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

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Subject: back to crofton and two tree hill

Dear Everyone,

  Pat and I went back to Two Tree Hill yesterday and Crofton
our home.  Nothing prepared me for what I saw as a friend of mine said this
is the work of the anti-christ.  My dear neighbours are in South Africa and
I am so glad they did not have to witness the utter destruction of their
home. The family pets have disappeared except for three puppies that were
found tied to a motorcycle.  Absolutely everything has gone including the
roof and window frames.  I had a digital camera with me and as we took
pictures of everyroom it was hard to believe that a warm wonderful family
once lived here.  We then drove to our old home and could not believe what
we found all that was left were the walls.  Every photograph had disappeared
there was nothing left the only thing lying on the floor was a serviette
ring that my daughter Katie had used at Rydings School.  Even our cat had
not been spared they shot her with a shotgun there were cartridges all over
the house.  They then stripped the lemon trees and the vegetable garden.
Our domestics were sent to a pungwe while they ransacked.  The stripped my
sons old white mercedes and all that is left is the shell.  But nothing can
take away the memories of the happy years we had at Crofton. My daughter
Katie who is 15 just can't believe this upheaval in her life. We lease
Palmerston Estates where we have our Scouting Office we have been unable to
get into the office for over a week because of a large contingent of war
veterans which have settled themselves outside the fence. Soon hopefully i
can get the photos to run through the computer and you can see for
yourselves the utter destruction.  We are only one of many farmers who have
had everything taken.  Out of this mayhem I can only hope some good comes.
No one likes to live out of a suitcase and you like your own things around
you.  It makes one more determined than ever to hold on here and not  to be
beaten and that is what Pat and I resolve to do,carry on regardless.

Pat and I went into village 11 yesterday to recover property that had
disappeared from Two Tree and Crofton.  It was amazing to see tractors just
parked outside villagers houses and a washing machine outside. Two surly
policeman stood by.  We filled up 5 lorries full of stuff that had been
looted and all of it had to go to Shackleton
Police station.  I was so upset seeing my neighbour's daughters childrens
books in a grubby pile.  Just thank goodness they are not here to see it.

What must be said is how wonderful the people of Banket and chinhoyi and
even surrounding areas have been, lending trucks and labour. People have
worked night and day monitoring, helping out and being so amazing.  Nothing
could make me prouder I am so pleased to be part of this wonderful farming

Lots and lots of love to all our friends, relations,

A big thank you to the Johnsons and the Tiffins for taking us in and making
us feel safe and loved.

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The British Embassy in Zimbabwe has denied reports of plans to evacuate Britons from the strife torn country.

An independent Zimbabwean newspaper reported that Britain is planning a mass evacuation of 25,000 Zimbabweans with British citizenship.

However the embassy has released a statement denying the report.

But the statement noted that the Government did have general contingency plans for emergencies.

The report in the Financial Gazette led to a flood of calls to the embassy and media organisations asking for details of where to meet for evacuation on British military planes.

British officials also dismissed rumours that British troops had been deployed in neighbouring countries to mount an evacuation.

In a week of violence in the Chinhoyi corn and tobacco district, at least 45 homesteads have been looted and white families, many the descendants of colonial era British settlers, have been evacuated from about 100 farms.

The unrest began after the arrest of 21 white farmers on allegations of violence and assault against squatters and ruling party militants illegally occupying their land.

