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

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Sent: 28 July 2001 19:08
Subject: A View from the Pan - a weekly commentary by M Ngwenya

On Sunday Morgan was ambushed by Zanu PF thugs in the Bindura constituency. Unfortunately for the assailants, the Daily News had a reporter and a photographer with the team sent along to cover his speech at rallies in support of the MDC candidate in one of the key bi-elections taking place at present. After a brief skirmish during which shots were fired at the MDC team and Morgans close security details also fired warning shots, the dust cleared and a number of MDC people had to be taken to hospital. One remains in a critical condition.

The Police were in the area, refused to protect the convoy or to take any action against the assailants - who were photographed in Zanu T shirts - and the team went on to complete its visit to the constituency, albeit on a rather subdued and cautious basis. The MDC team were pleased with the subsequent turn out (it takes courage to attend a MDC rally) and of particular importance was the number and determination shown by older people attending the meetings in the remote rural villages.  The constituency goes to the polls this weekend - the government produced a supplementary voters roll at the last minute which the MDC is now trying get withdrawn via an application to the courts and in addition we were told there will be 13 mobile polling stations. MDC knows well what that means as it was at the mobile stations that most of the fiddles were perpetuated in the June 2000 elections.

Then we had the opening of Parliament on Tuesday.  A very tense and tired looking Mugabe, with his hair recently treated with black coloring and Grace looking as glamorous and as expensive as ever, arriving incongruously in the old colonial Rolls Royce motor - yes the one that the Governors used to use with a open back!  The streets were empty and silent and a small crowd watched curiously as he strutted up and down the presidential guard and then opened the 5th session of the new Parliament. Perhaps the last time he will do that if the people get their way!!

Not satisfied with declaring that the "whole world" now understood the fast track land reform exercise (he was quite right about that but not in the sense that he was using the phrase). He went onto say that the Supreme Court had passed a land mark decision to allow them to carry on as in the past (not true - the lawyers subsequently protested). He also said that people were exaggerating the food crisis - we have had a good year he declared, a good tobacco crop, a good soybean crop and the shortage of maize that is predicted - well we will import the shortfall. There is no shortage of food in Zimbabwe!

Just as he said that the millers introduced rationing of wheat flour and told those who would listen that they needed 50 000 tonnes of wheat to bridge the gap between the reduced 2000 crop and the new 2001 crop still in the ground. The Grain Council the week before had reduced its forecast of the 2000/01 maize crop to 1,1 million tonnes (down from 2,1 the previous year) and also said that 30 per cent of the crop would not be fit for human consumption. We therefore need 1 million tonnes of maize imports to bridge the gap between the 2001 crop and the 2002 crop. To avoid starvation they told government, you must start importing now to avoid delays on the rail and road system. With Made at his back, Mugabe will be ambushed all the time on issues like this.

But back to the land issue.  Mugabe made it clear this week that there would be no going back on the fast track programme - it will be pushed to its logical conclusion. (He also made it clear by the way,  that he is determined to run as presidential candidate for ZANU PF).  If he is allowed to continue with his fast track to disaster on land then what are the implications?

First there is the issue of its legality. The present owners purchased over 80 per cent of the properties that have been designated for compulsory acquisition, after 1980. Most of them had done so with certificates of "no interest" from the State, allowing the transaction to take place. That will surprise a lot of people, but the annual turnover in farm property has always been very high. Then there are the properties owned by companies - many of them publicly owned and with substantial investment in the form of forest plantations, tea and coffee plantations, and capital infrastructure including factories. All of these investors (because that is what they are - these are big businesses in their own right) are protected first, by the constitution of the country, then by investor guarantees in terms of the governments own policies statements via the Investment Center and other instruments. Then they are also protested by international law and agreements including the World Bank system to which we are a signatory.

Mr Mugabe surely could not be saying that this situation is acceptable to the world community. It is not acceptable to the UN, the OAU and the most individual states. Its not acceptable to our own judiciary - including the Zanu PF appointed Judges.

Secondly there is the issue of its equity. There are 350 000 farm workers and their families on these properties - which make up nearly 2 million people. This is not just about 5 000 investors, its about two million people who are totally dependent on the commercial farms for their living. These people have no alternative to life on the farms. You could settle them on the properties as small holders, but then there would not be enough land for them plus anyone else. There is also the problem that they could not in any way be expected to maintain production. Credit systems would collapse and the vital management skills that have made Zimbabwe such a productive agricultural country would not be available. We already have about 600 000 internally displaced people and the numbers are growing all the time. This compares to the 20 000 officially supported squatters being used by Zanu PF as shock troops for its programme.

Thirdly there is the issue of compensation - even if we accepted that we should only compensate for improvements, the compensation would run to hundreds of billions of dollars. When paid out, what would the owners do with the money - buy foreign exchange to get their resources out of the country so they can start anew? It would create chaos. If they were paid out in paper bills that mature over time - they would be worth nothing.

And then there is the issue of production. It is now clear that commercial agriculture is going to be further down sized this coming summer. Tobacco will again retreat and the output of all other crops and animal products will decline. The consequence will be widespread shortages, higher prices and further closures of agriculture dependent urban companies. GDP is set to decline by about 9 per cent this year - next year could be as bad if the carnage is not halted.

As for its regional implications - South African FDI has declined 50 per cent this year and ZANU PF continues to aggravate the tensions over land in South Africa and is deliberately using the situation here for that purpose. Every South African knows what that means. Someone said the other day - when you are sitting on a pile of dynamite, you do not allow the kids next door to play with matches. Its time for Thabo to take note.

M Ngwenya
27th July 2001.

Please note that this article does not necessarily reflect the views of the Movement for Democratic Change.
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Violence mars Bindura poll

Sam Mungadze
BINDURA—A senior official of the Movement for Democratic Change was hospitalised here yesterday as violence rocked the constituency at the beginning of the two-day by-election.

But thousands of voters belied the predictions of voter apathy—induced in part by the widespread election violence—to throng the polling stations in a bid to cast their votes.

Constituency registrar, Augustine Tsuro, said by 10am yesterday, 5 557 of the 56 561 registered voters had cast their votes, while 383 people had been turned away.

The by-election, which pits Elliot Pfebve of the MDC against Elliot Manyika of Zanu PF, is being held to fill the parliamentary seat left vacant by the death of Zanu PF’s Border Gezi.

Meanwhile, in the violence that has beset the poll, the MDC’s losing candidate for Shamva in last year’s parliamentary elections, Joseph Mashinya, was admitted to Bindura hospital after he was severely assaulted by Zanu PF supporters at Chivera farm.

Dozens of Zanu PF youths could be seen clearly spoiling for a fight as they sang revolutionary songs and displayed Manyika’s posters less than 100 metres from the polling station at Tendai Hall.

