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

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FEATURE Tuesday 7 , August

Farm workers left with no hope, no homes

 8/7/01 8:16:02 AM (GMT +2)

The man has no job, no home and no hope. But he says he had all these until
a month ago when a mob of Zimbabwe's "land-hungry" drove him out of bed and
out of work.  Hundreds of other farm workers and their families say they
have similarly been chased out of their homes on white-owned farms targeted
for seizure by President Mugabe's government.  The workers and their
families, including sick children and pregnant women, have taken refuge in
tobacco barns and sheds or are sleeping in the open.  They fear threats of
violence by people allocated plots on dozens of farms in Marondera, 80km
east of Harare.  The farms are among hundreds invaded since February 2000 by
militants led by veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war who back a
drive by Mugabe to forcibly acquire land from commercial white farmers for
redistribution to blacks.

  "They came here three to four weeks ago and said they are going to start
farming this year and that we should move out of our homes," one farm worker
said.  "They said they would not tolerate any resistance . . . and as a
demonstration grabbed one young man from the assembled workers and whipped
him so badly," said the worker, who like his fellow workers, refused to be
identified.  "Everyone is frightened here."  "We got the message and since
then we have been living here, packed like rats," he said, waving his hand
around a darkly lit tobacco barn, stacked with beds, blankets and pans.
There were more than 300 people in a barn at one farm, all sharing one
toilet.  There were 70 others at another farm, whose owner, barricaded in
his home, said he had been trying to get the police to act.  Police in
Marondera said they were investigating the cases of home evictions at the

  A spokesman for the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) said hundreds of
workers have been forced out of their homes in the past month, but gave no
specific figures.  Until the farm invasions, commercial farmers employed 300
000 workers, about a quarter of the  country's formal labour force, but the
CFU estimates that about 20 percent of them have since lost their jobs.  In
theory, the government says no worker should be evicted from a farm targeted
for seizure, but there is no master plan to absorb them into the
resettlement scheme.  The Marondera commercial farming belt produces some of
the country's largest crop of tobacco, contributing to Zimbabwe's position
as the world's third largest exporter of flue-cured tobacco.  A number of
farmers say they are unlikely to grow anything in the coming cropping
season, from November to April, because mobs supporting Mugabe's land
seizures have stopped farming operations and, in some cases, destroyed
tobacco seedlings at a critical stage.

  Agriculture Minister Joseph Made announced last Thursday that the
government had significantly increased the amount of white farmland it plans
to redistribute.  Made told the mainly white CFU the government would take
8,3 million hectares rather than the five million previously identified for
compulsory acquisition.  Mugabe says 4 500 white farmers own 70 percent of
the country's best farmland, while a majority of blacks are squeezed into
barren areas.  Reuter
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Mugabe men loot deserted farmsFROM MICHAEL HARTNACK IN HARARE RAMPAGING Zimbabwean militants have been seen looting more than £1 million in property from 30 abandoned farms in the Chinhoyi area northwest of Harare, the Commercial Farmers’ Union said.

Witnesses in a spotter aircraft saw tractors and other farm equipment, along with household effects, being removed after the owners evacuated their families.

Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change condemned events in Chinhoyi as “a descent into anarchy”. The party said: “People do not feel safe in the face of a reign of terror by Zanu (PF) thugs, some of whom have been fast-tracked into senior police positions.”

The party is demanding a full inquiry into the shooting dead by troops of two striking workers at the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company at Kwekwe in the Midlands on Wednesday. A police spokesman said that the two men were killed and four injured when a rifle discharged accidentally as strikers tried to wrest it from a soldier.

The 21 white farmers detained by police since Monday after clashes with pro-government militants were yesterday facing the prospect of a further four days in prison when a magistrate in Chinhoyi refused them bail.

Supporters of President Mugabe’s “fast-track land reform programme” were jubilant as the men were taken into court for the fourth time, barefoot and shackled to each other.

The independent Financial Gazette quoted intelligence sources as saying that Mr Mugabe had given instructions to self-styled war veterans involved in farm invasions to force whites off their land before the start of the rains in October, in the hope they would abandon court action to retain their property

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Sent: 08 August 2001 12:18
Subject: FW: Chinhoyi farmers

Dear All

  I received a call at 10pm last night from Lorraine Marillier (our friend
and AIDS counsellor in Chinhoyi) telling me that her husband Tony and son
Scott, had been arrested along with about 15 other farmers for making the
mistake of helping their neighbour whose home was being trashed by a gang of
squatters and zanu thugs. By now you will know of those events. However, I
decided to go to Lorraine early this morning and knocked on her door at 6 am
and yelled for tea!  At 8am I accompanied her to the Police Station at
Chinhoyi to find out about Tony and Scott. As we arrived at the Police
station we saw a large gang of youths - the rented thugs.  In the Charge
office was Dr. Flanagan, a man of 76 who had gone to find out how he could
help, but was assaulted by the youths, in front of a policeman at the
Station gate. The youth hit him with, he thinks, a cycle chain, breaking his
spectacles and damaging his eye very badly. There was internal and external
bleeding. His son was also hit with a stick and Lindsay Moyes (her husband
also in the cells) was hit by a fist on her left temple.  I was in the
Charge office for over half an hour and in that time the Police REFUSED TO
ACCEPT A REPORT OF ASSAULT on the old Doctor, his son and Lindsay.  I asked
for a Request for Medical Report Form which they refused to give me.  Having
been a regular member of the Police for 6 years and an A reservist for
27years I can only say that I was absolutely aghast and disgusted at the
behaviour of the Police.  They either totally ignored the complainants or
were blatantly rude.

  The Charge office soon filled up with zanu "heavies" one of whom just
about sent me flying as he purposely knocked into my chest pushing his way
past me.  The tempers were rising and it looked like there could be trouble
so I advised the farmers wives to go to the CFU office and suggested to Dr.
Flannagan that he was wasting his time and would be safer away from the
Police and the thugs. Four tyres on two of the wives vehicles had been let
down outside the station. To cut a long story short, we went from the CFU
office (flat tyres and all) to a venue where BBC were waiting to interview
the women.  Within 5 minutes of the BBC having left the interview venue we
received a call to leave immediately as the thugs were on their way with the
"heavies" to get the women who spoke to the Press. One young woman with a
small child found her truck had flat tyre and she had her three dogs in the
truck.  Four women, one child and three dogs fitted very quickly into my car
and a convoy of women fled the area to a farm 10 kms away.  As I drove out,
the zanu guys arrived. I did not look back, but concentrated on getting away
with my precious cargo!  It was a sickening feeling knowing that the people
under oath to protect the citizens of Zimbabwe were very much a part of the
Thereafter the "rent a crowd" set about any white person in a car with rocks
and stones, so Chinhoyi main street must have been a rather nasty place to

ANARCHY -  nothing can function in our country while there is this anarchy
and it is getting worse.  The Police are partisan and without any shadow of
doubt come under the direction of the war vets and their thugs.  We must not
allow this to continue - this is only the tip of the ice berg because we
have access to cell phones, two way radios and the Press.  What about the
rural population subjected to the squatter, war vet and Police brutality????

    with love to you all, K
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From the Chicago Sun-Times


Violence escalates in Zimbabwe

August 10, 2001


HARARE, Zimbabwe--Violence spread across at least 15 white-owned farms in northern Zimbabwe on Thursday as ruling party militants and illegal land occupiers engaged in widespread looting, farmers' leaders said.

Farmers and their families were forced out of 10 farms in the Lion's Den, Mhangura and Doma districts near Chinhoyi, where 21 white farmers were in court facing charges they attacked black squatters, the Commercial Farmers Union said.

The court in Chinhoyi, 70 miles northwest of Harare, adjourned the farmers' bail hearings to today, ordering the men held in custody for a fourth night. One 72-year-old farmer suffering from a heart ailment was freed Wednesday after collapsing in the courthouse.

No information was immediately available from police on Thursday's violence.

Farmers' union spokeswoman Jenni Williams said in addition to the 10 farms that were evacuated, five other farms were besieged Thursday and one homestead was burned to the ground. ''There is widespread looting,'' she said.

Cattle had been herded away and tractors and other equipment was stolen, she said.

