The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Economist
Wanted: new driver
Apr 3rd 2003 | HARARE
From The Economist print edition


Can Robert Mugabe's regime be ousted peacefully, or will he cling on till his country is wrecked?

Get article background

A DOZEN soldiers, in uniform, came to Renford Mudzi's home after midnight. They held and tortured him for three days, beating his feet, face and buttocks, and running electric shocks through his toes, tongue and penis at such voltage that it sent him into convulsions. They accused him of having burned a bus during Zimbabwe's recent general strike, which he denies. His real crime may have been that he is an activist for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the country's main opposition party.

From his hospital bed, where he is recovering from head injuries and two cracked vertebrae, Mr Mudzi laments that his family has had to hide in four different homes in six weeks. For their sake, he asks that his real name not be published. But he insists that he will never quit the MDC, nor rest until democracy returns to Zimbabwe. His wife, he says, backs him, despite the suffering his stance has brought the family.

In recent weeks, the Zimbabwean opposition has found a new energy, and the government has grown jittery. On March 18th and 19th, an MDC-organised general strike brought most of the country's surviving businesses to a halt. This week, despite spirited rigging by the ruling party, ZANU-PF, the MDC won two parliamentary by-elections. And March 31st marked a deadline that the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, gave to Mr Mugabe's regime to restore some basic aspects of democracy or “face a popular mass action to regain the people's liberties, freedoms and dignity.”

He has yet to give any details, but Mr Tsvangirai apparently hopes to lead a series of big demonstrations as a “final push” to send Mr Mugabe's regime the way of Nicolae Ceausescu's. In the past, the party has hesitated to take to the streets, for fear that Mr Mugabe would roll armoured cars over the protesters. As a result, the government has been able to pick them off one by one.

Mr Tsvangirai, for example, is currently on trial for alleged treason, with two colleagues. His deputy, Gibson Sibanda, was arrested this week for allegedly breaking Mr Mugabe's security laws by helping to organise the strike. And in the past two weeks, hundreds of MDC supporters have been picked up and tortured, like Mr Mudzi, by special army units, the police, or by Mr Mugabe's youth militia. Harare's casualty wards groan with the victims, some with broken bones, others with burns. One grandmother told this correspondent how a soldier raped her with the barrel of his rifle. Remarkably, few injured activists show any sign of giving up.

Expecting trouble, the government is taking precautions. Armed police are out in force, throwing up roadblocks and patrolling Harare's streets. Army units guard Mr Mugabe's splendid residence and offices. Shiny new armoured personnel carriers, complete with turret-mounted machineguns, rumble vigilantly around potential trouble-spots.

Against such firepower, the unarmed opposition would seem to stand little chance. Few imagine that Mr Mugabe would hesitate to give the order to open fire. But his footsoldiers' morale is open to question. In private, some police say they are appalled at their masters' systematic use of torture. Some ZANU members of parliament admit that their party has lost popular support.

The main reason is not the government's brutality; it is the desperate state of the economy, which is thought to have contracted by 30% in the past three years. Inflation has hit 220%, and unemployment is perhaps 70%. Worst of all, thanks in large measure to Mr Mugabe's policy of seizing white-owned commercial farms, two-thirds of the country's 12m people are either subsisting on food aid or going hungry. Price controls have caused staples such as maize meal, sugar and cooking oil to vanish from the shops, to the delight of black-marketeers, who are often ruling-party hacks or army officers.

Last month, the Commonwealth announced an extension to Zimbabwe's suspension, imposed after Mr Mugabe stole a presidential election last year, and some western countries have imposed an asset freeze and a travel ban on Mr Mugabe's closest cronies. But with all attention on Iraq, it seems unlikely that outsiders will exert serious pressure on the regime. South Africa, Zimbabwe's most influential neighbour, is actively seeking to end its isolation. So Zimbabweans will have to help themselves. Mr Tsvangirai predicts that they may have to make “extreme sacrifices...even the supreme sacrifice, to get rid of Mugabe.”

Back to the Top
Back to Index


        Mugabe sowing seeds of war, says MDC leader

            April 03 2003 at 10:38AM

      Harare - Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai accused
President Robert Mugabe of trying to sow the seeds for a civil war and
warned other southern African nations that it could affect the whole

      Tsvangirai said Mugabe's authorities were stepping up a crackdown on
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) by arresting and
charging party vice-president Gibson Sibanda this week with plotting to
overthrow the government.

      Police held Sibanda for a third day on Wednesday after arresting him
in connection with his role in the organisation of a two-day strike last
month that turned into one of the biggest protests in recent years against
Mugabe's 23-year rule.

      The MDC has accused the army and supporters of Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF
party of intensifying a crackdown in which hundreds of opposition backers
have been detained or assaulted since the strike.

            'Mugabe cannot handle peaceful protests'
      Authorities deny allegations of violence.

      Tsvangirai said Sibanda's arrest was a "clear demonstration that the
war against the people announced by Mugabe has now been fully declared".

      "Mugabe cannot handle peaceful protests that expose his dictatorship
in the eyes of the world," he said.

      "We therefore ask all the elected heads of Southern African
Development Community states to take serious note of the deteriorating
situation in Zimbabwe and Mugabe's deliberate attempts to put in place the
ingredients of a civil war.

      "A civil war has serious repercussions for the entire region."

            'To deny the leader his liberty for as long as possible'
      No immediate comment was available from the government or Zanu-PF on
Tsvangirai's words.

      A senior Zanu-PF official said this week that two parliamentary
by-election wins by the MDC had shown Zimbabwe was a democracy.

      Police say they arrested scores of people in connection with violence
during last month's strike, but deny allegations of torture.

      The army has also denied that any of its members have been responsible
for political violence.

      Mugabe won re-election for another six-year term as president in polls
last March which were deemed fraudulent by both the MDC and some Western

      The MDC and Western countries criticise what they say is a
sanitisation of Mugabe's alleged human rights abuses by fellow African
leaders, mainly South African President Thabo Mbeki.

      Mugabe has said the MDC is a puppet of the West, which he claims wants
to oust him in retaliation for his seizure of white-owned commercial farms
to give to landless blacks.

      He denies mismanaging the economy since winning power at independence
from Britain in 1980, or that his land grab is to blame for food shortages
affecting half of Zimbabwe's 14 million people.

      The once vibrant economy has also been hit by fuel and foreign
currency woes.

      The MDC's legal affairs secretary, David Coltart, said a court in the
southern city of Bulawayo had remanded Sibanda for a third night in what he
charged was a political ploy to extend the deputy opposition leader's

      "The conduct of this case so far smacks of political interference. The
regime will do everything in its power to deny the leader his liberty for as
long as possible," said Coltart.

