain the crisis besetting the nation continue to worsen. The situation is not getting any better although the problem is more than six months old.

Herein lies our tragic predicament: If the highest office in the country is unable to swiftly resolve the crisis, who else can? Is this what the President meant when he said no one could run the economy of this country better than he has done? Indeed, no one is capable of running it down worse than this.

The government is jinxed. Now everything it touches balloons into a disaster of unparalleled proportions.

It would not surprise Zimbabweans to wake up tomorrow to find the country has ground to a halt.

Pride comes before a fall.

The fuel crisis is but one of several demonstrations by the government that, despite its much-vaunted experience in administration, the business of running this country efficiently appears to be completely beyond its capacity.

The government is clearly incapable of dealing with the challenges of the new millennium. It is overwhelmed by the enormity of the task before it and is clueless as to what to do next.

In its embattled desperation, the governments strategy has been to invent a string of excuses, a farrago of twisted facts: first, the blame was shoved on to the white commercial farmers, who were accused of hoarding fuel on their farms; then it was the garages; the business sector; economic sabotage; piracy on the high seas by Britains Tony Blair and his government; and now it is the distribution network.

But in its enthusiasm to blame everyone else but itself for the mess, the government conveniently forgets its own key contributory role. It overlooks the fact that, in the first place, it is the sole author of the sorry state in which Zimbabwe now finds itself.

The government entered into international financial agreements which it clearly had no desire of honouring; it formulates a budget which it has no intention of adhering to; and it mops up all the money on the market, making it difficult for industry and commerce to access capital to finance their operations. When industries seek to recoup their costs, they are accused of profiteering.

All along, the government has told the nation that fuel supplies have been at 80 percent of normal consumption levels and that these were being increased to national demands. However, at the weekend the government acknowledged that supplies had dropped to 65 percent of the countrys requirements. With increasingly longer queues reappearing, it is anyones guess whether the supplies are 65 percent or much lower than that.

The tragedy of all this is the governments inability to appreciate an emergency, and the desire and urgency to act to resolve it once and for all.

The government has become a hostage to its own excesses.

How can an election campaign offer the promised land, when the very people doing so are the sole authors of the nations current suffering? That is the oppositions platform! What the government can only offer us is more of the same of the rut into which it has delivered us. This is the governments promise to the electorate.

But when the history of this countrys first two decades of independence is finally written not by Zanu PF apparatchiks it will be remembered that no other government or party campaigned as rigorously for the opposition as did Zimbabwes present rulers.

They have no desire, for once, to do anything right.

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The Times (UK)

Mugabe sets limit on EU polling monitors
FROM MICHAEL DYNES IN HARARE

FRESH doubts were cast on the credibility of Zimbabwes imminent parliamentary elections yesterday after the ruling Zanu (PF) party arbitrarily cut the number of European Union observers who are to be allowed in.

Representatives of the EU mission have been told that they will be allowed to deploy only 120 observers during the poll on June 24 and 25 instead of the 150 they had planned.

Harares decision, which comes days after a United Nations team was withdrawn because of a row over its role, has prompted urgent consultations by the EU team with Brussels. "This is the first we have heard about this decision," Tana de Zulueta, the EUs deputy head of mission, and a member of the Italian Senate, said. "It is not part of the electoral law."

The UN team was withdrawn after President Mugabe accused it of trying to hijack the elections by co-ordinating the various international observer teams. It is understood that he had earlier verbally agreed with Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, that the UN team would be allowed to carry out just such a co-ordinating role.

At least 31 people, mostly members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, have been killed since the Government lost the referendum in February that was designed to grant Mr Mugabe the power to seize white-owned commercial farms without compensation. Zanu (PF) has been accused of unleashing a campaign of rural violence to terrorise and intimidate Zimbabwes five million voters into supporting President Mugabes party, prompting warnings that a free and fair vote is impossible.

The EU mission is by far the largest of the international observer teams, including those from the Commonwealth, the Southern African Development Community and the Organisation of African Unity. Local observers suspect that Mr Mugabe was taken aback by the speed and efficiency with which the first 91 EU observers left Harare in teams of two over the weekend, taking up positions across the country. They have been given a warning to stay away from the 1,400 white commercial farms occupied by so-called war veterans, where most of the violence and intimidation is taking place.

Some 300 international observers are expected to arrive in the two weeks before voting begins. All of them, and every representative of the international media, are required by law to pay a US $100 (66) accreditation fee. The estimated 16,000 local observers will provide the backbone of the monitoring operation.

Maputo: A group of white Zimbabwean farmers will move to Mozambique to take up its offer of large farm plots, an official said yesterday. The Zimbabweans and a group of South African farmers will start to arrive in the central province of Manica this month to raise crops and cattle on unused farmland.

---------------------------------

HARARE, June 13 (AFP) - Unease was mounting in Zimbabwe Tuesday as parliamentary elections grew closer after two more deaths in political attacks and mutual accusations by supporters and opponents of President Robert Mugabe that the other side is organising systematic assaults.
The fear was typified by a television vignette at the weekend: state television showed footage of an opposition rally, and zeroed in on one woman in the crowd: she held a pamphlet over her face so she could not be recognised.
Information Minister Chen Chimutengwende maintained nevertheless that the violence was diminishing.
"The number of violent incidents in the country has gone down," he told AFP Tuesday, but without giving figures.
"The police are arresting a lot of people. Some of them are criminals who only wanted to rob people," he said.
According to an AFP count, at least 30 people have died so far in political violence and in the occupation of some 1,500 white-owned farms.
In the latest killings reported on Monday, one supporter of Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) was stabbed to death in a bar, and one member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was beaten with iron bars and sticks.
The vast majority of the dead have been supporters of the MDC.
The opposition party says its candidates cannot campaign in most of Zimbabwe's 120 constituencies because of the danger.
The Commercial Farmers' Union reported in its latest daily update on violence on farms that a group of 12 to 15 men ambushed a white farmer as he was returning to his farm on a motorcycle, hitting him on the back of the head with a chain.
"He has had stitches but is fine," it said.
Police, who happened to be nearby, arrested two of the assailants, the union said, but the farmers' workers came under attack later and failed to show up for work on Monday.
Four white farmers have died since the land occupation campaign began earlier this year.
President Mugabe has meanwhile warned that other whites "will die" if they try to resist the squatters, who are led by veterans of Zimbabwe's independence war.
The president has officially earmarked more than 800 white-owned farms -- many of them not occupied -- which the government will seize without compensation and distribute among landless black people.
Sekai Holland, an MDC candidate in the June 24-25 elections in the Mbererengwa region some 400 kilometres (250 miles) south of Harare, told AFP Tuesday that the situation there remained "very tense."
Ruling party stalwarts attacked one of her rallies on May 31, with the result that four MDC supporters and one ZANU-PF supporter were hospitalised, she said.
Holland said police broke up the fight with teargas and took her to the local police station at gunpoint.
The human rights organisation Amnesty International said last week that it had strong evidence linking the government and the ruling party to acts of violence and terror.
Maina Kiai, Amnesty International's director for Africa, told a news conference that attacks on MDC supporters in rural areas amounted to a "clear strategy of intimidation" and said the human rights organisation felt justified in branding the action as state-orchestrated.
"We see clear linkages in inaction by the police and we see clear statements by government leaders that the opposition will not be allowed to function," said Kiai.
The government-owned Sunday Mail countered with a long list of police reports of attacks by MDC supporters on ZANU-PF members, going back to February, but with only one attack reported in May.
The report said that 15 MDC youths attacked three ZANU-PF supporters at Holland's rally.
It made no mention, though, of any ZANU-PF attack on MDC supporters there. The newspaper did not report any attacks by MDC supporters this month.
Meanwhile, former Nigerian president Abdulsalami Abubakar, who ushered in democracy in his country and is heading a 44-strong Commwealth observer team here, met Tuesday for an hour with Mugabe, a spokesman for the Commonwealth team told AFP.
He said Mugabe reiterated assurances that the observers would be able to travel anywhere in the country.
They will fan out Wednesday.

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Tuesday, 13 June, 2000, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK -BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/africa/newsid_789000/789126.stm

Zimbabwe criticised over election tactics

President Mugabe's tough tactics are prompting concern The international community has expressed its concern over the violent and intimidating pre-election atmosphere in Zimbabwe.

The European Union said it was "seriously concerned" about obstacles thrown in its way by the Zimbabwe Government ahead of the 24-25 June poll.

In a statement released in Luxembourg, the EU said that conditions had been placed on the number and activities of EU and other observers in Zimbabwe "in a way which falls short of internationally accepted standards".

Zimbabwe has said it will allow only 120 EU observers to be deployed in the country instead of the 150 agreed earlier.

The deputy head of the EU mission in Zimbabwe, Tana de Zulueta, expressed surprise at the decision and said it was not part of electoral law.

Representatives of the United States, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand said they were concerned over "violence and intimidation" in the run-up to the poll.

In a statement after a meeting with the Deputy Foreign Minister, Nicholas Goche, the envoys said they had "special concern with attacks on farm workers, teachers, health care workers, officials in rural areas, and political candidates".

Last week, the United Nations withdrew from its role as co-ordinator for the various observer teams after accusing the Zimbabwean Government of putting too many restrictions in its way.

At least 30 people, mostly members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, have been killed since the government lost a referendum in February over its land reform bill.

