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

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Zim's Silent, Selective Starvation

International Crisis Group (Brussels)

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

The ZANU-PF government of President Robert Mugabe is carrying out a policy
of selective starvation against its political enemies. The denial of food to
opposition strongholds has replaced overt violence as the government's
principal tool of repression in Zimbabwe. Mortality and morbidity rates will
continue to accelerate if this policy is not reversed.

The most vulnerable sub-group is Zimbabwe's black farm workers, who have
been displaced by ZANU-PF land-grabs. The media, especially in the UK, has
concentrated on the plight of hundreds of white farmers forced off the land,
but more than 1.5 million black farm workers and family members are at risk
of acute hunger.

ICG Africa Program Co-Director John Prendergast has just toured Zimbabwe,
and makes these observations:

AIDS deaths are accelerating as a result of poor nutrition due to the denial
of food to certain areas.

Repression is increasing ahead of district elections to be held in late

The distribution of food aid has already been politicised, but the
commercial food sector is also increasingly monopolised and corrupted by

The Zimbabwean government's strategy of using of food as a political weapon
is working. People are beginning to die as a result of their perceived
support of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said

President Mugabe's attendance at the World Summit for Social Development in
Johannesburg and his speech on 2 September can still be an opportunity for
regional leaders, the African Union, the Commonwealth, the EU, and the U.S.
to press for the restoration of democracy in Zimbabwe and save lives.

The developing famine in Zimbabwe is rooted in bad governance, said
Prendergast, Recent U.S. rhetoric about the illegitimacy of the Mugabe
government must be backed up by assertive diplomacy. It is time for real
international cooperation in promoting democratic change in Zimbabwe.

The region and the international community must intensify efforts to produce
an inclusive interim government, leading to internationally supervised
elections. This will require a range of pressures and incentives, with the
close involvement of neighbouring states. In the absence of such an effort,
thousands of Zimbabweans may die of starvation.

Repression with food as the primary weapon - is increasing ahead of district
elections to be held on 28-29 September. ICG has learned that ZANU-PF
officials are telling local chiefs and headmen that if they do not produce a
ruling party victory in their areas, they will not receive food.

The distribution of food aid has already been politicised but ZANU-PF is
also politicising commercial food distribution. It monopolises food imports,
steering food to or away from areas based on political calculations,
allowing party officials to profit from the re-sale of food at exorbitant
prices, and in some locations requires ZANU-PF membership as a condition of
purchasing food.

Deliberately creating food shortages in opposition areas not only punishes
MDC supporters but also provides ruling party officials with further
opportunities for profitable food re-sale rackets, said Prendergast. The
system is controlled and corrupted from the top by key ZANU-PF and military
officials straight down to the local retailers at the village level. When
people die of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition, it is as a
result of this political control and corruption.
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New Zealand Herald

Clark booked in for Mugabe showdown


Prime Minister Helen Clark may face an interesting confrontation in her
Johannesburg hotel next week - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is
understood to be a guest there, too.

Helen Clark, who will be in South Africa for a world sustainable development
summit, is one of Mr Mugabe's sternest critics.

He has vowed to confront his critics in South Africa, Zimbabwe's Sunday Mail
newspaper has said.

While many doubt Mr Mugabe will show up, Zimbabwe has said its delegation is
braced for a "racist" anti-Mugabe crusade.

In a recent speech Mr Mugabe included New Zealand among his enemies.

"Britain, America, New Zealand and Australia, what colour are they, most of
the people there? White."

New Zealand has pushed to have Zimbabwe suspended from the Commonwealth, for
evicting white farmers from their properties and turning them over to
landless blacks.

Foreign Minister Phil Goff said Helen Clark would not be concerned at the
prospect of running into Mr Mugabe.

"He'll take on more than he can chew if he eyeballs the Prime Minister," he

New Zealand did not even accept Mr Mugabe had a mandate to lead Zimbabwe, Mr
Goff said. Its election this year was rigged.

It is understood several world leaders are booked into the Sandton Hilton,
near the convention centre where the United Nations leaders' summit is to be

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is also due to stay there.

Helen Clark is expected to use the gathering to renew bids to have Zimbabwe

It is thought that New Zealand will use a famine affecting six million
people in Zimbabwe to make "a principled stand", highlighting the country's
governance problems.

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New Zealand Herald

Dalziel investigates Zimbabwe threats


Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel has ordered a full investigation into a
report that three black Zimbabwean supporters of President Robert Mugabe
threatened an exiled white farmer in Auckland this year.

National MP Wayne Mapp tabled a statement in Parliament this week reporting
the incident, which took place at an Auckland Immigration Service office.

The statement said the three Africans boasted of having "huge sums of money
from Mugabe" and further conversation overheard by the farmer, fluent in the
Shona language, showed they were in Mr Mugabe's inner circle.

The three men told the farmer how easy it would have been to kill him back
in Zimbabwe.

Ms Dalziel said yesterday that she had a copy of the statement.

"It does contain serious allegations and I have asked the Immigration
Service to investigate," she said.

"I think it's very important that the individuals concerned are interviewed
by the authorities, and that full investigations take place."

The incident was reported to have happened in May, and Ms Dalziel said the
three men could have been in the country on visitor permits.

"We have visa-free arrangements with Zimbabwe so it's highly likely," she

"If people have not provided accurate information at the border, and have
been granted permits saying they're here as bona fide visitors and we find
evidence they're not ... we are able to revoke those permits."

Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff has passed a copy of the statement to
Police Minister George Hawkins.

Mr Mapp said Mr Goff should make a ministerial statement to Parliament on
the issue.

"The minister must reassure all New Zealanders that the police, security and
immigration checks are in place to stop Mugabe's thugs visiting here and
terrorising immigrants and exiles."

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Zimbabwe Says NEPAD Will Divide Africa

Business Day (Johannesburg)

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

Dumisani Muleya

Harare dismisses recovery plan as a tool of the west, which may result in
the continent's recolonisation

Zimbabwe is stepping up its campaign against the New Partnership for
Africa's Development (Nepad) at a time when world leaders attending the
World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg are battling to find
solutions to the continent's myriad problems.

In remarks which reflect President Robert Mugabe's thinking and his
government's official line, Zimbabwe's ambassador to Washington, Simbi
Mubako, said Nepad would become "an instrument of African division and
conflict" if western countries were given a major role to play in it.

He said the conditions of democracy and good governance imposed by rich
nations in return for their support for the programme should be dropped
because no such demands were made during Europe's reconstruction after the
Second World War. "Why must political conditions be imposed on Africa?" he
asked. "Why should the west want to fund a Marshall Plan which would make
Africa economically independent of the west?

"A western-based Marshall Plan is at best a mirage and at worst subversive
of the liberty and independence of African states and the African Union (AU)

Mugabe and his supporters have vehemently opposed Nepad, claiming it was
designed to recolonise Africa. They alleged it is a neocolonial programme
and a modern type of imperialism.

Harare's allies, such as Libyan ruler Muammar Gadaffi, share Mugabe's views.

SA, which is one of the architects and promoters of Nepad, has dismissed
such claims as "nonsense".

Nepad is generally regarded as a renaissance project for Africa through
which developed countries will invest $64bn a year on condition African
states take steps to ensure democracy and good governance. Mugabe and his
allies have rejected these conditions.

Mubako said that in terms of international law, Nepad could bind or benefit
only those countries which were party to it.

"If a state refused to sign the Nepad document, or is denied the financial
benefits thereof, on what basis could it be subjected to peer review'? Would
peer review be effected by economic sanctions or military invasions?" he

"Either way, Nepad would operate as an instrument of African division and
conflict which would destroy the AU itself."

Mubako said Nepad was dangerous because "African states would fight other
African states, while the rich nations fiddle in amusement".

"Nepad should just be an African economic programme to which western and
other nations are invited to contribute for financial return," he said.

"All political and ideological conditionalities must be dropped."

Opposition to Nepad from within the continent came into the spotlight
earlier this year, when Gadaffi launched an extraordinary attack on the
plan, saying it was a project of the "former colonisers and racists", but
that Africa would not be "tricked easily" by western powers.

Responding to those comments, Mbeki said Gadaffi had told him there was not
"sufficient understanding" on the African continent about Nepad and the AU.

"His own feeling is that more work needs to be done to explain the Nepad
process. He felt we need to generate better understanding of both Nepad and
the AU and I agree with that. Perhaps the process moved too fast for some
people," Mbeki said.
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UK forces ready for possible Zimbabwe pullout-paper

LONDON, Aug. 28 - 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

       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 exercise will include Royal Air Force transport aircraft, which
would be used to fly British citizens from Harare airport, the officials
       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 spokesman told Reuters.
       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
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Pilots back war on Mugabe not Iraq, says poll

MOST of Britain's front-line RAF and Royal Navy pilots would rather fight to
depose Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's land-grabbing president, than wage
America's war for regime change in Iraq, an unofficial website poll

It showed that 87.7% of the 122 military fliers who voted opted for "ending
ethnic genocide by starvation" in Zimbabwe before tackling Saddam Hussein.

The UK armed forces currently have about 250 combat-ready jet pilots, with
another 90 to 100 in training.

The poll was carried out on the Professional Pilots' Rumour Network, a site
with over 70 forums dedicated to aviation topics and 53,000 registered

The military aircrew forum on the website, which has been running since
1995, was used recently to enlist the support of MPs and help organise the
campaign to clear the names of the two RAF Chinook pilots blamed by senior
officers for the 1994 crash on the Mull of Kintyre which wiped out most of
Northern Ireland's senior intelligence officers.

It also became a major location for informed debate on the Ministry of
Defence's controversial decision to axe the two remaining Sea Harrier
squadrons, a move which will leave British naval task forces without fighter
cover until 2015.