      Police have maintained roadblocks on major routes through the capital
Harare since the expiry of a Monday deadline by the MDC for Mugabe to meet
15 demands or face further protests.

      The MDC's demands include an end to arrests of opposition supporters
and establishing the groundwork for free elections. - Reuters

        a.. This article was originally published on page 5 of The Cape
Argus on 03 April 2003
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Olonga breaks protest silence

BESIEGED Zimbabwean star Henry Olonga has spoken for the first time about
being forced from his homeland following his World Cup protest.

Olonga has been in hiding in South Africa since fleeing the tournament after
Zimbabwe's final World Cup match, amid fears he faced persecution if he
returned home.

Olonga and teammate Andy Flower caused a storm of controversy when they wore
black armbands and released a statement "mourning the death of democracy" in
Zimbabwe during the team's World Cup opener against Namibia.

Speaking for the first time since the World Cup, Zimbabwe's first black Test
cricketer said yesterday he had been inundated with death threats and it was
too dangerous to return home.

"I've had to consider whether I could go back to Zimbabwe and weighed up the
information I had and got in touch with a few people who said it probably
wasn't a good idea to go back considering the protest myself and Andy Flower
had made at the beginning of the World Cup," Olonga told the ABC's The Fat,
in an interview to air tonight.

"From that aspect, and having received a few threatening e-mails during the
World Cup and also being persecuted by a few people not being allowed onto
the playing field, not being allowed on to the bus.

"I just found it wasn't a good idea for me to go back to Zimbabwe or
continue to even play cricket under those circumstances, especially in light
of the fact many people continue to be oppressed, abused and tortured in
various forms and fashions.

"I thought my strongest form of protest would be to retire from the game."

Olonga said he plans to seek a work visa in England but hopes eventually to
return to Zimbabwe.

Olonga and Flower's stance sparked a major uproar during the Cup, prompting
the International Cricket Council to persuade both players to drop their

The Zimbabwean team even threatened to drop Flower for one match.

Both players retired from international cricket after the tournament.

"I don't think in a year, possibly, that the world can tolerate the kind of
leadership we see in Zimbabwe. I think that the world is already wising up
to that kind of leadership in different parts of the world, to believe this
leadership is unacceptable, a leadership that rules by using abuse, torture,
repression as weapons," he said.

"I'm kind of believing that things will change and I'll be able to return."

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd said Australia should not
forget Olonga's courage and he appealed for Foreign Minister Alexander
Downer to act.

"The World Cup is now over, but it is not time for Australia to forget those
who were heroes in the World Cup," Mr Rudd said.

"Flower after completing his season in English county cricket will head for
South Australia - this is a good thing.

"But Henry Olonga, a black player, has had a different fate. He is currently
in hiding in South Africa and as I understand it in radical concern for his
life and the well being of his family."

Let history record that when we saw injustice, tyranny and oppression we were brave enough to speak against them-lest our children and their children shame us for our cowardice. May the Lord bless Zimbabwe- Henry Olonga

Back to the Top
Back to Index


            Cosatu condemns arrests, state violence in Zimbabwe
            April 02, 2003, 12:00

            The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) added its voice today
to growing concern over new reports of politically-motivated arrests and
state-sanctioned violence in Zimbabwe.

            "Cosatu condemns the continued brutal repression of activists,
through arrests, beatings and torture, by the government of Zimbabwe,
following the two-day general strike on March 18 and 19, organised by the
opposition MDC (Movement for Democratic Change)," Patrick Craven, a union
spokesperson, said in a statement.

            Gibson Sibanda, the MDC vice-president, was arrested by police
on Monday on subversion charges after the opposition won two by-elections in

            Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the South African Foreign Affairs
Minister, meanwhile, is scheduled to travel to the Zimbabwean capital today
to attend tomorrow's meeting of the ministerial committee meeting of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Defence and Security.
Yesterday, the New National Party said SADC should call an urgent
heads-of-state meeting to discuss the ongoing deterioration in Zimbabwe.

            Craven said Cosatu believed those participating in last month's
national strike were exercising their right to protest in support of
democracy and their socio-economic demands, and were not subverting the
Zimbabwean government. "Cosatu demands the immediate release of MDC
vice-president Gibson Sibanda and all other activists who have been
arrested, including a number of trade unionists, several of whom were

            He said in one documented case, the husband of Viola Shamu, an
official of the Agricultural and Plantation Workers' Union was kidnapped,
severely beaten and left for dead. Her two young children were also
assaulted and she herself has had to go into hiding. - Sapa
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Lighting up a dictator

April 2, 2003 7:37pm

Lighting up a dictator NOT for the first time, power utility Eskom finds
itself in the spotlight because of the inability of the Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority (Zesa) to pay its bills, owing to the acute shortage of
foreign currency in that country.

Although Eskom supplies only a small percentage of Zimbabwe's power
requirements, its support of Zesa is still critical for the political
stability and sustenance of our neighbour's economy, where acute power
rationing has become the norm. It is estimated that Zesa's debt to regional
power utilities exceeds $143m, a situation that has resulted in these
companies gradually reducing their supplies to Zimbabwe.

Should Eskom switch Zimbabwe off? The answer is not straightforward. The
power transmission grid in Zimbabwe is also important to SA and the Southern
African Power Pool, as it allows electricity to be transported further
north. So, switching off Zimbabwe has implications beyond the confines of
the "black Hitler's" den.

But still, is it justifiable for Eskom to effectively subsidise Zimbabwean
consumers at a time when it is taking a tough stance locally, in townships
such as Soweto? Yes, the regional power transmission grid is a significant
factor, but how is it that Mozambique's Cahora Bassa is able to switch off
Zimbabwe and still be part of the regional grid? Eskom has previously
threatened to switch Zimbabwe off the grid. How did it hope to do that then?
In the absence of other explanations, it is difficult not to conclude that
politics is getting in the way of business. With Pretoria hell-bent on
maintaining its "softly, softly" approach to Harare, it is quite clear that
Eskom is consequently under pressure to support this costly policy. But then
there is another dimension to the equation: If Zesa does not pay its debt in
the long run, who will make good on that obligation? Eskom's unwillingness,
or inability due to political pressure, to switch off Zimbabwe only serves
to shore up President Robert Mugabe's beleaguered regime. Mugabe believes
this unbroken supply of free power amounts to political support from
Pretoria. But it remains the case that a power shortage could provide
President Thabo Mbeki with an opportunity to start steering Mugabe towards a
deal with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Unfortunately, when
even a verbal denunciation of the Mugabe regime is beyond government,
physical action seems way too much to ask.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      1 000 thrown out

      4/3/2003 7:40:06 AM (GMT +2)

      From Kelvin Jakachira in Mutare

      A HUMANITARIAN disaster looms in Chimanimani after the eviction last
week of more than 1 000 workers and their families from Charleswood Estate
by diehard ruling Zanu PF party activists, the police and soldiers.

