Farm Invasions and Security Report
Thursday 19th July
attempt is made to provide a comprehensive report of ongoing
relation to farm invasions, but many incidents are unreported
communications constraints, fear of reprisals and a general weariness
part of farmers. Farmers names and in some cases, farm names, are
minimise the risk of reprisal.
NATIONAL REPORT IN BRIEF:
demands that farmers, their workers and cattle vacate their
being made in increasing numbers in all areas.
b.. Work stoppages,
barricading of owners into homesteads, assaults,
arson, theft and malicious
damage to property are escalating, but the
response from police stations is
There were no reports received from
Matabeleland and Manicaland Region.
Work stoppages are occurring on a number farms in the district.
occupiers are demanding that farm workers vacate their homes on 2
workers on 1 farm in the area have been forced out of their
homes. No legal
eviction notices have been issued.
Mvurwi - An aggressive group of illegal
occupiers caused a work stoppage on
Mandindindi. The situation has been
temporarily resolved. Illegal occupiers
attempted to prevent the owner of
Umsengesi from planting rhodes grass, but
the owner and farm workers managed
to complete the land. Illegal occupiers
burnt a grass fence surrounding
tobacco seedbeds on the farm in the area.
NRB Officials visited the owner of
Hariana regarding tobacco regrowth, in an
attempt to force the owner to pay
the fine. The owner declined, as the
matter had been resolved through
negotiations between ZTA and NRB. Illegal
occupiers are preventing work in
the citrus section on the same farm and are
building more huts.
- A partial work stoppage occurred on Brockley Farm for 4 weeks
and has since
become a complete work stoppage. Police have been informed but
has been made yet. Indiscriminate tree cutting is occurring and
the wood is
being removed in trailer loads from the farm on a daily basis.
illegal occupiers on Solomio and Chumbere are ongoing.
Karoi - Illegal occupiers broke down the cattle dip on Kapeta Farm to
their huts. A work stoppage occurred and the owner is not allowed
the security fence of the homestead. Illegal occupiers on Dixie Farm
farm workers out of their homesteads and threw stones at the
homestead. Police took one and a half hours to react. The owner of
Place was instructed by illegal occupiers to remove cattle and
and to stop farming.
Tengwe - Illegal occupiers forced farm
workers on Romana Farm to remove
irrigation pipes out of the land.
About 5 farms have incurred work stoppages, with tractors not being
to work and the owners having to remove cattle off the farms.
occupiers on Rivonia Farm are demanding that farm workers be removed
farm. Land preparation is being prevented by illegal occupiers
Tchetchenini Farm. A 3 day work stoppage occurred on Whindale
Umboe - The owner of Chifundi Farm can only visit his farm under
Chinhoyi - 4 hectares of beans were destroyed by
illegal occupiers on The
Nyabira - A crop security guard shot an
illegal occupier on Uitkyk Farm.
Illegal occupiers went to claim compensation
from the owner for hospital
fees and set a hut a blaze in the farm village.
Illegal occupiers accused
the owner of instructing the crop guard to shoot
and proceeded to break open
the security gate and set fire to the farm
homestead, causing extensive
damage to the property. Police have charged the
crop guard and the owner is
in the process of evacuating the
Mashonaland West South
Norton - The owner of Serui Source has
not been allowed to return to the
farm for 6 weeks. Illegal occupiers are not
allowing any produce or
livestock to come on or off the farm and are trying
to extort ZW$900 000
from the owner.
Chegutu - Illegal occupiers set up 4
road blocks on Concession Hill Farm,
barricaded the owner's wife in the
homestead, prevented the owner from
obtaining access onto the farm and caused
a work stoppage. The DA and Lands
Committee resolved the situation and work
has since commenced. Illegal
occupiers removed pigs from their pens and
pushed them into the homestead
garden on Farnham Farm. Chegutu Police have
been unhelpful, and the matter
was eventually resolved through the assistance
of DISPOL. Police issues on
farms are being referred to the DA who is
currently away. Illegal occupiers
locked the owner of Mendick Farm into his
security fence after they had
driven about 100 cattle into the homestead
garden. Illegal occupiers set
fire to the crop residue's on which the D.A.
and the Land Committee had
allowed the owner to graze cattle. Chegutu police
refused to respond
immediately and only arrived late in the day after a large
amount of damage
had already been incurred.
Suri Suri / Gadzema - Murra
Purra farm was resettled about 15 years ago, and
illegal occupiers are now
evicting occupiers and telling them to go to other
commercial farms for land.
Illegal occupiers are refusing to allow the
occupants to take their
implements with them as these have been
commandeered. 4 Agritex officials
moved into the manager home on San
Fernando, issued threats, are eating the
manager's food and have run up the
phone bill to $4000 so far. The Agritex
officials have lifted fencing
standards to be used for pegs. Illegal
occupiers are cutting wood for
resale. A hole was made in a reservoir on
Makuti farm which illegal
occupiers intend making into a hut. The owner
repaired the hole. With the
use of catapults, illegal occupiers have broken
windows on the farm
homestead. Roofing has been stolen by illegal occupiers
buildings on Cornucopia Farm to use for building their
Selous - Wing commander Mazamban of the Zimbabwe Air-Force has forced
owner of Exwick Farm to remove all cattle off the farm. Illegal
are cutting and selling wood and river sand.
Beatrice - The owners of Nengwa and Goldilands were barricaded in
homes by illegal occupiers for the whole day.
Featherstone - Illegal
occupiers are chasing cattle out of paddocks on
Harare South -
2 illegal occupiers are planting fruit trees in a paddock
where cattle graze
on Walmer. The DA Seke told the owner that his farm did
not belong to him.
DDF are still pegging on Verdun. Farm workers, pegging
lands for irrigation
purposes on Rusimbiro had their pegs removed by illegal
occupiers chanted outside the manager's homestead that
evening. The following
day, illegal occupiers informed the manager that they
were protesting against
the land preparation taking place on the farm.
Illegal occupiers set fire to
a gum plantation on Kinfauns, but the
situation was controlled.
- The owner of Monora farm was instructed by illegal occupier
others to stop all work on the farm and tell the farm workers
to vacate their
homes within 2 weeks, and the owner must vacate the farm
grading was completed.
Masvingo East & Central - 5
lengths of irrigation pipes stolen on Fomax
Dairy. Hammers were stolen from
Bon Air Farm. There has been an increase of
illegal occupiers, who have
informed the owner that cattle may not graze in
certain paddocks. There has
been an increase of illegal occupiers on Dromore
Farm. Illegal occupiers cut
a fence on Lothian Farm, gained access to the
owner's office and then
proceeded to the homestead and stole a door off the
chicken run. Police were
slow in reacting, although Fawcetts were quick to
respond. Illegal occupiers
are demanding compensation for beans and maize
alleged to have been eaten by
the owner's cattle on Southwill Estates. If
the illegal occupiers demands are
not met, they have threatened to take over
an irrigated section of land
outside the owner's homestead. The owner of
Midwaters Farm was attacked at
his gate, by an assailant who had an axe
covered in thorns and made an
attempt to hit the owner on his head, which he
managed to avoid and was hit
on his shoulder. The owner managed to escape
whilst the assailant threw
stones at him.
Gutu / Chatsworth - Illegal occupiers have shot 2 kudu on
and illegal hunting with rifles continue. The owner of
Smilingvale Farms was instructed by illegal occupiers to remove
of certain paddocks.
Chiredzi - University of Zimbabwe students
are assisting with pegging out
stands on farms mainly being set aside for
store sites, townships, clinics
and schools. Poaching, cutting of trees,
ploughing of lands and fires
Mwenezi - The owner of La
Pache Ranch apprehended an illegal occupier who
was stealing firewood. The
illegal occupier retaliated with a whip and
dented the top of the owners
vehicle. Charges were laid against the illegal
occupier for theft of firewood
and malicious injury to property. Illegal
occupiers are moving off Kleinbegin
Ranch onto Swanscoe. Recent illegal
occupiers who moved onto Quagga Pan B
Ranch have chased residing illegal
occupiers off the farm in an attempt to
solve the poaching problems.
General - Stock theft, poaching,
tree and fence cutting, and general
harassment continue unabated. Crime is
generally on the increase. Numerous
veld fires started by illegal occupiers
are prevalent throughout the Region,
with illegal occupiers refusing to
assist putting them out when they become
out of control.
Gweru East /
Lalapanzi - Illegal occupiers are hunting with weapons at
Kwe Kwe -
Pegging continues on crop lands on Sherwood Block and East Clair
kudu was snared by illegal occupiers on a farm in the area. A
drew a weapon against aggressive illegal occupiers to protect hi
mself in a
threatening situation some time ago, has been taken to Court and
was acquitted by the local Magistrate.
Shurugwi - 5 farmers in the area have
been forced to close down their
operations due to illegal occupiers
activities. 4 farm owners had to move
off their farms.
Daisyfield - An illegal occupier is intimidating farm workers
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
Media Update # 2001/28
Monday 9th July
to Sunday 15th July 2001
2. Media laws
3. Broadcasting licence fees
4. NDA programme banned
6. Zimbabwe Democracy & Economic Recovery Bill
8. Newspapers wars
of a live current affairs radio phone-in discussion forum
in the week served
to underline government's apparent
determination to stifle all independent
sources of information and
opinion in the media and reinforced fears that
renewed threats to
curb "unprofessional practices and misconduct by the
oppositional Press" will see the introduction of further repressive
The arbitrary and autocratic threats from the Minister
Jonathan Moyo, specifically to gag the only independent
information available to the Zimbabwean public represent an
intolerable erosion of citizens' fundamental rights to receive and
impart information freely.
