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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Mugabe kicks off re-election drive

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe kicked off his re-election campaign on Friday by
saying Zimbabwe's former white rulers backed his main opposition party
rival, who was briefly detained by police.

Mugabe, launching his campaign for a March vote, urged his Zanu-PF party to
unite and defeat a surging MDC, which nearly defeated the ruling party in
parliamentary elections last year.

Those elections were marred by political violence which left 31 people dead,
most of them opposition supporters.

Looking tired during most of his hour-long speech to party supporters at a
congress in the resort city of Victoria Falls, Mugabe (77) vowed to stick to
his controversial land drive and to champion the interests of Zimbabwe's
black majority.

"We will win. We cannot lose the fight for our land. Never, never, never.

" I will not have succeeded in liberating the people of Zimbabwe from
oppression as long as economic oppression continues," he told 7 000

"They (whites) stole our land and now when we reclaim our land, they say we
are breaking the rule of law. What cheek is that?"

Mugabe said there were foreign moves to demonize him and his government over
the land issue.

"There's an outcry in Britain that Mugabe is a dictator, is a Hitler, is a
Napoleon, is a devil. I don't know what I'm not."

Mugabe dismissed the threat of sanctions against his ruling elite, saying
delivering land to blacks was more important.

Zanu-PF national chairperson and Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo urged the
party to rally behind Mugabe in next year's election, comparing his land and
campaign programme to an unstoppable supersonic jet.

"The Concorde has taken off and it has attained its altitude. The captain is
in control. It has no reverse gear, no emergency breaks.

"Captain Mugabe is in command."

Mugabe repeated charges that the MDC was a puppet of his white opponents out
to topple him over the land programme. On Thursday he called the MDC a
"terrorist" group .

Back to the Top
Back to Index


I don't understand: Tsvangirai

Stella Mapenzauswa

Related Articles
Tsvangirai's house raided

Harare - Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who was briefly
detained by police on Friday, said on Saturday he had been charged with
possessing a two-way radio without a licence.

"They say that I broke the telecommunications act which says that I must
have a licence," Tsvangirai told Reuters by telephone from Harare's central
police station where he was giving a statement to police.

Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was detained
by police for 35 minutes on Friday after the two-way radio was found during
a search of his home. On Saturday he was again hauled to the police station
in connection with the same charge. He was released at 16:00 after making a
statement, his lawyer Innocent Chagonda said.

"I don't understand why I am being charged as an individual because it (the
radio) does not belong to me, it belongs to the party," he said.

Police were not immediately available for comment. The MDC leader, who was
accused along with his party by Mugabe on Friday of being puppets of white
interests, told the BBC earlier on Saturday that international pressure on
Mugabe should be maintained.

Tsvangirai sees shift in SA attitude

"The people of Zimbabwe are ultimately the ones who are going to determine
their destiny but of course international solidarity and help is important
in laying down clearly to Mugabe and his cronies that such behaviour will
not be accepted in a democratic society," he said in a telephone interview
with the BBC from Harare.

The MDC leader also said that he detected a change in the approach of the
South African government towards the Mugabe administration.

"There has been a significant shift in attitude and I think they have been
more robust in their criticism of the actions of Mugabe and I think that is
helpful," Tsvangirai said.

"I'm sure that (South African) President (Thabo) Mbeki has found that
President Mugabe is not a dependable partner and therefore it's very
frustrating to be seen to be engaging on one hand and without any kind of a
result or an agreement," he said.

Mugabe, launching his campaign for a March vote on Friday, urged his Zanu-PF
party to unite and defeat a surging MDC, which nearly defeated the ruling
party in parliamentary elections last year.

Those elections were marred by political violence which left 31 people dead,
most of them opposition supporters.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Melbourne Age

NZ to urge Commonwealth hard line on Zimbabwe
WELLINGTON, Dec 16 AFP|Published: Sunday December 16, 7:04 PM

New Zealand wants a hard line taken on Zimbabwe's continuing membership of
the Commonwealth, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today.

He said he will tell Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon tomorrow
that New Zealand wants an international observer force in place months
before the planned presidential elections in March.

Goff was also scathing about President Robert Mugabe.

"Mugabe has turned a wealthy, democratic country into an autocratic cot
case," he said.

"The last chance for Zimbabwe will be a fair and free election, if it can be
achieved, for the presidency in March."

Goff said if there wasn't a free and fair election "Zimbabwe should be
immediately suspended".

"What holds the Commonwealth together is commitment to shared values. To
have dictatorships in the Commonwealth is impossible and we will be looking
for support from similar minded countries for our stance," he said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News  Leader page

 Bull in a china shop tactics won't work

12/15/01 7:05:27 AM (GMT +2)

NOT content with terrorising its own citizens, the government is now turning
its bullying tactics on member countries in the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) region.

On Monday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Stan Mudenge, told a visiting
Sadc ministerial committee: "There can be no sanctions smart enough to
affect Zimbabwe alone. Our destinies are intertwined."

He also cautioned Sadc member countries against siding with "foreign
players". Mudenge said the government had decided to stop negotiating with
international bodies which do not endorse its land reform.

This message was reinforced by President Mugabe when he said he would have
difficulties "with inviting some white men here. I would rather invite the
Asians and the Caribbeans . . ."

This is a position that demonstrates Zimbabwe does not listen to views
different from its own, even if those views might be constructive. According
to Zanu PF and the government, there is no middle or neutral ground.

