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

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From ZWNEWS, 13 July - 11:30 am UK Time
Senior MDC official's house under siege
The Harare home of Mrs Sekai Holland, MDC Secretary for International Affairs is currently under siege. Mrs Holland and her husband Jim are currently inside the house, which is surrounded by armed policemen. Mrs Holland was driving in central Harare earlier this morning when she realised that her car was being followed by a white Defender Land Rover. A chase ensued as Mrs Holland tried to evade her pursuers, during which shots were fired at her vehicle. She managed to reach her home, and while entering the building further shots were fired, and her domestic employees were held at gunpoint. Avondale police were called and on arrival discovered that the persons laying siege to the Holland's home were themselves policemen. They say they wish to speak to Mrs Holland's driver "in connection with a housebreaking".
This is just the latest in a series of intimidatory attacks on the MDC and others perceived to be enemies of the government in recent weeks. The MDC offices in Harare were raided last Thursday by riot police "looking for hostages". On Friday the MDC Treasurer, Fletcher Dhulini Ncube, was arrested at the party’s Bulawayo offices, but was later released uncharged. In the early hours of Saturday morning, police raided the home of Harare MP Tapiwa Mashakada, and, on Saturday, plainclothes policemen were prevented from trying to enter a memorial service for Patrick Nabanyama, an MDC election agent who was abducted last June and has not been seen since. On Sunday, the MDC provincial youth chairman in Matabeleland was assaulted and has been forced into hiding.
The siege continues.
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Farm Invasions and Security Report
Thursday 12th July 2001


Every attempt is made to provide a comprehensive report of ongoing
activities in relation to farm invasions, but many incidents are unreported
due to communications constraints, fear of reprisals and a general weariness
on the part of farmers.  Farmers names and in some cases, farm names, are
omitted to minimise the risk of reprisal.

  a.. Aggressive demands (reinforced by threats to destroy property, crops,
grazing or livestock) that farmers and their staff vacate farms are becoming
more frequent.  Since none of the farmers have been legally acquired by
government, these demands are illegal.
  b.. Intimidation of farmers and their workers, work stoppages, pegging in
currently productive fields, hut building accompanied by tree cutting
  c.. Tobacco stolen on a Macheke Farm has been recovered at the Sales
  d.. Gunfire was exchanged between police and poachers on a Wedza farm.
  e.. A lot of DDF machinery is deployed on invaded farms, ploughing or
drilling boreholes in a manner which enhances the value of the land for its
legitimate owner.  The success rate of the drilling operations is low,
because no geographical survey is done prior to drilling.

There were no reports received from Matabeleland and Mashonaland Central

Mashonaland West North
Umboe - Illegal occupiers are pegging and building huts on an irrigated
block of land on Kwakwa Farm which the owner has prepared to plant paprika.
Chinhoyi - Illegal occupier, Mr Mataka, informed the owner of Portelet
Estates that government now owns the farm, and that all ploughing should
stop and cattle and ostrich are to be moved off the farm, or they would be
herded into the homestead security fence and the grazing would be set on
fire. No further tobacco preparation was to continue as the land was
intended for a maize crop.
Doma - The owner of Kismet Farm asked an illegal occupier not to walk
through his wheat land and to use a different road. The illegal occupier
then reported the incident to the police alleging that the owner fired a
weapon at him, which had not been the case. The situation remains
unresolved. Government valuators are on Mukambe Farm. Agritex have pegged
Rivonia Farm. A work stoppage occurred on Whindale Farm  when illegal
occupiers threatened to burn tobacco in the sheds and break down a gate if
they were not given free meat. The DA was not available and the work
stoppage was eventually resolved. Agritex have pegged the whole of Green
Valley except for the ostrich paddock.
Karoi - A farm guard shot 2 poachers, killing one and the other died in
hospital later that evening. Police reacted and took statements. Illegal
occupiers cornered the farm manager, threatened to abduct him and steel his
vehicle. A store keeper nearby phoned the farm managers wife who called the
police. Police reacted quickly and resolved the situation. An illegal
occupier arrived on Monaic Farm in a large truck carrying a mill and water
pump and informed the owner that he was going to take over the farm village.
Police reacted and told the illegal occupier to move off the farm. The
Commissioner of Magunje Barracks told the owner of Toekoms Farm that farm
workers must vacate the farm village so illegal occupiers could move on.
Police refuse to respond because the order came from the Military. A dispute
between farm workers and illegal occupiers occurred on Nyahowa Farm, causing
illegal occupiers to flee. A work stoppage occurred on Yeadon Farm. Police
responded, but illegal occupiers are demanding to see the DA who was
unavailable at the time and the situation remains unresolved.
Tengwe - Ramona, Le donne du Dieu, Kuvekure Karowa, Pollux and Driftwoodall
Farms were fast tracked.

Mashonaland West South
General - Intimidation of labour and pegging is ongoing. Illegal occupiers
are building huts in front of farm owners' homesteads, and wood cutting is
prevalent throughout the region.
Chegutu - A family grave was dug up on Clevedon Farm.  The DA and police are
Kadoma - Illegal occupiers on a farm in the district are intimidating farm
workers leading to farm workers requesting to leave their jobs on the farm.

Mashonaland East
Bromley / Ruwa / Enterprise - There has been extensive hut building,
interference with farming operations by illegal occupiers and pegging by DDF
Harare South - DDF continue to plough on Swallowfield. A Chinese tractor and
scotch cart has been moving firewood off the farm. About 25 illegal
occupiers have settled near the seed bed site. Illegal occupiers told the
owner that they had been told to remain on their plots otherwise they would
loose them. Illegal occupier Jeka set light to 6 hectares of Rhodes grass on
Rusimbiro. The farm manager, an assistant and a neighbour were unable to put
out the fire as illegal occupiers blocked the road with a tree they had cut
down. Police were notified but did not respond.
Marondera - Illegal occupiers threatened the owner of Idapi Farm with
knives. Farm workers were forced by illegal occupiers to pull seedbed tents
down. Work stoppages and harassment by illegal occupiers of farmer owners
Marondera North - Illegal occupiers claimed dairy cattle on Chiparawe for
compensation of maize eaten by the owner's cattle. Illegal occupiers are
insisting the DA respond to resolve the situation. Maize was stolen from
Lekkerwater. Police are investigating. Fencing was stolen on Loquat Grove
farm. DDF continue to peg the farm. DDF officials moved onto Nyagambe. Work
stoppages have occurred on Cambridge, Ulva, Chapungu, Dormavale and Argosy.
Illegal occupiers have moved into the vacant houses in a farm village on
Ulva farm.
Macheke / Virginia - A work stoppage occurred on Spes Bona. The DA
responded, but the situation remains unresolved. Work was stopped on
Chilinda and illegal occupiers are pegging in the presence of police.
Illegal occupiers are building huts on Koodoo Range farm. DDF tractors are
ploughing on Nyagadzi.  Illegal occupiers on Royal Visit  have vacated the
security base. There has been an increase of fires being lit on the farm.
Fences have been removed and illegal occupiers are ploughing. Fires have
also been started on Hilton and Twist farms.  Tobacco stolen from Hazeldene
farm, was recovered from the sales floors. Illegal occupiers on Springdale
farm appealed to the DA for permission to peg the farm. The DA informed
illegal occupiers he was unable to issue this instruction as the farm owner
only owned one farm. DDF pegged some of the farm but were unable to gain
access through the security fence as security guards refused them access. 3
DDF tractors moved onto Bimi Farm to plough. A permanent structure is being
erected by illegal occupiers on Mignon. The police and DA were notified.
Wedza - Poachers were heard firing shots on Una and Journey's End. An Impala
and Steenbok were recovered. Police reacted and two shots were fired at them
by poachers. Police fired back, but the poachers escaped. 200m of fencing
wire was stolen from Ashlynns farm. Illegal occupiers have forced farm
workers out of their homes on Collace. Agritex officials are pegging on
Merryhill and Markwe. Farm workers on Numwa were instructed by illegal
occupiers to remove all equipment from a neighbouring farm, Eldoret to an
illegal occupiers base on Markwe. There has been extensive DDF ploughing on
Farm Alpha. A DDF tractor is ploughing on a prepared and irrigated land on
Mt Arthur. Work stoppages have occurred on Mbima, Igudu, Leeds and Plymtree.
The owner of Igudu has been told by illegal occupier Isaac to remove all
cattle off the farm within 2 weeks. Illegal occupiers on Dudley instructed a
fencing team to stop work. Security guards on Poltimore, Mt Arthur, Leeds
and Hull  were abducted and assaulted by illegal occupiers for a brief time
and then released. Police have requested for medical reports. A tense
situation was diffused on Plymtree  when 2 farmers were held up by illegal
occupiers after an arrest had been made on the farm.
Beatrice - Agritex officials and illegal occupiers commenced pegging on
Silver Oak farm. Illegal occupiers that have been building huts on
Friedenthal, refused to allow dairy cattle out of the milking area to graze.
Police refused to respond and the owner sought advice from a lawyer who
diffused the situation. Illegal occupiers are pegging and settling on Silver
Oak, Victory and Gwalia.

