ZIMBABWE: Farmers threaten to sue government
JOHANNESBURG, 6 August
(IRIN) - A splinter group of Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmer's Union on Tuesday
said the organisation intended to sue the government once it had calculated the
full extent of losses inflicted on farmers and their workers by ruling party
Justice for Agriculture (JAG) said economists had estimated
that Zimbabwe's commercial farmers had lost US $24 million worth of property
through seizure or looting as a result of the government's fast-track land
"This could be one of the biggest lawsuits in Zimbabwe
or externally under applicable laws. Government ministers, MPs and any other
individuals who have ignored the human rights of our farming families will be
noted and targeted for legal action," the JAG statement said.
government has given about 2,900 white farmers until Thursday 8 August to move
off their farms, which have been earmarked for redistribution to landless
JAG said that close to 232,000 farm employees already face arrest
and forcible eviction due to the Section 8 compulsory acquisition
"How this edict is to be administered in practice is not known.
Government has made very little effort to pay even those farmers who have
conceded their farms, and farmers have nowhere else to go," JAG spokeswoman
Jenni Williams told IRIN.
Farmers who defy the eviction notice face a
fine of US $365 or a two year prison sentence.
Meanwhile, in the last
three weeks, over 75 farmers have been barricaded in their homes under pressure
to pay staff retrenchment packages, which run into an average of over US
$550,000 per farm, according to JAG.
Tel: +27 11
Fax: +27 11 447-5472
[This Item is
Delivered to the "Africa-English" Service of the UN's IRIN
information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views
of the United
Nations. For further information, free subscriptions, or
to change your
keywords, contact e-mail: IRIN@ocha.unon.org or Web:
http://www.irinnews.org . If you re-print,
copy, archive or re-post
this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer.
Reposting by commercial
sites requires written IRIN permission.]
Zimbabwe's white farmers urged to defy government eviction
HARARE, Zimbabwe, Aug. 6 - Zimbabwe's
white farmers should defy the coming
deadline to leave their land because the
order was issued by an illegitimate
government, civil rights and agricultural
groups said Tuesday.
President Robert Mugabe's administration has
given residents of about
2,000 white-owned farms until Friday to leave their
land. Mugabe has
earmarked 95 percent of white-owned farms for redistribution
The group Justice for Agriculture urged farmers
to resist the
eviction orders peacefully.
wherever possible, remain in their homes and on the
land among their own
people, who are now so much more dependent on them at
this time of crisis,''
group spokeswoman Jenni Williams said.
She also implored farmers to
establish a fund for assisting anyone
arrested for defying the eviction
Government officials were not available for comment Tuesday.
have said the land-seizure program rectifies a long-standing
injustice that left whites in control of agriculture after Zimbabwe,
called Rhodesia, gained independence from Britain.
government ordered many white farmers to stop working their
fields by June 24
and to leave their homes by Friday.
It was unclear how the government
would enforce its order or what
would happen to farmers and their workers who
had nowhere else to go,
About 4,000 commercial
farmers and 1.5 million farm laborers and
their families will be affected by
the eviction orders.
Justice for Agriculture was formed by a group of
at the decision by the Commercial Farmers Union -
Zimbabwe's main farmers'
organization - to drop all litigation against the
The new body met with civic groups
Tuesday and they jointly resolved
to shun any negotiations that could imply
recognition of the legitimacy of
the Mugabe government. He was declared
winner of March elections that
international observers condemned as seriously
Over the past two years, Zimbabwe has been torn by political
blamed mainly on Mugabe's ruling party. The nation's economy,
weakened by expensive involvement in the Congo war, has
Zimbabwe also faces a massive hunger crisis threatening
of the nation's 12.5 million people. The World Food Program
crisis on poor weather and the government's chaotic land reform
Tony Reeler of the human rights group Amani Trust told the
the government was using the land seizures to diffuse pressure
democratic reform and as a cover for its campaign of violence against
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made warned
54,000 black Zimbabweans who already received seized land had
until Aug. 23
to give notice they intended to farm it or lose it to
Many of those receiving land say they have no idea where
are or how to prove they intend to farm it.
Many of the
largest confiscated farms have been given to top
politicians and military
Zimbabwe farmers say last goodbyes before
MUTORASHANGA, Zimbabwe, Aug. 6 - White farmers gathered
on Tuesday for what
could be final farewells across Zimbabwe as many prepared
to pack their bags
to comply with a government deadline to quit their
President Robert Mugabe ordered nearly 3,000 white farmers
all production in June and gave them until August 9 to vacate their
and homes to make way for landless blacks.
On Tuesday 60
farmers in Mutorashanga, 100 km (60 miles) northeast of
Harare, huddled for a
group picture at the local social club and in some
cases said their last
A burly farmer who declined to be identified said over 70
the group were leaving, and that the majority would seek a new
neighbouring countries or overseas.
''The mood around here
is generally depressed. Most of us want to
stay in Africa. I want to stay,
but my government doesn't want me because of
my colour,'' he told
''There are neighbouring countries around us which have been
responsive and are actually asking us to come. They are opening their
Mugabe says his ''fast-track'' land resettlement
programme is aimed
at correcting imbalances in land ownership created by
which left the bulk of Zimbabwe's prime farming land in
the hands of
Another farmer said while he had not
been issued with an eviction
notice, he did not see much of a future in
''The economics of the whole country is collapsing. It's not
to farm in this country and I think that is going to be basis of
decision,'' he said.
''A lot of farmers -- if they do leave
Zimbabwe -- will never come
back, and the expertise of generations that is
going to be lost to the
country is frightening.''
said he was leaving for New Zealand within a week
to take up a job as a
tool-maker, leaving behind a farm that has churned out
850 tonnes of wheat,
220 tonnes of tobacco, 40 tonnes of paprika and 500
tonnes of maize a
''The reality is I now haven't got a place to farm and my
basically unable to function any more. I've made my applications
government and made my objections but nobody has listened so I'm
Braunstein told Reuters.
A lone farm truck briefly pulled
off the main Mutorashanga road and
the driver said that he was ferrying his
employer's furniture from his
Critics say the land
reforms will leave some 250,000 farmworkers
''A lot of
these chaps have been with us 20, 30, 40 years and they
are going to get
their package but they're basically homeless,'' one farmer
Farmers have been ordered to pay their workers redundancy packages.
government says farmworkers can apply for resettlement and has
resettled farmers to employ some of them.
Zimbabwe, facing its worst
political and economic crisis in 22 years
of independence, is at the centre
of a critical food shortage in the
southern African region that includes
Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland and
Once a bread
basket, Zimbabwe now needs food aid for about six
million people because
drought and the invasion of white-owned farms has
slashed its staple maize
False story sinks asylum bid by persecuted Mugabe
A MEMBER of Zimbabwe's main opposition party,
who claims she was gang-raped
in front of her children by Robert Mugabe's
Zanu-PF supporters, faces being
sent back from Scotland to her homeland after
her asylum bid failed.
Siboniso Shelter Ndenda was secretary to the
women's league of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) and says she has a
justified fear of persecution
if she is sent back.
However, she gave a
false account of her background when she arrived in the
UK, which has played
a significant part in her asylum bid being rejected.
officials decided her credibility was suspect and ruled that,
might be subjected to intimidation and harassment on her
return, she did not
qualify for asylum.
Ms Ndenda, 37, arrived in the UK in January last
year. She falsely claimed
on the basis of a forged letter that she worked for
the Zimbabwe development
trust and said she had sisters in Aberdeen and
Edinburgh. They were in fact
The day after she was refused
leave to enter the UK, she claimed asylum on
the grounds that she would face
persecution in Zimbabwe.
In support of her plea to stay, Ms Ndenda told
officials her husband had
died and she had two daughters, aged five and
three, being looked after by a
cousin in Zimbabwe.
She said she had
already been persecuted by Zanu-PF members who had stoned
her car, broken
into her house, raped her in front of her children and left
After she fled to the country, Zanu-PF youths came to the
village where she
was hiding and burned down part of her sister's
The MDC helped her escape to the UK but the Home Office found
"implausible" that she should think the correct way of applying for
was to use deception and rejected her claim.
