district of Hwedza, 80 kilometres south-east of Harare, was subjected to
Chinhoyi-style mass orchestrated attack on Friday. At least one farmer was
still under siege in his farmstead as this report was compiled, with his
entire workforce taking shelter within the fenced-off area. On another farm,
300 people are living in tobacco barns, and six farm vehicles have been
stolen. On at least six of the farms, the violence took a similar,
systematic, pattern. The farmworkers were first herded from their living
quarters into the areas surrounding the tobacco barns, the farmers were
forced to pay them wages due, and the workers and their families were then
chased off the properties altogether.
Some fled to neighbouring
communal lands, while many others were initially just left on the side of the
road with their belongings. War veterans then decided that this was "bad
publicity", and the farmworkers were then chased into the bush. One farmer
who went to investigate is believed to have been beaten with a sjambok. At
total of 25 farms in the area are thought to have been affected. The Red
Cross and the UNHCR were contacted in an effort to provide food and shelter
for the estimated 4 000 people who have now lost their livelihood and
shelter, but no help has so far been forthcoming a representative of the Red
Cross having said it was "too political".
Near Marondera, local
farmer Ian Kay has again been the subject of serious harassment and
intimidation. On Thursday evening his son David left Chipisa Farm at around
7:00, travelling along the dirt road leading to out from the farmstead. At
around 10:30 am, a farm security guard radioed through to report that an army
vehicle had been seen in the squatter camp on he property. David returned
along the same road at 11:30, noticed a road block constructed of large rocks
across the road, drove around them and returned to the farmstead. On Friday
morning the road was travelled again as the Kay's went out to tackle a fire
which had broken out on the lands. The roadblock was still in place, and
a security guard was sent to move the boulders. As this was being done,
a hand grenade was found underneath one of the rocks. In the
bush surrounding the road firing positions were found where at least
three people had at one stage been lying in ambush, with army-style
boot prints in the sand. The grenade was detonated by the bomb squad. Ian
Kay was severely beaten several weeks ago for the second time
and subsequently won a court ruling which ordered squatters off his
farm. This is thought to have angered the local war veterans.
Letter from Zim - Chinoyi farmer
Dear Everyone, For those people on my list who don't know me, my name is Joy
Moolman, a farmer's wife who lives in Karoi, which is a farming community in
the north west of Zimbabwe.
Last Monday, a large intimidating group of
Africans( probably about 40 or so) gathered at the home of the Barcley's,
they were armed with sticks and knobkerries. The farmer and his wife, who
are an elderly couple, were in fear of their lives as these people are
volatile, heady with the knowledge that whatever they do wrong will not be
addressed, and they consider themselves in charge. The farmer pretended he
was going to phone the district administrator to come and sort out
any problems they thought they might have with the farmer, so they let
him go inside his house. Well as you can well imagine, this poor man
phoned the police instead. As per normal, the police said they did not have a
spare vehicle to send, but could spare a constable on a bicycle to ride the
35 kilometres to get to the farm. Another farmer then phoned the police to
say he would uplift a detail. The police responded by saying they would not
ride in a civillian vehicle. Let me just add here that illegal pegging of
farms has been taking place this last 2 months and I know for a fact that
transport for the team that pegged our farm was provided every day for a week
using a police land rover! Also if a sqatter has any problem with the
farmer at all, the farmer is reported and picked up for jail immediately.
Right, back to our story. Mr. Barcley got onto his radio network and radiod
for assistance. With this business having gone on for the last 18 months,
the only support we have is from each other. Two neighbours came round
straight away to find the place barricaded. They let the rest of the
neighbourhood know they were breaking through to try to get the couple out of
immenent danger. they broke through and managed to get to the beseiged
couple, they were attacked and beaten in their efforts. The rest of
the neighbourhood responded and arrived on the farm, about another 9 or
so farmers to help. These sqatters/cowards/criminals who can't face a
man to man battle, had more than they bargained for with this group
of farmers going in to the rescue. Please note that this group of
farmers consisted mainly of 60-70 year old men, joined by a couple of
their sons! The sqatters are mainly unemployed youth who are in their
The police asked the farmers to come to the cop shop to make
their statements about the incident, which being law abiding citizens,
they did. They were arrested the minute they walked through the doors,
about 14 farmers, I think. They were thrown in jail overnight. Hamish
Barcley, the son, went to the cop shop with a Chinhoyi farmer the next day
in enquire what was going to happen to the farmers. The two were
The 72 year old Presbytarian minister went with blankets for
the chaps and was thrown into jail. The number in jail is now 20. We are
still in our winter season with temperature at night down to 0 c, the
farmers had no warm clothing and prisons in this country are a joke. The
one man, 72, suffered a heart attack and was allowed out. They had
endless trouble in Chinhoyi with Whites assaulted in the streets with fists
and knives. Our local Doc, Chris Lewis was kept busy.
that had whites in had rocks thrown at them and everyone in the town were
ready to evacuate. This road that passes through Chinhoyi leads to the
Zambezi River, Kariba, Mana pools, Zambia, so has much traffic on
The court case was unable to continue the one day as Zanu
P.F. upporters threatened everyones lives, once again no
police intervention. The case was emanded three times just to keep
these farmers in prison over the long weekend we are having, aptly
named heroes weekend. Houses of Whites in Chinhoyi have been looted,
the tension everywhere is tangible.
My husband, Theunis, is a buckshee
farmer, successful, practical and a very lever man, We have 27 resettlers on
our farm put on by this illegal resettling program. They are trying to
displace our 60 families who work for us on the farm. We have no option but
to stay here and try to get the situation to resolve itself, a very daunting
exercise. Yesterday the chaps in Karoi were radioed from Doma, a farming
community close to Chinhoyi, to help evacuate all the women and children off
the farms. The area responded and many people were able to escape by
road. Theunis, who is also a pilot, eventually flew in to the main
troubled area. There was chaos and mayhem on the farms. Large groups
of squatters were trashing and looting everyones farm in the district.
The trouble had started two days previously and because police would
not respond, it turned into a free for all. Theunis,in the plane, was used
as an early warning system to tell which way the groups were going next, so
the men left could evacuate their properties in enough time.
air they watched the total desecration of a property. All the contents of
houses were removed and placed in the garden, Blacks helped themselves to
what they wanted and trashed the rest. Tractors and trailers were being used
to cart off maize and fertilizer belonging to the owner.
labour were rounded up like sheep and had people hitting them with sticks.
They chased some cattle around the paddock hoping to catch one to slaughter.
This plan failed, so they put four bulls into the cattle race and cut their
throats as they stood. The bodies were loaded onto the trailer for their
party!!! This was happening all over the district.
One of the
Mannings family had their house attacked. Ant had to cut through his burglar
bars at one end of the house to get his kids out, while he could hear them at
the other end trying to cut their way in.
There was an official fly past
for Mugabe in Harare to celebrate for the holiday so other air traffic was
grounded. Eventually when they could fly planes pilots arrived from Harare
to uplift more people out. Theunis arrived home after a full day in Doma
having flown for five hours. He and his co pilot were the lucky ones, they
were able to sleep in their own beds last night.
On the SABC news we
heard that police were responding to quiten the area,three days too
This morning, Sunday, at 7.30 he got another urgent request to go
back into the area as all the strife was starting over. So much for
the police force! We have been through a lot this year as farmers. Our
lives have been threatened, our farming operations stopped, our homes taken
away from us. For those who do not know me, I too have been locked in my
own surround by war vets/squatters two Saturdays ago, but that's
Why do we stick it out you may ask as every day gets
harder. We remain here>because we put our faith in God and hope that one
day the people can see we are all Zimbabweans and hope for the best for our
country and all the people who live here.
Please let people all over
the world know about our plight by sending on this e-mail. These incidents I
have described will affect the whole country soon if some action is not taken
soon. Please take precautions when travelling here, do not be hoodwinked
into believing all is safe. Please pray for the farmers in jail. Thanks for
the time you have taken to read this. Best wishes to all Joy
P.S To all the people who watched the programme called Focus on
SABC2 the other night, we thought the programme was very balanced as it
showed both sides of the story. Theunis was one of the pilots who flew them
to Karoi. Mark Hellam who spoke about his 5 year old daughter
being traumatised is our neighbour.
Human rights report increases pressure on
Blair - Times
Exiles come home - CArgus
Swazi King criticises Mugabe -
From ZWNEWS, 18
The farming district of Hwedza, 80 kilometres south-east of
Harare, was subjected to Chinhoyi-style mass orchestrated attack on Friday. At
least one farmer was still under siege in his farmstead as this report was
compiled, with his entire workforce taking shelter within the fenced-off area.
On another farm, 300 people are living in tobacco barns, and six farm vehicles
have been stolen. On at least six of the farms, the violence took a similar,
systematic, pattern. The farmworkers were first herded from their living
quarters into the areas surrounding the tobacco barns, the farmers were forced
to pay them wages due, and the workers and their families were then chased off
the properties altogether.
Some fled to neighbouring communal lands, while many others
were initially just left on the side of the road with their belongings. War
veterans then decided that this was "bad publicity", and the farmworkers were
then chased into the bush. One farmer who went to investigate is believed to
have been beaten with a sjambok. At total of 25 farms in the area are thought to
have been affected. The Red Cross and the UNHCR were contacted in an effort to
provide food and shelter for the estimated 4 000 people who have now lost their
livelihood and shelter, but no help has so far been forthcoming – a
representative of the Red Cross having said it was "too political".
