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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Why Mbeki is still backing Harare

South Africa's President is becoming isolated at home and abroad

Justice Malala
Sunday July 10, 2005
The Observer

When South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki and his Nigerian counterpart,
Olusegun Obasanjo, met at the G8 summit in Gleneagles last week, the warmth
between them was unmistakable.
The two have travelled the world together for more than six years, cajoling,
arguing with and sometimes even shouting at Western leaders to come up with
concrete steps to eradicate African poverty. At the G8 summits in Genoa,
Italy, and Kananaskis, Canada, they thought they were close to a deal - but
were disappointed.

There is no leader on the African continent that either is closer to. Both
recognise that, as the two most powerful countries on the continent, the
failure of one will be the failure of all African countries.

Yet at the Commonwealth summit in late 2003 the two argued so bitterly that
they refused to speak to each other. While a majority of Commonwealth
countries - with the African component led by Nigeria - bayed for action
against Mugabe, Mbeki fought to protect his northern neighbour. The meeting
was described as the most divisive in the Commonwealth's history. Many,
including Mbeki, said the Zimbabwe issue threatened to split the
organisation apart.

Over the past six years Mbeki has been prepared to jeopardise his most vital
political and personal relationships in defence of Mugabe. Even as police
raze shacks in and around Zimbabwe's cities - leaving hundreds of thousands
homeless - he said he would wait for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's envoy
to finish her investigation.

Standing next to him, European Commission president José Manuel Barroso said
he was disappointed by the African Union's declaration that this was a
domestic matter. 'This is a human rights crisis and human rights are not an
internal matter. They should be the concern of all people, African, Asian
and European,' said Barroso.

Mbeki did not flinch. The Sussex-educated President believes 'quiet
diplomacy' - a strategy whereby he keeps Mugabe on side to bring about
gradual change - will work. In more than six years of 'quiet diplomacy'
Mugabe has broken every promise he has made to reform.

Another defence Mbeki has used for not condemning Mugabe is that he believes
Zimbabwe's problems were caused by Britain. In 2003 he complained Britain
failed to pay a 'measly' £9m for land redistribution.

But Mbeki travels alone. Civic leaders in South Africa - from Nelson Mandela
to Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Cosatu, the powerful trade union congress,
opposition parties and even members of Mbeki's cabinet - have expressed
outrage at human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

Mbeki and his fast-diminishing coterie in the ruling ANC have refused to
budge. Even when senior South African election observers were beaten up by
pro-Mugabe youths in the 2002 elections, Mbeki ensured that the team
declared the election free and fair.

In November last year, after Tutu questioned 'quiet diplomacy', Mbeki
attacked him as having no respect for the truth. On its website the ANC
sought to discredit Tutu, accusing him of having been a struggle hero of the
West and white South Africans - not South Africa's black masses. Last year
Mugabe called Tutu 'an angry, evil and embittered little bishop'.

Even Mandela has declared that people like Mugabe 'want to die in power
because they have committed crimes'.

Cosatu - the country's biggest trade union federation and an ally of the
ANC - has been accused of recklessness for its Zimbabwe human rights
campaign. After being kicked out of the country on a fact-finding mission
last year, secretary- general Zwelinzima Vavi said: 'Nepad - the New
Partnership for Africa's Development - will stand no chance if a government
such as Zimbabwe willingly disregards its own laws in this manner. The
continent will go nowhere if its leaders can act with impunity.'

Mbeki knows this. He knows too that he stands alone in South Africa on
Zimbabwe. The business community, which backed 'quiet diplomacy', now calls
on him to speak out.

At the centre of this is his belief that calls for Mugabe's departure are
racially motivated. He will not be lectured to by the West.

'It is clear some within Zimbabwe and elsewhere in the world, including our
country, are following the example set by [Ronald] Reagan and his advisers
to "treat human rights as a tool" for overthrowing the government of
Zimbabwe and rebuilding Zimbabwe as they wish. In modern parlance, this is
called regime change,' he said in a letter after the Commonwealth meeting.

In just the past few weeks of mass evictions in Zimbabwe about 300 people
have died. More than 1.5 million are homeless. All are black. Where is
Mbeki's solidarity with them?

