United States recalls peace corps workers from
The Associated Press
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) The
United States recalled Peace Corps workers from Zimbabwe on Thursday after
the government refused to issue work permits for its most recent
volunteers. The Zimbabwean government's refusal to issue the permits follows
a series of moves scaling back the presence of international workers in the
southern African country.
Last week, Information Minister Jonathan
Moyo said foreign workers would no longer be allowed to distribute food aid,
saying international organizations should not "interfere in the political
affairs of our country."
The government also said recently that monitors
from abroad would not be allowed to observe next year's scheduled
The 43 Peace Corps volunteers in Zimbabwe had been teaching
math and science in poor urban neighborhoods and on AIDS prevention projects.
They are to leave within a week, U.S. Embassy spokesman Bruce Wharton said in
The decision was made after 13 recent arrivals were refused work
permits with no explanation, Wharton said. There was no immediate comment
from the government.
President Robert Mugabe has accused the United
States and Britain of sponsoring opposition to his plans to redistribute
5,000 white-owned farms to landless blacks without paying compensation to the
Scores of farmers and opposition supporters have died since
political violence erupted in rural areas last year over the issue of
U.N. eyes Zimbabwe land reforms November 15, 2001 Posted: 12:33 PM
EST (1733 GMT)
ARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- A U.N. team arrived in
Zimbabwe on Thursday to try to speed up an internationally agreed land reform
programme that has largely stalled as a defiant President Robert Mugabe steps
up his seizure of white-owned farms.
The team is in Harare to produce
an alternative to Mugabe's controversial farm seizure programme, which has
led to farm invasions by militants, hurt agricultural production and
contributed to food shortages.
Political analysts and diplomats, however,
doubt that Mugabe will accept any United Nations proposals that are contrary
to his political aims.
Mugabe says he is seizing white-owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks, but critics accuse him of using the land
issue to win votes ahead of presidential elections due by next
Local farmers say Mugabe's government has failed to honour a pact
brokered in Abuja, Nigeria, in September under which it pledged to implement
fair and orderly land reform in exchange for funding by former colonial
Last week, Mugabe stepped up his land seizure programme
by using his presidential powers to amend the land law, enabling the state to
seize farms despite owners' legal challenges.
Mugabe says some 4,500
white farmers occupy 70 percent of Zimbabwe's best farmland. He wants to
seize at least 8.3 million hectares of the 12 million in white
The U.N. team is due to meet Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Stan
Mudenge, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made and other ministers later on
Thursday as part of their three-week mission.
Victor Angelo, the
UNDP's resident representative in Harare, said the team would review the
government's "fast-track" scheme to resettle blacks on white-owned farms and
calculate the cost of a new land reform programme.
ministers, on a visit to Zimbabwe last month, said Mugabe had done little to
honour the Nigerian-brokered accord, though they felt the process was still
"Mugabe has paid lip service to the Abuja agreement. (He) is
showing on the ground by his actions that he is determined to continue with
his own programme," said Brian Raftopoulos of Zimbabwe's Institute of
"The UNDP people might come with a very workable
plan that meets the need for social justice, equitable land distribution,
poverty alleviation and economic development, but Mugabe chose the programme
he has for election purposes," Raftopoulos said.
"I don't see how that
can change before the elections," he added.
Mugabe faces an unprecedented
challenge to his 21-year-old rule from opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in
next year's poll. Tsvangirai heads the Movement for Democratic Change, which
nearly beat Mugabe's ZANU-PF party in parliamentary elections in June
Third Force Emerges At Doha Conference
Accra Mail (Accra)
15, 2001 Posted to the web November 14, 2001
A "Third Force Group" comprising some ministers from
developing and least-developed countries has emerged at the World Trade
Organisation (WTO) Doha Conference and are putting pressure for the inclusion
of a dramatic new approach to trade.
The Ministers from Cuba,
Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Nicaragua, Nigeria,
Pakistan, Peru, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Zimbabwe are demanding a
pro-poor approach on agriculture, which is among the most contentious issues
at the conference.
These issues have been brought together in the
proposal for a "Development Box". They want measures to protect small-scale
farmers in developing countries from floods of subsidised imports from the
European Union (EU) and the US to be included in any new trade talks in the
Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha.
Mr Duncan Green, Trade Policy
Analyst of Cadfod, a British non-governmental organisation (NGO), who had
worked along side developing countries delegations told journalists on Sunday
that the rich countries currently spent one billion dollars a day to
subsidise farmers, which in turn led to cheap products being dumped on
developing countries, destroying the livelihood of farmers.
"the Development Box" was exciting and innovative because it was a genuine
attempt to make trade laws work for the poor, adding that it responded to
what was seen in some 80 countries where the devastation to farmers was
caused by the dumping of cheap exports from the North. It also stood in
contrast to the empty rhetoric coming from the EU.
This was a genuine
Third Force in the WTO, Mr Green said, pointing out that Friends of
Development Box asked for the inclusion of the initiative in the draft
ministerial report but were ignored.
"They have not given up and today
promised to redouble their efforts to win recognition for the idea," he
Mr Abdul Razak Dawood, Minister of Trade of Pakistan in an
interview said "the impact of unfair agricultural trade has been devastating
for our small farmers. We have formed the Friends of Development Box as a
Third Force in agriculture negotiations and will fight for the Development
Box to be a core component of agreement in agriculture, for we need
flexibility to take measures to protect our rural poor".Mr Edward Rugumayo,
Minister of Agriculture in Uganda, said the issue was the influx of food
imports - the result of unfair practices in the developed countries, which
need a two pronged approach, raising tariffs on food imports, while we
negotiate with the developed countries for the phased removal of their
ZIMBABWE: AIDS groups accuse government of ''playing
JOHANNESBURG, 15 November (IRIN) - AIDS groups in Zimbabwe
this week condemned a "political" decision by the government to transfer control
over money from a national AIDS fund to ruling party-run district councils,
activists told IRIN.
The cabinet announced last week that the
disbursement of money from the AIDS Trust Fund to independent village AIDS
committees had been suspended because the groups could not be trusted to handle
the large sums involved, the 'Financial Gazette' reported on Thursday. The
ministers said funds would instead be channelled through government structures
and ZANU-PF controlled rural and ditrict councils.
Dr Frank Guni,
director of the Zimbabwe Network of People living with HIV/AIDS and a member of
the National AIDS Council (NAC) board, told IRIN that these local administrative
councils had a poor track record in handling money from the Fund. Guni said he
could not rule out political motives behind putting funds under their control,
in the light of presidential elections due early next year.
an urgent meeting with the cabinet's Social Services Committee on Wednesday, and
the cabinet's decision to suspend disbursement was subsequently withdrawn, Guni
said. But he added that the committee insisted that the money was state property
and they didn't want "state funds in the hands of people they cannot control".
"The Network of People living with HIV/AIDS has made it very clear that
we find this unacceptable. We have told the government that we can't wait for
their politics while people are dying on the ground," said Guni. In an attempt
to make the process more transparent, NAC suggested that the rural councils open
a separate bank account for AIDS funds. It also recommended that the minister of
local government be involved in the disbursement, to make government accountable
for the money.
Despite a lack of evidence proving the government's misuse
of the AIDS Fund, Guni cited the recent example of the minister of health's
disbursement of US $375,000 from the Fund without NAC approval.
NAC is a
special entity created by government and it is the only body charged with the
distribution of money from the AIDS Fund. "This was clearly a political move,
because the people thought the money was coming from the government, instead of
from the AIDS levy," said Guni
The AIDS Trust Fund was created last year
after the government imposed a three percent AIDS levy on personal and corporate
income. In March, the government dissolved the NAC, after deciding that the
agency "did not have the legal authority to manage the trust".
accused the government of "playing politics," saying that the agency's board was
disbanded because the chair was a member of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
ZANU PF turns to AIDS levy to buy votes
9:17:45 PM (GMT +2)
FEARS have been expressed that the government plans
to tap into the remainder of the $1.8 billion raised through the AIDS levy
this year to boost President Robert Mugabe's re-election campaign next year
by using ZANU PF district councils to selectively disburse the money to
The Cabinet last week said it was suspending the
disbursement of millions of dollars to 80 district "AIDS action committees"
run by villagers because, it said, the voluntary groups could not be trusted
to handle the huge sums involved.
In a surprise announcement, the
Cabinet said it had cancelled all pending disbursements to the committees and
would in future send the money through government structures such as rural
and district councils, almost all under the control of ZANU
Political analysts this week said the Cabinet's decision showed
that Mugabe's cash-strapped administration was desperate for money for
his re-election campaign estimated to cost more than $200 million and now
eyed the National AIDS Trust Fund.
The fund had about $1.8 billion
before it disbursed $265 million last month and is funded through income
taxes. It was introduced last year.
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, a University
of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, said it was clear that the money for
AIDS sufferers and their dependants could be diverted to Mugabe's
"There are very genuine fears that political
considerations and affiliations will now play a major role on who is going to
get the assistance from the AIDS levy and who is not," Mukonoweshuro
He said what was even more worrying was that the government wanted
to entrust such huge sums of money to corrupt rural and district
councils, which are notorious for not keeping proper books of
"The accounts of most of these rural and district councils have
been in a shambles for a long time and many of them have gone for years
without producing properly audited books of accounts," he noted.
activists and lobbyists also blasted the government's move, saying it was
unconstitutional and suspicious.
"The truth of the matter is that the
infrastructure they want to use is ZANU PF . . . they want this money to go
to rural councils which are really political organs," said Norman Nyazema, a
leading researcher on HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe.
communities to resist the move by insisting that only AIDS service
organisations registered by the Zimbabwe AIDS Network should disburse the
Dr Frank Guni, the director of the Zimbabwe Network of People
Living Positively with HIV/AIDS (ZNNP+), said he could not rule out the
possibility that the AIDS levy could be diverted into politics.
onus is on us as people living with AIDS to see that the funds are coming to
us. The potential for this money being used for political gain is definitely
there," he said.
