The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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The Scotsman

      Mugabe set to be stripped of his knighthood

      BRIAN BRADY AND TREVOR GRUNDY


      Queen to be advised to withdraw honour amid claims of renewed
repression and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe

      ROBERT Mugabe is set to be stripped of his honorary knighthood after
unleashing a brutal tide of repression in Zimbabwe while the eyes of the
world have been focused on Iraq.

      Ministers have confirmed that they are planning to advise the Queen to
withdraw the honour she conferred on Mugabe in 1994, amid a new wave of
protests against his 23-year reign over the former colony.

      The Zimbabwean leader has been accused of using the war in Iraq as a
"smokescreen" under which he has stepped up a campaign of internal
repression and human rights abuses. More than 500 people have been arrested
in the wake of a two-day general strike called by Mugabe's opponents, the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) two weeks ago. It has been claimed that
as many as 1,000 opposition supporters were driven out of their homes and
more than 250 injured in violent clashes.

      Meanwhile, an increasingly belligerent Mugabe has compared himself to
Adolf Hitler and warned that he will not hesitate to act like a "black
Hitler" in quashing dissent.

      Britain has already managed to push through European Union sanctions
against Zimbabwe, in protest at his policy of seizing land from farmers to
redistribute to civil war veterans and his refusal to hold free and fair
elections. Pressure from Britain and Australia helped to ensure that Mugabe'
s suspension from the Commonwealth was extended earlier this month.

      But Foreign Office minister Baroness Amos has now revealed that the
sanctions against Mugabe would extend to the symbolic award of the
knighthood, made during his state visit to the United Kingdom in 1994. John
Major's government advised the Queen to invest Mugabe to the rank of an
Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath.

      Last night a Foreign Office source said: "It is uncomfortable to have
him recognised in this way when we are condemning his behaviour around the
world. We don't want to give him any propaganda victories. It is
inconceivable that he will be allowed to remain a knight when his behaviour
is so appalling."

      Advising the Queen to withdraw the honour would be a highly unusual
move, an indignity normally reserved for recognised tyrants including
Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Liberal Democrat peer Lord Watson, who
has called for the honour to be stripped from Mugabe, said: " Robert Mugabe
has led the people of Zimbabwe to the brink of destruction. He does not
deserve an honour of this kind. "

      Mugabe's plans to ruthlessly exploit the war with Iraq to obliterate
and then bury the opposition in Zimbabwe is expected to reach a crescendo
this week when a deadline laid down by the MDC for the restoration of full
human rights and an end of the present violence sweeping the bankrupt and
now starving nation expires.

      David Coltart, justice spokesman for the MDC, which is seeking to end
Mugabe's 23 years of power, said: "We're expecting the worst to happen.

      "The number of arrests, detentions and beatings faced by our
supporters is higher now than at any time since the MDC was launched three
years ago."

      Mugabe has authorised his infamous Green Bombers - heavily armed and
uniformed youths who until recently were unemployed street children in the
capital, Harare - to detain and torture supporters of MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai. The former trade unionist is on trial for his life following
accusations that he was plotting to assassinate the president.

      As if to emphasise his increasing disregard for the norms or opinion
of international human rights groups, Mugabe declared on television that he
was the new Hitler.

      He said: "I am still the Hitler of our time. This Hitler has only one
objective - justice for his own people, sovereignty for his own people,
recognition of the independence of his people and their right to their own
resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold. Ten times
Hitler, that is what we stand for." Hours later, members of the Zimbabwe
National Army started a series of pre-dawn raids against MDC officials in
revenge for the embarrassment caused to the president by an
opposition-organised general strike.

      One MDC member of parliament, 30-year-old Joe Sikhala, was arrested
and beaten for eight hours. He is presently in South Africa for
psychotherapy to help him overcome the trauma of the torture he received at
the hands of the Mugabe's North Korean-trained Central Intelligence
organisation (CIO).

      Patricia Mukonda, 26, a secretary at the MDC's head office, was
arrested when soldiers broke down the front door of her house and accused
her, in front of her brother and child, of being Morgan Tsvangirai's
prostitute. They then sexually abused her.

      On Friday Tsvangirai warned that his party may not be able to hold
back a popular uprising against Mugabe, despite his desire for a peaceful
solution. He told foreign diplomats in Harare: "We have now reached the
stage where people's impatience, anger and their desire for qualitative
change in their lives cannot be contained." He added that the MDC found it
increasingly difficult "to continue counselling patience on a restive
population."

      The opposition has given the government until tomorrow to introduce 15
democratic reforms or face further strikes and protests. Mugabe has scoffed
at the demands and said police and security forces will stop further
protests. Tsvangirai has promised "peaceful mass action" if the demands are
not met. It is the strongest warning yet of a concerted campaign by the
opposition to wage a campaign of protests, illegal under strict security
laws, and civil disobedience to bring down Mugabe's rule.
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Report slams fresh abuses in Zimbabwe

State violence reaches new pitch

Andrew Meldrum in Harare
Sunday March 30, 2003
The Observer

A hard-hitting report by the Commonwealth Secretariat stating conclusively
that the Zimbabwe government has maintained state-sponsored human rights
abuses is to be delivered to all member heads of government this week, The
Observer has learned.
It could lead to moves to have Zimbabwe expelled from the Commonwealth.

The report comes as state violence against the opposition reached a new
pitch after inflammatory speeches by President Robert Mugabe. Voting began
yesterday in two key parliamentary by-elections in Harare amid charges of
violence and massive rigging of the voters' roll.

Drawing on eyewitness accounts from sources in Zimbabwe, the Commonwealth
report asserts that Mugabe's government has not taken any steps to stop
state violence against civilians or to curb repression of the press and the
judiciary. The report maintains that Zimbabwe's year-old suspension from the
Commonwealth Council of Ministers should not be lifted as long as the
group's democratic principles are so violated by the Mugabe government.

'Because the Zimbabwe government has failed even to attempt to address the
concerns set out by the Commonwealth last year, the secretariat report
argues there is no option but to maintain the suspension,' said an
international affairs expert who read the document.

The report is a strenuous effort by Commonwealth secretary-general Don
McKinnon to prevent the 54-nation club from dividing along racial lines over
Zimbabwe. Mugabe and South African president Thabo Mbeki are urging all
African, Asian and Caribbean nations to oppose the secretariat and lift
Zimbabwe's suspension.

Mbeki is reportedly furious that McKinnon outflanked him this month by
garnering a consensus that Zimbabwe's suspension should be maintained until
the Common wealth Heads of Government Meeting is held in Nigeria in
December.

Mbeki and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo had attempted to re-admit
Zimbabwe and present the Commonwealth with a fait accompli by cancelling a
meeting of the three-member committee charged with determining what to do
about the suspension. The two African leaders refused to meet with the third
troika leader, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, saying they felt the
situation in Zimbabwe had improved so much that it should automatically be
readmitted.

But McKinnon said if the troika did not meet, the two Africans were not
authorised to lift Zimbabwe's suspen sion. McKinnon lobbied Commonwealth
heads of government and won a majority supporting the decision to maintain
Zimbabwe's suspension until the December meeting. South Africa and Nigeria
grudgingly agreed with the secretariat's position. But last week South
African officials said they were against maintaining Zimbabwe's suspension.
South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma went so far as to say
that no African country or Third World member of the Commonwealth would
support the secretariat.