Farm buildings were trashed and vehicles were used to take away furniture, fertilizer and building materials, district union officials reported. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Black squatters led by ruling party militants and veterans of Zimbabwe's independence war have occupied--often violently--more than 1,700 white-owned farms since March 2000.

The government has listed 4,600 farms--about 95 percent of properties owned by whites--for ''fast track'' confiscation without compensation. The 4,000 white farmers own about one-third of the Zimbabwe's productive land.

After their arrest Monday, the detained farmers were not given food for 24 hours and had not been allowed to receive food or clothing and blankets from their families despite the low overnight temperatures, district union officials said.

A farm official who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals said several of the farmers' homes were searched and licensed weapons were seized.

The union said the farmers arrested Monday went to help a besieged neighbor, leading to violent clashes with militants occupying his land. Militants wielding clubs and sticks chased farmer Tony Barklay into his house and attempted to smash down the door, demanding he leave the property, the union said.

Barklay radioed for help and militants stoned the cars of two white neighbors who arrived at his home. About 25 farmers from the district then went to their assistance.


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Friday, August 10, 2001

Mugabe appoints
new ministers

ZIMBABWE: President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has appointed a powerful new defence minister in a cabinet shuffle yesterday.

The shuffle had been anticipated following the deaths of the defence minister, Mr Moven Mahachi and the youth and gender minister Mr Border Gezi in car accidents earlier this year, and the resignation of the industry and international trade minister, Mr Nkosana Moyo.

Mr Mugabe appointed Mr Sidney Sekeramayi - a former state security minister who headed the mines and energy department - as defence minister. He named the former education minister Mr Herbert Murerwa as Mr Moyo's replacement as industry and trade minister.

Mr Elliott Manyika, who earlier this month fought off an opposition challenge to win the Bindura parliamentary seat left vacant after Mr Gezi's death, has also inherited Mr Gezi's job as head of the Youth and Gender Ministry.

Mr Mugabe created a new ministry for the informal business sector to be headed by Mr Sithembiso Nyoni, and also appointed three new deputy ministers for education, transport and energy, and justice.

In his first public comment on Mr Moyo's resignation last month, Mr Mugabe called on "cowards" to quit his cabinet, saying he was not prepared to work with ministers who were unable to face political and economic challenges.

Mr Moyo's associates said the minister was frustrated with Mr Mugabe's leadership, especially after militant, ruling ZANU-PF party supporters began invading businesses and allegedly extorting money earlier this year.

Mr Mugabe is battling a severe economic crisis, which many blame on government mismanagement since ZANU-PF took over the reigns of power at independence from Britain in 1980.

Meanwhile, a score of white farmers, charged with inciting public violence after clashes on a white-owned farm, returned to court yesterday to press for bail.

The farmers, who were charged and remanded in custody on Wednesday, were back arguing their case in the magistrate's court in Chinhoyi, 120 km north-west of Harare.

The political temperature remained high around the court, with hundreds of youths from Mr Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party singing and chanting anti-white slogans outside.

The farmers were arrested for allegedly assaulting supporters of Mr Mugabe on Monday on a farm occupied by so-called war veterans backed by the government.

Militant supporters of Mr Mugabe went on the rampage in northern Zimbabwe yesterday, attacking and looting 15 white-owned farms, farmers' leaders said.

Farmers and their families were evacuated from 10 properties in the Lion's Den, Mhangura and Doma districts near Chinhoyi.

Another five farms were under siege and one homestead was burned to the ground, said a spokeswoman for the Commercial Farmers' Union, Ms Jenni Williams.

"There is widespread looting" of evacuated farms, she said. - (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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Farmers flee 'war vet' attacks
White farmers arrive in court
White farmers are charged with assaulting black settlers
White families are fleeing their farms in north-western Zimbabwe in the same region where 21 white farmers were charged on Wednesday with assaulting black settlers.

Between 10 and 40 families are reported to have left their homes near the town of Chinhoyi after being attacked by groups of government supporters.

People (are) reporting beatings, property being set on fire, property being stolen and people having to escape

Farming official
The 21 were once more remanded in custody until Friday when a magistrate will rule on their bail application.

On Wednesday, militant youths from President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party threatened to attack them if they were set free.

Outside the court building, hundreds of singing and chanting government supporters had again gathered on Thursday.


A farming official who declined to be named said: "We are getting distress signals from all around Chinhoyi, people reporting beatings, property being set on fire, property being stolen and people having to escape."

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.

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, 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 was charged with murder after allegedly running over a man who had settled on his farm and dragging his body behind his truck for 20 metres.


The 21 farmers are accused of ganging up and brutally attacking defenceless resettled farmers at a farm on Monday, leaving five injured.

But the farmers say they were acting out of self-defence when self-styled war veterans tried to attack one of them.

Farmers have expressed surprise that none of the war veterans were arrested at the scene of the original fight or during the anti-white attacks which have hit the Chinhoyi region since.

Settlers on Zimbabwean farm
Many settlers have been living in the open for 18 months

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 the government would definitely now target all of their land in the on-going land resdistribution exercise.

And speaking on state television, Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo blamed white farmers and not pro-government war veterans for the recent upsurge in violence in the countryside.

"No war veterans have been causing any problems on the farms," Mr Nkomo said.

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.

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Farm Invasions and Security Report
 Thursday 9th August 2001


This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking
place in the commercial farming areas. Communication problems and the fear
of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens. Farmers names,
and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.

  a.. Illegal occupiers physically assaulted a farm manager on Mukamba Farm
in Doma, and ransacked his homestead.
  b.. Several farm owners in Doma and Umboe area, have had to evacuate their
homes due to increased tension arising from illegal occupiers ransacking
homesteads and loading furniture and household goods onto lorries.  Farm
stores and butcheries have also been looted.
  c.. Illegal occupiers are making steep demands for donations of cash and
food from farm owners in the Bromley, Ruwa and Enterprise districts, in
preparation for the upcoming celebrations.
  d.. A CIO official has taken possession of a leased house on Cooter of
Glys in Masvingo East and Central.

There were no reports received from Matabeleland.

Mashonaland Central
Centenary - In the run up to the long weekend, a group has been moving
around the district insisting that the holiday must include Friday and
demanding transport for a meeting on Friday, which has been denied so far.
The owner of Goramawkwa has been given an ultimatum of 6 days to vacate his
Mutepatepa - A partial work stoppage has been ongoing on Solomio Farm for 5
weeks now and ridging was prevented at Minto.  A slaughtered beast was found
on Condwelani earlier this week.

Mashonaland West North
Doma / Umboe - Illegal occupiers physically assaulted the farm manager of
Mukamba Farm and ransacked his homestead.  The owner's homestead was also
ransacked and their furniture and household items loaded onto the farm truck
which illegal occupiers hi-jacked.  A beast was slaughtered.  Tension
increased on  Richmond, Whindale, Caranfel, Cotswold, Solvang and Treelands,
causing the owners to vacate their farms immediately for safety.  Illegal
occupiers turned over 2 jeeps on Cotswold Estate, broke into the homestead,
destroyed the house and loaded the furniture and household contents into a
truck.  Illegal occupiers put tractors and trailers across the road and held
a large party, which farm workers were forced to attend.  Illegal occupiers
broke into the farm butchery on Dichwe farm and stole all the meat.  The
farm stores on Caranfel and Richmond were broken into and all store items
looted.  Illegal occupiers on Whindale Ranch hi-jacked the farm tractor and
siphoned fuel from it.  The owner of Mcherengi Farm had to evacuate his farm
due to security reasons.  Illegal occupiers armed with sticks demanded keys
to a farm lorry from the owner of Kismet Farm.  On Two Tree Hill farm,
illegal occupiers loaded the owner's furniture and household goods onto a
tractor and trailer, and forced farm workers to assist.  Illegal occupiers
ransacked the homestead belonging to the owner of Long Valley Farm.  The
owner of Sonops Farm was shot at near his workshops.  Illegal occupiers shot
a the owner's dog on Two Tree Hill.  Two truck loads of fertilizer were
stolen from Tree Hill.

