|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas. Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens. Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.
NATIONAL REPORT IN BRIEF
· On 16.04.02 the whole of Middle Save was issued with Section 8's. All farms were gazetted on 05.04.02. Up to now, there have been no problems experienced in this area, but acquisition seems to be happening all at once.
· Centenary - The siege on Mwari Farm ended after negotiations between himself and the "war vets". He has been allowed to grade his tobacco. All farmers in this area have been advised not to move any equipment or personal property from their farms for the next few days.
· On 27.04.02 commercial farmers from Harare South and Beatrice were called to a meeting which was addressed by "war vet" Zhou. He told farmers those with section 8 orders should vacate by 02.05.02, leaving behind all assets and if there was no one on the farm to receive those assets they would be taken to the police station. Those with Section 5 orders should see the D.A. and Lands Committee and ask to be served their section 8 orders. They should also apply for the 400 ha they wish to keep, if they so wished. Those not listed should find out from the D.A. and Lands Committee if the government wants the farm and if so, ask to be listed and if the government did not want the farm, they should ask for a certificate of no interest.
· At Koodo Range, Macheke/Virginia, "war vets" held a meeting with labour, saying if the labour wanted land they were to register in Murewha, and if they wanted a job, employment can be granted with a minimum wage of ZW$ 50.00 per day! after further problems (see below), chief "war vet" Gutura said he is the power of the land and shouted down the police after asking the police to attend a meeting on the farm.
· Only one farm in Raffingora has attempted wheat land preparation so far.
· Chakari - On Tawstock three settlers were caught with 440 kg of maize on the cob. One was apprehended and the police took him away, but later escaped after police removed his handcuffs in order for the criminal to carry out his ablutions!
· In the Sherwood area, Kwekwe, farmers were given the ‘go ahead’ to plant wheat and barley on a limited scale except for Dekel Farms P/L who have been told not to plant.
· Felix Farm, Inyathi, had ten settlers attack three game guards on 30.04.02 at about 1330 hrs. One was abducted. The owner’s wife had to drive an hour either way to collect the police who had no transport. The police were very obliging and produced five police officials and three army officials to attend the scene. They are currently searching for the abducted game scout.
Middle Save – on 16.04.02 the whole of Middle Save was issued with Section 8's. All farms were gazetted on 05.04.02. Up to now, there have been no problems experienced in this area, but acquisition seems to be happening all at once.
Chipinge - Smaldeel and Elizebethville were re-invaded on 12.04.02. Between the two farms 200-300 people have settled on the farm. On Lushoff Farm, approximately 40 people arrived at the homestead stating they would be having a party at the home of the owner for 3 days, as they had “won the election and won the war”. There was singing and chanting throughout the day. The dairy was stopped and 40 litres of milk stolen. Six logs of Mukwa kept for furniture use were burnt down to nothing.
Odzi - On Welvedrien Farm, two ZBC crew and "war vets" arrived at the house with an eviction notice from Cde Ndlovu. The "war vets" said they would be handing over an eviction notice to him and the press would take a video of the occasion. Welvedrien Farm has only been gazetted and it is within the correct hectarage. The owner accepted the eviction notice and went back in his house. The Police and other relevant parties were informed and hence the notice in the Herald 26th April 2002: 'Ignore War Veteran Ndlovu's Threats'.
Rusape - On Glen Fard farm, a mob moved on to the land that has been pegged for some time.
Nyazura - People are moving on to various farms and setting up plots of land haphazardly.
Chimanimani - On Charleswood Estate, threats were made that cattle can no longer go into their normal grazing paddocks or they would be killed.
Bindura - A settler on Granter Farm was caught stealing maize. In retaliation he drove the guard off the farm and the group of settlers called a halt to ploughing. The owner of Guitingwood Farm began negotiations with settlers on 25.04.02 to see whether or not he should assemble the centre pivot.
Centenary - The siege on Mwari Farm ended after negotiations between himself and the "war vets". He has been allowed to grade his tobacco.
All farmers in this area have been advised not to move any equipment or personal property from their farms for the next few days.
Throughout Mashonaland Central the total number of farmers who have now been evicted from their farms stands at 30 as at 25.04.02. Almost the same number are threatened with evictions. The area is generally quiet but with continuing threats of evictions taking place on a daily basis. Section 5, 7 and 8's are being delivered throughout the area.