Nyazura - There is an increase of hut building on De Rust Farm and illegal
occupiers and Agritex are ploughing on Drene Farm.

General - Deforestation, harassment to owners to move cattle off properties,
building of huts and poaching continue unabated.
Chiredzi Area - 2 tractors have been on Alstar Haven Ranch ploughing up old
fallow fields.
Mwenezi - DDF drilling team arrived on farms in the district. Government
sent them to drill at least 5 boreholes on these farms. DDF drilling
officials have been instructed to continue regardless of the legal state. On
one farm it is reported that the first borehole was dry.

General - Harassment by illegal occupiers to farm owners continue unabated.


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ZIMBABWE: Opposition lawyers accuse government of bias

JOHANNESBURG, 12 July (IRIN) - Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court has reserved its
ruling over the constitutionality of charges against opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, AFP reported on Thursday. Tsvangirai, leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and a former trade union leader, is
accused of calling for the violent overthrow of President Robert Mugabe.
He was charged in May under security laws that carry a maximum penalty of
life imprisonment. His High Court trial was postponed indefinitely to
allow the Supreme Court to determine whether the charges were

His lawyer, Chris Andersen, told the court to drop the charges because no
ruling party militants had been charged under the same laws for unleashing
violence on political opponents. Militants from Mugabe’s ruling group have
been widely accused of violently intimidating opposition activists and
launching attacks on white farmers to occupy their farmlands. If
convicted, Tsvangirai could be barred from contesting presidential
elections early next year.

The charges against Tsvangirai were too wide and “speculative,” his lawyer
said. Andersen said he planned to subpoena Attorney General Andrew
Chigovera to explain why ruling party leaders and militants had not been
prosecuted for more serious incitement violations. “Why has he acted
selectively?” Andersen asked in court. The top state law officer is a
member of cabinet and was appointed to parliament by Mugabe.
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Media watchdog welcomes court case against public broadcaster

JOHANNESBURG, 12 July (IRIN) - In a statement e-mailed to IRIN on
Thursday, Zimbabwe’s Media Monitoring Project (MMPZ) said it supported The
National Development Association’s (NDA) reported decision to take the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) to the High Court to have its live
phone-in television programme “Talk to the Nation” reinstated. The
programme pitted an opposition parliamentarian against a government law
maker for the first time and was widely applauded as a contribution to
free and fair public debate on economic issues. It was unilaterally
switched off by the ZBC on 5 July, 2001.

The state-run ‘Herald’ reported that the NDA filed papers with the High
Court on Tuesday, in which the ZBC is the first respondent. Minister of
State Information and Publicity Professor Jonathan Moyo is the second
respondent. The MMPZ said it welcomed any effort from any quarter to force
the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) to broadcast a more balanced,
fair and diverse opinion than the diet of government propaganda it
currently delivers to its audiences.

The NDA contends that the act was an infringement of the public’s right to
freedom of expression. “By cancelling the programme, first and second
respondent are in the applicant’s view, denying members of the public
their constitutional right to the enjoyment of freedom of expression,
bearing in mind that the first respondent is a public institution
established primarily to serve the public.” The MMPZ pointed out that this
was the third NDA programme to be aired but only the first in which some
form of political balance was reflected in the panellists.
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From The New York Times, 12 July

Zimbabwe leader wants charges dropped

Harare - An attorney for Zimbabwe's most powerful opposition leader argued Thursday that charges brought against his client were designed to cripple his chances at the presidency. The lawyer for Morgan Tsvangirai, leader for Movement for Democratic Change Party, urged the Supreme Court to drop the charges of incitement to terrorism, sabotage and violence his client faces on constitutional grounds. The law under which Tsvangirai was charged is archaic, and had not been applied in the two decades since Zimbabwe's independence, said Chris Andersen, the lawyer.

Tsvangirai, the strongest challenger to President Robert Mugabe's 21-year-rule, was charged with inciting terrorism after he warned Mugabe at a rally that if he did not step down ``we will remove you violently.'' The charges carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. If convicted, Tsvangirai could also be barred from running in presidential elections early next year. His High Court trial has been postponed to allow the Supreme Court to determine if the charges are constitutional. The law used to charge Tsvangirai was enacted in the 1960s to help the white minority rulers of the former colony of Rhodesia suppress black nationalist opponents, including Mugabe. Andersen argued the law now violates the free expression guarantees provided in the democratic constitution adopted after independence in 1980.

State prosecutor Nathaniel Sibanda, however, said the security laws were still needed to protect elections and other democratic institutions from assault. Tsvangirai, a former trade union leader, helped form the main opposition party in September 1999 in order to challenge the ruling party's tight grip on power in a country sliding into economic chaos. The labor-backed party won 57 of the 120 elected seats in parliamentary elections last year. Mugabe had controlled all but three seats in the previous parliament. A Supreme Court decision is expected in the next few weeks.

From VOA News, 12 July

Gadhafi visit to Zimbabwe shrouded in mystery

Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi is in Zimbabwe for talks with President Robert Mugabe. The visit is shrouded in official secrecy, with the Zimbabwe government unwilling to disclose details of the reason for the visit. The Libyan leader arrived in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, escorted by five armored cars carrying machine guns and accompanied by a fleet of some one hundred limousines. Colonel Gadhafi had travelled by road from Lusaka, Zambia where he had been attending the Organization of African Unity summit.

State radio and television reported that Colonel Gadhafi was arriving by air. Political analysts say the confusion about the method of arrival was deliberate and for security reasons. The nearly 400-kilometre route through northern Zimbabwe took the Libyan president through some of the most fertile commercial farming areas. Many of the white-owned farms are listed for nationalization by the government and have been invaded by militant supporters of President Mugabe. The government has made no official statement on the reason for the visit of the Libyan leader, but state media report that discussions will centre on economic issues, especially oil. Zimbabwe has been suffering from fuel shortages for the past 18 months because it has run out of foreign currency. Libya has twice helped with short-term loans.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court in Zimbabwe has postponed judgement on a challenge to the constitution by Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The panel of five judges is headed by new Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, who was appointed by President Mugabe after Anthony Gubbay was forced out. Mr. Tsvangirai was not in court as lawyers argued that a treason charge against him is invalid because the law on which it is based - the Law and Order Maintenance Act - infringes on human rights. The Movement for Democratic Change leader is alleged to have called at a public rally for the forced removal of President Mugabe. Mr. Tsvangirai's lawyers said the law was enacted by the previous white-dominated government of Rhodesia and Mr. Mugabe had himself challenged it when he was fighting for black rule.

From News24 (SA), 13 July

Zim braces for new fuel hike

Harare - Hardly a month after fuel prices went up by 70 percent, the government is reported to be considering raising pump prices again, this time by a further 20 percent, industry officials said Thursday. The last fuel rise led to a two-day mass stayaway which cost the country an estimated R2 billion in lost production and exports. And tension is still high. Trade unions gave the government another 14 days notice to reverse the now old increase as a condition for paving the way for dialogue.

The government's debt-ridden National Oil Company of Zimbabwe Limited (Noczim) has indicated that another increase was necessary because of fluctuations in international oil prices. John Robertson, an economist, told the independent Daily News that a fuel price increase could not be ruled out because international fuel prices constantly changed and Zimbabwe needed money to repay its debt, anyway. Factored into the last fuel price increase was what Noczim called an Amortisation Levy of R1 a litre for all motorists, who were also made to fork out a R1 road user levy, another R1 for the Noczim Bond, and a duty of about 50 cents.

The new proposal, however, comes amid a stand-off between the ZCTU and the government over the last increases which led to the recent two-day stayaway. Noczim officials confirmed that the company needed more money to remain afloat, service debts and procure more fuel. "An increase is definite. About 20 percent or so. Soon," said an official who requested anonymity, citing what he called the politically sensitive nature of the subject as the reason. On 12 June, when the hotly contested increase was announced, the Noczim chairperson, Nicholas Kitikiti, said: "In keeping with the Millennium Economic Recovery Programme, the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe will be making regular price adjustments in line with the movement of the exogenous factors which affect prices of petroleum products on the international oil market. These factors are crude oil prices, Free On Board (FOB) prices of refined petroleum products, exchange rate movements and interest rates on the local market."

