Imaginative cruelty -
300 court-martialled -
Political hitch to honours -
From The Times (UK), 11 January
Mugabe police throw rivals to the lions
Harare - THE Zimbabwean authorities'
capacity for imaginative cruelty was demonstrated again this week when police
abandoned 13 opposition campaigners in their charge in the middle of a game
reserve. Morgan Tsvangirai, president of the opposition MDC, said the 13, under
arrest since last week in the remote southeastern lowveld, were forced into
police vehicles on Tuesday and driven deep into the Gonarezhou National Park.
The name means "land of elephants" in the local Shangaan language and the
reserve is one of the most hostile of the country's wildlife parks. Its
elephants are notoriously aggressive to human beings, it has a large number of
lions and other predators and it lies in one of the hottest and most arid areas
in the country.
As police drove into the park they dropped
their prisoners in pairs several miles apart, ordering them at gunpoint to walk
into the bush, Mr Tsvangirai said. He told a press conference, at which most of
the group were present, that they had been ordered: "You like to campaign, now
start campaigning to the lions and wild animals." "They were meant to be fed to
the lions," he said. "By the grace of God they survived." They linked up with
each other by blowing whistles. They had been walking for about 12 miles when a
passing vehicle stopped and drove them to safety. No comment was available from
The 13 were campaigning for the party in a by-election on
Saturday and Sunday in the nearby Bikita constituency and the incident was part
of a pattern of intimidation imposed by President Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF)
party and supported by authorities. Reports from the constituency describe
government pick-up trucks, loaded with ruling party thugs carrying pickaxe
handles and firebombs, speeding along the rutted roads of the impoverished
tribal area in search of MDC supporters. Observers say that Mr Mugabe has
launched an all-out offensive to reclaim votes lost in the June parliamentary
elections, when the MDC captured 57 out of 120 elected seats.
From The Star (SA), 11
Army 'punishing' defiant Zimbabwean
Harare - Almost 300 soldiers have been court-martialled by the
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) in the past month for refusing to go and fight in
the DRC, military sources said this week. The reluctant soldiers were ordered
north as Zimbabwe deployed more troops to help its ally, DRC President Laurent
Kabila, to ward off a determined rebel challenge along the southern frontier of
the DRC. Although the army has denied the claims, authoritative military sources
quoted by the Financial Gazette said a significant number of Zimbabwean troops
had returned home in December for the Christmas holidays as fighting intensified
in the DRC. This had forced the army to prepare replacement troops.
A total of 298 soldiers had ignored the order to report for
duty. "There was a lot of resistance this time round from a significant number
of soldiers who did not want to go to the DRC - a lot of excuses were brought
forward. "Maybe it was because of reluctance to go to the war front around a
precious holiday time, but the whole thing resulted in hundreds of courts
martial," a senior ZNA official said. Army spokesperson Chancellor Diye said
courts martial were a routine thing in the army but denied that there had been
an upsurge of them in the past month because of DRC war defections. "We don't
face that problem. Our troops are disciplined and loyal and always raring to
go," Diye said.
Court martials are an internal disciplinary procedure through
which offending soldiers are brought before military tribunals for trial and
sentencing. Those convicted serve their sentences in military jails in army
barracks. Sources also disclosed that a number of soldiers were court-martialled
within the DRC itself, including four battalion commanders who fled in the face
of the rebels, leaving equipment worth millions of Zimbabwean dollars. One of
these battalion commanders asked his group to flee from advancing rebels, who
later captured the village of Manono late last year. He was held responsible for
the loss of equipment seized by the rebels. Another court-martialled battalion
commander asked his troops not to attack rebels stationed near a bridge, arguing
that the rebels by far outnumbered his men. Others were court-martialled for
abandoning their entire battalion as fighting intensified.
The sources said more courts martial were expected against some commanders,
who were among the 300 soldiers who fled into Zambia last month alongside 1 000
DRC troops when the Uganda- and Rwanda-backed rebels captured the towns of Pweto
and Pepa along the southern frontier. The allied troops consist of soldiers from
Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola and from the DRC government itself. Sources said one
reason for the growing reluctance among Zimbabwean soldiers to go into the DRC
was Zimbabwe's failure to replace weaponry lost in the war because of a biting
foreign currency shortage.
From The Financial Gazette, 11
Politicians frustrate Bulawayo's
wish to honour Mandela
Bulawayo - Acting mayor David Ndlovu yesterday charged that a
hidden political hand was behind the Bulawayo city council's failure to honour
ex-South African president Nelson Mandela, his successor Thabo Mbeki and Zulu
King Goodwill Zwelithini. The local authority resolved in 1994 to honour Mandela
for the role he played in ending more than three centuries of white domination
in South Africa. It later agreed to also honour Mbeki and Zwelithini.
