October 25, 2001 Posted to the web October 24,
THE government's clampdown on prices and
the abolition of economic reforms have poured cold water on the recovery
prospects of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) but analysts say investors
will be looking to next week's budget for leads on the future of the
The ZSE has been on a tailspin over the past fortnight following
the shock October 10 announcement that the government was returning to price
controls, scrapped 10 years ago when Zimbabwe embarked on Western-backed
The ZSE has been further rattled by President Robert
Mugabe's announcement that his government is discarding economic reforms and
pursuing socialist policies.
Share prices, as measured by the main
industrial index, retreated two percent last week, reflecting the mood among
Analysts say the ZSE has entered a period of correction
after the excitement generated by the September 6 Abuja agreement on
Zimbabwe's land reform programme. They say activity will remain subdued for
another week as investors trade cautiously ahead of the November 1 national
budget presentation by Finance Minister Simba Makoni.
executive Emmanuel Munyukwi said the Abuja deal temporarily boosted
confidence on the stock market but the excitement had died down in the past
few weeks due to uncertainty about the way forward on the land issue and the
"From a business point of view, investors don't know which way
the economy is going and are waiting for the budget for pointers about the
future," Munyukwi told the Financial Gazette this week.
conflicting signals from the government had deepened the confidence crisis in
the economy, making it difficult for investors to take firm positions on the
Rashid Mudala, an analyst with Kingdom Financial Holdings,
said: "Most people will be closely watching the budget to see if there are
any major policy shifts as well as to see how the government intends to
improve the overall performance of the economy."
economist John Robertson warned stock market investors against pinning much
hope on the budget, saying Makoni was unlikely to come up with major changes
to the current interest rate policy.
"Most of the main issues that affect
the stock market such as money market interest rates and inflation are not
necessarily addressed in the budget and I don't think under present
circumstances the government has the ability to reduce taxes," said
The analysts have attributed the fairy-tale run of the ZSE
this year to the loose monetary policy pursued by Makoni since
The policy has seen a dramatic drop in interest rates from
around 70 percent in 2000 to about 20 percent, triggering an exodus of funds
from the money market into the ZSE as investors sought a safer haven for
Share brokerage firm Sagit Stockbrokers this week said it
was unclear whether Makoni would come up with measures to address the twin
problems of inflation and negative money market returns.
2002 budget pushed to November, one wonders what the finance minister has up
his sleeves," Sagit said.
Zimbabwe's annual inflation has surged to a
record 86.3 percent in September this year, although analysts have now
revised downwards their forecast of the rate of growth of prices hitting 100
percent by year-end due to the government's clampdown on prices.
analysts said increases in the rate of inflation would be slower as long as
the government maintained its grip on price hikes.
Meanwhile, the money
market slid into shortages last week as investors took positions ahead of
huge treasury bill (TB) maturities expected next month.
Dealers said the
maturity profile for November indicated that TBs valued at about $23 billion
would mature during the month, which would flood the market with excess funds
and knock rates down.
"Investors, fearful of a fall in rates, tried to
lock themselves in the prevailing relatively high rates," said
Rates responded positively to last week's low liquidity by
slightly firming, with the call rate jumping from 10 percent to 30 percent by
There was little change in Zimbabwe's foreign exchange market as
dealers again looked to the budget for hope.
Traders reported very
little activity on the official market and painted a gloomy outlook for the
country as the situation deteriorates.
"The only hope at the moment is
the budget but if they decide not to do something, then we are all doomed,"
said a foreign currency trader working at a Harare commercial
The dealer spoke as local banks temporarily suspended the use
of international credit cards for foreign currency transactions with
effect from November 1 due to shortages of hard cash.
however still use their cards for any Zimbabwe dollar transactions.
Harare - The Zimbabwean government has rejected an ultimatum
issued by the European Union to decide whether to allow EU observers in the
country during next year's presidential elections, Foreign Minister Stan
Mudenge said on Tuesday.
Mudenge said Zimbabwe would have considered
an offer for observers, but will not accept "demands" from other countries
because it is a "sovereign state".
The minister spoke shortly after
arrival from Belgium where he had talks with Belgian Foreign Minister Louis
Michel during which the EU offered to deploy election observers and a
Zimbabwe is supposed to give its response by Sunday
ahead of an EU council of ministers meeting next Monday.
demanded that Zimbabwe should accept an EU pre-election commission ...and
that Zimbabwe should accept EU observers during the presidential elections,"
"I told him that Zimbabwe does not accept demands ... we
are a sovereign and independent state," Mudenge told news
"If we start to go into the habit of receiving demands we
loose our sovereignty," he said.
Zimbabwe is due to hold presidential
elections early next year when Robert Mugabe's current term expires. –
Growers Warn $77m Coffee Could Be Lost to Farm Chaos
October 25, 2001 Posted to the web October 24,
ZIMBABWE could lose 1 000 tonnes of coffee worth about $77
million in the next few months because of the disruption of agriculture by
ruling ZANU PF supporters and their war veterans who have occupied commercial
farms since last year, according to the Coffee Growers' Association
"If the farmers do not go in to water their crops, they will not
flower," said CGA executive officer Jules Lang. "The crop should be flowering
in October to November and if this does not happen, there will be no
"You cannot just try again next year because that crop will be
stressed and disease may set in. Some of these farmers are faced with having
to pull out trees and replant."
Zimbabwe's coffee growers, the bulk of
whom are located in the eastern highlands of the country, have already been
forced to replant their crop once, following the destruction caused by
Cyclone Eline in 1999.
As a result, 40 percent of the country's coffee
crop, which is only ready for picking, grading and selling three years after
planting, is still at a young stage.
New plantations in Karoi, Doma,
Mhangura and Chinhoyi were badly affected in August this year by clashes
between farmers and settlers, which forced farmers and their workers to flee
their farms leaving plantations unattended.
Because of the
disturbances, the flowering process has been disrupted while the planting of
new trees has been shelved, adversely affecting
"Most farmers in that area had planned on putting
in 40 hectares each of coffee," said Lang. "These plans unfortunately will
not materialise due to these disturbances."
Zimbabwe produces mild
Arabica coffee and generates about 0.2 percent of the world's coffee
Zimbabwe's coffee growers last year produced 8 000 tonnes of
coffee worth $6 billion, compared to 8 500 tonnes the previous year which
netted $7.7 billion.
October 25, 2001 Posted to the web October 24,
THE government has ordered an
investigation into the administration of the AIDS levy amid allegations of
massive looting of the fund, which was set up in controversy last year to
help victims of the epidemic, it was learnt this week.
officials said the ministries of health and finance had ordered an audit into
the disbursement of the funds following an outcry over the use of the levy by
AIDS support groups, employers and labour unions.
The officials, who
preferred to remain anonymous, said preliminary audit findings pointed to
glaring shortcomings in the administration of the levy, with no proper
accountability from recipients of the money.
"We have just completed the
normal audit of the fund for the first year and we have now been requested by
the National Aids Council (NAC) to carry out a special fraud audit based on
the preliminary findings," one official told the Financial
The special audit was supposed to start on Monday this
The initial audit, which was carried out in August, came in the
wake of a memorandum jointly addressed to Health Minister Timothy Stamps and
Finance Minister Simba Makoni by the Employers' Confederation of Zimbabwe,
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the Zimbabwe Teachers'
Other organisations that signed the memorandum are the
Community Working Group on Health (CWGH), the Public Service Association and
the Zimbabwe National Network for People Living with AIDS.
at the Ministry of Health, which administers the AIDS levy fund through the
NAC, this week referred all questions on the matter to NAC director Evaristo
Marowa, who could not be reached for comment.
But Rene Loewenson, the
spokeswoman for the CWGH, this week confirmed writing to Makoni and Stamps
about the lack of transparency in the administration of the levy.
understand an audit has been carried out and our position is that the audit
must be done before the budget," said Loewenson, whose
organisation coordinates the activities of several groups interested in the
In the memo to Stamps and Makoni, written on July 27 this
year, the organisations also demanded that an audit report on the first year
of the AIDS levy fund be presented to Parliament and that a substantive board
of the NAC be appointed to replace the one disbanded in March.
called for the release of a public report providing information on the funds
collected and used to date.