Horseshoe – on 28.04.02, demands were made for the owners of Wona and Makashwe to vacate. A Section 7 was issued to Mangondo and Makashwe Farms. There has been some success in removing stock and equipment. The "war vet" leader demanded keys to the farmhouse and store on Taikoo. The Camsasa citrus ownership and issues on other farms are still unresolved.
Marondera South - Munemo Farm reports a missing truck, paprika and driver, with no sign of the stolen vehicle to date. This is a white Hino 7 Tonne lorry with 6 tonne trailer, lorry registration number 648-505W. The Eirene Farm owner was stopped from loading cattle being moved to a feeding lot. Although all relevant papers were available, "war vet" Masimbi and his settlers stole the truck keys and stated they were taking the cattle. The cattle were moved to a neighbouring farm where Masimbi is based. The owner went back to Police who once again gave authority in the presence of Masimbi. Mtemwa Farm reports the owner went to see the DA in Marondera, who stated the evacuation, was illegal and a task force would be sent to assess the situation. The task force turned out to be CIO, who advised the owner to not return to the farm until CIO had defused the situation. The second homestead was broken into the night of 21.04.02. The Pressmennan Farm owner transported an old jeep and vintage tractor into Marondera for repair. The driver was flagged down by youths going into Marondera, but he did not stop. He was followed into Farmec and told the tractor was impounded and was to stay at Farmec, although the jeep was released. The youths then searched Farmec asking questions in respect of spares and oil drums on the premises.
Harare South - The owner of Kinfauns was told to vacate the homestead. He called on district support for assistance and received a good response. The response team had to remove two barriers from the access road before getting to the house. Whilst packing up the owners possessions, settlers began chanting and singing at the gate and chased away two support vehicles maintaining a roving patrol on access roads. The Police arrival caused an upsurge in settler activities. Police told the owner he was not allowed to move any cattle or farm equipment.
All the support vehicles were barricaded in for approximately three hours whilst settlers/labour demanded severance pay. Demands were made three tractors be returned to the farm. Eventually police decided the mob was only creating a fuss for the sake of it and organised support vehicles to leave. At Albion two settlers demanded compensation for maize eaten by cattle. The police were present and the owner had to pay out ZW$ 7000.00.
24 April 2002
Beatrice – Beatrice Estate had all work stopped about 18 months ago and still cannot operate. New Retreat, its sister farm, reports work was stopped on 12.04.02. The owner's son, who runs this farm, was away and the owner was not allowed on to the farm. The labour was told they must be paid off and vacate their houses to make space for the A2 resettlement workers. This was done by the owner. The owner's son returned on 18.04.02 and saw the "war vets" on 22.04.02 to negotiate the removal of all the chickens and broilers off the farm. The "war vets" moved into the main homestead between 12 – 18.04.02. All the guards were told to vacate both farms. A shed was broken into at New Retreat but nothing is missing. The "war vets" want to have a meeting with the owner's son to discuss the removal of 45 tonnes of tobacco currently slat packed.
Macheke/Virginia - Journey's End Farm reported 250 "war vets" marched on to the farm from Virginia Store. No further report. Head "war vet" Mutatsi is aware of new settlers now building houses and cutting trees on the farm. At Vanguard Farm settlers removed a 35 hp electric pump, two disc harrows and other implements, as well as the balance of the irrigation equipment. On reporting to the Police, they told the owner to found out where the stolen goods. He said he knew they were taken to Royal Visit Farm and they told him to follow it anyway. He also reported settlers counting his cattle. 40 settlers arrived on Belgravia Farm and were told to sit and wait for further instructions. They had a letter indicating other farms that were to be occupied including Percyvale, Airlie, Nydora, and Durlstone. At Durlstone Farm, two lorry loads of settlers arrived and started claiming their plots. At Koodo Range "war vets" held a meeting with labour, saying if the labour wanted land they were to register in Murewha, and if they wanted a job, employment can be granted with a minimum wage of ZW$ 50.00 per day! The owner asked for police permission to move cattle off the farm. Police advised to not move cattle at the present moment. The owner tried to move the lorry off the farm and was stopped. The "war vets" were angry; they hijacked and later returned with the lorry, armed with sticks etc. They verbally abused the owner, threatening if he did not attend their meeting there would be huge problems, as well as threatening his life. Chief "war vet" Gutura said he is the power of the land and shouted down the police after asking the police to attend. Although the owner attended the meeting and defused the situation, new demands were made including inventory checks and not allowing him to walk around his farm. The Howgate foreman reported labour was chased out of the farm village and curing has been stopped. A lorry load of cattle arrived at the farm for dispersal. "War vet" Matatsi did not believe this was happening and wanted to speak to Howgate's chief "war vet". The situation is now stable but the farm has a work stoppage, with tobacco not loaded. The labour slept outdoors on 24.05.02. Durlstone Farm reported pegging and a new invasion of 30 people. Chilinda Farm reports Murewha police visited and stated they must not remove pipes, motors etc. from the farm.
