"The Zimbabwe Situation" news page

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Another list of 509 properties have been listed for Compulsory Acquisition today. Farmers on this list have 30 days in which to respond.
Farmers who have offered to sell their properties to Government either directly or through the CFU, are advised to "respond" if they subsequently find their farms in a gazette. It must not be assumed the offer for sale will suffice. Such offers do not appear to have been acted on yet.
Centenary - Police have been informed of a death threat on the owner of Ashford Farm if he continues to plant tobacco.  Owner has once again ignored this threat and is continuing to plant.
Horseshoe - War vets have caused a work stoppage of land preparation on Chirenje Farm. A heifer has been killed on Flame Lily Farm.
Mutepatepa - Owner of Crewkerne Farm has reported hearing gun fire and suspects poaching. Gun fire has also been heard on Benridge Farm, Dundry Farm, Chomkuti Farm, Langnaha Farm and Argyle Park. There has been a large increase of approximately 60 war vets on Muchena Farm.
Marondera - Home Park Estates: A request for water was made by the invaders who have occupied an old farm house. The request was turned down. A gun shot was heard at about 11:00 pm and investigations are underway. On Torana a new invasion of  9 people and say that they are going to start burning some of the grass so that they can plough.
Marondera North - On Rapids farm the police arrived. The area is very quiet today.
Beatrice/Harare South - Advice that DISPOL Chivhu would arrive with support unit to commence clearing invaders from the farm turned out to be incorrect causing station strength of regular police with neighbourhood watch on standby to spend the day waiting. In view of the governments U turn, the area is not surprised but disappointed and frustrated. On Dunottar land preparation has been further hindered by the war vets. Colandra and Denmark were visited by the same vehicle with 5 men claiming to look for farms. There have been permanent residents who have cut up to 200 poles. The police reacted and the man is being charged under the forestry act. Bhara Bhara and Zengea reported fencing had been cut by invaders. Police attended to find that no cutting had taken place. On Stoneridge farm war vets are back on the farm today rebuilding their huts. The owner of Blackfordby vehicle was stoned on his way to Stoneridge. The tobacco seed beds have been destroyed. On Amalinda farm people who paid for plots and built asked the owner to sign over a portion of the farm.
Wedza - Msasa: A kudu cow was slaughtered by people from the Zana resettlement. They then proceeded to make a noise and disturb the farm labour who in turn chased the poachers. They recovered the carcass and investigations are ongoing. On Sutton farm there are now 38 structures being built. The invaders on Hull farm have complained that the cattle are damaging their structures and demanded that they be taken out of the paddock and moved. The request was refused. On Poltimore another bull was slaughtered. The poachers were obviously disturbed while they were cutting the carcass. Tracks led to the main road where they must have moved out some of the meat into a vehicle and got away.
Enterprise - Bally Vaughan: The invaders were fishing in one of the dams in the game park. The police are reacting to make arrests.
Bromley/Ruwa - The Officer In Charge is going to patrol and attend to reports of brickmaking and continued hut building. An arrest was made of the suspect who slashed the seed beds on Xanadu.
Macheke/Virginia -Castledene: Still no ridging is allowed - the matter has been taken up with the ZTA. A new paddock close to the dam was slashed for fire guards and tree cutting and hut building continue.  At 17:40 hours a road block of logs was put across the second chapter road. The police were notified but did not react. On Mafuti continued tree cutting in the gum plantations. Police gave a report number and promised police to assist on 25/8/00. On Braken Hill and Riverlea there is ongoing hut building. On Mignon farm supoenas were finally issued on four of the six war vets. They appeared in court and were sentenced with a "peace order" but no eviction was given.
Lions Den - - war vets are still cutting down trees on Ormeston farm. 
Chinhoyi - there have been reports of poachers with weapons on Fynnlands Farm. Support Unit will be going out to the farm. 
Raffingora - War vets continue to demand food and transport on a number of farms which is being denied. Police reacted to two issues on Chiwe farm a)70 head of cattle belonging to invaders have to be returned to the Msitwe Resettlement by Monday and b) no further tree cutting, invaders agreed with the Police Inspector. Results are awaited. Tobacco ridging was resolved by the police on Cornrise and Kelston. A total of ten huts have now been built on Minihaha farm.
Karoi - On Nyamanda farm an army vehicle with war veterans visited accusing the farmer to insite his labour to beat up war vets. Work has been restored on Mashala. However on Lanory farm the farmer is still not allowed to use irrigated lands. 
Norton -On Teesdale Don Carlos has moved in to a cottage and has got sheep and geese. He also invaded Cressidale .  
Selous - On Mount Carmel Farm there is new hut building.
Chegutu - On Just Right Farm there is more activity and previously unreported a paddock was burnt where pegging was taking place.  On Donore Farm there are war vets living in the barns now. On Kalembo war vets are trying to stop the farm sale.
Kadoma - Police do appear to have taken some action on a couple of properties where there have been new invasions. 
Chakari - On Rondor Farm hut building in lands continues with a new invasion from Barcombe Farm which is made up of people that were evicted from there after a worker was seriously assaulted earlier in the week. 
General - Propol has informed us that Police should deal with any new hut building or tree cutting, and that any extra numbers coming on to an already invaded property will be reacted to by police.  This message has not reached station level very clearly and new invasions, hut building and tree cutting continue without police reaction in most cases.  Where police do react, war veterans continue to laugh them off.
Chiredzi -On Buffalo Range there is continuous cutting down of trees, building of huts, cutting of fences and veld fires. Demarcating of plots is still taking place, and a frustrating situation with International Clients. On Minaarshoff Ranch 20ha of sugar cane were burnt including a centre pivot valued at 2.5 million. On Samba and Bangala Ranches cutting down of trees and disruption to farming operations continue.
Mwenezi - Extensive clearings of lands, burning, chopping down of trees on the following ranches: Santidza, Bubi River, Flora, Sosonye, Quagga Pan B, Moria, Lumbergia, Reinette, Oerwoud, Rutenga, Alternburg ,Edenvale and Dorrington.
Masvingo East and Central - there are estimated 300 people on each of the following properties Yettom, Marah, Vredenburg and Shallock Park farm, cutting down trees, building houses, and owners been told to stop work. Cattle are being slaughtered and total chaos. Threat of major clash to take place between Bikita and Gutu Communal people on these properties. On Wondedza Farm chopping of trees, opening of lands,  gates being left open with an estimated 350 people on the property. Owner is not permitted on the property. On Springfields and Elandskop Farms houses are being erected, chopping down of trees, cattle management being disrupted by the gates that are being left open poaching taking place and stealing of wire. Owner is short of 26 head of cattle.
Mashava - Springspruit Farm is overrun with estimated 100 illegal settlers being resettled. On Fomax Farm an estimated 300 invaders, plots are being distributed and no farming activities are taking place. On Dromore Farm cattle from illegal invaders continue to graze with ongoing theft and poaching. Riverdene Farm reports an increase in numbers of illegal invaders.
Save Conservancy - Clearing of lands taking place. Still some "no go" areas for International Clients. Poaching is rife all over and continued snaring is taking place. The Protected species i.e. Black Rhino are at risk. The Southern part of the Save Conservancy is completely overrun with illegal invaders. Mukasi, Mukwasi, Angus and Makore section of Angus are presently being served with notices to tie up all farming operations. The electric's of the fence are not operational because owners risk their energizers and batteries being stolen.
Nothing to report. 
No Report
Nothing to Report
Visit the CFU Website:- http://www.mweb.co.zw/cfu

