Whipped up by state propaganda, several hundred thousand people crowded the gates of the "people's palace" government hall where the dead dictator lay in state.
A delirious uproar greeted Kabila's staunchest ally, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. As he walked up the palace steps, groups dressed in cloth imprinted with Kabila's portrait chanted his name.
Either side of Mr Mugabe came the presidents of Angola and Namibia, also allies in a war that in two and a half years has displaced more than 2m people and split Congo.
Though Kabila was the man who in 1997 ousted the longtime dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, he was not mourned immediately after he was shot last week by an alleged lone bodyguard.
People blamed him for impoverishing the huge central African country by waging war against rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Mr Mugabe also stands accused at home of wasting Zimbabwe's resources on the war.
But since Monday, when Kabila's body was flown back from his southern homeland, the state machine has worked up a wave of nationalism and xenophobia among Kinshasa's poverty-stricken people.
"We will kill the white assassins!" chanted the hordes outside the palace, acting out a mock lynching for the motorcades of western diplomats. The mix of arrivals also included representatives from Iran, Cuba, Sudan and Libya.
The apparently smooth takeover of Kabila's son Joseph, 31, who was recently under house arrest accused of plotting a coup, has raised suspicions of a conspiracy. But yesterday Congolese society was on parade for the funeral, tribes men's drums competing with at least three military bands. The new president, a slight man, greeted the dignitaries impassively. Briefly he embraced Mr Mugabe. Zimbabwean and Angolan soldiers surrounded them, machine guns pointed at diplomats who sat sweating in black garb.
"We need the Angolan soldiers at this time," said a Congolese adjutant, Fidel Mombatu. "The new president prefers them because they give better protection. He is not sure about all Congolese."
Gaetan Kakudji, the interior minister who many analysts see as the political kingmaker, brought the funeral mass to a close. "Kabila put together a process of democratisation which was going to end in fair and transparent elections, but that was brutally ended by this aggression," he claimed.
The crowds were kept well back by Angolan and Zimbabwean troops in armoured vehicles before Joseph Kabila left for the national palace where his father was interred.
Harare. January 25, 2001
Zimbabwe's judiciary on collision course with executive
The government accuses the
judiciary of bias while, but is accused of lawlessness in turn
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said the judiciary has placed itself
on a collision course with other arms of government and earned itself the
"notoriety that it constitutes the main opposition to the ruling party."
Following a series of verdicts last year against the government's
controversial land reforms, the judiciary has come under persistent fire and
even threats of physical harm from war veterans who have told them to resign or
be forced out of office.
Composed of two white judges, two black judges and one Asiatic judge, the
Supreme Court has been accused of racism and bias.
The accusations over the past year have degenerated into anger, leading to
war veterans invading and disrupting a Supreme Court session and issuing threats
of violence to the judges if they do not resign.
"We must begin to exorcise from all our institutions the racist ghost of
(former Rhodesian leader) Ian Smith and we do so by phasing out his disciples
and sympathisers," said the justice minister.
judiciary, however, enjoys the backing of the legal community, which says courts
simply interpret the country's laws made by the same politicians who are now
heaping blame on them.
"The Law Society has not seen any evidence of bias or predisposition on the
part of our courts," said the Law Society of Zimbabwe.
A ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party
lawmaker, Phillip Chiyangwa, said he was planning to introduce a motion in
parliament next month to impeach chief justice Anthony Gubbay of the Supreme
But the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a non-governmental
organisation pushing to create a more democratic constitution, says it finds it
absurd that the government is now crying foul over its own laws.
"It is parliament itself, dominated by ZANU-PF, that made the laws regarding
the procedure for land acquisition. Yet the same government is not following its
laws in acquiring land," said NCA representative Douglas Mwonzora.
The storming of the Supreme Court by some 200 war veterans in November shows
"there is little or no evidence left that the rule of law will be upheld by some
political and other groups enjoying power at the moment," said the Law Society.
Despite the mounting pressure on the judiciary, analysts say it is not easy
for the judges to be removed from office.
Greg Limmington, a University of Zimbabwe political scientist on
constitutional law says it is "very difficult for judges to be removed" and this
is to protect them from undue influence.
Judges are appointed by the president and can only resign or retire. They can
be removed from office on grounds of physical of mental infirmity that
incapacitate them from discharging their duties.
Fearing for their lives following threats of violence from war veterans,
Supreme Court judges this week met with the Vice President Simon Muzenda to seek
The president's office said the meeting discussed a "range of issues about
the welfare of the judiciary and the administration of justice in the country."
President Robert Mugabe has repeatedly vowed that no court ruling would stop
the government from implementing the controversial land reforms because the
issue was political and would only be solved by political means. - AFP
fter issuing verdicts in favour of white commercial farmers, the judiciary in Zimbabwe has incurred the wrath of politicians and war veterans who want judges out of office for alleged racism.
-- The Mail&Guardian, January 25, 2001.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said the judiciary has placed itself on a collision course with other arms of government and earned itself the "notoriety that it constitutes the main opposition to the ruling party."
Following a series of verdicts last year against the government's controversial land reforms, the judiciary has come under persistent fire and even threats of physical harm from war veterans who have told them to resign or be forced out of office.
Composed of two white judges, two black judges and one Asiatic judge, the Supreme Court has been accused of racism and bias.
The accusations over the past year have degenerated into anger, leading to war veterans invading and disrupting a Supreme Court session and issuing threats of violence to the judges if they do not resign.
"We must begin to exorcise from all our institutions the racist ghost of (former Rhodesian leader) Ian Smith and we do so by phasing out his disciples and sympathisers," said the justice minister.
The judiciary, however, enjoys the backing of the legal community, which says courts simply interpret the country's laws made by the same politicians who are now heaping blame on them.
"The Law Society has not seen any evidence of bias or predisposition on the part of our courts," said the Law Society of Zimbabwe.
A ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party lawmaker, Phillip Chiyangwa, said he was planning to introduce a motion in parliament next month to impeach chief justice Anthony Gubbay of the Supreme Court.
But the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a non-governmental organisation pushing to create a more democratic constitution, says it finds it absurd that the government is now crying foul over its own laws.
"It is parliament itself, dominated by ZANU-PF, that made the laws regarding the procedure for land acquisition. Yet the same government is not following its laws in acquiring land," said NCA representative Douglas Mwonzora.