Zimbabwe spends about R240 million a month on fuel imports. Analysts say with the foreign currency shortage and the general poverty worsened by the loss of international confidence on Zimbabwe, it had become difficult for Noczim to source foreign currency at the official exchange rate of Z$55 to the US dollar. Noczim, like most Zimbabweans and their companies, has had to resort to what the government prefers to call the parallel market which is asking for at least Z$140 to the US dollar. The fuel increase has hiked the cost of living to a level where Zimbabwe has become a very unsecure place to live, said John Makumbe, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe. "Most families are hungry and this makes everybody unsafe," he said.

From The Financial Gazette, 12 July

Upgrade for road to Nkomo’s village

Kezi - The government, criticised for failing to adequately honour the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo, is upgrading and widening the rundown and potholed strip road leading to Nyongolo village, Nkomo’s rural home, it was established this week. Government workers were yesterday clearing tracts of land to facilitate the proposed extension of the 185-kilometre narrow strip of road that cuts through the world-famous Matopos National Park. Only about 32 kms of the strip road is wide and tarred, allegedly for the benefit of tourists that flock to the national park, where imperialist Cecil John Rhodes is buried.

Lovemore Moyo, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) legislator for Matobo under which Kezi falls, told the Financial Gazette that his constituency hoped the upgrade would be completed before the onset of the rainy season and next year’s presidential elections to enable easier access to outlying areas. "It’s a positive development which the villagers in my constituency fully applaud," said Moyo. "One would have expected people from here to have good roads considering that the late Vice President was born and bred here. We also pray and hope that this is a genuine development and not a campaign gimmick to hoodwink the electorate in my poor constituency."

The narrow and treacherous strip road, the site of many fatal traffic accidents, is part of a poor road network that leads to the dilapidated Nyongolo village, which observers say contrasts sharply with President Robert Mugabe’s Kutama Village in Zvimba and Vice President Simon Muzenda’s Zvavahera Village in Gutu. Both villages have wide tarred roads, brick-and-tile houses as well as piped water and electricity, while the only sign of development in Nyongolo village is the late Vice President’s family graveyard with its marble and brass tombstones. Moyo said: "We don’t want to celebrate yet until we see how the development is concluded. They might just clear the trees and dump gravel along the road and leave it at that. This is African politics."

From Business Day (SA), 12 July

Mugabe in emergency bid to avert food crisis

Harare - As the spectre of starvation looms over Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe has appointed an emergency ministerial task force to import maize urgently to stave off the imminent crisis. Zimbabwe has 290 000 tons of maize in stock and the crop forecast is 1,44-million tons. The shortfall is at least 500 000 tons. Experts say the maize import target should be 700 000 tons. The country also needs to import 100 000 tons of wheat. The emergency team's appointment came as the opposition Movement for Democratic Change's president, Morgan Tsvangirai, accused the government of "incompetence and mismanagement" in handling the food security issue. Tsvangirai told reporters yesterday that Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF party were squarely to blame for the latest food problem in the country. "Since the beginning of this year, this government has put a solid wall of opposition to our warning there would be food shortages," Tsvangirai said.

He said it was not surprising that two cabinet ministers admitted last Friday that the country was facing maize shortages. Zimbabwe was also in the grip of fuel and foreign currency shortages. "Political dishonesty of this nature and downright incompetence on the part of an individual who has been assigned to man a key public office is totally unacceptable," he said. "We should, however, hasten to point out that the problem facing Zimbabwe at this particular hour goes beyond (Land and Agriculture MinisterJoseph) Made," Tsvangirai said. "Made is only a manifestation of Zanu PF's policy flip-flops."

Mugabe was too embarrassed to admit his "disastrous" policies triggered the food crisis; hence his government's earlier denials that Zimbabwe had to import grain. The food shortages were caused by Mugabe's chaotic land reform programme and his government's inability to support small-scale farmers. "The causes are the lack of support for small-scale farmers, coupled with the impact of the Zanu PF policy of farm invasions in the large-scale farming sector," said Tsvangiari. The MDC said it had drafted a comprehensive plan to rescue the country from the threat of famine. It urged the government to consider its proposals as part of the holistic national effort to avert the food crisis. The high-profile task force consists of Made, Ignatius Chombo (local government, public works and national housing), Joyce Mujuru (rural resources and water development), Swithun Mombeshora (transport and communications) and Simba Makoni (finance) as well as former members of the state-owned Grain Marketing Board, Canaan Dube and his deputy, Justin Mutasa.

From The Cape Argus (SA), 12 July

Zim pupils take to the streets over fees hike

Harare - Riot police used truncheons to break up a group of 400 Zimbabwean pupils who were protesting a massive increase in school fees announced earlier on Thursday in the state-run Herald newspaper. The students marched through downtown Harare, singing and waving green tree branches, and ripping apart copies of the Herald. They marched past the parliament building and then went on to a plaza in front of the education ministry, where riot police pushed the crowd away and beat students with truncheons. The pupils were protesting a massive increase in school fees, which the Herald announced would rise by as much as 40-fold. The increases, which will go into effect next month, follow two months of rumbling protests by students against the government over inadequate allowances.

From Business Day (SA), 12 July

New proposal on Harare's land reform

Harare - Zimbabwe's embattled commercial farmers have formally presented to the government their land reform proposals in a bid to break the land logjam which has seen the country descend into lawlessness. The Commercial Farmers' Union's (CFU's) Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement Initiative task force presented the document, titled Farming into the Future, to a cabinet committee for resettlement and rural development which is chaired by President Robert Mugabe's deputy, Joseph Msika, on Wednesday. "Among our key concerns is the ability to sustain the mandate of farmers, given the widespread incidence of criminal activities, extortion, violence, intimidation, and disruption to production," the CFU told Msika.

Key points in the proposals include pledges that farmers would deliver an initial tranche of a million hectares of suitable land for acquisition by government on an uncontested basis. "The (initiative) also intends to raise an additional 200 000 hectares from large corporations and multinational companies for inclusion in the first tranche," the document said. The CFU said its proposals should not be seen by government and its supporters as an opportunity for further assault on its members, nor on commercial agriculture. "Individual landowners have expectations that their land proposals do not expose them to pressure by opportunistic elements nor to unreasonable demands to relinquish rights to continue farming on the retained portions of land," the group said. The CFU said it was also prepared to garner international donor support for Mugabe's land redistribution programme.

Comment from The Washington Times, 12 July

Zimbabwe's moment

Twenty-one years ago, Robert Mugabe saw Zimbabwe's defining moment. His people had been subjected to Portuguese slave traders, British colonialists who raped their land of precious resources, South African farmers who suppressed their voices and countless "peace talks" that led to nowhere. By April 1980, his people were ready for change and voted overwhelmingly for his Zanu party, making him leader. Zimbabwe became independent, and blacks were no longer subjected to white rule. Today, Zimbabwe is waiting for another moment.

Mugabe, referred to as the Old Man of Africa, is now disempowering the very same people. Those who formerly supported him are deserting him, and those he considers threats to his power are being murdered or charged with terrorism. Consider Morgan Tsvangirai. Despite the fact that the person who had previously seriously challenged Mr. Mugabe for the presidency of the country - the Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole - had been arrested and charged with plotting to kill the prime minister, Mr. Tsvangirai is hoping to overthrow the president in elections in April 2002. But today he, too, will face the Zimbabwe Supreme Court on charges of state terrorism and inciting violence.

If convicted, this could conveniently put Mr. Mugabe's main competition behind bars just in time for the election and keep him there for life. Interestingly, in a gesture of desperation, Mr. Tsvangirai was charged with a law dating back to the era of white-ruled Rhodesia, a law used to silence black dissent and nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s. All Mr. Tsvangirai had said was that Mr. Mugabe should go peacefully, or he would be removed violently. Discontent has grown as the economy has rapidly deteriorated, and Mr. Mugabe has implemented a policy of settling war veterans from the time of the uprising for independence on land formerly owned by white people. It is estimated that 7.4 million acres have forcibly been taken, settling 100,000 such veterans, and Mr. Mugabe wants to settle another 300,000 by the end of the year.

As Mr. Tsvangirai sees it, though, empowerment is about jobs, not about land liberation. Since the land confiscation started, agricultural production has been disrupted, causing a food shortage. He hopes to focus on land and economic reform policy. He would rearrange the budget, too, focusing funds on health concerns, rather than defense, which Mr. Mugabe has used to fight his own domestic battles. This would help fight the growing HIV/AIDS crisis, which is killing 2,000 people a week there.