The reference to Asians and the Caribbeans cannot be flattering to the
people from the two regions. First, it suggests they have no opinion of
their own and can be relied upon to do as they are told. It can also mean
that they are less discerning and, therefore, naive.

Alternatively, the statement suggests they are corrupt. Whatever
interpretation one attaches to the statement, it is insulting to the Asians
and the Caribbeans.

By threatening the Sadc ministerial delegation that "our destinies are
intertwined", clearly Mudenge was blackmailing the team into supporting
Zimbabwe's much criticised fast-track land reform programme.

But more worrying is that his statement echoes concerns voiced during the
Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

These were that Harare - Salisbury then - behaved in a manner that was
conceited and patronising to the two other partners. Lusaka and Blantyre
resented this arrogance, which is now cited as one of the factors that led
to the break-up of the Federation.

Mudenge was contemptuous of the ability of regional members to analyse for
themselves, the cause and nature of the crisis in Zimbabwe and proffer

The Sadc ministerial team did not need Zimbabwe to tell them what the United
States sanctions mean and who precisely they will affect. They can read that
for themselves and make up their mind.

The Commonwealth is meeting in two weeks to discuss Zimbabwe and they are
unlikely to be impressed by such pathetic rantings.

Why does Zimbabwe have so much difficulty in behaving and doing what the
rest of the world believes to be right, just and proper?

It is dictatorial for Zimbabwe to have suggested to the team that they
should not monitor or judge Zimbabwe's land reform programme, but should
merely support Mugabe's efforts to eradicate neo-colonialism in Africa.

It is tragic if this is the calibre of advisers surrounding Mugabe. Someone
must have the courage to inform the President that there is something
seriously wrong when even one's best friends turn their backs in utter

If the government is serious and believes that its crusade is to fight for
the interests of the black majority against Western interests, we challenge
it to put this to the test. It can call a snap referendum.

The embarrassing losses Zanu PF and the government have suffered at the
hands of the opposition MDC in Masvingo, Bulawayo and Chegutu are an
emphatic rejection of Zanu PF's and the government's policies.

If the people in Chegutu could summon enough courage to reject the
government and the ruling party, it should not be difficult for those in
Harare to register a resounding defeat for the government. That verdict will
be delivered by mid-February.

The President and his party must start by persuading their supporters to
accept that there is a new mayor in Chegutu and that he is the people's
choice, even though Zanu PF thinks otherwise.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

LEADER PAGE  Saturday   15  , December

Taking shameless advantage of the youth

12/15/01 7:06:11 AM (GMT +2)

By Givemore Nyambi

I TURNED 21 in November this year, the same month that President Mugabe
officially opened the new Border Gezi Youth Training Camp in Mt Darwin.

The occasion was broadcast live on national television and radio, and
everyone who watched the opening did not miss the young men and women
dressed in green uniforms.

These were the young men and women taken from all eight provinces of this
nation to undergo rigorous training meant to "instil a sense of belonging,
patriotism and mould responsible citizenship among the youth, preparing them
to enter colleges and universities".

This is what the Minister of Youth Development, Gender and Employment
Creation, Gezi, said earlier this year before his death.

In the same month of November, a 14-member National Youth Council Board,
hand-picked by the ruling Zanu PF party, was endorsed through an Act of
Parliament to ostensibly "advise the government on the aspirations and
problems of the youths so that the government would know how to assist".

Nothing was ever mentioned concerning the criterion that was used to select
the 14 individuals. It is apparent that the youth of this nation do not
deserve the decency of an explanation or even consultation on issues that
directly affect their well-being.

Why is the government, through the ruling party, now showing uncommon
interest and concern in the youth? Why is it suddenly resurrecting a youth
policy that it had shelved as it consolidated its devious hold on power
during the de facto one-party politics of the Eighties?

Is it possible that the party in its darkest hour of need is realising the
dynamic energy and vigour that is trapped inside the youth? Is it a genuine
desire to promote the youth, give them a platform from which their thwarted
voices can be heard? Or is it just another political strategy to harness
that dynamism, manipulate it, abuse it, and then discard it?

Certainly it wasn't like that in the Eighties when youth leaders like Obey
Mudzingwa, Brian Kagoro, Tendai Biti, the MDC parliamentarian and firebrand,
the late Christopher Giwa and Shepherd Nzombe raised their voices to deaf

In 1983 when the late Ernest Kadungure was the Minister of Youth, Sport and
Recreation, more than 300 000 youths signed up for the National Youth
Service. Besides undergoing training, the youths of that time were also to
be given guns to defend the country against the enemy.

Those were the heady, hectic, post-Independence days when Marxist-Leninist
rhetoric made people giddy. Those were the days when cracks were beginning
to emerge in the political foundations of the ruling party, when discontent
was erupting.

In many respects, the Youth Brigade of the Eighties was a forerunner to the
turbulent, troubled, unsettled events of that era.

The argument behind the return to National Youth Service is that we, the
youth, have lost our roots, our cultural identity, that we are imitating
Western trends to the detriment of our own African origins. On a deeper
note, it is an attempt to thrust upon us a sentimental attachment to the war
of liberation we do not have, it is a belated attempt to induce the war
veteran mindset into our lives, that all whites are racist, that dancing
kongonya and chanting political slogans is patriotism.

In essence, it is an impossible, unrealistic attempt to make the old,
pre-Independence generation, best symbolised by the war veterans, and the
new post-colonial generation of born-frees meet in perfect unity and unison.

