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Daily News


Political thugs to pay for their murderous acts through mental illness

4/27/02 10:14:07 AM (GMT +2)
By Foster Dongozi Features Reporter

DURING his campaign rallies, President Mugabe met traditional leaders whom
he acknowledged deserved respect as custodians of Zimbabwean tradition and

But the perpetrators of the campaign of terror by the ruling Zanu PF party
descended into the abyss that is spawning mental crises.

After Mugabe’s exhortations it later emerged that 56-year-old James Sibanda,
a headman in the Mathendele area of Nkayi, took his last breath when his
voice rang eerily across the village on 7 February at about 8pm.

Headman Sibanda bellowed in agony, as suspected members of Zanu PF’s youth
brigade bashed his head with logs.

While the rest of Zimbabwe, especially Mashonaland, Masvingo and Manicaland,
suffered under Zanu PF and State-sponsored brutality during the run up to
the 9-11 March presidential election, for the people of Matabeleland and
parts of the Midlands, it was a case of deja vu as the harassment and terror
was a re-enactment of the early 1980s.

The difference is that while in the 1980s government soldiers were deployed
to suppress dissident activities, this time villagers are being harassed and
persecuted by their own children for suspected support of a legitimate
opposition political party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Sibanda’s wife, Judith, said: “We are living in fear, terrorised by and
scared of our own children because some of the youths who came looking for
my husband were young boys that I have known from the time they were born.”

She is still trying to come to terms with the reality of becoming a widow
under such unnatural circumstances.

Earlier on that fateful day, 15 Zanu PF youth brigade members under the
leadership of a former notorious dissident, Rainfall Msimanga, descended on
Sibanda’s homestead looking for him.

After ransacking the homestead, the group disappeared into the nearby bush.

“When they arrived, he was not at home and they left a message ordering him
to report at the Zanu PF terror base set up at the nearby Mathendele Primary
School,” Mrs Sibanda said.

Culturally, it is improper for young people to summon their elders, more so,
traditional leaders.

She spent the whole night praying that her husband would return home the
following day.

“In the morning, he still had not returned so I decided to find out from the
base commander, Rainfall Msimanga, what had become of my husband,” she said.

The former bandit and Zanu PF youth brigades became uncomfortable when she
enquired on the whereabouts of her husband.

She reported to the police that her suspicions were that the youth brigades
were behind his disappearance because they were the ones who had come
looking for him.

“The police questioned them, but they were immediately released,” she said.

The disappearance, like numerous others around the country in the run-up to
last month’s presidential election, was about to be written off as another
minor election mishap when the horrific discovery came from an unlikely
source - their cattle.

“On 22 February, since I no longer had anyone to assist me with looking
after our livestock, I was driving the cattle through a dense forest.

“I was surprised when they started bellowing and mooing around a certain
area as if in mourning.”

She said for about 20 minutes she failed to remove her cattle from the spot
while they “mourned” around the scene.

“I assumed a cow had been slaughtered at the scene because that is how
cattle behave when they get to a place where one of them has been killed.

“But I became very frightened because there was something intense about
their mourning,” she said.

When the cattle moved off, she went to investigate.

A branch had been thrown over a small pile of charred remains.

Among them, she noticed, was a piece of black jeans, similar to those worn
by her husband when she last saw him.

Nearby, was his handkerchief.

Feeling faint, she sat down. She broke down in tears.

It had dawned on her that Sibanda had been murdered and burnt.

She collected the charred clothes and took them to the police in Nkayi.
She says some of the officers appeared annoyed that she had cracked open the
case on her own.

But after that, the police were all business and immediately arrested more
than 30 members of the youth brigade who led them to the remains of their

The remains were buried at the headman’s homestead at the end of March.

Youths who have participated in the gruesome murders of political opponents
throughout the country now suffer from varying degrees of mental stress.

Manicaland governor, Oppah Muchinguri, warned Zanu PF supporters before the
presidential election that if they killed opposition supporters, they -and
not the party - would be haunted by avenging spirits.

Professor Gordon Chavunduka, the president of the Zimbabwe National
Traditional Healers’ Association, warned of a wave of psychotic problems.

In 1980, he said, there were vast numbers of cases the association handled
because of the trauma of the activities carried out during the liberation

He said: “We have been dealing with these cases since 1980 when the freedom
fighters returned from the war because of people they killed.

“The association did its best. The same thing is happening now, but our head
office is not kept up-to-date.

“There are psychological problems and it is true that people who are killing
their political opponents are the ones who will be haunted, not the parties
on whose behalf they carry out the killings.

“Our members are dealing with such cases, but we do not have the exact
numbers at the moment.”

The resettlement of former dissidents in Nkayi district in 1988 cowed the
community into submission.

They led the terror campaigns which saw the district record high incidents
of politically motivated violence in the run-up to last month’s presidential

Some of the former dissidents were reportedly deployed to Kwekwe, about 100
km away where, according to MDC members, they led about 40 youths to a house
in Mbizo suburb.

