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Zim Indep 9/8/02 News Analysis

Swathes of farms lie fallow as...

New absentee landlords refuse to take up land

Blessing Zulu/Augustine Mukaro

AS the sun sets on the disruptive land reform programme it has emerged that thousands of resettled farmers are still to take possession of their allocated pieces of land, greatly compromising Zimbabwe’s food security in the coming season.

Top government officials, Zanu PF supporters and friends and relatives of the powerful allocated land under the A1 and A2 models are still sitting on the sidelines. The model A2 scheme is the worst affected.

Agricultural analysts said good rains alone would not guarantee food security due to the absence of farmers to till the available land. Most allotees of the chaotic land reform exercise have snubbed the offer citing lack of government support and incentives to undertake a sustainable farming business.

In the A2 model only half of the 54 000 plots are understood to have been demarcated and just 20% of the pegged plots have been taken up.

The Zimbabwe Independent last weekend toured Mashonaland West province, which used to produce an estimated 40% of the country’s major crops such as the staple maize, tobacco and wheat. The fields lie idle with no production or land preparation taking place despite
the fact that planting is due to start next month. Not only is the land lying fallow but state-of-the-art irrigation equipment and multi-million dollar grain storage facilities are either redundant or have been pillaged.

Officials at Lions Den silos said the facilities have not received any grain for storage since the beginning of the farm invasions two years ago.

"Grain has instead been taken out of the silos and the facilities have become a white elephant," an official said.

Commercial farmers’ representative body Justice for Agriculture (JAG) estimates that equipment worth $14,5 billion has been lost in the commercial farming sector to seizures, looting and vandalism.

"About $14,5 billion worth of movable assets have been illegally impounded or looted since February 2000 and JAG will be suing the ruling party Zanu PF after it has completed working out the total losses sustained by both farmers and farm workers," JAG said.

Makonde Rural District Council assistant administrator Dan Zvobgo said land uptake, particularly in the model A2 scheme, has been very disappointing.

"Model A2 in general has received a bad response from the new farmers because it did not take into cognisance distances farmers had to travel to their new properties," Zvobgo said.

"Applicants were allocated land anywhere in the country and that means some farmers have to travel from one end of the country to the other but those expenses are not covered."

Zvobgo said land preparation in his district and the country as a whole had been greatly hampered by the unavailability of draught power.

"We only have eight tractors running in the whole district and that is not enough to service all farmers in time for the planting season. That alone should reduce the intended hectarage under crop," he said.

"This is a common phenomenon throughout the country, no district has enough tractors to plough for the new farmers and the virgin land they are moving onto cannot be tilled with ox-drawn ploughs."

He said the situation has been worsened by the lack of spares and fuel.

Commercial Farmers Union Mashonaland West/South regional executive Ben Freeth said there was hardly any land preparation by either commercial farmers still on the land or the new occupiers.

"The new farmers do not have the requisite equipment for land preparation while commercial farmers are not preparing the land either because their future is not certain or they are being stopped by the occupiers," Freeth said.

CFU vice-president (commodities) Doug Taylor-Freeme said most of the fast-track resettled farmers were reluctant to take up the land because of lack of incentives.

"The whole of the agricultural sector has come to a standstill," Taylor-Freeme said.

"Vast tracts of fields are lying idle with new farmers facing serious financial problems but failing to borrow from the banks because of lack of clarity and security."

Taylor-Freeme said in the tobacco sector alone an estimated 60 million kilogrammes have been lost due to the delays in land preparation.

"There is no activity on the ground," he said. "Seed beds should have been planted at the beginning of June but this could not be done because of the confusion in the sector."

Prominent farmer in the Banket area, Vernon Nicolle, said the family’s farming operation had not been running at full capacity and irrigation equipment worth over $100 million was also lying idle.

"Our family can produce 10 000 tonnes of wheat under irrigation and 3 000 tonnes of maize and 3 500 tonnes of soya beans," said Nicolle.

"This year because of the disturbances we will produce only 3 000 tonnes of wheat. We harvested 1 200 tonnes of soya beans and 2 000 tonnes of maize."

There is no land preparation on Alaska Farm, Olympus Farm, Hunyani Farm or Rukoba Farm. Only a handful of settlers have built makeshift structures on these plots but no land preparation has started.

A glimmer of hope in the province was seen 11km outside Lions Den along the Mhangura Road at three properties, Emily Park, Chifundi and Gordonia, where model A1 resettled farmers have a promising wheat crop.

Farmers at Emily Park said they were looking forward to harvesting close to 20 tonnes of wheat.

"Our crop looks very good as you can see," Albert Chikwereti, one of the farmers, told the Independent.

"We just call on government to increase the loaning of inputs and draught power so that we can put more land under crop. We have the potential of doing better but the limiting factor is that we can’t borrow money since the banks want security."

Agricultural experts said the derelict condition of land in Mashonaland West was just the tip of an iceberg.

"The situation is actually much worse in other provinces," one analyst said.

"Many of the farmers who are moving onto the farms now are making efforts to beat the August 23 deadline at which government threatened to repossess all plots not yet taken up."

At Little England a few kilometres out of Banket, only two farmers out of about 200 allocated land have moved onto their properties. One farmer, the only person seen on the property, had moved in with a caravan and built a wooden cabin. Several rickety temporary structures, which were abandoned last year, are dotted across the farm.

Some model A1 farmers in the province said they were not preparing land for next season because their future was uncertain follow-ing constant threats from prominent Zanu PF figures and their cronies to remove them from the farms.

Settlers from Nyabira communal lands who settled on Golden Stairs, Sortbury and Little England farms accused provincial governor Peter Chanetsa of derailing the land reform programme by wanting to remove them from farms they had occupied for the past two years.

"Chanetsa brought riot police to forcibly evict farmers from Sortbury and Golden Stairs and this makes us question whether government wants to see us farming next season," one settler at the farm who requested anonymity said.

The settlers said Chanetsa had laid claim to six properties in the province: Gabaro Farm in Karoi, Riverside Farm in Norton, Elwin farm in Raffingora, Sligo Farm in Zvimba North, and Deary Farm in Nyabira.

Other prominent politicians embroiled in the continued farm seizures include Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, banker Enock Kamushinda and Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Washington Simbi Mubako who is currently making inroads to occupy the 1 200-hectare Between Rivers Farm.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union’s pre-
sident Silas Hungwe confirmed his organisation was aware that the majority of the land allocated had not been taken up because of lack of incentives and financial support.

"We urge the new farmers to occupy their plots since failure to do so will put government in a dilemma on whether it has resettled genuine or cellphone farmers," Hungwe said.

Chombo last week told the press that in Matabeleland South, only 117 model A2 farmers have been allocated land from a possible 2 259 who had qualified for the plots.

The problems in the agricultural sector have been compounded by the stance taken by banks which last week spurned Lands and Agriculture minister Joseph Made’s efforts to force them to fund the land reform programme to the tune of $160 billion for this season’s crop. The money is for tillage and the purchase of agricultural inputs like fertiliser, seed and chemicals.

There are less than two months to go before the onset of the rains but Zimbabwe’s promised land rainbow has not appeared.

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Dear Family and Friends,
We are all sitting anxiously waiting to see what is going to happen to the 2900 commercial farmers who have been ordered to stop growing food and get off their properties. All week a variety of government ministers and spokesmen have said there will be no reprieve and that farmers who remain in their homes will have to face the force of Zimbabwean law. Some Ministers have been unable to resist getting in as many racist insults as they can - statements that would cause outrage anywhere else in the world.  Everyone is extremely tense and a lot of farmers have taken what they can and  have left their homes, some permanently and others just for a few days during this long holiday weekend. Others who have nowhere to go have stayed in their homes and everyone is expecting the worst and hoping for the best. All week there have been heartbreaking stories of families leaving their properties of 50 or more years, leaving graves of their parents, thriving businesses and a lifetime of hard work and memories. At this time almost nothing is known about what will happen to an estimated 300 000 farm workers who live and work on these properties. Certainly they, like their employers, know nothing else aside from farming and they face a very bleak future indeed. It is thought that many of these workers and their families will drift into towns and cities and look for work there but unemployment levels are above 60% now, so their chances are not good. With perhaps two thirds of Zimbabwe's towns being farming based, none of us know how long these centres will continue to exist.
This weekend the country celebrates Heroes Day and commemorates those war veterans who died for Zimbabwe's Independence. Many of us though are also remembering the more recently deceased Heroes who lost their lives in the struggle for democracy that has been going on for the past 29 months. People like farmer David Stevens who was abducted and shot in Murehwa and Tichaona Chiminya, Morgan Tsvangirai's driver, killed in a petrol bomb in 2000. Ordinary men who dared to differ in their political beliefs like Martin Olds smoked out of his Bulawayo farm house and then shot and Peter Kareza, dragged out of his Shamva home and literally beaten to death. There have been over 160 people killed at the hands of war veterans and government supporters since March 2000 and there is a feeling of great sadness in the country, both for those that have died and for all who will die of hunger in the months ahead. It is still totally unbelievable that a government would willingly and purposely prevent people from growing food. Zimbabwe, always a regional exporter of food, is now unable to help herself, let alone her neighbours like Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. We have all been reduced to starving beggars and the world has sat back and watched this happen. No one has dared intervene for fear they may be called racists, even the South Africans who will undoubtedly bear the brunt of starving Zimbabwean refugees have remained silent. Their President Thabo Mbeki apparently also chooses to believe that the crisis in Zimbabwe is about land reform. I wonder if President Mbeki or any other African leader has looked at the names of all the people murdered here in the last two years - there are only 12 white names on that list of 160 people. Just as the farm invasions and murders have not been about land or race, neither is the starvation and devastation. Zimbabwe's crisis is purely a political one. Until next week, with love cathy.
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Defiant farmers wait for Mugabe's next move

Zimbabwe land-grab comes to a standstill as president's eviction deadline is ignored on the eve of independence day

James Astill, Nairobi
Saturday August 10, 2002
The Guardian

President Robert Mugabe's land seizure programme was brought to an embarrassing standstill yesterday when most of the 2,900 white farmers due to be evicted refused to leave their farms and the government seemed unwilling to remove then by force.

Mr Mugabe had set a deadline of midnight on Thursday for them to leave, in time for Zimbabwe's liberation war celebrations on Sunday.

But with most of the farmers claiming legal protection after the high court nullified one eviction order on Wednesday on the grounds that the mortgage-lender had not been informed, only about 300 had left their properties by late yesterday.

"It's very peaceful all around the country, there's been no mass exodus and no evictions," John Worswick of the Justice for Agriculture campaign said. "Though we're not being complacent: this may be only a lull before the storm."

Two campaigners were arrested on Wednesday, apparently to prevent them challenging the eviction orders in the courts.