Such threats to stifle free expression and to
prevent the private
Press from continuing to report widespread corruption,
rights abuses aimed at frightening the population into abandoning
their democratic right to freedom of association (in this, case to a
political party of their choice), severely undermines any claim that
Zimbabwe is a democracy.
MMPZ condemns the present unrelenting levels of
intimidation by government agencies and their supporters of
individuals, journalists and privately owned media institutions
of government policies and activities.
More than adequate laws relating to
ensuring good media practice
already exist in Zimbabwe's statute books.
Those seeking redress
from media institutions have ample recourse to justice
these regulations and government has no need to further proscribe
the rights of Zimbabweans to inform and to be informed.
governments afraid of being voted out of power
seek to suppress the
dissemination of information by the
introduction of repressive media
2. MEDIA LAWS
In response to a number of recent
stories in the private Press,
Information Minister Moyo pledged that
government would intervene
and ".do the right thing in the public interest
without fear or favour, take the democratic and constitutional
route in terms of practices and our laws, and that route is via
Parliament" (ZBC TV 14/7, 8pm). The Herald (14/7) reported that
government was drafting a new law that will "address
has become rampant among some
journalists in the country."
stories in The Zimbabwe Independent, The Financial
Gazette and The Daily
News as examples of unprofessional
conduct that required government
"We are glad that we are seeing these developments before we
bring to Parliament the Public Access to Information Bill.We
take into account this conduct of deliberately
creating non-existent clashes
(between members of the
Executive) using headlines to mislead the public,
newspapers to violently intrude upon the privacy of people, be
they public officials or individuals.turning everything into a
political competition." (ZBC TV 14/7, 8pm).
Neither The Herald nor ZTV made
any effort to ask the minister
why he believed existing laws were
insufficient to protect the
reputation of individuals and government. Nor
did they provide the
newspapers with an opportunity to defend their stories.
become common in the state media, coverage of these ministerial
statements remained unquestioning reportage.
The outburst appears to have
been especially provoked by a story,
accompanied by aerial photos, the
previous week of the properties
belonging to the publisher of The Zimbabwe
Mirror, Ibbo Mandaza,
which Moyo had described in an earlier attack as
grotesque and patently malicious", according to The Daily News
report (13/7). The Herald (13/7), The Daily News and ZBCTV (12/7,
reported Moyo as saying The Daily News story was an
invasion of Mandaza's
privacy and that his department had taken
the matter up "in the public
interest" to ensure that the
"obnoxious conduct exemplified by The Daily
the article.does not recur ever again".
The Herald quoted
Mandaza at length but did not question the
Editor of The Daily News, while
The Daily News did quote its own
Editor, Geoff Nyarota, but did not again
attempt to obtain a
comment from Mandaza following the publication of its
As Nyarota pointed out, the story has nothing to do with
government or Moyo, and if Mandaza had a grievance, he should
The Herald and Radio 1/3
(13/7) reported that the government had
announced licence fees for private
broadcasting companies. There
was no analysis, or even a comment from the
minister in any of the
state media. The only dissenting voices were aired
phone-in programme, Enkundleni, on Radio 2 (13/7, 8.30-9.30pm),
which discussed the Broadcasting Act, but with more emphasis on
feasibility of the 75% programme content. Most people who
called and some
panelists were against exorbitant broadcasting
fees, which they described as
4. NDA PROGRAMME BANNED
The Herald and
The Daily News (14/7) reported that ZBC had
banned Radio 1's NDA sponsored
live discussion programme,
Spotlight, usually held on Tuesdays between
Both papers quoted a letter from the corporation's director
marketing and programmes citing "the restructuring process
underway at ZBC" as the reason for dropping the
programme. But neither paper
sought independent comment from
the broadcasting corporation. The move comes
less than a month
after the banning of a similar live television phone-in
Talk to the Nation. ZBC failed to notify its audiences of this
effort to silence the opinions of the people on public radio. The
hint listeners had that something was amiss was that the
slot was filled with a music programme.
5. POLITICAL VIOLENCE
The Herald (11/7) beat The Daily News (13/7) in the publication of
an extract from a paper delivered in Norway by the former Chief
Anthony Gubbay, (and, according to The Herald, published
in The Sunday
Times) about the need for human rights to be
respected by governments. The
article provided some clarity to the
decisions of the courts under his
jurisdiction and outlined some of
the abuses of power exercised by the
government. However, The
Herald also carried a response from a government
attacking his "utterances" as an indication of "his inherent
hatred for the government.and the ruling party."
The Daily News (13/7)
carried a story about the Attorney-General
ordering the police to
investigate the murder of two MDC activists
during last year's election. It
was one of at least 12 stories the
daily carried during the week reflecting
the ongoing political terror
campaign in the urban and rural areas. It also
reported the arrest
and interrogation of the ZCTU's Wellington Chibhebhe
(12/7), as did
The Herald (12/7) under the headline, Chibhebhe Nabbed, as if
had committed a crime.
The Financial Gazette (12/7) reported that 27
MDC officials had
been arrested in Bindura and Kwekwe in what it described
organized police crackdown on the opposition party.ahead
However, The Herald (13/7) reported that MDC
Harare were responsible for the violence in Bindura, quoting
and some of the victims of the violence who were ruling party
The Financial Gazette also carried a harrowing eye-witness
perspective of the terror campaign in the constituency that is due
hold a by-election at the end of the month. It claimed that Zanu
had set up "torture centres" in the district and that its
news team was
forced to flee when it attempted to verify the stories
it had heard from
victims of violence.
The only story ZBC carried about political violence was
report of a white commercial farmer in Odzi who had allegedly
deliberately run over and killed a settler (all stations 15/7, 8pm) in
But the circumstances surrounding the incident were not clear
ZBC only gave the settlers' and war veterans' account of what
6. ZIMBABWE DEMOCRACY & ECONOMIC RECOVERY
ZBC's only reference to the progress of the Zimbabwe Democracy
Bill through the American Senate was made in relation to the death
the settler in Odzi. The state broadcaster only hinted at the Bill's
progress in a white copy story claiming that the farmer had killed
settler to celebrate the passing of the Bill "in style" (ZTV 15/7,
Viewers who had not read the story in The Standard that day were
not told what Bill the presenter was referring to.
Standard's story was also somewhat confusing. The
headline, US approves
Zimbabwe Bill, suggested that it had been
passed into law, but then
explained that the "proposed law"
would "sail unopposed through the House of
The paper gave no reason for coming to this conclusion.
Nor did it
tell us when the House was due to consider it, or indeed, when
Bill was expected to become law. The paper also failed to access
comment from the Zimbabwe government.
The confusion introduced by the
loose headline provided the
government and state media with the opportunity
week) to deny that the Bill had become law.
Libyan leader, Muammar Gadaffi was showered with praise
state media following his flamboyant arrival in the country by road
from Zambia. The state media completely ignored the city-wide
gridlock his 80-vehicle entourage caused, but The Daily
News (13/7), used it
as its lead story, but confined itself to this and
security precautions. ZBCTV (12/7, 8pm) strove
to give its viewers the
impression that Gadaffi's arrival by road had
been a surprise even to
Zimbabwean security agents, but carried
footage of his arrival at Chirundu
and of his brief stop-overs in Karoi
and Chinhoyi where he was greeted by
Gadaffi T-shirts and waving Libyan flags. Could this
have been a
surprise, or a conspiracy between the government and its media
organs to glamorize the "enigmatic" leader?
Zimpapers' daily titles
(13/7) descended to straight hero-worship,
claiming that Gadaffi ".could
only but earn hero status among
The papers reported that he
set an "electrifying atmosphere" and
addressed "an appreciative crowd." The
article also tried to show
Gadaffi's humility by reporting that "unlike most
prefer the comfort of flying, Col Gadaffi opted to drive in his
customised bus." and also that he "presented a major
headache to his
security personnel when he decided to mix
and mingle freely with people."
ZIMPAPERS (14/7) also capitalized on the Libyan leader's racist
on land to popularize and condone the current government
The Herald and The Chronicle carried separate stories announcing
possibility of a fuel deal and quoted President Mugabe as
Gadaffi came by road to assess for himself the fuel
situation in the
The Daily News (14/7) missed the inflammatory remarks made by
the Libyan leader, presumably because they had not been invited
dinner where they were made.
8. NEWSPAPER WARS
war between The Herald and The Daily News
escalated in the week, with the
papers glorifying themselves at the
expense of informing their readers. The
Daily News (11/7) carried
an appalling "story" claiming that the new-look
Herald was not
commanding supremacy on street sales as implied by a
unfunny cartoon in The Herald (9/7). And the privately owned
carried five photographs in an effort to prove this. In addition, The
Daily News (12/7) fine-tuned The Herald (9/7) cartoon with the
that in spite of its new look, the paper had not improved
its content. The
Herald (14/7) then carried a front-page story
claiming that the new-look
titles had resulted in Zimpapers' shares
doubling, attributing this to "a
rise in circulation and
advertising". This was used as a yardstick to
The Minister of Information, Jonathan Moyo, and
have also fuelled the war, particularly his efforts to rescue
Mandaza (The Herald (13/7) and The Sunday Mail 15/7) from the
glare he received in The Daily News (6/7).
Separately, The Zimbabwe Mirror
(13/7) used its column Behind
the Words to attack The Daily News, and its
particular, for publishing the story on its editor's
In a separate development, The Daily News (10/7) reported that
Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference had banned the latest
the Catholic Church News, because the bishops
considered two of its stories
to have been offensive. MMPZ
condemns this attempt by the Church to prevent
readers from knowing about pertinent events and activities
the Catholic Church.
