From the MDC
The New Heroes
On Heroes' Day, the day on which Zimbabweans pay tribute to all of those who fell in the First and Second Chimurengas, let us all take time to reflect on what their sacrifices have brought us.† Let us pause for a moment and listen in silence to the voices of those who have gone before us. Hear the whispers in the breeze, hear the murmur as it grows, hear the voices grow louder and louder, urgently jostling to speak, to impart their wisdom to those who remain! Hear the voices grow ever louder..
But wait - there are new voices, younger voices!† The voices of the New Heroes, Heroes born of the struggle for Democracy! But listen again - the voices are merging, becoming as one! Hear them shout in unison - Freedom! Justice! Peace! - for our beloved land!
Sons and daughters of Zimbabwe - it is time that we listened to the wisdom of those who have fought and died for us all. Indeed we can all hang our heads in shame or in sorrow when we consider how so many of us have betrayed their memory, how many of us have forgotten their noble ideals!
Take a good look at yourself.† No not in a mirror! Have a deep hard look inside yourself, into your heart.† Is there a heart which cares for the people, one which beats for Zimbabwe? Or is it a cold nameless wasteland, survival of the fittest - I, and only I, come first? Look around you.† Older Zimbabweans will remember back to the early days of Independence. They will remember the country as it was - a country of great promise, beautiful cities, vibrant industry, productive farms, jobs to be applied for, enough food to feed our families. Our young children, however, could be forgiven for thinking that us adults are lying when we talk of what it was like then! We have only to look around us to see that we have failed ourselves and our fellow countrymen - that we have shamed the memory of our Heroes. This shambles of a once-proud nation is surely is not what they died for!
And who has got us to where we are? A foreign oppressor? The Government? A powerful and destructive guerilla movement? No! - we each have to look no further than ourselves. We have been the oppressor of our own people by our selfishness and/or prejudice, or we have sat back and let ourselves be oppressed, or we have sat on the fence making the best of the situation while making no effort to change it. If we are honest with ourselves, we will probably find that we have been all three of these in varying degrees at different times. We are our own oppressors - our own worst enemies.† No, we can't just blame the Government. Indeed, they have a lot to answer for - but we voted them in, we gave them the power over us!
But hope is not lost! We have not only the memory and ideals of the dead to inspire us. We have a new breed of heroes, unsung heroes - those that walk the streets and footpaths of our land, those who are determined to change the course of our history for the good. Those people who have great hearts and high ideals.† Those who have stood up to be counted in the cause of Democracy, and who will neither be the oppressor, nor bow to an oppressor. Over the past 6 months over thirty-five of these unsung heroes have died in politically-related violence.† They join the Roll of Honour of those who have made the supreme sacrifice for their country. Let us never forget them!
So too, let us not forget our living heroes. We can remember with pride the true story of an old rural woman who was accosted on her way to vote in the recent General Elections. She was beaten for refusing to return home and not vote. When she remained adamant, she was literally hung (by the feet) from a tree.† When rescued some time later, she was still determined, and hobbled off to the voting station. How she shamed some of us! How many were "too busy" to vote, or who gave up when they were first turned away? How many sent family of voting age across the border "because there might be violence, and their safety is more important than a silly vote"?
Violence? Violence indeed!† Amani Trust has a record of over 18000 (yes - eighteen thousand!) Human Rights violations in Zimbabwe since the Referendum - death threats, public humiliations, slander, beatings, molestations, rapes, detentions, abductions, thefts, destruction of property (many people lost everything that they owned) and murders. But those who really cared about their people and their country were really determined to vote, and in all but exceptional cases, did so! We must pay tribute to all of them - even those who made the effort, but were prevented from doing so!
We as sons and daughters of Zimbabwe must follow the example of our Heroes. We must have the courage to stand up for our ideals, ideals which must be for the good of all of our people and that of our country.† Hear the voices! Freedom, Justice, Peace!† Until each and every Zimbabwean is accorded their full rights and freedoms as a person, and as a Citizen, we will have no real justice.† Without justice, we will never have peace. We can never establish justice through abandoning the Law, or by denying the rights of any of our people in any way.† Peace comes from justice, and justice comes from upholding the Law - fairly and impartially!
Be a New Hero! Fight for your nation as a whole!† Let your weapons be love, honesty, justice and integrity!
