The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
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Farm Invasions And Security Report
Thursday 20 December 2001

This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas.  Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens.  Farmers’ names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.

This will be the final sitrep for 2001. 
The next official sitrep will be issued on Thursday 3 January 2002.
·         Section 8s have been handed out throughout the country, irrespective of the stated Government criteria for acquisition.  To date there are 326 confirmed new Section 8 orders.
·         General threats in Wedza, Mashonaland East, to shut down farms and chase off labour after Christmas, until after the elections.
·         DDF tractor activity throughout, ploughing without regard for boundaries and even, in one instance, drag racing along a main road.
·         Members of a stock theft syndicate have been arrested in Nyazura, Manicaland. 
·         The manager on Butleigh Farm, Mutepatepa, received a serious head wound caused by a panga, in an unprovoked attack by government officials.  The perpetrator has been arrested.
·         About 450 people arrived on Unadale, Harare South, to be resettled.  As the farm was not listed, they left peacefully, but said they would return after consulting their superiors.
·         The owner and workers of Auks Nest, Harare South, have been warned to move off over the Christmas period.
·         The foremen of Shipton flowers, Trelawney/Darwendale, received a blow to the head in an altercation with “war vets” over tobacco planted in “their” lands.
·         A Tredar guard was assaulted by occupiers on Wannock Glen farm, Banket.
·         A farmer and his wife were humiliated and assaulted on Blagdon Farm, Kadoma.

Nyazura – a follow up on stock theft in the Buhera area uncovered a stock theft syndicate.  Nyazura police and a Private Investigator have apprehended suspects. Approximately 100 head of cattle have been stolen over six to eight weeks.  The police have been co-operative.  A general increase in theft has been observed.

Bindura – the Butleigh Farm manager (Duncan Cook) was seriously injured in an unprovoked attack by Government Officials, receiving a blow to the side of his head with a "panga".  The wound required 18 stitches. On Duiker Flats Farm (Brent Landing) three labourers have been beaten up by the occupiers and approximately 15 others have been forcefully removed from their homes. One labourer was held in Police cells overnight after the assault. A group of 50 youths have arrived on Avoca Farm and have been "rounding up" the youths who are resident on the farm. Their intentions are not clear as yet.

Beatrice – on Argyle Ranch (D.Payne) an electrician doing some work was told to not return.  Some shots were heard at night and the next morning the butchering of a buck was observed.  The same night bags of maize were stolen from a shed. The farmer collected police details who caught three men with a scotch cart, who are now in jail.  At New Retreat (T.Searson) the owner is not allowed on the farm.  His son is permitted to look after crops in the ground but nothing further is to be planted. When a meeting between the owner and “war vet” Zhau finally took place, the owner was told to compile a list of all movable assets, to report to the police station at 8 am and collect a police detail for protection until 4 pm daily. Zhau will collect the inventory on Friday to take to his superior and the D.A. before returning to address the owner and his labour.  Section 8 Orders continue to be served.  Ploughing and planting by occupiers continues.
Enterprise/Ruwa/Bromley - Several Section 8s have been given out, including Zimbabwe’s biggest tomato producer.
Featherstone – on Ashton (Kelvin Whitfield) the occupiers informed the owner all cattle must be moved off farm by Monday 17.12.01. These instructions ostensibly originate from officials in Chivhu.  The Versaille (M. Cook) owner offered Strijdpoort as an alternative for a listed farm, but now both are listed. He is under pressure to move off his cattle.
Harare South – Section 8s were received on five properties.  The owner on Kinfaun (J. Caine) was prevented from moving his boiler, whilst there is planting by a DDF tractor and occupiers on Auks Nest (E.Conolly). The resident occupier has told the owner to be off farm by Christmas, and told the labour to be off farm by 20.12.01.  He threatened serious action and even to kill someone if there was no compliance.  Planting and cultivating is continuous in the whole area.  There were two incidents of stocktheft on Duiker and Dunine Farms over the weekend; both incidents were reported to the police with unsatisfactory results.  The Kefalos Cheese Factory on Bhara Bhara farm reported a labour unrest/dispute over wages. Workers were not allowing customers on to the premises to conduct business. NEC and ALB met with labour and the situation was resolved.  Braemar workers were prevented from cutting down gum plantations and their chainsaws were confiscated by the occupiers from Kimcote. Management negotiated the return of the chainsaws and a return to work after it was established the gum plantation was on Braemar and not on Kimcote as originally thought by the occupiers.  Kimcote had a DDF borehole-drilling rig attempting to drill. Occupiers’ activities continue unabated but with little real interference to farmers and staff.  Unadale reported six busloads and two commuter omnibus loads (estimated 450 people) arrived to be resettled. During discussion with the owner, they were informed the farm was not listed and left peacefully.  They said they would return on 20.12.01 after consulting their superiors.
Macheke/Virginia – on Murrayfield (J.Meikle) a government land cruiser, registration GOG 622, with driver Abel Mgawa who arrived to plant maize.  Three occupiers took 94 head of cattle several kilometres along the main Harare/Mutare road.  Police reacted, returned the cattle and made no arrests.   Merrylands (J.Negri) labour were all evicted but the situation resolved with the labour allowed to return.  Fault Farm (I. Hird.) was visited by Chief Inspector Dube who told the owner the portion of the farm where the country club is situated now belongs to him but club activities may continue.
Marondera North – Chinwiri Farm (M. Gibson) was pegged twice in three weeks by two different pegging teams.
Marondera South – no report received.
Wedza – People in the area have been informed by two groups that all farms would be shut down after Christmas until after the elections.  On Numwa, occupiers arrived, told the lessee he had 90 days to get off the property then helped themselves to seedlings.  The remaining labour on Markwe (T.Swanson) was chased away and the owner was told to remove the cattle. Police arrived and the occupiers agreed two herders could remain but the cattle still had to be moved off.  On Msasa (J.Whaley) two bulling heifers were slaughtered.  A suspect caught poaching in the dam was taken away by the police. 
Rural Council - At the annual stakeholders meeting the rural council announced there would be four new schools set on farms for resettled children and existing buildings would be used. The farms are Bolton  (M. Moran), Chard (C. White), Nelson  (Mrs N. Seager) and the club Leap Year (M.Hill).  The labour were told to be off farm by the end of the month. A vehicle arrived at 11:30 pm and shots were heard.   Agritex is busy pegging on several farms.

Trelawney/Darwendale – at Shipton Flowers (D Cunliffe) at about 1600 h, 9.12.01, a light blue Peugeot 404 with a canopy, registration number 18294J, arrived containing seven “war vets”.  The occupants searched through the greenhouse complex and found the foreman, Joseph Phiri.  They produced an identification card but would not allow Mr Phiri to examine it.  One, by the name of Nkomo, asked Mr Phiri why the farmer was planting tobacco in lands designated for the war veterans.  Mr Phiri tried to explain that he had nothing to do with the tobacco and received a blow to the head from Nkomo.  The “war vets” indicated a vacant house at Shipton, usually used by a senior foreman, should be for their use.  They told Mr Phiri that as the tobacco had been planted in "their" lands, Mr Phiri and the manager would be forced to plant maize in those same tobacco lands sometime this week. From the greenhouse complex they proceeded to the owner’s house.  The owner left and locked the house behind him, walked up to the vehicle and spoke to the occupants.  He recognised one as Mpofu, who he had seen at Dulwich (Mr Odendaal).  During discussion they said they could not see the owner during the week as they all had jobs in town and warned that if he wanted to be "OK" then he should change his attitude.  On Elveden Farm (C Bornman) a work stoppage was effected on 13.12.01 by 'war vet' Morfu who is demanding that the farmer continues to harrow more lands, regardless of whether these lands will be planted or not. Lands previously harrowed have not been planted and grass has re-grown. Morfu refuses to speak to the farmer, but stirs up the labour. This has been reported to the police who say they are looking for him to lay an assault charge against him
Banket – on Wannock Glen Farm 16.12.01 occupiers beat up one Tredar guard protecting the house and chased a further three Tredar guards off farm protecting a potato crop under harvest.  This was reported to Banket police and the settlers were cautioned.  On 18.12.01 the occupiers caused a work stoppage and told the workers to take up land on farm or be beaten up. Banket police met with the occupiers and workers and the situation was diffused.  There have been continuous demands for tractors and equipment and no crops have been were planted on Wannock Glen this year.
Norton – owing to pressure on Ruanda (I Mcghie), which is not listed, the owner has had to give the keys to the Chief for safekeeping. 
Selous - On Carskey Farm (M Campbell) occupiers from the neighbouring farm came to tell the farm owner that the "white man must leave" despite the farm being unlisted.  They have been poaching in the dam next to a safari lodge.
Chegutu/Suri-Suri - On De Rus Farm (B Cremer) one calf has been axed and DDF have been cutting fences in order to plough. 
Kadoma/Chakari/Battlefields - On Blagdon Farm (G Barton) the owners' wife was made to run down the road whilst illegal occupiers hit her on the backside.  In trying to rescue his wife, the owner received a beating which included a cut to the head.  On Blue Grass (J Melville) the owner’s house was broken into by occupiers in his absence.  Property was left intact but they left graffiti stating: "the white man must leave".  On Normandy North Farm (D Hahn) in the owner’s absence, the house sitter was evicted from the house.  He was found walking to Kadoma, as they would not let him take any possessions with him or a vehicle.  On Mazarati (N Manchip) police have still not evicted occupiers from the house and cottage, despite the D.A. and DISPOL admitting it was illegal.  On Pamene Farm (A Read) a large group of people with government officials arrived to be issued plots in the owner’s standing crops.
General - some police stations report they have no R.R.B books or other stationery and they cannot take down reports of a criminal nature.  Section 8 orders continue to come in.  It is clear there is no pattern, and most of the farms receiving Section 8s do not fall into any of the Government stated criteria for acquisition.