Guni said his organisation had lobbied for proper
structures to handle the money from the levy after it realised that many of
the action committees lacked members with adequate financial
He said the Cabinet's decision to freeze the disbursement
was unconstitutional because it infringed the National AIDS Council
"The Cabinet has no legal authority to freeze this money. All they
can do is to propose to NAC and the NAC board has a minimum of 30 days to
give its views to President Mugabe, who can then make a decision," said Guni,
who also sits on the NAC board.
Evaristo Marowa, the director of NAC,
said the need to involve rural, district and urban councils in the
disbursement of proceeds from the AIDS levy was to utilise existing
structures with "tested" mechanisms and resources.
He said the
district Aids action committees were still expected to present their plan of
action that would be approved by NAC while the disbursement of the funds
would be done jointly with the councils. - Staff Reporter
I am sure most of you are aware that Simon Spooner has been arrested and
is in custody despite having his constitutional right to legal advise
being refused. This is an appeal to all Zimbabweans, that if you have had
any contact with Simon between 1 November and 12 November in any way
i.e. social, business, vocal etc, PLEASE PROVIDE THIS CRITICAL DETAIL AND
FORWARD IT TO firstname.lastname@example.org
We want to prove that there is absolutely no way Simon was or could have been
involved in this crime.
Simon has been accused of involvement in the
murder of two ZANU PF officials. We all know that this is a total
fabrication and we need to prove to the courts that Simon was not involved.
THE NATION DOES KNOW WHO THE PERPETRATORS ARE!!!!!
Please no matter
how trivial your information may be, forward it to the above email
WE WANT TO PROVE IF NECESSARY THAT SIMON WAS NOT INVOLVED. THE
TRUE CULPRITS MUST BE BROUGHT TO BOOK.
HAS the time come for the international community to slap "smart"
sanctions on Zimbabwe?
The issue has been a subject of much public
discussion since Monday, when Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), raised it at an SA Institute of International
Reeling from Mugabe's growing harassment of the
opposition ahead of next year's crucial presidential elections, Tsvangirai
called on SA to consider targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe's political
leadership including travel bans and the freezing of assets belonging to
senior government and ruling Zanu (PF) officials.
Many people will
agree with Tsvangirai that the time has indeed come for the hand-wringing
international community to help stop Zimbabwe from imploding. The difficult
part, though, is how this can be done without worsening
The option of imposing comprehensive sanctions against
Harare has already been rejected by both the MDC and the Southern African
Development Community. They argue this would hit ordinary Zimbabweans the
hardest. There is also no unanimous endorsement in the region of the
desirability and effectiveness of smart sanctions. And it is easy to
While targeted sanctions, would make it clear to Mugabe
that the region and the wider international community is sick of him, they
would not stop him. They may also close existing channels of communication
with Harare and work to the disadvantage of the opposition and democracy in
The fact is that Mugabe and his government have become
increasingly reckless and do not care much about international opinion,
particularly western opinion. Anyway, there is no guaranteeing that African
leaders are ready to take these kinds of measures against
There is one opportunity available to the SADC and the west to
nudge Harare towards upholding the rule of law in the country and holding
relatively free and fair presidential elections next year, and that is the
critical shortage of food in the country a tool that Mugabe has used in the
past to garner votes. Without adequate food supplies, Mugabe's hold on the
rural constituency, which has relied on the state in drought and other
difficult times, becomes shaky.
Outsiders might consider using
offering food aid, but only on the condition that this is not used for
vote-catching and that nongovernmental organisations and African governments
will help distribute it; that Mugabe upholds the rule of law in the country,
and that, crucially, he invites observers to witness the presidential
elections which must be held by the end of March 2002.
SA, as the
country with the most to lose from an imploding Zimbabwe, should ensure that
the opposition has as fair a chance as Zanu (PF) in the elections.
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 15 2001
Robert Mugabe must not be left to pervert justice
Robert Mugabe has added insult to injury with his latest move
in a controversial campaign to kick the remaining 4,500 white farmers working
in his country off their land. Through a presidential decree, he
amended Zimbabwe’s Land Act to let the Government ignore protest from the
courts while it seizes commercial farmland and redistributes it to landless
blacks. About 1,000 farmers, whose land is earmarked for redistribution, are
now under orders to stop using the land at once and quit their homes in
three months. After more than a year of violent land grabs by hoodlums known
as “war veterans”, the demoralised farmers are in no mood to resist; many
have begun dismantling equipment and preparing to retreat. The President’s
justification is that white farmers who have been told to quit their farms --
on the ground that their ancestors stole it more than a century ago, at the
start of colonial rule, from the black population -- had until last weekend
been frustrating his plans by appealing against eviction orders in court.
These legal challenges to his wishes, Mr Mugabe says, amounted to “abuse” of
Zimbabwe’s judicial system.
Yet Mr Mugabe’s own action is the most
flagrant abuse imaginable of legal, governmental and moral norms. When power
was first transferred to Zimbabwe’s black majority at independence,
international negotiators agreed that property rights were to be sacrosanct
and there would be no forcible eviction of whites from their homes. That
principle has been gradually whittled away in the two decades of Mr Mugabe’s
rule, as the President has encouraged or allowed ever more dubious and
forceful transfers of ownership, culminating in the war veterans’
He has had more than 20 years to forget this commitment; but
there is no excuse for Mr Mugabe not to remember the compromise deal on land
reform that the Zimbabwean Government agreed to honour just two months ago.
Brokered in Nigeria last September, it committed Harare to implement a fair
and orderly land reform in exchange for funding from Britain, Zimbabwe’s
colonial power until the end of the 1970s. Unscrupulously, the Zimbabwean
leader has taken advantage of the international shock caused by the September
11 attack on America, which has deflected attention from his misdeeds, and
used his chance to ignore his obligations.
Mr Mugabe’s goal in this
apparently suicidal campaign, which is inflicting severe damage on the
economy, is the simple, selfish one of preserving his own power. He needs
peasant support in next year’s presidential election if he is to beat a
serious challenge from the middle-class, urban Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) and its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. Aggressive populism in land reform
is just one weapon in his arsenal. Independent analysts charting the
worsening rifts in Zimbabwean society believe the President may also stoop to
outright cheating. Distracted though foreign governments may be by dramatic
events in other parts of the world, they must make time now to condemn the
abuses of power in Zimbabwe that a leader who shames the designation of
democrat is perpetrating.
November 15, 2001 Posted to the web November 15,
ZIMBABWEAN legal experts have dismissed
as unconstitutional the arbitrary amendment of the Land Acquisition Act by
President Robert Mugabe, giving his government the right to acquire farms
without following due legal process.
Prominent lawyers said statutory
instrument 338 of 2001, gazetted last Friday through the Presidential Powers
(Temporary Measures) Act to allow government to allocate land without giving
the owners the right to contest the seizures, violated fundamental rights in
The Bar Association of Zimbabwe's chairman, advocate
Adrian de Bourbon, said the measure, enacted in terms of Mugabe's
discretionary powers, was unlawful.
"I believe it is subject to
challenge because it certainly amounts to a breach of section 16 and section
18 of the constitution," De Bourbon said.
"It can also be challenged as
an abuse of the presidential powers."
Sections 16 and 18 of the
constitution deal, respectively, with the rights to property and equal access
to the law.
The controversial revision empowers government to start
resettlement immediately after issuing an acquisition order.
government the right to ownership of the land, surveying, demarcation and
allocation immediately after serving notice to the farmers.
A fine of
Z20000 or a jail term of two years or both can be imposed on those found
guilty of interfering with land seizures. Once an acquisition order has been
served on the farm owner, he will get a three-month notice to vacate without
contest, or face eviction.
The amendment was backdated to May 23 last
year. Zimbabwe's government has been making backdated laws to cover illegal
aspects of its land reform programme.
OPINION November 15, 2001 Posted to the web November
Spectre of famine can be averted, but
Zanu (PF) must accept conditional food aid
SIX months ago I wrote in
these columns that, "Mugabe may well use food in state hands to wreak
additional havoc on society by distribution through the party, the so-called
war veterans and the nefarious secret service. He undoubtedly will use that
power over life and death to elicit party support and commitments to vote for
"The logic states that he need only control enough food to feed 51%
of the population. The rest would have no party-determined right to eat and
no means to buy it. The scope for famine is enormous."
For six months
the international and the regional community has sought to bring Mugabe back
from despotic rule but to no effect.
Since May he has nationalised the
grain trade and this week he banned all other parties, notably
nongovernmental organisations and churches, from distributing food. Food is
now state property.
Mugabe and his corrupt cronies now control all
resources land, farms, businesses, prices, and food in a veritable
declaration of war against the people of Zimbabwe.
In May, the World
Food Programme announced that more than 800000 tons of cereals and other
foods were needed, about 200000 tons to be delivered by October for use from
November. Today, as agriculture collapses, the total needed is now more than
More serious, there is slightly more than a month's
supply in state granaries and as yet no import programme in place. Absolute
shortages are breaking out with growing frequency as the remaining stock can
no longer be spread equitably.
Between 500000 and 1-million
Zimbabweans go hungry every day. It takes many weeks to deliver food to a
land-locked country. There are few weeks left. Yet nothing was done to secure
stocks for Zimbabwe that could be delivered quickly when Mugabe finally chose
Nor has there been any attempt to build up emergency regional
stocks with international imports.
Instead, we have witnessed
delegations going to pay court to a despot, to hear his promises and then to
suffer his regular deceits and to hear of further onslaughts against the
people and economy.
With Mugabe dead in any democratic water, this past
week has seen a litany of measures to secure yet again, as President Thabo
Mbeki said of the June national elections in Zimbabwe, "a stolen
This all-enveloping regional crisis should be treated as an
opportunity to forge new ways of dealing with despots and to reform donor
methods so assistance can enhance economic and democratic rights.
some time now Zimbabwe's government has demanded party cards before supplying
food. The logic is most of the opposition, the majority of citizens, will die
or walk out to refugee status and the party faithful will be left behind to
To their everlasting glory, Zimbabweans are not rushing to grab
land. They are not breaking ranks. It is the party's cronies, generals,
policemen and soldiers and the motley private army of "war veterans" that are
being "settled" in order to break up the voting block of farm
Land comes last of seven issues ranked by citizens: inflation,
jobs, law and order, health and AIDS, schooling, urban settlement, rural
land. Now land is number eight as food tops a longer list. Never has land
received more than 10% support in the past 18 months of public opinion
Now, at last, Mugabe has formally asked for help to import food.
