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

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UK forces reported ready for Zim evacuation

      August 29 2002 at 06:14AM

London - Britain's elite SAS commandos have conducted reconnaissance
missions along Zimbabwe's border to ready for a possible evacuation of
British citizens, the Daily Telegraph newspaper said on Thursday.

Citing unidentified defence officials, the newspaper said military planners
were finalising road and air evacuation plans for an estimated 20 000
British citizens, mostly white farmers.

A Foreign Office official denied the government was moving to implement
contingency plans in Zimbabwe.

The Telegraph said the plan would involve 250 paratroopers who were
conducting a two-month training exercise with South African troops starting
in October.

      The plan would involve 250 paratroopers
The exercise will include Royal Air Force transport aircraft, which would be
used to fly British citizens from Harare airport, the officials said.

Evacuations could also be made by road into South Africa, they said.

The Ministry of Defence dismissed the report, saying the exercise had
"nothing to do" with the situation in Zimbabwe.

"It has been a long-planned air concentration exercise involving bilateral
training with South Africa," an MOD spokesperson told reporters.

In the face of international criticism, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has
moved ahead with his plans to seize at least 2 900 of the country's 4 500
white-owned commercial farms and turn them over to landless blacks.
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Sydney Morning Herald

Britain readies evacuation plan in case slaughter begins
By Michael Smith in London
August 30 2002

Britain's Special Air Service has reconnoitred the border between South
Africa and Zimbabwe in preparation for a possible evacuation of British
citizens, defence officials say.

The purpose of its mission was to identify co-ordination points inside
Zimbabwe where the Britons - mainly white farmers - could be collected
before a mass convoy into South Africa.

The British Ministry of Defence's permanent joint headquarters at Northwood,
Middlesex, has also drawn up plans for a Royal Air Force evacuation of other
British citizens by plane from Harare airport.

The contingency plans to move the estimated 20,000 British citizens inside
Zimbabwe include the use of RAF transport aircraft and members of the
Parachute Regiment, who will be on exercise in South Africa from the end of
next month until December.

There are another 20,000 whites in the country, almost all of them
Zimbabwean nationals.

Up to 300 men from the Parachute Regiment will spend three months carrying
out trials jumping from the new C130J Hercules transport aircraft. Their
exercises will be carried out with the South African National Defence Force.

The British Ministry of Defence said the exercise was "absolutely not"
connected to the situation in Zimbabwe.

The Foreign Office played down any connection between the dispatch of the
troops and the crisis in Zimbabwe.

"We keep contingency plans up to date for most parts of the world, but we
are not moving to implement any such plans for Zimbabwe," a spokesman said.

But defence officials said on Wednesday that the paratroopers were part of
the contingency plans and would be ideally placed if troops were needed for
a defensive escort for any evacuation.

"There is a lack of willingness by UK Plc to get involved because any
intervention will be bloody, and if we are forced to go in, it will not be
easy," one official said. "Zimbabwe is a well-armed country. But if the war
veterans start to evict farmers and there is mass slaughter of UK nationals,
we will be forced to intervene."

Military planners at Northwood were putting the final touches to a national
evacuation plan that could require British troops to go in for a very brief
period, "possibly just 24 hours", the officials said.

Although the Defence Ministry has made it clear it does not want to deploy
troops into Zimbabwe, the possibility of the need for a mass evacuation has
increased with President Robert Mugabe's latest attempts to drive white
farmers off their land.

He ordered 2900 of the remaining 4500 white farmers to quit their land
without compensation by August 8. About 60 per cent have defied the deadline
and almost 300 have been arrested and charged.

Mr Mugabe says his land drive is aimed at righting past wrongs..
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Harare radio station bombed
August 29, 2002 Posted: 7:23 AM EDT (1123 GMT)

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- An independent radio station in Harare has been targeted
in a bomb attack.

No one was hurt in Thursday's attack on the "Voice of the People" station
which is privately-run and funded by local and foreign donations.

Takura Zhangasha, of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, said two armed
men confronted a guard on duty at the station shortly after midnight and
told him to leave.

They then hurled an explosive device into the one-storey building.

Faith Ndebele, head of the station, refused to speculate on who carried out
the bombing, but said it was an attack on free speech.

"For us this is an attack on free speech, and very sad for those who relied
on our broadcasts for alternative views and opinions," she told reporters.

Zimbabwe has one state-owned national broadcasting corporation and critics
say President Robert Mugabe's government is moving slowly in opening up the

In the past two years, the offices and the printing press of Zimbabwe's only
privately-owned daily newspaper -- The Daily News -- have also been wrecked
in bomb attacks.

No-one has been arrested in connection with the incidents.

Earlier this year, Mugabe's government introduced new tough laws against the
media which critics say are designed to curb press freedom and criticism of
his rule.

But the government says the laws -- including those that penalise the
publication of "falsehoods" by jail terms -- are meant to introduce ethical
behaviour among journalists.
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Claims that SAS to evacuate farmers

SAS commandos have conducted reconnaissance missions along Zimbabwe's border
in preparation for a possible evacuation of British citizens.

According to reports today, Ministry of Defence sources said military
planners were finalising road and air evacuation plans for an estimated
20,000 British citizens, mostly white farmers.

However, a Foreign Office official denied the Government was moving to
implement contingency plans in Zimbabwe.

The plan is said to involve 250 paratroopers who were conducting a two-month
training exercise with South African troops starting in October.

The exercise would also include Royal Air Force transport aircraft, which
would be used to fly British citizens from Harare airport, sources said.

Evacuations could also be made by road into South Africa, they said.

But the MoD dismissed the report, saying the exercise had "nothing to do"
with the situation in Zimbabwe. "It has been a long-planned air
concentration exercise involving bilateral training with South Africa," a
spokesman said.

In the face of international criticism, Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe
has moved ahead with his plans to seize at least 2900 of the country's 4500
white-owned commercial farms and turn them over to landless blacks.

