War vets extort 28
6/13/02 9:25:15 AM (GMT +2)
From Chris Gande in Bulawayo
AS cases of extortion rise in Matabeleland South, war veterans are alleged
to have forced a farmer in the province to “pay” them 28 heifers as an
inducement for them to allow him to graze his cattle on one of his designated
The farmer, who declined to be named, is a leading supplier of beef to
government institutions, including all the major hospitals, and several other
private institutions in Matabeleland.
But he would not discuss the issue for fear the publicity would aggravate
his plight, which appeared to have subsided after he had “paid” the heifers to
the alleged war veterans.
Sources within the extortionate group claiming to be war veterans yesterday
said the farmer had been warned that by December this year he would have to part
with more beasts if he wanted his cattle to continue grazing at the designated
To add to the farmer’s woes, poaching of both wild animals and cattle on
his property by the settlers who occupy part of the farm has also risen
On Monday, a cow was found caught in a snare at the farm and the police,
who could not comment on the issue, are said to have dealt with the case.
Last week a group of war veterans from the Zimbabwe Liberators’ Platform
(ZLP) visited the farm in an attempt to persuade the invaders to co-exist with
the beleaguered farmer.
Max Ndlovu, the ZLP spokesman, described the situation as absurd, saying it
needed urgent attention.
ZLP, whose members are former Please, turn to freedom fighters from both
Zipra (PF-Zapu) and Zanla (Zanu PF), opposes the chaotic land redistribution
exercise favoured by the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association
Ndlovu said they were not against land reform but were against the
lawlessness on most of the farms.
"We feel the government should protect farmers like this one because they
are an asset to the country.
He should be protected so that he can carry on his business without fear,"
Ndlovu vowed his organisation would expose cases of extortion for the good
of the country.
Ben Zietsman, a Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) official, yesterday said
there was an increase in cases of extortion by farm invaders in Matabeleland.
The provinces, located in the arid agro region Five, are predominantly
cattle country and most farmers in the region are ranchers.
Zietsman said: "Farmers are being forced to pay large sums of money to
graze their cattle. This is now a common thing on the farms."
Last week the CFU reported that two top war veterans had received $6
million in extortion from a farmer who wanted to prevent the designation of his
Freedom fighters from both Zipra and Zanla, opposes the chaotic land
redistribution exercise favoured by the Zimbabwe National Liberation War
Veterans’ Association, from which ZLP broke away.
Ndlovu said they were not against land reform but were against the
lawlessness on most of the farms.
“We feel the government should protect farmers because they are an asset to
the country,” he said.
Ndlovu vowed ZLP would expose instances of extortion for the good of the
Ben Zietsman, a Commercial Farmers’ Union official, said there was an
increase in cases of extortion by farm invaders in Matabeleland.
A double tragedy for Masvingo families
6/13/02 8:11:04 AM (GMT +2)
MISFORTUNES seldom come singly. For Zimbabwe, facing the potential loss of
many lives through starvation, the death of 48 people in two accidents on one of
its highways in one province, barely two days apart, has been one huge
But this highway has claimed the lives of hundreds of other people during
the past 18 years.
That might be a reflection of the volume of the traffic that moves between
this country and South Africa and that it is a more direct route to countries to
But the volume between this country and Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique and
Zambia is quite substantial as well. Perhaps a factor could be the size of the
In times such as these, when a nation reflects on its grievous loss, the
immediate reaction is to blame the human factor.
While this may be true, and could be cited in the two tragedies this week,
because there was no traffic congestion on the two stretches of the
Masvingo-Harare and Masvingo-Beitbridge road, the human element can only be one
of the contributory factors.
Another has to be the size and condition of the road and how safe it can be
for night driving.
It is time the government paid more attention to the size of the country’s
road network than ever before.
An immediate solution, albeit a partial one, would be the introduction of
dual carriageways on such long stretches as the Harare-Masvingo road.
Harare has dual carriageways into the city centre from Borrowdale,
Chitungwiza, Kuwadzana and Mabvuku.
They keep traffic travelling in opposite directions apart and must
contribute to the relative safety of the road users.
In the first bus accident, in which 37 students and a teacher from Masvingo
Teachers’ College were killed, the tragedy would have been avoided.
In the second accident on Tuesday morning in which 11 more lives were lost,
a combination of the presence of the highway patrol and the discipline of the
minibus driver and the conductor and even the passengers themselves could have
ensured the vehicle was not speeding, which apparently it was.
The one common element peculiar to minibuses is that they travel at
extremely fast speeds.
They may get their passengers to their destination in time, but some never
get there at all. This is what happened to the 11 killed in the Chivi accident.
The question of discipline applies to the first accident as well.
If the college, which hired the bus to the sporting function in Harare had
someone disciplined enough to insist on adhering to their original programme,
the tragedy might have not taken place, and they would have travelled during
daylight instead of departing Harare for Masvingo at 6pm on Sunday.
Zimbabwean roads are at their most dangerous at night. While the government
may provide funeral and food expenses, the truth is that the departed loved ones
will never come back.