The youths allegedly took turns to rape an elderly woman and her
daughter-in-law in the same room. The elderly woman is reported to have died
a few days later, while her daughter-in-law received medical treatment,
before fleeing to relatives in Harare.

Several psychologists said Zimbabwe should prepare itself to deal with the
consequences of a society infested with people haunted by their crimes
against humanity.

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Daily News

Reward Marufu grabs farm

4/27/02 10:08:09 AM (GMT +2)
By Pedzisai Ruhanya Chief Reporter

REWARD Marufu, the brother of the First Lady, Grace Mugabe, has reportedly
grabbed a farm near Bindura after chasing away the manager, and proceeded to
harvest crops he found on the farm, already planted and ripe, using
equipment forcibly taken away from the farmer worth millions of dollars.

More than 200 workers are now jobless and, consequently, without wages after
Marufu took over the farm, including property worth more than $200 million.

Bob Duncan, the manager at Leopardflair Farm, who is now in hiding, said
trouble started on 21 March when a group of 10 people driving a Mazda
pick-up vehicle, registration number 630-415H, came to the farm at night and
ordered him to vacate the property.

“I called the police in Bindura after the youths had cut the security fence
to the workshop and my house. These people left after 15 minutes,” Duncan

The officer-in-charge at Bindura Police Station, who identified himself as
Inspector Sande, yesterday refused to comment.

Sande said: “I think you know that we do not speak to the media. Get that
information from our spokesperson.”

Duncan said a war veteran identified only as Matangira, who occupied the
neighbouring Thrums Farm, later came to the farm to investigate the incident
and concluded that it was the work of criminals.

He said he also approached the National Employment Council (NEC) for the
agricultural sector to facilitate payment of his workers, but the NEC
officials indicated that they could not assist because of Marufu’s
involvement in the matter.

Duncan said on 1 April, 24 people descended on the farm in three vehicles,
broke the locks to the gate and stole workshop and irrigation equipment
worth over $50 000.

The invaders also surrounded his house and told him to leave the farm.

“I reported the matter at Bindura Police Station and the case number is
RB056614,” he said.

Duncan said that on 2 April, Matangira arrived at the farm in the company of
Marufu, who was driving a Mazda pick-up vehicle, registration number

“Matangira introduced Marufu as the new owner of the farm and told me that
Marufu wanted to immediately move into the farmhouse and plant his winter
crops,” Duncan said.

Marufu, President Mugabe’s brother-in-law, yesterday confirmed he had moved
onto the farm, but refused to give further details.

He said: “What do you want from me? Go to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture
and Rural Resettlement to get those statistics. Is it me alone who is
getting land?”

Duncan said at the time of the incident he had hired 150 contract workers to
boost his workforce of 58 as it was time to harvest soya beans, maize and
paprika in the fields.

Matangira yesterday confirmed that Marufu was his neighbour, but denied
being involved in the wrangle.

Matangira said: “Why can’t you come so that we can have a face-to-face talk?
I have nothing to do with Marufu’s presence on the farm. Marufu is Mugabe’s
brother-in-law, so why should I not visit him?”

Duncan said he told Marufu and Matangira that the farm was no longer listed
for resettlement after it was delisted in February, but the two insisted
they were not interested in the legal status of the farm.

He said on 5 April five youths from Matangira’s farm invaded his property
and told him to leave the farm but he did not comply.

Duncan said on 9 April Marufu arrived at the farm driving a Mazda pick-up
truck with eight youths and chased the workers away before they locked him
inside a farm office.

“They broke into the office and demanded to know why I was still at the

“Marufu went away and brought back 10 more people. He took away all the keys
to the doors of my house and instructed his people to remove some of my
property from the house,” he said.

Duncan said Marufu ordered him to take some of his property out of the main
house, but he could not take away everything at once.

He said the police were alerted of the developments at the farm but did not
bother to come to the property.

The district administrator’s office in Bindura was equally unhelpful saying
they could not do anything because it was a difficult situation, Duncan

“On 13 April after the police arranged that I remove some of my property,
Marufu later arrived and ordered me not to take away anything. He told
employees of the removals firm I had hired to off-load the property,” he

Duncan said on Tuesday he received reports that Marufu was harvesting his
soya beans, maize and paprika worth over $35 million.

He said he immediately reported the alleged harvesting of his crops to the
police in Bindura and the case number is RB081276.

Duncan said he had not yet established the actual value of the other
properties which include two houses, six tractors, grading machines, grain
dryers, irrigation equipment, 12 horses and other workshop equipment but
estimates that they could be worth over $200 million.

In November 1999, Marufu was quizzed by the police over allegations that he
looted the War Victims Compensation Fund of $822 668,55.

Marufu, a former Zanla combatant, was recalled home from a diplomatic
posting in Canada in October 1999 after the Canadian police raided his home
over charges of assaulting his daughter, whose name was not revealed.

