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

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From The Daily News, 23 August

Fresh evidence links police to farm looting

Police officers and vehicles were allegedly involved in the recent orgy of raiding and looting of farms in Mashonaland West. Farmers and scores of farm workers and villagers in the area where more than 40 commercial farms were raided last week, have confirmed the alleged involvement of the police. Villagers say war veterans incited them to loot. They said they were assured they would not be arrested because the exercise was part of the land reform programme.

Investigations have established that a war veteran based in Chinhoyi, known as Comrade Maguvaza, drove a police vehicle to a number of villages where he allegedly met Zanu PF officials hours before the looting spree began. Sources in the area said Maguvaza drove to the homestead of Fred Chitsinde, the Zanu PF district chairman for Makonde in Village Five, where hundreds were resettled in 1991. When Maguvaza left, a Zanu PF supporter, known as Cornelius Dicho, is said to have moved around the village telling people that those who wanted land should go and invade Winter Farm, a commercial farm near the resettlement area.

Dicho allegedly told the villagers the move had been sanctioned by the police and there was no need to fear. Winter Farm was subsequently raided and property worth millions of dollars was looted and an unspecified number of beasts slaughtered, allegedly in the presence of the police who said they wanted some of the cuts, preferably the hindquarters. Farm workers say at Cotswold Farm in the Mhangura area, the invaders stole, among other things, a water pump and five car batteries. They also slaughtered the farm’s biggest bull, a Hereford. Said one worker: "The police took the meat as well, a whole hindquarter, and put it in their vehicle. The police were putting pressure on the invaders." At Richmond Farm, a worker said: "The pressure was coming from the police, saying the government had given permission."

At Long Valley Farm, which was also raided, the police are alleged to have loaded their vehicle with bags of maize meal. Although the farmer, Anthony White, said he could not state categorically that he saw the police taking away the maize meal, his workers had told him that the police vehicle was full of looted goods, mostly maize meal. White said he stopped the police to hear what they were doing about the destruction on his farm. The police officers told him they were going back to Mhangura for reinforcements because they were grossly outnumbered by the invaders. They left but did not return to the farm, he said. "The police did not want to co-operate," said White. "Two police officers were here, but I hear they were inciting my workers to help themselves to my property."

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From ZWNEWS, 24 August

Broken toys and broken lives: a tale of wanton destruction

An eyewitness account from Chinhoyi and other districts attacked by Zanu PF militants

Despite a broken arm, the man had cycled several kilometres when he flagged us down on the dirt road in Doma.. He was stuttering, could hardly get the words out. "They are coming," he said , "there is a big gang heading towards that farm. We must tell the police." Radio messages from spotter planes and vehicles on the ground had already told us that invaders were on the way, the police had been told and had once again refused to react. And yet this poor guy, still with faith in law and order thought that if he got on his bike and pedalled ten kilometres to the police post at Doma, maybe he could stop the wanton destruction and violence that was sure to follow the arrival of the group. We hadn't the heart to tell him his trip was in vain, and thanked him for the information. When we drove off he resumed pedalling valiantly toward the police post.

The man is one of ten of thousands of farm workers whose lives and livelihoods, along with those of white commercial farmers, are being wrecked in the latest wave of pillage and looting by militants of President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party. Since the new attacks started Aug. 7, at least 4,000 black farm workers and their families have been made homeless, no one is helping them, and the Mugabe regime has reportedly refused to let non-governmental agencies assist.

Human rights organisations and others struggle to compile the statistics. The Amani Trust, which monitors human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, recorded 11 political murders, 61 disappearances, 104 cases of unlawful detention and 288 incidents of torture last month alone - and that is just a small, confirmed part of the picture. Behind the figures lie stories of personal pain, tragedy and immense bravery by political opponents of the Mugabe administration, by rural school teachers and health professionals, farm workers, commercial farmers and anyone else caught in the wave of state-sponsored terror.

For example, an elderly female domestic worker came across her employers' goods hidden in the bush. She ran to Mhangura, the nearest town, and with her own money hired a vehicle to collect the property, transported it to the Mhangura police station and asked officers there to keep the goods safe. She was arrested for theft and, despite her employers' efforts, remains in jail. I think her name is Janet Zuze. The Herald says that because farmers are paying fines for workers like her, and other workers who were forced to loot, the farmers (and the British Government) organised the looting themselves.

Along the road, we met farm workers fleeing from the invaders. They did not want to be involved. The pattern is that a core group of Zanu PF militants shows up at a white-owned farm, has a look round and then goes off to collect people to loot. Often they will use the next door farm workers who are forced to steal and take the goods to their compounds. In some cases, the farm workers have risked beatings and worse by returning looted goods to the owners after the invaders have left. Others go along with it. We passed many people collecting on the roads, waiting to be picked up by already overloaded vehicles that Zanu PF militants had ordered farm drivers to steal. When you have nothing, and you see you neighbour acquire a TV set, it must be difficult to resist.