The farmers deny starting clashes on August 6, saying they were attacked when they went to help a neighbour under siege by militants.
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Sent: Tuesday, 14 August 2001 13:10
Just to show you what's happening here at the moment.  I've known
********* since we were children and can assure you that he's one of the most upstanding high principled men I know.
Please forward this to as many people as you can, its time to say enough!
Kind regards To all who care to know the truth about the crisis in Zimbabwe  ******`s report concerning the imprisonment of 22 farmers in Chinhoyi:
On Monday 6th August a large number of farmers from the Banket/Chinhoyi/Karoi areas were gathered in Chinhoyi for a report back from our Regional chairman, Mr Jan Botes, concerning the recently ended Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) annual congress which had been held in Harare the previous Wednesday and Thursday.  The meeting started at 0930 hrs and went on until after midday.
At around 1000hrs, Mr Boet Pretorius received a telephone message to the effect that his neighbour, Mr Tony Barklay, had been attacked at his home by a group of 40+ settlers who were armed with axes, fence poles and rocks.  Boet called me out of the meeting and gave me this report.  I immediately phoned the Officer in charge of Chinhoyi Rural Police station, Inspector MUDZIWAPASI, who is well known to most of us due to our involvement in neighbourhood watch duties with the Police.  I spoke to him on his direct line and gave him a summary of the report we had received.  I asked for Police attendance to this scene as a matter of urgency emphasising that this was not a conflict over land but an attack on a farmer in his residence.  He seemed most uninterested and eventually told me he had no transport.  I replied that he could easily borrow another vehicle from another Police section or use one of my vehicles.  His reply was that he would pass the message to Shackleton Police Post and they would send a cyclist to the scene.  I reminded him that Shackleton was over twenty kilometres from the farm in question and therefore he was telling us that Police could not reach the scene for at least two hours. He said that was his decision and rang off.
I turned to the farmers around me and informed me of this decision.  We all knew what this meant.  We now had no option but to help Tony Barkley ourselves.  About six farmers left the meeting at this time and proceeded to Tony Barkley`s farm.  I continued to phone other Police officers in an effort to get help.
The record of calls made, as provided by the cell-phone service provider, will show that I phoned the Officer Commanding Police, Mashonaland West Province, (no answer) the Deputy Officer Commanding Police, Mashonaland West Province, Assistant Commissioner PRITCHARDT, who told me he was in Bulawayo and therefore unable to help, the Officer Commanding Makonde District (said to be out of his office) and finally the Deputy Officer Commanding Makonde District, Woman Superintendent CHEPATO who turned out to be the only senior Police officer available.  I passed the report to her and told her that in view of Inspector MUDZIWAPASI`s refusal to attend this scene timeously, the neighbouring farmers were responding to assist Mr Barkley whose life we believed was in jeopardy.
She promised to get the Support Unit to attend.  Note that at this time we still believed Mrs Yvonne Barkley was in the home and therefore equally in danger- only later did we hear she had gone to Harare that morning before the attack commenced.
The Support Unit did not arrive for the next approximately two hours forcing the farmers on the ground to make decisions in the belief that help would not be forthcoming.  A report on the radio back to those of us who were still in Chinhoyi said that Mr Barkley was no longer responding to his radio and it was feared he had been overpowered in his home and was now injured or worse.  The worst was feared for Mrs Barkley as well.  A decision was made to try and negotiate with the settlers to allow two farmers to enter the house and check the Barkleys well-being.  Two farmers approached the group of settlers (now estimated at over 50) The farmers were immediately attacked with bricks, rocks, caterpults and branches, both suffering moderate injuries before escaping.  The number of farmers in attendance had now risen to about 12 or 14.  A decision was made to try and enter the house.  A confrontation followed by a violent clash followed leaving approximately 5 persons injured on either side but leaving the farmers in control of the house.  Thankfully Mr Barkley was found unharmed  - he had not been able to respond to the radio calls as he had been holding his front door against the attempted break-in by the settler groups.  The farmers immediately contacted us (the group who had remained in Chinhoyi ) and advised us that Tony was safe.  The settlers reinforced until they numbered around 70 had regrouped and were threatening the farmers again.  I continued to phone Woman Superintendent CHEPATO as Support Unit had still not arrived at the scene.  I then left the Chinhoyi Country Club where we had been and I proceeded to the Police station where I went to see Inspector MUDZIWAPASI -the Officer in charge.  I gave him an update on events on the farm and told him that several casualties had been suffered.  He seemed surprised and said that perhaps he better go and attend the scene.  We talked for a while and then I left.
Sometime between 12 and 1300hrs the Support Unit were reported to have arrived.  The report I received was that they picked up all, or most, of the settlers in their armoured carrier and asked the farmers to follow to the Police station to give statements as to what had happened.  By this time the Chinhoyi Farmers Association leadership, who had all been in Chinhoyi attending the meeting, arrived on Liston Shields farm.  Amongst them was Fred Wallis, the chairman, and Duncan Moyes, the ex chairman.
They all agreed to follow and give statements.  Most arrived at the Police station around 3pm and were later detained.  In the uncertainty surrounding events, they were followed to the Police station by interested friends and relatives including Mr Louis Fick, who was checking on his brother in law and was immediately arrested.  In the early evening Mr Jim Steele, 72, went to the station with blankets for his son.  He was also arrested.  Neither of these two had been involved in this incident in any way.
None of those arrested were informed of the reasons for their arrest and none were permitted to communicate with lawyers or family.  Neither were they fed for the first 24 hours of their detention.
At 0730 hours the following morning I arrived at the Police station and went to see Inspector Mudziwapasi.  I asked him what was happening and whether I could see the detained persons.
He told me that he was now taking the farmers as accused persons as the information provided to him showed they had caused the conflict.  I asked him how that conclusion fitted with our repeated requests for Police assistance and the threats to a farmer`s life and property.  He said he was very busy.
I remained at the Police station for the next hour, in full view of the settlers, making a few phone calls to advise other concerned people what was happening.  Some time after 0800 a Double-cab vehicle marked ZANU-PF had entered the station, disgorged four persons who began to stir up the settlers and other zanu youth who had gathered at the station.  I was pulled out of my car by a person I have now been informed is a zanu councellor named his accomplices gathered around me in a threatening manner and told me to go back to the office of the Police station (I was parked in the grounds)
Once inside the station these persons accused me of being involved in the incident which had occurred the previous day.  I told them I had not been on the farm at any time and that Inspector Mudziwapasi could confirm this.
We went into Inspector Mudziwapasi`s office and he did confirm that I had been with him.  The zanu official insisted that I be detained.  He now claimed that a baton stick had been used by one of the farmers and because all my guards carried baton sticks (standard issue for every security guard in Zimbabwe) therefore I had obviously supplied the baton.
Baton sticks are readily available in most hardware stores in Zimbabwe.  I said to Inspector Mudziwapasi `It`s your call, you know I could not have been involved, but do you have the courage stand up for the truth?` His reply was to hold up his hands in a sign of resignation/surrender and he told me to go and sit in the charge office.
Although I was not advised I was under arrest I was no longer free to go.
Within a few minutes I was taken to the mother Police station (Chinhoyi Urban) where I was informed I was to be detained.  When I asked on what charge the detail at the counter turned back the page in his Detention book and read out the allegation written against the name of some of those detained the previous day..Public Violence.  I was told to remove my outer clothing, including shoes and socks and then locked in a cell.  I was also not permitted a call to anyone.  I asked to be allowed to retain a jersey/coat because of the cold and was told I could keep my shirt or my jersey but not both.  All the other prisoners I found had been similarly treated.  In my cell I found 7 other inmates, six of them farmers.  (One of them, Hamish Barkley,was arrested at the same time as myself when he arrived to visit his father.) The eight of us shared only three blankets, besides three dirty pieces of old blanket being used to cover the floor on which we sat.
There are no chairs, beds or windows and the toilet is an open hole in the floor which has no flush mechanism or paper.
My cell mates had been in custody for 16 hours and had not been fed or allowed to receive the food brought to them by visitors.  They had also been refused use of the blankets brought to them by relatives.  I was informed that the farmers had been divided into three groups and sent to different Police stations around the district, namely Banket and Zvimba.
Later I heard the Police at Banket had allowed the prisoners detained there to receive food.  All the prisoners reported extreme cold conditions and a lack of blankets and deprivation of their warm clothing.
At about 1000hrs we were removed from the cell and handed over to CID officers who began to conduct an identification parade using the settlers as witnesses.  Of the total of
22 of us only seven were identified.  Amongst those seven were Jim Steel, Hamish Barkley and others who had never been on the farm during the whole day in question.  Also identified was Tony Barkley who had never got out of his house.  Clearly the settlers were confused or merely identifying farmers known to them (most of those identified live in the Alaska area close to Liston Shields farm)
The parade continued until around 1600 hrs when we were offered a communal bowl of sadza and a small plate of about 150 grams of kapenta (to share between 22).  Most prisoners had now been without food for 34 hours (24 of those in Police custody) The Police now told us they wished to take us to Liston Shield for further identification by other settlers.  We agreed to forego lunch to expedite this and were loaded into three vehicles.  Half way to the farm the plan was changed and we returned to the Police station.  Upon our return we were allowed to consult with lawyers who had arrived during the id parade and the Police began to record individual warned and cautioned statements and fingerprints from all of us.  At around 1800 hours food was brought to the station by family and friends and we were allowed to eat.  The recording of statements went on until around 1930 hours.  During this time the CID arrested two relatives who had tried to provide us with warm clothing and blankets.
(Incidentally, in the presence of the lawyers I had complained about the lack of blankets and the officer in charge CID had agreed we should be supplied with more - this was not adhered to) No prisoners up to that time, to my knowledge, had been beaten or physically mistreated.  However zanu officials from time to time would approach us and taunt us or lecture us.  A few Police officers, not those directly involved in the investigation, also chose to insult and taunt the prisoners and give us a bit of a political education.
At around 2000hrs those of us who had been held at Chinhoyi Police station were taken away from the CID block and returned to the cell.  As we entered the cell I was called and told to return to the CID office.  Some time later I was told I would be released.  When I asked why it was suggested to me that I had been detained for my own safety.  I did not push the issue and left the Police station sometime around 2100hrs.
The following morning I went to work a bit later than usual but was informed by some of my staff that zanu youth were looking for me as they were not happy with the Police decision to release me.
I decided to take my family away from Chinhoyi that evening.
We have been warned to remove all valuable things from our home as it is likely to be trashed etc, I pray it will not...
to be continued........
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From Brisbane's Courier-Mail