The report should provide details of monthly
collections of the levy since January, where the funds are held, returns on
investment of the money, disbursement of the fund and the use to which the
monies received by the various groups were put.
The NAC has so far
disbursed over $265 million to 53 district committees that have prepared
action plans. Over $1.2 billion has been raised since January 2000 when the
government started collecting the levy from workers and
Zimbabwean workers and employers opposed the government's
unilateral action to impose the levy, saying it was likely to be abused as
several other previous levies, pointing especially to a possibility that it
could be diverted to fund Zimbabwe's military operations in the Congo.
Amnesty International condemns threats to news media in Zimbabwe
London-based Amnesty International has joined the public outcry
about threats and harassment against news media in Zimbabwe.
20, Vienna-based International Press Institute added Zimbabwe to its "media
watch" list, joining South Korea, Russia, Sri Lanka and Venezuela, all
considered "countries that appear to be moving towards restricting
In a detailed report issued today, Amnesty
International contended that in Zimbabwe, "journalists attempting to carry
out critical and independent reporting are subject to harassment, including
violence and death threats, as well as the misuse of criminal charges to
hamper their work."
Noting that "state-sponsored repression, including
political killings and torture, continues to worsen in Zimbabwe," the human
rights organization "appeals to the European Union and the (British)
commonwealth to send international observers as soon as possible, ahead of
the presidential elections due before April 2002."
The picture that
Amnesty International paints of the press situation "has been an ongoing
pattern since before the June 2000 parliamentary elections." It said
journalists' newsgathering movements are "also made dangerous by the lack of
impartial policing, particularly in the countryside, rendering journalists
vulnerable to threats and assaults" by supporters of President Robert
The report cites as an example of media problems, the fact that
in August, Basildon Peta, special projects editor of the Zimbabwean Financial
Gazette and Zimbabwe correspondent for the London Independent, "publicized
concerns that he and other prominent Zimbabwean journalists were on a
'hit-list' compiled by the country's security service."
denials by the Zimbabwean authorities that such a 'hit-list' exists," Amnesty
International says that it "is extremely concerned for the safety of
journalists who may be the target of such threats and has called upon the
authorities to undertake thorough investigation of the reports and ensure the
safety of journalists and their families."
The organization also cites
examples of journalists being arrested and charged "with contravening a
provision of the law … that makes it an offense to distribute or circulate a
Among the recommendations offered by Amnesty
International for the pertiod before the elections next April is a free hand
for the press and having foreign journalists cover the
"Reporting by domestic and international journalists are the most
effective means of curtailing intimidation and attacks of opposition
activists by ruling party supporters, in some cases aided by the Zimbabwe
republic police," the group said.
ZIMBABWE: Human rights violations continue - Amnesty
October (IRIN) - As Commonwealth ministers began gathering in Harare on
Wednesday to discuss with the Zimbabwean government the implementation of the
Abuja agreement on land reform, Amnesty International warned that
state-sponsored repression - including political killings and torture - was
worsening in the country.
"The level of human rights violations and
intimidations have continued since the signing of the Abuja agreement in
September," Casey Kelso a researcher with Amnesty International in London told
IRIN. "We fear that these violations and intimidations will only increase as the
election draws closer. We call on the Commonwealth ministers to use this visit
to undertake their own investigation into the reports of violations."
its new report Amnesty International appealed to the European Union and the
Commonwealth to send international observers as soon as possible ahead of
presidential elections which are expected to take place next year. The
organisation said the report was being released to coincide with the
Commonwealth visit to Harare and in advance of the 29 October meetings in
Brussels of EU foreign affairs ministers and the Joint Parliamentary Assembly of
the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states.
"I will be going
to Brussels to lobby the EU on the Zimbabwean issue and to emphasise the urgent
need for observers and greater attention to the human rights violations," Kelso
said. On Tuesday a spokesman for the EU told IRIN that the EU had asked the
Zimbabwean government for clarification on whether the government would allow EU
observers to next year's presidential elections.
News report on Wednesday
quoted the Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Stan Mudenga as rejecting the EU's
alleged ultimatum. "Zimbabwe does not accept demands, we are a sovereign and
independent state," Mudenga said.
The Amnesty report said that "despite
the human rights benchmarks being set for Zimbabwe in the Abuja and Cotonou
Agreements, the human rights situation remains serious and without expected
A statement by the South African department of foreign
affairs ahead of the meeting of Commonwealth ministers said the purpose of the
Harare gathering was to discuss a "way forward in terms of implementing the
provisions of the Abuja agreement". According to the statement one of the
provisions of the agreement was a commitment by the Zimbabwean government to
freedom of expression and to take firm action against violence and
A South African diplomatic source told IRIN on Wednesday
that the ministers were hoping to get clarification during the two-day meeting
about Zimbabwe's implementation of the Abuja agreement signed on 6 September in
the Nigerian capital. The agreement, brokered by the Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo, was an attempt to commit the Zimbabwean government to end the illegal
and sometimes violent land seizures by supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party.
Britain pledged to help finance a fair and just land reform programme.
"Up to now it has been pretty clear that the Zimbabwean government has
not implemented or even attempted to implement the terms of the agreement which
includes not only ending farm violence and farm occupations, but also trying to
end the atmosphere of fear and violence and intimidation which exists in
general," the diplomatic source said.
The Amnesty report documents a
number of human rights violations saying they were "predominately by war
veterans and other supporters of the ruling party, and in some cases with the
complicity of the police".
Amnesty International added that it was
"extremely concerned" for the safety of journalists and called on the Zimbabwean
government to ensure their safety, especially in the run-up to the presidential
October 2001 Six weeks ago, before the terrorist attacks on the US
overshadowed everything else, we observed a glimmer of hope for Zimbabwe
following a breakthrough in talks among Commonwealth representatives in the
Nigerian capital, Abuja. The government of Zimbabwe agreed to return to the
rule of law and end the forcible occupation of farmers' land. Among the
undertakings given by the Commonwealth in return were the prospect of aid for
Zimbabwe's hard-pressed economy, the lifting of the threat of Commonwealth
suspension and a commitment by Britain to release £36m to help finance
Although President Robert Mugabe subsequently accepted
the agreement, the situation on the ground in Zimbabwe has not changed. If
anything, it has got worse; the intimidation of political opponents and the
harassment of farmers continues apace.
As Clare Short, the outspoken
Secretary of State for International Development, told the Commons yesterday:
"We've worked hard, but completely without success, to try to prevent the
continuing deterioration in economic and political governance in Zimbabwe."
Her conclusion was backed by the respected human rights organisation Amnesty
International, which said in a report released yesterday that state-sponsored
political killings and torture were on the rise in Zimbabwe.
as packing the judiciary with his supporters, so curtailing the rule of law,
Mr Mugabe is still baulking at allowing European Union observers into the
country in advance of next year's presidential elections. He has mismanaged
the economy to the point where food shortages threaten.
In view of all
this, it is unrealistic to expect that the Commonwealth delegation currently
in Zimbabwe will find a situation markedly different from that described in
the Amnesty report. There have also been worrying reports that the government
has been amassing arms and ammunition ahead of the election, which Mr Mugabe
seems determined to win at all costs.
It is high time that the
international community acknowledged the violence and repression that Mr
Mugabe has brought on Zimbabwe and imposed sanctions. The President and his
ministers should be banned from travel abroad, their foreign assets should be
frozen and Zimbabwean Airlines denied foreign landing rights. The alternative
is to become complicit in Zimbabwe's suffering.
Power point presentation available by
email attachment if requested.
THE Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) has this
week completed a nationwide survey designed to quantify the impact of farm
invasions on commercial agriculture. The survey, the first to be done this year,
requested of members information on status of farm; the prevalence of work
stoppages and number of workers affected. CFU President Colin Cloete announced
the results to members of the media at a press conference. He acknowledged that
the survey was well supported by members, saying, "Of the 3514 paid up members,
we received reponses from 2721 members, realising a 77% return. I would like to
acknowledge members for participating in this survey." Members responses were
also invited as to the situation on the ground as at 25th September 2001, three
weeks after signing of the Abuja Accord, brokered in Nigeria, with Foreign
Minister, Sule Lamido, in the chair.
