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

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Cathy's diary entry a fortnight ago Hear the Drums reduced me to tears - this is for the bravery of Iain kay and every farmer and also for the courage of Cathy Buckle.

I close my eyes. I hear the sound.
My heart skips a beat - starts to pound.
Voices outside, the sound of angry feet.
A call from the dark - drums! The beat!

A cowed dog howls and a rock is thrown.
They've come again to take his home.
The stench of smoke creeps through the doors,
Clings to his hair, his clothes, his pores.

A man should be safe in his home at night.
Yet here he stands - prepared to fight.
The shouts of anger and of so much hate -
What will become this brave man's fate?

Angry threats fuelled by the flame
of greed, lust, hate - insanity's another name!
Flames dance brightly in the cold night sky...
A glint of steel - time ticks so slowly by....

He's called for help but no one came.
Police have said he has no claim.
The trouble's not theirs - - it's not their fight!
Endless hours pass through this night.

Destruction and hate now fill this place.
Terror. fear. Despair - on every face.
Outside the din begins to grow
Rocks pelt the roof, smoke seeps through the window.

His children whimper in the dark
A frightened dog begins to bark.
Alcohol and drugs seem to take control
Madmen now become more bold!

The call for blood is on their lips,
Russian weapons on their hips...
Sanity has finally given way
To chaos and madness controlling every single day.

I open my eyes - the vision leaves
Wind gently rustles through tall gum trees.
I'm safe in my world - my new home -
But my heart and prayers are for You alone!

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

ZIMBABWE: Opposition accuses government of assassination bid

JOHANNESBURG, 23 July (IRIN) - Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) on Monday condemned as an assassination bid a
weekend attack on the motorcade of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the
northern town of Bindura.

The violence began on Sunday afternoon when Tsvangirai and other top
opposition leaders arrived in the constituency. About 100 ruling ZANU-PF
militants attacked the 13-car motorcade with stones, and burned one of the
vehicles, according to the privately-owned ‘Daily News’. The newspaper
quoted MDC’s security director as alleging that shots were first fired by
the ZANU-PF supporters, prompting him to shoot into the air to allow the
motorcade to escape. Five people were injured in the melee, the latest
incident in Bindura ahead of next week’s by-election.

“We interpret yesterday’s barbaric attack on the convoy as a clear attempt
on the life of party president Tsvangirai,” MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe
told IRIN. “The attack was carried out by a well-organised and well-paid
group of agents who took cover in a broad group of village vigilantes.”

Jongwe said that rather than swinging into action against the attackers,
the police chose to detain MDC supporters: “Instead of arresting the known
and identified suspects, the police picked up the victims of the assault
.. The fact that the police are working with ZANU-PF makes the situation
difficult. But we are not under any illusions that we can bring about
democratic change without sacrifice.”

Analysts told IRIN that the political violence was bound to escalate in
the run up to next year’s presidential elections. Brian Raftopoulos at the
Institute of Development Studies said that President Robert Mugabe has no
alternative but to “provoke” the opposition to the point where a state of
emergency could be declared, handing the authorities sweeping powers.

“It’s increasingly clear that in a free and fair election Mugabe will
lose. The government knows that even under a strategy of violence it may
still lose. The fear is that they may move to a state of emergency or
postpone the election,” Raftopoulos said.

He claimed that Zimbabwe’s opposition was being forced to walk a
tightrope - provoked by a government “spoiling for a fight”, but aware of
the political risks of responding. “In the end the government’s naked
force is going to be apparent and the region, especially South Africa, is
going to have to respond.”

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Farm Invasions and Security Report
Monday 23rd July 2001