"It's becoming almost impossible to operate," the Rev Tim Neil, one of the two, said shortly before his arrest in Harare. "I've had the police round and I'm sending the staff home."

Mr Neil runs a refuge for 150 farm workers made destitute by the land seizures.

With troops reported to be deployed around the country for the holiday, many farmers sent their families to Harare for the weekend. Last year the anniversary was marked by the looting of white farms in Chinhoyi.

"We'll keep out the way for a day or two, but we're going straight back home," said Kote Van Rensburg, who arrived in the capital with her four children yesterday.

"Maybe we're being overly optimistic, but there's no way I would think of leaving my farm whilst there's seed in the ground."

Senior officials would not comment yesterday, leaving Mr Mugabe to reveal how he plans to eject the farmers in his speech to the nation tomorrow.

But the state media seemed to be primed for confrontation. The Herald accused "British farmers" of sabotaging government efforts to find an amicable end to the standoff.

"Zimbabwe now needs people who want to see a success of this country and not saboteurs who will gloat on the failures of Africa," its editorial said.

Officials accuse white farmers of wrecking their farms to prevent them being taken over successfully by landless peasants, thereby contributing to the severe food shortage. The farmers say they are struggling to protect their property from looters. The 2,900 due for eviction have been banned from farming for the past 45 days.

"There are squatters burning down everything, all the farm buildings," said Mrs Van Rensburg, seven of whose eight farms have been overrun. "It's not intimidation exactly, it's just that they're doing everything they can to make us give up hope."

Almost all the farmers have begun legal challenges to their eviction orders.

This week's ruling that the order served on Andrew Kockett, a tobacco farmer in the north-east, was void had a parallel five weeks ago when Jean Simons of Chinhoyi won a similar ruling.

She has since been chased off her farm by thugs, but Mr Kockett said his ruling, which gives him four months protection was so far being respected.

Early yesterday a local hotelier and official from the ruling Zanu-PF party arrived to take over Mr Kockett's farm. "He didn't look very pleased when I showed him the court order," Mr Kockett said.

Zimbabwe’s farmers defiant amid fears of fresh violence

TENSION mounted in Zimbabwe’s chaotic land stand-off yesterday, as embattled white farmers locked their farmyard gates in defiance of government orders and anxiously awaited President Robert Mugabe’s next step.

Just over 1,700 farmers were refusing to leave their farms, according to Justice for Agriculture, a hardline farmers’ group. Government threats of eviction had failed to materialise; however there were signs of tough action to come.

"The law will take its course," Vice President Joseph Msika told the government Herald newspaper, referring to possible punishments of a large fine or a two-year jail sentence. But farmers and hesitant government officials are focusing on President Mugabe, who has just returned from a visit to Singapore.

He is expected to address the nation to mark Heroes’ Day, which celebrates the victory of black liberation fighters against the white Rhodesian government. A fiery address at last year’s event sparked a looting spree on white farms around the town of Chinhoyi.

Fears are rising that this year’s speech, due for either today or tomorrow, will combine with the eviction crisis to trigger more anti-farmer violence.

International opprobrium at Mugabe’s actions has heightened in recent months, as six million Zimbabweans became faced with possible starvation while his government effectively shut down the country’s most productive farmland.

And even though the redistribution is meant to benefit landless blacks, it has also emerged that some of the best farms are being given to officials and cronies of the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Meanwhile yesterday, farmers were in disarray as pressure increased for them to leave their farms. According to acting agriculture minister Ignatius Chombo, 400 farmers had left by Friday evening, with more expected to follow today.

Confusion surrounds the number of farmers threatened with eviction. Initial estimates of 2,900 - out of an estimated total of 4,500 commercial farmers - were revised by Chombo yesterday, who said that 1,600 farmers must leave immediately, with a further 1,000 to follow in the coming year.

Those remaining on their farms are left clinging to frail legal promises and a desperate hope that the long holiday weekend, which extends until Tuesday evening, will not descend into violence. Some felt they had been thrown a lifeline by a High Court ruling last week that quashed all eviction orders where mortgage-holding banks had not been informed - which affected nearly all white farms.

But similar rulings have been disregarded in the past. "Court orders are great in principle but they are not much use on the ground," said David Haslock of the Commercial Farmers’ Union.

Nevertheless, the law still has some value in Zimbabwe. The farmer who brought last week’s test case, Andy Kockett, told Scotland on Sunday he had already returned to work at his farm near Karoi, 220 kilometres north-west of Harare. "I’m up and running again," he said yesterday.

A wealthy businessman and prominent Zanu-PF supporter, Philip Maguti, had been trying to take over the farm. When he came with supporters last week, Kockett handed him a copy of the order. "They weren’t quite sure what to do. Then five minutes later, they took off," he said.

The white farming community is increasingly divided on how to best tackle the crisis. The CFU is hoping to negotiate a solution with the government. A new splinter group, named Justice for Agriculture (JAG), is however taking a more confrontational approach.

"Farmers have been made many promises by the government over the past two years. All of them have been broken," said JAG spokeswoman Jenni Williams.

Of those who have left their farms, some have headed for the UK, South Africa, or neighbouring Zambia and Mozambique. But most have just gone to the towns, in the hope that they can sit the crisis out and return to their homes.

Jim Sinclair has swapped his farm in Norton for a townhouse in a smart Harare suburb. "We’re not hopeful of returning in the immediate future. We think this madness has to work itself out first," he said yesterday.

Sinclair has more to regret than most. As a farmers’ leader, he toured the country after it gained independence in 1980, encouraging white farmers to stay on. He often spoke from the same platform as Robert Mugabe. Now one of his farmer sons is leaving for England; the other has turned to carpentry. "He [Mugabe] made a commitment that this would work. Then he turned around and bit us," he said yesterday.

Until recently Zimbabwe was seen as a bread-basket country for southern Africa. Now, a combination of the chaotic land redistribution programme and poor weather has turned it into a starving, pauper nation. The United Nations estimates that half the population - six million people - are going to need international food aid in coming months.

There is no famine, yet, but the warning signs are increasing. In the worst affected areas, to the south and west of the country, most families are surviving on just one meal a day. Some schoolchildren are collapsing in class, others are dropping out to look for wild fruits. Some have died after eating poisonous roots.

"It is very early for those signs. This is August and the next harvest is not until April or May," said Richard Millar of the Catholic agency Cafod. "If the food doesn’t come by one means or another, there will be famine."

Last Friday in Concession, 50 miles north of Harare, hundreds of hungry peasants were queuing for maize rations outside the Grain Marketing Board, the state body with a monopoly on maize imports. They stood in front of a line of large grain silos, most of them empty.

The fields around the town, which should be groaning with green winter wheat at this time of the year, were fallow. Similarly, the dam at nearby Mazoe should have been sucked dry by irrigation schemes by now; instead it is full.

Some settlers had planted maize but their crops were struggling. President Mugabe’s government had neglected to give them seeds, tools and expertise.

Amid claims that farms are going to cronies of Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party the information minister, Jonathan Moyo, has been officially listed as the new owner of a farm in the eastern Manicaland province.

Others said to have benefited from the alleged cronyism include Air Vice-Marshall Perence Shiri, a senior military figure accused of gross human rights abuses in the 1980s, Vice President Msika, police chiefs, the Zimbabwe ambassador to the US, a bank executive and a journalist with the state television station, ZBC.
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Saturday, 10 August, 2002, 03:33 GMT 04:33 UK
Zimbabwe warns defiant farmers
Farming family (archive photo)
Most white farmers are staying put
The government in Zimbabwe has warned white commercial farmers that they will be punished if they defy orders to vacate their land.

Those who are not going to work within the laws of Zimbabwe have nobody to blame but themselves

Vice President Joseph Msika
Vice President Joseph Msika, who chairs the government's land acquisitions committee, said the law would take its course and those who refused to obey would live to regret it.

The eviction order, requiring more than 3,000 white farmers to hand over their farms as part of the government's land redistribution programme, came into force on Thursday night.

But although state television reported on Friday evening that only 400 farms had been vacated, no action has so far been taken against those farmers who are staying put.

Sunday is Heroes Day, honouring those who fought against the white minority government in what was then Rhodesia in the 1970s.

President Robert Mugabe will make a speech marking the occasion, in which he is expected to outline the government's position on the issue.

Court hope

Farmers face fines and up to two years in jail if they failed to obey eviction orders.

Farmer packing to leave
Some farmers have abandoned their homes
"Those who are not going to work within the laws of Zimbabwe have nobody to blame but themselves" said Vice President Msika.

"The law will take its own course. It's simple and straightforward," he added.

The farmers were given hope by a last-minute decision of Zimbabwe's High Court - it ruled on Wednesday that a mortgaged farm could not be seized if the mortgage company had not been properly informed.

Farmer Colin Shand told BBC News Online that he was staying put.

Zimbabwe state television reported on Friday evening that 400 white farmers had left their homes, but did not given any source for that figure.

"Farmers are generally staying at home to assess the situation," said Ben Zietsman of the Commercial Farmers Union.

Campaign pledge

The redistribution of Zimbabwe's best farmland from whites to blacks formed the basis of President Robert Mugabe's re-election campaign in March this year.

President Robert Mugabe
Land reform is Mugabe's main policy
Zimbabwe's land reform

  • 1890-1980: Black peasants were moved to less fertile areas during the colonial area
  • 2000: 4,000 whites own 70% of prime land
  • March 2000: 'War veterans' occupy white-owned farms
  • 2000-2002: Several white farmers and black workers killed during violence
  • 9 August 2002: 3,000 white farmers must leave their homes

But donors say that the fall in agricultural production is one of the reasons for Zimbabwe's current food crisis.

Up to half of the population - six million - face starvation this year, aid agencies have warned.

In a landmark decision on Wednesday, High Court Judge Charles Hungwe said the state could not confiscate land owned by Andrew Kockett because it had not informed the National Merchant Bank, which has a mortgage registered over the property.

The judge said the acquisition was "null and void".

Concern about the land reform programme was one of the reasons why the International Monetary Fund suspended financial support for Zimbabwe.

Mr Mugabe argues that the seizures will right the wrongs of British colonialism, under which 70% of the country's best farmland was concentrated in white hands.

He says giving land to poor black families will increase their living standards.

