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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Times [UK],,3-378233,00.html

Mugabe trades white farms for oil
By Michael Evans, Defence Editor

PRESIDENT Mugabe may be forced to give Libya much of the prime land he
is seizing from white farmers in order to pay for an oil deal with
Colonel Gaddafi, diplomatic sources said yesterday.
The full extent of the bizarre arrangement between the Zimbabwean and
Libyan leaders was revealed hours before Mr Mugabe's midnight deadline
for 2,900 white farmers to leave their properties.

The sources said that Mr Mugabe owed Libya so much for imported oil that
he was preparing to give thousands of acres to his "friend", Colonel
Gaddafi, to repay his debts and to stay in power.

The net result would be to negate Mr Mugabe's avowed goal of returning
land to Zimbabwe's black population.

The extent to which Mr Mugabe is "in hock" to Colonel Gaddafi was not an
issue apparently discussed with Michael O'Brien, the Foreign Office
Minister, who returned last night from Tripoli after meeting the Libyan
leader in the desert for talks about Lockerbie bomb compensation and the
war on terrorism.

Mr Mugabe depends on Colonel Gaddafi for supplying his country's oil
needs - about 800,000 barrels a month. Seventy per cent of that comes
from the Libyan oil company Tamoil, whose ultimate owner is the Libyan
Arab Foreign Investment Company.

Last December Mr Mugabe visited Tripoli to secure a deal with Colonel
Gaddafi under which oil worth $360 million would be supplied to the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe. However, for 21 days in May, Tamoil
turned off Zimbabwe's oil because Mr Mugabe had failed to pay for the
fuel supplies. According to oil industry sources, the desperate
Zimbabwean leader contacted Colonel Gaddafi to plead for the oil
supplies to be resumed.

One diplomatic source said: "Colonel Gaddafi has always had this dream
of being the leader of Africa and he has engineered it so that Mugabe is
totally dependent on him. So he agreed a special discounted rate for the
fuel, which was disastrous for Tamoil. It was only Colonel Gaddafi's
personal intervention that forced Tamoil to resume oil supplies."

While the oil company is now having to face the consequences of the
arrangement between Mr Mugabe and Colonel Gaddafi, the Libyan leader is
spreading his influence and his investments in Zimbabwe.

As part of the deal fixed in Tripoli, Libya agreed to provide the fuel
in exchange for shareholdings in Zimbabwe's state-run companies. Libya
now has a controlling stake in the Jewel Bank, formerly the Commercial
Bank of Zimbabwe, as well as the state travel company, Rainbow Tourist

It is now believed that as part of the deal to pay back the Libyan
leader for his generosity, Mr Mugabe will hand over some of the most
valuable farms to Colonel Gaddafi.

Sources said that Colonel Gaddafi's "misguided support" for Mr Mugabe
had brought one of his state oil companies, Tamoil, to the verge of
bankruptcy. Tamoil's European investors and creditors - the company has
offices in Monaco, London, Milan and Geneva - had also been placed in a
vulnerable position by the Libyan leader's political manoeuvres, the
sources said.

Mr Mugabe's acceptance of the special oil deal with Colonel Gaddafi, for
which he could not pay, had also left Zimbabwe exposed as the Libyans
tried to seize assets and recoup losses.

The other 30 per cent of Zimbabwe's oil needs are supplied by IPG of
Kuwait and overland from South Africa.

In the past Libya has granted Zimbabwe a 120-day moratorium after every
delivery, which amounts to $30 million worth of fuel each quarter. The
Libyans set three conditions: cash payment, investment in properties and
businesses or bilateral trade in exchange for fuel. If the conditions
were not met, the fuel was cut off.

A group of white Zimbabwean farmers, among thousands facing eviction
without compensation, are trying to raise money in Britain to help them
start over in neighbouring Mozambique. "It is no good sending a farmer
to Mozambique without equipment," Christopher Ryan, a financier, said on
a fundraising visit to London.
Derek Arlett-Johnson, who lost his Zimbabwean farm to Mugabe two years
ago said he had doubts about the scheme as the Mozambicans refused to
hand over land ownership.

