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

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A night of barbaric terror in Marondera.

By cathy buckle.

One afternoon this week I sat in a civilized Marondera restaurant and listened to an elderly couple relate the events of a night of barbaric terror. A mob of 40 youngsters stormed a farm house and left a trail of utter destruction.

As is more and more often the case, these cowardly thugs claimed to be war veterans and they came at night. Shortly after 7pm there was frantic barking at the back of the house and desperate knocking on the front door. One brave farm worker had raced to warn his employers that a rabble were approaching. The farmers' wife heard the roar of a mob at the gate and barely had time to lock the back door. The rabble broke the garden gates and swarmed towards the house, roaring, shouting and bellowing. The elderly woman and her husband had nowhere to run to, no way of getting out of their own home because in moments the house was surrounded. Windows were rattled, gutters banged and a steady and incessant thumping began on the back door. The noise was overwhelming. 'It was just a great roar,' the farmers' wife told me and they had to shout as they called for help, from neighbours via the radio and from the police on the telephone. The situation was deteriorating by the second but the police did not come. The couple heard the back door being broken down and they retreated down the passageway, closing and locking an interleading door behind them. The noise escalated, someone was on the roof, smashing a hole into the asbestos and windows were shattering all over the house. Then the thugs started on the interleading door, banging and hammering and the couple were forced to leave the farm radio and retreat to their bedroom. They heard the second door being broken down and could only communicate with their cellphone. Still the police did not come. The bedroom windows were smashed and a burning truncheon came through as the mob attempted to set the curtains on fire. For three hours this went on: smashing, banging, shouting and destruction. For three hours 40 men rampaged through the farmhouse.

When at last help came at 10 pm, there were no sirens, arrests or handcuffs, instead the situation was 'defused' by political intervention. The elderly couple came out of their bedroom, in deep shock, frightened and thankful to be alive. They saw the ruin that had been their home. A plug had been put into a sink and the taps turned on. The lounge, pantry and dining room were completely flooded, carpets and furniture stood in 5 cms of water. The contents of the fridge and deep freeze - meat, milk, fruit, vegetables and bread - were gone. Plates and glasses were smashed and there was broken glass everywhere. Cutlery had been taken from the drawers, tools from the garage and someone had attempted to drain the petrol from the farmers' car.

25 geese had been stolen from the garden and for that three men were arrested the following morning. For the destruction amounting to nearly half a million dollars worth of damage, no one was arrested. For the empty fridge and deep freeze, the missing cutlery and tools - no one was arrested. For the breaking and entering, smashed windows and doors, flooded property and extreme intimidation - no one was arrested.

The words that this couple used as they told of their horror, are ones that are being echoed by farmers all over Zimbabwe. "It could have been worse," they said, "at least we are alive." When I asked them what they were going to do, the couple were united. "We haven't got a Plan B. That farm is 40 years of our life. We haven't got anywhere to go."

This is what we are made to believe is the face of land hunger in Zimbabwe. We are told that these 40 men are landless peasants. We are told that these 40 men are the ones who will be responsible for growing our food this season. We are told by the police that there is no violence on the farms and that criminals are being arrested. It is not true. Day after day and week after week there is unspeakable terror on farms around the country. Now we are told that all farmers with Section 8 letters of Compulsory Acquisition have 90 days to get out of their homes and off their land so that the landless peasants can get on with the business of growing the food for Zimbabwe's 13 million people. God help us.

cathy buckle........ 19 November 2001
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Dear family and friends
Please note my new address, instigated for security reasons, and I apologise for the annoyance factor. Over the last fortnight  a temporarily displaced Zimbabwean has put hours and hours into building up a web site for my work  and to further expose the crisis in Zimbabwe. The site can be found at:   He would rather I did not use his name or give him credit but I am indebted for all  his work, honoured to deal with someone who has the same passion about Zimbabwe and human rights as I have and does this for truth and justice and not money, thank you. 
Last Sunday night, just before 7.30pm, a farmer was ambushed and shot 20 metres from his farm home in Macheke. Alan Bradley, his wife and their two young children were coming home from a day out. It was dark, Anthea was driving, one child sat on Alan's lap in the front passenger seat, the other lay dozing on the back seat. A barricade of branches had been spread across the road. Anthea slowed and stopped, Alan got out of the car to move the branches when they saw at least one armed man. Alan scrambled back into the car and as he did so shots were fired through the drivers' window. The window shattered and collapsed over Anthea. Alan was shot in his upper arm, his chest peppered with shrapnel, 4 broken ribs and his lung pierced. The two young children witnessed the entire horror but were not physically hurt and Anthea managed to drive her family to safety where they were met on the road by other farmers and an ambulance dispatched from Marondera. All week Alan has been in a critical condition but as of last night was breathing on his own and stable . Anthea is an incredibly brave woman and has had enormous love, support and respect from our entire community. I pray that she will be able to keep her strength as she comes to terms with this horror and guides her husband and two young children through the weeks ahead. I had been privileged to meet Alan earlier on that never to be forgotten Sunday and we joked about who had more grey hairs - I hope I am still winning! 
Later this week a crisis unfolded at the old age centre in my home town. Nurses at the Borradile Trust Frail Care Centre went on strike. 'War Veterans' joined in and set up a barricade at the entrance gate. On Thursday I went to Borradaile to see if I could help. The thought of men and women in their 90's, unable to feed or wash themselves had apalled me. I was met at the entrance gate to the Centre by about 50 men. They had tied placards onto the boom and immediately I knew that this was not simply nurses striking for money - it too had become a political platform. Some of the signs read: "Close it, we can run it better." "Give us what belongs to us." "Close it down we'll make a college." One placard which really exposed the truth said: "We are tired of burning grass, hospital next". A man approached my car and I politely asked to be let in, he refused, glared at me and told me to read the signs. I told him I had read the signs but would still like to go in. After a short and agressive lecture the man, wearing dirty overalls and a large floppy hat, let me in. I drove past the nurses, 10 of them, sitting quietly under a tree in the shade. They did not glare and shake their fists at me as the men at the gate had done, in fact, they looked embarassed and would not meet my eyes. Later I learned that the old age home in Marondera was just one of a number of similar "assisted strikes". This week's Financial Gazette runs the piece under the headline: "war veterans descend on old people's homes" and tells of "marauding bands of war veterans" in old age homes in Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo and Marondera.
As I write this, farmers are being barricaded out of their homes near me, one had his entire workforce evicted from their homes last night and the police have yet to attend as they say they have no transport. I am still wearing my yellow ribbon in support of all who are suffering, for Simon and 19 others still remanded in custody in Bulawayo.  For Alan and Anthea Bradley and their two young children who saw their father being shot. For farmers and the men and women who work for them who are being thrown out of their own homes and for hundreds of elderly people who do not know why no one came to feed them, change their soiled bedding or help them to wash. We have all been stripped of our dignity these last 21 months but when this hell affects young children and old men and women it can only be described as utterly obscene.  I must end on a cheerful note - Richard got back from camp to a very anxious mother. He'd had a wonderful time, the highlights were rock paintings and lots of animals. What animals did you see I asked - rabbits and frogs he said! Until next week, cathy
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"I can't tell you how settled we are at Bxxxxx, the bantams are in the garden,
Megan has produced two scottie cross puppies, P. has put up the spice racks
and shelves and its all so domestic.  One could forget for a moment that 65
per cent of us in the Chinhoyi area are not farming and that the mayhem
continues.  Another farmer shot but fortunately has survived, so many people
in gaol and the Chinhoyi 24 still having to report to the police station
every Friday and with no form of travel document. The rumours are rife and
we all fear for our safety.  How does one man get away with so much.
Everytime I hear a car or truck I think this is it.  We have had a
threatening letter in the post from ex-labour who tell us that P. faces
serious danger and he must pay them thousands of dollars or else, the war
vets, police,  you name it are going to deal with him.  I tore it up and
threw it in the bin. I lie in bed at night and think could P. be the next
one shot. 

I heard a terrible story first hand from a hunters wife, she had
a lot of poaching on her farm and with the help of a neighbour discovered
the poacher was somebody high up in the CIO.  The police were brought out
and the individual was arrested by a constable from her area.  A few weeks
later the hunter's wife and her son were alone on the farm  The electricity
had gone out.  Fairly late in the night they hear a car, then they heard
another. The hunter's wife wondered if she should turn the generator on so
they could at least see what is going on.  Her son said no they would just
wait and see.  They then heard shots and then the sound of the vehicles
leaving.  When the hunter's wife and her son eventually plucked up the
courage to go out.  Guess who they found dead in the driveway, none other
than the police constable who arrested the poacher.  When the police were
called in they told the hunters'wife that it  was a suicide.  Things like
this are happening every day and most people do not speak out because of
intimidation.  We have been told that those of us who speak out in our
emails could be in the gravest danger
amd we must take great care.  If we don't get these stories out of what
happening to the people here how will the rest of the world ever know. "
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"I have just returned from a market...buying xmas presents. There was this lovely old Matabele woman selling tableclothes. We sat under a tree, on the ground, and she told me how terrible things are in her home village. She said they have no food and the authorities and war veterans are beating and killing her children.   She said there is nothing they can do about it. She told me how Zanu PF have been ousted from Matabelend in the election and now they are exacting revenge on her people. "
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"I am pleased to report that Alan is making good progress. He is awake, and
able to talk. He is aware of what happened,and is very emotional apparently.
There is still some concern about a clot in his lung. The kids were taken in
to see him last night for the first time. Mom said that Ant is coping very

Thank you for all the messages. I am in the process of forwarding them to
Ant now that she has moved the computer into town."
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Zimbabwe's Mugabe says not afraid of elections

HARARE, Dec. 1 — Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said on Saturday he was
not afraid of his main rival in an election due early next year and would
convincingly win a poll that many expect to be the toughest of his long

       Speaking at a tree-planting ceremony at a rural school east of the
capital Harare, Mugabe again scoffed at threats of international sanctions
against his government over controversial seizures of white-owned farms,
saying the programme would continue ''with or without sanctions.''
       His ruling ZANU-PF party was gearing itself for a presidential
election due to be held by April, he said in remarks broadcast by Zimbabwe
state television.
       ''We are not afraid of elections at all. Elections are our tradition
and we are going to win these elections resoundingly,'' he said, repeating
his accusation that his main rival, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, is a puppet of former colonial power Britain.
       Tsvangirai's MDC nearly defeated Mugabe in parliamentary elections
last year despite a violent campaign the MDC blamed on ZANU-PF, which left
at least 31 people dead. The opposition candidate denies he is a puppet and
says Mugabe prefers name-calling to avoid focusing on a severe national
       ''The MDC can never win these elections, never ever, never ever,''
Mugabe said. ''Let the British know that.''
       Mugabe, 77, has held power since the former British colony of
Rhodesia gained independence from London in 1980. He said his land seizures
would continue because they were meant to benefit Zimbabwe's landless black
       ''Sanctions or no sanctions, we will take back our land,'' he said.
       Critics say Mugabe has largely ignored a Nigerian-brokered agreement
that his government signed in September and which was supposed to end
violent farm seizures in favour of a just and fair land reform scheme partly
funded by Britain.
       Critics accuse Mugabe's militant ZANU-PF supporters -- led by
veterans of the independence war -- of mounting a campaign of intimidation
against voters ahead of the presidential elections.
       Tsvangirai says Mugabe is trying to steal victory in the elections by
changing electoral laws in his favour, including barring millions of
Zimbabweans abroad from voting and demanding multiple proof of residency for
urban voters.
       The government -- which says there is no room for local independent
monitors in the coming election -- has so far refused demands from the
European Union to indicate whether international observers will be allowed
to witness the vote.