CHOGM may roll back Mugabe's welcome mat
Bruce Wilson and Malcolm Cole
THE controversial regime of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe is looming as a
diplomatic nightmare for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in
Brisbane later this year.

British officials said this week that it would not be fitting for Mr Mugabe
to be on the same platform as the Queen when she opened CHOGM.
The Zimbabwean President is yet to tell the Australian Government whether he
plans to attend the meeting, to be held in Brisbane and on the Sunshine
Coast from October 6 to 9.

But diplomatic sources in the UK said there was likely to be a move to
suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth before CHOGM, unless the Mugabe
regime gave some guarantee of security and safety to Zimbabwe's white
farmers, whose farms are being taken over by black settlers.

There is also pressure on Mr Mugabe over claims of internal corruption,
election-fixing and widespread human rights violations. Leaders of the
country's beleaguered white community have accused the Mugabe regime of
ethnic cleansing.

Britain's shadow foreign secretary, Francis Maude, has called for Mr Mugabe
and Zimbabwe to be excluded from CHOGM, a move that could split African
loyalties within the 54-member organisation.

One British official said it would be extremely difficult to recommend to
Buckingham Palace that the Queen should greet Mr Mugabe as a valued member
of the Commonwealth.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon, visiting Brisbane yesterday to
inspect CHOGM preparations, said that while the organisation had voiced its
concerns about events in Zimbabwe, "I know of no move whereby there is a
determination to prevent Zimbabwe coming".

But he said the issue may arise at the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group
when it meets next month.

The CMAG, comprising representatives from Australia, Bangladesh, Barbados,
Botswana, Canada, Malaysia, Nigeria and the UK, has already suspended
Pakistan and Fiji from participating in Commonwealth activities after their
democratically elected governments were overthrown.

Federal Government sources said last night Zimbabwe's membership would
almost certainly be on the CMAG agenda.

CMAG will review Fiji's suspension after democratic elections later this
month, and consider the memberships of The Gambia, Sierra Leone and the
Solomon Islands following recent unrest.

Mr McKinnon said Commonwealth leaders had asked for the CHOGM agenda to
focus on issues of democratic governance within Commonwealth nations, and
development-related issues such as infrastructure and debt in developing

"We've got a lot of Commonwealth people living in villages in different
parts of the Commonwealth who in fact are still in the 19th century, because
they haven't got a telephone, they haven't got electricity and they probably
haven't got a decent water supply," he said.

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Irin Focus On Dombadema Resettlement Scheme

The following report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations

A maze of creases map Amos Maduma's face as the sun sets behind him. He says he is "seventy-something" and it shows - the years have taken their toll on this retired farm labourer who seems to have worked himself to the bone his entire life.

