Monday, 15 April, 2002, 17:55 GMT 18:55 UK
Zimbabwe journalist arrested
The Daily News printing press was bombed in
The editor of Zimbabwe's only private daily newspaper has
been arrested after publishing a story that last month's election results were
falsified, his lawyer said.
Geoff Nyarota from The Daily News was charged with falsifying and fabricating
information and released three hours later, said Lawrence Chibwe.
Days after his controversial re-election, President
Robert Mugabe signed into law measures which greatly restricted the media.
Nyarota has been arrested five times in three
Another journalist was detained on Monday afternoon, his editor said.
Dumisani Muleya from the Zimbabwe Independent was picked up in connection
with a story published last Friday, said the paper's editor, Iden Wetherall.
Earlier on Monday, New Zealand became the latest country to slap a travel ban
on Mr Mugabe and his associates in protest at the election, which Commonwealth
observers said was held in a "climate of fear".
Mr Nyarota faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison or a fine of
$1,800 if found guilty.
In the story, the Daily News accused the man in charge of announcing election
results, Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede, of manipulating the count.
He denies the accusation.
Mr Nyarota denies the charge, his lawyer told Reuters news agency.
"The understanding so far is that the police will take the case to the courts
very soon, but they have formally charged Mr Nyarota," said Mr Chibwe.
Mr Nyarota has been arrested several times since the Daily News was launched
The paper's printing press and main office have both been bombed.
Last week Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change, petitioned the Supreme Court to declare the result of the presidential
The MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he has "shocking" evidence of electoral
fraud, and is demanding a fresh election.
Mr Mugabe denies the allegations and has said no new presidential poll will
be held until his term expires in six years' time.
Last week the ruling Zanu-PF party and the MDC began talks about the future
of the country.
The talks, which have been adjourned for a month, are being held under South
African and Nigerian mediation.
The United States, European Union and Canada have all imposed "smart
sanctions" - travel bans and the freezing of foreign-held assets - on Mr Mugabe
and members of his government.
In announcing New Zealand's own ban, Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said
there was "clear evidence" that those on the list had been involved "in terms of
human rights abuses and undermining the rule of law."
Zimbabwe Editor, Reporter, Charged on Mugabe
— HARARE (Reuters) - The editor of Zimbabwe's
only private daily newspaper
was arrested and charged on Monday with
publishing false information in a
story alleging President Robert Mugabe
fraudulently won last month's
Police charged Geoff
Nyarota, editor of the Daily News, under a recently
passed media law which
penalizes "abuse of journalistic privilege" with
heavy fines or jail terms of
up to two years, his lawyer Lawrence Chibwe
Mugabe signed the
media law just three days after winning the March 9-11
which his main rival Morgan Tsvangirai and many Western
powers say he
A reporter from another private newspaper said police had
questioned him for
four hours over a story and charged him with criminal
"They said I had unnecessarily dragged the First Lady's name
into my story
to damage her reputation and I deny this," Dumisani Muleya of
Independent said, adding that he was now waiting for the case to
The paper's editor, Iden Wetherell, said Muleya was
questioned over a story
alleging Mugabe's wife, Grace, had been drawn into a
labor dispute involving
her brother and a white-owned company.
police detained Muleya after his story was published by the weekly
There was no immediate comment from the police on either case.
Nyarota denies the police charge that the Daily News fabricated
in a story last Wednesday alleging Registrar-General Tobaiwa
falsified vote figures in declaring Mugabe the winner. Mudede has
"The understanding so far is that the police will
take the case to the
courts very soon, but they have formally charged Mr.
Nyarota," Chibwe told
Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
has called Mugabe's victory "daylight
robbery" and has filed a court appeal,
challenging the result.
-- Zimbabwe's sole ruler since the former Rhodesia gained
Britain in 1980 -- says he won the elections fairly and
by mainly Western poll observers, including the
Commonwealth, that he
Mugabe, 78, says the West is desperate to see Tsvangirai -- whom
he calls a
puppet of Britain -- in power and its observers came to the
elections with pre-conceived opinions.