Masvingo East and Central - 52 head of cattle have gone missing on Lochinvar Ranch (Dave Coventry).  It is presumed they were stolen last weekend. The owner has reported to Police, but no arrests have been made.  There are continued problems all over with poaching, snaring, tree clearing, ploughing and pegging.
Mwenezi – cattle on Lumbergia Ranch (T.Van de Venne) still remain forcibly kraaled. Police have been unsuccessful in resolving this problem.  The tenant on Kalahari ranch has been forced to abandon the farm, including work in progress and materials on a building site.  The owners’ wife was detained at the site, against her will, by about 20 occupiers.  DDF Tractors are now ploughing up the airstrip and the staff workers’ football field as well as in and around the brickfield area on Swanscoe Ranch (Mr. Cawood).  Thousands of bricks have been stolen and Police will not react, informing owner it is a political issue. DDF Tractors were observed between the Bubi Bridge and Lion and Elephant Motel drag racing!!
Section 8’s have been delivered to a further seven properties.
Poaching, snaring, cutting of trees, pegging, planting, ploughing and theft continues daily.
Chiredzi – on Alstar Haven (Rob Alderton) the war vet Mutemachani is harassing the owner about three seasonal workers he dismissed, stating the owner owes them back pay of $230 000. The owner has worked out that he only owes them $10 000.00
Save Valley Conservancy  - Poaching and snaring continue daily.
Gutu / Chatsworth - Continued harassment over cattle eating occupiers’ maize, with demands for compensation.  Poaching, snaring and tree clearing continue daily.
Kwekwe – settlers are planting in the Sherwood area.  Two farmers have finally been allowed to plant.  Settlers planted on Game Farm; the crops have germinated, eland are destroying them and settlers are demanding the farmer remove the animals.  On Groeneke and Mooirivier, daily demands are made for use of equipment for which they claim they will pay.  The farmer is resisting and is accused of not co-existing.  Large areas have been opened up to produce chickens and eggs.  It has been heard that a South African company has joined the settlers in the project.
Shurugwi - Ploughing with DDF tractors is ongoing.  Gold panners are proving a menace as they leave gates open, allowing cattle to stray with the result some deaths reported of cattle falling down mine shafts.
Somabhula - On Sunday night a farmer and his wife, returning home, found two gates barricaded.  The following Saturday two youths from the local War Vets Committee, aged about 22,  ordered them off the farm on one day’s notice.  They had heard a rumour the farmer had approached the Governor to request all settlers be cleared off the farm.  The farmer tried to explain this was not true, but refused to discuss the matter further when the youths became threatening and aggressive.  These youths had been kicked off the War Vets Committee during some trouble in March but seem to have been reinstated.  Later seven committee members accompanied by 20 youths, felled trees outside the front and back security gates, blocking the exits.  Police were contacted, two details arrived 2 hours later and were directed to the homes of two committee members.  They left saying they would phone on Monday to report if the Land Committee would address the settlers.  Nothing further has been heard on the matter.  On Monday the exit gates were cleared and the trees dragged inside the security fence.  On Tuesday one of the youths arrived to ask what had become of his firewood. And threatened to block the access road to the homestead as his hut is next to it and “the farmer and his family make too much noise when passing in the evenings.”  He also hinted at threats to their future personal security.

No report received.                                               Visit the CFU Website

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Dear Family and Friends,
On Tuesday a 24 year old farm manager, Duncan Cook, was attacked in the fields of the farm where he works. He was slashed across the right side of his forehead with a machete by a government official.The photograph of this man, barely out of school, deathly pale, lying in blood saturated bedding with a massive line of stitches from his right ear to his eyebrow has left me in deep, deep shock. Please visit my website to see this for yourselves, to see that violence on farms in Zimbabwe has not stopped and that every day the farmers of our country are literally risking their lives to keep putting food on our tables. Their desperate attempts, against overwhelming obstacles are not enough though. Too many farmers have now been chased off their farms, too many have been told they may not grow food and people are already starving. On Tuesday this week the Daily News reported that two children died of starvation in Hwange on a farm where people have been resettled. A relative of the deceased children said: "There is no maize meal in the shops. More people will die, especially children, because we are going for days without food." Shop owners in the area confirmed that they have stopped selling maize meal because they are making serious losses due to the price controls on the staple food.
While people are now literally starving to death, our President and 7618 delegates held their annual Zanu PF congress in the Victoria Falls. The Zimbabwe Independent estimates the cost of the transport and accommodation alone to have been Z$440 million. The gap between the rich and the poor is now an enormous chasm. This week it was officially announced that Zimbabwe's  inflation rate hit 103,8%. This is the first time in the history of our country that inflation has gone into three digits and it has become almost impossible for most of us to survive.  Newly re settled farmers this week told the Financial Gazette that they were having to sell the fertilizer and seed maize they had been given by the government under the fast track land re-distribution scheme. One settler said: "What will I be living on until next year...? If I manage to sell some of the fertilizer to make a living and send my three children to school then I do not see anything wrong with that..." Zimbabwe's new farmers simply do not have the resources to grow the food needed to support 13 million people. I shudder to think what we will be facing by this time next year.
So why do I stay here? Why are so many farmers, now holding 90 day eviction notices, still staying in the country?  Why are farmers who have not been allowed to farm for more than 6 months still here ? Why are men and women, black and white, who have been tortured, beaten and raped, still here? So many people ask me why I bother, why I don't just leave Zimbabwe. Let me speak only for myself. I was born and went to school and university here. I have lived here all my life and my son was born and is being educated here. My neighbourhood is a mixture of black and white people. My friends are a mixture of black and white people. My son goes to a multi racial school and as I write he is playing with his best friend Brian who has a different skin colour to him. I stay here because it is my home and it is my right. I stay here because 85 people have died to give me a free and democratic government. I stay here because I believe in my country and her people. I stay here because I know that 99% of Zimbabweans want me to be here. I speak out because so many hundreds of thousands are unable to do so and we all know this will not last. As the laws close in on us, every word becomes harder and more dangerous to write or speak. Throwing a stone at a government building will soon attract a 10 years prison term. Giving food to a starving person without government permission may also land me in gaol. Writing letters like these will soon be a punishable offence but I will continue to speak out as long as I am able. This week a new radio station began broadcasting to and for Zimbabwe. SW Radio Africa at 6145 khz on the 49 metre band is telling us the truth every night from 6 - 9pm. The tears ran down my face as I listened to their first broadcast and the closing message, sung by and for Zimbabweans was: "Hold on, just a little bit longer." I must close by thanking all  the hundreds of people who continue to give me moral and emotional support. Without you I would have given up. I wish you all a peaceful Christmas with family and friends and hope we may all see an end to the terror that has become the way of life in 2002. To all my Zimbabwean friends and family - Hold on just a little bit longer. With love, cathy.
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In the looting five months ago, two dogs were abducted on Maysma Farm.
Subsequent attempts by the farmer and his workers to rescue the animals were
met with aggression and statements the animals now belonged to the settlers.
The farmer contacted the Zimbabwe National SPCA about a week ago appealing
for help.  Meryl Harrison and her team met with Dispol, Chinhoyi, who were
very helpful and sent out the message that the settlers would be charged
with theft if the animals were not returned.
Army personnel stationed at the farm were hostile, but the NSPCA finally
managed to recover the two animals from the settlers.  Although in an
appalling condition, the two animals are being treated and reunited with
their rightful owners.
Mrs Harrison is emphatic farmers should not give up on their animals and to
call in the Zimbabwe National SPCA to save animals.  Their success rate in
recovering animals is excellent.

Contact details:        Meryl Harrison  cell: 011630403         office/fax:
09 888292           home: 09 286243
Box AC 405, Ascot, Bulawayo
"The Opinions in this message do not necessarily reflect those of the CFU
which does not accept any legal responsibility for them."

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Dear Members

During this festive season, I send best wishes on behalf of the elected
members and staff of the CFU.

I wish for you all a safe and happy Christmas.  Mostly I hope for courage,
and an end in sight, for the New Year.

Best regards
William Hughes
CFU Acting president

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Daily News

Army unleashes reign of terror in Zaka

12/21/01 9:20:32 PM (GMT +2)

From Energy Bara in Masvingo

AT least 20 MDC supporters, mainly youths, have fled Zaka district following
a wave of political violence perpetrated by soldiers and Zanu PF youth
brigade members ahead of the presidential poll scheduled for March next

Armed soldiers and Zanu PF youths were deployed in the district two weeks
ago after an MDC rally addressed by the party’s Vice President, Gibson
The soldiers and Zanu PF youths have embarked on a combined operation in the
district harassing innocent civilians especially members of the opposition.
Some of the victims have sought refuge in urban areas. Arnold Chirwa, one of
the victims, said the soldiers in the company of militarily trained Zanu PF
youths are beating up innocent people accusing them of supporting the
opposition. “They move in groups and members of the army usually supervise
the beatings”.