Mashonaland West South
Norton - On Serui Source one of the owners' tractors impounded to the war
veterans camp was being used by them.  The DA and police organised that the
tractors be returned to the workshops. There was a new invasion in a series
of ongoing invasions reported on Tilford Farm.  Pegging continues illegally
by agritex on the authority of the DA on many properties where farmer owners
continue to try to get ready for the coming season.
Selous - A large group of illegal occupiers have moved onto Wicklow.
Chakari - The owner of Chevy Chase was arrested for shooting guinea fowl on
his property, and subsequently released.  On Newbiggin illegal occupiers
assaulted 10 farm workers.  Police were notified by the farm workers
resulting in illegal occupiers seriously beating the foreman.  Farm workers
have been told to vacate their homes and police have reacted, although no
arrests have been made yet.
Suri Suri - On Petra Farm there was a new invasion and the farmer was told
to vacate the homestead.
Kadoma - On Devon illegal occupiers are building in the middle of irrigated
Chegutu - DDF officials are in the process of drilling a borehole on

Mashonaland East
Bromley / Ruwa / Enterprise - Illegal occupiers are making steep demands for
donations and food, in kind from farmers for the upcoming celebrations. A
district celebrations committee has been set up in Enterprise where
donations are being made through them. A farmer in Ruwa was told to move his
centre pivot irrigation system from a land prepared and fertilised.
Featherstone - The owner of Phillipsdale was forced by illegal occupiers to
move 100 head of cattle into a 4 ha plot of land and told not to move them.
Harare South - The DA and about 80 illegal occupiers held a meeting on
Gilston. Illegal occupiers were told to draw a number out of a hat and the
number correlated with a map showing divided plots. The DA warned illegal
occupiers, that if they did not make use of the plots within two weeks, the
plots would be taken away from them. Illegal occupiers were told they had to
pay a $340,00 levy and another $340,00 on top of that. The owner of Elladale
was told to stop ploughing or there would be war by the illegal occupiers.
Marondera - Overnight roof rattling and pungwes have been occurring in the
district. The farm workers are also being included.
Macheke / Virginia - The owner of Richmond was prevented from moving wood
for his boiler and has had to stop grading. This resulted in a work
stoppage, but the owner can continue grading. 7 more families were settled
on Hazeldene Farm. Illegal occupiers said that they were not there to
interfere with farming operations. 2 different groups of illegal occupiers
had an altercation on Changwe Ranch but resolved it between themselves. The
owner of Casteldene Pines has been given 3 days to prove that his farm has
been delisted and If not he has to leave the farm. An aggressive group of
illegal occupiers arrived on Wheatlands farm wielding sticks and marched the
farmer down the road and made him dig up some spikes. These spikes were put
across the road after excessive poaching. He was then marched back to the
yard where he was verbally abused and told to move his cattle into the yard,
stop all work and not be on the farm on Tuesday. Police responded as well as
the owner's father and the situation defused. The owner is allowed to
continue with flowers and grading, and has to replace wooden pegs with metal
pegs, that illegal occupiers claim cattle had knocked over. Gunshots were
heard on Glen Somerset and reported to police. The owner of Changwe Ranch A
was prevented from collecting furniture and fencing from the farm. 20
illegal occupiers surrounded the owner of Methven farm and caused the owner
to shut down the farm. Illegal occupiers stated, they will not negotiate
with anyone, because they are above the DA.
Wedza - Farm workers on Markwe were kicked out of the farm village by
illegal occupiers. A beast was slashed on Collace and slaughtered. A water
pump was stolen from Raleigh farm, and later recovered. No arrests were
made. In an attempt to steal diesel on Devon, thieves were interrupted and
only managed to get away with some of the diesel. A meeting was held on
Dollanstown chaired by "danger" and illegal occupiers were told to leave the
farm. Farm workers on Mbima were chased out of their homes by illegal
occupiers. The owners of Mbima and Igudu have been given to the 15th August
to vacate their farms. 43 illegal occupiers arrived on Liliefontein from
Mutoko with illegal occupiers Chigwadere, Zinoro and an agritex official,
William. The group met with the owner and claimed their plots on the farm. 2
gun shots were heard on Torre and a Kudu was recovered. Local illegal
occupiers met with the owner of Nelson farm at their request and gave
demands. Some of these were agreed to. 4 cattle were slaughtered last night
on Brent. A sable was snared and killed on Rapako  and recovered. No arrests

Chipinge - War vet Mrs Mlamba and 9 illegal occupiers waited at the
homestead gate for the owner of The Nest Farm to return from church. On the
owner's return, illegal occupiers began wielding sticks and shouting "war,
war, war", and demanded that the foreman be dismissed. Mrs Mlamabo accused
the foreman of being responsible for the death of her cattle and dogs and
stated that she had a witness. When the witness was called, she failed to
give any substantial evidence. The situation was defused and it was agreed
that the foreman would not enter into the area the illegal occupiers
occupied. Police arrived later in the afternoon, and left with all the
illegal occupiers in their vehicle.

Masvingo East and Central - Illegal occupiers moved onto Cooter of Glys and
a CIO official has taken possession of a leased house and told the tenant
that they may occupy one room of the house. Land Task Committee, accompanied
by police are pegging. A private borehole drilling team, based in Harare are
drilling for illegal occupiers on Bon Air. Fences have been cut at Gymkana
Club in Masvingo, allowing horses to run loose on the main road. 10 illegal
occupiers accompanied by police, arrived on Lamotte farm and advised the
owner that the farm would be resettled. Extensive wood cutting is taking
place. 5 days later, an aggressive group of illegal occupiers, armed with
wood choppers instructed the owner to vacate the property within 24 hours.
Illegal occupiers pushed a motorbike over, belonging to the owner's son of
Dromore Farm, saying he was on their portion of land. Police responded and
informed the owner, they were unable to gain access to the portion of land
occupied, and that video footage was prohibited. Illegal occupiers who are
in possession of a weapon on Chidza Farm shot an impala. More illegal
occupiers are moving on. An unidentified vehicle drove onto Bon Accord A in
the evening and burnt down illegal occupiers huts and then proceeded to a
neighbouring farm to do the same. The officer in charge of police dog unit
and a PR officer of the police, Inspector Makanda, have been allocated plots
on Richmond Farm. 15 families were resettled on Reibeck Farm  with extensive
woodcutting taking place. Illegal occupiers on Fomax Dairy are extensively
chopping wood.
Gutu / Chatsworth - A police official seen poaching with a .303 rifle on
Nyororo farm, said he had been given permission to do so by the DA.
Mwenezi - Tension increased in the Bubi Village when their cattle were
impounded by the owner of Swanscoe who noted that red zone cattle had been
sent to the cattle sale which was in a clear zone area, and that none of the
red zone cattle had arrived with movement permits. A delegation from
Beitbridge, informed the owner of Swanscoe to release the cattle, and
threatened to charge him with cruelty to animals.  The owner of Swanscoe
contacted the Deputy Director of Veterinary Services, who sent a delegation
to responded. Whilst waiting for the veterinary services to arrive, the
owner was physically assaulted by illegal occupiers and received 4 death
threats. A representative from Veterinary Masvingo, accompanied by illegal
occupiers defused the situation. The buffalo boundary fence on Kleinbegin
Ranch was cut and about 300 head of cattle belonging to illegal occupiers
were moved on. Police informed the owner that they were unable to assist.
The Animal Health Inspector for Beitbridge, Mr Mutandi, informed the owner
that the Directory Veterinary Services had authorized the changing of zones.
A movement permit is not required when moving cattle within the same zone,
and no movement permits are required when farms are fast tracked. However,
commercial farmers did require a valid movement permit. Cattle have been
branded with "N" and "V" brands and some cattle remain unbranded. These
cattle originate from anywhere and some may originate as far as South Africa
and Mozambique where no fences exist. Illegal occupiers on Battlefields
Ranch refuse to comply with instructions received from the local Veterinary
Officer and police to remove their cattle from the farm. An eland and
wildebeest have been poached by illegal occupiers and theft of wire
continues. Illegal occupiers are cleaning out a dip tank on Lumburgia Farm.
A new invasion has occurred on Baobab Ranch with illegal occupiers emanating
from Village 5 in the Mwenezi Resettlement Block. The owner of Quagga Pan
managed to escape an ambush on his farm road, set up by 10 aggressive
illegal occupiers. A report was made to the police.

