14Â August 2000
From The Star (SA), 14 August
Mugabe outmanoeuvres Mbeki at SADC
Though despised in the wider world, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is a hero in southern Africa. He emerged from this week's summit of SADC triumphant, armed with a ringing endorsement of his controversial June parliamentary victory and his even more controversial land-reform programme. The SADC leaders in essence endorsed Mugabe's own philosophy that land redistribution - even if it is pursued for personal political survival - trumps democracy and respect for the rule of law. They put the blame squarely on the former colonial power Britain for the chaotic land-reform programme in Zimbabwe, which Mugabe is pursuing by sending thousands of war veterans onto white farms to murder, assault and otherwise intimidate farmers and farmworkers and disrupt farming. Britain, they said, must solve the problem by handing over cash to Mugabe to buy farms for the war veterans.
The question everyone is asking is how did South Africa, the reputed regional champion of democracy and the rule of law, allow this to happen? Did President Mbeki jump or was he pushed? Has he really swallowed the Mugabe line that the end of land redistribution justifies any means? Or was he outmanouevred by the wily Mugabe, forced to tag along for purely tactical reasons? South African officials insist in effect that Mbeki jumped, that South Africa fully backs the SADC line. At a press briefing on Friday, Pandelani Mathoma, the head of the SADC desk in the foreign affairs department, said the invasion and occupation of white farms by war veterans was understandable because of their frustration at the fact that Britain had not provided funding. The Zimbabwe government could not provide land for them legitimately, and the ball was in Britain's court.
But a senior regional government official - not from South Africa - who wished to remain anonymous this week revealed a different picture. He said Mbeki had in fact led the discussion on the Zimbabwean land crisis at the summit, arguing that Mugabe should get the invading war veterans off the hundreds of white-owned farms they are illegally occupying before Britain and other international donors could be expected to fund a land-reform programme. However, Zambian President Frederick Chiluba, rather surprisingly, had strongly countered this position, insisting that Britain should make the first move to break the logjam by coming up with money to buy farms the veterans could then be moved to.
Chiluba argued that the farm invasions by the war veterans were perfectly understandable because of the frustration at Britain's failure to keep its promise at the 1979 Lancaster House independence negotiations to fund land redistribution. He also argued that it would in any case be dangerous and disruptive for Mugabe's police and army to try to force the war veterans off the farms, the source said. President Joachim Chissano of Mozambique supported Mbeki in this debate, but Mugabe's military allies in the Congo war, Namibian President Sam Nujoma and Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos, supported - again rather surprisingly - by Malawian President Bakimi Muluzi, rallied to Mugabe's defence. This show of support for Mugabe by the strongest countries was enough to carry the day.
Harare human-rights lawyer Brian Kagoro, in a recent domestic television interview, called the SADC an "old boys' club" of men who mostly share a common liberation history that binds them one to the other against a common enemy. ANC expert Tom Lodge explained the SADC's support for Mugabe similarly: "The South African government and others in the region tend to see opposition parties as anti-patriotic. The South African perspective was shaped by their experience in Zambia and they are contemptuous of Kaunda's successor, Chiluba. "Chiluba is not part of the liberation movement club. But he and Mugabe appear to have been united by the fact that both have become targets of criticism and sanctions from Western powers and international financial institutions because of violations of human rights and sound economic policies." To add insult to injury, the SADC delegated Mbeki - and Muluzi - to go back to Britain and once again ask the nation to cough up the funds to buy farms in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe won another battle in Windhoek as the SADC summit unexpectedly postponed a decision to wrest control from him of the organisation's Organ for Politics, Defence and Security - a sort of SADC Nato - and place it under the control of the SADC as a whole. The South African government had been battling for three years to achieve that while Mugabe resisted, trying to keep control of the region's decision-making apparatus on security. Zimbabwe saw South Africa's efforts to return control of the organ to what would seem to be its logical place - under the SADC's control - as a dark plot initiated by white racists in the South African bureaucracy, and by western powers, to destroy the old frontline states, which Mugabe dominated before the ANC took over in South Africa.
South Africa's foreign minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said before the summit that the dispute had been resolved, saying that the SADC ministers had agreed that the security organ would report to whoever was the current chairperson of the SADC. But it didn't happen. The proposal was referred back to the ministers for further review â€“ another victory for Mugabe. The same happened to other proposals to streamline the whole SADC bureaucracy to make it more efficient and logical, for example by removing control of the SADC's industrialisation policy from a non-industrial state like Tanzania. The rejuvenation of the SADC was supposed to begin at Windhoek and it didn't happen. Instead the organisation backed Mugabe and in effect returned the organisation to the spirit of its old frontline states days of fighting South Africa and the West.
