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

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Make Mugabe Listen
   THE NEW YORK TIMES Friday, December 7, 2001

Before Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections last year, government thugs
terrorized opposition activists for months, killing dozens. Now Zimbabwe is
due to go to the polls again, possible as early as February, to elect a
president. Robert Mugabe, the ruler for 21 years, is once again inciting
violence and distorting the election laws.
Mr. Mugabe, Zimbabwe's independence leader, has become erratic, tyrannical
and indifferent to the problems of ordinary people. Because of
hyperinflation and soaring unemployment, many Zimbabweans now can afford to
eat only one meal a day. Mr. Mugabe has tried to recapture public support by
demonizing white farmers, encouraging the violent takeover of hundreds of
their farms. Not surprisingly, food production has faltered.
In large part because of Zimbabwe's economic troubles, recent polls show Mr.
Mugabe losing his presidency to Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement
for Democratic Change, a respected umbrella opposition group. A panicked
government has proposed laws banning foreign and domestic election
observers, obstructing the ability of likely opposition supporters to vote,
barring foreigners from working as correspondents and restricting domestic
In a recent speech, Mr. Mugabe called the opposition party and white farmers
"terrorists," using the word at least 20 times. Many worry that it is a
signal that he is preparing to ban the opposition, or step up the violence.
This month in Zimbabwe's second-largest city, Bulawayo, thugs burned down
the opposition headquarters while police watched. Police arrested 14
opposition members on trumped-up murder charges. Two activists have asserted
that the police tortured them to make them confess. Wealthy countries have
little influence over Mr. Mugabe, who gets no money from Washington. Still,
America, the European Union and the Commonwealth nations missed an
opportunity. High-level Western officials should be criticizing him and
coordinating sanctions against his inner circle. The U.S. House of
Representatives joined the Senate on Tuesday in passing a sanctions bill, a
positive step that is likely, however, to have only a limited impact. The
West should also have been working with nations that have direct influence
in Zimbabwe. South Africa could shut down Zimbabwe's railroads, power and
sea access if it chose.
Zimbabwe's political and economic woes have discouraged investment in South
Africa and threaten to overwhelm the region with refugees. But while leaders
of Malawi and Mozambique have spoken out against Mr. Mugabe's policies,
South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, has only recently begun to criticize
Mr. Mugabe in public. This is welcome, as South Africa's quiet diplomacy has
failed. Last March, Zimbabwe, along with its neighbors, signed a pledge to
hold free and fair elections. Those neighbors, led by Mr. Mbeki, must now
hold Mr. Mugabe to this promise.
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December 7, 2001
International community steps up pressure on Mugabe

by Lewis Machipisa (IPS)

Terrified over the prospects for worse violence in Zimbabwe, regional and
international leaders this week stepped up the heat on president Robert
Mugabe to ensure that next year's presidential elections are free and fair.

On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives  passed a
legislation which urges President George W Bush to impose targeted sanctions
on Zimbabwe's leadership unless they end months of ''political violence and
ensure that free and fair elections are held''.

''In Zimbabwe, we are sadly seeing a dictator literally burning his country
down. President Mugabe has sanctioned utter anarchy in his homeland in an
attempt to win an election he has been pressured by Zimbabwe into holding,''
said Ed Royce, US Africa Sub-committee chairperson.

The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act was passed by an
overwhelmingly vote of 396-11.

Adding to the pressure is South Africa's president Thabo Mbeki who has
ditched his quiet diplomacy toward Zimbabwe with a deafening roar turning up
the heat on president Mugabe in the face of rising political violence.

Ruling party war veterans in Zimbabwe have warned of bloodshed if the
country's main opposition party wins next year's presidential election.

''In a situation in which people get disenfranchised, in which people get
beaten up so that they don't act according to their political convictions,
there can't be free elections,'' said president Mbeki.

''The situation is not improving at all. If you had elections in Zimbabwe
which were not seen by the people as legitimate, then you'd end up with a
situation worse than it is now,'' Mbeki added.

The Zimbabwean government, is currently under fierce pressure to end
political violence in the country, and the passing of the Zimbabwe Democracy
and Economic Recovery Act in US could see personal sanctions imposed on
president Mugabe and his ruling elite.

The passing of the bill, has been met with mixed reactions in Harare.

Naturally, the ruling ZANU-PF party was angry. ''We are naturally
disappointed,'' said Nathan Shamuyarira, ruling party spokesperson before
going on a tirade against independent newspapers who he accused of having
campaigned for the Act.

A ruling party war veteran official, Christopher Mutsvangwa, dismissed the
act as a racially and vengeance driven piece of legislation.

Mutsvangwa wonders why Zimbabwe is being singled out when there are other
countries with worse records who still maintain good relations with  the US.

''It's not about democracy but about  hate, vengeance and racially driven
piece of legislation,'' said Mutsvangwa. ''There are many countries which
don't even call elections in the world but still maintain relations with the

The war veteran official added that Zimbabwe is being punished for
correcting colonial injustices against a white minority which has the
sympathy of the US.

Zimbabwe has embarked on redressing gross land ownership imbalances where
less than 4,500 white own more than 70 percent of the fertile land. Although
the need for land reform is a popular one here, the violent manner the
government has gone about it has been controversial.

Although the Zimbabwe government has not yet commented on the Act it has
however in the past, scoffed at the threats of sanctions saying the country
is already under sanctions.

The government says the Bill is a clear violation of the sovereignty of

Although Learnmore Jongwe, the spokesperson for the opposition MDC refused
to be drawn into saying whether his party supported the Act or not, he said
that the affected ruling party ZANU-PF officials had asked for the Act
through their violent conduct.

''This is a matter between the US government and affected ZANU-PF officials
who through their conduct have asked for the legislation,'' said Jongwe.

Jongwe noted that for more than a year, the ruling party officials had
defied international pressure to end political violence and human rights
abuses in the country.

The Bill which was passed by an overwhelming margin, also provides
incentives for aid should President Mugabe restore the ''rule of law'' in
the southern African country.

The US House of representatives say they came up with the Act to stop what
they say is a dictator literally burning his country down. They accuse
President Mugabe of sanctioning anarchy in the countryside in an attempt to
win next year's presidential elections.

The European Union has also threatened to impose trade sanctions unless
democratic rights are restored.

While political analyst, Brian Raftopolous hopes the passing of the Act will
put added pressure on president Mugabe to end the violence, he doubts that
politically related violence will ease as result of the Act.

In fact, Raftopolous fears that president Mugabe may even go on the much
wider offensive.

The Act, which is now before president Bush for his signature, also allows
the US to impose visa restrictions and other sanctions on President Mugabe
and his supporters who are responsible for political violence in Zimbabwe.

A move to restrict president Mugabe's travels abroad will certainly be
greeted with joy by his opponents who count the costs complaining that the
Zimbabwean leader has a tremendous appetite for overseas travel.

A Harare sidewalk street vendor said he welcomes efforts for a free and fair
election which could bring about a change of government.

Maybe with a different government in power, the vendor says he hopes his
fortunes will change and he can get a job and feed his growing family.

Zimbabwe is experiencing unprecedented economic crisis. Millions of people
in the countryside are in need of emergency food aid while inflation and the
cost of living have shot beyond the reach of most people.

from IPS

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Farm invasions and Security Report
Thursday 6 December 2001

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

Masvingo – farmer locked up and barricaded in homestead.  Cattle axed for straying onto illegal settlers land.
Mashonaland Central – a number of farms that have been de-listed have been “fast tracked”.
Mashonaland West (North) – farmers told that army and police personnel to claim plots on farms.

Masvingo East and Central Area - Situation remains the same.  Pegging, ploughing, clearing of trees and poaching on some farms continue.
Mwenezi Area -  at Quagga Pan three cattle have been axed on this property for straying  into illegal occupiers’ lands.  On Lumbergia Ranch one cow has been speared by illegal occupiers for going into “their”  lands.  Police responded and said they will come and take a report.  The owners remaining cattle have been kraaled and Police refuse to sort the issue out saying DA Mwenezi must rectify the problem.  DA Mwenezi is not in his office today, and the cattle will have to remain kraaled for a long period.  Illegal occupiers have threatened  two cattle herdsmen employed on La Pache Ranch
Chiredzi Area - A list of plots “issued” has been stuck up at the DA’s office in Chiredzi with plot numbers and property name concerned.  Samba Ranch reported rumours that an entourage of Government officials will be visiting this property over the coming weekend to issue fertilizer packs for illegal occupiers.  On Monday 3rd December 2001, owner of Saccharine Farm had problems with the wages of 20 workers.  He was requested to attend a “kangaroo court” the same day but refused to do so. . The following day he was locked up and barricaded within his homestead while illegal occupiers waited for the war vet Mutemachani to arrive.  Dispol was contacted at 7am, reacting by sending Support Unit to resolve the situation.  The owner of Faversham Ranch has had continued problems with illegal occupiers pegging within cane fields.
Save Conservancy Area - Snaring and poaching continue.
Gutu / Chatsworth Area - Situation remains the same.  There is continued pressure from illegal occupiers over cattle movement.
Chipinge - Pegging and planting is continuing.
Beatrice - Section 8 Orders  have been served on some dairy farms.
Enterprise/Bromley/Ruwa - more section 5 Notices  have been given out in Enterprise and D.D.F. & Agritex have
been active in all the areas.
Featherstone –Harvieston still has a total work stoppage.  The owner went to see the DA  on Tuesday who refused to see him   The DA said he would contact the owner to set up a meeting, but  no word to date.  On Kuruman the dairy farm is still only allowed to milk the cows, and  no planting has been allowed. The DA was to come out today to see the owner, but failed to arrive.   Sable Flats had a truckload of approx 25-30 people dropped off to start pegging, who were aggressive and rude to the owner.  The owner of Ngesi farm has a continued work stoppage and  has moved off all cattle and ploughing has been done for the settlers.
Harare South - Quiet with  planting and people driving around inspecting the farms
Marondera North – at Grand Chase Agritex came to look round for A2 resettlement.  A new section 8 Order  was received at Dombi while Warwick has been pegged.
Wedza - The following farms received a Section 8 Order this week: Skoenveld, Kingswear, Ruware, Corby and Bolton.  Leeds and Fels received a second Section 8 Order.  1 beast was slaughtered, one leg removed and the rest left, on Doune On Rapako one  Impala was killed in a snare and 30 snares have been collected since the Parks official left.  The Valuators returned to Brantingham and visited Merryhill On Exeter the valuators returned, did very little valuating and merely looked around.  100 ha of maize has been planted, 40 ha using a DDF planter on Hull & Lifton Two tractors are ploughing continuously displacing cattle from paddocks.  A 7 tonne lorry arrived full of fertilizer.  All the labour was told to attend a meeting on Tuesday at the Chop Chop shop.
Macheke/Virginia -  Wheatlands RRB224/2001 has a total work stoppage including all work
on flowers.  This was reported to Sgt Mapzi and the situation was resolved later in the day, with work on the flowers allowed to continue but there is still a dispute about the cattle which should be resolved on Tuesday by Mr Matatsi.  On Wenesday RRB 226/2001, illegal settlers locked the owner into his barn fence.  He was released on condition he attends a meeting with the ZFTU on Monday 10 December.  There is a continued work stoppage on Howgate The labour are threatening to return to work the following day whether the Illegal settlers like it or not.  The owner managed to resolve the problem with the Lands Committee in the afternoon and the labour were allowed to return to work.  On Murrayfield continued problems ongoing from Saturday, where the owner and his wife are still barricaded into their home by the labour.  During the morning the problem was resolved through negotiation and the labour returned to work, although all production on this farm has been stopped by illegal settlers.  Another barricading has been experienced on  Virginia Farm  RRB 227/2001 where the owner and his wife are confined to their yard by the labour from Paradise farm  demanding a bonus.  The owner of Virginia took the labour to the Police station and the matter will be resolved with the ALB and ZFTU at Macheke Police Station on Wednesday.  The police did not regard as a serious offence the fact the labour had barricaded in the owner and his family, or that they had taken the farm truck from Paradise.
Marondera South -  No report
Tsatsi - A group of people arrived on Zanadu Farm saying that they had come to claim the other half  of the farm which had not been pegged yet.
Ploughing by DDF tractors continues unabated throughout the Mashonaland Central Region.
Horseshoe – a reliable source reports down in the Zambezi valley along from Mahuwe in the last few days, some 70 houses have been burnt, one house actually knocked down totally and this same house owner's tractor trashed; there are also reports of many, many beatings taking place.  It is also known that five houses in Bakasa have been burnt down.
On Tiaseka (03.12.01) irrigation equipment to the value of +/- Z$90,000 was stolen.  On 04.12.01, Section 8 Orders  were delivered to nine farms in Horseshoe: Mangondo (listed, fast-tracked and total work stoppage), Rushpeak (listed, fast-tracked and total work stoppage) Camsasa (delisted but fast-tracked), Blue Grass (delisted but fast-tracked)
Penrose (delisted but fast-tracked), Red Lichen (delisted and with tobacco crop in the ground), Ternanog (delisted and with tobacco crop in the ground), Dunaverty (listed and fully operational), and Maidavale (listed and fully operational).
Raffingora – incident report, period 20 November to 03 December 2001 Court dates were set for some farms.  Some farmers have had their cases thrown out of court on technicalities.  One farm was pegged by Agritex, with 20 x 1ha plots pegged. It was visited subsequently by people in a Land Rover from Harare, claiming Plot no. 22. When they were told only 20 plots were allocated they insisted that Plot 22 was theirs and had a letter from ZANU PF, and maps of  farms in the area.  Two other farms, pegged, but not listed had two  visits by people from Harare this week.  On the first visit they spoke to a farm guard and a Supervisor, saying they had been allocated plots, and wanted to know land sizes, soil types, what dams were available etc. When refused entry to the farm gate they threatened to destroy irrigation equipment etc.  Later, when confronted by the farm manager they said they were looking for farm equipment that they had been told was for sale.  Yesterday a sedan with white number plates arrived on the same farms.  The occupants spoke to the Supervisor.  They told him they were from the army, one claiming to be a Lt. General.  He said that six plots of 90ha each had been allocated and they were coming to claim their land. Six  families would arrive this week, and army and police personnel were claiming their land countrywide.  They added if the farmer was “nice to them”, he would be allowed to continue with his crops already in the ground, but nothing should have been planted in their land.!  Farmers on the street are still refusing to co-exist.  One farmer has made a deal with the settlers: in exchange for preparing 32ha of land for the settlers he will be allowed to plant 350ha.
In general, all farms with settlers have activity with ploughing by Arda and DDF tractors as well as settler oxen ploughing, with seed and fertilizer packs dropped off.  With the good rain so far most cotton and maize crops are up and looking good. Some areas report  some settlers, who are too late to plant ,are selling their seed to farm workers.  There have been reports of settlers who are trading plots and exchanging areas.
Shamva - the area is generally quiet, with an increased theft of bananas and irrigation equipment.  Poaching of game continues.