General - Heavy poaching and cattle snaring continue throughout the area.
Hunters Road - Mr Fen Corbett recently passed away from head injuries
sustained during a break in on his farm on Friday 3rd August 2001. Full
details are in CFU sitrep dated 6th August 2001. Police investigations are
ongoing, with no result as yet. The funeral will be held on Friday 10th
August, at St. Lukes Church at 11:00 am.
Kwe Kwe - A work stoppage occurred on Riverside and the owner was advised by
illegal occupiers that he would not be allowed to plant a summer crop. The
owner of Dekel has also been informed by illegal occupiers that they would
not be allowed to plant a summer crop either. On Hunters Moon, there was a
workshop break-in. Goods valued about ZW$150 000 has been stolen. Police are



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   HARARE, Aug 10 (AFP) - Zimbabwe will late this month introduce a 
500 dollar banknote (worth about nine US) due to rising inflation
which has eroded the value of the currency, the central bank chief
said Friday.
   The largest denomination note available so far had been a 100 
dollar (1.81 US) note, which was introduced in 1995.
   "In view of rising inflation, the 500-dollar note is being 
introduced for the handling convenience of the transacting public,"
Reserve Bank governor Leornard Tsumba said.
   He said "very high" inflation over the past decade had 
significantly eroded the value of money in circulation, with a
Zimbabwe dollar in 1990 now worth only six cents. The governor said
inflation had quadrupled between 1990 and 2001.
   "The 500-dollar note is now being introduced to solve the 
portability problem," he said.
    He said a surge in inflation from 15.5 percent in 1990 to 22 
percent in 1995 forced the introduction of a 50 dollar banknote in
1994, and a 100 dollar note in 1995.
   The inflation rate shot to 64.4 percent in June this year, and 
economists forecast it could easily hit the 100 percent mark by the
end of the year.

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from News24

10/08/2001 09:17  - (SA)

Final onslaught on Zim farmers

Shonhiwa Muzengu

Harare - The Zimbabwean government has ordered war veterans to drive white
farmers off their land with force, to avoid long and complicated court
cases, the independent Financial Gazette reported on Thursday.

The paper quoted officials of Zimbabwe's secret service, who are in control
of the land invasions.

They say the government does not have enough time before the planting season
starts in October to follow legal procedures to acquire the 4 700 farms
targeted for resettlement.

"There is a tactical shift," said the newspaper's source. "The government
wants war vets to harass and frighten farmers, so they would leave the farms
of their own accord. [The war veterans] need the land before October so they
can start ploughing."

"Compensation and such issues are not relevant any longer when a farmer has
left the farm."

The government apparently also does not have the capacity to evaluate land
for compensation purposes, the source said.

The Financial Gazette report comes in the wake of a government announcement
that it would make available R2 billion to resettled farmers over the next
two months to enable them to meet a production target of 4.8 tons of maize
in the coming season.

'Clashes have escalated'

Collin Cloete, President of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) of Zimbabwe
said he was unaware of the reported strategy, but said it could not be
excluded, because "many strategies have been used [by the government]
against CFU members".

Since last Friday, clashes between farmers and war veterans have escalated,
with action from war veterans seemingly more aggressive than previously.

Whites in Inyathi, Chimanimani, Chinhoyi have become victims of attacks by
war veterans, widely seen as an attempt to drive white people off the land.

MDC spokesperson on justice, David Coltart, says the party believes that the
government could have changed its tactics because the current land reform
process is not gaining more support for Zanu-PF.

Over the last few weeks war veterans have held farmers hostage in their
homes or assaulted them.

"Tactics have changed over the past two, three weeks," says Cloete. "[War
veterans] are trying to intimidate the farmers so that they'll leave the

According to Cloete, the perception that people run amok on the farms
because they want land, is wrong. Most of the invaders receive instructions
to stir up trouble, he says.

Cloete says he wants to reopen the dialogue with the government.

"We can still collaborate with the government to solve the land crisis. It's
never too late. There are many honest people who need to be resettled, and
we [the CFU] want to help with that process."

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Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
Media Update # 2001/31
Monday 30th July to Sunday 5th August, 2001

1.  Summary
2.  Bindura by- election result
3.  Doctors and Nurses strike
4.  Commuter Train Service


Ø   Significantly absent from all the media coverage of the
Bindura by-election result was any effort to investigate the
primary mechanisms for conducting the exercise. While     the state
media extensively quoted government officials     bragging about the
result signaling the end of the road for     the opposition MDC, the
private press focused mainly on     the campaign violence and
intimidation to discredit the     ruling party’s victory and play down
what, until the poll, it     had generally agreed would be “…a result
which     undoubtedly will be an indicator for next April’s
presidential election” (The Standard, 29/7). In     announcing the
result, ZBCTV (30/7, 8pm) inflated the     voter turnout by giving the
percentage of support for ZANU     PF among those who voted (61.4%) as
the percentage of     those who voted. In fact, the turnout was less
than half     (45.6%) of the 56 651 that The Herald (30/7) reported
were     registered as voters in the constituency.

Ø   Also missing from the media in the week was any     comprehensive
coverage of the scale of the doctors and     nurses’ strike. Only The
Sunday Mail (5/8) indicated the     effects of the strike on the
nation’s health delivery system.     Apart from piecemeal reports in
the private press, The     Herald provided the most consistent
coverage of the strike,     although it too failed to provide an
insight beyond the     effects experienced in the capital’s hospitals.
Notably,     Zimpapers twice reported that the nurses had agreed to go
back to work – at each end of the week– but was obliged     to report
that the nurses believed their leadership had     “betrayed” them and
had therefore ignored their     recommendation.

Ø   The introduction of the NRZ’s commuter service received     wild
acclaim in the state controlled media, but was     condemned by the
private press as a political gimmick     which, it reported the NRZ as
saying, would incur further     losses for the debt-strapped


