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Postponed to 13th and 14th January, 2001



Unconfirmed reports just received from Masvingo indicate that similar intimidatory tactics as used in the Marondera West by-election commenced over this past weekend. A convoy of war vets and ZANU-PF supporters allegedly arrived in the Constituency on Saturday. We hope to be able to issue confirmed reports of such occurrences in the future.

Camps have been set up at strategic points and reports of beatings have already been received together with a report of an alleged kidnapping. It is alleged that Police are monitoring the activities of imported ZANU-PF cadres but are failing to take any action against acts of intimidation.

It is important that anyone with any information on persons involved in alleged political violence, human rights abuses, or other illegal activities should report these to the Police, ensuring that they obtain a report number, and the name and force number of the attending Police Officer. It is also important to report the same information to the Party Support Groups - including this office - in order to maintain as much pressure as possible for the maintenance of the Rule of Law. This information will be recorded and passed on to relevant authorities / NGOs, etc, in confidence.

As much information as possible should be supplied, including where possible:

- the location of any camps from which the alleged perpetrators come, if possible with map references

- the registration numbers and descriptions of vehicles used by alleged perpetrators,

- the names/descriptions of any alleged perpetrators,

- a description of what the alleged perpetrators did, a description of any weapons used, the nature and seriousness of any injuries, details of any loss of property, and the date, time and place of witnessed occurrences.

- the names of victims and witnesses if at all possible (these names may only be supplied with the victims' permission).

Such information will be treated with the utmost confidence. Victims should be encouraged (but not pressured) to make reports to the relevant authorities to ensure that their Constitutional rights are upheld, and that the Rule of Law is maintained.

It is vital that MDC holds onto this Parliamentary Seat. Whereas some funds are available, these are limited. Additional monies are required to run an effective campaign against ZANU-PF's well established election machine. MDC does not have access to Government funding, therefore it is necessary to appeal to democratic Zimbabweans and institutions to fight this campaign. Donations can be made to:

Barclays Bank, Masvingo, The Geld Fund, Branch number 2509, Account Number 0363441.

Remember - your vote is secret!

No-one will know how you voted!

Tell ZANU-PF what they what to hear - but vote with your heart on the day!

Vote for your rights!

Vote for your children's future!

Vote for peace and prosperity for our Nation!


MDC Support (Southern Region), Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Phone: +26391241156 / 7  or  +26391244699
E-mail :   OR
Fundraising Details:~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
MDC SUPPORT (Southern Region) FUND - send cheques to Matilda Trust, P.O. Box 9400, Hillside, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (clearly endorsed "Support " ) or deposit into Barlcays Bank, Main Street Branch (2307), Bulawayo - account number 1996379.
For transparency and accountability, please advise this office of deposits to enable us to receipt accordingly.
VICTIMS OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE FUND - as above, but clearly endorse cheques for "Victims Fund"
VISIT THE  MDC WEBSITE AT !!  Also look in at  ZimToday at !
FOR UP-TO-DATE INTERNATIONAL PRESS INFORMATION on the situation in Zimbabwe, subscribe to ZIMNEWS at
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Farm invasions and security report

9th to 15th December 2000





CFU President, Tim Henwood, has refuted claims that the Commercial Farmers’ Union has “declared war” on the people of Zimbabwe.  “It is a sad indictment when our attempts to steer the land reform programme back towards the framework provided by the Constitution and the Law are interpreted as a declaration of war.  The disastrous consequences of an unplanned, free-for-all resettlement programme, with inadequate resources, are entirely predictable.  If we continue down this road, the people of Zimbabwe will become the victims, rather than beneficiaries of land redistribution.  I wish to assure the Nation that members of the Commercial Farmers’ Union remain committed to socio-agrarian reform in Zimbabwe within the framework of the Law.”




The sustainability of past resettlement has been brought into question through the active involvement of resettlement farmers in the current land grab.  Illegal occupiers on Zintafuli Farm in Chinhoyi were resettled by government on Kanyanga Estate only two years ago.  Resettlement farmers from Tsunga and Ringa resettlement schemes have threatened at least two Beatrice farmers. 




