Correspondence from a once-friendly city
I've just had
the most awful experience. It's just a tiny taste of what is
the country, and now even inside the major cities.
I was driving up
Harare's 7th Street and stopped at the traffic light next
to Bob's palace
when his motorcade came from the opposite direction in the
-other lane - he
must have been coming north from Domboshawa or Borrowdale.
The light was
red and, in any case, he was heading for town and was not on
my side of the
road. A policeman stepped into the intersection and waved
through the cars
that were stopped at the lights so that the motorcade
--- now my car was opposite Bob's garden wall.
There was much
shouting and someone fired a shot into the air. It seems
they only wanted the
town-bound cars to move.
I stopped and froze on the road. My driver's
window was open and a soldier
ran up and thrust his bayonet through the
window and into the side of my
neck but didn't pierce the skin.
began shouting at me :
"Who the hell do you think you are, you f*****
bastard. I can shoot you
now, do you understand, I am going to shoot you now
and no one will ask any
questions. Get out of your car."
move. but spoke softly to him, telling him how sorry I was and
that I thought
the policeman was waving me forward.
He continued abusing me and pushed
the bayonet harder, drawing blood but,
all of a sudden, he withdrew his gun
from the car and told me to go.
It's a long time since I've been as
scared. If they'd taken me out of the
car I would have been dragged to the
neighbouring barracks and beaten up -
like so many less-fortunate others in
I'm lucky to be home now and am sipping a brandy. I
never want to go
through that again.
Thanks for your thoughts xxxxx,
but I will not be moved in my determination
to stay in Zim and make a
Evil, even at this level, must not be allowed to prevail.
Holding out in Cuckoo land
No doubt you have heard of the presidential decree that any farmer
with a section 5 will be out of his house in 90 days. At least we can
Christmas home. That's if anybody is at home because we could all be
prison. The trend is you go inside very quickly but take much longer
come out. The lawyers won't be able to sit down for christmas dinner
as they will spend their time trying to negotiate enormous bails.
Chinhoyi 24 went to court today and gosh surprise it has been remanded
January. Unfortunately they have no travel documents so if this place
go up in a bang as predicted they will have to jump the borders just
thousands of black zimbos are doing every day. I paid attention to
security meeting that P. attended we were told there could be
problems here and it would be up to us to make our ways to the
wouldn't be given much help. So I packed a little suitcase, fresh
undies, picture of my mum and dad, couple of tins of baked beans in
had time to stop and the passports of course. We would have to leave
weapons behind which reminds me of a story of a couple who had to
Mozambique all those years ago when they were kicked out. The hid
weapons in the ceilings. 20 years later they paid a nostalgic visit
their old home in the foothills of some mountains in some mozambique
They decided to check the ceiling just for a laugh, and guess what
were the guns. I can see us coming back to zim in 20 years time,
up in the ceiling lofts and yahoo there are the weapons Grandpa
just like u
We are so settled in our new home with all our
refugee furniture and last
remaining pictures of the Rezlaff ancestors they
look pretty sour but then
they had reason to be, kicked out of Berlin, kicked
out of Tanzania and now
gazing fondly at us as we are about to get kicked out
of Zim. We have packed
away the remaing silver that wasn't taken by the
warvets thats because it
was packed into jonny's school trunk and was
forgotten about and left in
town. I have tried on ski pants and anoraks to
see what it would be like
living in colder climes but its so sweltering here
it was hard to imagine a
driving ice rain in your face. I am off the horse
tranquilizers they were
very good so anyone with a horse thats traumatised i
must recommend these. I
smoke now which is great but because i get asthma i
have to have an asthma
pump in one hand and a cigarette in the other. The
scotties have been
behaving badly they love their new house but they are
being bad to their
neighbours they bark the night away. They were locked in
the kitchen but
Patrick found them in the kitchen cupboards they had decided
to sleep on the
dinner plates. Now they have been banished to the computer
room and they
look surly because they like their night
Everyone asks me how is the soap. Its wonderful I have learnt
how to mix
colours and we have mixed beautiful pinks,blues, browns and
added essential oils, like sandalwood, peppermint and
cammomile they take
your breath away, specially if you have put in too much
caustic soda, it
takes your skin away as well if you are not careful. My
eyes are constantly
pink and puffy from the fumes. But I don't care. J.
and I are off to
Zambia to sell our soap at the Christmas fair. I hope they
let me back in
the country because I am travelling on a (sin of sins) british
baby I will probably be arrested at the border.
be pleased to know that nearly 6 and a half million dollars has
for the Chinhoyi 24 which is so great most of it locally. What
outstanding effort by all these wonderful people. I have told you all
before its you guys who keep us guys hanging in. Another thing I must
you Tertia's story went out and the response has been fantastic it has
all over the world. It brings us lots of coverage if you have story
your farm, your traumas, please write it down and send it out because
people are not aware of what is going on here on the farms and you
won't believe me if I tell you most people who have expressed
didn'ty realise it was as bad as this ,live in Harare.
To everyone who
donated furniture, clothes you name it, to the Dutch
Reformed church or Doma
centre thanks from the bottom of our hearts. I
would not have been able to
furnish this house if it had not been for the
donations received. It makes me
so humble and so proud to be a Zimbabwean
love you all lots. M. the
Meeting at the Umzarwi Polo Club.
There they were a hundred or so
farmers sat out in the afternoon sun, I was
late so managed to get a seat
inside the club and observed through the
window as our leaders spoke. As i
looked through the window my heart
turned over. There was a collection of
people who had put everything they
have into the land. I knew most of them
personally and as i scanned the
faces in the crowd I was so overwhelmed.
Somehow Zimbabwean farmers must be
the most special folk you can possibly
meet and above everything else they
have an enormous sense of humour.
Questions were asked and of course
questions were answered but who has a
solution for what is going on in this
country. How can such a wonderful
country get in such a mess. The most
heart rendering thing of all is how
many wonderful people are leaving and
what a gain for any country that
receives them. I know that without each
other as neighbours and friends we
would not have stood up to half as much
as we have. I can't tell you how
proud I am of all Zimbo farmers their
wives and children I don't think at any
of these meetings people tell you
how wonderful you really are and it should
be shouted out. You are
versatile, dynamic and capable of almost everything.
I am proud to be a
part of the farming communtiy in this country even though
we are not
farming at the moment, but thats not through choice. What ever
goes on here
be proud of yourselves and if you have to leave,our love and
your honour go
with you and you are our ambassadors. It takes great people to
build a great
nation and lets hope we have the chance again. I love you all.