McKinnon has been aided by the growing numbers of documented accounts of
beatings, torture, rapes and killings committed by Mugabe's forces against
suspected supporters of the oppo sition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC). Repression of the press has continued with journalists and
photographers being arrested and assaulted. Government action against an
independent judiciary was highlighted last month when High Court judge
Benjamin Paradza was jailed after making decisions that did not please the
government.

The new Kenyan government and the Ghanaian government are understood to have
refused blindly to back Mugabe. Caribbean Commonwealth members reportedly
refused to back Mugabe because they were appalled by the treatment of Henry
Olonga, Zimbabwe's first black cricketer, who had to go into hiding after
wearing a black armband to protest 'the death of democracy in Zimbabwe'
during the World Cup. The affable McKinnon is also understood to have the
support of key Asian members.

The damning report will shore up McKinnon's consensus in the face of Mbeki's
efforts to dismantle it. It will be supported by a report on fresh state
violence to be released this week by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a
group representing 350 civic organisations.

Crisis director Brian Raft-opoulos said: 'We urgently need the Commonwealth
Ministerial Action Group to send a delegation of eminent persons, such as
Archbishop Tutu and Nelson Mandela, here.'

State violence against the opposition reached a crescendo last week, says
the report, with more than 250 men, women and children hospitalised after
beatings, electric shocks, cigarette burns and rapes by rifle barrels.
Diplomats from South Africa, Nigeria and other Commonwealth members visited
hospitals and saw entire families recovering from beatings and torture.

Mugabe appears to accept that international condemnation is inevitable in
his single-minded pursuit to cling to power. In the past week he suggested
he would be 'Hitler tenfold' if that was needed to maintain his policies.
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BBC
 
'Tense' Zimbabwe vote continues
Residents of Kuwadzana wait their turn to vote
People wait their turn to vote

A second day of polling is taking place in two key by-elections in Zimbabwe, amid opposition accusations that voters are being intimidated by pro-government militants.

The Movement for Democratic Chance says President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party is trying to rig the vote in the two constituencies, which were won overwhelmingly by the opposition at the last general election.

But the police said they had received no reports of violence and the election authorities insisted there were no irregularities during voting on Saturday.

Results are expected on Monday.

On Saturday, more than 500 people stood in line at one polling booth in Harare an hour after it opened, complaining that ruling party supporters were jumping the queue.

"Zanu-PF youths are milling around at the gate asking people about their party affiliations and generally being intimidating," said one man.

The MDC alleges that up to 19,000 extra voters have been registered improperly to boost support for Zanu-PF.

President Mugabe casts his vote in his Highfield constituency
The EU accuses Mugabe's government of arresting opponents
An opposition politician, Trudy Stevenson, who tried to visit some polling stations in Kuwadzana constituency, said it was a "very, very tense situation."

"They were obviously stopping anyone they didn't like from coming near," she told the French news agency AFP

But Thomas Bvuma, from the Electoral Supervisory Commission, said the first day of polling had gone well.

"Everything's quiet and peaceful," he said.

Hundreds of Zanu-PF supporters lined the streets to cheer Mr Mugabe as he arrived to vote in his Highfield constituency on Saturday.

Violence

The run-up to the polls had already seen tensions rising following an anti-government strike last week.

Zanu-PF and the MDC exchanged allegations of violence during campaigning which human rights groups say left hundreds of people injured.

On Friday, the European Union condemned "unprecedented government-sponsored violence" against the opposition in Zimbabwe.

It accused President Mugabe's government of arbitrarily detaining and torturing hundreds of opponents.

It also said the Zimbabwean people had a constitutional right to protest peacefully and called on the government to respect that right.

One of the parliamentary seats at stake in the by-elections came vacant when the sitting MP died in police custody.

A leader of the pro-government militants who have been occupying farms is one of the candidates for his seat.

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Reuters


      Claims of shots fired in Zimbabwe polls

      By Stella Mapenzauswa
      HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's opposition has accused backers of
President Robert Mugabe of firing shots at its supporters during voting in
two key parliamentary by-elections, but police say they have no such
reports.

      The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said no one was injured by
the gun shots. It blamed the violence on veterans of a 1970s guerrilla war
against white minority rule who have spearheaded an invasion of white-owned
farms seized by Mugabe for redistribution to landless blacks.

      "Some of our supporters...waved their open hands (an opposition
salute). Chaos started and some war veterans started firing guns and one of
our guys was actually missed by a bullet," Nelson Chamisa, the MDC's
candidate for the Harare constituency of Kuwadzana, told a news conference
on Sunday.

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he had not received any report
about the gun shots.

      "They (MDC) started building on that issue last week by alleging that
the government has handed out AK rifles to war veterans...but I will check
it out," he said.

      Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, which holds none of Harare's 19 parliamentary
seats, wants to erode the MDC's urban power base by capturing the capital's
Kuwadzana and Highfield constituencies in the by-elections.

      MUGABE'S TWO DECADES OF POWER

      The by-elections took place against a background of a collapsing
economy and a new crackdown on the opposition after a two-day strike this
month that was one of the biggest protests in recent years against Mugabe's
rule of more than two decades.

      Mugabe, 79, won re-election for another six-year term as president in
polls last March criticised as fraudulent by both the MDC and some Western
governments.

      The once vibrant economy in the former British colony has been
crumbling in the face of food, fuel and hard currency shortages.

      Results are expected on Monday from voting in the by-elections on
Saturday and Sunday.

      The MDC said it was standing by a Monday deadline for the government
to meet a series of demands, including the release of hundreds of its
supporters it says were detained after the two-day strike.

      It has threatened more strikes if its demands are not met.

      "We want to say to Mugabe and his cronies that regardless of all the
threats and danger we remain defiant...," MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said
in a statement.

      "It is our constitutional right....to peacefully protest against
violent misrule."

      ZANU-PF and the MDC accused each other of violence during campaigning
for the by-elections. Rights groups say hundreds of people have been
injured.

      ZANU-PF has a comfortable majority in the 150-strong parliament and
victory in the by-elections would take it closer to the two-thirds majority
it needs to change the constitution.

      The MDC won the two constituencies in 2000 parliamentary polls, but
the seats fell vacant through the death of one legislator and the expulsion
of another from the party.

      The MDC has alleged the ruling party is trying to manipulate the
by-elections, including the addition of 19,000 "ghost" names on the voters'
rolls. ZANU-PF has not commented on the allegations.

      The European Union said on Friday it was concerned by a wave of what
it said were arbitrary arrests of hundreds of opposition supporters, many of
whom it said had been mistreated and even tortured by security forces.
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Beer Prices Increased

The Herald (Harare)

March 29, 2003
Posted to the web March 30, 2003

Harare

BEER drinkers this week experienced yet another increase in the price of
lagers.

A pint of Castle, Lion, Black Label and Pilsener, which used to cost $270,
now costs $360, while a quart now costs $580, up from $450.

A pint of Zambezi and Bohlingers is now selling at $400, up from $300, while
cans now cost between $500 and $550, up from $400.