Zambia, Tanzania and Uganda were also trying to lure dispossessed
farmers, with varying degrees of success, he said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Resettled farmers face hunger as government fails to assist

8/7/02 9:45:15 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

RESETTLED farmers in Chief Chivero's area in Mhondoro have lambasted the
government for not fulfiling its promises to assist them to get started.
The farmers, interviewed at the weekend, said they had fallen on hard
times. Lydia Muzenda, 62, of Muzindaweshumba resettlement scheme, said
they were near starvation.

"We have nothing to eat," she said. "We are buying a bucket of maize at
an unaffordable price of $1 000 or more." Muzenda said she feared the
worst if they failed to secure draught power to till their
newly-acquired land. The settlers said they had made several vain
attempts to secure maize grain at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), as
the government had promised to help them with food relief until the next
harvest. Joseph Made, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement, has repeatedly assured the settlers that the government
would support them with farming inputs, including seed and fertiliser.
Muzenda said when she moved to Mhondoro from her original home in Gokwe,
she sold five of her cattle to raise money to transport her property.

"Most of us on this scheme don't have cattle to till the land," she
said. "We have waited, in vain, for a long time to get the District
Development Fund tillage tractors." Muzenda said they held monthly
meetings to discuss their problems and possible solutions, but there was
still no positive response from the government.

She said the settlers had spent a lot of money travelling to the Chegutu
GMB depot to get maize grain without success. Nelson Takawira, 42, of
Stokesay resettlement area, said: "The rainy season is only a few months
away but we are still to prepare our fields for planting." "We haven't
received the promised maize seed from government," he said. Another
settler at Zimbo, who refused to be identified, said non-governmental
organisations involved in the food aid programmes should them help to
avert starvation which he said was now very imminent in the area. The
government has discouraged the NGOs from distributing food unless this
is done through the government or Zanu PF channels.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Court reprieve for Zimbabwe farmers
A High Court has ruled that many eviction orders are illegal, just ahead
of the deadline for hundreds of white farmers to vacate their
Up to 3,000 white farmers must leave their land by midnight local time
(2200 GMT) on Thursday or face a fine or imprisonment.

But a judge has ruled that the state cannot seize farms which are
mortgaged to banks, without first informing the financial institutions.

The redistribution of Zimbabwe's best farmland from whites to blacks
formed the basis of President Robert Mugabe's re-election campaign in
March this year.

But donors say that the fall in agricultural production is one of the
reasons for Zimbabwe's current food crisis.

Up to half of the population - six million - face starvation this year,
aid agencies have warned.

In a landmark decision on Wednesday, High Court Judge Charles Hungwe
said the state could not confiscate land owned by Andrew Kockett because
it had not informed the National Merchant Bank, which has a mortgage
registered over the property.

The judge said the acquisition was "null and void".

"Farmers in the same situation as me - which is I believe the majority -
in very few cases or in no cases has the bond holder been served with
these notices," Mr Kockett told South African radio on Thursday.

"Whether that automatically gives the other farmers cover I don't know,"
he said.

Wait and see

But the government has refused to enforce previous court orders that
they evict those who had illegally occupied white-owned farms.

The BBC's Alastair Leithead in Johannesburg says the ruling may not
change the situation on the ground.

Some farmers have already decided to leave their properties and allow
the Zimbabwean Government to seize the land.

Land reform is Mugabe's main policy

Others are waiting to see whether police will use their powers to
forcibly evict them.

The government has warned that those who defy the eviction will be
arrested, and farmers could face fines and up to two years in prison.

"The laws of the country will be enforced without hesitation,"
Vice-President Joseph Msika said.

Colonial wrongs

Other farmers have adopted a more defiant tone ahead of the deadline.