      The evicted workers and their families are now camped in the open at a
bus stop in Ngangu Township at Chimanimani Centre, 150km south of Mutare,
pondering their next move.

      The workers were kicked out under the pretext that Charleswood Estate,
which is owned by Chimanimani MP Roy Bennet (MDC), was designated for

      The workers were evicted in defiance of a High Court order in favour
of the opposition MP, barring any interference with work on the farm.

      Efforts by aid representatives and well-wishers to put up tents and
feed the families have been thwarted so far by the authorities in the
district, according to a Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)

      Wallace Mupfumwa, the ZimRights regional officer for Manicaland, said
yesterday: "We took food and tents to the families, but the authorities
prevented us from helping them."

      Mupfumwa said the ZimRights team then went to the district
administrator's office, only to be told that anyone intending to help the
stranded families would be monitored by State security agents.

      "We were warned that Central Intelligence Organisation operatives were
watching us and that we would be in trouble," he said.

      Mupfumwa said they had to move out of the area. He said they used
"other tactics" to distribute the food, but would not elaborate.

      "But we returned with the tents we intended to put up for the families
staying in the open," he said.

      Yesterday, Bennet said from Harare: "There is a humanitarian disaster.
Aid organisations and other well-wishers are being denied the chance by
authorities, including the police, to help the evicted workers and their

      Bennet, who said he was warned against visiting Chimanimani by Zanu PF
supporters and security agents, said pro-government activists settled at
Charleswood Estate yesterday axed 14 of his beasts, valued at $3,5 million.

      They were reports late yesterday the stranded families were likely to
be forcibly ferried out of Chimanimani as early as today to unknown

      Golden Mukwecheni, the Red Cross provincial programmes officer, said
they had visited the victims to assess their plight.

      "We rendered them help without any problem. We gave them maize-meal,
blankets, and plastics to erect temporary shelters.

      "We also provided bus fares to those workers and their families who
wanted to leave
      the area," said Mukwecheni.

      Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC spokesperson in Manicaland, said yesterday
there was a new wave of violence targeted at the opposition party's
supporters in Chipinge and Chimanimani districts.

      He said: "It's terrible. The police and militia from the national
youth service training centres are behind all this."

      But Edmund Maingire, the provincial police spokesperson, said: "That
does not make sense to me. MDC supporters should report to the police if
they are being assaulted."

      However, Charles Pemhenayi, the Zanu PF spokesman in Manicaland, said:
"These MDC people are lying.

      "We are a peaceful country and we do not expect people to complain
every day and causing mayhem through the newspapers."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Leader Page

            Stop the tragic events at Charleswood Estate

            4/3/2003 7:37:46 AM (GMT +2)

            The eruption of violence in Chimanimani and Chipinge this week
which has turned nearly 1 000 people into destitutes is cause for concern.

            At the centre is the Member of Parliament for Chimanimani, Roy
Bennet, whose Charleswood Estate has been forcibly taken over by the
government and is understood to have been earmarked for a senior official of
the Central Intelligence Organisation.

            Bennet himself, who fought relentlessly against the government
for the control of his property, has been barred from stepping foot on his
farm and has been forced to live in Harare.

            Property worth millions of dollars has been vandalised or stolen
from the farm.

            Most of the 1 000 people who are under siege on his farm are his
former workers. They have been restricted to the farm with neither food nor
water. Some of them are locals from the local community who sought refuge on
the farm after being attacked by suspected Zanu PF supporters.

            Unconfirmed reports say some of the people have been beaten
after being accused by Zanu PF youths of supporting Bennet and the MDC.

            Attempts by ZimRights officials to render assistance to these
people have been thwarted by Zanu PF youths and State agents. The farm has
been declared a no-go area by unruly youths who are paid to promote
lawlessness and mayhem and instil fear among the people.

            Not so long ago, Charleswood Estate was a viable agricultural
operation generating a lot of money and sustaining hundreds of workers.

            The farm is no longer productive and the people it used to
sustain have been reduced to mere paupers in captivity.

            What has happened over the last few months on that farm is an
epitome of the racist and primitive mentality that has led to the
destructive and cruel nationwide farm invasions.

            There is need for decisive action by all concerned to end this
rampant abuse of power and bring back sanity and the rule of law in

      4/3/2003 7:37:46 AM (GMT +2)

      The eruption of violence in Chimanimani and Chipinge this week which
has turned nearly 1 000 people into destitutes is cause for concern.

      At the centre is the Member of Parliament for Chimanimani, Roy Bennet,
whose Charleswood Estate has been forcibly taken over by the government and
is understood to have been earmarked for a senior official of the Central
Intelligence Organisation.

      Bennet himself, who fought relentlessly against the government for the
control of his property, has been barred from stepping foot on his farm and
has been forced to live in Harare.

      Property worth millions of dollars has been vandalised or stolen from
the farm.

      Most of the 1 000 people who are under siege on his farm are his
former workers. They have been restricted to the farm with neither food nor
water. Some of them are locals from the local community who sought refuge on
the farm after being attacked by suspected Zanu PF supporters.

      Unconfirmed reports say some of the people have been beaten after
being accused by Zanu PF youths of supporting Bennet and the MDC.

      Attempts by ZimRights officials to render assistance to these people
have been thwarted by Zanu PF youths and State agents. The farm has been
declared a no-go area by unruly youths who are paid to promote lawlessness
and mayhem and instil fear among the people.

      Not so long ago, Charleswood Estate was a viable agricultural
operation generating a lot of money and sustaining hundreds of workers.

      The farm is no longer productive and the people it used to sustain
have been reduced to mere paupers in captivity.

      What has happened over the last few months on that farm is an epitome
of the racist and primitive mentality that has led to the destructive and
cruel nationwide farm invasions.

      There is need for decisive action by all concerned to end this rampant
abuse of power and bring back sanity and the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Leader Page

      Iraq war has dire consequences for Africa

      4/3/2003 7:38:49 AM (GMT +2)

      By Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem

      Africa will suffer many direct and indirect consequences of the
Anglo-American war on Iraq.

