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

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Bay of Plenty Times, New Zealand

      Saturday December 14 2002 7.00 pm

      Family flee terror for safety of Bay

      14.12.2002 - BOP Times

      SEIZING a shotgun, Jane O'Carroll prepared to fire as the chanting and
drumming of black Zimbabwean workers surrounding her home reached fever

      Urging her six-year-old son Ben to hide in a kitchen cupboard, the
quaking woman covered her husband Greg as he stepped through the door alone
to face a sea of men and women armed with sticks, guns, spears and axes.

      Ben remembers as clearly as if it were yesterday the way he sang
quietly to himself in a desperate attempt to stay calm: ``I was afraid Dad
would get shot.''

      As it happened, Greg managed to calm the maddened crowd and returned
unscathed but the incident marked the beginning of the end of life in
Zimbabwe for the O'Carroll family, including children Ben, 9, Matt, 12, and
15-year-old Dan.

      Two months ago, they came to New Zealand, to live in Tauranga.

      From the safety of their new Otumoetai home, they recounted the
violent end to more than a decade of peaceful co-habitation with the native
Shonaland people.

      Like 4000 other white Zimbabwean farmers, the O'Carrolls had become
victims of president Robert Mugabe's authoritarianism and flawed Marxist
policies that saw more than 5 million hectares of farmland seized and
redistributed to black Zimbabweans.

      When they finally fled for their lives, they left behind the $ZW159
million ($5.8m) Darwendale farm they had built virtually from scratch.

      The modest brick house they now call home is light years away from the
sprawling homestead and 823-hectare tobacco and cattle farm that once
supported the O'Carrolls and 80 Shona workers and their families over 240
people in all.

      The decision to leave was not made lightly. The family of five knew
they stood to lose almost everything when they joined the exodus of white
commercial farmers from Zimbabwe.

      They also knew that the Shona tribespeople they once considered
friends would almost certainly be plunged into poverty and despair.

      But there was no other choice. From July 2000, when the ZANU-PF
government gazetted 804 farms for Mugabe's resettlement programme, the
O'Carrolls lived under the constant threat of losing their land.

      Months before as a result of Mugabe's desperate bid to win as much
of the black vote as possible they had received notice from the Ministry
of Agriculture, advising of the government's interest in securing their
farm. They challenged it in court and won.

      The victory, however, proved hollow. Whereas initially Mugabe had
promised white farmers compensation, his newly-declared compulsory land
acquisition scheme left no room for negotiation or court-room battles. The
first squatters arrived on their farm in March 2001.

      ``One day I was standing on the farm and a scotch cart pulled by
cattle passed me, which was very unusual,'' Greg remembered. ``I followed it
. . . and found black people cutting down trees to build houses.

      ``I asked them what they were doing. I told them this was our farm,
that what they were doing was illegal. ``But they didn't care, they said:
`We are taking it over'.''

      Within days, houses had sprung up on some of the farm's most
productive land. The squatters' cattle were set loose, breaking down fences,
eating the O'Carroll's crops and destroying the tobacco nurseries.

      ``It was government-orchestrated to prevent us from farming,'' Greg
said. ``It was confrontational; they were hoping for a reaction.''

      But in line with Farmers' Union policy, the O'Carrolls kept their

      Then came the day Greg was taken away for ``re-education.''

      ``The Shona lined up outside the gate one Sunday and said they wanted
a meeting with me.

      ``They had been drinking and I could see they were quite high and
there was no way I could negotiate.''

      In the knowledge that he could be badly beaten, or even killed and
with the nearest police back-up 90km away in the capital of Harare, the
43-year-old stepped outside the three-metre security fence.

      The ``war veterans,'' as Mugabe called the squatters although most
were too young to have fought in the 1970s land wars had a bone or two to
pick. Greg was forced to remove his shoes and hat, then take his place in
the centre of a 200 member-strong kangaroo court.

      ``I got off lightly. They humiliated me; made me dance, be stupid and
run around for five hours while the crowd clapped and shouted.''

      Inside the O'Carroll's home Jane waited, terrified.

      Others like fellow farmer Martin Olds had endured terrible deaths
at the hands of Shona tribesmen. Their children, too, felt unsafe.

      ``You couldn't ride to school . . . because there were people who
would probably kidnap you or beat you up,'' Matt said.

      ``Some of my friends' parents were abused and beaten and had their
houses trashed. It was quite scary.''

      In late 2001, Mugabe set a deadline for the commercial farmers. They
had until August 2002 to get out.

      The O'Carrolls spurred into action by growing fears set their own,
earlier deadline; the April 2002 elections. If Mugabe was voted back in,
they would leave. In the meantime, Jane was sent to check out New Zealand as
a potential future home.

      The couple pinned their hopes for a more secure future on the Movement
for Democratic Change, established in 1999 and led by charismatic Harvard
graduate Dr Morgan Tsvangirai.

      Following an election campaign plagued by violence and corruption,
Mugabe and ZANU-PF were returned to govern for another six years.

      And so the O'Carrolls began to plan their escape. Prevented by law
from selling their farm or possessions and knowing they would never be
compensated for their losses, they became players in the thriving Zimbabwean
black market.

      Plant and machinery were sent for ``repairs and maintenance'' never to
return. Personal possessions were taken to Harare to furnish a small flat
they had bought, ostensibly so that Jane a teacher could work in the
capital. They sold off their pension plans and liquidated a share in a
hunting farm.

      By now, their lives were havoc. Mugabe's deadline came and went as the
freehold Darwendale farm that once housed, clothed, educated and fed over 80
families, both black and white, was fast becoming an unproductive shambles
inhabited by just 47 inexperienced Shona ``farmers''.

      The farm school the O'Carrolls funded was closed, the health clinic
empty of nurses, patients and medicines. Paddocks had been burned in
attempts to flush out gamebirds and the farm dam, once brimming with fish,
had been rendered lifeless.

      ``In a whole year, they didn't produce a single bag of mealie
(maize),'' said Greg.

      Mugabe's grand plan had back-fired.

      The Zimbabwean Standard newspaper has reported that starving MDC
supporters were being denied food aid.

      Marauding youths manned the food queues, demanding ZANU-PF membership
cards before distributing the precious mealie-meal.

      Ironically, President Robert Mugabe, the former guerrilla who in the
1970s fought to drive British colonials from Zimbabwean soil and, latterly,
declared white farmers ``enemies of the state'' is accepting British aid

      Cheated of their land and their millions, the O'Carrolls arrived in
New Zealand with $30,000.

      Both in their early 40s, they admit it isn't much with which to begin
a new life.

      Greg works as a security guard, his wife as a part-time relieving
teacher. With their combined income, they can just get by.
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Angus Shaw


HARARE, Zimbabwe - President Robert Mugabe threatened
retribution against the country's white population
yesterday, suggesting they are working with Britain, the
former colonial power, to sabotage his government.

Mr. Mugabe accused the British of leading an international
campaign to isolate Zimbabwe and recruit support for his
opponents inside the country.

"The more they work against us, the more they express
hostility against us, the more negative we shall become to
their kith and kin here," Mr. Mugabe said at the opening of
his ruling Zimbabwe Africa National Union-Patriotic Front
(ZANU-PF) party's annual convention.

The embattled president, however, did not refer to the
nation's deepening economic crisis and a looming famine
largely blamed on his party's policies.

In an 80-minute address, Mr. Mugabe railed against whites,
Britain and its Western allies, whom he accused of
"nurturing enemies among us" by criticizing his party and
supporting the main opposition party, Movement for
Democratic Change.

"We are the type of people who, if you step on our foot, we
fight back," he said.

Mr. Mugabe, 78, wore a baseball cap bearing the slogan
"Chave Chimurenga," meaning "It is now war" in the local
Shona language.

The white population in Zimbabwe stands at about 30,000,
less than 1 percent of the total.

More than double that number lived in the southern African
country 2½ years ago. Ruling-party militants then began a
campaign to seize white-owned farms, sparking political and
economic unrest.

Most whites are the descendants of colonial-era British and
South African settlers.

The government has repeatedly accused Western countries and
local whites of funding the main opposition that narrowly
lost presidential elections in March.

"They are the enemies of the people and our government. We
must be on our guard. Our survival is an ongoing war," Mr.
Mugabe told about 2,000 ruling-party loyalists at the
convention in the provincial town of Chinhoyi, 70 miles
northwest of Harare.

In his one reference to the country's economic woes, he said
gasoline shortages that have left most of Zimbabwe's
stations dry would be discussed in a closed session by

Delegates cheered and danced as Mr. Mugabe walked to the
podium, but their response to his address was
uncharacteristically muted compared with that of previous

Some laughed when Philip Chiyangwa, a ruling-party lawmaker
for Chinhoyi, welcomed them to "Zimbabwe's breadbasket."

Once known as southern Africa's breadbasket, Zimbabwe now
faces acute food shortages. The World Food Program says at
least 6.7 million Zimbabweans, more than half the
population, will need emergency food aid in coming months to
avert mass starvation.

Mr. Mugabe says the food crisis is the result of a drought
earlier this year, while most analysts blame political
violence and disruptions in the agriculture-based economy
during the government's program to confiscate thousands of
white-owned commercial farms that now lie virtually idle.

Mr. Mugabe on Thursday promised to enforce a widely abused
government price freeze on most goods to slow record
inflation, officially estimated at 144 percent but seen to
be much higher.

This article was mailed from The Washington Times
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Zim brought to a near halt

Cris Chinaka

Harare - Zimbabwean motorists battled for scarce petrol supplies on Saturday
as a deepening fuel crisis brought the country to a near halt.

Witnesses and local media reported many fuel stations had run dry and riot
police had been called in to those which still had petrol to stop motorists

Zimbabwe is grappling with its worst economic crisis since independence in

Fuel supplies have been erratic since 1999 due to a foreign currency
squeeze, which has also left the country short of other basic items such as
bread, cooking oil, sugar and salt.

In the capital Harare, witnesses said there were few cars and buses on the
roads, with thousands of motorists jamming a dozen or so petrol stations in
search of supplies.

"I have been here since last night, waiting for petrol and I have seen about
half a dozen fist-fights and one guy threatening to shoot anyone who tries
to jump the queue," one man said at a fuel station in central Harare.

The country's official Herald newspaper said riot police had been summoned
to those stations with fuel to control rowdy motorists fighting among

President Robert Mugabe's officials have not commented directly on the
deteriorating fuel situation in the last three days.

Corruption and sabotage

But on Friday the Herald accused the state's own oil procurement agency of
engineering the shortage through corruption and sabotage.

It reported petrol stations were running dry because the National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) was hoarding fuel, and pushing for cash oil
import deals that could give company officials a chance to benefit from
illegal foreign currency deals.

Quoting what it called "impeccable" government and industry sources, the
newspaper also said NOCZIM was moving to scrap a deal with Libya,
endangering one of the last fuel lifelines Zimbabwe has left.

Senior government and NOCZIM officials have refused to comment on the
report, but sources in Mugabe's government confirmed there was a probe into
the shortage, which has left motorists queuing for kilometres to fill their

Last month Mugabe ordered foreign oil companies with retail outlets in
Zimbabwe to import their own products for resale, effectively ending
NOCZIM's monopoly on the country's fuel trade.

But critics say the fuel problem is likely to continue as long as Zimbabwe's
economy - now in its fourth year of recession - continues to slide and while
the foreign exchange policy remains unchanged.

Critics say the foreign exchange policy, which has kept Zimbabwe's currency
pegged at 55 local dollars to the US dollar over the last two years despite
a black market exchange rate of about 1 700 to $1, is a key part of the

      There's no more petrol in Zimbabwe

            December 13 2002 at 01:03PM

      Harare - Zimbabwe has run out of petrol amid allegations that the sole
state oil-procuring firm wants to cancel a fuel supply deal made two years
ago between President Robert Mugabe and his Libyan ally Muammar Gaddafi, the
state daily reported on Friday.

      "Petrol pumps ran dry throughout the country yesterday amid shocking
revelations that the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) is
contemplating terminating its secure fuel deal with Tamoil, a Libyan
international oil supplier," The Herald said.

      The report alleged that NOCZIM is hoarding fuel in an effort to press
for price increases.

      The government has announcd a price freeze on basic commodities. An
increase in the price of fuel would force the price of most other goods and
services to go up too.

      Last year, the price of fuel was hiked by more than 70 percent,
sparking national protests in the form of a two-day strike organised by the
labour movement.

      Libya, which has been meeting 70 percent of Zimbabwe's petroleum-based
fuel needs, entered into an agreement last year with the southern African
country, to be paid for fuel imports in Zimbabwe dollars.