Farm visits

On Tuesday, President Robert Mugabe promised Commonwealth observers that they would be allowed to visit occupied white-owned farms.

Mr Mugabe made the pledge during a meeting with former Nigerian President Abdulsalami Abubakar, who is chairman of the 44-member Commonwealth Observer Group monitoring the parliamentary elections.

The leader of the self-styled war veterans, Chenjerai Hunzvi, welcomed the decision, but warned the observers not to make contact with farmworkers.

"If you want to visit you are welcome, but just don't speak to the workers, because you will speak about land and that is a separate issue. It has nothing to do with this election," he said.

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From Ananova (PA Press, UK)
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/zimbabwe_farms-crisis_80625.html

Mugabe blames murdered white farmer for starting war

President Robert Mugabe has stepped up his verbal attacks on Zimbabwe's whites and says his supporters intend to seize more private land after elections in 12 days.

He says David Stevens, one of five white farmers killed since the occupations began in February, provoked his attackers.

"Stevens was the one who started the war. He was the one who started firing," Mugabe said.

Stevens was an active supporter of the opposition party. Police admitted he was dragged from a police station March 14 and beaten and shot in the head by militants. There is no record of violence by him against militants occupying his farm in Macheke district, 60 miles east of Harare.

At weekend campaign rallies, Mugabe said his ruling ZANU-PF party was outraged that industrialists and farmers in the nation's 70,000 white community openly backed opposition to his rule.

He praised ruling party militants and mobs of squatters who have illegally occupied more than 1,400 white-owned farms and ordered the occupiers, led by veterans of the bush war that ended white rule in 1980, to remain on the farms until whites yielded more land to landless blacks.

"Soon after the election, the farm occupations will be carried out more vigorously," Mugabe said.

In Chikomba district southeast of Harare, where Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi - leader of the Liberation War Veterans Association - is running as a ruling party parliamentary candidate in the June 24-25 poll, Mugabe told supporters that whites who gave money to the Movement for Democratic Change - the main opposition party - betrayed the country's black rulers.

At least 31 people, most of them opposition supporters, have died in political violence since Mugabe lost a referendum in February that would have entrenched his powers and allowed the government to seize white-owned land without paying compensation.

The government went ahead anyway and modified existing land laws to nationalise white farms without paying compensation. Last month, it listed 804 properties to be taken over within the next few weeks.
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A History Lesson:

The phoney war' had ended. On May 10, 1940 Adolf Hitler's armies invaded both Belgium and Holland. France was very clearly imperilled. The prime minister of Britain at the time, Neville Chamberlain - who had sought to appease Nazi Germany before the outbreak of the Second World War - resigned and was replaced by Winston Churchill. With dramatic swiftness, the German onslaught revealed just how badly prepared democracies were for the gigantic struggle that was unfolding. Churchill had to speak.

For many weary years, he had been able only to warn, cajole and fulminate in the ears of irritated and sceptical leaders. At times Winston Churchill had almost resigned himself to political impotence. But now his hour had dawned.

As he looked across the crowded House of Commons, full irony of his condition came to his mind. When he entered the House as prime minister, he had been received with little applause from his own benches. Many of those now facing him had looked with disdain during the wilderness years. At his side sat Neville Chamberlain, who had excluded him from office and mocked his "alarmist" reports of Nazi Germany's malice and power.

He began prosaically, with an apology to his former colleagues for not having had the time to inform them personally of his intention to dispense with their services. Then came the brief but immortal phrases of defiance and resolve: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat." Churchill was summoning a dejected people to an understanding of purpose: "You ask what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime.... You ask what is our aim? I can answer in one word - victory.... for without victory there is no survival."

When he sat down, the mood and spirit of free men everywhere had changed. Yet he had not really made any kind of report. He had lifted his listeners in the historic chamber to a world of imagination, not of reality. The truth is that there was not much for his nation to fight with.

Guqula Izenzo/Maitiro Chinja
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From the MDC - ELECTION DIARY

June 14, 10am at Quality Hotel, Leopold Takawira St, Harare: PRESS
CONFERENCE, Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC leadership - Defence and Police
Policies; Foreign Policy; constituency evaluations; violence report;
candidates profiles, other matters

DIARY: Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC President... rallies and functions to be ledby
Tsvangirai and/or other key MDC leaders: Tsvangirai will also do occasional
walkabouts or visits to those affected by violence, please let us have your
phone numbers in Zimbabwe so we can contact you urgently when this takes
place:

June 14 : Murehwa South, Masambi Murehwa Centre

June 14 : Mutoko North Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe

June 15/16 : Rusape, Vengere Stadium

June 17 : Guruve North and South, Ciheve Centre Growth Point

June 18 : MAJOR RALLY, Zimbabwe grounds

June 19/20: Midlands

RURAL AREAS:

Considerable intimidation is being reported:

June 18 : Chegutu stadium, at 2pm, contact Philemon Matibe 091.331.156

June 17 : Chinhoyi at Chinhoyi grounds, contact Silas Matamisa 011.802.726

June 18 : Goromonzi - rally at 2pm at Shumba Domoshwa (contact Leonard
Mapiranga 011.716.625

June 15 : Mazoe East, Duke Mine at 10am or 011.400.119

Mazoe East 10am at Glendale 0r 011.400.119

June 18 : Mazoe East 10am, contact Shepherd Mushonga 011.400.119

June14 : Mount Darwin North - Ephraim Pfebve Hondo on 14 June at noon
011.601.438

June 17 : Shamva, Shamva Mine 2pm rally (contact Joseph Mashinga
023-893-955)

June 15 : Bindura - Detito GP - Elliott Pfebve 011.601.438

June 16 : Bindura -Elliott Pfebve Mt Darwin town, Mt Darwin St 011.406.438

June 17 : Bindura - Elliott Pfebve Shava Gold mine 011.406.438

June 18 : Bindura - Elliott Pfebve, Ashanti gold fields 011.601.438

Marondera West rally planned for Saturday, 17 June at 10am at Mazusekwa -
however, there is acute intimidation Shadrack Chipangura 011.402.799

Mudzi, is planning a rally at Ntoko on Wednesday, 14 June at 2pm Israel
Karonga 011.732.461

Mutoko South, Wednesday 14 June at 2pm rally - they also give out posters
and leaflets at night (Derick Muzira 011-409-226)

Rushinga, rally on 17 June at Nyakasiekams in the morning tel. Joel Mugariri

Hurungwe East, door to door campaigning only, general intimidation, no
rallies planned

Murehwa North, handing out leaflets and posters but camapiging is very
difficult, ongoing intimidation by war veterans

Kadoma Central are issuing flyers and having small gatherings because of
general intimidation

Hwedza have called for observers to move into their area, they are finding
campaigning very difficult, general beatings of MDC supporters. They are
distributing pamphlets at night.

Marondera East, too dangerous to campaign

HARARE:

June 17 : 2pm rally led by Learnmore Jongwe at Kuwadzana

BULAWAYO:

For events In Bulawayo South contact JOSPHAT TSHUMA 091-232395 or Simon
Spooner: 091-202319 ... a few activities:

June 13 at 7pm,- Petra Junior School, Bulawayo

June14 at 6.30pm, Large City Hall: Welshman Ncube (MDC sec-gen), David
Coltart (head legal committee); Thokozani Khupe (woman candidate)

June 17: to townships

June : 7pm: Bulawayo Ampitheatre, Welshman Ncube and David Coltart

Your vote, is your secret.

LONG TERM PLANNING TO THE ELECTIONS:

HARARE, JUNE 18th - MAJOR RALLY addressed by MORGAN TSVANGIRAI at Zimbabwe
grounds

MDC leader, MORGAN TSVANGIRAI will vote in his home constituency Buhera at
10am on June 24.

Is your name on the voter's roll? You have until June 13 to check and to
make any changes or appeal.

Comment from The Daily News, 12 June 2000

Election observers as catalyst for change

THERE is no doubt that the government, cooking up its usual brew of
subverting the already flawed electoral process, is alarmed at the presence
of so many international observers.

An example is the pull-out of the United Nations (UN) team, which has
accused President Mugabe of reneging on a mutual arrangement which would
have given them the vital role of co-ordinating all the other observer
teams. <BR>Mugabe says he never made such an undertaking and only agreed to
the UN joining the others as an ordinary observer team. The British have
been barred as observers, the result of Mugabe allowing his personal pique
with Peter Hain's constant sniping to get the better of him.

Once again, Zimbabweans need to ask themselves whether the government is
acting in the interests of the country, or in the interests of Zanu PF or
even of Mugabe himself. There are other observers who will not have the wool
pulled over their eyes and will be determined to complete what may be an
impossible mission: to ensure Zanu PF does not sabotage genuinely free and
fair elections on 24-25 June.

The hurried introduction of a law requiring that the observers be accredited
is another example of the naughty child afraid of being caught with their
finger in the cookie jar. Some of the observers have no proper appreciation
of the extent of the violence being perpetrated against the opposition,
especially on the occupied farms. They are urged seriously not to take for
granted the government's assertion that the farm occupations are peaceful.
Leaders of the marauding war veterans have said the observers will not be
allowed into the farms. The reason is obvious: this is where some of the
most hideous violence against the opposition is being perpetrated.