Beatrice - Shamrock Farm reported 21 sprinklers, 3 T pieces and 4 corners were stolen on 21.04.02. Two farm owners were visited by six "war vets" and severely harassed. The owners of Charmaine Farm and Tavistock Farm were visited by "war vets" who completed an inventory of their farm equipment and cattle. They were told nothing was to be removed from the farms and the "war vets" posted guards at the entrance and exit gates to ensure this. The owners were told they would be compensated later. A farm owner was told by local "war vets" to get off immediately. As he has no transport they told him to leave everything behind. He is now in the process of packing up. Another farm owner said two different groups from the Ringo Resettlement were fighting for his farm. He was threatened and also received a letter from a Mrs Chumuti stating he was to be off the farm by 27.04.02. A farm owner was told by local Beatrice "war vets" he had two weeks to move off. They posted guards at his gates to ensure only personal belongings would be removed.
Bromley/Ruwa/Enterprise - Various farms received Section 8's and a vehicle with CIO, Agritex and Police officials is driving around telling owners to not remove any assets.
Marondera South – the Munemo Farm lorry, trailer and paprika were located. The driver delivered paprika under another name. Police investigating. The Eirene Farm owner was approached by "war vet" Msimbi who demanded keys for the tractors be handed over so the settlers could prepare “their” lands. The owner refused. Later a delegation of about 30 arrived and demanded the keys etc. to the farm, which was again refused. They gave him ten minutes to pack up his house and get off the farm. He went towards the Land Cruiser and stated he was not taking anything and would just go. They said he could not take the vehicle and had to walk out. He was then barricaded in the house and all electricity was switched off. When police and army officials finally arrived the owner was told to hand over the keys, as everything now belonged to the settlers. He has been given sixty days to get his furniture out and is allowed to use the office. Munemo Farm had a delegation arrive at the farm store and asked the owner to talk to them, which he refused and stayed in the house. After some time, the delegation moved off, threatening to return the following morning. At Essexdale six labourers herd cattle on leased grazing, but had their families on the farm evicted by settlers. The settlers are violent and assaulted the labourers, who made a report to the police. As of 1900 hrs that night, they still awaited a reaction from police. The Mutoramondwe owner arrived home on 24.04.02. He has been in negotiations with settlers, accompanied by police and "war vets" negotiating on his behalf for his return to the farm. The outcome was he would be able to return to move the settlers by truck from whence they came.
Wedza - Masasa reports the Police said the boom sprayer removed by the settlers would be returned to the farm. They were accompanied by "war vets" Zinoro and Choto who said they would be back to collect the rest of the Igudu equipment. "War vet" Maizawana phoned to say he would be coming to plough. At Bita a cow was slaughtered and taken away. The Brent owner was loading cattle and managed to get off 90 cattle. He was then visited by "war vets" from Waltondale, who were armed and told her she was not allowed to remove cattle. They accused her of stealing fencing, which was “appropriated” by the settlers.
Macheke/Virginia - Ongoing work stoppages on various farms, with various owners reporting their equipment was from one farm to another by the settlers. The owners are not allowed to remove their own equipment off farms.
Marondera South - The settlers demand from various owners they hand over their keys, and issuing varying times to vacate the property. Lorries, pickups and tractors are used by the settlers without the relevant owner's permission.
Beatrice – a great deal of farmers are told to vacate. No assets are allowed to leave farms.
Bromley/Ruwa/Enterprise - Lots of farmers have received section 8's and possibly one farmer evicted.
Harare South- On 27.04.02 commercial farmers from Harare South and Beatrice were called to a meeting which was addressed by "war vet" Zhou. He told farmers those with section 8 orders should vacate by 02.05.02, leaving behind all assets and if there was no one on the farm to receive those assets they would be taken to the police station. Those with Section 5 orders should see the D.A. and Lands Committee and ask to be served their section 8 orders. They should also apply for the 400 ha they wish to keep, if they so wished. Those not listed should find out from the D.A. and Lands Committee if the government wants the farm and if so, ask to be listed and if the government did not want the farm, they should ask for a certificate of no interest. Various farmers were told to vacate and pay off their workers.
