The death of a dream: One Zimbabwean farmer's story
For more than four decades, Larry Norton and his family farmed the same
stretch of land in northern Zimbabwe – until last week. Here, he tells the
devastating story of the pressures that forced him to leave
15 August 2002
I sit in a storage shed in Harare, surrounded by the chaotic elements of our
life and home and our piles of possessions, and try to reflect on the past few
days. Last Thursday, 8 August 2002, we evacuated our farm – Dahwye – in the
Mvurwi region of Mashonaland in north-east Zimbabwe, about 100km from Harare,
abandoning the home in which three generations of our family had lived for
almost half a century.
After two years of mayhem, we could not go on. The government-sponsored land
invasions had begun in March 2000, shortly before our 14-month-old son Oscar
died from cancer. We were unable to spend his last days on the farm because of
the trouble. He died in an apartment in Harare surrounded by refugee farmers
from Macheke, 75km to the east of the capital, where in April that year David
Stevens, a supporter of the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), was the first white farmer to be killed.
Since that time we have lived through the unparalleled destruction of a
country and economy, under the corrupt and dictatorial rule of President Robert
Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party. Our farm has been a microcosm of the
My mother and father came north from South Africa in the 1950s. They worked
as managers on various farms and borrowed money to purchase Dahwye in 1957. They
nearly went broke, and for a time my father lived in a tent made from fertiliser
bags while he opened up a tobacco farm in virgin bush. It was in an area
described on the map as "Terra Incognita", but he made enough money there to pay
off the loan. We returned to Dahwye in the mid-1960s. I was born in 1963.
Over the next 40 years, my parents developed Dahwye and later an adjoining
property, Braidjule Farm, into fully irrigable units farming tobacco, maize,
wheat and cattle. A game-farming operation on the marginal parts of the farm
resulted in massive herds of wildebeest, zebra, impala, eland and tsessebe.
Excess animals were sold to expand the wildlife business countrywide. My father
conducted more than three decades of pasture research work and perfected
legume/grass pastures in the harsh wetlands, increasing carrying capacities
twentyfold. For him, the farm was not his own, it was a heritage for us, and our
children. Every cent was reinvested in dams, irrigation and development.
In 1999, Sara and I decided to build our home in the rocks of the Dahwye Game
Park, not far from where we were married. The old farm cottage we had lived in
was falling apart and we decided to try to develop the wildlife and tourism
potential of this piece of the farm by building a guest lodge and launching a
safari operation. It was not to be. Soon after our magnificent home was
complete, Oscar's long illness disrupted our plans. The land invasions put an
end to them.
Our last day on the farm was a nightmare of chaos. We still had tons of
household goods and machinery to move. Early in the day a mob of Zanu-PF youth
and settlers illegally broke through the homestead fence to erect a flag near
the lorry we were packing up. The police were called in and the mob was
dispersed as far as the gates of the security fence, where the police officer
advised that they should watch us in case we tried to steal anything. (Once a
farmer has received a Section 8 – a final notice to quit farming – he may not
remove certain assets from the farm.) There they lit fires and hacked the word
"Zimbabwe" into an old msasa tree standing at the gate. The waiting press people
were made unwelcome by the police.
During our last drive around Dahwye, my father said it looked as empty of
wildlife as when he had first seen it. As we stopped to open a gate, I collected
a bag of soil to take to Cape Town when we leave. As my father watched me, tears
rolled down his face.
Finally, we paid off the staff and at my father's request bowed our heads in
a prayer of thanks for the long years we had lived and worked together. We had
left the workers some cattle and hardware to assist in their new lives. My
mother sobbed and tears burned in my eyes as we said goodbye to these people we
had worked with for so long, and left them to their fate. Mum locked the house
for the last time. At last, our final convoy of four vehicles left the
rubbish-strewn thatched house that had been a family home for 46 years. We drove
towards the gate. The mob locked the gate as we approached. Sensing a bad
situation my father, in the lead vehicle, did not hesitate; he revved the engine
and smashed through the gate.
And so we left Dahwye, without looking back, our beloved farm empty now of
cattle, game and equipment, in parts burned out and already derelict. Alive only
with the sound of axes and dogs. Irrigable land liesfallow, the dams stand full
of water and soon the spectre of hunger will stalk the empty fields, as settlers
dig for mice beneath the weeds. The night we left the main pump for the housing
area was stolen, and the mob broke into my studio and office and my parents'
home, which I hear is to become a beer hall. The Dahwye we have known and loved
Many impressions come to mind as I try to recall the events of the past
two-and-a-half years. First, I recall my son Oscar's memorial service, held at
the same rock altar in the game park where Sara and I were married and where our
children were christened. It is a naturally sacred place. As the service began
two fish eagles appeared overhead, circling and ululating their haunting cry,
witnessed by the 250 people gathered below.
By April this year, resettlement pressure on Dahwye was growing. Zanu-PF
youth who could not be paid for their work during the presidential election were
allocated our farm instead. The youth base commander began to build his hut at
the rock altar. Our workers were appalled at an act so sacrilegious to
traditional culture that they appealed to him to stop.
But this was clearly a psychological strategy designed to cause us maximum
pain. For the next three months Sara and the children would have to go, daily,
past this obscenity on their way to school. Huts multiplied across the game
We watched our game in despair, wandering amid the chaotic resettlements,
surrounded by dogs, people, huts and fires. Pillars of light rose into the night
sky from the fires started by the settlers. Entire segments of the country were
consumed in an orgy of burning.
By a small miracle we obtained a game capture permit from the authorities. In
a dramatic operation, over five weeks, we captured, saved and sold about 180
tsessebe, 75 zebra, 60 wildebeest, three eland, 85 impala and 12 ostriches. We
had already lost animals to poaching and I am convinced that many of the
settlers in our game park came with meat in mind.
Our children attended Barwick Primary School, not far from our farm. Teachers
there have described the deep trauma that they have observed in farmers'
children who, over the past two years, have been silent victims of the baying
mobs and the daily humiliations their families have endured on the farms. The
ever-present anxiety they observe in their parents is silently taken on board. I
have often seen our own children trying to work out ways to protect us from the
daily dramas. During the weekends and holidays, security briefings on the farm
radios do not allay their fears. When things have been bad children have
expressed fear at returning to boarding school as they have to leave their
parents alone on the farms.
There have been times during this ordeal that have been worse than others.
When farms were being burned and looted in the nearby districts of Chinhoyi,
Mhangura, Doma and Hwedza, we waited, expecting the worst. Some members of our
family were trapped in their home, unable to escape as their neighbours were
being ransacked. Packed suitcases and food rations stood in the hallway at all
times, in preparation for a hurried exit. The house was emptied long ago of
sentimental objects and photographs. As a community we tried to plan for
worst-case scenarios – for example, if violence had erupted after the
presidential election. Community plans for the evacuation of schools were, and
still are, realities that those in farming areas face on their own.
From the ashes of this situation we have managed to save one thing. Before
Oscar died, we planted a little Christmas tree that we had bought for him in
Cape Town during his hospitalisation. The day before we left the farm, we dug up
the tree and replanted it beside the children's ward of St Anne's Hospital,
Harare, where the nuns (who remember Oscar from his stay there) have decided
that it will be decorated each Christmas, and that from now on it will be called
It is hard to describe the courage I have witnessed in my own family. My dad
and mum, 73 and 64 respectively, humorous even amid the destruction of all they
have loved and worked for, battling to finish the job of packing up their home
and farm. Sara, my wife, determined even under these adverse circumstances to
raise money for the Red Cross Children's Hospital, which looked after Oscar. She
trained for the London Marathon on farm roads throughout the mayhem, ran the
marathon and raised £7,000 for the hospital. My daughter Megan, who is 11 years
old, a rock for all of us, always smiling and unfazed. My five-year-old son Ben,
who cried often for the loss of his beloved farm, decided that we should make
crosses and scatter them around the farm and throughout our house to protect it
in our absence. Madeleine, who is six months old, is one of the few people in
Zimbabwe, oblivious to its woes, who has smiled through it all.
The unreported daily acts of courage and integrity by farmers in this
impossible time must be mentioned. Their lonely vigils against the forces of
intimidation have been humbling to observe. One day, I hope it will be
recognised and saluted.
Even now, impossible labour laws and propaganda have in some situations
turned the labourers against them. Farmers are barricaded into their homes by
labourers demanding pay and gratuities few can afford. In the past two years, I
have seen young men take on the visage of battle-weary soldiers, with lined
faces and grey hair, as they strive to protect family, friends and farm workers
who were defenceless but for their initiative. I have seen their desperation as
the authorities and so-called new landlords have prevented them from moving
their own equipment, livestock and household goods from their farms, which have
been seized. I was told, categorically, by a war veteran leader in front of a
mob of 200 people, that we would not move one thing off our farm. Fortunately,
Now that we are in Harare, and off the farm, there is time to try to analyse
what we have been through. We are sharing a house with another displaced family,
the Mitchells from Beitbridge in the far south of the country. Billy's father
collapsed and died from a heart attack soon after they received government
papers of acquisition earlier this year.