Why did South Africa - the strongest country in SADC by far, without which the SADC is nothing - allow itself to go along with such uncritically pro-Zimbabwe sentiments that can only damage its own reputation? Mugabe appears to have outmanouevred Mbeki by presenting the land crisis - which he himself manufactured - in such stark anti-colonial and anti-western terms. The SADC statement on Zimbabwe slammed not only Britain but also the United States - for legislation, approved by the US senate, which would deny not only US but also IMF and World Bank assistance to Zimbabwe until it restored the rule of law. Most SADC states, like Zambia, with dubious political and economic records have had scrapes with these western countries and institutions and were therefore inclined to be sympathetic to Mugabe's tack.
Because of its good relations with Britain and the US, South Africa has always been vulnerable to the charge - usually a cynical one by countries that would probably love to have the same good relations with these countries - that it is pursuing their interests in the region. Mbeki sympathisers defend him by saying he had no choice. They say he works on the basis of a fear that Mugabe's unstable personality could bring down his own country and the region, including South Africa. But Zimbabwe analysts believe that Mbeki underestimates the strength of opposition to Mugabe in Zimbabwe and the possibility that he could be ousted by a popular uprising. Mbeki should be doing more to build relations with the MDCâ€™s Morgan Tsvangirai, who is more powerful than Mbeki thinks, rather than trying in vain to encourage Mugabe to do the right thing.From The Sunday News, 13 August
From The Star (SA), 14 August
Wits R1m poorer after prof picks Zanu-PF post
Zimbabwe's recently appointed minister of state for information, Jonathan Moyo, has resigned as a visiting professor after receiving a disciplinary letter from the University of the Witwatersrand last month. Wits legal advisers sent him a letter of "abscondment", which is a first step in disciplinary action, to force him to engage with his colleagues at Wits and report on progress on his research project. Two years ago Moyo was given funding of more than R1-million from the Swedish International Development Agency for a research project.
The money was paid to Moyo from the research account at Wits, which was to administer his project. The project, anchored to the department of political science at Wits, allowed Moyo to call himself a visiting professor. On the basis of his association with Wits and the project, Moyo was granted a work permit in South Africa. But in the last year he has rarely been in contact with the department of political science. Instead, he took on a high-profile job to promote Zimbabwe's proposed constitutional reform. He then became a spokesperson and strategist for Zanu-PF in the last elections in which the ruling party's majority was slashed from 117 elected seats to 57.
Moyo was sent a letter of abscondment last month to which he has now responded by resigning, according to Tom Lodge, the head of the department of political science at Wits. After the elections Mugabe appointed Moyo to parliament and made him a minister of state for information in the president's office. Moyo was funded with up to R1,5-million to complete his research project at Wits but has so far failed to deliver any part of it.
It is understood that Wits will attempt to recover the money. Moyo had been living in an expensive house in Johannesburg's upmarket Saxonwold suburb with his second wife and children. During his contracts in Zimbabwe he lived in a suite at the upmarket Sheraton hotel in Harare. Moyo has refused to disclose how much public money he earned for promoting the draft constitution or for his job as Zanu-PF campaign manager. Moyo had been a respected academic in Zimbabwe before he left the country and went and worked for the Ford Foundation in Nairobi. He returned to Zimbabwe last year and surprised his former colleagues at the University of Zimbabwe by suddenly embracing Zanu-PF, a party he had previously criticised in articles in newspapers and magazines for its undemocratic performance at all levels of political life in Zimbabwe. Moyo energetically courted the South African parliamentary team monitoring the elections and worked successfully to get better coverage for Zanu-PF from the SABC during the run-up to the Zimbabwean polls.
From Pan Africa News Agency, 13 August
Muluzi, Mbeki To Meet Blair On Zimbabwe Land Crisis
BLANTYRE - Malawi president Bakili Muluzi said he has discussed with his South African counterpart, Thabo Mbeki on modalities to follow when taking up the Zimbabwe land issue with Britain. In a statement issued Saturday in Malawi's commercial capital of Blantyre, Muluzi said he and Mbeki might fly to London or invite Blair to come to Africa for the talks. Southern African leaders at their annual summit last week in Windhoek, Namibia, mandated Muluzi and Mbeki to take up the controversial Zimbabwe land issue with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. "I held discussions with President Mbeki on the issue; we will call upon Prime Minister Blair to help resolving the land issue because we want Zimbabwe to be in peace," he said. Muluzi said that most economies in the region would suffer if the Zimbabwe land issue remained volatile. Zimbabwe, he said, was an important trading country of most parts of the 14-member Southern African economic bloc.
