"The Zimbabwe Situation" news page

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Invasions (new and revisits) - 34
Work stoppages (mainly tobacco) - 89
Unofficial eviction notices - 8
Poaching incidences on farms - 23
Animals killed (livestock and game) - 69
Cases of theft on farms - 16
Properties with hut building - 43
Properties with tree cutting - 57
Cases of abductions on farms - 3
Assaults on farms - 14
Veld fires on farms - 11
Intimidation or threats on farms - 28
Since the elections, 680 properties have been affected by farm occupations. 
Centenary - The owner of Ashford Farm has received a threatening phone call, demanding that he not plant tobacco this season. He has ignored the threat and is continuing to plant.
Mazowe - A revisit on Riversdale Farm has been reported to the Police, who have said they will react today.
Marondera - On Nutsgrove war vet Garwe asked for a pump. The owner told him that the one in the house does not work. He entered the house anyway and stole the pump. 
Marondera North - Some new wooden huts have been moved onto Rapids.  The owner of Rupture was warned that the Governor and Agritex were going to allocate the farm but they have not visited it yet.
Beatrice - The owner of Eden was warned that if he carried on with his land preparation the invaders would burn his tractors. He continued land prep this morning with no trouble.  War Vet Jatzi is present on Plumstead and Central.
Harare South - Police arrived on Stoneridge in 23 land rovers and 3 troop carriers, demolished and burnt the war vet base camp, burnt it and flattened any structures that would not burn. They then destroyed the huts in the tobacco lands. They then went on to Old Blackfordby. This morning they were on the farm at the Barrington Road and also at Irvines head office. They are basically destroying the huts.  Presgrave was visited by war vet Chirwa from Chitungwisa and war vet Nyomi, who is resident on Denmark. They are trying to move into the paddock where thoroughbred race horses are kept. Police are attending.
Featherstone - Unable to contact.
Wedza - Another calf was hamstrung and had to be put down. Ridging is going ahead in the area.
Enterprise - There was some interference with the farming operations on Msingi and Meadows, and Police are attending. Thirteen occupiers were arrested yesterday in connection with the road blocks and work stoppages.
Bromley/Ruwa - On Dunstan someone leaving the farm was obstructed by a tree that the occupiers had put across the road as a road block. She did a u-turn and left the farm using another route. 
Macheke/Virginia - War vet Chekunangira was caught poaching with nets in the Metheven dam by a security guard. He threatened the guard with his life. The nets were taken to the Police station. The Police went to arrest him on Faroe but he did not want to be arrested so has been subpoenaed to appear in court on 29 August. On Glen Somerset/Athlone/Exeter there is increased hut building on the land. The Police have told occupiers to build on the edge of the land. The owner of Castledene Pines has been told by the DA Murewa that he cannot do any land preparation because he has received his Section 8 Order. There is hut building on Vanguard. On Twist there was a stoppage of land preparation and seedbed watering. This was resolved by the Police. There were reports of a large number of gum trees being cut down on Mafuti. On Paradise a threat to build huts and peg the land was resolved by the Police. Police resolved the work stoppage on Morning Star. The owner of Mignon found out that the Police had attempted to hand out subpoenas for 6 of the war vets on his land but hadn't. The owner has been to the Police again. Fairview received a Section 8 Order, and yesterday afternoon the DA and Governor supposedly attended a pegging ceremony.  War vet Garwe threatened to take Blue Gums and Springdale as well as Fairview.  Camdale was occupied by 10-15 people. The Police said they would react. The occupiers left. Two war vets called a work stoppage which was resolved.  Another three war vets arrived and asked why the owner was working. They stopped the tractor and told the farm labour to watch while they taught the white man that they were going to get his stubbornness out of him. They pushed him around and frog marched him to show them where the boundaries of the farm are. They were aggressive. Later he agreed to take the leader back to his base camp on Fault Farm, where he was detained for about 15 minutes and then allowed to leave.  On Chilinda occupiers are building huts. Police have been informed. On Bimi two calves are missing.  
Tengwe - Contrary to Police instructions, 13 farms have had work stoppages again.
Ayrshire - On Montgomery Farm six  war vets were removed by the Police for building, but later moved back on.
Mhangura - There has been an increase in numbers on Mcherengi Farm. 
Chakari - On Barcombe yesterday a farm worker was brutally assaulted by three war veterans after he was told to turn off a water pump.  He was taken to hospital in Harare. His condition at present is unknown, but believed to be critical.  Following the war vets stopping tractors carting wood over the weekend on Cambustreni, war vets have now given the owner of Cambustreni written permission to cut and remove wood from their land.
Chegutu - The second homestead on Ranwick and the surrounding land has been sold to a group of at least 8 individuals by war vet Gilbert Moyo. On Kutawa Agritex have moved in to the workshop area - they will be carrying out the resettlement of people there.
Suri Suri -  San Fernando has resumed work today, and all seems fine at this stage.
Norton -  Work continues on Idaho with no problems at this time.
Masvingo East and Central - War vet "Kid Muzenda" led a further occupation onto Yettom and Marah Farms yesterday, claiming that they had been designated. He then asked for the owner to move all his cattle off the property and tie up his farming operations.  A beast has been slaughtered on Shallock Park Farm. Riverdene was occupied over the weekend. Occupiers are using their electric motor at night to pump water onto their plots.
Chiredzi - Many fires are being started on various properties.
Mwenezi - Oerwoud Farm was occupied by 100 people.
Gutu/Chatsworth - No change.
Nothing to report. 
West Nicholson - Yesterday 15 war vets went to the homestead on one farm, intimidated the secretary, and said that they were moving onto all the farms except Olympus, and that no hunting was to take place on any of the farms except Olympus. 
They then went to the labour housing and proceeded to tell the resident war vets how to peg. They then went to Tshabezi, but no one was dropped off there.
On Saturday 19th, two Agritex officers, 2 War Vets and a representative from the District Administrator's office visited London Farm and informed the farmer that his farm was mistakenly on "the list" and was not wanted. The occupiers were told to vacate the property. A man who rents grazing on the farm was stopped by some people when going to check on his cattle, and was told to remove them from the farm or the cattle would be confiscated as the farm now belongs to the occupiers. They are cutting trees in land which becomes swamp in the rainy season, which is going to result in erosion when the rains come.
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The Daily News 22 August 2000

Foreign Press in Zimbabwe forced to reduce operations
War vets accused of allocating land for kapenta, mealie-meal
Ex-fighters barricade Mutoko Road
16 Zesa power generators break down
Gono reassures nation on fuel situation
Police arrest Chigwedere murder suspect

Recounts alone not a fruitful exercise
Health and human rights are inseparable

Mukwecheni wants to nurture new leadership culture
Police fail to stop cattle theft on invaded farms

Devaluation boosts tobacco floor prices


NATIONAL NEWS  Tuesday   22  , August

Foreign Press in Zimbabwe forced to reduce operations

8/22/00 11:43:16 AM (GMT +2)

Political Reporter

Foreign journalists working in Zimbabwe have been forced to scale down
their operations after the British and American foreign offices warned
them they could be targets of government-sponsored intimidation.

Some foreign journalists told The Daily News yesterday they had either
increased security around their homes or scaled down their operations so
they did not work late.
This was after intelligence reports that Western journalists in Zimbabwe
could be targeted for violence as President Mugabe continues to attack
the foreign Press for his country's negative image abroad.
Mugabe has, in almost all his speeches before and after the June
parliamentary election, attacked the foreign Press for worsening
Zimbabwe's plight through their articles. Only last week, at the Heroes'
Day commemoration, he lashed out at the foreign Press for describing the
land reform process at "a land grab". The US embassy is said to have
called US journalists based in Zimbabwe to warn them to "watch their
The British Foreign Office has warned that Western journalists could be
targets of violent intimidation. The warnings have been circulated
through London and Washington. Foreign journalists who spoke to The
Daily News on condition of in anonymity for fear of reprisals said the
US-based Associated Press planned to strengthen security at the home of
its reporters.
A story written by Andrew Meldrum for The Observer newspaper in London
said a US embassy official had phoned him to say the embassy had
received intelligence reports "that government agents, presumably from
the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation, planned to harass
British and American correspondents".
Meldrum, who has been reporting from Zimbabwe for the past 20 years,
said he was taking the warning seriously. Neither the British nor US
embassies were willing to discuss issue.
Efforts to get a comment from the Minister of State for Information and
Publicity in the President's Office, Jonathan Moyo, failed.


