FARM INVASIONS AND SECURITY UPDATE
Monday 11th December 2000
NATIONAL REPORT IN BRIEF:
¨ There were life-threatening situations at Southmour and Duncombe farms in Mazowe/Concession during the weekend, when war vet Matavire accompanied by a large and aggressive group demanded the hand over of these farms. Police response to the situation was very poor and the group had an all night 'pungwe' on the front lawn at the homestead on Southmour. Work has resumed today on both farms and the situation is stable but tense.
¨ Police have not intervened to prevent the illegal movement of cattle around the anthrax area west of Mhondoro in Mashonaland West.
¨ War vets and followers have handed a letter of eviction to the farmer on Wenimbe farm in Marondera, stating that the farm workers should vacate by Friday the 15th December 2000.
¨ Notorious war vet, Mrs Rusike, has been charged with the theft of a pick-up load of cucumbers from Parklands Farm.
Regional reports were not received from Manicaland, Masvingo, Midlands and Matabeleland and only a partial report was received from Mash West (North).
Centenary - Invaders at Kingstone Devril set up a barricade and attempted to stop work, but removed the barricade subsequent to negotiations with the owner.
Mvurwi - Poaching is ongoing at Forrester and irrigation equipment has been stolen from Blighty.
Mutepatepa - The owner of Amanda reports that resettled people from the neighbouring farm, Audrey, are using the farm as a short cut, cutting fences and poaching.
Mazowe / Concession - Potentially volatile and life-threatening situations developed at Southmour and Duncombe during the weekend, when war vet Matavire accompanied by a large and aggressive group demanded the hand over of the farms. Police response to the situation was very poor and the group had an all night 'pungwe' on the front lawn at the homestead on Southmour. The owner of Southmour vacated the farm for the weekend, but has returned today. Work has resumed today on both farms and the situation is stable, although tense. Threats were issued to the owner of Somerset but work has continued.
Shamva - Many
farms in the area have still not been allowed to plant or cultivate what was
planted and invaders are moving on in large numbers daily, carrying out planting
in small blocks of land while driving livestock onto properties as
Beatrice - There is still cultivation taking place on Goldilands. Individuals from the Msasa and Tsunga Resettlement areas have started pegging and planting on Lisbon and have said that they have been given permission by the DA to go ahead. This is unconfirmed, as they do not have written evidence that they have her permission.
Bromley/Ruwa - There was pegging and planting on Sanga over the weekend.
Enterprise - About 3 ha was illegally ploughed and planted on Strathlorne Farm over the weekend. New arrivals on Colga pegged in a land that has been ridged and prepared by the owner for a summer crop.
Harare South - On Friday 8th December a DDF tractor was ploughing on Swallowfield. About 9 people led by Felix Gutura visited Gilston and started pegging on the farm. Felix advised that the DA would be following them shortly but the DA still has not arrived. There is a DDF tractor ploughing on Albion this morning. The invaders continue planting.
Marondera - On Friday, war vets and followers handed a letter of eviction to the farmer on Wenimbe farm, stating that the farm workers should vacate by Friday the 15th December 2000. Cattle have been bought onto Esperance and they are ploughing up a rhodes grass pasture. The Police, Vet Dept and DA have all been informed and approached with no assistance as yet.
Marondera North - Ploughing continues on Seaton and Oxford/Rukata. Eight head of cattle were bought onto Oxford and there are 15 - 20 people planting where the oxen have ploughed. A delegation arrived on Rapids farm but they stayed there for a short while and then left. The owner of Welcome Home has managed to plant 70 ha of maize with no interference. There are no further developments on Cambridge.