Yesterday, a government official said the land seizure programme would
continue, despite a ruling by the Zimbabwe High Court which cancelled
eviction orders against 54 white farmers.

The ruling was the latest in a series of court setbacks for Mr Mugabe's
policy of taking farms without paying compensation.
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Thursday, 29 August, 2002, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
Zimbabwean radio building blown up
Zanu supporters
President Mugabe's Zanu party is hostile to the media
A building housing an independent radio station in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, has been destroyed in an explosion.

The building's roof caved in after the blast, according to the BBC's Lewis Machipisa in Harare.

Staff at the Voice of the People station told the BBC that they suspected that the building had been bombed - there has been no confirmation of this from the police.

The incident occurs against a background of government action to control the independent media and criticisms by ministers that the media is conducting a campaign against the government.

Journalists in Zimbabwe accuse the government of trying to muzzle the media.


The Reuters news agency reported that a bomb had caused the blast.

It says that two armed men confronted the security guard on duty at the privately-run radio station shortly after midnight and told him to leave.

President Robert Mugabe
Mugabe passed the new media law days after his re-election

The agency says Takura Zhangasha, an advocate with the Media Institute of Southern Africa told them that the men " then hurled an explosive device into the one-storey building".

The French agency, AFP, also reported that a bomb exploded early on Thursday morning at the Voice of the People offices.

New media laws introduced in Zimbabwe in March restricted the activities of private radio stations.

The Voice of the People recorded radio material which was sent to the Netherlands from where it was broadcast on short-wave to avoid breaking the media curbs.

Government hostility

Workers arrived for work at Voice of the People on Thursday morning to find that the building was in ruins.

The BBC's Lewis Machipisa reports that the staff said that one of their colleagues had not turned up for work but they did not know why.

In the past few years there have been physical attacks on the independent media, with two bomb attacks against the Daily News newspaper.

More recently Zimbabwean and foreign journalists based there have been arrested by the government. Several have been charged with offences under the new media laws.

In July, the courts acquitted an Andrew Meldrum, an American journalist based in Zimbabwe, of breaking new, strict media laws.

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Daily News

      56 farmers win reprieve

      8/29/02 8:56:33 AM (GMT +2)

      By Lloyd Mudiwa Court Reporter

      FIFTY-SIX commercial farmers in Mashonaland West province yesterday
won a reprieve in the High Court in Harare to continue farming in the face
of the ongoing forced evictions from their properties.

      But their lawyer told the court he had received a telephone call
threatening to kill him if he continued to represent the farmers. The High
Court set aside the Section 8 the government issued for the compulsory
acquisition of their farms by 10 August.

      Judge Benjamin Paradza gave the directives after the government
conceded the compulsory acquisition orders it had issued were invalid and of
no effect.
      "I will grant the order as amended in all these matters," said the

      Paradza's colleague, Justice Charles Hungwe, last Wednesday postponed
the granting of the orders, although the State had conceded that 38 of the
56 eviction orders were not served according to the procedures and were thus

      The State had failed to oppose the applications, setting aside the
evictions in the remaining cases, within the prescribed time.

      Nelson Mutsonziwa of the Attorney-General's Office had asked for a
delay, saying if the orders were granted last week, there would be serious
security problems for the farmers, the new settlers and their properties.
Mutsonziwa yesterday said the government abided by the responses it made
early this month to the farmers, mostly from Hurungwe district, challenging
the validity of the acquisition orders. The responses stated that the orders
were of no force and effect. "The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement abides by the responses filed of record and consents to the
orders being sought by the applicants," Mutsonziwa said. He said the
government had consented to the granting of the orders because it failed to
serve the Section 5 Preliminary Notice on the real rights owners registered
against the properties before it issued the Section 8 Eviction Notice

      Justice Charles Hungwe early this month ruled that a mortgaged farm
could not be taken over for resettlement by the State without first
informing the institution holding the bond.

      Jeremy Callow, who represented 46 of the farmers, yesterday informed
Paradza that he had received a threatening telephone call at his home on
Monday morning, in connection with the land cases.

      "At 6:25 am on Monday I received an anonymous threatening phone call,"
he said.
      "I was told that if I was seen again in Karoi I would be killed. "As
an officer of the court I want it noted down. One is sadly reminded of the
regrettable incident a few weeks ago involving magistrates in Chipinge."
      The Chipinge Magistrates' Courts were closed for two days after
suspected Zanu PF supporters attacked the resident magistrate accusing him
of giving judgments favouring

      Some of the farmers Callow was representing yesterday are from the
Karoi area.
      Callow, who has already successfully defended several other farmers in
Karoi as well as the Chinhoyi farmers who were accused of attacking
resettled people, vowed to continue representing his clients.

      After Paradza's order, Jenni Williams, the spokeswoman for Justice for
Agriculture (JAG), a militant splinter of the Commercial Farmers Union,
said: "We are always happy when we receive a legal victory as long as it
remains a legal victory on the ground."

      Honey and Blanckenberg represented nine other farmers while Advocate
Harry Simpson appeared for one.
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Daily News

      Zesa prejudiced $9 million in scam involving senior employees

      8/29/02 9:05:52 AM (GMT +2)

      By Pedzisai Ruhanya Chief Reporter

      THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) could have been
prejudiced of millions of dollars in lost revenue in an alleged scam
involving officials at Original Technology (OT) and a senior employee of the
power utility, according to court records.

      Three weeks ago, Thandiwe Sithole appeared in the Harare Magistrates'
Court for defrauding Zesa of $8 961 408. She was granted $50 000 bail. She
is a principal technician at Zesa.

      According to the court record, sometime between 28 August 2001 and 11
July 2002, Sithole connived with officials from OT and another company,
Saskoale Enterprises, to defraud her employer.

      The State alleged that Sithole facilitated orders for the two
companies where she ordered a total of 750 single phase energy meters.