Dear Family and Friends,
The events of this last week in Zimbabwe are almost
beyond belief and in order to paint an accurate picture this letter will be long
and I apologise in advance. According to world relief agencies including the
World Food Programme, the UN and Oxfam, 1 million Zimbabweans will be in urgent
need of food aid within the next month. Our government, having acknowledged the
crisis and held out the begging bowl, announced this week that they would not
allow anyone but themselves to distribute the food as it comes in. The
Government have banned all foreign aid agencies from distributing humanitarian
food aid. Our Minister of Information said: "We will not allow strangers to roam
around our country interfering." He said foreign aid agencies were: "planning to
smuggle election monitors into Zimbabwe using the guise of food aid to
decampaign the present government." Can there be anyone now who believes that
the Zimbabwean government actually cares for her own people? It is criminal that
1 million people face starvation because our government has prevented farmers
from growing food and have allowed people calling themselves 'war veterans' to
rule supreme for the last 20 months. I can hardly bear to think how people who
do not support the ruling party will survive. How can any government refuse to
allow donors to distribute the food they have collected?
To compound this imminent crisis is the even more
devastating announcement this week that, using the Presidential Powers Act, the
Land Acquisition Act has again been amended. Farmers who have been served with a
section 8 letter informing them of the seizure of their land, have been told to
immediately cease all farming operations and have 90 days to get off their farms
and out of their homes. The starvation we face now will be compounded a hundred
fold in 2002 and 2003. I say this not because I believe only whites can farm but
because the people squatting on farms simply do not have the experience or
capital needed to grow more than enough food for just themselves. The mere fact
that they cannot even plough the land they have invaded and, as I write, are
waiting for the government to give them seed, demonstrates this fact very
clearly. More worrying is the evidence that many of the men squatting on farms
are being paid to do so and are not farmers at all but political pawns. I gave
proof of this in my book African Tears and told how an American TV crew actually
filmed the 'war veterans' receiving their weekly pay for squatting on my farm.
In an article I wrote for this weeks Zimbabwe Independent I tell how this is
still the case and that "war veterans" presently creating hell on farms near
Marondera are wearing orange overalls with the initials of the Harare
Municipality embroidered on the pockets. The Commercial Farmers Union have
described the amendment as "potentially devastating" and with 25% of farmers
immediately impacted and more about to be so, they have "estimated that 85% of
CFU members are affected ... farmers who have succeeded in planting crops...now
face huge additional risks...." In a telephone interview with South African
television this week, our Minister of Agriculture, Dr Joseph Made clarified the
position on the payment of compensation to farmers evicted from their
properties. Again he said that it was up to the British to pay for the land. He
said that the Zimbabwe government would pay for "improvements" (i.e. the
buildings, fencing, dams, etc) but could only afford to pay 25% now and the
balance over 5 years. Worse though, Dr Made has now classified the payment as
being only for improvements that were "required" or "relevant". Asked by the
interviewer what a farmer should do if the government did not find a specific
improvement "relevant", Dr Made said the farmer should "dismantle and remove
While farmers have been frantically trying to
decide what on earth to do now, both with themselves and their families but also
with nearly a quarter of a million people who work for them, the country has
seen burning, looting and beating in Bulawayo. An abducted war veteran was found
murdered. Two terrified young men stood in front of a TV camera and "confessed"
but there was a huge wave of arrests. As I write more than 16 people are in
police cells - all are active members of the official opposition mdc party, one
is an MP. Many have been denied their rights to legal counsel, many have been
held for for more than 48 hours without being charged, all have been denied
bail. War veterans in towns across the country have denounced the murder of
their compatriot and police have stood by and watched as government supporters
have burnt down a number of houses, looted property and beaten people.
Photographs came through to me this morning of a man whipped on his arms, hands,
back, legs and feet. The bleeding under the skin, bruising and blistering is
horrific and the look in the mans' eyes is of utter desperation. He has no one
to turn to for help. Neither has a Magistrate in Gokwe who this week convicted
two government supporters. He found them guilty of robbery and sentenced them to
8 months. That night the Magistrate was attacked by a mob in his home. His
windows were smashed, furniture trashed and he fled bruised and terrified into
the night. The Magistrate is unable to return to either his home or workplace
and is in hiding.
I will end with a story of two incredibly brave
farmers who I sat and had tea with with one afternoon this week. They are a
couple in their 70's who survived the most terrifying experience recently. A mob
of 40 "war veterans" got into their house at night by breaking down the back
door. While this elderly couple hid in their bedroom the "war veterans" smashed
the windows, climbed onto the roof and broke a hole in the asbestos with a steel
pole. They looted the contents of the fridge and deep freeze, stole tools from
the garage, cutlery from the kitchen and then smashed glasses and plates. They
put the plug into the sink, turned the taps on and flooded the lounge, dining
room and pantry. They smashed the bedroom window where the couple were hiding
and tried to set the curtains alight. For three hours 40 men roared and shouted
and destroyed. The police were called at 7pm and did not arrive until after
10pm. The following morning three men were arrested - they were found with 2 of
the 25 geese that the mob had stolen. This couple are not leaving. They have
been terrorized repeatedly in the last 20 months but are not leaving. This is
their home and they are not leaving. For months I have been wearing a small
yellow ribbon on my shirt in silent protest at the lawlessness that has become
the only face of Zimbabwe. This week I wear it for farmers, for an elderly
couple, for 16 men in gaol, for a man with a bleeding back and legs and for a
magistrate in Gokwe. We are all alone, powerless and frightened of where/how and
when this will stop. Until next week. cathy
Zim Latest Land Grab Mechanics.
Implications of amendments to the
Land Acquisition Act
Statutory Instrument 338 of 2001 - 9th November
Communiqué to members by CFU President, Colin Cloete
d.. The "political"
e.. Actions and recommendations
The amendment to the Land Acquisition Act, on 9th November
2001, using the
Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act, has sent shock
throughout the commercial farming community. Statutory Instrument 338
2001 (SI 338) will go down in history as a desperate attempt by
to subvert the last vestiges of property rights, particularly with
to rural agricultural landowners.
Against the background
of the Abuja Accord and formal acceptance by
Government of the Zimbabwe Joint
Resettlement Initiative (ZJRI), observers
to the Zimbabwe crisis are quite
simply stunned at the duplicity of this
The first step in dealing with this crisis is to
understand the broad thrust
of the amendments to the Land Acquisition Act
Before SI 338, landowners were afforded some
protection through Sections 8
in that their properties could not be
demarcated or permanently settled
prior to confirmation through the
Administrative Court. Further, an eviction
notice could only be issued
through a competent court.
