COMMERCIAL FARMERS' UNION
FARM INVASIONS AND SECURITY UPDATE
Monday 18th December 2000
NATIONAL REPORT IN BRIEF:
Malcolm Vowles, Deputy Director (Admin & Projects). Harare 309800-18. firstname.lastname@example.org
From The Star (SA), 16 December
Harare riots after stray shot slays vendor
Harare - Rioters set fire to cars and shattered windows in a city mall on Saturday after a street vendor was killed by a stray gunshot from a policeman, police said. Dozens of police fired teargas and several people were injured as officers battled to control about 200 people who had attacked police in Harare's old city district after the accidental shooting. Calm was later restored to the area. But police confirmed that the vendor had been killed by a stray shot in the neck after an officer fired on a commuter minibus that had defied an order to stop at a roadblock. "We are investigating the case ... but obviously we are very sorry for what happened," police said, declining to give more details.
The incident was the second in as many months and is a sign of the increasing tension in Zimbabwe, where people are becoming angrier and more volatile as the result of a deepening economic crisis blamed on President Robert Mugabe. The southern African country is struggling with a severe fuel shortage, and government statistics show that poverty afflicts 75 percent of the 12.5 million population - from 40 percent 10 years ago. Zimbabwe has suffered several riots in the past three years in response to food prices, wages and taxes. Last month a municipal policeman in Zimbabwe's eastern border city of Mutare triggered a riot after accidentally shooting dead a baby strapped to the back of her mother at the town's main bus terminus. Mugabe, who has been in power since the former Rhodesia gained independence from Britain 20 years ago, was endorsed as the ruling Zanu-PF leaders at a party congress on Friday.
From The Observer (UK), 17 December
White ally scorned by Mugabe
Harare - Clouds of tear gas blanketed central Harare yesterday as police tried to disperse crowds of angry shoppers protesting against the accidental killing of a woman. The seething unrest and fury in the Zimbabwean capital over heavy-handed policing is matched by destructive havoc in rural areas, where nine people have died in an anthrax outbreak as a result of the massive disruptions caused by President Robert Mugabe's land seizures. The widespread dissatisfaction is a response to an extraordinary congress of the ruling Zanu-PF party last week, which reaffirmed its support for Mugabe.
'We have rioting and tear gas in the streets today, and that is an indication of what is to come as a result of this congress,' said Zimbabwean political scientist John Makumbe yesterday. 'Mugabe offered fear and intimidation as his policies. His speech was pure venom, encouraging hatred and racism, and a call for violence.' The President's single-minded pursuit of seizures of white-owned land will speed up the disintegration of the national economy and hasten the demise of his party, said Makumbe.
Not even Mugabe's most sycophantic white supporter, the British property tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten, has escaped the anti-white fury. One of Zimbabwe's largest landowners, van Hoogstraten thought he would be feted as a guest of honour at the convention. Ever eager for publicity, he negotiated with the BBC to send a crew to film him arm-in-arm with Mugabe, waving to the cheering crowds. Instead he skulked away from Harare last week with his dreams of acclaim in tatters and his property empire overrun by thousands of Mugabe's violent war veterans. He was not even a delegate to the congress, let alone a guest of honour, according to party officials.
Mugabe launched his most bitter attack yet on white landowners, calling them 'white devils'. He specifically denounced British and other foreigners among them, vowing to take all they own. 'Our party must continue to strike fear in the heart of the white man. They must tremble,' Mugabe told an 8,000-strong audience last Thursday. 'They think because they are white they have a divine right to our resources. Not here. The white man is not indigenous to Africa. Africa is for Africans.' The last person he wanted to be seen with was van Hoogstraten, one of Britain's wealthiest men, whose land in Zimbabwe is worth £32m following his purchase of the Lonrho holdings here.