Police picked up three MDC polling agents at the hall, after linking them with pre-election violence. One of the agents was identified as Trymore Midzi. Another MDC agent, Israel Madyira, was also arrested at a different station.

At Broadly Farm, people who had turned up to vote were allegedly assaulted by war veterans.

At Bindura Primary School, a Leyland truck, registration number 428-869G, led by a Zanu PF Mazda truck, 517-646H, brought in about 30 people from Sengeri Farm in Matepatepa. Members of the MDC expressed fears that this could be part of a rigging ploy by Zanu PF as there is a polling station where they came from.

Chireso, where the convoy of MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, was attacked last week, was filled with the menacing presence of about 200 Zanu PF supporters.

A vehicle carrying officials of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) had two of its wheels deflated by youths at Murembe.

Commenting on the violence, MDC MP for Zengeza, Tafadzwa Musekiwa said: “It’s unfortunate that we have witnessed all this violence. This is the worst form of intimidation but a lot of people have turned out to vote. I am positive that the people who have voted have made up their minds about who they want.”

The Standard crew witnessed long queues, some as long as 200 metres, at most polling stations. The queues began forming as early as 6am on the first day of the two-day voting process.

A midday snap survey by The Standard noted more than 650 people waiting to cast their vote at Bindura primary school, about 1 000 at Chipadze, 400 at Waridzo Clinic and 700 at Mupandira.

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Zimbabwe Candidate Detained
The Associated Press, Sun 29 Jul 2001

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — The candidate backed by Zimbabwe's main opposition party was arrested Sunday on unspecified charges on the second day of voting in a crucial parliamentary by-election in the north.

Elliot Pfebve of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said he was touring polling stations when gun-waving police stopped him ``as if I committed a crime.'' He was speaking by cellular phone from the police station in Bindura, 55 miles northeast of Harare.

No formal charges had been filed by midday Sunday. If Pfebve is convicted of any crime under Zimbabwe's electoral act, he would be disqualified from the election. Pfebve's colleagues were seeking legal help to get him released.

The by-election was called after ruling party lawmaker Border Gezi died in a car accident in August. It is seen as a key test of the country's mood toward President Robert Mugabe, who is backing a campaign to seize private land from mainly white farmers. The seizures have been declared illegal by the nation's courts and have led many Western countries to freeze aid.

Pfebve, a Bindura businessman, is vying for the seat with provincial governor Elliot Manyika, a former civil servant and diplomat.

Results from two days of polling were expected Monday.

On Sunday, 21 young opposition supporters abducted late Saturday in Bindura district were still missing, opposition spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said. He accused ruling party supporters of taking them captive.

Thirty other opposition activists were rounded up by police and held on unspecified charges, Jongwe said. At least two others were assaulted Saturday, leaders said.

State election officials said they had no information on the violence. There were no reports of arrests of ruling party supporters.

Mugabe's party and the main opposition had traded accusations of violence in the run-up to the vote as well.

In Bindura, ``there has been significant violence for two months. It has been as severe as last year,'' said Tony Reeler, director of the Amani Trust, an independent human rights group.

Last year, Pfebve lost to Gezi, a government minister, by around 2,000 votes after campaigning that was also wracked by violence. His brother Matthew was among three opposition supporters killed ahead of last year's poll.

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21 kidnapped on first day of by-election: Zimbabwe Oppn
HARARE: Zimbabwe's leading opposition party said Sunday that 21 of its supporters were kidnapped and at least four others were beaten on the first day of polling in a hotly contest by-election.

The group of youths were kidnapped at around 6:30 pm Saturday from a shopping center in a rural part of Bindura constituency, about 60 kilometers north of the capital Harare, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said in a statement.

MDC reported the incident to the Bindura police, who refused to open a docket in the case, Jongwe said.

"The youths who have been kidnapped are believed to have been taken to a ZANU-PF torture camp," Jongwe said.

Police officials were not reachable for comment.

At least four people were severely beaten in three separate incidents with axes, spears, iron bars and sticks, Jongwe said. They were beaten for supporting the MDC or for having relatives who supported the opposition party, he added.

The weekend poll came after months of campaigning marred by similar violence in the mostly rural constituency.

Police have set roadblocks leading into Bindura, and on the mostly dirt country roads within the constituency.

The election is the latest test for President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, pitted against the two-year-old MDC, which is expected to give him a tough challenge in presidential polls due in April.

MDC candidate Elliot Pfebve is again trying to unseat Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), which is fielding provincial governor Elliot Manyika as its candidate.

The by-election was called after the death of Border Gezi, a minister and parliamentarian who orchestrated the ZANU-PF's national election campaign that ended in only a narrow victory for Mugabe's party.

The constituency suffered some of the worst violence ahead of last year's parliamentary election, which left at least 34 people dead and 19,000 tortured around the country, according to rights groups.
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Zim cops hold MDC candidate for two hours

July 29 2001 at 04:13PM

Zimbabwean police detained the opposition candidate in a fiercely contested by-election for more than two hours on Sunday, the second day of a poll marred by widespread violence during months of campaigning.

The vote to replace the late MP Border Gezi, who was a close aide of President Robert Mugabe, is widely considered a preview of presidential polls due in nine months.

State media have described the weekend polling as peaceful, but the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said police detained its candidate Elliot Pfebve for more than two hours on Sunday, while its supporters suffered beatings and kidnappings the day before.

Police officials were not reachable for comment on Pfebve's detention or on the alleged beatings of MDC supporters.

Pfebve's aides, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that riot police arrested him and 16 supporters for singing party slogans while driving to visit polling stations, after the campaign period ended on Friday.

After holding Pfebve for more than two hours, police told him they had no case to file, Pfebve's aides said.

"Saying it's unfair would be an understatement," MDC spokesperson Learnmore Jongwe said.

"We are in the middle of the election, you hold him for two hours, and you don't give him an opportunity to visit the polling stations, you round up his polling agents, and you say you are giving a free and fair election."

On the first day of polling on Saturday, Jongwe said 21 youths were kidnapped while at least four others were severely beaten with axes, spears, iron bars and sticks in rural parts of Bindura constituency, about 60km north of the capital Harare.

MDC reported the incidents to Bindura police, who refused to open a docket in the case, Jongwe added.

"The youths who have been kidnapped are believed to have been taken to a Zanu-PF torture camp," he said.

One MDC official in Bindura, Joseph Mashinya, said that he and another man were assessing voter turnout when their truck had a flat tyre.

Six people then surrounded the truck and began beating both men with sticks and iron bars, Mahinya said. The assault lasted about three hours, he said, adding that the group of attackers grew to more than 30 before the two were left with their injuries.

"We were severely beaten about the head," Mashinya said. The two managed to drive the truck to a main road, where friends found them and took Mashinya to a government hospital for treatment.

The voting on Saturday and Sunday came after months of campaigning that was also marred by violence.

Police have set roadblocks on roads leading into Bindura, and on the mostly dirt country roads within the constituency.