SOUTHERN AFRICA: Desperation as people await harvests
April (IRIN) - Rain-parched Southern Africa is eagerly awaiting the April/May
harvests, which will determine whether up to three million people
The situation is forcing desperate Zimbabweans to sell cattle and
other belongings at vastly reduced sums to buy food to feed their
Reverend Forbes Mutonga, National Director of Christian Care, a
World Food Programme (WFP) implementation partner, said: "For kids, the [school]
supplementary feeding programmes are becoming their only meal in places like
Masvingo and Chipinge.
"Basically life is difficult. In Chipinge district
the people have been affected by a cyclone (in 2000), drought and then major
"In Matabeleland most people have some cattle and when they sell
them they are being exploited and given some maize meal and are being forced
into barter trade. There are even reports of people eating wild
Mutonga said it was not only people who had no crops in their
fields and no money who were suffering. People who had money had found it
impossible to buy basic foodstuffs.
"This is giving us more of a
headache," said Mutonga.
Some of the worst hit areas Christian Care
worked in included Guruve and Muzarabani in Mashonaland central, Kariba
district, Masvingo, two Matabeland provinces and the Midlands.
out of 10 provinces have received rainfull so far," said Mutonga.
results of harvests at the end of April and May will be a key indicator of the
region's food security and will be closely watched by the WFP.
concerns are echoed by both the WFP and Famine Early Warning System Network
In reports on the regional food security situation the
organisations warned that all crops in the southern districts of Masvingo,
Midlands, Manicaland, Matabeleland south and north provinces have been badly
affected by the drought.
Zimbabwe would have a maize deficit of between
1,2 to 1,5 million tons in the 2002/2003 marketing season, similar to the
1992/93 marketing season.
The WFP is currently implementing a 12-month
US$60 million emergency food programme in Zimbabwe which it hopes will reach
about 500,000 of the most needy.
On Tuesday afternoon, the WFP would meet
NGOs to discuss urban food shortage assessments.
Meanwhile, in other
regions, the WFP reported that an emergency programme in Malawi is targeting
over 301,000 people. Earlier reports said up to 80 percent of Malawians were
facing food shortages.
Zambians continue to battle low and erratic
rainfall and early reports from Mozambique indicate that in Tete province
several districts will suffer food shortages in the next three months due to the
lack of rainfall.
In Angola, heavy rains caused major flooding in Lobito
and Benguela hampering access. More than 2,700 people will be helped with WFP
aid this week in the Lobito and Dombe areas and community kitchens would be
opened in Lobito and Benguela for about 1,000 people who lost their housees, the
WFP report said.
In Balombo and Benguela municipalities, over 800
malnourished children were given WFP food. Following the ceasefire about 3,900
malnourished internally displaced people were resettled in Kuito, Kunhinga and
A FEWSNET report also warned that as a result of warm sea
surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean an El Nino event, which is normally
associated with poor rainfall in Southern Africa, was beginning to
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Commonwealth press to back Zimbabwe's free
CAPE TOWN, April 15 — The Commonwealth Press Union (CPU)
Zimbabwe's state-owned media during its suspension from the
will work with the country's independent media, an official
said on Monday.
Zimbabwe was suspended from the 54-member
Commonwealth in March
after a disputed presidential election in which Robert
Mugabe, who extended
his 22-year rule to 2008, charged that the opposition
parties and press were
backed by the West.
Mark Robinson, executive
director of the CPU, told a news conference
in Cape Town that Zimbabwe's
12-month suspension did not mean the union had
to withdraw entirely from the
''We will apply exactly the same principles that we applied
Nigeria when they were suspended -- we will not be issuing any
to state-owned media during the period of that suspension,''
''But we will not cut ourselves off from the privately
who we have been working to help and to encourage.
want to see a strong democratic press develop in Zimbabwe as in
country and we will do all within our powers to help,'' he said.