Meanwhile, Malawi's foreign affairs minister Lilian Patel has said Malawi will lobby the Clinton administration against going ahead with the Zimbabwe Democracy Bill which seeks to penalise Zimbabwe because of the same land issue. Speaking on national television Saturday, Patel said if President Bill Clinton assents to the Bill to make it into law, then most countries in the region would suffer. She said the Bill suggests several punitive measures, including various sanctions. The government of President Robert Mugabe is at odds with most western governments in its handling of the controversial land redistribution issue.
From Business Day (SA), 14 August
African leaders meet over Congo, but no peace yet
AFRICAN heads of state meet in Zambia on Monday to try to salvage a peace deal in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but success still requires a nod from defiant Congolese President Laurent Kabila, analysts said on Sunday. The leaders from the 14-nation SADC, Rwanda and Uganda will meet in the Zambian capital Lusaka to try to put back on track a collapsing peace deal signed there in July last year. The conflict, dubbed "Africaâ€™s First World War" entered its third year last week with no end in sight. Rebels backed by three neighbouring countries are fighting to overthrow Kabila, who says they must leave his country before he implements last yearâ€™s accords. The rebels demand implementation first and withdrawal afterwards.
Analysts have warned that failure in Lusaka could lead to a resumption of full-scale war in the Congo, a vast country the size of Europe, and Africaâ€™s third largest. The Congo remains the biggest headache for regional leaders and pressure is mounting for Kabila to play ball. "Kabila has to bite the bullet and embrace peace. The alternative is war and we fear a resumption of full-scale war," a senior SA government official said. Despite flare-ups of new fighting, there is increasing evidence that Kabila is not yet prepared to compromise. He has prevented the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers and has rejected a peace facilitator, former Botswana president Sir Ketumile Masire.
"We expect the heads of state to be militant and call a spade a spade," Rwandaâ€™s presidential envoy Patrick Mazimhaka told Reuters by telephone from his capital Kigali. "It is quite clear that Kabila is not interested in peace and this issue must be addressed frankly in Lusaka," he said. Kabila has refused to guarantee security and freedom of movement for UN troops and personnel, blocking a deployment that should have started in February. Zimbabwe, which leads the military alliance backing Kabila and including Angola and Namibia, was hopeful the Lusaka talks would solve the impasse. "We expect the meeting to iron out the problems that have arisen over implementation of the Lusaka Peace Accords," presidential spokesman George Charamba said.
However, Mazimhaka challenged Kabilaâ€™s allies to ensure that Kinshasa respected the peace deal. Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe are bogged down in the Congo, supporting Kabila against Burundian, Ugandan and Rwandan-backed rebels fighting to topple him. Zambian President Frederick Chiluba, appointed by the SADC to mediate in the Congo, will chair Mondayâ€™s talks and aides privately admit that he faces an uphill task. Rwanda has moved to strengthen the summit by proposing to withdraw its troops 200km from its front-line positions in the Congo, a move welcomed by the US, but Kabila wants full withdrawal. "The Congo will not tolerate under any circumstances the presence of aggressors on its territory," said Leonard Ntuaremba, the head of the government liaison committee with the UN military observer mission.
Congolese government sources told Reuters by telephone from Kinshasa that Kabila had one simple message for the summit: "Get the aggressors (Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda) off my territory and I will implement the Lusaka Accords." The sources said that Kabila would extensively quote from a UN Security Council Resolution passed in June, which calls for the withdrawal of uninvited foreign troops. Regional analysts said Kabilaâ€™s hand was strengthened by unwavering support from his military allies who also demand a total withdrawal of the rebel forces. But the rebel backers say they will only withdraw after Kabila has fully implemented the Lusaka Accords. "It is a vicious circle and I doubt the Lusaka meeting will achieve much. Neither will it make any progress in harmonising the two radical positions," a senior official at SADC headquarters in Botswana said.
