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

Business Day

SADC chiefs go easy on Mugabe

Regional leaders hope taking pressure off will help ensure free elections
Senior Political Correspondent

REGIONAL leaders have all but backed off from criticising Zimbabwe's
government in the desperate hope that taking pressure off President Robert
Mugabe will clear the way for him to end internal repression and co-operate
in delivering a free and fair presidential election early next year.

After a period in which President Thabo Mbeki and other Southern African
Development Community (SADC) leaders have become increasingly strident in
their criticism of the Zimbabwean government, SADC ministers backed the
country's land reforms yesterday and opposed threats of sanctions by the

The gentler approach is a departure from the growing international criticism
of Mugabe, and echoes comments by Deputy President Jacob Zuma this week that
government's policy is to "engage the Zimbabweans, and try to find a

A softer approach also seemed evident from US Assistant Secretary of State
for Africa Walter Kansteiner yesterday. In SA after a four-day visit to
Zimbabwe, Kansteiner said that, while time was running out, the US still
held out hope that the Zimbabwean government would "start making the right
moves". If it did, the international community would be receptive.

He offered support for the controversial land reform programme and debt
forgiveness as a way of "encouraging" the government to set in motion an
electoral process that would result in free and fair elections. But he
warned that if nothing changed, the US would proceed with "restrictions" on
the ruling "elite" in terms of the recently passed Zimbabwe Democracy Bill.

A delegation of SADC foreign ministers ended a two-day visit to Zimbabwe
yesterday, with Malawian Foreign Minister Lilian Patel saying they were
"opposed to the imposition of any kind of sanctions on Zimbabwe".

"We have reiterated that the bottom line for Zimbabwe is a just and
equitable land distribution which, however, must be done in a legally sound
and violence-free manner," Patel said.

The ministers welcomed the Zimbabwean government's legislative efforts "to
guard against violence and to ensure transparency" ahead of the March
elections and expressed their concern at the "distorted and negative
perceptions of Zimbabwe projected by the international and regional media".

Their communiqué stood in sharp contrast to recent statements from European,
SA and US officials, who have warned of a breakdown of law in Zimbabwe.

Kansteiner said the restrictions being contemplated by the US would not
include trade sanctions affecting every citizen, but travel restrictions on
the ruling "elite", as well as the freezing of their assets.

The Zimbabwean ruling elite "are the ones with the finger on the trigger",
Kansteiner said. "It's really up to them."

The US would consult potential partners such as the European Union (EU) and
the SADC on how and when the "restrictions" would be implemented.

The biggest concerns were "government-sponsored violence", the refusal to
allow journalists into Zimbabwe and the "arbitrariness" with which the
ruling elite applied the law. With Sapa-AFP

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Ministers Back Zimbabwe Land Plan

Thursday December 13, 2001 1:50 AM

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Government ministers from southern African countries
rallied behind President Robert Mugabe's land reform program Wednesday,
saying redistribution of farms from the white minority to landless blacks
was justified.

A statement issued after a two-day meeting of ministers from the 14-nation
Southern African Development Community said they supported redistribution of
the land to Zimbabwe's largely landless black majority.

White Zimbabweans, who make up half of one percent of the population,
currently own 30 percent of the former British colony's farmland. The
government has listed some 4,500 white-owned farms for nationalization
without compensation.

Mugabe's land distribution program has been marred by government- sanctioned
violence since March 2000, when armed ruling-party militants began seizures
of white-owned farms.

The opposition claims Mugabe is using the farm occupations in a bid to
garner support ahead of presidential elections scheduled for March.

The regional ministers said they supported land reform and were ``gratified
to learn that violence on farms had reduced significantly.''

The statement contradicted a report to the Southern African Development
Community by a group representing Zimbabwe's white farmers, which said law
enforcement had deteriorated in rural areas in recent weeks. The group said
assaults on farm workers, death threats to landowners and work disruptions
had intensified.

While no ruling party militants involved violent farm occupations have been
arrested, the regional ministers said the reported incidents of violence
were being handled fairly by the authorities.

The ministers also rejected American and European calls for possible
sanctions against Zimbabwe and said they welcomed a commitment by the
government to hold free and fair presidential elections.

The ruling party-controlled parliament is scheduled to debate sweeping
revisions tightening security and media laws before the election, and the
government has said it would bar election monitors from ``unfriendly''

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 00:57 GMT
Mugabe seeks re-election
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
Mugabe is confident of victory
By the BBC's Barnaby Philips

Thousands of delegates from Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party are gathering in the resort town of Victoria Falls for their annual conference, which starts on Thursday.

President Robert Mugabe is expected to use the event to launch his campaign for the presidential election in March.

With political tension mounting, Zimbabwe's neighbours are concerned that the situation there should not slip out of control.

Casey Kelso, of Amnesty International, at a news conference in Johannesburg
Amnesty International accuses Mugabe of persecuting opponents
Zimbabwe's big neighbour, South Africa, has most to lose should the crisis deepen in the coming weeks.

Already hundreds of jobless Zimbabweans are trying to cross into South Africa every day, and the dramatic fall in South Africa's currency is partially due to a loss of confidence because of the Zimbabwean upheavals.

Other, smaller neighbours, have similar concerns.

Both Malawi and Mozambique fear that thousands of migrant workers could return home from Zimbabwe if they lose their jobs.

In public, African leaders are reluctant to criticise.

The governments of Angola and Congo - military allies in the Congolese war - will not break ranks with President Mugabe.

It is President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa who has voiced concerns about the possibility of an unfair and illegitimate election.

President Mbeki is trying to build a new relationship between responsible African governments and leading Western powers.

The political violence in Zimbabwe sits awkwardly with his rhetoric of an African renaissance.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Air Zimbabwe loses $1,23m as London flight is grounded

12/13/01 8:19:07 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

THE Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767 flight which was grounded on 3 December in
London due to a technical fault is now serviceable and was expected to
undertake the Paris-Brussels-Kinshasa-Harare route on Tuesday evening.

Moses Mapanda, the acting senior manager public relations, said the plane
was expected in Harare late yesterday afternoon.

Mapanda said there had been some delays in clearing passengers who were
bound for London
and Harare because another aircraft, a Boeing 737, had also been grounded
last Sunday after
it developed a technical fault in Nairobi.

"We discovered that the plane had a technical fault when it returned from
Nairobi and the problem has since been rectified and it will be fulfiling
its domestic and regional flights today," he said.

He said the clearing of passengers leaving either London or Harare would be
back to normal today.

Mapanda said in addition, Air Zimbabwe had also hired a Boeing 727 from
South Africa to fulfil its regional obligations.

Some 100 passengers on Air Zimbabwe flight bound for Harare were on Saturday
evening stranded at Gatwick Airport in London after the plane was diverted
to pick up President Mugabe and his family from Spain.

The parastatal lost about £15 400 (Z$1,23 million) to accommodate the
inconvenienced passengers at Gatwick.

The passengers spent two nights in London.
Zanu PF in bid to hijack Dynamos

12/13/01 7:54:54 AM (GMT +2)

By Tendai Madinah

ZANU PF appears to have hijacked the reins of power at Dynamos Football Club
to try to exploit the team's popularity to boost the party's support among
an increasingly defiant electorate.

Sources say the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) on Wednesday night
restructured Dynamos on the instructions of Zanu PF.

Zifa set up a commercial unit, Dynamos Private Limited, in the club led by
three directors, all from the previous nine-member executive committee.

Cliff McIlwaine, the Zifa chief executive, said the directors were Seth
Chigogora, Dominic Kambeu and Raymond Majongwe.

The executive members are Simon Makaza (chairman), Philip Mugadza
(vice-chairman), Victor Nyaumwe (organising secretary) and Godfrey Japajapa

Some members of the board and the executive said yesterday that Zifa
chairman, Leo Mugabe, showed them letters from the Zanu PF Harare Province
and the war veterans, which ordered that Dynamos must be restructured to
"get the right people at the right place" to help the party win support
ahead of the Presidential poll next March.

They claimed that the letters, which they could not take away, said there
were elements within the Dynamos executive who were advancing the interests
of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

One official said: "This is no longer football, it's now politics. The MDC
commands about 95 percent support in Harare and Zanu PF has a war to fight
in order gain support."

The officials said the subject of Dynamos being used as a vehicle to revive
the waning popularity of Zanu PF was likely to be discussed at the party's
conference which kicks off in Victoria Falls this morning.

Mugabe denied any political motives in the new structures.

He said: "There is no political victimisation here because we have
accommodated everyone. If we did not like Majongwe, we would have just
dropped or banned him. We don't do politics secretly. If we want politics we
go public and join one of the many political parties available."

On the two letters from the war veterans and Zanu PF, Mugabe said:
"Representations or no representations, they have no bearing on Dynamos
because they are not from football people."

Mugabe said Zifa was trying to introduce efficiency and professionalism at

Asked if the executive committee elections which were scheduled for 23
December would still be held, Mugabe said there was no need to rush.

He said if the Dynamos members approved the constitution, the executive
would start working towards holding the elections.

Mugabe said: "We are bringing normalcy to the club. People should not hurry
for the elections when others are not clearly aware of what is happening."

Meanwhile, none of the Dynamos interim executive members besides Rafiq Adam,
who is out of the country, has been dropped in the new structure.

Only Majongwe commented on the developments.

He said he was not happy to be assigned to a "non-existent company".

He said that there was more to the restructuring than the development of

Majongwe said: "I will have another life somewhere. The people who appoint
us will determine our fate, but that must be in the interest of Dynamos.
There are so many things behind this restructuring. The truth of what is
happening will eventually come out."

Recently, prominent Zanu PF members like war veterans' leader Joseph
Chinotimba have tried to associate themselves with Dynamos.

Chinotimba attended a farewell dinner for long-serving Dynamos captain
Memory Mucherahowa upon his retirement at the end of September.