      The two companies only delivered 156 meters at Zesa premises in

      Chris Msipa is a director at OT. He said three weeks ago, Ezekiel
Madzikanda, OT's managing director was arrested by the police but released
after the Attorney General Office said there was no case against him.

      Madzikanda is a former employee of Zesa.

      Msipa is the son of the Midlands provincial governor, Cephas Msipa.
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Daily News

      State drops charges against MDC members

      8/29/02 9:06:28 AM (GMT +2)

      From Chris Gande in Bulawayo

      FOUR MDC members accused of receiving military training at the party's
provincial offices in Bulawayo had their charges withdrawn by the Attorney
General (AG)'s Office because of lack of evidence.

      Initially, Ronnie Zulu, 32, Sithabiso Mangala, 29, Ferdinand Dropper,
31, and Alexander Khanye, 37, were accused of involvement in the murder of
war veteran Cain Nkala last year.

      The State alleged that between 1 and 11 November last year, the men
held meetings during which they were trained by Sonny Nicholas Masera in how
to assassinate Zanu PF supporters.

      They were allegedly taught how to handcuff the victims and strangle
them with twine.
      The four were on $5 000 bail each and had been reporting to their
nearest police station once every week.

      The police had argued that if they were granted bail they "were likely
to commit further offences of terrorism".

      Nicholas Mathonsi of Webb, Lowe and Barry, who represented the four,
had lodged a chamber application for variation of bail conditions when the
AG's Office said the charges had been dropped.

      The State had alleged that the accused had been implicated by
witnesses and had refused to disclose the identity of the witnesses "for
security reasons".
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Daily News

      Mugabe accepts blame for famine

      8/29/02 9:08:13 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Masvingo

      President Mugabe on Tuesday accepted blame for the current food
shortages, but in the same breath ordered white farmers resisting forced
evictions from their properties to leave the country.

      Mugabe told his supporters at Triangle in Chiredzi, Masvingo province,
the country had not prepared for the food disaster and regretted the
shortages of basic commodities.

      Mugabe said: "We were caught unaware and next time we should not be
found wanting if a similar drought occurs.

      "We had not realised that we could have a winter crop here, but the
drought has taught us
      a lesson. No one had any idea whether the crop would be good or not,
but we just tried."

      After addressing the rally in Chiredzi, Mugabe went to Gibbon Stadium
where he said white commercial farmers resisting eviction must leave the

      He said there would be no negotiations on the land issue.

      Mugabe said: "If white commercial farmers want to stay in this country
they should leave the whole issue to us, so that we can give them portions
of land.

      "Those who are not willing to do so should leave the country.

      "Whether they want to leave by road, by bicycles, or on foot or by air
we will show them the way."
      Mugabe described white farmers as "totemless" people who should not
dictate to the
      indigenous people.

      His remarks are against the background of scores of white farmers
being ordered to move off their properties. Some have pending cases in the
courts for allegedly contravening Section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act
which gave effect to the evictions.

      Mugabe launched his customary attack on British Prime Minister Tony
Blair, describing him as gay.

      He said the opposition MDC was a party of lesbians and gays.

      Mugabe said all factories shut by their owners would be investigated
thoroughly, claiming some of them stopped production to force him out of

      "We want to know if they closed down due to viability problems or
because they wanted people to be out of employment so that they would revolt
against me.

      "We are going to take over some of these factories and give them to
the workers," he said.

      Earlier, Mugabe toured the Lowveld where a winter maize crop is being
grown on over
      1 800 hectares of land.

      The land was seized from Triangle, Hippo Valley and Mkwatsine estates.

      The winter maize project is the brainchild of Masvingo Provincial
Governor Josaya Hungwe.

      Some shops in the agricultural town of Triangle were ordered to close
to allow people to attend Mugabe's rally.
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Daily News - Leader Page

      Public must know what the government is up to

      8/29/02 8:52:30 AM (GMT +2)

      THE right of the public to know what the government is up to is almost
sacrosanct. They pay the taxes which keep the wheels of the public service
running. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development's annual budget
speech may go some way to provide an indication of this, but it's the
government's unsigned contract with the people that it must be open with
them, especially where their money is concerned.

      Last Monday's swearing-in ceremony of President Mugabe's not-so-new
Cabinet was closed to the independent media. Their readers were denied the
chance to read what went on at that ceremony, funded entirely with their tax
money. Unofficially, the independent media were told they had no invitations
to this public function, held at State House, which is not owned by Zanu PF
and is funded entirely by the taxpayer. The privately-owned Press, which
operates legally in Zimbabwe and whose companies pay Company Tax like any
other company, and whose journalists pay income tax like any other worker,
was barred from covering this ceremony.

      There may have been ideological reasons, but they cannot possibly
justify a ban on the coverage of a function funded by the taxpayers' money.
If this an example of the government's mounting paranoia, then it is time to
ask Parliament to intervene.

      The arrogance of the Department of Information and Publicity, which
presumably issued the "invitations", is incredible. Mugabe may have been
re-elected in controversial circumstances, but his presidency is funded by
the taxpayers' money. Readers of the independent newspapers pay taxes as
faithfully and regularly as do readers of the State-owned newspapers and
listeners and viewers of the radio and television networks - or else they
would be in jail for tax evasion.

      They are entitled to know what the government is doing with their
money, whether it is to stage a lavish Cabinet swearing-in ceremony at State
House or for the President to fly down to Chiredzi to inspect an irrigation
scheme. Once he was sworn in as President after the controversial election
in March, Mugabe became President of Zimbabwe, not just of Zanu PF. Even
those voters who voted against him are entitled to his respect and
consideration in everything he does on their behalf. It is their money which
keeps his presidency running: he owes them that much, at the very least.

      There are some in Zanu PF and in the government who may feel that
because the independent media was generally negative about Mugabe's
re-election they ought to be punished, such as being excluded from all
government functions and ceremonies.