Back to the Top
Back to Index

27 August 2000

In this issue :

  • MDC Appeal
  • Some farmers plough on - Star
  • Some threaten to leave - ZimStandard
  • 100 urban plots - Star
  • Fireworks expected at CFU congress - ZimStandard
  • Honetmoon over for war vets - ZimStandard
  • Zim troupe stars in Edinburgh - ZimStandard

Yesterday's was the 100th issue of ZimNews.  We now reach over 5000 addresses every day, and are read or heard by a multiple of that number, thanks to subscribers who pin copies to notice boards, print out copies for others to take away, or broadcast the contents over local radio.  If everyone who gets these bulletins contributes a little to the MDC Support appeal (details below) we can make a really big difference.  Just look at it as a voluntary subscription payment for ZimNews, which goes to MDC Support instead.  PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY.

ZimNews itself receives no funding - we do not ask for any - and is distributed free to anyone who wants it.

Donations in kind : old copies of the independent press, stationery, office equipment, printer cartridges, etc. to your local MDC Support office, please.

Money : Bank details in the UK, SA, and Zimbabwe are shown below.

United Kingdom
Mark deposits for "MDC Trust, UK"
National Westminster Bank
City of London Office
1 Princes Street
Account No.     7107 0397
Sort Code        50-00-00
South Africa
Cape of Good Hope Bank
PO Box 2125
Cape Town 8000
South Africa
Account No.    9325 5388
Branch No.    1000909
Matilda Trust
Barclays Bank
Main Street Branch
Account No.    1996 379
Branch No.    2307

From The Star (SA), 27 August

Zim farmers plough on despite unsure future

Shamva, Zimbabwe - A group of white farmers north of Harare said on Saturday that they were working as usual, even though most of the white-owned farms near Shamva have been designated for seizure by the government. "Keep farming" was how one white farmer described his plans. He discovered on Friday that the government was targeting his farm for seizure, but he said he planned to file a legal challenge. "I don't think they'll acquire it this year," he said. "The formalities of the legal process will take so long, we'll be harvesting tobacco by then." Only one farm in the tobacco-growing region south of Shamva, about 60km north of Harare, has not been listed for seizure, farmers have said.

Tobacco farmers must prepare the soil now for planting in a few weeks, before the rainy season begins in November. Tobacco is Zimbabwe's largest cash crop, and only Brazil is a larger exporter of the leaf. Nationally, the tobacco industry employs about 200 000 people and is a major earner of desperately needed foreign currency. The government's plan to seize 3 000 of the country's 4 500 white-owned commercial farms before November has thrown a wrench into farmers' plans, leaving them uncertain if they will be able to plant. Quickly listing farms for seizure is the government's answer to an often violent squatter movement led by militant veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war.

The veterans have led forcible occupations of 1 600 white-owned farms since February, demanding that the government redistribute more white farms to poor blacks. Violence stemming from the occupations and the political violence surrounding the June legislative elections has left at least 34 people dead. Many others have been beaten and intimidated in a campaign of terror that has left all the farmers and farm workers here unwilling to speak on the record about their experiences.

Farmers here said resettling 3 000 farms over the next two months is practically impossible. "Logistically, they've got quite a big task ahead of them," one farmer said. "People have the impression that we are very anti this programme. We are not, we would just like it done properly," the farmer added. Both white farm owners and the farm workers here said if the government goes forward, it will open a Pandora's box of economic and social problems. One farmer pointed to a 500-hectare wheat farm adjacent to communal farmland. The property line stuck out as hectares of green wheat - growing with irrigation and fertilizers - which abruptly ended where the communal land began. On communal soil, no one actually owns the land. Regional leaders allocate property between families, but without a title to the property few have the collateral to win the bank loans needed to buy fertilizer or to maintain irrigation systems.

Under the government's current land-reform scheme, highly productive commercial farm would become more communal lands. Economists fear that will mean less domestically grown food, fewer exports and less foreign currency, which Zimbabwe desperately needs to pay for fuel and electricity brought in from abroad. Farm workers here said they didn't want their employers' farms seized because they preferred the security of employment to the uncertainty of small-scale independent farming. Workers on farms here also said the government's land reform programme ignored their needs. "I want to stay where there are schools and a clinic," said one farm worker, adding that his employer paid all his family's school and medical expenses, benefits the cash-strapped government could not provide. Despite the fears raised by the government's land reform scheme, farmers here said they thought the worst had passed. "We've been through a bad period," one farmer said. "I actually think that things are starting to get better."

From The Zimbabwe Standard, 27 August

Farmers threaten to abandon crop

Some farmers are believed to have threatened to stop all operations if former liberation fighters are not out of their farms by Tuesday. CFU director, Dave Hasluck, told The Standard that despite statements by government showing regret over last week's evictions in Harare, the organisation still expects the government to extend the exercise countrywide. Although Hasluck said he was not aware of the ultimatum given by the farmers, The Standard has it on firm authority that the farmers want the war veterans out as soon as possible so they may start preparations for the coming season. They are threatening to stop operations saying they feel intimidated by the continued occupation of their farms by the war veterans.

In some instances, the farmers said, the former liberation fighters were disrupting farming operations. "Farmers are not safe. They are afraid that they can be chased from the farms after planting their crop. The war veterans are very unpredictable and can just take over the farmers' produce. In such cases, it is the farmer who will lose so it is better not to plant at all, in such a scenario," said one farmer. A number of farmers have already been given ultimatums by war veterans to leave their farms, making it impossible for them to begin planning for the coming season. The Standard understands that the farmers gave Tuesday as the deadline for the war veterans to move out. It could not, however, be established at the time of going to press, who was co-ordinating this action.

Hasluck said although he was not aware of the ultimatum, his association was concerned at the protracted farm invasions. He said despite the government warning to the war veterans not to embark on new invasions, fresh occupations had been reported in Matabeleland and Kwekwe. "We are concerned about the situation on the farms. It is not improving. There have been new invasions after the minister's order to stop the invasions and we would like to see things improve," said Hasluck. Hasluck said despite protests by war veterans and statements by information minister, Jonathan Moyo that the evictions were regrettable, his association still expected government to carry out evictions on other farms countrywide, as promised by Nkomo. "We rely on the minister's word and he has not come back to us stating anything contrary to his earlier promise, so we still expect war veterans to be removed. But we are worried about the controversy that has surrounded the eviction carried out last week. We want the situation to be resolved in a peaceful manner," he stated. Police last week demolished and set ablaze structures built on illegal settlements in Harare's Kambuzuma suburb. The move immediately drew sharp protests from war veterans who felt betrayed by the government. They marched on Nkomo whom they criticised for authorising the destructions. They however later met vice-president Simon Muzenda.