But before he can do any of that, he has to be sure that Mr. Mugabe will allow free and fair elections - something unlikely without international monitors. "It is crucial that that election be run in a manner which is legitimate and which will give the people of Zimbabwe an opportunity to express themselves to their own leadership. "…but we can't do it alone," Mr. Tsvangirai said in an interview at The Washington Times. "We need the assistance and support both of the regional governments and the international community." For people who have had their voices silenced, a little monitoring doesn't seem too much to ask. Mr. Mugabe should know that the international community is already watching as Zimbabwe prepares for another defining moment.

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Zim faces IMF expulsion

Dumisani Ndlela
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose mission in March left no assurance of renewed funding, has sent a five-member team into the country on a fact-finding mission, the Zimbabwe Independent established this week.

This comes as it emerged this week that the country had until this month to settle its arrears with the IMF, or at least show indications that it is in the process of updating its account with the Washington-based financiers, or have its case publicised next month as the last step by the Bretton Woods institution in dealing with the issue.

This will involve the initiation of procedures for the compulsory withdrawal of Zimbabwe from the IMF.

The IMF is understood to have already reviewed its options in dealing with Zimbabwe’s situation which it has, however, described as “not peculiar to the country”.

Zimbabwe risks joining the ranks of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan, suspended by the IMF’s executive board after protracted arrears to the IMF, if it is expelled from the fund.

But sources said Finance minister Simba Makoni had sent a strong assurance to the IMF board that the country was working on clearing its arrears.

Zimbabwe has also defaulted on its loan repayments to the World Bank, the Africa Development Bank and various other international lenders.

Sources said the IMF team that is currently in the country was looking specifically at central bank figures, but could not name the agenda of the team’s visit.

Key officials from the IMF’s Washington offices could not be contacted when the Independent phoned their offices on Wednesday night, but sources said the team’s visit had nothing to do with balance-of-payments support or any of the IMF’s routine reviews on member countries.

The IMF suspended funding for an economic reform programme which expired last October over missed fiscal targets and concerns over the land reform programme.

Zimbabwe is currently facing its worst ever economic crisis, characterised by run-away inflation and an acute shortage of fuel and foreign currency that has disrupted the normal functioning of all economic activities, stunting growth and triggering a spell of job losses and company closures.

The suspension of IMF funding in the country in September 1999 resulted in the flight of investors and donors and a loss to Zimbabwe of funding amounting to over $27 billion.

The IMF has given the Harare administration of President Robert Mugabe a set of recommendations to address the economic crisis and create the basis for sustained economic recovery.

Some of the recommendations hinge on issues the government is not prepared to relent on, such as the land reform exercise.

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Muzenda, Makoni in row over $30b loan

Dumisani Muleya/Augustine Mukaro
A ROW has erupted between Vice-president Simon Muzenda and Finance minister Simba Makoni over a US$240 million ($31,2 billion) loan from Spain, it emerged yesterday.

Official sources said the staggering financial advance was secured from Spanish donors to recapitalise the Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda).

Arda, which was headed by Joseph Made before he was appointed Lands and Agriculture minister last July, is facing collapse because of under-capitalisation and extended periods of mismanagement. It is saddled with a debt of more than $100 million.

Sources said the raging storm over the loan has drawn into its vortex Rural and Water Resources minister, Joyce Mujuru. Muzenda and Mujuru are said to be trying to divert part of the funds to the construction of Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam in Masvingo. Work on the dam has been suspended due to lack of funds. The two are said to be pushing the deal but have met with resistance from Makoni.

Sources said Makoni was a major stumbling block because he had not been involved at any stage in the deal. The minister and his permanent secretary, Nicholas Ncube, who is the ministry’s accounting officer, were by-passed by their subordinates on the issue, it is alleged.

Makoni initially told the Zimbabwe Independent that he knew nothing about the loan, only to say a week later that negotiations on securing the loan were still in progress. Efforts yesterday to get further clari- fication from both him and Ncube were unsuccessful.

It is understood Makoni’s deputy, Chris Kuruneri, and an officer who handles domestic and external loans in the ministry, could have signed the deal.

Notwithstanding the wrangle, sources said the money was coming.
“The deal has already been approved and the money will be forwarded into the Arda bank account this month for disbursement at the beginning of August,” the source said.

However, a new problem has emerged. The Arda board is said to be refusing to handle the loan after a warning by the Attorney-General’s office that the deal was unprocedural.

“What it now means is that the deal has hit another snag,” another source said. “But those supporting the deal have not given up. They are now busy scouting for an institution to handle the money.”

The Zimbabwe Development Trust (ZDT) and AgriBank — whose chief executive Taka Mutunhu is also Arda board chair — have been suggested as possible conduits for the money.

But the ZDT, whose patron was the late vice-president Joshua Nkomo, is virtually a defunct organisation. Sources said AgriBank had not yet agreed to handle the money.

Mutunhu had not responded to questions from the Independent at the time of going to press.

“The institution that will handle the deal will obviously get a commission,” a source said.

Sources claimed that US$40 million ($5,2 billion) would be offered as “commission” to the institution that acted as a channel for the funds.
It has also been alleged that the original sum secured from Spain was US$260 million ($33,8 billion).

Sources said it was suspected that at least US$20 million ($2,6 billion) had been deposited with the former National Westminster Bank — now known as Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation — in the Uni-ted Kingdom for “sharing among those involved in the arrangement”.

High-level sources said the deal, which caused heated debate in the Ministry of Finance, was brokered by former Arda chief executive, Liberty Mhlanga, and two Zimbabwean brothers based in Spain.

Mhlanga, who is currently an Arda board member, owns sugarcane plantations in the Chisumbanje area and is in the process of setting up a sugar milling plant in the Lowveld.

Arda implements agricultural and rural development activities. Its most prominent programmes include the integrated rural development programme in Masvingo, a fruit and vegetable marketing project in Mashonaland East and a small-scale coffee and fruit growers in the Eastern Highlands.

Mhlanga could neither deny nor confirm the deal, but said he would be in a position to comment later in the month.

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Press Release  11/07/2001

Re: Chihuri politicising the police force

Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri is continuing with his partisan
stance insisting that all police officers who support the opposition will
be fired.

Chihuri himself is on record saying he supports Zanu PF and will always
support it. In the misguided belief that the people of Zimbabwe have short
memories, he now wants us to believe that he neither supports Zanu PF nor
MDC. This is typical dishonesty that is the hallmark of Zanu PF.

As a police commissioner, Chihuri stands accused of failing to protect
Zimbabweans against Zanu PF-sponsored violence and intimidation. While
Chihuri was waxing lyrical about the importance of not personalising
issues, MDC offices in Kwekwe were being raided Gestapo-style by police
officers anxious to show their loyalty to Zanu PF.

Last week at the behest of Zanu PF, armed police officers unlawfully
raided our offices in Harare alleging that we were holding hostage a group
of unnamed people. They were however embarrassed to find no such victims.
They also raided our offices in Bulawayo on similar flimsy excuses.

While the police carry out this harassment on the opposition they have
done nothing about the real criminals that are killing and maiming
innocent people throughout the country.

For example in Nkayi, Epworth and Bindura MDC supporters have been held
hostage and tortured in the presence of the police who have said openly
that MDC supporters will not get protection from them. 

MDC unreservedly condemns attempts by Chihuri to politicise the police
force. We believe that the Zimbabwe Republic Police still has
professionals who are being hampered from performing their duties by a
clearly partisan commissioner.

We salute all those men and women in our police force who continue to
stick to the ethics of their profession under these trying times. Their
efforts are not in vain as they are also participating in creating a
better Zimbabwe for us all.

The MDC wants a better life for all the people of Zimbabwe. That is why we
continue to call for a constitution that entrenches a culture of rights in
a climate of liberty, a constitution that will limit power and the abuse
of it.

Under an MDC government, people will not be killed for daring to express a
different opinion.

Professor Welshman Ncube
MDC Shadow Home Affairs Minister

Press Release :   11/07/2001

MDC Provincial offices in Kwekwe raided

A group of about 60 police officers and members of the Central
Intelligence Organisation raided offices  of the MDC's Midlands North
province housed at No; 37 Fourth Street, Kwekwe this morning.MDC has 12
political provinces. The group which was traveling in eight Land Rovers
arrived at the offices at 8.10am.

The group was heavily armed. It was led by an Inspector Zhou. They
searched the offices without a search warrant which could have at least
empowered them to carry out their political raid. After the search, which
yielded nothing, the group then rounded up all the people who were at the
premises. They also arrested two passers by. These  are Douglas Moyo and
Ishmael Kumalo.

