|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
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From ZWNEWS, 5 August
A nerve touched
By Michael Hartnack
In less than a week, five prominent supporters of Robert Mugabe have fallen foul of the European Union's travel sanctions. The net has now been cast over both doves, such as Finance Minister Simba Makoni, and hawks who have headed the ruling Zanu PF party campaign of farm seizures and contempt for law. But the EU has yet to join the USA in banning businessmen suspected of fronting for Mugabe. Mugabe and his regime are clearly stung. His office reacted with fury to a news item in the independently-owned Sunday Standard noting that Grace Mugabe's name appeared with that of Al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden in the Bank of England's schedule of persons prohibited from UK financial dealings. A barely-coherent statement denounced "the criminal placement of the First Lady in the same league as Bin Laden,'' and described the report as "extreme terror journalism." The Standard report was strictly factual, and therefore not an offence under the draconian new press law, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Standard assistant editor Brian Latham said police had not (yet) swooped. Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo threatened to retaliate to the EU list by withdrawing passports from leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
First to feel the force of bans and boycotts was Joshua Malinga, 55, a former Zanu PF mayor of Bulawayo and a wheelchair-bound polio victim who was turned back at London's Gatwick Airport en route to a conference for the disabled in New York. MDC MP for Bulawayo South David Coltart said that while he regretted on personal grounds the action against Malinga, members of Mugabe's politburo had to accept personal responsibility for the tyranny of the past two years and make a firm decision to dissociate themselves. Sweden confirmed last week it had barred three ministers and deputy parliamentary speaker Edna Madzongwe from attending a women's conference. Madzongwe is a fervent Zanu PF supporter. Among the ministers was Shuvai Mahofa, a prominent figure in farm seizures, factional unrest in her home province of Masvingo, and in formation of "green bomber" youth militias.
Some other notable personalities among the 72 now black-listed by the EU:
Retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru and his wife Joyce (known until 1986 as Rex and "Let Us Spill Blood" Nhongo). After one of their daughters died of malaria, they sent the rest of their six children to be educated in Britain. It is unclear where they are at present. Mujuru, like parliamentary speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa (also on the list), was heavily implicated in the genocidal suppression of Matabeleland unrest in the 1980s. Mnangagwa at that time headed the feared Central Intelligence Organisation. Mnangagwa and Mujuru are seen by many commentators as rivals - and the only potential Mugabe successors who could be trusted to defend his human rights record, since theirs' is even worse. Mujuru is believed to be a pragmatist businessmen can "work with,'' and a backer of Makoni.
The only white in Mugabe's cabinet, British-born health minister Timothy Stamps, 65, who has publicly defended the seizures of white-owned farms. Besides being a medical doctor, he owns a farm outside Harare. Stamps gave a black power salute in Parliament while being sworn in for the 2000 new session. He slated publicity given to the abduction and torture of journalists. He joined the capital's city council as medical officer in 1970 after immigrating from Wales, and later went into private practice. Resoundingly defeated as an independent candidate in a by-election, he joined Zanu PF and was nominated to Parliament by Mugabe.
Mugabe's sister Sabina who has been heavily involved in the seizure of white-owned commercial farms in the Norton area west of Harare, but her millionaire businessman son, Leo, is not on the list.
Witness Mangwende, who as a former agriculture minister was the architect of the Land Acquisition Act. One of his first priorities was to allocate himself 2 000 hectare Bath Estates at Hwedza, 120 km south east of Harare, bought with British funds for 18 peasant families. Mangwende's successor, Joseph Made, was already on the list. He spurned early warnings in May 2001 of impending famine and bears massive responsibility for the current food crisis.
The list also includes a large clutch of security force commanders, all implicated in Zimbabwe's shadowy business deals in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They also said before the March elections that they would refuse to recognise a win by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.