From Business Day (SA), 14 August
Zimbabwe's greedy troops loot Congo
HARARE Zimbabwe's 11000 troops, sent to the DRC to protect the nation's sovereignty, are reportedly exploiting Congo's vast natural resources. John Makumbe, head of a Zimbabwean corruption watchdog group, said at the weekend that Harare was involved in "plundering" Congo's natural riches. Other countries involved in Congo's tangled civil war were also tapping into its wealth, but Zimbabwe's soldiers were "the most greedy", said Makumbe. Rwanda and Uganda, which support rebel movements out to topple Congolesee President Laurent Kabila, were extracting the nation's natural wealth around Kisangani and Kasai. Zimbabwe was piping the goods directly back from Congo.
Since the war began two years ago, Zimbabwe had established air and rail links to the country, with the national carrier Air Zimbabwe now flying from Harare to Kinshasa and Lubumbashi. Trains from the national railway brought copper ore once a week from Congo to Zimbabwe for refining. "This looting has helped make corruption widespread within the ruling elite and the military," Makumbe said. One diplomat said that "some in Zimbabwe's military believe they have found Ali Baba's cave." The region has rich mineral deposits, with vast reserves of gold, diamonds, and uranium.
Zimbabwe's military involvement there is an expensive operation that many experts blame for the country's foreign currency shortage. With little public accounting of how much Zimbabwe is benefiting from Congolese resources, members of parliament and experts have begun to question whether it is worth propping up a government of dubious democratic credentials. Zimbabwe has deployed between 11000 and 12000 troops since August 1998 to Congo to support Kabila, who also has backing from Angolan and Namibian troops. Many Zimbabweans argue that the military campaign involving a third of the nation's armed forces is just an expensive adventure in a war that does not directly affect Zimbabwe.
The two countries do not share a common border. "The government of Kabila is worth no single Zimbabwean fly or mosquito to die for," Job Sikhala, one of the newly elected opposition MPs, told parliament. Even among the ranks of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party, the troop deployment has come under fire. MP Victor Chitongo said last week: "If at all we are getting free electricity or a share of the money from diamond sales or compensation for any single death in the war, then we need to be told in order for us to appreciate the worthiness of our military presence in that country." Mugabe has never hidden his financial motives for the Congolese campaign. Last year, both nations' armies created joint enterprises to mine gold and diamonds in the Congo.
Notes on Land
Zimbabwe was populated by migrants â€“ the first migration concerned the Shona who arrived about 1200 AD from Central and West Africa. They were followed by the Ndebele who came in about 1840 and then the Ndau in the early part of the 20th century. The Shangaans, Venda and other groups (the Kalanga in the western Matebeleland area) are local migrants. The only remaining really indigenous people are the Tonga of the Zambezi valley. These were riparian settlers and lived in small riverbank communities.
When the whites arrived in numbers from about 1890 onwards, they found the Ndebele terrorizing the whole of central Africa. The Ndebele came from Natal and had originally consisted of several thousand single fighting men fleeing from the Zulu king, Shaka, following a defeat in the Transvaal. They settled in the Bulawayo area and established a raiding economy â€“ taking food (grain), cattle and women from all the established regional tribes.
By the time the whites had become settled circa 1900, the Ndebele had been defeated in battle and only a small scattered population remained. They were displaced by the whites who occupied their capital and took all the land that surrounded it â€“ giving the Ndebele land in the Matopos where they had fled during the war and in certain other areas and cattle under the personal direction of Cecil Rhodes. The Ndebele were not cultivators and there is little evidence of cultivation in Matebeleland before the whites settled.
The situation in the central and northern regions of Zimbabwe was very different. When the whites settled in Harare in 1896, they found the people living in terror of the annual raiding parties from the Ndebele and restricted to the granite areas where there was some protection. They are an agrarian people and cultivated extensively â€“ but because of the limit on cattle and equipment â€“ they tended to cultivate the areas of sandveld that were more amenable to their cultivation practices Water was also a factor in determining the distribution of population.
When the whites arrived in 1896, there were probably less than 400 000 people in the whole country. The agricultural system of the Shona people meant that they had to have access to unlimited virgin land to maintain production. They simply burned their huts and moved when the land was exhausted â€“ that is why there is so little evidence of permanent settlement.
The Ndebele did not cultivate â€“ they simply raided their neighbours for food when required, they also relied on their cattle as a source of food and wealth. Land in both cultures was regarded as a "common good" with little value except as a means to live off â€“ the cattle economy of the Ndebele was linked to a system which allowed only the leadership to accumulate wealth. This applied especially to the paramount chief who had to be the possessor of more wealth than any of the others â€“ this was tied into the political system which was in the form of a pyramid structure with one strong man at the top. If you wanted to change the leadership â€“ you had to kill the top man and then have the strength to hang on to the throne yourself.
