From News24 (SA), 8 April
Veterans to focus on Harare
Harare - A Harare city policeman who ran President Robert Mugabe's campaign of violent invasions of white farms last year has just been given his next assignment: the crushing of the capital city as an opposition stronghold. Joseph Chinotimba, the ex-guerrilla whose threats of "war" against former chief justice Anthony Gubbay last month led to the distinguished lawyer's forced resignation, has been elevated to "political commissar" of the ruling Zanu-PF party's provincial structure in Harare. With him on the new Harare executive are a squad of other "war veterans", a name that has become synonymous with lawlessness, violence and terror after one of the worst years in Zimbabwe's bloody recent history. "It's clear what was in the minds of the party hierarchy," said Brian Raftopoulos, associate professor in political science at the University of Zimbabwe. "All this is about preparing for presidential elections in 2002." "The election campaign is being fought right now and for the rest of the year we will see it continuing. It means violence, it means irregularities around the elections, and it means creating the groundwork that will not allow the (opposition) MDC to campaign."
Hitler Hunzvi, head of the notorious movement of war veterans, confirmed that the restructuring was "the first phase" of an "aggressive plan" to win back the country's urban areas, which became MDC territory in parliamentary elections in June last year when voters for the first time in 20 years of Mugabe's rule turned against Zanu-PF. "We are setting up structures in every urban constituency aimed at penetrating every urban area as part of our campaign for the presidential elections," the independent Financial Gazette quoted him as saying today. He would not elaborate, but in the southern town of Masvingo last week, Josaya Hungwe, the area's Zanu-PF governor, left no ambiguities when he gave a meeting of local residents his views on mayoral elections due next month. "If you do not vote for Zanu-PF in the coming election, people are going to be killed," he said.
Mugabe was badly shaken in February last year when Zimbabweans voted in a referendum and overwhelmingly rejected a state-managed draft of a new national constitution, effectively inflicting defeat on Zanu-PF for the first time in a national poll. The fact that Zanu-PF narrowly won parliamentary elections four months later against the opposition MDC is due solely to the brutal intimidation by the veterans in the country's rural areas. Since then, a comprehensive battle plan for 2002 has been unfolding. Immediately after the elections, Mugabe's politburo sent Hunzvi to begin the summary dismissal of elected representatives in all but one the 12 provinces into which the party divides the country, and to see they were replaced by executives dominated by war veterans. Veterans marched into party provincial offices and drove out the sitting representatives - in the same way it forces white farmers to leave their properties.
"The party had gone into decay around the time of the referendum," said Raftopoulos. "Now he's cleaning it out, getting rid of dissent and putting in people at grassroots level who are more loyal to him. There is an intensification of militaristic structures of the party. The militia activity we saw last year with the war veterans is now becoming a much more formal part of party structures." There are echoes, he says, of former Chinese dictator Mao Zedong's creation of the Red Guard he used to carry out the savage repression of the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution. "Mugabe always touted the Marxist project," he said. "The language of the rural-based mobilisation, the anti-intellectual and the anti- urban perspective, he's aware of the analogy."
The 78-year-old dictator spelled out the implications of "restructuring" when he addressed his party's central committee last week. He praised war veterans who spearheaded by-election campaigns in two constituencies - one of them won by the MDC in the June elections - late last year and early this year, both of which were won by Zanu-PF. In both cases, war veterans effected virtual military occupations of the constituencies, and carried out concerted campaigns of violent intimidation. Hundreds were assaulted, and two people were shot dead. In his central committee address, Mugabe called "for the same spirit in the forthcoming council and mayoral polls to consolidate the party's hold on the lower tiers of government".
From IRIN (UN), 7 April
Maize Deficit in Southern Districts
Nairobi - Zimbabwe should consider importing maize soon to meet domestic requirements amid expectations of a deficit due to a lower 2000/01 crop, USAID's food security unit recommended on Tuesday. "Based on production prospects and current maize stocks in the country, Zimbabwe needs to consider importing maize soon, especially from South Africa, to meet requirements in the southern districts," the Harare office of the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) said. "These districts now have a maize deficit and will not meet their requirements with the 2000/01 crop. Food aid programs have to be initiated now in these districts and contingency measures need to be planned for the 2001/02 marketing year," FEWS said in its latest report on Zimbabwe. The maize harvest estimate of 1.03 million to 1.2 million mt was 50 percent less than last year's production and 40 percent less than the average for the 1990s.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 6 April
National Parks appeals to Zvinavashe
The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management has appealed to Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe to intervene to end invasions of conservancies by war veterans who have disrupted tourism activities in the game parks. In a letter dated April 2, addressed to Zvinavashe, parks director retired Brigadier Emparcus Chadenga said the situation on the conservancies had to be normalised to allow international hunters to conduct their hunts starting this month. "If this fails to materialise there will be no option but (for Safari operators) to refund their clients thus putting our minister (Francis Nhema) in the firing line as someone who was dishonest to the international community," Chadenga said.