There is an emerging pattern of war veterans evicting farm workers from their houses. During the week, the farm village at Chirobi in Glendale was attacked, farm workers were assaulted and some houses were destroyed.  War veterans and followers removed workers’ possessions at Danbury Park in Mazowe and the owner of Wenimbe Farm in Marondera was threatened that “we will see who ends up in the mortuary” after he refused to give in to demands to evict workers from his property.



So far, nine people have died and over 600 people have been hospitalised due to the Anthrax outbreak in Mhondoro.  Despite this, the authorities remain unwilling to resolve the illegal movement of cattle out of the quarantine area.


The owner of Nyamanda Farm in Karoi was severely beaten by illegal occupiers following an altercation when the invaders attempted to prevent work.  A group of about 40 invaders, one armed with a machete, confronted the farmer and at least seven were involved in the attack.  The farmer defended himself with a baton, but sustained severe bruising.  At least one invader was injured.  Superintendent Mabunda is investigating the case and has instructed that the farmer be charged with assault. 


During the week, three poachers were arrested in Wedza and four invaders were arrested following a work stoppage in Chinhoyi.  In a successful joint reaction between the police and the community, two members of an armed gang were arrested in Chegutu after they abducted a farm guard and one other worker. 


In Kadoma, a war veteran was trampled and badly bruised by a buffalo.  When the farmer returned to the camp after taking the injured person for first aid, the other war vets attacked his vehicle. 

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Latest update on the situation.
Well, once again, things seem to have returned to normal. The situation here is volatile and it does not take much to ignite the incidents that are happening every few weeks. On the riots on Saturday, police were apparently shooting at a vehicle (why ?? - I am trying to find out ) and they hit a black vegetable seller, who died in the arms of her 18 yr old daughter. The crowds gathered and set on the police, who opened up with teargas, and then all hell broke loose. 5 vehicles were burnt out, and many folk were affected by teargas. Our Police, at the moment, are on stand by in anticipation of mass action, which had been promised by the MDC. The Police Commissioner has said he will use everything in his power to squash any kind of action. Saturday's incident was the result. Our Police force is inadequately trained. They don't have a clue what to do when anything happens. They take fright and blast anything they see. We had an example of this earlier this year when they fired teargas in a confined space at our National Sports Stadium, during a soccer match. They were trying to stop rival fans from fighting. The teargas resulted in the death of 12 people in a stampede. Police are everywhere at the moment. There are road blocks on every road in and out of the city centre.
Thanks to all who emailed or tried to get in touch with me at the weekend. I don't quite know what happened, but I had to use a friends account with my server, as I couldn't access my email or website. It seems to be OK today. When I get the full facts as to what started the mess on Saturday I will let you know.

Thanks for listening !
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From The Times - Monday 18.12.00
Kathy Olds says of her husband Martin: "He was our rock. He was a man of great principle and courage"
Hounded out of Africa
In her first interview, Kathy Olds, widow of the murdered Zimbabwean farmer, Martin, insists that her late husband was not a political activist. Cathy Harris reports
Last week, and not for the first time, Kathy Olds encountered an ordinary situation to which her reaction was extraordinary. She was approaching her local supermarket when she saw a band from the Salvation Army playing carols outside. She started to cry and, unable to stop, she returned to her car and drove home. The thought of celebrating Christmas without her husband, Martin, was more than she could bear.

On April 18 Martin became the second white farmer this year to be murdered by forces loyal to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Trapped on his farm, Martin fought, and lost, a desperate and brave battle to save his family home.

The account of his last stand horrified the world. Ambushed by 120 armed men who made Molotov cocktails from fuel found in the farm’s workshop, he broke a chair to make a splint for his leg, which had been shattered. He was finally gunned down in the bathroom where he had filled the bath to seek refuge from the heat of the burning house. He had managed to call his mother on the neighbouring farm but police ignored her four frantic phone calls. The ambulance and friends who tried to get through were stopped on an approach road and denied access.

Having lost both her husband and her home, Kathy Olds fled to England with her children, Martine, 18, and Angus, 14. They arrived at Heathrow in May with little more than a suitcase each, a few precious photographs and mementoes salvaged from their home, and £60 — a gift. She has few assets left in Zimbabwe — the house was burnt to the ground — and when she left, the banks had no foreign currency.