Maduma lives in Dombadema, one of Zimbabwe's oldest government land resettlement schemes in Matabeleland South. It lies about 140 km southwest of Bulawayo, the country's second city. From Plumtree, a small town on the border of Botswana, one has to rattle along a 20 km dusty dirt road to reach Dombadema. The land is harsh and dry, suitable for game and cattle farming. However, the people who inhabit about 30 small villages which make up Dombadema, plant whatever they can and rely on the rain for healthy crops.

"We raise cattle, and we grow maize and potatoes and nuts, but this wasn't a good year," Maduma says. "We are going to make up by selling cattle or goats. To raise money for school fees, we sell our cattle to the local cold storage company and our maize to the GMB (Grain Marketing Board) and other private buyers."

He says a good harvest yields about 42 bags of maize, roughly about 4 mt, and that while the parastatal GMB is offering his 28-family village about Zim $4,500 per mt (US $82), a 20-litre drum of the staple food can be sold for for Zim $200 (US $3.6) on the "black market". He knows that the government, trying to prevent food shortages across the country, has banned the sale of maize on the private market, but says that the GMB will not pay him enough to survive and he will have to break the law.

Squinting into the sun, which is casting long shadows over the circle of mud and brick houses surrounding his discoloured, plastic chair, Maduma says, however, that he is content. "I am very happy because we have enough land to graze our cattle. I have 20 of them. We are managing to survive as subsistence farmers and we can usually sell our food too, depending on the harvest," he told IRIN. Then his thoughts turn to the rest of Zimbabwe, particularly its central and eastern provinces, where the government's fast-track resettlement programme has spawned widespread violence.

"I benefited from the government's resettlement programme. I was the first to agree to this resettlement scheme and to come here. But things are different now," he says. "There's a very big difference in the manner they are settling people now. The people who are being settled on the commercial farms are very violent. They go there and harass people on that land. When some of us were settled here, in 1982, the government had already bought this piece of land and we came here in an orderly manner. We are not happy with the way people are being beaten on the farms at the moment."

Maduma says the people of Matabeleland reject political violence. And even though President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party gave them land 19 years ago, the people still hold the party - and Mugabe - responsible for about 30,000 deaths during a vicious security crackdown against armed dissidents soon after independence in 1980. "This is why you don't see so much violence in these provinces. Violence and violent tactics will not work with our people here," he says, referring to the bands of ruling party supporters who have invaded farms in many other provinces, particularly Mashonaland West.

Recalling the time he moved to Dombadema, Maduma says that while the government did not keep all its promises - Dombadema still does not have electricity - it did help his people create basic infrastructure needed to farm.

"Me and some of the other people living here were working on farms near Figtree (more than 60 km away) before we moved. The farm I worked on, Spring Fountain, was sold to a black businessman from Beitbridge. Then we were joined by squatters and the police moved us off the farm after the court said we should move. The government advised us not to resort to violence and to respect the new land owner while they looked for land for us. We were told there was going to be this Dombadema resettlement on some four farms the government bought here. We were even given riot police for protection while we were building here because it was during the disturbances that were going on at the time," he says.

It was tough going, nothing was free. "When we started, the closest water was 4 km away. There were no clinics, shops or schools or houses here. The government promised us a lot of things, like boundary fences, food, ploughs and carts, schools and clinics. They said they would give us bulls and calves to start our own herd too. It was just political rhetoric. They did not give it to us. See, we have no title deeds for this land. The government said we were just settled and we did not buy the land.

"They brought a planner, but we built the schools ourselves - four of them. They lent us ploughs though, and in 1984, the ministry of water sunk some boreholes on our farm and on the other farms in the settlement," he says. Then, in 1994, after years of complaining, the government funded a dam on the settlement with money sourced from donors. The community built the dam. Maduma says that materials for the brick houses which dot the village were sold for about Zim $2,600 (US $47) each and that because of the interest which has piled up, some people are still paying the government for the houses.

Still, says Maduma, he and the rest of the Dombadema community were provided with seeds and some tools by the government and are happy that they have land on which they can live, grow their crops, graze their cattle and bury their dead - even if the land itself is too harsh for mass-scale "food farming" and rainfall is erratic.

"I was happy when they (the government) started (its land redistribution programme) because it meant our children would have land. But what is troubling us now is the violence on the farms. It is from our government, this violence. For those people to be there, it is from the government. We also settled here in a fast manner, but it was peaceful and orderly. The people are just being dumped there (on government acquired commercial farms). It's just a word that they are being 'resettled'. They are being put into the bush to disturb commercial farmers."

Maduma thinks the people being resettled on commercial farms could be doomed to starvation if they do not receive help from the government. "This is the bad thing. The government won't help them and they have no resources to be successful farmers," he says. Closing his eyes in thought, he adds: "It's like if I take your car. I have no licence or money for fuel and repairs. What am I going to do with it?"

When asked what he thinks the solution is, considering that Zimbabwe's peasants need land desperately to eke out a living and that the government seems to be under pressure to keep its promise and deliver land to the poor, Maduma measures his words: "Things should be said. If we don't say them and we don't talk, then ... The government did a good thing for us, but now it looks like something else.

"The government should first have identified people with the resources to farm, and should have established irrigation schemes and then resettled those who are capable of farming and doing something with the land. The problem is that people who have benefited are people who don't need land. For instance there are ministers who have five farms. The government should target ministers with more than one farm and also parcel out that land to landless people. Yes, some war veterans could be getting land, but they are just being dumped there."

Then he says that people also have to work hard for their wealth. His community, for example, may have been given land and provided with expertise, but they built the small rudimentary schools, the dam, the tiny shops, the two local clinics and their houses themselves. "It was hard work, hard work, not violence that has given us what we have," he says, surveying his village as the sun finally goes down behind him.