This is minus the deposit, which is $50 or $100, depending on the
supermarket or bottle store.

For those who like to drink at fancier places like nightclubs, the cost is
much heavier with a pint selling for as much as $800.

A survey conducted late yesterday afternoon, however, showed that some of
the country's large supermarkets were still selling beer at the old price.

At one TM Supermarket branch, beers were selling at the old prices.

A salesperson at the supermarket said this was due to the fact that the shop
brought in huge quantities and would not know about the price increases
until they went for the next supplies.

Efforts to get a comment from Natbrew's marketing director Mr Etherton
Mpisaunga and the public relations manager, Mr Atkins Chimhandamba, were
fruitless as they were both said to be out of office.

Earlier, Mr Chimhandamba had referred all questions to Mr Mpisaunga, saying
he was the only one who could comment on the subject.

Questions faxed to Natbrew were not responded to by the close of business
yesterday.

Guzzlers have received news of the increase of beer prices with dismay
saying in these difficult times, they would soon die of stress after failing
to afford to buy the only thing that kept their sorrows at bay.

The last round of beer price increases was in December.

Drinkers said their weekends were never going to be the same again, because
from now on they would have to think extra hard before they went out to have
one or two with the boys.

"At this rate, it is soon going to be impossible to treat our friends to a
round of beer and weekends will be boring.

"It is even going to be impossible to have a party because the beer needed
for a party now costs a fortune," said Mr Tichaona Mbasera.

A Braeside bottle store operator, Mr Kudakwashe Shamuyarira, expressed fears
that the increases would result in a decrease in beer sales.

Since it was month-end and people were buying, he was not so sure the
situation would remain the same aftera while.

"We can only hope that those who are buying will keep on buying so we can
stay in business," he said.

Some serious guzzlers, however, described the price increases as just a
temporary setback, which would however not stop them from drinking.
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IOL

Mugabe 'runs amok' as world watches the war

      March 30 2003 at 01:58PM



By Brian Latham and Basildon Peta

Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has unleashed a wave of terror
on his political opponents in Harare's poverty-ridden townships while world
attention is diverted by the war in Iraq.

Mugabe appears to be taking revenge on the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) for organising a successful two-day general strike
last week - and also trying to intimidate MDC supporters planning further
mass action.

Mugabe is also trying to prevent MDC voters from voting against him in two
parliamentary by-elections in the Harare townships this weekend, the MDC
believes.

The wave of violence appears to be derailing a tentative new peace
initiative by President Thabo Mbeki.

A report by the independent Human Rights Forum tells of devastating violence
against residents of the Harare townships, which are largely MDC
strongholds.

"People taken by police for questioning were handed over to Zanu-PF youths
and taken behind police stations where they were assaulted severely, using
weapons such as baton sticks, chains, hosepipes and rifles.

"In most cases [the assaults involved] groups of between 20 and 50
individuals," reads the report.

The Human Rights Forum believes the new wave of violence is worse than that
which preceded the June 2000 parliamentary general elections and the
presidential elections in March last year. Its report details a horrific
list of tortures, which include beatings, blindfolding, rape and electric
shocks.

And according to the Human Rights Forum, the terror campaign is not aimed
only at MDC supporters. Allegations of elderly parents and young children
being blindfolded, taken to torture camps and then dumped in the bush have
also surfaced.

One case study tells of a woman who was raped with the barrel of an AK47
while the rest of her family stood by helplessly.

The attack, carried out by 16 men in army uniform and four civilians loyal
to Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, continued with a savage assault on the woman's
son, who was beaten and burnt with cigarettes before being dumped in the
bush.

Others told of electric wires attached to their noses, ears and genitals and
current switched on whenever they were asked a question.

Meanwhile reports of AK47-wielding men in military uniform raiding township
nightclubs began to emerge last week. They forced patrons to strip, lie on
dance floors and have unprotected sex in public, eyewitnesses say.

Mugabe appears unrepentant and defiant. In a recent speech in which he
warned he could be a "Hitler 10-fold", the 79-year-old Zimbabwean president
dismissed an MDC ultimatum to restore the rule of law and release political
prisoners by tomorrow or face increasingly militant mass action.

Instead Mugabe said he did not need world approval for his actions and vowed
to crack down further.

With the world's media focused on Iraq, the full extent of the wave of
violence is not being publicised.

Zimbabwe's crisis is receiving scant attention in South Africa or further
afield, although it did seem to jolt Mbeki into his first public criticism
of Zimbabwe's human rights abuses this past week.

Mbeki also welcomed an offer by Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, to drop
all conditions for resuming stalled negotiations with Zanu-PF. But
Tsvangirai insisted he would not drop the legal challenge to last year's
presidential election results.

And responding on Friday, Natha Shamuyarira, a Zanu-PF spokesperson, said:
"We won't talk to him and his party as long as they continue to question
President Mugabe's legitimacy."

But while the MDC issues ultimatums and Mugabe vows violent retribution,
Zimbabwe continues to simmer.
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News24

Mugabe expected in SA
30/03/2003 14:33  - (SA)


Pretoria - Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, who has been condemned
internationally for human rights abuses, is one of the heads of state
expected to attend the closing ceremony of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue in
South Africa on Wednesday.

Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa confirmed on Sunday that Mugabe
was expected to attend the ceremony, but said this would only be confirmed
by Monday or Tuesday.

According to doctors and civil rights groups, hundreds of Zimbabweans were
arrested or had to be treated in hospital in the past week for severe
injuries inflicted by soldiers rounding up supporters of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The clampdown followed last week's massive support for a two-day national
stayaway called by the MDC to protest against the collapse of the rule of
law that has brought Zimbabwe into its worst ever political and economic
crisis.

The MDC has given Mugabe until Monday to respond to an ultimatum to restore
the rule of law or face peaceful mass demonstrations to remove him.

Commenting on the alleged state-sponsored violence, South African president
Thabo Mbeki told Parliament earlier this week: "We have said to the
Zimbabwean government that we would not agree with actions that deny the
right of Zimbabweans to protest peacefully, democratically."

However on Saturday in what was seen as a rebuff to Mbeki, Mugabe moved to
defend the crackdown.

"It is now time for law and order to have the upper hand and we will not
seek the approval of outsiders to enforce law and order in our country," he
was quoted as saying in the Zimbabwean daily Herald.

"After all, some of the foreigners have been aiding and abetting the
creation of instability and disorder here and are thus part of the
lawlessness we have witnessed," he reportedly told his central committee.

South African Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in a
statement on Sunday that other heads of state expected to attend the
ceremony at Sun City in the North West were from Angola, Mozambique,
Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

She said the signing ceremony would be preceded by the final plenary session
of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, to be chaired by the facilitator, Sir
Ketumile Masire, from Tuesday to Wednesday.

The final plenary session is expected to endorse the global and inclusive
agreement on the transition in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and to
ratify the transitional constitution.

Delegates from all parties involved start arriving in South Africa on
Sunday.
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VOA

Zimbabwe Parliamentary By-Elections Flawed, say Observers
Peta Thornycroft
Harare
30 Mar 2003, 17:12 UTC


Diplomats observing parliamentary by-elections in two districts near
Zimbabwe's capital say they have observed gross irregularities. Ruling-party
youths patrolled near polling booths in open trucks.