The storming of the Supreme Court by some 200 war veterans in November shows "there is little or no evidence left that the rule of law will be upheld by some political and other groups enjoying power at the moment," said the Law Society.
Despite the mounting pressure on the judiciary, analysts say it is not easy for the judges to be removed from office.
Greg Limmington, a University of Zimbabwe political scientist on constitutional law says it is "very difficult for judges to be removed" and this is to protect them from undue influence.
Judges are appointed by the president and can only resign or retire. They can be removed from office on grounds of physical of mental infirmity that incapacitate them from discharging their duties.
Fearing for their lives following threats of violence from war veterans, Supreme Court judges this week met with the Vice President Simon Muzenda to seek protection.
The president's office said the meeting discussed a "range of issues about the welfare of the judiciary and the administration of justice in the country."
President Robert Mugabe has repeatedly vowed that no court ruling would stop the government from implementing the controversial land reforms because the issue was political and would only be solved by political means. - AFP
Zimbabwe in market plunge|
By Tony Hawkins in Harare
Published: January 25 2001 18:31GMT | Last Updated: January 25 2001 20:21GMT
Money market interest rates in Zimbabwe plunged to 10-year lows on Thursday amid warnings from bankers and market operators that the government-engineered policy to drive interest rates down will backfire.
In the last two months, yields on 91-day Treasury bills have collapsed from more than 60 per cent to 15.5 per cent on Thursday.
Officials make no secret of the fact that they want to drive market rates well below inflation of 55 per cent so that the government can issue medium - and long-term stocks at hugely negative real interest rates to finance its surging domestic debt.
The debt more than doubled last year to over Z$160bn (US$2.9bn) and almost half the 2001 budget is earmarked to pay interest on debt.
Domestic debt now accounts for 50 per cent of GDP.
Market unhappiness with the government's policy was underlined on Thursday when the authorities rejected Z$17 bn of applications for a Z$12bn one year Treasury bill tender, because the yields were too high.
They ended up accepting just Z$2bn worth of bids at a yield of over 40 per cent. "This means that the market would not subscribe for five year paper at 25 per cent, unless forced to by the authorities," one dealer said.
While many in business are delighted with the interest rate policy, which has forced banks to cut their prime lending rates from 55 per cent and above to 40 per cent, economists warn that the new strategy will increase pressure on the exchange rate, making early devaluation inevitable.
The Zimbabwe dollar has been held at Z$55 to the US dollar for more than three months now, despite an IMF warning that the currency is at least 50 per cent overvalued.
In the parallel market, the Zimbabwe dollar is trading at Z$75 to Z$80 to the US dollar - an effective premium of about 30 per cent - and tobacco exporters say there must be a large devaluation before the tobacco sales start on April 24.
Inflation, which averaged 56 per cent in 2000, is forecast by the government at 70 per cent during 2001, while the IMF has warned that unless Harare tightens its fiscal and monetary policies, inflation could reach 155 per cent by December.
Aside from business borrowers, the main beneficiary of the government's interest rate policy has been the stock market.
Industrial share prices have risen more than a third in the last 10 days as investors switch out of the money market and into equities.
Land: govt goes to The Hague
Moves are underway in the government and some civic bodies sympathetic to its stance on the land question to appeal to the International Court of Justice to force the British government to compensate black Zimbabweans for land forcibly taken more than 100 years ago by Cecil Rhodes, who acted with the blessings of the British monarch. Research into the matter and how it could successfully be argued at The Hague are already underway. No date has yet been set on when the matter will be brought to the courts.
Government spokesman Jonathan Moyo said yesterday that while the government had resolved to settle the ages-old land dispute in Zimbabwe through its fast-track land resettlement programme, pressure was mounting on the government to take up the issue of reparations for land occupied by the British to the International Court of Justice. "We are convinced in the principle of natural justice that if we are compensating today those who benefited yesterday, then it follows that we must compensate those who suffered yesterday," Moyo told the Financial Gazette. If and when the matter is eventually brought to The Hague, it would be the first of its kind where a government sought reparations of this nature from a former colonial power.
From The Financial Gazette, 25 January
Chidyausiku to replace Gubbay
High Court judge president Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku is poised to take over as Zimbabwe's new chief justice to succeed incumbent Justice Anthony Gubbay whose term of office ends early next year, authoritative government sources said this week. The sources said as long as Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Information Minister Jonathan Moyo remained in the government at the time of the expiry of Justice Gubbay's term around April next year, Justice Chidyausiku was virtually assured of being appointed the new head of the judiciary.
The sources linked the two ministers to behind-the-scenes manoeuvres aimed at elevating Justice Chidyausiku to accomplish Chinamasa's declared goal of "indigenising the judiciary". Even if the efforts of Chinamasa and Moyo to convince President Robert Mugabe and the Judicial Services Commission to appoint Chidyausiku failed, the sources said the judge president would still be elevated to the Supreme Court to replace Justice Nicholas McNally, who was born in 1931 and is nearing the maximum retirement age of 70. Justice Gubbay also reaches the maximum retirement age of 70 early next year. Justice Chidyausiku would then be replaced by Judge Paddington Garwe as head of the High Court.
One source warned that the appointment as chief justice of the judge president would be widely seen as a political decision that might create divisions within the judiciary and create negative public perceptions of the administration of justice in Zimbabwe. Although Justice Chidyausiku is eligible for appointment as chief justice, the sources said if the appointment were to be done on seniority and merit, the natural appointees would either be Justice Wilson Sandura, 58, or Justice Simba Muchechetere, 56 - the Supreme Court's two highly respected black judges. Justice Chidyausiku tops the list of judges whose judgments have been overturned by the Supreme Court because of their defectiveness.
The sources ruled out a possibility of another white judge succeeding Gubbay, saying the government's new public offensive against white Zimbabweans prevented this. This assumption automatically puts the other current justices of the Supreme Court - McNally and Ali Ebrahim, an Indian, out of the contest even if Justice Gubbay, because of some natural cause, were to be out of his job before his term expires.