      Such an attitude is as juvenile and petulant as that of the official
police spokesman who refuses to speak officially to the independent media,
citing a vague conflict whose origins seem so esoteric they are difficult to
tabulate here.

      The police spokesman is paid from taxpayers' money. How he can openly
refuse to perform a public duty for which he is paid from public funds is
again the height of arrogance. Again, this is a matter which Parliament
ought to take up.
      As some people have said, there ought to be a law against this sort of
practice - public officials refusing to perform their public duties on some
petty, personal pretext.

      The bigger picture revolves around the government's overall attitude
towards the privately-owned Press. If this is the democracy that people died
for in 15 years of struggle, then it is unconscionable for anyone in Zanu PF
and the government to believe that any group of people or institutions who
disagree with the policies of the ruling party are necessarily unpatriotic
and plotting with foreigners to bring down the government.

      This sort of persecution mania is unworthy of the government and even
Zanu PF, whose membership must include a number of level-headed citizens.
What they need to do is to neutralise the lunatic fringe in their midst, and
let the public get its money's worth.
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Daily News

      Workers allege corruption at CSC

      8/29/02 8:45:08 AM (GMT +2)

      By Sandra Mujokoro in Bulawayo

      THE alleged corruption plaguing the Cold Storage Company (CSC) assumed
a higher level with workers making fresh claims against the financially
troubled company.
      It has emerged that the CSC did not make the statutory income tax and
medical aid payments to the relevant institutions after deducting the two
items from workers' July salaries.

      In addition to this, assets of considerable value, including a
refrigerator and tills, were attached by an unnamed financial institution
from one of CSC's Meat Pride branches in Harare over the non-payment of
debts, months after the government reportedly inherited CSC's debts.

      Leonard Kuzondishaya, the Assistant General-Secretary of the Food and
Allied Workers Union under which CSC workers fall, said assets and equipment
seized by the messenger of court earlier this year over huge, unserviced
debts, had still not been returned.

      He said the situation was so bad that workers were being advised by
the union to check if management had made Aids levy payments to the National
Social Security Authority after making the deductions on their salaries.

      Kuzondishaya confirmed the workers' suspicions that corruption was
rife saying a number of managers who were put on suspension two years ago
not only received their full salaries but also retained company cars and
houses in addition to using CSC fuel before being reinstated this year.
"What then was the use of the suspension? It was a waste of money and it is
just one instance of the corruption at the CSC," he said.

      Workers at the CSC's Bulawayo branch said the company made medical aid
deductions on their June salaries but CIMAS, their medical aid provider,
said it was no longer doing business with the company. A worker who refused
to be named, said: "Apart from robbing us of our hard earned money, it poses
a huge problem when our children fall sick and our medical aid cards are
suddenly and arbitrarily declared useless."

      Apparently, the problem of non-payment of salaries was not restricted
to Harare alone but extended to Bulawayo where workers said they only got
their July salaries on the weekend but had not received their August dues.

      Bulawayo workers said they could not continue working under such
conditions and were demanding exit packages so they could seek employment
elsewhere. Another worker who refused to be named said the company had
transferred him and several others from Marondera and Harare with the
promise of accommodation but to date he had to foot his own rental bills.

      Kuzondishaya said the CSC's problems were cause for concern for the
entire nation as the company was a national asset which deserved more
attention than it was getting from the government.

      The CSC has reportedly failed to fulfil its export quota to the
Democratic Republic of Congo as well as to the European Union and South

      Six CSC branches have been closed nationwide including strategic ones
like Gweru and Mutare which before its closure in 1999 made a profit of $1,8
million a month.

      Workers are also questioning the significance of having a top-heavy
structure which has 43 managers for 1 255 workers reflecting a ratio of
1:29. They also came out against the sale of machinery which management
claimed was obsolete and the closure of the company's transport department
which resulted in an increase in expenses.
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Daily News

      Iran, Zambia only countries exhibiting at Harare Show

      8/29/02 8:46:21 AM (GMT +2)

      By Mabasa Sasa

      THIS year's Harare Agricultural Show, which started on Monday, has
only two international exhibitors and a drastically reduced number of
commercial agriculture displays as compared to all the previous years.

      Iran and Zambia are the only countries with stands at this year's
      Oliver Gawe, the information officer for the Zimbabwe Agricultural
Show Society, (ZAS), said the significant drop in the number of
international exhibitors was not surprising as most of them usually
preferred attending the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, (ZITF), which
starts later in the year.

      Gawe further indicated that it was not the job of ZAS officials to
invite foreign exhibitors. He said this was the responsibility of foreign
embassies in the country.

      "It is really a big problem," Gawe said. "The prospects are good and
contrary to reports going around, business has not been severely damaged."

      Entries in the maize section totalled 136, which is 22 less than last
year's total of 158 while entries in the cotton growers category increased
to 139 from last year's 125.

      This was largely attributed to the increased number of small-scale
entrants in this year's edition after the Commercial Farmers Union, (CFU),
boycotted the show because of the harassment they have been subjected to by
the government since war veterans started invading white-owned farms in 2000

      Tobacco entrants were more than halved from 76 last year to only 32
this year while the only livestock on display was being exhibited by various
primary schools.

      The number of exhibitors displaying market garden produce increased
significantly from 272 last year to this year's 315 while the number of
honey producers at the show shot up from last year's eight to 103 due to the
increased participation of local small-scale producers in the field.

      Gawe said first day figures for ticket sales were encouraging as 576
more people walked in through the gates this year in comparison to last
year, making this year's first day total a relatively modest 2 924. "Numbers
increase later on during the week, so we can't complain," Gawe said.
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Daily News


      Political violence is against freedom

      8/29/02 8:49:11 AM (GMT +2)

      REPORTS of political violence appear in Zimbabwe's print media daily.

