the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, U.S.
policymakers have been paying increasing attention to destabilizing
influences around the world. Greater interest is being shown in developments
in less prominent countries, such as Zimbabwe, and legislative action is
being proposed to counteract destruction by aging and despotic leaders whose
actions affect neighboring countries.
The "Zimbabwe Democratic
and Economic Recovery Act of 2001" unanimously passed the Senate on Aug. 1
and gained increasing support in the House despite the attempts of
a Washington-based lobbying team hired by President Robert Mugabe of
Zimbabwe for $7 million to derail it. The act passed the House in a 396-to-11
vote on Dec. 4 with full support of the Congressional Black
The bill reflects growing concern over the collapse
of law and order and the blatant transgression of human rights in
Zimbabwe. If violence continues and free and fair presidential elections are
not held early next year as scheduled, the act would authorize the U.S.
government to impose travel restrictions and to freeze the
external accounts of those responsible for the breakdown of the rule of
law and for politically motivated violence.
Conversely, if the
country's ruling party, ZANU-PF, creates conditions for fair elections and it
introduces an equitable and transparent land reform program, the act
would provide $26 million for land purchases, and it would
promote investment and reduce some of Zimbabwe's debt.
and government mismanagement have led the once popular Mr. Mugabe and ZANU-PF
increasingly to lose voter support. Seventy-five percent of the population
now lives in poverty and the country is on the brink of famine.
The economic decay has been driven partly by Zimbabwe's military support
for the Congo governments' war against rebel groups. This support is being
provided in exchange for vast mineral and timber concessions to Zimbabwe's
political and military leaders, and has depleted Zimbabwe's foreign
currency reserves and jeopardized critical imports, especially fuel and
To retain power, Mr. Mugabe tried to install himself
as lifelong president last year but his ambitions were thwarted in a
constitutional referendum. Subsequently, the loss of support for the ruling
party resulted in the opposition Movement for Democratic Reform (MDC) winning
57 out of 120 seats in parliamentary elections, despite widespread
voter intimidation by ZANU-PF. In his continuing efforts to retain power,
Mr. Mugabe has obtained economic support and arms from Col. Moammar Gadhafi
of Libya in exchange for numerous properties in Zimbabwe, including a 32-room
"Operations Headquarters." Following Col. Gadhafi's announcement at
the June meeting of the Organization of African Unity that "all 'whites'
should be driven off the land in Zimbabwe and South Africa," there has been
an influx of Libyans into Zimbabwe.
The extent of the ZANU PF's
violent intimidation became clear on Oct. 30 when a U.S. District Court ruled
that ZANU-PF is liable for murdering and torturing its political opponents
in the runup to elections. The five Zimbabwean plaintiffs in the case had
requested a hearing in the U.S. to seek justice for their murdered relatives.
ZANU-PF has also been accused of attempting to assassinate the leader
of the opposition party and of bombing the MDC offices.
commercial agricultural sector has come under increasing attack because of
ZANU-PF's contention that the predominantly white farming community is
financing the opposition. Government-sponsored occupations of
farms started ostensibly to provide land for landless black people even
though thousands of acres of land purchased under internationally sponsored
"resettlement" programs remain unoccupied. Land seizures and harassment of
farmers and their employees have continued despite the Abuja
(Nigeria) accord in early September in which the Zimbabwe
government agreed to stop land occupations. Last week ZANU-PF banned about
25 percent of Zimbabwe's 4,000 commercial farmers from planting crops and
ordered them to leave their homes within three months.
the Zimbabwe Supreme Court ruled these land seizures to be unconstitutional.
Mr. Mugabe recently replaced the chief justice of this court, and last week
it ruled that the government should continue to "redistribute" white farms
to black Zimbabweans. This ruling has serious consequences for the country.
Apart from being the bedrock of Zimbabwe's economy, the commercial
agricultural sector employs about 320,000 people, who together with
their families number almost 2 million. Zimbabwe is on the brink of famine
because of ZANU-PF's policy of land seizures and planting restrictions and
because of the depletion of foreign currency.
Since Zimbabwe is
centrally located in southern Africa, increasing chaos within its borders is
affecting the region as a whole. Botswana's President Festus Mogae
recently criticized Mr. Mugabe and his government for failing to deal with
land resettlement peacefully, and for dragging the entire southern Africa
economy down with his violent approach. One effect is the 40 percent drop in
value of the South African currency since June.
To promote peace
and stability in southern Africa, it is important that the U.S. send a clear
message to Mr. Mugabe and ZANU-PF that America will not tolerate
violent suppression of the rights of Zimbabweans. The Zimbabwe Democratic
and Economic Recovery Act will provide the kind of signal
MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, Zimbabwe’s opposition leader, vowed
yesterday to press ahead with his presidential candidacy despite renewed
police harassment and a warning from President Mugabe that he regarded the
election campaign as “total war”. Speaking from Harare, Mr Tsvangirai said
that his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was determined to end Mr
Mugabe’s two decades in power through the ballot box at the elections that
are to be held by March. “Mugabe has never abandoned violence and we will see
more of it before the campaign,” he said. “But we have the support of the
people and they are determined to see irrevocable change take place in this
At the weekend Mr Tsvangirai spent a second day at a Harare
police station where he was charged with using an unlicensed two-way radio.
The opposition leader said that the device did not belong to him and did not
require a licence. But if convicted he could face two years in prison and a
fine of more than £2,000.
“This is just an inconvenience. They want to
distract me on this matter to divert my attention,” he said. He was more
concerned about Mr Mugabe’s outburst on Saturday, which could signal more
intimidation by the Zanu (PF) party, whose activists used violence against
the opposition and white farmers last year during parliamentary elections
which were marked by murders, land seizures and rapes.
Mr Mugabe, 77,
told his supporters at a Zanu (PF) conference in Victoria Falls, that the
authorities would be even more ruthless this time. “It is not like the June
2000 parliamentary elections, which was like a football game where I was the
central striker,” he told cheering party members. “We will have a command
centre, unlike last year. This is war, this is not a game. This is the third
chimurenga (uprising). You are soldiers of Zanu (PF) for the
“When we come to your province, we must see you ready as the
commanders, when the time comes to fire the bullet, the ballot, the
trajectory of the gun must be true,” he said.