It is a reality many will begin to awaken to once the dust at the
cemeteries has settled down.
The trauma of not having been able to positively identify sons and
daughters lost in the accident and conduct family rites during burial is another
factor likely to haunt the parents and relatives of those buried in a mass
It might have been helpful, given more time, to resort to forensic
dentistry tests to help identify those burnt beyond recognition. This is where a
strong case could have been made for seeking the assistance of South Africa’s
more advanced technology.
Many troubled souls would have been pacified immensely, as mass burials
with their numbing anonymity would have been avoided.
While there is a genuine outpouring of grief and desire to assist the
affected families, lessons from the past, especially the Regina Coeli bus
disaster, suggest the need for a more watertight administration of public funds
contributed to help the bereaved.
There will be sharks waiting to benefit illicitly from both tragedies.
This time they must not be allowed to prosper from the blood of the
War vets allegedly abduct MDC official in Mutare
6/13/02 9:24:25 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in Mutare
THE MDC vice-chairman for Mutare South, Jonathan Mukwindidza was on Monday
allegedly abducted from his office by two war veterans and a soldier who handed
him to Zanu PF youths.
Mukwindidza, 36, sustained bruises on his arms, legs, hands and face after
the youths assaulted him with sticks and chains. The cadres, based at the
District Development Fund’s premises about 35km south of Mutare, suspected
Mukwindidza of organising an MDC rally which was scheduled for Tuesday in the
Mutare police spokesman, Brian Makomeke, said on Tuesday he was unaware of
the case but would make investigations. Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, was
scheduled to address the meeting on the need for a re-run of the presidential
election which he says was fraudulently won by President Mugabe.
said the gang approached him at his office at PG Safety Glass in Mutare’s
industrial area pretending they were investigating a case in which his cattle
“Upon arrival at the reception, three men asked whether my cattle had been
stolen and if I suspected anyone,” Mukwindidza said. “I was dumbfounded because
no such report was ever made. Immediately, I became suspicious and the men asked
me to step outside, saying they were from the CIO.” He identified his abductors
as Gwarada and Gono.
“When I refused to go, they dragged me, questioning me about my involvement
with the MDC,” he said. “I refused to answer their questions and there was a
scuffle. They overpowered me and threw me into their vehicle.” Charles
Pemhenayi, the Zanu PF spokesman in Manicaland, said if Mukwindidza was indeed
abducted and attacked, then he should report to the police.
He said: “The elections are over, so there is no need to fight. We have not
sent anyone on a bashing spree. He should identify his assailants and let the
police do their job.” Mukwindidza said after the beating, the youths ordered him
to leave their base and go back to his constituency and call off the rally.
“A good samaritan offered me a ride back to Mutare after he saw me
staggering by the roadside but the youths threatened him and he sped off.
“They said I should walk to the city centre. Fortunately, I later hitched a
ride with another good samaritan back to Mutare. “I later reported the case to
our lawyers, MDC officials and the police,” Mukwindidza said.
Import Duty to Be Paid in Foreign Currency?
June 13, 2002
to the web June 13, 2002
THE Zimbabwe government could soon introduce the payment of
all import duty in foreign currency as part of measures to alleviate the
country's severe foreign exchange shortages, it was learnt this week.
Importers, who pay duty in Zimbabwe dollars and at the
official exchange rate of $55 against the US dollar, said the government was
seriously considering the possibility of import duty being paid in hard
"The government is mulling the idea of introducing payment
of import duty in foreign currency," a source told the Financial Gazette. "It is
not yet official and not yet clear whether this will be imposed on all goods,
but they are working on it.
"The government feels that it has been losing a lot of money
under the current system and there is a feeling that introducing payment of
import duty in foreign currency will somehow improve the forex situation."
There was no immediate response to written questions sent to
the Ministry of Industry and International Trade.
But consultant economist John Robertson said it would be
illegal for the government to introduce such a policy because the legal tender
in the country is the Zimbabwe dollar.
He however said the payment of import duties in forex could
be in line with a new government policy that has resulted in tobacco purchases
being made in foreign currency, even by local buyers.
"The government is obliged to use the legal tender for all
legal transactions, but it might be setting a precedent here," Robertson told
the Financial Gazette. "The government is assuming that importers are getting
their foreign currency at the official exchange rate which is not so.
"Imagine what will happen to the prices of these goods.
There is a certain degree of unfairness in the whole thing."
Most importers secure their foreign currency on the parallel
market, where the Zimbabwe dollar is trading at around $750 against the American
If importers are forced to pay tariffs in foreign currency,
many household goods would be further out of reach for most Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwe mainly imports cars and electrical appliances,
whose prices have already shot up by more than 100 percent in the past two
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries chief executive Malvern
Rusike said by coming up with such a policy, the government was assuming that
every importer was an exporter who would have easy access to foreign
He said some importers might fail to import products because
of lack of foreign currency, creating shortages.
"We have not yet heard anything from importers about that
(proposal), but one needs to look at the legislative instruments to see whether
it works,' said Rusike.
"But obviously, this will affect product availability and
the pricing of the imported products."