One thing I have learnt, as we try to make sense of these terrible events, is
that it is impossible to judge any farmer or farming community by the course of
action they have followed. Each farm and farmer has faced a unique circumstance.
All have fought lonely battles against overwhelming odds, outgunned by the full
force of state machinery.
We don't want sympathy. Many farm workers, rural black people and opposition
supporters have faced worse. Some of us can move from here. I, at least, have
another trade, as a wildlife painter. Many farmers have no other options.
The government has, by its own definition, attempted to conduct an ethnic
cleansing of the farmland. White farmers, by nature of their race, have been
targeted for displacement, en masse, at a time of fast-approaching and
unparalleled starvation. Why? Why, 20 years into Zimbabwe's nationhood, this
sudden assault? The answer lies, of course, in two bloody and farcical
elections, the results of which have failed to impress the world.
No one disputes the need for viable, transparent land reform, although it's
significant to note that about 60 per cent of white-owned farms were purchased
after independence, under Zimbabwean law.
The parallels between watching Oscar die from cancer and our beloved Dahwye's
slow destruction are profound. The grief process of watching that which you love
slowly destroyed is the same. My soul will always be in Dahwye. It holds my
earliest memories and those of my children – and no one, by decree or
destruction, can ever take that away.
Newspaper cutting :
Zimbabwe's white farmers watch and wait
DAVE Meikle did not leave his farm in Zimbabwe last weekend
government deadline for about 3,000 white farmers to get out of their
"My plan is to try to hang in for now, mainly because
there's nowhere else
to go," he said, sitting on the veranda of his home in
Mutare, in eastern
But on Sunday morning a
neighbouring farmer who also decided to stay on was
ordered to leave. The man
is now living at a hotel in the Bvumba district,
once a tourist magnet but
now almost deserted.
A week after the deadline for farmers to vacate
their houses - the last push
in Robert Mugabe's two-and-a-half year campaign
to wrest land from white
landowners - farmers in eastern Manicaland province
are reassessing their
Along with Mr Meikle's neighbour, four
farmers from the Middle Save district
were chased out of their homes over the
weekend. War veterans broke in to a
farmhouse in Burma Valley during a
wedding party on Saturday, beating up a
security guard. In the Headlands
area, farmer Henalie Muller lost her house
to an arson attack on Saturday
Men thought to be government officials told the black manager of a
Old Mutare that 62 farm labourers would have to vacate their houses.
't want to get you out by force but you've got to move," they were
to have said.
White farmers and their dependants are no more
secure here in Mutare than
they are in the rest of Zimbabwe. The fields
bordering the Bvumba mountains
should be green with wheat this winter. Now
they are mostly brown and bare.
Whole swathes of land have been gazetted
for compulsory acquisition by the
government; 450 farms out of a total of 955
in the province are to go to new
black farmers, according to official figures
White commercial farms still on their land here have
had neither the cash
nor the confidence to plant food or
"What I would like to see and what we would all like to see is
for us all to
be producing food," Mr Meikle said.
However, he has only
a verbal assurance that the government will not take
years he would have planted 80 hectares of wheat. This year, there are
ten hectares planted - and that includes the crop planted by the war
who have built their shacks in his fields.
"The thing you really need to
talk about is how we're going to get the
food," another farmer told me,
referring to Zimbabwe's ballooning food
crisis expected to see at least six
million people - half the total
population - requiring emergency food aid
Docility is our greatest weakness
8/15/02 7:10:20 PM (GMT +2)
NEVER before has a
revolution seemingly failed at the last minute such
as the one in this
country. Zimbabweans are really a painfully miserable lot
who are wretchedly
afraid of redemption simply because they are
Such intolerable cowardice will forever
see them wallow in dire
poverty without any anticipation of deliverance for
as long as they refuse
to be practical about their predicament.
Nobody needs to be gifted with foretelling to perceive that the future
this country is bleak and bleary. Such a future is already being
by the chilling reality today.
Zimbabweans deserve Mugabe because
they are full of theory, and theory
and rhetoric are what Mugabe knows best.
What is worse, Mugabe is an expert
at injecting his theory by any violent
Charles Mangongera asked, in his rather
lengthy piece, if Zimbabweans
deserve the bondage they are presently
subjected to. That was one of the
easiest of questions.
Zimbabweans are simply lily-livered. If a people with genuine
misery are fed up, they become dangerous and whoever is
responsible for their suffering at that time, is sure to
Now with the entire hullabaloo about being fed up
with Mugabe, nobody
can take a stand against the cornered cock. It follows
that nobody is hungry
yet. Indeed, nobody is craving to have chicken for
dinner. That is why the
cock will crow and even ululate everyday it wakes up
still a live and in
Zimbabweans must know that there are
mechanisms that can be put in
place to force Mugabe to either devalue the
dollar, resign or both.
Economists will tell you that too large a
budget deficit and too
little international funding will eventually force the
However, in the case of Zimbabwe, these
two reasons alone are flimsy
for they have not created meaningful panic to
coerce the government to
devalue the already valueless dollar.
Mugabe's political power is overvalued and therefore needs to be
devalued - a
possibility that he has pronounced dead. By refusing to devalue
Mugabe has subtly rejected the political implications that go
By pronouncing that something as immortal as devaluation
Mugabe is making a desperate refusal to economically redeem the
confirming the fears of Tony Hawkins a professor at the UZ that
economics gets in the way of politics, politics wins every
Mugabe is simply denying that the standard of living in the
has devalued to a ridiculously low ebb. So low has the standard of
devalued that the masses, frail from hunger, seem too weak to make
Perhaps, only economic devastation of
the worst kind will shove
Zimbabweans to the streets where they will be
forced to clash head on with
the ruthless Public Order and Security Act
(POSA) in a revolt likely to
involve unsightly bloodshed.
that rebellion comes to pass, if it ever does, the people of
have learnt that brainwork alone can never redeem them without
It never ceases to amaze me that a country with the
rate in the continent has failed to retain power from a
despot and yet its
people fully understand that he is the sole reason for
their demise. Such
timidity is agonizing.
Zimbabweans lack the intelligence to be practical. The
only action they have
taken in response to the government's
maladministration is pushing and
shoving in long queues for maize meal,
sugar, bread, cooking oil and salt, of
Zimbabweans are intolerably tolerant, simply
As long as the stubborn old man stays in that hot seat a
longer, Zimbabweans will perish as the wretched of the earth; in fact
wretched of the land he wants them to eat.
The world is
looking with satisfaction at the way Zimbabweans are
criticising a leader they do not want any day longer but the
of our lack of action against a tyrant who cares less what
the world thinks
of him is the most lamentable crisis at present.
calamity, together with the severe leadership crisis
of unprecedented grave
proportions within the opposition, has tarnished any
hopes of breaking free
The world is laughing at us. Zimbabweans in the
Diaspora are also
laughing at those who have remained to endure futile
The brain box of Africa has become a sordid place to
inhabit and hence
the exodus in search of places where one can find peace of
mind, a virtue
almost extinct among citizens in this southern African
However, migrating should be revealed for what it really
cowardice, of the most traitorous manner. Timidity can be forgiven
when a people have suffered enough they will vent all their
on those responsible for their lengthy bondage.
Cowardice is a tragedy.
It is a deplorable practice by those who
want to eat the national cake
but refuse to bake and replace what they ate.
They want those back home to
bake the national cake for them so that they can
come back and eat what they
ran away from building.
MDC and its
leaders need to be bold; bold enough to face what is on
the ground, bold
enough to face more agonising reality such as the prolonged
ZANU PF reign
than an unchaste woman.
When the law courts become a practical
waste of time, when rulers
cling to power way after their time, when the cost
of existing becomes
unreasonably exorbitant, it does not mean that the people
should resign to a
cruel fate but it instead should be a catalyst for them to
masters about altering the masses' impending miserable
Perhaps the morale-boosting words of Danton, an
revolution leader can best kill the disturbing docility
poverty-loving people of this country: "Boldness, and again
a.. Taungana Ndoro can
be contacted at email@example.com
chairman36 @lycos.com or at yoursfaithfully firstname.lastname@example.org
Fuel crisis set to worsen as BP blocks supplies to
8/15/02 6:59:03 PM (GMT
ZIMBABWE'S fuel crisis could worsen in the coming weeks as
s British Petroleum (BP) refuses to allow a ship laden with fuel
to offload its cargo because it is owed more than US$3 million by
state-run National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM), it was learnt
Oil industry sources said a ship with fuel from Libya
had been docked
at Beira port in Mozambique for the past week after BP
refused to allow it
to offload its contents into its tanks until NOCZIM
settles more than US$3
million outstanding for previous usage of storage
The fuel is offloaded from the ship into tanks before
transferred into a pipeline that connects Beira and NOCZIM's depot in
The pipeline is jointly owned by NOCZIM and
"There is a ship that is currently docked at Beira right
now but it
can't release the fuel until NOCZIM settles money owed to BP for
facilities," one source told the Financial Gazette.
comment was available from NOCZIM this week, but Energy Minister
Chindori-Chininga last week assured the nation that there were
supplies of fuel.
