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

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Note: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the Movement
for Democratic Change.

This time Mugabe has gone too far!  Since April 2000, following the defeat
of the Zanu proposed new constitution, Mugabe has pursued a land policy that
has said "land is the key to our prosperity as a people, it is our heritage.
The continued occupation by a small clique of commercial farmers of the best
land is not acceptable, the fast track land reform exercise is our response
to this situation". Africa took him at his word and his statements at face
value. A lot of people in the rest of the world said it was OK - but do it
legally.  He went on to say, "this is not a racist agenda, we only want to
redress the imbalance. All we ask for is vacant and under-utilised land,
land that is surplus and if a farmer only has only one farm, he will be
offered another, if we decide that we need his farm for settlement for
technical reasons". Sounds OK?

Now, 18 months later, the government has brushed aside all the niceties,
designated for compulsory acquisition, without compensation, 10,7 million
hectares of land out of 12 million under commercial occupation at this time.
He has further unleashed on these hapless farmers a programme of violent
occupation and has instructed the forces of law and order to ignore the law
and to prosecute only those who resist or show sympathy for, the plight of
those involved.

Now 8 farmers and some 40 others have been killed, hundreds injured and
raped, homes burnt, possessions stolen and tens of thousands have been
displaced. Farm activities have been totally disrupted; food production has
fallen by 50 per cent and key export industries face total collapse. Up to 3
million people face starvation and we are now linked with the Sudan and
Somalia as food crisis countries. The Courts, responding to the appeals of
those affected have ordered the government to stop this nonsense, draw up a
proper land reform programme and then start again - their opinions have been
ignored and the Judges making these legal judgements have been threatened
and their courts and homes invaded.

Now to complete the scenario, Mugabe and his henchmen have hatched a plan
that calls for 3 million people to be moved in the next 6 months. 1,5
million from the cities onto commercial farmland now forcibly empty and idle
and as a consequence 1,5 million people - all of them former dependants on
commercial agriculture, now homeless and destitute, to squatter camps
outside the cities.  This Stalin-like, Khymer Rouge exercise is to be
undertaken by the Army and the Police. The new commercial farm "settlers"
will be registered to vote on transfer to their new "homes" and will be paid
a per deum and given other support while they wait until the time comes to
vote. Then they will be told to vote for Mugabe or be displaced - like the
farm workers and their families. The farm workers and their families will be
unable to vote because they are not in their constituencies and as
"internally displaced refugees" they will be disenfranchised. Zanu PF hopes
by these draconian means to shift 1 million votes in favour of Mugabe in the
presidential election in March 2002.

This plan was revealed in a story covered by the Financial Gazette and has
not been denied. It must therefore be true and what a horrifying story it
makes. It's Thabo Mbeki's worst nightmare because, in all probability, South
Africa will find itself subjected to a new wave of illegal immigrants who
will join the millions of other people in the shanty towns of South Africa.

If nothing is done to stop this madness - and to stop it now, Zimbabwe will
slide inevitably into anarchy and chaos. Its economy, already teetering on
the brink of the abyss will slide into oblivion. Its people totally
dependent on foreign aid to feed themselves and to provide some form of
health and education for their children. I am not the only one who is
thinking in these terms - the exchange rate for foreign exchange is now 250
to 1 for the US dollar indicating total panic amongst those who have any
resources. Capital flight at these premiums means that people are dumping
their assets at any cost. If you compute our GDP at these rates, we are
suffering from a 70 per cent decline in the GDP in real terms at this

As for the farmers - there are close to 10 000 white men on commercial
farms, owners, managers and assistants. These are generally tough
individuals with a very determined outlook on life. Used to making decisions
they are mostly very individualistic and used to giving orders. Controlling
large labour forces is a major part of their responsibilities. These men and
their families have been subjected to insults, physical threats and worse
for the past 18 months. They have had no support from any quarter - no
international organisation has stood up for their rights and no government
has offered any assistance whatsoever. Banks have demanded repayment of
loans and withheld funding for normal activities and theft of crops and
livestock has been commonplace. They have been stripped of their rights as
citizens and as human beings, they have been denied the protection of the
law. They have not been allowed to protect their families, their staff or
their assets.