In the past week, as attacks spread to the Hwedza and Marondera districts, Zanu PF militants displayed a gruesome version of image-making. On six farms in the Hwedza district, the invaders first herded the workers from their houses into areas near tobacco barns. The farm owners were forced to pay the workers, some of whom then dispersed with their families into nearby communal peasant farming areas. Others just sat on the side of roads alongside bundles of belongings and their chickens. The Zanu PF militants told them that was ``bad publicity'' and forced them into the bush. Their fate is unknown.

And then there are the animals. On one farm in the Mhangura district, the pen foreman was beaten up after trying to protect the cattle. He failed, and Zanu PF thugs slaughtered the cattle by hacking off their heads with axes - often making several attempts before the writhing animals died. In some cases, cows, horses, chickens and other animals have not been fed or watered since the start of the new attacks. From a razed farmhouse, a pet dog escaped, spent a couple of days roaming the bush, before finding his owner at a neighbouring farm. The dog, which had been beaten, is almost all the owner has left. Man and dog sat on a neighbour’s lawn - a grown man with a huge Ridgeback cross practically sitting on his lap, the owner weeping while stroking his dog.

A boarding kennel in Harare has offered to take in for free domestic animals from the abandoned farms, but it is difficult to get them out. Many dogs are locked in neighbours' garages (so they don't fight with the dogs living on the property), and larger animals cannot be moved in the rush of departure. Chinhoyi vet Rob Gordon sewed up a Staffordshire terrier which had been almost chopped in half with an axe. Then Gordon headed to Lomagundi College, a local private school whose future looks grim, to put down the two dogs of a childless couple who have fled the country, leaving him with a request to destroy their beloved pets.

Many of the wives of white farmers sent to town for safety have no idea of the extent of the damage. I heard husbands breaking it to them on the phone that they had lost everything. Without their wives, the men cook awful meals, and occasionally find something to laugh about, like one man spending ages going through cupboards looking for the salt. I flew to the Mhangura area, with a couple of men who had no idea what they would find at the other end, if there was anything left at all. One was a missionary who runs an orphanage. He had gone to Harare not knowing there was any trouble a few days before, and had not been able to return. I saw domestic workers trying to restore their employers' homes, pathetically sweeping up the remains of children's jigsaw puzzles, sifting through fires to find unburned books, picking the glass from family photos. But no amount of clearing up is going to make this all right again.

As the Amani Trust's Anthony Reeler puts it: ``The rule of law has been replaced by the rule of thugs.''

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: Saturday, August 25, 2001 8:35 AM
Subject: Selective justice

Dear family and friends,
I've had computer problems and lost a lot of emails this week so if you wrote on Tues, Wed and Thurs I'm afraid your words got scrambled in electronic limbo. Please do re-send though as I treasure your support - many days it is the only thing that gives me the strength to keep at it. I have had people writing from all over the world saying they have joined me in wearing a yellow ribbon in silent protest at lawlessness in Zimbabwe. Thank you for joining me, I am honoured and very touched. I sat in a sweltering Farmers meeting  one afternon this week amongst a  lot of exhausted, desperate men and wore my little ribbon alone but with pride - if just one of those farmers or their workers benefit finally from our silent protest it will have been more than worth it. Their daily experiences with people calling themselves 'war veterans' are more than most people would encounter in a lifetime, the dignity, patience and resourcefulness of these farmers and their workers is an example of the amazing patriotism and Zimbabwean spirit that is now almost the norm in our country. Whilst their farming area has been relatively quiet this week, these men have watched helplessly as huge swathes of grazing land have been deliberately burned as "war veterans" resort to desperate tactics to chase these people off their land. In every direction from my home town the sky is filled with smoke. On almost every road the verges are ash filled and the fields beyond blackened. There is little grazing left and livestock farmers are desperate both near me and on the other side of the country where Foot and Mouth disease broke out on six properties this week. All livestock movement has now been resticted, all beef exports cancelled and this has dealt another crippling blow to our economy. Agriculture Minister Made announced the disease had broken out because domestic cattle had probably come into contact with buffalo. He did not say that this had happened because for eighteen months "war veterans" have destroyed fences, prevented patrols and driven livestock onto private property with absolutely no regard for disease control. When I spoke to a veterinary inspector here a couple of weeks ago he told me the situation was desperate. He has been unable to do his job for almost 2 years. When he arrives on a farm to inspect livestock, "war veterans" throw stones at his vehicle, chase him away and hurl abuse at him, saying he is not wanted as he is a"sellout". This man, an educated professional, employed by the Government told me that he has been unable to go his rural home for over a year as he and his family have been threatened by "war veterans"
People calling themselves "war veterans" have this week gone on the rampage in the little town around the world famous Victoria Falls. They raided shops and supermarkets in the town and then closed the Border Post down for an hour. When the Vic Falls Mayor (belonging to the ruling party) protested at this outrageous behaviour he too became a victim. "War veterans" then stormed his premises, broke up a meeting, frog marched him and 4 others through the town and lashed out with feet and sticks en route.  Last weekend "war veterans" broke up a gathering of 3000 Methodist women and chased them away. War veterans stormed a mining auction this week,broke up proceedings and chanted "down with whites, down with the mdc, down with Agribank, down with Afc." Everyone in Zimbabwe has become a victim, few have escaped the attentions of these  past liberators and it becomes more and more apparent that all control is lost. In one short week our livestock export industry has collapsed and a world famous tourist resort has been raided.
The 21 farmers from Chinoyi were finally granted an outrageously high bail mid week and released from prison. All appeared in court on Friday and have been remanded until the 28th of September. They have been banned by the courts from going back to their homes but at least they have been reunited with their families and for now their hell is over. Our thoughts, prayers and love are with them all. In the most disgraceful display of selective justice, these men each paid Z$100 000 bail, had their heads shaven and their passports taken away after being charged with inciting public violence. On Monday 50 army recruits were charged by police with public violence in Masvingo. They did not even appear in court and were all released after paying Z$60 fines. What can I say, there are just no more words.
Our Minster of Agriculture announced last Sunday that all farmers on Listed Land must vacate their properties by the end of the month. This is not backed by any legislation but already enforced evictions have begun in many areas. I dread what I will have to report this time next week. As I said last week though,we are not rushing to airports and border posts, we are a proud and determined nation, the Chinoyi farmers are testament to that, as are the journalists who continue to speak out even after being given death threats and named on "hit lists". Until next week, with thanks and love as always, cathy.
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Mugabe targets Australia