The election is the latest test for Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party, pitted against the two-year-old MDC, which is expected to give him a tough challenge in presidential polls due in April.

Pfebve lost his race in the June 2000 parliamentary elections, after a bloody campaign of intimidation that mainly targeted opposition supporters around the country.

Pfebve's brother was killed before the June 2000 parliamentary elections, in what he believes was a case of mistaken identity.

Pfebve is also one of five people who sued Mugabe for $400-million (about R3,28-billion) in a US court for alleged human rights abuses against political enemies during the 2000 poll.

Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) is fielding provincial governor Elliot Manyika as its candidate.

Election results are not expected until Monday. - Sapa-AFP

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Sunday July 29, 08:45 PM

Zimbabwe poll ends after opposition candidate held HARARE (Reuters) -

About half those eligible voted in a weekend by-election in Zimbabwe in what political analysts see as a key test of President Robert Mugabe's chances of winning a new six-year term next April.

Analysts said the turnout -- higher than in last year's general election -- could favour the opposition.

Bindura constituency registrar Augustine Tsuro said 24,119 of about 56,000 eligible voters had cast their ballots by 2 p.m.  on Sunday.  Results are expected late on Monday.

Polls closed at 7 p.m.  (6 p.m.  British time).  "There were no incidences of trouble," Tsuro said.

Tsuro said he had not been told of the brief arrest of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
candidate, Elliott Pfebve, by police earlier in the day, or the reported abduction of opposition supporters.

Pfebve told Reuters by telephone: "I have been released after being detained by police for almost two hours.  There were no charges laid against me."

Police had earlier accused him and 12 MDC supporters of contravening the electoral law by waving their open palms --
a party slogan -- at people waiting to cast their ballots at a Bindura polling station, Pfebve said.

Police declined to comment on the allegations.

Earlier on Sunday, the MDC said 21 young party supporters were missing after having been abducted, apparently by supporters of Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF, on Saturday evening.

"The youths are believed to have been taken to a ZANU-PF torture camp...A verbal report of the incident was given to Bindura police, who refused to open up a docket," the MDC said in a statement.

An officer at Bindura police station said police had not received any reports of the alleged kidnapping.  "GOVERNMENT FRUSTRATED," TSVANGIRAI SAYS MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai told the BBC in a telephone interview the government was running scared ahead of next year's presidential election.

"It's all an expression of frustration on the part of the establishment," he said.

Tsvangirai said violence and intimidation continued mainly on farms and in rural areas, but that the weekend poll was largely peaceful and orderly.

The Bindura seat fell vacant when Deputy Youth and Gender Minister Border Gezi was killed in a car accident in April.

ZANU-PF member Elliott Manyika ran against Pfebve, a local businessman who lost to Gezi in the June 2000 national election.

Bindura, nearly 90 km (55 miles) northeast of Harare, has been the scene of violent clashes between supporters of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the MDC in the last few weeks.

The MDC says Tsvangirai and senior party members were shot at and stoned a week ago as they drove to a rally in the town, in what the party saw as an assassination attempt.

ZANU-PF in turn has blamed recent violence on MDC youths.

Analysts say a ZANU-PF defeat in one of its traditional strongholds would be a major blow ahead of next year's presidential vote, expected to be a two-horse race between Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, and former trade unionist Tsvangirai.

The MDC narrowly lost to ZANU-PF in last year's general election, which followed four months of political violence that left at least 31 people dead, most of them opposition supporters.

Mugabe says the MDC is a puppet of local whites and his Western opponents who, he says, want to unseat him in retaliation for his drive to seize white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.

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Cornelius Nduna
THE US$1 million pledged by Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, to Zanu PF to bolster President Mugabe’s campaign for next year’s presidential election is illegal under the Political Parties (Finance) Act.

The Libyan leader, who was in Zimbabwe two weeks ago, pledged well over US$900 000 in campaign funds, in addition to an extra US$360 million to end Zimbabwe’s current fuel crisis.

The controversial Political Parties (Finance) Act passed earlier this year at the instigation of Zanu PF legislators prohibits foreign funding for political parties.

Reads part of the act: “No political party or candidate shall accept any foreign donation, whether directly from the donor or indirectly through a third person.
“... any donation accepted by a member of a political party shall be deemed to have been accepted by the political party unless the member wilfully fails to disclose such donation to the political party ...”

The act also bans the soliciting of donations by foreigners for political parties. Under the act, it is a criminal offence to accept or solicit for political party funding and the guilty are liable to a fine of up to $100 000 while donations are forfeited to the State.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary for legal affairs, David Coltart, said if Zanu PF accepted Gaddafi’s donation it would be breaking a law it had masterminded.

Said Coltart: “This is yet another example of Zanu PF’s hypocrisy. They pass a law which we said was directed at undermining the MDC. They had never worried about foreign funding before and their intention all along was to undermine the MDC. They are now breaking their own law.

“What we now have is a selective application of the law. But this is not surprising just like if you are not aligned to Zanu PF and you are murdered, they won’t prosecute. Likewise if Zanu PF receives foreign funding, the AG won’t prosecute.”

On what the MDC would do to block donations to Zanu PF, Coltart said the MDC was powerless as it would only take the attorney-general to prosecute.

He was, however, dismissive of gains from foreign donations saying: “They (Zanu PF) can receive as much money as they want from despots like Gaddafi. But the people of Zimbabwe can’t be bought.”

Contacted for comment, Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, professed ignorance over Gaddafi’s pledge, contrary to news widely reported in the national and international media when the pledge was made.

“I am not aware of any such pledge. It would illegal because of the act. Where did you hear of the donation?” said Chinamasa, who is also the minister of justice, legal and parliamentary affairs.

The party’s deputy secretary for finance, Solomon Tawengwa, also said he was not aware of the donation by Gaddafi: “I am not involved in it, I really don’t know about that money.”

During Gaddafi’s visit, whose purpose was not clear, he addressed several rallies on behalf of Zanu PF and pleased the party by uttering the familiar racist rhetoric.

At a dinner hosted by President Mugabe, the Libyan leader said Africa should rid itself of all whites as it belonged to ‘Africans’.

“The liberation battle is not finished yet until all whites leave. When they leave, they must leave the land and all the property because this is our property and they took it by force. What was taken by force you should get by force,” said Gaddafi referring to the government’s land grab exercise.

Responding to Gaddafi’s recent visit to Zimbabwe and overtures to other countries within the continent, the US State Department last week said it was concerned at Gaddafi’s attempts to become Africa’s sponsor.

Reported the BBC last week, the department said: “As well as providing nearly $1 million to the ruling party for its campaign, he (Gaddafi) has approved a $360 million oil deal that will end Zimbabwe’s current fuel crisis at a stroke.”
Apart from the grand gesture to Zimbabwe, Gaddafi, who is being hailed as the founding father of the recently formed African Union, has offered fuel to Ghana to end its shortfall.

