'Journalists welcome in Zimbabwe'
But they have to apply to authorities
PRETORIA Journalists would be welcome in Zimbabwe they just have to
follow due application processes in time.
But the only undertaking that Simon Moyo, Zimbabwe's High Commissioner to
SA, would give was that he would then "make sure the applications get to the
Addressing the Pretoria Press Club yesterday, Moyo criticised the local
media for its "bias" in reporting about his country. He said the SA media, which
"could play a positive role in finding solutions to Zimbabwe's problems", has
"not been helpful".
"If your neighbour's house is on fire, you don't rush with fuel. You assist
with an extinguisher. Or at least, with a bucket of water. When Zimbabwe catches
fire, even journalists will burn."
He condemned Britain for allowing a radio station to broadcast from the UK
and incite people "to be as violent as they can, inciting them to revolt".
Defending Zimbabwe's contentious media bills, Moyo said MPs had every right
to enact laws that are in the interests of their nation. But "no law is cast in
stone", he added.
Zanu (PF) stalwart Eddison Zvobgo, who also heads the parliament's legal
affairs committee, has caused ructions within the ruling party by repeatedly
rejecting the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill.
Zvobgo has argued that the bill gave the government "frightening powers" to
control the press ahead of the election.
"Ask yourselves whether it is rational for a government in a democratic and
free society to require registration, licences and ministerial certificates for
people to speak," Zvobgo said.
But "that's why the parliamentary committee is there", Moyo said yesterday:
"All he (Zvobgo) is saying is correct. It's the way he sees it."
Regarding reports that three journalists were arrested in Zimbabwe on
Wednesday, Moyo said protests were allowed but, in doing so, the laws of the
country had to be observed.
Zimbabwe's relations with the SA government "remain exceedingly cordial,
excellent", Moyo said. However, he said opposition leader Tony Leon was "a
frustrated man", but this was not surprising for a man who has seen "half his
party disappear" with the breakaway of the New National Party.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was confident yesterday that it
would win next month's Zimbabwean election by a "landslide" .
MDC secretary for economic affairs, Eddie Cross, said while his party was
seriously concerned by violence against its members by Zanu (PF) supporters, it
would continue to contest the polls peacefully.
He said Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's "delinquency" affected SA's
Cross criticised President Thabo Mbeki for not having taken decisive steps
to stop Mugabe from destroying his country's economy. "Mbeki is the only man in
the world who can say no to Mugabe and he knows this, but is taking the matter
Mugabe's mates claim win over `colonials'
LONDON: President Robert Mugabe's supporters claimed a victory over Britain
and Australia yesterday after demands for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the
Commonwealth were snubbed. The official state-run newspaper in Zimbabwe, the
Herald, hailed "yet another diplomatic coup over the mighty British empire".
Commonwealth foreign ministers rejected calls from Britain's Foreign
Secretary Jack Straw to suspend Mr Mugabe because of his campaign of political
The group of eight ministers was split, with Australia, Canada and Barbados
backing Mr Straw, but Asian and African states opposed to suspension.
A disappointed Mr Straw later tried to insist that the words of
condemnation issued by the ministers would still represent a blow to Mr Mugabe.
But in an editorial, the Herald said Britain had been "slapped in the
face". "For the umpteenth time the former colonialists, the British, have been
beaten by Zimbabwe on the diplomatic front," it added.
"It is always a difficult thing for a master to ever regard their former
subject as an equal and this prejudice has confined the British diplomats to
Opposition foreign secretary Michael Ancram described the editorial as "the
rhetoric of fascist politicians throughout the ages".
The EU has promised to impose sanctions if Mr Mugabe fails to allow
observers into the country by the weekend to monitor the election on March
Meanwhile, media groups in Johannesburg, South Africa, said the free press
in Zimbabwe was dead.
A media Bill passed Thursday essentially gagged the independent press ahead
of the country's elections, free press advocates said.
