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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Mugabe's Red Guards - Ethnic Cleansing Zimbabwe Style.

"Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun" - this quote from Mao Tse Tung best sums up Mugabe and his party's attitude to governance in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe and his henchmen - mostly Chinese trained - are convinced that they have sovereignty over Zimbabwe and its citizens and are the only ones who have the right to govern.

The Chinese connection is exemplified by Mugabe's use of the so-called "War Veterans". These lawless land invaders, who, in any normal society would be classified ,at best, as "squatters" are behaving just like the Red Guards of Mao's China.

We, the residents of Zimbabwe, are under no illusions about these thugs. They are controlled, paid, transported and directed by Mugabe's Zanu PF at the highest level.

Mugabe has often been portrayed as mad or senile or ill informed about what is happening in his country. Our response is to urge you to consider the documents that have been given to and make up your own mind.

Far from been mad, we believe Mugabe is one of the most intelligent and shrewd politicians in the world. He is extremely capable and determined to reach his goal which is to hold onto the reins of power whatever the cost. Good governance, democracy, individual rights and freedoms, the constitution, the interests of the people (black or white) and the rule of law are dispensable if they threaten his power base. Mugabe is ruthless in silencing his enemies and sees himself as above the law. He has shown that he will do anything to remain President. Mugabe is certainly not stupid, the members of the Cosy Commonwealth Club would do well to remember that in Australia.

The tactics of the Red Guards are carefully planned and executed.

Mugabe has explained the current land crisis in Zimbabwe as follows: Landless, historically downtrodden, colonially disadvantaged, poor people, having fought the oppression of the whites and British, have become impatient and taken matters into their own hands, spontaneously invading the land.

For the first time we can publish on the net documents given to us that utterly refute this contention.

(Documents 1& 2 originate from Dr Hitler's Surgery.)

Document 1 - This document lists those people - veterans - who would be under the direction of someone like Hitler Hunzvi and would be "deployed " in various areas for ''spontaneous'' invasions.

Document 2 - An action plan drawn up by the so-called Veterans Association for a "National Reaction Force" to move onto the farms and against businesses.

Notice how the formal arms of Government provide support and administration.

Document 3. The minutes of the meeting held by senior army personnel in Harare after hours.
This document shows that far from being the leaders, people like Hitler Hundzvi are pawns in the game being played by Mugabe and Zanu PF. Now dead, Hitler will be replaced by another expendable radical (Joseph Chinotimba?). We know of several "veterans" who, tired of claiming "their" land have left for home, only to be forcibly returned to the cause!

This document makes interesting reading, but be assured, as we have been, by our sources, that committees like these take their orders from the highest powers. (Note the Presidential Order to clean out Matabeleland South!)

Also notice the contempt with which the ''veterans'' are regarded by the Zanu PF.

Document 4. This is self-explanatory. What is displayed is the official Veteran October 2000 computer pay roll printout from Central Pay and Records. Names, bank details and amounts are all there. The list is for some 16,030 to be paid Z$ 99,776,234.12 on 24/10/2000. We are convinced this list has since grown, but it makes a mockery of the notion that these land invaders are landless peasants who spontaneously moved onto land in order to survive.

The advantage of this system for Mugabe, is that in the eyes of the outside world, especially in Africa, Zanu PF is redressing the past wrongs and alleviating injustices. There is no greater illusion. In the long run the real losers in this situation will be the Povo and we in Zimbabwe know it. This monster will be removed sooner or later.

The next year will be hard, and as Mugabe begins to realise he is losing the Presidential campaign, the "veterans" will become even more violent. Mugabe only seems to understand the tactics of fear, violence, murder and intimidation - we should expect more.

The next time some squatters murder a farmer or beat up his labourers, kill a tribesman or burn down his kraal line, rape a woman or harass in the name of a political party, murder or imprison anyone perceived to be opposed to Zanu PF, remember that these deeds are not spontaneous but planned and approved from the very top. This is an indisputable fact; proven by the documents you have read.

"Ethnic Cleansing" Zimbabwe style can be stopped as easily as Mugabe has started it. These documents prove it.

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From the Sunday Times: 19/9/01

Mugabe makes space for influx of Gadaffi's thugs

RW Johnson, Johannesburg

Gadaffi buys Mugabe's mansion for his thugs | Britons offer homes and jobs
to fleeing farmers | Lawyers denounce editor's arrest

WHEN Robert Mugabe married Grace Marufu, his glamorous former secretary, in
August 1996, he resolved to provide her with a home fit for a first lady.
Now the 32-room mansion he built her on the outskirts of the capital,
Harare, could be turned into the Libyan embassy, or "people's bureau" - the
latest bizarre sign of growing links between Muammar Gadaffi and the
embattled Zimbabwean leader.

Security sources revealed this weekend that the brown brick building -
nicknamed Gracelands - is among 20 properties bought by the Libyan leader in
recent months in Zimbabwe.

Oppposition politicians fear they could be used as safe-houses for thugs
supplied by the Libyan dictator to help intimidate opponents of his
comrade-in-arms and, in the process, enhance Gadaffi's own influence at the
opposite end of Africa.

The sale will not only provide Libya with by far the largest embassy
building in Zimbabwe, dwarfing the British and American missions; it will
also provide considerable personal gain for Mugabe.

The house was built for Grace using nearly £100,000 from a fund set up
ostensibly to provide low-cost housing for junior civil servants. The first
lady was deeply embarrassed when the press found out and refused to use the
home after it was finished in 1997.

It was then put on the market for £350,000 but found no takers - until
Gadaffi turned up and offered £100,000 more.

It was not the first example of his recent largesse to Mugabe's pariah
state: last year, unable to pay for fuel and dogged by power cuts and civil
unrest, the Zimbabwean leader made several successful trips to Tripoli with
his begging bowl.

Analysts have always noted there are few free lunches as far as Gadaffi is
concerned; he sees his role in Zimbabwe as his pathway to developing
diplomatic clout across black Africa.

To keep Mugabe sweet, he advanced him a loan of £70m, and then made a
special trip to last month's Organisation of African Unity summit in
Lusaka - the first he had attended since 1977 - to give all-out support to
Mugabe's land-grabbing and anti-white policies. So large was Libya's
delegation that Gadaffi even upstaged Nelson Mandela, the former South
African president.

From Lusaka, Gadaffi then drove in a 150-car motorcade to Harare, where his
army of amazon women bodyguards virtually took over the capital. In an
extraordinary television appearance, he announced that Africa was for the
Africans and that whites must go back to Europe, or be allowed to stay on
only as servants.

Gadaffi also promised Mugabe an extra £418m in fuel supplies, on top of a
£640,000 election contribution to Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party. More
sinister was Gadaffi's command to Harare's Indian Muslims for a jihad, or
holy war, in support of Mugabe's anti-white policies. Otherwise, he warned,
he would bring in the notorious Pagad movement from South Africa, a
fundamentalist Muslim vigilante group linked to murders in the Cape,
including bomb attacks on American- backed enterprises such as the Planet
Hollywood restaurant.

New embassy: Gadaffi's 32-room mansion in Harare. Photogaph: Sarah Jane

Most of Harare's hard-working Muslims were aghast, and they fear their
subsequent failure to take up the jihad is the reason for a spate of attacks
against their businesses by Zanu's dreaded youth wing. "For heaven's sake,
we all do business with whites all the time," said one. "It's obvious we're
being punished for not complying."

Gadaffi has also left behind two extra bodyguards for Mugabe and four
specialist "co-ordinators". They are believed to have experience in the
training and handling of death squads, which it is feared could be based in
the houses acquired by Gadaffi. The properties are strategically located
around the country, with four in Harare and one in every region.

The squads are said to have a list of assassination targets, including
politicians from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and
troublesome journalists.

Pagad activists have already been linked to an assassination attempt against
Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, in which his car was ambushed during the
recent Bindura by-election.

Tsvangirai alluded to the squads last week, when the local independent press
revealed that when Gadaffi's motorcade lumbered north on its return from
Harare last month, the Libyan leader stopped off in Chinhoyi, a white
farming area 70 miles northwest of Harare, to give an incendiary speech
calling on locals to throw out the whites.

It is difficult to know how far the ripples of Gadaffi's intervention will
spread, but statistics show Zimbabwe is becoming increasingly unsafe.

The respected Zimbabwean Human Rights Forum recently published a 46-page
report in which it details a catalogue of state-sponsored terror, including
assaults with whips, batons, electricity, water and even melted plastic,
dripped on to victims' torsos and genitalia.

Nothing in Zimbabwe now lies beyond Mugabe's tentacles of terror; even the
genteel realm of the Zimbabwean Cricket Union is being subjected to the
black-power principle. Those who run it are now under strict instructions to
pick more blacks for the national side, which had been scheduled to play
England later this year.

Mugabe is sufficiently hard pressed to be willing to make alliances with a
lexicon of pariah states. Besides Libya, the ranks of his foreign supporters
have dwindled to China - which last month extended a further £2.57m loan to
him - North Korea, Iraq and a scattering of mainly impoverished African
states. These include Sudan, where Mugabe has his eye on oil reserves.