The home secretary
ordered Ms Ndenda's removal in October but the order was
recognition of the worsening situation in Zimbabwe.
Ms Ndenda, who lived
in Falkirk before being detained in Cornton Vale,
appealed to the Court of
Session, where she argued that immigration
officials had accepted her MDC
connections and that MDC supporters suffered
Counsel for the
home secretary argued that the immigration adjudicator had
Ndenda's story about rape. He had accepted, however, because
the MDC had told
him so, that she had been harassed.
Lady Paton dismissed Ms Ndenda's
appeal, saying the adjudicator was entitled
to take the view that membership
of the MDC was insufficient to establish a
real risk of persecution.
Non-Cooperation Could Send the Right Message to Oppressive
Daily News (Harare)
August 6, 2002
Posted to the web August 6, 2002
A LOT of people seem to agree that "mass
public action" is not the best way out of the mess we are in now. Massing people
where they can be more easily beaten up, tear-gassed and shot is not a very
There are other ways of expressing our
rejection of rigged elections and an illegitimate regime. There are many forms
of quiet non-co-operation with officials we object to.
One method might be a boycott. This
worked in India's independence struggle and in Ireland, where it got its name.
Captain C C Boycott was a brutal land agent for a particularly oppressive
English landlord. The Irish peasants had tried shooting land agents: six were
hanged for every agent killed.
They tried burning down the agents'
houses: 10 men were deported to Australia every time this happened. So they
acted as if Captain Boycott didn't exist: didn't answer when he spoke to them,
the shops didn't have anything his wife wanted, nobody knew where he lived if
any stranger asked; in short, they froze him out until he left the
Could we show our disapproval of
oppressive officials this way? If we did, what would it achieve? Captain Boycott
could go back to England when the Irish didn't want him, but our oppressors are
Zimbabwean. We should aim for change so that we can live in peace with them,
when they stop oppressing us.
A little while ago, I picked up a
children's book in one of our political leaders' house. It was written for
English children, so the leader probably wouldn't want the children of the
peasants to have their minds polluted by it, but I hope they are reading
Several of the stories were set in a
village, and one character was a policeman very different from the policemen we
know. Dear old PC Plod walked his beat every day, knew everyone by name, helped
old ladies to cross the road, was always ready to help visitors find their way
to where they wanted to go and, if he caught a boy stealing apples from someone
else's garden, he wouldn't drag him to court; he'd take the boy to his father,
report what his son had been doing, and they would decide together how to punish
him so that he would not do it again.
Very different from our experience, isn't
it? If I needed to ask someone the way in a strange place, I would never ask a
policeman. I might only be going to the bar, or even to church, but I don't want
them prying into my business.
If I'm visiting somebody, I might be
walking into trouble, or bringing trouble with me to my friend. No: it is best
to keep cops' prying noses out of our business as far as possible. They are not
the people's friends.
What made PC Plod the people's friend? I
doubt whether there ever were many like PC Plod, but I do know that the English
police became a lot less like him when they stopped walking or cycling their
beat and retreated into cars. PC Plod trudged daily through the same foul
English weather as everyone else, greeted everyone he met and they shared
complaints about the weather and life in general.
He was one with the people. But once he
was given a car, he was cut off from the weather, cut off from the people and,
instead of talking with them, he was talking all the time by radio with his
officers, who are usually much less pleasant people than ordinary citizens on
So there's a question: should we treat
our local police like Captain Boycott or like PC Plod?
Someone started planning a long time ago
to isolate our police from us. They live in special camps, with guards at the
gates and warning signs to put other people off from even stopping their cars at
They are already more influenced by their
officers than by us, the public, their employers. If we were to boycott them,
would we not drive them further into the arms of those jumped-up "war veterans"
who pass for police officers nowadays and strengthen the opinion many of them
already have - that the people are the enemy?
On the other hand, if we are to talk to
them, what should we say? First, only praise them if they deserve it. Secondly,
always praise them if they deserve it. If you see a police officer wearing a
force number, go out of your way to show your approval. Wearing a number makes
them recognisable, reportable and accountable for their actions, so a policeman
who wears his number is showing goodwill. Encourage him. You catch more flies
with a spoonful of honey than a bucket of vinegar.
Unfortunately, there aren't very many
police these days who deserve that spoonful of honey. So we should not be afraid
to criticise them. Sometimes we do this by resisting injustice. For example,
traffic police threaten to charge you, then offer to forget it if you pay a
bribe - apologise politely for not having money with you, and say how ready you
are to accept a ticket and pay within seven days or go to court. You follow the
law. They stand criticised.
Sometimes you can talk informally with a
policeman - on a bus or when he is off duty. If he has done anything that needs
criticising, tell him so. He might listen.
Some will not. For people who will not
listen, even the Gospel tells us that a time comes to stop talking, to show our
disapproval - perhaps by boycotting those individuals.
But let's try the other possibilities
Iran, Zimbabwe Determined to Expand Parliamentary
TEHRAN -- Visiting Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Stanislaus
met here on Monday with Iran's parliament speaker Mahdi
Karroubi to discuss
issues of mutual interest.
During the meeting,
Karroubi stressed expansion of parliamentary ties
between the two countries,
saying it was key to promotion of mutual ties in
Pointing to the "very good" Tehran-Harare relations, he expressed
the current visit of the Zimbabwean minister would lead to the
agreements to further boost ties between the two countries. He
Zimbabwean nation's struggle against imperialism and western
said, "Imperial powers will not succeed in making headways in
objectives against the will of nations."
Karroubi also pointed
to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's huge
popularity among the people amid
his government's determination to withstand
western pressures, saying these
would prove futile.
The Zimbabwean minister referred to the outcome of
his meetings with Iranian
officials and hoped for further expansion and
consolidation of ties, said
IRANA. He expressed appreciation for the Islamic
Republic's support for his
government and nation and "the great importance
the Zimbabwean President
Mugabe attaches to promotion of bilateral relations
with Iran." Touching on
recent developments in Zimbabwe and the U.S. and the
exerted on the country, the minister said, "we seek Iran's
support for our
government and nation in this respect." Referring to recent
the occupied lands and the unceasing Israeli incursions, he
"Sharon will never succeed in undermining the morale of the
Palestinian people in the struggle against the Zionist regime.
Zimbabwe gets $34m EU aid package
August 7, 2002 Posted: 2:22
AM EDT (0622 GMT)
BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The
European Union has announced a $34 million aid
package for famine-stricken
Zimbabwe, warning President Robert Mugabe
against interfering with its
Zimbabwe's opposition and some aid agencies have said
Mugabe's government is
giving preference to members of his ZANU-PF party when
handing out food aid.
The EU, along with the United States, Canada,
Australia and New Zealand, has
imposed sanctions on Mugabe and his ruling
elite over controversial March
elections and the seizure of white-owned
commercial farmland for
redistribution to landless blacks.
sanctions included a ban on travelling to EU nations and an
The European Commission, the EU's executive body, said
its aid package would
not go through government hands but would be
distributed by the United
Nations and other aid agencies.
aid is urgently needed. ... However, the government also has a
to help ensure that aid gets to those that need it," said
European commissioner for development and aid.
Southern Africa faces its
worst food crisis in a decade according to the
U.N. World Food Program, which
expects the number of people requiring
immediate food aid to rise to almost
13 million by the end of the year from
7 million in July.
78-year-old former guerrilla leader, has vowed to defend his
against Western "bullies" and says economic recovery hinges on
controversial land reforms.
On Monday Mugabe, visiting Kuala Lumpur,
asked: "What do I need Europe for?"
and said he would push for stronger
business ties with Asian states such as
The EU sanctions
initially targeted 20 leaders from Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF
Party, but were
extended to 52 others a week ago.