As a young man growing up in Zimbabwe, I believe that the idea and logic
behind national service is a just one, but the ultimate purpose is certainly
not as it should be. One political scientist remarked that political parties
like Zanu PF that have strong roots in liberation movements and liberation
politics use youth brigades to hold on to power. It happened in China,
Malawi and even Ghana.

Between 1984 and 1985, many people were coerced and intimidated to attend
political rallies at the risk of reprisals by the Zanu PF youth brigades,
who were incidentally a replica of Mao's Chinese Red Guard.

In those nightmarish years better forgotten, when they wore green shirts and
khaki pants, their uniforms used to strike fear in the hearts of many. The
youths were encouraged to intimidate, harass and terrorise the opposition in
the Midlands, Matabeleland and Harare. In 1990 there was a spate of violence
by youth brigades against the opposition in places like Karoi. They went

One southern African nation that resorted to youth service was Malawi during
the years of Kamuzu Banda's draconian rule. He formed the Malawi Young
Pioneers, who were above the law. They had paramilitary powers to arrest
anyone and were used by Banda to crush opposition and to crusade for
support. In those days every Malawian was forced to carry a party card in
order to board a bus, enter a market or obtain health care.

There is disillusionment among the youths in Zimbabwe and the ruling party
is taking shameless advantage of it. More than 50 percent of the population
are unemployed, and among the unemployed a great number of them are youths.

Young boys are turning to heavy drinking and smoking orgies when they are
out "clubbing". They are the boys we are seeing on the street corners
blowing rings of smoke into the air in our high-density suburbs as they try
to kill time. Young girls in the streets are turning to early marriages,
early sex and prostitution because they are hungry and unemployed, spreading
the air of despair across the nation.

Slain American rapper Tupac Shakur in one of his greatest songs, Life Goes
On, asks: "How many brothers fell victim to the streets . . ." He captured
not only the Zimbabwean plight, but the universal plight of youths, that was
why his music seemed to make young people crazy.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Zanu PF youths assault Daily News readers

12/15/01 7:38:05 AM (GMT +2)

By Zhean Gwaze

TWO Harare men were assaulted by Zanu PF youths who accused them of
celebrating the MDC victory in the Chegutu mayoral election by reading The
Daily News on Tuesday.

Ishmael Kanyonganise, 29, says he was confronted by a group of about 40 Zanu
PF youths along Rotten Row as he read The Daily News issue of that day.

"The gang surrounded me and asked me why I was reading such a newspaper,"
said Kanyonganise. "When I did not respond they accused me of celebrating
the headline in the paper, 'MDC KNOCKS ON MUGABE'S DOOR'. Two of the youths
twisted my hand while the others slapped me with open hands."

Kanyonganise says they released him only after they had torn his newspaper
to shreds and forced him to apologise for buying the paper.

He reported the matter at the Rotten Row police post where they told him
they did not have stationery to process a docket.

Contacted for comment, the Rotten Row police said the chief police
spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena, was the only one allowed to comment on such

Bvudzijena would not speak to this paper.

Ryan Mutukwa, 31, said he was assaulted at Kays Bottlestore, along Mbuya
Nehanda Street in the afternoon when they saw him reading The Daily News.

Mutukwa said that he was approached by one youth who inquired from his
colleagues if it was "ethical to be found reading The Daily News".

Said Mutukwa: "The youths covered my head with a cardboard box and shot at
me with a catapult. They tied my hands and threatened to take me to Joseph
Chinotimba, the Harare war veterans' leader.

"I was rescued by three policemen who managed to arrest three of the
The alleged assailants were due to appear in court yesterday although
Mutukwa said a war veteran demanded that they be freed.

"It is very bad that people are now not allowed to read newspapers of their
choice," said Mutukwa.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Anglican Cathedral pulls down colonial era plaques

12/15/01 7:32:13 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

Memorial plaques and inscriptions from the colonial era which are considered
to be offensive to black Zimbabweans have been removed from the Anglican
Cathedral in Harare.

Some of them were dedicated to whites killed during the First Chimurenga in
1896, the liberation war, British and Rhodesian institutions, and transport
animals and police dogs that died in service.

In a statement, the Anglican Church's Justice, Peace and Reconciliation
Committee said Godfrey Tawonezvi, the dean of the cathedral, had "vigorously
campaigned for the removal of the plaques which are a painful reminder of
the colonial past and an affront to the dignity of black Zimbabweans.

"Dogs, donkeys and horses are given more value and respect than blacks as
can be seen from these colonial relics.
"His mission as the new dean is to remove these plaques. The cathedral is a
place of worship and not a colonial museum. This sad history should be
buried in the archives."

On 18 October 1999, Tawonezvi and 13 other priests, demanded the plaques'
removal within 14 days and threatened to do so themselves if Simukayi
Mutamangira, the then dean, did not act.

Nothing happened.

On Thursday Tawonezvi said: "Some people have asked for the plaques and they
will get them if they can prove their historical links with them. The rest
will be taken to the National Archives."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily news

Former Zipra combatants threaten to invade farms seized by government

12/15/01 7:34:53 AM (GMT +2)

From Sandra Mujokoro in Bulawayo

FORMER Zipra combatants have accused the government of deceiving them over
the return of their properties and have started to forcibly repossess them.

The properties which belonged to the combatants were seized by the
government in 1982 at the height of civil strife after arms caches were
discovered on the properties.