Because the site is monitored by the MoD, pilots posting comments use
nicknames like "Flygunz", "Ark Royal", "Captain Sand Dune" and "Topgun" to
conceal their identities. Serving officers are barred from commenting
publicly on issues involving government policy and can be disciplined for
speaking out without permission.

A series of lively debates on Mr Mugabe's dispossession of white farmers led
to the unofficial poll of the pilots who would have to play a leading role
in any UK contribution to a campaign against Saddam Hussein.

One posting read: "Call me cynical, but if Mugabe were white and trying to
commit genocide against black people, we would be half way to Africa right

"The six million who now face starvation because of his policy are all in
electoral districts which voted against him."

An MoD source said yesterday: "Members of the armed services do not
formulate government policy. They are there to carry it out. Straw polls may
or may not reflect feeling within the forces, but are irrelevant in the
wider context."

- Aug 30th

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Zim Independent

DRC pull-out costs $1b

Dumisani Muleya/Vincent Kahiya
GOVERNMENT is expected to spend at least $1 billion in troop withdrawals
from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where they have been fighting
since 1998.

The military pull-out from the Congo was this week stepped up after
President Robert Mugabe announced two weeks ago he was withdrawing after
four years of conflict. This followed recent DRC peace initiatives.

About 198 troops returned home on Wednesday, leaving at least 3 000 soldiers
in the Congo. So far over 9 000 troops have come back from the DRC.

Military sources said the withdrawal process had been going on smoothly but
"over $1 billion will be spent on the exercise". A source in the army said
$480 million for withdrawals was made available in the recent supplementary
budget when the army expected up to $700 million.

The money is needed to fly back battalions of soldiers and to transport
heavy military equipment over rail and road. The equipment to be moved
includes tankers, armoured cars, troop carriers and heavy artillery.

Air Zimbabwe has been chartered to complement the military's capacity to
ferry the troops and light equipment as the army's transport planes have
been depleted due to old age, lack of spare parts and poor maintenance.

An Air Zimbabwe spokesperson, David Mwenga, said the army was paying
commercial rates to charter their planes.

"The principle of a charter is that you don't fly to break-even," said
Mwenga. "But we hope to make a profit."

Observers said the use of civilian craft to carry troops demonstrated the
depletion of the country's airforce, which no longer has the capacity to
transport troops.

At the height of the war, Zimbabwe hired Antanovs from the Ukraine to carry
equipment and other supplies to the DRC.

Army spokesman, Colonel Mbonisi Gatsheni, yesterday said he could not give a
full withdrawal timescale nor the costs. He said this was an issue that
could be dealt with by the Ministry of Defence.

"I can't give you the specific dates and costs, but what I can tell you is
that we would like to withdraw as fast as we can," Gatsheni said. "What we
have been doing is that we have been silently withdrawing over the past few
months. Those soldiers who were coming back on relief have not been going
back unless their services were absolutely essential."

Gatsheni said Zimbabwe still had an estimated 3 000 troops in the DRC.

He confirmed that air and rail transport would be used in the withdrawal and
not the sea as some sources suggested. Sources had claimed it would be
cheaper for Zimbabwe to ferry its equipment from the western side of the DRC
via Cape Town to Beira in Mozambique and then into Zimbabwe.

But experts said this would be both cumbersome and dangerous.

Although it is nearer to ferry the equipment by sea through Tanzania, the
east African country has refused to provide Zimbabwe with access.

Gatsheni said the withdrawal process would be carefully managed."Withdrawal
is part of war and a stage when you are most vulnerable to attacks by the
enemy," he said. "So we have left equipment that is proportionate with the
remaining soldiers."

Zimbabwe, which was fighting alongside Angola, Namibia and the DRC
government against Rwandan and Ugandan-backed rebels, spent close to $30
billion in the DRC. By last year the country had officially sunk $10 billion
or US$204 million in the war. This was in direct costs and did not include
other expenditures like mounting air bridges for supplies and buying or
replacing equipment.

After the war broke out Zimbabwe ordered two batches of arms worth $6
billion from China to bolster its arsenal.

Military casualties have not been disclosed although estimates put them at
500. The heaviest losses have been on equipment. There have been reports of
rebel attacks on Zimbabwean military hardware during the war.

The Airforce lost planes and had others grounded during the war.

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Zim Independent

Makoni mum on sacking

Dumisani Muleya
FORMER Finance minister Simba Makoni yesterday refused to clarify whether he
was fired or he resigned from government before President Robert Mugabe
appointed his "war" cabinet. Makoni, who had a torrid time battling to fix
Zimbabwe's dislocated economy amid resistance from Zanu PF hardliners, said
he was not ready to talk about his unceremonious exit yet.

"I'm not yet ready to discuss that," he said in an interview. "The cabinet
was changed last weekend and I'm no longer part of it."

Makoni was appointed minister in July 2000 alongside other so-called
technocrats, former Industry and International Trade minister Nkosana Moyo
and Agriculture minister Joseph Made, to rescue Zimbabwe's economy.

At the time, analysts warned their success would depend on the extent to
which Mugabe would afford them a chance to run their own domains.

They said the ministers would be judged by what they would be allowed to do
as distinct from what they could do.

But it later transpired the new ministers lacked the political clout to push
through their policy proposals because Mugabe remained a milestone around
the neck of business. The Zanu PF politburo, where government policy seems
to emanate from, refused to bite the bullet of economic reform, making
recovery practically impossible.

As a result, Makoni found himself isolated among the ruling party's control
freaks. Moyo was forced to resign in exasperation. Since his appointment,
Makoni has been dangerously skating on thin ice.

No sooner had he settled in his new job in 2000 than he found himself in
confrontation with the government's reactionary wing over the Democratic
Republic of Congo war.

Makoni, under immense pressure at home and abroad, was forced to reveal the
damage on the economy caused by Mugabe's DRC military adventure. He told
parliament Zimbabwe had, after two years of fighting, spent $10 billion and
that this was haemorrhaging the economy.

After presenting his first 2001 budget, Makoni became more isolated after
indicating he was going to intensify economic reforms. With the presidential
election beckoning, the Zanu PF old guard rejected his proposals.

In July last year, Makoni further offended Mugabe's disciples by telling the
nation that contrary to Made's claims that Zimbabwe had enough maize and
wheat, the country was in fact facing shortages and needed to import.

Makoni earned further hostility from the party because of his reports to
parliament on the parlous state of the economy ahead of a crucial election.

He recently exacerbated the situation by declaring there was lack of
political will to address Zimbabwe's economic woes. But the final nail in
his coffin was the issue of devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar.

Makoni insisted on devaluation for economic reasons while his counterparts
opposed it on political grounds. Mugabe later intervened and delivered the
coup de grace when he said those advocating devaluation were "saboteurs" and
"enemies" of his government.

The next thing Makoni was out. It is not clear yet whether he resigned,
which Mugabe says he did, or he was dismissed.

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Zim Independent

GMB suspends grain imports

Vincent Kahiya
THE government has suspended grain imports until the end of the year arguing
that humanitarian food aid will cater for the country's needs in the next
four months, industry sources said this week.

Humanitarian groups this week predicted acute food shortages in the coming
months as donor aid had further slowed, while government efforts were
hamstrung by foreign currency shortages.

The United Nations will next week dispatch a special envoy, Terry Morris, to
assess the humanitarian situation in the country and discuss the extent of
famine with senior government officials. The sources said the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) had not put up any tenders for grain imports since
June and that there were no plans for new imports between now and the end of
the year.

The sources said to date, the government had at most imported 750 000
tonnes - discounting a Jewel Bank initiative to import about 450 000 tonnes.
Zimbabwe needs about 1,8 million tonnes between now and the next harvest.

The last tender floated was for 200 000 tonnes of maize of which a
Harare-based company, Timpani, was awarded a contract to import 100 000

Sources at the GMB said companies awarded tenders were under-performing and
failing to secure maize from declining stocks on world markets. There is
huge demand for maize triggered by the drought in southern Africa.

The sources said even if the GMB had stocks to run until the end of the
year, it should have an on-going import programme to buy next year's
requirements at this year's costs. A tonne of maize is trading at US$162
ex-South Africa and by October the cost is expected to go up by US$10.

"For argument's sake, if Zimbabwe imports 100 000 tonnes of maize now, it
will save US$2 million on what it will cost by the end of the year," the
source said.

An aid agency source on Wednesday said out of the US$229,4 million required
for humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe, a paltry US$79,7 million had been
pledged to date.

"The information we have is that there should be 426 000 tonnes coming from
the Americas and I am sure this is the Jewel Bank maize," the source said.
"Other than that there are no other contracts in place."

Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Regional Disaster Alleviation Trust (ZRDAT), a
private sector initiative to import food, said response to the appeal for
financial assistance had been slow.

"The only meaningful deals we are in the process of finalising involve two
non-governmental organisations which have indicated that they have about
US$60 000 to import maize," ZRDAT secretary, Priscilla Chigumba, said. "To
exhaust our current permit we would require US$450 million and there is no
way a single organisation can meet that."

The Trust was granted a permit to import 700 000 tonnes of maize.

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Zim Independent

NMB, Parliamentary Committee in joint initiative

Godfrey Marawanyika
IN a bid to rescue the economy from continued slide, the Parliamentary
Committee on Foreign Affairs, International Relations and Trade has teamed
up with NMB Bank to formulate an economic blueprint for the country, the
Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

The parliamentary committee yesterday met with various stakeholders
comprising executives from the banking and business community to discuss
issues pertaining to land reform, international relations and economic

NMB chief executive officer Dr Julius Makoni confirmed his bank was part of
the initiative.

"NMB has been approached to provide resources for the formulation of an
economic blueprint and we have done just that," said Makoni.