Zimbabwe's Crisis: Finding a Way
Brussels/Harare, 13 July 2001: Zimbabwe President Robert
the repression and misgovernment that is destroying one of
prosperous and promising countries in Africa. But in a new report
today, the International Crisis Group spells out a strategy that
some chance of success if it receives support from key
actors - especially the U.S., EU, Commonwealth and
In "Zimbabwe in Crisis: Finding a Way Forward", ICG argues that the
Presidential election should become the focus for collective
action. If Mugabe will not permit the election to be free and
fair, he and
his family as well as senior ZANU-PF figures should face
sanctions, including travel restrictions and a freeze on
overseas. And the Commonwealth, due to meet in Australia in
suspend Zimbabwe's membership.
Preconditions for the
election must include the establishment of an
commission; reorganisation of voter registration
monitoring before, during, and after the elections; and
independent media to operate unhindered. They should also
include, to level
the political playing field, the licensing of an
independent radio station,
and permitting the opposition to receive, if it
wishes, assistance from the
ICG President Gareth Evans said: "The need is
essentially for a Yugoslavia
2000 strategy. It is up to the people of
Zimbabwe to determine their
future - but at the moment they have no chance of
being able to do that, and
the pro-reform movement needs all the
international support it can get."
Mugabe continues to abuse the land
issue to excite racial confrontation. ICG
argues that donor governments and
the World Bank should negotiate with
Zimbabwe to try to resolve the issue
before the election on the basis of
earlier agreed international plans and
While international donors should continue their
moratorium on balance of
payments support as well as any aid other than
humanitarian assistance, they should establish a trust fund
now that would
be used to help rebuild Zimbabwe's economy - if the election
is free and
Also important will be the public and private
messages conveyed to Harare by
regional governments, especially South Africa.
Further declines in Zimbabwe'
s economy will have a major negative impact in
the region and further
deterioration in the political and security situation
is likely to generate
waves of refugees.
U N I T E D N A T I O N S
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Integrated Regional Information Network
ZIMBABWE: Donors may help avert food crisis
19 July (IRIN) - As the Zimbabwe government slowly begins to
face the reality
that in six months time the country could run out of
food, UNDP told IRIN
that donors might support a UN-administered food aid
food aid project in which UNDP is the sole distributor in Zimbabwe
the sort of solution that international donors would consider,”
of UNDP in Harare said.
A recent WFP/FAO report on Zimbabwe estimated
that the country would need
to import 579,000 mts of grain to avoid a major
food crisis in coming
months. The report highlighted the fact that due to
decline in gold production and the tobacco harvest, and the
foreign currency earnings, the government’s ability to import maize
Experts said that shortages would begin to be
felt in the first half of
2002. A government admission two weeks ago that it
may have to ask for
food aid was rapidly followed by an announcement that an
food security task force would be established to address
But UNDP said that no special request for food aid
had been recieved from
President Robert Mugabe’s government or from any other
re still talking to the government and we’re facilitating
between them and donor countries and organisations,” Hikwa told
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) last week
food aid to be adminstered by NGOs and not by the government, who
use it politically in the run-up to next year’s presidential
“We know ZANU-PF has been using food relief for political
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai at a press conference. “If you
relief you buy a ZANU-PF card.”
But some analysts told IRIN
that keeping the government out of
administering and distributing food aid
nationwide would be impossible.
“There’s no reason to suppose the government
will not play the food card
in next year’s election, but whether that would
de decisive remains to be
seen,” one economist said.
report suggests that bilateral food aid may be the answer to
- to help ensure an adequate grain supply at affordable
prices in deficit
areas, both rural and urban. Denmark, one of many
countries that has reduced
aid to the country in protest at government
policy may part-fund the
programme to help to avert a crisis.
“We would be willing to look at a
request for food aid,” Dan Frederiksen,
head of the Southern African section
of the Danish foreign ministry told
IRIN. But diplomats contacted by IRIN
said that although donors were keen
to help, there was a reluctance to come
to the rescue. “If push comes to
shove we’ll fund aid, but most donors
believe this situation could have
been avoided. Mugabe has vilified us, yet
he wants us to avert a crisis of
his own making,” one diplomat
tightens grip on media
latest to come under strict control ahead of presidential polls next year
HARARE President Robert Mugabe is tightening his grip on Zimbabwe's state
media ahead of presidential polls next year in which he faces a stiff contest
after more than two decades in power.
In the past month Mugabe has reshuffled editors at some stateowned
newspapers, using corporate boards run by his associates. He has also named a
member of his ruling Zanu (PF) party as Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)
This week another Mugabe loyalist was named as new head of the ZBC's news
service. Munyaradzi Hwengwere, 32, principal media secretary in Mugabe's office,
will take over the ZBC's Newsnet arm from August 1.
Hwengwere, who is currently working for the department of information and
publicity in the president's office, was appointed to his new position
Announcing the appointment, ZBC board chairman Gideon Gono said Hwengwere
beat three other applicants to the job.
"There were only four applicants for the post," he said. "There was unanimity
among the board members that Mr Munyaradzi Hwengwere was the best suited
candidate for the post of head of Newsnet." Newsnet is the news division of the
"The fact that he is currently working for the parent ministry did not have
any bearing on the minds and independence of the board whatsoever," said Gono.
The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper reported on March 16, however, well before
the post was advertised, that Hwengwere was being assigned to the ZBC post.
Official sources said Hwengwere, a former student of Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo at the University of Zimbabwe, was earmarked for the post before
the recent "stage-managed" interviews.
Political analysts say Mugabe through state media boards reporting to Moyo is
deploying some trusted officials or amenable junior professionals to strategic
positions ahead of the crucial presidential elections scheduled for next April.
"What is happening is obvious. The government is trying to tighten its
control of the state media," said political analyst Masipula Sithole.
"The calculation is obviously that the media, especially radio and
television, are going to play a big role in the election campaign. They want
Mugabe's government nominally opened the broadcasting industry to private
players after a court challenge last year, but tight investment and operational
regulations have made it difficult for new radio and television stations to be
The government has also increased pressure on Zimbabwe's small but vibrant
privately owned media with a stream of statements accusing critical newspapers
of being pawns of the country's white minority and Mugabe's political opponents.
Mugabe battling an economic and political crisis caused by a violent campaign
by his supporters against the opposition faces a serious challenge from Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition MDC party.
Zimbabwe also says foreign media are being used by the west, notably former
colonial power Britain, to discredit its drive to seize white-owned farms for
Last month the government refused to extend the work permit of a British
journalist working for London's Daily Telegraph.
In February a BBC correspondent and a correspondent for SA's Mail &
Guardian newspaper were expelled from Zimbabwe.
The government has rejected criticism that new rules requiring foreign
journalists to apply a month in advance to visit the country are an attempt to
stifle media freedom.
Zim urged to resolve politics to help
Harare - Zimbabwe cannot hope to attract vital
foreign investment to help revive its ailing economy unless it resolves a
political crisis that has isolated the country, a top investment banker said on
"The reality of our situation is that investment cannot come to Zimbabwe
until we resolve our political differences," said Nigel Chanakira, CE of Kingdom
"If we are unable to resolve our political issues those far- fetched dreams
that we might have for Zimbabwe might not be realised," Chanakira told an annual
congress of the main Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI).
The one-day congress, called "Exports - A Tool for Sustainable Economic
Recovery", is exploring ways to rescue Zimbabwe's shrinking export sector, which
has led to a critical foreign currency shortage.
The foreign currency squeeze is one of the most visible manifestations of
Zimbabwe's worst post-independence economic crisis and has led to erratic fuel
supplies since December 1999, hampering industrial activity.
Unemployment has risen to almost 60% and inflation is expected to soar to 80%
by year-end from the current 64%, mainly due to punishing fuel price increases.
Western donors flee
Analysts say Zimbabwe's crisis has been worsened by its isolation from key
Western donors, mainly over President Robert Mugabe's controversial drive to
seize white-owned farms for redistribution to blacks.
The government's endorsement of the illegal occupation of white-owned farms
by war veterans since February 2000 and violence that has persisted since
parliamentary elections last year have raised concerns about the rule of law.
"Without a stable socio-political environment no investment can clearly take
place. We are calling for law and order to be prevalent ... We as industry ...
have got to demand and insist that our politicians resolve the problems,"
The CZI, which says over 400 firms folded last year under the weight of the
economic crisis, has warned of more closures this year if Zimbabwe's fuel
shortage problem is not resolved.
Industry was brought to a standstill during a two-day strike early this month
called by labour unions to protest against a 70% hike in fuel prices.
On Friday Chanakira said government's inconsistent economic policies were
undermining business confidence.
"These stop-go policies have also been detrimental to economic growth and
investment because this breeds low confidence and discourages long-term business
planning," he said.
Mugabe charges that the southern African country's economy has been sabotaged
by local whites and their Western allies, led by former colonial power Britain.
He says they are seeking to topple his government in retaliation for its land
Border Leaks Like a Sieve
& Guardian (Johannesburg)
July 20, 2001
to the web July 19, 2001
The South Africa-Zimbabwe border is leaking like a sieve
with more than 200 holes in the security fence around the Beitbridge border
post, army patrols that only come on duty at 10pm and widespread fraud and
This has been reported by the National Assembly's portfolio
committee on home affairs.
"We saw many holes in the fence at Beitbridge, and we were
told that the holes have been there for a long time, despite many pleas to the
Department of Public Works to fix them," the committee said in a report tabled
The Department of Home Affairs is meant to be doing
everything possible to prevent illegal immigrants entering the country.
But the select committee concluded that "people jump the
fence at border posts due to lack of control and personnel. Border posts are
It found corruption: "Immigration officials are easily
bribed as their salaries are low and the system followed at border posts is
insufficient to stop organised crime. There is a lack of sufficient management
in the immigration section at Beitbridge."