Western diplomats and several from African countries said the atmosphere at
the by-elections was tense and intimidating. One diplomat who was forced by
a mob to leave his observation post, called the elections a farce.

By mid-day the number of people who cast their votes was much lower than had
been expected.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change said many people were too
frightened to vote in the Highfield and Kuwadzana constituencies.

Ruling party officials were not available for comment, but the
government-controlled newspaper, The Sunday Mail, said there was a massive
turnout of voters.

The two seats were won with huge majorities by the opposition in general
elections in 2000, along with all others in the Harare area. The seats
became vacant with the death of one opposition member of parliament, and the
expulsion of another from the party for insubordination.

There were many reports both from opposition voters and from diplomats of
threatening behavior from increasingly drunken youths loyal to the ruling
Zanu-PF party.

ZANU-PF said it was determined to win the by-elections to increase its urban
representation in parliament. Results will be announced Monday.
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From The Sunday Times (UK), 30 March

Savage beatings for Mugabe opponents

Geoff Hill, Johannesburg and Peter Conradi

For a moment, when soldiers armed with whips, metal bars and cables burst
into the Zimbabwean farm that Isabel Gardner and her husband Norman manage
on behalf of an opposition MP, she was convinced she was going to die. "They
cocked their weapons and we thought, 'This is it, we're going to be
slaughtered'," said Gardner, who like her husband is in her sixties. "They
said the police have no power, we have the power, we are the power." It was
then the soldiers ordered her and fellow farm workers to roll onto the
ground and started to beat them. "The one black woman lying next to me just
said, 'You must roll, you must roll'," she said. "But they would follow us,
and then we had to roll back and they would follow us again. That was a
beating from hell. I didn't think they were going to stop." The attack on
Gardner, who last week was recovering from horrific bruising, was not an
isolated incident. Human rights groups and Zimbabwean opposition politicians
have reported a rise in arrests and violence by soldiers and war veterans
loyal to President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party. The incidents, part
of a crackdown after a two-day strike, appeared to be a campaign to cow the
opposition ahead of critical by-elections in the capital Harare yesterday.
There were continuing claims of intimidation as people queued from early
morning to vote in the Kuwadzana and Highfield constituencies, both bases of
the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Mugabe,
79, won re-election for another six-year term as president in controversial
polls last March that were attacked as fraudulent by the MDC and the British
and other western governments. The European Union said last week it was
concerned by a wave of arbitrary arrests of hundreds of opposition
supporters, many of whom it said had been mistreated and even tortured.


It has also emerged that boys of 15 are being raped at youth-training
centres in what appears part of the government's plans to crush dissent. The
Sunday Times has interviewed 52 male Zimbabweans who have fled to South
Africa after claiming to have been tortured; of them, 38 said they had been
raped or forced to engage in anal sex with other victims. One man, who
refused to take part had his eardrums punctured. One such victim was Patrick
Ndhlovu, 23, who worked as assistant to an MDC MP. He was called in for
questioning by Mugabe's Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) at a camp in
the south of Zimbabwe where his head was repeatedly pushed into a bucket of
water. "They kept asking me to recite the local MDC membership list, which
has thousands of people on it," Ndhlovu said. "But as soon as I tried to say
some names, they would drown me again. Finally, they threw me into a corner
and said they were going to dinner, but that if I was hungry I should drink
more water." Late that night, one CIO officer returned with two men from the
youth militia loyal to Zanu PF. They both raped him. "When it was over they
put me in handcuffs and chains and left me without my clothes," Ndhlovu
said. "I stayed in the room for four days. Finally some other militia came
and undid my chains and told me to put on my clothes and leave." Ndhlovu
fled across the border to South Africa and now shares a room in Johannesburg
with four other victims who endured similar treatment. Sodomy is illegal in
Zimbabwe and Mugabe has referred to homosexuals as "pigs". Sekai Holland,
the MDC's secretary for international affairs, said this showed the use of
male rape as a weapon. "This is not casual sex," she said. "It is a
concerted campaign to terrorise our members. Even one of our MPs was raped
by 10 men. We are trying to counsel him to go public about the attack." Her
concerns were echoed by a doctor in Johannesburg providing free medical
treatment to 14 of the exiles. The man asked not to be named for fear that
publicity would deter others from seeking his help. "In their culture rape
is worse that death and all my patients are being treated for depression and
mental trauma," the doctor said. "In my 35 years as a doctor, I have never
seen such brutality." More than 2m black Zimbabweans have fled to South
Africa. It is believed that as many as 2000 a day are crossing the border.

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S. African Media's Obsession With Zimbabwe Nauseating

The Herald (Harare)

DOCUMENT
March 29, 2003
Posted to the web March 30, 2003

Harare

This is an address by Zimbabwe's High Commissioner to South Africa, Cde
Simon Khaya Moyo, to senior journalists from Sadc states attending an
international workshop on "Reporting Africa" on March 27 in Johannesburg.

A lot has been written about Zimbabwe, particularly during the past three
years. Unfortunately, most of the stories have been and continue to reflect
a biased position and in some cases, projecting blatant falsehoods.


It may be appropriate to place the Zimbabwe situation in context, if only to
reposition the minds of those journalists who are obsessed with Zimbabwe and
yet know so little about its history and its people.

Zimbabwe was born in 1980 after a long and protracted war. Thousands
perished, many were maimed and homes destroyed, by the very people who today
masquerade as champions of democracy. The liberation war waged by the
Patriotic Front (Zapu and Zanu) forces was principally about land and
independence.

It was never a war against the colour of one's skin but against an evil
system. We defeated that system. We are proud forever.

Without going into detail about the history of our liberation struggle,
suffice it to say, the land question was inevitably central to independence
negotiations at Lancaster House in 1979. Indeed, the talks almost broke down
over the issue and were deadlocked for some time.

The impasse was only broken when both the British and American governments
agreed to contribute to and mobilise financial support for a comprehensive
land reform programme in an independent Zimbabwe. The Lancaster House
Constitution, was however to remain a sacred cow for the next 10 years. Land
could only be acquired, for the resettlement of landless blacks, on a
willing-seller-willing-buyer basis.

In 1981, Government undertook to resettle 162 000 families but the
inhibitions of the Lancaster House Constitution slowed down the pace of the
exercise. By 1990, Government had only managed to resettle 71 235 families
on 3,3 million hectares of land.

Consequently, in 1992 Parliament amended the constitution and enacted the
Land Acquisition Act, hoping to accelerate land reform, but the resources
that the British and the Americans had pledged to make available were not
adequate. The land acquisition process could not match the demand for
resettlement. It became clear that Government targets could not be achieved.

Worse still, when the British Labour government came into power in 1997, the
Secretary of State, Ms Clare Short, stated the following on the land issue
in Zimbabwe: "I should make it clear that we do not accept that Britain has
special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe. We
are a new government from diverse backgrounds without links to former
colonial interests. My own origins are Irish and as you know, we were
colonised not colonisers".

We felt abandoned if not cheated by such pronouncement. A situation where 1
percent of the population which happened to be white continued to own 70
percent of the best arable land was clearly untenable. Worse still, large
tracts of this land were owned by absentee landlords, mainly of British
nationality.