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The Times

Zimbabwe's new law to silence journalists


NEW laws announced by Zimbabwe yesterday would give the state powers to
silence all independent newspapers and journalists.
The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill will establish a
“media and information commission” with extraordinary powers to regulate the
media, the state-controlled daily The Herald said.

Editors and journalists here who feared that independent newspapers were in
imminent danger of being closed and foreign correspondents banned, said they
would fight the legislation.

Local journalists and correspondents for overseas publications would have to
hold “certificates of registration”, renewable every year, issued by the
state-appointed commission.

Only Zimbabwean nationals would be able to work as journalists. The
commission would have powers to “discipline journalists for misconduct” and
could withdraw licences, “impose conditions it deems fit”, and impose a fine
of Zimbabwe $50,000 (£625). Journalists working for foreign media would have
to have their accreditation approved by Jonathan Moyo, the Information
Minister. His department last week accused five foreign correspondents,
including those of The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The
Independent, of “assisting terrorists”.

Publishers of newspapers would be forced to get operating licences. Breaches
of the Bill could lead to the cancellation of a licence. The Bill would make
it a crime to “conceal, falsify or fabricate information, spread rumours or
cause alarm and despondency under the guise of authentic reports”. The
charge of “causing alarm and despondency” — part of 40-year-old Rhodesian
emergency legislation that was abolished by the Supreme Court two years ago
for being unconstitutional — reappears in the Bill. Journalists may also be
charged for “deliberately spreading information which discredits” anyone.

Nhlanhla Ngwenya, spokesman for the Zimbabwe Media Monitoring Programme,
said: “It will lead to the extinction of the private media.”

“This is the worst form of muzzling the press anywhere,” said Basildon Peta,
President of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists. The Bill was “criminal”, he
said. “Even a court under the Taleban would find a piece of legislation like
this illegal.”

Not even the former white-minority Rhodesian Government passed press laws as
draconian as these, said Trevor Ncube, publisher of the respected Zimbabwe
Independent. “It’s like McCarthyism,” he said. “This must be fought with all
the legal powers we have to see it doesn’t see the light of day. We must
never acquiesce to this kind of dictatorship.”

Yesterday about 300 of President Mugabe’s supporters staged an aggressive
demonstration outside the British High Commission, and also at the offices
of the independent Daily News.

The editors of The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The
Independent yesterday wrote to the Zimbabwe High Commission condemning last
week’s attack on their correspondents. The editors urged Mr Mugabe to “take
steps to reassure us that our highly experienced and well-regarded
correspondents will be able to carry out their work unimpeded and with their
journalistic rights respected”.

The Age, Melbourne

Zimbabwe govt confirms tightening screws on foreign media
HARARE, Dec 1 AFP|Published: Sunday December 2, 12:05 AM

The Zimbabwe government has confirmed tightening the screws on international
news coverage with a proposed law allowing locals to work for foreign media.

The government approved the law yesterday in the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Bill.

"Only Zimbabweans can be allowed to work on a permanent basis," Information
Minister Jonathan Moyo told AFP in an interview late yesterday.

He said however that the government would make "a distinction between
accreditation and registration", and that foreigners would continue to be
temporarily accredited by the state.

Local journalists would be accredited on an annual basis by a Media and
Information Commission, provided for under the bill.

Moyo described the accreditation of foreign journalists as a "state
function" of various ministries to prevent "admitting into Zimbabwe
dangerous elements".

He said the government would not prescribe the strict regulations proposed
for local journalists.

"We want an ethical and professional code of conduct which is developed by
the media itself," he said.

After the bill becomes law, all journalists based here will be given a grace
period of three months in which to "regularise themselves" in line with the
new provisions, he said.

"We cannot have a situation where a foreign media house sets itself up
outside regulations," Moyo added.

"Last year, before the parliamentary elections, over 700 media houses set
themselves up, creating a complete jungle," he said.

Despite a hectic schedule, parliament may debate the new regulations before

"It is in the democratic interest of everyone concerned that parliament
debates this as soon as possible," he said.

Moyo said the bill aims to give members of the public access to information
from public bodies, including the media itself, "and that the public
understands which information is not accessible to it and for what reasons".

"Many of the provisions in this bill are similar to the Public Access to
Information Act in South Africa, and others are similar to Britain's Freedom
of Information Act and the Americans," he said.

Relations between President Robert Mugabe's government and the independent
local and the foreign media have been severely strained of late.

In recent months, authorities have arrested local journalists and expelled
foreign correspondents.

Last week the government accused some foreign and local independent
journalists of helping "terrorism" in the country.

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Daily News - Leader Page

Everybody knows the terrorists in Zimbabwe

12/1/01 9:34:20 AM (GMT +2)

THE government is taking to laughable lengths this weird idea that there are
terrorists in Zimbabwe.

Fighting terrorism is stuck in red at the bottom of the eight o'clock ZBC-TV
news bulletin these days. CNN had a similar logo on terrorism in its
bulletins at the height of the war in Afghanistan.

The idea that an Alqaeda-like terrorist organisation, led by an Osama bin
Laden-look-alike, is operating in Zimbabwe, would bel aughable, if it were
not so tragic.

It is tragic because it shows that the people running this country are now
driven by a certain determination to cling to power and will go to
dangerously reckless lengths to remain in office.

To lump journalists, both local and foreign, with fictitious terrorists
operating in this country is the sort of political ploy resorted to by a
political party no longer operating at a rational level.

The MDC is a political party and like all such organisations, it probably
has a number of hotheads among its members. Its recent leadership upheavals
suggest it is as susceptible to violent internal dissension as Zanu PF or
Zanu, the other parties in Parliament.

But on the basis of the record of its two-year existence, it is difficult to
assign to it the description of a terrorist organisation.

In Zimbabwe, most people speak of terrorism only in the context of the
violence inflicted on them by the war veterans who are as dyed-in-the-wool
Zanu PF supporters as the party's strutting cockerel symbol.

During the 2000 election campaign, more than 35 people were killed and of
the culprits arrested or convicted in connection with the murders so far,
none is an MDC, Zanu, United Parties or the Zimbabwe Union of Democrats

The only party in Zimbabwe which has boasted of its ability to employ
violence to achieve its goals is Zanu PF. "We have many degrees in violence"
is a statement expected from the leader of a terrorist organisation such as
Alqaeda, Hizbollah, Moro liberation front of the Phillipines, or the Irish
Republican Army (IRA) - and Zanu PF.

And to describe the alleged killers of Cain Nkala, buried among much
hypocritical claptrap at Heroes Acre, as terrorists is absurd.

In his support of the wild land reform programme launched with the violent
invasion of the farms in February 2000, Nkala himself might have qualified
as a terrorist His death might have been the result of a falling out among

Who knows?

But our primary concern is with the government's obsession with trying to
portray the local independent and the foreign journalist as a sort of
mujibha or chimbwido of its fictitious terrorists.

There is no mystery of the government's hostility towards the independent
and the foreign journalists. They are not in the mould of the men and women
at Zimpapers or ZBC, whose brief is to make the government and Zanu PF look
perpetually good, even if they have the blood of their murder victims
dripping from their fingers.

Certainly, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa doesn't sound as if he is
sold on the fiction of terrorism in Zimbabwe. He is much more down-to-earth:
he warns Mugabe of civil conflict in this country if the forthcoming
presidential election is not conducted in an absolutely free and fair

He also warns against the persecution of the independent Press, which
Mugabe's functionaries have tried to muzzle into silence.

This anti-democratic campaign by the government, including the attempt to
deny millions of people their right to vote in the election, could indeed
lead to the civil conflict that Mbeki warns of.

To avert it, he and other world leaders may have to do more than just
issuing statements

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Mugabe removes last vestiges of fairness to ensure victory
(Filed: 01/12/2001)

DAVID BLAIR, who was named Young Journalist of the Year for his despatches
on Zimbabwe yesterday, reports on President Mugabe's campaign to stay in

For President Robert Mugabe, politics is the art of the impossible.

His apparent life's mission, pursued with obsessive ruthlessness, is to
render it impossible for anyone to hold power over Zimbabwe but himself -
and he may now be close to succeeding.

With a climactic presidential election due by April 1, Mr Mugabe is moving
with consummate guile to eliminate every last possibility of defeat.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, is being left to chance.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change and his declared challenger, is confronted with a stark question.

How can he fight the most crucial election in Zimbabwean history when thugs
break up his rallies, officials prevent MDC voters from registering and mobs
raze his party's headquarters?

Shamelessly partisan policemen have arrested its campaigners and a brutal
terror campaign, waged the length and breadth of Zimbabwe, has left
opposition supporters traumatised by fear.

Over the past four weeks, Mr Tsvangirai's party, already battle-scarred by
repression, has come under furious attack. On Nov 5, Cain Nkala, an obscure
member of the notorious War Veterans' Association, was murdered in Bulawayo.

His death was immediately blamed on the MDC and used as an excuse for a
crackdown of unprecedented ferocity.

Mr Mugabe referred to opposition leaders as "terrorists" more than 20 times
in a single speech, adding: "Their days are numbered."

At first, the response was traditional. The shock troops of the ruling
Zanu-PF party raided the MDC's headquarters in Bulawayo and set it ablaze,
before rampaging through the city's townships and hunting down Mr
Tsvangirai's supporters for severe beatings.

This was straight out of the manual of Zanu-PF electioneering. What followed
was more serious. Senior MDC figures were arrested everywhere and thrown
behind bars on the flimsiest of charges. In the region of Matabeleland, the
MDC has been shut down.

All but a handful of its key figures are either in jail or in hiding and the
party has been forced underground in a former stronghold.

Mr Mugabe is now pushing a series of laws through parliament which serve
only one purpose: guaranteeing the outcome of the election. All Zimbabweans
who live abroad are being denied the right to vote, except those in the
diplomatic corps or the army, who are assumed to back Mr Mugabe.

Everyone else is facing entirely new requirements for voter registration,
carefully constructed to bear most heavily on MDC supporters.

In the cities - Mr Tsvangirai's heartland - people will have to produce a
plethora of documents before they will be entered on the roll: proof of
address in the form of title deeds, rental agreements or utility bills will
have to be shown.

When you live in a shack in a heaving township, this is quite a challenge.
Hundreds of thousands of Mr Tsvangirai's voters will be disenfranchised.

In the countryside, village chiefs will have to vouch for everyone who
registers. Each headman is paid a grant by the government and almost all
support Zanu-PF. None will vouch for anyone he suspects of backing the MDC.