Macheke/Virginia - There is ploughing on Timorin and invaders have planted about 0.5 ha of groundnuts and maize. A cow was slaughtered on Nyagadzi and there is a lot of ploughing on the farm. Ploughing continues on Dry Law Hill and Bimi. The police told the owners to contact the DA, which they did and he is unaware that these farms are supposed to be ploughed but advised that there is nothing he can do as the invaders follow their own agenda now. Four oxen were bought onto Paradise to start ploughing where the owner was planning to put his irrigated tobacco crop next year. The invaders were asked for a movement permit for the cattle but refused to show it to anyone and they stated that they were not leaving until the police arrived. Invaders are opening gates and moving cattle around on Chikumbakwe to stop them interfering with the invaders ploughing and planting.
Wedza - Three individuals armed with axes killed three antelope on Ashlynns farm. They escaped with their ten dogs. 9 vehicles with about 100 people arrived on Chard farm and started resettling and planting without the DA. They then moved on to Oklahoma and Totnes. Totnes is a new invasion. Three arrogant individuals arrived on Skoonveld and Laurel and advised the owners that they would be back with weapons on Saturday if all of the cattle were not moved off the farms. They then went ahead with others and pegged more land on the farms. On Laurel the invaders are moving the farmer’s cattle around from paddock to paddock as they are interfering with their ploughing. An electrical motor was stolen on Devon farm but was abandoned after 70 metres, as it was too heavy, so the reaction team recovered it. A tractor that was ploughing on Hull arrived back this morning to continue ploughing. Cattle from the resettlement and the farmer’s cattle continue to be mixed and the farmer is now missing 5 head of cattle.
Mashonaland West (North)
Chinhoyi - There was a confrontation with about 40 invaders after illegal roadblocks were set up on Crescent Road. Police responded after 3 hours and the situation was stabilised. Invaders deliberately released cattle from a feedlot on Maysma farm but the cattle were recovered. Invaders are illegally planting maize in lads scheduled for tobacco on Ormeston Farm.
Mashonaland West (South)
Norton - On Parklands war vet Mrs Rusike was caught stealing a pick-up load of cucumbers. Charges are being pressed. On Tilford Chief Chibero, M.P. Charles Ndlovu, C.I.O and war veterans coerced the owner under duress into allowing co-existance. In the Norton area generally there have been 130 cattle stolen during “co-existence” over the last few weeks. Invaders are illegally ploughing on Knockmalloch.
Chegutu - Police have not intervened to prevent the illegal movement of cattle around the anthrax area west of Mhondoro. Thirty cattle have moved onto San Fernando, despite an agreement with the District Administrator Chegutu and the Land Committee.
Malcolm Vowles, Deputy Director (Admin & Projects). Harare 309800-18. email@example.com
|RBZ throws out $4bn SA fuel loan|
12/11/00 7:48:06 AM (GMT +2)
THE Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) has thrown out a proposed US$75 million (about $4,1 billion) fuel
loan facility offered by South Africa's ABSA Bank Limited and it is likely that
the country's fuel reserves will dwindle below the current 55 percent of normal
requirements by the end of this month if the government does not act quickly to
avert the crisis.
Gideon Gono, the managing
director of the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ), yesterday said bureaucratic
bungling and petty jealousies were responsible for Zimbabwe's current fuel
crisis which has seen fuel queues re-emerging.
In the meantime, civil servants were taking their time to consider the multi-billion dollar petroleum products importation application by the CBZ on behalf of Noczim which would have seen the country secure a fuel supply facility enough to last until the end of January 2001, said Gono.
Speaking from Johannesburg, Gono said: "The current fuel shortage is self-inflicted and can easily be overcome if all interested parties and key players, especially in government, applied a little bit of innovation in their management styles."
The RBZ turned down a proposal the CBZ had submitted towards the end of
November, which clearly spelt out that terms set out were indicative and not exhaustive, and were designed to chart a mutually satisfactory arrangement for the proposed finance.
The RBZ secretary for the External Loans Co-ordination Committee (ELCC), Morris Bekezela Mpofu, said the proposal did not meet their criteria which requires that only confirmation or guarantee fees be levied as opposed to having other flat fees such as drawdown arrangement and roll-over charges included in the proposal.