Saturday 25 August 2001

Robert Mugabe
ROBERT MUGABE: Expected to attack Britain and Australia at the Brisbane conference.
Picture: AFP

African analysts expect Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to come out fighting against his critics at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Brisbane in October - and Australia is likely to be one of his main targets.

Following Canberra's rejection of calls for Mr Mugabe to be banned from the conference, political observers in southern Africa see little prospect of Mr Mugabe staying away to escape growing condemnation for stoking political violence in his own country.

"Yes, absolutely, he will go," said Iden Wetherall, a senior journalist for the local Independent newspaper. "It (CHOGM) provides a platform for him to lecture the world and wag his finger," he said.

"He's going to use it as a propaganda platform. He's going to speak out on Aboriginal land rights... He will mobilise his friends in the Commonwealth - Malaysia, certainly, and some of the African states - and he will attack Britain and Australia."

An Africa analyst with a South African think-tank agreed. "He has a very strong desire to thumb his nose at the world and he has a great deal of fondness for these Commonwealth things. The thought of Aboriginal land rights people asking for his advice on land reform will deeply appeal to him," he said.

"He relishes the role of pitting himself against the colonial power of whites."

John Makumbe, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe, laughed when asked if he thought that the likelihood of diplomatic controversy and public demonstrations would deter Mr Mugabe from travelling to Brisbane. "If people in Australia think that, they don't know the size of his ego," he said. "Turn up at Brisbane and be the centre of the process? He loves that. He will be the centre of international media attention."

However, Dr Makumbe did not believe that Mr Mugabe would be able to act as aggressively as he would like to against the wealthier and predominantly white Commonwealth states such as Australia, Britain and Canada.

Dr Makumbe said Mr Mugabe was still smarting from the diplomatic rebuff he had received at a meeting of the Southern African Development Community two weeks ago when he was removed as the head of its security organ and a tri-nation commission was appointed to investigate the Zimbabwe crisis.

Following a wave of state-orchestrated attacks on white-owned farms in the Chinhoyi region west of Harare, African heads of state for the first time expressed concern about Mr Mugabe's plans to seize 95per cent of his country's white-owned land. Previously, they had expressed varying degrees of solidarity with his claim that he was merely seeking to correct colonial-era injustice.

"The Chinhoyi situation really cost him a lot of face with the international community ... He has a lot of repair work to do and I don't know if he has the capacity to do it," Dr Makumbe said.

"He's praying that he will be able to make it to Brisbane. Then he will be able to say he's never missed a Commonwealth meeting, and we are still a democracy. He will then next year run the least democratic election you've ever seen."

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Farm Invasions and Security Report
Monday 20th - Thursday 23rd August 2001

This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas. Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens. Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.

Mayhem continues throughout Wedza where 11 farms have had to pay off most, if not all of their labour and some 22 farms are not operating.  There are numerous incidents in the district.
On one property in Chakari, 5 teenage girls were abducted by illegal occupiers 2 weeks ago, and have still not returned to the farm. The parents of the girls do not wish to make a report to the police for fear of reprisals by illegal occupiers.
Pegging and allocation of plots, irrespective of the legal status of the farms, is taking place countrywide and in numerous cases farmers are being instructed by occupiers and local authorities to cease farming.
In Mash West (South) and many other areas, the DA and lands committees are putting pressure on farmers to sign over parts of their property for resettlement. Various corrupt officials are offering to de-list farms and asking the owner to pay a fee.

Mashonaland Central 
Shamva - Burnley Farm was pegged by Agritex officials to accommodate 56 illegal occupiers.
Glendale - Agritex officials are currently pegging on Moore Fields and de Vaar. 