Near Marondera, local farmer Ian Kay has again been the subject
of serious harassment and intimidation. On Thursday evening his son David left
Chipisa Farm at around 7:00, travelling along the dirt road leading to out from
the farmstead. At around 10:30 am, a farm security guard radioed through to
report that an army vehicle had been seen in the squatter camp on he property.
David returned along the same road at 11:30, noticed a road block constructed of
large rocks across the road, drove around them and returned to the farmstead. On
Friday morning the road was travelled again as the Kay’s went out to tackle a
fire which had broken out on the lands. The roadblock was still in place, and a
security guard was sent to move the boulders. As this was being done, a hand
grenade was found underneath one of the rocks. In the bush surrounding the road
firing positions were found where at least three people had at one stage been
lying in ambush, with army-style bootprints in the sand. The grenade was
detonated by the bomb squad. Ian Kay was severely beaten several weeks ago – for
the second time – and subsequently won a court ruling which ordered squatters
off his farm. This is thought to have angered the local war veterans.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 17
Chombo, Zanu PF MPs incite anarchy
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo and Zanu PF MPs in
Mashonaland West province provoked the widespread lawlessness and looting on
farms in the Chinhoyi/Mhangura area, it has been gathered. Sources said prior to
the eruption of violence at Liston Shiels Farm on August 6, Chombo, in the
company of Chinhoyi MP Philip Chiyangwa and Zvimba South MP Sabina Mugabe, urged
farm invaders at Hunyani Farm, a day before the flare-up, to take over the
surrounding properties. Sabina, President Mugabe’s sister, has been instrumental
in farm invasions and disruption of agricultural activities around Norton.
Sources said Chombo, who was assessing the progress of
resettling squatters on farms, told invaders to capture farms that harboured
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters and garrison them. It
is understood that the renewed raids were part of Zanu PF’s strategy to
marginalise the MDC from the farming districts ahead of next year’s presidential
election and drive farmers off the land. "Chombo openly said resettled farmers
should take over the farms where there are MDC supporters," said a source who
attended the meeting. "He also told them that co-existence with farmers means
they should be using their equipment, water, electricity and other essentials
for free. Otherwise, peaceful co-existence is there only at policy level and not
on the ground."
Chombo was not available for comment yesterday. "I don’t really
know where he is right now," said his secretary. Chiyangwa was not keen to
discuss the anarchy and pillaging in his constituency. "Chombo may know better.
I don’t know anything," Chiyangwa said before adding: "We were just visiting to
see what the situation was like on the farms." The clashes at Liston Shiels Farm
- where the mayhem started - occurred a day after Chombo’s visit to the area. Up
to 23 farmers were arrested as a result. Recent political instigation of
violence in Chinhoyi has a traceable record. Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi
stopped in the area after entering the country through Chirundu border post from
Zambia last month. Gaddafi, who was on an unofficial visit, told villagers in
the hinterland that whites should be booted out of Zimbabwe. Local politicians
have also been speaking the language of violence. Vice-President Joseph Msika is
reported to have taken the anti-white crusade - which now seems to be President
Mugabe’s official policy - a step further last weekend, when he said: "Whites
are not human beings."
Farmers - who accuse Mugabe of ethnic cleansing – say war
veterans started the violence to facilitate looting and fulfil a political
agenda while Zanu PF officials and ministers claim the property owners provoked
the havoc. "It is the farmers who are unleashing this violence," Home Affairs
minister John Nkomo claimed last week. Farmers however dispute this. "The war
veterans and invaders attacked Liston Shiels Farm knowing that neighbours would
come to farm owner Anthony Barkley’s rescue," one farm owner said. "They then
called the police and claimed they were being attacked. The arrest of farmers is
being used to justify state-sponsored violence."
The state-controlled Herald yesterday said that the British
High Commission and farmers organised the violence and looting "as part of a
plot to justify international intervention in the country’s affairs". However,
British High Commission political affairs secretary Richard Lindsay dismissed
the story as ridiculous. "Allegations that our staff have been involved in the
lawlessness and looting in the Chinhoyi/Mhangura region are completely without
foundation and patent nonsense," he said. A Commercial Farmers Union
representative in Mashonaland West province said: "Does anybody believe that? I
don’t think anybody who can read and write would believe such frivolous and
The marauding invaders raided at least 26 farms in the
Chinhoyi/Mhangura area and took millions of dollars worth of property. Items
seized in the looting included motor vehicles, tractors, petrol, diesel, beds,
tables, chairs, bags of fertiliser and cement, television sets, radios,
chemicals, refrigerators and whole herds of cattle. Police have arrested some of
the looters and recovered part of property. Despite official claims that the
situation was now under control, the CFU yesterday said lawlessness persisted in
Mashonaland West. "Tension increased on Richmond, Whindale, Caranfel, Cotswold,
Solvang and Treelands, causing the owners to vacate their farms immediately for
safety," it said. "Illegal occupiers turned over two jeeps on Cotswold Estate,
broke into the homestead, destroyed the house and loaded the furniture and
household contents onto a truck."
The CFU said the illegal occupiers parked tractors and trailers
across the road and held a large party, which farm workers were forced to
attend. "Invaders broke into the farm butchery on Dichwe Farm and stole all the
meat. The farm stores on Caranfel and Richmond were broken into and all store
items looted," said the CFU. It was reported squatters on Whindale Ranch
hijacked the farm tractor and siphoned fuel from it. The owner of Mucherengi
Farm had to evacuate his farm for security reasons. "Illegal occupiers armed
with sticks demanded keys to a farm lorry from the owner of Kismet Farm. On Two
Tree Hill farm, illegal occupiers loaded the owner’s furniture and household
goods onto a tractor and trailer, and forced farm workers to assist." The CFU
said raiders ransacked the homestead belonging to the owner of Long Valley Farm.
The owner of Sonops Farm was shot at near his workshops. Two truckloads of
fertiliser were stolen from Tree Hill Farm, the CFU said. The CFU is seeking
assurances for their members’ safety before they continue farming
From The Times (UK), 18
Mugabe's opponents 'raped and
Harare/London – Tony Blair was under increasing pressure to
take action against Zimbabwe yesterday after harrowing new evidence of torture
and human rights abuses was uncovered. The Conservatives condemned as shameful
the continued silence of Labour ministers as white farmers reported horrific
acts committed under President Mugabe’s regime. Graphic details of rape and
torture were sent to the Foreign Office at the beginning of the week in an
e-mail from the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum, a coalition of lawyers and
charities, pleading for action. They were made public yesterday by the
Conservatives, who accused the Government of ignoring the plea.
The new evidence emerged as the ordeal of 21 white farmers in a
lice-ridden jail in Zimbabwe’s small northern town of Chinhoyi looked set to
drag on to a full fortnight after a judge failed to reach a decision on bail. A
High Court judge, Rita Makarau, was to have delivered her ruling yesterday
morning, but instead told lawyers that she would postpone judgment until Monday.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum detailed attacks with whips, chains, batons,
electricity, water and fire. Melted plastic was used to burn victims’ bodies,
including their genitals, and others were subjected to horrific sex attacks. The
victims were not only white farmers, but also anyone suspected of not supporting
the Mugabe regime, it said.
Francis Maude, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, called for Mr
Blair to take a lead in trying to get Zimbabwe expelled from the Commonwealth.
"The accounts of human rights abuses ... are terrifying, sickening and
horrific," he said. "We have long called on the Government to take action
against Mr Mugabe and his henchmen, but have provoked little response. Now we
learn that not only have our warnings and calls for action from Robin Cook and
Jack Straw fallen on deaf ears, but they also appear to have ignored the crimes
and abuses detailed in this e-mail. Five years ago Tony Blair made promises of
an ethical foreign policy. What a joke."
The report collates 77 statements from victims of the violence
by "war veteran" squatters who have been attacking white farmers and camping on
their land. One victim told how he and a friend had been kidnapped at night and
taken to a farm used as a base by the veterans. They were bound then tortured.
"They beat me first. Then they used all the same tactics, wrapping my legs,
hands and private parts and lighting the plastics. They were taking hot ashes
and spreading them on my body. I have burns all over my back, front, buttocks,
private parts, thighs and legs." The atrocities were being committed by "black
people against black, white, yellow and brown", the report said.
The Foreign Office said that ministers were extremely concerned
by the contents of the report, but the Government’s tactic was to work with
European and Commonwealth partners to put pressure on Mr Mugabe. The European
Union is expected to meet Zimbabwean officials within days and a Commonwealth
foreign ministers’ conference in Nigeria next month offers the best hope to
press the Government’s case, the spokesman said. "We have repeatedly registered
this concern with the Government of Zimbabwe. Together with our European and
Commonwealth partners, we will continue to use every opportunity to make these
concerns crystal clear."
In Harare, the decision by Judge Makarau, who is regarded as a
robust judge, has raised eyebrows in legal circles. Advocate Firoz Girach,
representing the 21 men, said that she gave no reason for the delay. On Thursday
the judge was told that the farmers had been subjected to arbitrary arrest and
harassment by police who illegally shaved their heads, forced them to wear
prison uniforms, paraded them in front of state-controlled television crews and
refused to allow them medicines and food brought by relations. In the district
of Karoi, about 30 miles from Chinhoyi, white farmers have shaved their heads in
solidarity with their colleagues in jail and as a tactic to prevent the men
being singled out and victimised on their release.