Any chief foolish enough to do so would be severely dealt with. Other laws
are designed to give Mr Mugabe a free hand to run the election with one
outcome in mind.

Independent observers will be banned by an amendment to the Electoral Act.
Voter education programmes by civic organisations have also been declared

The new media law announced yesterday will give the government, acting
through a "media information commission", the right to bar journalists from
working and perhaps close down newspapers.

Foreign correspondents already find it impossible to visit Zimbabwe and
these rules may sound the death knell for local independent newspapers,
already besieged on all sides.

Mr Mugabe's strategy is nothing if not sophisticated. The time-honoured
methods of violence and intimidation form the first prong. One-sided laws
and regulations provide the second. Together, they tilt the electoral
playing field so markedly as to make it almost vertical.

Zanu-PF managed to steal a narrow victory in last June's parliamentary
election when hundreds of foreign observers and journalists were present
and, despite some gerrymandering of the constituency boundaries, the
electoral machinery was relatively fair.

But for the presidential election, every last vestige of fairness has
already been systematically removed

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Daily News

Mbeki calls for more pressure on Mugabe

12/1/01 6:48:15 AM (GMT +2)

By Sandra Nyaira Political Editor

South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has apparently abandoned his "quiet
diplomacy" in dealing with President Mugabe's government, yesterday urged
countries in the region to put more pressure on Mugabe to ensure a free and
fair Presidential election next year.

Mbeki, who this week warned of civil conflict in Zimbabwe if the poll was
not free and fair and without Press freedom, said regional countries and the
Commonwealth should act urgently to encourage a free and fair vote.

"All of us must act urgently to persuade the government and the population
of Zimbabwe to move in a certain direction," he told a Press conference in
"The matter is critical that elections should be free and fair and the
outcome generally acceptable to the people of Zimbabwe."

Mbeki said committees set up by the Commonwealth and the Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) should work on ensuring democratic conditions
in Zimbabwe's Presidential poll.

The Zanu PF government has not implemented most of the measures agreed on at
the end of the Sadc Heads of State summit held in Harare in September in
their quest to bring legality, order, fairness and transparency to the land
reform programme.

The Sadc leaders recommended the setting-up of committees made up of Zanu
PF, the MDC and other stakeholders to deal with the crisis afflicting
Zimbabwe and to ensure it does not a contagious effect on neighbouring
countries in terms of hampering investment, tourism and related issues.

The government has not responded as to why it has not formed the committees
to deal with economic, political and social problems affecting the country.

Mbeki this week joined the international and local community in attacking
the government for clamping down on the Press and the judiciary and for
sanctioning farm invasions which have led to lawlessness, violence and loss
of life.

Pressed on the issue of possible sanctions against Harare from the
Commonwealth and Sadc, Mbeki said: "Sure, they have not produced the results
that we wanted, quite rightly so.

"We haven't discussed the issue. Our approach is that everybody must act to
provide results that are required. I am saying South Africa is a member of
the Commonwealth and Sadc and will continue to act in that context." This
was in reference to the sanctions issue.

Mbeki said a joint committee comprising Zanu PF and MDC representatives
should be formed to ensure satisfaction with the election results.

"Our view is that if elections in Zimbabwe are not seen as legitimate,
you'll probably end up with a situation worse than now," Mbeki said.

Mbeki said two decades of wrong economic policies in Zimbabwe, now facing
critical food shortages, skyrocketing inflation and unemployment, have
exacerbated the crisis in the country.

Zimbabwean Unrest Gives S. Africa Pause (from LA Times)
* Government: President Mbeki worries that the neighboring nation risks more turmoil amid doubts that it could hold free and fair elections.


PRETORIA, South Africa -- President Thabo Mbeki on Thursday expressed doubts that free and fair elections can be held in Zimbabwe, South Africa's northern neighbor, and he voiced concern that a flawed presidential vote could plunge that violence-torn country into greater turmoil.

"If you had elections in Zimbabwe which were not seen by the people as legitimate, and where [a] government forms which people didn't see as legitimate, you would then end up probably with a situation worse than it is now," Mbeki told members of South Africa's Foreign Correspondents Assn.

Political violence has rocked Zimbabwe in recent months, with a wave of attacks against supporters of the country's political opposition, intimidation and harassment of journalists, and the introduction of laws that political observers believe are designed to disenfranchise opposition supporters and ensure victory for the ruling party in next year's presidential election.Zimbabwe's Stability Crucial to S. Africa

Analysts say South Africa's credibility as a regional leader--and the success of an Mbeki-led initiative aimed at breathing life into the continent's economy--is closely linked to his government's role in helping to foster democracy and long-term stability in Zimbabwe.

But the government of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe appears to be pulling further away from democracy.

Mugabe's government is reluctant to allow independent monitoring of the election, due by April, and is adamant about continuing its controversial land redistribution program, which has fueled tensions and led to the deaths of 10 white farmers in the last two years. Plans are also underway to amend the country's electoral laws to prohibit millions of Zimbabweans living abroad from casting ballots.

"Clearly in a situation in which people get disenfranchised, in which people get beaten up so that they don't take an honest decision or act according to their political convictions, obviously there can't be free elections if there are circumstances like that," Mbeki said.

Mugabe has accused former colonial ruler Britain and white farmers of sponsoring the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to commit acts of terrorism, and last week a government spokesman singled out several foreign correspondents and local independent journalists as terrorists.

In what it calls a bid to curb terrorism, the government has thrown its weight behind a so-called Public Order and Security Bill. Punishment includes the death penalty for acts of "insurgency, banditry, sabotage and terrorism," as well as the threat of jail and fines for anyone who "undermines the authority of the president" or "engenders hostility" toward the president. The bill requires parliamentary approval.

Mugabe Increases Security Measures

As an extra security measure, workmen Thursday placed concrete posts around Mugabe's offices in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare.

Mbeki acknowledged that despite engagement by the regional community, the situation in Zimbabwe isn't improving and efforts by the United Nations and the Southern African Development Community to resolve the political upheaval have failed.

"They have not produced the results that we wanted," Mbeki said.

The political turmoil in Zimbabwe has been coupled with economic distress: The country's annual inflation nears 98%; three-quarters of the population lives at or below the poverty line; and agricultural shortfalls have left many hungry.

"The country, potentially a breadbasket of southern Africa, has become a basket case," said a recent editorial in South Africa's weekly Sunday Independent newspaper.

The food shortage has been intensified by the disruption of work on white-owned commercial farms, hundreds of which have been invaded by pro-government militants and veterans of the country's independence war. Mugabe's government has targeted about 5,000 such farms for redistribution to largely landless blacks.

Officials at Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmers' Union estimated that overall farm production could decline by 27% this year. Tobacco production has dropped by more than 20%, agriculture industry sources said.

Mbeki indicated that Britain should play a lead role in resolving Zimbabwe's land crisis.

"We never colonized Zimbabwe," Mbeki said. "We never made a commitment about land in Zimbabwe."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

MEDIA UPDATE # 2001/47

1.  Summary
2.  Journalists as "terrorists"
3.  The EU meeting with President Mugabe and the Electoral
4.  Follow up on the Nkala murder case
5.  Tsvangirai trial and the Public Order and Security Bill
6.  MEMOIRS 2000: Lest we forget!
7.  Comments from our subscribers


The government, quoted in the Herald, labelled six journalists
    and a human rights activist as "terrorist" supporters - making
    the practice of journalism just that bit more difficult and

o   ZBC followed up the murder of Cain Nkala and Limukani
    Luphahla under the caption "Fighting Terrorism" -
    imitating CNN's coverage of the September 11 attack on
    the US -- and added another casualty, Sithembiso Nyathi,
    who it alleged was killed by MDC supporters who threw a
    grenade at a bar in Nkayi. Yet the death of Nyathi was not
    given any prominence on ZBC when it occurred.

    It was left to the private press to expose the escalation of
    violence perpetrated by ZANU PF supporters and war
    veterans in response to inflammatory statements from
    senior party officials.

o   The week also saw Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the
    opposition party MDC, winning a case in Supreme Court
    on grounds that charges against him under the Law and
    Order Maintenance Act (LOMA) were unconstitutional.
    Immediately after the ruling, government announced that
    LOMA would be replaced with the Public Order Security
    Bill (POSB) before the end of the year. This created the
    impression that the ZANU PF government was not happy
    with the ruling and were retrieving a bill they had set aside
    two years ago just to quash the opposition.


The phenomenon of "shooting the messenger" has become habit
from both the government and its supporters in the public media.
On 23 November, in an article headlined Diplomatic furore looms,
The Herald quoted an unnamed government spokesman attacking
"gross and obscene misrepresentation of facts" by six named
correspondents for foreign newspapers and a human rights activist:

"It is now an open secret that these reporters are not only
distorting the facts but are assisting terrorists who stand
accused in our courts of law of abduction, torture and murder
by covering up and misrepresenting the brutal deeds of the

The spokesman went on to compare the government's stance with
that of the US in its "war against terrorism". "We too will not
make any difference between terrorists and their friends or
supporters. For these reporters to continue aiding and
inflaming is morally wrong because journalists are ethically
bound to tell a complete, balanced, fair and accurate story.
That is what is lacking on all these reports and this is

Once again the government has confirmed its deep hostility to the
free flow of information through the media. It is a very short step
from labelling someone a terrorist to licensing your supporters to
commit violence against them. MMPZ has appealed in vain for the
past two years for a clear government statement that news-
gathering is a legitimate activity, protected by the laws of
Zimbabwe, and instructing the police to ensure that journalists can
go about their work without hindrance. We are still waiting.


While coverage centred on the delegation's closed-door
deliberations with President Mugabe, The Sunday Mail's (25/11)
emotive and propagandist report badly exposed how journalistic
standards have been eroded at the publishing house. In its article,
President humbles EU team, the paper gleefully and exclusively
dwelt on how Mugabe had reportedly given the three-member EU
team a dressing down. They then "left the country yesterday with
tails between their legs". The paper did not objectively inform its
readers of the outcome of the meeting.

The paper quoted unnamed government sources privy to the
meeting as saying that the EU team earned Mugabe's ire after it
"tried to smuggle" the issue of election monitors for the up-
coming presidential poll into discussions that were supposed to
"centre on Zimbabwe's involvement in the Democratic
Republic of Congo". The paper did not balance the story with
comments from any of the EU delegates despite its reporter having
attended a press conference called by the team at the Harare
International Airport where the EU ministerial team still looked

The Daily News' (24/11) story, Only free and fair elections will
count, EU tells Mugabe, was more balanced and soberly written. It
did not dwell on Mugabe's alleged ordering off of the EU team but
also reported on the substance and outcome of the discussions.
The paper quoted Chris Patten of the EU: "All I can say is we did
not have a meeting of the minds with President Mugabe."

The Herald (24/11) also included the EU team's feelings on the
matter. However, it found itself falling into the same propagandist
mode as The Sunday Mail by gloating over the EU's supposed
humiliation at the expense of providing the public with a sober and
professional analysis of the issues at stake and the possible
ramifications of such a showdown between the two.