Under the legislation it is illegal for journalists to operate without
government accreditation and foreign correspondents will only be allowed in the
country to cover specific events.
The Independent (UK)
Poll rivals want to bring back white rule, says
By Basildon Peta in Harare and Katherine Butler
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's President, began his election campaign
yesterday by accusing the opposition of standing "for all things white".
"What they want is to bring you under white rule and persevere the land
rights of the whites," he told people gathered at his first rally ahead of the
poll next month.
Hours earlier, Jonathan Moyo, the Information Minister, questioned the need
for the media, amid global dismay at a law intended to silence political debate
before the election. He said the military would not tolerate an opposition
The press law imposes tight restrictions on journalists and seeks to
eliminate criticism of the government and its policies. Mr Moyo suggested that
Zimbabwe would be better off without a free press. "Thomas Jefferson said it was
better to have newspapers without government. He was very, very wrong. It is far
better to have government without newspapers," he told CNN.
Mr Moyo said foreign correspondents could still apply for permission to
cover news in Zimbabwe, but British news organisations would be kept out. "We
are very clear Tony Blair and his lot will not be allowed to come here. We
are saying to them, continue your colonial arrogance in London. You are not
welcome here," Mr Moyo said.
The European Union joined Britain and America in attacking the law. "We are
profoundly disappointed," said Chris Patten, the EU's external relations
commissioner. "It represents a fundamental attack on media freedom which, if
implemented, will drive a further nail into the coffin of Zimbabwe's democratic
Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, speaking after talks in Washington with
Colin Powell, the American Secretary of State, said he found it "almost
impossible to comprehend how free and fair elections can be held ... when such
laws have been passed."
While the final version of the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Bill contains amendments to the original wording which even ruling
party MPs found unconstitutional journalists said its impact would be just
as draconian. Zimbabwean journalists will have to seek licences from a
commission appointed by the Information Minister.
The Bill showed "the complete powerlessness of journalists in this really
repressive machine Mugabe has managed to build", said Yves Sorokobi, of the New
York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. The organisation said it was
helping journalists out of the country if they felt they were in danger.
Mr Mugabe is giving military leaders a central role in the election, with
army officers and war veterans being asked to lead "voter education".
The Electoral Supervisory Commission is headed by Sobhusa Gula-Ndebele, a
retired colonel and war veteran.
Moyo, Chinamasa clash in Parliament
2/2/02 8:42:59 AM (GMT +2)
By Luke Tamborinyoka
JONATHAN Moyo and Patrick Chinamasa clashed openly in Parliament on
Thursday night over the draconian Access to Information and Protection of
The row occurred as Chinamasa, the Leader of the House, was about to
announce further amendments to the Bill.
The Bill was almost through the committee stage when Chinamasa, the
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, entered the House to say
he intended to announce more amendments to the Bill. Some of them would have the
effect of stripping Moyo of his powerful role as spelt out in the Bill.
Moyo, the architect of the Bill, was clearly heard trying to persuade
Chinamasa to ignore the changes recommended by the Eddison Zvobgo-led
Parliamentary Legal Committee. Chinamasa was heard to say, in a low voice:
"Leave me alone. I am not going to listen to you."
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC), the MP for Glen Norah, shouted at
Moyo to stop harassing Chinamasa.
Chinamasa announced the amendments while Francis Nhema, the Minister of
Environment and Tourism, tried to calm down the agitated Moyo, who seemed
surprised at his colleague's sudden outburst.
Chinamasa said they had agreed that all journalists accredited before the
enactment of the Act would be deemed to be accredited for 2002.
He deleted another clause which stopped journalists from writing articles
quoting other newspapers without permission.
Chinamasa removed a clause which empowered Moyo to delegate any
of his choice to the proposed Media Commission.
Moyo remained sullen, even when some Zanu PF MPs tried to congratulate him
after the heavily patched-up Bill was finally passed at 9pm.
