|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
|Zimbabwe: Horticulture exports to increase in 2001|
It was reported by Pana that Zimbabwe’s flower growers have said that despite political and economic instability the industry had increased export earnings by 15% in 2001. According to the report the Export Flower Growers Association of Zimbabwe said that Zimbabwe would earn more than US $75 million from horticulture exports in 2001. Zimbabwe exports flowers mainly to Europe.
HARARE The Commonwealth mission which probed what steps were taken to end violence on Zimbabwe's farms in exchange for help with land reform has found little hope for an early end to the crisis.
Ministers from seven Commonwealth nations issued a cautious communique at the end of their three-day visit, calling on the government of President Robert Mugabe to implement the September 16 agreement signed in Abuja, Nigeria, and to probe reports of rights abuses and violence.
With the Abuja agreement, Zimbabwe pledged to curb rural violence in exchange for British financial backing for its land reform programme.
But commission member Keith Martin, Canada's shadow secretary of state for Africa and Latin America, said: "The reality is frightening. Farm workers have a loaded gun pointed at their heads and I find that quite chilling," said Martin.
The ministers said Harare had "established a process in accordance with the Abuja accord", but Martin said the procedure of the talks "ensured that there would be a mild statement because the mission was operating under rules of consensus; with Zimbabwe being part of the process it had to reflect Zimbabwe's position".
Martin said: "Zimbabwe must not be allowed to get into a spiral of violence and anarchy".
If the Abuja accord was not satisfactorily applied, Martin said, the international community had to act and "remove the government of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth".
The Commercial Farmers' Union, which has 4500 white farmer members owning more than two-thirds of Zimbabwe's prime farm land, responded cautiously to the outcome.
A team of experts from the United Nations Development Programme will visit Zimbabwe next month to decide on the procedure and details. Harare is adamant: land reforms will take place with or without Abuja.
The ministers also face urgent issues related to Europe's contribution to the fight against global terrorism, and the attempt to provide security against possible future attacks.
Correspondents say the subject remains a fraught one after France and Germany and the UK angered other member states at the Ghent summit 10 days ago, by holding a separate meeting to discuss their possible military contributions to the US-led campaign.
The Luxembourg meeting also comes immediately after a visit to Zimbabwe by a Commonwealth delegation which called on Harare to investigate alleged violations of human rights.
EU officials say a consensus is forming that the time has come to step up the confrontation with Zimbabwe.
The ministers must now decide whether to start a formal complaints procedure which could result in economic sanctions on Zimbabwe, including the ending of substantial amounts of EU aid.
There are persistent reports of Zimbabwe government supporters seeking to intimidate political opponents.
The European Union is also dismayed at the lack of progress in restoring law and order, since President Mugabe last month pledged to end the violent occupation of white-owned farms in return for British financial aid for land reform.
The Commonwealth delegation spent three days in Zimbabwe assessing the implementation of the recent Abuja agreement on land reform.
Under the terms of the agreement, Zimbabwe promised to end violent invasions of white-owned land, while Britain pledged to help fund a peaceful redistribution of land.
The Commonwealth ministers were deeply divided on what to say, and eventually came up with a weak declaration.
From The Guardian (UK), 29 October
No early end to Zim crisis
Harare – A statement issued at the end of a Commonwealth mission to probe what steps have been taken to end violence on Zimbabwe's farms in exchange for help with land reforms showed there is little hope for an early end to the crisis. Ministers from seven Commonwealth countries who made up the investigating team issued a cautious communiqué at the end of their three-day mission, calling on the government of President Robert Mugabe to implement the agreement signed in the Nigerian capital Abuja on September 6 and probe reports of rights abuses and violence. Under the terms of the Abuja agreement, Zimbabwe pledged to curb the violence that has raged in the countryside for 20 months in exchange for British financial backing for its land reform programme. Harare has said it has set up trouble-shooting committees to respond to incidents on farms. But Keith Martin, Canada's shadow secretary of state for Africa and Latin America who was part of the Commonwealth mission, said reality was "very different from what the government is saying. "The reality is frightening. Farmworkers have a loaded gun pointed at their heads and I find that quite chilling," said Martin.