Justice Chidyausiku, who served as a deputy minister in the ministries of Justice and Local Government before he became attorney-general in the early 1980s, was appointed judge president in 1997 ahead of two more experienced judges, Justice George Smith and Justice Ferguson Blackie. But the sources said his appointment at the time was somewhat understandable because both the High and Supreme courts would have ended up with two white heads since Justice Gubbay had already become chief justice in 1990.
The sources said the ruling ZANU PF party had dropped its bid to have Justice Gubbay fired because there was no legal basis of doing so. Even half-hearted attempts to have the chief justice impeached by Chinhoyi MP Philip Chiyangwa were doomed to fail from the start because Parliament has no power to remove a chief justice. Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku said Chiyangwa's motion, tabled late last year, was "completely stupid" because it had no legal basis and because Parliament had no constitutional power to impeach the head of the judiciary. "I know Chiyangwa is not a lawyer but he should at least seek legal advice before he introduces motions he does not comprehend," Madhuku told the Financial Gazette.
The only way left for the government, the sources said, was to wait for Justice Gubbay's term to expire next year and then replace him with a candidate of its choice. "The recent public attack of Justice Gubbay by Justice Chidyausiku should be seen in its right context - that is in terms of well calculated behind-the-scenes manoeuvres to entrench the judge president's candidature for the top legal job," said a senior justice ministry official. He was referring to a statement by Justice Chidyausiku earlier this month when he accused Justice Gubbay of inviting white farmers to challenge the government in court over the land issue…
From The Times (UK), 25 January
Angola 'had tired of Kabila'
Kinshasa - The Angolan Government encouraged the murder of Laurent Kabila, sources here said yesterday, claiming that the DRC's main ally had tired of the ineffectual leader, who had brought neither peace nor prosperity to his country, and was endangering its interests. Paying his respects to the dead President this week, President Dos Santos of Angola stood at the open casket without any show of emotion. However, sources said that the killers would not have dared to carry out the assassination without his say-so.
Invited into the republic by Kabila to help to protect him against rebel movements, Angola - unlike the other two DRC allies, Zimbabwe and Namibia - is not primarily interested in money. President Dos Santos wants to ensure that the Kinshasa Government does not support the Angolan rebel group Unita, as happened under its former leader, President Mobutu. Yesterday MPs unanimously passed a motion approving Major-General Joseph Kabila, 31, as the new President. He will be sworn in today.
From IRIN (UN), 24 January
No SADC summit this week
As President Laurent-Desire Kabila of the DRC was buried in Kinshasa on Tuesday, South African foreign affairs officials told IRIN that there were no plans for a SADC summit on the Congo crisis in Maputo this week. "There is no such planned summit," department spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said. "No such meeting can take place until all the relevant heads of state have been consulted." News reports suggested that regional leaders would gather in Mozambique on Thursday. South Africa is the current chair of SADC.
Mamoepa said that following events in the DRC
in recent days there was "most certainly" increased urgency among the various
parties for the implementation of the Lusaka peace accords. But news reports on
Monday quoted Congolese cabinet minister Mawampanga Mwana Nanga as saying that
the Kinshasa government would do anything to end the war in the country, but
that a peace summit should not be rushed. "People should not be rushing into
calling summits. How many summits did President Kabila attend and nothing came
out. Why should we now rush, thinking that the Rwandans would become angels," he
|25/01/2001 08:26 - (SA)|
Zimbabwe's 91 000 public teachers chose to observe the strike as a stayaway from work, and generally avoided the planned demonstrations, Zimbabwe Teachers Association president Leondard Nkala said.
The strike is expected to last three days, Nkala said.
But most government offices in Harare remained open.
Organisers had hoped to gather public workers for a rally at the Public Service Administration (PSA) headquarters in central Harare, but only a handful of people had turned out an hour after the scheduled start.
Veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war had surrounded government offices in the provincial capital of Masvingo to ensure that the strike did not turn into a political protest, state radio reported.
Militant war vets have become a political entity in Zimbabwe, spearheading violent invasions of 1 600 white-owned farms to push for land reform and staging rallies in support of President Robert Mugabe's government.
Public workers' groups decided to strike after the government awarded them a 15 percent cost of living adjustment, PSA executive secretary Peter Chiviru said. Workers want a raise of at least 68 percent.
Chiviro said public workers believe the government has failed to negotiate in good faith on the amount of the raise.
"What we are saying is the government must create a conducive environment for negotiation," Chiviro said.
The government has insisted on sticking to its 11 billion Zimbabwe dollar (R1.5 billion) budget for salaries, meaning the cost of living raise could not go higher than 15 percent, Chiviro said.
"The government must not be rigid in terms of the 11 billion dollars, the government must be flexible," Chiviro said.
Last year civil servants won raises of between 69 and 90 percent on a sliding scale, according to the state-run Ziana news agency. - Sapa-AFP
|25/01/2001 16:57 - (SA)|
"There is intimidation going on, but to me intimidating people cannot solve the problem," said Givemore Masongorera, president of the Public Service Administration (PSA).
He said government workers fear they will be dismissed from work if they join the strike or stage any sort of protest.
"Some are actually being told to return to their offices" when they try to meet with other strikers, Masongorera said.
Most of Zimbabwe's 91 000 teachers, representing the largest sector of public employees, continued to observe the three-day strike by staying away from work, Zimbabwe Teachers Association president Leonard Nkala said.
"People are very much aware of the possible consequences," Nkala said. "They know a lot of harsh things may happen. It's a matter of life and death, because they are determined to protest that they were shoddily treated."
In the provincial capital of Masvingo, veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war manhandled and made a citizen's arrest of three striking teachers over the strike, state-run media reported.
The teachers were released as soon as they were handed over to police, the state-run Herald newspaper said.
The war vets had surrounded government offices in Masvingo to ensure that the strike did not turn into a political protest.
Militant war vets have become a political entity in Zimbabwe, spearheading violent invasions of 1 600 white-owned farms to push for land reform and staging rallies in support of President Robert Mugabe's government.
Workers' groups could not say how many people were observing the strike. Many government offices remained open, though some had reduced staff and some employees sat in their offices and refused to work, the workers' groups said.
Civil servants decided to strike after the government awarded them a 15 percent cost of living adjustment, PSA executive secretary Peter Chiviru said. Workers want a raise of at least 68 percent.
The cost of living in Zimbabwe has soared during the last year, with inflation running at more than 55 percent, according to the Reserve Bank.