Ndlovu told the Financial Gazette yesterday that the council
had been battling to get the government's unambiguous approval to allow the city
council a chance to confer the Freedom of the City Award on the three South
African leaders. He said the government had acceded to the council's request to
honour the three "but we, as council, are worried by the state's dilly-dallying
in inviting the men to come to Bulawayo to accept the awards". He added: "In the
case of Mandela, we resolved as council in 1994 to honour him and the government
agreed to it but it has taken six years to get the government to invite him for
the occasion," Ndlovu noted. "Mandela has been here many times but we have not
been afforded a chance to honour him."
Council insiders yesterday claimed Bulawayo was the first to be
granted permission to honour Mandela ahead of Harare and Kwekwe, both of which
conferred a similar award on the former South African president in 1995. Ndlovu
said: "When Mandela was in the country last year, we were told he was too busy
by government officials but we were surprised that he was not busy when he was
honoured by Harare and Kwekwe respectively. "As council, we don't think it is an
administrative problem but a political one. We would have loved to honour
Mandela when he was still president."
According to documents shown to this paper this week, a full
council resolved in April last year to confer the Freedom of the City status on
both Mbeki and Zwelithini. "The government was informed of the council
resolution and it agreed. We have written to it on numerous occasions requesting
that it facilitates that we award these people but it has not replied to this
day," Ndlovu said. "Both Mbeki and Zwelithini were in Bulawayo last year but the
government said they were busy and we were not afforded the chance to honour
them. We feel this is a disservice to council." Mbeki officially opened the
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair last year in Bulawayo while Zwelithini has
visited Matabeleland on several occasions to consult Ndebele chiefs who last
year commemorated the death of King Mzilikazi. Comment from government spokesmen
was not immediately available yesterday. Past recipients of Bulawayo's award are
President Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwe National Army's One Brigade as well as the
late vice president Joshua Nkomo. The acting mayor said his council would again
write to the government over the awards.
CFU - Farm invasions and security
16th December 2000 to 5th January
SITUATION ON FARMS CONTINUES TO
After a lull in disruptive and violent activity during
the Christmas break, the situation on commercial farms has deteriorated to
pre-Christmas levels. Haphazard illegal ploughing and planting is prevalent
country-wide and CFU continues to receive reports of ongoing ploughing, well
after the optimum planting date for all major crops. Given generally low input
levels, widespread use of uncertified maize seed and generally poor weed
control, it is unlikely that these illegal crops will have a significant
beneficial effect on food security. There is also widespread disruption to
cattle management, with farm cattle being progressively pushed out of areas
planted by illegal occupiers. Damage to illegal crops by farm cattle has become
a common source of conflict and there have been numerous claims by illegal
occupiers for "compensation".
There are numerous reports of farm cattle being
deliberately driven onto main roads, so motorists are urged to be vigilant about
this traffic hazard.
Farmer accidentally shot and injured by
On the 30th December 2000, Karl Wolf in the Penhalonga
area sustained shrapnel injuries to his shoulder and ankle after police
accidentally opened fire on him after he had reacted with police to a report of
stolen cattle. Support Unit details, who had also been deployed to investigate
the report, mistakenly thought that they had netted the cattle rustlers and
opened fire. The police detail and two stockmen who had accompanied Mr Wolf were
not injured in the incident.
Mvurwi farmer arrested on 22 counts of
Police arrested Patrick Hyde of Pembi Falls in Mvurwi
early on 29th December 2000 after illegal occupiers alleged that he had shot and
injured two cattle in the early hours of the morning. The original charge of
"malicious injury to property" (MIP) was escalated to include twenty two counts
of attempted murder after the local war vet leadership put pressure on police
officials. The situation became extremely tense at the police station and there
was an altercation in the police station car park between the war vets and two
Hyde family members. Mr Hyde (snr) was assaulted when he intervened to prevent
war vets from hitting Patrick Hyde's wife, who is at full-term pregnancy.
Patrick Hyde was detained at Mvurwi police station overnight, but the charges
were reduced to two counts of MIP and he was released on bail the following day.
The hearing has been remanded to 15th January 2001.
Glendale farm over-run
Chirobi Farm in Glendale was temporarily
over-run by a group of about 50 war vets and followers on 29th December 2000.
The owner and his family were on leave, but the owner's elderly mother had to be
evacuated and management staff and farm workers were evicted from their homes.
