CARTE BLANCHE - MNet
"Famine on our
"News out of Zimbabwe is rare these days because the government does not
journalists to work there. Amid strict media control a Carte Blanche
slipped into Zimbabwe to bring back exclusive interviews with
members of the
feared youth militia, who say they were dumped like garbage
election. Now they are as hungry as everyone else. "
CLICK HERE to view the full story : "Famine on our
Zimbabwe on verge of starvation
The drought in southern Africa is only one of the
As southern Africa grapples with a looming famine,
British Red Cross worker Catherine Mahoney, who has just visited Zimbabwe,
describes a harrowing situation resulting from the combination of drought and
In the clinical sense, starvation has not set in yet in Zimbabwe. But the
signs are there: look into people's eyes, feel their arms, or look towards their
swollen bellies and you know it is on its way.
Last week, I travelled two hours outside of Harare in Zvimba, to meet the
Zimbabwe Red Cross homecare team.
Their task is mammoth. They provide care, counselling, food, and health
education to over 100,000 people affected by the Aids epidemic.
Existing, not living
A whole generation of parents is being wiped out by Aids.
All over the land, grandmothers are trying to raise thousands of small
children with no food, no income, no medicines and no answers. Over a third of
these children have HIV or Aids themselves.
Grandparents play a vital role in raising Aids
We arrive unannounced at a beautifully clean dwelling way off the main road.
The stunning setting seems ironic compared with the tragic scenario we find
inside the house.
A very thin, lifeless family of seven greet us.
They have been borrowing tit-bits of food from neighbours for the past few
weeks, but the neighbours are finding it hard to feed themselves now: this
family had eaten nothing all day when we meet them, and had only eaten a handful
of porridge the day before.
A little girl is sitting on the floor of the hut, lost to everything around
her. She looks about a year old, but she is three-and-a-half.
Helger has Aids, so does her four-year-old brother Lawrence, who sits very
still next to her.
Both of them are covered in sores. They are mute, deaf, and do not seem to
see, in the true sense of the word.
This is no life they are living: they are just existing. Their mother died of
Aids at the end of last year.
Their father is also dying of the disease, along with his own younger
brother, his brother's wife, and their tiny 18-month-old baby daughter Bridget.
Six members of one family, all condemned by the virus that is sweeping across
Southern Africa, with only the 54-year-old grandmother, Agnes, left to feed and
care for the whole family.
This is no tragic "one off"; this is a snapshot of the whole country.
Zimbabwe is facing a major famine that will affect half of the country's
Aid can make a
The situation will not, in media terms, be another Ethiopia.
The world will not even have the chance to balk and turn away from harrowing
images of people lining up at feeding centres: people in Zimbabwe will die
quietly in their beds.
I have travelled a lot with the Red Cross over the years, but seldom have I
seen such a bleak picture as that which I encountered last week.
Now in its third year of drought, the country has very few food stocks left,
and very little money with which to buy any.
Just over six million of the country's 13 million population will need food
before September, by which time, say experts, the famine will hold the country
in its deathly grasp.
It seems there is no way to stop the inevitable: 42% of people who are able
to earn, or work the land, are crippled with HIV or Aids.
Add to that the fact that food prices have risen by between 400 and 1,000% in
the past few months.
This means buying food is not an option for most people.
Farms still in production can only feed their workers, and have no more to
The Zimbabwe Red Cross is doing its
Only 5% of the food needed to keep the country afloat has so far arrived. The
worst-case scenario is already taking place.
The Zimbabwe Red Cross are trying to put a sticking plaster over the
At the moment they estimate they need about 15m Zimbabwean dollars (about
US$270,000) every month to distribute enough food and medicine: at the moment
they only have one million Zimbabwean dollars (about US$18,000) every three
We left a large food basket with every family we visited.
It only contained the basics, but is a matter of life and death for many
families. It contained oil, local staple mealy meal, sugar, salt, peanut butter
and beans. It costs £2.50 (about US$4).
Back pocket change, I bet, to the vast majority of us.
We can make a difference. We can give to Zimbabwe Red Cross, one of the only
impartial, indigenous agencies working right across the country safe in the
knowledge that it gets to the most needy.
People received the food with disbelief and extreme gratitude.
It makes you feel uncomfortable, shamed. These people cannot help themselves
They are relying on the rest of the world's humanity. We must put aside any
political judgements about the country in which they happen to live, see the
disaster for what it is, and do something before it is too late.
Statement by the President of
The Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe
Mr C B Cloete - 15th July 2002
The very necessity of this Statement, issued by the Commercial Farmers'
Union, registers its deep concern for the current implementation of the Land
Reform Programme and on going crop production.
As farmers we have always stated that an internal solution is the way
forward. We are resolute and determined to find a solution. It is still not
too late and we appeal to our State President for an audience.
The reality is that the lack of trust has prevented a platform for
This lack of trust has allowed divisive forces to have their
negative impact on utilising to best effect our most precious resource - the
land and its optimisation for the good of our Nation.
Our State President has clearly supported the 1998 Land Donors' Conference,
Abuja Agreement and the Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement Initiative
Unquestionably the ideals of all these initiatives have been to show
the way forward. Implementation however, through the establishment of an
appropriate and dynamic task force to ensure smooth delivery of these ideals, to
date has not been forthcoming. Instead, the result has been transitional
confusion due to varying interpretations of the original criteria. This
confusion is in total contradiction of our State President's policy on Land
Farmers today are faced with the dilemma of not knowing what their true
rights are because of;
1) The non-response to numerous offers made by
farmers on a collective or individual basis for a pragmatic solution to
coexist. These offers have been based on a non-emotional, workable, good sense
approach in any given situation - viability for the old and new farmers being
the main criterion
2) The amendments to the Land Acquisition Act on 10 May
2002, it's variable interpretational and the 90 - days count down to 9 August
2002, complicated by the issue of more than one and subsequent withdrawal of
some Section 8 notices.