The committee also criticised the lack of human resources in
the Department of Home Affairs, especially in the immigration services section,
and its insufficient budget, which led to a lack of computers, furniture, office
space, cars and cellphones.
The regional director of home affairs in the Northern
Province, MV Mabunda, who met the committee at Beitbridge in April, said three
people a month in the province were dismissed from the department because of
fraud. He said poor management at the border post was a contributing factor to
"Officials indicated that Chinese and Pakistani people are
crossing the Limpopo river at night. They are ferried across by syndicates," the
"When people enter South Africa without the proper
documentation, it does not take them long to obtain documentation by fraudulent
The head of immigration at Beitbridge told the committee
that the fraud and corruption at the border post could not be controlled.
He attributed this to various factors including the lack of
security at the gate: "There are more than 200 holes in the security fence
around the border post" and "The South African National Defence Force only comes
on duty at 10pm every night."
Beitbridge is the largest port of entry into South Africa
and 42 000 transit visas were issued for Zimbabwean citizens in 1999, and twice
that number last year.
A shocking lack of facilities at five South African border
posts with Botswana has been uncovered by the committee.
At the Bray border post used by 150 people every day, the
committee found there were no toilets or running water and "there is also no
shade for people to stand in, nor space inside the building for the public".
Home affairs staff at Bray handled identity applications and
registration of births but they "have to use the South African Police Service's
[SAPS] telephone and fax facilities, as they do not have their own".
At the Mokopong border post, home affairs personnel share a
building with the police because of the lack of office space, and they rely on
the police to do their banking because they have no transport.
At the Makgobistad border post, where the border runs
through the Barolong tribe many people jump the fence, including children from
Botswana who attend school in South Africa.
At the Ramathlabama border post, "the electricity regularly
cuts out, and this causes computer data to be lost and damaged. There is no
back-up system for the computers, and technicians have to come from head office
to assist; the computers are also not linked to the mainframe."
At the Skilpadsnek border post, "the office is very small
and ill-equipped. There are no telephones, and officials have to beg the SAPS
when they need to phone. There are also no proper toilets," the committee said
in its report, which has been tabled in Parliament.
|ZBC thrown out |
7/20/01 9:54:12 AM (GMT
Professor Jonathan Moyo,
the Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the President’s Office,
yesterday came under fire from Zimbabwe Council of Churches bishops attending a
convention here over his attacks on the private media.
After Moyo presented a
document in which he viciously attacked the private media, the British and
American governments, participants at the convention said his rhetoric had
become too much and they accused him of abusing State media on issues that do
not benefit the State.
As a result, the church leaders barred a Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation news crew from covering the proceedings.
repeated his attack on The Daily News for its story on the properties owned by
the publisher and editor-in-chief of the weekly paper, The Zimbabwe Mirror, Ibbo
Mandaza. He alleged the paper had “invaded” Mandaza’s privacy and said this
would “soon come to an end through legislation”.
“We didn’t want cameras
because people already knew what you are going to say. You have become too
predictable,” said Bishop Ismael Makuwadza. “Whenever you appear on television,
it is either you are attacking the private Press or the MDC has done something
which you perceive to be wrong. You seem to have found the British and the
Americans as ready scapegoats for the country’s problems. People don’t need
that, minister. That is the reason they shun State newspapers. You only have to
lie once to be called a liar and to tell the truth all the time to wipe out that
stigma. We certainly need a break and maybe hear more important issues from you
like the looming maize shortage, Aids, unemployment or violence.”
communique yesterday, the bishops attacked the government’s fast-track
resettlement programme which they said was chaotic.
“The presence of a group
of politically motivated people who appear to be above the law causing havoc on
the farms, schools, clinics, rural administration, industry - disturbing
productivity in these sectors and causing disinvestment - is cause for great
concern,” they said.
In a frank question-and-answer session with Moyo, the
bishops said they were appalled by his sudden U-turn from being a government
critic to a seemingly reformed government spokesman.
Moyo of the Lutheran Church asked Moyo to explain his sudden turn.
then but as you might be aware, you can criticise someone today but reconcile
tomorrow.” said Moyo. “I have left it to people like you to criticise and
because I am now part of government, I will certainly respond.
But this does
not, in anyway, mean that I am sorry about what I said during those days.”
Reverend Moyo reminded the minister of his speech at the Willie Musarurwa
Memorial Trust in 1993 when he said: “The threat to Press freedom in this
country is coming from all sorts of quarters in and outside the Zanu PF
“Ruling politicians, and I am sure those present here will
attest to this fact, have become extremely nervous about their precarious hold
Empirical evidence from throughout the world shows that when
ruling politicians become nervous about the security of their political
positions, they target the Press with reckless abandon.”
To the amazement of
the audience, Moyo said he did not regret having said that.
Registrar-General, Tobaiwa Mudede, the Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, and the Minister of Home Affairs, John
Nkomo, attended the convention.
Reverend Moyo blasted the government’s land
resettlement programme which she said was poorly planned. She said it was
surprising that in the Minister of Agriculture, Land and Rural Resettlement,
Joseph Made’s speech, read by Moyo to the conference, nothing was mentioned on
the looming food crisis.
“The land resettlement programme has been
characterised by death, rape and many other violent things. The government
should start to look at the land issue as a national issue and consult all
stakeholders and not rush things,” she said.
|Odzi farmer married to black woman from Highfield
Sheila Chimutasha of Western Triangle is the wife of Odzi farmer, Phillip Bezuidenhout, who is appearing in court in Mutare on allegations of murder.
7/20/01 10:06:30 AM (GMT
Philip Bezuidenhout, the
Odzi farmer who faces a murder charge following the death on Saturday of Febian
Mapenzauswa of Mutare, is the husband of a Highfield woman, Sheila Chimutasha of
Chimutasha, 23, have been married for four years. They have a three-year old
son. A friend of the couple said they were formally married.
lobola to Sheila’s family in Western Triangle, Highfield,” she said.
couple apparently rented lodgings in the New Stands section of Old Highfield in
Harare before moving to Mutare.
Sections of the government media branded
Bezuidenhout a racist and a murderer, even before he was charged in court.
Bezuidenhout, 51, hit Mapenzauswa, an accountant at Mutare Board and Paper
Mills, at the 235km peg on the Mutare-Harare highway. The accountant had just
been allocated a piece of land on the adjacent Tara Farm which belongs to the
accused. He died on arrival at the hospital.
Bezuidenhout first appeared on
Wednesday for initial remand before provincial magistrate, Hosea Majaya. Majaya
said yesterday that he could not grant bail.
He advised the accused to apply
for bail in the High Court.
Bezuidenhout was not represented by a lawyer
when he first appeared on Wednesday morning.
More turn up to inspect voters’ roll
7/20/01 9:59:59 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo
The re-inspection of the Bulawayo voters’ roll for the 8 and 9 September
mayoral and municipal elections ended on Monday night with
a higher public
turnout than during the previous exercise.
The MDC went on a vigorous campaign to encourage people to inspect the
roll to invalidate what they said was the traditional Zanu PF ploy of justifying
its defeat on voters’ rolls that had not been updated.
Welshman Ncube, the
MDC secretary-general, said the party had been
mobilising people to register
since the roll was opened for public
inspection on 27 June.
“We all know
that Zanu PF was unprepared for the elections since they had held no single
public meeting and had no candidate on the day of the nomination, and that was
why they sought a postponement. That the voters’ roll was not updated was a Zanu
PF invention to buy time,” said Ncube, who is the Bulawayo South MP.
elections for the mayorship and seven wards, which should have been held 23 and
24 on June, were postponed after the Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, cited the voters’ roll that had not
The provincial registrar, Willard Sayenda, said the voter
exercise was ongoing, therefore, residents could still register
Bulawayo has more than 337 000
The new dates for the elections were arrived at after the
candidate, Japhet Ndabeni Ncube, filed an urgent court
challenging the minister’s indefinite postponement of the
The matter was heard in chambers by Justice Kennedy
Sibanda, who issued a provisional order against the minister’s instructions.
Ncube then filed another application in the High Court seeking the
nullification of the postponement, and Justice Sibanda granted
order in the case.
Chinamasa, in an Extraordinary Government Gazette of 22
June, gave 27 July as the nomination date and 8 and 9 September as poll dates.
|SA cancels credit ties with Zimbabwe
7/20/01 10:07:10 AM (GMT
South Africa has
cancelled all credit insurance cover for Zimbabwean firms doing business with
that country with immediate effect.
The unstable economic and
political climate was officially cited as the cause.
South Africa is
Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner with trade between the two surpassing the $15
billion mark annually.
Zimbabwe’s relations with its rich southern neighbour
have recently been lukewarm because of a number of conflicts over trade quotas,
especially within the cotton industry, and differences over how the ongoing land
resettlement should be undertaken.
In an interview yesterday, Brian
Hillen-Moore, the managing director of Credit Insurance Zimbabwe Limited
(Credsure), said: “I can confirm that the South Africans have cut their
insurance guarantee cover with us with effect from 1 July this year. The problem
lies with both the government and their business community who feel that
Zimbabwe is no longer safe to do business with at this time because of the
political and economic situation.”
Hillen-Moore said the move would affect
Zimbabwean traders who depend on the South Africans, especially for scarce
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Simba
Makoni, recently said Zimbabwe’s economic activity had remained weak and had
declined by 4,2 percent in real terms last year and was forecast to contract by
2,8 percent this year.
Makoni said developments in the country amply
demonstrated the need to “put in place measures to stimulate the supply of
foreign exchange and economic growth”.