      One, the price of fuel has risen and this has a multiplier effect on
other goods and services like transport, consumer items and tourism, since
the majority of our countries are not oil-producing and are landlocked.

      Two, events in Africa are being shifted away from international focus.
For instance, three years into the 21st century, four years since the
Organisation of African Unity took a unanimous decision of zero tolerance to
coups and other unconstitutional changes in government, a coup has just
taken place in the Central African Republic without much notice.

      Three, for good or bad, the last two years had been dominated by
international focus on African development issues, principally the formation
of the African Union and the Thabo Mbeki-engineered New Partnership for
Africa's Development (Nepad).

      Since the hopeful independence era, Africa has not occupied such
centre-stage in international discussions again as it did over these issues.

      In Africa itself, both bodies showed a willingness to confront our
problems and a readiness to build the necessary alliance among us and
between us and our potential international partners to solve these problems.

      But the attack on Iraq and the consequences to follow can only dampen
the international enthusiasm.

      Four, the international divisions between the majority of the peoples
of the world and the Anglo-American aggressors is also consuming Africa.
While the overwhelming majority of African countries and Africans are
opposed to this attack, a minority of our presidents (not the people) are
supporting the aggression. They are showing up themselves as lackeys of the
United States who can only ask 'how high' every time the US says jump.

      This is very bad for building African consensus on peace and security
issues. Long after the Bush men of the White House would have forgotten that
some banana and njera republics supported them in Iraq, the suspicions
against these regimes will remain among Africans. In the case of Uganda and
Rwanda and their involvement in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),
Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia justified their support for Laurent Kabila, the
late DRC leader, on two grounds: invasion of a sovereign country and
Anglo-American imperialist designs through Rwanda and Uganda.

      The first reason is neither here nor there because the principle was
already broken in the attack on Mobutu, which they (rightly) supported, as
did the majority of Africans. The second reason was very popular with many
Africans. I took the position then that the matter was not that clear-cut
and that there may have been a mere convergence of interests that made it
convenient for the Anglo-American axis to back Uganda and Rwanda against a
French ally. However, with Kigali and Kampala's current support for the US,
President Mugabe can say with justification: "Did I not tell you before?"

      Five, a division of the world into "those for us" and "those against
us" as Washington warmongers proclaim, will hurt Africa just as the Cold War
did. The advances that had been made in recent years in the area of opening
up of the democratic space, representative government and an enabling
environment for respect for human and people's rights will be negatively
affected as our reluctant democrats and dictators line up to support the US
and the US itself opportunistically recruits states behind its dubious
global misadventures.

      It is a licence for arbitrariness and new lease of life for the strong
man-type politics that has wreaked havoc on the peoples of this continent.
It requires a particular kind of strength to be able to ignore the wishes of
your people in support of a foreign power. That kind of dubious strength has
been too much in abundance in Africa!

      Six, this is why it is not surprising to me that the four African
countries that are openly supporting the attack on Iraq are regimes who
believe (only differing by degree) in military solutions to essentially
political problems.

      The Anglo-American militarism justifies their past, present and future
misadventures. Just imagine the full implications of an Africa where any
president will be free to attack another country just based on a suspicion
that that country's leader may, today, tomorrow, or in some distant future,
attack us. What moral or political authority will the Americans and the
British have to persuade Uganda and Rwanda to get out of the DRC?
      If Charles Taylor of Liberia now decides to impose regime change in
Sierra Leone or Guinea because the two countries harbour his political
opponents, what would we say? Or better still, since British Premier Tony
Blair has never hidden his distaste for Mugabe and the latter returns the
compliment, would it be correct for Mugabe to actively encourage regime
change in London?

      As successive US governments have tried and failed to assassinate
Fidel Castro as indeed they have tried toppling Muammar Gaddafi, could both
leaders and their countries now take pre-emptive strikes at the US?

      Yet these are the shapes of future chaos to come with the a la carte
(pick what you like) type of diplomacy that the Anglo-Americans by invading
Iraq have imposed on the world.

      Africa and most countries of the developing world and, indeed,
civilised humanity in general has nothing to gain from a world of
unrestrained unilateralism.

      The challenges that face us economically and politically, the
debilitating HIV/Aids scourge, armed conflicts, proliferation of small arms,
etc, require both our collective efforts and multilateral understanding and

      Unilateralism negates this consensus.

      Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem is the General-Secretary of the Global Pan
African Movement, Kampala, Uganda.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Leader Page

      Give dialogue a chance

      4/3/2003 7:38:13 AM (GMT +2)

      The admission by the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai this week that
dialogue could be the solution to the Zimbabwean political crisis is very

      In an interview with this paper the MDC leader said dialogue, rather
than repression, would resolve the political stalemate in the country.

      Talks between the opposition party and Zanu PF broke down last year
after the MDC challenged in court Zanu PF's victory in both the presidential
and parliamentary elections last year.

      Zanu PF said it would only engage in dialogue if the opposition party
withdrew its court challenge, a view shared by the Nigerian and South
African presidents.

      The two African presidents, with the Australian prime minister, have
been tasked by the Commonwealth to spearhead the process of bringing about
peace in Zimbabwe.

      Zanu PF, which has clearly lost support, should swallow its pride and
return to the negotiation table to bring peace, harmony and economic
stability to the country.

      As a way forward, both the Zanu PF and MDC leaders should put the
interests of the nation ahead of their own political ambitions and
reconsider resuming the talks, to return the country to the path of progress
and prosperity which started with independence in 1980.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Zanu PF terror gang turns on city vendors

      4/3/2003 8:01:40 AM (GMT +2)

      By Precious Shumba

      Zanu PF's vigilante group, Chipangano in Mbare, yesterday took their
campaign to vendors at Mupedzanhamo flea market.

      A vendor from Highfield who refused to be named said the youths
approached the vendors and ordered them to produce Zanu PF cards.

      "I and several others had no ruling party cards," she said. "We were
ordered to pack our wares and leave and only return with our Zanu PF
membership cards to prove we belonged to Zanu PF structures."

      John Nkomo, Zanu PF's national chairman and the Minister of Special
Affairs in the President Mugabe's Office, said yesterday he had not received
any reports about Chipangano.

      He said: "It's strange that such things could happen. I do not expect
any Zanu PF executive to sanction such a thing. It's certainly not our
policy to sanction the alleged terror group. I would be surprised if that
allegation were true."

      Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, the police spokesman, has
refused to comment on the activities of Chipangano.

      Engineer Elias Mudzuri, the Harare Executive Mayor, alleged the police
had allowed Chipangano to exist as a terror group in Mbare.