In a letter to the CBZ, he said: "ELCC takes note of the importance of importation of fuel and, therefore advises CBZ to liaise with the Ministry of Finance to establish the possibility of granting the financing proposal national priority status."
This forced Gono to approach the Ministry of Finance seeking urgent guidance and highlighted to the ministry that if such a fuel facility was not accorded national priority status, the country would run dry within days.
"We are asking you to please, accord this facility a national priority status so that we can at least buy time to end of January 2001," said Gono in a letter to RBZ. "To try and arrange a new facility now is almost impossible with most people going away on holiday."
Disregarding this advice and plea, the Finance ministry told CBZ that Noczim should make such an application.
"As a matter of procedure, the parent Ministry is required to submit a formal request for this Ministry to consider the issue. Noczim should apply through their parent Ministry for this special dispensation," said Mpofu.
The ABSA Corporate Bank, which has shares in the CBZ, later recalled Chris Venter and Deon Coetzee who had come to fine-tune agreements with Noczim, citing bureaucratic bungling as a major stumbling bloc in the provision of relief facilities for fuel supplies to Zimbabwe.
Efforts to get comments from the Minister of Finance, Dr Simba Makoni,
Secretary for Mines and Energy, Mr Nicholas Kitikiti and chief executive officer of Noczim, Engineer Webster Muriritirwa, proved fruitless as they were all said to be attending marathon meetings for the greater part of the business day on Friday.
Meanwhile, The Daily News understands that CBZ is now seeking to conclude another fuel importation facility worth more than US$150 million (about Z$8 billion) with an American financial institution, but Gono would not discuss the matter and referred all enquiries to Len Loader, the bank's Executive Director for operations.
|Chiyangwa flees angry workers|
12/11/00 7:48:48 AM (GMT +2)
and the president of the Affirmative Action Group (AAG), Philip Chiyangwa, last
week fled from angry workers at Belmont Leather, a subsidiary of the Tirzah
group of companies which he owns.
The workers said they had
not been paid since September.
They said Chiyangwa, the MP for Chinhoyi, arrived at the company with senior management and as they approached him demanding their salaries, Chiyangwa escaped through another gate and left the company hurriedly.
They said the company's management kept on postponing their pay dates.
A spokesperson for the workers said: "When we tried to talk to Chiyangwa, he probably thought we would harm him, but that is not the case. We just want to be paid our dues because, as we speak, some of the workers have been thrown out of their lodgings for non-payment of rent."
The workers briefly downed their tools on Wednesday as their management and workers' committee continued negotiations.
The workers, who are supposed to be paid fortnightly, said management constantly told them that the company had no money.
But yesterday Chiyangwa said he had ceased to run the affairs of the companies as he had leased them to some private companies. He refused to name the private companies.
He said: "If the workers think that I have a legal obligation to pay their salaries, then they can take the matter up with the courts. I ceased to run the affairs of the companies eight months ago.
"I did not go there for them but I was on AAG business with the people who are leasing the businesses to see how they are coping. If they think I am supposed to pay their salaries, then they are mistaken."
Without denying that he left the company unceremoniously, Chiyangwa said he had been advised by his consultants to lease the companies due to the prevailing economic climate.
The workers, however, maintained that Chiyangwa was running the companies as they had not been officially informed of the lease by Ben Muchovo who is the managing director. Muchovo was not immediately available for comment yesterday.
The workers told The Daily News that water supplies to the company had been cut and they were concerned about the implications of this latest twist in the companies' fortunes.
The workers also showed a crew from this paper the state of the toilets.
It also emerged that telephone lines to Midiron Enterprises, formerly
G&D Shoes, one of the companies under the Tirzah umbrella, had been cut because of non-payment of bills.
The manager of Belmont Leather, Clement Shoko, declined to comment.
