Zero hour for
Zimbabwe's land snatchers
At midnight tomorrow, in the latest grim act in Zimbabwe's
bleak drama of land seizures, the lights effectively go out for more than 2,000
white farmers as the final notices of acquisition which gave them 45 days to
wind up their operations come into effect.
Some 60 per cent of Zimbabwe's remaining white farmers have
to close down or be arrested and face up to two years in jail.
Even before this, half of Zimbabwe's white farmers have had
their operations disrupted or closed down by President Robert Mugabe's shock
troops, since the so-called veterans of the war of independence launched violent
invasions of white-owned farms 28 months ago.
On top of that, over 400 more have been forced off the land
since Mr Mugabe's disputed election victory in March, and regional
representatives of the Commercial Farmers' Union report that hundreds more are
packing up to leave.
And now, in the latest blow to the dwindling members of one
of the most successful food-producing communities in Africa, the authorities are
forcing through the consequences of the law, which was drummed through
parliament 45 days ago.
Yesterday, the government rejected applications from farmers
for an extension of the Monday deadline to allow them to finish grading their
tobacco, which used to provide 30 per cent of Zimbabwe's foreign
The passing of the deadline could not come at a worse time,
as the agricultural economy has all but wound down, forcing hundreds and
thousands of farm workers out of jobs, and fuelling closures of nearly 1,000
Nearly half the population is on the brink of starvation,
according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and most
farmers are not allowed to grow food. Although Zimbabwe has no hard currency to
import food, farmers are tomorrow forced to stop grading tobacco.
Marooned on her farm 45 miles south-east of Harare, the wife
of one of Zimbabwe's leading grain producers, who cannot be identified because
she is still negotiating to take equipment off the farm, was yesterday preparing
for the worst.
"I seem to get on with the war vets better than my husband.
Anyway, he has already left Zimbabwe and is very bitter. The war vets are nice
to me today because the pump has broken down, and they haven't got any
"If I fix the pump, they say I can take our last tractor. I
have nearly finished packing up the house.
"We haven't grown crops for two years and have run out of
money. We managed to sell some of our irrigation equipment to neighbours at the
beginning, and we lived off that. My husband is part of a syndicate of five
farmers who built an enormous huge grain storage complex, and that is empty and
the banks haven't been paid. But they are rescheduling the debt."
The five of them were among the first to be targeted because
they openly supported the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Their
eldest son was saved from being speared through his heart by farm
"I don't want to leave Africa," she said. "We have no option
but to try and start again somewhere else. The farm looks dreadful. The war vets
grew almost no crops. I hope they water the garden."
At Raffingore, 80 miles north-west of Harare, Jean Simon, 42,
a tobacco and poultry farmer, is still desperately hoping that she can cling on.
She was kidnapped and forced to run through the bush for 10 miles by thugs loyal
to Mr Mugabe in May 2000, beaten up two years later, imprisoned for a night two
months ago. "I hope the hens remember to stop laying on Monday," she said. "I am
supposed to shut down but I have only graded 20 per cent of my
"My family has been in Africa for 200 years. I am a
Zimbabwean. I don't want to be told to go to Britain.
"The first time I was taken by the war vets and forced to run
it was black people who helped me. They ran next to me to protect me. They did
it again the next time, and would protect me now. I feel safe here among people,
even though every one of my human rights has been abused."
At Nyabira, 25 miles north of Harare, Marcus Hale, 23, a
grain farmer and cattle producer whose grandparents started the family farm, was
also close to despair.
"I will never build anything in Africa. When this madness
ends we will carry on farming, but nothing will be the same. My folks were
forced to leave a month ago.
"The war vets moved into my house. My parents' home is still
intact, but they can't live there. My mother has sent the horses away. My father
is really stressed.
"We have been through it for more than two years, the abuse,
the destruction, the theft of what we have built up. We are so tired. We tried
to do a deal with the war vets. We planted about 150 acres of wheat for them
because they don't know how to farm. We were supposed to share the profits, but
they forced us off. They are using our equipment, our dam, our irrigation
system, our pumps and our workers - who we pay.
"We recently wrote out a huge cheque for two senior war vets
now living in our houses. Each farmer does what he thinks will help him survive.
They have been milking our dairy cows and now they are dry, and they still pull
away at their udders.
"The farm is a wasteland."
From The Spectator (UK), 21
Geoffrey Robertson on Robert
Mugabe’s clownish and sinister manipulation of the law
Harare Magistrates’ Court, a panopticon-style building on
Rotten Row, is more surreal than Dickensian. Around its portals float young
black women shimmering in white bridal regalia, there for civil-marriage
ceremonies, mingling with the muggers, buggers and schoolboy shoplifters over
whom it has criminal jurisdiction. It is not immediately clear whether the
journalists and lawyers entering its doors are to take a place on the court
benches, or in the dock. This week Andrew Meldrum of the Guardian and Lloyd
Mudiwa of the independent local Daily News are on trial, accused in separate
proceedings of the novel crime of ‘abuse of journalistic privilege’ by
publishing a story which subsequently turned out (so the prosecution says) to be
false. If convicted, they may not only be jailed for up to two years, but will
also certainly be denied a licence to practise journalism under Zimbabwe’s new
media law, which makes the right to write conditional on approval from the
minister of information.
The journalists charged with abusing the ‘privilege’ of free
speech (ten so far) have all published stories discomfiting to the Mugabe
government. The rich irony is that the biggest lie ever told in the country has
for the past fortnight featured on the front page of the government’s own
newspaper, the Daily Herald. This falsehood concerns the existence of a plot by
the British high commissioner and the president of the Zimbabwe Law Society to
foment an insurrection, beginning with mass protests by opposition supporters as
a cover for British armed forces (some already in the country under disguise) to
invade, pursuant to a plan codenamed ‘Operation Milosevic’. The full absurdity
of this journalism (usually based on ‘government sources’ but sometimes endorsed
by named senior policemen) can only be appreciated by reading the Herald, as it
unveils ‘evidence that the British high commissioner Brian Donnelly would be
commanding the operation from high-tech mobile communication centres to be
deployed throughout the country’ (12 June) and that ‘Mr Donnelly was sent to
Zimbabwe to execute a Milosevic-type of operation to oust President Mugabe from
power’ (‘Donnelly Under Surveillance’, front page, 15 June).
It is difficult for British diplomats to answer this racist
rubbish: they have established a rapid rebuttal unit in the youthful shape of Ms
Sophie Honey, whose name adorns the letters from the High Commission which the
Herald sometimes condescends to publish. They are keeping a low profile, but at
least the immunities of the Vienna Convention render them safe from arrest. Not
so the courageous president of the Law Society, Sternford Moyo, and its
secretary, Wilbert Mapombere, who have been made the local scapegoats for hatred
of the British government, partners in their alleged crime of subversion. Both
men were arrested by police on 3 June and held in jail for several days while
their homes and the offices of the Law Society were ransacked for evidence of
offences under the ‘Public Order and Security Act 2002’ — another draconian new
law, section five of which punishes with up to 20 years’ imprisonment any threat
to organise civil disobedience. No evidence was found, but the police have
produced a short letter on Law Society notepaper, addressed simply to ‘The
British High Commission, 6th floor, Corner House, Harare’, on which they have
based the subversion charges. It reads, precisely, as follows:
"Further to our communications, we suggest that from now
onwards our communications should be in writing and by hand post straight to the
We are grateful for the support you have given us in order to
restore the rule of law in Zimbabwe. At the moment as a Law Society we are
embarking on a vigorous campaign to conscientise the populace to rebel against
the unlawful and illegitimate rule of Mugabe. We have consulted with the MDC and
urged them to abort the useless talks so that a proper confrontation will be
Our secretary will be living the UK soon please assist with his
In the long history of fabricated evidence for treason charges,
this stands as one of the more inept examples, with its bad grammar and use of
what a secret policeman might imagine to be legal jargon (‘conscientise the
populace’; ‘confrontation will be viable’). It is perfunctorily addressed to the
British High Commission, as if intended to lie in an in-tray until directed by a
secretary to the diplomat in charge of the counter-revolution. Nevertheless,
this is the evidence upon which the men will be put on trial and on which the
Mugabe government, through its propagandists in the Daily Herald, accuse Mr
Blair of attempting its overthrow.