Zimbabwe's only broadcaster and its main newspaper are state owned. A
of independent newspapers battle legal restraints, bombings and
On Monday, the editor of Zimbabwe's only private daily
Daily News, was arrested and charged with publishing false
information in a
story alleging that Mugabe fraudulently won last month's
The London-based CPU is represented at a
Commonwealth conference on
parliament and the media in Cape Town this
The Commonwealth suspended Zimbabwe after its observer
reported that the March election that returned President Robert
power was not a free expression of the public will.
54-member Commonwealth links Britain, its former colonies and a
other developing nations. Its subsidiary organisations include
the CPU, a
broadcasters' union and the Commonwealth Parliamentary
CPA Secretary General Denis Marshall said the Commonwealth had
everything it could to punish Zimbabwe by suspending it from
Zimbabwe is facing mounting sanctions
over the violence and alleged
abuse of legal powers that marred the
Mugabe has so far refused, however, to consider rerunning
election under international supervision.
Monday, 15 April, 2002, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
MDC set deadline for talks with
The BBC's Tim Sebastian met Tendai
A senior member of the Zimbabwean opposition says his
party will pull out of talks with Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party, if they
fail to reach an agreement to re-run last month's presidential elections within
four weeks of negotiations.
Tendai Biti, a spokesman on foreign affairs for the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) told Tim Sebastian for BBC HARDtalk that his party would call off
negotiations with the Zimbabwe Government if the matter was not addressed.
"If after four weeks there is no prospect of an agreement
then there is no point in engaging in verbal exercises," he said.
The principle is that the Zanu-PF regime is illegitimate.
On Friday, the MDC petitioned the Supreme Court to declare the result of last
month's presidential election invalid.
Whilst crisis talks between the two parties have currently been suspended
until 13 May.
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC which lost the widely condemned March
poll, has accused President Robert Mugabe of stealing victory.
His party has alleged there were large discrepancies in
the figures recorded at polling stations and those announced by the government.
The MDC says the election result was
However, in the interview Mr Biti denied that by agreeing to talk to a
government it has labelled "illegitimate," his party had "sold" its principles,
saying the MDC had an obligation to break the political impasse in Zimbabwe.
"We have not sold out on any principle," he said.
"The principle is that the Zanu-PF regime is illegitimate and we have to go
back to the question of legitimacy, by allowing the people of Zimbabwe to have a
free and fair election where they can freely express their political choice."
Mr Biti who is visiting London to drum up international support for his party
went on to express his disappointment with Europe, claiming that the
international community should be exerting more political pressure on the
"I am disappointed that the pace of international
involvement is not consistent with the balance sheet of things that are
happening at home," he said.
Mr Tsvangirai is calling for a re-run of the
Last month, Commonwealth observers reported that the presidential election in
March was marred by a climate of fear and violence against opposition supporters
and Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth for a year.
However Mr Biti argued that this suspension was not enough and called for the
international community to impose targeted sanctions on President Robert
From a Zimbabwean farmer:
"Well the land invasion saga continues with new twists everyday the
latest being that you are not allowed to move your equipment off the farm and it
now belongs to the settlers and they are going around doing inventories they
came to us today to do the inventory. They say they are going to be using all
the irrigation pipes and irrigation motors to grow winter wheat. There was also
a very hard hitting statement made yesterday by the Minister of Lands Mr Made (Published here and repeated in the article below). Anyway we plod on and wait the
next couple of days to see our fate. There have been a number of farms that
have been looted in this area with J and E (our next door neighbours)
being one of the five to loose things. Their losses go into well over $20 000
000.00 zim $ and their house has had tiles, sinks, toilet cisterns, basins
electrical fittings etc removed. They had taken most of their furniture to town
and only had a few things left in the house but these things were all stolen.