Norton - On Maine Farm police and eight army personnel arrested the farm foreman.  Although reaping is now allowed on the irrigated crop the owner is still not able to plant into the land he has prepared and fertilized at a cost of $5.2 million.  Mr Matondo, the new "owner" is not planting any crops on Bonnington Farm (S Matondo) which he was previously given by Government, but is rather wanting the house and fertilized lands on Maine. Mr Matondo, due to his close connections with the President of Zimbabwe, seems to be immune to prosecution.
Selous - On Wicklow Farm 5 cattle were slaughtered .
Suri-Suri/Chegutu - On The Grove Agritex is pegging apparently at the request of Municipality.  The same is happening on Hallingbury Farm where they are pegging 1 hectare plots in standing crops for urban use. 
Kadoma/Chakari/Battlefields - On King Chim  the owner has been stopped from doing land preparation and has still not been allowed to destroy his Cotton.  On Railway Farm 4  the owners cattle got into the occupiers maize, and although they did not do any damage the owner has had to agree to pay the occupiers $1000.00 each to herd his cattle into pens to be moved off the property.  On Blackmorvale Police still have not arrested war veterans and other occupiers for the assaults, the burning down of 50 houses and the smashing of 50 windows in the asbestos roofed houses.
General - Officials are coming around saying that they are from GAPWUZ and that NEC has passed the new wages.                                                    

The opinions in this message do not necessarily reflect those of the Commercial Farmers' Union which does not accept any legal responsibility for them.
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Zimbabwe Independent

Publisher's Memo

Trevor Ncube
THE last time I contributed to this column, which is exactly a year ago, I
warned I would be back if the urge overpowered me and the editor indulged my

Well I have succumbed for a number of reasons. This lovely country of ours
is experiencing an unprecedented political crisis and I feel I am being
totally irresponsible by maintaining a self-imposed silence. And do not get
me wrong. My burning desire to write is not inspired by any naïve illusion
that what I write will change the course of history. I write to share my
thoughts and my optimism with you and to offload this burden of guilt that I
am standing on the sidelines as a spectator while Robert Mugabe and his gang
systematically ruin our heritage.

I have been meaning to get back to writing for sometime but time and my
rather strong sense of division of labour between proprietary functions and
editorial responsibilities have conspired to keep me away from these pages.

Last week I received an e-mail from Marion Bonnier which touched me and
convinced me I must write. This is part of what she wrote: “I would like to
make a very heartfelt request to you.

“As we get closer to this awful election, I would love to have one or two of
your special editorials.

“I know you must be very very busy, and maybe think that a retired teacher
has no business in interfering, but you really inspired me to get out and
vote (June parliamentary election).

“You have a gift, and that gift will help us get the support we need.”

How could I resist this without feeling that I was betraying a lot of my

In any case keeping issues bottled inside me is not good for my health. Take
for instance the murder of Cain Nkala by Zanu PF supporters and the pathetic
attempts to blame the opposition for this hideous and dastardly act. Not to
mention the orgy of state-instigated political violence, intimidation and
destruction of property on commercial farms and the rural areas all across
the country.

This government is as guilty as charged of perpetrating state terrorism and
then trying unashamedly to accuse peace-loving Zimbabweans of terrorism to
divert attention away from its own dastardly acts.

Fortunately the public and the international community have not been blind
to this craven charade.

As the presidential election draws nearer we will witness more of the ruling
party and government’s desperate political stunts. Robert Mugabe, Jonathan
Moyo, Joseph Made and Patrick Chinamasa are keenly aware that without
bending the rules and resorting to absurd legislative antics, there is no
way their party would win the presidential election. They are determined to
stay in power by hook or crook.

However, they are also aware of the law of diminishing returns associated
with large doses of violence and a sustained campaign of intimidation on the
electorate, hence the crude attempts to disenfrachise millions of
Zimbabweans by placing unrealistic demands for them to register as voters.

To all intents and purposes, the presidential election is being rigged right
in front of our eyes through this latest rush of amendments to the already
faulty Electoral Act.

Under normal circumstances all these hurdles being placed in our way would
be legitimate reasons for us all to throw in the towel and sink into bouts
of depression. But as every one of us is well aware, these are far from
normal times. If we cannot play a role in liberating ourselves from this
suffocating dictatorship then we have no choice but to suffer the

As one of my heroes, Martin Luther King Jr, once said: “There is a moment in
your life when you must decide to speak for yourself; nobody else can speak
for you.” Such is the moment we face in our country today.

And how do we do this? I hear you ask. Very simply I say by registering to
vote. And if you have already registered, by making sure that your name is
on the voters’ role and helping those among us who are experiencing
problems, then spread the message far and wide about people’s constitutional
right to vote and why they must exercise this right and not be deterred by
violence and government propaganda. Collectively we must band together and
expose the inequities in the voter registration process for the whole world
to see.

It is about time that Zimbabweans realised that freedom is never voluntarily
given by the oppressor but that it must be demanded by the oppressed. The
dictatorial Zanu PF regime is not budging an inch. In fact it is taking away
more of our rights as represented by the new and draconian Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Bill (see the editor’s Independent
Comment), our property via the so-called fast-track land reform exercise,
and arbitrary changes to electoral laws.

Our collective docility and conformity have not yielded any dividends at
all. Nor has our fear benefited us. Through intimidation, we have
compromised and each compromise has given this regime a sense of

We should all realise that we are in an era in which a prison term in
pursuit of justice is a badge of honour. We must be prepared to suffer
sacrifice and even to die to gain our goals. As Mahatma Gandhi, another of
my heroes, once said, if we want to liberate ourselves we must be prepared
to “fill up the jails”.

However, in confronting our present oppressors, we must continue to occupy
the moral high ground. We must not sink to the gutter occupied by our
oppressors. We must resist all temptation no matter how appealing, to use
their language, their weapons and their tactics. We must say no to political
violence and only use the ballot box to ventilate our anger.

This means therefore that boycotting the election is simply not on the
agenda. A boycott would hand Mugabe an easy victory about which he would
have no moral qualms.

As we stand in this, our greatest hour of need, our biggest enemy is our
cowardice, not Zanu PF and its thugs. We must muster moral courage to stand
up for our rights. The thing that we need most in this country at the moment
is a group of men and women who will stand up for right and oppose wrong and
be prepared to face the consequences of their principled choices.

What we are all going through at the moment is a gigantic lie and,
fortunately, no lie can live forever. All in all I am optimistic that the
free will of the majority of Zimbabweans will triumph over Zanu PF’s
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Zimbabwe Independent

Mugabe lobbies Spain to block further sanctions

Dumisani Muleya

PRESIDENT Mugabe is in Spain battling to head off a growing array of
international sanctions with a last-ditch appeal to the European Union whose
envoys he snubbed last month by walking out of a meeting with them.

This follows the passing of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery
Bill by the United States Congress this week.

Reports say Mugabe is in Spain to lobby Madrid — the incoming European Union
(EU) president — to block further EU measures against Zimbabwe. Mugabe flew
to Spain via London on Monday and is understood to be in Barcelona where he
is said to be receiving eye treatment at a private clinic. The president
last visited Spain in August during his holiday in Libya.

Government is also banking on the hoped-for support of the Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) and the African Union (AU) as well as the
African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) members in the EU/ACP Joint
Parliamentary Assembly to avert punishment for repression and lawlessness.

But a substantial number of ACP members voted against Zimbabwe at an EU/ACP
meeting on October 29 in Brussels. Sadc is also back-pedalling on its
support for Mugabe’s increasingly repressive regime.

The Sadc task force recently appointed to monitor the Zimbabwe crisis has
been invited to come and assess the situation ahead of the EU/Zimbabwe
consultations under Article 96 of the Cotonou agreement.

The group, comprising ministers from South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana,
Malawi, Namibia and Angola, is expected to visit Zimbabwe on Monday to
review the situation since a team of Sadc heads of state told Mugabe to get
his house in order during their visit on September 10-12.

Mugabe was initially reluctant to allow the taskforce to come after the
bruising Harare summit.

He has also refused to implement agreements reached to consult the
opposition and civil society on any new measures regarding land reform.

The Harare conference gave him a month to restore law and order. But 86 days
after the meeting, the situation has deteriorated.

Diplomatic sources said the Sadc team would be complemented by the AU group
appointed during the organisation’s Lusaka summit in June. The seven-member
committee comprises South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya, Algeria, Zambia,
and Zimbabwe.

Authorities expect the teams visiting Zimbabwe to resuscitate the Abuja
agreement to give the impression that government is adhering to it.

The EU parliament meets from December 10-13 in Strasbourg, France, to draw
up a final resolution on Zimbabwe.

“Parliament will call for smart sanctions, travel bans for Mugabe and his
officials and the freezing of their assets. Families of ministers who are
studying abroad will also be affected,” one MEP said.

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Daily News

Spooner granted $100 000 bail

12/7/01 7:59:13 AM (GMT +2)

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

SIMON Spooner, one of the suspects in murder of war veterans' leader Cain
Nkala, was yesterday granted $100 000 bail.

Spooner is accused of financing the kidnapping and subsequent murder of
Nkala. High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha ordered Spooner to
surrender his passport and not to interfere with State witnesses and police

He was also ordered to report to Hillside police station three times a week
and to surrender the title deeds to his Fourwinds suburban home.

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Daily News

Permanent airlink between Harare, Mutare on the cards

12/7/01 7:50:53 AM (GMT +2)

From Our Correspondent in Mutare

TALKS are underway between the Mutare municipality and a private aviation
company to run the city's aerodrome, paving the way for a permanent air link
between Mutare and Harare.

Mutare has had erratic air links with the outside world over the years and
charter companies which have tried to service the route in the past soon
abandoned it, citing viability problems.

Itai Munyame, the city engineer, said there were plans to link Mutare by air
with the Mozambican coastal city of Beira.

"One private company is trying to negotiate with us to run the airstrip on
our behalf, and link Mutare with Harare, and possibly Beira," Munyame said
on Wednesday. He would not name the company.

Munyame said the council was vigorously pursuing its long-standing plans to
have the city serviced by a scheduled air service.

However, a Beechcraft aircraft operated by an indigenous firm, Mekias
Aviation (Pvt) Ltd, flies a charter service between Harare and Mutare.

Mike Munyaradzi, 33, a qualified commercial pilot and chief executive
officer of the Harare-based company, flies his six-seat, twin-engine
aircraft solo from Harare International Airport's domestic terminal to
Mutare aerodrome in just under 40 minutes.

Munyaradzi, who trained at Guthrie Aviation School in Harare and worked for
United Air Services, a charter company based in the capital, said he bought
the Baron 58 Beechcraft from his previous employers for an undisclosed sum.

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Daily News - Leader Page

Is this the home that I once knew?

12/7/01 6:45:52 AM (GMT +2)

By Tarcisio Adolfo

IT IS Zimbabwe 2006. I've been here all this time, something like 77 years.
I've been here. But wait a minute, something is wrong.

Is this the same country that we are talking about? Just yesterday I took a
walk around to familiarise myself again. And guess what? I was not sure what
was taking place myself. Was I back home?

The streets of the town are an eyesore. Everywhere there is dirt. Everywhere
there are mad people and beggars. Full in the streets, mad people and
beggars everywhere. And many children who are themselves nearly mad, wander
aimlessly about the city like wild animals.

Nowadays these children, who stay bombed out of their heads with the glue
they always sniff and the misery and hunger they confront every day, are
called the fortunate ones. Ignorance is bliss, you know.

Imagine people, preoccupied with their own sorrows or seized by oblivion,
pick their way around near-dead bodies strewn on the pavements of home. No
one dare notice them in case it triggers those dreadful pangs of conscience.
Then the wailing sirens of the super-rich and powerful remind you that you
are back home, surrounded by all this fear and despair. The powerful are
turning a blind eye to all the filth they created, telling it to get out of
the way. Is this my country?
Then you hear them say I am in charge, and the whole fight becomes one of I
am in charge. Then you see all the bodies strewn around the earth, and they
claim that they are still in charge! No matter what. It doesn't matter that
the country is dying, they are in charge and don't you forget that!
And by the way, this land is my home, our home - so give land to the people,
now! They are hungry for land. A dangerous afterthought more than 20 years
later. There is not a single thought given to human development, just an
extension of poverty and
suffering - so let the party be thanked, and the orgy may continue. Is this
my country?
Let me annoy you, they say, and don't you open your mouth - how dare you
talk back at me! And all the mad people and the beggars and the fortunate
ones milling in droves about you, making their piteous sight tear at your
conscience. They stop short of shouting at you: "Stop pretending, you're
just as much a beggar and a thief as we are. Get off that high horse and
glory with us in our haven!" My home.
Then we look again. We see people in uniform, in authority, smashing the
livelihoods and the faces of ordinary people who dare complain of hunger,
but with whom they scrimp and scrounge daily for a living. Is this just for
the meagre pay and . . . a little
The power we invested in has gone wild, just like a snake in pain that
strikes itself. The power has now become a power unto itself, and our
investment in it has become redundant. We, the power, have become powerless
in the face of this onslaught.
Only at home, you realise, do they sit there and say none but ourselves may
have the honey and the power. Freedom is but a realm within the ambit of our
whim. And we need no back-chat from you.
I think I'm back home. I realise that everyone back home is either mad and
destitute or near there. Or they are going or gone. It doesn't make sense. I
guess being a tramp doesn't make much sense. And being back home doesn't
make much sense either.
Those not in party Z, including legislators, are harassed, battered and
slaughtered at will. Somebody call the police . . . better not or you
yourself will end up behind bars. Or they will call in the soldiers for you
. . . It doesn't make much sense.
What with all these laws rushed through Parliament to increase terror, and
poverty? Is there any sense in poverty and misery? Is there any sense in
supping with the devil and living in fear? Is there any sense in being poor
and enjoying it?
Is there any sense in having no sense? Is there any sense in having sense?
So I'm back home, unwanted and unloved. Not thinking, not doing anything,
just unwanted in case I say anything. Everyone views me suspiciously. I
won't keep quiet though, even if they say I should. Remember I am back home
and home should be freedom. And I only need freedom and don't tell me that
you too qualify and quantify freedom! Freedom has no quantitative properties
or wishes. Excuse me while I feed with the little freedom I have.
Back home and love is all around. Love is killing all the folk back home and
everywhere I know of. That monstrous trap that was placed at the pit of
procreation . . . yet still it seems to me that hate is playing a bigger
part in the killings of most folk here at home. Those powers that be have
enlisted hate as their principal ally and it is a most willing tool in the
devastation of what I once knew as home, the place I still feel is home.