Mashonaland West North 
Banket - The district is quiet.
Trelawney / Darwendale - There has been a build up of illegal occupiers in the area, with meetings taking place. Illegal occupiers moved onto 5 farms in the area.
Tengwe - On Ramona Farm illegal occupiers are only allowing tobacco grading to continue. 85 illegal occupiers invaded the workshop on Magomera Farm which then lead to a labour dispute. The situation was resolved. Deliberate bush fires are being started on farms in the area by illegal occupiers. There have been numerous attempts by illegal occupiers to stop farm owners from ridging tobacco, with some situations being resolved and others on going.  Numerous farmers cannot ridge their tobacco lands.
Chinhoyi - Illegal occupiers are moving goats, chickens, scotch carts amongst other things onto Braeside Farm, and the owner was informed that he will be evicted off the farm by the end of the month.  Illegal occupiers want the owners of Argyle Farm to move out of their house. Police reacted. 20 farmers remain off their farms and out of the Mashonaland West district.
Doma - Traumatised farm owners who had their homes looted last week are still recovering items that were looted from their homes and trying to piece their lives back together.
Trelawney / Darwendale - 3 more families moved onto Clonsilla Farm, making this a total of 22 families with well built houses.
Umboe - Illegal occupiers are pegging in the wheat lands on Nooitgedag and started building houses.

Mashonaland West South 
General - Pegging continues throughout the region, the DA and lands committees are putting pressure on farmers to sign over parts of their property for resettlement. Various corrupt officials are offering to de-list farms and asking the owner to pay a corruption fee. It is general policy to burn grazing out on farms and a lot of fires have been set.
Norton - The Chegutu DA instructed illegal occupiers on Serui Source to keep the keys to the owners tractors so that he cannot use them. The owner is still unable to return to the property without a police escort.
Kadoma - From Milverton Estates the owners son and a friend went hunting on an unoccupied property over the weekend, and shot a few duiker. Illegal occupiers on the neighbouring property reported them to the police and Kadoma MIC wanted to detain them, and a fine had to be paid to prevent them from going to prison.
Chakari - On one property, 5 teenage girls were abducted by illegal occupiers 2 weeks ago, and have still not returned to the farm. The parents of the girls do not wish to make a report to the police for fear of reprisals by illegal occupiers.

Mashonaland East 
Featherstone - About 150 illegal occupiers drove onto a farm in the district and pushed the farm owner's vehicles out of the garage and held a meeting where they allocated plots and then left. The farm workers on Jackalsdraai were chased out of their homes for 2 nights. There is pegging on Ngesi and De la Quellerie.
Marondera - The owner of Malabar and his wife were barricaded in their house over night, with police refusing to respond. Illegal occupier Majuru arrived on Monora farm  with 8 others and called a meeting with farm workers from both Monora and Munemo. Present also was Makorokoto and the Old Mutual Representative from Marondera, Mr Mukaro. They advised the owner that the Monora labour were to be moved from their homes in order to make space for the illegal occupiers on neighbouring Munemo. The farm manager then received a note advising him that 9 brick houses needed to be made available as soon as possible. Farm workers in the Arcadia farm village were assaulted by illegal occupiers.
Marondera North - Kirndean farm was pegged over the week end. 300 metres of fencing wire was stolen from Chipunga and a further 1.6 km from Stonehaven. The foreman on Rapids went to report a robbery which resulted in an individual being beaten and he was arrested and detained overnight. Illegal occupiers broke open the gate on Kirndean and pegged the farm.
Macheke / Virginia - A new invasion of 6 illegal occupiers moved onto Morning Star. Illegal occupiers told the owner of Camdale Estate that he was not to put a crop in for the next season and to remove the Rhodes Grass plantation as it was interfering with their cropping program. The owner of Castledene Pines returned to his farm. The following day, illegal occupiers called the owner to the farm workshop and told the owner that his labour could stay and grade but he was to leave the farm. The owner called police and was informed they could do nothing unless they received instructions from the DA. The owner was then forced to sign a letter stating that he would leave the farm by the 30th September 2001. Agritex officials pegged Murrayfield. Illegal occupiers told the owner of Howgate that it was time to move off the farm. The owner called the DA who said he would resolve the situation but in the meantime, illegal occupiers prevented the owner from preparing land and only allowed for grading and seed work to continue. Tobacco scrap had to moved out of a stable on Paradise when illegal occupiers moved in. Police reacted and resolved the situation. 2 heifers were slaughtered on Nyagadzi and 1600m of fencing wire stolen. Grazing areas have been burnt on several farms in the area. Illegal occupiers demanded that all labour are to be off Malda.
Wedza - 3 farmers have been evacuated. Court papers were served on Saturday instructing that labour be let back into their houses and illegal occupier, Isaac, took offence and ordered that the farmers vacate their farms within 24 hours otherwise he would sort them out. There was an all night pungwe at Farm Bravo where the farm owner, his wife and 2 small children were subjected to harassment after illegal occupiers broke down the security fence. The owner was advised to pay off farm workers and had until the end of October to complete tobacco grading on the farm. The illegal occupiers then went into the sheds and destroyed 10 bales of tobacco before slashing the rest. The farm workers have vacated their homes and the owner has been told to remove all cattle off the farm. The owners pet cats were stoned and injured by illegal occupiers. The resident illegal occupiers from Farm Charlie went onto Rapako and made serious demands, breaking the fences and harassed the farm labour. The owner had to pay them and they left with 4 farm tractors and 2 trucks, some of the equipment is still outstanding. A farmers wife was barricaded into the house on her own but the problem was resolved the same day. There was an assault on the Wedza Farm Security head quarters led by illegal occupier Chigwadere and 3 Constables armed with an FN and a Pistol. All present, they were told to pack their goods and leave immediately. The guards bomb shelled. Illegal occupiers then broke into the ops room and took 2 more weapons and 2 hand held radios. The head quarters has been guarded all week and yesterday the manager was allowed in to feed the 9 dogs that had not been fed for 3 days. The farmers have been told that if any of them try and look after the guards they will be dealt with severely. The tool and chemical shed on Beer farm was ransacked. Agritex officials have been pegging on Nurenzi. Mayhem continues to go through the district where now 11 farms have had to pay off most, if not all of their labour and some 22 farms are not operating.
Harare South - The manager on Auks Nest was approached by resident illegal occupier Mr Chidakwa and about 5 others armed with pangas, clubs and catapults. Mr Chidakwa informed the manager that ploughing and ridging were acts of violence and he was to arrange for then to cease. Cde Douglas Mahiya, who owns a plot next door to Kinfauns farm, walked into the grading shed on Kinfauns and told the owner that he was to plough Mahiya’s lands, do his land preparation and use the farm labour to grade his tobacco. The owner declined. Wells continue to be dug along with ploughing and other activities by illegal occupiers on Swallowfield.