Last year civil servants won raises of between 69 and 90 percent on a sliding scale, after workers threatened to strike. - Sapa-AFP
Thousands Throng Emigration Agency
January 25, 2001
Posted to the web January 25, 2001
Njabulo Ncube, Bureau Chief
More than 3 000 Zimbabweans of all races, searching for a new Eldorado and tired of increasing poverty and lawlessness, thronged the five-star Bulawayo Club last week to learn about emigrating to New Zealand.
The up-market club was so packed with hopeful emigrants, mostly black business executives, lawyers, journalists, technicians, nurses, doctors and unemployed youths, that hundreds had to be locked out of the venue and told to try their luck the next day.
"It seems the future is extremely bleak for most of us as long as the present government is still in power," said Andrew Chirwa, a 30- year-old male nursing student at a government hospital in Bulawayo.
His net monthly salary after punitive tax deductions is $7 000 and he can barely feed a family of four and its two dogs.
Shoving his way past other hopefuls anxious to reach the top table and hear what options New Zealand has for restive Zimbabweans, Chirwa told the Financial Gazette: "Our remuneration is appalling when compared to other professionals in the same field in South Africa and Botswana.
"But I can't go to South Africa because they hate foreigners, especially Zimbabweans. The United Kingdom, a favourite of most Zimbabweans, is a non-starter due to harsh immigration laws."
Although London has denied adopting a policy that aims to keep Zimbabweans out of the UK, it is increasingly difficult for most Zimbabweans to gain entry into that country.
Zimbabweans top the list of deportees from the UK, with about 47 denied entry every month.
"It is wise to try these new places such as New Zealand," Chirwa said. "They might turn out to be impressive."
For other would-be emigrants who flocked to the club, finding a country that respects the rule of law and where they will not live in fear for their lives is their main priority.
Although most Zimbabweans are concerned about their personal safety, white Zimbabweans - often the targets of hate speech by government officials that has in the past incited violence - are most anxious to find a safe haven.
The murder of white farmers on commercial farms occupied by independence war veterans and other ruling ZANU PF supporters and the failure by police to take action has seen many farmers relocating to neighbouring countries.
More Zimbabweans are preparing to leave the country before local political parties begin campaigning for the 2002 presidential elections, which are expected to be hotly contested and as bloody as last year's polls.
Several opposition party members, rural peasants, farmers and farm workers were killed, raped and beaten in the run-up to the historic June 2000 parliamentary elections.
A maize farmer and rancher who attended the meeting at the Bulawayo Club said he felt insecure on his property in Nyamandlovu, northwest of here, hence his intention to move to New Zealand before the presidential poll campaign gets into top gear shortly.
He told the Financial Gazette: "If I get the slightest opportunity, I will certainly jump on the first flight to New Zealand or any other place that respects the rule of law, irrespective of the prohibitive financial costs involved."
"I'm fed up," he said, referring to activities of the veterans who have forced him off his land.
The veterans have already killed one farmer in Nyamandlovu, Martin Olds, who was murdered last April.
The maize farmer said his safety was not guaranteed in the farming area, where the veterans are keeping a vigil.
"The problem in Zimbabwe at the moment is that you never know when the veterans will strike and grab my farm without compensation," he said. "It's very insecure in the area.
"So it's better to start scouting for greener pastures. New Zealand could be an ideal place. The situation on the farms especially will resemble a war zone come 2002."
Themba Nkomo, a civil servant in rural Matabeleland North, echoed the farmer's sentiments: "I don't want to be another statistic as Robert Mugabe desperately tries to cling to power. I want out."
Bernard Walsh, managing director of Genesis Group Limited, the Auckland-based company that hosted and presented last week's seminar, said those who made the decision to leave Zimbabwe for New Zealand would have to fork out $120 000 each.
This would be used to pay for the processing of documentation, buy an air ticket and finance other costs associated with leaving Zimbabwe to settle in New Zealand.
Walsh, himself a former Bulawayo resident, emigrated to New Zealand in April because of the harsh economic and volatile political climate in Zimbabwe.
"I left the country because I felt insecure," he told an anxious audience.
"To me, New Zealand offers vast opportunities for most professionals in Zimbabwe. It is not very different working there."
HARARE: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel met for more than one hour in Harare late Wednesday, to discuss the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Mugabe did not speak to journalists before or after the meeting, but Michel described their conversation as substantial.
"We discussed the problem in the (DR) Congo and analysed responses to scenarios that could develop. Our analysis were pointed in the same direction. A certain number of steps should be taken," Michel said, without providing details.
Belgium's role in resolving the conflict could be to relay information and proposals, Michel said.
"We are interested to remain in close contact," he said.
Michel spoke to his Zimbabwean counterpart Stan Mudenge upon his arrival at the airport in Harare, but the two did not make any public remarks afterward.
Michel is on a tour of Africa to meet with leaders of nations and rebel groups involved in the protracted war.
He met with new DRC leader Joseph Kabila on Tuesday in Kinshasa, a week after Laurent Kabila, his father, was fatally shot by a bodyguard.
Kabila was proclaimed president by the DRC's provisional parliament on Wednesday, and was due to take the oath of office before the Supreme Court on Thursday.
Michel met his Angolan counterpart. On Thursday he is expected to meet with leaders of Rwanda and Uganda and with DRC rebel leaders. He cancelled a stop in Zambia because of time constraints.
Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe have deployed troops to the DRC to support the government in fending off rebel movements backed by Rwanda and Uganda. (AFP)
HARARE: Leaders of Zimbabwe's major Christian churches offered on Thursday to mediate between the government and white farmers to resolve the crisis caused by the president's controversial land reform scheme.
"While the church is supportive of these efforts towards economic justice, we note with great concern the rise of a culture of violence that has accompanied the exercise," Methodist Bishop Cephas Makandi told a news conference.
"The church calls for immediate efforts to defuse the racial, political and social polarisation that has characterised the process" of land reform, he said.
"This would be best served by the convening of a national round table involving all stake holders to discuss this process. The church commits itself to facilitate the convening of this round table as a matter of urgency," Makandi added.
The bishop spoke for the Heads of Christian Denominations, which represents most Christian churches and religious umbrella groups in Zimbabwe.