Some of the properties include Black Cat Removals, Castle Arms Motel, Nest
Egg Farm, the 12 960-hectare Hampton Farm in Gweru, and the 564 421-hectare
Ascot Farm near Solusi.

The companies were being run by Nitrum Holdings, a company formed by the
at the behest of the late Joshua Nkomo.

Albert Mlalazi Ncube, an ex-Zipra combatant involved in the fight to have
the properties
returned to them, said they were tired of being lied to by the government
and have decided to recover the properties through force.

In April last year, Vice-President Joseph Msika, amid fanfare, announced at
a meeting with the former combatants in Bulawayo that all the properties
would be handed back to them.
"But so far nothing has come to us," said Ncube.

"In fact, some of the properties are being leased to white entrepreneurs by
the government and one wonders who is collaborating with the whites," said

He said the ex-combatants were asked by the late war veterans' leader Cain
Nkala to participate in the farm invasions but they refused, hoping they
would get their farms back.

"We wondered why we would need to invade white-owned farms when we already
had our farms, but we are now finding ourselves destitute and most of our
members are now living at Castle Arms because they have nowhere to go," said

The ex-combatants last month invaded Black Cat Removals in Belmont but they
were beaten off by the police. "Now they beat us up for demanding what is
rightfully ours and we feel the government is not being fair to us," said

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From today’s Sunday Times (SA) (2001-12-16)


Tourists flee as statue is stoned

Dingilizwe Ntuli in Victoria Falls

ZIMBABWEAN war veterans this week stoned and threatened to demolish the statue of David Livingstone, the first white man to see the Victoria Falls.

A 100-strong mob of veterans (from the Zanu-PF conference in the resort town) stormed the area next to the world-famous falls where the statue is situated.

Tourists ran for cover as war veterans pounded the towering statue with rocks. It was not damaged but stones engraved with the history of Livingstone's "discovery" were smashed and cast into the falls.

The veterans demanded that the statue be replaced with those of liberation war heroes.

The veterans dispersed after riot police were called in. Heavily armed policemen were assigned to guard the statue for the duration of the Zanu-PF congress, which ends today. The war veterans returned to the congress and demanded that delegates adopt a resolution that the statue be demolished.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Traffic Fine