At the airport they were met by Tim and Sue Gibbs, who had been neighbours in Zimbabwe and who put them up in their home in Gloucestershire. In August they moved to a rented bungalow in the Cotswolds and have been granted “indefinite leave to remain” in Britain by the Home Office; Kathy is living on state benefits. But her attempts to build a new life in Britain coincide with the murder last week of another white Zimbabwean farmer, Henry Elsworth, and a growing campaign of intimidation being reported by black and white Zimbabwean exiles in Britain.

Last Friday the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party, appealed to the British authorities to protect its supporters, who have been spied on by agents working for Mugabe. Earlier in the week it was revealed that Albert Weidemann, an MDC activist in Manchester, received a letter from the Zimbawean High Commission urging him to read an enclosed “fact sheet” on the Zimbabwean land issue. Weidemann and his wife, Kathy, believe that their telephone calls, faxes and e-mails are being intercepted.

One of the conditions attached to Kathy Olds’s “leave to remain” is that she must not become involved in political activities. “I’m not a political animal, and I’m not going to jeopardise the conditions of my stay here,” she says.

“I’ve always been on my guard and aware that Mugabe’s people are here in Britain. I feel safer here than in Zimbabwe after Martin’s murder when we were harassed and threatened.

“Nothing Mugabe says surprises me. He is desperate to stay in power, and desperate men do desperate things. The ordinary man in the street, black and white, lived harmoniously.”

Kathy is adamant that neither she nor Martin were ever political activists, although Martin did sympathise with the MDC.

“Zimbabwe was once the shining jewel in Africa’s crown and now it’s on the road to economic ruin,” she says. “By putting his cronies and supporters on the farms, Mugabe is making sure he remains in charge. What astounds me is that the rest of the world stands idly by.”

The contrast between her modest new home and her former life could not be more striking. Martin and Kathy lived comfortably on a 23,000-acre farm, 42 miles from the country’s second city, Bulawayo, in a district called Nyamandhlovu or “meat of elephants”. They raised cattle and had built up a thriving game farming business. Third-generation Zimbabweans descended from British stock, they cherished their weekends as a family, spending time viewing game, going on picnics to the farm’s dams or horse riding.

“Martin was incredibly proud of his family, bringing the children up to take responsibility and play an active role on the farm,” says Kathy. “I will always remember him roaring with laughter last year when Angus, aged 13, was stopped by the police and fined Z$300 (less than £5) for driving a seven-ton Bedford truck on a main road. Angus had driven since he was about six years old when, piled high on cushions, he drove his father home from a cattle sale where he had dislocated his shoulder.”

Their lifestyle was profoundly unsettled when Martin received warnings and death threats. “As the situation got worse we spent a fretful weekend contemplating the situation before Martin told me to take what I could and leave with the children for our house in Bulawayo on Monday morning.

“When I closed the front door at 5.30 that morning I had a dreadful feeling I would never see The Ranch again. My last vision was of the beautiful expanse of lawn where we hosted large family gatherings and hoped Martine would have her wedding reception. I had planted Iceberg roses all around the border and as I turned round for the last time, the first golden shafts of light from the sunrise illuminated the blooms.”

Martin’s murder took place exactly ten years after he became the first civilian to be awarded the Bronze Cross for Valour by President Mugabe. The award, which recognised his bravery in grappling with a crocodile and wrestling one of his friends from its jaws in the Zambesi River, was made at a lavish ceremony at Government House.

“Mugabe spoke in glowing tributes to us both,” says Kathy, although he is recently alleged to have said on an American television documentary that Martin “got everything he deserved” and should not have antagonised the forces who went to his farm. Mugabe also pointed out that Martin had served in the Rhodesian Security forces.

“Martin didn’t antagonise them at all,” says Kathy, “and neither were there squatters on the farm before then. Does that give Mugabe an excuse to murder all former security forces, black and white? He’s just thumbed his nose at the rule of law.”

Kathy emphasises that forces from Mugabe’s notorious Central Intelligence Agency Organisation (CIO), and not the so-called “war veterans” were responsible for murdering her husband. Martin, 44, was the second white farmer to be brutally murdered this year after David Stevens was killed by squatters on his tobacco estate near Harare, 36 hours earlier. Mugabe refused to condemn the killings and occupation of white-owned farms by the “war veterans” in the run-up to the general election, denouncing the farmers as arrogant and racist.