This can be the entry point for donors to bolster citizens' economic rights
and open up their democratic space before the elections.
African Development Community and international community have stepped up
their criticism of Mugabe. It is now action on behalf of the people of
Zimbabwe, and not dialogue with a democratically dead and probably dying
despot, that has to be seen to be taking place.
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader
of the main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has offered
to talk to Zimbabwe's government about "creating conditions for a code of
conduct for free and fair elections, but not about powersharing
arrangements". The MDC needs an election, free and fair, that it can win. It
does not have to try to share power.
No lawful election looks possible at
present. Another stolen election would not gain international recognition.
Further isolation and suffering, and economic and civil chaos, spilling over
into the region, would follow. The "African Renaissance" would be
Food aid must pour in. But it must be tied to a single programme
that requires that all support leads to the direct provision of
citizens' economic rights.
The method is to provide exchangeable "work
rights" to all adults. These can be formed into "community budgets" at local
level and invested in community public works. It is the only means to create
food equity, economic activity and open democratic space.
cry that this is meddling in Zimbabwe's internal affairs. Since he cannot be
trusted, he must not be given a choice. Economic rights, economic security
and local democratic practice are the three prerequisites to ensure there
will be no famine and a fair presidential election next year. That could be
the platform for wider advances throughout Africa.
November 16, 2001 Posted to the web November 15,
It is sheer coincidence that Zimbabweans
Oliver Mtukudzi and Louis Mhlanga, and Mozambique-born Gito Baloi are
appearing together at the Civic Theatre Complex in Braamfontein to launch
their most recent works.
It is not an act to show that across the
borders, in other South African Development Community (SADC) countries, there
is musical gold that those living in the golden city could also dig
The three guitarists, who have vastly different stage personas and
musical styles, have found a following in South Africa. And it is the first
time that they share a stage. Sure they have crossed paths - Baloi
reminds Mtukudzi of a meeting in Australia, where both had gone to do shows
at different venues.
Mtukudzi, the oldest of the three, is the
high-energy performer. He has been known to do a four-hour extravaganza,
carrying the audience along to his emotional highs. But it is not all
ecstasy. The substance is sobering. "Every song has its story," he says. "In
my culture a song won't be a song without a message. There is a song for
every special occasion."
And he is a messenger. "I remind people of the
things they seem to forget. I tell them that there is no culture that is
either superior or inferior; each is different and unique." Mtukudzi's songs
tell of the social and cultural hassles and hopes of his native country and
political activists have turned some into battle songs.
He regards the
telling of such missives in song as his lifetime achievement and singing as a
great adrenaline rush. "Being on stage is most fun, the real thing. Every
show is unique and a good show involves the participation of all." Once the
rapport has been struck Mtukudzi gives all and can go on and on, enraptured,
dancing, singing and doing his thing.
Bass guitarist Baloi is more
relaxed. He regards his music as having no deeper social meaning. "It talks
for itself," he says. Yet it is not flippantly escapist. It enables one to be
detached from the heavy and troubled concerns of this world and to be
immersed in the pleasurable flow of life. His music has the joy and beauty
that relaxes and releases.
"We must be as happy as possible. There is so
much pain in the world, it is about time to have fun and enjoy the good
things of life."
A long-term South African resident, Baloi still keeps in
touch with his native country - he returned from Mozambique only two weeks
ago. He feels that though his roots are in Africa musically, he has become a
citizen of the world. "I have absorbed a lot of other cultural expressions
and incorporate much of the various streams into my work. Of course, I've got
to give it structure and that is where my creativity and individuality
He strives to go beyond the bounds of cultural and political
expressions and seeks to be universal. "We must strive for one world culture;
that way the we will be alright. We must live with one another without
reference to our own cultures and skin colour," says Baloi.
Mhlanga sounds like a self-conscious voice of Southern Africa, a sort of
musical SADC. The melange of phrases that cascade into each other represent
the range of traditions found in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. But he
has avoided the pitfall of his sound being a mere pastiche.
It has an
underlying Zimbabwean flavour. But it is not the masculine, thunderous and
heavily vibrating sound of his compatriot Mtukudzi. Mhlanga's is more subtle,
elastic and easy - perhaps to allow for neighbourly co-existence with other
sounds from the region.
"I could not think of doing anything in life
[other] than music."
Mtukudzi and Baloi could say likewise. And how
Southern Africa has gained through their choices.
Suspected Zanu PF
supporters and war veterans unleashed terror in Bulawayo's high-density
suburbs in the early hours of yesterday, setting three houses on fire,
including one owned by an MDC councillor.
The attacks were apparently in
retaliation to the gruesome murder of Bulawayo War Veterans' Association
chairman, Cain Nkala, whose decomposing body was discovered on Tuesday near
Solusi University, 40km south-west of Bulawayo - a week after he was abducted
from his home.
Vice-President Joseph Msika reacted to Nkala's abduction
by warning of a bloodbath at the weekend, in a statement many said was meant
to incite government loyalists to commit political violence with
Andrew Ndlovu, the war veterans' secretary for projects,
declared the Presidential election due by the end of March next year would
not be held.
Ndlovu said his association would ask President Mugabe to
declare a state of emergency and rule by decree.
association had asked Zanu PF's highest decision-making body, the politburo,
through their patron, Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, to declare Nkala a national
The Minister of Information and Publicity, Jonathan Moyo, told the
ZBC last night that the politburo was yet to make a decision on Nkala's hero
The statement followed a six-hour meeting of the politburo in
At least 16 MDC members and security men have been
arrested on allegations of abducting and killing Nkala.
They have been
denied access to their lawyers during the police investigations. The State
media has reported that some of them have admitted to the act.
Court judge, Justice George Chiweshe, yesterday granted the MDC an order for
the release of four of its members, some of whom have been in police custody
for more than seven days. According to the law, a suspect should be brought
to court within 48 hours of his arrest.
The police swiftly reacted by
bringing three of the four suspects – Sonny Masera Moyo, the MDC deputy
security chief, Army Zulu and Simon Spooner – to court where they were denied
Their lawyer, Nicholas Mathonsi, had argued in papers filed at the
High Court that their continued detention was unlawful.
eight-roomed house in Magwegwe West suburb in Nkala's neighbourhood
was reduced to a shell after being petrol-bombed. The occupants ran for
The war veterans moved to other houses, where they smashed
doors and windows.
They threatened to return and intensify the raids
on MDC supporters' homes, eyewitnesses said.
As terror swept through
Magwegwe West, another mob marched to the house of the MDC councillor for
Ward 27, Peter Mangena, in Pumula North where they smashed a door and
Mangena, who was alone at the time, took refuge in the
Boulders and logs which the mob used during the attack were
strewn in and outside the house when a Daily News crew arrived there
Terrified neighbours refused to talk, fearing for their
Mangena, from his hide-out, said: "I heard one of them say they
wanted to kill me. I have since moved from my house because this is the
second time that I have been attacked and I am afraid my luck will run out
Ndlovu, the Harare-based war veterans' association secretary for
projects, denied suggestions that the war veterans were behind the attacks,
but warned that they would retaliate against individuals and institutions
found to have murdered Nkala.
"Those spontaneous attacks are a
reaction by angry members of the public. We are yet to act," said Ndlovu soon
after a meeting with the Governor for Matabeleland North, Obert Mpofu, and Dr
Ndlovu, who joined mourners gathered at Nkala's house.
He accused the
MDC of committing acts of terrorism and said war veterans had banned MDC MPs
from attending Parliament.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC's president, and
the party's secretary-general, Professor Welshman Ncube, yesterday deplored
Nkala's murder and called on the police to expeditiously bring all those
responsible for the act before the courts.
"We put it on record that
the state of lawlessness prevailing in the country at the moment and the
death of Nkala is a direct result of failure of the State, under the
direction of Zanu PF, to apply the laws of Zimbabwe fairly and equally to all
citizens," said Tsvangirai.
The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
yesterday condemned the murder of Nkala.
In a statement, the NCA said
although many theories about the murder and the motive have been advanced, it
is important to note that life was unnecessarily lost.
Calling for an
end to the terror in Matabeleland, in particular, and the country in general,
the NCA said: "We believe that Zimbabweans have the right to carry on their
legitimate political activities without hindrance.
"We hope that the
murder will not be used as an excuse to unleash terror in Matabeleland as
this would further perpetuate the objectives of the
The NCA said it believes that the people of Zimbabwe
deserve peace, tranquillity and a return to normalcy for them to elect a
leadership of their choice.
"We call upon all parties and persons
interested in the Presidential election next year to carry out their
campaigns peacefully," the statement said.
The Times of India
Zimbabwe Oppn fears reprisals for death of
ARARE: Supporters of Zimbabwe's main opposition were
Wednesday fearing reprisals after a war veteran leader was found murdered in
the west of the country, with the government accusing its opponents of the
The body of Cain Nkala, a war veteran leader in the country's
second city of Bulawayo, was found in a shallow grave Tuesday by police, one
week after he was snatched from his home by armed assailants.
been strangled with his own shoe laces.
Police have arrested six suspects
in Bulawayo and have claimed, along with state television, that they are all
members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Tsvangirai, the leader of the party which has a massive following in Bulawayo
and throughout western Zimbabwe, said the MDC can't be
"To try to link the party to the acts of individuals
... is not going to hold water," he told a news conference at his home in the
Speculation that the MDC was involved in Nkala's abduction
culminated in the storming of the party headquarters in Harare on Saturday by
over 100 war veterans, who claimed to be looking for Cain Nkala.
officials within Zimbabwe's ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union
- Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), which is historically linked to the veterans of
the 1970s liberation war against white minority rule, have stoked the
At the weekend, following the war veterans' siege of the MDC
headquarters, Vice-President Joseph Msika, quoted by the state media, warned:
"If they (the MDC) want a bloodbath they will certainly get it."
affairs minister John Nkomo, interviewed by state television late Tuesday
accused senior MDC officials of sponsoring Nkala's murder and described the
crime as an act of "terrorism".