Although ZBC (23/11, 8pm) quoted representatives of the EU, who
had earlier met Mugabe on the United Nations report that
implicated Zimbabwe in plundering DRC resources, they were not
asked on what exactly they discussed with President Mugabe.

In fact the public press seemed to have already adopted an
entrenched, government official position on the EU team's visit well
before its arrival.
It is not surprising that The Herald (23/11) seemed to have
dismissed the EU's visit after it quoted unnamed government
sources as saying the visit "was suspiciously made to coincide
with the release of a damning report on Zimbabwe's
involvement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo".

Said the government source: "Although the EU's high level
team's declared mission is to discuss the DRC issue, it is a
ploy by the EU to discuss Zimbabwe's internal issues such as
land, monitors and election observers."

The story sharply differed with EU team to meet Mugabe over
crisis, The Daily News (22/11). The paper instead reported that
"officials from the EU confirmed that the
expected to meet President Mugabe and his ministers over the
stalemate reached between Zimbabwe and the EU".

It also quoted - in retrospect - Foreign Affairs Minister Stan
Mudenge as saying the government was ready for the meeting
since Zimbabwe wanted to expose the EU's interference in the
internal politics of the country by funding opposition parties.

The public media's propagandist stance continued unabated in its
coverage of other electoral-related issues.

The Herald (19/11) story Inspection of voters' roll begins was not
only simplistic but a misrepresentation of facts. In the article, the
paper caused confusion among the public when it claimed that
potential voters did not only need national identity cards to inspect
the voters' roll but proof of residence too. Home Affairs Minister
John Nkomo later clarified this distortion in Parliament. The Daily
News (24/11) duly covered this correction in the story, Nkomo
dismisses Herald story.

Earlier, The Daily News (20/11) had led with Millions stand to lose
vote, a follow-up to the erroneous Herald story. The Daily News
story quoted civic organisations and the opposition MDC accusing
the government of further trying to disenfranchise more people
ahead of the election.

Perhaps more surprising was both the public press and ZBC's
continued attacks on the purported efforts by the EU to force
Zimbabwe to accept international monitors during the run-up to the
election. This was despite the clarification by the EU representative
to Zimbabwe, Francesca Mosca, that the European bloc wanted to
send observers (not monitors).

An example was The Sunday Mail (25/11) story, Poll system
backed and sub-headed, Foreign monitors not necessary. Though
the story, based on an interview with Electoral Supervisory
Commission (ESC) chairman Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, was aimed at
spiting the EU, it ironically merely echoed what the EU had been
saying all along. So it was quite surprising when the paper
reported: "Analysts said the EU had no legitimate grounds to
demand to monitor elections in Zimbabwe or any other
country outside the union itself."

The story, Improved understanding of the ESC's role, a question
and answer interview with Gula Ndebele carried in the same issue
of the paper, merely emphasised the legitimacy of the ESC rather
than its usefulness.

When Gula-Ndebele was asked whether the ESC had enough
resources both financially and logistically, he replied: "There is
always room to increase resources, especially money, because
this also leads to an increase in logistical support.."

Neither did the paper feel obliged to question why Gula-Ndebele
desired an Election Commission along the lines of  "other SADC
countries . because of the fact that it is responsible for both
the registration and conduct of elections". It was therefore too
simplistic for the paper to assert in its comment; Outsiders have
no role in elections (25/11), that it was "encouraging" to see Gula-
Ndebele "declaring their preparedness to monitor the

ZBC also continued to deliberately misinform the public by peddling
ZANU PF's claims that the European Union was insisting on
sending election monitors. President Mugabe while addressing a
rally in Mt Darwin was quoted (23/11,8pm) as having rejected the
EU request. Mugabe was quoted on ZTV saying "Keep out some
of you were colonizers yesterday. I told them to keep out and
then I left", and added that the EU wanted to meddle in the affairs
of the country to support the opposition.

ZTV (23/11,8pm) used old footage of Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa and foreign affairs Minister Stan Mudenge attacking the
EU. The reporter, Justin Manyau falsely stated that, "International
observers can only run an election when the government of
that particular country has collapsed." The statement was not
true as only international monitors can run an election in such

However, the private press was more analytical. For instance, in
Crack ZNA/ZRP unit for elections, The Standard (25/11) looked at
government plans to create an elite force, which it argued was
meant to be a crackdown on the opposition in the run-up to the

In the same vein, The Financial Gazette (22/11) reported plans by
the MDC to file an urgent application challenging new regulations
governing voter registration and inspection, which it believes violate
the Electorate Act.

While both The Financial Gazette (25/11) and The Daily News
(22/11) reported on police high-handedness in quashing a National
Constitutional Assembly-organised demonstration against
government's intention to introduce stringent electoral laws, The
Herald (22/11) described it as a "flop". It did not tell its readers that
by stopping the "flop" demonstration, police arrested 35 of the


The state media continued to accuse the opposition of 'terrorist'
acts in its coverage of the death of Cain Nkala, the Bulawayo war
veteran's leader. The only MDC voice that was accorded space on
ZTV was swamped by the usual propaganda that the opposition
indeed murdered ZANU PF supporters.

ZBC (radio and ZTV, 19/11, 8pm) reported the court appearance of
ten MDC suspects including MDC MP Fletcher Dulini Ncube. In the
same bulletin ZBC repeated the report, which they had carried as
breaking news the previous night (ZTV, 18/11, 8pm), on the arrest
of the two Daily News journalists who were picked up by the police
for allegedly taking part in the torture of Ndabezinhle Moyo on the

Both radio and ZTV (19/11, 8pm) made an attempt to cover up for
President Mugabe's inflammatory remarks made during the burial
of Nkala. The state broadcaster reported that the President had
"urged Zimbabweans to exercise restraint".

Zimpapers dailies (19/11) followed up a ZTV report on the alleged
abduction and torture of Moyo by MDC supporters. In the same
report, two Daily News journalists were said to have "witnessed" the
torture at the burnt MDC offices. On the other hand, The Daily
News (19/11) reported its journalists as having been arrested to
prevent them from publishing an interview with Moyo who claimed
he knew the full details of the kidnapping and subsequent murder of

In an effort, to show evidence of torture, The Chronicle (20/11) had
a front-page photograph of Moyo showing some of the injuries he
sustained during the alleged torture. However, they were not visible.
The paper also reported that the MDC MP for Bulilamangwe North
MP, Moses Mzila Ndlovu, was arrested in connection with the
kidnapping and assault of Ndabazinhle Moyo.

In its follow up to the story, ZBC (radio and ZTV, 20/11, 8pm)
falsely reported that the two journalists were still in custody despite
a Daily News report earlier stating that the police had released

The Herald (20/11) in a front-page article, Coltart evacuates family
to SA as terror probe widens, reported that the family of David
Coltart of the MDC had left the country "as investigations into
allegations of terrorism through the abduction and murder of
Zanu-PF members by MDC activists and officials widens".  The
impression the report gave was that Coltart had something to hide
in relation to the murder of Nkala. The reporter went on: "The MDC
has not mounted any meaningful campaign to look for Mr.
Nabanyama in Zimbabwe and yet they have urged the
daughter to go to Australia". The reference is to Coltart's
election agent, who was abducted last year - allegedly by Cain

An old picture of Coltart at an awards ceremony of British South
African Police accompanied the article. The picture was also used
in The Sunday Mail.  Part of the caption read: "The government
has said the Selous Scouts, who killed thousands of blacks in
the liberation struggle, are back at it again following
revelations that the manner in which war veterans' leader Cde
Cain Nkala was brutally killed was similar to methods used by
Selous Scouts". This gave the impression that Coltart was a
Selous Scout and therefore was linked to the murder of Nkala.

Notably, the denial by Coltart's wife that she and the family had left
the country was tucked on page 8 in the Chronicle and at the
bottom of page 4 in The Herald.

In an attempt to give the impression that the MDC has been
involved in a well-orchestrated campaign of 'terror' ZTV (20/11,
8pm) carried a report by Reuben Barwe, who is said to have "been
following this trail of terror". Barwe began his report with the
death of Nyathi who died of a grenade blast through to the murder
of Luphahla up to that of Nkala. He stated that in all deaths, similar
killing methods were used, giving the impression that those in
police custody were involved in all three cases. The report was
accompanied by footage of Luphahla's mutilated body and the
exhumation of Nkala's body. As before, ZTV showed no concern for
the feelings, dignity and sensitivity of the families of the deceased.
Nor was it made clear how precisely the methods of killing were
trademarks of the Selous Scouts.

To corroborate the report, Barwe interviewed the police spokesman,
Wayne Bvudzijena who said, "Some of the people who are tied
to the Nkala case are also related to the Luphahla case."
Bvudzijena said the police were looking for three other suspects
who were still at large. Matshobana Sibanda was named among
the three.  When Nkala's body was discovered (ZTV, 13/11,8pm),
one of the two suspects who were interviewed on camera said the
strangling of Nkala was done by Matshobana "whom we left that
other side (police custody)". This inconsistency was not clarified.

ZTV (14/11,8pm) covered the demonstration outside parliament
buildings by war veterans calling for the banning of the MDC (ZTV,
20/11,8pm). Joseph Chinotimba was quoted saying, "We need
America, we need Britain to condemn this"

For once, since the whole saga began, ZBC audiences got an
opportunity to hear the opposition voice. MDC MP Priscilla
Misihayirambwi was presented with an opportunity, in the same
report to respond to war veterans. She said, "If we stand up and
we say .we have got courts of law . we think that there is
something taking place in those places. Why on earth are we
trying to go elsewhere and judge people before they are

In its new programme, Behind the Scenes, ZTV (24/11, 7.15pm)
was at pains trying to convince viewers of the authenticity of their
Nkala murder story and spent considerable time justifying why
Barwe had to be sent to Bulawayo to cover the story. But should
credible news organizations have to do this?

The Herald (20/11) and The Daily News  (21/11) reported that the
state had dropped the murder and kidnapping charges for six of the
suspects to a lesser one i.e contravening the Law and Order
(Maintenance) Act by undergoing military training, a crime
punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment. Neither paper
carried comment from the police on why the initial charges were
dropped. Instead, the public press, which had already found all
those who were arrested guilty of murder, continued with
accusations against the MDC.

The Sunday Mail (25/11) carried five opinion pieces attacking the
MDC.  Professor Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of Information and
Publicity penned one of the articles, titled MDC "Clean up" strategy
exposed. Moyo postulated what he dubbed as a "moronic two-
pronged" strategy allegedly being pursued by the MDC in cahoots
with the "opposition media" and "diplomatic missions of some
unfriendly governments." The clean up campaign is allegedly
aimed at clearing the party from the Nkala case by blaming ZANU
PF and war vets. The piece is a classic case of baseless and
undisguised propaganda state media audiences are bombarded
with on a daily basis.