From The Star (SA), 11 August
US move may force 'emergency measures' in Zim
Harare - Zimbabwe may be forced to impose "emergency measures" if the United States slaps sanctions on the country, Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge said on Thursday. "The government would have to take emergency measures to survive. Doesn't that normally lead to the suspension of certain democratic devices so that the country can survive?" he asked. The bill under consideration in the US Congress would punish the Zimbabwean government for failing to curb lawlessness hurting the white farming community and opposition supporters. "It's a shocking piece of legislation because it seeks to interfere in the sovereign affairs of Zimbabwe," Mudenge told a press conference.
If sanctions were imposed, Zimbabwe "will be a very difficult place...to live in, because we will have to fight for survival," he said. Known as the Zimbabwe 2000 Democracy Act, the bill, passed by the Senate in June and due to be considered by the House of Representatives, would bar aid and debt relief and instruct US executive directors of multinational lending institutions to oppose credits to Zimbabwe. The United States had slated $13-million in bilateral aid this year for Zimbabwe, to be distributed mostly through non-governmental organisations. "If the sanctions are imposed and we become a besieged economy," Mudenge said, "it would be the destruction of our country." Mudenge blamed "the international white press" for inaccurately portraying Zimbabwe's land reform programme, and said that race was the cause of European and American positions on the scheme.
It is quite clear in my mind now that the attitude which we have seen from Europe, the attitude we have seen from America ...is clearly based on the basis of race," he said. The proposed US legislation cites "deliberate and systematic violence, intimidation and killings ... orchestrated and supported by the government of Zimbabwe and the ruling Zanu-PF party against ... the democratic opposition, farmers and employees." The bill would set conditions for restoring Zimbabwe's eligibility for aid including "respect for ownership and title to property held prior to January 1, 2000". In effect, this would require the Zimbabwe government to reverse the forcible acquisition of hundreds of white-owned farms this year after President Robert Mugabe invoked presidential powers to enable the seizures without paying compensation to the owners.
US embassy spokesperson Bruce Wharton said last week the bill "represents a very serious expression of the concern of the American people about the events in Zimbabwe and the breakdown of the rule of law." On Tuesday, US State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher said, "We certainly share the broad goals of the bill, namely the economic and political reform and safeguarding of the rule of law. We share the view that land reform is a key issue that deserves immediate attention and resolution," he added. Mudenge said he would join a regional delegation on a trip to Washington to talk to US lawmakers about the bill. He could not say when the trip might take place. The 14-nation SADC supported Zimbabwe in its opposition to the bill, in a statement issued on Friday at the close of its two-day summit in Namibia. Zimbabwe has also enlisted the support of the Organisation of African Unity and the Non-Aligned Movement against the bill, which is being considered by the House of Representatives' international relations and banking committees.
From The Star (SA), 11 August
Mugabe 'abusing land for own gains' - MDC
Harare - The main opposition party in Zimbabwe has accused President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF of accelerating a programme of redistributing land to win support for the presidential elections in 2002. Tendai Biti, a deputy of the main opposition MDC, told parliament on Wednesday that ZANU-PF was relying solely on seizing white-owned farms and redistributing the land to landless black peasants in a bid to win votes. "They have started to prepare for the 2002 elections, but they have nothing to offer the people except land and that is why they have engaged in this programme," said Biti in quotes reported by the Ziana agency. The government last month announced a stepped-up programme that aimed to quickly take over 3 000 of the country's 4 500 white-owned commercial farms and divide the land into smaller plots. The programme initially had targeted only 800 commercial farms. "They are playing a dangerous political game, but the people have to know what they are doing because this is one of the high-sounding policies that is bent on deceiving people," Biti added. "The Zanu-PF government has done nothing in the last 20 years to distribute land to millions of landless peasants."
