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

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Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
France welcomes Zimbabwe police chief
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
President Mugabe also travels to international meetings
Zimbabwe's police commissioner, Augustine Chihuri, is attending an Interpol meeting in France despite the travel ban imposed by the EU on the country's top officials.

The Interpol treaty forces France to welcome members of the executive committee of the organisation

French official
Euro MP Glennys Kinnock, head of the European Parliament's joint committee on Africa, called for the sanctions to be tightened to prevent Zimbabwean ministers "strutting about" in Europe.

And French officials said they had no choice but to allow Mr Chihuri, Interpol's vice-president, into the country, to attend the meeting in Lyon.

"The Interpol treaty forces France to welcome members of the executive committee of the organisation," one said.

'Rights abuses'

He last visited France, on Interpol business, in June.

Instead of feting Chihuri, Interpol should arrest him

Gay rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell
Speaking to the BBC, Mrs Kinnock, descibed Mr Chihuri as part of President Robert Mugabe's inner circle.

She said it was ironic that he was in France to talk about international policing and the rule of law, when the ruling Zanu PF party was "implicated in widespread human rights abuses".

British gay rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, who has twice tried to arrest Mr Mugabe under international law, has written to Interpol leaders asking them to arrest Mr Chihuri on torture charges.

French human rights organisations are reported to be exploring whether they can force his arrest.

Farm prize

Mr Chihuri has played a major role in organising the expulsion of white Zimbabwean farmers from their homes.

Police have defied court orders to protect farmers, instead transporting gangs of squatters and "war veterans" to farms whose owners have not left voluntarily.

He is also reported to have chosen a farm for himself.

President Mugabe himself is allowed to travel to UN meetings, despite the sanctions, and is due in Johannesburg for the World Development Summit.

But Zimbabwe's deputy secretary for the disabled, Joshua Malinga, was detained at London's Gatwick airport in July as he travelled from Zimbabwe to a UN conference in New York, and put on a flight back to Harare.

Zimbabwe deplored Mr Malinga's removal and threatened retaliatory measures against UK citizens.

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Mugabe says finance minister resigned, not fired

HARARE, Aug. 27 — Former Zimbabwe finance minister Simba Makoni resigned in a policy row with the government and was not sacked in President Robert Mugabe's weekend cabinet shuffle, state media said on Tuesday.
       Political analysts dismissed the report, however, saying Mugabe had at best engineered Makoni's departure. 
       Makoni was one of the few Zimbabwe ministers respected abroad.
       The official Herald newspaper said Makoni resigned over policy differences on August 14 and was asked by Mugabe to stay on until he was ready to announce his new team, which on Monday he called his ''war cabinet.''
       The newspaper said Mugabe had commented at the time: ''It's not that we dropped him...rather he chose to resign and drop himself.''
       Zimbabwe has been in economic and political crisis since 2000 when pro-government militants began invading white-owned farms in support of Mugabe's campaign to redistribute farms to landless blacks without compensation.
       Political analysts have interpreted Mugabe's new line up, consolidating the hold of hardliners, as a repudiation of strident Western criticism and of quiet African pressure to conform to international standards of government.
       Makoni had been pressing the government to officially devalue the Zimbabwe dollar, which is pegged at 55 to the U.S. dollar, but trades at 655 to the dollar on the streets.
       Earlier this month, Mugabe repudiated Makoni's drive in an address to parliament, saying: ''Devaluation is sinister and can only be advocated by saboteurs and enemies of this government.''
       Professor Masipula Sithole, one of Zimbabwe's leading political analysts, told Reuters on Tuesday the Herald was trying to screen Mugabe from the consequences of losing Makoni.
       ''Makoni was working in a very difficult situation already even before Mugabe publicly dressed him down. And when he went for him, it must have become impossible.
       ''So in a way Mugabe fired him...but is trying to make political capital out of Makoni's offer to resign,'' he said.