This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas.  Communication problems, the fear of reprisals and matters of higher priority prevent farmers from reporting all that happens.  Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.
Demands on farmers and workers to vacate their properties are being reinforced by barricading them into homesteads for up to 5 days and the driving of livestock into the security fenced area.  Farmers so barricaded are subjected to continuous harassment by singing, drum beating, stones on the roof and many more.
Fires have burnt extensive areas of grazing and timber.
Interference with dipping and grazing procedures is hampering cattle management and culminating on demands for the stock to be removed from the farm entirely.
There were no reports received from Matabeleland Region.
Mashonaland Central
Victory Block - Illegal occupiers demanded that the owner of Msitwe River Ranch move off the farm by September.
Mvurwi - Cattle belonging to the owner of Msonneddi were driven by illegal occupiers into their crops in order to claim compensation for crop damage. Illegal occupiers retained 8 head of cattle in exchange for compensation. Illegal occupiers damaged seedbed tents on Vigilia. 100 ha of grazing was burnt by illegal occupiers on Wendiri. Work on seedbeds at Mandindindi was prevented, when illegal occupiers threatened to destroy plastic covers. Illegal occupiers accused the owner of Welmode of destroying a patch of beans allegedly planted in a land recently harrowed. Farm workers went on strike at Hariana when a labour dispute blew out of proportion, causing a total work stoppage. The owner and manager were forced to vacate the farm for safety reasons. ALB and NEC have intercepted.
Mutepatepa - Illegal occupiers intervened in a labour dispute on Brockley and barricaded the owner in his homestead. ALB and NEC responded and resolved the matter. Illegal occupier Chimbondi, lost control of a fire on Dundry resulting in about 100ha of grazing and gum plantation being destroyed, damage to a borehole and telephone lines. Chimbondi has been trying to gain access to a game conservancy in the area so he can build houses on it.
Shamva – About 20 illegal occupiers continue to steal oranges on Nyamwanga farm in the evenings.  A farm security guard caught an illegal occupier and police reacted and arrested her.  That afternoon, about 20 illegal occupiers assaulted 2 farm guards and told them the farm belonged to them as did the oranges and then marched them to a neighbouring farm and told them not to return or they would be killed.  A report was made to the police.  Illegal occupiers continue to restrict grazing areas for cattle and only the owner’s cows remain on the farm.
Mashonaland West North
Chinhoyi - Agritex officials pegged 90 ha on Glenside Farm with intention to peg the other half at a later date. CID visited the owner of Portelet Estate carrying a search warrant for firearms. The owner produced his licence, which was in order. A poacher was caught on Magog Farm and when the owner tried to drive the accused to the police station, illegal occupiers barricaded the owner in the security fence. The owner drove through the gate and the accused is due to appear in court shortly. The manager of Koodoovale Farm was accused of pointing a firearm at illegal occupiers and arrested.
Lions Den - Illegal occupiers are burning large amounts of grazing on farms in the area.
Banket - Banket police and the chief war vet visited the owner of Wonnock Glen and accused the owner of disrupting the land resettlement exercise, and would now be bringing 65 families with a chief to settle on the farm. Lion Kop has recently been pegged and the owner was told that he would have to negotiate with illegal occupiers if he wishes to grow tobacco.
Trelawney / Darwendale - About 32 aggressive illegal occupiers prevented work on Wichens Farm. About 12 aggressive drunk illegal occupiers from Shirleigh and Mpanda farms forced their way through the security gate, threatened and demanded that the owner of Harefield farm stop work and vacate the farm as it now belonged to them. Police responded.
Doma - The owner of Makamba Farm was assaulted and beaten by illegal occupiers after he refused to give them about 2200 litres of free fuel. Illegal occupiers demanded that the owner of Makoppa Farm remove all cattle off the farm.
Karoi – About 48 illegal occupiers instructed farm workers to vacate their homes on Dixie Farm.  Illegal occupiers then persuaded 90% of the farm workers to demand gratuities from the owner and demand to be employed as casual workers.  The owner was then held hostage in the workshop area for 2 hours.  Police were informed and took 2 hours to respond.  About 50 farmers in the district responded to the call and waited on the main road for backup after being told illegal occupiers had threatened the owner’s life if farmers responded and verbally abused the owner’s wife who was barricaded in the farm homestead.  NEC and ALB are dealing with farm workers demands.  Illegal occupiers and farm workers from Dixie proceeded to Peveril Farm with the same intentions and proceeded to set up a roadblock on the Majunge Road to prevent farmers in the district from responding.  Police were notified but were unable to respond due to lack of transport and 2 details were collected from the police station.  Police were confronted with about 30 illegal occupiers at the roadblock and refused to make an arrest, due to it being a political situation.  About 120 illegal occupiers started a fire on Chiuwa farm in a maize land that the owner was combining.  Despite fireguards, about 60 ha of maize was burnt and a large area of grazing.  A report was made to the police.  Illegal occupiers on Kankombe Farm continue to demand that the owner remove about 550 head of cattle off the farm and refuse to allow the owner to dip or to remove about 60 weaners.  The DA agreed to the dipping and if need be, support unit will make sure the owner is able to dip cattle.  About 100 illegal occupiers are currently occupying Moyale Farm and when 9 of them were found at an irrigation pump, the owner was threatened and told to vacate the farm within 48 hours.  Illegal occupiers moved about 50 head of cattle onto homestead garden.  There has been an increase of maize theft, irrigation piping and tree cutting, with no response from police.   About 40 illegal occupiers herded cattle off Moy Farm onto the main Kariba road and prevented the owner from moving them back.  The owner made a report to the police, who refused to respond, and the owner has had to relocate his cattle.  600 ha of grazing was burnt and a water trough destroyed on Kupeta Farm by illegal occupiers.  The owner has filed 11 reports to police with regards to theft of fencing, maize, tree felling, stock feed and irrigation pipes, and 13 reports related to work stoppages, verbal abuse, death threats and demands to vacate the farm by illegal occupiers.  Police refuse to respond.  Illegal occupiers set fire to grazing paddocks on The Ridges.  The incident was reported to police who refused to respond.  Illegal occupiers burnt a further 100 ha of grazing and gum plantations, resulting in half the farm being destroyed by fire.  Police refuse to respond, as they say orders must come from the DA to stop these activities.
Mashonaland West South
Chakari - Agritex officials moved onto Newbiggin Farm and pegged in cattle paddocks. An aggressive illegal occupier leader demanded that the owner remove cattle out of the paddocks as this was now "their property", and that the owner must vacate his homestead.
Norton - The owner of Serui Source has been unable to remove anything off the property. In an attempt to resolve the situation, the owner met with the second in command of Norton police and illegal occupiers from the farm. Immediately after the meeting the owner was arrested and charged with inciting violence. The owner was made to share a cell with 14 others and 7 blankets to share between them. The following day, police countered the bail application in the Norton Magistrates Court on the grounds that "he was on the run", and would abscond. After several hours the owner was given bail under stringent conditions. Illegal occupiers chased farm workers off Wilbered Farm. Police have responded twice, but the threats continue. The owner, who is over 80 years old, is unable to continue farming operations after receiving death threats from illegal occupiers.
Kadoma - Agritex officials pegged Hellaby Farm and illegal occupiers prevented the owner from giving stover to his cattle.
Chegutu - Police and lands committee refuse to respond to the report made by the owner of Farnham Farm, where illegal occupiers pushed pigs into the owner's homestead garden and are threatening to beat the pigs if they are returned to their sty’s.
Mashonaland East
Beatrice - The owner of Silver Oaks farm was barricaded in his home after a large group of aggressive illegal occupiers destroyed the homestead fence and prevented the owner from feeding cattle.  Illegal occupiers on Maas Plein demanded that the farm store close, as they are taking it over.  The owner of Goldilands was instructed by illegal occupier Chinotimba to vacate the farm.  After the owner was barricaded in his home and a threatening situation developed, the owner left.  If the owner wishes to return, he has to seek permission from Zhou, the Joyce Mine base commander.
Bromley / Ruwa / Enterprise - A new invasion occurred on Fourdyce farm.  Section 5 Orders have been served on several farms.
Featherstone – In an attempt to prevent a work stoppage, illegal occupiers chased farm workers out of the grading shed on Nebo farm.  Illegal occupiers prevented the owner of Dunkirk from milking cattle.  A large number of farms in the district have deliberately been burnt by illegal occupiers, resulting in some farms being totally burnt.
Harare South - The owner of Walmer farm was instructed to vacate the farm by illegal occupiers, and told to open the kitchen and toilets for a motor cross track on the farm, which the owner refused as the track belonged to a club.  Illegal occupiers proceeded to break into the facility.  Police responded the following day.  Illegal occupiers informed the owner that they wished to move their cattle onto the farm.  Illegal occupiers arrived on Auks Nest, and informed the manager they were surveying the land, as they were due to be resettled there.  The boundary fence on Rusimbiro was cut by illegal occupiers who informed the manager that they were not to interfere. 
Marondera – A tense and dangerous situation arose when the owner of Monora farm was barricaded in her homestead, but was resolved.
Marondera North – Illegal occupiers chased farm workers out of their homes on Loquat Grove.  The owner of Rapid and a farmer leasing a section of the farm were instructed by illegal occupiers to vacate the farm. 
Macheke / Virginia - Illegal occupiers are selling plots on a farm in the district for $2000.  Illegal occupiers chased farm workers on Riverlea out of their homes.  A borehole drilling team arrived on Craiglea.  40 illegal occupiers arrived on Murrayfield farm in a UNP vehicle with the DA and proceeded to Camdale.  On Second Chapter, 4 illegal occupiers took over a home in the farm village.  Illegal occupiers on Glen Somerset have erected fences around their huts.  Illegal occupiers in a lorry drove onto Nyadema and deposited 3 dog kennels behind the managers house and almost ran the manager’s wife over when she went out to ask them what they were doing.  About 10 illegal occupiers stole gum poles off Malda Farm.  Illegal occupiers moved cattle out of the dipping area on Wheatlands.  Mignon farm was recently delisted and when the owner advised illegal occupiers to leave, they refused.  The owner reported the incident to the police who responded and the majority of illegal occupiers vacated the farm.
Wedza – Illegal occupiers on Collace told the manager that they needed access into the house and garden to take an inventory of all assets.  They were not given access and left saying they would return.  Illegal occupiers on Farm Bravo seriously assaulted 4 farm workers, and the owner verbally abused whilst attending to the farm workers injuries, before taking the farm workers to hospital.  Poachers with dogs and spears killed an Ostrich, Tsessebe and Kudu on Welton farm.  There has been extensive pegging on several farms.  There are now 6 farms in the district where farm workers have been forced to stop work and move out of their homes and are either camping in the bush or living in the barns and grading sheds.  3 farmer owners received unofficial letters and threats that they must leave the farm, stop production and remove property and grids off the farm.  There was a tense situation on Farm Alpha when illegal occupiers rounded up farm workers, broke into the farm premises smashing the gate and harassed farm workers in the complex during the night.  That farm incurred a complete work stoppage and the foreman was given 30 minutes to leave the farm.
Mutare - A tense situation arose when illegal occupiers surrounded the owner and his son on En Avante Farm. Police reacted and diffused the situation. Illegal occupiers prevented the owner of Welverdened Farm from moving his cattle. A number of farmer owners have been unable to return to their homesteads at night.
Odzi - On Green Valley Farm the owner and his family were unable to return to the farm as illegal occupiers dug trenches and barricaded off all farm roads.
Nyazura - DDF officials are active on farms in the district and there has been an increase of poaching and crime.
Headlands - Ruanda Farm was fast tracked last week, leaving the owner with 400 ha. 3 cattle have been slaughtered and a calf stolen. 11 permanent houses have been built for illegal occupiers.
Chimanimani - There was a visitation by Minister Chombo, Air Vice Marshall Muchena, war vet leader, MIC Matanga and various other dignitaries to Charleswood. They arrived in about 18 vehicles with armed escort to see how the land reform programme was progressing and informed the owner that the whole farm would be pegged including the standing coffee plantation.
Masvingo East & Central - Theft, cutting down of trees, pegging and ploughing continues unabated.
Mwenezi – About 20 illegal occupiers moved onto Swanscoe Ranch in an area that is highly concentrated with wildlife.  There has been much movement of illegal occupiers on Kleinbegin Ranch with civil servants farming whilst off duty. 2 gates have been broken open on the farm from the reserve next door and the owner was instructed by police not to replace the gates.  5 police officials responded to an attempted assault charge that illegal occupier Makado made against the owner’s wife after she asked him to remove himself from a pile of bricks and taken a photograph of him.  Makado laid the assault charge after the DA instructed him to do so.  At 2 water points on Flora and Fauna Ranches, 80 snares made with stolen wire and cable were recovered over a 2 day period.  Recent remains of 2 giraffe, 1 Kudu and 1 Eland were recovered and less recent remains of 11 giraffe were recovered. 1 Poacher has been apprehended.  A herd of goats have been moved from the red into the green zone on the Mateke Hills Road.  Veterinary and police set up an ambush and arrested 2 people.  A total number of 45 fires started by illegal occupiers on farms in the district occurred over the weekend.
Gutu / Chatsworth – Farm owners continue to receive harassment and threats from illegal occupiers to remove cattle off the farm or out of certain paddocks.  4 farm owners in the district have been threatened by illegal occupiers with threats of cattle being pushed into homestead gardens.
Chiredzi – Poaching, building of permanent structures, felling of trees and stealing of firewood continue unabated.
Chivhu - Pegging, poaching and stock theft continue.
Gweru - Illegal occupiers claim to be clearing the land with the use of fire, but have been responsible for veld fires becoming out of control and refuse to assist in putting out the fires.
Kwe Kwe - A farmer received an acquisition notice today, had his farm pegged and is expected to vacate the property immediately.
Shurugwi - A neighbour assisted a farmer in the area who has had to evacuate his farm and both have received threats and violence from local war vets Lovemore Sakahuwa and alias Gunpowder. The manager of Killarney and his family have been ordered to vacate the farm by next week.
Somabhula - Illegal occupiers threatened to take over the homestead on Sonambhula Farm if the owner did not dismiss 2 farm workers.


