|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
|Priest flees terror in Nyanga|
8/28/02 8:33:06 AM (GMT +2)
From Brian Mangwende in Mutare
SUSPECTED war veterans and Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) officers in Nyanga last week forced Father Patrick
Joseph Kelly to leave the area, accusing him of preaching opposition
Kelly, 60, of St Gabriel Catholic Church, said
on 16 August he was approached by seven so-called war veterans who gave
him an ultimatum to leave Nyanga by 22 August, or face unspecified action.
In a letter to Bishop Alexio Muchabaiwa, the church’s provincial leader,
and copied to the Papal Nuncio, the Pope’s representative in Harare, Kelly
said: “I was visited by seven war veterans. “They told me to gather my
rubbish and be gone from Nyanga by 22 August. Are you aware that Bishop
Mutume came to St Gabriel on 18 August and acquiesced to this demand?
“Consequently, I am leaving the parish of St Gabriel, Nyanga, without any
protest or significant witness of any kind having been made by the
authorities of the Diocese of Mutare to either the CIO, war veterans, the
provincial or national political leadership.”
White woman joins eviction mob
8/28/02 8:33:42 AM (GMT +2)
By Peta Thornycroft
In A bizarre twist to the forced removals of
Zimbabwe’s farmers, a white woman, believed to be British, took part in
the eviction of a farm couple this week. The woman, Anne Matonga, in her
early 30s, screamed at Monica Schultz: “We are taking back the land you
stole from us!” Matonga is married to Bright Matonga, 35, a Zimbabwean
propagandist. He worked as a sports reporter in London for the BBC but was
recently recalled to Zimbabwe at the behest of Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo to work for the State-controlled Herald newspaper, then the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, before being put in charge of the
national bus company, Zupco.
Vincent Schultz, Monica’s husband, had been wrongfully arrested as the seizure of his farm had been ruled invalid on a legal technicality. Nevertheless, he was still in prison, pending a bail application, and his wife was alone on the farm on Sunday when the Matongas arrived and began hurling abuse at her. “She (Anne Matonga) was rude, saying we had stolen her land. I thought it strange as she was white, and looked and sounded British,” Monica Schultz said of the incident.
Bread price shoots to $100 on black market
8/28/02 8:34:31 AM (GMT +2)
From Brian Mangwende in Mutare
Bread is now being sold on the black market in
Mutare for up to $100 a loaf as the effects of the chaotic land reform
measures begin to bite. The controlled price of bread is $60,44 a loaf.
Vendors in Mutare have capitalised on the shortage of wheat as bakers fail
to meet demand.
Major millers in Harare, including National
Foods (NatFoods) and Victoria Foods, said yesterday the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB) had reduced their wheat allocation to about 2 000 metric
tonnes a week. An official at NatFoods said their allocation had been
limited to 2 640 metric tonnes weekly which would not last for a week.
Another official at Victoria Foods said they had stopped production
altogether. The NatFoods official, who refused to be identified, said: “We
are left with no choice but to reduce the quantities of flour to the
provinces so that at least people everywhere get some. “We have three
mills working, but by the end of the week only two will still be running
as there will be no wheat.” The official at Victoria Foods said the
company had no flour in stock. “Production has stopped and even staff
members are having to go without bread.” A GMB source yesterday said he
was aware that stocks of wheat grain were dwindling, but declined to
elaborate on the extent of the problem.
Refusal to get policy shift, consider enlightened methods will accelerate Zimbabwe's demise
AS ZIMBABWEANS continue to ponder President Robert Mugabe's uninspiring cabinet reshuffle, analysts say the Zimbabwean ruler has once again squandered an opportunity to give his rudderless country direction.
Commentators say Mugabe's stick-in-the-mud team is certainly in no position to deliver the politically fractured and fragmented country out of the current economic quagmire.
University of Zimbabwe professor of business studies Tony Hawkins said Mugabe wasted a glorious chance to reassure the world he was not totally beyond redemption. He observed that Mugabe's refusal to adopt a fundamental policy shift and consider enlightened leadership methods would accelerate the country's demise.