      Zimbabwe has suffered chronic fuel shortages for two years, caused by
severe foreign currency shortages and corruption at NOCZIM.

      Two years ago Mugabe admitted that senior NOCZIM officials had bungled
a similar $100-million (about R900-million) deal with Libya, in which
Zimbabwean oil officials took Libyan money but bought South African fuel.

      The misuse of the funds incensed Libya, prompting it to freeze the
remaining aid. The deal was later renewed.

      The privately owned Daily News last month reported that Libya had
renounced the fuel supply deal, but the Libyan ambassador to Harare, Mahmoud
Youseff Azzabi, denied the deal had been scrapped.

      He did say, however: "As with commercial transactions the world over,
hiccups may occur from time to time". - Sapa-AP
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Govt Urged to Rectify Human Rights Abuses

Financial Gazette (Harare)

December 13, 2002
Posted to the web December 14, 2002

Staff Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum (ZHRF) has urged the government to
acknowledge the erosion of the basic freedoms of citizens and civil society
in the country and to curb continued political violence that has claimed
more than 80 lives in the past two years.

In the summary of a survey of political violence in Zimbabwe between June
2001 and June this year, the organisation, a coalition of non-governmental
organisations working in the field of human rights, said the government
should recognise the human rights crisis and take steps to remedy the

"We hereby exhort the government to ensure a swift and determined return to
the rule of law and an end to the political violence," the forum said in the
survey report, entitled "Are they accountable?: Examining alleged violators
and their violations, pre and post the presidential election March 2002" .

"The Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum calls on African governments to recognise
the crisis in Zimbabwe as a crisis affecting ordinary Zimbabweans and
acknowledge that it is not a white on black war over land redistribution.
The problem has long extended far beyond that and needs to be addressed
urgently on a national scale to find a long-term and peaceful solution."

The ZHRF interviewed 900 victims of political violence for its survey and
found that only ruling ZANU PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) supporters claimed to have been affected by political violence.

Of the 900 people interviewed, only 1.4 percent said they were affiliated to
ZANU PF, while 51 percent were MDC supporters and the remaining 47.7 percent
were not affiliated to any political party.

Cases reported involved murder, assault, rape, torture, intimidated and the
destruction of property.

An overwhelming majority of the victims, 79 percent, were male. However, the
ZHRF said a number of cases involving female victims might not have been
reported because of the nature of the crimes involved, which were primarily
rape and sexual assault.

The organisation said female victims in the rural areas might also have been
hampered by lack of transport to police stations and to the offices of human
rights groups.

The ZHRF survey also found that the highest cases of violence were reported
in Manicaland province, which accounted for 23 percent of the victims
interviewed, followed by Mashonaland East, Harare and Mashonaland Central,
which had 188; 160 and 156 victims respectively.

"The problem of politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe is not a black on
white war based on the redistribution of land and its ownership," the forum
said. "The problem, rather, is intolerance of and lack of respect for
political pluralism.

"While there is violence on commercial farms affecting both commercial
farmers and farm workers, the majority of violence is taking place in
communal areas and high density urban areas."

The organisation said it had received 19 reports of politically motivated
murder, but according to some statistics, at least 80 people have died in
the past two years in political violence.
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Threats to nationalise oil firms

Chinhoyi - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe wound up his governing Zanu-PF
party's annual conference on Saturday by threatening to nationalise oil
distribution firms, many of them foreign, to end a crippling fuel shortage
in the country.

He said his government had been "foolish" for too long by importing fuel and
giving it to the distribution firms to sell and make profits while the
government gets nothing out of the exercise.

"The government can acquire these (distribution) points and compensate them
... and distribute the fuel," he said.

"There has to be quick action to assure the holiday spirit is not spoiled,"
he told the closing session of the two-day annual conference.

"I am going into this matter in a more serious way," Mugabe said.

Zimbabwe is facing an acute fuel shortage and pumps ran dry this week amid
allegations that officials at the corruption-ridden state oil-procuring firm
want to cancel a fuel supply deal made two years ago between Mugabe and his
Libyan ally Muammar Ghaddafi.


Mugabe also used the speech to attack the country's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

"MDC is now the chaff, they are the chaff, the chaff in our midst, look at
their actions," he said.

"They are on their way out, whatever (British Prime Minister Tony) Blair
says about it, or does about it, it's out and out and out," Mugabe said,
referring to the British government which he says bankrolls the MDC.

"But don't forget that when there are dying horses like that, they may just
have a fatal kick, used to killing as they are.

They are planning killings and killings."
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Zimbabwe crisis dominates ruling party meeting

By Stella Mapenzauswa

CHINHOYI, Zimbabwe, Dec. 14 - Zimbabwe's ruling party on Saturday asked
President Robert Mugabe's government to act urgently to end a deep economic
crisis that has left half the population starving.

       On the last day of a two-day annual conference of the ruling ZANU-PF
party, Zimbabwe's economic crisis -- the worst since independence in 1980 --
came under the spotlight as delegates took the government to task over the
crumbling economy.
       In his opening address on Friday, the 78-year-old Mugabe did not say
how he was tackling a crippling food shortage affecting about seven million
people or what they were doing to solve a fuel crisis that has nearly
brought the country to a halt.
       But on Saturday, amid applause, delegates quizzed ministers on food
aid distribution problems, proposals for price and wage freezes to help
bring down inflation, now at a record 144 percent, and the prevailing fuel
and foreign currency shortages.
       ''The government must do more..., especially in tightening the
structures of our maize distribution, to solve the problem of hunger,'' said
Jabulani Sibanda, an executive member of party's Bulawayo province.
       Some delegates called for more equitable distribution of food, saying
the process had been hijacked by civil servants. Others called on the
government to tighten price controls.
       ''Your excellency, although the government has talked of price
controls, every day in the supermarket we see price controls rocketing
beyond the reach of many,'' said another delegate.
       State Security Minister Nicholas Goche, who chairs Zimbabwe's
national food aid distribution committee, said the government was doing its
best, but could only iron out problems if grassroots structures reported
problems quickly.
       Goche said while Zimbabwe was battling to find financial resources to
tackle the drought, increased food demand around a southern African region
devastated by drought was slowing down food imports.
       ''We have spent over 200 million U.S. dollars on food...and we are
continuing with our programme to import food,'' he said.
       Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa said the government had imposed
price controls to stop profiteering, but the controls could only work with
goodwill from every player in the economy.

       Outside the meeting, in the northwestern town of Chinhoyi, 115 km (70
miles) from the capital Harare, local residents queued for fuel. Some
residents said they had been turned away from fuel stations which were only
serving party delegates.
       Fuel has been in short supply since 1999 due to a foreign currency
squeeze and which has also left the country short of other basic items such
as bread, cooking oil sugar and salt.
       Behind closed doors, Zimbabwe's controversial land reform programme
dominated talk as some delegates accused senior party members of grabbing
       Mugabe, whose country was plunged into economic crisis in part due to
his policy of seizing white-owned farmland for redistribution to landless
blacks, has said he will lead an audit of the land reform programme to sort
out the problems.
       ''There've been a lots of complaints that chefs (a colloquial term
for senior government and party officials) are gobbling up all the land and
people are demanding that some heads should roll over the issue,'' one
delegate told Reuters.
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Yahoo News

Zimbabwe Economic Crisis Hits Mugabe's Land Reforms
      Sat Dec 14, 7:51 AM ET

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has faced down
both international criticism and local protest to push through his
controversial land reforms, seizing white-owned farms and handing them to
black farmers.

But that land reform program is now threatened by an economic crisis blamed
on Mugabe's own government as Zimbabwe's inexperienced new farmers scramble
for seed, fertilizer and technical support just a month after the start of
the crop season.

The government says more than 200,000 people have been allocated plots on
land seized from commercial white farmers, but officials say few of the new
farmers are actually able to till the fields.

"The economy is in such a state that it has been difficult for Mugabe to
protect his prized trophy from its vagaries," said Brian Raftopoulos, a
senior researcher at the Zimbabwe Institute of Development Studies (ZIDS).

"The irony of the government's so-called fast-track resettlement program is
that it is going to fail on the failure of the government to run the economy
in a decent manner," he added.

Two provincial governors told Zimbabwe's official media last month that only
about half the people allocated medium and large-scale farms in the fertile
northwestern Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East regions had taken up
their plots.


Critics say the whole resettlement program has been chaotic, marked by
mountains of paperwork and fights over plots with homes already in place or
situated near basic facilities such as roads, clinics and schools.

Many new farmers lack the financial resources to launch their new careers,
and critics say the government's own loan plan has been inadequate to meet
everyone's requirements.

Zimbabwe is struggling through a severe economic crisis which many blame on
gross mismanagement by Mugabe's government.

The economy is in its fourth year of recession, unemployment in the formal
sector has doubled to 70 percent in the last 10 years, inflation is at a
record 144 percent, the country has no foreign currency reserves and has
suffered intermittent fuel shortages for three years.

Mugabe, who came to in power 1980 when the former Rhodesia gained
independence from Britain, denies he is responsible for Zimbabwe's crisis,
saying the economy has been sabotaged by Western powers seeking to overthrow
his government.

The 78-year-old former guerrilla leader has vowed to rebuild the southern
African country's shattered economy on his land reform program under the
slogan "land is the economy and the economy is land."

But even beneficiaries of his land redistribution program say the
agricultural reforms are not going to help the economy without state
subsidies and sufficient supplies of seed, fertilizer and animal feed.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made says Zimbabwe produced 47,000 tons of the
staple maize seed this year, way above the country's normal requirements.
Demand was higher because of the emergence of newly settled farmers who do
not have their own stockpiles, he said.

Made says the resettlement program is in no danger and the government is
determined to mobilize all resources to support it.

But a severe shortage of foreign currency to import raw materials has left
Zimbabwean companies unable to produce adequate supplies of vital farming
inputs such as fertilizer, and the little that is available is too expensive
for most poor farmers.


The government has forced more than two-thirds of the country's 4,500 white
commercial farmers off their land this year to make way for blacks whose
ancestors, Mugabe says, had their fertile land "stolen" during British
colonialism over a century ago.

Zimbabwe has been gripped by a political and economic crisis since
pro-government militants began invading white-owned farms in February 2000
to support Mugabe's land redistribution drive.

Zimbabwean commercial banks, left with millions of dollars in unpaid debts
from dispossessed white farmers, say it will be difficult to fund new
farmers in an environment in which property rights are not guaranteed.

The government says it is still looking at the issue of title deeds, but its
critics say without settling the subject of ownership, commercial
agriculture is doomed in Zimbabwe.

"This is a critical point, because without title, there is no legal basis
for anyone's claim to own land," said Justice for Agriculture (JAG), a
pressure group fighting for white farmers to retain their land.

One of Zimbabwe's largest fertilizer manufacturers, Zimbabwe Phosphates
Industries (Zimphos), said last month that the fertilizer shortage in the
country was likely to get worse because of increased foreign exchange
problems, rising production costs and unrealistic retail prices imposed by
the government.

Companies had been forced to cut production by as much as 50 percent in the
past year to stay in business.

"We said this program is going to be a disaster, and everybody can now see
it's a disaster," said Renson Gasela, secretary for agriculture for the main
opposition MDC.

"What we are seeing is a confirmation that we really need a land reform
program that can attract international support to see success," he told
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World Net Daily

Africa's 'last good place'
Can Cape Town survive
meltdown of Dark Continent?