Environment and Tourism minister Nhema in January led a delegation of Zimbabwean operators to the United States where he articulated the situation in Zimbabwe to "a record hostile crowd& at the Safari Club International. In his letter to Zvinavashe, Chadenga said Nhema managed to portray a positive image of Zimbabwe resulting in operators selling all their quotas. "It remains to be seen that we abide by our word. So to achieve this, we need to act fast and ensure that areas which were not affected by January continue open to allow hunters to conduct their hunts."
The international hunters are expected in the country this month. The areas which need to remain open for hunts are in Matabeleland South and Masvingo province. In Matabeleland South seven conservancies, some of which should host international clients this month, have been invaded. These are Perengwe Farm, Bubiana Conservancy, Ravenswood, Nyoni Farm, Drummond Ranching, Dwala Ranching, Janee Ranch and Ingwezi. In Masvingo Buffalo Range Estate, parts of Essanby, and Hippo Valley have been invaded.From The Sunday Independent (SA), 8 April
Zim tycoons stay rich by keeping heads close
Harare - Zimbabwe's two fabulously wealthy business tycoons, John Bredenkamp and Billy Rautenbach, seem to share one thing in common - a penchant for adventurous enterprises, often in war zones, and an unabashed willingness to exploit political connections with the power of the day.
Bredenkamp, 63, whose wealth is valued at £400-million is ranked as the 55th richest man in Britain, where he has extensive business interests apart from those in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa. He hogged the international limelight last year after a report in an intelligence magazine, Africa Confidential, linked him to the brokerage of arms including helicopters and fighter planes from Bulgaria and elsewhere to the war-ravaged DRC. Bredenkamp has just entered a joint venture with Congo's state mining corporation, Gecamines, to exploit the country's mineral wealth.
Rautenbach was head of Gecamines from 1998 until last year. Mining industry sources believe that Rautenbach is playing some role in Bredenkamp's new enterprise with Gecamines, though Bredenkamp has denied this through his spokesperson in Harare, Collin Blythe-Wood, who said Bredenkamp had never worked with Rautenbach and had no business dealings with him. What is certain is that Bredenkamp has effectively eclipsed Rautenbach as leader of Zimbabwe's investments in the DRC since the latter fell out of favour with the late President Laurent Kabila, who accused him of siphoning off too much of Gecamines' profits. "There can be no doubt that Rautenbach used to be the key link for Zimbabwean business in Congo. No one can dispute that this role has now been assumed by Bredenkamp," said a senior Zimbabwean government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Blythe-Wood said Bredenkamp would over time invest $50-million in his joint venture with Gecamines, named Kababankola Mining Company (KMC). He will control KMC through a majority 80 percent stake by his firm, Tremalt Limited. The tycoon's partners in Tremalt Limited are Blythe-Wood himself, who will be managing director of KMC, and another businessman, Gary Webster. Gecamines will be represented in KMC by Jean-Louis Nkulu, Trudon Katende and Marcel Yabili. Bredenkamp's KMC has been granted rights to export 200 tons of cobalt a month. Blythe-Wood said the Congo government would receive 68 percent of the profits generated by KMC. Asked how the joint venture would operate profitably when doling out a higher percentage of its profits to the Congo government, Blythe-Wood said the nature of the investment was such that it would operate profitably. He also rejected charges that his firm had any political links, saying the project was purely a business investment. Bredenkamp has made investments in Zimbabwe worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the tourism, oil and farming sectors, and created thousands of jobs. In the past month he has been linked to a faction of the CFU led by Nick Swanepoel, which is seeking a negotiated settlement with the government over Zimbabwe's unresolved land question. Bredenkamp owns a large estate in Mazowe, which was designated for acquisition by the Zimbabwe government but was later delisted. He, like Rautenbach, has been linked to influential politicians.