"It was a really pathetic failure by Mugabe to set the country on a new path to economic recovery," he said. "There is no way this economy will recover under the sort of policies this hardline cabinet will pursue."
Hawkins said it was shocking that Mugabe had fired Finance Minister Simba Makoni, although the president claims he resigned by himself, and replaced him with his predecessor, Herbert Murerwa, who actually presided over the current economic implosion.
"It's unbelievable because Murerwa was in charge when the Zimbabwe dollar crashed in 1997, when war veterans were paid billions of unbudgeted funds, when the currency was pegged in 1999 and when these problems actually escalated."
Political analyst Brian Raftopoulos said Mugabe destroyed a chance to sort out his party's convoluted succession issue by making progressive appointments in the reshuffle.
"If he had replaced his two vice-presidents, that would have created a new shift in the government and maybe the ruling party hierarchy and helped to unravel the Zanu (PF)'s complex succession issue," he said.
Instead of introducing new faces in the government, Mugabe clung to his party's old guard, clearly showing his unwillingness to relinquish power yet. His decision to retain reactionary and combative ministers also revealed his rigid determination to persist on a confrontational path with the world.
Mugabe's cabinet changes appear designed to revive and consolidate failed economic policies such as a fixed exchange rate, price controls, foreign exchange controls and nationalisation. Currently the government has no coherent and cohesive economic policies. It is just plodding in the midst of an unprecedented policy failure.
At times ministers come up with sound economic reform and recovery policies only for Mugabe to dump them at funerals and rallies.
Hawkins said Zimbabwe's future was ominous given that the country's gross domestic product was expected to contract by at least 11% this year.
Money supply growth, with all its inflationary pressures, is spinning out of control and Zimbabwe's inflation of massive proportions is expected to surge from 123,5% to at least 130% by the end of the year. Problems such as unemployment, poverty, HIV/AIDS and the concomitant instability can only worsen.
The food crisis, analysts predict, will deepen as a consequence of Mugabe's "scorched earth" land reform policy begin to really show.
Independent economic consultant John Robertson painted a gloomy picture of the economic situation in the next few months. "It's going to be a disaster," he warned. "Already there is strong evidence the land reform programme is going to be a calamity. This coupled with economic woes can only lead to a catastrophe."
To make matters worse, the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change is also in a state of paralysis after the disputed March
presidential election. This means that economically and politically Zimbabwe is
stagnant. But it is increasingly becoming clear that Zimbabwe is no longer just
declining, but it is undergoing a revolution, both on the land and economy, in
MAZOWE, Zimbabwe - Grace Mugabe came here last week, but her visit had nothing to do with promoting literacy, health care, or any other official duties that come with being Zimbabwe's first lady.
Instead, Mugabe came to personally evict white farmers John and Eva Matthews, a septuagenarian couple who own the sprawling 2,500-acre Iron Mask Estate.
Witnesses said Mugabe - who was accompanied by senior army officers, government officials, and young toughs from her husband's ruling party - told the Matthewses that they had 48 hours to vacate their farm or be arrested.
"I'm taking over this farm," witnesses quoted her as saying.
Mugabe's husband, President Robert Mugabe, has promised that his planned confiscation of white farms would benefit thousands of landless black Zimbabweans, but so far senior cabinet ministers, top army officials, and the president's relatives and friends appear to be among the big beneficiaries.
During the last two weeks, Mugabe's security forces have arrested about 200 of about 2,900 white commercial farmers who have defied the government's Aug. 8 deadline to leave their land without compensation.
With southern Africa already struggling with man-made and natural challenges including bad weather, disease and corruption, analysts say Mugabe's land grabs are endangering about six million Zimbabweans - nearly half the country's population. Millions of poor Zimbabweans now need international food aid to survive.
As the United States and other donors send shipments of maize to feed starving Zimbabweans, top U.S. and British officials say they want to work with the international community - particularly Zimbabwe's African neighbors - to isolate Mugabe, who they say rigged polls this year to win reelection. Western governments oppose the land seizures, which are often violent and chaotic.