Two Zanu PF
MPs, Joram Gumbo (Mberengwa West) and Sabina Mugabe (Zvimba South) were talking
to Moyo when Chinamasa left in a huff after adjourning the House.
Nhema continued to placate Moyo as Chinamasa watered down Moyo's Bill, to
the amusement of MDC MPs, who did not object when the Bill was finally passed
after three weeks of prevarication.
The stand-off between the two ministers seemed to reflect the wide rift
within Zanu PF over the Bill.
On Tuesday, Zvobgo, the chairman of the Parliamentary Legal Committee,
hailed Chinamasa for giving the Bill a "human face".
Zvobgo said the Bill, in its original form, was "dangerous" and "a
determined assault on our liberty".
Court official allegedly conspires with arson suspects
2/2/02 10:21:29 AM (GMT +2)
EDIAS Muzerengi, a clerk at the Chinhoyi Magistrates' Court, allegedly
conspired with suspected criminals and torched the court's records office in an
intricate case of arson reminiscent of scenes in crime movies.
So sophisticated was the act that police forensic scientists are still
trying to identify a fluid which was found on a bell switch the following
morning and the origin of gunpowder left beside the court's strongroom.
Gunpowder, which is highly flammable, is believed to have been used to fuel the
fire which destroyed furniture and court documents.
The value of the property is yet to be established. Muzerengi, 26, of
Whitecliff in Chinhoyi, appeared before Harare provincial magistrate on an arson
charge. He was not asked to plead. The court remanded him in custody.
Prosecutor Alan Mabande said Muzerengi remained behind at the end of
business on 4 January. He allegedly removed the screws on the strongroom door
handle and took both the screws and the handle.
He then allegedly started a fire next to the strongroom in the clerk of
court's office. A security guard on patrol discovered the fire but by the time
the Fire Brigade arrived, the flames had burned to ash all the dockets and court
records in the office, spreading to other offices where some criminals' records
Forensic scientists discovered a strange fluid, suspected to contain
petroleum, flowing from a bell switch and a box containing gunpowder. The police
said Muzerengi was the only one who had access to the office after work hours as
he was the one who kept the keys for both the office and the strongroom.
Recycled cooking oil on sale
2/2/02 10:22:42 AM (GMT +2)
From Sandra Mujokoro in Bulawayo
RECYCLED cooking oil has resurfaced on the black market in Bulawayo. The
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) Bulawayo branch said notorious for this are
fast food outlets which use the oil for the whole day before selling it through
the back door at the end of the day.
"Customers must be aware that used oil is not only cheap, but very
poisonous. They must query the traders if the oil is very dark in colour or has
no proper label on the original container," said Rosemary Chikarakara, the
regional manager of the CCZ.
She said anyone caught trading recycled cooking oil would be severely dealt
with by the Bulawayo City Council health department, while those overcharging
would be arrested by the price monitoring unit. Queues of desperate cooking oil
seekers have been seen at the premises of some companies which sell the
One woman in a queue said she did not mind where the suppliers obtained the
oil because it was difficult to find it in the shops anyway.
Zanu PF officials block Sadc ministerial taskforce from visiting
2/2/02 10:25:56 AM (GMT +2)
From Mduduzi Mathuthu
ZANU PF officials last Thursday prevented a visiting Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) ministerial task force team from visiting the
strife-torn rural outpost of Lupane following the murder of an MDC activist by
The Sadc delegation is on a countrywide tour to audit President Mugabe's
pledge this week to stop his supporters from leading a violent presidential
The Sadc team, which left Harare yesterday. was led by Malawi's foreign
minister, Lilian Patel.
Abednico Bhebhe, the MDC MP for Nkayi and the
party's Matabeleland North chairman, Morgan Komichi, who were allowed to address
the delegation, challenged them to proceed to rural Lupane.
This was however, resisted by Zanu PF officials who included Foreign
Affairs Minister, Stan Mudenge and the Matabeleland North governor, Obert Mpofu
who kept indicating that there was insufficient time.