      Such reports are broadcast by the State-controlled electronic media
only if the victims are ruling Zanu PF party members, or if the alleged
perpetrator is an opposition party member or perceived to be one.

      A few weeks ago, a magistrate in Chipinge was reported to have been
dragged out of a courtroom and assaulted by a mob suspected to be Zanu PF
members. A lawyer in Mutare was threatened and had to hide for several days.

      Earlier, many teachers in various parts of Zimbabwe were reported to
have been assaulted and some schools were, in fact, temporarily closed down
because of such violence caused by Zanu PF members and some war veterans, or
people claiming to be war veterans.

      It is well known that whenever violence has occurred against Zanu PF,
the government-controlled media hysterically highlights it, condemning it in
the strongest possible terms, at times in emotive words that should not be
uttered by any responsible national leader.

      But when the culprits are Zanu PF, and the victims are members of the
MDC (and most of the time that is the case), the government and its media
are so quiet that, to any normal human being, it is deeply embarrassing.

      But we should, of course, always remember that the Zanu PF leader,
Robert Mugabe, once publicly boasted that Zanu PF leaders, including
himself, had "many degrees in violence".

      In addition to that frightening declaration, listeners and viewers of
Zimbabwe's electronic media always hear one of Zanu PF's top leaders, Elliot
Manyika, sing a song titled Zvinoda Kushinga in which he repeatedly says
"Zanu ndeyeropa" (Zanu PF is for blood).

      It is unfortunate that political violence should still be a part of
the social life of Zimbabwe, 22 years after independence. It is also tragic
that the violence is perpetrated in the vast number of cases by the party
that claims to have brought about that nationhood.

      When the people of Zimbabwe joined the liberation struggle,
sacrificing their very lives, time and material resources, their objective
was to achieve freedom for every individual as well as for the entire
population of Zimbabwe in general.

      It was the belief of everyone in the liberation movement that in an
independent Zimbabwe, we would all be free to express our political,
cultural, economic and social aspirations, not only verbally, but
graphically and by deed through a truly free franchise system.

      It was also every Zimbabwean's honest hope that we would create a
nation where equality before the law would be established and defended by
every mentally normal person, particularly those who spearheaded the
liberation struggle.

      It never occurred to normal minds that we would one day in an
independent Zimbabwe experience a physical attack on a member of the
judiciary, and that the government of an independent Zimbabwe would take
such an occurrence lightly, its police force standing idly by while those
responsible for meting out justice through the country's legal system, and
distributors of enlightenment are physically brutalised with impunity by
hordes of obvious social misfits.

      And yet that is what we see happening today in an independent

      It is important to point out to those who delight in violence that
violence is against freedom for which this nation sacrificed most dearly.
The liberation struggle was all about creating a socio-economic environment
characterised by the enjoyment of our rights as enshrined in the country's

      The independence of the judiciary is one of the things for which we
took up arms to establish, and so was the right for everyone to pursue their
professions, trades, vocations and hobbies, unhindered.

      It is not understandable how a state whose head is a former
professional schoolteacher, and many of whose ministries and departments are
headed by former schoolteachers,
      can allow thugs to brutalise its schoolteachers, never mind for
whatever reason.

      It is also a piece of tragic irony that an administration whose
spokesman has repeatedly claimed that it (the administration) respects the
rule of law can allow, no, in effect abet, political thugs to terrorise its

      Schoolteachers are professionals whose very first responsibility to
society is to be role models. Even auxiliary school personnel deserve
respect, and must also reciprocate by behaving respectably in their everyday

      Thugs cannot argue that teachers are accountable to the communities
served by their respective schools, and that as part of the communities,
they (the thugs) have a right to assault them for not supporting the same
political party as theirs.

      That argument is absolutely nonsensical because teachers, like the
thugs themselves, have a constitutional right to support a political party
of their own choice without let or hindrance from whatever quarter or by
whomever, war veteran or former Selous Scout of the Smith regime.

      What right has anyone got to force someone else to support a political
organisation they do not like?

      None whatsoever, and that is what freedom is all about.

      The political preference of each individual is that individual's
sacrosanct right, as sacrosanct as that individual's right to choose his or
her own spouse, or his or her own religion. That right is a part of that
individual's personal freedom. It is blatantly
      criminal to violate that right by inflicting violence against anyone.

      The law enforcement personnel of Zimbabwe have an inescapable duty to
protect this right by dealing firmly with those who violate it. That is what
the rule of law demands.
      It is shocking that in this day and age we still have political
leaders in Zimbabwe who depend on physical violence to stay in power.

      Why does it not painfully prick their conscience that their political
party's violence is causing pain, misery, death, destruction and destitution
among the people it claims to have liberated?

      We have widows, widowers, orphans, cripples and destitutes in Zimbabwe
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'Zim Ready to Defend Plan'

The Herald (Harare)

August 29, 2002
Posted to the web August 29, 2002

THE Government yesterday described plans by the Commonwealth troika on
Zimbabwe to discuss Harare on the sidelines of the United Nations Earth
Summit in South Africa as "risky" and bound to destroy the 54-nation

The Minister of State for Information and Publicity Professor Jonathan Moyo
said if the prime ministers of the racist white Commonwealth thought they
could intimidate African leaders or beat Zimbabwe into another racist
submission "then they ain't seen nothing yet".

Prof Moyo said Zimbabwe was ready to defend its programme to redress the
vestiges of colonialism by equitably redistributing land to the previously
marginalised blacks.

"If (Jean) Chretien (the Canadian Prime Minister) wants to come to
Johannesburg to discuss Zimbabwe on the sidelines of the summit, he is most
welcome if his intention is to help rid Southern Africa of the vestiges of
colonialism because sustainable development will not happen in the region
unless the legacies of colonialism and apartheid are buried in real terms,"
he said from Johannesburg where he is attending the Earth Summit.