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Friday, 9 August, 2002, 21:56 GMT 22:56 UK
Diary of a Zimbabwean farmer
Self-styled war veterans have scared some farmers away
White Zimbabwean farmer Colin Shand tells BBC News Online of developments on his farm after he decided not to comply with a deadline to leave his home at midnight on Thursday or face arrest.
Friday 9 Aug, 1930 local time
I delivered my letter from my lawyers to the member in charge at Concession police station. He accepted it and stated that many farmers had given him these letters.
Whether this means that we won't be visited I don't know. We will have to wait and see.
I went to see the lawyers of Zanu-PF this afternoon to get a form to see what it was about. No lawyer was available to see me and all forms had run out.
The secretary phoned the lawyer and asked whether I had a Section 8 (eviction order). I confirmed this.
She said that the lawyers had met with the Lands Commission and Vice President Joseph Msika.
She told me to come back on Wednesday.
I asked what about my being arrested tomorrow. She just repeated: "Come back on Wednesday."
Interesting situation, we will have to wait and see.
The police came to my farm and saw the settlers and were informed they were have having a meeting tomorrow. No arrests have been made as of yet.
I informed the police I was prepared to drop all charges if the settlers were instructed by the police to leave me alone and not hassle me and let the law take its course.
Am going to stay in my house and watch the Cricket (if it stops raining) and the All Blacks being beaten by South Africa on Saturday.
Friday 9 Aug, 1200 local time
Still quiet.
I'm just going to take the court order declaring my eviction null and void to the local police station.
Let's see what they have to say...
Friday 9 Aug, 0020 local time
As of now we are over the deadline by 20 mins!!!
All things are quiet. No army or police have been seen.

I am not prepared to walk away and leave what I have worked 38 years for
I received my court order this afternoon stating that my Section 8 (eviction order) was null and void. So I have that and will hand it to any officials who come and see me tomorrow.
As far as I am concerned I am the legal occupier of my farm as the court says, but whether the people on the ground will accept this we will have to see.
If the police come, I will show them the court order. But if they arrest me and put me in jail, I will go.
Have heard of a meeting this afternoon by lawyers of the ruling party, Zanu-PF, who have made some offer to farmers at the 11th hour. I will be picking up one of these forms tomorrow and taking it to my lawyers to find out what it is about.
I had a meeting with the officer in charge at Concession police station this morning and handed my statement and was under the impression that the settlers that attacked me on Tuesday night were going to be arrested, but so far no one has been arrested.
Thursday 8 Aug, 1700 local time
We are expecting a lot of trouble this weekend. It's a holiday weekend - four days. I am feeling nervous but there is nothing else I can do.

Land reform is Mugabe's main policy
 Zimbabwe's land reform
2000: 4,000 whites own 70% of prime land
1890-1980: Black peasants were moved to less fertile areas during the colonial area
March 2000: "War veterans" occupy white-owned farms
2000-2002: Several white farmers and black workers killed during violence
9 August 2002: 3,000 white farmers must leave their homes
Guide to Zimbabwe's land question

If the government paid compensation, I would take the money and go.
But right now, I have no money to go anywhere.
My wife has gone to stay with my daughter in England and will be there for three months.
I insisted that she go as it would be stupid for us both to be in trouble.
I was born in Zimbabwe on 11 November 1944 and have been farming since 1964.
In 1981 I bought a small dairy farm in Chipinge.
In 1985 I bought Glendevon Farm in Concession.
It is a tobacco farm and since I had always farmed tobacco, I was very pleased about buying it.
It had belonged to my father-in-law, who bought it as a virgin farm in 1948 and built it up from nothing.
He did not inherit or steal it, he bought it.
I bought it from him after it was valued at $160,000, which I raised by selling my Chipinge Farm.
I repeat - I did not inherit it. I have a sale sheet to prove it.
My wife was born on this farm in 1950.
Her great-grandfather was a pioneer to this country in 1896, so my grandchildren are 6th-generation Zimbabweans.
Our only problem is that we are white.
Three generations of my family are buried in my garden.
In the 1999/2000 season, my farm produced 153,400 kg of tobacco and 720 tonnes of maize and grossed around US$350,000.
I am not prepared to walk away and leave what I have worked 38 years for.
On 27 April 2001, I received my first Section 5 which notified me that my farm was listed and was being acquired by government.
I appealed to the courts because the government says it will acquire farms whose owners have several properties, are absentee landlords or foreigners, which are not productive, or which are next to communal areas.
On 29 June 2001, I received my 2nd Section 5.
I objected on the same grounds.
Meanwhile in April, my farm was resettled and pegged and approximately 35 families moved on and took all the land.
Many white farmers aim to resist for as long as possible
I was stopped farming.
I now have around 160 squatters on my farm.
The farm has not produced any crops whatsoever except for about 2,000 kg of tobacco.
To produce this, they pinched my gum trees and used my barns and my electricity to cure it.
We have not received any income since May/June 2001.
But we are refusing to leave with nothing.
On 5 July 2002 I received my Section 7 order (giving 45 days to vacate the property).
Again, I have appealed and it is currently with the courts.
On 6 August 2002, I was returning to my farm at 2115. and was confronted by about 70 persons who I have established were settlers from my farm.
They had put a log over the road by my security gate in front of my house.
Zimbabwe faces mass starvation
When I stopped, they advanced towards me and were all armed with axes, sticks and iron rods.
They did not say anything but as I reversed to get away, they started hurtling rocks, axes and pieces of metal at my truck.
If I had stopped I would most certainly have been killed.
I feared for my life and managed to get to the police station.
Two hours later, the police came back with me to my farm and I managed to get into my house and the police defused the situation.
I was warned by the settlers in front of the police that I would be in serious trouble if I did not leave my house by 10 August.
No one has been arrested for the crime.
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Zimbabwe needs $240m to stave off starvation
Quentin Wray
August 10 2002 at 08:30AM

Pretoria - Zimbabwe, on the brink of starvation after three years of inclement weather and the imposition of its production-unfriendly land redistribution programme, needs to find at least $240 million to buy 1.2 million tons of maize, its finance minister Simba Makoni revealed yesterday.

Speaking after a meeting of Southern African Development Community (SADC) finance ministers yesterday, Makoni told journalists he had reallocated Z$21 billion (R4.1 billion) from various ministries and departments to fund the procurement of foodstuffs, but finding the foreign currency to pay for imports was proving difficult.

"Foreign currency is a serious problem, but we have committed proceeds from all tobacco sales to food imports and are seeking the assistance of the international community."

Makoni denied the food shortage had been caused by the land redistribution programme which seeks to hand nearly 10 million square kilometres of white-owned commercial farmland to blacks.

"It is not the primary cause, but it has contributed (to the problem)," he said, saying that three successive seasons of bad weather were behind the food shortages.

Zimbabwe is one of six SADC countries - the others are Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho and Zambia - facing severe food shortages. This was one of the key areas of talks at yesterday's meeting.

Discussions ranged from how to procure the food that was needed as well as how to distribute it to the needy.

Twelve of SADC's 14 countries were represented at the meeting. Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo were absent.

Two memoranda of understanding (MOU), covering macroeconomic convergence and taxation, were signed by the ministers. The MOU on macroeconomic convergence lays the grounds for a protocol, to be adopted by 2004, that will deal with issues such as inflation rates in member states, budget deficits, debt levels and the balance of payments.

These will be discussed fully at the council of ministers meeting, set down for Luanda, Angola in September.

South African finance minister Trevor Manuel, who chairs the committee, said SADC was moving away from reliance on donor funding. South Africa funds about 20 percent of the organisation's $14 million annual budget, and it was likely that its contribution to SADC's coffers would be limited to this percentage despite the country making up about 70 percent of the region's total gross domestic product.

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Dulini-Ncube's treatment not surprising

Dear Editor, THE callous treatment meted out to the MP for Lobengula, Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, at the hands of Zimbabwe Republic Police should come as no surprise to any of us.

The disregard for the basic norms of human behaviour demonstrated by the slavering minions of the illegal Mugabe regime are completely in keeping with the behaviour of this desperate band of petty tyrants and pseudo-liberators. Let me list a few of the crimes against Zimbabweans and other Africans which our leader and his cohorts have indulged in over the years:

Poorly chronicled acts of intimidation in the name of liberation from the Second Chimurenga; killing of "sellouts" and others who dared to criticise the omniscience of the liberators under the inane deceit that the end justifies the means. Of course, Gukurahundi and the deaths of thousands of our brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers;

The post-Independence betrayal of the principles of freedom and equity that inspired many to sacrifice their lives or their personal well-being to fight the colonialists;

Cynically sprouting socialist ide-als in the '80s while setting up an archaic feudal system based on patronage, nepotism and corruption that will take generations to overcome;

The war in the Democratic Republic of Congo resulting in the deaths of some two million people, supposedly inspired by some fraternal pan-African fallacy but really just Mugabe and his mates joining in the traditional feasting by both foreigners and Congolese - from Leopold the king of Belgium to Mobutu Sese Seko - in the pig's trough of Congo's riches;

The murder of some 160 Zimbabweans who dared to oppose President Mugabe's destruction of the economy;

Indeed the land is the economy and vice-versa and Mugabe has done very well in destroying them both;

The continuing rape and pillage by Zanu PF militia and so-called war veterans of our people and our assets in the name of some delusional third Chimurenga dreamed up by the nutty professor and his fellow opportunists;

The evil deceit that can send farmers into region 5 to cut out a plot from the mopane forest to scrape (perhaps) a crop for a year or two before the land is exhausted. Does Mugabe really think a nation of peasant farmers is the way forward? Did he ask anyone? No doubt once the poor peasant abandons his little plot, some chef will step into the breach to take over the land, employ some white manager and make a fortune from game ranching or some such ecologically suitable activity;

The elimination of the middle-class through emigration and the consequent flight of capital and expertise that will blight this country for years to come;

The imminent famine, which isentirely the result of Mugabe's determination to get rid of white farmers because some of them had the temerity to oppose his psychotic megalomania. The farce of reconciliation was little more than a cynical ploy to retain the (white) commercial sector to provide taxes for the destruction of PF Zapu and the crushing of some supposed plot. Those whites who acquiesced, aided and abetted this also have a lot to answer for; these John Bredenkamps, Billy Rautenbachs, Peter Hoogstratens and their ilk who have little interest other than profit-seeking to guide their behaviour; and

The politicisation of food aid in a cold-blooded and calculated attempt to murder MDC supporters.

And so on ad nauseam. So let no one be surprised at the ill-treatment of Dulini-Ncube. I suppose we should be grateful that his underlings did not cut the doctors' hands off for daring to help an enemy of the state as would happen in many another country in this bleeding world.

But be sustained by the certainty that this evil will pass, as it always does.

Mike Mandebvu,


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Awaiting Mugabe's next move

Cris Chinaka

Harare - Zimbabwe's white farmers waited on Friday for President Robert Mugabe's next move, after hundreds moved off their lands to meet a deadline to give way to black settlers or face jail.

Mugabe returned from a trip abroad on Thursday and is expected to set out the government's stance on the farms in a major address early next week.

Hundreds of farmers withdrew to towns and cities ahead of the midnight deadline set by Mugabe's government, but many said they hoped to be able to return.

The government has ordered 2 900 of the country's 4 500 white farmers to hand their farms over to landless blacks in a programme to reverse the overwhelming white domination of the land created under colonial rule.