Trial Farce In Zimbabwe
The trial of the Guardian journalist accused of
writing a false report under Zimbabwe's tough new press freedom laws descended
into farce on Wednesday.
Andrew Meldrum's trial was delayed by two hours while the
magistrate went home to breastfeed her baby. Once a second magistrate was found,
the trial had to be adjourned yet again when it became clear that most of the
state's witnesses, including the prosecution's key figure, had not shown
Meldrum, who has pleaded not guilty to the charge of 'breach
of journalistic privilege' could face two years in prison if the court rules
that he accepted false information on atrocities supposedly committed by ruling
The hearing was attended by Western diplomats and a group of
human rights lawyers.
Trust says 500 000 in urgent need of food countrywide
6/13/02 9:47:08 AM (GMT +2)
The Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe says about 500 000 farm workers,
displaced under the government’s land reform programme were in urgent need of
food. Sophie Hamandishe, the Trust’s communications officer, said about 50
percent of farm workers in Manicaland and Mashonaland East, West and Central
provinces had lost their jobs and were relying on charity to survive.
Hamandishe said: “The dilemma is that the most affected farm workers are
inaccessible. It is not possible to feed such a large number of people.”
Previously, almost all farm workers’ cash income was derived from activities
on the farm, she said.
Hamandishe said the workers’ homes were on the farms and they paid
subsidised prices for food from the farm stores. The organisation had already
started a feeding scheme for about 10 000 farm workers’ children. Hamandishe
said although 80 percent of the affected farm workers remained on the designated
farms, they lived under constant harassment from the new settlers.
In Mashonaland East, 2 594 workers had lost their jobs, affecting 120 000
people, while in Mashonaland West 3 087 farm workers were affected. Hamandishe
said the farm workers’ livelihoods were directly linked to the fate of the farms
on which they worked. The Commercial Farmers’ Union said in April 5 069 farms
had been designated for compulsory acquisition by the government resulting in
the stoppage of all operations as required by Section 8.
Hamandishe said most farm workers had nowhere to go. In three months, farms
which have been served with Section 8 notices would close down, leaving the farm
workers stranded with neither food nor income. In Mashonaland Central, nearly 80
percent of farm workers remained on the designated farms.
In Manicaland, 3 000 worker households have been left without any source of
income, affecting about 18 000 families, mostly women and children. Most of the
farm workers displaced, though Zimbabwean by nationality, were of foreign origin
making it difficult for them to get land in the communal areas.
MDC calls off Mutare rally after threats of violence
6/13/02 9:41:41 AM (GMT +2)
From Brian Mangwende in Mutare
ABOUT 50 so-called war veterans and Zanu PF youths wielding axes, sticks,
logs and bricks yesterday threatened to beat up MDC officials and prevented
Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, from holding a post-election rally in Mutare
Tsvangirai returned to Harare without addressing his supporters after the
youths vowed to beat up MDC top officials and their members if they dared set
foot at the venue of the rally.
Speaking in Mutare, a disappointed Tsvangirai said: “I was invited by
Sidney Mukwecheni, the MP for Mutare South, and the MDC’s provincial executive
to address a rally there, but to my surprise, armed Zanu PF youths and war
veterans camped there and prevented the rally, despite police clearance to hold
I therefore could not proceed.” The opposition leader said it was the first
time since he embarked on his post-election rallies that Zanu PF supporters had
successfully prevented him from holding a rally.
“Zanu PF must take full responsibility for the violence and intimidation
currently going on in the country.
This is the first time they have succeeded in stopping us from holding a
post-election rally. The heat must be on for President Mugabe and that is why
his party is acting in such a desperate manner.”
When The Daily News crew arrived at the scene, Zanu PF supporters armed
with an assortment of weapons and heavily armed riot police were loitering
around the area.
Zanu PF youths paced up and down the Chimanimani road about a kilometre
away from the venue.
Earlier, Mukwecheni escaped unhurt when the Zanu PF youths spotted him at
the venue in the morning. They allegedly threw stones at him, but he sped off.
“I went to set up the tent and chairs, but was stopped by a group of Zanu
PF youths threatening to harm me if I pitched the tent,” Mukwecheni said.
“As I went to my car they started throwing stones at me but I immediately
I met a senior police officer who identified himself as Lupahla. He
escorted me back to the venue, but the youths threatened to stone my car if I
persisted with the programme.
We were therefore forced to call off the rally fearing violence.”
Brian Makomeke, the acting police spokesman in Manicaland, said he was
unaware of the case but promised to investigate.
Tsvangirai urges inclusion of all stakeholders in maize distribution
6/13/02 9:56:55 AM (GMT +2)
The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has accused the government of creating
the current food crisis by its chaotic land reform programme and failure to take
urgent measures to avert a shortage.
In a statement, he said his party was proposing a tripartite distribution
arrangement of maize and maize-meal involving the Grain Marketing Board, local
churches and participating non-governmental organisations. “This mechanism would
be complemented by another arrangement involving the two major political
parties, MDC and Zanu PF, to ensure that the distribution of maize and
maize-meal in the country is fair,” he said.