He blamed the current intermittent shortages to
transport glitches as
well as poor distribution strategies by oil
Some fuel pump stations in Harare have run out of fuel
in the past
fortnight, resulting in motorists queueing for limited fuel
supplies in some
This has raised fears of a repeat of the
2000 fuel crisis when
Zimbabwe completely ran out of oil as the government
struggled to raise
foreign currency to purchase the commodity.
The fuel shortage was worsened by the cancellation of lines of credit
The sources warned that the fuel crisis was set
to worsen in the
coming weeks unless an immediate solution was found to the
impasse with BP.
About 70 percent of Zimbabwe's oil needs are
imported from Tamoil in
Libya and come through Mozambique.
other 30 percent is supplied by the Independent Petroleum Group of
overland from South Africa.
The sources said President Robert
Mugabe managed to renegotiate a
US$360 million fuel deal with Tripoli in May
under which the Libyan Arab
Foreign Bank and the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe
(CBZ) have acted as
financial advisers to Tamoil and NOCZIM
Under the deal brokered between Mugabe and Libyan
Gaddafi, Tamoil has supplied fuel to Zimbabwe in quarterly
tranches of US$90
million since August 2001.
Mugabe has offered
the Libyans investments in state-run firms and
bilateral trade in exchange
for the fuel.
Libya now has significant stakes in the CBZ as well
as in hotel and
leisure firm Rainbow Tourism Group and is believed to be
investing in fuel facilities in Zimbabwe.
critics say Zimbabwe stands threatened by a new colonialism
Gaddafi's increasing hold on the Zimbabwean leader, a charge the
Let's not go it alone, Your Excellency
8/15/02 6:59:12 PM (GMT +2)
I SPENT the weekend at
Freedom Farm in Chipinge where my brother
Ndabaningi Sithole is resting in
I had to rush back to Harare to pay my respects to the late
Chidzero for, indeed, he was "that intellectual, soft-spoken,
imaginative and adventitious writer, planner,
internationalist, minister and politician", plus
Chidzero was a fine citizen of world stature.
Although I don't agree that the authority to declare one a national
should lie in the ZANU PF Politburo, I do celebrate that Chidzero
declared a national hero, not some of the dubious characters that are
in that national shrine. I was glad that they were not mentioned by
Seriously, our government ought to revisit
the issue of heroes -
national, provincial or district. Let's face it,
Zimbabwe is no longer a
one-party state, neither de facto nor de jure. That
the ZANU PF Politburo
continues to arrogate itself the authority to declare
national heroes does
not augur well with the realities of our changed
Communist one-party dictatorship collapsed everywhere not
the socialist idea but because of failure to adapt to changing
circumstances. The Politburo idea has become obsolete.
Indeed I liked the orations about Chidzero, all of them except the
that he was in favour of farm invasions by war veterans. I may be
Chidzero was too mild, too "soft-spoken" and to humane for that
albeit to redress the imbalances of the past. That would not be
his method of
Also I didn't like the inference that Chidzero
was in favour of
abandoning the West for east Asian markets. That perception
necessary nor obligatory.
Chidzero was a "Western"
man through and through as many of us are. In
fact that is, in large part,
why he was offered the job he held in our
government. We wanted to capitalise
on his stature in the West and with
Western institutions, particularly his
respectability and credibility within
the Bretton Woods institutions. Not
that there were no Marxists or Marxist
economists at independence and
Yet another fallacy that must be dispelled is that he was
conventional ZANU PF cadre or Politburo member. He was not. I am not
he didn't say it but I never heard Chidzero say pasi (down) with any
He even found it embarrassing or awkward to shout a party
saw him when he ran in the Harare Central constituency in
A compatriot at the Heroes Acre remarked to me: "Bernard is a
belonged to a class of his own."
That is why he is
unique. This is why the "Order of the Zimbabwe
Star", the "honour" that the
government has decided should be conferred on
eminent men and women of
stature for remarkable contributions to the
stability, development and
prosperity of Zimbabwe and humanity in general"
should be more of interest to
On this, we go back to the earlier issue we raised: why is the
kept in the dark about the "Order of the Zimbabwe Star"? Where and
Whose input was sought? Was this
discussed in the Zimbabwe Parliament?
Or, again only the Politburo knows
about it? We can't continue "villagising"
national issues like this and hope
However, what I found extremely disappointing in the
otherwise very articulate speech (in fact, the most articulate he
delivered in my view - it appears the "young old man" gets better
articulation with age!) is the combative, confrontational and
direction he is taking the country.
expected the President to begin reconciling with the local
community or at least that portion of it we are estranged
What is worse he warned America and the European Union of smart
his own. "We refuse to be hopeless victims. That is never the
revolutionaries. We will in due course announce our own phased
comprehensive response to those countries that have declared sanctions
They appear to have forgotten that they also have interests here."
I am not saying the West has no "interests here" - of course they do.
should have a sense of proportion in the threats we make. Let's not
foolhardy and more revolutionary than the revolutionary situation.
Moreover, are we so sure we have everybody in the country, in the
in Africa as we make these threats and move East? Have we
strategic neighbours in the region? South Africa and
If we haven't, don't you think we should? If South Africa
Mozambique don't cooperate with us, how will we trade with our new
in the Far East? Airlift? Do we have the capacity? Maybe we can do it
because we are a "sovereign" nation.
But I think we are
hitting ourselves on the foot. Patriotism is seeing
the fatherland taking a
dangerous turn and advising against it. Let us
consult our neighbours, Your
a.. Professor Masipula Sithole is a political
science lecturer at
the University of Zimbabwe and director of the
Harare-based Mass Public
Power struggle moves to CIO
By Sydney Masamvu
8/15/02 7:41:01 PM (GMT +2)
battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe, the ageing ZANU
PF leader expected
to resign before the end of his new six-year term, has
shifted to the
powerful spy Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) where
director-general Elisha Muzonzini has been abruptly transferred to
mission in Kenya.
ZANU PF and government sources this week said
Muzonzini, the retired
army brigadier at the helm of the shadowy spy
organisation for four years,
has now been demoted to become Zimbabwe's High
Commissioner in Nairobi
because competing camps are now keen to install their
own person at the CIO.
Although Mugabe appoints the CIO head, it is
believed former army
chief and ZANU PF kingmaker Solomon Mujuru masterminded
his appointment and
that of his deputy, another military officer known as
Happyton Bonyongwe, to
the spy agency in 1998.
The two military
officers were appointed after Mugabe had sacked the
then directors Shadreck
Chipanga and Lovemore Mukandi in the same year
because of the poor working
relationship between the two.
Chipanga is now ZANU PF's legislator
for Makoni East.
The sources said the poor relations between the
two former CIO bosses
stemmed from the fact that they were aligned to
different factions within
Chipanga was aligned to
Parliamentary Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa's
camp while Mukandi was said to be
sympathetic to Defence Minister Sydney
Sekeramayi - a strong ally of Mujuru -
who headed the security portfolio at
sources in the ruling party say Muzonzini is a victim of
the power game that
has intensified in the party ahead of Mugabe's expected
different power brokers position themselves to control the
strategic arms of
They say while Muzonzini's re-deployement to become the
in Nairobi might look as promotion at face value, it was a
demotion in terms
of influence because the spymaster no longer controls
security and intelligence information.
monetary terms, one may say he was rewarded but in terms of
regarding state affairs in intelligence among ZANU PF politicians
Presidency, he no longer has any influence," one ZANU PF source told
Insiders also pointed out that Muzonzini's
deployment in Kenya, not
one of the most critical or glamorous postings for
Zimbabwe in Africa, was a
clear sign that he had been relegated.
The sources say as a result of Muzonzini's exit, a reshuffle within
ranks of the CIO is imminent and that the rival camps in ZANU PF
it out to try to get their own man at the top.
the director of CIO's internal operations and one of
the most shrewd and
experienced spies in Zimbabwe, and current deputy
Brigadier Bonyongwe, emerged this week as
favourites to land Muzonzini's hot
Muzariri hails from Mashonaland Central, the home province of
Minister Nicholas Goche, who could not be reached for comment
Mnangagwa, who is supposed to be head of one of the
Zimbabwe's longest serving security minister in post-independent
until Sekeramayi replaced him.
Mnangagwa, a favourite
of Mugabe who continuously denies he harbours
presidential ambitions, is
understood to be working very hard to solidify
his political platform for an
eventual takeover from his master.
The ZANU PF sources say the
re-assignment of Muzonzini is a strategy
to weaken Mujuru's influence in key
areas and a prop up Mnangagwa's
ascendancy to the throne as the succession
race hots up.