      "It's not the first time that vendors have been evicted by this terror
group," he said. "I have made several reports to the police, through the
town clerk but the police have still not acted. We have cases of some
tenants who have been forcibly evicted to pave way for Zanu PF militants.

      "'The council has been prejudiced of thousands of dollars in rent
where approved vendors and tenants have been ordered to pay rent to them.
That's unacceptable and l am urging Mbare residents to free themselves (from
the terror group) because the police have failed," Mudzuri said.

      Most of the victims are residents of Kuwadzana and Highfield who have
operated at the market for over 10 years.

      Another vendor from Kuwadzana 3 claimed the Chipangano group said the
MDC supporters had no business selling their merchandise in Mbare because
they voted for MDC MPs.

      "What they said was that we should go and sell our wares in Highfield
and Kuwadzana," she said.

      But the MDC's information department yesterday said the Chipangano
group forciblygathered all vendors at the market and ordered everyone
resident outside Mbare to immediately vacate their stands.

      Maxwell Zimuto, an official in the MDC information department said
they attended to more than five vendors from Glen View, Mufakose, Kuwadzana,
Glen Norah and Highfield who were evicted.

      He said: "Vendors from Mbare were ordered to bring confirmation
letters from the district chairman and ward chairpersons that they belonged
to Zanu PF structures. Today, they will be vetted. This is really uncalled
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Mutare threatens to cut off government departments

      4/3/2003 8:00:07 AM (GMT +2)

      From Sydney Saize in Mutare

      THE Mutare City Council is owed over $320 million by government
departments and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa).

      The amounts constitute unpaid accounts for water, refuse and sewerage.

      The council is threatening to cut off water supplies to the government
departments and Zesa to recover the money.

      Zesa alone owes the council $131 408 188,09 in rent for its
sub-stations and transformers in the city.

      The remainder is shared between departments of the Ministry of
Education, Sport and Culture, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and the Zimbabwe
Republic Police.

      Kudzai Mumbengegwi, the city treasurer, told a meeting of the council'
s finance committee recently that his department had issued notices to the
defaulters threatening to cut off water supplies.

      Mumbengegwi said the government departments and Zesa had not paid for
water, refuse and sewerage charges since last December.

      Kenneth Saruchera, the councillor for Ward 11 and a member of the
finance committee said: "Had that money been paid to the council last year,
it would have been put to good use.

      "The council should convene a special meeting regarding the debtors
with a view to finding ways of collecting the $342 299 149,12 it is owed,"
he said.

      The council's service delivery system has been affected by the
shortage of funds.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      MDC yet to decide on mass action date

      4/3/2003 8:06:16 AM (GMT +2)

      By Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter

      THREE days after the expiry of its ultimatum to President Mugabe to
restore the rule of law, the MDC has still to come up with a date for the
proposed mass action, amid calls for immediate action by its agitated

      But the MDC said the people were not yet prepared for the action which
may have unprecedented consequences.

      The Daily News offices in Harare have been inundated with calls from
people inquiring whether a date for the action had been leaked to the Press.

      On Tuesday, the MDC's management committee met and reviewed the
situation on the ground.

      William Bango, Morgan Tsvangirai's spokesman, said: "This is not going
to be a picnic. It's a very serious issue. It's a matter of life and death.
It was resolved that the action would go ahead, but the date is yet to be

      "We have to make sure the people are ready. If Tsvangirai calls for
the action when the people are not prepared, the consequences may be

      "The people are not yet ready, but we are getting there. We are still
consulting with our various structures."

      Bango said the management committee members included Tsvangirai, his
deputy, Gibson Sibanda, secretary-general Welshman Ncube, treasurer Fletcher
Dulini-Ncube, deputy secretary-general Gift Chimanikire, and national
chairman, Isaac Matongo.

      But Sibanda did not attend the meeting as he had been arrested on
Monday on allegations of organising an illegal mass action on 18-19 March.

      Kembo Mohadi, the Minister of Home Affairs said yesterday: "I don't
perceive the MDC as anything, but we are on the alert because we don't know
what they are planning. Our guys are on the alert."

      The police have mounted roadblocks on most roads leading into the

      Bango said: "The date will not be kept a secret. It will be announced
three or four days before we actually go on the streets."

      On 18 and 19 March, the MDC called for a mass stayaway which was
largely heeded by the nation.

      Riding on the success of the stayaway, the MDC issued an ultimatum to
Mugabe and his government to restore the rule of law or face civil unrest.

      The government ignored the ultimatum and vowed to crush the MDC.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Leo Mugabe joins race to replace Mombeshora

      4/3/2003 8:05:24 AM (GMT +2)

      By Columbus Mavhunga

      HARDLY three weeks after the death of Dr Swithun Mombeshora, the MP
for Makonde, a cold war is already raging within Zanu PF's ranks as to who
will stand as the candidate to contest the by-elections to fill the vacant

      Leo Mugabe, President Mugabe's nephew, is said to have already started
campaigning for the seat.

      Kindness Paradza, the operations director of Media Africa Group,
publishers of The Weekend Tribune and Business Tribune, is said to also be
eyeing the seat.

      Mombeshora won the seat after Paradza was disqualified from standing
as a Zanu PF candidate in the 2000 parliamentary elections by the party's
election directorate.

      Zanu PF argued that Paradza had been critical of both the party and
the government during his stint as deputy editor of The Financial Gazette.

      A Zanu PF source yesterday said Leo Mugabe, the disgraced former
Zimbabwe Football Association chairman, had started campaigning for
nomination to replace Mombeshora.

      "He has been to Chinhoyi and Makonde. He is busy campaigning when
people are supposed to be mourning.

      "He has held several campaign meetings. Mugabe claims he was given the
go-ahead by his uncle, but that is just a lie." said the source.

      His mother, Sabina Mugabe, is the MP for Zvimba South, in the same

      Contacted for comment, Leo Mugabe dismissed claims that he had already
started campaigning for the Makonde seat, but said: "I live in Makonde and I
can be a candidate there, but I do not know about the campaigns. I have
heard my name being mentioned to contest for Makonde. This might be because
people in the area realise that I might help them in setting up irrigation
schemes, which are ideal for the area."

      He said he was still waiting for the Zanu PF Mashonaland West
provincial committee and the people of Makonde to come up with their choice
of a candidate.

      "If they nominate me, I will consider it. I have no problem with that
but at the moment they are still mourning."