"There must be someone else involved," he
said. "I want to say we're not going to stop at anything" to bring the
organisers to justice, he added.
The murdered Nkala was a suspect in a
widely publicised case in which an MDC official, Patrick Nabanyama was
abducted ahead of last year's June legislative elections.
He has never
been found and is feared dead, one of more than 30 people, mainly opposition
supporters, killed ahead of last year's
Tsvangirai Wednesday denounced Nkala's murder
and called for the culprits to be brought to justice, but dismissed
government's accusations against his party.
"Our consciences are very
clear," he said.
He said Nkomo's accusation against the MDC was "uncalled
for, unwarranted and must be condemned".
Tsvangirai said the law was
being applied selectively against his supporters.
"State agents in
Bulawayo have been going house to house ... destroying property, hunting down
MDC supporters," he claimed.
"There are people who have committed acts of
murder during the parliamentary elections, but we have never seen this shrill
cry that is now being expressed and whipped by ZANU-PF politicians," he
added. ( AFP )
Foreign currency situation remains critical, says
11/15/01 9:35:12 PM (GMT +2)
Zimbabwe’s foreign exchange situation continues to remain critical
and has averaged only US$70 million (Z$3,85 billion) over the July-September
The normal requirements in Zimbabwe are US$230 to US$250
million a month. In its latest Quarterly Review for the third quarter,
Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe Limited (Stanbic) said the situation was expected to
deteriorate further when the tobacco season ended. The season ended on 26
October amid much anxiety within the farming community.
“The foreign exchange situation remained critical during the third quarter.
Monthly foreign currency inflows averaged only US$70 million over the
July-September 2001 period. The situation is expected to deteriorate further
when the tobacco season ends.” The bank said operations of most high import
sectors, particularly those in the retail business, had, thus, been heavily
constrained. Stanbic said with the sharp rise in local production costs, most
exporters also found it increasingly difficult to keep their operations
running, as the official exchange rate remained pegged at $55 to the United
“The outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the
Matabeleland region further compounded the situation as lucrative beef
exports, mainly to Europe, had to be suspended,” Stanbic said. “On average,
beef exports earn the country US$40 million annually. The situation is
expected to tighten further as the tobacco season comes to an end.” The
bank said the gold producing sector had, however, continued to benefit from
the floor price arrangements.
In August, this year, the facility was
reviewed from a guaranteed floor price of US$343 per ounce to US$430 per
ounce at the official exchange rate of $55 per US dollar. Gold production
during the nine months to September 2001 amounted to an estimated 14,1
tonnes, compared to 16,9 tonnes realised over the same period in
“Continued support to the sector is, thus, critical if increased
production is to be resuscitated,” Stanbic said. The bank said what was
worrying was the “continued laxity of the authorities at taking resolute
steps to contain the inflation scourge”
Inflation hits 100%
Staff Reporter 11/15/01 9:29:48 PM
ZIMBABWE'S annual inflation surged to a record-busting 97.9
percent in October, 2.1 percentage points shy of the year-end forecast of 100
Figures released by the Central Statistical Office (CSO)
yesterday showed that the all-item consumer price index rose by 11.6
percentage points from the September figure of 86.3 percent.
figures showed that the massive jump in the October inflation rate was
largely driven by phenomenal growth in underlying inflation, which rose by
106.8 percent during the 12 months to October 2001.
Food inflation, which
has traditionally been responsible for the growth in inflation, marginally
rose by 3.8 percentage points to 84.8 percent last month despite the
imposition of controls on prices of basic foodstuff.
"The increase in
year-on-year inflation was largely accounted for by increases in the price of
beverages, bread and cereals, household operations, rent and rates and
vehicle running costs," the CSO said.
Furniture and household goods had
the largest annual increase of 194.2 percent, followed by recreation and
entertainment which rose 154.5 percent during the past year.
who have forecast that inflation could hit 100 percent by the end of the
year, yesterday attributed the rise in the October inflation to the rising
cost of non-food items.
By Sydney Masamvu
Political Editor 11/15/01 6:41:01 PM (GMT +2)
US government officials
this week warned that Washington will not recognise the outcome of Zimbabwe's
presidential election due next year if the Harare government does not allow
international observers to monitor the ballot.
In sentiments widely
believed to be shared by the 15-nation European Union (EU), the officials
said the results of the election would be unacceptable because the
circumstances prevailing prior to the poll were not conducive for a free and
"Given the prevailing situation and the conditions being
laid out by the government regarding the issue of observers and monitors, the
feeling within the administration is that it could be difficult for the
people of Zimbabwe and the international community to view the elections as
legitimate," an official in the US administration told the Financial
The official, like several others interviewed this week,
preferred not to be named.
The United States is however still to
communicate this position to the Zimbabwean government.
circumstances that are making a free and fair election impossible in Zimbabwe
include the continued intimidation of opposition party members, whose homes
and offices have been ransacked in the past few days by ruling ZANU PF mobs,
and the detention and harassment of opposition officials by state security
The government, fearful that President Robert Mugabe may lose the
projected ballot to the opposition, has stepped up attacks and propaganda
against opposition party members and other perceived "enemies of the state"
in the run-up to the election.
There are also concerted attempts to
curb Press freedom.
The government is also amending the Electoral Act in
an attempt to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters who live outside
Zimbabwe who might back Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), who will stand against Mugabe in the
Diplomatic sources this week said Mugabe's refusal to allow
independent international and Zimbabwean election observers and monitors to
check the validity of the ballot could lead to the conclusion that the
current conditions in Zimbabwe do not allow for a free and fair election as
outlined in the norms and standards for elections in the Southern Africa
Develop-ment Community, which Zimbabwe adopted in March.
government has turned down observers from the EU and the United States and is
also expected to fast-track through Parliament legislation barring the
international community and Zimbabwean civic groups from participating in
Washington wants election observers to be deployed
immediately to witness the election campaign, but the government is playing
for time so it can invite observers nearer to the poll when, political
analysts say, the intimidation of voters by ZANU PF gangs would have been
Washington's ambassador to Zimbabwe Joseph Sullivan recently
suggested that the issue of observers could be resolved by the government if
it immediately extended invitations to them.
"We would hope that
invitations for election observers can be forthcoming in order to have the
observation that gives everybody confidence," Sullivan said. The
presidential election is the most hotly contested since
Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980.
An authoritative opinion
poll conducted in September by Target Research, an independent research
organisation, and published last week shows Mugabe trailing Tsvangirai by at
least six percentage points and that economic issues could determine the
Washington's warning to deny recognition of a
government coming from what most Zimbabweans and analysts now see as a
mockery of democratic polls comes as pressure mounts on Mugabe from both
inside and outside the country.
Civic groups plan to stage mass protests
next week against the government's electoral amendments, which entrench
Mugabe's control of elections, while the EU and the US are threatening to
impose sanctions against him for refusing to end violence by ZANU PF
supporters, among several outstanding governance issues.
DR TIMOTHY Stamps, the Minister of
Health and Child Welfare, who suffered brain damage last month might not
return to work this year. Cindy Stamps, the minister’s wife, yesterday said
her husband was “responding very well to the treatment at home, but will
certainly not return to work soon”.
She, however, refused to say
what Timothy is really suffering from. Mrs Stamps said: “All I can say is
that he is at home under the care of specialists. But he is certainly not
going back to work this month and may be this year. “I would not know when
he will actually resume work because I am not a specialist.”
MASVINGO'S political strongman
Eddison Zvobgo, speaking after the ruling ZANU PF party's trouncing by the
opposition in mayoral elections in Masvingo earlier this year, remarked that
"baboons are on the run".
And so they were last week when stunned
ZANU PF leaders read the red lights after the publication in this newspaper
of an opinion poll on next year's presidential poll.
Events of the
past week have shown that such is the panic within the ZANU PF establishment
as Zimbabwe heads for the crucial ballot that the ruling party has decided
that the only way to steal it is to amend the Electoral Act.
Minister Patrick Chinamasa set the ball rolling by giving notice that he will
introduce in Parliament amendments to the Electoral Act which will ban
international and Zimbabwean monitors from observing next year's presidential
The government has also banned Zimbabwean non-governmental
organisations from carrying out voter education campaigns.
If ZANU PF
is confident about winning the poll, as it claims through its discredited
state media, and that the ballot's conduct will be above board, what has it
got to hide?
That the government will allow only its civil servants to
monitor the poll shows how terrified it is about the prospect of President
Robert Mugabe being thrown out by a popular landslide.
But surely why
should Zimbabweans allow this illegality to stand?
We know that we are
led by a power-hungry lot - this is no longer an issue at least among normal
Zimbabweans - but in all fairness, the nonsense which we as citizens are
allowing to pass unchecked has reached intolerable levels.
government now says for the first time that it will recruit election monitors
and voter educators ONLY from the civil service, which only means that it
will stuff the whole exercise with spies from the Central Intelligence
Given so many examples of how the present regime is
determined to steal the ballot and cow the electorate in the process, the
international community and all men and women of goodwill should forthwith
stand up and demand that Mugabe meets minimum conditions of at least a free
and fair poll and not stage an open fraud.
The situation from now
demands all Zimbabweans to take a pause and ask: are we going into an
election or a shambles?
Personally I think if we leave the process to
unfold the way it is, including the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act,
without putting an end to this trend by whatever legal means, we are going
for a state-sponsored fraud and not a presidential election. The choice
and decision is ours.
Under the proposed amendments, millions of
Zimbabweans living abroad not by choice but because of Mugabe's mismanagement
of the economy will not be allowed to vote unless they have been resident in
Zimbabwe for a full year before the poll.
Postal votes will only be
accepted from staff at diplomatic missions and from soldiers posted abroad,
especially those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
means is that being an economic refugee in Britain and South Africa is
punishable by being disallowed to have a say in determining the
political future of your own country.