In recent weeks, Gaddafi has sent envoys to Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast and he is also involved in a peace initiative to end the war in Sudan.

Last week the US Congress passed bills extending sanctions against Libya and Iran by another five years.

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State gives war vets extra $1bn

Chengetai Zvauya
PRESIDENT Robert Muga-be’s cash-strapped government has awarded almost $1 billion in unbudgeted funds to war veterans following a 25% increment on their tax free monthly gratuities, The Standard has established.

The announcement of the increments, backdated to January this year, was tucked inside a statutory instrument (239 of 2001) on pension reviews published in the Government Gazette, two weeks ago.

Each of the 55 000 war veterans had their monthly allowance hiked by $1 375, backdated to January. This translates to an unbudgeted expenditure of $907,5 million during the current fiscal year which ends in December, although the budget for the next year will be presented in October.

Before the adjustment which was effected last week, each war veteran was earning $5 500 per month. This has now shot to $6 875.

Public service, labour and social welfare minister, July Moyo, authorised the hikes together with finance and economic development minister, Simba Makoni. The increments will be paid from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Part of the statutory instrument reads “...any disability or war veteran pension which was payable immediately before or which first became payable on the effective date, shall with effect from the date be increased by 25% (effective date means 1 January 2001).”

Contacted for comment, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) secretary-general, Andy Mhlanga, confirmed the upward adjustment for war veterans’ gratuities.

“I can confirm that the increments were implemented last week. We had been pushing for that review since the beginning of the year and we are glad that it was finally accepted,” said Mhlanga.

“The comrades are happy with this move and we shall rally behind President Mugabe and the party for it is the one which is looking after our welfare.”

War veterans, Zanu PF’s major support group in next year’s presidential election, are currently spearheading a government-sponsored violent farm grab campaign meant to win the hearts and souls of long suffering Zimbabweans.

The payment of $50 000 gratuities to each of the 55 000 war veterans, four years ago, sent the Zimbabwe dollar tumbling to a then all time low against major currencies on what came to be known as ‘Black Friday’ in November 1998. That expenditure withdrew an unbudgeted for $4 billion from the country’s coffers.

The tax free lump sum of $50 000 was to be followed by $2 000 monthly payments which were increased in 1999 to $5 500.

Apart from the gratuities, war veterans also receive an annual education allowance of $20 000, free medical attention at government hospitals, and burial allowance of $5 500 when a family member dies. They are also entitled to 20% of the land acquired by the government under the fast track land resettlement programme.

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World bodies sanction Mugabe

Staff Writer
THE World Press Freedom Committee, an international press freedom watchdog, has lambasted the proposed Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, as undemocratic and abnormal.

In a letter to President Mugabe on Friday, the organisation’s executive director, Marilyn Greene, said the bill was ill-conceived and meant to assert greater government control over the press.

“It is with great disappointment that the World Press Freedom Committee notes the determination of your government to go forward with presentation of an ill-conceived bill whose intention is to assert government control over Zimbabwe citizens’ access to news and information,” said Greene.

Information and publicity minister Jonathan Moyo has indicated that he will fast-track the bill through parliament during the current session.

The bill, which seeks to exert control over the press, is understood to be aimed at silencing the country’s critical independent press which has refused to bend to Moyo’s whims.

Although Moyo argues that the bill is meant to ensure professionalism in the journalism fraternity, it has been criticised by civic organisations, opposition parties and the media as hostile legislation meant to stifle press freedom and ensure a compliant private press.

“Ironically misnamed a ‘freedom of information’ bill, this proposed legislation would achieve just the opposite. We respectfully disagree with information minister Jonathan Moyo’s characterisation of this bill as ‘normal’,” said Greene.

The committee noted that the press was not free to operate in Zimbabwe, and that government was betraying its insecurity by proposing such restrictive legislation.

Said Greene: “Mr President, such restrictive measures are indicators of insecurity, not strength. A true democracy—which you say you have in Zimbabwe—welcomes the ideas and views of its constituencies rather than their fearful and unquestioning acquiescence.

“We take exception to your own stated view that ‘journalists haven’t got the freedom to offend others’. In their work, which includes investigative reporting and the scrutiny of actions and policies of public officials, journalists will, and indeed must ‘offend’ others.”

Meanwhile, the International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors and media executives, has also written to President Mugabe complaining about Moyo’s decision to suspend the accreditation of all British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) journalists in Zimbabwe.

Part of the letter from IPI reads: “The latest decision to ban correspondents is a further sign of the Zimbabwean government’s desire to prevent critical reporting in the lead-up to the presidential elections. By removing foreign correspondents, the government of Zimbabwe is seeking to sanitise the news and control the free flow of information.

“IPI invites your excellency to rescind the recent decision of the minister for information and publicity and restore accreditation rights to the BBC.”

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Voters restricted to own constituencies in presidential poll

Farai Mutsaka
THE government will restrict people to voting within the constituencies they are registered in next year’s presidential election, The Sta-ndard has learnt.

Tobaiwa Mudede, the registrar-general, announced this when he addressed a Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) retreat held in the resort town of Victoria Falls, recently.

“The country would constitute one big constituency because this is a presidential election, not a parliamentary one. However, this does not mean people will be allowed to vote from any constituency in the country. No, people will be restricted to their constituencies. You can only vote in the constituency in which you have been registered,” said Mudede.

Mudede’s statement immediately drew sharp criticism from bishops at the retreat. “We are afraid that the system will result in a lot of people failing to exercise their right to choose the next president,” said one bishop.

It has also been criticised by the opposition MDC and civic organisations who believe it could enhance vote rigging.

Unlike parliamentary elections, a presidential election is determined by absolute numbers, with the person securing the highest votes winning the election. This renders the confinement of voters to their constituencies irrelevant as all votes will be pooled.

Although no specific dates have been set yet, the presidential election is likely to be conducted in April 2002.

Zanu PF’s Robert Mugabe faces MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who threatens to end the president’s 21-year stranglehold on power.

Mudede’s office has for long been accused of facilitating ruling party victories by rigging votes, an accusation that Mudede has strongly denied.

MDC election director, Paul Themba Nyathi, said the system was designed to promote violence and ensure a Zanu PF victory.

Zanu PF thugs, said Nyathi, would unleash violence in targeted MDC strongholds and push people out of the constituencies. As a result, these people would not be able to vote, giving Zanu PF an edge over the MDC.

“So many internally displaced people will not be able to vote. The system is meant to promote violence. Violence would be targeted at MDC strongholds where people will flee from their constituencies and won’t be able to vote. It is a Zanu PF strategy to empty whole constituencies perceived to be MDC strongholds. The truth is that we are in a system that is totalitarian and does not promote democracy. At every turn the system attempts to deny citizens their rights,” said Nyathi.