      Paradza, who reportedly enjoys the backing of Zanu PF Mashonaland West
veteran politicians such as Nathan Shamuyarira, Enos Chikowore and Webster
Shamu, yesterday referred allquestions to Philip Chiyangwa, the provincial
party chairman.

      "Mombeshora was my colleague. I am still mourning him," said Paradza.
"After all, the verdict lies with people of Makonde."

      Chiyangwa said the selection process had not started.

      "People must not waste their time campaigning as there will be no
primary elections; it will be by consensus," he said.

      "If there are any campaigns they must be extremely secretive. Makonde
party structures will come up with their candidate and that will be the end
of it."

      Mombeshora, 58, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, died at
his Borrowdale home on the night of 17 March after he reportedly suffered a
stroke and collapsed.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Judge orders chief to return seized property

      4/3/2003 8:04:40 AM (GMT +2)

      Court Reporter

      JUSTICE Yunus Omerjee has ordered Chief Chiweshe to return money and
property amounting to more than $2 million he seized last year from a
villager he accused of inciting people to attack him at a funeral.

      The incident occurred during the volatile parliamentary election
campaign in 2000.

      Omerjee issued the provisional order in default as Chief Chiweshe,
whose real name is Matewo Munyonga, failed to attend the High Court hearing
on Monday last week.

      Chief Chiweshe allegedly ganged up with a number of unidentified aides
on 26 January last year and impounded property belonging to Jack Kankuni of
Chigwida village.

      The property included 19 head of cattle, 26 goats, 15 chickens, two
ploughs, two bicycles and a sewing machine.

      He also seized $355 000 in cash from Ernest Muridzi and Tinapi Diwura
of Chitungwiza.
      The money and property amounted to $2 005 000.

      Kankuni, who had relocated to Chitungwiza after fleeing from the
pre-election violence in Chiweshe, returned to the village with Muridzi and
Diwura, both from St Mary's in Chitungwiza, who wanted to buy the cattle.

      As the three men discussed the transaction, Chief Chiweshe,
accompanied by unknown aides wielding weapons, allegedly pounced on them.

      "The respondent threatened to shoot me and accused me of being
responsible for his attack which occurred in the year 2000 when villagers
attacked him at a funeral in the village," Kankuni said in his founding
affidavit, referring to Chief Chiweshe.

      Brandishing a gun, the chief allegedly ordered Kankuni, Muridzi and
Diwura to lie down and ordered his henchmen to seize Kankuni's property.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Thousands flood passport office

      4/3/2003 7:59:30 AM (GMT +2)

      By John Mokwetsi

      THERE was chaos at Makombe Building in Harare yesterday as thousands
of people jostled for positions in a queue for passports more than a
kilometre long.

      The queue snaked from the government complex entrance along Harare
Street, into Herbert Chitepo Avenue and then into Leopold Takawira Street,
as far as the Girls' High School entrance, before finding its way through
Park Lane and back to Harare Street.

      Some of the people in the queue said they had slept there on Tuesday.
Those who turned up early yesterday morning found the queue already
meandering its way around the city, as demand for passports has outstripped

      Most people in the queue said they would do anything to leave the
country to seek a better life elsewhere.

      They cited as their reasons for fleeing the country political
violence, which they said was now at its peak, and unemployment, now
hovering around 80 percent.

      "Zimbabwe has become like a torture camp for most of us," said Vagaria
Chizunza, "prompting me to look for a passport to move to Namibia or South
Africa where I feel I will be able to do something better with my life."

      He said although he was likely to be given a date to submit his
passport forms yesterday he was sure it would be another two months before
he returned to join another queue to leave his forms, duly filled in.

      Cosmas Ndira of Mabvuku said he was thinking of border-jumping because
      efforts to obtain a date for the past week had failed.

      He said: "Even if my forms get to be processed it will take another
nine months before I get a passport, which is too long a period for me to

      According to Harris Mutawu the United Kingdom is a haven and his
visibly exhausted face spoke volumes of his determination to leave the

      Those not patient enough to wait in the queue said they would go back
today to pay $3 000 to vendors and street kids who sleep in the queues every
night and sell their front positions to the endless procession of ever-eager

      The action by Kembo Mohadi, the Minister of Home Affairs, to introduce
double shifts for civil servants processing passports in order to ease the
congestion, seems to have failed.

      The flood of applicants continues unabated
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Heavily armed soldiers deployed in Masvingo

      4/3/2003 7:57:21 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondentin Masvingo

      Heavily armed soldiers have been deployed in Masvingo city where they
have declared an unofficial curfew to thwart the proposed MDC-organised mass

      This comes in the face of the expiry of an MDC ultimatum on Monday for
the government to restore the rule of law or risk popular revolt. A cloud of
fear and uncertainty hangs over Masvingo amid complaints from residents over
the army's presence.

      The armed soldiers, together with the police, were manning road blocks
on all roads leading into the city, searching cars and individuals.

      Residents have been ordered to be indoors by 6pm or risk unspecified
action. The deputy director of army public relations, who identified himself
as Major Makotore, said the deployment of the soldiers was at the request of
the police.

      Said Makotore: "The army has been deployed following a request from
the police. The best people to talk to about the deployment of the army is
the police.

      "The police should be able to tell you why the soldiers have been
deployed and what their role is."

      Although Masvingo police spokesman Inspector Learn Ncube refused to
comment, sources within the police said the soldiers have been instructed to
even shoot people who participate in the proposed mass action.

      Residents interviewed complained bitterly over the army's presence.

      Said Japhet Masuku, a Masvingo resident: "How can we say that we are
free when soldiers are harassing us daily. Instead of protecting the
citizens, the soldiers are, in fact, brutalising them."

      During the 18 and 19 March mass stayaway called for by the MDC, about
21 opposition party activists were arrested.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Chihuri asked to probe torture of civilians

      4/3/2003 7:53:02 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has been asked to investigate
the recent incidents of violence and harassment of innocent civilians by the
armed forces and the police.

      The call was made yesterday by David Chimhini of the Zimbabwe Civic
Education Trust (Zimcet).

      In a statement, Chimhini said: "While Zimcet does not challenge the
enforcement of law and order, it totally condemns the panic expressed by the
government and the police before, during and after the mass action called
for by the MDC.

      "Evidence is abundant to the effect that suspects have been seriously
tortured," he said.

      The law enforcement agents had to be professional and ensure that
every suspect was treated with dignity and without selective application of
the law, Zimcet said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News


      Tsvangirai says repression won't resolve country's crisis

      4/3/2003 7:41:07 AM (GMT +2)

      Daily News Chief Reporter Brian Mangwende yesterday interviewed MDC
President Morgan Tsvangirai. Following are excerpts from the interview.

