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
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.
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.
NATIONAL REPORT IN BRIEF: 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 continue. c.. Tobacco stolen on
a Macheke Farm has been recovered at the Sales floor. 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. REGIONAL REPORTS:
There were no
reports received from Matabeleland and Mashonaland
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.
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 investigating. Kadoma -
Illegal occupiers on a farm in the district are intimidating farm workers
leading to farm workers requesting to leave their jobs on the
Mashonaland East Bromley / Ruwa / Enterprise - There has been
extensive hut building, interference with farming operations by illegal
occupiers and pegging by DDF officials. 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 continue. 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.
Manicaland Nyazura - There is an
increase of hut building on De Rust Farm and illegal occupiers and Agritex
are ploughing on Drene Farm.
Masvingo 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.
Midlands General - Harassment by illegal
occupiers to farm owners continue
ZIMBABWE: Opposition lawyers accuse government of bias
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 constitutional.
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.
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.
Media watchdog welcomes court case against public
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.
‘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
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.
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
Gadhafi visit to Zimbabwe shrouded
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
Zim braces for new fuel
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
Upgrade for road to Nkomo’s
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
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
Mugabe in emergency bid to avert
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
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
Zim pupils take to the streets over
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
From Business Day (SA), 12
New proposal on Harare's land
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
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
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
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”.
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
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
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.
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.
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
Official sources said the staggering financial advance was
secured from Spanish donors to recapitalise the Agricultural Rural Development
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Mhlanga could neither deny nor confirm the deal, but said he
would be in a position to comment later in the month.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Learnmore Jongwe Secretary, Information and
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
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.
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
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
§ 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 price. 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
§ 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.
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
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.
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
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
§ 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
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.
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
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.
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 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
“We are not prepared to disclose our debts. Like any other
company we have debts but that is confidential,” Mwenga said.
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
“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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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”
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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?
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
last month, commercial and wildlife farmers compiled gory statistics on the
wanton plunder on their properties stretching to the beginning of 2000 when farm
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.
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.
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.
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
“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,
“...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.”
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
Chairman of the Wildlife Producers Association in
Matabeleland, Wally Herbst, said farmers were concerned about the destruction of
“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.”
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
“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.”
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.
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.”
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 —