The Sudanese, like Gadaffi, are delighted to find a friend in need, and
confirm that negotiations are under way.

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 National News

SAA says no to Zimdollars

Staff Writer
SOUTH African Airways has stopped accepting payments in Zimbabwean dollars
because of the Z$1billion it has accumulated and which it has been unable to
repatriate to South Africa.

Sources said the airline, which accumulates about Z$200 million monthly, has
resorted to the latest measures because of its failure to externalise its

It is understood that talks between finance and economic development
minister, Simba Makoni, and the airline, aimed at allowing SAA to buy
foreign currency on the black market, had failed to resolve the issue.

Makoni is said to have told the airline that it would be illegal for SAA to
buy forex on the black market. Airline officials took issue with the
minister on this, asking why they could not do so when the National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) had been allowed to obtain foreign currency on
the black market.

Another airline, British Airways, is expected to also stop accepting
Zimbabwean dollars shortly.

Traffic at the Harare International Airport is reported to have reached an
all time low after some airlines pulled out of Harare citing lawlessness and
the shortage of Jet A1 fuel.

The moves by the airlines to demand foreign currency for air tickets is
likely to impact badly on Zimbabweans, who have been leaving the country in
droves, mainly as economic refugees

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Sent: 19 August 2001 09:37
Subject: WEALTHY Britons are organising a "lifeboat" operation to help beleaguered white farmers leave Zimbabwe

WEALTHY Britons are organising a "lifeboat" operation to help beleaguered white farmers leave Zimbabwe and start a new life in Britain.

They are offering accommodation and jobs to farmers fleeing from President Robert Mugabe's armed mobs. Fifty families, mostly arriving here with little more than a suitcase full of posessions, have already received assistance.

The rescue mission, the Zimbabwe Farmers Trust, is being run from a Scottish glen by volunteers in the face of apparent inaction by Whitehall.

Some of the farmers are being advised to avoid British agriculture during its current crisis and to move on to France, where they may be able to continue cultivating tobacco. The trust has paid for one of them to see if there is suitable land in the Dordogne.

This weekend Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former foreign secretary and a prominent supporter of the rights of Zimbabwe's British citizens, endorsed the trust.

But he said the farmers could not expect special treatment from the government. "Obviously, they have got to be treated sensitively and sympathetically. However, it would be difficult to have rules which were different for any other destitute British person arriving from any other part of the world."

David Wolseley Brinton, chairman of the trust, which he runs from Chlenry Farmhouse, on a 43,000-acre estate at Castle Kennedy, Stranraer, said: "We have historic obligations to these people, some of whom fought for us in the second world war, yet they are being ignored while the government becomes entangled in the Balkans."

Approximately 150 volunteers have pledged to give up their second homes, or other vacant buildings, to provide temporary accommodation in Britain to Zimbabwean families. There are an estimated 25,000 British nationals in Zimbabwe. The trust's deputy chairman, George Campbell-Johnson, is offering to find some of them jobs through several recruitment companies he runs.

Martin Andrews, 39, a former farm manager in Macheke, southeast of the capital, Harare, who arrived in Britain with his family last October, has been provided with a cottage on Herriard Park estate, near Basingstoke, thanks to the trust.

"Although we had planned our departure for four months, when we left we could take only £350 in foreign currency and we arrived with four suitcases," Andrews said. "I would not have been able to pay rent during the first three months, before my wife and I found jobs."

Tony Morkel, 51, a friend of Ian Smith, the former Rhodesian prime minister, said the trust had attempted to help him find a job in London on his arrival. He and his family have now moved to Taunton.

"I know a lot of desperate people in Zimbabwe who now know they will be safe once they have arrived at a British airport," he said.

Desperate farmers are using the internet to contact the trust. In one correspondence, seen by The Sunday Times, a farmer wrote: "I have been arrested, slapped, chased off the farm and I'm living in Harare at present, trying to farm over the telephone. My passport has been confiscated and I am on bail. I've had enough."

There are fears that some of the farmers may not have escaped the vengeance of Mugabe with their flight to Britain. According to Wolseley Brinton, Mugabe's thugs are operating in Britain. He says he knows one Zimbabwean who was lucky to survive earlier this year when a driver attempted to run him over in London.

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Mbeki task team turns the screws on Mugabe

By Basildon Peta and Peter Fabricius

President Thabo Mbeki finally grasped the nettle of Zimbabwe this week, working hard behind the scenes at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Blantyre to ensure that the region challenged President Robert Mugabe's handling of his country's growing crisis.

Mugabe is likely to come under increasing pressure in the next month or two from both SADC and leading African backers of Mbeki's Africa plan.

Mugabe still has some residual support in the Commonwealth where a task team led by Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo has failed so far to make tangible progress in resolving the conflict between Britain and Zimbabwe over land.

But diplomatic efforts are under way to ensure that Mugabe will get the same cold shoulder at the Commonwealth summit in Brisbane, Australia, in October that he got in Blantyre this week.

Mbeki's deft diplomatic manoeuvring also ensured that his Africa plan, which has the backing of the eight industrialised nations as well as Africa and the non-aligned movement, will be born without the contamination that Mugabe's involvement in a leadership role would have implied.

Zimbabwe was not even on the agenda of the SADC summit before it started this week but Mbeki ensured that it was put near the top once the meeting got under way. At last year's SADC summit in Windhoek, Mugabe won the backing of SADC leaders.

This year, the SADC heads of government brushed aside an attempt by Mugabe to win their support for his controversial seizure of white farms and a condemnation of Britain, the former colonial power, for failing to fund land redistribution.

And they appointed a task team spearheaded by South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique to address the problem, in effect telling Mugabe that he was not capable of governing his country alone.

Sources said this team would meet possibly as early as Sunday in Kampala where African leaders are gathered for the Smart Partnership summit.

Several analysts have noted that the appointment of the task team was a major setback for Mugabe since it will pry into his handling of his country.

It has been briefed to consult all role players in Zimbabwe, including white farmers, opposition parties and the government.

"If a country's neighbouring states decide to speak about their brother's problems in public, it is, in diplomatic terms, tantamount to drawing the line on its actions," Jakkie Cilliers of the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria said.

"The leaders of these three countries are not the type who can be easily pushed around by Mugabe. It is obvious that they will implore him to implement land reform within the context of the rule of law," said another source.

"The fact that the leaders did not settle for a team comprising Mugabe's friends like Namibia, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo meant they were sending a very clear message to Mugabe that they want the land issue resolved properly to avoid ripple effects into the entire region," the source said.

SADC sources said the leaders were also unusually frank and critical of Mugabe in their closed sessions.

They said Swazi King Mswati III had reflected the tone of the discussions when he later told reporters that Mugabe's illegal seizure of white farms tarnished the reputation of the whole region and that it had to be brought under control.

It was generally a bad summit for Mugabe, who also lost his coveted five-year-long chairmanship of the SADC organ for politics, defence and security, which he had exploited fully as a regional power base.

Another possible blow to Mugabe was that despite being among the top three economies of SADC, Zimbabwe was not chosen to represent the region in the potentially powerful committee of 15 African nations that will drive the Millennium African Renaissance Plan, now the New African Initiative.

South African government sources said the need to advance the initiative was a strong incentive for Mbeki's intervention at the summit.

Some official sources said that Mbeki's approach was to warn Mugabe that he needed to take strong action to avoid a potential train smash at the Commonwealth meeting. - Foreign Service

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THE arrest in the early hours of Wednesday morning of Geoff Nyarota, editor of the Daily News, and subsequently Bill Saidi, the assistant editor together with other staff, was clearly designed to muzzle the paper as government wakes up to the enormous public relations disaster its violent land policy has spawned.

The move should be seen as part of a campaign to harass and intimidate the small but vibrant independent press in the country as President Mugabe fights for his political survival.

But instead of placing a lid on the circulation of damaging reports about what has been happening in recent days in Chinhoyi and the surrounding farmlands, this clumsy move will no doubt generate further bad publicity and convince the public that government has something to hide.

Despite the Herald’s mendacious attempts yesterday to mislead its readers, the truth cannot be disguised. Zanu PF is responsible for the wave of attacks on farmers, their families and workers, and for the destruction and looting that has followed.

The campaign could never have followed the path it did without state complicity and indeed direction. It is manifestly a deliberate move to drive farmers off the land.

The police wanted to charge Nyarota and his colleagues with spreading a false report that was calculated to cause “alarm and despondency”. This was in connection with a report in the Daily News on Tuesday that police vehicles had been used during the looting on the farms around Mhangura. John Nkomo indignantly told the BBC the Daily News journalists had committed a crime under “our” Law and Order (Maintenance) Act

Now it transpires they were unlawfully arrested because that section of the Act was last year struck down by the Supreme Court as oppressive. The Minister of Home Affairs, it seems, is ignorant of the law.