Yesterday while we were traveling from the Sanyati mine back to Harare we were stopped for speeding. The policeman ran on to the road, waved us over and insisted that Billy see the number on the radar gun. While Billy was looking at the radar gun the policeman ran out on the road to stop another speeder but the radar gun had not been pointed at the car. This is a case of the famous "do not have to point at a car radar gun". The technology in Zimbabwe is advanced. The fine for traveling 98 kilometers / hour ( the permanent reading on the radar gun) in a 60 kilometer / hour zone was 200 Zimbabwe dollars, about US 60 cents at the rate of exchange on the street and abut 3 dollars at the official rate. The fine is paid on site with no receipts and no record. Billy the driver did not have small change so he gave the policeman 500 Zim dollars and then told the policeman that he was owed the next fine free. The policeman acknowledged this with a wave of his hand and a smile. We later asked Billy if he would get the next fine free and he said he thought he would.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe's tourism jewel - the Victoria Falls -
ETEXT Zimbabwe's tourism jewel - the Victoria Falls - has several unsatisfactory aspects..
Walking into the Explorers bar in the centre of town to enjoy a couple of beers, I was taken for a tourist.
"Change money....  change money...US....  good rate" was the proferred deal from a filthily clad and unkempt local.  When I politely declined I was called a white racist pig and told to "f....  off back to Europe".  Hardly the way a world class resort should treat its tourists.
And beggars, moneychangers and layabouts abound.
In town we were pestered - to buy giraffe carvings, to give money, to change currency, to buy marijuana, to give cigarettes, to buy stone sculptures, to enjoy the services of a local lady.  Seventeen uninvited transactions in twelve minutes.  That's a lot of pestering.  So we stayed out of town from then on.
Some of the curio shops confirmed to ETEXT that this was the trend.
"The hotels have their own curio shops now.  Traditional dancing is offered in several establishments.
"Because town has become unpleasant, many tourists simply stay at their resorts, emerging only to undertake activities,"
they said.
Nyati Travel's Goof de Jong commented:
"I have noted with great concern that Victoria Falls has become a haven for beggars, for moneychangers and illegal taxi operators.  We need a Jesus to clean up the temple!"
Another unseemly sight, spotted from the balloon (full marks to the professional crew that run the Float of Angels), was the curio area adjacent to the balloon launch pad.  Rubbish strewn everywhere and general untidiness.  Mercifully the mess is not encountered on the ground.
Fuel and other woes Fuel has again been short at the Falls.  This sends out negative signals to potential tourists and hampers activities at the resort.
One example of the hardship caused was the fact that, when ETEXT visited the aquarium, the fish had not been fed for several days owing to the delayed delivery of kapenta - the fresh water sardine which has become the staple diet of the predatory species in much of the Zambezi eco-system.
Hoteliers spoke to ETEXT of other related problems.  Foreign currency shortages may soon hamper F&B procurements for the resort.
Some fresh produce - butter and cream - will soon have to be procured from nearby Kasane in Botswana or from Livingstone in Zambia..
This gives rise to the possibility of a humorous yet sombre cartoon:
canoes traversing the Zambezi at night laden with ivory in one direction and cartons of youghurt for the return journey...
Hoteliers said to ETEXT that the customs officials at VFA, and at the Botswana border, were symathetic and understanding of the potential problems and were trying to assist where possible.
One VFA hotelier commented that he greatly feared food procurement next year when it is anticipated that Zimbabwe agricultural production will be decimated.  Vital crops hav not been planted owing to disruptions caused by the government's controversial land reform programme.
Politics in VFA The manufacturers of many of Zimbabwe's tourism woes - the ZanuPF ruling party - have arrived at the Falls.
Their congress runs Thursday through Saturday this week.
Zimbabwe Sun and Rainbow are hosting the majority of the delegates with the Victoria Falls Hotel expected to accommodate the head of state and his entourage.
ETEXT watched a helicopter gunship circle the resort.  The upturned faces of the local residents spoke volumes.  Some (who ETEXT questioned)
wondered if this was a new activity operator.  Others knew the nature of the beast and showed fear.  A couple ran for shelter.  Still others gazed at the aircraft, disinterested.  A few looked at the gunship and spat expletives in anger.
Normal activities curtailed...
All microlight, chopper and fixed wing joy rides have been cancelled for the duration of the ruling party congress.
Some operators were visibly upset.  They said that tourists were shying away from the resort owing to the political event and that business had been particularly slow for several days prior to the congress.  They said that forward bookings immediately after the event were also scarce.
"This government's policies have effectively caused the decline (in tourism).  I'm hardly going to be happy that the guys who are destroying my business have come to town," said one operator.  Party time...Zanu PF wanted tourism players at the resort to lay on a grand bash for the political party's get together.
Most of the players ETEXT spoke with pleaded poverty owing to dismal tourism arrivals at VFA.  Most of the small operators are just staying quietly out of the way.
An hotelier ETEXT spoke with said:
"These people are the government of the day.  While I personally disagree with many of their policies, as it seems do the majority of my staff, we are simply going to do our work professionally over the course of this congress".
By Wednesday this week some hotels had still not had final confirmation on delegate numbers or identities of all the individuals they would be hosting.
The suggestion by Zanu PF officials that some animals should be killed in order to provide a feast for visiting ruling party delegates was met with shock and anger by VFA players.
"This shows that they do not have a clue about conservation.  It demonstrates that the government does not care about or appreciate the value of wildlife to tourism.  Wanting to kill wild animals for a political congress shows a remarkable lack of intelligence," said one operator.
Poor tourism climate claims another victim African Agenda, the VFA based DMC, is closing its doors.
"I have decided, that as of 31st December 2001 African Agenda will no longer be trading.  So, I begin this week the long and arduous task of closing a company that I have so loved - it has been hard work and plenty of fun but for now I feel that until such time as we are able to function in a normal environment, I shall move on," is the text of a message distributed by African Agenda's Sara McCarthy to trade contacts.
Good news section.....
Tops again Green Route has won the top incentive travel award in world tourism.
This came in recognition of the management of an IBM incentive trip earlier this year which took in Cape Town, VFA, Chobe and Sun City.  The Zimbabwean product used in the award wwinning trip was the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge.
ETEXT stayed at Ilala...
The rooms were first rate.  Clean with all amenities.  Good decor.
The staff are exceptional.  We came into contact with the breakfast crew twice.  Excellent service.  Beaming smiles.  The food was superb.
The swimming pool was a treat.  The children moaned when told to disembark (from the pool) for a game drive or even for their first ever walk through the rainforest.
Mongoose in the gardens.  Birds shrilling in the early morning.  The muted roar of the waterfall in the background.  A mere five minute stroll from the waterfall itself.
Bucking the trend...
The VFA municipal restcamp is taking shape.  New thatch, renovated buildings
- a complete revamp.  This really is going to be a wonderful facility for the future budget tourist.
Wildlife everywhere Butterflies, birds, elephant, buffalo, bushbuck and a host of other animals were in abundance this VFA visit.
VFA is a great destination The waterfall is now at optimum level.  An umbrella is optional for the rainforest - you will get wet but not drenched without one.
The balloon and the fresh water aquarium are excellent additions to the list of attractions at the resort.
Generally VFA is in good shape - plenty of value for money to be had from both accommodation and activity operators.
When Zimbabwe's political image changes for the better - and the VFA municipality finds the muscle to control the human pest element - the falls is poised for a strong recovery.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From BBC News, 15 December

Mugabe opponent charged

The leader of Zimbabwe's opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, has been charged with possessing radio-communication equipment without a licence, for which he could face a two-year prison sentence. Mr Tsvangirai told the BBC that the charge was "ridiculous" and an example of harassment. He said that the offending walkie-talkie radio - which he said he used to communicate with his security guards - did not even belong to him, but his party. It was the second time in two days that the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had been detained by the Harare police. He was briefly detained on Friday on the same charge. He complained then that it was not necessary to hold a licence for the radio. Mr Tsvangirai's lawyer told the BBC that the police have said the charge will now be referred to the attorney-general, and that Mr Tsvangirai can expect a court summons. The charge is punishable by a maximum of two years in prison. The incident comes after President Robert Mugabe launched his campaign for re-election at a conference of his Zanu PF party on Friday, where he told his audience that the MDC party was a puppet of white interests. Mr Tsvangirai is likely to be his prime opponent in the poll, due in March. Last year the opposition leader was arrested for allegedly inciting supporters to violently overthrow Mr Mugabe, but the charges were rejected by the courts. Conviction would have disqualified him from the presidential race.