The fate of the country’s leading lawyers and journalists rests
in the fragile hands of its judiciary, who will be called upon in these and
other cases over the next few months to strike down the laws under which they
have been charged as being contrary to Zimbabwe’s constitutional guarantees for
freedom of expression and assembly. Although some magistrates have shown notable
independence by convicting war veterans at the risk of reprisals from their
supporters, a shadow hangs over recent Zanu-PF appointees to the High and
Supreme Courts. For example, the judge president of the High Court, Paddington
Garwe, who denied habeas corpus to the Law Society officials (on the sole ground
that the letter reproduced above provides reasonable suspicion of their guilt)
was formerly permanent secretary of the ministry of justice. The lawyers who
packed into his courtroom for the hearing spontaneously signalled their contempt
for his decision by refusing to stand as he made his exit.
But, from an international perspective, judging judges is not
an easy matter. Their backgrounds and the politics behind their appointment are
not definitive: there are many examples of jurists whose independence has
confounded the expectations of the government that put them in place. Corrupt
judges often masquerade as civil libertarians, the better to give bail or
dismiss charges relating to members of the drug cartel paying them. The judge
who is a government lickspittle will, in Commonwealth countries, often dress up
his decisions in pious quotes from Lord Denning’s later years, about civil
liberties being subordinate to the demands of national security. Lawyers can
usually find arguments that are respectable, if only in legal terms, for abuses
of state power: they are doing so in Zimbabwe to justify the expropriation of
white farms and the legitimacy of the recent elections.
But no judge, however predisposed to favour the Mugabe regime,
could honestly find that the new laws under which the journalists are being
prosecuted square with Zimbabwe’s constitutional guarantees, or could convict
the Law Society officials on the strength of the letter they swear they did not
write — even if they did. These cases will provide an acid test of judicial
independence, because international courts have consistently condemned the
licensing of journalists, and a few years ago the Privy Council, the
Commonwealth’s highest court, struck down an identical law against ‘publishing
falsehoods’ when the government of Antigua sought to deploy it.
Will the judges be capable of standing up to the state? They
will need to resist the pressure and prejudice whipped up by the Herald and its
mentor, the minister of information, ‘Professor’ Jonathan Moyo, who has become
the Goebbels of the Mugabe government. It is being said that two Supreme Court
judges have accepted confiscated farms, on leases which can be terminated at the
government’s pleasure; if true, their bias would be flagrant. But establishing
it in other cases will require careful analysis of court proceedings and the
reasoning of judicial decisions, by an objective body like the International Bar
Association or experts sent by the Commonwealth Secretariat. It is regrettable,
therefore, that no international observers have thus far attended the Meldrum
proceedings. Unless these trials and constitutional challenges are carefully
monitored, President Mugabe’s judges will be let off the hook. The prospects of
them doing justice may well depend on the extent to which they themselves are
put on trial.
Geoffrey Robertson, QC, is the author of Crimes Against
Humanity, published by Penguin
Tourism dips in
VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe - Tourists have abandoned Zimbabwe since
the deterioration of the country's political climate, contributing to a severe
economic decline that economists say shows little sign of recovery.
The disappearance of international travelers is painfully evident at this
vacation center in western Zimbabwe, where the Zambezi River plunges 300 feet
into a cloud of mist that has created a rain forest in the middle of the dry
The downtown casino is quiet, except for a few lonely slot-machine players.
Nightclubs echo with emptiness. There is no jostling for prime positions to view
the thundering waterfall.
Every tourist is a rock star, surrounded by a swarm of desperate admirers
selling carved curios, cold sodas, and ponchos to wear while viewing the
cascade. Young men offer to exchange Zimbabwe's rapidly depreciating dollar at
eight times the official rate.
There is no shortage of personal service. At the elegant Victoria Falls
Hotel, where baboons and vervet monkeys patrol the grounds and elephants
occasionally stray into the ornate English gardens, a galaxy of white-coated
waiters surrounds a black hole of empty tables in the Livingstone Dining
"This would have been the season when the Americans come here, but you can
see there is nobody," said Pinias Sibanda, the director of Gallery Munhumutapa,
which specializes in soapstone statuary.
Zimbabwe officials blame the decline on uncharitable media coverage of
President Robert Mugabe's March reelection and the falloff of tourism after
Sept. 11. The government has initiated a campaign to invite tour agencies and
travel writers to improve the country's image.
The government's last attempt to induce positive coverage backfired when many
travel writers wrote about the country's turmoil instead. "We have now decided
to invite the international travel writers, but we are going to be selective on
who we invite," Zimbabwe Tourism Council head Herbert Tsikire told the
government newspaper, the Herald.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last month said tourism earnings dropped from a
peak of $239.2 million in 1996 to $81.4 million last year. But even those
numbers don't reflect the severity of the decline, said John Robertson, an
economist in the capital, Harare.
Many visitors are small traders from neighboring countries who come to buy
goods with foreign currency, which has doubled in value since Mugabe's disputed
election, Robertson said. They resell the goods in their home countries.
"People are coming here, but they're coming here to shop," he said. "If you
stay longer than 24 hours, you're classified as a tourist." Hotel-occupancy
rates are mired below 20 percent.
The decline of tourism is a metaphor for the ruination of Zimbabwe's economy
in the two years since Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party pulled out all the stops to
retain power. The government has taken over most of the nation's white-owned
commercial farms, contributing to food shortages and an exodus of farmers from
The country's top tourism talent - hotel managers, chefs, guides - is
leaving, some going no farther than the new hotels that have sprouted like
bamboo in Livingstone, on the Zambia side of Victoria Falls.
"All the good people have left," said Malcolm Ainscough, a Zimbabwean tour
operator who moved his business to South Africa, where he said business is
booming with American tour groups despite fears after Sept. 11.
For most tourists to Zimbabwe, the government campaign to suppress political
opposition is invisible. Most clashes have occurred in rural areas, far from the
game parks and attractions.
Most Zimbabweans are unfailingly polite to outsiders.
Nevertheless, Ainscough said, "even when I tell tourists it is safe to go to
Zimbabwe, they're nervous... . A lot of them don't want to go on moral grounds
because they object to what the government is doing."
Victoria Falls, named by 19th-century explorer David Livingstone to honor the
British monarch, has had ups and downs in popularity in recent decades.
Tourists fled in the 1970s when Mugabe's Marxist rebels fought to topple the
government of what then was Rhodesia, and they stayed away again after he was
elected in 1980 and his North Korean-trained troops massacred thousands in
But they returned in huge numbers in the last decade, when Zimbabwe basked in
the regional glow of goodwill after neighboring South Africa emerged from
Mugabe's increasingly radical politics, which blames the country's woes on
"imperialist" whites with colonial ambitions, has driven many away, and gay
tourists wrote off the country after the president attacked homosexuals.
"Now we're back to what it was like with Rhodesia in the 1970s," said
Most tour operators are pessimistic about a quick recovery. They say hotels
will have to offer cut-rate packages to attract the mass market, and luxury
travelers will take even longer to return.