The MDC has accused Zanu PF of favouring its own members in the
distribution of maize. Tsvangirai said President Mugabe had deliberately misled
the world at the World Food Summit in Rome by claiming that drought had caused
Zimbabwe’s food crisis when it was his government to blame. “At the current rate
of grain consumption, the national food grain reserve stocks will run out at the
end of July,” Tsvangirai said.
He said that the country needed 130 000 tonnes of maize a month, for both
human and livestock consumption. Turning to wheat, the MDC leader warned the
country was expecting a yield of less than 40 percent of last year’s production.
“Contrary to what the Mugabe regime may want to make the world believe, at
urrent consumption rates, wheat grain reserves are running out at the end of
next month,” Tsvangirai said. He said his party was worried because starvation
was becoming a certainty yet the government appeared not to have “the incerity,
moral will nor the capacity to move on the issue with a view to genuinely
“Mugabe wants to use the food shortage as a tool for personal political
expediency as he is denying access to food for any members and suspected
supporters of the opposition.” Tsvangirai accused the government of using the
political structures of Zanu PF in the distribution of grain in the rural areas
where it commanded support.
“The political structures of Zanu PF have been vested with the
of ensuring that people without Zanu PF membership cards are
prevented from buying maize and maize-meal from distribution centres. “Among the
victims are opposition political party members, some church followers and any
persons deemed by Zanu PF to be apolitical,” he said.
Dismissed council chairman speaks out
6/13/02 9:54:34 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in
LEONARD Mhlanga, the former Umguza rural district council chairman “fired”
by so-called war veterans last year has, for the first time, disclosed why he
thinks he fell out with Zanu PF.
Mhlanga was accused by the war veterans of “frustrating the government’s
land reform programme” after he clashed with the Governor for Matabeleland
North, Obert Mpofu.
He said as council chairman, people were asking him when infrastructure
such as clinics, schools, roads and water facilities would be made available to
the newly-resettled farmers. War veterans invaded the council offices in
February last year and ejected Mhlanga and other councillors perceived to be
sympathetic to the MDC.
The war veterans put their own man in place of Mhlanga who was elected.
Mhlanga this week denied he was doing the MDC’s bidding but promoting the wishes
of the majority. He said the comments which annoyed the war veterans were on the
economic impact of the land reform programme on the people’s lives.
“I told the people that the fast track programme was so fast and there was
not time for all these provisions to be in place,” he said. Zimbabwe is facing a
serious maize shortage because of the combined effects of the drought and the
chaotic land redistribution programme which has led to a more than 50 percent
decline in agricultural output.
Mhlanga said he clashed with war veterans who had been sent to invade farms
through which the proposed pipeline for the envisaged Matabeleland Zambezi Water
Project would pass. He said today the same people who invaded farms were being
chased away but when he pointed out that they should not invade the farms he was
branded a traitor. Mhlanga, a war veteran who fought with the Zipra forces of
Joshua Nkomo’s PF Zapu, said no one had fought for the country better than
others. All the freedom fighters fought so that they could develop the country.
Now that the country was free, the land issue must be settled through the
courts. The outspoken former councillor said the suspicion that he was liaising
with the MDC during his term of office was not wrong because even now the
government itself was talking with the opposition party.
Mugabe lost the right to lead Zimbabwe in March
6/13/02 8:14:31 AM (GMT +2)
PRESIDENT Mugabe’s term as Zimbabwe’s President expired at the end of March
The people of Zimbabwe rejected him at the polls. He, however, went on to
say he won the poll in the fullest of knowledge that the people of Zimbabwe had
Believe you me, it could be three months after the poll, but it has not yet
sunk in him that he has to relinquish power.
He cannot believe that the people of Zimbabwe have rejected him but it’s
The media and everybody else should stop addressing him as “President”
because to do so would be insulting the people of Zimbabwe Yesterday he was in
New York and today he is in Rome at the invitation of the United Nations.
The UN should be made aware that Mugabe’s presence at the UN summit is
repugnant to the majority of Zimbabweans and does not represent the interests of
Zimbabwe, but that of Mugabe and company’s personal interests.
He is not interested in the elimination of poverty as he starves his own
people to death. When there is little food available (thanks to the United
States and the European Union), he first feeds himself and his cronies and then
those he believes are his supporters.
Those perceived to be opposition supporters are left to die, including
children that he claimed to be supporting at the recent New York summit.
Let it be clear to the UN that neither Mugabe nor his so-called ministers
are representing Zimbabwe at any level any longer.
All of his most trusted and vocal and bungling ministers are not elected
legislators, but Mugabe’s appointed cronies. They are not accountable to
anybody, but themselves.
Just as an illustration, look at the land distribution. To whom is the land
being distributed? Ask the poor souls who desperately needed land and were
They will give you a good hiding for suggesting that Mugabe wanted to
But you will get a pat on the back if you put the same question to Mugabe’s
Mugabe would want the whole world to believe that he is fighting the whites
in Zimbabwe, Britain and America, but in fact he is fighting innocent desperate
Zimbabweans of all races.