· Justice Malala, is a political analyst, journalist and the founding editor
of ThisDay newspaper, Johannesburg.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sunday Times UK

            July 10, 2005

            African heads force Mugabe into talks
            Tom Walker

            THE president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, has agreed to take
part in talks with Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, amid growing
concern in Africa over his government's slum clearance programme.
            The initiative, aimed at pulling Zimbabwe back from the brink of
economic and social disaster, has been launched by Olusegun Obasanjo, the
Nigerian president.

            During last week's African Union summit in the town of Sirte in
Libya, Obasanjo suggested to Mugabe that a respected figure - one of two
former presidents from the southern Africa region - could mediate in crisis
talks that will probably be held in either Zimbabwe or South Africa.

            Describing his difficult negotiations with Mugabe to MPs in
London last Wednesday, Obasanjo said the Zimbabwean leader, who is 81, had
been reluctant to co-operate at first. "But I persisted and he agreed a
facilitation should take place," he said. Obasanjo said he had already put
the same proposal to Tsvangirai during a meeting in Abuja, the Nigerian
capital, the previous week.

            Tsvangirai hopes the talks will give his Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) a share of power with Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF. The opposition
leader said "a road map towards legitimacy as a country" was needed to save

            Mugabe had no choice but to negotiate, claimed Tsvangirai. "He
is in a corner. He has no fuel, no currency, no food - the country is really
at a halt."

            Mugabe showed further signs of giving ground after international
pressure on Friday, when he met Anna Tibaijuka, a United Nations envoy, to
discuss his slum clearance programme, known as "Drive Out Filth".

            Since it began on May 19 an estimated 1m of Zimbabwe's poorest
citizens have been forced to leave their shanty dwellings on the edges of
cities, often at gunpoint: at least six people have died in the clearances,
including women and children.

            Mugabe's government has pledged three trillion Zimbabwean
dollars (£191m) to provide 1.2m houses and building plots by 2008, but
economists doubt that any such programme will materialise. Inflation in
Zimbabwe is running at more than 140%, 1.2m tons of corn from outside the
country are needed to ward off mass starvation and petrol is so scarce that
it is selling on the black market for the equivalent of £3.50 a litre, far
beyond the means of many people.

            Mugabe is also facing dissent within Zanu. Last week Pearson
Mbalekwa, a member of the party's powerful central committee, resigned. He
described the slum clearances as "callous and inhumane".

            Diplomats close to the negotiations said Obasanjo telephoned the
two former regional leaders he has identified as potential mediators last
Thursday. The favourite is said to to be Joaquim Chissano, the former
president of Mozambique, who stepped down in February and was best man at
Mugabe's wedding to his second wife, Grace, in 1996. He is well regarded
both regionally and on the wider international stage.

            Obasanjo is under no illusions about the difficulties of reining
in Mugabe, diplomats emphasised. "He's not expecting any immediate
breakthrough," said one.

            Zanu documents leaked recently indicate that Mugabe has every
intention of extending the party's rule: they outlined a plan in which
Mugabe would retire in 2008, with Joyce Mujuru, the newly appointed
vice-president, taking over.

            Using his two-thirds majority in parliament, Mugabe would defer
presidential elections until 2010, giving Mujuru two years to consolidate

            The diplomats admitted that a government of national unity
involving the MDC was probably too much to hope for. But they said a
mediator could help persuade Mugabe to improve Zimbabwe's human rights
record, and to amend its media and civil rights legislation.

            Obasanjo and and Tsvangirai were both at pains to point out that
any solution to Zimbabwe's crisis must be achieved through African
diplomacy. Tsvangirai said that the talks would also have to be backed by
Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, whose policy of quiet diplomacy
with Mugabe has exasperated the British government.

            "International condemnation is very divisive," said Tsvangirai.
"Gentle persuasion is not achieving results, but it is a very difficult

            A spokesman for the Foreign Office welcomed what he described as
an African initiative and confirmed that there was no British input. "For us
to come out and say, 'What a great idea', would put the kybosh on it
straight away," he said. "If the African Union wants to announce something,
then let it do it."

            Mugabe has been in conflict with Britain since Zanu-PF began its
campaign of land redistribution in 2000

Back to the Top
Back to Index

'Britain sent me back to Mugabe. Now I'm in hiding'

One man's harrowing story disproves the official British claim that
deportees are not at risk

Jamie Doward
Sunday July 10, 2005
The Observer

The interrogator pushed his snarling face forward. He was only inches from
the cowering man in front of him. 'Tell us the truth,' he hissed. 'Why did
you go to England?'
The 29-year-old man squirmed in his seat. The interrogation room in the jail
suddenly seemed claustrophobic; the walls appeared to be closing in. The
young man was visibly afraid; he found it difficult to swallow.