Mugabe says he is trying to address colonial-era injustices, when blacks were driven off the most fertile land to make way for white farmers. He is expected to square off with Western officials later this week at a U.N. summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Mugabe's opponents are also waiting for him in Johannesburg. On Monday, about 100 supporters of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which is usually barred in Zimbabwe from holding such protests, chanted anti-Mugabe slogans in front of a convention center where the summit is being held. Some protesters waved placards declaring "Mugabe is an election thief" and "Mugabe is starving his own people."
"Mugabe argues 'land for the poor,' but it's a lie," said an MDC spokesman, Moses Mzila-Ndlovu. "It's about power."
The Matthewses raised cattle and planted tobacco, maize and soybeans on the land until two years ago. Members of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party who are also veterans of the war for black majority rule in the former Rhodesia, which ended with the establishment of Zimbabwe in 1980, invaded the property and stopped all farming.
The Matthews' heavily wooded estate, with its 29-room house, two swimming pools and fertile land, remained one of the most coveted farms in the lush Mazowe area, a 30-minute drive west of Harare, the Zimbabwean capital.
When Grace Mugabe visited the farm last week, she saw sweeping vistas of trees displaying spring leaves ranging from pale pink to burgundy to bronze, on rolling woodlands that met the big African sky in the distance.
Eva Matthews bought the farm with her first husband 35 years ago and raised her three children there.
Last week, the army officers who came with Grace Mugabe told the Matthewses to find alternative accommodations because the first lady would be moving in shortly.
Grace Mugabe, the president's former secretary, has a reputation among many people as a profligate shopper. Before the European Union imposed travel bans on dozens of the Zimbabwean president's friends, relatives and cronies, numerous news reports said she frequently used state-owned Air Zimbabwe to go to London and Paris on shopping jaunts.
A list prepared by Justice for Agriculture, a new lobbying group for white farmers, says that about 200 army officers, influential businessmen and senior ZANU-PF members are the new owners of formerly white-owned farms.
Government officials say the eviction of 2,900 of the approximately 3,500 white farmers will be almost completed by the end of this month.
At this time of the year, the roads leading north and west of Harare usually are lined with maturing wheat fields. But this year, travelers drive through fields overgrown with weeds and thousands of felled indigenous trees.
Environmentalists say new settlers have resorted to cutting down trees and selling wood to buy food, leading to serious deforestation. Some estimates suggest that 50 percent of wildlife on private land have also been slaughtered for food.
Theo-Ben Gurirab said that land reform was a major priority for the government, together with poverty eradication.
In an interview with the BBC's Network Africa, he said he was disappointed that white farmers were not as "forthcoming as we'd like them to be" when it came to selling land for resettlement.
Germany owes us reparations, or otherwise the only road left for us as Africans will be the Zimbabwe way.
Paramount Chief Riruako of the Herero
The Paramount Chief of the Herero people of Namibia warned on Sunday that if his people were not paid reparations for crimes committed against them during the colonial era they would forcefully repossess farms, according to the Namibian news agency.
About 4,000, mostly white commercial farmers own just under half the arable land in Namibia.
Namibia's government is committed to the principle of "willing-buyer willing-seller" - which means no-one is forced to sell up, but if they do the state gets first refusal.
So far Namibia has avoided the violent scenes witnessed in neighbouring Zimbabwe.
The BBC's Southern Africa correspondent Alastair Leithead says that the land reform programme in Zimbabwe has raised the expectations of landless black farmers across southern Africa and generated fear of repossession among white farmers.
People died for land
The new prime minister, appointed in a cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday and sworn in on Wednesday, told the BBC that Namibia's land reform programme had been successful since its launch in June 1991.
Over 20 million Namibian dollars were being spent every year to buy farms for redistribution, he said.
But white farmers while not resisting the land reform policy were not offering enough land for sale, according to Mr Gurirab.
Land reform was a priority and Namibians who risked their lives during the fight for independence did so "for freedom and land", the prime minister said.
His comments followed those of Namibia's President, Sam Nujoma, at the congress of the ruling South-West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) at the weekend that "arrogant" white farmers must embrace the government's land reform programme.