At one point he shouted
“Death to the tea boy” — an apparent reference to Mr Tsvangirai, who has been
accused of being too accommodating to white interests.
Some members of
the ruling party played down the threatening language, insisting that Mr
Mugabe was referring only to the need of his supporters to be prepared for
the election. Others seemed to take his message more literally.
enemy has been identified and we are ready to crush it,” Elliot Manyika, a
Zanu (PF) MP told state television. “Our machinery is now sharpened and we
are saying to the MDC: ‘Here we come, we are going to attack you. We are
raring to go.’ ”
Mr Mugabe signalled that he wanted to use race as an
issue, in particular the seizure of white-owned farms. “We shall prove that
indeed we can do without the white man in this country,” he said, promising
to give the land to the people.
His outburst could provoke a response
from abroad. The US Congress has already passed measures to impose sanctions
against Mr Mugabe, his family, and his closest advisers. Similar steps are
being considered by the European Union. Commonwealth foreign ministers are
meeting in London this week.
African countries are particularly
infuriated with Harare after the regime agreed earlier this year at Abuja,
the Nigerian capital, that it would respect the law and halt its campaign of
violence. The agreement, brokered by the Nigerians, has been largely
Muleya In a hard-hitting resolution on Zimbabwe adopted on Wednesday, the
European parliament in Strasbourg said it was time to act and not entertain
Harare’s political posturing any longer.
The resolution called on the
EU council and commission to immediately start the 60-day countdown to
further action, as stipulated in Article 96 of the Cotonou
Zimbabwe is expected to engage the EU in make-or-break
meetings on Wednesday in Brussels attended by Foreign minister Stan Mudenge.
Harare is trying to mobilise the Southern African Development Community
(Sadc), African, Caribbean & Pacific (ACP) countries, and the African
Union for support.
But some countries in the region including South
Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho and Zambia refused to vote for Zimbabwe
during the ACP/EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly meeting in Brussels on October
29. The EU resolution observed the need for “the widest possible
international agreement for tough action against the Mugabe
The EU parliament said there was need to urgently apply “smart
sanctions” against Zimbabwe including the identification and freezing of
assets held in European countries and countries closely associated with
President Mugabe, his family, and named close associates. EU-wide visa
restrictions should be imposed on Mugabe and his cronies as well, it
The resolution demanded that President Mugabe hold free and fair
elections, adopt regional electoral standards, end political violence, farm
seizures, harassment of the media, judiciary, and opposition, facilitate
distribution of humanitarian aid, and withdraw his troops from the Congo to
Kahiya THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has filed an
urgent High Court application to challenge the conduct of the voter
registration exercise and force the government to compile a common roll for
the presidential election to be held in March next year.
The filing of
the application this week comes amid allegations by the MDC that Zanu PF had
instructed Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede to ensure that only Zanu PF
supporters conduct voter registration.
Learnmore Jongwe, the MDC
Secretary for Information and Publicity named one Simba Mpanduki-Sibanda as a
Zanu PF official who was busy conducting voter education at Mpinda Primary
School in Lower Gweru.
“At Insukamini Hall, also in Lower Gweru, Older
Jinkila-Ncube, a provincial Zanu PF official, is also conducting voter
This is only a drop in the ocean. The prevailing scenario
casts a dark shadow in the face of the presidential election next year,”
In the application filed on Wednesday, the MDC wants all
persons over the age of 18, who are citizens of Zimbabwe and who since 1985
were permanent residents, to be entitled to vote in the election at any
designated polling station in the country.
The party wants all persons
who hold a Zimbabwean national identity document or those with voter
confirmation cards to be allowed to vote.
The High Court challenge
follows the change of voter registration regulations by the government, which
wants to use constituency registers for the presidential poll. Those wanting
to register have been asked to bring proof of residence such as lodgers
cards, water statements or electricity bills.
“As a result of the
insistence on production of these documents, several potential voters who are
entitled to be registered have been turned away and certainly this defeats
the whole purpose of the exercise,” reads the MDC application.
in the interest of the MDC and indeed, any political party which intends to
field a candidate to contest in the upcoming presidential election, for the
registration exercise be done properly and in accordance with the Electoral
Law,” reads the application.
The MDC is also challenging the continued
tenure of Sobuza Gula-Ndebele as chair of the Electoral Supervisory
The MDC has averred that Gula-Ndebele’s tenure as chair
expired on September 1, which means that the ESC is not properly
Blessing Zulu THE
ruling Zanu PF, which is facing serious financial problems, is expected to
spend over $440 million on the current party conference at Victoria Falls,
the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
Sources said the staggering amount,
which is far more than Zanu PF’s annual statutory allocation under the
Political Parties (Finance) Act, was raised through party and government
structures. Zanu PF got $62 million from the state allocation this
The conference began yesterday with about 7 000 delegates expected
to attend. The party has to pay for delegates’ food, accommodation,
transport and other requirements. Delegates are drawn from all the 10
Sources said the party had been split over the
need to hold the conference, with some officials calling for its
cancellation. They argued funds could be better spent on the presidential
election campaign in which Zanu PF’s Robert Mugabe is facing his stiffest
challenge yet from the Movement for Democratic Change’s Morgan
The proposal was however brusquely rejected.
have been allegations that some senior Zanu PF officials,
including ministers, stand to benefit from the staging of the conference at
“There are many officials who are set to benefit from this
conference as they own chalets housing the delegates. Obviously any idea of
cancelling the conference would have affected them,” said a
Not all accommodation demands at the resort town could be met and
some delegates are staying in tents.
Sources said about 100 senior
Zanu PF officials were staying at the up-market, four-star The Kingdom Hotel
at $6 000 per bed per night.
Twenty-two are housed at the three-star
Rainbow Hotel at a cost of $7 800 per night, bed and breakfast, while 60
delegates are lodged at Hotel Mercure.
The average cost for a double
room at the Mercure is $7 590 and $5 390 for a single room per
Hundreds of other delegates are housed in lodges, which cost
about $6 000 per night per person.
Zanu PF has also purchased 40
four-wheel drive vehicles and an array of saloon cars specifically for the
conference, the source said.
Sources said it cost on average $8 000 to
move each delegate to Victoria Falls by road.