Does one need to be in Zimbabwe
for a full year, let alone a day, to appreciate the level of poverty Mugabe
and his cronies have reduced once proud and hardworking Zimbabweans
Is it that we have had ZANU PF in power for too long that they now
take us for granted to an extent that they firmly believe we have become
The government should have been busy putting in place
enabling legislation and logistics to ensure that every Zimbabwean is able to
participate in the electoral process, and not harnessing its energies towards
Such is the level of panic that Information
Minister Jonathan Moyo has even said international donors and
non-governmental organisations who want to help ferry food aid to millions of
Zimbabweans facing starvation will not be allowed to operate because they
will be campaigning for the opposition MDC.
In other words, the
government is saying that people should rather die of hunger than receive
food through any channel other than the state. It is only the state which
brings mealie-meal onto the table and no one else.
Food handouts from any
other source are cursed because that source is ostensibly de-campaigning
Surely the government might believe that Zimbabweans are docile,
stupid or both, but the nonsense it subjects us to on daily basis has to come
to an end.
An authentic, authoritative and revealing opinion poll
commissioned by this newspaper and published last week which showed likely
voting trends in next year's presidential election received only scorn as
expected from ZANU PF and many other hangers-on whose business is to sing for
All of a sudden political dinosaurs like Nathan Shamuyarira
and Didymus Mutasa, who for the greater part of the year have been consigned
to the Siberia of politics, sprang into action to attack the opinion poll as
the work of enemies sponsored by Western countries.
Even when the
writing is on the wall for all to see, Mugabe's sycophants will never give up
or see the reality staring them.
Shamuyarira, Mutasa, Moyo and Chinamasa
may yell as much as they like and try to cut corners to cling to power by
default, but they must realise that the die is now cast.
By Abel Mutsakani
Assistant News Editor 11/15/01 9:29:00 PM (GMT +2)
Mugabe is fine-tuning legislation to disenfranchise possibly millions of
potential opposition supporters while also blocking international scrutiny of
next year's presidential election but analysts say Mugabe, a cunning
political fox, could just have pushed his luck too far this time.
disenfranching Zimbabweans forced to seek refuge abroad by the
country's economic woes while subjecting those inside the country to violence
and intimidation, Mugabe is dangerously tampering with the emotions of a
nation already on a knife-edge, the analysts warned this week.
said Mugabe's latest political gamble with Zimbabweans, seething with anger
caused by grinding economic hardships they blame on his failed policies,
could trigger unprecedented civil strife which could end his rule of two
"This will lead to civil strife," University of Zimbabwe (UZ)
political scientist Masipula Sithole said. "The government cannot
disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of genuine Zimbabwean voters and stage a
bogus election and expect it to hold. This is just too fine a recipe for
disaster," said Sithole, who also heads the Mass Public Opinion Institute, a
Harare-based political think-tank.
Another political scientist at the UZ,
Elphas Mukonoweshuro, said the proposed new laws were part of an elaborate
plan by Mugabe, 77, and his ruling ZANU PF party to openly rig the election
before even a single ballot is cast.
"The government is actively
putting in place what they know are irreversible measures towards a
particular election result, and that in fact is called election rigging," he
Leaving nothing to chance ahead of next year's tricky presidential
ballot which he could easily lose to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
Mugabe will use ZANU PF's slender majority in Parliament to bulldoze
through legislation barring foreign and independent electoral observers
from observing the presidential ballot.
Only government workers
operating under the Mugabe-appointed Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC)
will be allowed to monitor the poll.
But perhaps more disturbing for many
Zimbabweans is the fact that the new rules will also bar Zimbabweans living
in other countries from returning home to vote.
Possibly millions of
Zimbabweans live and work in other countries, especially in Britain, South
Africa and Botswana.
Many fled the economic hardships in Zimbabwe or
politically inspired violence and most of them are believed to be more
sympathetic to Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change
Under the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act, expected to be
tabled in Parliament on November 20, the "exiles" will be required to produce
their passports, rate and rent bills to prove that they have lived in their
home constituencies for 12 consecutive months before the election. This
requirement automatically disenfranchises nearly all Zimbabweans living and
working outside the country.
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has
already threatened that the government will soon be coming up with a new Act
to prevent human rights and other civic bodies from carrying out voter
education, thus again leaving this task solely to the ESC.
Zimbiti, the director of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, said
of the proposed new electoral laws and regulations:
"The new laws will
prevent many people suspected of supporting the opposition from voting on one
hand while on the other they will effectively prevent those permitted to vote
from receiving adequate information and knowledge about their right to vote
for whomever they wish."
Mukonoweshuro said Mugabe and ZANU PF, apart
from using violence to cow Zimbabweans, were banking on manipulating the
electoral process to secure another six-year term for Mugabe, Zimbabwe's sole
ruler since independence 21 years ago.
Besides the plans to bar large
numbers of potential MDC supporters from voting, Registrar-General Tobaiwa
Mudede, who is also appointed by Mugabe, has embarked on a questionable voter
registration exercise that is deliberately focusing on rural areas and
marginalising urban areas and other MDC strongholds.
objective is to create a mass of ZANU PF support on the voters' roll,"
War veterans and other ZANU PF supporters have
meanwhile stepped up violence on the opposition, illegally raiding last
Saturday the Harare offices of the burgeoning opposition party that has
proved the deadliest challenge yet to the ruling party.
In the past
few weeks, several opposition supporters have been assaulted and forced to
flee their homes by ZANU PF gangs.
At least 31 people, most of them
opposition supporters, died during the run-up to last year's parliamentary
Mukonoweshuro said by assigning civil servants the duty to
monitor the ballot under the proposed new laws, the government "simply wants
people it can easily pressurise to perform whatever it wants them to,
including actions that amount to subverting the will of the
But more worrying for pro-democracy campaigners in Zimbabwe,
the ESC itself as presently constituted is, according to its former chairman
Peter Hatendi, a retired Anglican bishop, neither independent nor
The ESC lacks financial resources of its own to properly carry
out the various tasks assigned to it under the proposed new laws, Hatendi
"It is not independent at all - in fact, the ESC cannot be
independent," said Hatendi, who in 1999 resigned from the group citing
Mugabe's refusal to heed his pleas for the setting up of an independent
electoral commission to conduct polls in the country.
"In theory it is supposed to be independent. But it has no resources of its
own and worse still it falls under the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs minister. The reality on the ground is that the ESC is just like any
other government department dependent on and under the government's
Mugabe and his government have already rebuffed attempts by
European Union governments, the United States and the Commonwealth to send
election observers well ahead of the ballot, which must be held by the end of
Mukonoweshuro warned: "But any government coming out of such a
blatantly rigged election process will not be recognised by Zimbabweans, let
alone by the civilised world, and one wonders how long such a government
Mugabe breaches Abuja accord
By Abel Mutsakani Assistant
News Editor 11/15/01 6:44:18 PM (GMT +2)
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe,
facing his biggest electoral challenge ever, has virtually thrown out of the
window a Nigerian-brokered accord committing him to fair and transparent land
reforms in return for international funding of the
Instead in an amendment by presidential decree, which was
published last Friday, Mugabe decreed he is immediately seizing thousands of
white-owned farms targeted for redistribution to landless blacks despite
legal challenges from the owners.
In a move analysts said firmly
committed the government to self-destruction, besides embarrassing southern
African leaders backing the Abuja pact, Mugabe ordered white farmers on
state-listed farms to immediately stop working their fields, giving them
three months to abandon their homes.
His programme would go ahead whether
or not the farmers already had crops on the fields or pending court appeals
against the seizures.
The move by Mugabe, timed to coincide with an
international mission which is visiting Zimbabwe this week to check on how
donors can bankroll legal land reforms, was meant to show that Mugabe will
not let anything block his quest to retain power, said South African
Institute of Security Studies analyst Richard Cornwall.
message is that there are not many things that Mugabe fears in the world,
meaning that Mugabe will do as he pleases, including re-interpreting the
Abuja agreement to suit himself, never mind what the international community
thinks," Cornwall told the Financial Gazette by telephone from his Pretoria
It was a stance Mugabe had evidently taken as he battles his
worst economic crisis and just when he is also confronted by the deadliest
threat to his rule ¾ the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Cornwall said.
Most political analysts say
the young and charismatic Tsvangirai could easily make short work of Mugabe
if a presidential ballot due by March next year is free and
Tsvangirai's MDC last year braved unprecedented political violence
by Mugabe's ZANU PF party in tough parliamentary elections in which at least
31 people, most of them MDC followers, died to narrowly lose by four
Under the Abuja accord signed in Nigeria's capital in September,
Mugabe undertook to stop seizing land from white farmers and to evict
his supporters from occupied farms in exchange for funds from
Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial master, to implement fair, legal and
rational land reforms.
The government was also supposed to embrace
democracy and human rights by moving against political violence and
intimidation of opponents by its supporters.
But ZANU PF militants
have actually stepped up violence since the Abuja accord while the Commercial
Farmers' Union (CFU) grouping mostly white farmers says last Friday's
presidential decree is just the last nail in the coffin of an agreement
Harare had done practically nothing to uphold.
and work stoppages have been continuing on farms but the presidential decree
certainly flies in the face of the Abuja agreement," CFU head Colin Cloete
said this week, adding that the government had probably decided to go it
Cornwall said in addition to attempting to unilaterally re-draw
Abuja, Mugabe and his government had also rebuffed European Union (EU) and
American attempts to send election observers ahead of the tricky presidential
ballot next year, even as Brussels and Washington are threatening
punitive sanctions over the issue.
Mugabe and his government have told
the international community to wait for invitations if they want to observe
the presidential ballot.
Harare has also told international donors to
halt emergency plans to distribute food to thousands of Zimbabweans facing
starvation, accusing the aid agencies of trying to campaign for the MDC,
charges denied by the agencies.
The government says it alone must give
out food relief, seen by analysts as a desperate attempt by a deeply
unpopular Mugabe to try to win votes.