He told party members that 192 farms that were not being utilised or were owned by "foreign absentee landlords" would be earmarked for repossession.
Compensation would be paid for those farms which were taken for redistribution, the president said.
Mr Gurirab's predecessor as Prime Minister, Hage Geingob, said on Tuesday that he was resigning from the government.
He declined the post of Regional and Local Government Minister, offered to him by President Nujoma following his removal as Prime Minister in the cabinet reshuffle, Namibian television reported.
Land reform and the issue of reparations for suffering during the colonial period are major issues for the Herero people of Namibia.
They make up about seven per cent of Namibia's 1.8 million inhabitants.
Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako of the Herero is leading the community's legal attempts to be paid reparations for the extermination campaign by the German government and German companies which operated in Namibia.
"We have been wronged. A decree was issued regarding our extermination and our properties were expropriated. In order to bring about equilibrium, bring reparations now," Chief Riruako demanded.
"Germany owes us reparations, or otherwise the only road left for us as Africans will be the Zimbabwe way."
Whites make up six per cent of the Namibian population and about one third of them are descended from German settlers.
By Jan Raath
Harare - President Robert Mugabe has ruled out any possibility of talks with the country's white farmers, and told them their rights to own property were second to blacks, state radio reported on Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, a Harare High Court judge ruled that eviction orders issued by the Zimbabwe government to 54 farmers were illegal and that the owners could return to their properties.
Jenni Williams, spokesperson for Justice for Agriculture, a lobby group for farmers fighting the Zimbabwe government in court, said that "justice has been served" by Judge Benjamin Paradza's decision.
|'There is no room for talks, there is no room for negotiations'|
|'They have no choice if they wish to lawfully acquire the farms in issue'|
Media24 Africa office
The World Summit on Sustainable Development's official programme shows that Mugabe has a speaking turn of seven minutes on Monday.
Zimbabwe's state-controlled newspaper, The Herald, reports that Mugabe will use the summit as platform to rally African leaders behind his controversial land-reform plan.
The United Nations and Commonwealth countries, Britain and Australia, in particular, are determined Mugabe will not hijack the summit to justify his actions.
They will expect South Africa and Nigeria, in particular, to take a strong stance, in or outside conference halls.
In Harare, the political opposition appealed to African leaders on Tuesday to use the summit to increase the pressure on Mugabe and to bring about positive changes in Zimbabwe.
The Movement for Democratic Change asked in a statement that African leaders in Sandton "use every possible opportunity" to express their aversion and opposition to tyrants such as Mugabe, and to increase diplomatic pressure on such regimes, said MDC deputy president Gibson Sibanda.
"Without a doubt, Mugabe will tell world leaders that his land-reform programme is an excellent example of sustainable development in practice. "In reality, Mugabe's approach to land reform has doomed millions of people to poverty and exposed them to famine, while its result on the environment is catastrophic."
In Angola, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appealed to Mugabe to implement a land-reform programme that is subject to the rule of law and to bring to an end the economic and food crises in Zimbabwe, according to Reuters.
Annan is visiting several countries in southern
Africa before taking part in the Earth Summit.
|McKinnon, who is on a three-day visit to
Bangladesh, expressed the determination during his courtesy call on Prime
Minister Khaleda Zia at her office.
Khaleda and the secretary general agreed that "democracy and development go together and one strengthens the other".
|During the meeting, he profusely
praised the holding of free and fair polls in Bangladesh in October last
year, describing it as "exemplary". McKinnon said, "Commonwealth is
closely watching the political development in Pakistan and polls observers
from the Commonwealth countries, including Bangladesh, will be sent for
Speaking about the next Commonwealth Summit, scheduled to be held in Nigeria in December 2003, he said the theme of the Summit would be economic development in the Common-wealth, especially poverty alleviation and trade issues.
Welcoming the thrust the Commonwealth was putting on economic questions Khaleda spoke about her experiences in the SAARC in poverty alleviation in South Asia.
Foreign Minister Morshed Khan, PM's Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Siddique and Foreign Secretary Shamsher M Chowdhury were present. The secretary-general was accompanied by an official of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Khaleda also inquired of McKinnon about the situation in Zimbabwe and said Bangladesh is concerned about the welfare of its people. The secretary general said, "Unfortunately, there is no progress because of the attitude of President Mugabe."