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Zimbabwe farmers seek bail
Vandalised car in Chinhoyi
Looters have ransacked many farms in Chinhoyi
Lawyers representing 21 white Zimbabwean farmers will seek to secure their release on bail on Thursday.

Arrested white Zimbabwe farmers
The white farmers were arrested after clashes 10 days ago
The farmers, who were charged with violence and assault after clashes with black squatters, have spent the past 10 days in prison.

Late on Wednesday, four journalists from the Daily News were released after their detention on charges of spreading false news was declared illegal by the High Court.

A report in the newspaper had alleged that police were involved in looting of white-owned farms in northwestern Zimbabwe over the past week.

Bail application

The lawyers representing the imprisoned white farmers are hoping that a judge will be able to hear a bail application at the High Court in Harare.

The 21 were arrested after trouble in Chinhoyi, 115km (70 miles) northwest of Harare, accused of beating up government supporters who had invaded a farm belonging to a white farmer.

Daily News editor Geoff Nyarota
Nyarota: False information charges dropped
A BBC correspondent in the region says that the Zimbabwean Government has given every indication that it would like to see the farmers vigorously punished.

They have been shown on local television in chains and police who allowed blankets and food to reach their cells have been disciplined.

But our correspondent says that the Zimbabwean judiciary has proven itself independent and fair, despite intense political pressure.

Old law

The journalists from the Daily News, Zimbabwe's only independent newspaper were detained and charged under legislation inherited from Zimbabwe's former white minority government.

Geoff Nyarota, editor-in-chief of the Daily News, assistant editor Bill Saidi, news editor John Gambanga and reporter Sam Munyavi had allegedly published false news "likely to cause alarm and despondency".

A report in the newspaper had alleged that police were involved in looting of white-owned farms in northwestern Zimbabwe over the past week.

But the court said the act under which they were charged was no longer in force.

As Zimbabwe's political and economic problems have deepened, the government has become increasingly hostile to the media in general, our correspondent says.

Farm attacks

At least 30 homesteads have been looted, and white families have been evacuated from about 100 farms in the Chinhoyi area.

The farmers deny starting clashes with black war veterans on 6 August, saying they were attacked when they went to help a neighbour threatened by the militants.

The front page of the Daily News on Tuesday had described the use of police vehicles as "well orchestrated acts of lawlessness" on the farms.

President Mugabe
President Mugabe is targeting the independent media and judiciary
Before his detention, Mr Saidi said the story was based on eyewitness accounts by the white farmers. He said the police had refused the opportunity to comment on the report before they went to press.

The newpaper's owners have vowed to continue publishing.

The government views the Daily News as an opposition mouthpiece. The newspaper says it is independent and has linked members of the government to corruption.

In April Mr Nyarota and two of his colleagues were questioned and charged with defaming President Robert Mugabe. The Daily News printing press was bombed in January.

White farmers in the Chinhoyi area say violence by a group of up to 250 militants has now eased and the authorities say that large numbers of police have been deployed to restore calm.

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From the Times


Mugabe troops will carve up white farms


IN A further move towards militarising Zimbabwean society, President Mugabe
plans to deploy soldiers to subdivide 5,000 white-owned farms by next April’
s elections.
Using soldiers instead of land inspectors and agricultural experts would
help to create “a general mood and psychology of obedience,” Joseph Made,
the Agriculture Minister, said.

Despite attempts to “ethnically cleanse” whites, one farmer said that they
would go back to the land to try again. At the weekend a mob broke into the
homestead in the Chinhoyi area where the farmer’s parents-in-law, aged 81
and 77, have lived for more than 50 years and stripped it bare.

“You are just so, so vulnerable and you feel so, so helpless,” he said. “If
you retaliate in any kind of way, you are in for the high jump — yet the
police just sit and watch them loot all this stolen stuff on to vehicles.
But what has happened is not going to make the farming community give up, so
you wonder what is next.”

A neighbour, Briget, said: “We won’t go back — there is absolutely nothing
left. They have even taken the roof off the house.” She and her husband had
bought their farm only two years ago, when the Lands Ministry issued a
certificate saying that the farm would not be required for resettlement for
at least five years.

Legal sources believe that the week-long spree of farmhouse trashing around
Chinhoyi was aimed at breaking the white Zimbabwean farming community’s will
to resist, thus speeding up the takeover of properties in time for the
campaign by Mr Mugabe for re-election. If all 5,327 designated farmers
continue to contest designation, it could take the administrative court
several years merely to rubber-stamp the seizures.

Police have been deeply implicated in recent terror campaigns against white
farmers, when officers said they had orders not to intervene.

Farming sources said that using soldiers to divide plots “spells the end of
any serious attempt to put ecologically sound and sustainable smallholdings
in place of present large-scale commercial agriculture”.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
said that Mr Mugabe wanted to hasten land reallocation to give recipients a
stake in continuing the ruling Zanu (PF) party’s 22-year rule.

Use of soldiers in the farm takeover plan dovetails with the President’s
promises of plots to all 60,000 of his uniformed services and the recent
posting of retired military and secret police personnel to key positions in
virtually every department of state.

The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe reported yesterday that 74 per cent of the
country’s 13 million people cannot afford basic necessities. The currency is
worth 2 per cent of its value at 1980.