Macheke/Virginia - Cattle are being moved from various farms and taken on to other farms by the settlers. Farm owners report they are forced to hand over their keys. Some settlers are using farm equipment without permission.
Marondera South – currently plenty of Section 8s are handed out.
Wedza - Some section 8's were delivered. Some farmers are told they cannot remove their cattle that have been sold. General theft reported.
MASHONALAND WEST (NORTH)
Chinhoyi - Farmer and farm names not for publication
1. A farm was visited on 19.04.02 by people in a Chinhoyi Municipal vehicle. One had a soap stone carving and placed it near the gate of the house and the owner told this was their guard. No description given of the carving. No further discussion took place. They left stating that they would return to the farm at 1430 hrs. On 22.04.02 the owner returned to the farm at 1600 hrs and was met by a soldier and one other, who advised him and his father to report to the DA’s office on 23.04.02 to discuss the take over of one house.
2. A farm reports 162 cows and 141 calves were rounded up by "war vet" Mabau and herded on to the neighbouring farm. This is allegedly in retribution for the owner’s cattle damaging "war vets" maize, a false claim made some time ago and proved untrue. This was reported to the Mureka Police, who attended the incident, but only interviewed employees on the farm and have done nothing further about the matter. On 22.04.02 police advise they are not prepared to get involved in this matter and this matter should be taken up with the D.A.
3. A farmer arrived home at 1700 hrs on 20.04.02 and was informed by employees a cow and calf were taken to the dip, where the cow was tied up and appeared to have been axed to death. Most of the meat has been taken. The calf was unharmed. He found another cow slaughtered later. Police did arrive but did not do very much.
4. A farm owner said he received a message from a neighbouring farm that the D.A. and the Police had arrived and demanded the irrigation pipes and equipment belonging to him be handed over to them, as they claimed that all this property should not have been removed from the farm. Pipes, including some farm machinery, were loaded on DDF. trucks and removed. Despite being told that this was illegal, they claimed that they were acting lawfully and they had a letter prove this. They refused to show the letter on request. Total amount of property removed is unknown at this stage. This matter is to be taken up with Propol, Chinhoyi.
Raffingora - Report For The Week Ending Friday 12 April 2002.
1. A farm owner, who now resides in Harare and is unable to farm, went to the farm on 09.04.02 accompanied by a neighbour and CID Chinhoyi details organized by Dect. Inspector Dhedheya. On arrival the CID reported all was quiet and left for Aarda CC. As soon as the police presence left about 8/9 settlers, led by Barbara Mudahondo, attacked the owner and his companion and ripped off the owner’s shirt. Under threat of death he was forced to sign over his farm to Barbara Mudohondo. He was instructed to be off the farm, and have his personal belongings removed by 13.04.02. The owner is very traumatized and refuses to go back to the farm. On 10.04.02, Insp Nyabasa of Mutorashanga Police said Police officials could be provided to accompany lorries to remove personal/household belongings, but any equipment intended for production could not be removed. Lorries from the District, accompanied by Police went out to the farm and two loads of household goods were removed. On 11.04.02, the lorries returned unaccompanied by Police and two more loads were removed. On their return the settlers became volatile and chased the lorries off the farm and evicted some families from the farm village. The DA said this was totally unacceptable and had the police react and the families are back in their homesteads. On 12.04.02, the lorries returned to the farm with police protection and Raffingora ZANU PF to try and remove the remainder of household goods. No further information as yet.
2. Only one farm has attempted wheat land preparation so far.
3. Problems still abound on two sister farms, Buwi and Mete Farms, where "war vet" Gwasira found the maize stored in the silo and wants GMB to impound it. Negotiations continue.
4. Despite favourable negotiations on a farm, with the Lands Committee land preparation for wheat has been stopped. Other operations still continue.
5. On a farm, about 100 ha prepared for wheat was stopped. The Lands Committee will try resolve who is going to plant the wheat – the owner or settlers.
6. A ZRP Mutorashanga vehicle picked up the DA from Murambedzi to negotiate the removal of the crocodiles from a farm on 08.04.02. This meeting went favourably but the main "war vet" Akim was not present.