So are the police who had no ca-use to pick somebody up at that time of the night anyway.

Now they want to charge them under an ancient law on criminal defamation that has been struck down in other Commonwealth jurisdictions as incompatible with democr-atic free- doms. In reality they are guilty only of doing their job — telling readers what is really hap- pening on the farms and elsewhere.

The government is extraordinarily sensitive to the charge of com- plicity in lawlessness. It is attempting to convince the outside world, in particular Commonwealth leaders ahead of the Brisbane Chogm, that whatever may have occurred in the past, Zimbabwe is now following the letter of the law.
We all know that is fiction.

Indeed, the world saw what President Mugabe means by “land reform” when pictures were screened on Monday and Tuesday nights by the BBC showing the destruction of farm houses and farm records, making it as difficult as possible for the owners to return.

It is this contrast between what government claims to be doing and the reality on the ground that it is now trying to disguise. But it cannot hide the truth. This is a violent and lawless campaign at complete variance with assurances given to the international community.

The police are complicit in so far as they refused to act in numerous reported cases of assault, damage to property and theft. In many cases they have arrested the victims of violence and farm workers defending their employer’s property. Very few farm invaders have been arrested; many have escaped with the looted property.

Targeting newspapers that make life uncomfortable for the government by exposing its duplicity will not solve the problem of bad publicity. Rather it will compound it.

The terrible truth about a government at war with its own citizens because they had the temerity to exercise their rights through the courts or support the opposition is a story that won’t lie down.

Defenceless rural communities, deprived of the protection to which they are entitled under the law, have been the worst hit by state-driven criminality. But town-dwellers and businesses are also affected.

As the government becomes more desperate, so it will increasingly use the police to impose its will and punish its critics — even using draconian colonial laws that it has repeatedly pledged to repeal. But it cannot subdue a whole nation. And no matter how many journalists they arrest, the independent press will go on doing its job — telling it like it is.
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ZANU PF will have to rethink its survival strategy. Violence or no violence, it appears the Bulawayo mayoral seat won’t come cheap for the party. For one, the people of Matabeleland are fed up with promises of development that are never fulfilled. And they have made their position against violence very clear: Bulawayo is a no-go area for the Zanu PF election monster, Joseph Brown Chinotimba.

“We want a non-violent campaign of persuasion,” said the Bulawayo provincial executive. “We don’t want a situation which will damage the party’s reputation.”

It’s a bit late to worry about that! But the tacit admission that violence doesn’t always pay is nevertheless useful to have.
Chinotimba has also been barred from leading Zanu PF campaigns in Chikomba district to replace the late Hitler Hunzvi.

Should sanity prevail in the party, that should force the eccentric Chinotimba back to his job as a driver in the Harare city council. Without violence he will be of no use to the party.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Mail this week bravely tried to prove that Chinotimba was not a refugee as alleged by Wilfred Mhanda but that he had actually fought in Zimbabwe’s liberation war by producing a photograph of a young man posing with a gun. We couldn’t recognise the face. But the picture raises more questions than it answers.

Who was it who had time to take colour pictures of Chinotimba when others were dodging bullets and shrapnel in the bush? When and where was the picture taken? And how come no senior people in Zanla — except Constantine Chiwenga whose wife heads a Zanu PF front outfit — can recall seeing Chinotimba anywhere near the war front?

These are issues that need to be thoroughly investigated to set the record straight, including explaining the source of Chinotimba’s sudden riches accumulated during farm invasions last year and company occupations this year.

The Heroes’ holiday is come and gone. Unfortunately it was not as national as it was originally meant to be. Typically, Zanu PF has appropriated this occasion to berate all and sundry as if all those who died for the country carried a Zanu PF badge. And it seems to have carried its culture of violence to the national shrine where we saw one youth in an MDC T-shirt being beaten up by Zanu PF thugs.

What is the point of Zanu PF political leaders inviting people to come in their thousands and then beating up those who belong to parties other than Zanu PF?

In Bulawayo a number of patriotic Zimbabweans had to leave the provincial shrine when Vice-President Joseph Msika asked everybody present to chant Zanu PF slogans. As one angry Bulawayo resident remarked, Mbuya Nehanda whose memory the ruling party has abused over the years, did not belong to Zanu PF.

The heroes of the First and Second Chimurenga did not have narrow, selfish agendas espoused by the current leadership. That is why they appealed to all Zimbabweans and are respected by people from completely different backgrounds.

But Zanu PF has failed to rise to a national party that champions a national agenda. It matters very little how many Va Postori Zanu PF tries to lure to such occasions, if the purpose is to use the occasion for its own campaigns many peace-loving Zimbabweans would rather stay at home.

So the Zanu PF youth soccer league was cancelled at the National Sports Stadium on Saturday because the youths would not take orders from their superiors? What a shame.

The youths from Mashonaland West (where else?) defied their leaders Absolom Sikhosana and Saviour Kasukuwere and invaded the pitch, hopefully in “a peaceful demonstration” until the match was called off.

Chairman of the league Lloyd Hove said he had been shocked by this unruly behaviour. We were not. Nor were those living on the farms who have endured these invasions since last year’s watershed constitutional referendum.

Kasukuwere and Sikhosana know where the youths came from. The 200 delinquents were perhaps the same mob used to harass people prior to the recent by-election and Kasukuwere was happy enough to defend them then. At least for now the football pandemonium has not been blamed on the MDC and the British!

A little learning is a dangerous thing, they say. And George Charamba gave us a good example of the validity of that maxim when he tried to deny reports that President Mugabe is looking bloated.

We have been getting queries here at the Independent for several weeks asking if we had noticed a certain puffiness of late about the president’s features. Yes we have. He is definitely looking different — and we don’t mean the hair dye he has been applying for some time in a vain battle against ageing.

But Charamba, instead of calmly denying that there was anything wrong with the president, launched into a clumsy Jonathan Moyo-type tirade against the newspaper that had raised the issue — the Standard.

Denying that he had made any comment to the Standard, Charamba suggested the paper’s editor had interviewed his typewriter “which I am sure does not have an African surname, let alone perspective”.

Speculation about the president’s health was “ageing standard Rhodesian propaganda”, Charamba claimed in what probably passes for a pun at Munhumutapa Building where they are evidently still using typewriters — presumably made by hitherto unknown patriotic African manufacturers.

But Charamba’s tomfoolery apart, how do we explain the change in Mugabe’s appearance which was evident from the Herald front page picture on Wednesday? Specialists we spoke to said his face shows signs of cortisone treatment.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t take us much further forward in any diagnosis of what ails him as cortisone is used as an anti-inflammatory drug in a number of conditions and produces what is called a “moon face” — rounder and softer.

What would be helpful is an honest response from the Zanu PF officials at the President’s Office who although paid from the public purse appear to think they are unaccountable as well as unprofessional. If there is anything wrong with the president — apart of course from what is obvious — then the public have a right to know.

Somebody phoned in last week to ask why Mugabe is calling his ministers cowards when he is responsible for the most obvious act of cowardice: sending armed mobs to attack farmers and their families when they are unable to defend themselves — and then forbidding the police from intervening?

This is a good point. Mugabe emits a steady torrent of abuse, incitement and threats from the safety of State House without at any point risking his own safety and comfort. Who is the real coward here? And what of those that go along with him instead of having the courage, like Nkosana Moyo, to stand up to him?

Our old friend Olley Maruma has burst back into print, having found refuge — like a number of scribblers from the Sunday Mail — at the Zimbabwe Mirror.

Here he has rekindled a longstanding grievance against the Independent for daring to challenge his nationalist posturing in the pages of the Mail.

Last Friday he took the opportunity to hurl a few fresh barbs against what he calls “disgraceful” media detractors of Zimbabwe’s Congo intervention.
He accuses these “detractors” of risking the security of Zimbabwe’s soldiers in the Congo and “praying for the defeat and embarrassment of our forces”.

“For the most part they pilloried Zimbabwe’s intervention in the DRC as a waste of public resources, dishonestly trying to portray Sadc’s regional security initiative on the Congo as the irrational and illogical act of
Robert Mugabe, ‘an adventurer and a madman’.”

We don’t recall any paper using those words, but if Maruma thinks they fit who are we to quarrel? But why does he think it served the national interest for the government to spend millions of US dollars a month propping up the corrupt and tyrannical regime of Laurent Kabila when Zimbabwe’s social services — most notably its hospitals — were collapsing from neglect?

Why does he think we should have been diverting scarce resources to the Congo war when there was no foreign currency for fuel and power needs?
Is it not the duty of any government to put its own people first?

Zimbabwe’s rulers gave priority to Kabila. Money that could have been used for social services, infrastructure, and land redistribution was instead squandered in a war that Zimbabweans did not support and which this country had no prospect of winning.

During the period of the war from 1998 to the present the country’s economy has further deteriorated, in part because Mugabe and those around him have continued to make decisions that are manifestly contrary to the country’s interests.

Let’s have no more misguided claptrap about betraying our boys in the jungle. They were betrayed by the people who sent them there.