Van Hoogstraten, who is building himself a mansion in Sussex, apparently reckoned that by publicly praising Mugabe his vast estates would be untouched while the farms of other whites were seized. As further insurance, he donated tens of thousands of pounds to Zanu-PF. 'I'm in bed with his party,' he boasted a few months ago. 'Comrade Mugabe has kept the country peaceful and relatively wealthy for 20 years. I entirely agree with what Mugabe has said and done.' He denounced farmers who protested against the land seizures as 'white trash'.
That was before 'Comrade Mugabe' seized three of van Hoogstraten's prime properties and sent supporters on to his fourth, and largest, estate. Van Hoogstraten then found that his much-vaunted connections came to nothing. Far from basking in the limelight at the Zanu-PF congress, he was bitterly surveying his losses in Zimbabwe last week. After his outspoken remarks on Zimbabwe, van Hoogstraten found he had few friends in Zimbabwe to turn to for support or consolation. 'We steer clear of him,' said an official of the CFU. 'He made it clear he didn't care what happened to other farmers, so why should we care what happens to his properties? He's not very pleasant.'
The largest of van Hoogstraten's farms, Central Estates, encompasses 326,000 acres in the Mvuma area of Midlands province. It has not been designated for seizure, but suffered severe damage as it was invaded by an estimated 5,000 of Mugabe's supporters. They have put up homes, ploughed new fields and thoroughly disrupted the work of the vast ranch, say neighbouring farmers. Central Estate has also seen bitter fighting between peasants, who resettled themselves there, and war veterans, who claim they control the land. Another of van Hoogstraten's properties, Eastdale Estate, has been taken over by about 140 families in the past few weeks. Three other large farms have been officially designated for seizure. Van Hoogstraten bought the Zimbabwean farms from Lonrho. It appears he tried to mimic the legendary Lonrho chief 'Tiny' Rowland by trying to befriend Mugabe.
In a bid to regain control of his properties, van Hoogstraten offered Mugabe's government 12,000 acres for re-settlement in return for removal of squatters on the rest of his land. Cephas Msipa, governor of the Midlands province, confirmed that 'Nick' had made an offer, but so far the government has made no decision. More than 2,000 farms have been listed for seizure and a further 1,700 are already overrun by illegal squatters. Many of the occupiers are armed and have assaulted and threatened the white owners. Police have taken no action despite Supreme Court orders for them to enforce the law. Mugabe has told the police to ignore the court rulings.
Last week Henry Elsworth, 70, a prominent farmer whom Mugabe had directly threatened, was ambushed and shot dead on his farm in the Redcliff area of Midlands province. Elsworth, who was on crutches, died trying to protect his 20-year-old son from the attackers' gunfire. The son, Ian, survived with nine bullet wounds and identified his attackers as war veterans. 'The entire farming community is in mourning over that killing,' said Robert Vaughn-Evans. 'It was a very sinister, premeditated murder. It was a chilling message to all other farmers.' War veterans' leader Chenjerai 'Hitler' Hunzvi pressed home their message at the opening of the congress. 'We are now fighting for our land and whosoever is killed, it's tough luck,' said Hunzvi. 'In fact it is now going to be very hard for commercial farmers. They may not even reap or harvest the crops they have planted. We have finished negotiating with them. What is now left is confrontation.'
That confrontation - historic and of tragic proportions - now looms, so it is hardly surprising that van Hoogstraten's self-serving friendship with Mugabe has collapsed.
From The Star (SA), 16 December
Mugabe ousts challenger to his throne
Harare - President Robert Mugabe has dropped one of Zimbabwe's most powerful politicians from the country's top decision-making body, according to state media reports on Saturday. The former justice minister, Eddison Zvobgo, who reportedly wanted the ruling party to discuss a timetable for Mugabe to step down, was not included in the new politburo Mugabe announced late on Friday after a party congress. Others dropped included the former information minister, Chen Chimutengwende, and Welshman Mabhena - who had been fired as a regional governor following the ruling party's poor showing in his area in parliamentary elections in June.