Reports say Bredenkamp made his fortune during Ian Smith's UDI period from Britain between 1965 and 1980. He is said to have assisted the Smith government in busting sanctions imposed on Rhodesia after the declaration of UDI in exchange for lucrative tobacco contracts. The reclusive Bredenkamp, in the only interview he has given to the press, admitted his role in sanctions-busting during UDI but said there was nothing clandestine about it. "Yes, I was requested by the government of the day to help source supplies and equipment for the beleaguered country and yes, I did so. This has been openly acknowledged," he said in the interview, which was published recently by the privately owned Zimbabwe Independent newspaper. Reports have also linked Bredenkamp to arms sales in Iran and Iraq, but he vehemently denied the charges. "For many years I have not been involved in the arms business at all. What newsmen have done is extract controversial stories from old articles and then sensationalise them," he said. Bredenkamp said it was interesting that he had never been questioned by any government in all the countries he had visited over any shady business deals. "Perhaps rumours and innuendo are not of interest to such people."
Blythe-Wood has also emphatically rejected any allegations linking his boss to arms dealing. In Zimbabwe, Bredenkamp has expressed his open support for President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF government. Bredenkamp told the Zimbabwe Independent that his vast business interests and extensive travel experience had made him a friend of politicians and he had no regrets about it. He said he sincerely believed that it was in the "best interests of Zimbabwe for Zanu-PF to win the presidential elections next year". Bredenkamp said he had become a victim of persecution because of his beliefs. He said people who had made allegations against him did not have the courage to stand up for their convictions.
But such is the level of distaste for what some believe to his activities that parents at his former school, Prince Edward, opposed a move to have the school's computer centre named after him, despite the fact that he had bankrolled it to the tune of more than R1-million. "I never asked the school to name the centre after me. I am not going to lose any sleep over the fact that a few parents cannot reconcile wider benefits of generosity with their narrow-minded and selfish points of view." Bredenkamp was born in South Africa in 1940 and moved to Zimbabwe as a child. He was educated at Zimbabwean schools but says he was more interested in sports than academic matters.
He received all his training in business with a tobacco company called Gallahers until 1965, when the company closed because of UDI. He was then seconded to a firm called Tobacco Corporation and travelled frequently to Zambia to buy tobacco. In 1967 he transferred to Holland to work for a subsidiary of Gallahers called Niemeyers. He became a director of the company and was in charge of its worldwide purchases of all kinds of tobacco. After 10 years with Niemeyers, he left to start his own tobacco firm, Casalee, in Belgium in 1976. The firm grew rapidly and spread its wings through Europe, Africa, America and Asia. In 1993, Bredenkamp sold Casalee to US firm Universal Leaf for $100-million. After selling Casalee Bredenkamp turned his attention to tourism, oil, sports equipment manufacture and other interests. In Zimbabwe he won a major tender to supply fuel to the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe. He also supplies fuel to Zambia, Malawi and Congo.
From Business Day (SA), 9 April
Quit Congo or no aid, Rwanda is told
The country's leader is adamant that his country's security comes first, before any aid
Rukumberi - In an unusually tough speech, Rwanda's President Paul Kagame lashed out at the weekend at countries demanding the tiny central African nation pull its troops out of neighbouring DRC before it can receive aid and be granted debt reduction. Speaking at a ceremony remembering the more than 500 000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus slain during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Kagame angrily rejected accusations that Rwanda is using its presence in Congo to exploit the mineral wealth of Africa's third largest country. "The reason we went to Congo is to make sure that what happened in 1994 does not happen again," he said.
Rwanda is marking seven years since the beginning of a 90-day genocide triggered by the mysterious shooting of the plane carrying Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana on its approach to Kigali Airport on April 1994. Hutu soldiers and militiamen hunted down Tutsi men, women and children and killed them. When the massacres started, the UN pulled out most of its peacekeepers, who had been sent to monitor a 1993 peace agreement between the government and the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) rebels. "This (genocide) happened while the world was watching. This world has no sympathy, no pity," Kagame said after watching the reburial of some 24 600 people killed in Rukumberi within the first two weeks of the genocide. A reburial ceremony has taken place each year since 1994 in a different part of the country.