He said: "I am not officially entitled to give statements to the Press. I am solely responsible for production."
|Zambia asks Zimbabwe to take back its soldiers|
12/11/00 7:59:30 AM (GMT +2)
THE Zambian government
is anxious to repatriate as soon as possible, more than 200 Zimbabwean soldiers
who fled to their country from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Keli Walubita, the Zambian
Minister of Foreign Affairs, who flew into Harare yesterday told The Daily News
he held talks with Tirivafi Kangai, the Zimbabwean High Commissioner to Zambia,
about the immediate repatriation of the soldiers.
Kangai was also in Harare yesterday.
Walubita said: "I had a chat with the High Commissioner, under normal diplomatic practice. I did indicate to him that it was the wish of the Zambian government that Zimbabwe arranges the immediate repatriation of the combatants. That is normal practice."
Walubita said Kangai assured him everything was being done to repatriate the soldiers. Both Kangai and Walubita would not say when the soldiers would return home.
However, sources said Zimbabwean military officials flew to Zambia last week to assess the situation.
"The High Commissioner has told me that everything is being done to repatriate them," said Walubita. He could not be specific about the number of soldiers, but said he had been told they were more than 200.
The Zimbabwean soldiers fled from the DRC after their camps in Pweto and Pepa were overrun by rebels fighting the government of President Laurent Kabila. Both towns have since fallen under rebel control.
Walubita said he was hoping to get further assurance from Stan Mudenge, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, that moves were indeed being made to repatriate the soldiers.
"When I meet my counterpart, he has to confirm that the combatants will be catered for," he said.
He said the Zimbabwean soldiers had been disarmed and were living in a separate camp from the ordinary refugees in Luapula province near Lake Mweru.
Zambia is having to contend with refugees fleeing fighting in Angola and the DRC and the country has said it is not equipped to deal with such influxes of people from the two neighbouring countries.
Walubita said under the Geneva Convention, Zambia was obliged to receive anyone but soldiers had to surrender weapons.
"As combatants, they are handled differently and they have to be separated from the civilian refugee population," he said.
He denied he was in Harare to discuss the repatriation of the soldiers, saying he was reciprocating a visit by Mudenge last year under the Zimbabwe-Zambia Joint Permanent Co-operation Commission.
However, Joint Co-operation Commission meetings are always attended by economic and finance ministers, but these were not part of Walubita's delegation that arrived yesterday, suggesting the visit had more to do with the soldiers than the minister wanted the public to believe.
Kangai would not comment on the plans to repatriate the Zimbabwean soldiers.
He said: "I can confirm that we had a meeting with the minister over the matter. The issue is being dealt with amicably by the governments and relevant ministries.
"I am here for the Zimbabwe-Zambia Joint Co-operation Commission meeting, not to talk about issues of defence. I am here for trade issues."
Zimbabwean military officials have been quiet over the issue of the soldiers, only confirming the attack on Pweto. General Vitalis Zvinavashe, the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said he would issue a statement at the appropriate time.
Zambia has experienced an upsurge in the number of refugees ever since war broke out in the DRC about two years ago. Walubita said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated the refugees in Zambia at about 100 000, mostly from the DRC.
"We have received refugees in the past but this has been so sudden and too large," he said. The repatriation of the Zimbabwean soldiers would provide minor relief to the Zambian government.
Fighting has continued in the DRC despite an agreement signed in Harare last week by defence chiefs of the warring parties, to pull back from the frontline in preparation for the deployment of United Nations peace monitors.
|Chinamasa wants Daily News charged over airport story|
12/11/00 8:01:31 AM (GMT +2)
PATRICK Chinamasa, the
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, has asked the Attorney
General's office to institute criminal defamation charges against The Daily News
over last week's story on the new Harare International Airport scam.