Chipinge - The owner of Dzorora Farm was prevented from feeding his pen fed cattle the whole day by illegal occupiers and when the owner eventually fed his cattle at the end of the day, illegal occupiers threatened to return. The Chairman of resettlement and 12 rowdy illegal occupiers visited de Rust Farm and told the owner that the farm no longer belonged to him and that he should co-exist with them.  A sheep was stolen from Glenree and 29 snares lifted.  Agritex officials pegged Waterfalls farm.
Mutare - There is vast ploughing taking place on Welverdene by illegal occupiers who have also started fires causing the loss of 100ha of grazing and are preventing cattle from grazing with mild intimidation ongoing.

Mwenezi - Illegal occupiers started a vast number of fires throughout the district. When the owner of Kleinbegin was walking his dogs on the farm, a pick up approached him and the driver who owns a fumigation business in Beitbridge attempted to run the owners dogs over and then verbally abused and gave the owner death threats. About 50 head of largely unbranded cattle that entered the Bubye River Valley Conservancy through a breach cut in the game fence over a week ago are still there. During the past week they were taken back to the communal area for dipping and then returned to the conservancy where they are free to mix with buffalo. These cattle were moved without veterinary movement permits and have no veterinary brands, with no knowing where they originate. Beitbridge veterinary department sent the owner a letter dated 25 July, but only posted the letter between 14th and 17th August, stating that they intend to resume the issuance of Vet permits for movements onto farms across vet zones. The cattle movement into the conservancy was subsequent to the date of this letter, but they moved without a permit.  Illegal occupiers are "employing" labourers under virtual slavery to cut down trees for lands. These "employees" are destitute returned border jumpers.

General - Veld fires, started by accident and deliberately are wide spread. Poaching and snaring continues to accelerate. Pegging of plots and building of shelters proceeds.
Gweru - 2 farms, one of which is unlisted, have been almost totally burned out and are left with grazing for about 1 month. Threats have been received that the rest of 1 of these farms is to be burned over the coming weekend. A farmer received a warning that the illegal occupiers on his farm would attack him if he came to the scene. When he arrived to fight the fire the arsonists ran away. Illegal occupiers reported to the police that the property owner had threatened to poison the drinking water on his farm. Police investigated and found the report to be untrue. Illegal occupiers on 1 farm went to the neighbouring farm village after a beer drink and tried to start a fight. Threats were made that the owner and foreman would be ambushed on the road. Police investigated the incident but no arrests were made. A tractor and trailer, visiting a neighbouring farm to pick up irrigation parts, was impounded by illegal occupiers. The tractor owner took a police detail out and managed to recover his vehicles after heated discussions with the occupiers, who told the police that if they saw the owner again they would cut his head off.  Poaching and snaring are ongoing and there are more and more reports of armed poachers.
Hunters Road - Diesel was drained from all the tractors on one property and the workshop was broken into and oil and tools stolen.
Kwe Kwe - On one property, gates were left open so that the cattle could go into the wheat lands. DDF Tractors are ploughing the fallow lands intended for seed maize crops. On another farm there was labour unrest with demands for huge wage increases. The matter was defused and the labour dismissed. Interference with farming operations is ongoing and most farmers have been ordered not to plant summer crops. Poaching is heavy and veld fires widespread with several properties being burnt out.
Somabhula / Daisyfield - Widespread fires, poaching and snaring. About 4 head of cattle are being lost per week due to snares. On one ranch, 8 000 acres of land was burnt by illegal occupiers.
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There will be a public protest against the human rights abuses of the Zimbabwean government TODAY, Saturday 25 August, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm, outside the Zimbabwe High Commission in The Strand, London
In this issue :
From ZWNEWS : There are continued transmission problems, particularly to SOME subscribers and The problems are at the Zimbabwe end. There is nothing we can do about it from this end. If you know someone with an address or, or any other ISP, who has not received their copy of ZWNEWS over the last week or so, please suggest that they contact the helpdesk at their ISP and complain. The only other thing we can suggest is to change their ISP.