An authoritative survey published
by this newspaper last week said Mugabe is trailing Tsvangirai by at least
six percentage points in the popularity stakes.
"Mugabe knows the
international community will grumble at his actions like the presidential
decree on land but he also knows there is not much really the world is about
to do against him immediately," Cornwall noted.
But Mugabe's strategy is
one that will almost certainly lead to self-destruction, the South African
He said food shortages were going to lead to massive shifts
of whole populations in the country as people flee hunger, creating mammoth
refugee problems for the region, especially for South
University of Zimbabwe Institute of Development Studies associate
professor Brian Raftopoulos said it was not just bravado alone which was
driving Mugabe's actions.
"It is a well calculated plan to fully
exploit all the grey areas in the Abuja agreement as well as whatever
half-openings that might arise on the international scene, all of course as
part of a plot to win the election," he said.
For example, Mugabe is
required by Abuja to implement land reforms according to Zimbabwe's laws but
in the meantime he is changing the law, as he is doing through the
presidential decree, because Abuja does not stop him from doing
Raftopoulos said Mugabe was bent on taking advantage of London's
obvious desire to see Abuja bearing fruit and therefore he could afford to
carry on tinkering with the agreement without immediate and harsh action by
Washington, which is processing legislation to impose sanctions
on Mugabe and his officials, is too busy leading the war against terrorism to
really put Mugabe and his government on top of its agenda, Raftopoulos
And the Southern Africa Development Community governments,
fearing repercussions on their economies triggered by a total collapse of
Zimbabwe, are naturally opposed to sanctions against the regional block's
second largest economy. "He knows that despite the official censure in
public, there is always some openings he can exploit," Raftopoulos
But like Cornwall, Raftopoulos said Mugabe's "dare-devil" strategy
to retain power at any cost would be self-defeating.
"For example, all
this is inflicting untold damage on the economy. By the time Mugabe may have
safely retained power, the economic crisis may have deteriorated to an extent
that it alone could cause his downfall," Raftopoulos noted.
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, sensing political power finally slipping
from him, last week dramatically raised the tempo of what will clearly be a
rough, bitter and violent fight before he leaves the presidency which he
thinks is his for life.
In emergency legislation bearing his
stamp, he barred possibly millions of Zimbabweans forced out of the country
by his economic misrule of two decades from voting in the landmark
presidential ballot due early next year.
Not only did he in one stroke
deprive these Zimbabweans of their fundamental right to choose how they want
to be governed, but he signalled he will brook no obstacle in his bid to
retain power in what is emerging to be a sham poll.
In a two-pronged
assault on political rivals, Mugabe then virtually scrapped the entrenched
rights of farmers whose land is being seized by his government to challenge
his actions in court.
This means that the government will seize farms
willy-nilly to try to appease an embittered population ahead of the ballot,
which Mugabe knows full well he stands to lose hands-down if it is free and
Mugabe's emergency legislation on the seizure of farms, taken
ostensibly because farmers are refusing to cooperate with the government on
its illegal land reforms, just killed off the work of a United Nations team
of farm experts who are in Zimbabwe to try to help the government with
its self-created land crisis.
The two steps, taken together with other
legislation barring all independent monitors but the government's spies from
checking the validity of the poll, expose the upcoming ballot to be a
gigantic fraud which no one should ever recognise.
If Mugabe has
succeeded in reducing Zimbabweans to being morons who merely watch him as he
systematically subverts the rule of law, the international community cannot
and must not allow this charade to stand.
A government resulting from
such a fraudulent election is a fraud and must be condemned and treated as
such by all. Let all Zimbabweans and the world make this point very, very
clear to Mugabe and his diminishing supporters.
In fact, under these
conditions there is no point at all for Mugabe to even go ahead to stage such
a shameful stunt disguised as an election. He might as well formally declare
martial law and rule by decree, which he has always wanted to
These last-gasp changes to the electoral law and the laws governing
property rights in Zimbabwe - notwithstanding the Abuja pact which seeks
transparent and legal land reforms - starkly bring out the frenetic panic
that has gripped Mugabe and his followers as they face their moment of
Far from showing him to be in control, the stampede illustrates
how he has lost it and is prepared to resort to any means, however illegal,
to cling to power.
We urge the President to immediately re-think his
ruinous steps, otherwise he should blame no one when the world descends upon
him with an iron fist, as it will.
No amount of political power -
indeed no earthly treasure - could be worth this much that a man could be so
determined to commit political suicide in the enlightened digital
Mugabe has tried his luck several times before and somehow
succeeded, but this is where his gamble with Zimbabweans and the
international community must stop.
Let him gracefully accept the
people's true verdict because only through this, the painful truth, can he
become free - and so would Zimbabweans.
No amount of tinkering with the
constitution or intimidating the nation through the use of violent mobs
causing mayhem throughout the country will do the trick. The hour for radical
political change has come and Zimbabweans are ready for it.
authoritative opinion poll commissioned by this newspaper and published last
week clearly shows that the writing is on the wall for Mugabe, but he and his
followers are predictably refusing to accept the inevitable.
But give up
they must because, at the end of the day and for all the vitriol poured on
the survey by stunned ZANU PF officials and their praise-singers, the game is
certainly up and anyone but a fool can see this.
Armed youths force teachers to form ZANU PF branches
Basildon Peta Special Projects Editor 11/15/01 9:27:27 PM (GMT
KADOMA - Teachers and headmasters near Sanyati have been forced to
form ZANU PF branches and cells at their schools by gun-toting youths who
have unleashed a reign of terror in the area as political violence
intensifies in rural areas ahead of next year's presidential
The youths, led by a notorious gang leader known as Toki
Marufu, brutally assaulted five teachers at Nyamatani Primary School about
two weeks ago after the teachers failed to produce ZANU PF cards as demanded.
The assaulted teachers included a pregnant woman who witnesses this week
said nearly miscarried.
Afterwards, the youths demanded that all
teachers constitute themselves into ZANU PF cells at their respective schools
and become active in the ruling party's so-called mobilisation of
voters. The youths have ordered all the teachers in the area to buy ZANU PF
cards and convene regular meetings at which the teachers sloganeer and
sing revolutionary songs.
"There is total lawlessness here. We have
now been forced to become ZANU PF politicians despite the fact that on
enrolling into the teaching profession we are told never to engage in
politics," a school teacher told the Financial Gazette this week.
spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
"We have no option
but to comply because the youths are armed and violent. We have had to buy
the ZANU PF cards and to form the structures as demanded. We have failed to
get protection from anyone, not even the police or education officials
Marufu is said to have led the gang that ambushed Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) president Morgan Tsvangirai near Patchway Mine on his
way to meet his party's officials in Sanyati a few weeks ago. Tsvangirai's
car was extensively damaged in what he said was an assassination
When Marufu and a gang of 50 youths stormed Nyamatani school, 45
kms west of Kadoma and near Sanyati two weeks ago, they rounded up all
teachers present and force- marched them to a nearby shopping
Witnesses said the five teachers who failed to produce ruling
party cards were made to sleep on the floor in a bottle store owned by a
ruling party functionary and were brutally assaulted. The teachers have
now fled the school. The two among the five had to be hospitalised to receive
treatment for their injuries.
Some teachers at nearby schools such as
Boterekwa, Muzvezve and Shingirirai are now living with relatives in nearby
villages. Others said they even slept in forests to escape night visits by
the youths, most of whom would be drunk.
"Our lives are in danger and
it seems that no one cares. We are supposed to be apolitical as civil
servants but now we are being forced into becoming fulltime politicians,"
another teacher said, also preferring not to be named.
Efforts to get
comment from Simon Chionyere, the member-in-charge of Sanyati Police Station,
were fruitless as he was said to be away from the station. Other officers
present said they were not authorised to speak to the media.
the education officer responsible for Sanyati, also refused to comment,
referring all questions to his boss, a certain Gundu, who was said to be out
of office until next week.
The teachers said they had been told by police
officials that there was nothing they could do about the violence in the area
because it is politically motivated. Marufu is said to have boasted on
several occasions that his mission to weed all MDC supporters out of the area
had been sanctioned by top politicians and nothing could ever happen to
"We literally have to worship this guy (Marufu) for our safety. We
are humiliated in front of school children and most of us have since stopped
any serious teaching," said another teacher.
The violence and
intimidation at other schools near Gokwe was even much worse, the teachers
said, noting that ZANU PF supporters had allegedly established torture camps
Chomuwuyu, Zumba, Gumunyu, Nyamasanga, Mashame, Makwiyo, Mashuma,
Deketeke and Nembudziya schools and others around Gokwe were said to have
been deserted by teachers fleeing the ZANU PF-inspired violence.
biggest problem is that teachers are seen as obstacles to ZANU PF's strategy
of eliminating any opposition support in the rural areas," a Sanyati teacher
"That's why we are targeted. There is no longer any learning
whatsoever around this area and in Gokwe."
In a related development,
commercial farmers in Mwenezi say rowdy war veterans and ruling party
supporters have ploughed grazing land on several farms in the area which have
not been targeted for resettlement.
The farmers who made distress calls
to the Financial Gazette said the veterans there had this week intensified
illegal farm invasions and occupations, destroying pastures and harassing
"The situation here is equivalent to what we have read happened
in Nazi concentration camps," said a farmer who had his ranch looted at the
He said a serious livestock disease outbreak was imminent in the
area because cattle had been moved without permits from surrounding
communal areas into commercial farms.
The farmers said some people who
had been allocated land elsewhere in Mwenezi were pegging plots on other
farms which had not been designated for resettlement.
"We have a
situation whereby some influential (government) individuals now own plots on
four or five different farms. This is pure greed," another farmer
The farmers complained that they were being harassed despite the
fact their land is in natural region five, which is arid and is unsuitable
Govt suspends human rights education from schools
Reporter 11/15/01 9:24:24 PM (GMT +2)
THE government has suspended the
implementation of a human rights and democracy pilot education programme in
all schools in a move seen as another attempt to withhold civic education
from the public in the run-up to next year's crucial presidential
According to circular number nine of 2001, dated September 17
2001 and signed by Education, Sport and Culture Secretary Washington Mbizo,
the programme has been withdrawn until "further notice from the Ministry
of Education, Sport and Culture".