From ZWNEWS: You can read the full
human rights report on our website - www.zwnews.com -
in the Human Rights section under Reports. Look for "Who was
From The Cape Argus (SA), 17
Come home to vote Mugabe out, MDC
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai urged millions of
his compatriots living in South Africa to come home in time to vote in next
year's presidential elections. Addressing the Cape Town Press Club in Newlands
on Thursday, Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
joked: "In Johannesburg, if you throw a stone, you hit a Zimbabwean. We'd like
them to come home and vote." Tsvangirai also called on international observers
to come to Zimbabwe at least three months before the presidential election to
make sure that it was free and fair. Tsvangirai said he was pleased to note that
President Mbeki had taken a more robust stand after admitting that his policy of
"quiet diplomacy" had become frustrating. "Even the international community,
which was initially quite cynical about events unfolding in Zimbabwe, have
realised the far-reaching implications for the rest of the region." Asked
whether he believed the "assassination" of President Robert Mugabe would be in
the best interests of the country, Tsvangirai said it was not something he would
support and that the outcome could be disastrous.
His party was committed to non-violence and any violence
committed before the presidential election would not be justified. "It is one
thing to remove a president and another thing to reverse the crisis facing
Zimbabwe. We believe that rather than pursuing Mugabe, we need to restore the
rule of law, establish some degree of civil order and restore the independence
of the police and the judiciary." Tsvangirai said his party was also reluctant
to call for sanctions at this stage because the country would not survive.
However, he said, "we do support certain limitations - Mugabe and his henchmen
shouldn't be allowed to travel freely". "And there is no reason why Mugabe
should attend the Brisbane conference of Commonwealth leaders later this
There had been talk about the possibility of creating a
government of national unity involving the MDC and the ruling Zanu-PF party, but
there would be disadvantages. "We'd be smeared with the same brush as Zanu PF,
but if it is in the best interest to find common ground, it may be the only
reasonable way out of the crisis." He also said Zanu-PF was going "one way". "It
can neither be reformed nor resuscitated. Mugabe is the only one keeping it
alive and any potential reformers have been marginalised." Tsvangirai described
Zimbabwe's economic erosion in the past year as "drastic", with unemployment at
60 percent and the currency being sharply devalued - 300 Zimbabwe dollars now
equals one US dollar. "We will also be facing a huge humanitarian crisis next
year because we'll have to import food and we won't have the money to pay for
Tsvangirai had harsh words to say about Mugabe's
much-criticised land policy. "Commercial agriculture, the basis of our economy,
is being destroyed. You don't need to rape, kill and maim to implement land
reform." Tsvangirai said between 350 000 and 400 000 farmworkers had already
been displaced and many would in all likelihood not find their way back on to
farms. He said most farmers would also have to start from scratch. "But for now
our first priority is that people are safe. Farmers should evacuate their farms
rather than sacrifice their lives for a house." In spite of the anarchy and
chaos, Tsvangirai believes there is hope. "Change in Zimbabwe is irreversible,
whether Mugabe likes it or not."
From The Cape Times (SA), 17
Swazi king hammers Mugabe over land
Ludzidzini, Swaziland - In an unusually open criticism of one
regional leader by another, Swaziland's King Mswati III said this week that he
and other leaders of the Southern African Development Community had to stop
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's undemocratic seizure of white-owned
farmland. Addressing a press conference on Wednesday on his arrival from the
SADC summit in Blantyre, Malawi, Mswati said the future of the SADC region would
be tarnished if its leaders allowed Mugabe to continue grabbing whites' land.
"We have already appointed three heads of state to deal with Mugabe on the land
grab issue. We felt that what our colleague is doing was beyond the premises of
democracy, and he has to be stopped," he said. The king was referring to SADC's
decision to appoint a task team consisting of South Africa, Mozambique and
Botswana - as well as SADC's present, immediate past and future chairpersons -
to address the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe. In an unusually
critical statement, the SADC leaders expressed concern about the effects of
Zimbabwe's economic situation on the region. At last year's summit, the SADC
heads fully backed Zimbabwe on its handling of the land question.
Meanwhile the 21 white farmers from the strife-torn Chinhoyi
district of north-western Zimbabwe were to spend their 11th night in jail on
Thursday night after a High Court judge postponed until Friday a ruling on their
appeal to be released on bail. The farmers, who include South African Louis
Fick, have been in custody since their arrest on Monday last week after they
clashed with war veterans and other ruling Zanu-PF supporters who had invaded
white-owned farmland. A magistrate in Chinhoyi refused to grant them bail last
week, and so they appealed to the High Court. High Court Judge Rita Makarau said
at Thursday's appeal hearing that she needed time to study the arguments raised
by the state and the farmers. Makarau had earlier quizzed Firoz Girach, the
farmers' advocate, on whether releasing the farmers on bail would indeed not
endanger their security and that of the entire community in Chinhoyi in view of
revenge attacks against farmers in the town by the government's militant
supporters. Girach replied that individual liberty was sacrosanct and that no
one should be denied freedom because of arguments about security.
Denmark froze all aid to the Zimbabwean government on Thursday
after accusing Mugabe of fomenting strife within his troubled state. Danish
Co-operation Minister Anita Bay Bundegaard said the decision had been taken in
the light of the "political crisis which has grown worse within the past few
days, marked by increasing aggression and violations of law and order, which the
president appears to be knowingly fomenting rather than combating". With the
freeze, the total amount of Danish aid to Zimbabwe for this year has been
reduced to R71-million, all of it for non-governmental bodies. Denmark has also
decided to suspend annual bilateral talks with Zimbabwe scheduled for the
beginning of next year. It has furthermore decided to withdraw its three
advisers to the Zimbabwean health minister, but is looking for other ways to
assist deprived sections of the Zimbabwean population, particularly those living
with HIV and Aids.
BY MELISSA KITE, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT AND JAN RAATH IN
TONY BLAIR was under
increasing pressure to take action against Zimbabwe yesterday after harrowing
new evidence of torture and human rights abuses was uncovered.
The Conservatives condemned as shameful the
continued silence of Labour ministers as white farmers reported horrific acts
committed under President Mugabe’s regime.
Graphic details of rape and torture were
sent to the Foreign Office at the beginning of the week in an e-mail from the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum, a coalition of lawyers and charities, pleading for
action. They were made public yesterday by the Conservatives, who accused the
Government of ignoring the plea.
The new evidence emerged as the ordeal of 21
white farmers in a lice-ridden jail in Zimbabwe’s small northern town of
Chinhoyi looked set to drag on to a full fortnight after a judge failed to reach
a decision on bail. A High Court judge, Rita Makarau, was to have delivered her
ruling yesterday morning, but instead told lawyers that she would postpone
judgment until Monday.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum detailed
attacks with whips, chains, batons, electricity, water and fire. Melted plastic
was used to burn victims’ bodies, including their genitals, and others were
subjected to horrific sex attacks. The victims were not only white farmers, but
also anyone suspected of not supporting the Mugabe regime, it said.
Francis Maude, the Shadow Foreign Secretary,
called for Mr Blair to take a lead in trying to get Zimbabwe expelled from the
Commonwealth. “The accounts of human rights abuses ... are terrifying, sickening
and horrific,” he said. “We have long called on the Government to take action
against Mr Mugabe and his henchmen, but have provoked little response.
“Now we learn that not only have our
warnings and calls for action from Robin Cook and Jack Straw fallen on deaf
ears, but they also appear to have ignored the crimes and abuses detailed in
this e-mail. Five years ago Tony Blair made promises of an ethical foreign
policy. What a joke.” >
The report collates 77 statements from
victims of the violence by “war veteran” squatters who have been attacking white
farmers and camping on their land.
One victim told how he and a friend had been
kidnapped at night and taken to a farm used as a base by the veterans. They were
bound then tortured. “They beat me first. Then they used all the same tactics,
wrapping my legs, hands and private parts and lighting the plastics. They were
taking hot ashes and spreading them on my body. I have burns all over my back,
front, buttocks, private parts, thighs and legs.”
The atrocities were being committed by
“black people against black, white, yellow and brown”, the report said.
The Foreign Office said that ministers were
extremely concerned by the contents of the report, but the Government’s tactic
was to work with European and Commonwealth partners to put pressure on Mr
Mugabe. The European Union is expected to meet Zimbabwean officials within days
and a Commonwealth foreign ministers’ conference in Nigeria next month offers
the best hope to press the Government’s case, the spokesman said.
“We have repeatedly registered this concern
with the Government of Zimbabwe. Together with our European and Commonwealth
partners, we will continue to use every opportunity to make these concerns
In Harare, the decision by Judge Makarau,
who is regarded as a robust judge, has raised eyebrows in legal circles.
Advocate Firoz Girach, representing the 21 men, said that she gave no reason for
On Thursday the judge was told that the
farmers had been subjected to arbitrary arrest and harassment by police who
illegally shaved their heads, forced them to wear prison uniforms, paraded them
in front of state-controlled television crews and refused to allow them
medicines and food brought by relations.
In the district of Karoi, about 30 miles
from Chinhoyi, white farmers have shaved their heads in solidarity with their
colleagues in jail and as a tactic to prevent the men being singled out and
victimised on their release.
The sound of defiant laughter gets under Mugabe's skin
By Alex Duval Smith, Africa Correspondent
Independent UK: 19 August 2001
In Zimbabwe, most ordinary people do not speak English, let alone read it.
But so irritated is President Robert Mugabe with the opposition Daily News that
four of its journalists were last week arrested – briefly – under a legal
sub-section that effectively no longer exists.
One of the four, news editor John Gambanga, laughs: "We had to be called in
on Friday to have our charge sheets changed from 'spreading false news' to
'publishing subversive material'. The first charge was struck down as
unconstitutional by the supreme court last year, but the police had not realised
this. And I cannot see the new charge coming to anything.''
Surprisingly, perhaps, for an opposition paper under intense official
pressure to disappear, the mood is lighthearted in the Harare newsroom of the
country's only independent daily. "We crack a lot of jokes at morning conference
– it is our way of living with the pressure,'' said one reporter.