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From BBC News, 24 July

Zimbabwe MPs confront crisis

The Zimbabwean parliament has reconvened for its final session before presidential elections, amid warnings that the country's economy is on the verge of collapse. Presidential elections are to be held by April next year, at a time of ongoing political crisis sparked by the government's controversial land redistribution policy. President Robert Mugabe arrived amid heavy security and was uncompromising in his speech to MPs, saying the government would not be deflected from its land reform plans by economic problems. He said the programme of forcible acquisition of thousands of mainly white-owned commercial farms would "complete the struggle for the complete decolonisation of our country and our continent as a whole". Observers say the policy has been the catalyst for a major economic decline over the past year.

Zimbabwe has run out of foreign exchange and it faces a looming food crisis. Inflation and unemployment rates stand at more than 60% and more than 60% of Zimbabweans now live below the poverty line. Finance Minister Simba Makoni has admitted to the BBC that the country is experiencing severe problems. "We have major contractions of economic activities across all sections, some much more than others. Tourism has virtually collapsed and manufacturing is suffering lots of closures," he said . Analysts predict Zimbabwe will need to import at least 500,000 tonnes of grain in the next few months if food shortages are to be averted by the end of the year. "We are going through our great depression because of the political tornado that has hit our land," said Zimbabwean economist Nigel Chanakira.

Mr Mugabe's land reforms have been coupled with political violence in which the opposition Movement for Democratic Change has been the main target. At least 34 people were killed in the run-up to parliamentary elections in June, 2000, and human rights groups say 19,000 people were tortured. Mr Mugabe, who has been in power since independence in 1980, is planning to stand for another term in office.

From The New York Times, 25 July

Fire Rages in Zimbabwe Tourist Hotel

Harare - A fire raged Tuesday through Zimbabwe's top tourist and casino hotel, famed for its gigantic thatched roof, within sight of the landmark Victoria Falls, witnesses said. There were no immediate reports of casualties or the extent of damages. The 275-room luxury Elephant Hills hotel boasts one of Africa's biggest straw thatch roofs. It was built as an ethnic African showcase for heads of government attending a 1991 summit of the Commonwealth of Britain and its former colonies. Witnesses said the blaze appeared to have been ignited by sparks from welding equipment being used for routine repair work. Officials from the hotel's owners, Zimbabwe Sun Hotels and the world InterContinental hotel group, were not available to release information on whether occupants were safely evacuated. Some phone lines at the hotel registered disconnected signals and others went unanswered.

The hotel overlooks the soaring spray of the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi river, the world's widest curtain of falling water. The hotel's private golf course was designed by Gary Player. Witnesses said fire fighters were being called from neighboring Zambia and the airport at the Hwange wildlife preserve, 55 miles to the south. The hotel was rebuilt for the 1991 Commonwealth summit on the ruins of a smaller thatched hotel that burnt down in 1977 after being hit by guerrilla rockets in Zimbabwe's independence war. The complex was seen as a mainstay in Zimbabwe's ailing tourist industry, hit by political violence that slashed tourism revenues by 80 percent in the past year.

Comment from The New York Times, 25 July

The Travails of Zimbabwe

All of southern Africa has an interest in seeing a free and fair election next year in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe seems prepared to reduce his once hopeful nation to violent ruin in a desperate bid to cling to power. Washington and its friends in the region and beyond need to take steps now that will make possible a level playing field throughout the campaign. Mr. Mugabe, who has been in power for 21 years since he led Zimbabwe to independence from white rule in what had been Rhodesia, will be seeking a fifth term in April 2002. He has allowed violent attacks on the independent press, the courts and white-owned factories and farms. Nearly 50 farmers, farm workers and opposition activists, black and white, have been killed in the past year and a half.

To its credit, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change remains dedicated to constitutional procedures. Its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has called on the outside world to send observers now to begin monitoring the campaign. Western nations and their African friends should find a way to respond to his plea. They should insist on the establishment of an independent electoral commission and on the ability of the independent media to operate unhindered.

Zimbabwe's political turmoil has already exacted a terrible cost. Joblessness approaches 60 percent, inflation is close to 70 percent, and the health care system is collapsing in the face of one of the world's worst AIDS epidemics. Most multilateral aid has already been suspended. Secretary of State Colin Powell, on his trip to Africa in May, set the right tone when he forthrightly called on Mr. Mugabe to "submit to the law and the will of the people" in a free and fair election. There is bipartisan support in Congress for legislation that would condition any resumption of aid on fair elections, restoration of the rule of law, a demonstrated commitment to a lawful land reform program and withdrawal from the war in Congo.

Washington needs to follow through in the coming months, working closely with South Africa and other regional democracies whose own economies and political stability are closely tied to Zimbabwe. The fact that Zimbabwe has journalists who risk bombing and torture, judges who risk beatings and opposition activists who risk jail and murder is evidence of the enormous courage of Zimbabweans who want to rid their country of an obsolete tyranny. They will need the scrutiny of the outside world if they are to stick to their strategy of constitutional change.