Only days before Zuka Kalinga had been safe in a British detention centre,
awaiting his forced return to Zimbabwe. There he had watched in dismay as
television reports showed bulldozers razing the homes of opponents of
Zimbabwe's dictator, Robert Mugabe.

The worsening political situation had prompted human rights groups to call
for a halt to forced deportations to the country. Kalinga prayed for a
last-minute reprieve.

The level of concern forced the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, to reassure
the public that no one would be returned to Zimbabwe if they were thought to
be in danger. Immigration Minister Tony McNulty claimed that there had been
'no substantiated reports' of abuse of anyone deported since November.

Only days before Clarke made the pledge, Kalinga had been forced to return
to Harare without his documents. On his arrival, he was immediately
interrogated by the authorities. Afterwards, surprisingly, they let him
return to his native Bulawayo, but he was forced to report to his local
police station, where he was subjected to a series of interviews. His final
visit to the police left him in no doubt about his fate if he didn't flee

'Tell us about your father. What happened to him?' the interrogator
persisted. Kalinga shook his head in sorrow: 'He disappeared.'

The interrogator smiled: 'Do you want to disappear too? If not, tell us the

Last week Kalinga told The Observer: 'They were very aggressive. I was very
scared. They said they knew every thing about me. Where I had come from, who
I was.'

As the interrogation continued, Kalinga was pressed to talk about his
father's death. 'You're accusing us of killing your father,' he was told.

'No, no, I'm not,' he replied.

'Just tell the truth and you won't disappear like him.'

Kalinga had heard the stories of what had happened to asylum seekers
returned from Europe who had reported to police stations.

His cousin, Buka, who is awaiting deportation from Britain, said: 'Anyone
being returned to Zimbabwe from the UK will be targeted by the security
services. They are seen as having been groomed to kill Mugabe.'

Kalinga had been active in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the
main opposition to Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. He fled Zimbabwe in fear for his
life in 2003 after being beaten up at an MDC rally when Mugabe's troops were
sent in to disperse the crowd. Two of his friends were killed at the rally.

Kalinga's father was murdered by Mugabe's soldiers in 1982 - he had been
marched, along with scores of others, into a football stadium then beaten to
death. His mother suffered for years from internal injuries caused by
beating from Zanu-PF supporters. She died in 1990.

Kalinga was a clear target for the regime. Apart from the MDC, he was also a
member of a Christian charity working with the widows of men murdered by
Mugabe's troops. The charity's offices had been targeted by Mugabe's men
many times. On one occasion Kalinga was knocked unconscious. Scared for his
life, he went into hiding. Mugabe's men interrogated his family in an
attempt to discover his whereabouts. He claims he had no choice but to flee.

After being forced to return to Zimbabwe and subjected to the
interrogations, Kalinga knew what fate to expect if he stayed in the
country. After his last interrogation, he was told to report to the police
station at a later date for further questioning.

He fled to South Africa, where he was picked up by police and imprisoned in
Johannesburg. A friend bribed the guards to release him. Kalinga is now
hiding in South Africa.

His brother has told him that Mugabe's men want to know where he is. They
have taken some of his belongings and made a series of threats to his

'I'm very afraid. I don't know what to do,' Kalinga says. 'Bad things are
happening. Some people are lucky: they can bribe the guards and be released.
I know I would have died if I had stayed. The way they were interrogating me
so aggressively convinced me I had to go.'

Last week, as Westminster debated forced returns to Zimbabwe and a judge
called for the policy to be suspended, scores of detainees in Britain's
asylum centres continued their hunger strikes. Several are said to be very

Names have been changed to protect identities.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Stuff, New Zealand

We're torn over Zimbabwe tour, Black Cap tells MP
10 July 2005

Only one New Zealand cricketer responded to Green MP Rod Donald's written
plea not to tour Zimbabwe, saying he and his teammates were "torn" over the
controversial tour.

Donald wrote to all 25 international players contracted to New Zealand
Cricket in April asking them to show "moral leadership" and not tour

Donald declined to name the player who responded, saying he had "immense
sympathy" for the cricketers and the fraught position they were are in.

"They are very concerned about the situation there," said Donald.

"They don't want their presence there to in any way be seen as an
endorsement of a regime, but they feel torn because it is their livelihood
on the line."