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Dear Family and Friends,
Last Saturday morning a war veteran named Wind, accompanied by a bunch of young men, arrived on my farm in the morning. He gave my tenants and their young children two days to get off the farm and out of the house as he says it now belongs to him. Wind then went over the road and issued a verbal eviction order to my neighbours and then to the family living in their cottage. These eviction orders were all non negotiable and backed up by threats of violence. One of the threats was to throw a four year old deaf child into a silage pit. Wind and his men then went to the houses of all the people who live and work on these farms. All the men, women and children were also ordered out. Wind closed the trading store on my farm and said it was now his. He ordered that all the dairy cows on one of the farms and all the laying hens on the other farm were not to be moved as they now belong to him. He ordered that all the agricultural equipment be left behind as this also belongs to him - including a tractor and plough, borehole motors, feed tins, water pipes, wheelbarrows, drums of fuel, rakes, shovels etc. The police were informed but said they could not get involved as it was political.
I went out to my neighbours and tried to help them pack. Driving towards the farmhouse gate I was met by Wind. He was wearing orange overalls, a brown leather belt, a big hat and carried a large Zimbabwe flag on a pole in his back pocket. At his side was a thin dog and a number of youths were hanging around, many with shaven heads and wearing Ray Ban sunglasses. I had phoned ahead so a friendly face was waiting at the gate for me and I drove in rapidly before Wind and his helpers could get in. There were no friendly, barking dogs to meet me as usual; they had been put to sleep the evening before because there will be no room for them in the tiny cottage the owners are moving to. Inside the house was utter chaos. The contents of a 22 year life on this farm were strewn everywhere. Boxes and crates were filled, curtains taken down, pictures removed from walls, furniture moved outside onto the lawn. Everything was done in haste and all under the watchful gaze of Wind and his men. Throughout the packing and loading they patrolled up and down the driveway, leant against the gate, climbed trees and just stared. When we were finally done and the removal truck was loaded, we all sat on the front step of the little porch and looked for one last time out onto the farm. We shared a cup of coffee out of the only things not packed - a cracked plastic cup and a chipped china mug without a handle. There was not much to say that didn't include swear words. For me there were a million memories of happy days, lunch parties, fat cattle at the feed tins, burning firebreaks together under the pine trees, glossy starlings at the bird bath, trying to corner a nightape which had been stealing eggs. For the owners there were just silent tears. For them this is the end. They are too old to start again anywhere else. They had invested their life in this farm which is not even designated for government acquisition. They have been forced to just walk out and let a bunch of thugs move into their home. There is no money, no compensation, nothing - just get out or .... . When we were ready to leave Wind was waiting at the gate. Bored louts lolled against the fence and trees down the driveway and we all thanked God we had got out alive. There had been no time to harvest the vegetables in the garden, the paw paws or bananas dripping from the trees; there had been no time to dig up treasured plants from the flower beds.
The tenants on my farm had a much more torrid time. Wind and his men supervised the loading of their furniture; at one point barricaded them in for some hours and later changed the lock on the gate so they couldn't get back in to collect the last load. They demanded all the keys to my house, dairy, workers houses and the trading store. Wind and his men are now living in my house, lying in my bath, sitting on my veranda. My tenants have lost their home and livelihood. I have lost the farm it took a decade to pay for and establish and the rent I was getting which was my only income. In an article I wrote for a local newspaper about the events of last weekend I pointed out the immediate results of Wind's actions. 63 people are now homeless, 28 adults and 35 children. Because of these evictions, Zimbabwe is immediately deprived of 110 dozen eggs a week; 1500 litres of milk a week and 1000 kgs of beef a week. 
The events on my farm and that of my neighbours were not the only evictions this week. It is happening all over the country and this week war veterans have made a new pronouncement - this time to Asian Zimbabweans who they say are hogging commercial enterprises. War veterans have threatened to take over these commercial properties as "the wealth must be shared." I apologise for not telling you of any of the other horrors from Zimbabwe this week, including a woman in her fifties who was beheaded by govenment supporters in front of her two daughters. I also apologise for not answering any of your messages this week. Until next time, with love, cathy.
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Daily News

Government increases price of milk, cement

4/27/02 10:06:20 AM (GMT +2)
Farming Editor

THE government has increased the retail, producer and wholesale prices of
milk, washing and bar soap, margarine and cement with effect from today.

The price of the 500ml fresh milk goes up by a whopping 72,75 percent and
now costs $39,82, up from $23,08.

The Ministry of Industry and International Trade announced these price
increases in four Extraordinary Gazettes released yesterday.

The retail prices for all brands of margarine were all increased. For
example, the price of a 500g of Stork Refrigerated block is now $161,36, up
from $124,14, while 1kg of Buttercup Table margarine block price was raised
from $255,01 to $297,06.

The 250g Geisha bath soap now costs $95,45, compared to the old price of

The 750g Key bar soap, which is more readily available in supermarkets in
the country than other soaps, has had its price increased from $99,65 to
$145,23, an rise of about 52,1 percent. The 750g Brilliant bar soap now
costs $163,22.

Brilliant, like other brands such as Big Ben, Dolphin and Perfection, has,
however, been scarce in supermarkets since the government imposed controls
on basic commodities last October.