At least 500 officials
flew from Harare to Victoria Falls and an Air Zimbabwe official yesterday
said a return ticket to the resort town cost $50 000.
selling at $30 500, but only a limited number are available
Fuel, which was said to be scarce for the past few weeks,
is now in abundance in the resort town.
Efforts to get a comment from
the Zanu PF Secretary for Administration, Emmerson Mnangagwa, were not
successful as he was not reachable on his cellphone.
Paranoid Zanu PF brings Victoria Falls to a
Busani Bafana THE Zanu PF congress in Victoria Falls has suddenly
transformed the resort town into a security area as armed police and soldiers
patrol the streets, harassing businessmen and residents.
tourists visiting the town have fled to Livingstone on the Zambian side of
The government last week grounded all planes used by tourists
for sight-seeing, saying the aircraft posed a security threat to the
assembled delegates. The Airforce of Zimbabwe has deployed three planes in
Victoria Falls to enforce the no-fly zone.
The airforce is using the
old Sprayview airstrip as its base from which it is flying an MI 24
helicopter gunship over the town almost every hour. A Bell 206 helicopter and
a Lynx fixed-wing plane have been placed on standby.
complained to the Zimbabwe Independent of wanton harassment by the police,
some of whom patrolled with dogs. Business has also been affected as
security-wary tourists opted to cross over to Zambia where they can still
enjoy undisturbed flights over the Falls.
“We have never seen so much
security as this before,” said one resident.
“Members of the ZRP Support
Unit are harassing people on the streets for no apparent
While most hotels in the resort town have been fully booked,
some tour operators complained that the conference has put another nail in
the country ’s tourism coffin because of unnecessary security in place for
the next three days.
Officials from the Department of Information
ejected the Zimbabwe Independent from the conference on the grounds the
newspaper was an “enemy of the state”.
Mugabe accuses the MDC of terrorism
Zanu PF’s policy-making central committee at the start of a three-day party
conference in Victoria Falls yesterday, Mugabe said the MDC, led by his main
rival Morgan Tsvangirai, was a terrorist organisation with no viable
“The MDC has realised that its political message is
not believable and has indeed resorted to terrorism ... to terrorising our
supporters and killing some of them with the aim of driving them away from
our party ahead of the elections,” he said.
Mugabe, who is facing his
toughest election challenge from Tsvangirai, accused the MDC of being “a
shameless puppet and front” for Western and white minority interests in
Mugabe said any sanctions against his government were illegal
and immoral. “Our crime is that we are resolute.”
regards Mugabe’s accusations as part of a drive to justify a crack down on
the party, says Mugabe has become desperate ahead of
Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis in
decades, which many blame on government mismanagement, but which Mugabe says
is due to sabotage by his opponents.
The Zanu PF conference in the
resort town of Victoria Falls is being held under the banner “Land for
Economic Empowerment” — the slogan under which the ruling party will also
fight the March presidential election.
Mugabe is due to officially open
the annual conference today. It is being attended by 7 000 delegates at
Elephant Hills, one of Zimbabwe’s leading hotels.—Reuter.
By our own
Staff THE Supreme Court has ordered the release from remand prison of
Bula-wayo businessman, Si-mon Spooner, who is also the personal aide to David
Coltart, the MDC’s MP for Bulawayo South.
He had been languishing in
prison for nearly one month for allegedly participating in the killing of
Cain Nkala, a Zanu PF activist.
In his ruling on Friday, Justice
Simbarashe Mu-chechetere dismissed the State’s objections to the release of
Spooner and said he would give his reasons later. The judge ordered that a
warrant for Spooner’s release be issued immediately. Spooner was
represented by Advocate Chris Anderson, instructed by Ms Nyaradzo Maphosa of
Sawyer and Mkushi.
Spooner was one of 14 people arrested in connection
with last month’s murder in Bulawayo of Cain Nkala, the former chairman of
the Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans’ Association.
Nkala was abducted
from his Bulawayo home, and a week later his body was found buried in a
shallow grave near Matopos.
President Mugabe declared Nkala a national
hero and branded his killers terrorists linked to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
MDC MP for Lobengula-Magwegwe, Fletcher Dulini
Ncube, who is diabetic, has been denied bail by the High Court in Bulawayo
despite pleas from family members who have cited his deteriorating
Ncube is also being detained in connection with Nkala’s death
which the ruling Zanu PF party is using to whip up emotions ahead of next
year’s presidential poll.
Despite the government pointing accusing
fingers at the MDC, relatives of the slain war veterans leader have said he
was a victim of feuding within the ranks of the war veterans
By Farai Mutsaka WAR
veterans and Zanu PF supporters have been enlisted to carry out
voter registration,The Standard has established.
Despite denials in
parliament by home affairs minister, John Nkomo, when quizzed by MDC MPs over
the issue, investigations by The Standard reveal that indeed war veterans and
ruling party supporters are carrying out voter registration in many rural
Nkomo has denied that war veterans and ruling party supporters
were carrying out voter registration.
“I do not think that the
honourable MP, Mr Mpala, is serious with these allegations. All the people
involved in the voter registration exercise are civil servants,” said
L:ast weekend, war veterans were seen carrying out voter
registration in Manicaland province at Redwing Mine in Penhalonga. Residents
in the area complained of ill-treatment from the war veterans and Zanu PF
activists whom they accused of trying to ascertain whether would-be voters
were Zanu PF or MDC supporter before registering them.
involvement in the ongoing voter registration exercise is widespread in rural
areas and on invaded farms.
The use of war veterans in the exercise has
seen hundreds of opposition supporters being denied their right to register
Villagers who spoke to The Standard said the war veterans were
making it difficult for suspected MDC supporters to register.
shadow minister for defence, Giles Mutsekwa, confirmed that war veterans were
being used in voter registration. Mutsekwa, whose constituency is largely
rural, said he had received complaints from members of his party who had been
denied their right to vote by war veterans.
By our own staff GOVERNMENT
has gazetted legislation empowering the police to ban political rallies and
bar newspapers from publishing articles criticising the president, among
other draconian measures ahead of next year’s
The Public Order and Security Bill, gazetted on
Friday, makes it a criminal offence for anyone to organise or partake in an
act of civil disobedience.