The circular was copied to all the
ministry's regional directors, under-secretaries, education officers and
heads of secondary schools selected to participate in the
"All addressees are hereby advised that the education for
human rights and democracy pilot project has been suspended with immediate
effect until further notice," part of the circular
"Supplementary materials which are already in the schools should
therefore be shelved," it adds.
The human rights programme, funded by
British and Dutch non-governmental organisations, was supposed to run as an
experiment in schools from the three Mashonaland provinces of East, West and
Central before being endorsed for all secondary schools in
Although Mbizo had not responded to written questions on this
issue from the Financial Gazette up to the time of going to print, education
officials said there was nothing sinister behind the suspension of the
Said one official: "There is nothing wrong or suspicious with
suspending a pilot programme which is not in the national curriculum but was
on an experimental basis, and this could mean that the pilot programme was
not feasible to be carried over to the schools and taught to our
Clemence Moyo, acting national chairman of the country's
leading human rights watchdog ZimRights, however said the suspension would
impact negatively on Zimbabwe's already tarnished human rights record in the
"ZimRights has long been lobbying for the teaching of human rights
in schools and it seems that the government does not need enlightened
citizens in this country.
"All this means that we are becoming more
and more undemocratic as a nation and this worsens our human rights record,
which I can say is very bad at the moment."
Wave of arrests follows killing of Mugabe
Opposition says murder is pretext for clampdown
Meldrum in Harare Thursday November 15, 2001 The Guardian
discovery of the body of a prominent supporter of President Robert Mugabe in
the opposition stronghold Bulawayo has resulted in a wave of arrests and
violence against the Movement for Democratic Change. Vice-President Joseph
Msika warned the perpetrators that they would get "a taste of their own
The body of Cain Nkala, chairman of the Bulawayo War Veterans'
Association, was discovered in a shallow grave on Tuesday. He had been taken
from his home on November 5 by five men armed with AK-47 rifles.
government has been quick to blame the MDC for his murder.
was political and senior persons of the MDC in Bulawayo will be arrested," an
assistant police commissioner, Wayne Bvudzijena, said.
Mr Msika was more
threatening. "If they are looking for a bloodbath, they will get it," he
Thirteen MDC members have been arrested in Bulawayo since
Nkala's disappearance, and many of them have been illegally held for a week
without appearing in court or being charged. They have not been allowed to
speak to their lawyers.
State television showed two young MDC
supporters on Tuesday night confession to murdering Nkala. The state-owned
newspaper the Herald said yesterday that two opposition MPs would soon be
arrested for the murder.
Last night rampaging supporters of Mr Mugabe's
party burned MDC members' houses in Bulawayo.
The MDC secretary
general, Welshman Ncube, said the two party members shown on television had
been tortured into making false confessions.
Its president, Morgan
Tsvangirai, said: "It's utter rubbish to charge that our party was involved
in that murder. Our conscience is clear.
"We know why the government is
doing this. They want to beat the people into submission before the
presidential election, and they want to use this as an excuse."
opposition has carefully avoided encouraging violence, and statistics from
human rights monitors show that Mr Mugabe's party, Zanu-PF, is responsible
for more than 90% of the political violence.
There were reports from
Bulawayo that Nkala was killed by government supporters. He was said to have
been unhappy at being named by the police for the abduction and murder of an
MDC official, Patrick Nabanyama, in June last year.
Nkala intended to
reveal who had murdered Nabanyama, and was killed by government agents to
silence him, the reports said.
Zanu-PF activists in Bulawayo and Harare
have beaten up opposition supporters, saying the MDC was involved in
Last weekend several hundred besieged the MDC's offices
in Harare city centre, assaulting members and destroying property. The police
took no action.
Early yesterday two MDC officials were abducted from
their homes in Harare by six armed men, the party said.
"We are very
worried," a member in Bulawayo said. "The murder of Nkala is being used as an
excuse to unleash a campaign of arrests and intimidation against
"Many people have gone into hiding. It is frightening."
Mugabe 'may use killing to hit rivals'
Thornycroft in Harare (Filed: 15/11/2001)
THE leader of Zimbabwe's
opposition Movement for Democratic Change said yesterday he feared that
President Mugabe's regime would use the murder of a ruling party militant as
an excuse to act against it.
Authorities found the body of Cain Nkala
earlier this week in a shallow grave near the city of Bulawayo, where he was
abducted last week.
John Nkomo, home affairs minister, said two men who
led police to Mr Nkala's grave had confessed to being supporters of the MDC.
Nine members of the MDC had been arrested and more were likely to be held, he
He accused "enemies of the government" of sponsoring terrorism to
stop land redistribution. Police said the pair, shown confessing on state
television, carried forged passports and more than £60,000 in South African
The Herald newspaper, a government mouthpiece, yesterday compared
the MDC with the Nazis. "The Movement for Democratic Change has taken over
the mantle of violence that Hitler unleashed on his people, bludgeoning
them into submission," it said.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, is
challenging Mr Mugabe in presidential elections early next year. He said the
government would use the killing for its own advantage.
murder is a smokescreen so that the government can unleash its terror against
people in Matabeleland and then spread violence all over the country," he
said. "Once that is complete, they will hold elections. They want a
Mr Tsvangirai said his party had nothing to do
with Mr Nkala's death. "We are shocked at this suggestion because we are not
involved in any crime and would not condone any crime," he said. "Our
conscience is clear."
Police deny Nkala murder suspects access to
11/15/01 11:09:54 PM (GMT +2)
THE MDC says police are denying two MDC members, who are accused
of murdering Cain Nkala, a war veteran leader, access to their lawyer
and suspects that they might have been tortured into admitting the
The MDC said yesterday that the State media continued to
associate Khetani Sibanda and Sazini Mpofu with the murder of Nkala, the
chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association
Bulawayo province. Professor Welshman Ncube, the MDC’s secretary-general,
said in a statement that the police denied them access despite repeated
appeals by their lawyer Joseph James.
“This raises suspicions that the
young men were tortured into admitting something they did not do,” he
said. “We believe the real perpetrators of this crime must be brought to
justice whichever party they belong to, but this action by the police
confirms our fears that the investigations of this crime will not be fair.”
Ncube said his party believed the police knew Nkala’s killers and were
seeking to protect them by shifting the blame onto the MDC. “If our members
are guilty they should let the law take its course,” he said.
within the war veterans’ association in Bulawayo have said the abduction and
killing of Nkala were inside jobs. Resentment had apparently grown among
Nkala and others charged with last year’s abduction of Patrick Nabanyama, an
MDC election agent, because they were not pardoned in terms of a Presidential
amnesty announced last year for perpetrators of political crimes.
amnesty did not cover kidnapping and murder. There was also resentment that
members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), to whom Nkala and
others claimed they had delivered Nabanyama after his abduction, were not
charged. Ncube said seven other MDC members arrested on Wednesday last week
who should have appeared in court 48 hours later according to Zimbabwean law,
had also been denied access to their lawyer Nicholas Mathonsi. He did not say
why they were arrested. They are Sonny Masera Moyo, Ferdinand Dropper, Ronny
Zulu, Sithabiso Mangala, Army Zulu, Alexander Khanye and Simon
Although MDC lawyers filed an urgent application in the High
Court yesterday for an order compelling the police to allow the suspects
access to their lawyers, the police ignored the directive in open contempt of
the court, Ncube said. He said: “When the messenger of the court served
the police the notice, they read it and immediately took it to the CIO’s
offices at Chester House. “The CIO read the notice and threw it at the
messenger declaring they have nothing to do with court orders. By late
yesterday the police had not complied with the court order.
completely contemptuous of the court process.” Ncube said the police were
partial and being manipulated by Zanu PF for political gain. He also
condemned increasing harassment, intimidation and arrests of the entire MDC
leadership in Bulawayo, saying most had gone into hiding. Those who attacked
MDC members and their properties have been left free to commit further crimes
against the MDC, Ncube said.
Student sustains head injury as riot police
gas varsity campus Staff Reporter SCORES of University of Zimbabwe (UZ)
students fought running battles with the riot police and university security
yesterday as they demonstrated against UZ authorities over delays in their
payouts which they were promised last week.
UZ council chairman,
Gideon Gono, last week made an undertaking to give the students an advance of
$3 000 which was supposed to have been disbursed by yesterday. But up until
midday, none of the students had received the payout. Tonderai Sithole,
one of the students, sustained a deep cut on the head after the police broke
into his room and attacked him. “I was beaten with a baton stick and a
sjambok more than 10 times on the head and all over my body, but I was not
told why they were doing that to me,” said Sithole.
The students also
demanded information on the whereabouts of Phillip Pasirayi, the Students’
Representative Council secretary for information and publicity, who was
allegedly abducted by plainclothes policemen and security personnel on Monday
night. However, lawyer Jacob Mafume of Kantor and Immerman confirmed
yesterday that Pasirayi was located late on Tuesday at Avondale Police
THE government, in a move aimed at influencing the conduct of
next year's presidential election, will draw election monitors and those
involved in the voter education campaign from government ministries,
including a bulk of officers from the dreaded spy Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO), it was established this week.
said a majority of officers who will conduct the poll will be drawn from the
ministries of youth development and employment creation, home affairs,
foreign affairs, education and from state security.
A vetting exercise
for these staff will be conducted under the supervision of the Electoral
Supervisory Commission in the next two weeks to select thousands of civil
servants who will be trained before being deployed countrywide, they
The government has introduced legislation banning independent
international and Zimbabwean poll observers from monitoring the presidential
ballot. It has also barred local non-governmental agencies from carrying out
voter education campaigns.
The sources said this week there is a
deliberate effort by the ruling ZANU PF party to ensure that only its
supporters in the civil service are selected to undertake voter education and
"We will draw a number officials from various
ministries to observe the election and conduct voter education and obviously
the security aspect has also to be addressed in an exercise of this
magnitude," a top government official told the Financial Gazette.
official, speaking on condition of not being named, did not elaborate on the
role of the CIO, accused by Zimbabweans of adopting iron-fisted
tactics against government opponents.