ZIMBABWE: EC gives more food aid
JOHANNESBURG, 6 August (IRIN) - The
European Commission (EC) announced in Brussels on Tuesday that it has allocated
a further Euro 35 million (US $34,3 million) for victims of food shortages in
The funds would mainly be used to distribute food to the
poorest families and other vulnerable groups in the most seriously affected
districts of the country, a statement said.
The main component of the
assistance, managed by the Commission's EuropeAid Co-operation Office, is being
provided as a specific contribution for Zimbabwe after the Regional Emergency
Operation (EMOP) recently launched for the region by the World Food Programme
In July the WFP launched an appeal for US $507 million amid
warnings that 12.8 million people face food shortages in Southern Africa. Up to
six million of these people are in Zimbabwe - half of the country's population.
As food stocks start running low, the organisation and NGOs are warning that
there will be breaks in the food pipeline if donations don't come in
Poul Nielson, the EC Commissioner for Development and
Humanitarian Aid, said: "Direct food aid is urgently needed on top of our well
established longer-term action to improve food security and prevent widespread
"The Commission remains ready to take further measures in
fighting this crisis, both in Zimbabwe and in the region. However, the
government also has a responsibility to help ensure that aid gets to those that
need it. The government can also take measures to ensure that the private sector
can play its role in bringing food to the market."
The EC allocation
would fund the purchase of around 90,000 mt of maize (worth US $31,3 million).
It will be purchased, where possible, in the region.
WFP is organising
the procurement, transport and delivery of the foodstuffs, which are scheduled
to start reaching people in September.
This is in addition to the 18,250
mt of food (worth US $10.2 million) already allocated to the previous WFP EMOP
in Zimbabwe since April 2002 and which started to reach the population at the
beginning of July, the statement said.
Another component of the programme
(worth around US $2.4 million) is the delivery of seeds and other agricultural
inputs to small farmers, who have been the most affected by the drought. This
will help farmers to prepare for the next agricultural season due to start
between October and November 2002. These inputs would be distributed by NGOs.
This component may also include food aid for very vulnerable groups like
children, pregnant and lactating women and families directly affected by
The rest would fund technical assistance to ensure closer
monitoring of the food aid and seed distribution.
continue over the delivery of a consignment of genetically modified (GM) grain
from the United States Agency for International Development
Zimbabwe turned away a USAID consignment of GM food earlier this
year but this consignment, which arrived in Durban, South Africa, last week, has
reportedly been accepted. However, the conditions of delivery are still being
finalised as Zimbabwe has a ban on GM food.
The country has previously
expressed concern over the possibility that whole grain could be replanted, and
that acceptance of GM food could adversely affect its exports to the European
Union, which has strict controls on GM food.
Sunday Times (SA)
EU grants food aid to Zimbabwe
- Despite a political standoff with Zimbabwe's president,
the European Union
on Tuesday announced increased food aid for Zimbabwe,
where it says political
decisions and a land reform programme have
it warned the Southern African country's government to make sure the
gets to those who need it most.
The EU's Executive Commission allocated a
further 35 million euro to provide
food to the most vulnerable citizens of
"Direct food aid is urgently needed," said EU Humanitarian Aid
Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler,
has already said that the
Zimbabwean government is purposely depriving
opposition supporters of the
food aid international donors have provided so
"The government also has a responsibility to help ensure that aid
those that need it," Nielson said.
The EU blames the threat of
famine on a drought affecting much of Southern
Africa but said it was
exacerbated by a political and economic crisis and
"the undermining of
commercial agriculture by the 'fast track' land reform,"
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, an EU statement said.
It said half
the population of 12 million was now in need of urgent
International aid agencies also have blamed the
redistribution programme to transfer the nation's
white-owned farms to
landless blacks for contributing to the food
The 15-nation EU has already imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe for
abuses and its economic policies. The measures came after Mugabe
let European observers monitor the disputed March presidential
Zimbabwean Farmers Vow to Fight Mugabe in
- By Cris Chinaka
HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - A new organization of embattled white
farmers vowed Tuesday to fight land seizures more aggressively
courts -- but a top lawyer said President Robert Mugabe would
even if they won.
Nearly 3,000 white farmers, two thirds of the
country's total, have
been served notices to get off their land this weekend,
the first major
group to face eviction.
Some say they will go,
others say they will defy the land acquisition
and eviction orders, and the
leader of the new Justice for Agriculture (JAG)
group said they should all
carry on fighting through the courts.
"We must continue fighting.
We are challenging the orders through the
courts because we have a very
strong case that this whole process is unjust
and destructive," chairman
David Connolly a conference organized by his
Connolly said JAG was formed in the last few weeks to assert the legal
of Zimbabwe's commercial farmers because other organizations were
fruitless talks with the government.
These included the
long-established Commercial Farmers Union and the
Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement
Initiative, set up farmers who offered
voluntarily to hand over parts of
"We must not be apologetic about our rights," Connolly
"There is a very good chance we will get justice. We want
peace and freedom to produce food for the people of
Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of southern Africa, is
severe food shortages, largely due to the disruption of
Mugabe, sole ruler since the former
Rhodesia gained independence in
1980, says the land plan will right the
wrongs of colonialism.
His critics say the plan was designed to win
votes in recent elections
and, now, to reward his cronies.
CONFIDENCE IN COURTS
One of the civic rights leaders and opposition
figures invited to
JAG's meeting said the courts would not be much
Eric Matinenga, a top black lawyer, urged the farmers to
fighting, saying they had a strong legal and moral case which had to
recorded for posterity.
But he said Mugabe's government would
not accept any court orders
against his land seizure policy.
don't have any confidence that any result against the government is
be obeyed," he said.
The courts have not ruled on a handful of
cases filed by white farmers
challenging the eviction orders, saying the
government must be given time to
prepare its defense.
forced Zimbabwe's top judge, who was white, to retire early
last year, saying
his rulings against the government's land seizure drive
were meant to serve
his kith and kin.
The 78-year-old Zimbabwean president has also
declared that he would
never allow the law to be used to defeat his drive to
achieve social justice
for blacks whose land was "stolen" from them by whites
during 90 years of
He has amended the
constitution several times to support the drive and
argues it is immoral for
4,500 white farmers to occupy 70 percent of the
best farmland while many
blacks are landless.
In May, Mugabe pushed through parliament a law
giving hundreds of
farmers 45 days to wind up their operations and another 45
days -- to August
9 -- to move off their land and make way for black
Connolly said white farmers were not against land reform
but could not
accept a poorly organized program designed to benefit the
while impoverishing the country.
program is a moral failure on the part of our leaders,"
Leading private economic consultant John Robertson said Mugabe's land
was fast ruining one of Africa's best economies, and the economy was
at least two billion Zimbabwe dollars (millions of U.S. dollars)
"The evidence is there for all to see in the food
famine and starvation we are facing, the massive loss of jobs
and the ghost
towns sprouting around us," he said.
In this issue :
- Mwenezi food aid corruption -
- Natfoods being punished - DNews
- £23m food aid from EU - Guardian
- Last goodbyes - Reuters
- Farmers should defy - AP
- Zim on UK/Libya agenda - BBC
- Man-made famine -
From VOA News, 6
Aid agencies able to provide only
fraction of food needed in Zimbabwe
Harare - Aid agencies say almost 13 million
people face the threat of starvation in southern Africa, as many as six million
of them in Zimbabwe. Aid agencies are able to provide only a fraction of the
food needed by Zimbabwe's hungry population. Many areas have no feeding programs
at all. In Mwenezi, 130 kilometers north of the South African border, in
Zimbabwe's Masvingo province, most school children receive a daily meal provided
by the British government. The children look poor, but are not starving. They
receive about one-third of their daily calorie needs from a sweet, highly
nutritious porridge. Teachers say school attendance has increased dramatically
since the feeding program began. A private aid agency which organized the
feeding program, Christian Aid, says the children come from relatively wealthy
rural families, but still are in desperate need of food assistance.