"You could have a new president here tomorrow and tourists wouldn't come back
immediately," Ainscough said.
Let's prioritise agriculture, mining, tourism-Part
Cresta Calling by Shingi Munyeza
A SOCIETY's level
of economic development is a major determinant of
the level of demand for
tourism because the economy influences so many
critical and interrelated
One approach is to consider a simple division of world
the affluent 'north', where the countries are major generators
recipients of both international and domestic tourism, and the
'south'. In the poorer 'south' most countries have become generators
international tourism but the tendency in the richer 'north' is for
to be domestic, often supplemented by an inbound international flow
Traditional society is made up of acceptance of
the authority of
long-established land-owning aristocracy and observance of
customs. The majority of the people are employed in
Unfortunately, this sector has very low output per capita, which
poor health levels and high poverty levels.
the aim is not to bring everyone back to traditional society
but to bring
them into the current society which is typified by high mass
because a variety of consumer goods and services are being
balance of employment changes from work in the primary
work in the secondary sectors such as manufacturing
and mining, and the
tertiary sector, tourism. As this process unfolds, an
usually emerges and the percentage of the population who
active increases from less than a third in the developing
world to half or
more in the developed world. With this progression,
increase and create demand for consumer goods and
leisure pursuits such as
tourism. Other developments are closely linked to
the changing nature of
employment. The population is healthier and has time
for recreation and
tourism. Improving educational standards and media
channels boosts awareness
of tourism opportunities, and transportation and
mobility rise in line with
these changes. Institutions respond to this
increased demand by developing a
range of leisure products and services.
Clearly, tourism is a
result of industrialisation and, quite simply,
the more highly developed an
economy, the greater the levels of tourism. A
clear example that comes to
mind is Singapore.
As economies develop from the traditional
agrarian society, the volume
of trade and foreign investment increase and
business travel develops.
Business travel is sensitive to economic activity,
and although it could be
argued that increasingly sophisticated communication
systems and the advent
of the Internet might render business travel
unnecessary, there is no
evidence to that effect as yet. Indeed the very
development of global
markets and the constant need for face to face contact
should ensure a
continuing demand for business travel.
analogy helps to explain where we stand as far as the
tourism industry and
our economy are concerned.
There is therefore a lot of sense in
sorting out the land issue so
that it can lead to manufacturing and mining
industries which will in turn
drive tourism. President Robert Mugabe, alluded
to this analogy in his
speech after the presidential elections and it is
therefore important for
government to set the tone by providing necessary
direction and policy to
achieve the process. Already the legislation on scrap
metal will go a long
way towards stabilising the mining sector.
But until there is meaningful economic activity we will not see a
domestic tourism. At the moment people are only interested in
commodities and the middle class necessary in driving economic
any economy has since disappeared. We need direction from
government so we
can start the momentum of turning around the current
deplorable state of the
economy in order to give tourism a chance.
* Shingi Munyeza is the
Group Commercial Director for Cresta
At the time of writing farmers are anxiously waiting
to see what their fate is with the expiry of the 45-day period to stop farming
on farms issued with Section 8 notices. Like all other commercial farmers they
want to continue farming, but have been seriously affected by the "fast-track"
Our region is mainly cattle, wildlife, dairy, export
horticulture and sugar cane farming which is extremely difficult to just
instantly wind up just to suit the political demands of others.
The cattle industry has taken a severe knock with herds being
drastically reduced due to the shortage of grazing. For many months now
thousands of settlers’ livestock have been driven onto the farms totally
destroying countless years of conservative grazing practices. Farmers have been
forced out of grazing paddocks where there is some good grass left, often only
to see it burned to clear areas for future crops. This is nothing more than a
political tactic because in this dry province there is often little hope of
producing any dryland crops at all.
The industry is in a hopeless situation where stockfeeds are
almost unobtainable, and if they are the cost far exceeds the economic return.
The grazing has either been hopelessly depleted, or burned. Although the
ranchers want to hang on the reality is that they may outlive their livestock,
which has already started to die.
This will be a bitter blow for those whose only interest is to
do what they know best – to farm and feed the nation.
Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Sunday, June 23,
Zimbabwe Dismisses Reports on Eviction of White Farmers
The Zimbabwean government has dismissed reports suggesting that all
commercial farmers on listed farms will cease operations and vacate
farms on June 24, according to Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
The Zimbabwean government has dismissed reports
suggesting that all
white commercial farmers on listed farms will cease
operations and vacate
their farms on June 24, according to Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation on
Lands Agriculture and
Rural Resettlement Minister Joseph Made said
only the first batch of farms
representing less than 10 percent of the 4,000
commercial farms will be
affected on Monday next week by the Section 8
notices under the Land
The Section 8 notices require recipients to stop
farming activities to
their living quarters for another 45 days after which
they must vacate the
Any attempts to breach these
conditions attract a jail term of up to
two years or a fine not exceeding
20,000 Zimbabwean dollars (about 364 U.S.
dollars) or both jail term and
Made said the law was clear and no extensions will be
Despite an outcry for more time on the part of the
Made said there was no going back on the land
This week, newspapers quoted commercial
farmers on farms listedfor
acquisition for resettlement purposes complaining
that operations would
cease and their workers would be made homeless.
Dear Friends and Family
I wandered out of my house the other morning and
saw the most wonderful sight...as far as the eye could see towards the Great
Dyke the ground was covered with light winter mist...the trees and koppies
sticking out like sentinels. It was so peaceful. All my land prep is up to date
so it gives an impression of normality. As if we are here to stay for ever and as
if we are part of the greater picture to bring our country back from the brink
The look on my foremens' faces as I explained to
them this week that Dr Made had given a directive that all white farmers had to
be off the land by 10 August was dreadful. We once again have decided to do
everything in our power to ensure that we, staff and myself, will continue to
farm, stay in our homes, work and live ..despite the government's directive. I
then went into Harare to discuss our legal position with my lawyer and to make
arrangements to defend our rights through the courts. We cannot just sit and let
events overtake us.
But the helplessness... the knowledge that no
matter what the law says, no matter that our government has signed the United
Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we actually have no rights in
the current regime....is daunting.
D joined our management team this
morning and it has given me a new lift to get things back on track...but then I
keep wondering...for how long.
I attend a CFU meeting again in Harare tomorrow
where we discus the way forward. I do hope we can come up with a viable
Until next week when I hope to be more cheerful,
take care and keep trucking.
Love X (identity protected)
PS This Comment from the Zimbabwean Independent of
14 June does give me hope....
"This is not a programme of giving "Zimbabwean land
to Zimbabweans" as the president fatuously pretends. The victims of these
wholesale dispossessions are Zimbabweans - farm workers and their white
Zimbabwean employers who Mugabe has chosen to demonise in his racist campaign to
deprive them of their livelihoods for exercising their democratic right to
support the opposition. Political intolerance, lawlessness and racism are the
core policies driving Zanu PF's "third chimurenga". In what other country is it
found acceptable for the government to wage a violent campaign against its own
law-abiding citizens on the grounds of race or political affiliation? That the
world has finally woken up to this reality as famine now stalks the Southern
African region is welcome, however belated."
Pupils starve as chefs feast
By Farai Mutsaka
SCHOOL children who attended the Day of the African Child commemoration
officiated by President Mugabe spent a hungry afternoon while the presidential
entourage enjoyed a lavish banquet in the VIP lounge of the Harare International
Teachers who attended the event, told The Standard that they watched
helplessly as children who from across the country scrambled for the scraps made
available to them.
"It was a real bun fight as hungry pupils fought for bananas and buns
outside the main auditorium of the Harare International Conference Centre while
the chefs were busy helping themselves to a delicious buffet in the VIP lounge,"
said a Harare teacher.