3) The denial of individuals' rights of ownership over moveable
Surely, the urgent and immediate need for re-grouping of all parties has
arrived? The solution can only come about by a joint, cohesive action and
demonstrate to our detractors that differences can be overcome in the best
interests of our Nation.
It is imperative that the solution demonstrates clarity and transparency
based on internationally accepted tenets. Only in this way can we collectively
re-approach our donors and put into place the financial resources to give the
Land Reform and Resettlement Programme a real chance of achieving its
I as President of the Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe, with the full
mandate of my Council, who represent the entire membership, make this plea for
dialogue. I pray that it is heard by those sufficiently highly placed in
government, with the ability to fast track a jointly inspired solution.
Colin Cloete CFU PRESIDENT
15 July 2002 This Statement was released to
the press by CFU President Colin Cloete today.
'They are determined to get us one by one'
Foreign correspondents face
almost impossible task
Tuesday July 16, 2002
Few foreign correspondents remain in Zimbabwe. Some, such as
have been arrested then expelled by Robert Mugabe's regime;
others have not
had permits renewed. Journalists hoping to visit are normally
Increasingly press, radio and television coverage of events
country comes from Zimbabwean reporters. Regulations due to come
soon, however, will require local and foreign journalists to
expensive government licences. Freedom of expression, according
rights groups, is being extinguished in Harare.
is not the first British newspaper to have its correspondent
forced out by
the Zanu-PF government.
In the case of the Independent, Basildon Peta, a
Zimbabwean, continues to
write about the country from neighbouring South
Africa, after fleeing in
fear of his life.
The Daily Telegraph
replaced David Blair, whose work permit was not renewed,
Thornycroft. She had to renounce her British citizenship to remain
"It's almost impossible to operate in here now," she said
has no access to the government at all, other than through
the state media.
They are determined to get us one by one - both foreign and
journalists - until the only ones left are working for the state
Thornycroft was the first journalist to be charged under
repressive new media laws earlier this year. She was held in
prison for five
days but the case against her was eventually dropped when the
Associated Press and Reuters news
agencies employ local journalists. The
only western wire service with foreign
staff operating in Harare is Agence
France Presse. The Chinese state news
service has two staff stationed in the
capital. The resident European press
corps, according to one journalist,
otherwise consists of a Serb and a
Belgian writing for weekly magazines in
their home countries.
reporters applying for visas to cover events find requests ignored or
down. A select few, however, whose coverage the regime believes might
the country in an advantageous light, have been allowed in.
BBC radio and
television news, whose correspondent was ordered to leave last
sent reporters such as Fergal Keane into Zimbabwe under cover.
world editor, John Simpson, condemned the decision to expel
"I've read Andrew's copy for years and it's hard to
think of a more
objective correspondent," he said.
"I don't think a
country can live with throwing someone like that out and
not suffer for it.
It's not at all in Zimbabwe's own interests. The idea
that somehow or other
you make everything right by cutting out the tongue of
those who point out
that things are wrong is a foolish concept. It doesn't
Mugabe says U.S. journalist's case up to
HAVANA, July 15 - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said
on Monday that the
expulsion of an American journalist acquitted of
publishing a false story
would depend on the courts.
Speaking as he
arrived in Cuba on a four-day visit, Mugabe said: ''A
person who committed a
crime, he must be tried, and the matter is with the
Andrew Meldrum, the Zimbabwe correspondent of Britain's Guardian
was ordered to leave the country a few minutes after being found
The journalist -- a 50-year-old native of Ohio who has lived
Zimbabwe for 22 years -- plans to challenge the expulsion order on
before the High Court.
Meldrum was the first of a dozen
journalists accused of publishing
falsehoods to go on trial under Mugabe's
harsh new media laws.
''If he has been acquitted, then you can have
gridlock,'' Mugabe told
In Washington, State Department
spokesman Richard Boucher said the
United States was glad Meldrum had been
''However the decision to deport him is not compatible with
internationally recognized human rights of freedom of expression and
of the press,'' he added.
Meldrum was accused of
reproducing a story first published in
Zimbabwe's privately owned Daily News
that Mugabe's militant supporters had
beheaded a woman this year. The paper
later said the story was false and
apologized to the ruling ZANU-PF
The trial was set against a worsening political and economic
in Zimbabwe that has left the southern African country increasingly
on the world stage.
Mugabe is accused by the opposition and many Western powers of
using violence and food as campaign weapons to win presidential
March. The government has insisted the elections were fair.
was once the region's bread basket, but now more than six
million people need
food aid after drought and the invasion of white-owned
farms since February
2000 by militants loyal to Mugabe slashed staple maize
Mugabe arrived in communist-run Cuba on Monday night. On Tuesday he
with President Fidel Castro, who has been in power since a
Cuba is also facing economic hardship and
which Havana blames on a U.S. trade
Mugabe said Cuba had a long history of support and
He said the peoples of Cuba and
Zimbabwe shared a common struggle.
''I and Fidel are good friends and
very solid revolutionaries in
defense of our own sovereignty,'' he
Mugabe arrived on the same flight from Madrid as Ghana's
Minister, Hack Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, who will visit Cuba until
Mugabe in bid to get fuel from Venezuela
7/16/02 7:25:45 AM (GMT +2)
By Columbus Mavhunga
PRESIDENT Mugabe, who left the country on Sunday, is expected to
Venezuelan officials to avert a possible fuel shortage amid reports
pressure is mounting on Libya to cut fuel supplies to Zimbabwe.
Corrie, the honorary president of the 92-nation Africa-Caribbean-Pacific
European Union (EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly, yesterday said the
parliament would approach Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan
through developed countries which buy fuel from
"We know that Gaddafi is the only person who is in
support of Mugabe's
land reform programme which is completely destroying your
Corrie from Scotland. "And he is the only person who has
agreed to accept
your currency for fuel. But that will create a huge deficit
for your future
generations - that is mortgaging the country." The State
media said Mugabe
left for a week-long state visit to Cuba but sources within
said he might make a surprise visit to Venezuela, a member of
Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).