Of the total of 3 829 farms recorded in the
survey, 1 948 farms or 51% were occupied as at the 25th September. The total
number of occupiers resident on commercial farms has increased substantially
from roughly 25 000 on 31st December 2000 to 104 175 on the 25th September, with
an overall average of 53 occupiers per farm.
The Rural Land Occupiers (Protection from
Eviction) Act, that was promulgated this year, states that occupations after the
1st March 2001 are unlawful, must stop and that any occupiers after that date
can be evicted. Since that date, there have been new occupiers on 1 400 farms,
which represents 72% of occupied farms. In the period 6 to 25th September, new
occupiers arrived on 688 farms.
As at 25th September, 829 violent or hostile
incidents had occurred on farms. The CFU President made a renewed plea to
Zimbabweans to end the spate of violence and intimidation on the farms. "We
must begin to quell this preoccupation with the use of intimidation as the means
to communicate - Zimbabweans must begin to find common ground on which they can
stand and talk to each other."
Since January 2001, 13 636 farm-worker
families have been forced off the farms that previously employed and housed
them. Based on an average of 5.5 members per family, this represents an
estimated 75 000 persons. The number of farms that were experiencing total or
partial work stoppages due to lawlessness on the 25th September amounted to 1
183, or 31% of all the farms in the survey.
Work stoppages have adversely affected the
harvesting of crops in the ground, and land preparation and planting activities
for crops to be grown this season. In all, 74 881 hectares of crops were
recorded as being affected by work stoppages. Of this figure, 26 026 hectares
is for tobacco which represents roughly a third of what is normally grown. This
equates to 65 million kg of tobacco at an estimated current value of Z$12.5
Other export crops affected include 2 170 ha
of paprika, 3 606 ha of various horticultural crops and 855 hectares of coffee.
The commercial beef herd has been depleted so far this year by 243 535 head of
cattle, nearly 20% of the national commercial herd, through forced de-stocking.
Over 1.6 million hectares of grazing land
has been burnt out, causing severe cattle management problems. Numerous and
widespread cases of deliberate fires have been reported in recent weeks through
the regular CFU farm invasions and security reports.
From a food security perspective, the
combined affect of viability, theft, extortion and disruptions to farming
operations have led to a decline in commercial maize planting intentions for the
coming season to 54 664 ha, down from 74 000 hectares planted last season and
150 000 the previous season. It is anticipated that most of this maize is for
The Survey provides ample direct evidence
that farm invasions have had a devastating effect on the commercial farm
sub-sector and this will have an adverse economic impact on production for both
the domestic market and for export.
"The Abuja Accord recognised land reform as
being at the core of the current political and economic crisis and that its
successful implementation required Zimbabwe to make certain commitments. Now
that the Government has welcomed the UNDP Technical team to begin operations as
soon as possible, the CFU looks to work with Government and the Technical team
on the implementation of their mission; firstly examine the situation on the
ground and then to devise an action programme."
In Zimbabwe 39 079 000 hectares is split
among the large scale commercial sector
owns 28,2 % of the Land, measuring 11 020 000 hectares.
The small-scale operators had 1 380 000
hectares, 3.15 %.
The Communal area is 16 350 000 hectares,
which is almost 42%, with the Resettlement area being made up of 3 540 000 hectares, 9.1%.
National Parks and Forest Land 6 339 000
hectares, 16.2 %.
The State owns through ARDA 250 000 hectares
0.6 % and finally the Urban area,
measuring 200 000 hectares, 0.5 %.
Within the large-scale commercial sector,
Commercial Farmers' Union Members own 8 595 000. With Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union and other commercial
operators owning 700 000 and 600 000 respectively.
The balance is owned by the Government of
Zimbabwe through the Development Trust of Zimbabwe, 332 000; Indigenous/Tenant
Schemes/Leases 470 000; Cold Storage Company 211 000; Forestry Commission 112
000 - this makes up the 11 020 000 large-scale farming areas within the country.
By Dominic Evans LONDON (Reuters) - Commonwealth
Secretary-General Don McKinnon says he hopes his mission to Zimbabwe this
week will put back on track a deal to end the violent occupation of
McKinnon said he would seek clarification from the
Zimbabwe government over reports that farm take-overs had continued in
violation of a September 6 Nigerian-brokered accord, and that squatters were
still occupying farmland.
"I hope we have some answers to a number of
questions we wish to raise and I hope we will have a clear understanding of
how we will work towards the full implementation of the Abuja agreement," he
told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.
"Then it's a matter
of...determining what sort of monitoring exercise can be put in place to
ensure that it is implemented."
McKinnon, accompanied by ministers from
seven Commonwealth countries including former colonial power Britain, will
meet President Robert Mugabe as well as white farmers, civic and opposition
leaders during the two-day visit.
Under the Abuja pact Zimbabwe agreed
to stop landless blacks taking over white-owned farms, and Britain pledged to
help fund a fair and just land reform programme to address the rural
deprivation which Mugabe says is an enduring colonial legacy.
information that we have been getting is to say (the occupations)
have continued on properties," McKinnon said. "The other issue was have
there been people taken off lands following the de-listing (of farms
"We're told there hasn't been the removal of those
people on those properties. This is very much the reason to be able to be on
The mainly white Commercial Farmers Union says the land
crisis has escalated despite the Abuja deal, with settlers occupying about
700 more farms. It warned output of key crops could fall by 40 percent next
year, triggering food shortages.
The government swiftly dismissed the
farmers' statement as a pack of lies released to sway the Commonwealth
mission and to drum up international pressure against Mugabe.
McKinnon said the events in Zimbabwe were casting a shadow over
southern Africa, turning international investors away from the region and
spreading concern among Harare's neighbours.
But the Commonwealth had
lost "a degree of momentum" on Zimbabwe after the September 11 attacks on the
United States, which diverted global attention and forced the postponement of
a Commonwealth summit earlier this month, he said.
"There's only room
for one headline on the front page," he said. "It probably did drop below the
parapet for a while."
Analysts say Mugabe, who faces presidential
elections next year, has intensified a campaign of violence against the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change while international attention was
McKinnon dismissed calls for Zimbabwe's immediate
suspension from the 54-nation group, made up mainly of former British
colonies, saying that would deprive the international community of a "line of
communication" with Harare.
But he also said the influence which the
Commonwealth could exert over Mugabe may be more modest than some people
"I think there is a higher expectation of what our leverage
could achieve than probably what it can achieve," he said.
Zimbabwe: Amnesty International calls for
State-sponsored repression, including political
killings and torture, continues to worsen in Zimbabwe, Amnesty International
said today in a new report.
The new Amnesty International report
appeals to the European Union and the Commonwealth to send international
observers as soon as possible, ahead of the Presidential elections due before
April 2002. It is being released in advance of the 29 October meetings in
Brussels of EU foreign affairs ministers in the Council of the European Union
(EU) and of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly of the Africa, Caribbean and
Pacific (ACP) group of States and the EU.
Zimbabwean human rights
organisations have reported as many as 50 politically motivated killings
since early 2000 and more political killings took place during several
by-elections in September 2001. Amnesty International fears the situation
will deteriorate if the international community does not take preventive
"Despite human rights benchmarks being set for Zimbabwe in the
Abuja and Cotonou Agreements*, the human rights situation remains serious and
without expected improvement. A pattern of political repression by the ruling
party in the run-up to elections has been repeated last month, and will
likely be repeated again in the months ahead," the organisation
The human rights violations have been carried out predominantly by
"war veterans" and other supporters of the ruling party, and in some cases
with the complicity or active involvement of the police.
the ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front
(ZANU-PF), have reportedly set up secret locations where they intimidate,
assault and torture opposition supporters. There are also reports that
opposition supporters have been assaulted in police stations.
told a human rights organisation that he was abducted from his home in Harare
in April this year, taken to a location on the outskirts of town and tortured
for having distributed opposition party cards. He stated that his assailants
used red-hot chains from a fire to burn an "X" on his back and set on fire
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party T-shirts they had seized from his
In a September by-election in the central Zimbabwe district of
Chikomba, the MDC candidate was threatened with death and remained in hiding.