A 50kg bag of cement now costs between $450 and $588,23, up from the old
price range of between $245 and $341. The price of cement was reduced from
between $500 and $750 for a 50kg bag to between $245 and $341 when the
government introduced price controls last year.

A tonne of cement now costs between $9 016 and $11 764.

These increases are the second round of price reviews effected by the
government since the introduction of price controls on basic commodities.

On Monday, the government increased the wholesale, producer and retail
prices of bread and cooking oil despite promises made before last month’s
presidential election by President Mugabe that his government would not
increase prices.

The price of a loaf of bread was increased from $48,50 to $60,44. Zanu PF
promised voters during its campaign for the presidential election that it
would not raise the prices of basic commodities if Mugabe were re-elected.

Harare consumers this week blasted the price increases of bread and cooking
oil, saying they would make life unbearable for Zimbabweans already
struggling to make ends meet in a country whose economy had virtually

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, which represents the industrial
manufacturers, welcomed the bread and cooking oil price increases saying it
would see producers of basic commodities improving their viability.

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Daily News

MDC members sacked from Shamva mine

4/27/02 10:02:42 AM (GMT +2)
Staff Reporter

EIGHT workers at Shamva Gold Mine were on Tuesday forced to resign from
their jobs because of their support for the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

The affected workers, Kaifu Tito, 29, a mill attendant, Rogers Chakanda, 32,
Morgan Makunda, 27, Douglas Hamamauswa, Prince Chikono,
Tedius Maiswa and Shake Kanengosha were MDC polling agents during the June
2000 parliamentary and the 9-11 March presidential election, controversially
won by President Mugabe.

The workers said some members in the mine’s administration were active Zanu
PF members and victimised workers suspected to be MDC supporters.

The workers identified them as Titus Mutsvairo, a senior security officer,
Caleb Mutsvairo, the chairman of Zanu PF at the mine, Chris Tembo, the Zanu
PF secretary for the Shamva district, Brian Mupambi, Asher and Zacharia
Chiyanike, Haji Mugwe and Elliot Masanzu, a supervisor in the production

One of the workers, Brian Mudzanga has fled to Kwekwe, after receiving death
threats from Zanu PF youths brought to the mine by Mutsvairo and his

John Chinamasa, the Shamva Mine human resources manager, said:
“Unfortunately, l cannot comment on the goings-on at the mine. Phone our
Harare office or speak to the manager.”

Cornell Parshotam, the manager, was said to be in a meeting when The Daily
News sought his comment. The workers said their union assigned a Mr Sithole
to deal with the matter but he was barred from entering the mine premises.

Lawyer Ray Gumbo is representing the workers in the wrangle with Shamva Gold

Gumbo said the workers were dismissed a fortnight ago, but denied this was
because of their MDC membership.

“It is just speculative. That is not tangible.” Gumbo said. “From a legal
point of view, the eight workers were absent from duty for a continuous
period of five days without a lawful excuse, in terms of the Labour
Relations Act.

“From a political point of view, my clients were evicted from their
respective residences at the mine on grounds that they were members of the
MDC. They have been forced out of Shamva and their goods were thrown out of
their homes and dumped in the open.”

For that reason the workers could not risk reporting for duty, let alone
staying in Shamva, said Gumbo.

Their goods, up to now, remain dumped at Shamva, while one of his client’s
goods were burnt.

Gumbo said the workers were discharged and recourse from the mine management
was not forthcoming because of political pressure on the management. He said
his clients first appeared before a junior official at the mine and later
before a mine captain, who was threatened with death if he entertained the
dismissed workers’ complaints.

The workers are scheduled to appear before Parshotam on Monday next week, in
terms of the Labour Relations Act.

Gumbo said he would seek redress in either the High Court or the labour
tribunal if Parshotam officially dismissed them.

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Daily News


Some Church leaders being used to fulfil a political agenda

4/27/02 10:13:15 AM (GMT +2)

THE brutal and grisly murder of a defenceless mother by suspected Zanu PF
thugs left me numb with shock.

My wife, Winnie, dropped tears and couldn’t eat her lunch after reading
about the gory details in The Daily News.

My daughter, Mavhu, sent an e-mail message from the United States asking: “I
can’t believe what I hear is going on there. Is this the beautiful and happy
Zimbabwe I grew up in?”

Yes, this is what our beloved country has become - a pitiful, chaotic,
lawless and brutal jungle.

Life has become cheap.

We now have wild animals which speak and move on two legs. They are
ferocious and bloodthirsty. They rape, torture, maim and kill without

Much as I abhor violence, I sometimes wonder whether maybe it is not time
that concerned peace-loving Zimbabweans organised to defend themselves and
their families from these terrorising animals. Those entrusted with
peace-keeping and law enforcement have failed miserably to carry out their

On the whole, the Church in Zimbabwe has openly deplored the violence and
lack of justice in our society.

They have fearlessly declared: “Thus saith the Lord . . .” However, there
are some denominations which are conspicuous by their silence.

I will not mention them by name, but their silence makes one wonder whether
they know what their prophetic role as shepherds of the sheep is.