Venezuelan Energy and Mines Minister, Alvaro Silva Calderon, was
the Opec secretary-general last month. "The fuel situation
worse and with the Libyans reportedly turning a cold
amassing land in Zimbabwe, there is a pressing need to take
the begging bowl
to other oil-producing countries like Venezuela to avert the
the source. "Why would the President honestly spend a week in
Cuba when he
has been there before?" he said. Last week, parts of the country
were hit by
fuel shortages triggered by hoarding amid reports that the
commodity was in
Zimbabwe has been facing
perennial fuel shortages since senior
executives at the State-owned National
Oil Company of Zimbabwe were alleged
to have misappropriated millions of
dollars a few years ago. The situation
was further compounded by the shortage
of foreign currency as many countries
have stopped doing business with
Zimbabwe, now regarded as a rogue state.
George Charamba and Jonathan Moyo,
the government spokesmen, could not be
reached for comment on Mugabe's
itinerary. Charamba was said to be
travelling with Mugabe while Moyo was said
to be out of town. Sources within
the government said pressure was mounting
on Libya - which provides 70
percent of the country's fuel requirements - to
cut the supplies.
Last week, the EU parliament passed a resolution
to urge "Libya and
other states to end material support that reinforces
"Because of the Lockerbie issue
and our approach Gaddafi will give in.
We are asking all developed countries
which buy fuel from Libya to
pressurise it to stop trading with your country
otherwise it will risk their
orders," said Corrie. With the maverick Libyan
leader set to become a member
of the New Partnership for Africa's
Development, relations with Zimbabwe are
expected to turn icy as he could
sign up for a peer review arrangement.
This would see African
leaders being subjected to scrutiny on issues
of democracy, good governance
Zanu PF is hoarding all the rights to
itself to stay in power forever
7/16/02 7:37:45 AM (GMT
ALL the ranting we hear about the shortage of salt set
working. The first question that occurred to me was: Is selling salt
National Foods' business?
As a lazy non-shopping
male, I don't often study the packet to see
where it comes from. If it is
their business, then before we criticise them
for having the alleged "massive
hidden" stocks, the next question is whether
any of those people in top
positions with degrees in economics, law,
politics etc have any idea how a
business is run. Do they know the
difference between hoarding and having a
stock that would be on the
supermarket shelves in a few days if the police
National Foods might have been hoarding, but I
wonder whether the
people who were shouting about hoarding are the best ones
Think of all those people caught "hoarding" massive
amounts of maize,
sometimes as much as six tonnes. Now, if you have 100
people or even 100
cattle to feed, six tonnes is not my idea of hoarding.
What about that
church in Bulawayo that had 20 tonnes of maize for famine
relief? Or the
company (again in Bulawayo - is that significant?) that
provided storage for
maize their workers pooled their money to buy? Salt is
Foreign currency is difficult to get, so there are bound
interruptions in supply. Was that salt bought the day before and ready
out to the shops? If the answer to that is "Yes", then National Foods
the clear. If it really was "hidden" for weeks, then they have a case
But the emotional barrage we heard isn't going to
help anyone get
clear answers. In fact, it raises more questions. Our
scientists seem to have just discovered that National Foods
is an Anglo
American company. And they have just discovered that Anglo is a
profiteering, exploitative outfit plotting to keep Africa a source of
materials and super profits for them. Back in the 1970s the rest of us
Some young men who are now political leaders
could have told them, but
in those days these leaders didn't listen to them.
Now, after 20 years of
wining and dining with Anglo American in the most
attending Anglo American-sponsored conferences in all the
places and accepting a string of gifts from Anglo American,
they at last
realise that Anglo American means us no good. I really wonder
where they got
their degrees in economics and politics and whether they even
They must be slow learners. How else can you
explain why a party that
fought a war to restore land to the people took 20
years to realise that,
once they were in power, people expected them to get
serious about restoring
the land to its rightful owners? The way they set
about that task shows that
they didn't spend those 20 years figuring out how
to do it. That only raises
a question about all the "ideology" we have heard
from them. Their
predecessors did have an ideology: a racist ideology that
said one small
ethnic group should control everything and the share of
national wealth and
decision-making that anyone got depended on the colour of
The political leaders' ideology only tells
them that an even smaller
number of people should have complete control of
the national wealth,
decision-making and power. One of their leaders, now out
of favour, said
quite early that their aim was only to get power and to keep
it. And keep it
they did, using "ideology" or at least slogans, when that
suited their aim.
When socialism was in fashion, that was their ideology.
They even found some
of the ideas of Lenin and Stalin about the leading role
of the party useful
for their aim. When the Economic Structural Adjustment
liberalisation were the fashion, they went along with those and
useful for their purposes.
Now they have had recourse
to national socialism: using the violence
of frustrated fighters, who didn't
ask during those 20 years who was
frustrating them, to cause havoc and use
that havoc to keep power in their
own hands. Like the original German
National Socialists - murderous Nazis -
they clouded the issue by blaming
everyone else: whites, "Malawians" (it
doesn't matter that those people's
great-grandfathers were the immigrants
and their descendants now belong here
because they don't belong anywhere
else). They are "foreign" and so they must
go, or, if they stay, they must
be deprived of the rights that all "true
But the true Zimbabweans among my readers must be
rights?" None of us seems to have any rights now, not even the
organise a football match in Mabvuku. Those leaders who aimed to get
and to keep it, keep all the rights for themselves as well: the right
make statements that would land the rest of us in jail under their
laws, the right to beat up anyone who disagrees with them, the right to
best farms and to the profits and equipment of any company they fancy . .
the list could be a lot longer.
But I'm only asking questions.
Do you have to be a rocket scientist to
give a few answers?
MDC donates $60 000 to child victims of
7/16/02 8:07:23 AM (GMT +2)
THE MDC has released $62 000 and some basic commodities to
children who are victims of political violence in Guruve North
parents and eldest brother disappeared last October. The Gurudhu
are now being looked after by their eldest sister, Vimbai, 16.