The CIO is viewed as a very sensitive and critical
individuals with presidential ambitions have to have great
Mujuru, the former commander of ZANU PF's guerrilla
army, is also
considered to have strong influence on who is going to be the
next leader of
the party after Mugabe.
According to sources, he
has close allies in Airforce chief Perence
Shiri, army commander Constantine
Chiwenga and prison services' head
Paradzai Zimondi, all army
The sources say Mujuru might be lobbying for Finance
Makoni or Sekeramayi to take over from Mugabe.
Swiss freeze ZANU PF leader's US$10 000
8/15/02 7:45:40 PM (GMT +2)
SWISS banks have
frozen US$10 000 (about $6 million on the parallel
market) that belongs to
one of the original 20 ZANU PF leaders who were
slapped with international
sanctions, government officials said this week.
The Alpine country
officials said they expected to uncover more hidden
loot now that the
sanctions list had been expanded to include 52 more
leaders and backers of
Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party.
Roland Vock, a Swiss government
official, told the Financial Gazette
from Berne yesterday he could not name
the owner of the frozen account
because of the banking laws in
Among the original 20 slapped with international
sanctions because of
the current violence and the Zimbabwean government's
conduct during the
March presidential poll are President Robert Mugabe,
Minister Stan Mudenge, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and
Vock said the Swiss had again followed the
European Union (EU) and
last week extended the asset freeze and travel
sanctions on 52 other ZANU PF
leaders, including vice presidents Simon
Muzenda and Joseph Msika, Mugabe's
wife Grace, and the entire Politburo of
the governing party.
"We have added 52 new persons to the list and
it is possible we will
get some notifications from the Swiss banks," Vock
Besides the EU and Switzerland, the United States has also
senior ZANU PF leaders and their supporters in government and in
organisations from travelling to that country as well as freezing
their assets that might be located there.
such as New Zealand are now agitating for more
sanctions against Mugabe and
his ruling elite that might include the
expulsion of Zimbabwe from
international organisations such as the
Commonwealth and possibly the United
The Commonwealth, a group of former British colonies, has
Zimbabwe from participating in its council business for a year to
breakdown of law and order in the southern African country
Zim farmers look to SADC
8/15/02 7:51:05 PM (GMT +2)
AT LEAST 750
commercial farmers have left Zimbabwe to farm in other
Development (SADC) countries because of the government's
white-owned land, a farmers' spokeswoman said this week.
Williams, spokeswoman for Zimbabwe Justice for Agriculture, said
most of the
farmers had left in the past few months because of the
occupation of their
land by ruling ZANU PF supporters or the targeting of
their farms for seizure
by the government.
She said it was not possible however to
determine the number of
farmers who had left Zimbabwe in the past few weeks
because of a government
order requiring white land owners to vacate their
properties and make way
for black peasants by August 10.
government, in the process of redistributing white-owned land to
blacks, ordered more than 2 900 of Zimbabwe's 4 500 commercial
quit their farms.
"At least 750 people have left in the last few
months," Williams told
the Financial Gazette. "But these are not up to date
"They (the farmers) are going mostly to the SADC region.
staying close by so that they can come back if things
Farming industry sources said many commercial farmers had
Mozambique, South Africa and Namibia.
the Commercial Farmers' Union newsletter Countdown, at
least 12 Zimbabwean
farming families have settled near Chimoio in Mozambique
in the last 18
months. A former Zimbabwean has helped develop the area's
Late last week, 17 representatives of Zimbabwean
held discussions with government officials in Botswana
Botswana's deputy permanent secretary
for agriculture, Masego Mphathi,
told South Africa's Business Day: "They
wanted large chunks of land in which
they could continue with their farming
activities on this side of the
"But the problem with us
is that our land is already occupied, even if
the owners might not be
operating on it. There are a lot of people who have
land in this country, but
are not using it.
"The problem is that farming is a land-intensive
thing and they are
talking of serious farming. You get to a situation where
one person was
farming an area the size of 4 000 hectares and you cannot give
him a smaller
piece of land. It's a pity that we do not have land. However,
we have asked
them to get into smart partnerships with local
Analysts this week said the departure of established
farmers for neighbouring countries would deprive Zimbabwe of
commercial expertise in agriculture that would take years to
"It's very ironic that these countries are tacitly
the government is doing while at the same time they are busy
to our farmers to develop their own agriculture," a commercial
Armed ZANU PF supporters harry defiant farmers
By David Masunda Deputy Editor-in-Chief
8/15/02 7:44:49 PM (GMT
MILITANT ruling ZANU PF supporters this week began to forcibly
white commercial farmers challenging last week's government deadline
vacate their properties and make way for the fast-track land
The Justice for Agriculture (JAG), a new farmers'
yesterday reported that a group of 17 people, including
soldiers armed with
AK47 assault rifles, harassed farmers in the Middle Sabi
area, about 475 km
from Harare, during the just-ended Heroes' Day
The group, which JAG said included armed police officers
and was led
by a female war veteran, visited four farms in Middle Sabi on
told the farmers to leave by the following day.
of the farmers told the group that they were not under the
compulsory acquisition notices but had only received
preliminary notices, but
this did not deter the group who told them their
acquisition notices would be
upgraded after their departure.
Another farmer, a police reservist,
was threatened with arrest after
arguing that his farm had also not been
served with the compulsory
acquisition notice. His police identity card was
In Bindura, the Hinde family which owns Condweleni
Farm, was this week
ordered out of the property by militant ZANU supporters,
although the farm
is not listed for compulsory acquisition because it is
bonded to a financial
The family, which says it has
lived in harmony with about 50 settlers
who invaded the property about
two-and-a-half years ago, was yesterday
making frantic efforts to quit "for
safety reasons" after having been pushed
into one half of the house, with the
other being occupied by the militants.
The Hinde family said it had
been given assurances that it could grow
winter wheat but its 60 employees
were forced to stop working by the
settlers on Saturday.
70 percent of the 2 900 white farmers ordered by the government
out of their
properties last week have vowed to stay put until they are
their cases have been heard in court.
JAG, set up in the past few
weeks, is supporting the cause of these
Most of the
farmers are challenging the evictions because the
government failed to notify
banks and financial institutions that hold bonds
or mortgages over their
A High Court judge ruled last week that in such
government could not evict the farmer concerned.
President Robert Mugabe made clear on Monday that the deadline for
farmers to quit the land still stood, and government ministers
threatened to take legal action against those who refuse to
lA Zimbabwean journalist working for the independent Daily
another reporter for Britain's Daily Telegraph were also trapped in
"We've just been on the phone with him (the Daily
News reporter) and
he says the militants have broken three windows and are
threatening to get
into the rest of the farmhouse," an editor from the paper
A Reuters journalist and freelance television crew
were chased away
when they arrived at the scene, some 90 km (55 miles) north
of the capital
The militants hit two of the journalists
several times, accusing them
of being supporters of Mugabe's political
opposition, and tried to overturn
their vehicle as they drove
A spokeswoman for a farm pressure group, Justice for
(JAG), said earlier the Hinde family had called for a removal
the militants began tossing furniture onto the
"The family are having to leave for safety reasons...," said
spokeswoman Jenni Williams.
Farmers set to abandon $33 billion crops
Nqobile Nyathi Assistant Editor
8/15/02 7:42:27 PM (GMT
ZIMBABWE'S white commercial farmers might be forced to abandon
than 65 000 hectares of crops valued at over $33.4 billion after
Robert Mugabe this week scuttled hopes that he may give the farmers
reprieve from the mass land evictions ordered by his government under
controversial land reforms.
Under the programme, which could
cost Zimbabwe's economy $62 billion
or 12.7 percent of gross domestic
product, the government is set to take
over more than 90 percent or over 2
900 of the country's 4 500 commercial
Mugabe on Monday
indicated that the government would forge ahead with
its plans to evict white
farm owners, who have been served with Section 8
notices requiring them to
cease farming and start leaving their farms from
August 10 or face
"Whilst this ban on planting, producing and marketing of
Mr Mugabe, his Cabinet ministers and aid organisations are
international community for food aid to feed over six million
who are already starving," said Jenni Williams, spokeswoman for
Zimbabwe Justice for Agriculture (JAG).
represents the interests of commercial farmers, farm workers and
dependent on agriculture and wants to fight the evictions
According to figures from the commercial farming
sector, the ban on
agricultural work will affect more than 65 758 hectares of
land that is
presently under crop, 24 692 hectares of it comprising wheat
supposed to be harvested in September to October.
Zimbabwe is facing a serious wheat crisis that has already triggered
shortages in urban areas at a time the country has been forced to
maize, used to manufacture the nation's staple mealie meal.
planted wheat crop's value) in terms of dollars and cents is $6
its value as a scarce food commodity is priceless in the current
position," Williams said.