"You did your best and you got us to this stage," Mugabe reportedly told the old Politburo during a closed session before the 6 000 party delegates. "We are now going through a combative stage," Mugabe was quoted as saying by the state-controlled daily, The Herald. The new politburo has expanded to 30 people from 24, with new members noted for their loyalty to the 76-year-old president. New recruits include the information minister, Jonathan Moyo, and the finance minister, Simba Makoni.
Zvobgo, 65, was the architect of the 1987-1990 constitutional amendments that created Mugabe's powerful presidency. But when delegates were accredited for the party congress on Wednesday, fist fights reportedly broke out between supporters of Mugabe and of Zvobgo, who demanded the party discuss when Mugabe should step down and who would be his successor. Zvobgo, once considered a likely successor to Mugabe, had no comment on Saturday. Mabhena refused to attend the congress, saying he feared assault. Dzikamai Mavhaire, Zvobgo's closest associate in his southeastern home area, was last year expelled from party councils for telling parliament: "The president must go."…
From The Zimbabwe Standard, 17 December
Fired Politburo Chefs speak out
'No one can fire me from the party,' says Zvobgo 'It's the President's prerogative,' says Chen
Masvingo South MP, Dr Eddison Zvobgo, dismissed from the politburo on Friday, has said he is unconcerned about the move, saying no one can chase him from Zanu PF. The sidelining of Zvobgo is a culmination of what political observers say is a deliberate move to silence him, following his open declaration that he would be interested in standing for the presidency. Zvobgo has in the last few years been dropped from being a substantive minister to one without a portfolio. Then he lost his cabinet post altogether, and finally has been dismissed from the politburo, Zanu PF's highest organ. He has been replaced by the minister of justice, legal and parliamentary affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, as the party's secretary for legal affairs. Asked whether he was being victimised, a joyous Zvobgo said: "It's all nonsense. I am still a Zanu PF member. No one can chase me away from the party."
Chen Chimutengwende, who also lost his post in the politburo announced by President Mugabe, told The Standard that he did not harbour any bitterness over the developments. "I accept the decision of the president to change the structure of the politburo. It's his prerogative under the constitution of the party. I accept the changes he has made. They will strengthen the party and personally I will continue to work for the party as a member of the central committee and as MP for Mazowe East," Chimutengwende said. He said it was natural for the politburo to undergo changes from time to time, adding that once one was appointed to the politburo he or she should not expect to stay there forever. Chimutengwende lost his deputy secretary for publicity post to Jonathan Moyo, who also took over his ministerial position after the June elections.
Meanwhile, dissent arose among delegates to the congress over the booting out of Zvobgo, Chimutengwende and Welshman Mabhena. Delegates from Masvingo were disappointed that Zvobgo had been kicked out of the politburo saying he was being victimised by the presidency for his outspokenness. They said Zvobgo had attracted Mugabe's wrath by going public with statements that he would contest for the presidency in the event that Mugabe resigns. Delegates complained to The Standard at the close of the congress that the succession issue had not been given any time. Mugabe has been at the helm of the party since 1976.
War veterans complained bitterly that they did not have any of their representatives included in the new politburo. "We are now used to fighting for our rights, as the party's executive seems intent to leave us in the cold all the time. Apart from the politburo, we expected Cde Mugabe to appoint some members of our association to the cabinet. But this did not happen. Varikuda kuti tirambe tichiita hondo here? (Do they want us to keep on fighting?)" said one angry war veteran.
On the succession issue, the dissenting voices accused vice president Simon Muzenda of stifling debate on the matter when he ruled that President Mugabe would stay in office until the land issue was resolved. However, Chinhoyi MP, Philip Chiyangwa, dismissed the complaints made on the succession debate, saying delegates had only themselves to blame if the issue was not raised. "The question is who prepares the agenda of the congress. People have only themselves to blame if they wanted change. The provinces should have ensured that this item was on the agenda. If the matter was never raised as a serious matter on the agenda or on the floor, then they should not complain," Chiyangwa, who himself did not attend the congress because of business commitments, said. "It's a political power game."