Chimbiri, the MDC Mashonaland Central provincial spokesperson,
said the party's welfare department released the money after
were made about the children's plight.
Chimbiri said: "We shall present the goods and the money on Wednesday.
also want to ensure they go back to school while efforts to establish
parents' whereabouts continue." A bank account to deposit more money
children would be opened, he said. The Gurudhus of Mapfumo village
Chisunga's area, had been threatened with death by suspected Zanu
supporters for being MDC activists. Biggie Chigonero, the MDC
for the province, yesterday said he was last week approached
by the CID in
Mvurwi for directions to Mapfumo village. "They called me to
station, but I refused to go there. They later came to my house
where I gave
them directions to the village. They went there and I
understand they saw the
children, but I don't have details."
Chigonero said he was happy that
it was now a police case.
The CID at Mvurwi Police Station could
not be reached for comment on
their investigations. A CID officer identified
only as Masunda, who is said
to be in charge of the investigations, was said
to be out of his office on
business. Vimbai is now the sole provider for her
four brothers, Mudzingwa,
11, Silent, 13, Chaka, 13, and Danhiko, 15. Last
week Vimbai said her
father, Daniel, elder brother Morgan and Gurudhu's two
Mandizha and Tonderai Mutebvu, disappeared after persistent
death threats by
suspected Zanu PF supporters led by a so-called war veteran
as Mudzvova. She said they left at different intervals.
Gurudhu was the MDC
chairman for ward 2.
All the five children
dropped out of school after their parents
disappeared. Mapfumo village is
about 300km from Harare along the
Zanu PF bungling, cronyism alienated Binga
7/16/02 7:46:52 AM (GMT +2)
recently received a lot of publicity, possibly because of
the way it voted in
the presidential and parliamentary elections. Some
people were surprised to
find that the most disadvantaged district where the
levels of poverty,
malnutrition and illiteracy are comparatively higher than
most parts of the
country, voted for the opposition.
In addition, the current
Zanu PF government tried its best to bring
about development in this remote
district since the attainment of
independence. But the question is: why did
the people who are lowly esteemed
so diametrically opposed to the ruling
party's policies? What has gone
wrong? What should Zanu PF do or not do? From
the way I see things as a
Binga Tonga man, born, bred, educated and married
in Binga, Zanu PF worked
itself out of Binga and it has now continued to
worsen the situation.
It should be pointed out from the onset that
Binga has a people with a
homogeneous culture and live in an environment of
ecological diversity. In
1990, a local community-based organisation, Binga
(Bida) was born to complement council efforts in
spearheading the much
needed socio-economic development. Bida blossomed in
its early years by
establishing a scholarship fund, put up some teachers'
houses and initiated
civic education training. However, in 1994 some people
who were members of
Zanu PF at provincial level saw Bida as the platform to
lift themselves up
the political ladder using its grassroots structures.
There were two Zanu PF
factions that fought to take control of
One faction, which was favoured and supported by old Zanu PF
unpopular with the people, was led by Jacob Mudenda with Joshua
Andrew Muntanga and Cephas Mudenda being his sidekicks. The other
which had a lot of grassroots support but little support from Zanu
although it was fairly well supported by the John Nkomo faction - was led
the then MP, Paul Siachimbo. In 1996, a petition was sent to the
Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Florence Chitauro, to complain
the misuse of the Bida assets. This was ignored because Jacob Mudenda
then the "darling of the President". As a result, Bida was stifled by
self-imposed director, Muzamba. He used Bida assets to prop his campaign
the parliamentary seat which he dismally lost. Bida became the centre
political meetings and became a Zanu PF base. The Binga people
witnessed all this destruction and Bida is now dead. It has been
by Zanu PF. The Binga people have protested.
that was not enough, in 2000 parliamentary election, the people
wanted Joseph Machina to stand for Zanu PF, but again the Zanu PF
executive, who included John Khumalo, manipulated the primary
favour of the unpopular Muzamba. Here in Binga Zanu PF is
Muzamba and Jacob
Mudenda. Zanu PF is mirrored through these people who are
seen as not having
the interests of the people at heart but only bent on
Muzamba is hiding the real problems by deliberately
attention of the likes of Ministers Ignatius Chombo and Nkomo
to organisations like Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace
and Save the
Children, which are doing an excellent job in the alleviation of
the district. They are using war veterans, the governor and all
officials, including the President, for their own selfish ends.
officials are fed with lies. Unfortunately, the war veterans cannot
this. People like Nxumalo Mabhena, the acting district administrator
Philanzima Ndlovu and the officer in charge are foolishly punishing
people by denying them access to maize grain because they are misled
Muzamba and his cohorts.
Hungry people were tear-gassed on 28
June 2002 for asking the DA to
allow them to buy maize grain which is rotting
in District Development Fund
stores. For one to access the maize one has to
undergo vigorous vetting by
Muzamba's puppets. But now, you should all know
that Muzamba is fighting a
personal war because he has been rejected by his
own people like Waiyaki in
Ngugi's River Between.
Airline strands 200 to pick up Mugabe
London - More than 200 passengers on a flight from Harare to London touched
down almost six hours late after their plane was diverted to allow Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe and his wife to catch a connecting flight to Havana, The
Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday.
The Air Zimbabwe flight, due to
have touched down at London's Gatwick airport at 9.15am (08h15 GMT) on Monday
did not arrive until 2.52pm because of a diversion to Madrid, said the paper.
Mugabe and his wife, Grace were heading to Havana on a five-day official
One passenger, Robert Massey, said he was not informed of the
diversion until he had checked in.
"They said 'we're going to Madrid'... Then, as the captain was
preparing for take off, he said 'we would like to welcome Mr Mugabe and his
wife', he told the broadsheet.
|Did not have the correct currency to pay for
Massey added that following the Mugabes'
exit at Madrid, more than 200 passengers were forced to wait for hours in
"scorching hot" conditions because plane staff did not have the correct currency
to pay for refuelling.