The initial response from Support Unit was ineffective, but the situation was
defused, with minimal damage to property, after farm workers insisted on a more
determined response by police. However, the workers have subsequently been
unable to return to their homes and four farm guards were forced by war vets to
leave the farm. The situation exploded again after the owner and his family
returned on the 6th January. The owner's son, in his early twenties, was
attacked by illegal occupiers who attempted to spear him. Two neighbouring
farmers were ambushed by the illegal occupiers when they responded. The vehicle
was badly damaged and they had to take refuge in the farm homestead. A group of
at least fifty surrounded and stoned the house and other farm property. Police
responded to defuse the situation and left a presence of eight police details to
prevent a further flare up of violence.
The Commercial Farmers' Union distributes
detailed reports on incidents related to farm invasions three times a week by
e-mail. Readers wishing to subscribe to the reports should e-mail their request
The Farmer - 08 January 2001
The danger of division
IN many ways, last year was the most calamitous in Zimbabwe's turbulent
history. Certainly as far as organised agriculture was concerned, the year 2000
was a disaster. But it was a man made disaster. There was neither drought nor
flood, disease nor pestilence to test the resolve of Zimbabwean farmers.
Instead, a shadowy alliance between State and party declared war on commercial
agriculture and threatened the future of farmers and, indeed, Zimbabwe
The reasons for the war were clear enough. With an economy in tatters and
the birth of a political opposition, the ruling party needed a scapegoat. It was
not enough to declare war on the nascent MDC because blame had to be
apportioned. People were suffering and flocking to the opposition, ZANU-PF lost
an important (to them) referendum and came perilously close to losing a general
election. And long before either the referendum or the election took place,
ZANU-PF knew that they were under threat.
The farm invasion saga was planned late in 1999 and began in earnest in
February 2000. The objective was to win both the general election and the
subsequent presidential election - and to win both at any cost. The referendum,
they knew, was lost before it even began, but that was fine because payback time
would follow hot on it's heels.
Since then farmers and their employees have been murdered in cold blood so
that Robert Mugabe and his cohorts can retain dominion over the country. Whites
have been singled out as enemies of the State and, of particular relevance to
organised agriculture, there has been a concerted effort to break the back of
farming unity. The public face of that unity is the Commercial Farmers' Union
and for as long as Mugabe exhorts farmers to bypass their union and negotiate
with government as individuals, we know that he still fears the collective
influence of organised agriculture.
Interestingly, during the last twelve months both the MDC and the CFU have
come in for increasing criticism from the Zimbabwean public. Interestingly
because there are no links between the two; one is a political party with
massive grass roots and labour appeal and the other represents the cream of the
continent's agricultural expertise. But there's a perception that both have a
leadership role to play in resolving national problems. The has been accused of
prevarication and a lack of confrontation, while the MDC, increasingly, stands
accused of doing… well, basically of doing nothing at all.
This is partly because the people of Zimbabwe are crying out for leaders.
And why? There is an increasing realisation that the land invasions and general
lawlessness heralded not just a declaration of war on farmers, but a declaration
of war on all Zimbabweans. After all, if farmers are not safe, why should anyone
else assume they'll be safe?
Sadly, simply by entering into a new year doesn't mean that the crisis is
over - but it should mean that the resolve to end the crisis is
And perhaps the most important weapon, if it can be called a weapon, in the
hands of commercial agriculture is unity. By the end of last year there were
signs that a united front was looking fragile. Individual farmers, said some,
were making individual arrangements either with illegal invaders of their land
or with errant government officials. On the face of it, that doesn't sound too
bad - except that every deal struck to the benefit of the landowner has to be,
logically, detrimental to a farmer somewhere else.
If anything will destroy agriculture in Zimbabwe (and take the country with
it) it will be a lack of unity. And the only reason ZANU-PF would give almost
anything to break that unity is because it fears farmers as a united body, but
knows that without unity it can manipulate individual farmers into accepting
virtually anything - or, more likely still, nothing.
It seems likely that history won't be as unkind to the CFU as its present
day, and largely urban, critics have been. There are no rules to the current
political crisis, yet farmers must play by the rules, there are no laws that
government need obey, and yet farmers and their union must stick rigidly to the
law. The playing field is hardly level. And yet, while most of the union's
critics accuse it of not being confrontational enough, the alleged deals being
struck on the ground would indicate that some, albeit it a negligible minority,
still believe in appeasement.
But it won't work. To date, no one who has struck a deal with ZANU-PF has
seen it honoured. This is a party struggling for its survival and because it
knows the threat to its continuance is very, very real, it will smilingly use
pawns until they are no longer useful. And then it will discard them.