       South African political consultant Gary van Staden said in an analysis published by PSG Investment Bank on Tuesday that Mugabe's action could torpedo South African President Thabo Mbeki's efforts to steer Zimbabwe back to respectability.
       He said it confirmed Mugabe had no intention of responding to criticism of his sometimes violent land reform programme.
       ''It was an act of defiance that Mugabe may live to regret. The dismissal of finance minister Simba Makoni...along with the promotion of another key loyalist, Herbert Murerwa, back into the post of finance minister (are) an equally clear signal that the lawlessness has his approval,'' he said.
       Murerwa was finance minister from 1997 to 2000, but was replaced in a bid to appease Western donors and bring Zimbabwe's financial management in line with international norms.
       ''It was a calculated and deliberate snub to South Africa,'' he said.
       South Africa's New National Party, which has struck a cooperation agreement with the ruling African National Congress, said it was time to impose total political and diplomatic isolation on Mugabe.
       ''Mugabe's so-called war cabinet is a desperate last effort to save his faltering regime,'' the party said in a statement.
       Makoni was unavailable to comment and radio and television news have not carried his response.
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TUESDAY 27/08/2002 15:07:12         
Priest flees Zimbabwe

A British-based priest has been forced to flee to a safe house after being arrested three times in Zimbabwe by President Robert Mugabe's security police, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Plymouth said today.
Bishop Christopher Budd strongly condemned the treatment of Father Patrick ``P J`` Kelly a priest of the Plymouth Diocese who has been working in Zimbabwe.

A spokesman for the diocese said Fr Kelly, who was born in Tubbercurry, County Sligo, Ireland, had been interrogated on three occasions by Mr Mugabe`s Central Intelligence Organisation, who accused him of promoting ``opposition politics``.

He was then visited by so-called war veterans who ordered him to ``stop spreading subversive politics`` or leave his parish of St Gabriel`s, Nyanga, in the Diocese of Mutare, eastern Zimbabwe, he added.

Bishop Budd said today: ``Fr P J has always been on the side of the people and would not agree to stop speaking the truth about justice in Zimbabwe.

``Therefore, he has been forced to leave his parish for his personal safety.

``I have spoken to Fr P J on the phone and he told me that a member of his parish was beaten up by the Central Intelligence Organisation after being interrogated.``

Bishop Budd stressed: ``These events have nothing to do with white farmers in Zimbabwe occupying most of the good land and everything to do with the fundamental attitude of the Mugabe government to its own people, which is an unjust one.``

Fr Kelly was ordained in 1967 and worked in the parish of St Peter`s, Crownhill, Plymouth, for four years before going to the Diocesan African Mission in Kenya in 1971.

He was assigned to Zimbabwe in 1998, and worked in St Gabriel`s Parish, Nyanga, until he was forced to leave on Wednesday last week.

The diocesan spokesman said Fr Kelly was first detained by the Central Intelligence Organisation in March this year and accused of promoting opposition politics.

He was later questioned again by the CIO on two consecutive days August 14 and 15, when the same accusation was made.

The Plymouth diocese said the priest was now in a safe house.
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Mbeki urged to denounce Mugabe

Willem Jordaan

Cape Town - While experts have condemned Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's new cabinet as a "slap in the face" for President Thabo Mbeki and the Commonwealth, the South African Institute for Race Relations has called on Mbeki to openly denounce Mugabe's actions.

Institute of Security Studies executive director Dr Jakkie Cilliers said on Monday that Mugabe's new cabinet reaffirmed his implacable stance on seizing commercial farmers' land. Cilliers maintains the new cabinet, styled as a "war council" by state media, should be seen as a slap in the face for South Africa, Nigeria and the Commonwealth.

Cilliers said: "Mugabe's cabinet indicates clearly he is not prepared to come to a compromise with the MDC about a government of national unity."

Meanwhile, the SAIRR said "no degree of silent diplomacy on Mbeki's part can change the fact that he is neglecting to condemn Mugabe for letting down South Africa, Zimbabwe and Africa."