Truckloads full of soldiers and youths patrol the area looking for MDC
sympathisers. I was assaulted heavily and I have fled the area for my own
safety”, Chirwa said.
MDC Masvingo vice chairman, Shacky Matake yesterday said scores of MDC
supporters have been displaced in the district due to political violence.
Matake said the situation is tense in the district following the deployment
of soldiers and Zanu PF militias.
“It is a way of trying to displace our supporters so that they would not be
able to vote during the presidential election. We have managed to penetrate
the rural areas and that is why our supporters have become targets. “We want
to warn the perpetrators that despite all the intimidation we would make
sure that those displaced would get a chance to vote in their

Heavily armed soldiers and Zanu PF militias were deployed in Zaka District
two weeks ago and villagers have expressed concern over the presence of the
Officials from the Zimbabwe National Army said the soldiers were in the area
on a long-range exercise where they are testing new equipment.

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Daily News

12/21/01 9:30:01 PM (GMT +2)

We also know what an absolute spectacle Vice-President  Simon Muzenda can
turn himself into when that seemingly irresistible urge to display
incredible ignorance gets hold of him - which it does with disturbing
frequency. Many of us also know how recklessly tactless he can be when he is
in the mood to be arrogant, the most common vice among Zanu PF leaders.

Muzenda was in exactly that mood when he visited Manicaland last week. It is
common knowledge that most of the good things senior people in the Zanu PF
government do for various communities whenever an election is approaching
are to a very great extent a form of bribe to dupe people into voting for
Zanu PF. Typical examples were the millions of dollars which the late Border
Gezi, Shuvai Mahofa and Jonathan Moyo splashed abound shortly before the
by-election in Bikita West and the mayoral elections in Masvingo and

But, although some of them are not known to be particularly endowed with
great intelligence, none of the three was so foolish as to openly tell the
people that what they euphemistically termed money for “maprojects” was in
reality bribe money meant to buy votes.
Not Mudhara Mzee. His visit to Chipinge South, where he and other Zanu PF
officials hijacked the launch of a $7 million rural electrification scheme,
as a way to woo voters in that well-know anti-Zanu PF corner of Zimbabwe,
turned into something of a stunner for his audience. Tactless as ever, Mzee
threatened the Chipinge folk and told them the electrification programme in
the area would not be completed if they do not vote for the ruling party in
next year’s crucial presidential election. “If we go out of power,” Muzenda
threatened, “if the government changes, all this electricity will go too.”

Really? It is doubtful that even Joseph Chinotimba could have employed a
more crude campaign tactic.
Many unflattering things have been said about Mzee. Things such as, for
instance, that he is not among the most brilliant people in government and
that his assessment of some complex issues can be so simplistic to the point
of being naive. The Mole has no intention to dispute that. But I shudder to
think that he might actually believe all the people he has the privilege to
harangue are of similarly simple minds or, worse, that they possess even
lower intelligence than his. For that is precisely what he must have taken
the Chipinge people to be if he seriously thought that they would, even for
one minute, believe his childish threat. If anything, the Chipinge people
know all too well that, with Zanu PF out of government, all kinds of
development projects, not just electrification, would take off at a brisker
pace. And the violence will end too. Which is why they are probably more
determined than ever to vote Zanu PF out of power. As Clive Malunga
idiomatically puts it in his new hit Zizi NaNhengure, little Nhengure has
now exploded the myth that Zizi has horns. So Owl can’t frighten anybody
anymore because we now all know that what looked like horns are actually
mere feathers.

*Pouring scorn on the electorate and insulting the intelligence of the
people whose votes they are desperate to court seems to be a
self-destructive trait running wild through the entire Zanu PF “family”. In
fact, I have got strong suspicions that among the manuals in the party’s
library, prescribed as compulsory reading, must be a handbook with a title
which goes something like How to Make Enemies and Alienate People. At his
rural electrification scheme launch in Chipinge referred to above, Muzenda
is reported to have told the area’s residents: “Some of you are trying to
sell the country . . . I am told people in Chipinge are educated, but I don’
t know how you choose your MPs.” The implication, of course, which was a
most insulting condescension to put it mildly, was that because they elected
to Parliament a person who is not a Zanu PF member, the people of Chipinge
were uneducated. Hardly the best things to say in a strange land with whose
inhabitants you are anxious to make friends. For it is a truth, a bitter one
maybe, that while Zanu PF has only recently started to be hated in the rest
of the country, in Chipinge it has always been a stranger. But, if the
wiseacre Muzenda’s efforts at alienating voters in Chipinge were remarkable,
they came nowhere near his boss’ most unfortunate remarks at the party’s
much-ado-about-nothing gathering in Victoria Falls. By the way, The Mole
thinks it really was a misnomer to call that convocation a “conference”
because the people did not confer at all.

All that happened there was that the “delegates” were being talked down to
by the party leader and his lieutenants - no discussions, no feedback from
the provinces, no questions from the floor, nothing at all, in fact, except
the regular moronic applause which is standard Zanu PF followers’
conditioned response to every single one of the President’s speeches.
Mugabe, who has in the past incurred the wrath of many other groups of
people with his undignified scornful barbs such as calling Tony Blair’s
government “gay gangsters”, derogatorily referring to the people of Mbare as
“totemless thugs” and describing homosexuals as “worse than pigs and dogs”,
found a brand new target for his acid tongue: urban people.

Showing how out of touch he is with the mood of the people, he wondered
aloud why urban people “behaved” differently from rural people. “Are the
people living in towns and cities Zimbabweans?” Mugabe asked scornfully.
“Why do they behave contrary to their parents in communal areas?” he roared.

He was, of course, referring to the voting patterns in last year’s
parliamentary election when his party, which won most of the rural seats,
was totally rejected in all urban constituencies in the country where it was
thoroughly walloped by the infant MDC.
While The Mole accepts that Mugabe could indeed be out of touch with the
political mood in this country, it is still frightening to think he is so
out of touch as not to know that the only reason why Zanu PF won most of the
seats in rural areas was because Border Gezi and Zanu PF’s murderous gangs
of hired youths masquerading as war veterans literally beat rural voters
into submission.

It is even more alarming to imagine that Mugabe does not know that there is
no love lost anymore between townsfolk on the one hand, and him and his
party on the other. They hold him solely responsible for pursuing political
and socio-economic policies which have reduced a once vibrant economy to a
complete ruin and, in the process, turning a once prosperous working class
into a whole legion of paupers. Urban people voted with their wallets and
stomachs, both of which were completely empty. They knew who was responsible
for that emptiness and were determined to punish him for that. Talking about
empty stomachs, did you see the big picture on the front page of The Herald
of Friday 14 December, the day of the official opening of Zanu PF’s
conference in Victoria Falls?
For the benefit of those who might not have seen it, the picture showed a
beaming Mugabe making heavy weather of stirring sadza with an outsized
mugoti in a huge aluminium drum besides which was a similar drum steaming
hot with beef stew.
To me, that picture summed up the real reason why those people went to
Victoria Falls: to eat and drink until they could eat and drink no more!

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Daily News

Zimbabweans face Christmas without sugar, cooking oil

12/21/01 8:16:06 PM (GMT +2)

By Columbus Mavhunga

EVER dreamt of a Christmas without sugar and cooking oil?

Judging from the look of shelves in most supermarkets in Harare, Zimbabweans
have to brace themselves to celebrate this year's Christmas without these
commodities which have been virtually out of stock for about three weeks

Erratic supplies of essential commodities started being felt when the
Ministry of Industry and International Trade introduced price controls on
them in October.

That has resulted in the steady growth of a black market trading in these
goods. Some established outlets are even selling the commodities at higher
prices than gazetted.

There appears to be no solution in sight to avert the shortage of basic

The Zimbabwe Sugar Association (Zisa) said the shortages are a result of
smugglers taking sugar into Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi compounded by the
price controls.

"Generally, the festive season is our maximum selling time," said David
Rockliffe, the Zisa secretary.
"Traditionally, in the run-up to that period we build up our stocks, but
this year we have failed. The moment we we feed the market the product is
smuggled into the region.

"The pegged prices have meant our sugar remains cheaper than that from
neighbouring countries, hence it is flooded there. We will continue to have
these shortages until our sugar is rightly priced and the smuggling is
stamped out."

He said the sugar industry had increased its production for the local market
by 10 percent but that had not helped.

"We will never get on top of the situation as long as the situation on the
ground does not improve," said Rockliffe. "The informal export market has
become a source of foreign currency for some people because the price of
sugar is higher in other countries. Other countries' sugar representatives
are complaining that we are destabilising their industry."

Cooking oil manufacturing companies refused to comment, referring all
questions to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry (CZI).

Malvern Rusike, the CZI chief executive, said: "The companies should be in a
better position to comment.

"But anyway, what is happening now (the shortages) is the reality we talked
about when the price controls were introduced. We said we cannot have prices
pegged arbitrary. The price must be affordable to the consumer and at the
same time it must make business viable."

The government has refused to heed economic advice that price controls deter

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Daily News

 Chombo blasted for refusing to preside over official installation of MDC

12/21/01 9:17:26 PM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

THE MDC and several residents of Chegutu have strongly criticised the
Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Ignatius
Chombo, for being partisan by refusing to preside over the swearing-in
ceremonies of MDC mayors.

Although the Constitution categorically stipulates that the minister
responsible for local government is duty-bound to install the mayors, Chombo
has refused to officiate at the mayoral investiture ceremonies in Masvingo,
Bulawayo and recently in Chegutu.
In Masvingo and Bulawayo, the town clerks performed the swearing-in.
Hundreds of Chegutu residents, who signed a petition to Chombo, said his
actions were “abominable” and should be condemned in the strongest possible

Part of the petition reads: “Minister Chombo should resign if he wants to
serve only supporters of Zanu PF. He is doing a great disservice to the
people of Zimbabwe who have a right to vote for leaders of their choice. His
behaviour is, to say the least, disgusting and appalling and not befitting a
national leader worth his salt.”

Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC
leader, said Chombo had clearly failed to rise above party politics.
Tsvangirai said: “In our view, a responsible government minister should rise
above party politics and execute his duties along non-partisan lines. Chombo
has failed to live up to that standard because of his partisan way of doing
things. He is a minister of the whole nation, not just Zanu PF.” In a
statement, the MDC spokesperson, Learnmore Jongwe, said the people of
Zimbabwe and the international community could not afford another minute of
silence while Zanu PF militias caused havoc in Chegutu.

Jongwe said: “Zanu PF contested and lost the mayoral seat in Chegutu. In
accordance with the rights given to them by law, and despite the fact they
had frivolous grounds for doing so, they appealed against the outcome.” He
said the legal position was that the mere fact that Zanu PF noted a
frivolous appeal against the outcome of the poll did not and could not
nullify the result. He said Francis Dhlakama remains the duly elected mayor
of Chegutu and he should be sworn in until a court decides otherwise.

In an appeal for regional and international intervention, Jongwe said: “The
regional and international community, particularly rational and objective
voices in the Southern African Development Community should clearly be
worried by the signals coming out of the Zanu PF camp’s refusal, through
extra-legal means, to accept and give effect to the democratic will of the
people which was expressed under extremely difficult conditions in Chegutu,
owing to Zanu PF terror.”

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Daily News

CIO exposed

12/21/01 9:34:52 PM (GMT +2)

By Conrad Nyamutata Chief Reporter

A MEMBER of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), Jabulani
Machingura, was allegedly the brains behind the grenade explosion at the
offices of the MDC along Fife Avenue in Harare on 11 September last year.
The Daily News has established through impeccable sources that the grenade
was allegedly supplied by him.

Despite allegations by John Nkomo, the Minister of Home Affairs, that the
attack was an inside job by the MDC, information gathered by The Daily News
paints a totally different picture and points at both the CIO and the police
as being involved.
In fact, the police arrested a policeman, Zacharia Nkomo, soon after the
explosion. But he was quickly labelled as an MDC member and was described as
such on prosecution. Readers of government-controlled newspapers were
treated to such headlines as “MDC security man gives himself up” and “MDC
member in court over bombing of party office”. Nkomo was immediately
dismissed from the police force on allegations that he leaked intelligence
information to the MDC.

Machingura, who is believed to be on suspension from the CIO over another
case, has, however, gone scot-free.
On Wednesday the police bungled an opportunity to arrest the CIO man in Old
Highfield after The Daily News set Machingura up for them. The police
arrived at the venue more than five hours late. They promptly leaked to The
Herald what was supposed to be an exclusive Daily News story. While The
Herald tried to trivialise the story yesterday and published veiled threats
by the police to the young woman who says she knows of Machingura’s
involvement in the plot, the police vowed to hunt him down in light of
“fresh” leads.

Machingura’s name had not been mentioned until revelations by the young
Harare woman, Ms X, during investigations by The Daily News into the grenade
attack and the bombing of the newspaper’s office in April 2000 and its
printing press in January.
Machingura rented a room inside the house of Ms X’s uncle in Warren Park
last year. Ms X, who is 21 years old, says on the night of 11 September,
Machingura, accompanied by Zacharia Nkomo, brought home two boxes. He placed
the boxes under a table in the living room. She says Machingura and Nkomo
then joined the family for supper. Soon after the meal, Machingura opened
the boxes and took out two grenades, she says.

He then held up one of the grenades and demonstrated how it was used. “He
told us that, if he pulled a certain pin, we would all perish within three
seconds,” she said.
Ms X says her uncle, her aunt and their young child were present at the time
when Machingura displayed the explosives. She says everybody was terrified
and that Machingura later put the grenades back in the box.
Ms X said Nkomo then left, and Machingura retired to his room. Ms X says she
remained in the lounge where she was to spend the night. “I was really
frightened because it appeared I was going to sleep in a room where there
were grenades,” she said. “I watched television to while up time because I
couldn’t sleep.”

The telephone then rang, she says. The caller wanted to speak to Machingura.
She says she called him to the phone and she heard Machingura tell the
caller to ring him on his mobile phone before he went back to his room. She
says the mobile phone then rang, but she could not hear the conversation.
Later there was a knock on the door and she opened it. Nkomo was standing
outside. She says Machingura picked up one of the boxes from under the table
and handed it over to Nkomo who had remained outside. Ms X says the two men
then departed. Machingura only returned home at about 6am the following
morning. She says he was drunk and repeatedly shouted:
“Mission accomplished.”
Ms X says neither she nor her uncle or aunt understood what he meant.
Machingura then had a bath and a change of clothes before departing for
work. He allegedly took the other box of grenades with him. Ms X’s uncle
also left for work. She says the uncle later phoned from the office to ask
if they had read the newspaper.

“I went to buy the paper and there was the story about the attack at the MDC
offices,” says Ms X. “We became very suspicious. We knew that Machingura and
Nkomo had removed two grenades from the house and taken them somewhere.” Ms
X says the whole family was now terribly frightened. “Machingura must have
noticed that we were now keeping our distance from him. Then one day,
without being asked, he said: ‘I know you people suspect I had something to
do with that bombing. I had nothing to do with it’.” The subsequent arrest
of Nkomo, when it was reported in the Press, made the family even more
convinced that Machingura was involved. But they decided it was prudent to
keep their secret.

Approached by The Daily News, acting on a tip-off this week, Ms X said she
could not keep the secret to herself any longer. To prove her case, Ms X
accompanied a Daily News crew, who posed as her relatives, to Machingura who
now lives in Old Highfield with his mother. In the presence of the
journalists Ms X told Machingura about how she was being pestered for
information by persons unknown to her over the issue of the grenades which
he had brought home to Warren Park last year. Machingura did not dispute
that he brought the grenades. Instead, he urged Ms X not to worry, but he
wanted to find out who was visiting her and quizzing her about the

“Who is trying to instil fear like this?” asked Machingura. Suddenly
Machingura said he knew who had “spilled the beans. It must be your uncle”.
At this point Ms X, fearing for their safety, said they were leaving. An
arrangement was made for another meeting at Machingura’s house at 12 noon.
Ms X later called her uncle in the presence of the journalists to warn him
about her encounter with Machingura.
The uncle was heard on a speakerphone as he confirmed the story about the
grenades. He advised his niece not to say anything about the grenades,
should anyone ask about them.

“Why should people ask about them now, a year later?” he asked,
consternation straining his voice. Fearing for the safety of Ms X and his
staff, the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily News, Geoff Nyarota, invited the
police to his office and briefed them on investigations undertaken by his

He told them about the 12 noon appointment. The police said they would rush
to Highfield to arrest Machingura. Instead they spent the whole afternoon
interrogating Ms X at Harare Central police station. By the time they
arrived in Highfield - more than five hours after the appointed time - there
was no sign of him anywhere.

Yesterday Nyarota protested at the manner in which the police “deliberately
bungled the case”. “I could see they were scared from the word go. Why did
they leak the story to The Herald? To give them another opportunity to
attempt to cover up and to tarnish my name once more? And why did they
threaten the very brave young woman who risked her life to reveal Machingura
’s alleged complicity? The Herald story was a pack of lies from beginning to
end. “I never saw or spoke to police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena, on
Wednesday, as alleged in The Herald. I haven’t seen or spoken to him for
months on end. And what’s Bernard Masara got to do with Machingura’s case?
The people at The Herald and those who control them are such pathological
liars, it’s shameful. Lying is a sin and God will punish them.” Officers at
the Law and Order Section said they had raided Machingura’s home again at
about 1am and 6am yesterday.
There was no sign of him on both occasions.

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Zim Independent


News Analysis

Dumisani Muleya
“POLITICAL image is like mixing cement,” said United States Democratic Party
politician Walter Mondale. “When it’s wet, you can move it around and shape
it, but at some point it hardens and there’s almost nothing you can do to
reshape it.”

This statement rings true of Zanu PF.

Analysts say the ruling party approached its trumpeted fifth annual national
people’s conference in Victoria Falls with hackles up aiming to revamp its
arthritic structures to confront next year’s watershed presidential
election, but emerged from the gaseous gathering wholly unreconstructed and
even more case-hardened.

Party officials had suggested Zanu PF wanted to repackage itself to cut a
new and winning impression during the crucial poll, which could consign the
ruling aristocracy to political oblivion.

President Robert Mugabe urged his supporters to leave the conference a
“transformed people” in order to effectively campaign for him to retain the
reins of power.

Mugabe, who as expected got an endorsement as Zanu PF’s candidate at the
conference, faces opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader
Morgan Tsvangirai in the election slated for March.

A bloody electoral combat is looming. Violence and intimidation still hold
sway across vast swathes of the political landscape. State agencies are
currently stepping up the heat on Tsvangirai as the political temperature
rises ahead of the poll. Last week the MDC leader was arrested twice for
possessing a two-way radio system without a licence. His home in Strathaven
in Harare was ransacked by a gang of armed police detectives and the riot

Analysts note the Zanu PF conference was organised to provide Zimbabwe’s
vociferous politicians and their cacophonous followers a stage to advertise
their liberation struggle credentials and growing proclivity for
intimidation — without offering any solutions to the national crisis other
than land and price controls.

