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

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Extract from London Times.

Tycoon arrested in murder inquiry


THE millionaire landowner and property tycoon Nicholas Van
Hoogstraten has been arrested in connection with the murder of a
retired Pakistani-born businessman.
Mr Van Hoogstraten, who is renowned for a dispute with ramblers, was
being questioned at a South London police station last night about
the shooting two years ago.

Mohammed Raja, 63, was found dead at his home in Sutton, Surrey, on
July 2, 1999, following what police have described as a professional
execution. He had been stabbed in his hallway five times and shot
twice in the head and stomach. Two men were seen leaving Mr Raja's
home in a white transit van around the time of the shooting. The van
was found burnt out nearby.

David Croke, 58, from the Brighton area, appeared at Bexley
magistrates court in March charged with murder. He is due to go on
trial in October.

Scotland Yard confirmed last night they had arrested a 56-year-old
businessman from Framfield in Sussex. A spokesman said he was being
held at a South London station, where he will continue to be

Earlier this month Mr Van Hoogstraten was fined £15,000 for illegally
blocking a public footpath across his High Cross Estate, near
Uckfield, East Sussex, for the past decade. He had said that he did
not want "riff raff" on his land.

A £25,000 reward was offered in the quest to find Mr Raja's killers
and an appeal was made on BBC1's Crimewatch programme. The retired
property-owner, who moved to Sutton from Brighton two years before
his death, had been the subject of several arson attacks.

Mr Raja's son, Amjad, said that his father, who had more than a
hundred convictions dating back to the 1970s concerning the letting
of properties unfit for human habitation, had been "a wonderful
figure" who was "humble and honest about his business dealings".

Previous postings on Van Hoogstraten :

7 June 2001

Harare - The Zimbabwean government on Monday night forcibly evicted more than 1 000 illegal settlers occupying part of the Central Estates near Mvuma, 200km south of Harare, after they allegedly stole and slaughtered 90 head of cattle belonging to British business tycoon, Nick Van Hoogstraten. Hoogstraten, 54, is an influential millionaire supporter of President Robert Mugabe based in Uckfield in East Sussex, Britain. He is one of the few remaining, long-standing financial supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF party. He has nine farms of nearly one million acres. Hoogstraten has in the past described white Zimbabweans as "trash, keen to hang on to white privilege".........

25 April 2001

"Another Mugabe associate, Nicholas van Hoogstraten, features at 159th with £200m. Notorious in Britain for describing ramblers – members of the public who enjoy walking in the countryside on weekends – as "perverts", van Hoogstraten has an estimated £32m of investments at risk in Zimbabwe. His public vocal and financial support for Mugabe and Zanu PF has proved no insurance, however – his four main properties have been invaded. One can just imagine how he describes the "war vets" in the small hours of the morning."

20 December 2000

"Not even Mugabe's most sycophantic white supporter, the British property tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten, has escaped the anti-white fury. One of Zimbabwe's largest landowners, van Hoogstraten thought he would be feted as a guest of honour at the convention. Ever eager for publicity, he negotiated with the BBC to send a crew to film him arm-in-arm with Mugabe, waving to the cheering crowds. Instead he skulked away from Harare last week with his dreams of acclaim in tatters and his property empire overrun by thousands of Mugabe's violent war veterans. He was not even a delegate to the congress, let alone a guest of honour, according to party officials."


10 December 2000

........."Comrade Mugabe has kept the country peaceful and relatively wealthy for 20
years. I entirely agree with what Mr Mugabe has said and done," he had said.
He has been scathing about the behaviour of some of the white landowners and
said they should "stop sticking their noses into politics". He favours
dictatorship as the best form of government, though he believes that some of
Mr Mugabe's officials have let power go to their heads. But his links with
the country's most powerful man proved no protection when squatters began
taking over huge chunks of his farmland. He is one of the biggest landowners
in Zimbabwe and his four major properties, with 28,000 cattle, have been
invaded, according to farm union workers and neighbours. Three of them have
already been listed for compulsory acquisition by the Government...............

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U N I T E D  N A T I O N S
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)

ZIMBABWE: Rural terror as by-election approaches

JOHANNESBURG, 16 July (IRIN) - At Bindura, 50 km north of Harare, scene of
a hotly-contested by-election, bands of government supporters have been
sweeping through the small shopping centre on a regular basis, ripping
down posters promoting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
and beating anyone along their way, AFP reported on Monday.
When the supporters of President Robert Mugabe came last weekend, they
broke down the door, shattered several of the windows, and beat everyone
in the bar with sticks, one witness said.