Editor- The Farmer
NRZ blamed for inefficiency as
Coal shortage puts tobacco curing in jeopardy
TOBACCO growers and other industries that require coal for their daily
operations are reported to be facing a critical shortage of the product forcing
some of them to import coal from South Africa in order to save their
Sources indicated that tobacco farmers and other companies that require
coal, could be using the little foreign currency available to secure coal from
neighbouring South Africa, which is believed to be costing $2000 more per tonne
than when secured locally.
In Zimbabwe the bulk of the coal required is mined by Wankie Colliery and
transported by National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ).
According to Wankie Colliery Public Relations Officer, Mr Simukai Chihanga,
the colliery company is unable to verify reports that South African coal is
finding its way into the Zimbabwean market.
"We understand that some local consumers have imported coal from South
Africa but we are unable to verify that," he said.
Mr Chihanga said there were two major problems responsible for coal
shortages, namely shortage of NRZ empty wagons and the grade balance.
He said due to the erratic wagon supplies, the Colliery company had been
unable to load a steady stream of wagons and time lost due to wagon shortage
could not be recovered.
Said Mr Chihanga: "When there have been no wagons to load we have had to
shut down the plant. Cost implications have been significant. We hope that the
NRZ will get their act together and improve wagon supply."
Mr Chihanga said the other problem has been a shift in demand from the dry
grades to washed grades, particularly washed peas. This shift, he said,
reflected a change from hand stocking to automatic feeders. He admitted that
Wankie Colliery had been slow to react to this shift in the market.
The colliery company, he said, was now in the process of installing a
crushing and screening plant at a cost of about Z$80 million and it was hoped
this would improve the supply of grades that are in demand.
"As soon as our project to increase availability of washed peas is
complete, we expect to be able to satisfy all local customer requirements," said
It is feared that if deliveries do not improve to the required capacity
soon, tobacco farmers will be unable to cure their tobacco to the required
standards and could loose millions of dollars in export revenues.
Most farmers require the washed grade coal for curing tobacco. Most tobacco
farmers have started curing their tobacco, which is the major source of foreign
currency to Zimbabwe. Sources in the tobacco industry told The Farmer that
producers wanted the washed grade because they use automatic feeders but in the
current crisis, they might have to do with the low-grade coal dust.
It is said that tobacco farmers usually use an average of 60 rail wagons
per day during this peak period but at the moment they are getting about 40
Some sources in the tobacco industry concurred that there might be some
companies importing coal for their own use. However, the same sources said for
tobacco farmers, importing coal might not be a feasible option considering that
it would cost far more.
"Some companies might import because they can't operate without it but
there are some import restrictions that get in the way of farmers," said the
Tobacco growers have a 20% allocation of foreign currency that they can
only use to directly import fuel. This facility was made available to them since
the country was gripped by the fuel crisis.
Efforts to get a comment from Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA) president,
Mr Kobus Joubert, were unsuccessful but it is understood he was scheduled to
meet Wankie Colliery management. It was not clear when exactly the meeting was
to take place.
Some growers' said they were disappointed by the continued problems in coal
supply as there seemed not to be an improvement despite assurances from Wankie
Colliery, ZTA and NRZ that the problem would be rectified.
Mvurwi farmer arrested after shooting incident
IN AN incident that has baffled colleagues in the farming community, Mvurwi
farmer, Mr Patrick Hyde of Pembi Falls farm, about 100km North of Harare, was
arrested for allegedly shooting and injuring two cattle belonging to war
veterans who have occupied his farm.
Mvurwi police initially charged Mr Hyde with malicious injury to property,
but later changed this to include 12 counts of attempted murder. However, the
attempted murder charges were later dropped.
According to Mvurwi Farmers' Association chairman, Mr Gordon Chance, Mr
Hyde, in consultation with his lawyers, signed a warned and cautioned
He appeared before a Bindura magistrate who remanded him out of custody
after he paid a $20 000 bail. Mr Hyde was remanded to 15 January.
On the charges of malicious injury to property, Mr Hyde is alleged to have
gone to the war veterans' camp at Pembi Falls Farm between 12 and 2:30am and
shot two cattle.
It is not clear why he was being charged with 12 counts of attempted
However, it is understood that these charges emanated from allegations that
Mr Hyde fired eight shots at the shacks on Pembi Falls farm where 12 war
veterans said they were sleeping at the time of the shooting.
It is alleged that after the shooting, the war veterans switched their
torch on and saw Mr Hyde driving off. The war veterans are said to have reported
the incident to Mvurwi police after sunrise leading to Mr Hyde's arrest.