Comment from Business Day (SA), 24 July

A Basic Lesson of Democracy

Johannesburg - "We are tired of this violence and what we want now is just to vote and see the terror going away," is the sad cry of one Thomas Nyuke of Bindura, a victim of Zanu PF orchestrated political violence in Mashonaland Central. He was beaten up by a Zanu PF mob last week and suffered serious head injuries. He is recovering at Bindura Hospital. The cry by Nyuke epitomises the lamentations of millions of Zimbabweans who have borne the brunt of Zanu PF's wrath since it lost at least 57 seats to the opposition in last year's parliamentary election. Zimbabweans are being punished for exercising their freedom of expression and supporting a political party of their choice.

The message all around is clear: Zanu PF has not given up violence as a campaign strategy despite losing three parliamentary seats in the high court, all nullified because of its terror tactics prior to and during the election period. What this tells us is that Zanu PF is not prepared to give up power. By engaging in violence Zanu PF is succeeding in alienating many people. The nation has increasingly become restive due to the non-arrival of the proverbial pot of gold which independence promised. It is now common knowledge that a huge number among the more enlightened in the war veterans' camp are disgusted by Zanu PF's co-option of the likes of Joseph Chinotimba and others in its invasion of farms and companies. This has created a serious rift in both the police and the armed forces.

Zanu PF is simply pushing its luck too far by alienating the professional core in the uniformed forces. Recent history is replete with examples where the uniformed forces chose the side of right. Zanu PF needs to learn a very basic lesson of democracy: violence will not win it votes. This should have been the time to learn, but instead it has opted to retreat into guerrilla warfare, thus buttressing the racist slur that democracy does not work in Africa.

From a Karoi farmer’s wife

Karoi farmers forced to leave - Correction

I have just picked up ZWNEWS of 23 July and have read the story re the Karoi farmers. There has obviously been a misunderstanding (I believe over the telephone) whereby the information was not heard correctly. Apparently the reporter was told that 4 to 5 Karoi farmers were under pressure and were leaving their properties just at night time. The paper has written 45 instead of 4 to 5. We do not have any farmers leaving the area because of threats and we do not have any crops perishing. Hedly Lilford's seedbeds are being watered by teams of farmers who go in every day with their workers just to make sure everything is okay and to keep the show on the road. We have taken, and are still taking, a very strong stance against the illegal invaders here in Karoi. We would be grateful if you could correct the story.

From The Sunday Independent (SA), 22 July

Mugabe shores up bureaucracy ahead of polls

Harare - President Robert Mugabe is tightening his grip on key state institutions ahead of presidential elections due in April next year. Mugabe has appointed officials of unquestioned loyalty in the army, the police and the judiciary in the past few months and this week to the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), which still enjoys a monopoly over broadcasting. The monopoly of radio especially, which reaches the widest audience in Zimbabwe, gives the ruling Zanu-PF party an enormous head-start in elections. The opposition's activities are rarely covered on either state radio or television. In the past few months, Mugabe has replaced five of the six editors in the state-run Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) stable, which publishes both daily and weekly newspapers. The latest victim was Steve Mpofu, the editor of Zimpapers' second-largest daily newspaper, the Chronicle, which is distributed largely in Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo. He was fired last week without explanation.

Mugabe recently appointed Enoch Kamushinda, a staunch ruling party supporter and successful businessman, to take charge of the board of Zimpapers. Munyaradzi Hwengwere, another Mugabe loyalist, was this week moved from the president's office to take charge of the Zimbabwe Broadcast Corporation's (ZBC) radio and television news department. Hwengwere, 32, was a presidential spokesperson before his appointment to head the newly created Newsnet, a department at the ZBC. He holds a political science degree and postgraduate qualifications in media studies.

His appointment has riled many experienced journalists at the ZBC who felt sidelined by his appointment. Apart from his postgraduate media qualifications, Hwengwere has never worked as a journalist. His appointment was, nonetheless, seen by many analysts as an obvious effort by Mugabe to tighten his grip on the broadcast media ahead of the elections. "Look, we are not talking about professionalism or media experience here. Mugabe can't afford to take chances. That's why he needs someone from within his office to take charge of the news business at the ZBC," said Professor Masipula Sithole of the University of Zimbabwe in Harare.

Five other obvious loyalists were recently appointed to other key positions in the ZBC's sensitive news department. Sithole said Mugabe wanted trusted and malleable officials in strategic positions in the media ahead of the elections. He had lost faith with those axed because they had been in charge of the ZBC when the ruling party nearly lost parliamentary elections to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change last year. "Although all these people have done their best in the past as Mugabe's henchmen, they seem to have not done enough to satisfy him. They are now paying a price for Mugabe's desperation to remain in power," said Lovemore Madhuku, an analyst at the University of Zimbabwe.

Mugabe also stepped up efforts to politicise the army and the police this week. Reports said all non-commissioned war veterans in both the army and the police had been promoted at least one rank. Their salaries had also been doubled. Constantine Chiwenga, an army commander, has been touring army barracks urging soldiers to rally behind Mugabe for next year's elections. He was reported to have promised all soldiers that new jobs in the army would be reserved for their children. Mugabe has also recently appointed seven new judges with strong links to the ruling party to Zimbabwe's high court. Mugabe is expected to confirm the appointment of Godfrey Chidyausiku as chief justice soon. Chidyausiku has been acting chief justice since the dismissal of white Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay in March. He is also expected to appoint another loyalist to the high court to replace Nicholas MacNally, a white judge who retires at the end of this year. But analysts say even these measures will not keep Mugabe in power unless he also addresses the bread-and-butter issues that are becoming critical to his country, which is facing increasing shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency.

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

ZIMBABWE: Makoni acknowledges economic crisis

JOHANNESBURG, 24 July (IRIN) - Meanwhile in London, Zimbabwean Finance
Minister Simba Makoni said on Tuesday the country’s economy was in crisis
and that poverty was spreading at an alarming rate, Reuters reported. “I
would have to be foolish to deny what is evident to everybody in broad
daylight, even in the darkness of night - this economy is in crisis,”
Makoni said in a BBC television interview. Questioned about the impact on
ordinary Zimbabweans in urban and rural areas, he said: “Severe. Poverty
is entrenching here at a rate that is very alarming.”

A new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said the street
value of the Zimbabwe dollar has collapsed by a third during the past
week, adding to inflationary pressures and exacerbating shortages in the
economy. But, the EIU said, the government appears “neither willing nor
able to institute the reforms necessary to halt the slide” in the value of
the Zimbabwe dollar.

The effective value of the Zimbabwe dollar has been sliding for the past
two months, with the parallel rate falling from 130 Zimbabwean dollars to
US $1, to 170 Zimbabwean dollars about two weeks ago. During the week of
15-20 July, the slide accelerated sharply, with the beleaguered currency
falling by 33 percent to 255 Zimbabwean dollars to the US dollar.
The official rate remains 55 Zimbabwean dollars to the US dollar, masking
a de facto 78 percent depreciation, the report said.

The government has been quick to blame white farmers, currency traders,
and the private sector in general for growing foreign exchange shortages.
But, the EIU suggested, the slide has been driven in the short term by
tight exchange controls; worries over food shortages; new land seizures
and panic in the market.