"It is very quiet here today," said Vernon Nicolle, one farmer who has decided to stay put in the belief that the government orders can be overturned.

Those most at risk moved out

He said he was confident the situation was beginning to turn in favour of the farmers, who have avoided open confrontation with the government and the bands of pro-Mugabe liberation war veterans who have occupied hundreds of farms.

"The legal fraternity is starting to find gaps in the government's armoury. They (the government) have not adhered to the rule of law, everything has been done through intimidation".

Nicolle, who has lived on his farm in the Banket district for most of his life, said local farmers had ensured that those considered most at risk had been moved out of the area. But most people in his area had decided to stay.

Elsewhere, he said white farmlands were almost entirely abandoned, adding: "Some of the areas are morgues."

The disruption to farming in Zimbabwe, once southern Africa's bread-basket, comes as millions in the region face famine.

Mugabe to clarify government's position

Mugabe is expected to clarify the government's position on the farms in a speech marking Heroes Day, which mainly commemorates those who fought in the 1970s independence war against Britain.

Last year's commemoration was marked by violent looting of farms around the northern town of Chinhoyi by pro-government militants and some farmers fear a repeat.

Newly-formed farming group Justice for Agriculture said on Friday morning it had received no distress calls from farmers.

Mugabe gave about two-thirds of the white farmers a 90-day deadline in May to quit or face up to two years in prison.

On Thursday, dozens of trucks laden with household goods rumbled into the capital Harare and other towns as farmers withdrew to relative safety ahead of the weekend.

Might return after the holiday

In a newspaper notice on Friday, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said this year's Heroes Day would be celebrated on Monday as the day, a public holiday, had fallen on a Sunday.

Some farmers have said they might return to their land after the holiday if they feel it is safe to do so. Many already have black settlers on their farms and it was feared some might use force to evict farm owners as the deadline expired.

Land owners were also waiting to see how Mugabe would react to a High Court ruling earlier this week that the state could not confiscate land owned by one particular farmer because it had not told a bank, which had a mortgage over the property.

Neither Mugabe nor any other government official has commented on the ruling.

Aid workers say the farm dispute has severely disrupted food production and is exaggerating the effects of a regional drought that has slashed production in six southern African countries.

'Shape up or ship out'

Nicolle said his region produced 27 000 hectares of wheat last year, but that now only seven hectares had been planted.

He said one of his three farms had been occupied by what he called "weekend farmers" - black settlers from the higher echelons of Zimbabwe society - and had produced nothing for over a year. "It's just weeds and a mess," he said.

Zimbabwe's official Herald newspaper said on Friday the land issue was a political issue rather than a legal one.

It said the "British farmers" in Zimbabwe were determined to hang on to large tracts of territory while blacks went without land, and had undermined efforts by white farmers of Afrikaner origin to negotiate solutions with the government.

"Let it be made clear to them once and for all - they have a choice to shape up or ship out," the newspaper said. "Zimbabwe now needs people who want to see a success of this country and not saboteurs who will gloat on the failures of Africa."

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Zim Indp. 9/8/02 - News Analysis

Prices rocket as controls fail
Godfrey Marawanyika/Stanley James

ZIMBABWE'S price control system, designed to create stability in the cost of goods and services, has failed resulting in shortages of controlled commodities on shop shelves and a thriving parallel market on the streets bursting with supplies of the same goods.
A spate of price increases in the last two months has fuelled the inflation rate to an unprecedented 122,5%. The Zanu PF government based its presidential election campaign on the land issue and maintaining price controls. The controls have been in force since October.

The controls represented a shift from market-oriented policies to a command economy, introduced to protect the interests of the ruling Zanu PF party against growing isolation by donor agencies like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Zimbabwe has experienced a surge of price increases for goods such as bread, sugar, cooking oil, milk and transport fares shortly after the disputed victory of President Robert Mugabe in the March presidential poll.
More increases are on the way.

Products under the controls regime have become scarce in most retail outlets but are in abundance on the black market.

"For price controls to work, government has to put in place subsidies to cushion manufacturers against production and price disparities," said one analyst with a leading commercial bank.

"Salaries have not been rising in tandem with price increases, pushing most salaried workers against the wall."

This has been evidenced by a 60% drop in the purchasing power of the ordinary consumer during the first quarter of 2002, a situation projected to worsen against a background of soaring inflation.

Although the minimum wage has remained pegged at $8 600 a month, economists have said the poverty datum line for a family of six should be $30 000.

Zimbabwe's growing debt and poor credit rating have resulted in a massive flight of capital and the country's skewed land policies and refusal to respect human rights and the rule of law have earned it a pariah status.

Government has failed to rein-in the budget deficit and is continuously borrowing from the domestic market to fund day-to-day operations. Domestic debt has risen to $300 billion and foreign debt now stands at US$800 million.

Due to the erosion of purchasing power and incomes, the country has also witnessed the mushrooming of money-lending institutions as people struggle to make ends meet.

"These institutions have devised a way of avoiding the controlled interest rates," said the analyst.

Economic commentator Tony Hawkins said the ultimate result of the price controls would be more shortages and a boom in black market activities resulting in further price increases.

"There is no way the price control system will create stability in price levels given the current economic hardships," Hawkins said.

He said the price control regime posed the threat of a shrinking industrial base as price ceilings did not match cost outlays.

He warned the country risked losing investment opportunities as most investors were wary of the controls that have cut into the bottom line.

"The controls have failed to serve the purpose they were intended for because of the prevailing hyper-inflationary trends that have reduced the purchasing power of ordinary consumers," he said.

"While technically the introduction of price controls was noble, government failed to do its homework in time because they wanted to survive politically - which they did - but they have failed to curtail the black market," said an analyst with a Harare discount house.

"The sprouting of the black market is a clear indication of government's failure."
The Central Statistical Office (CSO), which monitors inflation trends, has said the escalating cost of living was being driven by the wave of price hikes.

The CSO said that as of the beginning of the year, prices of various goods surged by almost 60% thereby eroding the purchasing power of consumers by about 40%. It said the ideal salary for a family of six should be around $25 000.

According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the decline in spending patterns had resulted in the value of the local currency unit dropping by almost 600% over the past decade. The value of the $1 coin today is now about six cents compared to 1996.

Hawkins said that such a drop showed price controls were not the real mechanisms to foster price stability as they created a cost-push inflationary environment.

University of Zimbabwe economist Dr Phineas Kadenge said price controls had failed as evidenced by the current shortages of goods.

"A number of companies have suspended or scaled down production processes as a result of low returns arising from the controls," Kadenge said.

He said the real solution lay in government subsidising companies to ensure they continued realising profit otherwise the impact of the price controls would always be in the form of price increases and shortages.

Kadenge said it was imperative for economic stakeholders to come up with a framework that promoted the reduction of costs of production for companies currently facing difficulties owing to the deteriorating economic environment.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries has said price increases have brought with them the shrinkage in productive sectors, escalating costs of production and a decline in output levels for various economic sectors.

Industrialists a fortnight ago petitioned the Ministry of Industry and International Trade for a review of prices in tandem with the volatile economic environment.
High on the agenda of the petition was a proposal to adjust prices of food commodities upwards as the controlled prices were hampering production and leading to shortages. There has not been any response to date from Industry and Trade minister Dr Herbert Murerwa.
Kadenge warned that the imminent review of prices was likely to deal another body blow to consumers hard-pressed with other economic hardships owing to the macro-economic policies of the embattled Mugabe government.

The concerns come against a backdrop of some 700 company closures between the year 2000 and 2002. One of the country's former blue-chip sectors - tourism - has seen at least 100 closures since January.

"It would have been prudent if government had consulted industry before they implemented the price controls," said one industrialist.

"As it is now, we cannot plan for the future because we do not know what we will be told on what to produce and how much to produce. For some of us in the food and beverages sector, we will be forced to retrench and relocate to more accommodating economies," he said.

Harare-based economist Howard Sithole said the price controls were designed to protect the consumers, "but these have been hurt most because of the scarcity of the products, especially basic commodities".

"Consumers have actually been hit twice, because they spend a lot of time in queues waiting for goods which are non-existent, and where available, are beyond their reach. Consumers have been affected most by the prices controls."

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'Racist' Zim farmers warned not to resist
August 09 2002 at 07:55PM
By Cris Chinaka
Harare - The Zimbabwean government warned white farmers on Friday they
would be punished by law if they defied orders to vacate land targeted for
black resettlement.
The government has ordered 2 900 of the country's 4 500 white farmers to
hand their farms over to landless blacks in a programme to reverse the
overwhelming white land domination created under colonial rule. Those
who refuse face jail.
Hundreds of farmers withdrew to urban areas before a government deadline
on Thursday, but farm officials said it was impossible to tell how many had
left for good and how many were just biding their time in the relative
safety of towns.

'The commercial farmers are a racist bunch'

Critics say President Robert Mugabe's forcible programme of land
distribution is exacerbating serious food shortages.
But Vice-President Joseph Msika, who chairs the cabinet committee on
land acquisition, told Zimbabwe state television those who refused to obey
the orders would live to regret it.
"Those who are not going to work within the laws of Zimbabwe have nobody
to blame but themselves. The law will take its own course. It's simple and
straightforward," he said.
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) reported on Friday that more
than 400 farmers had already left their properties and a further 1 200
were expected to follow suit.
It did not give the source of its information, but the ZBC also quoted
Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo as saying Mugabe's government was
determined to press on with seizures.
Chombo is chairperson of the land resettlement audit committee.
"The commercial farmers are a racist bunch, which want privileges for
themselves only," he was reported as saying.
"We have told them in no uncertain terms that we are going to
redistribute land, and that the land reform is irreversible and this (evictions) is
going to be the proof that it is irreversible."
Mugabe, who returned from a trip abroad on Thursday, is expected to
expound the government's stance on the farms in a major address early next week.
There have been no reports of action by authorities, violence or
evictions since the midnight deadline expired.
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) President Colin Cloete said on Friday the
CFU remained in talks with the government on the issue but that it was
advising its members to avoid confrontation. He said the situation appeared calm.
Vernon Nicolle, a farmer who has decided to stay put in the belief that
the government orders can be overturned, agreed. "It is very quiet here
today," he said from his farm.
But Nicolle said he was confident the situation was starting to turn in
favour of the farmers, who have avoided open confrontation with the
government and the bands of pro-Mugabe liberation war veterans who have
occupied hundreds of farms.
"The legal fraternity is starting to find gaps in the government's
They (the government) have not adhered to the rule of law, everything
has been done through intimidation."
The disruption to farming in Zimbabwe, once southern Africa's
bread-basket, has put thousands of black farm workers out of work and comes as
millions in the region face famine.
The reforms are sharply criticised by the private media.
"President Mugabe and his followers have no principles or policies
beyond the exercise of power," the weekly Independent newspaper said in a
"Their land crusade is a self-interested power play and has predictably
led to destitution and famine across whole swathes of the country... The
economy is spiralling down as people starve," it said in a biting attack on the
land reform policy.
Mugabe is expected to clarify the government's position on the farms in
a speech marking Heroes Day, which mainly commemorates those who fought in
the 1970s independence war against white rule in the former Rhodesia.
Last year's commemoration was marked by violent looting of farms around
the northern town of Chinhoyi by pro-government militants and some farmers
fear a repeat.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said in a newspaper notice on Friday
this year's Heroes Day would be celebrated on Monday as the day, a public
holiday, had fallen on a Sunday.
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From the Washington Post, 10 August

Zimbabwe ends altered-corn dispute

Ending a dispute over gene altered corn, the Zimbabwean government and international aid agencies have reached an accord for the quick release of thousands of tons of food aid for the hunger-stricken nation, according to sources in Africa and the United States. The agreement - in the form of a memorandum of understanding involving the government, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.N. World Food Program and Zimbabwe's Grain Marketing Board - provides for the U.N. agency to deliver U.S. corn to the Zimbabwean government, which in turn would give the agency an equal amount of domestic corn from its own reserves to be distributed to hungry Zimbabweans, sources said. The deal is expected to be finalized next week.