Another complaint by some members of the central committee was that their power was being usurped by the politburo, which is the higher organ of the party. The politburo, the sources said, had become all powerful, acting as if it was the party's supreme decision making body yet the central committee was third in hierarchy after the people's national congress and the people's national conference. The congress sits every five years, except in extraordinary cases, while the conference meets annually. When the two are not in session, the central committee assumes the supreme role. "We have been reduced to 'yes men' of the politburo, a body that we are supposed to direct. They pass decisions and expect us to rubber stamp everything they say. That is unconstitutional and should be stopped," said one central committee source.
Some central committee members were particularly irked by the suspension of party provincial executives in Manicaland, Masvingo and Harare. They said the suspensions should have been discussed by the central committee first. The issue was raised at the closed meeting on Wednesday but the sources said politburo members present appeared not to take it seriously, preferring to discuss other issues. "The congress did not solve much of our problems and queries. The major problem being that people are good at talking without implementing anything. Some central committee members are vocal outside but develop cold feet when they come face to face with the party's top hierarchy. There is growing tension between the politburo and the central committee and if that continues then it spells doom for the party."
From The Independent (UK), 17 December
Black brain drain hits Zimbabwe
Harare - Zimbabwe is losing thousands of talented professionals crucial to its future, as President Robert Mugabe's reckless policies send thousands of "born-frees'' - the black elite educated after the beginning of majority rule in 1980 - into exile, principally in Britain. The black brain drain drawing professionals in their twenties to Britain, the US, South Africa and Australia is far more serious for Zimbabwe than the widely reported exodus of white farmers, say economists. Those leaving, at an estimated rate of five a day, include doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyers and journalists.
Given that former teacher Mr Mugabe gave Zimbabwe's 12.7 million population some of the best education in Africa in his first 10 years in power, the exodus is a disaster for the southern African country. Record Aids rates mean it needs its 14,000 nurses more than ever, but they are clamouring to leave. The prospect of a job in Britain - any job - is tantalising in a country where trained nurses with families can no longer make ends meet on their monthly salaries of up to Z$10,000 (about £120).
At Beverlino's pizzeria in Harare, Brian, Ruben, Remi and Flossie, all black professionals in their twenties, spend another evening swapping stories about friends who have left. "The new way to do it is via Egypt," says Brian, an accountant. "It is easier to fly through a transit point than to arrive in London on the direct flight.'' He tells of a friend who got to Montreal before immigration authorities turned her back for not having enough funds for the six-month holiday she claimed she was planning. "As soon as you have a 'deported' stamp in your passport, you've blown it,'' Remi says, "because there is a three-year waiting list for passports here.'' On the other hand, adds Flossie, it takes a good three years to save up the air fare. Ruben, who works at the reserve bank, said he would leave as soon as he had raised the money. "One friend, who is in London now, sold everything - television, table, chairs - leaving only a mattress on the floor for his wife to sleep on. We really have nothing to lose. The idea is not to leave for ever. You go as a tourist, disappear into the woodwork, work for two or three years and send money home, then come back and buy a house.''
In last week's Sunday Mail, a pro-government newspaper, columnist Garikai Mazara wrote of a trip from north London to Victoria station: "We were talking in Shona and forgot to check the name of the station as we approached it. Assuming the black woman next to us was English-speaking, we asked her in English for help and, to our surprise and joy, she answered in Shona. London can aptly be described as Little Harare. The presence of Zimbabweans becomes more pronounced in Brixton, the Mbare of London.'' Mbare is a poor township on the outskirts of Harare which provided much of the capital's labour before unemployment hit 40 per cent and inflation its present level of 56 per cent.
Though the emigration trend is clear and all urban professionals know someone who has decided to leave since the MDC failed to unseat the ruling Zanu-PF party in the recent elections, the extent of the exodus is only now being revealed. Zimbabwe's Central Statistical Office shows registered emigrants doubled in the first six months of this year to 3,299, compared to the similar period in 1999. But most people who leave, white or black, do not register their departure, to escape currency controls and leave their options open. Thousands are leaving, and the Daily Telegraph last week said MDC supporters in Britain are being harassed and followed by agents of Zanu-PF. Strive Masiyiwa, the 39-year-old millionaire, who brought an independent mobile-phone service, Econet, to Zimbabwe, has moved to South Africa because he fears for his safety and considers his home country's business climate too uncertain. And the celebrated singer Thomas Mapfumo moved to the US after his songs were banned and "guys in dark glasses'' began lining the back row at his concerts.