Just ask yourself how many black Zimbabweans his supporters have killed and
how many black families they have displaced.
How many black workers in the farming industry have lost their jobs? And
how many black reporters and editors has he arrested?
If you can answer these questions honestly, then you know whose blood
Mugabe is after.
Why he is doing all this can be answered in just one word: power. The good
news is that we Zimbabweans are aware of our situation and we won’t let this
illegitimate government get away with it.
We won’t accept this situation to go on. We do not want the same nonsense
to repeat itself in all future elections whoever the leader might be.
If Mugabe thinks that he can entice the MDC leadership by offering them
some ministerial posts, then he better think again for the MDC is a
people-driven party that is guided by democratic principles.
Another unelected minister in the shape of Jonathan Moyo has been trying to
take your unbiased newspaper out of commission.
Stand firm and keep telling it like it is. If an illegitimate government is
messing up our economy let’s tell them that they are imposing themselves on the
citizens and they should go back and seek the people’s mandate.
Hatineti John Sega
We are tired of the world’s duplicity and having to listen to the repeated
press comment that "… 70% of the farmland belongs to 'whites' and ..... we
accept the principle of land redistribution (from whom to whom?)....... there is
a racial imbalance. ....30% of all land belongs to 'whites’..” etc.
We are all Zimbabweans and this is pure racial discrimination on the
grounds of skin colour. Remember these facts:
1. 80% of all farms have been purchased since 1980 (Advent of Majority
2. Only 28 % of all land in Zimbabwe is owned by Commercial Farmers of all
3. Where in the world do farmers not own most of the land? Please tell
4. Are the majority of fish and chip shops in England owned by one
racial group? Are the majority of fishermen in Spain one skin colour? Are
most garage owners in Kenya Kikuyu?
4. The fact that farmers are described as having one skin colour or
another contravenes one of the basic principles of the democratic constitutions
of the world – discrimination on the grounds of race.
Help stop the Hypocrisy and get the facts straight.
Stop the nonsense and don’t be influenced by a gullible press that plays to
the tune of the world’s biggest tyrant.
Mugabe and friends fly in the face of travel sanctions
Richard Beeston, Michael Hartnack, Stephen Burgen and Daniel
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his cronies are blatantly
sanctions on Zimbabwe designed to prevent them from
travelling and doing
business in Europe and America.
Only four months
after the EU imposed "smart sanctions" as a punishment for
regime's violent and rigged re-election campaign, its leader,
senior ministers, his police chief and several key officials have
regular visitors to London and other European capitals.
Under the sanctions,
Mr Mugabe and 19 of his senior ministers and military
officers were banned
from travelling to member countries or holding assets
in the EU. Similar
sanctions were imposed by America. Mr Mugabe and others
on the list have,
however, bypassed the system by attending international
meetings or sending
their spouses, who are not yet covered by the ban.
The freezing of assets has
so far netted two accounts in Britain worth
£76,000, but the millions thought
to be deposited abroad remain untouched.
The most galling example of the
failure of the sanctions occurred in Rome
this week when three men on the
banned list - Mr Mugabe, Stan Mudenge, the
Foreign Minister, and Joseph Made,
the Agriculture Minister - attended the
United Nations meeting to discuss
world hunger. Augustine Chihuri, the
Zimbabwean police commissioner, also
bypassed his ban to attend an Interpol
conference in France last month. He
remains the international police
organisation's vice-president for Africa. He
hopes to return this month.
An EU spokesman said that member nations were
powerless to act if those on
the sanctions list were invited to attend
Zimbabwe has made clear that it regards this as a
particularly as international conferences are regularly
hosted in all Europe
's main capitals.
"Mr Mugabe has 25 green lights to
travel anywhere he wishes," said Mr
Mudenge, after he accompanied the
Zimbabwean leader for another UN
conference in New York last month. "The
so-called travel restrictions are
hollow and nothing can restrict a head of
state and cabinet ministers from
executing their duties as they see
Mr Mugabe led a delegation of more than a dozen ministers and officials
UN children's summit in New York last month despite the US travel ban,
was welcomed on the diplomatic circuit.
Before addressing the General
Assembly special session on children on May
10, he attended a banquet given
by the UN Secretary-General and was invited
with his wife to a cocktail party
hosted by the South Korean president of
the General Assembly.
records show that Mr Mugabe travelled with a host of ministers,
Elliot Manyika, the Minister of Youth; July Moyo, Minister of
and Sydney Sekeramayi, the acting Minister of Health; as
well his personal
representative, P. Sikosana. The Zimbabwean President's
wife, Grace Mugabe,
whose legendary shopping expeditions have been curtailed
by the EU travel
ban, has just been granted a tourist visa by the Spanish
Foreign Ministry official confirmed yesterday that a visa had been issued
that, as Mrs Mugabe was not included in the list of personae non grata,
was no reason to deny the application. Mrs Mugabe gave no reason for
visit and does not have to to obtain a tourist visa.