The Day of the African Child is a day held in commemoration of the over 200
school children massacred during the Soweto Uprisings of 16 June 1976.
Mugabe, who had just returned from a food summit in Rome, Italy, was the
guest of honour at the commemoration held last Saturday.
The teachers said pupils who had gathered at the venue as early as 7.30am
were only freed for lunch after 3pm and only after Mugabe had delivered his
hour-long speech which focused on the wellbeing of children and warned them
against engaging in premarital sex.
"After waiting the whole day, we were made to scramble for buns and
bananas. Some of us didn't think it was worth it so we went home hungry. I will
not attend another event like this in future," said a pupil from a Harare
Said an irate teacher: "Perhaps this kind of behaviour by government
officials explains why we are experiencing such a serious food crisis.There they
were, busy feeding themselves while the children were literally fighting for the
very little food they were offered.
"They even had the cheek to deny us entry into the room they were feasting
in. For the first time during the whole proceedings we were told those intending
to enjoy the banquet had to be accredited. The children and the teachers who
made the day went hungry while some chefs who were just sitting there and dozing
off during the proceedings got to fill their big stomachs," he said.
Mugabe's economic policies and controversial land grab exercise has seen
the once prosperous Zimbabwe reduced to a basket case. While in Rome, the
President tried to convince the world that his government was working towards
the elimination of hunger in Zimbabwe.
Six million face starvation
By our own Staff
THE World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nation's Food and Agriculture
Organisation (FAO) have warned that as many as six million Zimbabweans, almost
half the population, will be on food aid by the end of the year, largely because
of President Robert Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms.
The warning comes ahead of desperate calls from food donors to allow
Zimbabwe's floundering private sector to help with the importation of
desperately needed maize to feed the starving millions.
Last year, Zimbabwe's agriculture minister, Joseph Made, gave the
state-owned Grain Marketing Board sole trading rights on maize and wheat. The
move followed accusations in the fawning state media that commercial farmers
were "sabotaging" the economy by hoarding the now precious commodity.
Maize meal, the country's staple food has been in short supply for over two
months, yet government's attempts to meet demand are frustrated by a chronic
foreign currency shortage. At the beginning of June, government authorities had
imported a paltry 213 000 tonnes of maize-less than two months of normal supply.
Still, even finding maize and wheat may prove difficult for the beleaguered
regime of Zimbabwe's 78-year-old dictator. South African farming organisations
warn that Zimbabwe's giant southern neighbour will itself be scratching for food
imports as the country faces both maize and wheat deficits this season.
And while the situation is already severe in the arid southern and western
provinces of Zimbabwe, rural villagers in Zimbabwe's north say they're also
"My whole crop failed in the drought," said Moses Musambo, from the
Mashonaland Central district of Rushinga. "I worked for three months on a
government food for work programme building a road, but while we did the work,
we got no food. Not even a pip."
Musambo said he fled the area, leaving his family behind, so that he could
find work in the city. "At least then I might be able to send some food home to
feed my children," he said.
Meanwhile the situation in the cities is not much better. Poor township
residents say that many families live on one small meal a day and that children
are forced to go to school each day on empty stomachs.
"There's no mealie- meal anyway," Evelyn Takawira said.
"We can queue for five hours, only to be told that it's finished. Meanwhile
my children are always hungry."
Queues snaking their way through Harare's shopping centres are a common
sight as increasingly angry consumers wait for maize meal, cooking oil, sugar or
milk - all in desperately short supply for months.
Meanwhile farmers and producers warn that the situation is set to worsen
considerably. According to Peter Wells, chief executive officer of Zimbabwe's
soon to be defunct Cereal Producers' Association, stocks of wheat should run dry
by August at the latest. Farmers say that's optimistic.
"Within weeks there'll be no bread," warned a farmer from Marondera, east
of the capital.
While the Zimbabwean government, through the state-controlled press, blames
the food deficit on white farmers who have sabotaged the economy and on the
drought, farmers refute the accusation.
"The country finds itself in a serious food deficit situation," said
outgoing chairman of the Zimbabwe Grain Producers' Association, Andrew Meikle,
speaking at a recent congress. "Although our current crisis comes after an
extremely difficult rainy season, it follows six good rainy seasons in a row
which were favourable for maize production. However, due to a lack of
leadership, policy and direction, the country has fallen on hard times with
absolutely no reserves to call on."
So far Zimbabwe's agriculture minister, Joseph Made, has refused to allow
anyone other than the state-owned Grain Marketing Board to import maize into the
crisis gripped country. Critics argue that the ruling Zanu PF party is reluctant
to allow food to be "de-politicised" or to allow anyone other than government to
get the credit for feeding a starving population.
Farm workers left destitute
By Kumbirai Mafunda
WHILE President Mugabe's Zanu PF regime lauds itself for liberating
thousands of Zimbabweans from poverty by providing them with land under the
controversial fast-track land reform programme, it has emerged that a greater
number of the displaced farm workers are now wallowing in poverty.
The sole representative body of the country's agricultural workers, the
General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (Gapwuz) said
affected workers could be divided into two categories: Those stuck at invaded
commercial farmers, and those who had ventured into informal activities, such as
gold panning in Mashonaland West and Central.
Gapwuz grassroots coordinator, Gift Muti, told Standard Business:
"Other farm workers joined those at Porta Farm as squatters, but this is not a
straight-forward way of living. Although others have engaged in the buying and
selling of goods, others are engaging in theft, poaching and illegal fishing
which is outside the law."
To alleviate the misery and the reported cases of malnutrition, he said the
worker's body had embarked on a food relief programme to rescue farm workers and
"We are giving out mealie meal, matemba and cooking oil. We have also
managed to pay school fees for children at Wadzanai Primary School in Shamva and
we are assisting aged workers who were our members for a long time by giving
them money to travel to their homes."
Although government gazetted a law which enables it to set up an
Agricultural Employees Compensation Committee to determine benefits and
entitlements for farm workers affected by its resettlement programme, Muti said
no workers had been paid out as commercial farmers are yet to be compensated by
He lashed out at the government for failing to come up with a comprehensive
land reform programme. "Government's response is not clear on the future of farm
workers. They are saying workers are going to be employed by new farm owners,
but the reality is that displaced farm workers are in a dilemma," said Muti.
Godfrey Magaramombe, the director of Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe
(FCTZ) agreed with Muti. "It is still on the drawing board. Nothing has taken
place. It is taking too long and workers are stranded. If people are displaced
it will be hard to track them," said Magaramombe.
Muti said newly resettled farmers were unable to employ those previously
catered for by commercial farmers. "They are underpaying them, while others are
even failing to pay them," he said.
A research carried out by Gapwuz indicates that farm workers are not
benefiting from the land grab exercise. An average of five former farm workers,
are said to have benefited from every 10 designated commercial farms.
Gapwuz and the Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe deplored health standards
at informal settlements which have mushroomed in the peri-urban areas. "Farmers
used to employ farm health workers who used to provide health services and
assist children at creches, but the health workers have been made redundant. Our
survey on farms around towns found that the displacements have increased
prostitution and hence the cases of HIV and Aids," said Muti.
FCTZ which is currently feeding about 15 000 children affected by the
displacements and providing shelter to farm workers, concurred with Muti on the
matter of increased prostitution. "Obviously others are engaging in commercial
sex activities and we have received reports of high infant mortality rates and
cases of tuberculosis," Magaramombe said.
As the reality of the government's warped land policy strikes the core of
society, another social ill has manifested itself in the form of child labour.