7. A farm reports that on 27.04.02, youth and settlers from Raffingora Village and the sister farm came looking for the owner who was in Harare. They barricaded the farm clerk in the office, confiscating farm keys. They wanted to take an inventory of everything on the farm, and they demanded to know when the owner would vacate, as he had received a Section 8. Police reacted with Zanu (PF) Raffingora and eventually left the premises. The keys were returned and they are waiting for the owner to come back to sort out the issues.
8. On 26.04.02 at 1600 hrs, about 15 resident settlers arrived at a farmhouse and told the owner to vacate within 30 minutes. He stalled them whilst the Police were notified, and was made to sign a document allowing them to kill a heifer and take 50 kg of mealie meal. They entered the spare cottage next door to the main house and used a tractor and trailer to carry the mombe (cow) out of the yard. When they realised he was not leaving the house, the settlers became aggressive, forced entry to the main house yard, nearly abducted him, stole the farm keys and tried to break into the house. The family barricaded in themselves and eventually the crowd moved off with intervention from Zanu (PF) Raffingora. Although the Police did not react they were instrumental in alerting the Zanu (PF) office. The family managed to get out the following morning to attend their daughter’s wedding in Banket. Apparently the keys have been returned to the farm guard. The youths occupy the cottage and will stay until the owner’s return.
9. A2 settlers continue to visit farms, checking on their plots and indicating their intention to plant wheat and take up residency when the farmers vacate. There is huge interest in all equipment especially for irrigation. It has been noted all A2 settlers are high-ranking Government employees e.g. Army, Police, Ministry etc.
Doma – on 29.04.02, Chimsenga Farm was approached to make an inventory of all their pipes and told government will pay for these. The group making the inventory want the owner to contract plough for them. The settlers must occupy the farm by 01.04.02 and told the owner’s son-in-law that all inputs will be supplied by the GMB.
Nyabira – on 29.04.02, the "war vet", Mrs Nyandoro, told the owner of Riverside E to be out of his house 02.05.02, to have paid off his labour, and she will take over the seed maize crop. No Section 5 or 8 has been received and the farm is only 180 ha in extent.
Banket – on 26.04.02, Northwood Farm, which has no Section 5 or 8, was invaded on a small section of the farm.
MASHONALAND WEST (SOUTH)
Chegutu - On Faun Farm, Paul Mangwana, the deputy Minister of Justice and Member of Parliament, continues to apply pressure on the owner to vacate the homestead.
Chakari - On Tawstock, three settlers were caught with 440 kg of maize on the cob. One was apprehended and the police took him away, but later escaped after police removed his handcuffs in order for the criminal to carry out his ablutions!
Kadoma - On Railway Farm 4, ZFTU representatives demand meetings with farm labour to discuss their retrenchment packages. The reps will allow NEC or GAPWUZ officials to attend these meetings. The owner has no intention of retrenching any labour at this point and his operation continues, but ZFTU seem undeterred by this.
Battlefields - Abendrhue, Overlaw and Twintops were all served with a Section 7 Notice on 24.04.02.
Chakari - On Deweras, settlers held a pungwe on the owner’s front lawn and demanded he move out of the house in one week. The owner was able to negotiate for his family to be able to stay, but the settlers want the cattle moved off, and demand water and lifts into town.
Suri-Suri - On Tawstock, a transformer worth ZW$ 1 million was vandalised and stolen along with a starter off a motor. Maize theft is still rife.
Masvingo East and Central – at Chidza Farm, more cattle and donkeys are moved on to the property. The Beza Estate, Richmond Farm and Riverside Farm owner received Section 8s for all the properties. This is the second lot of Section 8s delivered. The Cambria Farm owner received a Section 8 Order. The Clipsham Farm owner has received a Section 8 Order.