“If Mudede wanted to discourage violence he would have allowed people to vote from any constituency in the country. This would allow those displaced by violence to exercise their right to vote elsewhere. But as I said, these people are always looking for ways to rig the elections,” he added.

Mudede said the system was meant to ensure a smooth and efficient running of elections.
“We are restricting people to their constituencies so that the election will be run efficiently. We are not going to announce the winner of the election basing on the result of one constituency. We will only announce the winner after we have received results from all the constituencies. You should know that Zimbabwe has one of the best electoral systems in the world. We are always sending officers from my office to other countries in Europe, Asia and within Africa,” said Mudede.

Political commentator and Transparency International chairman, John Makumbe, echoed Nyathi’s sentiments that the system of restricting people to their constituencies was devised to rig elections.

“It is likely to disenfranchise everybody who is not in their constituency. It is, of course, illegal to disenfranchise potential voters. This means Zanu PF will rig all over the country. You don’t know where they will poll the majority of their non-existent voters. This is the best way to rig an election,” said Makumbe.

He said Mudede should have used the Adult Universal Suffrage provision whereby people would not have to register to enable them to vote but can vote upon producing acceptable identification. The system was used during last year’s referendum in which the government’s defective draft constitution was rejected by the majority of voters.

“It would have been the best approach to the election but then rigging would be very difficult. They tried that system during the referendum and lost. They won’t risk losing again so they would rather use a system they are comfortable with,” said Makumbe.

The spokesman for the Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) Phillip Pasirayi, said over 280 000 students would be affected by the system.

“Most students register at their colleges, so if colleges are to be closed during the election, then students will lose their suffrage right. This is a presidential election and people should be allowed to vote from any constituency. For such a large constituency (students) to be disadvantaged is not healthy for democracy. This system has to be revised,” said Pasirayi.

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Matopos to be among world’s wonders

Busani Bafana
“A SIGHT so beautiful, as if gazed upon by angels in flight,” said the mesmerised missionary, David Livingstone, on seeing the Mosi O-Tunya falls which he later renamed the Victoria Falls and which is now a World Heritage site.

If angels gazed at the Victoria Falls, then they were probably transfixed by the Matobo Hills, Zimbabwe’s latest candidate for the internationally-acclaimed World Heritage site status.

Matobo Hills has been placed on the tentative list of candidates to be considered for World Heritage site status, after 15 years of intense lobbying. The dossier on the hills is now ready to be sent to the World Heritage Committee which endorses nominations for the actual listing.

A World Heritage site listing means that the international community is collectively responsible for the preservation and protection of the nominated cultural and natural heritage landmark, wherever it is located in the world. With World Heritage status comes prestige for the country concerned and helps raise awareness on the need for heritage preservation by governments and citizens.

Matobo Hills’ unique granite outcrops have been the ideal backdrop of many a famous painting including the rock art estimated to be more than 14 000 years old. The rock art, considered the work of people of the Stone Age era, is among the most skilfully executed pieces of artwork in the world. Its splendour would even make Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Picasso blush.

The beauty and solace of the Hills has attracted many photographers and writers, while its flora and fauna has overawed biologists and scientists. The spiritual allure of the hills has, since time immemorial, attracted many a spirit medium to the ancient shrines of the Mlimo and the Mwari cults, deep in the hills.

The subject of the Matopos has attracted endless books, papers, dossiers and folk stories while its natural, cultural, historical and spiritual treasures are considered more priceless than the contents of Tutenkhamen’s tomb.

The Matobo Hills, the surrounding National Park and its environments are a beautiful site. The placing of the Hills on the World Heritage site’s tentative list has come as good news for various stake holders.

Currently, the communal people in Matobo and Mzingwane rural district areas, commercial farmers, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management (DNPWM), the Matobo Conservation Society (MCS) and the Department of National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) all have varied interests in the Matobo Hills. This diversity of interests, says MCS chairman, Ian Sheasby, will weaken the bid of the Matobo Hills if they are not harmonised.

Says Sheasby: “The fundamental issue of conservation is one of land use and land ownership. Each stake holder has their own concept of what is the best land use and land ownership structure for the area. Being able to meet the needs of each of these is a challenge in any environment.”

Formed in 1994, the MCS has tried to establish a body to bring the various interest groups together for the benefit of all. The MSC believes it has been partly successful in this regard as it has opened channels of communication between the stake holders.

“A number of specific projects have been completed and others are ongoing,” says Sheasby.

“Looking to the future, it is the belief of the MCS that the achievement of the World Heritage site listing will go a long way in creating and maintaining a common vision for management of the hills,” he added.

A unique feature concerning Zimbabwe’s application is that Matopos Hills is a cultural landscape site which combines both cultural and natural values—the only one of its kind in the country.

Unique features of the natural and cultural aspects of the Matopos lured empire-builder and diamond magnate, Cecil John Rhodes, now buried in its environs while they also were of importance to the mighty Matabele King, Mzilikazi, who legend has it provided the name ‘Matobo’, meaning ‘the bald heads’. He is also buried in the Hills.

But the Matopos Hills will be remembered more as the venue of the peace settlement between the colonialists and Matabele warriors which came to be called the Great Indaba, following the ending of the First Chimurenga in Matabeleland.

A living library of knowledge, the Matopos has the greatest concentration of raptors and black eagle population in the world. The MacKinders Eagle Owl may yet be classified as a unique species of the Hills if the research work by the Rapture Research Group, the longest running ornithological study in the world, is completed.

It has taken Zimbabwe six harrowing years to achieve placement for the Matopos on the tentative list after false starts to the application process which first began in the early 1980s. In successive years, Zimbabwe has managed to have four sites listed. These include the Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and the Chewore Safari area. Two years later, the Great Zimbabwe and Khame Ruins were listed as cultural sites and in 1989, the famous Victoria Falls was listed as a World Heritage site.

Umzingwane Rural District Council and its surrounding communities, which are some of the stake holders in the Matobo Hills, will, if the Matopos are approved as a site, enhance their multi-million dollar eco-tourism project which encompasses Mtshabezi Dam. More than $3 million has been invested in tourism facilities and road rehabilitation projects as part of the eco-tourism project.

Project Officer for the rural district council, Stanford Ngwane, said the Heritage Site application, once successful will also empower the local people to better preserve their environment and market their rich cultural land marks which include Diana’s Pools and the Rhodes Indaba site. 

There are 690 properties on the World Heritage list, of which 529 are cultural, 138 natural and 23 mixed.

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) hosted a World Heritage workshop in the Matopos in February of this year to which various stake holders were invited.

Some of the stake holders included traditional and spiritual leaders, representatives of the Matobo and Umzingwane Rural District Council, the Bulawayo Publicity Association, the NMMZ, DNPWM and the MCS. A major resolution of the workshop was to call for a concerted effort to attain the World Heritage site listing by December of this year. As a result, a technical committee, comprising the DNPWM, NMMZ and MCZ was formed and tasked to handle the natural history section, the cultural section and the mapping and logistics section of the application dossier.