In Bindura children are reportedly said to be hunting mice and working on
settlers' land for a pittance.
Ian Kay, a commercial farmer who was chased away from his Chipesa farm in
Marondera together with his 120 workers, said although some of his workers had
managed to get shelter from friends and relatives, the prevailing economic
difficulties were straining their upkeep. "Because of prevailing hardships, they
can't stay long with extended families. They can only stay for a short period
and then wander around from place to place," said Kay.
He said Zimbabwean farmers were keen to carry on with farming in spite of
the situation. "Right now there is tobacco waiting to be graded at my farm, but
settlers on the ground are refusing to let us do our job."
Moyo: You have destroyed the public media
JONATHAN Moyo has been minister of information for just two years. The
department he heads controls Zimpapers, ZBC, Ziana etc. In that short time, the
turnover of editors at The Herald, Sunday Mail, Chronicle, Ziana and CNG has
been nothing short of amazing.
At the ZBC, Moyo is working with his third director general in two years.
But the saddest part of this is that when Moyo arrived, he found a half decent
broadcaster employing about 600 permanent staff, airing programmes that we could
listen to and watch, and flighting plenty of adverts especially during prime
time. ZBC was alive and kicking.
The editorial stance was quickly changed, advertisers were treated like
trash, dozens of experienced employees were fired and hundreds of novices hired.
After paying millions of dollars in exit packages, ZBC increases its staff
compliment to about 950 and costly offices were opened in places such as Gweru
It did not require a chartered accountant to add up the equation: No
advertising revenue + hundreds of inexperienced workers obtaining huge salaries
+ no listeners + an ill-timed decentralisation project = Bankrupt ZBC.
Two things have left me flabbergasted. First, where is Gideon Gono in all
this? Or is he just the man with the cheque book? Second, how can the state
charge The Standard over 'false' information when the reported shake-up has in
Hwengwere and Chivaura have new job titles, Matongo has left ZBC,
Muchechetere has bounced back, and many people-about half the work force-have
been retrenched. That seems to mean a lot of heads are to roll at the public
media as The Standard reported!
Meanwhile, in the newspaper division, any vendor will tell you that to sell
even 20 Herald copies is some achievement and I am talking here about the Harare
city centre. Zimpapers' day of reckoning is not far off. The Chronicle publishes
for a certain political audience. I'm not convinced that it sells even 10 000
Mugabe wants to cripple media - editor
June 22 2002 at
Oxford, England: Award-winning Zimbabwean editor Geoffrey
President Robert Mugabe had made Zimbabwe the most dangerous
place in the
world to publish a newspaper.
Nyarota, editor of the
independent Daily News, in a lecture on Friday at
Oxford University said
Mugabe intended to cripple the independent media with
the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
More than 12 journalists had
been arrested in Zimbabwe since the act became
Nyarota and one of his reporters, Lloyd Mudiwa, are awaiting trial
press law, charged with publishing a false story alleging that
supporters beheaded a woman in a rural district last year. Andrew
an American journalist working for Britain's Guardian newspaper went
trial on June 12 on similar charges. - Foreign Service
Nepad good for rule of law-Salim
By John Makura
MUTARE-The former secretary-general of the Organisation of African Unity,
Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, has said the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(Nepad) which has not been well received by the Zimbabwe government, will ensure
that there is peace, stability, observance of the rule of law and economic
development on the continent.
Addressing delegates to a conference of the Institute of Peace, Leadership
and Governance held at Africa University on Friday he said that in accordance
with Nepad, a brainchild of south African President Thabo Mbeki, citizens of
African countries had the right to criticise wayward leaders and governments.
"If a leader has gone wrong, he has to be told that he has gone wrong
otherwise the situation could deteriorate into conflict. There is a tendency for
some African leaders to refuse constructive criticism and this must stop if we
are to progress," he said.
Delegates who attended the meeting said Salim's statement was a strong
message to President Robert Mugabe who has refused to accept criticism for his
unpopular policies such as the enactment of draconian laws to harass journalists
and lawyers, as well as the manner in which he is handling the land issue in
Salim said the fact that most conflicts on the continent in the past two
decades had been between citizens of the same country, indicated that their
causes were internal.
"Invariably these causes are associated with questions of leadership and
governance and the abuse of power and authority, or grievances that emerge due
to denial of participation, violations of human rights, disregard of the rule of
law and practices of intolerance," said Salim.
Hunger will drive Mugabe out
I have always thought the NCA's determination to try to introduce a new
constitution on our existing 'president' a waste of time and resources. Much
better to do it when Mugabe has been booted out and a democratic government is
Now, I would honestly counsel against mass action in favour of a
presidential election unless the MDC can guarantee a minimum of two million
people, preferably five million, taking part and being prepared to die for it.
I believe that within the next few months, when starvation really
starts to bite and the people have had enough, they will rise unilaterally
everywhere and nothing will stop them-and the armed forces will take one look
and won't even try; they'd be torn limb from limb.
Interestingly, after I had written the above, I saw in The Daily News of 15
June, the following comment by Italy's prime minister at the just-ended UN food
summit: "One must remember that a starving man is a desperate man, perhaps even
a dangerous man." Robert Mugabe, I believe, has every right to be afraid.
Kunonga insults Ndebeles
By Grey Moyo
BULAWAYO-Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, the Anglican bishop of the Harare diocese,
is again at the centre of controversy, this time for insulting Ndebele speakers
by declaring that only Shona be used at the annual Bernard Mzeki pilgrimage in
Marondera, The Standard has established.
The pilgrimage, in honour of the late Mozambican martyr who died at the
hands of Chief Mangwende's men in 1896, sees thousands of Anglicans from across
the country converging on the shrine in honour of the missionary's work.
Insiders who spoke to The Standard said Kunonga, a staunch Zanu PF
activist who has tried to drag party politics into church affairs, infuriated
the three delegations from Bulawayo who were part of 5 000 pilgrims present when
he declared that there would be no Ndebele interpretation of the proceedings
which were being conducted in Shona.
Kunonga who was the host Bishop, allegedly told church members as they were
drawing up the Order of Service (guidelines on how the festival would be run),
that he would not attempt to speak in a language he did not understand.
It is church policy that festivals which draw people from across the
country are conducted in the three main languages-English, Ndebele and Shona.
Several attempts to obtain comment from Kunonga were not successful as a
woman who answered the phone at the Harare diocese put the receiver down each
time she heard that The Standard wanted to speak to the bishop.
However, insiders said Kunonga's action, which disregarded the basic
standing rules of the church, exposed his contempt for respected Bishop Wilson
Sitshebo of the Bulawayo Diocese and Ndebele speaking people in general.
While leading the service, Kunonga spoke in Shona without interpreters,
despite being well aware that some pilgrims, especially those from Matabeleland,
did not understand the language, The Standard was informed.
Ironically, Bishop Sitshebo who also addressed the pilgrims tried to ensure
that everyone understood his sermon by speaking in all three languages to the
varied audience which included hundreds of people from Mozambique.
Contacted for a comment, Bishop Sitshebo said the exclusion of other
languages could not have gone down well with the delegates.
"I know that was a sensitive matter for some delegates but I am not aware
why it happened. Possibly the decision was made at the stage of putting in the
Order of Service. I was not there. As for myself, I addressed the congregation
in Shona, Ndebele and English, so that everyone could understand my sermon," he
However, some disappointed delegates from Matabeleland were not as cautious
in their interpretation of events.
They said such actions only bring to the fore serious political and tribal
divisions that have been simmering in the church for some time.
"This is not the first time Kunonga has shown his contempt for Ndebele
speakers. It is precisely for this reason that we have not attended previous
Bernard Mizeki commemoration festivals," said a church member from Bulawayo.