More than 17,000 metric tons of whole corn has been sitting in the holds of a ship docked in the South African port of Durban since late July because of a standoff between President Robert Mugabe's government and the aid agencies. At issue was whether Zimbabwe, which strictly limits importation of genetically modified seeds, would accept the load of American corn - a mixture of conventional corn and patented, high-tech kernels that bear extra genes for hardiness. About half of Zimbabwe's 12.5 million people are on the brink of famine, according to the World Food Program, because of drought and the disruption of agricultural production caused by the government's eviction of white farmers from some of Zimbabwe's most productive land as part of a land reform program. International aid groups have warned that food aid must be dispatched quickly to Zimbabwe and its similarly stricken neighbors, but Mugabe's government has balked at accepting grain donated by the United States because it was not certified as being free of genetically modified material.

Zimbabwean government officials contend that if some of the U.S.-donated seeds were planted instead of eaten, they would give rise to plants with gene-altered pollen. That pollen could contaminate surrounding fields, rendering a potentially large portion of the nation's future corn harvests unexportable to European and other nations that restrict imports of genetically engineered foods. The government has said it wants to mill the kernels and distribute the corn as meal to ensure that none of the seed is planted. But that position led to a deadlock, because USAID, which donated the corn, and the World Food Program, which is distributing it, have been unwilling to give it directly to the government - the only entity willing to absorb the cost of milling. The agencies have insisted that the food go to nongovernmental groups for distribution because of evidence that the government has diverted food aid for political purposes.

The new agreement gets around that problem by calling for an unusual trade. The U.N. agency will deliver the 17,500 metric tons of corn from the United States to the Zimbabwean government, which can do whatever it wants with it. In return, the government will give the World Food Program an equal amount of corn kernels currently stored in that country. The U.N. agency will pass that corn to nongovernmental organizations for distribution to the poorest and hungriest people in Zimbabwe – people who aid officials believe might otherwise never have seen the food that was being held by the government. It was not immediately clear how the Zimbabwean government came to possess the 17,500 metric tons it is now agreeing to trade to the World Food Program, or what it had intended to do with that food as the country slipped into its worst food crisis in decades. Diplomatic sources in southern Africa said they were not aware that Zimbabwe had any such reserves. But sources said the deal would accomplish the bottom-line goal of getting the corn to the countries' neediest citizens. "The main thing is that the food gets into the country so poor people get access," said Per Pinstrup-Andersen, director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington.

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Herewith a list of prominent Zimbabweans reported to have acquired farms under the Fast-Track Programme.


LAND for the PEOPLE?

Date July 2002 - as reported in press
NB - many of these also have 99-yr leases on other farms at very cheap
rent - see 1999 list.

Joseph Msika Vice President  Umguza Block (part)
Simon Muzenda Vice President Chindito and Endama farms, Gutu
Obert Mpofu Governor Mat North Umguza Block (part)
Sabina Mugabe Sister, MP Gowrie Farm, Norton & Golden Stairs
Elliot Manyika Minister Youth etc Duiker Flats
Shuvai Mahofa Dep Minister  1 Lothian Farm Gutu 2. Plots at ZAKA Scheme
3. Spring Sp  4. Lochinvar   5. Eyrie/Lauder/Wragley
Samuel  Mumbengegwi Minister Irvine Farm Gutu
Augustine Chihuri Police Comm Woodlands Farm (Butler)
Sydney Sekeremayi Minister Defence Maganga Estate
Swithun Mombeshora  Minister Mash West farm
Nicholas Goche Minister Security Ceres farm Mash Central
Edward Chindori-Chininga Minister Mash Central farm
Saviour Kasukuwere MP Pimento Farm (part) Mash Central & Bamboo Creek,
Peter Chanetsa  Governor Mash West Biri and Greensleeves, plus Gabaro,
Riverside, Elwin, Sligo and Deary farms (Mash West)
Stephen Nkomo Governor Mat South  BEA Ranch
Josaya Hungwe Governor Masvingo Lot21A of NRA (Nuanetsi Ranch)   2.
Winterton 3. Lot 1 of Constance
Herbert Murerwa Minister Industry & Trade  Rise Holm farm, Arcturus
David Parirenyatwa, Dep Minister Health   Rudolphia farm
Kembo Mohadi Dep Min Local Govt  BEA Ranch (part)
Mrs Kembo Mohadi   BEA Ranch (part)
Swithun Momeshora Minister of Transport Ormeston Farm, Mash West
Paul Mangwana Dep Minister of Justice   Faun farm, Chegutu
Mike Moyo War Vet  Mayfield farm, Masvingo
Tobaiwa Mudede Registrar General   Ballineethy farm, Mash Central
Ambrose Mutinhiri MP Marondera West     Waltondale Farm, Mash East
Joseph Chinotimba War  Vet leader Pimento Farm (part) & Wakatai Farm
Boniface Chidyausiku Ambassador to UN  Estees Park farm
Solomon Mujuru retired army chief Elim and Alamein Farms
Constantine Chiwenga Army commander Risumbe Extension farm
Mariyawanda Nzuwa Chair Electoral SC  Stella Farm
Ambrose Mutinhiri MP Waltondale Farm Mash East
Reward Marufu Grace's brother Leopard's  Vlei  Farm Mash Cen
Dickson Mafiosi Mash Central ZPF youth chairman  Pimento (part )& Melfort
Willard Chiwewe PS Min foreign Affairs Maxton Farm
David Chapfika MP Mutoko  The Groove Farm
Chief Charumbira  Lots 5 &  6 of Mkwasine Central, Sangokwe North
Chauke MP Chiredzi North  Farm 748/Ngwindi Sugar Estate
Reuben Barwe ZBC  Sunnyside Farm
Webster Bepura Mayor Bindura Avondur Farm
Wayne Bvudzijena ZRP Spokesman Mabubu and Koodoo Hill farms
Freddy Chawasarira CEO Zimtrade Goede Hoop
P Chinamasa Minister's sister  Buffalo Downs farm
Christopher Chingosho PA Mash East & Lands Chairman Makarara, Showers B,
Solitude, Retreat of Sanzara, Chigori and Rapids and Lot 6 of Mkawasine
Nobbie Dzinzi MP Musarabani  Dendere Farm
Kara Regional Liaison Defense Force Farm 36
Donald Kasukwere Saviour's brother Usaka and Sangokwe North, Mwenezi
Joseph Macheka ex-Mayor of Chitungwiza Cairnsmore
Supa Mandiwanzira ZBC (Grace Mugabe's Nephew)  Lang Glen
Witness Mangwende former Min Higher Education  Rudolphia farm
Masoka Ngoni, PS Lands & Agriculture  Dunmaglas farm
Godwin Matanga Dep Police Commissioner Nurenzi farm, Wedza
Peter Mbizvo PS Youth, Gender & Empl  Lazy 7 Ranch Barwick
Endy Mhlanga SG War Vets Assn Nalire Farm
Philip Mugadza ZIFA/businessman  Kiaora
Livingstone Muzariri President's Office CIO  Avondur farm part
Vivian Mwashita ZPF Women's League former MP Wakatai farm
Patrick Nyaruwata Chair ZWVA  Nalire farm
Kindness Paradza journalist-politician NDA Manicaland farm
Sam Parirenyatwa (brother)  Danbury Park farm
Christopher Pasipamire ZPF   Mayfield farm
Jonathan Samkange lawyer   Sheba Ranch
Florence Sigudu MD Metropolitan Bank Dunedin farm
Paddy Zhanda - Colcolm / Cotton Co / Chair ZANU PF east -Chifumbi Meadows
Paradzayi Zimondi Head of Prisons  Upton farm
Irene Zindi former MP Howickvale farm, Mash Cent
Oscar & Shelton Zindi   Rutherdale farm
Mr Zindove DA Mwenezi   Soetveld Ranch

Plus other ministers, ZanuPF MPs & officials, police, CIO, army, etc..

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Fingaz via
David Masunda

ZIMBABWE and Libya are deadlocked over demands by Tripoli that it takes
over Harare's entire beef quota to the European Union (EU) and gets
compensated with goods such as unprocessed tea as part of the US$360
million oil-for-goods deal struck between the two countries, government
sources said this week.

They said negotiations to compensate Libya, which has generously kept
its fuel pumps open despite little or no payment from Zimbabwe, had
stalled because the North Africans were demanding all the beef bound for
the EU, huge quantities of citrus and other fruits, and unprocessed tea
in exchange for the oil.

Zimbabwe still has slim hopes to resume lucrative beef exports to the EU
market, which were suspended after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease
in the country last year.

The annual 9 100-tonne quota to the 15-nation EU earns the hard
cash-starved country about US$20 million annually, or $1.1 billion on
the official exchange rate.

Libyan authorities have however denied there is deadlock on the
negotiations. They insist that the oil deal is separate from other
investments sought by Tripoli in Zimbabwe from its large reserves of
petro-dollars in the country.

Mahmoud Youssef Azzabi, the Libyan ambassador in Harare, this week said
the oil pact that has kept Zimbabwe running for the past two years was
still on and is not part of other deals struck with Tripoli such as the
export of 5 000 tonnes of Zimbabwean beef by a Harare company known as
Farirai Quality Foods.

"We are in the business of buying and selling oil and you need oil and
we are selling it to you," Azzabi told the Financial Gazette.

"We are not here to take over the economy of Zimbabwe. We are here to
assist," Azzabi said, adding that a Libyan technical team was compiling
a report on what sectors of the Zimbabwean economy Tripoli should invest

Azzabi said he could not comment on where Libya would invest its large
reserves of local currency because the special report, compiled by a
technical team that visited Zimbabwe in April, was not yet complete.