Chiredzi – at Oscro Ranch, this week has seen a large escalation of settlers, all pegging and clearing lands. New makeshift huts are also being built. The DA Chiredzi said there should be no more settlers on this property. However the DA Zaka is not in agreement. Dispol visited the owner to try and help, but was of no assistance. A large meeting was to be held 29.04.02 the DAs Chiredzi and Zaka, Mr. Hwarare, War Veteran Mutemachani and Deputy Minister Mahofa. It is also hoped that at this meeting the delisting of properties will be discussed and the removal of settlers. At Eaglemont Ranch, 60 settlers gathered on the front lawn of the owners homestead and said they wanted to be addressed by the political hierarchy. They had allegations against the owner’s game guards and the poachers were being arrested. The Palm River Ranch owner has 50 resident settlers. In the last week over 100 new settlers have come on to this property and begun pegging, clearing and building makeshift houses. At Buffalo Range, settlers made claims to an unoccupied homestead and want to use it as a school. At Wasarasara Ranch on 24.04.02, approximately 200 people gathered under the owner’s trees, began cooking food and claimed they were waiting to be addressed. However the gathering had coincided with the Zambian President’s visit. The crowd soon dispersed and regrouped later. 30 youths remained at the owner’s farm village and slept at the village gates. At 0530 hrs the following morning a meeting was held and the workers told they could remain working until the owner was evicted. They also stated the game guards would not be allowed to carry out their duties and there was to be no tampering of pegs put in the ground. These settlers who had pegged were new settlers and not the original people who had come to the farm at the beginning of the farm invasions. The youths stayed at the owner’s farm village until 28.04.02 where they continued to harass the farm labour. On the evening of 26.04.02, the youths were found at the owner’s scrap pile where they were seen to be cutting cable into lengths and burning off the plastic to make snares. These snares were put into the game paddocks where the owner keeps domestic Eland, Giraffe and bulls. Police were notified and only arrived on 28.04.02 at 1000 hrs. By then, the owner had taken four of his farm staff members and done a sweep of the game paddock where he found: wire and cable snares; one dead Eland cow which had been left to rot; and evidence of an Impala that had been caught and removed. Police did a superficial sweep and left the property at 1400 hrs the same day. On the evening of 29.04.02 the youths sang Chimurenga songs till late and then moved off to the owners parents home to carry on singing till late.
Mwenezi – at Battlefields Ranch one heifer was killed. The herd is three heifers short and two Kudu were killed by snares. Wire theft continues. Kleinbegin Ranch reports the owner is still under pressure to move off the property. The only functioning water source, a borehole near the house, finally gave up after considerable abuse by the settlers who delighted in starting and stopping it at will, as and when they required water. They are now accusing the owner of depriving them of water, and information to hand is that because of this deprivation ZANU (PF) and the "war vets" from Beitbridge plan to evict the owner on 29.04.02. The Limburgia Ranch labour were assaulted and chased out of their accommodation. They are now living at the homestead area. The settlers have trumped up a charge against the owner, which the police came to investigate, but when the labour pointed out a mombe that had been snared and axed badly before escaping, there was no interest in investigating the case and no report was recorded, so no RRB was given.
Save Conservancy - Increase in occupation on the East side of the Conservancy and with that comes the increase in poaching of animals and the movement of settlers.
Gutu / Chatsworth – on Muirlands Farm, three dairy cows were slaughtered. At Willand Farm, one cow was slaughtered and meat carried away. At Condor A, one cow was slaughtered and meat carried away. At Nelville Farm, one dairy cow was stolen. Chatsworth Farm reported 13 heifers stolen. On Chomfuli Farm, the owner was threatened and it is believed these have come from the DA. At Northdale Farm, two dairy heifers were stolen.
General: Some Section 8 orders were served in the area. Five farms in the Region were visited by representatives of Agritex, who produced maps showing how the farms would be cut up into 500-hectare units.
Hunters Road - On Hope Valley Farm, stock thieves cut the fence to a paddock occupied by dry cows and cows in calf. The driver of the NDC tanker alerted the owner his cows were straying on to the main road. A labourer sent to round up the cattle and check the fence, spotted three men in the bushes nearby. They fired a pistol at him and ran away. The incident was reported to the police who responded two days later. The same owner was stopped in his vehicle by "war vets" who demanded meat. On being told there was none available, they demanded money. The demand was refused. In the Nettlethorn, Zoe and Xanthippe farming area, theft of potatoes and cabbages from the lands is carried out on a commercial scale with the whole, or half of the crops being taken at a time. Cattle theft is also rampant although three animals were retrieved on being identified by their LIT ear tags. The farmer recommends this is an almost instant method of identifying suspicious cattle.
Kwekwe - In the Sherwood area, farmers were given the ‘go ahead’ to plant wheat and barley on a limited scale except for Dekel Farms P/L who have been told not to plant.