Isaiah says clearly: “Learn to do good, seek justice, reprove the ruthless,
defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17).

In the Sixties, the Tremeloes sang the song, Silence is Golden and we all
agreed and danced to the tune. Today I beg to differ. In our situation
silence is not golden, but disastrous.

In Nazi Germany Pastor Martin Niemoller was disturbed by the silence of the
Church in the face of state brutality.

In a fiery sermons he implored the German Church to speak up against this pl
anned violence against the people. I have here quoted him but substituted
names of the victims to fit our own situation.

He said: “In Zimbabwe they came first for the white farmer, and I did not
speak up because I wasn’t a white farmer. They came for the MDC, and I didn’
t speak up because I was not in the MDC. Then they came for the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions, and I did not speak up because I was a
businessman. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to
speak up.”

So, whoever you may be in Zimbabwe, don’t ask for whom the bell tolls. It
tolls for thee. The Chewa people say: “Chaona munzako chapita. Mawa chizaona
iwe. (The misfortune which befell your friend is gone. Tomorrow it will be
your turn).”

As Zimbabweans, we must speak loudly as one voice against the terror
unleashed among us.

The only one I would exempt from speaking at this time is Jonathan Moyo,
unelected Minister of Publicity and Information.

For him silence would really be golden. His forked tongue has caused more
harm to this country than the drought.

It is unbelievable but true that some church leaders have actually applauded
and endorsed the illegal, violent and unjust so-called land reform
programme, which has plunged this country into violent anarchy and poverty.

To the utter astonishment of us all, these bishop, prophets and pastors
openly declare that there is peace in Zimbabwe.

Prophet Andrew Wutawunashe, Chairman of the Faith for the Nation Campaign,
actually described the chaotic Zanu PF land reform programme as a “Godly

His colleague, Bishop Nolbert Kunonga of the Anglican Church claimed that
President Mugabe was more Christian than himself. Well, that says a lot
about the bishop, doesn’t it?

From what we know about our President, Kunonga is not fit for his position.

By the way, I am not used to idle gossip, but I think that for me to keep
the juicy tit-bit which I have just received would not be fair to my country

The rumour emanating from Zambia is just too much for me not to be tempted
to spread. I heard from reliable sources that Archbishop Malango, who was
instrumental in getting Kunonga installed was recently defrocked for his
windfall. Godly Anglicans in this part of the world may really have some
house-cleaning to do.

This is what God said about church leaders who say there is peace where
there is none: “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain;
prophets and priests alike, all practise deceit. They dress the wound of my
people as though it were not serious. Peace, peace, they say, when there is
no peace.

“Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No. They have no shame at all;
they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they
will be brought down when I punish them.” (Jeremiah 6:13-15).

I have just finished reading Kingdoms in Conflict by Charles Colson. Colson,
a former special assistant to United States President Richard Nixon, was
imprisoned for his role in the Watergate scandal.

He wrote this book, as a born-again Christian, out of his experience in the
White House.

In the book Colson explains how he and Nixon used Christian leaders for
their political agendas.

They curried the favours of desperate interest groups, including church
leaders, through well-thought-out dramatic strategies.

Colson says: “I frequently scheduled meetings for evangelical groups,
denominational councils and individual religious leaders.”

They would give selected church leaders a tour of the White House, dinner or
tea with the president and invitations to state functions.

He goes on: “Henry Kissinger’s briefings in the Oval Office were always a
big hit. The weekly church services Nixon scheduled most Sundays for the
East Room provided great opportunities as well. To select the preachers, we
determined who would give us the greatest impact - politically, that is, not

“ . . . Ironically none were more compliant than the religious leaders. Of
all people, they should have been the most aware of the sinful nature of man
and the least overwhelmed by pomp and protocol. But, theological knowledge
sometimes wilts in the face of worldly power.”

This is the tragedy that has befallen some of our Christian leaders. They
are being used to fulfil a political agenda.

Mugabe and one of his ministers, Elliot Manyika, have done very well in this

They now have some of our hitherto most promising, church leaders eating out
of their hands and singing the Hondo Yeminda refrain.

In concluding this chapter, Colson says: “I’m not advocating that religious
groups or leaders boycott the White House or the palaces and parliaments of
the world. That’s where the political action is, and Christians need to
influence policies for justice and righteousness.

That is in the best biblical tradition of Jeremiah, Amos, Micah, Daniel and
a host of others -though many prophets preferred the desert to the palace.

“But, Christians (and others as well) need to do so with eyes open, aware of
the snares . . . the demon inherent in every (political) party is at all
times ready enough to disguise himself as the Holy Ghost.”

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

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Daily News

Council overturns decision to give war vets stands

4/27/02 10:07:29 AM (GMT +2)
By Luke Tamborinyoka Municipal Reporter

THE Harare City Council on Thursday night overturned a decision by the
government-appointed Chanakira Commission, which it has replaced, to
allocate 100 residential stands to war veterans in Crowborough North,

The full council, at a meeting presided over by the deputy mayor, Sekesai
Makwavarara, adopted a suggestion by ward 32 councillor, Last Maingehama, to
rescind the commission’s resolution that gave preference to the war

The mayor, Elias Mudzuri, was not at the meeting as he is attending the
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo.