Such food programs operate in only some
areas of Zimbabwe. For example, in four districts about an hour's drive north of
Mwenezi, in the same province, there are no feeding arrangements of any kind for
children or adults. No one is even sure how many children and adults might be on
the edge of starvation. Christian Aid says non-governmental organizations simply
do not have either the money or the logistics to extend their school feeding
programs in the province. The charity says Zimbabwe's railways provide an
unreliable service for delivery of food, all of which is imported. It says road
transport increases the cost by $30 (U.S.) a ton.
In Mwenezi, which has a feeding program,
the families are mostly supporters of President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF
party. But in other parts of the province, opposition supporters say they are
not allowed to buy maize, which has been bought with taxpayers' money and is
distributed by the government's grain marketing board. They charge that they are
turned away simply because they are suspected opposition supporters. The
government has not responded to the accusations that it has prevented opposition
supporters from buying grain. Zimbabwe laws prohibit any organization other than
the government's grain marketing board from buying or selling maize. The food
shortage in Zimbabwe and throughout much of southern Africa is largely the
result of drought. Also in Zimbabwe, the government had not stored grain from
previous harvests. Aid agencies say the seizure of thousands of recently
productive white-owned farms has contributed to Zimbabwe's food shortage.
From The Daily News, 6
GMB withholds maize deliveries to
Bulawayo - Hundreds of National Foods employees in Bulawayo
face unemployment if the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) does not resume maize
deliveries to the company. The GMB stopped maize deliveries to the company five
weeks ago putting the jobs of hundreds of the milling organisation’s employees
in jeopardy. The company’s viability has been affected by this move which has
seen a drop in production of maize meal and a drop in the availability of
maize-meal on the market in the southern region of the country. The withdrawal
by the GMB from providing maize has been viewed as punishment by government
after the company was accused of hoarding maize to create artificial shortages.
The same company was accused of hoarding salt, which has also been in short
supply for weeks. The company denied the charges stating that it had been
granted authority to import the scarce commodity by obtaining foreign currency
which is also in short supply on the parallel market. The company said that they
were awaiting government’s approval for a new price for salt and was not
hoarding the commodity.
President Mugabe in a hard-hitting speech at his party’s
headquarters threatened to nationalise National Foods following the "discovery"
of the hoarded salt. There were reports carried in the State media in June
alleging that 100 000 tonnes of maize had been discovered at the Bulawayo
National Foods depot. "Obviously someone got their figures wrong because we only
had 100 tonnes in stock which we were actually milling," said Ian Kind, the
managing director of National Foods. He said after these reports, the GMB and
the police visited the depot and found only 100 tonnes. However the GMB has not
yet resumed delivering maize to the depot since then despite repeated attempts
by National Foods to get supplies. "This has affected staff who were employed
mainly for milling purposes. We have had to redeploy them in departments where
they are not really needed", said Kind.
The availability of stock feeds, which are a by-product of
maize milling, has also been seriously affected. Workers who spoke to The Daily
News on condition of anonymity said they are not sure about their fate because
of the non-availability of maize. "We fear that the company will retrench us in
order for it to remain viable," said one of the workers. Retrenchment has been
an on going exercise at the company since last year when some workers were
relocated to Harare and others were retrenched as part of the company’s
restructuring exercise. However as from March this year, the retrenchments were
temporarily suspended. "What the GMB is doing will have serious repercussions on
the company and on us the workers. We were now surviving on milling maize since
we stopped milling flour last year due to the wheat shortage," said the workers.
Efforts to get a comment from the GMB were fruitless.
From The Guardian (UK), 7
EU unveils Zimbabwe aid
Brussels - The EU unveiled a £23m emergency food aid package
for Zimbabwe yesterday, despite its deep political differences with the
president, Robert Mugabe. Despite the fact that the EU is deeply unhappy about
Mr Mugabe's land reform programme and his government's heavy-handed treatment of
the media and political opponents, Brussels said that aid could not wait. Poul
Nielson, the EU's commissioner for development and humanitarian aid, said:
"Direct food aid is urgently needed to improve security and prevent widespread
starvation." Alluding to British allegations that Mr Mugabe's regime is doing
its utmost to see that opposition supporters are denied food aid, he added: "The
government also has a responsibility to help ensure that aid gets to those that
need it." EU officials said that the aid was by far the largest amount given to
Zimbabwe this year. Mr Mugabe's government remains subject to an EU visa ban and
asset freeze, the scope of which was widened last month. The European commission
said yesterday: "Zimbabwe's food shortages are due to a combination of an
unresolved political and economic crisis, resulting in sharp economic decline,
compounded by the undermining of commercial agriculture by the fast track land
reform and the drought which has affected southern Africa more widely." The EU
money will be used to purchase 90,000 tonnes of maize, but that will not be
enough to make good a total shortfall estimated at 1.87m tonnes of cereals.
From Reuters, 7
Zimbabwe farmers say goodbyes before
Mutorashanga - White farmers have gathered for what could be
final farewells across Zimbabwe as many prepare to pack their bags to comply
with a government deadline to quit their land. President Robert Mugabe ordered
nearly 3,000 white farmers to stop all production in June and gave them until
August 9 to vacate their farms and homes to make way for landless blacks. On
Tuesday 60 farmers in Mutorashanga, 100 km (60 miles) northeast of Harare,
huddled for a group picture at the local social club and in some cases said
their last goodbyes. A burly farmer who declined to be identified said over 70
percent of the group were leaving, and that the majority would seek a new start
in neighbouring countries or overseas. "The mood around here is generally
depressed. Most of us want to stay in Africa. I want to stay, but my government
doesn't want me because of my colour," he told Reuters. "There are neighbouring
countries around us which have been very responsive and are actually asking us
to come. They are opening their door to us." Mugabe says his "fast-track" land
resettlement programme is aimed at correcting imbalances in land ownership
created by British colonialism, which left the bulk of Zimbabwe's prime farming
land in the hands of minority whites.
Another farmer said while he had not been issued with an
eviction notice, he did not see much of a future in Zimbabwe. "The economics of
the whole country is collapsing. It's not viable to farm in this country and I
think that is going to be basis of my decision," he said. "A lot of farmers – if
they do leave Zimbabwe - will never come back, and the expertise of generations
that is going to be lost to the country is frightening." Rootle Braunstein said
he was leaving for New Zealand within a week to take up a job as a tool-maker,
leaving behind a farm that has churned out 850 tonnes of wheat, 220 tonnes of
tobacco, 40 tonnes of paprika and 500 tonnes of maize a year. "The reality is I
now haven't got a place to farm and my business is basically unable to function
any more. I've made my applications to the government and made my objections but
nobody has listened so I'm going," Braunstein told Reuters. A lone farm truck
briefly pulled off the main Mutorashanga road and the driver said that he was
ferrying his employer's furniture from his property. Critics say the land
reforms will leave some 250,000 farmworkers unemployed. "A lot of these chaps
have been with us 20, 30, 40 years and they are going to get their package but
they're basically homeless," one farmer said. Farmers have been ordered to pay
their workers redundancy packages. The government says farmworkers can apply for
resettlement and has encouraged new resettled farmers to employ some of them.
Zimbabwe, facing its worst political and economic crisis in 22 years of
independence, is at the centre of a critical food shortage in the southern
African region that includes Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland and
From Associated Press, 6
White farmers urged to ignore
Harare - Zimbabwe's white farmers should defy the coming
deadline to leave their land because the order was issued by an illegitimate
government, civil rights and agricultural groups said Tuesday. President Robert
Mugabe's administration has given residents of about 2,000 white-owned farms
until Friday to leave their land. Mugabe has earmarked 95 percent of white-owned
farms for redistribution to landless blacks. The group Justice for Agriculture
urged farmers to resist the eviction orders peacefully. "Farmers should,
wherever possible, remain in their homes and on the land among their own people,
who are now so much more dependent on them at this time of crisis," group
spokeswoman Jenni Williams said. She also implored farmers to establish a fund
for assisting anyone arrested for defying the eviction orders.
Government officials were not available for comment Tuesday.
They have said the land-seizure program rectifies a long-standing colonial
injustice that left whites in control of agriculture after Zimbabwe, then called
Rhodesia, gained independence from Britain. The government ordered many white
farmers to stop working their fields by June 24 and to leave their homes by
Friday. It was unclear how the government would enforce its order or what would
happen to farmers and their workers who had nowhere else to go, Williams said.