From The Zimbabwe Standard, 27 August

Fireworks expected at CFU Congress

THE executive of the CFU is expected to come under heavy grilling from farmers at the association's congress to be held early next month. Farmers who talked to this newspaper, said they wanted the executive to explain certain recent actions, including its decision to withdraw litigation against the government. The withdrawal of the litigation drew sharp criticism not only from farmers but from other quarters who believe that the farmers' union is out of step with the rest of the nation which is fed up with the continued disruption of farming activities.

William Hughes, the CFU deputy president, said he expected the issue of invasions and litigations to come under the spotlight at the congress to be held on 6-7 September. "I am sure the issue of invasions and the withdrawal of litigations will come up. Farmers have a right to speak and I hope they will express their concerns," he said. A new executive is also expected to be elected at the congress, and Hughes said most of the current executive would stand for re-election. Recent reports indicate that regional CFU chairmen, at a meeting with their mother body, expressed reservations over the withdrawal of litigation against the government. In fact, some farmers, in their individual capacities, are still going ahead with litigation against the war veterans. Reports reaching this newspaper also indicate that other farmers had threatened to stop their operations if the war veterans continued to stay on the farms. It is these regional chairmen, together with the committee chairmen, who make up a council which votes for the new executive.

The executive is, however, likely to defend its position vigorously as it believes that what it has done so far has been in the best interest of the farmers. Critics, though, appear not to be buying the explanations of the beleaguered organisation. They dismiss as lame, the association's explanation that it withdrew the litigations to promote dialogue. Government, they say, has all along shown no commitment to negotiation. Some farmers have accused the CFU of not acting within its mandate and cite the litigations by individual farmers as testimony that farmers wanted the CFU court action to stand. Said one farmer: "They (CFU) should have known that government is not interested in negotiations. Last time we helped save Hunzvi from jail, but that did not help us. Rather, Hunzvi went on to encourage more invasions. Right now, the war veterans are still on the farms and government seems to be unable to remove them yet we should be making preparations for the coming season. We want clear answers at the congress."

He said there was need to put a new leadership that had "enough guts" to stand up to government bullying. Earlier in the year, the CFU pleaded with the courts not to jail Hunzvi after he was convicted of contempt of court for refusing to comply with a High Court order compelling him to remove war veterans from the farms. In doing so, the CFU said they wanted to open a conducive atmosphere for negotiation. However, after being freed, Hunzvi went on to encourage war veterans to invade more farms, disregarding the goodwill of the farmers.

From The Star (SA), 26 August

Apologetic Zim promises vets 100 urban plots

Harare - Zimbabwe is to provide 100 residential plots to veterans of its 1970s liberation war after police destroyed illegal huts erected on occupied white-owned land this week, a local government leader has said. Elijah Chanakira, the chair of a commission running Harare, said the plots would be allocated as a matter of urgency. "Additionally, the city of Harare has identified farms on the outskirts of the city which the government will be asked to acquire as soon as possible for future housing developments," Chanakira said. This week, police destroyed houses under construction and burnt down makeshift huts on farms on the outskirts of Harare, a move the government later said it regretted after a protest by war veterans at President Robert Mugabe's offices.

On Friday, Mugabe gave formal notice that the government would appropriate 509 white-owned farms to resettle blacks, bringing to 1 542 the number of properties he has earmarked for compulsory acquisition to resettle landless blacks. His government has started moving peasants onto 211 farms it has acquired without objection from the farmers, under a fast-track programme in which it plans to resettle people in 100 farms in each of the country's eight provinces before the start of the rainy season in October. Mugabe has passed legislation allowing him to acquire the farms with no obligation to pay compensation for the land if former colonial power Britain does not provide the funds. Mugabe plans to acquire nearly half the 12 million hectares owned by about 4 500 white farmers to resettle peasants as redress for the seizure of land by British colonists over a century ago. The government has sanctioned the invasion of about 1 000 commercial farms by self-styled liberation war veterans since February, which the CFU, grouping 4 500 mainly white farms, says has severely disrupted agricultural production.

From The Zimbabwe Standard, 27 August

Is the honeymoon over for war veterans?

THE recent action by police to destroy illegal settlements established by war veterans has brought some relief and hope to people who for long have been calling upon government to bring the veterans' unlawful rampage to a halt. However, as the police went about destroying the settlements in Harare's Kambuzuma suburb last week, questions began to arise on whether indeed, the honeymoon was finally over for war veterans, or whether this was just another gimmick by government to convince the outside world that it was finally acting on lawlessness and avert the Zimbabwe Democracy Bill. The bill is about to be passed in the United States Senate. The bill, which has already been passed in the lower house of representatives, seeks to impose economic sanctions on Zimbabwe if the government continues to sponsor lawlessness. If passed, it will further cripple the ailing Zimbabwe economy.

"Last week's action is the first real attempt by police to clamp down on war veterans since they started invading farms in February after the rejection of the draft constitution. The statement by Jonathan Moyo, the information minister, that the government regretted the violence that had followed the evictions could also mean that government will be forced to deal leniently with the invaders, hence fail to destroy other illegal settlements countrywide. It also raised fears that government could stop the evictions as a result of protests from war veterans.

Farmers who called The Standard during the course of last week expressed the hope that government would extend the evictions to outlying farms, where former liberation fighters have virtually halted all farming activities. They, however, also expressed concern that the evictions might not be sincere. "It is a bit early to congratulate the government on finally getting the guts to act on the invaders. It would not be surprising if the government back tracks on removing war veterans from our farms," said one farmer who called on Wednesday. Home Affairs minister, John Nkomo, last week said the government would crack down on lawlessness on farms and promised firm action against any new farm invaders.

Others predicted that Nkomo would carry on with his threat and bring back sanity and the rule of law in the country. They said Nkomo was a no-nonsense man and cited how he had dealt with wayward councils during his term as minister of local government. Nkomo's threats were followed by President Mugabe who appeared to have a change of heart, calling the war veterans trespassers who will be removed from the farms. Speaking in Mozambique where he was attending the Southern African International Dialogue 2000, Mugabe said government would remove war veterans from farms. Stressing that law and order prevailed in Zimbabwe, President Mugabe said: "If it means that war veterans are on the farms and police are not moving, this will be attended to because the war veterans are merely trespassing."