During this 18-month period not a single "war veteran" has been killed in
anger, very few incidents of violence perpetrated by these white men against
their tormentors have been recorded. Not a single person who has been
responsible for various forms of violence against these farm families and
their staff and their families has been prosecuted or convicted.  It
represents a totally one-sided application of the laws of this country and
makes a complete mockery of all that Mugabe has been saying for the past 18
months. Now in a small town called Chinhoyi, Zanu PF thugs are beating up
ordinary citizens - among them 20 white women simply going about their
ordinary business in a small farming town. The objective - to try and so
enrage these courageous people that they will retaliate. It's a sure sign of
complete desperation. Like having a prisoner whom you are beating and
torturing to secure some information and all he does is smile at you -
eventually you haul in his wife and say - what will you do if we meet out to
her, what we are doing to you?

No matter what you might think of these white farming families, there are
principles at stake here which are universal and every person who stands for
decency and the rule of law in society, has to stand by these people and say
to Mugabe and his thugs, enough is enough!

Failure to do so will not only make all of us poorer in spirit and in human
values but will condemn yet another potentially prosperous state in Africa
to mayhem and abject poverty. It also justifies all the racial innuendoes
that racists have used over the years to denigrate and undermine black
consciousness. It flies in the face of all that people like Steve Biko and
Nelson Mandela have stood for in life. It's time for black Americans and
Europeans to stand up for justice in this part of the world and to say to
Mugabe that his behaviour is totally unacceptable.

Its time for those "smart sanctions" against the Zimbabwe leadership. Deny
Mugabe food for his bloated ego; take away their ill-gotten gains from
corruption. Exclude them from the gatherings of international leaders and
insist that if they continue on this course of action, they will be fully
excluded from the international community.  At Durban - label the Mugabe
land grab as racist and at CHOGM, tell Mugabe that he is no longer
acceptable in that community of nations because he has violated its

August 4, 2001

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From ZWNEWS, 9 August

Orchestrated violence spreading

Five farmsteads in the Mhangura/Doma farming area in northern Zimbabwe have been attacked and ransacked in the last 24 hours. Gangs of Zanu PF thugs are reported to be roaming the area assaulting and robbing passersby. Some farmers are reported to have left the area to avoid confrontation with the gangs of state-sponsored criminals. Alan York, of Cotswold Estates, left his farm to take up a travel prize he had won after being judged Cattleman of the Year by the parastatal Cold Storage Commission. After he had left the property, his house was ‘invaded’ and ransacked. A light aircraft put up by a neighbour reported that the vehicles on the farm had been ‘requisitioned’ to ferry the gangs around the area, and wholesale theft of furniture and belongings was observed at the farmstead. One of the vehicles was within a short time seen to have crashed.

Reports of similar criminal activity were received from Johan Steyn of Kismet Farm, and from Peter du Toit, a Mr Hansen, and a Mr Nel – all farmers in the Mhangura/Doma district. There were similar reports from the Macheke/Virginia farming area. In Nkayi in Matabeleland, a hand grenade was last night thrown into a bar which the local MDC MP, was visiting. It did not explode and is being defused by the bomb squad.

In Nyathi, David Joubert, the farmer beaten and arrested yesterday was released on bail after being charged with assault, grievous bodily harm and malicious damage to property. The charges relate to an incident several days ago in which a gang of Zanu PF thugs who had been ferried onto his ranch in government vehicles, laid an ambush for the ranch’s game guards, The guards fired birdshot in self defence – slightly injuring some of the gang, and several people they had earlier abducted from a nearby mine to use as human shields. Joubert was not involved in the incidents but was charged anyway. The gang later burnt staff quarters in the ranch compound Joubert was severely beaten in the presence of several police officers, including Detective Inspector Marima from Bulawayo, who had arrived in the district to take charge of the local police force. No arrests have been made among those who assaulted Joubert or who ambushed his game guards and burnt the ranch buildings. Lawyers for Joubert say the police have told them that have orders from above not to investigate the incidents of assault and arson, or even to open a docket or issue a case number.

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Support the Protesters in Brisbane!
Mugabe is set to attend CHOGM in October this year. Everytime we manage to protest his presence at an international gathering his credibility and popularity is questioned upon. His power is eroded.

Email your support; your photographs of the brutality of the Mugabe dictatorship; his vile and hate-filled comments to the protesters in Brisbane who are on a mission to give him a very hard time.

They need our support and encouragement.



and email:

Please forward this email.

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From The Independent [UK]
Mugabe's thugs push Zimbabwe towards race war

By Basildon Peta

10 August 2001

As my car descended a steep section of the highway into Chinhoyi yesterday, I was suddenly gripped by an acute sense that the whole country was falling into a dark and bottomless pit.