We are interested to see that several of South Africa’s most prominent black editors have been pointing out that if the subject of reparations for slavery is to be raised at the forthcoming conference on racism in Durban, then the Arabs should be required to account for their role. In particular, Col Gaddafi should be made to cough up.

Commenting on Gaddafi’s attempt to buy support at the recent OAU summit, Mathatha Tsedu, deputy chief executive of news at SABC and former deputy editor of the Star, said “Libya supplied Zambians with banners extolling the virtues of Libya and Gaddafi who went on walkabouts throwing money at people”.

And Tsedu does not spare our own leader.

“When Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe allows Gaddafi to do his dramatics of a 100-car convoy through the country, throwing money at Zimbabweans, my heart sinks,” he said.

“For indeed one expects Mugabe to live by the dictum of dying in dignity rather than living in shame, which is what he has reduced Zimbabwe to.”

Africans will have to raise the issue of “whether it is time to treat the Arab north as colonised territory that must be liberated. The arrogance that flows from there just stinks sometimes,” Tsedu said referring to the treatment Africans sometimes receive in countries like Egypt.

“If we don’t (raise it), the noble intentions of the African Union to create dignity for Africans will sound more and more hollow,” he said.

Muckraker would add something to that. If reparations are to be paid for slavery and colonialism, why are African dictators who have looted their country’s resources not also made to pay back what they have stolen, lost or misused? Several examples come to mind!

We were pleased to see the Herald’s designation of “war veterans” and “resettled farmers” has now changed to “looters”. But Wayne Bvudzijena’s tune remains the same. He parrots what he is told to say by the Ministry of Information.

“We arrest people on the availability of evidence,” he told the Herald. “We don’t just jump because the CFU says jump...we jump at an appropriate time.”

In fact the police jump when politicians, not a sense of duty, tell them to. Most of the time however they fold their arms and watch. That includes the burning of farmsteads, the destruction of records, the killing of livestock and the looting of farm equipment.

Bvudzijena is now threatening to “investigate” three officers in Chinhoyi who treated the arrested farmers with compassion and civility by supplying them with decent clothes. As Mike Auret said in parliament this week, the police are a disgrace to their uniform and the Nation.

Zanu PF supporters are agitating for the return and burial at Heroes Acre of the remains of Herbert Chitepo’s car. This campaign has our full support. Nothing could be more emblematic of Zanu PF rule than a wrecked and burnt out vehicle. Herbert Chitepo would be appalled by what has happened to his legacy.

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From ZWNEWS, 19 August

Hwedza update

The Hwedza farming family who had been barricaded in their home on Friday finally escaped from their farmstead at 3:00 pm yesterday. The farmer, his wife, and their two young children had tried to leave at 4:00 am, but were prevented by the gang of Zanu PF thugs outside the security fence. Police were called, and a detail did attend the farm, but did nothing and left again.

War veterans besieging the farm, where the workforce had on Friday sought shelter inside the fenced-off area surrounding the house, forced the farmworkers to attend an all-night pungwe – the lengthy political intimidation meetings which have been a favoured tactic of Zanu PF thugs since the early 1970’s. Extended sessions of slogan chanting – in support of the party and its president - accompanied by the ritual denunciation of all who oppose him, are standard features of these meetings. The singling-out of ‘sellouts’, who are often humiliated and beaten in front of the crowd, is a frequent occurrence.

All the fences on the farm have been broken, and the gang demanded that the cattle be moved off the farm and the workforce paid off. The farmer was frogmarched to the farm safe, where its contents were taken, but there was not sufficient cash to placate the gang, who demanded to see the books. Workers from another farm were brought in to trash the tobacco seedbeds. Police were again contacted, but they referred the farmer to the District Administrator, who was not available.

In all, the farmworkers from 16 farms in the Hwedza district have been forced to flee. One farm is still missing a truck which is being used to move the marauding gangs around the area. There is a lot of attempted extortion. The workers have been instructed to beat anybody seen taking photographs. The farms themselves are mostly deserted, with a few Zanu PF thugs living in the workers quarters.

From The Sunday Telegraph (UK), 19 August

Zimbabwe snubs Red Cross offer to shelter refugees

Hwedza - The government of Zimbabwe has refused permission to the International Committee of the Red Cross to set up refugee camps for black farm labourers forced off their land in the latest wave of looting and occupations by militant supporters of Robert Mugabe. Thousands of starving farm workers and their wives and children are wandering aimlessly around the outskirts of Harare in search of food and shelter from the Zimbabwean winter. Many are from Hwedza, a once prosperous tobacco-growing area 50 miles east of the capital, where so-called war veterans and militants from the ruling Zanu PF went on the rampage last week, driving farm workers before them like cattle.

There were fears yesterday that the anarchy would spread after Ignatius Chombo, the chairman of the government's National Land Taskforce, said that all blacks who had been allocated plots on confiscated white-owned farms must move on to their new land by August 31. The deadline is likely to provoke a fresh wave of farm occupations. The Hwedza attacks followed raids the previous week in the farming towns of Chinhoyi and Doma in which 45 farms were wrecked and burnt and 21 white farmers arrested. Black farmworkers have also become the target of attacks in a new tactic that has brought farming to a halt at a busy time of year.

The fleeing workers initially camped outside police stations and government offices but armed police moved families on. They now wander the district in search of help, huddling together at night to keep warm. Most have been wearing the same clothes since they were herded from their homes by chanting youths. Speaking of her ordeal, Louisa Gwatidzo, a farm labourer's wife, wept as she said: "They just came and ordered everyone to pack up and leave and said that anyone found in any of the houses would be in trouble. We are in the middle of the month and I don't have any money to transport my goods or buy food. I don't know where my children will go to school."

According to Malcolm Vowles, the deputy director of the Commercial Farmers' Union, workers from 16 farms in Hwedza have been evicted. Farming in the area has been brought to a standstill. "From this whole area alone the country is going to lose 352,000lb of tobacco and 19,600 tons of paprika," said one Hwedza farmer. The ransacking of farms in Hwedza continued yesterday and a mob screamed, "You white British bitch", at a woman barricaded in her homestead with her husband. While white farmers usually have friends to stay with, farm workers have nowhere to go. They fear that if they stay in one place they will be picked up by marauding bands of Zanu PF militants and herded into camps for "re-education", the euphemism used by the party for public beatings.

The Sunday Telegraph has learned that a request from the Red Cross to provide shelter for the traumatised families has been refused by the Zimbabwean government. The camps might also be used to house white farmers in the event that they were unable to find shelter with friends or security deteriorated on the roads. They could also be used as assembly points for a mass evacuation of Europeans. Last week British and European diplomats held meetings to review plans for an armoured convoy to move their citizens out to Mozambique and South Africa if conditions worsen.

Twenty-five thousand British nationals are registered with the British High Commission but there are believed to be as many as 40,000 in Zimbabwe. Many farmers are angry that international aid agencies have done nothing about the worsening humanitarian plight. "The silence is sinister," complained Kerry Kay, a farmer's wife who heads the Farm Orphans' Trust. "Not one of these aid organisations has said a thing." The strongest criticism is reserved for the British Government. "What more does Mugabe have to do before they will speak out?" asked one. "Do we have to wait until we have Taliban-style public executions?"

From The Australian, 19 August

Mugabe: I'm coming to Brisbane

Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe says he is coming to CHOGM, but he has not informed the Australian Government. A spokesman for President Mugabe in the nation's capital Harare told The Sunday Mail a Zimbabwean entourage would be in Brisbane for the October event. But confusion still surrounds Mr Mugabe's attendance at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, with the Zimbabwe High Commission in Canberra giving conflicting answers. On Wednesday an anonymous spokesman at the high commission said he had no formal confirmation of Mr Mugabe's visit. But on Thursday, the high commission's Joel Muzuwa said the president was coming. Neither the Queensland nor Australian Government has received confirmation of Mr Mugabe's attendance.

A Howard Government MP has called for Mr Mugabe to be banned from CHOGM, calling him a"dangerous, malicious dictator". Parliamentary Secretary Peter Slipper said Mr Mugabe's presence would endanger Brisbane residents through violent street protests. "This man is a dangerous, malicious dictator who has recently pursued a vicious personal vendetta against white Zimbabwean farmers," he said. "He should have absolutely no right whatsoever to come to Brisbane and stand on the world stage with leaders of the Commonwealth. Nobody in Brisbane should have to live in fear because a dictator like Robert Mugabe is wandering the streets."

Mr Muzuwa said: "He is coming like all the other Commonwealth leaders. There is no reason why he should not come." Mr Mugabe's bodyguards have several times attacked protesters when he has travelled abroad. "He will bring his own security like every other Commonwealth leader," Mr Muzuwa said. He declined to reveal when Mr Mugabe would arrive for the meeting. The spokesman in Harare said Mr Mugabe was looking forward to the meeting and there was no question he would be there.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group is expected to debate next month whether Zimbabwe should be excluded from CHOGM but Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon has said he is not aware of any move to stop the country being represented. Mr Mugabe's presence is expected to boost the level of protest at the meeting. The three biggest protest groups - CHOGM Free Zone, Stop CHOGM and the Anti-CHOGM Alliance - have all listed Mr Mugabe's attendance as a major factor in their demonstrations.