The observers are urged not to take for granted Zanu PF's assurances that
the party does not condone violence. The police are barred from entering the
occupied farms and have no idea what is going on there. The rule of law does
not apply on the farms. Every day, people are flocking into the cities and
towns from their rural homes, fleeing the terror of Zanu PF and its war
veteran hirelings. Teachers are hiding in the bush in some areas because
they will not pay $6 000 as "protection money" to war veterans threatening
to kill them for supporting the opposition.

The observers will be forgiven for suspecting that some of these reports are
based on emotion rather than fact. Again, they are urged not to take
anything for granted. Twenty-eight people have died in election
campaign-related violence since February. These people did not invite
violence upon themselves by provoking it in any way, unless joining a
political party is now an internationally accepted reason for deliberately
placing your life in danger.

The observers must know that their role as catalysts for change in
Zimbabwean politics is enormous. Mugabe says only he and his party can
legitimise the conduct of the election as free and fair, or otherwise. A
meeting between all the observers and the President seems logical at this
stage of the pre-election hype from the political parties. The people in the
rural areas are being brow-beaten by the war veterans and Zanu PF into
submission. There is no way that any elections could be free and fair for
them in these circumstances. The observers must insist that the war veterans
leave the farms immediately, or they be allowed to visit them without let or
hindrance or the observers will pack their bags and go back home. The
observers must make this a condition of continuing their work of observing
the election campaign, the polling itself and the aftermath.

Even those observers who seem determined to give the government a clean bill
of health for reasons of their political alliance with Zanu PF are urged to
consider the legacy of an election in which most of the voters are
brutalised into voting for something they would rather not vote for. Would
they justify that legacy in their own countries?

>From the US Department of State, 12 June 2000

U.S. Calls For End To Political Intimidation In Zimbabwe

By Philip T. Reeker, Acting Spokesman

Washington, DC - Given the long-standing U.S. friendship for the people of
Zimbabwe, we are deeply troubled that Zimbabwe's previous reputation as a
law-abiding, democratic society is in jeopardy. Violence and intimidation
are undermining the rule of law and the very foundation of democracy in
Zimbabwe.

The United States calls on the government of Zimbabwe to make the right
choices to lead Zimbabwe to genuine democracy and prosperity. We condemn the
ongoing campaign of violence and intimidation being waged by the ruling
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU- PF). We are dismayed
that the ruling party has expanded its violent campaign beyond the
occupation of farms to include the beating and rape of teachers, city
workers, election monitors, and other professionals. We deplore the forced
relocation of farm workers to "re-education" camps and the murder of
opposition political candidates. We call on the government of Zimbabwe to
immediately take the necessary steps so that all Zimbabweans can vote freely
and without fear in this month's parliamentary election. The legitimacy of
the elections will be in serious doubt unless the government of Zimbabwe
acts now to restrain the forces of violence it has unleashed and reassure
voters of the secrecy of the ballot.

The United States government supports the development of a vibrant democracy
in Zimbabwe. Democracy cannot flourish, and indeed will be hindered for
years to come, unless the Government of Zimbabwe ends the occupation of
farms, allows the police to investigate political crimes, and recalls the
supporters it has directed to intimidate the population at large.

>From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 13 June 2000

Bar lifted on election observers

By David Blair in Harare

INTERNATIONAL observers in Zimbabwe for the forthcoming elections were
finally allowed to apply for accreditation yesterday, just 12 days before
polling begins. Teams of European Union and Commonwealth observers have been
frustrated in their attempts to start work formally because of delays in
providing them with paperwork, and there is growing evidence that President
Robert Mugabe and his government are orchestrating a campaign of obstruction
against them.

As they began queuing for accreditation forms, news emerged of the
abduction, torture and murder of a supporter of the Movement for Democratic
Change, the main opposition party, bringing the number killed in the
campaign so far to 29. Although 105 EU observers had arrived by Monday last
week and 91 dispersed around Zimbabwe on Friday, they had been prevented
from starting work in earnest because official passes had not been issued. A
United Nations team that had offered to co-ordinate the observers announced
on Friday that it was withdrawing its help after Mr Mugabe attempted to
change their official role.

The EU team, together with 40 Commonwealth observers, hopes to begin work
tomorrow. But this is the first time that election observers have been
required to pay an accreditation fee. Tana de Zulueta, the deputy leader of
the EU mission, described their task as "to familiarise themselves at
provincial and local levels with the electoral process". But the opposition
parties are becoming increasingly frustrated. Morgan Tsvangirai, president
of the MDC, said: "Most of them are staying in the hotels of Harare where
they are of very little use to us."

Many EU observers share this sentiment. One said: "I have been here for a
week and I still have no accreditation. They have been talking about this
mission since April, but we are still delayed. We are not here because we
think that everything is fine." The observers' freedom of movement may also
be limited by squatters who occupy 1,080 white farms. The squatters have
become the shock troops of Mr Mugabe's government, spearheading the
intimidation of the opposition. Their leaders have warned observers to steer
clear of occupied farms, where gangs from the ruling Zanu-PF party have
intimidated and murdered opponents of Mr Mugabe.

It is uncertain whether EU observers will bow to this demand. Mashonaland
Central has been worst hit by the land invasions and 149 farms are occupied.
Asked if his team would visit them, Edward Horgan, co-ordinator of the
province's eight EU observers, said: "We have no specific plans to visit
occupied farms."

Finos Zhou, 20, an MDC member, was kidnapped by squatters on Sunday last
week and imprisoned at Texas ranch, an occupied white farm in Mberengwa
district. Sekai Holland, the MDC candidate for the constituency, said Mr
Zhou was "continuously tortured for 72 hours". He was released on Wednesday
but died of his wounds on Friday.

>From The Times (UK), 13 June 2000

Mugabe sets limit on EU polling monitors

FROM MICHAEL DYNES IN HARARE

FRESH doubts were cast on the credibility of Zimbabwe's imminent
parliamentary elections yesterday after the ruling Zanu (PF) party
arbitrarily cut the number of European Union observers who are to be allowed
in. Representatives of the EU mission have been told that they will be
allowed to deploy only 120 observers during the poll on June 24 and 25
instead of the 150 they had planned. Harare's decision, which comes days
after a United Nations team was withdrawn because of a row over its role,
has prompted urgent consultations by the EU team with Brussels. "This is the
first we have heard about this decision," Tana de Zulueta, the EU's deputy
head of mission, and a member of the Italian Senate, said. "It is not part
of the electoral law."

The UN team was withdrawn after President Mugabe accused it of trying to
hijack the elections by co-ordinating the various international observer
teams. It is understood that he had earlier verbally agreed with Kofi Annan,
the UN Secretary-General, that the UN team would be allowed to carry out
just such a co-ordinating role.

At least 31 people, mostly members of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, have been killed since the Government lost the referendum in
February that was designed to grant Mr Mugabe the power to seize white-owned
commercial farms without compensation. Zanu (PF) has been accused of
unleashing a campaign of rural violence to terrorise and intimidate
Zimbabwe's five million voters into supporting President Mugabe's party,
prompting warnings that a free and fair vote is impossible.

The EU mission is by far the largest of the international observer teams,
including those from the Commonwealth, the Southern African Development
Community and the Organisation of African Unity. Local observers suspect
that Mr Mugabe was taken aback by the speed and efficiency with which the
first 91 EU observers left Harare in teams of two over the weekend, taking
up positions across the country. They have been given a warning to stay away
from the 1,400 white commercial farms occupied by so-called war veterans,
where most of the violence and intimidation is taking place.

Some 300 international observers are expected to arrive in the two weeks
before voting begins. All of them, and every representative of the
international media, are required by law to pay a US $100 (66)
accreditation fee. The estimated 16,000 local observers will provide the
backbone of the monitoring operation.

Maputo: A group of white Zimbabwean farmers will move to Mozambique to take
up its offer of large farm plots, an official said yesterday. The
Zimbabweans and a group of South African farmers will start to arrive in the
central province of Manica this month to raise crops and cattle on unused
farmland.

>From The Independent (UK), 13 June 2000

Elections must be fair, Mbeki warns Mugabe

By Rich Mkhondoand Zubeida Jaffer in Pretoria

The South African government will not accept rigged elections in Zimbabwe,
President Thabo Mbeki warned yesterday. "We want free and fair elections in
Zimbabwe. We are against stolen elections," Mr Mbeki said in an interview in
Pretoria with Independent Newspapers.

Mr Mbeki commented after Britain signalled it was ready to reject a victory
by President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe because of state-sponsored
intimidation of the opposition. The South African President said he did not
know whether the 24 and 25 June elections would be free and fair. He was
also reluctant to comment on the withdrawal at the weekend of a UN team
co-ordinating international observers, saying he was waiting to be fully
briefed by the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan.

The political violence has claimed more than 30 lives, mostly those of
opposition party members. More than 100 people have been seriously injured
while thousands have fled. The Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe's
main opposition party, whose members have most often been the victims, has
ruled out the possibility of free and fair elections under the present
conditions.

>From News24 (SA), 13 June 2000

Media, monitors must pay to observe

Harare - Election officials in Zimbabwe began accrediting hundreds of
international observers and foreign journalists on Monday at a fee of $100
each. This is the first time that election observers have been required to
pay an accreditation fee. The accreditation fee for journalists was not
officially announced, but the payment for the observers was added as an
amendment to the Electoral Act on Friday. Electoral officials said the fee
was to cover the costs incurred in the registration process. Only
journalists from foreign media are being charged.