"There is too much tribal friction in the Anglican Church but since Kunonga
wants to be seen to be the leader in violation of a standing code of practice,
we feel we can't worship with someone who hates us for the language we speak. We
worship God, not Kunonga," said a church member.
Divisions in the church have grown since Kunonga went to the pulpit to
declare that the Anglican Church supported President Mugabe's chaotic fast track
land grab exercise. Kunonga stunned Christians when he declared that Mugabe was
more Christian than himself.
"People from the southern regions feel they are being told that they are
different. If Kunonga and his supporters in Harare think they are special, they
should let the rest of the branches go their own way," said a disappointed
church elder. It has also emerged that the alienation of specific branches has
grown due to Kunonga's links with Zanu PF.
The branches also accuse Kunonga, whose name is on the list of top Zanu PF
undesirables in America and the European Union, of victimising them for refusing
to support his Zanu PF cause.
Government is the real national disaster
ONCE again, our caring, concerned government has declared as "national
disasters" the latest road tragedies in which nearly 50 people died.
It was this same caring, concerned government which recently declared the
chronic food shortage in Zimbabwe a "national disaster".
The truth is that the real national disaster is the government itself,
a government that has created a society in which disregard for the law has been
positively encouraged or simply allowed to go unpunished. It is this same
government, by its inability or unwillingness to enforce traffic laws, which is
largely responsible for the dangerous conditions prevailing on our roads.
Crying crocodile tears whenever a major tragedy occurs on the roads is just
not acceptable, but it is all we can expect from a government whose only concern
is for its own political survival.
In a classic example of the crisis management that our government mistakes
for policy initiatives, it has now announced that it will introduce stiffer
penalties for traffic offenders and some new regulations.
Before they proceed perhaps they will first answer the question of who is
responsible for enforcing our existing traffic laws. When existing traffic laws
are flouted with impunity what possible purpose will be served by new laws,
other than as window dressing to pretend that something is being done?
Other relevant questions, which will, of course, go unanswered by our
unaccountable government include the following:
* Will anyone accept responsibility for these road tragedies and resign?
* Will anyone insist that something is done to enforce the laws that are
* Will the police do anything effective to deal with the very real dangers
created by speeding buses and trucks, by lethal unroadworthy vehicles, by
reckless minibus drivers, by vehicles with defective lights (including many
police and government vehicles), by drivers who openly drink beer whilst
driving, by drivers who go through red lights long after they have changed, by
ET's that are now openly back on the roads despite being banned?
* Will the 'responsible' minister and the police commissioner do anything
to ensure that the police actually do their job of enforcing existing laws? If
they are unaware of where traffic violations routinely occur then they need only
ask any of us who daily risk our lives driving on Zimbabwe's roads.
Don't hold your breath in anticipation of answers to any of these
questions-and don't expect anything more to be said until the next 'accident'.
And certainly don't expect anything to be done beyond the mouthing of a few
pious platitudes-or the passing of laws which will be immediately ignored.
As usual it is the innocent who are the victims of our caring, concerned
Police 'barred' from Whitecliff
By Chengetai Zvauya
WAR veterans at Whitecliff farm have declared the 'settlement' a no-go area
and have created a militia force to fight off 'intruders', including the police,
The Standard has heard.
The militia, made up of youths resident on the farm, patrols the area
around the clock in an effort to stop unwanted visitors.
Last week, Ignatius Chombo, the local government minister, provoked the
wrath of the war veterans when he ordered the invaders to vacate Whitecliff
farm, located on the outskirts of Harare.
Chombo was forced to back down after the war vets branded him a "counter
revolutionary" and called for his resignation.
The war vets' secretary for security, Mike Moyo, who is leading the
militia, on Wednesday encouraged the farm's militia to be alert and vigilant.
Announcing the formation of the 'defence team' to hundreds of settlers at
Whitecliff farm, Moyo said its purpose was to fight the police and others who
threatened to destroy their homes.
''We have formed a youth team to look out for people who want to destroy
our homes. The youths will be patrolling the area and they are not going to
sleep. Any strangers, especially the police sent by minister Chombo to destroy
our homes, are not welcome.
''If they come here looking for war we are ready for them. Do not be afraid
of them. Anyone who resides here and does not participate in this war will be
chased away because he is as good as the people we are fighting,'' said Moyo.
When The Standard visited the farm on Wednesday, scores of youths could be
seen manning the various entrance points to the farm.
The situation was tense with the militia closely vetting all visitors to
The 10 000 settlers on the farm and their war veteran leaders, are refusing
to vacate the farm despite being labelled illegal tenants by government.
It takes men of spine...
I WOULD like to commend you Mr Editor for a job well done in disseminating
information regarding what is happening around us.
It takes men of 'spine' to stand up and face the breeze that is common
these days. You stand up for reality, like the prophets Amos, Elijah and
Stephen. Purity of conscience is expressed solely through fearless courage.
To be a philosopher and a judge, one has to be prepared to get his
fingers burnt. Love of wisdom, which is the definition of philosophy, manifests
itself in fearlessness in times of retribution.
John the Baptist, 'lost his head' after facing the wrath of the king once
he had exposed him.
Peter Moyo should also be praised for his What's On Air column. He knows
his subject well. It is such people that should be the CEO's of the now defunct,
No to lily-livered ZTA, CFU
TOBACCO, Zimbabwe's main foreign currency earner, has been killed by
cowardice in the face of Zanu PF's brutal seizure of productive farmland.
There is no point in pandering to political correctness. Down that road
lies the deceitful belief that commercial farmers are second class citizens.
Down that road we expose the dangerous delusion that we will maintain Zimbabwe's
envied position in world tobacco trade in the face of this self-inflicted
Growing tobacco is not that easy, no matter what the likes of Joseph
Made and Jonathan Moyo might claim. Apart from immense skill and wealth of
experience, it takes literally millions of dollars in investment for even modest
And, for those who believe they are far removed from tobacco, it is
important to restate that it is the single, most important product in this
country-and it makes Zimbabwe what it is. In tobacco there is wealth, not just
for tobacco farmers, nor just for buyers and the trade, but for all Zimbabweans.
Without the crop, Zimbabwe would be as underdeveloped as Zambia, Mozambique, or
That makes it all the sadder that organisations like the Zimbabwe Tobacco
Association (ZTA) have participated so willingly in their own demise. Even more
than the now enfeebled Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), the ZTA has allowed,
since the onset of the Zimbabwe Crisis, Zanu PF's agents of influence to guide
People in Mabvuku and Mabelreign, Bulawayo and Beitbridge, Nkayi and Guruve
might say the problems besetting tobacco farmers are so far removed from them
that they're irrelevant, but they couldn't be more wrong. Tobacco is to Zimbabwe
what gold is to South Africa-and without it we all perish.
No one, from the townships to the comfortable suburbs, should forget that
the Zimbabwe Crisis, now entering its third year, began on the farms. And
history will not forget that organisations like the ZTA did their utmost to
ensure that Zanu PF hegemony was total-to the ultimate detriment of all
Zimbabweans. Indeed the ZTA and CFU equally stand accused for their part in
fomenting the current land-related crisis.
For too long farmers ignored the fact that millions of black Zimbabweans
scratched a living from farming in marginal communal areas. Instead of being
proactive, the CFU foolishly hoped the simmering crisis would never come to
pass. But it did and no doubt they have learnt a painful lesson from all this.
Be that as it may, the point still stands that farmers have been given
minimal support in the face of the endless programme of harassment. We therefore
applaud the extreme resilience of some of the commercial farmers who have risked
everything to put in a crop season in and season out.