Prior to SI 338, invaders on commercial
farms before 1st March 2001 were
protected by the Rural Land Occupiers
(Protection from Eviction) Act,
promulgated on 25th April 2001. Through the
Roper case (Karoi), this Act has
subsequently been convoluted to include
occupiers "shifted" from delisted
farms to other farms. Thus invaders,
declared illegal through the Supreme
Court interdict of 21st December 2000
have the artificial cover of the law
to "legitimise" their
However, the Rural Land Occupiers (Protection from
Eviction) Act, did not
deal with Government's problem that occupiers had no
"legitimate" means of
sustaining themselves. Regardless of the position in
law, the interpretation
on the ground has been that once a farm is listed, it
has de facto been
acquired by Government and once it has been pegged, the
farmer should cease
operations to make way for the occupiers. Some senior
have openly promoted this perception. Through the CFU
Government's application to revoke the Supreme Court Interdict of
December 2000, factual evidence was submitted that interference on
farms, other than simply occupying the land, was clearly
International observers, notably at the SADC Heads of State Summit
September 2001 and the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers Committee on
October 2001, were under no illusion about the prevailing
widespread violence, intimidation and disruption to farming
The amendments through SI
338 are a clear attempt to circumvent this
complication on Government's part
and to give seeming legitimacy to the
unlawful activities of invaders on
The affect of the new legislation is potentially
devastating. The amended
Section 8 Order confers immediate ownership to the
acquiring authority and
serves as a ninety-day eviction notice for
In simplistic terms, the service of an amended Section 8
Order on the owner
a.. Permits the acquiring
authority to survey, demarcate and allocate the
land, provided that there is
no interference with the owner or occupier's
relation to any agricultural land required for resettlement purposes
acquiring authority may exercise any right of ownership, including the
to survey, demarcate and allocate the land .
removes all rights for the owner or occupier to occupy,
hold or use the land,
other than to occupy the homestead area.
.the making of an order in
terms of Subsection (1) of Section eight shall
constitute notice in writing
to the owner or occupier to cease to occupy,
hold or use that land
immediately on the date of issue upon the owner or
occupier, and if he fails
to do so, he shall be liable to be evicted by
order of a competent
a.. Constitutes a ninety-day eviction notice to the
owner or occupier to
vacate the homestead(s) and the farm.
owner or occupier of that land may remain in occupation of his
quarters on that land for a period of not more than three months after
date of service of the order.
The penalty for "interference"
is severe, including the provision for
imprisonment of up to two
Any owner, occupier . or other person who interferes . without
permission in writing of the acquiring authority . shall be liable to a
not exceeding twenty thousand dollars or imprisonment for a period
exceeding two years or both such fine and such
This legislation is backdated to 23rd May 2000, in an
attempt to legitimise
all pegging, occupation and interference with farming
operations for the
entire period of the "fast-track"
Government's intentions with any certainty, it is difficult
to assess the
potential impact with any accuracy, but the severe erosion of
within the commercial agricultural and private sectors has
already had a
SI 338 flies in the face of the Constitution of
Zimbabwe and is contrary to
the principles of natural justice.
Immediate deprivation of ownership rights
The main implication of the
amendment is that the fast-track resettlement
process can take place prior to
any form of confirmation through the courts.
Thus landowners can be
immediately deprived of their livelihood, long before
the matter is
considered in the courts.
Our estimates are that up to 1000
landowners have received Section 8 Orders
prior to the amendment of the Act.
Until we have clarification of the
retrospective implications of the
amendments, we are not in a position to
assess the immediate impact, nor can
we give clear recommendations to
members who have already received Section 8
Orders. This information will be
communicated as soon as it is
While it is possible that Government may endeavour to
serve a new flood of
Section 8 Orders, it should be noted that the Supreme
Court Order of 2nd
October 2001 effectively freezes land acquisition matters,
save for the
continuation of Administrative Court cases, from 1st July 2001.
receive a new Section 8 Order should immediately consult their
Government has the authority to serve new Section 8 Orders
to all landowners
with valid Section 5 Notices. Taking duplications, repeats
into account, the net number of properties with current
section 5 notices is
approximately 4 200, equating to 7.8 million hectares in
extent. No full
analysis has been done on the ownership patterns of these
properties, but it
is estimated that 85% of CFU members are
85% of CFU members are thus immediately vulnerable to the
At a press conference on the 12th November 2001, the
Minister of Justice,
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs - Patrick Chinamasa,
stated that all farmers
previously served with Section 5 Notices would be
served with Section 8
Orders as soon as possible.
with respect to work-in-progress, standing crops and
implication, there is provision within SI 338 to proceed with
operations with the permission in writing of the acquiring authority.
intent of the acquiring authority with respect to work-in-progress,
crops and livestock is by no means clear. The affect of SI 338 is to
the position where Government was required, in law, to prevent
to farming operations carried out by landowners.
contradiction between the SI 338 position and official Government policy
there should be no disruption to production, publicly stated
Vice-President Msika and other senior Government Ministers, is glaring.
would appear to highlight the split between the pragmatists and
Farmers on listed farms, who have succeeded in
planting crops or with
established plantation or livestock enterprises, now
face huge additional
risk. Although it can be assumed, in law, that
crops and affected livestock enterprises are
subject to full compensation,
there is no certainty that this fundamental
right will be respected.
3. Insufficient funding for Government
to meet compensation obligations.
In law, once again, the owner can
expect compensation, at least for
improvements, but in practice, funding is
3.4 Impact on national production and
>From a purely practical point of view, with a late
start and limited access
to inputs, it is predictable that implementation of
this legislation will
lead to substantial reductions in national output with
disastrous economic ramifications.
Through SI 338, Government is issuing some very
clear messages that:
a.. Government intends to fully
implement the fast-track programme
regardless of the economic
b.. Government wishes farmers to believe that they have
over the farmer's destiny to the extent that they can select
may remain on the land and which farmers may produce.
Any attempt to challenge the fast-track process, particularly through
courts, will simply be countered by changing inconvenient laws and
custodial sentences as penalties.
d.. The authorities, including police and
DA's, will be further
neutralised, simply by serving an amended Section 8
Order on the landowner.
e.. Intervention by invaders or any other people to
provisions of SI 338 can be expected.
5. ACTIONS AND
Immediate actions taken:
a.. CFU has
sought extensive legal opinion to assess the legal options.
ZJRI has formally requested a temporary stay on further launches to
sufficient time to obtain clarification and assess the implications of
c.. In this regard, ZJRI is seeking an audience with
and the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs to seek
clarification of the intentions of Government with respect to
a.. Fully cognisant of the
increased risk, we would advise members to
rationalise investment risk but to
continue farming to the best of their
ability. To do otherwise would be the
certain death of the commercial
farming sector. Ultimately, members will have
to assess their business risk
and make decisions accordingly.
b.. Continue to adopt a non-confrontational stance, continue dialogue at
levels and persistently work through the endless obstacles that are
c.. Continue to avoid conflict with the fast-track
process, the validity
of which is still under consideration in the Supreme
d.. Members with Section 8 Orders should immediately submit
a letter to
the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, copied
Provincial Governor and your lawyer, requesting permission to continue
crops-in-progress and livestock enterprises. CFU will shortly be
guidelines on the structure and content of such a letter. Copies
letters should be sent to CFU Regional Offices for collation at CFU
6. CLOSING REMARKS
The potential impact of
SI 338 is a very real threat to the survival of the
sector. Given the unrelenting pounding that our
community has been subjected
to, for many the temptations to throw in the
towel is almost
The sense of desperate frustration amoungst members is
tangible. I ask you
to step back, take stock of the situation and muster all
your resources to
respond to this crisis with unity of purpose and a
commitment to continue
farming. The risks are great, but through
determination to establish our
rights as Zimbabweans, we can and we will
Mugabe's police aid attack on opposition
Thornycroft in Harare
SUPPORTERS of President
Mugabe rampaged through the streets of Bulawayo
yesterday, burning the
regional offices of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement
Police did not prevent the violence. Instead, witnesses said,
escorted the mob of 100, and the petrol bomb that set fire to
was hurled from a police vehicle.