The genocide ended on July 4 1994, when Kagame's Tutsi-led RPF captured the capital, Kigali, and formed a government consisting of Hutu and Tutsi politicians. As the tiny central African nation struggles to deal with the consequences of the killings, its forces are inside neighbouring Congo hunting the Interahamwe and the Hutu army that perpetrated the genocide and continue to threaten its security. Rwanda and its estranged ally, Uganda, first entered Congo to back a rebel force that ousted dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and installed the late president Laurent Kabila. Kabila fell out with his allies, who again entered the war in Congo to support Congolese rebels fighting to oust him after accusations by Rwanda that he was using the Interahamwe and Sudan-backed Ugandan rebels to beef up his unreliable army.
Following Kabila's January 16 assassination and succession by his son, Joseph, prospects for peace in Congo have brightened. There has been compliance with key provisions of the stalled 1999 Lusaka peace accord, and Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe have withdrawn some of their forces from Congo after parties began a 15-kilometre pullback from front line positions. Kagame rejected pressure to completely withdraw his forces out of Congo and hit at countries seeking to link aid and debt relief to the pullout. "Those who say they cannot give aid or forgive our debts, so be it. Let those funds remain empty because they cannot benefit anyone who is killed (by the return of perpetrators of the 1994 genocide)," Kagame said.
|Demo against Sugar Daddies turns rowdy|
4/9/01 7:55:39 AM (GMT +2)
of Zimbabwe students turned a protest over pay-outs into a rowdy demonstration
against “sugar daddies” on Saturday night, after the death on Friday of a female
The students stoned 20
visitors’ vehicles, including one belonging to a Member of Parliament (MP).
Learnmore Jongwe, the MDC MP for Kuwadzana, had all his car’s windows smashed before the vehicle was overturned. The damages to the car were estimated at $100 000.
The students attacked any cars entering the campus claiming that there were too many “sugar daddies” visiting the university. They claimed this tarnished the institution’s image.
The demonstration started after a meeting to discuss “meagre” payouts.
Emotions were high after the death of Tecla Tom, a first-year Bachelor of Arts General student in unclear circumstances in the lounge of Swinton Hall, one of the female hostels on Friday. She left a note bidding farewell to her husband, Innocent.
Part of the note reads: “It does not matter, Innocent, my husband, the time had come.”
Tecla was buried at Granville Cemetery yesterday.
Family members said the postmortem report showed she had died of natural causes.
Dewa Mavhinga, the outgoing Students' Executive Council (Sec) president, was injured when he tried to restrain about 70 student protesters.
Reports of female students engaging in prostitution to supplement their dwindling allowances have mounted.
The privatisation of catering services, which has raised meal prices, has not helped students either.
Some students have moved out of the campus into the suburbs. Others, mostly women, are reportedly cohabiting with boyfriends in Harare’s Avenues.
Others rent rooms in lodges where they entertain clients.
The demonstration turned political when pro-Zanu PF students opposed to Innocent Mupara’s victory in the Sec elections last Thursday hijacked the event.
The police in Avondale confirmed vehicles were damaged during the demonstration.
Mupara linked the attack on the vehicles to students with Zanu PF sympathies.
He said Zanu PF supporters hijacked the demonstration to discredit him.
“Zanu PF supporters who believed the MDC sponsored my campaign were behind the violence,” said Mupara.
“They left the posters I used during my campaign around the damaged cars to link me to the violence.”
Mupara beat three other students suspected to have been sponsored by Zanu PF in the election held on Friday.
Jongwe said he had gone to the campus to drop off his brother, Leonard, a second-year economics student.
He said about 70 students recognised his car as he walked his brother to his room and they allegedly started shouting and stoning the car, before overturning it.
The mob allegedly threatened to burn the car, Jongwe said.
“Those young Zimbabweans who have chosen to support Zanu PF should be tolerant of people who have different views from their own,” he said.
|War veterans force director into hiding|
4/9/01 8:37:54 AM (GMT +2)
IMRAN Chaudhry, the managing director of Leno Trading (Pvt) Ltd, has gone into hiding after his employees, led by suspected armed war veterans, rampaged through his garage and home in Harare last Wednesday over a salary dispute.
The group allegedly
assaulted Chaudhry's workers, stole his property and car-jacked 34 motor
Police recovered the vehicles on Friday and they were yesterday parked at Harare Central police station.
Wednesday’s attack follows the amicable resolution of a pay dispute between Chaudhry, Zanu PF, the so-called war veterans and the workers on 5 March.
People claiming to be war veterans seized 22 commuter omnibuses from the city operator on 1 March after his drivers and conductors complained of poor pay and working conditions.
They parked the vehicles at Zanu PF headquarters for five days.