What is more of a shock
to critics of the Mugabe regime is the steady flow
of members of the ruling
Zanu-PF party on the regular flight into Gatwick
from Harare. This week
Olivia Muchena, a cabinet member in the ruling
Zanu-PF party, slipped into
Her visit followed recent trips by three other Zimbabwean ministers
Joscelyn Chiwenga, the wife of the army chief,
Constantine Chiwenga, who is on the banned list.
shocked to see Muchena being waved through immigration at Gatwick,"
Zimbabwean passenger, who was travelling on the same flight. "She is
notorious figure in Zimbabwe. She should not be allowed into Britain."
Muchena is part of Mr Mugabe's inner circle of advisers and has been
by opponents of using political violence to intimidate the
helping to orchestrate the seizure of white-owned farms.
While serving as
deputy Minister of Agriculture, she was heavily involved in
Mr Mugabe's "fast
track" redistribution of 5,000 white-owned farms to 300,
In 1998 she was embroiled in an altercation before television
an elderly widow, Sylvia Jackson, who claimed that she was being
and intimidated by militant squatters.
Mrs Jackson was murdered
in her homestead shortly afterwards and although a
robbery motive was
alleged, farming leaders blamed the Government for
creating the climate in
which the crime had taken place.
Mr Mugabe's critics say that the so-called
"smart sanctions" policy have
failed to isolate his regime because too few
people are affected and the ban
is not being enforced strictly enough.
Foreign Office said that the MPs were free to enter Britain without a
and that the ban only applied to the "principal architects" of Zimbabwe
policy. British sources said that the EU might consider expanding
sanctions list to include spouses of those already banned, but there was
move to broaden the embargo to include Zanu-PF MPs and more junior
Click on the small
image to see the details of where various members of
have travelled since the travel bans were imposed.
Note that this item is from the government
'Government Will Never Allow Country to Be Held to
The Herald (Harare)
June 13, 2002
Posted to the
web June 13, 2002
THE Government will never allow a situation where
the country is held to
ransom by a few thousand commercial farmers,
Vice-President Joseph Msika
Cde Msika criticised
commercial farmers not taking heed of the Government's
directives on the land
"We are disappointed by the attitude of some
commercial farmers who have not
responded to the Government's
"They are giving several flimsy reasons since most of them are
on-going land reform programme. We know that their intention is
the economy," said Cde Msika in an interview
The Vice-President said the Government had set tomorrow as the
winter crop planting in a move aimed at guaranteeing sufficient
supplies for the nation in the coming months.
Early planting of
the winter crop, he said, would ensure that the country
had enough food
stocks for the coming season.
"We have issued the directive once again
this year to both newly resettled
and commercial farmers to stick to planting
timetables to ensure that the
country maximises on the favourable weather
patterns so as to ensure that
there is enough food for the coming season," he
He urged the newly resettled farmers who were not familiar with
farming to consult the relevant agricultural extension officers
The Government has already bought agricultural inputs worth
for the winter crop programme this year.
the inputs - seed, fertiliser and crop chemicals - is
already in progress
across the country.
The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement has already bought
inputs worth $5,85 billion for the programme
and tillage provision is
underway in several parts of the country.
winter crop is expected to produce food to take the nation through to
Crops produced under the programme include maize, soya
cabbages and peas.
June 14, 2002
as private fleet of President
ROBERT MUGABE, the President of Zimbabwe, is
struggling to find the money to keep his treasured national airline flying.
Air Zimbabwe was only able to take Mr Mugabe, 78, and his entourage to Rome
after the airline found $5 million (£3.4 million) at the last minute to repay an
American bank that would have seized the Boeing jet as it landed in Italy.
The airline owes more than $28 million to the Export-Import Bank of the
United States, which is owned by the US Government. The bank guaranteed the
purchase of two Boeing 767 aircraft in 1989.
Mr Mugabe has been accused of using the fleet as his own private airline to
fly him, his wife, Grace, and their colleagues on overseas jaunts.
One of the reasons for the airline’s growing losses is that Zanu(PF)
officials regularly commandeer first-class seats and refuse to pay for their
travel. Scheduled flights are often cancelled at a moment’s notice, stranding
Long-suffering Air Zimbabwe passengers and the airline’s beleaguered staff
are used to the presidential entourage descending on Harare airport without
warning to demand the use of one of its small fleet of five planes.
Opponents have long derided Mr Mugabe for the amount of time he spends abroad
with his wife. According to an investigation by the Zimbabwe Independent
business weekly, Mr Mugabe spent £180 million during the 1990s on fuel and crews
for commandeered planes for his use and his cronies’ use. He is reportedly
Africa’s most-travelled leader.
One Western diplomat in Harare said: “He would hate to be marooned in
Zimbabwe or to be like Yassir Arafat and have to ask his few allies to lend him
a plane if he wants to go anywhere.”
In December last year, 40 passengers were thrown off a London-bound flight to
make room for Mr Mugabe and his party, who then diverted the plane to Spain so
that he could have treatment at an eye clinic. A week later, more than 100
passengers were left stranded at Gatwick when he ordered the pilots to come and
collect him. The crew had to wait in Spain for a further 24 hours as Mr Mugabe
changed his mind about leaving.
