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

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Zim: 'This is ethnic cleansing'
03/08/2005 09:15  - (SA)

Harare - The leader of Zimbabwe's dwindling population of white farmers on
Tuesday likened attempts to strip them of any remaining rights to their land
to ethnic cleansing.

President Robert Mugabe's government has seized about 5 000 white-owned
commercial farms for redistribution to black Zimbabweans since launching its
"fast track land reform" in 2000.

It is now proposing a constitutional amendment that the Commercial Farmers
Union says would withdraw farmers' rights to contest the seizure of their
properties in court.

"As virtually every white farmer has been listed for acquisition in some way
or other, this surely provides direct evidence that a process of ethnic
cleansing is taking place," union leader Douglas Taylor-Freeme said at the
group's annual congress in the capital, Harare.

Mugabe's government defends the campaign as a bid to redress colonial era
imbalances in land ownership.

But critics charge the often-violent seizures, coupled with erratic
rainfall, have crippled Zimbabwe's agriculture-based economy. The United
Nations estimates about four million people are now in need of food aid.

Taylor-Freeme said many of the farms seized - which cover 70% of Zimbabwe's
most productive land - are now lying unused. Agricultural production has
dropped 60% and exports are a fraction of what they were before 2000.

Taylor-Freeme dismissed government claims over the past year that more
hectares have been planted and higher tonnages of grain are expected as "a
national joke."

Further land seizures would only "enhance the collapse of the agricultural
industry ... and reduce any meaningful investment," he said.

Taylor-Freeme estimated about 30% of evicted white farm owners were still
"hanging on" to tiny portions of their land despite the presence of
pro-government militants.

Zimbabwe's security police chief, who oversees land seizures, rejected over
the weekend an appeal by Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono for "progressive"
whites to return to help the farms' new black owners to revive production.

"We are not inviting any white farmers back, never," Didymus Mutasa was
quoted as saying in state-run media. "The land is for black people."
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Catholic Institute for International Relations

3 Aug 2005
Zimbabwe: Punishing the poor - an eyewitness account
CIIR/ICD international programmes director, Rod McLeod, has just returned
from a trip to Zimbabwe, where he witnessed the devastating effect of
President Robert Mugabe's Operation Murambatsvina (clear out the rubbish)
campaign. Here, Rod writes about his experiences:

Sometimes it is hard to see how the odds in life can be stacked more heavily
against someone. A woman in Bulawayo in the east of Zimbabwe told me about
how her husband had died of AIDS. She is also HIV positive and is struggling
to earn a basic living to look after her children, one of whom is disabled
and confined to a wheelchair.  Then the government ordered her to knock her
own house down within 24 hours.  She and her family are now living and
sleeping on the veranda of their former home in the middle of the Zimbabwean
winter with nowhere else to go.

This is just one human story behind the staggering figures surrounding
Operation Murambatsvina initiated by the Zimbabwe government with the aim of
improving service delivery and enforcing by-laws to stop all forms of
illegal activities.

On 25 May, Operation Murambatsvina (translated literally as 'Restore Order'
by the government but 'Clear Out the Rubbish' by others) started in Harare,
Bulawayo and other cities, with 'illegal' housing structures, vendors and
local markets targeted, numerous structures destroyed and many people

According to the United Nations report just released, it is estimated that
700,000 people in cities across the country have either lost their homes,
their livelihoods or both.  Indirectly, a further 2.4 million people have
been affected in varying degrees, estimates show.  With a population of 12.8
million, this constitutes a quarter of the entire population. Many would
claim that the actual numbers are even higher.

This has had a catastrophic impact on people who were already living at the
margins.  I visited Caledonia Transit Camp outside Harare where more than
4,000 people were staying prior to being relocated.  Living in conditions
that fall well short of the internationally accepted Sphere standards for
settlements in emergency situations, people told of how they had lost
property, possessions, access to education, health services as well as the
means to provide for their families. The mood was one of despondency and
fear for the future.

When confronted by the reality of how this operation has affected ordinary
people, it is hard to understand government claims that this operation is a
'noble idea' to clean up urban centres and provide decent houses and
businesses to those affected.  If that was the case, why not build new
houses for the affected people before destroying the old ones with no
warning and no planning in the depths of winter? And why allow those
settlements to develop over many years in the first place? Astonishingly,
some displaced people told how they had been settled in some of the areas
now deemed 'illegal' by the government itself and had even been paying rent
to the municipalities.