Witnesses in the community heard the screams of a primary school headmaster
being beaten to death by suspected ZANU-PF supporters, who also allegedly
abducted three other men, forcing them to strip naked and to beat each other
with whips. Another kidnap victim later identified the police officers and
state intelligence agents who beat him with police batons and attempted to
drown him in a river.
Journalists attempting to carry out critical and
independent reporting continue to be subjected to harassment, including
violence and death threats as well as criminal charges fabricated to hamper
their work. Amnesty International is extremely concerned for the safety of
journalists and reiterates calls for the authorities to ensure their
In the past 18 months, "war veterans", ruling party supporters
and those who have taken over white-owned farms have forced up to 70,000
black farm workers to leave their homes. A Zimbabwean human rights group
reported that a farm worker in Waterfalls, near Harare, was beaten to death
on 12 June 2001 by "war veterans". It appeared that nearby police officers
ignored the killing at the time and journalists with the state-controlled
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation television crew looked the other
Members of the police, intelligence services, pro-government "war
veterans" and other ruling party supporters consistently escape
accountability. Police have not only failed to maintain law and order but
often have directly participated in human rights violations.
International's report sets out recommendations to the Commonwealth and the
EU. It is urging the EU and the Commonwealth to send international observers
as soon as possible ahead of next year's presidential elections, publicly
condemn the ongoing violence, provide training and resource support for local
human rights non-governmental organisations monitoring human rights, and
asking the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to visit the
* The 6 September 2001 Abuja Agreement was reached by
Commonwealth nations ni response to widespread human rights violations and
land seizures. The June 2000 Cotonou Agreement created a partnership between
the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.
Thrives in Zimbabwe- Amnesty
HARARE (Reuters) - Human rights watchdog
Amnesty International said on Wednesday state-sponsored political killings
and torture were on the rise in Zimbabwe.
``The human rights situation
remains serious and without expected improvement. State-sponsored repression,
including political killings and torture continues to worsen in Zimbabwe,''
Amnesty International said in a statement.
Zimbabwean human rights
organizations had reported about 50 politically motivated killings since
early 2000, some of them during several parliamentary by-elections held this
year, it said in the statement issued alongside a report on the southern
Most of these killings were carried out by so-called
self-styled war veterans who last year began violent occupation of
white-owned farms with the support of the government.
An estimated 31
people, mostly opposition supporters, died in the run-up to parliamentary
elections in June 2000, killed in clashes with supporters of President Robert
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party.
``The human rights violations have been
carried out predominantly by ``war veterans'' and other supporters of the
ruling party, and in some cases with complicity or active involvement of the
police,'' it said.
Mugabe faces his toughest challenge at the
presidential elections due by April 2002, since coming to power at
independence in 1980.
Analysts say the violent farm invasions are a key
plank of his strategy against the opposition for presidential
The human rights group urged the European Union (news - web
sites) and the Commonwealth to send international observers to Zimbabwe as
soon as possible ahead of the presidential elections.
Since April 2000, following the defeat of the Zanu
PF-sponsored draft constitution, Mugabe has pursued a land
When he said, “land is the key to our prosperity as a people, it
is our heritage. The continued occupation by a small clique of commercial
farmers of the best land is not acceptable, the fast-track land reform
exercise is our response to this situation”. Africa took him at his word and
his statements at face value. A lot of people in the rest of the world said
it was acceptable but suggested that this be done lawfully.
months later, the government has brushed aside all the niceties, designated
for compulsory acquisition, without compensation, 10,7 million hectares of
land out of 12 million under commercial farmers.
He has further unleashed
on these hopeless farmers a programme of violent occupation and has
instructed the forces of law and order to ignore the law and to prosecute
only those who resist or show sympathy for the plight of white commercial
Now ordinary people and farmers have been killed, hundreds
injured and raped. Tens of thousands had their possessions stolen, homes
burnt and were displaced. Farm activities have been totally disrupted
resulting in food production falling by 50 percent.
industries face total collapse. Up to three million people face starvation.
The courts, responding to the appeals of those affected have ordered the
government to draw up a proper land reform programme and then start again.
Their opinions have been ignored while some of the judges handing these
judgments have been threatened and their courts and homes invaded.
to complete the scenario, Mugabe and his henchmen have hatched a plan that
calls for three million people to be resettled in a few months. An estimated
1,5 million people are to be moved from the cities onto
This Khymer Rouge exercise is to be undertaken by
the defence forces. The new commercial farm “settlers” will be registered to
vote on transfer to their new “homes” and will be paid a per diem and given
other support while they wait to vote during next year’s presidential
Then they will be told to vote for Mugabe or be pushed out like
the farm workers and their families.
The farm workers and their
families will be unable to vote because they are not in their constituencies
and as “internally displaced refugees”, they will be
Zanu PF hopes by these measures to shift one million
votes in favour of Mugabe in the presidential election due before April
This plan has not been disputed. What is horrifying is that it will
usher in a new flood of refugees, worsening the already bad situation as
South Africa and Botswana are in the process of deporting Zimbabweans who are
in these countries illegally.
If nothing is done to stop this madness
and to stop it now, Zimbabwe will slide inevitably into anarchy and chaos.
Its economy, already teetering on the brink of the abyss will slide into
Its people will become totally dependent on foreign aid to feed
themselves and to provide good health and education facilities for their
I am not the only one who is thinking along these terms. The
exchange rate is now more than 250 to 1 for the United States dollar,
indicating total panic among those who have any resources.
flight at these premiums means that people are dumping their assets at any
cost. If you compute our gross domestic product (GDP) at these rates, we are
suffering from a 70 percent decline in the GDP in real terms at
As for the farmers, there are generally tough individuals
with a very determined outlook on life. They are used to making decisions,
the farmers appear to be very individualistic and used to giving
Controlling large labour forces is a major part of their
These men and their families have been subjected to
insults and physical threats for the past 18 months. They have had no support
from any quarter no international organisation has stood up for their rights
and no government has offered any assistance whatsoever.
demanded repayment of loans and withheld funding for normal activities. Theft
of crops and livestock has been commonplace.
They have been stripped of
their rights as citizens and as human beings, they have been denied
protection of the law. They have not been allowed to protect their families,
their staff or their assets.
During this 20-month period, not a single
“war veteran” has been killed in anger. Very few incidents of violence
perpetrated by the commercial farmers against their tormentors have been
Not a single person who has been responsible for various forms
of violence against these farming families, their staff and households has
been convicted. Even the Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri can afford
to ignore repeated High Court orders to enforce the rule of law on the
farms that have been invaded.
These land invaders have deliberately
sought to provoke and enrage this courageous farming community in the hope
that they would retaliate.
No matter what you might think of these white
farming families, there are principles at stake here which are universal and
every person who stands for decency and the rule of law in society, has to
stand by these people and say to Mugabe and his thugs, enough is
Failure to do so would not only make all of us poorer in spirit
and in human values but would condemn yet another potentially prosperous
state in Africa to mayhem and abject poverty.
It would justify all the
racial innuendoes that racists have used over the years to denigrate and
undermine the black community. It would also be an insult to all that people
like Steve Biko and Nelson Mandela have stood for in life.
It is time
black Americans and Europeans stood up for justice in this part of the world
and tell Mugabe that his behaviour is totally unacceptable.
high time the international community imposed “smart sanctions” on Mugabe and
Given the highly
controversial nature Zimbabwe’s land issue has assumed internationally, it is
pertinent to observe that disproportionately great attention has been
directed at the haphazardness and illegality of the government’s “fast-track”
resettlement exercise compared to the attention given to the identity of
those getting that land once acquired.
The secrecy or, to put it
differently, lack of transparency with regard to what use those farms which
are officially taken over we shall, for the moment disregard that the
acquisitions are in the main illegal by way of being listed for compulsory
acquisition are being put is cause for concern.
We are here making a
clear distinction between officially acquired commercial farmland and those
farms violently invaded by so-called war veterans and Zanu PF
There have always existed the nagging suspicions that those
farms acquired quietly and relatively peacefully by the government are being
given to powerful politicians in the ruling party, government officials and
those closely connected to them instead of benefiting peasants in overworked
and overpopulated communal areas as a way of combating poverty.