Inyathi – Felix Farm had ten settlers attack three game guards on 30.04.02 at about 1330 hrs. One was abducted. The owner’s wife had to drive an hour either way to collect the police who had no transport. The police were very obliging and produced five police officials and three army officials to attend the scene. They are currently searching for the abducted game scout.
Nyamandlovu – on 23.04.02, at approximately midday, +/- 100 people arrived at the packing sheds on Thandanani Farm and cut their way into the security fence. The group assaulted some of the labour in the packing shed and stole approximately six tonnes of produce valued at about ZW$ 300 000.00. The farm owner resorted to firing shots in the air and, with the aid of two Police Details who where brought on to the property by his son, managed to apprehend 15 of the perpetrators. The latter were arrested and appeared in court on 24.02.02. On 28.04.02 at approximately 1300 hrs, another group of 100 people attacked the one farm village and burnt down 16 huts with all the occupants’ belongings inside - blankets, clothes, savings books etc. The police in Nyamandlovu were informed and they said that a Detail would react. They later indicated the detail had reacted, but was not seen on the property as of 2000 hrs. The only Police reaction was some four hours after the initial report and the Police Details had to be collected by the farm owner from a nearby Police Post. One of the arsonists was arrested by the farm workers and taken to Nyamandlovu Police Station by the farm owner. The owner was told the female arsonist was a product of the Border Gezi Youth Brigade. Five farm workers were assaulted and one has a suspected broken arm, but could not be attended to immediately by the Nyamandlovu Hospital, as there was no electricity. The injured were left at the hospital to be collected the following day. The manager on Kennelly’s farm was approached by Ins. R.F. Ncube and two other Police Details who queried why he had moved some irrigation pipes to Bulawayo. He answered the irrigation pipes had been taken to Bulawayo for safekeeping. Ins. Ncube then left. A roadblock was subsequently set up in Nyamandlovu and the farm lorry was stopped on its way from Bulawayo and the Driver was questioned as to how many pipes were transported and the destination. The lorry proceeded to the farm where it was loaded with farm produce and sent back to Bulawayo. It was again stopped at the roadblock and instructed by local "war vet" Mr Mhlanga to go to the Police Station, where it was searched before continuing its journey. Mr Mhlanga tried to stop it, but the driver refused to comply and continued on his way to Bulawayo. General - Looting continues on Thandanani and Umguzaan farms with no reaction from the Police.
The disaster declaration, which is effective for three months, will give President Robert Mugabe the authority to order "extraordinary measures" to deliver food to those in need.
The Zimbabwean Government has blamed the crisis on a drought, but the World Food Programme says that agricultural disruption caused by the confiscation of white-owned farms has also contributed to the problem.
It allows aid agencies to set up emergency programmes for the estimated 7.8 million of the country's 13 million population in need of urgent food aid.
Earlier this year, the government banned aid groups from distributing food, claiming they were using the relief to campaign for the opposition MDC.
The food shortages are mirrored in Malawi and Mozambique, where poor harvests and erratic rains have led to famine.
"As a result of the prevalent drought, a state of disaster exists in all communal lands, resettlement and urban areas in Zimbabwe," Mr Mugabe said in a government statement reported by The Herald newspaper on Tuesday.
Emergency measures are expected to include possible commandeering of transport and other facilities to distribute food.
Zimbabwe consumes about two million tonnes of corn - its staple food - every year, but this year harvests are forecast at 750,000 tonnes.
Last year's crop was 1.4 million tonnes which was itself below average, research agencies said. The country was once a net grain exporter.
Farmers have described the drought during the past agricultural season as the worst in 50 years.
UN agencies launched a programme earlier this year to feed about 750,000 people facing starvation in the worst affected rural areas.
But only one-third of the emergency food needed has been delivered.
But less than half has been delivered because of financing and logistical problems, according to a report of the UN Relief and Recovery Unit in Harare.
Last month, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said the government was also seeking an extra 200,000 tons of corn from Kenya, Brazil and Argentina.
Officials say the disaster declaration is a step towards speeding up the delivery of food pledged by donors.
Zimbabwe's troubled economy is also contributing to the problem.
Inflation is at a record 113%; the economy is shrinking and there are shortages of hard currency which, says the government, means food imports can only be bought with aid.
The European Union and the United States have announced targeted sanctions against government leaders to protest against alleged human rights abuses and the March presidential elections which many international observers said were flawed.