In the two years and 79 days since the News hit the streets of Zimbabwe's
main cities, it has overcome more obstacles than most newspapers face in
decades. At first there was the reluctance of advertisers – cautious of
associating with an opposition paper in a hitherto one-daily state. Then, ahead
of last year's parliamentary elections, a firebomb was thrown into a shop in the
same building as the Daily News. Finally, gunmen held up security guards at the
paper's printing plant and blew the place up.
Both President Mugabe and his information minister, Jonathan Moyo, have
launched defamation suits against the paper – the latter after the cheeky
tabloid dusted off and reprinted a scathing essay against the veteran leader,
written a few years earlier by his now-loyal mouthpiece.
Last week's arrest of editor Geoffrey Nyarota and three of his staff – after
they claimed in an article that police vehicles had been used to loot
white-owned farms – was the young paper's latest brush with the law. Earlier
this year, three reporters were picked up over a story alleging that President
Mugabe received kickbacks during the tender process for Harare's new
The paper's vendors are constant targets of assault by militants of the
ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) who
periodically declare entire towns and districts to be "Daily News-free
Now the newspaper – which on page after page exposes ruling-party violence,
laments the state of the economy, promotes opposition views and pokes fun at
government ministers in cartoons – is in the extraordinary position of having to
turn away advertising. "I must be the only editor in the world who has to say:
'Sorry, I have not got enough pages in my paper to print your ad','' said Mr
Nyarota. Since the printing plant was bombed last year, the Daily News has had
to hire contract printers and has cut its pagination. The print run is down from
100,000 to 80,000 copies daily.
As Zimbabwe's crisis has deepened – from food riots in January 1998 through
to the current white-targeted violence, linked to the President's determination
to scare the country into re-electing him next year – the Daily News has become
unashamedly more biased.
When the opposition Movement For Democratic Change was created at the end of
1999 to challenge Zanu-PF's 20-year hegemony in parliamentary elections in June
2000, the young party found a natural ally in the six-month-old Daily News. Its
core readership – black, urban and professional – is identical, demographically,
to the electorate that brought the MDC to within an inch of a parliamentary
The majority of Zimbabwe's population is rural, non-English-speaking and
labours under traditional chiefs or paternalistic white farming bosses. But in
the cities, the country's superb education system has created a generation of
dynamic 30-somethings with the same individualistic aspirations as their peers
One former Daily News journalist said it was not so much the quality of the
tabloid that had led to its success, but the laughable ineptitude of the state
media, such as the daily Herald or Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
He said: "When the Daily News launched in June 1999, many of us were unsure
that it could succeed. In 1991, another opposition paper, the Daily Gazette, was
started. Its launch coincided with our worst ever drought and it folded pretty
"When the Daily News came along, many of the top journalists turned down jobs
because they did not believe it could work. Indeed, the beginning was very hard
and we worked without pay a few months after the launch. The Daily News really
took off during the parliamentary election campaign when the Herald and ZBC made
themselves look stupid, lying beyond anyone's belief about the attendance
figures at political rallies. This nauseating propaganda contributed more than
anything else to creating a lack of confidence in the government among the
majority of people."
The freeing of 21 white farmers, in jail for almost two weeks after clashing
with black squatters, could set off a new round of bloodletting on farms,
Zimbabwe state prosecutors told the High Court yesterday.
The farmers from the tense Chinhoyi area, who are charged with assaulting
invaders on one of the white-owned farms, will learn today whether they may be
released on bail.
Sporadic violence and looting of the white-owned farms around Chinhoyi
continued yesterday, and the Commercial Farmers' Union appealed to the
government to provide safety assurances for the farmers to continue operations
"in the face of the ongoing organised wave of property destruction and theft by
In a further ominous sign, four journalists of the independent Daily
News who were detained on Wednesday were picked up again by police
yesterday. The new charge is publishing a subversive statement. Their lawyer,
Lawrence Chibwe, said: "I have been promised that they will not be incarcerated
or detained. An attempt to charge the Daily News editor, Geoff Nyarota,
and three of his journalists, with publishing false news was rejected by a judge
on Wednesday, and the four were released.
The farmers in jail, who include two British nationals, yesterday appealed a
ruling by a lower court in Chinhoyi which denied them bail on 10 August. But
Judge Rita Makarau said she needed time to study the arguments. She asked the
farmers' lawyer, Firoz Girach, whether freeing the farmers on bail would
endanger their safety and that of the entire community in Chinhoyi in view of
revenge attacks against farmers by President Robert Mugabe's militant
Mr Girach said individual liberty was sacrosanct and no one should be denied
their freedom because of arguments about security. "To say you must be
incarcerated for your own safety is ridiculous," he told the court. "It's like
saying, 'Let's convict you even if you are innocent because if we acquit you the
community will be upset'."
The state's lawyer, Ben Chidenga, said the farmers' release on bail would
upset the militants who could launch revenge attacks. He also said the farmers
could interfere with police investigations or even abscond if released.
But Mr Girach dismissed the state's arguments, pointing out that a Briton,
Anthony Barkley, and his son had lived on their farm in Zimbabwe for 15 years
and were permanent residents. Their chances of absconding with the remainder of
the farmers, who were all Zimbabwean citizens, were nil.
Mr Girach said the Chinhoyi magistrate who denied the bail had not considered
that six of the men had been arrested "to placate the hostile crowd" at a police
station where they had gone to check on their colleagues' welfare. He said the
jailed farmers were denied access to their clothes, food and washing
Jane Williams, speaking for the Commercial Farmers Union, said £12.5m had
been lost to looting and revenge attacks on 46 commercial farms by self-styled
war veterans over the past week. One hundred white families have now abandoned
their properties in Chinhoyi for safety elsewhere.
The Zimbabwe government has accused the white farmers of inciting the
violence. Its daily publication, The Herald, yesterday said the British
Government and white commercial farmers had instigated the looting after the
farmers' arrest. The newspaper said the plot between the white farmers and the
British High Commission in Harare to have the farms looted was meant to tarnish
Zimbabwe's image abroad and to justify external intervention in this southern
African country's internal affairs. A spokesman at the British High Commission,
Richard Lindsay, said the claims were "baseless and nonsensical".
Zimbabwe has been in crisis since February last year when militant government
supporters started invading white farms with the approval of President Mugabe,
who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980. Yesterday he
vowed to remain in power until he had overseen the redistribution of white farms
to black peasants. He also ruled out an opposition victory in presidential
elections next year.
Mugabe’s vandals doing their worst across
The Scotsman: 18 August
ZIMBABWE is experiencing economic vandalism on a scale
unprecedented in southern Africa as the president, Robert Mugabe, unleashes mobs
reminiscent of Chairman Mao Zedong’s Red Guards in the late 1960s.
economy, once one of Africa’s most vibrant, is declining daily as farm
occupations proceed, crop planting declines, foreign exchange runs out, foreign
aid and investment cease, businesses close, unemployment soars and the currency
becomes almost valueless.
Little time is left before Zimbabwe plunges
into a possible decades-long twilight. Mr Mugabe, apparently hopelessly
embittered and blinded by a century of injustices against the majority
population, seems determined to wreck the lives of the majority of black and
white Zimbabweans for the political expedience of extending his 21 years in
The figures of today’s Zimbabwe spell disaster. Unemployment is
65 per cent and is rising. In the past four years 1,400,000 young people have
left school, but only 100,000 have found jobs.
Inflation is forecast to
reach 100 per cent by the end of the year. The contracting economy is forecast
to shrink another 10 per cent by the end of 2002. The tourist industry has
collapsed. While many members of the small white minority community have left
the country, black doctors, nurses, teachers and other professionals are also
joining the exodus.
International attention has focused on the arrest in
the Chinhoyi area of 21 white farmers accused of attacking "war veterans".
But the war vets - with whom Mr Mugabe formed an alliance in 1997 - have
not only been invading white farms. Some 200 or more local and foreign companies
have been stormed by the militants, leading to closures, more unemployment and
capital flight. The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries estimates 400
manufacturers closed their doors last year and more will shut down in 2001.
Mazoe Estates, the country’s major citrus exporter and one of the
biggest employers, recently sent its 10,000 workers home after war vets invaded
the estate and demanded the removal of managers they claimed supported the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Tony Hawkins, a veteran
professor of business studies at the University of Zimbabwe, says: "The economy
has entered an Alice in Wonderland world. The implications are stark. Commercial
agricultural output will fall even further than this year’s 25 per cent,
deepening the food supply, unemployment and poverty crises."
has precipitated the internal crisis out of fear he will lose next April’s
presidential election to the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. Mr Mugabe’s
opponents believe he is engineering the crisis so he can declare a state of
emergency, outlaw the opposition, impose draconian restrictions on the press and
cancel the election. The expected passage of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic
Recovery Bill through the US Congress in two months, which will enable the
United States to impose sanctions on Mr Mugabe, could well be the trigger.
Mr Mugabe’s opponents are urging Zimbabweans to prepare for the worst.
The independent weekly Financial Gazette yesterday reported that one of Mr
Mugabe’s senior ZANU party aides, Didymus Mutasa, warned Zimbabweans that the
ruling party would not accept defeat in the election. "There have been coups,
there are coups and there will always be coups," Mr Mutasa said in a statement
viewed by the Gazette as a thinly veiled warning the army would seize power if
Mr Tsvangirai looked likely to be elected.
The Gazette also reported Mr
Mutasa has been threatening civil servants with death if they demonstrate
support for Mr Tsvangirai.