"Our position is that people should not give in because we are in a
crisis as a country," Justice for Agriculture (a splinter group of the
Commercial Farmers Union) chairman David Connolly told Reuters news

Zimbabwe faces mass starvation

Concern about the land reform programme was one of the reasons why the
International Monetary Fund suspended financial support for Zimbabwe.

Mr Mugabe argues that the seizures will right the wrongs of British
colonialism, under which 70% of the country's best farmland was
concentrated in white hands.

He says giving land to poor black families will increase their living

However the seizure programme coincides with a period of severe economic
crisis in the country.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

For immediate release 18:00 GMT, Thursday 8 August 2002


The "Save Zimbabwe" campaign has announced the appointment of Mr Ephraim
Tapa as Chief Spokesman for the campaign.

Until February of this year Mr Tapa was President of one of Zimbabwe's most
powerful unions, the Zimbabwe Civil Service Employees Association, and
served on the General Council of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

A civic leader and outspoken critic of the Mugabe regime, Mr Tapa , together
with his pregnant wife, was abducted on February 16 by members of the
militia. He was held in the militia camp for almost a month, during which
time he was severely beaten and tortured. Mr and Mrs Tapa were rescued on
the day that plans were being finalised for their execution.

Mr Tapa said that the "Save Zimbabwe" campaign offered the best hope yet of
bringing change to Zimbabwe. "In the month since its launch, the campaign
has already achieved an astonishing international impact. It is particularly
valuable that this is a non-partisan movement, as it is drawing support from
a wide range of interests all committed to the same objectives".

Mr Tapa said that the simplicity of its aims also enabled a strong
internationalconsensus to build behind the campaign . "We are calling for
the restoration of democracy, human rights and legitimate government for
Zimbabwe. These aims, quite simply, are the limit of our objectives. We are
not campaigning for any political party; we are not advocating policies or
proposing solutions. These are for the politicians and the people of
Zimbabwe. Give them these freedoms, guarantee them these rights, and they
will take care of the rest".

"Save Zimbabwe" said that Mr Tapa's understanding of the workings of
government, and his knowledge of conditions in Zimbabwe would be an
"enormous attribute" for the campaign. "Ephraim has seen the best of
Zimbabwe - the intelligence, kindness and tremendous courage of its people.
But he has also seen the worst, in the savage and corrupt brutality of the
regime and its followers. Nobody is better qualified to talk about Zimbabwe

Back to the Top
Back to Index

ZIMBABWE: Deadline ticks closer for farmers to leave their land

JOHANNESBURG, 8 August (IRIN) - From midnight on Thursday almost 3,000 farmers in Zimbabwe will have to leave their land under the government's controversial fast track land reform programme which aims to transfer ownership of land from white farmers to landless black people.

Farmers who received a Section 8 notice on or before 10 May this year were forced to down tools on 24 June and start winding up their affairs. If farmers ignore the order to leave they face a fine of Zim $20,000 (US $375) or two years in jail, or both.

"We hope there will be no force involved," Commerical Farmers Union Director (CFU) David Hasluck told IRIN. "There are not many [farmers] who are intending to leave their property unless they are told to. People won't move unless they are pressured."

He said that of the 3,000 Section 8 notices, about 1,000 fell due on Friday.

He said there had also been indications at local government level that several farmers would not have a problem and would be able to stay on their land, although the way this was decided appeared to be random, he said.

President Robert Mugabe's land reform programme has been cited as one of the factors contributing to critical food shortages in Zimbabwe. A World Food Programme (WFP) report said that disruptions to farming saw agricultural production drop dramatically. Combined with drought and rising food prices, this left up to six million Zimbabweans facing hunger and the cash-strapped government unable to buy the stock needed to fill the food gaps.

Hasluck predicted another decline in production for the coming season saying that in addition to the land reform disruptions, the government's control over the sale and purchase of grain were further obstacles to production.