From The National Post, (Canada), 24 August

Ottawa may back move to ban Mugabe

Australia wants to exclude leader from summit

Edmonton and Johannesburg - Canada may back a move to ban Robert Mugabe from a summit of Commonwealth leaders in Australia in October, John Manley, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, told the National Post yesterday. This follows suggestions by John Howard, the Australian Prime Minister, that his government would back moves to exclude Mr. Mugabe, the Zimbabwean President, from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Brisbane, and signals from South Africa's top banker that his country was losing patience with the continuing chaos and mayhem in Zimbabwe.

Mr. Manley said Canada is concerned about the steady deterioration of law and order in Zimbabwe, where government-backed militants have launched violent attacks against white farmers, political opponents and other critics, destroying the economy and prompting widespread international criticism. The Canadian government suspended direct aid to the African nation in May. The Foreign Minister said the matter will be high on the agenda when the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), to which Canada belongs, meets in London next month.

Mr. Manley said he expects his Australian counterpart to make the case for excluding Zimbabwe from the Brisbane meeting when the ministers gather in London. "Our first task will be to deal with it in that context. I know the Australian Foreign Minister will certainly have some clear views. Of course, it's been a matter of concern for the British as well," he said. Concerns have also been aroused by Mr. Mugabe's refusal to allow a surveillance mission of representatives from Australia, Barbados and Nigeria to tour his country. "Zimbabwe has very insistently taken the position that they don't fall under the mandate of CMAG. We will have to deal with that too," Mr. Manley said. Moves to exclude Mr. Mugabe from the meeting are gaining momentum as his government intensifies its campaign of terror against whites, journalists, opposition Members of Parliament and judges.

In Johannesburg on Wednesday, Tito Mboweni, South Africa's Reserve Bank Governor, told investors it was "time to call a spade a spade" because Zimbabwe's leaders appear not to understand diplomatic language. "The situation has become untenable when it is seen that the highest office in that land seems to support illegal means of land reform, land invasions ... beating up of people, blood flowing everywhere," Mr. Mboweni said. "I am saying this as forcefully as I am because the developments in Zimbabwe are affecting us and are stressing us unnecessarily ... the wheels have come off there."

As Mr. Mboweni spoke, the South African currency, the rand, hit a new low, driven down by the continuing uncertainty. There is also concern the Zimbabwean crisis is damaging tourism throughout the region, scaring off investors and creating a flood of illegal migrants. The central banker's hard-hitting speech was the toughest heard from a senior South African official on the topic of Zimbabwe. The government has finally lost patience. In a TV interview three weeks ago, Thabo Mbeki, the South African President, admitted for the first time that his efforts to reason with Mr. Mugabe had failed, although he continues to mute criticism of his old comrade in an effort to maintain open lines of communication.

It was also clear yesterday Mr. Mbeki was pleased to hear Mr. Mboweni making the kind of statements that other officials cannot. "Why should we be angry?" asked Bheki Khumalo, a spokesman for the President's office, regarding Mr. Mboweni's statement. "We are indeed very concerned. We want to avoid an economic meltdown in Zimbabwe. That is why we are sending a task force there to see how we can resolve the crisis." Ten days ago, 13 southern African leaders took an uncharacteristically hard stand against Zimbabwe when, at South Africa's behest, they appointed a committee of presidents to try to resolve the crisis.

The country has been in an uproar since February last year, when self-styled "war veterans" began to invade white-owned commercial farms so the properties could be redistributed to landless black farmers. Mr. Mugabe has ignored pleas to end this program of land seizures and his anti-white rhetoric becomes harsher by the day. "They will not be treated like special creatures," he said this week of the 21 white farmers who had been in prison since Aug. 6 for allegedly inciting violence by war veterans. "Why should they be treated as if they are next to God?" he asked on state television. "If anything, they are next to he who commands evil and resides in [the] inferno." The farmers were released on bail this week, but forbidden to return to their farms. Yesterday, the Zimbabwean government issued yet another threat to journalists.

From The Independent (UK), 25 August

Mugabe orders secret burials of his soldiers killed in Congo

Harare - President Robert Mugabe's army, which is fighting a secret and unpopular war in the Congo, has decreed that the bodies of soldiers who fall in combat be buried in the jungle rather than come home in body bags. Sent to die in his war-for-profit in the Congo, they are being buried there without the knowledge of their families, The Independent has learned. To avoid stirring public unrest, the regime has kept the number of soldiers who have died a closely guarded secret.