War vets accused of allocating land for kapenta, mealie-meal

8/22/00 11:40:46 AM (GMT +2)

Daily News Correspondent, Kariba

KARIBA's land hungry people have accused the war veterans of asking for
Zanu PF membership cards, kapenta and maize meal for their names to be
on the list for possible resettlement under the fast track land
redistribution programme.

"The war veterans told me that there was no land for the opposition,"
said Shame Vheremu, a member of the Movement for Democratic Change.
"They said this programme was going to benefit Zanu PF supporters only.
They told me to go to Tsvangirai if I wanted land."
But Norman Munhedzi, the chairman of war veterans association in Kariba,
denied the allegations. "We are not asking for anything. It is not even
a requirement that people declare their political affiliation. All that
we need is a Zimbabwean national identity card for one to qualify."
Meanwhile, a row has erupted between war veterans in Hurungwe and
Makonde over Kuti Farm where the provincial governor, Peter Chanetsa
launched the resettlement programme two weeks ago.
The Hurungwe group invaded the farm in February. It accused its
counterparts in Makonde of trying to get pieces of land without a fight.
"We were here when things were so bad," said Enerst Karimamunga of
"We soldiered on. But now land is going to people who didn't even
experience the war we fought in these farms." Kuti Farm is among 804
farms compulsorily acquired by the government for resettlement.


Ex-fighters barricade Mutoko Road

8/22/00 11:36:36 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

WAR veterans and Zanu PF supporters mounted an early morning roadblock
at the Shamva Road turn-off just outside Harare, on the
Harare-Nyamapanda Highway.

The move blocked traffic for five hours with the war veterans stating
that they were demonstrating against the government's slow pace of the
resettlement exercise in Goromonzi.
Riot police armed with rifles and batons arrived at 10am, removed the
barricades and arrested six of the war veterans' leaders.
Highlands police refused to comment on the incident, saying they would
need to assess the evidence gathered.
About 30 former freedom fighters and Zanu PF supporters had commandeered
a rural-bound bus to park across the highway and block traffic. They
shouted Zanu PF slogans and waved placards, denouncing the government
for moving at a snail's pace in the resettlement exercise.
The war veterans' leader, who identified himself as Stanford Mbizi, said
they had occupied farms in Goromonzi since February.
He said the government had not acquired any of the 43 farms under
occupation in the area for resettlement purposes.
"The government has betrayed us," said Mbizi.
"We want the government to tell us whether any resettlement will ever
take place in this area because we have stayed here for a long time."
On why they had decided to block traffic instead of petitioning the
responsible ministry, Mbizi said: "We are not educated and this is how
we demonstrate."
He said while the government's fast-track programme had accelerated in
other provinces, the exercise was at a stand-still in Goromonzi.
"We have occupied the farms for the past seven months. We want the
government to come out in the open and be clear on whether we are living
in the cold for nothing because we are getting restless," Mbizi said.
He said the roadblock had not been sanctioned by the war veterans'
national leadership but was their own decision as they had stayed too
long on the farms. Mbizi was one of the arrested.
Mashonaland East governor, David Karimanzira, said resettlement was slow
in Goromonzi because all the gazetted 80 farms in the area were being
"We cannot move ahead because the acquisitions are being contested and
that has caused the delay," he said.
Witnesses said the war veterans mounted the roadblock at 5am, leaving
hundreds of travellers stranded at the Shamva Road turn-off.
Commuters from Domboshava, Murehwa and the Enterprise area failed to
turn up for work after the former fighters barricaded the road.
Another group of war veterans mounted another roadblock near Juru Growth
Point before police removed the barricades.
Five police officers kept watch to prevent the group from remounting the
At the Shamva Road turn-off yesterday morning, buses, cars and haulage
trucks had formed long queues on either side of the road, with
passengers waiting for police to clear the highway before they could
proceed with their journeys.
Others abandoned their journeys and drove back, including a truck
carrying a corpse, which made a U-turn at the sight of the war veterans
and drove back in the direction of Shamva.
The situation was tense on the occupied farms in the nearby Enterprise
At Piko Farm, the workers said the former fighters had called for a work
stoppage yesterday morning.
Goromonzi is one of the 37 constituencies whose results the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is challenging in the courts.
Herbert Murerwa, the Minister of Higher Education and Technology, won
the seat in the June election, beating Leonard Mapuranga of the MDC.


16 Zesa power generators break down

8/22/00 11:39:49 AM (GMT +2)

Anna Jakopo

Sixteen power generators used by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (Zesa) have broken down, compounding the already weak power
supply of the utility, officials said.

Zesa says it is unable to repair them because of foreign currency
In addition, two power stations at Kariba are down and four others at
Hwange Power Station are out of service owing to serious mechanical
In a statement, Zesa said the Harare power plant had limited power
outages and could not sufficiently supply electricity to the city.
Munyati power station was shut down because there is no coal for the
generators, while another power station in Bulawayo has limited coal
Zesa said it had suffered more operational losses in most of its core
business activities, including generation, transmission and distribution
The debt-ridden parastatal introduced power rationing on 27 January.
"Regrettably, the authority has been forced to depart from that
programme on several occasions due to the continued supply shortfalls
mainly as a result of foreign currency and fuel shortages," said a Zesa
The persistent fuel shortage has seriously affected Zesa's thermal power
"We have recently concluded an agreement with SNEL of the Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC) to increase power supply from 150 MW to 250 MW,
payable in local currency," said the spokesman
Additional electricity would only be obtained after the upgrading of the
line between Zambia and the DRC.
The power authority, reeling under a heavy operational loss of nearly $1
billion, imports power from South Africa's Eskom, DRC and Mozambique's
Cabora Bassa.
The executive chairman of Zesa, Sydney Gata has denied reports that
Eskom has threatened to cut off supplies to Zimbabwe because of a
mounting debt.
"'We never received threats to cut supply of electricity from Eskom," he
But Gata said the South African company was under pressure from its
consumers not to continue to supply Zesa with power without payment
while "it quickly disconnects South African consumers for failing to pay
their bills".
Gata said Zesa owes Eskom and the Cabora Bassa Company of Mozambique
US$20 million and US$35 million respectively.
Gata also said that Zesa's contract with Eskom runs up to 2003.
He said Zesa would soon get a loan facility of US$95 million from the
Standard Chartered Bank in London to clear its debts with suppliers the
from neighbouring countries.


Gono reassures nation on fuel situation

8/22/00 11:32:14 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

THE fuel situation may improve by mid-week following negotiations
between fuel suppliers, the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe and the
Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono, the bank's managing director
said yesterday.

Fuel shortages, particularly of diesel, have affected commerce and
industry since December.
"All I can confirm is that the fuel situation is set to improve over the
next few days through the collective efforts of many people," said Gono.
"The situation is positive, there is no need to panic."


Police arrest Chigwedere murder suspect

8/22/00 11:33:59 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

POLICE arrested William Masale, the man who allegedly murdered his
employer, Muchineripi Chigwedere at his Msasa factory on Saturday night
in full view of his wife and two police officers, three hours after the
incident, his widow said last night.