A political analyst, John Makumbe, described the fee as a means of
discouraging foreign observers and an embarrassing way of trying to raise
foreign currency. "How can you ask someone to pay $100 for observing your
elections? It is unconstitutional," said Makumbe. "This is not going to
solve our foreign exchange shortages," he said.

The accreditation process for observers and monitors - previously a
responsibility of the government-appointed Electoral Supervisory Commission
(ESC) - has now been shifted to the home affairs ministry in a move seen as
asserting control over the large numbers of observers who have descended on
this southern African country. The role of the ESC has largely been usurped
after it was sidelined from supervising the registration of voters early
this year. The ESC last month issued a statement expressing concern at
widespread pre-polling violence which has resulted in some 30 deaths so far.

More than 300 foreign observers from the European Union, Commonwealth,
Southern African Development Community (SADC), the International Republican
Institute, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and individual countries
are to observe the June 24 and 25 polling. The United Nations pulled its
observers out of the electoral process on Friday after the Harare government
reneged on an agreement letting the world body co-ordinate the international
observer groups.

The main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, met
Commonwealth, South African and OAU observers on Monday ahead of their
deployment around the country. Asked whether the presence of foreign
observers would make much difference to the elections, MDC secretary general
Welshman Ncube said it was difficult to predict. "I can't say definitely,
but we hope that it makes a difference," Ncube said.

>From News24 (SA), 13 June 2000

Voters get last chance to register

Harare - Voters left off the roll for parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe
had their last chance on Monday to register for a supplementary list amid
accusations of rigging. Small queues formed at tents and schools around
Harare, with a disproportionate number of white Zimbabweans checking to see
if their names were on the main roll. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association
expressed concern on Monday over the state of the roll, saying names of dead
people were on it while other names were missing.

ZimRights director Munyaradzi Bidi told the state-run Ziana news agency that
the names of people who died in 1994 were still on it. "Names of some people
who have voted during the previous elections are not appearing on the
voters' roll," he added. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
and British shadow foreign secretary Francis Maude both charged last week
that the government had rigged the list. "We are receiving increasing
reports from whites and young black people - mostly aged 20 to 28 - that
they are not on the voters' roll," said MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai.
"They have deliberately left off thousands of young people, precisely the
sort of people who are the MDC's most ardent supporters."

Maude, the Conservative Party's foreign affairs spokesman, told reporters at
the end of a 36-hour trip to Zimbabwe: "There is a lot of systematic rigging
of the electoral roll. There has been a lot of gerrymandering of the
constituency boundaries." One voter told AFP that he had spotted the name of
a woman who had been dead for 80 years on the roll, and that of a man who
died eight years ago.

Voting officials have told many people that registering now will allow them
to vote in presidential elections in 2002, but not the parliamentary
elections on June 24-25. However, President Robert Mugabe told a rally at
the weekend that those on the supplementary roll would indeed be able to
vote in these elections.

Mariyawanda Nzuwah, the chairman of the election directorate, told a press
conference: "Everything that is humanly possible" will be done to ensure
elections are carried out in a "proper, free and fair manner". Police
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri said that six police officers would be
present at each of the 4 000 polling stations. Registrar General Tobaiwa
Mudede has said that 5.1 million people are currently registered to vote and
that 566 parliamentary candidates - 92 of them independents - will stand in
the country's fifth general election since independence from Britain in
1980.

Zimbabwe will use traditional wooden ballot boxes because they are still
credible and readily available, he said at the weekend, adding that
transparent ballot boxes used in other countries to guard against fraud
would be a burden to taxpayers. Election officials were meanwhile starting
to accredit foreign observers and journalists on Monday - at a cost of $100
each.

The United Nations pulled out of the electoral process on Friday after
accusing the government of reneging on an agreement letting it co-ordinate
the international observer groups. Mugabe countered that he had asked the
United Nations to send observers, not co-ordinators. "That role which the
United Nations wanted to assume is an illegitimate role in my view," he told
some 10 000 enthusiastic supporters at Marondera, 75km south east of Harare.
"The legitimacy of the elections will depend on us and our own judgment,"
the president declared.

Some 16 000 international and local observers will monitor the elections
after a campaign that has seen around 30 people killed in political violence
and the occupation of some 1 500 white-owned farms by squatters led by
veterans of Zimbabwe's independence war.

>From The Star (SA), 12 Jun 2000

Zim opposition threatens violence

Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change has
warned that if it does not win the June 24 and 25 parliamentary elections,
violence could ensue. On Sunday, Grace Kwinje, an MDC national executive
member told about 1 000 supporters at a rowdy rally in Donnypark, Harare
East constituency, that if the MDC did not win 100 of the 120 available
seats this would confirm that the elections had been rigged. "Zimbabweans
are generally a peaceful people. Their only hope for change is the ballot
box. And if their will is subverted, they will have no choice but start to
organise themselves in a different manner that will not be peaceful," she
said.

Kwinje also vowed that an MDC government would immediately set up a truth
and justice commission to expose corruption in the Mugabe government as well
as past atrocities. MDC candidate for Harare East, Tendai Biti, a human
rights lawyer, promised that an MDC government would, within five days of
coming to power, recall Zimbabwean soldiers currently fighting in the
Democratic Republic of Congo's "misadventure". The proposed truth and
justice commission would investigate President Robert Mugabe and anyone else
who might have been involved in the decision to send the troops to the DRC.

The death toll in the violent run-up to elections this month reached 31
after the fatal assault and torture of an opposition campaign worker in a
Zanu-PF detention camp, opposition officials said on Sunday. Fainos Zhou,
21, died on Friday in the Mberengwa district about 300km south-west of
Harare and would be buried in the area on Monday, said Sekai Holland, MDC
candidate in the area.

Robert Mugabe, now 76, told an election rally on Saturday that he would
retire from office only after his party voted him out.

>From BBC News, 12 June 2000

Zimbabwe minister accuses US, Britain

The Zimbabwean foreign minister, Stan Mudenge, has accused the United States
and Britain of trying to destabilise the country before parliamentary
elections later this month. He said both countries supported opposition
parties in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in the region. President Mugabe has
already accused Britain of supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change.

Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations committee in the United States
approved a bill to suspend bilateral American assistance to Zimbabwe until
democracy and the rule of law was restored. The bill, which still must be
approved by the full senate, would help opposition groups mount possible
legal challenges to election results.

>From The Daily News, 12 June 2000

Mugabe threatens fresh invasions

Tarcey Munaku, Political Editor

PRESIDENT MUGABE says there will be an intensification of the wave of farm
occupations after the 24 and 25 June parliamentary election. He told
campaign meetings in the Chikomba District of Mashonaland East at the
weekend: "We would like the war veterans on the farms to remain there
peacefully with no violence. This is not for the purposes of the election.
In fact, soon after the election, the farm occupations will be carried out
more vigorously."

Mugabe said he has ordered war veterans to stay put on all the white-owned
commercial farms they have occupied countrywide and said he alone has the
power to move them out. Mugabe, who is the patron of the Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans Association led by Chenjerai Hunzvi, apparently did
not have any regrets over the violent deaths of five white commercial
farmers at the hands of war veterans, saying the farmers had it coming.

He was addressing a rally attended by about 5 000 people, mostly young
children in school uniforms, at Sadza Growth Point, 210 km south-east of
Harare. He said he and Zanu PF were outraged that the white community teamed
up with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), to campaign for the
rejection of the government-sponsored draft constitution in February because
of the inclusion of the land clause. Worse still, Mugabe said, white
industrialists and farmers had openly backed the MDC financially and
"regimented" the labour force on the farms to support and vote for the MDC
in the parliamentary election.

Referring to David Stevens, a commercial farmer from Macheke, Marondera, who
was shot dead by war veterans on 15 April, Mugabe said in Shona: "Stevens
was the one who started the war. He is the one who started firing and he is
the one whostarted the fight. But when it is shown on BBC and CNN it is put
as if we are the ones who started the war." He said war veterans should
remain on the 1 500 commercial farms they occupy until land redistribution
to blacks is completed. "There is no one who has the power to remove them.
It is us the Presidency who know the time when we will say the comrades
should move off the farms," he said.

Mugabe said his party and the government was not using the farm occupations
as an election strategy to canvass for votes from the land-hungry black
majority. At Zanu PF rallies at Sadza and later at Rudhaka Stadium in
Marondera, party activists led by Mugabe told supporters that the "enemy"
was the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and everyone and everything around
him. "Down with Tsvangirai, down with his wife, down with his children, down
with his totem, down with his dogs, down with even the cup that he drinks
his tea from" were the slogans the crowds were asked to repeat at the
rallies in Chikomba and Marondera.

Mugabe was accompanied by, among others, his wife, Grace, who is a native of
Chikomba, Hunzvi, the Zanu PF candidate for Chikomba, Aeneas Chigwedere,
Zanu PF candidate for the Hwedza parliamentary seat and Sydney Sekeramayi,
Zanu PF parliamentary candidate for Marondera East. Introducing Mugabe to
the crowd at Chikomba, Sekeramayi pointed out that those attending the rally
had done so of their own free will and not forced "as some local newspapers
that do not like us will report".

As he spoke, all the general dealer shops, grinding mills, restaurants,
bottle stores, bars and beerhalls at Sadza Growth Point were closed. They
only opened after Mugabe's departure in the afternoon. Members of the white
farming community near Marondera also attended the rallies. On Saturday from
Bromley to Marondera, 30 kms away, all the shops, butcheries and bottle
stores on farming properties along the Harare to Mutare highway were closed
for business until after the Zanu PF rally at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera.
Some farm workers who spoke to The Daily News said they had been brought to
the rally by their employers.