From The Sunday Independent (SA), 19 August

Mbeki task team turns the screws on Mugabe

President Thabo Mbeki finally grasped the nettle of Zimbabwe this week, working hard behind the scenes at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Blantyre to ensure that the region challenged President Robert Mugabe's handling of his country's growing crisis. Mugabe is likely to come under increasing pressure in the next month or two from both SADC and leading African backers of Mbeki's Africa plan. Mugabe still has some residual support in the Commonwealth where a task team led by Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo has failed so far to make tangible progress in resolving the conflict between Britain and Zimbabwe over land. But diplomatic efforts are under way to ensure that Mugabe will get the same cold shoulder at the Commonwealth summit in Brisbane, Australia, in October that he got in Blantyre this week.

Mbeki's deft diplomatic manoeuvring also ensured that his Africa plan, which has the backing of the eight industrialised nations as well as Africa and the non-aligned movement, will be born without the contamination that Mugabe's involvement in a leadership role would have implied. Zimbabwe was not even on the agenda of the SADC summit before it started this week but Mbeki ensured that it was put near the top once the meeting got under way. At last year's SADC summit in Windhoek, Mugabe won the backing of SADC leaders. This year, the SADC heads of government brushed aside an attempt by Mugabe to win their support for his controversial seizure of white farms and a condemnation of Britain, the former colonial power, for failing to fund land redistribution.

And they appointed a task team spearheaded by South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique to address the problem, in effect telling Mugabe that he was not capable of governing his country alone. Sources said this team would meet possibly as early as Sunday in Kampala where African leaders are gathered for the Smart Partnership summit. Several analysts have noted that the appointment of the task team was a major setback for Mugabe since it will pry into his handling of his country. It has been briefed to consult all role players in Zimbabwe, including white farmers, opposition parties and the government.

"If a country's neighbouring states decide to speak about their brother's problems in public, it is, in diplomatic terms, tantamount to drawing the line on its actions," Jakkie Cilliers of the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria said. "The leaders of these three countries are not the type who can be easily pushed around by Mugabe. It is obvious that they will implore him to implement land reform within the context of the rule of law," said another source. "The fact that the leaders did not settle for a team comprising Mugabe's friends like Namibia, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo meant they were sending a very clear message to Mugabe that they want the land issue resolved properly to avoid ripple effects into the entire region," the source said.

SADC sources said the leaders were also unusually frank and critical of Mugabe in their closed sessions. They said Swazi King Mswati III had reflected the tone of the discussions when he later told reporters that Mugabe's illegal seizure of white farms tarnished the reputation of the whole region and that it had to be brought under control. It was generally a bad summit for Mugabe, who also lost his coveted five-year-long chairmanship of the SADC organ for politics, defence and security, which he had exploited fully as a regional power base. Another possible blow to Mugabe was that despite being among the top three economies of SADC, Zimbabwe was not chosen to represent the region in the potentially powerful committee of 15 African nations that will drive the Millennium African Renaissance Plan, now the New African Initiative. South African government sources said the need to advance the initiative was a strong incentive for Mbeki's intervention at the summit. Some official sources said that Mbeki's approach was to warn Mugabe that he needed to take strong action to avoid a potential train smash at the Commonwealth meeting.

From The Zimbabwe Standard, 19 August

MDC plans high-powered CHOGM mission

The Movement for Democratic Change will send a high-powered delegation to the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Brisbane, Australia, for talks with the various world leaders expected to be assembled there. Morgan Tsvangirai, the party’s leader, told The Standard on Friday that the MDC would make representations to world leaders at the meeting, in order to highlight the crisis in Zimbabwe. The meeting will run from 6 to 9 October. "We will send an early delegation to Brisbane. CHOGM does not provide for the accreditation of opposition parties so we won’t be able to attend the actual meeting. But our delegation will have done the groundwork. We have to talk to a number of people and raise their awareness about what is happening in Zimbabwe," said Tsvangirai. He was unable to divulge the names of the world leaders his party intends to talk to. Tsvangirai said his party would urge the Commonwealth leaders to put pressure on Mugabe to end state-sponsored violence and lawlessness. "We will raise issues of governance and the issue of Mugabe’s violation of the Harare Declaration. Zimbabwe is a signatory to that declaration and we insist that Mugabe sticks to its terms. He cannot continue to violate the declaration with impunity, he has to answer for it," said Tsvangirai.

At CHOGM in Harare in 1991, the leaders pledged to work for the protection and promotion of the fundamental political values of the association which include democratic processes and institutions which reflect national circumstances, fundamental human rights, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. Zimbabwe is likely to be brought on to the agenda because of its violation of the declaration. Since the rejection of its draft constitution in February last year, the government has suspended the rule of law in order to push its agenda of a chaotic and illegal land reform programme. War veterans and Zanu PF supporters have unleashed terror on the farms, on rural school teachers, and on some members of the judiciary because of their failure to endorse the haphazard land programme.

A number of judges, including former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay, have been forced off the bench because of judgments which have been contrary to the government’s land reform approach. The police has also come under severe criticism for its alleged selective application of the law. It has hastened to arrest opposition officials but has proved reluctant to act in the face of misdemeanours by senior ruling party officials. According to the declaration, a country which violates its tenets risks being suspended from the club’s meetings. Said one source within the Commonwealth: "A certain hot topic at the Brisbane meeting will be the human rights record of member governments, particularly Zimbabwe and Fiji."

Zimbabwe risks being expelled from the Commonwealth because of its poor human rights record. Pressure has been mounting from various organisations and human rights activists for the Commonwealth to act strongly against Mugabe. Still others, such as the gay and human rights activist, Peter Tatchell, have been mobilising for Mugabe’s arrest. Sources within the Commonwealth have told The Standard that members had given Mugabe until the Brisbane meeting, to return the country to a sound democratic condition or risk being censured. Tsvangirai said although his party was against sanctions being imposed on Zimbabwe, it would support any other measures intended to pile pressure on Mugabe to force him to do the right thing. However, he said the MDC was against the idea of Mugabe’s arrest.

From The Zimbabwe Standard, 19 August

Heroes Acre has lost glory, says Zvobgo

Zanu PF stalwart and MP for Masvingo South, Dr Eddison Zvobgo, has said that the honour of being buried at the national Heroes Acre in Harare is no more. Speaking a day after the Heroes Day commemorations in the Masvingo farming area last weekend, Zvobgo said while the national shrine used to be the resting place for people who had shown consistency in uplifting the country, one now had to "campaign" vigorously to be declared a hero. He was speaking at the funeral of Danidzirai Makamure, the former Masvingo deputy regional director for education, at Farm 19 in the Masema area of Gutu, about 80 km east of Masvingo town.

"This man is lucky that he is being buried at his own Heroes Acre here on his farm, because the Heroes Acre that we have come to know of has lost its glory. Even in death, one now has to campaign to be granted hero status," said Zvobgo. "Here lies an unsung hero who played a sterling role in the liberation of this country, but never breast-beat himself about what he did and achieved. There are some in our midst whose roles are so obscure; they take every opportunity to remind others about what role they played. There are some political bandwagoners who abuse their mentors’ hospitality by wanting to dictate the course of events. In our party we have such visitors, yet there are veterans who have never wavered in the cause of our liberation," said Zvobgo earlier during a church service for Makamure.

The former minister becomes the second high-ranking Zanu PF official, after Edgar Tekere in the 1990s, to write off the honour of being buried at the National Shrine. Tekere said then that he did not want to be buried at Heroes Acre and have "people speechifying over my dead body." Zvobgo also took a swipe at leaders who cling to power instead of retiring gracefully to pave way for their successors. He likened the refusal of one to hand over power to the mentality of a madman who, when given the relay baton during a race, flees with it into the mountains instead of passing it on to the next runner. He told the mourners last week: "Once upon a time, a psychiatric patient at Ngomahuru hospital joined a relay race with other patients. Instead of passing the baton onto the next person, he ran into the adjacent hill with the baton," said Zvobgo.

Meanwhile, sources said there were now moves to bring Zvobgo and Dzikamai Mavhaire back into the fold because of the unpopularity of the new executive led by higher education and technology minister, Samuel Mumbengegwi. Masvingo made history when it became the first local authority to have an opposition mayor when the Movement for Democratic Change’s Alois Chaimiti trounced Zanu PF candidate, Joseph Chademana, to land the top civic job. A Zanu PF politburo member has been tasked with making overtures to Zvobgo and Mavhaire, who are believed to wield enough power to drum up support for the party ahead of next year’s presidential elections. The plan would see the Masvingo governor, Josaya Hungwe, being given a diplomatic posting, possibly to Malawi, and a fusion of the current provincial executive with Zvobgo faction members.