I was not only unnerved by the tense atmosphere around Chinhoyi magistrates' court, where 23 white farmers were at a bail hearing after being charged with "inciting violence" against black squatters.

I had barely recovered from the horrific experience of covering a parliamentary by-election in Bindura two weeks ago. I interviewed opposition supporters who had been maimed, tortured and raped by ruling Zanu-PF party supporters during the campaign period of the by-election.

There was no doubt in my mind that Zimbabwe, for long an oasis of peace and stability in volatile Africa, was now on a dangerous knife edge.

The violence in my country, which suddenly erupted again this week with the clashes between the white farmers in Chinhoyi and the self-styled war veterans doing the bidding of President Robert Mugabe, is threatening to become a race war.

The cries of Graham Coleman, a South African tourist, who I had interviewed on the telephone two days ago, were still fresh in my mind.

Mr Coleman was in Zimbabwe on a three-week holiday but was abducted and detained by war veterans as soon as he arrived at his brother's farm in Marondera.

"I have read about violence in Zimbabwe but I didn't know it was this bad. I wish I had not come here," Mr Coleman had said as he wept on the phone.

He sounded like all the other victims of political violence inspired by Zanu-PF I had spoken to in the past few weeks.

Peasants who have lost their villages and property because of their support for the opposition, aid agencies and diplomats who have been attacked for "funding" the opposition, civil servants who have been victimised and many other victims of the violence raging in Zimbabwe.

My thoughts also went to the 36 black opposition supporters murdered in the run-up to the general election in June last year and to the nine white farmers murdered in ongoing violence on the commercial farms. All the ruling party thugs responsible for these murders are roaming the streets of Zimbabwe scot free.

Throughout the 75-mile journey from Harare, I realised that everything I had written about my beloved country over the last 12 months had been about doom and gloom.

Now as I descended into Chinhoyi for the second time in two days, I felt saddened that I was on my umpteenth mission to record another sad chapter about my country – the arrest of the 23 white farmers after what was clearly racially motivated violence.

On a nearby farm, I tracked down an elderly white woman who had been attacked in a supermarket on Tuesday. The 72-year-old woman lives on the farm with her son but had seemed oblivious to the political tensions in the town until she became a victim herself of the ruling party thugs who went on the rampage, beating any white person they came across in Chinhoyi, after the farmers' arrest.

"I don't think she will speak to you after what happened to her. She has not come to terms with the incident. She is now dead scared to talk to strangers," the guard said.

When I was eventually allowed inside, she pleaded: "Please don't ever use my name or that of my son. They will come after me... In fact I won't say much. I don't understand how anyone can dare beat a 72-year-old." She and her niece had been beaten before strangers had come to their rescue and they managed to flee. All white businesses in Chinhoyi had shut shortly afterwards on the advice of the police.

Yesterday I spoke with another white farmer as he prepared to abandon his property. "I can no longer take the risk. I don't think there is still a place for any white person in Zimbabwe. It's now a choice between life and death," said the farmer, who said he was flying to South Africa. He said the mainly white Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) was preparing to evacuate all whites who wanted to leave Chinhoyi and the surrounding farming areas of Karoi, Mhangura and Doma. Last night, a CFU official said at least 30 white families had already fled violence around Chinhoyi. Many more had asked the CFU to help in evacuating them.

All the white farmers interviewed during my visit to Chinhoyi agreed that they were victims of racial violence that was being fanned by Mr Mugabe and his supporters ahead of next year's presidential elections. "We have lived here since independence in 1980 but we have never experienced these problems until Mr Mugabe started scape-goating us for his government's failures," said another farmer. Mr Mugabe blames the whites and Britain for sabotaging the economy.

Blacks in Chinhoyi confirmed that the racial violence in their town was being driven by ruling party stalwarts who believed they could win more black votes for Mugabe by driving the whites off their land and redistributing it among blacks.

"Now for you to be safe here, you just have to pretend that you are a ruling party supporter even if you are not," said Andrew Motsi, a black shoemaker.

"If they give me a piece of land I will take it. But that will not guarantee them my vote," said a local shopkeeper, who did not want to be named.

I asked myself – is this the reconciliation and freedom President Mugabe promised to all Zimbabweans when he stood with Prince Charles to witness the bringing down of the Union Jack in 1980? Definitely not. Mr Mugabe's motive is clear – to remain in power. In pursuit of that goal, he has brought a once promising nation to its knees.