Later that week another 40 passengers were left in London when he demanded
another Air Zimbabwe flight to divert and pick up more of his party, who had
stayed on in Spain for a holiday. In March Mr Mugabe instructed the regular
London-bound flight to stop in Geneva so that it could collect a package for
Mrs Mugabe has been known to have seats removed from Air Zimbabwe flights to
accommodate her purchases.
The airline board urgently needs to find another $5 million by the end of
this month as it has not paid the instalments on its leasing deal since December
2000 and owes $27,825,975.
June 14, 2002
luxury may have been at UN expense
|TAXPAYERS in the West may have paid for
President Mugabe of Zimbabwe and his entourage to stay in one of Rome’s finest
The Times has learnt that Mr Mugabe had the right to draw on a United
Nations expenses account to pay for his accommodation during the international
meeting to discuss world hunger in the Italian capital.
UN officials refused to confirm whether Mr Mugabe had drawn on the trust fund
set up to pay for delegations from poorer countries to stay in good hotels. But
they said that he would have been able to ask for money to pay for hotel rooms
for himself, his wife Grace and his entourage.
Mr Mugabe, who arrived in Rome last weekend, has been staying at the
five-star Excelsior Hotel on the Via Veneto. Prices for the hotel, which has 35
luxury suites, start at £500 a night for a double room.
Officials at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), which organised
the meeting, said that it had recently created the trust fund to help
delegations from poorer countries with their accommodation. Almost all the
African and Third World delegations chose five-star hotels in and around the
smart Via Veneto, with the delegations of Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Mozambique
staying at the Excelsior.
An FAO spokesman said that the richer nations had subsidised the summit
accommodation trust fund. He declined to name the donor countries, but said that
the Scandinavian nations among other Europeans had been generous. “The aim is to
make sure that all the delegates are properly looked after,” the spokesman said.
Asked why the delegates had been lodged in luxury hotels, the spokesman said
that the choice had been made by the Rome Hotel Association, which had helped to
block-book rooms and suites.
Sources connected with the meeting said that most Third World delegations
consisted of ten to 12 people, but that Mr Mugabe’s delegation had been larger
because it included his wife and his Foreign Minister.
Yesterday members of the 180 delegations which have attended the meeting
began packing their bags. Lucilla De Luca, a spokeswoman for the Excelsior,
declined to say whether Mr and Mrs Mugabe were staying on an extra day to take
advantage of Rome’s shops and restaurants.
Mr Mugabe is banned from the EU because of his human rights record and his
mistreatment of political opponents, but was able to circumvent the restrictions
because of a loophole allowing him to attend international meetings.
He stretched the provision by arriving last Saturday on an early-morning
flight from London, giving him an extra two days before the meeting began on
The ornate seven-storey Excelsior, built at the end of the 19th century,
boasts a palatial interior of Persian carpets, tapestries and brocade, marble
floors, gilt mirrors and decorations and crystal chandeliers. It is described by
one tour guide as “over-the-top Louis XV” in style.
“Our luxurious suites provide an unequalled level of comfort and elegance,”
the hotel brochure says, illustrating the point with photographs of rooms with
frescoed ceilings and indoor whirlpool baths. The hotel restaurant, La Cupola,
offers fine dining in discreet alcoves and private rooms, while the bar menu
includes champagne cocktails at €17 (£10.80) and after-dinner malt whisky at up
to €28 a glass.
Staff said that Mr Mugabe had largely kept to his suite while at the hotel
after his bodyguards had stepped in to manhandle a television cameraman who
tried to film him.
Mugabe blamed for food shortages
9:10:51 AM (GMT +2)
By Ngoni Chanakira Business
While President Mugabe continues his crusade in Italy
world about Zimbabwe's serious and worsening food shortage, a
Member of the
European Parliament (MEP), Geoffrey Van Orden, says the
president is the
major cause of the crisis and, therefore, should have never
into Rome in the first place.
Van Orden is
the Vice-Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the
He is the Conservative MEP for the Eastern Counties of
Conservative spokesman on Defence and Security Policy on Human
Van Orden has initiated all four of the resolutions on
by the European Parliament since last September.
Mugabe, his entire Cabinet as well as his close associates, are
targeted sanctions from the European Union (EU) and the United States
America who accuse them of causing the crisis facing
Mugabe and his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Stanislaus
have, however, scoffed at the "smart sanctions" saying they have
to travel despite their application.
Mugabe and Mudenge flew to the United Nations Headquarters
in New York, USA,
where they are also barred.
The presidential party has been able to
by-pass the sanctions using
the United Nations Free Territory Arrangement for
In an address to 626-strong European Parliament in
Tuesday, Van Orden said: "President Mugabe's visit to the World
in Rome is an act of astounding hypocrisy.
food shortages and starvation in many parts of Zimbabwe can
be attributed in
significant measure to his misgovernment and corrupt
He said the fact that Mugabe was able to travel
to Rome at all was a
"mockery of international law and of the EU's travel
"The international community must find more effective ways
controlling the actions of Mugabe and his counterparts," he
Mugabe is accompanied by his wife, Grace, Mudenge, the
Minister and Dr Joseph Made, the Agriculture Minister.