Top on the agenda of yesterday's meeting was the land and agrarian reform
process, which focused on foreign exchange, property rights and
transparency. The meeting also discussed Zimbabwe's international relations,
the economy, interest rates, inflation, price controls, exports and

The think-tank is supposed to come up with a final economic document that
will be presented to President Robert Mugabe before the end of September.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, International
Relations and Trade, Philip Chiyangwa, yesterday refused to comment on the
initiative and referred all questions to NMB Bank deputy managing director,
James Mushore.

If accepted, the proposals would become the third economic document in five
years after Zimprest and the Millenium Economic Recovery Programme.

In the past two years, major macro-economic challenges have continued to
haunt the government which has failed to arrest the decline in gross
domestic product, contain the hyper-inflationary environment and stem high
money supply growth. A high domestic debt, weak balance of payment position
and foreign exchange shortages also dog the economy.

Although the process is still in its infancy, participants yesterday
expressed reservations about government's commitment to implement any
economic recovery policy.

They said there was insufficient political will to deal with the economic

"Government has a record of not implementing economic blueprints it has
drafted. I do not see why they would respect this one," said a source who
attended yesterday's meeting.

Zim Independent

Zim saved from another fuel crisis

Barnabas Thondhlana
AN eleventh hour intervention by banks has saved Zimbabwe from a severe fuel
crisis, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.

Comoil of Libya, which supplies much of Zimbabwe's fuel needs, in the past
two weeks declined to pump more fuel to Zimbabwe unless they were paid US$60
million in arrears. The Libyans meet 70% of Zimbabwe's fuel needs, with the
remaining 30% coming from Sasol in South Africa.

In a deal negotiated by former Mines and Energy minister Edward
Chindori-Chininga, Royal Bank and NMB Bank came to the rescue with two
tranches of US$30 million and US$150 million respectively, enabling the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe to access 33 million litres of fuel stored
at Noczim's Msasa depot.

The fuel is owned by Independent Petroleum Group (IPG) of Kuwait, who are
leasing the storage tanks to service their clients in the region.

"The country actually started experiencing fuel shortages on the Heroes and
Defence Forces days, but this was more of a deliberate move by some fuel
companies who were not taking fuel from Msasa for distribution," said a
source close to the developments at Noczim.

"The intervention of Chindori-Chiniga, who took the MD of one leading oil
firm to Msasa to show him his tankers were conspicuous by their absence,
saved the situation."

The US$180 million deal is reportedly being transacted at an exchange rate
of $150/US$1, and will enable the country to have fuel for five months.

IPG undertook to release fuel onto the market on the understading that they
would replenish their stocks from Libyan oil supplies.

The Libyans are reportedly not keen to have the fuel they deliver stored at
either Msasa or any other depot, preferring instead that Zimbabwe
immediately distributes all the fuel delivered. This enables the Libyans to
maintain a crunching grip on Zimbabwe.

President Robert Mugabe last week split the Mines and Energy ministry,
leaving Chindori-Chininga with the Mines and Mining Development portfolio,
and creating the new Ministry Energy and Power Development headed by Amos

Zim Independent

Police blame bomb attack on Zim's enemies

Blessing Zulu
PRIVATE radio station, Voice of the People (VOP) has been silenced by a
powerful bomb blast that completely destroyed its offices in Harare's Milton
Park in the small hours of yesterday.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena was quick to associate the bombing with
conspirators bent on tarnishing the image of the country ahead of President
Mugabe's participation at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg.

VOP offices at 32 Van Praagh Avenue were completely destroyed in the inferno
and virtually everything in the office incinerated.

A woman who stays at the premises but asked not to be named said three men
armed with guns approached the security guard on duty at the offices around
1am and told him to leave.

"An explosive device was then hurled into the building through a window,"
the woman said. "The building was extensively damaged and the roof blown up,
but no one was injured as the last person left the office just a few hours
before the attack."

VOP chairperson Dr Faith Ndebele said they had lost everything that was in
the building. "We are yet to do an audit of the exact amount," she said.

The bombing comes barely two months after the police raided the premises in
search of "broadcasting equipment". Bvudzijena said evidence gathered so far
pointed to a conspiracy theory.

"We are exploring several possible angles," said Bvudzijena. "The statement
from the security guard is not consistent and we have to interview him

Bvudzijena said they could not rule out the possibility that this was a
calculated move to tarnish Zimbabwe's image.

"The timing of the bombing raises suspicion because the coincidence with the
Earth Summit in South Africa is rather puzzling," he said.

"There are many people who are against the land reform programme and will
stop at nothing, even using military means."

Five members of Criminal Investigations Department searched the offices of
Amani Trust and took away documents belonging to the non-governmental

VOP was formed in 2000 before the parliamentary election and was recently
working with SW Africa Radio which broadcasts in Shona and Ndebele from the
United Kingdom. After the presidential election the two focused on health
issues such as HIV/Aids.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) condemned the bombing and
urged the police to act professionally.

"Although the police have begun investigations which we believe might lead
to arrest of the culprits, past examples of investigations of attacks on
media establishments are not encouraging at all," Misa said.

This is so with reference to the bombing of the Daily News offices and
printing press in 2000 and 2001 respectively. The bombing of VOP offices is
the fourth on a media organisation within a space of three years.

Misa-Zimbabwe said the attacks were being committed against a background of
an already bad media environment.

"The attacks on media establishments are without doubt meant to silence the
media and ultimately the whole society," Misa said.

Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) also condemned the attack.

"The bombing is a blow to Zimbabweans' constitutionally-guaranteed right to
freedom of expression and to receive and disseminate information unhindered.
This further erodes the nation's democratic aspirations," said MMPZ in a

Police yesterday raided the offices of a local NGO, Amani Trust, and
arrested a senior official accused of giving the press information which
allegedly tarnished the image of the government.

Bvudzijena said Amani Trust's interview with the Telegraph claiming that war
veterans raped girls between 11 and 12 years was another attempt to taint
the government.

"There are reports in the Telegraph to the effect that Zanu PF militia and
war veterans raped girls aged between 11 and 12 years old and this emanated
from Amani Trust," said Bvudzijena.

He confirmed they had arrested a trustee of Amani Trust, Dr Frances Lovemore
and that they were also looking for the director, Tony Reeler.

Zim Independent

$20b needed for services on farms

Augustine Mukaro/ Blessing Zulu
AT least $20 billion is needed for infrastructure development in
resettlement areas after government reneged on its election promise that
farmhouses would be converted into schools and clinics, it emerged this

When government launched the land reform programme two years ago, it said it
would convert farmhouses and other structures on acquired farms into
clinics, schools and essential facilities to service the newly-resettled

However, new settlers under the A2 model have moved into the farmhouses and
there has been no attempt to convert these properties into public
facilities. Senior Zanu PF and government officials have targeted farms with
good farmhouses, putting paid plans to use them for primary infrastructure

A survey by the Zimbabwe Independent this week revealed that each of the
country's eight provinces where resettlement has taken place requires at
least $2,5 billion for the construction of schools, clinics, Blair toilets
and the drilling of boreholes.

Provincial administrators throu-ghout the country confirmed they had
submitted their infrastructure budgets to the Ministry of Rural Resources
and Water Development.

According to the Masvingo provincial budget proposal, an estimated $1,5
billion is needed to provide the new settlers with basic services such as
schools, health facilities, drinking water, dipping services, marketing and
postal services.

"Masvingo alone needs at least 50 schools and 25 clinics in the new
resettlement areas," the budget proposal says.

Masvingo provincial administrator, Alfonse Chikurira, said the need for
schools was the same in all provinces in the country.

Manicaland province last month submitted a budget of close to $300 million
for the construction of clinics alone. At least 30 sites were identified and
construction of the clinics is set to start as soon as money is made

Endy Mhlanga, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National War Veterans
Association and a member of the National Land Taskforce, this week confirmed
that plans were under way to construct schools in resettlement areas.

"I attended the Zanu PF National Consultative Assembly meeting with
President Mugabe, Joseph Made, Nicholas Goche and Joyce Mujuru which
discussed infrastructure development in resettlement areas," said Mhlanga.

"Mujuru is responsible for this project which targets AI resettlement areas
and not the A2 model. The A2 model is a business venture and we are not
focusing on that at the moment."

Some model A2 settlers in Masvingo have been forced to pay up to $2 000 per
household towards the construction of schools.

"We have been asked to pay and also mould bricks for the proposed school and
clinic while the base commander occupies the farmhouse," one resettled
farmer in Masvingo said.

The farmhouse grab scandal has brought in almost all the Zanu PF top brass
and its hangers-on.

Youth, Gender and Employment Creation deputy minister Shuvai Mahofa was
early this year embroiled in a tragic incident over the Lothian Farm
farmhouse in the Roy farming area of Gutu South. Mahofa allegedly hired Zanu
PF militia to drive out local war veterans leader Amos Maseva from the
farmhouse. Maseva died from wounds inflicted in the attack.

Marondera West MP and senior Zimbabwe National Army officer Brigadier Ambros
Mutinhiri seized the Waltondale farmhouse in his constituency.

Retired army general Solomon Mujuru took over the Alamein Farm farmhouse
last year before ordering the auction of assets worth $40 million under the
guise of paying gratuities to farm workers.

Mashonaland West governor Peter Chanetsa reportedly grabbed five farms in
the province. Officials at CFU said almost all Zanu PF officials who grabbed
farms throughout the country had moved into the farmhouses because they had
no time to start building their own structures.

Zim Independent

MDC allowed to engage SA lawyer

Blessing Zulu
THE Ministry of Justice has reversed its initial decision denying the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) permission to hire a South
African lawyer in the case in which Morgan Tsvangirai is challenging
President Robert Mugabe's election victory.

The ministry this month gave the greenlight for the party to engage an
advocate from South Africa as part of its legal team to challenge Mugabe's
disputed victory.

"We have assembled a formidable legal team led by Senior Counsel Advocate
Jeremy Gauntlet who is chairman of the South African Bar," said the MDC in a

"Advocate Gauntlet is a respected lawyer who has represented former
President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Gauntlet has also
represented President Thabo Mbeki.