Christopher Kwenda, UK manager for Air Zimbabwe,
told the paper: "We were dropping off a VIP delegation including the president.
We encountered problems with the handlers, and I believe they couldn't accept US
dollars for the fuel. They wanted euros." - Sapa-AFP
Two ways to leave Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe yesterday ordered the diversion
of a Harare-London
flight to Madrid so that he and his wife Grace could catch
a connection to
Cuba, where they are guests of Fidel Castro.
unscheduled touchdown meant that the other passengers arrived more than
hours late at Gatwick.
Andrew Meldrum, Harare correspondent of the
Guardian, was yesterday ordered
to leave the country within 24 hours,
immediately after a magistrates' court
had found him not guilty of breaching
the recently introduced Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy
Judge Godfrey Macheyo ruled that Mr Meldrum, an American who has
Zimbabwe for 22 years, had acted like a responsible journalist. An
against the deportation order, which was signed before his trial, is
be heard in the High Court today.
In the first case, one man
who has ruined his country's economy flies off to
be feted by another who has
ruined his. In the second, the freedom to
criticise the ruler's follies is
ever more restricted. Mr Meldrum was the
first of 13 journalists facing
charges of publishing falsehoods to go on
Brutal treatment of
the opposition, disastrously stubborn economic policies,
a cynical disregard
for the national good: the two old dictators should find
much common ground
over their cigars in Havana.
Charamba fails to appear in court again
7/16/02 8:07:55 AM (GMT +2)
Charamba, the permanent secretary in the Department of
Publicity in the President's Office, yesterday failed - for
the second time -
to appear in the High Court to answer contempt of court
charges. The court
heard that Charamba has accompanied President Mugabe to
Cuba and Venezuela on
Justice Ben Hlatshwayo immediately
requested that Charamba should
personally appear before him on 24 July to
defend himself. Hlatshwayo said
Charamba was aware that the court postponed
his case from 27 May to
yesterday because the complainant, the High Court,
had not appointed a
representative on its behalf.
"On the date it
was indicated that Charamba's presence was necessary
for the hearing to allow
for the filing of necessary documents," Hlatshwayo
said. The judge said
Charamba should tell the court why he failed to appear
before him as was
ordered by the court on 27 May.
"The explanation for his failure
will be incomplete without Charamba's
explanation. We would want to impress
upon Charamba the need to understand
the processes under which his charges
arise," Hlatshwayo said.
Construction workers in nationwide strike
7/16/02 8:01:47 AM (GMT +2)
construction industry in Zimbabwe ground to a halt yesterday after
countrywide downed their tools to press for a 150 percent cost of
adjustment. The Zimbabwe Construction Workers' Union (ZCWU) and
Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe (CIFOZ) reached a deadlock
week after the employers had only offered 40
Workers yesterday vowed they would not return to
work until they
received an increment that would sustain them. Nicholas
Mazarura, the ZCWU
deputy secretary-general, said: "We started by demanding a
increment across the board, while the employers made an initial
offer of 35
percent. "We rejected it because the cost of living is rising
day." A circular posted at all work premises advised workers
receive a 40 percent increase from 1 July.
circular, written by CIFOZ, said: "Employers have agreed to pay 40
current minimum wages effective from 1 July 2002 while
negotiations are still
in progress. For any progress we will keep on
The circular was signed by CIFOZ's acting chief executive officer,
Chingaira. CIFOZ graded skilled workers into four categories at the
rates: skilled worker Grade One - $145,01 per hour; skilled worker
- $124,94; skilled worker Grade Three - $112,11; and skilled
Four - $87,22. Mazarura said: "I want to warn employers in the
industry that they do not have the power to tell workers what
to do without
informing the trade union. "CIFOZ should not tell the workers
what to do and
they should withdraw that circular in writing so that we can
negotiate as soon as possible."
Mazarura said the workers would not
return to work until further
Private sector not keen to release funds for land reform
7/16/02 7:30:16 AM (GMT +2)
Takaitei Bote Farming Editor
THE Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU),
which yesterday appealed for a
platform of dialogue with President Mugabe,
says financial institutions have
not been forthcoming with funds they
promised to provide to the Zimbabwe
Joint Resettlement Programme (ZJRI)
because there is no clarity in the land
The ZJRI, a joint programme whose members are
the CFU, the Zimbabwe
Tobacco Association (ZTA) and the financial sector
(private sector), is
aimed at offering an initial tranche of about one
million for the
resettlement of more than 20 000 families and providing a
revolving fund for the resettled farmers.
commercial bank has made contributions towards the revolving fund.
At the handing over of 562 farms measuring 1 038 000 hectares last
promised that financial institutions would make available $60
resettled farmers to purchase inputs. ZTA vice-president, David
journalists during a Press conference in Harare yesterday that
out of the $60
million promised by the the financial institution only about
$7 million had
been used for the initial launch of ZJRI and nothing else had
available. Sandeman said: "The private sector has been hoping
there would be
progress in the land reform programme so that they can
release money but
there is no clarity." William Hughes, ZJRI president, said
the private sector
had distanced itself from the ZJRI and the $1,3 billion
had not been released
because there was no progress in the land reform
There was no representative from the financial sector. He said about
million hectares of land were handed over to the government from the
initiative last year and some people had been resettled on the farms.
president Colin Cloete pleaded : "I as president of the CFU of Zimbabwe,
full mandate of my Council, who represent the entire membership, make
plea for dialogue. I pray that it is heard by those sufficiently
placed in government, with the ability to fast-track a jointly
solution. "It is still not too late and we appeal to our State
an audience." Cloete said there were varying reports in
farmers were told to plant wheat for the starving nation and
at the same
time they had been issued with eviction orders to stop farming by
About 2 900 commercial farmers have been issued with
Section 8 orders
and are supposed to have stopped farming. He said while
President Mugabe had
categorically stated that the government would not
farms, about 1 000 commercial farms in this category had
been earmarked for
compulsory acquisition. Cloete said while the law allowed
a farmer to take
property when evicted, there were contradictory statements
officials who were ordering farmers not to take movable
assets. "Our State
President has clearly supported the 1998 Land Donors'
Agreement, and the ZJRI. Unquestionably the ideals of all
have been to show the way forward. Implementation however,
establishment of an appropriate and dynamic task force to ensure
delivery of these ideals, to date has not been forthcoming. "Instead,
result has been transitional confusion due to varying interpretations of
original criteria. This confusion is in total contradiction of our
President's policy of land reform."