From The Observer (UK), 16 December

Mugabe declares 'total war' on rivals

Andrew Meldrum returns to Harare to find Zimbabwe's citizens paralysed by a raft of oppressive new legislation

President Robert Mugabe urged his supporters yesterday to go to war against Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change. At the same time his police again detained the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, over charges of having an unregistered walkie-talkie radio. 'This is total war,' said Mugabe at the close of his Zanu PF party congress in Victoria Falls. 'We will have a central command centre. This is war, it is not a game. You are all soldiers of Zanu PF for the people. When we come to your province we must see you are ready. When the time comes to fire the bullet, the ballot, the trajectory of the gun must be true.'

Even as Mugabe was speaking, police arrested Tsvangirai and charged him with the relatively petty offence of having an unregistered two-way radio. It was the third police raid on Tsvangirai in as many days. 'They say that I broke the Telecommunications Act, which says that I must have a licence,' Tsvangirai told Reuters by telephone from Harare's central police station, where he was giving a statement to police. 'I don't understand why I am being charged as an individual because it [the radio] does not belong to me, it belongs to the party,' he said. He was later released on bail. Mugabe's fresh threats of violence against the MDC and the harassment of Tsvangirai have deepened the repressive atmosphere that already permeates the country. Lagging behind Tsvangirai in opinion polls, Mugabe is determined to use all means to stay in power. Taken with a raft of new oppressive Bills to be pressed through Parliament this week, Mugabe's bitter invective has made Zimbabwe decidedly anxious, rather than festive.

Returning to Zimbabwe after being branded a terrorist by the state media, I was somewhat apprehensive, not only about what would happen to me but also about the state of the country that I have made my home. I was struck by the fact that my concern was matched and often outstripped by the anxiety of ordinary Zimbabweans who are worried about the escalating climate of antagonism. Ordinarily the weeks before Christmas are a particularly fun time, with seasonal rains giving everyone hope for a good agricultural crop in the coming year and the markets brimming with ripe tropical fruits and vegetables. But this year people's spirits have not been buoyed by good rains or the abundance of fresh maize and mangoes. 'No one has a holiday mood,' said Mabel Mushava (not her real name). 'How can we? Our Christmas bonuses have been eaten up by inflation. We can't travel freely to our kumushas [rural homes] because the militias and war veterans are out there beating and intimidating people. We can't pick up a paper or turn on the radio without getting hateful messages. We can't think of the New Year without worrying about violence in the election campaign. This is a miserable time.'

Zimbabwe's Parliament is due to consider new legislation that paints a grim picture of the shape of things to come. The Public Order and Security Bill was published in the government gazette on Friday and is expected to be pushed through Parliament this week. It is widely considered to be as repressive as the old Rhodesian legislation that it is replacing. Several amendments to the Electoral Act are set to be voted on, including measures to bar any non-governmental organisation from carrying out voter education, to ban any independent election monitors and to restrict international observers. Yet another amendment will prevent the estimated one million Zimbabweans living out of the country from voting, except for those in the military and diplomatic corps. The Mugabe government has also issued a new Bill to govern the press, which media experts consider one of the most repressive in the world. All journalists operating in the country must get a government licence for which only Zimbabwean citizens are eligible. The Bill threatens jail and heavy fines and is clearly designed to muzzle the critical independent press, both domestic and foreign.

With such heavy-handed legislation, the Mugabe government is giving the country a few lumps of coal in its stocking. All these Bills could be passed next week. Recently the government has shoved Bills through by having all three readings in one day. 'I'm not making any New Year's resolutions. What's the point?' asked a Zimbabwean businessman. 'Until the elections are held in March, we don't know what future this country has. After that we will know whether things are going to get better or if they are going to just continue on this frightening freefall. Then I'll make my resolutions about what to do.'

From The Sunday Times (SA), 16 December

Mugabe sends in shock troops

Deployment of soldiers raises fears of new Matabeleland massacres

Victoria Falls/Johannesburg - In a move that it describes as a crackdown on "terrorism", the Zimbabwean government has moved army units into Matabeleland province. Villagers in the southwestern province have accused the soldiers of beating them up and expressed fears of a repeat of repression of anti-Robert Mugabe elements in that province in the 1980s. Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo told delegates at the Zanu PF congress at Victoria Falls on Friday that the deployment was in response to "terrorist" attacks on Zanu PF officials. "The enemy is employing terror tactics and, as the government of Zimbabwe, we have to activate our security to curb terrorism so there is nothing sinister about sending security to any part of our country. We have not deployed any mercenaries but Zimbabweans to hunt and bring terrorists to justice the American way," said Nkomo. More than 20 000 people are estimated to have been killed in the 1980s when the government moved the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade into the province, which had voted overwhelmingly in favour of Mugabe's arch-rival, Joshua Nkomo. The brutal repression eventually forced Nkomo to collapse his Zapu PF party into Mugabe's Zanu PF. However, in last year's election, the province turned against Zanu PF, backing Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change. Backing John Nkomo, Mugabe said the troops had been deployed in rural areas to protect farm invaders from farmers and their workers. "I will send the security forces there [rural areas] to protect these poor peasants from attacks."