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Mashonaland West North Crisis
The wives and children of farmers affected by the crisis in Mashonaland West met at the Commercial Farmers’ Union at 4pm on 14th August, 2001, to be briefed by the CFU President, and to discuss the needs of the families and procedures for handling offers of support.
It was agreed that time should be given for the situation to stabilise before the families returned to their homesteads, and that advice in this regard would be sought from those on the ground in affected areas.
Families in need of financial assistance with medical bills, school fees etc. should contact the Farm Families Trust. The Trust has organised an Outreach programme and can provide details of Clinical Social Workers, Psychologists and medical practitioners.  Accommodation can also be arranged for distressed farmers who wish to have a holiday in the United Kingdom and further details in this regard can be obtained from the Trust. The Chairman of the Farm Families Trust Fund is Mr Anthony Swire-Thompson 04 883173 or Donations to the Farm Families Trust can be made to Account number 0101 727 409 500 sort code 5510 at Standard Chartered Bank, Westgate Branch, P O Box 3198, P O Westgate Harare.   Donations to the Farm Families Trust are particularly welcome as logistics In terms of handling monetary donations are far easier.
Any families in need of accommodation, furniture or other utensils should make their needs known to the CFU where a database of such offers has been set up.  A local company has offered storage space and storage of personal goods and implements can be arranged through the Union.  Those wishing to offer assistance by way of accommodation and other practical means should have their details included in the CFU database. Contact persons: Jan Wentworth and Nicky Petersen. and Telephone 309800. Fax Number 309874.
The National Employment Council, comprising of ALB and GAPWUZ have established a Relief Fund to assist farm workers and their families who have lost property and been maimed or injured as a result of the current lawlessness.  Enquiries should be directed to The National Employment Council for the Agricultural Industry 6 Cottenham Avenue P O Box WGT 312 Telephone 334472\3 and 303669 or The Agricultural Labour Bureau, Agriculture House cnr Adylinn Road, Marlborough Drive. Phone 309800. Donations to this fund can be made at Barclays Bank Westgate (in the name of the Farm Workers’ Relief Fund – account number 2144 3286926.
Counselling for those requiring it can be obtained from Veronica Hywood (Ceres Trust) Telephone 885156 or 091 336 158 , Brenda Laing Phone 882808, 885156 Cell Phone 091 370 029.  Sue Hair 335837 or 091 313 333, Ann Hair 485138. 
A room has been set aside in the CFU Building on the first floor by the Farm Families Trust for farmers and their families.
The importance of dealing with media interest in a judicious and managed manner is paramount. Farmers and their families are requested to work through representative Maureen Meikle who was  elected to co-ordinate press interviews.  These will be handled by the CFUs Public Relations Consultant Jenni Williams, Managing Consultant Public Relations Newsmakers, 011 615 300 or 091 377 800.  (Enquiries can be referred through Malcolm Vowles or Jan Wentworth at the CFU.)
Pets in general will be taken in by the Friends Foundation plot 7, Kirkman Road, Tynwald – 10kms from town on Josiah Tongogara Avenue, Phone 229831 224262 or 023 816 804- Christine or Nicholas.  Facilities can be arranged for horses.
Arising from meetings held between CFU and Insurance Brokers last year, a number of companies did take on a certain amount of political risk.  The CFU President undertook to have this matter followed up and professional advice given where needed.
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Zimbabwe Police Re-Charge Four Journalists

VOA News: 16 Aug 2001 19:52 UTC
Zimbabwe police have filed new charges against four journalists one day after they were released from charges found to be unconstitutional. The police charged three editors and one reporter from the independent Daily News late Thursday for publishing what authorities say is subversive material. The four originally were charged with allegedly publishing false material in Tuesday's front-page article implicating the police in raids on white-owned farms. The courts threw out the original charges because they were based on the Law and Order Maintenance Act, which has been deemed unconstitutional. The new charges are based on a separate section of the same act.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's embattled farmers are calling on the government to guarantee their safety so they can resume operations after a week of attacks and looting by pro-government militants.

The Commercial Farmers' Union said in a statement Thursday more than 45 farms in Doma, Mhangura and Chinhoyi have been devastated by the militants at an estimated cost to farmers of $18 million. But the government continues to blame the farmers for the chaos.

Zimbabwe's High Court also said today it will decide Friday whether to grant bail to 21 white farmers accused of inciting violence during an August sixth attack on a farm by black militants. The lower court denied them bail last week, but the farmers' lawyers appealed to the High Court in Harare. The lawyers argue there are no grounds to believe the farmers will leave or interfere with the investigation into the attack, which sparked the recent wave of violence in the country.

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Get tough with Mugabe

The Montreal Gazette: Wednesday 15 August 2001

An ugly situation in Zimbabwe has been getting uglier. Mobs have been looting, vandalizing and taking over white-owned farms, sometimes attacking farmers and farm workers in the process. This has been going on for the past 18 months, but the pace seems to be picking up.

And what are the authorities doing about it? Not much, because the ruling ZANU-PF party is complicit in the attacks. Indeed, last week, police arrested 21 white farmers who had come to the aid of one of their number whose farm was being attacked. This week, though, the police at least made a token effort: after letting the mobs do their work with impunity, they finally creaked into action and arrested 12 alleged attackers. Still, it seems clear enough that the deck is stacked.

There can be no doubt that the patterns of land ownership in Zimbabwe are an unfair relic of the Rhodesian colonial era - whites make up less than one per cent of the population while owning half the best land. But it is equally clear that the government's efforts to fix that situation have been abusive, unfair, even hate-mongering.

Some years ago, Britain, the former colonial power, had started to buy out white farmers but stopped when it turned out that many of the farms were being given, undivided, to friends of the government. More recently, as their own popularity has started to decline, President Robert Mugabe and his party have seized the issue as a way of rallying support and have been scapegoating white farmers - and whites in general.