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Zimbabwe white farms evacuated as unrest widens
By Tony Hawkins in Harare
Published: August 9 2001 18:51GMT | Last Updated: August 9 2001 19:03GMT
Mugabe image

At least 20 white-owned commercial farms in the Mhangura and Doma districts of north-east Zimbabwe have been evacuated after unrest that broke out in Chinhoyi earlier this week spread to neighbouring areas.

Farm spokesmen said at least five homes had been ransacked and that parts of the area had been cut off by war veterans who had used tractors and other farm equipment to set up road blocks.

The Commercial Farmers Union said workers had been evacuated from most of the affected farms, but some who had stayed had been being "forced to assist in the widespread looting process".

There were also reports of a break-in at Two Trees Hill farm where shots were heard, and "there may be casualties", the statement added.

Cattle were being driven out of paddocks - more than 2,000 on one farm alone. In an effort to restore calm, the authorities have deployed the para-military Police Support Unit in the area.

In Chinhoyi town, 22 white farmers arrested after clashes on a white-owned farm on Monday appeared in court again seeking bail and facing charges of assault and incitement to violence.

The magistrate adjourned the hearing in the afternoon without giving a ruling, leading lawyers to speculate that the farmers might be forced to spend the long holiday weekend in prison.

Friday and Monday are public holidays. The CFU said the prosecutor in the case had opposed bail on the ground that with feelings in the town running high, the lives of the white farmers could be in danger.

Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away in the south-west, state radio reported that six settlers had been injured in clashes with a farmer and three game reserve guards.

Radio Zimbabwe said a "shoot out" between the veterans and the farmer and his guards had lasted for two days, after the farmer had tried to evict the settlers from his ranch.

He was subsequently assaulted by the settlers and has been admitted to hospital.

In what is seen as an ominous development for the government, two black workers have been shot dead in the industrial town of Redcliff in the Midlands in what police describe as "an accidental discharge".

Trouble broke out at the state-owned Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Co (Zisco) where workers had launched a "sit-in" as part of their demands for a pay increase. A police spokesman said 45 officers were sent to the complex but were unable to restore order and called for help from the defence forces.

A detachment of troops was sent and two steelworkers died in a clash in which soldiers had been "mobbed by workers". The police spokesman said shots were fired accidentally but a trade union spokesman accused the soldiers of opening fire "without provocation".

State radio said the steel complex, recently renovated by a Chinese company, had been heavily damaged. Zisco officials put the cost of the damage at US$25m, the radio said.

Urban unrest of this kind and the use of the military to restore order is a serious setback for the government which is determined to demonstrate to the international community that the Zimbabwe crisis is a race conflict entirely attributable to the inequitable pattern of land holdings.

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Press Statement

(On behalf of the Commercial Farmers' Union)

The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) has expressed concern at the deteriorating lawlessness in the country over the last few days and has called on Government to act swiftly to quell any and all incidents of unrest.

Citing incidents in, Beatrice, Mvurwi, Banket, Norton, Marondera, Mutare, Chiredzi, Gweru, Matabeleland, Chinhoyi and a Kwe Kwe incident resulting in the death of Mr. Ralph Cobbert. The CFU executive are becoming increasingly concerned for the safety of their members.

Violence broke out in Chinhoyi town, 100 kilometers from Harare on Monday 6th August. This incident has resulted in the arrest of 21 Commercial Farmers, who have been detained in Banket and Chinhoyi prisons for the past 2 days.

Press and witness reports have been received that acts of physical violence spread through Chinhoyi resulting in further assaults and intimidation of white members of the community. 3 of the detained farmers were subsequently arrested when they visited the Police Station to offer support to fellow farmers and at least 3 wives were assaulted when they attempted to visit their husbands at the Police Station. The perpetrators of these attacks, some of which occurred within Police grounds, are allegedly "youths’ from the ruling ZANU PF party. A certain Mr. Chirawa has identified himself to the local CFU representatives as being the leader of this group.

The situation on the ground remains tense with the farmers preparing to attend a remand hearing in Chinhoyi Magistrates Court.

Factual reports filtering in to CFU Headquarters indicate the following sequence of events:

At 9:00 am on 6 August, farmers in the Chinhoyi district received a distress call over the local radio network from a local farmer, Mr. Barkley, who reported that his house was being attacked by a group of 40 persons brandishing axes and sticks. The police were informed but their response did not inspire confidence that violence would be averted timeously or dealt with in an unbiased fashion.