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Mugabe says no room for talks with white farmers

HARARE, Aug. 27 — Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe ruled out talks with white farmers fighting his controversial land seizures on Tuesday, saying they must hand over their farms to landless blacks and learn to share. 
       Speaking at a rally in southeastern Zimbabwe, Mugabe said there was nothing to talk about because white farmers owned large tracts of land while indigenous blacks had nothing.
       ''There is no room for talks, there is no room for any negotiations because the real owners of this land are asserting their rights and reclaiming their land,'' he said in remarks broadcast on Zimbabwean television.
       ''If you (white farmers) want to live with us, to farm alongside us, we, the rightful owners of our ancestral land, will carve out some land for you...but you cannot decide what you will have in our country,'' he said in Zimbabwe's local Shona language.
       Mugabe's government has ordered 2,900 farmers of the country's remaining 4,500 white commercial farmers to quit their land without compensation, but nearly two thirds have defied an August 8 deadline.
       Nearly 300 have been arrested and charged for defying the orders. Many are on bail but have been ordered to stay away from their farms.
       Mugabe, who has been in power since the former Rhodesia gained independence from Britain in 1980, says his land drive is aimed at correcting colonial injustice which left 70 percent of the best farmland in the hands of white farmers.
       White farmers say they support land redistribution but are opposed to the government's methods.
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Zimbabwe raid on opposition HQ
 Police in Zimbabwe have sealed off and are searching the offices of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the capital, Harare.

Heavily armed police and Central Intelligence Agency officers raided the premises on Monday night and prevented MDC officials from entering.

The lawyer representing the MDC said the police were investigating the murder last week of an official from the ruling Zanu-PF party.

He said they were looking for weapons and suspects named on a search warrant.

The MDC sees the raid as part of a continuing campaign of harassment against the party which has staged the strongest challenge yet to President Robert Mugabe's 22 years in power.

Land crisis

Earlier on Monday the president unveiled his new "war cabinet", replacing his most liberal finance minister to continue his controversial land reform programme.

Zimbabwe's land reform

  • 2000: 4,000 whites own 70% of prime land
  • 1890-1980: Black peasants were moved to less fertile areas during the colonial area
  • March 2000: "War veterans" occupy white-owned farms
  • 2000-2002: Several white farmers and black workers killed during violence
  • 9 August 2002: 3,000 white farmers must leave their homes

  • Thousands of white farmers are being evicted from the land, plunging the country into an even deeper economic and humanitarian crisis.

    While farmers are being prevented from harvesting their crops, six million people, half the country's population, are facing severe food shortages.

    Tens of thousands of black farm workers have also been left homeless and jobless by the land seizures.

    UN concern

    In Angola, United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan has called on Zimbabwe to implement a new land reform programme based on the rule of law, in order to ease its economic and food supply problems.

    Many white farms have been occupied
    Mr Annan told journalists in Luanda that land reform should benefit "all the people of Zimbabwe, especially the landless poor".

    He said it should allow for proper training and adequate support to new small farmers and pay compensation to displaced farm workers and commercial farmers.

    "Such a land reform programme is urgently needed in order to minimise the negative effects of the current situation on food production and the overall economy in Zimbabwe. It would also ensure the engagement and future support of the international community."

    Mr Annan is expected to visit Botswana, Lesotho and Mozambique before arriving in South Africa for the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

    President Mugabe is banned under sanctions from travelling to much of the West, but is due to attend the 10-day UN environmental summit in in Johannesburg.

    The MDC is holding a series of protests there.

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    Annan urges Zimbabwe to pursue lawful land reforms

    LUANDA, Aug. 27 — U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan called on Tuesday for Zimbabwe's urgent implementation of a land reform programme based on the rule of law and for its leaders to save the country from a deepening economic and food crisis. 
           ''There can be no lasting solution to the current problems unless the government of Zimbabwe implements a phased and fully funded land reform programme,'' Annan told reporters on his way from Angola to continue on a tour of southern African nations.
           ''It should be one that is run according to the rule of law, that allows for proper training and adequate support to new small farmers and compensation to displaced farm workers and commercial farmers.''
           Zimbabwe has been gripped by a political and economic crisis since pro-government militants invaded white-owned farms in early 2000 in support of President Robert Mugabe's campaign to redistribute farms to landless blacks.
           These land programmes coincided with drought.
           Once the bread basket of the region, Zimbabwe is at the centre of a biting food shortage also affecting five other southern African nations and now needs aid to feed more than six million people, about half of its population.
           ''Such a land reform programme is urgently needed in order to minimise the negative effects of the current situation on food production and the overall economy in Zimbabwe,'' Annan said.
           The U.N. chief said such a programme would ensure the ''engagement and future support of the international community'' which has imposed some travel and financial restrictions on Zimbabwean officials and ruling ZANU-PF supporters.
           Zimbabwe's government has ordered 2,900 of 4,500 white farmers to surrender their lands to blacks. About two-thirds of the farmers have resisted the order and 199 been arrested.
           Mugabe has said the land reforms are to correct nearly a century of colonial injustice that left 70 percent of the best farmland in the hands of white farmers.
           Many western governments have condemned the eviction campaign. Undeterred, Mugabe swore in a new cabinet on Monday, retaining staunch loyalists, to defend his policies.
           Opponents in Zimbabwe and abroad allege that the best farms are being given to Mugabe's friends and allies, including his wife Grace, and not to landless peasants.
           ''As the risk of famine looms, I believe that a successful, sustainable land reform programme that will benefit all the people of Zimbabwe, especially the landless poor, is more important than ever,'' Annan said.
           He urged governments and donors in southern Africa to avoid what he called the ''politicisation of food aid.''