McKinnon said Bangladesh has always played a useful role in the Commonwealth, saying he took note of the prime minister's insistence that more Bangladeshis should be employed in the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Khaleda made a strong plea for increasing the number of Commonwealth scholarships for Bangladeshi students for higher studies in Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
The Commonwealth chief executive recalled that the main emphasis of the Coolum Summit was on economic progress and poverty alleviation, and said the prime minister's contribution in this respect was recognised by all Commonwealth countries.
McKinnon, who is from New Zealand, is visiting Dhaka for the first time since the present government assumed power.
Comment from ZWNEWS, 28 August
Waiting for a miracle
By Michael Hartnack
Zimbabwe's new cabinet should have been announced in March in terms of the constitution. The delay by Robert Mugabe was intended to keep tempting patronage plums dangling for as long as possible, and to delude the South African and Nigerian governments about the possibility of a "cabinet of national unity.'' In the event, Mugabe has failed singularly to deliver anything like the national unity government envisaged by the South Africans and Nigerians. Such a cabinet would have included personalities such as retired University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Gordon Chavunduka, and Professor Masipula Sithole, widely regarded as being on the fringes of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Instead, Mugabe dropped the cabinet's only surviving realist, finance minister Simba Makoni, and left untouched his ruling Zanu PF hardliners, including the Nazi-style Gauleiter of the youth militias, Elliott Manyika. Reflecting Zimbabwe's growing isolation, Mugabe called this line-up a "fully fledged war council."
Makoni, 52, was ditched after 25 months of fruitless pleading for sensible exchange rates, an end to self-inflicted destruction of the economy, and a reopening of relations with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The only marvel is that Makoni has lasted so long. His exit must finally awaken South Africa's ANC from the dream that a "new Zanu" will show that moribund liberation movements can regain respectability. Mugabe was aiming at Makoni when he said last year: "If some of you are getting weak-kneed, tell us, and we will continue with the struggle. I want those I can call amadoda sibili (real men), people with a spine. And if you do not have a spine please tell us and we will say goodbye in a friendly way." Herbert Murerwa returns to the Treasury, having proved helpless in 1998 when Mugabe embarked on the road to bankruptcy with his Congo adventure and his ruinous grants to ex-guerrillas. Mugabe's cousin Witness Mangwende comes back as transport minister. He has since 1980 left a trail of ruin at foreign affairs, information and at agriculture. Untouched are agriculture minister Joseph Made (who insisted there would be no need to import grain), justice minister Patrick Chinamasa (who had dragged Zimbabwe's reputation for the rule of law through the mire), and information minister Jonathan Moyo. Mugabe has with their help demonstrated his ability to mobilise the dregs of society under the guise of "war veterans", to impose his will on Zimbabweans. It is a technique which may become the common currency of Zimbabwean political life.
This week's distortion by Moyo's propaganda machine of remarks from US assistant secretary of state Walter Kansteiner poses a direct threat to all those still struggling for the legal decencies. Kansteiner said the Bush Administration does not recognise the legitimacy of Mugabe's presidency and is working to support civil society, in the hope fresh elections may take place in a more democratic atmosphere. State-run media lied that Kansteiner had said Bush was working through critics of Mugabe's regime, including independent journalists, to overthrow Mugabe. There is clear menace in this lie.
The Commercial Farmers' Union still urges compromise. It is conventional wisdom that bullies must be stood up to. On the other hand, homicidal maniacs may have to be kept talking, to try to prevent their killing people indiscriminately. How to classify those who invade food-producing farms during a famine, their eyes bloodshot with dagga, saying they don't care whether courts have set aside "Section 8" seizure and eviction notices or not? Bullies or maniacs? Can CFU president Colin Cloete be blamed for continuing to seek dialogue despite being arrested by police and dragged before the magistrates? Cloete's insane case is typical of those facing many of his 4 000 members. He himself owns only one (319 hectare) farm, which is not subject to a Section 8 order. He was arrested for continuing to work his 82-year-old father's neighbouring 435 hectares on which the Section 8 order has been temporarily set aside by the Administrative Court. His Zimbabwe $5 000 bail bans him from return to his father's farm (where Cloete himself has his homestead), but his 22-year-old son Rodney is allowed to keep the irrigation going on 70 hectares of wheat and barley there. What is he to do?