The Daily News reported
that Hani Yamani, the owner of Air Harbour Technologies, the company that won
the controversial $5 billion tender to construct the airport, wrote a seven-page
letter to President Mugabe complaining that his local agents, Tony Yates of CIE
Mercantile and Heena Joshi made certain unauthorised payments to current and
former government ministers and alleged that former Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Enos Chikowore, the former
Minister of Transport and Energy, and Jayant Joshi, the managing director of
Zidco, a Zanu PF owned company, made a substantial amount of money from the
Chinamasa told journalists attending a workshop on corruption in Harare on Friday that the story was "criminal and highly defamatory of the President, current and former ministers and high-level government officials."
He said: "Given that the persons against whom the allegations of corruption are being made have denied their involvement in the alleged corrupt practices. I have decided to bring the matter to head by requesting the Attorney General's office to give consideration to instituting criminal defamation proceedings against the editor and publisher of The Daily News.
"The ball is now in the court of the Attorney General's office. If they should decide to institute criminal defamation proceedings, this will assist in clearing the air once and for all. This, I am sure, will give The Daily News an opportunity and a platform to justify the publication by providing the proof they have that the award of the Harare Airport construction contract was tainted with corruption. I have lodged the request with the Attorney General's office as a complaint to defend the integrity of the government."
US Disappointed With Zimbabwe
GABORONE, Botswana (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Monday the United States was disappointed with the situation in Zimbabwe, which is roiled by political violence and a chaotic effort to seize white farms and give them to landless blacks.
``Everyone had looked to Zimbabwe as a great example of democracy and economic development and I think there is a general sense of depression and sadness over what has happened and over the policies that President (Robert) Mugabe has been talking about,'' she said.
Political violence surrounding June parliamentary elections killed at least 32 people, most of them opposition supporters. Mugabe later declared a blanket amnesty for most of those responsible for the violence.
In February, ruling party militants began farm occupations that eventually affected 1,700 white-owned commercial farms. Mugabe supported the occupations as a legitimate protest against the disproportionate ownership of land in a country where a few thousand whites control much of the fertile farmland.
Mugabe has since pledged to seize 3,000 farms without compensation, divide them up and give them to landless blacks. The courts have repeatedly ruled the farm seizures illegal.
``We would hope very much that the issues of land reform could be dealt with in a way that followed the rule of law,'' Albright said.
She also said she hoped future elections would be free of violence and intimidation.
The Zimbabwe Democracy Act 2000, passed in June by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expresses disapproval of Zimbabwe's land reform proposals and would suspend U.S. aid to Zimbabwe and block international loans until democracy is restored. It hasn't passed the full Congress.
Albright said that while the Clinton administration did not support all aspects of the act, ``it's important for Zimbabwe to get the message that we are concerned about the developments there.''
Albright was in Botswana at the end of a visit to southern Africa.
Karin Junker, vice president of the EU-Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) joint assembly and an elected EU MP from Germany, told the Financial Gazette here that EU member states now firmly believed that Zimbabwe would be better off without Mugabe.
She said EU budgetary aid to Zimbabwe and from other multilateral institutions would remain frozen as long as Mugabe remained in power and persisted with his violent land seizures.
"We are completely fed up with Mugabe. He has stayed long enough in power and we think Zimbabwe would be better off without him," Junker said.
"I was there in Harare during election time when opponents were murdered and opposition party supporters harassed. Mugabe has openly supported lawlessness and illegal seizures of farms. That’s very wrong."
But Presidential spokesman George Charamba said the government would not lose much sleep over Junker’s remarks.
"She has come under a spell of the British anti-land redistribution element. She wants to give the British position a veneer of EU endorsement. Junker has unsuccessfully tried to have sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe in the past," he said in Harare.
"She is part of the conservative side of the EU that wants to equate land redistribution to the quest for democracy. To them democracy should exist to the 4 500 white commercial farmers only and not to landless blacks. We won’t lose sleep over her remarks."
Charamba said the policy of the EU remained that of constructive engagement with the Zimbabwe government and not "destructive disengagement as advocated by Junker".
Junker said it was sad to note that despite numerous exhortations from key donors for Mugabe to restore the rule of law in Zimbabwe, he had remained intransigent.