In an extraordinary rallying cry to
Zimbabweans to oppose Mr Mugabe, the Gazette said in an editorial: "Not only
have Zimbabweans been forewarned what to expect from a declining, corrupt and
arrogant kleptocracy that seeks to wreak havoc before its ignominious exit, but
they must surely take steps to confront the very, very worst.
"ZANU is a
monster that has literally gone berserk and wants to take the entire country
down with it without even a whiff of shame."
The Gazette, uncowed by
arrests and subversion charges against four top editors at the independent Daily
News, said it was clear ZANU would reduce Zimbabwe to ashes if it right to rule
was challenged: "Mugabe will impose harsh martial law under which he can ban the
MDC and any other dissenting voice, including independent newspapers, postpone
the presidential ballot indefinitely and rule by decree until Amen."
weekly said current events, such as widening war vet violence and Mr Mugabe’s
vow that only he would rule Zimbabwe, were a harbinger of worse to come.
Stating that a time of reckoning had come, the Gazette virtually issued
a call for an uprising if Zimbabweans wished to get rid of "an entrenched and
most violence dictatorship of modern times". There would be a heavy price to
pay, "but there is no other choice, no other way", it concluded.
Gazette call might just be the catalyst that at last forces South Africa’s
president, Thabo Mbeki, to take action against his neighbour. US and British
sanctions will not impress Mr Mugabe, but South Africa can cut major
electricity, petroleum and food lifelines.
Mr Mbeki can perhaps be
persuaded to act because martial law in Zimbabwe and destroying the opposition
would have catastrophic consequences for the region. Southern African leaders
could give up any hope of fresh western investments if they tolerate a total
democratic breakdown in Zimbabwe. a flood of refugees would begin to make the
region look dangerously unstable.
When I despair
I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has Always won.
There have been tyrants and
murderers And for a time they seem invincible, but in the end they Always
fall. Think of it
Dear family and
friends, I sat on the steps outside last night and watched the most
beautiful African sunset. The sun was a huge red ball, the sky around a
kaleidescope of beige and orange, purple and grey. A V formation of birds
flew overhead and the nightjar started calling for it's mate, a call which
for so many of us is synonymous with Africa. It's called the Litany Bird and
it's call is Good Lord Deliver Us, particularly apt in Zimbabwe. I tried,
just for a few precious minutes, not to think about the 21 farmers (now with
shaven heads) still in gaol; I tried not to think about the looted and
destroyed homes on 53 farms in Chinoyi and Doma and Mhangura. I tried not to
think about 4 top journalists who had been hauled into the police station and
now face charges of sedition; I tried not to think about the 8000 farm
workers homeless and destitute after last weekends insanity, or of the 2200
farm workers near me living in tobacco barns and workshops after being
evicted from their homes by war veterans . Just for a few minutes I let the
peace and breathtaking beauty revive me and sweep away the despair that has
become a part of our lives. My letter ended last week moments before
President Mugabe's speech on Heroes Day. He did not condemn the violence, he
did not bang the table and order his police to enforce the law. Instead he
said that land reform would continue at a faster pace. He said that the 'war
veterans' and 'settlers' on farms "would not be provoked". President Mugabe
slammed the British, Americans and Germans and as he spoke hundreds of people
were on the rampage in the countryside. Eye witness reports tell of farm
workers being pulled out of their homes by thugs, beaten with thorn encrusted
branches and ordered to load their employers' belongings onto stolen tractors
and trailors. In what can only be described as a frenzied orgy, homes have
been completely trashed, lives destroyed and even pets whipped so severely
that they have had to be put down. Eye witness reports tell of
electronic equipment being thrown in swimming pools, ceilings being chopped
down, door and window frames smashed off the walls. One heartbreaking letter
from a woman returning to her trashed home said all that remained of her
life was a photograph of her father in law, a serviette ring and the pellet
ridden corpse of her cat. As I write 21 farmers are still in gaol. Their
passports have been taken away, their heads have been shaved, judgement on
their request for bail has been twice postponed. 21 men are being treated
like convicted criminals before their case has even been heard. 12 of the 21
farmers are in prison because they went to the police station to find out
about their colleagues. 3 policemen who allowed blankets to be given to the
farmers in gaol have been suspended and "disciplined". The Editor, Deputy
Editor and 2 senior journalists from our only independent daily newspaper
were arrested this week. They had reported on the frenzied orgy of looting
and destruction on farms last weekend. They are to be charged with
sedition. The Commercial Farmers Union in Harare has this week publicised
a support base for affected farmers and their workers. This consists of
financial assistance for both farmers and their workers, from assistance with
school fees to helping provide the most basic of human needs such as
blankets, pots and pans and food. They have teams of social workers,
psychologists, counsellors and lawyers, they have offers of accommodation for
both displaced people and animals. The Farm Families Trust, established over
a year ago to help black and white, employers and employees is asking
for support. If every Zimbabwean gave one dollar it would go a long way
to helping all these people pick up the pieces of their lives. For
eighteen months many hundreds of people in over 20 countries around the world
have been asking me what they can do to help. Your support today will
help someone start again, please email <firstname.lastname@example.org> or <email@example.com>. Last night I
watched with tear filled eyes as men in Chinoyi queued up to have their heads
shaved - in support of their colleagues. This morning I have pinned a yellow
ribbon onto my collar in silent protest at 18 months of lawlessness in this
country of my birth. This ribbon is the only way I can protest and I wear it
for the farmers and their workers, for the journalists and seekers of justice
and truth, for all the people who have suffered the most abominal mental and
physical abuse and for all those who have lost their lives. Unless I am
ordered to take it off, from today I will wear a yellow ribbon in silent
protest, it is all any of us can do now. To the literally thousands of people
who have written this week, thank you for your support. Until next week this
comes with my love, cathy
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - At least a dozen white Zimbabweans shaved their heads
Friday to show solidarity with 21 white farmers who are facing charges of
attacking black squatters on white-owned land.
The protest at a barbershop in Chinhoyi, 70 miles northwest of Harare, came
as High Court Judge Rita Makarau delayed for a second day a decision on whether
to set bail for the farmers. Firoz Girach, an attorney for the farmers, called
the delay part of a government policy of harassment.
Ruling party militants have illegally occupied more than 1,700 white-owned
farms since March 2000, spurred by a government campaign to seize 4,600 farms
owned by whites and give the land to blacks. The targeted farms make up about 95
percent of the land owned by whites.
The 21 farmers arrested in the Aug. 6 incident deny they assaulted squatters
and ruling party militants. They said they went to the assistance of a colleague
under siege by the squatters, and were attacked first.
Citing the recent violence against whites, police officials said they could
not guarantee the farmers' safety should they be released.
The detainees' hair was shaved off while in jail, and lawyers have argued
that their shaved heads would put them in danger by making them easily
identifiable to militants once they were released.
According to the farmers' union, more than 45 farms have been trashed by
attackers since Aug. 8, and one homestead was gutted by fire. The damage has
been estimated at $18 million.
This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking
place in the commercial farming areas. Communication problems and the fear of
reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens. Farmers names, and in
some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of
NATIONAL REPORT IN BRIEF: 21 farmers from Chinhoyi remain
in jail with bail being refused. An urgent appeal was filed in the High Court
and the case postponed to Thursday 16th August, then moved to Friday 17th
August, 100:00 am, and the judge has today, moved the hearing to Monday 20th
August. A total of 53 homes have been looted and vandalised on 40 farms in
Mashonaland West North Region. The area is quiet and farm owners are in the
process of recovering stolen items and livestock. REGIONAL REPORTS:
There was no report received from Matabeleland
Mashonaland Central General - The area was generally
quiet. An increased build-up of pegging team activity is reported in Centenary
where Nyadavi, Tekwani and Vuka have all been visited and owners informed that
invaders will return in the near future with agritex to peg and allocate
Mashonaland West North General - A total of 53 homes have
been looted and vandalised on 40 farms in this Region. The area is quiet and
farm owners are in the process of recovering stolen items and
livestock. Chinhoyi - 21 farmers from Chinhoyi remain in jail with bail being
refused. An urgent appeal was filed in the High Court and the case postponed to
Thursday 16th August, then moved to Friday 17th August, 100:00 am, and the judge
has today, moved the hearing to Monday 20th August.
South General - Pegging continues throughout the area and despite having
spoken to both the DA, DISPOL, CIO, war veteran leadership and others we are
unable to receive a directive as to whether farm owners are allowed to plant
this season. Norton - Illegal occupiers have prevented land preparation on
Rock Farm and the DA held a "bottle top raffle" to allocate the owners land out.
On Fort Martin illegal occupiers drove over tobacco seed beds and stole
sprinklers. The owner of Nyadgori was prevented by illegal occupiers from
planting and grazing. An army lorry is being used with army personnel to
illegally cut wood and remove it from the farm. The owner of Serui Source and
his son have been unable to return to their farm for 2 months. Selous - Fires
continue throughout the area. Since the fast tracking of Carskey Farm, on the
authority of the DA, 1 Eland was speared and 5 irrigation pipes stolen. 3 head
of cattle were hamstrung on Alfa Farm. Chakari - Re-education of farm
workers continue on Blackmorvale. 3 youth were taken from the farm village by
illegal occupiers, including a 13 year old girl, who have been missing for 3
Mashonaland East Beatrice - Illegal occupiers held a pungwe
at Mass Plein store last night. Featherstone - There are a vast number of
fires throughout the district, resulting in electricity poles being burnt and
inconsistent supplies. Demands for a minimum wage of ZW$3000 continue on Dover,
Kuruman ‘A’, Calais, Oasis and Forestdale which has resulted in work stoppages.