This is in sharp contrast to farming organisations who have knuckled their
foreheads rather than stand up to the threat they faced. They've toadied
shamelessly to the regime, rather than face the fact that their lack of courage
has had a catastrophic and death dealing blow to all Zimbabweans.
That's why last week's fawning speech by ZTA outgoing president Kobus
Joubert should be so upsetting for the rest of the country. Joubert, to the
disgust of many of his members, told tobacco growers that they should "work with
the government of the day" before cautioning them to be "apolitical"-surely a
contradiction in terms, because the implication is that farmers should cooperate
only with the ruling party.
He also had words to say about the arrogance and attitude of farmers, a
gross intrusion into people's lives and one that upset many. As did his advice
that farmers co-exist with the newly "settled" people on their farms, the very
same people who, in most cases, have been terrorising farmers and their workers
for the last two years. His shameless servility, hopefully, won't be replicated
on the ground where farmers and about 300 000 farm workers stand to lose
everything by taking his advice.
We have to understand that the problems on the farms are problems for all
Zimbabweans. We have also to accept that while commercial farmers, in the main,
have done nothing to win friends over the last 22 years, the problems Zimbabwe
faces are so great that we need to overlook niceties for the time being. Whether
they're good guys or a bunch of die hard reactionaries is irrelevant under the
current circumstances. Right now concerted efforts need to be made, by all
Zimbabweans, to restore commercial farming to its former productive self.
SoŠ it doesn't really help when their own leaders, be they in the ZTA or
the CFU, actually work against Zimbabwe's interests-as happened so openly last
week, but in reality has been happening for over two years.
And this is something farming leaders need to understand, and understand
clearly. We are in a crisis, just as they are, but it is a crisis they have made
worse than it need have been. They also need to understand that working in the
country's interest at this moment in time means working against the disastrous
policies of the ruling party. Witness the way in which the government has been
delisting, relisting, delisting and relisting the farms. It really boggles the
mind and shows, once again, a government which is locked in a confused mode.
Zanu PF has embarked on a course that will bankrupt Zimbabwe in economic
and moral terms-and it has done so by design because only by subjecting the
population to penury and political subjugation can it ensure its own survival.
In effect, the ZTA is saying that it is safer to go along with this in the
hope that some day it will all end.
That's nonsense. The only way it will end is if we make it end. If Kobus
Joubert believes that appeasing and negotiating with the bullies in Zanu PF will
work, that's for him to believe-but we are certain it won't work. It has not
worked in the past.
It takes two to negotiate in good faith. And as things stand, the ruling
party is not interested in dialogue and contact as a constructive basis for its
relations not only with commercial farmers but other civil society organisations
We believe the day will come when eventually we will look back on this
period and there will be a word of gratitude to those who stood up to this
evil-and not the current ZTAs of this world.
Difficult times ahead
By Paul Nyakazeya
AS the country enters the second half of the year, Zimbabweans who have for
the past five months been struggling to make ends meet, are bound to be
depressed by economic indicators of more difficult times ahead.
With inflation pegged at an unprecedented 122,5%, life in Zimbabwe has
become a daily nightmare for the ordinary people, many of whom are left with
little option but to become economic refugees in the United Kingdom.
The chaotic land reform programme and the violence that engulfed the
country in the run up to the June 2000 general elections and March 2002
presidential elections, among other factors, contributed to the economic malaise
which hit the country, once the breadbasket of southern Africa.
This malaise was mainly manifested by acute foreign currency shortages and
the free fall of the once-stable Zimbabwe dollar which plunged to an all-time
low against major currencies. Only last week there were fears that the exchange
rate of the Zim dollar would crash to a record $900 against the American
Analysts say the beleaguered Zim dollar, now purchases what six cents used
to buy in 1995, thus worsening the plight of Zimbabweans, many of whom are
Figures from the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) show that the monthly
budget for a family of six has risen from about $2 777 in 1995 to around $27 000
in April 2002.
Despite this, the majority of working people in this country earn an
average of $10 000 per month.
Many companies have been forced to close operations due to the hostile
economic environment prevailing in the country.
Harare-based economic consultant Andrew Shoriwa told Standard Business that
the rise in inflation would worsen the situation as many company's operations
were driven out of business.
"With such a percentage, workers will demand higher wages as they will be
doing more for the dollar than the dollar is doing for them. Companies have not
been performing well enough to meet salary demands. Very soon there will be no
point in saving money in banks because of the negative interest rates," said
Many businesses have ceased operations over the past three years forcing
many people out of employment and reducing the economy's output. Zimbabwe's
inflation rate is the second highest in Africa after that of its ally, the war
torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Owen Harris of Marlborough, who is a father of three, told Standard
Business: "There was a time when $1 000 was the down-payment for a car but now
that amount is less than bus fare to Bulawayo."
Martha Siziba of Riverside, Bulawayo, suggested that it was time for the
present government to start establishing good relations with the international
community for the good of ordinary citizens.
Said Siziba: "When you make your budget there is nothing left to to save.
Today's budget reminds people of their poverty."
On Sunday with Chido Makunike
HOW is the revolution under President Mugabe and his senior aides going? Is
there any hope of the nation soon reaching the promised land of enough food, a
stable currency and a booming economy?
The signs are not encouraging. Shortages of essential commodities are
worsening, our currency has experienced its steepest decline in the last
month;company closures and joblessness are the order of the day.
How are some of the other members of Mr Mugabe's team faring?
Finance minister Simba Makoni is in the interesting position of, on the one
hand, being accused of having failed to influence even a single one of Mugabe's
politics and economics, but on the other of being defended even by critics of Mr
Mugabe. He is not the hate-spewing, rabble-rouser in the mould of his boss and
some other ministers, that's why many commentators go out of their way to excuse
Makoni may be a nice enough chap, but given the mess we are in now, is
'nice' in a cabinet minister good enough?
One day he makes a statement calling for sanity on the part of his
colleagues but the next day distances himself from that very statement for fear
of trouble with Mugabe. We need Zimbabweans who can make a fearless stand.
Does Makoni stand for anything? I hope he is not simply a window dresser,
there to enjoy the privileges of being a minister but without the power and
latitude to do anything useful.
I would like to nominate my favourite minister, none other than Mugabe's
propaganda chief, Jonathan Moyo, for what has been proposed in the past-the
position of prime minister. He already makes statements on matters concerning
other ministers' jurisdictions, so we might as well formally recognise his
resourcefulness and initiative.
But he must be warned in the strongest terms that as PM, he will not be
able to just fire all the other ministers and run the government
For your next birthday, my main man Moyo, I have bought you a copy of the
international best-seller by Norman Vincent Peale, How to Win Friends and
Influence People. After reading it, pass it on to Mugabe and police spokesman
Wayne Bvudzijena, who might become a little more effective at their jobs if they
take its wisdom to heart.
Finally, whatever it is that makes Moyo appear to be perpetually angry, I
urge him to please try to relax. Exercise and meditation are two ideas to try.
They cost nothing and they work. It's not worth it to be Mugabe's most
enthusiastic flunky at the cost of having neither friends nor respect.
I used to think of agriculture minister Joseph Made as a mild-mannered,
laid back type, but soon after his appointment, he took on the intimidatory,
belligerent style of Mugabe and Moyo. You see the negative kind of pressure that
can influence you when you hang out with the wrong crowd?
Or is it defensiveness about possibly going down in posterity as the clever
fellow who went all the way to America to attain prestigious degrees in
agriculture, only to come back to destroy commercial agriculture in the name of
land reform, instead of using one's learning to rise to the challenge of meeting
the need for both?