Mugabe's statements have been widely taken as meant for the presidents and foreign press attending the summit. The statements are in sharp contrast to Mugabe's previous statements in which he encouraged the war veterans to continue with the farm invasion spree. In fact, Mugabe on two occasions overturned decisions to evict the invaders by former home affairs minister, Dumiso Dabengwa and vice president Joseph Msika. Zimbabwe Integrated Programme's president, Professor Heneri Dzinotyiwei, believes that the honeymoon is finally over for war veterans. While he does not think the government action is linked to the threat posed by possible US sanctions, Dzinotyiwei says removing war veterans from farms could help avert the sanctions. "I see government extending the removal of war veterans to other farms countrywide. There now appears to be a genuine commitment in some quarters of the government to act on lawlessness. The only thing that is hindering government at the moment, is lack of coordination," says Dzinotyiwei. He says there is need for the government to fully explain to the war veterans on the importance of vacating the farms and settling them on farms earmarked for resettlement.

An economist who refused to be named said the bill posed serious threats to the country's economy as other donors could follow America's lead and freeze aid to Zimbabwe. Because of this threat, it was right that government was carrying out the evictions. He also predicted that the action would be carried out countrywide. "Because of the protests by war veterans, I foresee government evicting the war veterans, but in a less dehumanising manner. I think the government would try to sweet talk the war veterans out of the farms by offering them land elsewhere. We are certainly heading somewhere and I think this bill can be avoided if government has the heart to stop lawlessness," he said.

From The Zimbabwe Standard, 27 August

Over The Edge shines in Scotland

One of Zimbabwe's leading theatre groups, Over The Edge, has been nominated best production at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. The group, which was doing two plays, Twelfth Night and Eternal Peace Asylum, is attending the festival which ends today. Wiina Msamati, who brilliantly played Maovolio as a screeching crow in Twelfth Night, was nominated best actor. Over The Edge has five members - Craig and Gavin Peter, Kevin Hanssen, Zane F Lucas, and Msamati. Between them they play ten different characters by putting on a new hat or costume. Said leading theatre critic, Ian Hoskins yesterday: "Nobody has played Twelfth Night quite like it before. It is very cleverly put together by Over The Edge." It was first played at Reps Theatre Upstairs and at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) at the end of April.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

In this message:
* We are growing
* Freeing the Airwaves - last date for Listeners licence fees 30th August 2000.
* Invest Z$2 in your future
* Distributing FreeZim to those who don't have email
* Anonymity and confidentiality
* We are growing
"We are NOT a political organisation. We are a very rapidly growing number of  ordinary citizens, black and white, who have had enough!  We have now formed a loose association with the email address of free_zim2000@yahoo.com.  
We are determined to bring about a change in government and policies by the use of peaceful civil action.
If you are angry at what has and is happening to your country, but feel helpless because you are only one person, then take heart. You are now one of thousands. Join us. There are things that you can do. There is a Voice for the Voiceless.  
You are asked to undertake whatever forms of civil action you want to. In this issue we focus on stopping the continuous flow of government propaganda, courtesy ZBC. We also discuss ways to promote FreeZim to people who don't have email.
* Free the Airwaves
ZBC radio stations 2 & 3 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.
More reruns of constituency elections are in the offing. To Free Zimbabwe we have to remove ZANU PF's propaganda monopoly from those airwaves.
The following course of civil action will be undertaken. We are going to form a barrage of protest.
1) Write to the ZBC and tell them that you demand the removal of ZANU PF Propaganda from Radios 2 and 3.
Why? These radio stations are the stations most listened to out by the people who voted for ZANU PF in Mashonaland East, Central and West. These areas are the backbone of ZANU PF support. We need to break that backbone.
The lies churned out by radio and TV are very largely responsible for the fact that ZANU PF has been able to get away with the breakdown of law and order, the invasion of farms and the "curfew" in the high density areas and the continued presence of an incompetent president and cabinet.
Tell ZBC that you demand equal time devoted to the various oppostion parties. Demand more balanced debate programmes and unbiased news. Be polite. Don't threaten them with anything. Just state you demands and express your wishes.
If you do write to ZBC, please email FreeZim and let us know. We need continuous feedback from you.
Invest $2 in your future!
If you do not want to renew your listener's licence, then join thousands of other Zimbabweans and send in the letter (below) protesting the ZBC/ZTV's allegiance to Zanu (PF) as well as their poor service to outlying areas.
Post Your Protest Today!
We can make a difference and it all starts with YOU
Here is an actual copy of a letter sent by a FreeZimmer:
Mr Luke Munyawarara
The Director General
Zimbabwe broadcasting Corporation
PO Box HG 444

Dear Mr Munyawarara,

Re: renewal of listener's licences

Many Zimbabweans do not want to renew their listener's licences for the following reasons:

  • ZBC/ZTV have acknowledged that they serve the interests of their major shareholder, the government (Zanu PF)
  • ZBC/ZTV refused to flight campaign messages from opposition political parties during the recent elections
  • ZBC/ZTV acts as a propaganda tool for Zanu PF and presents biased and untruthful programmes
  • The quality of your services to outlying areas such as Marondera is extremely poor

Zimbabweans demand a democratic broadcasting service. The election results confirmed that at least half the people of Zimbabwe support change in this country and have a different point of view from that expressed by yourselves. You can not afford to ignore half the population.

We demand that ZBC/ZTV agrees to the following:

  • allow all political parties and social justice organisations free, equal and fair access to the broadcasting media thereby encouraging open political debate in Zimbabwe
  • that news programmes are presented in an unbiased manner, and that comment is sought from all representative voices of the population in documentaries and current affairs programmes.
  • investigate, without delay, the poor service currently being experienced by viewers outside of capital cities

We hope that you will treat these concerns with the importance that they deserve and that you will work with us to develop a broadcasting service that serves the people rather than an unpopular and incompetent ruling party.

Thank you in anticipation of your cooperation and assistance.

Best wishes,

2) Listen to ZBC's radio 2, or get a regular listener to do it for you. Jot down the name of the advertisers. Help FreeZim by sending us your list to free_zim2000@yahoo.com.
Advertising revenue supports ZBC in large measure. We are compiling a list of the names and addresses of those organisations. We'll make this list public so that people can write to them and tell these companies that as they are supporting ZANU PF lies and propaganda, we will boycott their products until such time as they stop advertising.
And we will boycott their products.
3) Withhold your Listeners licence fee. Licence fees support the ZBC. Just "forget" to pay it. When thousands upon thousands of people have forgotten to pay their fees, it will be extremely difficult for the ZBC to chase everybody for payment. The civil action date for the commencement of non-payment of licence fees is 30th August 2000. Between now and then we all have to get this message out to the masses of people who do not have email.
* Distributing Freezim to those who don't have email
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. But first the raindrops must join each other.
* Make photocopies of this message, or print them on your computer (whichever is cheaper) and hand them out. 
Fuel queues are great places for this - and remember that this message should go around Zimbabwe, so long distance bus drivers in fuel queues are good people to give handfuls of FreeZim messages to.
* Speak to people. Word-of-mouth is a powerful weapon. Use your voice as a weapon.
* Pin copies of this message up where it can be seen. Company noticeboards, Club noticeboards, Supermarket and shop noticeboards, Post Office noticeboards.
* Paste copies on walls and trees. The pollution of the environment is minimal and reversible when compared to the consequences of doing nothing.
* Have parts of this message reproduced as a newspaper advert, if you can afford it.
* If a person who reads this is interested in giving us input, but doesn't have email, would someone with email please assist them.
*Form a small group of friends and/or colleagues and undertake your civil action as a group. There is strength in numbers. If you form a group, please let us at FreeZim know. We aim to start coordinating as many groups as we can.
* Keep us informed. Let us know if you have any other ideas. Email us at free_zim2000@yahoo.com
 *Anonymity and confidentiality
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.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Independent 25/8/00

Amid crippling shortages -- Fuel prices set to go up again

Dumisani Muleya
THE price of fuel is set to go up again before the end of next month following the rise in world prices and the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar.