Mr Chance said following Mr Hyde's arrest, police searched for weapons
belonging to Mr Hyde but found nothing. Police were only given the firearms
after they produced firearms records for the Pembi Falls farm. Mr Hyde then
spent a night in police custody before being taken to court.
According to the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) some family members
accompanied Mr Hyde to the police station. It was reported that the situation
became extremely tense while at the police station following and altercation
between war veterans and two Hyde family members.
According to CFU, a Mr Hyde (snr) was assaulted when he intervened to
prevent war veterans from beating Mr Patrick Hyde's wife who is nine months
Efforts to get a comment from Mr Hyde were unsuccessful at the time of
going to press.
Now they're invading private homes
As the New Year began, the Commercial Farmers Union expressed concern at
what it described an "emerging pattern" of war veterans evicting farmers and
their workers from their houses in the continuing violence and intimidation on
about 50 "war veterans", and ZANU-PF supporters, armed with sticks and
axes, this week evicted 30 farm workers from their houses at Chirobi Farm in
Bindura, about 88km from Harare. Last November, they evicted 45 workers and
their families from their houses at the same farm.
While government continues to parcel out pieces of land on designated farms
as part of its "fast track" resettlement programme, the CFU reported haphazard
planting of crops while disruption of normal farming operations has continued
This is despite a widely publicized statement by President Robert Mugabe
over the Christmas Holidays saying farm invasions should cease while authorities
continue with his controversial fast track land reform.
"After a relatively quiet Christmas period in most areas, disruptive
activity is back to the pre-Christmas levels in all areas. All areas report
illegal and generally haphazard planting of crops," said a CFU report this
The union was also concerned by mounting reports of cattle being
deliberately driven off commercial farms onto main roads while poaching and
other illegal activities continue on the farms.
According to the CFU report, a security guard was seriously assaulted by
poachers with pangas on BJB Ranch in Chiredzi. A weapon, which was later
recovered, was confiscated from the guard.
In the Marondera area, 100km east of Harare, a "war veteran" identified
only as Maphosa, accompanied by two other invaders, arrived at Wenimbe Farm and
left a note for the owner with an ultimatum for the farm owner and his workers
to vacate their homes by the next day. Attempts by the police to negotiate a
solution failed as Maphosa continued his threats in the presence of the
In the Midlands Province, according to the CFU, the main problem on most
occupied farms has been the issue of orders to farmers to move their cattle out
of paddocks in which crops have been illegally planted.
And in defiance to Mugabe's statement that there should be no new farm
invasions, in the Nyamandhlovu area of Matabeleland, more invasions occurred at
Highfields Ranch and Cawston Block over the festive season. More than 800
illegal occupiers invaded Highfields and began ploughing illegally.
Police shoot farmer in Mutare
MR Karl Wolf of Gubinchen Farm in Mutare was shot and injured by a police
Support Unit detail who mistook him for a cattle rustler.
Mr Wolf was shot at night while he was helping to drive another farmers'
cattle off the Harare-Mutare highway. The farmer-received gun shot wounds on the
ankle and suffered a broken shoulder after the vehicle he was driving veered off
the road in a hail of bullets.
According to reports from Mutare, 13 rounds were fired through Mr Wolf's
vehicle. Commercial farmers' Union (CFU) regional executive, Ms Judy Wilson,
said the incident happened at around 8.30pm.
She said local police had called on Mr Wolf in his capacity as
neighbourhood watch member to react to a report of stock theft. He went to the
local police sub-station where he was accompanied a police detail and then
proceeded to the farm of the supposed owner of the stolen cattle where two
stockmen joined the group. They proceeded to the main Harare-Mutare Road just
below Christmas Pass where the cattle had been spotted. In the meantime,
Penhalonga police had already deployed three armed officers at the scene to
investigate the stock theft report.
However, after Mr Wolf and his companions saw the cattle, it turned out
they did not belong to the employer of the stockmen as none of them could to
identify the animals. It was then agreed that they should, nonetheless, move the
cattle off the road. It was while they were herding the cattle away from the
road that the armed officers opened fire mistaking Mr Wolf and his companions
for cattle rustlers.
The officer in charge who had dropped off the police details from
Penhalonga heard the shooting and returned to the scene. He later took Mr Wolf
According to Mr Augustine Mutimukulu, one of the stockmen who was with Mr
Wolf at the time of the shooting, the police started firing without
"We shouted that we were also with the police but they continued shooting
and only stopped after Mr Wolf was hit," said Mr Mutimukulu.
He said Mr Wolf asked him and his colleague to join two police details from
the area after someone had reported that the stolen cattle were from their farm.