The year 2000 was to be a turning point. Soon after the referendum on the
draft constitution, which had given hope for speedy land redistribution,
some farm occupations by landless peasants and war veterans ensued. The
leadership appealed for calm whilst Parliament as empowered by the
Constitution promulgated laws to speedily address the land question. The
amended laws stipulated that Government would pay full compensation for all
improvements on acquired land but the colonial power (Britain) had the
obligation to pay compensation for the land itself, designated for
resettlement.

It is common knowledge that legal battles ensued in the courts as land
acquisition progressed. In December 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that
Government had two options. Either to legalise farm occupations or evict the
occupiers. Government proceeded with the first option through Parliament.
The land reform programme has since then been implemented according to the
Constitution and Laws of Zimbabwe.

It is important to observe that from 1980-1999 Government was only able to
resettle just over 70 000 families. From July to August 31 2002, when the
fast-track land resettlement programme officially ended, over 300 000
families have been resettled on the A1 villagised resettlement scheme whilst
almost 54 000 black farmers have been resettled on the A2 commercial farming
scheme. The total land acquired during the said period is 11 million
hectares.

The above facts should give any well- meaning journalists enough material to
live by the principles of the supposedly noble profession. Unfortunately,
the nobility of the profession has been compromised, far and wide.

The British government, assisted by some media they control directly or
indirectly, have sought to derail our land reform programme. They have,
indeed, unashamedly courted international sympathy for their objectives. For
instance, Britain has used its membership of the European Union (EU) to gain
sympathy for white farmers in Zimbabwe in order to evade its colonial
responsibilities. Of course, the ownership of the media is central to this
matter. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

The South African media's obsession with Zimbabwe is nauseating. Even when
there is no story on Zimbabwe, one must be manufactured. The same white
journalists, who apparently were supporters of the then apartheid regime and
the former Rhodesian establishment have now taken the front seats as
champions of democracy. One can count them on one's fingers, as their false
articles appear in various newspapers daily. Recycling of stories has become
the order of the day.

It is fascinating that even some editors cannot extricate themselves from
their past racist enclave. Headings do not reflect the story content. Each
newspaper has a different content on the same story regarding Zimbabwe.

This is misguided perception, tailored to fulfil an obvious agenda. To them
there is absolutely nothing wrong with 1 percent of the population
continuing to own 70 percent of all fertile and arable land in Zimbabwe.
Such journalists can only be described as racists. They perhaps need to be
reminded that the land reform programme is irreversible. It's one person,
one farm all the way, black or white.

Zimbabwe attained freedom with all the media against the Patriotic Front
Liberation forces. As we were our own political liberators, so shall we be
our own economic liberators. Racism in the media is destined to fail.

I notice that the attacks on Zimbabwe's leadership by the media has been
extended virtually to heads of state who have expressed support for
Zimbabwe's land reform programme.

President Thabo Mbeki has constantly reminded the media that Zimbabwe is not
a 10th province of South Africa. It is a sovereign and independent State
with a legitimately elected Government. His advice seems to be falling on
deaf ears, because of the racist agenda.

Efforts by some journalists to boost the opposition in Zimbabwe are
misplaced and ill- advised. The constant harping on "State- controlled
Press" and "independent Press" is fallacious. It is a fact that the
so-called independent Press in Zimbabwe is indeed pro-opposition and is
sponsored. Why not admit this fact? Most of the media in South Africa is
also pro-opposition in Zimbabwe. It's a question of ownership.

I have also noticed that there are one or two black journalists whose
credentials have been tarnished but continue to write falsehoods on
Zimbabwe.

His master's voice is in full gear. Similarly, because of sponsorship, NGOs
and other civic organisations are mushrooming in Zimbabwe. It's all about
money and nothing to do with liberty. 'Selloutism' has become a source of
employment.

Of late, there has been so much misinformation about Zimbabwe and the
Common-wealth. It must be clear that the Commonwealth is not owned by Don
Mckinnon or John Howard. The Commonwealth, where unfortunately wealth is not
common, is a club with a membership of 54 independent and sovereign states.
Its decisions are taken by consensus.

As Bheki Khumalo, President Mbeki's spokesman, correctly said last weekend,
"As far as Mbeki was concerned, the troika had completed its mandate with
regard to Zimbabwe and any decision to continue the suspension would need a
new mandate".

There is no such mandate and therefore Zimbabwe's suspension from the
Commonwealth councils is dead and buried. Mckinnon's mischief must be
exposed with appropriate headlines.

For the record the March 2002 Presidential Elections in Zimbabwe were
observed by the OAU (AU),NAM, SADC, COMESA, ECOWAS, South Africa, Nigeria,
China, Russia, Namibia, Kenya, Zambia and Tanzania among others and all
endorsed the election as either free and fair, legitimate or an expression
of the will of the people of Zimbabwe. The report of the Commonwealth
Observer mission, so much talked about, was not unanimous. The next
Presidential election according to the Constitution and laws of Zimbabwe
will be in the year 2008. The aspirants must start campaigning and stop
complaining. On this score some Institutes in South Africa must cease being
centres for the opposition in Zimbabwe. The so called seminars they host so
often for the opposition can only be source of destabilising the country.

Similarly sponsored demonstrations by some Zimbabweans are now a common
feature in South Africa. I appeal to such Zimbabweans not to abuse the
hospitality of our host. Calling the ANC leadership and its government names
is tantamount to biting the hand that feeds you. Maturity is a virtue.
Demonstrating against nobody is meaningless.

The problems facing Zimbabwe, will be solved by Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe and
not anywhere else. Indeed demonstrations are permitted in Zimbabwe. Like
anywhere else, police authority must be sought. Strangely for Zimbabwe,the
opposition must be above the law and demonstrate at will with impunity. What
then happens to the rule of law?

What Zimbabwe needs is not instigation from outsiders. Zimbabwe needs
thinkers and not tinkers. The media, both print and electronic must play a
positive role in finding solutions to problems affecting Zimbabwe.
Journalists must act responsibly all the time. destructive journalism should
have no place in any civilised world. Journalism is supposed to be a noble
profession and must contribute to building bridges. To be inflammatory all
the time is most undesirable.

One must be guided by facts and not emotions. Whilst the pen is mightier
than the sword, it should never be turned into a sword. Indeed freedom of
association is not synonymous with freedom of assassination, be it character
or otherwise. Positive interaction is desirable as the profession of
journalism goes with responsibility. Factual reporting must be the norm.
There has been sickening hypocrisy in the media behind the fuss over
Zimbabwe.

As one South African journalist recently wrote after visiting Zimbabwe:-

"Zimbabwe is the coolest tourist destination of them all in the SADC region.
The people are warm and welcoming"

Besides the extraordinary Matopo Hills, the amazing Great Zimbabwe monument,
the scenic Eastern Highlands, exquisite national parks with abundant
wildlife and indeed the majestic Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe remains Africa's
paradise. The economic woes compounded by a two year drought can only be
temporary. The National Economic Revival Programme agreed to by Government,
Labour and Business is being implemented. It must succeed. All Zimbabweans,
black and white must open a new page and work as ONE family. The country is
safe. The people thoroughly hospitable.

I therefore urge you journalists to visit this wonderful and unique country.
You will thereafter be more informed and write stories based on facts. The
choice is yours.