Posted: December 14, 2002
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Anthony C. LoBaido
© 2002

CONSTANTIA, South Africa - Despite its idyllic beauty and cosmopolitan
flavor, Cape Town, South Africa, is now a city barely staying above the
increasingly chaotic existence of towns and rural areas of the Dark
Continent, leaving residents with feelings ranging from hopelessness to
guarded optimism.
Travelers who journey to Cape Town will find all manner of interesting
places to see and things to do. Some of the world's finest vineyards, along
with sunshine, pristine beaches and intriguing people await the interloper.
Cape Town's signature feature is Table Mountain, which dominates the
landscape. When white puffy clouds drift up from the Antarctic at the point
where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean, it can appear that steam
from a cosmic pot of boiling water is flowing down over the mountain.
Those rolling clouds provide a metaphor for the many changes that Cape Town
faces at the dawn of the 21st century.
A changed continent
As Swiss-born South African pilot Aggie Dent banked her Albatross aircraft
with a hard left, the sea below was sparkling like green emeralds in the
"Look, a whale is rising above the water with her calf," she exclaimed to
WorldNetDaily. "There is so much beauty here. Sometimes it's scarcely
Yet Dent, who flew fighter jets as a female mercenary against the former
Soviet Union during Somalia's war with Ethiopia in the early 1980s, fears
that Africa's problems are drifting all the way down to Cape Town.
"I've lived and worked 'up country.' Yet more and more Cape Town reminds me
of the problems to the north. When [former Rhodesia leader] Cecil Rhodes
used the phrase 'Cape Town to Cairo,' I think he meant a continent that
would challenge the industrial might of the United States, not a total
meltdown," she said.
Dent, along with her flight-engineer husband Steve, is hoping to land a
Florida-based U.S. Navy contract flying Hawker Hunter fighter jets as part
of an anti-ship missile program. She told WorldNetDaily she has "seen Africa
change a lot" in her lifetime.
"I grew up in Kenya on a cattle farm," explained Dent. "We used take blood
samples from the cattle and inoculate them ourselves. I flew as a
15-year-old in a plane over our ranch and shot at poachers. That was an era
of self-sufficiency and freedom."
Above the carnage - barely
Known as "Kapstad" in Afrikaans, Cape Town is a city with a storied history.
Sailors seeking to circumnavigate the world passed off her coast 500 years
Even today, "Cape Town is a strategic maritime checkpoint," says Dr. Louis
Tambs, former U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica and national-security expert in
the Reagan administration. Tambs also taught history at Arizona State.
A good percentage of the world's oil and manufactured goods sail around the
Cape of Good Hope. During the Cold War, Russian submarines were parked in
the waters facing the city, their missiles aimed to fire at one of the
West's staunchest allies.
While the African continent as a whole continues to deteriorate under the
strain of Islamic jihad, Marxism, HIV/AIDS, civil wars, dictators, man-made
famines, as well as the natural resource expeditions of Western
corporations, Cape Town still stands above the carnage - albeit barely. It
is a jewel where both South Africans and Europeans continue to flock in
droves. Cape Town is often compared to San Francisco.
"Sometimes I wonder if, in the end, we'll have 700 million Africans all
living in Cape Town. Everyone is moving here," South African Cathy Slade
commented. Slade runs a local bed and breakfast in the Cape Town suburb of
Constantia. "We have a choice - in Constantia, in Cape Town, in Africa and
in the world - as to whether we make things work or not."
On the exterior, life in Constantia seems more than just serene - it's
positively idyllic. The malls and shops are filled with both goods and
customers. Everyone's tan and attractive, it seems. Church services are
lively. Children play safely in parks. Yet there is a feeling in the air
that not all is quite right. Still, a sense of cautious optimism permeates
the atmosphere.
"Recently, we had scores of residents in a Hout Bay township nearby
protesting . at the Cape High Court while carrying around Zimbabwean flags.
It's scary," says Slade's mother, Margie, a retired schoolteacher.
"Constantia is still safe, but Cape Town is changing."
Slade's brother Chris, who runs the biggest seedling nursery in the entire
Cape peninsula, told WorldNetDaily that he and his girlfriend, Briton
Jennifer Bearpark, were renovating their home and thinking about expanding
their business. As they walked the lush grounds of their nursery, gleaming
in the sunlight beaming down over the picturesque Table Mountain to the
south, Slade seemed more concerned about genetically modified foods than
about a complete societal meltdown.
"If the ANC (ruling African National Congress) wanted to confiscate all of
the white-owned property, I would just call in subcontractors and put out a
bid on this place," Chris Slade told WND.
"I work hard, 16 hours per day, seven days per weeks, 365 days per year.
There is no substitute for hard work."
Bearpark, who has a degree in history and whose father "rebuilds countries
for the United Nations," believes there is a future for South Africa.
"Even though I have a degree in history, I'm looking forward to learning the
seedling business." As she speaks, Bearpark holds Slade's nephew Cameron,
age 2, and a kitten named Gimzo No. 2. Their German shepherd, Floyd, wags
her tail happily while following them around the nursery.
"We've got to get cracking and make the future happen," Bearpark says.
Crime wave
The Slades' Zulu maid, Olivia, told WorldNetDaily that Cape Town, like all
cities, has its positive and negative aspects.
"I moved away from Zululand for the sake of my children. There was too much
violence there - murders and shootings. Cape Town is beautiful. Better
weather. Better schools. I believe that we can build a South Africa that
works for all of us. It was the white people who built this country.
'Forgive and forget' - that is my motto. If we work together and do the
right things, people can look at us and say, 'South Africa is a good example
for other peoples in conflict.'"
Like many of the Zulu, Olivia points to her faith in "Unkulunkulu," the Zulu
word for the God of the Bible, as her guide to life. As she goes through her
daily chores, Olivia often tends to Cathy Slade's 2-year-old blonde son,
"When we walk the grounds, if Cameron wants to wander away from me I tell
him, 'The kgo-kgo' (the Zulu word for 'monsters') are in the fields and then
he runs right back to my skirt," Olivia said.
"But the kgo-kgo are everywhere now. Real monsters, killers are coming to
Cape Town every day. We have to be careful now."
Said Hildegard Dippennar, a Cape Town advertising executive, "I used to
think that Cape Town would be the Monte Carlo of Africa. I thought the ANC
would have to at least maintain standards of Western civilization here in
order to accommodate the European expatriates and travelers on vacation. Now
I am not so sure."
"I don't feel safe," Dippennar continued. "Being raped is every woman's
worst nightmare in South Africa. There is a rape every 23 seconds. Mandela
and the ANC emptied the prisons of rapists and murderers, and their
anarcho-tyranny is destroying our beautiful country. It's hectic, hey?"
Most South Africans - of all races and classes - want the death penalty
brought back, 100 percent in a recent You magazine poll. You is akin to
People magazine in the United States.
Recent killings in the northern suburbs of Cape Town have shocked the
citizenry. For example, in October, a 22-year-old white man was executed by
black youths near the trendy and swank Cavendish Square Mall. His girlfriend
was taken to Khayelitsha, a nearby black township, and raped. She will most
likely die of AIDS. The police, who are out-manned, out-gunned, demoralized
and under-funded, have no leads in the case.
Criminals descending from 'upcountry'
Cape Town, which was thought to be relatively safe compared to Johannesburg,
has suffered a crime spree in 2002 as South Africa's open borders have been
overrun from "upcountry."
One of the reasons Cape Town is seeing a crime wave (carjackings are up 50
percent over 2001) involves a convoluted link to globalization. When the
Bush administration blocked American acceptance of an International Criminal
Court, that wasn't the end of the issue. That is, at least not as far as
Africa was concerned.
Instead, the U.S. is setting up a series of "individual courts" in African
nations like Sierra Leone, where diamond pirates hacked off the arms and
feet of children in a bloody civil war. This has driven many hard-core
soldier/criminals down out of nations like Sierra Leone, Congo and Rwanda to
Cape Town.
"Many of the worst 'war criminals' are fleeing the countries where the U.S.
is looking to put them on trial. There are easy pickings for these hardened
criminals down here in Cape Town," says one South African intelligence
official who asked that his name not be used.
"Whom would you rather fight, another armed militia member or some college
kid driving around in his BMW? More and more, the shooters we are able to
identify come not from South Africa but from countries to the north -
Nigeria, Tanzania and others."
Toni Zeeman, a Bacardi Breeze executive, told WorldNetDaily she is concerned
about crime: "My father was murdered three years ago. The police never found
the killers."
Another factor that contributes to destabilization in Cape Town is the fear
that South Africa's Muslims, who belong to a group called Pagad, will once
again begin bombing Western targets - as they did with the Hard Rock Cafe
bombing a few years back.
Baby rape, crime and the killing of white farmers in other parts of South
Africa have not been lost on Cape Town residents.
Lauren du Toit, a waitress and student who lives in Plumstead says she
believes she has the solution to Cape Town's escalating crime problem.
"I say that when the police catch the criminals, just turn them over to the
victims' families for punishment."
Du Toit's co-worker "Joe," a black runner at the same restaurant, told
WorldNetDaily last winter he "saw a man in our [black] township kill his own
brother for one piece of bread. It's madness!"
American sailor Leslie Grace, from Long Island, echoed Zeeman's fears.
"I was mugged at knifepoint when we docked in Cape Town," he said. "I was
told I was lucky it wasn't uglier. There are a lot of Taiwanese sailors,
drugs and prostitutes in Cape Town."
Indeed, Cape Town is now a haven for "sex vacations" on par with Bangkok. A
spokesperson with the South African multiracial African Christian Democratic
Party told WorldNetDaily that the ANC is undermining the nation's morals.
"Prostitution should not be legalized," the spokesman said. "We need to
reclaim the Christian heritage of this nation."
American writer Joan Veon, who attended the recent World Summit on
Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, told WorldNetDaily, "It is only a
matter of time before whites in America have the same kind of walls as the
South Africans."
"These people in Cape Town live in a dream world. They have five years at
the most before this place turns into another Zimbabwe," said "Angela," a
British expatriate who works in the online-casino industry.
Retired U.S. Army Gen. Albion Knight Jr. told WorldNetDaily, "When I visited
South Africa [in the 1980's], I couldn't help but think 'this is the future
of America.'"
An evolving culture in changing times
In the midst of all the uncertainty, Cape Town's citizens try to go on with
living a "normal life" as best as they can.
Tyron Shultz, a South African chef from Observatory who also holds a British
passport, says, "We don't need negative people here. Things are too
negative. We need to be more positive. The blacks who work in my kitchen,
most of them are better than a lot of the whites you might meet on the
Shultz's girlfriend, Allison, seconded his opinion: "We need to talk about
cooperation, about helping one another. We need common ground and to speak a
common language with one another, a language of peace and . most
importantly, cooperation."
Cape Town is a city that boasts a unique ambiance that blends various
cultures and more than a few languages - including English and Afrikaans.
There are 11 official languages in all. Afrikaans, the mixture of Dutch,
German and local languages, was forced upon the citizenry during apartheid.
"Cape Town is soos lekker," says Jade Maxwell-Newton, one of South Africa's
brightest rising stars in the film industry. She is the daughter of Charles
Newton, the Emmy-winning cinematographer for the BBC's "Blue Planet."
Translation: "Cape Town is so nice."
Like many white South Africans, Maxwell-Newton is hoping to create her own
future in this troubled nation dominated by crime, affirmative action and
quotas aimed at redressing the ills of apartheid.
"I've nearly had my arm bitten off by a shark while filming underwater. I've
gone skydiving. I'm willing to take risks. There are stories that aren't
being told. I want my work to count for something," she told WND.
Maxwell-Newton has been working of late producing television commercials.
As she speaks, Maxwell-Newton interjects Afrikaans, as English speakers are
apt to do. It is a microcosm of the many cultures that come together to form
the South Africa people.
While former President Nelson Mandela told the impoverished blacks to burn
down their schools and boycott "the language of the oppressor," it is a
language that, along with English, enables all citizens to communicate with
one another. Mandela even spoke in Afrikaans during part of his inaugural
address in 1994.
"South Africans find refuge in their slang," says Dippennar.
Kate LeBlanc, a bartender from Constantia, told WorldNetDaily that her
favorite slang words and terms include "pull in," meaning "come along,"
"fully," as in "I fully agree," and the classic South African expression
"It's hectic, hey?" which is used to describe just about any stressful or
emotionally charged situation.
In the world that is South Africa, a "hooker," isn't merely a sex worker
walking the streets, but the ruby player who throws the ball into the
"scrum" from the sidelines. "Biscuits" are what Americans would call
"cookies," not a Saturday morning treat to be covered with gravy.
"Don't ask for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you might not like what
you get," chef Shultz warned.
Political agendas
While Cape Town's language, slang and culture is constantly changing, other
deeper cultural norms and mores are undergoing a radical transformation -
not the least of which is South Africa's Christian heritage.
For example, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, or WSSD, held
in Johannesburg in late August, former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev
paraded a "new Ark of the Covenant," which encloses 16 eco-friendly, New
Age, neo-pagan commandments.
The launching of Nepad, or "New Economic Program for Africa," was also a
major theme at the WSSD. Nepad is the brainchild of South Africa's President
Thabo Mbeki, who would ostensibly lead a "United States of Africa" from an
African parliament based in Libya. This United States of Africa would have a
common defense, foreign and economic policies.
Then there is the matter of South Africa's new foreign policy, which under
white rule forged strong anti-Marxist and anti-globalist alliances with
Israel, Chile, Taiwan and El Salvador, but which has suddenly done a
180-degree turn.
"Now the ANC is in bed with mainland Communist China, Cuba, Libya, Iran,
Iraq, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Congo, North Korea and other rouge states," says
South African Police intelligence officer Koos Britz.
Mbeki recently spent 600 million rand on a new Swiss-made Air Force
One-style presidential aircraft to ferry him about the world for important
meetings. When the plane touches ground, it is said opposition lawmakers are
apt to say, "The ego has landed."
Among the many problems he faces, Mbeki is perceived as anti-Afrikaner.
Recent bombings by the extreme right wing in South Africa in response to the
cultural marginalization and isolation faced by the Afrikaners, as well as
the massive farm killings of white ethnic Boer farmers, have caused trouble
for Mbeki.
Additionally, the ANC's Cold War-era partners, the Convention of South
African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party, have criticized
the ANC government's globalist, neo-liberal economic politics. In response,
the ANC has recently joined forces with the New National Party, which is the
political afterbirth of apartheid's founders. This new alliance recently
delivered control of both Cape Town and neighboring Stellenbosch to the ANC
through "floor crossing," in which politicos can change parties after an
While a revolt may be brewing in South Africa, in purely economic terms, the
ANC hasn't privatized all that much. Rather, it has adopted a "mixed
economy" approach as modeled by South Korea. When the ANC recently announced
that all new mining ventures would have to be 50 percent black owned, mining
stocks collapsed to the tune of 80 billion rand or US$8 billion. As such,
the ANC announced it would keep its affirmative action quotas and racial
business targets away from public scrutiny.
Economic realities
The South African rand, worth 25 percent more than the U.S. dollar as
recently as 1973, has all but collapsed. A German bank was found to have
engaged in currency raiding on the rand, much in the same way financial
mogul George Soros started the 1997 Asian Meltdown in Thailand by raiding
the Thai Central Bank and causing Finance One, Thailand's main financial
investment vehicle, to collapse.
"South Africans work hard. There are very low salaries in Cape Town, which
haven't increased along with the high cost of living," says Dippennar, who
made half a million rand working overseas as an advertising executive.
Ninieve Malan, an Afrikaner who recently opened up her own graphic design
company told WorldNetDaily, "Cape Town is expensive. You have to watch every
The employment outlook for white South Africans, says Dippennar, is "bleak
at best. In Pretoria alone, you have 5,000 young Afrikaner men walking the
streets as male prostitutes. Ten years ago, you might be hard pressed to
find 50 or even 20."
Adriano Zurini, the owner of Cafe Vaccamatta, told WND that he doesn't like
the idea of communist economic policy making a comeback in South Africa, or
anywhere for that matter.
Said Zurini, "Economic refugees are coming to Italy, fleeing Islamic nations
in North Africa and former communist nations. Why work and give the fruit of
your labor to others who did nothing?"
Zurini owns two Cafe Vaccamattas, one on the waterfront in Cape Town and the
other in Tiger Valley.
"We are the hottest club since the Hard Rock Cafe. . We are successful
because of one reason - hard work."
Nel Bergman, an American from Chicago who is the manager of Vaccamatta,
said, "I think Marx was very pro-capitalist." Bergman is the daughter of an
American professor. She earned a master's degree from the University of
Zimbabwe. "I think Marx is misunderstood in many ways. And now even
Communist China is embracing capitalist entrepreneurs in a big way."
A devout Marxist , Mbeki recently told his South African comrades, "In our
situation, because of the colonialism of a special type, the victory of the
national liberation struggle did not result in the departure of the foreign
ruling class."
Former Vaccamatta bartender Michelle Omo commented, "My mother moved
overseas to Florida. I'm left behind here, trying to figure out how to pay
to get my laundry done. I love my laundry, but it is expensive."
Ian du Toit, the former bodyguard for South African Defense Force chief
Magnus Malan, told WorldNetDaily he is happy for the changes that have come
to the new South Africa. "I make a lot more money now as a waiter. I'm
happy," he said.
Caroline Kretz who serves as du Toit's superior, told WorldNetDaily she is
optimistic about the future. "My boyfriend is a millionaire diamond trader.
I have a stake in our new restaurant branch opening up in Johannesburg. Life
couldn't be better."
Future shock
Siswe Xhosa, a black African gardener who works in Claremont but resides in
the black township of Khayelitsha, told WorldNetDaily that his economic
reality has gone from "bad to worse" since the end of apartheid. For
example, Xhosa said he had been robbed three times in the last month alone.
"After dark it becomes hell, with murders every night. People are blaming
the white farmers who keep the price of bread so high. My white friends say,
look at Mbeki's R600 million jet before the farmers. I must reluctantly
agree. Of course, it is always easier to point at the whites - less awful
than to acknowledge your own people betray you. Things are definitely
getting worse here when black people start to complain about rising crime in
townships that have always been crime-ridden. It is good for journalists to
hear the frustrations of the other side. It is a warning to South African
whites," he told WorldNetDaily.
"Then there is a brain drain of my ex-Khayelitsha friends, which I find odd
but interesting. You always think it's mainly whites who flee overseas, but,
like Zimbabwe, now even black people are leaving if they can. Again, it is
due to unlivable earnings. The cost of living keeps rising. The one thing
that is not rising are the salaries, which have been the same since 1996."
Dakota Godfrey, a Nigerian drug dealer who lives in Newlands, a Cape Town
suburb, told WorldNetDaily he moved to Cape Town because he wanted a better
"Africa's dictators profit off of instability. Therefore, they will always
work to maintain that instability," he said.
Frank Manley, a Rhodesian War veteran, says he still believes in South
Africa's future: "The Afrikaners are tough. We have to teach the younger
generation of Afrikaners that nothing is going to be handed to them. There's
more to life than beer and rugby. Rugby is not war, merely a substitute for
Heeding his father's advise, Ian Manley, Frank's son, a journalism student
at the University of Cape Town, paid his own way to Johannesburg to cover
the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development.
"We get the typically liberal view of the world in our journalism classes at
varsity," Ian Manley told WorldNetDaily. "I want to go beyond that."
Clive Burwell, another Constantia British expatriate who served in the
British army, told WND he thought Cape Town was a "perfectly wonderful
retirement destination."
"I have come to loath political correctness in the UK," he explained. "It is
the kind of ideology that says the British Empire never existed and all the
good things Britain brought to the world in terms of Western civilization
also never happened. Hospitals, schools, roads, putting an end to suttee in
India [the practice of widows burning themselves on their husband's funeral
pyres]. That means that all we fought and bled and died for was a mistake."
Potchefstroom resident Narina Coetzee, who works in public relations for the
South African Police told WorldNetDaily she believes an independent state
for the Boers is the answer to the nation's white Euro-ethnic community.
"A Boer state can work in this country. I would move there," Coetzee said.
"When the elections were happening in 1994, the blacks driving around in
Potchefstroom would shout at me: 'Hey you blue-eyed devil. We will kill
you!' In the days of the Boer War, we Afrikaners only controlled the
Transvaal and the Orange Free State. That was enough back then. Under
apartheid we got greedy."
New York-based immigration secretary Carrie Tolan told WorldNetDaily that
she has thought of moving to Cape Town.
"South Africa is particularly attractive to me. It has a strong remnant
community of people with good moral values. You hear time and time again
that South Africans, especially the Boers, are the best people in the world.
Sure there are racial and class issues. But the Afrikaners and other
Europeans are smart and adaptable. Our numbers have always been small. We
will survive. First we'll have to cut away the fat - the greed of the
globalists who want to rule the whole world."
Bartender LeBlanc commented that there is "no other place quite like Cape
Town on earth."
"I'm not sure how long white people have left to live here," she said. "But
I want to stay here as long as possible. I love the beach and the sun.
People ask me, 'Are you still surfing?' I tell them, 'Every day!'"
LeBlanc's best friend, Tracey Benoit, a college student who spends her
afternoons caring for a sister with Down syndrome, told WorldNetDaily, "This
is the most beautiful city in South Africa and perhaps the world. We just
love it here. I couldn't even imagine being anyplace else."
As to the question of whether Cape Town will weather the current storms
battering South Africa and the African continent as a whole, Dippennar said
she believes the only real solutions to the survival of the city lay within
the hearts of all her citizens.
"Recently, the U.S. judicial administrators working to try the 'war
criminals' in Sierra Leone for hacking the limbs off thousands of children
asked the victims to testify against their persecutors. At first, the
children refused. Many of them had both feet and both hands cut off. Others
expressed joy that they had either feet or hands. Most of them refused to
cooperate with the investigation," she told WorldNetDaily.
"Finally, these children relented and agreed to testify, but only on one
condition, that condition being that their parents be given one sack of rice
per week for life. They are not asking for clothes or CD players or other
material goods. They are living proof of what happens when men become
greedy. In Sierra Leone, men were hacking off the limbs of children in their
mad quest to take control of that nation's diamond mines. You see, these
child victims in Sierra Leone know that they have to live with the killers
in their towns and villages.
"The children of Sierra Leone are learning to forego materialism and to
forgive and forget. It they can do it - minus their limbs - how can we South
Africans - black, white, brown, yellow and red - who have our limbs, do any
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Petrol Fetches $1 000/Litre On Black Market