He said the government
had not said what would happen to unsold
tobacco and livestock belonging to
farmers who have been told to stop
farming by 24 June.
He said: "The
critical issue at the moment is Section 8 orders where
farmers have to vacate
farms by 9 August. In agriculture, a 90-day period is
not enough to just stop
farming. It is not clear whether or not they would
be compensated. We do not
have clarity and that is why we are asking to
dialogue with the
From ZWNEWS, 16
Comment on Meldrum
From our own
The magistrate in his judgement covered a wide range of issues
raised during the course of the trial: jurisdiction, whether the case was one of
"strict liability" (i.e. where "mens rea" – criminal intention, or a guilty mind
- did not have to be proved), where publication took place, and whether a
journalist was a publisher. His key findings were:
a) The section of the legislation (81b of the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act) under which Meldrum was charged did
involve an intermediate category of strict liability, namely that all the state
had to prove was that the article was published and was false, while the onus
was on the accused to prove that mens rea did not apply. This meant that Meldrum
had to prove that he was not negligent and had taken reasonable steps to verify
the truth of the matter before publication.
b) That a journalist is a publisher by virtue of being employed
by a mass media organisation and supplying stories for publication, and carries
out the act of publishing by sending a story to the publisher.
c) That the issue of publication on the Internet was not
relevant to the prosecutor's case as it was already found that publication had
taken place in the Guardian newspaper.
d) That the court had jurisdiction in relation to the
publication of the article in the newspaper even though it was published
overseas because of the potential harm that could arise to Zimbabwe by such bad
publicity in an overseas publication.
e) That the published story was false, in that it appeared from
the evidence that the woman reported to have been beheaded had in fact died of
On the basis of the above findings, all that was left to the
Court was to determine the accused's intentions in publishing the article,
including whether he believed it to be true and had taken reasonable steps to
verify it before publication. He took into account the following facts, based on
statements made to the Court by the accused:
a) Meldrum had phoned the police, who denied that they had any
information about the case. This seemed to fall into a pattern of denial by the
police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena, who had previously indicated that he was
not prepared to talk to the independent media. It was noted that the state had
refused to call Bvudzijena to Court to give evidence.
b) The accused was not the source of the story, which had
appeared in the Daily News, which was a reputable source.
c) The story seemed to be balanced, as the accused had quoted
both the Daily News and the fact that the police spokesman would not comment on
the story. This was not countered by the state as they had not called Bvudzijena
On the basis of the above, the magistrate found Andrew Meldrum
not guilty, by virtue of lacking the required mens rea.
There were numerous unsatisfactory aspects of the case, not
least of which is the fact that no consideration was given to the fact that the
article could be said to be true in that it accurately reported, with
attribution, a story that had been published in the Daily News. The finding that
a journalist is a publisher by virtue of writing an article that ends up being
published is also a novelty in media law (which applies quite a different
meaning to the word "publish" than does defamation law). However the key
achievement is that the case did establish a precedent for other journalists
being charged under the same legislation - it gives them a defence to argue that
they wrote articles in good faith, taking reasonable steps to verify them before
Australia says may impose sanctions on
CANBERRA, July 15 - Australia said on Tuesday it may
impose sanctions on
Zimbabwe if the southern African country, where white
farmers face a
government deadline to leave their land, does not improve its
Prime Minister John Howard said he would
discuss the issue in the
next week with the leaders of South Africa and
Nigeria -- fellow members of
a three-nation committee that has suspended
Zimbabwe from the group of
Zimbabwe, ruled by
78-year-old President Robert Mugabe since
independence from Britain in 1980,
plunged into turmoil over two years ago
when self-styled war veterans invaded
white-owned farms to back government
redistribution of land to landless
Mugabe is also accused by Zimbabwe's opposition and many
countries of cheating and using violence and food as campaign weapons
presidential polls in March.
The three-nation committee
suspended Zimbabwe after the election and
a range of countries have imposed
so-called ''smart sanctions'' on
''If we don't
get some response from what the Commonwealth troika
decided earlier this year
from Zimbabwe, then countries like Australia have
no alternative other than
to look at some action on the sanctions front,''
Howard told Sydney radio
Smart sanctions, such as travel and sports bans, freezing
financial assets or withdrawing government funding, have been
Zimbabwe by the European Union, United States, Canada, New
But international pressure on Mugabe has
eased as other issues, such
as the Middle East and India-Pakistan tension,
dominated the international
However with nearly 3,000 white
farmers ordered to vacate their
Zimbabwean farms by August 10, the issue was
coming back into the spotlight.
Howard said he personally opposed
sanctions because they harmed those
at the bottom of the economic
''But unless there's some response then the rest of the world
alternative but to look at this kind of action,'' he said.
The country now faces a severe economic and political crisis, with
million Zimbabweans -- nearly half of the population -- needing
after a drought and the farm invasions.
Mugabe shrugged aside the
largely symbolic suspension from the
Commonwealth group of 54 mainly former
British colonies. He has accused the
West of bias and said he won the
Mugabe meets Castro on visit to Cuba
HAVANA, July 16
- Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe met for talks with
Cuban President Fidel
Castro on Tuesday during a four-day visit to the
The two long-ruling leaders are facing economic crises at home
increasing international isolation on the world stage.