Given the Zimbabwe government's near bankrupt circumstances, it will need
substantial international resources if it is to address the needs beyond the
relatively small scale construction projects that are now being heavily
publicised in the official media.  However, such funds are not likely to be
forthcoming until the international community is convinced that the
clearances have stopped and that the government is seriously committed to
assisting its urban poor on the basis of clear, well-planned and transparent
policies. Sadly, for the many I met now living in crowded and inadequate
conditions, it seems they may have to wait a while longer before this point
is reached.

The United Nations has just released a report on the situation in Zimbabwe,
in which UN Special Envoy Anna Tibaijuka says Operation Murambatsvina was
carried out with 'indifference to human suffering.'
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Sunday Times, SA

Lament over constitutional reforms

Wednesday August 03, 2005 07:02 - (SA)

HARARE - Proposed changes to Zimbabwe's constitution that seek to make it
easier for the government to seize farmland from whites could be aimed at
ethnic cleansing, the country's top white farmer has said.

Zimbabwe's parliament is this year expected to debate constitutional
amendments that will make it impossible for white farmers to seek legal
recourse once the government has earmarked their land for expropriation.

"As virtually every white farmer has been listed for acquisition in some way
or other, this surely provides direct evidence that a process of ethnic
cleansing is taking place," Doug Taylor-Freeme, president of the Commercial
Farmers Union (CFU), said.

The government last month published the proposed constititional reforms that
will allow the state immediately to assume ownership of farmland once a
property has been officially listed for expropriation.

Land Minister Didymus Mutasa has said the proposed amendment would remove
the delays caused by legal battles launched by farmers objecting "not that
they want the land back, but just to frustrate the programme".

Taylor-Freeme told his union's annual congress in the capital that farmers
were not interested in politics, but added that the planned law "is an
admission that the existing land act is not workable and that the government
has failed to acquire land in an orderly, legal and amicable way".

Zimbabwe's land reforms, which began, often violently, in 2000 after the
rejection in a referendum of a government-sponsored draft constitution, have
seen about 4,000 white farmers evicted from their properties.

The land has been redistributed to landless blacks in a move that the
government has said is designed to correct imbalances created by colonial
rule, when the majority of prime farmland was owned by about 4,500 whites.

But critics have blamed the reforms in part for a fall in agricultural

Taylor-Freeme said the "draconian law going to further enhance the
collapse of the agricultural industry".

Central bank deputy governor, Nick Ncube, said at the congress that the
agricultural sector had suffered a cumulative decline of 19.4% between 2001
and 2003.

Taylor-Freeme said the new law was "likely to increase the conflict of
ownership of the business on the land and reduce any meaningful investment
to agriculture".

A retired High Court judge, George Smith, told the meeting that the planned
changes, along with a host of other land laws introduced over the past five
years, "show that there is no clear plan or policy" around the land issue.

Mutasa this week ruled out any plans to lure back white commercial farmers
who lost their land during the country's land reforms.

Many farmers have emigrated to Mozambique, Nigeria or Zambia while others
have gone as far afield as Australia. Fewer than 500 remain farming in
Zimbabwe out of the 4,500 operating before the reform.

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      New Zealand arrive for controversial Zimbabwe tour
      Tue Aug 2, 2005 9:26 PM BST

By Telford Vice

HARARE, Aug 2 (Reuters) - New Zealand arrived in Zimbabwe on Tuesday for
their controversial tour of the southern African country, despite political
disapproval back home.

"We're here to play cricket, that's what we do best," New Zealand manager
Lindsay Crocker told reporters after the team arrived in Zimbabwe's capital

"We've had a good week of preparation in Namibia and we are looking forward
to the test series," Cocker added.

The Black Caps' tour has come under political scrutiny, with New Zealand's
government leading an international push to have the tour cancelled because
of concerns over human rights abuses under Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

However, the tour has gone ahead despite the passing of a resolution by New
Zealand's parliament last week calling on the International Cricket Council
(ICC) and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) to cancel the trip.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark proposed the resolution, that was
eventually carried 110-10, asking the ICC and NZC to cancel the tour.

However, NZC chief executive Martin Snedden said the resolution did not
change New Zealand's obligations under the ICC's Future Tours programme and
they would still be liable for a fine of at least $2 million should they

Tours to Zimbabwe by Australia and England were cancelled last year when the
ICC took away Zimbabwe's test status because of the team's weakness
following a player boycott. The ICC has since restored Zimbabwe's status.
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The Herald

Ex-mayors granted free parking space

Municipal Reporter
THE commission running the affairs of the city of Harare has granted the
capital's former mayors, aldermen and serving commissioners free motor
vehicle parking facilities in honour of their service.

The decision was reached at last night's full commission meeting following a
request by some of the former mayors and aldermen to have parking fees
waived for them.