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Friday 6th July 2001

  a.. throughout the morning squatters were seen gathering at the Chipesa
'base'.  They were seen coming from Igava, Gresham and Chipesa farms.
  b.. a group coming from the direction of Sosve communal land (bordering
Chipesa) chased our tractor driver, wielding sticks etc. when he was on his
way to the seedbeds with a water cart.
  c.. a group of about 60-70 men and youth had gathered at the base in the
morning. They then started a fire in one of our katambora grasslands next to
our paprika crop.
  d.. on seeing the fire the workers and I gathered together at the farm
yard. Suspecting the fire was lit to provoke a situation I told the labour
force to remain at the yard whilst I proceeded to the fire with the tractor
and a heavy duty disc so as to disc a fire guard to try and prevent the fire
from burning the rest of the land.
  e.. as I started discing across the land ahead of the fire, about 60-70
people came running out of a gum tree plantation on theother side of the
fire. At this stage the labour force had decided to move in to where I was.
On seeing the mob approaching our position I told our labour force to
retreat to the yard so as to avoid a confrontation which they duly did, with
me bringing up the rear with the security manager. At this point they were
fairly close and were throwing rocks at us which only ended up hitting the
  f.. during this sequence of events which started at aprox. 12 midday. I
contacted our neighbour to ask them to call the Police and let them know the
  g.. on returning to the yard with the mob around the entire labour force
plus all women and children had gathered at the yard complex. We then locked
ourselves inside the security fence.
  h.. the mob soon arrived wielding axes, sticks and whips (12.30)
  i.. demands continued for Moses (our security manager) to meet, until Dad
arrived at arond 3pm.
  j.. around this time Trevor Steel and Kim Nilson had moved in between the
house and the yard.
  k.. whilst Dad ws dealing with the mob I started to take pictures of them,
which caused a bit of unrest.  Then at around 4.30pm the Police arrived,
asing us to open the gate which we refused to do.  The Police had little to
say to us yet seemed to have a fair bit to say to the mob though only at a
distance from the gate where we were.
  l.. the Police then demanded my camera (5pm) and I reeled off the spool
and took out the film and threw it over the fence landing on the cop. The
mob then got all excited and SHASHA (war vet from Macheke) put his stick
through the fence and beat me across the shoulder.
  m.. I then removed myself from the situation after handing over the camera
(we got the camera and film back the next week) as I was now causing a
  n.. during this comotion at the yard a group of squatters had moved up
towards our house, forcing Kim and Trevor to retreat to the house. The group
then moved off.
  o.. I then went up to the house to check on the situation there. On
returning to the yard I discovered that the mob had surrounded the yard
fence cutting us off from the yard where Dad and all the workers were.
  p.. Kim, Trevor, Mary (our Maid) and her little boy, and Dorcus prepared
ourselves for the night. At this point i had the farm keys, truck keys and a
few other necessities which we later had delivered to the yard via a
  q.. (Iain)  At the yard the mob sang most of the night and threw rocks
onto the shed rooves. In the yard we made about 10 fires strategically
within the yard area to keep an eye on the fence perimeter. Spent the night
awake - our workers were fairly upbeat and wanted to retaliate if the mob
broke in.

Saturday 7th July, 2001.

  a.. the Police having spent the night here then allowed the mob to break
through the yard fence (0600). Dad then locked himself in the office as they
were now after him
  b.. the workers were then forced down to the gate to where the Police had
been waiting.  Some thugs remained around the office where Dad was locked
  c.. the labour were then sent back to where they had spent the night
around the fires.
  d.. a second Police vehicle then arrived asking for Moses (security
manager). A gang of youths then captured him, took him to the Police along
with Kapopo (guard) and Christopher (guard). The youths then beat Moses in
front of the Police.  The Police did nothing to stop the beating. The Police
then took the 3 guards way. The youths then started beating the labour in
front of the Police.  They beat a very old guy as well as some women.
  e.. 5 cops were then left with AK's and a radio
  f.. at 1100 the women and children were then sent to the compound to eat.
Whilst the youths searched the workers houses for MDC cards and t-shirts,
the men were left in the yard.
  g.. the Clerk and one other were sent up to the ouse to ask Dad for the
wages so that the workers could be paid so that they could leave the farm.
  h.. the Clerk was told by Dad that this would be done at a later stage
  i.. on hearing this the mob then forced all the workers to come up to the
house fence. The thugs then cut the main supply to the electric fence and
forced the labour through the fence up to the front door to ask for their
pay. The cops at this point were at the gate where the thugs started to
enter the house security fence behind the workers.
  j.. the criminals then started building fires around the house.
  k.. they were then teaming all around the house and garden making noise
and gathering on our verandah.
  l.. a group was at the dining room door trying to , what I thought was
slip a message under the door while at the same time banging on the door. As
it turned out they were trying to get the key out of the door and when it
fell onto the floor behind the curtain it was being slid out by the thugs. I
tried to grab it but failed.
  m.. they then opened the door and started singing and drumming outside.
  n.. during all this the cops with AK's were wre standing around a fire at
the back of the house
  o.. the mob then forced the Clerk into the house to ask Dad for wages but
he got the same answer as before
  p.. with the goings-on continuing the entire labour force was forced into
the house followed by one mad dog who we then forced back to the door by
yelling at him
  q.. Dad then drew his weapon, pointing it at the roof, when the thugs
tried to advance on us again. At this point the house emptied, with people
  r.. we then went outside the door and tried to close them. They then
rushed the door from the side and started ot pull at the door at which point
we retreated to the corridor in the house.
  s.. the mob then settled for a couple of hours
  t.. we then prepared ourselves for the night along with the 10 labourers
who had taken refuge in the house from the earlier proceedings.
  u.. at around 8pm the mob gathered and the drum beating and repetitive
singing started, which continued throughout the night.  Then they built a
huge fire right outside the open doors and gathered on the verandah (9pm) to
continue the singing and "re-education" attempts with the labour.

The songs sung through the night were:-

Rova Kay musoro agoziva ( hit Kay's head and he'll learn)
Iain ucha rova chete (Iain we'll hit you yet)
Taneta ku nyengerera mhuno refu ( we're tired of entertaining long noses)
Hunzvi ndiwe waka uraya (you're the one who killed Hunzvi)
Iain sunga mukwende urikuenda we ZANU wa whuya. (Iain get your things
together, you're going, ZANU's here)
Uri kuti Jena, munyika muno hamuna munhu akadayi.( you think your Jena
(tribal grouping) there's no such person here)
Kay acha dzoka mupati asinga fungire (Kay you will come back to the party,
ZANU, and you won't even know it)
Kay atadza ku kwira makata ne naso. (Kay couldn't get up the hill because of
his stubborness)

Sunday 8th July, 2001.

  a.. at first light approximately 40 of the farm workers were then forced
again in through the dining room doors at which point the weapons were drawn
to hold them at bay
  b.. the labour were being beatn from behind, so we slowly one by one let
them creep to the left of us into the dining room, all the time keeping the
area between us and the open doors clear.
  c.. the mob leaders stayed at the door entrance singing and then asking
questions. Slowly they moved further and further into the dining room until
the dancing was now in the middle of the dining room.
  d.. requests were made for food for both themselves and the labour - I
agreed and sent the storekeeper to get some stuff from the farm store.
  e.. the mob now wanted to move into the lounge area - I (Iain) refused -
discussions carried on with interjection from more rabid statements every
now and then.  Continual edging forward and saying "we'll sleep in your bed

3pm  -  a group of "officials" arrive - cannot see them, but all of a sudden
the mob and labour move out of the house and sit on the lawn in front of the
house.  We are asked for some chairs to seat the "officials".  Line of
chairs on the verandah - "officials" seated were GOCHE (war vet), KANYONGO
(CIO M'd district), deputy DA (a lady) COMRADE SUSAN (woman war vet who
caused so much trouble on the Perreira's farm just outside Marondera last
year) and SHASHA (war vet).