I THANK YOU.

Ends.
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Townsville Bulletin
 
Alun and Julie-Ann Deere
SAFE ... Alun and Julie-Ann Deere with their children Haig and Roxanne
Zimbabwean family forced to flee

31mar03

THE father of a young family from Zimbabwe, now living in Townsville, has told how he feared for all their lives following death threats and seizure of their property by the country's regime.

Aitkenvale man Alun Deere said yesterday he was forced to flee the country because of "genocide of white farmers" by Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party, headed by President Robert Mugabe, as part of its land reform program.

The program involves seizure of 95 per cent of white-owned land which the Mugabe government wants to redistribute to blacks.

Mr Deere was speaking out after news that men, women and children had been tortured by Zimbabwean army thugs last week.

Mr Deere said he had been forced to move amid the "death and destruction" he was witnessing across the country.

"We had two young children and we felt it was best that we get them out of there," Mr Deere said.

"A couple of times we were caught up in riots or the kids had to be left in school.

"Secret police act on behalf of the government, seizing white people's land, they attack and kill.

"To my mind it's just ethnic cleansing. They're getting rid of the white people."

Mr Deere, his wife Julie-Ann and children Haig, 9, and Roxanne, 12, have been living in Aitkenvale for a year.

They fled from their home town Chinhoyi, an agricultural town of less than 10,000 people, north of Zimbabwe's capital Harare, where he ran a farm-based business enterprise.

Mr Deere said he had received death threats from the government which forced him to pay about $200,000 worth of unlawful retrenchment packages to his staff.

"We were visited daily by government officials and my wife was held hostage," he said.

"They wouldn't let the both of us go anywhere together, on the grounds that we would have run away.

"If I wanted to go anywhere my wife couldn't leave the office."

Mr Deere said the CIA (secret police) took away their passports and their vehicles.

"It (the turmoil) all started about 1992 then it just escalated quite dramatically," he said.

"We've got family and friends over there who have been evicted from their house."

Mr Deere said he feared for his family who were still living in Zimbabwe.

He said he knew of at least 70 families who had fled the country.

"It's very hard to deal with the fact that your whole life has been taken away from you," Mr Deere said.

"We just lost everything; no family, no friends, no background."

He said he was still horrified at reports of human rights abuse coming out of Zimbabwe.

Last Wednesday, ZANU PF Army thugs reportedly beat employees of a white Opposition MP with sticks, heavy steel cable, leather whips and iron fencing standards.

It was reported to be carried out over a four-hour period on men, women and children.

"That was happening when we were there," Mr Deere said.

"We are obviously very homesick but we consider ourselves lucky.

"You can't bring children up there."

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BBC
 
Zimbabwe opposition defiant after vote
 
The opposition in Zimbabwe has issued a strong statement against the government as polling closed in two parliamentary by-elections in Harare.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, said events had come to "the countdown to the final reckoning".

And he said the country could soon expect a "final push for freedom".

The MDC has alleged widespread intimidation and ballot-rigging in the by-elections.

Mr Tsvangirai has given the government until midnight on Monday to meet his demands over human-rights abuses and democracy, or face mass action.

Two days of general strikes a fortnight ago brought the capital and other urban centres to a halt in a huge show of support for the opposition.

Vote rigging claims

A crackdown on MDC members followed, with many people being arrested, and there were widespread reports of the beating and torture of opposition supporters.

The MDC accuses President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party of trying to rig the two by-elections, which the opposition won overwhelmingly at the last general election.

But police said they had received no reports of violence and the election authorities insisted there were no irregularities.

Results are expected on Monday.

 
An opposition politician, Trudy Stevenson, who tried to visit some polling stations in Kuwadzana constituency, said it was a "very, very tense situation".

"They were obviously stopping anyone they didn't like from coming near," she said.

But Thomas Bvuma, from the Electoral Supervisory Commission, said polling had gone well.

Hundreds of Zanu-PF supporters lined the streets to cheer Mr Mugabe as he arrived to vote in his Highfield constituency on Saturday.

Violence

The run-up to the polls had already seen tensions rising following the anti-government strike last week.

Zanu-PF and the MDC exchanged allegations of violence during campaigning which human rights groups say left hundreds of people injured.

On Friday, the European Union condemned "unprecedented government-sponsored violence" against the opposition in Zimbabwe.

It said the Zimbabwean people had a constitutional right to protest peacefully and called on the government to respect that right.

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Zimbabwe Mirror


Buka accused of politicising land audit
Tawanda Majoni News Editor

THE Minister of Rural Resettlement in the President's Office, Flora Buka has
come under intense fire for the manner in which she carried out the audit to
determine how land was allocated under the fast track land reform programme.

The Sunday Mirror has also learnt that since the completion of the land
audit, there is no evidence of the government having done something to
rectify the anomalies alleged by Buka in her findings.

Several people named in a leaked addendum to the land audit report
ostensibly compiled by the Minister lashed out at Buka for the manner in
which she had collected information that she used in the compilation of the
report.

James Makamba, the head of the now dormant Joy TV and a ZANU PF stalwart who
opted out of the Harare mayoral race in 2000, charged that the audit
exercise was politically motivated.

"I strongly believe that the whole exercise was motivated by politics. It
was meant to discredit some people, and why I should be one of those people
I do not know," said an irate Makamba. He said at a time political camps
were positioning themselves amid speculation revolving around who might
succeed President Robert Mugabe, it could be possible that the land
allocation dossier was being deliberately used to destroy certain
personalities.

"I am sure this whole thing about the land audit report is specifically
meant to destroy some people, what with the debate on succession hotting
 up," said Makamba. He wondered why Buka had not bothered to contact him so
as to get his side of the story. Earlier on, businessman Mutumwa Mawere who
heads FSI Agricom, an agro concern, also expressed displeasure that Buka had
not bothered to seek an explanation from him. Makamba is alleged in the
confidential dossier in the possession of The Sunday Mirror to have violated
the land reform and resettlement programme policy by forcibly removing
people who had been resettled on Maryvale farm in Mazoe District before
assuming ownership.

The report indicates that the farm measures 671,35 hectares, well above the
stipulated 350 hectares for a single farm under the commercial A2 model,
adding that the alleged anomalous acquisition was "made with the blessing of
the (Honourable Governor Cde Elliot) Manyika". Makamba, who insisted that he
had been given an offer letter authorising him to settle on the farm, said
instead of rushing to print his name in the report, Buka should have made
concerted efforts to confirm with the Lands, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement Minister, Joseph Made, whom Makamba said gave him the letter.

"In all earnest, Made would have enlightened Buka and told her that I
properly acquired the farm," Makamba said.

The ZANU PF Member of Parliament for Chinhoyi, Phillip Chiyangwa, who was
also named as having frustrated the resettling of people at Gwebi/Hunyani in
the Nyabira area of Mashonaland West province, also criticised Buka. He said
it was improper to conclude that one had violated land policy because one
had more than one farm.

"That a person owns more than one farm does not necessarily mean that one
acted improperly in getting those properties. One might have bought a farm
well before the fast track redistribution programme," said Chiyangwa.