By contrast the Shona were grouped by kinship and religion into clans who took decisions using a complex system of consensual relationships based on age, gender and kinship. They tended to group together in loose alliances for protection but did not have the strong military traditions of the Ndebele and were constantly vulnerable to their predications.
It was the massacre of the people of the South African highveld by raiding Zulu war parties in the early 1800â€™s that paved the way for Afrikaner settlement. This was called the "interhamwe". When the whites arrived in Zimbabwe this process was well under way in Zimbabwe and the Protectorates established by Queen Victoria in Botswana and southern Zambia were both reactions to the raiding activities of the Ndebele. In Rhodesia it was the decision by the whites to restrict the Ndebele to the area south of the Shangani River (60 km from Gweru) that led to the Ndebele war â€“ the first battle was on the Shangani River followed by battles in Bulawayo and Lupane. Lobengula, the Ndebele chief at that time, fled north and eventually committed suicide in Zambia across the Zambezi.
The whites settled in Mashonaland and Masvingo province mainly in areas that were not occupied. They also chose the heavy soils and areas where they could combine mining with farming. This left the sandy soil areas in the hands of the local people. In fact a major problem of the settlers was how to get the local people to leave their homes and to come and work on the mines and farms. This persisted for decades and explains why the majority of people, even today, on the commercial farms are regional migrants from Mozambique and Malawi. White settlement of the sandveld areas really only started in the post war era in 1945 when settlement schemes for men returning from the war were launched and the tobacco industry took root.
As the population of Zimbabwe grew, the demand for more land was repeated in generation after generation in the first 60 years of local history. The government of the day responded by gradually increasing the area under tribal or "communal" settlement and the last such large scale settlement was in the early 60â€™s when some 5 million hectares of "stateland" was alienated in the Zhombe and Gokwe areas for communal settlement.
This was stopped in the mid sixties by the "Land Apportionment Act" which roughly divided up the total land resource into two main sectors of 16 million hectares each. The one category of land was called "commercial farm land" and the other "Tribal Trust Land". In the first there was freehold title and in the second title was communal under Tribal leadership. The commercial farming areas were divided into small-scale farms of about 100 hectares each and the large-scale areas into farms of about 2250 hectares. It remained in these categories until independence. Since then the commercial area has been reduced by the transfer of 3,2 million hectares to resettlement. Thus today commercial farmers own about 12.6 million hectares â€“ 1,4 million in the hands of 15 000 small-scale farmers and 11,2 million hectares in the hands of about 4800 large-scale farmers. 4000 white and 800 black.
The problem that exists is that because the communal areas still use the traditional farming methods and do not have access to the virgin land they need for their shifting agricultural practices, their land is exhausted and crop yields low. As populations grow this situation becomes exacerbated and when the urban economy declines â€“ the pressure on land as a source of subsistence support becomes even more vital. Given the migrant nature of regional and local labour, the communal areas are characterised by a dominance of women and children and the elderly and are over crowded and over grazed. Population and animal pressure is creating near desert conditions in many districts. A consequence is very low-income levels (estimated at US$100 per annum per capita) and dependence on money transfers from the cities and migrants in neighboring states.
When all that separates absolute rural poverty from relative prosperity is a wire fence â€“ this situation becomes untenable. Incomes on commercial farms are 3 times the level of average incomes in communal areas. The gap between the small-scale farmers and their communal counterparts is even greater. By and large commercial farmland is well conserved and managed and has maintained its fertility through good land husbandry and conservative stocking rates. Overall populations pressure is 3.85 hectares per person in the communal areas and 6.30 hectares per person in the commercial farming areas.
Couple this to a political system that has depended on patronage to maintain its power base for the past 20 years and its recent almost total dependence on the rural vote, the land situation is the inevitable target. The white farmers have almost no constituency and are easy targets â€“ the rhetoric strikes a cord throughout Africa and internationally. The fact that 2 million people live and work on the 4800 commercial farms is ignored, as is the plight of the hundreds of thousands of people who are displaced. Remember they are mainly descendent migrants from Mozambique and Malawi â€“ "non people" in local political terms.