Former mayors expected to benefit from the exemption include Alderman Tony
Gara, Clr Charles Tawengwa, Clr Jabulani Thembani, Dr Tizirai Gwata and Clr
Oliver Chidawu.

Sitting commissioners Clr Sekesai Makwavarara, Professor Jameson Kurasha,
Cde Tendai Savanhu, Mr Terrence Hussein, Engineer Noel Muzuva, Mr Michael
Mahachi, Mrs Viola Chasi and Mrs Prisca Mupfumira will also benefit from the

The commission has put in place stringent parking regulations that attract
heavy fines for illegally parked vehicles.

Last month, city authorities reported that they were raking in over $100
million daily in fines from towing vehicles and clamping the wheels of
illegally parked vehicles. Motorists who fail to display valid parking discs
or continue using expired discs anywhere within the council-controlled area
will have their vehicles clamped.

The issue of waiving parking fees was first tabled during an executive
committee meeting held on July 13, 2005. Town clerk Mr Nomutsa Chideya
informed the meeting that former mayors and aldermen had requested the

"That as policy, the Commission grants a free parking facility for one
vehicle each in the City of Harare as a privilege to living aldermen and
former mayors of the City of Harare," read part of the council resolution.

"The aldermen, commissioners and former mayors would be issued with free
pre-paid parking discs to enable them "to effectively execute their duties
and to monitor the operations of council".

However, the city needs the assent of the Minister of Local Government,
Public Works and Urban Development, Cde Ignatius Chombo, for the
commissioners to enjoy the benefit.

In a related matter, the commission agreed that shop owners should be
engaged to develop car parks in front of their premises.

Most car parks at the city's shopping centres are in a deplorable condition
with a high number dotted with potholes and almost impassable.

Should council fail to reach consensus with the shop owners, it can still
proceed with levying them because the Urban Councils Act has provisions for
the levy.
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New Zimbabwe

Something is rotten in MDC South Africa


The MDC has spent a lot of time trying to convince President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa that it should be taken seriously as an alternative government in Zimbabwe.

When New broke the story about the death of Lungile Sibanda in intra-party clashes in Johannesburg last month, our readers hoped the party would move swiftly and decisivley to deal with the crisis.

A month later, confirmation arrives that two other activists who had gone missing also met Lungile's fate -- and were buried in a dump site after their bodies were burnt.

By looking aside while people burn, literally, the MDC is sending wrong signals, not only to Mbeki but also the South African public under whose very eyes these clashes are taking place.

It's never too late to act. Morgan Tsvangirai should send in an investigator to identify the problem, and propose solutions.

As an opposition, our readers would be hesitant to vote for a party which seeks to govern at national stage when it cannot deal with its own internal battles.

Last updated: 08/03/2005 17:49:29 Last updated: 08/03/2005 11:48:14
THIS week I join the rest of the Zimbabwean community based in South Africa in sorrow and grief. A dark cloud of mourning has engulfed our community after the final confirmation that two of our well known activists were actually murdered in cold blood.

According to reports, their charred bodies were found in some forlorn rubbish dumb in the outskirts of Tembisa, one of Johannesburg’s high density suburbs.

The two bodies of Musa Mhlanga and Liberty Ncube were found after an ‘anonymous’ tip off that was made to the local police sometime last week. It is feared that the culprits could have been behind the tip off. The two activists were abducted at a social party in Hillbrow during the first week of June. They had been declared missing and presumed dead until the gruesome discovery of their charred remains last week.

The culprits remain unknown even though some arrests have been made and the suspects have denied the charges laid against them in the local magistrates courts.

Be that as it may, eye witnesses insist that the run away car that was used in the abduction actually belong to a well-known MDC official in South Africa.

Both the police and leaders of the ZASG have failed to positively identify the two bodies since they were burnt beyond recognition. It is hoped their identities will be fully confirmed after the results of the DNA tests that are being undertaken at the moment.

The discovery of these two bodies will thus bring the tally of fatal casualties from the current feud between two factions of the MDC to three confirmed deaths.

The other victim was one of the suspected abductees, Lungile Sibanda, who was found murdered at Berea Park. His body was repatriated to Zimbabwe for burial sometime last month. Sibanda had originally fled Zimbabwe after being implicated in the murder case of a Zanu-PF activist in Lupane in 2003.

Surely it is so sad to have such tragic cases here in South Africa. This is so especially when one fully appreciates the fact that all these three late activists are well known MDC members. All the three fled political victimizations at the hands of Zanu-PF agents in Zimbabwe and had to endure torrid life experiences here in South Africa. All of them hoped to return home one day and be part of the process of rebuilding a new Zimbabwe.