Church leaders have previously offered to mediate in the land reform crisis, but the government has thus far snubbed their efforts.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has launched a controversial scheme to seize about five million hectares (12.6 million acres) of land from white farmers and resettle it with poor black farmers.
The land reform scheme, which seeks to redress colonial-era inequalities, has been accompanied by violent invasions of white farms led by militant veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war.
The war vets and their followers have been tied to political violence during the last 11 months. At least 34 people were killed and thousands more were beaten in political violence ahead of parliamentary elections held in June.
Two more have since been killed in violence surrounding by-elections. (AFP)
|War vets besiege The Daily News|
1/24/01 9:44:59 AM (GMT +2)
Hordes of Zanu PF
supporters, bused into Harare in the name of a solidarity protest for the slain
Congolese leader Laurent Kabila, yesterday marched through the city centre
howling profanities and insults at The Daily News.
They were led by Chenjerai
Hitler Hunzvi, the wayward Member of Parliament for Chikomba, and Joseph
Chinotimba, a council security guard.
Harare seems to have failed to discipline Chinotimba for his prolonged absenteeism while on Zanu PF intimidation assignments during the past 12 months.
While on a similar stint yesterday, he led a crowd that damaged two windows at The Daily News offices with bolts released from a catapult and beat up passers-by suspected to be hostile to Zanu PF.
They blocked traffic, harassed journalists, motorists and members of the white community who failed to respond to Zanu PF slogans.
Julius Zava, the newspaper’s Deputy News Editor, Sam Munyavi, a reporter, and Patience Ukama, a journalism student, were cornered along Samora Machel Avenue. The gang grabbed Zava’s hand and tried to wrestle him away from a police officer. They finally caught up with him as he ran towards the office, breaking his glasses in the process.
With the unsolicited aid of Judesi (alias Judith) Makwanya, a reporter with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, the Zanu PF supporters intimidated and harassed other Daily News journalists covering the march. Makwanya, who was then part of the chanting zealots, threatened reporter Brian Mangwende and taunted him for working at the newspaper.
Basildon Peta, the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) yesterday said his organisation condemned the action.
“We further condemn the behaviour of a female journalist from the ZBC
alleged to have threatened to expose Daily News reporters to the war
“We are investigating the
matter and if proved true, we won’t will not take it lying down.”
The hired crowd, according to the placards they were made to display, seemed to have been particularly furious with the newspaper’s coverage of the death of Kabila, the DRC strongman whose regime has been at war with some of the Congolese people, backed by Rwanda and Uganda, in the past 30 months.
Waving well-printed placards, not normally associated with ordinary
Zimbabwean demonstrations, the leased protesters were later joined by street waifs and hooligans seeking free food and drinks.
Staff at the newspaper first noticed three bussed villagers loitering outside the office in the morning.
They were inquiring about the whereabouts of the protest organisers, who at the time were waiting for the arrival of other gangs at the Zanu PF offices in Fourth Street.
At around mid-day, the numbers in Fourth Street had swollen to about 500.
They were being brought in in vehicles belonging to Zexcom, Sancorp, Zanu PF and one Misheck Nyika of Chitungwiza who could not be reached for comment last night. The crowd was marshalled by Hunzvi, Chinotimba, Endy Mhlanga, the embattled managing director of Zexcom, Andrew Ndlovu, a former dissident, and Sabinah Mangwende, a Zanu zealot.
Their placards read: “The Daily News is trash”, “We support President Mugabe on his stand on the DRC”, “Zimbabweans support the DRC”, “Shame on The Daily News”, “We are Pan-Africanist” and “We want Pan-African Unity”.
Among the war veterans and Zanu PF supporters were elderly people, some
without shoes, women with babies on their backs and street children
clutching bottles of glue.
In the confusion of trying to adapt liberation war songs to Kabila’s cause, some of the demonstrators praised Kabila as a gallant son of Zimbabwe and as a hero who died for Zimbabwe.
Some of the drum-beating freaks urged Hunzvi to allow them to destroy
Trustee House but a heavy police presence put paid to any such notions and attempts.
A vendor selling ironing boards was manhandled and another who asked what the demonstrators were doing at The Daily News was too
harassed. The two were saved by the police.
“The attack on Zava and the damage to The Daily News offices was callous and cowardly. Zanu PF, using a section of the war veterans and its supporters, is increasingly employing the law of the jungle to impose its will on the people.
“Beatings and intimidation are being used with increasing frequency as the party demonstrates its intolerance towards anything it perceives as an impediment to its goals.
“No one should pretend that they are safe. As long as they hold views at variance with those of the ruling party, they are not. We saw the seeds of anarchy being sowed on the farms and naively believed it would end there. It has not.
“It is now clear that the strategy is to transfer the arena of terror to the urban areas. We condemn, in the strongest terms, the attack on Zava, who was going about his lawful duties. We hope the police, who did well to restrain the mob when they were massed outside our offices, will track down and apprehend those responsible for attacking Zava and damaging our offices.
“We hope all citizens who hold high the lofty ideals of freedom of
expression, for which this newspaper was attacked by the mob assembled by the war veterans yesterday, will make known to the government their utter disgust at this attempt to silence genuine criticism of both the government and the war veterans.
“We can assure them that we, for our part, will not be deterred from
performing what we believe is our legitimate responsibility as a newspaper - to tell it like it is.”
22 January 2001
"DESPITE making a lot of ill-hearted noise about the rule of law for selfish purposes, the CFU has not only become a law unto itself but it has crossed the line of acceptable fair comment cherished and entrenched in our democratic practice and constitution and has now strayed into the dangerous zone of intolerable criminal conduct." So said Zimbabwe's information minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo, quoted by the State - owned Sunday Mail.
Moyo was once a respected academic and one of ZANU-PF's fiercest critics. If he were making the sort of statements today that he made five years ago, he would, undoubtedly, be branded an enemy of the State. But something happened and he joined the ruling party's team as its chief spin doctor. Zimbabweans became inured to his risible statements; they laughed at him and made him the butt of considerable humour.
But Moyo's statement, branding farmers as intolerable criminals, goes beyond being risible. It is a direct insult to all farmers - and, by implication, an insult to the intelligence of all Zimbabweans.