In an exclusive interview, an officer among the estimated 16,000 Zimbabwean troops serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said 22 members of his battalion had been buried in situ earlier this year after top officers ordered that their bodies should not be repatriated. He said other corpses were left to decompose. The source, a captain, said: "I think the reason the army is burying its dead soldiers in the DRC is to control the damage and alarm that would greet the arrival of many dead bodies in Harare. Most of the families of the dead soldiers are still under the impression that their brave sons are on tour of duty. Top officers have instructed that a greater majority of those who die in combat should be buried in the DRC."

The war is unpopular in cash-strapped Zimbabwe, which has neither a border nor historical links with the former Belgian Congo. Zimbabwe's British-advised defence force was for many years considered one of the most professional in Africa - one which would not willingly leave its men to rot on the battlefield. But in August 1998, the country entered the DRC war on the side of the late Laurent-Desire Kabila, alongside Angola and Namibia. As payment, Zimbabwe has received diamond and cobalt concessions and top officers are known to have struck lucrative business deals.

But Zimbabwe's rock-bottom reserves of foreign exchange are believed to have led to a shortage of weaponry. Low-ranking soldiers are receiving their promised $13 per day bonuses in worthless Congolese francs. It is understood that all but one or two of Zimbabwe's 12 British-made Hawk fighter aircraft are grounded due to a lack of spares. Britain stopped supplying spares last year but these are usually available on the black market. Officially, Zimbabwe's contribution has been long described as 11,000-strong, backed by the Hawks. Harare earlier this year claimed to have withdrawn 2,000 men but is known later to have sent reinforcements, which may have pushed the number as high as 16,000. The source also criticised top Zimbabwean officers for adopting lavish lifestyles and using professional soldiers to guard their mining concessions.

From The Times (UK), 25 August

Nations poorest battle to survive on wild berries

Harare - In a country threatened with economic disaster and dire food shortages, the Binga district is a forgotten backwater at the bottom of the Government’s list of priorities. It is the poorest area of Zimbabwe and at this time of year, while most peasant communities have just finished reaping their harvest of maize, the national staple, the 3,000 Batonka people of Sinakoma have already run out of the grain. This year had been particularly bad, said Brother Leonard Chiti, a Jesuit who is researching the abysmal poverty of the area. As early as June, communities had started to apply for food relief from the Government.

The nearest small town, Gokwe, is 125 miles distant, along bad roads. Summer temperatures commonly hit 40C (105F), rainfall is scant but torrential when it does fall, and the flat sandy terrain is useless for crops. Most families manage to grow perhaps one 50kg bag of maize a season, and then rely on food relief. "People shouldn’t be growing anything there," Brother Chiti said. "But what else can they do?" People spend half their time in the bush, collecting wild fruits. They have become extremely adept at knowing what is edible and what is not.

Fees at the only two schools in the ward are nine Zimbabwe dollars (11p) a term, but attendance is low, Brother Chiti said. Parents cannot afford to raise the cash. "People are thin; the children show signs of malnutrition," he said. "When I go there for a meeting I usually buy a goat and some cooking oil and provide a meal, and people are really happy."

This year, however, promises to be worse than ever. After 20 years of rule under President Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, all Sinakoma has got is one school and a half-built clinic. The World Bank was building homes for nurses at the clinic, but funding stopped last year when all international aid was halted because of the Government’s economic mismanagement and the breakdown of the rule of law. Last year Binga decided it had had enough and voted in MPs of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. "Is the Government going to assist this year?" Brother Chiti pondered. "What I suspect will happen, if there is any food aid to Binga, political considerations will come in. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are told, you cannot get food unless you indicate support for Zanu PF."

From The Times (UK), 25 August

Zimbabwe only three months from famine

London - For the first time in its 20-year history Zimbabwe faces the threat of famine unless emergency food aid can be distributed to the country’s poor in the coming months. According to a confidential Whitehall report prepared this month and seen by The Times, the production of maize, the staple diet for the black population, is down nearly a third on last year and shortages could become acute by November. "They have basically got three months left," a British official said. "They will need outside help or face food shortages," the official added.

The World Food Programme now lists Zimbabwe, once one of the continent’s most productive nations, among its list of countries facing "exceptional food emergencies in sub-Saharan Africa". Maize production this year is 1.47million tonnes, 28 per cent lower than last year and leaving a shortfall of half a million tonnes. Slumps in food production are not unusual in southern Africa, which is prone to droughts. This is, however, the first time that Zimbabwe will be unable to feed its population for entirely political reasons. Because of a related economic crisis it no longer has the foreign currency necessary to import food. What food is available is likely to be priced beyond many of the country’s needy.