The most notable failure of the media’s Bindura by-election coverage
was the lack of investigation into the use of the mechanisms employed
by government to conduct an election. The nearest any of the media
came to subjecting these mechanisms to any scrutiny appeared in The
Financial Gazette (2/8), which detailed an alleged plot by ZANU PF to
rig the presidential poll by relocating half a million extra voters
from urban areas under the fast track resettlement exercise to bolster
its rural support base.
Quoting “authoritative intelligence sources privy to the plan,” the
story was a follow-up of its article the previous week claiming that 4
000 ruling party loyalists had been shipped into Bindura from
surrounding constituencies under the same resettlement plan to inflate
the ZANU PF vote. In its most recent story the paper described the
Bindura exercise as “a pilot phase of the strategy…” which had “proved
However, the media does not appear to have subjected the activities of
the Registrar-General’s office to any scrutiny. It has merely been
taken for granted that about 5 000 more voters appear on the
by-election roll than appeared on last year’s parliamentary voters’
roll for the same constituency. None of the media seems to have asked
the R-G’s office where these “extras” came from. It was also reported
that the supplementary voters’ roll was incorporated into the main
roll, but none of the media asked why this had been done. Nor was the
Election Directorate quizzed about the large number of mobile polling
stations, or who acted as monitors. In fact, none of the media quoted
a single monitor or their supervising organizations in their reports
on the conduct of the by-election. Only one presiding officer was
reported in The Financial Gazette as saying that “…roll-calls of
resettled farmers were being taken by ZANU PF officials at night to
check whether they had voted…”
Such serious allegations of the abuse of the instruments of the
democratic process deserve to be subjected to diligent inquiry.
For example, the story in The Zimbabwe Independent (3/8) reporting
that rigging and violence had carried the day in Bindura, didn’t seek
comment from the Registrar-General’s office for the numerous electoral
irregularities it reported. Nor did it contain any police comment on
its claim that at least three MDC electoral agents had been arrested.
But at least The Independent’s readers got to know about the
allegations of irregularities. None of these appeared in the state
media and Zimpapers (30/7) reported the arrest of the MDC’s candidate
and a group of party activists accompanying him on the last day of
polling, accusing him of allegedly breaking electoral regulations. The
report also allowed the Minister of Information, Jonathan Moyo, space
to embellish this idea by quoting him as saying “…an unruly convoy of
the MDC was intimidating voters.”
This description appeared in a fresh attack by the minister on the
British Broadcasting Corporation for reporting the MDC candidate’s
arrest and the two local journalists he claimed had supplied the BBC
with the information. The Herald (30/7) reported that Elliot Pfebve,
the MDC candidate, had been cautioned by the police “against actions
that might trigger violence during the poll,” but only quoted Moyo –
presumably in his capacity as a police spokesman - denying that he had
been arrested. No comment was sought from Pfebve or the others who had
been arrested with him.
The same story reported Moyo as saying the BBC’s attempt to “defeat
the suspension on its correspondents by engaging the services of local
journalists” was “a violation of the suspension” and “almost
guarantees that the suspension will have to be left intact.”
But The Herald didn’t seek any comment from the BBC or the two
journalists Moyo had mentioned by name. Nor did it seek to ask the
minister what was wrong with the BBC engaging local journalists to
report on local events on its behalf.
However, The Daily News (30/7) did carry Pfebve’s account of his
arrest: “The Police Support Unit surrounded our convoy and quickly
pointed guns at me as if I had committed a crime.” The story noted
that although Pfebve and his supporters had been released, the police
had impounded the three vehicles in which they had been traveling,
thus “…effectively crippling their efforts in monitoring polling…”
This fact had been omitted from The Herald’s story.
The paper also reported that the police had declined to comment on the
arrest, once again denying the private Press access to important
public information.
In their analysis of the election result, the privately owned weeklies
and The Daily News (4/8) uniformly quoted political analysts saying
that the presidential election was likely to be characterized by the
same kind of violence that had afflicted the Bindura election, but
that the by-election result did not necessarily reflect the likely
outcome of the presidential election. However, The Daily News and The
Independent also reported that it would be hard for the opposition to
win a national election without greater penetration of ZANU PF’s
support base in the Mashonaland provinces. The Financial Gazette and
The Daily News (2/8), and The Independent, all carried comments from
the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, saying the result was disappointing
but alleging massive electoral fraud and violence.
The Zimbabwe Mirror analysis of the result (5/8) also quoted political
analyst, Masipula Sithole, saying that the result was expected because
Mashonaland Central was “Mugabe’s one-party state”. But in its comment
and its observer column, ‘The Scrutator’, The Mirror presented a
different perspective of the violence seen by the rest of the private
Press. The paper declared that “…the argument of violence as the main
reason for the MDC’s loss can no longer be sustained, given the fact
that, with the passing of time, people would have gained the
consciousness that violence alone does not prevent anyone from
exercising their right of choice in the privacy of the polling booth.
The mayoral election in Masvingo bears clear witness to this.”
The state media provided no space to the opposition in its reports and
follow-up stories of the election results, and ZBC carried no analysis
beyond the comments of government officials.
Most of the print media carried Jonathan Moyo’s comment on the result:
“It is very clear to anyone who can read the writing on the wall: ZANU
PF is the future…The opposition will not win any parliamentary
And The Herald’s analysis (31/8) of the result “…seen by analysts as a
barometer of next year’s polls…”, failed to back up its statement with
even a single comment from anybody. It repeated the same mistake in
another so-called analysis of the result in its Thursday edition (2/8)
in which it stated disingenuously: “The bashing the (MDC) party
received in an open and fair fight for political supremacy…should send
shivers down the spines of its leaders.”
Such a claim about the fairness of the election highlights the lack of
comment throughout the media from any organization involved in its
implementation or monitoring.


The ongoing strike in the government’s medical institutions received
scant attention in the private Press. Only The Herald regularly
reported developments during the week, but became bogged down in the
confusion that surrounded the nurses’ industrial action. The Herald
(30/7) reported that nurses had agreed to return to work after an
agreement with their employer, the PSC, to re-grade them. But the next
day it was obliged to report that there was confusion over the call by
the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) leadership to return to work.
Only on Wednesday (1/8), in its story on the death toll and other
related effects of the strike in the capital’s hospitals, did The
Herald report that nurses had accused ZINA president, Stella Zengwa of
“betraying them” by signing an agreement “without our consent,” the
paper reported one nurse assaying.
However, the paper made no attempt to explore the evident rift between
the nurses and their leadership, although it did give voice to the
nurses in its Friday edition (3/8), who said the dispute was not about
regarding but an immediate salary review. The Herald had earlier
reported that the doctors and nurses’ grievances dated back to 1995,
but provided little background to this history.
The Sunday Mail (5/8) also referred to the long-running dispute
between medical workers and the government and again quoted Zengwa
reporting that delegates to the nurses’ association’s 18th annual
congress had “unanimously” agreed to return to work. It also reported
that Social Welfare Minister, July Moyo, had attended the meeting and
had appealed to them to report for duty: “The nurses have a conscience
and a code of ethics. I expect them to heed the call by their leaders
to go back to work,” the paper reported him as saying, echoing a
report that appeared in ZTV’s 8pm bulletin the night before. However,
although ZTV reported that the nurses’ grievances had been addressed,
it didn’t say what they were or what the PSC had done to address them.
The Sunday Mail merely reported that the nurses had given the PSC
until September 1st to address their demands relating to an immediate
upgrading and therefore, salary increases.
The minister’s comments follow those made by President Mugabe the week
before to a Cuban journalist and aired on ZTV’s 8pm bulletin on July
25th. He told his interviewer then that Cuban doctors in Zimbabwe were
“…a tremendous example…” that should “be copied by our own people.”
“They put their work first…They are not worried about discomfort like
some of our doctors who want luxury, who want comfort, who want
pleasure,” the President told his interviewer. But ZTV never gave the
doctors an opportunity to respond to this condemnation, and the
broadcaster reinforced this sentiment in its follow-up story (31/7
Nhau/Indaba and 8pm) when its own reporter suggested the doctors were
ignoring the “Hipocritical Oath” (sic) for the “love of money”.
ZBC radio (1/8 6am) repeated Zimpapers’ story that day giving the
statistics of those people who had died at Harare Hospital, but like
the rest of the media, there was no effort to make a nationwide
assessment of the effects of the strike by the doctors and nurses.
Coverage throughout the week gave the impression that the strike was
merely affecting government’s medical institutions in Harare, although
The Sunday Mail’s news feature on the national health system reported
that the situation in Harare where skeleton staff were attending
emergency cases only seemed “…to be the case at all other hospitals
around the country.” That was as near as any of the media got to
assessing the crisis nationwide, although The Zimbabwe Independent
also provided a human interest story on the effects of the strike in
hospitals around Harare, and The Daily News (2/8) reported that Harare
Hospital was releasing bodies for burial without autopsies being
The voice of the striking doctors was reasonably well aired, accusing
the Public Service Commission (PSC) of refusing to communicate with
its employees. But the voice of the PSC was notable by its absence,
being reported only once in The Herald (1/8) as saying it saw no
reason to “fast track” the doctors’ and nurses’ demands for better
salaries. Health Minister Stamps was merely reported as saying the
matter was with the PSC and apart from a non-commital comment from his
deputy, government also remained silent.