Made is accused of having caused the food crisis because of his
take timely action when advised by the local and international
about the maize shortage.
Made accused the technocrats of trying to
cause "alarm and
despondency" because, he claimed, there was sufficient
maize to last until
the next planting season.
Dr Simba Makoni, the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development, had to
bail him out last month, when he admitted that the food
situation had not
been addressed timely and was only dealt with when he
(Makoni) made his
address to Parliament about the sad state of Zimbabwe's
economic affairs in
June, last year.
Van Orden said: "We want provision of emergency
humanitarian aid to
the estimated 7,8 million Zimbabweans suffering food
shortages in a
situation exacerbated by the disastrous land seizure policies
of the Mugabe
But this aid must be kept out of the
clutches of Mugabe's henchmen."
Mugabe addressed the World Food
Summit in Rome, where he once again
blasted the international community,
accusing it of trying to sabotage his
government and supporting the
He said the Zimbabwe government had "responded to
the people's cry for
land to fight poverty and increase food security"
through the fast-track
land acquisition and resettlement programme.
Maize-meal supplies improve
AM (GMT +2)
From Chris Gande in Bulawayo
a marked improvement of the distribution of yellow maize-meal
with queues slowly becoming less frequent. A survey by The Daily
week showed that several shops stocked the commodity, which had
from most shelves in the city since last year.
a shop-owner in the city centre said he had received a
delivery for the first
time in eight months. He said although the commodity
was soon sold out, it
was a big relief to most customers who snapped it up
"Consumers are actually creating an artificial shortage
because they are
panic-buying commodities in large quantities," he said,
adding that if people
bought reasonable quantities without hoarding, serious
shortages of basic
commodities like maize-meal and sugar could be brought
Established supermarkets like TM Hyper also reported an
the distribution of maize-meal this week. However, the black
remained with large quantities of maize-meal being sold at more
its government-controlled price. Families in the city have been
days without the staple sadza because of the shortage of
people have taken to sleeping outside shops in order to buy
in the event that it was delivered.
have taken over the distribution of maize at the Grain
Marketing Board depot.
There are fears that the maize shortage will
continue, even after this year's
harvest. The current projections for the
April and May crop show that there
should be a maize harvest of about 595
000 tonnes. With the consumption rate
usually at about 150 000 tonnes a
month, that would only last
the end of August.
Mpilo mortuary to stop taking bodies
6/13/02 9:26:58 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in
THE announcement by Mpilo Central Hospital that they would
accepting bodies from the 17th of this month has been received with
members of the public in Bulawayo.
the public interviewed by The Daily News in a survey said
the move would
force people to keep bodies at home before burial due to
constraints. In a notice published in the government-controlled
Chronicle last week, the hospital said it would not be accepting
further notice, to allow refurbishment to take place.
authorities advised members of the public to convey
bodies to other
government mortuaries and private funeral parlours. Mpilo
mortuary, which was built in 1954, has a capacity of 30 bodies
but has often
been stretched to accommodate more than 250 corpses.
Dube-Ndebele, the Mpilo Hospital medical superintendent,
said the decision
had been made to enable the hospital authorities to
refurbish the mortuary.
She, however, said that there were no immediate
plans to expand the mortuary.
The mortuary was experiencing constant
breakdowns of the refrigeration system
due to a shortage of spare parts.
Some Bulawayo residents said the high fees
charged by private parlours were
prohibitive and this would force them to
keep bodies at home to avoid costs.
A traditional African funeral
lasts for about four days and relatives
incur a lot of costs in funeral
expenses. Government hospital mortuaries
offer the service free of charge
although it is primarily meant for
postmortems and people who would have died
in hospital. A survey by The
Daily News revealed that private funeral
parlours charge anything between $1
200 for the cheapest and $3 000 for the
most expensive service.
This includes taking care of everything
from the time the body arrives
until burial. Themba Sibanda, of Cowdray Park,
said there was not much of a
choice for residents since the only other
government hospital, the United
Bulawayo Hospitals, is also overstretched.
"We just have to prepare to pay
the private funeral parlours but I fear that
the disadvantaged members of
the society might not be able to afford it," he
Sibanda said government should make provisions to build more
bigger mortuaries rather than waiting until buildings constructed a
time ago to collapse before taking any action. Most government hospital
mortuaries were built before the advent of independence for small
populations. Another resident, Nonceba Ndlovu of Killarney suburb,
government did not have the welfare of the country's citizens at heart
the fact they allowed mortuaries with a capacity of 30 bodies to carry
than 250 corpses without any plans for expansion.
being insensitive to the plight of the people. "How many
people who are
struggling to make a living can afford that $1 200 when they
need to buy the
coffin and foot all the other funeral expenses?" she asked.
She added that
there is a high risk that funerals would now be rushed as
relatives opted to
keep bodies at home to cut costs.
Hundreds of hard-pressed
residents owe the government millions of
dollars in hospital fees and the
temporary closure of the free mortuary
service will make it more difficult