|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
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 zimtoday.com 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.
3. The minutes of the meeting held by senior army personnel in Harare
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.
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.
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
From ZWNEWS, 19 August
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.
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.
Editor- The Farmer
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
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.