From The Daily News, 18 August

Police officers trapped in lift at Daily News offices

The arrest on Tuesday night of Geoffrey Nyarota, the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily News, by the police came a few hours after four police officers were trapped in a lift for about two hours on the second floor of Trustee House, the paper’s head office, along Harare’s Samora Machel Avenue. The four were trapped while they were on their way to see Nyarota, in connection with the story published by the paper on that day, which alleged use of police vehicles in farm lootings in the Doma, Lions’ Den and Mhangura areas last weekend.

The officers were trapped in the lift at about 8pm and were only rescued around 11.30pm. The doors leading from the floor to the stairway were locked after a computer company that leased the floor moved out. Nyarota said yesterday he believes that the police erroneously thought that either he or The Daily News had something to do with the incident. Nyarota said he left his office at about 9pm and went to the newsroom on the mezzanine floor, using the stairway after a security guard told him the elevator was not working. Unknown to him, the policemen were already stuck in the lift. Nyarota was in the newsroom for about 40 minutes before going home.

He said three officers, an Assistant Commissioner Lunga, Assistant Inspector Boysen Mathema, the Officer-in-Charge of the Law and Order (Maintenance) Section, and an unidentified officer, arrived at his home at about 12.30am. "During the discussion they said their colleagues were trapped in the lift at Trustee House," said Nyarota. "By the way they put it to me, they implied that either I or The Daily News was responsible. They were quite adamant about it." He said he told them that The Daily News was only a tenant in the building and had nothing to do with the lifts. There has been no response from the police on the matter as they are under strict instructions from police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, not to speak to The Daily News.

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I WAS persuaded recently to listen to a Friday evening debate on the land issue in Shona on Radio 2. The participants were from Zanu PF, the MDC and the UZ. I will refer to the Zanu PF man as “the spokesman”.

He gave a hard-hitting, uncompromising, and blood-curdling message. He also rudely interrupted the other speakers. His message was that the Mabhunu (derogatory term for all whites) are thieves.

They stole the land. And every bit of it must be taken back. Not only the farms, but also, he said, all the businesses belong to the Mabhunu and all the blacks are working for them. This situation must be resolved.

The spokesman said that this is a war and in a war people must die. He said this war actually began in 1890 and must be brought to its conclusion now. The Mabhunu, he said, are historically the shedders of blood. The MDC man seemed more concerned about missing out on their share of the loot.

The UZ contributions were unclear and it sounded as if they sided with the spokesman.

Allow me as a Mubhunu to speak my heart without malice.

l What a compliment (although untrue) that we are the sole employers of blacks! At least we are doing our bit to avoid 100% unemployment.

That this is a war is obvious, what with “base camps”, “base commanders”, and the chanting of war songs about Mabhunu blood? Doesn’t sound like agriculture!

l My brain says to me: “White man, flee!” but my faith says to me: “Don’t, there is a God in heaven whose sword is already drawn — stay put!”
The venom of the spokesman’s words convinces me that the Mabhunu are only amateur racists and actually have far more room in their hearts for other shades of people.

I am old enough to have seen many Ma-bhunu in all walks of life, helping black people with dedication and personal sacrifice. The spokesman, no doubt, benefited directly or indirectly with not the least acknowledgement.

l Thieves. Maybe some Mabhunu are, but the glass-house from which the spokesman casts his stones is particularly fragile. Why did the povo cry: “Please let whites rather distribute the famine relief?”

If Mabhunu thieving built this country up from virgin bush to almost first world standard, it is certainly not Mabhunu thieving which is now reducing it to the bottom of the third world.

l The cost of security has become a significant part of the cost of living, and unemployability is fast overtaking unemployment, while thieva- bility is becoming the main consideration before embarking on any enterprise. It never used to be so.

While there is a strong tendency to claim poverty as the excuse for thieving, the truth is that there is an inverse ratio. The poorer folks are the more honest.

l If over the past two decades enough Mabhu-nu aid money has been poured into this country to put one million dollars into every individual’s pocket, why has it not reached the povo?

l There seems to be a general paranoia over the Mabhunu tendency to have their own social circles. Yet this is a most natural phenomenon. It is important to minority groups all over the world. And it is something the Mabhunu have never wi-shed to deny other people.

Let us now look at the land.

From the beginning, commercial farming was vital for the development of the country. That required farms. Has Zimbabwe developed or has it not? What was it like a century and a half ago? The question is not who’s got how much land, rather it is how much land is commercially farmed and how much commercial farming is needed to keep the wheels of the economy turning?

An axe and badza economy will not even feed half the present population, and when the first drought comes, disaster will strike. Commercial farming is a tractor and harvester economy, a paddock and pasture economy, a game fence and safari-camp economy. It cannot be confined to plots.

The economy of commercial farming creates employment, feeds the cities, brings in foreign currency, and conserves the ecology. Commercial farming up to now, covering less than a quarter of the country, is non-racial, its doors are open, its organisation transparent, efficient and passionately loyal to Zimbabwe and its people.

Successful commercial farmers are the survivors of a very severe economic culling process. Their multiple expertise has earned them the recognition of the world. Why hate them for it?

Two-thirds of the country is tribally settled with small-holder lands and communal grazing. It is home — kumusha. Even to most city dwellers. As such it is vitally important. But employment is crucial to its economy.
Smallholder agriculture, while playing a vital subsistence role, has severe limitations. Its economy is too small to create the necessary infrastructures that are needed to attain full productivity.

The poverty of, and the pressures on, the communal lands can best be alleviated by employment. That makes the viability of commercial farms all the more important. Reduce it and you compound the crisis.

Those poor “landless” who have actually got land but are too poor to make a viable input into it need to be helped in other ways.

Zimbabwe has got cropping country, cattle country and game country. How disastrous to settle unsuitable areas to a cropping economy!

More than half of Zimbabwe’s grazing lands are free for all and unmanaged. Their correct utilisation in the less arable zones would far out-yield crops. How tragic that ranches are being dismantled for the sake of less that 5% of the area being put to patchy fields of doubtful yields?

The whole picture, in its entirety, cries out for some sort of dovetailing of the two sectors. The Mabhunu could be, and would like to be, the povo’s best friends. Only remove the artificial malice and benefits will flow.

But now you have created a political platform which is simply a “for or against”. For the Mabhunu or against them. In the spokesman’s eyes, it seems to be an unforgivable crime, which has cost some people their lives, to dare to associate with the Mabhunu.

l Dermot Brown is a nom de plume of a commercial farmer from Masvingo.

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Roy Bennet & David Coltart
HARDLINERS (or hawks) within government, who seem to be dominating events, are strong African nationalists who see “land” as their last means of holding onto power. They are prepared to sacrifice a large proportion of the economy to achieve this. The question is how much? The doves, headed by Simba Makoni, are more economically minded, but have failed to influence events as had been hoped. We must presume that we are stuck with the hawks as long as we have Zanu PF.

The violence and aggression of Zanu PF is driven by fear. Why are they reacting to events in such a manner? The more afraid they are, the more violent they become. We need to draw hope from this bizarre scenario.

Their main strategy is to destroy their political opponents and the middle class whom they identify as the Movement for Democratic Change. They do this brazenly and if there is any reaction, the police have clear instructions to arrest the reactors.

Who in government’s mind comprises the MDC? Whether it is true or not is another question, but Zanu PF view all of the following with suspicion: the ZCTU, teachers, the NCA, white businessmen, certain black businessmen, commercial farmers, farm labourers, the urban middle class, the whole of Matabeleland and most of Manicaland. Apart from the communal people who else is there?

The war veterans have been told that they can get away with anything except murder (and even this at times). Particularly on farms, we have had it confirmed that the war veterans have a clear agenda of provocation so that farmers will either be arrested for violence or for provoking violence. Zanu PF admit to being confused and dumfounded by lack of retaliation on the part of farmers and this summarises the position of the party.

Let us be clear, there is no future under a Zanu PF government. It is naive and short-sighted to believe that a leopard can change its spots!
As Zimbabweans, wh-ere do we stand? From where can we draw hope in these dark times? We can take heart because our friends and allies are all around us, common Zimbabweans, if only we would open our eyes and hearts. They, like us, are crying out for change.

We can also take heart from the amazing resilience and heroism of farmers. They have been at the cutting edge for 15 months. We will not let them down. We can take heart from the fact that brave men and women in the MDC have risked their lives to offer the people of Zimbabwe a credible alternative to Zanu PF. We must not let them down by supping with the devil.

The MDC is a steadfastly democratic party which is determined to introduce democratic governance to this country for the first time. Let us bear in mind that this country has never yet experienced democracy. The MDC is a non-violent party committed to the rule of law, and this will be reintroduced immediately an MDC govern- ment is installed.

It must be remembered that the majority of Zimbabweans serving in both the police and the armed forces are professional people whose morale is at an all-time low as a result of the installation of — in most cases — incompetent Zanu PF sycophants to the most senior posts. They are, generally, as unhappy at the break down of law and order as we are. Yet they are constitutionally bound to serve the government of the day.