Last month, civic organisations resolved to
embark on measures to protest at the lawlessness currently prevailing in the
The proposed law sets a 20-year jail term, without the option of
a fine, for convicted organisers of civil disobedience
According to the proposed law, no public gatherings will be
allowed unless first sanctioned by senior police officers who automatically
become the “regulating authority” for their respective areas.
proposed Act will empower police officers to ban public gathering in their
areas for up to three months, which could include the period before the
The Bill, which is intended to replace the Law and
Order (Maintenance) Act used by the colonial regime to suppress dissent,
includes a clause which bars newspapers from publishing negative stories
about the president.
By our own
staff VICTORIA FALLS—Serious questions about President Robert Mugabe’s
suitability as the Zanu PF candidate in next year’s presidential election
were being raised this week.
The Zanu PF presidential campaign was
launched in the resort town of Victoria Falls during the National People’s
Conference which ends today, without any mention of the need to inject new
blood into party structures, much to the chagrin of the party’s ‘Young
Although the succession issue can only be raised at the party
congress which takes place every five years, many delegates at the annual
conference felt the issue should have been included at the conference, in
light of the stern challenge likely to come from the MDC’s Morgan
Delegates told The Standard that the general contention was
that Mugabe was a liability, and as such his candidature would be
catastrophic for the party.
“People in the top hierarchy of our party
are failing to grasp what is happening on the ground. The reason why we might
lose next year’s election is that we are banking on the wrong horse
altogether. Mugabe is a dead horse. He is not the ideal candidate. We need
someone better, someone with appeal. You don’t expect me to sell Mugabe in my
constituency and get the people’s approval, do you?” asked a ruling party
The sources, however, said it was difficult for any of the
delegates to openly challenge Mugabe at the conference, thus the overwhelming
approval given to his candidature at the conference.
“You can’t say we
are spineless. You only have to realise the situation in the party. Any
dissenting voices will be ruthlessly dealt with. Look at what happened to
Zvobgo, Mavhaire, Mvenge and the rest of the vocal guys. They are nowhere.
That is the nature of Zanu PF. A lot of people on the floor felt like
standing up to tell those guys that Mugabe should go. The party needs
a complete rejuvenation to win the election, but saying so openly would
be suicidal,” said a delegate.
Added another: “Mugabe’s naming of a
successor is not an issue at this conference, although some people will feel
we need a new candidate. Those who wanted the issue discussed, would have
done so at their own risk. The election campaign has been launched and what
remains to be seen is whether Mugabe can win the election.”
77, acknowledged that party factionalism was a threat to his chances of
winning next year’s election, where his main opponent will be
Tsvangirai, 49. Delegates were, however, skeptical of the party’s ability
to deal effectively with factionalism given vice president Simon Muzenda’s
part in it.
Muzenda heads a faction in Masvingo which has struggled to
wrestle power from the dominant Eddison Zvobgo faction.
Zvobgo and his
close political ally, Dzikamai Mavhaire, did not attend
“The president is right when he says factionalism is
killing the party. The problem is that the issue does not seem to be coming
to an end. The important thing is to deal with factionalism once and for all.
But the question that always crops up is, how can the party effectively deal
with factionalism when the vice president is part of the
Another party supporter from Masvingo said the party would pay
dearly for having sidelined the Zvobgo faction.
policy of courting junior ministers like Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Chinamasa
who do not have any history in the party will certainly cost him. Achayeuka
By David Kilgour ZIMBABWE and its
people find themselves in a very precarious situation; what was once a beacon
of hope and prosperity in Africa finds itself dangerously close to economic
and political ruin. Reports of politically motivated violence and
intimidation abound. The independent press, including foreign reporters, are
being harassed. Inflation is nearly 100% and unemployment is above 60%, while
foreign exchange reserves and exports are disappearing. The World Food
Programme warns that soon over 700 000 Zimbabweans will face severe food
shortages. At the centre of the storm: land ownership in Zimbabwe and a
sustainable economic future for all its people.
The urgent need for land
reform in Zimbabwe is indisputable. Until the early 1990s, in a population of
12,5 million people, approximately 4 500 white farmers owned 40% of the
agricultural land, about 12 million hectares. These farms employed 300 000
farm workers who, with their families, represent 1,5 million people. Over six
million other Zimbabweans are crowded in poverty on “communal areas” of poor
soil and little rainfall. Zimbabwe’s Independence struggle promised the
return of land to Zimbabweans. This promise has yet to be fulfilled. Securing
equity, social peace, racial harmony, and economic progress for Zimbabweans
in part depends on the execution of efficient and sustainable land
redistribution programmes. Unfortunately, this has not been the case to
In July of 2000, following 20 years of largely ineffective land
reform policies, the government of President Robert Mugabe launched its
“fast-track land reform programme”. It sought to resettle 162 000 families on
five million hectares of privately-owned land for the 2001 season. The
government later increased its target to 8,3 million hectares, owned by the
white commercial farmers and the source of most of Zimbabwe’s
agricultural commercial exports. Aside from having patently unattainable
objectives, the programme proved to be ill-conceived, thereby frustrating all
parties involved. In December 2000, Zimbabwe’s own Supreme Court ruled
Since then, the situation in Zimbabwe has become
increasingly unstable. Land seizures have continued, seriously disrupting
agri- culture on commercial farms. Violence and intimidation connected to a
series of by-elections have been well documented. Supreme Court Justices have
been physically threatened by government supporters. The potential for
increasing violence and the collapse of the commercial agricultural sector is
On September 6, 2001, at the behest of Nigerian President
Olesegun Obasanjo, eight Commonwealth ministers and the secretary-general of
the Commonwealth met in Abuja, Nigeria. The purpose of the meeting was to
find a “mutually acceptable solution” to the land issue. It was further
understood that discussions would focus on Zimbabwe’s commitment to the
Commonwealth principles of respect for the rule of law, human rights and
democratic government. The resulting agreement committed Zimbabwe to end
farm invasions, take firm action against violence, and restore the rule of
Great Britain, in turn, agreed to make “significant” funds available
for land reform programs provided Zimbabwe met its commitments. The
Abuja Agreement, therefore, paved the way for the international community
to measure Zimbabwe’s good faith in living up to Commonwealth principles,
while offering a financial incentive for Zimbabwe to resolve its land crisis.