I was asked to sit on a chair and declined.  David, Kim and Trevor sat on
the lawn.  We were addressed by CIO and GOCHE - it was a ZANU PF rally with
sloganing and veiled threats to both the labour and myself eg. "there's been
one killing on Chipesa, we don't want another one" and " it seems that Kay
wants to be another martyr".

The demand was when where we going to leave the farm - the farm had been
designated and was now theirs.
I took great pains to say I did not wish to leave the farm as I was born on
it and it had been built up from virgin bush by two generations, with the
third (David) back on it.  My parents were buried on the farm.
Half way through this, three members of the war vets committee arrived late,
being WILFRED MARIMO and 2 others.
WILFRED MARIMO (MARIMO is out on bail for the HB & Theft in our house last
year to the value of $1 million, stock theft and Store breaking Marondera CR
55/5/2000 and one of his bail conditions was that he is not allowed to come
onto Chipesa, he has broken his bail conditions on five occasions that we
know off. The Police aren't interested and we have left letters with the
Marondera Magistrates court, with no resultant action) addressed the crowd
and was very strong on the fact that the Kays had to leave the farm and was
"Iain Kay trying to be another martyr" and he was inciting the mob - at this
point the CIO chap KANYONGO interrupted and suggested the top table adjourn
for "discussion" which they did and returned some 20 minutes later.

I said that if through the due process of the LAW we were required to leave
then we would have to, but I would follow the law. This was unacceptable,
they said they had taken the farm and it was now theirs.

I said "well this is difficult because I was now being forced into doing
things against my will, so I would ned at least 90 days to finish what I was
currently doing on my tobacco.  WILFRED MARIMO insisted that 30 days would
be plenty and I could get help from my neighbours. He also said that NO WORK
must go on the farm outside of the farm yard area and no tractors were to

I eventually said that if this is what the gathering was demanding I was at
this time in no position to argue.
The meeting and everyone dispersed and the ZRP left 3 details to guard the
house as I said I would be spending the night elsewhere.

Some names of the mob present:-

KUZVINSWA (Zana resettlement) and SIWELA (he was part of the beating gang
all last year based on Chipesa, a young and very vicious guy).

ALFRED (village 19)
SIGAUKE (Gresham farm)
MURANGANO (Gresham farm)
VOSTER CHIDEMO (foreman on Monte Christo farm)
MAZARURA MUKOMBERANWA (Delta resettlement)
FRANCIS KANDINGU (Gresham farm guard)
CHIGODORA (Igave farm)
HOMBARUME (Nyamuyamu village)
ANYWAY MAJURU (Tsangadzi - he is one of the sons of CUTHBERT MAJURU, the
so-called Chairman of Kwaedza co-operative who sold plots on the
co-operative to all and sundry including farm workers for amounts varying
from 1000 to 2000 dollars.  When CUTHBERT MAJURU was doing this Kerry went
to see the PA in Marondera and his reply was "yes we know about it but he is
a very cheeky man". So Kerry asked him if it was alright for her to go and
sell off plots of state land and they would leave her alone "because she is
also very cheeky".  The PA just laughed and said "we are looking into it".
Now govt. wants to resettle Kwaedza and MAJURU is pushing the people onto

These were trashed by the mob on Friday and Saturday nights.  Approx. cost
of seedbed tents etc. destroyed is $250,000.00.


RRB 714069 Assault common - complainant EASYWORK MATURURO (Chipesa guard)
RRB 714060 Assault    "         -        "           MOSES PHIRI (Chipesa
security manager) and JOHN FERNANDO (guard)
                   Theft of farm hand held radio   - notified SGT. MASWERA
RRB 714058 Assault common on Constable GOPITO at "Chipesa scene".

Here endeth the epistle!!
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Mugabe to Resurrect Restrictive Media Laws
Business Day (Johannesburg)
July 25, 2001
Posted to the web July 25, 2001
Opening parliament, Mugabe also acknowledged publicly for the first time that his country's economy is in crisis, but blamed it on colonial rule and promised unspecified remedial measures.
This prompted a cynical response from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the remarks showed Mugabe was "out of touch with reality".
Mugabe declared that the controversial Public Order and Security Bill which stirred a storm of controversy a few years ago because of its repressive nature and a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Bill would soon be introduced.
Given that Zimbabwe's legislature now has a respectable opposition presence, the bills are expected to face tough resistance, setting the scene for a round of confrontation politics ahead of next year's presidential elections.
Harare also named a panel of experts, dominated by pro-government academics, to advise it on media law reforms, including ways of regulating the profession. The panel, which excluded independent journalists, is expected to look at the editorial policies and funding of media houses.
The panel comes just days after the shakeup of the editorial management of state media and the expulsion earlier this year of foreign journalists from the country.
The Public Order and Security Bill was introduced in 1997 and debated for years.
Civic organisations and lawyers forced government to remove draconian provisions from the bill, but Mugabe refused to sign it, claiming it was not tight enough for the maintenance of law and order. He apparently prefers the repressive, colonial-era Law and Order (Maintenance) Act.
Mugabe also defended his controversial land seizure programme: "Our position on the land issue is now understood by the majority of the international community, who now accept it as just and reasonable." Sapa-AFP.
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Zimbabwean president Mugabe vows to keep only 'real men' in his cabinet
Updated: Wed, Jul 25 9:22 AM EDT
Click for full photo

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe inspects an honor guard at the opening of Parliament in Harare Tuesday. (AP Photo) (CP)
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - In scathing criticism of a cabinet minister who quit because of concerns about government repression, embattled Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says he will keep only "real men" in his government, not spineless cowards.

The likes of former commerce minister Nkosana Moyo, who quit the government in May, were not wanted in his government, Mugabe said Tuesday during a function marking the official opening of Parliament.

Only journalists working for state media were allowed to cover the event, which was reported Wednesday in the state-run Herald newspaper.

In his first public criticism of Moyo's resignation, Mugabe said he did not want to work "with cowards with no spine."

Moyo, a former banker, left the country to join his family in neighbouring South Africa in May, saying he was exasperated by lawlessness and attacks on white-owned farms and businesses in the agriculture-based economy by ruling party militants.

He had also expressed frustration over government moves that caused acute shortages of hard currency and gasoline and dried up aid and investment.

Mugabe said Moyo "grew cold feet."

"I do not want ministers who are in the habit of running away. I want those I can call amadoda sibili," - real men in the local Shona language - "people with spine," Mugabe said.

"Our revolution . . . was not fought by cowards. If some of you are getting weak-kneed, tell us and we will continue with the struggle," he said.

Moyo and Finance Minister Simba Makoni were appointed after Mugabe's ruling party won a narrow majority in parliamentary elections in June, 2000.

They were seen as technocrats brought into the 19-member cabinet to tackle the worst economic crisis since independence from British rule in 1980.

Makoni, who remains at his post, has acknowledged the country faces an acute crisis.

Officially opening the Parliament on Tuesday, Mugabe said his campaign to seize private, mostly white-owned land was a crusade to empower blacks across Africa. The seizure plan has been declared illegal by the country's courts.

Mugabe described the seizures as "our last struggle for the decolonization of our country and our continent."

Since March 2000, ruling party militants have illegally occupied 1,700 white-owned farms, demanding they be confiscated and given to landless blacks. At the same time, the government has targeted more than 4,500 properties for confiscation without compensation.

Many Western countries and aid groups have frozen aid and loans to Zimbabwe because of the program, a general breakdown of law and order and the economic chaos in the country.