Oil on the international market has risen to an all-time high of US$31 for a barrel of crude oil over the past fortnight.

The impending revision of the tariff being charged by the pipeline company supplying Harare is another contributing factor, sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this month.

This comes amidst news that the Belgian financial institution which was key to the brokering of the fuel deal between government and the Independent Petroleum Group (IPG) of Kuwait had pulled out due to government's failure to honour the terms of the agreement, the Independent has established.

Sources said the Brussels-based KBC Nv Bank withdrew from the deal recently in protest at government's erratic behaviour in fulfilling the terms of the deal, sources close to the dispute said.

KBC general manager for South Asia, Middle East and Africa, Marc Bernaert, confirmed in a telephone interview this week that his bank has withdrawn from the deal. He however declined to give reasons.

"At the moment we are no longer involved. We withdrew a few months ago," Bernaert said without elaborating.

Sources in the fuel industry this week said despite the increase effected at the end of last month the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) was not breaking even and there was an urgent need to review the prices.

The fuel increases announced on July 26 were followed a week later by a 25% devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar against hard currencies. In US dollar terms, it is now more expensive for the company to buy fuel.

In July the price of petrol went up by 25,6% to $27,46 per litre, diesel by 19% to $23,57 and illuminating paraffin by $128% to 15,01. The envisaged increases, sources said, should be in the region of the last hikes.

Noczim has been selling fuel at 40% below the cost of procurement and this has exacerbated the company's cashflow problems. The company has since the last hike promised periodic increases in order to break even.

A spokesman for the fuel taskforce said the decision to raise the price of fuel could only be effected after approval from cabinet adding it would be injurious to the industry to announce fuel increases a month in advance.
"Such decisions should only be communicated to the public a day before to avoid panic and hoarding by fuel companies," the spokesman said.

Sources in the industry however said the Noczim board would meet in the next two weeks to decide on new prices and review tariffs.

Petrozim, which pumps fuel from Mutare to Msasa in Harare, has been clamouring for tariffs to be raised from $150 per litre to at least $400 per litre.

Sources said this development, coupled with bureaucratic inefficiency, were to blame for the deterioration in fuel supplies. But the main reason why the deal was faltering, sources added, was that government did not have the money - either in local or foreign currency.

The situation was being worsened by official incompetence. When Sidney Sekeramayi was appointed new Minister for Transport and Communications he was said to have indicated he did not need the so-called fuel taskforce. As a result the taskforce was disbanded creating a lack of cohesion and a muddled approach to the issue. Fuel supplies dwindled and the economy further suffered.

The taskforce, which comprised cabinet ministers and military officials, has now been revived. Task- force spokesman, Munyaradzi Hwengwere, said it was revived because of the need for co-ordination between decision-makers in government and banks which were key to the fuel deal.

KBC was initially involved together with several Arab and local banks in the deal originally estimated at about US$65 million ($3,3 billion). Sources said its withdrawal has created a "financial gap" and "crisis of confidence" in the whole arrangement.

But when the deal was actually signed it was worth US$30 million ($1,5 billion). The figure was later revised upwards to US$45 million ($2,2 billion) in line with the country's fuel requirements.

However, government had been operating beyond its credit limit causing problems with suppliers who were not paid in time. The deal has not ended the nine-month fuel crisis because it was entirely dependent on government's ability to pay.

Although government has up to date paid US$11 million ($550 million), last month it ran into serious trouble with IPG after it overshot its credit limit by US$15 million ($750 million).

That created a problem with IPG threatening to cut supplies if the money was not paid. After various shuttles in search of money, government managed to secure money from Afrexim Bank. The bank released $550 million while government raised the balance.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Standard 27/8/00


Chengetai Zvauya

THE controversial chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), Dr Chenjerai 'Hitler' Hunzvi, who is also the legislator for Chikomba constituency, was booted out as the association's boss at a heated extraordinary meeting held yesterday.

The meeting, held at Charleston Hotel in Harare, and attended by the national executive of the war veterans association, resolved to remove Hunzvi from the top post for allegedly not consulting the national executive when making decisions on behalf of the association.

The meeting, which comprised provincial chairmen, district officials and national executive members, passed a vote of no confidence in Hunzvi. The controversial leader, who over the months had been inciting his members to invade white-owned commercial farms, was re-elected as chairman in 1998 at a congress held in Matabeleland.

The increasingly powerful war veterans secretary-general, Andy Mhlanga, who beat party heavyweights Witness Mangwende and Edward Njekesa in the Zanu PF primary elections for Chitungwiza constituency, said yesterday's meeting resolved that Hunzvi should step down, and direct his political energy to his constituency in Chikomba, where he was elected as the member of parliament for that area. "We agreed that he must step down with immediate effect. He cannot serve two constituencies at the same time. The welfare of the war veterans needs to be attended to by someone who is fully committed to their needs. Since his election to parliament, Hunzvi no longer has time to look into the needs of war veterans," Mhlanga told The Standard.

Mhlanga also said the national executive was not happy with the way Hunzvi was handling the operations of the association. He accused him of running the association single-handledly, and of making decisions without consulting other members of the executive.

"The association has procedures to be followed, and Hunzvi had not been following them. We are being blamed for his personal decisions which the association would not have been party to," said Mhlanga.

The vocal secretary general said Hunzvi was holding the association to ransom. Asked whether the executive had the mandate to dismiss Hunzvi, Mhlanga said the decision to fire Hunzvi was done in accordance with the constitution of the association.

"The national executive has the mandate to dismiss him, and it has done that," said Mhlanga.

But Hunzvi, who ignored the meeting, insisted yesterday, he was still at the helm of the war veterans association. He said he did not recognise yesterday's meeting, since there was no mandate for it to take place.

"They are just wasting their time. I am still the chairman of the war veterans. Who is Mhlanga to me? In fact he is my subordinate. He has no authority to call for such meetings," fumed Hunzvi.

Hunzvi said the Zanu PF leadership knew he was the only leader of the war veterans. He said he would deal with the renegades who were causing divisions within the war veterans association.

Hunzvi's term of office as chairman was supposed to end in 2002.

Hunzvi's dismissal paves way for Andrew Mhlanga, the secretary-general, and Aggripa Gava, the director of the association, until further notice. Hunzvi is currently facing charges for allegedly swindling funds from the war victims compensation fund. He is also being accused of having inflated the degree of disability for ex-combatants who also benefited illegally from the fund that was looted by former fighters.