The MDC is a party committed to ensuring that there exists an enabling macroeconomic environment which will be investor friendly without sacrificing the Zimbabwean identity and traditions. Within this context, the MDC is firmly committed to commercial agriculture as the base of Zimbabwe’s economic pyramid.

We can take heart because the evil of Zanu PF has been exposed to the people of Zimbabwe. They feel the economic disaster in their daily lives and in a free and fair election the people will vote them out. The evil of Zanu PF has also been exposed to the world. As a result Zanu PF has lost all international support and credibility. Try as they might, the world will never believe their lies again.

The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill is a clear indication of the importance the US attaches to this country. It is developing a general approach to Africa based on accountable governance as a basis for sustainable economic development.

South Africa is the key player in this regard and it views US support as key to its vision of an Africa renaissance. We need look no further than at President Thabo Mbeki’s watering down of the inaugural African Union’s ministerial statement which sought to condone Mugabe’s excesses. The EU has already taken a clear position on Zimbabwe, giving it 60 days to return to the rule of law.

We can take heart because all these players are united in a strategy (endorsed by the MDC) which is to ensure the freeness and fairness of our presidential elections, as part of a broader strategy to encourage the nascent democratic movement that is now emerging across Africa.

What then can we do? Our challenge is to survive, and in the process to unite with all our potential friends which comprise most of the people of Zimbabwe. We all need to forge unions and bonds with groups and communities. In order to survive the strong must help the weak and community plans will help identify these.

For farmers there is an obvious union that must develop. It is the union between themselves and their workers. The loyalty between these groups is an under-developed asset. The workers, as human beings, need to be included in decisions about their future and the dilemmas of how to deal with aggressive or passive invaders. After all, don’t we owe much of what we have to the efforts of our workers?

There are enough people of conscience in Zimbabwe to see the way ahead and to act accordingly. The fortitude of the poorest amongst us to do what is right should be an inspiration to us all. We are at one of those pivotal moments in history about which people will write in the years ahead.

It might seem to be a particularly long moment, but it needs to be, as many people have not yet used it to help define themselves.

l Roy Bennett is MP for Chimanimani and David Coltart for Bulawayo South.

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No ordinary drama

FARMERS in Makonde are under siege. At the time of going to press, 20 of them were being held in police cells on a charge of public violence. And while they were enduring the heavy handedness of Zimbabwean justice, the district of Doma was being evacuated. By Thursday last week, after just a day of terror, 80% of the district had been closed down. Four homesteads had been looted and trashed, stores and butcheries robbed, farmers shot at, a dog slaughtered and property worth millions stolen.

The police did react, but slowly and with obvious reluctance and eye witnesses say that it was a miracle that no one was killed. Quite obviously the tactic was clear: the police wanted farmers to react so that more arrests could be made. It is a ploy to prevent farmers coming to one another's rescue, an effort to ensure that the siege of Liston Shields is the last time farmers ever consider helping each other.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of Liston Shields, the state media is already busy trying the farmers who were arrested. That there are laws against this sort of reporting is largely irrelevant: the law in Zimbabwe is no longer of much relevance while the state acts with impunity. What is known, though, is that while farmers have been arrested, no one seems to have been arrested for the injuries sustained by farmers. Nor has anyone been arrested for the bloodthirsty crimes of violence committed in Chinhoyi town on the Tuesday. At least 10 people were beaten, some severely. Many were women going about their innocent business. One woman, beaten in the police station, had been there to organise vehicle clearance to go on holiday. A farmer's wife was beaten when she tried to deliver an inhaler to her asthmatic husband who was being held in police cells. Another woman was beaten in the post office, while yet another was beaten at a local farmers' shop. Peter Flanagan, a local farmer in his seventies, was beaten in view of the police, who walked away - and one of the women beaten was an old age pensioner.

This is brutality at its worst. It is total anarchy, cruel and unjustifiable. And yet the state mewls and complains that events in and around Chinhoyi received unfair press coverage from the independent and foreign media. There's only one response that can be made to that and it's unprintable.

History will judge the Chinhoyi 20 better than the magistrate's court has done. It will also treat them with considerably more fairness. The system's mistake, a typical one when people are under pressure, is to create martyrs to the cause of farming's plight.

For too long farmers have endured terror, murder, intimidation, theft and insult. And for farm workers we can add more, for they've endured worse. We can add rape to the list of crimes committed against them and their families. If, and this paper is not pre-judging the fracas at Liston Shields, but if there was a reaction from farmers, it's certain that no right thinking people anywhere will criticise them - and that's both within Zimbabwe and without. Farmers have had enough, and for the Liston Shields incident to be followed so rapidly by the mayhem that hit Doma shortly afterwards only serves to demonstrate the state's obvious hand in the anarchy.

There is no longer even a pretence at showing that the Zimbabwean government is trying to deal with a situation it once said it has no part in. During the Doma debacle there were ruling party MPs in the district. A senior ZANU-PF minister castigated a farm manager, making him sit on a fertiliser bag, with his wife, behind the family home. Later his dog was shot and his home looted. And still the nightmare that repeated itself throughout the Doma district last week is justified by the state and ruling party. Farmers, say the architects of Zimbabwe's demise, are intransigent. Meanwhile there's an insincere (and totally implausible) lament about being misunderstood by the international community.

Still, there's a positive aspect to all this. The United States government will have to ponder less hard the Zimbabwe Democracy Bill they've been debating. And the Europeans, always tremendously good at prevaricating, will have less trouble deciding how to treat a regime that systematically terrorises its own citizenry. And then, of course, events in Doma will force Zimbabwe up the agenda at the forthcoming Commonwealth heads of government meeting - and even at South Africa's racism summit. If Zimbabwe had already earned herself pariah status, events in Chinhoyi and Doma last week made that status irredeemable. There isn't a spin doctor born that can salvage Zimbabwe's image and if the present incumbent, Professor Moyo, believes he's that man then he is severely deluded.

As events unfolded so horrifically in Mashonaland West last week, world attention was again focused on Zimbabwe. The multiple tragedies, both in court and on the senselessly vandalised farms, have done immense damage to Zimbabwe's ruling party at a time when it can least afford bad publicity. From that point of view, good will come from the terror people have suffered. And while it is true that there will be more victimisation and more intimidation, the only thing to read into these moves is that imbecilic behaviour is a sign of desperation. They are doing this because they can think of nothing else to do - and if it is stood up to, then they will fail.

Brian Latham
Editor- The Farmer

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Farmers in court under tense atmosphere
Doma explodes as invaders take law into own hands
Chinhoyi agricultural show defies land crisis
Invaders demand donations
Stop the violence, pleads CFU

Farmers in court under tense atmosphere

UNDER siege from Zanu-PF supporters who went on the rampage in Chinhoyi this week, Magistrate, Mr Godfrey Gwaka, presiding over the case in which 21 farmers were being accused by the state of attacking farm invaders, said he needed more time to decide on whether they should be granted bail or not.

After representations from both the defence lawyers and prosecutors, Mr Gwaka said he needed more time to decide whether to grant bail or not and remanded the farmers in custody for another night.

The State had argued that the farmers should not be granted bail because they were likely to abscond and would also interfere with witnesses back at the farms. The prosecutor also claimed releasing them would endanger their lives since the farm occupiers were said to be angry and would retaliate against farmers over the alleged assaults.

However, the defence lawyers said they should be granted bail because the farmers were still innocent until proved guilty. One of the defence lawyers said it was surprising that on the identification parade, one of the invaders identified all the farmers except two as having been present during the clashes.

The court proceedings were delayed for unspecified reasons and only started after 3:30 pm. They were further delayed when one of the accused, 72 year old Mr Gert Pretorius collapsed in court. It is understood that he was arrested when he went to the police station to bring blankets and food to his farming colleagues who were being held.

The police and the Zanu-PF youths allegedly refused entry into the court building the doctor who was called to look attend to him. Mr Pretorius was then taken the Chinhoyi Hospital by a police vehicle and the court proceedings resumed.

Among the accused is a British passport holder and officials from the British High commission were present in court. Evidently, representatives of the British High Commission were the only white people allowed into the court room besides the accused white farmers, as the court premises had effectively been declared a no go area for all white people.

Mr Richard Lindsay of the British High Commission said later, "It is normal practice. If a British national is arrested we visit them to ensure that they are being well treated and are represented by a lawyer and that justice is done. All embassies do the same thing."

The courtroom was packed to capacity with rowdy Zanu-PF youths in the company of the Chinhoyi MP, Mr Philip Chiyangwa, who took it upon themselves to determine who should or should not be allowed into courtroom. Those who were not known to be the party's loyalists and had come to just witness the proceedings were thrown out of the courtroom in full view of the police. Only journalists from the State media were allowed to cover the proceedings.

Representatives of other media perceived to be hostile to the ruling party were unceremoniously thrown out of the courtroom and were warned to stay clear of the court surroundings. Some of the Zanu-PF youths in attendance menacingly demanded identification documents from journalists and other people while police silently watched.