The man the independent Press had dubbed the "nutty professor" claims that the Commercial Farmers' Union is transforming itself into an unlawful political group "bent on usurping the power and authority of statutory bodies." His grounds for doing this are tenuous at best. By complaining that illegal invaders have led to the uncontrolled movement of cattle within Zimbabwe, Moyo alleges, the CFU is intending to create alarm that will lead to the cancellation of the country's valuable exports of beef to the European Union. Moyo says if such statements are to be made, the Department of Veterinary Services should make them.
And in another absurd case, Moyo says farmers should not complain that their cattle are being forced onto the country's roads, because the CFU is undermining the Zimbabwe Road Traffic Safety Board by making "unverified and false information that was intended to create alarm and despondency."
The minister forgets that the constitution guarantees freedom of speech. He also forgets just who has been breaking the law with impunity for the last 12 months. Neither farmers nor their union have broken the law, but Moyo's government has done so consistently and with impunity.
This means that Moyo is either lying to the nation - or he has a very low opinion of the electorate's intelligence.
Professor Moyo needs to understand that the free movement of cattle is a very serious issue; an issue that places the livelihoods of a great many farmers at risk. No farmer benefiting from exports to the EU would want to see them ended. On the contrary, they want to see them entrenched and managed properly. Moyo suggests that by highlighting the fact that his government has set in motion a train of events that will, in all likelihood, put an end to exports of beef, the farmers are themselves to blame. Perhaps he believes the illegal movement of cattle should be a well guarded secret, that farmers and invaders should brush the issue under the carpet and pretend it isn't happening.
But Moyo also needs to understand that colluding with illegal invaders, and colluding with his rogue government, would be a dishonest course of action. He needs to know that farmers and their union have not broken the law - rather, they are trying to salvage an economy Moyo's party and government have all but destroyed.
Moyo's doublespeak will fool no one. It will not fool the Zimbabwean electorate, it will not fool farmers - and it will not fool the EU inspectors. And if the EU inspectorate gives Zimbabwe a reprieve, it will not be because they are condoning illegality, it will be because they've been magnanimous.
When Zimbabwe's debacle is over and some sense of normality has returned, Moyo will be called to account for his words. He will, without doubt, live out his days in ignominy. That means that farmers should treat his irrational outbursts with the derision they deserve, because taking this man seriously is hardly worthwhile - even if he apologises for his insulting statements.
Editor- The Farmer
POLITICS in Zimbabwe have never been quite this cynical. Nor have the effects of politics on organised agriculture ever been so potentially disastrous. Take the Bikita West by election for example. Commercial farmers might wonder what an election in a communal land constituency might have to do with them, but the truth is that it has quite a lot to do with farmers - and with the rest of Zimbabwe, too.
ZANU-PF had no intention of losing to the MDC in Bikita. And because there was no fair way to win back the seat, they resorted to foul ways to get it. While the State controlled media made a meal of the MDC's alleged involvement in violence, ZANU-PF sent in its storm troopers. Under the command of the likes of Hitler Hunzvi and Border Gezi, the ruling party embarked on a campaign of intimidation and terror that assured them of victory. The MDC's candidate was forced to campaign underground - while Hitler Hunzvi was transported around the district in the safety of a police car. Meanwhile the police briefly detained a University of Zimbabwe professor, Masipula Sithole, because he was conducting research for a book on democracy in the country.
The reign of terror that ZANU-PF let loose in Bikita was well orchestrated but, tellingly, the ruling party did little to hide their methods. Tellingly because Mr Mugabe wants all Zimbabweans to know what will befall them should they show sympathy for the MDC leader in the presidential election.
He also wants Zimbabwe's voters to know what to expect when - or if - by elections are called as a result of the MDC's court challenge to the 38 general election seats that are to be contested by the opposition.
It may well be that Zimbabwe's courts find in favour of the opposition and that by elections are forced on at least some of these constituencies - some of which fall in commercial farming districts. And if they do arise, farmers can expect a fresh wave of intimidation as Hunzvi's now mysteriously uniformed thugs set about wreaking havoc on farming communities.
The same applies to urban constituencies that are to be contested.
The ruling party's propaganda machine will spin out thousands of words of gloating copy, full of self-praise and adulation - and no small amount of spurious nonsense about the "will of the people". The truth is somewhat different, because no sane person will argue that the will of the people was met in Bikita. What happened in Bikita was a cynical, sick and devastatingly dangerous ploy to regain a lost foothold in a constituency that had, just months before, voted for the MDC. It is doubtful whether anyone in ZANU-PF believes the party would have won had it not been for mass intimidation, let alone anyone else in Zimbabwe. As for the rest of the world, they drew their conclusions before the election even began.
Indeed, if the MDC has any sense, it will add Bikita West to its list of seats to be contested.
The ramifications of contesting these seats are serious, for the opposition and for Zimbabweans. If ZANU-PF is allowed to continue to bludgeon the electorate into timid submission, then it could be that the MDC lose every seat they contest from here on out. And where those seats fall in farming communities, farmers will once again be called on to feed and sponsor the ruling party, to attend rallies and denounce the opposition, to hurl their fists into the air in support of ZANU-PF. And as happened last time, they will be told that the penalties for not doing so will be severe.
It is a sad fact that a great many Zimbabweans of all races, a disproportionate number of them farmers, have lost their lives to political assassination during the last 12 months. There really is no point in mincing words here, because each and every murder was an assassination and each and every assassination was politically motivated. The entire world knows who is to blame and yet little has been done to put an end to this, the most extreme version of political bullying this country has seen in two decades.
But it has to stop at some time and it is more than obvious that only Zimbabweans are able to stop it. The question is, "how?" Well, a good start would be to be considerably more vocal with one's criticism than has been the case so far. Zimbabweans are being bullied and bullies draw greater strength when their tactics are seen to work. Dialogue has failed, common sense is seemingly non-existent and negotiations don't work because there is no one to negotiate with. Each and every avenue, including the law, has resulted in a dead end for farmers - and for all Zimbabweans. Given that reason has failed, perhaps the time has arrived for protest. It might be better to get it over and done with than to wait for a by election (or the inevitable presidential election) and endure another round in the ring with the forces of tyranny and oppression.
Cottco, GMB supplying inputs to invaders
SOME illegal occupiers of commercial farms in Bindura and Shamva areas who are growing cotton and maize say the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (COTTCO) and Grain Marketing Board (GMB) are providing them with inputs under these companies' input credit schemes.