Donald said he felt the players were left hanging by the International
Cricket Council's failure to cancel the tour and the government's failure to
stop the tour.

"I'm not a player, so it is not my livelihood on the line. I have enormous
sympathy for them and wish the government had responded to our call in April
to stop the tour."

Since the letters were written, the human rights situation in Zimbabwe had
deteriorated further, after the government of Robert Mugabe ordered the
removal of hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

Donald said that because of this, he would again write to the players to
highlight the atrocities of Mugabe's regime.

As part of the campaign to stop the tour, the Green Party will this week fly
former Zimbabwe cricketer Henry Olonga to New Zealand.

Olonga was forced to flee Zimbabwe after he and teammate Andy Flower wore
black armbands during a World Cup game in 2003 in Zimbabwe to protest
against the death of democracy in their country. He now lives in England.

Olonga will put forward his views at public and private meetings on why the
Black Caps should not tour his homeland

The Black Caps players have remained silent about the Zimbabwe tour.

Most are overseas, either in England or in Australia with the New Zealand
Academy team.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Taiwan Times

Desperation descends on Zimbabwe

2005-07-10 / Knight Ridder / By Absolom Chidzitsi

      Twelve-year-old Russell Magodo waits in line for the single pit
latrine that is shared by 100,000 people at New Caledonia, a temporary camp
about 15 miles outside Harare, the capital of the country.

      Russell and the rest of his family ended up here after their house was
demolished on the orders of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

      In May, Mugabe ordered the removal of hundreds of thousands of
Zimbabweans from the capital and other cities and town. They have since been
relocated to these transit camps that now dot the countryside.

      Making do

      There is no clean water at the camp in New Caledonia. For washing and
drinking, residents have to make do with a small stream that runs past the

      Russell and his three sisters are among 300,000 children who were
driven from their houses by Operation Murambatsvina, or "Drive Out the

      Russell's father, Tonderai Magodo, 39, was in tears as he described
how police destroyed his house and all his family's possessions.

      "It was a nightmare," said Tonderai, as he put the final touches on
the primitive wood and plastic shelter his family now to lives in. "They
demolished the house and they loaded us on to the trucks and took us here.
There is no water, no school."

      The future looks equally bleak. Along with the house, police
demolished the small food stall that that Tonderai operated. He said that
they stole his entire stock, including precious cooking oil and sugar

      "We are not allowed to do any business here and soon we will run out
of food," he said. "The nearest school is six miles away and there is no
clinic or medical service."

      New arrivals daily

      New arrivals appear in the camp daily. Several women have already
given birth after arriving at the camp.

      Never Panganga, who recently arrived in New Caladonia, said he is
diabetic and now can no longer visit a hospital for regular checkups. He
worries that his medicine will soon run out.

      "I can't walk seven miles (to the nearest hospital), I'm too old," he
said. "Besides, I have been too busy building the shack and trying to get

      He compares his present situation with the days when the white
government of Rhodesia established camps called "keeps" to stop people from
supporting liberation fighters. "I lived in the keeps during (Prime Minister
Ian) Smith's time. To me, it is the same life that we are living here, if
not worse," he said.

      Most analysts believe the expulsion of the urban poor into the
countryside is Mugabe's way of punishing them for having supported the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change in the parliamentary election in

      Voicing opposition

      A group of Zimbabwean Catholic, Anglican and Evangelical church
leaders has condemned the clearances as "dehumanizing" for the whole nation.

      In a joint statement, the churchmen said, "A man-made humanitarian
crisis has been created. People urgently need shelter, food, clothing,
medicines and transport. Physically, these people suffer greatly. Deep
within, a psychological scar has been created. Their essential nature as
spiritual beings has been grossly denied and their humanity reduced to the
rubble that surrounds them."