Farmers, independent journalists, supporters of civil society, hang on like besieged but amazingly disciplined pockets of resistance in a chaotic battle zone, trying to keep their nerves in the face of mob hysteria. We may seem to be praying for a miracle, but what we are really doing is watching for signs that the forces of barbarism may be about to inflict on themselves, through their own conceited stupidity, the sort of reverses they have already inflicted on the country at large. The signs are already there. Without waiting to study Mugabe's largely meaningless cabinet reshuffle, or the results of UN secretary general Kofi Annan's visit to the region, we know these forces have lost any sense of reality and all leadership.
For those in London:
Saturday 31 August – the second Zimfest will be held at the Barn Elms Sports Centre, Queen Elizabeth Walk, Barnes from 12 noon onwards. Nearest Undergrounds Hammersmith, Putney Bridge. Nearest train stations Barnes, Putney. Funds raised will benefit a number of Zimbabwean charities. Details at www.we-online.org .
For those in the Johannesburg area:
Sunday 1 September – there will be a march to protest the human and environmental abuses in Zimbabwe at the World Summit for Sustainable Development. Assemble at 9:30 am at the junction of Mary Rd, Boundary Rd, and Sandton Dr in Sandton. March will last from 10:00 am to 12 noon.
From The Washington Post, 28 August
Out of Africa - and into a residency at Boston U.
Attention, African leaders: Don't wait to be forced from office in a messy coup - Boston University wants to show you the art of giving up your job gracefully. The private university announced yesterday that it has created a residency program to foster democracy in Africa by demonstrating to the continent's leaders that there is life after office. The first head of state to take part in the Lloyd G. Balfour African Presidents in Residence Program will be Kenneth Kaunda, who led Zambia to independence in 1964, then ruled the southern African state for 27 years. During the coming year, the school will furnish Kaunda with a house in Boston's posh Back Bay district, round-the-clock security and a stipend of an undisclosed amount. In exchange, Kaunda will give lectures and take part in policy discussions on campus and across the country. His papers will also be compiled by the university's African Presidential Archives and Research Program.
Charles Stith, a former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania who now runs the African presidential archives at Boston University, said Kaunda is the first of what he hopes will be a long line of African leaders to take part in the unique residency program. "What we're doing represents an example of the potential opportunities after the presidency. If that can serve as the impetus for some folks to move on [and leave office], then we're happy," he told Reuters. Stith said landing Kaunda was a "real coup" for the university. He will take up his one-year post next month. Democracy in Zambia had a bumpy ride under Kaunda, who declared the country a one-party state in 1972. Nearly two decades later, he called multiparty elections and stepped down gracefully when he lost to trade union leader Frederick Chiluba. "He's really a man for all seasons," Stith said of Kaunda. "He is a living embodiment of Africa's past struggle against colonization, and his commitment to democracy and free-market reform makes him a symbol of Africa's present and future challenge to live with globalization."
Stith said he had his eye on at least a dozen current or former African leaders to succeed Kaunda, including former South African presidents Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk, who helped negotiate the country's transition from apartheid. Others on his short list include current Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, former Botswanan president Ketumile Masire and former Ghanaian president Jerry Rawlings. "There are a significant number of folks who are in their last terms and folks who are presently out [of power] who represent a pretty deep reservoir to tap," Stith said. Even Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, the former freedom fighter who led his country to independence in 1980 but who is now widely seen as a tyrant, has not been ruled out. Stith said the program is open to those leaders who abided by the democratic process even if - like Kaunda - they strayed from the path during their term in office. "Anybody who falls under those criteria, we're certainly willing and interested in considering," he said. "Depending on what President Mugabe decides to do, if for instance he stepped aside at a duly scheduled and legitimate election, we'd certainly look at it