Describing Buka as "discourteous" Chiyangwa concurred with Makamba and
Mawere that those who were named as having anomolously acquired farms should
have been contacted for their sides of the story to be heard. He also
referred to the report as a caricature. "The whole report was to say the
least a melodramatic account. It is an extreme dramatisation of the
situation on the ground," he added.

Despite her promise to contact the named people, there is no evidence that
Buka has started consulting them. Most of those who spoke to The Sunday
Mirror acknowledged that they had not been contacted.

Chiyangwa dismissed the attempt to go back to the named people as na´ve,
saying the damage was already done and contacting them would not clear their
tarnished images. He also scoffed at Buka for believing that she had carried
out an audit. "One should differentiate between an audit and an information
dossier. Buka's document is merely sanctioned dossier," said Chiyangwa.

One ZANU PF politburo member, who insisted on anonymity and is also named in
the report, said Buka had inadvertently contradicted herself and displayed
naivetÚ when she acknowledged that the list she had supplied was not
exhaustive.

Referring to the list of people she accuses of multiple farm ownership, Buka
writes: "The list of is not exhaustive as the people interviewed were scared
to reveal any information least (sic) they might be victimised by the
multiple farm owners." The politburo member said by pointing out that, Buka
was admitting that her evidence gathering process was flawed, since the
people who gave her the information were not dependable. He added that there
were so many other ways of gathering information without entirely depending
on the people she refers to in the addendum. "In any case, who are these
people she seems to have so much faith in?" he asked.

The Mashonaland Central provincial governor and Youth, Gender and Employment
Creation Minister, Elliot Manyika when contacted for comment said as far as
he was concerned, there was no audit report. He added that he would comment
when the report was officially announced out. Buka, since the contents of
the leaked report were published, has maintained that she was yet to present
her findings to cabinet, saying there was no official report documenting the
way land was allocated under the fast track land reform programme. She
claims she is still in the process of compiling the audit report. Since The
Sunday Mirror reported the leak of the addendum to the foreign press, Buka
has remained steadfast in her refusal to talk to the paper.

A source within Buka's ministry (name supplied) said the land audit report
had been "severely manipulated" and was different from an earlier version
that had excluded some names which went on to appear in the second copy.

The addendum lists 30 people as having acquired more than one farm, and also
alleges that some beneficiaries under the A2 scheme were fraudulently issued
with certificates of no present interest to facilitate their acquisition of
farms on which people had been resettled for the communal A1 farming scheme.
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Zimbabwe Mirror


Zim's land policy puts pressure on SA, Namibia
Felix Njini

IT is only a matter of time before the land redistribution fuse, ignited by
Zimbabwe two years ago, explodes in Namibia and South Africa as the region
quickly moves to address inequitable land ownership.

The prevailing fear in the region is going it "the Zimbabwean way", a
process which is inevitable because of the restiveness and frustration of
millions of landless blacks over their governments' slow implementation of
the programme.

In South Africa and Namibia, not much groundwork in land redistribution has
been covered, though there is general agreement that land redistribution is
the panacea to achieving food security.

Pressure groups in South African have warned that failure to provide food
security through accelerated access to land might result in a Zimbabwean
type crisis.

The Namibian government in its 2003 national budget allocated N$50 million
(close to Z$350 million using the official exchange rate) to land
redistribution though the ruling party, the South West Africa People's
Organisation (SWAPO) had asked for N$100 million to speed up the process.

Although an official comment could not be obtained from the South African
government on the progress being made in addressing the land ownership
issue, it is crystal clear that millions of black South Africans are in need
of land given the way they invaded the farms, following the same movement in
Zimbabwe.

Mangaliso Kubheka, national organiser of South Africa's Landless People's
Movement told the Sunday Mirror that the government was not doing much to
address the issue of land redistribution, adding that if nothing was done
soon the situation was going to explode the Zimbabwean way.

Kubheka accused the government of shifting goalposts. "They say they are
doing something but the problem on the land issue is that nothing is being
done, no land redistribution has been undertaken so far'.

"Government is not prepared to deal with the land problem. What they have
done is mere window dressing," Kubheka complained.

He said blacks who had occupied some farms in the Northern Cape Province
were being 'mercilessly evicted by whites' who own the farms.

"By not doing anything, the government wants us to invade the farms. They
say they do not want it that way but we will definitely move onto the farms
for we feel that it is the only possible route to take," Kubheka said.

In both Namibia and South Africa more than 85 percent of land is currently
in the hands of white farmers and Kubheka said about 19 million black South
Africans who live in rural areas and more in urban areas are in desperate
need of land.

He, however, said efforts by the Landless People's Movement were being
hampered by the national intelligence which he alleges is bugging their
communications lines.

"Even our telephone are being censored by national intelligence," Kubheka
alleged.

Meanwhile, Namibia is making steady inroads in resolving its racially skewed
land ownership pattern. "When whites in Namibia saw the television footage
of 60 white Zimbabwean farmers in handcuffs and leg chains they went
completely berserk," Namibian Minister of Lands, Resettlement and
Rehabilitation, Hifikepunje Pohamba is on record saying.

"It was as if history had been turned upside down and, likewise, situations
reversed in the minds of white Namibian farmers; the picture of whites
depicted almost as if they were now the slaves, in place of those black
slaves in earlier centuries. The next morning, I had a whole delegation of
the white farmers in my office, urgently requesting to discuss with me the
land issue in Namibia," said Pohamba.

A Zimbabwean political analyst noted that the land reform and resettlement
programme in Zimbabwe had sent shock waves across the sub-region.

"The land question has become as immediate and poignant in both Namibia and
South Africa, raising the spectre of the unresolved colonial question
itself, the unfinished business of the decolonisation process," stated the
political analyst.

"It is a matter of time before the land question in South Africa becomes a
hot political potato. Already as many as 1 000 white farmers have lost their
lives in incidents that range from purely criminal acts to actual conflict
over land," noted the political analyst.

In Namibia, the land issue is reportedly fast moving from that based on
simply addressing a colonial misnomer to impatience at the slow pace of
redistribution.

Up to the year 2000 Namibia government had only purchased 529 564 hectares
in 88 transactions, at a price of N$63 696 564.

But acquisitions of land by whites are reported to have 'dominated market
transactions on a yearly basis for the years 1990 to 2000'. As such, land
acquisitions by white males accounted for 1230 transactions, with 5 522 866
hectares involved and at the total price of N$631 633 200. To this should be
added the commercial farmland acquired by white females during the same
period (1990-2000), 276 transactions, accounting for 1 756 709 hectares, at
a total price of N$146 039 189. But it can be noted that both Namibia and
South Africa are facing formidable white farmers' groups that are supported
heavily by the international community, which does not want to see a repeat
of the Zimbabwe experience.

On the other hand, as in Zimbabwe, it will be some time before both
countries can develop an agrarian class that is capable of competing and
overtaking the current crop of white farmers who have had almost a century
of advantage and an exquisite support system.

Recently the National African Farmers' Union and the South African National
NGO Coalition (Sangoco) warned the South African government on the dangers
of undergoing a reform programme the Zimbabwean way.

Motsepe Matlala, of the farmers' union, said South Africa needed to plan
ahead to avert the land invasions in Zimbabwe and Namibia. "If you don't
promote the emerging sector to climb to commercial viability, you run the
risks of Zimbabwe," Matlala recently said.