He was responding to Mr Chretien's comments that he wants to hold
discussions with international partners about the perceived deteriorating
situation in Zimbabwe on the sidelines of the Earth Summit in South Africa.

"But if Chretien thinks he can intimidate African leaders or beat Zimbabwe
into another racist submission then he ain't seen nothing yet.

"We are having a UN meeting in Johannesburg and not a British Commonwealth
picnic. Therefore, all the talk about the so-called troika on Zimbabwe
having meetings on the sidelines of the summit to discuss ways of punishing
Zimbabwe is risky business.

"They can only succeed in destroying the Commonwealth. So if there is anyone
who wants to destroy the Commonwealth that is their own indaba. They should
leave us alone to complete our historical struggle for social justice," Prof
Moyo said.

He said the time had come for Africans and indeed the rest of the world to
tell the Prime Ministers of the white Commonwealth that colonial crimes
against humanity in Zimbabwe or anywhere else for that matter would neither
be forgotten or rewarded.

"They must be redressed in very fundamental ways. The Chretiens of this
world are going too far to the point of not only wanting to hold the welfare
of millions of black Zimbabweans hostage to the racist interests of less
than 4 000 white farmers who are direct beneficiaries of untold crimes
against humanity perpetrated against Zimbabweans by murderous, thieving and
looting British colonialists."

Prof Moyo added: "The world would be a much better place for everyone if the
racist prime ministers of the white Commonwealth could be as hysterical and
single-minded in their support for sustainable development for billions of
people in the Third World as they are for a handful of white farmers in
Zimbabwe who are willy-nilly defying and breaking the law just because they
are white and carry British, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand

The minister said the prime ministers wanted to abuse a meeting intended to
discuss sustainable development to take care of the interests of less 4 000
white farmers in Zimbabwe.

"That is obscene and insulting to the whole of mankind. So it would be
foolish for the prime ministers of the Commonwealth like Chretien to come to
Africa with a colonial attitude and racist arrogance of instructing African
leaders on Zimbabwe.

"If they do that they will get a rude awakening because everyone is now sick
and tired of the racist Commonwealth against Zimbabwe," Prof Moyo said.

Following Government's resolute stance to complete the agrarian reforms and
empower the majority of the indigenous people in the country, the West led
by Britain and the United States, has intensified its demonisation campaign
against Zimbabwe in support of the white farmers.

The US announced last week that it was plotting to topple President Mugabe
with the help of Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa, the local private
media and opposition elements in the country.

The British-created and funded Amani Trust has also heightened its spread of
falsehoods on Zimbabwe in a futile bid to influence the Earth Summit to
punish Zimbabwe.

But the Government remains unwavering in implementing the land reform
programme which it is carrying out in terms of the laws and constitution of
the country.

"We are not evicting anyone from their land but from State land in terms of
the laws and democratic constitution of Zimbabwe.

"We are not looting like what the colonialists did. There is no barbaric
looting as we saw during colonialism," Prof Moyo said.
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Bread Shortages Persist

The Herald (Harare)

August 29, 2002
Posted to the web August 29, 2002

BREAD shortages continue to affect most parts of Harare with long queues now
common at most retail outlets selling the commodity.

A survey conducted by The Herald yesterday established that most retail
shops had very little if any bread stocks at all.

Black market traders are cashing in on the crisis, with some selling the
commodity for as much as $100 instead of the recommended $60.

The shortage of bread has been blamed on dwindling wheat stocks.

Some bakery owners yesterday said the supply of flour was now erratic and at
times they received nothing.

"I last received my little flour supply from National Foods on Monday which
has since run out.

"At present we are not baking anything and the supplies are not certain. We
don't actually know when we will receive our next consignment," said the
managing director of retail outlet Food Fair, Mr Innocent Chisvo.

However, Bakers Inn was still operating at full capacity yesterday because
of its strategic flour reserves.

"We are operating at full capacity, producing 320 000 loaves a day but all
the same the flour supplies are not stable.

"We are only getting 20 percent of our requirements from National Foods.

"The Grain Marketing Board is also giving us 6 000 tonnes of flour instead
of 9 000 and our strategic reserves are about to get finished," said the
managing director of Bakers Inn Zimbabwe, Mr Mudumo Burombo.

However, no comment could be obtained from the suppliers.

The chairman of the Master Bakers Association, Mr Armitage Chikwavira, said
the bread shortage was being caused by the shortage of flour, which was now
being sourced from Middle Sabi where there were very little stocks.

The executive director of the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, Ms Elizabeth
Nerwande, said bread was not a luxury but a basic commodity which required
maximum attention.

"For most urban consumers bread is a staple food, its unavailability will
directly impact on consumers' welfare," she said.
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      Zimbabwe Radio Station Bombed, Activist Arrested

            August 29, 2002 02:20 PM ET

      By Cris Chinaka

      HARARE (Reuters) - Gunmen threw a bomb which exploded in a private
radio station widely regarded as anti-government in Zimbabwe's capital on
Thursday, but nobody was hurt in the blast, witnesses said.

      Separately, police arrested a human rights activist, drawing
accusations that Zimbabwe's pro-government forces were continuing to muzzle
opposition voices.

      "This attack on independent broadcasting sends another clear signal
that freedom of speech has no place in (President Robert) Mugabe's
Zimbabwe," British European Parliament member Glenys Kinnock said in a

      She urged African leaders at the Earth Summit in neighboring South
Africa to condemn Mugabe loudly when he addresses the world leaders there on

      Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change condemned the
attack, saying it proved that "sinister elements" in Zimbabwe were
determined to silence all opposition.

      Shortly after midnight, two armed men confronted a guard on duty at
the "Voice of the People" radio station in Harare and told him to leave,
before hurling an explosive device into the single-story building.

      "They threw a bomb through a window of the building. It was
extensively damaged but no-one was hurt," said Takura Zhangasha of the Media
Institute of Southern Africa.