“If you call the police, then what?
They don’t come. They are hopeless.
They don’t come,” she was quoted saying. Like most people in Bindura, the
26-year-old woman spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
Most people spoke quietly, glancing over their shoulders, and walking away
if they spotted one of their attackers, the report said. The violence, it
added, was a repeat of the terror that gripped all of Zimbabwe ahead of
last year’s parliamentary elections, when at least 34 people died and an
estimated 19,000 were tortured.

Violence resumed in Bindura soon after the death of Border Gezi, a
minister and parliamentarian who orchestrated the election campaign that
ended in only a narrow victory for Mugabe. Gezi died in a car crash on 28
April, and only days later came the first reports of beatings and assaults
as supporters of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party tried to force Bindura residents
to attend Gezi’s memorial service, according to the report. Residents said
attacks had increased ahead of the election to replace Gezi, set for 28-29
July. The MDC’s Elliot Pfebve is running against Elliot Manyika of

Rights monitors at Amani Trust, a Zimbabwean group that cares for torture
victims, said reports had come in from Bindura for weeks, but said they
were still documenting the cases. Few in Bindura expect that the violence
will end with the by-election, as Zimbabwe gears up for presidential polls
due in April. “Of course we anticipate more violence as the presidential
election nears,” said a 54-year-old man, who said he was lucky to have
avoided a beating so far. “We just live with it. What can we do?”

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Zimbabwe Death Prompts Demand for Whites to Leave Land
VOA News
17 Jul 2001 15:49 UTC

Ruling party militants in Zimbabwe are demanding white farmers leave their land, following the killing of a squatter by a white farmer Saturday.

A senior member of the militant National Liberation War Veterans Association, Andrew Ndlovu, says the killing proves that white farmers cannot live peacefully with black settlers. Mr. Ndlovu says that if white farmers don't leave land listed for seizure by the government, militants will be forced to take action.

About 95 percent of Zimbabwe's some 4,500 white-owned farms have been targeted by the government for seizure and redistribution to blacks.

A white farmer, Philip Bezuidenhout, has been arrested and faces murder charges after striking and killing black squatter Phibian Mapenzauswa Saturday. Mr. Bezuidenhout, through his lawyer, called the killing an accident, saying the man stepped into the path of his truck as it passed along a road lined on both sides by ruling party militants.

The killing prompted militants to loot and ransack several white-owned farmhouses. Paramilitary police have been deployed to prevent further violence.

The man who was killed had reportedly received land on the farmer's property under the controversial government resettlement plan.

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Zimbabwe inflation hits record 64%

HARARE - Zimbabwe's annualised inflation rate continued its upward trend and climbed to 64.4% in June from 55.5% recorded in May, according to official statistics made available on Tuesday.

The latest bulletin from the government's Central Statistical Office (CSO) showed that the latest inflation rise represents a record high so far this year.

"The year-on-year inflation for the month of June 2001 as measured by all items consumer price index increased to 64.4%, gaining 8.9 percentage points on the May rate of 55.5%," the CSO said.

The hike has been attributed to huge increases in the prices of food, transport, communications and rents, among other items.

Economists commented that the troubled southern African country's inflation rate could easily hit between 80% and 100% mark by the end of the year.

"Inflationary pressures in this country are so immense to the extent that inflation could hit 80% before the end of the year," Edmore Tobaiwa, an independent economist, told AFP.

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Harare rethinks giving park to landless

HARARE The Zimbabwean government has been forced to abandon plans to resettle people at Gonarezhou National Park as this would have scuppered a regional conservation agreement with SA and Mozambique.

According to a report on the "Meeting of the Gaza-KrugerGonarezhou (GKG) Transfrontier Park Ministerial Committee", the government has since shelved all plans to resettle people in the game park on the common border with its southern neighbours.

The report, presented this week in Harare, said a spate of newspaper and radio reports which started in the middle of May had led to considerable concern among conservationists in the region.

"Initial reports suggested that plots had been allocated to hold 750 villagers within an area of 11000ha inside the national park in Zimbabwe, a core area of the proposed GKG Transfrontier Park," the report said.

Zimbabwean Environment and Tourism Minister Francis Nhema was quoted as being opposed to this movement of people into Gonarezhou.

"The affected villagers have been told alternative land will be made available to them outside of the National Park," the report said.