Financial Gazette (Harare)

December 13, 2002
Posted to the web December 14, 2002

Staff Reporter

BLACK market traders were yesterday charging as much as $1 000 per litre of
petrol, 13 times the normal pump price, as Zimbabwe virtually ran out of the
commodity this week despite reports that the government had last Friday paid
for the country's December fuel allocation from Libyan oil firm Tamoil.

Queues of vehicles stretched for kilometres at the few garages that were
still selling petrol in Harare and a few other major centres.

More desperate motorists opted to secure fuel from an illegal but thriving
black market where traders were making a killing, charging between $700 and
$1 000 per litre of petrol.

The pump price for petrol set by the government is $74.74 per litre.

Motorists interviewed by the Financial Gazette said they planned to simply
park their vehicles until the situation improved.

As an increasing number of desperate Zimbabweans opted for public transport,
taxi operators were also quick to cash in on the crisis, charging at least
10 times their normal fares.

The petrol shortage is just one of a plethora of shortages of essential
commodities affecting Zimbabwe, which is grappling with its worst economic
crisis since independence from Britain 22 years ago.

Consumers are also facing shortages of the staple maize meal, bread, sugar,
cooking oil, essential drugs, crop inputs and foreign currency.

Oil industry officials said this latest petrol crisis was triggered by
Zimbabwe's late payment of US$40 million to Libya's Tamoil, which has
resolved not to supply fuel to the country unless it receives payment in

The company supplies 70 percent of the country's fuel, with the remainder
coming in by land from South Africa.

Sources said the payment for Zimbabwe's December fuel allocation had only
been made last Friday, resulting in pumping into the Beira-Harare oil
pipeline only resuming on Monday this week.

It could however not be established whether the government, which this week
blamed the biting petrol shortage on technical hitches at the Mozambican
port of Beira, had paid in full for a whole month's supply.

But sources said although Harare had renewed a US$360 million fuel line of
credit with a Libyan bank, this had failed to improve the fuel situation
because Zimbabwe did not have foreign currency to pay timeously for fuel,
forcing Tamoil to frequently switch off supplies to press for payments.

"The problem is payment for the fuel, which is why there are all these
interruptions to supplies," a well-placed oil industry source told this

"The government needs to raise US$40 million every month for fuel but this
is not happening on time, so the supplier will just turn off its taps until
payment is made."

Petrol Marketers' Association of Zimbabwe chairman Simba Kambarami said:
"There are problems with suppliers from that side (the Beira pipeline) but
the southern region has some fuel. I think the root problem is obviously

"We are holding frantic meetings with the ministry who have promised us that
the situation will "ease" by the end of this week."

Sources said the Ministry of Energy and Power Development had now taken
direct control of fuel distribution from the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe in a desperate bid to resolve the deepening crisis.

A former intelligence operative, Justin Mupanhanga, has been brought in as
secretary of the Energy Ministry in what sources alleged was part of efforts
to strengthen the government's hands on day-to-day management of fuel

Meanwhile, Kambarami said oil companies had written to the government last
week as a follow up to a memorandum of understanding that the two parties
had entered into to pave the way for private oil companies to import fuel.

Kambarami however said there was no official communication yet from the
government to say that the oil companies could now proceed with importing
the fuel.

He said the oil firms would be able to secure lines of credits from
international institutions and procure fuel much more efficiently.