The total number of people who have been rounded up is eleven. These
include, MDC's provincial chairperson Evans Ruzvidzo, his vice chairperson
Isaac Muzimba, the provincial secretary Edgar Sithole, the treasurer
Lameck Muyambi and the regional coordinator Sylvester Majekuza.

The eleven are currently being held under heavy guard at KweKwe central
police station. No explanation has been tendered to the party  as to why
the offices have been searched

Again no explanation has been tendered to the eleven as to why they are
being held. We are not yet clear as to what could be the motive of this
latest round of political harassment from Zanu PF.

This latest incident comes in the wake of two similar incidents which took
place in Harare and Bulawayo last week.

On July 5 at around 3.40pm, a group of plainclothes CID officers and 18
uniformed police officers led by a superintendant Chawadya raided MDC
offices situated in the sixth floor, Robinson House, at the corner of
Angwa Street and Union Avenue in Harare. The group locked everyone inside
the premises and searched the offices for two hours. Their search yielded
nothing. The following day police in Bulawayo stormed MDC's provincial
offices at No: 145 Herbert Chitepo Street. They carried out a search which
again yielded nothing. The police then arrested a party driver and
Honourable Fletcher Dulini Ncube, the MDC's national treasurer. He is also
a Member of Parliament for the Lobengula-Magwegwe constituency.

                                                                Page 2
Although the motive for these raids is not quite clear, what is
self-evident is that the all-consuming passion to cling to power by Zanu
PF has thrown the party into a state of confusion. They do not know how to
effectively and brutally repress the MDC.  They now perceive as legitimate
the use of these marauding and semi-literate goons to physically and
emotionally harass members of a lawful and legitimate political party.

This will however not stop the MDC from pursuing the struggle to complete
the change for a better life for all Zimbabweans. We have taken a vow in
that direction and that vow is permanent and irrevocable.

Learnmore   Jongwe
Secretary, Information and Publicity

Press Release: 11  July    2001

Re:Zimbabwe's Looming Food Shortages: Made Should Go


As early as February of this year, MDC recognised that food imports would
be inevitable. We also pointed out that due to the current government's
bankruptcy, which bankruptcy is there for everyone to see, donor support
would be essential to augment food supplies.  In line with our democratic
obligation as an official and  loyal opposition, we designed a programme
to ensure that there would be adequate supplies of food and that the food
would be distributed in an impartial and non-partisan fashion to those in
need.  The MDC actively canvassed donors to give support to this programme.

ZANU-PF is directly responsible for the food shortage

Since the beginning of this year, this government, through Joseph Made has
put a solid wall of opposition to our warning that there would be food
shortages. On Friday, the same Made with the assistance of  Simba Makoni
made a sudden u-turn and agreed with the MDC position that  Zimbabweans
are faced with  serious  starvation.  Political dishonesty of this nature
and downright incompetence on the part of an individual   who has been
assigned to man a key public office is totally unacceptable.

 We should however hasten to point out that the problem facing Zimbabwe at
this particular hour goes beyond Made. Made is only a manifestation of
Zanu (PF)'s policy flip-flops.

The reason that prompted the Zanu (PF) government over the past months to
pursue a deliberate policy of denying the existence of imminent massive
food shortages is very clear. They knew quite well that it would be too
embarrassing to admit to the causes of the food shortage. The causes are a
lack of support to small-scale farmers, coupled with the impact  of the
Zanu (PF) policy of farm invasions on the large-scale farming sector, both
of which have been inflicted on the nation by the ZANU PF government. The
upshot has been low levels of production of food this year in both sectors:

§ Small-scale farmers were hard-hit by the government's failure to ensure
GMB had the finance to purchase last year's crop.  GMB should have been
ready with finances to buy the crop by the beginning of April  but  it was
only able to make payments in November 2000.  The upshot of the GMB delay
was that a large proportion of maize kept by the farmers was heavily
infested and could only be bought by GMB as stock feed.  This resulted in
the farmers being paid so little for their crop and so late that they had
no money and time to buy inputs, which had by then risen dramatically in
Those poor Zimbabweans who were purportedly resettled under the fast track
programme were simply duped and dumped on bare land.  Without inputs, very
little maize or any other crops were planted.  For the 2000/2001 season,
the small-scale producer's problems were compounded by unfavourable
weather (a long mid-season dry spell, followed by too much rain).

§ In the large-scale sector, the chaos associated with the government's
fast-track exercise has reduced production severely.  Farmers with
designated farms found it difficult to raise credit for inputs and had
little incentive to plant.  Many farms that were not designated were
nonetheless invaded and farmers were threatened and prevented from
ploughing and planting their fields.  In other cases, mid-season
production and harvesting were disrupted.

The parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Land, Agricultural Resettlement
and Water documented the inability of commercial farmers to plant and
noted that there were many instances of farm invaders building their huts
in the middle of growing maize fields.  Hecterages and yields of winter
wheat as well as maize have been reduced by the above factors.

The extent of the food shortage

Measures taken by the private sector in response to the MDC's early
warning have improved the immediate short-term situation.  These include
millers exporting wheat flour to raise the foreign currency needed to
import much larger tonnages of 'gristing wheat', thereby extending wheat
supplies.  This government evidently does not understand such useful
strategies and has now taken measures to stop trade in cereals by the
private sector.  National level shortages are projected  to occur
massively in early  2002, but to avoid these, import arrangements have to
be put in place right now so that protracted donor procedures and
logistical bottlenecks will not prevent the food from reaching people in
time to avert famine.  In the meantime, the main problem for the people
will be sharply rising prices.

The detailed picture for maize and wheat are as follows:

§ Maize: The current stock of maize at GMB is 290,000 tonnes.  During
maize purchase last year, GMB admitted that a lot of the maize they were
buying was D grade, which is not suitable for human consumption.  The
quality of this stock is therefore suspect.  The crop forecast by the
Grain Council, which involves various stakeholders (including Agritex,
Meteorological Services and CSO) estimate this year's maize crop at
1,440,000 tonnes, of which an unknown quantity was affected by cob rot and
is therefore not fit for human consumption.The Minister of Lands,
Agriculture and Resettlement, in his wisdom, arrogantly rejected this
forecast, but has now finally admitted that imports will be needed.  In
relation to Zimbabwe's normal maize requirements, the shortfall is 500,000
tonnes.  In a shortage situation, however, it is prudent to err on the
side of caution.  Over the full crop year, from l April 2001 to 31 March
2002, the maize import target should be 700,000 tonnes.

§ Wheat: It is agreed by all parties that 100,000 tonnes of wheat imports
will be needed to see the country through to the harvest in October this
year.  Further imports will be required in 2002.

MDC's strategy to resolve the food crisis

Contrary to some misguided voices in the ruling party camp which have
accused us of calling for  economic sanctions, MDC has been at the
forefront of  approaching donors to bail out Zimbabwe and supply food aid.
However, MDC is very concerned about ZANU-PF's clearly expressed intention
to use food as yet another means of influencing the outcome of next year's
presidential election. As things stand at present, only members of ZANU-PF
are being registered for drought-relief, including food for work
programmes.  Nathan Shamuyarira has stated that 5 million ZANU-PF cards
will be distributed to their members, who must carry them in person.  It
is these new cards that the government intends to use to identify who will
and will not be eligible for  food aid.

This despicable eagerness by ZANU-PF to exploit the people for
party-political purposes is totally unacceptable.  MDC calls upon the
donors to ensure that the government will not control the distribution of
food, which should in our view be handled by a non-partisan structure.
MDC has put forward detailed proposals on how to ensure that the food aid
is distributed on a completely non-partisan basis, responding to all the
people's needs. It is imperative that these proposals be adopted.

MDC is for a policy where  imported grain will be purchased by neutral
players. The Zimbabwe dollars counterpart funds generated will have to be
used to alleviate economic hardships as well as provide the resources to
give food to those in need.  Depending on the exchange rate applicable to
the food imports, the counterpart funds will be very large (at least
US$130 million translating into anywhere between Z$7 billion to Z$20
billion).  The counterpart funds should be channelled through established,
transparent and neutral non-governmental development agencies.  These
funds should help in a number of areas including the following:

§ repairs to infrastructure such as roads, water supplies, schools and
clinics in rural and urban areas (this is important in its own right but
will also give opportunities for employment and provide a new source of
income in depressed communities);

§ assistance to smallholder agricultural production;

§ unemployment benefit support (to be administered through the NECs) for
people who have lost jobs as a direct result of the abrogation of the rule
of law.

§ school fees and medical expenses support for the poor;

§ feeding scheme for primary school children.