The latest action by the Zimbabwean government comes in the wake of an about-turn by a Southern African Development Community delegation. The SADC delegation - which had gone to Zimbabwe to deliver a tough message to the government from regional leaders - instead welcomed Zimbabwe's verbal commitment to free and fair elections and announced that they would oppose sanctions proposed by Western nations. Taking solace from this solidarity, a defiant Mugabe told delegates that his government would continue seizing white farms. Mugabe said: "Let the white man keep his rule of law and we keep our land. How can robbers who robbed our illiterate ancestors today preach about the rule of law to us? We will not listen to thieves." In separate speeches to the congress, Mugabe also: moved to suppress dissent within Zanu PF and warned against challenges to his candidacy for next year's presidential elections due in March; told party members to treat next year's election campaign as a "total war"; and branded all city and town dwellers sellouts for voting for the MDC. He said party members must regard themselves as soldiers. "Where we are going, it is not like the June 2000 parliamentary elections, which was like a football game where I was centre striker. This is total war, the Third Chimurenga [uprising]," he said. Nkomo, the Zanu PF national chairman, also appealed to party supporters to work to ensure that Mugabe was re-elected next year. "There are no emergency brakes on this Concorde to change the captain. Captain Mugabe is in command and our destination is nigh."

The fiery talk by Zanu-PF leaders came as police twice arrested Tsvangirai for possessing a two-way radio without a licence. Tsvangirai was initially arrested in a dawn raid on Friday but released after a few hours. Yesterday, police again arrested him and charged him under the country's Radio and Telecommunications Act. A top-level ANC delegation is to meet with Zanu PF in Harare this week. Among the issues to be discussed are the March presidential elections, and the strategy and state of Zimbabwe's ruling party, ANC spokesman Nomfanelo Kota said. The delegation will be led by the ANC's national chairman, Mosiuoa Lekota, Deputy President Jacob Zuma and ANC secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe.

From The Sunday Telegraph (UK), 16 December

Simpson on Sunday

Tidings of joy from Mugabe's neighbours

Nothing has changed in Zimbabwe. No doubt we were foolish to think it might. On Friday, President Robert Mugabe made a speech at Victoria Falls marking the opening of his campaign for the presidential election in March. When he addressed selected members of his ruling party, Zanu PF, all the usual angry rhetoric was there - all the usual lack of awareness of the damage his country is suffering. "I will not have succeeded in liberating the people of Zimbabwe from oppression as long as economic oppression continues," he stated. Britain was using every trick in the book to sabotage his land redistribution programme, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was a puppet of white interests, and so on and so forth. Yet Mr Mugabe's speech was - for him – almost restrained. Maybe, after his recent medical treatment, he is more aware that, at 77, he has to take things easier. Maybe his doctors warned him that even if he won another six-year term, he was unlikely to complete it. Maybe it's just that he's starting a long and hard political campaign, and wants to leave the real fireworks until later. The last possibility must, on past experience, be the most likely. From Mr Mugabe's point of view, things are not going too badly - given that the economy is collapsing and food is now short in a land once known for its agriculture.

True, the government is now loathed by a sizeable majority of city dwellers. Official figures put inflation at 98 per cent - it is probably higher - and hundreds of workers are being laid off every week. The price of the staple maize meal is higher than ever in real terms. There is little foreign currency left to pay for oil, electricity and food imports. A modern cinema complex on the edge of Harare has just closed because there is no money to rent films from distributors. Supposedly, Mr Mugabe is having bunkers built beneath State House in case of trouble. Still, as long as the police and army stay loyal and are prepared to use unlimited force against protesters, the government is unlikely to be overthrown. The MDC and its allies have staged repeated demonstrations, but it takes a lot of courage to face up to the tear gas and rubber batons of the riot police; and the prospect of being arrested, charged with affray and perhaps sent to jail is still a powerful deterrent. So when civic organisations called on people to demonstrate against the proposed new electoral laws earlier this month, it was hardly surprising that only 50 or 60 people turned up. The remarkable thing is that anyone dared to face the police. The electoral proposals are unacceptable anywhere outside an open dictatorship. They would effectively prevent hundreds of thousands of young unemployed people from voting. The government knows that they will almost all be supporters of the MDC. Mr Mugabe has said he doesn't want the European Union to send election observers, and a new press Bill will largely prevent the country's remarkably brave independent journalists from reporting on voting irregularities or poll violence. The proposals will make it even easier for pro-government thugs to do what they like to Mr Mugabe's opponents.

At which point, enter a group of cabinet ministers from six countries in the Southern African Development Community. They were visiting Zimbabwe as part of the Abuja agreement (negotiated with Mr Mugabe by Commonwealth and African figures in September), and had come to check on Zimbabwe's promised return to the rule of law. In their final communique, the ministers welcomed the improved atmosphere of calm and stability. Government officials in Harare were delighted. True, not all of the communique was favourable, but it was extraordinary that a country where things are manifestly becoming even worse in every respect could receive any praise at all from its peers. Only last Wednesday, the Human Rights Forum issued a report saying there were six political killings and 115 cases of torture in Zimbabwe last month. "Improved atmosphere"? "Calm"? "Stability"? During the past week the South African rand has fallen to alarming new lows, partly because Zimbabwe is seen to be threatening the entire future of southern Africa. When the presidents of South Africa, Botswana and Nigeria told Mr Mugabe in no uncertain terms that he must mend his ways, he was obliged to sign the Abuja agreement upholding the rule of law. But nothing has really changed as a result, and southern Africa will continue to suffer politically and economically until such time as the rule of law is genuinely upheld in Zimbabwe - especially if African ministers continue to pretend that things are improving when they manifestly are not.

John Simpson is the BBC World Affairs Editor

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Melbourne Age

"Scream if they touch you," Zimbabwe chief advises virgins

HARARE, Dec 16 DPA|Published: Sunday December 16, 8:14 PM
About 2,000 young women in eastern Zimbabwe who passed "virginity tests"
this weekend were told that tribal authorities in the area would from now
regard any attempt by a man to touch a woman above her wrist as rape.