The land issue is therefore very complex and multifaceted. We need to resolve the issue of tenure in the communal areas, protect the agricultural production base that is the foundation of our economy and at the same time achieve greater equity in land ownership and farm production. Everyone knows and accepts that â€“ the only issue is how to achieve this in a reasonable period of time. The present strategy of government on this issue brushes aside all the economic and social questions and concentrates on only one element â€“ using the land issue as a means of maintaining the patronage system that has so far defended their power base in rural areas. The recent pictures of people taking up small plots of land in arid areas is hopeless testimony to the futility of current government "land reform strategies".
One irony of the present situation is that for the first time in a hundred years the rural population is in decline. Aids deaths running at over 100 000 a year coupled to high infant mortality â€“ probably also Aids related and high levels of migration â€“ especially to the south, are reducing the national population growth rate to near zero levels. At the same time urban populations are thought to be expanding at over 6 per cent per annum and therefore rural population must be falling â€“ with an estimated 42 per cent of the national population in the cities now, and two million people on the farms, the population of the communal areas must be down to under 5 million.
The Legal and Economic Aspect
The foundation of any market driven, modern economy is the security of tenure over assets. If this cannot be guaranteed by government then the whole basis of the economy will be undermined. In a global economic system, such actions inhibit the flow of new investment into such areas and encourage the outflow of investment to more secure areas of the world. No economy is protected from such trends and Zimbabwe is no exception. By undermining these rights in Zimbabwe â€“ for whatever reason, the Zimbabwe government is undermining the prospects for growth and an improved standard of life for all Zimbabweans. In fact it will probably condemn the great majority of Zimbabweans to a life of desperate poverty where the only hope is flight to a more secure and prosperous corner of the globe. The world is full of such economic refugees.
Aside from this factor, the behavior of Zimbabwe and the acceptance of this stance by regional heads of state will impact on all the countries of the region. The pictures of whites being beaten and worse, will inhibit the growth of tourism and this will further inhibit regional growth prospects. The South Africans estimate the cost to them of the Zimbabwe crisis, as 2 per cent of their GDP â€“ the impact on Mozambique and Zambia must be at least 4 per cent of GDP. The long-term cost in terms of the flight of capital will be even greater and the fact that this situation reinforces the so-called "Afro pessimism" is a further element in the situation. Africans can no longer ignore these issues.
The latest development of the land saga is a statement by Border Gezi on Thursday this week that they are aiming to eliminate white farmers as a group. We have thought for some time that this was the actual political objective â€“ the government does not have any economic objectives in this field except an acceptance of the fact that what they are doing will have a profound impact on the national economy and our food and water system.
This wholesale attack on the white farming community is illegal, is a direct attack on basic human rights for a significant indigenous minority who are clearly citizens in every respect and will do untold damage to the Zimbabwe economy and the region as a whole. It smacks of the attack by Idi Amin on the Ugandan Asian population in the 60â€™s and the attacks by the Nazi party in Germany on the Jewish community in the 30â€™s. It is a racist stance, which is totally unjustified after 20 years of independence.
The land strategy of Zanu PF is often misrepresented as the only way in which past grievances and inequalities can be resolved. That is not so. The present strategy will not address the problem of poverty â€“ it will increase the numbers of the absolute poor and further reduce the standard of living of every Zimbabwean. The strategy will continue to inhibit investment and growth in the country and the region and will further inhibit the availability of foreign aid to Zimbabwe. It will turn Zimbabwe from a net exporter of food to becoming another food importer on the African continent. It will remove us from the list of significant players in the global market for tobacco, a position we have held since the mid 50â€™s.
The alternative is to adopt the land strategy adopted in 1998 by all stakeholders â€“ this would achieve equity in land distribution in 3 years, it would keep our agricultural industry, food and water systems secure. It would expand our role as a food and tobacco producer. It would encourage rather than discourage investment and it would provide a role model for other countries faced with the same problem. South Africa has a much larger land problem than Zimbabwe and to date little has been achieved â€“ threatening the future of that country as well.
In addition the program would then be fully supported by the global community and would provide a major source of foreign aid directed at the rural poor and the redistribution of assets and resources. It would reinforce our human rights record and respect for the rule of law. It would make a start on the long-term problem of improving incomes and production on a sustainable basis in the communal areas.
However, it would also take away from the president, Robert Mugabe, the only electoral ploy he has available to him in the forthcoming presidential election, and therefore all of these issues will be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. The name of the game is the election of Mugabe to a new term of office despite his failure as president to defend the constitution, his failure to protect the lives and property of his citizens and to his failure to improve the quality of life for the people of this country.
12th August 2000