"The sad thing is that Zimbabweans will have to suffer for the actions of a wayward leader," she said.
Zimbabwe would not get any new budgetary aid under the Cotonou pact because of the government’s persistent trashing of human rights, she noted.
The EU’s aid to Zimbabwe was halted earlier this year over the breakdown of the rule of law in the country. The EU joined the United States and key international donors such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank which cut aid over the economy’s mismanagement and Zimbabwe’s costly involvement in the civil war of the Congo.
The EU has nonetheless continued to fund projects aimed at alleviating poverty, especially in Zimbabwe’s health and education sectors.
Junker spoke to the Financial Gazette after addressing journalists from East Africa, here to attend an information seminar on the content of the new Cotonou Agreement between the EU and ACP group.
The Cotonou accord, signed in Benin in June this year, will govern trade relations between the EU and the ACP for the next 20 years. It is the successor to the Lome Convention which previously governed trade ties between the two regions.
The EU has budgeted 13,5 billion euro (US$15,2 billion) for ACP states under the 9th European Development Fund (EDF), the aid component of the Cotonou trade pact.
Nine billion euro (US$10,1 billion) remained undisbursed from Lome Four’s EDF, bringing the total available in the first seven-year phase of the 20-year agreement to 22,5 billion euro (US$25,3 billion).
Junker said the Cotonou agreement would substantially change trade and aid ties between the EU and the ACP.
The new pact has a specific clause stipulating that individual countries that are seriously corrupt or disregard human rights will be excluded from aid programmes.
Unlike the Lome Convention, the new agreement will strive to create stable democratic conditions in ACP countries by engaging non-state actors in future aid programmes.
The non-state actors will get access to EU funding and be involved in the formulation and implementation of development projects and capacity-building initiatives in their own countries.
Thursday 7 December, 2000
National Report _
But Morgan Tsvangirai said Zimbabweans should work for change and not wait for it to occur, noting that his party is busy consolidating its plans to take over the reins of government in two years’ time.
"As a party, we have over the past weeks come under considerable pressure to re-launch plans for mass action to call for an early presidential election which will usher in a new government," Tsvangirai told the Financial Gazette.
"In some instances, I have been summoned by constituencies which want me to explain why we deferred the initial planned protests," he said.
"I must however hasten to say people should be focused to work for change and not to wait for it. They should not just moan and groan, but work to achieve the goal," he said, brushing aside suggestions that his party had lost the political upperhand.
Two weeks ago the MDC deferred plans to stage mass protests to force President Robert Mugabe out of power. The protests had been due to start last week.
Yesterday Tsvangirai said he was acutely aware that a majority of Zimbabweans were demoralised that change had not come immediately as they had anticipated.
"We are working as a party to consolidate our structures with a mission to take over power by 2002," he said. "If we manage to force an early election, that will be a bonus for us."
The MDC chief, whose party controls 57 of the elected 120 seats in Parliament, said the party’s rank and file membership and leadership were drawing up concrete programmes and policies to sell to the electorate as a government-in-waiting.
Even though the MDC’s governing council unanimously endorsed the decision to defer the mass action, there were some members who came out strongly in support of it.
Tsvangirai said in some instances ordinary people were even threatening to go it alone, but said the MDC’s decision to shelve the mass action was strategic and not an abandonment of the action.
Opposition parties and civic organisations have been urging Mugabe to resign before his term expires in 2002, saying he has failed to govern Zimbabwe, which is grappling with its worst economic crisis in two decades.
Crippling shortages of fuel, power and foreign exchange and accelerated closures of distressed companies have magnified the crisis spawned by the government’s widening spending that has lifted inflation and interest rates to record high levels.
Muted pressure has also been mounting within Mugabe’s ruling ZANU PF party for him to spell out his retirement plans.
Despite this, the leadership of ZANU PF which meets at a special congress in Harare next week is expected to endorse Mugabe as its sole presidential nominee in the projected poll.