"He advises the Namibian government on constitutional matters and is a judge
of the High Court of Lesotho. He also sits on the advisory council of the
International Bar Association," said the statement. Advocate Gauntlet will
be supported in argument by Advocate Eric Matinenga.

The two advocates will be assisted by Advocate Adrian de Bourbon, SC,
Advocate Pearson Nherere and Bryant Elliot. Another lawyer, Yvonne
Mahlunge-Marizani is heading the evidence-gathering team, which claims to
have unearthed some "startling and remarkable" details.

The MDC said it had been hampered in its build-up by the refusal of the
Registrar-General's office to avail them a copy of the voters roll and has
already appealed to the Supreme Court.

"The MDC legal affairs department has been working round the clock since
April to prepare for the high profile case that will determine the future of
Zimbabwe. We are pleased to report that we are now ready to proceed to
trial," reads the statement from the MDC.

The High Court ordered the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to pay $2 million as
security deposit, which has now been paid. The party managed to raise $2,7
million from well-wishers.

The presidential election campaign was marred by what local and
international observers described as gross human rights violations in the
form of killings, beatings, torture and abductions. The Zimbabwe Republic
Police, which promised to investigate all political killings during the
presidential poll, has not done anything to date.

The ruling Zanu PF party is also likely to hire a lawyer from South Africa
to brighten its chances of winning the case. The third term of the High
Court has been set for the major trials involving MDC top officials.

The trial of youth leader Nelson Chamisa, accused of inciting public
violence, has been set for November 4 and 5. Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube and
Renson Gasela's treason trial has been set down for November 29.

The murder trial involving Lobengula-Magwegwe MP Fletcher-Dulini Ncube and
six other MDC activists accused of killing war veterans leader Cain Nkala
and Zanu PF official Limukani Luphahla should also be held in the third
term. Observers said this was a deliberate decision by the government to
stretch the MDC's resources.

Zim Independent

SA refuses to lift ban on Zim meat

Mthulisi Mathuthu
SOUTH Africa has refused to lift the ban on Zimbabwean beef and pork
products imposed after the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Beitbridge
and the Midlands area of Zhombe recently.

The Zimbabwe Independent understands captains of the pork industry, led by
Tripple C Pigs director, Kelvin Parsons, failed to strike a common ground
with the South African department of veterinary services at a meeting held
in Johannesburg last week.

"We are in constant touch with the South Africans and Parsons's trip to
Johannesburg was part of our efforts to strike a common ground but nothing
has come out so far," said a source. "But we know they will understand."

The government is battling to stop the spread of the foot and mouth disease
to save export markets. Only this week, the director of the Department of
Veterinary Services, Stuart Hargreaves, announced the disease was under
control and the department was guarding against the illegal movement of meat
and livestock in the Midlands area.

South Africa's ban is seen as a retaliation after government last year
banned that country's beef imports following the outbreak of foot and mouth
in the Limpopo Province.

Industry captains told the Independent this week the foot and mouth disease
had cost the country the South African and European Union markets.

It emerged this week that Colcom, the largest producers of pork products in
the country, had about 1 400 tonnes of pork intended for the export market
stored in Gweru. Only Namibia and Mauritius still accept Zimbabwe's beef and
pork products

Zim Independent

Mugabe and cronies trapped says Tsvangirai

Vincent Kahiya

THE opposition MDC did not mobilise for mass action against President Robert
Mugabe after the March poll because this would have played into Mugabe's
plans to crush pro-democracy organisations, MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai,
has said.

In a recent interview with Padraig O'Malley, a Senior Fellow at the John W
MCCormack Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, excerpts of
which were made available to the Zimbabwe Independent, Tsvangirai said after
the election Mugabe was spoiling for a fight. Mass action would have given
him the excuse to come down heavily on the opposition.

"We realised that Mugabe was spoiling for a fight," said Tsvangirai. "But we
didn't want to give it to him. We didn't want to play on his turf.

"So we didn't organise people to confront their stolen victory, to confront
him over the stolen victory. We said, 'calm down' because if we were to
engage in mass protests, mass actions, then I think the whole democratic
movement would have been crushed. That's what he was prepared for," he said.

Tsvangirai said as a result his party had to build people's confidence until
such a time when Zimbabweans were able to confront Mugabe's dictatorship.

He said Mugabe and his cronies were trapped because they were isolated
locally and internationally.

"It is the responsibility, I think, on the part of the MDC, to find a back
door for Mugabe because if we don't, he is likely to pull down the whole
building with him," he said. "He won't mind. He has nothing to lose. In
fact, the more chaos and instability he can cause, the more he is less
accountable for his actions over the last three or four years."

He said the young generation who believed it was time to think about armed
struggle had to tread with caution and choose between violent and
non-violent means of bringing about change.

"We must be conscious that beyond this chaos, we'll have to pick up the
pieces," said Tsvangirai.

He said attempts by Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo and South African
president Thabo Mbeki to promote inter-party dialogue between Zanu PF and
the MDC after the March poll had given President Mugabe the opportunity to
consolidate his power in the face of international accusations that he stole
the election.

"There was one mistake in their strategy," said Tsvangirai. "They came in
hoping to bring about dialogue and reconciliation between the parties - that
was an attempt to legitimise Mugabe, without confronting the issue of
Mugabe's legitimacy in the election," said Tsvangirai.

"In other words, they chose diplomacy rather than democracy and gave Mugabe
space to consolidate his position, as it were, as president of the country,"
he said.

On South Africa's role in trying to solve the Zimbabwean issue, Tsvangirai
said Mbeki's African National Congress was divided on what to do. He said
Mbeki's position was premised on the notion that Mugabe was a stabilising
force and had the instruments of power.

He said Mbeki believed that if there was a change of government, there might
be conflict, hence preferred a reformed Zanu PF government.

Tsvangirai also said Britain's robust stance on the land issue in Zimbabwe
had not been good for Zimbabwe.

"We have a land question here," he said. "It's not as if Britain is fighting
for democracy in Zimbabwe; it has its own national interest in the land
question. The robust British participation has not been good for us.

"There are many African crises, why this special interest in Zimbabwe? Those
who distinguish between the forest and the trees are labelled puppets of
whites and the British," he said.

Zim Independent

Mbeki faces unpleasant choices over Zimbabwe
Dumisani Muleya

SOUTH African President Thabo Mbeki will not act on the Zimbabwe crisis
unless the country explodes into chaos, the national director of South
Africa's Institute of International Affairs, Greg Mills, has said.

Mills said Mbeki was bound to maintain his "quiet diplomacy" towards
Zimbabwe despite its demonstrable failure to influence President Robert
Mugabe's policies even after his controversial victory in the March

The South African analyst said the problem with Mbeki - who is under global
pressure at the ongoing Earth Summit in Johannesburg to deal with Zimbabwe -
is that he has become hostage to African solidarity politics.

"As a result, unless Zimbabwe explodes, South Africa's policy will waver
between benign neglect and containment," Mills wrote in the Business Day
newspaper this week.

"There are two dangers in this approach, however," he said. "First, benign
neglect is interpreted as tacit support for Mugabe's regime, negatively
affecting South Africa's investment and leadership image. Second, it
undermines the letter and spirit of Nepad (New Partnership for Africa's

In this case, two Zimbabwean scenarios emerge, each with its own policy
options, costs and opportunities, Mills observed.

"These are, simply put, life with and without Mugabe," he said. "In the
former, the most likely course is that external actors, including South
Africa, wait until the land invasions are over and try to re-engage with
Zanu PF with two aims in mind: first, to negotiate a rapprochement with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and, second, to put in place
an economic stabilisation and recovery package."

The latter, Mills noted, would have to include the vital element of the
second scenario, which is Mugabe's withdrawal from politics.

"No recovery is possible with Mugabe in place. But how can he be convinced -
or coerced - into stepping down?" he asked. "Here the MDC's leadership and
guidance would be critical, but it would currently appear not only to be
under considerable threat from the state apparatus, but also fragmented,
fractured and rudderless."

Mills said the current state of paralysis in the MDC itself meant that the
removal of Mugabe Milosevic-style was unlikely, especially as more troops
were returning from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the
authorities were stiffening their resolve and security apparatus.

"A wild card, though, is still the worsening food shortages in urban areas,
the net effect of Mugabe's Khmer Rouge textbook economics that have seen
Zimbabwe's economy reduced by one-third in four years," Mills said.

One avenue for applying pressure on Mugabe to relinquish power would be for
South Africa to work in tandem with Nigeria, as it has been, and with
Angola, as it has not.

This strategy for leadership transition, said Mills, raised a number of
issues in turn. "Who will take over from Mugabe, who sacked moderate Simba
Makoni in a cabinet reshuffle? And what will be the likely path of both this
transition and their policies?"

Pretoria is likely to stick to its guns over Zimbabwe, just as the West is
unlikely to stick its neck out, he said.

"The policy choices seem to be between no talk and lots of it, and little
action both ways," said Mills. "The West could deliver an asset freeze, but
seems to lack the will and inclination to do so. Current policy essentially
lets events run their course."

Mills said one knowledgeable analyst commented recently on Western inaction
on the Zimbabwean crisis: "It's Africa, and they don't care." Pretoria has
to start showing it does, he concluded.

Zim Independent

War cabinet a damp squib
Dumisani Muleya

AS Zimbabweans continue to ponder President Robert Mugabe's uninspiring
"war" cabinet reshuffle, analysts say he has once again squandered an
opportunity to give the rudderless country direction.

Commentators say Mugabe's stick-in-the-mud team - which he referred to as a
"fully-fledged political war council" - is unable to move the country out of
its economic crisis.