With Mr. Mugabe facing an election early next year, there is every reason to fear that his party will continue to mobilize bands of thugs to terrorize not only white farmers but also anyone else deemed to be a political opponent.

Last month, there was an attempt on the life of the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, which had done surprisingly well in last year's parliamentary elections despite a climate of violence and intimidation. In recent months, the government has also pressured senior judges to resign and replaced them with those it clearly expects will do its bidding.

Heavy-handed tactics can have a way of backfiring, though. For example, the attacks on the farmers have disrupted production, exacerbating difficulties due to weather conditions; shortages of wheat and corn - staple foods - are expected in the coming months, something that would erode the government's popularity further.

The omens for Zimbabweans, black and white, are not good.

Mr. Mugabe has not shown himself disposed to listen to objections from Western capitals, often branding them "racist." South Africa, the regional powerhouse and a democracy, might be able to make more of an impression. But South African leader Thabo Mbeki so far has said little publicly. He should speak up. And if Mr. Mugabe doesn't listen, countries such as Canada should impose targeted diplomatic sanctions on Zimbabwe, ones that would get the government's attention without hurting the public - such as barring Mr. Mugabe from the next Commonwealth meeting in Australia.

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From The Times (UK), 16 August

Campaigning editor freed after arrest

Harare - President Mugabe’s regime further undermined Zimbabwe’s fragile democracy yesterday with the arrest of the editor of the Daily News, the country’s only independent daily newspaper, and three senior members of staff. However, a high court judge ruled last night that the police had no right to hold the four men and they were released immediately."We were ready to go to the cells," Bill Saidi, 64, assistant editor of the Daily News, said. "Then our lawyer got a judge to issue an order for our release on the ground that the law they were using to detain us was unconstitutional. They (the police) failed. We are very happy."

Geoffrey Nyarota, 50, the paper=92s editor, was picked up at his home in Harare’s affluent Highlands suburb yesterday morning by detectives and taken to Harare central police station. Later Mr Saidi was asked to go to the station and was arrested on arrival as were the news editor, John Gambanga, and a reporter, Sam Munyavi. Lawrence Chibwe, the men’s lawyer, said that the police had prepared charges against them of "publishing a false report liable to create alarm and despondency", a section of the draconian Law and Order Maintenance Act passed by the former white minority Rhodesian government in the 1960s to suppress those fighting for black majority rule. Lawyers pointed out, however, that the law had been struck down by the Supreme Court in May last year.

The arrests followed a front page report in the Daily News on Tuesday, which said that police vehicles had been used to aid thugs from Mr Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party militias as they pillaged white-owned farms north of Harare. A police spokesman said that the police vehicles identified were carrying goods recovered from arrested looters. Mr Nyarota, 50, has changed the face of journalism in Zimbabwe. In 1998, as the editor of the state-controlled Chronicle newspaper in the western city of Bulawayo, he uncovered the "Willowgate Scandal", the first serious corruption case against the Mugabe government. The exposure of vehicle racketeering among senior government officials resulted in the resignation of four Cabinet ministers and the suicide of a fifth - and Mr Nyarota losing his job. He became the founding editor of the Daily News in March 1999. Since then, the paper and its staff have been engaged in a war with the government that has gone beyond verbal barrages. It has suffered two bombings, assaults on journalists, arrests, legal action and slander.

From The Daily News, 15 August

MDC activist in Midlands dies in Gokwe prison

Vusumuzi Mukweli, 32, an MDC activist in the Midlands province, died at Gokwe remand prison on Monday in suspicious circumstances. Frankie Meki, the spokesman for the Zimbabwe Prison Service, confirming the death, said: "It is true Mukweli died, but at the moment I have not been furnished with the details of the circumstances surrounding his death. I am waiting for a verification from our prison doctor on exactly what happened." Meki said he had received conflicting reports on Mukweli’s death, but would not elaborate. Blessing Chebundo, the MDC’s national executive member for Midlands North and the MP for Kwekwe, said Mukweli died in a prison cell. He said Mukweli was arrested last Wednesday for allegedly inciting violence as he campaigned for election as a councillor in Ward 22, Gokwe. Chebundo said: "Mukweli was very active in the run-up to last year’s parliamentary election. He was abducted by Zanu PF supporters and war veterans who beat him up severely. He sustained several injuries to the head and the body." He said Mukweli was then referred to a specialist who put him on permanent medication.

Comment from The Wall Street Journal, 16 August

White flight

Forget racism, colonialism, land reform and all the other excuses trotted out by the head of Zimbabwe's tottering regime. This past week's violence and the arrest of 21 white farmers should finally put the lie to those excuses. The crisis in Zimbabwe is simply caused by autocratic government that is itself destroying the legal protection of its citizens in a desperate attempt to hold onto power. For the past week, government-backed mobs have stormed farms in northeast Zimbabwe, the breadbasket of Southern Africa. Even as starvation looms in many regions, the mob has invaded some of the most productive farms on the African continent. They have attacked white farmers and black laborers with axes and machetes. Houses have been torched, tractors smashed, crops trampled and livestock hacked to pieces. One observer called it an "orgy of banditry." If these criminals truly wanted land reform, why would they destroy the farms that they hoped to own?

Some 60 farms have been evacuated and whites are leaving the country. Some determined farmers are staying, but they are painting their radio call signs on their roofs to make contact with passing planes. Zimbabwe hasn't seen that since the worst days of the 1970s civil war. Most of the whites carry Zimbabwean passports, have lived there for generations and risk losing everything when they flee the country. They used to jokingly call themselves the "lost tribe," but that might not be so funny anymore. The police simply refuse to enforce the law. Valid court orders to remove farm invaders are ignored, as are urgent calls from farmers. One police officer told a farmer: "These issues are political and the police therefore cannot become involved," according to Britain's Daily Telegraph.