The country is facing a serious
foreign currency crisis that has resulted in the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
forcing business organisations to surrender their foreign earnings to bail out
the cash-strapped and scandal-ridden National Oil Company of Zimbabwe Limited
and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.
Ironically the two struggling
parastatals owe South Africa billions of dollars for unpaid fuel and electricity
Well-placed sources say the South African Credit Guarantee
Insurance Company’s Political Risk Cover Agreement with its Zimbabwean
counterpart expired on 30 March this year.
The Zimbabwean government dragged
its feet over the issue, resulting in the South Africans cancelling the deal at
the beginning of the month.
The Zimbabwe parastatals, as well as the
business community will be seriously affected by the government’s failure to
have the deal renewed.
Lines of credit have now been withdrawn from the
Chefs in fuel import racket
and Zanu PF-aligned businessmen holding direct fuel import licences issued by
the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) are abusing the permits for
self-enrichment, it was heard yesterday.
Official sources said
government cronies were using the licences, issued to import fuel for personal
or company use, to buy the product for resale. Sources said the racket was rife,
particularly in Harare and Bulawayo, raking in millions for those involved.
The illicit trade in fuel came to light as National Railways of Zimbabwe
(NRZ) sources complained that Vice-president Simon Muzenda was making the most
of the railway utility’s storage facilities for private profit.
the current climate of fuel shortages and soaring prices, Muzenda is making a
killing importing fuel through Botswana, a source claimed.
nothing seems wrong until one finds out that Muzenda does not have storage
facilities, the source said.
His fuel is stored at NRZ facilities in
Gweru and Chivhu. The VP pays nothing for it. He banks approximately $1,5
million every three days from the fuel, the source said. Muzenda owns a haulage
company, Chekesai Transport.
Efforts to get comment from the
Vice-president were fruitless yesterday. “He is out of office, his secretary
said. If you can speak to his deputy secretary, Mr Ndanga. Ndanga was also not
available at the time of going to press.
Contacted for comment, NRZ
public relations manager, Gamaliel Rungani, said: I’m about to go out of town
now. Fax your questions to my office. We will investigate the matter and
Noczim sources said as of last month there were 246 high
profile individuals who held direct fuel import licences. It was said the number
of permits had since increased dramatically because of a huge black market.
Noczim officials refused to give the Zimbabwe Independent a list of
government and Zanu PF cronies holding licences.
They claimed the
records were confidential although most of the permit holders are public
Direct fuel import licences differ from commercial permits held
mostly by international fuel companies and a few local ones. There are at least
14 commercial licencees.
The liberalisation of the fuel market has seen
a glut of players, especially individuals, in the market. Most of the licencees
have permits to import fuel for family or company use.
For a company to
get a licence it should be able to raise the requisite deposit payable to
Nozcim. The deposit includes a road user’s levy, government taxes, a Fuelco levy
and import duty.
After meeting these requirements, a company is issued
with a licence to import a specific amount of fuel. The applicant’s credentials
are scrutinised before the permit is issued.
The Ministry of Transport
and Communcations last December cancelled a licence issued to Addy may
Marketing, a company in which President Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwawo, was a
principal shareholder, after the company failed to meet the requirements.
Fuel industry sources said at least $3 million was needed to get a fuel
licence. However, there were individuals who held fraudulently-acquired licences
bought from racketeers and others who got them through connections.
‘Black market’ forex rates soar
currency rates continue to rise with the local currency losing over 50% against
the greenback during the week. It traded at $255 to the US unit in the week as
the government struggled to raise hard cash for wheat and maize imports.
Market analysts said foreign currency shortages that have dogged the
economy for the past two years had intensified. They said government had failed
to crush the parallel market after news that the Zimbabwe dollar could end the
year at $500 to the US dollar.
The parallel market rate edged up to $170
for one US dollar from around $150 two weeks ago after the central bank
announced export incentives viewed by the market as a disguised devaluation.
The central bank issued a circular this week demanding daily returns
from authorised dealers as it sought to rein-in an errant market.
Sources said Finance minister Simba Makoni personally held meetings with
airline representatives questioning their decision to quote their fares at the
parallel rate. He met stiff resistance from the airliners who said the market
was not illegal.
Makoni is said to have expressed his concerns that
their action legitimised the parallel market and promoted the diversion of the
scarce foreign currency from the official interbank market, which sources said
was almost completely dry.
By pushing up the rates, the parallel market
is increasing the government’s burden in Zimbabwe dollar terms as it will be
forced to buy foreign currency at exorbitant rates rather than its $55 against
the US dollar.
Sources said no deals were being made at the official
rate even among authorised dealers except for the regulated 40% of all export
proceeds to Noczim and Zesa for fuel and oil imports.
expected to face acute maize and wheat shortages this year and has declared the
two products “controlled”.
The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is now the
sole buyer of all wheat and maize produced in the country. But the parastatal
has to raise foreign currency for imports to make up for the expected shortfall.
Wheat and maize producers, who incurred high input costs during the
season as a result of sourcing foreign currency for imports at parallel market
rates, could create a parallel market for their produce because they are not
willing to dispose of their crop at a controlled price.
“How can they
say the crop in my field belongs to the GMB? GMB will not be harvesting my
crop,” said a market source.
Already a parallel market exists for fuel,
which is also in short supply.
“There will be a black market for all
strategic products,” a grain dealer, who declined to be named, warned.
“It looks like the government wants to close down the entire industry.
Millions of dollars have been spent building infrastructure to deal with
maize and wheat. The result from their latest move is that there will be no
improvement in the supply situation. This will bring about more shortages.”
Govt lists Feruka Oil Refinery property
listed Feruka Oil Refinery grounds for compulsory acquisition under its
controversial fast-track land reform programme, it has been learnt.
property is among more than 2 000 gazetted last week for compulsory acquisition
to resettle “landless” blacks.
Ministry of Lands and Agriculture
officials yesterday said the designa- tion of the property was a mistake.
“It was an error which can easily be corrected,” said one official.
Webster Muriritirwa, Noczim chief executive, could not be reached for
However, officials at Feruka Oil Refinery confirmed that part
of their grounds had been targeted for confiscation as published in the
Government Gazette last week.
“Our property was among the properties
gazetted for acquisition but we still believe it was an error. We hope the issue
will be rectified,” said a senior official at the refinery in a telephone
Seven properties owned by South Africa’s
Oppenheimer family have been removed from the list.
Instead of the five
million hectares President Mugabe initially said he would take, nearly 8,5
million hectares are now under compulsory acquisition.
Mugabe’s government, facing rising public discontent over policies that have
fuelled a deep economic crisis, has gazetted for acquisition more than 4 000
commercial farms since last year measuring 6,5 million hectares of prime
Other properties listed for acquisition last week
include schools, golf clubs, church missions and ranches.
the vandalism on privately-owned properties was an economic sabotage designed to
cause bankruptcy and force farmers off land.
“A crippling shortage of
hard currency has already caused a fuel crisis and driven the economy to the
verge of collapse,” one economist said.
Analysts said the projected
maize shortages were a direct result of the invasion of commercial farms by Zanu
PF supporters and so-called war veterans.
Pressure mounts on Mugabe to address Zim crisis
pressure is mounting on President Mugabe to engage all stakeholders in Zimbabwe
in finding a lasting solution to the country’s snowballing political and
economic woes, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
The US has stepped
up efforts to steer the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill through
its legislative processes, while the international community is reportedly
tightening screws on Harare to force Mugabe to speedily address the crisis.
Mugabe is accused of fanning violence in the country in a bid to secure
his re-election next year, a claim denied by Zimbabwe’s ambassador to
Washington, Simbi Mubako.
In a long article in the Herald this week,
Mubako said there “has never been a crisis of democracy in Zimbabwe since the
advent of majority rule in 1980”.
However, the country’s huge democratic
deficit and flawed record speak otherwise.
The Democracy and Rule of Law
Project of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in the US recently
co-hosted a roundtable meeting on the Zimbabwe situation.
drew participants from the State Department, the United States Agency for
International Development (USAid), non-governmen- tal organisations and human
rights activists, among others. It debated prospects of promoting democracy and
human rights in Zimbabwe currently in decline due to incremental
The delegates said the international community had a
major role to play in pulling Zimbabwe out the quagmire. They said Harare was
unable to extricate itself from the current economic and political crisis
without external assistance.
“The international community is anxious to
see a peaceful but quick resolution of the Zimbabwe problem, fearing that a
prolonged economic and political crisis will do permanent damage to state
institutions and undermine Zimbabwe in ways difficult to remedy,” a synopsis of
the meeting says.
“The problem the international community faces is that
the moderate steps taken so far to facilitate the transition have not worked and
more radical steps raise many questions.”
Participants suggested two
ways of dealing with the Zimbabwe crisis — a moderate activist strategy and a
heightened advocacy approach.
“The moderate strategy, already being
attem- pted for the most part, is to support progressive actors within
Zimbabwe,” the document says. “This involves providing technical assistance to
the opposition, assisting civil society at large and aiding the independent
The idea was to enhance prospects of the opposition to
strengthen democracy and provide the tools for free and fair elections.
Western countries employed this approach against former Serbian
dictator, Slobodan Milosevic, now facing trial at the UN War Crimes Tribunal at
The Hague for crimes against humanity.
Delegates said there were obvious
obstacles in providing assistance to the opposition.
government recently passed a bill prohibiting foreign assistance to political
parties, and a similar bill concerning civil society organisations is being
readied,” the document says.
The party bill explicitly bans financial
assistance, but there is some concern that the ban even extends to technical
assistance,” it notes.
“Although this international assistance is
nominally non-partisan — aimed at bolstering democratic conditions in general,
but not the fortunes of the MDC (opposition Movement for Democratic Change) in
particular — it may be partially or substantially blocked by these legal
Other participants wanted a hardline approach.
more radical activist strategy would entail both external and internal
components,” the document says.