The introduction of the rail commuter service received wild
endorsement in the public media, and scepticism in the private press.
Across the different press stables, no analysis has been accorded to
the obvious casualty, the commuter omnibus operators.
The Daily News carried a number of articles that highlighted some of
the problems attendant to the introduction of the train service. Other
private newspapers ignored the development.
Nothing of critical importance was raised in the state-newspapers
about the viability of the train service. News articles in the state
newspapers all favoured the train service. The Herald (30/7) reported
that Mufakose commuter omnibus operators had reduced their fares
because of the service. The Herald  (1/8) reported the start of the
train service trials and quoted Minister Ignatius Chombo (4/8)
assuring the public that the service would continue.
The Chronicle (4/8) carried photographs of the trials in Bulawayo
claiming they had attracted an overwhelming response.
The Daily News (1/8) quoted the NRZ saying the service had been
introduced as a “national service” and would be unprofitable. Although
the story interpreted the introduction of the service as a political
move, especially as the NRZ was billions of dollars in debt, its
headline, “NRZ says commuter trains a political move” was misleading,
since this was not confirmed in the story. All the daily needed to
have done would have been to quote Information Minister, Jonathan
Moyo, from The Herald of the day before saying in the paper’s story of
ZANU PF’s Bindura victory: “For us it is not just winning elections,
it is delivering on the ground, giving people the land and
implementing urban based projects such as the commuter rail train.”
Needless to say The Herald never questioned Moyo about the costs of
implementing such a service.
The Financial Gazette ignored the train service.
The Daily News noted that commuter fare wars had erupted in Bulawayo
following the introduction of the train service.
It also reported that Bulawyo councilors had “…shot down a government
request to spruce up surroundings and erect shelters at pick-up points
along the commuter train route at a cost of $500 000”. Councilor
Charles Mpofu was quoted as saying:
“The way ZANU PF is accelerating things raises suspicions. Everything
is being fast-tracked and after running down ZUPCO, they now want to
bring NRZ to the same level of ruin”
ZBC quoted government officials and commuters praising the
introduction of the service as a positive move in cushioning the
ordinary Zimbabwean from high transport costs. But the state
broadcaster made no effort to tell the public about the viability of
the venture. However, in response to The Daily News story, the ZBC
quoted commuters (3/8, ZTV 8pm) saying government should not listen to
people who claimed the project was not profitable.
No information was given about how ZUPCO would manage to ferry people
around town when it has been facing viability problems and had
grounded most of its fleet. A female commuter highlighted the shortage
of ZUPCO buses when she was quoted appealing to ZUPCO to increase the
number of busses especially in the evening (3/8, ZTV 8pm). The voices
of the two parastatals were significantly missing from ZBC’s coverage,
and there was no analysis in any of the state media about why it had
taken the government so long to introduce the service, which appears
to have been implemented with such ease.

The MEDIA UPDATED is produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring
Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), 221 Fife Avenue, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4
734207, 733486, E-mail: Web:
Send all queries and comments to the Project Coordinator.
Please feel free to circulate this message.

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U N I T E D  N A T I O N S
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)

ZIMBABWE: State of emergency fears

JOHANNESBURG, 9 August (IRIN) - The Zimbabwean government is allegedly
considering declaring a state of emergency if a threat by the
international community to impose sanctions against President Robert
Mugabe and senior government officials goes ahead, the ‘Financial Gazette’
said on Thursday.

The newspaper reported that the approval last week by the US Senate of the
Zimbabwe Democracy Bill had re-ignited a debate within the cabinet as to
whether or not a state of emergency should be declared. The Zimbabwe
Democracy Bill has yet to be endorsed by the US Congress and President
George W Bush. The bill specifically targets Mugabe and senior government
officials for their alleged role in the promotion of violence and

Political commentators in Harare were quoted as saying that 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. Last month
the EU said that it was giving Harare two months to end political violence
and uphold the rule of law.

Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo told the newspaper that the government
had ruled out a state of emergency and 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 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.”

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U N I T E D  N A T I O N S
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)

ZIMBABWE: Independent press lashed again

JOHANNESBURG, 9 August (IRIN) - Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has
again lashed out at the independent media in Zimbabwe accusing the editor
and journalists of the ‘Zimbabwe Independent’ of “colluding” with foreign
correspondents especially journalists from the BBC, the Media Institute of
Southern Africa (MISA) said in an update on Thursday.

MISA quoted Moyo as saying that the BBC was “colluding” with the newspaper
in sourcing its stories and “tarnishing” the government.
According to MISA, Moyo alleged that the editor of the ‘Zimbabwe
Independent’ Iden Wetherell had published an off the record conversation
that Moyo had with the BBC. “The newspaper he edits is forever flippant,
insulting in all its coverage of Africans except sell-outs and uncle Toms.
Even their senior reporters like Dumisani Muleya write stories in which
nouns are always personalised and in which all verbs are replaced by
insulting adjectives,” Moyo was quoted as saying.

A spokesman from the Media Monitoring Project in Harare told IRIN on
Thursday that Moyo’s “latest attack” on the independent media was “part of
a campaign by the minister to justify upcoming legislation to discredit
the independent media”. “This is part of a campaign by Moyo to place even
more restrictions on independent journalism in Zimbabwe,” he said. Before
commenting on Moyo’s remarks, the spokesman alleged to IRIN that his
organisation’s phone was being tapped by the authorities.

“To me Iden Wetherell is either a British spy, agent or just an ordinary
stupid white man who like the British, whose songs he sings everyday and
has no respect for Africans,” charged Moyo. “At the moment there is no
difference talking to Learnmore Jongwe (spokesman of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change) and Dumisani Muleya (a journalist with the
‘Zimbabwe Independent’). They have the same interests and the same
approach and that is dangerous for journalism,” said Moyo.

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From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 10 August

White farms 'cleansed' by Mugabe mobs

Chinhoyi - When a mob laid siege to Two Trees farm yesterday, sealing off the property with roadblocks, a carefully planned operation swung into action to sow terror among the white landowners around Chinhoyi. Barely seven hours later, the owner of Two Trees and 19 other farmers had fled, leaving the mobs in complete control of the area - free to loot the homesteads and assault the black farm workers at will. It was the latest escalation of President Robert Mugabe's offensive against white farmers, and amounted to the ethnic cleansing of a swathe of Zimbabwe's most fertile region.The mob violence unleashed against whites on the streets of Chinhoyi 75 miles north-west of Harare, on Tuesday has been spread to nearby farms - shattering the tightly knit rural community. Among those fleeing last night was Les de Jager, the owner of Two Trees, near Lion's Den, about 30 miles north of Chinhoyi. He was driving to South Africa. Earlier in the day, the mob – with military precision - had sealed off his farmhouse by felling trees across the road. They seized tractors and trailers, loaded them with all of Mr de Jager's fertiliser and drove them away.

Charl Geldehys, the farm manager, confronted the thieves. They shot his dog and then opened fire on him, missing narrowly. He retreated into the homestead, with his wife, Tertia, his sick daughter, Maritia, 12, and three-month-old baby girl. Neighbouring farmers heard Tertia Geldehys sobbing over the radio. The family huddled in the homestead with Mr de Jager for seven hours, listening to the baying mob. Their telephone line was cut and only the radio link with other farmers saved them from total isolation. The siege was broken at 3pm when police finally responded, accompanied by Peter Chanetsa, the provincial governor. Yet the family's ordeal was not over. They were berated by the squatters, while cameras from state television rolled to capture every moment of their ritual humiliation. Mr Geldehys took his family to a safe house on the outskirts of Chinhoyi. A friend said: "He's in a very bad way. He's just too upset to talk to anyone right now."

The mobs were then joined by hundreds of members of the youth league of Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party. A general alert was broadcast to farmers in the Doma-Mhangura area. Hastily packing whatever belongings were to hand, they pulled out of their homes. As they fled, the mobs moved in. One farmer, who asked not to be named, said: "The squatters went absolutely mad. They stripped the farmhouses. They looted everything they could." Black workers were rounded up and forced to fill tractor trailers with the looted possessions. Scores were beaten. Jenni Williams, of the Commercial Farmers' Union, said: "Many of the workers have been taken for 're-education'." This is a Zanu PF euphemism for the violent intimidation of voters. Taking the families of workers into account, perhaps 10,000 blacks lived on the farms that have been evacuated. Their fate, in an area dominated by Mr Mugabe's mobs, is unclear.

The panic later spread, once again, to the town of Chinhoyi. Lomagundi school, which serves the area's white farmers, closed a day early for the half-term break. A bus that would have driven the children to the town was abandoned. It would have been too easy a target. At the farming town of Karoi, 70 miles up the road, the Rydings school also closed early as a precaution. When the farmers' union sent a plane over the area north of Chinhoyi at 3pm, the only figures visible in the lush fields were squatters. Those farmers who remained were huddled fearfully inside their homesteads. None would be named for fear of reprisals. One said: "They're just waiting for us. Its very hard to restrain feelings of fear and anger, especially at night."