At the end of the three-day get-together — which was chock-full of sound and
fury as well as the customary hostile rhetoric — President Robert Mugabe,
true to form, scaled new heights of war-like rhetoric.

“What we are now headed for is real war, a total war,” Mugabe said as he put
his presidential campaign into overdrive.

“This is war, this is not a game. This is the third Chimurenga. You are
soldiers of Zanu PF for the people.

“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.

MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube said Mugabe’s pronouncements were

“Mugabe was basically inciting violence,” he said. “Statements like these
can only come from dictators or fascist leaders, not democrats.”

Ncube said the words Mugabe chose to rally his supporters were calculated to
set them on a violent path.

“He was actually saying go out and use brute force because our victory can
only be achieved through means other than peaceful ones,” Ncube said.

“Of course, he tried to refer to the ballot box for damage-limitation
purposes but his message was aimed at inciting violence against the MDC,
which he wants his supporters to treat as mortal enemies.”

Mugabe had also warned the presidential election would be a different ball

“This is a strong and new game. Last year we never spoke of the command
centre, but now we are talking about it and that shows the battle ahead of
us. We should move like a military machine,” he insisted.

Ncube said this was dangerous nonsense.

“It’s really tragic that we have a president whose responsibility is to
uphold the national constitution and protect all peaceful Zimbabweans,
speaking in military terms as if we are in a war situation.”

Mugabe’s statements came as the army intensified its crackdown across the
country claiming it was trying to curb terrorism. Ncube said the “heavy
military presence” was aimed at instilling fear among the voters.

“The youth brigades trained under the national service programme have been
deployed in different areas and they are not doing community work as they
claim but beating up civilians,” he said.

However, Professor Mwesiga Baregu of the Southern African Political and
Economic Series (Sapes) defended Mugabe’s military oratory.

“My own interpretation is that his speech basically used metaphors,” he
said. “It was a figure of speech in which he was calling for everybody to be
disciplined and brace themselves for a struggle and not to be

Baregu said the belligerent vocalisations should not be interpreted

“Some people might be tempted to think it was a declaration of real war, a
hot war. He was just calling for discipline and a no retreat strategy.”
But Ncube maintained Mugabe made it clear it was a “real war”.

Furthermore, throughout the meeting Mugabe and his officials propagated
bellicose anti-MDC denunciations and hawked racist messages. Critics said
the usual hate speeches were at play.

Cadre after cadre thundered “pasi neMDC” and branded opposition followers as
“sell-outs” as if they were all programmed by Mugabe. The president asked:
“Are those in cities Zimbabweans? If they are, why did they behave in a
manner contrary to their parents in rural areas?”

This sort of language was familiar during the liberation war. Not to be
outdone, newly-appointed Zanu PF political commissar, Elliot Manyika, in
military gear, beat the drums of belligerence.

“Our machinery is now sharp and we are saying to the MDC, here we come, we
are going to crush you. We are raring to go,” he said. “We are standing
under the flag of war.”

Zanu PF chair John Nkomo also featured among the top list of political
performers when he described Zanu PF as a Concorde which had reached its
altitude with Mugabe as the captain.

“There are no emergency brakes on this Concorde to change the captain.
Captain Mugabe is in command and our destination is nigh,” he said.

Observers said Zanu PF delegates to the conference were buried for three
days under the sludge of populist rhetoric on land, the state of the
economy, sanctions, intra-party affairs and the MDC. Ringing resolutions
were passed on a wide range of issues.

It seems a flurry of hysterical insults against the British and other
officially-specified adversaries stole the show as Mugabe stepped up his
vitriol and paraded presidential outrage.

Like a fanatic, whom Winston Churchill described as someone who won’t change
the subject or his mind, Mugabe persisted with attacks on British Prime
Minister Tony Blair this time calling him a “crook, scoundrel and liar”.

But as prominent US political analyst, George Will once observed: “A
politician’s words reveal less about what he thinks about his subject than
what he thinks about his audience.”

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Zim Independent


President Mugabe appears to live in a cloud-cuckooland of his own. In his
State of the Nation address on Wednesday he tried to instil in the nation
his personal paranoia about enemies waiting to attack Zimbabwe.

“I address you today against definite threats to ... sovereignty, threats
that the nation must take seriously and gear itself to withstand and repulse
in every possible way,” he said.

This is very alarmist and reprehensible, especially coming from a head of
state. Who is threatening this sovereignty if not Mugabe himself with his
nationalist jingoism.

As it soon became clear, the so-called threat came from the US because its
Congress had passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill.

“Where do the actions of the American Senate and Congress ... leave the
people of Zimbabwe and their cherished right to govern themselves for
themselves?” he asked the MPs poetically.

Thankfully, nobody answered him. For surely if we are prepared to go it
alone against the whole world why should our MPs be worried about what goes
on in the US Congress? Did America say it was going to deliver the Act, once
signed, to our parliament for enactment? And why didn’t he tell the nation
that America had introduced the Bill specifically to deal with African
dictators “with bloody hands and who had committed genocides, assassinations
and other forms of horrendous torture” against their own people, to use his
own words?

This, of course, explains why there is so much anger against him, not
against the United States or Britain. Far from it, people are leaving this
country in droves everyday to escape his wrath at being challenged in a
democratic election as leader of Zimbabwe. And most of them are heading for
what he has designated “enemy” states!

And why will it now be an offence to “denigrate” the president when he is at
liberty to call other people crooks, scoundrels and liars? Is that not an
unacceptable double standard?

Congratulations to the MDC’s Nelson Chamisa who was quoted in the Mail &
Guardian two weeks ago as neatly encapsulating what everybody under 40 in
Zimbabwe thinks about the president who last weekend was spewing xenophobic
venom, showing us what a bitter and twisted old man he has become.

Commenting on proposals for youth training, Chamisa said: “Mugabe is our
generational enemy. He knows he has nothing for us.”

Which raises the question: Who does he have anything for? Surely not the
paid audience at Victoria Falls which despite claims of “rapturous applause”
by the state media, were shown by ZTV slumped in their seats looking
absolutely bored as Mugabe droned on about terrorists.

The only memorable sentence to come out of the whole conference was John
Nkomo’s remark that “We are unstoppable. Like a Concorde, we have no reverse
gear, no emergency brakes...Capt Mugabe is in command.”

As we know, Capt Mugabe likes taking command of flights, especially when it
involves dumping the passengers. But do we really want him taking control of
Concorde when he doesn’t even have a driving licence?

The last vehicle he steered around the grounds of State House was a
three-wheel taxi, the only product so far of his investment drive to the Far
East this year!

There was an interesting picture in the business supplement to the Sunday
Mail this week. It showed bags of fertiliser and other materials lying
scattered on the ground and was captioned “Local companies can provide seed
which can be bought by UN agencies for relief aid”.

But in fact it was a picture taken at Two Trees Farm near Chinhoyi after
Zanu PF supporters had looted it. Let’s hope the UN is able to make the
connection between looted farms and requests from the Zimbabwe authorities
for food aid!

And we were amused by an account the previous week from Munyaradzi Huni of a
freebie he and other reviewers had accepted from theatre promoter Daves
Guzha. They had a nice trip on Lake Kariba courtesy of Guzha but only
remembered to ask him if it was a bribe on their way back to Harare.

Can we expect some glowing reviews?

Many Zimbabweans are having difficulty getting foreign governments to supply
them with the necessary documents for renunciation of citizenship demanded
by the Registrar-General’s office. One reader called us after a frustrating
exchange with the Lesotho Director of Immigration.

“I spoke to the Director of Immigration of Lesotho and she told me that she
was fed up with the Zimbabwe government dumping their problem on everyone
else,” our reader said.

“She said she did not have time to deal with this on a one-to-one basis and
who could she write to to deal with the problem once and for all?
“She also mentioned the fact that they were very displeased that they had
not been contacted by the Zimbabwe government and informed on the whole

“I suggested that they should contact the Herald and place a notice in there
stating that they were not prepared to deal with people on a one-to-one
basis so that we had some comeback as I could not persuade her to let me
have some notification that I could not obtain citizenship from Lesotho even
should I require it.”

We would welcome hearing from other readers as to which governments have
declined to cooperate with this unjust legislation which requires people to
renounce a citizenship they don’t have. The law refers only to those who
actually have dual citizenship, not those deemed by the Registrar-
General’s office to be entitled to it.

So Spot FM has begun its life with a lie. It was originally called Sport
Radio and was due to provide a 24-hour diet of sports programming. Slowing
waking up to the unrealistic demands of such a commitment, ZBC decided to
call it the way most of their announcers were pronouncing it.

But instead of gracefully conceding a change of focus they foolishly tried
to pretend that it had always been called Spot and only their detractors
could think otherwise.

So not content with a transparent lie, they insulted their listeners’
intelligence as well. Not a good start to Spot, or Measles Radio as it is
now known.

Meanwhile, following our recent comments about ZTV’s “live” coverage from
Gweru at night which seemed to be suffused by daylight, Obriel Mpofu has
kindly offered to demonstrate ZBC’s amazing new capacity for night
broadcasting by interviewing Muckraker live whenever we like. Stay tuned.

Could there be anything more repulsive than the sight of church leaders
saying they are praying for President Mugabe and his programme of violent
land seizures?

“You have given us what is ours,” Anglican Bishop Sebastian Bakare, who led
an 11-member Zimbabwe Council of Churches delegation to see Mugabe on
Monday, said. He was shown alongside Mugabe’s ally, Bishop Norbert Kunonga
who has reportedly been purging his diocese of church officials who might
have supported his rival in the recent bitter leadership contest.