>From The Daily News, 12 June 2000

War vets unleash new reign of terror

Staff Reporter

WAR veterans and suspected Zanu PF supporters terrorising their opponents in
rural Mashonaland and Midlands, are now targeting the families of people who
have fled from violence in their constituencies. Hordes of war veterans and
Zanu PF supporters ran amok, following the results of the 12-13 February
referendum, attacking supporters of the opposition and white commercial
farmers whom they blamed for the rejection of the Constitutional
Commission's draft constitution.

At least 6 100 villagers have fled from the violence by war veterans and
Zanu PF supporters since April. About 300 of these are living in safe houses
provided in Harare by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, National
Constitutional Assembly, United Parties and some well-wishers.

>From Business Day (SA), 12 June 2000

Envoy 'would also have taken farm'

WASHINGTON - Zimbabwe's US ambassador, Simbi Veke Mubako, a former high
court judge, defended his government's policies by saying that were he back
home he would personally have seized a white-owned farm. Speaking on Friday
at the Freedom Forum, a Washington-based organisation which promotes press
freedom, Mubako vehemently denied that President Robert Mugabe was whipping
up resentment and violence against white farmers as an election ploy.

Zimbabweans had simply "lost patience" with white land owners who, while
publicly acknowledging the need for land reform, were privately unwilling to
part with their "very high standard of living" and incomes that, in some
cases, topped Z$20m a year. "If I were there myself, I would have gone
(onto) one of those farms and taken it," Mubako said. He also pronounced as
"evil" white farmers' efforts to produce crops like tobacco and flowers for
export, even while admitting there was no shortage of domestically grown
food staples.

His stance was applauded by a reporter from the Final Call, a publication
handed out on street corners by followers of Louis Farrakhan, who is
regarded across the US political spectrum as a race-baiter. Mubako
acknowledged that SA President Thabo Mbeki had been trying to raise money
from Saudi Arabia and Nordic countries to enable the Zimbabwe government to
buy land for resettlement.

Mbeki, under fire for seeming to sympathise with Mugabe, told US officials
and the Washington Post editorial board during his recent state visit that
he was seeking to defuse the crisis by arranging money to buy 118 farms
without visible strings attached. Mbeki's plan, as understood and endorsed
by his US interlocutors, was to short-circuit Mugabe's feud with the UK
government.

Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Stanley Mudenge told his Organisation of African
Unity counterparts on May 9, according to the minutes of the meeting, that
London was reneging on an unconditional promise to fund land redistribution
to overthrow Mugabe. On that basis, Mbeki sought to raise funds elsewhere.
On May 25, a senior Mbeki adviser said in Austin, Texas, that Mugabe was
expected to signal his acceptance of Mbeki's arrangement the following
Monday, May 29, by calling a halt to land invasions and demanding a return
to rule of law.

Mubako was asked last Friday whether Mugabe's failure to issue such a
statement on May 29 or subsequently signalled a rejection of Mbeki's
mediation and demonstrated that Mugabe was less interested in resettling
rural Zimbabweans than exploiting the land issue for political effect. He
replied that Mbeki's diplomatic efforts were "ongoing" and had not been
rejected by Harare. However, the funding Mbeki had promised was not
"actually there".

The ambassador also accused a reporter of racism for seeking to confirm
whether he and his colleagues at Zimbabwe's US embassy had not recently been
paid, as reported, due to the government's shortage of foreign exchange.
Mubako went on to say his government was justified in refusing its
opposition access to the state-owned airwaves in the run-up to elections
since the media coverage of the government was "totally unfair".

>From The Daily News, 12 June 2000

Gross human rights violations unearthed

Conrad Nyamutata

THE International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) based in
Denmark has unearthed several cases of gross human rights violations in
Zimbabwe during the run-up to the election. The IRCT undertook a
fact-finding visit to Zimbabwe between 29 May and 6 June before compiling
the report. The organisation concluded: "The current situation indicates
that organised violence and torture are taking place on a very large
scale..." The IRCT delegation included Maria Piniou-Kalli, the president of
the organisation and Soraya Usmani Martinez, the secretary-general. In the
report, the organisation said it found cases of physical and psychological
torture and disruption of communities through intimidation and violence. The
international body made recommendations following interviews and testimony
from 10 victims of violence. In all the cases, the persecution resulted in
anxiety, depression and pain. Most of them were members of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

"Objective findings of physical and psychological torture were found in all
10 cases," said the IRCT. "There is evidence that mass psychological torture
is occurring. Three cases illustrate torture being used to renounce
political party affiliations. There is evidence of community disruption
through intimidation and violence against health workers and teachers."

The visit by IRCT follows a terror crusade launched by suspected Zanu PF
supporters against members of the MDC since the rejection of the draft
constitution in the referendum held in February this year. At least 28
people have died, and 6 500 people, mostly villagers in the rural areas,
have fled their homes in fear of persecution. The IRCT delegation came to
Zimbabwe following a request by Amani Trust, local violence monitors, to
conduct research. Amani acts as IRCT's regional co-ordinating centre for
Africa.

The organisation made some recommendations. "It is imperative that the
Zimbabwe government sign and ratify the United Nations Convention against
torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and
punishment as soon as possible," said IRCT. "There should be independent
judicial commissions appointed to investigate all gross human rights
violations. A policy of reparations should be developed and implemented. The
policy should include restitution, compensation and rehabilitation."

The organisation said mass psychological torture came in the form of forced
attendance of pungwes (overnight meetings), beatings and humiliation of
people in front of their communities. Attendance at these events was clearly
under duress for many, the organisation said. References to "re-education"
gave the impression of mass psychological torture. IRCT said violence had
caused disruptions. Through interviews of victims, the organisation had
noticed health services had been disrupted after hospitals were closed and
ambulances stopped from carrying victims. Some places were being used for
torture. In Mashonaland East, the Zexcom office at Murehwa Growth Point was
known as a torture house, the organisation noted. Chipesa Farm in Marondera
was also a centre for the planning and implementation of violence. The farm,
owned by Iain Kay, was invaded by war veterans. In Karoi, the Zanu PF
offices in the high-density suburb of Chikangwe were being used to house a
militia. The group chanted slogans and sang all night, bringing opposition
members for beatings at the offices.

IRCT said there had also been serious allegations that the surgery belonging
to Chenjerai Hunzvi, the war veterans leader, has been used as a torture
centre. Rape has been reported, and at least 12 cases have been attended to
by non-governmental organisations. There were also reports of mass rapes.
Some nurses had allegedly been raped at Nyadire Mission Hospital.

IRCT said Zimbabwe has had a history of gross human rights violations over
the past three decades, including violations during Zimbabwe's liberation
struggle in the 70s. The violations included extra-judicial killings,
physical and psychological torture, rape, mass terror, and disappearances.
While pungwes during that time were characterised by song and dance, they
were also occasions for "political education". Sell-outs and political
opponents were tortured and frequently executed at such meetings. IRCT noted
that the violations witnessed in the 70s were seen after independence when
the North-Korean trained Five Brigade was unleashed in Matabeleland and the
Midlands regions.

The violations are well documented in: Breaking the Silence, a report
produced by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and the Legal
Resources Foundation. The government produced its own report but the
findings were not published. The organisation also cited the food riots in
1998, when the police and the army assaulted demonstrators. The organisation
also noted the kidnapping and torture of journalists Mark Chavunduka and Ray
Choto of The Standard by the army.

Comment from The Daily News, 12 June 2000

Mbeki does not back illegal farm invasions

Pius Wakatama

OF late there has been a lot of hullabaloo, in the government Press, about
how the region is supporting Zimbabwe's land policy. The headlines are
blazoned in such large type as though the support of this or that country
makes our despicable acts righteous. The so-called support of South Africa,
Lesotho, Zambia and Namibia is nothing but cold comfort. It will not change
the fact that our country, which was a first class republic with unlimited
potential is now a broke pariah state, which is the laughing stock of the
civilised world.

After carefully reading the reports of the so-called support, I came to the
conclusion that our neighbours support the policy of land redistribution but
not the lawless way we are going about it. Not one regional leader has said
that they support the illegal farm invasions. Regional leaders should indeed
support land reform because, like us, they have land imbalances in their own
countries.

All self-respecting Africans support the policy of land reform. Without it
the liberation war would have been fought in vain. In Zimbabwe opposition
parties, civil society and ordinary citizens have made it clear that there
is need for land redistribution. However, they are aware that the
government's opportunistic and populist way of handling the land issue will
not lead to land reform.

Our economy hinges on agriculture. The land issue should, therefore be
handled in an intelligent and deliberate manner, and not haphazardly as a
political ploy to win the votes of the uneducated, land hungry rural folk.
The approval of violence and lawlessness by the government, which is
supposed to be the custodian and enforcer of the law, is abhorrent to most
Zimbabweans.

Regional leaders too, realise the danger of encouraging lawlessness. They
would not like the anarchy that is taking place in Zimbabwe to spill over
into their own countries. They would like to see land redistributed in an
orderly, peaceful and just way, which will not harm their fragile economies.