           Annan is scheduled to visit Botswana, Lesotho and Mozambique before arriving in South Africa in September for the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development, which aims to find ways of halting damage to the environment and tackling poverty.
           The 10-day summit started on Monday and will bring together more than 100 world leaders. It focuses on five broad themes: water and sanitation, energy, health, food security and bio-diversity.
           ''I expect the (summit) delegates to focus on the essential issues of sustainable development, on issues such as water and sanitation, health, agricultural productivity, education and bio-diversity,'' Annan said.
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    Botswana Daily News

    SADC health ministers meet in Harare

    27 August, 2002

    Health ministers from 10 Southern African countries and officials from the World Heath Organisation (WHO) are meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe, until tomorrow to strategise on the health sectors response to the humanitarian crisis facing the region because of food shortages.
    A news release from the WHO office in Gaborone says the three-day meeting is attended by ministers from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
    The release says ways to intensify and accelerate the response of health systems to the current food crisis in the region will be explored to prevent the increase of disease and help in the prevention of loss of life.
    The meeting will also touch on priority interventions and agree on ways to strengthen co-ordination and support mechanisms.
    WHO officials expected to attend include the director general, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundland, regional director for Africa Dr. Ebrahim Samba, director of programme management at the regional office for Africa Dr. Luis Sambo and all WHO representatives from respective countries.
    Representatives of health and humanitarian organisations working to improve the health situation in the region are also expected to attend.
    UN agencies estimate that nearly 14 million people including 2.3 million children under the age of five are at risk of starvation because of the widespread food shortages that are affecting most of the SADC countries.
    "Three hundred thousand people in the region could die from hunger and disease in the next six months," if effective action to reverse the situation is not taken, says the release.
    " It is imperative for governments and their development partners to maintain or even increase public investment in health services during emergencies, including investment in nutrition, childcare, sanitation and clean water.
    Health services during food shortages are also needed to cope with HIV/AIDS," says Samba.
    The release says the serious food shortages are caused by a combination of floods and droughts across the region and several structural and chronic problems like HIV/AIDS, economic degradation, increased poverty and faltering health systems. BOPA
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    About 200 members and supporters of Zimababwe's opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, march near the Sandton Convention Centre. Photo: AP

    Protest decries Mugabe's 'racial cleansing'

    August 26 2002 at 08:54PM

    By Caiphus Kgosana, Sapa and AFP

    Dressed in riot gear and armed with batons and shields, scores of heavily armed police officers lined Alice Street outside the Sandton Convention Centre. Facing them was a small group of protesters armed only with placards.

    The group from Ethiopia was the second "official" protest during the summit.

    Earlier on Monday a group from Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change had also staged a political protest.

    But the small group of about 40, who represent the Oromo Community of South Africa, made enough noise to ensure that they drew attention to their the mistreatment of the Oromo people of Ethiopia.

    Spokesperson Shibiru Wondimu said the Oromo were the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, representing about 50 percent of the population.

    "Successive governments in Ethiopia have taken our land and killed our people."

    "Five million Oromos have up to now lost their lives," he said.

    Three busloads of supporters of the MDC staged an authorised protest march, accusing President Robert Mugabe of "racial cleansing".