"If the Sadc team is to embark on such trips only to be blocked from seeing
for themselves Zanu PF terror, then such trips might as well be called off,"
"Here was a clear case that would have lifted the iron curtain from the
Sadc eyes to the realities on the ground."
Jameson Sicwe, an MDC activist was hacked to death by suspected ruling
party militants on Wednesday. Matabeleland North police spokesman, Senior
Assistant Commissioner Boyathi Ngwenya told the Sadc team his body had been
transferred to Bulawayo for a post-mortem.
More violence was reported in Tsholotsho, a few kilometres from Lupane,
where more than 75 youth brigades trained under a national youth service
programme attacked villagers in Sipepa, killing an MDC activist, Halaza Sibindi.
Sibindi, who was the MDC chairman for Ward 5, was bludgeoned to death in
his sleep with an assortment of weapons by members of the Zanu PF youth brigade
who also razed to the ground the home of the MDC organising secretary, Simon
Nkala fled with his family after a tip-off from some sympathisers who
intercepted a list of MDC officials who were to be killed. A Sipepa businessman
has been named in connection with the violent incidents.
Villagers have fled Sipepa where a Zimbabwean diplomat who is a former MP,
is leading the Zanu PF campaign. War veterans on Wednesday seized a truckload of
maize from the Grain Marketing Board which is now being distributed at the
production of a Zanu PF membership card.
Thousands of people are on the verge of starvation, a Catholic Commission
for Justice and Peace official said yesterday.
Daily News- Leader Page
Putting Zimbabwe back on the road to recovery
2/2/02 9:21:49 AM (GMT +2)
By Norman Reynolds
THE World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in New York needs to hear positive
actionable news from President Thabo Mbeki. Commentators suggest that Zimbabwe
might sink the New Economic Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad). That
need not be so.
Here, attack will be the best defence. Being business led, the WEF wants to
hear that southern Africa, with her African and international partners, is going
to put the Zimbabwe bus back on the road as part and parcel of a gathering
regional governance, economic and business dynamic.
The real launch of Nepad will follow the Zimbabwe "recovery" example to be
realised during 2002-2004. This needs considered argument to dispel the cloud of
It holds lessons for Nepad itself and for a more equitable and efficient
global economic system that the WEF must also ingest. A few truths about
From Independence to around 1987, it followed a redistributive
"socialist" path with considerable post-war reconstruction, education, health
and small farmer success. That, however, failed to grow the economy, including
jobs for an increasingly well-educated labour force. By the late 1980s, it was
clear that Zimbabwe could not sustain that large public expenditure effort or
Robert Mugabe increasingly followed an Eastern European communist
party patronage, citizen-demoting model that included putting his Presidency
above the law. It has proved to be a disastrous political cul-de-sac.
A too orthodox, too simplistic Economic Structural Adjustment
Programme from 1991 swung policy in favour of those already producing for the
global economy. As before, there was success with the core policy aims, but at
great cost to education and health.
HIV/Aids was already rampant. Numerous
local firms closed and further jobs were lost. The countryside, where most live,
was virtually abandoned, left as a vote bank. Urban disaffection began to rise,
notably from 1996, as the benefits were outweighed for most by unemployment and
worsening public services.
President Mugabe has criticised Structural Adjustment as wrong without
either accepting the necessary discipline, particularly around the budget and
parastatals, or finding effective "localisation" policies and programmes to grow
the domestic economy within a globalising economy.
Zanu PF found itself with little to offer its people. Mugabe's
ability to manipulate party and state for his own survival has led to false,
misleading populist policies on land, to corruption and to the need for bogeymen
to excuse failure.
In 20 years Zimbabwe, flip-flopping on economic policy, showed that
it could do both, build its people and compete in the global economy. It never
found how to do both simultaneously. Populist politics took the front seat.
There are important lessons for all in this failure.