Farm owners on some of these farms said their farms were not designated or listed for resettlement by government but the land invaders had refused to leave the farms. Most of the farms were already under maize and cotton cultivation by the illegal occupiers and some prominent people from Bindura town had also planted crops.
While most of the farmers were reluctant to divulge their names or those of their farms for fear of reprisals, Mr Ian Miller of Dawmill Farm said his farm was not listed for resettlement, yet it appeared that Cottco, a State-owned private company, was assisting those who had illegally settled on the farm by providing them with inputs to grow cotton.
A Mrs Makaza, whom The Farmer found busy weeding her cotton crop at Dawmill farm, admitted Cottco loaned her the inputs to grow cotton. She claimed resident war veterans allocated her the piece of land she was working on. She said the resident war veterans recommended to their superiors in Bindura that she be supported to enable her to obtain inputs from Cottco.
Mrs Makaza said she was part of the group of 20 people, most of them based at Dawmill Farm, who obtained inputs through Cottco's input credit scheme. She said she has another piece of land in Rushinga where she grows maize but preferred her new plot because of the fertile soil.
Last week, Cottco acting managing director, Mr Cuthbert Chakanyuka, said his company was providing inputs only to those who qualify. It was not clear whether those who have settled on farms that were not listed for compulsory acquisition could also qualify.
Mr Miller said like some of the farmers
in his area, he had failed to plant crops and very soon he could run out of
money to pay his workers. The only source of income, he said, was the banana
On Dawmill Farm pieces of land were haphazardly divided among the invaders. Some of the maize crop on some of these plots looked pathetic and in some places, no weeding had taken place with grass being taller than the maize plants. It appeared, in some cases, as though the maize was just planted and then abandoned as there was no sign that anyone was tending the fields.
The Farmer went around GMB
depots in Mashonaland Central asking for the names of farms, to which GMB had
provided new settlers with inputs such as fertiliser and seed packs, and the
farms mentioned included Dawmill Farm. Other farms mentioned included Horonga,
Chipadze, Avilion farms among others.
The farmers said they had only been allowed to continue production activities on standing crops. The only standing crops left to most of these farmers were the citrus orchards and bananas. At Insingisi Farm, the situation was similar to that at Dawmill where invaders had taken up the arable land to plant maize and cotton leaving the farmer only the citrus plantations.
Meanwhile, the owner of Glencairn Farm, Mr Cecil Grimmer, was reported to have left for Australia after the situation after on the farm was threatening to get out of hand. Security guards were left to look after his house and equipment.
The guards said after the farmer left, some prominent people from Bindura including police officials, had taken up pieces of land to plant cotton and maize. The farm workers were denied the opportunity to have part of the land and were now being hired to work for the prominent people for even lower wages than what the farmer paid them.
One of the guards said the former farm workers, although still living in the farm compound, were now being hired to weed maize and cotton for as little as $10 per line. Some of the lines stretch for more than 100 metres.
NGOs re-assess involvement in land reform
THE government's sudden about turn from the original planned and donor-supported resettlement programme to the current haphazard "fast track" scheme has alienated non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that were involved in the original plans, and some of the agencies now say they have to reassess their contribution to the land reform process.
While some farmers and environmentalists have accused international conservation organizations of turning a blind eye to what they say are " dire consequences" of the unfolding "fast track" programme which is being carried out without proper land use planning or environmental impact assessments, for fear of antagonizing government, the NGO's dismiss these criticisms as ill-informed and unjustified.
Up until February last year when so called was veterans invaded more than 1500 commercial farms, ostensibly to force government to speed up the resettlement programme, conservation organizations, including the World Conservation Union (IUCN) whose regional headquarters in based in Harare, say they had worked closely with government in ensuring that the resettlement models being implemented took into account environmental implications.
"Before the farm invasions, the resettlement patterns followed a pre-determined government policy which took account of environmental implications, and which had the support of donor agencies," regional director of IUCN, Dr Yemi Katerere told The Farmer in an interview.
According to Dr Katerere, the decision by government to adopt the "fast track" programme following the invasion of farms of war veterans, had thrown the original donor-supported resettlement programme off-track resulting in the polarization of relations between the government and the donor community which sponsors most of the NGO's in the country.
He said many of the NGOs involved in conservation work, including the IUCN, were now re-assessing the situation to see how they can become involved once again, within the context of government's changed land reform strategies. "We have to re-examine the situation to identify the problematic areas to see how we can assist and this has to be in partnership with all other stakeholders," he said.
On the overall direction the land reform question was taking, DR Katerere said it was absolutely necessary that there be a "meeting of minds" between the government and donors on the one hand and commercial farmers on the other hand. The land issue, he said, had become so politicized that emotionalism had taken the place of pragmatic realism in determining priorities.
Evidently, this had alienated most donor agencies from the land issue as most NGOs preferred to stay clear of politics lest they be accused of meddling in the sovereign affairs of any country.
Dr Katerere believes the land issue in Zimbabwe had assumed such a dimension that various interest groups were hell-bent on making "political capital" out of the situation.
"I believe the government, the farmers and donors all have to make concessions if the deadlock is to be broken, and a way forward found," he said.
This had to be within a policy framework which recognizes the important roles that all stakeholders have to play if the resettlement programme is to provide a lasting and sustainable solution to the land question within the context of national development."
The IUCN, together with several other conservation organizations, has carried out a number of research studies on land reforms, natural resources management and environmental strategies for sustainable development in the southern African region.
Drip irrigation system for smallholder farmer
The Israeli-Zimbabwe drip and micro-irrigation demonstration unit at Hatcliffe in Harare has introduced an "affordable" drip irrigation system designed especially for the smallholder farmer.
The system is based on advanced Israeli technology and is part of the on-going Israeli-Zimbabwean agricultural co-operation. The "Netafim" Family System is designed to cater for the needs of the smallholder farmer who cannot afford advanced systems that require electricity, pumps and automatic filters.
The unit will, however, give the farmer the same advantages that come with more expensive sophisticated drip irrigation methods.
Dubbed the "Family Drip System", the unit is supposed to give the smallholder farmer higher yields, better quality crop through efficient water and fertiliser management.