Chief Makoni told the women to scream if any male's hands wandered beyond
their wrists, the state-controlled Sunday Mail reported.

The women, aged between 12 and 25 in the Makoni area about 170 kilometres
east of Harare, were examined by nurses, women elders and tribal princesses,
as part of the chief's attempts to prevent the spread of AIDS.

Those who were found to be virgins were given certificates and invited to a
party. Non-virgins were counselled against the dangers of infection through
pre- and extra-marital sex.

The newspaper did not say how many had failed the test.

Chief Makoni said sex education in schools and the distribution of free
condoms served only to encourage promiscuity.

"Guns are only given to soldiers," he said. "Our children do not need
condoms. They need education. Let us stop condom distribution to our
children, this way we will win."

Zimbabwe has the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection in the world,
with more than one in four adults estimated to be infected.

Makoni, on one of the country's busiest transport routes, is one of the
worst infected areas because of the large numbers of prostitutes who offer
their services to passing truck drivers.

Surveys in the area showed that nearly half of all women attending maternity
clinics were HIV positive.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Parties, Labour Condemn Tsvangirai Arrest

South African Press Association (Johannesburg)

December 15, 2001
Posted to the web December 16, 2001


South Africa's opposition political parties and the country's largest labour
movement have condemned the Zimbabwe government for the arrest on Friday of
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The Democratic Alliance, the New National Party and the Congress of SA Trade
Unions all voiced their disapproval of Tsvangirai's arrest on a "trumped up

Tsvangirai, the 49-year-old leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), was arrested around 5.30am on Friday, for not having a licence
for a walkie-talkie radio used by one of his bodyguards. He was released
later on Friday morning.

The former trade union leader is the MDC's candidate for presidential
elections due in March next year, and poses the most severe threat to
President Robert Mugabe, who will be standing for a fourth consecutive
six-year term.

DA leader Tony Leon said the raid on Tsvangirai's home and his arrest was
further proof that Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe had no intention of
allowing a free and fair election next year.

In a media statement, Leon said the Southern African Development Community's
(SADC) recent ministerial visit to Zimbabwe had done a disservice to the
region and the continent.

It represented the triumph of misplaced solidarity, trumping SADC's
theoretical commitment to democracy, good governance and the rule of law.

Leon said that as far as Mugabe was concerned, the SADC ministers had given
him their blessing.

That the SADC team "welcomed the improved atmosphere of calm and stability"
proved that Mugabe has pulled the wool over their eyes, Leon said.

"The very fine values which underpin Nepad (New Partnership for African
Development) and the African Renaissance seem to have been abandoned at the
first hurdle they encountered.

"Our acquiescence in the Zimbabwe government's state-sponsored reign of
terror and our appeasement of Robert Mugabe -- a liberation fighter who has
transformed himself into the neighbourhood tyrant, has done... incredible
damage to our moral platform and is one possible explanation of the
precipitous decline of the rand."

The NNP said Zimbabwe's "draconian measures" to silence the media and a
possible ban on all foreign observers had already nullified all prospects of
a free and fair election.

The party's foreign affairs spokesman, Boy Geldenhuys, said SADC should
"insist that the election be postponed if a climate conducive to free and
fair elections is not created within weeks".

Failing this, Zimbabwe should be subjected to diplomatic and political

Mugabe's actions disqualify Zimbabwe from ongoing SADC membership which
clearly required a commitment to freedom of speech and democratic
principles, Geldenhuys said.

Cosatu said Tsvangirai's arrest, "on a trumped-up charge of not having a
licence for a radio was part of a general problem of the government trying
to intimidate all those opposed to President Mugabe".

The federation's spokesman Patrick Craven said there was also a worrying
trend of lawlessness in Zimbabwe, "with so-called war veterans roaming the
streets pretending to be custodians of the liberation struggle".

The arrest "reinforces the fears expressed by the Southern African Trade
Union Co-ordination Committee (SATUCC) that free and fair elections will not
be possible..."

Cosatu appealed to the Zimbabwe government to:

-- Immediately act to create an environment conducive to free and fair
elections. This would include taking stern action against anyone guilty of

-- Allow the SATUCC and other organisations and governments, irrespective of
where they came from, to monitor the elections freely;

-- Comply with the spirit of the SADC electoral norms, which Zimbabwe has

-- Stop subjecting the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and workers to
inhuman treatment and guarantee that they are allowed to be independent from
the state.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

White farmers fleeing Zimbabwe find new life nearby

By Rachel L. Swarns
The New York Times

CHIMOIO, Mozambique — The white exiles jolt through the smoky mountains in
their battered pickups, swerving along dirt roads to stake their claims to
this wild and secluded land.

There are no paved roads in these lonely hills, no running water, no
telephone lines snaking through the tangle of trees. But the farmers look at
the rich red soil and roaring rivers and smile.

Over the past year, about a dozen, white commercial farmers from neighboring
Zimbabwe, where they have been under siege, have settled in and around this
remote community, roughly 60 miles from the border. This week, government
officials here say, about 50 more farmers will arrive to this unlikely

This is a forlorn town of gaping potholes and crumbling buildings, where
hungry children beg for spare change and white faces are as rare as
functioning street lights. But for farmers fleeing the violence in Zimbabwe,
this place feels something like the promised land.

"There's a light