“Externally, the international community
would exert various pressures,” it said. “Freeze the assets of key Zanu PF
officials; impose travel restrictions on them; investigate capital flight from
Zimbabwe and external holdings of top officials; further isolate Zimbabwe in the
international fora; withhold balance-of-payments support; and restrict the sale
of military and ‘dual use’ equipment.”
It was also agreed that the
international community should put together a rescue package, which would be
released if the country restores the rule of law, observes human rights and
But the document also points out: “Nobody believes
that this promise of increased aid would sway Mugabe, but it might convince
moderates in Zanu PF to break with him.”
The radicals advocate an
internal plan to strengthen the opposition to resist Zanu PF’s despotic rule.
Gaddafi just another African despot
has come and gone. Zimbabweans are back to their daily drudgery. The state-owned
media went over the top to lionise and hero-worship Gaddafi no end. We were told
Gaddafi was a true pan-Africanist who had single-handedly fought back the
predatory machinations of the Western world on behalf of poor Africans.
Unfortunately nobody wanted to remind the nation during Gaddafi’s visit
that last time he was here he attacked the Non-Aligned Movement, of which
President Mugabe was once chair, as a useless organisation frittering away
resources at its hot air summits. Mugabe himself as host had to intervene,
forcing Gaddafi to leave prematurely.
We have also not forgotten how
Gaddafi threw out of Libya hundreds of black Africans from Nigeria, Senegal and
Ghana with nothing but the clothes on their backs, calling them illegal
immigrants. A few of them had their heads smashed in the process, drawing a lot
of protest from their respective countries.
It would also have been
unAfrican to remind paranoid Gaddafi that the Arabs played a crucial role in the
enslavement of blacks in East Africa. Instead, Gaddafi was treated as if he were
our saviour, castigating the West for enslaving Africans. (The Sunday Mail went
so far as to blasphemously describe his entry into Zimbabwe as a “Triumphal
Logic would dictate that if the West must compensate Africans
for slavery, the Arabs must pay more, and that includes Gaddafi.
idea of Africa for Africans and Europe for Europeans sounds anachronistic in a
world that is fast becoming a global village. And isn’t it a contradiction that
Gaddafi wants Africa to be left alone and yet he predicts that a united Africa
would have veto power at the United Nations, a very European concept to the
Rather than a statesman, Gaddafi is no more than another eccentric
African despot who won’t give up power. His sense of megalomania simply knows no
limits. That is why he brought with him a panoply of all manner of security
paraphernalia for his two-day visit to Zimbabwe; to give himself a sense of
grandeur. Otherwise what was the purpose of bringing in 11 aeroplanes,
limousines, a bus, armoured vehicles and helicopters and motorcycles, all part
of a monstrous convoy of over 80 vehicles accompanying one man? That included
of Amazons patrolling every nook and cranny wherever he went!
That certainly does not make for a “triumphal entry” into a country one
claims to be “our land”.
Here you have a clear psychiatric case. He must
have made our own leader feel pretty envious. Unfortunately he cannot enjoy that
luxury anymore after what he has done to the economy.
minister Jonathan Moyo last week lambasted the Daily News for allegedly
publishing “a manifestly grotesque and patently malicious” article on Ibbo
Mandaza’s collection of private properties. Moyo claimed his department had
received “numerous calls” from concerned members of the public who expressed
“outrage and disgust” at the story.
He said his department had been
asked to intervene in the public interest to “enforce professional and ethical
conduct in the media”. Muckraker fails to understand why members of the public
would call for Moyo’s intervention. We would understand if Moyo said Mandaza had
not been given the opportunity to respond. Instead Mandaza allegedly told the
reporter who sought his side of the story “to go and hang”.
the editor-in-chief of The Mirror and knows fully well what happens when you
refuse to answer questions. He is also a pro- minent business personality on the
Zimbabwean scene, which places him in the public interest. People would
certainly have some healthy curiosity about his life and possessions so long as
they don’t peer into his bedroom.
In any case, those “concerned
indigenous business people” could easily have talked to Mandaza himself. Who are
they and what have they to hide, unless they see themselves as the next in line?
Mandaza has the medium of his paper to make an appropriate response to The Daily
News’ claims, not Moyo.
What appropriate “remedy” is Moyo contemplating
against the Daily News? We doubt that his mandate as Information minister also
makes him a lawyer of sorts or a court of law to sit in judgement over issues of
On Monday this week Moyo declared to the Herald he had
taken an oath to speak on behalf of the entire government. Yet we didn’t know
Mandaza was a government minister!
Moyo is said to have criticised those
who said he “spoke too much” and yet previously the same people had complained
about lack of accountability in government. He said these people were not happy
that information was now always readily available. No, Mr Moyo. The problem is
not about useless information. It has everything to do with the credibility of
government spokespersons like you. Where was Moyo and his information when
Joseph Made insisted that we had enough grain to last us until the next harvest?
Why has Made now made a volte-face and admitted that we need to import both
maize and wheat? We have a deluge of information but what we need is the truth.
That is what accountability is about, not obfuscation of reality.
President Mugabe must feel justifiably arrogant about his achievements
as an African leader. His deputy, Simon Muzenda, was this week extolling
Mugabe’s virtues as the unconquerable and the only one able to resist the might
of the combined imperialist forces of the US and Britain. He told a rally of
peasant farmers in Masvingo: “I would not last three months against them if I
took over from Mugabe.”
This must explain why he cannot be anything
other than Mugabe’s sidekick, and the subject for many uncouth jokes in public
alleys. True to his level of intellect, he said it would be impossible for
Morgan Tsvangirai to rule this country because he had never shown leadership
qualities. “We gave him the chance to lead the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
and he failed. How can he rule the country?” claimed Muzenda angrily.
It’s the first time we have been told Tsvangirai had been appointed, not
only to lead the ZCTU, but also to prove himself as a capable leader. And
presumably sending thugs to beat him up at his offices was part of the same
test! But we are yet to be shown wherein he failed and in what areas Mugabe has
excelled. At least we still have the ZCTU, but no economy worth talking about.
If Tsvangirai has failed as a leader, why is Zanu PF running scared of him? Why
have they resorted to terror campaigns through unruly mobs among the war
veterans if not for their dire fear of losing to the MDC?
Tanzanian import, Mwesiga Baregu, was at it again this week. He said people’s
reaction to the farm invasions in Zimbabwe had been hy-sterical. Otherwise
everything was on course for a successful land redistribution programme. In
fact, Comrade Baregu said countries in the region, especially South Africa and
Namibia, should follow the Zimbabwean example. He was disappointed, he said,
that South Africa had forcibly removed squatters who had camped themselves on a
piece of land outside Johannesburg.
No doubt Baregu would want the South
Africans to follow Zimbabwe’s dangerous precedent where no one can be guaranteed
security of private property any more and where Mugabe would like to declare
null and void the law of trespass. That is the problem with people who speak
from the security of discredited regimes and have never come face-to-face with
rogue elements let loose on the innocent. For people like Cde Baregu there is no
breakdown of law and order because he has never been beaten up himself.
Otherwise he would understand the price of lawlessness.
reckons there is no problem in this whole world which can never be resolved
within the sanction of legal norms. In the case of Zimbabwe, we are simply
talking about a rogue regime that has opted for the rule of the jungle because
it faces defeat if next year’s election is held under conditions of peace. Just
like they tried to do before independence, Zanu PF wants to use the barrel of
the gun to win votes. That’s what the people of Zimbabwe are against. Baregu
should take his gospel of violence back to Tanzania. Tanzanian authorities would
surely give him a Gaddafisque welcome?
The Daily News on Wednesday this
week carried a chilling story of two government ministers threatening students
from Masvingo teacher’s colleges with death if they supported the MDC. Foreign
Affairs minister, Stan Mudenge, said: “You can even be killed for supporting the
opposition and no one would guarantee your safety.”
Education Samuel Mumbengegwi chimed in blissfully: “We cannot con- tinue to pay
our enemies. People have to know which side their bread is buttered.”
This is beautiful stuff for the international community to know.
Government must also assess for itself who the enemies of Zimbabwe are when
ministers go out of their way to threaten people with death in broad day- light.
Can anybody be in doubt as to who is fanning violence after this? Are these
ministers agents of imperialist forces conspiring against Zimbabwe? We await
Jonathan Moyo’s comments.
|Mugabe slowly limiting venom when it comes to Mbeki
7/20/01 9:48:17 AM (GMT
Nyasha Nyakunu, Deputy
President Mugabe is
perhaps one person who believes in the Sicilian saying that the best words are
those that remain unspoken.
Mugabe, 77, exhibited his
skills at playing his cards close to the chest after the rejection of the draft
constitution during the February 2000 referendum.
His ruling Zanu PF had
vociferously campaigned for an endorsement of the draft constitution widely
criticised as seeking to further entrench his powers.
Constitutional Assembly, a grouping of opposition parties, labour unions,
churches and students, successfully campaigned for a rejection of the Zanu
The draft contained, among other contentious issues, a
clause that would have empowered the government to compulsorily acquire
commercial farmland without compensation.
The rejection of the draft
constitution amounted to depriving Zanu PF of its major campaign tool - the land
issue, ahead of the June 2000 parliamentary election.
A contrite, if not
humbled Mugabe, went on television and announced that the will of the people
would be respected as they had exercised their democratic right by rejecting the
The venerable politician who led the guerrilla warfare
as Zanu’s leader prior to independence, however, took the nation by surprise
when he sanctioned the expropriation of white-owned farmland by landless
peasants led by ex-freedom fighters. Thereafter, he denounced the country’s
white population as “enemies of the State”.