President Mbeki is no fool. It is most unlikely that a man like Nelson
Mandela could have made a mistake in his choice of a successor. He realises
that nothing will be gained by antagonising our rather irrational and
belligerent President Robert Mugabe. He, therefore, embarked on a soft
diplomatic approach to diffuse the already volatile situation in Zimbabwe.
Denouncing Mugabe directly, as a despot and tyrant, would put him in a
corner and all hell might break loose.

This is why he quietly raised $560 million to buy farms for redistribution
in Zimbabwe, on a willing-seller, willing-buyer basis. This money will be
channelled through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This is
good thinking on the part of Mbeki because, then our Zanu PF kleptomaniacs
will not be able to get their fingers on it. The UNDP will certainly make
sure that the acquired land will be distributed in such a manner as to be
productive and in an equitable and transparent way designed to benefit the
poor.

Much as I appreciate Mbeki's soft diplomatic approach, I am still rather
sceptical. I know my president. He is full of guile, cunning and intrigue.
The land issue was not a serious matter to him at all, otherwise he would
have dealt with it ten years ago. It was a devious scheme to put Chenjerai
Hunzvi and his murderous thugs on white-owned farms to terrorise the farmers
and their workers who had come out en masse in support of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change. Right now white farmers and their workers
are being "re-educated" to support a party they detest. Those who showed any
resistance were tortured or murdered in cold blood.

Mbeki has put Mugabe in a quandary. Accepting the offer means accepting what
<BR>he regards as "foreign interference" in the form of the UNDP. Not
accepting it might mean losing the only real friend he has. He is at the
same time afraid of accepting the offer because it will mean removing the
war veterans from occupied farms, thus losing his trump card in the
elections. He is, therefore now stalling by accusing the UNDP of trying to
derail the land acquisition process. He also says he does not want the 841
already designated farms only but all white owned farms.

President Njoma of Namibia also publicly supported Zimbabwe. He recently
enthusiastically joined Mugabe in shouting out-dated communistic slogans
against so-called imperialism and neo-colonialism. He is respected for his
role in freeing his country from white oppression, but he is no intellectual
or moral giant. Instead of retiring so that someone else could take the
lead, he shamelessly changed the constitution to make it possible for him to
remain in power. He also let Mugabe fast talk him into going into the
Democratic Republic of Congo when South Africa had sensibly refused to go.
However, lets give him the benefit of the doubt and hope that he is on the
soft diplomatic approach.

I love the Sotho people. They are some of the most beautiful people on
earth. I have been to their mountain kingdom and have enjoyed their
unstinting hospitality and their care-free approach to life. However, their
leaders' support of Zimbabwe does not mean much. The recent political
history of the tiny impoverished state leaves much to be desired. Had it not
been for the intervention of South Africa and neighbouring states, Lesotho
would have gone up in flames. One hopes that peace can be maintained there
for the people are so impoverished that they need all their energies just to
eke out a living.

Zambia recently joined the chorus in support of Zimbabwe's land policy.
However, one has to view their enthusiastic support with suspicion for they
are busy courting Zimbabwe's disgruntled white farmers to their own country.
Unlike Zimbabwe, Zambia has investor-friendly laws which allow government to
offer land for free or at a minimal fee to investors who promise to invest
in the country's long-neglected agriculture industry.

Even though Mbeki might not succeed with Mugabe, his philosophy and
diplomacy have to be applauded. With leaders like him, there is hope for
Africa, yet. The idealistic and philosophical African Personality and
negritude are still alive on the continent even though wounded and limping.
His vision of an "African Rennaisance" has rekindled hope in the hearts of
those of us who look beyond the mundane. Let us give the man who has put on
Madiba's mantle a chance.

Comment from The Sunday Times (SA), 11 June 2000

Mad Bob creating the Marxist land of his dreams

Stephen Mulholland - Another Voice

It is ironic that events in another country have caused so much fear and
anxiety among those South Africans who worry about their futures and those
of their families. These people are not all white and are not all
property-owners, although many are. People of colour wouldn't want what is
happening in Zimbabwe to happen here. Only those who would benefit, through
the abuse of power, would wish to be run by an egomaniacal dictator whose
response to political reverse is to terrorise, torture and kill not only his
opposition but anyone he perceives to be even a potential threat.

And some are victimised merely to discourage others. Thus Indian merchants
and property-owners have been pushed around in much the same manner that the
crazed Idi Amin treated these law-abiding citizens whose only sin seems to
be achieving success through hard work. Mugabe's murderous thugs have
targeted black teachers and health workers simply
because, being educated, they can discern what is going on. This reminds one
of Pol Pot's mass murder of his own people, and the Russian and Chinese
habit of sending intellectuals for re-education, as collectivist
brainwashing was known. Simple people are warned that the vote is not secret
and that voting for the opposition is a certain death sentence. Good luck to
the international monitors who will try to convince them otherwise.

No one can accuse London's left-wing Guardian newspaper of sympathising with
colonialism or propertied whites and Indians. Last week, its reporter wrote:
"In the run-up to the elections on June 24-25, Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has
unleashed a widespread campaign of violence against the opposition which has
taken at least 30 lives. Thousands more opposition supporters have been
beaten, raped and tortured." Zimbabwean police were apparently helpless to
act against Mugabe's anarchic mobs of so-called war veterans as they ignored
court orders, wantonly destroyed property, terrorised and killed farmers,
their families and their workers and illegally occupied farms.

But the police quickly discovered teargas and their courage when riots broke
out this week at petrol stations as the fuel crisis intensified. Mad Bob
blamed the Brits for not delivering oil for which Zimbabwe cannot pay
because it is spending what is left of its foreign exchange on its forces in
the Congo, there to protect the diamond interests of Mugabe and his criminal
buddies.

It was former President Nelson Mandela who remarked that tyrants are often
loathe to give up power because it means that their successors may well go
after them for the crimes they committed while in office. And it was
Archbishop Desmond Tutu who charged Mugabe with being a caricature of the
likes of Idi Amin, Milton Obote, Mobutu Sese Seko and other dictators who
have damaged the image of African leadership.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwean businesses, forced by economic and political turmoil
to either shut down or cut back, have been identified by Mugabe's hit men to
be dealt with after the election. In Mugabe's tortured imagination, a
tourist operator who shuts down because there are no tourists is a traitor
and, even worse, someone who wants to put Zanu-PF in a bad light because of
losses of jobs and foreign exchange earnings.

As election fever rises, Mad Bob took to the hustings this week to proclaim
that his government would seize all white-owned land and that any whites
with land in Zimbabwe would be the beneficiaries of our charity. After the
choice bits have been dished out to his cronies, the landless will be given
commercial farms to squat which, of course, will ruin the country's
agronomy. Mad Bob will then have what he has always pined for, a Marxist
enclave in which his word is law and God help anyone who steps out of line.

>From Reuters, 12 June 2000

Zimbabwe Farmers Report Fresh Land Invasion, Attacks

By Darren Schuettler

HARARE - Zimbabwean farmers Monday reported fresh land invasions and attacks
by liberation war veterans, and foreign observers finalized plans to monitor
parliamentary elections next week. The latest invasions occurred as
Zimbabwe's foreign minister accused the United States and Britain at a
weekend rally of teaming up to destabilize the country before the June 24-25
poll.

The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) said a farmer had suffered cuts and
bruises when he was attacked by a dozen men who had set up a roadblock
outside his Poltimore farm in the Wedza area southeast of Harare. ``One of
them hit him over the back of the head with a chain. He had some stitches
but he is doing fine,'' a CFU spokesman said. Two more farms in the eastern
Manicaland area were occupied over the weekend. It happened without
incident, the CFU said, but added that intimidation of opposition supporters
in rural areas continued.

At least 28 people, mainly supporters of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), have died and hundreds have been beaten, raped or
forced to flee their homes in the last few months. In the latest incident,
MDC activist Finos Zhau, 23, died on Friday after he and his brother were
abducted and beaten by suspected supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party, the
MDC said in a statement Sunday.

Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge warned the United States and Britain not to
support opposition parties in Zimbabwe and other countries in southern
Africa, saying the region was ready to repulse their ``evil attempts.''
``Today they have targeted Comrade (President Robert) Mugabe and the ZANU-PF
government,'' Mudenge told a rally Sunday, according to the state-owned
Herald newspaper.

``Tomorrow it is going to be Comrade (President Sam) Nujoma and his SWAPO in
Namibia, then Comrade (President Thabo) Mbeki and his African National
Congress in South Africa, and then the whole region,'' he told 8,000
supporters in the Masvingo area. Mugabe, whose ZANU-PF party is facing a
stiff challenge from the MDC, has accused Britain of backing the opposition
party. In the United States, the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee
last week approved a bill to suspend bilateral U.S. assistance to Zimbabwe
until democracy and the rule of law are restored. The bill, which must still
be approved by the full Senate, would help opposition groups to mount
possible legal challenges to the election results or repressive practices.

``We are saying no to this whole evil system and Africa is prepared to fight
back,'' Mudenge said. ``We condemn everything they are doing and if it is
going to be a war between blacks and whites, so let it be.''

MDC officials told the Commonwealth Observer Group Monday that their efforts
to ensure a free and fair election were too little and too late.
``Conditions for free and fair elections do not exist here,'' MDC director
of elections Paul Nyathi told the Commonwealth team. ``Thousands of young
people are missing from the election roll and have therefore been
disenfranchised. The violence supported by ZANU-PF has been another major
factor,'' he said. Former Nigerian President Abdulsalami Abubakar, who is
heading the Commonwealth observer delegation, declined to respond to
Nyathi's comments.