      Nobody claimed responsibility for the attack.

      Station head Faith Ndebele refused to speculate on who could have
bombed the building, but said the culprit was clearly an enemy of free

      Zimbabwe is plunging deeper into political and economic crisis as
Mugabe presses ahead with plans to force 2,900 of the country's white
commercial farmers to quit their land without compensation.

      In a separate development, police arrested Frances Lovemore of the
Amani Trust human rights group under a new law that prohibits the
publication of false information.

      Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena told Reuters police were
looking for Tony Reeler, the head of the group, on similar charges.

      "We are questioning (Lovemore) over articles in newspapers suggesting
that there are torture camps in this country, where people are being
sexually abused and having their genitals burned.

      "We don't know about these camps and we want her to help us locate
them," he said.

      At least a dozen local and foreign journalists have been arrested
under the new Access to Information law, but Lovemore is the first media
source to be detained in terms of the tough media crackdown.


      At the scene of the bombing, a Reuters reporter said the roof of the
building in a Harare suburb had caved in and equipment and furniture were
badly charred.

      An army and police probe team sealed the offices off from reporters
and were sifting through the rubble.

      Ndebele said it was a recording studio which broadcast from abroad in
three languages. It was run by a non-government organization called "Voice
of the People," funded by local and foreign donations.

      "For us this is an attack on free speech, and very sad for those who
relied on our broadcasts for alternative views and opinions," Ndebele told

      Zimbabwe has one state-owned national broadcasting corporation and
critics say Mugabe's government is moving slowly in opening up the airwaves.

      Two years ago, the government raided and seized equipment of a private
company that had set up a radio station in a Harare hotel, calling it an
illegal pirate operation meant to advance the interests of a British-backed

      In the past two years, the offices and the printing press of
Zimbabwe's only privately-owned daily newspaper -- The Daily News -- have
also been wrecked in bomb attacks.

      Nobody was arrested in connection with those incidents.
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31 August 2002       


Labour's betrayal of Zimbabwe

Peter Oborne reveals the scandalous consequences of the government's timid
approach to Robert Mugabe, a tyrant who is now creating a famine among his
own people

This autumn Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of Africa, is on the verge of
man-made famine. Soon refugees will be pouring out over the borders, above
all into neighbouring South Africa. According to the United Nations six
million people -half the population - are in peril of undernourishment or

Most famines are to some extent man-made. But very rarely are they created
deliberately, as an act of government policy. Stalin engineered a rural
famine to exterminate the kulaks in the 1930s. So it is with Robert Mugabe,
the Zimbabwean President. He has already set about eradicating his
opponents. Aid agencies have noted that food is being diverted to Mugabe's
political clients. Hundreds of thousands of black farmworkers are being
lifted off the land, and dumped.

The white farmers left in Zimbabwe are, in statistical terms, not much more
than an irrelevance. But they enable Mugabe to propagate the notion that he
is the victim of a racist, colonial conspiracy. This elaborately constructed
fantasy cuts less and less ice in Zimbabwe itself. But it seems to work in
neighbouring countries, and above all in the regional superpower, South
Africa, which has sat by as Mugabe has embarked on murder, torture,
expropriation and ethnic cleansing. Mugabe's fantasy has carried great
weight, above all, with the British government. The Zimbabwean President's
constant emphasis on Britain's colonial past has had an astonishing effect.
It has almost completely emasculated Tony Blair and his ministers. Again and
again, in their quest for an excuse for inaction, government ministers have
reverentially prayed in aid the anticolonialist sentiments of the Zimbabwean

The consequence has been a feeble and useless foreign policy. As the storm
clouds have gathered, ministers have been timid and inert, and at times have
shown a bewildering readiness to believe protestations and assurances from
Mugabe himself. They have displayed some of the naivety of the idealistic,
well-meaning and reasonably minded prewar British statesmen who
preposterously believed that there was a deal to be done with the Axis

The determining moment in British policy came two years ago, as the first
farm seizures occurred and Mugabe began to resort to open violence and
intimidation as a means of keeping power. At this stage there were two
schools of thought within the Foreign Office about how the impending
calamity should be handled. Peter Hain, the minister of state, powerfully
argued that Britain should engage directly with Zimbabwe and its neighbours.
Hain, who as a young activist in the 1970s masterminded the exclusion of
South Africa from world sport, knew the country far better than most, and
had impeccable civil-rights credentials. He made a number of interventions,
criticising not merely Mugabe for the murder of opposition opponents, but
also implicitly the inert posture of the South African government. The
outspoken Hain approach caused consternation among officials, and in due
course he was stamped on. According to one well-placed Foreign Office
source, Hain received a direct rebuke from Robin Cook (though the Foreign
Office has officially denied this). Today Tony Leon, leader of South
Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, says that 'Hain is
the best we've seen from the British government'.

Cook's own approach fitted in better with the languid Foreign Office
preference for avoiding confrontation. As the first farm expropriations went
on, Cook opted for a policy of 'quiet diplomacy'. At the Africa-Europe
summit in April 2000 in Cairo, relations between Britain and Zimbabwe were
restored to what the Independent called a 'frozen kind of friendliness'. Its
report of 6 April 2000 recorded that Zimbabwe's President had agreed to halt
his attacks on British leaders, while Britain had agreed to 'lower the
temperature of its commentary'.

The Cairo summit set the tone for the torrid summer of 2000. In July, amid
well-authenticated reports of violence, ballot-rigging and intimidation,
Mugabe claimed his victory in the parliamentary elections. Robin Cook,
flanked by a sick-looking Peter Hain, called an impromptu press conference
to put the débâcle in the best possible light. He hailed 'a triumph of the
democratic spirit over the attempt to suppress it'. For good measure Cook
vaingloriously added, 'I have urged President Mugabe to respond positively
to the opposition offer to work together and accept the mood for change.'
Shortly afterwards Peter Hain, to the surprise of many and the relief of
some, was moved abruptly out of the Foreign Office into the obscurity of the
Department of Trade.