Two farmers who visited the scene to assess the situation had to retreat after being assaulted by the occupiers. A group of about 25 farmers then proceeded to the farm with a view to assisting the besieged farmer. They arrived to find the homestead surrounded, and forced their way through the mob in an effort to determine the state or fate of the farmer and his family. A confrontation ensued and several occupiers and four or five farmers - were injured, one seriously enough to be hospitalised. The besieged and embattled farmer was eventually found barricaded inside the house, out of reach of his radio.

The police eventually arrived and requested that the farmers report to Chinhoyi police station to give statements. On arrival at the station, 17 farmers were arrested. In addition, a 72-year old man who arrived later to bring blankets for those who had been arrested was also detained. No member of the occupiers was arrested or detained for questioning.

Further arrests were made on the morning of the 7 August, when a group of farmers and local residents arrived at the police station in an effort to mediate. These additional arrests at the Police stations, brings the number of farmers in detention to 21.

Chinhoyi Police along with Mr. Chirawa, the leader of the ZANU PF group of War Veterans and Youth have advised CFU representative, Mr. Jan Botes to evacuate all whites who live and work in Chinhoyi.

Meanwhile the CFU and its partners, driving the Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement Initiative (ZJRI) are committed to finding common ground and all meetings currently being held are devoted to securing consensus on the land reform programme despite the tense situation on the ground.

At the recent CFU congress members stood firm on the need for dialogue with Government and to seek a speedy solution that meets the economic needs of the country by restoring productivity to the agricultural sector.

Press reports indicate that Zimbabwe is headed for food shortages and farmers countrywide are deeply concerned at their inability to sow and harvest their crops without hindrance.


8th August 200, 11:30 am

For more information please contact

Jenni Williams Cell 011 213 885

(263-4) 703210/702269

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From FinGaz

Force them off the farms: govt

Staff Reporter
8/9/01 8:48:35 PM (GMT +2)

THE government has told war veterans to target and harass individual
commercial farmers into abandoning their land instead of waiting for the
arduous legal process of land acquisition before they get settled on the
properties, it was learnt this week.

Intelligence sources coordinating the war veterans said time was running out
for the government to exhaust all relevant legal procedures required to
seize the 4 700 farms listed for compulsory acquisition before the onset of
the new rainy season in October.

There was also the problem of capacity to make valuations for compensations
on all these properties. At the same time the government wanted as many
families as possible to be resettled so they could start ploughing their
land before the rainy season.

"There is thus a shift in strategy. The government wants the war veterans to
harass and scare farmers into abandoning their land and then they get it for
ploughing before October. Issues of compensation and others become
peripheral once a farmer is no longer on the land," one source said.

"Alternatively, the farmers can be harassed and forced to negotiate with the
veterans and allow them to till part of the farmer’s land if the farmer
remains on the land."

Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) president Collin Cloete said he was not
aware of the strategy, although he said it could not be ruled out as an
option because many strategies had been used before against CFU members.

In the past few weeks, he said, the veterans had resorted to barricading
individual farmers in their homes and attacking them or detaining them for
up to five days.

"In Beatrice, Marondera, Headlands and other places, we have had many
individual farmers being targeted and attacked in their homes. It has been a
trend in the past two or three weeks. It’s a tactic to intimidate farmers to
leave their properties," Cloete said.

His remarks seemed to fit directly with the strategy outlined by the sources
but still the CFU president said he was not aware whether or not the
government had agreed to embark on a systematic harassment of the farmers.

"It hasn’t been as obvious as you have stated it," he said.

Cloete said the perception that most people wreaking havoc on commercial
farms were landless was not true because most of the illegal settlers were
getting instructions to cause problems on the farms.

One of his missions was to re-open dialogue with the government to try to
resolve the land question, he said.

"We can still work together with the government to resolve the land dispute
in the interests of this country. It’s never too late. There are many
genuine people out there who need to be resettled and we would want to
assist in the whole process," he said.

Cloete said the government had paid compensation for about 20 farms in the
past 18 months. Only about 25 farms had also been legally and fully acquired
in the same period.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made could not be reached for comment yesterday.
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From FinGaz

Martial law looms

By Sydney Masamvu, Political Editor
8/9/01 8:46:49 PM (GMT +2)

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s Cabinet is actively considering declaring a state
of emergency if the international community goes ahead to impose sanctions
against him and his senior government officials, authoritative official
sources said this week.