Representatives of the European Union, the Southern African Development
Community, the Commonwealth, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern
Africa and the Organization of African Unity are among the thousands of
foreign and local observers monitoring the campaign and the elections
themselves. The United Nations said Friday it had pulled out of the election
process after the government rejected its offer to co-ordinate the
international observers.

``If they (the United Nations) wanted to send observers, they were free to
do so, but they cannot appoint themselves co-ordinators of sovereign
observer missions,'' Jonathan Moyo, a senior member of the party's campaign
directorate, told Reuters.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the withdrawal of the U.N. team confirmed
the MDC's argument that the process was fundamentally flawed and a free and
fair vote was impossible. ``For an African secretary-general of the U.N.
(Kofi Annan) to show his displeasure in this way is a serious commentary on
the actions of an African despot,'' Tsvangirai said Sunday. Tsvangirai urged
all other international groups of observers to stay "to bear witness to the
appalling human rights violations taking place in Zimbabwe today'' and ``to
give our people the sense of security to...cast their votes.''

The 160-member EU mission has offered other foreign missions ``assistance
and support'' in the wake of the United Nations' departure. Government
opponents blame ZANU-PF supporters and self-styled veterans of Zimbabwe's
1970s liberation war for the violence that followed the invasion of hundreds
of white-owned farms since February by pro-government militants.

>From The Daily News, 12 June 2000

MDC chairman flees Murehwa

Staff Reporter

FIDELIS Madziva, the chairman of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in
Murehwa, fled last week after his homestead was set on fire by suspected
Zanu PF supporters. Madziva, of Chidawaya Village, was seriously assaulted
before his property was set ablaze. A relative, who refused to be named,
said Madziva was receiving treatment at the Avenues Clinic in Harare. The
MDC is paying for his medical expenses. The relative said 12 Zanu PF
supporters led by a youth leader in Murehwa found Madziva preparing his
harvested maize at his homestead. The group demanded MDC membership cards
and money he was using for campaigning.

Madziwa told them he did not have the cards and money. "They immediately
started assaulting him with sticks and iron bars," he said. "He fell
unconscious." The gang went on to burn his hut, a bedroom and a granary. His
harvested maize stored in a granary was destroyed. The relative said the
Zanu PF supporters destroyed Madziwa's mattress. They took MDC cards and
some food. Madziva reported the matter to Musami Police, who could not act.
He said Madziva did not go to Musami Hospital, fearing the Zanu PF militants
would pursue him and "finish him off."

Madziva brought his two grandsons to Harare. His wife, who had gone to
hospital, returned to find the homestead burnt. She has sought accommodation
elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Etwell Gumbo, the campaign manager for Jasael Chimbendure, the
Zimbabwe Union of Democrats (ZUD) candidate for Gokwe North, has also fled
from the Midlands area after threats from suspected Zanu PF supporters.
Gumbo said he had to leave because the police were not taking any action
against the culprits. "We cannot campaign because of the threats," he said.
"We had a meeting with the police but they are not helping." Some ZUD
supporters were abducted by suspected Zanu PF members and forced to buy Zanu
PF party membership cards at $26 each, said Gumbo. Chimbendure fled Gokwe
last Monday but decided to return on Wednesday.

Meanwhile three members of the MDC say police officers watched helplessly
while a gang of suspected war veterans and Zanu PF supporters tortured them
about eight kilometres from Mataga Growth Point in Mberengwa East. The three
were among five MDC youth leaders who went to Mberengwa on 3 June to
campaign for Sekai Holland, the party's candidate for Mberengwa East.
Simbarashe Muchemwa, 25, one of the victims, was still in pain as he related
their ordeal to The Daily News on Friday. He sustained bruises and burns to
the back, the crotch and the belly after their tormentors burnt him with
plastic. They also whipped him. His torturers are still at large.

Muchemwa said their truck ran out of diesel while they were going to
Zvishavane. They went back to Mberengwa to buy diesel. Upon their return,
they were suddenly surrounded by a gang of strangers. "There were more than
20 men who were very friendly at first. We were surprised when they turned
hostile, tied our hands and feet and began kicking and whipping us all over
and calling us "traitors." Muchemwa said they asked him about his rural home
and when he said that he came from Buhera, they said everyone from Buhera
supported the MDC. Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, comes from Buhera.

"Some members of the gang undressed me, lit plastic paper and took turns to
torture me, Muchemwa said, still in agony. "It was the most painful
experience I have ever had. I screamed and pleaded with them to release me
but they would not listen. What hurt me most is that some policemen stopped
in a truck while we were being tortured. They did not do anything. "They
told us that their leader, Big Chitoro, was coming the following morning to
gouge out our eyes and I began planning to escape." Muchemwa managed to
escape during the night.

Meanwhile, their torturers released Muchemwa's colleagues and set their
truck, a Toyota Hilux, on fire. A Good Samaritan gave Muchemwa a lift to
Zvishavane General Hospital. He said he asked to be discharged on Thursday
last week after some people came to the hospital looking for him.

>From The Star(SA), 12 June 2000

Free polls in Zim 'a mission impossible'

The Zimbawe election was beyond the point where it could be remotely free
and fair, an observer mission from the Democrat Union of Africa (DUA) has
concluded. In a report released on Monday in Cape Town, the DUA called for
the intensification of Zimbabwe's isolation by the international community,
to pressure President Robert Mugabe into levelling the playing field. "The
atmosphere of fear favours the ruling party, to the disadvantage of the
opposition," it said.

The DUA, a forum for 22 centre-right Christian democrat parties, sent
observers to Zimbabwe in May, who spoke to representatives of civil society,
business figures, opposition parties and the government. The report said the
election campaign in the urban areas had so far been free enough. However,
in the rural areas - especially in or near occupied farms - intimidation and
intolerant behaviour made for substantially unfree conditions.

"The DUA delegation concluded that despite the relative calm that has been
restored in some areas, the impact of recent events and intimidation, even
the mere presence of farm invaders, has already had its impact and will
influence voting behaviour in favour of the ruling party," the report said.

"The election campaign and process is beyond the point where it could be
remotely free and fair." The single most unfair aspect of the current
political system was the Lancaster House constitution, which allowed
President Robert Mugabe to appoint 30 MPs, meaning in effect that Zanu-PF
needed to win only 46 of the 120 elected seats to stay in power. It said
evidence had emerged of widespread misuse of state assets, including public
transport, by the ruling party in the campaign. The delimitation of
constiutencies showed evidence of gerrymandering in that some urban areas,
where opposition parties were strong, were now combined with rural ruling
party strongholds.

Free political activity and organisation were undermined by the requirement
that forced party leaders to apply to the police commissioner for permission
to hold rallies or public meetings. In a number of cases this permission was
delayed long enough to disrupt free political activity. The only way to
create a more level playing field would be to secure more independent
observers, implement a voter education programme emphasising the secrecy of
the ballot, and removing Mugabe's power to appoint the 30 seats.

New National Party leader Marthinus van Schalkwyk, whose party is a member
of the DUA, said though Zimbabwe would go through the motions of an
election, the poll could not be called free or fair. All that could be hoped
was that loss of life and intimidation were kept at a minimum. He challenged
President Thabo Mbeki, when he adresses Parliament on Tuesday, to have the
courage to distance himself unambiguously from Mugabe and Zanu-PF, and stand
up for his own vision of an African renaissance. DUA chairman David Malatsi,
who is also the NNP's leader in Mpumalanga, said the DUA would have a
ten-member delegation in Zimbabwe during the polls.

>From The Star (SA), 12 June 2000

SA's decision awaits Zim poll - Pahad

South Africa would only take a stand on election conditions in Zimbabwe
after the poll, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad said on Monday.
Meanwhile, South Africa should seek to help ensure that tension abated in
that country so that the elections could go ahead, he told reporters in
Pretoria. "Our main objective has to be to meet all groups to try to ensure
that conditions are created for the easing of tensions, (and) that the
election does take place."

Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon at the weekend expressed doubt
on whether the June 24-25 elections in Zimbabwe could be free and fair. Last
week, the United Nations withdrew its election monitors from Zimbabwe after
being barred from co-ordinating the monitoring operations from the
Commonwealth, the European Union and other organisations. Violent
occupations of white-owned Zimbabwean farms by militants of the ruling
Zanu-PF party have claimed at least 30 lives since February. Most of the
victims were supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Pahad on Monday said South Africa's own observers would only report back
after the elections. "I have to wait for (them) ... to inform me what their
analysis is. I can't sit here and analyse whatis going on there," he said.
"We will wait for... the reports about the situation there, on basis of
which we will also have to make some judgement."

Pahad reiterated that a return to stability in Zimbabwe was vital for South
Africa and the Southern African region. "Our two economies are relatively
competitive. Those two economies must be the bedrock on which we carry out
the economic transformation in the Southern African Development Community,"
Pahad said.

>From The Daily News, 12 June 2000

Conflicting statements over fate of missing voters

Staff Reporter

THERE are conflicting statements from the Registrar-General's office and
different political parties on whether or not registered voters whose names
have been omitted from the roll can vote in the 24 and 25 June parliamentary
election. Zanu PF spokesperson, Chen Chimutengwende, this week said names of
people who registered before 16 April but were missing from the roll would
be inserted on a supplementary roll. People whose names appear in the
supplementary roll can either vote or be candidates, he said.