Rosewinter Chigwedere said Masale was being held at Rhodesville Police
She said he was arrested three hours after the stabbing incident at her
late husband's factory premises in Msasa.
Wayne Bvudzijena, the police spokesman, did not answer questions sent to
him on the incident early yesterday.
Mrs Chigwedere said after the gruesome incident Masale did not try to
run away.
She said he stood at the factory entrance, threatening everyone.
Mrs Chigwedere said the police found him at the gate where they arrested
Chigwedere was stabbed 10 times while two policemen, his wife and three
security guards watched helplessly.
One of the police officers fired twice into the air but ran out of
Chigwedere, a chemical engineer ran the company that manufactured pet
foods and a wide range of dried soya bean-based foods at his plant in
He is survived by his wife and three children. Mourners are gathered at
17 Bargate Road, Northwood.


LEADER PAGE  Tuesday   22  , August

Recounts alone not a fruitful exercise

8/22/00 11:07:08 AM (GMT +2)

Less than 24 hours after Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede announced the
final results of the 24 and 25 June general election, Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) president, Morgan Tsvangirai, gave notice that
his party would challenge the poll results in at least 20
constituencies. The number of constituencies in which results are being
disputed has since nearly doubled.

Explaining his party's reasons for challenging the results in specified
constituencies, which included Buhera North where he himself narrowly
lost to former Manicaland governor, Kenneth Manyonda, Tsvangirai said
that Zanu PF had won in most of the rural areas because of political
violence or subversion by either its ordinary supporters, war veterans
or both.
That these are, indeed, valid grounds for challenging the poll results
in most, if not all, rural constituencies, no one can doubt.
With the obvious exception of the group of observers from South Africa
which consisted mostly of parliamentarians, and which group appears to
have had an agenda of its own in setting itself up as a separate
observer group in the first place, all independent observer groups,
foreign and internal, were unanimous that the election was neither free
nor fair.
Indeed, even the somewhat maverick, if a little naive, Commonwealth
Secretary-General, Don McKinnon, declared as much. Having earlier badly
tarnished his image by allowing himself to be used by President Mugabe
to gloss over his party's terror campaign, McKinnon found himself at the
end having to endorse the Commonwealth Observer Group's verdict. The
high level of pre-election violence unleashed on voters by Mugabe's Zanu
PF, he told the world, had rendered the holding of a free and fair
election impossible.
Thus, it came as not much of a surprise that the MDC, which, barring the
pre-election terror campaign, had been widely favoured to win by a
landslide, took the decision to challenge the election results. In fact,
the opposite would have been true. Had the MDC not disputed the results
most of its supporters would have been surprised or even disappointed.
Already, the MDC has successfully challenged the results in at least
three constituencies, namely Mazowe East, Marondera East and Buhera
North. In all of these constituencies all that the courts did was to
rule that there were reasonable grounds to suspect electoral
irregularities and duly proceeded to order a recount in each case. And
in each case the recount has yielded the same result: the number of
votes did not tally with those originally given by Mudede.
That all the recounts also so far have invariably had the apparently
embarrassing effect of stretching the lead by which the winners beat
their MDC opponents is neither here nor there. It is the fact of
irregularities having been proved to have crept into the polls that is
In addition to these ongoing successes in its challenges of individual
constituency results, the MDC has also scored an important victory in
its bid to prove conclusively that it was robbed of victory in a number
of constituencies. Last week the Supreme Court nullified 6 000 postal
votes cast in the June election, opening the way for possible fresh
challenges by the opposition in those constituencies where such votes
can be viewed as having been a decisive factor.
The ballots in question were cast by members of the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces on active duty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and we are
told the constituencies affected by the ruling include Buhera North,
Marondera East and West, Makoni East and West, Chinhoyi and Bindura.
It is said that the law is an ass. And this particular exercise makes it
appear to be decidedly just that. The average citizen can be forgiven
for regarding this whole process as needlessly tortuous and
frustratingly long.
What the opposition would like to see to force fresh polls is the
establishment by the courts that sufficient undue influences such as
duress, violence and threats were used and possibly swayed results in
favour of Zanu PF in any given constituency.
Yet all that these recounts have achieved so far is to emphatically
confirm the results. We are told they are necessary to establish the
fact that the electoral process was flawed. Maybe. Here is to hope this
will lead to the logical next step the staging of fresh polls in those
constituencies. Anything less would render the whole thing a costly,
fruitless exercise and, therefore, foolish.


Health and human rights are inseparable

8/22/00 11:09:36 AM (GMT +2)

Pride Chigwedere

The interface between health and human rights is often seen as a

Thus notification of TB cases derogates the right to confidentiality of
patient information; quarantine of leprosy patients violates their right
to freedom of movement, choice of residence, freedom of assembly and
many others.
In reverse, withholding information that this man is infected with HIV,
as protection of confidentiality of patient information, threatens and
actually kills the unsuspecting wife, the several girlfriends, health
workers and other care-givers.
Nevertheless, little do we realise that the objectives of the two
disciplines are essentially the same. The World Health Organisation's
constitution defines health as a "state of complete physical, mental and
social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". That
is exactly what the human rights movement seeks to achieve physical,
mental and social well-being. The apparent conflict emanates from
different philosophical perspectives, vocabularies, training, societal
roles and methods of work. If one peruses the two fields with an open
mind, one discovers that what we call physical health is included under
security of person; the elements of basic or primary health care are the
fundamental rights; the bigger picture of maternal and child health is
included in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the
Moreover, the assumptions underlying our operations tally very well. We
seek holding the government responsible for violations and
non-fulfilment. Thus "every human being has a claim upon his or her
government, arising as a matter of right, not privilege of special
favour". If the people suffer and die of infectious hepatitis, for
example, we do not chase up individual doctors for failing to prescribe
a vaccine. Instead we confront the government for not implementing
vaccination programmes. Similarly when peaceful demonstrators are
attacked and abused, we don't seek out individual policemen on duty that
day. We attribute to the highest authorities of the land, the
Presidency, the failure to protect peaceful citizens.
Having so said, the constitutional rewriting, indeed historic, coincided
with the hospital doctors' strike. There were innumerable individuals,
lawyers, activists and organisations very vocal about these rights,
those freedoms, those powers, those functions etc. Meanwhile, simple
citizens were dying because our hospitals had no gloves, stitches,
injections or painkillers.
The doctors suspended work for the above reasons plus slave
Yet none of these activists saw human rights violations in these dying
fellow Zimbabweans. In one plenary session, Paddington Japajapa stood up
and mentioned the strike. He was initially ignored. He insisted and was
then ruled "out of order" by the learned judge the strike had nothing to
do with the Constitution. So here is the paradox: we bark, gibber and
howl for rights and freedom of dreaming, cursing, wandering,
aggregating, sodomising and the like, but we do not have the right to
Who gives us that right? Who is responsible for protecting our lives? Is
such a load bestowed upon a slave employee called a doctor or nurse?
Shall we leave it to the churches and ancestors whom we presume have
contact with the source of life? Does some statement in the
International Bill of Rights protect us? Or similarly worded scribbling
in a paper call the Constitution whether Lancaster, historic, NCA, or
future? What is the role of government in protecting our lives? Is
defence restricted to military invasions from without the borders?
In my opinion, the topical violation to our survival is Aids, a
violation en masse. More than 700 Zimbabweans are dying every week.
People "with the right to life". Dying of an incurable, but preventable
Can we claim as a nation that we have effective prevention modalities?
Have we educated the nation to a level where people can protect
Are we doing anything to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV?
Have we supplied the nation with condoms and taught proper usage? If the
figure of 50 million condoms per year circulation in Zimbabwe is true,
the one celebrated as the highest in the region, it corresponds to four
condoms/person/year. If children give their share to parents, we may
push it to eight condoms/year.
If we argue that couples share, we may further push it to 16
Even those who use double or triple layers. And those in polygamous and
polyandrous relationships. Is this how sexually dormant the nation is?
Do we miraculously hope to stem the epidemic using such politicking?
Our government should be held responsible, in toto, for killing us. By
omission. If our leaders had clearly stated that they were going to do
nothing, which is what they have done, we would surely have got
assistance from elsewhere. Today they form a National Aids Council. And
they loot all the monies meant from the body. pretending progressiveness
but in reality simply transferring the burden of blame. A disaster like
Aids should redefine the rights we need as a nation. Article 3 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights says: "Everyone has the right to
life, liberty and security of person." It ends there. Article 6 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights says: "Every human
being has the inherent right to life . . .' Subsequent elaboration talks
about capital punishment and need for fair trials and appeals before the
death sentence.
This is fine but what we seek is much more basic the ability to survive
in the first instance. We die of abject poverty, of drinking unpotable
water, of Aids and malaria.
These are our chief enemies. Not surprisingly these are almost
non-existent in the West. Therefore, regurgitating their view of the
right to life will not benefit us. Ours should be explicit and relevant
to matters that deprive us of life. The role of the government should be
clearly spelt out including how to make it accountable. Only then can we
quiz our leaders over dying masses; prosecute, find guilty and imprison
them for killing us.
As Dr Martin Sibanda put it: "A political liberation struggle was fought
and won. A public health sector realisation struggle can be fought and
If national sense prevails, the people, not the doctors or government,
shall be victors."