The current severe downturn in governance and economic conditions is
just two years old. The United Nations Country Team's Zimbabwe Relief and
Recovery Programme of September 2001, four months ago, showed how to restore and
correct a working economy for all within two years if a new start could be made.
That will now take longer as more economic, institutional and managerial
destruction has occurred since then. But it is possible.
Plan is built upon two legs:
A rapid increase in local effective demand created by donor funding
of a variety of grants to underwrite household economic and food security, to
keep children in school and, in a hierarchy of preferences over time, to form
community investment (work) budgets. These will generate welfare, secure
economic rights, build and maintain productive assets, re-form community
cohesion, and fuel a large mass market for low foreign exchange basic goods and
services, stabilising and growing society and the economy.
The conversion of villages to "Trust Companies" financed as above and
so able to expand onto new land bases when members so decide by "supported"
entry into the land market. This neutral land reform is acceptable to
Zimbabweans who want to regain control over their lives. This would enable
commercial farmers to return and be helped to become productive again. That
support would also assist new entrants to commercial farming and it will require
that farm labour enjoy a larger financing and ownership role. It is a model of
interest to Afghanistan, wracked by low internal demand and warlords, and to
southern Africa. The regional, African and international effort right now is to
see that there is a free and fair presidential election. It is important not to
get to a position of an unacceptable "fraudulent" result. This may involve a
mutually agreed delay in holding the election, with regional and international
help to prepare for the same, even with Southern African Development Community
troops, with international support, on the streets. The lessons to be learnt are
close to the aims of Nepad:
It is not enough to create the essential human and economic freedoms
that go with global success. Political stability is first built upon citizen
economic opportunity. Developing economies must be built both from the top,
globalisation, and from the bottom, policies and programmes that generate local
participation and enlarge the total economy and so reward and secure local and
For Nepad, Zimbabwe represents a high profile opportunity to turn
this "accident" into opportunity. Zimbabwe and its people are remarkable and
heroic. Some 75 percent seek to create a seriously democratic, open and
successful country. There is considerable goodwill amongst citizens. They have
gained a heightened knowledge of what constitutes the foundations of national
success. And there is international support for any such endeavour.
Government backtracks on Zimbabwe media curbs
HARARE, Zimbabwe, Feb. 2 —
The government backtracked dramatically Saturday on its sweeping media control
laws, indicating they will not be imposed immediately and may not be enforced at
all, a state-run newspaper reported.
The state Herald newspaper, an
official mouthpiece used to publicize official policy, reported that the office
of the Attorney General, the government's chief law officer, said the bill ''may
take quite some time before it becomes law, if at all.''
The laws proposed in the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Bill still have to be signed into law by
President Robert Mugabe.
The laws were
passed by the Harare parliament Thursday with last minute amendments that were
''rushed through without proper consultation,'' the Herald said.
The legislation has been widely
condemned by the international community and free press advocates.
Critics say the media bill and new
security laws enforced since Jan. 18 were part of a package of legislation aimed
at stifling dissent ahead of presidential elections next month.
Mugabe, 77, is fighting for his
political survival as his popularity wanes after nearly 22 years of
(Copyright 2002 by
The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Zimbabwe minister slams Britain's Jack
HARARE, Feb. 2 — Zimbabwe's
information minister has accused British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw of dealing
with Zimbabwe with ''an open mouth and shut mind'' and dismissed his criticism
of a tough new media bill.
In a comment published by Zimbabwe's
official Herald newspaper on Saturday, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo also
expressed unhappiness that changes to the bill, passed by parliament on
Thursday, had robbed it of its fundamental objectives.
Despite the changes, the bill still
restricts access for foreign reporters and imposes tight controls on local media
in the run up to a March 9-10 presidential election.
Straw said on Friday he found it
''almost impossible to comprehend how free and fair elections can be held'' when
such laws had been passed.
the Herald: ''It is another example of Straw's megaphone diplomacy. He is
continuing to approach developments in Zimbabwe with an open mouth and shut
Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe launched his re-election campaign on Friday with a vitriolic attack on
Britain, which Mugabe accuses of siding with Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
the media bill's aim is to stifle free debate in the run-up to the election, in
which Mugabe faces his toughest challenge after 22 years in power.