"Prospects for farmers are not good," he said.

John Worswick, Vice President of the newly formed Justice for Agriculture, which represents farmers who intend challenging their notices through the courts, said: "This weekend is a damp squib. The majority of farmers have grounds to challenge the Section 8 orders."

An example of which was the latest High Court ruling stating that the government could not seize mortgaged or bonded farms without first informing the lenders.

Worswick said: "Many have brought action in court and if they are targeted it will only highlight the illegality of the land reform programme."

News agency AFP reported that Zimbabwe's Vice President Joseph Msika addressed a CFU convention on Wednesday night and urged cooperation for agrarian reform.

However, he also sounded a warning. "The protagonists of this unfortunate approach [challenging Section 8 notices] should be warned that the laws of the country are paramount and will be enforced without any hesitation and with no regard to any external influence."

It was not immediately clear where the farmers and up to 300,000 farmworkers and their families would move to.

Some had chosen to emigrate overseas or settle in neighbouring countries while others were being accommodated through a CFU programme which had a database of people worldwide willing to help, Hasluck said.

However, some had no idea where they would go. "Where must we go? We are Zimbabweans?" asked the sister of a farmer who has had his land confiscated.

Tel: +27 11 880-4633
Fax: +27 11 447-5472

[This Item is Delivered to the "Africa-English" Service of the UN's IRIN
humanitarian 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: or Web: . 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.]

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Parts of Harare without bread

Staff Reporter
8/8/02 8:58:00 AM (GMT +2)

BREAD was in short supply in parts of Harare this week as bakers and
retailers warned Zimbabweans to brace themselves for a fresh shortage of
the staple unless the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) increases wheat
supplies to millers.

Long queues of customers waiting for bread could be seen yesterday at
several Harare bread outlets visited by a Financial Gazette news team.

National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe chairman Armitage Chikwavira
blamed the bread shortage on what he said were erratic supplies of wheat
by the state-run GMB.

"One of the big milling companies was on Friday last week forced to
close its operations because they said they had not received their wheat
allocations from GMB," he said yesterday.

The GMB had not responded to written questions sent to it by this
newspaper up to the time of going to print last night.

The state-grain utility last month increased the allocation of wheat to
millers from 4 000 to 6 000 tonnes a week. But millers say they want 7
800 tonnes which is what they used to get a week from the GMB before the
current shortages set in.

Gweru baker David Govere said bread was also running short in the
Midlands town.

In Bulawayo, supplies were intermittent this week after drying up
towards the end of last week.

Govere, who is also president of the Mashonaland chapter of the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, said the bread shortages would
worsen unless the GMB quickly imported at least 125 000 tonnes of wheat
which he said would be enough to feed the country until the next harvest
in October.

The GMB has said it will import only 50 000 tonnes of wheat but none of
it has arrived in Zimbabwe yet.

"We will continue to have bread shortages, especially during weekends
when millers are closed because we have inadequate flour supplies in the
country and some bakers might even fail to produce bread at all," Govere

One of Zimbabwe's biggest bakeries, Bakers Inn, said it had this week
managed to produce its normal 320 000 loaves a day only because of the
strategic reserves of flour it kept.

Managing director Burombo Mudumo said: "Bakers Inn was producing bread
at its normal capacity over the past few days owing to our strategic
reserves but our mates have been affected by the failure of millers to
supply flour to their bakeries."

Last week millers applied to the government to be allowed to increase
the price of flour by up to 25 percent, citing rising output costs.

It was not clear this week whether the Ministry of Industry had approved
the millers' request, which would mean a new increase in the price of

If the bread shortage persists, it will only be the latest basic
commodity to be in short supply in Zimbabwe, which is grappling with
severe shortages of nearly everything, including foreign currency, the
staple maize meal, sugar and salt, because of a deepening economic
crisis blamed on the government's mismanagement.

Back to the Top
Back to Index