      Q. What is your view of the results of the by-elections in Kuwadzana
and Highfield won by your party? What does this mean to the MDC and the
people of Zimbabwe?
      A. The results demonstrated that the people of Zimbabwe are still
committed to the idea of change. The results show the reinforcement of a
successful stayaway. Those who thought the MDC was irrelevant must think
again and revise their position.

      Q. Members of the MDC say they have been assaulted by State security
agents throughout the country - some whose pictures have been published in
the local media. What is your leadership doing about these reports?
      A. This is no different from any dictatorship under siege which
resorts to brutalising its own people. Those who doubted Mugabe's bona fides
must now begin to place Mugabe among the worst dictators in the world bent
on repressing dissenting voices for his personal gain.
      There are two reasons why State security agents are assaulting
innocent people - Mugabe is in total control of them to pre-empt the planned
mass action and that he is against a presidential petition.

      Q. What is the impact of the recent two-day stayaway in Zimbabwe
because that type of action mainly affects the marginalised part of the
community? How is this benefiting them?
      A. Stayaways are part of a strategy. You can't afford to divide the
people. It's part of a national effort by the people. Whether marginalised
or not, people at all levels have to participate in order to bring about
change in this country.

      Q. Are stayaways the only strategy that the MDC has to push President
Mugabe and his government out of power?
      A. Circumstances determine behaviour.
      If the best best way at that particular point in time is to stay away
then we will go that route in order to minimise collateral damage. The MDC
is embarking on minimising that damage.

      Q. What is your view of the latest stance by South Africa and Nigeria
on the Zimbabwean crisis?
      A. I believe a re-evaluation may lead to a more realistic policy
position on Zimbabwe. They have to realise what type of person we are
dealing with here.

      Q. Recently you issued an ultimatum to President Mugabe and his
government to restore the rule of law, but that seems to have been dismissed
by the Zanu PF leadership as nonsense. Further, people on the streets are of
the view that the MDC is not doing enough and not being pro-active in
reacting to Mugabe's statement during the burial of Minister Swithun
Mombeshora. They say your party is dithering. What is your next step? Are
you going to call for another mass action which, if it succeeds, may not
bring about change?
      A. Mugabe's remarks were derogatory and I do not even want to dignify
them by responding. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the ultimatum
falls away. We will take the initiative ourselves as we have done in the
past. We are very conscious of the expectations of the people. Last March,
people clamoured for mass action and we took the initiative. We are more
concerned about the outcome. We want to bring about change to the people of
Zimbabwe. This is not an event, it is a process. We are still consulting
with our members.

      Q. There are suggestions from various quarters of the society that
cracks continue to exist within the MDC leadership along tribal and
intellectual lines. What is your comment?
      A. I am not aware of that. All I know is that our party, which was not
given a chance to last a month, has now lasted for three years. One doesn't
want to see cracks that do not exist. We are a democratic party open to
criticism. We are still committed to a party that cuts across the divide of
race, religion, tribe and so on.

      Q. There are complaints that you are surrounding yourself with your
relatives or people from your home area in Buhera. Can you comment?
      A. They are members of the party, unless you are saying that people
from Buhera should not contest any political position in the various
constituencies. The MDC doesn't personify the party. I have heard rumours
that even William Bango, my spokesman, is my relative, but that's untrue.

      Q. The local media is speculating that there could be power-sharing if
President Mugabe steps down before his term of office expires. Do you see
this happening?
      A. Remember that there were talks scuttled by Zanu PF. If at the end
of the day there is an agreement on what form the agreement should take, we
will take it from there. It will be left for the negotiating table.

      Q. Some people, even within the MDC, seem to doubt you as the future
President of Zimbabwe, saying you have played your role in leading the first
viable opposition and that a new leader of the MDC will emerge during the
stayaways. What is your comment?
      A. I have led the mass actions. It's wishful thinking which is
baseless. I enjoy the support of the people and party. Should the moment
come when I am no longer necessary, there are procedures to follow. I will
not stay a day longer than I am wanted.

      Q. What form will the pending mass action take and when is it likely
to take place?
      A. The form, time, content and date will be announced as and when we
are ready. It all depends on the state of preparedness. When we are
confident that the people are prepared, we will call for it. It's one thing
to be anxious and another to be prepared.

      Without being exact, one has to underline the fact that we are very
conscious of the mood of the nation. Any further action must bear fruit
without doubts. The international community has isolated Mugabe, that we
acknowledge, but they need to apply political pressure on this brutal
regime. We need to move into the second phase of this pressure - that of
international political pressure.

      Q. It has been said that the MDC is short of strategies. For instance,
the party has been accused of failing to exploit the national anger and
disappointment when President Mugabe was re-elected in 2002 at a time when
the international spotlight was on Zimbabwe.
      This is so, because the MDC did not have Plan B, as was the case in
Senegal. Is there any credence in this widely held view, which has also been
highlighted by reputable think-tank organisations such as the International
      A. The MDC has strategic programmes and we will execute them. You can'
t satisfy sceptics. At the end of the day we are a political authority and
we know what our responsibilities are. Avoiding confrontation is right. We
assessed that it may have been reckless to engage in violence and I think we
have been right during the recent stayaway. There is more work to be done in
order to prepare ourselves. There has to be a sense of ownership of the
action. The measure of success depends on how far we would have convinced
the people.

      Q. But don't you think you have convinced the people enough?
      A. We need to be more prepared.

      Q. Following the recent arrest of your deputy, Gibson Sibanda, are we
likely to see more and more members of your leadership being arrested?
      A. Mugabe's regime has embarked on systematic brutal assaults on our
structures to try and dislocate us. Repression is not the solution to the
Zimbabwean crisis, but dialogue. Today, it's Sibanda, tomorrow it's
Tsvangirai; does that mean you are not going to have long winding queues for
basic commodities? Mugabe failed to resolve the needs of the people and
resorted to brutality. Beyond abusing the State machinery, what else does he
have left for this country? On the one hand you say the stayaway was a flop.
So why arrest people?

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News


      Intimidation, bribery the losers in by-elections

      4/3/2003 7:37:12 AM (GMT +2)

      LAST weekend's Highfield and Kuwadzana by-election results showed how
courage and determination can win against brute force, wanton intimidation
and shameless bribery.

      Some 12 548 Kuwadzana voters gave their support to Nelson Chamisa of
the opposition MDC while 5 002 preferred the ruling Zanu PF's David Mutasa.
In Highfield, the MDC's Pearson Mungofa polled 8 759 against Zanu PF's
Joseph Chinotimba who got 4 844 votes.