About 4,000 commercial farmers and 1.5 million farm laborers and their families
will be affected by the eviction orders. Justice for Agriculture was formed by a
group of farmers disgruntled at the decision by the Commercial Farmers Union -
Zimbabwe's main farmers' organization - to drop all litigation against the
government's eviction plan. The new body met with civic groups Tuesday and they
jointly resolved to shun any negotiations that could imply recognition of the
legitimacy of the Mugabe government. He was declared winner of March elections
that international observers condemned as seriously flawed.
Over the past two years, Zimbabwe has been torn by political
violence blamed mainly on Mugabe's ruling party. The nation's economy, already
weakened by expensive involvement in the Congo war, has collapsed. Zimbabwe also
faces a massive hunger crisis threatening nearly half of the nation's 12.5
million people. The World Food Program blames the crisis on poor weather and the
government's chaotic land reform program. Tony Reeler of the human rights group
Amani Trust told the farmers the government was using the land seizures to
diffuse pressure for democratic reform and as a cover for its campaign of
violence against the opposition. Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made
warned Tuesday that 54,000 black Zimbabweans who already received seized land
had until Aug. 23 to give notice they intended to farm it or lose it to
reallocation. Many of those receiving land say they have no idea where their
farms are or how to prove they intend to farm it. Many of the largest
confiscated farms have been given to top politicians and military
From BBC News, 7
UK seeks Libya
The first British minister to go to Libya since 1983 is due to
meet veteran leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi on Wednesday, Libyan officials have
confirmed. Foreign Office Minister Mike O'Brien began his three-day visit with
talks with a Libyan counterpart soon after touching down in the capital,
Tripoli. Mr O'Brien's visit is publicly aimed at securing the support of Colonel
Gaddafi's regime for the international war on terror. But the two countries also
have an economic interest in boosting relations after years of animosity. The
BBC's Bridget Kendall, who is accompanying the minister, reports that the visit
attracted keen interest among the Arabic media. Mr O'Brien was quoted by the
Libyan state news agency Jana as saying his visit was part of "strengthening
relations" with Libya. After being welcomed by Libyan Ambassador to London
Mohammed al-Zwai at the airport, he held talks with Deputy Foreign Minister Saad
Mujber. Mr al-Zwai had said ahead of the arrival that he hoped the visit would
improve relations with Britain "in every field".
Mr O'Brien will ask the Libyan leadership to help the West by
providing intelligence on al-Qaeda. "A Libya which co-operates fully with the
international community, including on terrorism, is very much in our interests,"
he said before leaving Britain. "My message for the Libyan leadership is that we
want to see further progress on the outstanding issues between us on terrorism
and on weapons of mass destruction." It is thought likely that the possibility
of military action against Iraq will also be discussed. Our correspondent says
Britain is keen to use the visit to boost ties that have been cautiously
improving ever since diplomatic relations were restored three years ago. Libya
is keen to re-enter the world economy and Britain does not want to lose out to
other European nations already jostling for advantage when it comes to
potentially lucrative oil contracts.
Libya's decision to hand over the officials tried for the
Lockerbie bombing was seen as a major breakthrough in ties, but Mr O'Brien is
due to raise issues still causing concern:
Compensation for the victims of the bombing will be on the
agenda, although Mr O'Brien has stressed that it is a matter which must be
resolved between Libya and lawyers for the families.
The investigation into the 1984 murder of British police
officer Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan Embassy in London has yet to be
completed. Britain restored diplomatic relations in 1999 only after Tripoli
accepted general responsibility for the shooting.
The regime's support for Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is also among the
topics likely to be raised by Mr O'Brien.
Comment from The New York Times, 7
By David Coltart
Harare - In the last two years Zimbabwe has been transformed
into a state that increasingly resembles Cambodia under Pol Pot. The government
seems set on adding famine to the list of oppressions visited on the nation. In
May, a law was passed decreeing that any commercial farmer who continued to farm
45 days after being given notice to stop would face imprisonment. On Friday,
that law will be used to evict thousands of commercial farmers and their
workers. Fear and desperation pervade the country. All the signs are that
President Robert Mugabe is determined to hold on to power at any cost, including
the destruction of the nation and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of
Zimbabweans. It has been clear for some years that the Mugabe regime is
determined to shrink the democratic space to an absolute minimum. The judiciary
has been all but destroyed. Independent journalists have been arrested, their
presses bombed. In January the regime rammed through Parliament legislation
subverting the electoral process, revoking civil liberties and restricting the
press. In the same month, the military suggested that only Mr. Mugabe would be
acceptable as leader. The political campaign that followed was marked by
violence. The presidential election in March was a farce. Mr. Mugabe was
proclaimed winner in an election that was widely condemned internationally. The
overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans, who were hoping for a peaceful transition
to democracy in March, have had their hopes dashed.
For its part, the Mugabe regime, while increasingly irrational
and paranoid, knows it must convince the world it is legitimate if it is to
survive. For this reason, the regime cloaks its suppression of democracy in what
would otherwise be legitimate concerns, primarily the need to redress legacies
of colonial injustice. The unresolved land-ownership issue has been exploited
very effectively to cover up corruption, poor administration and human-rights
abuses. The catastrophic human-rights situation is now complicated by a famine
that is, in the case of Zimbabwe, mainly the result of the Mugabe regime's
ruinous policies. While a drought did occur at a critical period during the
summer, it only affected the dry-land corn crop. The rainy season was just below
average and nearly all the irrigation reservoirs are almost full. Had
experienced farmers been allowed to plant their crops, Zimbabwe would not have
had to import any food at all. As it is, Zimbabwe is now facing a shortage of
some 1.2 million tons of corn. The situation is compounded by the fact that only
a small proportion of the winter wheat crop has been planted because of threats
directed against wheat farmers. If the Mugabe regime goes ahead this weekend
with its plans to evict thousands of farmers and their employees, many of their
crops will not be properly harvested. The World Food Program recently predicted
that as many as 6 million Zimbabweans will soon face starvation. At least 25
percent of Zimbabweans are H.I.V. positive. Experts are agreed that some 20
percent of AIDS sufferers are extremely vulnerable to drops in nutritional
levels. Conservatively, one might calculate that 300,000 Zimbabweans could die
within the next few months as a result of this combination of famine and
The Mugabe regime may be counting on catastrophe for its own
salvation. It has already sought to hide behind drought. There is no doubt a
calculation taking place that the "CNN factor" (images of starving children)
will soon dominate policy decisions in the West and that a flood of aid will
pour in. That Zimbabwe and other countries in the region need vast amounts of
food and medical aid is beyond doubt. But if the symptom of famine is addressed
but not its cause, the international community will only have succeeded in
perpetuating the problem. Ongoing food shortages will occur unless a massive
irrigated corn crop is planted this November. It can still be planted if the
rule of law is re-established - which will only occur with help from Zimbabwe's
neighbors and through holding a fresh election that complies with accepted
standards. Sadly, there are very few levers left which can be used by the West
to restore sanity to Zimbabwe. The new relationship between Africa and the
wealthy industrialized countries – as expressed in the recent meetings between
representatives of the Group of 8 and the New Economic Partnership for Africa's
Development - is one such lever. While Zimbabwe should not be allowed to hold
hostage democratic African states that desperately need the new partnership to
work, the reality is that, like it or not, Zimbabwe is the partnership's first
test. Famine in Zimbabwe is primarily caused by bad governance, which in this
specific case is tolerated by many African states and supported by some. The
consequences of this man-made famine will become clear in the next few months.
Investors the world over will be watching closely to see whether African rulers
deal with the cause of this particular famine, not merely its symptoms. If
African leaders do not act in these circumstances, what investment in Africa
will ever be safe in the future?