      An aid worker based in Harare, whose organization has been denied
access to New Caledonia, said, "I have been on many missions before, but
this is the first time I have seen a government doing this to its own
people. Our major worry is the small children and the sick. It's

      Absolom Chidzitsi is a journalist in Zimbabwe who writes for The
Institute for War & Peace Reporting, a nonprofit organization that trains
journalists in areas of conflict.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

   The Sunday Times UK - Comment

                        July 10, 2005

                        Jasper Gerard


.. We may have done something for the starving of Africa, but what about
the starving Africans of Britain? I refer to those Zimbabweans so terrified
of being sent back from this haven to meet Robert Mugabe's butchers they are
on hunger strike. But where is the outcry? When IRA terrorists went
a-dieting it was global news; here, innocent people are starving themselves
to death and we don't care.
Patricia Mukandara, 26, is now refusing liquids as well as food. Yesterday,
when I rang her detention centre, an official said she had been moved but
was "not allowed" to tell me where. Two other hunger strikers, their lawyer
advises me, have been moved to hospital due to their deteriorating

Mukandara fled Zimbabwe after being threatened for her opposition to Mugabe.
Papa, a manager for a white farmer, and two brothers were killed. Ministers
tried to deport her on the eve of Live 8. A judge later halted the
deportation but she remains on hunger strike.

            Because ministers have abused the asylum system to let in
economic migrants we have grown wary of asylum claimants. But has
ministerial cynicism come to this: risking Patricia's death, so she is
buried in Africa rather than here - all to bury the bad news?
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Scotsman

Double standards over dictatorships

EVERY time I read about the dreadful conditions prevailing in Zimbabwe, I am
struck by the heinous dichotomy applied by the British and American
governments to that country and what happened in Iraq.

Bush and his poodle Blair went all guns blazing into Iraq, supported by
whatever verbal fabrications and spin could be devised to make it look like
something other than regime change, when every man and his dog with two
brain cells to rub together knew that was the real reason for the invasion.
And let's not mince words, for that is what it was - an invasion, not a war.
The latter involves two opposing forces of reasonably equal might lining up
against each other.

Would Blair have been quite so ready to commit Britain to the conflict,
acting as the world's unofficial policeman, if Iraqi planes had been flying
sorties over London and dropping bombs, or Iraqi warships had been parked
off our coast, shelling our major cities, with devastating consequences? Of
course he wouldn't. But he, and Bush likewise, knew there was no chance of
that occurring. Our people were safe; the battle was thousands of miles away
beyond our shores.

When it comes to Zimbabwe or Darfur, it's a different story. Now, suddenly,
it's the responsibility of the African nations to sort out the deranged
Robert Mugabe, who is starving his people to death and depriving thousands
of shelter. If British diplomats have indeed been working behind the scenes
to depose Mugabe (News, June 26), then the sooner they succeed the better.
If we are prepared to invade Iraq, we can hardly apply double standards to
other nations where crimes against humanity are being committed on a huge

The proper vehicle for achieving this, of course, as was the case with Iraq,
is the United Nations. It has its faults, no doubt, but it was established
specifically to address problems such as those in Zimbabwe and Darfur. It
was sidelined over Iraq because Bush had already decided he wanted Saddam
Hussein out and he was going to invade the country regardless. Shamefully,
Blair hung on to his coat-tails.

Troops will have to remain in Iraq for years e until things stabilise and
the country returns to something like normality, with the insurgents beaten
into a degree of submission. But how long will it take, and how many more
lives will be lost before then? Misery prevails in Zimbabwe too, yet we are
far more ready to pursue the diplomatic route for change. Meanwhile, people
starve and die.

Joseph McDonald, Glasgow

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Telegraph

Villagers lose homes to wildlife park as aid funds miss their target
By Toby Harnden in Makandezulu
(Filed: 10/07/2005)

Down by the river, Solomon Maluleke points to the majestic sandal tree where his ancestors are buried. At its base there is an ancient clay pot, weathered elephant tusks and spearheads laid decades ago as offerings to the spirits.

"This is where the village worships," he says. "This place is what we are. The soil is part of us and it is all we know. But now we are told we must leave."


A village elder, he does not know his age - just that his people have lived in Makandezulu, a remote Mozambique settlement on the banks of the Shingwedzi, for generations. Remote, but the heart of a multi-million dollar wildlife reserve funded by the World Bank and German government in a showcase project for a country held up at the G8 conference last week as a model for African development through aid.

Yet the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which covers nearly 40,000 square miles and stretches into neighbouring South Africa and Zimbabwe, is an object lesson for overseas donors of how aid is not necessarily the universal panacea, however well-meant.

The park is attracting increasing criticism from aid workers because of the way 26,000 Mozambicans living there have been treated: the failure to consult them or allow them to share the huge profits that will be generated.

"There are a lot of white South Africans involved in running the park," says Michael Schneider, a German biologist who helped draw up the park plan but is now disgusted by what is happening.