MDC is doing everything in its power to ensure that no Zimbabwean will go
hungry over the next 12 crucial months in the country's history.  Once in
power, MDC's will have coherent policies, implemented in a country with
the rule of law restored and a proper agrarian reform programme in place.
MDC will have harmonious relationships with the outside world, including
the donor community.  The MDC government will quickly ensure that Zimbabwe
returns to its rightful place of being a net exporter of food and other
agricultural commodities.

Morgan    Tsvangirai
MDC President
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AirZim debt close to $1b, almost insolvent

Brian Hungwe
AIR Zimbabwe is reeling under a heavy debt of close to $1 billion which is likely to render the airline insolvent if creditors decide to descend upon the company, the Zimbabwe Independent ascertained this week.

Suspicions abound over how the airline, with about 1 500 employees, arrived at a $100 million operational profit it declared two weeks ago following the launch of the airline’s survival plan.

The airline last year made huge operating losses on its nine official routes. In the Harare/Kariba/Victoria Falls ro-ute, the airline was operating at a loss of $3,7 million, Bulawayo/Johann- esburg $5,8 million, Harare/Frankfurt/London-Glasgow $37,4 milli- on, Harare/Maseru $9,3 million, Victoria Falls/Johannesburg $47,6 million, Harare/Lilongwe $3 million, Harare/Luanda/Ki- nshasa $17 million.

The airline was then advised to terminate six routes to decrease its operating revenue by $250,29 million and operational costs by $380,03 million.

The development was meant to translate into an operating gain or saving of $129 million.

Sources within the airline confirmed that the airline calculated the revenue obtained in hard currency using the parallel market rates and based its operational costs using the official rate.

The source said that the $100 million profit figure was misleading, adding that the airline had to explain how it arrived at the figure.

The airline has two Boeing 767s, three Boeing 737s with one being leased to the Mozambican government racking in US$110 000 per month.

Air Zimbabwe senior public relations manager, David Mwenga, told the Independent that the announced profit figure was “provisional” and the correct figure would be presented at the end of the year when all the receipts had been received.

“We are not prepared to disclose our debts. Like any other company we have debts but that is confidential,” Mwenga said.

In a document leaked to the Independent titled “Route profitability statements for six months April to September 2000”, the airline management was advised late last year that it did not have meaningful investments or disposable assets for its operations. The documents also said it was not possible to borrow locally and offshore.

“There must be drastic action to enable the airline to get out of this situation, as without that this business may go under,” the document read.
“The airline’s situation is further compounded by the fact that as at October 27, 2000 operational creditors stood at $662 million,” it read.

“The airline’s operations are therefore being financed by its creditors. This ugly state of affairs calls for drastic decisions and action. This requires singlemindedness and focus on the part of the management, the board of directors and shareholders. We must focus ourselves on saving this business from collapse,” it added.

Political interference in the running of the airline has resulted in problems at the airline.

Authoritative sources within the airline said the solution now lay with privatising the airline, as it was a gold mine that had not been tapped.
“Air Zimbabwe just needs professional hands who go about their normal business without any form of political interference,” the source said.

Sources further stated that the President’s Office and the Ministry of Transport had been responsible for running down the airline, with the intelligence service relying on false information on manage- ment’s performance.
“Some Air Zimbabwe chief executives have been fired on political grounds despite their spirited performances in bringing the airline on a sound financial footing,” the source said.

The airline has had eight chief executives since 1980, three of whom were removed over flimsy allegations of corruption, the source said. Other chief executive appointments have been made on political grounds.

Sources said that all the commissions of inquiry’s recommendations that were made on each chief executive had been swept under the carpet, all because successive Trans- port ministers always fired and appointed new chief executives and boards. The new boards would then be instructed to start afresh and disregard the recommendations raised by the inquiries.

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White house backs Zim Democracy Bill

Staff Writer
THE White House supports the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill, which the Administration of George W Bush says is a demonstration of its commitment to addressing problems in Zimbabwe.

At a policy press briefing on Africa to correspondents for African media in Washington last week, US assistant secretary of State for African Affairs, Walter Kansteiner, said the proposed piece of legislation was important to steer Zimbabwe towards a free and fair election.

“I think the legislation is important in the sense that it signals to this cou-ntry and the world that the US government is interested and concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe and that it is in fact taking steps to encourage a peaceful resolution to what is clearly a breakdown in the rule of law in an impo-rtant and incredible country in Africa,” he said.

He said Zimbabwe’s geo-political position caused reverberations in southern Africa.

“What happens in Zimbabwe causes reverberations all over the neighbours. South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia — they have all been affected by what is happening in Zimbabwe today and they will continue to be.

“The administration is looking forward to working with Congress and the international community and also regional groups like Sadc in particular, the European Union and the Commonwealth,” he said.

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Cathy Buckle
THE situation on Zimbabwe’s farms is out of control. Regardless of the fact that all but a handful of farms have now been listed for compulsory acquisition, the “war veterans” are just doing their own thing.

Now more than at any time in the last 16 months, farmers desperately need police intervention. Land invasions have rapidly deteriorated into home invasions, proving beyond any doubt that these are not landless peasants but simple criminals.

People calling themselves war veterans have claimed all of Zimbabwe’s farms. They have built shacks and huts in the most productive of fields.
They have stopped farmers from planting next year’s food and from tending crops which earn foreign currency. They have only allowed farmers to harvest the staple maize on the condition that a third or half of the crop is first “yielded” to the squatters. It is no wonder Zimbabwe will face food shortages in the months ahead.

Now that war veterans have “liberated” Zimbabwe’s land, they have expanded their claims of ownership to include people’s homes as well. This past fortnight has seen a spate of home invasions in Mashonaland East.

They usually come after dark in groups of between 10 and 30 men. Padlocks are cut or smashed and the men move into the garden. They come with dogs, drums and rocks and order the owners out. If you refuse to vacate your home, the war veterans attempt to scare you out. Fires are lit close to the house, rocks, stones and sticks are thrown onto the roof and then they drum, sing and shout.

There are no words to describe the terror of the people inside their homes when this is happening. There is nothing a mother can say to her hysterical, terrified children. There is nothing a husband can say to calm or reassure his wife. The police are called; they are told exactly what is going on but because the house is on a farm, they do nothing.

Because this home invasion is being conducted by war veterans, it is regarded as being political. All the criminal aspects are of no consequence — forced entry, malicious damage to property, intimidation, trespass and threats with menace. Seizing productive farms in the name of land re-distribution is madness; evicting people from their homes is criminal and a breach of the most basic of human rights.

Once a farm has been gazetted for compulsory acquisition, there are a number of procedures and processes that have to be followed. Letters have to be signed, terms have to be discussed, lawyers have to be engaged, endless forms have to be filled in. When a piece of paper is handed to a farmer at his gate telling him that he has been stripped of his past, present and future, this is just the beginning.

Compulsory acquisition is a long and agonising process. Whether you decide to “cede” your life or contest the acquisition, it is just the start of months of bureaucratic wrang-lings. The “war veterans” squatting on farms are not interested in waiting until these procedures have been completed. They do not care if your property is listed, de-listed, being contested or has been ceded. They do not care if you have been given 30, 60, 90 or 120 days to close up, they want you out now. Their cry is “leave and go back to Britain” now.

The war veterans occupying farms have got away with so many crimes in the last 16 months and as they now try and take over people’s homes, it is time for the police to do their job. The apparent nationalisation of all Zimbabwean farms has led war veterans to believe that they have the right to everything on the farm. They seem to think that not only has the government given them the land but the house too, the furniture, the vehicles, all of a farmer’s personal belongings.

The ZRP must enforce the law immediately. They must not wait for a “chef” to give them permission to arrest home invaders, they must act right now to get this stopped.

Thousands of Zimbabwean farmers have lost everything, their way of earning a living, their land and their livelihood. Men coming in the night, behaving like savages and ordering farmers out of their homes is the final indignity. Police arriving at one of these home invasions in the dead of night and saying they can do nothing is an outrage.

Police allowing armed “war veterans” to order farmers out of their own homes is a clear admission that this is not about land re-distribution. It is simply a case of “we want what you have got”. If the police continue to allow themselves to be used, one can only wonder who they will turn to for help when it is their home the war veterans want.

Don’t say you didn’t know this was happening because I am telling you now. This is not about land re-distribution and it is not “only” happening to white Zimbabweans. Farm workers are also being forcibly evicted from their homes. They too have nowhere else to go, no other means of earning a living, no one to protect them. They are alone and desperate.

While war veterans are living in the comfort of someone else’s home, farm workers are sleeping in animal stalls or huddled in sheds and barns.