The same group reconvened recently in Harare (October 25-27), to verify
whether progress had been made. At Canada’s insistence, the committee visited
farms and heard from a wide range of organisations, including civil society,
the opposition, and the press. What they told us was very
We heard numerous reports of ongoing farm invasions and
severe violations of human rights. Since the first Commonwealth ministers’
meeting, new invasions and violence have prevented any agricultural activity
on over 700 farms during the planting season. According to the Law Society of
Zimbabwe, which represents more than 800 lawyers, “there has been no
restoration of a climate of legality”. The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
provided well-documented evidence that “torture continues to be practised by
both state agents and other agents acting with the acquiescence of the
state”. The government of Zimbabwe continuously discounted all such
allegations, blaming internal and external opposition forces.
played a leading role in pressing Zimbabwe to respect its Abuja commitments.
In the interest of keeping the Abuja process alive, a communiqué was issued
in Harare, representing a compromise among governments represented around the
table. It reiterated that the entire land reform process needs to take place
in accordance with the laws and constitution of Zimbabwe.
government cannot be allowed to escape stringent international observation.
The committee heard from a range of voices who insisted that the government
has not made an honest effort to end the continuing lawlessness and human
rights violations. Others argued that the people who desperately need land,
namely Zimbabwe’s landless poor, are not receiving it. Canada has already
taken preliminary actions against Zimbabwe: these include cuts to our
bilateral aid and limits on export financing and military training. Further
steps would require careful coordination with our Commonwealth partners and
especially with key African countries who have a stake in this
Land reform in Zimbabwe needs to occur in a legal, transparent,
effective, and peaceful manner. Canada has consistently supported a United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) proposal that outlines an orderly,
transparent and well-targeted land reform programme. In this vein, we fully
support a UNDP land assessment mission which was in Zimbabwe in early
November. Furthermore, we strongly support the deployment of election
observers to Zimbabwe both in the run up to, and the holding of, the 2002
As host of the 2002 G8 Summit, which will deal
in substantial part with Africa, Canada will work to ensure that what is
going on in Zimbabwe does not go unnoticed. We did so in Abuja; we did so in
Harare; and we will continue to do so now.
David Kilgour, Secretary of
State for Latin America and Africa, led the Canadian delegation to Abuja
(Nigeria) and Harare (Zimbabwe) in September and October of this year
Trevor Ncube OF late I have
heard it said so often that Zimbabwe is now a racially polarised society. It
has been suggested that race relations have deteriorated to worrying levels.
Some even draw parallels between now and the UDI era. Nothing could be
further from the truth.
Those who hold this view argue that the racial
invective now synonymous with government’s so-called fast-track land reform
exercise has poisoned relations between black and white in Zimbabwe. The
racial abuse emanating from the government-controlled press and the racist
attacks on white commercial farmers tend to lend credence to claims that
black and white in this country are at each other’s throats.
of thinking fails to make a distinction between the actions of a rented mob,
a partisan state media and a deliberately racist government on the one hand
and the generality of peace-loving Zimbabweans on the other.
of black and white Zimbabweans do get along satisfactorily. I would go so far
as to say never before have black and white Zimbabweans had such a singleness
This, of course, is not to say there are no prejudiced people
among us. We do have our share of white and black racists and tribalists.
Inside all of us there is the potential to be a racist or a tribalist,
depending on our upbringing, socialisation and recent or past personal
experiences. Ethnic prejudice, some would say, is a natural condition
informed by both ignorance and fear of the person who looks different and
speaks a language different to ours.
But I would argue that we are
born without racial prejudice and that this condition is inflicted upon us by
those who nurture us during our formative years. Society is also a crucible
in which we are influenced one way or the other. Ultimately, being a racist
is a matter of choice. We choose to hold on to positive or negative
influences from both society and those who bring us up. It is also our choice
whether we allow isolated personal experiences, no matter however harsh they
might be, to condition our attitudes towards other races and tribes.
do readily concede that we have a racist ruling party and government but that
in itself does not make every black person a racist. And not every white
person was a racist during UDI. Some made a significant contribution to our
I can never understand anybody who looks at me and concludes
that they are superior on account of their colour or ethnic background which
is a mere accident of nature and biology. For none of us made a choice to be
born white, black, Shona or Ndebele or Tonga.
Those white Zimbabweans
who feel they are being targeted and question whether they still have a
future in this country must remember that many more black people have been
tortured, maimed or killed by Zanu PF-hired political thugs. And the truth is
that more blacks are leaving the country than whites. So while the government
and state media rhetoric might be directed at whites, blacks have borne the
brunt of state-instigated terrorism. In short, we are in this together:
black, white, coloured and Asians.
I have done it! I have been to
inspect the voters’ roll and had it confirmed that I am indeed a bona fide
registered voter. There is so much satisfaction and indeed, power, in knowing
that your single vote is potent and could make a difference if used wisely.
So I am now armed and ready to be courted by any political party that
espouses the principles and issues that I value. This of course is assuming I
do not drop dead before polling day!
While being told that my name was on
the voters’ register gave me some measure of comfort, I insisted on seeing it
with my own eyes just to be double sure. This is symptomatic of the mistrust
I have for our electoral system. However, the fact that I saw my name with my
own two eyes is still no guarantee that it will still be on the roll on the
day I go to vote.
During last year’s parliamentary election I witnessed a
number of people who swore by their mother they had inspected the voters’
roll and had seen their names. But they were told on the day of voting they
were not on the roll!
Whether this was due to sheer incompetence or an
attempt to cook the books we will never know. “Computer error” has become the
standard excuse. All this goes to show that we need to be vigilant to
eliminate the “computer errors”, the incompetence and the cooking of books.
No doubt all this is a bit of an intrusion into your usual busy schedule. But
your country desperately needs your vote.
Following my memo last week,
a number of people have confessed to me that they had not registered or
checked whether their names were on the voters’ roll. Shame on all of you who
have not yet registered or set time aside to inspect the voters’ roll. Where
is your sense of patriotism? I consider this the height of irresponsibility
and hope that you will soon make amends. I do get the feeling that there are
people who just could not be bothered but will be the first to whinge and
moan when things go wrong.
The good news is that the inspection of the
voters’ roll and the voter registration exercise have been extended to
December 19. So I think you owe it to your country that before you break for
the holidays you dash to your local district office. It won’t take lots of
your time but your vote might just be the one that makes the difference.
Remember every single vote counts.