Doma explodes as invaders take law into own hands

WHILE 20 Chinhoyi farmers were fighting for their freedom in the magistrate's court, farmers in nearby Doma were forced to flee their properties as self-styled war veterans and militants from the ruling ZANU-PF party ransacked their homes.

Trouble began on Thursday morning and continued unrelentingly throughout the day. "About 80 percent of Doma has been shut down," said Jan Botes, CFU chairman for the province.

At Two Trees Farm on the Mhangura road, Charl Geldenhuys and his wife survived a nightmare situation at the hands of war veterans who shot their dog and forced them to leave their home. Two lorry loads of fertiliser were removed from the farm. The house was later looted and trashed.

In all four homes were looted on Thursday, with so-called war veterans brazenly loading furniture onto vehicles before driving away. No arrests for theft are known to have been made. A further three were senselessly trashed by the time of going to press on Friday.

It is estimated that millions of dollars worth of damage was done over the two days as militant supporters of the ruling party went on the rampage.

The carnage followed a day of terror for residents of Chinhoyi town on Tuesday. Following the arrest of the Chinhoyi 20, self-styled war veterans went on a spree of violence through the town, beating whites at random. Several women were among the victims, including an old age pensioner from Sunningdale Trust old people's home. Another, a farmer's wife, was beaten in front of police officers in the Chinhoyi people station. When 72 year old Peter Flanagan, a Chinhoyi farmer asked the police if they were going to stand and watch as people were assaulted, the police walked away. Flanagan was also beaten. "It wasn't a nice experience," he said stoically, adding that the police would not let him lay charges at the time, though he vowed to pursue the matter. "I will lay charges," he said.

Flanagan told  The Farmer that the entire incident was political. "It has nothing to do with land," he said. "Liston Shields was enough to spark the whole thing off." Liston Shields was the farm where the 20 Chinhoyi farmers were arrested.

Meanwhile at Cotswold Estate, war vets stole three vehicles, overturning one, in a looting frenzy that cost the farm millions. At the time of going to press, so-called war veterans were still rampaging through Doma district, harassing farm workers and looting at will.

Chinhoyi agricultural show defies land crisis

ZIMBABWEANS have, over the years, faced problems such as droughts and floods, but never before has there been so much uncertainty and a real threat of a crippling food shortage in the country as now in the wake of the government's controversial land reform programme.

Speaking the Chinhoyi Agricultural Show, president of the Chinhoyi Show Society, Mr Peter Flanagan, bemoaned the current crisis on the farms saying this had contributed to the poor showing at the annual showcase for farmers and the local community. He said this year there was lack of organisation of the part of communal exhibitors because Agritex, which usually did this, was pre-occupied with the illegal fast track resettlement programme. As a result, he said, crop exhibition had gone down by 70%.

He said, however, despite the problems being faced on commercial farms , the cattle section had been well supported by both exhibitors and sponsors. There was an increase in the number of cattle entered in the cattle competition from 80 to 126.

Officially opening the show, National Social Security Authority (NSSA) acting managing director, Mr Amod Takawira, said this year's show was being held against the backdrop of a struggling economy. He said Zimbabwe was in the throes of its worst economic crisis characterised by spiralling prices and an acute shortage of foreign currency.

Mr Takawira said Mashonaland West Province remained the breadbasket of the country as well as being one of the largest foreign exchange earners for the nation through earnings from tobacco sales.

"You will find it interesting to know that the Mashonaland West region produces 32% of the nation's burley tobacco and wheat and 25% of the cotton and tobacco and 15% of maize, the country's staple food. Tobacco and cotton are the top foreign rxchange earners. These figures illustrate the contribution made by the Mashonaland West Province to the national economy," he said.

He said NSSA was determined to play a visible role in the development of the region and this had already begun with its involvement in the Biri dam project. NSSA financed the construction of the dam to the tune of $230 million. Mr Takawira said this was when most commercial bank and other lending institutions were reluctant to finance it. This, he said, was set to benefit the farmers in Banket, Chinhoyi, Zvimba, Chitomborwizi and Makonde.

He said a $20 million housing scheme was underway in Chinhoyi and a shopping mall was under consideration.

The organiser in the cattle section, Mr Arthur Bosman, said there were three more new cattle breeders on the exhibition this year. He noted, however, that some breeders were slaughtering their breeding stock due to problems on farms, "but we have to live on".

Invaders demand donations

EXTORTION from farmers in the Bromley/Ruwa and Enterprise areas took new form this week when so called war veterans and other invaders on their farms made demands that they donate generously towards the weekend's Heroes' Day celebrations.

Some of the farmers reported to the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) being subjected to steep demands for donations in cash and in kind towards the celebrations. They said a celebrations committee to solicit for donations had been established in the Enterprise area although it remained unclear whether this had been sanctioned by the government.

At the time of going to press, it could not be established whether any of the farmers had succumbed to the demands. In the Centenary area, a group of war veterans and Zanu PF supporters were reportedly going around the district insisting that the Heroes' Day weekend should include Friday, 10 August.

Stop the violence, pleads CFU

ANGERED by incidents this week in which one farmer was killed, several injured and more than 20 arrested over violent clashes with so called war veterans and Zanu-PF supporters occupying farms, the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) has, once again, appealed to government to act swiftly to quell the unrest.

A statement issued by the union's deputy director (regions), Malcolm Vowles, "expressed concern at the deteriorating lawlessness in the country over the past few days citing incidents reported in Beatrice, Mvurwi, Banket, Norton, Chinhoyi, Marondera, Mutare, Chiredzi, Gweru, Matabeleland and Kwekwe where an elderly farmer, Mr Ralph Fenwick Cobbert, was murdered.

Mr Corbett, who lived alone on his Lannas Farm in Kwekwe was struck on the head with an axe by suspected war veterans and subsequently died in a Harare Hospital on 6 August, the day the Chinhoyi crisis began.

"The CFU executive is becoming increasingly concerned for the safety of their members," said Mr Vowles in the statement this week.

In Chinhoyi about 100 kilometres north-west of the capital, Harare, violence broke out following violent skirmishes between a group of farmers that had responded to a distress call by another farmer, Mr Tony Barkley who, with his family, had been barricaded in the homestead at their Listonshields Farm, and suspected war veterans and other invaders at the farm. The incident led to the arrest of 21 commercial farmers who were subsequently detained at Chinhoyi and Banket prisons pending their appearance in the courts.

The violence later spread through Chinhoyi resulting in further assaults and intimidation of members of the white community in the town. According to the CFU three of the detained farmers were arrested when they went to the police station to offer support to their colleagues. At least three wives of the detained farmers were assaulted when they attempted to visit their detained husbands at the police station.

The perpetrators of the attacks, some of which occurred within the police station grounds, were alleged to be Zanu-PF "youths" who included a Mr Chirawa who identified himself to the local CFU representative as the leader of the group. According to the CFU, Chinhoyi police, along with Mr Chirawa and the war veterans advised the union's local representative, Mr Jan Botes, to immediately evacuate all whites who live and work in Chinhoyi.

Narrating the sequence of events the union said at about 9 am on 6 August, Mr Barkley reported to other farmers in the Chinhoyi district, on their local radio network, that his house was being attacked by a group of 40 persons brandishing axes and sticks." The police were informed but their response did not inspire confidence that violence would be averted timeously or dealt with in an unbiased fashion," said the CFU.

Contrary to reports in the government media, the farmers who initially visited the scene had to retreat after being assaulted by the invaders. A group of about 25 farmers proceeded to Listonshields Farm with a view to rescue their besieged colleague. "They arrived to find the homestead surrounded, and forced their way through the mob in an effort to determine the state of fate of the farmer and his family," the CFU said.

A confrontation had ensued resulting several of the occupiers and five of the farmers being injured, one seriously and had to be hospitalized. "The besieged and embattled farmer was eventually found barricaded inside the house, out of reach of his radio," said the CFU statement.

The police eventually arrived and ordered that the farmers report to Chinhoyi Police Station to give statements. On arrival at the police station, 17 farmers were immediately arrested for allegedly attacking the occupiers. A 72-year old man who arrived later to bring blankets for those who had been arrested was also detained., while none of the occupiers was arrested or detained for questioning.

More arrests followed in the morning of 7 August when a group of farmers and local residents went to the police station in an effort to mediate. The additional arrests brought the number of detained farmers to 21.

In the meantime, the union reaffirmed its commitment to the Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement Initiative (ZJRI). "CFU and its partners driving the Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement Initiative (ZJRI) committed to finding common ground and all meetings currently being held are devoted to securing consensus on the land reform programme despite the tense situation on the ground.

"At the CFU congress members stood firm on the need to dialogue with government and to seek a speedy solution that meets the economic needs of the country by restoring productivity to the agricultural sector. Press reports indicate that Zimbabwe is headed for food shortages and farmers are concerned at their inability to sow and harvest their crops without hindrance" the union said.

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