E got lorries in last week with a police escort to remove the
remainder of equipment and had to leave behind the irrigation pumps, some diesel
and a generator as well as various other items. "
Subject: The Land Agenda
Any ideas that might be held by others in Africa that Mugabe and Zanu
PF are sincere in their commitment to the Abuja accord on land or the UN
proposals for land reform or even the 1998 agreement reached with the
stakeholders on the subject, must surely be swept away by this extraordinary
statement from the Minister responsible. It should be noted that 3 days ago
Zanu PF agreed in a meeting chaired by Nigeria and South Africa that they would
negotiate with the MDC an approach to the land issue which was in keeping with
the commitments made in Abuja by the government some three months ago. This new
statement clearly shows that Zanu has no intention of doing so and are now fully
committed to the wholesale nationalization of all commercial land in Zimbabwe
that is being used for agricultural purposes.
In this statement there is no commitment to compensation for the assets
being seized in this manner, no reference to the legal process which is clearly
set out in legislation passed by this government to manage the land reform
process. It brushes aside the decisions of the Supreme Court on this issue and
completely ignores all historical legal agreements including the protection of
investment agreements with at least 20 overseas countries, the World Bank and UN
Conventions on the subject.
The is no commitment to the rights of the large agribusiness sector
covering tens of thousands of hectares of timber, tea and coffee plantations or
the massive sugar and citrus plantations in the south of the country.
sums involved are simply immense and the State has no possibility of either
providing for or ever paying for the assets being looted by this
This is not land reform, this is theft of private property on a
scale not seen in Africa for many years. There is no reason why this process
should not be extended to the commercial and tourism assets in the country or
the mining assets - in fact the justification given in the last paragraph opens
the way to just such an exercise.
It must also be noted that the manner in which this high handed action is
being carried out is symptomatic of a totalitarian dictatorship which has little
regard for the rule of law or the rights of others. This action not only
destroys a vibrant commercial farming industry that has served Zimbabwe well for
a 100 years but also condemns the country to hunger, joblessness, poverty and
degradation on a huge scale. Its implications will have far reaching effects on
the whole of southern Africa and beyond.
PRESS STATEMENT BY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE AND RURAL
RESETTLEMENT, HON J.M. MADE, ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE LAND REFORM PROGRAMME
(MODEL A1 AND A2)
The Land Reform Programme has seen many challenges to government and in
particular the implementation of the Fast Track Resettlement Programme launched
18 months ago.
Some of the challenges that government has faced in implementing the land
reform programme have been: -
* Resistance by the Commercial Farmers
Delays in the Administrative Courts
* Bureaucratic delays at the ministry
level. Officers wanting to formulate policy instead of implementing
* Lack of adequate resources (financial, human and physical)
In order to address most of the challenges that have been faced, government
through my ministry has taken a decision that we fully address the issues and
give a public statement to indicate which measures we are going to take and the
direction in order to conclude the Land Reform Programme.
The major objective being to further enhance social, political and economic
EFFECT OF SERVING PRELIMINARY NOTICE. (SECTION 5)
Where government has expressed an interest to compulsorily acquire a farm
by gazetting the farm and serving a preliminary notice (commonly referred to as
a Section 5). The landowner shall not: -
* Sub-divide or apply for a permit
to subdivide such land
* Construct permanent improvements on the farm
Dispose of such land
* Demolish, damage, alter or in any other manner impair
the farm, or
* Release water from the dams; destroy pastures or carry out
activities that sabotage the smooth implementation of the land reform Programme
EFFECT OF SERVING ACQUISITION ORDER (SECTION 8)
The serving of an acquisition order (commonly referred to as section 8) on
a gazetted farm, has the effect of immediately transferring the ownership, of
that farm to the acquiring authority, represented by the Ministry of Lands,
Agricultural and Rural Resettlement. The acquiring authority will immediately
survey, demarcate and allocate the land concerned without undue interference to
the living quarters of the owner or occupier of that land.