The bill has drawn wide international
On Monday, the European
Union threatened to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe if Mugabe did not allow the
deployment of EU observers by Feb 3.
Wednesday, however, Commonwealth foreign ministers rejected a British call for
Zimbabwe's immediate suspension from the 54-nation group.
Under the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Bill, a state-appointed commission will license
journalists, who could face up to two years in jail for breaking the
The original draft gave
all foreign and local media organisations in Zimbabwe three months to apply for
a new licence. In what is seen as a victory for opponents to the bill, the
revised version says existing organisations will be considered registered.
The new bill also allows foreigners to
take non-controlling stakes in media organisations, according to a copy of the
legislation obtained by Reuters. The original version allowed only Zimbabwean
citizens to operate media organisations.
The bill will become law once it has
been signed by Mugabe.
turns 78 this month and has ruled the former Rhodesia since independence from
Britain in 1980, has not commented publicly on the bill.
Mugabe blasts all things British
Robert Mugabe and his wife,
Grace, raise their fists in salute as they arrive for the election rally in
north-eastern Zimbabwe.Picture: AFP
By Peta Thornycroft in Mutawatawa and David
Blair in London
President Robert Mugabe launched his re-election campaign in
familiar fashion Friday, blaming Britain for all of Zimbabwe's problems and
branding the black opposition "puppets of the whites".
Wearing a white baseball cap and a three-piece suit, he addressed 8,000
subdued supporters at a carefully staged rally in a rural stronghold of his
His speech will have done little to stem the growing campaign to oust him and
his country from the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, to be held in
Brisbane next month.
Nor will it have stilled worldwide concerns over the atrocities being
reported from his country.
To chants of "Down with the British" and "Down with the whites", Mugabe
turned on Britain and its Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
"We are in a state of political war," he said. "We are in a war to defend our
rights and the interests of our people. The British have decided to take us on
through the MDC [Movement of Democratic Change]."
The campaign for his re-election in six weeks' time began as Mr Mugabe's
Government faced the worst diplomatic crisis in its relations with the developed
world since Zimbabwe achieved independence in 1980.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said he found it "almost impossible to
comprehend how free and fair elections can be held".
Condemning the passage on Thursday night of a draconian new media law, which
will make it impossible for journalists to work in Zimbabwe without State
approval, Mr Straw said it could trigger the imposition of European Union
sanctions next week.
Any sanctions would be aimed at Mr Mugabe and his allies and take the form of
travel bans and the freezing of overseas assets.
Mr Straw's tough message was delivered in Washington and echoed by US
Secretary of State Colin Powell.
America has already passed a law empowering President George Bush to impose
personal sanctions on Mr Mugabe. Mr Powell said the Bush Administration was
working "in close co-ordination with our British colleagues".
But British Foreign Office sources played down suggestions that the media law
alone would trigger the onset of sanctions. They said the key test would be
whether Mr Mugabe admits the first six EU election observers, who are due to
arrive in Harare today.
Mr Mugabe's half-hour speech at the rally was peppered with racial insults
directed at Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, whom he accused of being a
"Tsvangirai has decided he must be white," he said. "How can we have blacks
who masquerade as whites? Whatever Blair tries to do, we will not back down. We
went to war; we went to prison; we have suffered over the years but we are not
afraid of the struggle. We will not run away. You can count on us to fight."
The rally was held in Mutawatawa, a dilapidated town 210km north-east of
Harare. Mr Mugabe said the area was undeveloped and "this was brought about by
the British and Tsvangirai".
For all the displays of confidence, evidence is mounting that Zimbabwe will
run out of maize well before the election on March9 and 10. The World Food
Program estimates that 558,000 people need emergency supplies.