There is also discord over Hunzvi at Zexcom, a company owned by some war veterans.

Hunzvi is being accused of swindling over $3 million from the company's coffers. Last week, Hunzvi accused white judges for making biased decisions, and called for the overhaul of the judiciary.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Independent 25/8/00

Nkomo squirms as Mugabe shifts blame for evictions

Vincent Kahiya
PRESIDENT Mugabe is once again under threat from his key constituency - the war veterans - following the demolition this week of their illegal structures on farms around Harare.

Home Affairs minister John Nkomo was obliged to explain his role to a politburo meeting yesterday.

While Nkomo clearly had cabinet approval for his clearances on farms adjoining Chitungwiza and Kambuzuma, Mugabe has been placed in an invidious position and is now anxious to once again assume the role of defender of the landless.

The two-day drama has provided war veterans with ammunition to launch an attack on Nkomo and the police. The war veterans have emerged from the smoke of their burnt properties determined to seek more concessions from the beleaguered president who was in Mozambique when the destruction of their illegal urban dwellings occurred.

He meanwhile appears to have found a scapegoat in the hapless Nkomo.
In a press statement on Wednesday the government said the police acted outside the set policy objectives. Presidential spokesman George Charamba yesterday said there was never a policy decision by government to demolish the properties in the urban areas. He said the police had not acted according to the rule of law and expectations of stakeholders.

"Even minister John Nkomo was shocked to see the pictures on television," claimed Charamba.

Police Commissionner Augustine Chihuri has since February refused to act on the farm invasions and lawlessness by war veterans saying this required a political solution. It is therefore doubtful that he would have acted on this occasion without authorisation at the highest level.

Chihuri yesterday flatly refused to discuss the issue.

"I do not want to talk to you journalists," he said.

Government sources said ministers were fully aware of the plans to demolish the properties but what shocked them was the manner in which it was executed. The confrontational demeanour of the police and the loud protestations by the war veterans had the government scrambling to make amends. The sight of hundreds of opposition supporters cheering the police on didn't help.

Sources said there was a heated debate in cabinet on Wednesday as ministers were divided on the actions of the police. While some ministers believed the police acted correctly, if over-zealously, others felt there was no need to open another front by antagonising the war veterans who were instrumental in giving Zanu PF a new - if diminished - lease of life in the last election. The latter school of thought won and a meeting between the war veterans and Vice-President Simon Muzenda was quickly organised.

"Yesterday's meeting with Muzenda was a fire-fighting move to reconcile with this powerful force," a ruling party source said.

Sources said during the meeting the war veterans wanted to know what government would do to Nkomo and the senior police officers involved.

"They came out of the meeting convinced that the police were the bad elements and you can see that in the statement that was prepared after the meeting," a source said.

But the war veterans were not fully convinced. They will deliberate on
the issue at a national executive meeting at the Zanu PF headquarters tomorrow.

War veterans' secretary for projects, Andy Mhlanga, said in an interview yesterday that the ruling party and government had been infiltrated by elements who were bent on causing divisions and the destruction of the properties this week was one such example.

"No level-headed person would do this without communicating with us," he said.

He said this weekend's meeting would resolve to press government to effect changes in the police force. He could not comment on Nkomo but sources said the war veterans wanted government to censure the party chairman.

The veterans, who are now accustomed to open confrontation with the government when making demands, sources said, had been empowered to make further demands which might include residential stands in the urban areas and regularisation of illegal settlements in the peri-urban areas.

Charamba said the government's reaction to the issue was meant to defuse the anger of the people whose properties had been destroyed. He said the people were not necessarily war veterans but mere homeless citizens.

"These are people who saw an opening in the initiative by war veterans and thought that this was an opportunity to have a roof over their heads," he said.

Asked if the erection of the structures was not a breach of the law, Charamba said there were many illegal structures but these had not been destroyed.

"You can dabble with the rule of law but this does not bring a house or food on the table," said Charamba.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Standard 27/8/00

UZ blows $15m on luxury cars

Virginia Dhliwayo

THE cash-strapped University of Zimbabwe is in the process of acquiring upmarket vehicles for use by newly-appointed deans, some of whose terms of office commence on Friday next week.

The cars, Peugeots, are costing over $1 million each. In all, 10 deans will be appointed, with the first ones taking office on September 1, 2000.

Several senior members of the academic staff as well as workers' representatives have criticised the move, arguing that what was once Zimbabwe's premier institution of higher education has more pressing and meaningful financial needs. Among those cited are the acquisition of books for the library and infrastructural developments.

One staff member told The Standard this week: "The idea is not to have any senior academics as deans, and hire junior academics who are then given patronage to ensure their loyalty so that they do not ask questions.

"These expenditures are coming at a time when the library has collapsed. There are no books in the library. General infrastructure is collapsing, roads, buildings, and lecture rooms are in a bad state of repair."

Another senior lecturer said: "We are in desperate need of computers and other teaching aids, and they waste money on buying cars for people who are not bringing any new value to the institution."

Up until the latest developments, the only two officers of the University who have executive vehicles are the vice-chancellor and the pro-vice chancellor, who use Mercedes-Benz and Volvo cars, respectively. Never in the University's history have deans been provided with official vehicles.

The University's director of information and public relations, Elizabeth Karonga, on Friday confirmed to The Standard that the UZ had already purchased six Peugeot cars at a cost of $6,1 million for appointed deans in the faculties of arts, education, medicine, science, social studies and veterinary science. The vehicles were bought two weeks ago, on 16 August from Quest Motors in Harare.

Said Karonga: "The provision of the vehicles is in line with the contractual package of these appointed deans under the UZ restructuring exercise. The deans are appointed for three year."

Asked how the college could manage to spend that kind of money on cars when it was facing a critical shortage of books, Karonga said the stationery budget was different from the vehicle budget.

"While the UZ is facing a book shortage, the budget for this item is completely different from the vehicle budget. However, after experiencing some financial hardships in the second quarter of our financial year, the monetary situation has somewhat improved. We have now budgeted $17 million for the automation of the University library and library systems.

"The UZ, like all other public-funded institutions, has had to shed off non-core activities. After the successful completion of the retrenchment exercise, we can now subcontract service providers to carry out repairs and maintenance. We are not aware of any structure that has fallen apart," she said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Standard 27/8/00

PTC strike looms again

WORKERS at the troubled Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (PTC) are planning to go on strike again, if their salary dispute with corporation's management is not resolved by the end of this week, The Standard learnt last night.

The leadership of the Zimbabwe Posts and Telecommunications Workers Union (ZPTWU) said it had called for an urgent meeting with the newly-appointed minister of transport and communications, Dr Swithun Mombeshora, to iron out issues that were bedevilling the corporation.

The president of the union, Lovemore Matombo, said they had approached the minister in an effort to find a lasting solution that would benefit both the PTC and the workers.