The international community
protested and applied pressure on him, but
Mugabe remained unmoved as the
invasions of the commercial farms intensified. Five white commercial farmers
were killed in the ensuing violent farm occupations.
No one has been
arrested in connection with the killings as Zimbabwe degenerated into
unparalleled lawlessness which turned the country into a pariah state as
international bilateral and multilateral donors withdrew financial aid to
Britain and the United States, came under heavy attack from Mugabe
through his relentless presidential venom against the two countries warning them
not to interfere in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.
Mugabe remained obdurately
defiant in the face of the unfolding crisis characterised by intermittent fuel
shortages exacerbated by acute foreign currency shortages.
African President Thabo Mbeki had a taste of Mugabe’s scheming mind. In a
classic display of subterfuge, Mugabe assured Mbeki he would do everything in
his power to halt the invasions of commercial farms.
Mbeki had flown into
Harare for a meeting with the Zimbabwean leader over the escalating lawlessness
as State-sanctioned violence intensified in the countryside and urban areas.
Hardly a day after Mbeki’s departure, Mugabe told party supporters in
Bindura, the seizure of commercial farms would continue.
Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) was barred from visiting Zimbabwe to assess the
extent of the breakdown of law and order and the attacks on the Judiciary and
While Mugabe remained steadfastly aloof, Mbeki was caught in the
He was criticised for his kid glove approach when it came to
dealing with Mugabe. The South African leader said he preferred quiet diplomacy
against publicly rebuking his Zimbabwean counterpart.
Mbeki’s softly, softly
approach, however, appears to be bearing fruit in the wake of an
uncharacteristic shift in Harare’s otherwise hardened stance against its
perceived foreign enemies.
Mugabe has since agreed to a visit by
Commonwealth foreign ministers from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Australia,
Britain and Jamaica ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
(Chogm) in Brisbane, Australia, in October.
He also softened his hardline
stance against London and Washington ahead of Mbeki’s visit to the British and
American capitals in June this year.
Could this be the result of Mbeki’s
mute diplomacy? Is the wily and highly secretive Zimbabwean leader beginning to
fill the heat of international pressure or does he have a hidden agenda?
is he trying to dribble his way to the Brisbane meeting with a semblance of
respectability, thereby toning down cries for the international community to
firmly deal with the ruling Zanu PF leader?
These are some of the questions
being asked about the man who has led Zimbabwe for 21 uninterrupted years since
independence in 1980.
Independent observers interviewed by The Daily News
were at a quandary when it came to reading Mugabe’s mind given his
closed-circuit style of leadership.
University of Zimbabwe political
scientist, Dr John Makumbe, was non-committal when it came to second-guessing
“He could have finally realised the enormity of the problems that
Zimbabwe is facing and is now determined to project to the international
community that he is co-operative.
“On the other hand, he could just be
campaigning to gain mileage ahead of the Commonwealth meeting because he is
scared of being suspended from the grouping. Suspension will damage his personal
ego because he wants to project an image that everything is normal in Zimbabwe,”
The European Union has since given Zimbabwe a 60-day ultimatum
for the cessation of political violence in the country and a halt in the illegal
occupation of farms.
Makumbe says attention should be paid to the fact that
the planned visit by the Commonwealth foreign ministers is more of an ad hoc
diplomatic arrangement as opposed to the official CMAG delegation which was
barred by Mugabe.
“My reading of the apparent capitulation is that he is
seemingly capitulating to a group which he knows is not an official structure of
the Commonwealth. If Mugabe really wanted to be honest about the prevailing
situation in Zimbabwe he would have allowed the Commonwealth Ministerial Action
Group to come to Zimbabwe.”
However, Makumbe says if Mugabe is indeed
conforming, Mbeki would have pulled a diplomatic coup.
“That would mean that
Mbeki’s approach is beginning to bear fruit and proves that if South Africa
applies a certain pressure on Zimbabwe, it works because the country will not
have anyone to turn to because South Africa is Zimbabwe’s largest and most
important economic partner.
“Because of that, Mugabe cannot afford to
totally ignore Thabo Mbeki’s pressure.”
For now, the question still remains:
Is Mugabe indeed coming around or is he deluding the world in his typical
wizardry as the master of political gamesmanship?
One thing is certain
though, there is no telling when it comes to Mugabe.
US media must educate Americans on Africa — publisher
THE US media should “wake up and smell the coffee”
to get rid of the ignorance of the African continent by the average American,
says Trevor Ncube, publisher of the Zimbabwe Independent and the Standard.
In an interview in Washington, where he was part of the State
Department’s International Vi- sitors Programme, Ncu-be said getting American
media to focus more on Africa was the first step in resurrecting Zimbabwe and
the African continent.
He said the media should begin to pay attention
to the continent and show people that “there are a lot of things to celebrate in
Africa”. American corporations and businesses would likewise take notice and act
on the opportunities that Africa presented.
“Africans need toothpaste,
soap, washing powder,” he said. “They need clothes and computers. Africa is a
profit centre that American companies have not yet exploited.”
reasons Europe viewed Africa as a dark continent were being advanced by American
companies — the savage wars, endless cycles of famine and an unlimited supply of
dictators. There is also the repression against the press by President Ro-bert
Mugabe since 1980.
“Zimbabwe was a very promising experiment in
multiparty democracy until Mugabe started behaving badly,” said Ncube.
“Zimbabwe has been a regional leader. It’s been an example in how to
build a multiracial society. It has a role to play in the region in terms of
political stability, political security and democracy.”
Mugabe had marred all these positive prospects in his quest to remain in power,
“He’s a man capable of using violence. He’s a man who is
capable of stealing an election,” he said.
“We have regimes in Africa
who see their role as that of stopping information from getting to the people,”
“They say, ‘Keep the people in the dark to regulate them’.
Most Africans are subject to pro- paganda from their governments. Governments
use state funds and state machinery to keep people uninformed so that they can
continue to use them for their own ends.”
The government has complete
control over the four radio stations and the two television channels in the
country. The Posts and Telecommunications Bill, passed in March 2000,
effectively gives the government power to refuse a prospective
telecommunications investor a licence if such a licence is not deemed to be in
the public interest.
Journalists in Africa faced a lot of day-to-day
problems, among them lack of infrastructure, technological know-how, and the
questionable skills of some individuals dedicated to presenting information to
the public. Lack of money was another major handicap, Ncube said.
these concerns aside, Ncube had a laundry list of journalistic objectives in a
place like Zimbabwe. These were to be the voice of the voiceless, to monitor the
government, to help build a national consensus, to help stimulate debate, to
cultivate a culture of democracy, accountability and stability; to create a
vision for the future and get the country out of the “current quagmire”.
“As a continent, we have a significant percentage of our population that
is uneducated and uninformed, so it’s part of (a journalist’s) role to find
solutions to our problems, together with our societies and our leaders,” he
The US had put forth an initiative to help sol-ve some of
Zimbabwe’s problems. The Zimbabwe Democracy and Recovery Bill of 2001, which
recently passed through the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, set conditions
regarding the rule of law and free elections that the Zimbabwean government must
adhere to before the US provided any sort of non-humanitarian aid or
“As the big power that it is, America has a role to play to
ensure that internationally-acceptable standards of governance are attained in
Zimbabwe,” Ncube said.
“Once the American government comes in to make
sure an enabling environment exists, one of democracy, accountability, peace,
and stability, American business can come in and create jobs and invest in
“What Zimbabweans expect from America is a mutually beneficial
relationship,” he said.
“America should open its markets to Zimbabwean
goods and servi- ces, and Zimbabweans should offer Americans a market for their
“I want to impress upon Americans that we deserve to be given a
chance as a people,” he said.
This is an edited version of a story
from the Washington File.
- Labour minister sent to apologise -
- Govt hopes to avert strike -
- Libya fuel deal - CArgus
- Last ditch effort on land -
- Sanctions fears - IRIN
- Media control tightened -
From The Financial Gazette,
Moyo off to SA to undo Moyo’s
The government has quickly dispatched Labour
Minister July Moyo to Pretoria to mend fences with the powerful Congress of
South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and retract a scathing attack on the union
made by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo. Jonathan Moyo, in a typical
outburst, blasted COSATU earlier this month for supporting the two-day stayaway
organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). Jonathan Moyo said by
supporting the ZCTU strike, COSATU demonstrated beyond doubt "that its rhetoric
about the need to respect and uphold the rule of law was hollow, opportunistic
Senior government sources said July Moyo had been
sent to apologise to COSATU, retract Jonathan Moyo’s statement and to explain
the labour problems in Zimbabwe. It is understood that Jonathan Moyo’s attack on
COSATU has caused discomfort between the ruling Zanu PF party and South Africa’s
African National Congress (ANC). COSATU is a crucial member of the ANC’s
tripartite arrangement that includes the labour movement, the Communist Party of
South Africa and the ANC. July Moyo, who left for South Africa on Tuesday, was
also expected to meet the South African government to articulate the labour
problems in Zimbabwe.
COSATU’s communications officer Moloto Mothapo
confirmed yesterday that his union was due to meet July Moyo. "At this time we
cannot divulge the whole agenda but we will raise the concerns on the labour
unrest in Zimbabwe among other important issues," Mothapo told the Financial
Gazette from Johannesburg by telephone. According to sources, Vice President
Simon Muzenda is not happy with Jonathan Moyo’s attack on COSATU which he
believes could lead to political fallout with South African President Thabo
Mbeki. Mbeki is currently one of President Robert Mugabe’s staunchest supporters
and is leading efforts to improve Zimbabwe’s frosty relations with Britain.