As part of his unrelenting anti-MDC campaign, the Sunday Mail
political editor, Munyaradzi Huni, continued to malign the
opposition. In an article titled "Once a terrorist always a
terrorist," Huni took a swipe at MDC, labelling it "a white man's
party", a tired description that has been used by ZANU PF since
their campaigns for parliamentary elections last year.

The Financial Gazette (22/11) editorial noted that the murder of
Nkala was a result of lack of rule of law and condemned ZANU
PF's use of Nkala's death to instill fear.
The Zimbabwe Independent (23/11) added a new dimension to the
murder of Nkala. In a front-page article, headlined "Government
media conceal evidence on Nkala" the paper revealed that police
were holding a war veteran identified only as Moyo, as a suspect in
connection with the abduction and subsequent murder of Nkala.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena and War Veterans
National secretary-general Endy Mhlanga confirmed the arrest. As
pointed out by the paper, the information has never been made
public by the public press. While the state press has been
peddling the propaganda that the murder was allegedly committed
by the MDC, the article confirmed the private press speculation
that some war veterans could have been involved.

By not informing the public on the arrest of a war veteran and
focusing on MDC suspects, the public press exposed its lack of
independence in covering stories. Such behaviour by the public
press grossly erodes their credibility and shortchanges readers
who have a right to accurate information.

The private press took a lead in covering political violence
incidents, while the public press was generally mum on these. For
three consecutive days (21-23 November), The Daily News carried
reports of violence triggered by the murder of Nkala last week. The
reports also came immediately after a week laden with ZANU PF
inflammatory remarks, clearly exposing the negative impact that
can be caused by reckless political speeches.

In the reports, either the war veterans or ZANU PF supporters or
both were implicated.

In its edition (21/11), The Daily News reported that MDC chairman
for Hurungwe West, miles from Bulawayo, Maxwell Bidi, was
beaten and interrogated by war veterans over who had abducted
Nkala. Bidi was also threatened with death. The following day, in
an article titled "Violence rocks Bindura" The Daily News
(23/11), reported the outbreak of violence in that town following the
burial of Nkala.  According to the report, war veterans who allegedly
instigated the violence had been given "instructions" to beat up
MDC supporters in retaliation for Nkala's death.


ZBC (radio and ZTV, 20/11, 8pm) reported that the Supreme Court
had dismissed the state's case against MDC President Morgan
Tsvangirai on the statements that he made last year. However, ZTV
underplayed Morgan Tsvangirai's victory against the state and only
reported the news item after the break. In an attempt to underplay
the Supreme Court ruling the ZTV newscaster Obriel Mpofu said:
"The state may proceed against Movement for Democratic
Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai under a charge of inciting
public violence. The declaration was made by the Supreme
Court after dropping charges of terrorism which were levelled
against him."

The reporter stated that the Supreme Court ruled that sections 51
and 58 of LOMA were in contravention of section 18 of the
constitution of Zimbabwe without giving information on the content
of the clauses.

All the dailies (21/11) reported that the sections under which
Tsvangirai had been charged were declared unconstitutional by the
full bench of the Supreme Court. The Herald used "Tsvangirai set
free" as its headline. The Chronicle carried the same article with a
similar headline.

As was the case on ZTV, Tsvangirai's victory was underplayed by
an assertion in the second paragraph: "However, the State can
proceed to draw up a common law charge against Mr
Tsvangirai for allegedly calling for the violent removal of
President Mugabe." The article stated that Tsvangirai had said he
had no comment on the outcome and went on to solicit government
interpretation of the outcome. The Minister of Information and
Publicity, Jonathan Moyo, tried to dampen the victory, saying the
ruling was "yet another opportunity for the usual malcontents
and cynics to be reminded that ours is a constitutional
democracy and that the rule of law is alive and well in our
country. And justice does not depend on one judgment."

The Daily News on the other hand quoted Tsvangirai saying he and
his party were pleased by the court decision and that the party
would "concentrate on our peaceful mission to win next year's
presidential election."

As if to respond the Supreme Court ruling, the state media (21/11)
reported that the government had approved the Public Order and
Security Bill, ostensibly to replace LOMA.

ZBC (ZTV, 21/11, 8pm) tried to link the approval of the Bill by
Cabinet to alleged terrorist activities by the MDC. It quoted Minister
Moyo as having said that the government had come up with the Bill
". to protect the people of Zimbabwe who should enjoy in
their country without fear of bandits and terrorists".
The report was followed by a report on the court appearance of
MDC MP, Moses Mzila Ndlovu for allegedly taking part in
kidnapping and torturing a Bulawayo man Ndabezinhle Moyo, to
give the impression that the MDC was a violent party.
Immediately after the report, Minister of Legal, Justice and
Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa who was allocated 6
minutes 40 seconds in which, among other things, he said: " This
is in response to the prevailing situation in the country.I
think as government we must be seen to be performing our
duty as the provider of security and safety. We cannot abdicate
our responsibility."

Chinamasa was not asked on why the same government did not
come up with the bill to control the escalation of violence before
and after the parliamentary elections last year.

Asked on the differences between the colonial LOMA and POSB,
Minister Chinamasa merely exposed that the difference was just in
the name. He said: "we have defined offences much more
carefully. We are also bringing back as an offence
subversion of constitutional government. In the light of what
is going on we feel we should bring back that crime because
there are a lot of threats against the constitutional government
of Zimbabwe."

These reports were complemented by a title on the screen
headlined "Fighting terrorism"

The Herald (21/11) did not only endorse the draconian bill but also
tried to justify its inception by drawing parallels with stringent anti-
terrorism regulations introduced in the US and Britain following the
11 September attacks. Notwithstanding the completely different
circumstances, the paper presented the bill as normal and
acceptable international trend without providing strong evidence of
the presence of terrorism in Zimbabwe. The report never analysed
implications of the Bill, neither did it sought independent comment
on its necessity.

Among other provisions cited in the report; "The Bill also makes it
an offence to undermine the authority of the President by
making public statements or publishing in the print and
electronic media statements that engender hostility towards
the President."

It also stated "The Bill also makes public gatherings to
conduct riots, disorder or intolerance illegal."

The next day, The Herald (22/11) followed up its report, stating that
the government, against a previous Supreme Court ruling, would
make it mandatory for citizens to always carry identification
documents by amending the National Registration Act and the
Criminal and Evidence Act, which the paper said would then be
incorporated into the proposed POSB. The illusion of rampant
terrorism was further reinforced. Endorsing the move the paper
gratuitously concluded, "The move (to amend) is aimed at
dealing with increasing criminal and terrorism activities." No
substantiation was provided to support the claim.

Surprisingly, the private press remained silent on these
developments, and enabled the public press unchallenged leeway
to endorse these developments.

5. MEMOIRS 2000: Lest we forget

Last year we asked our subscribers to help us look back on the
Zimbabwean media with a short paragraph or two about what they
thought were the main stories in the year 2000. The response was

Starting this week to the end of tshe year we will publish some of
the responses we received.

Please note, the opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the
views of MMPZ.
In the meantime, we kindly ask you to help us look back on the
year 2001. Tell us what you think were the main stories in the year

Send your responses to { HYPERLINK
"" } or
"" }

Your comments and opinions mean a lot to us.


I am a friend of Zimbabwe in the UK who has only visited your
country 3 times but has read your press extensivelyover the last

The story which affected me most was the reporting of the
appalling injuries inflicted on Karoi residents, and in particular, the
illustrations of the buttocks of two people who had been beaten.
Those pictures are indelibly fixed in my memory and thesuffering
of the victims inconceivable.

The most biased news coverage was the showing, night after night,
of racist incidents of the past in an attempt to make the people rise
up against the white farmers. No excuse can be made for the
incidents but their use as propaganda was a disgrace.

The story that amused me most was the saga of the Court Papers
served on the President in Harlem. The denial that the papers had
been served was like a pantomime! Oh yes he did... Oh no he
didn't! The world at large viewed the event with disbelief and learnt
from it thenature of the problem facing the people of Zimbabwe
today, that you have as a leader a dictator who is unable to
distinguish between fact and fiction and who is determined at all
costs to hang on to his trappings of power.

My best wishes to you and your country for 2001 and beyond.

Barbara Harrison


I guess we'll look back on these "dark times" in the future with
horror, and amazement that we let it happen. Certainly future
generations will ask: "how could they ever have been so mad?"

If any student wants to write a doctoral thesis on "How to subvert a
country for criminal purposes" they will find a perfect example here.

Keep the Daily News on its toes. The Zanu PF media are beyond
redemption. After we are liberated I think every employee should be
barred from ever holding another job in the media in this country. A
small punishment for treason!
Keep up the good work.

Charles Frizell



From EW,

Greetings, I hope you can take notice of that brilliant attack on The
Herald's political editor as "a disgrace to his profession", especially
his comparison of the MDC and the Nazis and his coverage of the
Nkala murder, by Richard Carver, formerly of Article 19 and
Amnesty International, which appeared in the Daily News at the
beginning of this week. This should be reprinted in every media
outlet in Zimbabwe and the author is safe from arrest by Moyo's
policemen because he lives in Britain.

Your coverage of the Nkala incident in this issue is also
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The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) invites you, or a senior representative of your organisation, to a Women's Forum.

The aim of the forum is to share our policies with you, so that you can make an informed choice during the forthcoming presidential elections. In addition, as a leader of an organisation with a constituency, we feel it is important for you to be familiar with the policies of various parties so that you can help your constituents to make informed choices.

It is also an opportunity for you to ask the MDC leadership questions on issues that you feel may require clarity concerning women.

The forum, which will be very brief, shall take place in the conference room at Adelaide's Acre on Wednesday, 05 December, 2001 from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Lunch will be provided.

Please note that this is not a political rally. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me. Kindly confirm your attendance before the date of the forum. Should you wish to bring a friend who is involved in women's activities, feel free to do so.

Thank you

Yours sincerely

Matilda Moyo (Miss)
Women's Coordinator
759 016
758 676
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Daily News - Feature

History will not ignore whites who fought with us

12/1/01 6:45:36 AM (GMT +2)

PLEASE, somebody wake me up and tell me that what I see going on in this
country is just a bad dream. If what is going on is not a nightmare from
which I will soon wake up, then God help us, for we are as good as sunk.

The ship of state is headed for the rocks, while the gnarled old captain,
his mates and crew are busy fighting frightened passengers who are
entreating them to steer the ship away from looming disaster.

The other day I met a Zanu PF friend of mine, one of the few left who is not
frightened to be seen talking to me. After greetings and the usual inquiries
about the health of each other's family, he started to berate me for writing
negative things about the government and supporting the MDC.

I politely informed him that I am not a member of any political party, but a
concerned citizen worried about where our rotten and directionless
government is taking us. I firmly told him that at this time I see nothing
positive to say about Zanu PF and the way they are running the country.

After vaguely promising to get together sometime to discuss the issue at
great length, we parted company. I am thankful because I still have a few
Zanu PF friends who are decent enough to agree to disagree. Most of them
will either avoid you, call you names or bash you in the head if you
disagree with their politics of hate.