Dozens of cars came
under attack and most of the city's shops and offices
were forced to close.
Shortly after the offices were destroyed, 1,000 young
arrived in the city centre, outnumbering the war
By dusk, riot police had moved into the city. Police would not
casualty or arrest figures. Two months ago MDC won all seats in
elections in Bulawayo.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, who
is standing against Mr Mugabe in
presidential elections due early next year,
said: "Civil strife is
escalating. This is state sponsored, and we don't know
to what extent it
will spread across the country.
"This is not a
normal democracy, there can never be free and fair elections
government. But for Zimbabweans to boycott elections, even under
provocation, is not an option."
Mugabe's mob rule
HARARE: Police looked the
other way as a rampaging mob of President Robert
Mugabe's "war veterans"
kicked and beat whites in the streets of Bulawayo
gripped the city centre at lunchtime when the 500-strong mob, escorted
police, stormed through the streets attacking passers-by,
whites, witnesses said.
They forced cars to a halt and
dragged whites – in some cases elderly
women – into the street and beat them,
a German aid worker said.
The man, who did not want to be named, said his
car with his three daughters
inside was surrounded and he was dragged out and
Mduduzi Mathuthu, a reporter for a local paper, said: "An old
white man – he
must have been in his 70s – was passing. They beat him to the
The veterans gathered outside the offices of the opposition
Democratic Change (MDC), broke down the concrete wall
building and set it alight.
"There was smoke and
flames all over. The police were on the other side of
the road, but they did
nothing," party worker Joe Ncube, said.
About 1000 MDC supporters
took to the streets and clashed with riot police
as they marched on the
offices of the ruling Zanu-PF party.
They set fire to a building
belonging to a party official and burnt two cars
before police restored
The violence, the most serious single incident since the country's
over lawlessness began in February last year, followed a wave
inflammatory rhetoric from President Robert Mugabe's regime,
revenge against the MDC over the abduction and killing by unknown
of a war veteran leader.
The pro-democracy party has denied
repeatedly it had anything to do with the
THE MDC claimed Zanu-PF was considering assassinating its
leader to ensure
President Robert Mugabe's re-election next year.
claimed to have a copy of Zanu-PF's strategic plan for the campaign
published extracts in the independent Daily News.
Referring to MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the text, under the heading,
Elimination", read: "This could be dangerous to the Government,
but it needs
a very serious consideration."
THE Government has declared it would
bar non-government organisations from
distributing food because they would
use the aid to campaign against Mugabe.
The ban threatens a major
international relief operation as famine grips the
country, with almost a
million people in "dire need", according to the UN.
IN another move
to shore up support, the army has offered land to serving
exchange for their votes.
Land requests by soldiers will be given
priority, with officers receiving
the largest plots.
turmoil has had a dramatic impact on inflation, with
price index rising by a record 97.9 per cent in the year
to October, after
rising 86.3 per cent in September.
WASHINGTON has warned it will not
recognise the results of next year's
elections unless Harare agrees to
international monitoring of the ballot.
Saturday, 17 November, 2001, 16:09 GMT
Blair urged to act over Mugabe
Protesters says Mr Mugabe's tactics are about
Tony Blair has been presented with a petition urging him to
put pressure on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to end human rights abuses.
About 50 protesters from the Zimbabwe community in the UK gathered outside
Number 10 on Saturday to hand in the petition of 1,800 signatures.
It calls on the government to encourage its international partners to put
pressure on Mugabe to restore law and end alleged human rights abuses.
It also urges Labour to make sure next year's elections in Zimbabwe are free
and fair and also to send more humanitarian aid to the country and distribute
Protester Barbara Murray, a member of The Movement For Democratic Change
(MDC), one of Zimbabwe's opposition parties, said international intervention was
"We want Tony Blair, the European Union and the US to put pressure on Mugabe
to allow in observers and minders who would make sure he held free and fair
elections and stopped committing human rights abuses," she said.
"Mugabe has complete control of the police, and he has army war veterans
under his control who are given free rein to do whatever they want as long as
it's against the opposition.
"The issue with land confiscation from white farmers is just a device that he
uses to raise emotions and make people who are in opposition look racist or evil
"But the real issue is him staying in power.
"The police and war veterans beat up, torture and abduct people with complete
immunity. If the victim reports what has happened to the police they are
Ms Murray cited recent events, including the fire bombing on Friday of the
MDC offices in Bulawayo, in which two people died.
POSTED AT 1:21 PM EST Saturday, November 17
Zimbabwe police braced
for political unrest
Reuters News Agency
Harare — Anger
and violence greeted the body of slain war veterans leader
Cain Nkala when it
arrived in Zimbabwe's capital on Saturday.
Supporters of President Robert
Mugabe's government chased anyone they
suspected of belonging to the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) through the streets of
Harare. Mr. Mugabe, who faces a tough election
next year, has accused the MDC
of killing Mr. Nkala.
Police have been on high alert in several towns
across the southern African
country since violent anti-MDC protests exploded
after the discovery of Mr.
Nkala's body in a shallow grave outside the
southwest city of Bulawayo on
Mr. Nkala was chairman of
Bulawayo's war veterans' association and a
supporter of Mr. Mugabe's
controversial campaign to seize white farms for
redistribution to landless
Witnesses said violence in Harare could erupt without warning. In
incident members of a crowd waiting at the Harare mortuary for Mr.
body to arrive suddenly broke away and attacked
"People are running in panic. There is confusion because
people are running
in all directions and cars driving out of the town," one
witness said of the
A journalist, who said he had run for his
life, told Reuters some veterans
were shouting: "Nkala will not die
"I got the impression they were just out for some adventure, to
people and let them know they are in town," he said.
said some people were beaten by the rioters and fast-food shops in
had pulled down their shutters. But the violence quickly subsided
city calm as night fell.
Police moved reinforcements to Bulawayo, where
attacked bystanders and torched an opposition
regional office on Friday.