It is a criminal
offence for the landowner to interfere with the exercise of survey, demarcation
and settler emplacement. The landowner should now confine himself or herself to
the homestead, and must vacate the farm within
90 days of being served the
acquisition order. The acquisition order now also serves as an eviction
notice. No requests for extensions of the notice period shall be entertained.
Government expects the new settlers to quickly move into their newly acquired
land and become the landowner and newly settled farmer. White commercial
farmers must stand warned that government will not tolerate interference of the
operations of the newly settled farmer.
IMPLEMENTATION OF MAXIMUM FARM SIZE REGULATIONS Government has now started
to implement the Maximum Farm Size regulations.
The Maximum Farm Size
regulations will be implemented as follows: -
* The affected farms are going
to be gazetted and compulsorily acquired.
* the farms are going to be
subdivided to conform with the required maximum farm size,
* the current
landowners that wish to continue farming in Zimbabwe will have to indicate their
intention to do so and government will consider the requests.
In December 2000 government gazetted Statutory Instrument Number 288 of
2000 in which maximum farm sizes were prescribed for all the agro- ecological
regions of our country. The maximum farm sizes were broken down as follows: -
Agro-Ecological Zone Maximum Farm Size (ha)
l 250 lla 350 llb 400 lll 500 lV 1 500 V 2 000 All farms that have not been
gazetted for compulsory acquisition are going to be sub-divided to comply with
the maximum farm sizes.
The following farms/properties will be exempted from the maximum farm size
* State land
* Properties belonging to church or mission
* Properties belonging to educational institutions
Properties owned by black indigenous farmers
* Properties where Model A1 and
A2 allocations have already taken place My ministry is still working out the
appropriate maximum farm sizes for conservancies and plantations in consultation
with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
GOVERNMENT SUPPORT AND PROVISION OF RESOURCES Government has also
identified under the Land Reform Programme, a second challenge, that is, the
need to support fully the resettled families in order to optimise agricultural
production so that economic growth, food security and employment creation are
In all government-supported programmes under the Land Reform Programme, the
production of starch based crops like maize, sorghum, millet and potatoes is
going to be emphasised and production targets are going to be set.
is also going to put a price structure that will encourage farmers to produce
these crops. As people are moved from marginal land to land with better
pastures, livestock is also going to take centre stage in our programme so that
the country can meet domestic consumption and export needs.
Government is also going to beef up resources and support services at
provincial and district levels to meet the demands of the land and agrarian
reform. The required personnel are going to be recruited so that the various
activities under the land and agrarian reform can be carried out swiftly and
We have to create a normal life in the resettled areas by designating areas
for rural service centres in order to provide schools, clinics, infrastructure
for grain storage, etc.
SABOTAGE AND DESTRUCTION OF INFRASTRUCTURE ON FARMS We have received
reports of commercial farmers who are destroying infrastructure and removing or
vandalising irrigation and other farm infrastructure. The aim is to frustrate
government efforts to grow a winter crop and preparations for the summer crop
and other farm operations. The nature of other acts of sabotage, include among
others the spraying sugarcane plantations with harmful chemicals and infecting
cattle with diseases. These criminal acts are going to be investigated and the
culprits will be brought to book.
MINISTRY CIVIL SERVANTS The Ministry's civil servants have done a hard job
However a serious problem has arisen of different levels not working at the
same pace. A number of critical officers seem to be putting brakes on the
implementation of the Land Reform Programme. Numerous reports are coming from
the ground alleging that civil servants in my ministry at certain levels are
working hand in hand with commercial farmers to derail and delay the gains so
far achieved on the future of the Programme. As Minister I will not hesitate to
deal with officials that derail and or delay the land reform programme.
NATIONAL LAND TASK FORCE The National Land Task Force has been
re-activated. The Task Force will have very clear terms of reference to monitor
and recommend action to be taken by my Ministry in order to have the Land Reform
Programme effectively concluded. In addition to the Task Force, various
Ministers will be requested to assist in various provinces to see that our
targets are met.