From The Independent (UK), 10 August

Mugabe's thugs push Zimbabwe towards race war

By Basildon Peta

As my car descended a steep section of the highway into Chinhoyi yesterday, I was suddenly gripped by an acute sense that Zimbabwe is sliding 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. Now came news of at least 30 white families packing up and fleeing their Chinhoyi homes. I had barely recovered from the horrific experience of covering a parliamentary by-election in Bindura two weeks ago. There 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, are still fresh in my mind. Mr Coleman was in Zimbabwe on holiday but was abducted and detained by war veterans as soon as he arrived at his brother's farm in Marondera. "I had 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 down the telephone to me two days ago. He sounded like all the other victims of political violence inspired by Zanu PF whom I had spoken to over the past few weeks. They include 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 past 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 - 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 to 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 to evacuate 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 scapegoating 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. A local shopkeeper, who did not want to be named, said: "If they give me a piece of land I will take it. But that will not guarantee them my vote." 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.

From The New York Times, 10 August

Unrest Intensifies in Struggle to Control Zimbabwe Farms

Chinhoyi – 9 August - With the government vowing to step up its seizures of white-owned farms and Western countries weighing punitive steps, tension has flared across Zimbabwe in recent days, and this city north of the capital has been one of the hottest flash points. Clashes on Monday night between white farmers and poor blacks who had occupied a farm touched off the latest surge in tensions, and landed 22 white men, all but one of them farmers, in jail here, charged with causing public violence. Today, as more than 100 government loyalists chanted angrily outside the courthouse where the men who had been arrested were to appear, dozens of white families were fleeing their homesteads after confrontations with black squatters, the Commercial Farmers Union said. At least four houses were looted and at least two white farmers were shot at, said David Rockingham-Gill, regional executive of the farmers union. "Nothing has been worse than today, not in this province," Mr. Rockingham-Gill said.

George Charamba, a spokesman for President Robert Mugabe, said the increase in confrontations in recent days was driven by the white farmers in a ploy to win sympathy in the United States and among the Commonwealth nations. Foreign ministers from several Commonwealth countries will meet next week in Nigeria to try to make some progress on Zimbabwe before a meeting of heads of government scheduled for October in Australia. "What they want to do is convince those ministers that there is lawlessness, that there is violence, and what's more that they are victims of that violence," Mr. Charamba said in an interview tonight. "Unfortunately that trick is not working because it's quite clear, in all the cases, that the commercial farmers did initiate the confrontations. These guys have been coexisting for months and it's just now that you have this."

But opponents of the president said another wave of government-sanctioned intimidation is under way in Zimbabwe as the government finds itself under mounting international pressure and the economy founders ahead of next year's presidential election. "The weaker they feel, the more aggressive they become," said David Coltart, a member of Parliament from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, "and I think this escalation in violence is a result of them feeling increasingly isolated internationally. I think they're realizing that the net is closing in terms of the Commonwealth, in terms of South Africa losing patience. And they've decided that the only way out of this jam is to provoke a hostile response from white farmers."

The confrontations come as the government has pledged to step up its program to redistribute white-owned land to poor blacks. After saying for months that the state planned to acquire about 12 million acres of white-owned land, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made announced last week that the government now plans to take 20 million acres, and warned commercial farmers to avoid antagonizing the black squatters occupying white farms. The first clash erupted here on Monday, when a group of white farmers came to the aid of a colleague who they believed was being attacked by a black squatter, the farmers union said. In the melee, both blacks and whites apparently were hurt, and the sight of the injured blacks in the state-owned media prompted a spate of revenge attacks this week by supporters of the governing party on whites around Chinhoyi.

Today, as they had done the day before, when they chased away local and foreign journalists, young party loyalists barred all reporters but those working for the state media from the proceedings in the courthouse. A journalist from The Daily News, Zimbabwe's only privately owned daily newspaper, fled in a car when several young party activists walked toward him. A foreign journalist, who was surrounded and menaced by the same men, had his notes torn up and was warned by a policeman watching the encounter that he was "going to be assaulted."

While most of the people attacked and killed in Zimbabwe's political violence over the last 18 months have been black, the targeting of whites has stirred particular interest in the West, and in the coming months Zimbabwe could find itself even more isolated. In the United States, the House is expected to take up legislation, recently passed by the Senate, that could freeze overseas assets and restrict the travel of Mr. Mugabe and some of his closest aides while setting strict conditions for resuming the international assistance Zimbabwe desperately needs. Zimbabwe has criticized the bill as an attack on its sovereignty, and Mr. Charamba, the presidential spokesman, said the world underestimates the determination and fortitude of this former British colony.

From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 10 August

Penalty of living in bush war's birthplace

When President Robert Mugabe's mobs launched their attacks on white-owned farms around Chinhoyi, they would have been inspired by the example of the first heroes of the war against colonial rule. The small town, nestling amid the lush fields of Zimbabwe's agricultural heartland, is the cradle of the "liberation struggle". Few places have such importance in Mr Mugabe's carefully crafted mythology. In 1966, a small band of poorly trained guerrillas infiltrated white Rhodesia from neighbouring Zambia and went south towards Chinhoyi, then called Sinoia. They tried to blow up power pylons and raided a farm, killing Hendrik Viljoen and his wife. Rhodesian forces ambushed them and hunted them with helicopters for most of the next day. All 14 guerrillas were killed. Mr Mugabe later hailed this defeat as the Battle of Chinhoyi, marking the onset of the bush war against Ian Smith's government. The next serious attacks were not launched until December 1972, when farms around Centenary were raided.

Heroes' Day, the annual occasion on which Zimbabweans remember the dead from the war, falls on Monday. This year is the 35th anniversary of the Battle of Chinhoyi. It is clear why the latest offensive against white farmers has occurred now, and why those around Chinhoyi were singled out. The war against Rhodesia is known as the Second Chimurenga - "revolution". Mr Mugabe has hailed the campaign to seize white-owned land as the Third Chimurenga and the "final liberation". His inflammatory speeches stoke revolutionary zeal. Chinhoyi is barely 20 miles from Mr Mugabe's home district, Zvimba, enhancing its significance. White farmers are paying the price for living in the cradle of Zimbabwe.

From The Advertiser (Australia), 10 August

Security fears delay farm trial

Harare – A judge delayed a hearing yesterday for 21 white farmers accused of attacking occupiers on a farm, citing security concerns at the courtroom. Magistrate Godfrey Gwaka remanded the high-profile case to today and ordered the 21 farmers held overnight, observers in the courtroom said. Mr Gwaka was reported to be afraid that people at the courthouse in the northern town of Chinhoyi were likely to become violent, particularly as it was almost dark when the farmers appeared.

Independent and foreign journalists were chased from the courthouse by militant youths, identified by residents in Chinhoyi as supporters of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Journalists from the state-controlled media were allowed inside. The farmers were arrested after clashes on Monday with militants occupying their land. The case has ignited racial tensions in the area, with several white people being attacked yesterday on the streets on Chinhoyi, 100km northwest of Harare.

Police said yesterday that 23 farmers stood accused of assaulting five people who had occupied a farm. It was unclear whether the remaining two were still in custody. Thousands of squatters led by ruling party militants and veterans of the war for independence have illegally occupied more than 1700 white-owned farms since March 2000. The government has listed 4600 farms, about 95 per cent of properties owned by whites, for "fast track" confiscation without compensation. Militant government supporters began forcibly occupying white-owned farms 18 months ago, after Mr Mugabe lost a referendum on a new constitution.

Mr Mugabe has backed the forcible occupations of hundreds of white-owned farms as part of his scheme to redress colonial inequities in land ownership. Farmers' leaders said there were fears the court hearing could trigger more violence against whites by ruling party militants. Rampaging groups of ruling party militants attacked whites yesterday in Chinhoyi. One white-owned farm south of Chinhoyi town was besieged by militants, but farmer Trevor Cuerdon fled after receiving death threats. The Commercial Farmers Union, representing white landowners, said the arrested farmers went to help a besieged neighbour on Monday, leading to violent clashes with militants occupying his land.

Militants wielding clubs and sticks chased farmer Tony Barklay into his house and tried to smash down the door, demanding he leave the property, the union said. Mr Barklay radioed for help and militants stoned the cars of two white neighbours who arrived at his home. About 25 farmers from the district then went to their assistance. "We now think it was a deliberate trap the farmers fell right into," said Mr Cuerdon's neighbour. "We're telling everyone to be on alert and not to be provoked." The ploy was believed to have been timed to coincide with an upcoming weekend Heroes' Day holiday honouring black guerrillas who fought against white rule and for independence, gained from Britain in 1980.