From Pan African News Agency, 16 December
Central African Leaders Meet On DR Congo Conflict
Leaders of countries in Central Africa have agreed to hold a summit Sunday in Libreville to discuss the crisis in the DRC, official sources said Saturday in the Gabonese capital. The sources said Gabonese President Oumar Bongo would chair the summit. The heads of state of Congo (Brazzaville), Chad, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, DRC, and representatives of some movements opposed to the government of Laurent-Desire Kabila, confirmed their participation in the meeting, according to the sources. However, some armed groups of the rebellion have turned down the invitation, preferring to stick to the Lusaka accords.
Zimbabwe this Week.
On Tuesday two men died – one, Ndabanigi Sithole was an early Nationalists and at one time the leader of Zanu – now the governing party under Robert Mugabe, the other was a farmer, Henry Elsworth who was gunned down in a carefully planned political execution. Ndabanigi was a man of some considerable intellect and he died in an American Clinic of congenital heart disease. The other was a relatively simple man with clear convictions who had represented his community in Parliament for over 25 years and he died in the arms of his son outside his home in the midlands.
I have warm recollections of both men. When Ndaba came out of prison in 1974 he first had to be persuaded that it was not a trick by that canny Ian Smith. He insisted that he would only leave jail if an emissary from Kenneth Kaunda came down to Wha Wha prison and escorted him to safety. When this was done they drove direct to the Airport in Harare where a small jet was waiting to fly him to Lusaka to see Kaunda. On entering the plane he discovered that the crew was entirely black – and promptly asked to go to Lusaka by road! Again Kaunda’s personal emissary persuaded him that there was no risk – that the crew was very experienced and were used to flying the State President in Zambia. At Lusaka airport a helicopter took him to State House where he met Kaunda and spent several hours discussing the way forward. He then returned to Harare by the same means.
A few day later a group of us in the Christian Council (I was the only white person there) met Ndaba who was a Minister of Religion among other things, and held a detailed discussion with him on the next step. He told us the above story at his own expense – all of us laughing at his concern that black people could not do complex things like fly an airplane. One old Minister in the meeting asked Ndaba, "what qualifications does a young man have to have in order to fly an airplane?" Ndaba thought for a moment and then carefully replied "independence". I will never forget that response with its brilliance and incisive spirit. What he said was true – we, the whites in control at the time, would never allow the full development of the black population and they had to take power to find opportunity. Unbeknown to us at the time, Ndaba was already a spent force and Mugabe was taking over the reins of leadership of Zanu and Ndaba would never again enjoy national support.
Henry was a tall quiet man who gained the respect of all who knew him – he was of a generation who grew up in Rhodesia and like many of us at the time thought we did a good job of running the country. He loved his farm and worked hard for the local community. He represented the Rhodesian Front up to independence and then sat in the first parliament of independent Zimbabwe. During this time he gained the respect and friendship of many on the governments side of the fence.
Henry’s farm was one of those invaded at the beginning of the year when government launched its illegal land grab and because of his record he was made a bit of a target. He struggled for the whole year with the conflict and helped hold the community together under dire circumstances. He and his son were driving back to the homestead at dusk, the gate was shut and Henry got out to open the gate (he was an elderly 70 years old and used a cane). As soon as he did so 5 guns opened fire at close range and Ian got out of his side of the vehicle and went around to help his dad. Despite being hit 9 times – once in the stomach, Ian still carried his father to shelter from the fire and his father died in his arms. His last words were directed at his attackers "please leave us alone, we will be gone tomorrow". Ian survived and is in hospital and Henry will be buried by his family and his community over the weekend. The weapons used were a mixture of AK 47’s and the FN rifle used by the Rhodesian army 20 years ago and now on issue to the ZNA and the Police.