British government, for instance, has repeatedly voiced those suspicions as
being behind its refusal to fund the government’s programme each time
the question of British funding has been raised. The government has tried,
quite unsuccessfully, to allay those fears by putting, through the official
media, regular reports of “hundreds of thousands of families” having been
resettled, although no journalists have ever been taken to any of those areas
of purportedly massive resettlements.
On the contrary, there is all the
visible evidence in the old communal lands that, rather than being eased in
any way, the overcrowding on communal farming lands is actually getting
Over and above that, overwhelming oral evidence from some of the
government’ s most trusted loyalists, traditional chiefs and war veterans
whether they be self-styled or authentic is irrelevant here is now being
provided, pointing to the whole land-grab exercise as being motivated
almost exclusively by the leaders’ personal considerations and unbridled
Like the money being splashed out to the unsuspecting poor in
various communities which is all a cover for Zanu PF leaders’
self-enrichment, all that talk of the land exercise being a way of
economically empowering the majority poor is a poorly disguised way of taking
away good farms from productive commercial farmers and giving them to
There is no doubt that if the farms were really being
used to resettle peasants, the populations in the old communal lands would
have thinned out significantly. As pointed out by none other than Chief
Jonathan Mangwende in Parliament not so long ago, this is not happening at
Contributing to debate on the land issue, Chief Mangwende said:
“The redistribution of land is supposed to ease pressure on the communal
farming areas. But because there is no transparency, that has not been
happening . . . The majority of the people are still in the communal
Now the so-called war veterans have further exposed the
government’s dishonesty over the land issue.
Although we condemn in
the strongest terms their violent seizure of farms and the terror campaign
that goes with it, we nevertheless applaud them for successfully thwarting
attempts by Cabinet ministers and senior government officials to allocate
themselves farms on rich soils in the Marondera area ahead of landless
The war veterans’ vow to prevent government allocating acquired
land for large-scale commercial farming purposes until after the communal
areas have been de-congested is worthy of everyone’s support.
resolve could be vigorously pursued, sooner rather than later, Britain will
release the funds so essential for a successful, orderly resettlement
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- Visiting
Commonwealth ministers aim to set timetable for compliance with Abuja
deal Harare Correspondent
THE UK said last night that Zimbabwe had
still not delivered on commitments it made to end violent invasions of
white-owned farms by supporters of President Robert Mugabe.
British source, speaking ahead of a Commonwealth ministerial visit to Harare
this week, said there had been a "slight lessening" in violence following a
September 6 accord in Abuja, Nigeria, to end the 18-month land crisis in
Zimbabwe. "(But) the key elements, ensuring that the government of Zimbabwe
met its commitments, have not yet been delivered."
British Foreign Office
Minister Valerie Amos will join ministers from six other Commonwealth states
tomorrow and on Friday for a mission which aims to set a timetable for
compliance with the Abuja accord.
Under the deal Zimbabwe agreed to halt
farm invasions in exchange for British and international funds to finance a
fair and just land reform programme in the former British colony.
of the outcomes we want to agree on is a monitoring process with time scales
attached to it," the source said. "These are things the government
of Zimbabwe committed to, the UK government committed to and the
international community committed to."
The Commonwealth ministers'
visit comes amid accusations by white commercial farmers that the land crisis
has escalated despite the Abuja agreement, with settlers taking over 700 more
farms. The farmers have also warned that output of key crops could fall 40%
next year, triggering food shortages.
The British source said Amos, the
first British minister to visit Zimbabwe in three years, was travelling with
"no illusions" and with a sense of realism. "We never saw Abuja as an end in
itself, but part of a process," the source said.
Included in the
visiting team will be foreign ministers from Australia, Canada, Jamaica,
Kenya, Nigeria and SA. Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon and the
United Nations Development Programme head of Africa, Abdulla Jenneh, will
also be part of the trip. The visiting team will meet Zimbabwe's opposition,
farmers, nongovernmental organisations and Foreign Minister Stan
Analysts say Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF) party has turned to
violence against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change as a central
plank of its strategy for presidential elections which must be held by next
They have suggested Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since
independence in 1980, brought forward plans to intensify his campaign against
the opposition while international attention was diverted by the September 11
attacks on the US.
"There's been speculation (the attacks) have taken
our eye off the ball. I don't think that's the case," the British source
said. Zimbabwe's southern African neighbours, the European Union and the US
were all following events in Zimbabwe closely.
After heated exchanges
between London and Harare last year the UK sought a lower profile on land
reform and stressed the growing international concern, in an effort to
deflect Mugabe's accusations that London was bullying its former
This week's visit follows a call by Amnesty International that
the international community quickly deploy election monitors and observers
in Zimbabwe to keep tabs on the situation in the run-up to the crucial poll.
It said the Zimbabwean crisis was worsening as world attention remained
focused on the US war against terrorism.
The British envoy to Harare
said last week he had received conflicting reports on the progress of the
agreement, with white farmers reporting continued illegal occupations, while
Zimbabwean authorities accused Britain of not honouring its promises.
However, Britain had been awaiting the visit by the foreign ministers before
it could release funds to compensate farmers who lose their land. With
Sapa-AFP, Reuters. Oct 24 2001 12:00:00:000AM Dumisani Muleya Business Day
DR Timothy Stamps, the Minister of Health
and Child Welfare, suffered brain damage, contrary to State media reports
that he fell ill as a result of food poisoning about two weeks
Two senior doctors yesterday confirmed that Stamps, 64, suffered a
“vascular accident” in the head.
The doctors said the “accident”
resulted in bleeding into the brain.
The bleeding affected Stamps’
speech, memory and movement of the limbs, they said.
“It is like a
minor stroke,” said one of the doctors. “A vascular accident results in
bleeding, and in his case, he bled into the brain.
All talk about food
poisoning is lies. The condition has nothing to do with that at
According to the sources, Stamps has been visiting a rehabilitation
center in Harare.
When The Daily News contacted Parirenyatwa Hospital
on Monday, a nurse confirmed Stamps had been taken to a rehabilitation
The Daily News could not establish the centre. Although sources
said he could have been taken to St Giles Rehabilitation Centre in Harare,
officials at the institution flatly denied the minister ever visited the
centre for treatment.
On 10 October, Stamps was airlifted from Kwekwe
to Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare after suffering what the State-controlled
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and The Herald reported as food
Stamps and Dr Ruth Labode, the provincial medical director for
Matabeleland North, were expected in Nkayi for the official opening of the
upgraded district hospital, which recently got a major facelift after years
A medical source said: “How can someone who suffered food
poisoning stay in hospital for two weeks? We don’t understand why they are
hiding information about his condition. It’s not like Stamps is
Dr David Parirenyatwa, Stamps’ deputy, could neither
confirm nor deny the minister’s condition.
Parirenyatwa said: “I
haven’t heard about that at all. Anyway, you should be asking Mrs Stamps
Cindy Stamps, the minister’s wife, could not be reached
for comment. However, his son, who refused to be named, said that the
government, through the Ministry of Health, was expected to issue a statement
on Stamps’ condition soon.
He said: “They are trying to find the best
way of handling the situation.”
Since Monday, Stamps’ mobile telephone
number has indicated that it is “not in use”.
Stamps has been Minister
of Health since 1990, after he was appointed a non-constituency Member of
Parliament. He is the country’s longest serving Minister of Health.
BRITAIN’S Minister for Africa is flying to
Zimbabwe this evening to join other Commonwealth ministers in looking at
whether President Mugabe has kept to his agreement to halt violence against
white farmers. Baroness Amos and foreign ministers from Australia, Canada,
South Africa, Kenya, Jamaica and Nigeria will meet President Mugabe tomorrow
along with leaders of the Commercial Farmers Union, and then travel outside
Harare on Friday to see the farms for themselves.
They will report
back to the Commonwealth, which has called repeatedly for an end to violence
and farm occupations in Zimbabwe.
The British Government believes that
there has been some lessening of violence since the meeting between Jack
Straw, the Foreign Secretary, and Stan Mudenge, the Zimbabwean Foreign
Minister, in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, on September 6.
reports of continuing occupations and harassment of farmers, British
officials are reluctant to draw any conclusions until they have completed
The white farmers said last week that there had been a huge
increase in violence, a charge dismissed by the Zimbabwean Government.