Yet there has been very little to indicate that African states
have the political will to deal with the crisis in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is
becoming a police state without so much as a whimper coming from the same
African states who heralded a new beginning for Africa at the Group of 8 meeting
and the inauguration of the African Union. If leaders in the industrialized
democracies are interested in preventing what was once the jewel of Africa from
becoming another Somalia - and in preventing future famines in southern Africa -
then they must persuade their African colleagues to deal with the real cause of
the catastrophe unfolding in Zimbabwe.
The default format is Rich
Text (HTML), (colour, bold and underlined text but relatively bulky file sizes).
If you would like to receive in Plain Text (smaller file sizes but no frills
text), please let us know.
Please feel free to pass
this on, but exercise discretion - no-one likes to receive unwanted email. To
subscribe or unsubscribe, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
We do not endorse the
editorial policy of any website except our
For Immediate release - Wednesday 7 August 2002
MEDIA TOLD "FOCUS ON
GREATER TRAGEDY OF BLACK FARM WORKERS, NOT PLIGHT OF
Mugabe regime prepares for its final "farm grab" at the end of this
"Save Zimbabwe" campaign has called on the world's media to cover
tragedy. "This is not about the plight of a few thousand white farm
shocking and unjust though that is; it is about the hundreds of
black farm workers left without livelihoods"
The "Save Zimbabwe" campaign
"Already more than 800,000 black workers are estimated to have
livelihoods. In the coming days, this number will swell
enormously. It is
important to remember, too, that we are talking of family
average family sizes of five and more, the numbers
directly affected run to
"Zimbabwe used to export food to
the rest of Africa. Now some six million
Zimbabweans are forecast to need
food aid this year, as the regime's
destruction of the farm economy gathers
"When farm owners are forced off their land, two things will
happen. At one
level, Mugabe cronies will cherry pick prime farms for their
own use. But
politicians and security police do not make good farmers. At
of "war veterans", lacking the skills, training or resources to
loot, plunder and destroy, leaving little or no functioning
"The damage to rural communities has been massive.
Not only have huge
numbers of livelihoods been lost, but so have the farm
clinics and primary
schools on which those communities depended. Now, driven
by hunger, the farm
workers of Zimbabwe are being forced into economic
migration, and are
pressing on the borders of Zimbabwe's neighbours in
"We say to the world's media: of course, remember the
plight of the farm
owners. But tell the story of the real tragedy - the
millions of black
Zimbabweans who are the innocent victims of this regime's
and frighteningly irrational farm policies."
"Save Zimbabwe" campaign is a non-partisan international initiative,
broadbased support drawn from both political parties and community
was launched during the recent African Union meeting in Durban
committed to restoring democracy, human rights and legitimate
Zimbabwe. The holding of early, free and fair elections, under
proper international supervision, is a key objective of
Issued by Chelgate Limited: www.chelgate.com
On behalf of the ""Save
For further information, please contact Terence
44 (0) 207 939 7939 or
44 (0) 7768 283 144
From Carte Blanche - MNet :
have been given notice to get off the conservancies in Zimbabwe.
very little hope for them or the animals. Poachers are having a
From Carte Blanche - MNet :
Interview with Minister Nhema
team only visited one conservancy, but the same thing is happening all
Zimbabwe. We were there without accreditation, so we could not speak to
authorities. The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Francis Nhema, was
Johannesburg this week and we took the opportunity to get his response to
Comment from The Christian Science Monitor, 6
The Rhodesian plan
Tokyo - Three times during the 1990s, the
world stood by while heart-rending - and preventable - African tragedies
unfolded in Liberia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. President Robert Mugabe's ongoing
assault on human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe offers the latest test of
whether the world community, and the West in particular, will act aggressively
to avert tragedy. Mr. Mugabe's behaviour does not surprise people familiar with
his record. In 1982, less than two years after being elected as newly
independent Zimbabwe's first prime minister, Mugabe unleashed his North
Korean-trained 5th Brigade against "dissidents" in the province of Matabeleland.
Conservative estimates reckon 15,000 Matabele were murdered. Mugabe has
subsequently intimidated the opposition, stolen elections, and squandered his
country's vast natural wealth. He is destroying the economy and creating a
On human rights abuses in black Africa, one
simply hasn't seen the same manifestations of protest and pressure by Western
governments and private organizations directed against tyrants on other
continents - or even like those used against South Africa's apartheid regime.
The European Union has enacted sanctions against Mugabe, but they're too narrow
and too late. Ironically, the template for dealing with him is the one used to
bring about regime changes in Rhodesia (as Zimbabwe was called before
independence), and later, in South Africa. In both cases, wide-ranging economic
and financial sanctions were crucial. Sanctions don't work quickly, but they are
more or less effective, depending on the degree the regime is willing to use
repression to survive. The broader the sanctions, the better.
A plan based on the Rhodesia model would
include the following:
Because the basic source of power in any tyrannical regime is access to
finances, an effective sanctions campaign against Mugabe must target his money.
Impose strict controls on financial transactions involving Zimbabwe. The
countries dominating the global banking system are quite capable of financially
isolating a country and tracking fund movements. Even if multilateral
cooperation is difficult, the US Treasury's controls against designated
countries are an effective device, and the US can bring along many of its allies
in an effort against Mugabe. Compared with elusive drug dealers and terrorists
whose finances are now targeted, going after a clearly identified target is a
far simpler task.
Hold financial institutions
accountable: Targeted regimes will strenuously seek to evade sanctions
by using proxies and front operations to move funds. Thus, it is essential to
require financial institutions and other intermediaries such as lawyers and
accountants to vet the source of funds they accept. A concerted intelligence
effort to track down Mugabe's money is essential. In addition to an impressive
global ability to monitor telecom and computer network systems, most competent
foreign intelligence services are capable of penetrating the ruler's inner
circle to uncover details of his finances and evasion methods. Aggressively
seize assets when violations, or suspect money, are detected.
Trade sanctions: Extremely
strict trade sanctions are vital. A certain amount of "leakage" will occur, but
the economy will slowly atrophy. Rhodesia is a prime example of how effective
these can be. A Rhodesian involved in evading the oil embargo commented once,
"In 1965, Rhodesia was 20 years ahead of South Africa economically, but by 1975
we were 20 years behind." Five years later the country yielded to majority
Combine financial and trade sanctions with a scheme to shut the Mugabe regime
out of international society. Expel Zimbabwe from the UN and other international
organizations, and institute a near-complete travel ban on the country's
nationals, and on everyone connected with the ruling elite. Victims of this sort
of social exclusion naturally play down its importance, but it is surprisingly
wearing over time.
No 'targeted sanctions':
Accept that the average Zimbabwean will suffer from the sanctions. Targeted or
so-called "smart" sanctions don't work. As long as the ruling elite has access
to resources, they will use them for themselves.
A positive component: Give
moral support to the people. Supply funding and other assistance - covertly if
necessary - to the opposition. Lay out a clear concept of what the sanctions are
to accomplish. Win the public relations game both domestically and
internationally, and put Mugabe in the position of defending corruption and
repression. Despite his crudely racist appeals to Zimbabwean nationalism, a
majority still voted against him in the March election. Show the opposition that
it has the world's support. Eastern European dissidents noted how helpful this
was psychologically, as did Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Encourage
nongovernmental organizations and human rights groups to take up the cause of
Be willing, as a last resort, to intervene
militarily. Most tyrants resort to violence because they think they can get away
Complete international cooperation in this
multipart plan is unrealistic, but the leading Western nations are capable of
acting and having immense influence. Previous African tragedies were usually
followed by Western leaders solemnly declaring that "we mustn't let this happen
again." Zimbabwe will tell us if they were serious.
Grant Newsham is a former US Foreign
Service officer with long experience in Southern Africa. He is a vice president
of a US investment bank.
Poverty reduces Zimbabwean life by a
record 13 years
8/6/02 8:35:07 AM (GMT +2)
average Zimbabwean now can expect a 13-year shorter life than his
parents following a drastic drop in life expectancy caused by rising
hopelessness and the deadly HIV/Aids pandemic.