The three-part dossier, funded to the tune of US$25 000 by Unesco for its preparation, is expected to meet the laid down criteria for the granting of a world heritage site.

While there are specific cultural and natural attributes to meet, some general requirements include the need for the Matopos to appear as an outstanding example of the earth’s evolutionary or biological evolution.

Matobo Hills could possibly have been a cradle of mankind like the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. For example, Bambata Cave in the heart of the Hills not only reveals some of the oldest pottery in the world but also yields evidence that contradict current theories on the co-existence of stone and iron age men.

Another listing condition is that a nominated site should contain natural habitats of endangered animals; or a scene of exceptional beauty or that it be associated with ideas or beliefs of universal significance.

Matopos also has the highest density of leopards, a remarkable feat, say conservationists. There are also, within the hills, enough prey species such as antelope and monkeys for the leopard.

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Insight with Chenjerai Hove—Violence without conscience

Chenjerai Hove
I AM sitting in some place. Faces arrive. And they are looking for me. I wonder what is amiss. The world has turned upside-down for them. All they want is help. Their house has been burnt; their car has been burnt; the house is in flames. I have to be witness to it all. And their faces are all swollen. They have nothing left except hearts filled with love and caring. A little bit of hope here and there, but a kind of hope sprinkled with tears and sadness. That is the only thing left in their hands.

We have leaders. Their job is to take care of our welfare, all of us, including those who did not vote for them. It is their democratic right to vote for anyone of their choice, but they have to accept the results of whatever comes minus the threats of violence, brutality and abuse. Unfortunately, the ruling party does not accept the idea of differences.

Difference is a great thing. Let us say the gods had created all of us the same, thinking the same, walking the same, talking the same and breathing the same. All our ideas would have to be the same, including the way we present them. Can you imagine a whole village of people nodding to the same idea expressed in the same words and gestures!

What a boring world!

One of the qualities of a good leader is that he or she has to accept that leadership is about managing the diversity of a society, a community, or even a family. And there is nothing wrong with that diversity. There is nothing wrong with difference. Otherwise we would all be like school children wearing the same uniforms in the false hope that once we are dressed the same, we are all alike. That is an illusion.

Our country is going through a spate of unsurpassed barbarism in the form of this violence which we see on our doorsteps everyday. My thinking is that this barbarism and brutality is based simply on greed and corruption. Greed for power, and corruption in the sense that everyone of our leaders has been in place for so long, stealing and abusing for so long that they do not know any other thing except that madness.

Let us acknowledge the old saying that what you plant is what you reap. If you plant the tree of happiness, you also harvest the fruits of that happiness. If you sow the seed of hatred, one day you will have to harvest the fruit of that hatred.

African leaders have forgotten to sow the seed of happiness. So they plant hatred in the hearts and minds of the citizenry. When time to harvest comes, they have to run.

Vakomana mucha-mhanya, matsotsi! (Guys you will run, crooks!)

The elders of long ago said: If you are a witch, practise the art of witchcraft far away from your village so that the locals can witness only your cleanliness. If you have to pass bad air, be on the right side of the wind so that the allegations of bad smell will not fall on you.

Our politicians pass bad air in public and think everybody has a blocked nose.
Brute force has never been a viable way of maintaining political power. Violence can never be the proper nourishment for power. Power had better be nourished on basic human values of love and care for the weak.

In a situation of violence, the voter becomes an object with no ideas, no destiny, nothing in their hands except being dragged along to some place, whimpering and crying.

The fact of the matter is that no matter how stupid a person is, they at least know what they want to do with their destiny. No one has the power to deny the other person the right to choose their own destiny.

It is like meeting someone on a long journey, and if you happen to think that the guy was simply walking around without knowing where they want to end up, you try to convince them that they are walking with purpose. They will simply tell you that while they might look foolish, your job is to know that they have, for all their time, known where they want to go.

So, they will advise you to go your own way and leave them alone to continue in search of their own destiny. For, destinies are measured in the paces of those who have to do the walking for themselves.

In a situation of brute force, like the Zimbabwean one at the moment, the voter is reduced to a beast. The rulers think they are burdened with the worthless voter. “If only we could vote for ourselves,” the rulers seem to think.

Oh, what a country, with only rulers and nobody to rule!

Political campaigns should be times of political, social and cultural dialogue, not times of humiliating the voter and making him or her feel worthless. Political dialogue simply means sitting down with the voters and talking to them about what you promised them.

They have every right to ask questions about your previous promises and how you will make good what you have done badly. They have every right to do that without having a corpse in their homestead.

What amazes me about Zanu PF, the ruling party of our country, is how they can imagine that if they break my arm I could wake up the following day, bleeding, to go and vote for them.

After having buried my father whom they have killed, what makes them think that I will wake up the following day and vote for them? I do not understand their logic.

I have always warned that we do not deserve corpses on the road to the ballot box. Any political leader who depends on the number of corpses on the road for their political survival, will soon be one of the corpses lying on the roadside.
The young people whom the ruling or ruining party teach how to kill their own fathers and mothers will soon know that children should never be taught how to kill people.

And the political leaders go to church to pray and pretend to love human life and respect human dignity. What a piece of falsehood.

There are so many things to worship on this earth. Some people worship trees, others worship stones. The worst are those who worship power. Those who worship power fail to realise that power soon fades, like a shadow. And those who worship power should soon know that power is a disease which soon can be cured if the good medicine man or woman comes by.

Political leaders who worship violence have actually told the whole nation that they lack legitimacy and credibility. Actually, violence as a political tool is a good sign that the political leaders who use it have run short of ideas. They no longer have any piece of imagination to bring forward to the people so they can be viewed as reasonable people who want to search for the way to our final skies.

It does not help us when the president of the Republic stands up and says we are in dire economic straits. The issue is to tell the nation why it is so. If you are ill, the important thing is not that you know you are ill. It is to know why you are ill.

Zimbabwe is witnessing the usual African phenomenon of the ruler without ideas and vision, and the ruled who are usually patient enough to wait for those who think they have the guts to take on the reins of power so they can rule. The rulers in this country have no idea who they are ruling. But the ruled have some idea about the failures of the rulers.

I had an argument with a sen-ior politician the other day. I had asked him to present the national budget in Shona, English and Ndebele since the three are official languages of our country. He claimed our people are not educated, and so they would not understand the whole issue.

So I asked him why he chose to lead a people who do not understand what he is talking about. It would have been better for him to go somewhere else to lead the people whom he thinks will understand him.

If a leader cannot explain simply economics to the people he is ruling, then such a leader should never have come forward to run the affairs of such a people.

‘Makaita seiko chaizvo imwi? Munokundwa na-sabhuku chaiye? Sabhuku unoziva mutauro wevanhu vake?’ (What sort of rulers are you guys? To be beaten by the headman? At least the headman knows the language and ways of his people).

May the foolishness of our leaders, and all this violence come to pass. We do not deserve it and we would never write it in our history as a moment of glory. Any leader who thinks foolishness is anything to write home about, will soon discover that back home where they come from, there is a well of wisdom hiding in a place which they did not care to look.

Every political leader who has a full belly, must know that every empty belly is a curse on his leadership.

All we can say to the political leaders is that we do not deserve the ugliness which they have given to our beautiful country of rivers and hills which turn your imagination when you think of the future. Our destiny has never been measured in violence, brutality, rape, crime and malice. Our proper destiny has always been measured in footsteps of dance, song, and beauty: celebration of life, not death.

Zimbabweans are not dancing with love on their faces anymore. They are no longer dancing the dance of beauty and an exuberant life. They are dancing more to the tune of death than life.

All because of the leaders whose power depends on a lack of moral conscience and love for this land of the ancestors of our ancestors. The smile that a political leader kills is like a human massacre, a crime against humanity.

The belly that sleeps without food inside it is a curse to anyone in power who thinks they have the task of eating on our behalf.
l Chenjerai Hove is a renowned Zimbabwean writer
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CIO targets diplomats

By Basildon Peta, Special Projects Editor
7/25/01 9:09:01 PM (GMT +2)

THE Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) has bought state-of-the-art spying equipment as it steps up a campaign of surveillance and bugging of Harare-based Western embassies and international aid agencies it suspects of mobilising financial resources for the opposition, it was established yesterday.

Top intelligence officials said yesterday the equipment, believed to be either from Russia or Israel, had been bought after Parliament approved the amended Political Parties Finance Act earlier this year.

The Act, hurriedly drawn up by the government in May to prevent foreign funding of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), bans any Zimbabwean party from receiving financial donations from anyone abroad.

The sources said the equipment, whose purchase price was not given, allowed the CIO to increase markedly its surveillance of aid agencies and embassies which the government believes are channelling funding to the MDC.

These aid agencies and embassies are likely to be expelled from Zimbabwe once the spy agency has evidence that they are breaking the law.

As a result of the CIO’s increased surveillance work, fixed telephone lines at virtually all the suspected aid agencies and embassies have been bugged, the sources disclosed.

The CIO is even establishing and recording the identities and frequencies of movements of people who visit these aid agencies and embassies, in addition to opening mail directed to these organisations, they said.

According to an official document shown to the Financial Gazette this week, top on the list of the aid agencies being targeted by the CIO are Germany’s humanitarian foundations Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and Friedrich Naumann Foundation.

"The FES is top on our list because we have good pointers that it is funding MDC programmes in violation of the law," one intelligence official said.

The German organisation’s representative in Zimbabwe, Felix Schm-midt, was yesterday reported to be on leave abroad but FES has previously denied charges it funded the MDC.

Also listed on the document are the Dutch non-governmental organi-sation Hivos, Canada’s International Development Agency, Sweden’s International Development Agency and the Danish aid organisation DANIDA.

Another Danish aid agency, MSO, and a Norwegian aid organisation known as Norad are also under the CIO microscope.

Virtually all Western embassies in Zimbabwe but particularly the United States, the British, Swedish and the German embassies had also been put under strict surveillance, the sources said.

The movement of diplomats from these missions was also being monitored as part of efforts to prove who they associated with.

Some of the homes of representatives of these aid agencies and embassies and their private land lines had been put under strict surveillance to enable the CIO to assess their contacts in Zimbabwe.

Security details also monitored movements of people in and out of their private residences.

Another security official said: "The government will not hesitate to act on those aid agencies which break the law. Whether one disagrees with a law or not, the fact is that the law was passed by a democratically elected Parliament and this means that it ought to be respected whether one agrees with it or not.

"Imagine what would happen to me if I entered the United States or Britain and broke any of their laws which I disagreed with?"

Representatives of some of the aid agencies on the CIO hit list who were interviewed yesterday said they were aware that they had been put under strict surveillance.

"We know we are under closer scrutiny. It’s a general thing happening to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and we know that most of our meetings are being monitored," said one Western diplomat who refused to have his name and aid agency named.

Another diplomat said he suspected that people working on behalf of state security officials had recently even tried to drop a sophisticated small item in his office which would enable them to listen to all discussions he had with visitors.

Virtually all the aid agencies listed have nonetheless been on record in the past emphasising that they do not fund political parties but development projects in Zimbabwe.

It was not possible this week to ascertain the exact nature and workings of the imported CIO equipment, its cost and the exact countries from where it had been purchased because the sources declined to disclose these details.

The Financial Gazette however understands that it could have been bought from Russia and Israel.

Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo told the Financial Gazette’s political editor Sydney Masamvu three weeks ago that the government was aware that several NGOs were involved in subversive activities under the guise of voter and anti-AIDS education and would soon move to curtail their alleged activities.

"We are aware of a number of international NGOs that are involved in subversive activities," he said. "We have been monitoring them and we will be moving to ban them and expel them from the country shortly," Nkomo said.

He did not name the targeted NGOs, but said: "There is a need for dry-cleaning in that sector. We, as a government, will not allow any form of diplomatic intervention to frustrate this exercise."

Efforts to get comment from the minister in charge of the CIO, Nicholas Goche, have failed since Monday. Goche’s mobile phone number 011 201 923 has been persistently switched off.

CIO director-general Elisha Muzonzini could also not be contacted because his secretaries refused to transfer this reporter’s telephone calls to him saying they are not allowed to do so.

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Cattle destocking to cost Zim $1.25m in exports

Staff Reporter
7/25/01 10:10:13 PM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWE’S cattle rearing industry is under threat because of harassment of farmers by ruling ZANU PF party supporters who have triggered massive destocking that could cost the country $1.25 million in exports this year, according to Cattle Producers Association (CPA) chief executive Paul d’Hotman.

He says farmers are being frustrated by the disruption of farming activities on farms occupied by ZANU PF supporters since last year and by the intimidation by the invaders, some of whom are making outrageous monetary demands on farmers.

As a result, d’Hotman said this week, there has been no restocking of the national commercial herd since March last year.

“There is no restocking taking place in the commercial sector,” he told the Financial Gazette.

“In fact, at present there is significant destocking taking place. The last official census for the commercial beef herd was in March 2000, at which time the herd stood at 1.25 million.

“With the destocking that has taken place during the past 15 months, it is likely that the commercial herd is now not much more than one million. The CPA is extremely concerned at the negative impact that the ongoing harassment of producers is having on the beef industry,” he said.

“There is enforced destocking through direct intimidation such as driving cattle into homesteads, outrageous compensation demands and orders and threats to remove cattle.”

Zimbabwe is likely to lose $1.25 million in exports this year due to the destocking taking place while commercial cattle producers’ earnings from beef sales, which were $4 billion last year, could be much lower in 2001.