COSATU fully backed the ZCTU stayaway and said Mugabe "is terrorising the
economy and the ordinary Zimbabwean citizens". Meanwhile the government has
agreed to meet the ZCTU to discuss the 70 percent fuel price hike imposed by the
government last month. ZCTU secretary-general Wellington Chibhebhe said this
week the two sides would meet tomorrow but the union is not backing down on its
demand to have the price increase reversed.
From News24 (SA), 19
Govt hopes to avert
Pretoria - Zimbabwean Labour Minister July Moyo on
Thursday said he hoped that the next round of negotiations between the
government, labour and business would avert another national strike in the
country. The talks would probably start sometime next week, he told reporters
here during a visit to South Africa. The issue of fuel price increases would be
on the agenda, Moyo confirmed. He was confident that the government would be
able to give a satisfactory explanation about this to the tri-partite
Zimbabwe's fuel purchases were clearly defined, he
said. "It is easy to explain." In the social contract concluded in the forum the
ground rules had already been laid regarding "inescapable" price increases like
that of fuel, Moyo said. "We all agreed that even if we end up restraining
prices and cause a deficit, that would come back and hurt the economy. That is a
no-winner for anybody - neither the workers nor business or government. "We have
agreed in the tri-partite negotiating forum that where there were inescapable
price increases these should be explained."
Following a two-day national stayaway earlier this
month, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has threatened indefinite
strike action in a bid to force the government to rescind the 70 percent fuel
price increase. However, the union federation insisted that the talks lead to a
reversal in the fuel price increases effected last month, Agence France Presse
reported. Moyo said he welcomed the ZCTU's decision to opt for dialogue, rather
than threats of another stayaway. "We hope the discussions will avert any
attempt to go for another national strike because nobody wins... Workers end up
losing pay, the economy suffers even more."
From The Cape Argus (SA), 19
Zim strikes fuel-exchange deal with
Harare - Zimbabwe's government has struck a $360-million deal
under which it will source fuel from Libya in exchange for exporting products to
the North African country, the private-run Financial Gazette newspaper reported
on Thursday. The paper quoted unnamed senior government sources as saying the
deal was brokered between President Robert Mugabe and Libyan leader Muammar
Gaddafi who left the country on Saturday after a two-day visit. "The deal will
guarantee fuel supplies to Zimbabwe for at least a year, and is renewable, which
means this could be the end of the country's fuel problems," one official
State media reported last week that Gaddafi discussed with
Mugabe the possibility of Libya providing petroleum products to ease a crippling
fuel shortage Zimbabwe has suffered for the past 19 months. Last year Libya gave
Zimbabwe a $100-million financial package. "Once we conclude these talks we will
know what to expect from Libya," the official Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe as
saying. Details of the talks have not been released.
Fuel supplies have been erratic since December 1999 after
state-owned procurement firm National Oil Company of Zimbabwe had its credit
lines cut over a Z$9-billion debt which has since more than doubled. On Thursday
the Financial Gazette said the latest funding would be released in quarterly
tranches of $90-million and that Harare will in turn export local products to
Libya to finance the fuel purchases. The Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe, in which
the government retains a 20 percent stake, would act as the financial adviser in
the deal, but the Finance Gazette said the bank's manager Gideon Gono had
declined to comment on the deal. Government officials were not available for
comment on Thursday.
Earlier this month, industry was crippled by a two-day national
strike called by labour unions to protest a 70 percent fuel price hike the oil
body said was necessary to offset increased procurement costs. The main Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions has threatened an indefinite strike if the government
refuses to reverse the steep increases, which have sent public transport costs
soaring. Zimbabweans are already struggling with rising cost of living as the
economy undergoes a recession now in its third year, and which many blame on
government mismanagement. The country's problems have been worsened by the
suspension of aid by donors mainly over Mugabe's controversial drive to seize
farms for redistribution to blacks without paying compensation.
From The Financial Gazette, 19
Last ditch effort to solve Zim’s
The United Nations, the European Commission and the World Bank
are planning a combined mission to Zimbabwe next month in one very last bid by
the international community to try to talk Harare off its controversial land
reforms and stave off punitive economic sanctions, it was learnt this week.
Diplomatic sources told the Financial Gazette that the mission would once more
seek to convince President Robert Mugabe and his government to go back to a land
reform and resettlement plan agreed with the international donors in September
1998. Harare has since discarded that plan in favour of its own fast-track land
reforms, which have been judged illegal by Zimbabwe’s highest court and are
blamed for disrupting agriculture and contributing to food shortages expected
later this year.
"We are very anxious to find the right and amicable way to help
the government return to land resettlement and reforms based on the principles
agreed to between itself and donors in 1998," one Western diplomat said. The
international delegation would also seek to establish facts and figures
regarding the implementation of the government’s fast-track land reform plan
under which the government claims to have resettled 104 000 families on 3.5
million hectares of land. The actual dates when the mission will jet into Harare
next month are still to be agreed between the international bodies and
Zimbabwean authorities, according to the sources.
The combined mission comes to Zimbabwe just as the United
States government is expediting legislation to impose sanctions on the
government over its land seizures while a 60-day deadline imposed by the
European Union on Harare to halt its land reforms or face tougher measures is
fast approaching. Under its plan, the government is seizing nearly 50 percent of
Zimbabwe’s prime land comprising 12 million hectares without paying any
compensation for the land but improvements made on it. The international
community wants full compensation paid to farm owners, many of whom bought the
land after Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.
Mugabe says former Zimbabwe’s colonial power Britain and not
his government should pay the white farmers for the land which he argues was
originally confiscated by British colonial authorities from blacks. Britain
funded land reforms in Zimbabwe but withdrew its support when it said the plan
was being abused by government cronies and not aiding Zimbabwe’s poor. Mugabe
and his government have further offended the international community by backing
an illegal and violent seizure of white farms by government supporters and
self-styled veterans of Zimbabwe’s 1970s war of independence.
The Commonwealth is also working on a separate mission to
Zimbabwe designed by Nigeria and Kenya and also aimed at breaking the deadlock
between Zimbabwe and Britain over the funding of the land plan. The diplomats
said if Harare did not make good this last olive branch from the international
community, the government should be under no illusions that tough sanctions will
be imposed on it before the end of the year. The diplomats stress that the
sanctions will only target government officials, many of whom are publicly
backing violence against political opponents, and not Zimbabweans. For example
if the US sanctions are finally approved, they will specifically bar Mugabe, his
Cabinet members and security and defence chiefs from travelling to the US.
Washington wants Europe to take similar measures against the
From IRIN (UN), 19
Zimbabwe's embattled government is talking tough in the face of
rising international pressure, but political analysts allege its senior members
are growing concerned over the threat of sanctions, Reuters reported. "There is
a sense of panic when you talk to some of these people," Reuters quoted Emmanuel
Magade, a political commentator and law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe
as saying. "It's dawning on some of them that the world mood has changed and
things could get pretty tough." The US Senate Sub-committee on African Affairs
last week approved the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Act proposing sanctions
against Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe, his political associates and their
families, and passed it to the House of Representatives. The International
Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think-tank, at the weekend called on the
international community to consider a Yugoslavia-style strategy against Zimbabwe
should next year's presidential elections prove stolen. Solomon Nkiwane, a
political science professor at the University of Zimbabwe, said many Zimbabwean
officials were worried about targeted sanctions because their wealth is abroad,
where their families also live. "For all their rhetoric, some of these people
will be so vulnerable," he told Reuters. "The best way for some of them is to
negotiate, but some are also worried that abandoning their current strategy
could lead to loss of power."
From News24 (SA), 19
Stranglehold on media
Harare - President Robert Mugabe is tightening his grip on
Zimbabwe's state media ahead of presidential polls next year in which he faces a
stiff contest after more than two decades in power. In the past month Mugabe has
reshuffled editors at some state-owned newspapers, using corporate boards run by
his associates. He has also named a member of his ruling Zanu-PF party as head
of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC). This week another Mugabe
loyalist was named as new head of the ZBC's news service. Munyaradzi Hwengwere,
32, principal press secretary in Mugabe's office, will take over as head of the
ZBC's Newsnet department from August 1.
Political analysts say Mugabe - through state media boards
reporting to Information Minister Jonathan Moyo - is deploying some trusted
officials or amenable junior professionals to strategic positions ahead of
crucial presidential elections. "What is happening is very obvious. The
government is trying to tighten its control of the state media," said political
analyst Masipula Sithole. "The calculation is obviously that the media,
especially radio and television, are going to play a big role in the election
campaign. They want a firmer control," he said.
Mugabe's government had nominally opened the broadcasting
industry to private players after a court challenge last year, but tight
investment and operational regulations have made it difficult for new radio and
television stations to be set up. The government has also increased pressure on
Zimbabwe's small but vibrant privately-owned media with a stream of statements
accusing critical newspapers of being pawns of the country's white minority and
its political opponents.
Mugabe - battling an economic crisis and political crisis over
a violent campaign by his supporters against the opposition - faces a serious
challenge from Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition MDC party in
polls due by next April. The MDC grabbed nearly half of 120 contested seats in
last June's parliamentary elections and claims it would have beaten Mugabe's
Zanu PF if it had not been for violent campaign that left at least 31 mainly
opposition supporters dead. Zimbabwe also says foreign media are being used by
the West, notably former colonial power Britain, to discredit its drive to seize
white-owned farms for landless blacks.
Last month the government refused to extend the work permit of
a British journalist working for London's Daily Telegraph. In February, a BBC
correspondent and a correspondent for South Africa's Mail and Guardian newspaper
were expelled from Zimbabwe. The government has rejected criticism that new
rules requiring foreign journalists to apply a month in advance to visit the
country are an attempt to stifle media freedom.