Britain has promised to make money available for land reform, but is waiting
for the results of the ministerial visit.
The ministers are also
expected to discuss sending observers to ensure that next year’s presidential
elections are free and fair.
Mugabe has failed to
honour Abuja pledges, says rights group
Andrew Meldrum in Harare and Ewen
MacAskill Wednesday October 24, 2001 The Guardian
Baroness Amos, a
Foreign Office minister, is to leave London tonight for the first visit by a
British minister to Zimbabwe since the row broke four years ago with its
president, Robert Mugabe, over land and human rights. She is part of a
Commonwealth team which is to spend tomorrow and Friday assessing the extent
to which Mr Mugabe is honouring commitments made at a summit in Abuja,
Nigeria, on September 6. At the Commonwealth-inspired summit, Zimbabwe
promised to reduce violence and end illegal seizure of white-owned
The Abuja agreement was hailed as a breakthrough but violence and
land seizures have continued. A report by Amnesty International, published
today, emphasises the scale of continued violence and calls on the
Commonwealth and the European Union to send observers.
official tried yesterday to put a gloss on events by saying there had been a
"slight decrease" in violence. The official said that while intimidation of
opposition parties continued, there seemed to be a drop in violent incidents
involving land seizures.
The Commonwealth team, led by Nigeria, is to
meet farmers and farm labourers, non-government organisations, opposition
politicians and government representatives, and perhaps even Mr
The last British minister to visit Zimbabwe was Tony Lloyd in
1998. Since then, there has been a sharp deterioration in relations between
the two countries, marked by strong personal exchanges between Mr Mugabe and
another Foreign Office minister, Peter Hain, and the former foreign
secretary, Robin Cook.
The main objective of the Commonwealth team is
to try to get Zimbabwe to agree to a system of monitoring the Abuja pledges
and to set deadlines for meeting them.
The Amnesty report appeals for
international observers to be sent in as early as November 2001, to prevent
violence and as a strong signal that the world is watching "the government's
actions - and inaction - in the runup to the elections". Mr Mugabe is obliged
to hold elections by the end of March next year.
The report states
that "the human rights situation remains serious and without expected
improvement". The "pattern of political repression by the ruling party" was
It urges the Commonwealth and EU to condemn the
continuing state violence and to provide training and support for Zimbabwean
organisations monitoring human rights.
The Amnesty report backs up the
findings of several Zimbabwean groups that the government has increased its
violence and intimidation of opposition supporters and of white farmers since
it signed the Abuja agreement.
Amnesty condemns the "climate of impunity"
in Zimbabwe where no action is taken against Mr Mugabe's followers who are
identified as perpetrators of violence and in which violence and torture are
often carried out by the police.
Amnesty voices its concern that the
Commonwealth let the focus of its Abuja meeting be diverted by Zimbabwe from
concern over the breakdown of rule of law, to land reform.
have not only failed to maintain law and order but often have directly
participated in human rights violations," it says. Amnesty adds that it is
"extremely concerned" for the safety of journalists in the country.
Black farm workers are new victims of Mugabe By Peta
Thornycroft in Marondera (Filed: 24/10/2001)
WHILE the world's
attention has been diverted by events elsewhere, Robert Mugabe's campaign of
political intimidation in Zimbabwe has changed in character.
Mugabe loyalists who enforced his push to evict white farmers from their land
have begun to terrorise black farm workers, disenfranchising them and forcing
them from their homes by threat of violence.
Panaka Muzama and his wife,
Edna, have packed their possessions ready to leave the only home they have
ever known. They are the latest victims of President Robert Mugabe's land
grab in Zimbabwe.
Mr Muzama, 29, works for a commercial farmer, Henry
Harris, 36, on a mixed farm near Marondera, 55 miles south-east of
Four months ago Mr Mugabe's loyalists invaded the land and halted
farming. Now they have ordered Mr Muzama and the other workers to
Mr Harris's 200 workers and their families will be replaced by 91
Mr Mugabe supporters and their families. As well as clearing the land for
the invaders, this will make it near impossible for the Muzamas to vote in
the forthcoming presidential election.
Mr Muzama said: "I want to stay
here on the farm. I have nowhere to go. Our future is not bright."
workers in the farm village have been packing their goods fearing violence if
they missed the deadline this week set by the Mugabe supporters.
days earlier their friends on a neighbouring farm were attacked with axes,
whips, clubs and chains, and 16 men and six women were injured, one of them
The Muzama family will join 75,000 people evicted in the past
three months, often violently, from commercial farms. They lose their jobs,
homes, schools and health care.
When Mr Mugabe launched his land
invasions last February, the farm workers' welfare was not on his agenda, and
they have become internal refugees, said Kerry Kay, welfare officer for the
Commercial Farmers' Union. "Many of them have disappeared."
and his wife face losing their Zimbabwean citizenship because their parents
were born in Malawi. He said: "I don't know where they are and I have never
been to Malawi."
Mr Muzama, like hundreds of thousands of others, has
until Jan 6 to renounce his right to a foreign passport or lose his Zimbabwe
Observers said Mr Mugabe's regime passed the legislation to
deprive whites eligible for British passports of citizenship, without
considering the effects on immigrant workers and their families.
Muzamas, like others displaced in the past 18 months, are unlikely to
be resident in the constituencies in which they are registered to vote for
the presidential election early next year.
More than two million
people live on the commercial farms, and human rights activists have given
warning that vast numbers have been disenfranchised as a result of farm
invasions and political violence.
A mile away, Memory Dairo, 35, has
moved into a new hut with a plot on the Harris farm given in thanks for her
husband's support for Mr Mugabe in the war of independence.
"We came here because we were starving. I know it is wrong to use this white
man's fields and his fertiliser, but what can we do?"
EU sets Sunday deadline for Zimbabwe poll
Brussels - The European Union on Monday
gave President Robert Mugabe's government until next Sunday to decide whether to
allow EU observers into Zimbabwe to witness presidential elections next year.
Belgian foreign minister Louis Michel, coming out of a 90-minute meeting with
Zimbabwean counterpart Stan Mudenge, said that the EU was offering to deploy
election observers as well as a pre-election team of poll evaluators. "It would
be good to have an answer by Sunday," the day before a meeting in Luxembourg of
EU foreign ministers, said Michel, whose country holds the rotating EU
presidency. That meeting, he added, "would assume its
responsibilities" - a broad hint that the EU might impose sanctions on Mugabe's
government for failing to address human rights concerns. Under the Cotonou
accords between the EU and former European colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and
South Pacific, sanctions can be imposed if high-level political talks fail to
overcome human rights differences. Legislative elections in June last year were
marred by violence, and many fear similar if not worse bloodshed when Mugabe
stands for re-election next March or April. On a visit to Brussels last
Wednesday, Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said his Movement for
Democratic Change was determined to oust Mugabe's "dictatorship" at the ballot
From The Times of India, 24
Zimbabwe rejects EU
Harare - Zimbabwe's government has rejected
an ultimatum issued by the European Union to decide whether to allow EU
observers in the country during 2002 presidential elections, foreign minister
Stan Mudenge said on Tuesday. Mudenge said Zimbabwe would have considered an
offer for observers, but will not accept "demands" from other countries because
it is a "sovereign state". He vowed that Zimbabwe would not allow European
states to play a "Milosevic" game try to remove Mugabe from office, under the
guise of election observing. The minister spoke shortly after arrival from
Brussels where he had talks with Belgian foreign minister Louis Michel on Monday
during which the EU offered to deploy election observers and a pre-poll
evaluators. Zimbabwe had been asked to give its response by Sunday ahead of an
EU council of ministers meeting next on Monday. "They demanded that Zimbabwe
should accept an EU pre-election commission ...and that Zimbabwe should accept
EU observers during the presidential elections," Mudenge said. "I told him
(Michel) that Zimbabwe does not accept demands… we are a sovereign and
independent state," Mudenge told news conference. "If we start to go into the
habit of receiving demands we lose our sovereignty," he said.