From Business Day (SA), 11 August
Eskom will still supply Zimbabwe
HARARE - SA power utility Eskom will continue to supply electricity to Zimbabwe, it was learned yesterday. Although the soon-to-be-privatised Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) denied it was discussing with Eskom the possibility of an equity-for-debt swap, a source at the utility said that SA had reached a "gentleman's agreement" with Zimbabwe during President Thabo Mbeki's last visit to the country, and had promised it would not cut off supplies to Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean government is said to have stated during the talks that should it fail to pay its bills, it would give Eskom a stake in Zesa when the Zimbabwean power utility began privatising next year. The source said Eskom had also apparently put in a bid for Zesa's Hwange power station earlier this year, which, if accepted, would be purchased through the conversion of Zesa's R140m debt to its neighbour. As power demand has shot up during the winter months, Zesa has had to resort to power-rationing. Zimbabwe's own supply sources are capable of providing a maximum capacity of only 1800MW against average demand of 2300MW. Long-suffering consumers and industry in general fear that if the SA power utility carries through its threat to switch off its supplies to Zimbabwe then the current load-shedding will worsen as about 13% of Zimbabwe's power comes from SA.
From Business Day (SA), 11 August
Key Zimbabwean sector may come to a standstill
HARARE - The inimitable patter of auctioneers lent a familiar hum to the Zimbabwe Tobacco Floor, where sales were brisk yesterday at the world's biggest and busiest tobacco auction house. The hubbub could be subdued this time next year after many farmers sit out the coming season, uncertain if the government will seize their farms, growers and industry sources say. "No one knows what will happen," said growers' representative Frikkie le Roux, amid hundreds of bales of tobacco opened for inspection on the trading floor. Zimbabwe is the world's second biggest exporter of tobacco after Brazil, and is one of the top three producers of quality flue-cured virginia leaf, along with the US and Brazil. The sector employs about half the country's labour force, or 175000 people including seasonal workers, says Ewen Rodger, CE of the CFU's agriculture labour bureau.
Tobacco growers have just a few weeks left to decide whether to invest the necessary funds and effort or consider alternatives ahead of the next planting operation. "Every day that goes past without the restoration of law and order, the prospects look (bleaker)," said Rodger. One grower said the decision to plant represented an investment of about Z$300 000/ha, money many growers must borrow at the crippling 63,5% interest rate if the banks are willing. Meanwhile, Greg Brackenridge, president of the Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe, said yesterday that banks would not be able to fund farming activities during the forthcoming growing season unless there were guarantees about the future of the key agricultural sector which contributes more than 25% to annual gross domestic product (GDP). "Banks will not be able to provide finance if they do not have assurances that the borrower will either be allowed to harvest crops or alternatively will be fully compensated for the crops in the ground," he said. Agricultural experts estimate that commercial farmers need more than Z$6bn to finance production. It has also been reported that commercial farmers owe more than Z$25bn to banks, raising the issue of who would shoulder this debt if farm invasions persist and farmers cannot work their land.
At the same time, the country's two largest commercial banks, Standard Chartered (Stanchart) and Barclays, have warned that the economic crisis facing Zimbabwe is so deep-seated it could take years to reverse. Both banks said the economic predicament was without parallel in the country's peacetime history. Stanchart said all indicators pointed to a steep decline in the economy during the latter half of this year and into next year. The bank said some analysts were predicting an even steeper fall in GDP to minus 5% this year and minus 10% next year. Stanchart said economic turnaround would depend on the speedy and peaceful resolution of the land crisis, the implementation of policies to stabilise the economy and the international donor community's response to government land and economic policies.
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has started to implement its controversial land program, settling black families on land seized from white commercial farmers, officials said Wednesday.
The government has said it plans to take over nearly half the 30 million acres owned by about 4,500 white farmers, who make up about one percent of the country's population.
The officials denied media reports that some beneficiaries had abandoned their new land hours after it was given to them because there were no houses, roads, clinics or water.
Zimbabwe state television Tuesday showed government officials sub-dividing farms and allocating 15-30 acre plots to villagers and liberation-war veterans in northeastern Zimbabwe, the Midlands and southern Matabeleland provinces.
Some women ululated in celebration, but were later shown walking bewildered through thick virgin bush, each carrying a hoe and an ax.
A ministry of agriculture spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday that hundreds of people had been allocated plots across the southern African country.
``We don't have figures right now, but the resettlement program is taking place throughout. Those reports suggesting that people are abandoning their (new) homes are just malicious,'' said the official, who declined to be named.
``What is happening is that people get their land, go back to pack and the government moves in to provide the basic facilities where they are not available,'' he said.