    Spokesperson Moses Mzila-Ndlovu said the 200 marchers, wearing MDC T-shirts and waving placards berating Mugabe as a "liar", were marching to focus the world's attention on the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans, especially commercial farmers and their workers.

    "The world must know, there is a racial cleansing in Zimbabwe. This must be brought to an end," Mzila-Ndlovu said.

    Groups opposed to the summit, plan to go ahead with an unauthorised march on Saturday. Speaking for the Social Movements Indaba, US citizen Elise Miller said: "We will march in any case."

    Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula said agreement on 13 out of 17 applications for protests had been reached, but four applications were still under discussion.

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    Norway Post

    Norway protests against Zimbabwe's refusal to admit MPs

    Norwegian authorities have sent an official protest to Zimbabwe, after three
    Norwegian members of parliament were refused entry to the country last

    The Norwegian Department of Foreign Affairs (UD) has instructed its embassy
    in Harare to deliver the protest to the Zimbabwe authorities, NRK reports.

    The Norwegian embassy is also requested to ask for an explanation for why
    the three were turned away at Harare Airport, UD states in a press release.

    The three women MPs were on their way to inspect an aid project in Zimbaabwe
    run by the Norwegian Red Cross.

    They were forced to get back on the plane and return to Johannesburg, South

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          ZIMBABWE: Police deny report of politically-motivated rapes

          IRINnews Africa, Tue 27 Aug 2002 Email this story to a friend
          Print this story

          ©  IRIN

          Supporters of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai are allegedly being

          JOHANNESBURG, - The Zimbabwe police on Tuesday denied press reports of
    a deliberate campaign of rape by ruling party militia against women
    suspected of supporting the opposition.

          A leading British newspaper alleged on Sunday that women and girls
    were being raped and beaten by ruling party thugs because they did not
    support President Robert Mugabe.

          The report quoted one young girl as saying that her mother and younger
    sisters were forced to chant praises to Mugabe while she was gang-raped.

          She said her attackers told her the assault was punishment for those
    who "wanted to sell this country to [UK Prime Minister] Tony Blair and the

          Frances Lovemore, the medical director of the Amani Trust, an NGO
    which helps victims of torture, told IRIN that her organisation had
    interviewed a number of people who said they were victims of
    politically-motivated rape. They alleged they had been targeted because of
    their political affiliations, or their husbands', and were called
    "Tsvangirai's whores", Lovemore said.

          Morgan Tsvangirai is leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
    Change (MDC).

          The women usually only told of the rape on the third or fourth visit
    to the Amani Trust. Lovemore said the attacks took place around the country
    and named Masvingo, Buhera, Marondera, Mashonaland and Mt Darwin as some of
    the areas where rapes had occurred.

          "There are reports of women being taken to camps and raped, and men
    being forced to witness sexual violence," she said. "It is very difficult to
    quantify how many women are affected. Rape is universally under-reported
    because of the stigma, but some women say they know of other women who it
    has happened to. Rape is a well-recognised form of torturing and terrorising
    a community," she said.

          Lovemore said that although the cases were reported to the police,
    "nothing really happened". But, "we believe that if a docket is opened,
    there will eventually be some justice, even if it's five years down the

          However, police Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena denied women
    were being raped as part of a political campaign.

          "Politics is never a reason for rape. I have come across murder,
    assault and public disturbances that are politically motivated, but never
    politically-motivated rape.

          "The newspaper article doesn't help us identify the individual or the
    victim of the alleged rapes. It's also significant that the article is timed
    to coincide with the Earth summit [World Summit on Sustainable Development
    in Johannesburg] and I think it's cheap propaganda. A similar thing happened
    during the Commonwealth summit in Brisbane."

          He said the media allegations had not given names and places for the
    police to verify, and neither had human rights NGOs. He "challenged" Amani
    and other organisations to provide police with details so that they could
    investigate the allegations.

          "Amani doesn't go to the extent of verifying whether the story is
    accurate or not and that is their handicap, and that of other NGOs," he

          "It's not only rape, we have read articles about murders which have
    never occurred," said Bvudzijena, referring to a recent court appearance of
    journalists in connection with an inaccurate report on the beheading of the
    wife of an MDC supporter.