Mucherahowa played for the club for 14 years.
Law Society blames State for increasing lawlessness

12/13/01 8:23:29 AM (GMT +2)

By Collin Chiwanza

THE Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) has lashed out at the government for
condoning lawlessness marked by political violence, extortion and personal
attacks on judges and other legal service providers.

In his annual report for 2001, Sternford Moyo, the LSZ president, said: "It
is with sadness that I have to report that the year 2001 witnessed growing
lawlessness characterised by politically motivated violence, threats of
violence, extortion and the undermining of formal dispute resolution
mechanisms in labour matters."

Moyo attacked what he described as the indirect expropriation by the
government of domestic savings through the mechanism of interest control, a
move he said had seriously affected
domestic savings in general.

He said the government's threats to re-introduce the mandatory carrying of
identity cards was in defiance of a Supreme Court ruling which stated this
was a violation of the Bill of Rights as enshrined in the Constitution of

Describing the plan as an exercise in futility, unless it is accompanied by
a constitutional amendment, Moyo said: "The Supreme Court has already ruled
that this requirement is unconstitutional."

Moyo related how the former Chief Justice, Anthony Gubbay, was "compelled by
sustained abuse, unjustified and defamatory attacks together with threats of
violence" to resign before his time was up.

He noted how Justice James Devittie was also threatened by persons who could
not constitutionally remove him from the Bench.

Moyo said: "In the absence of a public condemnation of the threats, Justice
Devittie resigned."

Moyo noted in his report that the conditions of service for judges remained
unacceptable. He said it was not, therefore, surprising that Justice Esmael
Chatikobo resigned from the High Court to take up a similar judicial
appointment in Botswana.

"Instead of receiving commendation for diligence and commitment to duty
after responding to calls to attend to duty outside normal working hours,
Chatikobo was subjected to unjustified attacks and was, without any
justification, accused of irregular conduct," said Moyo.

Justice Michael Gillespie also resigned this year.

"He made it clear that the conduct of the Executive rendered his continued
service as a judge untenable," said Moyo.

He condemned the attacks on legal service providers country-wide, citing
cases of a Bulawayo lawyer's office which was stormed, and the Deputy
Sheriff for Bulawayo who resigned as a result of disruptions of
Former Zanu PF MP says the government has failed

12/13/01 8:25:27 AM (GMT +2)

From Energy Bara in Masvingo

ALBERT Chamwadoro, the former Zanu PF MP for Chivi North, said yesterday the
government had failed to comply with the Abuja agreement and threatened it
with legal action for taking over his farm for resettlement.

The farm, Lot One of Allanvale Farm near Mashava, was invaded by so-called
war veterans and has now been listed for resettlement.

Chamwadoro said: "The government has completely failed to honour the Abuja
Agreement on the land. It appears some government officials, including
provincial governors, are not aware of government policies and need to be
enlightened. I am a black man and own one farm."

He said if the government continued to personalise the land issue, it risked
losing support. He said: "Violence has been the order of the day on my farm
and the police have folded their arms while crimes are being committed. This
is a direct violation of the Abuja accord."

Chamwadoro said he would seek recourse in the courts to reverse the decision
by the government to take over his farm. He said he felt his farm should not
have been listed
Youths demand return of removed Anglican priest

12/13/01 8:26:48 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

DIFFERENCES between Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, the head of the Anglican Church
in Harare, and his congregation took a dramatic twist on Sunday when a group
of youths stormed into a church service at St Luke's Anglican Church in
Mufakose, driving out worshippers protesting against the removal of their
parish priest, Rev Petros Nyatsanza, by Kunonga.

The five youths, led by two brothers who star in a television drama series,
were allegedly hired by Lawrence Gandiya, a rector imposed on the parish by
Kunonga to replace Nyatsanza.

Gandiya could not be reached for comment yesterday.

A man at his Mufakose home would not say when he would be available. The
man, who refused to be identified, said: "I doubt if he will talk to you
because he is not allowed to talk to the Press."

Eyewitnesses said the youths stormed into the church and ordered the 300
worshippers to stop singing and get out of the church.

They allegedly lifted one end of a long bench and tipped it over, sending
several women tumbling to the floor.

The worshippers bolted out of the church in panic.

Misheck Mutambirwa, a senior parishioner, said trouble started when Gandiya
took to the altar to start the early morning mass and the parishioners
started singing a hymn continuously, in solidarity with colleagues arrested
during clashes at the church last Sunday.

They also sang in protest against Gandiya's appointment.

The hymn is about the advent and the subsequent deliverance of those in

"The congregation was singing continuously and Gandiya took his Bible and
notebooks and stormed out," said Mutambirwa.

Moments later, the youths marched into the church and ordered the service to
stop immediately.

They allegedly smashed two widowpanes and a bench.

Ordinary church members dispersed while Mutambirwa and other senior members
of the church went to report the incident to the police.

When the worshippers returned under police escort, they found the church
doors locked.
The youths allegedly locked a hall used for Sunday school lessons as well.

"We are not happy with the removal of our priest and his replacement with
Gandiya," said Susan Mutero, a senior councillor in the church.

She accused Kunonga of neglecting problems bedevilling the church.

"The bishop was appointed to lead the flock," said Mutero, referring to

"Why doesn't he attend to our problems? We want Reverend Nyatsanza to stay
here. It's not that we worship him but we want him to finish the projects he
was appointed by God to fulfil."

Tabeth Mapeza, the secretary of the mother's union, said the parish would
not accept a priest imposed on them.

Last week the parishioners presented a declaration to Kunonga, through his
secretary, excommunicating themselves from the Harare diocese saying Kunonga
had failed to address their grievances.
Siwela tipped for Zapu's presidency

12/13/01 8:29:04 AM (GMT +2)

From Mduduzi Mathuthu in Bulawayo

PAUL Siwela, the outspoken secretary general of the opposition Zapu, is
expected to ascend to the presidency of the party at its national congress
next Saturday.

Zapu has already indicated that it will field a candidate in the
Presidential election due by 1 April next year.

Siwela is understood to have been plotting to wrest the party presidency
from Agrippa Madlela.

Although he denied such clandestine moves to eclipse Madlela, he did not
hide his ambitions this week.

"If the people want me to be their representative, I will not stand against
their wishes," said

The party, which is largely unknown outside its small political enclaves has
failed to take up a
national outlook.

The party has also failed to field candidates anywhere outside Matabeleland.

When it fielded candidates in the parliamentary election last year and the
Bulawayo municipal elections this year, most of its candidates hardly polled
over 200 votes.

However, Siwela said he believed they stood a realistic chance of winning.

He also attacked supporters of the ruling Zanu PF and the MDC , accusing
them of fanning violence countrywide.
Daily News - Leader Page

A chance for Zanu PF to rethink its choice

12/13/01 7:22:08 AM (GMT +2)

Zanu PF's steady decline in popularity over the years can be attributed
directly to its foolhardy policy of refusing to take cognisance of the
people's wishes.

Consensus has never been among its main operational methods.

Instead, the party has always relied on the dangerous belief that might is
right; that it can always use threats to make people accept its leaders'
wishes and decisions, no matter how unpopular.

The word democracy does not seem to exist in Zanu PF's vocabulary. It
operates much like the military.

As a result, it has grown so arrogant it has lost touch completely with the
mood of the nation - the fears, hopes, desires as well the concerns of the

Nowhere has this arrogance shown itself as clearly as in the party's
selection of candidates either for posts within the party itself or for
elective office at local and national levels.

The sham the party used to call primary elections notwithstanding,
candidates have, without exception, always been imposed from the top as a
fait accompli.

Invariably, the decision of the the top leaders is final.

It is that modus operandi which has resulted in the kind of deep-seated
disenchantment in the party that has been responsible for the ruinous
factionalism in Masvingo rendering Zanu PF all but dead in that province.

It may not be altogether far-fetched to suggest that the imposition of
Stanley Majiri as the party's mayoral candidate in Chegutu may have had some
bearing on Zanu PF's poor showing in last weekend's poll.

We would have expected to see the issue of the party leaders' dictatorial
tendencies featuring high on the agenda of its crucial conference opening
today at Victoria Falls.

Instead, we are told by the party's secretary for publicity and information,
Nathan Shamuyarira, that the launch of Zanu PF's Presidential campaign "will
be one of the highlights of the meeting".

Because Zanu PF has perfected the art of rule by fear, the party's followers
may not be saying it openly, but the issue of imposition of candidates is a
matter of grave concern to them. Thus, before the delegates can even get to
discussing the party's Presidential campaign strategy, its first task ought
to be to revisit their choice of candidate.

For, no matter how much the likes of Shamuyarira and Didymus Mutasa might
want to frighten the rest of the party members into accepting the lie that
President Mugabe is the party's unanimously chosen candidate for next year's
Presidential election, the fact remains that many - perhaps most - Zanu PF
supporters are not happy with his candidature.

And so, too, are the rest of other Zimbabweans who have no interest in
partisan politics but who, nevertheless, are genuinely apprehensive at the
prospect of his re-election for the obvious economic consequences it will
have on the country.

His retention as a Presidential candidate, therefore, spells disaster not
just for Zanu PF, but for the country as a whole.

Apart from his rumoured failing health and his advanced age, which are
obvious minuses in his bid to remain at State House, Mugabe is probably more
unpopular inside Zimbabwe than he has become in the European Union and the
United States, both of which have virtually declared him a persona non

Trying to force him on the people is most likely to cause irreparable damage
to Zanu PF.

The conference affords the party a golden opportunity to get out of the grip
of its ageing leaders' lunacy by courageously pointing out to them the plain
truth that fielding Mugabe as their candidate is to condemn Zanu PF to

Delegates must point out to them what Mozambique's ruling Frelimo leaders
said when President Joaquim Chissano announced this week that he would not
stand for another term in office.

"His (Chissano's) decision is a gesture of great dignity and political
wisdom," the Frelimo leaders said in a statement.

The same would be said about Mugabe if he decides to quit, even at this late
hour. By abstaining he could actually increase his party's chance of winning
the Presidential election.
Daily News - Leader Page

Current constitution legitimises dictatorship

12/13/01 7:22:58 AM (GMT +2)

By Dumisani Nkomo

NEXT year the country faces its most critical election in 21 years. For the
first time in two decades President Mugabe faces his most difficult
political hurdle in the form of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) Presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai.

However, as we face this historic and for some "hysteric" Presidential
election, it is not only necessary, but imperative to define the issues
which will determine the outcome of the vote and issues which will have to
be addressed even beyond the poll.

I propose that there are at least five vital issues which will either
determine the course of the election or which whoever wins the election will
have to address.

These issues are: governance, economy, land, corruption and leadership.

Unfortunately, for the ruling Zanu PF party, they will be judged more by
their track record rather than what they will purport to offer during the

The incoming President and his government face the unenviable task of
proving that they can deliver what the present government has failed to
deliver with painful consistency over the past 21 years.

Tsvangirai and the MDC have the distinct advantage of being the alternative
to 21years of misrule and misgovernance. Like an untried soccer player
warming up on the sidelines, he can claim to be more resourceful than the
current underperforming player with a long history of scoring economic own
goals, rough play and costly defensive "blunders".

It has been argued convincingly by many that the current crisis is one of

Bad governance has manifested itself economically through mass poverty and

Those who contend that the current crisis is of governance, point to the
current government's failure to build structures, institutions and a
political culture conducive to good governance.

The supreme law of the land, the Constitution, is the most vital national
contract between the governed and the governing class. It ensures that the
relationship between the State and the citizenry is mutually beneficial.

However, the current constitution legitimises dictatorship through an
all-powerful Executive Presidency, which exalts the President to the level
of a god before whom "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that he
is 'President' ".

This tragic flaw in the document allows Mugabe to engage in arbitrary
decision-making by engaging in foreign wars, invoking repressive laws and
undermining the independence of the Judiciary.

Formulation of a new constitution is, therefore, a political imperative for
any new government. The current government has already proved that it is not
only unwilling, but also unable to draft a genuinely new constitution.

The fraudulent Constitutional Commission is clear testimony of the
government's unwillingness to facilitate a new constitutional dispensation.

On the other hand, if the MDC's candidate wins the Presidency, Tsvangirai
himself will become a legalised dictator because the current constitution
moulds the incumbent into a despot by virtue of the existing repressive

The current government will be judged on the basis of its track record in
these areas and does not have the privilege of offering the electorate fresh
models of governance.

Zapu on the other hand, while propounding a new and fresh model of
federalism, is likely to emerge as an insignificant factor as it has neither
the national or even regional clout to present a formidable challenge.

The MDC, by virtue of having a vast national following whether active,
passive or protest, should accept the constitution-making agenda as one of
the most primary issues at stake for the Presidential poll and beyond.

With the economy experiencing negative growth and unemployment at 70
percent, economic issues are likely to be a determining factor during the
election. Waning investor confidence as a result of economic misgovernance
has crippled the country's productive sector and indications are that the
country is unlikely to attract foreign direct investment.

Current economic indicators do not augur well for the ruling party which has
been forced to engage in "interventionist economic policies" such as price

Unemployment, inflation and general mass poverty - 75 percent of
households - are factors likely to conspire against Zanu PF. Furthermore,
none of the government's economic policies over the past 21 years seem to
have worked.

Growth with Equity in the 1980s was a flop. The Economic Structural
Adjustment Programme (Esap), which was meant to bring shock therapy to the
economy, brought shock but no therapy.
The Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and Social Transformation (Zimprest)
turned out to be a glorified wish list and the Millennium Recovery Plan
appears to be a confused and confusing policy document founded more on
rhetoric than reality. Having failed to deliver through all these highly
publicised economic policies, Zanu PF and its candidate are unlikely to
receive much sympathy from the electorate.

The MDC, on the other hand, stands to benefit from Zanu PF's economic
failures. Interestingly, the MDC's economic policy document bears a striking
resemblance to the principles of both Esap and Zimprest. The MDC should be
reminded that it is not enough to merely oppose Zanu PF's economic policies,
but they also have to propose viable alternatives.

The current, chaotic fast-track resettlement programme is a cheap political
gimmick meant to win the rural vote. There has to be real empowerment
through an orderly and transparent land programme, which will benefit those
who are needy and able.

Our current leaders have indeed led us out of minority colonial rule, but
have paradoxically led us into black colonial rule.

If the opposition fails to come with sound leaders who will look beyond
personalities, they shall be judged by future generations in the same way
that the present government will be judged by this generation in the
election next year.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Mugabe tries to block Harare municipal poll

By Sydney Masamvu Political Editor
12/13/01 3:43:00 AM (GMT +2)

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe might invoke his presidential powers to postpone the
Harare mayoral and council elections whose date has been set for February 11
by the Supreme Court to well after the crucial March presidential poll,
official sources said this week.

The sources said Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick
Chinamasa was crafting statutory instruments under the Presidential Powers
Act that would be used to amend the Urban Councils Act and postpone the
eagerly awaited mayoral and council elections in the capital.

Harare has been run by a government-appointed commission since 1999 after
the state fired the ZANU PF executive led by businessman Solomon Tawengwa
for mismanagement.

Retired diplomat and former senior civil servant Elijah Chanakira, whose
term is expected to end on December 31 this year, heads the commission that
has since governed the affairs of the city, Zimbabwe’s largest.

The Supreme Court last week ordered the Registrar-General’s Office to hold
mayoral and council elections for Harare on or before February 11 next year.

The ruling was made after an urgent application by the Combined Harare
Residents Association compelling the government to hold the thrice-postponed

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo warned when the Supreme Court ruling was
made that the government would explore other legal options "to ensure that
the right thing is done".

Official sources told the Financial Gazette this week that government legal
experts were already working on a statutory instrument that could be used to
postpone the mayoral and municipal elections until well after the landmark
presidential election in March.

Mugabe faces the stiffest challenge to his iron-fisted 21-year rule from
Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
who also enjoys massive support in almost all of Zimbabwe’s urban centres
including Harare.

Analysts say Mugabe is reluctant to have the Harare mayoral and municipal
elections held before the presidential poll because the MDC would trounce
ZANU PF and the result would adversely affect the morale of his supporters.

Senior governing party officials have also raised concerns about the impact
of the results of the municipal elections, which ZANU PF is likely to lose
heavily, on Mugabe’s presidential campaign that is supposed to gather
momentum at the same time.

ZANU PF has already lost three mayoral elections to the MDC this year in
Masvingo, Bulawayo and recently in Chegutu.

The statutory instrument to be used to postpone the Harare mayoral and
municipal elections is likely to be issued when Parliament resumes on
Tuesday and the amendments would be passed before the House breaks for its
Christmas recess.

"We will be seeing a statutory instrument shortly under the Presidential
Powers Act that will seek the postponement of the Harare mayoral elections
until after the presidential election," an official in the Ministry of
Justice told the Financial Gazette this week.

Chitungwiza municipal elections that are scheduled for next month are also
likely to be postponed under the proposed amendments to the Urban Council

The sources said the government would claim that the postponements were
necessary for the Registrar General’s Office to thoroughly prepare for the
presidential poll.

Chinamasa could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mudenge off to Belgium to avert EU sanctions

By Joseph Ngwawi Business News Editor
12/13/01 3:49:31 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWE has partially succumbed to international pressure and will next
week meet the European Union (EU) in Belgium for talks meant to give
President Robert Mugabe another chance to address concerns about the
political and economic crisis in the southern African country and avert
imminent sanctions.

Francesca Mosca, head of the EU delegation in Harare, yesterday confirmed
that the crucial meeting would take place on December 19 in Brussels.

The Brussels meeting is to be held under Article 96 of the Cotonou agreement
of European countries and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) nations that
allows the EU to demand talks with any signatory deemed to have failed to
respect democratic principles and the rule of law.

Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel will lead the EU team while Foreign
Minister Stan Mudenge is expected to be in charge of the Zimbabwean

"A ministerial meeting on Zimbabwe will be held on 19 December in Brussels
at which issues relating to Zimbabwe will be discussed," Mosca told the
Financial Gazette yesterday.

No comment was available from Mudenge or the government.

The EU invoked Article 96 last month after failing to secure Mugabe’s
cooperation over promises he made at the Abuja land conference in September
to restore law and order and arrest Zimbabwe’s continued slide into anarchy.

The EU, the world’s largest trading bloc, also wanted Mugabe to assent to
international demands for foreign monitors to the crucial presidential
election to be held in March but whose dates have not yet been announced.

Mugabe this week however maintained that he would invite only African and
Asian observers to next year’s poll and not monitors.

He told visiting Nigerian academics that he was even reluctant to invite
"some white men" to observe the election, perhaps except those from
individual friendly EU countries.

Last month he snubbed a team of senior EU officials, led by Michel, that
visited Harare to discuss Zimbabwe’s involvement in the Democratic Republic
of the Congo war and issues of good governance, by storming out of a

Experts said next week’s talks were a last ditch attempt by the EU to give
Mugabe another chance to address issues concerning democratic principles,
the rule of law and the need for a free and fair presidential election next
year, before sanctions can be considered.

The United States is already preparing targeted sanctions at Mugabe and his
close allies after its Congress passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic
Recovery Bill early this month.
Muzenda threatens to stop Chipinge rural electrification programme

Staff Reporter
12/13/01 3:56:08 AM (GMT +2)

MUTARE — Vice President Simon Muzenda has threatened residents in Chipinge
that an electrification programme in the area would not be completed if they
do not vote for the governing ZANU PF party in next March’s crucial
presidential poll.

Muzenda and other ZANU PF officials hijacked the launch of a $7 million
rural electrification scheme in Chipinge South at the weekend to try and woo
voters ahead of next March’s landmark presidential election.

The launch, part of a $24 billion Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(ZESA) fast-track rural electrification programme, was attended last
Saturday by Muzenda, Mines and Energy Minister Edward Chindori-Chininga,
ZESA chairman Sydney Gata, and other senior party officials.

Muzenda, who was acting President while President Robert Mugabe was in
Spain, told the residents of Chipinge South that the completion of the
electrification scheme would hinge on ZANU PF’s return to power next year.

"If we go out of power, if the government changes, all this electricity will
go too," Muzenda said, accusing Chipinge South of "failing to choose" by
voting for an opposition ZANU Ndonga Member of Parliament in last year’s
general elections.

ZANU PF failed to win a seat in the area last year, with Chipinge North
voting for the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Muzenda told residents: "Some of you are trying to sell the country. Even if
you are against Mugabe or Muzenda, ask yourselves if you want to sell your
country to people who have shown that they do not care about you. I’m told
people in Chipinge are educated but I don’t know how you choose your MPs."

ZESA chairman Gata, who is also ZANU PF Manicaland provincial secretary for
production and economic affairs, said ZESA had made use of ruling party
structures to bring electricity to "opposition areas" like Chipinge and

Chipinge South representative Wilson Kumbula of ZANU Ndonga and MDC
spokesman Learnmore Jongwe both castigated ZANU PF officials over their

Kumbula said: "Does Muzenda expect opposition parties to electrify rural
areas? That is the government’s job and they should have done it a long time

Jongwe added: "It is clear that ZANU PF is leaving no stone unturned in its
attempt to mislead the electorate. However, the people of this country are
not foolish and they know who and what to vote for."

Mugabe quietly tightens grip on power

By Abel Mutsakani Assistant News Editor
12/13/01 4:13:48 AM (GMT +2)

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is quietly tightening his grip on Zimbabwe through
new and despotic laws which analysts this week said were calculated to
cripple the opposition, silence the Press and prolong his 21-year
iron-fisted rule.

Mugabe’s multi-pronged strategy to silence dissension that includes night
raids on opponents, mysterious abductions and killings of political foes
blamed on state secret agents, has induced fear among citizens while
thrusting Zimbabwe into "a new kind of fascism", the analysts said.

Tarcey Zimbiti, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) acting
director, said four new bills Mugabe’s ruling ZANU PF party expected to
bulldoze through Parliament would put the country under an undeclared
martial rule ahead of the critical presidential poll next March.

"It is just a way of putting the country under an unofficial emergency rule
ahead of the presidential election," Zimbiti said.

Brian Raftopoulos, University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Institute of Development
Studies political analyst, said the harassment and killings of political
opponents, blamed by the government on the opposition but which many
Zimbabweans say are the work of state security agents, were meant to
intimidate Zimbabweans ahead of the presidential ballot.

"It is meant to create the impression that the government is watching its
opponents and that it is aware of every move they make. In fact, this
represents a movement towards some kind of new fascism," Raftopoulos said.

Mugabe, one of Africa’s longest serving rulers, faces Morgan Tsvangirai in a
presidential election that analysts say he could easily lose if it is free
and fair.

The Press will however not be able to report on and ensure the plebiscite is
transparent if a new proposed Bill, ironically dubbed the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Bill, is passed into law.

Once enacted, as is widely expected, this new media law would virtually
cripple Zimbabwe’s small but vibrant independent Press that has exposed
Mugabe’s government’s abuse of power, its widespread disregard of the rule
of law and gross human rights violations.

In fact, many of the robust privately-owned weekly newspapers such as the
Financial Gazette and the only independent daily paper — the Daily News —
might be refused registration and forced to close down under the new law.

Under this new legislation, penned on the lines of harsh Press laws common
in Communist bloc countries during the Cold War, journalists could be thrown
into jail for up to two years for writing about public bodies such as
deliberations of the Cabinet, municipalities and rural councils.

The new law also wants to impose a total blackout on news from Zimbabwe with
foreign news organisations only allowed into the country on permission from
Mugabe’s hawkish Information Minister Jonathan Moyo while generally, only
Zimbabwean citizens would be allowed to report on local events.

Moyo has in the past expelled foreign journalists he accuses of spreading
false reports about the government to tarnish Zimbabwe’s image.

A media commission, hand-picked by Moyo, would be accorded widespread powers
to administer and charge hefty fines from erring journalists and their

Tawanda Hondora, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, this
week said the proposed new law already violates Zimbabwe’s Constitution.

"For example, not only journalists but even ratepayers may not be able to
access information about a local government authority and there is no
justification for that," Hondora said.

The Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe (IJAZ), most of whose
members will be under the spotlight of the new law, says it intends to
challenge it in court once the Bill is enacted into law.

IJAZ vice-president Vincent Kahiya this week said his organisation had
already presented its objections to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Transport and Communications.

"But we are well aware this Bill is part of ZANU PF’s political survival
strategy and therefore the ruling party will ensure its passage and we are
ready to challenge it in court as soon as Mugabe signs it into law," said

Zimbabwe Union of Journalists president Matthew Takaona said while there was
need for some regulation of the media, his union strongly felt that some of
the provisions in the Bill "need to be looked at again".

Said Takaona: "We also believe that there are some issues that have been
included in the Bill but which should actually be put in a media code of
ethics and not an Act of Parliament."

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe) said it was
organising demonstrations against the proposed new law and was also
considering a legal challenge against it.

"This Bill effectively blocks all points of access to information. Basically
journalists will have nothing to write about under this Bill," said
MISA-Zimbabwe director Sarah Chiumbu.

However, UZ constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku said the only
solution left for Zimbabweans was a popular mass resistance to the various
other laws being crafted by the government to silence all alternative

"There is not much you can gain from legal challenges given that the
government has already shown it will not obey court rulings that do not fit
into its programme," said Madhuku, who is also chairman of the National
Constitutional Assembly, a coalition of civic bodies and opposition parties
campaigning for a new constitution.

Another newly proposed electoral law wants to bar Zimbabweans living outside
the country from voting in next year’s crucial presidential poll.

The new law says only Zimbabweans, or residents of Zimbabwe, that have lived
in their constituencies for the whole year are entitled to vote thereby
disqualifying more than three million potential voters in countries such as
South Africa.

Other measures to disenfranchise voters that have recently been announced
include the barring of civic organisations from providing voter education
services and even monitoring next year’s election.

The new Public Order and Security Bill is another cocktail of legal
instruments that analysts say will further curtail the most basic freedoms
for Zimbabweans and effectively guarantee no real opposition to Mugabe and
his government.
White farms’ seizure set to slash GDP by $62b

12/13/01 2:36:52 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWE’S Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will fall by $62 billion to $426
billion if the government presses ahead with its seizure of 90 percent of
white-owned commercial farms, it was learnt this week.

A Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) ministerial team, which
arrived in the country this week to audit Zimbabwe’s land reform programme,
heard from white commercial farmers that the destabilisation of the sector
would also have an impact on the SADC region.

Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) acting president Doug Taylor-Freeme told the
ministers that Zimbabwe’s food security was at risk.

"(The) total value of commercial farm production equals $69 billion (14
percent of GDP) (and) if 90 percent of farmers stop farming, the loss is
equal to $62 billion (12.70 percent of GDP)," Taylor-Freeme said.

Zimbabwe’s annual total GDP is $488 billion.

The CFU official said if the government acquired 90 percent of the country’s
commercial farms as it intended to do, Zimbabwe could lose US$$689 million
($37.89 billion) worth of exports.

Zimbabwe is this year expected to generate US$2 billion from exports, US$765
million of it from the commercial farming sector.

Taylor-Freeme said although the government had made a commitment at Abuja in
September to engage in dialogue with commercial farms and to halt violence
and fresh invasions, the situation on the ground did not reflect this.

"We as major stakeholders have not been consulted on any of the recent
issues including new legislation and price controls that government has
forced upon the commercial agricultural sector," said Taylor-Freeme.

"In another disturbing development, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and
Rural Resettlement is allocating farms to applicants under the commercial
resettlement A2 scheme frequently prior to their acquisition by even a
Section 8 order. The recipients of land under the A2 scheme include the
commissioner of police, other senior ranking police and defence forces
personnel, ministers, members of parliament, senior civil servants and
ruling party officials."

Section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act allows the government to give farmers
90 days notice to cease farming and vacate their properties and is also
expected to have disastrous consequences for the economy. — Staff Reporter

Riot police or anti-riot police?

12/13/01 3:56:23 AM (GMT +2)

Richburg’s description of "shiny boots" for soldiers reminds me of the
fiasco I witnessed in Norton a few months ago. It also reminds me of the
"famous" "black boots" in this country, a term commonly used to refer to
Zimbabwe’s ruthless police support unit.

In Norton, the clash between supporters of the ruling ZANU PF and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change was the most unfortunate and
regrettable incident I have seen in the history of the politics of this

Unfortunate in the sense that many people were maimed in the clashes and
some houses were burnt down in the name of "supporting" political parties.

The most painful part is that those who throw stones at one another and burn
and destroy each other’s humble belongings benefit absolutely nothing from
their misguided acts except for getting wounds, scars, bandages, clutches
and even graves.

It boggles the mind when poor Zimbabweans who have been impoverished to the
marrow still allow themselves to be used — I regret using this phrase — as
political "condoms" to be easily discarded shortly afterwards.

It is a pity that ordinary, poor and at times unemployed "youths" are at the
forefront of resorting to insanity and fighting to put the "Big Men" into
power. And it is shameful that the latter forget the youths soon after
achieving their goal.

Even Richburg pointed out that in Africa today, ‘"blacks are still waiting
to be empowered three decades after the last Europeans packed up and went
home . . . power simply passed from a white colonial dictator to an
indigenous black one and the result has been more repression, more

The supporters of the ruling party and the opposition party in Norton, both
of whom are still waiting to be economically empowered, must have realised
soon afterwards that Zimbabwe is a tragic country of repression and

The subsequent deployment of brutal troops in Norton to quench the violence
was the most paradoxical method of restoring peace I have ever witnessed.

It was reminiscent of the Korean-trained Fifth Brigade’s reaction to the
so-called dissident insurgency in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces in
the 1980s when the brigade wreaked more havoc than that it ostensibly sought
to end.

I was more than convinced after the Norton incident that we might be
heading, especially in the face of the impending presidential election,
towards the Somali scenario when Siad Barre would bomb Somali citizens in
the name of restoring peace.

Zimbabwe troops, with its "shiny boots" and latest weapons as if they were
on an arduous mission to subdue heavily armed rebels, perpetrated
unprecedented acts of terror on the people of Norton.

Besides imposing a curfew — in a typical Ian Smith regime style — in the
town that compelled everyone to be indoors by 6 pm sharp, the soldiers, who
I suspect outnumbered the residents of Norton, randomly thrashed and
tortured people with devilish ruthlessness.

Even though the town was almost calm by the time the army was deployed, the
soldiers were determined to "teach" the people of Norton a lesson and some
soldiers openly quoted one of the late System Tazvida’s lyrics that "ndiwe
wakazvikanyira wega" (you messed up your own life) in apparent reference to
the sparking of violence which the soldiers were sustaining and blowing up
to cataclysmic proportions.

Although Paulo Freire points out in The Pedagogues of the Oppressed out that
"violence is initiated by those who oppress, who exploit and who fail to
recognise others as people", my first-hand exposure to violence in Norton
made me slightly differ with him.

Precisely, it might be said that it is the oppressed, the exploited and the
unrecognised who are still awaiting economic empowerment, who initiate
violence for political gains they never receive.

Those who oppress often sustain and exacerbate violence using "minimum"
force whose threshold is vaguely explained and the Norton fiasco to me
became a living testimony of repression at work in this country. It posed a
challenge to me as to whether this country needs a riot police or an
anti-riot police.

In his speech on August 28 1963, the legendary Martin Luther King Junior
stressed the necessity for non-violence in these words:

"But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm
threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining
our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek
to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and

Yes, belonging to different political parties should not be a reason for us
to hate each other, maim one another and, worse still, kill one another but
let only the ballot be the rendezvous.

Otherwise the "law enforcement" agents will tell us "ndiwe wakazvikanyira
wega" and we will be the ultimate losers.

Canisio Mudzimu is a freelance writer. He can be contacted on e-mail address
US pledges $1.4b for Zim’s land reforms

Staff Reporter
12/13/01 2:34:53 AM (GMT +2)

THE United States government has pledged US$26 million ($1.4 billion) for
Zimbabwe’s land reforms and to bolster the southern African country’s
democratic institutions if the Harare authorities meet conditions set in the
Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill.

According to the Bill, passed by the US Senate last week and now awaiting
President George W. Bush’s signature to become law, Washington is willing to
extend financial assistance to the tune of $20 million ($1.1 billion) for
Zimbabwe’s land redistribution exercise as well as another US$6 million to
support economic reforms and democratic transition.

"Of the funds authorised to be appropriated to carry out part one and
chapter four of part two of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, for fiscal
year 2002, US$20 million is authorised to be available to provide the
assistance described in subsection (5)(2) and US$6 million is authorised to
be available to provide the assistance described in subsection (a)(3)," the
Bill said.

The Zimbabwe govern-ment has in the past year compulsorily acquired land
from white farmers under a controversial plan that has seen the country
isolated from the rest of the world.

More than 4 000 farms have been designated since the ruling ZANU PF party
embarked on a fast-track programme to grab land from whites, whom it accuses
of siding with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and of
spearheading the defeat in February 2000 of its bid to change the

The Bush administration says it will review of the feasibility of
restructuring, rescheduling or eliminating the sovereign debt of Zimbabwe
held by any agency of the US government and in assisting the country in
getting debt relief, according to the Bill.

The Bill, a carrot and stick legislation, urges Bush to consult with
European countries, Canada and other nations on possible action against
President Robert Mugabe and others accused of being behind the violence that
has engulfed Zimbabwe since last year.

Mugabe’s government has also been accused of human rights abuses, political
repression and corruption.

Analysts said Mugabe has no choice but to satisfy the conditions set by the
Bill in order to access the financial assistance.

"It means that he has to take steps towards improving democratic
institutions by stopping the violation of other people’s rights, restoring
the rule of law and embarking on an orderly and transparent land reform,"
said consultant economist John Robertson.

The amount pledged by the Americans, which is however about 10 percent of
what the Zimbabwe government has budgeted to spend on farm acquisitions
under the second phase of its controversial land reform programme, is
expected to open doors for similar assistance from other international

The Harare authorities have said they would spend about US$184 million on
farm acquisitions during the second phase of the reforms out of a budgeted
total expenditure of US$1.9 billion.

More than US$932 million would be spent on the provision of infrastructure
such as roads, boreholes, schools, clinics and dipping facilities for
livestock while about US$26 million would be required for farmer assistance.
Another US$177 million is needed for credit support to the resettled
Govt holds on to US$9m for tobacco growers’ inputs

Staff Reporter
12/13/01 2:30:36 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWE’S tobacco growers are frantically trying to secure US$9 million
($495 million), which is part of US$25 million ($1.375 billion) that was
supposed to be made available to them by the govern-ment to import inputs
for next year’s crop.

The growers, who have already planted next year’s crop, said there was no
explanation from the government on whether the money was still to be
disbursed by the end of the tobacco selling season on October 26.

The government in August agreed to allocate 25 percent of the foreign
currency generated from tobacco sales to the growers to help them import
crop inputs for the current planting season.

The move followed complaints by growers that they were buying inputs at high
parallel market rates while selling the crop at the official market rate of
$55 to the US dollar, culminating in massive losses.

"Farmers have received US$16 million ($880 million) but since the end of the
selling season, we have not received anything," a senior Zimbabwe Tobacco
Association (ZTA) official said this week.

"We have approached the government to try and secure the remaining US$9
million but they keep promising us that the money will come and yet farmers
are two months into the new season."

It was not possible to get comment from ZTA president Kobus Joubert whose
mobile phone was unreachable.

Tobacco growers plant in September and harvest in March with auction sales
starting from April.

The government this year struck a deal with foreign financiers who provided
US$381 million for tobacco merchants to buy the local leaf from the farmers.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was in September this year said to be
investigating the disappearance of US$256 million meant for the pre-shipment
of tobacco and input support for growers.

It was not clear this week how much of the hard cash provided by the foreign
dealers had been used to buy tobacco at the end of the selling season in

Some growers said they feared that they might fail to access the money and
that this could affect current production.

A ZTA newsletter released this week showed Zimbabwe’s projected tobacco
output for next year falling to 160 million kg from the 201 million kg sold
on auction floors this year.

The tobacco industry has been thrown into turmoil following the government’s
seizure of white-owned commercial farms to resettle landless blacks.

President Robert Mugabe says it is immoral for 4 000 white commercial
farmers to own more than 70 percent of the country’s arable land.

The ZTA, which has about 1 400 large-scale growers who produce 90 percent of
the tobacco crop, said up to 40 of its members — mainly in Mashonaland East
province — had failed to plant because of violence and intimidation by farm

The association said about 500 of its members faced constant harassment and
work disruptions from gangs of government supporters.
ZANU PF seen urging more violence

By Njabulo Ncube Bulawayo Bureau Chief
12/13/01 4:09:34 AM (GMT +2)

BULAWAYO — While past ZANU PF annual conferences have been high-sounding
gatherings, analysts fear an embattled President Robert Mugabe could use
this year’s, which kicks off today in Victoria Falls, to stir his supporters
to more violence ahead of next year’s landmark presidential election.

Analysts say with the ruling party having failed to woo voters using various
campaign gimmicks, the four-day congress could endorse the stepping up of
violence to cow the populace into abandoning the main opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), which enjoys huge support in urban areas and in
provinces such as Matabeleland.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC, will square off against Mugabe in
the presidential election and is expected to offer the stiffest challenge
the ZANU PF president has faced since he took power 21 years ago.

Measures taken by ZANU PF to woo back voters include an economically
disastrous land redistribution campaign that has seen land, including
commercial farms, being wrested away from white farmers and allocated to
landless black peasants and ruling party supporters.

The ruling party has also attempted to garner support by blaming the murders
of Bulawayo war veterans leader Cain Nkala and ZANU PF Matabeleland activist
Limukani Lupahla on the MDC, which Mugabe has labelled puppets of British
Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The analysts said against these failures and in the face of increasingly
sour relations with the international community, Mugabe could use the ZANU
PF conference — expected to attract about 7 000 supporters — to preach
increased violence against the party’s perceived enemies.

The analysts said Mugabe, who surprised members of his inner circle by
opting to stand in the presidential poll despite his advanced age, feared
strongly losing a free and fair election to Tsvangirai.

Bekithemba Sibindi, leader of the leftist Matabeleland-based Imbovane
Yamahlabezulu, said: "In the past, we used to ignore these conferences as
just occasions for wining and dining by ZANU PF people. But this one in
Victoria Falls, coming after the ruling party has lost in all the contested
municipal elections and a few months before the presidential polls, is a
different pot altogether."

Sibindi added: "That is where the true colours of the ruling party will be
seen in the face of a fierce challenger to Mugabe.

"Mugabe is a wounded lion and we should all brace for a bloody Christmas and
New Year. The war veterans will be given new orders at the conference and
they are known to follow instructions up to the last detail. It would be
naïve for us to assume that the conference will advocate free and fair

Daniel Molokela, a human rights lawyer and activist, said: "Normally, the
annual event is a non-event but this year it is occurring when ZANU PF is at
its most disjointed state on the eve of a win or break presidential poll. I
expect radical statements from the conference and the use of more violence
against political opponents cannot be ruled out."

Molokela said the squabbles in Masvingo and sharp differences within the
ZANU PF leadership in Matabeleland and the war veterans did not augur well
for the ruling party as it strategises to save Mugabe from political
oblivion in next year’s polls.

"The problems within the party itself will make the conference difficult,"
Molokela told the Financial Gazette. "Instead of concentrating on the
campaign, they will also be forced to deal with the Masvingo issue, among
other things."

Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, the ruling party’s acting political commissar, said apart
from discussing the presidential campaign, the conference would discuss
empowering the black majority in Zimbabwe by giving it land and would also
unveil the governing party’s election strategy.

"We have been working on this (campaign) for some time and we are confident
of winning the presidential polls,’ he said. "I cannot disclose to you what
is contained in our campaign document."

Sibindi said the conference in Victoria Falls was also very important to
Mugabe because of the threat of Tsvangirai.

"Mugabe will demonise the opposition at the conference again so as to fire
up his supporters to engage in more violence. The loss in Chegutu has also
not helped matters and this means he will be in a bad mood in Victoria
Falls," Sibindi noted.

Molokela also predicted a bloodbath that would be instigated by the
self-styled war veterans.

"When the war veterans come out of the conference, they will be very
agitated by Mugabe’s radical speeches. The stage will be set for the
continuation of an orgy of violence. The problem now is that it will not be
confined to rural areas. It will start at the Falls and spread to other
areas of the country," he observed.
First 24-hour shopping mall opens soon

Staff Reporter
12/13/01 3:05:38 AM (GMT +2)

EL NOUR United Engineering Group, an international property development
firm, this week said it would shortly open a 24-hour shopping mall in
central Harare, the first of its kind in southern Africa.

The group’s spokesman, Taurai Mamvura, told the Financial Gazette that the
multi-million-dollar Asian-style complex would be named the New Market
Square and would comprise nearly 300 shops.

Development of the mall is at an advanced stage and should be complete by
mid next year.

"What we are developing here is a special shopping mall, the type that is
found in countries like China, Korea and some North African countries,"
Mamvura told the Financial Gazette when it visited the construction site
this week, where work has been underway for the past two years.

Harare’s four main roads, that is, Chinhoyi, Mbuya Nehanda, Bank and Bute
roads, where the capital city’s now defunct old Market Square was situated,
border the site.

The uniquely designed two-storey shopping complex, which has four main
entrances, will have more than 50 large shops and about 50 medium size

It will also have hundreds of shops small enough to accommodate informal
operators who currently operate in open flea markets. The smallest shops are
about two square metres in size.

"We designed this shopping complex to cater for all traders, from
supermarket operators right to the small traders running flea markets, and
it would operate for 24 hours," Mamvura said.

He said leasing of space at the complex would begin early next year and the
project developers had already received inquiries from potential tenants.

"We have started receiving applications but we have not started allocating
space as yet," Mamvura said. "The whole project is expected to be complete
by mid next year, but the first phase may be opened earlier than that."

The shopping mall will also boast a car park and the old Market Square
building will be converted to a recreational facility.

El Nour is involved in similar projects in two West African countries,
Guinea and Ivory Coast.

FinGaz - Comment

A shameful act by neighbours

12/13/01 3:36:10 AM (GMT +2)

THE Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) must be ashamed to have
been used and abused by President Robert Mugabe again this week in his
desperate but losing battle to cling to power at any cost and forestall
inevitable international action against his tyranny of 21 years.

The foreign ministers of the SADC were hurriedly hauled to Harare to lend
credibility to Mugabe’s fight against international sanctions which target
only himself and his cronies — and not Zimbabweans — and his violent land
grab which has already left a once prosperous nation grappling with dire
food shortages.

No doubt, Zimbabweans will be most disheartened that their neighbours have
once again failed to identify the root cause of Zimbabwe’s growing pains and
chaos: Mugabe’s insatiable appetite for power and his increasing use of
extraordinary measures to achieve this goal.

Many international missions have already been to Harare this year, but not
even one has dealt with Mugabe’s naked abuse of power and his utter contempt
for internationally accepted norms of good governance.

The Commonwealth was in Zimbabwe only recently, so was a high-ranking SADC
heads of state team which in September gave Mugabe up to a month to restore
law and order and begin serious talks with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) to lower the dangerously rising political
temperature in the country.

Then and now, what is clear is that Mugabe is just wasting everyone’s time
because he is only interested in giving an impression that there are some
within the region and the international fold who support his tyranny.

Mugabe, now facing personal sanctions from Washington which might be
emulated by the 15-nation European Union, knows full well that many missions
to Harare allow him to hoodwink the international community that something
is being done to resolve a crisis which only himself and his government have
created and nurtured.

More ominously for Zimbabweans and the international community, Mugabe is
daily taking every possible step to try to steal the coming presidential
election which even he himself knows he will lose with a wide margin if it
is anything free and fair.

The international missions which Mugabe has invited to Harare have merely
bought him more time to violate the Abuja land agreement, which was signed
with so much fanfare in September, and to proceed unhindered with his land

While everyone dithers on Zimbabwe’s crisis and the SADC unashamedly lends
its weight to unprecedented repression of humankind this century, Mugabe
himself has not wasted time: he has drafted more repressive laws to crush
dissenting voices and to clear the way for the staging of a fraud in the
name of a presidential ballot.

Only this month, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo unveiled one of the most
fascist pieces of legislation ever drafted by any nation.

The so-called Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill virtually
outlaws news organisations which do not toe the official line while
protecting Mugabe and his fat cats from the little media scrutiny that has
made them so nervous.

This draconian law wants to stop ordinary people from even inspecting how
corrupt municipalities and rural councils misuse taxpayers’ money.

The iniquitous Bill is not the only one. Hot on its heels is yet another
nefarious piece of legislation, the Public Order and Security Bill (POSB).

The POSB, under which Mugabe could outlaw the opposition, intends to jail
Zimbabweans for publishing or making statements which attack Mugabe and his
actions and wants to impose the death sentence on those accused of
sponsoring so-called terrorism.

And yet this week’s events near Mugabe’s home in Chegutu — the trouncing of
his governing ZANU PF party by the MDC in municipal polls there — mirror the
stoic resilience and heroism of Zimbabweans who have braved the Old Man’s
use of intimidation, repressive laws and violence for political ends.

The MDC’s victory in Chegutu, which follows other poll wins by the
opposition in Bulawayo and Masvingo this year, has only one clear message
for Mugabe: the time to go is NOW, otherwise you will face a sea of voters’
anger come next year.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Unanimous Senate Votes to Sanction Mugabe

December 12, 2001
Posted to the web December 12, 2001

Charles Cobb Jr.
Washington, DC

By a unanimous vote, Tuesday night, the Senate passed the "Zimbabwe
Democracy and Economic Act of 2001." Last week, the bill passed the House of
Representatives, also by unanimous consent.

In retaliation for "the deliberate breakdown of the rule of law." the
legislation imposes punitive "personal" sanctions - including travel
restrictions to the United States - on President Robert Mugabe, his cabinet
ministers, other government officials and members of their immediate
families Such sanctions are extremely rare and have been historically
reserved for war-criminals and dictators.

The bill halts bilateral trade between Zimbabwe and the United States and
bars the U.S. government from dealing with the Zimbabwe government.

The legislation also doubles funding for "democracy programs" in Zimbabwe
and calls for U.S. support for election observers to the parliamentary and
presidential elections scheduled for March 2002.

Once the U.S. President and Congress believe that democracy and the rule of
law have been restored, suspended assistance would restart and an initial
US$20m would be allocated for alternative land reform programs.

Though critical of Mugabe's policies, ministers of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) who were in Zimbabwe's capital city, Harare on
Monday to evaluate the country's land program, backed away from supporting
the Congressional action, which was then pending. "Sanctions would cause
untold suffering to scores of Zimbabweans and others in the region," said
Malawi's Foreign Minister, Lillian Patel.

Zimbabwe's collapsing economy has already threatened the health of its
neighbors' economies. "There can be no sanctions smart enough to affect
Zimbabweans alone. Our destinies are intertwined," Zimbabwe Foreign Minister
Stan Mudenge told his SADC counterparts.

The bill will now be sent to President Bush for signing. "Now that Congress
has given the bill its overwhelming support. I fully expect the President to
move quickly to make it law," said Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), ranking member
of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zimbabwe's man in South Africa blasts media

JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 13 — Zimbabwe's high commissioner to South Africa added
his voice to his government's criticism of the media, accusing journalists
on Thursday of ''nauseating'' bias in their reporting on the troubled
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is preparing to put forward a bill
threatening jail for journalists who violate new regulations and banning
foreigners working as correspondents in Zimbabwe, set to hold a presidential
election in March.
High Commissioner Simon Khaya Moyo criticised South African public
television and print media for failing to give sufficient or balanced
coverage to parliamentary by-election victories by Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF
party and a Supreme Court verdict that the government's land reform policies
were constitutional.
''The media's bias is nauseating...This misguided propaganda is not
good for the profession of journalism,'' Moyo said in a letter printed by
The Citizen newspaper.
News organisations have strongly criticised the proposed bill,
arguing it is a government attempt to prevent independent reporting of the
election and the land reform programme, marred by the violent seizure of
white-owned farms.
A U.S. official urged the Zimbabwean government on Wednesday to
ensure conditions were in place for next year's fair elections or risk U.S.
sanctions aimed at the ruling elite.
Moyo said the media in neighbouring South Africa were deliberately
overlooking gains by ZANU-PF at the ballot box.
''The South African media, both print and electronic, were obviously
not amused, hence there was very little, or no coverage, on these important
national events,'' Moyo said.
He singled out the South African Broadcasting Corp (SABC) for telling
a ''naked lie'' over what was Mugabe's hometown.
An SABC spokesman was not immediately available to comment.
Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980,
faces his strongest political challenge in the March poll from the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Critics say Mugabe has chosen a biased state body to run the
elections, barred millions abroad from voting and allowed his militant
supporters to run a violent campaign against the opposition for over a year.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Mugabe rallies fans to fight MDC

Harare - President Robert Mugabe opened a two-day meeting of his ruling
party on Thursday, vowing to crush political opponents he accused of
violence and terrorism.

In a rallying call to his party's central committee ahead of crucial
presidential elections in March, Mugabe alleged the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change was to blame for political violence that has convulsed the

"Violence is not just happening, it in fact has been deliberately hatched at
the centre of the MDC and by its patrons and principals overseas ... This is
a real physical fight and we have to prepare for it," he said.

He said the opposition posed "a real terrorist threat which we will not
allow to continue unchecked".

According to the independent Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum, comprised of 10
church and rights groups, 41 people have died this year in politically
related violence, six of them killed in November.

The forum said 31 of the dead were opposition supporters. At least 36 people
died in political violence last year that erupted after ruling party
militants began illegally occupying white-owned farms in March.

Zanu-PF blamed for killings

Human rights groups blamed ruling party militants for most of those killings
surrounding parliamentary elections in June 2000 that the ruling party
narrowly won.

Mugabe, however, told leaders of his Zimbabwe African National Union
Patriotic Front party meeting the northwestern resort of Victoria Falls the
opposition "and its shameless supporters have chosen a path of violence and
terrorism in order to win votes".

He accused Britain, the former colonial ruler, of masterminding an
international campaign to discredit his party over its seizures of farms
owned by the descendants of colonial era British settlers.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair "fabricated a lie" that Zimbabwe was
lawless and devoid of democracy and human rights, Mugabe said.

"Blair was a troublesome and difficult little boy. He is still that. We are
dealing with liars, crooks and intellectual frauds," he said in an address
broadcast on state television from Victoria Falls.

In its November report, the human rights forum said attacks on black farm
workers on seized white-owned farms were continuing. This year at least 70
000 farm workers were displaced and many others were beaten or tortured or
lost their homes in arson attacks.

Police fail to react

In many cases, police failed to react satisfactorily to violations affecting
farm workers and opposition supporters and few ruling party perpetrators
were punished, it said.

The government has listed some 4 500 properties - about 95 percent of
farmland owned by whites - for nationalisation without compensation. Last
month it warned about 800 farmers they had three months to vacate their

Mugabe said the wresting of farms from "illicit hands of settler whites" for
handing over to landless blacks was seen as "an unforgivable crime in the
white man's book."

"We must show our detractors we are the people's party and we are putting an
end once and for all to violence that has been unleashed by the MDC and its
white masters," Mugabe told party leaders. - Sapa-AP
Back to the Top
Back to Index


S.Africa opposition leader sees Zimbabwe civil war

CAPE TOWN, Dec. 13 — Civil war is a real threat in Zimbabwe if South Africa
and its peers fail to persuade President Robert Mugabe to return to
democracy and the rule of law, South African opposition leader Tony Leon
said on Thursday.
Leon said regional heavyweight South Africa was feeling the effects of the
crisis in Zimbabwe, where Mugabe has sanctioned the sometimes violent
seizure of land from white farmers and has ignored the intimidation of
political foes by his ruling ZANU-PF.
The leader of the Democratic Alliance, which is the official
opposition in parliament, said refugees were streaming into South Africa and
he anticipated the flow would accelerate as Zimbabwe's recession deepened.
''Civil war is a possibility in Zimbabwe...if there is no economic
recovery, no miraculous restoration of grain production, no restoration of
civil liberties, no acceptance of a minimum democratic culture and a
continuation of the reign of terror,'' Leon told Reuters in an interview.
Leon said foreign investors did not, as South African President Thabo
Mbeki has suggested, confuse South Africa with Zimbabwe, but that they
looked to South Africa for action against the anarchy in Zimbabwe.
''If you continue to do nothing, then your silence becomes consent,''
he said.
Zimbabwe, once one of the most successful democracies in Africa,
faces severe food shortages, rising unemployment, inflation close to 100
percent and a critical lack of foreign exchange. Most international funders
have suspended aid.

Leon said Mugabe, 77 and in power since the independence of the
former Rhodesia in 1980, was likely to win the presidential election
scheduled for March.
''If it carries on like this, I don't think that even remotely the
conditions for a free and fair election will exist,'' he said, accusing
Mugabe of terrorising rural voters and trying to disenfranchise groups most
likely to oppose him.
''He will very possibly win a rigged poll. Because the cost of
victory is going to be so high in terms of civil dissent, economic
ruination, mass starvation and with Mugabe back in charge, it has to lead to
some sort of civil war.''
Leon criticised Mbeki's measured response to the Zimbabwe crisis,
saying it was a significant deterrent to foreign investment in South Africa.
Mbeki has insisted he cannot influence Mugabe through what he has
called ''megaphone diplomacy,'' but hinted last week that he was losing
patience with his northern neighbour.
''Every time Mbeki has said he is going to get is followed
by a retreat or a failure to match words with deeds. The really critical
thing with Zimbabwe is not to say something, but to do something,'' he said.
South Africa is part of separate South African Development Community
(SADC) and Commonwealth initiatives on Zimbabwe, but has resisted taking a
strong lead either to criticise Mugabe or to impose sanctions on him or his
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 17:12 GMT
Mugabe warns of battle ahead
Mugabe is confident of victory
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has urged his supporters to prepare for a physical fight with the main opposition party, which he has again accused of terrorism.

This is a real physical fight and we have to prepare for it

President Mugabe

Speaking at the start of a three-day conference of his ruling Zanu-PF party, Mr Mugabe said the opposition Movement for Democratic Change had chosen to use violence and terror, because it had no viable political programme on which to contest presidential elections, now set for March.

"Violence is not just happening, it in fact has been deliberately hatched at the center of the MDC and by its patrons and principals overseas... This is a real physical fight and we have to prepare for it," he said in a nationally televised speech.

However, an independent human rights group in Zimbabwe has said that most of the people known to have been killed in political violence in the past year were opposition supporters.

Amnesty International accuses Mugabe of persecuting opponents

And they say the widespread intimidation of farm workers and opposition supporters is continuing, with police failing to intervene satisfactorily.

President Mugabe is launching his presidential election campaign in front of the thousands of delegates who have gathered in the resort town of Victoria Falls.

It is expected that Mr Mugabe will face the oppositon leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in the poll.

President Mugabe also accused Britain, the former colonial power, of being behind an international campaign to discredit his party over its policy of land seizures.

Regional tension

The conference comes amid mounting political tension, with Zimbabwe's neighbours concerned that the situation there should not slip out of control.

US is threatening sanctions on Zimbabwe

Our Southern Africa correspondent says that Zimbabwe's big neighbour, South Africa, has most to lose should the crisis deepen in the coming weeks.

Already hundreds of jobless Zimbabweans are trying to cross into South Africa every day, and the dramatic fall in South Africa's currency is partially due to a loss of confidence because of the Zimbabwean upheavals.

Other, smaller neighbours, have similar concerns.

Both Malawi and Mozambique fear that thousands of migrant workers could return home from Zimbabwe if they lose their jobs.

But in public, African leaders are reluctant to criticise too much.

And Southern African leaders have spoken out against the sanctions threatened by leaders in the United States and Europe.

From The Guardian (UK), 13 December

Neighbour states give Mugabe their blessing

President rejects 'white men' of the EU as election observers

Harare - President Robert Mugabe's campaign to retain power and win re-election was endorsed yesterday by ministers from neighbouring states who ignored reports of political violence, chaotic land reform and media repression. In power for 21 years, Mugabe, 77, scheduled a vote in March, although he did not provide an exact date. Mr Mugabe's policies were backed by cabinet ministers from six states in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) who came to assess Zimbabwe's progress in returning to the rule of law. The ministers "welcomed the improved atmosphere of calm and stability" in their closing communiqué, despite reports from farmers and human rights monitors of widespread, state-sponsored, political violence. The glowing report on Zimbabwe is an abrupt turnaround for the regional body, whose leaders were highly critical of Mr Mugabe just two months ago, and contradicts recent tough statements made by the South African president, Thabo Mbeki, and the president of Botswana, Festus Mogae. "Such a positive report now is very disappointing. We feared they would be soft, but we did not expect them to praise the devil," said John Makumbe, head of the Zimbabwe Crisis Committee. "It gives Mugabe a green light to go flat out with violence and intimidation to win re-election."

Mr Mugabe made it clear that he would restrict international observation of the presidential poll. He said he would invite SADC observers, the new African Union (formerly the Organisation of African Unity), the Commonwealth, and the West African group Ecowas. Mr Mugabe said he did not want to invite the EU. "I will have some difficulty in inviting some white men here," said Mr Mugabe, according to the state-owned Herald newspaper. "I would rather invite Asians or the Caribbeans, but for the EU as a bloc, I doubt." Mr Mugabe's government said earlier this month that it would not allow independent monitors with the authority to stop intimidation at polling stations and prevent fraud at the count. Instead the government will select all monitors from the civil service, including the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation.

The upbeat SADC statement is contradicted by a damning report from the Human Rights Forum, released yesterday, which states that there were six political killings and 115 cases of torture in November. The pro-Mugabe "war veterans" have set up bases across Zimbabwe which they are using as intimidation centres, say eyewitnesses. But resistance to Mr Mugabe remains high, despite the climate of violence and intimidation, as borne out by the Movement for Democratic Change's triumph in the Chegutu mayoral election on Tuesday. Chegutu lies near Mr Mugabe's homeland, Zvimba. As well as restricting international observers and local monitors, Mr Mugabe is introducing a press bill that would prevent journalists from reporting on pre-election violence and voting irregularities. Such tactics may win him the presidency, but they risk alienating the international community. The US under-secretary of state for Africa, Walter Kansteiner, warned during a visit to Zimbabwe on Tuesday that the elections must uphold the basic conditions for democratic elections, as set out by the SADC. Mr Mugabe will kickstart his campaign with a speech tomorrow at Victoria Falls.

From News24 (SA), 12 December

Militants force out mayor-elect

Harare - More than 50 pro-government militants on Wednesday stormed municipal offices in the Zimbabwean town of Chegutu and forced out the mayor-elect, who is a member of the opposition MDC, a party spokesperson said. The militants were singing and chanting slogans supporting the ruling party, and demanded that mayor-elect Francis Blessing Dhlakama leave the office, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesperson Learnmore Jongwe said. Dhlakama decided to comply with their demands to avoid any violence, Jongwe said. Police were present, but did not intervene, he added. "This seems to be the continuation of Zanu PF's violent campaign strategy," Jongwe said, adding that Dhlakama's house was attacked on the first day of polling on Saturday by militants armed with stones and axes. Dhlakama won the weekend election with 2 900 ballots to 2 452 for Stanley Majiri of the ruling Zanu PF. Although Chegutu is a relatively small town, about 100 kilometres west of Harare, it is only about 40km away from Mugabe's childhood home in the Zvimba area. Zanu PF has previously enjoyed strong support in that region. The MDC victory comes ahead of presidential elections set for March, when Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is expected to face his toughest-ever challenge from MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

From Business Day (SA), 13 December

Zanu PF take opposition to court

Harare - Unable to stomach a third electoral defeat in a row, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party has threatened to go to court to set aside the opposition Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC's) victory in the Chegutu mayoral election. Zanu PF officials claimed yesterday that the December 10 poll, the outcome of which is likely to dampen the morale of Mugabe's party ahead of presidential election in March next year, was marred by violence and irregularities. This was despite official pronouncements over the weekend that the election was free and fair. The ruling party's Mashonaland West province chair Philip Chiyangwa said: "We want the courts to set aside the results because there was violence." He accused the MDC of using coercion to take over the town, situated near to Mugabe's rural home village. However, MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said: "Zanu PF's angels of death and torture were deployed to Chegutu where they went on an orgy of violence in the surrounding areas.Rejecting Information Minister Jonathan Moyo's claims that Zanu PF was recovering lost ground in towns, Jongwe said the ruling party was the architect and author of violence.

From ZWNEWS, 13 December

We first published this article on 15 August 2001. It is as valid now as it was then.

The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA)

A brief explanation

If you have read the state-owned newspapers over recent weeks, listened to ZBC, or watched ZTV, you would think that the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA) – recently passed by the US Senate, and currently under consideration by the House of Representatives – is concerned with imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe, like those that were imposed on the pre-1980 Rhodesian government. You would be mistaken. It suits the government to foster this false impression, to garner sympathy for itself, to present Zimbabwe as the underdog being bullied by the United States. The ZDERA, however, is short and to the point. It makes an offer to the Zimbabwe government. Whether this offer is put into operation - or not - depends on a test.

The offer

To undertake a review of the sovereign debt owed by Zimbabwe to the United States and any of its agencies with a view to restructuring, rescheduling, or eliminating that debt. To instruct the US representative at multilateral development banks and financial institutions (such as the World Bank and the IMF) to propose that they also consider restructuring, rescheduling or eliminating Zimbabwe’s foreign debt, and provide financial support for the stabilisation of the Zimbabwe dollar and the recovery of Zimbabwe’s economy. To establish a Southern Africa Finance Centre, located in Zimbabwe, to facilitate commercial projects in Zimbabwe and the region. To financially support equitable, legal, and transparent land reform in line with the 1998 International Donors’ Conference.

The test

In order for the offer to be put into operation, the US President must justify to the US Senate and House of Representatives that :

1. The rule of law has been restored to Zimbabwe, including respect for property rights, freedom of speech and association, and an end to lawlessness, violence and intimidation sponsored by the government, the ruling party, and their supporters.

2. a. Either a presidential election has been held that is widely accepted as having been free and fair by independent international monitors, and the president-elect is free to assume his office; or,

b. If this certification is made before the presidential election takes place, that the pre-election period is consistent with international standards to allow free campaigning by the candidates for presidential office.

3. The Zimbabwe government has committed itself to an equitable, legal and transparent land reform programme consistent with the agreements reached at the International Donors’ Conference of 1998.

4. The Zimbabwe government has shown good faith in trying to implement the terms of the Lusaka Accord to end the war in the Congo.

5. The armed services and the police are responsible to, and serve, the elected civilian government.

If the US President can justify that this test has been met, then the offer will be put into operation.

It's as simple as that. What the ZDERA says to President Mugabe is this – restore the rule of law, hold a free and fair election (including a free and fair pre-election campaign period), accept that land reform has to be legal, non-violent and transparent in line with previous agreements, do as much as you can to withdraw Zimbabwean troops form the Congo, and stop misusing the police and the army for Zanu PF’s own ends, and there are benefits.

However, until the test has been met, no part of the offer will be put into effect, and the US representatives at the IMF, World Bank, etc will be instructed to oppose any of the financial benefits set out in the offer. But this is not a sanction, since the Zimbabwe government has already, by its own actions, alienated itself from these institutions. Zimbabwe is already in financial default, and IMF and World Bank funding will not resume until political and economic stability is restored - whether the ZDERA is passed or not. Humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe will not be affected, and the ZDERA also authorises the US President to support an independent free press and electronic media, and democracy and good governance programmes, in Zimbabwe.

The only sanctions in the ZDERA are specific and targeted. The final section of the legislation reads as follows:

It is the sense of Congress that the President should begin immediate consultation with the governments of European Union member states, Canada, and other appropriate foreign countries on ways in which to:

(1) identify and share information regarding individuals responsible for the deliberate breakdown of the rule of law, politically motivated violence, and intimidation in Zimbabwe;

(2) identify assets of those individuals held outside Zimbabwe;

(3) implement travel and economic sanctions against those individuals and their associates and families; and

(4) provide for the eventual removal or amendment of those sanctions.

This last section is what the ruling elite really fears. This will hurt them personally, and that is why they are threatening a state of emergency if the ZDERA is approved by the US House of Representatives and signed into law by the US President.

From ZWNEWS, 13 December

True to God

Unbowed by death threats and vilification in the state-controlled media, Archbishop Pius Ncube, the Roman Catholic prelate in charge of the Bulawayo diocese, ranks among the most fearless and outspoken critics of President Robert Mugabe’s government. "I am not afraid of anyone but God only ," Ncube, speaking in his trademark hoarse tone, said in an interview with ZWNEWS. "What is radically wrong in Zimbabwe is that we no longer have a government for the people. All they care for are their luxurious lives and their appetite for power at the expense of the people." At a time when many Zimbabweans are disappointed at the failure by some church leaders to speak openly about human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, Ncube remains forthright in word and deed. Along with a number of church groups in Matabeleland, Ncube has defied a government edict that only officials of the ruling Zanu PF party can distribute food aid in an area where thousands face starvation. After two bad agricultural seasons, compounded by government-ordered invasions of white-owned farm, food supplies are dangerously low.

Ncube, 54, symbolizes the fact that there are still apolitical men and women who remain steadfast in their open criticism of state-sponsored violence, of the land invasions, and laws intended to disenfranchise supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change ahead of presidential elections due in March. Agents of Mugabe’s dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation attempt to silence Ncube; the Chronicle, the state-controlled daily newspaper based in Bulawayo, announces that – among other things – the archbishop supports the MDC and homosexuals. When he responds, the newspaper never carries his replies. During last year’s elections, Ncube received so many deaths that the Vatican demanded that Mugabe – who is also a Catholic – guarantee his safety. "Zimbabwe is headed for complete ruin,’’ said Ncube. "Mugabe is holding the entire country to ransom … He is certainly going to rig the election next year." Not only has Ncube, in sermons and in media interviews, vigorously condemned Mugabe's abuses and excesses, but he has also come out in support of Zimbabwe's much maligned, small but economically powerful white community at a time when doing so earns the wrath of Zanu PF militants. "We did not tolerate racism when there was white rule here, and we will not tolerate this," said Ncube, adding that he has even received threats from his own congregation because of his stance toward whites.

Born on December 31, 1946 into a peasant family, Ncube attended primary and secondary schools in Gweru, and trained for the priesthood at Chishawasha Seminary, near Harare. He was ordained in 1973. In the 1980s he spent two years in Rome, studying advanced theology and social teachings. Returning home in 1985, Ncube was appointed Vicar-General, and in 1998 took over the Bulawayo diocese. "I have been wrongly accused of using my church sermons to campaign for the opposition. The fact is I am not a supporter of the opposition and I will never campaign for a particular opposition party," said Ncube. "What drives me is my desire not to see human rights being flouted. I don't care about who is in power. I will speak openly against any abuses regardless of who is in power." Ncube favours land redistribution, but not Mugabe-style – without compensation to the land owners, and without provided resources for people settled on the former commercial farms and ranches. "I don't think it's appropriate to grab people's properties without compensation. Some of these people only have their land as their source of livelihood … Mugabe's process is just a gimmick for his own political survival," said Ncube. "You can't talk of land resettlement without adequate back up infrastructural resources like clinics, schools and equipment for the resettled farmers."

Ncube warned of worsening pre-election violence, and said the international community should do more to rein in Mugabe. "Mugabe is desperate to win at all costs and he will rig the elections to ensure victory,’’ said Ncube. "He is thus not prepared to listen to anyone who disagrees with him, including us as church leaders. We have tried to lobby him to change his ways but he keeps ignoring us. We can therefore only rely on God's power to save Zimbabwe from this mess." The priest who returned from Rome convinced that the most important thing in life is "the dignity of the human being," will not be silenced. "I will not be quiet as long as human rights abuses persist. I can't afford to be untruthful to God."

Back to the Top
Back to Index