The councillors argued that the council was an institution of equal
opportunity and preference was to be given to people on the housing waiting

The debate emerged after it was discovered that the commission allocated 905
stands in Crowborough North to housing co-operatives, individuals on the
housing waiting list, the Homeless People’s Federation, war veterans, and to
an unnamed co-operative in Glen View.

“The Harare City Council must cater for all people and there must be no
discrimination. Every Zimbabwean is equal before this council and if any
preference is to be given to any particular group of people, it must be the
disabled persons,” said Fani Munengami, the councillor for ward 30.

Munengami had asked why the war veterans were part of the people allocated
stands in Crowborough.

Other councillors said preference must be given to people on the housing
waiting list and not to war veterans. The councillors said the council must
not set a precedent of favouring a particular interest group.

An official from the Department of Housing and Community Services said the
decision to allocate the stands to war veterans was taken by the commission.

The official said their office had since written to the war veterans telling
them that the stands would be repossessed if they failed to develop them.

But the councillors were adamant that priority be given to people on the
waiting list.

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Daily News

Civic society dismisses Chronicle story on alleged planned bombing

4/27/02 10:04:37 AM (GMT +2)
From Sandra Mujokoro in Bulawayo

CIVIC society and the United States embassy have dismissed as baseless and
alarmist stories published by the state-controlled daily, Chronicle, on
Monday and Tuesday this week alleging the MDC planned to bomb buildings and
cause chaos in Zimbabwe.

“Utter nonsense,” is how the US Embassy Public Affairs director, Bruce
Wharton, described the stories.

In the first story, with a bold headline declaring “Extreme terror!” and
“exclusive” in red, Chronicle alleged the MDC was planning a massive
terrorist attack to bring down several tall buildings in Harare and
Bulawayo, as part of plans to fast-track Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader,
into power.

The stories authored by the acting “special projects” editor, Blessing
Ruzengwe, alleged that five buildings in Harare and three in Bulawayo were
being targeted and that this was being co-ordinated by a “political affairs”
officer at the US Embassy.

The newspaper also reported that another operation was dubbed “Ivory Coast”
and involved Britain and the US.

The paper alleged that people would be carried to the city with an intention
to march to State House and demand to be addressed by President Mugabe.

The demonstration was expected to provoke a violent reaction from the
country’s defence forces, causing loss of lives. This would then give the
British and American governments an excuse to send troops into Zimbabwe and
then install Tsvangirai as president after Mugabe is defeated.

Daniel Molokela, a political analyst based in Bulawayo, said although
Chronicle has a duty to warn the nation of any impending danger, they had
abused the privilege for too long and they could not be given the benefit of
the doubt.

Molokela said: “It is the same Chronicle which alleged that the
multi-million rand bank robbery in Johannesburg, South Africa, earlier this
year had been staged by MDC loyalists.

“It is the same Chronicle which published stories on alleged anthrax attacks
on their offices and other public offices. No one can take them seriously
anymore,” he said.

The National University of Science and Technology student leader, John
Bomba, said this was a futile attempt by Zanu PF and Professor Jonathan
Moyo, the Minister of State for Information and Publicity, to deny the
inevitability of a spontaneous mass uprising.

He said the current food shortages, coupled with the increased cost of basic
commodities, were likely to trigger mass protests.

“The government is continuously hammering on the point that the foreign
media is portraying a negative image of the country while causing the
damage. What image are they portraying, especially when there are visitors
attending the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo?” Bomba asked.

“What would an exhibitor from China think about the political situation in
Zimbabwe after reading such a story?” he asked.

“Residents of Bulawayo have long since stopped believing in the propaganda
churned out by the State-controlled newspapers and stopped reading them,” he

Sizalobuhle Sibanda of Khumalo said: “I used to buy the Chronicle for its
adverts at one stage, but now I have stopped because there is no benefit to
be derived from reading the Zanu PF propaganda.”

Economic commentator, Dr Eric Bloch, said allegations by Chronicle were too
far-fetched and incredible.

“This is just an abuse of journalistic ethics by sensationalising
non-events. Whatever impact they hoped to create by writing such stories
will not be achieved because no-one believes them anyway,” he said.

The MDC has dismissed the whole story as a blatant lie, bent on discrediting
the party and has filed a lawsuit against the publication.

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Daily News

Schools to start teaching minority languages, culture

4/27/02 10:04:02 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

The government of Zimbabwe has now publicly committed itself to the teaching
of what it generally refers to as minority languages.

The languages will be introduced into the primary school curriculum from
Grades 3 to 7. The programme is expected to start running this year until

The decision to introduce the languages programme was announced through a
document titled Secretary’s Circular Number 1 of 2002 issued to schools
during the week ending 12 April 2002.

Headed “Policy Regarding Language Teaching and Learning”, the document
states, among other things: “ These are languages that are spoken by a
relatively small indigenous group in various parts of Zimbabwe.”