The situation our country is in today reminds me of my now late Aunt
Mandichera. One day I went to her house and found her very sick. When I
asked her what the trouble was, she said: Hapana pachanzi apa, Museyamwa
(There is no part which is not painful, my whole body aches.) This is also
true of Zimbabwe. The whole body politic is sick and like a rudderless ship
we are headed for disaster. Some call me a prophet of doom and I totally
agree with them. Even a fool can tell you that it is going to rain when he
looks up and sees thick cumulus clouds forming.

The signs and symptoms of impending disaster are clear for all to see. I
understand that our President is busy digging Hitler-style bomb-proof
bunkers to protect him and his family at State House. What about the rest of
us? Where are we going to hide?
What is going on is unfortunately not a bad dream, as I would wish, but
reality. Our aged leaders are so anxious and desperate to retain sweet power
until they die that they will stop at nothing to win the Presidential
election next year. The whole thing would be extremely funny if it was not
so awesome and tragic.

Their wrath began with the defeat of their flawed constitutional proposals
in a relatively free and fair referendum. This turned into manic lunacy when
most whites, urban dwellers and all of Matabeleland and the Midlands
provinces openly supported the fledgling MDC to the extent that it almost
trounced the ruling party during polls which were heavily weighted against
it. We all know of the indiscriminate terror
unleashed on the populace in revenge.

I doubt that there are any significant numbers of Zimbabweans gullible
enough to believe that our polarisation and strife is the result of the land
issue. All Zimbabweans believe in land reform.

However, they refuse to look at the land question from a purely racial
standpoint and would rather have dealt with it as a question of justice
between human beings who are equal Zimbabweans.

To try and bring the political power struggle in Zimbabwe today to a racial
common denominator is hypocrisy of the first order. I was thoroughly
disgusted by the hateful so-called analysis published in The Herald of
Tuesday 27 November 2001. This piece of garbage, written by a so-called
"features writer", who was not man enough to put his name to it, has the
vitriol, outright lies and racial hatred which can only have come from the
devil's own gutter.

I took special exception to his reference to Eddie Cross as a racist. He
said: "On the Zimbabwe scene, there is no evidence that Cross and his group
have ever shown sympathy towards the welfare of the black majority."

I have known Cross since the Sixties when we were young men. He is a
Christian brother with whom I have more in common than the unChristian Zanu
PF thugs who have plunged this country into poverty and disrepute.

After marriage we continued our friendship and struggled against the racist
Rhodesian Front regime with other young black and white Christian families.
In the Seventies we started inter-racial groups called the Graduate
Christian Fellowship and Christians in Action, through which we tried to
promote racial understanding as well as opposing the Ian Smith regime. Some
of those involved were respected Christian leaders like Phineas Dube, David
Dawanye and Richmond Chiundiza.

When I discussed The Herald article with Mrs Christine Dawange she said:
"Anyone calling Eddie Cross a racist does not know him. Our families have
been friends for years and today our children are inseparable brothers and
sisters. They do not look upon each other as being white or black."

Either the writer was still too young in the Seventies or he is just
ignorant of the politics of those days. Eddie Cross is a true son of the
soil whose stature equals that of white non-racial stalwarts like the hero,
Guy Clutton-Brock, Sir Garfield Todd, Bishop Donal Lamont, Hardwicke
Holderness, Pat Bashford, Diana Mitchell, Eileen Haddon (publisher of the
Central African Examiner), Leo Baron, Terence Ranger and John Reed.

The writer went on to say that the Zimbabwe crisis "is a battle between
domination and fairness, a battle between the colonial injustices and the
reversal of those injustices, a battle between preserving the old privileges
and the obliteration of protected privileges.
"It is a battle between superiority and equality, a battle between morality
and immorality and a battle between rich and poor. On one end stands Eddie
Cross, not Morgan Tsvangirai, and on the other is President Mugabe."

This is shear claptrap. Eddie Cross is one of the poorest white men I know
and Robert Mugabe is one of the richest blacks in Africa. Did you see the
custom-made limousine he has just ordered? What about his mansion and
overseas assets we hear so much about?

The notion that the present battle is between white privilege and black
poverty is a sick joke. The real battle is between Zanu PF privilege and
Zimbabwe's poverty. It is a power struggle between the immorality,
corruption and violence of Zanu PF, and the morality of the MDC position.

To try and paint all whites as "racist Rhodesians" is hate-mongering of the
most despicable kind. It will not work. The whites I have mentioned and many
more contributed much to the struggle for justice in this country. Many of
them were personal friends of James Chikerema and the hero George Nyandoro.
It is only the amafikizolos (the Johnny come lately) who are ignorant of
their sterling contribution. History will not forget those whites who fought
with us.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
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Daily News

Ditched Zanu PF supporters cause massive land degradation in Shamva

12/1/01 7:21:45 AM (GMT +2)

From Obert Matahwa in Shamva

AN ecological disaster is looming in Shamva after about 80 invaders, most of
them Zanu PF members, turned to gold panning for a living, claiming they had
no inputs to work on the land.

The settlers descended on Tafuna Hills, which were prospected by the
Independence Gold Zimbabwe (Private) Limited last March, and found to have
gold-producing sulphides.

They claimed they were abandoned by the government after it had settled them
on highly fertile land.

A Shamva commercial farmer, who asked not to be named, said the invaders
were now engaged in massive panning on the banks of the Mazowe River.

The farmer said: "The police were alerted of a possible environmental
disaster if the government did not move in to stop gold panning. They still
have not responded."

Zanu PF, which supported the farm invaders with food supplies and transport
last year, has cut off the aid, preferring to channel its finances to the
Presidential election campaign.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Zanu PF secretary for administration, told the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday that Mashonaland Central was
the stronghold of Zanu PF and the party leadership did not have to dole out
incentives to maintain its support base there.

Some resettled farmers stay in makeshift pole-and-mud huts.

Uncontrolled cutting of trees has left the area severely deforested.

Meanwhile, sources in the Ministry of Mines and Energy said the government
created the $500 million Gold Mining and Minerals Development Trust Fund to
assist illegal gold panners with money and other support schemes.

A source said: "The government was deliberately being vague when it said the
fund would target mining activities with a potential to contribute to
economic growth and employment creation.

"In fact, they wanted to formalise illegal gold panning and support panners
to graduate into small-scale miners."

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Daily News

Black US congressmen now support anti-Mugabe sanctions

12/1/01 7:18:29 AM (GMT +2)

Political Editor

INTERNATIONAL financial and travel sanctions against President Mugabe, his
senior officials in Zanu PF and their families, came a step closer yesterday
after black Congressmen dropped their opposition to the controversial
Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill.

The Bill was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives
international relations committee in Washington on Wednesday.

The black Congressmen have been against the Bill, but it now means the Bill
will sail through the House of Representatives unopposed before it adjourns
for the Christmas holiday.

It is now expected that the Bill will be passed by the full House next week.

Children of senior government officials and Zanu PF members studying abroad
could be affected by the sanctions.
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Daily News

Demonstrating Zanu PF youths besiege Daily News

12/1/01 7:21:12 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

ABOUT 200 Zanu PF supporters yesterday marched through the city centre in
protest against the demonstration by white students at Rhodes University in
South Africa last week.

The white students demonstrated against the Zimbabwean government's land
redistribution policy. The Zanu PF demonstrators said whites had no moral
ground to talk about land.

The march was led by Winston Dzawo, a former deputy mayor of Harare who was
once charged with fraud. Some of the placards read: "Abuja, here we wait",
"Students support land reform programme", "White Rhodes University students
are crazy", "Zimbabwean land for Zimbabweans", "Blackness is Land"' and
"Students say we want land".

Harare Polytechnic students said the demonstration had been hijacked by Zanu
PF after Saviour Kasukuwere, the MP for Mount Darwin South, allegedly
promised to bankroll the march to the tune of $50 000. But after the
demonstration, they said Kasukuwere paid the demonstrators $18 000.

The protesters first gathered at the British High Commission bringing
business to a standstill.

They later proceeded to The Daily News offices where they sang, denouncing
the paper. A window was shattered when a Zanu PF youth let go a steel ball
from a catapult at photographer Tsvangirai Mukwazhi.

The march turned violent along Second Street when the demonstrators, some of
whom were drinking beer, assaulted members of the public .

Without restraint from the police, the demonstrators tore several copies of
The Daily News and The Independent leaving Tenson Tirivanhu, the vendor,
with nothing. A drunken youth relieved himself in front of the police in
Africa Unity Square. As an officer moved in to deal with him Dzawo and other
Zanu PF officials intervened.

On Tuesday, the riot police foiled a demonstration by the National
Constitutional Assembly against the proposed amendments to the Electoral
Act. Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA chairman, and several activists were severely
beaten and detained at Harare Central police station.