Street patrols were also increased in the nearby
towns of Kadoma, Masvingo
Police have arrested 16
opposition activists and an MDC member of parliament
on charges of
The MDC has said it is innocent of the charges and accused the
cracking down on the opposition ahead of presidential elections
due by next
Mr. Nkala was due to be buried on Sunday at a
shrine reserved mainly for
leaders who fought white minority rule in the
"The government has appealed for calm and we hope the
public will heed that
call, but we have to be very alert to any
developments," a police spokesman
At least 31 people,
most of them opposition supporters were killed in
political violence ahead of
the June 2000 polls in which the MDC won 57 of
the 120 contested
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Mr. Mugabe's main challenger
April poll, warned Friday that civil unrest could erupt across the
UN Wire, Sat 17 Nov 2001
UNDP Mission Arrives In Country As Political
The three-week U.N. Development Program assessment mission
trying to resuscitate a land reform deal penned in September in
Nigeria, arrived in Zimbabwe yesterday as tensions mount following
Robert Mugabe's controversial decree allowing the eviction of most
country's remaining commercial farmers.
The UNDP team plans to
meet with Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge, Agriculture
Minister Joseph Made and
other senior officials (Reuters/CNN.com, Nov. 15).
According to BBC Online,
the team will also meet with white farmers, black
farmers and the political
opposition led by the Movement for Democratic
Change (BBC Online, Nov.
UNDP resident representative in Harare Victor Angelo said the team
review the government's controversial "fast-track" resettlement program
compile an estimate for a new land reform program (Reuters/CNN.com). In
Abuja accord, the government pledged to end the illegal occupation
white-owned land, respect human rights and the rule of law. In return,
United Kingdom promised to give millions of dollars to fund land
Mugabe's recent decree, which amended the land reform law and allows
eviction of white farmers without any legal challenges, is being
as contrary to the Abuja accord (BBC Online).
predicting that even if the UNDP comes up with a plan, the
reject it outright. "The UNDP people might come with a very
that meets the need for social justice, equitable land
alleviation and economic development, but Mugabe
chose the program he has
for election purposes," said Brian Raftopoulos of
Zimbabwe's Institute of
Development Studies. "I don't see how that can
change before the elections"
early next year, he said (Reuters/CNN.com).
Meanwhile, the Harare Herald
reports that the UNDP has given assurances to
the government that it will
focus on its mandate and concentrate on a review
of the Abuja accord. The
newspaper quotes sources as saying, "The
representative indicated that the
UNDP mission will focus on land and not
other issues such as the presidential
election, the rule of law, human
rights and other such matters." According
to Xinhua News Agency, the
government has also informed the United Nations
that "external forces" are
"trying to derail the UNDP mission" (Xinhua News
Agency, Nov. 15).
To read an Integrated Regional Information Networks
interview with the head
of Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmers' Union, click here.
To read a Harare
Financial Gazette Story on how the government is trying to
win the votes of
soldiers by promising them land, click here.
Reject Election Result If International Observers Are Barred
According to the
Harare Financial Gazette, U.S. officials warned that if
Zimbabwe does not
allow international observers to monitor next year's
election -- which
Mugabe's government said it will not -- Washington will
of the outcome.
"Given the prevailing situation and the conditions being
laid out by the
government regarding the issue of observers and monitors, the
the administration is that it could be difficult for the
people of Zimbabwe
and the international community to view the elections as
U.S. official said, adding that the United States has yet to
communicate this policy to Zimbabwe. According to the Financial
the European Union holds similar views on the
Zimbabwe's government has ruled out EU and U.S. observers, and is
pushing through its Parliament legislation that would prohibit
from the international community and Zimbabwean civic organizations
monitoring the election (Sydney Masamvu, Harare Financial Gazette, Nov.
Update # 2001/45 MEDIA MONITORING PROJECT
MEDIA UPDATE #
5- 11 November 2001
2. THE ANZ
SAGA: How to report on a competitor
3. LEGISLATIVE AMENDMENTS: The Land
Acquisition Act and the Electoral Act
4. THE FINANCIAL GAZETTE POLL
THE ABDUCTION OF WAR VETERAN CAIN NKALA
6. COMMENTS FROM SUBSCRIBERS
1. SUMMARY o The harassment of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (Private)
Limited, publishers of The Daily News, continued in the week. The paper's
editor-in-chief, Geoffrey Nyarota, and the company's founding Chief Executive
Officer, Wilf Mbanga, were arrested, detained and subsequently appeared in
o The Zimbabwe Investment Centre (ZIC) accused Associated Newspapers of
Zimbabwe (ANZ) of violating investment laws and exchange control regulations.
The ZIC- instigated arrests came in the wake of claims by Diamond Insurance - a
minority shareholder in ANZ and an associate company of Africa Resources Limited
owned by Mutumwa Mawere - that it had unearthed possible fraudulent
misrepresentation in the placing of the publishing company as a private
o Earlier, Diamond Insurance had made an unsuccessful High Court challenge
to the investment by the Independent Media Group in the ANZ as represented by
Renaissance Asset Management. Only last month Mawere also caused the arrests of
ANZ shareholders Judith Todd, Dr Burgit Mohamud, Ndaba Mpofu and Stuart Mattison
for allegedly submitting false information in their High Court
Police recorded warned and cautioned statements from them.
o Coverage of the issue in the public media largely ignored this background
and used the story to discredit The Daily News. Their coverage relied solely on
a ZIC letter written to ANZ advising the company that due to irregularities it
was canceling its investment licence. Comment from the ANZ was significantly
missing. It was only after The Daily News carried reports presenting the ANZ
position that readers heard the other side of the story.
o Meanwhile, government amended the Land Acquisition Act and announced its
intention to change the Electoral Act.
The Herald merely reported the
amendment to the Land Acquisition Act by presidential decree as if it was normal
procedure and provided no analysis. Other media missed the story.
o Although all media reported government's intention to amend the Electoral
Act, only the privately owned Press sourced alternative opinion on the issue.
However, all media failed to give a comprehensive analysis of the amendments and
inform the public on other electoral issues, such as voter registration, the
inspection of the voters' roll, and the Citizenship Act.
o Although both ZBC and Zimpapers quoted Information Minister, Jonathan
Moyo, defining the differences between election observers and monitors, they
then confused the definitions when referring to international requests to send
foreign observer missions in an apparent attempt to justify government's
position and particularly its refusal to allow a European Union (EU) team into
the country for the elections.
