|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
|War looming, says Chinamasa|
7/21/01 9:46:53 AM (GMT +2)
Patrick Chinamasa, the
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, says the government cannot
give assurance that it will stop the violence in the country.
Speaking to church leaders
in Victoria Falls on Thursday, Chinamasa said political violence would continue
until the land issue has been resolved.
In fact, Chinamasa said the country would plunge into war over the land issue.
He said: “The nation is apparently on the verge of a war and, in a war situation, no one is really in control,” he said.
Commenting on why the government was not dealing with the widespread political violence and lawlessness that has gripped the country, Chinamasa insisted that violence was a necessary tool for a successful land reform programme.
“The land issue must be solved now once and for all,” he said.
John Nkomo, the Minister of Home Affairs, whose ministry administers the police force, refused to assure the church leaders there would be no violence during next year’s presidential election.
Nkomo is the national chairman of the ruling Zanu PF.
He said: “I cannot assure you that there won’t be violence next year. As a party, we are not the party which instigates violence.”
Chinamasa said Zanu PF was not a violent party.
“We just want to protect what we fought for,” he said.
The delegates registered their disapproval when the minister said if they were attacked violently, “definitely” they should be on the defensive side and act accordingly.
Chinamasa challenged churches to work hand in hand with the government in “nation building”.
He said in his view Zimbabweans were crying to go back to slavery.
“As Zimbabweans, we do not have confidence in ourselves, we are ashamed of being black, we have too many negative attitudes towards ourselves and this is absolutely not good for nation building,” he said.
The heads of denominations said it seemed the government did not want to commit itself to end violence.
Meanwhile, Kefas Madzongera, the MDC district youth chairman for Bindura, says he is suing Elliot Manyika, the provincial governor for Mashonaland Central, for serious injuries he allegedly sustained when he was beaten up in Bindura on 2 June.
His lawyer, Gabriel Shumba of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Legal Unit, confirmed yesterday Madzongera had hired him, but could not give further details.
Madzongera alleged that Manyika, accompanied by several Zanu PF supporters, among them one Mazuvarimwe, a war veteran, accosted him on the fateful day while he was in Manyopera Shop in Chipadze suburb in Bindura. He alleged that Manyika struck him four times with an iron bar on the head and broke his arm.
A Zanu PF supporter, Dickson Mafios, allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the back.
He received four stitches to the wound. The police declined to comment on Madzongera’s allegations.
Yesterday an MDC truck ferrying polling agents from a training session in Bindura to Musana communal lands was attacked by alleged Zanu PF supporters and war veterans.
The driver of the truck carrying part of the 30-member group, Silent Dube, said the Zanu PF supporters had blocked the road and started pelting the car with stones.
The other truck managed to pass through the war veterans' base at Chiveso without incident.
“Fortunately we managed to escape but they damaged the car,” said Dube.
“They failed to attack us when we first went to collect the polling agents because we had the police escorting us. Bindura police were very helpful,” he said.
A report was lodged with the police after the attack.
|MDC activist seeks asylum in Malawi|
7/21/01 9:50:49 AM (GMT +2)
RAYMOND Chipangura, 36, a supporter of the MDC, harassed by war veterans in Uzumba in February, has fled to Malawi to seek political asylum.
Chipangura is now at
Dzaleka refugee camp, run by the Jesuit priests of the Catholic Church, located
outside Lilongwe, where Chipangura has joined political refugees from the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia and the Sudan. There
are 3 000 inmates at the camp, a former prison.
In a telephone interview from Malawi, Chipangura said he left Uzumba after war veterans accused him of inciting his relatives not to contribute a total of $550 towards celebrations for President Mugabe’s birthday and Independence Day.
He said he had walked all the way to Malawi through Mozambique.
“The conditions here are bad and one has to put up one’s shelter. Every month each one of us receives a ration of 12kg rice, 1kg sugar, 100 grammes of salt, three tablets of soap, and 1kg of beans. They don’t supply blankets and I would very much want to return home, but I understand the political situation is still very tense,” Chipangura said.
He said things turned bad for him when he told relatives in Rukariro village that they should not be forced to contribute the $400 for the Independence Day celebrations and $150 for the President’s birthday.
Chipangura alleged war veterans, led by a Comrade Tichatonga Mbizi, threatened to kill him and two other activists. The previous week, he said, Chenjerai Hunzvi, the late chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association, had addressed a rally at the nearby Gapara shopping centre and urged Zanu PF supporters to “discipline him”.
“It was so tense and we escaped via Mozambique. My colleagues became jittery at Nyamapanda border post and were detained,” he said.
“I made good my escape and was helped by an international truck driver who drove me into Malawi,” he said.
But he is concerned about the safety of his wife and two children he left in Zimbabwe.
The situation in Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe became more tense after Mugabe pardoned political prisoners charged with crimes other than murder.
“Every day that passes I think of home,” he said. “I desperately want to return home, but I fear for my life. I also fear that publication of your story will lead to harm for members of my family in Uzumba and that my hide-out will be discovered.”
|Chimanimani MP’s farm listed|
7/21/01 9:48:26 AM (GMT +2)
ZANU PF which last year
lost the Chimanimani parliamentary seat to Roy Bennet of the opposition MDC has
now listed his farm and wants to see people settled there next week.
Dr Ignatius Chombo, the
Minister of Public Works and National Housing, accompanied by Oppah Muchinguri,
the Governor for Manicaland, Air-Vice
Marshal Henry Muchena, and armed war veterans and policemen yesterday visited Bennet’s farm and said the farm must be completely pegged for resettlement by next week.
The farm, Charleswood, has an Export Processing Zones coffee project and two Zimbabwe Investment Centre tourism and timber-related projects.
According to Rocky Stone, the farm manager, Chombo said Munacho Mutezo, the Zanu PF Manicaland province secretary for administration and the party’s losing candidate in the 2000 parliamentary election, who was part of the delegation would live in the main house.
Stone said: “Dr Chombo did most of the talking and they said he had come to assess progress on the land reform programme. He said that Agritex should complete all the pegging of all the coffee lands by next week. He pulled Mutezo to the front and said that he would be allocated a piece of land as well. He said Mutezo would live in the main house.”
Bennet said the action was a sign of desperation by Zanu PF since it had lost support in the area.
He vowed not to leave the farm.
He said: “Zanu PF has lost support in my area. So it is now trying to alienate me from the people. This is harassment. I sit in the same august house with Chombo and Muchinguri. They must not do that to me. If they are not respectful, at least they should pretend to be. How can ministers be involved in the pegging of a farm?
“Anyway I will not leave. Maybe they have to send the army to evacuate me.
But still no reasonable army officers would do that. So they will have to send Zanu PF militia.”
Under the “fast-track” resettlement programme, the government said it would list farms which are being under-utilised or where the farmers has two or more farms.
Bennet said: “My farm does not qualify for resettlement. I have one farm and I am utilising the arable land on the farm, and I am supplying people in my area who do not have enough food with maize from my farm. So how does it qualify? It is no longer the land issue but of fixing me.”
|ZCTU warns government|
7/21/01 9:44:14 AM (GMT +2)
Collin Gwiyo, the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) deputy secretary-general, on Thursday
warned the government that it was digging its own grave by harassing workers.
Speaking at a report-back
meeting in Harare on the stayaway of 3 and 4 July, Gwiyo said the government was
looking forward for violence to occur during the stayaway but workers had
remained peaceful. Harare’s high-density residents were beaten up in bars and in
their homes by armed police and soldiers.
Gwiyo said: “To stay away is not a crime. The government must know that the more you harass people the more you dig your own grave.” He said the government was not responding to calls for the reversal of fuel prices increases because politically-connected people importing fuel were making fortunes.
Gwiyo said: “I want to promise you that if the price of fuel is not reduced . . we shall take the issue further.” Shylet Gutu, the chairperson of the ZCTU north-eastern region, told the meeting that some workers were not united because of ignorance of labour issues and fear.
|Moyo records album|
7/21/01 9:28:28 AM (GMT +2)
Maxwell Sibanda, Entertainment Editor
JONATHAN MOYO, the energetic Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the President’s Office, has broken new ground in the field of propaganda.
Moyo recently teamed up
with musicians in the clandestine recording of an 18-track album designed to
drum up support for Zanu PF ahead of next year’s presidential election.
The appropriately named Third Chimurenga album was recorded in March, and initially intended for release shortly before this year’s Independence celebrations.
The album is set to be released any time now. The theme of the album centres on the land issue and the liberation struggle.
Musicians and former war veterans Chinx Chingaira and Marko Sibanda composed the lyrics and were vocalists on all tracks, with the Police Band providing the backing.
Apart from three new songs, the rest are said to be old liberation war classics, revamped and spiced with new and more appropriate lyrics.
Chingaira gave lucky Zimbabweans a sneak preview of the album during the Independence and Joshua Nkomo galas. He was backed by the Police Band, a State-supported outfit which performs at most government and some public functions. The songs include Maruza Imi and Mukoma Charlie, both of which Chingaira released immediately after Independence.
Shed Studios, who recorded the album, referred The Daily News to the Department of Information and Publicity for details on the album.
An employee at Shed Studios who declined to be named said: “The recording was a private job. The best thing is for you to get in touch with the Ministry of Information because it was their project. It was a government job.”
The recordings had all along been kept a closely guarded secret. Most of the recordings, which lasted more than a month, were done at night.
Moyo is said to have closely monitored the project and was present during recordings.
Efforts to get comment from Moyo were fruitless.
Contacted for comment, Mavis Gumbo, from the Department of Information and Publicity, referred questions to Munyaradzi Hwengwere.
Hwengwere, a former Principal Press Secretary during the time of the recordings, was this week appointed head of Newsnet, the news-producing arm of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).
Hwengwere could neither deny nor confirm the recording. He said: “I am not a musician or producer. Phone Cde Chinx and Marko Sibanda and ask them when they will release their album or find their producer.”
Efforts to get in touch with Chingaira, a ZBC employee, were unsuccessful.
His colleague at ZBC said: “Cde Chinx is on national duty. He has been away for quite some time. You can try the Ministry of Information.”
Sibanda was said to be asleep but his manager, Judge Muringai, confirmed that Sibanda and Chingaira had recorded an album as a duet.
Muringai said: “You are talking about Third Chimurenga. It was recorded in March and was supposed to be released immediately before the Independence celebrations. Joseph Goebbels, the information chief in Adolf Hitler’s Nazi government in war-time Germany, used music, film and art to advance propaganda and prop up the regime.
As chairman of the media committee of the ill-fated government appointed Constitutional Commission in 1999, Moyo co-ordinated efforts in which several musicians produced songs supporting the idea of a new constitution.
Zimbabweans later rejected the draft constitution, which would have entrenched the government’s stranglehold on power. The efforts were futile.
The Department of Information and Publicity, through the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, has also been accused of funding special propaganda productions so as to control and govern artistic productions for political ends.
The album, Third Chimurenga, is the second secret funding of a music production after Andy Brown’s expensive home studio in Harare.
Govt Seeks Legal Channel to Extend Land Seizures
Financial Gazette - (Harare)
July 20, 2001
Posted to the web July 20, 2001
The government, bogged down by legal and financial problems in implementing its fast-track land reforms, is now seeking a Supreme Court order to extend the seizure of white-owned commercial farms until the end of the year, it was established this week.
The commercial farms, hundreds of which are being seized every fortnight, are meant to resettle millions of landless blacks under the reforms, already declared illegal by Zimbabwe's highest court, that are spearheaded by the ruling ZANU PF party.
Party supporters and veterans from its 1970s war of independence have settled on many of the illegally acquired commercial farms to press for speedier resettlement. The internationally condemned exercise has triggered countrywide lawlessness as police continue to turn a blind eye to crimes committed by ZANU PF supporters on the farms during the occupations.
In court papers submitted this week, the government wants a Supreme Court interdict issued last December proclaiming July 1 this year as the deadline for acquiring more land for resettlement to be extended to the beginning of November.
The Supreme Court ruling had ordered the government to stop acquiring more land for resettlement by the beginning of this month and that by that date, the state should have produced a workable land reform plan and re-established law and order on farms.
Lands Minister Joseph Made, Local Government's Ignatius Chombo and Rural Resources Minister Joyce Mujuru are the applicants on behalf of the government of the urgent chamber application filed on Monday seeking to extend the deadline. The government argues that if the matter is not heard as a matter of urgency, the land acquisition exercise and the whole land reform and resettlement programme might be adversely affected.
The farmers' organisation, the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) which has been cited as the respondent, still has to react to the application that is set to be heard next week.
CFU lawyers Coghlan, Welsh & Guest confirmed in a letter to the Registrar of the Supreme Court that the government's application had been referred to their clients and counsel.
"You will appreciate that the record is substantial and that the matters involved in this application are of enormous consequence to Zimbabwe as a whole and to many farm owners and hundreds of thousands more people who work on the farms," the lawyers' letter reads.
The CFU has been under pressure from the government to drop all litigation on the land issue as a pre-condition for opening dialogue on land reform.
Last year's Supreme Court interdict prohibited government ministers responsible for the resettlement programme from taking any further steps in the acquisition of land after July 1 this year. In its ruling then, the Supreme Court said there was no land reform programme in Zimbabwe as envisaged in the Constitution.
The government now says it has already seized more than 2 500 farms measuring more than 3.5 million hectares on which 104 000 families had been resettled. It has also listed another 2 500 commercial farms which it intends to acquire for further resettlement under the fast-track programme.
In its new application, the government argues that it has since fulfilled conditions set by the Supreme Court prior to the July 1 deadline and that the land reform programme is now in place and the rule of law restored on commercial farms.
Last Ditch Effort to Solve Land Standoff
July 20, 2001
Posted to the web July 20, 2001
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 government.
From The Cape Times (SA), 20 July
Mbeki admits that Zim unrest is a headache
Rome - President Thabo Mbeki said on Thursday that he agreed with concerns that unrest in Zimbabwe had the potential to provoke trouble elsewhere in southern Africa if it were not brought under control. Speaking during a two-day visit to Rome, where he met foreign ministers from the Group of Eight most powerful nations, Mbeki said he agreed with the fears those ministers had expressed.
In a statement, the foreign ministers said they were concerned generally about conflict in Africa and added: "We consider that a sustainable solution to Zimbabwe's problems is essential to stability in the southern Africa region." "Yes, indeed. Yes," said Mbeki, when asked if he agreed. "In fact, we are in the process at the moment of establishing a Commonwealth committee of foreign ministers to deal with these issues, and Zimbabwe has agreed to that." He said the committee would also look into issues such as whether Zimbabwe would be capable of holding free and fair elections next year, when President Robert Mugabe will run for another six-year term.
Asked if he thought the elections, scheduled for early next year, would be free and fair, Mbeki was non-committal. "What is needed is to assist the Zimbabweans to make sure that those elections are indeed free and fair. I don't think it's a question of demanding it of them, but of assisting them if we can to make them that way," he said. Mbeki played down suggestions that problems in Zimbabwe, together with a smaller-scale land dispute in South Africa in recent days, were undermining confidence in southern Africa and South Africa's economy particularly.
The rand has fallen to successive record lows in recent weeks, but Mbeki said that was more to do with problems in other emerging markets. "The problem in Argentina, the problem in Turkey, the problems in emerging markets in general - that is the problem for the rand," he said. "The big bankers understand that and know that what is happening in the region is not the reason (for the rand's weakness). "Those in the know don't look at the neighbour, they look at the facts. We've just got to make sure that we keep our own house in order." Mbeki said he expected to get firm support for the New Africa Initiative when he presents it to a G8 summit, but financial as well as political backing was needed.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 20 July
Gaddafi pledges $50m to Zanu PF
President Robert Mugabe last week managed to extract US$900 000 ($50 million) for his re-election campaign next year from Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, it emerged yesterday. Gaddafi was in Zimbabwe on a two-day state visit. Zanu PF sources said Gaddafi, who came to Zimbabwe by road from the Organisation of African Unity summit in Lusaka, Zambia, made the financial advance to the ruling party after a request by Mugabe. "Gaddafi gave an assurance to President Mugabe that he would inject about US$900 000 to the party for the presidential campaigns," a senior party source said. "He wants our party to win the election. We are expecting the money anytime now."
Gaddafi recently donated 29 Cherokee Jeeps to Zanu PF for the presidential election. It is understood the cars, initially thought to have been sourced from Egypt, have already been distributed to key Zanu PF campaigners, including self-styled war veterans leader, Joseph Chinotimba. Insiders said the financial deal would not be made public as it was most certainly illegal in terms of the amended Political Parties (Finance) Act, which prohibits foreign funding of political parties.
Although Zanu PF engineered the law, its functionaries are traversing the world scrounging for funds for the crucial poll. The party’s secretary for external affairs, Didymus Mutasa, and Information chief, Nathan Shamuyarira, are understood to be leading the foreign fundraising campaign. The two have either already been to or are travelling to China to look for funds. Mutasa yesterday said he had not travelled to China. He said he was not going there because the new legislation forbade foreign funding of parties. "It’s not true that we are looking for money from outside," he said. China has in the past been one of Zanu PF’s major financiers alongside a host of other foreign donors. Shamuyarira, who sources said might have already been to China, was not available for comment.
Sources said Gaddafi agreed to bail out Zanu PF, which is reeling from a serious financial crisis, when he offered Zimbabwe a US$360 million fuel lifeline to ease a crisis which has gripped the country since December 1999. Gaddafi last year gave Zimbabwe a US$100 million line of credit for fuel imports. Zanu PF, which, alongside the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) recently got about $51 million from Treasury, needs huge sums of money to oil its massive election machinery. The war veterans, who are now effectively led by the militant Chinotimba after the death of Chenjerai Hunzvi, need a slush fund. The Zanu PF-sponsored Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions, student unions, civic groups, and other party front organisations, are also lining up for campaign funds.
Gaddafi’s rescue package came as The People’s Daily of China, on July 13 2001, reported that Beijing had provided Zimbabwe with a US$3,6 million loan for development projects. "The Chinese government on Thursday provided an interest-free loan of 30 million yuan (about 3,6 million US dollars) to the Zimbabwean government," the paper said. "According to an agreement signed here between the two governments, the loan will be utilised within a period of five years starting from September 1, 2001 to August 31, 2006." The loan should be used to implement economic and technical co-operation projects in Zimbabwe. The money would be repaid by the Zimbabwean government in tranches after a period of 10 years starting from September 1, 2011 to August 31, 2021. Chris Kuruneri, the deputy Finance minister, represented Zimbabwe at the signing ceremony.
From IRIN (UN), 20 July
Donors may help avert food crisis
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 initiative. "A food aid project in which UNDP is the sole distributor in Zimbabwe could be the sort of solution that international donors would consider," Mkuleko Hikwa 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 the substantial decline in gold production and the tobacco harvest, and the lack of foreign currency earnings, the government's ability to import maize is extremely limited.
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 inter-ministerial food security task force would be established to address the looming crisis. But UNDP said that no special request for food aid had been received from President Robert Mugabe's government or from any other organisation. "We're still talking to the government and we're facilitating negotiations between them and donor countries and organisations," Hikwa told IRIN.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) last week called for food aid to be administered by NGOs and not by the government, who could use it politically in the run-up to next year's presidential elections. "We know ZANU-PF has been using food relief for political purposes," said MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai at a press conference. "If you want food 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.
The WFP/FAO report suggests that bilateral food aid may be the answer to Zimbabwe's woes - 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 said.