.Pride Chigwedere is a Fogarty Research Fellow at the Harvard Aids


FEATURES  Tuesday   22  , August

Mukwecheni wants to nurture new leadership culture

8/22/00 10:58:14 AM (GMT +2)

Patrick Mwale, Mutare

SYDNEY Mukwecheni, the Member of Parliament for Mutare South, says
Zimbabwe's economic and political problems are likely to persist as long
as Zanu PF is in power.

"I am in politics because I strongly believe there must be a complete
change in the political system for us to survive as a nation and
prosper," says Mukwecheni of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
"We, as the MDC, want Zanu PF out because they are the source of the
problems. They have completely failed to lead the country."
Mukwecheni, 48, a trade unionist-turned-politician, said Zanu PF's
"misrule" had prompted him to join politics.
He was briefly detained by the Rhodesian regime for helping liberation
war recruits cross into Mozambique.
"I was never involved in political activities but only trade unionism.
The only reason why I am in politics is to see a complete change."
Mukwecheni says he would form committees in every ward in the
constituency to spearhead development.
The committees would include commercial and peasant farmers, traditional
leaders, women and youths who would identify development projects.
Mukwecheni said: "I will not promise people that I will do this and
that. I will be like a shop assistant who asks customers what they want
to be served."
The committees will meet from time to time to map out development
programmes and highlight the constituency's problems.
His priorities include upgrading roads, speeding up electrification in
the rural areas and growth points and luring investors to the
The MP said he would help rural businesspeople to acquire title deeds to
their properties.
Mukwecheni, the MDC interim provincial secretary, works for the National
Railways of Zimbabwe in Mutare. He attended Gombakomba and St Werburgh's
primary schools in Zimunya near Mutare and did secondary education at St
Mary Magdalene's in Nyanga.
He is the chairman of the Mutare branches of the Zimbabwe Amalgamated
Railways Union, and the Zimbabwe Budding Writers Association. He is also
a life member of the Red Cross Society of Zimbabwe as well as the Mutare
district secretary of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.
A devoted Christian from Mukwecheni Village in Zimunya district, he is
married to Veronica. The couple have three boys and two girls.


Police fail to stop cattle theft on invaded farms

8/22/00 10:58:52 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

Several cattle are missing from commercial farms as war veterans and
Zanu PF supporters camping on invaded farms continue to steal cattle and
slaughter some for food.

Although the police have deployed the Support Unit in troubled areas,
the force has largely been unable to act and are also failing to respond
with urgency to most reported cases.
Several war veterans have been arrested for various crimes including
abduction, theft and assault.
There is intensive tree-felling on invaded farms and fires on the farms
are a major threat to crops and livestock.
Poaching continues unabated and malicious damage to property is the
order of the day with farmers losing thousands of dollars.
Below is the latest situation on the commercial farms as reported by the
Commercial Farmers' Union:
In Centenary, two war veterans were arrested last Tuesday afternoon for
attempting to steal tobacco from the grading shed on Mutwa Estate.
Ploughing and general farm work has been prevented in what appears to be
some retaliation for this incident.
War veterans refused accommodation offered in response to their demand
in Horseshoe as they wanted to live in the foreman's house at Blue Grass
Somerby Farm in Nyabira was visited on Friday by about 15 aggressive
men, who forced the farmer to hand over the right of land to them. The
men were armed. The same men visited Lone Pine Farm and wanted to meet
with the owner, who managed to put them off by saying they could meet
him in his Harare office the next morning.
The police in Mvurwi were notified last Monday of malicious damage to
borehole equipment on Brookfield Farm. There has been extensive tree
felling by people from the resettlement area on Msitwe River Ranch.
About six war veterans assaulted a farm labourer suspected of being an
MDC supporter on Dorking Farm in Tsatsi. War veterans set fire to a
paddock on Nyachura Farm on the pretext that they had seen a snake.
Eight invaders were arrested from Irenie base camp near Munemo Farm in
Marondera. There are now 18 huts on Tranquility. War veterans ordered
that all irrigation stop on Elmswood or the owner would be killed. The
workers then tried to move the irrigation pipes and again they were told
to stop or the war veterans would kill them. Police visited Monte Cristo
but could not find the man who has build a hut for himself.
At Dormavale and Chapunga farms, work stoppages continue despite the
presence of the Support Unit.
At Kuruman in Featherstone, a five-tonne truck arrived with about 30
people who had decided they were moving onto the small holdings. On Lot
2 Kuruman two war veterans arrived in a white Mazda and harassed the
farmer and his son. The Head of CIO is also the chairman of the war
veterans in the Featherstone area. It is understood that he has been
instructed to increase the pace of the fast-track resettlement exercise
from last Tuesday. The occupiers on Dunkirk were moving cattle as they
cut fences and mixed herds up.
In the Enterprise/Bromley/Ruwa area, a new hut has been built on Bromley
Park. The owner of Oribi was told by occupiers to dismiss a labourer
seen wearing an MDC cap.
At Rapako Farm in Wedza, people from the Zana resettlement area stopped
the ridging operations and told the farmer that the property belonged to
Police were called but the invaders threatened to kill the farmer. Four
seedbeds on Xanadu in the Bromley/Ruwa area have been slashed and the
covers broken.
The owner of De Rust Farm, the farm manager and the cattle foreman were
abducted last Wednesday. The owner and the manager were verbally abused,
and the cattle foreman was badly assaulted. He sustained fractures on
his left arm.
Police reacted, the member-in-charge, District police, war veterans and
the CID arrived and the situation is being defused.


BUSINESS  Tuesday 22, August

Devaluation boosts tobacco floor prices

8/22/00 11:22:15 AM (GMT +2)

Agriculture Reporter

THE devaluation of the dollar early this month has brought confidence to
the tobacco market with price gains being recorded on the flue-cured
tobacco floors, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has

In its weekly report up to 9 August, the TIMB said the prices that were
averaging below US165 c/kg ($62,70/kg) on a daily basis rose to US176
c/kg ($88, 00/kg) a day after the devaluation.
The Zimbabwe dollar, which had been fixed at $38 against the United
States dollar for 20 months, was devalued to $50 against the US currency
early this month.
According to the TIMB, demand for flue-cured tobacco remained high
throughout week 15, with ripe styles attracting prices slightly above
those recorded in a similar period in the previous selling season.
Cancellations for price consideration as a result declined, bringing the
weekly wastage rate down to 11 percent from 15 percent in Week 14.
A seasonal flue-cured tobacco mass to 96,4 million kg valued at $6,9
billion has been sold to date at an average price of US136 c/kg
This compares with 112,9 million kg of flue-cured tobacco averaging
valued at $5,1 billion sold during the same period last year at an
average price of US159 c/kg ($60,42/kg).
The market saw an increase in ripe and standard styles by a single
percentage point each to record nine percent and 64 percent
respectively, which means that more quality tobacco was being offered as
a result of the devaluation.