NEC refuse to respond. Harare South - Illegal occupiers arrived at the owner
of Gilston homestead security fence and demanded to see the owner. When the
security guard refused access, illegal occupiers pointed a pistol at him. The
guard again refused to which illegal occupiers left. A DDF vehicle arrived on
Dunluce farm to peg the farm. When the owner asked for the officials name, he
refused to give it and the owner is taking up the query with the Seke DA. In the
early hours of the morning, 9 gun shots were heard on Greenwoods Farm, and it is
thought to have been poachers. Agritex officials went back to Auks Nest and
commenced pegging plots. Macheke / Virginia - All farm workers were evicted
from their homes on a farm in the district with all their belongings, by about
30 illegal occupiers. Aggressive illegal occupiers then demanded to see the
owner and that the owner vacate the farm immediately. Police were unable to
respond due to lack of transport. The owner refused to vacate the farm and as a
result, illegal occupiers held an all night pungwe outside the homestead which
farm workers were forced to attend. A work stoppage has occurred and will only
be allowed to commence when the owner vacates the farm. A beast was slaughtered
for the illegal occupiers for celebrations under duress. The following day, 7
cattle herdsmen, were informed by illegal occupiers that they had been fired and
were to leave immediately. They did so with 2 others after asking the farm owner
to pay them off. An uneasy tension surrounds the farm with a number of other
farm workers waiting to evacuate. The owner of Bimi was informed that an illegal
occupier who has been helping in the area has written a letter instructing
illegal occupiers on the ground that the cutting of firewood and use of the
owners boiler is conditional on the handing over of all farm keys. A paddock was
burnt on Spes Bona during the night and 3 DDF tractors have been ploughing on
the farm. Illegal occupiers on Richmond threatened to burn all the paddocks to
remove the owners cattle off the farm and have started to carry out this threat.
About 30 illegal occupiers arrived on Hazeledene farm, in scotch carts, to
settle. The office on Castledene Pines was broken into and goods stolen, in the
absence of the owner. 2 beasts were slaughtered on Nyadora. Gum poles were
stolen from Mt Bogota. More illegal occupiers have moved onto Athlone and Exeter
and started building huts. Wedza - Please Note: On 9 farms in the district,
farm workers have been forced to vacate their homes by illegal occupiers,
resulting in about 2200 families forced to take refuge in farm barns - Should
Read: 2200 people not families. The owner of Fels has been barricaded into his
home after illegal occupiers felled a tree across the road blocking the owner
in. An ex farm worker returned to Nelson and is demanding unreasonable packages
and causing trouble amongst the current farm workers. There was an armed robbery
on Imire farm where thieves got away with the cash from the farm
Manicaland Chimanimani - 27 illegal occupiers visited
Charleswood, and amongst them was a white war vet, Rob Sacco, who was P.I.'d
from South Africa and is the Headmaster / Administrator of the Nyahodi Learning
Centre. They left the farm about 2 hours later.
Masvingo General -
More reports are being received of properties being burnt. In some cases
reports indicate large portions being burnt by illegal occupiers. Continued
harassment of cattle management is being reported. Masvingo - All, except 1
paddock has been burnt by illegal occupiers on Dromore Farm and all except 3
paddocks on Richmond Farm has been burnt by illegal occupiers. Fires were
reported on Beuly, Formax Dairy and Looten of Glyn. Official pegging has
commenced on Southwill Estates and Chidza Farm. Illegal occupiers burnt a large
section of Bon Accord A leaving minimum grazing and the owner has had to seek
permission form a CID official to graze cattle on the farm. Illegal occupiers
set fire to the whole of Eyrie and Lavender Farms leaving the owner with no
grazing except for the land illegal occupiers are currently occupying. Illegal
occupiers arrived on Lamotte Farm and advised farm workers to vacate their
homes, and some illegal occupiers have moved into the farm workers homes. Fires
were reported on Greenhills Estate, Dulwich Farm, Crest Farm and Reebeck Farm.
The owner of Dulwich farm was informed by illegal occupiers to remove his cattle
off the farm, and illegal occupiers are preventing the owner from gaining access
to water on the farm. Agritex officials are pegging in a wheat field on Acton
Farm. Mwenezi - Illegal occupiers are breaking pipes on Quagga Pan and
Kyalami Ranch to obtain water. The owner of Rutenga Ranch is unable to gain
access to his water as illegal occupiers are occupying that section of the
property. Cattle on Umbono Ranch are being moved off the farm due to
destruction of grazing, interference with management, threats, demands and
malicious damage to cattle. Illegal occupiers prevented the owner from gaining
access to water on the farm and have destroyed the infrastructure and the
owner's sole income. Chiredzi - In general, large quantities of cane theft is
still occurring. Poaching continues and is reaching alarming levels. Fires in
the area are reported daily. Reports of faction fighting amongst army officials
and illegal occupiers has been noted. It is also noted that illegal occupiers
on surrounding Triangle Ranches are erecting brick structures. Chatsworth -
The owner of Felixburg was instructed by illegal occupiers to remove all cattle
off the farm.
Midlands General - Widespread harassment and pegging
of both listed and unlisted farms continue. Mvuma - Police instructed a
farmer to move his cattle off the farm. Ploughing for illegal occupiers is
ongoing with 5 tractors operating but has been reduced to 3 now.
Mugabe's legal adviser warns 'You
are breaking the law'
president spurns advice from his own top lawyer
EDDISON Zvobgo, the legal
affairs supremo of Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party, has told Mugabe that the
manner in which he is using temporary presidential powers is illegal and
could be successfully challenged in court.
Authoritative sources said
yesterday that the President had spurned Zvobgo’s advice, preferring to
consult Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa. They said that Zvobgo was by far
senior and more experienced in legal matters than Chinamasa.
a respected constitutional lawyer and, as secretary for legal affairs for
ZANU PF’s supreme Politburo, he is effectively the head of the ruling party’s
In a document drawn up for the president, Zvobgo said
the manner in which powers had been used was inconsistent with Zimbabwe’s
Constitution. He warned that if the government proceeded with the farm
seizures in its present manner it would lose most of the challenges lodged by
farmers against the acquisitions.
The document says that the
fast-track land resettlement programme is in conflict with provisions of
Section 16 of the Constitution. That section states that before the
government compulsorily acquire any properties, it must develop a law that
provides for resettlement.
However, there was no law that had been
developed to support the rushed farm reforms.
summarised his views on how specific sections of the constitution were being
violated and added that the improper use of the presidential powers could
result in the courts arguing that in enacting the Presidential Powers Act
(Temporary Measures) Parliament had gone beyond acceptable limits of
delegating law-making powers.
Zvobgo said the manner in which land
acquisition notices were being served on the farmers was illegal. Some
notices were being served too late. They were also not being served to the
interested parties and, in some instances, were just being dumped on the
gates of farmers’ properties in contravention of the law.
the lack of experienced lawyers in the Attorney General’s Office and the way
they were handling cases. He warned that the government would lose these
cases unless it addressed the lack of expertise in that department. He
advised the government to hire experienced legal experts from the private
Dropped by Mugabe from the Cabinet, Zvobgo has become
Last month in Parliament he scathingly
attacked Mugabe - although he did not name him - saying the President was
blaming everyone for Zimbabwe’s economic crisis except himself. "We have
behaved over the past few years as if the world owes us a living. It does
not," he said, cataloguing the government’s failures. "We have blamed other
people for each and every ill that befell us. It’s only us who are right and
everybody else is wrong," he said.
"We have tainted what was a glorious
revolution, reducing it into some agrarian racist enterprise."
long seen as a possible challenger of Mugabe, has said he would stand for the
presidency should Mugabe decide to retire.
The Commercial Farmers’ Union
has already challenged Mugabe’s use of temporary powers to take their
Their case is scheduled to be heard by the full Supreme Court
acting as a constitutional court next month.
The ruling party is
enmeshed in a series of legal battles at the moment, including a challenge in
the Supreme Court by the privately run Capital Radio whose broadcasting
equipment was seized by the government last week using temporary presidential
If critics and supporters of President Robert Mugabe can
agree on one thing, it is that the judiciary has become one of the strongest
checks on, or bastions of opposition to, his government.
During Zimbabwe's recent political upheavals, judges have frequently ruled
against Mr Mugabe, earning them the wrath of the authorities.
Three judges have been forced to resign this year and several new
appointments are seen as being sympathetic to Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
Farm occupations brought the government into conflict
with the courts
The new judges have not yet been asked to make any politically sensitive
decisions. Nor is it clear whether the intimidation and new appointments have
swung the judiciary behind the government - which his critics say is Mr Mugabe's
Since the invasion of white-owned farms began in March 2000, courts have
consistently upheld the rights of white farm-owners and ordered the police to
evict the squatters.
The police have only rarely obeyed these orders, but the judgements
nevertheless caused considerable embarrassment to the government both at home
In September 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that the existing monopoly on
broadcasting was unconstitutional - a ruling that angered the government almost
as much as that on the farm invasions.
The monopoly, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), is controlled by the
Department of Information and generally only mentions the opposition when its
members are insulted by government ministers.
Anthony Gubbay was forced to
Privately-run radio and television stations would provide an alternative view
which may not help Mr Mugabe's campaign in the presidential elections, due in
High Court judges have recently invalidated the election of several Zanu-PF
MPs because of violence and intimidation before last June's parliamentary poll.
Mr Mugabe originally tried to ban these electoral challenges but the Supreme
Court ruled that this ban was unconstitutional.
The judges have ordered that new elections be held. Again this has not gone
down well in the corridors of power.
After a string of such rulings, Zimbabwe's most senior judge, Chief Justice
Anthony Gubbay, was forced to resign.