They said the approval by the US Senate last week of the Zimbabwe Democracy
Bill, which still has to be endorsed by Congress and the White House, had
re-ignited intense debate within Cabinet on whether Harare should impose
emergency rule.

The passage of the Bill, whose sanctions specifically target Mugabe and his
senior officials for their alleged promotion of violence and lawlessness in
Zimbabwe as opposed to punishing the country, had caused panic within the
Cabinet and the ruling ZANU PF leadership, the sources said

In Capitol Hill in Washington DC, legislative officials this week said the
Bill had received unanimous support from the Senate and was bound to be
passed by the full Congress before the end of the year, setting the stage
for a bitter confrontation with a defiant Mugabe.

"The indications are that the Bill will be passed by the Congress, that is
increasingly looking pretty obvious because it has garnered overwhelming
bi-partisan support," a US official involved in the crafting of the Bill
told the Financial Gazette by telephone.

"Time permitting and since it has received overwhelming support, we will try
to push to get the Bill passed by Congress before it goes on recess. The
question of it being passed is no longer an issue, the only issue is when it
will be passed," the official said.

Political commentators in Harare said the passage of the Bill by the US
legislature was a strong signal from the Bush administration to the rest of
the international community, angered by Mugabe’s refusal to end lawlessness
which has killed nearly 40 people since last year, to impose sanctions on
the Zimbabwean leader.

The 15-nation European Union (EU), which has given Harare two months to end
political violence and uphold the rule of law with effect from mid-June, is
already considering selective sanctions that will target individual
Zimbabwean politicians.

Officials in both the Harare government and its governing ZANU PF party this
week said the "law of survival" would take over if sanctions are imposed on

"We will be left with no choice but to declare a state of emergency if we
are under sanctions," said a government minister, reflecting the toughening
mood in Mugabe’s Cabinet.

"With the way the situation is developing, that cannot be ruled out. The law
of survival will take over," the minister said, preferring not to be named.

Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo, who spoke on the record, did not also rule
out the possibility of a state of emergency, telling the Financial Gazette
last night that if Zimbabwe came under siege, it would have to devise
strategies to survive.

"We hope the situation won’t reach the sanctions level, but if we are under
siege, we have to employ strategies to survive. We cannot lie and down and
mourn," he said.

"As for declaring a state of emergency, I cannot say anything at the moment.
We will cross that bridge when we reach it."

He however said he hoped current talks between the government and the
international community on Zimbabwe’s crisis would yield positive results,
making sanctions unnecessary.

Zimbabwe’s efforts to lobby the international community against the
sanctions also involve its ambassadors to the United Nations, Washington and
the EU — Tichaona Jokonya, Simbi Mubako and Kelebert Nkomani respectively —
who are busy talking to US congressmen and the Black Caucus to try to reject
the Zimbabwe Bill.

Zimbabwe’s representatives in the US have also been lobbying African
diplomats based in Washington to oppose the Bill, while former American
ambassador to the UN Andrew Young and a public relations firm, Cohen & Woods
International, have been enlisted by the government to fight the impending

Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge, who has hinted in the past that sanctions
could lead to the imposition of martial law, could not be reached for
comment yesterday. He is in Malawi attending a meeting of the Southern
Africa Development Community.

He is however expected to use a meeting of Commonwealth foreign ministers,
who will discuss differences between Zimbabwe and Britain over land reform,
to clarify his government’s position on major issues of concern to the
international community ahead of a Commonwealth summit in Australia in

According to diplomatic sources, Zimbabwe’s political crisis is likely to
top the agenda of the Australian summit, where Mugabe could face heavy
censure from other heads of state at the once-in-two-years meeting of
Britain and its former colonies.

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From FinGaz

Farmer faints in land trial

From David Masunda, Deputy Editor-in-Chief
8/9/01 8:47:55 PM (GMT +2)

CHINHOYI — One white farmer collapsed in the dock but later recovered
yesterday as senior magistrate Godfrey Gwaka postponed to today the
tension-packed trial of 22 farmers accused of assaulting and injuring black
peasants resettled on a farm near here.

The bail hearing was postponed to today to allow tempers to cool down and to
check on the nationality of one of the farmers who carries a British
passport. The farmers, who were remanded in custody, are being charged with
inciting public violence.