“We have been praying for this and we will continue to pray for you,” Bakare

Has he also been praying for the farmers killed during what he evidently
regards as legitimate “repossessions”? Has he prayed for the tens of
thousands of farm workers who have been dispossessed? Or for those abducted,
tortured and “re-educated” by Zanu PF gangs? If so he didn’t mention it.

ZCC general secretary Densen Mafinyane, who sits on the board of Jonathan
Moyo’s Transmedia Corporation, was quoted as urging Mugabe to expedite the
Model A2 resettlement scheme. The Reverend Murombedzi Kuchera and Bishop
Kunonga were said to have queried why the government was not pushing for the
wholesale nationalisation of land.

Again, nothing seems to have been said about plummeting grain stocks and
looming starvation arising from a poorly planned land policy that amounts to
wholesale dispossession of productive farmers, many of whom have
certificates of no interest from government.

There was no suggestion that land reform should be carried out with due
regard to agricultural self-sufficiency or human justice for all concerned.
Simply mindless support for a policy that has left in its wake a trail of
death and destruction.

And Mafinyane wants the A2 scheme, under which senior government officials
and other Zanu PF allies have benefited, to be stepped up.

Meanwhile, Kuchera and Kunonga should ask Kenneth Kaunda what happens to
societies which nationalise agricultural land.

What interests us is the way these 11 church leaders assembled at State
House to offer their prayers for Mugabe at just the time he is mobilising
every source of support he can muster. Let it be recorded that at this time
of national crisis the Anglican church and ZCC rallied behind a cruel and
ruthless tyrant who was prepared to destroy the country in order to rule it.

They will be judged for that.Zimbabwe it seems is to get a visit next month
from President Mugabe’s latest best friend, President Daniel arap Moi of
Kenya. His country is of course another African bread basket that soon
became a basket case because of corrupt and absolutist rule.

“President Moi wants to come and tell the whites in this country what they
did to the whites in Kenya,” Mugabe said at Victoria Falls.

This was probably a reference to Mau Mau. Moi has much to share. His press
Bill is even more draconian than our own. His ministers have been implicated
in breathtaking corruption cases and even murder. The country’s cities have
collapsed because of maladministration and poor planning.

Electricity supplies are few and far between. The opposition have been kept
divided by infiltration and bribes.

It is very simply an absolute mess. And it has all happened in the 23 years
of Moi’s presidency. We are quite sure the two leaders will have much in
common and much to talk about!

Following the gazetting of the Public Order and Security Bill, Information
minister Jonathan Moyo has been trying to convince Zimbabweans that the
draconian measure, which is in essence a cosmetic reworking of the Law and
Order (Maintenance) Act, is no worse than similar laws proposed recently by
the governments of Britain and the United States.

He referred to Britain’s Anti-Terrorism Bill and President Bush’s proposed
tribunal for dealing with suspected terrorists.

The British were employing double standards, he charged. While claiming to
be victims of terrorism, “The real possibility and danger that the British,
their government and their political parties can pause (sic) serious
terrorism by founding and funding terrorist groups is lost on them.”

What on earth is he talking about? Both the UK and US measures are aimed at
suspected terrorist aliens, not citizens. Zimbabwe’s law is aimed at its own
people. Moyo forgot to mention that.

Neither the British nor American measures contain penalties for denigrating
their heads of state, nor do they criminalise “spreading alarm and
despondency”. But they have attracted vocal opposition from civic groups.

As for Moyo’s charge that Britain is funding terrrorism, what evidence has
he ever produced? Surely not the Westminster Foundation? If that is the only
“evidence” he has, how does it compare with Tiny Rowland’s funding of Zanu
PF? The difference is of course that the Westminster Foundation’s accounts
are open for public inspection.

In a message headed “Seeking for Christmas donations”, Acting
Officer-in-Charge, Avondale, Assistant Inspector R Dondo, appealed for
donations “in cash or kind” for the Avondale police station’s Christmas
party. ZRP staff were prepared to “guarantee maximum security during the
festive season”, Dondo promised.

Our response would be to ask the people of Avondale how effective their
force had been over the past year. Did it uphold the law without fear or

Finally, this delightful vignette from the Herald’s Phillip Magwaza.

“Zanu PF wanted the mesmeric waters of the Victoria Falls to invigorate and
inspire the delegates for the presidential battle. Just like any retreat, it
reenergises and puts back the lost toxins for the coming battle.”

A toxic affair by any account!

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Zim Independent


Learnmore Ndlovu
THE government is successfully appealing to the basic human instincts of
greed for those wanting anything that is being given away for free. Those
with very little in material wealth and nothing to lose see a golden
opportunity. But those with better education and who have achieved some
wealth through their own legitimate efforts, know better that nothing that
is worth having is for free. Yet they have joined the frenzy to grab land
“for free” despite having much to lose from the effects of a destroyed

A friend who owns property and businesses came to me with his dilemma. He
has received a letter allocating him a sizeable area of land on a productive
commercial farm with irrigation. Effectively all the present arable and used
farmland has been reallocated to “resettled” farmers and the existing
commercial farmer is left with nothing other than his house.

My friend is fully aware that replacing this farmer with numerous “resettled
farmers” is going to be a disaster in terms of agricultural production. He
admits that it is very unlikely that he will have either the resources or
the ability to immediately, if ever, achieve the same output as the
experienced and successful dispossessed farmer.

There is another problem.

The letter allocating him the land states that the final terms and
conditions for him being able to stay on this land are still to be advised.
But it is well after the date that he was expected to start investing with
inputs and infrastructure in order to take up the offer.

It could well turn out that having invested inputs and infrastructure the
eventual terms and conditions will not be acceptable, feasible or viable, in
which case his investment will be lost.

So his dilemma is this: Does he accept the land and hope that his investment
will be secure or reject the offer? Does he knowingly replace a farmer who
is far more knowledgeable and productive than he knows he will be, at least
in the short-term? Does he accept just because others are accepting and
because if he does not accept the land someone else will? Does he accept
regardless of whether or not removing a productive commercial farmer and
replacing him with a number of less productive “farmers” is in the best
interests of the
nation in so far as food production and the economy are concerned?

Does he grab the land regardless of the consequences to the best national
interest? His overriding view is that he should accept the land because it
is free, and if he does not, someone else will, and he will then have lost
the opportunity. All his knowledge and logic that haphazard land
redistribution will create food shortages and damage the economy come a very
poor second to the basic human desire to take advantage of
anything being given away for free.

The land has become a very emotive issue where emotions and greed rather
than logic and good sense are winning the day. Destroying wealth and
commercial agriculture will not make hundreds of thousands of “resettled
farmers” wealthy or feed the nation, let alone sustain the economy. The one
thing that is clear from my friend’s case is that a great many of the
“resettled farmers” are not the poor landless povo. They are people with
businesses, wealth and connections, but not a background of agricultural

Over the years, many people who have imagined that they have the ability to
farm have tried farming as an occupation and have failed. Owning land and
knowing that you must plant seed does not make you a farmer. Having been to
university and earned a degree, having been very senior in many very large
companies, and having run your own businesses successfully, does not
guarantee success as a farmer. Even having grown up on a farm or in the
rural areas does not guarantee success as a farmer.

The concept promoted by government that we have 12 million potential farmers
and that all they need is land to prove this is a fallacy.

The Herald recently carried an article which was intended to condemn Britain
and the path that took her from being a rural economy to an industrial
economy. Instead, it actually promoted the path we should follow. In the
article it was stated that today less than 2% of the work force works on
farms in agriculture, whilst the rest of the population was involved in
commerce and industry. The reason for the very small number of people
involved in farming was the intensive mechanisation of farming.

I would imagine that the same scenario applies to most of the successful
economies of the world. The article also stated that unemployment in Britain
was extremely low. Surely employment and a healthy economy are what we
should be trying to achieve. So why are we doing the opposite? Why are we
trying to destroy commerce and industry and to send everyone back to the
land? Would it not be far better that my friend got on with what he has
proved he is successful at, which is running businesses and employing
people? Would it not be far better that we concentrated on creating
employment in commerce and industry, which could be built into major
economic forces capable of reducing unemployment?

However many people we resettle on the land, we will not create employment
or reduce unemployment. The best possible is that a lot of people will grow
their own inadequate food supply. There is no example of mass resettlement
of people being a success story in terms of food production.

There are numerous examples of where it has failed, and many of our
neighbours who gained independence before us have proved this for us. So why
do we follow their examples?

Learnmore Ndlovu is a freelance writer based in Harare.

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Zim Independent


Independent Comment

ZIMBABWEANS should not set too much store by the visit this week of a team
from the African National Congress of South Africa and on Monday by Nigeria’
s President Olusegun Obasanjo. We have learnt from the recent visit of a
Sadc team of ministers and the subsequent meeting in Luanda this week that
once ensnared by their Zimbabwean counterparts, appeals to Pan-Africanism
and revolutionary solidarity tend to vitiate any attempt to get to grips
with the core of Zimbabwe’s problem — governance.

When President Thabo Mbeki and other regional leaders met President Mugabe
at the Victoria Falls in April last year as the farm invasions intensified
they had every opportunity to underscore those values that Sadc had already
committed itself to on governance and democracy. Instead the leaders chose
to ignore the electoral landslide that had nearly engulfed Zanu PF and the
subsequent vengeance that farm invasions represented and instead held forth
on colonial anomalies in land distribution.