      All in all, the MDC's two candidates garnered a total of 21 307 to
Zanu PF's 9 846 votes. That means Morgan Tsvangirai's party received 11 461
votes more than Robert Mugabe's in those two constituencies. That figure is
higher than the total number of votes polled by Zanu PF's two candidates!

      What does that mean? It means just one very plain fact: the vast
majority of the people of Zimbabwe are dissatisfied with the performance of
Zanu PF and would like it (Zanu PF) replaced.

      We do not have to search high and low for the causes of that
dissatisfaction. All one has to do (if one lives in a town) is to look
outside one's window. Invariably one will see queues of people looking for
one scarce commodity or another outside.

      If the queues are not those of human beings, they will be those of
motor vehicles whose owners have either left them while they go to work, or
those manned by hired people or by actual owners, praying and hoping for

      At the government hospitals, many patients are given prescriptions and
told to go and buy the medicines from private pharmacies because the
hospitals do not have the medicines.
      The prices of the medicines, especially imported ones or those with an
import content, are out of reach of the ordinary Zimbabwean worker, to say
nothing of the vast majority who are not employed, and comprise 70 percent
of the population.

      At government tertiary educational institutions, students are expected
to buy their own meals daily.Travelling from one part of Zimbabwe to another
is utterly unaffordable today. Bus, train and air fares are so high that
people living in the rural areas (and that is where most of the people
reside) cannot afford to visit urban centres, and vice versa.

      Inflation is so high (210 percent) that a box of matches now costs an
average of $20 and an ordinary razor blade goes for $25. Plain buns sell for
$40 each in most supermarkets.

      In addition to all this, the Zanu PF administration uses
organisational tactics based on the primitive principle of survival of the
fittest. Assaults on people perceived to oppose it are common, and
Parliament has passed some highly repressive laws to keep the party in power

      The police force has been so neutered that it is virtually at the beck
and call of Zanu PF rather than the generality of the people. Zanu PF has
effectively alienated sympathy and public support by using violence and
unorthodox methods to turn itself into a leviathan organisation. It has
failed to realise that violence generates fear and that fear breeds hatred
and that hatred turns into hostility, leading to counter-violence.

      The results of the Kuwadzana and the Highfield by-elections show the
current political preferences of the people of Zimbabwe. If the Zanu PF
national leadership were people- rather than power-oriented, they would put
their heads together and work out an approach to an era of a new political
dispensation characterised by the promotion of open dialogue between and
among all stakeholders in the national socio-economic arena.

      The country has reached a stage where the people are saying in effect
that they have had more than enough of the misrule of the Zanu PF
government. There is absolutely nothing strange or new in such a
development. That is because political parties, as social products, come and
go, and so do their leadership. Some go because they would have failed.
Others are unjustly and violently elbowed out of office by more ambitious

      In this day and age when human rights are the major topic in the world
's most important forums, it is highly advisable for realistic political
leaders to adopt a people- rather than a power-oriented policy.

      Such an approach is very much called for in Zimbabwe, probably more
than anywhere else in this region because of the population's high level of
education and socio-cultural sophistication. I have always wondered whether
Mugabe understands himself when he boasts about his Cabinet members being
more highly educated than those of whoever.

      One would have thought that he should instead boast about the
population's comparatively high level of education, a fact that should make
him realise that such a population will not bow down to repression.

      How can anyone in their sober senses prefer to be represented by the
likes of Chinotimba rather than by Mungofa?

      Should not one of those two be wielding a slasher, cutting down grass
along the verges of the roads and avenues of Harare, than aspiring to be a
legislator for a nation with such a large number of highly educated people?

      Or should he not be pushing a wheelbarrow in one of the Harare
municipal beer gardens?
      Whatever our individual feelings on this matter, let it sink in the
Zanu PF top leadership's minds that it is clear that if genuinely free and
fair elections were held throughout the country today, their party would
certainly trail far behind the MDC.

      That was, in fact, indicated during the 2000 constitutional referendum
when violence and intimidation did not feature in any way.

      This fact can be ignored only by those who, like ostriches, prefer to
bury their heads in the sand rather than face the storm.

Back to the Top
Back to Index



Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: Ben Norton

Dear John.

I nearly hit the roof when I read this, am I nuts or has somebody else gone
nuts, I was under the impression that only two % of C.F.U members had not
received eviction orders and that means that the rest who are still on
their farms are there illegally or are there by kind permission of the
settlers or the new owners or are farming in partnership with some big wig,
and by giving the figure of 1800 still operating and I presume are the
farmers from whom the present councillors are elected and are a bit more
than 2% so what is the truth have we been hoodwinking the world into
thinking that commercial agriculture has been destroyed , so will somebody
PLEASE tell me the truth, who at the moment owns all the assets belonging
to C.F.U.? Do the 2% still legally operating own the C.F.U? If this is the
case then 100 farmers are all very wealthy men. Do you remember Bill
Francis formed a trust which owns the assets belonging to Grain Producers,
and who owns Art?

Can somebody please brief me from the amount of land that was once farmed
by white commercial farmers, how much is still unlisted and being
productively managed by their rightful owners? To talk about what is legal
and what is illegal in Zim today is absolute nonsense, and until the
country returns to rule of legality, nothing in Zim is legal today.

I still have my title deeds but do I still legally own my farm, if so can I
please put it up for sale, because no ways do I want to go back to my 6000
acres because I believe it has been completely trashed and there is not
even a duiker left on the farm.

To hold an open meeting and then complain that 40% were poor chaps who were
kicked off their farms and can no longer afford to pay C.F.U subs and were
at the meeting to find out what was being done on their behalf, by the
C.F.U, and now to be told that unless they pay subs .they can no longer
attend C.F.U. Open meetings. Am I right or wrong when I say that C.F.U.
should be looking after the interests of the majority of members who still
hold title deeds but were kicked off their farms.  John this whole question
needs close legal attention.

A lot more could be said on this subject but I think I have said enough and
in spite of what Dave Joubert says you are now doing more for the majority
of commercial farmers as they were in 1999 than anybody else please keep up
the good work.

Yours sincerely
Ben Norton



Life is a struggle, a continual climb, if we're ever to reach our goal.
The road we face is rough and rugged, with many a stone in the way.  It is
only with courage and a will to win that we will succeed.

Great trials are often necessary to prepare us for great responsibilities.


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

Justice for Agriculture mailing list
To subscribe/unsubscribe: Please write to
Back to the Top
Back to Index