Only at home is hate the brew where all veterans of war and liberation are
cooked in special vats and fermented to create an even more potent hate.

The cauldron used in this alchemy spews out divided potions into society:
veterans of war and not veterans of war; liberators and not liberators;
party Z members and not party Z members; black people and not black people;
white people and not white people; Africans and not Africans; indigenous and
not indigenous; the British and the not British; people and baboons; goats
and pigs; hawks and fowls; and those others and us. What an obnoxious
concoction that even splits hairs in the stomach - the waste from the guts -
and this is our home-brew!

Was there a nuclear holocaust during the years I was away? It's so desolate
back home. Well indeed you cannot get anything here. Food and medicine are
for the rich.

Hospitals are places where you go to die. Education is designed to keep you
stupid. Our leaders have no faith in our national institutions. They send
themselves, their families, rats, roaches abroad for all this.

The powers of home should never be personal. Rulers come and go. Like
everyone else in normal society, they should eventually call it a day and
retire to write their memoirs.

But to use the blood of the people as ink to achieve that, is unforgivable.

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Daily News - Leader Page

Mbeki's new bare knuckles policy stuns Mugabe

12/7/01 6:45:15 AM (GMT +2)

LAST September, six heads of state of the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) met in Harare to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe.

All of them, except for their host, President Mugabe, sought an assurance
that the violence over the land reform programme, the harassment and
violence against the opposition parties and independent Press, would not

They were also concerned with preparations for the Presidential election
next year, that they would be free and fair. They held meetings with all
stakeholders, including Zanu PF, the MDC, the churches, and the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions.

Largely unspoken must have been their grave concerns over the inordinate
clout wielded over government policy and actions by the so-called war

This concern must have reached ballistic proportions when Mugabe introduced
to the heads of state the leaders of the war veterans. Nobody is yet certain
what he introduced them as, but there is no doubt the visitors must have
been flabbergasted.

But more was to follow. President Thabo Mbeki, even at the time one of
Mugabe's fiercest critics, was reported to have walked out of a meeting at
the Harare International Conference Centre.

The reason? While the Sadc chairman, Malawi's Bakili Muluzi, spoke he was
reportedly heckled by Zimbabwean war veterans, including Joseph Chinotimba,
the self-styled "commander-in-chief of land invasions" and a defendant in an
attempted murder case.

In the aftermath of that walkout, an unnecessary din was created by spurious
allegations that this newspaper had blown the walkout out of all proportion.

Subsequent events would seem to vindicate the original theme of the story:
Mbeki was and is thoroughly fed up with Mugabe's obstinacy. As Nelson
Mandela said, the man will not listen to any advice.

The government seems surprised and annoyed that Mbeki has at last removed
the kid gloves and decided to use his bare knuckles to deal with Mugabe.

They should have seen those punches coming. The South African leader has
been so patient with Mugabe and his unwillingness to be rational on all
issues that Mbeki felt his own credibility was at stake, both at home and

Moreover, at their Harare summit, his fellow presidents told Mugabe that his
domestic and foreign policy bungles had endangered their economies. The
violence which he appeared to condone threatened foreign investment in their
own countries.

They appealed to him to curb the excesses of his war veterans on land
reform, the opposition parties, the judges and the independent Press.

By last week Mbeki had reached the end of his tether with Mugabe, who had
done little in response to his colleagues' concerns. Mbeki went public, in
language more explicit than ever before - there would be civil conflict if
the Presidential election was not held in a free and fair atmosphere and if
the independent Press was not allowed to play its proper role in covering
the campaign.

Stunned by this bare knuckle blow to the chin, Mugabe's spokesman sounded
Mbeki could not have said what he was reported to have said. But the
government in South Africa made it clear that their President had indeed
toughened his stance against the stubborn Mugabe.

What is amazing is that back home in Zimbabwe itself, many of his fellow
citizens and even some in his own party, have told Mugabe precisely what
Mbeki has told him: he is heading for the jagged rocks of political
disintegration if he continues on his present wild course.

Everybody who recognises the great potential of Zimbabwe to be a great
united country with a booming economy has warned Mugabe to halt his present
pursuit of power through violence.

But he seems determined to reap the whirlwind of his folly.

South Africa Gets Tough On Zimbabwe

The Monitor (Kampala)

December 7, 2001
Posted to the web December 7, 2001

South Africa has finally started to voice alarm and impatience over the
crisis in Zimbabwe, but Pretoria lacks guaranteed leverage to ensure
political and economic normalisation in its northern neighbour.

President Thabo Mbeki has in the past few days openly said he fears "a civil
conflict" in Zimbabwe if the country's elections next year are not free and
fair and seen as legitimate.

Mbeki, long the target of domestic criticism for failing to bring President
Robert Mugabe to heel, has expressed deep concern about infringements on
press freedom and called on countries to "act urgently" to ensure a free

He has denounced Harare's "wrong economic policies" of the past 20 years,
while officials have privately told the local press that his "patience is
wearing thin" with Mugabe.

The Zimbabwean leader, who is backed by self-styled liberation war veterans
in a land reform programme marked by violence and has launched virulent
attacks on his critics and the press, "should not expect protection any
more", they added.

Mbeki has asked the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC)
to convene a meeting of its task team of heads of state on Zimbabwe.

This all stands in sharp contrast to his much-maligned "quiet diplomacy"
towards Mugabe of the last year.

That approach was marked by subtle pressure, applied during one-on-one
meetings and coupled with economic cooperation, as well as "constructive
engagement" between ministers and officials of the ruling parties from both

Zimbabwe Independent

SA scoffs at Zim attacks on Mbeki

Dumisani Muleya

SOUTH Africa has turned down an invitation to get involved in a mudslinging
match with Zimbabwe which authorities here initiated this week through the
government-controlled media.

President Thabo Mbeki’s spokesman, Bheki Khumalo, yesterday said Pretoria
had no time for malicious and ill-informed newspaper reports.
The Herald has been carrying full frontal attacks on Mbeki and the South
African government.

“We are not worried about those reports,” Khumalo said. “That’s the nature
of democracy. We don’t think responding to those kind
of reports will help us in any way.”

He said Pretoria would not react because the Zimbabwe government had not
directly attacked Mbeki.

“They (government) have not attacked our president and we can’t respond to
newspaper stories,” he insisted. “We have got diplomatic channels with
Zimbabwe which can be used. Frankly we are not worried at all.”

The Herald — apparently taking orders from the President’s Office — has
since Monday been making personalised attacks on Mbeki, his predecessor
Nelson Mandela, and South Africa in general.

“It’s a futile barrage,” a South African diplomat in Harare told the

“Why waste time on such ignorant and spiteful reports? The fact that no
Zimbabwean official wants to be associated with those reports shows how
useless they are.”

The stories in the Herald followed Mbeki’s strongest comments yet on the
Zimbabwe crisis. South Africa, a regional superpower, has been turning up
the heat on Mugabe because events north of the Limpopo are damaging its

Mbeki has been firming his stance for much of this year
and his comments reflect exasperation with Mugabe’s refusal to listen.

In an interview yesterday, acting South African High Commissioner, Thomas
Rambau, said his government did not respond to newspaper outbursts.

“We have no comment on that,” he said. “There are established channels of
communication between Zimbabwe and our government. If there were any
problems they would have informed us through those channels.”

Daily News

SA steps up deportation of Zimbabweans

12/7/01 7:47:01 AM (GMT +2)

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

SOUTH Africa this week stepped up the deportation of Zimbabwean farm workers
from the Northern Province, increasing the international and regional siege
on President Mugabe's government, already grappling with an unemployment
rate hovering at 60 percent at home.

Beitbridge police on Wednesday reported a sharp increase in the influx of
deportees as South Africa stiffened its hard-line stance on the Mugabe
government which has defied mounting pressure to reverse the country's
deepening socio-political and economic rot.

A police spokesman said some farmers, in a panic, were dumping their workers
at illegal crossing points along the 260km border stretch with Zimbabwe.

They feared the heavy penalties imposed by the South African authorities on
farmers who continue harbouring illegal immigrants.

Farmers may be charged under the Aliens Control Act which imposes a fine of
up to R25 000 (about $150 000).

The deportation of 15 000 workers, which has been strongly criticised by
Zimbabwean authorities, was halted last month after commercial farmers won a
temporary reprieve in the courts directing the Home Affairs Department to
negotiate with the farmers.

The negotiations culminated in the setting up of a 23 November deadline for
farmers to secure work permits for their workers.

Only 4 000 workers reportedly secured work permits before the deadline.

South African Home Affairs spokesman, Leslie Mashokwe, said last week
workers who had been in that country for five years or over would be given a
90-day grace period to argue their cases in the courts.

He said individual farmers would also be asked to show cause, on a
case-by-case basis, why individual workers should be allowed to stay.

The process of flushing out all the workers is expected to be complete by

Mashokwe: "Last year, we signed an agreement for a year-long programme to
phase out this employment. We believe the farmers should start employing
South Africans. The Northern Province has a big problem with unemployment
and poverty. We are saying farmers should give locals a living wage."

South African President, Thabo Mbeki, who was previously known for his
policy of quiet diplomacy when dealing with the 77-year-old Mugabe, last
week took a new stance against the Zimbabwean leader.

Mbeki joined the European Union in calling for Mugabe to restore law and
order in the country and reverse recent laws which threaten a free and fair
Presidential poll.

Dr John Makumbe, a political scientist, said on Wednesday he expected the
deportations to increase not only in South Africa, but the world over as
pressure mounts on Mugabe who faces his stiffest challenge from the
opposition MDC in the presidential election next year.

"I see the hand of Sadc applying pressure on Mugabe to co-operate in order
to stop the rot in his country which is directly affecting their economies,"
said Makumbe.

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Zimbabwe police chief to clamp down on opposition

Zimbabwe's police chief has vowed to crack down on the opposition.

He has accused it and unidentified foreign supporters of mounting terrorist
attacks ahead of presidential elections early next year.

Augustine Chihuri says the police will stop at nothing unless and until all
terrorists engaged in destabilisation tactics are brought to justice.

Mr Chihuri vowed in his speech that police would "descend hard on
perpetrators and

collaborators of terrorist activities.

The murder of a ruling party activist last month was labelled by the
government as a terrorist attack by militants from the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change party.

"Zimbabwe is being bludgeoned by a host of insurmountable pressures from
imperialist forces abroad and their local prodigies," Chihuri said in an
address seen as likely to signal a clampdown on dissent against the

The government accuses the opposition of receiving support for a campaign of
violence and destabilisation against the ruling party from Britain, the
former colonial power, and its Western allies including the United States.

The opposition party, the biggest challenge to President Robert Mugabe's 21
year rule, denies the allegations and independent human rights groups blame
state-backed party militants for most political violence which has left at
least 60 people dead.

Story filed: 12:29 Friday 7th December 2001

Zimbabwean Police Declare War on Terrorism

Xinhuanet 2001-12-07 15:01:22

HARARE, December 7 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwean Police Commissioner
Augustine Chihuri declared war on terrorism on Thursday and promised to
descend hard on perpetrators and collaborators of terrorist activities, the
Herald newspaper reported on Friday.

Chihuri warned that the police force would not tolerate officers who
were working in collusion with and as admirers of imperialist machinations
bent on destabilizing the country.

"The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) have no place for those officers
with high political avidity and the role of the police force in the present
political environment is simply to ensure that the sanctified rights of
people are not sacrificed on the altar of political expediency," he said.

People involved in terrorist activities would be dealt with firmly, he
said, the police will stop at nothing unless all terrorists engaged in
destabilization tactics are accounted for and brought to justice.

He singled out the opposition party of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) for thriving on political violence, which has led to the recent
spate of terrorist activities in the country.

The degeneration into a psychosis of violence, which rocked various
parts of the country during the mayoral and parliamentary elections held
this year, should be stopped, he said.

Some MDC supporters have been arrested and are appearing in court facing
murder charges. The supporters were allegedly involved in the callous
abduction and gruesome murder of war veteran leader Cain Nkala and the
ruling party activist Lumukani Lupahla.

The challenging environment, he said, called for a police force to be
loyal and patriotic to the government and the people in order to ensure that
the gains of the hard won independence of the country were not smoked away
by those forces of negation.

"Our loyalty to the people, the law and the nation is not a matter of
debate but a matter of fact, qualified by both the verity of our
constitution and the logical dictates of nationhood," he said.

"To that end, the nationalistic and patriotic posture of the police
force will never be compromised," he added.

The commissioner said the ZRP would continue policing the agrarian
reform, adding that it was the conviction of force that through land
redistribution, perennial peace and stability could be guaranteed in
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Zimbabwe Independent

Vic Falls ‘no fly zone’

Vincent Kahiya

IN a clear sign of growing paranoia, the government has banned all light
aircraft from flying below 5 000 feet in the resort town of Victoria Falls
during the Zanu PF conference from December 12-17.

The six-day flight ban will negatively impact on the struggling tourism
industry in the town as bookings will have to be cancelled. The acting
director of Air Navigation Services in the Civil Aviation Authority of
Zimbabwe, Ezra Mazambara, yesterday said planes could still fly over the
town but would have to remain above 5 000 feet. He said this restriction had
been put in place as a precautionary measure for the safety of the gathering
on the ground.

“This is not the first time we have done it. We have always tried to do this
whenever people gather,” said Mazambara.

However, operators who spoke to the Independent yesterday said it was
pointless to organise sight-seeing flights at the prescribed height as it
was too high. Industry sources said each operator is set to lose as much as
US$3 000 ($165 000) a day as a result of the ban and more from other

International Herald Tribune

At Victoria Falls, No Tourist Flood

   Rachel L. Swarns New York Times Service  Friday, December 7, 2001

VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe The horn wails and the luxury train lurches from
Pretoria and glides toward Zimbabwe and its glorious waterfall. The dining
car bustles with tourists from Japan, Britain, Spain and the United States,
who sup on crayfish and crème brûlée. But the smiling waiters know all is
not well on the famous Blue Train. This October day, a season when the train
is often booked solid, half of the 82 cabins are empty.
Despite government efforts to reassure the world that Zimbabwe is safe for
travelers, the number of tourists visiting continues to slide as violent
clashes between white farmers and black squatters make headlines. The
terrorist attacks on the United States and the war in Afghanistan have only
made matters worse, leaving many people reluctant to fly.
The squatters, who have invaded hundreds of whiteowned farms, have not
attacked tourists. Popular places such as Victoria Falls and the game parks
remain largely untouched by unrest. Still, concern over the country's
political troubles is devastating the tourism industry.
In the first five months of 2001, the number of tourists visiting Zimbabwe
dropped by 24 percent, to 588,575 from 777,293 in the same period in 2000,
the government's statistics show. The slump follows last year's dismal
season, after more than 30 people were killed before parliamentary
elections. In 2000, the number of tourists dropped to 1.8 million, from 2.1
million in 1999, official figures show.
Over the last 18 months, at least 200 restaurants, tour companies and travel
agencies have closed, officials say.
"It has been a painful time, a painful time for everyone involved," said
Amos Midzi, chief executive of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, in Harare.
The industry, which brought in $231 million at its height in 1996, slumped
to $124 million last year. Officials say bookings have fallen even more
since Sept. 11.
Midzi said he believed tourists would return in numbers, particularly if
political tensions ease after the presidential election expected, but not
yet scheduled, next year. He and other officials already have begun to woo
"The situation is not as tragic as it is sometimes portrayed," Midzi said.
"The service, everything is intact. Not a single tourist has been hurt."
In its most recent travel advisory, dated Aug. 1, the U. S. State Department
notes that travelers should avoid political rallies and be particularly
careful around elections. It also warns that economic woes might leave
visitors in the lurch: "Travelers are advised to reconfirm their lodging
immediately prior to departure for Zimbabwe as numerous game reserves and
lodges around the country have closed."

British Airways Introduces Electronic Ticketing

African Eye News Service (Nelspruit)

December 6, 2001
Posted to the web December 6, 2001

Marvelous Mpofu

British Airways (BA) has launched an electronic ticketing service for
Zimbabwean travellers in an attempt to streamline local booking procedures.

BA marketing co-ordinator for Zimbabwe, Clare Wingfield, said the new
e-ticketing service would cut down on paperwork and bring Zimbabwean
ticketing procedures in line with international norms.

Passengers will, Wingfield said, be issued with an e-ticket on the country's
computer reservation system, allowing passengers to go straight to airport
check-in counters where they will be issued with boarding passes.

"This means there will be no more queuing at airport ticket desks to
validate tickets issued by travel agents. It will also allow travellers to
check on their ticket status telephonically," said Wingfield.

An added incentive, she said, is that customers will no longer have to worry
about losing or forgetting their tickets.

"This means people won't miss planes anymore simply because they misplaced
their tickets. All the relevant information is stored electronically in the
reservations system, making the e-ticket ideal for passengers with busy
schedules, or for people who are too busy to physically visit travel agents
or airline offices," she explained. - African Eye News Service

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Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
Media Update # 2001/ 48
26 November to 2 December 2001

1.  Summary
2.  Information Bill approved
3.  International Relations- the "U-turn" puzzle
4.  Court Reporting- How not to
5.  Mayoral elections- Media mum on Chegutu mayoral
6.  Memoirs 2000: Lest we forget
i.  Victory for Freedom of expression- from
    Article 19
ii. Low and Highs- from Diocese of Mutare
7.  From our subscribers
i.  Dr. Jonathan Moyo is quite enough?
ii. Appreciation
iii.Missing publication
1.  SUMMARY: Media Under Siege!
·   The week witnessed government's endorsement of yet
    another draconian piece of legislation, termed the Public
    Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill to deal
    with perceived wayward journalists. This comes just a few
    weeks after the government announced that it intends to
    amend the electoral law; after President Robert Mugabe
    used his presidential powers to amend the Land
    Acquisition Act to legalise the controversial land reform
    programme; and lately, after the government approved the
    controversial Public Order Security Bill. It would seem all
    these moves are intended at dealing with the opposition,
    white commercial farmers and the media - especially
    private and foreign media journalists. Interestingly, the
    state controlled media, which broke the news of this latest
    government initiative, treated the issue as normal.
·   The week also saw the launch of ZBC's Vision 30. MMPZ
    applauds the broadcaster for its much-improved visuals
    and style in the presentation of their programmes.
    However, ZBC's coverage of the launch was excessive.
    The launch consumed 40 minutes and 20 seconds of its
    prime news hour on 29 and 30 November. This constitutes
    57 percent of the 81 minutes allocated to news in the two
    days. In addition to this blanket coverage, the event was
    launched live on ZBCTV. The obvious casualties were the
    NCA all stakeholders meeting on the constitution held in
    Harare, which ZBC ignored.  Similarly, ZBC ignored the
    pending Public Access to Information and Protection of
    Privacy Bill.

2. INFORMATION AND PRIVACY BILL: Zimpapers celebrates
draft Bill

The Herald (30/11) reported the government's endorsement of the
Public Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill under
Government approves Information Bill, but did not analyse or
interpret the Bill's curtailing effects on future operations of the
press in the country, especially those of the private press. Neither
did it scrutinize how the Bill would negatively affect the public's
unfettered right to information.

Rather, the paper's treatment of the issue only underlined the
public media's enslavement to the dictates of the government,
which of late has transformed it into its announcement bulletin
rather than questioning professional news organisations.

It is no wonder that besides listing the provisions of the Bill in its
story, The Herald only used input from the Department of
Information and Publicity to justify the enactment of the legislation
at the exclusion of alternative voices.

Part of the article read: "In recommending the Bill, the
Department of Information and Publicity said the media should
be accountable to society and had to be judged on how well
they were conveying messages without distortions or
interfering with the right to freedom of expression given to
people in the constitution."

The reporting pattern remained unbroken in the follow-up story,
Access to Information Bill to be presented soon, (1/12). The paper
noted: "Journalists who have been surviving from plagiarizing
stories from The Herald and other newspapers to file stories on
Zimbabwe in . foreign newspapers will face criminal charges
." adding, "The proposed law has created a furore among
foreign journalists who have been distorting stories on
Zimbabwe with a view to mobilizing the international
community against the country."

In the private press stable, only The Daily News and Standard
carried stories on the Bill. This was probably because the rest of
the papers had already gone to press when the news broke.
The Daily News (1/12) weighed in with Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists' (ZUJ) attack of the Bill. Basildon Peta, the union's
secretary general, said: "The only relief in the new Bill is that its
contents are so stupid, pathetic and irrelevant to pass any test
of constitutional legitimacy, even under a justice system run
by a system not different from the Afghan Taliban".

The Standard (2/12) attacked the Bill in its comment, Information
Bill absolute madness, and accused government of approving
"devious legislation" whose effect would be "to make criminals
out of otherwise law-abiding citizens". It noted that aspects of
the Bill, rather than strengthening the newsgathering processes of
newsrooms, actually sought to usurp the powers and
responsibilities invested in the management of media

The paper said: "But one of the Bill's more laughable
provisions is the requirement that journalists be issued with
certificates of registration, which will be renewable after one
year. Are journalists like pilots who have to undergo regular
checks to establish whether they are still fit to fly?"

Earlier, the Daily News (28/11) published an opinion piece calling
on the state to publish the draft Bill while The Zimbabwe
Independent (30/11) carried a preview on the Bill under the headline
Groups press for access to information. The latter statement was
from the Civic Alliance for Social and Economic Progress (CASEP)
and doubted government's sincerity in its promise to discard the
cloak of secrecy that has dogged its operations in the past via the
Information Bill. CASEP said: "It is becoming clear that key
public rights to receive and communicate information.are
now under threat."
ZBC failed to report the story.

3. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: The "U-turn" puzzle 

The international community's efforts to bring President Mugabe
back to the democratic fold continued in the week under review
with South Africa, Britain and the United States officials publicly
condemning and denouncing President Mugabe.

The state media led by The Herald used more international
conspiracy theories to explain away Zimbabwe's problems. They
diverted public attention from the government's shortcomings by
repeating the assertion that Britain was to blame for the current
crisis in Zimbabwe.

Significantly, they deliberately tried to smother the issues raised
by the international community in the name of sovereignty. Britain
was thus attacked for "persuading" the European Union, United
States and, more recently, South Africa to put pressure on the
ruling ZANU PF government to force it to restore the rule of law and
ensure a free, fair and peaceful presidential poll.

ZBC (30/11, 8pm) carried Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge's
response to statements in Parliament by the British Foreign
Secretary Jack Straw without actually reporting on the speech. On
ZTV Mudenge said, ".They have no mandate and therefore are
acting illegally unprocedural and totally unacceptable as part
of the British government's attempt to demonise Zimbabwe
using underhand methods."

President Mugabe joined his minister in attacking Britain during the
annual National Tree Planting Day event held in Bindura (ZBC,
1/12, 8pm). ZTV quoted him stating: "Let the British know that
elections have been our tradition for years and we are not
afraid of elections at all. The MDC can never win elections
never, never. Let the Blairs, the Cooks and the Straws know

The private press stuck to the statements made by Thabo Mbeki,
EU and US diplomats. For instance, The Daily News (1/12) and
(3/12) articles Mbeki calls for more pressure on Mugabe and
Mbeki's patience with Mugabe wearing thin, just reported on what
Mbeki had said. In its story, Europe and the US resolve to act
against Mugabe, The Zimbabwe Independent (30/11) reported
observations by Congressional Representative Ed Royce, but also
included comments from Andrew Griffiths, spokesman for
prominent EU MP Neil Parish echoing the same sentiments.

The previous day, The Financial Gazette (29/11) carried a story,
EU ponders smart sanctions, in which it reported the EU as
strongly considering sanctions targeted at members of the

On the same day, The Daily News (29/1) led with Mbeki warns
Mugabe. In the story, the paper reported that Mbeki had warned of
a civil war if government did not ensure a free and election.

The Zimbabwe Independent (29/11) carried a similar story
headlined, Zimbabwe risks civil conflict without free press says
Mbeki while The Standard (2/12) led with US to discipline
Zimbabwe, a follow-up story to the US House of Representatives'
passing of the Zimbabwe Democracy Bill.

In fact quite interesting was how The Daily News (30/11) and The
Herald of the same day both covered the passing of the Zimbabwe
Democracy and Economic Bill by the US House of Representative
Committee. Both stories were based on a scathing attack on
President Mugabe emanating from a speech made by Ed Royce,
chair of the United States Africa Sub-committee in the House of

While The Daily News merely reported what Royce had said, The
Herald, Anti-Zimbabwe Bill to go before US House (30/11) chose
to be apologetic on behalf of President Mugabe.

For instance, when Royce is quoted in the story accusing
President Mugabe of reluctantly acceding to the holding of the
presidential poll, the paper automatically absolved him, "The
statement is a lie. President Mugabe has never refused to hold
elections and has held them since 1980."

Likewise, the paper found itself exonerating "violent ZANU PF
thugs" by blaming the violence on the opposition MDC. Reported
the paper: "The MDC has instead been implicated in several
murders, rapes and kidnappings with the latest being the
kidnap and strangling of Cde. Cain Nkala."
The story again accused Britain of indirectly pushing for the
enactment of the Zimbabwe Democracy Bill to punish the

It also quoted unnamed sources saying, "Mr. Royce is speaking
the same language as MDC president Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai
that aid and financial assistance can only be resumed when
'there is rule of law' and yet Mr. Tsvangirai was the beneficiary
of a lawful decision in the Supreme Court ruling." 

ZBC played down Royce's calls to House of Representatives to
urgently pass the Bill.

Tatenda Makono, Zimbabwe's Consul in the US (ZTV, 30/11, 8pm)
was quoted saying, "There are still quite a few processes to go"
to give the impression that the Zimbabwe Democracy Bill was far
from being passed in the US.

Makono was abruptly cut off when he was explaining the latest
development with regards the Bill. Makono said, "They are saying
that should the bill be passed it would mean that there are
some sanctions that would be imposed on Zimbabwe as a
country" before being cut. This was a deliberate plan to
corroborate ZANU PF and the state media's claims that the Bill
would mean the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe when in
actual fact it is targeted at government officials including Mugabe.
No comment was carried from the US embassy.

ZBCTV also reported in the same bulletin on the meeting between
the British High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Brian Donnelly, and
Minister Moyo, in which Britain was reportedly "criticized for
isolating Harare because of Zimbabwe's land reform

The following day (1/12), the Herald triumphantly reported on how
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo had "roasted" Donnelly over
Britain's sponsorship of the opposition and its regional and
international campaign to demonise Zimbabwe during a meeting.
The story recorded the deliberations of the meeting through the
eyes of an unnamed third party whom the paper quoted, relaying
verbatim what both Donnelly and Moyo said to each other.

The paper did not carry comments from either Moyo or Donnelly.
However, on Sunday, The Standard carried a report of the meeting
and directly quoted Donnelly, who said "we disagreed on a number
of issues. I made it clear that Britain does not support terrorism in
Zimbabwe or anywhere else in the world, but that we did not view
the MDC as a terrorist organization."

Surprisingly, and presumably in response to the Standard story,
The Herald (3/12) rehashed its report on the meeting under the
headline, Moyo slams UK's double standards. 

An example of the Herald's use of misleading headlines came with
MDC foreign funded (28/11). The story reported that the MDC had
admitted receiving funds from the British Westminster Foundation -
but only before the prohibition on foreign funding under the Political
Parties Finance Act. Hence there was a story - but not the one
that the Herald tried to suggest.

The MDC secretary general, Professor Welshman Ncube, was
reported as dismissing "reports that the Westminster
Foundation was still funding the MDC through non-
governmental organisations such as the Armani Trust". These
are nothing better than smear tactics. No evidence was presented
for the allegation - not even references to where such "reports"
might be found. Of course, the sentence as written in probably
accurate. Presumably Prof. Ncube did "dismiss" the allegations,
but this is hardly worth reporting unless the paper has evidence to
support the claims. Confidence is not greatly inspired by the
Herald's inability to get the name of the NGO right. It is the Amani
Trust - which provides psychological counselling to survivors of
torture and organized violence. Its name is the Kiswahili word for
peace. Despite what the Herald appears to believe, it has nothing
to do with the Italian fashion designer.

4. COURT REPORTING: How not to

The Herald's reporting of the continuing bail application by Simon
Spooner, one of those accused of the abduction and murder of
Cain Nkala, has been an interesting exercise in how far the truth
can be twisted without the reporter being hauled before the court for
contempt. There are, rightly, strict rules governing the reporting of
continuing court cases. The Herald does not always feel greatly
constrained by these, as instanced by the purported description of
Nkala's last moments in its issue of 16 November. However, its
court reporter in Bulawayo (and sub-editors in Harare) are clearly
aware that total fabrication is not really an option. So subtle
distortion must serve instead.

For example, on 27 November, the story headlined New twist in
kidnap case, led with Spooner's testimony that he had received
military training in Australia between 1967 and 1969. There the
"twist" was left hanging, presumably because there was nothing
else to be said about something that was of no obvious relevance
to the case. Numerate readers will not have taken long to work out
that the 48-year-old Spooner was aged between 14 and 16 when he
undertook this training.

This diversionary lead was used to bury the far more relevant
second half of the story, in which another of the accused, Khetani
Sibanda, alleged that police had assaulted him in order to force a
confession from him. This claim, whether true or not, is highly
relevant to the truth of the allegations against the accused.
Whether Spooner was in the cadets as a schoolboy is not.

The following day the story was headlined (with startling originality)
New twist to murder case. This time there was indeed a twist:
Sibanda, who had claimed not to have met Cain Nkala, now
testified that scars on his wrist were caused by Nkala's biting him
during the kidnap. (The Daily News, but not the Herald,
subsequently cited a medical report concluding that the scars were
not consistent with bite marks.)

The effect of this new "twist" was to relegate another claim of
torture, this time from Remember Moyo, to the second half of the

The Herald also needs to watch its tendency to report allegations
against the accused as fact. In reporting Remember Moyo's
testimony, it stated that he had last driven a white Toyota Hilux
four days before his arrest. It then stated that a "similar car" had
been used in the Nkala kidnap. "The car, which belongs to the
MDC, has not been recovered." Yet it was the car driven by
Moyo, not necessarily the one used in the kidnap, which is owned
by the MDC.

Similarly, the previous day, the Herald reported: "The money
Sibanda was to collect was raised by MDC supporters in
Harare and was to be used by Cde Nkala's killers to flee the
country soon after the murder." The omission of the words "the
State alleges" from that sentence is deeply unprofessional.

5. MAYORAL ELECTIONS: Media mum on Chegutu mayoral

The forthcoming Chegutu mayoral elections to be held on 8 and 9
December were overshadowed by the Supreme Court ruling on the
Harare mayoral election. Those who will be voting in the town of
Chegutu have not been empowered with information in the media
on what the aspiring mayoral candidates for Chegutu have to offer.

ZBC (26/11, 8pm) reported that the Supreme Court had set aside
the previous week's High Court ruling ordering the Registrar
General's office to conduct the Harare mayoral elections by 28
December 2001, following an appeal by the Registrar General
Tobaiwa Mudede. High Court Judge Justice Hungwe had previously
ruled that his ruling would still stand despite an appeal. Chief
Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku in his ruling stated that a lower court
could not order the Supreme Court. The state broadcaster reported
the ruling without clarifications and analysis for the benefit of the
public who might have been confused by the development.

No comment was sought from alternative law experts on the ruling.

Only The Herald, The Daily News and The Zimbabwe Independent
covered the urgent appeal to the Supreme Court by Mudede. The
Daily News and Zimbabwe Independent focused their attention
more on the irregularities surrounding the appeal while The Herald
reports remained largely uncritical.

The Herald and The Daily News (26/11) both carried a story each
on Mudede's appeal to the Supreme Court. However, The Herald
story, Poll order opposed, gave emphasis to Mudede's arguments
for wanting the High Court ruling reversed and underplayed the
controversial circumstances in which the appeal was presented or
heard. These were buried deep in the story.

It was left to The Daily News story; Chidyausiku refuses to recuse
himself from election hearing to highlight those circumstances. In
it, the paper highlighted concerns raised by lawyers of the
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) - who had earlier
successfully asked the High Court to petition Mudede to conduct
the Harare mayoral and council elections - that Chidyausiku
recuse himself from the matter to avoid conflict of interest.

The lawyers are reported in the story as having argued that
Chidyausiku "was involved in improper business dealings with
the commission presently running the City of Harare".

Although Mudede had told the High Court the voters' roll was ready
for inspection, reported the paper, he made "a sudden u-turn and
said he was pre-occupied with preparations for next year's
presidential election."

The Zimbabwe Independent story, Chidyausiku faces conflict of
interest (30/11) dovetailed with The Daily News one and observed,
among other issues, that Chidyausiku's order was "made on the
basis of wrong information contained in the Registrar-General
Tobaiwa Mudede's affidavit".

Reports the paper: "Legal sources said Mudede's distortions
could have been through 'negligence or forgery'."

The Daily News (1/12), in its article Mudede misled Chidyausiku
says residents' lawyer, also highlighted that Mudede had presented
"completely new facts and a reversal of his previous stance"

Both The Herald and The Daily News politicized the issue. The
Herald (27/11) put a political spin by quoting Moyo who said,
"Those who have demanded that we accept (Justice) Hungwe's
judgment without appealing against it are either children who
waste our time or dangerous elements in our midst who want
to use the judiciary against the majority."

The Daily News (28/11) publicized the issue in its article, NCA
boss hammers Chidyausiku's ruling, and in its comment: Election
appeal shows government is scared.

Observed the comment: "The hasty manner, bordering on sheer
panic, in which the Supreme Court was convened to hear the
government's application, not only testifies to the
unacceptable extent of totalitarian rule under which we now
live, but also to how government has become in its bid to
avoid having to subject itself to any test of popularity, not just
in Harare but nationwide."

6. MEMOIRS 2000: Lest we forget
Your comments and opinions mean a lot to us. 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.

As from last week to the end of the year we are publishing 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 or


We feel that the Chavunduka/ Choto ruling was a significant victory
for freedom of expression during 2000 as outlined in ARTICLE 19's
press release dated 5 June 2000:

"In a landmark judgement upholding the right to freedom of
expression, the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe has struck down the
legal provision under which tortured journalists Mark Chavunduka
and Ray Choto were charged last year.

Andrew Puddephatt, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19 said:

"We are delighted that the Zimbabwean Supreme Court, in a
powerful and unanimous decision, has struck out the provision
which might have led to the imprisonment of Ray Choto and Mark

"This is a very significant victory for freedom of expression and
sends a clear signal that "false news" measures are unacceptable.
ARTICLE 19 hopes to build on this, using the judgment to assist in
our efforts to do away with the false news provisions that still exist
and are actively applied in many countries," he added."

Louise King Schlich, Africa Programme Officer, ARTICLE 19-
Global Campaign for Free Expression


You asked for a short paragraph or two.

First of all, may I thank you for your service throughout the past
year. I pass on your weekly reports to six people with e-mails here
in Manicaland and sometimes to others overseas. Your analysis is
insightful, impartial and much appreciated.

You asked about the main stories; could I briefly offer you what I
view as a few highs and lows during the year as my way of
encapsulating the stories.

The highs would relate to the growing maturity of the Zimbabwean
electorate reflected in the large turn out for the June elections and
the formation of a significant opposition group in Parliament. A high
was also the widespread consultation before the Referendum last
February and the fact that the people were mature enough to say
"no" despite a very partial promotion of the "yes" vote in the state
media. A high would also be the fact that the unequal and unjust
distribution of land is being seriously examined by all sectors of
society - not least the major landowners themselves, even if under

The lows would seem to be many.

The way the land issue was politicized before the June election;
the ongoing lawlessness in many rural areas. The fact that the
electoral process - which should be an act of self-determination
and empowerment - has for many become an occasion of
intimidation and fear.

Further lows would refer to the low turnout in the Referendum
largely due to the rushed nature of the process between the
publication of the draft constitution and the day of the referendum
itself. Most people had not seen the draft.  Many did not
understand what they were voting for and thus stayed away; I
suspect also that many who did cast their ballot, voted on party
lines. A Constitution should be a sacred document, a legacy to
future generations, and thus above the manipulation of party

Another low has been the consistent use of the state media to
further the interests of the ruling party rather than providing an
impartial service to the people of Zimbabwe. The worst examples of
this were in the pre-June electioneering period; the TV coverage
was embarrassing to say the least! A low too has been the
interference by the Executive in the affairs of the judiciary -
particularly in recent times.

I have been appalled too by the level of racist and divisive language
that people in positions of responsibility have used. The poor
performance of the opposition MDC in parliament and the bungling
of their leadership has also been a low.

A major low has been the recent amnesty for those who committed
political crimes. It is incomprehensible that the perpetrators of
violence are being allowed go free. They are receiving a clear
message: "Violence pays. It can be undertaken with impunity and
can be undertaken again". In particular it can be undertaken in two
years times when a further election looms.

You are receiving much more than one or two paragraphs. It was
not my intention to write so much.
Again thanks. Keep up the very good work.

(Fr) Michael Bennett, Diocese of Mutare



From Roger in Harare, Zimbabwe

In Update # 2001/47 you wrote:

".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."

Why do you find it necessary to continue to dignify Jonathan Moyo
with the title "Professor"?

As far as I understand, he was an Associate Professor (not a full
Professor) and therefore should cease to use the title since his
employment in that capacity has ended. Dr Jonathan Moyo is quite
enough- in all senses of that phrase!


From Barry MacCartney in Harare, Zimbabwe

I just want to put on record my appreciation of what you are doing.
I forward your reports on to people all over the world. Yours is a
voice of sanity, an oasis of calm in a disturbing situation. It is
good to know that there are people of such quality in Zimbabwe. I
am a British teacher here on a 3-year contract. Many thanks.


From a subscriber in Harare

Hello there - could you please tell me what has happened to the
publication of the Daily News - I haven't been able to get copies for
the past two days?

From MMPZ: The circulation department of the Daily News can be
contacted on 781012, 781264, 781406 or e-mail Contact details of the various
newspapers in Zimbabwe can be accessed from our website at


The MEDIA UPDATE is produced and circulated by the Media
Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), 15 Duthie Avenue,
Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail:
Feel free to respond to MMPZ. We may not be able to respond to
everything but we will look at each message. Also, please feel free
to circulate this message.
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Zimbabwe Independent

Returning residents face ban from poll

Taungana Ndoro

RETURNING residents are now required to provide details of the duration of
their stay outside the country as government moves to implement new
electoral laws.

Under new electoral regulations, government has proposed that any resident
not continuously in the country for a 12-month period would be ineligible to
vote in the presidential election next year.

At all entry points into the country returning residents are now required to
fill in a form detailing their name, passport number and duration of stay
abroad. There is no section on country visited. The form does not have any
logo or indication of where it originates. It became mandatory for returning
residents from last Friday.

An authoritative source in the Immigration department at Harare
International Airport said the form was for gathering information on
residents’ movements.

“These forms came to us through the Register-General’s office, they do not
belong to Immigration,” said the source.

Other sources said the forms had been introduced by the RG’s office on the
instructions of the President’s office to keep track of passport holders and
compile details of those with residence permits.

The Zimbabwe Independent was informed recently that the Immigration
department had instructions from the President’s office to submit details of
all residence permits issued to British citizens since 1996.

This comes hard on the heels of new laws by the government to forbid dual
citizenship by January 2002.

Register-General Tobaiwa Mudede could not be reached for comment as he was
said to be busy preparing for the presidential election.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe acting chief executive officer
Karikoga Kaseke confirmed the existence of the new forms but was in no
position to shed light on their purpose.

“I can only confirm that there are new entry forms but I am not qualified to
comment authoritatively on the issue,” Kaseke said.

“It would be very unfair to both the Immigration department and (chief
immigration officer Elasto) Mugwadi since he hasn’t contacted me about the
new forms.”

Efforts by the Independent to obtain comment from Mugwadi were fruitless as
he was repeatedly said to be either in a meeting or out of his office.

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Zimbabwe Independent

Independent Comment

MARTIN Luther King said there were two types of law: just and unjust.

“One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws,” he
said in 1963 when addressing problems arising from an absence of civil
rights for African-Americans in the southern states of the US. Conversely,
one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. An unjust law is no
law at all.”

This is a point worth pondering as parliament prepares to pass draconian
legislation clearly designed to prevent the independent press from
performing its duty in exposing the misuse of public funds and other facets
of misrule.

Nearly every single aspect of the proposed Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Bill, copies of which have been distributed to the
media without any prior consultation, is crafted to prevent accountability
and exposure. Under restrictions on divulging information emanating from
public officials it would be impossible for instance to reveal the depth and
extent of corruption at parastatals such as Noczim or even aspects of poor
management at Air Zimbabwe.

Invasion of privacy clauses would prevent our exposure of the “Gracelands”
scandal where First Lady Grace Mugabe took advantage of a scheme which
provided housing loans to junior officials to build a mansion in Borrowdale.
The same prohibition would cover the amassing of wealth by Zanu PF
nomenklatura over the past 21 years.

The Bill claims to “foster a Zimbabwean national identity and integrity”, a
woolly formulation clearly intended to advance the ruling party’s spurious
nationalist agenda. “Denigrating” or “bringing into contempt or ridicule”
the president and law enforcement agents would prevent legitimate criticism
of a ruler who is not only head of state but leader of a party in electoral
contention. It would also outlaw satirical comments and cartoons, which are
arguably fundamental to democratic discourse, and make it an offence to
expose the manifest failings of senior police officers.

National security would be cited to conceal information on the true cost of
money wasted in the unpopular Congo war or details of arms procurement.

The pretext for these unconstitutional infringements on freedom of
expression and the public’s right to know, according to the Department of
Information, is “a discernible decline of public faith in the media industry
as has been witnessed by complaints, open hostility and attacks on the

“Some offended sections of the public have regrettably taken the law into
their own hands,” we are told.

This sounds suspiciously like an attempt to justify attacks by war veterans
on the distribution of independent newspapers or even a defence of the
bombing of the Daily News.

There have been a string of manufactured complaints about the independent
press carried in the state media which is run by the Information department.
But where allies of the ruling party have resorted to court action they have
usually come off second best.

That includes Minister Jonathan Moyo who tried to prevent this newspaper
from reporting a civil action brought against him for the alleged
misappropriation of donor funds.

The Bill which purports to protect the public interest is therefore
manifestly designed to safeguard the political and private interests of
ministers and senior officials. If there has been a “discernible decline in
public faith” in the media it is because the public have been lied to and
misled by that section of the press manipulated by the Department of
Information. Sales of independent weeklies may be marginally down owing to
cover price constraints on circulation. But there has been no reduction in
the hunger for real news by the public.

Where there has been a complete collapse of confidence is in a captive media
that breach all ethics by presuming individuals guilty before a court of law
has determined their fate, where childish conspiracy theories are reported
as fact, and systematic wrong-doing is swept under the carpet.

The new Bill is designed to institutionalise all that and outlaw
whistleblowers. There will be no impartial adjudication of complaints by the
proposed media commission when ruling-party apologists with a record of
hostility to the independent press hand down judgement. Instead, like the
minister himself, they will abuse state power to get even with their

The state media is already in violation of clauses which make it an offence
to “conceal, falsify or fabricate information”. It also spreads information
that “discredits a person or category of people on the basis of
race...nationality... and political conviction”. But these violations of
media ethics have official sanction — if not ministerial inspiration.

President Mugabe and his government have injured the country’s reputation
irreparably by inciting and promoting racism and violence. Under the Bill no
newspaper will be able to report the wickedness and terror being perpetrated
by this regime because the media commission will operate a licensing system
designed to reward conformity and punish criticism.

Is that what Zimbabweans want? Is that what a country brought to the brink
of ruin by what President Thabo Mbeki has identified as misrule and failed
economic policies needs: an acquiescent, praise-singing press that ignores
corruption, demagoguery and dictatorship; that believes human rights and
freedom of expression are a Western indulgence? Isn’t that what we had in
the 1980s and how did it serve the public interest?

The fact that this measure emanates from the Office of the President tells
us all we need to know about his state of mind as he extends his sclerotic
grip over all public discourse. Is this the product of a ruler confidently
ensconced in the affections of his people? Is it the product of a regime
confident of winning a free electoral contest?

Of course not. Rather it is an advertisement for a government running
scared. Scared of the truth.
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Zimbabwe Independent

Eric Bloch Column

THE very great sense of community-consciousness which characterises Zimbabwe
has, over the years, brought an immense number of charitable and welfare
bodies into existence. Numerous organisations exist to care for the blind,
the physically and the mentally disabled, the aged, the orphaned young,
those suffering from Aids and those afflicted by other debilitating
diseases, and otherwise to be of support to those in desperate need, to
provide health care, education, and other community needs.

The devastation wrought upon the Zimbabwean economy over the past more than
four years is beginning to exact its toll from those deserved and
much-needed enterprises of care and concern. Over that period, inflation has
soared from 13,9% per annum to an annualised rate of 97,9% in October and is
projected to remain at hyperinflation levels over the year ahead.

The distressed economy is further emphasised by fast rising levels of
unemployment, brought about by many business closures and by the contraction
in operations of many more, in response to diminishing local market demand
(as inflation, unemployment and other factors increasingly curbs the
spending power of the populace, declining export volumes in consequence of
non-competitiveness of prices as costs rise but rigid exchange rates deny
receipt of compensatory greater revenues, and as price controls destroy
operational viability).

Concurrently, the environment is unconducive to new investment, whether
foreign or domestic, required to create jobs in substitution for those lost.

The state of the economy is such that, in his recent 2002 budget statement,
the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Simba Makoni, with great
regret and distress, noted that more than three-quarters of Zimbabwe’s
population is now living in “abject poverty”. This is corroborated by
statistics which indicate that at least 78% of Zimbabweans now exist at
below the poverty datum line (PDL), and almost half of the populace barely
subsist at below the FDL.

These disturbing economic circumstances are impacting severely upon
charitable and welfare organisations that have rendered invaluable service
to Zimbabwe and its people. First of all, the environment is increasing the
numbers in need of those services. More and more are suffering malnutrition
and therefore reliant upon communal support for their sustenance, and that
malnutrition is triggering much ill-health and the sufferers do not have the
resources to access required health care, other than when provided by
Zimbabwe’s charities and its welfare bodies. The demands upon those bodies
are increasing exponentially, but concurrently their resources are

Operational costs are rising not only because there are much greater numbers
in need of support, but also because of the ravages of inflation. Whatsoever
the community-support organisations require to fulfil their objectives is
markedly increased in cost. Food inflation is nearing 95%, utility charges
are soaring, and all other inputs are similarly subject to massive cost
escalations. The organisations are confronted by demands for higher salaries
and wages, as their staff also battle to combat the cancerous inroads of

And for many, their essential support and operational needs are imported
into Zimbabwe, and with the limited availability of foreign exchange in
official markets, can only be paid for through the parallel market, which
has effectively reduced the buying power of the Zimbabwean dollar by nearly
85% in the last year. (In other words, that buying power is now about a
sixth of that of 12 months ago and, therefore, six times as much funding is
now required, in Zimbabwean dollar terms).

But as the costs of the institutions rise continuously, their revenues are
falling. Most of them are heavily reliant upon the support of corporate
entities who have provided much of the institutional needs. But companies
are now struggling for their survival.

Their first priority is to assure their continuing existence by containing
their cash flows to absolute essentials, until such time as an economic
upturn restores their wellbeing.

Their necessary economies and expenditure cutbacks have included sharply
reduced donations, no matter how deserved are the innumerable appeals for
assistance that they would normally wish to respond to positively.

Similarly, the quantum of donations from individuals in society is
decreasing, forever fewer have the wherewithal required to provide the
charity required of them.

Concurrently, because of the magnitude of the deficits being sustained by
both central and local government, the charity and welfare grants and
support of the public sector are fast decreasing in real terms, and Zimbabwe
’s negative international image (inclusive of its increasing reputation for
corruption and for abuse of the principles of good governance in both public
and private sectors) is resulting in substantially lesser financial support
from international well-wishers.

An indirect consequence of the adverse circumstance afflicting the
charitable and welfare organisations is that their members, hardworking
committee members and personnel, struggling to make the organisations’ ends
meet, are becoming demoralised and demotivated in many instances, impacting
adversely upon fundraising endeavours, and upon efficacy of operations, and
thereby compounding the array of difficulties which the organisations have
to face up to.

All these distressed circumstances are forcing the closure of many of
Zimbabwe’s private voluntary organisations that have existed to address
critical community needs. At the present time several old age homes,
orphanages and other establishments are on the threshold of closure, with
their residents suffering the frightening prospects of homelessness,
destitution, increased hardships and even possibilities of accelerated and
premature death.

Others are having to cutback on their operations and withhold critically
needed support and assistance, notwithstanding their desires and anxieties
to meet the crucial needs of the community. Social welfare calls upon the
state are, therefore, increasing, as also those upon Zimbabwe’s
extended-family systems.

But the state does not have the resources to meet the needs of society (or,
if it has them, it misdirects them into areas of defence, presidential
spending, an excessively large executive, and the like), and the burdens
upon the populace impinge upon the ability of the extended-family concept to
address the massive widespread need.

It is long overdue for government to recognise that its gross mismanagement
of the economy is impacting adversely and most severely upon all
Zimbabweans, but especially upon those who most need the state’s
understanding of their needs and attention to those needs.

Government must belatedly subordinate political objectives and aspirations
to economic needs, taking long-overdue actions to address macro-economic
fundamentals constructively and consistently, even if at the expense of
short-term political dictates.

It must reverse the economic decline, rapidly and dynamically, instead of
concentrating most of its endeavours to denial of the decline or, when
acknowledging it, denying responsibility. It must restore harmony,
co-operation and goodwill to international relations, instead of resorting
to endless and groundless confrontation. It must place the needs of
Zimbabweans ahead of its own needs.

When it eventually does so, the lot of most Zimbabweans will improve, and of
equal or greater importance is that the many invaluable organisations which
continuously care for the underprivileged will then be enabled to continue
doing so. Until it does so, less and less of those organisations will
survive, and more and more Zimbabweans will suffer increasing distress.

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Zimbabwe Independent


HOW live is “live” at the new-look ZBC? Last Friday on News-at-Eight they
had a little puff piece to promote their latest attempt at reinvention.
Newsnet was now able to broadcast live from different locations in the
country, we were told.

Anchor Obriel Mpofu then “linked up” with Midlands correspondent Makhosini
Hlongwane who had a studio interview with Gweru Mayor James Bwerazuva. The
mayor did well to recite a script singing the praises of the new set-up.

But there was no indication that the interview was really live.

Then ZBC Newsnet bureau chiefs went on to the streets “live” to interview
residents on what they thought of the new arrangement at Pockets Hill.

Despite purportedly taking place after eight o’clock at night it was still
broad daylight when people were being interviewed.

Obriel Mpofu asked each bureau chief: “What is the mood in (Gweru, Mutare,
Chinhoyi etc) following the launch?”

The “mood” was very clear. Those interviewed wanted to see the programmes
which ZBC had taken off the air!

Gideon Gono said at last Friday’s launch — which started over an hour late —
that “a visitor from Mars a few weeks ago would never have known whether he
was in Zimbabwe or another country if he watched our television and listened
to our radio stations because of an overdose of foreign content”.

What planet has he been on? A visitor to Zimbabwe would have no difficulty —
either before the launch or after — telling exactly where he was by the
chronic lack of professionalism, relentless propaganda and exclusion of any
voice other than the ruling party’s. Scheduling is still a mess with
programmes advertised as starting at 8.35pm at weekends when the rambling
news bulletin has already eaten into that time slot.

Diplomats meeting Information Minister Jonathan Moyo should not waste too
much time insisting on certain international standards for the conduct of
elections. The government is deaf on this issue. As British foreign
secretary Jack Straw pointed out, Zimbabwe is not only in breach of EU and
Commonwealth declarations it has signed but has also chosen to ignore
detailed Southern African electoral norms which President Mugabe agreed to
only last year.

Moyo’s response is to bluster about colonialism as if that entitled Harare
to violate every agreement it has ever signed.

British High Commissioner Brian Donnelly was told at a heated four-hour
Munhumutapa Building meeting recently that he should simply admit that
Britain didn’t like the Zanu PF government.

Who does? Even South Africa has abandoned Mugabe’s rat-infested ship. It is
pointless seeking a rational dialogue with Mugabe’s spokesmen.

Diplomats should simply tell Moyo and his sidekick George Charamba that the
world does not like Zanu PF because it is using violence and coercion as
electoral weapons. Nobody likes a regime which abuses power on the spurious
grounds that it alone is ordained to rule, especially when it has made such
a spectacular mess of the economy.

It is not the interests of the white community that are being exclusively
threatened as Moyo and Charamba childishly pretended at their meeting with
Donnelly. All Zimbabweans are victims of Mugabe’s electoral savagery and
economic sabotage.

Moyo and Charamba should be told that a country which violates international
standards of democracy cannot expect anything other than isolation. As for
Moyo’s opinion as a “trained and experienced political analyst” that “this
country will not be led by someone who does not have any link with the
liberation struggle”, let’s not forget this was the same “trained and
experienced analyst” who predicted no more than three seats for the MDC in
last year’s election. He also predicted Zanu PF would win the recent
Bulawayo mayoral contest.

Moyo it appears has a difficulty with numbers. He told Donnelly not to
repeat claims in the Zimbabwe Independent that Zanu PF lost the popular vote
in last year’s election despite winning a majority of seats. Moyo offered to
provide the “correct version” of the results.

We wish he would. If the Registrar-General’s office or the Electoral
Supervisory Commission has provided a breakdown of the total figures
according to parties — as distinct from individual constituency results — we
would like to see them. Or are they exclusive to Moyo who can’t count beyond

South Africa is now the target of official vitriol, it would seem. Moyo’s
mouthpiece, the Herald, says President Thabo Mbeki’s recent utterances
“neatly dovetail with Britain’s grand plan for a global coalition against
Zimbabwe”. It speaks of South Africa’s “complicity in the plot to overthrow
the ruling Zanu PF government from power” and even compares Mbeki to Judas

Mbeki has “washed his hands off (sic) Zimbabwe”, it is alleged, and is now
“in the same bed with the former architects of apartheid, the New National
Party and Tony Leon’s white Democratic Party...”

Democratic Party founder, Helen Suzman, who Nelson Mandela has honoured for
her fight for democracy, will be interested to know she is now accused of
sleeping with the architects of apartheid. And will somebody tell the Herald
that the NNP and DP have split up. The DP, now called the Democratic
Alliance, opposes the deal between the ANC and the NNP for precisely the
same reasons as the Herald. But there appears to be some confusion at Herald

Tim Chigodo thinks the partnership between the ANC and NNP is “strongly
opposed by the former white rulers” and cites the example of outgoing Cape
premier (not “prime minister”) Gerald Morkel who has remained loyal to the

Does Chigodo have any idea which party is which and what community Morkel
comes from? It doesn’t sound like it. And has it occurred to the Information
department’s propagandists that Mbeki’s frustration over Mugabe may have
nothing to do with the NNP but, as Nelson Mandela pointed out this week,
could instead be the result of 18 months of futile efforts to engage
Zimbabwe’s ruler in a friendly and rational dialogue that sought a solution
to the mounting problems of misrule and state-sponsored violence?

The latest developments in the coalition against Zanu PF terrorism,
including US sanctions, are all the result of British diplomacy we are told.
The British must be congratulating themselves on a global reach
unparallelled since Palmerston.

Readers may recall comments in this paper about supine church leaders who
have refused to place responsibility for political violence where it really
belongs. The worst example was Bishop Mutume of the CCJP, Andrew
Wutawunashe, and Denisen Mafinyane of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches
emerging from the Commonwealth ministerial hearings to proclaim that
Zimbabwe’s problems stemmed largely from press reports. Mafinyane spoke of
“white lies”.

Now we gather he has been appointed to the board of the Transmedia
Corporation, the government’s agency for regulating broadcast wavelengths.
But this is not a technical body.

“Its principal objective,” we are told, “is to foster national identity by
ensuring that the Zimbabwean national point of view finds full expression
nationally, regionally and internationally.”

In other words it is a tool of the Department of Information and thereby of
Zanu PF. It would appear that Mafinyane is the recipient of Jonathan Moyo’s
patronage. How can we expect the ZCC to speak out against Zanu PF’s campaign
of violence and lawlessness when its spokesman sits on one of Moyo’s
suffocating regulatory authorities?

The Transmedia Corporation is a product of the Broadcasting Services Act
which has restricted freedom of information and entrenched the government’s
monopoly over broadcasting in defiance of a court ruling last year. Should
Mafinyane be colluding with this travesty of democratic norms?

The government press recently provided a fine example of media ethics when
they reported that David Coltart had “evacuated” his family to South Africa.
A few days later Mrs Coltart and her child introduced themselves to the
full-time liars at the Chronicle. Naturally the reading public would expect
an apology from a paper that had simply invented a story. But no, we got a
report that Coltart’s family had “surfaced”, implying they had been hiding
somewhere. Comment please Prof Mahoso.

We were interested to see that in the Herald’s report on the draconian
provisions of the so-called Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Bill were references to individuals’ privacy being infringed by photographs
of their properties. Which individuals does this refer to and did they
collaborate with the Information Department in drawing up this legislation?
Will it also cover the exam results of dunces tutored by tyrants?

Business Day seems to have got the measure of the man behind these fascist
measures. In an editorial headed “Harare’s Goebbels”, it compares Jonathan
Moyo to Hitler’s minister of propaganda.

“Once an implacable critic of President Robert Mugabe’s government, the
‘Nutty Professor’ — as the independent media in Zimbabwe has taken to
calling him — has made a 180-degree turn in the past three years to become
one of Mugabe’s most loyal and enthusiastic acolytes,” the paper says.

He has evicted foreign journalists and made sure radio and television remain
state monopolies. “He has also seen to it that independent newspaper editors
spend more time giving statements to police than editing their publications.

“Now, feeling the heat of negative international media coverage of the
deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe Moyo wants to silence local journalists
working for foreign publications — making unsubstantiated and vague
allegations that they are aiding acts of terrorism in the country...

“His aim is simple: to cut off the supply of balanced news from Zimbabwe to
the world, regardless of the implications for the country.”

For a long time the crisis in Zimbabwe has been blamed on Mugabe alone,
Business Day points out. “It is time the likes of Moyo — who retains assets
in South Africa — come under the spotlight too. Someone ought to remind Moyo
that his sponsor will not be in power for ever. One day he will be called on
to account for his share of the damage being wrought on Zimbabwe.”

Do you recall Moyo’s sharp comments about “night judges” after one heard an
application in chambers one evening? Well now, thanks to him, we have Sunday
judges as well. While the night judge released people arbitrarily held, the
Sunday judge wants an entire city held captive!

The African Banking Corporation (formerly FMB) which recently held an
impressive launch ceremony for its operations across the continent omitted
to inform our immigration and customs authorities of the importance of
regional cooperation, it seems.

Eight journalists flown up from Johannesburg to cover the launch were
detained for five hours at Harare airport while their equipment and
credentials were checked and rechecked. Eventually they were allowed in but
it would be interesting to know exactly what impression of Zimbabwe they
returned with.

They were reminded who was behind this petty harassment by the portraits of
Zimbabwe’s leader decorating all parts of the terminal building.

Underneath him, masquerading as an emergency exit sign, is a cartoon of a
white man on the run. No doubt that’s how he wants to be remembered!

Reports that the president is in Spain having his eyes attended to should
come as no surprise. He has been short-sighted for some years now as well as
suffering from the hearing problem President Mbeki recently identified.
Following Mbeki’s latest statement on the situation in Zimbabwe,

Muckraker would like to propose to Nathan Shamuyarira a title for his
forthcoming biography of our illustrious leader: “The Great Betrayal”.
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Zimbabwe Independent

News Analysis

Dumisanu Muleya
THE proposed Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill will
further erode public accountability by placing severe restrictions on press
coverage of President Mugabe’s persistent misrule, observers said this week.

Analysts say the draconian Bill — which purports to improve access to public
records — is part of government’s well-advertised agenda to tighten media
curbs and limit the free flow of information ahead of next year’s
presidential poll.

Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) secretary-general Basildon Peta said the
Bill was a “moronic piece of legislation” calculated to suppress public
information and muzzle the media.

“It’s actually a misnomer to call it an Access to Information Bill because
its primary aim is to deny access to information,” he said. “The term
‘access to information’ is a dim-witted smokescreen intended to hoodwink the

The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) also condemned the proposed
media laws which are likely to be found unconstitutional.

“The Bill, if it were to become law, will severely undermine critical and
independent reporting,” it said. “Under such circumstances, the public’s
right to fair and accurate information from the mass media is not
guaranteed. Neither is the access to information the Bill claims to

MMPZ said the proposed legislation would paralyse media operations.

“Several aspects of interference in the operations of the media by
government virtually erode all hopes for the public’s access to fair
information,” it noted.

“For instance, its interference in the recruitment of media personnel
amounts to a complete erosion of editorial independence, which is one of the
bedrocks of media freedom.”

The Civil Alliance for Social and Economic Progress said it was unacceptable
to propose laws to stifle the media.

“The Bill should not be used as one more route to muzzle media and
information rights or to weaken the role of the media in serving public
information rights,” it said.

Although the Bill purports to give the people, and the media in particular,
the right to information held by public bodies, its form and substance
smacks of an authoritarian intent to suffocate the media and guarantee
silence on issues of public concern.

Zimbabwe is currently steeped in a culture of opacity. Colonial legislation
such as the Official Secrets Act, defamation laws and the Law and Order
(Maintenance) Act, promote an enduring veil of secrecy.

The Bill’s framing and content shows government wants to perpetuate this.

For instance, it imposes a blanket embargo on deliberations of cabinet and
advice by the head of a public body to the president, cabinet ministers or
public officials.

Public officials are empowered to refuse information relating to
inter-governmental relations, or financial or economic interests of a public

The Bill protects information deemed by authorities to be harmful to the law
enforcement process and national security. It also seeks to protect privacy
and reputations of individuals.

Peta said this shows government is anxious to avoid transparency and

“Its main aim is to deny access to information rather than improve it. How
can all government communications and records of meetings including those of
parastatals be classified as protected information?” he asked.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) — which made recommendations
to Information minister Jonathan Moyo in August — said protected information
should be clear and limited in scope.

“We propose that the Bill should be phrased in a manner that qualifies some
terms so that it cannot be abused by being applied arbitrarily and rigidly,”
it said.

“There should be mechanisms that must be used by journalists for recourse
when they feel they have been refused access to information which is
genuinely in the public interest.”

Article 19, a London-based media advocacy group which fights censorship
worldwide, holds the same views.

“A complete list of the legitimate aims which may justify non-disclosure
should be provided in the law,” it says.

“This list should include only interests which constitute legitimate grounds
for refusing to disclose documents and should be limited to matters such as
law enforcement, privacy, national security, commercial and other
confidentiality, public or individual safety, and the effectiveness and
integrity of government decision-making processes.”

But the media watchdog says the restrictions should also be further

“Exceptions should be narrowly drawn so as to avoid including material which
does not harm legitimate public interest. They should be based on content,
rather than type, of the document.”

Article 19 believes it is not sufficient that information simply fall within
the scope of a restriction listed in the law.

“The public body must also show that the disclosure of the information would
cause substantial harm to that legitimate aim. For example, the exposure of
corruption in the military may at first sight appear to weaken national
defence but actually, over time, help to eliminate corruption and strengthen
the armed forces.”

The group argues that for non-disclosure to be legitimate in such cases, the
net effect of disclosure must be to cause substantial harm to the aim.

“Even if it can be shown that disclosure of the information would cause
substantial harm to the legitimate aim, the information should still be
disclosed if the benefits of disclosure outweigh the harm.

“For example, certain information may be private in nature but at the same
time expose high-level corruption within government or the private sector.
In such cases, the harm to the legitimate aim must be weighed against public

Requests for information from public bodies, analysts say, should be met
unless the organisations can show that the information falls within the
scope of the limited regime of exceptions.

They say a refusal to disclose information is not justified unless the
public authority can show that the information strictly meets the
restriction criteria.

Commentators think no public bodies should be completely excluded from the
ambit of the law, even if the majority of their functions fall within the
zone of exceptions.

Non-disclosure of information must be justified on a case-by-case basis.
Restrictions whose purpose is to protect government from exposure of
wrongdoing can never be defended.

The Bill will also result in the establishment of a government-controlled
Media and Information Commission to enforce professional and ethical

But journalists have already rejected this proposal which was part of the
constitutional commission’s abortive draft constitution.

Media owners would be required to register with the commission, which has
powers to cancel their registration as it sees fit. Only Zimbabwean citizens
or companies owned by Zimbabweans will be allowed to operate media

The commission will be responsible for accrediting journalists but the
Bill — just like the recently passed Broadcasting Services Act — makes the
Information minister the ultimate licensing authority. Journalists will be
issued with certificates renewable after one year. Foreign journalists will
be banned from operating in Zimbabwe, a move clearly designed to prevent the
flow of news abroad.

The government commission will keep a register of all journalists and to be
registered one must have officially-prescribed qualifications and be a
citizen based in Zimbabwe.

Misa said government has no business in licensing journalists.

“We submit government has no role to play in deciding who may practice as a
journalist. When government decides who may or may not be a journalist it
amounts to giving them the power to determine who may work for the media
rather than media houses choosing for themselves.”

The commission will have authority to try, deregister, suspend, fine or
caution journalists. Fines will not exceed $50 000 in ordinary cases. But
journalists would be fined $100 000 or sentenced to two years imprisonment
if charged with spreading information that discredits a person or category
of people on the basis of sex, race, age, nationality, language, religion,
profession, place of residence and work and political conviction.
Critics said this is simply repressive.

“Some of the provisions like saying journalists have a right to remove their
by-lines from stories are just preposterous. It shows they were drawn up by
people who are scandalously ignorant of how newsrooms function,” said Peta.

“That’s the price one pays when one gives the information portfolio to
official comedians. Now we really have a circus at Munhumutapa Building. How
can a junior minister give himself powers to determine who can or cannot be
a journalist?

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Zimbabwe Independent

Vincent Kahiya
Police on the hunt for Marufu

THE police are looking for President Mugabe’s brother-in-law, Reward Marufu,
to answer charges of defrauding government of $822 668, the sum he claimed
from the War Victims Compensation Fund for his war-related injuries, the
Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.

Acting Attorney-General Bharat Patel in an interview on Wednesday said his
office had not prosecuted Marufu because the police were looking for the
soldier-turned diplomat and brother of the First Lady.
“The issue is still with the police. I understand that they are looking for
him at the moment,” he said.

Sources at the AG’s office this week said the police had already completed
investigations into the case and it was ready for prosecution. The sources
said Marufu should have been served with summons to enable him to prepare
his defence.

Efforts to get a comment from police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena since
Wednesday were unsuccessful. He said he was still looking for information.

The inability of police to locate Marufu is puzzling as he is not a
fugitive. He is on record as employed by the President’s Office and is
currently in the country on the Southern Africa desk.

High Court judge Justice George Smith in 1999 questioned why Marufu had not
been prosecuted over the alleged fraud.

The judge’s comments were contained in a ruling he handed down in the case
of a civil servant, Amen Sithole, who was accused of allowing Marufu and
others to allegedly defraud the fund.

Marufu received $822 668 from the war victims fund as compensation for 95%
disability. Despite this he has occupied a number of high-level posts.

He was in 1997 sent to Zimbabwe’s High Commission in Canada on a posting
from the President’s Office. Two years ago he was recalled from the posting
after charges that he had assaulted his 16-year-old daughter.

There has been speculation that Marufu, together with other well-connected
individuals, had not come to court because of political protection. Patel
denied this saying the cases were still “very much alive”.

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From IRIN (UN), 6 December

Mugabe seeks support

The South African presidency has not yet received an official request for a meeting with the Zimbabwean government in spite of reports that President Robert Mugabe wants an urgent summit over South Africa's waning support for his policies. A spokesperson for Mbeki's office told IRIN on Thursday 6 December that the presidency would comment "if and when we receive such a request". Zimbabwe's Financial Gazette reported on Thursday that a shaken Mugabe was seeking an urgent meeting with Mbeki to try to mend the rift that has developed between them. The report quoted official sources as saying that Mbeki's scathing attack on Mugabe's policies over the weekend had prompted plans to request the meeting.

Mbeki, in his first public rebuke of Mugabe, was quoted as saying at the weekend that the Zimbabwean leader's policies had destroyed southern Africa's second largest economy and that the country's presidential election next year was unlikely to be free and fair. Mbeki warned that Mugabe should no longer expect any more protection from South Africa, the report said. "President Mugabe has been advised to have a meeting with President Mbeki so that the two can have a frank talk about the events in Zimbabwe and try to bridge a rift which is developing between the two countries," a cabinet minister was quoted as saying. Other news reports said the meeting would be separate from a Southern African Development Community (SADC) ministerial meeting due to start in Harare on Monday to review Zimbabwe's land crisis.

As the Zimbabwean media focused on the allegedly tense relationship between the two governments this week, local analysts were quoted as saying that the unspoken but most significant point under-scored by Mbeki's new attitude was that Pretoria could easily flex its economic muscle if Harare continued defying international calls to uphold the rule of law and to hold a free and fair election next year. South Africa's chief director of trade negotiations, Tshediso Matona, told IRIN that sanctions against Zimbabwe were out of the question. "I do not foresee a decision on trade sanctions in the short term as such, particularly because sanctions are an extreme measure and they would need to be part of a multilateral decision," he said. However, it has become abundantly clear that South Africa does have the economic leverage it needs if it indeed chooses to use it.

According to official statistics for the year 2000, said South African Chamber of Business chief economist Richard Downing, Zimbabwe has a negative trade balance with South Africa. He said that while 47 percent of Zimbabwe's total imports were from South Africa, only 12 percent of its exports were sold to South Africa. In 2000 South Africa exported US $966 million worth of goods to Zimbabwe (constituting only about 1.7 percent of SA's total international trade), while Zimbabwe's exports to South Africa totalled US $252 million. "They are very much dependent on South Africa for their resources," he said.

Statistics indicate that machinery, mechanical appliances and parts (totalling about US $53 million), mineral fuels, oils and products of their distillation (totalling about US $52 million), plastic products (totalling about US $32 million), iron and steel (totalling about US $30 million and pharmaceutical products (totalling about US $29 million) were among South Africa's main exports to Zimbabwe in 2000. In addition, Zimbabwe secures services, like electricity, from South Africa's energy supplier Eskom, and while it has renegotiated its debt with the supplier, one analyst told IRIN that accurate statistics on Zimbabwe's debt to South Africa, and South Africa's economic exposure in Zimbabwe were difficult to obtain. There was fear, he said, that such statistics would reveal South Africa's exact risk in Zimbabwe and affect the ailing rand further.

Mbeki's broadside at the weekend came as international pressure on Mugabe mounted and was welcomed by the business community in South Africa, which has invested heavily in Zimbabwe. The South African Chamber of Business (SACOB) said in astatement on Thursday: "Kevin Wakeford (SACOB chief executive) commended Mbeki's call for urgent action by other SADC countries and the Commonwealth to ensure free and fair elections in Zimbabwe next year and endorsed the president's comments that Zanu PF was to blame for this turmoil by following misguided economic policies over the past 20 years. He further supported the president's call for freedom of the press in Zimbabwe."

According to the Financial Gazette, the US Congress on Wednesday passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill which, among other penalties, places travel bans on Mugabe, his cabinet and senior Zanu PF officials. The US measures, which awaited President George W Bush's signature, would also freeze the assets of the Zimbabwean leader and those of his leading lieutenants, the report said. The EU was also considering slapping "smart sanctions on Zimbabwe" while a Commonwealth ministerial team would meet next month to review the worsening situation in Zimbabwe, it added. In addition, government sources were quoted as saying that Mugabe hurriedly boarded an Air Zimbabwe plane bound for London on Sunday and diverted it to Madrid where he is seeking an audience with Spanish authorities to mediate for him against the pending EU sanctions. The meeting with Mbeki was being planned after the discussions with the Spanish, the sources said.

From ZWNEWS, 7 December

Spooner out, Dulini and others still held

One of the MDC members arrested in Bulawayo almost a month ago was yesterday granted bail by the High Court. Simon Spooner was released on Z$100 000 surety and the surrender of the title deeds to his house. He will have to report to the police three days a week. However, Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, an MDC MP and MDC Treasurer who was arrested at the same time, along with dozens of other MDC members in Bulawayo and other parts of the country, is still in detention. It is thought that his bail application may be heard today. Spooner, 48, lost 8 kg in weight during his detention, but is otherwise in "good spirits". Spooner's prison conditions were described as "appalling". Dulini-Ncube, an older man, is not in good health. He is an insulin-dependent diabetic, and has been refused adequate insulin supplies and medical attention, and has been subjected to a continuous regime of all-night interrogation since his detention. While said to be still "mentally strong", he is suffering failing eyesight related to his diabetes. Dulini-Ncube spent many years in detention under the Smith government for his political activism.

The pretext for the wave of arrests of MDC activists was the murder of Matabeleland war veterans' leader Cain Nkala on 5 November. Two MDC members were paraded on state TV confessing their role in Nkala's murder, and implicating senior MDC officials in his death. In court last week, however, the two retracted their confessions, which they said they had been forced to make after torture by the police. These confessions were the only evidence the state had against those it has accused of Nkala's murder, and so, since those confessions have been retracted, there is no case for any of those arrested to answer. However, lawyers for the accused are not expecting the charges to be withdrawn, and say they are likely to be left hanging over the heads of those arrested at least until the presidential elections are over. Sources from within the war veterans, and members of Nkala's own family, indicate that Nkala's murder was an inside job. Nkala is thought to have been about to reveal evidence implicating senior Zanu PF officials in Matabeleland in the abduction, and probable murder, in June 2000, of Patrick Nabanyama, the election agent for MDC Bulawayo South MP David Coltart.

Coltart was today named by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo on state radio as being "responsible" for the approval this week of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill by the US House of Representatives. In current circumstances in Zimbabwe, such statements by senior Zanu PF officials are often taken as an incitement to violence with impunity by Zanu PF supporters. Shortly after Nkala's murder, vice-president Joseph Msika promised there would be a "bloodbath". A few days later the MDC provincial offices in Bulawayo were attacked by a mob of Zanu PF militants brought in from Harare. The mob was escorted by the police, and the MDC offices were petrol-bombed and destroyed. A similar statement by Moyo earlier this year threatening The Daily News - Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper - was followed within days by the bombing of its printing presses.

From Business Day (SA), 7 December

Zimbabwean envoy attacks US meddling

Washington's smart sanctions will kick in if human rights are not restored

Harare - A US threat to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe in protest against human rights abuses amounted to unwarranted interference in the southern African nation, says Zimbabwe's envoy to the US. In the first official response to a bill passed overwhelmingly by the US House of Representatives on Tuesday, Zimbabwe's ambassador to the US, Simbi Mubako, told state radio yesterday that US legislators were impinging on Zimbabwe's sovereignty. "It is direct interference in the country's internal affairs," he said. The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill contains a package of measures to freeze new investment in Zimbabwe and compel US representatives at international financial institutions to seek to block aid and debt relief.

The bill, which has still to be signed by President George Bush, demands Zimbabwe restore the rule of law and an orderly land reform programme and ensure presidential elections early next year are free and fair. Other measures, described by officials as "smart sanctions", could bar officials of the government and President Robert Mugabe's ruling party from entering the US and clamp down on any of their US-held assets. If the bill's conditions are met, the US treasury department could help find debt relief for the country. The bill would also allow for the release of $20m to help fund land reform and $6m for election monitoring.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper said yesterday the government in Harare was studying the bill and would comment on it "should it be necessary". It quoted Mubako as saying the legislation was not expected to have an immediate effect. "In the long run, the impact would be felt on the economy but it is the ordinary workers who will suffer," he said. Most Western investment, aid and loans to Zimbabwe dried up as political violence convulsed the country after March last year when armed ruling party militants began occupying more than 1700 white-owned farms, demanding they be redistributed to landless blacks. The government has listed about 4500 properties about 95% of farmland owned by whites for nationalisation without compensation. Last month the government warned about 800 farmers they had three months to vacate their land.

The government insists it has complied with its land reform laws and continuing incidents of violence are isolated and criminally motivated. On Monday, Zimbabwe's highest court upheld the government plan to seize the farms in a majority ruling by four recently appointed judges accused by landowners of political bias. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change accuses the government of orchestrating the violent land seizures to shore up its support in rural districts ahead of presidential elections. Opposition spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said ruling party officials "have asked for the US legislation" through their conduct. No comment was immediately available from Mugabe. Officials said he was out of the country on a visit to Spain.

Meanwhile in Wellington, New Zealand, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said yesterday that Zimbabwe should be expelled from the British Commonwealth if a "free and fair" presidential election is not held. Goff said in parliament that Zimbabwe was on the brink of self-destruction with the economic and political situation deteriorating rapidly. He said Mugabe seemed committed to maintaining power at any price, including the destruction of his own country. The election in Zimbabwe is scheduled for March 17. Goff said it was "critically important" to get international observers into the country in time and under conditions that would enable them to monitor the election effectively. He plans to discuss observers with Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon next week.

From ZWNEWS: If you would like to judge for yourself, we have copies of the ZDERA, as approved this week by the US House of Representatives. It will be sent as a Word attachment to an email message - size 40Kb - about the same size as the average daily ZWNEWS.

From The Mail & Guardian, 6 December

Union boss calls for Mugabe to be ousted

Zimbabwe can be saved from economic collapse only if its President, Robert Mugabe, is removed from power at the next election, general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) Zwelinzima Vavi said this week. Speaking after a three-day meeting of the Southern Africa Trade Union Co-ordination Council (Satucc) in Johannesburg, Vavi asked: "How do we save Zimbabwe? Remove Mugabe in the next election." He said Mugabe's sole aim was power, and that he was "desperate and does not care how many corpses he leaves behind". The council, of which Vavi is president, unites union federations in countries of the Southern African Development Community, except the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mauritius.

His comments coincide with a visible toughening of the South African government's stance on Zimbabwe, including three public attacks by President Thabo Mbeki, and a propaganda assault on Mbeki in Harare's state-owned Herald. Relations between the two countries are more strained than at any time since 1994. Vavi said he was not sure the South African government could do anything about the near-collapse of the Zimbabwean economy "seeing that we are facing similar problems -though not on the same scale - of poverty and escalating unemployment. We do not have our fundamentals right in this country." He said, however, that Mbeki is now "making the right noises, which is encouraging ... We need more of these noises, but would have preferred stronger statements earlier. It might have helped a bit."

Vavi said Afro-pessimism might be playing some role in the slide of the rand. However, he did not believe the theory that the currency was rapidly devaluing because of South Africa's initial "quiet diplomacy" towards Zimbabwe. "You cannot blame every problem with the rand on Zimbabwe. Our economy is unstable; there is chronic rising unemployment and slow delivery. Which country is going to listen to South Africa when the rand is R11,10 to the dollar?" An investment strike by South African business and huge capital flight was affecting the local economy, Vavi said. Regional unions at the Satucc meeting decided to write a letter to Mugabe asking him to curb the "anarchy" in Zimbabwe and stop intimidating unions and opposition parties. The federation decided that free and fair elections in Zimbabwe are not possible if the current climate of lawlessness persists. "We should be doing more than sending a memorandum, though, as this will probably be ignored. We should be mobilising workers to defend democracy actively," Vavi said.

Comment from The New York Times, 6 December

Zimbabwe's campaign of violence

Before Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections last year, government thugs terrorized opposition activists for months, killing dozens. Now Zimbabwe is due to go to the polls again, possible as early as February, to elect a president. Robert Mugabe, the country's ruler for 21 years, is once again inciting violence and distorting the election laws. Mr. Mugabe, Zimbabwe's independence leader, has become erratic, tyrannical and indifferent to the problems of ordinary people. Because of hyperinflation and soaring unemployment, many Zimbabweans now can afford to eat only one meal a day. Mr. Mugabe has tried to recapture public support by demonizing white farmers, encouraging the violent takeover of hundreds of their farms. Not surprisingly, food production has faltered.

In large part because of Zimbabwe's economic troubles, recent polls show Mr. Mugabe losing his presidency to Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, a respected umbrella opposition group. A panicked government has proposed laws banning foreign and domestic election observers, obstructing the ability of likely opposition supporters to vote, barring foreigners from working as correspondents and restricting domestic journalists. In a recent speech, Mr. Mugabe called the opposition party and white farmers "terrorists," using the word at least 20 times. Many worry it is a signal that he is preparing to ban the opposition, or step up the violence. This month in Zimbabwe's second-largest city, Bulawayo, thugs burned down the opposition headquarters while police watched. Police arrested 14 opposition members on trumped-up murder charges. Two activists have asserted that the police tortured them to make them confess.

Wealthy countries have little influence over Mr. Mugabe, who gets no money from Washington. Still, America, the European Union and the British Commonwealth nations missed an opportunity. High-level Western officials should be criticizing him and coordinating sanctions against his inner circle. The House of Representatives joined the Senate on Tuesday in passing a sanctions bill, a positive step that is likely, however, to have only a limited impact. The West should also have been working with nations that have direct influence in Zimbabwe. South Africa could shut down Zimbabwe's railroads, power and sea access if it chose. Zimbabwe's political and economic woes have discouraged investment in South Africa and threaten to overwhelm the region with refugees. But while leaders of Malawi and Mozambique have spoken out against Mr. Mugabe's policies, South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, has only recently begun to criticize Mr. Mugabe in public. This is welcome, as South Africa's quiet diplomacy has failed. Last March, Zimbabwe, along with its neighbors, signed a pledge to hold free and fair elections. Those neighbors, led by Mr. Mbeki, must now hold Mr. Mugabe to this promise.

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Daily News

Government seizes $1m maize from MDC MP's farm

12/7/01 7:48:49 AM (GMT +2)

From Our Correspondent in Mutare

THE government last week seized 97 tonnes of maize valued at nearly $1
million at MDC MP Roy Bennet's Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani, as
heavily-armed soldiers stood guard.

Bennet said in an interview on Tuesday the workers were from the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB).

He said the maize, valued at about $970 000, was seized on 28 November under
the watchful eye of armed soldiers stationed at the farm school.

Bennet said there were about 25 young servicemen stationed on his 2
800-hectare estate.

A letter, dated 27 November 2001, signed by Bennet, a police constable named
as Gondo and unidentified GMB officials, said the MP had been given seven
days to deliver his maize to the GMB depot in Chipinge.

It reads in part: "This is to certify that the undersigned acknowledges on
behalf of the GMB and the ZRP that we have acted under orders to remove 97
599 metric tonnes of maize from Charleswood Estate."

It was not immediately clear why the maize was seized or how it would be
disposed of.

Senior regional GMB officials based in Rusape could not be reached for

Zimbabwe Independent

Political interference delays award of maize tenders

Vincent Kahiya
POLITICKING and bureaucratic bungling in the adjudication of bids for maize
importation have resulted in a delay in the award of tenders at a time when
the price of the commodity is going up on a monthly basis.
By this month the price had gone up by US$50 a tonne. This should cost the
country an additional $400 million in foreign currency.

There is now a real danger of maize shortages in the New Year due to the
resultant delay, the Zimbabwe Independent has gathered.
Commodity brokers who last month participated in the tender to deliver 150
000 tonnes of white maize had submitted bids at US$150 per tonne on the
understanding that the adjudication would be done expeditiously. The price
of maize in South Africa has however gone up to US$200 per tonne and the
bidders this week said they would not supply at the tendered price.

Zimbabwe would now have to pay an additional US$50 per tonne of maize,
notwithstanding increases in the cost of delivering the maize from South
Africa by rail. The extra cost per tonne translates to an additional US$7,5
million ($412,5 million).

Commodity brokers said there were political fingers which were keen to pluck
the importation of maize away from the tendering process by frustrating
bidders who would then pull out of the process.

“Just look at what happened the last time Zimbabwe imported maize without
going to tender,” one broker said.

Former Agriculture minister Kumbirai Kangai, former GMB chief executive
Martin Muchero and financial director Dorothy Chasakara were arrested on
corruption charges stemming from their role in maize imports in 1998.

There was now a real danger of maize shortages as stocks have continued to
dwindle after a record low grain intake by the GMB this year.

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