Mugabe is adamant that white-owned farms should be handed to landless blacks. More than two million blacks are employed on white-owned commercial farms, which are responsible for a major proportion of the country’s food production and foreign exchange earnings. Compulsory seizures of thousands of farms have precipitated a calamitous economic situation.

Martin Olds treated his labourers well, housing and caring for the families of all 22 he employed. He was held in high esteem and every worker attended his funeral, along with the family’s maid, Flora. “At Martin’s funeral, she clutched a little posy of flowers she had made,” Kathy recalls, “and on his coffin she placed a note she had written in her native Ndebele. Translated, it read: ‘Go well. Sleep well.’”

In the days following the funeral Kathy realised the phone was bugged and the family became aware they were under surveillance. Friends who came to visit had their car tyres slashed. One morning Martine and Angus sat on her bed and urged her to take them somewhere safe. “As my ancestors were British and I had visited England once on holiday in 1976, we began to make discreet plans to leave.”

As the rain lashes down on a dank, dingy day in the Cotswolds, Kathy admits that they miss the heat, the wide-open spaces and the animals. Even now they can’t bring themselves to watch wildlife programmes on television. Martine used to throw cabbages over the fence to feed warthogs, which became tame, and every night they would hear the cough of an ageing leopard they called “Old Boy”, as he stalked round the outside of the house. “I also miss the smell of dust and all the bush noises,” says Kathy.

It is a testing time for the children too. Martine showed admirable application in finishing her A levels last month and hopes for good enough results to pursue a university degree in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies. Angus is revelling in playing school rugby in the mud, an activity his mother believes keeps him sane.

But they miss their father terribly. “He was our rock,” says Kathy. “I so miss not being able to consult him and it’s difficult making all the decisions. He had a silent strength and he was a man of great principle and courage.

“I think what I admired most about him was that he stood for what he believed in. We are privileged to have known him as a husband and father, but we have lost our best friend. And of course our breadwinner. I would love to be able to go out to work, but I feel very battered and bruised — it’s essential to take things slowly.”

The family may return to Zimbabwe, but Kathy is adamant that it won’t be for a long time. “I’m very heartsore about the friends we left behind and never said goodbye to, and I hope they understand.”

She knows squatters have moved onto the cherished front lawn and game is being poached on the farm. “There is no law and order,” she says.

Last Christmas Eve Kathy indulged in an annual activity that always brought her pleasure. “I used to bake all sorts of little cakes and sweets to wrap in parcels for the children of all our workers. Once I’d sent someone to call them, they’d all arrive in their Sunday best, scrubbed from head to toe, and sing carols to us before racing off with their goodies. It was such a joy to watch them.

“This year we’ll be among family and friends, but I wish we didn’t have to go through it; I wish Christmas had come and gone.

“I’m trying to think of it as just another day, but it is an important milestone in our lives and we shall try to make the most of it. Martin would have wanted that.”

Readers wishing to help can send cheques made payable to: Olds Family Fund, Bank of Scotland, 35 Princes Street, Ipswich IT1 1AE (01473 582900).

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From the Times of India
Woman killed in police firing in Zimbabwe

HARARE: A woman was fatally struck by a stray police bullet on Saturday when a fight broke out between police and mini-bus drivers in Harare, a police spokesman said.

The shooting happened early Saturday, after police tried to arrest a commuter mini-bus driver in connection with an alleged hit-and-run accident, police spokesman Bothwell Mugariri said.

Police were firing shots into the air to disperse a crowd that had gathered around the driver's vehicle, when a mini-bus worker tried to take away one of the police's guns, Mugariri said.

During the struggle, the gun fired and killed a female street vendor, Mugariri said.

"Police regret the incident," Mugariri said, adding that police were still trying to contact the woman's relatives.

The shooting prompted a small riot, which police broke up with tear gas, he said.

The rioters stoned shops and cars, and burned a police vehicle beyond repair, Muagriri said.

Three people who work for the commuter mini-buses were arrested in connection with the incident, and two police officers were injured, he said.

A cameraman for the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation was also injured, the network said.

ZBC reported that the woman was survived by two adult children, one of whom was to be married Saturday. (AFP)

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Mugabe chills white farmers

ZIMBABWE'S white farmers were bracing themselves for more violence yesterday after President Robert Mugabe ended a congress of his ruling Zanu-PF party with a chilling promise to close the "land chapter" in the new year.