Just a few weeks before I had received a letter from Henry encouraging us in the MDC to carry the torch and saying he was trying to do what he could. They had no money but were using what influence they had to support the cause of democracy in the Midlands. I wrote back thanking him for the letter and encouraging him to stand firm. It cost him his life.
Both men were migrants to Zimbabwe – Ndaba came from the Ndau group who live in the Chipinge area and who arrived in the country in the early part of the century, Henry came into the country about the same time. One was white, the other black, both were Nationalists in the best sense of the word – they loved their country. Both served the political interests that have governed the country during the past 50 years and in a sense they represent the suffering through which we are all going. They were from a bygone era and both will be missed.
The Zanu PF Congress has come and gone – Mugabe excelled himself again. The real tragedy was to watch 6 000 cheering delegates treat him as if he was sane and they were operating in a normal situation instead of an asylum for the mentally deranged. Then to hear otherwise intelligent and competent people like Olivier Muchena and Cephas Msipa support the strategies for suicide as if it was the only way forward was equally distressing. What is wrong with these people – can they not see that the king has no clothes on?
So now we know the worst – Mugabe will be the candidate for the 2002 elections, we the people of Zimbabwe will be subjected to 15 months of violence and intimidation funded by the state at our expense. The media are going to be tightly controlled and the MDC are a "bunch of ignoramuses who are simply a front for the whites". We were also told that Africa is for the Africans and Zimbabwe for the Zimbabweans, the Zanu party was to threaten the white community to encourage them to leave the country and abandon their assets. The illegal land grab was to be extended to include commercial and industrial assets and assets in the mining industry. It could not be worse, essentially the president and the ruling party have declared war on the people of this country, and in particular the white community.
The outlook for the next year is frightening – the IMF have formally stated that the Zimbabwe economy could decline by 10 per cent next year with inflation doubling to 155 per cent. We face huge food shortages and if the campaign to occupy the commercial farms is successful we will have at least 2 million internally displaced refugees. Job losses will spiral and hundreds of firms will close or leave the country. There will be no investment, very little foreign exchange for essential imports, the health and education systems will face collapse. This will spill over into all our neighbours – reducing growth and inhibiting investment. Cross border migration will grow into a flood damaging the stability of Botswana and South Africa. Mugabe has been told to get his house in order – if Mbeki did not understand what was Mugabe’s reply a week ago, he must understand now. The question is what can anyone do about this situation?
On the legal front our challenges go on – the Courts will hear our preliminary arguments on the 6th of January and three Judges will then start hearing the cases challenging the election of 39 Zanu PF members of Parliament. The Courts will shortly rule on the constitutional validity of the Presidential Powers Act and are almost certain to say it is not constitutional. That will open the way to private radio and TV and will also affect the legality of the farm acquisitions. The fact that the government has already said they ignore these rulings will not change the fact that the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe has ruled them out of court. In the USA the case for compensation brought by the widows of men killed in the elections, goes to the next stage, which is to determine the level of compensation. When this is agreed the lawyers can then get down to the business of finding Mugabe’s overseas assets and liquidating them to pay compensation. We are now considering if we should go the International Court in the Hague to determine if our basic human rights as citizens are being abused and what can be done about it. Perhaps we can prosecute these irresponsible political leaders in an international court and thereby gain some justice and legal protection.
A small aside – I was astonished to learn the other day that a team from Zimbabwe has been given visa’s to travel to the USA to buy riot equipment! I was equally astonished to note that Z$270 million has been set aside in the budget for the Presidents office (the CIO) to buy electronic equipment to monitor local communications. The source is reported to be the US and the agent here one of our white Zanu PF intermediaries who are trading arms and other equipment to anyone with hard currency. Surely this will not be tolerated by the incoming US administration and I am sure that if the outgoing knew what was going on they also would be outraged.
16th December 2000.