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 said Mugabe's refusal to adopt a fundamental policy
shift and provide enlightened leadership would accelerate the country's

"It was a really pathetic failure to set the country on a new path to
economic recovery," Hawkins 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 fired Finance minister Simba
Makoni - although Mugabe claims he resigned - and replaced him with Herbert
Murerwa who precipitated 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," he said.

Political analyst Brian Raftopoulos said Mugabe wasted an opportunity to
unravel his party's convoluted succession by remaining absorbed in crisis

"It is not clear what his future plans are," Raftopoulos said. "All that he
is doing at the moment is digging in and barricading himself. He is
concerned with loyalties rather than capacity in his choice of ministers."

Analysts say if Mugabe had replaced his two vice-presidents, Simon Muzenda
and Joseph Msika, that could have triggered a new shift in the ruling party
hierarchy and helped to sort out the complex succession issue.

Instead of overhauling 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.

As usual, Mugabe - who has become a seasoned crisis manager and fire-fighter
himself - shunted around old-timers and retrieved Witness Mangwende from the
political scrapyard and put him back to the collective feeding trough.

In a surprise move, he appointed Zanu PF's losing candidate in the Harare
mayoral election, Amos Midzi, Minister of Energy and Power Development.

Midzi, who was recently fired for incompetence as Zanu PF chair for Harare
province, lost to opposition Movement for Democratic Change candidate Elias
Mudzuri by 56 796 to 262 275 votes.

Mugabe also proved his reshuffle was a patronage arrangement by enlarging
cabinet at a time when it should have been trimmed. New ministries were
created and some restructured and renamed in the cosmetic reshuffle. Deputy
ministers were increased.

Analysts say refractory stone-throwers such as Jonathan Moyo, Patrick
Chinamasa, Joseph Made and Ignatius Chombo were retained for their ability
to reflect their master's intransigent and bellicose posture.

Kembo Mohadi was apparently promoted to Home Affairs, where he replaced John
Nkomo, for continuing to hold his Beitbridge constituency hostage to Zanu

Observers say Nkomo, whatever plans Mugabe had and speculation thereafter,
was demoted from senior to junior minister of Special Affairs. He is
expected to become Mugabe's special envoy to spearhead Zimbabwe's
fire-fighting agenda on the diplomatic front.

Diplomatic sources said Nkomo, who has no constituency, would be engaging
countries like South Africa on issues such as land.

In the end, however, analysts say the reshuffle was largely targeted at the
reform-minded Makoni who paid for his refusal to heed warnings that the
Finance ministry would be his political graveyard.

Since his appointment in 2000, Makoni, who is not a trained expert on
finance and economics, failed to halt the economic decline largely due to
lack of political clout.

Mugabe's cabinet changes appeared designed to consolidate failed economic
policies such as a fixed exchange rate, price and foreign exchange controls
and nationalisation. Currently the government has no cohesive economic

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 is expected to surge from 123,5% to at
least 150% by the end of the year. Problems such as the food crisis,
unemployment, poverty, HIV/Aids and the concomitant instability can only

Zim Independent

Land reform programme far from over

 Dumisani Muleya/Augustine Mukaro

ZIMBABWE'S land reform programme, which should be nearing completion before
the onset of the rainy season, is far from over as confusion reigns on most
farms which ideally should be a hive of activity.

Political commentators say government is bluffing when it claims it will
soon complete and tie up the loose ends in the land redistribution exercise.
There is widespread chaos fuelled by the sweeping eviction of up to 3 000
white farmers.

Authorities have set tomorrow as the official deadline for the completion of
Zimbabwe's reverse land grab "revolution". Settlers allocated land under
Model A2 are expected to have moved into their new properties by tomorrow or
risk having them repossessed by the state.

But critics say the deadline is impractical and unworkable considering the
confusion on the farms. They argue it will be sometime before the convoluted
logjam is broken and reconstruction of the agricultural sector undertaken.

Analyst John Robertson, who has written several papers on land reform, said
the deadlock over the land redistribution process was not over yet. Farmers
are currently suing government en masse for unlawful evictions and this has
shifted focus from the farms into the courts where protracted legal battles

"It is going to remain bogged down in the courts because farmers are looking
for and finding evidence that the exercise has not been done according to
the law and procedurally," Robertson said.

"Farmers are challenging some sections of the law under which the process is
being undertaken. From the look of things, the battle may remain in the
courts for years."

Other analysts said it was impossible to avoid a judicial imbroglio on land
reform when the process
was not proceeding in terms of the letter and spirit of the law and the
parties involved are hostile to each other.

The militant Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) splinter group, Justice for
Agriculture (JAG), has vowed to go down fighting, dashing hopes of a simple
government take-over. The group said it would contest its members' property
seizures in the courts and go to international courts if this was necessary.

JAG chair Dave Conolly said the crisis was not over yet. "The land reform
issue is far from over as we will continue to challenge all the unlawful
acquisitions or evictions," Conolly said.

"Even if government succeed in its land seizures, this will mark only the
beginning of worse things to come - hunger and famine. People do not eat
land but products of hard work on land."

Government and farmers have been slugging it out in the courts since the
land seizures started in 2000. Farmers, who maintain President Robert Mugabe
's scorched earth land policies are illegal and destructive in many aspects,
have won a number of court victories against government since April 2000
when the High Court ruled that farm invasions were illegal. This has thrown
government's land grab programme into disarray.

But Mugabe, in an apparent reference to adverse court rulings, recently
warned his government would "take no chances; brook no impediments and
certainly suffer no avoidable delays" in its bid to complete the agrarian
reform as scheduled.

It is common cause that a lot of unfavourable court rulings have been
ignored or side-stepped by government using - in some cases manifestly
abusing - its simple majority in parliament.

Analysts said Mugabe's threats revealed his growing frustration with the
legal route to land reform, which authorities have always been anxious to
avoid. Government only managed to reverse court rulings against it after
revamping the judiciary and packing the Supreme Court bench with compliant

After the judicial re-engineering, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice
Godfrey Chidyausiku in October ruled the land reform exercise was lawful and
should proceed as was - without a planned programme - reversing an earlier
judgement by the same court under former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay.

Initially, the court in December 2000 demanded that government first
produces a programme of action to avoid plodding through the exercise
without clear-cut targets.

Now the exercise seems to have hit new levels of uncertainty. The next few
months are likely to be decisive as far as the land issue is concerned
although the crisis could run for a much longer period than anticipated in
official circles.

There is much at stake for all concerned in the land reform issue. It is not
just about the commercial farmers, or 350 000 farm workers who together with
their families number up to two million, or the ancillary businesses around
the country that are dependent on servicing farms and receiving their
output, but also the possible consequences of Zimbabwe's economic implosion
on the region.

This explains the complaints, muffled and timid though they might be, by
regional leaders over Zimbabwe's land reforms.

In a speech during Heroes Day, Mugabe said he was plodding through the land
redistribution exercise - which has gone through various stages ranging from
fast-track to Model A2 resettlement - to catch up with the rainy season. But
in so doing he has triggered more confusion which might delay the process
further despite his determination to proceed arbitrarily.

Since the June 24 deadline for thousands of farmers to stop operations and
the August 8 cut-off date for them to move out, there has been chaos on the
farms. The confusion was fuelled by government's discretionary eviction
orders and farmers' defiance of those expulsion notices. Following the clash
between government and farmers, the authorities have since been stepping up
the wholesale purge of landowners by hounding, arresting and prosecuting
farmers resisting the evictions.

Analysts say court rulings against the evictions have further compounded the
situation and diminished chances of a quick resolution to the long-running

Farmers' refusal to vacate their properties either because they have nowhere
else to go or the farms were being seized unlawfully, and government's
crackdown using the police, army and Zanu PF militias have created an
ominous stand-off which could get the country stuck in a quagmire for years.

To date close to 250 farmers accused of defying eviction orders have been
arrested and taken to court. The farmers were granted different bail
conditions ranging from $5 000 to $10 000 and will be appearing before the
courts across the country on different dates beginning next week.

Magistrates have also worsened the muddle by giving contradictory rulings.
Some have told farmers to remain on their properties pending the outcome of
a Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the eviction process,
while others have advised them to leave immediately.

Government's admission during High Court hearings on land cases last week
that some its Section 8 orders served on farmers were invalid has
complicated matters. Eviction of farmers sitting under preliminary notices
as opposed to Section 8 orders has also deepened the predicament.

However, Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union chair Thomas Nherera said
further delays would not be tolerated.

"Land preparation is already late for crops such as tobacco," Nherera said.
"It could appear harsh if government takes back land allocated to new
farmers due to late occupancy but further delays will mean no production in
the coming season from the new farmers."

Nherera said deferring the transfer of land would delay the resuscitation of
agriculture, Zimbabwe's economic mainstay.

"As unions we need to know how many people have taken up their land so that
we can reach them with services from inputs to technical assistance," he

"No individual anywhere in the world will be allowed to hold government to
ransom. In any case, the majority of the farmers have complied with the
demands of Section 8 and vacated their farms."

Farmers vacated under duress but have filed court applications challenging
their ejection which they say was unlawful.

Robertson said while it was difficult to conclude now that newly-resettled
farmers would fail in their endeavours due to lack of meaningful support
structures and government assistance, signs of catastrophe were already

"My view is that this land reform programme is going to be a disaster," he
said. "Right now there is already strong evidence that it is going to be a
calamity. Its impact on the economy has been devastating and we may find
ourselves food beggars until 2005. Let's wait and see. The verdict will be
out next year."

Zim Independent

Only political change will reverse economic slide

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's "war" and "economic" cabinet is nothing more than
a rearrangement of death chairs on the deck of Zimbabwe's ill-fated Titanic
while it cruises towards a destructive iceberg. It goes without saying that
the economy is being destroyed and there can be no recovery without
political change. But we have to make do with the devil until something,
hopefully positive, comes out of the Movement for Democratic Change's court
challenge to the March 9/11 presidential election.