For the sake of Made's legacy, I hope the Mugabe type of land reform,
derided far and wide, and seen as the immediate cause of the current famine,
will be vindicated in Made's lifetime. For now, it has brought hunger, suffering
and international humiliation for his fellow Zimbabweans.
In a new cabinet, I would propose Mrs Grace Mugabe as head of a new
ministry of finance, spending and trade. I have no doubt that our trade with
countries like Italy, Germany, the US, Britain and Singapore would improve
dramatically. These countries make a lot of the fine, expensive material things
that make life so meaningful, and Mrs Mugabe has enjoyed visiting them all.
This appointment would be conditional on Comrade Grace agreeing to have her
foreign trips and expense accounts closely monitored, since foreign currency has
become such a scarce, precious commodity.
Almost weekly, we are told how our depressed tourism industry is just about
to experience a fantastic boom that will end all our problems. Tourism minister
Francis Nhema has recently been looking very glum, perhaps he has the thankless
job of trying to attract tourists to Zimbabwe, when some would argue that the
president and some of his other ministers are working even harder to keep them
I felt so sorry for Nhema when he was reduced to commandeering a group of
Americans around the countryside to a big dinner, and trying to make it look
like the tourism event of the year.
Alas, there is as yet no sign of the promised tourist deluge. Some wags
have unkindly suggested that Mr Mugabe, with his penchant for flying to what
parts of the world he still can, and for putting up in ritzy hotels, sort of
acts like a tourist to Zimbabwe, and that he might want to take over the
portfolio, and have a go at attracting other tourists. Surely this is the kind
of rude talk that can only emanate from enemies of the revolution, renegades and
Putting the rather hot-headed Patrick Chinamasa in charge of a ministry
with the word 'justice' in it was surely a non-starter. I suggest putting his
talents to better use in a proposed ministry of aggression, responsible for
ruthlessly dealing with demonstrations by members of the opposition and similar
dangerous, subversive activities.
I am not at all impressed with the diplomatic skills of minister of foreign
affairs, Stan Mudenge. The name of his ministry turned out to have been
prophetic, as it has emerged that his daughter was conducting a hot affair with
a foreigner, leading to their wedding in Germany this month.
Mudenge ranted something to the effect that even if he was denied a visa
for the wedding because of sanctions, this country would still "never go back to
the whites"-the hook that the Mugabe regime uses whenever it is censured or
I thought this rather ugly talk from a supposedly seasoned diplomat, and a
gentleman welcoming a white son in law into the family. This harsh racial talk
is sure to cause alarm and despondency to the German in-laws, who may be
wondering just what they have got themselves in to.
I am not aware of anything Elliot Manyika has accomplished as minister of
employment creation, but non-achievement does not necessarily disqualify him
from being a minister, as the prolonged tenure of many other ministers has
No, what worries me most about Manyika being so close to the seat of power
is the rumour that he is studying for an advanced degree with a British
university. If true, is this not a terrible threat to our national sovereignty,
at a time when Mugabe is tirelessly alerting us to the diabolical and
neo-colonialist designs of the British?
Under the guise of educating Manyika, the crafty British could very well
lure him from the straight and narrow path, causing him to waver in his
revolutionary fervour. I am aware that the serious charge that he is working in
cahoots with the British could destroy his career in the Mugabe regime, but my
patriotic and evolutionary spirit does not allow me to keep quiet about this
possible act of betrayal. CIO, where are you when you can actually do the
country some good?
At the risk of being accused of being counter-revolutionary, I must confess
the revolutionary cabinet does not inspire much confidence in me at the moment.
Insight Into Mugabe's Mind
Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)
Posted to the web June 23, 2002
department of information and publicity in the President's Office
published Inside The Third Chimurenga, a compilation of selected speeches
President Robert Mugabe that seeks to justify his controversial land
The book which was published in December 2001, ahead
of the Zanu PF
conference held in Victoria Falls, has only been circulated
The department, headed by junior minister
for state, information and
publicity, Jonathan Moyo, did not make any efforts
to publicise the book.
The 201 page publication provides an insight into
the mind of the embattled
president who is under fire at home and abroad for
his election 'victory'
which has been widely described as 'stolen'.
the book, Mugabe makes it clear that "the land is the economy and the
is the land" in Zimbabwe.
The speeches, some of which date back to 1997,
show that Mugabe remains
unrepentant in his hatred for whites.
bashes them left, right and centre, but reserves his harshest criticism
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), a party that
relegated him to the dustbin of Zimbabwean political
In several speeches, Mugabe viciously criticises the MDC,
describing it as
"treacherous", "quisling", and "a counter revolutionary
contrived and nurtured by the very inimical forces that enslaved
oppressed our people yesterday".
Turning to its leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, Mugabe asks rhetorically in one of
his long speeches:
how else does one reconcile the fact of a political leader of peasant
bred in overcrowded, dusty and land hungry district like Buhera of
(sic) taking a rigid stance against land reform meant to benefit his
parents and himself?
Why would such a person expect Zanu PF to teach
about the need for land
reform when the best, most compelling teacher is the
life and fate of his
own peasant father, mother, uncle and
Zimbabwe crisis deepens as Mugabe sticks to his
HARARE, June 23 - Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis
is deepening as
President Robert Mugabe cranks up pressure against the
continues his controversial land-seizure drive, political
They argue that Mugabe has compounded Zimbabwe's gloomy
a swoop of arrests and warnings to his opponents that he will
any protests against his rule, and another vow that his land
''If you look at all the things that are
happening...if you add it up
in any manner you want, what you will find is a
situation that is getting
worse and worse,'' said Masipula Sithole, professor
of political science at
the University of Zimbabwe.
''There is more
repression, a more repressive atmosphere and there
are no new ideas coming
from the government. It is behaving as if everything
is normal and that is
what is making the situation really bad.''
The government arrested and
took to court nearly 100 members of the
main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) this week for illegal
ZANU-PF party says the rallies are being called to plot a
national revolt to
overturn Mugabe's re-election earlier this year in a
MDC leader Tsvangirai accused the police of brutality in dispersing
rallies, but said he would not give up his efforts to
While Mugabe's government kept
its eyes and guns on its opponents,
the crisis in Zimbabwe's economy, in its
fourth year of recession, appeared
to be worsening.
Food shortages -- blamed on drought and Mugabe's seizures
white-owned commercial farms -- are spreading, the Zimbabwean
continues to crumble in value and the price of critical health drugs
risen by over 200 percent since December.
''The economy has
become a hostage of our politics and there is
nothing in our politics to
liberate the economy,'' said private economic
Increasing numbers of farmers whose land has been
seizure by Mugabe's government for redistribution to landless
leaving their land following government orders, raising the
spectre of an
even wider food crisis.
Many of the farms' new
occupants have little or no farming experience
and Zimbabwean farmers are
emigrating in droves, with some neighbours like
Mozambique snapping up their
The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), which represents about
white farmers, says up to 90 percent of its members are likely to lose
land under the government's ''fast-track'' land-reform
Agricultural authorities in Mozambique said on Sunday some
of the 150
Zimbabwean commercial farmers who had applied for land in the
province of Manica would soon be operating there, having paid their
and consulted local communities.
Besides the staple maize
meal, Zimbabwean media said this week sugar
was in short supply because
millers had had no coal deliveries from a state
railway service, commandeered
by the government to move food aid around the
southern Africa country where a
quarter of its 14 million people are facing
International aid agencies -- including the World Food Programme
(WFP) -- say
about half the population might be in need of food assistance
by the end of
the year and that Zimbabwe's current food crisis is
The country's key farming sector used to be
breadbasket of the
But Mugabe, whose March presidential
election was condemned as
fraudulent by many Western powers, blames this
year's food shortage on