Please note that this note is personal and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Movement for Democratic Change.
Cop stabbed to death
Zimbabwe Daily News - 12/18/00
3:21:53 PM (GMT +2)
A plainclothes policeman
was stabbed to death on Saturday night in Harare at the same spot where a
vegetable vendor was shot dead by a police officer.
Tendai Nembire, the police
spokesperson, confirmed the incident and said the deceased officer was a member
of the Police Internal Security Section.
He was stabbed in the chest by unknown assailants and bled to death at the corner of Cameroon and Albion Streets.
Nembire said: "We're told that one of the rank marshals identified the two officers who were in civilian clothes and said'Aya mapurisa' (these are policemen) resulting in one of them being stabbed as they waited for transport to their homes."
Earlier, Harare streets resembled battle zones as riot police sought to control rampaging crowds angered by the death of Loveness Muringagomo, a vendor accidentally shot to death by a policeman.
The policeman was trying to stop a fleeing commuter bus driver.
The commuter bus also hit a blind man from Chitungwiza as he was crossing Albion Street.
Rioters smashed windows on a shop close to the scene of the shooting. They accused the shop owner of harbouring the offending police officer.
Windows were also smashed on Cleveland House, which houses the City of Harare's department of works.
It took the police more than two hours to remove the body of Muringagomo, which lay in a pool of blood.
"We don't want to see anybody who works for government anywhere close to her body. We are prepared to avenge this killing," said one of the protesters when The Daily News arrived at the scene.
Police fired teargas canisters and warning shots into the air to disperse the vengeful mob.
A police vehicle, a Mazda 323, was set on fire.
The police, however, managed to foil attempts to set on fire a Zimbabwe United Passenger Company bus.
Calm only returned to the city well after 3:00pm, but enough damage had already been caused as several police vehicles were stoned.
Rosca Chakarova, the deceased's sister said: "I am shocked by the behaviour of the police. They are riotous."
Simon Sekete, 34, the blindman from Chitungwiza who was knocked down by the commuter bus, yesterday blamed the police for the ensuing mayhem.
He said: "I was trying to cross Albion Street when I was hit and fell. One of the rank marshals said I should have died and I started quarrelling with him.
"Onlookers then pleaded with two policemen to rescue me from the rank marshals who wanted to beat me up. The police then fired one warning shot.
It is at that stage, so I am told, that the driver of commuter bus decided to flee."
Zimbabwe Daily News - 12/18/00 3:19:10 PM (GMT +2)
ABOUT 40 Zimbabwean
agents are spying on government opponents and white farmers who have taken
refuge in Britain, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said.
The group includes blacks,
whites and Asians, many of them are women.
Some are said to use diplomatic passports and their presence in Britain has brought fear to both black and white Zimbabwean exiles.
The Telegraph says it has obtained evidence that telephone calls between Britain and Zimbabwe are routinely monitored and that e-mails and fax messages are intercepted. Complaints about surveillance have been received by at least two police stations.
Albert Weidemann, 43, a Zimbabwean exile who is deputy chairman of the Manchester branch of the MDC, said that he feared for his life.
He showed The Telegraph a letter from the Zimbabwe High Commission in London saying his messages home were being monitored.
Munyaradzi Hwengwere, a government spokesman, said: “I am surprised any peace-loving Zimbabwean would be worried about the authorities knowing what they are doing. As long as they are doing nothing unlawful, they have nothing to worry about.”
A letter from the Zimbabwe High Commission arrived “like a bolt out of the blue” to Weidemann and his wife, Kathy, at their home in North Yorkshire.
Their surname was misspelt and the grammar was imperfect but the message was clear: their correspondence to Zimbabwe was being monitored and the government objected to the political sentiments they were expressing.
The letter, signed by T Tachiveyi, a CIO operative at the High Commission, and dated 22 November, states:
“We have followed your messages on Zimbabwe to various personalities and establishments with interest. Whereas you are entitled to your own opinion as regards the situation in Zimbabwe, it is, however, our view that such opinion of yours is virtually based on perceptions created by the Press and that the difference of such perception and the reality of the situation in Zimbabwe is being missed by some dear friends of Zimbabwe like yourself.”