Large parts of the farming sector have been brought to a standstill since last year’s policy of President Mugabe to allow so-called war veterans to seize land belonging to white farmers and people linked to the opposition. To compound the problem, there are fears that foreign countries may be unable to assist starving Zimbabweans because hardliners in the regime in Harare do not want to admit that there is a problem. British officials say that Mr Mugabe will not want to admit that he needs outside help to feed his people as he prepares for a tough re-election battle next spring.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which has attempted to mediate in the 18-month land battle, has drawn up an emergency relief plan, but is unable act until it is asked by the Government. "There is a plan ready to help Zimbabwe, but the Government has so far shown no urgency in responding to the crisis," Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said. While the world’s attention had been focused largely on the plight of white farmers, tens of thousands of black Zimbabweans were struggling to survive, he said. Those most at risk are former black farmworkers who have been driven out of their jobs by land seizures as well as the urban poor, many of whom have lost jobs during the country’s economic troubles.

The Foreign Office is hoping that, even at this late stage, pressure can be brought to bear on Mr Mugabe to halt the land seizures, restore law and order and reopen dialogue with outside countries. Nigeria and South Africa are pressing Mr Mugabe to back down and will mediate between Britain and Zimbabwe at a foreign ministers’ meeting in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, next month. Britain is under no illusions. It has withdrawn a standing offer to provide £36million to help to fund a peaceful land redistribution programme.

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From Business Report [South Africa]

Foot-and-mouth spreads through Zimbabwe
South Africa beefs up patrols to prevent contamination.

August 24 2001 at 12:14AM
Harare - Foot-and-mouth disease had spread to several parts of Zimbabwe since it was first detected last week, a top government veterinary officer said yesterday.

Stuart Hargreaves, the director of the government's Veterinary Services, told state media that the disease had been identified at six properties, located in the southwestern province of Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North in the northwest and southern Masvingo Province.

Five of the farms belong to the parastatal Cold Storage Company of Zimbabwe, while the sixth is a private ranch.

At least 100 farms, involving 100 000 animals have been inspected since the outbreak was detected last week.

The independent Daily News and farming officials said the outbreak had begun after occupiers planning to resettle on white-owned ranches took down perimeter fences, leaving cattle to mingle with wild animals.

Hargreaves dismissed these assertions while acknowledging the infections had resulted from contact between cattle and buffaloes. However, he did not indicate how the two species could have come into contact.

At least 7 000 head of cattle are to be destroyed in an effort to contain the outbreak.

Preliminary tests have shown that a foot-and-mouth strain called SA Territories Type 2 is the cause of the infection.

"At the moment we are able to cope. But if the need arises we [will] request international support," Hargreaves said.

The government has imported vaccines from neighbouring Botswana and has suspended the movement of cattle as well as beef and dairy products.

The move will affect the country's premier agricultural exhibition, due to open next week.

Zimbabwe exports beef to Europe, South Africa and other markets in Africa, and Asia. Annual exports total about US$86 million.

South Africa has beefed up patrols along the border to prevent contamination.

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As terror continues, government 'pulls curtain' on aid to Zimbabwe

From the Copenhagen Post


The government has ordered an immediate freeze on all development funds
to Zimbabwe, following near-anarchic conditions resulting from President
Mugabe's 'free-for-all' land reforms.

Last Thursday, the government announced plans to immediately suspend its
cooperative development agreement with President Robert Mugabe's regime
in Zimbabwe.

The decision to freeze development aid to the troubled African nation
will hit the health-care sector especially hard, where three Danish
advisors will be withdrawn. An unknown percentage of aid will be
maintained, but will be channelled through private organisations - thus
bypassing any involvement with the Zimbabwean government. This year, aid
will be cut by DKK 20 million, with a total planned suspension of DKK 90

Minister of Development Anita Bay Bundegaard (R) made the decision,
following reports that President Mugabe's 'free-for-all' land reforms
have devolved into chaos, with plundering, fires, and attacks on white
farmers. In addition to the general deterioration of law and order in
Zimbabwe, President Mugabe has instituted a major crackdown on all
political opposition. Journalists from critical newspapers have been
arrested, and foreign ambassadors and organisations have been repeatedly
threatened. Most recently, Mugabe's government purchased surveillance
equipment to monitor the activities of ambassadors and opposition

'The events of the past few days have led to a general impression that
the political crisis in Zimbabwe has escalated, and that the
deteriorating situation is expressing a planned and government-supported
strategy to destabilise the situation further. The government's recent
purchase of surveillance equipment is a good example of this,' said
Bundegaard in a press release.

President Robert Mugabe has long made Zimbabwe's white minority - in
particular, white farmers - the scapegoat for the country's social and
economic straits. White farmers are routinely terrorised in many regions
of the country, and most are teetering on the edge of psychological and
financial breakdown.

The fast-freeze of official development funds from this country's
government is the latest plan of action in a long series of
disappointments with Mugabe's regime. Following a visit by former
Minister of Development Jan Trøjborg in November 2000, the government
decided to end its cooperation with the Zimbabwean Ministry of
Agriculture-which has played a central role in the country's present
chaotic conditions - and to gradually phase-out all aid programs. At
that time, Trøjborg gave Zimbabwe six months to devise a civil solution
to the land issue, or else Denmark would 'pull the curtains' [as
Trøjborg put it] on all funds for development.

According to a British newspaper, diplomats have begun secret
negotiations to evacuate 25,000 British and other European citizens from
the troubled nation.
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