He said the current situation at the PTC was not good for the corporation. "The workers are demoralised at the moment. Some of them are now failing to service their debts due to the salary cuts that were unilaterally effected by management without the consent of the workers' representatives. The salary hikes were agreed at the national employment council, and that decision cannot be reversed by one party," said Matombo.

The union boss said his organisation had given the minister up to Wednesday to respond to their concerns which he said were now affecting the lives of the workers.

Matombo said the union delivered its letter to Dr Mombeshora on Friday. Contacted by The Standard yesterday, Dr Mombeshora said he had not yet received the letter from the union.

"If the letter was delivered to my office yesterday (Friday), then I could not have seen it since I was out of town," said Dr Mombeshora.

Matombo said workers were determined to have their grievances resolved in an amicable manner.

He however blamed the PTC management for failing its workers.

The union boss said if their plight was not resolved, the workers would down their tools in protest.

"Because of the new salaries the workers had adjusted their way of living. Some opened accounts which they are now unable to service due to the salary cuts.

These are serious issues that affect every worker. That is why we are pressing for a positive way forward," said Matombo, adding that the workers were justified in their complaints since the increments at the corporation were negotiated for and agreed upon by management and the workers' representatives.

The PTC workers went on strike early this month protesting at the chopping of their salaries by management.

The union later told its members to return to work since negotiations were in progress.

The union said no progress had been made regarding the dispute.

It is expected to give workers some feedback next week.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Independent 25/8/00 - Muckraker

PATRONS at Harare's suburban George Hotel must have wondered last Saturday whether the establishment, in an effort to boost its entertainment repertoire, had hired the former Minister of Information to perform.

Taken completely by surprise, patrons watched in amazement as Chen Chimutengwende, famous for his gyrations and clad in a khaki outfit complete with leather jacket, leapt onto the stage to do his well-rehearsed kwasa kwasa routine.

So enthusiastic was his display, we are told, that other dancers were sent flying and forced to retreat. At first his companions were taken aback by his uninhibited writhings, but after a few minutes they pulled him aside and explained that this was a public venue. That concluded the performance we gather.

But please, Chen, don't let us put you off. There is so little to entertain the nation nowadays!

By the way, rumours that Chen is being sent to Washington to replace Simbi Mubako persist despite the former minister's insistence that he is unwilling to go into exile a second time. We can understand his reluctance to perform a diplomatic role where there is little scope for self-expression. And would Zanu PF want to risk a by-election where the registrar-general's office would have to be less accommodating with its voters' boxes?

The RG's office, we gather, is meanwhile continuing to deny Zimbabwe passport holders who were once British citizens the right to renew their passports if they can't prove they renounced British citizenship. This is in defiance of a High Court ruling by Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku that the legislation was ambiguous.

The illegal action by citizenship office personnel acting on Zanu PF's orders mostly affects elderly people who are easily distressed by harassment of this sort. It is another example of how the rule of law simply doesn't apply in Zimbabwe and how public officials serve the ruling party instead of the public.

A vision of the future? Reuters news agency recently provided this glimpse of Nairobi after nearly four decades of mismanagement and corruption.

"When Kenya gained independence from Britain in 1963 the colonial rulers left a rich legacy of organisation and infrastru- cture that in Africa was bettered only by Rhodesia and South Africa. Uniformed postmen cycled daily through the leafy suburbs of the capital to deliver mail. Garbage was collected by municipal trucks once a week, the telephone system worked, the electricity supply was good and clean tap water was abundantly available.

"Less than 40 years later the country is in a shambles. Just last month the Nairobi council admitted it had just one working fire engine to serve the sprawling capital city of over three million people. There is no municipal garbage collection, no postal deliveries, no working parking meters and virtually no functioning traffic lights. Electricity is provided to residential areas for around four hours a day - often in the middle of the night - and water once a week ... The majority of the buildings in the city centre get no water during the day or electricity at night."

Here lies a warning for us all. Kenya is suffering from a drought but this has merely compounded existing problems of patronage, corruption and administrative failure.

The shrill rhetoric of "sovereignty" currently emanating from our bankrupt ruling class is no substitute for effective governance. That includes the municipal level where Zanu PF's "heroic" legacy lies all around us in a blighted urban landscape.

Why does it have to take a High Court judge to remind us that the government has taken no steps whatsoever to prosecute those found by the Chidyausiku Commission to have looted the War Victims Compensation Fund?
"Many of the looters are known, as are those officials who aided and abetted the looters, yet they are left to enjoy their ill-gotten gains.

Why?" asked Justice George Smith recently.

It is now over two years since the commission submitted its recommenda- tions that offenders be prosecuted. Only Chenjerai Hunzvi faces charges in this connection.

"Why is it that those responsible for recovering the moneys stolen from the state and punishing the offenders have done little, if anything, about it?" Justice Smith asked in a related judgement. "They are not carrying out their duties and should be held accountable. If they cannot perform their functions they should be replaced by others who will do so."

This should be put as a matter of priority to Patrick Chinamasa as soon as parliament reconvenes. Also, why has he done nothing about the illegal abduction and torture of two journalists last year? What is the commissioner of police doing to identify the murder of farmers and MDC supporters in the run-up to the June election? One was abducted from a police station and killed by men known to the police. They also know the identity of Tichaona Chiminya's and Talent Mabika's killers in Buhera.

Can Chinamasa explain why people are being allowed to get away with political crimes? Why, in the circumstances, does the government continue to deny that Zimbabwe is a lawless state? The latest fatuous remarks came from Joseph Msika who appears to think that because Ian Smith got away with illegality, Zanu PF should be allowed to do the same.

It is an offence under the Police Act for officers to obey an unlawful instruction. That is worth bearing in mind when the time comes to examine the role of Augustine Chihuri and his fellow officers in the current deterioration of law and order across the country.

And ministers who claim that the law is being upheld should be reminded of what is happening daily in Chiredzi and Mwe- nezi where the CFU reports that police "just watch from a distance" as fences are torn down, snares set, fields set alight, woodland chopped down, and rare game poached.

Msika's claim that the government would channel money "running into millions" to prevent environ- mental degradation on the farms should be compared with the facts on the ground.

There is something else we should do. If Zanu PF insists in proceeding with this lawless and chaotic land confiscation programme aimed at boost- ing Mugabe's slender electoral fortunes while sabotaging the nation's economy, all those chefs who have benefited from state patronage should have their land designated for redistribution when we get a democratic government.

That includes reported recipients of the Commercial Farm Resettlement Scheme such as Obert Mpofu, Willard Chiwewe, Border Gezi, Perence Shiri, George Charamba, Misheck Sibanda, Zenso Nsimbi, Herbert Nkala, Justice Malaba, Justice Cheda, Patrick Chinamasa, and Tinaye Chigudu.

We can assume the inclusion of Welshman Ncube on the list of beneficiaries will not prevent his party from doing the right thing and cancelling the leases when the time comes. The allocation of farms to these people was undertaken with an unacceptable lack of transpa- rency and is manifestly contrary to the national interest given their inability in many cases to make the best use of the land.