"We have received no official communication to say that we can proceed (with
fuel imports) so there is no specific time we can say we will do it," said

"The only thing we can promise is that we will be able to get lines of
credits and we can procure fuel much more efficiently."
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Gold Lures Zimbabwe's New Farmers

Financial Gazette (Harare)

December 13, 2002
Posted to the web December 14, 2002

Njabulo Ncube, Bulawayo Bureau Chief

George Moyo is a war veteran who fought in Zimbabwe's liberation struggle
and the proud owner of a 100-acre plot allocated to him at Matabeleland
North's Dromoland Farm under the government's drive to seize white-owned
land and resettle landless blacks.

He still vividly remembers the day President Robert Mugabe and his large
entourage drove at break-neck speed into Dromoland Farm, about 120
kilometres from Bulawayo, to personally dole out pieces of land to 2 000
people before the parliamentary polls two years ago.

"It was a dream come true for me, my former ZIPRA (Zimbabwe People's
Liberation Army) colleagues that fought the liberation struggle and fellow
landless villagers," Moyo told the Financial Gazette this week.

"These whites (farmers) are crazy, they want to own the whole country. It is
now delivery time. We blacks are now proud owners of the land. We don't care
what you people write, but the truth of the matter is that this historical
milestone is not going to be reversed," added the 45-year old war veteran.

But the initial euphoria generated by the appropriation of land from white
farmers and its reallocation to blacks has dissipated. Moyo is one of
several resettled farmers who have tired of the long wait for the inputs and
financial support needed to plant their crops for the 2002/2003 agricultural

Although Zimbabwe's rainy season is already under way and there are only a
few planting days left, a large number of new farmers in this district of
the Bubi-Umguza constituency have abandoned their empty fields for the
area's disused mine sites.

Clad in torn gumboots and tattered black overalls inscribed with the letters
BCC, an abbreviation for Bulawayo City Council, Moyo was found by this
reporter digging and sifting through rubble at a mine dump near Inyathi
Mission Hospital.

Asked what he is searching for, he laughs before answering: "I might hit the
jackpot. I am looking for gold. Are you a police informer? I thought you
were a reporter. But anywhere, I am after money, nothing else."

His task is laborious and offers very little reward. Kneeling on the ground,
he scoops a handful of sand into a bucket containing water, then takes a
swig from a 20-litre can that contains a home brewed opaque beer popularly
known as isigodo khaya.

Thus fortified, he crushes stones with a five-pound hammer and pauses for a
few seconds before adding: "This is our livelihood."

The illegal gold miners risk arrest by the police as well as life and limb
as they venture down disused mine shafts, which could collapse any second,
burying them under an avalanche of rubble.

Others threaten tributaries and rivers in Inyathi with siltation in their
search for alluvial gold.

Several multinational companies have gold mines here and their dump sites
also provide a livelihood for resettled farmers who feel they cannot make a
living off their land because of the constraints hampering farming activity.

Most of the new farmers do not have the funds to buy seed, fertiliser and
chemicals or to pay for expensive tillage services. Economists estimate that
at least $160 billion is necessary to fund communal and resettled farmers
for the 2003 agricultural season.

The government has floated a $60 billion stock issue to meet some of these
costs, but it has not been well received by the financial markets.

Moyo, who operates with a gang at Inyathi, told the Financial Gazette: "I am
proud of the fact that I now own my own land but it's not easy to work the
land without adequate finance to buy seed, machinery, fertiliser and pay
people to help farm to feed the nation."

However, officials of farmers' organisations say even if there were
sufficient funds to finance the agricultural season, crippling input
shortages would still hamper growers as would bottlenecks in the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB)'s delivery of materials to resettlement and communal
farming areas.

Fears that Zimbabwe will be hit by another drought next year have also
discouraged some new farmers from planting, the officials said.

"People are hungry out there," said Mary Ndlovu, the only female member of
Moyo's gold panning gang. "You can't sit and wait for the rain to grow
maize. It's a long and tiresome process and the financial rewards are not

Ndlovu, a former ZIPRA member and mother of five, added: "In my case, I have
no maize seed as we talk. We were told to go to the nearest GMB depots, but
they also have nothing. It's better to look for gold out here."

Farmers resettled in Matabeleland North who spoke to the Financial Gazette
this week said they were unlikely to plant enough to ensure Zimbabwe's food
security next year, preoccupied as they were with feeding their own

Agricultural analysts said the country's food shortages, the result of
drought and the government's agrarian reforms - which have slashed food
production by over 60 percent in the past year - were likely to worsen in

Moyo said: "We have taken the land from the whites, yes. We want to address
an imbalance, but it's also a fact that we resettled farmers are still very
far off from feeding the nation. What we want is a fast buck. This is the
reason why you find most of us here in Inyathi panning for gold. You reap
far better financial rewards than in growing maize.

"I am only able to grow about five hectares of maize, but this will not earn
much for me and my family. We sometimes fetch between $400 000 and $500 000
here from the sale of a few grammes of gold. You don't get this much from
say a tonne of maize and in any case, there is no longer time to grow

The convergence in Inyathi and other gold-rich areas of large numbers of
people chasing quick financial rewards have had negative consequences.

The Inyathi and Umguza rivers and their tributaries are threatened with
serious environmental damage. The situation is worse in Killarney and
Kensington settlements near Bulawayo where thousands of squatters have
established eyesore compounds.

Jacob Thabane, the legislator for Bubi-Umguza, said an increase in crime in
the area had also accompanied the illegal gold miners.

He told the Financial Gazette: "You can't just dump people in the bush to
fend for themselves without basic infrastructure such as schools, dams etc.
This is the end result.

"There are a lot of them (panners) here. At one point, I counted up to 200
people scavenging for gold in Inyathi. Some of them are a problem and have
resulted in high incidents of crime in my constituency.

"We need to put controls to prevent environmental degradation but this has
gone out of hand as the new resettled farmers are now panning full time
instead of farming."
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Please note the report below will be the last until the 7 January 2002. This is due to the member of staff who compiles the reports being on leave to bond with " a French turkey and stuffing"!!.

The Union will close over the Christmas period from Friday 20 December at 4.30pm reopening on Wednesday 2 January 2003. For emergencies during this period please contact your FA Chairman or Regional Chairman. If they are not available the President and Vice President are "on call" at the numbers listed below.

On behalf of the President, Vice President’s and staff of CFU may I take the opportunity of wishing you and your families a peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New Year - may your troubles be few and your queues short.

Mr. C Cloete cell 011 607-396 from 6.00 am until 10pm.

Mr. M Crawford cell 011 411- 751 home 082- 2500

Jules Lang (On behalf of the CFU.)

ALB report

The Ministry of Labour has now formally notified us in writing that they will not be registering our collective bargaining agreement and they have instructed us to renegotiate. There is no indication in the letter why the Ministry has refused to register this agreement other than a statement that some farmers have raised some concerns. This means that there is no legal obligation for any farmer to pay the new minimum wages. However, if you have paid the new wages you are legally bound to continue. In view the fact that the agreement is staggered this means that there is no legal obligation to pay the January increase even if you are paying the current new wages.

Inputs report


  • Stocks are tight
  • no new orders being processed as huge back orders for maize fertiliser and AN still outstanding. However most tobacco orders have been met mainly due to the TGT scheme.
  • The main problem is the supply of local raw materials (AN and Phosphates)
  • AN, Sable has been for the whole year operating at 65% capacity due to shortage of forex to procure Anhydrous Ammonia.
  • Phosphates, supply problems of the phosphate rock from Dorowa due to transport constraints and lack of foreign currency to purchase phosphoric acid required for processing the rock compounded by the erratic fuel supply have constrained Zimphos in providing reliable supply.


  • Price Controls impacting negatively on replacement of stock, as foreign currency to procure the stocks is non available and at a cost above the controlled prices
  • Stocks are running low
  • Most chemical orders have been met however very limited new orders are being processed.


  • There is secrecy on actual position.
  • manifestation of the gravity of the problem are the horrific queues which are getting longer by each passing day
  • Even the indigenous players who had in the past 1 month been receiving favourable allocations have also run dry.
  • The crisis is going to continue due to the drying up of major and reliable forex inflows since the conclusion of the tobacco sales in November.

For those farmers who have access to foreign currency arrangements for direct importation should be actively considered to avoid set backs during the season.

If you require any further information on any of the above issues please contact CFU Tel 04 -309800 ext. 279 or e–mail and we will endeavor to supply prompt answers.



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Two legal challenges as urgent High Court actions should be lodged in the
High Court today by Mr Ray Passaportis.  These are the Colemans (owners in
the Barwick area, Mash Central) and Alan and Mel George (leasing in
Marondera North area, Mash East).  Undertaking to finance an S.I.6
challenge was given by the CFU to Ray Passaportis some time ago.  In the
light of a recent so called "legal opinion" out of the Ministry of Labour
which states that leased properties should also pay S.I.6 (up to now
S.I.404 has applied) it is absolutely essential to fly two cases: one on an
owned property and one on a leased property.  CFU more recently have
pledged to fund both.

In light of the above and especially because of recent conflict between
Government (Ministry of Labour) and GAPWUZ/ALB over the new minimum wage
($7500.00), which Government never ratified nor gazetted; farmers are
advised to exercise caution with regard to S.I.6 payments and rather "wait
and see".  Government are under pressure to return to a minimum wage of
$4300.00 as A2 settlers and new commercial farmers cannot afford the
increase.  Reports indicate wages being paid between $1200.00 - $3000.00
per month.  Needless to say we need more reports in on this "travesty of

J Worsley-Worswick
VICE CHAIRMAN (011 612 595)

Justice for Agriculture mailing list
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No Decisions

The World Outside.

The BBC is celebrating its 70th birthday and invited two leading international statesmen to give public interviews as part of its commemorations. The first was Tony Blair and the second Kofi Annan. I listened to both in the hope that we might get a perspective on just how our situation is perceived at this moment in time.

Blair did not disappoint mainly due to an excellent question from a Zimbabwean in Harare. He responded as we have come to expect from British politicians and especially the Blair government. Much wringing of hands, echoes of despair that so little has been achieved, determination to "do something", "sometime" and little else. Asked about Mbeki’s ambivalence towards the Zimbabwe crisis he fudged the issues again – acknowledged that South Africa was the key and that was why Mbeki was on the Commonwealth troika dealing with the issue. It was a classic Blair performance – lucid, clear, and completely empty of content.

Then Kofi Annan. This was even worse – he did not even get asked to comment on Zimbabwe or the crisis in Africa, his home continent. He did cover the Aids pandemic and said that we (the globe) were headed for a catastrophe. But the main issue was Iraq and the struggle for power and influence in the world between the UN and the USA. But it was also classic Annan – clear, reasoned and calm. The perfect international civil servant, ruffling no ones feathers and making no waves other than those already in motion. He did say that when he retired he wanted to go farming, I am sure he did not mean in Zimbabwe, in fact he did not say where – I hope it will be back home in Ghana. I assume he will want to invest his life’s savings in land and improvements in Africa and then hope and pray that Mugabe does not hear of it.

Then a meeting in Johannesburg called to discuss the way forward for Zimbabwe. They debated the crisis in the economy on the basis of a new study just completed which clearly showed that we are close to melt down. Then they talked about food, the crisis of governance and the human rights abuse. What to do? Nothing – past policy has failed to achieve anything, recent meetings in Pretoria with the Zimbabwe government had yielded no movement on any front. They asked for the MDC position on the way forward and when this was set out they asked Zanu PF for their reaction – it was rejected outright.

They then came back to the same old line – lets work on a reformed Zanu PF, accept that they are in power for the next 5 years and try to get them back into the world community. No recognition of the validity of the MDC position as principled and the only path back to democratic legitimacy. No recognition of the hopeless task of trying to turn the ship around when it is firmly stuck in the sand and being pounded to destruction by the waves of corruption and bad policy. Just a shallow, futile attempt to justify the ANC/SA governments position on the March 2002 elections and despair that the MDC refuses to be swallowed up by Zanu PF.

Only the USA seems to be absolutely clear on where it stands and what it sees as the way forward. They come under so much criticism the whole time – "war mongering" in Iraq, when only a credible threat of military action could get movement towards removing weapons of mass destruction. The determination to go it alone, if the rest of the world has not got the gumption to do what is required to protect American interests and security, resulting in a scramble to debate the issues in the UN system.

In the case of Zimbabwe, only the US has made its position absolutely clear – the March elections were a sham, the only way back to the road is fresh elections, properly conducted according to the accepted norms of democracy. They have thrown their weight behind efforts to get movement back to the road we left two years ago but feel that it is not their responsibility to act as global policemen – especially when you have the UN, the UK and South Africa with more direct responsibility.