Both the Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, and a leading war veteran,
Joseph Chinotimba, told him that his safety could no longer be guaranteed.
Mr Gubbay is white and the Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, accused him
of being a "colonial relic" biased in favour of Zimbabwe's white minority.
In March 2001 he was replaced by Godfrey Chidyausiku, a former deputy
minister in Mr Mugabe's cabinet.
However, other judges have refused to bow to government threats and insults.
Correspondents predict heated debate between these and the newly appointed
judges when the crucial presidential poll starts to produce the inevitable
Harare - Dozens of whites in northern Zimbabwe on
Friday shaved their heads in solidarity with 21 white farmers languishing in
jail waiting for a bail application to be held, a farmer said.
imprisoned farmers - accused of inciting public violence after they clashed
with black land occupiers in Chinhoyi, north western Zimbabwe - have had
their heads shaved in prison and been forced to wear prison
"It's basically a statement," said Francois de Chalain, a
farmer in the Chinhoyi area, 100km northwest of Harare who had his hair
shaved off on Friday.
"It really perked up the guys inside," he
He said a number of farmers from Chinhoyi, Banket and Karoi - all
farming towns in Mashonaland West province - also shaved their heads on
Friday in solidarity with their jailed counterparts.
In an urgent bail
application made to the High Court this week, the farmers' defence lawyers
said their clients had been treated as convicted prisoners before being
De Chalain said those being held in Chinhoyi prison were
"very frustrated" because "nothing seems to be happening".
farmers' application for bail was Friday deferred for a second time, until
The 21 deny the charge of attacking the black land occupiers.
They say they were attempting to rescue a colleague who had been barricaded
inside his house by angry settlers.
The UK Government has been accused of "shameful silence"
over human rights abuses in Zimbabwe by the opposition Conservative Party.
Shadow foreign secretary Francis Maude says the government's attitude towards
the "sickening" violence in the Commonwealth country, where white-owned land is
being seized by pro-government supporters, makes a joke of its so-called
"ethical foreign policy".
Five years ago Tony Blair made promises of an ethical foreign
policy. What a joke!
Francis Maude Shadow foreign secretary
The comments on
Friday came as the High Court in Zimbabwe again postponed its decision on a bail
application by 21 white farmers detained after they clashed with black land
The Foreign Office says it has repeatedly registered its concerns with the
Zimbabwe Government and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will raise the issues again
next month at a meeting in Nigeria.
Mr Maude made his attack after receiving an e-mail from Zimbabwe about the
situation there, which he said showed government-sponsored activities against
both blacks and whites were getting worse.
He claimed the Foreign Office had received the e-mail on Monday but done
nothing about it.
"The accounts of human rights abuses in this e-mail are terrifying, sickening
and horrific," said the shadow foreign secretary.
Straw is expected for talks in Nigeria next
His party had long called for action to be taken against
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's "henchmen", he continued.
"Now we learn that not only have our warnings and calls for action from
(former Foreign Secretary) Robin Cook and Jack Straw fallen on deaf ears but
they also appear to have ignored the crimes and abuses detailed in this
"Five years ago Tony Blair made promises of an ethical foreign policy. What a
joke! Their silence on Zimbabwe is shameful."
Mr Maude is pressing for the Commonwealth to suspend Zimbabwe and for travel
bans on Mr Mugabe and his allies.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We were extremely concerned by the
catalogue of human rights abuses contained in the report by the Zimbabwe Human
"The report provides further evidence of the government of Zimbabwe's blatant
disregard for fundamental human rights.
We will continue to use every opportunity to make the
concerns crystal clear to the government of Zimbabwe
Foreign Office spokesman
"We have repeatedly
registered these concerns and together with our European Union and Commonwealth
partners will continue to use every opportunity to make the concerns crystal
clear to the government of Zimbabwe.
"These issues will be raised in September when the Foreign Secretary, Jack
Straw, meets foreign ministers from other Commonwealth countries in Nigeria."
Those talks come ahead of the crucial Commonwealth heads of government
meeting in Australia in October.
A Foreign Office spokesman told BBC News Online earlier this week: "This is
an initiative whereby a group of Commonwealth foreign ministers could have a
meeting with the foreign minister of Zimbabwe to talk about issues of concern."
He said land reform would be on the agenda but the political and economical
context for the controversial issue would also need to be discussed.
On Friday, the High Court in Zimbabwe again postponed a decision on whether
to release on bail twenty-one white farmers, charged with inciting public
The ruling is now expected on Monday. The farmers were arrested last week
after clashes with pro-government supporters on white-owned land being occupied
by self-styled war veterans.
IRELAND has a multi-million pound export industry
with Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, including hi-tech goods linked to the arms trade.
Human rights groups yesterday condemned our trade links with Zimbabwe, where
President Mugabe's opponents have been subjected to brutal attacks.
Last year Ireland exported £4.4m worth of goods to Zimbabwe, including two
shipments of so-called dual-use goods, which can be used for military or
Amnesty International yesterday said there were strong indications the goods,
which include electronics and specialised computer equipment, were being used by
the security forces in Zimbabwe. The security forces have been at the centre of
allegations of brutality.
Amnesty development manager Jim Loughram said: "This equipment is the nerve
centre of the repressive regime, which connects the brain to the boot. What kind
of assurances can we get from the Government that this equipment isn't being
used by the security forces?".
The Government says Ireland does not have an arms industry, but admits export
of components or products for military or dual use is permitted, subject to a
rigorous inspection process.
President Mugabe has been accused by the international community of leading a
campaign of terror against those who oppose his regime.
Mobs, alleged to have the backing of authorities, have been looting
white-owned farms. Nine farmers have been killed so far and an estimated £15m
worth of property has been taken or destroyed.
This week journalists were detained in prison after publishing an article
which alleged police involvement in the looting of farms.
There are no international sanctions against Zimbabwe but human rights groups
are calling for Ireland to use its influential position on the UN Security
Council to address the worsening situation.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Government was
concerned at developments and was engaged in talks with Zimbabwe through the EU.
The official said talks were aimed at ending conflict and creating a stable and
political environment, but there were no plans yet to raise the issue through
Further to yesterday’s circular please would anyone making a donation
direct to the Bank Account of Farm Families Trust please send copy of deposit
slip or phone and advise Mrs B Boulle CFU Accounts Department. Thank you.
COMMERCIAL FARMERS’ UNION
Mashonaland West 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. 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.
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com Telephone 309800. Fax Number
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
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
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
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.
U N I T E D N A T I O N S Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA) Integrated Regional Information Network
ZIMBABWE: UK plans evacuation
JOHANNESBURG, 16 August
(IRIN) - The British government said on Wednesday that it had made contingency
plans to evacuate its approximately 25,000 nationals from Zimbabwe should
lawlessness in the country worsen, but dismissed speculation that it was already
massing troops around Zimbabwe's neighbours in readiness for such an evacuation,
the 'Financial Gazette' reported.
"Yes, it is true that we have a plan in
place to help our citizens in Zimbabwe, but I cannot disclose the details of the
plan," Richard Lindsay, second secretary at the British High Commission in
Harare, was quoted as saying. "It is however grossly untrue that we are
deploying troops in neighbouring countries. We have no troops massed around the
borders of Zimbabwe at all," he said.
Lindsay spoke as pressure mounted
on the British government to lead efforts to stop President Robert Mugabe from
attending the Commonwealth summit in Brisbane, Australia, in October because of
the continued violence and lawlessness by his supporters on commercial farms and
against political opponents, the report said. However, Lindsay was quoted as
saying that Britain's position was that Mugabe would attend the Brisbane summit
just like any other Commonwealth head of state or government. "Zimbabwe is a
member of the Commonwealth and President Mugabe is its head of state so he has
an entitlement to attend," Lindsay said. "Our position is that he should freely
attend if he so wishes. Any issues about Zimbabwe can always be discussed at the
forum if the members so wish," he added.
ZIMBABWE: War veterans invade top govt officials' farms
August (IRIN) - ZANU-PF supporters invaded commercial farms leased to prominent
government and ruling party officials in Matabeleland South, the independent
weekly 'Financial Gazette' reported on Thursday.
The report said the
invaders had moved onto several farms in the prime agricultural area of Marula
last week and had increased their presence there during the Heroes' Day holidays
at the weekend. It said the occupied farms included those leased to Supreme
Court judges Luke Malaba and Misheck Cheda, former deputy transport minister
Zenzo Nsimbi (now Zimbabwe's ambassador to Botswana) and Jonathan Maphenduka - a
former senior staffer at the state-controlled 'Chronicle' newspaper.
According to the report, prominent figures who were granted leases in
the area two years ago amid a wave of criticism from poor villagers included
Alvord Mabhena, former general manager of the National Railways of Zimbabwe, and
Simon Khaya Moyo, Zimbabwe's High Commissioner to South Africa.
Maphenduka, whose farm was invaded last Tuesday and who is chairman of
the Mangwe Farmers' Association, which represents 47 tenants in Marula,
confirmed the occupations. "The invaders have personally given me until Saturday
to vacate the property. Most of us on these properties are blacks with 99-year
leases from the government," the newspaper quoted him saying. "It is strange
that they are invading farms leased to black farmers. The entire commercial
cattle production scheme on the properties is seriously under threat and we feel
the government should move with speed to evict these people."
ZIMBABWE: Court defers decision on bail for jailed farmers
16 August (IRIN) - The Zimbabwe High Court has postponed to Friday a decision on
a bail application for 21 imprisoned white commercial farmers who face public
violence charges, news reports said on Thursday. Judge Rita Makarau was quoted
telling the court on Thursday that she needed time to assess submissions made by
the farmers' lawyer.