It took Mbeki 18 months to realise that Zanu PF was impervious to reason and
wasn’t interested in lawful solutions that would preserve the fabric of
Zimbabwe’s economy or that of the region. His visits to London and
Washington revealed that Britain and the United States would be only too
happy to fund a transparent and productive land reform programme. But in the
meantime, a meeting in Johannesburg between Zanu PF and the ANC had produced
another ringing endorsement from ANC secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe
which, like its Victoria Falls forerunner, was taken in Harare to be a carte
blanche for brutality and lawlessness.

Eventually, however, Mbeki realised the need to adopt a less deferential and
more robust line in his dealings with Zimbabwe’s delinquent ruler. In
private talks in Harare last December Mbeki and Obasanjo emphasised the need
for lawful solutions to the land question.

Last month Mbeki made his strongest remarks yet on the need for democratic
outcomes in Zimbabwe’s forthcoming presidential poll.

“If you have elections which are not seen as legitimate by the people, you
will have a situation that will be worse than the present one,” he told the
Foreign Correspondents Association in Pretoria.

He admitted Sadc had not “produced the results that we wanted”.

No sooner had he set out his views than his Labour minister, Membethisi
Mdladlana, was telling ZTV in Harare that the president’s statement had been
taken out of context.

And this has been the pattern throughout: one step forwards and two

The South Africans are vulnerable to their own internal politics, most
notably the PAC’s cynical opportunism on land. But that doesn’t stop the ANC
setting out in unambiguous terms what it believes the right policies should
be for democratic conduct in the region.

Laws before parliament this week will prevent robust criticism of Mugabe who
is a candidate in the presidential poll. They will muzzle the media in a
number of other ways, most notably by licensing only compliant journalists.
And they will give the police sweeping powers of arrest and detention —
including the right to arrest people who are critical of the police

Where you have a partisan police commissioner, as Zimbabwe does, and a
policy of harassment of opposition politicians and journalists, these
measures are a clear obstacle to the press performing its role as a public
watchdog. Meanwhile, amendments to electoral laws will prevent NGOs from
providing voter education — which they are constitutionally entitled to do —
while thousands of Zimbabweans have been deprived of their right to register
as voters because they can’t produce documentary proof of residence in a

Amnesty International reported in stark terms this week that violence and
intimidation persist as central features of the ruling party’s election
campaign. The Abuja agreement is self-evidently a dead letter as the press
Bill and dispossessions on farms demonstrate.

If this is all okay with the ANC, then it must stop any pretence that it
occupies the moral high ground. It is clear policies of repression are
damaging the region and will continue to do so as long as South Africa turns
a blind eye to events in Zimbabwe — as it has so studiously been trying to
do on the specious grounds that the country has a legitimate government.

We don’t want South Africa, or anybody else for that matter, to solve our
problems for us. But we do expect expressions of solidarity to be directed
at the struggling and oppressed people of Zimbabwe rather than their

One of the supreme ironies of our relationship with South Africa since 1994
has been that while Zimbabweans supported in so many ways the struggle of
South Africans for freedom, the new dispensation in Pretoria has tended to
ignore apartheid-style repression north of the Limpopo because it believes
Zimbabwe’s rulers have the sovereign right to do what they like. That
muddled thinking must stop.

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Zim Independent


Editor's Memo

Iden Wetherell
I WAS interested to read President Mugabe’s comment to a Zimbabwe Council of
Churches delegation this week that journalists should not enjoy more rights
than other citizens. The media, he complained, had been assaulting the
integrity of private citizens and public officials which, he said, was worse
than any physical assault. The press had also attributed stories to
“reliable sources” which were not always revealed.

“If these sources are reliable, let them be reliable enough to come and
rescue you when you are arrested,” he told the church heads. He repeated his
complaint about media reports that he had properties abroad, including a
castle in Scotland.

As usual, his remarks were exceptionally disingenuous and seem to have gone
unchallenged by his visitors. Firstly, the story about a castle in Scotland
was not the product of the local media. Those of us asked by our overseas
colleagues about the credibility of such reports told them exactly what we
thought. Yet Mugabe is now using it as a justification for his draconian
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill which, despite some
chronically amateur drafting and manifest violation of constitutional rights
to freedom of expression, will be forced through parliament.

I met the parliamentary portfolio committee responsible for examining the
legislation last week and told them, as did Misa and others, that this was a
profoundly flawed measure. It will be interesting to see whether the Bill
which is presented to the House will be the same sloppy, gender-insensitive,
catch-all document we have seen.

One point we were able to make to the Sadc ministerial team which visited
Harare last week was the complete refusal of the government to take up the
recommendation of Sadc heads of state in September to consult with the
opposition and stakeholders in the drawing up of legislation so Zimbabwe
ends up with national laws instead of partisan proclamations.

The Sadc team was assured by Stan Mudenge that provisions for consultation
existed in terms of the parliamentary portfolio committee system. This Bill
will be a good test of just how effective that is.

But to get back to Mugabe’s views, who in the first place ever asked that
journalists should have more rights than others? It is a claim the president
has invented. We want the rights we are guaranteed in the constitution — no
more, no less. And we expect the courts to defend those rights. Neither the
president nor his ministers are entitled to arbitrarily abridge those rights
because they believe they have been the victims of press “assaults”.

It is the duty of the press to act as a public watchdog. Where
self-important politicans have misallocated public resources, mismanaged the
economy, and become rich while the nation has been pauperised, then it is
the duty of the press to make that known.

It is not up to self-interested parties such as the president and his
ministers to define other people’s rights. Where Mugabe and his friends
believe they have been “assaulted”, they have the same recourse to the law
that we do. Zimbabwe’s judicial system is replete with defamation laws
including criminal defamation which the regime has not hesitated to use.

Which brings me to a related issue. Under our constitution all Zimbabweans
have the right to seek the protection of the courts from arbitrary arrest.

Mugabe appears not to recognise this. Citizens picked up and detained on the
basis of flimsy charges which more often than not are dismissed in court or
even, as was the case recently, dropped before plea, have the right to sue
the Minister of Home Affairs for wrongful arrest. Where the arrest has been
politically-inspired or clearly represents a pattern of harassment, the
victim would have a good case.

Mugabe should stop bemoaning his predicament. He gets the press he deserves.
His latest move to muzzle the media will not stop exposure of his singularly
despotic and economically disastrous record of misrule.

Technology now affords many people access to information that cannot be
regulated by presidents and ministers to protect them from legitimate public
scrutiny. The truth always has an awkward habit of getting out!

On another related matter, regular readers will know that when we make a
mistake in our reports we like to carry a correction the following week.

This has been a policy of the newspaper since its inception in 1996.

There has been much emphasis in the new media Bill on professionalism and
ethics. I was therefore surprised to see reports in the government press
about exchanges Trevor Ncube and I allegedly had with the visiting Sadc
ministerial team that had not in fact taken place. In some cases, our
remarks were fabricated. In others, replies from ministers were either taken
out of their original context or, again, in some cases, simply made up.

For instance, the Sunday Mail last weekend attributed to Prof Welshman Ncube
remarks about Cain Nkala which the Herald had only days earlier attributed
to myself and Trevor Ncube.

None of the reporters in question were at the session where the media met
the ministers. But they were briefed afterwards by officials from the
Department of Information and other state agents. In other words, stories
placed under reporters’ bylines in the state media were written on the basis
of input from unattributed government sources. But no mention was made of
these spin doctors in the reports. Instead the half-baked information
gleaned was attributed to a “diplomat” and “analyst”.

Next time President Mugabe complains about the press attributing doubtful
stories to “reliable sources” he should be reminded of this episode.

‘It is the season of goodwill,” I am reliably informed. But never in its
history has the nation felt so downcast. With the economy a wreck and “total
war” the official policy, people have every reason to feel miserable. How
can a nation’s rulers unleash such suffering on law-abiding citizens who
have worked all their lives to build a better future for themselves and
their families?

But that should not prevent acts of civility and kindness towards those we
know — and some we don’t. We can show charity and goodwill towards the
infirm, the elderly, the dispossessed. Try and make a difference to those in
real need, those on their own, those without family and friends this year.
Small acts of goodwill are a measure of a nation’s heart. Let’s hope we
haven’t lost ours.

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Zim Independent

Commercial farmers abandon dam

Augustine Mukaro
THE $450 million Biri Dam, with a storage capacity of 174 000 megalitres of
irrigation water, lies idle in Mashonaland West following land invasions and
fast-track resettlement schemes which have brought business at commercial
farms to a standstill.

The water would have been used for irrigation by 68 commercial farms in the
Banket, Chinhoyi, and Rafingora areas. Commercial farmers financed the
construction of the dam through a consortium, the Biri Combined Irrigation
Scheme. Crops produced in the area range from cereals to citrus.

Speaking to the Independent this week, Fred Wallis, the managing director of
the scheme, said it was unfortunate that the farmers were no longer going to
benefit from their long-term investment.

Wallis said under normal circumstances the dam would irrigate 14 000
hectares of land under wheat crop, which would produce an average
six-and-a-half tonnes per hectare.

Last year the area contributed half of the 40 996 tonnes of wheat currently
in the country’s stocks.

Of the 68 farms that are shareholders in the Biri Dam construction, 41 are
listed for acquisition and farmers are receiving notifications to vacate
their farms within the next three months. Half of the farms have completely
ceased production while the others are operating at below 20%.

Neiv Hoy, the owner of Hunyani Farm and one of the major shareholders in the
scheme, said farmers were finding it very difficult to survive and had no
means of paying back loans.