The languages include Kalanga, Tonga, Venda, Nambya and Sotho.

The communities in which these languages are spoken, especially the Tonga in
the Zambezi Valley, have always felt marginalised because their languages
were not recognised.

However, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation has been catering for
audiences which speak the languages through their various radio programmes,
particularly on Radio 4.

“These languages are currently being taught up to Grade 3. From January
2002, the languages will be assisted to advance a grade per year until they
can be taught up to Grade 7,” says the circular.

It adds that this year the languages should be taught in Grade 4, introduced
to Grade 5 in 2003, Grade 6 in 2004, and Grade 7 in 2005.

The government decision came after concerted pressure by the Zimbabwe
Indigenous Languages Promotion Association (ZILPA) to get the languages to
be compulsorily taught in those areas where they are predominantly spoken.

ZILPA is an umbrella body grouping language and cultural organisations of
the five languages plus Shangane.

Most of the languages, except Shangane, are spoken in parts of the Midlands
and Matabeleland.

Asked to comment on the development, the ZILPA chairman, Saul Gwakuba
Ndlovu, said: “This is what is called cultural democracy, something which
should have been done when Zimbabwe won its independence in l980.

“The government decision recognises not only the existence of the
communities concerned, but their basic right to the foundation of their
respective cultures. That foundation is that each community should speak its
mother tongue.

“It is now the duty of each language group to work tirelessly to produce
literature to facilitate and accelerate the teaching and learning of these

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Independent (UK)

Mugabe cronies take pick of stolen farms
By Basildon Peta, Zimbabwe correspondent
28 April 2002
President Robert Mugabe's cronies are moving in the wake of marauding "war
veterans" to grab prime commercial farms for themselves, giving the lie to
Mugabe's claim that he is dispossessing white farmers for "peasant

Although Mugabe has repeatedly justified his land seizure programme as
rectifying colonial injustices, several of his henchmen are now
cherry-picking the best farms for themselves, often forcing out indignant
war veterans.

The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) said they were seizing not only prime
land, but more recently farm equipment and other property, offering no
payment or compensation. Even under Zimbabwe's questionable land
resettlement laws – frequently dismissed by courts as unconstitutional – the
government is supposed to reimburse farmers for moveable property that is

The CFU sees this week's instruction by top officials of Mugabe's ruling
Zanu-PF for the police not to get involved in cases were white farmers are
being stripped of their land and property as part of the campaign by the
''chefs'' (élites) to become landowners.

The CFU said top Zanu-PF officials Stephen Nkomo and Kembo Mohadi had warned
police not to intervene in events that were politically driven.

Nkomo and Mohadi's mission was preceded by the seizure of a prime farm by
one of Mugabe's deputies, Vice-President Joseph Msika and the influential
Governor and Resident Minister of Matabeleland South Province, Obert Mpofu.

Msika and Mpofu partitioned a prime farm called Umguza Block for themselves.
War veterans and squatters, who had earlier occupied the farm in the hope of
being allocated land on the property were relocated.

President Mugabe's sister, Sabina, visited a farm and expressed an interest
in taking it some time before its owner, Terry Ford, was murdered by war
veterans last month.

White farmers say they have discerned a strategy pursued by the "chefs".
Once they have inspected huge farms, militant war veterans evict farmers,
clearing the way for the chefs to take over.

The CFU said in some provinces farmers were unable to move their equipment
and property to secure locations because senior government officials were
seizing it.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made has announced a new policy reducing all
farms to a maximum 2,000 hectares. But he specifically exempted the new
black landowners, a move that CFU chairman Colin Cloete called racist. "This
is unfortunate and impractical and will serve only further to undermine
investor and donor confidence," said Cloete.

President Mugabe has actively supported the land seizures. While his cronies
share the spoils, economists say the country, which is already facing
massive food shortages attributed to the farm seizures, will lose $1.12
billion in GDP this year because of the decline in agricultural output.

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Doubts over woman's 'decapitation'

Harare - Controversy has erupted in Zimbabwe surrounding claims by the
opposition that a woman was decapitated last weekend in front of her two

Police and local officials in the woman's village have denied, in the
state-run Herald newspaper, that the incident took place.

Police in the past have been unable to confirm all incidents of political

The editor of the privately-owned Daily News, Geoff Nyarota, said in his
paper's Saturday edition that his reporters have been unable to find the
grave of Brandina Tadyanemhandu.

The woman's husband, Enos Tadyanemhandu, stuck by his story recounting her
murder by people he said belonged to militia backing President Robert
Mugabe. His story was published in the paper on Monday.

"It is not the police whose wife was murdered," he told the Daily News. He
did not accompany the Daily News reporters to find his wife's grave, saying
he was still arranging funeral rituals.

But Nyarota has nonetheless apologised to the Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) for publishing the claims.

"It is difficult to believe Mr Tadyanemhandu could have made up such a
detailed story. But if his wife's so-called grave cannot be found, then that
must be exactly what he did - create the elaborate story," Nyarota said.