Ministers Mujuru, Chombo, and Made will soon meet the Task
Force to map out its action.
CONCLUSION Our Land Reform and Agrarian Reform are well crafted as they are
based on studies that have indicated that we have land that is under- utilised
or virgin. Our Land Reform Programme is going to be carried out in an
environmentally sustainable manner.
I would like to take this opportunity to tell the nation that there is no
going back on the land reform programme.
Overally by implementing land re-distribution and de-racialisng the
agricultural large scale sector, Zimbabwe will ensure that agricultural
production is never again in the hands of a few who under-utilise or hold to
ransom the means of food security, employment creation, and economic
I thank you.
The last paragraph shown above is very important in that it gives the
justification for this draconian statement as far as Zanu PF is concerned.
should be noted that land owned by black large scale farmers - most of whom are
Zanu PF functioaries or military officers who have benefitted from the process
so far, are specifically exempted from the land aquisition process and the
regulations on maximum sized properties.
The object is therefore racial as
well as economic. The great majority of the properties siezed as a result of
this declaration are farmed very intensively and have been the cornerstone of
food security for the past 20 years of independence.
With this single stroke of a pen - the government has thrown up to 500 000
people out of work, driven their families (2,5 million people) into penury and
destroyed any chance of a resumption of economic growth after three years of
decline in the GDP. The decision to pay farmers for the past years tobacco crop
at the official exchange rate means also that as a final act, the state will
take this asset from the growers at a quarter or less of its real value. Plans
for a winter crop of wheat and maize are a pipe dream and another form of
This is the sort of thing that is going to sabotage the New Economic
Programme for African Development (NEPAD). If the Mugabe regime is allowed to
carry out this so called "reform process" by African leaders, then they will be
tacitly endorsing actions of this nature everywhere in Africa and investors
everywhere will take note. It must be noted that the tiny white community that
is affected by these measures are all highly qualified and experienced and
possess the resources to relocate to other countries where their rights as
investors, as citizens, as human beings will be respected.
Those left behind
are not so fortunate and will pay the price for these gross violations of basic
rights. Rights which are everywhere else in the world are regarded as being
EU beefs up Zimbabwe sanctions with ban on ministerial
contactsLUXEMBOURG, April 15 (AFP) - EU foreign ministers on Monday beefed
up their sanctions against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his government
to include a ban on bilateral ministerial contacts "until further notice."
In a statement, they expressed "deep concern at reports of continuing
politically motivated violence against opposition supporters" by Mugabe's
governing ZANU-PF party.
Meeting as the EU Council of Ministers, they also condemned "the wide-scale
abuse of human rights still taking place, especially in the rural areas, with
the assent or the complicity of the Zimbabwe authorities."
"The council decided to impose a moratorium on bilateral ministerial level
contacts with Zimbabwe until further notice, except for the conduct of political
dialogue intended to promote democracy, human rights, the rule of law in
Zimbabwe, regional security and for addressing humanitarian needs."
The 15-nation European Union, at Britain's urging, had imposed personal
sanctions against Mugabe and 19 close associates, including an asset freeze and
a travel ban, prior to Zimbabwe's general elections last March 9-10.
It also yanked its election observers out of the country, after determining
that Mugabe's administration would not allow them to fan out across the country
and go about their work thoroughly.
In their conclusions Monday, the EU foreign ministers said they were
deferring consideration of "additional targeted measures" against Mugabe's
government until their next meeting in May.
They also said they were awaiting "with interest" a report on a visit to
southern Africa by an EU delegation, and for "signs of a clear commitment" from
Harare to end political violence and strive for national reconcilation.
"The council welcomed the initiative of South Africa and Nigeria to
facilitate inter-party dialogue in Zimbabwe," their statement said, adding: "The
EU strongly supports all efforts which will lead to a fully representative
future government in Zimbabwe."