Tachiveyi advises him to read an enclosed “fact sheet” on the Zimbabwe land issue and to update himself on policies by studying the official Zimbabwe government website.
Weidemann, an avowed opponent of President Mugabe, said:
“This concerns me greatly. I now fear for the safety of my family and myself.
“I have reported my fears to the police.”
The couple fear that their telephone calls, faxes and e-mail are being intercepted.
North Yorkshire Police confirmed last week that it received a complaint from Weidemann on 7 December - three days before he attended an Amnesty International demonstration in London.
The incident was part of a growing campaign of intimidation being reported by black and white Zimbabwean exiles in Britain.
Jennings Rukani, chairman of the MDC’s Manchester branch, told The Daily Telegraph: “There are operatives who have been given diplomatic passports so that they can come and go as they please.”
He described how he and Duran Rapozo, secretary of the Manchester MDC group, noticed in September that they were being followed in the city by black Zimbabwean agents.
He said: “The police were very helpful. As far as we can tell they are not following us now, but they may be using other methods.”
Derek Arlett-Johnson said: “We are aware of the Zimbabwe operatives and that some people working for Mugabe are white.”
Arlett-Johnson, who formerly owned a 3 500 acre estate (about 1 400 hectares) employing 65 people in Zimbabwe, lost everything after death threats forced him to flee the country with his wife and daughter.
He now works as a lorry driver. He is a trustee of the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Trust Fund, a charity set up to help farmers and their families forced to flee their homeland.
|Government steps up propaganda campaign against whites|
The Zimbabwe government has stepped up its propaganda campaign against the nation's white farmers, accusing them of training hit squads to retaliate against ruling-party militants who have seized their land.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper also accuses an expelled white colonial-era army general of slipping into the country to raise funds for the opposition.
Farmer Melville Hubbard, 35, has received a written death threat that referred to a neighbour, Martin Olds, who was shot dead on the anniversary of Zimbabwe's independence, April 18.
"Your friend Martin was our breakfast for Independence Day. So you are going to be our breakfast for Christmas," the note says.
"We are coming to destroy your home. With your wife. We will fix you."
Opposition MP Mike Auret says it is "a very dangerous time" for whites.
The Herald, an official mouthpiece of the government, says authorities are investigating reports that white-led hit squads are being formed.
The Commercial Farmers Union, representing the nation's 4,000 white farmers, denies farmers are preparing armed retaliation.
Retired General Peter Walls, meanwhile, dismisses The Herald report that he visited northwestern Zimbabwe earlier this month as "total and utter rubbish".
STATEMENT BY THE
ZIMBABWE GRAIN PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION
As the Chairman of the Zimbabwe Grain Producers’ Association I would like to make one final appeal to all growers to take this last planting opportunity to maximise on their hectarage grown to maize. As I have continually stated in previous correspondence to all members that this season’s crop will be short and the market strong.
The on-going land invasions and work stoppages have resulted in many maize producers being unable to plant, exacerbating the future of food security in Zimbabwe, and, making a "bad situation even worse". Viability problems caused by high inflation and poor producer prices have also reduced the maize hectarage. In addition to this, many farmers cannot borrow from their banks because they are listed for acquisition of their farms.
Secondly, the ZBC recently carried a story that maize producers in the Mashonaland West (North) areas were deliberately switching from maize production to commodities such as soya’s and paprika. The ZBC suggested a plot of some nature by these farmers, which can only be described as mischievous journalism, and I wish to set the record straight. The large scale commercial producer has always felt a moral sense of responsibility to food security of Zimbabwe. The ZGPA, representing 1600 large scale commercial maize producers, for the past 35 years, has, in the opening words of the Associations’ Constitution, set the simple objective of promoting maize production in Zimbabwe.
ZIMBABWE GRAIN PRODUCERS’ ASSOCIATION
20th December 2000