2. THE ANZ SAGA: How to report on a competitor The public media, as
exemplified by The Herald (6/11), focused exclusively on the ZIC letter -
allegedly leaked to them - and ignored the ANZ position on the matter. The
paper's lead story, Daily News in trouble, and sub-headlined Investment
certificate cancelled, Criminal violations cited, dwelt mostly on how the ZIC
had cancelled the ANZ investment certificate, which "means that the basis on
which the company was established has been removed and the company should cease
The paper went on to claim that the ANZ had failed to comply with
investment laws and exchange control regulations and cited an alleged
non-existent company, Motley Investments (Pvt) Limited, as the reason behind the
"We have now established that in truth and fact, no such company was
registered with the Registrar of Companies.Accordingly, had the centre been
aware that Motley Investments was not a registered company, the certificate
would not have been issued."
In the same article, the ZIC was reported as having declared the investment
by Renaissance Asset Management in ANZ null and void.
ZBC (Radio & ZTV
6/11,8pm) simply regurgitated The Herald story and quoted the police to buttress
allegations that the paper's directors had committed a serious crime. The
police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena was quoted on ZBCTV (8 pm) as saying:
".The cases which we are currently investigating are much more grave and we
would like to go deeper into those cases."
The reporter added, " highly placed sources alleged that ANZ's foreign
ownership is well above 90% much more than the stipulated 60%" without providing
any supporting evidence.
It became clear that the state media was using the story to discredit The
Daily News when ZBCTV juxtaposed the story about ANZ's licence with the Nigerian
Ambassador's attack on an opinion piece carried by the paper alleging that some
Commonwealth Ministerial Committee members might have been bribed during their
fact-finding mission. The report had been broadcast the previous day (5/11,
8pm). The attack on the paper was also reported on Radio 2/4 on the 7th in its
The Daily News (7/11) countered this article with its front page story,
Herald lies again, through a press statement issued by the chief executive of
the ANZ, Muchadeyi Masunda. The paper argued that the ZIC had not cancelled
ANZ's certificate, but that the certificate itself - valid for two years - had
expired. Besides, Mbanga and Nyarota had presented themselves to the ZIC as
directors of Motley Trading and not Motley Investments. "If ZIC now wishes to
cancel an expired certificate it is their prerogative," Masunda said.
The story also questioned how ZIC could declare null and void the
investment of a Zimbabwean company into another local one.
"In any event, the High Court had given a ruling on this issue in favour of
ANZ. It is most extraordinary for an acting director of the ZIC to seek to
reverse a High Court decision. He needs to be careful that he is not held in
contempt of court," added Masunda.
Mawere was accused, in the same article, of being in the forefront in the
fight against the newspaper.
"Never before, in the history of corporate
affairs has so much energy been expended by one minority shareholder to cause
the downfall of a company in which it is an investor."
However, The Herald (7/11) article, ANZ investors stand to lose stake,
ignored the information provided by the ANZ and reported the possibility of the
ANZ losing its investment certificate. It quoted Mawere, and an unnamed "senior
lawyer with expertise in commercial law" to give the impression that it had
sought an expert's interpretation of the whole saga. Mawere is thus
"The investment laws were clearly violated and we are not protected
as a country."
The Herald (8/11) reproduced the ZIC official letter to ANZ lawyers, signed
by Richard Mubaiwa - acting executive director - headed, Violations of
provisions of ZIC Act to counter The Daily News of 7 November. The paper also
reproduced a letter written on behalf of ANZ by Price Waterhouse Coopers
confirming that Motley Investments (Private) Limited has been formed and a
ZIC-issued investment certificate bearing the name Motley Investments.
Like The Herald, ZBC (radio and ZTV, 8/11, 8pm) continued to suggest that
ANZ directors violated the Investment Act. ZTV reporter Justin Manyau cited one
of the ANZ's shareholders, Stuart Mattison's letter, alleging that his company
owned more than 80% of the shares, much higher than the stipulated 60% for
foreign investment. In the same report, a police officer was quoted stating
that Mbanga and Nyarota were charged with fraud or contravening section 40 of
the Investment Act.
The picture only became more clear in the story, Nyarota arrested, The
Daily News (9/11) in which the paper reported that the arrests of Mbanga and
Nyarota stemmed from an error made by Price Waterhouse Coopers in a letter to
the ZIC on the name of the company with a shareholding in ANZ. The paper quoted
David Scott, the senior partner of Price Waterhouse Coopers, admitting his
firm's mistake in a letter to the ANZ.
ZBC (ZTV and radio, 9/11, 8pm) merely made side reference to the
typographical error during its reportage of the court proceedings.
from Price Waterhouse Coopers was carried.
Lawrence Chibwe of Stumbles and Rowe described the charge laid against
Mbanga and Nyarota as incomprehensible, (The Daily News' , Nyarota arrested
(9/11). Chibwe was further quoted saying the arrest of the two came from "very
senior police officers and political heavyweights".
The Zimbabwe Independent
(9/11) quoted Masunda corroborating Chibwe's claims describing the arrest as a
"politically-motivated campaign" against the paper. The Independent's article,
Daily News threaten to sue police, quoted Masunda saying: "It has really got to
a point where the aggrieved parties will have no option but to take action
against police officers in their individual capacities.because there is no way
in which it can be argued they were acting in their official capacity or public
Eric Matinenga, representing the ANZ, also accused the police and the
courts of harassing his clients. The Daily News article Nyarota Mbanga appear
in court (10/11), quoted Matinenga, who while asking the court to dismiss his
client's case said, "There is nothing on the facts which points to the accused
persons having committed an offence. This particular remand is an abuse of
process, meant to harass the two and it was done in bad faith."
The Herald's one-sided reporting of the case was perhaps predictable, but
no less unprofessional for that. The fact that the Zimpapers daily is the
direct competitor of the Daily News only strengthens the obligation for it to
report a story affecting its rival in a balanced and ethical fashion. Instead,
it created a strong impression that it was itself part of an apparent campaign
to drive the Daily News out of business.
3. LEGISLATIVE AMENDMENTS a. The Land Acquisition Act On 5 November,
The Herald reported that Section 8 (3) of the Land Acquisition Act empowered the
government to assume ownership of listed farms. An Inyika Trust spokesperson
was quoted reinforcing the implication of the Act to farmers. The Information
and Publicity Minister was also quoted as saying "according to the laws of
Zimbabwe farmers on listed farms are just occupiers". The article was written
in the context of the pending ruling on an application by Mr. Marshall Henry
Roper to evict settlers from his listed farm, probably to influence the outcome
in favour of the settlers.
However, in the event Justice Makarau ruled that the pegging of plots on
Roper's farm should stop. The Herald (8/11) reported the ruling in a rather
misleading headline, Defend stay on farm, court orders settlers, to downplay
Roper's victory. The Daily News (8/11)
reported the issue in an article with
the more accurate headline Makarau orders Chombo, Made to stop pegging
The Herald (10/11) then reported that Government had used the Presidential
Powers (Temporary Measures) Act to amend the Land Acquisition Act to give it the
right to start allocating land acquired for resettlement immediately after
issuing an acquisition order without interference from the owner or occupier of
the land. The amendment was reported without analysis as if this were a
perfectly normal step - whereas it appeared to be a response to Justice
Makarau's ruling. The Daily News did not carry the story and none of the Sunday
papers subjected this to any scrutiny.
