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
ZIMBABWE: Opposition accuses government of assassination
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.
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.”
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
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
“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
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.
NATIONAL REPORT IN BRIEF:
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. REGIONAL REPORTS:
There were no reports received from Matabeleland Region.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
Fire Rages in Zimbabwe Tourist
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
Comment from The New York Times, 25
The Travails of
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
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
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
A Basic Lesson of
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
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
From a Karoi farmer’s
Karoi farmers forced to leave -
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
From The Sunday Independent (SA), 22
Mugabe shores up bureaucracy ahead
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
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
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.
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
ZIMBABWE: Makoni acknowledges economic crisis
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
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.
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 tractor. 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 situation. 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 problem. 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 "ghost". 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,
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 in. 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 scattering 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:-
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)
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 tonight".
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
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
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 work.
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
Main participants - SHASHA, ISAAC GADZIKWA, MUCHABAIWA
(Macheke), MAXELL KUZVINSWA (Zana resettlement) and SIWELA (he was part of
the beating gang all last year based on Chipesa, a young and very vicious
THOMAS NENGOMASHA (Svosve) ALFRED (village 19) SIGAUKE
(Gresham farm) MURANGANO (Gresham farm) VOSTER CHIDEMO (foreman on Monte
Christo farm) ITAI NYATSAMBO (Tsangadzi) SHORAI ZANGAZANGA MAZARURA
MUKOMBERANWA (Delta resettlement) FRANCIS KANDINGU (Gresham farm
guard) TENDAYI CHOTO TAWANDA CHOTO TAMPIWA MUGODZERE EDSON
CHIKONORI CHIGODORA (Igave farm) SHAME ZENDA (Svosve) 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 Chipesa).
TOBACCO AND PAPRIKA SEEDBEDS. These were
trashed by the mob on Friday and Saturday nights. Approx. cost of seedbed
tents etc. destroyed is $250,000.00.
ZRP RECORDS -
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".
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
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
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
The Public Order and Security Bill was introduced in 1997 and debated for
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.
president Mugabe vows to keep only 'real men' in his cabinet Updated: Wed, Jul 25 9:22 AM EDT
President Robert Mugabe inspects an honor guard at the opening of Parliament in
Harare Tuesday. (AP Photo)
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
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
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
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.
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!"
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
From The Financial Mail (SA), 20
ANC brains slug it out over Zanu and
Key ANC intellectuals have gone head
to head to lobby for different approaches to the crisis in
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
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
Congo signs deal with
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
$100 000 for presidential voters
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
From The Financial Mail (SA), 20
Finance minister Makoni on the
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
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
From The Daily News, 21
MDC gets another bite at the
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 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
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