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Letter from a farmer ~
"On a personal note, the seige of our neighbours JM and his
elderly mother B continues. Three days now. During last night they were
subjected to a whole night of intimidation. Relays of tormentors ran round
the house, banging on doors and windows, and beating drums and milk cans for
maximum noise from dusk to dawn. When I spoke to J on the phone the din
in the background was clearly audible, and just before dawn I could hear it
from our verandah. All is quiet now that the sun is up, and I hope that
J and B get some sleep before tonights antics begin. It's a process
aimed at wearing them down - I am trying to get effective political
involvement to stop it as the police will not do anything. Hopefully we can
get them freed in the next day or two. What is happening here and in many
parts of the country is orchestrated from the top, but we are not clear as
to what the real agenda is. Are we being softened up before negotiations
begin? Are we being provoked to react so that they can arrest some of us and
gain a publicity coup by portraying white farmers as the bad guys, and
themselves as the innocent victims of a vicious international campaign? They
are terribly worried and upset about the imminent passage of the Zimbabwe
Democracy Bill in the US. They are also in a panic about the impending visit
of the Commonwealth Team. Something's going on!"

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From Business Day (SA), 24 July

MDC says leader was targeted

Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition party said yesterday that an attack on its leader Morgan Tsvangirai's motorcade, which saw an exchange of gunfire and several people injured, was a "clear attempt" to kill him. Police said earlier that gunshots were fired on both sides and several people were wounded on Sunday, ahead of a by-election in a northern constituency contested by Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). "We interpret yesterday's barbaric attack on the convoy escorting the MDC president as a clear attempt on the life of president Morgan Tsvangirai," the party said. "The attack was carried out by a well-organised and well-paid group of agents who took cover in a broader group of hired village vigilantes."

The incident was the latest in a violence-wracked campaign for the July 28/29 parliamentary by-election in the constituency of Bindura. Police could not say what sparked the exchange of fire, which began when Tsvangirai and other top opposition leaders arrived in the constituency on Sunday afternoon. About 100 militant young Zanu (PF) supporters attacked the 13-car motorcade with stones, and burned one of the vehicles, the privately owned Daily News reported. The newspaper said five MDC supporters were injured, one of them seriously. Tsvangirai was in Bindura to help MDC candidate Elliot Pfebve campaign for the parliamentary seat, which he lost in elections last year after months of often bloody intimidation. The by-election was called after Bindura's MP, Border Gezi who was also minister for youth, gender and employment creation was killed in April in a car accident.

From The Financial Mail (SA), 20 July

ANC brains slug it out over Zanu and the MDC

Key ANC intellectuals have gone head to head to lobby for different approaches to the crisis in Zimbabwe.

MP Pallo Jordan favours the path of "quiet diplomacy", belittling debates in SA as "much ado about Zimbabwe", while ANC-aligned businessman Moeletsi Mbeki says the situation in SA's northern neighbour poses "the greatest threat to national security our young democracy has yet faced". Mbeki outlines several polar options SA can take: "We could prop up the Zimbabwean economy and ask others to do the same in the hope that Zanu-PF will in the meantime beat the population and the opposition into quiet submission." Or: "We could help the opposition to resist intimidation in the hope that this will persuade Zanu-PF to respect democratic processes and therefore hold free and fair elections and accept their outcome."

The debate, in the latest edition of the ANC journal Umrabulo, is the most public signal of differences within the ruling party on what has become one of its most important foreign affairs challenges. President Thabo Mbeki appears to have been swayed by the tougher, more principled options voiced in his ranks and by the demands of realpolitik. Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was party to a swashbuckling resolution at the Organisation of African Unity summit last week, which gave Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's land policies the green light and failed to object to the manifest rights abuses by the State.

Reports said Mbeki worked hard to scotch the resolution, and got it toned down to an anodyne statement saying it was important for land talks between the UK and its former colony to continue. The President realised the damage the Ministers' resolution would have on the African Union's first road-show at the G8 meeting in Genoa this week.

In complete contrast with ANC establishment views on Zimbabwe, Moeletsi Mbeki writes: "In its misguided drive to stay in power whatever the wishes of the people, Zanu-PF has decided it will stop at nothing." He says the racialising of an economic crisis poses a security threat to SA - the campaign against white landowners was the start of a target-and-neutralise mission against various strata of Zimbabwean society. White farmers, then black farmworkers and the black urban working class have already been singled out as problematic groups. Why not the Ndebele next, "for no other reason other than that they are Ndebele".

He says the only reason the Matabeleland murders of the Eighties did not result in mass migration to SA was apartheid-era border controls. "This is no longer the case. Huge African population movements across SA borders are feasible." This, he argues, is the security threat to the ANC, and perhaps the moral threat too. "The ANC's founding principle is nonracism and opposition to ethnic politics," Moeletsi Mbeki reminds his comrades. Whereas the ANC leadership has sought, on occasion, to paint the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as johnny-come-latelies, he points out that senior cadres from Zipra (Zanu-PF's military wing) have joined the opposition MDC, and that its leadership is comprised of seasoned trade union leaders.

In the previous edition of Umrabulo, the writer "Denga" (a pen-name once used by Joe Slovo, but which now floats among senior ANC leaders) said the MDC reflected an "impatience born of inexperience in revolutionary struggle" and "has played into the hands of the recidivists: the Rhodies both within Zimbabwe and in influential positions in SA and Britain." But whereas the ANC once refused to meet the MDC, the pace of engagement has increased. ANC sources suggest the party is trying to export the idea of a government of national unity to Zimbabwe. The balance of power in Zimbabwe is delicate. Denga argues that while a "significant section" of Zanu-PF has used its position for enrichment, the party still has a democratic, revolutionary heart, and can be saved.

Jordan reveals in his paper that he has, thus far, led party thinking on Zimbabwe. Treating Mugabe's government as despotic is wrong, he says: "Whatever its faults, the government led by Zanu-PF is a government elected by the majority of Zimbabweans in inclusive, nonracial elections." SA's decision to exercise quiet diplomacy has kept the doors of dialogue open. "As far as we know, not a single land seizure has been halted and not one life saved by the sound and fury emitted by Bush and Blair," says Jordan. "Diplomacy is about shaping and influencing the context in which another government makes its decisions."

From The New York Times, 21 July

Congo signs deal with Zimbabwe

Kinshasa - Congo has created a joint "cooperation commission" with its military ally Zimbabwe, whose help in Congo's nearly three-year war has been rewarded with lucrative mining concessions. The commission appeared to be an attempt to cement Zimbabwe's gains ahead of any possible peace deal and withdrawal of foreign troops. "Let's face it, the Zimbabwean government has helped us a lot during this war," Foreign Affairs Minister Leonard She Okitundu said Friday, signing the commission into existence with his Zimbabwean counterpart. The commission would focus primarily on economic cooperation between the two countries, particularly mining, Okitundu said. He gave no details. Congo has some of the world's largest reserves of cobalt, diamonds and other riches. The conflict started in 1998 when rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda launched offensives to topple Congo's government. The government lost control of about two-thirds of the vast country and holds the rest with the military help of Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia.

From The Zimbabwe Standard, 22 July

$100 000 for presidential voters roll

Most Zimbabweans could fail to access the voters’ roll for next year’s presidential election because of the astronomical fees being charged by government for a copy of the roll. According to the latest Government Gazette, which was released on Friday, those intending to access the roll will have to fork out $100 000 for a copy. "Copies of the printed roll for the presidential voters roll may be obtained from the offices of the registrar-general upon a payment of a fee of a hundred thousand dollars," reads the gazette.