Reports coming from voter
registration stations indicate that many people, armed with as much
documentary proof as possible of who they are, are still being turnDear
GO ahead and write, we will be on your side. It really pains
me to see my country deteriorating so badly both politically and
economically. Mugabe must go. No matter what. This is now a matter of saving
the counry, not individuals. If sanctions are imposed, it’s the country that
suffers most. So, the best thing is to get rid of the guy.
THE draft Access to Information Bill
refers to a “collapse of professional and ethical standards in the media”.
Nowhere was this more evident than in the Herald’s account of a meeting
between editors and the visiting Sadc ministerial team on
Wisdom Mdzungairi reported that the Zimbabwe Independent’s
publisher Trevor Ncube and his editor Iden Wetherell “claimed that when the
chairman of the war veterans and national hero, the late Cde Cain Nkala, was
murdered, half of Bulawayo youths were arrested and yet no Zanu PF supporters
have been arrested for murdering over 85 MDC supporters”.
reported the team’s chair, Lilian Patel, as warning “this was the kind of
false reports that Sadc did not want to hear”.
In fact, as anybody
present at the meeting would be prepared to testify, including we hope Prof
Tafataona Mahoso and Dr Ibbo Mandaza, no such exchange took place. Neither
Ncube nor Wetherell mentioned Nkala or Bulawayo.
Ncube did refer to
people killed in political violence. But he did not refer to Nkala or events
in Bulawayo. Patel’s criticism of media distortions came in response to
evidence that Patrick Chinamasa had told ZBC the ministers admitted only
coming to Zimbabwe after pressure from the EU and US. This was completely
untrue, Patel said.
Very simply the Herald lied. And Mdzungairi proved,
if proof were needed, that many Herald reporters have little or no regard for
the truth. There has indeed been a collapse of professional and ethical
standards in some parts of the media. The Herald has shown us exactly
Just to illustrate how unprofessional the paper can be, it
reported Mahoso and Mandaza as telling the ministers that “if anybody does
not believe that the problems bedevilling Zimbabwe do not (sic) stem from the
land imbalances, then that individual lived in a fool’s paradise”.
can two people be quoted as making the same statement containing the same
grammatical error? Where are these reporters trained? And we can imagine
Mandaza’s delight at having his evidence lumped with that of Mahoso who had
to be twice stopped by the ministers from ranting and raving!
ministers make a point of not following court judgements? First we
had Patrick Chinamasa, who as Justice minister should have at least one eye
on the ball of court pronouncements, saying he was not aware of a
court recommendation that the Attorney-General’s office pursue the matter of
an alleged electoral killer employed by the CIO and would not in any case
be directed by judges.
In fact the judge had raised the matter as a
polite and entirely proper request and not a direction to the minister, but
we won’t let these little facts divert our story. The matter is now, we
gather, being pursued with great difficulty by the AG’s office.
week Higher Education minister Samuel Mumbengegwi was asked by
Innocent Gonese for his response to the case of deputy Transport minister
Chris Mushohwe who had failed his university exam but was passed
by Vice-Chancellor Graham Hill.
Mumbengegwi replied that Hill had told
him that a university lecturer, Dr (John) Makumbe, had vowed that as long as
he was in the department in question (political studies), Mushohwe would not
“The vice-chancellor, like a renowned academic, wanted to know
from independent academics if he had failed,” the minister told the House
“So he invited other academics from different universities
to mark the scripts and (Mushohwe) passed his exams cum grano salis. The
deputy minister pursued his Masters and he passed very well. He (Hill) could
not allow him to fail because of one particular academic, that is why he
decided to consult independent academics.”
Mumbengegwi said he hoped
his statement would put the matter to rest “once and for all”.
Gonese was not satisfied. Was the minister aware that Justice Gwaunza had
dismissed Mu- shohwe’s defamation suit against Makumbe and others and that
she had found allegations made in the press about Mushohwe and Hill to be
Mumbengegwi said he was “unaware of the ruling made by Justice
Gwaunza because I do not follow all court judgements that take place.
However, I did follow this article which appeared in two newspapers because
it did touch on two honourable people. At any rate, I believe the question of
awarding degrees is not a legal matter but an academic one.”
you have it. Judges should mind their own business.
Still with Higher
Education, we were interested to note that the Australian High Commissioner
was induced by the Herald after the passage of the Zimbabwe Democracy Bill in
the US to say that Australia was keeping ties with Zimbabwe open in the form
What he apparently did not say was that this is a source
of great irritation to the Zimbabwe authorities because the Australian
government insists on selecting the most suitable applicants instead of
having the Ministry of Higher Education decide which chefs’ sons and
daughters should be sent.
Is Jonathan Moyo, in addition to his many other
self-appointed tasks, now writing speeches for the commissioner of
It certainly looks like it. A speech Augustine Chihuri delivered
to police graduates at Morris Depot last Thursday was redolent with
Moyo-esque absurdities such as “the ZRP has no place for officers with high
Where does that leave Chihuri, we might well ask?
His “high political avidity” would suggest he is campaigning for high
political office — other than the one he already holds of course.
police will stop at nothing unless and until all terrorists engaged
in destabilisation tactics are accounted for,” Chihuri pledged.
this mean he is at last going to do something about the killers of Tichaona
Chiminya and Talent Mabika? Does it mean he will tell us what happened to
Patrick Nabanyama? Or the other 81 people listed this week as dead or
missing? Has he finally woken up to his responsibilities?
“Zimbabwe is being bludgeoned by a host of insurmountable pressures from
imperialist forces abroad and their local prodigies (protegés?) among the
general population in a bid to haemorrhage the country ’s hard-won
independence,” he declared.
The “nationalistic and patriotic posture” of
the police force would never be compromised, he promised before giving us the
benefit of his views on the land question and the Abuja accord.
a good impression of the ranting and raving minister whose views he was so
evidently parroting, Chihuri said “the ranting and raving tirades peddled by
the local private and international media on the ineffectiveness of the ZRP
are not only perforated and baseless, but also manifested an astonishing
degree of ignorance that the police is not a reincarnation of the
Most former members of the BSAP are no doubt profoundly grateful
to the commissioner for this act of dissociation. As for upholding the rule
of law, Chihuri has evidently borrowed a leaf from the Chief Justice’s
book. It was “fictitious to create an obsession about the rule of law
and disregard issues of national sovereignty, racial dignity and decorum
in which the land issue is cardinal,” he declared. Indeed, the last thing
we could ever accuse Chihuri of is having an obsession with the rule of
If there was an award for the most unprofessional diplomat in Harare
it would go without contest to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s
Mwanananga Mawampanga. He said the Zimbabwe Democracy Bill passed by the US
Congress “was meant to provoke Zimbabwe so that it reacts in a certain manner
to justify American expansionist policies”.