Close to a third of
the population is living with HIV, with the most
affected age group ranging
from 16 to 40. While the scourge has directly
affected the nation's life
expectancy rate, the drop has been hastened by
With 75 percent of the people now classified as very poor, lack of
cut back life expectancy from being southern Africa's highest to
end of developing countries. Life expectancy at birth in 1970-75
was 56 years. This dropped to 42,9 years in 1995-2000. It is
still going down
at such an accelerated pace that anyone who attains 40 will
soon be regarded,
by Zimbabwean standards, as a very old man.
The situation here is
unique in that trends in Africa at large show an
improvement in quality of
life with a recorded increase in life expectancy
from 45,3 to 48,8 years
during the same period.
The United Nations development report says
the only larger region on a
global scale registering a shorter life span for
its citizens is Eastern
In South Africa, life expectancy
rose from 53,7 from 56,7 years from
the 1970s until now.
normal explanation to low life expectancy in most developing
countries is the
high infant mortality rate. But that is not so here.
survive that critical stage, only to struggle for
sustenance as young adults
because of rampant unemployment and the general
Historically, this happened only in times of
Poverty, when it records extreme growth, gives ways to
affects the life span of a nation. The UN says such a
situation took place
after the fall of the Soviet empire 12 years
Bad governance, a weak economy and instability often lead to
destabilisation and fertilises poverty and disease. The unavailability
medical drugs and a non-existent health delivery system has
hospitals and reduced clinics to mere shells.
countries, life expectancy is still rising, even when the
claims its share.
The greatest challenge facing Zimbabwe today
arises from unemployment
and resultant poverty, especially considering that
over the past 22 years we
have failed to put in place a viable social
Payouts from the government's pension scheme
administered by the
National Social Security Authority are an insult.
Families of ordinary
workers receive a monthly payout of as little as $150,
insufficient to pay for a day's lunch.
filled with aimless young people, with no hope of doing
anything, no chance
for life. Tertiary education is no longer the key to a
job. Unemployment has
long been institutionalised.
We now have a surfeit of lawyers, lay
farmers and political scientists
while scientists, technicians, nurses and
doctors take economic refuge
In the rural areas,
armies of discouraged job-seekers - a term used to
describe those who have
given up looking for work - roam the countryside in
search of traditional
beer and drugs, despite their impressive academic
credentials and superior
The levels of desperation around us creates a catchment
hooliganism, intolerance and violence. We are told up to 1,6 million
are now active in the informal sector, peddling all kinds of wares to
out a living. The sector, often referred to as the false economy, can
drive a country out of poverty.
innovation and manufacturing lead to surpluses needed
to feed the nation and
Creativity thrives in a peaceful climate where
diversity, reason and
intellect are not deliberately confused with, or
mistaken for, sabotage.
Today's insecurity among the underclass is
a cause for conflict,
deceit and negative growth.
freedoms which came with political independence in 1980 have
been eroded to a
point where basic human ingenuity for survival has become
impossible to put
As a result, many have decided to watch the government moves
hope that some miracle will happen and save us from further
Even those who voted for Zanu PF in March already feel
cheated as it
becomes clearer every day that the only way forward in Zimbabwe
the retirement of President Mugabe. ÅÅntry in the world is facing
mountain of calamities as Zimbabwe and Mugabe remains resolute that
retain power he must maintain sadistic tactics against dissent. We
expected to rejoice and praise Mugabe for giving us back the earth,
without the wherewithal and energy to unearth its benefits.
There are doubts, even in government, that Mugabe is still active
As the government solely relies on brute force to
keep the nation
hostage, half the population is in serious trouble. That
explains why many
are dying young.
From October to February,
traditionally the period when people run out
of food, even in good times, we
must expect a surge in mass migration either
internally or to neighbouring
countries. Already, villagers and youths at
the end of their tether are
breaking into Mozambique, Botswana and South
Africa. They have become the
"street kids" of the region.
"Migration happens as an absolute last
resort. But if we go on as
now - without major intervention - people will
begin to starve in late
September and October. If we don't manage this with a
in aid, then we risk large-scale population movement,"
said Brendan Paddy, a
spokesman for Save the Children.
Minister Simba Makoni says with the agriculture sector
shrinking by 24,6
percent (against his October 2001 estimate of 6,9
percent), manufacturing by
11,9 percent (forecast 7 percent), mining by 4,9
percent (2,4 percent) and
the hotel and distribution sector by 12 percent
(8,6 percent), the economy
will roll downwards by an overall 11,1 percent
this year. Agriculture exports
will fall 13,6 percent.
Most of the new farmers, with a winter crop
on the ground, are busy
negotiating with private companies to strike deals
and evade repayments to
the Grain Marketing Board because of the unrealistic
prices imposed on the
Wheat farmers, like their tobacco
counterparts, will withhold their
stocks and force for a new price structure
that will put bread out of reach
for many families. We know what has hit us.
We have the solutions. Let us
break the circle and cycle of poverty before it
is too late.
Fear is a curse. Fear of the unknown is a form of
foolishness and can
lead to an implosion.
Beef industry crumbles as ousted farmers
8/6/02 7:27:57 AM (GMT +2)
AS THE 10 August deadline for 3 000 commercial farmers to
properties draws near, cattle producers have embarked on a
destocking exercise to clear their assets before packing their
According to industry officials, the large-scale commercial
herd has been depleted by nearly a third and can no longer on its
provide the basis for viable beef exports.
About 3 000
commercial farmers were this year issued with Section 8
notices) to stop farming operations by 24 June and vacate
the farms by 10
If farmers served with a Section 8 order disobey orders to
operations, they face a fine of $20 000 or two years in prison, or
While some farmers are slaughtering their cattle, others are
them to newly resettled farmers.
The commercial cattle
destocking exercise is likely to affect beef
exports as the bulk of the
exports came from this sector.
Very few communal and small-scale
farmers export beef.
Cattle Producers' Association (CPA) outgoing
chairman, Tim Reynolds
told farmers during the CPA annual congress held in
Harare last Thursday
that the commercial cattle industry was headed for doom
uncertainties caused by the land issue, farmers' failure to export
the foot-and-mouth outbreak and poor prices caused by a flooding of
the local market as well as price controls.
said: " From our latest Commercial Farmers' Union survey done
two months ago,
the commercial sector has been destocked in the region of
400 000 head from a
herd of around 1,3 million. This is double the normal
trends, and I would
estimate that a far smaller number than normal would be
"The saddest fact is that cattle being destocked come from the sector
produces 90 percent of the cattle for the export market."
cattle census gave the national herd as having been about 6,5
1,3 million cattle were on the large-scale commercial farms,
about five million were in communal areas.
It is estimated
then that the national herd now stands at about 5,8
Reynolds said while the major reason for cattle destocking was
caused by land expropriation, the beef industry was also
problems because farmers have not exported in the past
How Mugabe could get a positive world
8/6/02 8:38:17 AM (GMT +2)
Mugabe would clearly prefer the international media to say
nice things about
him, not the daily Mugabe-bashing to which he is subjected
overseas, even in
Malaysia, which has not, like the United States and the
imposed any "smart" sanctions against him and his inner
In Langkawi last week, he seemed to be virtually pleading with
international media to give him a break, to report events relating to
governance with fairness and balance.
Wisely, he did not, as
he has sometimes done, ask them to leave him
and Zimbabwe alone.
The element of race in the criticism of his governance cannot be
over. His government is held responsible for the deaths of white
farmers during the bloody invasion of their properties in 2000.
Mugabe has been portrayed as a racist leader, determined to "teach the
a lesson". He has campaigned against the Western media, deporting
correspondents, in some cases on the flimsiest pretexts.
managed to infuse a racist element in his criticism of the
media, alleging they are only megaphones of their "white
when they criticise his misgovernance.
newspapers reported incessantly the surprisingly
good showing of Jean-Marie
Le Pen in the recent French presidential
election. Le Pen's platform
featured an anti-immigration policy which infuriated many African
whose citizens live and work in France.