Industry sources say another sticking point is that the North Africans
are interested in unprocessed Zimbabwean tea, apart from large
quantities of citrus and other fruits.

It is understood that Zimbabwean negotiators are unhappy with supplying
Tripoli with unprocessed tea because they are worried that Libya could
in turn process, package and market the beverage in the Middle East as
its own product.

On beef, Azzabi admitted that while Zimbabwe had successfully addressed
the problem of beef that might be contaminated with foot-and-mouth, a
"small technical" hitch had developed because the Tripoli beef market
wanted meat from male animals only.

Most of the resettled small-scale Zimbabwean farmers, who lack
mechanical equipment, are reluctant to sell their male animals because
they need them for draught power, thus creating problems in fulfilling
the Libyan quota.

Another government source close to the negotiations said the talks
remained "painful" because of some Libyan demands which Zimbabwean
negotiators felt were outrageous such as an order of 60 000 kgs of
bananas as a sample that cannot be charged.

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Mbeki must save Zimbabwe
(Filed: 10/08/2002)
The Daily Telegraph UK

Robert Mugabe's ruthless pursuit of power is nothing new. From the
independence struggle to the Matabeleland massacres and the current reign of
terror, he has demonstrated a messianic belief in his own leadership.

That has led to the crushing of political opposition and the collapse of the
economy. Now, in a fiendish twist to the tale, he is using the second to
complete the first. As Tim Butcher, our Africa Correspondent, revealed in
yesterday's paper, the government has been buying maize with Libyan money
from South Africa and distributing it exclusively to its supporters.

That cruel discrimination is taking place when Zimbabwean production of the
staple has fallen from 1.8 million to 500,000 tons, leaving nearly half the
population short of food. As with the killing of the [30 - 50 thousand]
Ndebele in 1983-84 and the hounding of white farmers and the Movement for
Democratic Change since 2000, the president is showing no compunction in
turning the organs of state against his fellow countrymen.

The response of the outside world to the tightening of Mr Mugabe's tyranny
has been slow and ineffective. Sanctions applied by America and the EU
against leading Zimbabweans and the country's suspension from Commonwealth
councils have failed to produce the desired reforms.

However, such steps as have been taken have been undermined by the chronic
reluctance of African leaders to criticise Mr Mugabe. In this respect, South
Africa, the pre-eminent regional power, is particularly culpable. After a
presidential election campaign notorious for intimidation, the ruling ANC,
whose president is Thabo Mbeki, asserted that the will of the people of
Zimbabwe had prevailed.

Mr Mbeki is the leading force behind the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (Nepad), a contract between the continent and aid donors by
which the first demonstrates good governance in return for the second's
money. Nepad's ambitious goal is to achieve an annual seven per cent growth
for Africa in order to halve world poverty by 2015. However, it has
immediately run into the shadow cast over the continent by Mr Mugabe's
excesses. A part of the world that apparently cannot put its own house in
order deters investors, traders and donors alike.

Western and Commonwealth governments should speak out against the latest
instance of Mugabe's infamy and extend sanctions against the regime. With
humanitarian aid, the situation is much more fraught. If they find it being
manipulated like the maize bought from South Africa, they will be faced with
the choice between acting on principle and leaving Zimbabweans to starve. To
that extent, the donors have become Mr Mugabe's playthings.

A more promising target for diplomatic pressure would be Mr Mbeki. When he
visits South Africa this month for the Earth Summit, Tony Blair should make
clear to its president that Nepad has no chance of success while Mr Mugabe
continues to oppress his people with near impunity.

The Prime Minister should also point out that the newly formed African
Union, the successor of the Organisation of African Unity, should have no
place for Zimbabwe under its present dispensation. The removal of Mr Mugabe
would benefit the continent as a whole. And Mr Mbeki, first chairman of the
new union, is best placed to effect it.
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We were all hoodwinked by Mugabe


THIS weekend Colin Shand is truly home alone. His wife has left for England to stay with their daughter. His other daughter lives nearby but her farm has been claimed by a civil engineer from Harare. This week she fled with her husband and children to a rented house 30 miles away.

His closest neighbours are a group of settlers who seized control of his farm 18 months ago, but relations with them are not good. Last Tuesday night they tried to prevent him returning home, then attacked his vehicle with stones and axes. He was lucky to escape alive, he says.

Now Shand’s only companions are his 68-year-old cook, Steady, five dogs, one cat and the Colt handgun at his bedside. His lawyer has advised him that if attacked in his home he is within his rights to use the revolver.

"But the way things are now she says I’ll definitely go to jail, no matter what," he says matter-of-factly, hours before president Mugabe’s leave-or-be-evicted ultimatum expired.

The Shand farmhouse in Concession, 50 miles north of Harare, has a lonely, isolated air. Inside, Shand’s wife has stripped the walls of paintings and family photographs, "in case we are ransacked".

After independence many white Rhodesians packed up for South Africa. Shand stayed put. He believed Robert Mugabe’s promises of reconciliation, the 1980 television address where he declared to the nation: "Let us forgive and forget. Let us join hands in a new amity."

"He seemed like such a gentleman. Now we realise we were hoodwinked," he said, with soft bitterness.

Since then Shand has made friends with blacks. He is invited to the wedding of his cook’s son next month. The best golfer at his local club, where he socialises, is a black man. Sometimes he has black visitors to the house - but he would never allow one to marry his daughter.

"The black man and the white man, it’s different cultures. We’re not the same," he said, then added only half-seriously: "Especially now. I’ve become more racist since all this started."

As the night wears on, Shand sends e-mails and calls his wife. Then, at 9pm, the phone rings. There is talk of a compromise deal with lawyers from Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party. Shand is unsure what to do. He calls his neighbour, Archie. "We’ve lost, Archie, we’ve lost," he says, confused. "We’ve got to give them something."

But an hour later he has changed his mind. A conversation with a colleague from Justice for Agriculture - a newly formed group that is refusing to move off the land - steels his will. He will not sign any deal. "As far as I’m concerned my position is legal and the government’s is illegal," he declares.

In the morning, Shand shows me around his crumbling tobacco-curing sheds. Over the eight-foot security fence we see a man fixing the thatch on a new hut in an adjacent field.

Then a woman, probably a settler’s wife, spots us from the perimeter fence. It makes Shand nervous. "She has seen me now," he said. "Now she will tell the others that I’m here."

On Friday night he did not sleep until three in the morning. "I couldn’t get to sleep," he said. "It’s like waiting for a war to start."

Today he is locked inside his farmhouse, and won’t be leaving until the long weekend is over. "The majority of white farmers are in favour of land reform, but we want it done in a systematic manner, not like this," he said.

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If Mugabe were white, would we let him get away with such brutality?

He has survived because of support from a tacit coalition of black racists, masochistic white liberals and white cynics

Bruce Anderson

12 August 2002

A beautiful country is being destroyed. Under a competent government, its inhabitants would prosper, partly through agricultural exports. But because of Robert Mugabe's misrule, hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans are already starving in the midst of what should be plenty. Because of the longer-term consequences of his brutality, millions of people will be condemned to generations of poverty, disease and famine.

Yet no one outside Zimbabwe seems to care. It is true that international bodies have passed bleating resolutions, saying that they do wish that Mr Mugabe would behave better. Curiously enough, he has taken no notice. It will require more than hand-wringing from the United Nations, the Commonwealth or the Foreign Office to chase him from office. The Government decided to take a tough line and ban Mr Mugabe's henchmen and their families from visiting London. But his government is not going to fall merely because his kleptocrats' wives are prevented from using their credit cards. All this is a dreadful example of human-rights abusers exploiting Western spinelessness, but the explanation is clear. Mr Mugabe has survived because he has been able to rely on support from a coalition of black racists, masochistic white liberals and white cynics.

Throughout Africa, the younger leaders insist the failed policies of the past must be broken with. To symbolise this, the Organisation of African Unity has been renamed. The new African Union (AU) claims that it will promote a new economic plan for development. This would be encouraging, were it true. But if these leaders were remotely sincere, they should have been willing to denounce Mr Mugabe. They have failed to do this for two reasons.

First, he can always deploy the rhetoric of anti-colonialism, potent among politicians wishing to divert attention from their countries' abject failure and who are always tempted to wallow in primitive emotions rather than address themselves to the formidable difficulties of governing.

Secondly, his most publicised victims are white farmers. It matters not that those men's forebears hacked their acreage out of the bush. It is equally irrelevant that, until recently, the white farms provided employment for hundreds of thousands of blacks, and were vital to the economy. It also seems of no consequence that their methods and successes could profitably be copied by other nations. On an African visceral level, the emotional satisfaction of blaming the white man for the continent's problems takes precedence over the continent's real difficulties.

By now, the British Government should have confronted the AU. If it did believe in a new dispensation for Africa, our ministers should have said, it must start by doing everything possible to prevent Mr Mugabe from wrecking an important African country. If necessary, it should be willing to co-operate in military action to remove him. If the AU were not prepared to do this, then all its talk about newness and progress would just be so much sales patter, designed to entice more foreign aid and to refresh Swiss bank accounts. Any African government which refused to repudiate Mr Mugabe and to assist in moves against him should have been informed that it would receive no aid from Britain, and that we would also do everything possible to block any aid from the European Union.

But this was never likely to happen. The upper reaches of British foreign policy are populated by far too many cringing liberals who will go into the most humiliating intellectual contortions before admitting that a black man could be blamed for anything, especially if he is in dispute with a white. In terms of the volume of human suffering, Zimbabwe is a black-on-black conflict. The miseries inflicted on the white farmers are only a tiny proportion of the misery which Mr Mugabe has inflicted on his country.

This is where the white cynics share the guilt. When Mr Mugabe won power, dismay was widespread among British conservatives. The hope had been that Bishop Abel Muzorewa would win the post-Lancaster House election, thus ensuring a pro-Western government and some continuity with the era of Ian Smith. In the event, however, Mr Mugabe did not seem too bad. He did not butcher all the whites in their beds; he did not apply to join the Warsaw Pact. He merely let his thugs loose against his fellow blacks in Matabeleland.

This was not mindless violence. Antagonism between the majority Shona tribe and the Ndebele of southern Zimbabwe had a long history. Joshua Nkomo, the leader of the Ndebele, was once asked – when in his cups – what would happen after independence. "When that day comes,'' he replied, "we'll drive the Shona dog before us, as we always have.''

Mr Nkomo had reckoned without weight of numbers, not to mention control of government power and command of military hardware. It was Mr Mugabe's North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade which did the driving. However, the outcome went far beyond any measures which could be justified as a containment of tribalism and an assertion of central authority.