The policy of constructive engagement gained strength. The successive
pronouncements of Clare Short, Secretary of State for International Affairs,
chart its progress. As early as December 1997, Short described the situation
in Zimbabwe as 'very worrying'. In December 1998 she said it was 'deeply
worrying'. The following March she disclosed that developments in Zimbabwe
made her 'very worried'. In June 2000 she still found it all 'very
worrying'. And by December 2001 she revealed that she found the situation
'very worrying'. In January this year, she told listeners to the Today
programme that 'in different parts of the world we see countries turn to bad
leadership and bad politics, and we've seen that coming in Zimbabwe for some
years and it's a tragedy'. This is the scale of the charge against New
Labour: ministers had seen it coming, but they did little or nothing to stop

The 2001 general election, and the replacement of Robin Cook by Jack Straw,
changed little, except that constructive engagement faded slowly into
well-meaning inertia. During the election campaign the Prime Minister was
filled by a sudden conviction that he had a destiny to save Africa. In a
speech on 25 May 2001 he pronounced, 'I will make Africa a major personal
priority and a priority for the Labour government.' But Downing Street moved
rapidly to make it clear that Zimbabwe, as far as Tony Blair was concerned,
did not form part of the African continent.

This is what Brian Groom, the well-informed political editor of the
Financial Times, wrote after extensive briefing shortly afterwards: 'Tony
Blair's colleagues are trying to squash the idea that Zimbabwe should be
seen as a test for the Prime Minister's assertion that Britain can play a
"pivotal role" in world affairs.' Just to make things clearer still, Groom
continued: 'It is argued that the test for Mr Blair is what he delivers
elsewhere in Africa.' The Prime Minister and his senior ministers have
carefully circumvented the country in their trips to the continent. The
government has not called a debate in Parliament as the crisis escalated: in
certain respects it was almost as if poor Zimbabwe, its brutal dictator and
its suffering people did not exist. Tony Blair told the Labour party
conference that there would be 'no tolerance' of 'Mr Mugabe's henchmen in
Zimbabwe'. This remark was so empty of meaning as to amount to deceit.

There is now a minister for Africa: Baroness Amos. Amos has none of the
presence of Peter Hain, her powerful predecessor. Her official biographical
note records a background in 'equal opportunities, training and management
services'. She was for two years chief executive of the Equal Opportunities
Commission, and received her peerage in 1997. She is an under-secretary of
state, lowest of the low in ministerial terms, and made less effectual still
by operating out of the Lords. One senior South African politician calls her
'to all intents and purposes invisible'. But it is Amos's job to deal with
Zimbabwe, and she is the only British minister to visit the country since
the last election.

Amos was part of the visit by Commonwealth foreign ministers last October.
This is how one of the farmers who met the delegation and made a
presentation describes the event: 'Baroness Amos was there, and she was
quiet throughout my presentation, that of Jim Sinclair, and the current CFU
[Commercial Farmers' Union] president Colin Cloete. She asked no questions
and made no effort to make contact with any of us personally for any form of
clarification on anything we said. The Canadian and Australian foreign
ministers were by contrast very interested, asked many and probing
questions, and found us immediately afterwards, gave us their cards and
invited us to stay in touch.' I have confirmed this account of events with
another person who was present at the meeting.

Amos, to be fair, has made it clear that she condemns Mugabe. But she gives
little impression that she regards Zimbabwe as an urgent issue. Last
September, as Mugabe's thugs raped, murdered, burned and looted their way
through the interior, the Baroness addressed a 'World Conference on Racism,
Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance' in Durban. There
was much in her speech about the battle against racism, and a fair amount of
self-laceration about British failures on this front - Oldham, Bradford and
Burnley, as well as the Stephen Lawrence affair. Not once did she allude to
the tragedy on South Africa's doorstep. Here is Amos, explaining Britain's
policy on Zimbabwe to the foreign affairs committee last May: 'It is
important that the committee recognises that the government of Zimbabwe
seeks to show any kind of direct criticism which is made by the British
government as a form of the ex-colonial power somehow interfering in the
internal workings of Zimbabwe.' That is why, Amos went on, 'we have worked
so hard to ensure that our views are represented in international fora'.

Yet action through the Commonwealth and the European Union has always come
far too late. The International Crisis Group, the respected
conflict-resolution organisation, concluded three months ago that the EU's
approach to Zimbabwe has 'led to an unconvincing, lowest-common-denominator
approach that in the end botched EU election observation while weakening the
impact of targeted sanctions'. The ICG director and former state department
adviser, John Prendergast, told the Times in June, 'Britain and the EU talk
tough and do nothing. It's a joke.' The sanctions regime is still
fragmentary, and Britain did not even protest this month when Mugabe's chief
of police, Augustine Chihuri, flouted the travel ban on named Mugabe
henchmen to travel to France under cover of an Interpol meeting in Lyons.

It is fair to report that certain small advances have been made. In March
Zimbabwe was finally suspended from the Commonwealth. (Commonwealth
politicians say that this was thanks in part to private pressure brought to
bear on the reluctant South African President Thabo Mbeki by Peter Mandelson
acting on behalf of the British government.)

One observer on last year's foreign ministers' trip to Zimbabwe was the
Canadian MP Keith Martin, a qualified doctor. After the meeting where
Baroness Amos remained so silent, he asked for a tour of local farms where
he met young black farmworkers. Today he describes how he heard their
personal tales of terror; of young thugs hired by Mugabe, who descended on
their farms, beat them with razor wire, raped their women and destroyed
their crops, all in an effort to drive them off their land. 'This was in
full view of the police and military who would sit idly by. I will never
forget one of the black farmworkers who, with a weary face, looked me in the
eye and said: "You are our last hope. I beg you to help us, for if you
don't, we will surely die." '
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