          Lovemore said that although the Amani Trust did not have the resources
    to travel to the "scene of the crime" to verify information, the women who
    went to the organisation for help had three separate initial consultations
    with a forensic nurse, a medical doctor and a counsellor and told the same
    story to all three people. Afterwards they spoke to a lawyer and were always
    referred to the police to make a report and open a docket.

          Lovemore said the police sometimes refused to open a docket if they
    felt the crime was political. However, she added that she could provide the
    police with docket numbers, on request, if they needed to verify reports.

          Lovemore also said the Amani Trust was completing a video of rape
    survivors relating their ordeals, which would be released to the media
    within the next two weeks.

          The material contained in this article is from IRIN, a UN humanitarian
    information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United
    Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post any item
    on this site, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or
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    permission of the original owner.
          All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of
    Humanitarian Affairs 2002

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    Canada keen for Zimbabwe talks at Jo'burg meeting

    OTTAWA, Aug. 27 — Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien wants to hold discussions with international partners about the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe when he is in Johannesburg at an environmental summit next week, officials said on Tuesday. 
           The troubled African country is plunging into ever deeper chaos as the government of President Robert Mugabe presses ahead with a plan to force 2,900 of the remaining 4,500 white commercial farmers to quit their land without compensation.
           Britain, the United States and Australia have all expressed dismay at events in Zimbabwe, where an estimated six million people face starvation over the next six months as drought, mismanagement and political turmoil slash food output.
           Leaders of the Commonwealth of mainly former British colonies suspended Zimbabwe in March for holding what were widely seen as rigged elections.
           It set up a troika of the leaders of Australia, South Africa and Nigeria to decide what more action might be taken.
           ''The prime minister is more and more concerned. We have not seen many positive developments since we last spoke about our concerns (in March)...he will wish to use the opportunity to discuss Zimbabwe,'' a Chretien aide told reporters.
           Chretien will be in South Africa from Sept. 1-3 to take part in the World Summit on Sustainable Development, where many other world leaders will be present.
           ''If at all possible in Johannesburg, the prime minister would wish to sit down with some of his partners, maybe the troika members, and look perhaps at what the Commonwealth, the European Union and the Americans can do,'' the aide said.
           ''The prime minister does not feel that President Mugabe has heard the message,'' he added, saying there were no plans at present for a meeting between Chretien and Mugabe.
           Although Chretien generally takes little interest in foreign affairs, he has a strong commitment to Africa and persuaded world leaders at a summit in June to devote more effort to solving the continent's woes.
           Stockwell Day, foreign affairs spokesman for the main opposition Canadian Alliance party, called on Chretien to crack down on Mugabe.
           ''In an effort to shore-up his own power base and divide agricultural land among his cronies, the Mugabe regime is pursuing a policy that risks devastating Zimbabwe,'' Day said in a statement.
           ''The (Canadian) government's actions to date have done little more than tap Mugabe on the wrist. Given the magnitude of the crisis that has been provoked in southern Africa, this is simply inadequate.''
           Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980. He says his land drive is aimed at correcting colonial injustices which left 70 percent of the country's best farmland in the hands of white farmers.
           Aides to British Prime Minister Tony Blair -- another major player in the Commonwealth -- said on Sunday he would refuse to let Britain's long-standing arguments with Zimbabwe overshadow the summit.
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    The Times
    Letters to the Editor

    August 28, 2002

    Chance for action on Zimbabwe

    Sir, Just 300 miles up the road from the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg lies the chaos and suffering of Zimbabwe. The summit is being attended by Robert Mugabe, who should be an international outcast. The effectiveness of international measures against the Mugabe regime has been undermined by lack of resolve, particularly by African leaders.

    The President of South Africa, as Zimbabwe’s most powerful neighbour, as chairman of the new African Union, and now as host to the summit, has the particular opportunity and responsibility to show leadership on this issue.

    President Mbeki should boycott the Zimbabwean delegation to the UN conference and condemn unequivocally the developments in Zimbabwe, and insist that the appalling persecution of the non-Zanu (PF) people of Zimbabwe and of white farmers cease immediately. He should emphasise that peace, security, good governance, human rights and sound economic management are the necessary pre-conditions for sustainable economic development. Mr Mbeki should also recognise that the willingness of African states to take effective action to bring about urgent change for the better in Zimbabwe should be the first test of their seriousness about the proposed New Partnership for Africa’s Development.