He said the Bill was based
on “lies spread by Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and the Daily News”.
past we have criticised unprofessional behaviour by diplomats anxious to
demonstrate their commitment to Zimbabwe’s ruling party. Dean-for-life Ali
Halimeh’s gyrating at a Zanu PF congress comes to mind as do statements by
Chinese diplomats based in Harare. But if you examine the record you
will find that China has of late been much more circumspect in its
public statements, making a clear distinction between party and government
ties. Even Halimeh has been less demonstrative in his affection for our
But Mawampanga, it appears, thinks Zanu PF will rule
forever. The wish is probably father to the thought. As the UN has
discovered, Zanu PF and the DRC government are partners in crime in the
extraction of Congo’s resources and the time-expiry date on the one regime
has implications for the other. But at least Mawampanga understands which
rotten political mast he has tied his fortunes to. When his ship sinks we
will be happy to wave goodbye.
Jonathan Moyo’s vituperative response to
his party’s defeat in Chegutu reveals just how keenly the loss is felt. Once
he starts using the word “stupid” you know he’s as mad as hell. Why can’t he
just gracefully concede defeat in a town at the very centre of Zanu PF
As for those in Zanu PF who keep parroting Mugabe’s line that fast
track is irreversible, let’s remind them that over the past 10 years
governments in Eastern Europe have been trying to rescue their agricultural
sectors from the dere- liction of collectivisation policies by restoring land
to their original owners where possible, but mostly to those prepared to
lease land and make it productive. Zambia is also leasing land ravaged by
previous nationalisation policies. So is Mozambique.
permanent in this world, especially not Zanu PF’s damaging policies on land
and the economy. When a minister next tells you there is “no going back”,
tell him we have a record of his farm that will be forfeit to the state come
a democratic government. That will definitely be “going back” to the
A Zanu PF supporter and commander of settlers, Elizaberth (sic)
Chiza, on Newshour last Thursday evening openly confessed to arson — that she
led a group of settlers to burn down a farm compound at Blackmorevale Farm
in Chakari. Three hundred farm workers and their families were left
destitute and 42 sustained serious burns.
“We decided to burn the
compound because the farm workers had provoked us and they were also
harbouring gold panners who were panning for gold in our fields,” said Chiza
urged on by Mashona-land West bureau chief Douglas Rinomhota who did not
bother to interview the affected farm workers.
Are we going to see her
arrested, especially after Chihuri in the next news clip threatened to deal
ruthlessly with terrorists and those who propagate violence?
Chidyausiku and his colleagues on the bench were watching this.
record should be kept of all lawlessness on farms in the weeks surrounding
his judgement so people can judge for themselves whether law and order has
been restored as he so helpfully asserted.
Muckraker has been trying to
work out why President Mugabe lost his temper with Xavier Solana and Chris
Patten when they met him at State House a few weeks ago. Then we recalled the
leading role these two EU diplomats played in Slobodan Milo- sevic’s fall
When the Yugoslav dictator declared himself the winner of the
October presidential election, Solana and Patten mobilised the EU against the
poll theft. They said Voijslav Kostunica had clearly won and the EU would
not endorse electoral fraud.
That declaration emboldened Yugoslav
civil society to take to the streets. Mugabe knew this background. As soon as
the two EU visitors raised electoral issues he remembered Milosevic and
stormed out. This also explains why the government media here has been
paranoid about the Yugoslav precedent.
Another feature of the Yugoslav
campaign is worth noting. Ahead of the poll the opposition plastered
Belgrade’s walls with graffiti saying “He’s finished”.
There was no
mention of Milosevic by name. Just “He’s finished”. Apparently it enabled
Yugoslavs to conceptualise change where it had previously been inconceivable
and deliver it when the time came.
THERE was something sad
about the visit of Sadc ministers this week. They wanted to be useful, they
hoped to make a difference, but in the end they ended up looking like
cheerleaders for Zimbabwe’s derelict leadership.
The ministers came to
address a crisis of governance caused by violent and lawless land seizures
directed by the government. They were mandated in terms of a decision taken
by Sadc leaders in Blantyre in August which established a task force of heads
of state to deal with Zimbabwe.
Since then South Africa’s President Thabo
Mbeki has made a series of statements which, despite the efforts of his
Labour minister, Shepherd Mdladlana, to suggest they were taken out of
context, were unambiguous and crystal clear to those he
They concerned 21 years of misgovernance north of the Limpo-po
and the crisis of legitimacy that will arise from an election that is neither
free nor fair.
Violence and breaches of even the latest amendments to
the Land Acquisition Act persist while the perpetrators of arson and violence
are celebrated on the evening news.
The Sadc ministers evidently had
no problem with any of this. Although they didn’t visit a single farm, they
welcomed the Supreme Court’s profoundly flawed judgement on land and
applauded “the improved atmosphere of calm and stability” — a chimera if ever
there was one.
They “encouraged the government to continue to embark on
its positive actions”, whatever that means, and called on “all stake- holders
to support these actions to further reduce tensions”.
As none of the
stakeholders have been consulted at any point, and told the visiting team so,
exactly how they are expected to “support” the actions of a government intent
upon dispossessing them wholesale is difficult to grasp.
At least the
team cannot plead ignorance as to who the beneficiaries of fast-track
confiscations will be. They were given details of the sort of well-connected
individuals who head the A2 Scheme list.
The team proved easy to convince
on a number of other points. Despite the fact that the government has made no
move what- soever to take up the recommendation by the Sadc heads of state in
September that it form a multi-party parliamentary committee to consult with
the opposition before embarking on further legislation, it was “noted that
although this had not been established, mechanisms were already in place for
the parties to interact in the context of several parliamentary portfolio
The best the Sadc team could do was “encourage” all parties
to make use of these committees and to “dialogue on issues of national
importance outside the confines of parliament as well”.