He said however, the cattle were not from their employer's farm but belonged to
At the time of going to press Mr Wolf was said to be recovering in
'Credit scheme only for those who qualify'- Cottco
THE Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco), the largest cotton marketing
organisation in the country, says only those farmers who meet its qualifying
criteria can access its input credit scheme.
This follows allegations within the agricultural industry that Cottco was
supplying "war veterans" and other squatters who have illegally occupied
commercial farms with inputs through the company's popular input credit
Sources in the cotton industry said all that was required by Cottco for the
applicant to qualify for the input credit scheme was a letter of support.
The sources could not, however, say where such letters were being obtained
from or what the contents of the letters were but added that it seemed the main
concern of the company was to see increased cotton production.
According to Cottco's acting managing director, Mr Cuthbert Chakanyuka,
communal or smallholder farmers were required to form groups of an average 20
members to apply for credit. It is understood the Zimbabwe Farmers' Union (ZFU),
Agritex or local authorities normally supported applications lodged by such
"A group's application is normally supported by ZFU, Agritex or a local
authority official. Preference is given to farmers who have cotton growing
experience," he said.
Mr Chakanyuka said there were also members of a group of growers referred
to as the 'Gold Club' who are assisted on a stand-alone basis. Such farmers, he
said, will be growing a minimum of four hectares.
"This is done to cater for the needs which are more than those of farmers
growing less than four hectares," said Mr Chakanyuka.
The allegations that Cottco was providing credit to the farm invaders seem
to have been fuelled by the government's announcement that it would be providing
$900 million to assist smallholder farmers, including the newly resettled under
the fast track programme in securing inputs.
Of the $900 million, the government said it would channel $300 million to
those interested in growing cotton through Cottco's input credit scheme.
On its own Cottco has set aside $1,3 billion for loans to farmers both
large scale and communal and it is anticipated that 60 000 farmers will be
financed this season.
Mr Chakanyuka said they were projecting a 10% increase in cotton production
mainly because more than three quarters of the country had planted the SZ9314
seed variety which is higher yielding than varieties grown last year. He said
during this time in the previous season about one third of the country was
planted with this variety.
He also said most of the communal participants of Cottco's inputs scheme
had increased hectarages put to cotton and there was a lot of enthusiasm to grow
cotton by communal farmers.
Sources said one of the main reasons for the increased cotton hectarage was
that many communal farmers had decided to reduce maize hectarages in preference
to cotton. This was because they were disappointed by the Grain Marketing
Board's (GMB) failure to pay them in time for maize delivered during the last
Poisoning the neighbourhood
George Soros, the international financier, has become the latest to lambast
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki for his failure to act more firmly with
regard to the conduct of his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe.
Soros says Mugabe's policies have hurt the South African economy yet South
Africa continues to support him, citing the recent agreement between the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority and South Africa's state power monopoly,
Eskom, that will see the price of Zimbabwe's power imports from its southern
neighbour cut by a quarter.
"It (Zimbabwe) is doing damage to South Africa, yet South Africa continues
to help Mugabe stay in power,'' said Soros in an interview with Business Report
newspaper. "I understand the position that he (Mbeki) felt that, through
constructive engagement, he would be able to persuade Mugabe to modify his
behaviour. I give him full credit for having tried, but clearly he has not
Soros says he intends to advise Mbeki that pressure "may be better now than
Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis has been blamed as one of the key
causes of the weakening of the rand by about a quarter against the US dollar so
far this year.
"Mugabe has poisoned the neighbourhood. This has done considerable damage
to South Africa,'' Soros said. "This is one point where I am actually critical
of the policy followed by President Mbeki.''
The first reports of soyabean rust for this season have been confirmed from
the trap crops at Rattray Arnold Research Station, Enterprise and in Glendale.
Farmers are strongly advised to spray their crops preventatively at first
flowering (50 to 60 days after planting), and then, either apply two further
sprays at a 21-day interval, in areas of known high severity of the disease, or
again at approx. 90 days after planting, in areas where rust has previously
caused little damage."
Riots rock Kadoma
Daily News 1/11/01 10:33:49 AM (GMT +2)
Lloyd Mudiwa in Kadoma
THE police unleashed brutal force yesterday to quell peaceful
demonstrations that turned violent in Kadoma yesterday.
The riots were sparked off by residents protesting against a 152
percent increase in rates in the agricultural and mining town, 141km south-west
The riots resulted in closure of businesses in the town.
police, with reinforcements from Chegutu and the Police Support Unit, sealed off
roads from the suburbs of Ngezi, Waverley, Rimuka and Rio Tinto, leading to the
town centre .
Some residents, somehow, found their way into town, but they
were quickly dispersed by the riot police, who set dogs on them, fired teargas
and assaulted them.