Before the bail hearing, hundreds of ZANU PF youths chased away foreign
journalists and the Financial Gazette from covering the trial that has
exposed the underlying racial tension caused by the government’s illegal
fast-track land resettlement scheme.

The 22 farmers, who were later smuggled into the magistrates’ court through
the back door under heavy police guard, are accused of having assaulted and
seriously injured five resettled peasants on Liston Shield, about 15 kms
from Chinhoyi, on Monday.

ZANU PF youths besieged the court buildings from early morning anticipating
the arrival of the accused, who have been in custody since Monday but
police, fearing a riot, delayed court proceedings until late in the

The farmers, many still clad in farming khaki shirts and short trousers, had
to be smuggled through the back door normally used by court officials to
avoid the ZANU PF youths milling in front of the court buildings and baying
for their blood.

The youths, some visibly drunk and brandishing empty beer bottles, chased
away reporters from the Financial Gazette, Reuters, the Daily News and the
local independent Makonde Star, accusing the journalists of favouring the
white farmers.

The mood got tense just after lunchtime as the youths, led by war veterans,
went through the crowd picking at random those they suspected of being
foreign or independent journalists or supporters of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC).

Dennis Kagonye, a Makonde Star reporter, said the youths had gone on a
rampage in Chinhoyi on Tuesday night, beating up whites in the town and
damaging their vehicles.

Kagonye said he was visibly shaken when he watched helplessly as three white
youths coming from school were waylaid by the war veterans and mercilessly

Silas Matamisa, the MDC’s provincial chairman, said the ZANU PF youths had
also descended on his Chikonohono home and tried to burn his pickup truck.
He said the youths were venting their anger on MDC supporters whom they also
accused of sympathising with the farmers.

Kagonye said Joseph Chinotimba, ZANU PF’s self-styled commander of farm
invasions, had been seen in the town in the company of provincial governor
Peter Chanetsa leading the youths on Tuesday night with another war veteran
only known as Musakasi.

Most companies run by commercial farmers in Chinhoyi were closed yesterday,
apparently on the orders of the police who fear an eruption of white-black

Meanwhile David Joubert, a rancher in Nyathi in Matabeleland, has been
arrested after violent clashes between war veterans and his farm guards
during which three of the invaders were injured.

Police said Joubert, who was beaten senseless by the war veterans, would
face attempted murder charges.

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From the BBC
Zimbabwean white farmers in court
Police monitor crowds of Zanu-PF youths
Tensions have been rising in Chinhoyi for three weeks
Twenty-three white farmers have appeared in court in the town of Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe, charged with public violence and assault following clashes with a group of self-styled war veterans who had been occupying a farm.

Tension and violence between white farmers and government supporters has been mounting in the town 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the capital Harare for the past three weeks.

The court appearance was highly-charged and a group of about 200 government supporters chased away reporters from the foreign and private press.

If the whites start fighting us, then we have to retaliate

Patrick Nyaruwata, war veterans association
One told a white journalist: "We have grievances against the whites. Don't stand here because we will beat you up."

The group milling around outside Chinhoyi magistrates court had also threatened to attack the farmers, if they were granted bail.

A British diplomat was present to check on reports that some of the farmers had dual British-Zimbabwean nationality, which has been declared illegal by President Robert Mugabe's government.


One of the men, 71 year-old Gert Pretorious, collapsed in the courtroom and is being treated at Chinhoyi hospital.

The court has now adjourned until Thursday and so the farmers will spend another night in police cells.

As part of Mr Mugabe's policy of redistributing land, groups of war veterans and poor black farmers have been encouraged to settle on land forcibly taken from white owners by the Zimbabwean Government.

Chinhoyi, 100km from Harare

Following 80 years of colonial rule, whites own about 60% of Zimbabwe's most fertile agricultural land.

So far, nine white farmers have been killed in incidents linked to the land invasions. Two black people - a policeman and a settler - have also been killed.

Ralph Corbett, aged 76, became the latest victim on Monday when he succumbed to the wounds he sustained after being attacked by unknown assailants on 3 August.

In July, a white farmer allegedly killed a black settler by repeatedly driving over him in his truck.


Patrick Nyaruwata, acting chairman of the war veterans association, said: "If the whites start fighting us, then we have to retaliate."

The farmers are accused of ganging up and brutally attacking defenceless resettled farmers at a farm on Monday, said the government newspaper, The Herald.

But the farmers say that war veterans tried to attack one of them.