ZBC missed the story altogether.
b. Electoral Act Government's refusal to admit the EU's election observer
team in the previous weeks resulted in the announcement by the Cabinet that it
had decided to amend the Electoral Act. The Herald (7/11)
Government "resolved to make it clear that the mandate of the Electoral
Supervisory Commission (ESC)
includes recruitment, training and deployment of
election monitors for all polls". In the same report, Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa was quoted as saying it was
undesirable for the ESC to use monitors recruited and trained by NGOs
"considering the fact that most non- governmental organizations are partial,
foreign funded, loyal to their funders and therefore produce monitors who were
partisan". No comment was reported from any of these organizations.
The article merely cited comments made by MDC secretary general Welshman
Ncube to The Daily News (6/11) which was then swamped with a lengthy quotation
from Jonathan Moyo.
ZBC (8/11, 8pm) carried the report the following day. Minister Chinamasa
(ZTV, 8/11, 8pm) stated that foreign monitors are only allowed where a
government has collapsed and said, "But in our case, the responsibility to
monitor elections belongs to the Zimbabwean government. It is our
responsibility to ensure that the elections are run properly and with
integrity.we are still the government of Zimbabwe which is going to invite
anyone who comes to our soil".
In its follow up, The Herald (9/11) further reported that the "Minister
of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Patrick Chinamasa is expected to
table the amendments in Parliament when it resumes sitting on November
In another article, misleadingly headlined "US envoy backs stance on
election monitors", the US Ambassador was quoted as supporting Zimbabwe's stance
on election monitors and forgot to edit that the Ambassador's comments that his
country will be expecting to be allowed to observe the election.
Without even analysing the implications of the amendment, the state media
went on to distract the public from the issue and dragged them into the
definitions of a monitor and an observer. The Herald (9/11), Minister clarifies
differences between monitors, observers, quoted Minister Jonathan Moyo
explaining the difference between a monitor and an observer. In fact, Moyo's
definition corresponded to the generally accepted distinction between a monitor
- who has certain powers to intervene to rectify abuses - and an observer, who
is only entitled to watch and report.
However, the sleight of hand occurred
in the claim - entirely unsubstantiated - that the EU wanted to send monitors.
In fact the EU, and other foreign organizations, have asked to send
Hence also the misleading presentation of the US Ambassador's
ZBC (radio 6am & 1pm and ZTV, 8pm, 9/11), as is becoming the norm,
followed up the paper and offered the same definitions in a voice over.
The Sunday Mail (11/11) celebrated the government's intention in a biased
article headlined "State approves amendment of Electoral Act". Part of the
The honeymoon for civic organizations that have been preaching politics on
the pretext of carrying voter education could soon be over as the Government has
approved the amendment of the Electoral Act".
The article only quoted Minister Chinamasa and failed to cite alternative
Although radio (5/11, 8pm) quoted EU representative Ms Francesca Mosca as
having said that the union would meet the government to discuss their intention
to send an election team, there was no effort made to ask the EU exactly what
their request was.
The private press on the other hand viewed the intention to amend the
Electoral Act as one of government's clandestine motives to influence the
outcome of the election in its favour.
The Daily News (6/11) quoted the MDC as having said it would insist that
the government allows international observers and monitors for the election
".because they want to cheat left, right and centre".
The Zimbabwe Mirror (9/11) also quoted MDC, accusing government of
"desperately attempting to manipulate next year's presidential election by
refusing to accept international observers". However, its comment argued that
the presidential poll should remain the prerogative of Zimbabweans alone and
called upon the EU to respect Zimbabwe's sovereignty instead of threatening to
impose sanctions if it refuses to accede to its demands.
The Standard (11/11) comment was sceptical of the impartiality of the
recently launched mobile registration exercise taking place in resettlement
areas and occupied farms, which it felt was aimed at boosting Zanu PF's chances
of winning the elections. And in its article, Plans for rigging election begin,
quoted both Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET) and the MDC accusing the
Government of trying to rig the election.
4. THE FINANCIAL GAZETTE POLL Results of The Financial
Gazette-sanctioned Target Research opinion poll on Zimbabwe's presidential
election in 2002 stirred some interest in the public media.
The Financial Gazette (8/11) carried three front-page stories stemming from
the research findings: Tsvangirai leads Mugabe, MDC support increases and Poll
violence rife. The first two stories rated the opposition MDC's chances of
winning the presidential poll ahead of that of the ruling Zanu PF while the
third looked at how political violence, perpetrated mostly by Zanu PF, was
likely to affect voting patterns in the election.
While The Financial Gazette simply restricted its coverage of these issues
to the findings by Target Research, the public media tried to divert public
attention from the findings by questioning the credentials of Target Research,
which they accused of supporting the opposition.
When the results of the poll were published, ZTV (8/11, 8pm)
its viewers that they were going to carry comments on findings the following day
and invited its audience to e-mail their comments. ZBC never reported the
findings of the poll. In the same report the newscaster, Obriel Mpofu, exposed
ZBC's intention to discredit the results when he said, "Last year, towards
parliamentary elections the nation witnessed a series of bogus election
surveys. We are beginning to see similar surveys ahead of next year's
The following day ZBC (radio and ZTV, 9/11, 8pm) carried several comments
from people who questioned whether the sample was representative and the
credentials of Target Research. ZTV accorded 6 minutes and 55 seconds to the
survey and made an attempt to appear balanced by quoting Dr. Ibbo Mandaza, Dr
Khabele Matlosa from SAPES, Joseph Mandizha, a lawyer, and both Zanu PF and the
However, a closer analysis of the voices reveals that they were all quoted
to support the ZBC's anti-survey slant. Southern African Policy and Economic
Series (SAPES) Trust, a research institute, some of whose representatives
including Mandaza have previously commented in support of government policies,
were quoted to give the impression that the broadcaster had sought independent
expert views. The two political parties most affected by the research were not
given equal opportunity to comment. Zanu PF acting secretary for the
Commissariat Dr. Sikhanyiso Ndlovu was accorded more than a minute and a live
sound bite while MDC's Welshman Ncube's comments were cited from The Herald and
voiced over for
Dr. Mandaza went on to link Target Research with the opposition when he
said, "I think polls in this country have always had a definitively political
objective. Maybe to influence voters and significantly they have been
manufactured by persons known to be in the opposition."
To further discredit Target, Matlosa said, ".As SAPES Trust we work with a
number of institutions. We have never come across this group at all. I was
surprised when I read the paper that they are renowned opinion polls
Dr. Ndlovu, was completely incomprehensible on the methodology Target
should have used when he said, ".As long as you don't go to a crowd and
interview the whole people of the same opinion or have people interviewed by
newspapers that already has an opinion, partisan opinion. Therefore the results
for sure will be concocted to suit the editorial policy of that paper."