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Zimbabwe's president tightens grip Opposition party, white farmers bear brunt of crackdown - San Francisco Chronicle: 22 November 2001
Mugabe cabinet affected by HIV - The Irish Times: Friday, November 23, 2001
Zimbabwe facing sanctions - The Scotsman: Saturday, 1 December 2001
Zimbabwe proposes tough laws to crack down on the opposition - The Toronto Star: Nov. 22, 02:00 EDT
Zimbabwe's president tightens grip
Opposition party, white farmers bear brunt of crackdown
San Francisco Chronicle: Thursday, November 22, 2001
Ann M. Simmons, Los Angeles Times
Johannesburg -- Tension is boiling over in Zimbabwe after a recent wave of attacks against the government's political opponents and the introduction of stringent laws apparently designed to entrench the power of President Robert Mugabe's party ahead of next year's election.
The attacks targeting the Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC, come during a period of great instability. Past weeks have seen fresh violence against white-owned commercial farms. Harassment of the media and members of the judiciary is widespread. And a general breakdown of the rule of law is terrifying average Zimbabweans, already beaten down by poverty.
More than 100 opposition supporters and 10 white farmers have been killed within the last two years. State-sponsored killings and torture are on the rise, according to local human rights groups.
MDC officials said Mugabe and his ruling Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front, or ZANU-PF, party are behind the oppressive actions, citing their anger and frustration over not being able to suppress their toughest political challenge since coming to power in 1980.
Just yesterday, Mugabe's administration said it will propose legislation for the hanging of anyone found guilty of trying to overthrow the government. Describing opposition parties' work as "terrorist activities," the government said the new bill would also prohibit courts from granting bail to suspects in allegedly politically motivated crimes, the Herald, a state-run newspaper, reported.
"These are seriously desperate measures," said Gibson Sibanda, the opposition party's vice president. "They are just trying everything. They are not going to stop at anything."
The most recent attack on opposition targets came Friday with the destruction of the MDC headquarters in Bulawayo, the nation's second-largest city.
The building was stoned and hit with gasoline bombs by pro-government militants who were protesting the killing of Cain Nkala, a ruling party ally who has helped lead violent occupations of 1,700 white-owned farms. MDC supporters avenged the destruction by burning a college owned by a former ruling party legislator and Mugabe crony.
The government says the MDC was behind Nkala's abduction and strangulation, a claim the party denies.
After Nkala's body was found in a shallow grave outside Bulawayo last week, police arrested 16 opposition activists and an MDC member of parliament on charges of murder. Two reporters for the country's only independent daily newspaper were released Tuesday after their weekend arrests on charges of involvement in an alleged plot to implicate the government in Nkala's killing.
At Nkala's funeral Sunday, Mugabe called the MDC a terrorist organization and vowed to crush it.
"The MDC and their supporters should know their days are numbered," Mugabe told the hundreds of mourners. "The time is now up for the MDC terrorists as the world has been awakened by the death of Nkala."
MDC officials said the president's words resounded with desperation.
"It appears that Robert Mugabe and the party are completely irrational and are willing to use any means possible to stay in power," said David Coltart, the MDC's shadow justice minister and a member of parliament.
MDC officials said the destruction of their headquarters would only strengthen their resolve.
"They can do these things, but certainly that cannot break the spirit of the people," said MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai as he toured the bombed-out building Monday. "If at all, they will reinforce the spirit of the people."
The MDC nearly beat the ruling party in parliamentary polls last year, despite a violent campaign by pro-government supporters in which 31 people were killed.
In recent weeks, Mugabe has exercised his powers of decree with the intent, local commentators say, of ensuring his victory in the presidential race, due by April.
Independent election monitors, both foreign and local, have been banned. Nongovernmental organizations are not allowed to disseminate voter education. Charities may not distribute food relief.
The country's Land Acquisition Act was also amended, fueling a controversy over the seizure of white-owned commercial farms. The government has targeted about 5,000 of these farms -- about 95 percent of all farms owned by whites -- for redistribution to largely landless blacks.
The amended land law removes the right of farmers to appeal a land acquisition order and makes interfering with black resettlement a criminal offense.
Bulawayo is at the heart of Matabeleland, home to the Ndebele ethnic group that makes up about 20 percent of Zimbabwe's population. The region has long been an opposition stronghold, with Ndebeles complaining of second-class treatment and claiming that development in their homeland has been intentionally stifled.
In the 1980s, thousands of Ndebeles were slaughtered by a special government brigade after the people of Matabeleland took sides with the ZANU- PF, which was an opposition party at the time.
"There's certainly no love lost here for Robert Mugabe," said Coltart, who spoke from a secure location outside of Bulawayo. "The people are quite aware of what he was responsible for in the 1980s. And they hold him responsible for the economic collapse of this region."
MDC supporters in Bulawayo have suffered numerous attacks and intimidation. Several provincial officials and supporters have recently been arrested.
Tsvangirai, who is likely to challenge Mugabe for the presidency, recently survived an attack on his motorcade by ruling party militants.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court threw out charges of terrorism and sabotage against Tsvangirai. The charges were leveled last year after he told a rally that Mugabe should quit or face violent removal.
Mugabe cabinet affected by HIV
The Irish Times: Friday, November 23, 2001
ZIMBABWE: Six ministers in in Zimbabwe's 22-member cabinet are receiving treatment for HIV, a weekly newspaper reported yesterday. In a front-page report, the Financial Gazette said six of President Robert Mugabe's ministers are receiving free anti-retroviral treatment from a local AIDS organisation.
A regime of anti-retroviral drugs is prescribed for people living with the HIV virus.
Mr Frank Guni, the director of Zimbabwe National Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS, confirmed that the six ministers were among 500 people receiving treatment, but would not divulge their names.
Last year, Mr Mugabe said at least three of his cabinet ministers and several traditional leaders have died from AIDS-related illnesses in recent years.
An estimated 2,000 Zimbabweans die from AIDS-related illnesses each week, and one in four adults are thought to be HIV positive.
In a separate development, the paper reported that Mr Guni had gone into hiding after receiving bomb threats for disbursing free AIDS drugs he secured overseas.
The callers accused Mr Guni of campaigning for the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) when he distributed drugs to HIV support groups in central Zimbabwe at the weekend.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Zimbabwean government would jail or fine people who move about without identity cards under a proposed law.
In a statement published in the official Herald newspaper yesterday, the government said it had approved amendments to the National Registration Act and the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act to make it mandatory for people to carry either a national ID card, a passport or a driver's licence.
- (AFP, Reuters)
Zimbabwe facing sanctions
The Scotsman: Saturday, 1 December 2001
A 20-MEMBER delegation from the European Union arrived in Zimbabwe last night to consider sanctions against the country in the face of mounting human rights abuses.
Hours earlier, the government proposed a law that would allow it to jail or fine people who moved about without identity cards - the latest in a string of draconian moves by the embattled president, Robert Mugabe.
- Reuters
Zimbabwe proposes tough laws to crack down on the opposition
Death penalty may be imposed for sedition, `terrorist activity'
The Toronto Star: Nov. 22, 02:00 EDT
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — In its latest crackdown against the opposition, the Zimbabwean government will propose legislation for the hanging of those found guilty of trying to overthrow the government, media reports said yesterday.
Describing opposition work as "terrorist activities," the government said the new bill would also prohibit courts from granting bail to suspects in allegedly politically motivated crimes, The Herald, a state-run newspaper reported.
The report of the new legislation followed a ruling Tuesday by the Supreme Court that dismissed subversion charges by the government against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The court ruled that a colonial-era law invoked to prosecute Tsvangirai on allegations he incited an overthrow of the government violated his constitutional rights to a fair trial.
Tsvangirai welcomed the decision but said he doubted future cases would be granted a fair hearing because President Robert Mugabe has recently stacked the Supreme Court with ruling party loyalists.
"I am pleased if our courts can maintain this integrity but I fear in any future constitutional case we will find it difficult,'' he said.
Tsvangirai faced a five-year jail term if found guilty and conviction would have barred him from running against Mugabe in presidential elections scheduled for next year.
Mugabe faces a tight race against Tsvangirai, whose Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is running on a platform of accountable government and has widespread support in the cities.
Copies of the proposed legislation against sedition have not yet been made public, but opposition officials said it appeared to be part of a government plan to intimidate critics before elections.
The legislation would also prohibit courts from granting bail to suspects in allegedly politically motivated crimes ranging from murder to car theft, the report said.
Rural Zimbabwe has spiralled into chaos since March, 2000, when ruling party militants began violently occupying white-owned farms, demanding they be handed over to landless blacks.
Opposition officials accuse Mugabe of using land seizures without compensation to the farmers as a pre-election ploy to garner support and scare off opponents.
Also yesterday, opposition officials announced the death of MDC activist Kufa Rukara, 55.
Rukara died Tuesday of injuries suffered in September after he was allegedly beaten by ruling party militants in the Gokwe district, some 300 kilometres west of Harare.
There has been no comment by police on his death.
Mugabe's government has executed 66 people since coming to power in 1980, but has granted amnesty to 2,000 security force members and ruling ZANU-PF party members accused of killing suspected opponents.
In a recent wave of unrest following the death of a leading ruling party militant, opposition members were arrested.
Militants who torched an opposition office and beat up whites in the western city of Bulawayo were not apprehended.
The Amani Trust, a Zimbabwean human rights group, said ruling party militants were responsible for most of the some 100 political related killings in the last year. There have been no arrests.
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Daily News

SA to rename towns

12/1/01 7:20:39 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

Inter-Press Service reports that the South African government plans to
rename some of the country's towns and cities after the local elections this
month in line with the new political dispensation.

Most of the well-known cities such as Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg
have elected to keep their names for business reasons.

Cape Town residents, for example, said that the name was too well-known on
the global tourist map to change it now.

But the political capital, Pretoria, will be renamed Tshwane. Most cities
and towns have opted to take on African names to move away from their
English and Afrikaner colonial heritage.

Bloemfontein becomes Manguang and Bethlehem will change to Dihlabeng.
Paulpietersburg becomes uPhongolo and the renowned spa town of Warmbaths
will be known as Bela Bela.

Nelspruit, the town bordering Mozambique, becomes Mbombela.

East London has gone back to its old name of Buffalo City.

The name changes are likely to take some time to be phased in, given the
enormity of the task. Official documentation, maps and stationery must all
be changed.

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From The New York Times, 1 December

Zimbabwe press vows to fight Mugabe

Harare - Hundreds of ruling party militants marched through Zimbabwe's capital on Friday to support proposed legislation that would further restrict the media, stoning the offices of two independent weeklies and attacking vendors selling independent newspapers. Militants loyal to president Robert Mugabe's party chased vendors from their stalls and tore up bundles of The Independent and the Daily News. Police escorted the marchers, did not try to stop the mayhem and made no arrests. One photographer was injured. Independent journalists vowed to fight the proposed legislation, which would establish a restrictive license system for journalists and authorize fines and imprisonment for violations of government-imposed standards. Under the legislation, only Zimbabwean citizens would be able to obtain a license to work, and special permission would be required for a Zimbabwean to work for a foreign news organization, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said. "This must be fought with all the legal powers we have to prevent it seeing the light of day," said Trevor Ncube, publisher of The Zimbabwe Independent and Sunday Standard, the country's two main independent weeklies. "We must never acquiesce to this dictatorship," he said.

The proposed legislation marks the Mugabe government's latest effort to control independent and foreign media, which have covered its crackdown on the political opposition and state-sanctioned occupations of white-owned farms. Journalists have been beaten and arrested, and some foreign reporters have been deported. Last week, a presidential spokesman accused some journalists from foreign media of being terrorists after they reported on political violence by ruling party militants. That charge prompted diplomatic protests from Britain and the United States. In an interview with the state-controlled Herald newspaper, Moyo said Mugabe's Cabinet approved the legislation this week and that it would be enacted before presidential elections expected early next year. Parliament is dominated by the ruling party and is likely to pass the bill. Mugabe, 77, has ruled since independence in 1980 and is seeking a further six-year term in office. But Zimbabwe's economy has fallen apart since the farm occupations began last year and his popularity has plummeted, placing him in danger of losing the race. The details of the media bill have not been released. Moyo said the legislation would impose sentences of up to two years in prison and fines of up to US$1,800 for defying "professional and ethical standards" that will be imposed by a government media commission. He said it would make it an offence to "cause alarm and despondency" or spread information that discredits a person based on race, political conviction or a number of other categories. The commission would have the power to revoke licenses, he said.

Also Friday, The Daily News reported that two men arrested in a high-profile killing retracted statements that implicated members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, saying they signed them after being tortured by police. Khethani Sibanda and Remember Moyo, two drivers for the opposition party, had signed confessions implicating opposition party officials in the Nov. 5 death of Cain Nkala, a leader of the ruling party militants in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city. The newspaper reported that the two repudiated the confessions in testimony this week, telling a judge that neither they nor any party official were involved in Nkala's killing.

From The Times (UK), 1 December

Zimbabwe's new law to silence journalists

Harare - New laws announced by Zimbabwe yesterday would give the state powers to silence all independent newspapers and journalists. The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill will establish a "media and information commission" with extraordinary powers to regulate the media, the state-controlled daily The Herald said. Editors and journalists here who feared that independent newspapers were in imminent danger of being closed and foreign correspondents banned, said they would fight the legislation. Local journalists and correspondents for overseas publications would have to hold "certificates of registration", renewable every year, issued by the state-appointed commission. Only Zimbabwean nationals would be able to work as journalists. The commission would have powers to "discipline journalists for misconduct" and could withdraw licences, "impose conditions it deems fit", and impose a fine of Z$50,000. Journalists working for foreign media would have to have their accreditation approved by Jonathan Moyo, the Information Minister. His department last week accused five foreign correspondents, including those of The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent, of "assisting terrorists".