Not only was
the team inclined to be easily deceived, it also enga-ged in some deception
of its own.
“Ministers expressed their concern at distorted and negative
perceptions of Zimbabwe project-ed by the international and regional media
and appealed to all concerned to adopt a culture of objectivity, fairness and
balance in the discussion of and reporting on Zimbabwe.”
to help correct these “negative perceptions” with “factual information”
supplied by Zimbabwean ministers!
On the day before their stateme-nt was
issued the Herald’s political editor, commenting on this weekend’s Zanu PF
conference, claimed “analysts” had said there was a need for unity “so that
the party takes on the white-sponsored terrorist MDC with one
Is that the sort of balance the ministers were looking for? They
also missed seeing Zanu PF supporters preventing the newly-elected mayor of
Chegutu from taking office.
The fact is they wanted to believe
everything they were told. As Moeletsi Mbeki of the South African Institute
of International Relations pointed out last weekend, Sadc is essentially a
structurally unsound organisation carrying little weight. One reason for that
is its reluctance to stand up for good governance and democratic principles
despite its founding protocol making full reference to these.
visiting team’s chair, Malawi’s foreign minister Lilian Patel, said sanctions
would cause “untold suffering” to the people of the region. But Mugabe’s
policies already have.
Significantly, ministers from the two countries
that have taken a firmer line with Harare, Botswana and South Africa, left
early claiming they were over-schedule. Stan Mudenge appears to have had
little difficulty in drawing up a sterile communiqué with those that
remained, devoid of reality and manifestly blind to realities on the
An international consensus is now forming around President
Mugabe’s increasingly desperate regime. It is the product not of a global
conspiracy led by the British, as Zanu PF likes to pretend, but the
inevitable conclusion to two years of hard evidence. In the meantime over
80 Zimbabweans have lost their lives, food production has plummeted,
the economy has contracted and skilled people are abandoning Zimbabwe in
That is the “negative perception” Sadc must come to
grips with because it concerns them as much as us. If they continue to allow
themselves to be misled by spurious appeals to solidarity and fret about the
red herring of sanctions they will simply compound the crisis they were
tasked to resolve.
Feud threatens poll campaign
Zulu PRESIDENT Mugabe’s home area of Mashonaland West, seen as a stronghold
of the ruling party, has been rocked by factionalism as Chegutu MP
Webster Shamu and other provincial heavyweights refused to campaign for Zanu
PF’s candidate, Stanley Majiri, in last weekend’s mayoral poll.
the unofficial political godfather of Chegutu, refused to campaign for his
The Chegutu mayoral poll was won by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change candidate, Francis Blessing
Two factions have emerged in Chegutu — one led by the upstart
provincial chairman, Philip Chiyangwa, and the other by Shamu, the ousted
Shamu’s camp reportedly comprises Swithun Mombeshora and Edna
Madzongwe, among others. Nathan Shamuyarira, Ignatius Chombo, Chiyangwa and
Paul Mangwana are said to be in the other group. A row erupted over the
election of the candidate before the poll with the two camps submitting
Sources said the failure by Shamu to effectively
campaign for Majiri contributed to the defeat by the MDC.
refused to comment on the latest developments.
“You are from the
Independent. I am sorry I cannot comment on that,” Chiyangwa said before
switching off his mobile phone.
Contacted for comment, Shamu would
neither confirm nor deny the latest developments.
“You can ask Philip
Chiyangwa and his executive, they are running the show,” Shamu
Political analyst Brian Raftopoulos said the divisions in Chegutu
and Masvingo were certain to hinder Mugabe’s presidential election
“I think this is a serious problem in Zanu PF and it is likely
to harm Mugabe’s campaign. Chegutu was a Zanu PF stronghold but it has fallen
to the opposition MDC. Masvingo is one of the most populated areas in
Zimbabwe and if faction-alism continues there is likely to be a low turnout
or a protest vote for the MDC. The implications are very serious for the
ruling party,” said Raftopoulos.
Sources said Shamu and Zvobgo were
mulling an alliance and this would further compound Mugabe’s problems ahead
of the biggest challenge he has ever faced in his 21 years of unbridled
“The two are frustrated by the way Mugabe is treating them. They
are now sidelined despite the sterling work they did for Mugabe,” said a
Forward Maisokwadzo/ Blessing Zulu GOVERNMENT, slowly awakening
to the imminent food crisis facing the country, this week enlisted the
support of the donor community to avert disaster, it has been
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident
representative in Zimbabwe, Victor Angelo, confirmed that he met government
officials this week to forge a way forward on how to avert looming food
“The government requested assistance in October and we are
trying to bring in the international community to assist Zimbabwe,” Angelo
Finance minister Simba Makoni and Labour and Social Welfare
minister July Moyo represented government at a meeting with the United
Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) on Wednesday which resulted in the
signing of a memorandum of understanding.
Last month WFP said it was
planning a massive relief operation for more than half a million mainly rural
people who faced starvation, saying this followed a request for help from the
Government’s slow reaction to grain shortages, projected
earlier this year, will result in the country experiencing food shortages as
donors will only be able to deliver maize after three months
“The deal has been signed, yes, but logistical and
transportation problems will delay maize deliveries,” a commodity broker
Government, which drafted Makoni to spearhead the negotiating team
with the donor community, will see supplies run out before the end of this
month as official stocks are below the usual levels for the time of
The US-based Famine Early Warning System Network (Fewsnet), warned
that as of November 23 only 96096 tonnes of maize remained in the official
‘The level is too low for the time of the year, prompting fears
that the available official stocks in the country could run out before the
end of December,” said Fewsnet, a project run by the US Agency for
The network said the stocks could dwindle
to nothing unless 150 000 tonnes of planned government maize imports and 60
000 tonnes of intended WFP maize imports started arriving in the
Acute foreign currency shortages and bureaucratic bungling
resulted in government failing to source the tendered 150 000 tonnes before
shortages hit the country.
Experts said 150 000 tonnes of maize
imports were required before the end of the current marketing season in March
2002 to meet consumption requirements and restore strategic grain reserves to
recommended levels of 500 000 tonnes.
Movement for Democratic Change
shadow minister for Agriculture, Renson Gasela, said: “The situation on the
ground is terrible. The number of people who require food assistance
throughout the country is well over a million.”