Tens of thousands of Ndebele were slaughtered in a deliberate infliction of state terror. No one will ever know the exact figure and hardly anyone in the West has cared. Leftists averted their gaze from anything which might discredit a black government. Rightists shrugged their shoulders, believing that nothing better was to be expected from a black government.

In Britain, where more concern should have been expected given our recent historic ties with Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, no senior politician rushed to take an interest. The Tory government had no desire to re-engage itself with Zimbabwean affairs, or to re-open any wounds which might have resulted from the Lancaster House settlement. The Labour opposition was equally unwilling to annoy its friends in Africa.

This was wrong all round. Mr Mugabe ought to have been condemned, and threatened with instant expulsion from the Commonwealth. Instead, he got away with a massacre. This may have led him to conclude that he could commit further massacres at his choice. And so he is, even if the agents are now starvation and disease rather than bullets and shells.

It would not be easy to remove Mr Mugabe by military means, especially when everyone is concerned with bigger game in Iraq. It is possible to take action against Sierra Leone, which is on the coast, but Zimbabwe is well inland, and we would require forward bases from a friendly neighbouring African country.

But if we really wanted those bases, does anyone doubt that we could obtain them? Does anyone doubt that we would already have taken action, if a white government were behaving in the way that Mr Mugabe is? If Mr Mugabe is allowed to complete the destruction of Zimbabwean agriculture, his country might take 100 years to recover. We have a moral duty to prevent him from sabotaging his people's future.

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From The Sunday Times (UK), 11 August

War veterans starve on their looted land

The looming tragedy of Zimbabwe is written on the hungry face of Lydia Muzenda, 62, a black settler on white-owned farmland just south of Harare. She lives in a mud shack surrounded by sickly, straggling heads of maize and the stumps of trees cut down for use in building, heating and cooking. The shade cover has gone. The scrubby grass has given way to baked mud that the rains quickly turn into a quagmire. As the topsoil washes away, the farm becomes ever less fertile. Skinny goats pick at whatever grass roots are left. Muzenda and her friend Nelson Takawira, 42, are willing to work. But in common with other settlers who had been loyal supporters of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, they feel betrayed. Thousands of Zimbabwe’s war veterans and settlers are on the brink of starvation caused by Mugabe’s disastrous land-seizure programme. This has reached its most critical stage after the passing of Friday’s deadline for most white farmers to leave their land so it can be redistributed to landless blacks. For the war vets who are intended to benefit, the expiry of the deadline should have been a cause for celebration. Instead many were in despair, unable to feed themselves on the farms they occupied and bitter that cabinet ministers, high-ranking civil servants, MPs, army officers and other members of Mugabe’s elite had grabbed much of the best land for themselves.

When the veterans first invaded the white farms in early 2000 they were intended to be the vanguard of "resettlement schemes" extolled on television as miracles of peasant productivity. But while the black elite has grabbed many farms, owning far more than the 400 hectares (about 990 acres) decreed by the reform programme, the countryside has been denuded. The settlers were promised seeds, fertilisers and tractors. The promises were broken, with the result that hundreds of thousands are now destitute and the land is derelict. "We are starving, there’s nothing to eat at all," Muzenda said. She sold five cattle to transport herself and her possessions to a farm at Mhondoro. Now she lacks cattle to plough with. "If we don’t get the use of a tractor soon I fear the worst." She has made fruitless trips to the nearest town, Chegutu, to ask for maize from the local Grain Marketing Board. Takawira also sees starvation ahead: "The rainy season is only a few months away but we still have to prepare our fields for planting. We haven’t the means to plough and we haven’t even got seed."

Some 1,740 white farmers were reported yesterday to have risked imprisonment by defying the deadline and refusing to relinquish land they have made productive and profitable. They believe the government eviction orders could still be overturned in the courts. "In the middle of a raging famine where the government is appealing for donor aid it would just be a bit embarrassing to be arresting farmers for trying to go on growing food," said Jenni Williams of Justice in Agriculture, which is using the courts to fight the evictions. "I guess the point is that we are fundamentally law-abiding folk," said Ben Freething, who farms in Mashonaland. "Most farmers just cannot get their heads around the idea that they might be arrested for living in their homes and trying to carry on producing sorely needed food on land they either bought or which has been in their family for generations."

Another 1,160 white farmers did move, leaving areas of once-rich farmland abandoned. Many headed for Harare. The leafy, tree-lined streets of the capital were clogged with pickup trucks and lorries transporting household goods and there was hardly a house left for rent or sale. Some went abroad. Others tried to maintain a semblance of normality by fishing on Lake Kariba. Mugabe is due to give a speech tomorrow to mark Heroes Day, which commemorates those who fought in the independence war of the 1970s against white rule in the former Rhodesia. Last year’s commemoration saw violent looting of farms around the northern town of Chinhoyi and some farmers fear a repeat. The tension increased yesterday afternoon when troops moved out of barracks in Harare and other urban centres. While it seemed possible that they were preparing for the traditional Heroes’ Day march-pasts, observers said the movements looked bigger than usual. Some suggested that Mugabe was about to use the military as well as the police to force farmers off their land.

The only violent incident to be reported since the deadline passed was the assault of Kevin Smith, a farmer, by war veterans at Karoi. However, Ignatius Chombo, the powerful local government minister, revealed the regime’s fury at the refusal of so many farmers to comply with eviction orders. "All the excuses by the farmers show what an arrogant and racist bunch they are," he said, adding that "appropriate measures" would be taken against those breaking the law. Members of the white community were anxiously awaiting Mugabe’s speech for a sign as to whether they have any future in Zimbabwe. Mugabe has not wavered from his ideological determination to destroy the white farmers and their workers. They supported the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which came close to defeating him in flawed parliamentary and presidential elections.

For black Zimbabweans hunger - not politics or race - is the overwhelming issue. Zimbabwe was a land of plenty but now faces starvation caused by a combination of drought and the government’s gross mismanagement of the land issue. The settlers dumped by the Mugabe government onto poorly irrigated cattle land or game farms are among the worst-off. Having slaughtered much of the wildlife and cut down the trees for firewood, many have found the land incapable of supporting their families and have drifted away. "I try not to be a bitter man but now all my animals are dead or gone and so are the war vets and the settlers," said one white game farmer. The shock troops who blazed this trail of devastation were the war veterans. But last week they were in disarray after the imprisonment for embezzlement of Andrew Ndlovu, their leader. It takes a brave man to predict what comes next.

"The damage is done. What has happened is irreversible," said Colin Cloete, president of the Commercial Farmers’ Union. He is appalled at the cynical use of a reform programme ostensibly intended to redress colonial wrongs as a means of benefiting Mugabe’s cronies. "Some people call them cellphone farmers," he said. "They don’t really farm. They have jobs in town and treat the farms they take over as weekend retreats. We’re going to end up with a tremendous amount of derelict land." A high percentage of white farmers would still come back if the government relented. As they readily acknowledge, however, they make up less than 1% of the population and are not by any means suffering the worst. Millions of Zimbabwe’s 13m people who supported the MDC opposition have been thrown onto the scrapheap, too. Many are black farm workers who are being made homeless as the whites leave their land.

"We would be better off with only 6m people, with our own people who support the liberation struggle," said Didymus Mutasa, a Mugabe confidant and Zanu PF organisation secretary. "We don’t want all these extra people (farm workers)." Behind this thought is not just the idea that many farm workers in Zimbabwe have one Malawian or Zambian parent but also that those who do not support the Mugabe regime have put themselves "outside the nation". Such ideas have a chilling relevance now that famine threatens and the government is ensuring that food aid goes only to the party faithful. Vincent Hungwe, one of the regime’s rising young stars - formerly permanent secretary of agriculture and now of local government - said: "We may have to take this whole system back to zero before we can start it up again and make it work in a new way." Many black and white Zimbabweans who have been chased from their homes and their old lives already have a taste of what he means by zero.

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From The Times (UK), 9 August

Zimbabwe fugitive finds safety in Britain

A leading opponent of President Mugabe has been given asylum in Britain after he escaped from an execution squad working for the Zimbabwean leader. Ephraim Tapa, who led the Civil Service union and was a member of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, was kidnapped with Faith, his pregnant wife, by a gang of so-called war veterans earlier this year. They heard their captors discussing the orders to kill them, and the arguments they had over whether to disguise their deaths as an accident. Even though he managed to flee to Britain in March and was given refugee status six weeks later, his wife is still in hiding in Zimbabwe with their three-week-old daughter. Members of his family have been threatened to betray his whereabouts. "If I go back, I would be dead within hours," he said yesterday. "I feel very fortunate to have escaped. Many don’t in Zimbabwe." Mr Tapa is keen to remind people that it is not just whites in Zimbabwe that are suffering, but the hundreds of thousands of blacks who are losing their jobs on the land as well.

"Over 150,000 black farm workers have already lost everything. Many have lost their lives," he said. "Add their families to this number and you are talking about 750,000 who have no homes, no schools, but the world just stands and watches." The livelihoods of another 200,000 black farm workers and their families were also threatened as Mr Mugabe completed his land redistribution, which began two years ago. From his hiding place in Britain, Mr Tapa is campaigning for Western powers to do more to help the 1.75 million black farm workers and their families who were facing expulsion from their homes as the deadline for owners to vacate their farms expired last night. Mr Tapa argues that Whitehall and its allies could do more to get rid of Mr Mugabe. "Governments talk openly about overthrowing Saddam Hussein. Why not Mugabe?" He and other opposition figures in exile are urging an international coalition to launch an attempt to end Mr Mugabe’s rule. "There is not much more Zimbabweans can do. We need outside help now." With food supplies already dangerously short in Zimbabwe, the prospects for the thousands of refugees is perilous.

Mr Tapa, 40, and his wife, 25, were campaigning for the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, in February during the presidential elections, when they were kidnapped. They were driving to a primary school in Mashonaland, about 100 miles from Harare, where his wife worked as a teacher. Near the school the couple were ambushed by a gang wearing the colours of the ruling Zanu PF party and handed over to a group of war veterans, led by John Murwisi, a notorious local figure. The pair were dragged into a classroom, which was the veterans’ local headquarters. Mr Tapa was beaten so severely around the head that he lost consciousness. He remembers how at one point his captors, who were trying to torture him into revealing the names of fellow opposition leaders, began throttling him with a scarf. The gang bundled their hostages into a lorry and drove them to various forest hideouts where the gunmen chatted about how and where to execute the couple. "They were arguing about how soon our bodies would be found, and whether they should make it look like an accident."