When the police do become involved, things sometimes become worse. During a farm attack last week, the owner desperately radioed for help. Twenty-one white farmers came to his rescue. Then the police appeared -- and arrested all of the whites. Not a single farm invader was arrested, according to numerous reports. The photographs of the arrested farmers show a group of middle-aged, middle-class men being led away in handcuffs. They look bewildered. They are being held without bail in an unheated prison in the middle of the Zimbabwean winter. The men, clad mostly in shorts and short-sleeved shirts, are not prepared for temperatures that can go as low as 12 degrees (54 Fahrenheit). Family members who showed up to deliver blankets were also arrested. Three black policemen who gave the prisoners warm clothes were punished. Every aspect of a lawful society has been purposely turned upside down.

The motives for these attacks are not primarily racial. Before the waves of violence instigated by the regime of President Robert Mugabe, an American visitor to Zimbabwe's farm belt would be reminded of California's Central Valley. These were modern, highly mechanized farms worked by men of different races and tongues without enmity. Some recent events show that race and tribe mean less in Zimbabwe than ever before. Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, is the largest interracial political party in Africa today. Even the two rival tribes that divided Zimbabwean politics for decades, the Shona and the Ndebele, have come together in the MDC. If the opposition is not cheated out of its expected victory in next year's presidential elections, Zimbabwe could be ruled by the most diverse and liberal coalition in Africa.

Land reform is also a red herring. In 1980, when Zimbabwe became independent of Britain, the U.K. pledged to help finance the purchase of white-owned farms. After a decade and more than $44 million spent, the British government cut off the funds. Zimbabwean officials were forcing white farmers to sell -- a clear violation of the agreement that the U.K. government had struck with Zimbabwe. As for the farms that the Zimbabwean government did buy, most were simply looted and abandoned. Settling city dwellers with no agricultural experience on large commercial farms simply didn't translate into success. Most of the hapless urbanites were reduced to demolishing farm buildings and selling the bricks for food.

In 1998, Britain agreed to another land reform scheme. The U.K. agreed to pay for the purchase of 100 farms. Mr. Mugabe responded by demanding funds for 1,500 farms -- nearly one-quarter of all white-owned farms. When the British government learned that the farms would remain government property, it balked. Thus began Mr. Mugabe's crusade for land seizures. His government has announced plans to seize 95% of all 4,000 white-owned farms, mostly without compensation. Remember, these farms are an economic pillar of the Zimbabwean economy and are heavily taxed. It makes little economic sense to destroy what is still working -- but sadly it does make political sense. Nearly two million blacks live and work on white-owned farms. Mr. Mugabe believes they are the source of the opposition party's strength. Wrecking those farms and turning those blacks into refugees will flatten the opposition. Too bad he has to destroy the country to do it.

From News24 (SA), 16 August

SADC team 'a slap in the face'

Pretoria - The establishment of a task team of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), under the leadership of President Thabo Mbeki, to search for a solution to the situation in Zimbabwe can be seen at "the most severe slap in the face yet" for President Robert Mugabe in an attempt to alter his thinking. The step can, through consistent pressure, isolate Mugabe within the region to such an extent that he will have no option but to co-operate in bringing about a political and economic settlement. Dr Jakkie Cilliers of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said on Wednesday "if a country's neighbouring states decided to speak about their 'brother's' problems in public, it was, in diplomatic terms, tantamount to drawing the line on its actions."

The task team was announced this week after the SADC summit held in Blantyre, Malawi. Mbeki will head the team, together with the president of Botswana and Mozambique, Mbeki's main allies within SADC. The three parties are known as the SADC troika. "When heads of state within a region join forces to intervene in another country, it emphasises the seriousness of the problems. It is also significant that South Africa is prepared to take the lead, even though it is known to shy away from strong-arm tactics. It is a masterstroke by Mbeki not to tackle the task alone, but to unite his allies in a multilateral initiative."

The DA's Dr Boy Geldenhuys is of the opinion that the task team will have to act against Mugabe in no uncertain terms to end lawlessness in the country in order to re-establish a basis for political and economic growth. "Measures must also be put in place to prevent further lawlessness. Foreign sanctions will not have the desired effect, but should Mugabe be isolated by the SADC leaders, it may save the stature of his country and that of the region. Should the leaders within the region act firmly, it will also send a message to the international community that these leaders can act decisively. Without leaders to see it through, no African plans for reconstruction will be successful." In a communique released after the summit, SADC leaders expressed their concern over the effect of the Zimbabwean economic situation on the region. The leaders said "it was imperative to co-operate with all interested parties, not only with the Zimbabwean government, to find a solution". According to Cilliers, it boils down to the isolation of Mugabe. "When your neighbouring states start talking to representatives of commerce and industry, organised agriculture and opposition parties within your own borders, you do not have much of a chance."

According to Tasneem Carrim, a spokesperson of the presidency, the task team will shortly launch action plans. "Guidelines have to be set, but to save time, groundwork can be done telephonically." According to her, Mbeki said "the task team will work closely with the negotiation team of President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, which acts as intermediary between Zimbabwe and the League of Nations on restitution". Colin Cloete, president of the Zimbabwean Commercial Farmers' Union, told Nico van Burick "they welcomed the involvement of other countries in the region". He has not yet been fully informed about the decisions taken at the summit, but in the interim, the involvement of the task team "looks promising". "Should Mugabe be willing to co-operate, this can be a step in the right direction."

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