Mugabe, 76, endorsed as leader by delegates at the carefully stage-managed event, told cheering supporters he would press on with the controversial seizures of white-owned farms that have threatened to push the country into anarchy.

"I will not let you down, I will never let you down," he told the roaring crowd of 7,000 at a sports stadium in Harare, the capital.

"We will get our land back. Next year must close the land chapter and see the people as owners of their land and not as semi-slaves and serfs."

The comments came days after Henry Elsworth, a former MP, was murdered, reportedly at the hands of war veterans armed by the government.

Some Zanu-PF officials had seen the congress as a chance to confront a leader who, according to polls, has become a liability in the run-up to the presidential election due in 2002.

Surveys suggest that if a vote were held tomorrow, Mugabe would lose heavily to Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The younger members of the president's party, in particular, do not want to be dragged down with him.

Any potential leadership challenge melted away, however, partly because Mugabe had purged provincial branches of rivals. He consolidated his power with a reshuffle of the politburo, the party's supreme policy-making body, bringing in several younger men while dumping those seen as rivals or failures. New appointees included Jonathan Moyo, the government's combative spin doctor, and Border Gezi, the youth minister, who saved Mugabe's Mashonaland heartland from the MDC by galvanising war veterans and young party supporters.

Eddison Zvobgo, a former cabinet minister who dared to describe Mugabe's land seizures as illegal and racist was dropped. So, too, was Chen Chimutengwende, the former information minister, who paid the price for Mugabe's defeat in a constitutional referendum last February and for Zanu-PF's poor performance in June's parliamentary elections.

Mugabe won ringing endorsements from delegates over policies blamed for Zimbabwe's economic problems. Factories are closing and farms are under siege. Prospective donors are delaying the transfer of funds as lawlessness intensifies on once-productive farms.

Long petrol queues have become emblematic of a nation in crisis. Disposable income has fallen by 70% in the past year, while unemployment has reached 60%.

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Saturday, 16 December, 2000, 14:48 GMT
Zimbabwe hit by anthrax outbreak
Veterans occupying farms in Zimbabwe
Squatters on farms are being blamed for the situation
By Grant Ferrett in Harare

Nine people have been killed and 630 hospitalised in Zimbabwe following an outbreak of the cattle disease, anthrax.

Farmers say attempts to control the spread of the disease have been undermined by the refusal of the police to prevent the movement of cattle onto land illegally occupied by government supporters.

Laocation of anthrax outbreak

Supplies of vaccine are reported to have run short, heightening fears of a more severe outbreak.

Since cases of anthrax began appearing in the Mhondoro communal farming area to the south west of Harare a month ago, nearly 50 cattle have died.


The disease is passed to humans through contact with the animals, or eating infected meat.

Victims suffer from nausea and fever, developing sores.

In normal times Zimbabwe's relatively efficient veterinary service would be expected to control the outbreak.

These, though, are far from normal times.

Commercial farmers bordering the communal area say potentially infected cattle are being driven onto their land without hindrance.

Problems set to increase

The police, who have done little or nothing to prevent the illegal invasions of white-owned farms by government supporters throughout the country, are reluctant to become involved.

The shortage of hard currency in Zimbabwe has made matters even worse, hindering efforts to buy new stocks of vaccine.

In the south-east of the country there are growing fears of a serious outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

Hundreds of kilometres of fencing have been cut down by squatters, allowing buffaloes to mix with domestic cattle.

Until the rule of law is restored on Zimbabwe's farms, such problems are likely to multiply.


Saturday, 16 December, 2000, 14:01 GMT

Anthrax kills nine in Zimbabwe

An outbreak of the cattle disease, anthrax, in Zimbabwe has killed at least nine people.

Another six hundred people have been admitted to hospital.

Farmers say attempts to control the spread of the disease in the Mhondoro communal farming area southwest of Harare have been undermined by the refusal of the police to stop cattle moving onto white-owned land illegally occupied by government supporters.

Supplies of vaccine are reported to have run short because of a lack of hard currency, heightening fears that the outbreak may worsen. Health officials have launched an information campaign to inform people of the symptoms.

The BBC correspondent in Harare says that until the rule of law is restored on Zimbabwe's farms, problems are likely to multiply.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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