In MDC and ZANU PF dismiss opinion, The Herald (9/10)
quoted ZANU PF's information secretary Nathan Shamuyarira accusing Target
Research as "one of the many racist and biased research organisations from the
United States that were ready and willing to undermine the sovereignty of the
Besides, the paper's headline was also misleading. Although Shamuyarira
was quoted saying the opinion was nothing but an attempt to confuse people,
neither MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, nor his secretary general, Welshman Ncube,
tacitly dismissed the findings. For instance, Tsvangirai was only quoted as
saying: "I have read that report just like anybody else. I don't comment on
stories that come out in papers."
The paper also used its comment, Gazette survey contradictory, to dismiss
the Target Research opinion poll's findings through the comparative use of Zanu
PF's successful performance in parliamentary by-elections. The comment further
said: "What makes the whole survey laughable is that no-one would have expected
The Financial Gazette to finance, let alone publish, a survey that would have
contradicted its own prediction of an MDC victory in 2002."
This simplistic dismissal of scientific research remained unbroken in The
Herald (10/11), Institute dismisses Fingaz poll survey. In the story, the paper
quoted director of the little known Southern Africa Institute for Democracy
William Nhari cynically dismissing results of the poll as having been done
"under a tree in Bulawayo".
5. THE ABDUCTION OF WAR VETERAN CAIN NKALA The abduction of the
Bulawayo provincial war veterans' chairman, Cain Nkala, received prominence on
ZBC. ZBC carried the report for five days during the week in all news
bulletins. ZTV devoted 22 minutes to the abduction and even sent its Chief
Correspondent, Reuben Barwe, to Bulawayo to cover the story. Mention of
previous abductions (e.g. Patrick Nabanyama, an MDC election agent) was
carefully avoided on ZBC. While the state media swamped readers with conspiracy
theories, the private media attributed the abduction to internal squabbles
within Zanu PF, leaving the public confused as to what the real story was.
The state media quoted war veterans threatening revenge attacks over the
abduction without any analysis of the implications of such threats.
The Chronicle (7/11) quoted the Zanu PF provincial chairman, Jabulani
Sibanda, saying: "This is terrorism at its worst which is being perpetrated by
people such as the British Prime Minister Tony Blair".
This was reiterated at the end of the week (ZTV, 11/11, 8pm) when Ian
Beddows, a Zanu PF supporter, made a spurious allegation that, "this is a
deliberate attempt by MI5 (Britain security agents) working through MDC.to
destabilize Zimbabwe and in particular the Matabeleland region".
There was no comment on the unlikelihood that Tony Blair was taking time
out from the Afghanistan crisis to attend to events in Bulawayo - or that MI5 is
in fact the British internal security service and was therefore unlikely to be
operating in Matabeleland.
The Herald (7/11) buried the initial story of the abduction on Page
As has become the norm, the police comment was sought to corroborate Zanu PF's
unsubstantiated claims that the opposition was to blame. Assistant Commissioner
Oliver Mashonganyika (ZTV, 9/11, 8pm) said, ". It will be difficult to link it
to any other people apart from maybe the opposition party." The opposition was
not accorded any space to defend itself.
Barwe (ZTV, 9/11, 8pm) in his report made reference to the abduction of a
Zanu PF supporter in Nkayi by alleged opposition members and conveniently
ignored incidents where MDC supporters have been abducted. In particular,
failing to relate the case to that of the MDC's Patrick Nabanyama was poor
journalism, since Nkala was accused of involvement in the Nabanyama
The private press linked the abduction of Nkala to Zanu PF's internal
fighting and dismissed allegations of MDC involvement. The Financial Gazette
(8/11) quoted unnamed sources within Zanu PF who said that Nkala could have been
a victim of internal party squabbles. Sibanda was quoted denying the
allegation. The Financial Gazette also accorded MDC space to dispel allegations
that the party was behind the kidnapping.
The Daily News (8/11) reported that
the police had raided MDC Bulawayo offices in search of Nkala and linked Nkala
to the abduction of Nabanyama. The MDC was also quoted denying charges that it
was responsible for the kidnapping. In its comment (9/11) the daily dismissed
accusations by war veterans that MDC was responsible for the abduction. Part of
the comment read:
"In all probability, this abduction was stage-managed by ZANU PF in
conjunction with the war veterans' association"
The Standard (11/11) 'CIO behind abduction' - war vets quoted unnamed war
veterans who accused state security operatives of being behind the attack.
The coverage of the Cain Nkala case and others like it is a serious test of
the professionalism of the Zimbabwean media. In a situation where sentiments
are inflamed and lives are at risk the media have a responsibility to report in
a manner that is careful, factual, truthful and non-inflammatory. In the
current atmosphere of lawlessness, careless and inflammatory reporting could
have a very high cost.
6. COMMENTS FROM SUBSCRIBERS ZBC VOICES OVER FOREIGN FOOTAGE By
WildCahi, Zimbabwe What about ZBC's latest lack of acknowledgement of its
satellite sources? I have noticed over the past few days that on the news when
ZBC screens CNN or other foreign footage from, for example, Afghanistan, they
cover the cable news logo with their own and use their own commentary!
did the same with the live cricket broadcast from Sharjah, covering the ZTV logo
with their own. What are they up to?
PRICE CONTROLS REVISITED By Reg Rumney, BusinessMap, South
In Update 2001/42 you carried a comment from a subscriber who complained
about your coverage of price controls.
Price controls have long been
discredited, but in any case the context in which they are being imposed will
clearly negate their usefulness. You can't fix price controls if you can't fix
the exchange rate or peg wage rates. And obviously the government needs to re-
instil respect for the rule of law or few foreigners will feel the desire to
invest any money there, or sell anything there except for a big premium to make
up for the risk.
On SA firms' profiteering, my question would be how Massmart
or any other foreign firm can profiteer if it can't repatriate the
And inflated prices in Zimbabwe cannot be inflated in rands after
being depreciated by the declining Zimbabwe dollar.
I enjoy your analyses of
media coverage, and I think we could profit from something like it in South
Africa, which has a fairly vital media industry, but is beginning to exhibit
some worrying deviations from journalistic standards - and I am not thinking of
the State-owned media necessarily. Some of it is inherited from the history of
opposition media during apartheid.
From MMPZ: MMPZ drew its monitoring methodologies from the experience of
Article 19: Global Campaign for Freedom of Expression and the Media Monitoring
Project in South Africa, among others. You may wish to get in touch with the
MMP-SA on email@example.com
Ends The MEDIA
UPDATE is produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
(MMPZ). Please send all queries and comments to the Project Coordinator, 15
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