Now their bodies will have to return for burial in Zimbabwe under such unexpected and very shameful circumstances. Indeed, how can one describe their deaths at the hands of callous fellow MDC activists in a foreign country? These three were all prepared to sacrifice their lives in the bitter struggle for a new Zimbabwe. I am convinced however, that they never expected to die as part of an unnecessary factional feud within the MDC itself. Honestly, tragedies do not come so big!

As a human rights lawyer, one of my most valued principles simply states that; “No politician or political party is worth dying for under whatever circumstances”. I believe that people should be ready to die for a national cause but not merely for an individual politician or political party.

In fact I have always dreamed of a day when the hundreds of the MDC members that have been murdered by suspected Zanu-PF agents would have their fair share of justice in a public legal recourse. I have always wished that one day; their cruel murderers would be brought to the books of justice and held totally accountable for their evil deeds.

In particular, I have always believed that one day some kind of truth and reconciliation commission would be set up to help so as to help address the thorny issue of politically motivated murders in Zimbabwe. The cases will also include those dating from both the pre-independence days and those emanating from the Gukurahundi genocide.

But never at any one moment did I have to think that such a commission would have to deal with such a tragic type of case: that of political murders arising from an internal feud between members of the MDC! The much touted alternative for peaceful political change in Zimbabwe. Surely this is so sad!

I never expected that one day the MDC will have to account for the deaths of its own members due to internal politics. Such a scenario was too ghastly for me to even contemplate.

I therefore, must fully confess that I am at a loss with the recent tragic developments that have completely tarnished the reputation of the MDC here in South Africa.

I may not be a member of the MDC but surely as a concerned Zimbabwean I feel that it is imperative that I air my most possible level of revulsion at these tragic events. I would like to express my utter disgust and condemnation of these dastardly and cowardly deeds. I pray that the culprits be brought to book and justice has its full say in these cases.

I also take this opportunity to urge the MDC leadership in Zimbabwe to abandon its silence over this issue and make a public statement. In particular, I urge Morgan Tsvangirai to set up a commission of inquiry to try to follow up the implications of these cases. The inquiry must also make recommendations on how the current bitter feud that has completely paralysed the MDC in South Africa can be best resolved without the shedding of more blood.

I believe that this matter needs to be regarded as a very urgent one. Otherwise if the Harare based leadership continues to procrastinate, things might even take another twist for worse here in South Africa. Surely we do not need another Hamlet to tell us that ‘something is rotten’ in the MDC, at least here in South Africa.
Daniel Molokele is a human rights lawyer based in Johannesburg. He has been elected as the Interim Chairperson of the Zimbabwe CSO Forum (South African chapter) National Committee. His column appears here every Monday

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Cape Times

      Price of assistance
      August 3, 2005

      The Cape Times (July 25), reports: "Mbeki: we must help Zimbabwe."
Help? To do what?

      If President Mbeki means we must help the Zimbabwean people with food
and medical assistance, then the help must be conditional.

      The aid must be administered in that country by a reliable aid group
that is not affiliated to Zanu-PF or appointed by President Mugabe.

      If our president means that we must give monetary help, then the
answer must be a definite "no". That money will not reach the people it is
supposed to help. Before South Africans open up their hearts and their
coffers to help a country that is on the brink of collapse, we must ask
ourselves, why is it in this situation? Who is responsible? In the case of
Zimbabwe, the guilt lies squarely on the shoulders of Mugabe.

      Why did our president not speak out strongly against this man's
atrocities against his people before it ever reached this stage? If it was
to repay a debt of help given years ago, it must be remembered that the debt
is owed to the Zimbabwean people, not to their president who is oppressing

      Our president has turned a deaf ear to the call of South Africans to,
at least verbally, condemn that country's president for waging war against
his own people, and waited. When the structures of the homeless people were
so vindictively destroyed, including solid brick built homes, and the people
removed to another place with no shelter, our president still waited, in his
"quiet diplomacy" mode.

      It must have been absolutely clear to him, as well, that quiet
diplomacy could not work with someone who has a warped conscience. Yet, now
he is considering handing over R6 billion to Mugabe in the vain hope that it
will not be abused and squandered.

      If President Mbeki gives money to Zimbabwe, and it is used to further
oppress Zimbabweans, all South Africans will be judged to have "helped" to
further oppress them. He should consider how many schools and hospitals that
money could build for South Africa, and how much our pensioners would
appreciate a few extra rands.

      President Mbeki's first consideration must be for his own country.
      Kenny Bergsma
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