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22 August 2000

In this issue :

From Reuters, 22 August

Farmworkers attach squatters

HARARE - A crowd of 200 black farm workers attacked 60 war veterans occupying white-owned agricultural land in northern Zimbabwe Monday night and beat them with sticks, a farmers' spokesman said. "The situation is very volatile as we speak," Kelvin Weare, a farming community security spokesman, told Reuters by telephone from Karoi, a farming town about 120 miles northwest of the capital Harare. "They beat them with sticks. A number of war veterans were quite badly hurt," Weare said. "They were trying to chase them (the war veterans) off the farm." He said police were investigating the attack but had made no arrests so far. "They (the farm workers) were apparently fed up with all the intimidation that has been going on the past few months," he said, adding that the farmer they worked for now feared for his life. Zimbabwe's countryside has been tense since February, when self-styled veterans of the country's 1970s liberation war invaded hundreds of white-owned farms demanding that whites return land they say was stolen at gunpoint during British rule. President Robert Mugabe says he plans to acquire nearly half the 30 million acres owned by 4,500 white farmers to resettle landless blacks. A group of veterans Tuesday blocked a highway to protest against the slow pace of land redistribution.

From Reuters, 21 August

Zimbabwe Veterans Demand Land, Block Highway

HARARE - The leader of Zimbabwe's war veterans urged President Robert Mugabe's government Monday to speed up its ``fast track'' land resettlement program as veterans blocked a Harare highway and demanded swift action. State radio quoted Chenjerai Hunzvi as telling a meeting of the war veterans in the southern city of Bulawayo that the government should ensure war veterans got the land they deserved. In the capital Harare, witnesses said scores of war veterans barricaded the main road to Malawi in protest against what they called the slow pace of the resettlement program. They barred the flow of traffic for most of the morning before being peacefully dispersed by riot police.

Earlier this month the government began settling landless black families on 200 farms acquired without contest from the farmers. Government officials said at the weekend that 2,000 families had been resettled to date. The government plans to settle peasants on roughly 100 properties in each of Zimbabwe's eight provinces before the rainy season starts in about two months' time.

From The Daily News, 21 August

Fuel blues far from over

THE fuel situation remained desperate yesterday, with the queues getting longer at most fuel stations in Harare. Tom Walters, the spokesman for the oil companies, said the situation was gloomy. "There has not been much progress and the situation is very desperate," he said. Throughout the city, long queues were evident at fuel stations as motorists jostled for the little fuel that had trickled in at the weekend. Some stations reported they last received supplies last week while some workers in most urban centres have been reporting for work late because of the shortage.

The crisis, especially the shortage of diesel, has threatened to paralyse the industrial sector. Some motorists were spending nights in queues in anticipation of deliveries while others were driving to other cities in search of fuel. A spokesman for a BP fuel station in Helensvale said last night: "We received supplies on 11 August and we have just received 15 000 litres of petrol which has not lasted four hours". A spokesman for Mobil Oil said their Birmingham Road depot in Harare had received 100 000 litres on Saturday, far less than their usual daily allocation of 400 000 litres. The delivery, he said, had since run out. It is understood only 1,9 million litres of petrol were pumped into Harare's Msasa depot by Saturday morning and immediately distributed to various stations. The depot, meant to hold Zimbabwe's strategic reserve, was almost empty by last night.

The fuel shortage has worsened at a time when the nation expected a reprieve, especially after the government last week announced that it had paid US$9 million ($450 million) to the International Petroleum Group of Kuwait (IPG). The fuel supplier had withheld a major fuel delivery at the Beira port for non-payment. It remains unclear, though, how long the paid-for consignment will last. The fuel crisis, which threatens to disable the economy in a major way, has been attributed to scarce foreign currency. Negotiations were said to be under way at the weekend between the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, IPG and the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe for a fresh payment deal to expedite deliveries.

Government officials could not be reached last night to comment on the progress of the negotiations. International fuel suppliers have insisted on payment of cash upfront before delivery as the government grapples to obtain foreign currency in the face of the crisis.

From The Daily News, 21 August

MDC dismisses Zanu PF legal challenge

The setting up of a Zanu PF legal team to defend the party against pending litigation in 37 constituencies the MDC lost in the recent parliamentary election, will not affect the challenge because Zanu PF had a right to oppose them. In response to a story published in The Sunday Mail yesterday which said Zanu PF had set up a 15-member defence team led by the party's secretary for legal affairs, Dr Edison Zvobgo, the MDC publicity and information secretary, Learnmore Jongwe said: "Our challenge to the election outcome in all those constituencies will not be affected by Zanu PF making noise about their so-called legal defence team which has so-called competent lawyers to oppose our applications.

"They are, in terms of law, entitled to oppose our petitions if they so wish but as far as we're concerned, we have very strong cases against each and every one of those constituencies." Jongwe said it was "utter rubbish" for Zvobgo and his assistant, the deputy Minister of Transport and Communications Paul Mangwana, to suggest that the MDC wanted to gain political mileage from the petitions. He said the MDC had challenged the outcome of the election on grounds that are recognised by law, particularly in light of the pre-election violence. He said Zvobgo was the only person who has made noise on the serving of court papers on him which he appeared to be evading as it was difficult to locate him. "Finally, papers were served to him at Parliament and there is no rule against that. Moreover, his name does not appear in the telephone directory, so where could he have been found? He should also complain to the court and not the press."

From The Star, 21 August

Unite against globalisation, urges Mugabe

Maputo - African countries risk being left behind by globalisation unless they act quickly and together to exploit their competitive advantages, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said on Sunday. He told more than 400 political and business leaders from about 20 African countries and Malaysia that Africa needs to be action-oriented and united in implementing projects and plans agreed at regional meetings. "The international global arena will always be a big challenge to most of us. We either innovatively live within it using smart partnership principles or uncreatively stay put and be left behind to our detriment," said Mugabe at a dinner on Sunday night marking the start of the Southern African International Dialogue (Said).

"The time has come now to take action in a big way through collective partnership approaches and the harnessing of our knowledge and experience-driven competitiveness," he said. Said is a spin-off from an initiative by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamed who spearheaded the Langkawi International Dialogue for east Asian countries to tackle their economic problems and promote business ties. The Maputo conference is part of a series started in 1995 by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Malaysia and the Commonwealth Partnership for Technology Management to help members of the former British empire in the transfer of technology and the promotion of fair business practices.

The meeting is focusing on the scourge of Aids and how African countries can meet the challenge of globalisation. Discussions are centred around the concept of "smart partnerships" - which basically means working together to promote different developing regions and for the realisation of their full economic potential. Officially opening the Said conference, Mozambican President Joachim Chissano urged unity between Africa's private and public sectors to help countries meet the challenge of globalisation. "The socio-political changes brought about by ever-increasing regionalisation and globalisation require a change of attitudes. Therefore we need to concentrate our efforts to combine our resources between all the socio-economic actors," he said. "We are encouraged to create and consolidate partnerships between the public and private sectors - abour and the media. In short, we must act in a way that makes every sector of our society feel themselves part of the economic development process happening in our countries and in the regions to which we belong," he said.

Earlier, the presidents of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia and prime ministers of Lesotho, Swaziland and Malaysian premier Mahathir held a meeting with a select panel of journalists from predominantly state-owned African media. The majority of journalists covering the conference were barred from the meeting, which one participant described as less confrontational than last year's encounter in Zimbabwe, at which the African leaders hammered the media for allegedly undermining their efforts through biased reporting.


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"We are NOT a political organisation. We are a group of ordinary citizens, black and white, who have had enough! We were all instrumental in starting the idea of the first stay-away and we have now formed a loose association with the email address of free_zim@hotmail.com. (This is an external email address, and can not be monitored by the Zimbabwe government.)
Having said we are not political, we can find no better way to summarise the situation than the words of Eddie Cross in his "Zimbabwe This Week" (19/8/00) mail:
"This human, economic and political tragedy continues to evolve and develop - we stand in the wings as spectators and players and are almost paralyzed as we watch an African country with such potential, simply implode.
And yet it is totally a product of our own actions. This tragedy is not of someone else's making - its home grown. It need not be happening and it was always avoidable and one man is responsible - Robert Mugabe.
Fortunately for us, the world community knows this and they will not come to our rescue until we start behaving as citizens of planet earth, circa 2000. This means more suffering for those of us who live here and its terrible to watch the plight of the millions who have lost their sources of income and who face a daily struggle to survive. But the end justifies the means in this circumstance and anything that might prolong the rule of this rapacious regime must not be accepted. "
We are tired of standing, paralysed, in the wings as players and spectators, wringing our hands in anguish.  We, at FreeZimbabwe all believe in the Power of One. One person can make a difference. Two people can make a greater difference etc. And enough people can peacefully change the course of a nation.
A raindrop joins another and becomes a trickle. Trickles become a stream. Streams become a river and rivers become an Ocean. Together we can be the Ocean that washes away a corrupt regime and restores our country to sanity.
If you are angry at what has happened to your country, but feel helpless because you are only one person, then take heart. Join us. There are things that you can do. There is a Voice for the Voiceless.
We advocate a course of civil action, and we, at Free_zim are prepared to coordinate it. We want your input. We want to hear from you. We don't want your money. We are none of us very wealthy people, but we are funding this from our own pockets because we feel very strongly about our beloved country.
We will be sending out updates and background pieces to the civil action. In the meantime, you can make a start by choosing any form of action on the list below.
Civil action can take many forms. It is up to the individual to choose which form of civil action suits them best. Here are some of the forms of civil action that can be taken:
1) email the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions at ZCTU@mango.zw and ask them to lead the way in another stay away.  Encourage them to start a series of rolling actions because the Government didn't take the slightest notice of the last stay away. Copy us with your message. We need your feedback in order to be able to coordinate.
Making your opinions known and felt
2) Lobby the CZI and the ZNCC to begin supporting civil action. Businessmen are waiting, with hope in their hearts, to see what result devaluation and the so-called "new technocrats" in goverment are going to have on the economy.  Extremely short-sighted. If the meat under the relish or sauce is rotten, then scraping the old relish off and putting new relish over the meat is not going to make the meat good again. The meat is still rotten. ZANU PF is still rotten.
The address for CZI is czi@zarnet.ac.zw
The address for ZNCC is info@zncc.co.zw
One member of Freezim has a Masters degree in economics from Cambridge, and will be writing short economic summaries to point out the effects of  the current state of lawlessness and anarchy on the economy. There are things that the average businessman has never even thought about.
3) Lobby the CFU. Write to them and tell them how you feel about their condoning lawlessness by dropping the court cases against Hunzvi. Don't you wish that they would take a principled stand and stick to it?
The address for the CFU is aisd1@cfu.co.zw
Direct protests
4) Stop paying your Income tax, sales tax, PAYE and levies - this directly funds the governments activities. This is an extremely effective way of cutting a government off at the knees. WARNING: Note that Companies may well have their bank accounts raided by Tax and be subject to a 100% penalty, so we have suggested a few other methods that might be used instead.
a) For the brave: Use the money to pay off your own debts, or save the money until you have achieved what you want. Take your chances with the Department of Income Tax.
b) For the average citizen: Just delay your payment for as long as you can. Forget to sign the cheque when you do post it. Date the cheque incorrectly. Oops! So sorry.
c) For everyone: How about pushing some copies of an anonymous message to postal sorters and mailmen into your local post office mailbox?
All it need say is that "Our taxes support the government. By paying our taxes we are helping to fund the lawlessness, the corruption, and the destruction of our economy. Even the Sales Tax you pay on your food helps to support the government. It is against the law to stop paying taxes, so we have delayed paying our tax cheques for as long as we can. Now we have to post them. All our cheques are addressed to "The Collector of Taxes." You can help Zimbabwe by further delaying our tax payments if you can." You might do the same thing by leaving a similar message in the Cheque deposit box at your bank. 
5) Don't deal with government Treasury Bills - this directly funds the government activities. Find out if the funds you have invested are based on Treasury Bills. Treasury Bills borrow money directly from the public and pay it to government. With the present state of government printing its own money teamed with government's borrowing to support the DRC war, it is doubtful how much longer the government will be able to pay back its Treasury Bills. They will then convert the bills into long-term bonds.  It is probably a sensible move to disinvest in TBs anyway.
6) Write to your member of Parliament and state that you want a restoration of the rule of law and for the airwaves to be freed from ZANU PF propaganda on ZBC. Be polite or be anonymous.
Each MP has a pigeon hole at Parliament where mail is delivered. Write to:
The Honourable (name)
MP for (constituency) 
c/o Parliament
Cnr Nelson Mandela Ave and Third Street
If you don't know who your member is, then please mail us at free_zim@hotmail.com and we will provide you with the name of your MP if you tell us which constituency you are in.
Send a copy of your letter to one of the Independent newspapers. Send a copy to free_zim.
7) Call for Mugabe's impeachment.
Write to your MP and demand that they ask for his impeachment.
Copy the Speaker of the House
Parliament of Zimbabwe
P O Box CY298
Copy the Independent press
Copy the ZANU PF Party Chairman
ZANU PF Headquarters
Cnr Rotten Row (apt) and Samora Machel Ave
Copy free_zim
8) Write to the ZBC and tell them that you demand the removal of ZANU PF Propaganda from Radios 2 and 3. These radio stations are the stations most listened to out in the farming and rural areas. If the people there were told the truth, then ZANU PF wouldn't have the rural support that they do. Write to:
The Director
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
P O Box HG 444
9) Withhold your listeners licence fee. Just forget to pay it.
10) Listen to Radio 2 and 3 and note who the advertisers are. They are supporting the continued rule of ZANU PF.  Write to the advertisers, telling them that you will boycott their products if they continue to support radio stations which are nothing but ZANU PF propaganda machines.  Then email free_zim@hotmail.com with the names and addresses of those advertisers you have written to so that we might make those names public.
11) Withhold your rates payments. Send a photocopy of the cheque to the Municipality, or the Rural Council, explaining that you are keeping this money until the roads in your ward are fixed, or the street-lighting is mended, or the clinic is improved, or the grass is cut, or whatever you feel most strongly about. If anyone on a Ratepayers committee would like to contact us with their addresses and support, we can help.
12) Stop patronising businesses that are owned by ZANU PF members and sympathisers. You probably already know some of those business in your area.
Anonymity and confidentiality
13) We at Freezim promise you complete anonymity and confidentiality. If you wish to be put on the free_zim mailing list, let us know. If you have any other ideas, important addresses or words of encouragement to share with others, please let us know. We will keep your identity confidential unless you specifically state that you wish to be identified by your initials and area, or by any other nom-de-plume.
Together, we the ordinary citizens, black, brown and white can make a difference. We CAN be the Ocean that washes away a corrupt regime and restores our country to sanity.
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21 August 2000

Somebody died, and finds himself in front of the Pearly Gates.  The gates open, and he peeps inside, but to his great horror he sees Satan inside,  So he enters, and asks: "Are you Satan?" "Yes", Satan answers.  "So isn't this Heaven then?"  "Yes, it is."  "So what are you doing here?"  "Well, the war vets have invaded Hell."

In this issue :

From The Star (SA), 21 August

Mugabe forced to put pressure on Kabila

Under intensified economic pressure to pull his army out of the war in the DRC, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has bluntly told Congo's President Laurent Kabila that he will abandon the country unless he co-operates with the peace process. Zimbabwe sources at the peace summit in Lusaka said Mugabe was furious with Kabila and in a private confrontation had told him that Zimbabwe could not keep propping him up militarily as Mugabe had to attend to his own worsening domestic problems. One participant said Kabila's flippant reaction had indicated he was reluctant to come to grips with the issues: "I don't know whether he understands what is going on. I don't know whether it is a question of capacity or Kabila saying, 'I would rather die than give up'.''

Kabila, sources said, appeared ready to contemplate the break up of Congo rather than surrender power. Recently he moved his hand-picked transitional parliament to Lubumbashi in his home province of Katanga, where he spends much of his time. In what was seen as an act of defiance Kabila left the talks before a final communique was issued, and other leaders, including Mugabe, publicly blamed him as the main obstacle to the implementation of the Lusaka peace accord. Rebel leaders Jean Pierre Bemba, the head of the Movement for Liberation of Congo, and Bizima Karaha, the security chief of the Rwandan-backed Rally for Congolese Democracy, both said Kabila's rejection of the peace plan did not mean an immediate return to war. They said the consensus that Kabila was obstructing peace meant that heavy diplomatic pressure would now be brought to bear on him. Diplomats said regional leaders were so firmly aligned against Kabila that he could not disobey them. "We don't want to become the laughing stock of the world," one said.

Although Zambia's President Frederick Chiluba raised the spectre of sanctions, there are few sanctions that could harm Kabila, who already operates outside the world's financial system, buying weapons from sources unconcerned with sanctions. Chiluba is expected to get a formal written response from Kabila and report back to regional leaders in the next two weeks. However, the defiant tone from Kinshasa has intensified. State radio announced on Friday that two United States diplomats - a cultural adviser and a political officer - were being expelled for "behaviour incompatible with their status as diplomats". On Friday, while Kabila flew to Luanda to confer with Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, his parliament issued a statement rejecting the entire Lusaka accord.

"Whether Mugabe's words will translate into immediate action that will force the Congo leader from his position remains to be seen," said one of Mugabe's ministers. The minister said the new cabinet appointed by Mugabe had made it clear that efforts to turn around the beleaguered economy would not bear any fruit unless Zimbabwe's high expenditure on the Congo war was stopped. "We cannot afford that expenditure anymore. We have made it clear to the president [Mugabe] that the sooner we get our way out of Congo, the better," said the minister. Other sources who attended the summit said Mugabe had agreed with Kabila that the United Nations was not fully committed to Congo, but Mugabe wanted UN troops deployed as soon as possible.

From Pan Africa News Agency, 20 August

Fuel crisis hits world's oldest profession

HARARE - It is approaching midnight, and bitterly cold in Harare, the Zimbabwe capital, but Susan Shanje is unconcerned about the chilly weather and the lurking danger of being mugged in the darkly lit street she is loitering in. She is one of hundreds of commercial sex workers or prostitutes who flock, scantily dressed, to the city's red light district every night to offer sexual services to hordes of passing motorists. As expected, Susan tells a common story of financial hardships, which drove her into the world's oldest profession at the tender age of 19.

"I have a full book-keeping qualification but can't find a job, what do I do? I'm old enough not to be bothering my parents for everything I want, besides they are unable to provide," she said, eyes fixed on an approaching car of a prospective client. As the car neared where she stood, Susan and her colleagues scrambled toward the centre of the street, lifting up their mini-skirts to entice the motorist. It turned out to be a wild goose chase for the women, most of whom were either in or just out of their teens.

Business for the prostitutes, popularly known as ladies of the night, is down these days for an unusual reason: Zimbabwe's fuel shortage. Susan said motorists were being forced off the road or to cut back on trips by the country's crippling fuel shortage which re-surfaced last week after Zimbabwe's Kuwaiti suppliers withheld shipments demanding the southern African country settle part of its rising debt. "Usually, there are so many cars here this time, but as you can see there is nothing. Not even mid month is the situation this bad. People have no fuel to be making leisure trips like coming here," she said.

Zimbabwe virtually ground to a halt last week because of the fuel crisis, with most of Harare's estimated 400,000 cars parked in long queues at fuel retail stations, almost all of which remained dry for days. The intermittent fuel shortages, which started at the beginning of the year, are mainly attributed to the country's lack of foreign currency, although corruption at a monopoly state-owned oil company has also played a major part in the crisis. President Robert Mugabe's new cabinet team, appointed last month following parliamentary elections in June, hurriedly put together a 9 million US dollar fuel financing package to the Kuwaitis in the week. Government officials said later that normal supplies were expected to resume shortly.

But Susan and her colleagues take the assurances from the government with a pinch of salt, and there is another fuel-related worry they are contending with: the likely impact on business of a recent steep price increase for fuel announced by the new cabinet. "It may be true fuel will be available again in coming weeks, but the price might still force our clients to be economical. So for us, business doesn't look good," said Virginia Zembe, another of the ladies of the night. Both the government and the oil industry have been bombarding motorists with messages of the need to conserve fuel by refraining from undertaking unnecessary journeys.

The ladies of the night worry trips to their "pleasure land" by motorists maybe among the first casualties, especially by the not-so-well-off clients. But they rule out a total collapse in business, claiming some of Zimbabwe' s wealthiest and prominent businessmen and politicians were among the frequent visitors to the red light districts scattered around Harare's affluent residential areas. Zimbabweans were shocked last month when prostitutes picked up by the police from the streets claimed in court that judges, cabinet ministers, men of the cloth, and prominent businessmen used their services regularly. They even threatened to name them.

Susan, who served an average of ten men a night before the fuel crisis, said she would be lucky these days to snare half the figure. "There are fewer clients these days, and competition has become intense. As a result, age has become a critical factor in one's success or failure. The younger you are, the brighter your chances of getting clients even in these difficult times," she said.

From BBC, 18 August

Zimbabwe: the promised land

(The Promised Land was shown on Saturday 19th August on BBC2)

Mfadze Nkomo left her rural village in Zimbabwe for London ten years ago, now she returns to unearth a side of Zimbabwe rarely seen, where politics is more than just a game; it's a matter of life and death.

Like most people I had seen the images from Zimbabwe of violence and fear as white owned farms were occupied by landless mobs, allegedly on instructions from the very top. But was this the whole story? Was Mugabe really the monster the British media portrayed. I couldn't believe that the country and people I loved were involved in the events unfolding on television. Worried about my friends and family, I wanted to find out for myself whether Zimbabwe's dream was fading. On the eve of the most important political event since independence twenty years ago I went back to Zimbabwe.

I was born in Zimbabwe in 1969 but moved to London in 1989. When I arrived in Zimbabwe after a decade, I noticed straight away that things had changed. My recollection was of a country that had gained independence from Britain and was looking to the future and the promise of better things. Times were hard, but not as bad as they seem today. Back then people didn't talk about high inflation and unemployment, like they do now. They talked about the future.

Now all I see before me in Harare are masses of unemployed people, mostly young, waving red cards. These red cards symbolise the change in Zimbabwe today. They are the cards of the MDC - the Movement for Democratic Change - the first real opposition party to challenge Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF Party since Independence. Such opposition would have been unheard of a few years ago, but now the red cards are brandished readily by a people tired of empty promises and poor prospects. I find the force of this opposition quite amazing. Comrade Robert Mugabe may have presided over the collapse of the country's economy but to many people here he is the man who led the fight to give Zimbabwe its freedom.

At a Zanu PF rally I can see that Mugabe still has a great deal of support. What is more, the rhetoric that casts him as a villain in London goes down well in Zimbabwe. He uses this criticism to his advantage. His supporters fought the war of Independence to claim land back for the Africans that had been stolen by the British. It is an issue that could buy Mugabe priceless votes.

My cousin, 'Biggie', is one of many who fought in the war of independence. I met him in Glen View, a poor suburb of Harare where he is campaigning for the Zanu PF. He thinks that the new MDC party have done Mugabe a favour, "what the MDC did was a blessing in disguise. Because Zanu PF was almost asleep ... MDC came along a shook it up." He speaks on behalf of the war veterans at many rallies held to promote the Zanu PF candidate. He argues that the land must be redistributed to those that fought for Zimbabwe, and that they do not want white people to leave. In Britain I suppose we would call it a sovereignty issue: who owns the country anyway?