And so it is back to us in Zimbabwe. This week we were told that the current population of the country was only 11,6 million – according to the census conducted in June. There are only 60 000 whites left in the country. We are not surprised by either statistic – with some 2,5 million Zimbabweans outside the country and a million deaths from Aids in a decade, its astonishing that our population is in fact not smaller than it was 10 years ago when the last census was conducted. What the statistics did not tell us was just who is missing? If we could look at this we would find that it is the cream of our society – the educated, the experienced and the skilled. Emigration from Africa is always qualitative – our best go and we do not allow those who want to come to the continent to help permission to do so.

The ZCTU and other bodies called a stay away this week – only a third of the work force, if that, responded. Even my own staff did not respond and when we asked them why, they said they had told the organizers that they wanted to go onto the streets and demonstrate – not a stay away. In their view a stay away would be an empty gesture – it would cost them money, damage their companies and be ignored by the State. They want to get Mugabe’s attention in a way that cannot be ignored. I was dissapointed but could not argue with the logic.

A journalist came to Zimbabwe the other day and when she got home, wrote an article that said that we were overstating the crisis in Zimbabwe – sure there were problems, but the country was still functioning. The term "melt down" is often used to describe the state of the economy here and if you have ever witnessed metal in a foundry being melted down you will know that for a long time it maintains its shape and form until it reaches melting point at which stage the collapse is rapid and total.

We are in a similar position here and I wrote to the journalist in reply to her article that she should not lose sight of the basic facts. Our GDP has declined 30 per cent in three years; inflation is in 3 figures and rising rapidly, exports have collapsed to a third of what they were in 1997 and still falling. Industrial output is down 40 per cent and declining at 3 per cent per month. Tourism is down 80 per cent, mining output is falling in most sectors and agriculture is in a state of complete collapse and chaos. We are importing 75 per cent of all our food and 8 million people face serious food shortages and famine. Incomes have fallen 25 per cent in a decade and life expectancies 22 years in the same period. Our national debt is out of control and the arrears on foreign debt alone now exceed our total annual exports. Employment has fallen a third in two years.

Now the State is attempting to take over virtually all the foreign exchange earnings of the country at a ridiculous rate of exchange and has imposed a mindless "price freeze" on everything it can think of except liquor. Next it plans an 18-month freeze on wages in an environment where prices are rising 25 per cent a month. Labour leaders and business organisations are frantic – one business leader is reported to have asked the Minister of Industry "what are you doing to us?" That is what commercial farmers have been asking incredulously for two years now.

Well might he ask? The reply would not have enlightened him at all as he would not be told the truth, but the reality is that Pol Pot has died in Asia and come back to haunt us in Zimbabwe. They plan to starve the MDC structures into submission and to kill all non-Zanu PF related business activity in the country. Mugabe is doing what the Lancaster House process denied him in 1980, a chance to burn the country to the ground so that he can then build a Zanu PF haven in its place where he and a handful of chosen supporters can live in splendid feudal luxury and isolation. Surrounded by a population of peasants who are totally dependent on him and his largesse to survive. He does not care if half the population finds itself in the squatter camps of South Africa or the leafy suburbs of some English city.

So it is now a race against time – to try and haul Zimbabwe out of the witches’ cauldron before it melts down into just another failed state in Africa. A race against a humanitarian disaster that is man made and Zanu PF managed. A race against the negative perception that African leadership is hopeless and corrupt and that the best course of action is to leave them to stew in their own juice.

The stakes are high – half the total population of Zimbabwe is at risk. The stability and growth of the whole sub continent is in jeopardy putting the welfare of hundreds of millions of African people at risk. The democratic foundations of a new start for South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia are at risk from socio economic pressures and demands. The future of Nepad with its potential to uplift the whole continent and give all Africans a new start is in jeopardy.

In business we know that no decisions are the worst decisions and must inevitably lead to failure. From what I heard this week, despite the clear understanding of the consequences of no action, those with the capacity to deal with the crisis here most effectively are doing just that – making no decisions.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 12th December 2002.

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      Embattled Mugabe threatens retribution against whites in Zimbabwe

      By Angus Shaw
      December 13, 2002

      HARARE, Zimbabwe - President Robert Mugabe threatened retribution
against the white population of Zimbabwe on Friday, suggesting they were
working with Britain, the former colonial power, to sabotage his government.

      Mugabe accused the British of leading an international campaign to
isolate Zimbabwe and recruit support for his opponents inside his country.

      "The more they work against us, the more they express hostility
against us, the more negative we shall become to their kith and kin here,"
Mugabe said at the opening of his ruling party's annual convention.

      The embattled Mugabe, however, did not refer to the nation's deepening
economic crisis and a looming famine largely blamed on his party's policies.

      In an 80-minute address, Mugabe railed against whites, Britain and its
Western allies whom he accused of "nurturing enemies among us" by
criticizing his party and supporting the main opposition party, Movement for
Democratic Change.

      "We are the type of people who, if you step on our foot, we fight
back," said Mugabe.

      Mugabe wore a baseball cap bearing the slogan "Chave Chimurenga,"
meaning "It is now war" in the local Shona language.

      The white population in Zimbabwe stands at about 30,000 - less than 1
percent of the population.

      More than double that number lived in the southern African country 2½
years ago, before ruling party militants began a campaign to seize
white-owned farms, sparking political and economic unrest.

      Most whites are the descendants of colonial era British and South
African settlers.

      The government has repeatedly accused Western countries and local
whites of funding the main opposition that narrowly lost presidential
elections in March.

      "They are the enemies of the people and our government. We must be on
our guard. Our survival is an ongoing war," Mugabe told about 2,000 ruling
party loyalists at the convention in the provincial town of Chinhoyi, 70
miles northwest of Harare.

      In his one reference to the country's economic woes, he said gasoline
shortages that have left most of Zimbabwe's gas stations dry would be
discussed in a closed session by delegates.

      Delegates cheered and danced as Mugabe walked to the podium, but their
response to his address was uncharacteristically muted compared to previous

      Some laughed when Philip Chiyangwa, ruling party lawmaker for
Chinhoyi, welcomed them to "Zimbabwe's bread basket."

      Once known as southern Africa's bread basket, Zimbabwe now faces acute
food shortages. The World Food Program says at least 6.7 million
Zimbabweans, more than half the population, will need emergency food aid in
coming months to avert mass starvation.

      Mugabe says the food crisis on a drought earlier this year, while most
analysts blames political violence and disruptions in the agriculture-based
economy during the government's program to confiscate thousands of
white-owned commercial farms that now lie virtually idle.

      Mugabe on Thursday promised to enforce a widely abused government
price freeze on most goods to slow record inflation, officially estimated at
144 percent but seen to be much higher.


            Leave us alone, Mugabe tells Western powers
            December 13, 2002, 19:45

            President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe called on Western powers to
leave his embattled government alone today, warning he would respond to
pressure by ratcheting up hostility toward whites in the country.

            Opening the annual conference of his ruling Zanu-PF party, the
78-year-old Mugabe vowed to fight on - particularly against former colonial
power Britain, which he said had become "the enemy" under Prime Minister
Tony Blair.

            "Leave us alone to run our affairs," Mugabe said. "Leave us
alone to run our lives. We don't interfere in the affairs of Britain and no
one should interfere in our own affairs."

            If Britain's allies want to make Zimbabwe their own issue,
Mugabe said, "we will recognise them as enemies like we recognise Britain,
under Mr Blair, as an enemy of Zimbabwe. "The more they work against us, the
more they express their hostility against us, the more negative we shall
become to their kith and kin here."

            Mugabe, whose country has plunged into economic crisis in part
due to his policy of seizing white-owned farm land, ruled out forming a
government of national unity with main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), calling it a British puppet created to undermine his land
reform programme.

            Mugabe said Zimbabwe's white farmers had committed the
"unforgivable sin" of supporting the MDC. "We started treating them as
enemies of our government and the enemies of our people...and so we shall
continue," he said.

            Mugabe's party conference to end tomorrow
            But the Zimbabwean leader also said he would lead an audit of
the land reform programme next year to sort out ownership disputes amid
reports some officials had grabbed many farms. "In the meantime, I appeal to
you that don't fight among yourselves because we will ensure fairness," he

            After Mugabe's speech and solidarity messages from party allies,
the conference went into a closed session and officials said the closing
ceremony was likely to be brought forward to tomorrow from Sunday to give
delegates time to return home.

            Mugabe avoided any specific reference to Zimbabwe's crumbling
economy and a fuel shortage that has almost brought the country to a

            Instead, the former guerrilla leader used his speech to slam
domestic and Western critics, who have accused him of increasing political
abuses during his 22 years in power.

            "We don't accept this cover that people are fighting for
democracy and human rights when they are trying to deprive us of our land,
of our rights," Mugabe said. "Where was democracy when we were being
colonised, where was democracy and human rights when our land was being
seized?" - Reuters


Land, Zimbabwe's only heritage-President

14 December 2002
The president and First Secretary of the ruling Zanu-PF party, Cde Robert
Mugabe, says the land is the only heritage Zimbabweans have and it is
everyone's national duty to defend it.

Cde Mugabe said this while officially opening the sixth Annual National
People's Conference in Chinhoyi on Friday.

He reminded delegates that although the country gained political
independence in 1980, imperialism is rearing its ugly head once again.

"Britain is a sworn enemy of Zimbabwe, I wonder why other European nations
like Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are entangling themselves in
the internal affairs of a sovereign state like Zimbabwe," he said.

He added that it was surprising that Britain talks of the lack of
transparency and democracy in Zimbabwe and yet the British are the same
people who colonised locals, degraded Africans, created jails and treated
locals like slaves.

Cde Mugabe lamented the mayherm that the Aids pandemic has caused in
industry as most of production time is being lost while affected people seek
medical attention.

He revealed that the Government will strive, through the Ministry of Health
and Child Welfare, to acquire affordable drugs which will help prolong life
in affected people.

Cde Mugabe appealed to people not to be reckless with their lives so as to
avoid contracting the HIV virus.

On the economic sitution in the country, the President said the prevailing
economic situation is a result of the country's land reform programme.

He said after Britain reneged on her colonial obligations, Zimbabwe decided
that with or without external financial assistance, the land redistribution
exercise would proceed.

"Through the fast track resettlement programme, Government was able to show
the world that land was truly the core of Zimbabwe's protracted struggle for
independence," he said.

He added that it was the land reform exercise that has seen Zimbabwe pay a
heavy price.

He said Britain and her local cahorts, MDC and so-called civic and
non-governmental organizations, aided by a partisan media and racists in
Canada, Australia and New Zealand and parts of the European Union, have
sought Zimbabwe's demonisation, isolation and annihilation.

"Zimbabwe's opponents have closed their minds to reason, refusing to listen
to the side of the country's story," he said.

He said in all attempts to engage them, Zimbabwe's opponents have instead
been involved in acts of vandalism on farm equipment or cruel cases of crop
and animal poisoning, attacking of resettled communities , engaging in
unending and racist legal challenges, in a ploy to bring scorn to the
country's land reform programme.

President Mugabe paid tribute to all Zanu-PF party membership, organs, war
veterans, war collaborators, ex-political prisoners, detainees and
restrictees, for the 2oo2 victory in the presidential election, conquests in
parliamentary by-elections, and triumphs in elections for rural district

He urged the party's machinery to begin its work so that some by-elections
that have presented themselves, come to the party's way as well.

Cde Mugabe said Zimbabweans will remember the presidential election for
years to come as it has enlightened the nation on how cruel and inhuman
colonialisers have been.

He said so much money was poured into the opposition's coffers while its
youths were trained in all manners of criminal and murderous activities.

Cde Mugabe said as the election drew nearer, Zimbabwe experienced a media
spotlight never seen before as the obsession become one, to detract from the
peaceful and proper conduct of the election.

"The country's detractors had even anointed a winner well before the
election, forgetting that it was a Zimbabwean election for Zimbabweans to
choose their president," he said.

President Mugabe said after the elections, suggestions were made for
inter-party talks between the MDC and the ruling party.

He said since the MDC has no interests of the nation at heart, it was not
surprising that as the ruling party sought to engage in dialogue with them,
they kept doing the bidding of their masters and caused the failure of the
inter-party talks by deviating from an agenda and running to the courts once

Cde Mugabe again called on Zimbabweans to remain united especially now when
the country is going through difficult times, worsened by the opponents of
the land reform programme.

Over 3 000 delegates from the country's ten provinces are attending the
annual conference whose theme is 'Land for Economic Development'.