Zimbabwe is due to hold elections early
next year when President Robert Mugabe's current term expires. The foreign
minister said had the offer been made in good will it could have been
considered. "If it had not made an ultimatum, it would have been good." Mudenge
said he told Michel that he suspected there was "poison" in the demand and vowed
that he would not allow EU countries to sponsor opposition parties in Zimbabwe.
"We want them to stop it and we want to tell them don't try the Milosevic in
Zimbabwe... we will not allow it to happen in Zimbabwe," he vowed. He said
western nations went into Yugoslavia early before elections on the pretext of
evaluating and observing polls yet they were organising and sponsoring the
opposition to remove Milosevic. "We don't want them to undermine the situation
(here). We don't want to give them the opportunity to play that mischief here,"
he said. The Zimbabwe government has always accused the former colonial power of
funding the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in a bid to oust
Mugabe. Mudenge said while the Commonwealth had made an offer to help Zimbabwe
with observers the EU is making "demands and orders, threats and
From The Guardian (UK), 24
British minister flies to
Mugabe has failed to honour Abuja
pledges, says rights group
Harare/London - Baroness Amos, a Foreign Office minister, is to
leave London tonight for the first visit by a British minister to Zimbabwe since
the row broke four years ago with its president, Robert Mugabe, over land and
human rights. She is part of a Commonwealth team which is to spend tomorrow and
Friday assessing the extent to which Mr Mugabe is honouring commitments made at
a summit in Abuja, Nigeria, on September 6. At the Commonwealth-inspired summit,
Zimbabwe promised to reduce violence and end illegal seizure of white-owned
farms. The Abuja agreement was hailed as a breakthrough but violence and land
seizures have continued. A report by Amnesty International, published today,
emphasises the scale of continued violence and calls on the Commonwealth and the
European Union to send observers.
A British official tried yesterday to put a gloss on events by
saying there had been a "slight decrease" in violence. The official said that
while intimidation of opposition parties continued, there seemed to be a drop in
violent incidents involving land seizures. The Commonwealth team, led by
Nigeria, is to meet farmers and farm labourers, non-government organisations,
opposition politicians and government representatives, and perhaps even Mr
Mugabe. The last British minister to visit Zimbabwe was Tony Lloyd in 1998.
Since then, there has been a sharp deterioration in relations between the two
countries, marked by strong personal exchanges between Mr Mugabe and another
Foreign Office minister, Peter Hain, and the former foreign secretary, Robin
Cook. The main objective of the Commonwealth team is to try to get Zimbabwe to
agree to a system of monitoring the Abuja pledges and to set deadlines for
The Amnesty report appeals for international observers to be
sent in as early as November 2001, to prevent violence and as a strong signal
that the world is watching "the government's actions - and inaction - in the
runup to the elections". Mr Mugabe is obliged to hold elections by the end of
March next year. The report states that "the human rights situation remains
serious and without expected improvement". The "pattern of political repression
by the ruling party" was being repeated. It urges the Commonwealth and EU to
condemn the continuing state violence and to provide training and support for
Zimbabwean organisations monitoring human rights.
The Amnesty report backs up the findings of several Zimbabwean
groups that the government has increased its violence and intimidation of
opposition supporters and of white farmers since it signed the Abuja agreement.
Amnesty condemns the "climate of impunity" in Zimbabwe where no action is taken
against Mr Mugabe's followers who are identified as perpetrators of violence and
in which violence and torture are often carried out by the police. Amnesty
voices its concern that the Commonwealth let the focus of its Abuja meeting be
diverted by Zimbabwe from concern over the breakdown of rule of law, to land
reform. "Police have not only failed to maintain law and order but often have
directly participated in human rights violations," it says. Amnesty adds that it
is "extremely concerned" for the safety of journalists in the country.
From The Daily News, 23
Zanu PF supporters attack
Madzimure’s house again
A group of about 60 suspected Zanu PF youths on Saturday stoned
the house of Willas Madzimure, the MP for Kambuzuma, and destroyed property
worth over $3 000. Madzimure, an MDC member, was away at the time. This is the
second attack on his house. In May, about 200 war veterans and Zanu PF
supporters attacked Madzimure’s house in broad daylight, reducing it to a shell
and looted household goods worth thousands of dollars. In the weekend attack,
window panes in the MP’s bedroom were broken and asbestos sheets were damaged.
Lydia Makala, the housemaid, said: "I heard noises outside and I went to
investigate. As I opened the front door, I was missed by a stone. The group was
chanting liberation war songs and demanded that my boss should leave Kambuzuma.
I locked the door and hid in the guest room."
Madzimure said on his return from his rural home in Zaka,
Masvingo, he reported to the police in Warren Park. He said: "These attacks on
me as a person have gone out of hand. Despite positively identifying the
culprits, no arrests have been made. I am going to write a letter to the Speaker
of Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, asking him whether he is aware of the attacks
on MDC MPs. Does he know that we need protection? I think my life is in great
danger and I am going to seek legal advice." Madzimure said he had information
that the group was led by two Zanu PF supporters in the constituency. "When
Reuben Barwe, ZBC’s chief correspondent, was attacked at the airport, the police
moved swiftly and arrested the culprit," said Madzimure. "When Zanu PF’s lawyer
Anele Matika’s house was attacked, people were immediately arrested and brought
to book. Is the law now being used
From ZWNEWS, 24 October
Fissures open in Zanu PF
Disgruntled politicians in Matabeleland want to break away from
Zanu PF - citing lack of commitment to the so-called 'unity accord' signed
between Zanu PF and PF Zapu after president Mugabe overlooked them in
ministerial appointments. Senior Zanu PF officials said a campaign to discredit
the accord, signed in 1987 by Zanu PF and PF Zapu, was being led by former Zanu
PF parliamentarians who lost their seats to opposition Movement for Democratic
Change in last year's general elections in the region. The party lost all but
three of the 23 constituencies in the Matabeleland region to the MDC. The
party's loss to the MDC in the mayoral elections last month was seen as a sign
that the party Zanu PF was 'dead' in the region.
Insiders said Monday that those agitating for the destruction
of the 'unity accord' believed that they were being sidelined by the party
presidency in favour of emergent younger politicians from Matabeleland. Zanu
PF's acting political commissar, Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, admitted on Monday that
"not all is alright", and that some senior party members are particularly
worried that new people such as Professor Jonathan Moyo are closer to the
President than them, and may eventually become vice-presidents at their expense.
Analysts said Zanu PF was concentrating on discrediting MDC as an
alternative government but Ndlovu said the general mood among ex-Zapu leaders
and supporters was that the unity accord was not benefiting the people of
Matabeleland. "We have said this before, it's known and it's not new. It's a
fact. Even Dr Nkomo always scrutinised the unity accord. I have told the party
leadership that people have raised questions about the accord, even to me. It
seems the Unity Accord is just on paper," he said.
Referring to attempts by the party to whip up Nkomo's memory in
the parliamentary and mayoral elections, Ndlovu said: "The talk of the unity
accord is too much and too nauseating. It (the accord) is only talked about in
Bulawayo and Matabeleland. It is as if we are underdogs clamouring for
unity." Ndlovu admitted that he was not happy with Professor Moyo's way of doing
things. He accused Moyo of not recognising the local party leadership when he
visited the city to help in the campaign for the just ended municipal elections.
"He (Moyo) has his own style of doing things. We as the leadership of
Matabeleland, both in the Central Committee and the Politburo are not happy. He
must come through the province and we will inform the local leadership about his
programme and appear to be working together," he said.
He said he and his colleagues were angry at stories by the
Chronicle, a state-owned daily newspaper, saying that Moyo was the most popular
Zanu PF politician in Matabeleland after the late Dr Nkomo. "Some of you write
saying that the professor is following in Dr Nkomo's shoes. That can't be
allowed to happen. If you want to work for him (Moyo), work for him. He is your
minister," fumed Dr Ndlovu, a former deputy Minister of Higher Education and
Technology. Party insiders said most of the old PF Zapu leaders hoped to succeed
Vice President Msika when he retired, and saw the meteoric rise of Moyo as a
threat to their ambitions. "They want to use the old Zapu structures so as to
exclude him. Some are even going about telling people that the professor is not
from Matabeleland so as to discredit him in the eyes of the Ndebele. But these
same guys are the ones who have made the party unpopular in the region by not
fighting for the people of Matabeleland to get development from the government,"
said a senior party official.