Brandina Tadyanemhandu still has not been found alive.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said in a statement on
Monday that the 53-year-old woman was decapitated on April 21 by
pro-government militia who forced her two daughters to watch her die in
their family kitchen.

Before killing her, the militia said they had been ordered "to weed out all
MDC supporters from the constituency" of Hurungwe East, the statement said.

A total of 20 militia members were in the house when they chopped off
Tadyanemhandu's head in front of her 17-year-old and 10-year-old daughters,
the MDC said.

The militia burned down the family's home and destroyed all their property
before leaving, the statement said.

Tadyanemhandu's son Tichaona was killed on June 20, 2001, apparently for his
participation in opposition politics, the statement said. - Sapa-AFP

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Mugabe's gravy train gathers momentum


Zimbabwe's 79-year-old Vice- President, Simon Muzenda, has become the latest beneficiary of the redistribution of white-owned land and equipment, according to farm union officials.

The Commercial Farmers' Union claimed in its latest bulletin that Muzenda had led a delegation of officials to Chris Nel's Chindito farm , about 200km south of Harare, and gave him and his family a week in which to leave.

Muzenda told Nel he could "take his household goods and furniture but nothing else," the bulletin reported .

Earlier this week the Daily News reported that Joseph Msika, Zimbabwe' s second vice president , had seized part of a state-owned beef and game ranch in the western province of Matabeleland North - sharing the farm with the local governor, Obert Mpofu.

Since the mid-March presidential elections in which Mugabe was declared the winner, a wave of illegal evictions by ruling party chiefs and their militias have seen at least 150 farmers forced off their farms and prevented from taking their equipment.

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Fearless animal rescuer defies Mugabe's mobs
(Filed: 28/04/2002)

IN the lawlessness of rural Zimbabwe, Meryl Harrison risks her life to save the mutilated and starving farm victims of the `war veterans'. Fred Bridgland, in Johannesburg, reports

IT was the one time Meryl Harrison allowed herself to cry. More than 600 pigs were dead or starving on a farm taken over by Robert Mugabe's "war veterans" from a white Zimbabwean given less than an hour to quit his property.

"There were scores of rotting carcasses, and the desperate surviving animals were feeding on them," said Ms Harrison, the leader of a project to save or humanely destroy some of the hundreds of thousands of animals that are dying, starving or being mutilated as a result of the assaults on Zimbabwe's commercial farms .

"In the mayhem, a sow was trying to give birth next to dead animals," she said. "A large sow I thought was sleeping in a feeding trough had died where she lay. Piglets were so weak they were just falling over when they tried to walk."

Harrison and her team from the Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals brave difficult and dangerous circumstances to rescue animals each day.

"As well as rescuing some of the animals deserted on the farms, Meryl and her men put down animals they find with broken backs, broken limbs and gaping wounds as a result of attacks by the war vets," said Estelle Walters, a fund raiser for the ZNSPCA's emergency rescue campaign.

"Cows and sheep are having their hamstrings cut as some kind of political warning by the war vets. Cows have been found alive with axe heads embedded in their bodies. In one case a cow's leg had been cut off for meat and the animal left alive. Un-milked cows are dying in agony, and hooves have been sliced from children's pet ponies."

In the lawlessness that characterises much of rural Zimbabwe , Ms Harrison must remain apolitical and calm, especially when physically threatened by war veterans. She and her colleagues have been barricaded into farms, and their ageing Land Rover bears scars where rocks have been hurled at it.

Ms Harrison, 64, depends on the police to negotiate her passage through roadblocks to reach deserted farms where abandoned dogs are killing sheep and lambs; where war veterans are slaughtering any animals they find - even the farm cats. On a crocodile farm at Mutorashanga, war veterans had released 36 of the reptiles into the bush.

The ZNSPCA's chairwoman, Bernice Robertson-Dyer, said of Ms Harrison: "I just cannot tell you where we would be without this remarkable lady. She is known to everybody and will rarely take no for an answer as long as there are animals in need of help."

Ms Harrison, who was born in London but moved with her parents to Zimbabwe when she was nine, is divorced with two sons, one living in Zimbabwe, the other in Australia.

In addition to horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, dogs and cats, Ms Harrison and her team - black Zimbabweans whom she describes as "fearless" - have rescued abandoned guinea pigs, chickens, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl and lovebirds. On one farm, the team discovered a farmer who had locked himself in his house with his award-winning bulls in an attempt to save them.

Last week the police gave Ms Harrison an armed escort to save 12 tortoises from a farm, while they refused an escort for an ambulance for a 90-year-old couple who had withstood a 40-day siege but needed to be rescued after the man fell and broke his leg.

She and her colleagues extend their help to black traditional farmers and even war veterans. In one black communal area, with 22,000 donkeys, Ms Harrison treats the animals, holds education classes, mends harnesses and distributes reflectors for the donkey carts. War veterans beg her to treat their newly-acquired sheep, goats and donkeys.

Of the 600 pigs from the farm at Beatrice, 60 miles south of Harare, where she broke down in tears, she managed to save 250. The rest either starved or were slaughtered by the war veterans she had bribed to help her to load the survivors on to a truck.

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