Farming disruptions have led to a 30% decline in forecast harvests this year of tobacco, the main hard currency earner.
Mining has been plagued by shortages of equipment and fuel, and tourism, another key money earner, has fallen by 80%.
From Reuters, 29 April
Zimbabwe human rights groups say violence worsens
Harare - Political violence in Zimbabwe has worsened since President Robert Mugabe's election victory last month, compounding the plight of people grappling with food shortages, a rights group said on Monday. "It is almost two months since the elections took place in Zimbabwe and there is a worsening situation of intimidation, forced displacement, violence and systematic torture," the Amani Trust said in a statement. "The political rivalry and the resulting recriminations have become a way of life for many people, who also are trying to deal with the problems of food shortages, a serious drought and an approaching winter," the rights group said. Aid agencies say thousands of Zimbabweans face starvation after crops were slashed last season by drought and the state's seizure of white-owned farms, which disrupted farm operations. They say opposition supporters are also being denied access to staple maize at state Grain Marketing Board depots in the aftermath of the disputed March 9-11 presidential election. Zimbabwe police accused white farmers on Monday of worsening the food shortages by illegally moving farm equipment out of the country - a charge denied by the main white farmers' group.
The Amani Trust, which gives aid to victims of political violence, said the number of internally displaced Zimbabweans as a result of political strife was rising daily and was "at crisis level," but gave no figures. Rights groups have said up to 50,000 people have been displaced in political violence before and after the election, and have appealed for international aid. "The safety and security of these refugees is of the utmost concern, and urgent assistance is required to tend to their need for accommodation, food and water, medical treatment, psychological counseling and legal aid," the Amani Trust said. Earlier this month a coalition of rights groups - including the Amani Trust - said 54 people had been killed in political violence since the beginning of the year. Most of the deaths occurred in the runup to the presidential election. Police accused the rights groups of lying, saying political violence had eased since the election, which the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai – who challenged Mugabe - condemned as "daylight robbery." The MDC says more than 100 of its supporters have been killed since the runup to June 2000 parliamentary elections in which it came close to defeating Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party.
Ten white farmers have died since February 2000 when militants invaded hundreds of farms in support of a state drive to forcibly acquire land for redistribution to landless blacks. Zimbabwe police said on Monday they had impounded a large amount of farm equipment which they said was being illegally shipped out of the country. But the farmers said the equipment - which includes tractors, trailers, harvesters, water pumps and irrigation pipes – was lawfully removed from properties occupied by militants. "The Land Acquisition Act which the government is using for taking over the farms does not bar farmers who lose their land from moving their property," Jenni Williams, a spokeswoman for the Commercial Farmers Union said. After his re-election, Mugabe vowed to press ahead with the government's seizure of at least 20.5 million acres of the 29.6 million acres of white-owned farmland for blacks.
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Reuters) -- A U.S. ambassador on a U.N. Security Council tour of Africa has criticized Zimbabwe's disputed election at a meeting with President Robert Mugabe, triggering an angry reaction from the veteran leader, diplomats said on Tuesday.
Ambassador Richard Williamson, U.S. representative for special political affairs to the United Nations, told Mugabe on Monday the March 9-11 election was not free and fair and Harare's intimidation of the media was unacceptable, the diplomats said.
The 15-member Council mission is touring the region in a bid to end the nearly four-year-old war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The mission made a brief stop in Harare for talks with Mugabe, who sent thousands of troops to Congo in 1998 to prop up the Kinshasa government against a rebellion.
During their meeting with the Zimbabwean leader, Williamson told Mugabe that his comments were a message from the U.S. government, the diplomats said.
Mugabe reacted angrily in an exchange that lasted for several minutes, and pointed out that he did not accept President George W. Bush's controversial poll win in U.S.
presidential elections in November 2000, the diplomats said.
Williamson's comments are not the first time Washington has voiced disapproval of the poll, won easily by Mugabe but criticized as flawed by several observers.
However, Williamson was believed to have been the most senior U.S. official to have expressed such opinions to Mugabe face to face.
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has called Mugabe's victory "daylight robbery" and demanded fresh elections.
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party has refused a poll re-run, saying the vote was free and fair.
Williamson, who told the meeting he was speaking in his capacity as a U.S. official and not as a Security Council representative, also said Washington had grave concerns about alleged violence against Zimbabwean commercial farmers.
After his re-election, Mugabe vowed to press ahead with the government's seizure of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to landless blacks.