Herbert Nkala, we note, has been appointed to the new board of Zimpapers. Is this not the same Herbert Nkala who has been trying to launch a Tourism Recovery Plan while the president does his best to thwart recovery of any sort?

There is a certain blindness at the helm of this nation which Nkala perfectly encapsulates. He was among those claiming the bad press Zimbabwe was getting abroad emanated from a hostile international media rather than certain realities on the ground. He is now proposing to waste $100 million on selling Zimbabwe as a stable, tourist-friendly destination.

That is what it was until Mugabe unleashed the current wave of mob rule.

The private sector should tell Nkala in no uncertain terms that they will not help him deceive foreign visitors about what is happening in the country. When he comes with his collection bowl, mention the Save Conservancy and ask him what he has said to Mugabe about the cost of lawlessness to the country's tourism sector. Expect a blank look!

The same goes for most of the new Zimpapers appointees. What have they all got in common we wonder? Answers please on the back of a postage stamp to Jonathan Moyo, c/o the President's Office, Patronage and Rewards Dept.

We gather the Herald staff, far from rallying around their editor in his current ordeal, are all saying he should go for presiding over the paper's decline.

That decline was at its most advanced during the election campaign when the paper became a replica of the People's Voice.

But should the staff be tossing their editor to the wolves (or rather to the tall bespectacled wolf) when they all collaborated with him in betraying the profession to repeat Zanu PF lies about land and the economy?

It wasn't simply front-page editorials and letters to the editor from CIOs and their friends (one of which crept back on Monday as a "Prodigal Son"), that scuppered the paper's credibility but downright dishonest reporting which sought to dress up Zanu PF's bloodthirsty campaign as a historic mission carried out in the teeth of resistance from Britain and "the whites".

The most facile claims by Mugabe and his minions were reported as fact. Not once was it explained that there might be alternative approaches to land reform that were less bloody and less costly but equally effective.

In an appropriate rebuke to journalists unable to feel the national pulse, the public were able to show reporters at the Herald, the Sunday Mail and ZBC what they thought of their mind-insulting pro-paganda by turning elsewhere for their news and by voting against this crude attempt at brain-washing.

At least Bornwell woke up to the realities, all be it rather late in the day, and the Herald has recovered a little lost ground. The current attempt by Moyo to reposition the paper as a megaphone, ready to spew forth his invective, will receive the reward it deserves in terms of declining readership and revenue.

Can you imagine a Sunday Mail every day of the week with Moyo and Tafataona Mahoso advancing their deranged conspiracy theories to explain the fuel shortage, the economic meltdown and the price of tomatoes!

Last Sunday Mahoso was claiming that the protest march by the Law Society last week was conducted entirely by white lawyers. This self-evident lie, propagated by ZBC which didn't dare show film footage of the march that would have contradicted its racist deceit, provided the foundation on which to build a conspiracy theory about white lawyers and judges colluding to defend colonial injustices.

Mahoso is of course conducting a last-ditch defence of Zanu PF injustices, like its campaign of murder and abduction ahead of the election. He was also able to drag in widows being deprived of their homes, a reference to a case about which he managed to get every salient point wrong when he first aired it.

It is hardly surprising Mahoso should end up agreeing with Msika who tried inventively to link the lawyers' march to UDI.

The vice-president's remarks were of "profound significance", Mahoso declared, lamenting that the media had "quickly forgotten" what Msika had said.

That is not difficult. Far from being of "profound significance", much of what Msika said betrayed a profound ignorance. The UDI era may be his reference point but it is nobody else's. Why should we take him seriously? After all, is this not the same redundant old time-server who thought voters might be interested in his beer-hall talk about sniffing dogs?

Where did that less-than-profound observation get his party in Matabele-land? It is just as well he didn't stand for election.

Msika has yet to learn that Zanu PF should be winning friends and influencing people, not driving them away in droves. But after Justice Smith's timely reminder about public officials doing nothing to follow up high-level looting, at least we know why Zanu PF politicians and their columnists are targeting the judiciary. It is almost as inconvenient as the independent press!

Which brings us to ZBC reporters who claim their copy is being mangled by a triumvirate of three editors whose mandate is specifically to place a Zanu PF spin on news.

There is nothing wrong in principle with editors rewriting news reports. That after all is their job. But the trio, which we understand comprises Anani Maruta, Happison Muchechetere and Alice Mutema, are not simply editing material. They make sure it complies with Zanu PF's political agenda to neutralise the opposition and get Mugabe re-elected. This includes air-brushing lawlessness and misrule.

Leaving aside the absence of professional self-respect and disregard of recent democratic verdicts, do these people think Mugabe will rule forever; that they will not one day be required to account for deceiving the Zimbabwean public while being paid with public funds?

Evidence of the trio's work could be seen on Tuesday night when the demolition of war veterans' shacks was portrayed as an attack on poor Zimbabweans trying to build a life for themselves. The "victims" claimed the police chanted MDC slogans while carrying out their work, a Zanu PF "dirty tricks department" invention. "Millions of dollars" worth of property was destroyed, we were told.

Perhaps the most fatuous claim to come out of this was that the war veterans were given insufficient notice of the police action. In fact one rogue veteran insisted that procedures had not been followed!

How much notice did the war veterans give the farmers and farm workers they attacked? Don't we recall them being given a few hours notice of eviction in some cases? What procedures did they follow in invading private properties and erecting illegal structures on council land? And what has been the cost of their depredations to the economy? ZBC gave no thought to that whatsoever.

However, there was one consolation in all this. As the cameras panned across the fields we could see thousands of Kambuzuma residents looking absolutely delighted to have these thugs removed from their midst. Despite its best efforts ZBC failed to conceal that.

South Africa's Financial Mail reports a tale doing the rounds in US diplomatic circles which led to an unfortunate misunderstanding between President Bill Clinton and Japanese prime minister Yoshiro Mori.

Before they met for the first time, the story goes, Mori was given some basic English tips for the initial greeting. The instructor told him: "Prime Minister, when you shake hands with President Clinton, please say: 'How are you?' Mr Clinton will say: 'I am fine. And you?' Then you say 'Me too'." But when Mori actually met Clinton, it seems he unexpectedly started "Who are you?"

Clinton was surprised, but reacted with a smile: "Well, I am Hillary's husband."

Mori replied confidently: "Me too."

There was a long silence before proceedings got under way again
fore they met for the first time, the story goes, Mori was given some basic English tips for the initial greeting. The instructor told him: "Prime Minister, when you shake hands with President Clinton, please say: 'How are you?' Mr Clinton will say: 'I am fine. And you?' Then you say 'Me too'." But when Mori actually met Clinton, it seems he unexpectedly started "Who are you?"

Clinton was surprised, but reacted with a smile: "Well, I am Hillary's husband."

Mori replied confidently: "Me too."

There was a long silence before proceedings got under way again.
Back to the Top
Back to Index