The sources however said
officers from the Ministry of Youth Development and Employment Creation, most
of them war veterans, will be responsible for voter education while teachers
from selected areas will only be used as polling officers.
accuses teachers of being sympathetic to the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai faces
president Robert Mugabe in the presidential poll which must be held by the
end of March.
In the past two months, scores of teachers in rural
areas have fled their schools after being attacked by ZANU PF mobs who say
they are backing the opposition.
The sources said the Youth Ministry
is already in the process of implementing a nationwide training service
programme which, among other issues, involves teaching recruits about the
history of the 1970s independence war.
Liberators Platform calls for peaceful presidential
11/15/01 11:07:34 PM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent
The Zimbabwe Liberators Platform (ZLP), a splinter group from
the Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans' Association says there is need for a
peaceful campaign during the run-up to the presidential
After a six-hour meeting held behind closed doors in Masvingo
over the weekend, the organisation said genuine war veterans should not
engage in violence but, instead, should provide a conducive atmosphere for a
free and fair poll.
A spokesman for the organisation, who refused to
be named for fear of victimisation, said war veterans who engaged in violent
activities during the run-up to last year's parliamentary election were doing
so in their individual capacities and not with the mandate of all former
The spokesperson: "We fought for this country to
promote democracy. "If you beat people up and harass them just because they
differ with you politically, is that democracy?".
"We would like to
see a peaceful campaign period and all political parties should be allowed to
campaign peacefully without fear or favour. The organisation comprising
genuine war veterans is advocating peace ad development".
organisation also said it will not be part and parcel of the government's
controversial land redistribution programme describing it as a "child's
While acknowledging that there is need for a land reform exercise
toaddress the serious land imbalances in the country, the organisation said
the government has failed to distribute land fairly.
"We will never be
part and parcel of this child's play. There is no need for one to invade a
farm to address the land problem. We all know that the land issue has to be
solved but we cannot be accomplices to this game of lawlessness", said the
The director of the organisation, Dzinashe Machingura, told
journalists after the meeting that similar meetings would be held throughout
the country to discuss internal issues of the organisation.
holding meetings to discuss our internal issues and so far things are moving
on well", Machingura said.
By Basildon Peta Special Projects
Editor 11/15/01 6:46:24 PM (GMT +2)
THE Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA)
has offered farms and plots of land to all serving soldiers under the
government's Model A2 resettlement programme in exchange for their support
and loyalty to President Robert Mugabe ahead of next year's presidential
election, it was established this week.
Investigations by the
Financial Gazette reveal that the army has, in fact, established an internal
task force headed by Brigadier Daniel Nyikaramba to handle applications by
all soldiers interested in taking up the land offers.
for land holdings by ZNA members are being submitted to the army's
administration branch headed by Nyikaramba and are treated separately from
applications by ordinary Zimbabweans who submitted these to the offices of
Army officers interviewed this week said a budget
was being drawn up to help resettle soldiers on their new land and to aid
them to buy the necessary inputs to start farming.
Although it was
practically impossible to allocate big pieces of land to each and every
soldier serving in the army, the officers said Nyikaramba's brief was to
determine those soldiers who wanted to take up the land offer and then see
how best they could be accommodated.
"We are not anticipating that
everyone will take up the land offer in the army, although the offer is open
to all. We will however strive to accommodate everyone who will come
forward," one officer said.
"In the very unlikely event that all our 40
000 members subscribe to the offer, it means that Joseph Made (the
agriculture minister) might have to subdivide the farms into even smaller
portions until everyone in the army is accommodated," the officer
While soldiers will be allocated mainly plots on subdivided farms,
a few members of the top ranks who did not own any land have been offered
bigger farms, the officials said.
The ZANU PF plan to further buy the
loyalty of soldiers with land holdings comes a few months after the ZNA made
a decision to give the first preference of jobs in the army to children of
soldiers and independence war veterans.
It also comes in the wake of
allegations that soldiers will be given special bonuses this year ahead of
other civil servants.
"We have been told that we (the soldiers) are the
people who fought for the land and we should get the first preference for
plots and farms ahead of everyone else. The army will also help to resettle
us and I must say most of our members are extremely happy about this move and
have submitted their applications," another officer said, also speaking on
condition of not being named.
After being processed by ZNA's
administration, the soldiers' applications for land will then be sent to the
respective provinces for the actual land allocation.
Lieutenant Colonel Mbonisi Gatsheni denied that the land allocation process
was being rigged in favour of soldiers for political expediency, saying the
army was merely helping interested soldiers get their applications to the
"Although I don't have much information about what
you are asking, all I know is that members of the army are also entitled to
land like any other Zimbabweans and a final decision on their applications
would be taken by the district administrators in the provinces," Gatsheni
"All we are doing is to act as a post office to help army officers
stationed in our barracks get their applications to various provinces, the
final decision will be with the district administrators."
sources say the ZNA has been unrelenting in efforts to ensure the loyalty of
soldiers ahead of the election. They say the latest incentives for soldiers
are aimed at not only ensuring their loyalty but also appeasing the juniors
and middle ranks frustrated by the war in the Democratic Republic of the
In May it was revealed that army commander Constantine Chiwenga
had been touring army barracks urging soldiers to rally behind Mugabe and
help in efforts to thwart a possible poll victory by opposition leader
At the meetings, dubbed ZNA rallies, Chiwengwa is
said to have told soldiers that no self-respecting soldier should ever think
of saluting Tsvangirai, who the army commander described as a "deserter" from
the 1970s independence war.
Times of India
Zimbabwe police arrest 150 striking farm
ARARE: Police arrested around 150 striking workers on
a plantation in eastern Zimbabwe, the estate manager told AFP Wednesday, amid
reports of continuing farm violence.
Nick Fawcett, the managing
director of Eastern Highlands Plantations Limited in the Honde Valley, some
200 kilometres east of Harare, said a guest house on the estate was burnt
down Monday by the striking workers, while two other houses were looted and
two cars burnt out.
A large area of coffee and a eucalyptus plantation
were also set alight, he added.
He said the workers engaged in "a very
violent demonstration" in an attempt to disrupt disciplinary action
management were considering taking against organisers of an illegal strike on
the plantation in October.
The country's farming areas have been gripped
by lawlessness since February last year, when government supporters began
invading white-owned farms and calling for their redistribution among
The latest report from the Commercial Farmers Union
(CFU), which represents the country's white farmers, said that acts of
violence continue to be committed against its members and their
Meanwhile, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported that a
black settler on a farm in cental Zimbabwe was shot dead Sunday by the
owner's crop guard.
The shooting, on Fair Range Estate, Masvingo
province, followed an altercation between the guard and new settlers who had
been allocated plots on the farm by the government, the paper
The CFU's report records three violent incidents in three farming
districts in Mashonaland Central province, in northern Zimbabwe.
said a farmer and his foreman were attacked and beaten on Bourtenvale farm in
Bindura, central Zimbabwe, while two farm workers were severely beaten on a
farm in Horseshoe, also in central Zimbabwe.
A third farmer on Visa Farm,
in Mvurwi, was beaten over the head then barricaded inside his home with
members of his family, the report said. ( AFP )
From ZWNEWS, 15
Finance Minister acknowledges
disaster: and pretends it isn't happening
To many analysts, the annual budget presented this month by
Zimbabwe Finance Minister Simba Makoni was notable for more than doubling
expenditure while national production and state revenues plummet. It was a
supreme example of political schizophrenia. "I wouldn't want to be drawn into
arguing why we are where we are - the bottom line is we are where we are,''
Makoni told Parliament, studiously avoiding mention of the government-sponsored
invasions of white-owned farms that have cut by one-third agricultural
production, Zimbabwe's costly military adventure in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo, and the failed exchange rate and other policies. Makoni, widely
regarded as one of the more enlightened members of President Robert Mugabe's
Cabinet, publicly acknowledged economic disaster, with 75 percent of the
population now living in what he termed ``abject poverty,'' skilled labour
fleeing the country, and desperate shortages of food and foreign exchange. And
then in the second half of his speech Makoni went on to pretend this wasn't so.
He cheerily reported a budget deficit for the current financial year of 12
percent instead of the 15 percent feared.
But this figure was only attainable by defaulting on US $682
arrears in international debt and forcing down internal interest rates to a
fraction of the rate of inflation. Thus the local money market, particularly
pension funds, subsidises state financial indiscipline. At this rate, many
pensioners face being left destitute, their savings rendered worthless.
Inflation, currently more than 86 percent, will stabilise at 83 percent in the
coming year, Makoni predicted. In addition, his figures are predicated on
Zimbabwe receiving billions in funding from donors who have already said they
have no intention of giving anything until lawlessness ends and order is
restored. In an attempt to woo votes ahead of next year's presidential poll when
77-year-old Mugabe plans to seek a further six-year term, Makoni announced Z$2bn
in handouts to approved black businessmen to revive foundering companies, and
similar largesse for invaders on 4 600 white-owned farms facing seizure.
When the ``Blue Book," the government's annual estimates of
departmental expenditure which should have been published at the same time as
the Nov. 1 budget, eventually appeared nearly a week later, the news was even
worse. Despite the supposed ceasefire in the Congo war, there was a vast
increase in the defence vote, to Z$34,4bn (from Z$13,2bn). It includes Z$449m
for "war veterans' administration" -the militia of the ruling Zanu PF party who
call themselves ex-guerrillas, but are mostly unemployed youths. Last weekend,
they invaded the opposition MDC party offices in central Harare and attacked
passing motorists while police looked on. A chilling leap in expenditure was in
the vote for "special services" under the budget item for Office of President
and Cabinet. This funds the feared Central Intelligence Organisation and is not
subject to any kind of audit. In Parliament, members are ruled out of order if
they even draw attention to it. The latest estimates put it just short of Z$bn -
up 142 percent - way beyond even Zimbabwe's rate of inflation.