The Commonwealth ministers also said in their statement that Harare has "established a process in accordance with the Abuja accord". But Martin said that the procedure of the talks "ensured that there would be a very mild (final) statement because the mission was operating under rules of consensus and with Zimbabwe being part of the process (...) it had to reflect Zimbabwe's position". Expressing fear for the stability of the southern African country, Martin added, "Zimbabwe must not be allowed to get into a spiral of violence and anarchy". If the Abuja accord is not satisfactorily applied, Martin said the international community must act and "remove the government of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth".
Writer and political commentator Chenjerai Hove said it was unlikely that Harare would change its political strategy as a result of the Commonwealth ministers' visit. "I don't think we are going to change much. We are going towards elections violently, nothing is going to change," Hove said, adding that the Commonwealth team had been "thoroughly and properly hoodwinked" and had ended up with "a diluted version of what is happening on the ground". The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), which represents 4 500 white farmers who own more than two thirds of Zimbabwe's prime farmland, responded cautiously to the outcome of the talks. David Hasluck, director of the CFU, said it was important that the ministers agreed on the "urgent need to get farmers to plant without interference, to build confidence and reduce conflict".
In the absence of mechanisms to monitor the implementation of the Abuja accord, analysts say the main problem is that Abuja is not a legal but a political agreement. A team of experts from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) will visit Zimbabwe in November to decide on the procedure and details relating to the application of the Abuja land deal. But Harare has remained adamant that land reforms will take place with or without Abuja. "Abuja or no Abuja, land is getting back to the people. No amount of lies, besmirching and demonising will stop the process," an editorial in the pro-government Sunday Mail said. Local media reported that the talks were divided on racial grounds, with Australia, Britain and Canada allegedly taking a stance opposed to that of Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 26 October
Villagers denied Campfire proceeds
Villagers in the Matabeleland North province of Tsholotsho have accused a safari operator linked to Zanu PF of denying them proceeds from a Campfire safari project he operates in the area. The wrangle has engulfed the local authority after villagers questioned what they term an "unholy alliance" between council and the operator, Jake Andrews, over the alleged abuse of Campfire projects. The community claims it has been prejudiced of millions of dollars. Sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that the crisis dated back 10 years when Andrews entered into a joint venture agreement with council to establish a safari operation in Campfire management ground.
The joint venture allowed the safari owner to do business for nine years and 11 months with an option to renew on the same terms and conditions. The current agreement elapses on February 28 next year. The sources said it was odd for council to enter into a joint venture with an individual to run a project meant to benefit the whole community. Tsholotsho rural council last week flighted an advertisement inviting tenders for the area under lease. Sources said the new executive was reportedly eager to cancel the previous contract and run the Campfire project as a separate entity.
Villagers, who included traditional leaders, told the Independent that unlike other districts in the country, their community had not reaped any benefits from the Campfire project. The member of parliament for Tsholotsho, Mtoliki Sibanda, said he suspected there was more than meets the eye to the deal. "This whole deal is mired in secrecy," Sibanda said. "When I became MP for the area I requested a copy of the agreement but was told the copy has gone missing from council offices." Efforts to get a comment from the chief executive officer of Tsholotsho rural district council were fruitless by the time of going to press. Andrews scoffed at the idea when contacted for comment and said what he was doing was above board. "These people are just malicious and I am sure they are Movement for Democratic Change supporters. What they are saying is baseless," he said. "I have a contract with council and that is why I operate the safari."
From The Zimbabwe Standard, 28 October
Zanu PF women in Libya drama
Libyan authorities last month locked up in a cold room the information and publicity secretary of the Zanu PF women’s league, Nyasha Chikwinya, during a row over the pricing of goods exported to Libya for sale, The Standard has established. Chikwinya, the former Harare North member of parliament, was in Libya as part of a delegation of 40 Zanu PF women who were on a business exhibition tour of the north African country. The women had joined President Robert Mugabe’s entourage to Libya to commemorate the country’s 32 nd anniversary of the September First Revolution whose celebrations were taking place from 1 to 15 September.