The demarcation of the park area for resettlement was going to derail the agreement of the transfrontier park.

Mozambique, SA and Zimbabwe signed the project agreement this year but Harare did not consult the other two signatories when it moved in to acquire part of the park for resettlement.

The aim of the project is to uplift the living standards of people in rural communities in southern Africa.

Once fully operational, the park will become the world's first conservation area involving three countries. The park is due to start functioning in April.

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Zimbabwe Pledges to Protect Properties of Foreign Nationals

The Zimbabwean government has pledged to protect properties of foreign nationals in the country, The Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Properties of foreign nationals will not be affected as the Zimbabwean government has signed investment protection agreements with most nations, said Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Joseph Made on Monday.

"We are working towards de-listing the farms (for land reform) but where such de-listing is rejected by local land committees for various reasons, the government will pay full compensation to the landowners," Made said.

Some Dutch nationals in Zimbabwe have threatened the Zimbabwean government with court action for listing their farms for compulsory acquisition for land reform.

Made said the court action is unnecessary because the government will soon de-list the properties in compliance with the bilateral investment protection agreements between Zimbabwe and several nations.

"As a country we respect bilateral investment agreements that we have signed with other nations," he said.
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Looting follows killing of squatter
WHITE farmers throughout Zimbabwe fear that they could be the targets of new violence after the killing of a squatter by a white farmer triggered revenge attacks of looting and destruction by government party militias.

The farmer, Phillip Bezuidenhout, 51, ran over and killed the squatter in his pick-up truck on Saturday, outside his farm in the Odzi district, 100 miles east of Harare. He is in jail and is expected to appear in court today on murder charges.

His wife and his brother’s family went into hiding after their homes were ransacked on Saturday. Members of President Mugabe’s militias were seen walking away from the house of his nephew, Charles, yesterday, carrying its looted contents.

Mr Bezuidenhout insisted that the death was an accident, his lawyer, Chris Ndlovu, said.

The farmer found squatters on the highway that passes through his farm, where they were allocating themselves plots, Mr Bezuidenhout’s brother, Fritz, said. One stepped into the road from behind a passing truck, in front of the farmer’s pick-up. “The mob was angry. He didn’t stop. He drove straight to report it to police,” he said.

Gavin Paterson, a neighbour, and his mother-in-law were given two minutes to get out of their houses and both homes were plundered, Judy Wilson of the Commercial Farmers’ Union, said.

It is the first time in nearly 18 months of violence against white-owned farms that a farmer has been charged with murdering a squatter. Since the campaign of violent invasions began in February last year, 28 farm workers and eight white farmers have been murdered. No one has been prosecuted for the killings.

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Five MDC youths still missing

7/17/01 9:13:27 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

AS THE campaign for the Bindura parliamentary by-election later this month hots up, five MDC youths in the town were still missing yesterday after they were allegedly kidnapped and dumped by suspected police officers 150km along Rushinga Road.

Bindura police arrested 20 MDC youths on Friday after they were found in possession of two catapults in one of the three vehicles they were
travelling in.
The police impounded all three vehicles on suspicion that
they were carrying weapons of war.
The youths are part of an MDC team campaigning in the Bindura parliamentary by-election scheduled for 28 and 29 July.
Elliot Pfebve, the MDC’s candidate, yesterday confirmed the
incident, saying his party was still looking for the missing youths.
“We have sent people to look for them. Fifteen have returned,” he said.
“I managed to retrieve one vehicle from the police.”
Pfebve and Elliot Manyika of Zanu PF are contesting the Bindura
parliamentary seat which fell vacant following the death of Border Gezi, the former Minister of Youth Development, Gender and Employment
Creation, in April in a car crash.
Pfebve accused Manyika of inciting violence in Mashonaland Central, alleging the governor personally beat up three senior MDC officials in Bindura.
Efforts to contact Manyika failed yesterday.
Felix Kunaka, the MDC district chairman, whose rural home is in Musana, said that he was ssaulted by Manyika as he was travelling to the rural
areas to campaign.
“The commuter omnibus Kunaka was travelling on was ordered to stop at
gun-point and he was forced to get out before being beaten up,” Pfebve said.
He claimed Tom Walter, the district secretary, and Peter Mabika, deputy
district chairman, are in safe houses after they were allegedly physically assaulted by Manyika.
“Application of the law by the police is selective because MDC and Zanu PF members are treated differently,” said Pfebve.
Bindura police refused to comment.