Talking to veterans out here I feel sympathy for their hunger for land. "The British came empty handed and took our land. They exploited the Zimbabwean people without giving anything back" said one veteran. Another told me that "the occupation of the white farms is not about us being against white people", but about land rights. The war veterans hate the British media because it portrays them as the only villains. They have a point. Violence is occurring on both sides. While veterans are seen attacking white farms on British television, attacks on the local Zanu PF candidate by MDC supporters go unreported.

The land issue is certainly being exploited by Mugabe for all it's worth. But many see the economy as a bigger issue. I went to see my parents who live around 350 kilometers to the south of Harare, in Mataga. In the 1980s Mataga became a 'growth point' designed to promote economic activity in the bush, yet recent economic troubles have seen this area decline rapidly. But memories of the war are strong here and Zanu PF enjoy much support. On meeting my parents I was overcome by how things had changed. The once prosperous family bakery is now a shell. Everyone is putting on a brave face, but I know they are feeling the pinch. I can't remember things ever being so desperate. Reminiscing about the 1980s my mother told me of the prosperity that she enjoyed: "at the time things were going very well, you know I used to fall asleep at my desk counting money because it was just too much!" But not now. In those days my mother employed thirty people, now there are just six.

It is this sense of desperation that has privately led my parents to vote MDC. They would not, however, admit this publicly. Zanu PF supporters burnt down my uncle's hardware store when he came out in support of the MDC. To my mother and father it's not land, but the country's ailing economy that is the real issue. Personally, I disagree. To me land is the most important issue and the fact that Mugabe uses it to paper over his failings in the economy doesn't really matter. What matters, I think, is that he is doing something about it. Perhaps it will give the rural have-nots like my grandma, who has been working the same four acres for over fifty years, a chance.

I grew up with my Grandma while my parents went to England to study. A supporter of the Independence war, she feels badly betrayed by the Zanu PF now. "we were deceived ... they used to tell us, when we win the war you will no longer suffer. You'll have machinery to plough, you won't have to carry heavy buckets of water on your heads, it will come through a tap. We were lied to. Now we look to God for help, because if he can't we're done for." This disillusionment is at the heart of the election here.

Down the road from my grandmother's four acres is Peregwe Ranch. Known as 'the endless fields', this farm spans 42 000 acres. Peregwe Ranch has been occupied by war veterans since March. The owners, Mr and Mr. Abbott, moved to their house in Bulawayo in fear of their lives. But the servants at the farm said that no violence had occurred. The Abbott's left peacefully. I caught up with Mrs. Abbott in Bulawayo. She was angry about the occupation of her farm. "It's this government's fault. There is definitely a need for redistribution of land but it should have been done a long time ago. It should never have come to this... I don't believe it is their ancestral rights. My husband and I were born here too. We have as much right to the land as any Black Zimbabwean." I don't think colour is the issue either. After the war the British Government gave large tracts of land to its war veterans. Because it was a colony they said it was their land. Now an Independent country, we say it's our land and our veterans should have some too. "When we went to war we didn't fight for money, we fought for land" say the occupiers of the farm. They just want some of the land back.

As election day draws near, the tension is evident at my parents home. Anyone planning to vote MDC keeps a low profile. Dad says that Zanu ‘heavies' have been threatening trouble if he votes the wrong way. Lots of people are expecting violence here, especially if MDC win. As the village crams into the local bar and watches the election results the MDC look to be making massive gains. However, our expectations of violence are thankfully misplaced. The election brings a narrow win for the Zanu PF. But for my cousin, Biggie, the result is tinged with disappointment. His district has fallen to the MDC candidate. Despite Mugabe's win, the political landscape of Zimbabwe has altered radically. For those wanting change the result offers the hope of a useful opposition to Mugabe. For the war veterans it's a victory. Mugabe promises to redistribute land within three months. However, I feel that if he betrays the poor again he will lose what remaining support he has.

From BBC News, 20 August

Zimbabwe wildlife 'face disaster'

Zimbabwe's policy of redistributing land owned by white commercial farmers threatens "ecological disaster", according to an eminent conservationist. Professor Johan du Toit, of Pretoria University, South Africa, says it is "inevitable that wildlife populations will be overhunted" if the farms are handed over immediately to black Zimbabweans. He warns that the country's black rhinos, one of the species that attracts high-spending foreign tourists and hunters, will be at great risk. But he believes international help could avert the disaster.

Professor du Toit, director of the Mammal Research Unit at Pretoria University, says commercial white-owned farms in Zimbabwe are home to many rare large mammals, including cheetah, black rhino and sable - a type of antelope. He told BBC News Online: "White-owned commercial farmland and ranchland in Zimbabwe supports a very significant proportion of that country's biodiversity. "It will be severely impacted if this land is thrown over to subsistence agriculture." The Zimbabwe Government insists that only about 30% of white-owned land is actually used for farming. But the professor dismisses this, saying most of the arable land is cultivated already, while the rest supports indigenous woodland that is used for grazing cattle, or for wildlife, or both. "The issue is that dumping impoverished peasants on geometrically-plotted patches of virgin non-arable land, without any infrastructure, tillage equipment, venture capital, housing, water supplies, or training will result quite simply in an ecological disaster," says Professor du Toit. "Wildlife populations will be overhunted and snared, habitat loss will be rapid, and the whole crisis will just get exponentially worse."

Professor du Toit acknowledges that Zimbabwe itself cannot afford to provide that sort of infrastructure. But he believes the international community would assist if the land redistribution was drawn up transparently and if the government completely revised its policy. He believes Zimbabwe can still find a solution. But if it fails to do so, he thinks the future is bleak. "We're going to lose some large populations and some important gene pools in the near future," says Professor du Toit.

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This address may be of use to those wanting to come to NZ as well as those in NZ who can offer any sort of assistance.  Please pass it on to those who can use it. zimcare@xtra.co.nz
Their aim is simple and I have copied it here:-
ZimCare Trust NZ grew out of an idea this Easter when a handful of sympathetic previous Zimbabweans decided to soften the impact of immigration ONCE ZIMBABWEANS ARE IN NEW ZEALAND.  We have grown to a team with Coordinators in ten centres, and we all offer voluntary time outside of paid employment, and busy family, domestic and private lives.  It is a gift of time.
ZimCare has in this short time begun to make itself known throughout New Zealand, and also in Zimbabwe and South Africa, through personal contacts, word of mouth, the media and a few major organisations.  We have sought incorporation under the provisions of the Charitable Trusts Act, developed Trust Deeds and applied for IRD relief.  We have also begun to appeal through many channels for assistance from interested New Zealanders, since there are relatively few Zimbabweans here.
We have a Board of Trustees and our objectives are:
*To support in NZ, Zimbabwean citizens and residents who have been victims of violence, threats of violence and other trauma.
*To promote and publicise the plight of victims of oppression and violence in Zimbabwe
*To seek and receive offers of financial and other support for Zimbabwe citizens and residents who come to New Zealand.
*To equitably distribute such assistance as is within the resources of the Trust.
We are busy people just like yourselves and have a desire to do our best to make things easier for new arrivals than it was when we arrived .  We know the long-term and wide-ranging impact of immigration and realise it will be harder for families making hasty decisions, few plans, few and hasty farewells.
More than this we cannot offer, but we're responding to many enquiries daily.  Out of concern, we occassionally go beyond our mandate, by giving information which we are still spending extra time formulating, to people not yet in the country.  We are not immigration consultants, and we do not offer job placement, but we're offering a few guidelines in three fact sheets which we're continually up-dating::
IMMIGRATION INFORMATION AND ADDRESSES DO'S & DON'TS WHEN PACKING FOR ZIMBABWE A FEW STARTER FACTS ON ACCOMMODATION AND WORK We are not a pressure group.  Government relaxation of regulations is to ease entry for Zimbabwean nationals, but there is no change to immigration policy.  The provisions are to assist Zimbabweans who wish to enter NZ urgently - some will seek a few months' respite others will seek residence under existing policy.
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