Publishers of newspapers would be forced to get operating licences. Breaches of the Bill could lead to the cancellation of a licence. The Bill would make it a crime to "conceal, falsify or fabricate information, spread rumours or cause alarm and despondency under the guise of authentic reports". The charge of "causing alarm and despondency" - part of 40-year-old Rhodesian emergency legislation that was abolished by the Supreme Court two years ago for being unconstitutional - reappears in the Bill. Journalists may also be charged for "deliberately spreading information which discredits" anyone. Nhlanhla Ngwenya, spokesman for the Zimbabwe Media Monitoring Programme, said: "It will lead to the extinction of the private media." "This is the worst form of muzzling the press anywhere," said Basildon Peta, President of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists. The Bill was "criminal", he said. "Even a court under the Taleban would find a piece of legislation like this illegal." Not even the former white-minority Rhodesian Government passed press laws as draconian as these, said Trevor Ncube, publisher of the respected Zimbabwe Independent. "It’s like McCarthyism," he said. "This must be fought with all the legal powers we have to see it doesn’t see the light of day. We must never acquiesce to this kind of dictatorship."

Yesterday about 300 of President Mugabe’s supporters staged an aggressive demonstration outside the British High Commission, and also at the offices of the independent Daily News. The editors of The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent yesterday wrote to the Zimbabwe High Commission condemning last week’s attack on their correspondents. The editors urged Mr Mugabe to "take steps to reassure us that our highly experienced and well-regarded correspondents will be able to carry out their work unimpeded and with their journalistic rights respected".

From The Zimbabwe Independent, 30 November

UNDP seeks to raise US$80m for food aid

Following Zimbabwe’s recent international plea for humanitarian aid to ease looming food shortages, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), says it hopes to raise an estimated US$80 million from donors. UNDP resident representative, Victor Angelo, told the Zimbabwe Independent in Bulawayo last week that following Zimbabwe’s recent appeal for food and non-food assistance, the UN had met with the donor community twice and was formulating a response under its humanitarian assistance programme. "The overall budget of the UN humanitarian response programme that we are currently formulating is approximately US$80 million. However, this is a very preliminary estimate," said Angelo. "We still have to look more precisely at the hardships of people in urban and peri-urban areas as well as needs related to farm workers. It is too early to say what the response will be. But the World Food Programme is in the last stages of approving a food assistance package."

A fortnight ago, Zimbabwe sent out an international SOS for nearly Z$20 billion in emergency aid to avert a national disaster resulting from a combination of food shortages, price controls and a biting foreign currency shortage. Of the amount, government needs $11 billion to avert starvation and the balance for infrastructural rehabilitation. While government has persistently denied looming food shortages, empty shop shelves tell a different story. The UNDP said it was not taking the appeal lightly and was working with other UN agencies such as the World Food Programme, the UN Children’s Fund, the World Health Organisation (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN High Commission for Refugees.

The UNDP is also going to rely on its extensive network of partners in the donor community, NGOs and the private sector. "We consider it (the appeal) to be very urgent and we will try to mobilise support for it. Initial contacts make me believe that a number of donors see the humanitarian situation as a challenge that needs to be responded to," Angelo said. Recently government spokesman, Jonathan Moyo, told the official press that government would be the sole distributor of food in a bid to bar the use of food as a campaign tool, a move some NGOs said could hinder their humanitarian assistance programmes. The UNDP was however optimistic that humanitarian assistance provided by the UN system would be implemented in a transparent way with a clear selection of beneficiaries.

From News24 (SA), 30 November

Mugabe's 'drinking pal' nabbed

Harare – A bar patron is due to appear in court in the remote southeastern town of Chiredzi after he told the waiter to ask President Robert Mugabe to settle the bill. The unidentified man was presented with a bill for Z$370 and when he could not pay, took off his trousers, put them on the waiter's tray, and said the garment was worth the cost of the drinks. His offer was refused and in desperation he referred the waiter to Mugabe. According to the state-controlled daily, the Herald, police were called and charged him with "denigrating the president".

From The Zimbabwe Independent, 30 November

Parts of Zimbabwe go without fuel

Zimbabweans faced the spectre of fuel shortages this week as erratic supplies resurfaced countrywide. The country’s erratic fuel supplies triggered by acute foreign currency shortages temporarily eased for the past five months after the government signed a US$360 million fuel deal with Libya. Government insisted there was enough fuel in stock to last the festive season. But parts of the country, including Gweru, Chinhoyi, Matebeleland, KweKwe and Victoria Falls, were said to be facing shortages. The government said fuel disruptions in these areas had been caused by the NRZ strike earlier this week.

Motorists are already panicking about the possibility of fuel shortage ahead of the festive season. They said despite problems caused by the National Railways of Zimbabwe workers’ strike, it was hard to understand why areas where fuel was transported by road were experiencing supply problems. Oil Industry Association of Zimbabwe vice-chairman, John Makova, yesterday said reports indicated there were logistical difficulties on the supply chain. "Logistical difficulties associated with fuel transportation mean that moving fuel from supply point to inland distribution points can take up to seven days. This period is extended if there are hold ups," said Makova, without explaining the hold up. He called on stakeholders to "work together to ensure that logistical challenges are resolved". Mines and Energy minister, Edward Chindori-Chininga told parliament on Wednesday that oil companies were deliberately refusing to collect fuel from depots. He did not shed light on why they were suddenly reluctant. Chindori-Chininga blamed oil companies for not collecting about 5,7 million litres of petrol and 8 million litres of diesel by Wednesday.

Comment from ZWNEWS, 1 December

Breaking the mirror

By Chenjerai Hove

Let us imagine a situation whereby all independent journalists and foreign correspondents happen to be on the same plane, flying to some place for some purpose. Just imagine, all in one plane, flying over Zimbabwean skies. All of them: Geoff Nyarota, Willam Bango, Bill Saidi, Trevor Ncube, Iden Wetherell, Basidon Peta, Mark Chavhunduka, Ray Choto, Chido Makunike, Chenjerai Hove, Francis Mhlongwa, David Masunda, Andrew Meldrum and many more. They are on flight 2001, to some place. And it so happens that the plane crushes. I can tell you there are going to be celebrations in town, with one recently announced composer of music and manager of football teams going the whole way to script a song and stage it for the cameras, the whole nation watching and wondering how it is that a prominent politician can celebrate human death.

Or if your imagination is good, imagine all those gentlemen and ladies, critical writers and journalists, being discovered to be staying in the same block of flats, fifty floors. The Twin Towers of the United States will be nothing compared to what some over-enthusiastic Zanu PF political jihadists would do to us. The fact of the matter is that you do not have to be a rocket scientist to know that critical journalists and writers are the most hated in our country. Ask Nyarota and he will tell you that even if he is in our beautiful country, he cannot stand in the open one Sunday afternoon to admire the beauty of the setting sun. The Zimbabwean government has put on hold all money for development projects in order to ensure that the biggest development needed now becomes the elimination of the writers and opposition politicians, plus a few innocent souls who have the inclination to be caught in the crossfire of our politics.

I have always argued that the best that can happen to a country is to have vigorous and intense criticism from those who are being ruled. Being ruled does not mean that one is turned into a victim in one’s own country. The country deserves to have its share of criticism in case it decays. The mirror that shows your ugly heart and face does not deserve to be broken. It should be respected for showing the viewer the reality of the place, of the visage, as the French would say. Don't break the mirror, for goodness sake, go for some more make-up or visit the plastic surgeon and have your face reconstructed.

Many years ago, I watched on TV as President Robert Mugabe fumed about a Sunday Mail article which detailed stories about how Zimbabwean students who had tested HIV positive in Cuba were being sent back. He threatened to 'deal with the hand that held the pen.' Since I knew the journalist involved - an editor actually - I could only co-miserate with him. I knew he had lost his job; and he surely did. And my wild imagination saw the man being amputated. I was only judging from the speech of the President in front of the Cuban foreign minister who had actually lodged the complaint about the article. What perhaps the President forgot is that once one is in public office, one has to stand criticism of all sorts. And the best way of handling criticism is not to put in place vicious laws which transform the country into some form of maximum security prison. The best medicine is the gift of laughter, to laugh with your critics, to share the stories, weird and juicy, about the vagaries of being in office, the temptations and how to resist them. Political maturity requires that the ruling party and the opposition drink Chibuku together, joking at how the opposition lost narrowly and what mistakes they made, and also how the opposition would boast that the ruling party was almost sent into opposition.

This new version of 'terrorists' we now read about in the media is amazing. I know the ruling party were heavily 'terrorised' when they realised that they almost lost the 2000 parliamentary elections. But to put the opposition and the truthful journalists in the same league as the Twin Towers highjackers is to waste language. In fact, the ruling party has never been one to be known for using language carefully. Instead of cautioning the two Vice-Presidents about using public language carefully, the President gets angry with the voters. Both VCs are so reckless with language that it is advisable to tell them to keep their mouths shut. Recently one of them spoke of 'a bloodbath', and the other one spoke of the electorate voting for 'baboons' if it so happens that the ruling party fielded baboons as election candidates. In fact, there is no worse abuse of language or greater insult to the electorate. Me, voting for a baboon in a country with over twelve million clear-headed citizens? That is recklessness at its worst.

It is common knowledge that those who do not want people to comment about their type of dress, should never walk in public. Worse still, if you hold public office. Critical writers and journalists help to ventilate the national imagination. I would hate to live in a country in which everybody agreed with everybody on every subject under the sun. Just imagine, the conversation will always begin and end with: 'Yes, I agree. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes,' till kingdom come. But the gods gave us some grey stuff between our ears, and as long as we are alive, we will use it critically to examine our condition.

Chenjerai Hove is a renowned Zimbabwean writer.

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My heart goes out to the Chemvura family

12/1/01 6:31:06 AM (GMT +2)

ALLOW me this opportunity to express my sincere condolences to the Chemvura family on the loss of their loved one Lameck Chemvura who was murdered by the Zimbabwe National Army which, in my view, has lost focus.

History is rich with stories similar to what is happening in our country. President Mugabe, I suppose, is not oblivious to all this.

Maybe, history must always repeat itself and when it does, those involved have but one choice, to let it happen as it has happened in the past.

One thing for sure is, Mugabe will be judged harshly by future generations.

Let it be known to him that the people who voted him into office, those he now takes for granted, will rise against him sooner or later. He will go down the same way as other dictators.

Our country is being ruined by a few individuals, let us as Zimbabweans root out the evil from our midst.

For expressing yourself, you are thrown out of a moving train by people who are
supposed to protect you.

Time has come for the power of good to prevail over evil.

We are watching and taking good notes, Mr President.

South Africa

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