This "kith and kin" element
in the reporting of Le Pen's showing in
the election in the African media was
understandable, and the French people
took account of it when the man squared
off against Chirac in the second
round: Le Pen was creamed and the world
heaved a huge sigh of relief that
the French people had not endorsed the
racist policies of their misguided
It may be unfair
to characterise Mugabe as the Le Pen of Africa. But
the Western media has
reacted to his clearly racist campaign, not only
against the farmers, but
also against the media and the judiciary, in much
the same way as the
Africans reacted to Le Pen: a whole race cannot stand
idly by while their
kith and kin are being persecuted in a foreign land.
It is doubtful
that the British government would ever contemplate the
despatch of a group of
crack commandos to rescue the white farmers who
remain in this country, but
they will protest loudly at their ill-treatment
and the British Press will
demand that their government retaliate.
This is only natural, for
it would be amazing if Zimbabweans or the
Zimbabwean media kept quiet while
Zimbabweans were being persecuted over
trivialities in any foreign country.
It would be a different matter, in all
such situations, if the foreign
citizens were being accused of criminal
So, if Mugabe
genuinely feels he ought not to be getting such a bad
Press overseas, then he
must undertake a thorough re-examination of his
policies in the last two
years. While he is at it, he might also want to
re-examine his domestic
The world has reacted to his persecution of the whites
but there has been revulsion too at his ill-treatment of
including indigenous clergy, journalists, lawyers, trade
The government has tried to sell the
fiction that all these critics
would not be there if it wasn't for the
influence of the West, or that they
exist only because they are in the pay of
the West, which is absolutely
insulting to the critics.
President must know that many of his policies in the last two
years have been
designed to perpetuate his stay in power.
Such a goal has obvious
pitfalls. It is not based on the rationale
that the people must be taken on
board, that they must be made aware of the
benefits of the
The reason is that there are hardly any benefits for the
such a goal.
GMB withholds maize deliveries to National
8/6/02 8:32:13 AM (GMT +2)
Mujokoro in Bulawayo
HUNDREDS of National Foods employees in
Bulawayo face unemployment if
the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) does not resume
maize deliveries to the
The GMB stopped maize
deliveries to the company five weeks ago putting
the jobs of hundreds of the
milling organisation's employees in jeopardy.
viability has been affected by this move which has seen
a drop in production
of maize meal and a drop in the availability of
maize-meal on the market in
the southern region of the country.
The withdrawal by the GMB from
providing maize has been viewed as
punishment by government after the company
was accused of hoarding maize to
create artificial shortages.
The same company was accused of hoarding salt, which has also been in
supply for weeks.
The company denied the charges stating that it
had been granted
authority to import the scarce commodity by obtaining
foreign currency which
is also in short supply on the parallel
The company said that they were awaiting government's
approval for a
new price for salt and was not hoarding the
President Mugabe in a hard-hitting speech at his party's
threatened to nationalise National Foods following the
"discovery" of the
There were reports carried in
the State media in June alleging that
100 000 tonnes of maize had been
discovered at the Bulawayo National Foods
someone got their figures wrong because we only had 100
tonnes in stock which
we were actually milling," said Ian Kind, the managing
director of National
He said after these reports, the GMB and the police visited
and found only 100 tonnes. However the GMB has not yet resumed
maize to the depot since then despite repeated attempts by
National Foods to
"This has affected staff who
were employed mainly for milling
purposes. We have had to redeploy them in
departments where they are not
really needed", said Kind.
availability of stock feeds, which are a by-product of maize
also been seriously affected.
Workers who spoke to The Daily News
on condition of anonymity said
they are not sure about their fate because of
the non-availability of maize.
"We fear that the company will
retrench us inorder for it to remain
viable," said one of the
Retrenchment has been an on going exercise at the company
year when some workers were relocated to Harare and others were
as part of the company's restructuring exercise.
However as from March this year, the retrenchments were
"What the GMB is doing will have serious
repercussions on the company
and on us the workers. We were now surviving on
milling maize since we
stopped milling flour last year due to the wheat
shortage," said the
Efforts to get a comment from the
GMB were fruitless.
AG's Office refutes Herald story
8:31:12 AM (GMT +2)
General (AG)'s Office has dismissed as inaccurate the
story published by the
government-controlled Herald on the alleged murder of
two Zanu PF officials
by three MDC members, among them Fletcher
Dulini-Ncube, the MP for
Lobengula-Magwegwe who is diabetic.
Joseph Musakwa, the director of
public prosecutions, said the errors,
wrongly attributed to the State, could
prejudice its case.
The story headlined, Another opposition MP up
for murder, was on the
indictment of Dulini-Ncube, Sony Nicholas Masera, and
Army Zulu to the High
Court for trial on the alleged murders of Cain Nkala,
the former Bulawayo
war veteran leader, and a Zanu PF activist, Limukani
Luphahla, of Lupane
It was published on Thursday last
In a letter to the editor, Pikirayi Deketeke, published in
issue of The Herald, Musakwa said the article had some
"I am particularly concerned about how the
allegations against the
accused persons are reported," he says.
Musakwa said indictment papers had already been signed by the AG and
public knowledge, but some of the facts alleged in The Herald story
part of the summary of the State case.
"It is not alleged in the
summary that the three accused referred to
in your article are some of the
suspects hired by MDC to murder senior Zanu
PF officials," he said.
"It is also not alleged in the summary that Masera taught his
Dulini-Ncube and Zulu, how to kill people using strong strings
He said the errors must be corrected unless the newspaper
to that effect, which it would produce in court.
"Such inaccuracies have a great potential of damaging the State case
article ascribes to us facts that we cannot prove," Musakwa said.
Staff from several independent newspapers have been arrested for
writing and publishing "falsehoods" under the new draconian media
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which many
is being applied selectively.
Lawyers seek Dulini-Ncube's release
8:30:39 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in
LAWYERS for Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, the MP for
yesterday filed an urgent chamber application seeking a
cancellation of his
warrant of arrest.
The MP, who has severe
diabetes, was yesterday recuperating under
police guard at Mater Dei Hospital
after one of his eyes was surgically
An application to
stop his indictment for their trial along with Sony
Nicholas Masera and Army
Zulu in the murder case of Cain Nkala last year,
was last week thrown out by
Justice George Chiweshe.
Yesterday Chiweshe, postponed the
application hearing for the quashing
of the indictment to today when he is
expected to make a ruling on whether
the three should be indicted for trial
Lawyers for the three argued that the prosecution had
linking them to the murder, apart from the confessions of two
Dulini-Ncube's health deteriorated when he was
arrested last November
and held for nearly two months, following allegations
linking the ailing MP
to the murder of Nkala, a former Zanu PF activist.
Masvingo Zanu PF executive insists Zvobgo should be
8/6/02 8:30:06 AM (GMT +2)
Correspondent in Masvingo
The Zanu PF Masvingo provincial executive
insists Dr Eddison Zvobgo
should be fired from the party for failing to
campaign for President Mugabe'
s re-election last March.
Takavarasha, the provincial spokesman, said in an interview
the party's former secretary for legal affairs, had a case
to answer because
of the serious allegations against him.
The Masvingo Zanu PF
district co-ordinating committee chaired by
Absolom Mudavanhu recommended to
the provincial executive that Zvobgo, the
MP for Masvingo South, be expelled
for failing to campaign for Mugabe.
The committee accused Zvobgo of
campaigning for the MDC. Zvobgo has
denied the charge.
Takawarasha said: "The document which was written by Mudavanhu should
taken seriously. Whether the allegations had come from a cell or ward
there is need to investigate the case. We feel he has a case
An earlier attempt to ditch the veteran politician
failed when Zvobgo
openly told the provincial executive that he was a senior
party member who
could not be disciplined by juniors.
said: "I am a central committee member and the provincial
executive has no
power to either summon or discipline me."
Zanu PF in Masvingo has
been rocked by divisions for the past decade.
The two factions are led by
Hungwe and Zvobgo respectively.
The Masvingo provincial executive
aligned to Josaya Hungwe, the
provincial governor, has accused Zvobgo of not
campaigning for Mugabe.