The farmers were arrested last week after they
clashed with black occupiers on a farm in Chinhoyi, 100 km northwest of Harare.
The farmers appealed to the High Court after a Chinhoyi magistrate court last
week denied them bail on grounds that they could abscond or interfere with
witnesses, some of whom are believed to be farm workers.
Firoz Girach was quoted as saying that said there was no chance of the 21
absconding because they owned property worth millions of Zimbabwe dollars and
had spent years, in some cases decades, farming here. State prosecutor Ben
Chidenga was quoted as saying that the farmers' release was likely to spark
further violence in the farming region, which has seen retaliatory looting of
white farms in the area over the past week.
JOHANNESBURG, 16 August
(IRIN) - Four independent Zimbabwean journalists earlier charged under a section
of the country's draconian security Act and released, were rearrested a day
later on Thursday under a different section of the law.
editor-in-chief Geoff Nyarota, assistant editor Bill Saidi, and journalists John
Gambanga and Sam Munyavi were released on Wednesday after an urgent High Court
application. The police then dropped the initial charge of publishing a false
statement likely to cause "alarm or despondency" under Section 50 (2) (a) of the
Law and Order Maintenance Act (LOMA) - which in 1999 had been declared
unconstitutional by the Supreme Court - for another charge on Thursday under
Section 44 (2) (a) which deals with the "publishing of subversive
When IRIN contacted the men's lawyer Lawrence Chibwe on
Thursday afternoon, he said he was with his clients at the Harare central police
station. He said they were signing "warn and caution" statements, after which he
expected them to be released. He described the four journalists as being in "a
jovial mood". "Even if we don't argue on a constitutional basis the charge is
not competent on a legal basis," he said.
The men were charged following
a front page story in the newspaper on Tuesday which alleged that police
vehicles had been used at the weekend during a looting spree of commercial farms
by ruling ZANU-PF party militants in Mashonaland West province. Meanwhile,
Mduduzi Mathuthu, a 'Daily News' reporter in Bulawayo, was also briefly arrested
on Tuesday for allegedly breaching the same Act. His arrest followed an article
in the newspaper's Monday issue allegeing that a crowd had walked out on
Vice-President Joseph Msika during a Heroes' Day address at the provincial
shrine when he asked them to chant ZANU-PF slogans.
Blair The Daily Telegraph Packing companies are working overtime, the
flights out of Harare are fully booked and animal lovers have placed notices
in shop windows reading: "Leaving Zimbabwe? Don't forget to take care of your
Quietly, with no fuss and few tears, white Zimbabweans are
fleeing their country day after day. With every plane that leaves Harare's
new airport, a way of life draws nearer to its end and President Robert
Mugabe comes closer to achieving his goal -- ridding his people of the "white
Whites had clung to the crucial reassurance that, despite
the racist diatribes of Mr. Mugabe (he usually calls them "greedy, arrogant
and conceited'' and claims they are scheming with the British to
recolonize Africa), it was still possible to walk the streets unmolested.
That solace died on the pavements of Chinhoyi recently, when the President's
mobs went on the rampage and forced all whites to flee, for a few hours
ethnically cleansing the market town that lies in Zimbabwe's agricultural
That Chinhoyi was singled out for these brutally effective
shock tactics was particularly demoralizing for the white community. The
surrounding farms were among the first to be invaded by squatters and, when
landowners were feeling the heat, they often sought refuge in the town. Now
their haven has been overrun. Mr. Mugabe's regime may be incapable of
stocking the gas stations or repairing the roads, but it knows a thing or two
about terror tactics. Ripples of fear from Chinhoyi have spread far and wide.
For many whites agonizing about the future, it has been the final
The scale of their exodus has been extraordinary. Today, there are
perhaps 50,000 whites left, about 0.3% of Zimbabwe's population. When Ian
Smith made his unilateral declaration of independence from Britain in 1965,
Rhodesia had more than 300,000 whites. When independent Zimbabwe was born and
Mr. Mugabe won power in 1980, there were still 200,000.
inconceivable now, but Mr. Mugabe, the hardline Marxist fresh from leading a
guerrilla war, did all he could to persuade them to stay. In his first
broadcast to the nation, he urged black and white to "join hand in hand in a
new amity.'' For the whites, Mr. Mugabe had a special, quite extraordinary
plea. "Yesterday you hated me. Today you cannot avoid the love that binds you
to me, and me to you,'' he proclaimed. To drive the point home, he took the
leader of the white farmers' union and made him Zimbabwe's first agriculture
Pleasantly astonished whites cancelled their flights and
decided to stay. The swimming pools of Borrowdale still glittered and the
panelled calm of the Harare Club was still filled with wise, elderly men,
saying quietly that "this bloke may not be so bad after all." Until last
year, white emigration was a trickle rather than a flood.
point was Mr. Mugabe's defeat in a referendum on a new constitution in
February 2000. Queues of whites waited to cast their votes. Farmers drove
their black workers to the polling stations. Whites were involved in the
Movement for Democratic Change, the new opposition party.
formidable reserves of paranoia, Mr. Mugabe blamed them for his defeat,
concluded they were turning the black population against him (How else could
he have become so widely loathed?) and decided they were still his sworn
enemies. Whites had broken the implicit deal that Mr. Mugabe had offered them
in 1980 -- you can stay in Zimbabwe, but don't cause trouble and, above all,
keep out of politics.
The farm invasions and the national terror campaign
followed, accompanied by a merciless barrage of racist rhetoric. In one
speech, Mr. Mugabe listed all the border posts through which whites could
leave Zimbabwe. "If you want a plane, we can escort you to Harare airport,''
he added helpfully.
Young whites were the first to buckle and seek
opportunities abroad. Almost every school-leaver was quick to disappear. The
first thing you notice about white Zimbabweans is how old they are. Their
average age cannot be under 65. The young have gone; the grandparents
In their last redoubts, white Zimbabweans display astonishing
resilience. Some weeks ago, I visited a couple, both in their seventies,
clinging tenaciously to their farm near Mvurwi. I bumped along a dusty track,
winding through dense bush and rocky outcrops, turned a corner and there
stood a passing imitation of an English manor house, ringed by an emerald
Tea was on the verandah, served by black servants clad in white
from head to foot. The corridors were lined with paintings of scenes from a
fox hunt. Dinner was in an imposing room lined with portraits of the
family's ancestors -- generals, air marshals, admirals. The conversation
was, naturally, about cricket and the weather. Nothing else. Mr. Mugabe was
not even mentioned.
Yet the great unmentionable was that, barely a
mile away, 30 of the President's supporters were camped on a football pitch.
The farm was listed for seizure. At any time, the couple could lose
everything. This small patch of pre-war England, whose last vestiges
disappeared from the mother country long ago, was on the verge of being wiped
off the face of Africa.
Many whites cling to the hope of rescue at the
11th hour. Like besieged homesteaders in a western, they still believe that
the cavalry will arrive in time. If Mr. Mugabe were to lose the presidential
election that must be held by next April and relinquish power without
insisting on a civil war first, then Zimbabwe would have a new government,
keen to enlist the help of whites in rebuilding the country.
words, they hope to survive the brutal election campaign that Mr. Mugabe has
already launched and then vest everything in the belief that he will prove a
good loser who will go quietly after the votes are counted. When this
argument is put to you by an elderly, well-meaning farmer in a country club
outside a Zimbabwean farming town, it seems churlish to point out its obvious
The hope that Mr. Mugabe will lose office next year is all they
have to cling to. It is the last gamble of Zimbabwe's white tribe. If it
doesn't pay off, the English manor houses in the heart of the bush will be
preserved only as theme parks -- or memorials to colonial oppression.
Ian Smith said South Africa's involvement is the
The former colonial leader of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) has
said international opposition to President Robert Mugabe must become more
unified in order to be effective.
Ian Smith told the BBC that the involvement of South Africa was crucial in
maintaining pressure on Mr Mugabe.
What we've got to do is get all of the powers working
together and I think there is hope
"They're the powerhouse of the whole continent, and we've
got to make sure that we take them along with us," he said.
Mr Smith said he could suggest improvements to the British Government's
handling of the current crisis, but admitted that the situation was a
The former prime minister said he was encouraged by what he described as some
"strong words" from the South African ambassador to Zimbabwe about Mr Mugabe and
"Only a few days ago the South African President Thabo
Mbeki made it clear [in a BBC interview] that he was fed up, and that he wanted
Mugabe to change, but Mugabe was just not prepared to listen," he added.
"What we've got to do is collate and get all of the powers working together
... and I think there is hope," said Mr Smith.
Asked whether he believed that opinion was changing where it mattered, Mr
Smith said this week's meeting of 14 African leaders in Malawi was an
"They certainly gave Mugabe a rap across the knuckles, because they accused
him of interfering in the Congo and implicating them without their consent and
that he should not have done that."
"I don't think there's any doubt that he was reprimanded there, and that he's
licking his wounds," he added.
Mr Smith said that although some white farmers have decided to cut their
losses and leave the country, a "strong body" of farmers remain determined to
stay on their land.
At least 30 farms have been looted in recent
"Unlike a professional man - who can pick up his briefcase and go - its not
easy to pick up your farm and go," he said.
Ian Smith was prime minister of Rhodesia for 15 years, during which time the
country illegally declared independence from British rule.
He fought a guerrilla war against Mr Mugabe and other black leaders who
demanded majority black rule.
It was a struggle he eventually lost, paving the way for the country's
independence as Zimbabwe in 1980.
Ironically, the decision by apartheid South Africa to stop backing its fellow
white minority government was seen as crucial in bringing down Mr Smith's