He appealed to the government to engage the private sector into releasing
land to the landless.

"Clearly the Zimbabwean scenario is unacceptable to South Africans, and I am
making an example of it because we cannot afford that situation.

"But that does not mean that we should not learn from them so we can correct
our own way of doing things," Matlala explained.

"And of course if we don't learn from them, clearly our people will simply
say let's go the route of Zimbabwe," he said, adding that they do not want
to see Zimbabwe-style invasions.

Civil groups in the country are in accord that the people were growing
impatient and frustrated at the slow progress of land reforms.
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Zimbabwe Mirror


Health situation on resettled farms precarious
Innocent Chofamba Sithole

THE resettlement of nearly 400 000 families on Zimbabwe's commercial farms
without a corresponding provision of health and sanitary infrastructure
threatens to trigger a health crisis of mammoth proportions if urgent
pre-emptive steps are not taken.

About 900 000 farm workers and their families have been displaced by the
recent takeover of white-owned commercial farms, according to the Farm
Community Trust of Zimbabwe (FCTZ). However, they still remain huddled in
some pockets of the resettled farmland and continue to compete with the new
settlers for the limited health facilities and services available.

Essential services at most of the resettled farms are grinding to a halt.
The farms no longer have fresh water as pipes are in disrepair and the pumps
are not working. In addition, water purification chemicals are not
affordable for most of the settlers. For lack of boreholes and protected
wells, the villagers are using dirty water from dams and streams.

"The situation is deplorable; we know the risks of waterborne diseases such
as bilharzia, cholera and dysentry that we could catch, but there is really
no choice," said Savious Muromba, a liberation war veteran resettled at a
farm in Odzi, about 30 km outside Mutare. He said that most settlers hoped
the government would quickly move to provide basic sanitary facilities on
the farms, now that the land acquisition process was said to be complete.
"The bush toilets, abandoned during the first decade of independence, have
made a popular return as we await government and donor assistance in the
construction of pit latrines," Muromba added. Most of the settlers cannot
afford the six bags of cement required to construct a Blair toilet, as the
pit latrines are commonly called. During this rainy season, raw sewage from
the surrounding bushes is finding its way into the reservoirs from which the
farmers draw their water for domestic consumption. In a recent Sunday Mirror
survey of Mashonaland East Province's health delivery system the local
governor and resident minister, David Karimanzira, conceded that all former
commercial farms in his province lacked proper health facilities. As a way
of getting past the Herculian task of constructing new hospitals and clinics
in the resettled areas, Karimanzira proposed the use of farm houses as
health centres.

"This is the best option, pending the establishment of permanent clinics,"
he said. District authorities in the province have submitted proposals for
larger and more patient-friendly health centres, but there is no evidence
yet that anything is being done to implement the plans. Neither has the
Ministry of Health and Child Welfare made public its projected budget for
the development of health infrastructure on resettled farms. However, it is
an acknowledged fact that the government can not mobilise sufficient funds
to develop health, education and transport infrastructure on the farms on
its own. It is hoped that the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) would
assist in mobilising the international community, especially donors and
multilateral organisations, to inject material aid into Zimbabwe's land
resettlement exercise. UNDP is understood to be in support of the holding of
an international land donors' conference to look at ways in which the land
reform programme can be supported. But first, the organisation has called
for a comprehensive survey to identify problems in the programme.

"First things first. I trust that donors would be very supportive of a
well-designed and properly implemented survey of the agricultural situation,
and before this has been achieved, we can't even talk about the next step,"
Victor Angelo, UNDP's resident representative in Zimbabwe, told IRIN last
week.

The Director of the FCTZ, Godfrey Magaramombe, was quoted in the local press
as saying that his organization was concerned at the lack of sanitation on
the farms. "Generally, the situation is bad. People are drinking surface
water from streams and dams and this water needs to be treated or boiled to
reduce the risk of infection. Since farm occupants are failing to pay their
electricity bills they are not able to get the power needed to pump their
water," Magaramombe said. In the first week of December last year, 51 cases
of cholera were reported in Bikita district alone. For lack of health care
facilities, eight people died at Angus Farm, Dewure Extension and Village
26. UNICEF responded swiftly by sending 42 000 water purification tablets
and three water tanks to the affected areas to address water quality and
water shortages. In addition, UNICEF supported the Ministry of Health to
develop a community health and hygiene education, and cholera awareness
campaign. The World Health Organisation also chipped in with 35 motorcycles
for use by Environmental Health Technicians on disease control. However,
with the rampant absence of clean water sources and toilets in the farming
areas, the possibility of even worse disease outbreaks can not be
discounted.

Even prior to the land reform programme, government policy has been
contributing to the lack of health facilities on the farms, by discouraging
the development of public infrastructure on private properties. Research
conducted by FCTZ has shown that 65 - 89 percent of farm workers have to
walk over 20 km to get to the nearest health facility, contrary to the
government policy that no one should have to go further than 8 km to reach
one. For the majority of farm worker communities, the only contact with
health services is through the Farm Health Workers (FHWs), an initiative
that began as a national programme in 1990, with support from Save the
Children Fund (UK). These are mainly farm community members trained in the
provision of basic health care and first aid.

The disruption of the farming communities has resulted in a corresponding
dislocation in this programme on most resettled farms. Some of the FMW's
have been displaced from the farms they used to live, while those health
activities that were being financially supported by the former farm owners
have stalled.

Previously, each FMW covered two or more villages, consisting of about 400
people.

Four non-governmental organizations running home-based care projects for
HIV/AIDS patients on farms in Mashonaland West and Central provinces had to
abandon this work in the face of the farm invasions and the violence that
accompanied them. They are the Batsirai AIDS Group, the Red Cross Society of
Zimbabwe, Silveira House and the FCTZ, and had been engaged in training
trainers of personnel for the home-based projects.

UNAIDS estimates that 33.7 percent of adults in Zimbabwe are infected with
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and that there are over 100 000 AIDS
orphans on farms in the country. Farm worker communities are among the worst
hit by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the country, and with their displacement,
prevention-oriented programmes have been largely discontinued.

The World Health Organisation country office recently reported that Zimbabwe
is suffering a severe shortage of vaccines owing to chronic foreign currency
shortages. Added to this bleak health situation is the prevailing food
insecurity that affects over 7 million people countrywide. A Food Security
Network survey carried out in November 2002, covering 53 districts in
Zimbabwe noted that vulnerability in the country had risen sharply.
Districts reporting 'everyone' to be facing shortages rose from 0 percent in
September to 40 percent in October and 51 percent in November 2002.

According to the Director of Social Services in the Ministry of Public
Service and Social Welfare, Sydney Mhishi, the World Food Programme (WFP),
through its 12 implementing NGO partners, is carrying out food relief
schemes on both the resettled farms and in farm worker communities.

The government has not yet announced its plan of action for taking the
situation in hand on the farms, or acknowledged that there is a potential
public health disaster here.

Also, and as part of alleviating the precarious health situation on the
farms, there is an urgent need to regularise the resettlement of internally
displaced former farm workers. According to the FCTZ, less than 1 percent of
these have been incorporated into the fast-track land resettlement
programme.
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