Commercial farmers also have about 41 067
hectares of maize in the
ground, which translates into 226 000 tonnes or
three months' supply of the
national staple grain and is worth $9.4
Tobacco farmers, who have also received Section 8 notices,
a crop valued at US$330 million ($18.2 billion), which is awaiting
This is part of the 170 million kilogrammes of tobacco,
main hard currency earner, that is supposed to be marketed this
bring in foreign exchange to alleviate massive hard cash
Farmers would also have to abandon the country's
remaining 800 000
commercial head of cattle. Figures from the Commercial
Farmers' Union show
that the commercial head has already fallen by 400 000
from 1.2 million.
Destocking has mainly been a result of poaching
by ruling ZANU PF
supporters occupying white-owned farms and
"Unlike crops where production can be doubled or even
trebled in one
year, it takes years to rebuild cattle numbers," according to
the chairman of the Cattle Producers' Association.
"The saddest fact is that the cattle being destocked come from the
that produces 90 percent of the cattle for the export market," he
It was not possible to ascertain this week the value of
immovable assets which commercial farmers will be forced to leave
when they vacate their properties, although an estimated $14.5 billion
of moveable assets has already been seized by invaders since farm
began in February 2000.
Williams said farmers were
carrying out inventories to determine the
value of their assets.
"We have a major campaign that we are putting together on behalf of
We're asking them to do an inventory of their assets and of their
assets. All these assets have to be quantified and we are using
information for a class action," she told the Financial Gazette.
"Obviously this is a major undertaking and we have to give it another
The next step will be to brief legal counsel so that they can give
She said her organisation was advising farmers to
legal action against the seizure of their farms by the
Mugabe's insistence this week that the farms have to be
turned over to black
She said over 60 percent of
farmers issued with eviction orders
remained on their farms after August 10
deadline and were defying not the
government, but the acquisition orders,
which they believe to be illegal.
"Farmers are not defying
government but rather the orders, which they
believe to be illegal and
therefore continue to fight the acquisition of
their farms and titles through
the courts," Williams said.
"This is not confrontational. It is
regrettable that the opportunity
to restore the rule of law and establish
proper planning and sustainability
to the inevitable process of land reform
has not yet been addressed and this
is endangering the lives and livelihood
of millions of Zimbabweans."
The land reforms, partially blamed for
Zimbabwe's food shortages, are
expected to displace close to two million
people and force the closure of at
least 3 000 companies directly or
indirectly dependent on agriculture.
According to analysts, if 90
percent of commercial farms cease to
function, the economy will lose $62
billion or 12.7 percent of gross
domestic product and $689 million of the
$765 million that agriculture
contributes towards export
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change shadow minister
agriculture Renson Gasela said: "Agricultural production will
drastically and the country's economy, which is highly dependent on
sector, will take the last step towards total collapse, thus worsening
hunger and famine that is affecting the people of Zimbabwe."
Zimbabwe joins list of Africa's basket cases
Abel Mutsakani News Editor
8/15/02 7:53:15 PM (GMT +2)
DEFIANT President Robert Mugabe this week threatened to hit back at
United States and the European Union (EU) for isolating him over
controversial policies, vowing to brook no obstacles in what he termed
Zimbabwe's "second transitional march to development and sustainable
But analysts warned Mugabe, one of Africa's remaining
rulers, that he was rapidly recreating out of Zimbabwe another
dictator Mobutu Sese Seko or Idi Amin's Uganda, a caricature of
basket cases.Ross Herbert, a senior researcher on Africa at the
Institute of International Affairs, warned that Mugabe's
reforms risked degenerating into a "wholesale
peasantisation" of Africa's
best agricultural sector if inadequate resources
or skills are not given to
newly resettled black peasant
Speaking during the burial of his former finance minister
Chidzero at the weekend, Mugabe ordered the country's white
farmers to surrender their land without delay to landless black
About 3 000 white farmers face jail or a fine or both if
they do not
obey the eviction orders, which took effect last
Vowing "no battle too hard to fight for this land", Mugabe
retaliation against the EU, the US, Switzerland, New Zea-land and
imposing sanctions on him and his officials for their land
policies and a
March poll which most of the world says Mugabe won
Herbert said: "There is a risk of peasant farming
spreading across the
country, leading to food shortages. China learnt this
lesson some time ago
that land reform must lead to a more modern and
productive system of
Zimbabwe is already in the
midst of its worst food crisis, which is
blamed on Mugabe's disruptive land
policies. Without Western food handouts,
six million people or half the
country's population could starve to death.
Mugabe says his seizure
of white farmland is a moral obligation to
right unfair land distribution
caused by British colonialism under which
less than 5 000 whites owned 70
percent of the best agricultural land while
more than five million blacks
were cramped on poor and arid soils.
Drawing parallels with the
late dictator Mobutu, Herbert said all the
other ingredients of another Zaire
were already in place for Zimbabwe - once
a beacon of hope for Africa - to
become yet another basket case.
Zimbabwe is experiencing
hyperinflation. The government's domestic
debt of more than Z$300 billion and
foreign debt of nearly US$5 billion
continue to mount. Inflation is pegged at
114.5 percent, while poverty and
unemployment are at more than 60
The economy is crumbling. Every basic food commodity
sugar, salt and the staple maize is in short
Herbert said while Mugabe continued with his "defiant
the international community", Zimbabwe would increasingly
look like Mobutu's
Zaire because there was no solution to Harare's rapidly
economic and political crisis.
"(We are looking at
a situation similar to Zaire) with no fiscal
prudence or discipline,
shortages of nearly everything and with everyone
becoming a predator,
requiring to be paid a bribe first before they do their
job or duty," the
University of Zimbabwe political scientist Masipula
as irresponsible Mugabe's threats to retaliate against the
economic aid Zimbabwe sorely needs to revive its
"Here we have a landlocked Zimbabwe, divided along racial
political lines and with half its population starving, threatening
conquer and punish the US and the EU. This defies all rationality,"
Mugabe, who rejects charges by Zimbabwe's
opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) and Western nations that he
stole the March ballot,
says sanctions against him and his top officials are
attempts to usurp power
for the MDC.
He says his government is
working on a comprehensive list of
retaliatory measures against the 15-nation
EU, Washington and their allies,
possibly targeting their interests in the
Mugabe did not specify the measures that are
likely to be taken by his
government, which has also been suspended from its
membership of the
Commonwealth, a club of Britain and its mainly former
colonies, for the
flawed ballot and violence against foes.
Sithole: "Mugabe's defiance recalls one character in east Africa
1970s. He was called Idi Amin.
"He was so defiant in his
castigation of the British and other
perceived international enemies that I
do not know if he thinks he
succeeded, but he is now living in exile in Saudi
Arabia. What Amin did
succeed to do was to leave behind a wasteland."
Thousands of workers lose jobs as farmers quit
8/15/02 7:52:18 PM (GMT +2)
NEARLY a third
of Zimbabwe's estimated 300 000 farm workers were
deprived of their jobs this
week when close to 40 percent of large-scale
commercial farmers quit farming
operations in compliance with the
government's eviction orders under its land
Thousands more are expected to lose their only source of
more commercial farmers, under pressure from the government to
properties, move off the land later this week clearing the way
for blacks to
take over the farms.
Justice for Agriculture
(JAG), a grouping of farmers seeking to
challenge the evictions in court,
this week said although it did not have
the exact figures of farmers who had
backed down to quit their properties,
about 60 percent were still on the
"JAG recognises that over 60 percent of farmers under notice
acquisition have remained on their farms and in their homes along with
staff and families," JAG spokeswoman Jenni Williams said.
"The farmers are not defying the government, but rather the orders,
they believe to be illegal and therefore intend to continue to fight
acquisition of their farms and title through the courts," she said.
Williams said about 30 percent of the farmers had quit the farms in
six weeks or so" while a few more moved off at about deadline time
This means that nearly 40 percent of the 2 900 targeted
farmers are no
longer on the land, leaving their workers who JAG this week
said stood at
about 232 000, plus their families and dependants of around 1.5
with an uncertain future.
Thousands of workers have
lost their jobs in the past two years as
farmers downsized operations in the
face of continued harassment, which
accompanied the farm
Many more have been thrown out of jobs in past three
months since May
when the government, through its Section 8 orders, ordered
farmers to wind
up their operations in preparation for the August 10 deadline
vacate the farms.
About 2 900 commercial
farmers-making up 84.5 percent of all
commercial farmers-were required to
leave their farms at the weekend in
terms of the Section 8
Williams said about 75 farmers were forced by members of
government-aligned Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions to retrench all
workers, but most farmers had just left the workers on the
She said some of the farmers were still paying the workers
in the hope
that the situation will normalise and they will resume their
President Robert Mugabe this week ruled out the
possibility of giving
the farmers a reprieve, saying the weekend deadline
still stood and the
farmers must go.
Commercial Farmers' Union
head Collin Cloete said the union was not
sure how many of its members had
abandoned their farms in compliance with
the government's orders
Halting Mugabe's gravy train
Britain and the UN intervene in Zimbabwe to prevent
THE failure of Britain, the UN,
the EU and the Commonwealth to
intervene in Zimbabwe is utterly shameful and
is a blatant disregard of
fundamental human rights.
One of the
basic principles of the recent report of the
International Commission on
Intervention and State Sovereignty is that
"where a population is suffering
serious harm, as a result of internal war,
insurgency, repression or state
failure, and the state in question is
unwilling or unable to halt or avert
it, the principle of non-intervention
yields to the international
responsibility to protect".
There must be no further delay in
the international community
accepting that responsibility and acting
accordingly. Mugabe is an evil
tyrant who should be removed to The Hague and
charged with crimes against
and US responsibility
THE plight of the white farmers is
catching the headlines, but
we should not forget that those who are suffering
most are the Africans in
the population who had the courage to stand up to
Mugabe and his thugs in
the recent rigged elections because they believed in
the messages of
democracy and justice which they received from Britain and
If Messrs Bush and Blair think they will end
terrorism by combating it only where their vital interests are
while turning their backs on blatant cases of injustice in
are wrong. It is clearly their responsibility to clear up the
mess that was
brought about in large part by the policies of their respective
the time of, and since, independence.
Putting pressure on
THERE are still many things which can be done
intervention should be considered. Kofi Annan has been
and inactive as this crisis has accumulated. Why is
this? I believe that all
member states of the United Nations should be
putting the utmost pressure on
him to act immediately to end the political
situation which is about to
cause mass starvation in Zimbabwe. He should
visit Zimbabwe and place the
views of the civilised world before Mr Mugabe,
backed by the threat of
international military intervention if his mission
does not succeed.
Much more pressure should also be put on
other African nations.
Why should the Western world continue to dole out aid
to nations which
support this kind of political thuggery? Mugabe can only
present course with their tacit support. If they were to
denounce him and
take action against him, his regime would crumble without
Supporting the MDC
OF COURSE the UN should intervene. No
one seems willing to do
so, even though we have been much quicker to react to
ethnic cleansing in
other parts of the world.
Britain, the Commonwealth, Europe and the West for
doing too little too late.
The present call by the MDC for UN troops to
oversee the fair distribution of
food aid seems the most logical thing in
the world. And the UK should support
HOW farcical to propose a British invasion to save Zimbabwe from
problems. Look what happened last time: Britain set up a racist
dictatorship, took the best land, and is still fighting to preserve
White farmer quits as mob rule returns to
From Michael Hartnack in
PELTED with stones and missiles, Terry Hinde
and his family
barricaded themselves inside their home as an armed gang tried
forcibly to evict the first white Zimbabwean farmers since the
by President Mugabe.
The 60-strong mob that had
been besieging Condwelani Farm for
two days told the Hinde family to collect
what they could of their
belongings and flee by nightfall or they would be
killed. Family friends
said later that the Hindes had taken refuge in a safe
Windows were smashed and much of their furniture
was thrown on
to the front lawn as the mob, armed with clubs, axes and
into their house to menace Mr Hinde, his wife and
The farmer radioed the police and his neighbours for
armed groups had sealed off all approach roads at Bindura, 55 miles
the capital, Harare. Many farmers' leaders suspected that this
takeover signalled the start of a new campaign of intimidation of those
refused to leave their land by last week's deadline.
Some who did try to reach Condwelani Farm yesterday were
ambushed. As two
local journalists were being beaten, a couple of elderly
men emerged from the
bush telling their young followers to spare their
hostages' lives, saying:
"We have not had orders to beat them yet." Two
other reporters were trapped
inside the Hindes's farmhouse for six hours.
Farmers' leaders said that it
was impossible to know if yesterday's attack
was sanctioned by officials in
Harare or the work of a local vigilante
inside a secure room, Mr Hinde sat in tears of rage and
frustration as his
son, Chris, tried unsuccessfully to reason with the mob,
who were also
demanding that the 60 workers and their families leave or face
Many of those now menacing them had been squatting
on the farm
for two years since they first invaded in 2000. The Hindes had
of these settlers to plant their own fields of wheat, but
yesterday the mob'
s leaders took over half of their house and began
While the family made an urgent legal appeal, Chris
said: "We have no other choice right now to get out while we can,
don't know where."
Police said that they could
not reach the Hindes's home, where
the family had lived for the past 27
years. This year's needed crop of wheat
is nearing harvest and the Hinde
family had been told that they could stay
until it had been
Terry Hinde's plight yesterday made a mockery of
pledge earlier this week that farmers with only one property were
continue. Nevertheless, Mr Hinde hopes to challenge the eviction
precedent set last week, when the High Court said that farms still
mortgage could not be resettled until the bank had been
Jenni Williams, spokeswoman for Justice for
"This shows what farmers are facing. Our country is
starving and they are
evicting wheat producers."
3,000 white farmers had orders to quit by last Friday,
but at least 60 per
cent stayed on, uncertain of the legality of the orders
and verbal promises
of security to reap food crops in the face of nationwide
shortages. A further
2,000 farmers expect to receive eviction orders
imminently. Mr Mugabe said on
Monday that he wanted 350,000 new black
farmers to be settled on all former
white farms by the end of this month, to
prepare for the rainy season due in
Reports from the Middle Sabi farming area, 300
Harare, told how a number of properties were visited by
demanding the occupants leave, even though some are not
on the eviction
One farmer who explained that he was
a police reservist was told
to hand over his identity card, which was ripped
up in front of him by the
gang leader, who said that the man should also
consider himself dismissed
from his police post.
another incident, in the eastern district of Marondera, Hazel
returned to her farm yesterday to find it occupied by militants
after she had
left at the weekend for her own safety.
Joseph Made, the
Lands and Agriculture Minister, claimed later
on state television that white
farmers were bringing in impostors to evict
them from their farms to attract
attention and paint a bleak picture of the
situation in the country.
Howard to discuss Zimbabwe's status with C'wealth
The Prime Minister, John Howard, has refused to offer an opinion on
Zimbabwe should be expelled from the Commonwealth.
heads a committee of three leaders, who suspended Zimbabwe's
the Commonwealth after its discredited elections in March.
He will use
this week's Pacific Islands Forum to discuss Zimbabwe with
secretary-general of the Commonwealth and New Zealand Prime Minister,
Clark, who wants the African nation expelled.
Mr Howard has told
Channel Nine he is very unhappy with Zimbabwe's failure
to respond to
"What is happening in Zimbabwe is out of step with
the principles of the
Commonwealth, there's no doubt about that," Mr Howard
"To date no serious attempt has been made even to receive
secretary-general of the Commonwealth to convey concerns.
well understand other Commonwealth countries becoming concerned but
stage it's premature for me to talk about expulsion."
Government denies ignoring plight of Zimbabwe
By Nigel Morris Political Correspondent
Zimbabwean opposition politicians and human rights campaigners
Britain yesterday of ignoring the plight of UK nationals fleeing
Robert Mugabe's regime.
As black militants stepped up
evictions of white farmers, a delegation
travelled to London to protest that
too little help was being given to
British passport-holders trying to
resettle in this country.
Their attack coincided with Tory claims that
the British high commission in
Harare was placing "unnecessary obstacles" in
the way of people wanting to
John Huruva, a spokesman for the
Movement for Democratic Change, said: "The
Government has failed to
understand the misery faced by Britons forced to
return from Zimbabwe and is
not doing enough to help their own citizens
rebuild their lives.
beggars belief that the British Government have been so reticent to
British citizens returning from Zimbabwe. Perhaps they fear that by
proper assistance they will send a message that all UK citizens in
should come back to the UK."
Albert Weidemann, a Zimbabwean
human rights activist, said farmers forced
off their land were allowed to
take only £500 with them out of the country,
adding: "Despite their
citizenship ... Almost all are refused benefits and
some have even been
forced into going back to Zimbabwe."
A deadline set by the Mugabe
government for 2,900 farmers to vacate their
land passed last Thursday, with
about 2,000 of them remaining in their
homes. Some are holding on, hoping for
a reprieve from the country's courts.
In London, government sources
rebutted the charge of ignoring the problems
of families fleeing Zimbabwe,
but said they would not be given any special
is that British citizens returning to this country will of
course be entitled
to take up whatever benefits and assistance they qualify
for. The Government
does not discriminate between people returning as a
result of different
Michael Ancram, the shadow Foreign Secretary,
wrote to Tony Blair alleging
that people forced by the Zimbabwean authorities
to renounce their British
citizenship were finding it harder to get it back
and that the Harare high
commission was using higher, black market rates of
exchange when charging
for a passport.
A Foreign Office spokesman said
it applied rules on citizenship equally to
all people and that it was acting
legally in charging the "parallel exchange
rate" for passports.
UK to help nationals facing Zimbabwe farm
8/15/02 7:47:21 PM (GMT
BRITAIN says it will assist its nationals facing eviction from
they own in Zimbabwe but insists it will continue to strictly vet
growing army of Zimbabweans seeking refuge in London due to
deteriorating economic and political climate at home.
separate interviews this week, Minister of State for the Foreign
Commonwealth Office Peter Hain said London was ready to assist
passport holders resident in Zimbabwe who have been ordered to vacate
farms to make way for black farmers allocated plots under President
Mugabe's accelerated land reforms.
"The government will
do its best to give practical advice and support
to any British nationals who
face eviction in the coming weeks," Hain said
in an article carried by the
Times of London newspaper earlier this week.
He however did not
mention the assistance his government was willing
to provide to Zimbabwean
white farmers, the majority of whom are of British
than 2 900 white farmers were given up to August 10 to leave
but so far about 60 percent have defied the government
order and said they
will challenge the decree in the courts.
The evictions are expected
to leave about 100 000 farm hands without
jobs, worsening an already serious
humanitarian crisis caused by the
shortage of food.
"At the same
time, we will continue to provide as much emergency
assistance as we can for
Zimbabwe's long-suffering poor," the British junior
In another interview to be flighted on the British
Corporation (BBC)'s Radio Four today, Hain says Zimbabweans
in Britain will continue to be vetted in the normal way and
solution to the refuge crisis lies in resolving Zimbabwe's
"I don't think that we should
turn what is a failure of leadership and
government in Zimbabwe into some
kind of criticism over reception facilities
here," he said.
Analysts estimate that more than 200 000 Zimbabweans left Zimbabwe in
past three years to seek asylum in Britain and the United States.
Thousands more now live in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Botswana
Hain also noted in the BBC interview that Zimbabwe was now
fastest shrinking economy, which declined at the rate of 10
percent in 2001
and is expected to shrink by a further 11 percent this
Zimbabwe whites in UK passports rip-off
by DAVID HUGHES, Daily Mail
trying to flee Zimbabwe are being charged inflated exchange rates for UK
passports, the Foreign Office admitted last night.
They are paying more than ten times the official rate for the privilege of
resuming their British nationality.
The official exchange rate is 85 Zimbabwe dollars to the pound, but the black
market rate is nearly 1,000 Zimbabwe dollars a pound.
Far from denying the allegations, the Foreign Office confirmed it was using
the unofficial rate so as to 'maximise income' from its Zimbabwe consular
Many white Zimbabweans renounced their British citizenship after Mugabe came
to power - under pressure from his regime.
But as the brutality against them intensifies, many now hope to return to
Instead of helping, the Foreign Office is placing fresh obstacles in their
A spokesman defended the move, saying the Government was obliged to recover
all its costs worldwide. Last year consular and visa operations in Harare cost
the taxpayer £400,000.
'In view of our obligations to Parliament, the Government therefore decided
to move to full cost recovery with effect from June 24. This involves using the
parallel exchange rate,' he said.
'The High Commission's legal advisers have confirmed that it is legal to do
The admission will reinforce suspicions that the Government is making little
attempt to ease the passage of white farmers who have been forced off their
Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Ancram denounced the move as 'totally
unacceptable'. In a letter to Tony Blair he protested that the policy would
'play into Robert Mugabe's hands'.
Mr Ancram said that, under the British Nationality Act 1981, the Home
Secretary had the power to reregister former nationals as British citizens.
He said many Zimbabweans were 'trying desperately to stay on the right side
of law, to avoid the unwanted attention of Mugabe and his policemen'.
'To force people to use black market pricing would play into Robert Mugabe's
Mr Ancram also urged the Government to use the Earth Summit in Johannesburg
later this month to assemble an international coalition to put pressure on
Mugabe to hold fresh elections under international supervision.
Zimbabwean reporter escapes mob after farm siege
Eviction turns ugly as
Mugabe activists riot and police fail to intervene
Thursday August 15, 2002
A family of
Zimbabwean white farmers on the brink of eviction from the
forced to protect a black opposition journalist from a lynch
mob of militant
supporters of President Robert Mugabe yesterday.
Precious Shumba, a reporter
with the Daily News, arrived at Terry and Susan
Hinde's farm in Bindura,
where more than 100 "war veterans" and supporters
of the ruling Zanu-PF party
were waiting for the Hindes to leave, following
Mr Mugabe's warning to
thousands of white farmers on Monday not to continue
to defy last week's
deadline to quit their properties. Mr Shumba found
removal men loading
furniture as the Hindes looked on glumly.
"When I got to the house I saw
100 to 200 people gathered within the yard,"
he said. "They didn't look
threatening. They thought I was from a high
office from the government and
greeted me like I was a Zanu-PF member. They
didn't know who I was. Susan
Hinde asked if I was coming from the Daily
News. They let me in and locked
But when the young Zanu-PF supporters heard that Mr Shumba was
from the opposition press they grew increasingly
"The youths were threatening to kill me because they said that
area was a
no-go area for anyone from the Daily News. They repeatedly
demanded that I
be released or they were going to burn the house. They got
some bricks and
smashed some windows," he said.
"They demanded I be
released to their 'central committee' of war veterans
and Zanu youth. The
Hindes protected me. I hid under the bed in the main
bedroom, which is
protected by burglar bars, while the Hindes refused to
The militants vented their anger by tossing the family's furniture
yard and smashing some of it.
Also inside the house with the
Hindes and their adult son, Christopher, was
a Daily Telegraph reporter, Peta
Thornycroft, who Mr Shumba says had her
camera stolen when she tried to
photograph the confrontation.
"The Hindes called the police and spoke to
an Inspector Sande, the officer
in charge. He made several excuses, among
them that they had no transport.
Some neighbours got news of our plight and
went to the police with a vehicle
to bring them to the farm, but they never
came," Mr Shumba said.
Mr Shumba changed into clothes belonging to one of
the removal men, in the
hope of escaping in their lorry. But a few minutes
later Ms Thornycroft's
driver appeared at the window.
"The driver was
beaten by the Zanu youth but he came with three war
veterans' leaders, who
said they wanted me released without harm. We
negotiated and they said they
would protect me," Mr Shumba said. "I thank
those three war veterans who
escorted me to Peta's vehicle. The Zanu youths
were saying the Daily News was
writing negative stories about President
Mugabe; that we were critical of the
land reform programme."
The Hindes left the farm they had lived on for 27
years several hours later.
The first "war veterans" moved on to the farm
more than two years ago and
demanded that the family leave. The two sides
came to coexist, with the
Hindes continuing to grow tobacco while the new
settlers grew food crops.
But the pressure on the family grew last Saturday
when dozens more Zanu-PF
militants arrived, two days after a government
deadline for almost all of
Zimbabwe's remaining white farmers to leave their
land and homes.
More than 1,500 white farmers have refused to move after
gaining the high
court ruled that the government's deadline was illegal
because it had failed
to meet all the requirements for the confiscation of
But on Monday Mr Mugabe effectively dismissed the court ruling
farmers who defied his deadline that they would pay the price. He
white people who "wanted another war, should think again while
still time for them to do so".
International pressure mounts against ZANU PF
8/15/02 7:46:33 PM (GMT
INTERNATIONAL pressure mounted against the government this
calls for tougher economic sanctions against Harare and its
the Commonwealth after President Robert Mugabe vowed to
enforce an order
evicting hundreds of white commercial farmers from their
land in order to
Diplomatic sources yesterday said
Australian Prime Minister John
Howard was already in consultation with South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki
and Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo over
what action to take on the
deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe.
The three leaders form a special Commonwealth committee on Zimbabwe
earlier this year suspended the country from the meetings of
organisation's councils for a year. But Zimbabwe can still participate
all other Commonwealth business and affairs.
Prime Minister Helen Clark, an influential Commonwealth
leader, earlier this
week openly called for tougher economic sanctions
against Zimbabwe and the
full expulsion of the southern African nation from
Expressing shock at Mugabe's decision to evict white
their properties, Clark said: "Zimbabwe has a government which
function properly and is frowned on by much of the rest of the
"They should have been suspended quite some time ago and I
very happy to see them suspended now."
Clark said she
would take up the issue of Zimbabwe with Howard and
secretary-general Don McKinnon when she meets the two at the
Forum meeting next weekend.
In Britain, Minister of State for
Europe Peter Hain said Prime
Minister Tony Blair would also raise the issue
of Mugabe's controversial
land reforms during discussions with key African
countries at the Earth
Summit in South Africa later this month.
"Of course the prime minister and other ministers when they are
African counterparts and others will be discussing the
Hain said in response to a British Broadcasting
Corporation question on
whether London would focus on the Zimbabwe crisis
A spokesman for the Commonwealth told the Financial Gazette
London that the organisation had not taken any action against Mugabe and
administration over their latest move to seize white-owned
He said Zimbabwe's situation was set for review at the
end of its
one-year suspension in March 2003 under conditions laid out by the
when it suspended the country.
The United States and the
European Union this week also condemned the
government's ultimatum to the 3
000 white farmers to quit their properties
by last week or face
Washington and Brussels have not yet indicated whether they
toughening sanctions which they have already imposed on Mugabe and 72
top officials over their land policies.