The group of women was to have exhibited its goods for three days at the Arts and Crafts Gallery, and then sell them in foreign currency. Trouble started on the first day of trading when Libyan officials insisted on the right to peg the prices of goods from Zimbabwe, with Chikwinya strongly counter-arguing that the hosts had no right to determine prices. Chikwinya was eventually thrown into a cold room by Libyan security details for remonstrating with officials over the pricing of the goods. Sources told The Standard last week that Chikwinya was detained for about one hour in the cold room of the five-star Allbada hotel. Upon release, Chikwinya is said to have been shivering and to have immediately sought warm clothing. Contacted for comment on Thursday, Chikwinya said: "I am not talking to the press about our Libya trip. I’m in the process of writing a report to the national executive of the women’s league."
Other women who formed part of the delegation said bickering and political smear campaigns had cost them the Libyan market and valuable foreign currency. Goods worth about Z$5,5 million had to be abandoned in Libya when the women were ordered home prematurely because of their squabbles with the hosts. Scores of the women blamed their ordeal on the deputy minister of youth development, gender and employment creation, Shuvai Mahofa, whom they accused of conniving with the Libyans. Contact for comment, Mahofa confirmed that the women had encountered problems in Libya. "We had many women that we do not know, who wanted to travel to Libya and they had also carried excessive luggage. These women who are making noise are part of the MDC who wanted to take advantage of the trip," said Mahofa.
The participants had gone to Libya under the auspices of the Gadaffi Sisters Foundation, a coalition headed by Mahofa and formed to encourage cooperation between the Zanu PF women’s league and the Libyan government. Problems for the women started at the Harare International airport where Mahofa barred some would-be participants, accusing them of being members of the opposition. "We were left at the airport when Mahofa, without any basis whatsoever, accused us of being supporters of the opposition. We are business women from the party. She was only doing that because she wanted to accommodate Jocelyn Chiwenga and Saniso Katerere who are not part of the women’s league," said one woman who preferred anonymity. Jocelyn Chiwenga is wife of army commander, Lieutenant General Constantine Chiwenga, while Saniso Katerere is married to Harare businessman and Zanu PF MP, Philip Chiyangwa.
Upon arrival in Libya, the women were housed at a five-star hotel but their goods were taken by the Libyan authorities for safekeeping. The bickering among the women is said to have continued, prompting Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Libya, John Mvundura, to order some 30 women to return home but without their goods which remained in the hands of the Libyans. The other 10 women, led by Mahofa, remained and were allowed to continue trading but they encountered problems with the Libyans over prices resulting in the Chikwinya crisis. The 10 were then ordered to leave their goods behind and were advised that proceedings from the sales would be forwarded to them. However, no money was forthcoming and they have now been told by Mahofa that their goods were donated to the Libyans on the instructions of the Zimbabwean embassy.
Contacted for comment at his Tripoli office, Mvundura confirmed that the goods had remained in Libya. "I was asked by the leader of the delegation (Mahofa) to donate the goods, so speak to her," he said. Each participant has now been offered US$200 by the foundation as part of the allowances they should have been paid in Libya. Libyan leader, Muammar Gadaffi, facilitated the trip by providing a chartered plane to the Zanu PF women’s league to enable the participants to exhibit their wares which included wooden carvings, batiks, pottery, basket ware, crocheted items, sculptures, copper and other metal wares - weighing over 1 200 kgs in total. The list of the women who visited Libya for the anniversary includes Idah Mashonganyika, Sabina Mangwende, Tabeth Marumahoko, Shuvai Mahofa, Jocelyn Chiwenga, Saniso Katerere, Mandy Chimene and Florence Chiromo.