From The Daily News, 9 August

Ex-CIO boss urges government to impose State of Emergency

Shadreck Chipanga, the Zanu PF MP for Makoni East, said yesterday the government should impose a State of Emergency once the United States House of Representatives passes the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill. But an MDC MP from Matabeleland said the consequences of a State of Emergency would be as horrendous as they were in the 1983-87 period. Chipanga, a former Central Intelligence Organisation director-general, said a State of Emergency should be declared once the Bill passes through the US Congress and is eventually signed into law by President George W Bush.

Responding to the President’s speech at the opening of Parliament, Chipanga said: "If and when this Bill is passed into law, the government must make sure that a State of Emergency is invoked. That is the only weapon in our kit we can use to protect ourselves." The Bill, which seeks to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe, was passed by the full US Senate last week. The government has blamed the MDC for assisting the US in drafting the legislation. It is aimed at punishing President Mugabe and close allies for failing to curb lawlessness related to the farm invasions.

Chipanga called on government to ensure ensure that "no by-election or no election of any sort is held in this country. "After declaring the State of Emergency, people, particularly those who are in the habit of globe-trotting, will not be allowed to leave the country and visit their "cousins". The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stan Mudenge, was the first to hint at the introduction of a State of Emergency if the Bill became law. He said last year: "The government would have to take emergency measures to survive. Doesn’t that normally lead to the suspension of certain democratic devices so that the country can survive?"

Chipanga was immediately challenged by Edward Moyo Mkhosi, the MDC MP for Bulilimamangwe South, who said a State of Emergency was not the best way to deal with such situations. He attacked the government for flouting its own laws and the Constitution, only to blame it on others when punitive action was imposed. "Since 1983 to about 1987, I’ve seen the effect of the State of Emergency, it was a horrendous period," said Mkhosi. "That is what caused all the anger in Matabeleland. Let us not introduce things that will devour us here. Nobody will ever be safe. In Matabeleland we lost 20 000 people because of the State of Emergency."

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Life with Zanu comes to town

Zimbabwe has once more surfaced in the international press. After months of burial in the single columns of "world briefs" half-hidden in the folds of the daily papers, the appalling recent events in Kwekwe and Chinhoyi have made the front pages. There are a number of reasons for this renewed interest – northern hemisphere politicians taking their summer holidays, a slow news day with nothing much new to report from the Middle East. And some would say that the prominence given to Zimbabwe in the last two days is purely because white Zimbabweans have been the prime victims. There is probably some truth to this.

But the real reason is that, once again, Zanu PF has chosen to flaunt its "degrees in violence" in the open glare of Zimbabwe’s towns and cities. The last time that Zimbabwe enjoyed such prominence in the overseas press was during the factory invasion spree, and threats by Chenjerai Hunzvi to invade embassies and foreign aid agencies several months ago. Cynics remarked at the time that the only time foreign governments got worked up enough to "do something" was when their diplomats and resident nationals were directly targeted and threatened. And whatever ‘they’ did, it had some effect – the factory invasions were scaled down and foreign missions have not been attacked.

The events of the last two days do mark a change in tactics by President Mugabe – sharply intensifying the pressure on the white minority, farmers and town-dwellers alike, in the hope that they will pack their bags and leave. Reports from Harare yesterday suggest that ruling party thugs were wandering the streets demanding that passersby produce Zanu PF membership cards - failure to produce one resulting in swift physical chastisement. Women with children were singled out for assault, along with Zimbabweans of Indian descent.

But if the tension has been raised, the overall strategy has not changed. Mugabe has, for the last 18 months, been attacking anyone and everyone who poses even the slightest risk to his ambition of retaining power. It’s just that the majority of the voters whose support he must coerce in order to survive live out of the glare of the media, in remote areas which are easy to seal off from intruders - areas in which his gangs of marauding thugs can roam at will - raping, pillaging, burning, and murdering with impunity. We have received a report in the last few days of a schoolgirl in a rural school telling of her grandfather being beaten to death, and her grandmother being forced to watch while Zanu PF thugs decapitated his body. This is not just a sudden escalation of violence – it is a shift into the limelight of what has been happening in the rural areas and townships of Zimbabwe without letup since February last year.

There is another widely held misperception. What is happening in Kwekwe, Chinhoyi and Harare – and everywhere else in Zimbabwe since early last year - is not anarchy. The government constantly claims that the farm invasions are spontaneous, that it is not in control of the ‘war veterans’, and that to re-establish the rule of law risks an explosion into civil war. But the murders, street stabbings, and assaults inside police stations, are about as anarchic as the Bolshoi Ballet. President Mugabe is – to put it politely – a control freak. His oft-quoted comment from his early days in power puts it succinctly. When asked what he aspired to, he said :"Total power." Asked to define total power, he replied : "When a man is starving and begging for food, you are the only person who can give it to him."

Up until the beginning of last year, nothing much happened in Zimbabwe without Mugabe’s approval. And what he is doing now is to try and restore the status quo ante. The violence is choreographed - Zimbabwe is not Sudan or Somalia. There are local criminals with pretensions of being warlords, and individuals pursuing personal grudges and enrichment, but they are allowed to do so because they are acting in the current interests of Mugabe and Zanu PF. If they were not, they would be stamped on – hard.

From The Times (UK), 9 August

Zimbabwe minister blames white farmers for violence

Harare - In a week of some of the worst state-driven violence in the past 18 months, Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs Minister accused white farmers last night of provoking the unrest and promised measures "to nip it in the bud". "It’s true the farmers have been attacking people," John Nkomo said on state television. "It’s the farmers who have been unleashing this violence." He spoke on the day that 21 white farmers appeared in court in the northern town of Chinhoyi, about 60 miles north of Harare, on charges of public violence. His remarks came as President Mugabe’s campaign of harassment of whites continued unabated. One white farmer died in hospital on Tuesday after being struck on the head with an axe by a suspected squatter.

The farmers, including a Briton and three South Africans, were ordered to spend another night in the town jail and to appear again today for a routine remand. On Tuesday the town was the scene of a wave of attacks on whites in what residents said was a deliberate random mugging operation run by the local Zanu (PF) party office and condoned by the police. "The war veterans (Mr Mugabe’s militia) are not perpetrators of any violence against the farmers," Mr Nkomo said. "No war veterans have been causing any violence." Nine white farmers and 28 farmworkers have been murdered since the veterans mounted their bloody campaign in February last year, without a single prosecution. Observers say that there is anxiety among the country’s scattered white communities that the "Heroes" holiday this weekend, which commemorates the fallen of the country’s war of independence, will be used as an excuse for widening harassment. Mr Nkomo’s remarks are seen as removing what little restraint there is left among Mr Mugabe’s militias.

From The Daily News, 7 August

MP Bennet refuses to budge as invaders descend on farm

Scores of invaders have descended on Charleswood Estates which is owned by the MDC MP for Chimanimani, Roy Bennet. The farm has an Export Processing Zones coffee project and two timber projects approved by the Zimbabwe Investment Centre. "They want to punish the people of Chimanimani for voting for me," Bennet said, referring to Zanu PF officials in Manicaland. They want to displace me and destroy the MDC in the area." He said war veterans were now moving to his irrigated fields in a desperate move to drive him away. But he vowed: "I have a commitment to foreign investors. I will not move off."

The MP employs 800 permanent workers, while between 600 and 1 000 others work part-time over weekends. Two weeks ago, Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government and National Housing, led a delegation of Zanu PF and government officials to the farm. He ordered Agritex officials demarcating the property to speed up the process so that people could begin settling there by 2 August. Chombo declared during his visit that Munacho Mutezo, a Zanu PF activist who lost the Chimanimani parliamentary seat to Bennet last year, would occupy the main farmhouse. Bennet said he offered the government an unutilised part of his 2 800 hectare farm for resettlement. But the government seems determined to take over the entire farm and intends to resettle 67 families on it. Scores of war veterans and Zanu PF supporters have already allocated themselves land on the farm ahead of these plans. A group of 60 war veterans occupied the farm last year and temporarily took Bennet’s wife, Heather, hostage.

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