Some of the white
farmers ordered to vacate their properties have done
so while pro-government
militants were yesterday said to have started
forcibly evicting those still
on their farms.
The sources said while there were no immediate
plans for the
Commonwealth troika to meet over Zimbabwe, Howard had already
Mbeki and Obasanjo by telephone on the issue.
Minister Howard is very concerned about recent developments in
is already in touch with Presidents Mbeki and Obasanjo," one
Western diplomat said.
He did not say what action the three leaders
had agreed to take
Commissioner to Harare Jonathan Brown said he was not
aware of any plans by
Howard to convene a meeting of the troika.
"I am not aware of any
plans to call a meeting of the troika. But of
course Prime Minister Howard
has been in touch with his two colleagues
(Mbeki and Obasanjo) even before
the latest developments in Zimbabwe," he
Bheki Khumalo denied knowledge of the South African
leader deciding with his
two Commonwealth colleagues any further action
Waiting in vain for govt's action
7:55:25 PM (GMT +2)
COMMERCIAL farmer Colin Shand, a third
generation Zimbabwean, is one
of thousands of farmers affected by the
government's fast track land reforms
who has vowed to defy last week's
deadline to leave his property.
Shand, who farms in the rich
Concession area, says he cannot vacate
his farm because he has no other place
to stay, does not own a house in
Harare and is virtually broke after
disruptions to farming caused by ruling
ZANU PF militia in the past two
The Financial Gazette's Deputy Editor-in-Chief DAVID MASUNDA
weekend visited Shand, who last week escaped death or serious injury
whisker after a violent encounter with settlers on his farm. The tension
the region is so high that the interview with him had to be conducted
40 kms away from his farm.
THE Zimbabwe flag, the new
symbol of war veterans and the landless
when they stake a claim over a
targeted commercial farm, flies in the wind
on the small farm store a
kilometre or so from Colin Shand's Glendevon Farm
in Concession, about 70 km
This is Sunday and Zimbabweans are celebrating the
national holidays, days dedicated to the memory of thousands of
freedom fighters and villagers who died in the country's bitter 1970s
against white minority rule.
At the small farm store,
"comrades" in dark-green fatigues that
nowadays easily distinguish the ruling
party's youthful militant enforcers
from ordinary ZANU PF supporters are
enjoying a braai.
A few more youths are milling by while groups of
others can be seen
trekking in from all directions.
We are in
two minds: should we stop for a chat or should we just drive
Shand had warned us that tension was very high in the region and that
presence of any journalists, especially those from Zimbabwe's
media that is hated by ZANU PF youths, was likely to ignite the
He had refused to allow us into his farm,
despite an earlier
invitation, because he felt our presence that day would
cause tempers to
flare and create more problems.
We were to meet
at a safer location: the petrol station at Mazowe,
about 40 kms from the
Without Shand's knowledge, we had nonetheless driven to his
to many others around Lomagundi, Mazowe and Concession where war
and government supporters are trying to violently evict white
farmers from one of the most fertile regions of
What we discovered was that although the tobacco-growing
officially starts on September 1 and the rains are just two months
farming has ground to a halt in this area once considered Zimbabwe's
Back again and past the farm store once more, we
decided it was too
dangerous to stop at the braai because we had no credible
false alibi to
sell to the youths to explain why we were in the area and the
were already drinking.
Past experience has shown
that it is difficult to reason with the
young government supporters,
especially when they have had a drink. In any
case, the time for our
appointment with Shand in Mazowe was up.
Shand arrived a few
minutes after us at the service station on the
main Mazowe Road that goes all
the way to Bindura and beyond.
He pulled up in a ragged red bakkie,
the type of car favoured by many
Zimbabwean commercial farmers.
"Are you Douglas from Financial Gazette?"
"No I am David from the
Financial Gazette," I said.
"So what happened yesterday? Anyway you
guys are lucky you did not
turn up yesterday because there was going to be
some serious problems," says
Shand, a 58-year-old farmer with a permanent
tan, testimony to the 38 years
he has been farming in Zimbabwe.
Saturday had been the day we had earlier planned to visit
As it later transpired, things were quite hectic
on the farm on that
day and, according to him, it was better we had not
Shand said he had been working in his office at around
Saturday when he was summoned to a ZANU PF rally on the farm that was
addressed by some party bigwigs who had driven into Glendevon in the
4 x 4 trucks.
At the rally, one of the senior ZANU PF
officials he could not
identify asked him why he was still at Glendevon when
he knew he should have
left the property by now.
Shand said he
explained to the ZANU PF leaders that he had nowhere to
go: Glendevon was his
only farm and he did not own any other property, not
even a house in
He did not have money either: all his workers had deserted
there had been no farming at all at his A2-designated farm since
invaded it about two years ago.
Moreover, he said,
peasants who were supposed to benefit from the A1
scale of resettlement had
invaded the 600-hectare farm that was meant for A2
The farm was also mortgaged to a financial
had been ordered out of the meeting, he said his cook - who
behind - later told him that the ZANU PF leaders, speaking in
the settlers to leave Shand alone and not to disturb anything
Only a few days before, the same axe-wielding settlers had
Concession farmer as he drove into the property at night. He was
escape alive as he sped off after an axe broke through the rear
missing his head.
The farmer, expecting trouble,
was alone at the farm because his wife
had gone to visit their daughter in
"I have got no problem with land reform but it seems it is
cats and not the ordinary people who are benefiting," Shand told
"Mr Mugabe has said one farmer, one farm,
and I only have one farm and
only 200 hectares of this farm is arable," he
On average, Glendoven produced US$330 000 (about $18 million
official exchange rate) of dry land tobacco annually as well as 700
of maize and a special type of grass - Katombora Rhodes grass - for
Shand said while it was going to be extremely expensive but
possible to resuscitate the farm before the rains, he could only sit
wait in the meantime.
It may be a dangerous wait.
A defiant Mugabe goes down
8/15/02 6:54:26 PM (GMT +2)
Robert Mugabe gave the clearest signal yet this week that
sanctions against him and his top officials are hurting, but
made clear he
will go down fighting in the mould of a true revolutionary
which he has
carved out for himself.
Speaking at a ceremony in Harare to honour
Zimbabwe's independence war
heroes, he took a hard line against the West for
slapping him and his
lieutenants with travel bans and asset freeze,
threatening to hit back hard
in the best way "we know how".
speech laden with emotion and which signposted the new
which Mugabe has adopted in his fight to hang on to
power, he challenged the
West to impose additional sanctions and add more
names to his blacklisted
"But we shall not budge, we shall not be deterred on
question - the land is ours," the President declared, referring to
seizure of commercial farms to settle mostly his supporters which he
paraded as a black-white fight to right colonial wrongs.
there is the line which Mugabe has literally drawn on the sand: he
down fighting to the death ostensibly in defence of the interests of
people against a racist and unjust world order which wants to remove him
power to protect its kith and kin.
This is the line which Mugabe,
clearly concerned he would lose the
March presidential election, adopted at
the time with some measure of
success and has continued to sing to camouflage
lawlessness and violence
perpetrated by his supporters against political
It is a line which southern African leaders have curiously
believe and a line that is certain to endear the President among poor
World states still struggling against vestiges of colonial injustice -
ownership being one of the still unresolved issues.
crucial that Zimbabwe's democratic voices, plus the supporting
community, do realise the weapon which Mugabe is using to
weaken their fight
against his undemocratic rule by clearly separating the
for land reform from the callous violence, murder and
rape which have
But more importantly, all voices seeking a new
in Zimbabwe must realise, if they have not done so
already, that Mugabe
really means what he says and will indeed fight to the
regardless of what that end might be.
measures against him to try to enforce democracy which
ignore the harsh
reality of his steely determination to soldier on, no
matter the odds stacked
against him, will fail and most likely trigger
untold consequences for
Zimbabwe and its neighbours.
Mugabe knows that for all intents and
purposes, he is at the end of
his political career. And because of many
threats against him over what
happened in Matabeleland in the 1980s and other
alleged sins of omission and
commission, he is literally daring the world to
act by taking his fight to
In many ways, he knows that
he has nothing more to lose. Or put
differently, he believes that things
can't get any worse - and he is right.
For him, the path ahead is
simply a do or die battle. Predictably he
has chosen to be the martyr who
will go down in history as the last man who
held high the flag of black
emancipation and bravely stood up solo against
an evil capitalist world sworn
to oppressing the dispossessed.
In Mugabe's own words at the
weekend, which again highlight his new
stance of presenting his fight to stay
in power as a black-white struggle
for justice: "Our heroes would scorn us if
it (Zimbabwe) turned out to be a
mere banana republic which waxes and wanes
as pleases the powerful.
"They (the fallen heroes) expect us to be
... rigid and enduring when
it comes to (defending) our
The message to all who yearn for real freedom could
not have been
clearer, if this was no so already: the struggle for a
democratic and just
Zimbabwe is only just beginning.