Farmers who refuse to vacate their homes are being barricaded in and held under seige. They are told they will not be allowed out until they agree to surrender, until they agree to give the war veterans their homes. Armed men stand outside, they allow no one in or out, they order police to go away, they terrorise women and children. War veterans do not leave until senior politicians arrive, sometimes two or three days later.

Farmers have endured 16 months of intimidation and threats. They have seen their friends and workers beaten, raped, tortured and murdered. They have lost millions of dollars and have been stopped from growing food for us. Being barricaded in their homes to force them to surrender is the final indignity.

The police must act now, the politicians must put a stop to this and the people of Zimbabwe must not say they didn’t know.

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MUCH has been said about the birth of an African Union in the Zambian capital Lusaka this week. What is not clear is whether it has been transformed into a more humane organisation that will help its people. It is no use making lofty and grandiose proclamations about a “leap forward” like the European Union when conditions on the ground remain the same: grinding poverty, internecine civil wars and dictators who will not let go.

Outgoing OAU secretary-general, Salim Ahmed Salim, had sobering questions for the heads of state and government in his address at the summit. “Is the African Union merely the OAU in a different name? What difference will the union make in addressing the day-to-day challenges that confront the ordinary African, including the burning issues of poverty, Aids, external debt, natural and man-made disasters?” asked Salim. These are questions that beg for answers, they are not rhetorical.

Even UN secretary-general Kofi Annan had no illusions about the tasks ahead. He said for the AU to achieve anything on the scale of the EU it would need proper leadership, courage and a “willingness to depart from the ways of the past”. Those with ears clearly heard what he implied.
But both Salim and Annan might have been acutely aware of the futility of their pleas. New OAU chairman, Zambian president Frederick Chiluba, said Africa must choose “between peace, stability, unity, tolerance and reconcilia- tion or face relegation into unending conditions of insecurity, hate, discord and total oblivion”. But he said nothing about his former campaign manager turned opposition politician, Paul Tembo, who was allegedly assassinated in the full glare of regional and international publicity last Friday.

This is hardly the path of “tolerance and reconciliation”, and Chiluba should have been told to his face that he is liar and one of those who should “depart from the ways of the past”. Tembo was due to give damning testimony in the trial of Chiluba’s closest ministers accused of corruption. None of the presidents gathered at Mulungushi Conference Centre dared challenge Chiluba to explain the killing. It was treated as an internal affair, the very scourge of the Organisation of African Unity which has made it a sick joke among ordinary Africans.

This is the height of hypocrisy and the murder itself was a severe indictment of the supposedly new AU. And we pray that it will not provide another platform for those leaders with the gift of the garb to indulge in showmanship and grandstanding while people suffer under various shades of dictatorship.

Hypocrisy seems to be the word, even in the sacred pulpits of the Catholic faith. The Daily News on Tuesday reported a ban on the Catholic Church News magazine by none other than the church itself. Catholic bishops were apparently offended by revelations of sexual escapades among nuns and priests in the church. Father Oscar Wermter said the July/August 2001 issue of the magazine had been banned because ordinary Catholics “would be disturbed and upset by such articles”.

What Father Wermter did not explain was why such things were happening in the church. Certainly ordinary members would be disturbed by the hypocrisy of those who are sworn to celibacy and preach chastity while at the same time prying under the skirts of innocent girls who hold the church in high esteem.

How can the church preach “tolerance and hope” when it doesn’t want people to know about the goings-on in its seminaries? Tolerance should extend to the church itself and if those sworn to celibacy cannot endure it any more they should quit and enjoy their shenanigans elsewhere away from the pulpit.

The Herald on Wednesday last week carried a little, meaningless story on its front page in which Joseph Msika claimed the late Joshua Nkomo died a happy man. It’s not clear in the story why Nkomo would have died happy. If his burning passion was to have the land redistributed to the poor, that certainly had not been accomplished at the time of his death two years ago. And why would he be happy if his request to retire and rest in his last days were frustrated by President Mugabe?

But if Joshua Nkomo died a happy man, as claimed by Msika, it was despite, not because of the treatment he received from the Zanu PF leadership during his lifetime. It would not be far-fetched to conclude that he might have died a happy man out of contempt for those who sought to bring him down to their level, but failed. He was much bigger hearted than those around him, witness his decision to absolve the government of any blame for his problems and the attempt on his life in the early 1980s.

The Herald claimed this little piece of propaganda had been told to journalists in Harare. And what do we see on ZBC-TV? Joseph Msika, Munyaradzi Hwengwere, George Charamba and Jonathan Moyo! All of them journalists so far as they write stories for the state-controlled media!

Meanwhile ZBC-TV was conducting an insipid interview with the late Nkomo’s daughter Thandi, asking her to say whether or not her father died a happy man. What was she supposed to say in that period of bereavement? To be the fly in the ointment! We found the interview most callous and completely tasteless to say the least.

‘Never again should Zimbabwe be fragmented along race, colour or tribe,” declared the Herald in its editorial on Tuesday last week. “A bitter war was not fought and won for people like Morgan Tsvangirai to stir trouble for the pleasure of their paymasters.” You needed to read between the lines to get the message in this one.

Who has been stoking fires of racism in this country since the historic February 2000 referendum which Zanu PF lost? Who has been telling whites in this country to go back to Britain if they want land? And who has been telling so-called war vets to “strike fear in the hearts of the white men” and make them tremble? But the Herald hasn’t got the courage to admonish Mugabe against racist attacks on a minority to purchase a few votes from the landless. It’s a crying shame!

VP Joseph Msika finally decided last week it was time to comment on the story alleging he had begged Edgar Tekere to rejoin Zanu PF. That is almost four months after the incident was reported. He says he never asked Tekere to rejoin the party, “let alone beg him”. This should come as some consolation for Information minister Jonathan Moyo who must have felt let down by Msika’s enigmatic silence. But then the VP’s comments left people more confused. Moyo said the story was a lie. Tekere said it was correct to the point of being almost a verbatim transcript. So why was Msika silent?

“I was quiet because when someone is dreaming, you want to let them dream on,” he said, without elaborating. Who was dreaming here, Tekere or Jonathan Moyo? Or has Msika himself just woken up?

The Sunday Mail had a field day this week, reproducing a story we ran last Friday. The story concerned an interview our news editor had with Andrew Young while on a recent trip to Washington. We have no qualms about breaking stories and letting others copy them. What amazed us though were the Sunday Mail’s gratuitous insults and its surly chutzpah. It claimed the Independent had been “irritated” by Young’s views on land redistribution during his recent visit to Zimbabwe and had “tracked him down in Washington and took him to task about his position”, insinuating that we sought to influence Young’s thinking.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Even if we had the resources, why would we need to follow Young in the US as if he were our Ali Mazrui? But that is beside the point.

The issue is the Sunday Mail has taken it upon itself to mislead whoever cares to listen into believing that certain media houses in Zimbabwe are opposed to land redistribution. This is a very mischievous line of thinking promoted by Zanu PF and its mouthpieces in an effort to blackmail those opposed to its method of unleashing mayhem on the farms, government’s refusal to uphold the rule of law and giving so-called war veterans who have invaded farms carte blanche to do as they please.

It’s a line of thinking given currency by Jonathan Moyo who seems to believe anything not done the Zanu PF way is British-sponsored and anti-Zimbabwe. What we have opposed is the partisan nature of land reform, where the ruling party gives land only to those who carry party cards as if the party card were a certificate of competency.

Unlike Young, we have no romantic notions about an idyllic Africa. We have been weaned of the illusion that Africa is the land of love and eternal brotherhood that some former slaves crave to return to. We live the daily reality of wanton torture and violation of human rights.

Andrew Young is free to express his views on the land. What is interesting is that he never ventured into any of the occupied farms to see for himself what is going on. Instead, he chose the safety of State House where even the so-called war veterans are not allowed to within a kilometre.

Why is Mugabe himself afraid of those he claims are championing his cause? Couldn’t Young feel the palpable sense of paranoia as he passed those armed guards that Mugabe keeps around him?

Talking of paranoia,Muckraker was interested to read in the Standard that light private aircraft have been banned from flying over Harare’s skies. We are told there are fears these might stray into security areas such as State House. Even parachutes and hot air balloons have been banned. Mugabe has a sense of enemies trying to get at him all the time. The Department of National Parks will have to be careful about ravens and crows flying near State House. They might be mistaken for Pius Ncube, the archbishop of Bulawayo, and shot down.

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News Analysis

Busani Bafana
THERE are fears of a major ecological disaster in most parts of Mata-beleland where commercial farmers are losing millions of dollars in revenue due to poaching of wildlife and the plunder of natural resources on invaded farms.