Eventually they were taken to a veterans’ camp at Mushimbo, near the Mozambique border, where for much of their four weeks in captivity they were bound and blindfolded. "They were interrogating me about the MDC opposition party, their members and strategies," Mr Tapa said. "I had been beaten so hard on the face I couldn’t see." Mr Tapa said one of their captors took pity on them and agreed to smuggle out a message from the couple begging for help. When a police unit arrived at the camp, Mr Tapa was able to escape, but he knew he could not remain in Zimbabwe. Three weeks later sympathetic figures inside the regime helped him to leave the country. He will not reveal their identities to protect them from reprisals. "Not everybody in Government supports Mugabe, but they are scared of him." His wife was too unwell to risk escape with him, so she went into hiding. Three weeks ago she gave birth to their daughter. Mr Tapa does not know when he will see his wife and daughter. Mr Tapa said the President’s security forces have a vested interest in clearing properties as confiscated land is being given to Mugabe cronies. "Once the deadline passes for the farms to be evacuated it will be every man for himself. There will be looting on a scale Zimbabwe has not seen before, and I’m certain there will be killing."

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Comment from The Sunday Telegraph (UK), 11 August

Mugabe must face trial for his crimes

By David Coltart

One of my Parliamentary colleagues in the Movement for Democratic Change is Fletcher Dulini-Ncube. A veteran campaigner for human rights and a former detainee in the Rhodesian era, he is diabetic. Last November Fletcher was detained by the Mugabe regime on trumped-up charges and held in solitary confinement for over a month under atrocious conditions, including the denial of adequate medical attention. As a result he had to have his right eye surgically removed last week. The day after the operation Fletcher was dragged from his sick bed and placed under arrest by the Mugabe regime's so-called Law and Order police. This weekend he lies in a Bulawayo hospital in leg irons under prison guard after a legal application to secure his release was dismissed by a recently appointed ex-war veteran judge. The inhumane treatment of Fletcher is but a small part of the regime's crackdown on its opponents. Thousands of farmers and their employees this weekend face summary arrest and eviction from their homes. We in the leadership of the MDC, the main opposition party to Mugabe, have been warned that our passports will shortly be withdrawn to prevent us from travelling abroad. Thousands of crimes committed against the opposition, including murder and rape, have not been investigated let alone prosecuted. The judiciary has been all but destroyed; independent journalists have been arrested. Even education has not been left alone: new laws will ensure the regime's control over the appointment of headmasters in private schools. Food is being used as a political weapon against thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans who oppose the regime. In short, Zimbabwe increasingly resembles Cambodia under Pol Pot. The regime's intention seems clear: to turn Zimbabwe into a nation of 12 million peasants dependant on its small super-rich, corrupt ruling-elite.

Mugabe, however, desperately needs the support of his neighbours and other countries to survive. Unlike Pol Pot, the Mugabe regime craves international legitimacy and, after 22 years in power, the Zanu PF elite have become accustomed to the good life. Having got away with even worse atrocities in the 1980s against Joshua Nkomo's supporters they assumed before the election in March, that the world would simply look the other way. Accordingly the regime has been stung by its partial suspension from the Commonwealth and the extension of targeted sanctions by the EU and other countries. Mugabe's response has not been to address the concerns of the West. It has been to travel to Cuba, Malaysia while some of his colleagues have been to Libya and Iran. Clearly he is trying to secure an international coalition which will force the West to relent and accept his regime, warts and all. No one can seriously believe that the regime has any intention of normalising the situation (as has been suggested by some in the Commonwealth recently). Just as the regime was prepared to use any means to secure victory in the presidential election so it will use them to retain power. The tragedy is that now, given the scale of the man-made famine combined with the Aids pandemic, that determination could well result in hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans losing their lives in the coming months. The only way that catastrophe can be averted is by the restoration of the rule of law in Zimbabwe. This alone will ensure that a massive summer maize crop is planted and irrigated by experienced farmers and that the exodus of thousands of talented Zimbabweans of all races stops. However the rule of law will only be restored through holding a fresh election that complies with acceptable standards.

There appears to be much hand wringing in the West about what to do. Food aid has been increased but that will deal with the symptoms, not the cause, of famine. Pleas have been made to Zimbabwe's neighbours to act but few African states have the political will to deal with the crisis. Mugabe has shown in recent weeks that he is quite prepared to divide the African Union and the Commonwealth to remain in power. The regime has not hesitated to play the racial card both domestically and internationally and the crisis is constantly portrayed as a spat between Britain and her former colony. Mugabe's purpose is to raise the stakes in the hope of deterring the West from taking sterner measures for fear of, for example, splitting the Commonwealth. The crisis is now so grave, however, that the West must not be deterred from taking decisive action. Two distinct courses of action should be followed.

First, those in Zimbabwe guilty of torture (as defined by the International Convention) should be investigated and prosecuted. Aside from the abuses of the past two years, food is now being used as a political weapon which is already resulting in thousands suffering. Many could die unless those responsible know that they will be held accountable for their actions. The vast majority of those who may die will be MDC supporters denied food solely because of their political beliefs. That is clearly a crime against humanity.

Second, the West, in conjunction with its democratic African allies, must now seriously consider its responsibility to protect Zimbabweans. The report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty published in December 2001 points out that where a population is suffering serious harm as a result of repression or state failure, and the state in question is unwilling to halt the suffering, the usual principle of non-intervention yields to the international responsibility to protect. The principle of state sovereignty, so readily used by the Mugabe regime to protect itself, is not absolute. With sovereignty comes a responsibility for the state to protect its people. But more than six million Zimbabweans face starvation as a direct result of the state's failure and its use of food aid as a political weapon. In these circumstances the civilised world has a responsibility to protect the Zimbabwean people and to do so it should intervene in the manner proposed by the International Commission. If future famines are to be avoided and if what was once the jewel of Africa is not to become another Somalia, governments in the West must act urgently with their African colleagues to address the root cause of the catastrophe now unfolding in Zimbabwe.

The author is Zimbabwe's shadow Minister of Justice

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Christian Science monitor

Zimbabwe's deadlock over land

For the third day after an eviction deadline, some white farmers
continued to defy the order Sunday.

By Nicole Itano | Special to The Christian Science Monitor

MAKONDE DISTRICT, ZIMBABWE - Outside a brick farmhouse, a few dozen
neighbors chat as their children chase each other with toy guns around
parked pickups and 4 x 4s. Much of the talk is the normal banter of old
friends, but peppered between lively predictions about the next day's
rugby match are nervous whispers about departing friends, striking
laborers, and the threat of violence.
These farmers were among the 3,000 across Zimbabwe, who 90 days ago were
ordered to leave their farms by the past weekend to make way for black
settlers under President Robert Mugabe's land distribution program. The
farmers are tensely awaiting a speech by Mr. Mugabe Monday that they
hope will clarify the government's next move. Mugabe has said white
farmers must go because blacks deserve to have land that was lost under
British colonialism.

But for the white farm families here, it is not ill-gotten land, but
their homes and livelihoods that are being taken.

Only two dozen or so of the 90 families that once lived in this district
are left. Many have packed up for the capital Harare, Australia, or for
neighboring countries, taking with them the agricultural expertise that
once drove this country's economy and fed millions who are now
threatened with starvation. Only 15 white families will still be here a
month from now, one farmer predicts.

Those who have chosen to stay - in hopes of a last-minute reprieve from
the government - are increasingly besieged. Some families have been
barricaded into their homes by farmhands demanding compensation.

Some of the remaining farmers laugh ruefully as they swap tales about
the people who have come to claim their farms. One rose grower tells of
a police inspector who offered to cut him in as a partner on the
grower's own $250,000-a-year flower farm.

Others trade stories about the black settlers on their farms who have
come knocking on their doors, asking to borrow tractors and farm
equipment. One farmhouse, they say, has been claimed by a minister.
Another by the minister's brother. Despite Mugabe's promises to
redistribute the farms to landless blacks, many farms have gone to his
cronies and ruling party officials.

The government has targeted 95 percent of white-owned farms for seizure
and has theatened arrest and a prison term if farmers continue to defy
eviction orders. Despite the tensions, no violence or efforts to remove
the farmers forcibly were reported over the weekend.

The number of commercial farming families, most of whom are white, has
dropped from 4,660 in 1998 to 2,900, according to the Land Tenure Center
at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

The government says the seizure of white-owned farmland, which began two
years ago with the violent invasion of some farms, will crown Zimbabwe's
revolution and mark final victory against colonialism.

Such claims anger Johaan Steyl, who, like many white farmers here,
bought and paid for his land after Zimbabwe gained its independence in
1980. From the cab of his tan Landcruiser, he surveys the ruins of his
farm, pointing out the reservoirs he built, the fields he opened, and
the orchards he planted.

Mr. Steyl, who neighbors say is one of the best farmers in the country,
says white-owned commercial farmland is the best in the country only
because white farmers have made it better through investing their sweat,
knowledge, and resources.

The Steyls' farm once produced 3,500 tons of corn, 1,000 tons of soy
beans, 1,200 tons of wheat, and 8,000 cartons of oranges, as well as
valuable seed corn. This year, he says, he managed to harvest only the
oranges, while 57 settler families who took over the remainder of his
property a year ago grew perhaps 100 tons of corn and some cotton.

Harvest of sorrow

"A year ago this was green with wheat," says Mr. Steyl, sweeping his arm
across an unkempt field of dry corn and half-picked cotton. "It breaks
my heart to come here."

The Steyls' farm is still occupied by invaders who arrived a year ago in
the run-up to the country's presidential elections, looting his farm and
chasing his family from their home. On other farms, the process has been
more orderly, with the new settlers showing up to claim their land
backed with government letters assigning them a plot.

Many of the new settlers are middle-class black Zimbabweans from nearby
towns. They are store workers and low-ranking civil servants, who,
squeezed by the country's high inflation rate, want a piece of land in
the country to grow a little corn and plant a vegetable garden.

A settler's troubles

Raymond, a clerk in an agricultural store more than 50 miles away, came
for the holiday weekend to build a new house on the land he has been
allocated by the government. He plans to keep living in the city, but
says he will settle three or four families on his 70-acre plot, to work
the land for him. Perhaps he will choose them from the more than a
million farm workers who will likely also lose their homes as a result
of Zimbabwe's land redistribution.

More than 100 families live and work on the farm where his plot is
located. And there are other complications. Raymond says that though he
has been promised seed and fertilizer from the government, he realizes
the government has no money for such things. Seed for corn, he also
says, is hard to come by because the government has taken all the
seed-corn farms. But seed corn once grew on the plot where he's now
building his house.

Raymond is a bit sheepish about settling on land that once belonged to
someone else. He pulls a pink newspaper from his belongings and opens it
to an article about white farmers being evicted from their land. "So
sad," he says, displaying the article. "So sad."

While the white farmers will lose their land and the decades of hard
work they put into it, few will go away destitute. Most will drive away
with a little savings and their personal belongings. It is the estimated
one million black farm workers who stand to lose the most in the
country's land reform. Most have nowhere to go. Desperate, many are
refusing to allow their employers to leave until they pay compensation.
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