"During the apartheid era, you'd just go down there, burn people's houses, kick their arses and put them in the truck. They've almost something similar in mind here."

The dispute goes to the heart of the international debate about aid and how it is monitored. "The point is that the donors are not holding Mozambique's government to account," says Mr Schneider.

Even though the park was set up in 2001 there is no evidence that poor Mozambicans are being taught the skills needed to reap the benefits of tourism. As a result, the aid agencies fear that tourists will spend their holidays having no contact with locals, and that what is the centrepiece of a national "poverty reduction plan" risks making the poor even poorer.

If the locals are unlikely to encounter tourists, they are already encountering predators - lured by the zebras, giraffes and impala introduced to the park for the benefit of the tourists.

South Africa's Kruger park has been opened so that lions can migrate into Mozambique. Unfamiliar with the terrain and the people, they have disturbed the delicate equilibrium of life. It means that one day soon, Solomon Maluleke and some 6,000 others from seven villages will have to abandon their mud huts and traditional way of life, in which an old sewing machine, transported around by bicycle, is the height of modernity.

An additional 20,000 people living along the Limpopo river will lose their land rights and, they believe, be unable to hunt or farm.

"The main plan seems to be to drive the people out by making it impossible for them to stay," says Diamantino Nhampossa, of Mozambique's National Farmers' Union.

"The elephants trample our maize, cow peas and pumpkins," explains Sebastiano Maluleke, 44, Solomon's grandson and the village chief. "Before, we could kill elephants or lions so they knew to stay away.

"Now, we will be fined, beaten by park rangers or thrown into jail if we do this and the animals will return. We don't know where we will go. They say we will be able to come back to worship and hold ceremonies but those brought in to manage the park won't care about such minor things."

Under national park rules, inhabitants cannot cut down or burn trees to make charcoal, cultivate the land or hunt.

When The Sunday Telegraph visited Xicumbame, just outside the park, almost the whole village gathered in a clearing beneath a panga panga tree to air their concern that they will be joined on their parched, meagre land by the inhabitants of Makandezulu.

"Since the flood of 2000, our fields are sandy and there is barely enough for us," says Mario Mbenzane. Last month, they said, a lion from the park spent two weeks terrorising the village, killing a dozen cattle. With a piece of rope and two sticks, the villagers acted out how they used a carcass to lure the animal into a wire noose. As it struggled to break free, the noose gradually tightened until its throat was slit and it bled to death.

Back in Makandezulu outside the Maluleke family huts, Mozambique's flag, faded by the African sun, hangs from a pole. Reflecting the country's martial history, it depicts an AK47, complete with fixed bayonet, crossed with a hoe.

Many weapons left over from the civil war, which ended in 1992, are still secreted in the villages and used for hunting, which is banned by park rules. There are dark murmurings that they could be used in anger.

"Villagers told me that they would carry out sabotage if necessary," says one Western aid worker who asked not to be identified. "They fought for the ruling party in the civil war but they are ready to turn against them.

"We have already seen them killing elephants and buffalo, which they very rarely did before. It is a kind of protest. Stones have been laid across the road to stop the rangers to make them answer questions about what is happening."

The farmers' union, known by its Portuguese acronym UNAC, recommends that the boundary of the park is moved several miles beyond the Limpopo so that the 20,000 locals can carry on their activities outside it. Park officials say that this is not possible because the animals need the river when the land is dry.

In the meantime, UNAC, with the support of the British charity, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), is advising villagers of their rights and helping organise them so that they can lobby their government and have their voices heard.

About half of Mozambique's population lives in poverty. One in three has no access to sanitation. Aids and malaria are rife. Although the annual growth rate is eight per cent, one of the highest in Africa, the average income is still less than 60p a day.

"A lot of work could be done on pro-poor tourism," said Sam Bickerseth, the deputy head of the UK's Department for International Development office in the capital, Maputo. "If aid is badly directed it only benefits the elite."

Gilberto Vicente, the director of the Limpopo park, insists that no one will be forced to leave, although "the conflict's going to increase because the number of game is going up".

Moving would also offer better access to schools, roads and clinics, he adds. "We say resettlement is an opportunity for development … I call it a model of life we'd like to give people."

Yet Alisawa Manganyi, Solomon Maluleke's neighbour, says he doubts he will survive elsewhere. "Life is very hard here but we know every piece of the land and how to make it work for us. How can we do that anywhere else?"

Back to the Top
Back to Index