    The South African President should take urgent steps to place Zimbabwe in regional quarantine through regional targeted sanctions. In the interests of the whole southern African region, and in recognition that the last presidential elections in Zimbabwe were deemed not to have been free and fair, he should call upon Robert Mugabe to step down and for the elections to be rerun under international supervision.

    Our own Government is being ineffective in this matter; perhaps President Mbeki can show the necessary leadership and real moral courage.

    Yours sincerely,
    (Conservative spokesman, defence and human rights; Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats),
    88 Rectory Lane,
    Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1RF.
    August 26.

    From Mr A. B. Stone

    Sir, Your On This Day report (August 22) recalls that 30 years ago Peter Hain, the Young Liberals chairman, was found guilty of, and fined for, conspiring to hinder and disrupt a sporting event between Britain and South Africa.

    Is Mr Hain’s lack of effective protest at the racist and life-threatening actions by Robert Mugabe against white farmers in Zimbabwe an indication of how the years have mellowed him? Or does this signal that it would not be appropriate for a British Minister for Europe to comment on an aspect of EU foreign policy which apparently overrides relationships between Britain and the Commonwealth? Yours faithfully,

    A. B. STONE,
    1 Home Park,
    Oxted, Surrey RH8 0JS.
    August 22.

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    From ZWNEWS, 27 August

    Opposition offices surrounded

    Armed riot police this morning surrounded the central Harare offices of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change prior to a "massive" search by a large force of plainclothes members of the police and CIO. Party officials in the offices in Harvest House were evicted from the building, and a room-by-room search was underway this morning. A spokesman for the MDC said he was not aware of any search warrant for the government's action. Previous police operations against the party's offices have claimed variously to be searching for arms of war, subversive material, illegal communications equipment, and details of "illegal" party funding, but nothing seized in previous raids has resulted in prosecution. Search warrants have been produced on some occasions and not on others.

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    From The Observer (UK), 25 August

    Bill Saidi: All the news the government likes to read

    In its version of What the Papers Say, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation's television service focuses on the Herald of Harare, the capital, and the Chronicle, of Bulawayo, the second city. Both are government owned. Politically, the cities are strongholds of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Shown on screen in a two-hour news programme called This Morning are the lead stories on the two papers' front and back pages. The programme features either attacks on the MDC, the British, the Americans or the European Union. The country's only independent daily newspaper, the Daily News, has not once featured it. Neither have any weekly independent papers. On the rare occasions they have been mentioned, they have been vilified for 'publishing falsehoods' - a euphemism for stories that get up the government's nose. Since the constitutional referendum of February 2000, which Mugabe's party, Zanu PF, lost, the government has waged war on the private media, which it blamed for that defeat and for the loss of a huge chunk of its parliamentary representation in the general election in June that year. Since then there has been a war of attrition between the two. The government finally bared its fangs and introduced the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) this year. With booming self-righteousness, the government said it intended to bring an element of 'ethics' into Zimbabwean journalism. For most journalists in the independent media, this was another euphemism – ethical journalism was that which didn't annoy the government.

    The independent newspapers have until 31 October to register their companies and their journalists. All journalists, local and foreign, have to pay to be registered. The decision to permit them to operate rests with the Media and Information Commission, chaired by Tafataon Mahoso, head of the government's journalism school, a regular TV panelist and columnist in a government weekly. All these provisions are part of the AIPPA, an acronym which in the Shona language means 'he is bad', a reference to Jonathan Moyo, the junior minister of information who piloted the law's stormy passage through Parliament. He is recognised as the chief architect of Mugabe's pursuit of all journalists critical of his regime. The Act has already netted two editors, Bornwell Chakaodza of the Standard, and Geoff Nyarota of the Daily News, whose case is before the Supreme Court, his paper's lawyers having challenged the law's constitutionality.