75, received Mugabe, 78, with an honor guard in a
marble-floored hall of
Havana's Palace of the Revolution, decorated with
giant ferns and a huge Rene
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence
from Britain in
1980, thanked Cuba for decades of support for African nations
Despite economic hardship, Cuba
continues to provide African
countries medical aid, with 117 Cuban doctors
currently serving in Zimbabwe,
''I and Fidel are
good friends and very solid revolutionaries in
defense of our own
sovereignty,'' Mugabe said on Monday night as he arrived
on his fifth visit
to Cuba as head of state.
Australia said on Tuesday it may impose
sanctions on Zimbabwe if the
southern African country, where white farmers
face a government deadline to
leave their land, does not improve its
Australian Prime Minister John Howard said he
would discuss the issue
in the next week with the leaders of South Africa and
Nigeria -- fellow
members of a three-nation committee that has suspended
Zimbabwe from the
group of Commonwealth nations.
and many Western countries accuse the African
leader of cheating and using
violence and food as campaign weapons to win
bitterly contested presidential
polls in March. The government has insisted
the elections were
Zimbabwe plunged into turmoil over two years ago when
veterans invaded white-owned farms to back government
redistribution of land
to landless blacks.
Castro greeted Mugabe
wearing his trademark olive green military
fatigues, and black sneakers
instead of boots.
Cuba, which has never fully recovered economically
from the collapse
of the Soviet Union a decade ago, has been hurt by a drop
in tourism, low
sugar prices and shortages of fuel since Venezuela stopped
April during the brief ousting of Venezuelan President Hugo
Havana blames a 4-decade-old U.S. trade embargo for its
and difficult foreign investment climate.
he had planned to travel to Cuba via Caracas to attend a
Group of 15
developing nations summit hosted by Venezuela, ''but our brother
The G-15 summit scheduled for July 13-14 was postponed by
Venezuelan government without explanation.
Mugabe was due to
tour Havana's Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Center, which the Bush
administration suspects has developed a germ warfare
Cuba denies the charges made by Washington in May and maintains that
facility is dedicated purely to medical research, such as advanced drugs
combat AIDS that it provides to developing nations.
ZIMBABWE: NGO calls for focus on growing number of IDPs
July (IRIN) - A western human rights group on Tuesday called on the Zimbabwean
government and NGOs to step up assistance to the growing number of internally
displaced persons (IDPs) in the country, saying that although information was
lacking on exactly how many people were on the move, aid to IDPs should not be
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) suggested that IDPs should
immediately be targeted with food aid with particular attention paid to
displaced orphans and female-headed homes.
The UN's World Food Programme
and Food and Agricultural Organisation estimate that about six million
Zimbabweans require food aid as a consequence of drought and the government's
land reform programme.
UN Development Programme (UNDP) Officer, George
Olesh told IRIN: "There is currently an ongoing independent assessment of the
number and situation of food security-related IDPs in the country. The current
lack of accurate figures on the number of IDPs in need of aid has definitely
complicated a coordinated humanitarian response."
An assessment in May by
the IDP Unit of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA) called attention to the urgent need to fill "important information gaps".
The report is the most recent attempt to locate and quantify the number of
people who have been from their homes because of political violence or economic
While the May assessment identified only two categories of
displaced persons; farm workers and victims of violence, UNDP now says that it
needs to include miners and skilled labourers who have had to move around the
country in search of employment.
A third category, the survey suggested,
were those who were encouraged to invade farms in the early stages of the land
reform programme but who are now being evicted from these farms as the newly
designated owners take possession.
Olesh said: "We still need to define
what exactly constitutes an IDP in the Zimbabwean context given the complex
nature of the current situation."
The Commercial Farmer's Union (CFU) and
the Ministry of Public Service said there were about 322,000 farm workers on
large-scale commercial farms in 1999, before the fast-track land reform began.
The CFU estimated that at the end of 2001 as many as 70,000 farmworkers
had been affected by land occupations.
However, there is no
comprehensive or corroborated data on exact numbers of those forcibly displaced,
nor any precise information on where the displaced have gone.
But the IDP
situation in Zimbabwe differs in that most farm workers have been able to remain
on the farms, however, an increasing proportion have lost their ability to
sustain themselves, the report noted.
"In addition, the looming food
crisis will impact enormously on farm workers as some 85 percent of their food
consumption came from cash purchases. Hence, even if able to remain on farms,
their inability to feed themselves because farm operations are severely
curtailed will induce many to move in search of other employment or support,"
the report said.
The most reliable data on displacement has been
provided by a sample survey undertaken by the Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe
(FCTZ). FCTZ undertook a sample survey of 235 large-scale commercial farms,
representing 10 percent of all farms in the provinces of Mashonaland West,
Central and East as well as Manicaland Province. It was established that 26,693
permanent and seasonal farm workers still reside on the farms as of 16 May. On
the other hand, the report said, some 52,000 people had left.
violence were even more difficult to define and enumerate than the displaced
Amani Trust, a human rights NGO in Zimbabwe, is quoted in the
report as saying: "Because such displacees fear repression and further violence,
they seek to remain 'underground', which makes their enumeration and location
Consequently, their numbers are variously estimated among
the NGO and human rights community at anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000.
report also highlighted the plight of the substantial orphan population that has
been generated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The Farm Orphan Support Trust
has estimated that there were on average 12 orphans per commercial farm in the
three Mashonaland provinces and Manicaland. A consequence of this is that there
is a significant increase in child-headed households living in acute poverty.
Also many of the elderly are now required to support their grandchildren.
One of the factors hampering assistance to those in need is that a large
number of IDPs are in areas of the country where the UN has never had any need
for a presence, namely in the large-scale commercial farming areas.
report suggested that the UN broaden its geographical boundaries of food aid to
ensure that all needy people have improved access to basic
Government to Set Aside US $250 000 for Salt
July 16, 2002
to the web July 16, 2002
THE Government will sell foreign currency to salt importers
at the official rate to ease the shortage of the commodity in the country.
Close to US$250 000 will be set aside every month for salt
The allocation should bring some relief to the salt
importers who were struggling to meet the national requirements, resulting in a
shortage of the commodity.