As we went to the presidential election in March, three scenarios were
possible: economic collapse, maintenance of the status quo and "out of the
woods". One can argue that Zimbabwe is now left with a mixture of the first
two. The "out of the woods" scenario has all but collapsed as it was
premised on the possibility of "a just" electoral outcome that would
engender goodwill among local and international economic actors. This would
have resulted in large inflows of aid and foreign investment required to
kick-start the economy.

Zimbabweans should ask whether there can be economic recovery without
political change. Can government muster and harness goodwill from regional
economic blocs such as Sadc and Comesa and the international community? Such
a step would avert economic collapse and, at best, sustain the status quo
that obtained before the election.

Zimbabwe's slow but sure ostracisation from its traditional trading partners
has long begun. While none of her regional partners has imposed
restrictions, Zimbabwe has effectively been isolated from many international
pacts benefiting other countries in the region, notably Washington's Africa
Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), the European Union's Cotonou Agreement
and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).

In the last two years a lot of investment opportunities have been lost as a
result of the isolation. In 1999 the US banned Zimbabwe from the Agoa
provisions, targeting its export cotton lint in particular. Zimbabwe has
been completely excluded from Nepad's five programme elements: political
governance, including peace, security and conflict resolution; economic and
corporate governance, including measurement of economic governance and peer
review mechanism; infrastructure, including information and communication
technology, water, sanitation, transport and energy; agricultural market
access, including harmonisation of standards to encourage intra-African
trade; financial and banking standards, including capital flows and
mobilisation of domestic resources and identifying goals, criteria and
mechanisms for debt reduction.

Zimbabwe will certainly have a torrid time accessing conditions for
participating in, let alone negotiating, the economic partnership
arrangements with its Sadc/ACP partners and the European Union. At the same
time all its neighbours are preparing to negotiate the fifth round of the
World Trade Organisation talks.

The third question is whether Zimbabwe faces an economic meltdown? Some
would argue that, by African standards, the country is in its worst-ever
economic crisis with unemployment at a record 80%; inflation at an all-time
high of 123,5% and steadily rising; many businesses closing down, and donors
having frozen aid. Sixty percent of the population faces starvation with
absolutely no food in the silos of the Grain Marketing Board.

Latest official figures estimate economic growth at minus 9% in 2002, while
independent economists put the decline at minus 12%, taking the cumulative
decline since 1998 to over 30%.

By modern market economy standards, this is an economic collapse. It is made
worse by the fact that the underlying causes of the crisis remain:
widespread lawlessness, Zimbabwe's international isolation, and inflation
forecast to hit 150% by year-end.

The inevitable question is whether it is still possible for the government -
and the new, in Mugabe's words "economic war cabinet on one side and.a
political war cabinet" on the other - to reverse the situation? Could the
country begin to see a change of course towards some kind of normalcy: where
fiscal policy reins in government expenditure, the restoration of positive
real interest rates and devaluation to levels that will restore
competitiveness and encourage exporters? Is there a chance that inflation
will be seriously tackled and reversed?

Economic turnaround does not come about on its own, especially a recovery
required to put Zimbabwe back on its feet again. The country cannot continue
to ignore the key requirements for economic and social recovery.

Yet businesspersons and entrepreneurs continue to ignore objective economic
laws of how modern economies are run.

The primary evil in the Zimbabwe economy is the destruction of business
confidence and private sector initiative. Miracles do happen, but for
Zimbabwe this implies that the government, which has been solely responsible
for the abrogation of the rule of law and the destruction of human life and
property, should start on a clean slate by revamping the export and domestic
sectors to achieve recovery.

Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Economic infrastructure verging on collapse

 ALTHOUGH government will either categorically deny it or in the
alternative, will acknowledge it but deny all responsibility and will blame
it wholly upon the British in general and Tony Blair in particular, aided
and abetted by the US, commercial farmers and whites, the incontrovertible
fact is that almost all of Zimbabwe's economic infrastructure is verging
upon total collapse.

There is unequivocal evidence that the economy is fast imploding, but
perhaps amongst the most incontrovertible evidence is that of a letter sent
on August 8 to some of its major customers who are involved in exports, by
the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa).

The contents of that letter are shattering, and especially so as Zesa is a
parastatal and, therefore, is to all intents and purposes, an arm of
government. The letter records that Zesa requires US$208,8 million annually
(equating to $11,5 billion at the official rate of exchange and
approximately $146,2 billion at parallel market rates!) in order to keep
"Zesa afloat".

In the first seven months of 2002 "the total foreign currency allocation to
Zesa by the Reserve Bank", (sourced from the 40% mandatory surrender, at
official rate, of export proceeds of Zimbabwean exporters), amounted to only
US$19,7 million, or about one-seventh of the foreign currency required.

Zesa says that it has "reached a stage where it is no longer possible to
guarantee uninterrupted supply to customers" due to the failure to pay for
its electricity imports. It emphasises that in view of its financial problem
and, in particular, its inability to raise foreign currency to pay for power
imports, "there is a serious danger that power imports will be curtailed and
eventually terminated. This will have very adverse effects on business
operations and indeed the economy at large."

Zesa seeks to quantify the potential extent of those adverse effects by
stating that: "It is important to remember the lessons of the 1992 drought
when we experienced an energy deficit of the order of 20%. This was going to
cause heavy losses to the economy of the order of $12 billion at that time.
The potential power deficit likely to be brought about by the curtailment or
cut of imports is of the order of 35% of the national requirements. A
deficit of this order is bound to inflict enormous harm to the economy as
well as destroying investor confidence."

In order to address this imminent crisis, Zesa is appealing to its exporter
customers to pay for their electricity supplies in foreign currency, and
proposes that it will divide those customers' electricity bills "in
Zimdollars by the official exchange rate ruling at the billing date".
Whether or not government accepts the existence of a parallel market, and no
matter the extent that the Reserve Bank may seek to contain that market, the
hard fact is that very few, if any, exporters can attain viability and
continue operations if they cannot realise at least a significant portion of
export proceeds at parallel market rates.

Thus, it is highly improbable that many, if any, exporters will respond
positively to Zesa's appeal, for doing so would equate to commercial
suicide. And, therefore, Zimbabwe must brace itself for massive
load-shedding which will severely hinder industrial production, mining and
agricultural operations, and most other economic activity. This disastrous
circumstance may well be exacerbated by reduction in electricity generation
within Zimbabwe.

Recently, Wankie Col-
liery Company Ltd intimated that the insufficiency of available foreign
exchange was restricting its access to essential spares required to ensure
continuing maximised production of coal, and that reduced coal deliveries
would reduce Zimbabwe's thermal power output. Similarly, if Zesa cannot
source its spares requirements due to an insufficiency of foreign exchange,
its power generation must diminish.

It is not only a lack of electricity that will destroy much of the economy.
Only a few weeks ago, a government minister stated categorically that
Zimbabwe would not sustain fuel shortages. Cynics immediately took that
denial of the rumours of imminent fuel shortages to be confirmation that
those shortages would, in fact, occur. Since that ministerial statement,
there have been instances of many service stations being without fuel for
several days at a time.

This has provoked pronounced fears that Zimbabwean motorists will soon, yet
again, be subjected to hours and days of queuing. Tens of thousands of
working-hours will be lost, productivity severely reduced, and the already
much weakened business confidence destroyed, whilst tourism which is already
a distressed industry, will suffer even further blows of lesser patronage.

The fears of fuel shortages are being intensified with reports (not yet
authoritatively confirmed, but also not denied) of dwindling national fuel
reserves and of fast-growing reticence of Libya to supply Zimbabwe in view
of huge arrears.

Alongside the potential decline in power and fuel supplies, Zimbabwe is
already experiencing a major deterioration in telecommunication services,
vital to effective business operations. Two of the three cellular networks
are unable to cope with the volumes of traffic. For hours on end, attempts
to make calls result in signals that the "network is busy", or that there is
"no network" and, more often than not, when eventually one is successful in
making a call, the network suddenly cuts out. The explanation recurrently
given by the network operators is that non-availability of foreign currency
hampers maintenance and network enhancement.

Concurrently, virtually all of agriculture, which is the foundation and the
mainstay of the economy, is in ruins. Almost all farms in the country have
been subjected to government expropriation orders, and the farmers prevented
from harvesting crops, planting of new crops, and caring for livestock.
Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of crops are rotting in the fields, at
the very time when nearly half of Zimbabwe's population is facing

A major portion of the national herd has necessarily been put to slaughter,
because the farmers were barred from continuing farming operations. Much
rhetoric is forthcoming from government that its agrarian reform is
empowering new farmers who will restore Zimbabwe to its former position of
southern Africa's bread-basket.

But on the ground all indications suggest the contrary. At the very time
when government states that it will ensure that the new farmers will be
provided with all necessary inputs, ahead of the forthcoming rainy season,
major producers of fertilisers (some of whom are indirectly controlled by
government) state that the country's foreign currency crisis is such that
there will be considerable shortages of fertiliser!

But the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement is adamant
that required inputs will be available, and assures the populace that the
"modalities" of supply are being addressed between government and the
suppliers. One must ponder whether those assurances and modalities are not
of the same substance as the vast crops which the minister witnessed growing
"with my own eyes" last year.

The near demise of agriculture is rendering as estimated 300 000 farm
workers unemployed, subjecting them and their dependants potentially
destitute. Government seeks to minimise that destitution by demanding that
the displaced farmers pay severance and termination packages. Having killed
the golden goose, government still expects it to lay eggs! Many of the
farmers are facing bankruptcy, with their farms being taken from them
without compensation, with promised compensation for improvements not being
forthcoming, they being barred from removal of their farming equipment,
irrigation systems, and the like from their farms, and they still having to
repay their borrowings which had funded the crops they cannot reap, and the
livestock they cannot keep.

Without any substantive agriculture, the direct shrinkage of the
economy will be almost 20% of gross domestic product. The impoverished
farmers and farm workers will not have the resources for spending into the
downstream economy. Both manufacturing and distributive sectors will sustain
marked reduction in domestic market demand, placing the survival of many
enterprises at risk.

When Zimbabwe has little electricity, little or no fuel, poor
telecommunications, a shrunken agricultural sector and an emaciated
industrial and commercial sector, government will have achieved its
objective of "returning the land to the people", but will that land be one
which they will then want, and which can sustain them? Only those who suffer
from hallucinations and delusions can possibly believe so.

Zim Independent


We have no sympathy for Makoni

THE big story of the week was Simba Makoni's fall from President Robert
Mugabe's grace.

He was recoopted into the cabinet after the 2000 parliamentary election
under the tag of something called "technocrats" along with Nkosana Moyo and
party pseudo-hawks - Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Chinamasa and Joseph Made.

The appointments raised expectations among the gullible that Mugabe wanted
to seriously address the country's economic problems finally. It was, as it
turned out, an absolutely forlorn hope. Nkosana Moyo quickly saw through
Mugabe's sham during those Zanu PF-orchestrated factory invasions and
decided it was time to run away. Not so Makoni. Somehow he imagined he could
magically influence the whole of Zanu PF to change its suicidal policies.

Muckraker has no doubts about Makoni's personal integrity and his well-meant
intentions. But we have no sympathy for his folly. He wanted to be called
indoda sibili (real man) but got a punch on the nose instead. To be a real
man in Zanu PF these days means losing your reason and perpetually dancing
to Mugabe's tune. As those in the military will tell their juniors, you are
not employed to think but to take orders. Mugabe does all the thinking, if
his ruinous policies could be said to reflect thinking at all. So Makoni
deserves all the embarrassment he got: Nkosana was no fool.

If Makoni had any sense of self-worth he should have known from the start
that he was working against an incorrigible system, much to his own
detriment. So if he thought all his future lay in Mugabe's hands he only has
himself to blame now that he has been cast away as such loathsome flotsam.
There is no room for scruples in Zanu PF and those who want to make their
fortune through the regime must be ready to soil their souls.

Makoni's cardinal sin was to talk the late Bernard Chidzero's language of
the IMF and World Bank reforms. Notions like devaluation, free markets and a
free exchange rate have become anathema in Zanu PF. Land reform has become
the latest doctrine where all thinking must end.

Mugabe himself conceded on Monday after swearing in his so-called "war
cabinet" that there were irreconcilable differences between Makoni and his
cabinet colleagues. Makoni had not been fired, said Mugabe, but had instead
tendered in his resignation on August 14. That explains why he was described
at the Heroes Day commemorations as an economic saboteur. Dropped or
resigned, what's the difference? Too late either way.

The police, who otherwise should know better about procedures in criminal
investigations, were at it again last weekend. Tonderai Katswara reported on
ZBC that investigations were continuing in what "police believe to be the
politically-motivated murder" of Zanu PF activist, Ali Manjengwa of Mbare.
Why would police believe the murder was politically-motivated when they had
not finished investigations? There were no indications in her report that
any suspects had been apprehended.

The footage was a telling example of collusion between ZBC, the police and
Zanu PF. The ZBC showed us clips of hundreds of people supposedly mourning
Manjengwa. Muckraker understands the people consisted mainly of traders and
buyers from the nearby Mupedzanhamo flea market who had been force-marched
to swell the crowd at Manjengwa's funeral. This was obviously intended to
give the appearance of people's solidarity with the slain man, and by
association, sympathy with Zanu PF.

True to form, Zanu PF was already spoiling for war. Joseph Chinotimba of the
war veterans told ZBC: "We don't want to start war, we have the experience
of war and are quite capable of responding in equal measure. Let's talk as
we have been doing everyday, giving each other space and opportunity for
campaigning, one party on one side, the other party on the other side."

It is not the first time Zanu PF has boasted of its war credentials. It will
not be the last time. But we are surprised by claims that the MDC is allowed
to campaign. Surely that would render the Public Order and Security Act
irrelevant! No day passes without at least one MDC official being arrested
or taken to court for crimes real or imagined, just to make clear who is in

War veterans acting chairman Patrick Nyaruwata also weighed in warning the
MDC to desist from "such terrorist acts 'before the situation gets out of
control'." And yet in the same report the Herald clearly states Manjengwa
"was shot by unknown gunmen" after addressing a party meeting. How does the
MDC come into all this and was this the first meeting Manjengwa had
addressed in the area? Why would the MDC kill a rival party functionary who
lost in council elections? Logic seems to have been banished in Zanu PF's
smear campaign to suppress dissent in Zimbabwean politics.

Jonathan Moyo last week seized on the lies published by the Herald that US
Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner had said the US
wanted to oust Mugabe from power, to restate his morbid fear of the
independent press. All Kansteiner said was that the US was working with
Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa to isolate Zimbabwe. That it was also
working with human rights groups, including independent journalists in
Zimbabwe, to promote democracy. The nearest he came to the Herald's "topple
Mugabe" propaganda was when he said "the political status quo (in Zimbabwe)
is unacceptable because the elections were fraudulent".

Moyo immediately went for the soft target: "A lot of people (meaning himself
of course) now have questions about these journalists whom the US government
has said it is working with. You now as a journalist ask yourself: who in
your fraternity is working with Americans: is it these journalists getting
these dubious awards coming from the Americans or is it those who are
publishing daily trash in the name of freedom of democracy?

"The people of Zimbabwe will now understand why it is important to regulate
the media; do they think we will just fold our arms and say: Oh, wonderful,
America is working with this so-called journalist to topple the
government ."

We are not at all surprised by Moyo's furious outburst. If he didn't spend
his nights devising evil schemes against the private press he would lose his
job. That is the prize he is having to pay for ditching his principles about
democracy for the love of money. As things stand, very few people understand
why Moyo wants to "regulate the media". He does.

The Herald's favourite commentator, Nhlanhla Masuku, also chimed in,
claiming that the "Americans are going to the extent of giving dirty money
to people in a desperate move to topple the government."

He went on, much like he was reading a script prepared by none other than
Moyo himself: "Now we understand why some local journalists are writing a
lot of lies to help British and American propaganda. No one can be engaged
to work to topple any government without being paid."

He didn't give us a single example of a journalist being paid by either the
Americans or the British to "topple" the government. So we won't dignify his
remarks by commenting on them save to point out that we understand why
Mugabe didn't have his name on the cards when he did his cabinet shuffling.
One Josef Goebels is enough for that kind of job.

In another case of the police and government colluding to cover up crime,
Jonathan Moyo denied allegations by a human rights group, Amani Trust, that
the youth brigades, war veterans and the police were raping young girls in
rural areas as a retribution against parents suspected to have voted for the
MDC in parliamentary and presidential elections.

A political police spokesman who could not be named, immediately threatened
to investigate the reports "to establish whether any laws had been broken".
"The culprits will include the sources of the malicious and false
information and those who are peddling that information," said the Herald on

Surely this must be the greatest travesty of justice and subversion of the
law. Instead of investigating the authenticity of the allegations, the
police want to know why people are reporting rape cases and to establish
whether or not rape is a crime! That was the essence of the Herald report.
Isn't that an attempt to obstruct the course of justice?

And Moyo, who has established a well-deserved reputation as a strange
bedfellow with the truth, immediately attacked the British and Americans for
originating the lies to "defend their colonial racist interests". But it is
not the British who are being used as sex slaves in Mugabe's torture camps
dotted across the country. Sanity has been long in returning to government.

The ZBC has gone on what it glibly calls a nationwide radio and TV
"licencing blitz". "In its quest to improve TV and radio services and
provide quality programmes, ZBC has launched a licence blitz to ensure
viewers and listeners also play their part by paying for the services," the
corporation said last week.

The corporation, we were told, would now require that those participating in
its competitions produce licences before they claim their prizes. That
amounts to blackmail.

What the ZBC did not explain is that the reason people are not buying
licences are to do with the propaganda blitz the ZBC is beaming into their
homes and nothing to do with their penchant to cheat. The protest against
the ZBC is very clear to all those who care to listen. Why should people pay
to listen to propaganda when those sponsoring it should foot the bill?

Muckraker is informed that things are so bad at the Ib-boring Mirror that
reporters have been asked to solicit for adverts. The Libyan-sponsored
Mirror has failed to sell its propaganda to advertisers and readers because
of spirited competition from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. We wish
the good doctor all the best in his endeavour to launch a daily newspaper
and pray that it will survive the competition with the Herald.

Talking of the Herald, it had a classic example of shoddy reporting on
Saturday when it carried a story headlined "Teenage rapist gets nine years".
The intro read: "A 20-year-old Mhondoro teenager has been sentenced to
nine-and-half years in prison for raping a pregnant woman." Now, what kind
of teen is that? Readers are certainly offended by stories of 20-year-old

Equally guilty of imprecision is the ad from the New Start Centres calling
on all youths aged "from 16 and above" to visit their stand at the Harare
Show for counselling. You end up with 78-year-old youths.

We had a hard time working in our offices on Tuesday as jets kept whirring
as they flew overhead. We were not sure if it was Mugabe's "war council"
flexing its muscle just to show the Americans and the British what a super
power we are. At the same time, ground forces were conducting "routine
exercises" with nearly 50 "heavily armed members of the police" turning the
offices of the MDC upside down at Harvest House. Now we know why Kembo
Mohadi was promoted to the Home Affairs ministry. Ask Strover Mutonhori's
family for details.

The patriotic Herald reported on Monday that there were acute food shortages
in Mberengwa district in the Midlands. GMB depots in the district have not
received any supplies for the past three weeks, said the Herald. "We are in
a critical situation," a villager was quoted as saying. "We are starving not
because we don't have money to buy food but because there is no grain or
maize meal to buy from any shops," he said. Needless to say the drought was
blamed on Cyclone Eline which hit the district four years ago.

Where is Zanu PF which won an overwhelming majority in the presidential and
parliamentary elections in the district? Where is Mugabe who promised nobody
would starve because of his chaotic land reform?

Instead, the little food aid the villagers get is reportedly supplied by
NGOs, mainly Christian Care and Plan International. Talk of government
abdicating its duty!

Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

A loose cannon
Barnabas Thondhlana

THE departure of Dr Simba Makoni from government is a sad development. It
takes away the little hope that in Zanu PF there could be a dissenting voice

. Makoni represented a new crop of Zanu PF members prepared to take the bull
by the horns and bring sanity into a party gone insane. The likes of
Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Chinamasa, Joseph Made et al, all cow before the
throne of Robert Mugabe and cannot be expected think on their own, let alone
utter a word of discord.

Mugabe is a loose cannon. Age appears to have taken over as he no longer
seeks advice from any quota. It is common knowledge that no cabinet minister
can dare utter a word of dissent. Mugabe rules the roost and woe betide any
one who dares challenge him.

His thoughts are supreme and his antidote for the country is what he knows
best. Nobody, and I mean nobody, in government is aware of what goes on in
Mugabe's mind, who he has in mind as a possible successor or when he is
stepping down. Even his supposed deputies are not aware of what the future
of this country is and what direction we are taking. All they know is that
the land reform programme has to be adhered to. Beyond that, zilch.

Because of age, Mugabe is now increasingly cacooned in his shell. He is at
that time in life where he loves being praised. Reminded of his successes
from 1963 to date. How he made the whites run from their mansions in 1980
and in 2002, literally striking fear into the whitemen's heart. Accolades
must come in buckets if any minister, would-be minister or party supporter
harbours thoughts of rising or retaining his/her post. And Zanu PF members
have not disappointed. They are showering him with accolades as desired, for
real, imagined or trumped up successes. Falling all over themselves to lick
his boots.

The best example of the bootlickers is Simon Khaya Moyo, who, at a function
in Beitbridge some years back, ran out of superlatives to praise Mugabe. And
yet it was a function to honour the late Joshua Nkomo. He was rewarded first
with a ministerial appointment and later a diplomatic posting.

Jonathan Moyo is another good lickmaster. He quickly realised Mugabe's
Archilles heel, polished up his language, and seriously started licking
Mugabe - in perfect Cambridge English. The rest, as they say, is history.

So the likes of Makoni, independent of mind and focused on the business at
hand, have no room in a gathering busy worshipping the throne. His departure
is a clear enough message that if you do not bow to the throne, you are

But the honeymoon will have to come to an end at some stage. Nothing lasts
forever. This is a message for Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Chinamasa and Joseph
Made. While today you live it up, tomorrow is a different kettle of fish
altogether. Those around you in the party hate your guts and the way you
have endeared yourselves to be Mugabe's right hand men.

Be warned. As soon as Mugabe goes, wherever people like him go - you will be
left out in the cold. With no constituency to cushion you, all the power you
thought you had will be seen for what it is - a mirage. And if rumours doing
the rounds in the capital are anything to go by - that Mugabe is looking for
a way out and will just call it quits one morning soon - the

day of reckoning might not be too far away for those eager for change.

The Harare Agricultural Show got off to a slow start on Monday against the
background of a skewed land reform programme, a devastating drought and
government's erratic economic policies.

The show has been the highlight of the agricultural calendar, an event to
look forward to for both schoolchildren on holiday and parents alike, and an
opportunity for agri-based companies to showcase their products. New seed
varieties, animal breeds and machinery were on offer.

The show was the envy of the region, unparalleled by any other south of the
Sahara. In Africa itself, the show was highly respected for its
organisation, products on offer and as being a unique platform for serious
entrepreneurial exchanges and fun.

The decline in numbers of exhibitors - from 500 to 420 - and visitors too,
is a reflection of the problems that the sector is going through. It is
common cause that the agricultural sector will never be the same again.
Agriculture as we know it has died. Reports that the small-scale farmers
have come out in their hundreds to exhibit at the show does not,
unfortunately, instill confidence that there is still life in the
agricultural sector. Small-scale agriculture is only meant to fill in the
gaps in production figures. Commercial agriculture was the backbone of not
only the show but the economy as well.

Not so any more. Gone are the huge combine harvesters, the captivating
animal displays and the fun associated with the whole event. The main event
in the agricultural calendar is now similar to what is on offer at the
Gwanda Agricultural Show. A few stands consisting mainly of tired vegetable
displays, ox-drawn carts and ploughs and sackfulls of the Mopani worm

In years to come, Zimbabweans from all walks of life will ask what went
wrong with what once was a window through which commercial farmers had an
opportunity to learn from each other and to access what commerce and
industry prepared for the next agricultural season.

No wonder war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba could be billed as next
year's guest of honour.


From The Star (SA), 29 August

Zim cops detain 'rape camp' whistleblower

Harare - Zimbabwean police raided the Harare offices on Thursday of the Amani Trust, which aids victims of political violence, and arrested the organisation's doctor who treats torture victims. The raid took place hours after the Harare office of an independent radio production organisation, Voice of the People, was destroyed, allegedly by a bomb. The gate to the Amani Trust's office in central Harare was locked on Thursday while police went through documents. An administrator who asked not to be named said plainclothed officers of the police law and order section arrived at about 11.30am with a search warrant. While some officers searched the premises, others took Dr Frances Lovemore to the Harare central police station. Lovemore was accompanied by her lawyer, he said. The administrator said he had not seen the search warrant and the officers conducting the search refused to say what they were looking for. It followed weekend reports on research conducted by the trust which alleged that members of President Robert Mugabe's militia were raping young women suspected of supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The trust, which was believed to have evidence of the Mugabe government's alleged campaign of violence and torture of its opponents, has regularly been accused by authorities of acting as an agent for Western powers.

Comment from The Washington Times, 29 August

Loose lips discomfort dictators

Ed Royce

On the world's poorest continent, two African futures are dueling. South African President Thabo Mbeki and others speak of an African Renaissance, a growing prosperity founded on democracy and the rule of law, and want it backed by greater development aid. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's tyrannical President Robert Mugabe is destroying one of the continent's more promising countries as he clings to power. For Africa's sake, its leaders' discouraging acceptance of Mr. Mugabe's tyranny cannot go unchallenged. Zimbabwe's presidential election in March was a sham. The independent press was terrorized and ballots were corrupted. Political opponents were murdered. Human rights groups in Zimbabwe have documented ongoing, government-sanctioned torture. Today, some 6 million Zimbabweans, half the country, face a famine made mostly by Mr. Mugabe. His regime blames drought, but reservoirs are near full. Its "land reform" policy of evicting several thousand commercial farmers, besides hammering the economy, has slashed maize production. While begging for food aid, the Mugabe government is arresting evicted farmers for tending to their crops.

Mr. Mugabe's regime is now frustrating food aid efforts. Catholic church officials in Zimbabwe have reported that so-called "war veterans," shock troops that spearhead land seizures, blocked food aid deliveries to hungry children. Twenty-seven died of malnutrition-related illness. Their crime: living in a political opposition stronghold. A high-level government official was bold enough to say of food aid, "You cannot vote for the MDC (opposition) and expect Zanu PF (the ruling party) to help you." Ominously, Mugabe allies are now farm owners. The government's land scheme is simply a patronage program for supporters, including Libyan interests who have given the Mugabe regime key aid. Even the "war veterans" are being discarded, losing their just-seized land to generals and other apparatchiks. Besides shredding the rule of law, land reform has darkened food security prospects, with once productive agricultural land now in non-farming hands. Mr. Mugabe is all the more notorious for attacking institutions few other African countries have enjoyed. He has savaged an independent press and judiciary, an educated middle class, an organized civil society, and productive commercial farmers, hallmarks of Zimbabwe and key to its relative prosperity. While Africa has suffered many tyrants, it is hard to recall one having to do more damage to his country's potential in order to cling to power. In killing Zimbabwe's present, Mr. Mugabe is killing its future.

Have African leaders spoken out against this tyrant who stole an election, plunders, and whose legacy is shaping up to be the death by famine of tens of thousands? Hardly. Countering other international observers, most African delegations whitewashed Mr. Mugabe's "re-election." Mr. Mugabe was well-received at the July launching of the African Union, a group headed by Mr. Mbeki and supposedly committed to good governance. How to explain African leaders' acceptance of Mr. Mugabe? His long life in politics has won him loyalties. More importantly, some see themselves in Mr. Mugabe. While Zimbabwe's president is a case apart, too many African leaders brook no dissent. Journalists and political activists are jailed and worse through much of the continent. This is not to fate Africa, or even Zimbabwe, to tyranny. Several African heads of state have distinguished themselves by standing down recently. Though battered, democracy is still a force in Zimbabwe. Mr. Mugabe is being driven to new depths by everyday Zimbabweans rejecting his misrule. The United States should give them greater support by following the European Union's lead in targeting the assets of Mr. Mugabe and his lieutenants. The New Partnership for Africa's Development pushed by Mr. Mbeki and other African leaders proposes that development aid be increased considerably in return for better governance by Africans. This is a serious proposal. Yet observers cannot help but discount Africans' credibility as reformers when they countenance Mr. Mugabe's destruction of the very institutions this aid would develop. By speaking out against the Mugabe regime, as South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has, African governments would bolster their aid case.

Some Africans call it unfair to judge them by their Zimbabwe policy. In some sense, maybe it is. But I wonder if these leaders realize how their silence comforts and emboldens Mr. Mugabe, while demoralizing the brave Zimbabweans challenging his tyranny? Or how it hurts a Zimbabwean mother who cannot feed her child? Who now is being unfair?

Ed Royce, California Republican, is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa