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

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From The Spectator (UK), 26 July

Evil under the sun

It’s nearly too late to save Zimbabwe, says Michael Ancram. The world must intervene to stop Mugabe

Blantyre, Malawi - It is not often that you see a human face devoid of hope. Last Wednesday morning in a dusty wood outside Harare in Zimbabwe I looked into many such faces. These were the forgotten victims of Robert Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe, just a few of the 85,000 ‘displaced’ black workers thrown violently off their farms. Their few possessions have been taken from them, and most will never find work again. Among them are frail and elderly men and women, retired after a lifetime’s work, and children whose worlds have been turned upside-down, hanging around in the sun with no prospect of an education. I saw about 100 such people. A 45-year-old foreman had been forced to leave behind the beef herd he had worked with for 15 years. He was a skilled stockman of the sort highly valued in any agricultural economy. He is unlikely ever to tend cattle again. A 54-year-old farmhand, whose father and grandfather had worked on the farm before him, had lost the only home and working environment he had ever known - and Zimbabwe had lost another skilled hand. An 80-year-old wizened and lame retired worker, expecting to live out his declining years in relative tranquillity, was stumbling around the tents and the open fires, lost. A mother pointed to her ten-year-old child and said, "No school now. No more school ever."

From what I heard she is probably right. The numbers are rocketing. If the land grabs continue and the 2,900 white farmers are required to leave their farms on 9 August, the number of ‘displaced’ black farm workers could rise to 300,000. Robert Mugabe couldn’t care less. His government sneeringly describes the victims as Malawian or Mozambican, ignoring the reality that they have been in Zimbabwe for generations. My colleague Richard Spring, MP, and I arrived at an almost empty Harare airport at about 9 a.m. Because the Zimbabwean authorities did not know we were there, we were able to see troubling sights. A whistle-stop tour of the farmlands north-west of Harare showed us that hectare after hectare of highly productive farmland is lying unprepared, unplanted and vandalised. The sheer evil of this deliberate waste, at a time when six million Zimbabweans are malnourished and the threat of famine is just around the corner, was made starker by the evident success of the few farms still in production.

We returned to Harare to meet politicians from the opposition MDC party, including the leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. The meeting was held on neutral ground to avoid inviting undue attention. Tsvangirai is a big man in every sense. He has a large physique, a big presence and a broad smile. In conversation he was frank and to the point. There was a sense of leadership in the room, and his very able colleagues were evidently proud of him. In fact, all these politicians are remarkable. Their refusal to be cowed by constant threats and harassment, their determination to fight the corruption which is the Mugabe regime, their faith that in the end the democratic system and the rule of law will come good, deserve the fullest admiration. Amid the gloom of despair they remain a guiding light.

So do the representatives of Civil Society whom we met next. These are the uncoverers and publishers of the disgraceful human-rights abuses, of political ‘cleansing’, of the rule of law ignored. We met them behind barred and barbed protection. They, too, are brave - many of them are young black Zimbabweans, desperate about their country, prepared to speak out. They believe that Mugabe’s government is without legitimacy and they are setting out to prove it. We were given chapter and verse on the violations, the violence, the contempt for the law and the abuse of authority, including the chilling fact that many of the political assaults are carried out by the police on people in their custody. We visited the British High Commissioner, both to report and to be briefed, and then returned to Harare airport and left. While the day had passed without any specific cause for alarm, I have to admit that as the plane took off the relief was palpable. It was, however, mixed with a great sadness at what I had seen and heard, and a renewed determination to help.

A crisis is already engulfing Zimbabwe. I believe that it is about to implode into full-blown disaster. In a world where there are too many natural disasters it is almost a blasphemy to witness one that is deliberately politically engineered. Each of the elements - the displaced, the crop failures, the impending famine, the undermining of democracy and the rule of law - is the direct product of Mugabe’s despotism. While I welcome the fact that, late in the day, the British government and European colleagues have extended the travel ban on the Mugabe regime, which I have long called for, the ban does not include business associates and all spouses and families of those on the expanded list. The targeted sanctions still do not go far enough if they are to be genuinely effective. The lesson of the last six months is that it is not just the announcement that matters but a rigorous implementation of the ban, with loopholes closed, in order to show that Europe matches words with actions. This is because we have now seen the official press release, which upon closer scrutiny is quite weak. Only Grace Mugabe is included as the single spouse on the list.

The tragedy of Zimbabwe is that disaster has been coming a long time, yet so little has been done internationally to avert it at an early stage when pressure could have had a much greater effect. Foot-dragging and ‘mental imperialism’ prevented it. They must not be allowed to prevent it any more. The international community must come together in an effective coalition and ensure that whatever it takes to secure fresh elections in Zimbabwe is brought to bear now. Soon it will be too late. Speeches about healing the scars of Africa are not only worthless if they are not accompanied by action, but are also positively damaging because they raise expectations only cruelly to dash them. If Tony Blair meant it when he talked about a moral duty to act, he must show that he meant it.

(Michael Ancram is the UK Conservative Party’s shadow foreign secretary)

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Banned Zimbabwean stopped flying through London

LONDON, July 26 - A Zimbabwean on a list of leaders banned from travel
through the European Union was stopped in London while trying to catch a
flight to New York on Friday, British authorities said.

       The EU has barred travel by members of Zimbabwe's ruling elite as
part of sanctions against President Robert Mugabe's government for holding
an election the EU considered illegitimate and seizing white-owned farms.
       This week the EU added 52 more names to an original travel ban list
of 20.
       ''A Zimbabwean national on the EU travel ban list has been refused
transit at Gatwick,'' a British Foreign Office spokeswoman said.
       ''That requires EU members to take necessary measures to prevent the
entry into or transit through their territories of individuals listed on the
travel ban,'' she said, adding she believed he was en route to New York from
       She gave no details of the Zimbabwean's identity or of how the case
would be resolved. A Home Office spokeswoman said the case was being
considered, but declined to give further details.
       The Zimbabwean High Commission said it knew nothing of the incident.
Zimbabwean minister seized at Gatwick
There has been mounting world concern at the violent suppression of Mugabe's opponents, but Mr Malinga denied this
Zimbabwean minister seized at Gatwick

23.26PM BST, 26 Jul 2002

A member of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe's regime is facing deportation from Britain after being seized as he tried to board a flight for New York at Gatwick.

Joseph Malinga, the ruling Zanu PF Party's deputy secretary for disability, is one of 52 people subject to a European Union travel ban which was passed on Tuesday.

Wheelchair-bound Mr Malinga and his disabled wife were taken to a hotel for the night to await deportation after being stopped as they tried to board the flight to New York where they were due to attend a disability conference.

He insisted he believed the EU travel ban, imposed in protest at Mugabe's policies which are driving a once-prosperous country towards famine, applied only to senior party members.

"I did not think that would include me," he said.

"I am travelling to New York because I am a leader of Disabled People's International. That is a worldwide movement of disabled people. I don't know what that has to do with the Zimbabwean government."

There has been mounting world concern at the violent suppression of Mugabe's opponents, but Mr Malinga denied this.

"I don't know that the party I belong to has that monopoly of violence. I don't think so," he said.

The EU imposed "targeted sanctions" against Zimbabwe after Mugabe refused to let European observers monitor the presidential elections in February.

Just 20 people were initially subject to a range of measures, including the travel ban.

However, the 52 new names, including first lady Grace Mugabe, were added at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels earlier this week.

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Zimbabwe media overseer attacked in street

HARARE, July 26 - The head of the commission upholding Zimbabwe's harsh new
media laws was severely injured in a robbery on his way home from President
Robert Mugabe's residence, state radio reported on Friday.
       The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said Tafataona Mahoso was
attacked and robbed by three unknown assailants on Thursday night as he
walked from a party hosted by Mugabe at State House. He suffered three
fractures in one leg.
       Mahoso, a journalism school head and a supporter of Mugabe's ruling
ZANU-PF party, was appointed by the government in June as executive chairman
of a new media and information commission.
       The body is in charge of licensing media houses and accrediting local
journalists, as well as upholding the media laws, which punish ''abuse of
journalistic privilege'' such as publishing falsehoods with fines and up to
two years in prison.
       Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said the profile of Mahoso's
attackers was that of professional hit-men.
       ''The savage attack on Dr Mahoso is a desperate and barbaric
political act disguised as a robbery,'' Moyo said in a statement relayed by
state television.
       ''Could this be the beginning of the so-called mass action that some
people have been talking about?'' he asked.
       He was apparently referring to plans by the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change to hold protests against Mugabe's disputed victory in
presidential polls earlier this year.
       The new media laws ban foreigners from working in the country as
correspondents for foreign media.
       Known as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the
measures face several legal challenges, including one from the Foreign
Correspondents Association of Zimbabwe contesting the constitutionality of
parts of it.
       A U.S. citizen and correspondent for Britain's Guardian newspaper,
Andrew Meldrum, was acquitted this month of charges he faced under the act
of reproducing a false story, although he is challenging his subsequent
deportation from Zimbabwe.
       Eleven other journalists have also been charged under the act.
       The media bill was rushed through parliament ahead of a presidential
election in March that the opposition says Mugabe won fraudulently.
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Friday, 26 July, 2002, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Zimbabwe luxury taxes soar
Farmers on truck in Zimbabwe
Farmer workers leave their farm in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe's government has increased import taxes on luxury goods by 500% as it tries to stem the collapse of the country's tattered economy.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper on Friday reported that Finance Minister Simba Makoni announced the increase as part of a supplementary budget, aimed at raising Z$53bn (£610m).

The extra funds will be used to finance farming, food relief and wage increases.

Items included on the list of luxury goods are motor vehicles, bicycles, drinks and tobacco.

Farm troubles

According to the Herald, Mr Makoni said the government had been forced to change its budget plans because ongoing drought in the country caused severe food shortages.

He was also quoted as saying new black farmers settling on land seized from white commercial farmers needed support.

The Zimbabwe economy is in its fourth year of recession. Aid agencies have said nearly half the population needs emergency food because of the drought and disruption to farming.

The farm changes are part of Zimbabwe President Mugabe's controversial land redistribution programme.

Commercial farmers - most of them white - have had their farms reclaimed and handed to new settlers, usually with strong connections to the ruling Zanu-PF party.

The result has been the destitution of thousands of black former workers on the farms, along with their families.

Out of pocket

Even those farms still operating are suffering not only fromt he disruption but from a disastrously lopsided exchange rate.

The Zimbabwe dollar is officially valued at fifty-five to one US dollar.

On the "parallel market" as the black market is generally know, though, it trades at more than six hundred to the greenback, making it almost impossible for farmers legally to import fertilisers and other inputs from outside Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe told parliament on Tuesday that his government would not devalue the Zimbabwe dollar, despite increased pressure - not least from Mr Makoni - to do so.

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Daily News

Leader Page

      Why do we adulate power? Or do we?

      7/26/02 9:00:14 AM (GMT +2)

      TWICE during a recent stay of three days in Lusaka was I stopped by
the motorcade of the Zambian president.

      Zimbabweans are familiar with that sort of thing.

      Whereas in Berlin or London I never saw all traffic stopped just
because the chief executive of government was going to work, I never saw
this intimidating demonstration of power - or is it fear? Why do we in
Africa adulate power?

      Why do we adore the powerful and grovel before them?
      Or do we?

      There are signs that the people are beginning to assert themselves and
cut their super-heroes down to human size.

      Zambian society firmly put its collective foot down and denied
Frederick Chiluba a third term. The Malawian parliament had more respect for
its constitution than fear of the incumbent president and told him where he
gets off: in 2004, after two terms - enough is enough.

      African traditional rulers do not resign from office when they are
old, frail and sick.
      Hereditary rulers generally have no fixed terms of office. This
expresses the complete identification of person and office. What the
traditional ruler represents is more important than what he does: his very
person stands for his people The constitutional monarch has no time limit,
but little actual power, while his prime minister has power, but enjoys it
only for a limited time.

      Somehow this dangerous animal "power" has to be tamed.
      We must limit the leader's power if we value our freedom.

      We respect him all the more for accepting the limit we set to his rule
and give him a role as an elder statesman.

      For a sarcastic denunciation of tyranny you may turn to the Bible: the
Book of Judges 9: 7-15 tells us a story: "One day the trees went out to
anoint a king to rule them . . ."

      "The olive tree, the fig tree, the vine all declined; only the thorn
bush, which is barren and does not bear any fruit, accepted."

      This fable was told as a severe warning against the danger of being
oppressed by a king.
      The thorn bush is barren and useless, and so is the harsh rule of an
autocratic ruler.

      Samuel similarly warned the Israelites against wanting to have a king.
"He will tithe your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves." (1
Samuel 8: 10 -19)

      The responsibility for leading the people should be shared. It is too
much for one man alone.

      Moses was warned by his father-in-law: "You will only tire yourself
out, and the people with you too, for the work is too heavy for you."

      Trustworthy men were to be chosen to assist Moses. "They will refer
all important matters to you, but all minor matters they will decide
themselves, so making things easier for you by sharing the burden with you."
(Exodus 18, 13 - 27)

      In other words, we are advised: do not give central authority more
power than necessary; give as much responsibility as possible to the people
themselves. The Church's social teaching calls this the "principle of

      Jesus has no illusions about the human obsession with power and
wealth. He calls King Herod "that fox" (Luke 13: 32), denounces tyrants and
"kings who lord it over them" and warns His friends "this must not happen
among you". (Luke 22: 26-26).

      He rejects the temptation of power (Luke 4: 5-8) and the violence of
the sword (Matthew 26: 52), and is found among the powerless. He promises
that in the Kingdom of God the powerless will see justice done them.

      Why would anyone give excessive power to the ruler? The answer is
simple: those who turn their leader into a demi-god hope to become his
privileged friends and share in his wealth.

      The more wealth he accumulates the more free gifts his clients expect
to receive for their support and loyalty.

      Clients want to see their patron as powerful and as profitable to them
as possible and have no interest in setting a limit to his power.

      In Africa and elsewhere, clientelism almost at once led to a dogfight
for the spoils of political power, for it meant, that politicians at
regional and national level gained and reproduced the support of local
leaders by allocating to them state resources over which these politicians
had influence or control.

      Each attempted to maximise this support and his access to resources in
competition with rival politicians. This kind of race for the spoils of
power or of political office (usually the same thing) became the motive
force of these supposedly parliamentary systems (Basil Davidson, The Black
Man's Burden, Africa and the Curse of the Nation-State, Oxford Harare
Nairobi 1992, p 207). The patronage system is incompatible with
      genuine democracy. It is also economically harmful.

      Beneficiaries of the system, like drones, do not produce new wealth,
but merely share in existing wealth produced by others. "The great ideal
(is) not to do a job, but to occupy a salaried post." (B Davidson, p 270)

      If people are to be creative and productive they must be free.
Therefore, the principle must be upheld that the freedom of man be respected
as far as possible, and curtailed only when and in so far as necessary.
(Vatican Council II, Declaration on Religious Freedom, n.7) Recent
legislation, like the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
and the Public Order and Security Act, clearly violates this principle.

      For state power not to become oppressive it needs to be divided into
parts and be given into different hands (separation of powers). It is
preferable that each power (legislative, executive and judicial) be balanced
by other powers and by other spheres of responsibility which keep it within
proper bounds.

      This is the principle of the rule of law, in which the law is
sovereign, and not the arbitrary will of individuals.

      "This concept has been opposed by totalitarianism, which, in its
Marxist-Leninist form, maintains that some people, by virtue of a deeper
knowledge of the laws of development of society, or through membership of a
particular class or through contact with the deeper sources of the
collective consciousness, are exempt from error and can, therefore, arrogate
to themselves the exercise of absolute power," writes Pope John Paul II
(Centesimus Annus, 1991, n. 44).

      But the God-given dignity of the human person rules out the exercise
of absolute power. Africa has begun to realise this.

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The Mole

      Denying truth, that's PR the Zanu PF way

      7/26/02 10:25:54 AM (GMT +2)

      The first one was Chen Chimutengwende. Now it is Jonathan Moyo. As
ministers of information, on almost full-time basis, they, one after the
other, have been heading a ministry which, in all fairness ought to be
renamed the Ministry of Government and Zanu PF Propaganda.

      In that portfolio, these two gentlemen have perfected the art of
turning lies into truth and vice versa whenever the circumstances suited the
ruling party and its government. Which is what prompted this paper to remark
some time ago that they each in turn had become Minister of Denials. I think
one of our cartoonists summed it up neatly when he said through one of the
characters in his cartoon strip: "A key feature of denial journalism is that
the denials are up to 10 times longer than the stories denied."

      Just as George Orwell foresaw with such unsettling, if not foreboding,
accuracy in his novel 1984, the Ministry of Information would be the
equivalent of Big Brother's Ministry of Truth. And that ministry, according
to Orwell, "concerned itself with falsifying records" to make it appear as
if the party was perfect. In the process it seemed to specialise in making
nonsense of truth. In fact, the ministry's main raison d'etre seemed to
constitute standing logic on its head. Nothing could have brought out this
fact better than "the three slogans of The Party" which were: "War is Peace;
Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength." However, while Chimutengwende
used to deny stories with some modicum of dignity and in language carefully
chosen to avoid offending those whose truths he was employed to deny, Moyo
does it so crudely that he would need to employ the services of a magician
to get himself a public relations job when his current temporary one is
over - which may not be too far from now.

      It may well be a classical case of birds of a feather flocking
together, but The Mole seriously thinks it was a blunder of monumental
proportions for President Mugabe to get himself Moyo as his spokesman or
public relations officer. They both have the same contemptuous and
unnecessarily belligerent attitude towards the people when they are supposed
to be the people's servants. Mugabe, combative as he is, needed someone with
a conciliatory character like Simba Makoni, for example, not someone who
provokes people as a matter of routine.

      The naming of that diabolic piece of legislation called the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act was the height of tomfoolery. In
place of the word "Access" substitute "Denial". That satanic law is the
ultimate in denial of the truth. For some time, ever since they crossed into
Mozambique together as a matter of fact, it had been my belief that Edgar
Tekere was the best scholar of what we may call Robert Mugabelogy. But The
Mole is no longer so sure about that now. And that uncertainty is not a
recent development. Mugabe is notorious for not wanting to take advice from
anyone. And yet Tekere, of all people, was the most prominent political
figure to hazard the suggestion that Mugabe's bad governance was the result
of bad advice.

      People who try to give Mugabe good advice which goes contrary to his
own survival plans almost always get sidelined and branded "enemies of the
State" as the bosses at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
will tell you. I am sure Tekere, hopefully much to his regret, now realises
he was thoroughly badly advised himself for coming to that conclusion. Look
at what Mugabe did to Nkosana Moyo after he had given him good advice about
what needed to be done to breathe live into the economy. And look what he is
now doing to Simba Makoni and Leonard Tsumba for telling him that the dollar
is grossly overvalued. But those who tell him falsehoods which are,
nevertheless, sweet music to his ears, are always assured of his perpetual
support and approval, no matter how daft everyone else may think they are.

      Among Mugabe's much vaunted "technocrats", all of whom are appointees
because they were unlikely to win if they had been fielded in the 2000
parliamentary election, it is only those who tell him what he wants to hear
and not what he needs to know who have enjoyed Mugabe's highest approval
ratings. The most prominent are, no doubt, the Minister of Denials himself,
Jonathan Moyo and the man whom The Mole has decided to re-designate the
Minister of Famine (in place of what he should be, Minister of Farming),
Joseph Made. These two and, to a lesser extent, Patrick Chinamasa, have been
fuelling Mugabe's ego trip with falsehoods ad nauseam and he seems to like
them all the more for it. The unkind would say "Let sleeping dogs lie",
while the more charitable might be persuaded to say: "Let the good times
roll." The big question is: For how long can the good times, an illusion in
any case, be expected to continue rolling in such an unreal situation?

      These friends of ours may not be exactly living in "a fool's paradise"
as the saying goes, but then again, as they say, "a foolish consistency is
the hobgoblin of little minds". I will leave you with two thoughts to ponder
over. The common expression is: Time will tell. But a less known and
probably even more telling one is: Time is a great equaliser. The Mole
thinks Nero is playing the fiddle while Rome is burning and, tragically, his
court jesters are feeding the fire with much fuel.

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      NAGG-DF says President Mugabe's parliament address lacked direction

      7/26/02 9:42:09 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE National Alliance for Good Governance-Democratic Front (NAGG-DF)
has criticised President Mugabe's parliamentary address on Tuesday as empty
rhetoric which does not address pressing socio-economic problems afflicting
the ordinary person.

      Moses Mutyasira, the Secretary for Information and Publicity for
NAGG-DF, said it was disturbing that Mugabe's address lacked direction,
given the economic hardships prevailing in Zimbabwe.

      "His repeated emphasis on the land issue leaves out more pressing
issues which deserve immediate mitigatory options," Mutyasira said.

      "They should deal with the shortages of foreign currency and continued
escalation of prices of basic commodities. Mugabe's land reform exercise has
benefited top Zanu PF cronies, war veterans and their supporters."

      Mutyasira said the drought relief efforts, particularly in the rural
areas, have so far been characterised by corruption and favouritism.

      The post-election period saw political violence continued with
supporters of opposition parties being assaulted by pro-Zanu PF vigilantes.

      Mutyasira said Mugabe's speech left out concrete issues regarding
peace and tolerance of divergent views.

      "We appeal to all Zimbabweans to come together and explore mitigatory
and survival methods in the wake of misguided and irresponsible leadership,"
he said.
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      NGOs grappling with rising number of displaced people

      7/26/02 9:41:40 AM (GMT +2)

      By Chris Gande

      The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) - a human rights organisation -
has called on the Zimbabwe government and non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) to step up assistance to the growing number of internally displaced
persons (IDPs) in the country.

      Hundreds of people in Zimbabwe were displaced before the March
presidential election when marauding Zanu PF supporters went on the rampage.

      More than 100 people were killed in the run-up to the election which
was controversially won by President Mugabe.

      The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) and the Ministry of Public Service
say there were about 322 000 farm workers on large-scale commercial farms in
1999, before the government's fast track land reform began.

      The CFU estimated that at the end of 2001 as many as 70 000 farm
workers had been affected by land occupations.

      NRC said that although information was lacking on exactly how many
people were on the move, aid to IDPs should not be delayed.

      The council suggested that IDPs should immediately be targeted with
food aid with particular attention paid to displaced orphans and
female-headed homes.

      The United Nation's World Food Programme and Food and Agricultural
Organisation estimate that about six million Zimbabweans require food aid as
a consequence of drought and the government's controversial land reform

      George Olesh, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said
there is currently an ongoing independent assessment of the number and
situation of food security-related displaced persons in the country.

      "The current lack of accurate figures on the number of IDPs in need of
aid has definitely complicated a co-ordinated humanitarian response," he

      An assessment in May by the IDP Unit of the UN Office for the
Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs called attention to the urgent need to
fill "important information gaps".

      The report is the most recent attempt to locate and quantify the
number of people who have been displaced because of political violence or
economic hardships.

      While the May assessment identified only two categories of displaced
persons - farm workers and victims of violence, - UNDP now says that it
needs to include miners and skilled labourers who have had to move around
the country in search of employment.

      A third category, the survey suggested, were those who were encouraged
to invade farms in the early stages of the land reform programme but who are
now being evicted from these farms as the newly designated owners take

      Olesh said: "We still need to define what exactly constitutes an IDP
in the Zimbabwean context given the complex nature of the current

      However, there is no comprehensive or corroborated data on exact
numbers of those forcibly displaced, nor any precise information on where
the displaced have gone.

      But the IDP situation in Zimbabwe differs in that while most farm
workers have been able to remain on the farms, an increasing proportion have
lost their ability to sustain themselves, the report noted.

      "In addition, the looming food crisis will impact enormously on farm
workers as some 85 percent of their food consumption came from cash

      "Hence, even if they are able to remain on farms, their inability to
feed themselves because farm operations are severely curtailed, will induce
many to move in search of other employment or support," the report said.

      The most reliable data on displacement has been provided by a sample
survey undertaken by the Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe (FCTZ).

      FCTZ undertook a sample survey of 235 large-scale commercial farms,
representing 10 percent of all farms in the provinces of Mashonaland West,
Central and East as well as Manicaland Province.

      It was established that 26,693 permanent and seasonal farm workers
still reside on the farms as of 16 May.

      On the other hand, the report said, some 52,000 people had left.

      Victims of violence were even more difficult to define and enumerate
than the displaced farmers.

      Amani Trust, a human rights NGO in Zimbabwe, is quoted in the report
as saying: "Because the displaced fear repression and further violence, they
seek to remain 'underground', which makes their enumeration and location
very tenuous."

      Consequently, their numbers are variously estimated among the NGO and
human rights community at anywhere from 20 000 to 50 000.

      The report also highlighted the plight of the substantial orphan
population that has been generated by the HIV/Aids pandemic.

      The Farm Orphan Support Trust has estimated that there were on average
12 orphans per commercial farm in the three Mashonaland provinces and

      Consequently there has been a significant increase in child-headed
households living in acute poverty. Also many of the elderly are now
required to support their grandchildren.

      One of the factors hampering assistance to those in need is that a
large number of IDPs are in areas of the country where the UN has never had
any need for a presence, namely in the large-scale commercial farming areas.

      The report suggested that the UN broaden its geographical boundaries
of food aid to ensure that all needy people have improved access to basic
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      War veterans assault civil servants over land

      7/26/02 9:41:11 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

      WAR veterans led by former dissident Gayigusu have gone on the rampage
in Matabeleland, attacking civil servants whom they accuse of stalling the
controversial fast-track land resettlement programme.

      The campaign follows remarks by Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing, to land committees in

      Chombo - the national land task force chairman - reportedly said civil
servants were delaying the land redistribution exercise.

      But sources within the committees said yesterday the real reason was
that there was not enough land in the province.

      They said as of now, they had distributed all the available land.

      On Monday a group of about 20 war veterans and Zanu PF supporters
manhandled the Esigodini District Administrator (DA), Hebron Sibanda, and
forced him out of his office.
      Reporters who visited the area recently, saw a number of suspected
Zanu PF supporters milling around the DA's office. Sibanda was not in his

      The war veterans, led by Gayigusu, who spread terror in Matabeleland
during the dissident insurgency in the early 1980s, grabbed Sibanda by his
shirt collar and pushed him out of his office.

      The DA sprained a thumb during the scuffle. A report was made to the
police who were still to question Gayigusu.

      At Kezi, another group invaded government offices and physically
pushed out the DA, named only as Nkiwane. The group declared the Kezi land
redistribution committee disbanded.

      The latest developments come just before the 31 August deadline for
the completion of the land reform programme.

      Last week Chombo attacked the land committees in Matabeleland north
for not sending confirmation letters on time.
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Daily News

      200 farm workers stranded as Mugabe's brother-in-law allegedly torches
their homes

      7/26/02 9:40:44 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      NEARLY 200 workers at Leopardvlei Farm near Glendale were left
stranded yesterday after Reward Simbarashe Marufu, President Mugabe's
brother-in-law, allegedly burnt down over 80 of their huts and belongings
before evicting them.

      Marufu, a former Zimbabwean envoy to Canada, grabbed the farm,
including the farm equipment worth over $200 million before the March
presidential election, from Bob Duncan who has left the farm.

      Yesterday, the displaced farm workers stood by the roadside near the
farm, with their meagre belongings around them, contemplating their future.

      Some of the huts were still smouldering.

      Marufu was seen turning into a field on the farm, driving from Bindura
in a white Mazda B1600.

      Ruka Salimu, 65, one of the evicted farm workers, said Marufu should
have allowed them to remain on the farm even if he declined their services
because he was a leader who should be sympathetic to destitute people.

      "It has been hell since Marufu came," Salimu said.
      "We have lived under constant harassment, abuse and threats."

      Caleb Chikwamba, 36, who has worked on the farm for six years, said
around 4pm on Tuesday, Marufu came to their compound and ordered them out
immediately because he had no work for them.

      "Marufu first told us that everyone was fired," Chikwamba said. "We
thought it was a joke. He came back later with several of his guards and
known Zanu PF youths and set ablaze our huts."

      Chikwamba said Marufu made it clear he was the new farm owner and no
longer needed their services.

      He said property worth thousands of dollars was destroyed during the
inferno that engulfed the compound, razing most of the huts to the ground.

      Chikwamba said elderly women and children were indiscriminately
assaulted and tortured.

      He said after their huts were burnt down, the youths and guards
ordered everyone on the farm to immediately seek alternative accommodation
or risk intensive beatings and torture.

      "Most of us, including our wives and children, slept in the bushes
nearby for two days, afraid we would be attacked as threatened," Chikwamba

      The workers alleged that Marufu was armed and had on several occasions
threatened them with his gun if they remained on his farm.

      In 1998, Marufu was hauled before the Godfrey Chidyausiku Commission
to answer charges he had defrauded the War Victims' Compensation Fund of
over $800 000, the largest individual claim.

      A police inspector, who identified himself only as Sande, confirmed
the incident but would not comment, citing orders.
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Daily News

      Lawyer sues Jonathan Moyo

      7/26/02 9:40:04 AM (GMT +2)

      By Collin Chiwanza

      HARARE lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, is suing Jonathan Moyo, the Minister
of State for Information and Publicity in the Office of the President and
Cabinet, for defamation.

      Through his lawyer, Chris Venturas of Byron Venturas and Partners,
Samkange is also suing The Herald for publishing the alleged defamatory
article without making any efforts to establish the correct facts.

      In an article which appeared in the government-owned paper on
Wednesday, Moyo accused Samkange of hiding Learnmore Jongwe, the MP for
Kuwadzana who is facing charges of murdering his wife, Rutendo, on Friday
last week.

      Dismissing Moyo's utterances, Samkange said the remarks attributed to
the junior minister could only have been made by a person who was totally
ignorant of the functions of a lawyer.

      Samkange, 49, said: "Moyo's claims are false, baseless and designed to
defame me. Accordingly, I have instructed my lawyer to institute legal
proceedings for defamation of character. My duty as a lawyer is to represent
clients irrespective of their political association or affiliation and to do
it conscientiously, to the best of my ability.''

      Samkange's lawyer said a follow-up article published by The Herald
yesterday, in which some unnamed senior lawyers were quoted, could not have
been written without approaching Samkange to find out what actually

      Venturas said: "If The Herald had cared to establish the facts they
would have known that Samkange acted in an ethical, reasonable and
professional manner.''

      Ziana staff give Chivaura 24-hour ultimatum to effect salary increase
      Staff Reporter

      VIMBAI Chivaura, the chairman of the Zimbabwe-Inter-Africa News
Agency, was yesterday given 24 hours by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists
(ZUJ) to put in place the 55 percent increment the Ziana workers are

      Early this month the workers besieged a meeting being held by their
board directors over the non-payment of the 55 percent salary increase
awarded in January.

      Matthew Takaona, the ZUJ president, in a letter to Chivaura, dated 24
July, said: "I refer you to my letter of July 4 and your subsequent
responses of July 5 in which you only indicated that you passed the letter
to the Department of Information. It is now three weeks since I raised the
matter and we are now in a quandary as to your position on the issue.

      "As a union, we are increasingly getting incensed over Ziana board of
directors' insensitivity about the plight of workers and obviously their
families and children who have not been afforded an increment in 18 months.'

      The Department of Information falls under Jonathan Moyo, the Minister
of Information and Publicity in the Office of the President and Cabinet.

      Takaona urged Chivaura to take the letter seriously and note that the
union would from now onwards seek not to co-operate with New Ziana on any
matters of mutual concern.
      Meanwhile, staff at the Gweru-based Times newspaper, part of the
cash-strapped Community Newspaper Group, and printing company Superprint,
went on a strike on Wednesday afternoon demanding a 55 percent salary

      A letter written to board of directors by the staff reads in part:
"You are officially informed that the production of all newspapers and
office work has been stopped in accordance with our statutory notice until
the matter is financially resolved.''
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Independent (UK)

US tells Mugabe to let food aid through
By Peter Fabricius in Johannesburg
27 July 2002
The head of America's international development agency has warned that his
country would stop delivering emergency assistance to Zimbabwe if President
Robert Mugabe's government continues to deny food aid to opponents.

USAID's administrator, Andrew Natsios, said that much of the 100,000 tons of
food the US had already provided for southern Africa through the World Food
Programme (WFP) - and much of the further 200,000 tons it would be providing
over the next few months - was destined for Zimbabwe.

But Mr Natsios supported the recent warning of the WFP that there would be
no point in supplying the food to Zimbabwe if it was only going to
government supporters.

Mr Natsios said that USAID had insisted on its food being distributed
through non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Zimbabwe to avoid
distribution on political grounds. But it was concerned by reports that in
Matabeleland, an opposition stronghold, so-called war veterans controlled by
Mr Mugabe's government were still withholding distribution to punish those
who had voted against the government in presidential elections in March.

Mr Natsios said this violated the US policy that food aid should not be used
as a political weapon. But the US was continuing to distribute food to
Zimbabwe, even though it disagreed with Mr Mugabe's land policies and his
"suppression of the democratic opposition".

Britain's aid organisations this week asked the public for £40m to help the
starving in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho and

Mr Natsios said Zimbabwe had made a number of decisions over the past six
months which exacerbated the food disaster. Mr Natsios said: "We urge [Mr
Mugabe] to reverse these policies before it is too late."

The USAID-chartered ship Liberty Star is due to arrive in Durban in the next
few days with the next consignment of 36,450 tons of emergency food.

* A total £3m was donated in a single day of an appeal to help starving
people in southern Africa, the Disasters Emergency Committee said yesterday.
Volunteers handled 30,000 calls on Thursday night as the Southern Africa
Crisis Appeal made broadcasts on all the main television channels.
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Daily News

      Mudede refuses to release passport to heart patient

      7/26/02 9:39:33 AM (GMT +2)

      By Lloyd Mudiwa

      TOBAIWA Mudede, the Registrar-General (RG), has denied Alexandra
Babbage, 43, a heart patient, and her husband, Leonard, 45, passports to
travel to South Africa for her operation in defiance of the provisions of
the Citizenship Act.

      Mudede, despite a plethora of High Court rulings to the contrary, is
refusing to release their passports, saying they are not Zimbabwean
citizens, despite having been born here.

      This was because Babbage's father was born in Greece while Leonard's
mother was born in South Africa, and they both failed to renounce their
citizenship of the respective countries by 6 January 2002.

      Mudede has continued to administer the Citizenship Act in total
defiance of warnings by the High Court that he should steer clear of the
supervision of the Act.

      According to court documents, Babbage was supposed to have travelled
to Johannesburg in March when she was booked for appointments with
cardiovascular and cardiothoracic surgeons at Milpark Hospital.

      Her medical aid society, Premier Service Medical Aid Society, had
already offered to contribute $696 105, 76 (then about R98 043) towards the
costs of the surgery.

      Her doctor, Kiran Bhagat of the Medical Centre, even wrote a letter to
Mudede detailing reasons behind the need for the couple to travel urgently.

      The RG's office, however, only offered to give the couple emergency
travel documents
      at an urgent hearing at the High Court on Monday, but still insists
they will not get their passports.

      The couple has pursued the matter, saying Mudede is mistaken both in
law and in fact to declare that anyone born in Zimbabwe of a foreigner is
automatically a citizen of that foreign country.

      They are seeking a High Court order directing Mudede to release their
passports within 24 hours of the order being granted.

      They want him to personally pay for the legal costs of their
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Daily News

      State makes partial U-turn on devaluation

      7/26/02 9:38:36 AM (GMT +2)

      By Columbus Mavhunga

      THE government, apparently making concessions to the loud calls to
devalue the Zimbabwe dollar, yesterday announced it would value luxury
imports such as vehicles at an exchange rate of $300 to one US dollar.

      The announcement by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development,
Simba Makoni, comes barely two days after President Mugabe said "devaluation
is dead".

      Makoni said the other goods affected by the new measure are oil fats,
beverages, tobacco and manufactured goods.

      He was presenting a $52,9 billion supplementary budget in Parliament
which he said had been "imposed on us by the need to provide for drought
relief, summer agricultural inputs and support for the tobacco growers",
among other things.

      Commenting on Makoni's announcement, economist John Robertson, said:
"Technically we cannot really say it's a devaluation but a formalisation of
dualisation of the exchange rate. This is meant to drive away the parallel
market and the importation of luxury goods."

      Makoni said the currency had been devalued to $300 from $55 where it
has been stuck since 1999, only in terms of the luxury goods but the
government would use the $55 in connection with all imports that feed into
production and essential services.

      "We estimate this measure would raise $11,50 billion," he said.
      Makoni said the devaluation would apply to the importation of "luxury
commodities" such as goods for consumption, tobacco products, beverages and

      Parliament later approved the supplementary budget which Makoni said
would be financed through the Aids levy, 2002 budget re-allocation, donor
support and enhanced customs revenue.
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Daily News

      MMPZ blasts unethical journalism at Herald

      7/26/02 9:39:06 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE Media Monitoring Project in Zimbabwe (MMPZ), yesterday said The
Herald, through its editorial comment on Tuesday 23 July convicted
opposition MDC spokesman and MP Learnmore Jongwe of murdering his wife
before his trial by the court.

      "The killing of Rutendo Muusha-Jongwe was a terrible act of domestic
violence that cannot be condoned," said MMPZ. "But in The Herald's effort to
link this tragic incident to political violence and the silence of Western
nations, the newspaper demonstrated its contempt for the proper
administration of justice by usurping the work of the court in declaring
that Rutendo had been murdered."

      MMPZ said everyone is entitled to a fair trial, whatever one's
political affiliation.
      The paper wrote that "His (Jongwe's) butchering of a defenceless woman
is quite telling of the MDC's disposition towards human rights . . .
unfortunately, violence begets violence and the chilling murder of Rutendo
has shown how this violence is now being directed against its own innocent

      MMPZ said the emotional nature of The Herald's editorial and its
repeated use of the word murder amounts to an unacceptable conviction by the

      "This is unethical journalism at its worst and MMPZ expects justice to
be dispensed accordingly," said MMPZ.
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Daily News

      Tsvangirai faces new treason charge

      7/26/02 8:20:21 AM (GMT +2)

      Chief Reporter

      MORGAN Tsvangirai, the opposition MDC party's president, yesterday
faced fresh allegations of attempting to overthrow the government, over a
remark he allegedly made at a rally in Gwanda in May.

      Two days after MDC MPs boycotted President Mugabe's official opening
of the third session of the Fifth Parliament, police in Harare yesterday
recorded a warned and cautioned statement from Tsvangirai concerning the
allegedly subversive utterance.

      The MDC president was summoned to the law and order department of
Harare Central Police Station.

      He was charged under Section 5 of the notorious Public Order and
Security Act (POSA).
      Tsvangirai's lawyer, Innocent Chagonda of Atherstone and Cook, said
the police claimed Tsvangirai, while addressing the Gwanda rally, allegedly
threatened to subvert constitutional government.

      Chagonda said the police alleged Tsvangirai told his supporters in
Shona: "Mugabe tichamurongera chete, asi zvatinoda kuita hatingazvituari
nokuti chidembo hachivhiyirwi pane vanhu." (We are certainly going to deal
with Mugabe, but we cannot reveal our plans because nobody skins the
foul-smelling civet cat in public.)

      Section 5 of POSA deals with the subversion of a constitutional
government. Section 2 (a) says: "Any person who, whether inside or outside
Zimbabwe, organises or sets up or advocates, urges or suggests the
organisation or setting-up of any group or body with a view to that group or
body overthrowing or attempting to overthrow the government by
unconstitutional means or taking over or attempting to take over the
government by unconstitutional means or usurping the functions of the
government shall be guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for a
period not exceeding 20 years without the option of a fine."

      Chagonda said Tsvangirai denied the allegations and indicated to the
police that he never made such a statement.

      "Tsvangirai totally denies saying those words. I also believe that my
client is being charged wrongly," Chagonda said.

      The lawyer said the police would indicate to him when they would
proceed with the matter.

      Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general and Bulawayo
North-East MP, and Renson Gasela, the party's shadow minister of agriculture
and MP for Gweru Rural, are already facing treason counts for allegedly
plotting to assassinate Mugabe, charges they have denied. The Attorney
General's Office has indicated their trial may begin in the High Court next

      Last year the Supreme Court, then led by the now retired Chief Justice
Anthony Gubbay, declared as unconstitutional some parts of the since
repealed Law and Order (Maintenance) Act after the State had charged
Tsvangirai with treason for allegedly threatening to remove Mugabe from
office violently when he addressed a rally at Rufaro Stadium in September

      Relations between the Mugabe government and the MDC have deteriorated
following the formation of the opposition party in September 1999 and its
stunning performance in the June 2000 parliamentary election, where it
robbed Zanu PF of 57 seats.

      The MDC has refused to recognise Mugabe as the legitimate president of
the country after accusing him of rigging the March presidential election,
condemned by most of the international community as highly flawed.

      Tsvangirai's challenge to Mugabe's victory is still to be heard in the
High Court.
      Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general and Renson
Gasela, the party's shadow minister of agriculture and MP for Gweru Rural,
are already facing treason charges for allegedly plotting to assasinate
Mugabe, charges they have denied.

      The Attorney General's Office has indicated their trial may begin at
the High Court next month.

      Last year the Supreme Court, then led by the retired Chief Justice
Anthony Gubbay, declared as unconstitutional some parts of the now repealed
Law and Order Maintenance Act after the State had charged Tsvangirai with
treason for allegedly trying to remove Mugabe from office violently when he
addressed a rally at Rufaro Stadium in September 2000.

      Relations between Mugabe's regime and the MDC are bitter following the
formation of the opposition party in September 1999 and its stunning
performance in the June 2000 parliamentary election where it robbed Zanu PF
of 57 seats.

      The MDC has refused to recognise Mugabe as the legitimate president of
the country after accusing him of rigging the March presidential election,
condemned by most of the international community as highly flawed.

      Tsvangirai's challenge to Mugabe's victory is still to be heard in the
High Court.
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ZIMBABWE: Bad week for MDC

JOHANNESBURG, 26 July (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) came under fire again this week when its leader Morgan Tsvangirai was once more taken in for questioning.

With less than a week to go before his return to court on treason charges, Tsvangirai was "invited" to go to the Harare central police station on Thursday in connection with a statement he made at a political rally.

MDC legal affairs spokesman David Coltart said Tsvangirai was accused of saying there was a plan to remove President Robert Mugabe from power, in violation of Section 5 of the controversial Public Order and Security Act.

Section 5 prohibits overthrowing the president through unconstitutional means and carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, he explained.

"This is clearly another case of harassment. We are planning to get rid of Mugabe's government, but in an entirely constitutional manner. As legal secretary for the party I have been filing petitions under the Electoral Act and the MDC has always been committed to working within the laws of the country, and to non-violence," Coltart said.

"Virtually every single one of us [MDC leaders] is faced with a charge," he added. "I was charged with firing a weapon and I don't even own one."

Tsvangirai was questioned for an hour, cautioned, and released but on Thursday night, MDC MP for Kadoma Central, Austin Mupandawana, was arrested.

The state-controlled Herald reported that this followed allegations that four people were injured by shots fired from his convoy. The allegations come ahead of a mayoral election in the city, west of Harare. 

Meanwhile, the MDC staged a symblic walk-out at the opening of Parliament this week but returned after Mugabe had made his opening address.

The MDC suffered an unexpected blow to its image this week when one of its spokesmen, Learnmore Jongwe, allegedly confessed to stabbing his wife to death.


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Opposition leader to be charged with undermining Zimbabwe's president 
HARARE, Zimbabwe, July 26 — Zimbabwe's main opposition leader is to be charged with undermining the country's president under newly passed security laws, police said Friday. 
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, faces the charges for allegedly telling a party rally in May that President Robert Mugabe would have to quit office, police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told state radio.
       The new security laws make it an offense to undermine the office of the president, and offenders face a maximum 20 year sentence.
       Police questioned Tsvangirai for several hours Thursday, but he refused to admit making remarks that could be construed as criminal, his lawyer Innocent Chagonda said.
       Tsvangirai had not been notified of any charges or a court date, Chagonda said. Police did not say when the charges would be filed.
       The opposition disputes Mugabe's right to the presidency, accusing him of rigging the March presidential election. Most observers agreed the election was badly flawed.
       Bvudzijena also announced Friday that an opposition lawmaker had been arrested in Kadoma, about 75 miles west of Harare, following violence there Thursday linked to pending municipal elections.
       The state-owned Herald newspaper said the lawmaker was part of a convoy that opened fire on ruling party supporters, injuring several of them. The opposition said the ruling party members instigated the attack.
       Zimbabwe has been wracked by more than two years of political and economic chaos.
       Mugabe's increasingly authoritarian government has cracked down on the opposition, the independent press and the judiciary. The government repeatedly has ignored court orders, instructing police not to enforce them, and last year expanded the Supreme Court bench in an apparent bid to pack it with sympathetic judges.
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Mugabe's men make early move on white farmers

July 25 2002 at 09:02PM
The Mercury

By Basildon Peta

At least 650 white farmers have already been forcibly evicted from their properties by top government officials before the August 10 deadline set by President Robert Mugabe's government for them to completely vacate their properties or be jailed.

Commercial Farmers Union president Collin Cloete said the beleaguered white farmers have since made an impassioned plea to meet Mugabe, but he has flatly refused, telling them to meet with his juniors.

Cloete, who has been pursuing a soft line on Mugabe in the hope that the Zimbabwe leader would eventually show some sympathy for the white farmers, seems to have eventually thrown in the towel himself.

'It looks like the intention is to get all the land and get rid of white farmers'
He told journalists Mugabe's land reform looked like it was intended to purge all white farmers.

"The future of farming is bleak. It looks like the intention is to get all the land and get rid of white farmers," the union leader said. Cloete has been at loggerheads with some farmers who wanted him to adopt a more robust approach against Mugabe.

But the union leader dropped all court actions against Mugabe and vowed not to take legal action against the Zimbabwean leader. This infuriated some white farmers who have since formed their own group called "Justice in Agriculture" which has since taken Mugabe to court.

Cloete said 70 percent of Zimbabwe's 4 500 white farmers had been issued with orders to vacate their properties by August 10. The remaining 30 percent were being issued with similar orders, an indication that no white farmers would be left in Zimbabwe after the set deadline.

Mugabe's violent and chaotic land seizures of white farms for redistribution, mostly to his friends, relatives and cronies, have been blamed for the food shortages in Zimbabwe. - Independent Foreign Service

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The Independent UK

Jailed tycoon faces seizure of farms in Zimbabwe

By Basildon Peta

27 July 2002

The government in Zimbabwe is thought to be ready to seize farms and 28,000 cattle owned by Nicholas van Hoogstraten, the jailed British property tycoon.

Van Hoogstraten, who was found guilty at the Old Bailey this week of hiring two men to kill a business rival, has been a close friend of President Robert Mugabe and has financed his governing Zanu-PF party.

Among his extensive property interests in Britain and abroad, Van Hoogstraten has boasted of having investments in Zimbabwe totalling £30m. He owned nine farms in the former British colony, totalling more than 400,000 acres, and also enjoyed a lucrative contract from the government to supply beef from his cattle ranches to the 10,000 Zimbabwean troops fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Two years ago, two of Van Hoogstraten's farms – Eastdale Estate in Masvingo Province and Essexvale Ranch in Matabeleland North Province – were designated for compulsory acquisition under the government's policy of confiscating white farms for redistribution to blacks.

However, Van Hoogstraten negotiated a deal in which he surrendered 4,800 acres of land at his Hayhill Farm in Matabeleland in exchange for keeping the rest of his land.

The deal angered many junior government officials, who felt that Van Hoogstraten's donation was too small in comparison to his holdings. Other white property owners, such as Anglo-American's Nicky Oppenheimer, were offering to give up much more – 60,000 acres. Van Hoogstraten was the only white farmer to reverse the squatting of his land with the support of the government.

Before the court case, Van Hoogstraten was able to rely on his high political connections to retain much of his holdings and his lucrative beef contracts, which included a deal with the government-owned Cold Storage Commission.

However, following the conviction on Monday, farming industry sources said Van Hoogstraten faced the prospect of losing all his land holdings in Zimbabwe. "He travelled here often to keep the politicians on his side ... but some chiefs are already making inquiries about his properties because they have heard he will spend a long period in jail," said an official in the ministry responsible for Mr Mugabe's resettle- ment policies.

The Independent was given the names of senior ruling party officials seeking Van Hoogstraten's properties. "He had certainly managed to make deals with politicians, but you can never make permanent deals with Mugabe," said a farmer close to Van Hoogstraten's dealings.

The farmer said one official had toured a Van Hoogstraten farm at the weekend. Reports say Mr Mugabe's relatives, senior officials and cronies have taken large prime farms seized from whites, ostensibly for black resettlement.

Van Hoogstraten outraged many by strongly supporting Mr Mugabe and repeatedly branding his fellow white farmers "white trash". He has said he considers Mr Mugabe to be an "honourable leader" and that he supports him "100 per cent".

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