According to the Israeli Embassy in Zimbabwe, the uniform water distribution has been proven to result in immeasurably higher yields compared to traditional irrigation methods normally applied by smallholders, such as flooding and furrows.
Other advantages expected from this irrigation system include maximum efficiency, reliable dripper enabling fertilising through the system, suitability for open fields, greenhouses and nurseries, simple installation and maintenance and does not rely on any energy source
"It has integral dripper, is protected from the disruptions of power failures and has wide water passages to prevent clogging," said the Embassy
The Hatcliffe demonstration plot was set up in 1999 after a Z$21 million agreement signed between Israel and Zimbabwe. Israel agreed to send an agricultural specialist, Mr Eli Taari, to set up a pilot drip and micro irrigation demonstration plot for the training of Zimbabwean extension staff for onward transmission to smallholder farmers.
ZGPA agronomist speaks on US agricultural technology
THE Zimbabwe Grain Producers' Association (ZGPA) agronomist Mr Simba Zengeni, who recently returned from a three-week study tour in USA, sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture, says the experience was worthwhile, and will enhance mutually beneficial collaboration with American agricultural research institutions as well as facilitating the exchange of technical information.
The objective of the fellowship programme was to enable participants to acquire practical knowledge and skills that will assist farmers and other stakeholders to develop agricultural systems necessary to meet the country's food needs and to strengthen and enhance trade and agricultural linkages with agricultural interests in the USA.
Mr Zengeni said the programme was exhaustive and focused on agricultural research, development and extension. He visited a number of private and public research stations, held discussions with maize breeders, geneticists, agronomists, seed scientists and administrators of these institutions.
He spent two weeks at Iowa State University of Science and Technology in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State is a leading producer of maize, soybean, pigs, beef and dairy cattle.
Last season maize farmers in the state obtained an average yield of 8,8t/ha against a national average of 8.3t/ha. Francis Childs, an Iowan farmer, achieved a world record yield of 23t/ha.
The department of agronomy at the University of Iowa stresses the importance of traditional breeding as opposed to biotechnology. Its view is that genetic engineering would help breeders to better understand the mechanism of hybrid vigour and the biology of crop species at the cellular level.
Mr Zengeni also met Seed Science Centre (SSC) scientists. The SSC has the largest public seed-testing laboratory in the world and conducts tests on more than 300 crop species.
The centre is researching new technology, including ultra sound and computer imaging for non-destructive evaluation of seed quality. The lab's seed health testing plays a role in the export of American seed, $57 billion worth of seeds are exported annually.
At the Centre for Crop Utilization Research (CCUR), he was taken on a tour of the facilities, which include the wet and dry pilot plant, hazardous solvents pilot plant, fermentation facility, sensory evaluation lab, process development and analytical services lab.
The CCUR explores new food, feed and non-food industrial uses for agricultural crops, and focuses on problem-oriented research directed at expanding maize and soybean utilization. Some of the products include protein-based adhesives and building materials, bio diesel, vegetable based lubricants and processed maize and soybean with value added traits.
Mr Zengeni said he held discussions with plant scientists at the Plant Transformation Centre. The centre focuses on modern plant breeding through genetic transformation.
Genetic transformation of plants is a process by which genetic elements (DNA, RNA or protein) are introduced into plant cells. Advantages of genetic transformation are shortening breeding cycle, transfer genes (genes from any species) with greater precision and expand genetic resources. There is also research being conducted on producing an antibiotic for pigs in maize plants (phytofactory).
Mr Zengeni was taken on a tour of the Plant Introduction Station (PIS), which is one of the four PIS's in the USA. The station specialises in preserving the genetic diversity of crop plants. The PIS conserves, conducts research and encourages the use of germplasm.
Germplasm is living tissue from which plants can be grown. This can be seed, a leaf, a piece of stem, or pollen or even just a few cells that can be cultured into a whole plant. Plant germplasm contains the genetic information for the plant's hereditary makeup. Major crops in the collection are maize, crucifers, ornamentals, millets, curcubits and sunflower. The centre's maize collection has been a source for a wide variety of genes conferring resistance to diseases, pests, drought, salinity etc.
Zengeni also met with staff of the Iowa Crop Improvement Association (ICIA), a non-profit corporation whose membership is open to Iowa seed producers. The association's activities include seed certification, crop performance testing, master maize and soybean growers' contests and identity preservation of crop varieties.
Mr Zengeni visited the Beltsville Agricultural Research Centre (BARC) located on 3000ha of land. BARC is part of the Agricultural Research Service, the main research agency of the US Dept. of Agric. The centre employs 300 Ph.D. staff and 900 support staff. BARC is the largest and most diversified research complex in the world.
Highlights and accomplishments include: Development of paper and other new products from chicken feathers, developed biodegradable bags from maize starch, developed and released two tomato lines high in lycopene - a cancer-preventing pigment and with a shelf life several weeks longer than normal.
BARC scientist discovered plant viroids-disease causing particles that are 80 times smaller than viruses, synthesized sex pheromones for several insect species and initiated organic farming research.
Mr Zengeni met with the Director of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) whose membership consists of more than 900 companies engaged in seed and related industries in the USA, Canada, Mexico and a host of foreign countries. The objective of ASTA is the development, marketing and free movement of seed, associated products and services with a minimum of regulations. Safety issues of GMO crop varieties for export are a major preoccupation of ASTA.
At the Pioneer Hi-Bred Carver Centre located in Johnston, Mr Zengeni toured labs and facilities of the Reid Research Centre and Seed Quality Lab. Pioneer spends Z$II billion on Research and Development annually. Its objectives are to improve harvestable yield and grain traits like protein, oil, carbohydrates, to reduce crop losses, grower input costs and risks and create value in grain.
Cutting edge technologies like, robotics, molecular biology, gene transfer, gene information analysis and genomics are used throughout the breeding cycle. Genomic is the study of all components of the genetic material, which will help breeders to develop elite products with desired traits.
Discussions with breeders and the regional director for Africa ecentred on the need to educate stakeholders and the public about the opportunities and limitations of GMO maize and soybean varieties.
Mr Zengeni also met with staff of Monsanto Research Centre who conducts research on molecular breeding in collaboration with breeders from sister companies.
Its the research focuses on developing improved genetic products faster through technology- assisted plant breeding.