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Zim Independent

Chisipite project sparks controversy

Forward Maisokwadzo
CONTROVERSY has rocked the proposed National Railways of Zimbabwe Pension
Fund’s $2,8 billion redevelopment of the Chisipite shopping centre, as
anchor tenants and the public accuse the developers of over-riding their
concerns, it has been learnt.

The project, which commenced with the construction of the re-aligned
Hindhead Avenue in May, is expected to take-off in February.

Tenants have raised concern that the developers were building a structure
larger than that proposed in the original plan and no parking details were

“There is no public information available and the development is likely to
create two separate areas at Chisipite,” said one tenant.
A property consultant agreed.

“We have one of the most expensive developments ever proposed in Harare
where the city has facilitated the realignment of roads, where a major
pension fund and an international property consultancy is involved, but the
public and the traders of Chisipite are completely left in the dark,” he

“Everything is being done secretly which raises many questions on whether
the developers have anchor tenants and informal traders’ interests at

CB Richard Ellis, a leading international property consultancy company, is
acting on behalf of the NRZ Pension Fund in redeveloping a large part of the
existing shopping centre.

NRZ’s intention is to develop a shopping centre where shopping and
entertainment are to be fused.

The bone of contention emanates from the fact that the parade of shops on
the eastern side of the Chisipite Shopping Centre do not belong to the NRZ
Pension Fund but the design team has been tasked to design a shopping centre
which will ensure that these shops are seen as part of the redeveloped

Although tenants accuse the developers of ignoring their concerns, CB
Richard Ellis is understood to have indicated that it will incorporate the
Enterprise Road, the diverted Hindhead Avenue and Silwood commuter omnibus
drop-off and pick-up points.

“The practicality of having their termini within the development is still to
be seen but we do not think it will be ideal,” wrote Abraham Sadomba of CB
Richard Ellis to one tenant.

On the issue of informal traders, Sadomba said: “No vendors will be allowed
to trade from any other part of the property owned by the NRZ Pension Fund,
except where designated.”

The letter said the vendors currently operating at Chisipite Shopping Centre
were organised and their names were held by the Chisipite Tenants and Owners

“Some of the vendors are going to be allowed to trade from the shopping
centre through leasing of kiosks on trolleys. The kiosks shall be stationed
in the malls enabling the vendors and the established retailers to trade
fairly,” the letter said. Commax Construction, a Chinese company, is tipped
to win the tender.

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Zim Independent

Zanu PF chefs given best farms

Dumisani Muleya/Augustine Mukaro
LANDS, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement minister Joseph Made has allocated
prime farms to top government and Zanu PF officials under the murky A2
commercial settlement scheme.

Official sources said the privileged beneficiaries included ministers, the
police commissioner, high-ranking police and army officers, members of
parliament, senior civil servants, war veterans leaders and ruling party

The A2 model, which covers small, medium and large-scale commercial
resettlement, is implemented in terms of the Agricultural Land Settlement
Act administered by Made. It is based on a 99-year lease with an option to

According to government, the beneficiaries need to show proof of experience
and resource availability as well as entrepreneurship. But government
sources said this week these criteria were currently being widely ignored.

It is understood Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation minister
Elliot Manyika has been allocated Duiker Flats Farm just outside Bindura.
The farm covers 998,7 hectares and is almost 90% arable.

Bindura mayor Webster Bepura and senior Central Intelligence Organisation
officer Manard Muzariri were allocated Avanduur Farm in Glendale, government
sources told the Independent this week. They recently visited the farm to
assess whether or not it was suitable for commercial agriculture.

Avanduur owner Roy Guthrie confirmed the presence of the two at the
property, which is 820 hectares in size with 240 hectares arable. The market
value of the farm is between $80 and $100 million. “They are not living on
the farm but they have started working on it,” he said.

War Veterans Harare province political commissar Joseph Chinotimba and Pfura
Rural District Council chairman Dick Mafiosi were both allocated farms in
Bindura, it is understood.

Sources said the pattern of redistribution under Model A1 has not been much
different when it comes to influential beneficiaries.

“Take Exwick Farm in Chegutu, for instance,” a source said. “The property
was delisted in July because the owners are Italian but there is a long list
of influential people who got plots there claiming to be landless peasants.”

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Zim Independent

Banana urges media to expose ‘the apostles of violence'

Busani Bafana
ZIMBABWE’S media should expose enemies of democracy ahead of next March’s
presidential election, former head of state Canaan Banana has said,
lamenting the dearth of free debate on national issues.

“The media has a duty to expose the apostles of violence — those of violent
speech and violent deeds, those who have cast a dark cloud over the future
of this once glorious country,” Banana told a recent national seminar on the
role of media in national development in Bulawayo.

“The media can never condemn strongly enough the waves of political killings
and other mayhem now stalking our land.”

Banana (65) was Zimbabwe’s first president at Independence. He is clawing
his way back into public life after a prison sentence for sexual assault.

Remarking that he has no ambitions to run for public office again, Banana
said the March election promised to be the most fiercely contested since
Independence. He said regrettably violence had become the hallmark of
Zimbabwe’s political landscape.

“Men and women of violence, those who stoke the flames of death and
destruction must be exposed for what they are: the real enemies of the
people, small men thoroughly frightened of allowing the free democratic
choices of the people to prevail, fearful that if people are left on their
own to make their free choice, they might choose differently,” said Banana.

Describing journalism as a disciplined calling, Banana said the media should
champion people’s rights and avoid peddling its own preconceived ideas.

“A free press promotes a free society, a press under bondage invariably
creates a hostage society of blind loyalists,” he said.

“Quite often these days when one plies through the pages of newspapers, one
is suffocated by cheap political propaganda. A parochial approach to
politics impoverishes a people’s political culture while a diversity of
views enriches it,” he said.

Banana however waned that the media was not a sacred cow and should expect
to receive as many brick-bats as it throws.

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Zim Independent

Row erupts over Zim/Libya shady deals

Dumisani Muleya
A POTENTIALLY damaging rift has developed between Zimbabwe and Libya over
recent fuel and investment arrangements which the North Africans are
describing as a raw deal.

Government sources said the row had erupted between government officials and
the Libyans over the shady agreements which critics charge will mortgage
Zimbabwe to Libya.

President Robert Mugabe and a high-level government delegation are in Libya
to sort out the issues in dispute. The delegation left on Tuesday.

The Libyans are reportedly complaining that although Zimbabwe was already
receiving fuel supplies, its authorities were now reluctant to fulfil their
side of the bargain.

The deal, brokered when Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi visited Zimbabwe in
July, involved a US$360 million fuel facility and investments by Libyans in
agriculture, tourism, construction and mining.

The Libyans were expected to grab stakes in the Rainbow Tourism Group,
Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) and the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe.

It was also agreed the Libyans would invest in fuel infrastructure and
distribution. But sources said the Libyans were now exasperated by docking
problems for their ships at the port of Beira in Mozambique.

Mugabe confirmed the problems over the weekend during the Zanu PF conference
at Victoria Falls.

Zimbabwe is not paying Libya in foreign currency but local money channelled
through CBZ where part of it will be converted to equity.
Sources said the Libyans were given prime farms at Chakari and Banket in
Mashonaland West province as part of the deal. They also expected to go into
beef exports.

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Zim Independent

Govt steps up violence

Blessing Zulu
AMNESTY International (AI), the world’s leading human rights watchdog, has
produced a damning report on escalating incidents of human rights abuses in
Zimbabwe and called on the Commonwealth to adopt a strong line against the
country’s rulers.

It details cases of abductions, torture and beatings by government agents.

The report revealed that the situation was far from normal, contrary to
recent observations by the Southern African Development Community (Sadc)
mini- sterial delegation which painted a rosy picture of peace and normality
in Zimbabwe.

Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group ministers met in London yesterday as
the report was released. It dovetails with another damning account that has
been produced by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum which paints a stark
picture of Zanu PF’s bloody electoral trail.

An AI delegation was in the country recently and met victims of torture and
beatings, human rights activists, and farmers and farm workers. It also met
members of the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change and the Zimbabwe Republic Police. The report dismissed claims by the
government that violence was caused by enemies of the land redistribution

“This is not about land reform but about rampant torture by the state and
its proxies to bludgeon dissent,” the report said.

“Zimbabwe is using informal but state-sponsored militia comprising land
occupiers, so-called war veterans and supporters of Zanu PF as proxy forces
to brutalise and displace farm workers and to assault real or perceived
members of the opposition.”

The killings in Zimbabwe are also continuing unabated, it said. Augustus
Chacha, an MDC youth activist scheduled to meet the AI delegation, was found
dead in a reservoir in Gonye village near Mberengwa.

“No one has been charged in relation to the killing which his family
believes was politically-motivated,” the report said.

In another incident, an MDC activist and a friend were severely assaulted in
an operation allegedly coordinated by the Central Intelligence Organisation.

“They beat him and a friend into unconsciousness with whips, fists and
electrical cords, then urinated in their victims faces and threw sand in
their eyes while questioning them about their activities in the MDC,” the
report said.

When the victims regained consciousness, their torturers placed them on the
road, under the tyres of a Landrover truck and threatened to run them over
if they did not swear allegiance to Zanu PF,” it said.

AI also said it was concerned at the level of arbitrary arrests that have
become the order of the day in Zimbabwe.

The selective suppression of the right of assembly was also roundly
condemned as the report cited the banning of demonstrations save for Zanu
PF-sanctioned ones.

The report also took a swipe at the government’s attempts to muzzle the free
press using draconian laws such as the Public Order and Security Bill and
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill.
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