The occupation of cattle producing farms has also led to a breakdown in veterinary controls, which could result in disease outbreaks and a possible loss of beef export markets in the European Union (EU).

“There is a breakdown of veterinary controls with the associated threat of disease outbreaks and the possible loss of beef exports if the situation is not speedily rectified,” the CPA says in its latest newsletter.

The association said a recent visit to the south-east Lowveld had confirmed the flagrant disregard for veterinary control zones, including national parks, by war veterans, local authorities and the police.

Zimbabwe’s Veterinary Services Department was ordered by an EU inspection team, which was in the country in January, to come up with an action plan to address turmoil in the beef-producing sector or lose out on its 9 000- tonne beef quota to the EU.

The CPA said although the beef market remained firm, members were under stress because of high inputs costs, particularly the price of maize, whose output is 40 percent lower than last year’s.

“Although the market remains quite firm, the continued escalation of input costs, particularly the price of maize, is rapidly eroding viability,” the association said in the newsletter.

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Wheat exports ban raises farmers’ storage costs

7/25/01 10:11:23 PM (GMT +2)

BVUMBA—The gover-nment’s ban on wheat exports will substantially increase farmers’ storage costs and interest charges, according to Zimbabwe Cereal Producers Association (ZCPA) chairman Samson Pritchard.

Wheat exports were banned earlier this year in a bid to avert shortages of the crop, but the ban could result in the loss of Zimbabwe’s export markets in South Africa and other neighbouring countries.

“This ban will unduly interfere with marketing and prejudice growers through increased storage and interest charges,” Pritchard told delegates to the ZCPA’s 16th annual congress here.

“The ZCPA requests that producers be allowed to export a portion of their wheat.”

He said because the winter wheat crop was larger than anticipated — growers planted 46 625 hectares in the 2000 season yielding about 255 000 tonnes — farmers would face difficulties in marketing the crop.

This could seriously affect their viability because they would be expected to store the wheat at a cost to themselves.

This would compound the problems already affecting farmers, who are under pressure from escalating input costs, farm invasions and unpredictable weather patterns.

“Despite the problems which beset us at the beginning of the 2000 season, farmers managed to plant a total of 46 625 hectares of wheat yielding about 255 000 tonnes at an average yield of 5.5 tonnes per ha,” Pritchard said.

He said this was 21 percent lower than 1999’s crop, but led to earnings of over $2.5 billion for farmers, saving the country a vast amount of foreign currency that could have been used to buy imports.

— Staff Reporter

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Desperate ZANU PF plots poll date delay

7/25/01 8:28:48 PM (GMT +2)

THE governing ZANU PF party will delay announcing the date for next year’s crucial presidential election for as long as possible until its violent campaign strategy, which it is currently crafting, is in place and operating at full throttle, it was learnt this week.

ZANU PF strategists also hope that in the intervening period, there will be an upturn in the economy, which could help the party win back the important urban vote.

Insiders this week said the presidential election is now the main pre-occupation of the Joint Operation Command (JOC), a strategy and security think-tank of the government comprising the ministers of state security, defence and home affairs and the generals commanding the army, the airforce, the spy Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and the police.

The JOC is already working on a number of strategies to neutralise the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) ahead of the presidential election.

Sources say President Robert Mugabe regularly attends the JOC meetings that are usually held on Thursday every week.

According to the sources, the JOC has been brainstorming on the timing of the election and the different kind of campaign strategies for the urban and rural vote.

The think-tank has ruled out an early presidential election this year because it believes ZANU PF is not yet well prepared to deal with the rising support of the MDC.

Besides the political issues, the sources say the JOC also feels that the economic climate in Zimbabwe at the moment is not conducive to holding an early election.

Consensus therefore has been building on delaying the elections as long as possible until such a time when "economic conditions are temporarily stable" and ZANU PF has put in place a watertight campaign strategy.

However, going by economic and political indicators that show the Zimbabwean economy worsening by the end of the year, sceptics say Mugabe has probably a better chance to win the election today rather than next year.

Conservative ZANU PF technocrats now admit that at the rate at which the economy is sinking, the governing party will have lost even its most diehard supporters by the time of the ballot, which must at any rate be held by April next year.

Whatever ZANU PF’s campaign strategy, economic problems such as the looming food shortages, the foreign currency crisis, the shortage of fuel, collapsing enterprises and skyrocketing prices will conspire to make the election the most difficult for the ruling party since independence in 1980.

Insiders say the situation has become so desperate for ZANU PF that some of its senior politicians and businessmen are already involved in national asset stripping because they fear an MDC government is imminent.

But the party’s ruling clique is confident that its militant campaign will win or frighten back all supporters it might have lost or risked losing to the MDC.

Under the militant campaign plan, ZANU PF hopes to galvanise the war veterans first and has engaged the CIO national structures to help.

Insiders this week said self-styled war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba is Mugabe’s personal choice to take over from the late Chenjerai Hunzvi to head the ex-fighters’ organisa-tion. His deputy would be Edward Ndlovu.

The duo, according to the sources, is the preferred one for Mugabe and his deputies because of its pliability and willingness to follow orders. Chinotimba and Ndlovu are expected to take over the veterans’ body at its congress scheduled for next month.

After that congress, the veterans would be deployed in the rural areas and all the commercial farming areas to spearhead next year’s election campaign.

The government has already seized more than 1 500 commercial farms and is assured of more farms as the fast-track land reform programme escalates. The veterans and staunch party supporters have been resettled on the acquired farms.

According to the sources, the veterans are already demanding that they be armed because they are supposed to be members of the so-called reserve force under the Ministry of Defence.

The sources said because the fate of the presidential election hinges on the success of the veterans and ZANU PF supporters on the farms and in the rural areas, the government is not going to consider recent proposals on land resettlement by the Commercial Farmers’ Union until after the poll.

As a result, the government will seize more farms until the end of the year.

The government has already lodged an application with the Supreme Court seeking an extension to a court order calling on it to have a proper land resettlement programme by July 1 this year.

The state says it wants the courts to allow it to acquire even more farms until November because, it claims, it has now put in place a land reform programme as required by the Supreme Court.

To sweeten the offer, the veterans on the occupied farms will be paid comfortable allowances, a move which has already been sanctioned by the Politburo, the supreme organ of ZANU PF.

Insiders said this weekend’s Bindura by-election will be used as a case study on how ZANU PF will promote the militant campaign in the rural areas and the peri-urban constituencies during the presidential ballot.

Under the plan, ZANU PF will also re-launch the national service to shift attention from real issues affecting Zimbabweans and play up the history and objectives of the liberation struggle.

ZANU PF plans to use the financial vote of the Ministry of Youth, which will oversee the national youth service, as well as the $1 billion meant for black empowerment to channel public funds to the veterans and card-carrying ZANU PF supporters under their so-called self-help projects.

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