From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 24
Black farm workers are new victims
Marondera - While the world's attention has been diverted by
events elsewhere, Robert Mugabe's campaign of political intimidation in Zimbabwe
has changed in character. The Mugabe loyalists who enforced his push to evict
white farmers from their land have begun to terrorise black farm workers,
disenfranchising them and forcing them from their homes by threat of violence.
Panaka Muzama and his wife, Edna, have packed their possessions ready to leave
the only home they have ever known. They are the latest victims of President
Robert Mugabe's land grab in Zimbabwe. Mr Muzama, 29, works for a commercial
farmer, Henry Harris, 36, on a mixed farm near Marondera, 55 miles south-east of
Harare. Four months ago Mr Mugabe's loyalists invaded the land and halted
farming. Now they have ordered Mr Muzama and the other workers to leave. Mr
Harris's 200 workers and their families will be replaced by 91 Mr Mugabe
supporters and their families. As well as clearing the land for the invaders,
this will make it near impossible for the Muzamas to vote in the forthcoming
presidential election. Mr Muzama said: "I want to stay here on the farm. I have
nowhere to go. Our future is not bright."
All workers in the farm village have been packing their goods
fearing violence if they missed the deadline this week set by the Mugabe
supporters. Three days earlier their friends on a neighbouring farm were
attacked with axes, whips, clubs and chains, and 16 men and six women were
injured, one of them critically. The Muzama family will join 75,000 people
evicted in the past three months, often violently, from commercial farms. They
lose their jobs, homes, schools and health care. When Mr Mugabe launched his
land invasions last February, the farm workers' welfare was not on his agenda,
and they have become internal refugees, said Kerry Kay, welfare officer for the
Commercial Farmers' Union. "Many of them have disappeared."
Mr Muzama and his wife face losing their Zimbabwean citizenship
because their parents were born in Malawi. He said: "I don't know where they are
and I have never been to Malawi." Mr Muzama, like hundreds of thousands of
others, has until Jan 6 to renounce his right to a foreign passport or lose his
Zimbabwe citizenship. Observers said Mr Mugabe's regime passed the legislation
to deprive whites eligible for British passports of citizenship, without
considering the effects on immigrant workers and their families. The Muzamas,
like others displaced in the past 18 months, are unlikely to be resident in the
constituencies in which they are registered to vote for the presidential
election early next year. More than two million people live on the commercial
farms, and human rights activists have given warning that vast numbers have been
disenfranchised as a result of farm invasions and political violence. A mile
away, Memory Dairo, 35, has moved into a new hut with a plot on the Harris farm
given in thanks for her husband's support for Mr Mugabe in the war of
independence. She said: "We came here because we were starving. I know it is
wrong to use this white man's fields and his fertiliser, but what can we
From Business Day (SA), 23
SADC's Trading Route
While Spoornet will not charge for
lengthy detour, delays will affect trade in the region
Trade between SA and other Southern African Development
Community (SADC) countries faces disruptions following the closure yesterday of
the main railway link between SA and Zimbabwe, the SA Chamber of Business
(Sacob) has warned. Spoornet said it would take up to six weeks to re-open the
rail link, which was badly damaged after a goods train bound for Zimbabwe
derailed and exploded at Lilliput Bridge near Messina on Sunday. Sacob CEO Kevin
Wakeford said that, although trade between SA and Zimbabwe had been declining
recently, the latter remained a critical inland route to other SADC countries.
He said: "Any form of delay has a negative effect on the overall trading
environment." Countries like Malawi and Zambia would be greatly affected by
delays in the delivery of goods. "It is all about managing time these days, and
delays will be negative for trading between SA and other SADC countries like
Zambia and Malawi," Wakeford said.
The train was pulling 30 wagons, 20 of which were filled with
diesel and 10 others with containers. It derailed at about 2pm on Sunday. There
were no reports of injuries or deaths. Emergency workers, and municipal workers
and soldiers from Messina, worked throughout Sunday night to contain the fire.
Spoornet spokesman Mike Asefovitz said the bridge that goes over the Sand River
was badly damaged by the fire, and about 55m of railway line was also damaged in
the derailment. "We have no estimates on costs as the impact to the bridge has
yet to be assessed by structural engineers," he said. It was also not yet known
what caused the train to derail. Spoornet will, in the meantime, divert goods
trains to Zeerust, through Mafikeng and then to Botswana, while it transports
passengers between Louis Trichardt and Messina by bus. There would be no extra
charge to long-distance passengers and goods customers, Asefovitz said.
He said that executives of Shosholoza Meyl, the long-distance
rail operator, were meeting to decide on an alternative method of transporting
the passengers between Louis Trichardt and Messina. "The majority of the
passengers are traders and transporting them by bus does not satisfy the
handling of the baggage that they carry." He said the use of the Mafikeng
railway line would add 300 km to the goods trains' journey. However, it was not
the first time that Spoornet had to divert rail traffic bound for Zimbabwe to
Botswana, he said. "When there were floods in the province last year, the bridge
was washed away and we diverted the rail traffic bound for Zimbabwe to
Botswana," Asefovitz said. Spoornet had a good working relationship with the
Botswana government and there would be no problem in this arrangement. Asefovitz
said there was no need for searches at the border posts as cargo in the goods
trains was sealed. Asefovitz could not put a figure on the daily tonnage carried
by the goods trains, as this depended on supply and demand. Spoornet had four
goods trains and a passenger train travelling in each direction daily. After the
accident, Spoornet's first priority was to contain the structure and ensure
there was no environmental damage to the surrounding areas, he said. "We will
then concentrate on repairing the bridge and the damaged railway line." Spoornet
workers were yesterday still removing derailed wagons and transferring loads
into empty wagons.
THE British intelligence service is actively involved in a smear
campaign against Zimbabwe and is working in cahoots with the opposition Press
in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
which damage Zimbabwe’s reputation, have been placed in various newspapers in
these three countries, which still have a big number of former
Diplomatic sources said there appears to be confusion within
the British establishment with hardliners pushing for tough action on
Zimbabwe using the Libyan ghost of a country under sanctions.
sources said this had not gone down well with town hall who felt that the
former British foreign secretary Roy Cook had listened too much to
the hardliners resulting in a further deterioration of relations
between Zimbabwe and the UK with the latter losing face.
foreign secretary, Mr Jack Straw, said the sources, seemed to be backing a
different line, which has seen the British agreeing to the Abuja accord to
fund Zimbabwe’s land reform programme and trying to improve relations between
the two countries.
The sources said a case in point was the new thrust by
British intelligence to internationalise and demonise Zimbabwe’s relations
with Libya through articles planted in the opposition Press.
opposition Press in Zimbabwe and South Africa has recently been
running stories alleging that hundreds of Libyan troops had been sent to
Zimbabwe to help President Robert Mugabe crack down on his political
opponents and the minority white Zimbabweans.
Sources said the papers
alleged that members of a South African Muslim vigilante group, People
Against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad) had been hired by the Government "to
unleash terror" against opponents.
The diplomatic sources said the new
strategy was aimed at demonising Zimbabwe’s relations with Libya,
particularly economic co-operation on the supply of fuel.
broken the stranglehold of British firms, which had traditionally supplied
fuel to Zimbabwe.
The Arab country had agreed to supply Zimbabwe with oil
on favourable conditions that recognised the official exchange rate and
accepted terms in local currency.
Analysts criticised attempts by the
opposition media to demonise Libya and its relations with Zimbabwe, yet the
British and the Americans had recently improved their relations with Tripoli
and were now conducting business with it.
They were deliberately
ignoring the fact that Libya had led the formation of the Africa Union and
had bankrolled meetings of the successor to the Organisation of Africa
Contacted for comment, the Minister of State for Information and
Publicity, Professor Jonathan Moyo said the articles were hopelessly out of
step with the emerging international relations in Africa.
ridiculous is the operation that it has tried to suggest that Pagad
is Zimbabwean. That is how insane it is. Pagad is South African," he
"All this is an effort to internationalise Zimbabwe in a negative
way because of the collapse of efforts to internationalise the land
issue following the Abuja agreement," he said.