Voters rolls for Harare, Bulawayo and Chitungwiza will cost $20 000, while those for Gweru, Mutare, Kwekwe, Masvingo and Redcliff will each be going for $15 000. Voters rolls for Kadoma, Chegutu, Gwanda, Victoria Falls, Bindura and Kariba will cost $10 000 each. The minister of justice, legal and parliamentary affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, could not be reached for comment yesterday. The MDC, however, condemned government over the high cost of the voters roll. MDC election director, Paul Themba Nyathi, said the high fees were calculated at restricting the voters roll to a few people.

"In a normal democracy, the voters roll is a constitutional entitlement. However, in a flawed democracy like ours, the government goes out of its way to deny the electorate its democratic rights. The amount being charged for the presidential voters roll is designed to restrict access to the voters roll. We wonder why government wants to do this. It shows that there is something wrong with the voters roll. The MDC will make sure the people of Zimbabwe are not denied their democratic rights by finding a way for people to access that voters roll," said Nyathi.

Nyathi said government had not charged for a presidential voters’ roll in the past and was doing so now because of the serious challenge posed by Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC candidate for the presidential election. "Democracy is expensive but the taxpayer has already paid for democracy so why should they be charged for it. You cannot try to cover cost of a democracy by charging the people. They pay for that through the taxes collected by government," said Nyathi.

Over the years, a number of people have failed to vote because of a defective voters rolls. While others fail to find their names on the rolls, some have found their names registered with the wrong constituency or their names misspelt. In fact, the voters roll has been at the centre of Zanu PF’s rigging mechanism. Last week, members of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, meeting in Victoria Falls, expressed to the registrar-general Tobaiwa Mudede, their concern over the state of the voters roll and the need for a free and fair elections.

From The Financial Mail (SA), 20 July

Finance minister Makoni on the skids

Payback from his policies won't occur until new team takes over

Harare - Harare is thick with rumour and speculation that Finance Minister Simba Makoni is on the way out, though whether he will jump or be pushed is unclear. In the past month, the government-owned Herald and Sunday Mail have missed few opportunities to put the boot into Makoni, criticising his public comments about the overvalued Zimbabwe dollar and slamming his (stalled) plan for an export incentive that would in effect devalue the currency by 54%.

When he took office a year ago in President Robert Mugabe's post-election reshuffle, Makoni, and a handful of other "technocrats", promised a fresh approach to the country's economic crisis. In their 12 months in office, the technocrats have had remarkably little impact. Labour Minister July Moyo and Tourism's Francis Nhema have wisely maintained low profiles. Industry Minister Nkosana Moyo tried his best for eight months before resigning. Agriculture Minister Joseph Made has presided over the increasingly chaotic land resettlement programme, insisting that there will be no food shortage this year. In the past two weeks he has been forced into a humiliating retreat with Makoni appealing to donors for food aid.

There is more to the speculation about Makoni's future than his fall-out with some Zanu-PF heavies over exchange rate policy. On Monday, government announced that inflation had rebounded to a 20-month high of 64% last month. The announcement came on the same day Barclays Bank Zimbabwe cut its prime lending rate to 32% - half the inflation rate. In the parallel market, the Zimbabwe dollar slipped close to Z$200 to the US unit, nearly four times its official value and three times its level when Makoni took office. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe added to the gloom, warning of the dangers of excessive monetary growth, running at over 65%/year.

Nor can Makoni blame others for the monetary policy debacle for which he and RBZ Governor Leonard Tsumba must accept responsibility. The game plan, in Makoni's November budget, was to impose hugely negative real interest rates designed to keep down the cost of government borrowing, while also forcing down civil service wages dramatically. Both strategies remain in place, though how much longer the wage strategy can hold, given inflation, is unclear. At the start of the week, three pay disputes underlined growing pressure from the shopfloor for new and bigger wage hikes.

For as long as he is prepared to ignore the adverse impact of his easy money policy on savings, investment, inflation and the exchange rate, Makoni can probably maintain negative real interest rates. The real payback from this strategy will be felt only next year, by which time a new Finance Minister, central bank Governor and probably a new President will have to try to pick up the pieces. Though his economic strategy is in tatters, Makoni has support from some of the business community, especially those white businessmen who like to see themselves as leaders of the private sector. It is they, unable or unwilling to get their heads around the idea of a government led by Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who are punting a government of national unity and the postponement of elections. But the people demanding chinja (change) are in no mood to be fobbed off by businessmen who, for the most part, have escaped relatively unscathed from Zimbabwe's political and economic crises.

From The Daily News, 21 July

MDC gets another bite at the cherry

An army marches on its stomach, so said Napoleon. If reports compiled by monitors in the election last year are any guide, then it would be correct to say Zanu PF marches on violence. Although the MDC received its fair share of blame for the violence, independent international reports singled out Zanu PF as the main aggressor. More than 30 people, mostly supporters of the MDC, were killed in that dark period in the country’s electoral history. But the Bindura by-election later this month will show whether violence is still a determining factor. If it still is, then the odds will be heavily staked against the MDC.

The period leading to the by-election next Saturday and Sunday has already seen violence between supporters of the two parties. The orgy of violence is clearly assuming the character of events leading to the 2000 parliamentary election when Border Gezi, the late former Minister of Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation, won the seat for Zanu PF. Gezi, who died in a car accident in April, polled 13 328 against the MDC’s Elliot Pfebve’s 11 257 votes. Viewed against the backdrop of violence, the encounter between Gezi and Pfebve was a close contest. Despite the prevalent violence, 11 257 people still cast their vote for the MDC.

Pfebve filed a petition in the High Court seeking to have the results nullified. The date for the petition hearing was still to be set when his wish for a fresh contest was sadly, though, granted through the intervention of fate with Gezi’s death. Pfebve gets another bite at the cherry when he squares off with his namesake, Elliot Manyika. If the turnout is high, the result is likely to go either way. A high turnout could mean Zanu PF has succeeded in mobilising the otherwise timid and less enlightened rural and farming communities. These communities are likely to vote for Zanu PF more out of fear of the unknown than from informed choice.

If that situation reigns, then Pfebve has a battle on his hands. He will have to pray for a high turnout of voters in Bindura urban to dilute Zanu PF’s rural votes. It could be unwise to predict victory for the MDC on the strength of the results of the mayoral election in Masvingo, given the party’s popularity in urban areas. MDC’s Alois Chaimiti beat Zanu PF’s Jacob Chademana in that election in May. But if there was a heavy turnout for the MDC in the neighbouring Bindura peri-urban catchment areas, that would spell disaster for Zanu PF in Mashonaland Central in the presidential election next year.

Mashonaland Central, of which Bindura is the capital, scooped all 10 seats for Zanu PF in the election last year, giving weight to claims that the province is an impenetrable Zanu PF fortress. Manyika's headache will be that if Bindura is snatched by the MDC, he might as well begin to prepare for his political exit as Zanu PF’s political sharks will move in for the kill and blame him for the loss. He will need Gezi’s charisma, imposing girth and booming voice. And, if the Bindura electorate were drawn to Gezi because of his kongonya dance, it may not be too late for Manyika to master the "Border dance" in the few days that remain before the by-election. For Manyika, Gezi will indeed be a hard act to follow.

As for Pfebve, nothing short of victory will do. For him, the image that will be looming in the pending encounter will be that of Gezi, not of Manyika. Losing to Manyika and Zanu PF once more would be a betrayal of his brother's blood which was spilt in the run-up to last year's parliamentary election. Pfebve's look-alike younger brother, Matthew, was murdered by alleged Zanu PF supporters who mistook him for Elliot in the build-up period to last year’s election.

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