A group of five overzealous policemen beat up a
colleague in plainclothes at Msasa Filling Station in town, unaware that he was
one of them. They only stopped after he produced his official identity card.
The police patrolled the city¹s suburbs dispersing any groups on sight and
the residents reacted by barricading the roads with rocks and dustbins.
police forced people from their homes and the streets to remove the
In Waverley suburb, nine policemen in a Santana,
ZRP160R, accompanied by another 10 officers in a Mazda
B1600 from Chegutu (ZRP137M),
forced a group of about 20 residents,
including women and children, to remove barricades from Bhonda Road, and
assaulted them whenever they stopped to rest. One man slipped and fell as eight
policemen descended on him. Another group was forced to crawl on the tarmac for
moving slower than the police officers¹ brisk pace. They would also be beaten
In Rimuka, policemen in a Santana (ZRP186D) forced people out of their
homes and passers-by and commandeered them to remove rubbish blocking Chaitezvi
Efforts to get comment from the police failed yesterday after the
deputy officer commanding the district, identified only as Superintendent
Kapare, referred questions to the Mashonaland West province headquarters in
Chinhoyi or police spokesman, Chief Superintendent Wayne Bvudzijena.
Inspector Ernest Muchenjekwa, of Mashonaland West, said the police had used
reasonable force “because when people barricade roads, that does not show
displeasure with rate increases”.
He said 22 people were arrested and would
be charged with inciting public disorder. They were expected to appear in court
Muchenjekwa said the police reacted after the residents barricaded
roads, including the highway linking Kadoma to Harare and Bulawayo. He confirmed
that “a large number” of riot police was deployed.
He said: “The deployment
paid dividends because there were no nasty
of the Kadoma Ratepayers and Residents¹ Association, said the residents
spontaneously demonstrated against the failure by council to consult residents
before drawing up this year¹s budget.
He said although the association tried
to call off the demonstration,
following a meeting with the council
officials and the police on Tuesday night, residents chose to go ahead with the
Tawengwa said despite acknowledging receipt of the residents¹
intention to Demonstrate, Kapare said the police did not have enough resources
in case the demonstration turned violent.
“Two members of the Zanu PF
central committee, one of them a war veteran, accused us of being members of the
opposition and threatened to set ex-combatants on us,” claimed Tawengwa.
Malakai Chidimu, the Town Clerk, said: “I cannot comment on this. It is
political and not administrative.”
Efforts to get comment from Ernest
Shamuyarira, the Executive Mayor, failed as he was said to be unwell.
ZUJ to take police chief to court over harassment
Daily News 1/11/01 9:55:34 AM (GMT +2)
BASILDON Peta, the secretary- general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists
(ZUJ) yesterday said his organisation intends to take the police commissioner,
Augustine Chihuri to court to compel him to investigate cases of harassment of
journalists by war veterans.
Peta said: “We are completely outraged by the continued assaults of
journalists by self-styled independence war veterans.
“In all the cases
recorded so far there has been very little police action.
We are therefore
left with no option but to consider court action against Chihuri to force him to
investigate these abuses.”
His comments followed a drama at the Harare
magistrate’s court on Tuesday when 11 of Joseph Chinotimba’s body guards
attacked Alfred Chagonda, a Zimbabwe Inter Africa News Agency (Ziana) reporter
in a case of mistaken identity.
The men grabbed Chagonda, 26, by his shirt,
pushed him to the wall and
surrounded him, shouting that he was Conrad
Nyamutata, a reporter with The Daily News.
They accused Nyamutata of writing
“lies” about Chinotimba.
Chinotimba, 43, the self-proclaimed
commander-in-chief of farm invasions, had been escorted to court as a witness to
an attempted murder case in which he is the complainant.
Mukwazhi, The Daily News photographer was yesterday harassed by prison guards
when he tried to take a picture of Agnes Rusike, a war veteran who leads farm
invasions in the Norton farming area. Rusike was appearing in court on charges
of theft and malicious injury to property.
Three weeks ago Julius Zava, The
Daily News deputy editor was assaulted by a police officer at the Harare Central
Police Station for allegedly writing stories critical of the government.
Chengetai Zvauya, a reporter at The Standard, was beaten up by war veterans
at the Zanu PF headquarters last year.
Peta said: “We can safely conclude
that the police have condoned violence against journalists. Several appeals for
action have not yielded results. We are therefore left with no option but to
consider court action.
“We want an order compelling Chihuri to offer a
24-hour police protection to targeted reporters like Nyamutata. It is sad that
we have to consider such action but there is nothing we can do in view of the
state-sponsored terrorism against the media,’’ Peta said.