Two other farmers in the area reportedly came to his aid, and they too were set upon and left with broken ribs and head injuries.

Then about 20 other farmers in the vicinity came to the scene and a fight broke out between the farmers and the war veterans.

Settlers on Zimbabwean farm
Many settlers have been living in the open for 18 months, waiting for the land promised by Robert Mugabe

Five war veterans sustained injuries during the fighting.

When the police arrived, all of them were questioned, but only the farmers were arrested.

Peter Chanetsa, Governor of Mashonaland West province - of which Chinhoyi is the capital - told state television that the farmers who were in custody should know that they had definitely lost all of their land.

The land invasions are widely seen as a ploy by Mr Mugabe to overcome the threat of the new opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC.

At least 30 black MDC supporters have been killed in political clashes before and after the June 2000 parliamentary elections, in which Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF narrowly defeated the MDC.

Much of the violence was orchestrated by Zanu-PF supporters based on occupied white-owned farms around the country.

Presidential elections due in April 2002 are expected to be the most keenly contested - and violent - in Zimbabwe's 21-year history.

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From the Times of India

Fears of upsurge in racial conflict in Zimbabwe

ARARE: Violence between white farmers and blacks in Zimbabwe in which two
people have been killed and several injured in recent weeks has sparked
fears of an upsurge in racial conflict ahead of presidential polls next

"I think in the months to come we are going to see a lot of racial tension
as part of a conflict that is going to manifest itself in many other forms,
including inter-party conflict," said Joseph Kurebwa, a University of
Zimbabwe political science lecturer.

He was commenting on clashes in the northwestern town of Chinhoyi on Monday
between white farmers and blacks who have settled on their land, which left
several people injured on both sides and saw 23 farmers arrested.

Also Monday, a white farmer died of injuries he received during a brutal
attack last week on his home in which his hands were tied with wire and he
was hit on the head with an axe.

The incidents have ratcheted up tension in already racially-riven farming
communities, according to media reports Wednesday.

Following Monday's clashes in Chinhoyi, whites in the farming town have come
under threat and some have been physically assaulted, the state-run Herald

"Angry resettled (black) farmers and ordinary people yesterday retaliated
and attacked several whites in Chinhoyi," it said.

The privately owned Daily News reported that at least 10 white people,
including a 64-year-old man and his wife, were attacked by ruling ZANU-PF
party youths in Chinhoyi.

The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) offices in the town were closed and
police reportedly advised white people there to stay out of sight.

The clash came just two weeks after a white farmer allegedly killed a black
would-be settler in eastern Zimbabwe, running over him with his van at high
speed and dragging his body for several meters (yards).

Veterans of the country's 1970s liberation war interpreted the incident as a
declaration of war. "If the whites start fighting us, then we have to
retaliate," said acting chairman of the war veterans association Patrick

This week's incidents are the latest in a bitter dispute between landless
blacks and white farm owners which has seen bloodshed and farm invasions
since early last year.

The CFU which represents 4,500 mostly white farmers last month reported an
increase in burning of fields, eviction orders, and hostage-takings by the
self-styled war veterans who have occupied hundreds of farms here for 18

Last month private media reported that 45 farmers near the northern town of
Karoi, north of Chinhoyi, were forced to abandon their farms, due to
increased violence. Kurebwa said the use of violence by government as a tool
has a spiralling effect.

"It works in the short term until such a time that whites consider
themselves as an endangered species and see every black settler as a
potential risk," he said.

John Makumbe, a University of Zimbabwe political scientist, also predicted a
bitter build up to next year's presidential poll. "I actually foresee an
escalation in racial tension because the governing party has taken on a
number of weapons to fight for election, and these are land, violence and
racism," he said.

"I think it will get worse as we get towards elections and I think we will
see some of it in urban areas," he said, adding that "a number of white
people" could leave Zimbabwe in coming months.

He estimated that the population of whites in Zimbabwe has already dwindled
to about 65,000 from 80,000 before legislative elections last year.

The government of President Robert Mugabe has embarked on a controversial
land reform scheme aimed at correcting colonial-era imbalances which left
white Zimbabweans - less than one per cent of the population - owning some
70 percent of the country's prime farmland.

The government of the former British colony, which won independence in 1980,
has listed nearly 90 percent of white-owned farms for resettling of landless

Violence linked to the land reform campaign, launched last year ahead of the
legislative polls, claimed some 34 lives, including those of opposition
supporters and several white farmers.
( AFP )

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