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Truck driven by Mlilo’s wife crushes student to death

7/17/01 9:18:47 AM (GMT +2)

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

Jesta Mlilo, the wife of Zanu PF’s Bulawayo mayoral candidate, George Mlilo, was on Friday morning involved in an accident which resulted in the death of a student.

The student, Sindiso Nyoni, aged 14, was in Form Two at a school in Suburbs.
The Nyoni family said the accident happened soon after they had just dropped off their son at the school, only to be informed later in the day that Sindiso had been hit by a vehicle and had died.
Yesterday they referred questions to Mlilo’s wife, saying they were still in a state of shock.
The accident occurred at about 7.45am.
According to the police, a Mazda 626 collided with the Nissan pick-up truck, driven by Mlilo, at an uncontrolled road intersection near the school gates.

The truck rolled twice and crushed Sindiso to death.
Sindiso will be buried in Bulawayo today.
Mlilo and the driver of the Mazda were taken to Mater Dei Hospital where they were treated and discharged.

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Urgent for culture of violence to be curbed

7/17/01 11:15:44 AM (GMT +2)

PEOPLE who believe that because the white settlers “stole”
their land violently they must also be violently removed from the same land are stoking the fires of a racial maelstrom.

It’s thoroughly simplistic to justify the violence on the commercial farms on the grounds that the indigenous people did not voluntarily give up their land when the settlers invaded this country in the
19th century.
This is why many foreigners, including governments, were astounded when President Mugabe, the holder of many degrees from Western universities, turned his face against the rule of law when the first invasions occurred in February last year.
Previously, he and his government had seemed to cherish a method of land reform which could result from civilised dialogue between the major stakeholders.
But after their defeat in the constitutional referendum, they chose to
invoke history, albeit selectively. There was violence on the farms on a large scale and we will probably never know how many people were killed, how many women were raped and how many families destroyed by so-called war veterans, acting with the endorsement of their patron, President Mugabe.
In case in the welter of the daily propaganda from the government people have forgotten it, it was this decision by the government in February last year to condone the lawlessness on the farms which has brought this country to its political knees.
It is that same decision, made by a political party desperate to
regain its popularity among people disillusioned with its savagery against them, which has lost us so many economic and political friends.
It is that same decision which has brought the legislators of the most
powerful nation in the world, the United States, to the brink of declaring an economic war against Zimbabwe.
If the United States, the European Union and the rest of the economically advanced nations of the world combine their resources to punish Zimbabwe, the reason will be that endorsement of violence in February last year. The government may try to shrug it off as so much hot air, but we don’t believe these countries are bluffing. To quote someone else’s favourite expression of cockiness: “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Already, the country is facing a foreign currency shortage of
unprecedented proportions, the cost of living has shot up to astronomical levels and the squalid, filthy look of the city of Harare
itself is testimony of a country on the slide.
To stop the slide, President Mugabe, the government and the
war veterans must be reminded that whatever it is they want to achieve with the destruction of the economy, they must be prepared to pay the price for it.
No people can stand idly by while a few politicians deliberately set a
course for their country which can only end in its destruction on the rocks of bankruptcy. The politicians must remember that they are not bigger than the country of which they are leaders.
The violence which the government and the ruling party appear to rely on as a method of cowing the people into submission has been tried in other countries, with disastrous consequences for the politicians.
Far from giving up all hope completely, the people have risen to challenge the brutality against them and have triumphed. In the process, many lives have been lost and much property has been destroyed, setting the countries’ economic progress back for decades.
To avoid this looming confrontation between the people and the the
politicians, the government must remember the good lessons of history.
Dictatorships throughout the centuries have eventually collapsed because the people could no longer endure the humiliation of the majority by a minority.
The majority are today unable to have three square meals a
day, assuming they are gainfully employed and are not part of the sullen army of jobless people roaming the country, searching in vain for a job. The sick are dying mostly uncared for because their relatives can no longer afford the high hospital and clinic fees which a government bankrupted by corruption and mismanagement decided to charge them.
The danger looms large that the government may soon not have enough money to pay its doctors and nurses raising the spectre of hospitals and clinics, not only without drugs, but without doctors and nurses either.
All this can be traced back to that fateful day in February last year when President Mugabe decided to turn his back on the rule of law, allowing the law of the jungle to take over on the commercial farms. He must know his own political future will depend on how soon he can curb this violence.

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