Zimbabwe's President Threatens Whites Again
VOA News
13 Dec 2002, 17:10 UTC

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has threatened whites in his country -
saying the more Britain and its allies criticize him, the more their
relatives in Zimbabwe will be treated as enemies.

The 78-year-old president spoke earlier Friday at the opening his ZANU-PF
party's annual conference in Chinhoyi, near the capital, Harare.

Mr. Mugabe's government has been sharply criticized for not forming a
national unity government with the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change - which Mr. Mugabe calls a British puppet - and for seizing
white-owned commercial farms and giving them to blacks.

President Mugabe also said Friday that whites who oppose his controversial
land distribution policy are committing "an unforgivable sin."

Admitting there were some problems with implementing land reform, Mr. Mugabe
promised to direct an audit of the program amid allegations that officials
have illegally grabbed farmland.

Zimbabwe is undergoing a severe economic crisis and food shortage, partly
due to drought, but also attributed to the land crisis - which has
dramatically cut agricultural production.

Mugabe Blames the UK for His Land Grab

Business Day (Johannesburg)

December 13, 2002
Posted to the web December 13, 2002

Dumisani Muleya

Blair's attitude forced' him to seize farms

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe says his government would not have seized
land wholesale if the British government had co-operated with him.

In a wide-ranging interview with the state-controlled Herald newspaper,
Mugabe said British Prime Minister Tony Blair's attitude forced him to adopt
radical redistribution methods.

"It would have been resolved along the path of understanding between us and
Britain, which would have resulted in an understanding between us and the
commercial farming sector, that is the European farmers.

"There would not have emerged a situation of conflict," he said.

Mugabe said the land grab was a retaliatory stance. "The fact that Britain
was negative made us also negative in attitude to the farmers, and this
negative had other positive results," he said.

"It is the negative producing the positive. Because they confronted us
politically, we geared ourselves to be negative against them."

Mugabe said his land policy was irreversible, and Zimbabwe had carried the
financial burden of the policy.

He said Britain had imposed sanctions directly and indirectly by getting
Blair and his "friends" to refrain from investing in Zimbabwe, and
withdrawing donor support.

Mugabe rejected accusations that he parcelled out a lot of land to his

"Well, if all those who have got land are cronies in the various provinces
and the people in these provinces, the chiefs, headmen and the kings' people
if they are all cronies of the government then the whole nation is our crony
. But I wonder whether Welshman Ncube (Movement for Democratic Change
secretary-general) is also my crony."

Ncube was charged with treason in March.

Mugabe dismissed charges that his programme would generate starvation. "When
the white men came to this country they found our people growing enough
food, much more food than was needed for our own subsistence, and we were
the main growers of grain in the country until the white fellows saw benefit
in growing maize commercially."

Mugabe also commented on US threats to use intrusive measures in the
Zimbabwe food crisis. "Intrusive measures well (they) didn't spell out what
these intrusive measures were," he said.
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ZIMBABWE: ZANU-PF congress to tackle economic woes

JOHANNESBURG, 13 December (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's controversial land reform programme and the country's economic troubles were expected to top the agenda at the ruling ZANU-PF annual congress on Friday, news reports said.

Reuters reported that President Robert Mugabe was likely to use the opportunity to entrench his own position. The ruling party has dismissed suggestions that the retirement of Mugabe would be on the agenda as he had been elected to lead the party  its 2005 congress.

The country is facing one of its worst economic crises ever, with the official inflation rate at 144 percent in November.

The effects of the foreign currency squeeze were again felt this week, as petrol stations ran dry. Newspapers reported that in some parts of the country queues of cars and buses stretched for kilometres waiting for petrol.

The state-run Herald newspaper reported: "Petrol pumps ran dry throughout the country yesterday [Thursday] amid shocking revelations that the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) is contemplating terminating its secure fuel deal with Tamoil, a Libyan international oil supplier."

The fuel crisis started at the end of 1999 because of a lack of foreign currency to purchase the commodity.

In November, Mugabe said foreign oil companies with retail outlets in Zimbabwe should import their own products for re-sale, ending the government's monopoly.

Meanwhile, Wellington Chibhebhe, the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), and seven other union leaders, arrested by the police on Monday while attending a labour meeting, were on Thursday released by police without being charged.

The arrests came on the eve of a national stayaway called by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), and backed by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Under the Public Order and Security Act, the police have no power to sanction meetings of professional and union bodies such as the ZCTU.

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From BBC News, 12 December

Bodies found in Zimbabwe

By Thabo Kunene, BBC, Bulawayo

The remains of four opposition Movement for Democratic Change members have
been retrieved by local residents and police from an abandoned dip tank at a
village in northern Matabeleland. They also recovered the body of a member
of the Zanu PF youth militia who is believed to have been killed by his
colleagues about two weeks ago following a dispute within their ranks. After
the youth disappeared, villagers in Lukona in Nkayi District began looking
for him and questioned other militia members. They admitted that the body
was thrown into the dip tank but only after villagers forced a confession
out of them by beating them up. The villagers then alerted the police who
carried out an operation to search for the body. This also led to the
discovery of the skeletons of the four MDC members. When interrogated by
police, the youths blamed local war veterans saying they murdered the MDC
members in secret camps established during the election campaign earlier
this year. The MP for Nkayi, Abednico Bhebhe confirmed the arrests, and the
discovery of the bodies. He said he intends to meet police detectives to
discuss the case. Mr Bhebhe, a member of the MDC, was himself abducted and
severely tortured by war veterans in Nkayi during the election campaign.
Efforts to contact Matabeleland North police spokesman, Inspector Mthokozisi
Moyo, have proved fruitless.
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      ANC invites Mugabe to attend party conference

            December 13 2002 at 06:00AM

            By Basildon Peta

      Johannesburg - President Robert Mugabe's propaganda has been boosted
by the African National Congress's decision to invite his ruling Zanu-PF to
attend its conference in Stellenbosch next week, analysts and the opposition

      They said Mugabe would use the invitation as an opportunity to
demonstrate that Africa was behind him and further divide the international

      This would strengthen his resolve to pursue policies which are
destroying Zimbabwe and have dented investor confidence in the SADC region,
the analysts said.

      Zanu-PF secretary for external affairs, Didymus Mutasa, on Thursday
confirmed that his party had been invited to the ANC conference, but said a
decision had not yet been made as to who would represent it.

            'The ANC has brazenly and openly supported Mugabe'
      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Thursday
criticised the ANC's decision.

      "We are surprised by people who keep on referring to South Africa's
quiet diplomacy... They are not engaged in quiet diplomacy but the ANC has
brazenly and openly supported Mugabe," said MDC spokesperson Paul Themba

      "Unfortunately, for every perceived victory that Mugabe thinks he has
won, including his invitation to the ANC conference, it's always the
ordinary Zimbabweans who suffer from his policies."

      Nyathi said the MDC had not been invited. The ANC conference would
have been a good opportunity for President Thabo Mbeki to invite all
"progressive" ruling parties in southern Africa while at the same time
snubbing Mugabe.

      That would have sent a strong signal that South Africa disapproved of
Mugabe's policies.

            'Many have given up on Mbeki's ability to rein in Mugabe'
      University of Zimbabwe law professor, Lovemore Madhuku, said the ANC's
invitation to Zanu-PF showed that it did not care for its reputation.

      "By now, many in the donor world would also have given up on Mbeki's
ability and willingness to rein in Mugabe. They won't be surprised by the
invitation," Madhuku said.

      A senior researcher at the South African Institute of International
Affairs, Ross Herbert, said it was generally considered a high honour to be
invited to an event like the ANC conference. The invitation would thus have
propaganda value for Mugabe.

      A Zimbabwean business analyst, who did not want to be named, said the
significance of the invitation would depend on whether or not Mugabe

      "If Mugabe attends he will as usual use the platform to pontificate.
It will then be the ANC's credibility at stake because of the media
attention Mugabe will inevitably get."

        a.. This article was originally published on page 5 of The Cape
Times on 13 December 2002
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Justice for Agriculture (JAG) Zimbabwe

The Limited Success Of The Land Reform Programme
13th December 2002

Since various ministers in the government have declared the land reform
process over, and since Robert Mugabe has declared the process of land
grabbing (succinctly described as "Jambanja") terminated, it seems likely
that one of the main matters for discussion at the Zanu-PF National
Conference will be congratulations on a job well done. Indeed, Vice
President Joseph Msika recently announced that the success of the land
reform programme means the revival of the country's economy. The Herald
quotes him as saying "the fact that the success of the land reform
programme has affected other sectors of the economy is evident". In this
matter we find ourselves in strong agreement with him - obviously being one
of the oldest statesmen in the world has not impaired his ability to cast
light on the dusty corners of government policy. The lamentable state of
the economy is the prime topic of conversation in this country, second only
to the lack of available food, and both issues owe much to the poorly
managed issue of land reform.

Mr Msika claims that the insurance industry is set to boom at the hands of
the 50 000 new farmers that have been "empowered", but fails to appreciate
that the claims on this industry from evicted farmers who have had
extensive losses and thefts are likely to make a significant dent in any
such earnings. Likewise, the construction industry will need to provide
much of the infrastructure for these new farmers, supposedly fuelling a
revival in the flagging fortunes of the sector. However, where the money
for such extensive improvements will come from is unclear, since the
resettled farmers have no title deeds with which to secure loans, and the
government has already made it clear that it lacks the resources to fund
such improvements. However, the supposed recovery of either of these
sectors is unlikely to mean very much to the majority of the country, since
the real question on everyone's minds is "Where is the next meal going to
come from?"

According to the recent report on the famine situation released by the Food
Security Network, nearly half of the reports on children that they received
showed that these children were dropping out of school due to hunger, and
another third reported increased absenteeism. The amount of food available
within the cities has dropped drastically, causing frustration amongst the
urban population who are often unable to secure bread or maize meal even
after queueing for hours. Furthermore, the grain supplies are drastically
reduced, which means that many areas have received one or fewer deliveries
of maize in the course of a month. The GMB has taken to seizing the reserve
stocks of farmers which were meant to feed their labour, thereby causing
more hunger in these victimized populations whilst in no large measure
reducing the scale of the national problem. Certainly there is not much for
"Zanu-PF to raise its head high with pride" about, at least in terms of the
success of the land reform programme.

Mr Msika puts forward the idea that the land reform programme was "a move
meant to empower the black people who were marginalized during the colonial
era" - undeniably a laudable motive, and one that should indeed be followed
up on, with some coherent plan. However, when he says that "what the
majority do with the land is their business", he is only partly correct. On
many farms where land was primed and prepped for planting, the land sits
idle, whilst people in the cities think happily about their new kumusha
that they will visit again sometime soon.  Zimbabwe is starving as a result
of this laissez-faire attitude to the land. The commercial farmland used to
produce a more than significant portion of the nation's food crops, and the
yields per hectare were as much as four times that of communal areas. This
is not, as the government would have us believe, because it is the only
arable land in the country, but rather because of the appropriate
management of the soils, inputs, and growth regime - in short, because the
land was well-farmed. The employees on the farms know this well, and are
often quite capable of taking over the farming operations and ensuring just
such bumper crops. Had these people been allocated their 20% share of the
acquired land as they were promised, no doubt we would not be in such dire
straits. However, very few farm workers have been allowed to remain on the
land they have helped to till for years, and much of the infrastructure
lies idle.

On Mervyn Jelliman's farm in Kadoma, center pivots and sprinklers lie
dormant over dry fields. Normally at this time of year some 300 hectares of
maize would have been growing, in addition to the 2,400 to 3,200 tonnes of
wheat and barley he would have already produced. This year, he was chased
off the farm three weeks before his cereal crop came to fruition. On an
average year some 6 to 8 tonnes per hectare would have been harvested off
this land, but the settlers turned off the sprinklers and failed to
maintain the crop. When they eventually carried out a very late harvest
using his combine, they obtained no more than 450 tonnes. Since then, no
further planting has been done. A similar occurrence on Mike Kemple's farm,
where he would have 4,800 tonnes of wheat over the 600 planted hectares,
meant that after he was chased off some two months before the crop reached
maturity the settlers harvested a fraction of the normal expected yield. Is
this what the Herald blithely refers to when it says that "even crops such
as wheat have been demystified as the black farmers start making inroads
into growing the crops"?

We do not contend that resettled farmers are incapable of producing food
for our nation. In truth, black commercial farmers have been growing wheat
for some time, and will readily confirm that it does require some training,
expertise and experience. However, what has happened is that the majority
of the country's most productive farms are no longer producing more than a
tenth of their prior capacity, and the people who are receiving much of
this land do not seem interested in producing food. The haphazard and (dare
we say nepotic) nature of the land reform programme has thrown some of the
most unlikely people into farming. From her harvest to date, it is clear
that Monica Chinamasa (the wife of Patrick Chinamasa) is as much in need of
education on how to grow paprika and tobacco as many of the other resettled
would-be farmers are in their choice of crop. Her crop of 15 paltry
hectares of tobacco is nutrient-stressed and overgrown with weeds, and her
paprika seedlings are still sitting unplanted in the nursery.

Robert Mugabe also, in mentioning as an aside that Welshman Ncube received
land through the resettlement programme, is attempting to imply that the
land distribution has been equitable in nature. There is no contention that
the farm invaders did not represent a wide selection of Zimbabwean rural
society (although spearheaded by Zanu members) - however, the subsequent
allocations, and in particular the A2 resettlement scheme is hardly just.
Can Mr Mugabe really expect us to believe that more than a tenth of the
Zimbabwean population is either personally related to or involved with the
ruling party, because at least that percentage of the allocated farms have
gone to such people? And how does he answer the fact that the A2 scheme
has, of late involved the eviction of huge numbers of the "landless
majority" from the very land that he has promised them?

Furthermore, the wastage in terms of infrastructure is phenomenal. It is
not only irrigation systems that lie idle, either because pumps or pipes
are stolen or damaged, or because the new settlers lack the necessary
skills to run them. Tractors all over the country, having been appropriated
from farms through illegal or violent means, have been literally driven
into the ground due to lack of care and maintenance. Ploughs and disc
harrows, milking machines, tobacco curing and handling facilities, pumps
and generators, all are being damaged and lost through untrained usage or
wanton vandalism. This is not inevitable, and the onus of blame must fall
on the shoulders of government. Productive agricultural land that provided
essential services to the nation should have been turned over gradually and
willingly to people trained in the necessary skills to maintain it. This is
not to say that anyone should have been excluded from the land reform
process due to lack of skill, but rather that the government should have
undertaken to provide the training and the facilities to make it possible
for resettlement farms to produce comparable harvests. As it is, Robert
Mugabe's "jambanja" has cost the nation dearly. People may be "empowered"
but who will enjoy this empowerment as people die in their thousands? True
empowerment can only come from the right to property ownership and title.
What we are seeing now in effect is a reduction in freehold title land from
28.2% of Zimbabwe's area to 2%, at a time when we desperately need to
increase this area, or at the very least to preserve the area that is
currently available.

David Sole struck a deal with the settlers on his farm, which was in fact
not listed. He ploughed and provided irrigation for 100 hectares on which
the settlers could grow whatever crops they desired, whilst he scaled down
his cereal cropping operations to free this land. This amicable
arrangement, arrived at in conjunction with the farm workers, was upset
when Munyaradzi Machimedze, with the backing of Governor Manyika of
Mashonaland East, decided that he wanted the land for himself. Arriving
with a contingent of Zanu youths, he proceeded to evict Sole and the farm
workers, assaulted and evicted the settlers, and disced their entire maize
crop into the ground. In an interview in the Herald (Thursday 12th
December), Robert Mugabe said that he expected some criticism for the
inevitable "mistakes" that have occurred during the land reform process!
This gives the inutterably false impression that on the whole the process
has been relatively coherent and orderly, instead of plunging the country
headfirst into a morass of lawlessness and, unltimately starvation - and
that cases such as David Sole's are the exception rather than the rule. The
truth is that it was inevitable, given the atmosphere of invulnerability
and the lack of accountability for violent and criminal actions, that
farming throughout the country would collapse.

Given this inevitability and the determination of the government to see the
process of "land reform" through to its bitter end "by whatever means
necessary", it was morally incumbent upon the government to make some
preparation for the long-term results. This they have in no means done. To
blame the hunger in the country on drought is merely passing the buck -
Zimbabwe has weathered far worse droughts in the past twenty years: it is
the destruction of the fallback production of commercial agriculture that
is causing starvation. From the outset, the government should have been
stockpiling inputs and resources to allow the resettled farmers to
instantly begin farming. Mr Mugabe says that they were misled as to the
capacity of the chemical and fertilizer companies to provide the necessary
products, but is it not obvious that no such company can massively increase
its production without some prior increase in the inputs and infrastructure
to produce these essential commodities? Failing that, and knowing that seed
production must obviously be heavily impacted when you remove the people
producing the seed from their farms, ZanuPF should have been looking
elsewhere for the necessary inputs a long while ago. Furthermore, since it
was also clear that there would be widespread hunger this year, with
reduced cropping and no maize reserves, ZanuPF once again succumbed to the
inviolable optimism of the spin doctors (or the moral turpitude of its more
intelligent members) and failed to set aside money for, or begin sourcing,
the necessary imports of food aid.

The only success of the land reform program has been the illegal and
unconstitutional removal of skilled farmers and workforces from the one
place that they could best contribute to the sustained wellbeing of the
nation, and to replace them with a misled and politicized group who have
been starved of the promised inputs by the government, and have therefore
been unable to fulfill the promise of feeding the nation. The concomitant
economic collapse is not due to "sanctions" that the first world has in
fact still not actually carried out (investment in the country has dropped,
but only because it is perceived as being as politically unstable as any
war zone), but rather through mismanagement of the economy by a regime that
prefers to fight wars in foreign countries to addressing its own

In short, the government has overturned the highest law in the land, to
which even the president should be answerable, and violated innumerable
human rights to starve the nation of the most basic requirement that is
integral for survival: food.

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Sacred Ibises and a litany of hate
Dear Family and Friends,
Opposite two of the main banks in my home town there is a little park where I often used to push Richard on the swings when he was a toddler. The swings and see saw have long since disintegrated and the surrounding fence is a mess of rusty, falling down, patched wire. The hedge around the park is full of holes and litter but towering high above the ruin of our once beautiful park the pine trees are still standing. It's a hive of activity up there and a sight so majestic that I simply stood and stared up in open mouthed delight this week. Hundreds of birds have taken over the trees and decided to breed there this year and the branches are crowded with Egrets and Sacred Ibis. The birds are constantly on the move, arguing and squabbling for the best spot amongst the branches which are littered with nests of sticks and twigs. The pine needles, hedge, sidewalk and street below are grey with their droppings and you have to shout to hear above the noise of their fidgeting and complaining. Normally this natural wonder would attract many human spectators but I stood alone and watched the birds this week because the rest of  our town is too busy looking for fuel and food.
Zimbabwe has completely run out of petrol. In Harare there are queues stretching for up to 5 kilometres at the few filling stations which have supplies. In Marondera this week only one gas station had fuel and this attracted a queue which stretched 5 blocks and then doubled back on itself to the beginning. At the pump head at least 100 men jostled with plastic containers they wanted to fill and the police had to be called to try and keep some sort of order. Across the road at the only bakery still functioning at least 3 dozen trucks waited for bread, their vehicles spilling out into the road and causing even more chaos. At the door of the bakery a line of about 200 people waited on the off chance of buying just one loaf. In the nearby high density suburb there was black market sugar to buy at 5 times the normal price and maize at 4 times the normal price. This news caused another flood of desperate humanity to pour down the road but two friends who were there came away empty handed as they could only buy the produce if they had a membership card for the ruling political party. On the other side of town over 100 people queued outside the passport office waiting not for a passport but for a number which would entitle them to queue for an application form the following morning. Everything is falling apart in Zimbabwe and there is a huge and overpowering sense of public rage everywhere you go. The little Christmas song this year must be: "All I want for Christmas is a tank of fuel" - no point asking for two front teeth because there's nothing to eat anyway. 
With such enormous suffering everywhere, I sat glued to the local ZBC TV to watch the opening of the ruling party's annual congress in Chinoyi. In a moment of utter insanity I had decided that surely our 78 year old President would stand down and let someone else try and sort out this mess. Not a chance ! 3000 delegates were at the congress and they sat on white plastic chairs under a huge white tent which was decorated with gold tinsel. The delegates had two things in common - 90% of them were wearing clothes (dresses, shirts, trousers and scarves) which had President Mugabe's face printed on the fabric and 95% looked more well fed than anyone I've seen for many many months. Every single speaker began with slogans which, when translated mean: "up with Zanu PF, up with Mugabe, down with MDC" When President Mugabe himself took the podium his slogans were " down with the MDC, down with Blair". Unbelievably, even Mugabe was wearing a pea green shirt with pictures of himself on it. For the first 40 minutes of his speech Mugabe slammed whites, Britain, Australia and America. He shouted about "crushing the Blair monster" and went on at great length about things that happened between 1965 and 1979. The delegates fidgeted and fanned themselves and wiped the sweat off their faces as Mugabe went on and on and on about things long since past. When he did finally turn his attention to the present it was about land, empowering peasants and giving Zimbabwe back to it's rightful owners.  Not at any point in his 70 minute speech did Mugabe mention 6.8 million starving people; 144% inflation; 70% unemployment; 5 kilometre queues for fuel or the fact that there is no bread, milk, maize, sugar, flour or cooking oil to buy. Neither did he comment on the fact that one dozen eggs cost Z$480 seven days ago and today they are Z$660.
After President Mugabe had finished speaking a little boy was brought up to the front and he looked terrified as he stood at the microphone. With glazed and expressionless eyes he shouted out what he said was a poem entitled "THE LAND". My eyes filled with tears as this boy, the same age as my own 10 year son, used words he could not possibly know or understand, including "repression, arrogantly, colonialism, rebellion and juxtaposition" to explain why Zimbabwe was for Zimbabweans and Africa was for Africans - whites are not welcome. While the child shouted out his litany of hate, President Mugabe was being served tea in delicate white china tea cups by a waiter, dressed all in white and wearing white cotton gloves. The child finished and stumbled slightly on his last sentence which was: "Down with Tony Blair and his wife Tsvangirai." All I could think, through the tears and the lump in my throat was: Dear God, what are they doing to the children. Until next week, with love, cathy. Copyright Cathy Buckle 14 Dec 2002
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Daily Telegraph

Christopher Booker's Notebook
(Filed: 15/12/2002)

     Single mother pays for rescuing her refugee family

Single mother pays for rescuing her refugee family

The plight of a Zimbabwean family in Reading highlights a curious double
standard in official treatment of fugitives from the murderous chaos in
Zimbabwe and asylum seekers from other parts of the world.

Last September Kathryn Burgoyne, who lives with her three-year-old son in a
tiny terrace house in Reading, received a cry for help from her British-born
father, Richard, who once ran a steel company with 20 employees in Harare.
Following the collapse of his business and a horrendous robbery in which
their home had been ransacked, he was arriving at Gatwick with his second
wife, Jenny, her teenage son and her elderly mother.

They had only a suitcase apiece and were all but penniless because they had
had to pay the equivalent of two years' income to the British High
Commission to buy visas, for which they were charged at 11 times the
official exchange rate. Could Kathryn provide a roof over their heads until
they sorted themselves out?

The four refugees squeezed into the two-bedroom house and were overjoyed to
be safely reunited with Kathryn after their ordeals. Kathryn, a dedicated
Christian who puts many hours a week into church work, notified the
Department of Social Security, from which she had help with her mortgage,
that she now had her family living with her temporarily. They had no
intention of trying to live off the state, but any money they could earn
would be needed for food and clothes.

The DSS replied that, since Mr Burgoyne was still of working age - he will
soon be 60 - it would be withdrawing all but £1.93 a week of Kathryn's
mortgage benefit. She then heard from Reading borough council that, since
she was no longer getting full entitlement to mortgage benefit, she and the
refugees were liable to council tax, and that she already owed £81 for the
weeks since they arrived. After she explained that she could not pay this
from the £75 a week she receives from her son's father, the council sent her
a further bill for £200.

When Mr Burgoyne asked the council's housing association for help with
finding a flat, he was told that he would be entitled to a one-room flat but
that the rest of his family, as aliens, were not eligible. When Kathryn
asked why refugees from elsewhere seemed to be treated more generously, she
was told that "they had a lot of applications from Zimbabweans, but they had
to give priority to asylum seekers who do not have relatives in this country
to help them".

At least last week things were beginning to look up. Both Mr and Mrs
Burgoyne began new jobs, he as handyman in a school for children with
learning difficulties. Kathryn heard from the DSS that her mortgage payments
are to be reinstated from this week, though not backdated. And she still
awaits a court summons from the council, for the council tax she has no
money to pay.

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