    A serious setback for the government was last month's acquittal of Andrew Meldrum, correspondent of the Guardian and The Observer. He had filed a dispatch quoting a story in the Daily News in which a man alleged his wife had been beheaded in front of her small children by Zanu PF activists in a remote village in Mashonaland West, Mugabe's home province. On discovering the story was false, the Daily News published an apology, as did the Guardian. But the government pursued Daily News reporter Lloyd Mudiwa and Meldrum, who was acquitted but ordered to be deported within 24 hours. But the High Court suspended the deportation and referred the matter to the Supreme Court. It must decide whether Meldrum, who has lived in Zimbabwe for 22 years, enjoys, as a permanent resident, the same rights as a citizen. The Supreme Court decision, although not dealing with the 'falsehood' of the story which sparked the case, may still have a bearing on the AIPPA which, to every independent journalist in Zimbabwe, is designed virtually to emasculate their freedom of expression, or turn their stories into 'falsehoods' only when they annoy the government.

    Bill Saidi, acting deputy editor of the Daily News, is one of Zimbabwe's leading journalists and the author of five novels.

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    ABC Australia

    Posted: Wed, 28 Aug 2002 15:10 AEST

    Downer concerned over Zimbabwe's food distribution

    The Foreign Minister says he is worried the Government of Zimbabwe is
    manipulating the distribution of food donated to feed its starving citizens.

    Alexander Downer has told Parliament the United Nations estimates there are
    now 13 million people needing emergency food aid across southern Africa and
    nearly half of those are in Zimbabwe.

    Mr Downer says Zimbabwe's Government is partly to blame because of its poor
    land policies, depleted grain reserves and bad economic management.

    He says there are also concerns about its handling of emergency food aid.

    "The Australian Government has committed $26 million to address the serious
    humanitarian needs of southern and eastern Africa, including Zimbabwe," he

    "But we do remain deeply concerned by reports that the Government of
    Zimbabwe is manipulating the distribution of food it has itself procured."

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    Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 05:52 GMT 06:52 UK
    Mugabe rules out farmer negotiations
    Protest against Mugabe at the World Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa
    There were protests against Mugabe at the World Summit

    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has ruled out negotiations with white farmers who are being systematically expelled from their land as part of a fast-track land seizure programme.

    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
    Mugabe now seems to suggest that the road to dialogue is blocked
    Speaking at a rally, he said there was no room for talks as "the rightful owners are reclaiming their land".

    Earlier, the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, urged Zimbabwe to change its land programme to prevent famine from devastating the country.

    But Mr Mugabe's rhetoric just gets stronger and stronger.

    And with each speech, the future of the white farmers seems to become more bleak.

    International pressure

    The Commercial Farmers Union is split over an internal row, with the CFU president urging dialogue.

    But his arrest and President Mugabe's speech seem to suggest this route has now been blocked.

    International pressure is mounting, especially with the World Summit on Sustainable Development taking place here in neighbouring South Africa.

    But the hardline determination to evict the white farmers as soon as possible continues.

    Mr Annan joined criticism of the regime, urging Zimbabwe and its fast-becoming pariah president to change the land reform policy, to compensate the farmers and to ensure those receiving land know what to do with it in order to prevent a looming famine.

    But the crisis merely seems to deepen as time runs out for white Zimbabwean farmers and the thousands of black workers that depend on them for jobs and homes.

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    US scoffs at new Mugabe cabinet

    28 aug 02

    WASHINGTON: The US yesterday dismissed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's cabinet reshuffle and repeated its opposition to his leadership of the country.

    State Department spokesman Richard Boucher indicated there was nothing Mr Mugabe could do to repair his credibility, damaged by a seriously flawed election this year and his pursuit of policies which the US says are threatening the drought-stricken country with famine.

    "We have been appalled by the way they've decimated Zimbabwe's international standing and its ability to produce food at a time when they have a national emergency," Mr Boucher said.

    Mr Mugabe, facing mounting international criticism over his eviction of white farmers, announced he was dissolving his cabinet five months after the disputed election win.

    Finance Minister Simba Makoni, seen by many as one of the more moderate cabinet members, and the ailing, sole white member, Health Minister Timothy Stamps, were dropped from the new line-up.

    Mr Makoni was considered a lone voice of dissent in the cabinet, especially after Mr Mugabe announced a return to socialism and an end to market reforms in October.

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