The stand-off ended after Didymus Mutasa, the Zanu PF secretary for external affairs, intervened.
Chaudhry was ordered to pay the workers a total $450 000, which he did.
On Wednesday, about 30 so-called war veterans and Chaudhry’s workers stormed into his garage in Waterfalls.
They allegedly assaulted and kidnapped three mechanics, Javed Khan, Muhammad Qayyum and Arshad Ali Khan, stole their television set, video cassette recorder, a station wagon and a 4x4 vehicle.
They allegedly robbed the diesel attendant of about $7 000 and stole some diesel. They are alleged to have damaged property at the garage.
Chaudhry reported the matter to the police in Waterfalls.
The group allegedly proceeded to Chaudhry’s home in Avondale, where they climbed over the wall and broke into the house.
Chaudhry was not at home, but they reportedly beat up his workers before leaving with property.
The matter was reported to the police in Avondale.
The group car-jacked 32 of Chaudhry’s 78 buses, assaulted the drivers and demanded the day’s takings.
This time they parked the vehicles at Zanu PF’s Harare provincial headquarters in Fourth Street.
|Tsvangirai tours mass graves of Gukurahundi victims|
4/9/01 8:36:24 AM (GMT +2)
Daily News Correspondent, Bulawayo
THE MDC president,
Morgan Tsvangirai, last Saturday toured the mass graves of victims of the 1980s
massacres in Kezi, saying his party, once in power, would bring to book all
those found to be responsible.
Tsvangirai spoke hours
before receiving a hero’s welcome by a crowd of more than 15 000 supporters at
Maphisa growth point.
He became the first political leader to visit the mass graves, in which are buried some of the more than 20 000 people killed by the army’s North Korean-trained 5 Brigade in Matabeleland and Midlands.
Accompanied by his deputy, Gibson Sibanda, and the national youth chairman, Nelson Chamisa, Tsvangirai was led by village elders to Balagwe area where thousands of people were buried in mass graves.
He later visited Antelope Mine where some of the victims were buried in disused mineshafts.
“This is confirmation that when a government pursues power through the use of violence, it totally disregards the rights of its citizens,” said Tsvangirai.
“This was a barbaric operation by Zanu PF and its leadership. It should never have happened.
“It was a sad episode in our history and the MDC will obviously want to see justice being done if it comes to power. Such human rights abuses should be revisited and those responsible will have to account for their actions.”
Tsvangirai, who attended the victory celebrations for Lovemore Moyo, the MDC MP for Kezi, heard horrific accounts of how innocent people were massacred during the dissident era.
“We should all unite and stand up to defend ourselves as Zimbabweans,” said Tsvangirai.
Sibanda warned of a slide into anarchy, urging the MDC’s supporters to be vigilant.
He predicted that Zimbabwe would experience its worst violence during the campaign for next year’s presidential election.
Sibanda said: “This is a revolution and for one to achieve any victory and alter the status quo, there will be pain and suffering. Mothers know that when one is pregnant, no matter how much one might pray, one cannot avoid labour pains.”
|ZUJ slams criminal defamation charges|
4/9/01 9:16:14 AM (GMT +2)
THE Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists (ZUJ) at the weekend said the criminal defamation charges levelled
against the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily News, Geoff Nyarota, and two of his
reporters, Sandra Nyaira and Julius Zava, were laughable and history would be
made if President Mugabe successfully sued the three journalists.
Basildon Peta, said criminal defamation had no recognised standing in any
Peta said: “Those who feel that they have been aggrieved by the media should, perhaps, pursue the matter through the civil court and not the criminal court. The use of criminal defamation is an absurd and desperate attempt to muzzle the media.”
He said any reasonable court should throw out the case because the use of criminal defamation was an infringement of the constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression.
“Journalists have no doubt that Nyarota, Zava and Nyaira will emerge as the victors in that landmark criminal defamation case,” Peta said.
He said ZUJ also condemned the Broadcasting Services Act which came into force last week saying it was designed to further suppress the broadcasting sector, already besieged by the government.
“The new Broadcasting Services Act is one of the worst pieces of legislation ever to be passed in the post-independence era,” said Peta. “It is the final nail on the coffin of Press freedom, particularly the broadcasting sector in Zimbabwe.”
Peta said the greatest relief was that the Act was so undemocratic it could be successfully challenged in the Supreme Court by those prohibited from entering the broadcasting sector.