"My name was omitted so I filled in another form and was told it would be
included in the supplementary roll," said Chimutengwende. "I was told the
name would appear in a final roll at the end of the inspection. I enquired
from the Registrar-General, and he explained to me that people with names
appearing on the supplementary roll would be able to vote. There is no
difference between the main and the supplementary roll, so people are just
making a lot of noise about nothing."

Paul Themba Nyathi, of the MDC, said he was not very clear on the procedure
and would seek clarification from Mudede. He said Mudede last week gave him
the impression that names missing from the roll would be included in the
supplementary roll. While under normal circumstances people whose names
appeared in the additional roll should be able to vote, said Nyathi, this
depended on whether or not there was time to inspect the supplementary roll.
He said: "I am not very clear on whether or not they would be able to vote,
but I will try to get clarification because we need to assure people whose
names are missing about what is going to happen."

On the other hand, two registration officers, one at David Livingstone
School in Harare Central constituency and the other at Ellis Robins School
in Harare North, yesterday said that people whose names appeared on the
supplementary roll would not be able to vote. They could only vote in the
presidential elections in 2002, they said. They said it was highly unlikely
that someone's name could be omitted. Mudede refused to comment.

Scores of people have called The Daily News saying they had been turned away
without being offered recourse after failing to find their names on the
voters' roll. Registration of voters is still open up to tomorrow.

>From The Daily News, 12 June 2000

Zimbabweans seek divine intervention

Sandra Nyaira, Political Reporter

Zimbabwe is a nation at prayer. As the country faces its toughest challenges
since independence, thousands of its 13 million citizens are turning to
prayer for salvation. The harsh economic times, compounded by fuel shortages
and the violent socio-political climate, are among some of the major
problems the people are enduring as they brace for the 24-25 June
parliamentary election.

On 25 May Christian churches in Zimbabwe converged at the City Sports Centre
where they dedicated the day to prayer, seeking divine intervention on the
socio-economic and political problems facing Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe Council of
Churches (ZCC) secretary-general Densen Mafinyane said churches have
resorted to prayer when times are harsh. Citing traditional areas of prayer
such as Matopos and Great Zimbabwe for rains, peace and good harvests,
Mafinyane said: "The ZCC and other Christian churches are simply emphasising
that life is sacred and it belongs to God. It must be maintained and saved
according to God's will."

He said the problems facing the country were of major concern to the
churches, especially the political violence that has killed more than 30
people, including five commercial farmers, a farm manager and mostly
opposition party members. "Zimbabwe belongs to God and He is the owner of
the country and its resources. That is why the churches are saying we need
to call for divine intervention by calling for national prayers," said
Mafinyane. "As churches, we have no other source of peace except that given
by God."

At most gatherings now, devotions at the beginning revolve mainly around the
economic hardships. Most of the prayers focus on national leadership
shortcomings, corruption, political violence and police inaction in dealing
with the widespread lawlessness. Zimbabweans are now appealing for divine
intervention for lasting solutions to their problems. Hope is not lost.
Those at prayer meetings draw inspiration from biblical teachings that where
there is faith, the Lord will eventually ease the pain, suffering, brutality
and deprivation of His children.

Examples are being cited from the Book of Exodus where the children of
Israel were delivered from the autocracy, oppression and brutality of
Egyptian rule to the promised land of Canaan after intense prayers. In
another example in the Book of Daniel, three men Shadreck, Misheck and
Abednigo were saved from the jaws of death after they had been thrown into
an inferno by the oppressive King Nebuchadnezzar. The Babylonian autocrat
forced all his subjects to worship an idol, but the three Jewish exiles
flatly refused to comply with the pagan order and insisted that salvation
could only come from God.

"There are a lot of biblical references which are finding new importance and
significance in the continued social and political struggle of Zimbabweans.
As a result, the nation has taken to prayer to seek deliverance," said
Tongai Dziva, a staunch Christian with the United Methodist Church.

About 75 percent of the population in Zimbabwe is Christian. "The whole
nation is in a state of prayer and looking up to examples provided in the
Old Testament and New Testament for spiritual guidance," said Dziva.

Some sections of the church say Zimbabwe is facing a kairos (Greek for a
moment of decision or truth) amid heightened calls for the church to preach
and practise the theology of liberation. "There is now this collision and
harmonisation of various theological and Christian experiences," said
another Christian, Tichaona Hove, "which Zimbabweans are looking up to for
solutions to their problems, particularly in the wake of government inaction
in the face of political violence."

Prayers at National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) meetings aptly capture the
concern and near hopelessness of the people. "Lord, we behest You to instil
in President Mugabe, love and compassion for his citizens. We appeal to him
through You to soften his heart by making him desist from the path of
dictatorship," cried one leader during an NCA prayer meeting, to thunderous
echoes of "Amen!"

NCA spokesman and human rights lawyer, Brian Kagoro, in his prayer, asked
for divine intervention and God's guidance as the country goes through its
roughest patch. He asked the Creator to strengthen the will of those seeking
to remove the Zanu PF government from power. "The nation is facing a crisis
of expectation at all levels, be it in companies, business organisations,
soccer teams or the judiciary," said Hove. "We have reached an overheated
level of expectation to a point where people feel only the spiritual world
can liberate them and fulfil the nation's cherished expectations for peace,
freedom, tolerance, harmony and unity."

Kagoro says the series of prayers should be looked at in four ways. "The
first one is the belief by some people that our problems are insurmountable
and that hope lies in divine intervention. People think that things have
become so bad that it is beyond human remedy and that God alone can
transform the present state of affairs," says Kagoro. Resorting to prayer,
he says, is an indication of patriotism. "Usually people pray over things
that are of great personal importance to them, but now they are beginning to
value their nation so much."

Kagoro says turning to prayer could be an escape route for those who cannot
be seen to be actively advocating for change. "Whatever reason, it works for
the country. It is positive in that people have not become so despondent
that they have lost all hope. You do not pray over a situation you want to
run away from. The people treasure Zimbabwe."

In light of the State-sanctioned violence, which has resulted in many
deaths, turning to prayer is an awakening of moral consciousness on the
sanctity of human life, says Kagoro. "The evil that has occurred has
awakened people to the awareness of human life and because of the racial
undertones of some of the things, this has forced the nation to begin to
discuss again nationhood, oolitical relevance and participation."

But, adds Kagoro, the people should rise up from the prayer mode and deliver
themselves from their suffering. "The economic and political problems we are
facing have forced us to our knees, but from our knees we should stand up
and move into action and do the things we believe in. God Himself is not
going to walk from heaven and vote for us. If God is going to do anything on
this earth, He is going to use men and women."

Adds Dziva: "There should be clarity in our hearts and minds as to what we
need to do as people who believe in God as we face this bleak situation
where we have a ruling party that celebrates its violent tendencies and the
total collapse of the rule of law."

>From The Daily News, 12 June 2000

Banana's sentence too short: Galz

Staff Reporter

KEITH Goddard, the programmes manager for the Gays and Lesbians Association
of Zimbabwe says the sentence imposed on former President, Canaan Sodindo
Banana, is inappropriate. Goddard said in a statement: "Heterosexual rape
carries a sentence of seven years. Justice Chidyausiku is on record as
saying that no distinction should be made between homosexual and
heterosexual rape. It is strange then to see that he has made an obvious
exception in this case and that the Supreme Court has upheld this glaring
discrepancy."

Banana was sentenced to seven years and one month in prison accompanied by a
$500 fine. Two years were for six counts of indecent assault. The $500 fine
and six years and one month of the jail sentence were suspended on condition
that Banana pays Jefta Dube, one of his victims, $250 000 compensation and
does not commit similar offences within the next three years.

The Supreme Court made a ruling on 29 May that Banana should serve a
one-year jail term for 11 counts of sexual offences, including two of
sodomy. It set aside the sentence imposed on Banana last year including $500
000 restitution and imposed its own which considered that in modern times, a
jail term was not proper in cases where consensual sodomy is practised in
privacy.

Goddard said the issue of compensating Dube was "nonsensical." Banana began
serving his sentence at Connemara Prison, near Kwekwe, on Friday. Goddard
was critical of Justice Nicholas McNally, who handed down the judgement,
saying he spoke from a position of ignorance. "Justice McNally's judgement
demonstrates, at the very least, abysmal ignorance of equality jurisprudence
and at worst it is merely a piece of sophistry," Goddard said. "McNally
speaks from a position of total ignorance. Quoting Gelfand as a religious
source invites scorn. The man is totally discredited as an anthropologist
and his single comment on homosexuality being rare amongst the Shona has
been proven totally wrong by more recent professionally conducted research,"
he said.

The full Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay,
Justices Nicholas McNally, Ali Ebrahim, Simbarashe Muchechetere and Wilson
Sandura, upheld Banana's conviction and sentence in the High Court.

>From BBC News, 12 June 2000-06-12

Cycles seized in Harare

The authorities in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, are reported to have
seized hundreds of bicycles from commuters who failed to pay their annual
registration fee of one dollar.

The government-owned Herald newspaper says scores of people had to walk home
after work when their cycles were seized.



Keep up the momentum!

Regards,

MDC Support Centre
8th Floor, Gold Bridge
Eastgate
Harare

Guqula Izenzo/Maitiro Chinja

"Freedom has always been an expensive thing. History is fit testimony to the
fact that freedom is rarely gained without sacrifice and self-denial."
(Martin Luther King)



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