200 FARMS BEING RESETTLED
A ``fast-track'' resettlement program was launched this week in the country's eight administrative provinces by provincial governors, initially on 200 of over 800 farms that the government earmarked in May for seizure, he said.
``The program has started on those farms which are currently unoccupied and whose owners are not contesting their acquisition,'' said another official.
The farm seizures have been strongly criticized by Western governments and donors, with some saying the program will undermine the country's major source of food, employment and export earnings.
Last Wednesday, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said after a meeting with South African President Thabo Mbeki that self-styled liberation-war veterans would by the end of August be moved off white farms they had seized since February.
A day later, however, Mugabe denied he had undertaken to end the invasions. Instead, he reaffirmed his intention to take more than 3,000 farms from white owners with compensation over five years for infrastructure, but none for the value of the land.
MUGABE SAYS BRITAIN MUST PAY
Mugabe says former colonial power Britain should compensate whites for the land because it is morally responsible for a system that left more than 70 percent of Zimbabwe's best land in the hands of just 4,500 whites.
Britain has said it will fund fair and transparent land reforms, but has refused to hand over a lump sum without strict controls in place.
At least 31 people, mostly opposition supporters and including five farmers, were killed during the farm invasions and a wave of violence that swept across Zimbabwe ahead of general elections in June.
The mainly white Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) says its members are still being terrorized by government supporters who are threatening farmers, poaching and cutting down trees.
Harare, Zimbabwe, Aug. 11 (Bloomberg) -- A member of parliament from Zimbabwe's biggest opposition party said he intends to call for the impeachment of President Robert Mugabe, the Daily News reported.
Job Sikhala, who represents the Movement for Democratic Change, said during a parliamentary debate he would call for Mugabe's impeachment because the president in the run up to parliamentary elections promoted violence that resulted in the deaths of more than 30 people.
The call is the latest sign of growing opposition to Mugabe within the parliament, which now includes more opposition members than at any time since the president's Zanu PF party took power in 1980.
In the same sitting of parliament, Zanu member Victor Chitongo called for the withdrawal of 12,000 Zimbabwean troops from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they are helping the government fight rebels, the paper reported. The troop deployment has been cited as one of the reasons behind the country's current economic crisis, the worst in more than two decades.
Harare, Zimbabwe, Aug. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe's state- owned power provider said it will pay more than $55 million in debts and boost generation with a $95 million loan pledged by U.K. bank, Standard Chartered Plc.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority said it will use the loan, which is still under negotiation, to meet payment backlogs for imports from South Africa, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.
The announcement comes after the South African power utility, Eskom, said it could cut supply to Zimbabwe because of rising debts.
``What we know is that they (Standard Chartered) have promised to give us the foreign currency,'' said Nevanji Madanhire, a Zesa spokesman. ``By the end of September we would have cleared our debts.''
The loan is being organized through Standard's Zimbabwean branch, said Madanhire. The bank was not immediately available to comment.
Zesa, like many businesses in Zimbabwe, has been crippled by a shortage of foreign currency. The shortage has cut imports and led to a deterioration of Zimbabwe's power supply infrastructure and inadequate fuel supply since December.
The company started to cut off electricity to the capital, Harare, four times a week for four hours at a time this week, up from the once a week in the proceeding months. Zesa's imports and power stations provide about 1,600 megawatts of power while Zimbabwe's demand rises as high as 2,000 megawatts.
Zesa owes Eskom 132.3 million rand ($19 million), Mozambique's Cahora Bassa Hydro Electric Co. $35 million, Zambia's state-owned electricity company Zesco $1.2 million the Congo's state-owned Snel $152,000.
Over the last nine months, part of the debts to the South African and Mozambican companies were converted into loans repayable in monthly installments. Zesa said it has defaulted on both of those loans already.
Zimbabwe will also increase its reliance on supplies from the Democratic Republic of Congo to 250 megawatts from the present 100 megawatts, after Snel agreed to accept payment in Zimbabwe dollars, the company said.
Zimbabwe has about 11,000 troops in the Congo fighting on behalf of the government against rebels.
The Zimbabwe Independant - 11/8/00
Gweru State House gobbles $60m
The Zimbabwe Independant - 11/8/00
Mudenge threatens emergency measures as -- UN abandons Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwe Independant - 11/8/00
Fast-track land resettlement cocktail for disaster