Rusike pleads for bail
Daily News 1/11/01 10:01:08 AM (GMT +2)
AGNES Rusike, 40, the leader of farm invasions in the Norton area, facing
charges involving theft and destruction of property worth $61 000, yesterday
pleaded with Norton magistrate, Elizabeth Chaponda, to release her on bail,
saying she had repented away from Parklands Farm.
Rusike then applied to the High Court for bail but her application was
Chaponda said she would make a ruling on the fresh bail
On other charges, Rusike is being accused of organising a
group of war
veterans to chase away policemen trying to arrest two
The men, still at large, face allegations of
stealing maize from the farm.
Rusike also faces other charges of
contravening the Miscellaneous Act, theft and malicious injury to property.
War veterans, led by Rusike, occupied the farm in May last year and have
vowed not to budge until they have been allocated land.
Prison officers, police attack Daily News photographer
Daily News 1/11/01 10:02:53 AM (GMT +2)
FIVE prison officers and a policeman pounced on Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, a
photographer with The Daily News, when he tried to take pictures of Agnes
Rusike, a leader of farm invasions in the Norton area, as she arrived at the
Norton Magistrates’ court yesterday.
The men rushed at Mukwazhi and demanded that he surrender the film to
them, threatening to arrest the photographer if he declined.
“Who gave you permission to take photographs here? You are way out of
said one prison officer as he seized Mukwazhi’s hand.
Mukwazhi refused to surrender his camera, the men teamed up against him, took
the camera and removed the film. Then they handed back the camera.
the officers then exposed the film to direct sunlight.
Elizabeth Chaponda intervened and said: “I do not expect such behaviour from you
“If you had a problem with the photographer, you are aware of the
procedures. You should have told me and I would have ordered him not to take
pictures if I deemed it fit.”
She said what the officers had done typified
the lawlessness prevailing in the country and she would not tolerate it even
from the police.
Isaac Manheruse, a Norton police spokesman, confirmed a
report had been made and a docket, R B No: 579028, opened. Manheruse said the
case was now under investigation.
Frankie Meki, the spokesman for the
Zimbabwe Prison Services, described the incident as unfortunate and mischievous
on the part of the officers.
Meki said: “We do not have jurisdiction on land
outside our institutions. I am baffled why the officers did that. It is only
inside a prison institution that cameras brought in by anyone without prior
arrangements with our authorities can be confiscated.”
The exposed film is
still in possession of the prison officers.
The incident comes a day after
11 of Joseph Chinotimba’s bodyguards
attacked Alfred Chagonda, a reporter
with Ziana, at the Harare Magistrates’
Court after they mistook him for
Conrad Nyamutata, a senior reporter with The Daily News.
Chinotimba, 43, a
self-proclaimed commander-in-chief of farm invasions, had been escorted to court
as a witness in an attempted murder case in which he is the complainant.
Coalition slams US crackdown on immigrants
Daily News 1/11/01 10:12:46 AM (GMT +2)
Advocates for immigrants in the United States have called Andrew Mutizira,
who died while trying to sneak back into the country last week, the latest
casualty of the heavy-handed US crackdown policy on immigrants.
One strategy of the stepped-up enforcement policy is to closely
scrutinize legal immigrants when they return to the US after leaving for
whatever reason, they said.
“Many people find themselves feeling very
desperate,” said Margie McHugh of the New York Immigrant Coalition. “It's a
horrible, horrible, dehumanizing system.”
The heartbroken widow of the
Zimbabwean crushed to death at the US-Canadian border tearfully identified his
mangled body at a mortuary on Monday.
Chenai Mutizira was making final
arrangements to claim the body of her
36-year-old husband, who was killed
when he tried to hide in the wheel base of a bus to avoid detection by border
guards on 2 January.
“It's impossible not to feel horrified at what she is
going through,” said a police official who spoke to Chenai on Tuesday.
Mutizira, legally in the country, was a student in the US, and had gone from
his home in Texas to Canada to pick up his two children, Kudakwashe, 9, and
Ropafadzo, 7, who had come in from Harare.
He tried to drive back into the
country with the two children and his
sister's brother when suspicious
immigration agents questioned them.
The border guards barred the
brother-in-law after he claimed to be an
American citizen. They revoked
Mutizira's right to return to the US after he admitted that he knew the
brother-in-law was lying.
He then tried to slip across the border by hiding
in the undercarriage of the bus, but died when the driver started up the coach.
Immigration officials on Tuesday again said they shared the family's grief
over the tragic death of Mutizira, but insisted that immigration a