The envisaged benefits of a proper land redistribution programme have been eclipsed by lack of transparency and anarchy in government’s on-going fast-track approach. While land is being parcelled out to slogan-chanting war veterans and their families in the name of equitable land redistribution, a silent war is raging on the fragile resources. Questions arise on what is being done to balance the equation of providing land and protecting the ecology.

Land settlers lack infrastructure and resources to support their families and this has led to widespread poaching and snaring of game on farms, including protected species. Trees have been cleared on non-arable soils to make way for plastic housing structures.

Wildlife producers in the area generate over $400 million annually.
Losses to government by way of earnings from game hunts and photographic safaris have not been quantified as wildlife producers, safari operators and tourist resorts are still collating figures and assessing the extent of the damage by desperate invaders.

While government has pledged to curb the wanton exploitation of resources in the resettled areas, this has remained lip-service as the recent Land Occupiers Act makes it hard for farmers to forcibly remove the squatters. The police have refused to intervene.

Commercial farmers in the arid Matabeleland region, most of whom have diversified their activities into safari, wildlife and game ranching, have lost a variety of animals, including specially protected species such as elephant, leopard and rhino. Poachers mainly snare game such as kudu, impala, eland, hartebeest, warthog and zebra.

Earlier last month, commercial and wildlife farmers compiled gory statistics on the wanton plunder on their properties stretching to the beginning of 2000 when farm invasions started.

Most of the beneficiaries of the ill-planned fast-track land progra- mmme have to contend with makeshift facilities on the farms. And to fight hunger, the poachers have cast their net as far as Nyamandlovu, Tsholot-sho, Beitbridge and West Nicholson.

Fountain Safaris in Nyamandlovu, which co-mprises five farms engaged in hunting and wildlife farming, has suffered losses through poaching of animals. Figures from the farm show that eight sable, 30 kudu, 53 duiker, 16 warthog, and five eland have been lost in an 18-month period. There is massive destruction of habitat, with 10 hectares of forest chopped down and 15 000ha more destroyed by fire.

As a result the farm lost US$166 545 in potential earnings from tourism and 13 cancelled hunts in 2000.

“Bookings are down to 60% for the 2001 season, which represents a loss of income of approximately US$300 000,” the report from the farm said.
“Since April 2000, not a single entry of motorcycle tours has taken place. This represents a loss of US$300 000 a year.”

Farmers in the region cite problems with the management of wildlife which has been disrupted by the occupiers. Estimates of losses in the region have been pegged at $50 million for wildlife, $30 million for trophies and $40 million in consumptive tourism, bringing the total revenue loss to $120 million.

Wildlife producers who have worked hard to build Zimbabwe’s reputation in offering world class conservation and wildlife management pro- grammes, say court sentences handed down to apprehended poachers are too lenient to deter poachers. Poachers have either been cautioned, given a long community service or asked to pay the farmer laughable figures like $200 for an animal worth US$800.

Farmers say the court sentences do not only mismatch the crime but are often in contravention of regulations laid down in the Parks and Wildlife Act and the Trapping of Animals Control Act.

Documents shown to the Zimbabwe Independent reveal that in one case a man was arrested for snaring a warthog and ordered to pay a $150 fine as compensation to the farmer. The Parks and Wildlife (Payment for Hunting of Animals and Fish) Notice 1998 stipulates that payment for a warthog is $1 250.

Barberton Ranch, part of the Bubianna Conservancy in Matabele- land South, has been badly hit by the illegal occupations. From May to March 2001, some 63 plots had been hacked out of the bush on the ranch and the count by the end of May was 178 plots.

“The method of wildlife poaching has swung towards hunting with packs of dogs. Five days in May were devoted to attempts to control dog hunting during which eight dogs were shot but many more escaped along with their owners,” a report submitted to the Commercial Farmers Union said.

“An irony in this is that controlled hunting with trained dogs with professional hunters is only permissible with National Parks and Wildlife Management approval, and yet illegal marauding with crazed mongrels is overlooked by the self-same department. Also getting away scot free are the 15 reported perpetrators of the killing of a black rhino in October 2000 in the Magugwe resettlement.”

Barberton Ranch has also suffered an invasion of cattle from the communal lands, posing the risk of tick infestations. The Department of Veterinary Services has been notified but has not taken any action.

Government and various foreign donor organisation are known to support the Bubianna Conservancy Land reform plan. Potential income from wildlife in the ranch is over $20 million with the added irrigation potential from 200 hectares of land. There are fears that current activities will lead to desertification.

Another ranch within the Bubianna Conservancy, Peregwe, has lost revenue amounting to $12,7 million since the beginning of the farm invasions. Game fences have been stolen, cattle snared and 90 animals found on snares. Hundreds of other animals have disappeared from the property.

Peregwe Ranch, under Lot 7 of Wedza Block, forms part of the Bubianna Conservancy, which is home to 96 black rhino, the largest concentration of rhino on private land in the world. In 1993, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management, in conjunction with the Beit Trust, translocated 38 black rhino to the conservancy. Peregwe Ranch was invaded by war veterans and local people from the Mberengwa communal lands last March. This led to the cancellation of 1 464 bed-nights and a loss of $1,2 million expected from visitors from Zimbabwe, South Africa and the US.

“From that time right up to the present, the poaching and snaring of wild animals and cattle, felling of trees, theft of wire, have been deplorable,” said Peter Abbot in a letter to Environment and Tourism mini- ster, Francis Nhema.

“...Clearly, unless immediate action is taken, the natural resources on Peregwe Ranch will be annihilated and all the animals which have been introduced and bred over the past 14 years destroyed.”

Chipizi Ranch in West Nicholson was invaded by war veterans in January this year and 10 war veterans have been based there since. Sixteen plots have been pegged by District Development Fund staffers and land owners have complained of poaching and gold panning on the nearby Umzingwane River.

“These people have to eat, so they destroy fences to make snares, then snare game such as waterbuck, bush buck, kudu and impala along the river banks,” said Ken Goosen in a letter to Matabeleland South governor, Stephen Nkomo, in May.

“I appeal to you to stop the invasions on wildlife farms for the sake of the animals themselves, our future children, tourism and our country. In all of the talk of acquisitions and occupations in Zimbabwe, no person has considered the plight of our wildlife heritage.”

Chairman of the Wildlife Producers Association in Matabeleland, Wally Herbst, said farmers were concerned about the destruction of wildlife.

“In Matabeleland I would say that there is disappointment because the hunters are not coming to the commercial farmers although they are still making it to government conservation areas like Matetsi,” said Herbst.

“They are sceptical and reluctant to go to commercial farms and we estimate that hunts are down 50% this year, and they are still cancelling.”

Earlier this year Nhema told a hunters’ conference in Las Vegas, US, that despite the current problems with land occupations, hunters were assured of free passage to hunt.

“Yes, I believe the minister made the right statement about the protection of the industry, but that has not filtered down to the farms,” said Herbst.

“Camps are being invaded while the hunters are there. When that happens it spreads to the US. There has been a circular going around and cancellations have resulted from that.”

Herbst said consultations with the Land Task Force were continuing to try and allow commercial farmers to continue their businesses.

“There is a misconception that once the land has been listed it belongs to the people. It has to get to the various committees before the actual change of ownership takes place,” he said.

“But I must commend the farmers for being level-headed and not reactionary about this issue.”

Matabeleland has an estimated 200 wildlife producers.

“We are not just looking at European hunters and the impact this has on them, but we are looking at the whole issue of capturing and translocating animals. We also have to look at the poaching of rhino and other specially-protected species like cheetah and wild dog.”

Chief executive of the WPA, John White, believes more dialogue is needed amongst all stakeholders. White said his association was very concerned about the destruction of flora and fauna which he said was wrong morally, economically, legally and politically.

“Zimbabwe has built a very proud international conservation record which is now being tarnished. Questions are being asked as to why we are allowing wildlife and tourism to suffer in this way,” said White.

“Wildlife belongs to us all. Farmers are just custodians of the wildlife and the Act allows sustainable utilisation thereof. This has been Zimbabwe’s wildlife success story.”

White is convinced that every province in Zimbabwe has the potential to develop and preserve its flora and fauna despite the current problems resulting from the unresolved land issue.

“What we want is a supportive environment,” he said. “We are prime
producers of wildlife resources for the ranching and tourism sectors and we would want to arrive at a harmonious relationship for the benefit of all.”

The WPA, established in 1985, has about 1 200 members, a quarter of whom are commercial farmers and ranchers who are actively engaged in wildlife conser- vation and utilisation. It is these that have witnessed the onslaught on their crop — wildlife.

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