The shortage caused ripple effects on the delicate economy,
with bread fast disappearing on the shelves as bakers cited the shortage of salt
- one of the main ingredients used in the baking of bread.
The country requires about 350 000 tonnes of salt each month
for its daily requirements but the scarcity of foreign currency resulted in
importers failing to meet the demand.
Salt is not only used in households but also on farms and in
At the height of the crisis, some importers are reported to
have held back their orders to press an increase in the price of the
The importers were demanding a hike in the controlled price
of salt or the total decontrol of salt from the list of controlled commodities
or that the Government would come with a facility that would allow them to
access foreign currency at the official rate.
Salt importers procure the bulk of their salt from Botswana
and were acquiring their foreign currency on the black market to import
The greenback is trading at close to Z$650 on the parallel
market and this made it difficult for the salt importers to break even.
A cabinet committee comprising officials from the ministries
of Finance and Economic Development, Industry and International Trade, Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe and an association of salt importers looked into the grievances
brought up by importers.
National Foods and Blue Ribbon Foods form the country's bulk
of salt importers.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and
International Trade Mr Stuart Comberbach said following deliberations at Cabinet
level it was agreed that importers would get an allocation under the 40 percent
retained by the central bank on all exports done by the local industry.
"The situation is set to improve following the allocation
and this would allow importers to bring salt from Botswana," said Mr
Already some importers have started using the facility to
Blue Ribbon is understood to have got close to US$75 000 to
import about 1 054 tonnes of salt.
Efforts to get comment from Blue Ribbon were unsuccessful as
the managing director was unavailable.
At the height of the salt crisis, consumers across the
country were surprised to find salt missing from supermarket shelves.
Speculators worsened the short supply through hoarding.
A lot of accusations started flying, with importers being
accused of deliberately hoarding the commodity.
However, importers denied the allegations, saying they never
canvassed among themselves to hoard salt but were caught in the foreign currency
crisis and were unable to raise enough amounts to import the required
The importers also cited the controlled price of salt as
making it difficult for the companies to continue to import the commodity.
Efforts to get comment from one of the leading salt
importers, National Foods, were fruitless as the managing director, Mr Ian Kind,
was said to be out of the office and would only be back today.
National Foods was accused of hoarding salt following a
series of discoveries of stock at its depots scattered across the country but
denied the charges.
A snap survey carried by the Business Herald showed that
salt was now available in most retail outlets and some shops.
To curb the rampant hoarding of basic commodities like
sugar, salt and cooking oil the police have carried out several raids on illegal
traders confiscating goods running into millions of dollars.
In June alone, the police recovered sugar worth $967 147,
salt valued at $31,9 million, cooking oil worth $1,6 million and maize meal
valued at $2,5 million in nine of the country's 10 pro- vinces.
Harare City Library Seeks $70m for Face-Lift
Daily News (Harare)
July 16, 2002
to the web July 16, 2002
Harare City Library management plans to raise $70 million to
renovate the 40-year-old study centre, now in a near derelict state. Trymore
Simango, the acting librarian, said on Thursday this would be the first major
refurbishment since the library was established in 1962. He said:
"The library has over the years been funded by membership
subscriptions and grants from the government and the city council. "While this
funding has just been adequate to keep the library running in a very basic
fashion, accumulating problems over the years have made it increasingly
difficult to maintain or improve the services offered."
Simango said since the withdrawal of funding by the
government it had become increasingly difficult to maintain the ageing
institution. The main library building is in need of refurbishment as the roofs
are leaking, the floors cracked and the windows broken. "The funding provided by
the council alone and membership subscriptions is inadequate," Simango said. "We
are therefore calling on individual well-wishers and the corporate world to help
us raise the $70 million necessary for the renovations, as well as modernising
the library by furnishing it with new technological paraphernalia such as
Internet services, facsimile and photocopying machines," he said.
Simango said the renovations would include the creation of a
free study facility for students from a poor background and a pre-school
children play centre. The library has been constantly rocked by scandals in
recent years including the mysterious disappearance of over 1 000 reference
books and frequent worker-strikes over salary disputes.
Journalist granted reprieve from deportation from Zimbabwe
HARARE, Zimbabwe, July 16 — Officials gave a
temporary reprieve Tuesday to an American journalist ordered deported after he
was found innocent of violating Zimbabwe's harsh new media laws.
Andrew Meldrum, a permanent resident of Zimbabwe who had lived here since 1981,
appealed Monday's order demanding he leave the country within 24 hours.
Immigration officials granted him an additional 30 hours Tuesday so they
could respond to his appeal.
Meldrum, a 50-year-old correspondent for
Britain's Guardian newspaper, was found innocent Monday of publishing a false
story, a crime that carries a two-year sentence under the media laws enacted in
Immediately after the acquittal, immigration officials pulled
Meldrum into a room at the courthouse and handed him an expulsion order signed
two weeks ago by Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo.
organizations called the expulsion order as undemocratic. Reporters Without
Borders, an international media watchdog, called it ''an act of vengeance.'' The
U.S. government said it was ''not compatible with the internationally recognized
human rights of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.''
increasingly authoritarian government of President Robert Mugabe has cracked
down on the independent press, the judiciary, opposition officials and human
rights workers during two years of political and economic chaos in the southern
African country. Human rights groups say hundreds have died in political
His government has used new laws passed before March
presidential elections to further suppress dissent. Mugabe was declared the
victor in those elections, though many international and domestic observers
criticized the poll as deeply flawed.
A total of 13 independent
journalists have been arrested under the new laws. Meldrum was the first to be
tried. If he loses his appeal, he would be the fourth foreign correspondent
expelled by the government in 18 months.
Meldrum's lawyer, Beatrice
Mtetwa, said his client's constitutional rights to justice and freedom of
movement were being infringed, despite being found innocent. ''No reasonable
minister could take such a position, without any basis, when Andy has done no
wrong,'' Mtetwa said.
She also said Nkomo did not have authority to
deport Meldrum because he was not legally reappointed as minister after the
© 2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved.